Top 5 Wednesday: 2018 Wishlist

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Good Reads group, is:  2018 Wishlist – Looking forward into the new year, this is a list of the types of books you’d like to see more of in 2018! Try to avoid actual titles, and discuss themes, genres, or tropes you’d like to see more of in the new year!

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1. Books w/in books. What’s better than reading one book? Reading two! This year I’ve read a couple of books that did this really well (Lies She Told by Cate Holahan and The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter) and I would love to read more like them.

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2. Realistic Christian characters. Most of the time if a mainstream book includes a “Christian” character it portrays them as some kind of hypocritical psycho. And sure there are lots of people who claim to be Christians who really are hypocritical psychos, but there are many genuine people out there, as well. In 2018 I’d like to see more of the genuine people. I thought Amy Harmon did this really well with Making Faces.

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3. Well-written twists and surprises (that actually surprise me)I feel like I can almost always predict the twist in books these days and in 2017 I was pleasantly surprised by several books (such Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton,  One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus and The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – which actually publishes in 2018).

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4. Fake Relationships. This is my favorite romance trope and I am always on the look out for a good fake relationship story. This year’s favorite was When It’s Real by Erin Watt.

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5. Alternative FormattingSometimes this annoys me because I read e-books about 95% of the time and lots of alternative formatting makes things unreadable, but I do love them in physical format. Even though I wasn’t blown away by the actual story, I really loved the formatting for Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.

What type of books are on your 2018 Wishlist?

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The Nope Book Tag

The Nope Book Tag

I saw this a little while ago over on Read by Chris and thought it looked fun. In an effort to not repeat the same old answers I always use, I’m going to try and stick with books I’ve read this year. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like!

1. NOPE. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy. 

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I actually do not remember the ending to Six Stories by Matt Weslowski, but I put in my short review that I found the ending really unsatisfying. In fact, this whole books was a big, fat “NOPE” for me.

2. NOPE. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy. 

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Isa from The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I can not even believe the crap she put her baby and her boyfriend through. She’s the worst!

3. NOPE. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE. after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore. 

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Ok, this one is kind of hard because I haven’t really discontinued any series this year. I’m going to go with Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh even though it’s the first book in a series because I don’t really have any interest in continuing in.

4. NOPE. Popular pairing: A “ship” you don’t support.

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I don’t really think this is a “popular” pairing, but I’m going to go with Rose and Archie in Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini. I thought Archie was way, way too good for self-absorbed, immature Rose.

5. NOPE. Plot twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like. 

Lacey’s Wedding by Sharon Bolton. I love Sharon Bolton, but I thought this short story was a bit of a cruel twist for Lacey Flint fans. There just better be more books coming in this series!!!

6. NOPE. Protagonist action/decision: A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE. 

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Georgie in Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. While I really enjoyed this book and did like Georgie, there were many times her actions really frustrated me.

7. NOPE. Genre: A genre you will never read.

This is always my answer, but Dinosaur Erotica. Yes, it’s a real thing.

8. NOPE. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition

I honestly can’t think of anything. I mostly buy e-books so I guess anything that has lots of illustrations (like Illuminae) I would have to get in an actual physical format.

9. NOPE. Trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE. 

Surprise pregnancy or surprise-you’re-a-father!

10. NOPE. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read. 

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Harry Potter. Sorry, I’m just never going to read this.

11. NOPE. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

The “graceful neck” description. I have never once looked at someone’s neck and thought to myself, “Wow, that’s graceful. *Swoon*”.

12. NOPE. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

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Kieran in Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. He’s kind of a love interest for two people (who are also love interests to each other – Please, please, please don’t make threesomes the new “thing” we all have to champion in YA), but I just don’t like him. Like, at all.

13. NOPE. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE. 

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. This book was awful and can not be considered horror. It’s Romance, with a little bit of murder thrown in.

14. NOPE. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

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The bad guys in Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton. No spoilers, though!

15. NOPE. Death: A character death that still haunts you.

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I’m not going to spoil who it is, but the major death in Making Faces by Amy Harmon. I ugly cried hard.

16. NOPE. Author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

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While there were books I definitely didn’t care for, there weren’t any I read this year that really made me say, “I’m never reading this author again.” I think the closest I came to that was Staci Hart when I read With a Twist. I just don’t think her writing is for me, but if she puts something out that I think looks really interesting, I still might give it a try.

Reivew: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

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.

I was browsing the clearance shelves at my local bookstore and saw this book on sale for about $6.00. After all the hype surrounding this series I decided it was time for me to FINALLY give it a try.

Illuminae is definitely a book you have to read a hard copy of. It would not be conducive to e-readers and would definitely leave a lot to be desired via audio. The formatting was very cool. It’s all documents and chat logs and graphics and the creators of the book obviously put a lot of thought into the layout and details. I’ll say again, it was very cool. Unfortunately, one very cool element does not a 5 star book make (at least not to me).

While I loved the format, it did not always work for me. There are many official memos and etc. that come across too unprofessional. I think there could’ve been a greater effort made to make them sound more realistic. I also had a huge problem with the video transcripts. The person transcribing them put in way too much detail of the participant’s feelings and thoughts turning it into more of a standard narration than what it should have been (this did have an explanation at the end so I’m not going to go into great detail with the quotes I actually took the time to mark to prove my point – I’ll just say that when I was reading those parts I was annoyed by it). There are also very long parts from AIDEN’s, the computer, POV that came across way too odd for me. They also blacked out all the curse words which at first I thought I would really appreciate, but quickly learned it just brought more attention to them. I found myself filling in the blacked out words anyways, and then sometimes second guessing which curse word I thought it was. This was not a good use of my time.

The plot was repetitive and drawn out. Lots of missiles and computer hacking and teenage angst and zombie-like sickness outbreak. I felt kind of bored during parts of it. However, every time I was thinking that I just didn’t care about what was going on, a character would be killed off and I found myself getting choked up. The character development was actually really well done. I loved Ezra and his kind of obnoxious friend McNulty. I loved Kady’s hacker friend, Zhang. It took me a little longer to warm up to Kady, but I did eventually really root for her, even if I didn’t love her as much as some of the other characters.

Overall, I liked Illuminae, but I didn’t love it. The non-traditional formatting was very cool and is definitely worth picking up an actual hard copy of the book for. However, I don’t understand all the 5-star hype for this run-of-the-mill sci-fi story. That said, it was still an enjoyable read and I plan on continuing the series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars