Book Review: In the End & In the After

In the After & In the End
Demitria Lunetta
YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Published: June 25th 2013 & June 24th 2014
4/5

                                              They hear the most silent of footsteps.
                                              They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
                                               And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.
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9780062105455_p0_v2_s260x420 I really enjoyed this duo! It wasn’t what I expected at all and I’m really happy that I tried something out that I hadn’t heard much hype about. The first half of the first book was fantastic and then I took a turn that I hadn’t quite expected in the end and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first but have decided I really liked the plot twist. It sets up the next book pretty well and overall it was a face paced and enjoyable read with a fairly complex story plot for a YA novel.
Baby was a great character, I found her interesting and at times really frustrating because even after finishing the series I feel like I didn’t get to learn enough about her, or at least learn everything I wanted to about her backstory and why things turned out the way they did for her a little more. She was very strong willed and seemed very adaptable, and again there were aspects of her character that I really wish had been delved into a little bit deeper.
Amy was a strong female character, independent from other people; which was refreshing. I really liked that she could hold her own, and that she fought every step of the way for what she believed in and for those who she cared about. She was 100% focused on her mission and despite distractions she kept on a one way track to get to her end game.
It was fantastic that not everything was what it seemed and that we got to travel so much in this new world with Amy as she set about getting things done. Demitria did a fantastic job creating a world that was vivid and easy to imagine. Those creatures were terrifying and I’m very thankful I’m not having to deal with them on a regular basis.18140842
There were some aspects to this duo that I wasn’t a huge fan of, like all the unanswered questions and plot holes. There were a lot of things that were mentioned and never really explained or touched on again. The side characters sometimes really blended into each other and I lost track of who was who a couple of times, though that may have been my fault as I was reading so fast because I was so excited to find everything out. The science was a little weird but realistically it also made a little sense so perhaps most of my issues with that was the fact that it was done so poorly but they did/do have limited resources.
The ending of this duo was really open, and I feel like if the author wanted to write another book or write another story that took place in the same universe she certainly could just because there were so many unanswered questions and blank spots in the plot line. It could be really interesting having a story revolving around baby when she was older perhaps.
Over all a very fantastic, quick paced and action packed read. Really easy to follow plot line and development. I highly recommend binge reading this two books!

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Top Ten Books I’ve Read in 2014 so Far

ImageBurial Rites – Hannah Kent
Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
ImageThe Humans – Matt Haig
The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable novel about alien abduction, mathematics and that most interesting subject of all: ourselves.

ImageThrone of Glass – Sarah j. Maas
In the dark filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen year-old-girl is serving a life sentence. However, young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament.

ImageGrave Mercy – Robin LaFevers
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the Gods of old. Here she learns that the God of Death himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts – and a violent destiny.

ImageLost Lake – Sarah Addison Allen
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal.
ImageSea of Shadows – Kelley Armstrong
In the forest of the Dead, where the empires worse criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

ImageThe Program – Suzanne Young
Sloane knows better than to cry infront of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in the program, the only proven course of treatment.
ImageScarlet – Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison – even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealths most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Beniot’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother of the grave danger she has lived in her whole life.
ImageCress – Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
In the third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Throne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who has only ever had her netscreens as company.

ImageWhat Happened to Goodbye – Sarah Dessen
Since her parents’ bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move – four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mothers new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva, but now for the first time, Mclean discovers the desire to stay in the same place and just be herself.

Book Review: The Humans

The HumansImage
Matt Haig
Science Fiction
Published: July 2nd, 2013
5/5

                The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with what may be his best, funniest, and most devastating dark comedy yet. When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his frist impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry back home to the utopian world of his own planet, where everyone enjoys immortality and infinite knowledge
                He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, and their capacity for murder and war, and he is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he had been led to believe. Disguised as martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, and develops an ear for rock music and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family and in picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, he begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfections and to question the mission that brought him there.
                Praised by The New York Times as a ‘novelist of great seriousness and talent,’ Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the messiness of life on earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject – ourselves.

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The Humans was a delightful surprise for me. I had not heard much discussion about the book in the community that I’m involved with online but I found the synopsis intriguing. An Alien takes over the body of a mathematics professor that has just solved the most important Mathematical question to humanity to date. He is expected to destroy all evidence and halt the advancement of humanity. However, along the way he begins to develop a sort of infatuation with humanity and strives to discover what exactly it means to be ‘human.’
               I thought that the character development of the unnamed Alien was fascinating and refreshing. I really enjoyed seeing him grow and to begin to question what he thought he knew. Despite the advancement of his society the primitive nature of human emotions stumped him and the social queues often left him quite confused.
                The humans is extremely funny and entertaining, the chapters are very short and that makes it really easy to read in short bursts. The story also gets quite dark at times, and I felt that helped counteract the unrealistic nature of some of the scenes.
                Overall this was an insightful, touching and completely original story. I’m extremely happy I took a chance with a book that I had not heard much about and I am greatly looking forward to reading more books written by Matt Haig.
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Favorite Scary Novels

                I’ve loved novels that get under your skin and spread goose bumps for as long as I can remember. I grew up loving series like Goosebumps, Fear Street and enjoying authors like Christopher Pike. As a young teenager I loved horror movies that made you jump and make you think twice about that movement out of the corner of you eye.
                We are 15 days away from Halloween and I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to share with you the books that I’ve enjoyed into adulthood, books that make me nervous, creep me out and make my heart beat fast in the still of night when all is quiet and I’m all alone.
               

1. Black Creek Crossing – John SaulImage
      Thirteen-year-old Angel Sullivan has been on the outside looking in, enduring the taunts of cruel schoolmates and the angry abuse of a bitter father. Then Angel’s family moves to a quaint town of Roundtree, Massachusetts – where a charming house is available, a chance to make a new start beckons to the shy, hopeful teenager. When she is shunned by her new classmates, Angel falls deeper into despair. Until she meets Seth Baker, a fellow outcast – and a fateful kinship is forged.
      It’s Seth who tells Angel the unspoken truth about the legacy of murder that hangs over her family’s home – and the whispered rumors that something supernatural still dwells there. Uncertain whether the stories are true and desperate to escape the torment of their daily lives, Seth and Angel devote themselves to contacting whatever restless soul haunts the dark recesses of Black Creek Crossing. But once they have begun, there is no turning back.
     They uncover the shocking events and centuries-old horrors that lay buried beneath the placid veneer of Roundtree. Along with the ghastly revelations comes a terrifying power – one that feeds upon the rage of the victimized, turning the basset impulses and most dangerous desires into devastating weapons.

2.  Full Dark, No Stars – Stephan King
    Image  A Collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephan King
      1922The Story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed Arlette by her father.
    
Big Driver Following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.
     
Fair Extension Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but as always there is a price to pay.
    
A Good Marriage – Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage.

 

3. I am Legend – Richard MathesonImage
      Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood.
     By Day he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.

 

 

Image4. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
      A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it’s gray. The Sky is dark; their destination is the coast and although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing, just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.  

 

 

 

5. The Shinning – Stephan King
    Image  Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.
     As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
    Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…

 

 

 

6. Cold Skin – Albert Sanchez Pinol, Translated by: Cheryl Leah MorganImage
       After WW1, a troubled man accepts a solitary assignment as a “weather Official” on a tiny, remote island on the edges of the Antarctic. When he arrives his predecessor he is meant to replace is missing and a deeply disturbed stranger is barricaded in a heavily fortified lighthouse. At first adversaries, the two find that their tenuous partnership may be the only way to survive the unspeakably horrific reptilian creatures that ravage the island at night, attacking the lighthouse in their organized effort to find warm-blooded food. Armed with a battery of ammunition and explosives, the weather official and his new ally must confront their increasingly murderous mentality and when the possibility of a kind of truce presents itself, decide what kind of island they will inhabit.

 

 

Image7. Cell – Stephan King
       In Cell King taps into readers fears of technological warfare and terrorism. Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without Cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of “normies,” must fight for survival and their journey to find Claytons estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution.

 

 

 

8. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley JacksonImage
      It is a story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House; Dr. Montague, an occult scholar is looking for solid evidence of a ‘haunting’;  Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena, but Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

 

 

Image9. We have always lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
      Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possible murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

Seattle Book Haul

                For my Husband and I’s first year anniversary we spent the long weekend in September (our anniversary is September 1st) in Seattle. We stayed at a ridiculously nice hotel, ate amazing food and went to the Zoo. Of course, we also did some shopping and of course I did quite a bit of book shopping.

First we went to Half Price books, where I purchased Bitter blue, Beautiful Darkness, and Beautiful Chaos
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We then went to mutli-level Barnes & Nobel and I purchased Feed, Origin, Drowned Cities and an amazing hard cover version of Little Woman.
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I thought I would also share a couple pictures from our trip as well, so enjoy! ❤
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Book Talk: Literary terms Part 1

        I thought I would take the time to write out what my definitions of genre’s and ‘readership’ labels mean to me. There seems to be so many vastly different opinions online about what they actually are and often times I find myself getting frustrated with people labeling novels incorrectly. However, that being said obviously everyone has the right to their own opinion, I just want to share mine with you
            This is part one of my definitions, and as it’ll be fairly long I’m going to break it up into at least two parts, likely three.
              What do you think of my definitions, do you agree or disagree with them? If you disagree I’d love to know why!  

Science Fiction; Deals with imaginative concepts, often in regards to futuristic technology, space travel, other planets and time travel. However science fiction is not limited, it can also involve aliens, vampires, zombies and werewolves. Many factors come into play when classifying creatures into the genre science fiction; i.e. a virus mutates and creates zombies, it’s a manmade mistake created by science.
                Examples of science Fiction
                                Enders Game – Orson Scott Card
                                Across the Universe – Beth Revis
                                Dune – Frank Herbert
                                Feed – Mira Grant

 

Fantasy; Deals with imaginative concepts that are often improbable or impossible. For example, many fantasy novels include animals such as dragons, trolls and elves. Fantasy novels almost always include a realm of magic, in example characters that are able to wield the elements, heal without medicines, or call upon mystical animals for help in battles. If Vampires, Zombies, aliens or werewolves are involved in fantasy they are almost always natural and not created by man, they’ve always existed in these worlds the way the elves or hobbits have. They are also often series, it is not often that you find a standalone fantasy novel; most that I’ve come across personally have been a part of a large series.
                Examples of Fantasy
                                The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
                                The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R Tolkien
                                The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini
                                A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R.Martin

Horror; in its essence horror is intended to scare you, to keep you up all night with the lights on and send shivers straight through to your bones. The Horror genre is usually quite dark, violent and can at times be gory. Horror can either be supernatural or non-supernatural depending on the content of the novel. This includes but is not limited too; serial killers, ghosts, poltergeists, vampires, zombies, kidnapping, psychological horror, etc.
                  Examples of Horror
                                 The Shining – Stephan King
                                 The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
                                 Dracula – Bram Stoker
                                 Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice


Young Adult; This category is a little more tricky and can at times be vague but the general rule of thumb is that young adult audience intended are between the ages of 12-18 years old. Recent studies however have shown that 55% of young adult fiction purchased is bought by adults over the age of 18.
               Examples of Young Adult Fiction
                                 The Hunger Games Trilogy –Suszanne Collins
                                 The Delirium Trilogy – Lauren Oliver
                                 The Fault in our Stars – John Green
                                 Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen

New Adult; Deals primarily with protagonists between the ages of 18-25. Unlike Young Adult there is often considerably more descriptive sexual content, drug and alcohol use and more ‘real life’ issues. Despite having a genre, there are not many New Adult novels that are not contemporary, at least not that I’ve currently discovered. This is a highly HOT topic currently as it’s not clear if this is actually a clear genre, category or marketing scheme.
                   Examples of New Adult Fiction
                                      Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire
                                       Slammed – Colleen Hoover
                                       Easy – Tamara Webber
                                      Fallen too Far – Abbi Glines

                               

Book Review: Shades of Earth (Across the universe: Book 3)

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3)Image
Beth Revis
YA Science Fiction
Published: 2013
Publisher: RazorBill
5/5
*Please note, as this is the third novel and the trilogy is complete there will be spoilers, most definitely in regards to the first two books in the series. Please do not continue to read if spoilers will bother you

                Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh – to build a home – on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to expirance.
                But this new Earth isn’t the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. If they’re going to stay, they’re going to have to fight.
                Amy and Elder must race to uncover who – or what – is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed – friends, family, life on Earth – will have been for nothing.

                                                                                _____________________

                With the end of Shades of Earth who come to the end of the Across the universe trilogy. Beth Revis created a science fiction trilogy that was unlike any that I have ever had the privilege of reading before.  Now that the Across the universe trilogy is completed I feel kind of oddly sad about it, it’s like losing a friend, I was fairly certain I was going to be sad when the series finished, which is why I put off reading Shades of Earth for so long.
                There’s a few things I’d love to address in regards to this beautiful book. First of all I actually really enjoy the cover work for Shades of Earth, the moss and the plants growing over a spaceship (which is what I assume it is) was very intriguing to me, I believe it suited the book perfectly. For those who did not enjoy the cover change what kind of cover would you have preferred for Shades of Earth since it does take place on Centauri-Earth and not in space? I did not like the review quote stamped on the cover but obviously I don’t have any say in that.
                I thought the plot for the Across the Universe trilogy was fantastic from beginning to end. I really enjoyed learning more about Elder’s leadership skills when faced with the unknown on a planet that’s completely strange to him. His first view of the sky was pretty special, and I must say that I would agree that no matter what technology you have, or simulations or holograms, it is not possible to properly showcase something so naturally beautiful.
                I enjoyed all the new characters introduced in Shades of Earth, even the more villainous one. There were some obvious issues between the Earth-Born and the Ship-Born passengers, and it was interesting to see how that played out. The introduction of the ‘alien’ life forms was slightly predictable but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.
                Beth Revis did a fantastic job with the world building for this novel. I felt like I was there, I could see the sun’s the wind, the purple flowers, the birds she did a great job. It wasn’t overly descriptive either, which is my favorite form of world building because it allows you to take her building blocks and then add some of your own to the pile so that the world you’ve created is uniquely your own.  Beth Revis has impressed me quite a bit and has opened me up to the genre of Science Fiction which I will forever be thankful for.  I am looking forward to whatever book or series she comes up with next.

                Have you read the series? What did you think about it? Tell me in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you

                Be back soon with another review ❤