Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sci-Fi November: Sci-Fi Readathon Week 4: Progress Report

For Sci-Fi November I decided to participate in The Nerdy Journalist's Sci-Fi Read-a-thon. I only did one progress report earlier this month, but as the month is coming to a close I wanted to update on where I stand with my reading challenge. I'm actually really proud of myself because I read 4 out of the 6 books I set out to read this month! 

I'm going to Florida for Thanksgiving vacation so I am crossing my fingers that I can cross off Man Made Boy from the list when I get back in December. As for Dune, I think after this month I need a break from Sci-Fi but since I'm going to Florida again for Christmas I am going to start reading it then.

How is your reading challenge going? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sci-fi November: Book Review: The 5th Wave

Oh my gosh! I did not think I was going to like this book quite as much as I did. I thought I was going to like it since it was recommended by a friend whom has the same tastes in books as me, but I didn't think it would enthrall me as much as it did. This book kept my attention so much that I read it in 3 days.

The 5th Wave is about an alien invasion and goes through the different "waves" of attacks until we meet up with the present and begin to learn about the 5th one. The book does utilize a lot of sci-fi alien tropes, but I think that the plot and the writing style kept me interested in it all the way through. I almost want to say that this is a retelling of War of the Worlds, but I think this book had a lot of differences. 

Yancey tells his story in multiple perspective separated by parts. The only thing I would have changed here was a name above each chapter or part so you knew the speaker. I knew this was multiple point of view before I read it so as I was reading Cassie's part I kept thinking " this a new speaker?" It took some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it the style it makes sense. The really interesting part about the use of multiple narrators was that the voice was always in first person. I think that the majority of multiple perspective books I've read have used third person. I thought it was an interesting approach and I ended up really liking it. It was also really effective because the reader knows whom the bad guys are, so when certain characters start trusting them you are sitting there internally screaming, "No! You idiot!" Yancey knew exactly what he was doing here, and it worked perfectly.

It's not just the plot and the writing style that made me like this book so much. I loved all of the characters. Well except for Evan because he was so shady. You'll see why. But I think I liked Cassie the most, probably because she is the only female point of view we get, but also because she was a survivor. I liked those types of characters that push on and just try living. 

I blew through this book and generally really enjoyed it. I'm giving it an 8.5 out of 10.

What did you think of The 5th Wave?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Sci-fi November: Book Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game is one of those books that everyone likes that I read and think, "Okay, I understand why people like this but...I have a lot of problems with it." It's not that I didn't enjoy this book, I just had a really hard time with it. So let me break this down by what I didn't like about this book and then I'll discuss the things I liked about it. 

Things I didn't like about this book:
  • I had a really hard time separating this great sci-fi story with the author's shitty behavior. It was really hard for me to not contextualize his bigoted philosophy within his novel. The book itself doesn't really show much of this, but there were a few parts that left a sour taste in my mouth. Particularly the way woman are portrayed in the novel.
  • Ender is so pretentious. I understand that he is a genius child with one of the top IQs in the world, but did you have to make him so damn pretentious? The beginning of the novel really threw me for a loop because Ender does not talk like a 6-year-old. I don't care that he's supposed to be smarter than everyone else, I just don't think Card knows how to write in a child's voice. Even if that child is a genius. 
  • I didn't really care for the ending. Not the ending where you find out what the military really has these kids do, but the ending where Ender is older and writes the book Speaker of the Dead. I think this gets explained better in the second novel, but I'm definitely not going to read anymore of this series. For me the ending just felt flat. 
Things I liked about this book:
  • The plot of this novel is what kept me going. I wanted to find out how Ender was going to get himself out of certain situations. I also knew that more action was going to come so I wanted to get to that point as soon as possible.
  • The science fiction in the novel was really impressive. Card talks about these kids playing these games on "desks", which sounds an awful lot like laptops. I had to double check that this novel was written in the mid-'80s because that was some impressive prediction. Overall the concept of the "games" they play was also really interesting.
  • Towards the end of the book Ender gets a new teacher and I was really surprised to find out who that was. You also learn the truth about what the games really are, and I did not see that coming. This might have been predictable to other readers, but I wasn't really expecting it.
So I didn't exactly hate this book, but I don't think I'm going to be reading the rest of the series. I have a friend at work that is heavily into Sci-Fi and he said the second book is really bad, but that I should read the others. I'm done with suffering through bad books, so I think I'm just going to skip it this time. Overall I think this book had some issues, but it also had some really great sci-fi elements that are still influencing the genre today. I'm giving this book a 6.5 out of 10.

What did you think of this book? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reads, Everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is the Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR.

Ever since I saw Skovron with Stephanie Perkins at the Doylestown Bookshop, I've wanted to read his book about Boy the son of Frankenstein's monster and his bride, whose also a computer hacker. The way he talked about this book made me want to read it. I'm hoping to start it today!

I was trying to read this for Sci-Fi November, but that just didn't happen. Hopefully I get to it after I finish my Good Reads Reading Challenge. Or on my flight to Florida for my Thanksgiving vacation.

I know, I still haven't gotten to this book yet. Soon, very soon! I'm just waiting for it to be available from the library. Hey kids, read faster!

I got this from Blogging For Books awhile ago and I STILL haven't read it. I've never read any of Bennett's work before I've heard fantastic things about this fantasy book. 

Meg is my favorite author but I still haven't read all of her adult novels. I've read a lot of her young adult novels (I think all of them) but I want to read everything this woman has ever written. 

Due to Sci-Fi November I took a break from the Kane Chronicles, but I'm hoping to finish it in December. It's currently on my desk with my stack of current TBR books, so hopefully I get to it soon.

I think my boyfriend is getting the rest of this series for me for Christmas so I'm holding out until then. He should really read my blog because then Christmas shopping for me would be really easy.

This book has been on my shelf for far too long. I need to read it this winter! Also why did I stop watching the Mindy Project? Mindy is just too damn funny.

I love Holly Black's novels but for some reason I forgot about this one. Luckily I recently won it from a giveaway so hopefully I can read it sooner than I thought!

This is a book I've been on the fence about for awhile, but I won it in a giveaway so hopefully I break it out soon. Not sure if I'll go on to read the whole series, as I've heard really mixed things about it, but I do want to give the first book a go.

What books are on your list? 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: The Bride Wore Size 12

Full disclosure on this review, it's going to be really biased because Meg Cabot is my favorite author and she continues to write books that I love. While I was reading UnDivided I had to read this book in-between because it's a lighter humorous book about solving murders. Okay maybe not quite "lighter" but the Heather Wells Series is probably one my favorite series. 

The Bride Wore Size 12 in the final installment of Cabot's Heather Wells mystery series. In this book Heather is stressed about work and trying to plan her wedding to Cooper Cartwright. So of course you know another college kid has to die in her building and Heather has to get in the middle of it to figure who who did it and how to stop them. 

Like the other four books in this series, I did not see the ending coming. What I love about the series is that Cabot keeps you guessing. If you think you know who did it, you are probably wrong. I definitely did not guess who the killer was in this book, and that's what I loved about this series as a whole.

I don't want to believe that this series is actually over because I loved reading this quirky mystery series. It's been a while since I've read the fourth book, but while I was reading this one I was constantly reminded why I fell in love with this series in the first place. Frankly this series is just so funny. I also loved that this book series had a body positive theme but it wasn't the major plot point. It was apart of Heather's character, but this series was really about a normal girl just trying to get her degree while solving murders on the side.

Overall, I really adored this novel and it reminded why I loved the four books that came before it. I'm giving this one a 9 out of 10. 

What are your thoughts on the Heather Wells series? 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review: UnDivided

Oh my god! This series blows all the other young adult dystopia novels off the freaking planet. I feel like a lot of "dystopia" novels that have come out recently have just used that as a backdrop to the overall plot, but not Shusterman's tale. Without a world with unwinding, Shusterman wouldn't have had a plot, so it's the dystopian society in this novel that gives us the story. This terrifying story. 

This series will rock you to your core, so tread lightly before you starting reading it. One of things that blurs the lines with reality and fiction is his use of real articles and blogs that explain how he got the idea for this series. Some of those clips are scary realistic. Like the three books before it, UnDivided came off as a heavy and terrifying read. There were even moments that I had to read another book in-between reading sessions because I just couldn't handle it. I also just didn't want this series to be over.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Get

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the awesome bloggers at The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is the top ten sequels you can't wait to get. Or more like the top ten series that Deanna forgot about. I'm really good about being behind on books.

Royal Wedding By Meg Cabot

A new Princess Diaries book? Where is it? I'm waiting so patiently for the adult follow up to my favorite books series. This is supposed to come out this summer, my birthday is in June, so I'm hoping this comes out in time for my birthday.

Behemoth By Scott Westerfeld

I'm waiting until Christmas to finish reading this series because I think I'm getting it as a gift. Is it December 25th yet? This series is awesome, I need it now!

Blood of Olympus By Rick Riordan

I had to blacklist this on Tumblr so I don't get spoiled. I'm trying to get this from the library, but the wait list is forever long. Hey kids, read faster!

The Madness Underneath By Maureen Johnson

Umm...I definitely forgot about this series. I better get on that soon. 

Remembrance By Meg Cabot

Another adult follow up to one of my favorite Meg Cabot series. This one doesn't come out until 2016, so I have a bit longer to wait for this one. 

Winds of Winter By George R.R. Martin

Ugh. Where is this book? I need it now! I have a feeling that this one won't be the last of the series. He's probably writing too much detail again. 

The Third Suite Scarlett? By Maureen Johnson

Um...wasn't there supposed to be a third novel in the Suite Scarlett series? The second one just ends. That ending was terrible and it's been FOUR YEARS. WHERE IS IT???

Dark Triumph By Robin LaFevers

I only just read the first novel in this companion series, but I do want to read the rest of the series. Eventually...

The Third Miss Peregrine book By Ransom Riggs

I always forget about Riggs' because it takes him forever to write his books. The sequel just recently came out so I can give Riggs some leeway on finishing it.

Inkspell By Cornelia Funke

I read the first book in this series recently, even though it is rather old. I loved the first one but I think I'm putting off reading the sequel because I heard it's not as good.

Which books are your most anticipated sequels?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sci-Fi November: Top Ten Sci-Fi Books

I would like to say that my blogging for Sci-Fi November has petered off because I am so busy reading books for it...but I'm not. I'm kind of failing at my Read-a-thon right now because I still haven't read the second book on my list. Good news is that I'm taking the train to Harrisburg to see the boyfriend this weekend so I expect to read at least one of the books on my list. 

But the reason for this particular post is not to give excuses on why I haven't finished reading my books yet. It's to list off my top ten Scif-Fi books that I have read. Key word is "I have read." These ten books are all ones that I have read and enjoyed so any one that you think should be on here instead probably means I haven't read them yet. So in no particular order, here we go!

L'Engle's books are interesting to me because she combined her love for her religion and for science in a great way. Also this was about time travel and experimenting with the fifth dimension, so it's just one of those classic sci-fi novels you have to read. Go read it! Now!

Of course this book is on my list! I loved this book when I was in middle school. I also recently learned that he talked exactly how he wrote this series. It makes me want to reread all the books.

I read the first book in this steampunk series recently and I loved every minute of it. If you're a fan of Farscape the ship might seem a bit familiar. I think Westerfeld pulled some ideas from the Sci-Fi TV show but made it his own in this alternate reality. 

I think I've talked a lot about this series already, so of course it's on my list. I'm going to be pretty mad if Mara Jade doesn't show up in the new movie. 

1984 is just one of those sci-fi books that sticks with everyone. Although I've argued about this book before, I still think it's a really important social commentary. 

I favor this dystopia novel better than a lot of the ones out there. It's also probably one of my favorite books.

I think George Orwell's radio broadcast of this novel is more well known, but H.G. Wells sci-fi novel is one of the best. It's just one of those classic sci-fi books. You should go read this one too. Right meow!

This book was so weird, which is probably why I liked it. I don't think I read any more in the series--I didn't even know it was a series at the time, but I remember really liking this novel. I think with the emergence of Orphan Black this series is going to get popular again. 

I bet you thought I would say Fahrenheit 451, huh? I do love that book, but I think I liked The Martian Chronicles better because it was a collection of short stories. I have a friend who is working on a novel that is possibility on another planet so I handed her this to help with her world building. 

I'm reading the final book in this series, and I'm kind of avoiding it because I just don't want it to be over. Also because this book is heavy. The themes are dark and sometimes I just have to put this down and read something happy. Forget all the other dystopia novels that have come out in the young adult genre, Shusterman's series is the end all be all of the genre.

Which books do you have on your lists? 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sci-Fi November: Who Got It Right: Orwell or Huxley?

I noticed when I started doing my research to prepare for Sci-Fi November that a lot of "Best Sci-Fi Books" lists either have George Orwell's 1984 or Aldous Huxley's Brave New World on them. But rarely both of them on the same list. I read both novels back in 11th grade and I remember really liking Huxley's dystopia novel way better. So it made me want to pose the question: Who got it right? Orwell or Huxley?

This is a discourse that I've been thinking about for a while mostly due to this comic I stumbled upon while I was in college. I think it started to convince me that Huxley's dystopian society is closer to what we have become than Orwell's vision. 

For me, Orwell's fears of what our world would become seem more in-tune with a communist dictatorship, and Fox Mulder's conspiracy theories. While Orwell feared we would become a society repressed on every level, Huxley's fear was that we would turn into a vapid materialistic society that is too distracted to care about the world's "real" problems. That sounds kind of familiar to me. 

So which prolific sci-fi writer got it right? I think this a hard debate to conclude. Although I do like Huxley's story better, I think our world has become, or will become, a combination of both authors' predictions. While I don't agree that everything in 1984 will come to pass, I think the ideas of "War is Peace" and "Big Brother is watching you" are something that is already happening. I feel the same way about Brave New World, not everything is as Huxley predicted but I definitely feel like sometimes we take the Soma rather than faces our conflicts head on. Sometimes we are too apathetic to care about the things that really matter in our society. 

I don't think this is a debate that will ever be settled, but I want to know your opinion. Which Sci-Fi writer painted a better prediction: Orwell or Huxley? Or do you think neither of them hit the mark? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters You Wish Would Get Their Own Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is the Top Ten characters you wish would get their own book. This was a little hard for me this week because a lot of books that I have read are already in multiple perspective. So in no particular order here are my picks.

Lilly Moscovitz-The Princess Diaries. 

When I read the first book in this series, I think I was more like Mia, but now that I'm a sarcastic, cynical adult I totally relate to Lilly more. I would definitely read a book centered around Lilly.

Rashmi-Anna and the French Kiss. 

I liked Rashmi because she was surly and because she didn't immediately become Anna's best friend like the rest of the group.  I would really like to read about her adventures at Brown.

Hermione Granger-Harry Potter Series. 

Hell yeah I want an entire series centered around Hermione. I mean she pretty much solved all of Harry's problems anyway.  

Gale-The Hunger Games. 

I liked Peeta better, but I never really cared whom Katniss ended up with. Either of them would have been fine, and I also think that the love triangle was unnecessary to the plot. I would like to read about Gale's life after the games.