Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages599
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


For those who are unfamiliar with the absolute masterpiece that is Illuminae:

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.

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.

General Impression


Guys, Illuminae is literally going to redefine the world of books as we know it–it is absolutely revolutionary. I’m honestly astounded by the magnificence and ingenuity of this novel. I’m still reeling, so excuse me if this review is gibberish.

My experience while reading Illuminae was unparalleled. I did a buddy read with Aila (@ One Way or An Author) and we gushed over every other sentence. I’m not even exaggerating about that. We started it at around 8pm on Friday night, stayed up until 1am, and finished at 3pm on Saturday. We could barely put it down to eat and shower–not kidding. I actually wrote all about Aila’s and my emotions in my mini-review, which I posted back when I first finished the book in July. You can check out our frantic, mildly incoherent, and jittery reactions (no spoilers) here. Continue reading

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Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

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Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Format I Read: Kindle eBook
Pages: 296
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


In case you haven’t heard of Ten:

SHHHH!
Don’t spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

General Impression


For those of you who enjoy mysteries reminiscent of Agatha Christie, but like a little taste of YA, Ten is definitely a book you need to pick up. McNeil eloquently and expertly wove a tale that adapted And Then There Were None in our day and age, with a cast of teenagers who are somehow all connected.

I’m not one to normally read the mystery and thriller genre. My genre is typically romance with a side of paranormal, mystery, thriller, etc. However, above all, Ten was a mystery novel. It had a side of romance, but the main focus was the murder and the suspense. This was a really refreshing change of pace for me! I really adored this novel and couldn’t put it down.

Characters


I also really enjoyed the characters. McNeil adds a fantastic layer of casual diversity. There’s a girl with anxiety and other disorders who needs to take medication. There’s a black football star. There’s an Asian singer. It was really refreshing to see such a diverse cast of characters! I also loved all of their backstories, especially the friendship between Meg and Minnie. They had a really complex and interesting history.

 Plot


McNeil created a fantastic puzzle that kept the reader guessing. I spent the whole novel trying to figure out who the murderer was; I even fell for McNeil’s trap and guessed the wrong person, just like some of the other characters. In the end, I wasn’t disappointed. The murderer had such an intricate plan and the puzzle fit together perfectly. Everyone’s role made sense and it all just worked.

I also really loved the homage to And Then There Were None. It was cool how McNeil even included a dead fakeout, like Christie does in the novel. In Christie’s mystery, the deaths follow a nursery rhyme about ten little Indians. In McNeil’s story, the deaths follow a different pattern, though every single murder has a meaning. I thought that was a really cool addition to the puzzle! And, of course, the base of the story was the same. A mysteriously absent host invites the characters to a party on an abandoned island with no exit routes.

Writing


McNeil also added some cool aspects to make the story realistic. The characters were invited through Facebook. The storm prevented them from getting off the island. It definitely felt more believable. It’s easy to say, “There’s no way they’d be stuck on an island in the 21st century. They have so much technology!” However, McNeil makes sure to cover all of her bases and make it completely plausible that the characters are stranded.

Conclusion


Overall, I’d probably give Ten 4 stars. It was an interesting, pull-me-in, edge-of-your-seat novel that I ate right up. It just wasn’t a wow book. However, I had no complaints. I’d definitely recommend to anyone looking for a taste of suspense in their TBR!

4 stars

With lots of bookish love,

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Review: The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

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Title: The Masked Truth
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages: 340
Genres: Thriller, Contemporary, Young Adult
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


For those who are unfamiliar with The Masked Truth:

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to find out that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

General Impression


I honestly don’t know how to write this review. I’m still reeling from that wild ride. Wow. I’m quivering, shaking, absolutely dying right now. The Masked Truth deserves every single one of those five stars–it deserves more than just those five stars. Continue reading

Mini-Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

23395680

 

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages599
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Synopsis from Goodreads


For those who don’t know what Illuminae is about:

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.

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.

What do you mean by “mini-review”?


Okay, so I have a full review written for this book (one of my favorites of 2015), but I decided that I’d also post a little “mini review” of sorts.

I did a buddy read with Aila @ One Way or An Author and we gushed over every other sentence. I’m not even exaggerating about that. We started it at around 8pm on Friday night, stayed up until 1am, and finished at 3pm on Saturday. We could barely put it down to eat and shower–not kidding.

In this mini review, I decided to share Aila’s and my emotions! I’ve screenshotted a bunch of our messages from our buddy read to show just how amazing Illuminae is. Seriously, it was a roller coaster. I recommend that everyone go buy this book–it’s going to change literary history.

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