Science Fiction Summer Readathon TBR

So it’s been awhile since I participated in a Readathon, because I did so badly on the Tome Topple Readathon during April, I just decided to take a few weeks off from everything readathon. Anyways, I’m back now and with a NEW readathon and its the Science Fiction Summer Readathon hosted by Seasons Reading.

The Readathon is from June 1-7, it’s a bit weird that it begins in the middle of the week, but that’s ok, at least its the beginning of the month. The time also follow 12am CDT so that will be 1am EST for me. So basically its time specific. This is a Science Fiction genre only readathon, but I think the host also allows Fantasy novels to count, since they do sometimes come hand in hand. There is also a social media hashtag for those who wants to tag anything related to the readathon. #SciFiSummerJune

Anyways, here is my TBR for the Readathon. I really wanted to veer away from fantasy novels and focus on sci-fi books, but at the same time I wanted to use only books that I actually own. So here are the three books that strictly Science Fiction on my TBR shelf.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed in being able to read at least two of these three books. I would be very surprised if I will be able to do so, but still hoping.

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

illuminae

Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Rating: 3.5/5
Protagonist: Ezra, Kady Grant
Other Character(s): Media format of the book introduced a lot of different characters that wasn’t pertinent to the core of the story.

Synopsis: After Kady and Ezra’s planet was attacked by a rival mega corporation, they are submitted into living in two different massive airships. There they stumble on secrets and conspiracies that make them question the ship’s AI program.

Review: I’ve actually had this book on my TBR list for quite awhile now, but never got around to reading it, either I wasn’t in the mood for sci-fi or I wasn’t interested in picking up a ginormous book. Interestingly enough, I was part of a readathon a couple of months ago, #TomeTopple, and this was one of the books I picked for the challenge. I had some rough patches throughout the book, but eventually was able to power through and in the end I actually enjoyed reading it. It really was difficult for me to get used to the different media format.

Besides the format of the book there really wasn’t any major concern that I have with Illuminae. I think my greatest disappointment, is the hype surrounding the book. I had such high expectations, which unfortunately wasn’t met. I really enjoyed the Starbound trilogy, written by Kaufman, and I thought the two books would have a similar structure. Although, there were similarities, I found that the different media format made it difficult for me to fully immerse myself in the story. I found it choppy and it took awhile for me to become connected to the main protagonists. I’m really not a big fan of Kady, since I think she was written as if her feelings for Ezra are not sincere. The huge ordeal that has happened to them tainted my feelings for her. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Ezra’s character. I found him to be hilarious and really adorable. I love his various interactions with the different people on his ship, and the events that happened in the locked bay room almost broke my heart.

Now i know it seems as if I didn’t like anything about the book. Not necessarily. I actually really enjoyed the ending. No, that’s not me being sarcastic. There was so many twist and turns during the last half of the book and I wasn’t sure on what the outcome would have been. Therefore, the actual ending of the book was quite interesting. I’m glad it ended the way it ended and it made me want to read the next book ASAP.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: As I said before the ending is what made me enjoy this book and I feel that the revelation that is revealed in the end is important, therefore, I won’t go into details.

I have to say though, AI is not the enemy.

Alive by Scott Sigler

alive

Author: Scott Sigler
Rating: 3.5/5
Protagonist: Savage
Other Character(s): O’Malley Bishop, Spingate, Bello, Aramsovky, El-Saffani, Latu, Gaston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: What will you do if you wake up in the dark, immobile and alone? Will you wait for help or fight your way through? This is the story of a group of young men and women who woke up and their fight for survival.

Review: I haven’t been in mood to write reviews lately, they’re very tedious and so grueling to write especially since it’s been awhile since I’ve read it, but I think they’re the most important part of being a book blogger since it does allow me to recommend great books to book lovers, plus its a great way to advertise great writers!

Since I’ve just read this book and it’s pretty much fresh from my mind I decided to write a simple and honest review. Now it’s no secret that I’m part of a Goodreads group and one of our challenges this year is to read ‘hidden gems’. Basically, instead of having a monthly read that is held by vote, 12 volunteers are picked to recommend a book that is not overly popular/mainstream and the group will read that for the said month. For August we were recommended to read Alive by Scott Sigler. Now usually before I get into any book that I haven’t heard a lot about I try to do as much research on it as I can: read reviews, check out the author, etc. For this one, however, I just decided to get into it with a blind eye and I’m really glad that I did. When reading this title I was very certain this was going to be a post-apocalyptic novel, to my surprise it wasn’t. Yes, dystopian is part of the sci-fi genre, but I would not have suspected this to be more on the science-fiction theme. I’m not complaining though. I have nothing against sci-fi novels, I was just taken aback. I’m not really sure how much I want to reveal of the story because it was the mysterious aspect of the book that made me keep on reading.

In all honesty I had a rocky start with this book. I had a huge problem with the characters and their portrayal. I felt that for their ‘age’ it wasn’t realistic enough. I understand that there needed to be some type of dependence that needed to happen for story purposes, but I feel that Sigler didn’t really capture the younger ‘age’ of his characters. I also had problems with the main character. Usually I’m the type of reader who enjoys a tough, kick-ass female heroine, but for me Em was too dull. She acted on behalf of her people, but she was too predictable. She did eventually get better, but I still didn’t feel the connection. As for the other characters, I felt that her two right-hand men were written with a lot more dimension. I enjoyed seeing their growth and their maturity as the story progressed. Although, Sigler didn’t really talk a lot about his other characters in depth, I enjoyed the variety of people he does choose. Hopefully in the next book we will see more of everyone and learn more about their history. I also want to see where Sigler will go with their leader.

Off the bat I wasn’t in love with this book. There were times that I wanted to quit and DNF it, but since many of my Goodreads friends enjoyed it I figured it was worth finishing, and it was. I admit it was difficult for me to get through the first half of the book, but once the climactic event happened I was hooked! I enjoyed the concept of the book and Sigler did a great job in creating a world that makes you question life and humanity. I’m not really sure how I stand on the religious aspect of this novel, and I feel that it’s out of place in the setting. I have nothing against religion, but with this type of novel I really don’t think that it was worth including, unless the author has plans for it in the second book. Even though it seems like I complained way too much about this book, it is actually a good read and worthy of our ‘hidden gem’ category. Hopefully the second book will be just as interesting and enjoyable to read.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: As much as I love including endings in my reviews, I feel that this one needs to remain a secret. I enjoyed reading this with no knowledge of anything regarding the book and I think it would make a difference on your reading experience.

 

Series Review: Starbound Trilogy

Book 1: These Broken stars – Lilac Laroux & Tarver Merendsen
Book 2: This Shattered World – Jubilee Chase & Flynn Cormac
Book 3: Their Fractured Light – Sophia Quinn & Gideon Martin

Rating for all 3 Books: 4/5

Review: I finally was able to finish this trilogy and it was really good! For me they are equally good in their own way, but I do have my favorite characters. I was really unsure how these books were going to end, but I was very happy with the conclusion since I was unable to write a review for the first two books. I will be discussing each book briefly and then discuss my thoughts on all three at the end.

The first book in this amazing trilogy is These Broken Stars. Tarver and Lilac are only two of thousands on board of the luxury ship Icarus to survive the unfortunate accident in space. Crash landing in a deserted planet, the two must travel in the harsh terrain of this unknown world to try to survive and find help. Unknown to them, they are not the only ones that inhabit the planet.
* I really love this book. I admit it’s not the best book ever to be written, but I enjoyed my reading experience. When I remember when people were reading this, many complained that it was too similar to Titanic and the most we saw of anything are the two characters. For me I didn’t mind the lack of characters because I love reading about the trials and obstacles that the two faced. Plus, there were enough information that needed to be processed to keep the readers entertained. As an introduction book, its a good set-up for the next two.

In the second installment of the trilogy, we meet Flynn, reluctant leader of the rebellion and the stone face soldier known as Jubilee. Their paths cross as Flynn stumble on a secret base that once was use to keep the whispers. Unfortunately civil war has broke through that hindered the two from really discovering the truths about the secret labs. We also learn that the whispers had learned to possess solders and act violently towards civilians, which eventually caused the unrest with the Avon natives and the revolt of the people.
* I did mention that I enjoyed each book equally, but in all actuality this second book wasn’t as loved as the first. But, I think it is due to my love for Lilac and Tarver. I’m not saying that Jubilee and Lynn are not great characters, they actually add a lot of substance in the Starbound trilogy. I feel that the bulk of the main story is within this second book. I also enjoyed how the story intertwine with Tarver and Lilac, and we even get a glimpse of the other two characters. There were so many sad events that occurred in this book, but I think it was necessary to show just how strong the whispers has gotten and the lengths that Laroux Industries would go to get what they want.

In the final installment of Kaufman’s and Spooner’s trilogy we re introduced to the last two characters. Sophia, the recently orphaned Avon native, wants nothing but revenge for her father’s death, and that is to kill Laroux. Gideon, the computer wiz, on the other hand believes that to bring Laroux down is to destroy his company and the whispers. The two eventually meet and even with their opposing beliefs, they must work together to survive the final battle.
* Although I love the first book, I think Their Fractured Light, takes the cake. This had everything that the two books had plus more! I especially love the second half of this book, when all six characters started working together. Even though it didn’t last that long, I was really giddy when they all met each other and everyone revealed who they are. I’m really glad I proceeded to finish this series because I really enjoyed the characters and world building in all three books.

The one major drawback that I found in all three books was that there were dull moments. I know that it can’t all be action, but I wished that there were less of it. I do remember that in the first two, there were times when would skip a few pages because nothing was happening, and if there was it was dragging on for too long. Also, if you are planning on reading these books a few months apart form each other, and your memory is not all there, remember to jot down a few points regarding the whispers. For me it took me a bit longer to remember the whispers in the previous books. I knew they were there, I just needed to refresh my memory on what happened to them to cause such hatred in them. Although there were a few things I disliked about the books, all in all I had an entertaining time reading them and would eventually re-read them in the future. I do hope that Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner would write a novella on the life of these three couples a few years after these events occurred, just to show us how they are doing and if they all remained friends.

I used two different formats to read these books. One is the regular book format and the other is an audiobook. As much as I always enjoyed dreading the physical form, I actually enjoyed the audiobook and would recommend it to those who prefer this format. It did take me awhile to get used to the voice of Gideon, but in the end it wasn’t that bad and thought that it actually suited the personality of the character. Since I only listened to the last book, I’m not really sure if they used the same voice for the other characters as in their respective novels. I do know that there were different voices for the ‘main’ characters.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: Most people who has read some of my reviews, they know that I’m a sucker for happy ending and this one is obviously a good one. Everyone is alive! Like alive and well! Obviously enough its unrealistic, but I’ll take it!

Laroux’s wife was killed during a revolt in one of the planets that was being terraformed. Laroux believed that he can use the whispers to bring his wife back and as he experimented on them they became more wary of humans and eventually started to think evil towards them. The main whisper wanted to destroy all humans for their evilness, but with Lilac and with the help of the others, they were able to show them that not all humans are violent and selfish. The whispers from the start have been watching all six characters and can see the good in them, and they all chose to listen and believe the good than the bad.

At the end of the battle Laroux eventually looses his mind thinking that he had lost his daughter. Lilac because the ambassador between humanity and the whispers and she is now married to Tarver. Flynn and Jubilee were present during her swearing in speech while Sophia and Gideon are watching from the comforts of their home.

Book to Movie: The Martian by Andy Weir

the martian

Author: Andy Weir
Rating: 3/5
Protagonist: Mark Watney
Other Character(s): Melissa Lewis, Rick Martinez, Beth Johanssen, Chris Beck, Alex Vogel, Vincent Kapoor, Teddy Sanders, Mitch Henderson and a lot more!

Synopsis: What would you do if your crew mates thought you were dead and they are stuck in a sandstorm in Mars? Leave, right? That’s exactly what happens to Mark Whatney. Now, he must find a way to not only communicate to earth that he’s alive, but also learn how to survive Mars barren and harsh terrain.

Review: I’ve said this a thousand times, I’m very much a mainstream reader and I’m not ashamed of it. So obviously enough I picked up The Martian to read, not knowing that it would be a movie. Then when I heard it is going to be a movie, I definitely had to read it, especially since its going star MATT DAMON! If truth be told, I wasn’t expecting to finish and like this book, only because it’s not the usual type of genre I gravitate towards. To my surprised I finished AND actually enjoyed it! Goes to show that I could be wrong sometimes too!

I really won’t go into details of the reasons why I enjoyed the book because to be honest, I’m not really sure myself. As I read the book I can’t help but notice all the mathematical equations and the scientific lingo, which by the way all passed over my head. I really thought I would have a hard time getting through the book, but even if half the book was pretty much useless for me, what I did understand was pretty enjoyable. The main reason I got through this is the humor, which made the seriousness of the situation a little less of the focus. I’m not sure if others found that annoying, but personally, it was the highlight. We’re not really bombarded by any small details of any of the characters and we really don’t learn much about the protagonist himself, but I really didn’t mind because I feel that we still get to enjoy Whatney’s character. His hilarious personality and his persistence in surviving is very admirable. I really like the hope factor in this book and the way everyone connected in bringing home one man. It’s a good change to witness countries getting along for one cause, even if it is in a science-fiction novel. I wish that more books can be written in this similar context. It’s a light, nice read that’s not contemporary, which I’m totally behind with 100%.

Like I saidd, its a good read and worth a try by everyone. If you can look pass all the math ad science mumbo-jumbo, like I did, then it would definitely entertain you.

Movie Review: Yes, of course I watched the movie right after I read the book. I enjoyed it as much as the book and I’m really surprised that they stuck to original pretty closely. Small changes and some deleted scenes, but other than that it’s like a carbon copy of the book.

Matt Damon was a great actor to play Mark Whatney. He was able to convey the character’s personality very well, and I’m really glad they kept almost all the humor within. I find the other choices for the other characters are also very fitting, all except Rick Martinez. I’m sorry, but I just never pictured Michael Pena as an astronaut. I also didn’t really enjoy the way they portrayed Teddy in the movie. He sounded so heartless in the movie, compared to the book. I’m not sure if the casting crew did this on purpose, but I find it hilarious that Sean Bean is part of the ‘Council of Elrond’ in this movie. Any fans of LOTR, and who has read The Martian, will understand what I mean!

Anyways, whether you read the book or watch the movie, I think you will definitely enjoy yourself. Unless you’re not into these kinds of book/movies.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending:Let’s just say if the book had a sad ending, I wouldn’t even think about watching the movie!

Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

the darkerst minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken
Rating: 4/5
Protagonist: Ruby
Other Character(s): Liam, Charles ‘Chubs’, Suzume ‘Su’, Clancy

Synopsis: Ever child was starting to drop one by one around Ruby. Fortunately for her, she isn’t one of them. Until the day she wakes up and finds her parents afraid of her. She is then send to Thurmond to be rehabilitated.

Review: I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile, ever since the last book was released. Actually, I didn’t even know this trilogy existed until ‘In the Afterlight’ came out. The fact that everyone keeps describing this as being similar to X-Men got me really intrigued. I’m not an X-men fanatic, but I do enjoy the occasional movie or cartoon show. So of course I had to see what all the fuss was all about. As usual, though, I took my sweet time to actually get the book. This year is different. I finally had the desire to read it and even review it! Shocker! I’m really glad that I got to it, because it was really good and enjoyed almost every minute of it. I admit, there were parts of the book that didn’t suit my taste, but in the end it was still worth it. So far this book is on top of my favorite list for the year.

Ruby as a protagonist is really interesting. I understand her hesitation to get close to Liam because of her powers, but then she has no problem with Suzume and Charles, which for me is a bit weird. It kinda defeats the purpose of her reasoning of not wanting to hurt anyone. I also don’t understand how some of her touches can bring out her powers and other times it almost seems non-existent. I hope this will be answered in feature books. This became annoying because its so unpredictable, which I guess that’s why she’s scared of who she is. Don’t get me wrong, I do like her as a main character since her imperfections makes her normal, meaning not a character in a book. The one aspect of the book that irritated me at no end is how in-tune Ruby is on current events/sayings. Being in the camp at the age of 10, I don’t think she would be knowledgeable on these things. Considering most of the teens in Thurnmond arrive at a young age, I really expected Ruby to be a bit more naive on certain things, but that’s just my opinion.

In terms of the other characters, I love every single one in the group. Liam I feel is a great love interest and totally swoon-worthy. This is why the ending is so heart-breaking and yet understandable. Charles is just as lovable. He’s like a big brother that anyone would want to have. Seriously, who doesn’t want a protective big brother! By far though, my most favorite is Suzume. I love how tough she is, but she has a soft spot for everything girly and frilly! It kinda sucks that she started to come out of her shell only at the end, and her decision made me cry. The relationship that is formed between these four is amazing and I hope we see it again in Never Fade.

I really can’t think of a major reason that I would make me hate this book. It’s by far not the best book I’ve read, but it was entertaining that I couldn’t put it down at all. I love that this book has action, romance and mystery, Bracken does a great job in intertwining these things and letting it all flow together seamlessly. There were elements in this book that almost reminded me of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, but where that failed to hold my interest, this one succeeded. I really did enjoy this and hope that Never Fade doesn’t disappoint me.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: Ruby is an orange, someone who can control people’s thoughts and in rare cases, like herself, can wipe the memory of the people they touch. Although Ruby was able to escape Thurmond with the help of the Children’s League, she ventures on her own when she sees the memory of one of the agents killing other teens he ‘rescues’ from other camps. She then meets the three who eventually takes her with them to look for a safe haven for teens, being operated by another unknown kid. Eventually they meet the ‘Slip Kid’ who is actually Clancy Gray, son of the current president, who approved the ‘rehabilitation camps’ for the children and teens. Clancy supposedly has been ‘fixed’, but in reality he escapes his father’s intention of assassination.

The truth of the haven is revealed closer to the end. Gray is actually manipulating people and even has created an army all made of Reds, who many believed has already perished in the hands of the president. Trying to escape Clancy’s camp, Charles is injured. Ruby calls The Children’s League for help, only to be torn between Liam’s life and the ’cause’.

Hollow City (Book 2) by Ransom Riggs

hollow city
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Science-Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Protagonist(s): Jacob Portman
Other Characters: Miss Peregrine, Olive, Horace, Fiona, Millard, Emma, Bronwyn, Enoch, Hugh, Claire

Review:The first time I picked up the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I thought that it was going to be a creepy, psychological thriller and since I was reading it at the same time as Asylum by Madeleine Roux, I thought it would be in the same vibe. Unfortunately I was wrong. As I was reading it I realized that it wasn’t what I expected. Instead of the scary characters that I would leave me half-awake in the night, all I got was peculiar children. I won’t really go into details on my review for Miss Peregrine’s, but I will summarize my thoughts on it since it’s important to acknowledge the improvement of my perception on the trilogy.

Just a cation to Miss Peregrine fans, if you love the first book, I think you should skip this part of the review. To be brutally honest, I was very disappointed in this book from start to finish. By the end of the last chapter I was really sure I wasn’t going to continue on with Jacob’s story, but I got sucked in by the fans and all the people who has been praising the second book. So I gave it a second chance and I’m glad that I did, because this second book was worth the read.

Unlike the first book, I really didn’t have any expectation for this one. In fact I went into this with hesitation and foreboding. Hahahaha…I really did just pick this up because of the raves and ratings of other bloggers and booktubers. So, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Not my new favorite read, but I enjoyed it enough that I would, most likely, read the last book in the trilogy. I admit that there are still things in this book that persistently bothered me all throughout, but I feel that I learned to tune it out of my head.

A warning: To those who read this review, there will be some spoilers from the first book, Miss Perergrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, since the book does pick up from where book one ended, it is hard not to give some things way.

There really isn’t anything wrong with Hollow City. To be honest, the reasons I disliked Miss Peregrine’s is very much still evident in this second book and these reasons is why I gave the book a lower rating. However, on its own, it is very well written and full of action. I love how Riggs goes into further details on his world, and you can see more of how the other people are comping besides the peculiars. The world building in this book is phenomenal and the pictures aids your imagination. In the first book, I felt that the pictures where used to tell a story, therefore it didn’t flow as well as it should. On this book, however, it was an amazing balance between story and pictures. Rather it be the center of attention, it was the story that took the main stage, and the pictures enhanced the tale. I’m really glad that he included other peculiars that are not within Miss Peregrine’s ‘wing’ (get it*wink*). The menagerie is a beautiful twist on what we think a peculiar is, and even if it’s a depressing read, I do wish that we get more of them on the second book. As for the actual peculiar children, I’m really glad that Rigg’s spent more time on developing each child. I’m not saying he went into further details about their powers, but he managed to showcase each of their strengths. I admit though, there are some within the group that irritates me. Seriously, if you read the book, you will know. Irritating! Now as much as I’m starting to enjoy the book and even the protagonist of the trilogy, there are still factors that I cannot look pass.

I really do have a problem on Rigg’s way of writing his relationships. I think this is one of the main reason why I cannot fully throw myself into the story. There is so much hesitation, on my part, regarding the blooming relationship between Jacob and Emma. Besides the fact that it almost seems like insta-love, there is just weirdness to how they first met. I can handle the time difference, and even the fact that Emma has been living on the same day for years, but the deal with Jacob, Emma and his grandfather is a bit difficult to swallow. Really, I don’t know how anyone can even see past this scenario. To tell you the truth, I’m usually the type of reader that prefers to have one love interest and for them to be together from beginning to end. Seriously, I have stopped reading a series/trilogy because the protagonists didn’t end up with the person that was in my mind. Any other book, any other time, place and scenario, I would have rooted for this pairing, but this just makes me want to scream. OK, enough with my small rant. Besides the weird relationship, I really didn’t like the whole insta-love. Although, there really weren’t a lot of instances where the two showed their affection for each other, when they did, it was a bit over the top. They literally just met and stating the said fact doesn’t really make it ok.

Like I said, there really isn’t a lot that I disliked about this book, but those that arose, began from the previous story. Hopefully, my reasons for like this book will be evident in the last installment of the trilogy and I’m actually looking forward to seeing all the characters again, even Jacob and Emma.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending:There are some books that I will spoil for people and there are some that I won’t. I think this one falls in the latter. I will say though:

The bird is not what it seems…