Review: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

If you’ve read The Illuminae Files you’ll know that when Jay and Amie get together the reaction is explosive and exciting. And Aurora Rising was no exception. From the very first page I was completely sucked in. I’m chuckling right now cuz I just read the synopsis and it describes these characters to a T.

Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

I mean, who wouldn’t want to read a book with characters like that?! They were all so different but they learned to work together. Misfits finding a family with each other. You will love them.

Even the dedication started it off the right way.

If your squad was hard to find, or you’re still looking, then this one is for you.

You just knew this book would be amazing. And while it has to do with space, it has nothing to do with The Illuminae Files. Jay and Amie just have this space thing down and this is why we love them.

If I was watching this on the big screen, I would’ve been at the edge of my seat, but since I was in bed reading, the best I could do was sit up straighter. 🙂 This book was so much fun! Excitement, antics and emotion. The trifecta if ever I heard of one. Amie and Jay knocked this one out of the park! Can I just say that this book will be SO MUCH FUN in audio‽‽ Seriously. I’m glad I have it preordered. The kiddos loved listening to The Illuminae Files and I know they’ll love this as well. Be sure you have this preordered so you can start reading or listening right away. You don’t wanna hear spoilers!

I cannot wait till the next one!!

~Melpomene

Grab your copy today! Click picture for link.

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Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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For a long time, young adult novels pretty much ran the gamut from surviving a bully to falling in everlasting love.  Thankfully times have changed somewhat.  Today’s authors are giving us stories full of believable characters, not just those who fit into a stereotypical mold of the perfect teenager.

Libby has A LOT of things going against her.  She’s overweight, significantly so.  She’s never had a boyfriend.  Her mom is dead.  She’s been homeschooled for the past several years and is way out of touch with the high school scene. She has no friends and has been bullied in the past.  And, oh yeah, she achieved national notoriety when she had to be cut out of her house because of her weight.

But she also has a lot going for her.  She has a loving father.  She’s lost a ton of weight since that infamous incident.  She’s funny, kind, smart, and resilient as all get out.  And she’s back in school after so many years away.  Of course there are struggles, but Libby’s up for the challenge.

And then there’s Jack.  As one of the popular, cool kids he’s the exact opposite of Libby on the outside.  But he has his problems and insecurities, too.  His swagger and confidence comes from a place of insecurity and shame.  He’s covering up a secret that he’ll do anything to protect.

Although Jack and Libby seem to have nothing in common, they’re unwillingly thrown together as the result of a cruel prank.  They find friendship first, and then something more.  Is it possible that two such different people can actually be happy together?

This is kind of a sappy romance book, which I’m usually not a fan of.  But I loved Libby’s spunk and her spirit.  She’s strong and confident as she flies in the face of everyone’s idea of the perfect teenager.  I would only wish that all young girls could have such confidence.  It’s very good most of the time.  Granted, there are parts of the story that were highly unbelievable for me just because I know how society treats people who are different.   It’s certainly something to wish for, though.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Holding Up the Universe

 

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

01 ill This book is the epitome of roller coaster. I have no words. When I first heard about this book, I was doubting all these people who said it was the best book they’ve read in a long time. I mean, c’mon, how can a book, with not a single “real” page, be the best book?? Well, I stand corrected.

Illuminae is not like anything I’ve ever read before. The pages are amazing. At first I wasn’t sure if I could understand it, but it took just a few minutes to get the hang of it and to realize what was going on. Then I was instantly sucked into the story. The interactions between all the characters completely sucks you in. Kady and Ezra especially, had my heart tugging. Here’s a pair of teenagers thrown into a war with nothing but their brains to keep them alive. They desperately want to find each other and are doing everything they can to stay alive until that happens. With the plague all around them, they must make decisions that will affect not only them, but the 1000s of others who’s lives are at stake as well.

To be honest, I almost didn’t finish it. I was so angry. Like legit furious and book burning angry. But again, roller coaster. My friends talked me down and back into my seat. I buckled down and held on tight. So many ups and downs. One minute my heart was racing with nerves and the next I was tearing up. Lots of love and loss.

I tried listening to the audible but, one, there are no chapters to tell where you are, so it’s hard to find where you left off, and two, so many pages get lost in translation. To fully enjoy this unique story, you must read the DTB. (DTB=dead tree book=”real” book) That being said. the audible is FANTASTIC. I mean, the talent of the three narrators is amazing. You felt like you were right in the action. You could feel all the emotions and that made this book even better. I was reading along with them, because I wanted to experience it fully. I can’t wait until it’s on the big screen. To see the full action will be almost as good as what I just experienced.

I am quite looking forward to the next book. If it has half of the emotion and excitement as this one did, I think I may need to take a chill pill beforehand. WHOA.

~Melpomene

Buy Illuminae (The Illuminae Files)

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

18460392I’ve read many “Wow” books in my lifetime, a great number of them in the past year alone. So it’s common for me to read a new book that makes me want to recommend it to people, to push it on others even. But when a story still has me thinking about it weeks later, and ALMOST makes me cry, well that’s a pretty big deal.

So where to start with this amazing book? At its very heart, it’s a love story, the story of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. But love is never easy, and each is dealing with their own issues. Theodore is obsessed with death, and he spends his days thinking of ways to die. Each time, however, life interferes and gives him a reason for living. That “reason”, one day, comes in the form of Violet. She’s grieving the death of her sister. With Theodore’s help, she begins to move on and to actually think of the future. As she’s moving forward, though, Theodore is spiraling downward. Will love be enough to save them both?

This book jumps right in to a very real, very “taboo” subject. Suicide and mental illness in young people are a far too common occurrence, one that is often swept under the rug out of shame or denial. We cannot continue to file it under the category of “normal teenage angst” hoping it will go away by itself. Normal teenage issues do tend to resolve themselves while mental illness does not, often with very real and very tragic consequences.

I still think about this book several weeks after finishing it. It was that good. It’s a story of grief, of hope and resilience. It’s the story of young love and how far it can carry you as well as its limitations. Pick this one up and settle in with a box of Kleenex close by (maybe!).

~Thalia

Buy It Now:All the Bright Places