BOOK REVIEW: Gemina (Illuminae Files 2) by Aime Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Hi everyone!

I just finished Gemina and I wanted to write up my review. This has not been a very productive reading year for me so far, but I plan to change that!

*This will be a spoiler free review, BUT if you haven’t read Illuminae yet, I highly advise reading that before reading this review, just in case I unintentionally spoil something from the first book.*


Gemina
The Illuminae Files #2
659 pages
Published: October 18, 2016
Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Synopsis

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Review

So, I’m normally a bit pessimistic when it comes to second books in triologies when the first book blows my fricken mind (Illuminae blew me away, read my review here.) I feel like, sometimes second books fall pray to being bridge books for the first and last, and never really have a strong plot or likable characters. This isn’t the case with Gemina.

The layout of this book is similar to Illuminae. It’s written as a collection of emails, chat logs, security footage, etc. It’s so unique and visually appealing, and it provides a really interesting reading experience on its own. I listened to the audiobook while reading along, and I really recommend you do too. The audiobooks for Illuminae and Gemina were so well done – sound effects, unique voices for each character, and so much more. I was really immersed while reading, and it was easy to feel like I was there.

Gemina has two new main characters, Hanna and Nik. At first, it was a bit difficult to warm up to them because I loved Kady and Ezra from Illuminae so much. Once I gave them a shot, I loved Hanna and Nik. Their relationship was much different than Kady and Ezra’s and I loved their dynamic together. Hanna and Nik are both very wity and smart, and I love when two people start off annoyed with each other and build their relationship up to something so meaningful.

Without spoil anything, Aiden is my favorite character so far.

The dialogue in this book is really interesting and it feels real. The characters use a lot of abriveations and “text speech” because they are normally communicating through chat systems. It’s not difficult to understand, it’s just really awesome world building.

I loved the concept and science behind this plot because it seemed to make sense. While some of the lingo seemed over my head, in the end, I understood exactly what was going on and it seemed plausible. Sometimes, sci-fi can feel a bit stretched, but this just didn’t.

This book is full of twists and turns, and just when you think you have it figured out, Gemina blows your mind again.

Wrap-Up

I love Gemina as much, if not more than, Illuminae. I can’t believe I let it sit on my shelf as long as I did. The third book, Obsidio, is already out and I’m probably starting that as soon as I post this blog. 😊

Rating

5/5☆

Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.


What did you think of Gemina? Let me know in the comments.

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The Intimidating TBR Tag

Hi everyone!

Happy weekend. It’s been a crazy week, but hubby and I took Monday off, so I’m excited to have a three day weekend.

I haven’t done a tag in a while, and thought this would be fun. I found this one here. As usual, if you’d like to do the tag, go for it! Let me know so I can read your answers. 😊


1. A book on your TBR pile that you haven’t finished.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. I’m about half way through, but I recently agreed to read and review a couple of books, so I put this one on the back burner so I could focus. I have one more to read and review, and then I’ll be back to this one.

2. A book you just haven’t had the time to read for.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. I’m so mad I haven’t finished this one. I loved the first two, and I can’t wait to find out the end, but I just haven’t had time.

3. A book you haven’t read because it’s a sequel.

I will choose Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo for this one. I’m definitely getting there. I need to write my Six of Crows review.

4. A book you haven’t read because it’s brand new.

I’m going to say Origin by Dan Brown. It’s the newest book on my shelf, so I’m going with it.

5. A book by and author you read previously but didn’t really like.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I’m not really a fan of Divergent, so I’m not sure how much time I really want to dedicate to the other books.

6. A book on your TBR pile that you’re just not in the mood to read.

I guess for this I will go with Gone by Michael Grant. I bought it at a used bookstore, and now I’m just not that excited to read it. I’ll probably read it someday.

7. A book on your TBR pile that you haven’t read because it’s enormous.

I’m really disappointed to say Gemina by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. However, I’ve been listening to the audio book to and from work, and on lunch break, so I’m making time. It’s so good, but it’s also big. Haha.

8. A book on your TBR you bought because of the cover.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I really didn’t need to read the blurb, I just wanted the pretty cover. Haha.

9. The book on your TBR you find the most intimidating.

Creation Basics & Beyond by Various authors at ICR. This one is a science book, and while I’m not really great at science, I really want to dig into it. It’s just intimidating. I’ve read a bit of it, but it takes time for my brain to process in the info.


That’s all I have for you today. What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoy your weekend!

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BOOK REVIEW: The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

Hi everyone!

I was chosen to be an ARC reviewer of Jenna Moreci’s newest novel, The Savior’s Champion (releasing April 24th). I’m super pumped to finally review this one. Enjoy! 😊

*This will be a spoiler free review*


Title: The Savior’sChampion
Author: Jenna Moreci
Release Date: 4/24/18
Genre: Romantic Fantasy Adventure
Catagory: Adult

Synopsis:

Tobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the Ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.

Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting–and killing–for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.

Review:

I was really blown away when I finished reading The Savior’s Champion. It has just enough of everything you’d want in a Romantic Fantasy Adventure. There is this tension that grips you from the first sentence and holds you through the entire novel, only breaking for moments of the tender and beautiful romance, interlaced through the book. I read the majority of this 500 something page book in one day. I could not put it down.

TSC opens with a prologue that left my heart racing and my mind spinning. I know people have mixed feelings about prologues, but this is one that doesn’t info dump, and is still able to set the story up and introduce us to the world. We learn quite a bit about how the world works.

The world building of TSC is incredible. It is interwoven throughout the chapters, mixed in with dialogue, and never slows the plot down. Jenna is able to paint a vivid picture of the world without ever info dumping. It’s such a refreshing thing to read, because sometimes fantasy novels fall prey to this.

Speaking of characters and dialogue, TSC is filled with amazing characters who are all distinct. While this story is told in deep, 3rd person, we are still able to learn so much about all of the other characters in the novel (and there are a lot!). Jenna is a master at developing sound, distinct characters that never feel cookie cutter. The dialogue really helps give us a clear picture of the characters, along with helping build the world of TSC.

The tournament itself was crafter amazingly and kept me guessing the entire time. Jenna has an insane ability to write very intense, thrilling – and sometimes super bloody scenes. The tournament is not for the faint of heart, and Jenna wastes no time revealing that. I felt myself holding my breath during some scenes because they were just so vivid and intense. I loved everything about it.

The romance in this novel is also something I’d like to touch on. There is nothing “instant” or cheap about this romance. It is developed through the entire book, and it is such a healthy and exciting romance to read about. Tobias and his love interest develop feelings over time, and it feels real. There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t shipping them.

The last aspect I’d like to touch on is the main character, Tobias. What an incredible lead. He is intelligent and strong, and he was a refreshing character to read. Of course, he’s clearly a hottie, but he has depth that many MCs lack in books I’ve been reading. I truly enjoyed reading his story and I’m a fan!

Wrap-Up

I could go on and on about this book, but I’d have to head into spoiler territory and I promised I wouldn’t do that. You will just have to trust me, this book is amazing. From the writing to the characters, TSC has everything I was hoping it would and more.

Rating:

5/5☆


**Presale Giveaway!!**

Everyone who pre-orders a copy of The Savior’s Champion can enter the giveaway! Each participant will receive the first five chapters. There are a ton of other prizes to be had. Pre-order TSC and enter the give away here!

Buy TSC! (Available in Ebook and Hardback):

Amazon|Amazon UK|Amazon CA|Nook|Kobo


Learn More About Jenna Moreci:

Jenna Moreci is a Silicon Valley native and YouTube sensation, dominating the authortube communities with her straightforward and hilarous writing channel. A lifelong storyteller, Jenna specializes in crafting thrilling adventures with heaping doses of bloodshed and romance.

When she’s not writing or ‘tubing, Jenna enjoys angry music, potent wine, and laughing until her face hurts with her goofball fiance.

Follow Jenna:

Website|YouTube|Instagram|Twitter|Facebook|Tumblr|GoodReads


I really hope you’ll consider pre-ordering this one, it is definitely worth the money. Can’t wait to hold the hardcover in my hands in April!

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Progress is Not Failure

Hi everyone!

November is NaNoWriMo, I was pumped at the beginning of the month, because I had a plan to finish Alter Reach and start editing. Clearly, that plan fell through. While I had all the time in the world to write, I spent the majority of my days on the couch (or at the doctors).

Tomorrow is the last day, and there isn’t even a slight chance that I will hit 50,000 words. A year ago, I would have called this a failure and been super hard on myself, but I have been trying (and succeeding) to change my mindset.

I wrote words. It might not have been a lot of words, and it definitely wasn’t the amount I was hoping for, but given the circumstances, I still made progress. And progress isn’t failure. It’s…well, progress.

Alter Reach is closer to being a complete draft today, than it was on November 1st and I can’t complain about that. All I can do is try to feel better and get writing on a regular basis again.

So, if you’re not quite reaching your goals this month (whatever they may be), don’t sell yourself short. Progress is a good thing and it should be celebrated. Don’t let that little part of your brain start screaming, “failure,” because it isn’t.


I hope you’ve made progress toward whatever goals you may have.

I have another test scheduled for Friday. Hoping to get some answers and start feeling better soon. I will update again soon. 😊

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Giving Thanks – Book Tag

Hi everyone! I wanted to do this tag now because I won’t be posting tomorrow or Thursday.

I’m still feeling completely awful, so I’m still home. Today and tomorrow, I am going to write all day.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be winning NaNoWriMo this year, but I’m immensely impressed with what I was able to accomplish while feeling so terrible.

Thanksgiving Day is always crazy and I will be sure to do a blog post on that, Friday.

Today, I wanted to do a Thanksgiving themed tag, which I found here. As always, I tag you if you d like to play along.


Giving Thanks Book Tag

Name a book that made you thankful you live in your world and not the book’s world.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Definitely not a world I would want to live in. The districts, poor and unhealthy…the Capital, naive and obnoxious…and, I would be the first to die in the Games.

Give thanks to a book that changed your perspective.

My Story by Elizabeth Smart. I very rarely pick up biographies and this one had reviews ranging from 1 star to 5. I went to a Woman’s conference with a group from work, and Elizabeth Smart was the speaker. After hearing her describe some of what happened to her, I immediately bought the book. While the writing isn’t the best, the story is heart-wrenching and inspiring all at once.

What character would you be thankful for if they were your significant other?

I’m cheating. Damon from The Vampire Diaries TV show. I haven’t read the books, but he’s always my answer. I know, he’s a pretty messed up character but the change he goes through during the entire story is so significant that I can’t help but love him.

What character would you say, “thanks but not thanks” to?

Akiva from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I’m just…meh…about him. It isn’t that he’s a bad character or boring, he is just not my favorite.

Name a book that made you laugh out loud?

I don’t read a ton of comedic novels, however some of the banter in Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci is hysterical. Specifically, Madison, Hayden and Heather with their “Mean Girls” attitudes.

Name a book that made you incredibly angry.

I’ve mentioned this before. I try very hard not to get angry with books (unless the reason it sucks is the atrocious writing). However, in school, we were forced to read The Butterfly Revolution by William Buttler… I threw the book across the room. The kids made decisions that just made me want to jump into the book and strangle them. 😲

Name one thing you are thankful for in the wordpress community.

Meeting people who are like minded. I love getting to know people who love to read and write as much as I do. It’s so fun to share our opinions, even when they differ. 😊


That’s all I have for you today. If you do the tag, let me know, so I can read your answers.

From my family to yours, have a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving!! 🦃

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Halloween Book Tag

HAPPY (ALMOST) HALLOWEEN! 👻

Before we get started, I just wanted to say thank you so much for the support! You guys are great. If you haven’t already, click here to enter my 100 Followers Giveaway for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

I love this time of year. I was going to wait until tomorrow to post this, but I couldn’t, so in honor of Halloween, I wanted to do a fun tag. I found this one here.

Stay tuned to the end of this post for a photo of my Halloween costume (I didn’t get the best photos from the Halloween party I went to the other night, but you’ll get the idea.)


Favorite Horror Book? 

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I’ve loved every Stephen King book I’ve read, but something about Salem’s Lot stuck with me. 

Scariest moment in a book you’ve read?

I don’t really want to spoil, and I can’t say this is the absolute scariest moment, but there was a scene in The Call by Peadar O’Guilin that made me turn the light on.

Have you dressed up as a book character for Halloween?

No. I tried to be Lara Croft from Tomb Raider once and ended up looking like a mix of Katniss from the Hunger Games and an unknown character from the Walking Dead. Last year, I dressed up as a book nerd though. That was cool.

What do you think your favorite fictional character would dress up as for Halloween?

Good question. Damon from the Vampire Diaries would probably go out as himself, and no one would question it.

What is your favorite type of horror (gore, psychological, etc.)?

I want a good story, and I want to be scared. I’m not a huge gore fan – I find movies like Saw to be unbearable, so you won’t find me watching the new Jigsaw movie. But, as long as there isn’t ridiculous amounts of gore, I’m in.

Recommend some Halloween Reads!

Anything Stephen King. The Call by Peadar O’Guilin is pretty fun so far.


Per usual, I tag anyone who wants to do the tag. Just let me know you did it, so I can read your responses!

Here’s my costume (I might wear this to work tomorrow!):

I love orange, and if I didn’t have a day job, I might just actually do this to my hair. Haha! The rest of the costume wasn’t pictured very well, so I won’t share the photos… but it was a black shirt, orange tutu, black and orange stockings and orange shoes. 😁

Are you dressing up? What will your costume be?

Thank you again for the support. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway. 😊

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Writing Rituals Tag

Happy Friday! 😎

Quick, fun writing tag because I haven’t done one in a while. As always, I tag anyone who wants to participate. Just let me know in the comments so I can ready your response.


Writing Rituals Tag

When do you write? (Time of day, day of week)

Mostly in the afternoon, after work. I try to write something every day, except on Sunday.

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

It’s difficult in an apartment, but I have my own corner in the living room with a desk. I just have to force myself to stay off Twitter.

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

I have a bad habit of editing as I go, so I’m constantly reading what I wrote and changing things. It’s why my process is slower than I’d like.

What song is your go to when you’re feeling uninspired?

I listen to a lot of instrumental music when writing. Songs with lyrics distract me. I don’t have a particular song that gets me out of a writing slump though.

What do you do when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

I step away and read a book or watch a tv show/movie.

What tools do you use when writing?

I have a couple go-to books that help when I’m struggling to find words. I have the emotions thesaurus and a book with writing prompts.

What is one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

Chocolate.

How do you fuel yourself when writing?

Chocolate. 😎

How do you know when you’re done writing?

I don’t really have an answer for this question. I’m finished writing when I’m finished. It’s not the same every night.


That’s all I have for you today. What are your weekend plans?

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Updates!

Hi there, Happy Thursday! I can’t believe October is almost over. It also hasn’t snowed here in NY yet, so I am pleased.

NaNoWriMo is almost here and I’m excited to be challenging myself again. I am not writing anything new, however. This time, my goal is to finish Alter Reach completely so that I can move on to editing. My goal is to have it out sometime mid-2018. *Fingers crossed*

I am very honored and excited to announce that I will be part of a Blog Tour for Watching Glass Shatter by James Cudney! The book is fantastic, definitely pick it up on Amazon. My stop is 11/14, but make sure you check out all the blogs on the tour.

Last, but not least, I am close to 100 followers on this blog. I honestly never expected to get one, so I am beyond excited about it. As soon as I hit 100 followers, I am going to run a giveaway, with a few prizes. Hopefully, the next time I hold a giveaway, the prize will be a copy of Alter Reach, but for now, I have a few fun surprises in store. Stay tuned. 😊


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September TBR Wrap Up & October TBR

Happy October! September flew and I kind of failed…okay, failed miserably at my TBR challenge. 🙈 No excuses, it is what it is. I still wanted to do a wrap up and I plan to dominate October. So, let’s do this 😁

September TBR Wrap-Up

Days of Blood and Starlight – Read. You can read my review here.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters – Read, still need to review.

Passengers – Started.

Six of Crows – Not started.


October TBR goals:

The Call – Peadar O’Guilin

172 Hours on the Moon– Johan Harstad

Nightfall – Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Bonus:

Review Dreams of Gods & Monsters (this will definitely happen).

Finish Passengers & Six of Crows (This might happen 😂).


Hopefully this month will be more successful than last. If so, I will review each book upon completion and do a wrap up at the end of the month on my success. Let me know what your October reading plans are.

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Artificial Intelligence – Movie Review

Hello there! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. It went by too quickly, per usual.

Tonight, I wanted to review a movie that I have claimed to be my second favorite movie of all time (coming in very close to The Wizard of Oz). Artificial Intelligence. I remember the first time I watched it, and fell in love with it. I’ve seen it more times than I can count and I never get tired of it.

I figured it was time to review it on my page. I bet you can guess the rating I will be giving it, but that’s okay.

As usual, I will try not to spoil, but watch the movie first. It’s so worth it.

Synopsis (Taken from IMDB):

A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become “real” so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

Review:

This movie is very similar to the story of Pinocchio. David (Haley Joel Osment) is an android who by all accounts looks human. Unlike other androids shown in the film, David is the most advanced “mecha” of the Cybertronics Corporation.

David has been programmed to love. Once activated with a code, he will love his activator infinitely. In David’s case, his activator is his Mommy, Monica (Frances O’Connor) who is grieving a sick child when her husband Henry (Sam Robards) brings him home to help fill the gap.

I can never go to sleep. But I can lay quietly and not make a peep.

Of course, this fairytale does not last long, because the sick boy, Martin (Jake Thomas) wakes and all goes downhill from here. While trying very hard to be like Martin, David makes mistakes that finally bring Monica and Henry to the decision of getting rid of David.

Instead of returning David to Cybertronics, where he would be stripped and rewired, Monica abandons David in the woods believing she is protecting him. In a way, her activating his love, activated hers as well.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the world.

This is just the first act of the film, but I want to pause to discuss it a bit. Haley Joel Osment is incredible. At such a young age, he was able to really take you on a rollercoaster. His mix of “real” and “artifical,” blend so seamlessly sometimes, you forget he is supposed to be robot. I’m very impressed by his performance, and it really pulls this entire film together.

The first act causes you to wonder what you would do if you were in Monica and Henry’s position. If your child was in a coma, would you bring an A.I. into your life to fill the void? Is that really the best way to grieve? Is it ethical?

The second act of the film is the more visually exciting part. We are shown an interesting world where free range mechas have no rights and are constantly in fear of being captured and put into a Flesh Fair (an event where humans cheer as mechas are grotesquely destroyed in various ways) or taken back to Cybertronics.

The city is very bright and clearly an exciting night life. It’s futuristic but also very familiar which keeps this movie realistic and relatable.

This is where we meet Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a mecha programmed to be an expert lover. Another fantastic performance. While David feels very real and human, Gigolo Joe does not. He is feels very mecha…from his dialogue to his mechanical facial features and unmoving hair. But, you still grow an attachment to his character and it’s interesting to see how he develops throughout the story.

We are the guiltless pleasures of the lonely human being.

It is also in this part of the film where David recruits Gigolo Joe to help him find the Blue Fairy who can make him a real boy so Mommy can love him. The rest of the film is dedicated to that mission.

How can the Blue Fairy… make… a robot… into a real live boy?

This film is a rollercoaster as I said earlier. There are some comical scenes, but for the most part, the mood is very somber. You, as a viewer are aware that the Blue Fairy probably can’t make David real, but you spend the entire movie hoping it will happen.

Human beings have created a million explanations of the meaning of life… in art, in poetry, and mathematical formulas. Certainly, human beings must be the key to the meaning of existence.

The film is long, 2.5 hours, and it is not an action movie. If you go in expecting car chases, you will be sorely disappointed. This is a slow burn of emotions and it’s a much more thought provoking movie than it is a high action movie. It presents a lot of questions about love, human nature, and morality and gives you a lot to digest after the first viewing. It’s definitely a worthwhile film to watch a few times.

Wrap Up:

As I said before, this ranks at number two for my favorite movie of all time. I could watch it, and have watched it over and over. The acting is phenomenal and I’m blown away by the thought provoking story that never dulls. I highly recomend this fim!

Rating:

5/5 ☆


Have you seen Artificial Intelligence? What did you think?

I hope you have a great week. I will talk to you soon.

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