Category Archives: Futuristic/Science Fiction

January Book Haul (aka My Bank Account Is in Pain)

February 5, 2015 92320 PM EST-1

Happy February! I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and New Year!

Surprisingly, I had a relatively book-free Christmas gift exchange this year (maybe my family’s trying to tell me something…), but never fear. My book-buying habits took control in January, much to the chagrin of my bookshelf and wallet. But to be fair, I was on well-needed vacation and deserved to spoil myself. While visiting my best friend, I was taken to two different bookstores (she knows me and my tastes well), and I came home with this pile of beauties!

Seeing as I haven’t posted anything in a while (but do have multiple reviews planned), I wanted to share my purchases with you in the meantime.

IMG_20150205_2232561. Firefight (Reckoners Series #2) by Brandon Sanderson

I bought this book before anything else, AND on its official publication date, January 6. Why? Because the first book in this series, Steelheart, completely blew me away, and I couldn’t wait to have this beautiful story (with its awesome cover) in my hands. In Steelheart, a meteor crash gives superpowers to a select few humans, who in turn become supervillians and world dictators. David, a human orphaned by by one such dictator, teams up with a vigilante group called the Reckoners to take down the dictator. This second installment continues David’s story and promises just as much action and thrills at the first.

2015-02-05 21.00.592-3. The Darkest Minds and Never Fade (Darkest Minds #1 and 2) by Alexandra Bracken

I’ve heard nothing but good things about these books, and so I picked them up at the same time as Firefight. To be honest, I’m going into this series pretty blind: all I know is a virus takes out most of the world’s children, and the survivors are kept in secluded camps by the government. The premise sounds promising, and there’s no mention of romance in the book blurb (not that romance is bad, but I love a good action story). I’ll definitely review these books once I finish them, and I really look forward to sharing my thoughts with you.

2015-02-05 20.59.444. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

This book was published nearly five years ago, so I’m definitely behind the hype, but I’ve been meaning to pick this book up for forever. Like others by Lauren Oliver, the novel falls into the thriller/mystery genre, with a post-mortem protagonist investigating the events of her death. Again, I’m to this book also a bit blind, but I trust Oliver’s writing and can’t wait to start this.

 

 

 

2015-02-05 21.00.095. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I’m also very late in getting to this book, but after reading Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory and adoring it, I plan to read every book she’s written. From what I’ve heard, this book deals with deep issues and has sensitive content, but is a beautiful piece of realistic fiction.

Note: I only bought five teen books in January, which is uncharacteristic for me; the rest of my book haul will be adult and literary fiction. My feelings won’t be hurt if you stop reading here.

 

2015-02-05 21.03.136. City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

This book promises magic and mystery and mythological creatures and Prague–what’s not to love, right? No one I talk books with has read this book or even heard of it, but it just might be a hidden, unknown treasure. I have hope for this book.

 

 

 

 

2015-02-05 21.03.277. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

I’d been eying this book for a while, and I found it for $1 at a half-price bookstore (happy dance time!). From the back blurb, I gather that the Hawaiian heroine contracts leprosy, and the story follows her experiences as a social outcast. I’m intrigued by this storyline and the setting, so hopefully this won’t disappoint.

 

 

 

 

2015-02-05 21.04.118. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Descriptions of this book are frustratingly vague, but I gather that the plot involves books, secrets, maybe a conspiracy or secret society? I’m not all too sure, but any story that involves books screams my name; plus, I also picked this up for $1, so I had no choice but to add it to my collection.

 

 

 

 

2015-02-05 21.04.569. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

I’ve been meaning to read this classic for forever, but have always been intimidated by its daunting page count. Granted, you can find a million editions of this book at any bookstore, but this particular one was too special for me to resist. Look at that cover! So cute with the illustrations and speech bubbles! I’d like to shake that cover designer’s hand. I’m not sure as to when I’ll get around to reading it, but it’s a lovely thing to look at on my bookshelf.

 

 

 

2015-02-05 21.03.5010. Arabian Nights by Anonymous

I’m such a sucker for mythology and cultural tales, as well as beautiful cover art, so like with Three Musketeers, I bought this without a second thought. Looking back, I did no research into this translation or checked into which tales are included, which may not have been wise. But again, a truly beautiful cover is all it takes.

 

 

 

 

2015-02-05 21.02.4511. Women Who Run With Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My mythology-loving, feminist reader friends have been begging me to read this for a long time, so I was thrilled to find a hardcover copy for only $2. God bless half-price bookstores! This non-fiction work compiles examples of the independent or “wild” woman in world mythology and cultures. This book has made huge strides in feminist studies and should prove an interesting (and educational) read.

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Spotlight: Ready Player One

 

Title: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

Genre: Adult Fiction, Science Fiction

Publication Info: Random House, 2011

Synopsis: The earth has been ruined and wasted by humans, but everyone can escape their dismal lives through OASIS, a virtual reality game created by James Halliday. After Halliday’s death, it is announced that should a player find Halliday’s egg hidden somewhere in the game, that player will inherit Halliday’s enormous fortune. Years in the future, when most have given up the search, the unlikely hero Wade Watts unlocks the first puzzle and is thrown into a fierce competition for the egg and his life.

This book is such a creative, fast-paced, and imaginative read! Cline wonderfully combines 80’s pop culture, nerdy references, and a science fiction world, and it’s impossible to not get drawn in from even the first chapter. Anyone interested in futuristic fiction (or anyone looking for a fun summer read) should check this book out.

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Review: Scarlet

13206760Book Overview:

Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)

(If you would like more information on the first book of this series, Cinder, visit https://transitionreads.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/spotlight-cinder/.)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Teen Futuristic/Romance

Publication Info: Feiwel & Friends, 2013

Synopsis: In this second installment of the series, Cinder must escape from imprisonment and find the one person who may hold the key to her past: Michelle Benoit. However, Benoit has mysteriously disappeared–kidnapped, according to her granddaughter, Scarlet, who teams with Wolf, a streetfighter, to find her.

Book Review:

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

As sequels go, Scarlet was an exciting and well-written continuation of the series. Rather than focusing on the main character of the first novel, Cinder, Meyer introduces us to a whole group of new characters with humorous and realistic personalities. This, along with an action and twist-filled plot, developed the series so much more and kept me engaged. I’m much more invested after reading this book!

Plot:

First of all, I am so grateful to Meyer for including timelines and perspectives of various characters instead of giving the reader only one point of view and plot line–to me, this variety automatically makes a book more interesting and engaging. However, I have read other books/series that have taken a similar approach and only became confusing and not easy to follow as a result. For me, this problem did not occur with Scarlet whatsoever; it made me addicted, and it was extremely difficult for me to step away from this book.

Also, because of certain characters and plot events that I will not spoil, Scarlet was much darker and more violent than Cinder. I can’t see very many finding issue with this, but you have been forewarned. As for me, I love the dark and violent [insert sinister laughter here]. If Meyer hadn’t included this, the book (and series) would seem too sugar-coated and unrealistic. Well done, Meyer!

Finally, my only criticism with the book lies not surprisingly in the use of instalove, or extremely quick romance. To be fair, I was rooting for Scarlet and Wolf from the very beginning of the plot, but things progressed much more rapidly than I would have liked. I personally enjoy suspense and tension rather than instant gratification when it comes to romance, but not everyone feels that way. Please don’t let this stop you from reading the series.

Characters:

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the characters of this series, because Meyer uses such fresh, realistic, and funny people throughout.

Cinder remains as awesome and sarcastic here as in the first book, and though the reader clearly sees her feelings for Kai, she doesn’t fall into whiny, mopey romantic territory. Cinder also grows as a character through delving into her past, which I really enjoyed reading.

Scarlet has my favorite personality traits in a character: impulsive, fierce, and real. From the very first pages, I knew I would love reading her perspective and plot line, and I was not disappointed (instalove aside).

Wolf, to me, provided a well-written and developed version of the mysterious love interest, not only because of his past, but also (and more so) because of his clumsy, awkward shyness. Some “shy” characters aren’t truly shy, but more elusive and guarded; while Wolf certainly is guarded, there’s more to him than secrets. I really appreciated Meyer’s handling of this character.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Thorne. He is an amazing comic relief and dashing scoundrel character. He brings so much to the book, and I can’t wait to see how Meyer will use him in the future.

Writing Quality:

As Meyer keeps building this series, the world and plot become more complicated, which I attribute to her creative genius. The reader has experienced life in various parts of this world (Asia, Europe), and I look forward to seeing the cultures and futuristic design of other parts of this world, perhaps even the planet Luna. From this book, the reader learns that the relationship between Earth and Luna, between Queen Levana and Princess Selene, is not so simple, and this will keep any reader engaged, invested, and ready for more.

 

Who do I recommend this to? 

  • Fans of the Divergent and Legend series
  • Fans of fairy tale interpretations
  • Futuristic/science-fiction readers
  • Romance readers
  • High school, college, and beyond (warning: violence, death)

 

 

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Spotlight: Cinder

Title: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) 

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Teen Futuristic/Romance

Publication Info: Feiwel & Friends, 2012

Synopsis: In this futuristic rendition of the fairy tale, Cinderella appears as Cinder, a cyborg mechanic who inadvertently is thrown in the middle of  dangerous plots after meeting the popular and handsome Prince Kai.

This, to me, is one of the most innovative and well-done fairy tale adaptations I have ever read. From the setting to the plot to the characters, this book was fantastic, and I recommend it (and its series) to everyone!

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