Monday, April 1, 2019

Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren | A Review in Bullet Points

Kindle Edition
Adult, Contemporary Romance
For two people ambivalent about dating and love, they sure get naked around each other an awful lot . . .
London Hughes is very content to surf daily, tend bar, hang out with her group of friends, and slowly orient herself in the years after college. Everything’s going great and according to the non-plan.
But when a wave knocks her for a loop one morning, then Luke Sutter’s flirtatious smile knocks her for another that evening, she veers slightly off course…and into his path. Sure, he’s a total player, but the Why not—it’s only one night is a persistent voice in her ear.
For his part, Luke’s been on hookup autopilot for so long that he rarely ever pauses to consider what he’s doing. But after an amazing time with London, he realizes that he hasn’t been moving on from a devastating heartbreak so much as he’s been drifting to wherever—and whomever—the current takes him. With London he wants more.
Every relationship involves two people…plus their pasts. And as much as she enjoys her fling with Luke, when London learns about his past—more specifically, who’s in it—everything becomes the brand of complicated she strives to avoid. It’s up to Luke then to change some things in order to try and ensure he’s not something she’ll outright avoid as well.
This book slump has been killing me, but Wicked Sexy Liar was just what the doctor ordered! That being said, I am so behind on life that I can't write a proper review, but what I CAN do is utilize my bullet points! Muhahah!
  • The title is a lie. This is no "liar" in this novel, but instead, two people who are very honest with themselves and their feelings and IT'S SO REFRESHING. I'm so here for stories like this. 
  • I accept the title of "wicked sexy" though *wink wink*
  • Luke was the BEST. I mean, he's sweet, he's teasing, he's too sexy for this shirt and he knows it, and when he falls in love--he falls hard and with no reservations. Good for you, my man, good for you!
  • Logan--I mean, London--was wonderful as well. I really liked that she was doing what the fuck she wanted to do with her life until she was ready to do otherwise. Mad respect for not caving under pressure! Although I kind of wanted a scene of her slapping her ex. And also, a scene where her mother finds out what a douche he was because for crying out loud I hate mothers choosing the ex's side. It's not right! lol
  • The sex is not the main focus of the story, but something that symbolizes and enhances these two's relationship and I LOVED that. It's so often the other way around. Gah. 
  • Very sexy, but towards the end, I kind of "tuned it out" in the form of skipping ahead. I mean, it's definitely fun, but I've always been more of a plot gal ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • It's pretty impressive to see Christina Lauren's improvement in the plot department! Their first book, Beautiful Bastard, was pretty much just a glorified porno. By which I mean, it was skimpier than a bikini. Again, fun, and passed the time, but for me it wasn't really a "romance". This one, though? ALL ROMANCE.
  • Swoon!
  • BANTER! God, how much I love banter.
  • #FamilyGoals
  • #Squad
I am honestly, no exaggeration, so HAPPY I decided to pick this one. I couldn't have made a better choice!
Buy Now 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman | Who Needs A Heart, Anyways?

The Illuminae Files #1
Date Read: April 21 to 25, 2018
First Published: 2015
Hardcover, Kindle
Young Adult, Sci-fi
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 living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even 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.
BRIEFING NOTE: 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.
Hey, I actually loved an extremely hyped book! SCORE!

Clearly, I was a tiny bit hesitant to start reading this one. Which is code for EXTREMELY SCARED TO. Like, the hype is daunting af. What if I end up not loving it the same way everyone else does? With this kind of Captial H Hype I tend to go the Schrodinger's cat route. Just don't open the box. With this one, it was so easy to go there because it's also a massive piece of literature. 600 pages are no laughing manner, but my inability to open big books is.

*singing* I'm scared of big books and I cannot lie.

Obviously, I have bested the fear and opened the book. And you know what? THE CAT IS ALIVE!

This book is such a strange amalgamation of formats and styles and voices, and what's even stranger is that it works. And not only does it work, it works gloriously. It might take you a couple of files to get into the rhythm of things like it did me, but once you're in it, you're in it.

I think it's a testament to these two authors' skills that each character managed to shine through and have its own voice, even though very little of it is told through their eyes or in a direct manner. And I'm not talking just about our mains Kady and Ezra, I'm talking about the side characters as well, from friends to co-workers to captains and commanders.

And not only will you get a very firm grasp of the characters, you will also get a heavy case of the Feels. Mostly very painful feels, feels that will make you wonder if you really needed your heart for something because clearly it's gone and hopefully that didn't damage something too vital. FEELS for DAYS.

Okay, wait, let's talk a minute about the details of the story. Because it's one of the most terrifying things I've ever read of. It's a combination of all the things I hate the most because they make me so fucking terrified. But at the same time, I couldn't look away???

Nitzan's "I Hate This!" Checklist:

  • The Big Bad is a giant corporation - ✓
    Really, I prefer supervillain stories or even tyrant stories and things of that nature because you can just kill the man and it ends, and because things are usually more out in the open as opposed to secret schemes. But corporations tend to be sticky, sneaky business that always feels so much harder to truly kill. They're kind of like hydras. Blah

    Oh, goody. My favorite thing. Not. Gosh, it brought literal chills. Bioweapons are such terrible things no matter their iteration, and this one actually turns people into monsters. Like, NO, please.
    (side note- I do hope they explore this topic more in Gemina though because it was very strange that everyone, on the one hand, reacted "differently" to it and had different psychosis and on the other, they all suffered similar specific symptom like the "don't look at me" part. What is the virus attacking to make them all averse to that?)

  • A.I GONE MAD - ✓
    Like, whhhhy? Wasn't it scary enough before the artificial intelligence that controls everything lost his mind and overrode all safety protocols in a crazed attempt to follow his core directive, no matter the consequences? WASN'T IT?!
    (*whispers: I kind of liked AIDAN, though, the psycho*)


Seriously, this is like someone wrote this book just to scare the bejesus out of me.

And you know who're facing these gigantic mega-sized problems?? TEENAGERS! TWO LOVE-SICK TEENAGERS! I'm going to have a heart attack!!! Oh, this book is EXCELLENT in making you see the other people working around it (i.e the grownups and commanders), but unfortunately, those people are not the main characters so for the most part, their fate is unguaranteed. Or guaranteed to be bad. The ones who are going to sort-of-maybe-in-a-way beat it are the teens. And it... works? It does. Fantastically. Amazing.

Although, let's be honest for a minute. Ezra Mason is kind of a secondary main character. THIS IS KADY GRANT'S STORY. The guy is there, and maybe he'll have a bigger part to play in the future (actually, that's almost guaranteed), but Illuminae is 100% Kady's heroic journey. SHE'S the one who does everything, the one who is focused on, the one we get to see the world through her eyes on occasion. She's the one we watch grow into herself, and more importantly, grow to mean something to other people around her. Heck, the final 20% or so of the novel is pretty much Kady on her own. 

And you know what? I get it. I get people falling in love with this girl. I get her being the main character. She is fierce, she is smart, and she is unyielding. She is strong and loyal and near unbreakable. She is willing to sacrifice for the greater good, but she doesn't do it blindly. In fact, she follows nothing blindly, except maybe her own heart. And she's also a pretty teenager with pink hair so QUIRKY. If this was an anime just the pink hair will be a glowing red arrow proclaiming "this is the protagonist". 

In comparison, Ezra Mason is just a cool guy. He's loyal, charming, a good friend, and is very much in love with his ex even six months later. He's an athlete with good reflexes who is comfortable following orders. A rebel he is not. And that's most of what I feel like I know about this guy. 

Which is where the half star went. The least well-developed part of this giant work of art is Kady and Ezra's relationship. We didn't get to see any part of it, which sucked big time because it's the motivation for this entire book. Like, seriously. We meet these two after the breakup, and what's worse... we barely hear about their shared past as a couple. We don't get to experience anything of what made them fall in love or why. We don't even really get to understand the scope of their emotions to one another.

Don't get me wrong, their banter was a winning point, and I was all here for it, but... I still didn't quite get it. Why they loved each other so much to give up so much. I want to be right there with them. To feel like I would sacrifice myself in their stead as well because of how powerful their love is. Instead, all of that was locked behind things that had already happened but weren't shown to me, so I was kind of left to assume that it was justified.

Final note, in relation to the size fear thing. Illuminae is pretty much a 300 pages of a "traditional" story, told in a graphic manner spanning over 600 pages. It's a visual experience that can be read extremely quickly. some pages are made of one sentence or a word in a stylized manner that gives it more force or meaning. So, even though it's 600 pages, it flies very quickly and doesn't feel the length. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller | Mythology is Gay AF, My Friends

Date Read: April 16 to 19, 2018
First Published: 2011
Adult, Mythology
Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles.
Achilles, ‘best of all the Greeks', is everything Patroclus is not — strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess — and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative companionship gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel and deathly pale sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.
Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.
So, here is the thing about putting expectations on a book. Sometimes, it works out great. But for the most part, it doesn't. Unfortunately, this case is of the latter. Look, I'm not going to say this is a bad book, because it's not. So no need to fight me to the death on this one.

But be that as it may... I felt disappointed. It simply wasn't the life-altering experience I was let to believe I would have, and in some cases, it wasn't what I wanted it to be at all. I wholeheartedly, unabashedly blame Tumblr. I have seen so many Patroclus and Achilles posts, usually in connection to some of my all-time favorite couples (Pynch, Andriel, and Evak, for example), that I have already decided I am going to fall in love with Patroclus and Achilles and their story before I opened the first page.

And I did... but I didn't. You see, the thing I loved most about those other couples was how long we spent watching the two become what they are. We watched them become friends, we watched them react to each other and with each other, and by the time they were together, we didn't need words or confirmations of love because we knew it in our bones. There was no doubt, no questioning, that they were meant for each other--forever and always. We were shown, not told. That's the kind of storytelling that I love.

In THE SONG OF ACHILLES, things were different. I felt like I was told of everything, instead of being shown and drawing my own conclusion. I was told "after that, they were best friends". I was told that they "talked about this, and this, and this". But I didn't actually get to see these interactions happen. I didn't get to see them as best friends, inseparable companions. I felt like I was robbed of many of their conversations and interactions - scenes that would make me feel their friendship and love and fully believe in it. Instead, I was simply told that they happened and was expected to understand that their strong love grew from these mysterious, shared memories that I wasn't privy to.

Now, it's not that I didn't believe their love, or that I didn't cry there at the end, because I DID. Not gonna lie. It's just that I felt like it could have been told in a better way.

But enough about that. Let's talk about things I loved. For example, the way Achilles was fiercely protective of their relationship and adamant that no one will take it from them. It's 2018 and still, for some incomprehensible reason, gay relationships are not accepted everywhere--and this story takes place in Ancient Greece. Got to love a hero who isn't afraid to love, until death and beyond. And while I'm still a bit skeptical that no one seemed to care about this illicit relationship, I was so there for mutual love and support!

I general, I think the lasting and unshakable relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is the strongest part of this novel. No matter what or who comes in their way, these two will be together. Protecting each other and understanding each other.

That being said, there was a lot of things I wanted to see outside of this relationship. Like Patroclus becoming a valuable part of this war, and perhaps understanding his own worth a bit better. There was precious little of this, and I wanted to see (NOT BE TOLD) of people appreciating his medical abilities and his kind nature. I also wanted to see him interacting with more people in general.

Especially since I knew this story will not get a happy ending. Not with Achilles as one of the main characters. So, at the very least, I wanted my heroes to be happier throughout it. Though I have to admit, some of my trepidation about reading a novel that could only end in tragedy was lessened by the characters aware of their own fate. It would have been so much more difficult to know what is to come while they rushed at it blindly.

And finally, the writing. I have seen people praise it to mars and back, totally enamored with Miller's style and composition. I am, unfortunately, not one of those folks. While I did find Miller's style to be beautiful at times, I mostly felt like it was too damn much. Too flowery or trying too much, to the point that I would literally cringe. I'm kind of sad to be alone in this because it seems like everyone loves it so damned much, but I could not get used to sentences like;
"One by one, Achilles caught the remaining fruits, returned them to the table with a performer’s flourish. Except for the last, which he ate, the dark flesh parting to pink seeds under his teeth. The fruit was perfectly ripe, the juice brimming. Without thinking, I brought the one he had thrown me to my lips. Its burst of grainy sweetness filled my mouth; the skin was downy on my tongue."
I kissed his neck, the span of his chest, and tasted the salt. He seemed to swell beneath my touch, to ripen. He smelled like almonds and earth. He pressed against me, crushing my lips to wine.
Like... why? Why take such a long time describing figs in such a cringe-worthy way? And I didn't need to know Achilles "ripened", thank you very much. I'm okay with the good ol' "hardened". This writing literally made the coming together of two characters I loved feel awkward, overly done and weird. And can someone please explain to me what some of this even means? "Crushing my lips to wine"???

I can't even.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs | I've Missed This World!

Mercy Thompson Universe #1
Date Read: May 19, 2012 & March 12 to 13, 2018
First Published: 2006
Adult, Urban Fantasy
Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...
Re-Reading the Mercy Thompson series feels a little bit like meeting up with your best friend again after years of being apart.

It's an interesting thing, the process you go through with novels reading them a second (or third, because I'm fairly certain I did another re-read before this one) time. In the case of MOON CALLED, I actually ended up enjoying the first installment in the series a lot more than I did the first time around.

Don't get me wrong - I've always considered MOON CALLED to be a good book. It's a fantastic introduction to this world as it immediately tells you this is a dark place (I'm still sad, okay?!), but it's told to you by such a fun storyteller that you almost forget that. It shows you how complex it is, but in a manner that makes everything crystal clear. And despite all this, despite the introduction to everything from werewolves to vampires, witches, and fae, the world-building doesn't actually overpower the plot of the book, and leaves enough room for it to be expended and dived into further in future installments.

And who is that fun storyteller? Meet Mercedes Thompson - a mechanic, a walker, and the main character of the story. But everyone just calls her Mercy. If you like independent, strong-willed, and stubborn ladies who would sooner be the prince than the damsel in distress, then you're are going to love this girl. Because she is all of that and more.

A girl like Mercy needs a good man by her side. Sadly, she has two, and she's not quite sure what to do with that. Let me warn you that this doesn't get resolved in this novel, but neither does Mercy string everyone along in a confusion ping-pong between the two men. So love-triangle, but not quite that bad, you know what I'm saying?

Okay, so who are these guys? Entering stage left is Adam Hauptman, Mercy's backdoor neighbor, alpha of the local pack, and all-around total book boyfriend! If I was Mercy I would jump on this one in a heartbeat. He grabbed hold of my heart from the first time we heard of him, and for me he is the perfect match for Mercy - he loves her wildness, he doesn't try to control her (overly. He is an alpha, after all), he appreciates her abilities and talents and isn't afraid to ask for her help. Oh, and he can banter with her like no one's business. Swoon.

Entering stage right is Samual Cornick. My general reaction? meh. Look, this guy should be total crush material. He's a healer, Mercy's first love, one of the most powerful werewolves in America, and he loves children. What's not to like? Well, this guy is annoying. I just kind of wanted him out of the picture. I never felt like he really loved Mercy, the women. Rather, he loved what she symbolizes. And for all that Sam knows Mercy really well, it doesn't feel like he wants her the way she is. He wants her to change. I don't like that in my couples, at all. So Sam, an okay character on his own, is a total no-no as a romantic interest in my opinion.

Now, Adam is clearly my favorite and obviously, I adore Mercy, but there were several scene stealers in this that are neither. First up is WARREN. Let my swaggering gay sweetheart live his best life with Kyle and leave him alone! Like, Warren is one of my favorite characters, and Kyle is his perfect match in every way. I love them. They are total #relationshipgoals and I wouldn't mind a book or two about them.

Then, we have BEN. I know, I know, what am I doing liking the asshole British guy? Well, even the first time around, not knowing things to come, I found Ben an interesting character with surprising depth. The second time around I simply loved him. Idk man, I just love this jerk.

Some other noteworthy characters are Stefan the vampire, Zee the fae, and Jesse, Adam's daughter. All really fun and colorful characters, but this is not their book to shine. Although, Jesse kind of shines in every book.

Honestly, the thing I was most impressed with in this re-read is how many things Briggs actually set up in this one. More than once I blinked at the novel in confusion because I thought this and that happened later on but nope, they were there from the very beginning and apparently Briggs knew exactly what she wanted to do with them. Kudos to that!

Which is also kind of why I am even more disappointed about the villain than I was the first time around. Like, there are no hints for some of it. You've got this really elaborate plan, at the end of the day, searching for clues bore very little fruit, and that bums me out.

Still, a great novel all in all!

Monday, April 23, 2018

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner | Enemies to Lovers IN SPACE

Starbound #2
Date Read: Feb 27 to March 3, 2018
First Published: 2014
Young Adult, Sci-fi/Fantasy
Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.
Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.
Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.
Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.
Wait, is this really happening?? Am I finally continuing with a series I started a few years back and loved but never touched again? YES, I AM! Mom, aren't you proud of me???

Okay, jokes aside, I'm finally doing this. And while I am super happy with myself, I am also super confused about why it has taken me this long to do so in the first place. These books are good. They blend fun with heavy themes and ideas. They don't shy away from death, but neither do they shy away from love and hope.

We've seen all that in the first novel, and we're seeing it now in the second one. THIS SHATTERED WORLD follows Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac, and before I start this review lets just all take a second to admit to ourselves how utterly fabulous the name Jubilee is. Like, it's one of those names that make me just happy to read it and fuck if I know why but I ain't gonna complain either.

Okay, focus, Nitzan! This is serious reviewing time!

So, at first, you're going to wonder just how exactly does the story of Tarver and Lilac connect with that of Flynn and Jubilee. That will last all of, oh, I don't know... three chapters? Yeah. Then it's just going to be kind of terrifying because you'll start to suspect a lot of things that don't bode well for anyone. And, like, it's exactly where I thought the next "logical" step will be when I was reading THESE BROKEN STARS, and yet I was really hoping it won't because man, that's some bad shit.

But enough about that bad (but good bad) parts of the novel. Let's discuss some of the great things! First, Jubilee herself. She's not just a kick-ass name, she's also a kick-ass army captain. Yeah, you've read that right. The heroine is the one who gets to be uncompromisingly badass, and yet, undoubtedly feminine. I love that. A girl doesn't have to be manly to be strong. And Jubilee is that. Strong, and fierce, and compassionate. You'd think the long years in the army and the even longer years before that as a war orphan would have left her empty and cold, but despite what some rookies might think, she's the furthest thing away from that.

And it's Flynn Cormac who helps her believe in that part of herself again. Because Flynn is a pacifist rebel. Sounds a bit like an oxymoron, doesn't it? But Flynn manages to be both entirely loyal to his planet, his people and their survival--and they're his people, by right of birth and by his choice--and yet wholly dedicated to the idea of ending the war without more bloodshed and death. Literally, the only thing he wants (aside for Jubilee) is to bring peace to his people, no matter the cost to himself. Altruistic guy alert!

Seeing these two enemies grow closer and learning to trust and lean on each other as their loyalties and beliefs change and shift to accommodate all the new information and ideas is pretty awesome, and the two make a good team. Flynn as the heart, Jubilee as the muscle, and if you say you don't like the sound of that power balance, you're lying.

Now, amongst all the praise I can say about these novels, there is one thing that really stands out to me as a negative. Mainly, that the books lack an impact of Death, despite the fact there is plenty of that to go around. Like, people die. A lot of people. Some extremely innocent, like children. Things that normally make me cry just to think about them. But here... I felt no grief. The books tell me these death had impacts on the characters. It tells me they grieve for them. But it doesn't make you--or at the very least, me--feel it. 

And I feel like that's a HUGE miss. These people who die mean something to these characters, presumably. But... like, none of them get very established--definitely not enough for me to mourn their deaths on my own--so I just felt nothing when they died, aside for feeling like it's a pointless plot-point because I couldn't feel it. Like, yeah, it's war and there is senseless death but also it's a novel so at least a few of these deaths should have a point beyond "I need a way to move the plot further". Idk. It all boils down to me not feeling anything - I'm sure it would have worked better if I managed to muster some of that.

I'm looking forward to finally finishing this series this year, and seeing how this all pans out! 

Friday, April 6, 2018

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner | This Should Be Adapted into a Movie!

Starbound #1
Date Read: Feb 20 to 25, 2018
First Published: 2013
Young Adult, Fantasy
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
I've originally read THESE BROKEN STARS in 2014 and loved it. But as I did with many of the series I read back then (and now, too, but let's pretend this illness has gotten better, okay?) I just kind of let the series dangle with no conscious intention to do so.

But 2018 is the year for change, or at the very least the year to make myself feel slightly better about the abysmal state of my series reading, and that starts right here, right now, with the Starbound trilogy.

Now, I'm going to do something slightly different with this review. Mostly because, as I was reading it a second time, I couldn't stop this feeling that THESE BROKEN STARS will lend itself beautifully to a cinematic adaptation. Maybe by throwing this fact out there the gods of Hollywood will hear me and make it happen.

Now, as books and movies definitely move in different rhythms, the pace will have to be adjusted. The book illustrates the difficulty to survive, stranded on a deserted planet with no means of communication, by emphasizing the long journey. The inherent tension of the travel as well as the tension between our characters. On how it stretches them thin and threatens to destroy them mentally, more than physically.

The movie, being a movie, will add more mortal peril to the whole experience because while the book has just enough of that to be perfect, the movie will just need more. So I'm certain we will see more of the strange wild-life the planet has to offer, perhaps more danger with the Whispers and certainly more injuries will be sustained (eek!)

I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that because the movie wouldn't need to change much else.

Like, take our main characters Lilac and Tarver for example; who wouldn't watch a movie about the haughty, beautiful society girl who's just too afraid to let anyone too close (for good reason), and the ragged, kind-hearted, handsome young soldier and war hero who get stranded together after a horrid spaceship crash à la the Titanic?

Space is all the rage right now, Titanic has been a smashing box office success for a reason, Survivor is on its 36th season, and we all enjoy watching good looking faces on big screens. A recipe for success!

Then let's talk dialogues. You could keep them almost entirely intact (although let's be real they won't. Studios love changing dialogue. Sigh). They're fun, they're banty, they're occasionally flirty and it's so great when they are. And the delicious and thinly veiled sexual tension throughout the whole thing is definitely something Hollywood would love.

And let's not forget the contained and limited cast that allows you to explore two characters and their growing relationship, as well as the environment and the toll of isolation. Now, sure, Hollywood does love having huge ensemble casts where each audience member can find a character to connect to, so that may deter them a little bit, but it's also cheaper to have a very limited amount of actors for 75% of the movie! lol

Now, the setting is another thing that I think movie execs would love to pounce on. First of all, there is a wonderful duality of beauty and cruelty in the setting, as well as two opposite backdrops that somehow blend seamlessly. And holy hell would they be absolutely stunning on the big screen.

First, we have the Icarus, an advanced spaceship traveling in hyperspace on a luxury cruise. Imagine our heroes traveling the deck, with the windows outside showing the smudged lights of the stars as the ship passes them by. Here and there floating trays will offer food and drinks, screens and holograms will tell of news and sales. And between all that technological advances, there are the upper floors of the rich and famous, where they gallivant in Victorian dresses and corsets, pretending to be something they have only read of in history books. Already extremely compelling, right?

But then it all comes crashing down, in what would be an epic sequence of mayhem and horrifying destruction, and all the slick and manufactured perfection will give space to a land abandoned by men, where nature grows wild and creatures that shouldn't exist walk around. Where the sky breaks open and showers rain and snow. And death. All equally beautiful, yet equally repelling.

Admit it, I'm selling you over here.

And then, on top of all these great things, on top of a story of survival and love, bravery and redemption, of real versus fake, of people having more than one side to them, of right and wrong, there is a mystery.

Because the Icarus should have been indestructible - what was its iceberg? Why is no one coming to save them? Why is the planet abandoned, when it shows clear signs of human interference. And if Lilac And Tarver aren't going mad... what is the source of those visions, of those... whispers?

You're completely sold on the movie?? Wonderful. It doesn't exist. Go read the book instead, it's better than the movie (could be) anyways ;)

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Failing Hours by Sara Ney | I'm... Kind of So-So About It?

How To Date A Douchebag #2
Date Read: Feb 11 to 12, 2018
First Published: 2017
New Adult, Romance
Zeke Daniels isn't just a douchebag; he's an a**hole.

A total and complete jerk, Zeke keeps people at a distance. He has no interest in relationships—most a**holes don’t.

Being part of a couple? Nope. Not for him.
He's never given any thought to what he wants in a girlfriend, because he's never had any intention of having one. Shit, he barely has a relationship with his family, and they're related; his own friends don’t even like him.

So why does he keep thinking about Violet DeLuca?
Sweet, quiet Violet—his opposite in every sense of the word.
The light to his dark, even her damn name sounds like rays of sunshine and happiness and shit.
And that pisses him off, too.
So, I'm kind of torn when it comes to this book.

On the one hand; I really did like Zeke and Violet's relationship. I like Zeke's character development and the way he goes from someone who won't let other people like him to someone who people can love and appreciate. I liked how Violet demanded his respect and overcome her fears throughout the novel.

These two were a fun couple to follow, as I truly felt like they made each other better, different as they may be.

That being said. THAT BEING SAID. There were a lot of things I was iffy about.

First of all, I found myself wanting Ney to explore more of the things she set up in this book, same as I did in the first one.

Like the kids. The kids are such a great addition to the story, yet Ney barely uses them at all. They are something clearly added just to allow Violet and Zeke to interact more, and that sucked. Where are the adorable bonding scenes? Where are the small things that make Zeke love his little guy, and the little guy return in kind? They were so few and far between that I barely felt them, and so when the book told me at the end about Kyle and Zeke's relationship, I mostly scratched my head wondering why, again, all those great things apparently happened off page.

Then, I wanted Zeke's "friends" to recognize what is hidden under the surface the way James, an outsider, was able to perceive. I wanted them to realize their mistake about him, and to stop acting like the dude had no soul.

I wanted to hear more of Zeke's and Violet's backgrounds since that was another interesting topic that was barely touched upon, outside of the generic "that's why he/she has issues" bits.

And I wanted to see the outcomes of Zeke's various good deeds, especially Brandon's case.

As you can tell, there is a lot of "want" attached to this book.

An even bigger issue I had is of Ney's definition of friendship because holly hell I feel like Zeke's friends suck. Which is a shame because the biggest sucky of them all is Oz, and I really liked him in book one. Anyways, they pissed me so bad with their bad friendship and the way they somehow shifted the blame solely on Zeke for all of it.

*Mark the spoilers with the mouse to see them!*
**Profane language included because I feel really, really strongly about this rant**


Like, I literally wanted to choke Oz there at the end. There he is, pressing all of Zeke's buttons. Nettling him and doing it in front of someone Zeke doesn't trust. When he KNOWS Zeke. He knows that his defense mechanism is to become all dismissive and callous since we have seen that happen multiple times throughout the book.

And yet. AND YET. Oz does so anyway, and then Zeke does what Zeke always does and Oz has the gall to act surprised? To reprimand Zeke for it and pretend as if he had absolutely nothing to do with the situation? When he has absolutely no right to act disgusted?

All Oz had to do is fucking leave well enough alone. That's it. Those two would have not only started dating for realzies, but they would have reached the L word all on their own in no time, seeing how close Zeke already was to voice that thought.

Like, seriously, give me a break, motherfucker. Learn to treat yo friends better; real friends help each other succeed, not tear each other down and make them fail!

How is this book praising and hailing Oz as this great friend?? His actions are those of a frienemy at best. It's either that, or he doesn't get Zeke at all, in which case start making a real effort you fucker or take your toxic attitude someplace else.

My god!


Oh, and can I also take a moment to rant about that Coach? Like, why is this person represented as the good role model for these kids? All he says to Zeke is filled with this undercurrent of resenting Zeke's wealth. Well, screw that! The fact someone has money doesn't mean he hasn't experienced hardships, only that his hardships may not have been the same as yours. And Coach knows of Zeke's issues. Knows of them and still acts like that towards him.

His actions themselves are good, as they are forcing Zeke out of his own head, forcing him to help others, and that in turn helps him slowly let go of some of his issues. But the dialogue. MY GOD, THE DIALOGUE. It had my blood boiling in rage and my hands itching to slap him, long before I even gave a damn about Zeke.

Again, it's the whole concept of someone being mean and egging Zeke instead of showing him that he has someone in his corner who cares, and who won't just give up on him.

Am I the only one who felt this way about these things? Did I imagine it? Am I crazy???

I don't really know, and I don't really care. Everyone in this kind of pissed me off is the moral of this segment.