Backlog Review: These Broken Stars – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (audio)

Backlog Review: These Broken Stars – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (audio)These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Published: November 11th 2014
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two-half-stars

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Everyone I know has seemed to love this book. Like insanely love it. I had thought about it once or twice as the cover is GORGEOUS, but I always held back as I had read space books before and they aren’t my thing. But once again it was suggested to me right around the time I was looking for a new audio. I decided to take a chance and see what the fuss was about. Sadly, I was right in my initial reaction. Space books just aren’t my thing, or I have yet to find the right one.

These Broken Stars is a very Titanic like story. It is about Tarver, a lower class war hero, and Lilac, the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver and Lilac are traveling on board the Icarus together when there is an accident and the ship is taken out of hyperspace and falls to the nearest planet. Now alone together they must rely on each other not only to survive but to live. But nothing is as they thought and when they start to uncover some truths nothing will even be the same for them again.

This was a strange reading experience for several reasons.  I LOVED the narrators. Their voices were really great at telling the story of survival and love and uncovering truths. I felt like they did a good job of engaging the reader and telling the story of what was happening. I also really loved Tarver and Lilac (plus Lilac LaRoux just sounds AWESOME when you say it out loud). They had that wrong side of the tracks things going on and I loved the push and pull between then. I mean Lilac was so spoiled but she was tougher than anyone gave her credit for. You would think that would make me love the book. That is where the strangeness comes in. As much as I loved the narrators and the characters, I couldn’t stand the setting and the plot.

It was going along okay for a while. I mean I thought it was silly, as I find space books silly, but it was still going okay. And then it took a turn and I was left trying to figure out what the what was happening and why I was still reading. I just didn’t get the need for things to turn the way they did. To me it didn’t fit and from that point on the reading was downhill. I couldn’t come back from that feeling unfortunately and the book suffered because of it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that although I liked the narration and the characters, it just all didn’t work. It wasn’t my kind of book which is okay. I tried it and I finished it. No one says I have to love it. I will say that I would love to listen to another book with these narrators. That is definitely on my list of things to look for.

 

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Review: Passenger – Alexandra Bracken

Review: Passenger – Alexandra BrackenPassenger by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Published: January 5th 2016
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four-stars

passage, n.i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.ii. A journey by water; a voyage.iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Passenger has been a high priority read for me for a long time. I’m a huge sucker for time travel books and the mind warp that happens with them. And even though I haven’t finished the series yet I loved Alexandra Bracken’s first book The Darkest Minds. Excellent combination if you ask me. So basically I was really excited to read Passenger. It took me a while because of my timing of reading it during the holidays but in the end I really enjoyed it.

Passenger is about Etta, a violinist that lives in modern day 2015 with her mother. Etta is about to make her debut as a premier violist when everything changes. Suddenly Etta is in 1776, kidnapped, and being forced to find something her mother ‘stole’ years ago by the family that her mother ran from. Up until this point Etta had no idea travelers existed and now she finds she is one herself. All she does know is she needs to find what was stolen and save herself and her mother but she needs the help of Nicholas Carter, a handsome man around her age from 1776. Nicholas hates the family Etta is being forced to help for his own reasons but need them for others. Soon Etta and Nicholas find themselves jumping from time to time while running from danger and their relationship blossoming. But really what is more important, their selfish interests or their interest in each other?

This book was jam packed with action. Etta and Nicholas find themselves in a boatload of danger/trouble as they follow clues left by Etta’s mother to find the ‘stolen’ item. It’s pretty cool to see the two of them land in historic events and ancient places. The time travel aspect leaves everything open for discovery which is what I love about time travel books in general. But Bracken worked with these events for her story and didn’t make the event just be a back drop. The action and adventure was my favorite part to be honest.

The events were huge details in the backdrop of Passenger. They really told the story of change and time of war and what life was like. Without these events that Etta’s mother chose to visit, to leave a trail, I don’t think we would have understood what the character was really like. That right there is what fed the story. The backdrop was essentially the story.

I loved Etta and Nicholas together and separate. But they were more interesting together for sure. To be honest I’m not sure how I felt about the romance (one of the minor things that bugged me at times) but they worked so well together as people. They both here determined and fighters. They both did whatever they needed to to survive. I felt really badly for some of the choices they had to make a lot of the time but they always did what they needed to. Now the Ironwoods? Hated them (as I’m sure we are supposed to). But I also didn’t like Etta’s mother so there was that. I did like all the connections to people. That was fun to try and figure out.

I really enjoyed Passenger. Even with the parts that bugged me (which I won’t point out as to not ruin the book) I was happy with the progress and story telling. Honestly I think book 2 is going to be off the charts good with the set up that Passenger gave us. There are so many things still left to be explored and dealt with and I just can’t wait. Definitely a solid start to a new series.

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Blog Tour: The ABCs with Etta from Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (giveaway)

passenger

Today we have a special edition of The ABCs brought to you by Alexandra Bracken for her character Etta in her new book Passenger (which is out in stores tomorrow!). And make sure you read all the way to the end to enter the giveaway.


Alex Bracken: This is so fun! While Nicholas and Etta are equal parts main characters, I have to go with Etta for this one—mostly because Nicholas is way too practical (his answers here would be: a compass, an atlas, and a new pair of leather shoes after fishing Etta out of the ocean).

Etta’s a modern day teen in New York City who’s had a pretty different upbringing from most other girls her age. Her training to be a concert violinist, and all of the competitions and travel that involves, has made her have a laser-like focus on reaching that goal… pretty much to the detriment of friendships, boyfriends, and, you know, taking a day off. But her BIG debut is finally, finally, finally coming up.

etta

Accessory: Madewell’s Transport Tote in English Saddle
This thing is a city living staple! When you live in a place like New York City, where you usually leave your apartment in the morning, travel via subway, and aren’t back until the evening—even on the weekends—you need a bag like this to throw whatever you need and gather up throughout the day. Groceries, folders from work, something else from Madewell… you name it! I can see Etta bopping around the city running errands, throwing in her music sheets, a snack, and flowers from the grocery store on the corner before walking a few blocks over to instructor Alice’s apartment. Etta is a pretty no-fuss kind of girl, so I think this suits her perfectly.

Book: Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin
On a break from her 209809234th reading of The Lives of Great Composers by Harold C. Schonberg and an endless succession of autobiographies and biographies of great musicians, Etta picked this one up after seeing someone reading it on the 4/5/6 train and fell in love with her city all over again reading it.

Clothing: Halston Heritage Cross Neck Chiffon Gown
Etta’s on the verge of her big debut as a soloist and will be in need of a few new formal dresses to rotate through for future performances. I picked this garnet color chiffon gown by Halston Heritage out for her for a few reasons: it looks comfy, it’s conservative enough not to raise any eyebrows but still cool and beautiful enough for an eighteen-year-old to wear, THAT RED IS AMAZING, and, well, she’d get a lot of mileage out of it. Our girl isn’t flashy when it comes to style—classic and understated all the way.

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Blog Tour: The ABCs with Etta from Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (giveaway)Passenger (Passenger, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Published: January 5th 2016
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passage, n.i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.ii. A journey by water; a voyage.iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

About Alexandra Bracken

I’m Alex. I write about telekinetic teens and floppy-haired wizards. I love Star Wars, classic rock, and 18th century gentlemen. When I’m not up at 4 AM writing, you can find me running around the DC area, where I now live and write full time.

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
1/4: Andi’s ABCs – ABC Post
Week 2:

Winner will receive one of 3 finished copies (US ONLY).

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Review: Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone

Review: Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland StoneEvery Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Published: June 16th 2015
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five-stars

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

When I originally finished Every Last Word I rated it 4 stars, maybe 4.5 stars. Both are excellent ratings. I’m proud to give books those ratings. But the thing about Every Last Word is that is deserves more. The more I stepped away from the book and the aftermath of finishing the more I actually loved what I read. Every feeling I had stayed with me days later. So what started as a 4 star book morphed into the rating it deserved, 5 glorious stars. Because when all is said and done Every Last Word was fantastic.

Every Last Word is about a girl, Sam, who has OCD, more on the side of obsession than compulsion. Sam has worked for years to not only keep her OCD under control but to also keep it hidden from her friends. See the thing about Sam friends is that they are popular and with that comes a certain level of behavior one needs to abide by or risk getting kicked out. One day though Sam meets a girl in the hallway who opens her eyes to a hidden world she never dreamed of. Deep in the bowls of her high school is a secret group of poetry writing misfits and it is a place Sam has never felt more at home in. As she learns more about herself and Poet’s Corner Sam starts to question just what is important to her life and what is more importantly the best thing for the mental health.

action

Truthfully, I tried to read a story about OCD once before but I couldn’t do it. I’m not sure why but reading it just didn’t work for me so I gave up. When I read about Every Last Word I was nervous. I didn’t know if the same thing would have happened. But I gave it a shot and you know what, I couldn’t get enough. Instead of not working for me, it ended up working flawlessly. Everything just clicked in this book. The story was really spot on and written in a way that was beautiful yet simple. I was so impressed with what the author did with the concept and how she crafted it into a story of self-discovery and growth.

backdrop

Poet’s Corner was probably one of the coolest places I’ve read in fiction in a long time. I mean there are a ton of other places mentioned in the book, but Poet’s Corner is the one that just stands out to me. I was half sad the book didn’t include illustrations as I wanted to actually see this magical place that housed thousands of thoughts and words and emotions. It felt like it was parts ‘Friends’ spot at Central Perk and part beatnik club. Basically it sounded awesome and like a place with real history.

characters

I loved Sam. Even when she was making the wrong choices and remaining friends with the girls she knew were nothing more than mean girls, I still loved her. She was human. She was terrified of not having a place to fit in so she twisted herself into a pretzel in order to be a part of something instead of being different. Everyone has been there. We have all changed who we are just to fit in. But what I loved was when she figured it all out. Sam was strong and just needed to realize that. Um and AJ…AJ was like Corey Livingston from What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton. He was just this good guy that nobody understood or took the time to get to know. People dismissed him for reasons, but that was their loss because he was pretty awesome in a perfect, adorable boy kind of way.

final

Like I said Every Last Word is just one of those books that sits with you and gets better and better in your mind as it does. The story itself is impactful and the characters and writing make it even more so. Sam was not her disease. It was inconvenient for her but it didn’t define her. That lesson alone was powerful enough to make Every Last Word one of the best I have read in 2015. Highly recommend this one.

other1
time timeafter

 

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Review: Endless – Kate Brian

Review: Endless – Kate BrianEndless by Kate Brian
Published by Hyperion
Published: July 22nd 2014
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three-half-stars

Rory Miller didn't just fall in love with Tristan Parrish. She fell in love with the idea of forever. He was the one who told her the truth about her existence in Juniper Landing: that her mortal life is over, and she will now spend eternity on the island, helping others in limbo move on.

But like Juniper Landing, a bright island with dark secrets, Tristan is too good to be true. The mysterious, heartbreakingly beautiful boy Rory thought she knew is responsible for unthinkable evil-sending good souls to the Shadowlands in order to get himself a second chance at life on Earth. He has already claimed Rory's friend Aaron and her own father, but when Tristan sends her sister, Darcy, to the Shadowlands, too, Rory decides to take matters into her own hands. She will do anything to save her family, even if it means going to hell and back.

I really loved the whole concept of The Shadowlands series. Book one blew me away and I really loved book 2. So when book 3 came out I was beyond excited to see how this would all wrap up. The twist and turns in the first book kept me sitting at the end of my seat and I hoped Endless would do. And although it did at times and I think the series wrapped up things nicely, or as nicely as it could, I didn’t love it as much as I hoped.

Endless is really a hard book to review and describe as I don’t want to give anything away for the people that haven’t read the series yet. It does pick up right where the second book, Hereafter, left off. Rory thinks the boy she fell for, Tristan, actually betrayed her and her life is completely upside down. Tristan is on the run and Rory and her friends are trying to find him to get their life back to what it was. Only it may not be so easy. Things keep changing and everything Rory thought she knew is wrong. She’s running out of time and has to decide who to stand by and what matters most to her.

Like I said, I thought Brian wrapped this series up nicely. All three books flowed into each other and the stories entwined and wrapped up at the right places. That is what I liked about the book. It’s usually hard to accomplish this when finishing a series and I think Kate did that. But I also didn’t love how it was done. Rory, a girl I loved in the first book and the second, became annoying to me in the third. Her back and forth between people, her emotions, her actions, everything was so wishy-washy. I just wanted her to make up her mind and stick with it. By the end of the book, I was completely done with her which made me sad. I also found the pacing a little slower than the other two books. It definitely had its moments where I was on the end of my seat and the mystery kept me guessing for the most part (I sadly figured out what was happening pretty early on), but there was just something missing for me.

All in all, I liked Endless and the entire Shadowlands series. It was a unique concept with interesting characters and pretty good writing. It told a story I had never heard and had an air of mystery to it which I liked. It was different and suspenseful at times and kept me wanting to see what happened. If you are looking for something a little different then I say so for it.

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