Paranoia by JR Johansson

Paranoia by JR JohanssonTitle: Paranoia
Author: JR Johansson(Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Series: The Night Walkers #2
Genres: Thriller, YA
Pages: 326
Publisher: Flux
Format: eBook
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In the aftermath of the events that nearly killed him, Parker Chipp is trying to learn to cope better with life as a Watcher. And it seems to be working ... until he wakes up in jail with a hangover and 12 hours of missing time. Darkness has somehow taken control and Parker doesn't have a clue how to stop him. He finds an unlikely ally in Jack, the mysterious guy in the motorcycle jacket who offers to help Parker master his abilities as a Watcher. But even as they practice, the darkness inside Parker is getting more and more powerful, taking over Parker’s body and doing everything he can to destroy Parker's life.

When Jack reveals that there is another kind of Night Walker, known as a Taker, Parker starts to wonder if the strange things happening in Oakville are more than just a coincidence. After all, people are more than just sleepwalking. They're emptying their savings accounts with no memory of doing so, wandering into strange parts of town and disappearing, they're even killing other people--all in their sleep. If Parker wants to find out what's happening or have any hope of seeing his father again, he’ll have to defy Jack and put his own life in danger ... because the more he learns about these other Night Walkers, the more certain he becomes that his life isn't the only one that could be lost. Summary from Goodreads

UBI really enjoyed reading Paranoia. It was so much fun and just as clever and creepy as Insomnia was.

I really enjoyed learning more about the Night Walkers. Because Parker didn’t know much in the Insomnia, we relied on what he knew and what he told us. In Paranoia, he learns a lot more about Night Walkers and their world. It was really interesting and unique.

I loved getting to know the secondary characters better–Addie, Finn, Mia, and now Jack too. They added a lot to the story and to Parker’s motives.

I loved the romance and the sexual tension in this book. There was some awesome chemistry between Parker and Addie. I was a little frustrated with what seemed to be a love pentagon, but luckily that only lasted for two or three chapters and turned into a mild love triangle. I wish the triangle hadn’t been there at all, but it definitely was on the tamer side so I didn’t begrudge it too much.

I expected a lot of the things that happened in the story. But there were a few things that I didn’t expect and I’m still wondering if they’ll turn out to be “something” in the final book.

I’m excited to see where we go from here, what we’ll learn next, and how Parker will cope with it all.

four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank BeddorTitle: The Looking Glass Wars
Author: Frank Beddor(Blog, Twitter)
Series: The Looking Glass Wars #1
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 408
Publisher: Speak
Format: eBook
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The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook. The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss's parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. Summary from Amazon

I’ve been meaning to read this series for a few years now because of a recommendation from a friend. The story sounded very interesting; I just didn’t take the time to read the first book in the series until now.

At first I started reading The Looking Glass Wars without any prior knowledge of Lewis Carroll’s original stories besides the movie adaptations. I was a little confused going in, so I put off reading The Looking Glass Wars and read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass first. After reading the two originals, I was a little worried I wouldn’t like this series because I didn’t enjoy Carroll’s novels very much. Fortunately, I enjoyed The Looking Glass Wars much better than the original because the story at least had a plot which made sense and the characters were fun.

I really liked the idea of Alyss Heart being real and that her story had just been twisted by Lewis Carroll. It made for some fun adventures, especially with adding Redd as an antagonist and Dodge Anders as a love interest. It was much more my type of story this way.

It took me about a third of the book to get into it, however. The first part of the book follows Alyss as a child and how she winds up in 19th century England. It was okay and it gave some back story, but I liked the book much better after she had grown up and returned to Wonderland.

I also thought there was a lot of telling and not showing. There was enough action that I could overlook it once Alyss grew up and returned to Wonderland. But, the telling and not showing lent to my boredom with the first third of the book.

I’m glad that I gave it a chance, though, and didn’t just stop reading it. I look forward to reading the other two books to see how this trilogy will play out.

three-starsthree-starsthree-stars

The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien

The Return of the King by JRR TolkienTitle: The Return of the King
Author: JRR Tolkien(Website)
Series: The Lord of the Rings #3
Genres: Classic, Fantasy
Pages: 290
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: eBook
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While the evil might of the Dark Lord Sauron swarmed out to conquer all Middle-earth, Frodo and Sam struggled deep into Mordor, seat of Sauron's power. To defeat the Dark Lord, the accursed Ring of Power had to be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. But the way was impossibly hard, and Frodo was weakening. Weighed down by the compulsion of the Ring, he began finally to despair. Summary from Shelfari

I’ve finally finished The Lord of the Rings. It was such a fun journey to experience reading this for the first time. I’m so glad to finally have read this series.

The Return of the King was such a great ending to the series. Even having seen the movies, I was still on the edge of my seat, wondering how things would end. I was surprised by the amount of things that were different than the movie, especially the whole part with the Shire.

Just like with The Two Towers, I didn’t like the way the book was split. I wanted the chapters to be interspersed. But, I was glad that the “fellowship” did get back together in the end for a few chapters. (It’s interesting to me that only one member of the fellowship perished.) I actually really liked that once the ring was destroyed, there was still a lot to do and wrap up. There was a real ending and not just a 20-page epilogue like so many books written today.

I really liked how everything wrapped up. It seemed that all the characters got what they deserved in the end, good or bad. I got teary-eyed at the end because I was saying goodbye to characters that I had grown attached to. It was just a fantastic epic tale from beginning to end.

four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa MeyerTitle: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer(Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, YA
Pages: 390
Publisher: Feiwell and Friends
Format: Hardcover
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Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder's brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it "a matter of national security," but Cinder suspects it's more serious than he's letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that's been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter's illness, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an "honor" that no one has survived.

But it doesn't take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for. Summary from Dust Jacket

Wow! Just wow! I had heard Cinder was awesome, but I really didn’t realize how awesome it was until I read it. I loved Cinder, absolutely loved it! It’s definitely a favorite!

Going into this, I had heard that the plot was very predictable. I was worried that would make me not like it. On the contrary, while I figured out the big secret about 40 pages in, it only made me want to keep reading. I wanted to find out how the characters found out. I wanted to find out what this would do to the story if anything. I just wanted to know what happened! I was completely 100% entranced by this story.

I love the concept of this retelling of Cinderella. It love the sci-fi/dystopian feel Marissa Meyer gave to this classic story. It helped bring the story to life and give it new meaning!

I absolutely adored the characters, even Queen Levana, the antagonist. The bad guys are characters you love to hate. I haven’t loved to hate any bad character this much since Professor Umbridge. Cinder was awesome. She was strong yet vulnerable, confident yet shaky, pretty yet damaged. She had a lot of depth to her. And, Prince Kai … oh how I loved Prince Kai. He was awesome as Prince Charming.

My only issue is that I started reading this series before Winter (the final book in the series) is released! I held out for so long! And, I’m sure I’m just going to devour Scarlet and Cress and then I’ll be waiting for Winter until the end of next year! Why did I start reading this now?!

Seriously, I’m so excited to see how this story continues. I can’t wait to read Scarlet. But, I need to exercise some self-restraint so I’m not waiting too long for Winter.

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien

The Two Towers by JRR TolkienTitle: The Two Towers
Author: JRR Tolkien(Website)
Series: The Lord of the Rings #2
Genres: Classic, Fantasy
Pages: 334
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: eBook
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The fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor--the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring. Summary from Shelfari

I’m not sure how to review The Two Towers. I have a lot of feelings about it and I’m not quite sure how to word them. I can say that some of my feelings are mixed. But, overall, I liked The Two Towers a lot.

I love how epic the journey is. I love how complex everything is. While I enjoy simple stories, I really enjoy complex ones that have a lot of facets to them. You can tell Tolkien really thought through the overarching story and not just the current story in the current book.

As I said in my review of The Fellowship of the Ring, I really love Tolkien’s writing style. (I didn’t at first when I started The Hobbit, but it’s definitely grown on me.) But, I have to admit that I was a little happy there were less songs this go around.

I still love Sam. I think he’ll remain my favorite to the end. And, I love Faramir. He’s so honorable, slow to react, intelligent, and compassionate. I loved every scene with him in it. He’s such a stark contrast to Boromir. He’s now my new favorite secondary character.

Okay, now for my mixed feelings. Now that I’ve finished The Two Towers, I didn’t like the way the book was split. Having two “parts” in the book is fine, but I didn’t like that the first half was just Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, and Pippin and the second half was just Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. I want the chapters to be interspersed. It might make it a little harder to follow, but I think it would make it more intense. And, at the same time, it would cure the cliffhanger ending! I really hope that I don’t have to wait until Book 6 to know what’s going on with Frodo and Sam.

Also, why did Tolkien have to add giant, creepy spiders to the story! Shelob totally creeped me out. I swear I tweeted more during the last two chapters of The Two Towers than I did for the entire rest of the book. I’m going to have nightmares! At least, that’s over with and I can enjoy The Return of the King without worrying about her anymore.

I’m very excited to finish this trilogy. I can’t wait to see how it ends bookstyle.

four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars