Zita the Spacegirl
Book Review / January 18, 2017

Title: Zita the Spacegirl Series: Zita the Spacegirl, #1 Author: Ben Hatke Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: First Second Release Date: February 1st, 2011 Format: Graphic Novel Pages: 192 Source: Library Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye. When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest. Zita the Spacegirl is a fun, captivating tale of friendship and redemption from Flight veteran Ben Hatke. It also has more whimsical, eye-catching, Miyazaki-esque monsters than you can shake a stick at.  (via Goodreads) Amazon   The curiosity of children is what always leads them to push the big red button. We know you shouldn’t push it. Everyone knows that. But the temptation is so great… Can we really ever help ourselves?…

Dark Matter
Book Review / January 16, 2017

Title: Dark Matter Author: Blake Crouch Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Crown Release Date: July 26th, 2016 Format: Hardcover Pages: 342 Source: Library “Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible. Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe. From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a…

Gemina
Book Review / November 17, 2016

Title: Gemina Series: The Illuminae Files, #2 Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Release Date: October 18th, 2016 Format: Hardback Pages: 672 Source: Owned Illustrator: Marie Lu Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed. The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just…

Never Let Me Go
Book Review / October 17, 2016

Title: Never Let Me Go Author: Kazuo Ishiguro Genre: Speculative Fiction Publisher: Vintage Books Release Date: August 31st, 2010 Format: Paperback Pages: 288 Source: Owned First Published: 2005 As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Amazon   I have never read a book like Never Let Me Go. Why? There is something about well praised literary and speculative fiction that turns me off. I think it’s years of being forced to read these genres in school, never understanding it, and never appreciating it. I tend to drift away because the genres make me feel stupid. If only I could learn from my mistakes. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel…

Slaughterhouse-Five
Book Review / September 28, 2016

Title: Slaughterhouse-Five Author: Kurt Vonnegut Genre: Classic Publisher: Dell Release Date: November 3rd, 1991 Format: Paperback Pages: 215 Source: Library First Published: 1969 Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller – these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world’s great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know. (via Goodreads) Amazon   A commonly banned book, Slaughterhouse-Five, Or the Children’s Crusade is a powerful piece of classic American literature. Believe it or not, this was my first time reading a Vonnegut novel. Sometimes, I reflect back on my public school English curriculum, and I wonder what my teachers were thinking. There are so many classic authors I have never read. But then again, there are a lot of classic authors… I digress. Kurt Vonnegut was a prolific American author who had a perchance for the darkly comic in his writing. His writing quickly became classics of American counterculture and he was an…

These Broken Stars
Book Review / September 14, 2016

Title: These Broken Stars Series: Starbound, #1 Author: Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Disney Hyperion Release Date: December 10th, 2013 Format: eBook Pages: 374 Source: Library Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy. (via Goodreads) Amazon   I am still trying to sort out my feelings on this book. I LOVE Amie Kaufman’s Illuminae, as you might recall. This led me to seek out more of her books, and I found These Broken Stars. The first book in a trilogy, These Broken Stars is challenging to describe. Part Titanic, part survival story, part mystery, and… mostly romance? That seems to cover it. An interesting story concept, but it never really came together fully for me. Shame. Major Tarver Merendsen does not belong on the starliner Icarus. And, honestly, he’s only there because it’s good press. After all, he is…

The Bees
Book Review / August 18, 2016

Title: The Bees Author: Laline Paull Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Ecco Release Date: May 6th, 2014 Format: Paperback Pages: 340 Source: Library Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. Then she finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous. Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, and her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden… Laline Paull’s chilling yet ultimately triumphant novel creates a luminous world both alien and uncannily familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, The Bees is the story of a heroine who changes her destiny and her world. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Laline Paull is…

Red Rising
Book Review / June 21, 2016

Title: Red Rising Series: Red Rising, #1 Author: Pierce Brown Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Del Rey Release Date: January 28th, 2014 Format: eBook Pages: 382 Source: Owned “I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.” “I live for you,” I say sadly. Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.” Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the…

Station Eleven
Book Review / April 19, 2016

Title: Station Eleven Author: Emily St. John Mandel Genre: Dystopian Literature Publisher: Knopf Release Date: September 9th, 2014 Format: eBook Pages: 336 Source: Owned An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities…

The Martian
Book Review / March 7, 2016

Title: The Martian Author: Andy Weir Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Crown Release Date: February 11th, 2014 Format: eBook Pages: 369 Source: Owned Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth. As he overcomes one seemingly…

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