Review: Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Rating: 3 Stars

No one expects the apocalypse. One moment Arden Highmore was living the life of an average Upstate New York postgrad, and the next the world went dark. No internet, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John Seong, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family’s cabin in a town near the Canadian border seems like the safest choice. Turns out isolation doesn’t necessarily equal safety. When scavengers attack en route to the cabin, John’s hot older brother, Gabriel, comes to the rescue. He saves Arden’s life, so he can’t be too bad…but the good parts seem to be hidden under several layers of controlling jerk. Arden thought reaching the cabin would give her a reprieve from her worries, but she finds her problems only grow once they arrive: the Seong’s parents have gone missing, teen sister Maggie’s growing pains won’t be stopped by an apocalypse, and no one knows when—or if—help will ever come. In the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel find that there’s a thin line indeed between love and hate. Can they survive the darkness, or will their growing love be snuffed out?

Lets just jump right in shall we.

  • Our cast of characters. I was a pretty big fan of everyone involved here. Arden felt like a realistic character, I liked her relationship with BFF John, Gabriel was moody in the loveliest of ways, and Maggie made me think of my own young sister (except my sister is bananas nuts).
  • The chemistry between Arden and Gabriel was FOR REAL. I don't know if I can say it was the most realistic (I've never lived through the apocalypses soooooo), but I was all about those romantic moments. Two thumbs up Alyssa Cole.
  • I'm always on board with interracial relationships.
  • There was so much snark. I loved it.

  • So, I understand that we have never lived through a time where the whole planet basically turned off, but... there was something about this that didn't work for me. I'm not sure if was the amount of times someone said "I just want to know what's going on" or what. Maybe it was because most of the story took place in a cabin in the woods, something just didn't work. There was a disconnect for me somewhere in this world that was built for us. 
  • I think the book was too short. I know there are two more books about John and Maggie, and that's great. But I think there was so much more that we could been done here. I needed another 150 pages. (She says like that's not super hard and time consuming). 
So, all in all, I'm totally fine with the book, on occasion I'll go back and read random sections of it that brought me joy. It's a new adult novel that didn't drown in sex, and at the end of the day, that's all I ask for. This book wasn't my favorite, but if someone's looking for a relaxing, romantic, apocalyptic day read, I'd give them this in a second.

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Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Marie Lu has done it again, she's managed to take all of the guess work and complications out of creating a great story with diverse characters. We have our Asian main character with four teammates, Emika's teammates include one black girl with curly natural hair (although I had to suspend my disbelief during a morning scene and she wasn't wearing a sleep cap. Just sayin'), a boy (their team leader as a matter of fact) in a wheelchair, a gay British guy, and the plain old white guy. It was lovely without being too much.

  • Emika, she was like a lonewolf and had rainbow colored hair. Two thumbs up.
  • The diverse cast. If they ever make this into a movie, I'm auditioning (like that'll ever happen)
  •  Going into the dark net. Seeing the seedy underground of the tech world was fascinating. 
  • There was a pretty big reveal at the end. I actually called it early on in the book, but not because of anything that the author did wrong, I just had a gut feeling!
  • Soooo, without any spoilers, I was able to draw some pretty important conclusions about the book and it's characters from one word on the cover. That's all I will say.
  • I wish there had been more interaction between Emika and her teammates, I feel like we didn't really get to know anything about them.(Although a big nod to that side romance. I totally called it). I'm going to assume we'll learn more about the others in future books.
  •  When reading about the games that teams competed in... I think I was expecting something more like Ready Player One, but each competition moved at a much faster pace. It was great, I think I just had the wrong mindset. I think wanting games or puzzles that took the characters longer to solved would have helped us to learn more about them.
While I had some issues with the book (very small issues) I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing what Marie Lu comes up with next. #warcross 
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Book Blogger Hop: Sidebar Issues

Friday, June 16, 2017

 This blog hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer.
This weeks question is:  
How do you organize your blog in terms of what is in your side bar? Do you have categories and defined sections in your side bar?

This is such a helpful question. Thank you whoever submitted it. So I've been blogging for about four years on an off, but this particular blog is brand new. When I went to blogger to create this blog I learned that the whole layout system had changed and I'm still struggling to figure it out. I don't have anything in my side bar aside from what I'm currently reading on Goodreads, and my top bar(??) has the different ways a person can follow me, but I might change that.

With my old blog (Newbie Librarians), my sidebar didn't really have sections, but I guess I wanted to keep it relatively simple (I learned that at the BEA bloggers conference), so I had the various ways a person could follow me, my list of followers, and a few awards. As soon as I figure out how, I'm going to rearrange the sidebar on this page the same way.

I'm interested in seeing what other people post and to see if anyone else ended up with this weird blog layout that I can hardly understand. :)

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Review: The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rating: 5 stars

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Natasha is about to be deported and is spending her last day fighting it. Daniel has an interview at Yale, but all he wants to do is write poetry and smell the roses.When a series of random events leads Daniel to see Natasha and follow her into a record store, he's in "like" at first sight. He's entranced by, not only her physically, but by her energy (she was dancing to music she was listening to through her headphones). Natasha and Daniel end up spending the rest of the day together and continue to fall for each, while we readers wonder if Natasha and her family will really be forced to move back to Jamaica. 

  • Natasha and Daniel were so different (not just racially) 
  • While the book didn't center on race, there were some real issues that interracial couples have to deal with.
  • The third person narrator that filled us in on the lives of additional, random seeming characters and events.
  • The book had many realistic elements that might upset some of the less experienced readers who want everything to be perfect, but really drove the book forward.
  • There were characters to hate. 
  • The ambiguous ending
Didn't Like:
  •  I listening to the audio book and I wasn't to fond on the voice to Natasha (personal preference)
  • Natasha is very cynical, and that's fine, it's realistic. I think her cynical nature toward Daniel, and their day, lasted too long. I think it was just a little too much.  
In Conclusion:

While at first glance The Sun is Also the Star is another love at firs sight book that, while cute, may also make us roll our eyes. On a personal level, Nicola Yoon is one of my favorite types of #WeNeedDiverseBooks author. She writes books about POC that reflect the type of diverse person I am, more than some other authors of color. While my childhood (until I was about 7) was spend in an urban, rather dangerous area, the rest of my childhood into my teen years, were spent in Navy Housing, I guess is similar to a suburban environment. This book truly resonated with me. When are we turning this into a movie. Can I audition!!!!!

Other authors I've read, that are similar Nicola Yoon might be Lamar Giles, Brandy Colbert, and Una LaMarche. (There are a ton more, those three are just some of my favorites.)
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Book Blogger Hop: Lunch date!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Welcome to my first Blogger Hop on my new blog!! This blog hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer.
This weeks question is: If you could have lunch with any living authors and/ or book blogger, who would you choose and why?

I'm going to cheat and choose two people because they are so different they are impossible to choose between. First I would choose Anne Bishop because her fantasy novels are PERFECT. I didn't even like fantasy until I read her Black Jewel books.
Image result for anne bishop books 

The second person I would have lunch with is, Nicola Yoon. She writes the kind of diverse fiction with strong girls of color that I have been waiting for my whole life. I also love a good romance. Not only do I want to have lunch with Nicola, I just want to be her best friend.


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Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars
Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.
But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won't be able to see past it.
Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It's that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?
Just a warning I had an advanced copy of this book that I totally forgot about, I don't know what, if anything, was changed in the final copy of the book, but my review will be based on the advanced readers copy. I was such a fan of this book. I was hooked from the authors notes on. I love how Meredith Russo wrote a message not only to her trans readers but to her non trans readers (me) as well. I could relate to Amanda in ways that I didn't expect. As a girl who just wanted to fit in and be accepted. It was beautiful and while I understand that Meredith Russo did take certain liberties with plot and characterization, I give her two thumbs up.

  • I loved Amanda. Despite the fact that she was terrified, she took delicate steps toward the life she'd always wanted. She also wasn't perfect, and didn't pretend to be. I consider her a fully fleshed out, believable characters. Despite the fact that she was gorgeous and sometimes I get tired of reading about pretty people. (JK... mostly)
  • Amanda's dad. He wasn't in the book a ton, but he was there just enough to make an impact. Although he did his best to accept Amanda, he was practically falling over in fear. It was almost enough to make you feel bad for him. I don't know anything about being trans or being the parents of a trans child, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was how a lot of parents reacted. Fighting to understand and accept, while terrified of what may happen.
  • The ending. Without spoilers, I want to say that I though the end of the book (in regards to Amanda's friends and Grant) was perfect. It wasn't a neat and tidy bow (like something you may see on the Lifetime Channel), but it was very realistic and satisfying.

Didn't Like:
  • I didn't actually dislike anything. I think my struggle was in wanting to know more as a non trans person. Why didn't Amanda want to say what her birth name was, why didn't she want to talk about her genitalia (ugh, the sounds so dumb. No one wants to talk about their genitalia and you shouldn't be forced to). I can assume it was because she was trying to set Andrew behind her and couldn't do that if she kept talking about being a boy, but what do I know. I'm just guessing. I would have liked to know a little more about her surgery, but again, the bulk of the story was about Amanda finding Amanda, not Andrew turning into Amanda. 
  • At the end of the day, I, as a black woman with natural hair, can understand how exhausting it is to explain yourself all the time. "No I have never gotten a sun burn" "No this isn't all my real hair I got extensions" "Why you ask, because I can." "Yeah, fine, you can touch my hair" "How do I get it like that you ask..." Yes we need to educate people on these things, but it's freaking exhausting sometimes, and sometimes you just don't feel like it. While I would have liked to learn more about a person being trans through Amanda, I can also understand why we didn't. Besides, I'm a librarian, I can just look it up.   :)
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