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!

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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Book Review: Magic Knight Rayearth Omnibus 1 & 2

Magic Knight Rayearth 1 & 2Image
CLAMP
Shojo Manga
Published: 1993-1995
4/5

                Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, Fuu Hououji are on a field trip to the Tokyo Tower with their respective schools. The girls are blinded by a flash of light and hear a voice calling for the Legendary Magic Knights to save Cephiro. They fall through the sky into another world, Cephiro. Once there, they meet Master Mage Clef. Clef explains, “In Cephiro, one’s will has the ability to change reality for better or worse. The dark fears in people’s hearts become monsters, while a well-intended wish can do miracles. One person, the Pillar, whose will is stronger than anyone else’s, is responsible for maintaining through her prayers the well-being of Cephiro.” In the first story arc, the current Pillar, Princess Emeraude, has been captured by her high priest, Zagato. The three girls are charged with the task of saving the Princess. Magic Knight Rayearth follows Hikaru, Fuu and Umi along with their friendly sidekick, Mokona, on their quest to save the mystical planet of Cephiro.

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                Hikarua, Umi, and Fuu are all from different walks of life and all attend different middle schools, however one fateful day each of their respective schools and classes take a school trip to Tokyo Tower where they are suddenly blinded by a great flash of light and a voice calling for the Legendary Magic Knights to save Cephiro.
              Once the girls are transported to Cephiro they find themselves falling through the sky and somehow they land on a giant flying fish that takes them safely to land where they meet the Master Mage whose name is Clef.
                Clef explains to Hikarua, Umi, and Fuu how the world of Cephiro works, how one’s ‘will’ has the ability to change the reality and even the landscape of the world forever, and that it can be changed for the greater good, or it could be used selfishly for dark intentions.
                The Pillar whose will is stronger than anyone else’s and who is responsible for maintaining through her prayers the well-being of Cephiro, however she has been compromised and has been taken captive and it’s up to the Magic Knights to save her and restore peace to the planet Cephiro.
                This is a fantastical tale, it moves very quickly and your attention is definitely needed for every page and picture screen otherwise it would be easy to miss information and quickly become confused. I think this series had a lot of offer and I found it very disappointing that it didn’t have more details than what was given to the reader; there are a lot of unanswered questions and plot holes that could have been easily resolved with even one more omnibus I believe. There were also some fillers that I found were unneeded as the story progressed so quickly and it would have been considerably more enjoyable to have solid story line instead.
                The artwork contained in this series is beautiful and  your mouth will water in your  desire for more. You’ll not be disappointed with a single panel.  I really wish this series had continued on for longer so I could have continued to be immersed in the strange and lovely world of Cephiro.
                Magic Knight Rayearth is one of my favourite Manga’s that I’ve read so far, and it’s a story from my childhood that I’ll treasure for a long time.
                What’s your favourite manga series? Would you recommend it to me, if so, why?

Recommend reads of 2013

             This year I’ve read about 113 novels and they were all from a variety of genres. I’ve personally learnt a lot about my reading style and the books that I actually do enjoy and have discovered some interesting things, but perhaps I’ll do a separate post on that later.
            So without further ado, these are the books or series I’ve read this year that I recommend highly to you. Please click on the title to learn more information about each posting ❤

1. Across the Universe Series – Beth Revis (Young adult Science Fiction)
2. Easy – Tamara Webber (New Adult Contemporary Romance)
3. Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols (Young Adult Contemporary Romance)
4. Warm Bodies – Issac Marion (Adult Zombie Fantasy)
5.  The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss (Adult Fantasy)
6. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness (Young Adult fantasy)
7. Omens – Kelly Armstrong (Adult Paranormal)
8. Magic Knight Rayearth – Clamp (Manga)
9. Tiger Lily – Jodi Lynn Andersen (YA Fantasy)
10. The Witch’s Daughter – Paula Brackston (Adult Paranormal/fantasy/Historical)
11. The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker  (Adult Historical Fantasy)
12. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (Adult Science Fiction)
13. Pride and Prejudice –Jane Austen

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