Uncategorized

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.

 

61Wez2fWMIL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_

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!

 

51Y8Nl48AAL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

 

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

 

download (1)

 

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!

 

29386918

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!

images

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

Reviews and Ramblings – Nyxia & Nyxia: Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

Before I start, please be aware that this is going to be super spoilery! This is my review of both Nyxia and Nyxia: Unleashed. This post will have links to my original GoodReads reviews if you are interested in those, as well as my ramblings about these books, along the way.

So without further adieu.. lets get started!

Nyxia – Scott Reintgen

download

 

Published 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers.

The link to My GoodReads review is here if you are interested in my original review.

 

Wow, this book was such a different look at an inter-stellar universe. It had been on my TBR since it came out and I finally got around to reading it.

What originally drew me in, was that the reason these kids get drawn together is because this massive company, known as ‘Babel’ targets them because they come from low socio-economic places. They are kids who were raised in poverty, with nothing, with severe illnesses, kids that have always worked for everything they have, but what they had was never enough. Then this huge company swoops in and offers them millions of dollars, for participating in training for a space adventure.. and what 16-year-old with nothing, would turn that down?

Then things start getting weird. The training that these kids are put through is incredibly specific. Targeted training for what life is like on Eden, for swimming in rough oceans, for running on any and all terrain, for space travel and boat travel. And most importantly, manipulating Nyxia, the substance they are being sent there to mine.

What gets me, it that Babel is definitely untrustworthy, from the moment we learn how these kids are being trained, I had this feeling that they were using them, turning them into soldiers for some purpose other than mining. Why else would they have them fighting each other, to the death, if there were no ulterior motive.. They are pitting these children against each other, scoring them, ranking them and making sure they are constantly battling against each other, in all aspects of their lives aboard the ship.

Then bam… when everything has settled down, they introduce another Genesis team and the battles continue and get harder. But the worst thing is, this second team, Genesis 12, has been trained as exactly that, a team, which leaves Genesis 11 battling against a well oiled machine, when they are still conditioned to be working as individuals.

Babel’s deceptions are so ingrained into the culture of the ship that it is hard to tell deception from truth, but when Emmett and Kaya find an Adamite in the ships hull, things begin to get messy. Everything that the kids knew or thought they knew gets turned three-hundred and sixty degrees, completely confusing them before the biggest moment of their young lives.

Babel well and truly brain washes these kids, they turn them into soldiers, in every sense of the word, then send them up into space… But oh, no, it isn’t that simple. Right before they launch into the atmosphere for the decent into Eden, they are ambushed by past genesis applicants who didn’t make the cut, and are forced to fight to the death for a spot on  Eden. What the actual heck!

This book was fantastic, fast paced, emotionally charged. Well written and engaging. I was constantly asking myself, what the heck is going on? It is a fantastic representation of what big companies can do, that their reach is so great that they have more power than the president or prime-minister. They have their hands in so many pies and have so much financial backing, that the world is literally their oyster. I immediately went and bought Nyxia: Unleashed, I have to know what happens once they reach Eden!

Nyxia: Unleashed

download (1)

Published: 2018 by Crown Books for Young Readers.

My review on GoodReads is here if you are interested in my review as well as my ramblings! Extremely spoilery down here, not as much re-telling the story, just my thoughts as I was reading the book.

 

 

Firstly I knew it! I knew Babel were trading Nyxia for babies! This company is so manipulative and have no idea what it is like to be truly human. The fact that they were willing to train up and convince a group of teenagers that they were going to a new planet to be miners and become millionaires, when in reality they were being sent to be miners and population savers. Off you go kids,  go make us millions of dollars while being used to re-populate a dying alien race!

The Imago (Not Adamite’s like Babel calls them) seem like, honest people. A little too into playing games but they seem to genuinely want what is best for their people. That being said, the way they treat their returned soldiers and poor people leaves little to be desired.

Speaker – this guy is a champion. I am a little worried he might double cross the gang at some point, because he just seems too good to be true, but fingers crossed he remains the overall good guy we are shown so far. He is like the Imago father figure that Emmett so desperately needed, a male figure who was in his court, to remind him of who he is.

Morning and Emmett – come on, as if you don’t ship them!? Yes Emmett and Kaya were super cute too but without Emmett losing Kaya, he wouldn’t be on the path he is now. He also wouldn’t have developed as a character, mentally he has grown intuitively into who he needs to be to protect his new family. Morning makes Emmett who he is, she gives him the courage to accept that others rely on him, that he is a leading figure. She makes him able to come to terms with the horror that they have been thrown into, she makes him strong, and in some ways he makes her weak.

This book shows us, in incredible fictional ways, that life isn’t always what you expect it to be. Even the most obvious agreements can have underlying falsehoods. We learn that people will always do what they need to, to survive. That desperate people will kill others to get ahead. I guess this is human nature, all fiction is based on these elements because we see it in real life, on the news every day.

What I love about this book is the raw honesty. It is gritty and vivid and doesn’t shy away from confronting imagery or controversial subjects. I also enjoy how Morning can have a male best friend and Emmett doesn’t lose his mind over it. Why is that kids? Because he trusts Morning. Boom. Minds blown. I know right. Who would have thought (apologies for my sarcasm… but not really though).

What an impossible position it is to put 16-year-old children in. Train them to be combat ready soldiers and dump them in a new planet… I do keep forgetting that they are so young. In my mind they are all in their early to mid 20s. The expectation Babel has that they will mine Nyxia, battle and kill Imagos and repopulate the planet is an incredibly difficult pill to swallow.

Finally, our Genesis crew make a deal with the Imago, to destroy Babel before they destroy the Imago and their planet. It all sounds amazing, the plan sounds fool proof and like finally the good guys are going to get a win, and bam, Babel is there for an ambush. How did they know where the Genesis and Imago would be!? Who is the traitor? We will have to wait for the third book to find out!

I loved the final chapter, mostly because Reintgen worked out what his readers needed, we needed to know that Genesis team was okay on Magnia (Eden), but he knew we also needed a win, even if it was a tiny one. And taking us back up to the Babel ship and showing us that Anton and Erone were kicking some serious but was just what I needed to lift the heavy sense of dread and death after the battle on Magnia.

This book was just as incredible as the first, I am literally dying because there is such a long wait until the third book comes out, and I need it now.. actually I needed it yesterday, so I could be reading it now… Well written with a writing style that makes you want to read on, incredibly diverse and interesting characters, each with their own back story, flaws and personalities that you grow to love (even the ones you think you hate).

I can’t wait to see how this trilogy (or Triad), wraps up. And finally, a little quote from my boy Emmett, who definitely sums up my feels for the final novel….

“Babel will burn: – Emmett Atwater.

 

Thanks

Julie

Uncategorized

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

25092254._UY1000_SS1000_

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!

 

9780399556791.jpg

 

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!

 

download (1)

 

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!