Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Review

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Published: 2011
Genre: Sci-Fi


In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.


Ready Player one was a book that I waited entirely too long to read.  But when I did finally read it, I absolutely adored it. 

The idea behind this book is amazing.  I loved the idea of a society where everyone basically lives inside this game and not actually in the real world.  (It’s actually terrible, but such an interesting and believable concept)  I was so intrigued by how the OASIS works and amazed by the technology of it.  The creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, has issued a competition to whoever can find all of the “eggs” or things hidden within the code of the OASIS.  The person who gets all of the clues and solves the puzzle, will inherit his fortune.  The players of the game who are searching for these clues are called “gunters”.

Our protagonist, Wade Watt, has devoted his life to finding these keys and solving the puzzle.  He has studied every aspect of Halliday’s life and knows pretty much everything about him.  He has watched, played, and studied everything that Halliday has every mentioned or listed as liking.  What I like about Wade is that he’s just a normal guy.  He lives in a trailer with his (aunt?) and most of the time doesn’t even hang out there.  He’s basically on his own and has very little money.  Yet, his circumstances don’t prevent him from being successful in the OASIS.  Wade is the authority on everything Halliday or pop culture of decades’ past. 

It took a couple of chapters for me to get sucked in, but once I did, I was addicted.  I was absorbed, as Wade was, into this whole different world of the OASIS.  I loved every second of this book.  I got so invested in the competition and I loved seeing the clues unravel.  Wade is best friends with a fellow gunter called Aech.  I loved the banter between them and with the collected knowledge that they have you wonder why they haven’t found the clues yet.  I thought the thing between Wade and Artemis was a little unnecessary, but it didn’t really prevent me from loving this book, because I thought Art3mis was a great character, too.  Eventually, it became cute but at first it just seemed stalkerish. 

I just love how much happens and all of the places we go in just this book.  The OASIS is such an expansive universe and it’s something that you could explore forever.  It seems like so many things happen in just this book – not even in the OASIS but to Wade personally in real life.  You see how much the OASIS is connected to and integrated into everything in this society and how much it affects what happens in the real world.  


In Short:
Ready Player One was fast paced and addictive - I never wanted it to stop.  I really loved everything about this book and was sucked in from page one.  I really liked Cline’s writing style and was loving all of the references, even if I didn’t recognize most of them. (Though I will tell those moments when I GOT a reference were seriously so exciting). I can’t wait to read more from Ernest Cline in the future!  Ready Player one is definitely a book that I would recommend to everyone.   


Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Program by Suzanne Young Review

The Program by Suzanne Young
Published: 2013
Genre: Dystopian


In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.


The Program is a book that I’d been wanting to read for quite a while now.  It was different from what I thought it would be, but in a good way. 

The premise of this book is really intriguing and what initially drew me to the Program.  The idea of suicide being considered an “epidemic” and this government putting a program in place to counteract that was intriguing to me.  But, as we see more about this program you realize how terrible it is.  The teenagers are really being oppressed, living under constant fear of being taken away.  This in itself is a source of stress and anxiety.   I feel like the “program” is really ineffective, not in just what we find out about later on, but just based on the fear and stress that it causes in people. 

In this messed-up world, teenagers live in constant fear of letting their emotions show or crying in general.  For fear that they will be seen or found out and dragged away to the program.  They are being forced to suppress their emotions, which is what I feel results in the majority of the cases of depression in this book.  It isn’t good for anyone to suppress their emotions, and this fear of letting that show is what is causing the “epidemic” to spread so rapidly, I feel.   If you’re sad, or angry, or frustrated, you should be able to express that and be able to talk about that with people.  Instead, you have to bottle up those emotions and hide them –even from your parents- until you finally explode. 

In school, they are made to fill out these evaluations every day that asks questions like “In the past day, have you felt lonely or overwhelmed?”  That’s so completely ridiculous because who doesn’t feel overwhelmed at times?  We’re all human, and that’s a normal feeling to have once in a while.  I’m the most stable person I know, and I’d still check ‘yes’ to that at least 50% of the time.  I mean, these kids are in high school, you expect them to not feel overwhelmed ever at all? 

As far as the characters go, I really liked both Sloane and James.  We get so much development and build up for both of these characters and become attached to them.  Reading this book almost always physically hurt me.  It made me sad, it made me angry.  I felt what Sloane and James did and was hit with such a sense of wrongness about the whole situation.  They’ve both been through so much, and their each other’s only lifeline.  Without each other, I don’t know where they’d be.  Seeing them going through these things was painful and there were many times I felt so panicky because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to them. 

This was a difficult book to rate.  The Program made me sad and angry and miserable and everything felt unfair.  But, at the same time, The Program deserves a round of applause for invoking the deep feelings that it did.  It connects you so deeply to these characters and it’s really amazing.  I love books that can make me feel all the things, but this was intense even for me.  It made me really think about things and analyze what was wrong with this society and I love books that I can get something deeper from.  


In Short:
Overall, I would definitely recommend The Program.  It was so different from what I thought it would be and was so wonderfully written.  It’s a pretty intense and depressing book about suicide and depression, and I can see how it would be too much for some people.  It really did surprise and impress me and I feel like it’s one of those Dystopians that will really impress you.  I absolutely need to read the other books in this series and the prequel, because I’m kind of obsessed now.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TopTenTuesday: If You Like The Hunger Games, Then You Should Check Out...

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish.

This week, i'm doing...
Ten books that have similar aspects to The Hunger Games

It took me a while to finally decide on what to do for this Tuesday.  I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a while, but am always so indecisive when it comes down to comparing/matching books.  I decided to do something a little different.  I’ve picked The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and I have ten books that I think are similar in some aspect and I’m going to talk about that.  Not in that obnoxious, “If you liked the Hunger Games, then you’ll love *insert every dystopian book ever*”  Because each and every book is unique.  I’m focusing on three aspects of The Hunger Games: Survival, Kick-Butt Female Protagonist, and Romance.  And I’m going to talk about the aspects that that book includes to help you see if you’ll enjoy it.  Some are similar in multiple or all three aspects, some in just one.  It’s hard to explain, but I promise it made sense when I thought of it. 

Not A Drop To Drink
By Mindy McGinnis
Survival | Kick-Butt Female Protagonist
Survival:  This book is all about survival.  Lynn is trying to survive in a world where water is scarce.  So valuable that she needs to kill to protect it.  This book goes through Lynn trying to survive on her own and the character development throughout is insane.  If you enjoyed the survival aspect of The Hunger Games, the struggle to survive and the well,…killing part.  This book has that. 
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist:  Lynn is such a strong, kick butt gal.  She has crazy skills and continued to amaze me with her survival skills, but also her willingness to so whatever she needed to do to survive.  She is such an amazing female protagonist and like I mentioned, she does go though amazing character development as well.  

Monument 14
By Emmy Laybourne
Survival: This book is about a group of teenagers who get trapped in a superstore during what pretty much amounts to the apocalypse.  These teens (and children) are completely thrown into this situation and torn away from their families.  It is so intriguing to see the mental state of the kids as they go through this and the complications as they try to organize and figure out what to do.  I mean, if you stick a bunch of kids in a Costco together, there’s gonna be problems eventually. Once again, If you enjoyed the survival aspect or the “games” part of THG, you might enjoy this book.  

My Side of The Mountain
By Jean Craighead George
Survival: This is a little bit of a strange pick.  I read this book back in Elementary school with my class and it was one of the few school books I’ve ever enjoyed a lot.  It’s about a young boy who runs away to live in the woods.  You may think “SURE.  Sounds like a great plan *eye roll*”  But seriously.  This boy is amazing.  He completely LIVES in the woods.  You follow him as he survives on him own, finds and prepares food, TRAINS A FALCON, and builds a HOUSE for himself in a tree. (like, the trunk of a tree)  Seriously, he’s amazing.  I’m sorry but I think he outdoes even Katniss in this department.  Now, some people might find it a little slow, so if you only want something fast-paced, you may be slightly bored.  

The Book of Ivy
By Amy Engel
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist|Romance
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist:  This is really an amazing book and I don’t think enough people have heard of it.  Ivy is a really amazing character dealing with so much pressure from her family.  She is supposed to marry an then kill the current “president’s” son so her family can be in charge.  But, she digs deeper and uncovers that the government may not be as bad as her family would have her think.  The main thing I love about Ivy is her incredible loyalty to the people she loves.  Her and Katniss have that in common I feel.  She will lay everything on the line and sacrifice herself for the people that she loves. 
Romance:  I just had to mention the romance because Ivy and Bishop are amazing.  Ivy tries not to get close to him with the notion that he’ll have to die or the she’ll have to kill him.  But, they discover so many things together and it really opens Ivy’s eyes as to what’s really going on.  Just honestly, if you’re a fan of AMAZING books, you NEED to read The Book of Ivy.  

Poison Study
By Maria V. Snyder
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist:  Yelena is the ultimate kick butt female protag.  As I read this series, I was continually amazed with Yelena’s inner strength.  The things she’s had to endure are terrible, yet she still finds the strength to get up day after day.  Katniss and Yelena both definitely have this incredible strength within them and if you love reading about characters like that, Poison Study is a must.  

Under The Never Sky
By Veronica Rossi
Survival | Kick-Butt Female Protagonist|Romance
Survival:  Under The Never Sky is set in a world where there is terrible lighting storms and it’s very post-apocalyptic.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll die.  The MC, Aria starts out annoying and ignorant because she is thrown (quite literally) into this world and is as unprepared as you could be.  Aria learning to survive in this world is a big –and important- part of this book. 
This is dual narrated, and Perry, the other POV is amazing and has wicked survival skills.  He knows everything and anything about this crazy world and he helps Aria such and unbelievable amount.   
 Kick-Butt Female Protagonist
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist:  What I love about Aria is that she doesn’t start out that way.  Throughout the series you can see her becoming stronger and developing into such an incredible kick butt gal and it’s amazing. It’s something that she has to develop and I feel like that makes it more special.  You can truly see how far she’s come when you look back at the series and I’m just in amazement of her. 
Romance:  I love the main couple in this book because they help each other survive.  They truly couldn’t do it without each other and they become such a huge part of each other’s lives.  They really only have themselves most of the time and they are both able to come such a far way and help each other. 

 These Broken Stars
By Amie Kauffman and Megan Spooner
Survival | Kick-Butt Female Protagonist|Romance
Survival: Lilac and Tarver unexpectedly crash land on a strange planet with no way of getting back to civilization.  Basically, they’re screwed.  Together, they have to survive on this plant as they deal with their situation.  They work so hard to survive, even though they aren’t in an ideal situation OR with the ideal person.   
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist:  Lilac is similar to Aria, actually, in the way that she isn’t kick butt from the beginning.  Lilac has to learn to toughen up quickly.  And it isn’t easy for her.  But, she pulls herself together and is there for Tarver when he needs her.  When it comes time for Lilac to survive for the both of them, she’s ready and does a fantastic job.  She is willing to sacrifice herself to protect Tarver and I really admire that. 
Romance:  This is a situation where two people are thrown together, but through that they develop a wonderful relationship and learn so much.  Both of them go through so much character development and it’s wonderful to see these two people come together through these devastating and difficult circumstances. 

By Amy Tintera
 Kick-Butt Female Protagonist|Romance
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist:  Wren is another example of a character who goes through so much character development. In the beginning of the book, she’s totally kick butt, however kind of cold-hearted.  She becomes not only MORE kick butt, but she learns that she isn’t less human than anyone else and she has emotions and feelings and her increased need to protect and care for Callum is really beautiful. 
Romance:  Callum helps Wren in so many ways and their relationship is beautiful.  He tells her things opposite of what people have been telling her for her entire life and it changes the way she looks at things.  Wren and Callum are both exactly what the other person needs and they work great together. 

The 5th Wave
By Rick Yancey
Survival | Kick-Butt Female Protagonist
Survival:  The 5th Wave is a book dealing with the “5th wave” of an alien apocalypse.  The world is ravaged, many people dead, and the few that are left wish they WERE dead.  There are many flashbacks of horrible situations and past tragedies.  And basically for the people left, their ONE goal is survival.  No matter what situation they’re in. 
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist:  Cassie was my least favorite character in this book.  But, that doesn’t mean that she isn’t strong.  What she’s gone through with her family is terrible.  But, through it all she has that something that keeps her alive and fighting even while crazy things happen around her. 

The program
By Suzanne Young  
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist|Romance
Kick-Butt Female Protagonist:  Sloane goes through so much in this series and I can’t hurt enough for her.  She loses so many people close to her and deals with so many terrible things and it made me feel very angry and panicky.  I can’t describe all of the things that she deals with, but she always keep fighting.  And I think that that is what really makes a strong protagonist. 
Romance:  Sloane and James are incredible and I ship them so hard.  They deal with many of the same things, and are both hurting so much.  Through everything, they always promise that they will always be there and that they’ll help each other.  They’ll be okay.   And it’s terribly depressing and heartbreaking, yet hopeful.  I can’t even describe what they are to each other and how they help each other through the hardest times.  (also, some aspects reminded me of Katniss and Peeta in Mockingjay, which isn’t necessarily a good thing and very sad BUT ANYWAYS)

This was really fun to make and I hope you liked it!  I tried to use lesser-known books, so I hope you’ve gotten some recommendations to check out!
I can’t wait to see everyone else’s lists because I just LOVE this prompt and posts like these are a blast to read!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley Review

The Fairytale Detectives by Michael Buckley
Published: 2005

Genres: Middle Grade, Fairytale, Fantasy, Mystery


For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life hasn't been a fairy-tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother - a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy-tales is actually a history book that documents magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives. Their first case? a roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new home town.


I picked up this series based on some very high recommendations from friends of mine.  And I am SO GLAD that I did because I absolutely adored it. 

I love the premise of this series.  Our two main characters, Sabrina and Daphne are the descendants of the brothers Grimm.  Therefore, they are responsible for keeping the peace and solving the crimes between the “everafters” and the humans.   In this world, the fairytales aren’t fairytales.  Those “stories” that the brothers Grimm wrote were very real.  And it’s their job to maintain the fragile balance between everything.

Sabrina and Daphne are both adorable and instantly likeable.  Sabrina is the older sister, and always used to taking care of Daphne.  They’ve both been through so much since their parents disappearance and they’re both such strong girls.  Sabrina can be bossy at times, and is somewhat distrusting and headstrong.  She is stubborn a lot of the time and doesn’t want to listen to anything or anyone.  Daphne is so sweet and adorable.  She’s more friendly and trusting, yet still had great instincts.  Daphne is always great for a laugh, but she can be serious when needed.  It seems like sometimes Daphne’s really the one in charge and she’s definitely smarter than everyone probably gives her credit for. They complement each other so nicely, both have great instincts, and street smarts, and know what to do in a tough situation. 

Their relationship with Granny Relda was adorable.  They are apprehensive at first (mainly Sabrina) but I loved seeing them come around.  Relda has to be the most awesome grandmother ever.  There were so many times when I was like”she’s SO awesome!!”  I did really love that the girls were able to have Granny Relda.  It’s so great for the girls to be back with family again, especially after so long when they didn’t have anyone.   

I also just really love Sabrina and Daphne’s relationship.  It seems like you don’t often get two sisters as the main characters.  I love sibling relationships in books, and I love that this series focuses on that.  They reminded me a lot of me and my little sister.

I thought the world was so cool and really unique.  Having all of these fairytale characters and creatures all in one town was awesome.  I love how they were a part of the town, (such as the police or the Mayor).  You felt like there was so much history between all of these characters and things that we don’t really know yet.  We’re discovering things just as Sabrina and Daphne are. 


To Conclude:

I loved this book so much and can’t wait to continue on with this series.  Even though it’s a children’s series, it’s fun and appealing to all ages.  There’s so many endless mysteries to solve and histories between the character and in the town.  I know I’ll be eagerly following Sabrina and Daphne along on their journeys as long as they continue.  


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish.
This week’s topic is… Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR
I LOVE doing seasonal TBR Top Ten Tuesdays.   There’s something so exciting about TBRs for a new season.  All of these are books I sincerely hope to be getting to this fall and I want to try to do better in regards to my TBR this season. 

Ten books I want to read the most this Fall

1.     Queen of Shadows
By Sarah J. Maas
Queen of Shadows is #1 on my list.  I’m actually proud of myself because I’ve started this one already and am ten chapters in.  I’m reading this with the #AEJreadsQoS read-a-long and having the best time.  If this is on your TBR, start reading it now and join in!

2.     Cress
By Marissa Meyer
I haven’t read Cress yet and it’s not okay.  I’ve talked about it before and have had approximately 1000 people tell me that I need to read this.  Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series and I can’t wait to read finally read Cress (sometime) soon. 

3.     A Court of Thorns and Roses
By Sarah J. Maas
ACTOAR was on my Top Ten Fairytale Retellings TBR I believe too.  Basically, it’s been on every TBR of mine ever since it came out.  It’s Sarah J. Maas,  I know I’ll love it.   Even one of my mom’s friends was like “Have you read this book? It’s really good!”  YES I KNOW.  I’M WORKING ON IT.  

4.      The Winners Crime
By Marie Rutkoski
This is absolutely deplorable.  This book was on my May TBR.  No joke.  I REALLY want to continue on with this series and see what happens with these characters.  And I intend to soon. 

5.     The Hero of Ages
By Brandon Sanderson
I’ve been working my way through the Mistborn trilogy and I’ll be so sad once I finish the final book.  I’m not ready for it to be over!  Thankfully, Brandon Sanderson has plenty of other fantasy book for me to read once this is over.  

6.     Legacy of Kings
By Eleanor Herman
I’m SO HAPPY that Legacy of Kings is finally released.  This was one of my most anticipated releases and I can’t wait to read it.  It sounds amazing and unique and right up my alley. 

7.     The Unusual Suspects
By Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson
This is the second book in the Sisters Grimm series.  I just recently read the first book and LOVED it.  It’s like Percy Jackson but with fairytales.  It’s incredible.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the other books in the series.  (Frustrating story: I tried to buy this at Barnes and Noble the other day and they DIDN'T HAVE IT. *anger*)

8.     Night Film
By Marisha Pessel
I’ve heard good things about Night Film and have been meaning to read it for a while.  It sounds like a perfect book for fall and I’m hoping to read it very soon.  

9.     Kiss of Deception
By Mary E. Pearson
I’ve been meaning to read Kiss of Deception since it came out over a YEAR ago.  It has a sequel out now.  That’s how long it’s been.  Once again, I know I’ll love it, so it’s just a matter of finally reading it.  

10.     Queen of The Tearling
By Erika Johansen 
This is kind of my wild card.  I don’t actually have this book yet, and my reading it very much depends on when I can get my hands on a copy.  But, lately, I’ve been itching to read this series because it sounds great and it’s Fantasy.  So, of course I’m going to read it.  

There you have it!  There’s much more, but those are the main ones that I need to get to. 
I can’t wait to see everyone else’s lists (because I really need more books for my TBR. Lol.)  Also, if you’ve read any of these, let me know what you thought.  Thanks for stopping by!