Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Seth's review of Keep Mars Weird by Neal Pollack

Several hundred years in the future, a depopulated Earth has become a tolerant, progressive paradise. What could be better—or duller? Meanwhile, Mars is home to New Austin, a freewheeling human colony fabled to make Las Vegas look like a meditation retreat. After breaking the polite laws of Earth, earnest schoolteacher Jordan Kincaid finds himself forced to relocate. It’s either life on Mars or life behind bars.
But what promised to be Xanadu is more like Blade Runner . . . only with more waiting in line. Trend-chasing hipsters and obnoxious tourists have swarmed into New Austin at the expense of poverty-stricken locals, all overseen by a greedy megamogul bent on transforming the city into a gentrified nightmare. When a sexy but sinister heiress seduces Jordan, he finds himself on the wrong side of a literal real-estate rebellion, as the filthy rich and dirt poor battle for control of the next hot neighborhood. Forget about keeping it weird, someone’s got to keep Mars from becoming a hell off Earth.
(Synopsis from Goodreads.)
Seth's Thoughts:
I picked this book up not knowing what it was about. I admit though, that I have a science fiction addiction. I also like alternate future fiction as well. When both of those are combined I just can't help myself. Keep Mars weird is just such a story. Sometime in the past of the story Earth was able to colonize Mars. In the process there was quite a bit of conflict on Earth. This led to the population of the Earth being regulated to one billion people. Everyone on Earth has 'enough'. Enough food, enough room, enough health care. Nothing more. Societal classes are all but done away with on Earth.

Having said that, the story revolves around Jordan Kincaid. He was born on Earth, and was brought up in the mindset that everyone gets enough. Shortly into the story he gets shipped off to Mars and finds out that some people have more 'enough' than others. There is plenty of fun poking at the expense of socialists and capitalists alike. The story focuses on the struggles that Jordan and his friend face when confronted with an entirely different society than what they grew up with. I look forward to reading more in this series. I'm hoping it's a series anyways. I'll have to check with my wife as she's the one in charge of the books in the house.

Seth gives Keep Mars Weird: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.nealpollack.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nealpollack
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nealpollack
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/41185.Neal_Pollack

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Neither Seth nor I were compensated in any way for this review.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Drawing Breath by Laurie Boris

Art teacher Daniel Benedetto has cystic fibrosis. At thirty-four, he's already outlived his doctor's "expiration date," but that doesn't stop him from giving all he can to his students and his work. When he takes on Caitlin, his landlady's daughter, as a private student, the budding teen painter watches in torment as other people, especially women, treat Daniel like a freak because of his condition. To Caitlin, Daniel is not a disease, not someone to pity or take care of but someone to care for, a friend, and her first real crush. Convinced one of those women is about to hurt him, Caitlin makes one very bad decision.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads.)

My Thoughts:
When I first started reading Drawing Breath, I wasn't sure what to expect. I expected a student/teacher romance, which I kind of got, but not in the way I was expecting. Even though the book wasn't what I expected, it was a decently good read.

For the most part, the book was well written. The author wrote it in such a way that the reader falls in love with Daniel, just like Caitlin does. By the end of the book, the author has the reader begging and pleading with her for Daniel to get better, so he and Caitlin can live happily ever after together.

The one thing I didn't like about Drawing Breath was Caitlin, which is unfortunate because she is the main character. She almost ruined the whole book for me. She is extremely selfish in almost everything that she does. She is also incredibly petty, whiny, and jealous. It drove me crazy listening to her whine for most of the book, and she put herself before everyone else. It definitely dampened my enjoyment of an otherwise entertaining novel.

Other than the issues that I had with Caitlin, I did enjoy the book. It was sad, yet hauntingly beautiful. It wasn't the typical student/teacher romance because most of the romance took place outside the school, which was a refreshing change of pace. I am interested to see what Laurie Boris writes in the future.

I give Drawing Breath: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://laurieboris.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurie.boris.author/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurieboris
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4824645.Laurie_Boris

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

(Synopsis take from Goodreads.)

My Thoughts:
I read 194 books last year. Out of all of those books, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was definitely my favorite. I read it when I was in the hospital. I ended up reading it in a little under two hours, even with all of the usual hospital interruptions, because I couldn't put it down.

Typically I'm not a big fan of young adult contemporary novels. However, this book had a little bit of everything that adds up to make a contemporary novel good. It tugged at the heartstrings, and made me cry several times. It had a little bit of humor that had me cracking up laughing. Towards the end of the book, there was some suspense mixed in that had me on the edge of my seat. I had no idea that the big plot twist was going to turn out the way it did, although my best friend guessed correctly. I don't even know where to begin with the romance. It was unconventional, which I greatly enjoyed. I didn't even think it was going to happen because of all the difficulties in the way, but it did. It made me want to stand up and cheer and root for the main characters even more than I already was. 

Speaking of main characters, Maddie is an inspiration to women everywhere. Heck, not just women, but to everyone fighting their own battles, especially illness. Maddie has been dealt a terrible lot in life. If I was her, I probably would have crawled under the covers and given up a long time ago. However, not only does she not let her illness get her down, she finds various ways to overcome it and be happy.

Everything, Everything was a wonderful YA contemporary from debut author Nicola Yoon. I know this was her first book, but she has been added to my list of authors to auto-buy. The book is an inspiration to people everywhere, regardless of sex or age. I think it should be required reading in high schools as it teaches about overcoming adversity. 

I give Everything, Everything: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.nicolayoon.com/#intro
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicolaYoon
Tumblr: http://nicolayoon.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicolayoon/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7353006.Nicola_Yoon

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Bookish Resolutions

2015 seemed to go by quickly. I can't believe it's 2016 already. 2015 was a great reading year for me. I read a lot of wonderful books, and some books that weren't so wonderful as well. I hope 2016 is a great reading year for me as well. To make that happen, I have created some bookish resolutions that I am going to try to stick to throughout the year.

1. Write at least two posts per week on the blog.
One thing that disappointed me a lot in 2015 is that I really started slacking on blog stuff. I barely wrote one post per month, which is kind of embarrassing and shameful. This year, I hope to write at least two posts a week. Out of those two posts, I want one to be a book review, and one to be a bookish feature.

2. Read more review books.
In 2015, I read 194 books, which isn't too bad with everything I had going on in the year. However, out of those, only 34 were review books, which makes me feel like a slacker compared to how many books I have on my bookshelf, and on my Kindle that need reviewed. This year, I hope to have the majority of the books that I read be review books.

3. Read at least 100 books for my Goodreads challenge.
I know, 100 books doesn't sound like a lot to some people. However, I'm going to be starting college full time, and going most of the year. Last year, when I completed my first semester, I started stressing myself out because I couldn't keep up with college and my 200 book reading challenge. I really don't want to go through that stress again this year, so I set a goal that is light, and definitely obtainable.

4. Not buy as many books.
Typically, between Kindle books, and physical books, I usually buy close to 200 books a year. I know, that sounds crazy, but I love going to library book sales throughout the year and buying as many books as I want because it's so cheap. Also, I get a lot of free Kindle books. However, I'm realizing that even though I love buying all of those books, I'm never going to be able to read all of them if I keep up at that pace. So, I want to buy the least amount of books possible that I can. This means avoiding library book sales for the most part.

5. I want to finish some series.
I have so many series that I have started and never finished that I have lost count. I'm hoping to go through my Goodreads list, and finish some of those in 2016. There are a few heftier series that immediately come to mind, such as A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan.

These are just a few of my bookish resolutions, but they are the most important to me. I'm curious, do you have any bookish resolutions? If so, what are they? Please leave a comment and let me know. I hope everyone has a great new year, and is able to read a lot of books!