[Book Talk] Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Howdy ya’ll! Today we’re reviewing
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ILLUMINAE BY AMIE KAUFMAN AND JAY KRISTOFF

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Where do I even start with this review? I couldn’t even make two coherent sentences when I talk about this book, but I shall try my best.

I definitely would recommend this to every single person I know, whether they’re a reader or not. I want to let this be known for all the people I know so I could share inside jokes from the book; so I could discuss with another human being; but most importantly to have someone to fangirl with. This is one of the books that will make you fall in love with it from cover to cover.

Physically, it’s 599 pages thick and it just makes the book all the more beautiful to hold and stare at. The cover designs of the book and what’s under it is absolutely mesmerizing. I stared at it for a good few minutes before I started reading it because – how can you NOT stare at that beauty?  And don’t even get me started on how much I loved how the pages had illustrations, and some pages were white, some were black. Add that to the already heaping reasons why this book is uniquely amazing.

Now on to the book itself: It is ingenuity in its finest. And since I suck at summarizing, let this Goodreads summary be of great help:

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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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I’m a sucker for any story featuring galactic travels and epic space adventures, which was the main premise of the book. While reading, I found myself connected with the characters even though the experience was strictly non-primordial (although I would have liked to travel through space, too – just not under those circumstances).

Character-wise, Kady’s attitude towards the situation in general is greatly admirable, makes me think I want to have the same determination and intelligence as her. She’s really clever and witty, as well as what I describe as a no nonsense person. Ezra, on the other hand, reminded me of Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. He’s not like the typical type of male leads you read from YA. He’s actually one of the closest male leads to real life. Like Kady, his determination is unfazed. That’s what I admire about him most. Together, I think they make a really cute couple and despite them being pictured as exes from the beginning of the book, I ship them.

I’ve never been to space (though I would definitely want to), but I found it easy to understand this world and see the setting of the book pretty clearly. I had goosebumps in the scenes where the *galactic* fight scenes were underway because they were so good –so engaging you simply could not put the book down. And to be honest, I’m not as familiar with binaries and other codes and all the computer coding technology slang, considering the whole technology stuff itself, but this book has a way of making you want to understand them. I actually find the aforementioned quite boring and easily outs me to sleep, but this book was infinitely far from lulling me to sleep – it was actually the opposite.

That being said, there isn’t a boring page in the book. I felt so many feels while reading this. I laughed, I cried, I was at the edge of my seat anticipating for the next thing to happen, and all that jazz.

5STARS

I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars. The action, the fantasy aspect, as well as the science fiction, and romance of the book was on point. I couldn’t have wanted it any other way. I do not want to overhype this book for you, but I can’t help myself. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do. 😉

What did you think of Illuminae? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.

Thanks for reading! Til the next post x

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[Backlist Revival Project]: Just for the Record by Six de los Reyes // Book review

Howdy y’all! Today’s post features yet another book brought to us by the Backlist Revival Project. I’ve joined this project since January and the awesome people behind these are Carmel and Mina Esguerra. Our book of the month is packed with thoughtful metaphors, a walk toward an unconventional type of love and is perfect for a cold, rainy day. It is:

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Just for the Record by Six de los Reyes

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Just for the record, the heat can get to even the most calculated of minds.

Let it be stated that Rhys loves Ryan forever and ever. But certain needs are not being met, leaving her frustrated and asking for too much than the conservative and almost-rock star, Ryan, is willing to give. Uncooperative (or cooperative, depending on your point of view) weather provides her an opportunity to ask not what she can do for her friends, but what a friend can do for her.

Isaiah likes to say that the best thing about Rhys is that he can stand in her breathing space and feel nothing. Something of a breather when dancing with Lia short circuits his entire operating system. But all his beliefs are challenged when Rhys chances upon him in a steamy practice room in the middle of a heat wave.

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Before anything else, let me just tell you how much I am in love with the cover of this book. *heart eyes* I honestly don’t know how long I stared at the cover before I actually started flipping the pages. Also, I think it speaks about the book in a way that the characters are represented by the splashes of colors: they may collide and may not be entirely the ordinary mix you see; they may seem messed up and strange together; but it works. Somehow it works.

Each chapter is named after natural conditions and phenomena such as Heavy Downpour, Isolated Thunderstorms, Sunshowers, and the like. These are what I think are the perfect kinds of metaphors you use to describe the ups and downs of a complicated social life (or life in general). Honestly, reading this wasn’t necessarily a walk in the park. I had a slow pace reading it in the beginning because I was wondering what was happening; what kind of situation our character was in. The complexity of the text, however, is one the primary reasons why I found this read to be such a beautiful one. Because the more you think about it, the heavier the meaning those words carry. It’s almost like a poetic narrative; the kind that will make you furrow your eyebrows together while reading, but make you find yourself wanting to love it, and eventually do.

An unconventional love story is what unfolds the more our characters collide. A tough girl on the outside but is broken on the inside crash lands on uncharted territory of a boy who closes off his feelings but is apparently ready to be there for her when he needs him. But there’s a catch. Both the boy and the girl have love interests of their own. They believe nothing is wrong since their relationship since it has no feelings attached — or does it?

For one of our main leads, Isaiah, it isn’t as complicated as people may think:

All she needed to do, was ask. Anytime, anywhere, he would be there for here. A special existence, just for her. A hero without being her true love.

But on the other end, we have Rhys saying

If I could hold back, then things wouldn’t be like this. Like…if I could just tell myself not to feel, or if I could just tell myself not to act on how I feel, then maybe it would be different.

Are they fighting a losing battle? Will the heart win in the end?

Just for the Record is one of the books that will capture your heart without you even knowing it. It urges you to see through its tangles and knots and unravel them and realize its deeper meaning.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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Need more? Here is one more quote from Just for the Record:

Was it a deadly affliction that had befallen them both? To emotionally invest in people who manifested a completely different set of expressions of affection — or that is, who lacked the ability to even express them in the first place. Why was it that you never get the attention you want from the people you want it from?

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Just for the Record is available on the following ebook stores:

BuqoAmazon

Contact Six de los Reyes

Twitter ♠  Facebook ♠  Wattpad   Goodreads

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Thank you for reading! Til the next post X

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[Backlist Revival Project] Cities by Carla de Guzman

Howdy y’all! This is my third month going into the Backlist Revival Project and the stories simply get better and better. For March, the project’s book of the month is:

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Cities by Carla de Guzman

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Instead of a goodreads summary, here is an excerpt from Cities:

Chapter 1: Dreams

 

The thing about dreams, there’s always something in the back of your mind that tells you that you’re dreaming. It’s like a subconscious warning signal, telling you not to get too involved, not to believe what you think you can see. In dreams, there’s a glow about the edges that you can’t place. Everything is wonderfully unreal. Dreams can end when you want them to.

I was trapped in a dream, a dream that felt like a memory.

There were no glowing edges, or subconscious warnings in my mind as I walked through it. The breeze was humid and real, my toes kicked against the warm rocks baking under the sun. It had to be a memory. I never came back to this place after graduation, no matter how much I had loved attending this school. In the harsh and scary real world, I was an adult with an adult job. Now…here I felt I was a young, naive little thing, still excited at the possibilities of life, still brave about love. That wasn’t who I was anymore, and that hadn’t been who I was in a long time.

 So what was I doing here?

I stood in the hallways between the parking lot and the Communications building, one of my favorite spots in my school. The sun spent its last moments by glowing brilliant and orange, casting its golden light on everything it touched. My skin prickled in the warmth and my heart fluttered. I turned my hand over and realized that I was holding a fresh white rose.

Oh. This was a memory. A particularly bad one that I had hoped to forget.

The school bells chimed in the distance, and my heart twisted in my ribcage. I tried to wake myself up and stop myself from remembering the horror of this moment, but the light kept me rooted to the spot.

He’s not coming, I told myself, like I was trying to keep my own heart from getting hurt. He didn’t come, remember? He never showed up. Wake up, Celia. Wake up!

I held my breath. You may not die in dreams, but in memories I wasn’t so sure. The world was still and he wasn’t coming.

As the last of the chimes faded away and the sun shed its last rays, a figure appeared at the end of the hall. The footsteps squeaked and drummed against the pavement as I gasped.

Is that…?

“Celia!” He exclaimed, catching his breath as he finally stopped in front of me, his own white rose in his hand. “Am I late?”

Wake up!!!

 

For the goodreads summary, kindly click here.

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I am not a big of a reader of contemporaries, however when I do get to read a good one, it would have been something that made me think, something I related to (either on a spiritual level or at least non-primordially), and a story I hold dear in my heart. I didn’t expect this, but Cities comes into my life checking all those aforementioned.

When I read the first few chapters, I thought “oh no, not another insta-love contemporary again.” I was worried that the book would go on that way. But boy, was I wrong. As I read on, I got to understand and see the concept and general idea of the story which was a love story exploring multiverses.

It definitely caught my attention and made me think how it was the perfect recipe for a good read. Contemporaries usually follow the obvious and cliche types of plots but Cities was pleasantly different and distinct. It also satisfyingly answered the common question usually raised by stories following this genre. The question of maybes and what ifs.

The beginning of the book described about the distinction between dreams and memories. At first I was a bit caught off guard how the storyline was like this for one moment and suddenly turned into that on the next. I had to pause and ask myself, is this scene happening in present time? Is this a dream, or a memory? But as I thought about it, there was a light bulb that just pinged to light in my mind. Oh, this is what happens in a parallel universe.

And in line with the idea of multiverses, the author narrated three different possible outcomes and futures of our characters — Celia, Ben, Vivian, and Henry. All of which showed the different positions and relationships the characters could have had but somehow lead to only one ultimate fate. Which brings me to another concept covered by the story: determinism. What I loved most about this, was how in all those universes, they would still have inevitably crossed paths with each other.

In the first part of the story, our main character, Celia, was going to be the maid of honor for her bestfriend, Vivian’s, wedding to her friend and former crush (and ex-*sort of* lover) Ben. All throughout the time, there was a thought that clouded over Celia. Looking at Ben, it made her think about where would she be if only she took that offer in Seoul? What if she was the one walking towards Ben on that aisle? What if she and Ben were supposed the couple that lived happily ever after? What was worst of was that we got to find out that if not for Celia, Vivian and Ben wouldn’t even be marrying each other in the first place. Ouch.

Good thing, her good ol’bestfriend Henry was there. Always by her side, ready to comfort her or make her laugh or just hang out. Or is it? 😉

So then started her dreams — or memories — or rather, a glimpse of multiverses. And let me tell ya, her journey towards finding herself– towards finding closure for her feelings– were soooooooo good. Everything just came clicking into place and you got to read conclusions and closures and it was so well-written that I wouldn’t have wanted it to be told any other way.

As much as I would  like to tell you everything that went down, I don’t want to spoil you. It’s quite seldom that I get this excited to discuss a contemporary though so please, please, if you haven’t read this yet, go get a copy so we could discuss its wonder together. Okay? Okay.

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So with all that’s said and done, you could probably guess by now that I absolutely loved reading this book. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carla de Guzman started out like any writer, sitting in front of her dial-up Internet computer and discovering fanfiction. Riddled with sleep apnea and a vivid imagination, she started writing every midnight.

she still reads good fics obsessively, writes fanfiction secretly and still loves the idea of finding good fics.

she, her parents and nine crazy siblings love to travel together, eat together, and watercolor together, so she could say she’s pretty happy.

LINKS:

Website // E-mail // Tumblr // Facebook

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Thanks for reading! Til the next post. x

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[Fanboy Book Club] BOOK TALK: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Howdy y’all! As I told you in one of my posts earlier this month, I am a part of this awesome book club whose proprietor is Bianca @ notoriouslaylow. This is also co-hosted by other awesome bloggers namely MC @ blameitonthebooks; Nicka @ readbynicka; Trisha @ thebookgasmblog  and yours truly.

This month marks the club’s official start and our first Book of the Month is one heck of a book indeed. It is also what we are reviewing for today. It’s none other than

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HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE BY J.K. ROWLING

 

I’m going to pretend most of you aren’t basically experts on the awesomeness that is Harry Potter so here’s a summary:

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Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.

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DISCLAIMER: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS

Before anything, I don’t know how I can truly and eloquently justify how much I loved reading the book, but I shall try.

In all honesty, I am no stranger to the Harry Potter movies but this was my first time reading the book. Yep, you’ve read it right. I’m one of those few who haven’t read this series yet, which is why I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get it started.

Well, I finally did it, and what I could say is that it was a joy to read. It was very light and easy, and there were several parts that made me laugh and chuckle and of course some parts that frustrated me with the unfairness of Harry’s life and all. I can also say that it is one of the best starter books I have read; no wonder it became such a big hit and no wonder why the hype is still as strong as it is today.

In terms of visualization of the characters and the setting, I didn’t experience any difficulty, having watched the movies first before I picked up Sorcerer’s Stone. I loved how the movie portrayed the characters as close to the book as possible and how Hogwarts in general was perfectly exhibited – from the grandiose Great Hall to the simplicity and the coziness the common room brings. It was easy to lose yourself in the pages as if you were in the scene that Rowling wrote.

Something that stood out to me the most while reading the book was the premise of friendship and the kind of familial love you still receive even from those beyond your bloodline. I empathized for Harry and kind of related to how ignored he felt sometimes but he never lets this bring him down. I liked that about him. As this club emphasizes male leads, I felt that this particular male leads sets a great example for Muggles *oh, sorry,* readers like me, in terms of rising to the occasion – numerous occasions, in fact.

In the book, he was found at the doorstep of the Dursley’s house one night and they have adapted him ever since. For ten years, Harry lived with them, having the cupboard under the stairs as his room, having Dudley’s, the Dursley’s son, old clothes as his, not to mention being bullied in school for it. But he didn’t act like someone you would pity. He didn’t cry and sulk of the miserable things and people surrounding him. That, for me, already says a lot. It sets quite an inspiration for people who were bullied or lived an unhappy [childhood] life.

The character that I connected the most was not Harry, though. It was Ronald Weasley. Personally, he’s the type of person you’d notice, but not entirely conspicuous kind. He’s always ready to help his friends and is brave enough to fight for them when situations get tough. The fact that most of his things have a great tendency to be hand-me-downs are just another  thing to add to the list of the things I can relate with this fellow. And as one of the male leads in this story, he also sets a great example and influence to those who have the privilege of getting to know him.

I particularly liked the twist at the end; how certain characters have been the epitome of deception. You would never have thought that Professor Snape wasn’t really out to get Harry, but quite the opposite. Throughout the book, several instances appeared as though he were trying to sabotage Harry’s Hogwarts student life and get him kicked out of there as soon as possible. The bigger shock was how one stuttering Professor Quirell didn’t seem to be the coward he pretended to be. You would never know between those stutters and that absurd turban that a Dark Lord would ever choose him to carry his wicked endeavors.

Over-all, I had fun reading this and by the end of the book, I found myself wishing that I would be a student at Hogwarts, myself. Even if I am technically a muggle, I refuse to think so and would prefer I’d be someone like Hermione, perhaps? Wouldn’t it be cool to receive a letter from owls and just go through life with the power of magic? Or when you want to contact a person, wouldn’t it be more fun saying “send me an owl” rather than “here’s my e-mail”? Man, oh man. Let me pick the next book up and take me back to Hogwarts.

45stars

 

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What do YOU think about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading! Til the next post. X

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