The 100: Rebellion (#4) by Kass Morgan

Just as a fair warning, this is the 4th and final book in a series! There will be some spoilers for previous books in this series!

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5/5)

Plot: In the final installment of the series, the hundred, the Colonists, and the Earthborns are all working together to create a new home for themselves. They’ve come down from the mountain and the woods to accommodate their growing population size. Everything is cheery and beautiful as they start a harvest celebration. A celebration that is suddenly attacked by brutal male intruders sporting guns, white clothes and mask-like faces. Among our favorite characters, Wells, Glass, Octavia, Eric (and also Graham) get taken, leaving Clarke, Bellamy and Luke with those who survived. As the storyline splits between the captured and those left behind we have Clarke, Bellamy and Luke making plans to follow and get their friends back amid the carnage left behind. Those captured find themselves taken to what was once the Pentagon, and are faced with the calm before the storm and their time is quickly ticking down. Will the hunting party be able to get to them in time?

Review: I bumped this down half a star for only one fact: yet again, just as things seem to be going perfectly well, some new obstacle comes along. I mean, I know that’s how plot works, but the show takes this to an extreme that has me so tired, especially when my favorite characters are involved. Anyway, like book 3, this was a bit more fast paced, and there was once again a face to put toward a protagonist. When the white-clothed men showed up I thought we were going to find something similar to the Mountain Men of the TV show, but I was taken by surprise about what actually happened! I don’t want to spoil it, but trust me, it’s really weird and takes a surprising turn that had me hooked.

I was glad to see that Glass had a little self-growth in this book, as she’s felt pretty stagnant this series. Wells continued to be a good strong character, dealing with the grief of losing Sasha and his father but also gaining a family in Bellamy and Max. Clarke always stayed true to herself the entire time, and yet she made some mistakes as any 18 year old would do when put through these circumstances. I was glad that they addressed Bellamy’s PTSD, even though after a while it was sort of tossed under the rug, but the timeline within the pages was very short so it’s possible, realistically, that he’ll be dealing with it for years or the rest of his life.

It was a perfect little ending, with “surprising” characters showing that they didn’t need saving and showing just how innovative and powerful they could be on their own because a lot of them had been on their own most of their lives, OR they always had some parent around and were pampered. There was a nice mixture of side characters, Octavia got a little romance, and the ending tied up nicely with a bow (something the show could learn from *coughs*) that had me satisfied and content with the future of my beloved characters!

The 100: Homecoming (#3) by Kass Morgan

Just as a fair warning, this is the 3rd book in a series! There will be some spoilers for previous books in this series!

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Plot: The one-hundred convicts from space have been on earth for about three weeks now. They have a working community, there is romance blooming between Clarke and Bellamy and Wells and Sasha, and, as we learned in the last book, Wells and Bellamy are half-brothers! Things are starting to look up for the hundred until drop ships start falling from the sky, setting fire to the forest and disrupting the calm on the surface of the planet. As we’ve seen, most of the hundred were in jail for petty crimes, and yet, with the arrival of armed guards and Vice Chancellor Rhodes, the peaceful camp gets turned quickly into a prison for those who traveled to earth first. With Rhodes being a general shithead of a human being, he starts a war with the peaceful Earthborns of which Sasha is a part of, and doesn’t believe the convicts when they explain to him that there are violent Earthborns out there as well. Things get heated as Rhodes starts punishing kids for crimes committed on earth, and lives hang in the balance as our main PoV characters each take their own separate yet intwined journey.

Review: My, my, my rating for this book jumped compared to the first two! I’m not sure if it’s because of my frame of mind, or if this series is genuinely getting better. With the arrival of Rhoads and more adults, the hundred now have a physical embodiment of human evil to be their protagonist. Thus far the only protagonist of this novel has been faceless Earthborns and, on the space shuttle, the lack of oxygen. Having guards and adults around propelled the story forward with a momentum that hardly ever let up.

Clarke and Bellamy (#Bellarke forever, according to the Author’s Acknowledgements at the end!) are still going strong. Wells and Sasha are so cute it hurts, and Glass is becoming more tolerable as a narrator, though her single minded obsession with her boyfriend, Luke, is sort of tiring but very reminiscent of typical YA behavior.

One of my favorite things about this series thus far is that every character has stayed true to their characterization. Yes, they’re teenagers so they will grow with each new situation thrust upon them, however, as people I believe we have a default setting imbedded deep inside of us that doesn’t change and Morgan does an amazing job of keeping these characters in line. So many novels, especially series, start to see a slip in characters as it goes on, and yet this one is keeping everyone on an even keel that is unsurprisingly pleasant to read.

There is a sense of finality at the end of this book, but I know there is one more where lots of shit is going to go down, I am sure! I cannot wait to finish this series.

If anyone has read this, wants to read this, or has watched the show, comment below about what you think!

Writing Update #3

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m pretty flighty when it comes to finishing projects. I can and do finish projects but only a first draft. I have a weird psychological, Mozart complex where, while I don’t think my writing is perfect by a long shot, I have SUCH a hard time revising and editing anything I write while doing it on my own. Workshops in college helped a lot. I also find it easier to edit short stories than full manuscripts.

That being said, I have a lot of stress and things to think about over the next 5 weeks. In 5 weeks, I’ll be moving 700 miles away from all of my friends and family (yahoo! on the family bit) and living completely on my own away from the cushion of college for the first time. Because of that, and many other psychological ticks that I have, I am finding it very hard/impossible to revise my full manuscript as planned. I have it all printed, I have ideas and notes written all over the place…I just can’t do it right now. Not on my own, at least.

So, to push through any dumb writer’s block my mind is tricking my into thinking I have, I am going to polish off some short stories I’ve written during college and also new ones since I graduated a year and a half ago, and get them submission ready. I want to submit to magazines and journals as much as I can until something gets picked up and I can finally accomplish something that I’ve been dying to do since I was 12 years old: call myself a PUBLISHED author. I feel like it will do a great deal for my mental state and self-esteem when it comes to my writing ability as well. (My writing ability, in my eyes, has greatly waned since I graduated, as I haven’t written anything of significance since then, unable to focus on a single project on top of other life stresses.)

I hope this will work out for me, and I cannot wait to post everywhere across social media when I officially get published. The story I’m working on right now is titled “The Blue Plains of Oblivion” and it is a love story (star-crossed lovers style) in a surreal setting!

Stealing Time by KJ Waters

To start I just want to say that I was sent this book for free for an honest review from Indie Book Connector. Thank you for sending it to me!

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3/5)

Plot: The reader is put in the midst of the 2004 Hurricane Charley in Florida. We meet the main characters of the story, Ronnie, her best friend Steph, and her boyfriend, Jeremy. In the middle of the storm, Ronnie goes to see Jeremy at his super secret science lab for a birthday evening in safety. However, she passes out in the bathroom and wakes up in 1752 in the body of seventeen-year-old Regina Ingram. The rest of the book follows Ronnie in 1752 trying to get back home and accidentally being accused of witchcraft, as well as with Steph back in Florida trying to survive the storm. The biggest catch: the 1752 that Ronnie ended up in is not the same one from our history books; it reads more like a parallel universe that is similar, but with some major differences: aka the hanging of witches frequently and something called a “time-slip” which is a big mystery that takes place over the course of the novel.

Review: I always review a book in its entirety, from cover to cover and everything in between. Let’s start with the plot itself. The plot, not only just time-travel, but time-travel into another body, was so unique. It pulled me in right away! I thoroughly enjoyed following Ronnie through 1752. On the other hand, I felt that Steph’s chapters were unnecessary as I didn’t connect with her as a character and I mostly just skimmed her chapters to get to Ronnie’s chapters. (Another note, Jeremy has 2 separate chapter in this that I felt gave away too much to the reader (remember, your readers are smart, you don’t have to dumb stuff down for them!) and I really hated reading them and found them unnecessary to the plot.)

It took me a long time to read this book, mostly because of the formatting/editing errors. There were so many inconsistencies with punctuation and so much wrong with the formatting of dialogue that it pulled me out of the story more often than not. The same can be said for Steph’s accent/slang which felt extremely forced, and having to read all of Mathias’s dialogue with a written accent was more distracting than helpful. (I know that there was sort of a reason for this, but I still feel that, as a reader, I could have been introduced to his accent in a different way.) I rarely write in books, but I marked all of the punctuation and grammar errors while I read this one. All of these little things took away from the story and stars out of the rating; even if independently published, I expect a polished manuscript. I felt as if I were reading a lightly edited first draft. However, as stated above, the storyline was super intriguing and I loved every minute of it. I just wish the author had gone through a bit more content editing to really bring her writing up from mediocre to a fluid personal style, and also to catch all of the errors.

I really connected to Ronnie even though she was a bit older than me and had a very different life experience than me. I felt like the other characters were either thought about too little or too much, which made them inconsistent, but I still found them entertaining to read. (AKA I totally loathed Jeremy through the entire book, but especially after his second lone chapter!) I felt the ending lacking, but I can see that it will easily lead to the rest of a series and if the other books are a bit more polished, I would be interested to read them to see if some of my suspicions about the time-travel are true or not!

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

51mithvpyvl-_sx326_bo1204203200_NOTE: I’ve decided to change up how I write reviews. I noticed that I was writing the sort of review that I would like to read…I only read reviews AFTER I’ve read the book, just to see what other people think. I know most people read reviews to see whether or not they like the book and then they will read it. So I’m going to add a bit more about the book and less criticism and I hope you all enjoy what I’ve changed!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)

Plot: 

The premise of this story is about Irish immigration to America and how that was viewed and how it happened in the years following WWII. I don’t think it explicitly tells what year it takes place, but maybe ’49 or ’50 would be my guess. We’re introduced to Eilis Lacey, who is a young woman in a small town in Ireland. We learn immediately that she is intelligent and a whiz with numbers. She had ambitions to become a bookkeeper. With the nudging of her older sister, Rose, and the help of a priest in Brooklyn, Eilis gets a job and a room in a house in Brooklyn and suddenly finds herself in America. Once there, she has to deal with a new job, her house full of Irish women, and, naturally, a love interest is introduced, an Italian boy named Tony. You continue to follow Eilis through her life as she goes through a thoroughly life-changing experience due to her transition to America.

Review: 

If we’re being honest, I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I knew it was going to be a movie! I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. I knew the gist of what it was about: “Irish girl goes to America and struggles a little” but that was about it. I was wanting to read a historical fiction novel for about a week and picked this one up. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it took a little while to get into the writing style. The sentences were often long and had many commas you had to keep track of. After a while I easily followed it, but it took a while to get into.

I enjoyed Eilis as a character, though she felt almost transparent in the book. She didn’t often make her own choices and often just let life pull her along on the jet current…I guess that seems pretty realistic due to her upbringing and the time period, but, if I’m being honest, I was thoroughly bored with this book until Tony, the love interest, was introduced. The book was very monotonous, going through very intense details about the simplest of things, day in and day out for Eilis. I should have expected it, but it still threw me off a little. The story definitely picked up once Tony was introduced. There was excitement that cut through the monotony of life and I was entertained until the last page from there.

I’m not sure if Eilis does much character growth besides becoming a bit more “American”–aka confident in herself physically and mentally and holding herself a little more responsible for her decisions. She does a lot of overthinking in the story, which I could relate to and which you don’t read about often, so that was interesting to read about.

I think that Colm Tóibín is a highly detailed writer and obviously did a lot of research about what he was writing about, but the book definitely lagged a bit for me in the first half. Part of that may have been the lack of chapters, so I never felt like I could pause and catch my breath. However, I did enjoy reading this and I truly felt like I had been transported back in time while I was reading it, especially in the second half.

It is a short book that I highly recommend reading all in one sitting, or as close to one sitting as possible.

The 100 by Kass Morgan

This is a general statement for most of my reviews, if not specified otherwise: the review will be spoiler free until the designated SPOILERS section at the end! Read that at your own peril if you have not yet read this novel!

RATING

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)

WRITING

The writing within this was pretty good. It was standard YA writing, with a lot of vague terms not really explained. I think there’s two sides to an “argument” about writing that I’ve been seeing a lot of. On one side, it’s like “YA books are really not great at world building, they just vaguely throw ideas at you but never explain them” and then on the other hand it’s like, “YA books (and books in general these days) dumb down and think for their readers, not giving them enough credit”. It’s difficult for me to choose a side to this, specifically when addressed toward The 100 since I’ve been watching the TV show. The books and show are very different, almost to the point where the only similarities are a few of the character names and the fact that 100 criminals are sent to earth to see if it’s inhabitable. That’s where the similarities end, but I feel like without the show, the lack of description of setting would be a hindrance in fully understanding the two very separate worlds within this book series.

I like how it’s told from multiple PoVs, and most of the time each narrative character appears to have their own personality, but sometimes the PoV changes don’t really feel like changes in narrative voice, it just feels like they’re the next character to move the story along. It’s hard for me to really pick out individual personalities for these characters as of yet, and I hope that changes as the series continues onward.

PLOT

The plot is simple and pretty expected. Even without watching the TV show, I could have seen pretty much everything happening. That’s okay though, I’m not reading this series to have my mind blown. The plot is thus: the human race has a small remaining population living in a life-sustaining space station after a nuclear war destroyed Earth 300 years previous. As the space station starts to fail, they have no choice but to see if they can move to Earth so they send down 100 teenage criminals to see if it’s safe. That’s just about all that happens throughout the entire first book. It takes place over 21 days and has many flashbacks which I usually don’t like, but for some reason I was okay with it in this context. The plot was also different enough from the TV show that the more I read the easier it was for me to separate the two of them.

CHARACTERS

The main characters are: Clarke, Bellamy, Wells and Glass. I would be lying if I said I didn’t start reading this series just because I heard that Clarke and Bellamy have some romance going on. I was also curious to see what other differences there were.

Clarke is a half-trained physician whose parents were killed for treasonous acts. Once she goes to Earth, she doesn’t take up a leadership role except as a medical person. Her main storyline follows closely to her relationship/feelings toward Wells and her attachment to her best friend, Thalia who was injured during the drop ship launch.

Bellamy got on the drop ship the same way as in the show: he puts on a guard uniform and shoots the Chancellor to get on the ship with his sister. That’s where the similarities seem to end to the TV show. His entire focus is on Octavia, his sister, and he becomes the camp’s hunter, not their leader. He also spends a lot of time thinking about girls and most of his chapters ended with him thinking about girls in sexual ways which made me sort of unhappy with his character, but hopefully that’ll change.

Wells is the one character who takes the leadership role once the kids are on Earth again. He’s not the greatest at it, but he’s not bad at it either. He did a lot of stupid things to get onto the drop ship, primarily focused on Clarke. His entire storyline is surrounding Clarke, like a planet around a sun. This is a common trope in YA books, and usually it’s a girl doing dumb shit to get a guy, but this time it’s swapped, but that doesn’t make it any less aggravating to read.

Glass is the only connection the reader has to the space station. She’s from the “rich” station and is dating under her “class”. Unlike the link to space in the show (Raven), Glass has no discernible talents and reads basically just like someone put into the book to show how life in space is/was and so that the reader isn’t blind to what’s happening in the station like the kids on the ground are. I don’t hate her as a character, but I don’t love her either. Like Wells, her entire storyline revolves around a love interest.

GENERAL THOUGHTS

This was about what I expected, though there is more romance than I anticipated. It’s very quick to read and I am interested to see how differently the book plot moves in comparison to the TV show.

It’s really hard not to search for the TV characters in this book. I’m missing Raven and Murphy and Sinclaire and heck, even Kane and Abby who are not my favorite characters. I can see Murphy in Graham, but that’s about it. It’s inevitable I guess, but I still feel like I like he show more, but that’s most likely because I watched it first and therefore am biased toward those characters.

Otherwise, I feel like this plot could be really interesting and I wish I had read the books before I watched the show because I have a feeling I would have enjoyed them so much more. Again, like in Starflight/Starfall I would consider this sci-fi “lite”.

Below is a section of blatant spoilers where I gush about certain events in the book! Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled to bits!

!!!!SPOILERS!!!!

Wells doesn’t die right away! Bellamy and Clarke kiss!

That’s…that’s all I’ve got.

 

 

Starfall by Melissa Landers

This is just a small warning: since this is the second book in a series, it is possible there are a few spoilers for the first book in this review before the designated SPOILERS section at the end! Read at your own peril.

RATING

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)

WRITING

I actually felt like the writing for this book was better than the first. There weren’t any weirdly  worded sentences until about the last 30 pages of the book. Near the end, it felt like some of the sentences, especially in Kane’s point of view, were missing important nouns and verbs and it felt suddenly sloppy. I don’t think it was done intentionally to reflect his situation at the time, since it happened a few times in Cassia’s chapters as well. Other than that, the writing felt just a notch better than the first, as if the author got a bit more comfortable in writing these characters in this world.

However, like the first, I felt as if the settings got washed out and the main focus was the characters. As much as I love getting such an in depth look at characters, I found the description of setting lacking and generally imagined these characters doing these things in general bland settings because I couldn’t really picture anything vividly. The books, and the previous one, were both short, and definitely could have used another ten pages to fully flesh out the world created because I was so engaged in the characters that I really wanted to know all about this new world they were living in.

PLOT

Looking back, I think I liked this plot more than the first book. It was a little more driven with a full story arc with a few offshoot subplots, and it wasn’t as messily thrown together. Also, unlike in Starflight, the plots weren’t so ridiculously easily taken care of. Yes, the good guys always win out in the end, but there was a bit more skill put into the fabric of the plots of Starfall and the addition of new characters really rounded out the array of people who could take part in the subplots.

There is no surprise that a main plot is Cassia returning home and helping her people; it says so on the jacket. That meant that this book follows her and Kane rather than Doran and Solara. At first I was apprehensive about that, but as it went on, I actually found myself liking these characters and the whole novel’s idea more intriguing than expected. Doran and Solara had an entire book, and their struggles would have been dull to read about since they basically had their big life changes in Starflight. 

There was a twist at the end of this in the same way as Gage was the twist at the end of Starflight, however I didn’t see this one coming like…at all! I was completely surprised and I think that’s really what boosted this up to four stars. Whereas the first book was pretty predictable, Starfall actually managed to catch me off guard and I was thoroughly pleased with that fact.

CHARACTERS

As stated before, I wasn’t a fan of Kane or Cassia in the first book. I was interested in their on-again-off-again relationship, but not enough to think I wanted to read a book about them. So when this started, I don’t think I even tried to enjoy the first few chapters, but then shit got real with the Daeva and I was suddenly hooked. These characters were a bit more atypical of the usual YA main characters-e.i. Solara and Doran-and I found myself completely invest in their world.

Kane, was impulsive and brash but not in a “bad boy” trope kind of way. He had layers, and it was cool to see those layers push back and really give him development that we didn’t see in Starflight. He has a big storyline push at the climax of this book, and that was really terrible and interesting and brought this book up to four stars for me. The last thing I expected was for this character in which I didn’t really see much interesting in the first book suddenly become someone I was dying to keep reading about.

Cassia, although she is teenage (ish? I think she’s 19 in this book if I’m not mistaken) royalty, she does not strike me as a reader as that “chosen one” who will save the world. At first it’s played up that she may be, but that idea/trope is quickly squashed. Her see-sawing feelings about Kane were the only thing that really bothered me about her point of view. I almost didn’t want them to end up together (I’m sorry that’s sort of a spoiler but kind of inevitable even from within the pages of Starflight) and for her to end up with someone else, but alas it was fixed and I didn’t hate the idea at the close of the tale. It was interesting to see the differences in her thinking and actions when she was on her planet and when she was on the Banshee.

Renny annoyed me a bit in this book, just because I wanted to really figure out his thoughts about Arabella and I just…didn’t get that need satisfied. His actions sometimes felt out of place, but in the end he was still a great captain and he kept his family (his crew) safe. I did find myself liking him moreso in the first book but he had his moments in this book.

Solara and Doran had their fifteen minutes of fame in book one, and their story was complete. It was nice to actually have them being background characters. I know if they had been the main characters in a second book, their relationship would probably have been a main point and there would have been drama to break them up and get them back together. So, as not a fan of that sort of storyline, I was happy to just see snippets of them being comfortable with each other and their newfound lives.

GENERAL THOUGHTS

I never thought I would give a sequel more stars than the first book, but here we are! I was super glad that I picked up this series. It was a little cliche, but all in all it was a fun read and I look forward to reading more of Melissa Landers’ books to see what else she comes up with. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes YA and sci-fi, as it’s very much “sci-fi lite” and it’s easy to follow. It would probably be a good introductory book for someone wanting to see if they like sci-fi and novels that generally take place in space with spaceships and the like. I read them quickly and enjoyed them enough, though I’m not sure if I’ll ever reread them, but that’s okay. I am only one person, I can’t exactly reread every book in the world!

Below is a section of blatant spoilers where I gush about certain events in the book! Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled to bits!

!!!!SPOILERS!!!!

Not many things to gush about here. I have to say that Kane’s introduction to the sickness/drug was not at all expected. It came out of left field and the very dark turn the story took from his PoV really drove the ending of the story for me. I mean, people cutting themselves for other people’s amusement? Futuristic gladiator battles? People lost fingers! It was so intense.

I had a feeling General Jordan was the mole from the first time he spoke to Cassia in the cell, aka his introduction. I first thought he was the enemy in the way I read that scene, so I was far from surprised when he was labeled the rebel mole. I wasn’t expecting Kane’s mom to be the rebel commander, so that was a nice touch of feminism there.