Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: Illuminae by Annie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae
Series: The Illuminae Chronicles #1
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Length: 599 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 

Literary Awards: 
Aurelius Award Nominee for Best Science Fiction Novel (2015)
Australian Book Industry Award - Best Young Adult Novel (2015)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Sci-Fi (2015)
Audie Award for Multi-Voiced Performance (2016)

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 on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra--who are barely 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. 

My Thoughts: 
When Kady and Ezra's little ice-covered planet is attacked, they escape with their lives onto fleeing spacecrafts. One ends up on the Alexander, and the other on the Hypatia. Having just broken up, they aren't quite on talking terms. But with the Lincoln on their tails and ready to blast them out of space and a plague spreading between the Copernicus and Alexander, they end up rekindling their relationship through messages and trying to save their own lives along with the lives of the remaining ships. 

This story is uniquely told through a series of hacked emails, medical records, and more, and the formatting really brings the story to life. There are pages where pictures are made of tons of words, pages where sentences follow curves, and pages with very few words. The quick 'instant messaging' dialogue makes this the type of book that you can fly through even though it's 600 pages long. 

I was in a pretty big slump before reading this and the unique formatting really helped bring me out of that. I went from reading 5-10 pages a day to reading 100 or more. I really enjoyed reading 'differently' for once instead of just straight lines throughout the entire book. 

The story itself is pretty cool with lots of twists and turns. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, I would be surprised. The narrative does a great job of giving us some raw emotions despite that this is told through secondhand interviews and emails. The artificial intelligence, AIDAN, was probably my favorite 'character' (if you can call it that). 

There was a lot of hype over this book and I completely understand why. I wasn't overly enthralled with the story but the formatting was A+. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys science fiction or is just looking for something that is different from anything else they generally read. 

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 12, 2007
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Banned/Challenged Book
Length: 230 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: gifted

Literary Awards: 
National Book Award for Young People's Literature (2007)
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2007)
American Indian Library Association Award
Florida Teens Read Nominee (2009)
Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2011) 
and lots more!

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, which is  based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. 

My Thoughts: 
Junior is a 14-year-old Native American living on the Spokane Indian Reservation with his mom, dad, and older sister. Life on the rez isn't ideal but it's what he is used to. He's used to everyone beating him up because he's smaller and weaker. He's used to being dirt poor. He's used to nearly every single Indian drinking their lives away. But then someone points out how smart he is and how he shouldn't give up hope and so he makes the difficult decision to go to an all-white school off the reservation. Trying to fit in at his new school and back at home where everyone thinks he's a traitor isn't easy, but Junior has a pretty good sense of humor and the hobby of drawing comics to deal with the hardships of life... and death. 

This was the book I chose to read for Banned Books Week this year. I can see why this book is challenged (not that I would ever condone the banning of a book). There's some vulgarity, racist themes, and even a little anti-religion if you'd go as far as saying 'Goddammit' is anti-religious. But really, it's nothing I wouldn't expect from a boy of this age in the past decade or so. 

I actually really enjoyed this even though reading about basketball bored me a bit. The writing style is very engaging and humorous. The comics tossed in are funny and add a little something visual to the story. They really brought the teenage boy 'out' of this book. 
There are a few ups and downs in this kid's life, with several deaths, the loss of his best friend, and going to an all white school, but his optimism and hope were refreshing. 

Would I recommend this? Definitely. As long as you don't mind a little foul language and talk of masturbation. It's eye-opening to the lives of Native Americans, poverty, death, and teenage boys in general. This is a coming-of-age story that might be better appreciated by young adults but is still worth reading. 

My Rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Picture Book Review: It's Raining Bats and Frogs by Rebecca Colby

Title: It's Raining Bats & Frogs
Author: Rebecca Colby
Illustrator: Steven Henry
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Length: 40 pages
Source: Borrowed

Delia has been looking forward all year to flying in the annual Halloween Parade. But parade day brings heavy rain. So, Delia takes action. Using her best magic, Delia changes the rain to cats and dogs. But that doesn't work too well! Then hats and clogs. That doesn't work, either! Each new type of rains brings a new set of problems. How can Delia save the day?

My Thoughts:
Delia is excited to participate in the annual Halloween Parade but when it starts raining she decides to do a little magic. First she turns the rain into cats and dogs, but that just didn't work. Then she changes it to hats and clogs, but the other witches started fighting over them. Then she changed the rain to bats and frogs, but that didn't work either! Eventually, Delia figures out the perfect thing and the parade goes on despite the foul weather. 

It's Raining Bats & Frogs is the perfect picture book to read this close to Halloween. It's full of witches flying broomsticks and witchy things. There's also a big Halloween Parade at the end that is lots of fun. 

The illustrations are more on the adorable side than spooky but the coloration gives a very dark and foreboding touch to the story. The witches and the animals in this book are all very happy with friendly faces and that makes this perfect for young readers who aren't quite looking for something scary yet. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: My Haunted House by Angie Sage

Title: My Haunted House
Author: Angie Sage
Series: Araminta Spook #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Genre: Children's, Paranormal

Length: 160 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Araminta Spookie lives in a wonderful old haunted house, but her crabby aunt Tabby wants to move. Aunt Tabby is determined to sell their house--Araminta "has" to stop her! 

With the help of a haunted suit of armor named Sir Horace, a ghost named Edmund, and a lot of imagination, Araminta hatches a plot for an Awful Ambush that is so ghoulish, it just might work!

My Thoughts: 
Araminta Spookie lives with her aunt and uncle in a dreary old mansion and she absolutely loves it. She enjoys hunting for ghosts, wrangling Uncle Drac's bats, and switching bedrooms whenever she's in the mood to. When she gets wind that Aunt Tabby wants to sell the mansion and move, Araminta is determined to sabotage Aunt Tabby's efforts. When realtors come to look at the house, she scares them away. But when an odd family shows interest in the spooky old house, Araminta's plans go awry. Will she be able to change their minds and continue living in her beloved mansion?

Araminta Spookie is a fun little read that any young child looking for something spooky without the chance of actually frightening them will enjoy. There's an old rusty suit of armor that harbors a ghost as well as a ghost boy, but they are so friendly that it's almost certain that even a young child won't be overly spooked by this book. Araminta's antics are childish but mildly entertaining at times. 

As this is a chapter book geared towards younger audiences, it is rather easy to read with short sentences and little description but I do think it may be enjoyed by anyone looking for something a bit similar to but more docile than The Addams Family. 

My Rating: 3.75 stars

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Sunday Post #40 - Oops! Missed A Week!

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you received, share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and more.

I somehow lost track of time last week and didn't get a Sunday post up so this may be a little bit longer than usual. 
We survived Hurricane Matthew with just a bit of rain and heavy winds since I'm on the west coast of Florida but the east coast took a beating. 
We finally got some cooler weather! Woo hoo! I had been waiting all summer for this! *dances around room* It's still in the 80's during the day but it's been windy so it's just lovely and we've been airing out the house. Unfortunately, it won't last. It's already starting to warm up again. :(
My local mega book sale was this week! I went the last two days and got a ton of books even though I really tried to rein myself in this time since I have no room on my shelves. I still ended up with a rediculous amount of books. I posted a picture in my Stacking the Shelves if you are interested. 

What You May Have Missed
Book Review: Shadows of the Dark Crystal by J.M. Lee
Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Picture Book Review: The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi
Book Review: The Dream by R.K. McLay
Book Review: Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Stacking the Shelves - Book Sale Haul

Coming Soon
Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Book Review: My Haunted House by Angie Sage
Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

Books I Finished in the Past 2 Weeks

What I'm Currently Reading

The Cartographer's Daughter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave - Veering from my spooky TBR, this book's publishing date snuck up on me so I need to finish it asap! 

(physical book)
Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov by John Matthews - Another review book but this one was sent to me last minute so I'm hoping to breeze through it. At least it's a little 'spooky'. 

What I'm Watching

I'm not really sure how to feel about this season. I like gorey horror stuff but there are things I really don't like about this one. Hubby is already over it so we just started re-watching Supernatural. 

I hope you all have an awesome week! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #74 - Big Book Sale Haul!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by TYNGA'S REVIEWS that features the books we bought, borrowed, were gifted, and were given for review.

I'm a little overdue with sharing my hauls lately and only have about 20 minutes to type up this post so I will probably miss a few things. 

Received For Review: 

Borrowed From Library:

A few things I missed sharing in the past few weeks: 

My hubby ordered me the Darkness OwlCrate box for my birthday in September. It came with Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, a Miss Peregrine's 'Out of Print' pouch, and a few other goodies! It's definitely my favorite box so far. 
A photo posted by Lazy Day Lit (@lazydaylit) on

A few other books I purchased: 

I attended my local library mega book sale twice this past week and brought home a ton of books. Again. If you've been around for a while, you may know that this week long sale happens twice a year and I attend it every single time. These sales are pretty amazing considering that I live in a pretty small town. There are so many books that they fill a whole auditorium and there are always thousands of books at the end of the week. 
I ended up with 70 fiction novels, 55 picture books, and 23 dvds all for just $18! That's amazing, right?!

And that was just from the first day I went! I ended up finding a few more great books on the last day as well. I found the first 6 books in 'The Last Apprentice' series by Joseph Delaney, a couple of Fablehaven books, Graceling, and more! I wish I had time to list them out or show you all my favorites but this will have to do!

Have a great week!  

Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Review: Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

I received a free eARC of this book from Sky Pony Press in exchange for an honest review. 

Title: Fear the Drowning Deep
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Length: 310 pages
Format: ebook
Source: publisher

Witch's apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man. 

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey's suspicions about the sea. No one but the island's witch, who isn't as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn's stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water -- stealing her heart in the process. 

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle's eccentric witch and the boy she isn't sure she can trust -- because if she can't uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return. 

My Thoughts: 
Bridey hasn't gone near the ocean since she saw her grandfather walk into the sea and drown. Living on the Isle of Man makes the sea very difficult to avoid but Bridey manages, especially after a drowned girl is found and others start to go missing. But when it's time for her to find a job and help out her family, she ends up working for the local witch who sends her down to the shore where she comes across an unconscious young man. Girls from town keep disappearing, Bridey keeps seeing strange things in the sea, and her mother keeps painting sea creatures that may or may not be real. Bridey is determined to figure out what is happening and how to stop it, but the whole town may be working against her. 

I was really expecting this to be a very dark, atmospheric read, and it is in some sense but at the same time perhaps it wasn't dark enough for my tastes. That in no way means that I disliked it. I really enjoyed the characters, setting, and plot.  

Set in the early 1900's on the Isle of Man in a small town called Port Coire, this story has a very close-knit but isolated community feel to it. When a dead body washes ashore, there are no policeman or investigators to take charge of the situation and so Bridey, her family, and the rest of the town are left to figure out what is going on all on their own. 
There's a small town mentality that is prevalent in this story and is especially shown in the labeling of the town recluse as a witch. Bridey goes to work for her and is then subjected to the harassment of those that think she is now a witch as well. This quickly builds up to where no one believes her when she says she has seen strange creatures in the sea. 

The characters, other than the not-so-friendly townspeople, mainly revolve around Bridey's family, friends, and the boy she finds on the shore and names Fynn. There is a bit of light romance but mostly Bridey's attention stays with the love and safety of her family which was a little new for me as I seem to read a lot about broken families. It was a nice change.

The atmosphere of the book does grow darker as it progresses and while I thought the ending was a little muddled, it was still entertaining and left it open to your own interpretation of what the future might hold for Bridey. 

This is probably the perfect read for anyone who wants something a little dark and atmospheric for this spooky season but might not want to delve into the traditional horror since this is more of a mystery revolving around mythological creatures. 

My Rating: 3.75 - 4 stars