2019, Books, reviews

The Illuminae Files Trilogy

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published: 2015
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis: Kady and Ezra’s home planet and illegal mining colony, Kerenza IV, was invaded by the BeiTech Corporation, an industrial rival. Fleeing aboard different ships, they must evade an enemy warship and survive long enough to report the attack and hopefully get help before a rogue AI, a zombie virus, or both take them out too.

Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published: 2016
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis: Hanna and Nik are aboard Jumpstation Heimdall when their home is attacked and taken over by BeiTech Industry soldiers. Without knowledge of the attack on Kerenza IV, they must try to stop a wormhole from ripping apart time and space while saving their space station and everyone on it.

Title: Obsidio
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published: 2018
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis: Asha and Rhys, working for the underground resistance against BeiTech on Kerenza IV, hope to signal anyone for help to save the survivors. Meanwhile, the survivors of the Kerenza IV and Heimdall attacks return to Kerenza IV in hopes of finding survivors.

The format is unique and told through a dossier of hacked files, voice chats, memorandums, internal communications, and video surveillance footage. It drives the story and makes it a quick read, even though each book is 600 pages. There are pictures, images, diagrams, and journal entries that give the story a realistic feel and form a unique reading experience. Many also laud the audio books for the sound effects and full cast of characters that make the story come alive and even more fun to experience.

Each story is focused on different characters but they all connect and take place around the same time. Illuminae follows the invasion of Kerenza IV and the journey of those who were able to escape from the planet and are heading toward Jumpstation Heimdall. Gemina takes place shortly after the events of Illuminae, as the survivors from book one journey toward Heimdall (I think it was a 6 month journey but am not entirely certain). The two cross and come together at the end. Obsidio takes place after the attack on Kerenza IV and tells the story of those who survived the initial assault and are under military rule from their invaders. The three converge and tie the stories together.

What I liked: I personally enjoyed the idea of the story and the potential it had for an interesting plot. I found the entire journey intriguing and was compelled enough to continue through the story to find out who the Illuminae Group is, what happened on Kerenza IV, Heimdall, and the warships, and why BeiTech Industries invaded in the first place. The unique format kept the story moving and brought different perspectives from all the characters and situations that were simultaneously occurring. Had this been told in a different format, it might’ve lost some of the suspense and excitement.

What I didn’t like: Each story, while following different characters, read and felt the exact same. You could interchange Kady, Hanna and Asha and I wouldn’t have known the difference. Same for the main male characters. Even the story format and dossier documents felt the same. My biggest problem I had was the incredibly cringey and annoying dialogue with almost every single character interaction. I understand this is YA but the amount of violence, sexual content and language (although blacked out but still there) implies this would be a bit on the older YA range spectrum. However, the writing was so immature and frustrating that I literally skimmed books 2 and 3 because I didn’t care. The characters bored me and all I enjoyed were the action scenes and the overall plot. It honestly felt like 2 adults trying to be the cool parents and using slang, phrases and other manners of speaking to relate to kids and failing miserably. The story could’ve easily moved along with better writing and still provided the same sense of excitement, fear, frustration and anger that the characters experienced.

Overall, I am disappointed that I didn’t like the books as much as I’d hoped. Were they bad? No – and I can see why so many people love them. Did they work for me? No – because I just couldn’t deal with the content. The plot and ideas were awesome but how it was presented just didn’t jive with me and ultimately led me to being bored and just skimming through to get the major plot points and finish the story.

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, readathons, reading, reviews

Scallywagathon Wrap Up: May 5-12

Hey friends!

I finished Scallywagathon 2019 last night and read 3 books!

For more information and the prompts, please visit https://sites.google.com/view/scallywagathon2019/home

The Map

I double-dipped and chose books from my 2019 Unhaul Challenge to try and work on those stacks a bit.

Here are my thoughts

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Published: 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Starr and her friend Khalil are stopped by a police officer after a party. The officer shoots and kills Khalil and Starr struggles with the event and finding justice for her friend.

My thoughts: This was written very well. I was afraid that I wouldn’t like the story because YA Contemporary is just not my favorite genre to read, but I found that this story was engaging, heart wrenching and eye opening, all at the same time. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a story based on lives that many people have lived and that happens in America all too often.

Title: The Queen of Hearts (Queen of Hearts Saga #1)
Author: Colleen Oaks
Published: 2014
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling/Origin Story

Synopsis: Princess Dinah is destined to be Queen of Wonderland and rule beside her father. When her father brings a long-lost sister to court, Dinah’s world is turned upside down.

My thoughts: Although I thought the first half was a bit slow, I liked the build up of Wonderland that is very different from how Alice will find it in the future. Dinah is a conflicted character and I am curious to see where the story leads and how Oaks envisions her descent into becoming the evil queen we all know her to be in Wonderland.

Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Published: 1999
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Melinda’s first year of high school isn’t going so well. After a traumatic experience at a party that involved her calling the cops, her friends shun her and her parents don’t understand her. Afraid to speak up, she withdraws completely until enough is enough.

My Thoughts: This was done well, although the writing style isn’t my favorite. I am not a fan of short, choppy chapters and vignettes because they typically don’t hold my attention. With that said, the format worked for the story as we are in the head of a traumatized and erratic teenager who is trying to deal with the aftermath of being attacked. It was sad and heart wrenching because I’ve unfortunately known too many people who’ve had similar experiences and were afraid to speak up.

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, booktube, reading, TBR, videos

2019 Unhaul Challenge Video

Hey friends!

I will be posting a First Quarter 2019 Progress Video in a few days but until then, I’ve filmed and uploaded a video if you wanted a visual of all the books left on my 2019 Unhaul Challenge. This has been a fun project so far so I hope it continues to go well. Enjoy!


2019, Books, booktube, reading, TBR, videos

Currently Reading – May Edition

Hey friends!

I am not one for TBRs or anything since I’m a mood reader but I do have a few books I’m working through (or have already completed) and thought I’d share with you!

What are you reading? Have any of you read these and what did you think?

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: Alina, an orphan and map maker in the King’s First Army, displays unknown powers during an attack in the Shadow Fold. Recruited into the Second Army by the Darkling, Alina is destined to become the long-awaited Sun Summoner and save Ravka.

Title: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2)
Author: Anne Rice
Published: 1985
Genre: Horror/Fantasy
Synopsis: Introduced as an evil and seductive vampire in Interview with the Vampire, we are reintroduced to the real man and how he became a vampire-hero.

Title: Obsidio (The Illuminae FIles #3)
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published: 2018
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Synopsis: Concluding the series, we follow Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik as they fight to save Karenza IV and bring justice to all those killed by BeiTech Industries.

Title: The Plains of Passage (Earth’s Children #4)
Author: Jean M. Auel
Published: 1990
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: The saga continues as Ayla and Jondalar leave the Mammoth Hunters and journey to Jondalar’s homeland on the other side of the continent.

Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Published: 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary
Synopsis: Unwilling production partners in their high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Iris and Claudia have to navigate their senior year.

I also made a video if you are interested in learning more or want to join!

2019, Books, booktube, reviews, videos

New Video!

Hey friends!

I used to run a booktube channel but then school got in the way and I just didn’t have the time to film, edit and upload as much as I wanted to. So I started the blog instead.

Now that I’ve graduated (yay!) and have a free summer before grad school, I wanted to reattempt my hand at booktube! So here’s a new video with a few more coming soon.

Hope y’all have a great day!!!

❤ Chris

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – The Immortal Rules

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Published: 2013
Country: USA
Genre: YA Paranormal/Dystopian

Synopsis: Allison, a young teen from the Fringes of New Covington, struggles with her new life as a vampire and retaining her humanity in a world where vampires are the rulers and the enemies.

I liked the writing style a lot more in this one than many recent YA titles I’ve read. The story flowed nicely and the heroine was interesting and someone I’d root for.

Allison is an Unregistered, meaning she is basically a scavenger and homeless in the city of New Covington, where vampires rule. After a plague broke out, vampires surfaced and protected citizens, and eventually took over and established a social system. Additionally, outside of cities are Rabids, vampire-zombies that kill anything they come across.

Allison, who hates vampires and is afraid of them, gets attacked by a pack of Rabids while on a scavenging mission. A vampire offers to save her life by turning her. She chooses life and is turned, then trained by this mysterious vampire. After an attack targeting them, Allison and her mentor Kanin must flee. Allison leaves the city alone and meets up with a group of humans on the search for a refugee city free of vampires, called Eden.

There are four parts and honestly, the book is a bit long. There are some wandering parts that could’ve been shortened but the actions scenes make up for the boring parts. They are written well and are actually pretty violent. The romance wasn’t cringey and the dialogue was fun and sometimes snarky. Allison isn’t helpless or boy-crazy, making her refreshing in a world of seemingly silly YA female heroines.

Final verdict: It took me a while to get through this because I wasn’t inclined to pick it up. While the story is fine, it just didn’t pull me in like I’d hoped. However, for a vampire story, it wasn’t bad. I won’t continue with the serious but if you like this genre, you might enjoy this trilogy.