Warcross by Marie Lu

20171204_183840

5stars

Every locked door has a key.
Every problem has a solution.

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Warcross #1
Number of pages: 368 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s intriguing and very well-written: you feel transported into the future.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

When I read this book was somewhat similar to Ready Player One, I knew I was already sold. It has similarities but it was its own creature with its own world and dynamics. One thing I loved a lot was that it took place in Tokyo; I love Japan and, even if I’ve been to Tokyo only twice, I always feel like going back to a familiar place. I’m all in for diverse characters and this book has them; characters from all around the world with different sexualities, all participating to the championship. It’s not difficult, right? It shouldn’t be.

Set in an unknown future, real world runs side by side with the virtual world; a world built by young genius Hideo Tanaka. Hideo Tanaka built glasses that can read your mind, helping you shape the virtual world making it almost impossible to discern it from the real world. When he introduced his invention, he put a game in it, Warcross, meant to help its users get used this new world. Little he knew that Warcross was going to become the number one game on Earth, having its own championship, black market gambling, and a lot more than that.

I found it all fascinating and scary. I, at the same time, can’t wait for that to become our future (just the nice part, obviously) but I’m also afraid it will be the beginning of the end, more than it feels right now. We all know that all that kind of power isn’t good in the hands of human beings. Humans are not the most worthy kind of beings. At all. What to do when things don’t go as they should be? What to do if users bet illegally on the game? Bounty hunters are called. Emika Chen is a bounty hunter and she is struggling, trying her best to pay her debts and her rent in New York. She has 16 dollars in her bank account and is willing to try whatever she can to live.

When you refuse to ask for help, it tells others that they also shouldn’t ask for help from you. That you look down on them for needing your help. That you like feeling superior to them.

One thing lead to another and she finds herself where she isn’t supposed to be, and she is being summoned to Tokyo, meeting her idol Hideo Tanaka, and being thrown into a job that is more than what it seemed at first. Emika is hired to infiltrate the game but she will find herself involved in much more than just a spy hunt. There were a lot of potential suspects. I’m one to suspect almost immediately; I like to point fingers and formulate my theories. I was 100% wrong about one thing, 100% right about another, and 0% expecting what happened in the end.

Death has a terrible habit of cutting through every careful line you’ve drawn between your present and your future.

Emika is a flawed character. She is not a damsel in distress, she doesn’t need to be rescued, she feels often insecure, she throws herself at things bigger than herself, she trusts her instincts, and she doesn’t stop until she solves the problem she is facing. She has been alone since her dad died and she is not used to be a teammate. She will have to learn to be one because she is going to be part of a Warcross team and at the same time she will have to be also a good liar because she has to do the job she was hired to do. I liked Emika a lot. She is a relatable character.

I loved everything that has to do with the virtual reality created by Hideo and I was, at times, quite smitten with him. He is a very intriguing character, hiding a hurtful past behind an ice wall, and having times with his walls down revealing how young he actually is. I was intrigued and, each time he introduced something new about the NeuroLink he created I drowned in each of his words. He charmed his way into my heart. I’m conflicted; he is young and has too much power in his hands. Is it safe? Doesn’t he need more than that? Something more real in the virtual world he created?

“Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact.”

I now find myself waiting for the sequel with much more intensity. It’s harmful to be this impatient. It’s not that I don’t like to wait but when I’m anxious for the release of a book, spoilers happen. When I saw that Warcross was released I was interested; I didn’t buy it right away but waited a few weeks, then I didn’t read it when I got it. This way, I wasn’t extremely involved in the release process so I wasn’t subjected to the spoilers. Now my ears are up, paying maximum attention to news and that will lead to spoilers. I’m 150% sure of it. Let’s have a spoiler free waiting, ok? One can only hope!

firmablog

Advertisements

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

20171030_170019

5stars

The world will end. The big picture cannot be changed. But in the meantime, as Loki once said, we can choose to alter the details. That’s how we take control of our destiny.

Title: The Ship of the Dead
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3
Number of pages: 423 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Funny, intriguing, mysterious.
Bad things about this book: The lack of fluidity of Alex seemed done on purpose. I didn’t like it very much.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I always recommend a Rick Riordan.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

As soon as I read this was going to be the last book of the Magnus Chase series I knew my book was going to be late because I’m lucky like that. I placed a pre-order that was mysteriously refunded a couple days before the release and that was the beginning of “The Epic Journey of Kristel and the missing Magnus”. It took it one whole spoiler-avoiding month to get here and now that I’ve read it my mind is trying to come to terms with what happened and is going to happen in the next Apollo book. I’m scared!

Magnus and friends are set to sail towards the place where they know the ship of the dead, made of toenails, is, defeat Loki, his undead army, and stop Ragnarok from starting. Sounds easy, right? No, it doesn’t, and it’s not even only those things they need to do. How do you defeat a god? How do you stop an army of zombies when you don’t have a plan? You wait for godly advices and try your best not to die in the meantime. That’s the plan; wing it until you win it.

My first task was my favourite one – getting out of the way.

As usual I loved Magnus, everything about him and his inner monologues. I also loved the whole set of characters accompanying him on this almost impossible quest; we get to know more about all their background stories, the way they died as heroes earning them a place in Valhalla. Each one of them has so much to give to this quest and each one of them is essential for this quest to be a success. I always love how the story is never about a single hero who magically wins everything: this is a team effort and I wouldn’t have loved it as much as I did otherwise.

Alex Fierro, Sam’s green-haired gender-fluid half-sibling chaperone of doom.

One thing I didn’t like was the Alex situation. Alex is gender fluid, right? So if you give us a character that is fluid then you have to allow them to be fluid, on page. When Alex was male it felt through the pages, he was different and I couldn’t wait to get to know him better. I have read books with gender fluid characters and their fluidity was wildly shown and we got to see every aspect of what made them the wonderful beings they were. Instead with Alex we got three scenes with him as a male, three scenes, two right at the beginning then the issue was kind of forgotten! With more scenes it will have shown us more about how Magnus felt about Alex as both male and female. It will have given him and us more info about who he was more interested in. If the whole fluidity was shown off-page, I don’t think I’m okay with it. Give us representation the way we deserve it. All things said, I love Alex and I hope we’ll see more of them, even just a tiny mention, in future books. I’m hoping we get a short story. That’ll be nice!

I will have given this book a 5++ rating if it wasn’t for the Alex situation but The Ship of Dead is still one hell of a book. It has everything I like. It was entertaining, full of mythology, diverse characters, originality, and it has The Lord of the Rings references. Who doesn’t love pop references, right?

My friends were all dressed like me, in white wool, so we looked like a secret society of very clean monks – the Fellowship of the Bleach.

I think it’s time for a Lotr marathon. I just need almost 10 free hours, maybe double if I also want to watch The Hobbit. I will do the re-watch while anxiously waiting for the next Apollo book. I think bad things are going to happen and I will never be ready for those! Please, Rick, don’t kill anyone; make them lose a leg, an arm, but not their lives, I’m begging you! We’ll just have to wait and read, I suppose. Patience is not always a virtue I’m fond of.

firmablog

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

20171025_151828

5stars

The only person I can be at this school is Eliza Mirk, and Eliza Mirk is barely a footnote in anyone’s life. Including mine.

Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Number of pages: 385 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Real themes well written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, I enjoyed it.
Do I recommend it? Yes, to everyone.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

 

I started this book thinking it was going to be a happy story about a girl who created a popular webcomic and whose life wasn’t easy but it all turned out fine with little to no drama. Oh girl was I wrong! I was so wrong and I got my heart crushed; my eyes were burning with anger, pain, hope, and I found so much of myself in Eliza it was somehow scary.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the person whose color comes through even when standing still. To be someone so vibrant, others can’t help but notice you.

Sometimes the true of your inner self isn’t very obvious; you can’t see it unless someone points it out or you read something and then it comes to you that maybe you’re not the person you think you were. It’s scary but maybe it can also be what makes you seek help and be better for yourself and your wellbeing. This book confirmed some things and revealed some other things. It was a very interesting and different book. You may not think it different because of what it’s about but it’s important; it gets you and, if you feel or have ever felt like Eliza, it makes you feel less alone in this scary world.

I like to tell myself I might do a lot of things – but I and my brain and everyone else know that I’m going to chicken out in the end and barricade myself in my bedroom with a plate of pizza rolls and my Netflix subscription.

Eliza is the creator of a super popular webcomic, Monstrous Sea, but besides her family and a couple of online friends, nobody knows her real identity. She goes by LadyConstellation and her comic is so famous she is in seventh heaven, economically speaking. She loves her story and the characters, she has put all of herself in them: she also loves the fans but they intimidate her. Being on the spotlight is a double-edged sword: the internet is a scary thing. Eliza is introvert and lacks the social skills to make friends in real life; she is better at communicating through texts. Eliza is just like me.

Then along came Wallace, the new kid in school, quiet and football player big. He is interested in talking to her and, guess what, he is the number one fan fiction writer of Monstrous Sea. Eliza is at the same time fascinated to know a fan in real life and terrified he is going to find out who she is and treat her differently, being yet another person to isolate her.

MirkerLurker: He’s not exactly the kind of guy that’s usually interested in me.
Apocalypse_Cow: what kind of guy is usually interested in you?
MirkerLurker: The kind I make up in my head.

The story of Eliza and Wallace’s friendship is simple yet complicated. Wallace comes with issues of his own and a personality that has many layers, some of them I didn’t like very much. Let’s be honest, he made me do the face, “The Face” capitalized, the one I do when I’m judging and cursing you very hard. Eliza is already struggling to keep herself on the surface of her life and we see how everything new (like having Wallace in her life) and not affects her fragile mental stability.

Eliza is a very relatable character for me. She is 15 years younger than me but we have much in common. I think some things never change no matter how old you are; I’m still fighting demons of my own and it’s hard to keep my guard up but that’s what we must do, right? We fight and we keep afloat.

We ascribe value to the things we care most about, but sometimes we don’t stop long enough to take a look at the bigger picture.

Hidden almost on plain sight is the theme of mental illness. Some chapters are harder than others. Some make you hopeful, some hopeless. A few pages threaten to bring you down, and then others lift you to the Moon. These swings are real and they hurt but the light at the end of the tunnel is there even if you at first fail to see it. Eliza goes through a lot when her identity is revealed; she crumbles and she is lost. Her journey is not an easy one but it was nice to read it and feel it so close to home, with a hint of hope.

Monstrous Sea is mine.
I made it, not the other way around.
It’s not a parasite, or an obligation, or a destiny.
It’s a monster.
It’s mine.
And I have a battle axe waiting for it.

Eliza and Her Monsters gave me comics, life struggle, the fear of the outdoors, the problem with communication between different generations, problems within oneself, friendships that transcend the standard concept, young scary love, but above all it gave me a young girl I could relate and I could cheer on and accompany on her rocky road that’d leave her scarred but also stronger. That’s who we are, right? Scarred but stronger every single day.

firmablog

A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove ☆

20171015_204159

5starsplus

Hope was a dangerous thing, and it had no place here.

Title: A Boy Worth Knowing
Author: Jennifer Cosgrove
Number of pages: 172 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Nate is the sweetest and he really is worth knowing.
Bad things about this book: Too short? Maybe not, it ended perfectly.
Do I recommend it? Yes, please love it as much as I did.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I LOVED IT!!! It was adorable and sweet and gave me so many feelings!! At one point I was fuming, almost crying because I was sad and frustrated. My poor baby Nate; such a short book giving my heart an incredibly hard time. It was hardly fair because I cared for Nate and it was an immediate thing the attachment I felt for him. I didn’t think it was rushed; you just met the guy and start wanting all the best for him. Simple as that.

Since he was twelve, Nate has been able to see and communicate with the dearly departed. It’s a family thing but his ability is somewhat stronger than his relatives’. As a result, his own mother who lacks the medium ability is scared of him and kicks him out of the house and forbids his sister to have contacts with him. It was hard for me not to want to reach inside the pages and slap the woman. That sweet boy was hurt and his mother didn’t want to have anything to do with him. He goes to live with his aunt and talks frequently with his grandma who passed away a couple years before. She is a great confidant; a little nosey, though.

Dear, sweet Aunt Susan, what is it like in your simple life? Where people actually talked to each other? Asked questions and got answers? What was that like? I bit my tongue.

Nate is an outcast, bullied and ignored by his schoolmates who call him crazy. Nate is lonely and resigned to be by himself until the new boy, James, sits next to him and friendship blooms almost immediately. James likes Nate and Nate is confused by this: does he like him as a friend or maybe he can hope for something more? Oh boy, Nate was conflicted and didn’t want to risk the only friend he had to find out if they could be something more.

To make things weirder, if that was even possible, James had a ghost in tow: his brother David who passed away only a few months before James moved. James is clearly mourning his brother but won’t talk about it. He is suffering and David appears very often to tell Nate to help his brother move on so that he can be happy again. David and Nana are somewhat love advisors to Nate with his struggles of the heart. Nate likes James a lot and I suffer with him everyday he can’t tell James how he feels; every time Nate suffered because of James, I suffered and my heart broke in a million pieces.

He chuckled, and I was quietly overwhelmed by the idea that someone wanted to talk to me.

The frustration and sadness I felt reading some chapters were overwhelming; I thought I was going to start ugly sobbing at any moment. I did have tears in my eyes. I was so sad for Nate and for all the unfairness he was experiencing. I thought he was incredible and the thought of him being used to be alone, to be disappointed and left behind, made me hurt so much I still want to cry just thinking about it.

This book was so short but so full of emotions. I loved every page of it and I will put it in my favorites book drawers in my mind. It deserves this and much more. It was an adorable love story with a twist of paranormal so it was just the kind of book that’ll get to me and I was not disappointed. Not one bit.

firmablog

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

20171013_135930.jpg

3stars

Is that how hearts work? Is love just a parasite that jumps bodies?

Title: It Only Happens in the Movies
Author: Holly Bourne
Number of pages: 384 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: The paragraphs with all the romantic movies clichés at the beginning of the chapters!
Bad things about this book: I found the main character not very likeable but that’s my opinion. Nothing bad about the book per se.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s very enjoyable.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I finished it yesterday but gave myself the whole night to think about it and this morning I’m confirming what I thought yesterday.
While I enjoyed it, minus some parts, I found myself laughing just a little and shaking my head a lot.
I kind of want to write a spoilery review because there’s one thing that bothered me so much I’m still mad about it. There were a few minor things that, in my opinion, were left just there while they needed to be explained. Give me all the facts and I will formulate my opinion, okay?

I read this fast because I wanted to see how it was going to end yet knowing how things were going to unfold but in the end it just didn’t get to me. I related to Audrey in some aspects but I didn’t connect with her. I don’t know how to explain it. I didn’t find myself cheering for her happy ending like I usually do in this kind of books. Why???

I didn’t like Audrey very much; I found her a little bit too whiny and I’m not talking about the obvious reasons she has to be whiny about but the boys’ reasons. It became more annoying the more I read. She had an embarrassing and traumatic experience with a stupid ex-boyfriend and now she does everything in her power to feel guilty on the inside and isolating herself on the outside. It’s not going well, she is stuck because she let her self-isolation going for too long and now she doesn’t know what to do to get her friends back and to stop being ashamed to be in the same room as her ex. Now she can’t stand romantic movies with all their perfection and happily ever afters.

I don’t think her problems are trivial and I cannot judge the way people might react to certain situations. We can’t act and react all the same way but her voice doesn’t resonate with my feelings. I don’t feel sad for her, I don’t root for her, I don’t care if she gets the boy or if she gets to make her dreams of acting come true. I found myself thinking she was often selfish and incoherent. You can’t be mad at people not doing what you think they are supposed to do. If something is not fair, say something! You can’t expect people to act how you want them to act, to behave the way you want them to behave. It doesn’t work that way. Yes, you have to tell someone if what they’re doing hurts you or annoys you, but you don’t get to reshape them completely to please you.

If you want a personalized boyfriend then maybe you were born in the wrong century. It’ll be easy to build yourself a perfect machine who does everything the right way. What’s the fun in that, though? I felt that Audrey was projecting all the things she wanted in a relationship in Harry and he, with his many flaws, was destined to fail in the boyfriend exam sooner or later. She’s been warned about him, she knew he liked to do many things she didn’t like; love is powerful but two very opposite people can only have a tiny fraction of happiness before everything goes kaboom. People reshape themselves a little when they’re in a relationship, each maintaining their peculiarities and personalities, but starting up with so many red flags sure isn’t the best way to built something that’s going to last or make you happy.

I guess I just didn’t like the way she faced the world. It’s a pity: I wanted to like her and to like this book with such a cute cover. There were positive aspects I liked about this book, for example I agreed with all the ridiculous clichés she wrote about romantic movies. Those bits were fun to read; I instantly thought of so many movies with those exact same scenes.

I have been avoiding the spoilery part of the review because I’m still conflicted: do I say it or not? That bit bothered me and it’s still bothering me to no end. It’s about Harry. I think the parts that really bothered me were about him and how those things weren’t explained or treated the way they deserved. I think I’ll carry this with me and it’s going to the unresolved stuff drawer in my brain. Oh well!

I will still read Holly Bourne’s books because I have always enjoyed them. Always! I trust her to come out with a new book that will give me smiles and happiness!

firmablog

The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

20170903_181118

4stars

“Being lost, being without the plan I’d armed myself with my entire life, got me out of my comfort zone in ways that challenged me and forced me to grow as a person.”

Title: The Big F
Author: Maggie Ann Martin
Series: /
Number of pages: 304 (paperback)
Good things about this book: Sweet and funny and well-written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it is a fast read.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Super cheesy. Extra cheesy. Cheese fest!! I can’t deny that cheese carnivals make me laugh but at the same time I like them. Really like them. It’s cliché, it’s predictable, it’s my safe haven. You just know that no matter how many things go wrong there’s going to be a happy ending that’ll make you all smiles and giggles. Just how I like them.

I couldn’t put it down and as much as it was almost 99% obvious how this was going to end, I wanted to know how they were going to get there. I was happy the dreaded trio was not present; won’t say what those are because it may spoil the book a little but if you want to know if there is something you won’t like, just ask.

I feel happy and light right now. The perfect book to calm my restless soul. The little things gave this binge-reading adventure a cute side; the family drama, the friendships, the love for pizza, the pressure of not being a disappointment, and love. You may think everything will go wrong because of one mistake, one failure, but then you take the wheel of your life and lead it to a different road, in the meantime finding different parts about yourself that you just didn’t know were there.

“Did you moan after eating an Oreo?” Porter asked.
I smacked him on the chest. “Shut up. It was delicious.”

Danielle failed a class and now she can’t go the college she chose, that her mom “the college whisperer” thought was perfect for her. Time to think of a plan B and set things straight: find a job, register to the community college for one semester and pass that damned class, be stronger, be independent, find the way to get back to the planned path. Easy! Add Danielle’s childhood crush, a coworker and his notebooks of gossip (yes, that’s a gossip journal, Porter), and maybe this plan B will have a few unpredictable turns.

Luke is a nice guy, maybe too busy with football training and team dinners, but he is sweet and you see he likes Danielle. It just seems too perfect from the beginning, like it was supposed to be that way because they already knew each other and it looked like fate. I thought Luke was a little flat, his personality just didn’t show, he was just nice, and I only saw him as a handsome guy with very blond hair. Love is in the air? I didn’t feel it.

He liked to act all tough and smart and cool, but really he was just a nice kid with eyelashes that were too long for his own good.

Porter, Danielle’s coworker at the bookstore, is the boy with the gossip notebooks and the long eyelashes. He likes to write whatever he sees that catches his eyes. He calls himself observant, maybe he is a little judgey, who knows? Maybe he is both. His little notebooks are a nice touch, though; they give him something more than what Luke has, they make him more interesting. Porter is Luke’s roommate: love triangle? Porter and Luke would have made a wonderful couple but that’s just me and my rainbow filter.

This book is a journey to find who Danielle truly is and wants in life; what she is passionate about not what she thinks she likes to do. It’s about self-discovery and taking her life in her hands and fighting the monster of failure to achieve the level of certainty of who she wants to be. It’s light and fun, sweet and cheesy, and it didn’t make me angry, not once: that’s a plus some books just don’t have.

firmablog

[ARC] Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

20170825_154316

4stars

“Are you a bad person? Of course not. Does that mean you’ll always do the right thing? Of course not. No one’s perfect.”

Title: Nyxia
Author: Scott Reintgen
Series: The Nyxia Triad #1
Number of pages: 384 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Nyxia is a pretty amazing element.
Bad things about this book: Forced romance plotline, unnecessary.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from Netgalley*

Besides one forced and gratuitous flaw, I enjoyed this more than anticipated. I still like Longwei, a side character that spoke almost never, more than I liked Emmett, the main character. We’ll see in the next book if I change my mind.

There’s always this problem with YA sci-fi in which the author thinks it’s a must to insert a romance plotline even if it’s stretched and we can very much live on without it. I was afraid it was going to happen here and it happened unfortunately but not like I expected; it was worse. I’m not going to say more about it but luckily it didn’t spoil the book altogether. I just hope it’s not going to happen again. I’m not a teenager, I haven’t been one for over a decade, but I know for sure that if there is not romance in a YA sci-fi, it’s not a big deal if the book delivers what it promises. This was doing just that and then, it fell into the void of things unnecessary.

Letting that slip because I’m a nice and patient person, I found myself liking a lot of the elements of this book and loving so many more. The twists, the mysterious nyxia, the characters, and space. I love space so much! The whole book is about the journey of these teenagers from Earth to a faraway planet called Eden where they are going to mine nyxia while earning a ton of money.

“But they don’t tell you the pain comes with you. They don’t tell you that hurt travels at light-speed too.”

These teenagers weren’t chosen randomly; there are 10 of them, all poor and broken. They are the perfect candidates for this mission because they are desperate and willing to sacrifice their time and strength to give a better tomorrow to their beloved ones at home. They are forced to compete against each other to gain passage to Eden, the planet with Nyxia mines, an element that is going to change life as they know it.

These boys and girls are all from different parts of the world so they don’t speak the same language. After all the mission is run by Babel Corporation so it seemed right. They all have a mask that translates everything they say; they speak and the voice translated reaches the ears of all the others wearing identical masks. It’s an incredible idea! I loved it!

I loved it almost as much as I loved nyxia. This element was given to each of them in the form of a ring and, through mind communication, they could transform it into what they wanted. The limit, you guessed right, is your imagination. Nyxia consumes your energy because in a way it is a part of you and you have to be careful because, being an element that has a mind of its own, it can take over and destroy you from inside out.

“Well, the first guy on the ground isn’t always the one who loses the fight, Doc.”

I loved their challenges, their friendship, also the twists, and I loved how the characters were all so different. As I said, I loved Longwei: he speaks little to nothing, he doesn’t socialize, he is smart and strong, but he sometimes lets his mask slip and shows a little vulnerability, he looks his age. He’s been chosen so he has to have a hard past and maybe also a hard present, and I can’t wait to see what’s beneath the walls he’s built.

This book isn’t without flaws but it’s a nice one. This is a promising beginning to a series that I know will deliver what I’m expecting. It has what it takes to be great.

firmablog