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Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files,
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 20 October 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 608
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository

Place(s) Traveled To: Kerenzie IV and Deep Space via the Alexander and Hypatia  (Year: 2575)

First Line(s): “So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.”

When I first picked up ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I wasn’t sure what to expect but I do adore a good sci-fi and I was intrigued by the mixed media concept. So I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t be disappointed by another poorly done sci-fi story and I dove in expecting to read this one slowly over the course of the month.

Fingers Crossed

Well the joke was on me because it wasn’t long before I found myself unable to put this book down. I was totally immersed in ILLUMINAE and this series of gives pretty much sums up how I felt once I was fully invested in the story:

can't stop reading

why are you doing this

ten in the rain

not ok

Star-Trek crying

lots of feelings

a river of tears

Seriously. I was a puddle of emotion and even now I find it really hard to put all my thoughts into words. This book just took me by surprise and even now long after I’ve finished it I am still locked in its grip. There is action and mystery and horror and romance and suspense and just so much more. The books formatting makes for a quick read and while there are times when mixed media can feel cold and impersonal in a book it really works well with this story. Despite the entire story being told in “found documents” (emails, video transcripts, IMs, etc) you really get to know all of these characters. Oh how I felt for Kady and Ezra and OH MY STARS how terrified I became of Aidan!

Illuminae Quote


ILLUMINAE is a book that took me totally by surprise and literally made me gasp aloud. I can’t tell you the last time that happened with a book. It also brought me to tears and made my heart ache so very much. It was filled with everything that I love in a story and was also so much more. The story…the characters…the setting…it was just all so right and even though this book is 600 pages in length I devoured this book in just 2 days. And let me tell you the ending…oh that ending…it was the worst part. Cliffhanger.


Which I hate because I have the patience of gnat but at the same time it was just so fitting for the story. ILLUMINAE is filled with lots of delightful twists and turns and I can not wait to see where things will go in the next book. This is one of those books that you really need to read to understand just how amazing it was and if you trust my reviews at all then trust when I tell you that you need to read this book. It was just that good.



IR - Illuminae

Add Across the Universe by Beth Revis to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey to Goodreads.


Illuminae Collage



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath CrowleyA Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 08 June 2010
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Music & Musicians, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 228
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Place(s) Traveled to: Australia

First Line: Dad and I leave town in the early dark.

Dear Readers…If you don’t have a book bully in your life then you need to get one….or two…because without them you might miss out on some really great and amazing reads. I have two main book bullies and so far I have fallen head over heels in love with 99% of the books that they have forced me to read. One of these books that I was bullied to read was A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley. Book Bully #2 was raving and raving about it on twitter with another girl in my twitter stream and my interest was peaked. Then when I’d mentioned I hadn’t read it (or heard of the book at that point) she and the girl who she was chatting with in essence forced me to buy the ebook that very night for Alis the nook.

Only I never quite got around to reading this one on my nook. Instead I made the mistake of looking at the start of A Little Wanting Song via the nook app on my itouch and then didn’t stop reading until I was done. That’s right, I read this entire book on the wee screen of my itouch because I didn’t even want to stop for the 2 minutes it would have taken to cross the room and grab my nook. That is how good and absorbing this story is.

A Little Wanting Song is told from two points of view, Charlie and Rose, two girls who have known each other their entire lives but have never really connected until the summer after Charlie’s Gran dies. Charlie is a holiday visitor to the town where Rose considers herself to be stuck. Its not until Rose gets a scholarship to a school in the city where Charlie is from that Rose thinks that Charlie might not be so bad after all. Rose is also just the sort of outgoing girl that Charlie needs to help bring her out of her shell and to help her move on from her grief.

This book was fast paced and so engrossing. I loved all of the characters – especially Dave and yes even Luke who could be a bit of an ass at times. I loved all the musical references and the beautiful way common everyday words were used to tell this story. I blitzed through this in a single sitting and am eagerly looking forward to reading more books by Cath Crowley. With just one book she’s made it onto my must read list and if you haven’t read something by her yet then you are definitely going to want to change that.



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Review: The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 14 March 2006
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Afterlife, Death & Dying, Family, Friendship, Historical, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 552
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Place(s) Traveled To: Molching, Germany (1940s)

First Line(s): First the colors.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with Death? What would you talk about? What stories might he share with you? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is how I’d imagine such a conversation to go. The story centers around Liesal Meminger and begins in 1939 Germany when she is 9 years old. It is then that two things happen: 1) she steals her first book and 2) she is brought into Death’s notice. The Book Thief follows Liesal’s life as she moves in with her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann and takes her through out most of World War II. Liesal’s first act of book thievery is an odd one, because at the time she doesn’t know how to read. It isn’t until she moves in with the Hubermann’s that she learns this skill and becomes a devourer of words.I first heard about this book on that most addictive of websites LibraryThing. It is one of those books that has gained a lot of hype around it. This always makes me wary because books seldom live up to the hoopla (that Twilight fiasco comes immediately to mind). However, in this case I found the hype not only to be correct but also understated.

The Book Thief is a beautifully poetic story about growing up in Nazi Germany. Its about dealing with the propaganda and trying to find ones place in the world. I love how this story gives an added understanding to that time period. Reading the history books it is so easy to misunderstand what people living in Germany thought at that time. This book highlights how scared people were of not following the doctrine of Hitler, not because they believed because of what would happen if they didn’t have the appearance of believing. It is a story of love, loss and the struggle to survive. It is about courage and miracles and the colors that exist in the world. This book is about wonder and learning. The horrors of war and the idea of peace. There are stories within the story. And an addictive quality to the words that just make you want to keep turning the page.

Death is also the perfect narrator of this story. I am not sure that the story would have had the same power if it had been Liesal or some unknown 3rd party narrator telling the story. Death holds nothing back in his telling. And even though he often gets ahead of himself in the telling of Liesal’s story and you pretty much know most of what is going to happen before it actually does there are no apologies. In his words ‘Of course, I’m being rude. I’m spoiling the ending, not only for the entire book, but for this particular section of it. I have given you two events in advance because I don’t have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. […] Its the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest and astound me. There are many things to think of. There is much to the story.’

Indeed, even knowing what is to come doesn’t lessen its effects. In fact, when those foreshadowed events are revealed the experience is almost heightened. There is no shock to numb the effect there is only that raw feeling of emotion like a sucker punch to the gut and your whole breath is knocked out of you. This book kept me up late into the night last night because I couldn’t wait another moment to finish it and it made me cry. Not soft tears but real gut-wrenching sobs. I think that the last book that made me cry like that was God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo. That is another book that foreshadows events before they happen yet the effect of the events are in no way lessoned by the knowing.

I am truly amazed at the storytelling of The Book Thief. The words are poetry themselves and even when Zusak is talking about the horrors of the death camps the words themselves are still beautiful. I really don’t have the words to adequately describe just how amazing the writing is so I won’t. Just go, pick up the book and find out for yourself.

One last thing….I am holding a contest to send a brand new copy of this book to some lucky reader. For details check out this weeks Sunday Salon post.