Book Review- Haunting the Deep

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Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather
Expected publication by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 3rd, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 368
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Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

After being surprised by how much I liked How to Hang a Witch (read my review here), I jumped at the chance to receive this book from a fellow blogger. I was excited to dive back into the magically spooky world of Salem, and join Sam and her friends on their next adventure.
I was not disappointed.

This books picks up 6 months after the first book ends. Sam is dealing with the fallout of the events (which I will not spoil, incase you haven’t read the first book yet… which you totally should), and staying as far away from the descendants, and magic, as she can. Then she starts seeing spirits again. Spirits from the Titanic.

The mystery of this book kept me guessing until the very end. I didn’t see any of the twists coming, and honestly it was so exciting! I read this book in one afternoon because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next!

I also loved how much more developed the characters seemed in this book than the first one. One of the biggest problems I had with How to Hang a Witch was how all of the characters felt like children… even the adults. In this one, although I got glimpses of that same problem, the characters felt much more mature and true to who they were supposed to be. It was easier for me to get lost in the story because the inconsistencies were almost gone.

I loved the feeling of this book too. It was easy to read and light, but at the same time it was so full of emotion and excitement and mystery and intrigue.
I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a good spooky story. Both books are great reads!

I am going to give Haunting the Deep four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Gemina

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 18th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 608
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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 fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

After not really loving Illuminae (read my review here), I went into this with relatively low expectations. Maybe that’s why I liked this one so much more. Or maybe this one was really just that much better.

I liked Hanna and Nik a million times more than Kady and Ezra. They were more entertaining, more unique, and just better characters in general. All of the characters in Gemina were more dimensional than in Illuminae, even if they still were a little too similar for my taste.

The plot in this one was pretty similar to the plot in Illuminae, and none of the twists surprised me (not that they did in Illuminae…. you know what? I’m just going to stop talking about Illuminae now.), but I still found them enjoyable. Even though the twist in this one was more “out-there”, I found it much more believable and enjoyable (than Illuminae… Ugh why am I still talking about this? I’m hopeless).

I loved that in this second installment in the series, I could actually tell the difference between who the characters were, and it didn’t sound like they were all 12 year olds. It was great.

I would definitely recommend reading this one if you’ve read the first one (even if you didn’t necessarily like the first one… like me) because this was So. Much. Better. Like 10000% better. Also, if you like sci-fi, you should give this series a go. It’s not so bad after all. Also I can’t wait for Obsideo now!! If it follows this pattern of getting better, than it is going to be amazing!!

I am going to give Gemina four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- How To Hang A Witch

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How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 26 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 358
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Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

After a bit of a rocky start, I actually really enjoyed this book. It had the perfect mix of magic and mystery, complete with a ghost side kick and some witchy bit… sorry, “friends”.

Sam has no idea why the so-called “descendants” hate her, even if she is a descendant of Cotton Mather. Honestly, when I first started the book and got to this part, I was ready to give up and call it a day. I mean, come on. The Descendants?

But I decided to stick with it and I am really glad I did. Despite their cringe-worthy group name, and Sam’s cringe-worthy ability to make a fool out of herself at every turn (which by the way is a very annoying trope), How To Hang a Witch was actually a kind of amazing book.

I loved the witch lore and history of the Salem Witch Trials. I loved Elijah the ghost, and I even ended up loving the descendants. Sam, too, became a much more interesting character as the book went on… mostly due to some amazing character development and less of the lets-make-Sam-super-clumsy-in-order-to-move-the-plot-along.

The ending of this book was actually a total surprise, and I loved it. Honestly, after I got past the first quarter or so of the book, I could barely put the book down. Even the weird love-v-thing between Sam, Elijah, and Jaxon (who has no idea that Elijah even exists) doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Yes, I didn’t LOVE Jaxon (totally team Elijah on this one), but he still had some endearing qualities, and by the end I found myself quite liking him, thank you very much.

Sam’s narration had a very young voice, but considering she is 15 in the book, it makes sense. It got on my nerves a little at the beginning of the book, but the more I read, the more I appreciated it… kind of like everything else in the book.

So I know this review focuses more on what I didn’t like about the book, but let me just say that How To Hang A Witch was actually kind of amazing. I am definitely going to be getting the sequel, Haunting the Deep. I would recommend this book to people who love supernatural things (especially witches!!), young adult mysteries, or are just looking for an quick, intriguing read.

I am going to give How To Hang A Witch four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Illuminae

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 599
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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Illuminae definitely made for an interesting read. It was told through interviews, IMs, reports, and a bunch of other media. There were even some posters thrown in there.
The beginning of this book was pretty slow and confusing, and I actually had to start it a few times before I could really get into it. But once I figured out what and who everyone was (actually I’m still a bit confused about who some people were…) the book started to make a lot more sense, and started to get a lot better.
I was worried that this book wouldn’t give me an emotional story because of how it was told. But, I was surprised, and actually got a pretty good story out of it. There was a bunch of comedy relief, and the broad range of media used to tell the story was entertaining, and made the 600 pages a lot less daunting.

The characters in this story had quite a few dimensions, but a lot of them felt like they had the same voice. There was a lot of the same kind of humor given by each of the characters, and even in “professional” reports it felt like they were written by my little brother. Actually, I think I read this whole book in his voice in my head, because it felt like every character was him. It was a pretty weird experience.

The last quarter of this book is what saved it in my eyes. The “twist” didn’t really surprise me, but I did find myself on the edge of my seat. I did feel a tug at my heart, so there definitely was some emotional connection with the story… just not as much as I wish there were.

I think I will end up reading Gemina (the sequel), and hopefully after the first half of this book (which was spent setting up this complicated universe) it will be a lot more entertaining and way less confusing.
I would recommend this book to people who are looking for an interesting YA science fiction, and are willing to put in the time to learn about this complicated universe.

I am going to give Illuminae three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥