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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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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Book Review: Burial Rites

Burial RitesImage
Hannah Kent
Historical Fiction based on true events
Published: September 10th 2013
5/5

                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.
                Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Toti, a priest Anges has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’ death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
                Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

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                Burial Rites is based on the true life account of Agnes Magnusdottir the last person executed in Iceland on January 12th, 1830. She, and man named Friorik Sigurosson where charged for the murder of Nathan Ketilsson, and Petur Jonsson that took place on March 14th, 1828. They were executed by beheading.
                This was a fascinating and beautifully told story. Burial Rites is one of the best tales I’ve read in a few years. It is one of those novels that leave a mark on your soul; the story will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
                The writing was beautiful; I found myself becoming immersed in the language and haunting thoughts of Anges as she awaited her fate. I found her relatable; my heart was broken for her most of the story. I wished the book would end differently; despite knowing that it was based on a factual event.
                Anges was a great lead character. I really enjoyed reading about her life from childhood up until she ended up on the farm. By the end of the book I felt like I knew her personally, but not in a way that I found myself overwhelmed by information in regards to the development of the plot.
                I also ended up liking the family at the farm by the end of the book. It was beautiful to see them all come together. The courage and strength the lent Anges in the end was unfathomable in it’s greatness. Despite the coldness and perhaps even hatred they all felt towards her in the beginning, it was so lovely to see some of them turn around and offer her pity, understanding and compassion in the end.
                Overall I thought the book was well written and developed and though we don’t know how the actual events took place it was interesting to read one possible side to the story. I greatly recommend this book to my blog readers, I don’t think you’d regret it!
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Book Review: Plain Truth

Plain TruthImage
Jodie Picoult
Fiction, Crime
Published: November 1st, 2004
4/5

                The small town of Paradise, Pennsylvania, is a jewel in Lancaster country – known for its picture-postcard landscapes and bucolic lifestyle, but that peace is shattered by the discovery of a dead infant in the barn of a Amish farmer.
                A police investigation quickly leads to two startling disclosures: The newborn’s mother is an unmarried Amish woman, eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher and the infant did not die of natural causes. Although Katie denies the medical proof that she gave birth to the child, circumstantial evidence leads to her arrest for the murder of her own baby.
                One hundred miles away, Philadelphia defense attorney Ellie Hathaway has achieved an enviable, high-profile career, but her latest court victory has set the sands shifting beneath her. Single at thirty-nine and unsatisfied in her relationship, Ellie doesn’t look back when she turns down her chance to make partner and takes off for an open ended stay at her great-aunts home in Paradise.
                Fate brings her to Katie Fisher, Suddenly, Ellie sees the chance to defend a client that truly needs her, not just one who can afford her. But taking on this case challenges Ellie in more ways than one. She finds herself not only in a clash of wills with a client who does not want to be defended but also in a clash of cultures with a people whose channels of justice are markedly different from her own.
                Immersing herself in Katie Fisher’s life – and in a world founded on faith, humility, duty, and honesty – Ellie begins to understand the pressures and sacrifices of those who live plain. As she peels away the layers of fact and fantasy, Ellie calls on an old friend for guidance. Now, just as this man from Ellie’s past renters her life, she must uncover the truth about a complex case, a tragic loss, the bonds of love – and her own deepest fears and desires.
                Moving seamlessly from psychological drama to courtroom suspense, Plain truth is a triumph of contemporary storytelling.
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                Plain Truth is a thought provoking and intriguing read. Vastly original the ending will surprise you and you’ll either enjoy the deceptive plot twist or you’ll hate it. Fast paced and filled with colorful characters, Plain truth will grab your attention until the very last page and the very last sentence. The amount that Jodi Picoult must have put into studying the Amish culture had to have been enormous because everything fit together so seamlessly and seemed extremely believable. However, as she isn’t Amish I can only imagine that it was not completely correct.
                I really enjoy how Jodi Picoult takes cliché’s and twits them, giving them a new spin. You can almost guarantee that what you think is happening isn’t the truth. I really, really, love that about her writing, and Plain Truth doesn’t fail to deliver on my favorite aspect of Jodi Picoult’s writing.
                You can’t help but feeling for poor Katie Fisher, and the very real, and very ‘English’ problem that’s she has found herself faced with. You spend most of the book wondering what the heck is going on with her. She seems dazed and confused most of the book, spending time talking to a dead sibling and wondering alone in the night time often. She has her heart smashed open and is betrayed brutally by the last person you’d expect.
                Often times I found Ellie a little annoying, I did not enjoy her side romance at all and found it was a needless addition to the plot. However, like with most movies, most books need to have a romantic sub-plot line. It gives us something to root for.
                Thought the storyline shifted easily between the court-room and the dramatic events taking place outside in the main progressive part of the story line. Blended great and didn’t feel like an abrupt change.
                Really looking forward to reading my way through all of her books, and discovering different ways to look at things.

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Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep

Before I go to SleepImage
S.J. Watson
Adult, Crime thriller
published: June 14th, 2011
3/4

 

                Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man.
                She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.
                But it’s a phone call from Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge that directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet. For the past weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities – tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scenes from her former life – and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon. As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions. What was life like before the accident? Why did she and Ben never have a child? What has happened to Christine’s best friend? And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory?
                Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past and the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.
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                I’m not going to lie, I was one of those people who went into this book fearful it was going to be some strange re-write of fifty first dates because in all honestly it sounds a lot like fifty first dates. Before I go to Sleep however, is most assuredly NOT anything like fifty first dates and I kind of wish it was.
                “Before I Go to Sleep” was crazy, a whole big train of crazy. It was tantalizing and deliciously creepy. I honestly sat down on a beautiful sunny afternoon and devoured it. It’s a very easy read for the most part. The chapters mainly consist of her waking up and starting fresh again, which did drag on a big and did become quite daunting.
                There were a few aspects of the book that I didn’t enjoy and I think that it was mostly because this story was drawn out and in the end that made things rather predictable. In my opinion this would have made an awesome short story.
                I can give S.J. Watson big props for writing an original story however, at least it was to me. I’ve never read anything quite like it. The effort that was put into Christine’s life story was pretty intense. The Lies, the deception, the twists and turns were all fantastic and great, however there were a few moments that gave away the ending.
                Despite not having enjoyed this book a lot, it was a good read and I mostly enjoyed it. I don’t think it’s a book I’d ever read again, but if you like Crime Thrillers with an original story like I believe “Before I Go to Sleep.” Would make a great addition to your collection.Image

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
John GreenImage
Contemporary YA
Published: January 10th, 2012
4/5

                Diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumour in her lungs… for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends, and post-normalcy. Even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means) Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Agustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly, to her interested in Hazel. Being with Agustus is both an unexpected destination and a long needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and healthy, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

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                The Fault in our Stars by John Green has been raved about for what seems like eons now. As I’ve grown a bit older from when looking for Alaska was originally released (and that’s the year I first read it) I’ve found some of his other work has left me wanting. I find his characters have been replayed over again. The soft spoken geeky boy just trying to fall in love with the girl of his dreams. What I enjoyed in terms of fiction then and what I enjoy now has greatly changed, HOWEVER, the fault in our stars re-sparked my joy in reading John Green’s work.
                The Fault in our Stars is funny, honest, brutally harsh, and brilliantly heartbreaking. It wasn’t a cliché love story, it wasn’t a cliché anything really. It just was. I could spend time telling you what I’ve liked about the book, however if you’re reading this and you’ve already read it, stop here this review isn’t for you.
                This book review is for all the people who too scared to take the leap, this review is for the people who scoff at the very idea of reading something so trendy and so young. The Fault in our stars is a great work because it can be read by everyone and most everyone will be touched. It’s not a happy story, it will rip out your heartstrings and then stomp on them. This is a story about second chances, appreciating the time you do have and the people that are around you.
               I am a strong believer that people are put into our lives to shape and mold it, to change who we are and to help us grow and see our own potential by pushing us through all the battles of heartbreak, love, sorrow and joy.
                The Fault in our stars isn’t just a story about cancer, or just a story about a boy and a girl. The Fault in our Stars is about accepting what we cannot change, and how we move on from tragedy and grow.Image

Book Review: Wedding Night

Wedding NightImage
Sophia Kinsella
Chick-lit, Romance
Publish Date: April 23rd, 2013
4/5

                Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad – not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married… right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. Lottie, however, is determined to say “I do.” For better, or for worse.

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                Wedding Night is the first book by Sophia Kinsella that I’ve ever read completely through. I was delightfully surprised by the witty dialogue and her use of dual character chapters. I thought that both Lottie, and her sister Fliss had distinctive voices; which is something that is not always concrete in fiction. I believe that this type of writing style has grown on me greatly; I believe that ‘Wedding Night’ inspired me enough to believe that it is a possible plot progression point and that it adds value in terms of the story.
                I thought the heroines were both sweet and very honest in terms of their personalities. I definitely enjoyed Fliss’ character quite a bit more however, as I believe she was more grounded in reality and not desperate enough to eagerly reach other and grab whomever would help her attain the next chapter in her life. I thought that Lottie’s ideals of who she wanted to be were not relevant to how her life had turned out. I can however, identify with this quality as I believe when we’re all younger we have ideals that we’ve set in stone before there is any chance of knowing what the outcome might possibly be in reality.
                I really enjoyed Lorcan (despite thinking that this name is absolutely ridiculous) he had to grow on me however, much like Richard did, but in the end they were great supporting characters with believable personality traits and agreeable story lines. What I thought was mostly great about them was how completely and utterly human they were. I loved their flaws and they added so much in terms of the story, it made the romance and interactions more believable.
                I don’t read a lot of ‘chick-lit’ books anymore, and when I do I have some authors that I tend to stick too but ‘Wedding Night’ has allowed me to cautiously branch out and perhaps discover some more great writers and perhaps in the future I’ll even read a few more by Sophia Kinsella despite my initial reservations regarding her work.
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