The Extinction Trials – Book Review

 

The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

ISBN: 1474927343

Published: January 1, 2018, Usborne Publishing LTD

Length: 384 Pages


Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.
Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters – human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other…


My Thoughts: I saw The Extinction Trials at the bookstore and saw the little fake sticker on it that said “The Hunger Games meets Jurrasic Park” and I instantly grabbed it. I didn’t even read the synopsis till I got home. I really had no idea what the book was about other than it had dinosaurs and some kind of trial like the hunger games. I was instantly sold. 

I was not disappointed. This was such a fun ride! I have been telling everyone to read it since. The writing is great and the story is wonderful. Stormchaser and Lincoln’s dynamic is fun to read, and while you know they’re catching some feelings for one another, that doesn’t end up taking over the plot like so many YA stories these days.

The dinosaur aspect is my favorite part because ever since I was younger and watched Jurassic Park, I wish we could one day see these animals up close (although that movie franchise shows just how horrible of an idea that would be). Wilson’s ability to bring these animals to life within this story is amazing. I felt like I was being watched at times.

The story itself was a bit predictable, but that didn’t take away from the entertainment factor of this book. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park. The second book in the series called Exile will be released this Thursday and I am already itching to read it!

This book gets four out of five metal horns from me!!

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American Panda – Book Review

 

American Panda by Gloria Chao

ISBN: 1481499106 

Published: February 6, 2018

Length: 311 Pages


An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?


My Thoughts: I Loved this book SO much! 

I always feel that I connect so much more to books where the characters are either immigrants themselves or their parents are immigrants. It’s a different life when you have to balance cultures. This book really shows those struggles.

Mei is doing what she feels she should do because of guilt. When you have parents that have been through so much and moved to the United States to give you a better chance at life, you do become overwhelmed with the feeling that you cannot fail. I connected with that.

For me the story was wonderful. Heartbreaking in some parts, and just made the characters seem real. I see many reviews from white Americans that say this is a stereotype, but it’s not. It happens with many immigrant families because typically immigrants have to work twice as hard sometimes three times as hard to get the same respect and privileges of white Americans.

People’s experiences aren’t tropes.

I think Gloria Chao wrote a real book, and finally, a YA novel that isn’t about a high school student. Mei is in University and struggling with what she should be doing with her life. I think Mei also had a great sense of humor and I just really enjoyed this contemporary read.

It reminds me of my own WIP, and it’s inspired me to finish proper edits and get my story out there as well.

I gave this book Five out Five Metal Horns!

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Also, If you really want to check this out but are currently on a budget, the Audiobook is available on Scribd. With the Link below you get Two free Months and can cancel at any time, and with your two free months, I get a free month as well! 

Click Here to Get 2 Free months of

In Defense of Audiobooks

 

Audiobooks. 

They have become increasingly more popular in the last couple of years, and for some reason, people keep making ridiculous comments that when listening to an audiobook you’re not a real reader.

One: I am tired of the gatekeeper bullshit in the book community. Every day there seems to be a new stupid rule that means you’re somehow not a real reader.

Two: Audiobooks still mean you’re reading a book, even if it’s not what we always see as reading. It’s in the name, audioBOOKS.

Our Brains Process it the Same Way

YUP! You’re reading that correctly.

Whether you listen to an audiobook or sit down and read a physical copy, your brain is soaking it up in the same way.

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A psychologist by the name Daniel Willingham, who wrote a book about the science of reading says, “The mental processes involved–there is no real difference listening to a book and reading it.” 

There you have it. Stick it in your juice box, and suck it!

Now you can stop saying that listening to an audiobook isn’t really reading because it’s total nonsense.

Also, you’re completely stomping all over people who need audiobooks because they physically can’t hold a book or possibly even see the words. I’ve heard the argument of “Yea, but I am not talking about people that need it.”

In my very humble opinion, the option to say nothing at all is also available, and dismissing people who need audiobooks, and honestly dismissing people who like audiobooks is just idiotic. It has no impact on your life, so just let people do what they want to do.

I was never a huge audiobook listener, but lately, that’s changed.

Mainly because I joined Scribd and that’s been a wonderful experience. I gave myself the challenge of reading War and Peace this year and I have been going back and forth between the audiobook and the physical book.

Now that science has clearly debunked the bullshit that listening to an audiobook is somehow not considered reading.

Can we stop being pretentious dicks to one another?

Cool.

 

 

Using SCRIBD

 

I read A LOT. I don’t think this comes as a surprise, but also last year I really got into listening to Audiobooks. I first did the Audible thing, and that was good, but I wanted to try something new this year.

That’s when I came across Scribd.

I signed up and received one month free, and I am loving it!

The way it works is every month you will get billed $8.99. And now you can listen to an unlimited amount of audiobooks and read an unlimited amount of ebooks!! It’s basically like Netflix for BOOKS!!! 

They used to have a credit system where you received 3 ebook credits and 1 audiobook credit. Then there were the unlimited library choices that didn’t require any credits. Usually, many new releases though required credits. NOT ANYMORE!! IT’S ALL UNLIMITED!! They got rid of the credit system and I am so excited!

I’ve found that this is really working out better for me than Audible. At least here I can also grab some ebooks.

It’s also been helping on my journey to read War and Peace. I’ve been going back and forth between my physical copy and the audiobook on Scribd. Which is great! I typically like using audiobooks for dense classics or Non-Fiction, and there are A LOT of options for both on Scribd.

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I highly recommend you check Scribd out! If you use my link you can get up to 2 months for free, and in the interest of full disclosure, if you sign up I get one free month! Right now as I am in the midst of launching my own business that would really help me, and I would be forever grateful! I also just think it’s a great service. Their library has grown quite a lot, and they get new stuff all the time! Check it out! You can cancel at any time!

Click Here to Get 2 Free months of

 

The Dramedy of Book Twitter

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Man, I hope I write this in the best possible way. Intent  doesn’t mean shit if you trample over everything like a drunk giant. Get ready for a rant.

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because of LIFE. I already promised myself I wouldn’t apologize anymore for this. I started this for fun, and it will only continue to be that way as long as I don’t feel like I HAVE to update this place all the time. Sure I’d like to be more consistent with my blogging, but I am merely human and truthfully, I don’t give a shit what you think about my lack of updates.

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I have been active on Book Twitter and it’s kept me informed of all the book releases, conflicts, drama, and comedy. It’s also made me laugh, frown, and made me want to rip my hair out all in one go. That is the dramedy that is Book twitter. I follow some great people. They’re intelligent, they’re fierce, and they are also opinionated. I am here for all of it. I want to know what people think about different books. I want to see people point out when things bother them in a novel and I want to listen and learn.

Recently though something has made me want to throw books around. TWO things have crept up on book twitter like the plague. One of those is the super fangirls who attack like little trained minions whenever you comment on their favorite books or authors. You see it A LOT with Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare fans, but also with JK Rowling and others. People have yet to learn that you may love something dearly but that does not mean the entire world will feel the same. I have yet to finish the throne of glass series and her other series. You can love those books till you’re blue in the face but if you call me an idiot for the fact that I don’t find them as interesting as you do, you’re not doing Maas any favors. Stop bitching at people for their opinions. Also, this goes for you people on the other side of the coin too, whether you just didn’t enjoy the story or find it problematic don’t tell people they are morons for reading it. I am at fault for this too once or twice but I am learning how to just let people enjoy things.

The second thing that’s crept up on book twitter, is the conflicting and hypocritical talks about problematic content in books. To clarify, I absolutely stand with people reserving the right to call authors out on their problematic content. I think if something is bothersome to you, there is a way to reach out and speak politely and openly with an author about it. Being more critical of the books you are reading is a good thing. What has bothered me is that the same people who were out there with pitchforks, yelling for the book The Continent to be reedited because of its problematic content, are seemingly okay with Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth who’s book apparently has similar problematic content. Not only is the issue similar, the authors’ explanations and “apologies” are similar too and yet only one of them has their book on hold, and the other one was on the NYT best sellers list. I will let you guess which one.

I haven’t read either one, but I am commenting on the hypocritical bullshit that comes out of book twitter quite often these days. I think diversity is important, But I also think a lot of the white people yelling about diversity use the term loosely and only use it when it suits them. Many of them were ready to stand up for Roth when just a few months ago they were vowing to burn copies of The Continent. Diversity and respect for marginalized voices isn’t a bag of trail mix, you can’t just pick and choose the parts you like.

I like the book community and especially book twitter, but there are some aspects of it that have started to mold the way I read things and what I choose to read. I think I would have continued with the Throne of Glass series had the overly aggressive fans not annoyed the shit out of me. I had no interest in reading Carve the Mark or The Continent but now because people have been such hypocrites about these two books, I want to read them so I can compare and contrast and form my own educated opinion.

I think a lot of the Book Twitter drama could be minimized if we could all just stop calling each other names and respected one another. I think people need to start thinking before jumping on the mob mentality that takes over twitter sometimes, and I really do think we need to let people enjoy things. Truth is a person can find something problematic but still enjoy its entertainment value, and I don’t see an issue with that.

This of course is MY opinion, and you may not share the same view, but please comment down below and share it anyway.

Why I Write

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I don’t think I need to tell you that books mean the world to me. This is an obvious fact about me, and doesn’t need much of an explanation.

My love for reading very quickly bred a love of writing. I always enjoyed writing. I wrote ridiculous amounts of poetry as a teen and young adult that should never be published unless it’s going to be done in a comedic sense. Writing though, is not about perfection. Books on every level are a very subjective form of art. There are so many popular titles out in the world that I just did not enjoy. Just like there are many that I love, that others dislike as well. To be a writer you must first realize that not everyone is going to love your work, and the second thing to realize is that there will always be someone better than you. Seems daunting doesn’t it? It’s okay. We are all in this together. While these things may turn many people off from ever writing a single word of a story, it makes me want to tell my stories even more. So Why do I write?

To be a writer you must only do ONE thing, and that is to write. YOU HAVE TO WRITE. I consider myself a writer. I have spent countless hours writing thousands upon thousands of words. I am in the process of editing one book, while also throwing myself head first into research for another one. I have ideas written on notecards, notebooks, iPhone notes, and even a sandwich bag because my mind is constantly telling me stories. No this is not my way of admitting that I am crazy, although, I think to be a writer you need to have at least some dose of insanity somewhere within you.

What Inspires me?

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I get asked this sometimes by friends or family. I think what originally inspired me was stories like Harry Potter. That series specifically burst open my imagination. The detailing, and just unique story made me realize I had characters and stories of my own running around in my head. Characters with loud personalities matching those of the people who I have crossed paths with. Characters with personalities matching my own. Quiet, shy, and ready to kick ass if necessary.

I have always had notebooks scattered about the house. Piles of them telling different stories of my own reality. It was only in the past 5-6 years that I realized that I wanted to write about the other characters my imagination decided to introduce into my daily life.

Possibly the biggest inspiration behind my writing, really the biggest of them all is Portugal. I was born there you see. In a beautiful city called Viseu, where at the age of 30 I have only set foot on its streets a handful of times. rua-direitaI was raised so far away from it, far from it’s cobble stoned sidewalks, it’s gorgeous parks, and beautiful architecture, that for most of my adult life I’ve had a hunger–no, an unstoppable desire to become better acquainted with a land that I barely know, and yet love unconditionally.

A place where family has grown, aged, and lived without me within their immediate bubble. I am inspired to create worlds around that longing, and the history of Portugal. I can’t explain it any further here. One day, with a little bit of luck and a whole lot of hard work, I will be able to share the stories this feeling has inspired.

Till then, I leave you with these words:

Telling a story isn’t about perfection. It’s about expression, emotion, and that feeling that you’re making something bigger than yourself.
I write almost every day. None of it perfect. Never let that stop you because it will never stop me.
 

October 2016 Reading Wrap Up

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Time for another monthly wrap up. October was a really great reading month for me. I sort of devoured quite a few books. I still have to write up a few full reviews, but I will give you a short run down of what I thought of each. So let’s begin.

My Lady Jane

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This book made me laugh quite a bit. It’s a historical fiction novel that took it’s genre straight to heart. It’s exactly why I loved this book so much. If I read a historical FICTION book looking for historical facts, then I might as well read a textbook. Fiction means it’s all made up, and man is this made up! It takes the story of the nine day queen, Lady Jane Grey and just freely runs with it. There’s a magic element to the story, there’s humor. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and think if you’re looking for a fun read that this is it!

Rating: ratefive

How it Went Down

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How it Went Down was such a heart breaking read for me. It tells the story of the aftermath of when a young black man gets shot by a white man. It’s told from multiple points of view, and you get to know the story through the eyes of different witnesses, and friends and family. I wrote a full review for this book and I think it’s an important read that should be shared with so many people. Sometimes you need to step out of your little comfort zone, and learn something new. Read this book!!

Rating: ratefour

Milk and Honey

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This was a book of poetry. Powerfully worded, and moving poetry. I don’t know what else to say because this book spoke to me on a very deep level. Even if you typically do not read poetry, I still recommend this book.

Rating: ratefive

The Princess Saves Herself in This One

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Keeping with the theme of the previous book I mentioned, this was also a poetry book, but this one spoke to my very soul! It was just so amazing that I read it twice. I HIGHLY recommend it, and really think every woman should give it a glance at least once. This is another one that I don’t know how to explain why I loved it, because it touched my soul in a very deep and personal level.

Rating: ratefive

Kindred Spirits

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This was a lovely little novella by Rainbow Rowell. If you’re a fan of her novel FanGirl then I would say you would love this too. It was a fun quick read, and I enjoyed the main character’s mini fangirl adventure. It’s based around the premiere of the new Star Wars film, and how she’s one of three people waiting in line for the first showing at her local theater. I don’t want to go into much detail, but I had fun with it.

Rating: ratefour

A Head Full of Ghosts

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A Head Full of Ghosts was such a good creepy read!! It was the perfect October spooky read, but even though October is done, you should still pick this up if you’re in the mood to get scared. The story focuses on two sisters, and the older one is showing signs of possession, or is she? It was a wonderful mystery and many scenes left me wishing I hadn’t decided to read it before bed. Check it out!!

Rating: ratefour

Rat Queens Vol.3

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Rat Queens quickly became one of my favorite graphic novel series, but I held off reading this one because I saw that quite a few people seemed disappointed by Volume 3. Not to be swayed by the general public, I decided to finally pick it up and read it. Sadly I have to say it was my least favorite of the bunch. Not only has the art changed but I found the writing to be lacking. I still recommend this series, but volume 3 is just not the best one of the bunch.

Rating: ratethree

Mockingbird Volume 1

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I am constantly on the lookout for badass mother fuckers, especially of the female variety because well I find myself in those characters, also all females are pretty badass and I feel we need more female driven stories. The writer of this series took to Twitter to talk about her female driven comic, and then was harassed so bad by anti-feminist trolls that she left twitter. It was how I even discovered this comic series which Marvel cancelled before viewing the sales of the paperback edition. Well thanks to those anti-feminist trolls, the comic hit number one on Amazon for Marvel comics. Maybe Marvel will reconsider now? Maybe not. But we need these female driven stories!! Comics are not just for guys and any dude who thinks otherwise needs to get a reality check. I really enjoyed this series, and highly recommend it!! Maybe we can save it!

Rating: ratefive

Black Butler Vol.1

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I’ve been trying to read different Manga, and seeing which ones stick. I enjoyed this strange story. I read it in German, because simple language works best for me at this point, but I still thought it was fun and unique. I may pick up volume two this weekend! If you want to recommend any Manga, please comment down below!!

Rating: ratefour

Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians

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Honestly, I don’t know if I can eloquently explain how much I just did NOT like this book, so I will probably take a less than eloquent path. I started this series with high hopes. I love Middle grade adventure series and this just sounded like such a unique idea. The unique idea is why this isn’t getting one star, and that hurts to say because I typically adore Sanderson’s writing. This was just trying too hard to be something that it isn’t. I found myself rolling my eyes quite a few times. It was difficult not to make Harry Potter comparisons when the main kid was raised outside of the magical world he belongs to (orphan), and then you had a side character who was highly interested by ordinary items, but they still confused him (sounds like Arthur Weasley and his fascination with muggle items to me) Don’t know, it just felt somewhat forced storytelling after the first 30 pages, and I lost interest rather quickly. I will not continue with this series.

Rating: Metal Horns

The Stranger Game

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This book was sent to me the publisher, but this in no way impacts my views.

I want to write up a full review of this novel because it certainly deserves one. I think if you are looking for a mystery novel with twists and turns, then you will like this fast paced YA read. I read it in one day, and I have no regrets. I will be posting a more in depth review soon, spoiler free of course!

Rating: ratefour

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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Again? YES! Don’t judge me asshole!

I love this series, and recently bought the second illustrated edition. Was going to read it, and then thought to myself, “Well why not start a reread?” and so I did. It doesn’t take much convincing to read this series.

Rating: ratefive

In total I read 12 items in the month of October. I am not sure how much I will get to read in November but I am only 8 books away from meeting my goodreads goal for the year. What did you read this month?