Monday, July 21, 2014

MMGM fail (yet again)

I've been reading a lot of YA lately, so I've had trouble finding a good MG book to do for MMGM. If you have a good MG book you think I should do, please email me or recommend it via the comments section.

*Hopefully* I can get back on track by next week.

Monday, July 14, 2014

MMGM fail

I'm so sorry, but I don't have a MMGM for you guys this week. Sorry! Life just got away from me again with all this work I have to catch up on.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Quick Review of VORTEX (INSIGNIA #2)

Title: VORTEX

Author: S.J. Kincaid

Cover:





Format reviewing: The beautiful hardcover that's sitting next to its friend INSIGNIA on my bookshelf

Goodreads says: 
The impossible was just the beginning. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom Raines and his friends are mid-level cadets in the elite combat corps known as the Intrasolar Forces. But as training intensifies and a moment arrives that could make or break his entire career, Tom’s loyalties are again put to the test.

Encouraged to betray his ideals and friendships for the sake of his country, Tom is convinced there must be another way. And the more aware he becomes of the corruption surrounding him, the more determined he becomes to fight it, even if he sabotages his own future in the process.

Drawn into a power struggle more dramatic than he has ever faced before, Tom stays a hyperintelligent step ahead of everyone, like the exceptional gamer he is—or so he believes. But when he learns that he and his friends have unwittingly made the most grievous error imaginable, Tom must find a way to outwit an enemy so nefarious that victory seems hopeless. Will his idealism and bravado cost him everything—and everyone that matters to him?

Filled with action and intelligence, camaraderie and humor, the second book in S.J. Kincaid’s futuristic World War III Insignia trilogy continues to explore fascinating and timely questions about power, politics, technology, loyalty, and friendship
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Favorite character: Medusa. Read my review of INSIGNIA here for all the details of my love for her.

Favorite line: Must I decide? So many of them make me laugh!

Quick Review:
If you haven't read my review of INSIGNIA (located here) or my list of favorite books (right over here), you may not know my love for it. But I do. So when the sequel came out, I was very excited.

Now, not to say VORTEX isn't a good book. It's a great one. But it isn't quite as good as INSIGNIA. I think this is, in part, to the fact it is the middle book. The middle book (I find) is usually not as good as the first or last. See, the first one is the hook, the part that gets you into the world and meeting the characters. The last book is the large climax, where everything either explodes or is wrapped up nicely with a huge bow and given to the reader. The middle book allows you to get from that just-getting-settled-in ending of the first book to the beginning of the explosion/birthday combo. That's why I find the middle book to often not be quite as good as its first or last. There are, of course, exceptions, but this isn't one of them.

If you want more Tom, Yuri, Wyatt, Medusa, and Kincaid humor, dig in! You won't be super disappointed, so long as you don't go in looking for something better than INSIGNIA (I haven't found anything better than INSIGNIA).

Starred review: 4.6/5

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review of INSIGNIA

Okay, I'm going to be honest. I'm really scared to do this review because this book is one of my all-time favorites. If you met me, you could see the love on my face and the crazy way I wave my arms when I talk about it (I'm really sorry, random dude at the bookstore I hit in the face), but this the internet and these are just words and you don't see that.

Well, I'm going to try.

(This is so very scary....)

(I don't blame you if you don't want to read this huge post, so scroll down to the bottom to get a quick summary.)






(Excuse me while I have a breakdown. I can't even look at the cover without being overcome with love for this book.)

This book is very special to me. Very, very special. It was the first book on which I wrote fan fiction.

How can one even describe the love I have for this book? Find the most mushy-gushy book about romance where the girl just melts every time she sees the guy and insert that here. Because that's how I feel.

What Goodreads has to say isn't nearly enough, but here it is:

The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid's fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender's Game.

The planet's natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn't seem like a hero. He's a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.

As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom's life completely changes. Suddenly, he's someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there's a price to pay. . . .

Even Veronica Roth knows how good this book is, as she stated, "Insignia expertly combines humor with a disarming and highly realistic view of the future. The characters are real, funny, and memorable. You won't be able to put this book down." 

I have to agree with Roth on the whole "won't be able to put this book down" because I spent most of yesterday reading INSIGNIA and its squeal, VORTEX.

On the subject of the characters being real, I have wanted to be Medusa for Halloween ever since I read this book in 2012, but due to my sensitive skin, I can't handle the make-up needed. Medusa is tied with all my other all-time favorites- Nico (PJO and HoH), Piper (Girl Who Could Fly), Sophie (School of Good and Evil, KEEPER), Tobias (Animorphs), and Halt (Ranger's Apprentice). Whenever I feel like an outcast and need to be strong, I call her up in my mind. I have so much more to say, but if I do, I know it'll come out all wrong and twisted and weird, so I'm forcing myself to stop now.

Tom is such a teenage boy. He's far from perfect and he doesn't even try to pretend he is. But he is real in that way. He's gifted, but there are people who are better than he is. Wyatt is perfectly balanced with her extreme braininess and social awkwardness. Kincaid finds a way to turn Vik, a character I would otherwise completely hate, into one I enjoy reading about. The back story of each character is well planned out and they all make so much sense.

The plot is constantly in motion. It takes you places you never thought it would, into a world that is a scarily real future for our society. Tom is constantly being thrown into messes- most of which are his own doing. This adds a refreshing twist, as today most of the characters only get out of messes. He doesn't give up, a trait that helps him just as much as it hurts him. 

Kincaid writes with lots of humor. I found myself laughing out loud while reading this book, especially at Vik and Tom's shenanigans.

The story sucks you in after you read only a single paragraph. You'll be delighted by the magic this book holds.

Quite a few people have told me their video-game addicts have found a way to love reading through this book, so I would recommend it to the thirteen to sixteen video-game lover you know.

A quick summary:

  1. Out-of-this-world-stunning characters
  2. Great humor
  3. Fast-paced, unpredictable plot
  4. Awesome world building 

I have to quote my post on HOUSE OF HADES as to the score:

"I loved it. Like 12/10 loved it. If I was an English teacher and this was a creative writing assignment, that student's grade would have been 500% because of the extra credit I added to this assignment."

So what what you waiting for? Read this puppy NOW!

MMGM: ALMOST SUPER

I'm still struggling to keep up with everything as my time off to move comes to a close and I see just how much work I have to do before I have to go back. But at least I have a MMGM for you guys!






Goodreads tells us:

Savvy meets The Incredibles in this fresh, funny middle-grade debut about two brothers in a family of superheroes who must find a way to be heroic despite receiving powers that are total duds.

Each leap year, on February 29th, at 4:23 p.m., every member of the Bailey family over the age of twelve gets a superpower. No one knows why, and no one questions it. All the Baileys know is that it's their duty to protect the world from those evil, supervillainous Johnsons.

Today, Rafter Bailey and his brother Benny are finally going to get their superpowers. Benny wants to be a speedy, and Rafter hopes he gets super strength so he can save the day just like his grandfather. But when their powers arrive, they are, well, duds. Rafter can light matches on polyester, and Benny can turn his innie belly button into an outie.

Suddenly Rafter and Benny's world is turned upside down. Especially when they realize that Juanita Johnson, the villain in Rafter's algebra class, thinks that her family are the superheroes and the Baileys are the villains.

What if everything Rafter thought he knew about superheroes turns out to be a lie? He may not have an awesome power, but with the help of Benny and an unexpected friend, he could just be almost super.


My review:

I was first introduced to this book when someone asked me what I would do if my superpower was turning an innie belly button into an outie. My questioning as to where they got such a question uncovered this book. Of course, I just had to read it after that.

And I am quite glad I did.

ALMOST SUPER is fast paced, with never a dull moment. In the beginning, we are given just enough of the world to understand what is going on. Small tidbits are given throughout the book, but never enough to make the story feel bogged down with too many details. 

The characters are likeable. I don't feel like I really got to know them that well, but I don't think that negatively impacted the story. I liked how Marion made Juanita a strong female character. In fact, I think I felt the most connected with Juanita, despite the fact we spent more time with Rafter and Benny.

No piece of information went wasted in this book, so when reading, be sure to stay alert!

I would recommend this book to middle-elementary boys who love comic books but not "real" reading material.