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review 2016-08-01 18:00
Alienated by Melissa Landers
Alienated - Melissa Landers,Madeleine Lambert

I enjoyed listening to this book, but I didn't fall in love with it. 


All the characters are well written and the dual point of view was great, but it was definitely a YA story. There are some YAs that have appeal for all ages, but some are really meant to be read and enjoyed most by actual young adults. I feel like this is one of those. Still, it definitely entertained me. It was well put together and the world building was good. 


I enjoyed the two protagonists and appreciated their points of view. I particularly enjoyed their individual character progressions. The way the two species had met, come together, made the student exchange a program all made for an interesting premise to begin the book on. I really enjoyed those aspects. The main and secondary characters were just a bit angsty for my taste. Don't get me wrong, they were appropriately angsty for their situations, but that doesn't make it appealing, just believable. 


I'll probably read the rest of the series when it becomes available from my library. It'll be interesting to read about how things progress and how they fix the things that went wrong in this first book. The narrator for this one was Madeleine Lambert. I like her as a narrator but it took me a minute to get some of the quirks of her style.


A good book overall, but not one I'll be gushing about for months. 

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text 2016-04-01 23:00
Femme Friday - Your Next Favorite YA Series
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
Shatter Me Complete Collection: Shatter Me, Destroy Me, Unravel Me, Fracture Me, Ignite Me - Tahereh Mafi
Etiquette and Espionage: Number 1 in series (Finishing School) by Gail Carriger (2013-02-05) - Gail Carriger;
Beautiful Creatures - Margaret Stohl,Kami Garcia
Atlantis Rising - Gloria Craw
Divergent - Veronica Roth
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré

I don't know what your next favorite YA series may be, but it stands to reason that it could be written by a woman. I'm not saying that it will be, but the "Big 3" of YA are all written by women (and are featured in this post). We definitely can't be ruled out or sidelined anymore in this area. That being said, there are some great series out there, here are some contenders: 


That I've read: 

  1. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins   - I mean, it is one of the Big 3 mentioned above and really doesn't need an introduction or explanation anymore. If you haven't read it or seen the movies yet and are reading this post, you've probably already been told to do so. 
  2. Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles - Marissa Meyer - This is a one of my new favorites! I love a good fairy tale reimagining, it's my kryptonite. The whole series was fun and left me with an awful book hangover. I've been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get ahold of the next book set in this world, Stars Above and the first of Meyer's new series, Heartless
  3. Shatter Me Complete Collection - Tahereh Mafi - Okay, I had it bad after the Lunar Chronicles, but this one was the actual worst book hangover of my life. I reread some of it way too many times. It played with my emotions, it was written with a whole new style that was mesmerizing, it broke my heart too many times. I'm a sucker for broken characters and this series let me wallow in them until my fingers were all pruney. 
  4. Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger - my first steampunk! I didn't quite know what to expect, but I was intrigued by the concept. This turned out to be a great introduction because it does have some of my favorite elements of fiction. I can't always get behind historical fiction but this combined it with science fiction and paranormal creatures and seriously, what's not to love when you do all that! I'm waiting on the last book to finish off the series and so looking forward to it! 
  5. Beautiful Creatures - Margaret Stohl,Kami Garcia - I had read the first book well before I heard of the movie but hadn't finished the series yet. I was pleased with the movie, though. It brought all the visual parts in and didn't really lose much. I had a great time reading this series. The magical world that it takes place in was new and a lot of fun. Sometimes books in the same subgenre feel like they blur together, but this definitely stands out among the books about magical beings and worlds. 
  6. Atlantis Rising - Gloria Craw - I read this one last year before I knew that more would be coming out. It felt like there could be more but the first one ended on such a note that I wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one



Heard good things about: 

  1. Divergent - Veronica Roth - I only saw the movie. I'm not a fan of the way people say that if you love "this" then you'll love "that" so this one struck me wrong. Everyone says that if you loved The Hunger Games, you'll love this series. To me, it sounded like they were far too similar to make it worth reading. But I did watch the movies and they are dissimilar enough that I understood what people were talking about. All the same, I never made my way to that series. I do plan on reading it, but I'm not in rush. Everyone that I know who's read it, loved it! And I remember once reading a blog post from someone who applauded the way Tris is specifically not pretty, that it's mentioned in a way that reminds you that it shouldn't be important for a revolutionary to be pretty. 
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling - I know, it's a problem. It's a Big 3 YA and I haven't read it, but I did crack it open once or twice.... I was just a little too old when these books came out to be interested in them, and then too busy and now I might as well wait to read them with my son. He's very close to the right age to start the first one. I have seen all the movies and completely understand how wonderful the books are, I just haven't read them yet. 



Problematic - this is a blog about feminism in books, so while these are huge, they do present some problems in this department that need addressing

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer - it's been said, at length, that this series presents problems in the abusive relationship department. The main love interest is controlling and that is definitely a problem. What makes the problem worse is the HUGE following that came after this series that made everyone sound like they want to be in an abusive relationship such as this. No hitting takes places, but there is a lot of controlling behaviors that no one should tolerate. I get that Edward wasn't a bad guy, but he was a bad boyfriend. Bella wasn't exactly a role model either. At the same time she wasn't much worse than Matt Donovan in the next series I'm going to talk about. It's hard to be the only human among supernaturals, I'm sure, but she never once got to make a decision that he didn't have to approve and she was always usurped when he didn't approve. 

The Vampire Diaries - LJ Smith - just skip the books and binge watch the CW series on Netflix. The show is one of my favorites and cleans up a lot of the problems in the books. Elena is very similar to Bella in her passionate love for her love interest. It made me gag a lot. Her friends are easily duped into doing whatever vapid thing she is interested in. Okay, so that sounds harsh and I'm not trying to shame the characters. The problem is that they were hollow characters. What should have been intersections in their problems never seemed to bother them, so we mostly gloss over the fact that Elena is an orphan in the books. The show makes up for this by allowing her to be melancholy and react to this life-changing event as if her life has changed. I've said before that maybe it's my own problem for having watched the show first. The characters in the show have depth and complexity. No one is a perpetual damsel in distress or rescuer. Even the villains are layered. These books features lots of characters and it would be great if they didn't fit so well into those old, worn stereotypes. Also, the show may still be on television, but the books are from the 1990's. I don't remember if these stereotypes had quite hit trope level, but it's just a pass. Don't even bother, not in this day and age. You'll just be disappointed. 

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review 2015-11-15 14:12
Audio Book Review: Alive
Alive - Scott Sigler

*I listened to this podcasted book for my own enjoyment.

They wake in clothes that are to small for them. They don't know their names, other than the name on their 'coffins'. They don't remember their parents or much of anything else from their past. Lost inside a building they don't know, full of death and secrets. They need to find food and water and to get out of here. What they learn far surpasses what they could have imagined and they will have to fight for their freedom.

I listened to this story in podcasted story form on the authors site. Scott shared, in episode form, the audiobook with us week by week. Emma Galvin is the voice of Em Savage. The panic in Em's voice at the beginning is vocalized wonderfully, rising and falling in volume and speed with Em's growing anxiety. There is a special voice that Emma does and she has a different sound to it, as it should. She makes different sounds to her voice for a few occasions, important pieces. Emma also has the personality of the characters as they become dominate in them through the book, growing from the time they wake unsure to the time they are who they are. I like this variation, and it fits with when we learn the truth of that voice. Well played by the narrator along with the story.

This story caught my attention for the moment it started with the coffin and how the kids are bound to it inside. The strange all around the place and holes in the kids memories. I looked forward to answers while anxious for the characters waking and breaking free. Something terrible happened here with what the characters find, yet they were lucky to be spared. But what happened?

Imagine, young children around the age of ten in a twenty year old body. Physically stronger with a child's thinking and naive views. This is trouble in the making with the hormones and easy tempers rising. They don't remember much, but believe today is their 12th birthday. Yet they are in bodies of 19-20 year old. They do have their instincts and personalities that peek through with each reaction and circumstance that they cross.

The kids express from the moment they escape their 'coffins' different beliefs in the way things should be done or handled. Yet they don't know much either. They are scared, hungry, thirsty, and lost. All they want are their parents or grown-ups to help them. But they aren't around. I feel bad for these young minds, having to go through all they are and alone to figure it out.

Em Savage. Em is our MC. She's not the strongest physically and doesn't know everything, but the way she is makes her a leader. She is determined from the moment she wakes. I do like her realizations. She knows a leader shouldn't hit people and it's okay to challenge the leader in a way that's talking. Her thinking is right.

Strange thing for me with this book. It's not high action but I'm still drawn to the story. It's about survival. These children work to survive either by finding a way out or finding what they need, food and water. Each holding a different skill set and knowledge. If I read the book, I might have been a bit bored at the beginning of the book, but then things start twisting, turning, and showing up. All the sudden there is a heavy episode, or few chapters, that hits you as you didn't expect all that. More and more mysteries to this place. I'm dying to know where they are, why, and what happened. Suspenseful in that token.

The things these youngsters go through, 'born' at age 12, ages them by years. They no longer feel as the young naive children they started as. And are seeing things in their own ways and growing to their own ways of doing things.

Such an adventure here. Now I'm curious what comes with where they are heading next in life.

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review 2015-04-08 14:18
Not Quite What I Remembered
Andra - Louise Lawrence

I just re-read this book after 18 years. The storyline still fascinates me, but as one of Lawrences earlier books, there are several technical issues with her writing. The head hopping (point of view changes within a scene) was the most bothersome. Although all her books do that, it seemed especially distracting in this novel.


The idea of a girl knowing all the things Andra does simply because of a brain graft of the optical section is fascinating. Can you really separate one function of the brain from the rest? Obviously not. Andra remembers seeing things she couldn't possibly have seen. She understands and knows things she couldn't, and her individuality is heightened. Although, I'm under the impression Andra was well on her way to her own person long before getting a piece of brain from a 2000 year old dead boy. 


The book is really quite sad because of the ending. You have to ask, could people be so selfish and cruel?

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review 2015-03-25 16:34
Pleasant surprise!
First World - Jaymin Eve

I picked this one up for free on Amazon because I was looking for more scifi and I liked the cover. 


It started okay. A bit of a dystopian feel that had me worried, but this is definitely NOT a dystopian. Well, you could make an argument that it partly is, but moving on! It's so many more things. It is science fiction mixed with fantasy and an element of paranormal. 


Back to the beginning, I wasn't sure if it was going to grab my interest. A rebellious girl has snuck out of the compound to roam the gang ridden streets of New York. She hits a spot of trouble, shows off some fighting skills and meets a mysterious man who says he's her guardian or protector or something. 


While some of the next pages felt predictable, there were enough surprises and twists of genres that I got pulled in. There were some weird sentences that made me laugh and almost stop reading. In the end I'm glad I kept going though. Here's an example:

"She dropped her bottom lip."


What? How do you do that? 


However, once Abby and Lucy get to First World things really pick up. There were probably still issues with the writing, but the story sucked me in enough I didn't care much. I might have rolled my eyes a time or two at the conversations about the 'hotness' of Brace.


I loved the idea of Walkers and their ability to travel between worlds by opening a passageway. The relationship and banter between Abby and Lucy was also fun and entertaining. The chemistry between Abby and Brace good. I'm predicting they are soulmates. 


There came a point when I was reading to find answers to my growing questions. And then the story ended. *sigh* Now I remember why I hate series. In the end this book was really just the inciting incident to a larger story and it ends with loads of question. 


So, if you're looking for a new series this could be a good one. If you're looking for a quick read, good again. If you're looking for a book you can read and walk away completely satisfied all your questions have been answered, then no. I wasn't looking for a series, but I'm going to have to read the rest of it now. :) 


I enjoyed it! I give it a solid 4.


1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

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