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November Wrap-Up

Wow, how is it December already? Where has the year gone? And how did November sneak by like it did!?

I started November with the challenge of Reading THESE 5 books, I got through some of them, didn’t finish others and also read a few that weren’t on my list… because you know, impulse reads… Anywho, lets begin! Here are the books I read this month.

 

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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Published December 11th 2012 by HarperCollins Australia

The link to my GoodReads review is here

This book as been on my TBR for what feels like forever, and I think leaving it so long, to start reading is what made me enjoy it so much? I found it completely different to any Dystopian Young Adult novels that I have read recently. Bracken’s writing style is free-flowing, engaging and gives you the chance to imagine things for yourself. Even if those things are absolutely horrific.

I enjoy the premise of this story, segregating people, well children, because of colour. Indirectly this feels like it is a big middle finger to racism within the wider world. I can’t wait to read more of this series, I want to know more about the colours and what they can do, how they worked out who was which colour and more information on the ‘sickness’ that made the children this way!

 

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Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Published October 2nd 2018 by HarperCollins

The link to my full GoodReads review is HERE

I wanted to read this book as soon as I knew it was being published. I love Lauren Oliver as an Author. Her writing style draws me in and doesn’t let me go until I finish the last page. This book was no exception.

It is  a little slow to start, it really gets going at the halfway mark, so if you have put it down because of its slow pacing, pick it back up, you won’t regret it. I also found it to have a lot of Pretty Little Liars cross overs. I won’t elaborate here, because spoilers, but if you want to hear more about those cross overs, pop to my review and ramblings post about it HERE

 

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Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

Published July 17th 2018 by Crown Books for Young Readers

Link to my full GoodReads review is HERE

I fell in love with the Nyxia triad from the second I read the first book in this trilogy (Nyxia). This trilogy looks at teenage exploitation, inter-stellar space travel, manipulations by multimillion dollar companies, loyalties, love and loss. And that list doesn’t even scrape the surface.

The thing that constantly hits me, while reading this book is that these people we are reading about are children, they are 16 and 17 and dealing with things that I, at 26 couldn’t even think about. Let alone face and complete. But that is due to their conditioning and attempted brainwashing. My spoiler filled review and ramblings can be found here!

 

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WildCard By Marie Lu

Published September 18th 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Link to my full and spoiler free GoodReads review is HERE

When I started this book, I honestly couldn’t remember all that happened in its prequel, WarCross, but that didn’t matter. From the first page you are thrown back into Emika’s world and there is plenty of time to catch up. This book was much darker than Warcross, it sees Emika much more isolated and interacting with new people. It also sees the coming of the end of the world as she knows it. As always, Marie Lu has written a masterpiece, something easy to read and something easy to see may happen, as technological advances in our current world begin to go crazy! My spoiler filled review and ramblings post can be seen HERE – Read if you dare!

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And that brings my November Wrap-Up to an end. I managed to read 4 books this month, still not as many as I would like, but hey, at least I read 4! And to be honest, I really enjoyed these 4 books that I completed!

Keep an eye out for my next post, Books That Let Me Down This Month. This post will fill you in on books  that I started and didn’t finish and my view on DNFing books.

How many books did you read this month?

As always, thanks for reading,

Julie.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings. WildCard by Marie Lu

Okay before I start, as always with my review and ramblings posts, this will be riddled with spoilers so if you haven’t read Warcross or Wildcard, look away, get out before everything is ruined!

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Wildcard – Marie Lu

Published September 18th 2018 by Penguin Teen

My GoodReads review is HERE for any of you who want to read a condensed version of this post, or if you want a spoiler free review!

Also please note, there is some mild coarse language in this review.

 

To be completely honest with you, I hardly remembered what happened in Warcross… other than it was awesome… So here I am, starting WildCard and woah is it amazing.

I forgot how much of a bad-arse Emika is, but I think in this book, we see her a little more lonely and isolated, she still has her friends from the Phoenix Riders, but to save the world she has to hurt the one person she cares more about than life itself, only she doesn’t realise that her feelings run that deep. Emika is definitely being put between a rock and a hard place in this book, stuck between doing the right thing and breaking her heart. Stuck between two brothers who are chalk and cheese, one who is doing this for his baby brother, and the other who doesn’t remember his big brother enough to recognise the blood-tie and wants to kill him to make the world a safer place. What a horrible place to have to be, in-between Tanaka’s.

I also love the way that Marie Lu has incorporated the real world into her books and encompassed so well, the Japanese style, cities and way of life. Of course there are some fictional liberties, but I like that if you wanted to, you could go to some of the places mentioned in the book – Even if they looked nothing like the fictional ones… But hey it is still cool!

Marie Lu has done some super incredible world-building in this book. The time it must have taken to plan out the technologies alone would be immense. You go girl! The technology in this series is crazy advanced, but at the same time, how amazing would it be to see the world that way? To have a friend say, I’m here, follow the gold trail to find me, to be able to see your friends in a holographic way while calling them. Of course it has it’s downsides as well, being scored and ranked on every activity you partake in, being controlled remotely by Hideo Tanaka….

YES! Finally some Emika/Hideo time! Yaaas I love them, they complement each other so perfectly!

Also I am loving this Emika/Jax friendship, an honest to heck girl friendship is what Emika is missing, yes she has friends within the Phoenix Rider’s, but Jax has been through some shit, just like Emika has, like Emika and Hideo, Emika and Jax complement each other. Jax has spent her life being manipulated into protecting a woman who is un-ethical, cruel and will do anything in her power to get what she wants. Emika has spent her life running from a childhood that she would do anything to forget and hunting criminals for money to get by. These two crave what the other can give, Emika can give Jax a life without manipulation, one without the constant need for her to kill. Jax can give Emika stability a feeling of protection and a friend who knows what it is like to live a secret life.

Can we all say plot twist? What the actual heck!? What do you mean he died years ago and his mind has been replicated and turned into an AI capable of influencing a suit made of steel!? Can anyone else see what is wrong with this picture! Oh what about poor Hideo!? His whole life work has been for nothing! My heart is literally breaking for him!  What else could possibly happen to this man!

Holy shit. I spoke (well typed) too soon… What the hell is going on! Zero, as well as being the manifested mind of Hideo’s dead brother is also the mastermind behind all of Taylors evil-doings!? I can’t…. He literally manipulated Emika into convincing Hideo to save what little humanity Zero or Sasuke had left, then manipulated Hideo into killing Taylor and then he comes out on top with all of the power, control of the algorithm and control of Hideo and Emika. Shit is getting hectic, and there is under 90 pages left to go.. I’m almost too scared to keep reading.

The last 90 pages sort of blurred together, the pace was incredible, but some of the content, left me feeling a little unsure, like it was rushed and that what happened to the Neurolink wasn’t totally needed. I get that without its destruction and the conversion of Zero into the evil mastermind, then Emika could never redeem herself or find any direction for her future life. Nor could she begin her life with Hideo and start to help him rebuild his business. But it seemed a little fake almost?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, not as much as Warcross, but I think that is because when you start a new book, the world building is so surreal and amazing, that in the sequel, it isn’t as awe-inspiring. Fantastic writing as always from Lu, great characters, I still love Emika and Hideo. Both of their characters are so multi-faceted, I still feel as though there is more to know about Hideo though… I would love more from his point of view, maybe another book that goes over the time of Warcross and WildCard, that over laps but shows us everything from Hideo’s point of view! I would be down for that!

I am a little disappointed that I didn’t love this as much as Warcross, but I find that happens with most sequels, all the marvel of the world building and technology we learn about in the first book, doesn’t seem as fancy and amazing in the second because we come to expect it.

A great read, definitely a set of characters I would like to see more of.

Have you read WarCross or WildCard? What are your thoughts?

 

Thanks

Julie

 

 

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October Wrap Up

Well, another month of reading down, and I am so dis-heartened by the fact that, I only read THREE books this month! Where did all of that time go? So with no further ramblings, I shall begin. (Bare with me kids, this may be a little lengthy

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Cold Summer – Gwen Cole

Published May 2nd 2017 by Sky Pony Press. Australian RRP: $22.00

Rating 4/5 Stars

Links: GoodReadsBook Depository 

Review Copy Source: Library

Synopsis :

Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future. Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-travelling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers–friends–die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article–and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Is Kale’s death inevitable? Does this mean that, one of these days, when Kale travels to the past, he may not come back?  Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-travelling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

Review:

I originally picked up this book due to my love of the authors other work – Ride On. wow I was not disappointed!
This book is honest and raw , it deals with the trauma and pain of world war II in such a gentle and moving way, it gives you goose bumps to read the war scenes. I think what makes it even more special and haunting, is that it is from the perspective of a teenage boy who is trying to find his place in the world. Trying to survive with the guilt of what he is doing in the War.
this book is easy to read and packs a punch, it is so refreshing to read something that isn’t all about love within the YA genre. Yes there is a love story, but it isn’t the point of the plot.

A LITTLE SPOILER-Y
I wish there was a follow-up book, I need to know what happens in Kale’s future, if he becomes the teacher he dreams of being. I need to meet Kale’s little sister and learn about what happened to his brother. I need to know if Harper patched things up with her mum and went home for Christmas, or if she couldn’t stand leaving her uncle alone in the holidays. So many questions!!

All in all, this was a fantastic book, one that I will be reading again, and you should too!

 

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Nyxia – Scott Reintgen

Published June 19th 2018 by Ember.                               Australian RRP: $28.00

Rating 5/5 Stars

Links GoodReadsBook Depository

Review Copy Source: Library

Synopsis: Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family. Forever. Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden–a planet that Babel has kept hidden–where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe. But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Review: Wow, this book has been on my TBR since it came out, and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read it!
The characters are fantastic, their growths and arcs are easy to relate to and understandable.
This book is like a sci-fi Hunger Games, it is brutal and consumes you, as you read.
Emmett is the perfect protagonist, he is honest, witty and isn’t afraid of protecting or standing up for those whom he cares about. This is also his fatal flaw, trying to be the person Babel is making him into, all while remaining the man his ‘moms’ and ‘pops’ would be proud of.
Fantastically well written and engaging from the first page, I am dying to read the next book!

 

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Champion – Marie Lu

Published November 5th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile.    Australian RRP: $17.99

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Links: GoodReadsBook Depository

 

Synopsis:

He is a Legend.She is a Prodigy.Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic – and each other – and now their country is on the brink of a new peaceful existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles while Day has been assigned a high level military position.

But when a plague outbreak, deadlier than any other, causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities, the two are thrown back together. June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defence. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.

Review: 

This book left me feeling, a little bit ‘hmmm’ so to speak…

The writing style is fantastic and it was engaging, but I feel like it was one huuuge wrap up, that didn’t really go anywhere other than the direction that was so very easily seen at the end of book two.
I feel like this book was wasted, that Day could have had so much more of a character arc in this book, even with his SPOILERS
illness. Which, I actually think was such a convenient addition, making him forget June and all that they had together, right when her world was falling apart. But what I hate the most about that scenario, is that it forced her straight into Anden’s arms… after all of his creepiness and possessiveness… ugh.

Overall, it was a good read, just I think I expected more from this book… The ending left me hopeful that June and Day may get their second chance… well third chance. But I think his memory loss was a convenient way for there to be some last minute content… I still gave this title 4 stars, as mentioned above, the writing was fantastic and the action and pace was still there, it just left me feeling like too much happened within the last few pages, but also nothing happened throughout the entire novel…

 

So that’s my wrap up, I only read three books this month… But two of them were incredible, seriously, Gwen Cole is such a fantastic author, her other book Ride On, is a western, sci-fi. You need to read it, if you love those genres, it isn’t too long either, the link is here!

Comment below if you have read any of these three books, and what you thought of them!

Thanks for reading ,

Julie!