May Book Wrap Up

This month I discovered the BEST audiobook I’ve ever experienced! Full cast audio has changed my audiobook life! I read 7 books this months and was very satisfied.

The Books:

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1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof

My Thoughts: Well…at least it started to get interesting at page 418. I spent the vast majority of this 599 page story bored out of my mind or extremely annoyed by the characters, yet somehow I got sucked into the story toward the end and couldn’t put it down. If you are prone to dnf’ing books, this might not be the one for you. I am stubborn, however, and pushed on to finish the book. I gave it a three star rating instead of a two because 1) it left me wondering what happens next and 2) the format of the book is so unique. This is the story of two (very annoying, immature and way-too-chill) teenagers who find themselves in a desperate fight for their lives as their spaceship gets chased down by “bad guys”, as a virus spreads and turns passengers into zombies and as the spaceships artificial intelligence goes rogue. It is told in the format of an investigation with hacked documents, text messages and interviews. I had a really hard time dealing with how immature a lot of the characters acted in this story. Yes, I know some of them were teenagers, but given the dire situation they were in I found it hard to believe they would be acting so sarcastic and nonchalant all the time. I also thought many of the characters had the same voice and were had to distinguish from one another. I WILL say that the twist that comes out at page 418 was GREAT and I did not see that one coming. Once that character was out of the way I started to enjoy the story a lot more!

Synopsis: 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.

Star Rating: 3 of 5 stars

2. The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern) by Shannon Hale

My Thoughts: WOW! This is hands down the best narration that I’ve ever experienced in an audiobook. The book is narrated by an entire cast, meaning that each character has a unique voice. I loved it! I also loved the bits of background music that was added in from time to time. The story itself, a re-telling of a short fairytale by Brothers Grim’s from 1815, was fantastic. The Goose Girl is the story of Ani, a princess with a special gift for speaking with animals. After Ani is sent away by her mother to a distant kingdom for an arranged marriage, Ani’s maid Celia commits treason and tries to steal Ani’s identity for her own. Shannon Hale does an absolutely fantastic job at mixing action, love, sacrifice and fun into this tale and I am officially obsessed! I will be starting book #2, Enna Burning, tonight!

Synopsis: Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt’s guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani’s journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

Star Rating: 5 of 5 stars

3. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

My Thoughts: I decided to finally jump on The Mortal Instruments bandwagon after hearing SO many amazing reviews about The Dark Artifices series. Since all of the books are set in the same world I decided to start from the beginning. I had heard prior to starting this book that it’s not Cassandra Clare’s best work, but that it’s worth pushing through because apparently the series improves a lot as it goes on. My 3 star rating of the book therefore wasn’t a surprise or a disappointment. It was fine…and I will continue on in the series because I am curious what all of the fuss is about. I found it a bit cheesy, but I’m also not usually a big fan of supernatural creatures, so maybe that’s why. For those who don’t know, City of Bones is the story of Clary, a girl who discovers that her mom is involved in the world of Shadowhunters, a group of people who protect humans from demons and other supernatural beings. She meets up with three bad-ass shadow hunting teenagers and the story progresses from there as Clary starts to learn about her past

Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Star Rating: 3 of 5 stars

4. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

My Thoughts: This was a great continuation to The Books of Bayern series. The story picks up a couple of years after The Goose Girl ends and follows Enna, The Goose Girl’s best friend. The story is much darker than the first book and has a lot more violence. My favourite thing about the story is the it has the feel of a “villain back story” – Enna is a very unlikable at times and makes many poor decisions, yet I FELT for her, was rooting for her, and could understand why she was doing the things she was doing. I also enjoyed how Ani (the Goose Girl) played an important role in the story towards the end. The relationship between Enna and her the man who captures her was so much fun to read about and I had a blast mentally yelling at Enna at many of their interactions. While I enjoyed The Goose Girl more than Enna Burning, I still highly enjoyed it and will be continuing on in the series asap!

Synopsis: Enna and Princess Isi became fast friends in The Goose Girl, but after Isi married Prince Geric, Enna returned to the forest. Enna’s simple life changes forever when she learns to wield fire and burn anything at will. Enna is convinced that she can use her ability for good-to fight Tira, the kingdom threatening the Bayern borders-and goes on secret raids to set fire to the Tiran camps and villages. But as the power of the fire grows stronger, she is less able to control her need to burn. In her recklessness she is captured by the Tiran army and held captive by a handsome, manipulative young captain who drugs her to keep her under his influence. Can Isi and her old friends Finn and Razo rescue her without sacrificing themselves? And with the fire still consuming her, will Enna find a way to manage the gift that threatens to destroy her?

Star Rating: 4 of 5 stars

5. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

My Thoughts: This one is SO much better than book #1. I am so happy the I didn’t give up on the series. Everything about about A Court of Mist and Fury was fantastic. The struggles that Feyre has about her relationship with Tamlin, the great tension between her and Rhysand, the adventures the group go on and especially the way Sarah J. Maas ends the story with the PERFECT set up for book #3. The events that happen in this book make me want to go back and re-read #1. I think I would appreciate it a lot more now that I would be able to pick up on all of the foreshadowing that takes place. One thing I really appreciate about ACOMAF is that the intimacy scenes are handled well. I dislike stories where the intimacy seems forced or rushed or cringe worthy or distasteful…I hate when it seems like the story is all romance and no plot….but ACOMAF was nothing like that. The build up to the intimacy was believable and fun to read about, without feeling like it was just put into the story for the heck of it. The romance is part of the story, but not the sole focus…there’s a massive plot line to go along with it. Can’t wait to read book #3!

Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Star Rating: 5 of 5 stars

6. River Secrets by Shannon Hale

My Thoughts: Another great tale by Shannon Hale and amazing narration by the Full Cast Audio team! This is the third book in The Books of Bayern series, and follows Razo (one of the side characters) on his own journey of self discovery and love. Shannon Hale has an amazing way of writing fantastic characters. Razo is super funny, smart, quirky and so loveable! I also loved that some of the important characters from the previous books played a role in this story but that this book was a whole unique story all on it’s own. A while I wasn’t as invested in the main plot line as I was in the previous books, I loved the characters so much that I enjoyed every moment of this story. As I’ve mentioned before, the narration was superb. Going forward I will be seeking out audiobooks that are narrated by an entire cast instead of by just one person…it makes such a huge difference!

Synopsis: Razo has no idea why he was chosen to be a soldier. He can barely swing a sword, and his brothers are forever wrestling him to the ground. Razo is sure it’s out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission–escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern’s great enemy. But when the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, Razo discovers the first dead body. He befriends both the high and low born, people who can perhaps provide them with vital information. And Razo is the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive.

Star Rating: 4 of 5 stars

7. The Alliance by Chris G. Wright

My Thoughts: Let me start by saying that this book would make an awesome TV series! There is so much plot and world building, and so many interesting species in this story that I think it would translate great on screen. The Alliance is the first book in a to-be series of 6 novels about alien invasion on Earth. The story begins two years into a war against humans and a species of aliens called Rabasts. Along the way the humans meet some unexpected allies of another alien species, the Pleodians, and the story progresses from there. The story is told in third person and jumps around from group to group many times throughout the book. I don’t often read sci-fi books (I usually stick to Fantasy) but I decided to pick this one up because it sounded interesting and I love watching sci-fi movies and TV shows. I am generally a much larger fan of character-driven stories as opposed to plot-driven stories. The Alliance turned out to be very plot-driven. And while the plot is very solid, there were times where I was craving more character interactions…more emotion and feelings and bonding and internal struggles from the characters. The human characters in this story felt cold and distant, almost like robots on autopilot, for the first half of the book which made it hard for me to connect with them at times. As the story progressed this did improve, however, and we started to see the more “human” side to the humans. I loved the moments when they let their guard down. My two favourite scenes in the story are when Skye and Ethan attempt to have an anniversary celebration despite the war going on around them and when Ethan visits his childhood house in Greece searching for his parents. I loved these scenes because I was able to connect with the characters and it made me more invested in their stories – I even cried at one point! Overall, I thought that The Alliance was a solid read and am curious as to what happens next!

Synopsis: Invaded by the ambitious and malevolent Rabast, Earth’s greatest military powers have been crushed. Mankind’s legacy is nothing but scattered pockets of resistance surviving in city ruins. Their salvation is a mysterious ally from the Pleiades star cluster. The last colony of Pleodians has formed an elaborate plan to save Earth from the oppressor Vadist and his legions. But the Alliance comes at a price… the Humans are required to share their planet. Nearing extinction, do they have a choice? For the plan to work, both species must rely on two men who possess alien artifacts of seemingly infinite energy: Ethan Alexander Colt is a resistance fighter expected to make the ultimate sacrifice; the other is the tormented Captain Donovan Ford, who must conquer his ghosts and embrace his destiny as a soldier. Outnumbered and outmatched, the allies turn to a collection of War Engines, the Conduits, ancient combat suits once operated by the infamous Scientists. But Humans were designed with flaws, and Ethan and Donovan are no different. Will they see beyond their own aspirations and fight for the greater good? Or will they threaten the endurance of the Alliance and stability of the cosmos?

Star Rating: 3 of 5 stars


Cheers,

Jen @ Habitat for Happiness

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