Illuminae {Book Review}

Illuminae

Illuminae

Book 1 of The Illuminae Files

Written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Young Adult, Science Fiction

608 pages

 

 

 

 

A few hours after Kady Grant breaks up with her boyfriend Ezra Mason, their colony is attacked by an enormous ship. Missiles blasting the ground and buildings, cracking the ground open from the impact. Fleeing for their lives, they manage to escape on separate evacuation shuttles, ending up on different spaceships within the same fleet. This Stellarcorp War initiated by Beitech Industries has prompted wartime conscription. Ezra is recruited to become a pilot, while Kady purposefully fails the exams so she isn’t chosen for a job – enabling her to use her savvy computer skills and hack into sensitive info with the help of a mentor. There is an enormous warship chasing their fleet as they attempt to make it to safety. The fleet’s AI – Aidan – was injured during the attack, causing it to malfunction and turn against them. Aidan decides to blow up one of the ships in their fleet because it figured out there was a mutated pathogen on board causing people to become zombie-like maniacs. I don’t want to say anything more in fear that I’ll spoil the plot – but will simply say this is a FAST-PACED, thrilling story. I didn’t want to put it down.

AIDAN is definitely my favorite character. I love it when an unlikable character manages to somehow become likeable, even when they are being an arsehole.

With over 53,000 ratings on Goodreads and an average rating of 4.31 Illuminae is one to put on your TBR. You might find it hard to get into for the first 100-150 pages, but stick with it. Trust me, it’s so worth it!

 

 

 

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The Joy of Doing Nothing

the joy of doing nothing.jpgThe Joy of Doing Nothing: A Real-Life Guide to Stepping Back, Slowing Down, and Creating a Simpler, Joy-Filled Life

160 pages
Expected Publication: December 5, 2017
Average Rating on Netgalley 4/5 stars
Average Rating on Goodreads 3/5 stars

Book Blurb

Fight back against busyness and celebrate the pleasure of doing nothing in this new guide that helps relieve stress and increase happiness in your life.

In The Joy of Doing Nothing you’ll discover how to step away from everything you think you have to do and learn to live a minimalist life. Rachel Jonat shares simple strategies to help you stop over scheduling, find time for yourself, and create moments of calm every day. You’ll learn how to focus more on the important aspects of life, such as family and friends, and scale back your schedule to create more time in the day to care for yourself.“

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

My Thoughts

Burn out is OPTIONAL. If you feel like your schedule of activities is dictating your life and you have no control over your time, then it’s time to take a step back and have a good, hard look at your calendar. Take back the power of setting boundaries. The philosophy of doing nothing is about self-care, finding clarity, restoring yourself, feeling more content, being more productive, reducing stress, and so much more. Jonat shares thoughtful advice on how to take control of your time by saying “no”, and disconnecting from tech. There is a difference between doing nothing and procrastination. Procrastination is simply putting things off, while taking the time to do nothing is actually taking mindful breaks.

Teaching yourself and your children the art of stillness will benefit all of you physically and mentally. There are many studies which show how slowing down improves health, and even helps to fight disease. Jonat includes a great how-to guide on teaching children how to do nothing and I’m really excited to see the results for my own kids.

The Joy of Doing Nothing has some fantastic tips on how to take control of your time in order to find some peace. I was once addicted to my phone and social media. I was checking my messages, emails, and social media notifications constantly and I felt ridden with anxiety. A couple of years ago I decided to spend less time on my phone, and more time in the present with my family and friends, writing, reading, knitting, or just plain relaxing. I have to admit, it was HARD. The phone was an addiction for me. I was caught up in the idea that being busy meant I was important. I often hear people almost bragging, or competing about just how busy they are and whoever is the busiest wins. One day something clicked and I realized that is not right and it was contributing to my anxiety big time. I used to suffer from SEVERE anxiety. I used to worry for my entire day. Since reducing my phone time/social media time I almost immediately felt more peaceful. My brain started  to slow down.

In January 2017 I made the decision to spend less time watching TV, and more time reading. I bring a book with me almost every where I go, so if I have a little bit of free time I read a few pages instead of looking at my phone. I also started going to bed earlier so I can read 30 minutes before sleep. I used to wake up a million times a night and felt exhausted every day, but now I sleep through the night at least 7 hours and I feel AMAZING.

I have also made changes to our family schedules so we have more time to just BE. I like that the weekends are usually a time for my kids to relax and play with toys, read, write, and colour, instead of rushing around to sports and other activities. My youngest has had less outbursts at home and at school. My oldest has actually said that many classmates have complained to her about their busy schedules and she’s happy that we have lots of relax time in our calendar.

Even though I’ve already been unplugging and making changes to our schedules I still found a lot of value in this short book. There were some great tips on how to use my time, especially “fringe time”, to my advantage in order to find more peace and enjoy life.

I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. This would make a great Christmas gift to someone you love, especially to yourself! ♥ ♥ ♥

Together At Midnight ~ Spoiler-Free Book Review 🗽 💕 🎄 🎆

Together at MidnightTogether at Midnight

Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Expected Publication: January 2, 2017
352 pages

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and Edelweiss, for allowing me to review.

Together At Midnight begins with Kendall making a list of “Things to do to make next year not suck”. She is back in her family home after finishing a Movable School Program where she got to travel to Paris, Rome, London, and Ireland as part of her high school curriculum. After Christmas Kendall spontaneously decides to tag along with her brother and his boyfriend who are heading back to their apartment in New York City.
Instead of going to Brown University Max decided to take a year off and work. His father asks him to stay with Max’s cranky Grandfather Ezra for a few days while his aunt looks for a new home aide. Max loves NYC and is happy to take some time to enjoy the city before heading back to work.
Kendall makes plans to meet up with Jamie, a boy who broke her heart when he said he only liked her as a friend, but while she was studying abroad he emailed her. They’ve emailed back and forth and now have made plans to hang out in NYC. As they are walking around they bump into Jamie’s friend – Max. The three of them witness a young woman being hit by a bus. This incident inspires Max and Kendall to set a goal of doing seven Random Acts of Kindness before the new year begins.
When Max and Kendall help random people in NYC we get short chapters from the perspective of the person they helped. It’s really great to get a little back story on the people they are helping because we get to see how one tiny act of kindness can make a huge impact on someone. We simply never know what battles other people are fighting.

My Thoughts

Together at Midnight might be categorized as a contemporary romance, but I have to say it’s not all about the romance, it’s not insta-love either. The relationships feel extremely authentic. Kendall has ADHD and I love that although it may change the way she does certain things, it doesn’t hold her back. Kendall reminds me of my younger self. I love her sense of adventure and admire her self-awareness. Max is loyal, committed, selfless, loving, but has insecurities that keep him adorably humble. If I had to pick a favourite character I think it would be Max.
Together at Midnight doesn’t have the typical happily ever after ending, which is refreshing. I liked how the story ended – crossing my fingers there will be more books about Max and/or Kendall.
The first chapter introduced a lot of characters which I often find overwhelming and annoying. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way or if I’m just weird. LOL
Together at Midnight would be a fantastic read during the Holiday season. I highly recommend you check this cozy, touching book. FIVE STAR read for me. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

About The Author

Jennifer Castle
Jennifer Castle received her B.A. in Creative Writing at Brown University and worked as a celebrity publicist’s assistant, an advertising copywriter, and a struggling screenwriter (yes, that’s an actual job) before falling into a niche producing websites for kids and teens. Her debut, THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, was a 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection as well as a Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best” book. YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE was a 2015 Florida Teens Read selection. Her most recent novel, WHAT HAPPENS NOW, was published in June 2016. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and daughters.