Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher #atozchallenge

You can't stop the future. 
You can't rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. 

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

My Review:

So I initially was going to read thirteen before I binge watched the new show. Yeah.... that didn't quite work out. lol. My daughter really wanted to watch it and I ended up watching the whole thing in one sitting. 

I liked both versions equally. They both bring a very dark subject into the light and I think give it the attention it needs. I heard from someone recently that there has been some backlash. That some people are saying they feel both the book and the show glorify suicide. As someone who has had their own close relationship with the topic I have to disagree. I even recently read an interview that the author gave that said originally he planned to have Hannah live. But decided against it because it would have given the reader the idea that suicide wasn't permanent, or something along those lines. 

But I am not here to start a debate or fan girl over a tv show. I am here to review a book. (and maybe fangirl over it a bit. lol)

So on with the show!

I loved this book. I think it takes a heartbreaking topic and shows it in an honest light. Because of it's huge popularity it also opens a door for the readers to discuss said topic without the stigma that has become attached to it.

The characters. OMGS. Just yeah. I knew how the book ended. There wasn't going to be some magic last minute twist that brought Hannah back, yet I still couldn't help getting attached to her and Clay. Obviously you don't get to know the supporting characters as well in the book as you do in the show. But I didn't miss that. The book didn't give me a chance to. Where the show investigates how everyone effected Hannah and was effected by her death, the book is just the raw emotion of Hannah and Clay. One isn't better than the other, they're just different. But since the only two characters who's viewpoints you get to see in the book are theirs it just makes it a bit more raw. You also get to a better look at how she saw Clay. Why she was interested in him in the first place. Why she didn't see a way to make things work for him. 

The author did an amazing job of telling Hannah's story from her pov. You read it and you want to say "But no Hannah, there are other choices!" But that's the point. In her mind there wasn't. That's one of the hardest parts to explain to someone who has never had to struggle with suicidal thoughts. Even if you know there are better choices. You need help to get away from that mind set. In Hannah's case she even realized that, but when she reached out the person she asked for help just didn't. 

That's another thing, a lot of the time when someone reaches out they aren't taken seriously. I admit it is a hard thing for someone in good mental health to understand. That things are SO bad that the only acceptable plan of action would be one that leaves the opportunity for other choices to never happen again. But that's where a suicidal persons mind takes them. Sometimes even when they have enough left to want to ask for help they still can't take it. The person who wants to help them has to realize they have to hold on and not let go. Because it can be a constant battle. Somehow Asher is able to bring all of that to the table. He shows Hannah acknowledging that she can't do it alone. At the same time showing Clay coming to the realization that maybe there was something he could have done if he had just seen the signs. But that at the same time even someone who was supposed to see them wasn't able to help her. I'm not trying to be negative and say that she couldn't have been helped. I just think the help she needed was way more than Clay would have been able to provide on his own. 

But Asher is able to weave both their voices together to show both sides of the issue. From the very first page the reader is drawn in and long after the final page they still aren't let go. This isn't just another teenage angst ridden ill-fated romance. If you haven't seen the show or read the book, for whatever reason, I think that you should definitely at least read the book. Yes, It's heartbreaking. Yes, the girl died. No, I'm not going to give a spoiler alert on that one, you find out she's dead at the beginning of the book.  There is no magic or hero. There is only Clay and Hannah and their story. But it is so worth reading for whatever lesson you think to take from it. Whether it's suicide isn't the answer to you should be kind because you never know how your actions effect others. I think this is a book that should be read and discussed and read again. Even in it's simplicity the author has found a way to move the reader. For that reason alone it deserves to be read.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S is for Salem's Vengeance by Aaron Galvin #atozchallenge

Salem's Vengeance

Amazon Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kelly never expected to meet the Devil’s daughter. She only sought innocent dancing in the moonlight, not a coven entranced by their dark priestess. 
When her friends partake of a powder meant to conjure spirits - and the results go horribly awry - Sarah is forced to make a choice. To keep their secret risks her own damnation, but to condemn them may invoke the accusing remnants of Salem to rise again.

My Review:

Salem's Vengeance was a good read. I was intrigued by the authors take on the Salem incident. Just to clear up something though, the story itself does not take place in Salem. 
The story is told from the MCs POV.  But through her eye you are still able to get a decent understanding of the supporting characters. I like them all enough to want to find out what happens to them after the end of the book.
While the ending does leave some strings untied, it doesn't end on a cliffie, which is always a good thing in my book. lol
From the looks of this one the series should be good. I definitely plan on picking up the next book as soon as I get the chance.  

Salem is quick paced and a solid read. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to fill their summer reading list. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

R is for The Rescue by Keith Ward #atozchallenge

The Rescue

Bookfunnel Summary:

Courage Can Be Deadly
Kertram isn't what he was. Yesterday, before the Transfer, he was meek and timid. Today, he's bold and fearless. His life has taken a turn for the better, he believes. 
That belief is challenged when he comes face-to-face with the most fearsome animal alive. Run or fight? Life is full of tough choices when you're 10.

My Review: 

The Rescue is a solid introduction to Slypht, the world that Ward has created.

I liked the characters, the creatures and the magic. The story is short and is set up to lead into a larger story or series, but it is still capable of standing on its own. Although I really do hope that Kertram's story is continued in another, hopefully longer, book. I liked seeing his world through his new eyes.
I also want to see what else the world of Slypht contains. Especially what other kinds of dragons there are.    

I received a copy of The Rescue as part of subscribing to Keith Wards Newsletter. I'd love to provide you with a link to where you could purchase it, but I couldn't find it anywhere besides the link in the newsletter. So I've given you the link to sign up yourself instead. On the upside I got a cool book out of it and he doesn't seem to blowup my email with a new newsletter every 10 minutes. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q is for The Queen of the She-Zombies by Raol Mavin

Red Blade is a legendary Paladin, the youngest and the most skilled of the Holy Knights. Young and having lived in exclusively sheltered monasteries where women are not allowed, Red Blade is not comfortable in the presence of women. Now he has to face the vicious but sensual she-zombies.

Azulanja, the Queen of the She-Zombies, raises an army of she-zombies with her demonic power. Her foul and evil minions are sexually arousing, allowing the She-zombies to easily subdue and hold in thrall their male victims, before sucking dry their life and flesh. 

Vi is a deadly and sexy assassin, the most beautiful woman that Red Blade has ever seen. She was in her quest of ridding the world of demons and zombies when her path crossed with Red Blade’s. Now, together with Red Blade, she is trying to stop Azulanja and her horde of she-zombies.

Will they manage to rid the world of the terror of the she-zombies? Or will they end up as the plaything of the Zombie Queen?

My Review:

So earlier this month was zombies in space.  Today I bring you zombie erotica...

Yeah, you read that right. 

Zombie. Erotica.

(and it's not written by Tina Belcher.

I wasn't too sure about zombie sex. I'm still not. But if you're going to make a porno with zombies this is definitely one way to do it.

So when I read erotica that has a story I expect that if I take out the sex scenes that there will be an actual story. I think with Queen you can could get that. I mean you would have to re-write how the zombies take the males energy. But I think it could be done. There were also parts that I actually laughed out. They were just really over the top. I'm not sure if that is what the author intended. But they were funny to me. 

There were some spots that felt rushed. Considering the length of the book I don't see any reason for it. Obviously the author was going for some kind of story, not just straight porn, so it didn't need to be rushed.  Also there were a couple things that just felt thrown in for the sake of it. For example the final sex scene involving the MCs. It went from being erotica sex to romance sex. Love and feelings and all that. Look I get it, he's a virgin. They tend to fall in love with anything that will let them do it. But still. Really? I could see them having feeling yes, but Love of their lives type feelings... Not just yet. Then there was the tentacle rape scene... It just felt like it was thrown in to get the hentai crowd. 

 "But AimeeKay!!," you say, "IT'S a friggin' erotica!!"

 Yeah, I know. But the book felt like a story with extremely erotica tendencies, not just an erotic novel with intervals that were just lead ins to the next sex scene.  So I'm gonna judge it on a different scale. Now if the author says he wants me to just judge it on its erotic moments...? Well that's a completely different review. 

So anyway. The cover does have the warning about mature, explicit, offensive content. Yes, that is definitely a truth in advertising warning. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK FOR YOUR KID!!! NO!!! 
Now if you're an adult that's a different story. It's free for kindle on amazon at the moment. It's a unique twist on zombies. And like I said some of it's so over the top it's fun. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P is for Project Snow by Cherita Smith #atozchallenge

Snow White meets genetic engineering in this captivating novelette that blends science fiction and fairy tale — you'll be hooked from the very first line... 

Like most engineered kids, Amara can't wait to turn sixteen. Sixteen means confirmation of immunity to the aging infection that plagues mankind. And confirmation means freedom, leaving behind the quarantine of the Tower where she's lived all her life for a new life in the city — no filtration veils required.

But the queen has other plans. The queen is dying and needs a new heart. Daughter or not, Amara's will do. A Guardsman wants to save Amara, but is it for love, or his own dark want?

My Review:

I love rewritten fairy tales. It's always fun to see how the author decides to re-invision a classic. Sometimes it ends up not even resembling the original. Honestly as long as it is written well that's all that matters. In the case of Project Snow there are definite nods to the original and it definitely excels in the well written category. 

I really enjoyed Smith's version. It isn't an obvious  Snow White. There is an evil queen and a huntsman as well as a few other Snow White references. But here's the thing, if you took out the references that make it obviously a new version it would still be a really good book. The world Smith has built is interesting. The characters make you care about them.  Even the ending, which I hope is a set up for either a larger novel or even the start to a series, has it's own unique twist.  

Even if you're not a big fan of fairy tale rewrites I still think you should pick up this book. Especially since it's currently only .99 cents on Amazon. It's well written. Even if there aren't any further books related to this specific title, I still can't wait to read more from this author.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O is for One for the Road by Chad Lutzke #atozchallenge

A teenage boy deals with his family's decision to keep his undead grandfather captive in the attic. How far would you go for those you love?

My Review:

One is short, only 14 pages, but it is interesting. I'd like to see what the story would look like if expanded into a larger format. The ending feels kind of abrupt. After all the word the kid goes through I would have liked to see what came of his actions. Obviously his parents are going to find out.  But otherwise it was a decent short story. I definitely got a feel for the authors voice and I would be willing to read more by him.  In the end isn't that the main point of short stories? Especially free ones? To give you a chance to meet the author and their creation without having to commit to a full length novel. This story did that and achieved its purpose to those ends. Again there are still some unanswered questions and as this isn't listed as being a prequel or connected to another book or series I don't feel I'll have them answered. But I did enjoy the story. I do plan to pick up more of his work and I would recommend this story to others.

Monday, April 17, 2017

N is for Not Just Voodoo ~~ Anthology #atozchallenge

To celebrate the release of Something Like Voodoo by New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton, we've put together this paranormal fantasy collection of short stories that include works from some of her favorite authors!

Most of the stories in this specially curated collection are brand new, exclusive content - never before distributed anywhere else and yours for the taking!

If you're in the mood for unique magic and familiar creatures, this anthology is sure to add spark to your day!


Margo Bond Collins - Major Arcana 

Erin Hayes - I Wish I Weren’t A Djinni 

Aileen Harkwood - Splintered Magic

L.C. Hibbett - Wicked Witch

Megan J. Parker & Nathan Squiers - Journal of Abigail DiAngelo 

Katerina Martinez - The Witch and the Thief

K.N. Lee - Awakened

Nicole Zoltack - Gavin’s Gamble

Debbie Cassidy - Deadtown

Alicia Rades - Visions Among Frost 

Monica Corwin - The Dying of the Light 

Jasmine Walt - Tested by Magic

Thea Atkinson - Reaper’s Redemption

Rebecca Hamilton - Leaves Like Magic

My Review:

I found out about Not Just Voodoo through Rebecca Hamilton's newsletter.  

Depending on the Anthology I have 2 ways of reviewing. The first, where I review the collection as a whole. The second is where I do a mini-review for each story.  I've decided to do the second for Not Just Voodoo. 

Overall I really enjoyed the anthology. I definitely recommend picking it up. 

Major Arcana by Margo Bond Collins -- So sweet!  Some twists I did not expect.  Plus it's a prequel to another book, so can find out more about the characters that I was starting to become attached to.

I Wish I Weren't A Djinni by Erin Hayes -- Liked this one too! lol. It's a stand alone, but I wouldn't mind visiting Hayes worlds again.  Lot's of fun and a HEA. 

Splintered Magic by Aileen Harkwood--Creepy, in a good way. Towards the end it felt rushed. I don't know if that would be the case if it had been a longer format. I definitely want to find out more about the MC and her family. So I'd be willing to read more from this author. 

Wicked Witch by L.C. Hibbett -- Loved this one! The series it is a part of comes out this year. Can't wait! I want to find out what happens to Destiny. I also want to see more of the world the author has built. It looks like tons of fun.

Journal of Abigail DiAngelo by Megan J. Parker & Nathan Squiers -- This one started out slow, but evened itself out. By the end I had really started to root for Abby and I hope that there is a book out there that tells more of her adventures.

The Witch and the Thief by Katerina Martinez --Interesting. It definitely is set up to lead into a larger story. The story didn't pull me in as much as some of the previous ones did.  But I'm still putting it on my wish list since I am interested to see where the story goes.

Awakened by K.N. Lee -- This was drew me in. Again, it is more of a lead in than a stand alone. I still have so many questions. How is Willa going to live in the Spirit Witch's castle and still be married, much less attend university? How was she planning on keeping her secret from whoever she ends up marrying? and many more. I want to know!! 

Gavin's Gamble by Nicole Zoltack --So this one ends rather suddenly. So suddenly it feels a bit incomplete. I know, I know... Most short stories these days are prequels or lead ins to a full-fledged novel or series. But usually they feel like they can at least some what stand on their own. I AM curious to find out what happens to Gavin and from the author info after wards it looks as if this is a prequel for one of the authors books. So I should be able to see what happens to him. But again the way it felt like it ended mid story kinda threw me off. 

Deadtown by Debbie Cassidy --Oooooo... this one is GOOOD!!! I really hope a book comes out with more adventures of Daria and Ethan. The world Cassidy has built for them to run around in looks really cool too.

Visions Among Frost by Alicia Rades -- Ok. So sad. I mean it has a not so sad ending. But still wanted to cry. 

The Dying of the Light by Monica Corwin -- I don't usually like crime stories. But this one looks interesting. I especially want to find out more about the world the author has created.

Tested by Magic by Jasmine Walt --Another procedural. I swear I can hear the *dundun* at the beginning of each chapter. lol. While I AM serious about that, I will say that I enjoyed this one a lot too. Between the world that Walt has created and the MC I was drawn in from beginning to end. The other thing about this one. It felt longer then it actually was, but in a good way. 

Reaper's Redemption by Thea Atkinson -- This one's short, yet interesting. You get just enough of the story to leave you wanting more. I'm definitely going to have to check out the series that it's a part of. 

Leaves Like Magic by Rebecca Hamilton -- Another one that feels almost like a complete story. The characters and their world kept me reading. I do want to find out more about both. 

Overall I think this anthology is awesome! I really love anthologies anyway because you get to see a whole bunch of writers in one place. You get a sense of their voice and it's in a short story/novella format so if you don't enjoy one author in particular it's not like you've committed a huge amount of time.  I definitely have a whole bunch of new authors to check out after the challenge is over. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M is for The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross #atozchallenge

They are the light against the darkness.
The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons….

Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King's elite Water Dogs is that they bind wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.

Scarred by grief, she's willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he's possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other's emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.

As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius's past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…

My Review:

The Midnight Sea is an alternate earth history.
Ross has deftly woven bits and pieces of actual history into the world she has built. I enjoyed traveling through it. I hope to see more of it in the books that follow this one. 
Upon this stage that she has built she brings her characters to life with heart breaking clarity. One by one I slowly fell in love with them, even poor broken Ilyas.  I can't wait to find out more about the MC's. I also want to find out more about some of the supporting characters as well. I especially want to see how they react when their own history is turned on it's head. Although some of them, thanks to their long lives, already know the truth since they lived it. 
I definitely recommend Midnight Sea. It's a solid beginning to what looks to be an amazing series. I hope that the following books continue with the same momentum. Whether you are an avid alternate earth reader or not, I think you will enjoy this book. The ending is a lead in to the next book, but it doesn't end on a cliff hanger. But if you decide to pick up the first book, since it is currently free for Kindle on Amazon, I recommend picking up the second book as well. That way you can just begin reading it as soon as you finish with the first. If I had known how deeply I would be drawn into the world Ross has created I would have bought the second one with the first. As is it is on my wish list and I plan to pick it up as soon as I am can so I will be able to pick up where I left off when I am finished with the A to Z challenge. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

L is for Luck of the Draw by Piers Anthony #atozchallenge

Bryce is summoned to Xanth as part of a wager between the Demons Earth and Xanth. To his surprise, he has left behind his home and family and eighty-year-old body forever, in exchange for youth and magic….and a quest. He must court and marry Princess Harmony, who is anything but willing to be courted!

My Review:

It has been a very long time since my last visit to Xanth. Not on purpose, mind you.  Just things here became busy... I knew Anthony is a very prolific writer and when I realized how much time had passed that I didn't know if I'd ever be able to catch up. (Note: I still haven't.)  Then I remembered when I began reading the Xanth books it was out of order. lol. So I figured I would buy all I could find at the book store, there were only 3, and just go from there. I'm so glad I did. I missed Xanth.

Luck of the Draw was like going home again. Except this home is still the same, and not in a bad way. Yeah, there are new faces and some of the scenery has changed, but underneath it all Xanth is still Xanth. The Gap Chasm is still there and Murphy's still old. The puns are gloriously groanie and ever abundant. As I followed the newest cast of characters on their quest I gleefully guessed at the nature of new puns. I enjoyed the story's twists and turns and trying to figure out where exactly the MC's would end up. 

If you're an old fan, well you've probably already read this one, since it is #36 out of 40.  But if you haven't, for whatever reason, pick it up. If you've never read a Xanth novel... UM... Why? While I do suggest you start at the beginning. You can pick up any one of the 40 and start reading. I suggest you start sooner than later since there are already more to be published AND it is rumored to be possibly coming to tv. Yes, the puns are silly. Yes, the story isn't gore and violence. But it's fun and fantasy and a great place to get lost in for a while.

**Anthony and Xanth introduced me to the "Author's Note". Long before I met authors in person. Long before I became related to authors. I realized that some authors interact with their fans. Even take ideas from fans. While I'm still working up the courage to write Mr. Anthony 30 yrs later..Those authors notes changed how I viewed authors. (You have to understand this was before Facebook, and Twitter. Heck it was before the internet. I know, I'm old.)  But you didn't just get a day to day view of your favorite authors back then. If you were lucky and your favorite author was REALLY popular you got to read an interview in some random magazine. But never usually something you could walk into the average store and buy. You had to go to actual bookstores for specific magazines about writing. But in those notes he gave updates on his life.  Background on were certain characters came from. Gave credit to readers for puns they contributed. Sure there was a little bit of losing the mystery of the man behind the curtain. But they were like the email newsletters of today, except you didn't get one every month or more. lol. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K is for Kill Them Dead: Genesis Episode 1 by Benn Finn and Marc Webb #atozchallenge

When asteroid mining vessel, Photon-II returns to the space station, Orion, it immediately becomes apparent that something is very wrong . A total communications blackout forces the crew of Photon-II to dock manually, however, once on board they discover that the Orion appears to be completely abandoned.
David Taylor and Jason Clark split the crew into two groups to try and figure out what went down on the Orion. They soon discover that they are not alone, and that something deadly is lurking in the shadows.

My Review:

It's zombies in space. Zombies. In. Space.

Don't worry it's not as cheesy as it sounds. In fact, so far it has the makings of a pretty good thriller. I could easily see it being made into a horror movie. The setting's got the creep factor down.  The red emergency lights flashing constantly. The empty space station.
Of course the group splits up.
The zombies only really make an appearance at the very beginning and the very end. Which are time frames separated by centuries. (Don't worry, it makes sense.)

This first episode was fast paced and creepy.  As I said before I could definitely see this easily be transformed into a horror flick. I want to see who makes it out alive in the end.

The first episode is currently free on Amazon. Pick it up. I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J is for Just Another Day in the Zombie Apocalypse by L.C. Mortimer

The zombie apocalypse? 

Like that could ever happen. 

Alice wakes up on the roof one day to find the world on fire. Everything’s burning, and what isn’t burning is coming back from the dead. 


Trapped on top of their apartment building, Alice, Mark, and Kyle must work together to find their way out of the city and to safety. 

Can they do it? 

Find out in Just Another Day in the Zombie Apocalypse, episode 1.

My Review:

Just Another Day is the first episode in this serial. So it's short and like most episodes I've read it ends on a cliffie. Not too bothered by that because: a- I've come to expect that from the 'episodes' of serials. and  b-The author is polite enough to let the reader know in the beginning of the book. 

 As for the story. It's interesting. I'll give it that.  The voice switched between all 3 characters, which helped to get to know each one a little better.  The zombies are there from the beginning. In fact, the characters wake up to the apocalypse in full swing. The focus of this part is on introducing the three main characters and getting them started on their journey in their new world. Think more prepping, less slaying. It ends with their first major confrontation with their new neighbors. 

Would I read more of the series? Yes.
I just couldn't seem to connect to any of the characters. Maybe because the episode is as short as it is? I mean if one of the three main MC's got eaten before the end of that episode I didn't really care. It's not like I was rooting for them to get chomped. (Yes, it happens. lol) But it just didn't get me to care. I really think that has to do with the length of the book. I tend to think of episodes being like an episode of a tv show. Sometimes, even really good shows don't quite have all the kinks worked out in the pilot or the premier. Because of this I tend to give episodic serials more leeway in the beginning then I do ones of a longer length.   IF this had been a full novel and I felt this way at the end I definitely wouldn't be picking up the next book. 

So yes, I will definitely pick up the next episode. I want to see where the author plans to take these characters. I saw a lot of different directions that characters could go in. Plus it ends on a cliffie. So maybe one of their stories will end at the beginning of the next book.  But I wasn't completely sold on their stories yet. Which is why I'm not giving it a perfect 5 out of 5. It's not horrible, but it didn't quite blow me away.

I think if I were to do it over I would pick up more than just the first episode. Then I would have gotten a better feel of the series as a whole and wouldn't be stuck in such a limbo. I would either love it or hate it. Not just be ok with it. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I is for Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff #atozchallenge

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
      The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
     But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
      Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes

My Review:

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!! OH MY GOOOOOOD!!! This book was soooo good!!!  Just absolutely AH-MAY-ZING!!   

Ok. I think I've got all the fan girly gushing out of the way. lol. Let's get on to why I'm so head over heels for this one.

First of all, let's talk about the big multi-medium elephant in the room. Window? Page? I'll stick with room. The Found Footage elephant is a style that was ALL the rage a while back in movies. It started with The Blair Witch Project and went down hill from there, more on that in a bit. While not as new in books, following society's trends it also became more popular in the written medium too. There seem to be two distinct types of 'found footage' books. The diary/journal entry types, which have been around forever, is the first. The second, the one I feel is more recent and more like the movie genre versions, consists of what seems to be actual 'found footage'. Think less you're reading someones diary and more you're discovering the story through newspaper clippings, pictures, notes, letters, police reports, etc. The former style has been around for a long time and has had time to have found it's formula. So the fear that it will be bad simply because of how it's written isn't that great. The latter, like it's silver screen counterparts however, still is experiencing some growing pains. Unfortunately for movies the words found footage can be a an instant deal breaker. With books it's not so bad, but only because there is more than just one type of information that can be 'found' to create the story. Honestly it makes me sad that found footage films have become sort of a joke. I LOVE the found footage format. But like other style fads, the love triangle, vampires, zombies, etc. it seems that sometimes a author/director will decide to throw it in just because at that moment it's what's hot and they think they can cash in on it. Whatever the new 'in thing' it ends up becoming overused at best. At worst? It is just thrown in pull in more of an audience and because it's just a gimmick and no real thought is put into it the final product suffers. In the long run there's backlash. In the case of found footage, just seeing those words can keep someone from giving the book or movie a second glance. Most people hear found footage and respond the way I do when I hear 'love triangle'.* 

But with Illuminae, which is ALL found footage, the authors have gotten it just right.  They have diagrams and flyers, emails, IM's, transcribed recordings, anything that can be put in a computer. They even have videos. Yes, you heard me correctly: videos and yes, it is a book.(I read the print version)  So the videos that you are 'watching' are actually written descriptions of what is going on in the video...but still.**  There are a few journal entries. But they are there more to give you deeper insight into the characters mindset, than to say describe how a scene is played out. Altogether they authors have created a highly detailed story that pulls you in and doesn't let go. I had to know what was going to happen to Kady and Ezra. I had to find out what was going on with AIDEN. I wanted to see what the next page was going to bring presentation wise as well. Would it be a conversation between Kady and Byron? Would it be a PSA flyer handed out about the Hypatia? The only reason I didn't finish faster then I did was because I wanted to absorb every detail from each page. Also underneath the book cover, at least in hard back form, the outside of the book is just as detailed as the inside. Of course the papers you see on the books skin are still the redacted versions... But the Illuminae sheds light on all of them eventually.

Also this book will drag you through ALL the feels. My heart broke for the various characters as they made impossible choices. I actually laughed out loud multiple times while reading. (Once even in my drs office. If they didn't think I was off before...) I fell in love with the MC's. Correction, all the C's. Supporting as well as main.  Save for a few specific asshats, I wanted them all to make it to safety. I cheered when they overcame a new challenge. I cried when they were overcome instead.   That Kristoff and Kaufman were able to pull all this off with found footage. Absolutely brilliant. Usually with this type of found footage  I fall in love more with the story than the people in it. It's a casualty of not always hearing the characters inner voices. This isn't always a bad thing, it's just a thing. With Illuminae it's a moot point. Even without hearing their every thought I still felt that I really got to know them as individuals, not just a populace that something happened to.

Illuminae is part of a series. The second book is already available. But it can be read as a stand alone. From what I've seen of the second book it tells what happens at the Heimdall Station while the first book is taking place. So not only is it in a new location, but it also is a completely new cast of characters. So when I finished this book, I really hoped there was another one.  I wanted to find out more and it was left open for future books, but it wasn't a sharp drop cliffie ending. So while I wanted the next book right away, it wasn't like I needed it. Scratch that last part. I DO need it! I need it right this instant so I can dive back into Kaufman and Kristoff's universe. The only thing stopping me is that the only cash I have on hand is paper. Neither Amazon nor my computer have a way for me to pay them using real world cash. lol

Definitely recommend this book. There is gore and A LOT of death, but all the curse words are blacked out. (This actually made the book even more amusing because I could insert my own. lol) 
So why are you still here? GO ! Buy the book and start reading! I can't wait to see that you enjoyed it as much as I did! 


*Note to authors who want me to review your work. If there's a love triangle... probably don't tell me ahead of time and you better have put A LOT of effort into it. I will judge and judge harshly.
**Side note: With the advent of new tech, such as e-books and the variety of platforms to read them on why has no one thought to use actual videos and recordings in books yet? At least electronic ones. I mean that would be SO COOL!! Somebody get on this!!!

This is another book that I 'borrowed' from my daughter. I saw it and recognized one of the authors and thought it would be an interesting read for the letter I in the the A to Z Challenge.I have to give it back to her now.  I can't wait for her to finish it so I have someone to talk about this book with!!! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

H is for Heartland Junk by Eli Nixon #atozchallenge

It came at you first like an unexpected chill breeze on a warm day. Most people never had a chance to figure out what was happening before it was too late. Only the lucky ones, the ones already ruined, like me, were able to defend ourselves.

My Review:

Junk looks to be an interesting zombie series. It's definitely got some twists that I haven't read before. 

There's a disconnect between the first chapter and the rest of the book. The first chapter is obviously sometime farther in the future than the rest of the book.  Nothing too big. It won't stop me from picking up more books in the series. Honestly it might connect back to the first scene at some point since Junk obviously isn't a full length novel.  But based on the title alone I knew that it was part 1. So again, it didn't bother me that much. I'm just used to when a book starts out that way to it coming full circle and by the end being back where it started. 

Part 1 did a good job of introducing the characters and how the zombie apocalypse started, at least for them. I thought the idea of using certain drugs to stave off the transformation was interesting. Also the glimpses into the zombies thoughts were cool too. I can't wait to see where Nixon plans on going with the world he has started to build. There were definitely some questions left open at the end that I want to find out the answers to as well. 

There is gore. A lot of gore. There is also serious drug use. So I wouldn't recommend Heartland Junk for anyone under 18. But otherwise if you are a zombie addict like me looking for a fresh fix.... I definitely recommend it. Last I checked it's still free for Kindle on Amazon. I'm pretty sure after your first read you'll be hooked too.