Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

Thanks to Netgalley for sending me this copy of Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi. This book was really good and I loved the writing style 🙂

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Synopsis: For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a cafĂ© and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

I reeeeeaaaally enjoyed how this book was written. Each chapter alternated between the two main characters. Their thought processes were very much so how a young 20-year-old would think about and make decisions. And when it came to Penny, she always had a list of options to choose from for situations that were awkward to her. Her brain was like a compendium of pros/cons lists.

Penny was very funny and awkward. She deals with problems in unusual ways which just makes her that much more interesting. Sam has had a hard life and is making the best he can out of what he has. His heart has been broken and he is just trying to figure out how to take the next steps in his life while keeping his head above the water. Also, he is an excellent baker 😛

These two meet each other through a mutual acquaintance and become friends that only text each other but don’t hang out. They are essentially support systems for each other hence the title “Emergency Contact”.

If you want a cute love story set in modern day about two social misfits, then this book is for you. It was published by Simon & Schuster Canada and you can find the book on Amazon.

Book Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rakuten Kobo Canada

 

Book Review – I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

I recently finished I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid and man oh man was it ever intense! I was sent this book by Simon and Schuster Canada for winning their Book Club Pick of the Month contest. Now this happened in the summer and I had a huge list of books to go through but I am finally getting to it.

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I read this book on a flight to the great northern city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada over the Christmas break to visit my friend Jordan. I had my nose in this book from takeoff to landing on the flight home and was completely engrossed in the intricate web of a masterpiece Iain Reid created.

The story starts with a woman in a car with her boyfriend and they are travelling to his parents house so that she can meet them for the first time. Meanwhile, she is thinking of ending the relationship and a lot of the book is her constant struggle in her head about what to do in this situation since she no longer wants to be in the relationship. They get to the farm and she meets his parents but things seem to be out of place and she starts to notice a lot of things that are “off”. Thus ensues a crazy twisted nightmare of a story that I never expected in the least.

I will be spoiling the ending because holy crap it was crazy. But I will clearly define where the spoiler is so don’t worry. Before that though, I wanted to share the best quote from the book.

You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.

This line is so haunting once you know what the ending is. Alright without further ado, spoiler time…

*SPOILER INSERTED HERE, DON’T READ FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK*

So it turned out that this woman was one of multiple personalities inside the boyfriend’s head and she was never real the entire time. When she is thinking of ending it, she is meaning ending his life. After you come to this realization, the entire book becomes so much creepier.

I also never caught it till after but the author just says “a woman” instead of giving the main character a name because she is the one telling the story. It made so much sense at the end but it was a very intense plot twist.

*SPOILER ENDED*

If you wish to read this book, you can find it here: http://www.simonandschuster.ca/books/Im-Thinking-of-Ending-Things/Iain-Reid/9781501103452

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review in any way. I chose to write it because I wanted to.

 

 

 

Book Highlight – Star City by Edwin Peng

So I have been sent a book call Star City by Edwin Peng for free to review. I am doing a book highlight first before I finish the book to give everyone a little taste of this science fiction adventure and to give you a little insight into the author by sharing an author interview!

It isn’t every day you read a debut novel that you know will be just the beginning of a successful career, but with Edwin Peng’s Star City (Evolved Publishing, December 4, 2017), it’s clear from page one that this book is something special. Star City is more than just a world-shaking sci-fi adventure for YA readers, with a dash of romance and a super cool alien race who happens to love blueberries. From Peng’s unique take on human/alien first contact, to his diverse cast of characters, and a protagonist with strong ties to her STEM roots, the book feels lively and well thought out on every level.

Synopsis: Eighteen year old Emma Smith is exactly where she wants to be: she’s headed to the University of Nebraska with a full scholarship to, and on top of that she’s been selected by the U.S government to participate in an exclusive medical research project. The project, as it turns out, isn’t an average college internship. Emma has been selected as a student ambassador to liaise with the Ba’ren, an alien race that has recently made contact with Earth in order to share medical technology. The project will kick start Emma’s biomedical engineering career, as well as give her a chance to interact with this mysterious alien race she – and all of humanity – are very curious about.

Unfortunately for Emma, her Ba’ren counterpart, Sepporinen, has very little interest in her humanity as a whole. He is most excited about the opportunity to explore and mine the asteroids of Earth’s solar system, but is compelled by his government to take part in the research project. As the two work together, they begin to draw closer, and form a friendship – and perhaps more. In the meantime, they discover far more is at stake with their project than what their respective governments have let on. Political and cultural clashes between the humans and the Ba’ren intensify, and Emma and Sepporinen must risk everything to help maintain the fragile peace between their two species.

Star City is the best kind of YA – it encourages readers to enjoy the story, and yet to think beyond its pages. Fans of Rick Yancey, Melissa Landers, and Claudia Grey Alexandra Bracken will gravitate towards this series, and will be so glad that they discovered Edwin Peng, a debut author we’ll certainly be hearing more from.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What inspired you to write Star City?

Edwin Peng: I have always loved YA, so that’s the genre that I always knew I would write. I really hope that my fandom shines through, but at the same time that my novel is  different than what’s currently out there. The other thing that inspired this novel was my experience in the highly competitive Early Entrance Program at California State University, Los Angeles. I was 13 when I went to college, which is a little bit out of the ordinary (to say the least!). Some of the very smart, very driven, and very geeky characters in my novel are loosely based on that experience.

Why did you choose to set the book in Nebraska?

Peng: I moved to Lincoln, NE five years ago. I are to love this state and its people. One of my favourite books is Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. There are enough books – not to mention movies and TV shows – set in New York City or Los Angeles. I believe there should be more novels set in “unpopular” places such as Nebraska.

What do you hope readers will take away from this novel?

Peng:  My hope is that Star City provides pertinent social commentary and challenges the average YA reader’s preconceptions while still delivering a funny and exciting story. The most obvious theme of the Ibook is the need for peaceful relations with other cultures. In our increasingly connected world, we must be much more understanding and tolerant of others.

Why was it important for you to feature a diverse set of characters in the series?

Peng: Traditional publishing, especially within the young adult genre, has a long history of excluding marginalized groups, both in their fiction and for real life readers and authors. In the rare instance that a young adult novel features minority/lower class/LGBT+ characters, they are often stereotyped and/or whitewashed on the cover or movie adaptation. The Star City series fights for diversity with many, non-stereotypical characters, who readers from marginalized groups can identify with.

When you’re not writing, what do you do?

Peng: I am a postdoc doing materials engineering research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Some of the alien technologies in Star City actually are inspired by the research I’m doing!

Connect with Edwin Peng at www.edwinpeng.com, on Twitter @edwinPeng88, Facebook, and Instagram @edwinpeng88.

Star City can be purchased on Amazon:

Disclaimer: All copy was provided by Smith Publicity and they own the rights to the materials provided.

I hope to talk to you bookworms soon about this one when I am finished it.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Critical Critters

I was recently sent a copy of Critical Critters by Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy from @Storgy and Bloomsbury Books. The book is about the animals all over the world that are on the endangered species list and are in need of saving.

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Ralph brings the animals to life through his intricate watercolour artwork and Ceri brings all the facts to the table that are justified with thorough research and a genuine exploration of the species.  The way these two can tell a story about each specific species and makes it interesting to read is amazing. I will admit that when I first looked at this book proof, I thought “Oh no, not another textbook”. But after I started to read, I found myself wanting to know each and every thing about all the different species in danger and how I could get involved to help.

I also enjoyed how they had a little side narrative going throughout the entire book. Ralph and Ceri would banter back and forth while they were in the process of creating the book and it gave the reader insight into how some of their ideas took shape.

There are so many species in this world and every single one has a different way of life. One quote really stuck out to me because it shows that we do take the natural world for granted.

Perhaps we refuse to accept their intelligence because we would then feel guilt for everything we have done to them.

 

The book did take a little while to get through but that only goes to show how many species are in danger and that the ecosystem needs our help to maintain the peace so to speak. We are the main reason a lot of these species are in danger in the first place. All the resources and websites that can help with protecting the ecosystem and different habitats are posted in the back of the book.

Overall, it was a very informative book with a comedic twist on the scientific side. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about endangered species and why they are on the endangered list.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can also see the post on the STORGY website!

What book disappointed you?

There are not many books out there that disappoint me. I like to put a lot of faith into mostly everything that I read and they usually turn out pretty great. But if there was one book that I had very high expectations for and it disappointed me, it would be An Abundance of Katherine’s by John Green.

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Synopsis: Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

Now the reason why I may have been disappointed is the fact that I read other John Green books and absolutely loved them. I like how he writes and brings out emotions I didn’t know I could feel. But this book just didn’t do it for me. There wasn’t enough of an exciting storyline or really any plot twists to keep me into it. There was too much put on chapter development for the main character and not enough time spent on the actual storyline. I finished it because once I start a book, I get kind of OCD where I have to finish it.

By all means, read John Green’s other books because I only have good things to say about them but if you do feel like skipping one of his books, this would be the one.

Let me know what book let you down in the comments! Lets chat bookworms 🙂

I have been nominated for an award!

Hey book bloggers, guess what!?!? I have been nominated by Ari Augustine from Ravenous for Reads to win the 2017 Liebster award! If you get a chance, go check out her blog. She is an avid book blogger and does fantastic reviews along with interviews and content for writers. She has a book tube channel which is also really cool and something I hope to get to myself someday.

Now you may say, what is a Liebster? I am not too sure either but it sounds cool right? I checked it out and here is more info on the 2017 Liebster Award. I also grabbed the image from Ari’s blog because I didn’t know where else to find it but this is the official badge for the award.

Liebster

So in the rules, it tells me that I should write about my favourite blog/blogger. That would have to be Kathy @ Books & Munches because she basically started talking to me when I started blogging (which was only a month ago) and has made me laugh with her hilarious comments. She also takes the time to comment on almost all of my posts which was the whole reason I started blogging; to be able to talk to others about books and overall just geek out (plus review books for authors). She is a great book blogger and shares a lot about her reading lists, hosts contests and brings the book community together through conversations and even card exchanges 🙂

Alright so Ari left some questions for her nominees (the questions are in bold and my answers are italic):

  1. Do you judge a book by its cover or give the blurb the benefit of doubt? I tend to give the blurb the benefit of the doubt as I have read so many books that turned out to be fantastic even if they had a crappy cover. I do really enjoy a beautifully laid out book cover though 😛
  2. What are you reading at the moment? Right now, I am currently reading the last book in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. It is called the Library of Souls.
  3. If you could only take one book with you, what would it be? Hmmm this is a tough one. If I had to choose one, it would be The Glass Castle as it shows and teaches you that no matter where you come from or what happens to you, you can always move forward and live a happy life if you make it for yourself. Pretty much look after yourself because you are who you live with for your whole life (if that doesn’t make sense then we have reached the inner workings of my mind and I have started to babble).
  4. This one is a two-part question: Favorite villain? Favorite hero?My favourite villain would have to be the Jackal from the red rising series and my favourite hero would have to be Daredevil (no making fun….unless you want to, I won’t be offended)
  5. What do you enjoy most about blogging? The part I enjoy most about blogging is the different conversations I get to have with likeminded people about books that we have read. Talking about books and their fictional worlds is so fun and you get to see how others interpreted something in a novel that you may have seen differently in your imagination.
  6. What’s your blogging routine like? My blogging routine is generally done at night as I work 9 to 5 as a web developer. I will write my posts between 10pm and 11:30pm to be published next day around 10am.
  7. When did you begin your blog and where do you hope to take it? I began my blog about a month ago and I plan to eventually get to a point where I am following a lot of book bloggers and have attained a following so that my reviews will be seen by many and maybe companies will approach me to represent them in the book blogging community.
  8. Tea, coffee, or cocoa? Coffee all the way but mix some cocoa in and you have yourself a Mocha.
  9. Hardback or paperback? Paperback (not as heavy and easier to read with one hand while brushing your teeth or cooking or whatnot)
  10. If you could visit anywhere in the universe, in or out of time, parallel or present, where would it be? This is going to sound lame but I would just go to Australia. It has been my dream to go there ever since I wrote a speech about the country in grade 4.
  11. You’re going on an epic adventure to save the world. Name two characters who would help you succeed. Katniss Everdeen because she is badass at rebellions and Gandalf because he proves his loyalty and is an excellent mentor/friend.
  12. What’s your favorite word? Potential.

 

My nominees for the award are as follows and you guys can answer the same questions that I did because I really liked them:

I hope you guys can participate by writing your own posts to keep the love going and I look forward to reading all of your posts!

To finish it off, it says to write 10 random facts about yourself so here you go:

  1. Chocolate Oranges are life in my eyes.
  2. I like music better on vinyl (nothing like that scratchy sound).
  3. People say my spirit animal is a giraffe (it’s because I slap people with my neck lol jk)
  4. I play a lot of League of Legends (if you play, my summoner name is Krundor so add me up)
  5. I eventually want to have a Golden Retriever and a Border Collie.
  6. My preferred beer of choice is Pabst Blue Ribbon.
  7. Scary movies and awesome.
  8. I am a huge comic book fanatic (ask me about my collection, I dare you)
  9. Arkells are a great band (take a listen, you will like them)
  10. My favourite movie of all time is Its A Wonderful Life.

And that’s all for now! Talk to you later book worms and I will be resuming with the book challenge tomorrow!

 

Quick Update

So for the delay in posts. I had to postpone the book challenge posts for 2 days because I was travelling and visiting with family. I will be back at writing up some posts up today. There will be lots to share, the giveaway will be ending tomorrow and I will announce a winner on November 1st (I’m going to wait till after Halloween so everyone gets an extra day to submit an entry). I have also been nominated for the 2017 Liebster Award by Ari Augustine from Ravenous for Reads so I will be writing a post on that and nominating some fellow book bloggers I enjoy chatting with for the award!

Stay tuned bookworms, more to come very soon 🙂

What book do you love and hate at the same time?

This is a tough one because there are not a lot of books that I love and hate but if I had to choose one then I would say that the book that I love and hate at the same time would be Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

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Synopsis: For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is
until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

I love this book for the fact that it plays with time in a loop and the main character keeps repeating the same day over and over again until she can figure out how to fix it. Pretty much anything involving time-travel or time looping with cause and effect scenarios will have me hooked. I hate it because of how long it takes her to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it (and the fact that it came to this whole looping of time for her to realize how brutal she was to people and what she didn’t notice before). The ending was acceptable though so I do come back to liking it there.

I will give you a break if you can’t think of a book you both love and hate but if you do, make sure to comment so we can talk about it 🙂

What book makes you laugh?

Alright, so I know that these technically aren’t books, but they are graphics novels and these have made me laugh so hard that I snorted and spit out my drink. I present to you the Deadpool Complete Collections Vol 1 & 2 !

The art style is phenomenal and the way the writer portrays dead pool as this cocky mercenary that has no regard for trivial things and just does what he wants when he wants is just too good to be true. There are lots of side characters that Deadpool meets along the way and other recognized superheroes that he either comes into combat with or teams up with. Between these two graphic novels, there are about 15-17 issues.

I would recommend these to my fellow superhero nerds out there. They will give you a laugh and get you that much more excited for Deadpool 2 (which should be coming out in 2018).

Now let me know what book makes you laugh in the comments down below. Talk to you later bookworms!

What book makes you feel sad?

Back to it with day six of the book challenge. So the book that I chose that makes me sad is Still Alice by Lisa Genova. This book follows the life of Alice Howland after she finds out that she has Alzheimer’s.

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Synopsis: Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what’s it’s like to literally lose your mind…

It was very interesting to see how she dealt with this disease. Alzheimers for me is a very scary disease and is actually my biggest fear. My grandmother had it and it was awful to see someone just deteriorate to the point of not knowing the people around her whom she had known and loved her entire life. To put yourself in those shoes and imagine how you would just disappear as a person is how this book is. You live through Alice losing herself. She forgets her routines and how to think and comprehend for basic daily tasks. She knows its happening and then she doesn’t know its happening and its really sad. Her family struggles through with her and her descent into nothingness. Along the way it happens to bring her daughter and her closer together.

There was a movie made based on this book and Julianne Moor played Alice. I saw the movie and I have to admit that she did an exceptional job, especially at the part where she gives a speech in Harvard University to celebrate that she is and will be her no matter what a disease has to say about it.

If you like sad reads (it really is a very good book, just hit home for me), you can find this book on Goodreads or Amazon and you can find Lisa Genova on Twitter. Stay tuned for more of the book challenge and I will talk to you soon bookworms!