Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (ARC)

gemina

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: October 18th 2015 by Knopf BFYR
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Synopsis

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Timesbestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”
 
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestsellerIlluminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange of a review. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

I think you will agree with me when I say that the hype train for this book series never ends. We’ve all seen how people kept on talking about Illuminae last year and I was really excited for that book that I always check my local book stores whenever I go home and boy I did enjoy reading that book.

Illuminae didn’t exactly end in a cliffhanger but the idea of reading more books about these space adventures is exciting so Gemina never left my radar. Luckily, I got sent an advanced copy of this book so I’ll be forever thankful to the lovely people over at Penguin Random House.

Gemina literally picks up minutes after the events in Illuminae, only focusing on a different space vessel and completely different characters.

“he said when u fight a monster, b careful you don’t become the monster.”

The main characters are Hanna Donnelly and Nik Malikov. Hanna is the daughter of the Commander of Jump Station Heimdall, Charles Donnelly, who happens to be friends with Isaac Grant. Yes that same “Grant” so y’all know things are going to be interesting. Nik Malikov is a member of a notorious crime family, albeit very reluctant. So obviously Nik and Hanna have nothing in common, but they are thrown away to work together in order to save the universe – literally.

I love the character dynamics between Hanna and Nik. They are total opposites which makes their banter fun to read. One might say that Hanna and Nik might be similar to Kady and Ezra, yeah I could say that somehow but they are totally different characters with different personalities. I also enjoyed the addition of different narratives, like Hanna’s journal, I can’t wait to see the final sketches for that and I’m super excited because Marie Lu illustrated them!

My favorite character is Ella Malikova, Nik’s cousin. She’s snarky and sweet and very intelligent as well. I also enjoyed seeing familiar names on the casualty list and I can’t wait to read more from the final copy. Never did I get excited about reading names on a casualty list.

“A split second. An eternity. Into the breach. Across the brink. A micron wide. Deep as forever. Of all our infinite possibilities. These are but two.”

I actually put this book down for a while to listen to the audiobook of Illuminae, which in turn heightened my experience of reading this book. Given the A+ storytelling from the first one, this book got better in so many ways. More action, more thrills, more fun. It was a glorious experience overall and I couldn’t put the book down since I resumed reading it because the story keeps on building up. I really can’t wait for you all to read this book!

inah

#ThrillerThursday: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

the darkest cornersThe Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Publication Date: April 19th 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: Finished copy from Publisher
Rating: ★★★
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Synopsis

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of a review, as part of the #ThrillerThursday campaign. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

Ever read one of those books where you feel like you’re watching a cool movie as everything plays out in your head? The Darkest Corners is exactly that book. It’s gripping from the start and definitely a page-turner.

The story starts with Tessa boarding a flight to Pennsylvania to visit his father, which brought back memories of everything that happened surrounding the death of her friend’s cousin Lori.

This is pretty much one of the best and solid YA thrillers I’ve read in a while. It actually left my heart pounding as I finished reading it. I’m not the best fan of suspense/thrillers but I know one when I see one. The book is so enjoyable and creepy at the same time, especially when everything starts to unfold. I had a bit of a problem with the pacing because it seems a bit slow at first.

“I figure there’s only so much we can beat ourselves up about, things we wish we’d done differently, before we’re broken beyond repair.”

I love how the book remained unpredictable until the end. Kara Thomas’s writing style is on point, I think she’s written for TV before and I’m glad she translated that skill into the novel. It’s like the book is build to be seen on screen. I’d definitely watch the hell out of this book if they make a movie from it.

The emotional growth of the characters is also one of the best things about this one. Tessa and her best friend Callie, were distant when the story started. However, as the story progressed, they eventually made up. The two were linked as primary witnesses in Lori’s death, which sent Wyatt Stokes to prison. But there’s more to the story, which of course I’m not going to discuss, but I loved how the whole thing panned out. Each crazy twist and turn added the fear factor in the book, especially towards the end. Events were too climactic, it left me speechless and out of breath.

“The smallest things could mean the difference between a man’s life and death.”

Romance isn’t a big thing in the book but I adored Decker, Tessa’s friend. There’s a big potential between the two and the chemistry is great but I’m actually glad with the way how they remained just friends. The book focuses more on friendships and family relationships which I really appreciate.

The book has a dark tone overall, it seems like I was watching an episode of Twin Peaks, or those kinds of crime investigation shows, or even listening to an episode of Serial. It’s just too gripping and haunting, I bet it’ll bug your head for a long while. The ending is pretty solid too. Plus the epilogue is fantastic, it feels like it’s a post-credit scene in a movie. I definitely recommend this book if you’re out looking for a good thriller.

inah

Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

defending taylorTitle: Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks, #7)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publication Date: July 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Source: ARC from Publisher via Netgalley
Rating:★★★★★
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Synopsis

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange of a review. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

It’s a great experience to jump back into the world of Hundred Oaks. This series has been one of my favorites. How awesome it is to have seven novels all revolving around one town? Pretty cool, right?

Since Miranda Kenneally is one of my favorite authors, I jumped into this book with only two things in mind, Taylor and soccer. It’s the featured sport for this novel. I don’t know much about soccer (or football for most people) but I’ve always wanted to try it. I was able to finish this book in one day which isn’t really surprising for a Hundred Oaks novel because I love the series.

Taylor Lukens is a straight-A student, and the incoming captain of the soccer team at St. Andrews, until one incident happened which caused her to cover and lie for her boyfriend, leading to her transfer to Hundred Oaks High. It wasn’t really hard to relate to her character and I think, among all the other characters in the series, I could relate to Taylor best, especially when it comes to being in constant pressure. I like her dedication and her whole personality. She’s snarky, sassy and sweet at the same time.

“Risk doesn’t always have to be a negative, you know. Sometimes, it’s good to take risks—calculated risks—and hope you get a payoff. Life is a lot like poker.”

And of course, the love interest, Landscaping Lion guy, who’s Hispanic, has a buzzed hair, lean muscular body, and cute. I’m calling him Sebastian.  Oh, wait.

The male lead is actually Ezra Carmichael, the bestfriend of Taylor’s older brother, Oliver.

Here’s the thing, I really thought Landscaping Lion guy was going to be the male lead. I was waiting for his name to drop, until I actually realized it’s going to be Ezra. Hahaha! I even asked Miranda if the Landscaping Lion guy had a name until she asked me what I wanted to call him so I said Sebastian. Hahaha!

Anyway, Ezra seems this pretty cool guy, like I said, he’s best friends with Oliver, which means he’s practically best friends with Taylor as well. It’s quite nice to see how their friendship blossomed into something more, because there’s definitely a tension and chemistry between them. I love Ezra’s personality as well.

This book is such a complete package. It dealt with sports, politics, friendship, family, and even disabilities and it delivers really great. I love the family relationship between Taylor and her dad, also with her twin siblings, Oliver and Jenna.

“Some people just don’t like change, and it takes time for them to accept it.”

As for the cameos, Jack and Savannah are here. Apparently, Jack’s family are good friends with Taylor’s so we see Jack here for several times. I’m so glad that one of those times is a very vital one for the story.

The way the book handles all the issues is realistic, which is really great. I’m so glad this book didn’t disappoint.

inah

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

museum of heartbreak

Title: The Museum of Heartbreak
Author: Meg Leder
Publication Date: June 7th 2016 by Simon Pulse
Source: ARC from Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: ★★
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Synopsis

In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.

Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.

Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.

Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.

But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange of a review. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

The Museum of Heartbreaks is one of my most anticipated reads for this year. I instantly fell in love with the cover because it’s totally beautiful.

Meg Leder’s writing style is catchy, simple yet it expresses a lot of emotions. Penelope’s emotions and thoughts are very easy to pick up. She’s a true romantic, she likes that “sweep-me-off-my-feet” kind of romance. While I do admit that it’s a bit adorable, it seems Pen’s a little too much of that. She is a bookworm though, and I love how she collects those things that ended up in the “Museum” because I love collecting things as well. ALSO SHE LOVES TWIN PEAKS!! The other characters are interesting somehow but I think they fell a little flat for me.

“Pen, here’s the thing: I fucking love you,” he said.
The beautiful words hurtled towards me with the momentum of a meteorite, fierce and terrible and un-take-back-able.

It seems that most of characters were written as a plot-device, thus they ended up flat. I like Eph though, he’s kind of the guy I want to hang out with. I don’t know if him being pretty bad at expressing his emotions can be considered good for the story. I just don’t know. Good thing that he’s a really good guy but sometimes he tends to be a bit passive. I feel the same way about Keats, Audrey and Pen’s other friends like Grace.

The plot might be a little cliche but I liked it and it has interesting points. The tropes presented in the book are typical but it did not take away the joy of reading the story. Although yeah, I have to admit there were times where I want to whack Penelope, or Eph, or Keats’s head.

Sometimes you get hurt. And sometimes you’re the one doing the hurting.

To be honest, it’s really hard for me to write this review because I feel like the book is a balance between great and meh. There are times when I really felt the story but also felt detached to it. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t gush or swoon hard but it’s a fun read though, and a quick one as well.

I think the book is a great read for contemporary romance lovers.

You can also check out this review on YA Books Central!

inah