Prodigy by Marie Lu Review

Prodigy

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?”

   

   Prodigy by Marie Lu serves as an emotional and exciting follow up to Legend. Lu opts to separate the two leads from one another, spending most of the book apart, and it pays off with good character development allowing them to come into their own and other characters to shine. Couple that with some surprisingly effective emotional moments and exciting action and Prodigy is a great sequel to the first novel.

As I said in the opening, Lu chooses to separate June and Day. While that could cause problems, Lu handles it well. June and Day each get their respective time to develop as characters and come into their own without having to rely on one another to be effective. June’s internal struggle between helping Day and acting on her own instincts was a executed well and eventually leads to some of the more emotional moments of the book. To continue, the supporting characters are given their own time to shine especially Kaede who is an absolute badass. Although,  I felt Tess was a bit whiny and became relegated as a love interest only for the sake of conflict. I was quite surprised at how effective the emotional moments were in this book. They felt organic and placed at the right times throughout the book.

The plot was a bit predictable, but I attribute that to many young adult/dystopia novels copying this trilogy’s formula and it was still well executed. The book moves at a quicker pace than the first novel and it creates some tense and exciting moments throughout the book. Lu continues to expand on the cool world she has established adding some information about the country’s hierarchy and background which I enjoyed reading.

Overall, Prodigy was a worthy follow up to Legend. The good character development with some great supporting characters, surprising emotional moments, and even more world building creates an exciting and thrilling sequel.

Rating: Must Buy

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The Blank Book #2: John Wick 2 and Action Movies

I originally was going to write a review, but I watched John Wick 2 last night and I loved it. But this post is not going to be about how good the movie is, but rather the problem with action movies today.  I love movies and action movies are one of my favorite genres. The visceral brutality or the elegance of Kung-Fu or a skilled fighter taking on several other and the list goes on and on. There is nothing that gets an audience more excited than a beautifully shot action scene with great editing and a soundtrack to back it up. The problem is that is getting less and less often today. When I watched John Wick 2, every action scene was clear. The director, cinematographer, and everyone involved did a fantastic job of keeping the action clear. It also helps that Keanu Reeves does actually know what he is doing and can perform the action himself. I don’t recall any scene in the movie where shaky-cam was used. Each action scene moved at a nice pace and you could clearly see what was happening.

The problem is action movies nowadays have used the hyper active editing style that is quite common. It seems that the movies opt for a lightning pace that they believe recreates the frenetic pace that they are trying to go for. As a result, quick cuts that end up resulting in a million amount of cuts combined with techno music and odd shots have become the standard and it absolutely sucks. The action becomes blurred  and often confusing as there is no clear shot of, well, the action. Take for example, Iron Fist. I actually liked Iron Fist and believe it’s better than Luke Cage. However, this style I described is used quite often. The worst action scene in the entire series occurs in one of the first several episodes where Danny fights someone in a file room. There are an obscene amount of cuts aimed to hide the fact that actor Finn Jones has little to no experience of fighting. Although, it was revealed that he was given about 30 minutes to practice before they filmed. Still, the quick cuts were jarring and terrible causing me to lose track of who was fighting who. The show could have been better (but I think most of that is due to the terrible showrunner Scott Buck. I hope he doesn’t mess up Inhumans).

I hope this trend does not continue for the sake of action movies. I love action movies, but they have become more and more muddled with these type of action scenes. Please let there be more action movies with scenes such as John Wick 2.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentmer Review

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“What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?”

   Goodbye Days is, honestly, one of the best books I have read all year. It tackles a relevant and tough subject with sincerity and the brutal truth without ever sacrificing its story and characters for the sake of an emotional moment (although there are some really nice ones).

   Carver is an extremely vulnerable and sympathetic protagonist. Zentmer fantastically paints the inner struggle and guilt he feels for unintentionally causing his friend’s deaths. It is truly gut-wrenching to see the world through Carver’s eyes and how the people treat him. Zentmer is not afraid to put Carver through some tough, yet understandable situations. While hard to swallow, the behavior each person displays to Carver especially some of the parent’s is absolutely understandable except for Mars’ dad ( it was Mars’ choice to read it). It is difficult to imagine what goes through a parent’s mind when they hear their child has died and I hope I never have to. Jesmyn provides a nice companion to Carver as they tackle the loss together. Georgia provided some happiness and joy to a book filled with emotional moments. Who doesn’t want a sibling like her? 

   The plot moved in a kind of predictable way, however the characters more than made up for it. The emotional moments in the book feel so genuine and sincere, it never felt forced for the sake of having an emotional moment. Zentmer handles the tough subject with respect, but is never afraid to show the repercussions of the accident. At heart, the book is not only a book of grief and acceptance, but friendship. Jesmyn and Carver’s friendship was a joy to read and sweet to see them support one another through this tough time. 

   Goodbye Days was a fantastic and moving book that tackles its subject with respect and sincerity. The characters elevate this book from other young adult novels and their experiences and interaction with one another was beautifully done. Just read this book.

Rating: Must Buy

Blogger Stats Book Tag

I was recently tagged by JessicaMarie493 to do this tag. If you want more information, here is the original information by AlwaysTrustinBooks. Let’s do this!

Question Time

The Last Three Books You Read?

  1. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentmer
  2. BZRK by Michael Grant
  3. The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

 

Spoilers or spoiler free?

I actually prefer spoilers, but to keep my reviews fair to others I keep them out as best as I can.

How long have you been blogging?

I have only been blogging for a short time since February actually. It’s been a ton of fun and have met and read plenty of great bloggers.

A book you read in one sitting?

Actually it’s one of the last three books I read. The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak. The 80’s setting and pop culture references with solid characters just kept me reading. Very Ready Player One-esque.

Your favorite genre?

I would say young adult since that’s what I mostly read, but honestly it has to be science fiction. I am just a huge nerd and geek.

Preferred book size?

300-400 pages is a nice sweet spot.

Amount of books on your TBR?

For this month, 5. In total, over 100.

A book you have DNF’d?

While we may not want to admit it, almost all of us have done this. Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson. I liked Levinson’s writing style, and the premise, but the characters were fairly boring, the plot moved way too slow, and it felt a bit too preachy for me.

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Recent awards or milestones?

A small milestone, but I have reached 20 followers and this is my 40th post!

Best interaction with an author you enjoy?

I have gotten an email from Harmon Cooper and we had a nice little chat about his book The Feedback Loop.

Average number of books you read per month?

I try to read at least 5 books per month and usually succeed.

Top three publishers?

Hmmm…I don’t really like to choose but in this case, I have too. Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Crown.

Social media sites your blog uses?

Right now, Goodreads. Eventually, I will make an Instagram and maybe even, Twitter.

Average amount of time you spend networking?

I try to keep it a low amount, but I am still a small blog and hope to become bigger.

Most comfortable blogging position?

Definitely on my bed with my laptop and earphones in.

Music or quite when writing reviews?

I almost always have music or even have the TV on when I am writing reviews.

Can you sum up your blogging style in 5 words?

Organized, Smooth, Professional (I try to at least), Fair, and Funny (Maybe it’s just me?)

A blog you looked up to starting out?

As I am quite new to blogging, I look up to so much.  A Writer’s Path, Fiction Fan, and so many others I cannot just single one out.

The best book you have reviewed so far?

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman. This was my first ever review and in my opinion, one of my best. It is one of my longest reviews and I just wanted to talk so much about this book as I absolutely loved it!

Best piece of blogging advice?

Just write about what you want to write. Blogging should be fun and it should never feel like a chore. Write what you like and success will eventually come.

Tags(Sorry if you have been already tagged):

 

I had a lot of fun doing this and hope to do another tag soon. Thanks once again to JessicaMarie493 for tagging me!

BZRK by Michael Grant Review

“Set in the near future, BZRK is the story of a war for control of the human mind.  Charles and Benjamin Armstrong, conjoined twins and owners of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, have a goal:  to turn the world into their vision of utopia.  No wars, no conflict, no hunger.  And no free will.  Opposing them is a guerrilla group of teens, code name BZRK, who are fighting to protect the right to be messed up, to be human.  This is no ordinary war, though.  Weapons are deployed on the nano-level. The battleground is the human brain.  And there are no stalemates here:  It’s victory . . . or madness.
 
BZRK unfolds with hurricane force around core themes of conspiracy and mystery, insanity and changing realities, engagement and empowerment, and the larger impact of personal choice. Which side would you choose?  How far would you go to win?”

BZRK by Michael Grant provided a solid science fiction novel with some badass characters and a brutal world that could eventually become a reality.

Noah and Sadie were solid characters who are thrust into the war between BZRK and the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation. Their reactions were fairly realistic as the brutal world of BZRK becomes their lives. I just wished they could have been developed a bit better. Other than squirming and reacting to their umm….unique training, they don’t really get too much development. Obviously, they become better operatives and get used to their jobs, but they never develop any more characteristics. The main problem between the two of them is their interaction with one another. On their own, their dialogue is fine, but when they speak to one another it’s as if another author took over. It’s stilted, clunky, forced, and a bit cringey. Their romance takes a nice slow start, but is suddenly thrust into the limelight. Although, I could see why Grant took this route besides the dialogue. They are confused and really have no one else besides each other. Attraction is bound to happen at some point. The other characters were pretty badass. I found myself more intrigued between Vincent and the Bug Man and their rivalry against one another. Their Nano fights with one another were exciting and a test of their intelligence. The other BZRK members such as Nijinsky and Wilson were badass in their own rights and get their time to shine. The villains of this novel, the Armstrong Twins, were interesting in terms of appearances, but they never quite match that twisted and disturbing vibes that their appearances gave off of.

The world of BZRK was fantastic and the best part of this novel. The Nano warfare presented in the book could eventually become a reality. And when they fight, it gets brutal. Blood, guts, and body parts go flying throughout this novel and if you do not like that, stay away from this book. The brutal world presented a breath of fresh air from me as I have been reading too many happy-go-lucky books (except for Goodbye Days, which I will review soon.) and have been looking for a bit more mature book. The plot of the book was fairly interesting and executed well except for the lackluster climax. It just never felt interesting and ended quite abruptly. The ending did leave me intrigued for the second book.

Overall, BZRK was a solid, sci-fi novel that thrives due to its brutal world and badass characters only hampered by little character development from Noah and Sadie and terrible dialogue between Noah and Sadie as well.

Rating: Check it out

 

 

The Blank Book #1: My Most Anticipated Movies

This is something new I want to try. It can get a bit mundane just writing book reviews, TBR’s, etc. So this series, I guess, allows me to write about whatever I want. I mean my life does not revolve around books, I love a bunch of other things too. This time it’s movies, specifically my most anticipated movies for the rest of the year.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man is one of my favorite superheroes and my favorite Marvel hero so I was quite excited to see him in the MCU. Tom Holland was fantastic in Captain America: Civil War and his scenes with RDJ were even better. While I wish the 2nd trailer didn’t give away as much as it should have, I am still beyond excited for this movie. It’s the first Spider-Man movie where he is actually a teenager! The high school part of the movie seems more interesting than the action which is rare for me. I can’t wait for this movie!

Justice League

I know, I know, Zack Snyder has not really given us a reason to trust him. Batman v Superman was ok, but underwhelming. It just felt like he wanted to jam several years worth of movies to catch up to the MCU, although Ben Affleck was great as Batman.  Suicide Squad was solid on first viewing, but after a few more viewings, its flaws really start to show. The editing and writing is fairly bad, moreso the editing. It just did not match up with the movie. But I am still optimistic that he can at least make this an entertaining movie and the trailer showed some promising moments. He can’t possibly ruin this, right? (Please don’t ruin this, if there is one thing you must do right Zack Snyder it’s this movie.)

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The first Kingsman remains one of my favorite action movies of all time especially the church scene. It was pretty much making fun of the Bond movies, but I loved it! Matthew Vaughn’s slick directing style complements this movie so well and the tongue-in-cheek tone fits the movie as well. The trailer for the sequel recently came out and it looks to be an even bigger and hopefully, better movie.

 

Thor: Ragnarok

I am a big fan of the MCU, although I have always found the Thor series to be the weakest of the main Avengers. It was just boring and a bit generic considering the main character is a Norse God. But the trailer for this movie was just so cool which I somewhat attribute to the great song choice. Plus Taika Waititi is one of my favorite directors (Hunt for the Wilderpeople is one of my favorite movies from 2016) who seems to be embracing the space-bounty hunter-esque tone that kinda borrows from the Guardians of the Galaxy which I am totally cool with.

 

Baby Driver

I am not a big fan of Ansel Elgort as the Divergent  film series is not very good besides the first one which was solid. But Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz is one of my favorite movies of all time) is my favorite director and the trailer just looks so awesome! I haven’t seen a movie like this for quite some time,  an action movie centered around heisting and cars. The last one I remember watching something like this was The Italian Job over 10 years ago. I just can’t wait for this movie, it looks like such a good time.

Return of the King (LeBron James) by Brian Windhorst Review

“The inside story of LeBron James’s return and ultimate triumph in Cleveland.

What really happened when LeBron James stunned the NBA by leaving a potential dynasty in Miami to come home to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers? How did the Cavs use secret meetings to put together the deal to add star Kevin Love? Who really made the controversial decision to fire coach David Blatt when the team was in first place? Where did the greatest comeback in NBA history truly begin-and end?

RETURN OF THE KING takes you onto the private planes, inside the locker-room conversations, and into the middle of the intense huddles where one of the greatest stories in basketball history took place, resulting in the Cavs winning the 2016 NBA title after trailing the Golden State Warriors three games to one. 

You’ll hear from all the characters involved: the players, the executives, the agents, and the owners as they reveal stories never before told. Get the background on all the controversies, the rivalries, and the bad blood from two reporters who were there for every day, plot twist, and social media snafu as they take you through the fascinating ride that culminated in a heart-stopping Game Seven.”

   I normally don’t read sports or biographies of sorts, but I love basketball and my favorite player is LeBron James so I just had to buy this book. I did get the audiobook version though and Windhorst did a great job of narrating it. The review will be a lot simpler compared to other books since it doesn’t take place in a magical land with fictional characters, rather gives people insight to the greatest sports comeback I have ever seen.

   Windhorst delivers a very entertaining and interesting novel. While sports fans were exposed to the general information of the Cavaliers’s season from when LeBron returned in 2014 to the 3-1 comeback in the finals, Windhorst provides great insight into the behind the scenes of everything from Tristan Thompson’s contract extension holdout to Kyrie Irving’s breakup with Kehlani. It was awesome to relieve the unlikely comeback all over again as a Cavs fan. I often watch ESPN and Windhorst often comes on various shows, still I never saw him as a writer. However, while he has a simplistic style, the novel is quite organized and progresses at a nice pace that hooked me. I think the best thing I can say about the novel is that it informed me of information I would never have known and kept me wanting to read. Biographies should inform the reader, while also being entertaining. It doesn’t need to be a masterpiece of prose, just inform the reader and keep them engaged. 

   I had a fantastic time reading this novel and it provided me with a lot of information I would have never known. The rating will be tweaked as I feel these types of books cater to a certain audience.

Rating: Must Buy for basketball, sports, and NBA fans. For everyone else, check it out.