Book Spine Poetry Sunday (11)

On rare Sundays, I will be posting book spine poems because I love poems and I love books and I think book spine poetry is awesome. Thank you to Charlie of Letter Trails for the feature photo!

The Only Thing to Fear
Before I Go to Sleep
Only Everything
You can follow me on Instagram at oopsireadabookagain for more bookish photos (with low resolution and bad lighting HAHA)!

Want to change some titles on my poem? Go comment your own version below! Just have at least one of those books in yours. Have your own book spine poem? Share them! Looking forward to seeing them!
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Book Spine Poetry Sunday (10)

On rare Sundays, I will be posting book spine poems because I love poems and I love books and I think book spine poetry is awesome. Thank you to Charlie of Letter Trails for the feature photo!
 
 

 

The Night We Said Yes
(to) Trouble
Ditched
Prom
Breaking Glass
Crashing Down
Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)
(The) Bossypants
The Fearless
(The) Fangirl
(The) Stargirl
Wild Awake
We All Looked Up
The Spectacular Now
You can follow me on Instagram at oopsireadabookagain for more bookish photos (with low resolution and bad lighting HAHA)!
 
Want to change some titles on my poem? Go comment your own version below! Just have at least one of those books in yours. Have your own book spine poem? Share them! Looking forward to seeing them!

Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

ARMADA IS OUT NOW!!!!!!!! To celebrate, my subconscious made me buy a sweatshirt with a print resembling a bit vector representation of the ADI-88 Interceptor pictured inside the jacket flap of Armada yesterday. Basically, my sweatshirt had white triangle-like things with four thrusters in the wide side. I’ll just show you a picture.


Right? I feel so celebratory right now with it. I mean, I only realized that HEY IT’S AN INTERCEPTOR when I got to my office and saw my copy of Armada. Anyway, enough of my babbling, today, I’m reviewing ARMADA!


Armada
Title: Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Date of Publication: July 14, 2015

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.


And then he sees the flying saucer.


Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.


No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.


It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?


At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.


Purchase from Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository


Review

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Crown Publishing and Random House for the review copy! Receiving one did not affect my views of the novel.

I honestly don’t know how to approach this review so let’s just start with the reasons why you need to buy and read Armada.

1. THE PRETTY. This is how it looks naked.



Its jacket flap has a design inside.


COME ON GUYS. I just about drooled when I saw this. Lastly, MINT GREEN!!!


This is a book you want on your shelf.

2. GEEKSPLOSION. All the alien invasion games, films, and books!!

3. ADVENTUREHello, an alien invasion + video games secretly used to train humanity for it + NASA, the military, the gaming industry, and Hollywood conspiring to create content geared toward preparing humanity for said invasion. COME ON.

But let’s be real. You just want to know why I’m only giving Armada 3 stars. So let’s go.

I love Ready Player One so much. So so much. I’m a new fan since I only read it a couple of months ago but it’s a book I will never forget. So obviously, I’ve had soaring expectations for Armada. I was super conscious about said expectations that I tried so hard going into this book without any. Every time my mind would compare it to RP1, I’d stop and regroup. Armada was a different book, I’d remind myself.

And it was indeed wholly different. From the start, I realized that Armada wouldn’t be the fast-paced adventure-packed novel that was RP1. RP1 was about a race, which made for an edge-of-your-seat feeling while Armada was a war. And war takes time. So I had to set aside what I thought I’ll be in for and just take Armada as it is. I was halfway through with the novel when the plot started to veer into the war aspect of things. The first half of the novel was spent on establishing the world set-up. Not that this is a bad thing but overall, I didn’t feel THAT thrilled with Armada. Sure, the stakes were high but it didn’t get me THAT excited and panicked and intensely worried about it.

I did appreciate how Ernest Cline took his time on introducing our hero, Zack Lightman, to us. For the first half of the novel, we got to know him as he narrates his story. How his normal day goes, where he works, how awesome he is at Armada, how his father died when he was a baby, how he’s pretty much obsessed with his dad and knowing him, and all that. The set-up was vastly appreciated; however, I just didn’t connect that much with Zack. I mean, he’s a nice guy, but I don’t exactly root for him with the passion I usually have for characters I love. Even with all the time spent on building up his character, he still read like a stock character to me. Stock characters are fine IF they can make you care and love them. But Zack didn’t make me feel any of those. In short, Zack was cool and fine but even with all the focus on his characterization and background history, I wasn’t left enamored by him.

I have this thing where I skim books I really really enjoy because I JUST NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. With Armada, I just leisurely read it. I didn’t have the burning need to know what happens next and I didn’t finish it in one sitting. And there wasn’t even an urge to read it in one sitting. Which was telling of a lot of things. That it wasn’t gripping.

Initially, I rated this one four stars but as I spent more time thinking about it, I realized that Armada is actually pretty forgettable. Maybe it’s because Zack carries the whole novel and like I said, he’s pretty bland and too straight-forwardly told. The plot was cool in theory but I think the execution was cheesy. Half-baked even. There were moments while reading that I just couldn’t help smiling from all the sci-fi pop culture references but that was it. Nothing surprised me while reading. I guess you couldn’t put twists on a war where it’s obvious what’s going to happen in the end.

I remember not liking the romance aspect of Ready Player One when it was introduced. I was like, DAMN IT NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAVE A ROMANCE. But Ernest Cline was able to handle it well and not make it the main focus of the story. Plus, the nuances of the romances in RP1 was A+. However, Ernest Cline’s weakness in writing romance was in full display in Armada. It was so forced and there was absolutely no chemistry (they did cracked some jokes and did a bit of wisecracking banter) between Zack and Lex. It felt like, OH THIS BOOK NEEDS A ROMANCE ANGLE SO LET THERE BE IT. It was not organic to the story and the ploy to just have a romance was so obvious. Not only that but the other side couples in this the-world-is-ending-so-let’s-just-get-it-on scenario were not necessary. I did appreciate the bit of diversity in this novel although the characters played such small roles.

Lastly, the ending. It was rushed and uninspired. While I was reading the ending, I just felt O-K-A-Y THAT’S HOW YOU’RE GONNA PLAY IT. Armada is a classic example of an epilogue gone wrong. You need not tie up all ends neatly in a bow, ready to be gifted. Sure, it ended openly, and it read like there’s a possibility for a sequel. Which, for the record, I’m not interested in reading but I think I’ll still read it (because I love Ernest Cline and have pledged allegiance to him).

So I sound like I completely hated it. 3 stars means I liked it and I did! My tweets while reading it were all praises and “DAMN, SON” and “Y’ALL SHOULD GET THIS, STAT” and at that time, that was what I was feeling. It was all in retrospect and toward the end did I feel and think of all of these. Which was a shame!

All in all, Armada left me unimpressed, which made me sad. I don’t think it’s because of my high expectations from having read Ready Player One but I am definitely disappointed because I know Ernest Cline is capable of so much more. Armada was a decently entertaining read, yes, but an unforgettable and cheesy one, and not the supposed “rollicking, surprising thriller” that it was pitched to be. If you’re a fan of Ready Player One and you don’t want to tarnish Ernest freakin’ Cline in your mind, then I suggest you pass on this one. If you’re just looking into getting into Ernest freakin’ Cline, may I redirect you to Ready Player One instead.

Book Spine Poetry Sunday (9)

On rare Sundays, I will be posting book spine poems because I love poems and I love books and I think book spine poetry is awesome. Thank you to Charlie of Letter Trails for the feature photo!

Today’s poem is a haiku made by my colleague at work. We‘re both into poems and I gave him a list of the books I own (if I can only organize other aspects of my life as well) and asked him to make a poem. Here it is!

Embrace Resistance
Cursed Hunger Burn Every Day
Forged Revolution
You can follow me on Instagram at oopsireadabookagain for more bookish photos (with low resolution and bad lighting HAHA)!

Want to change some titles on my poem? Go comment your own version below! Just have at least one of those books in yours. Have your own book spine poem? Share them! Looking forward to seeing them!

Review: The Pirate Pig by Cornelia Funke

The Pirate Pig
Title: The Pirate Pig
Author: Cornelia Funke
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: June 23, 2015

The beloved and bestselling author of Inkheart brings imagination, adventure, and humor to a swashbuckling full-color chapter book!

Who needs a treasure map when you have a pirate pig with a nose for gold? Stout Sam and his deckhand, Pip, find a pig washed up in a barrel on the beach. They want to keep her as a pet, but they soon realize Julie is no ordinary pig. She can sniff out treasure! What happens if Barracuda Bill, the greediest and meanest pirate who ever sailed the seas, hears about Julie’s special talent?

Cornelia Funke’s charming and fun chapter books are available to an American audience for the very first time.


Purchase from Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

 

Review
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Random House Children’s Books for the review copy! Receiving one did not affect my views of the novel.
So I admit, I don’t have a kid to read this one to so my work colleague and I decided to read it and discuss it. I’ll keep this one short as I don’t think we’re even that qualified to judge picture books.

The art was wonderful and cute. It was colorful but with a bit of a washed-out look into it, which I thought was apt for the story. Like it was colored using a watercolor. The style of the drawings/line art was just simple, which I appreciated because it looks like a toddler would be able to copy/trace it. I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, I loved copying drawings even if I was terrible at it.

As for the story, it was simple and cute enough for its audience. Stout Sam and Pip discovered a pig in a barrel who can sniff out treasure. But Sam and Pip were not greedy and they didn’t take advantage of Julie the Pig. However, here comes our villain Barracuda Bill who steals Julie! Poor pig! The conflict was resolved, thanks to Pip, and it had its tense moments too. Stout Sam and Pip’s plan to save Julie was dangerous and I’m sure little kids will get excited by it.

All in all, The Pirate Pig was an okay picture book. It tells a simple story kids will easily understand and enjoy.

Review: More Than Exes by Elizabeth Briggs

I’m trying to catch up with this series (I use “series” loosely here as each installment can be read as a standalone!) because BEHIND THE SEAMS already has a cover and is releasing soon! I loved this novella and I wish for more Alexis and Kyle!

More Than Exes (Chasing The Dream)
Title: More Than Exes (Chasing the Dream #0.5)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Date of Publication: October 28, 2014

He wants to win. She wants to win him back.

Keyboardist Kyle Cross may look like a bad boy with his tattoos and piercings, but he’s really the good guy who’s always stuck fixing his band’s problems and never gets the girl. His band is competing in a college Battle of the Bands, but when their bassist doesn’t show, Kyle must track her down with the help of the person he least expects: his ex-girlfriend Alexis Monroe.

Kyle hasn’t seen Alexis since she dumped him in high school, and she’s dropped her preppy image for fiery red hair and a bold new attitude to match. With only hours before his band goes on stage, Kyle has to be a little bad if he wants to win both the Battle and the girl he’s never gotten over. But when their old problems resurface, the good guy might just get his heart broken all over again.

A stand-alone novella that launches the Chasing The Dream series!

*** New Adult romance suitable for 17+ due to mature content. ***


Get it for FREE! Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords


Review

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Elizabeth Briggs and NetGalley for the review copy! Having received one did not affect my views of the novella.

OHMYGOD THIS NOVELLA. The only problem I have with it is I WANT MORE KYLE AND ALEXIS. Guys, Elizabeth Briggs just kills it! More Than Exes had the perfect balance of character development, swoon, and steam. And it’s JUST a novella. Liz just packed this with so much amazing that I can’t pinpoint a single thing that did not work or that I did not love.

This is a prequel novella but it can be read as a standalone. So for those who haven’t read the “awesome doesn’t even cover it” More Than Music, fear not! But for those who’ve already read More Than Music, you’re in for such a treat! I loved Kyle in MTM so I was so excited to get to know him better in More Than Exes. And I did and I loved him even more. Moreover, I wanted to know the story behind Kyle and Alexis as they spent most of More Than Music making out and not caring who sees. They’re so confident in their love and their relationship. Getting a look into how that came up to be was such a treat! Thank you, Liz, for giving it to us.

Kyle is your textbook badboy, tattooed, wears black all the time, and edgy. But here’s where Liz subverts the common, he’s not a bad boy. Sure, he looks like one but Kyle is so sweet and nice! He always plays mediator in his band Villain Complex and he keeps them in check. Before they went to college, his girlfriend Alexis broke up with him and went to Princeton. She was your quintessential good, rich girl who’s expected to go to an Ivy League, while Kyle didn’t want to leave Los Angeles for his brother and his band. He was devastated and never really moved on.

Then here comes Alexis at the Battle of the Bands his band joined, looking fierce and completely different from before. She’s now edgy and very punk rock. And she’s back in LA as she transferred to USC. Now, she wants to get back together.

You can see that Kyle and Alexis are perfect for each other but they just have to resolve some issues they had. And I was in glee the whole time they were resolving their conflict. Set in the backdrop of the Battle of the Bands, everything was also heightened. Kyle was dealing with so much pressure and problems with the band. Alexis broke Kyle’s heart and really wants to prove to him that she was absolutely wrong and that they can make it work.

Let’s talk about the steam! Elizabeth Briggs certainly knows how to make me feel hot! More Than Music did that and More Than Exes too! So sexy! I am still floored by how packed this novella feels like and how it completely satisfied me, while making me want more. Isn’t that an indication of a story well-told? I highly recommend More Than Exes for those new to the Chasing the Dream series and to fans especially!


About Elizabeth Briggs

Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology, currently mentors teens in writing, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She’s the author of the new adult Chasing The Dream series and the upcoming young adult novel Future Shock. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of fluffy dogs.

Review: Mania by J.R. Johansson

Mania (The Night Walkers, #3)

Title: Mania (The Night Walkers #3)
Author: J.R. Johansson
Publisher: Flux
Date of Publication: July 8, 2015
 
Jack and his half-brother Parker have no time to mourn the loss of their father, Daniel Chipp. With an attack by the body-stealing Takers imminent, the pair must put aside their grief and track down the ingredients of Daniel’s formula—one that will rein in the power-hungry Takers—to keep their family and friends out of danger.
 
Their only hope lies in a puzzle their father left behind, a riddle where each brother unknowingly possesses a piece of the solution. The puzzle sets them on a deadly path, spiraling between reality and the world of dreams where nothing and no one can be trusted entirely. And when Parker finds himself deep in the fray between the Takers and the other Night Walkers, it’s up to Jack to complete the formula and save his brother’s life.
 
Pre-order from Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Review
 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
 
Thank you to Flux and NetGalley for the review copy! Receiving one did not affect my views of the novel. Don’t proceed if you haven’t read the first two books!

And everything ends. But don’t fear, fellow fans, J.R. Johansson’s The Night Walkers series goes out with a bang! The series started out as a duology, but Jenn found that there was so much story to tell. That’s because she made such an astounding storyworld where there are night walkers, who get to take over people or their dreams. When I learned that the third book will be in Jack’s perspective, I got so excited because FINALLY, more answers! Paranoia washed away my craving for more information on the night walkers but I didn’t realize that I still wanted more. (Which should have been obvious to me because I’m greedy like that.) Jack had the answers in Paranoia and I was so excited to find out more MORE MOAR.

But Jenn did something even more awesome. Not only do we get Jack’s perspective, we got his AND Parker’s. Which was glorious! This was a dual POV book and excuse me while I do my victory dance. Jack is closed off and secretive and it was nice to finally know what he’s thinking. I love the dual POV too because we get to see the two brothers side-by-side and how they just want to help and protect the other one. Even if they didn’t grow up together, it was heartwarming to see them caring for each other more and more as the story progressed.

Anyway, I couldn’t really delve on the plot of Mania but as usual and as expected of the series, the stakes are high and the danger is just a hair’s width away. Oh, I should correct that, danger was always there. Seriously. There were explosions, bullets, deaths, knives, hostages, torture, EVERYTHING. I mean, COME ON, didn’t that just make you tingle all over?

As for the characters, Finn, I missed you, your humor, and your shirts! Since Jack tells more than half of the narrative, we get to spend more time with him and thus, know him better this time and I thank Jenn Johansson for that. In my review of Paranoia, I mentioned that I didn’t connect with Jack as much as I wanted to. Now, I can rescind that because oh, Jack, I adore you. You might decorate yourself with spines to push people away but you’re just a big ole softie too. Getting to know more about Chloe too and how she’s such a large part in this installment’s story were such a nice surprise. Libby, Jack’s best friend and Builder, joins our team as well to finally create the drug Daniel Chipp has concocted. This “simple” task is infinitely harder because first, Jack and Parker have to get clues and solve the puzzle their dad left for them to get the ingredients. This includes taking over people’s bodies and watching dreams, as you normally do. FUN TIMES.

Gah, I’m just a sucker for Jenn Johansson’s tight storytelling. She got two concurrent story arcs working side-by-side, Jack trying to create the drug in exchange for Parker, who’s being hostaged by Chloe’s brother Cooper, and Parker just trying to be alive. Oh, and dealing with Darkness too. And trying to resist Cooper, who turns him into a lab rat, testing out drugs on him that might change him to a Taker from a Watcher. Cooper is CRAY. And SCARY. AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

I guess I just wish Addie and Mia were a bit more present in here. I guess it was made up by the Chloe-Jack romance though, which I liked. Jack finds it so hard to trust Chloe but I like Chloe. I think writing romance isn’t the author’s strongest suit but then, I didn’t come to this series for the romance. It was nice but I’m all the way here because of The Danger, The Thrill, and The Story.

All in all, Mania was a wonderful, gripping, and exciting end to such a fantastic series. If you haven’t read this series, YOU MUST START NOW. It’s engaging, cool and unique. People taking over people or watching their dreams? People building dreams for others to rest on? With all the thrill and danger you could put into it? It’s practically a crime how The Night Walkers trilogy is so underrated. J.R. Johansson knows how to up the ante, pull you into the web of her story’s world, and care for her characters. Wait, she doesn’t just know, she’s got it mastered. I will ALWAYS read a novel by J.R. Johansson because she’s sure as heck a storyteller.