Showing posts with label rec. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rec. Show all posts

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Recommendation: Alive (Generations #1) - Scott Sigler: Dystopian Prison World and Suspense

In ALIVE, a girl wakes up alive in a coffin with no recollection of who she and why she was put in there. 

What intrigued me:
 Sounds like a YA version of Matrix. I love conspiracy theories. Absolutely a synopsis-buy.

This novel will mess with you

The less you know about it, the better. In order not to spoil the experience for anyone, I'll be very vague when talking about this book, because ALIVE strives from the cluelessness of the reader. After Em wakes up in coffin you know just as little as her about this world. You figure out everything with her and that's what kept me glued to the pages. It's such a simple way of encouraging the reader and getting them invested in the story, and it's absolutely works.

Sigler brilliantly manages to channel this feeling of not knowing what's going on through the protagonist Em and it's just fabulous. You won't know what's going on until it's happening, and I guarantee you the resolution will leave you gasping and yelling. If you love plot twists and mind games, this is the novel for you.

As someone who is not inherently very into most Dystopian YA on the market, this is really refreshing because it doesn't play into the stereotypes we've all read about a gazillion times before. ALIVE is truly very unique, very interesting, and very strange. 

That's how you write a leader!

I usually don't like typical leader-like characters, especially in YA. Often these people come across as awkward and not really fit for the job, but Em is among the best strong protagonists I've ever read about. The choices she has to make along the way are realistic, full of sacrifices, and just made her such a likeable and wonderfully real character.
I absolutely enjoyed the way Em navigates through the story, however, I wished at some point that the story progressed a little more quickly, simply because I was so desperate to find out what was going on. There is a lot of walking around in this and after a while it does get exhausting to read all these scenes, even though Sigler did his best to make them as enjoyable as possible. Technically, this isn't even criticism, just me being impatient.

The twist truly made me want to buy the second book instantly and read more about this interesting world. Despite it all taking too much time for my taste to unravel, it was truly a great read and I enjoyed this immensely. If you're a fan of being kept in the dark until the end and then having your world shattered into a million pieces by a wonderfully grim twist, this is the read for you.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you're not a fan of the genre usually, give this one a try. Don't read any reviews, just get the book and trust me. It'll be worth it. 

Additional Info

Published: July 14th 2015
Pages: 368
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: YA / Dystopian

"A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth."
(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite Dystopian read?

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Recommendation: The Sound of Us - Julie Hammerle: Classical Music, University, and a Mystery

In THE SOUND OF US, Kiki is determined to get into the classical music program of a renowned university.

What intrigued me: A mixture of that gorgeous cover and curiosity about the premise

Fun, relatable, and unique

THE SOUND OF US immediately sucked me in. Hammerle has a fantastically relatable narrative voice that throws you right into the story. I couldn't put this down, every time I tried I kept thinking about Kiki and what would happen next. This is how you make your contemporary pop. THE SOUND OF US amazes with a very simple story that's so fantastically well executed that you just have to continue reading this even if that means you have you stay up past your bedtime. 

One of my biggest worries was that THE SOUND OF US may not be able to translate the magic of Pitch Perfect in a written medium. It's not like you can exactly write down what music sounds like. Egh, you know what I mean. Anyway, I don't know how, but Ms. Hammerle did it. It feels like you're actually hearing the music while reading this. Paired with an unforgettable protagonist, this is just a delight and I'd recommend this to all contemporary lovers!

It plays in your typical university setting, but Hammerle cleverly chooses to only use the university atmosphere and to not give the reader lots and lots of boring class scenes. We learn a lot about the kind of people that go to the university and about Kiki's experiences. Essentially, this is a coming-of-age story, Kiki goes through so much character development in this novel that you can almost say she becomes a whole new person at the end of it. 

Pop culture references and a mystery

THE SOUND OF US is filled with pop culture references of the past two decades, some you'll recognize, some are stand-ins, and it's a delight to read. I especially loved Kiki's tendency to compare every new person she meets to some character from a TV show. Her love for twitter and the fictional TV show Project Earth are only small factors that contribute to making Kiki an insanely relatable character. I rooted for her from the first page. I loved reading about her experience. Hammerle writes about university with pizzazz. She makes it exciting.

What really got me hooked is the mystery of the traitor. I just loved that twist to the story, because on its own the music program storyline is entertaining, but maybe not really enough for a recommendation. Hammerle turns the novel around halfway in and make it read like a fast-paced mystery, while still being true to that university feel that I love so much about the novel. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE SOUND OF US has something for everyone - there's romance, there's singing, there are relatable university experiences, and there's a mystery. What more could you want from a contemporary?

Additional Info

Published: June 7th 2016
Pages: 304
Publisher: Entangled
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9781633755031

"Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.

She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.

Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same TV shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.

But when someone starts snitching on rule breakers and getting them kicked out, music camp turns into survival of the fittest. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her chance with the drummer guy—might cost her the future she wants more than anything."(Source: Goodreads)

Have you seen Pitch Perfect?

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

[Recommendation] The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson #3) - Rick Riordan

In THE TITAN'S CURSE, the third novel in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Percy and his friends have to deal with the aftermath of freeing the titan Kronos.
Wonderful and Likeable Main Character

I have only watched the first two movies and not read the books and just went ahead and read the third book. I didn't have any problems trying to understand who was who, even though Riordan doesn't make an effort to describe what has previously happened. I got quite annoyed at Mead doing the opposite in her Vampire Academy series and always summarizing everything in the first chapter, so this was refreshing.

Because Percy is such a young protagonist, I didn't expect to identify with him at all as a twenty-something. I was wrong. Percy is a very smart character that does act his age while not being either obnoxious or naive. Many authors try and fail at writing about characters that are that young, but Riordan masters it skillfully.

The key to making Percy so realistic and pleasant to read about it that most of the action in the novel is describes via little hints that Percy doesn't get. Riordan doesn't try to make him the omniscience hero that figures everything out right away, quite on the contrary. He's impulsive, doesn't put much thought into his actions and oftentimes flat out embarrasses himself while failing dramatically. I love that. I identified and sympathized 100% with Percy and that's remarkable, judging by the fact that he's a thirteen year-old boy.

Perfect Blend of Mythology and Own Ideas

I've seen so many authors try to tackle Greek mythology as a background for their novels and just flat out fail. Riordan doesn't just use the myths as story lines in his book but creates a vivid, entertaining and unique world on his own. There are rarely times when I thought he just took this from The Iliad as I did when reading works of Angelini, Carter, or Cabot.

Riordan mixes mythology skillfully with his own imagination and puts a very unique and different spin on things. His portrayals of the different gods are hilarious, spot on and super entertaining.
Another main thing that absolutely fascinates me about the series is how funny it is. Riordan is a master at funny dialogue without trying hard and I found myself having to pause several times because I was laughing so hard.

Towards the end the story drags a little. Percy and his friends are constantly being hunted by mythological beings and it gets a little repetitive if you're familiar with the story lines of the first two novels. However, I enjoyed to meet new Gods and get to see Riordan's interpretations of them. I wasn't a fan of setting one of the battles in the Smithsonian, I've just seen too many other novels and movies do that. I'm looking forward to reading the next novel!




Overall: Do I Recommend?

You don't have to read the first books if you've already watched the movies. I didn't. You won't miss anything and the movies do an alright job at introducing you to the world of Percy Jackson.
I know already that I will reread the series at some point so I'll get all the small hints that are scattered throughout the novels. I love how Riordan nods to readers familiar with The Iliad and gives us the opportunity to find out which character we're dealing with.

If you love Greek mythology, this is the series for you and I'm by no means surprised at how successful the franchise has become. Riordan is an excellent writer and Percy an extremely lovable and likeable hero. I dearly recommend the series.

Additional Info

Original Title: The Titan's 
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: May 5th 2007
Pages: 320
Medium: Hardcover
Genre: YA / Mythology / Greek


But when you're the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive..."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite Greek mythology read?

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