Book Review: Blackout

Name: Blackout

Author(s): Robison Wells

Series Standing: Book one (Blackout series)

What It’s About: Terrorist attacks are occurring somewhat randomly all over the country, but tucked away in Utah, Jack and Aubrey thought they were safe. They’re not. When the military interrupts the school dance, rounding up the kids to take them to a military base, Audrey thinks they’re looking for her. After all, she has been developing certain… abilities. Invisibility to be exact. As it is, she’s just ONE of the teens they’re looking for. The teenage terrorists everybody’s worried about have been given special powers, and those powers morphed into a virus susceptible only to teens. The government starts gathering teens from around the country, testing them for the virus. Those infected face inhumane conditions or a chance to fight alongside the military. Jack and Aubrey must put aside what tore their friendship apart and work together to discover what’s truly going on.. or they’ll fall apart.

My Review: This book is going to be a little hard to explain… not that I can’t explain the PLOT, It’s just that while I really enjoyed this book, I took a step back and saw holes in it. Interspersed throughout the book are little emails or blog posts or something. I had NO idea what they meant or were doing there until the end. Now I get (sorta) what they mean, but I still don’t understand what they were doing in there. I don’t even think it’s that much of a spoiler so I’ll tell you what they are. (If you hate people telling you anything remotely spoiler-ish about books though, don’t read the following sentences in bold.) Those blog posts are the terrorists’ code for when, where, and what to attack. But the author never gives us the code to decipher them. And you aren’t told it’s a code until the very end, so every time one pops up, your like, “WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?! I’m going back to the story.” Annoying, right? And they’re spread out rather thin, so they come out of nowhere. *Sigh…*  I wish that the book would have touched more upon what gave the terrorists superpowers, or why they’re attacking the U.S. (and later Canada.) Do they just want to watch the world burn? Also, I noticed one thing that might be considered a discrepancy. I hate to pick things apart, but hear me out, because it’s important. Right in the beginning when Audrey’s invisibility is described, we’re told that it’s like her brain simply tricks others into thinking she’s not there. She can, and I quote, “yell, or slap, or punch, and no one would detect it. They’d feel the punch – like Nate had – but they wouldn’t recognize it for what it was. They’d think they’d slipped, or that they got a sudden muscle spasm, or that a wind (or drunkenness) had knocked them over. But they’d never see her, or hear her.” Key phrase: never hear her. But later on in the book, when I was so caught up I nearly forgot that, it became an integral part of the story that Jack and Aubrey are teamed up by the military because Jack can use his super-hearing to track and keep tabs on her. Wait, what? Yeah. Not to mention that this book ended in a cliffhanger (whoops, mentioned it.) But I did enjoy this story very much. One of the interesting things about it is that some of the chapters POV was split not only between Audrey and Jack, but two of the terrorists as well. The author did this well, and it provided much needed perspective. I sped through this book, and would read it again.

cliffhanger

Re-Readability: Medium. I’ll pick it up again in due time and read it just as quickly as before.

Quotes

“Laura sat in the third row of folding chairs – close enough to look engaged but not so close as to be particularly noticeable. She planned everything as she did now, trying to anticipate the officers’ interpretations of her actions.”

“Pain burst through Aubrey’s head and rippled down her body. It was as though she was being beaten with a baseball bat, but couldn’t tell where she was getting hit.”

“She balled her small hand into a fist and punched the cement floor. With no more apparent effort than if she were squashing a bug, the cement splintered and cracked.”

Find This Book On: Barnes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads


 

Book Cover Love: Typography

book cover love

I happen to have a thing for good book covers. Who doesn’t? Book Cover Love is where I focus on my favorites. I might not have even read the book!

Today’s Subject: Typography

List 4-5 book covers where focus is on the title

This Song Will Save Your Life, by Leila Sales

Book: This Song Will Save Your Life

Author(s): Leila Sales

Details: The pink letters spell LOVE! I also like how it says “a novel” inside the “O”.

Relevance: The main character of this story becomes a DJ, so I’d say the girl with a pair of headphones is pretty appropriate.

Overall Feeling: It’s sort of pretty, but also fun.

House Of Ivy And Sorrow, by Natalie Whipple

Book: House Of Ivy And Sorrow

Author(s): Natalie Whipple

Details: The title is made out of IVY! Is that not the coolest thing ever?!

Relevance: Well, I just read the Amazon preview for this book (gotta do your research!), and people (in the book) say that the witch’s house is under the bridge, draped in ivy and sorrow. So I’m going to deem the ivy relevant.

Overall Feeling: Very cool and a little haunting.

The Way We Fall, by Megan Crewe

Book: The Way We Fall

Author(s): Megan Crewe

Details: You can see two people walking along a road inside the letters.

Relevance: I’m going to assume that one of those two people is Kaelyn (the main character), and the other must be the “former rival” she teams up with.

Overall Feeling: Intense.

Me, Earl And The Dying Girl

Book: Me And Earl And The Dying Girl

Author(s): Jesse Andrews

Details: It’s like a pop-up book! There’s so much going on, but it all works together really well. Can you see Earl kicking over the letter “L”?

Relevance: This cover has all the main characters on it. (However cartoony)

Overall Feeling: Fun.

What is your favorite title-based cover?

 

Bookish Survey: All The Colors Of The Rainbow

Red

Name a fictional character that made you super mad: No doubt about it, I’m going with Peyton (A.K.A. the Demon) from the Geek High series (by Piper Banks.) That woman INFURIATES me! She is the definition of evil stepmother. She actually suggested rhinoplasty for Miranda’s birthday gift. Grrr…

Orange

Name a book that stands out of a crowd: History Decoded: The Ten Greatest Conspiracies Of All Time (by Brad Meltzer.)This book is very interesting. It’s on my (mental) list of most unique nonfiction books, and it has removable documents! And the thing is, the author isn’t some tinfoil-hat-wearing nutcase who tells you that aliens have secretly brainwashed us, or some rant like that. He presents valid arguments for each conspiracy, and even tells us to take everything with a grain of salt. (Though to tell you the truth, he found SO much evidence on the D.B. Cooper case, I truly believe he discovered who it was.) The JFK assassination has so much confusion surrounding it that it gets it’s own countdown! *snicker*

SHOUTOUT TO THE AUTHOR: I need more conspiracies! Please, please, please make a companion book! Are there any conspiracies surrounding Watergate? I’d love to hear about that.

Yellow

Name a book that made you happy: Timebound (by Rysa Walker.) I swear, I have been on an unofficial quest to find good time travel books. Timebound included, the total tally is two (the other book being Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren.) I know it isn’t much but finding another T.T. book of quality makes me so happy!

BTW: I’m open to any suggestions for good books that you may have.

Green

Name a book about the world we live in: The Elements: A Visual Exploration Of Every Known Atom In The Universe (by Theodore Gray.) This isn’t the kind of book you read end to end, but that’s actually one of it’s perks. Each atom gets it’s own page or two, and they’re STUFFED with wonderful pictures and information. It has a picture of liquid oxygen. LIQUID oxygen. Am I the only one who is amazed by that?

Blue

Name the last book that made you cry: The Book Thief (by Marcus Zusak.) But I’ve actually been in the mood for a tear-jerker lately, so I’ve got several books on my TBR pile that will hopefully bring on the tears (that sounds so wrong.)

Indigo

Name an author that needs more recognition: Steve Sheinkin. I have never gone wrong with one of his books. (I’ve read them all except the graphic novels.)

SHOUTOUT TO THE AUTHOR: Remember John Burns from your book on the Civil War? The War Of 1812 veteran? Well, I realized that I know next to nothing about the War Of 1812. Could you please write something about that? I promise I would read it. (You might also want to look into the Hatfield and McCoy feud. It seems up your alley.)

Purple

Name a book that is very deep: I’m going to have to repeat books on this one and say (again) The Book Thief.The. Holocaust. Nuff’ said.

Book Cover Rainbow

A cover for every color of the rainbow.

Book Review: Timebound

Name: Timebound

Author(s): Rysa Walker

Series Standing: Book one (The CHRONOS Files)

What It’s About: After moving in with her somewhat strange grandmother Katherine, Kate’s life takes a turn for the weirder… and more dangerous. It turns out Katherine is from the future; a time-traveling historian who got stuck in the past after her partner went rouge. Now his meddling with the timeline puts Kate’s family, and her very existence, at stake. In his mad quest for power, he murders Katherine in the past, which should erase any existence of Kate (and her family). But she, Katherine, and Connor (her assistant) have been protected by special medallions that make time travel possible. Now Kate is trained to travel back to the 1890s and correct the timeline. But will she succeed? Or survive?

My Review: FINALLY! I finally found a time travel book that doesn’t confuse or disappoint me! This book was, to put it simply, awesome. Great writing, great story, great romance, and I could actually understand what was going on. I think the way Saul (the bad guy) chose to obtain power was really interesting and unique.The only problem I had with it was how soon Kate and Trey became a couple. It seemed to be meet one day, kiss the next. But Trey was SO loveable I easily cast that complaint aside. There was a hint of a love triangle, but it didn’t overwhelm the book. For once, the whole “complicated romance” thing faded into the background. This book set itself up for a sequel, and there HAS to be one, but it didn’t end in a cliffhanger. In fact, I finished this book with a sense of satisfaction. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a book with a bit of history, but not historical fiction.

But it doesn't take over the story.
But it doesn’t take over the story.

Re-Readability: Very High. Go buy this book now. It’s worth it.

Quotes

“Do you have a lot of books?” I asked. Dad snorted as he slathered some cream cheese on his bagel. “Katherine’s collection puts Amazon to shame.”

“I put the book down by the computer and rubbed my eyes. “This is the world’s most boring version of the Travel Channel. And the History Channel. Combined. And I don’t much care for either of those.”

“I tentatively  bent a corner down and was surprised to see the odd paper pop back up, unwrinkled. I tried to tear a small piece from the edge, to no avail. A few quick experiments later, I had determined that you couldn’t write on the paper with ballpoint pen, pencil, or marker. Water beaded right off, even though it didn’t feel laminated. Chewing gum stuck momentarily, but it peeled up quickly and didn’t leave any residue. Within a few minutes, I had decided that the stuff was just plain indestructible – except for fire, perhaps, but I couldn’t try that on the Metro.”

 Find This Book On: Barnes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads

Book Cover Love: Stylish Shades

book cover love

I happen to have a thing for good book covers. Who doesn’t? Book Cover Love is where I focus on my favorites. I might not have even read the book!

Today’s Subject: Stylish Shades

heist-society-kat-hale-ally-carter-books-heist-thi[1]

Book(s): Books in the Heist Society series (Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, and Perfect Scoundrels)

Author(s): Ally Carter

Details: You can see art (Heist Society), jewels (Uncommon Criminals), and Hale (Dreamy… I mean, Perfect Scoundrels) in the reflection of each pair of shades.

Relevance: All the things reflected in the shades are related to the books.

Overall Feeling: Fun and… how do you describe something with criminals?

sinceyouasked[1]

Book: Since You Asked

Author(s): Maurene Goo

Details: I like the typography of the title. Did you notice how the “you” wraps itself around parts of both “since” and “asked”?

Relevance: I’m not sure there is any. But I still like it.

Blurb: High School. So funny I forgot to laugh.

Overall Feeling: Sarcastic.

16248037[1]

Book: Life After Theft

Author(s): Aprilynne Pike

Details: The pretty landscape reflected in the glasses.

Relevance: I’m not sure if that landscape is the main setting of the book, but if it isn’t, there isn’t anything relevant to the story on this cover.

Overall Feeling: Pretty.

What are your favorite book covers with a cool pair of glasses? Tell me below in the comments!


Happy 200th Birthday!

200 years ago to this day, a book was published by the name of Mansfield Park. It isn’t Jane Austen’s most popular novel, but I feel any book celebrating 200 years should get it’s own little birthday party.

Mansfield Park Birthday

About The Author:

  • Jane Austen was the seventh of eight children. She was one of two girls, and had six brothers.
  • Jane Austen never married, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a romantic. Besides her books being renowned for their romances, she was said to be quite the flirt, and had many suitors. She also received a proposal from a wealthy man named Harris Bigg-Wither. She immediately accepted, but after a long night of second thoughts canceled their engagement in the morning.
  • Two of Jane Austens’ novels (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion) were published after her death by her brother Henry. This was the first time the public knew who penned such novels as Pride & Prejudice, as they had previously been published anonymously under names such as “By a Lady.”

Retellings:

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (Persuasion)
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman (Pride & Prejudice)
The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik (Mansfield Park)
The Espressologist by Kirstina Springer (Emma)
The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik (Persuasion)
Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (Pride & Prejudice)
Sass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler (Sense & Sensibility)
Epic Failby Claire LaZebnik (Pride & Prejudice)

 *List of retellings taken from Epicreads.com. As of this post I’ve only read Enthusiasm, so I can’t personally recommend any of these books.*

You can find many more Jane Austen retellings on austenprose.com, a book blog dedicated to such. (Link opens to books on the blog tagged as young adult novel)

Why We Read:

How? How have books like Mansfield Park survived the lengths of time and still hold a place in our hearts? Because we like to read. And Jane Austen’s books are worth reading. They take us to another time and place and immerse us in the main character’s life and problems. I think that the video below can better explain some of the reasons why we read, and also the benefits of doing so.

So on this day, May 9th, 2014, I say Happy Birthday Mansfield Park!

*Shoutout to Pride & Prejudice, which turned 200 last year!*

 

Book Review: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream

Name: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream

Author(s): Tanya Lee Stone

What It’s About: This book tells the true story of 13 women who shared the dream of becoming astronauts in a time of prejudice, where women were considered basically treated as accessories to the home. And they almost made it. They took the tests, they proved their worth, and got shot down by a bunch of politicians. But not without a fight. This is the story of 13 women who paved the way for others like Sally Ride and Eileen Collins by questioning the “social order” that was widely accepted as the way of life. The “Mercury 13.” The almost astronauts.

My Review: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Okay, I’m goofy. But this is a really great book. It has great writing, lots of pictures, an interesting story, and intriguing information. Books like this make me disgusted at how we used to treat some people. The fact that people used to think that women only exist to play housekeeper is enraging. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought I’m glad I wasn’t alive back then. I would recommend this to anybody who has the slightest bit of interest in history.

Re-Readability: Very High. Go read this book now.

Quotes

“Some of the woman were criticized for taking on “unnatural” roles. Doubters questioned their devotion to their children and husbands. Jane Hart’s husband, a U.S. senator, received bags of mail from constituents who thought it disgraceful that his wife was flying all over creation and told him he should exercise more control over her.”

“Editorial cartoons poked fun. Reporters included her physical measurements alongside her test results. Or they dropped the test results completely, asking her what kind of meals she liked to cook and marveling at how slim, blond, and dimpled a pilot could be. “[That] has nothing to do with flying. I never read about men pilots who had their measurements listed in stories about them,” Cobb later said.”

“Back in New York, where Jerrie Cobb was staying, it was the middle of the night. Her phone started ringing. Her parents’ phone started ringing. Her friends’ and colleagues’ phones started ringing. And they didn’t stop. The world wanted to know who this woman was.”

Find This Book On: Banes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads

Reading and reviewing YA books for the fun of it.