Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Review in Found Documents: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Goodreads Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Series: Yes, #1 in the Illuminae_01 Files
Release date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: Knops (Random House)
Length: 608 pages
Source: ARC from BEA
Rating: This book is pure evil and you should not look it directly in the eyes

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.

SO.  Illuminae is a tremendously atypical read told in a hugely unique format, so I'm going to review this book atypically. It's a visual book structured as a collection of found documents: transcripts, IM chats, hacked intelligence, memos, diaries, etc, detailing the fallout after a remote mining planet is bombed to high heaven and the survivors are forced to evacuate onto three vessels, which are now being chased by the big baddies who bombed them. It's about Kady and Ezra, two teens from that bombed planet who just so happened to break up the morning off their planet's devastation, which leaves them with only a sliiiiiight amount of baggage.

And then. Shit. Starts. To. Get. Crazy.

Honestly, I don't want to tell you anything that happens in this book. Namely that there's SPACE WARCRAFT, AI, romance, pure horror, twists, sucker punches, humor, and heartbreak, and that i ACTUALLY LOST MY DAMN MIND READING THIS BOOK. As you will see momentarily. Because I'm going to review Illuminae in the best way I know how: through images of found documents (aka my liveblogging to Meg of Cuddlebuggery while I was reading Illuminae. Take pity on both her and me.) Spoilers redacted. Obscenities that reveal the true salty sailor raised by salty-mouthed wolves of the sea that I am are NOT redacted.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Twilight? Twhy-not: A Twilight Anniversary Post

I know we could talk about the issues in Twilight until the sparkly vampire cows come home--feminist issues, literary issues, why-did-Stephenie-Meyer-ruin-Jacob-Black issues, etc--and trust me, I have done that. I actually quite enjoy doing that, and why? Because I love Twilight. I did, and I do. And I like to analyze and reevaluate things that I love and that have infeted a part of my soul (for better or for worse, if you want to say. I mean, if I could manage to cut out all the Twilight trivia in my brain I could probably fit a whole new language in there or something).  I like looking at why I love a thing and if I should and then realizing I don't care because I do anyway. And most of all, I love Twilight now because of how much I loved it then, when I discovered this series in 2008, when I was a junior in high school. Aka, Bella Swan's age when she walked into that FATEFUL Biology class.

Oh, Twilight, I just can't quit you. And I never will, because if it weren't for Twilight, well, there would be no YA blogger Gillian. There would probably be no YA obsession.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Review-A-Palooza: Contemporaries

Good Bellamy in heaven, am I behind on reviews. I guess this is what happens when you travel for a month? And have a life? By which I mean, er, watch a lot of Netflix? I mean PARTY. I meant party.

So here are a bunch of books I read in the last two months (possibly more, let's not dwell on things like WHEN and WHERE and JUST HOW LAZY GILLIAN IS, okay) and what I thought of them.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Looking Forward: October

Sometimes it's really hard for me to keep track of what comes out what month, especially while juggling early reviews and publisher catalogues and all the other confusing bookish things bloggers deal with. It's just a LOT OF BOOKS ALL THE TIME. How do you ever keep them straight?! So on the last day of the month, I post a guide to what books I'm most looking forward to in the following month and that you should keep an eye on. So, since it's now OCTOBER!!!, here are the October releases most tempting me.

Book of the month:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall

Review: Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Series: No
Release date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: SwoonReads (Macmillan)
Length: 288 pages
Source: ARC from BEA
Rating: Signs Point to No

The author of A Little Something Different brings you the most adorkable romance ever.

Jane, a superstitious fangirl, takes an anonymous babysitting job to avoid an unpaid internship with her college-obsessed mom. The only problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo.

Teo doesn’t dislike Jane, but his best friend Ravi hates her, and is determined to keep them apart. So Teo’s pretty sure his plans for a peaceful summer are shot. His only hope is that his intermittent search for his birth father will finally pan out and he’ll find a new, less awkward home. Meanwhile, at Jane’s house, her sister Margo wants to come out as bisexual, but she’s terrified of how her parents will react.

In a summer filled with secrets and questions, even Jane’s Magic 8 ball can’t give them clear answers, but Signs Point to Yes.

I quite enjoyed Hall's A Little Something Different, despite an instance of very problematic girl-hating. But what made ALSD an enjoyable read to me was that it had a lot of personality and humor. It's hard to pull off ~15 or so first person POVs, and she managed to make them all mostly distinct and amusing. So it's really baffling to me that Signs Point to Yes ended up being so utterly devoid of...well, anything, really. Which sounds like an awful thing to say, but really, SPtY was pointless, bland, unswoony, and dull. The signs didn't point to anything.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Series: Yes, #1 in The Gold Seer Trilogy
Release date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow (HarperCollins)
Length: 432 pages
Source: ARC from BEA/e-ARC via Edelweiss
Rating: Endless gold nuggets

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

As always with Rae Carson the writing was EXEMPLARY. it absolutely sucked me in from the first moment. this was an accidental read for me, where I opened up the e-galley while lying in bed because I was just CURIOUS and then all of a sudden boom it was viciously late and there was no turning back. While I definitely found the pacing to be on the slower side, it's still an epic and gorgeously rendered book that gave me all the emotionals.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Review: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Series: No
Release date: September 15th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Length: 384 pages
Source: ARC from BEA/e-ARC via Edelweiss
Rating: A thousand red lollipops

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Today is Dumplin's book birthday, and I couldn't be happier about it. I read this book in one day, in mostly one sitting, while on vacation in Belgium with a lot of people I love. So yeah, I could have been hanging out with my friends and talking to them...or i could have been hanging out with Willowdean and talking to her. I chose Willowdean. No regrets.

(Sorry, guys.)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Queen of Shadows Blog Tour + Art + Giveaway

I was thrilled last year when Alexa, Jaz, Judith, Katie and Rachel asked me to be one of the Maas Thirteen and join in the blog tour for Heir of Fire. I made some character collages that I'm pretty proud of, and it even lead to the COOLEST THING I'VE EVER DONE. I'm totally stoked that they asked me to be on it again for Queen of Shadows, because I could shout about this series until the wyverns come home. Or something.

I love visual stuff, which is why I went with the collages last year, but this year I decided to make my own stuff, because that's my favorite way to express my love for something! Below you'll find new pictures that you can turn into wallpapers (I give you permission to crop and resize and do whatever you need to do to make a background, since hell if I know how to do that) and that I've put up on my Society6 to be turned into fancy mugs and totes and shirts and all sorts of miraculous things. It's a party, and it's all inspired by the glorious, life-ruining, brilliant Queen of Shadows.