book reviews, booktube

Memento: An Illuminae Files Novella

Memento by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff712ccb2aa16a05af938939ae61abe4e0

Rating: XXXXX

Published May 7th by Knopf books for young readers

“Ah. You have empathy for AIDAN.”
“Yes. That’s a good way of putting it.”
“Interesting.”

December, 2574. Forty-three days before the BeiTech attack on Kerenza IV. This is the story of my first friendship. This is the tale of my first murder? Some monsters are born. But I? <ERROR> I was made. 

So Memento is an 82-page Illuminae prequel novella that was a free incentive for preordering Aurora Rising only available in the US. For those in the UK like me, the only way to get a hold of a copy of these without shipping it to a US address was to order it through Good Choice reads in the US who would then ship the book and the Memento to you together. It was a little more expensive because of the shipping etc but it was absolutely worth it and also meant we were some of the first to receive the novella which was nice.

If you were lucky enough to get your hands on one but haven’t read Illuminae yet I would absolutely recommend reading the Illuminae books, or at least the first one before Memento. The Novella doesn’t really spoil much but you’ll get more out of it reading it after the first book. If you’ve read and enjoyed the Illuminae books you will love Memento, after being on the fence for so long about whether or not I would get on with the different kind of format we see in the Illuminae books it’s weird to say I missed it but I did. As soon as I saw the familiar layouts and style it felt like coming home and although I was happy with the ending of the original trilogy it left me wanting more again so a reread of them is defintley in order.

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New characters felt fresh and were easy to become attached to even in such a relatively short span of pages, we see AIDAN and the rest of the Alexander before, during and after the battle of Kerenza from different points of view. Memento follows AIDAN’s journey into what we see in Illuminae and as you can imagine if you’ve read the books it is harrowing and amazing. You can check out a video below with my reactions reading it for the first time and a spoiler-filled description of the plot if you were unable to get a hold of a copy but still want to know what happens.

Memento is not available to buy at this time and was only available through Knopf as a preorder incentive with Aurora Rising as mentioned. There are some rumours however that Rock the Boat is working on a way to get the novella here so fingers crossed as it’s well worth it.

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#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Summer TBR

So I have already posted a TBR for the month which is also sort of doubled up as my YALC TBR as well so I’m going to take the opportunity this week to use the Summer TBR prompt for this weeks Six for Sunday as a broader TBR of books I want to read over the next few months. There are a lot of books that have been out for a good while that I’ve been meaning to get to. I may have cheated a little bit and lumped some series of books together but I won’t tell if you don’t. You can find lots of awesome stuff, including some of the 2019 prompts for Six for Sunday if you want to join in over at Steph’s blog A Little but a Lot. 

Nevernight, Godsgrave and Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff
I am determined to finally finish Nevernight and get through Godsgrave in time for the Darkdawn release in September! I’ve loved what I’ve read of it so far but I made the mistake of sandwiching my reading of Nevernight between two blog tour books and ran out of time to finish it. Once I’ve worked my way through this months review books I’m dedicating August to getting caught up ready for the final book and Jay’s impending September visit to the UK as well!

Six of Crows and The Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I made the same mistake with Six of Crows as with Nevernight and had to abandon it over halfway through which was painful because it’s SO up my alley, I LOVE groups of misfits, heists and morally grey characters and Six of Crows has all of these things. Then obviously I can move onto the Crooked Kingdom which will mean I’ll be caught up enough to finally read King of Scars although that’s not a summer priority for me.

Gilded Cage by Vic James
Since reading Sanctuary I’ve been desperate to read Vic’s earlier work, I’ve been hearing great things about this trilogy and I would really like to at least get the first one read before YALC (I’m debating trying to go Saturday too so I can meet her!)

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
I have been meaning to read this book and its sequels FOREVER. I think I just get worried they won’t live up to the hype I’ve heard sometimes but this is one of the reasons it took me so long to read the Illuminae files which have become my favourite books so I know I need to take the leap and I think this summer it might finally be time.

Ghosts of the Shadowmarket By Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan
The most recent book on this list, I’d really like to get this bindup of short stories read to start The Red Scrolls of Magic in the Autumn, I kept putting it on my monthly TBR but I think this is one that will have to wait until later in the summer as it is one of the only ones I have yet to buy.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
I’ve been debating reading this for a little while now. The sheer size of it has put me off time and again but earlier this year both the kindle and audible versions were on sale super cheap so I brought them both and now have absolutely no excuse not to finally listen to/read this book!

I’m so excited to finally read these damn books. I get distracted so easily so feel free to bug me and bug me about reading them!

What books are you looking forward to reading this summer and are any of them books you’ve been wanting to read for a while?

 

 

 

#SixforSunday

S4S – Couples who need a sequel

Another week has gone by, another Sunday has arrived and it’s been somehow both a long week and a short one. It’s flown by but it’s been a hard one and I’m glad to see the back of it! I’m hoping things will calm down with any luck although amongst other things I’m off to Lego Land with my little family next week so we shall see. For now, at least it’s Six for Sunday time and this week the prompt is “Couples that deserve a sequel” which considering the past couple of weeks have been similar it was starting to get very difficult to pick some new and fresh ones but here we are and  I hope you enjoy them!

BRIEFING NOTE: Couple related spoilers are present throughout for Heartstopper, To Kill a Kingdom, The Mortal Instruments etc, Gemina/The Illuminae Files, Strange the Dreamer and Ouran High School Host club.

Nick and Charlie from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

I know they are getting a sequel and Alice updates Tapas with chapters regularly but these two will always need more because I love them so much.

Lira and Prince Elain from To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I would love for there to be a sequel with the gang all getting back together, crew and all!

Jace and Clary from City of Bones etc by Cassandra Clare

Okay so I know that they technically already have like, six books BUT I would love even just a short story about them running the institute or something. I hate to say it but I kind of miss them.

Nik and Hana from Gemina by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

I would love a story (short form or otherwise) of the two of them off on holiday or something after everything that happens. Hana just wants things to be normal so they try to go on a simple trip for a weekend, something like an exotic beach on another planet etc but then maybe there’s a hostage situation or something and things get all Die Hard? Oh my gosh. Die Hard meets Gemina yes, please.

Thyon Nero and Lazlo from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

So I know these two aren’t really a couple but I loved the chemistry between the two of them right at the beginning of Strange the Dreamer and I think I would love a soft little story with these two just being kind, it doesn’t have to be romantic, although I think Thyron has always had a bit of a thing for Lazlo, to be honest.

Tamaki Suoh and Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

So this couple is actually from a manga series I read years and years ago that ran for eighteen volumes (80-ish chapters) it was a sweet, silly series about a girl who pretends to be a boy in a male host club at a school for insanely rich kids so that she can pay back a huge debt she incurs when she breaks an incredibly expensive vase. Both Tamaki and Haruhi have trouble understanding and later confronting their feelings for each other but everything turns out okay in the end as Tamaki moves to the USA with Haruhi and unbeknownst to them until the last moment, the rest of the Host Club are their neighbours! I loved the series and it did have a really great end but I would still very much like to see another volume or maybe even a small mini-series about what the gang get up in the USA.

Let me know what your choices would be in the comments or send me a link to your Six for Sunday post for this week!

 

book reviews

LifeL1k3 Review

40734845LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Rating: XXXX

Published: July 26th 2018 by Harper Collins

“Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.”

“Your body is not your own. Your mind is not your own. Your life is not your own.” 

It’s just another day on the Scrap: lose the last of your credits at the WarDome, dodge the gangs and religious fanatics, discover you can destroy electronics with your mind, stumble upon the deadliest robot ever built…

When Eve finds the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend and her robotic sidekick in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, battle cyborg assassins, and scour abandoned megacities to save the ones she loves…and learn the dark secrets of her past.

This was my first book written by Jay alone, as most who have read my blog before will know I’ve read and loved both the Illuminae Files books and Aurora Rising, all of which are written by Jay in partnership with Amie Kaufman. I applied unsuccessfully for an ARC copy but did manage to win an early copy in a raffle by Harper Collins at YALC last year anyway and it’s taken me just under a year to finally getting around to reading it but I wanted to make sure if I liked it that I would be ready for Dev1at3 coming out in June which I’m now super excited for.  As always I have included the Goodreads blurb but Jay himself also added his own synopsis to which I think does the book more justice.

“In the wake of an uprising in a post-apocalyptic USA, the robotic populace have been reduced to slaves, and androids (robots who look like humans) have been outlawed. LIFEL1K3 is about a girl named Eve and her best friend Lemon, who find a ruined android in a scrap heap – an almost-boy named Ezekiel, who knows the truth behind the robotic revolt. Shenanigans ensue.

It features (in no particular order) Giant Mechanical War Machines. Sexah Androids. Mutant Powers. Doomed Romance. Warring Corporations. Cybernetic Bounty Hunters. Sassy Robot Sidekicks. Rebellions. Chases. Escapes. Betrayals. Lies Upon Lies. Splosions.

My elevator pitch was “Romeo and Juliet meets Bladerunner, while Fury Road plays a guitar solo in the background.”

Jay’s writing style is very much the same in LifeL1k3 as in his collaborative works which has a nice amount of snark, wit and humour. There is a fair use of slang throughout which felt a little distracting and not needed at first but didn’t hugely bother me after a while so wasn’t a huge problem and just a niggle for me. The action scenes engrossing and you can absolutely feel the Fury Road vibes in them, especially one scene particular where I was waiting for Cricket to yell witness me and spray some weird aerosol over himself (I enjoyed Fury Road but didn’t especially understand a chunk of it). The pacing feels a little stop and start in that it’s either going 100 mph or crawling along. I’m all for non-action scenes, not everything has to be fighting or running or shooting etc but there were a couple of parts that just felt slow and although they were definitely needed in part to help move the story along they felt too long to me for the purpose they served (think Canto Bight in TLJ but not as bad).

Characters were a mixed bag for me, although I didn’t particularly dislike any of the characters I did find that I absolutely favoured Lemon Fresh, the main characters best friend, their sidekick A.I robot Cricket and their blitzhund dog called Kaiser over the main character and (mild spoiler) love interest. Lemon is sassy, funny and fiercely loyal her friendship with Eve is inspiring but doesn’t mean that she takes the usual best friend back seat slot where they may as well not be there, she’s important and intrinsic to the story with tales of her own under her belt. Crickets fighting talk despite being small enough to sit on Eve’s shoulder (just don’t mention it to him) is brilliant, he’s picked up the way Lem and Eve speak to each other and is always back talking and using human phrases that he’s obviously learned while also adhering to the three laws of robotics and doing his best to protect and keep both Eve and Lemon safe. Poor little guy tries so hard to be the voice of reason to two very strong-willed, independent teenagers who usually ignore his advice and I absolutely feel for him. Kaiser, part meat, part metal guard dog and beloved pet doesn’t say a word but is described perfectly and is just honestly the best good boy and deserves all the pets in the world.

Main character Eve, is certainly an in intriguing character and I did enjoy reading about her and her struggles but I think she spends so much of the book struggling with her identity and trying to work out what kind of person she is that I found it harder to bond with her like I had with Lemon. My disinterest in Zeke was more personal preference really as he’s certainly written well and has a great arc and backstory but he just felt too perfect to me and I know he’s meant to be physically perfect (and don’t get me wrong, he sounds gorgeous) but I just found him to be too flat for me, I’m sure others will like him though because he is pretty swoon-worthy even with his perceived flaws. After the events that transpire in this book, however, I am now basically chomping at the bit to get more narrative from the two of them in Dev1at3.

I’m told it wouldn’t be a Jay Kristoff book without some twists and there were definitely a good few of those. Having read Aurora Rising very recently I noticed that the way the twists unfolded in LifeL1k3 are hugely similar to the way a particular twist in AR turned out. I refer not to the content of the twists themselves but more the way each felt as a reader in that for both by the time the reveal comes around it is just a confirmation of the mind-blowing revelation you’ve already had and suspected. This feels strange and I’m not sure how on purpose it is but it gives me as a reader the feeling of “oh look how smart I am to have put all these pieces together and figured this out” even if often it’s only a few pages (or in the case of AR a few lines) before the full reveal happens. At first, I was unsure if this just meant the story was predictable and I think some have understandably felt that way, especially if you’re very used to not having a clue about said twist until it’s quite literally spelt out for you which is a fantastic moment when a plot point completely blindsides you (see basically every book by Lauren James) and you then spend the next half an hour thinking back on all the clues you missed thinking “of course!! How did I miss this?!” Instead, LifeL1k3 (and AR) give you a different kind of reveal that I felt like I earned a bit more and now that I’m used to them I’m looking forward to more to come.

Overall I didn’t find LifeL1k3 to quite be a XXXXX rating for me but found it hugely enjoyable none the less and would happily recommend it. The sequel Dev1at3 is out June 25th 2019 (just under a month away now) and with L1feL1k3 being only £1.99 on Kindle right now this is pretty much the best time to get into the series.

 

spoiler free, Unboxings

May Illumicrate Unboxing – The Final Frontier

I received my first Illumicrate box this month! I had been thinking of trying this bookish box company out for a while and with the announcement of May’s box containing a special edition of Aurora Rising I couldn’t resist and I’m so pleased to have finally been able to do so. I’m also planning to carry on my subscription for the June box as well. I did film an unboxing video which you can check out here or at the end of this blog post. This will be an unboxing post with closer pictures of each item so obviously spoilers ahead!

First up is a Lunar Chronicles Cooler Bag designed by Jo Painter (@Po_Jainter) featuring the women from the Lunar Chronicles series. I’m yet to read the books myself yet (I do have Cinder ready and waiting though!) but I thought this was a great item and super useful, especially as its London MCM this weekend so this was perfect timing.

Next up is one of my favourite items and that is the Squad 312 Pouch by Meghan (@IParwing). I wear reading glasses so I don’t get headaches and when I forget to wear them I often have to wear sunglasses when the headaches happen, I lost my glasses case last week but now I can fit my of my glasses inside this pouch. Not to mention it’s adorable, look at Fin taking the group selfie!!

Loving these adorable little Space Sticky Notes by Fable and Black (@Fableandblack) the design is super cute and I love the colours!

I have been informed that since lasts months box there will be a Magnetic Collectable Coin in each box which attaches to a magnetic necklace and you can change which coin you wear. I liked this idea and have managed to find myself a necklace from the April box so I can wear this beautiful, bright Kady coin. This Illuminae files inspired item was designed by Monolime (@Monolimeart) and although it makes Kady look a little older than I imagined, but I think that’s just the art style.

I haven’t got around to reading Red Rising yet but I really like this Howler Luggage Tag designed by Fable and Black (@fableandblack), it has a nice metallic finish and is nice and bright.

This next item is my joint favourite item (not including the book itself) this gorgeous Illuminae Pillowcase with illustration by Alice Duke (@Alice_Duke) and quote design by Chatty Nora (@chattynora). The material is super soft and I’ve actually brought a second one as my husband has been trying to steal mine!

Then last but absolutely no means least is the book itself! The book that would feature in the May box was announced not long after the Goldsboro books drama (a LOT more than 500 people tried to buy 500 special editions of Aurora Rising with purple sprayed edges – the site crashed, drama ensued) which I think was a pretty smart move and was certainly the reason I decided to purchase the May box with the theme “The Final Frontier” which would feature a special limited edition copy of Aurora Rising.

Unable to have nabbed one of the Goldsboro editions I decided to go in for the Illumicrate special instead and although purple IS my favourite colour I’m actually glad I ended up with the Illumicrate version instead. Not only does this special limited edition copy have HOT PINK sprayed edges but the colouring on the cover is also different and matches the hot pink pages and I’m so very in love with it.

If you’ve seen my unboxing video then you’ll already know that in all of my fawning over the pages etc I hadn’t given a thought to whether or not it was signed. I think I assumed there would be a signed bookplate like in many of the Fairy Loot books was happily surprised to see that this edition had actually been hand signed by both Jay and Amie instead which really made my day as my GC Reading edition arriving in the next few weeks is only signed by Jay (but is absolutely worth it as it also comes with the Momento novella!)

I was very pleased with my first Illumicrate! Each item was useful and won’t just end up stuck in a box and forgotten about like I’ve found with some items from other boxes in the past. It obviously helps that I love the theme for this month too but I have also decided to stay subscribed for the June box as well!

Thank you for checking out my unboxing! If you got this box too what did you think? What was your favourite item? If you didn’t get the box which would have been your favourite?

spoiler free, Tags

Aurora Rising – Squad 312 Book Tag

So last year when the cover was revealed for Aurora Rising I wrote a post discussing the artwork and synopsis we were given as well as creating a book tag for the occasion. Now that I’ve had the chance to read the book itself and as it’s been officially out for a few days now I figured I would update it and give create a single post for it to make it easier to read and take part in. If you read the previous edition you’ll notice that I’ve changed a few of the questions to fit more in line with the characters and some of my answers will have changed as it’s been about six months since I initially posted the first one.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Let’s meet the Squad. Awesome artwork by @kiranight_art

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Tyler Jones – The Alpha. Your favourite main character.

I find I’m usually a bigger fan of supporting characters but I pretty much kind of adore Lazlo Strange from the Strange the Dreamer books. He’s a massive book nerd, gets lost in his imagination and creates beautiful dreams. I love that he believes and loves with his whole being. Not to mention that he sounds pretty gorgeous and thanks to Steve West he sounds like a slightly huskier Orlando Bloom circa the Legolas Years.

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Scarlet Jones – The Face. Which character could talk themselves out of anything?

Not only can Loki from Joanne Harris’s Loki books talk himself into a corner he has an uncanny knack of managing to talk his way out as well. I love that he always has a 50/50 chance of making things worse even if he eventually makes it out in the end.

 

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Zila Marden – The Brain. A super smart character who would probably kill you.

Most of them to be honest. I love that we’re beginning to lose that stereotypical ‘nerd’ outlook and more often than not the smartest are the most kick-ass and could almost certainly kill or maim you in multiple ways. I hate to say it but my favourite is A.I.D.A.N from The Illuminae Files, it’s crazy but damn I love that insane murderous A.I.

 

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Finian de Karren de Seel – The Gearhead. Favourite piece of fictional technology.

I mean I didn’t realise artificial gravity from almost any sci-fi book set in space ever, wasn’t already a thing that existed yet so that would be my boring answer. My better answer would probably be M-Bot from Skyward. The smart, sassy, fungi loving Artifical Intelligence inside a ship is fantastic and was my favourite part of Sanderson’s newest series out last year.

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Kallis “Kal” Gilwraeth – The Tank. A book that made you angry. 

The Island by M.A Bennett, I had to stop reading a few times because I was just so damn mad at some of the things Link did and/or got away with. Just thinking about it now is making me mad.

 

 

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Catherine “Cat” Brannock – The Ace. Fictional Crush you’re still not over. 

Okay so there’s a few but I think the oldest one would probably be Damon from The Vampire Diaries books (and later the show) but other front runners would be Jace from the Mortal Instruments, Lucien from the ACOTAR books, Jude AND Cardan from The Folk of the Air books by Holly Black.

 

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Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley – Girl out of Time. If you had to pick just one book or series to read for the rest of your life what would it be? 

I feel like I should pick a really long series to keep it interesting but honestly, it would probably be The Illuminae Files. I am forever re-reading these books. Sometimes I’ll just pick one up on a whim and suddenly I’ve read half the damned thing or quite often I listen to the Gemina Audio Book if I can’t sleep at night.
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I hope you enjoyed the slightly updated Aurora Rising: Squad 312 book tag! I’ll tag a few people via twitter but if you want to take part, tagged by me or not feel free to have a go! I’d really love it if you could link back to this post if you do so and let me know in the comments so I can check out your answers.

Uncategorized, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday- 8th May 2019

Trying out a slightly different blog schedule this week and today is going to be WWW Wednesday! A short and sweet post inspired by the weekly prompts from Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s very simple, Sam posts three W questions and I answer them.

For Wednesday 8th May the Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you Currently Reading?
My Sci-Fi binge is well underway and I’m currently reading LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff, I’m just under halfway through and really enjoying it so far I’ve been warned that Jay likes to screw around with your feelings and is fond of cliffhangers or WTF moments at the end of his books so kind of terrified to get to the end not gonna lie.

I’ve been listening to at least half an hour of the Gemina (by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff) before I go to sleep since Monday as part of a buddy reread with @Nnovakk on Twitter which I’ve been really enjoying listening to again.

I’m also still slooooowly listening to Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassie Clare and have four hours left, I’m so close yet so far!

What did you recently finish reading?
Most recently has been Aurora Rising, (you can check out my spoiler free review here) it was my most anticpated read of 2019 and I was not dissapointed! I’m now eagerly awaiting my signed copy from GCreads with my Momento novella and my special Illumicrate edition and themed box coming in the next few weeks. SO excited, I’m very much not done with the hype just yet.

What do you think you’ll read next?
I feel like it’ll either be Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, because it sounds like it shares some similarities with LifeL1k3 or The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers which is series I’ve been desperate to get into!

Have you read any of these? If so what are your thoughts? What do you think I should read next?