Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Finishing up the Red Rising series today over at Tynga’s Reviews! You don’t want to miss these phenomenally great books!




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Golden Son by Pierce Brown

This week I’m covering the second in the Red Rising series, Golden Son, over at Tynga’s Reviews to present a new review of this highly addictive book.



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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

51j8ClOJzoL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Though it took John Green six years to write and complete this book, it was worth the wait! Besides my favorite The Fault in Our Stars, this is a close second for me in the beauty of writing and capturing a unique story in such a realistic way.

Aza Holmes has always been kind of stuck in her own head. She has severe anxiety and has been seeing a therapist for years to try different ways of fixing it. Her worst fear is to catch a quick-acting deadly infectious bacteria called C. diff. from, well, anything. She’s obsessed with her body being made up of different bacteria, and consequently suffering with an identity crisis. Is she the bacteria or the bacteria really her? Because of this incessant internal monologue, Aza also feels she’s a sidekick to her best friend Daisy’s life story. And Daisy wants to find the missing billionaire, whose son Davis used to be friends with Aza at Sad Camp, the grief camp for people who’ve lost a parent (Aza’s father and Davis’s mom). If they find him, they could win a hundred thousand dollars, which could help them attend a good college. Daisy pushes Aza to use her past friendship to talk with Davis, and Aza finds him one of the few people who can almost see inside her head, which is terrifying. He’s lonely and has a way with words. Though Aza tries hard, her anxiety gets worse and unfortunately it coincides with her new relationship with Davis and her uncertain best friendship with Daisy, who’s involved with her own new boyfriend. Aza feels like she’s in an ever-tightening noose of her thoughts and nothing can set her free.

This is kind of a semi-mystery as Aza and Daisy are trying to figure out what happened to Davis’s missing father. There seems to be a parallel in thinking between Aza and his father, making her able to associate her own feelings with ones he might have been having before his disappearance. Aza also has an usual relationship with Davis’s younger brother Noah; maybe because she’s different, she comes across as not threatening to Noah allowing him to open up to her about his own vulnerable feelings. This novel defines the perspective of vulnerability rather well with that constant feeling of being unsure and the thought spiral that can occur. One of the biggest strengths is how it illustrates mental illness with particular accuracy and sensitivity. You’ll see that in some of the quotes below. There is a bit of romance, a bit of teen invincibility, and a big element of the importance of friendship.

Favorite quotes:

turtles all the way down quote

“The whole problem with boys is that ninety-nine percent of them are, like, okay. If you could dress and hygiene them properly, and make them stand up straight and listen to you and not be dumbasses, they’d be totally acceptable.”

“One of the challenges with pain–physical or psychic–is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can’t be represented the way a table or a body can. In some ways, pain is the opposite of language . . . ‘The merest schoolgirl, when she falls in love, has Shakespeare or Keats to speak her mind for her; but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.’ And we’re such language-based creatures that to some extent we cannot know what we cannot name. And so we assume it isn’t real. We refer to it with catch-all terms, like crazy or chronic pain, terms that both ostracize and minimize. The term chronic pain captures nothing of the grinding, constant, ceaseless, inescapable hurt. And the term crazy arrives at us with none of the terror and worry you live with. Nor do either of those terms connote the courage people in such pains exemplify, which is why I’d ask you to frame your mental health around a word other than crazy.”

“You feeling scared?”


“Of what?”

“It’s not like that. The sentences doesn’t have, like, an object. I’m just scared.”

“I thought about how everyone always seemed slightly uncomfortable when discussing their fathers in front of me. They always seemed worried I’d be reminded of my fatherlessness, as if I could somehow forget.”

“You are my favorite person. I want to be buried next to you. We’ll have a shared tombstone. It’ll read, ‘Holmesy and Daisy: They did everything together, except the nasty.'”

“It seemed surreal and miraculous to me that so many cars could drive past one another without colliding, and I felt certain that each set of headlights headed my way would inevitably veer into my path.”

24577931._SY540_“I started thinking about turtles all the way down. I was thinking that maybe the old lady and the scientists were both right. Like, the world is billions of years old, and life is a product of nucleotide mutation and everything. But the world is also the stories we tell about it.”

“‘The problem with happy endings is that they’re either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.’

Daisy laughed, ‘As always, Aza ‘And Then Eventually You Die’ Holmes is here to remind you of how the story really ends, with the extinction of our species.’

I laughed, ‘Well, that is the only real ending, though.'”

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Contemporary fiction, Young Adult/Teen


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Stacking the Shelves [249]

new sts

Do you want to know what’s coming up or what else I’ve been reading lately? Check out this week’s Stacking the Shelves over at Tynga’s Reviews!

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Posted by on February 17, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Red Rising by Pierce Brown

51o6CzgXwLL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I read this book two years ago, and was so addicted I made my husband get the audiobooks, and then he found it irresistible too. I can’t say enough how much I LOVED this series! Only, it’s actually kind of hard to write a blog post from an audiobook because there’s not really a way for me to document my notes in the car. (If you suggest voice to text, I tried this. It’s full of things like, “Darrow is rescued by his uncle narrow and a band of rubbles” and “hang hang out wanting”.) Anyway, here’s my inadequate review to the unforgettable drug that is Red Rising.

Deep in the crust of Mars, young Red Helldiver Darrow and his Lambda clan mine for helium-3 to fuel their planet. Just as Darrow believes he’s won the laurel, the award for the most helium-3, and by consequence more food and supplies for his clan, they are denied the laurel–a show that the Golds in power do not play fair but also do not care. His young wife, Eo, convinces him to celebrate anyway, saying she has a surprise for him. Eo leads him to a forest on the surface which is forbidden. When they are caught, Darrow and Eo are both whipped, but when Eo receives her punishment, she sings a song that inspires rebellion and, more dangerously, hope.

Darrow wants to die with her, but instead he is rescued by his Uncle Nerol and a band of rebels known as the Sons of Ares (pronounced “Air-ees”). With the Sons, Darrow is tested and transformed from a Red into a Gold, the highest rank in society. He has been taught, trained, and practically tortured and only survives because of a pit viper bite when he was younger. Once his transformation is thorough, he applies for the Institute, a school for elite Golds who, if they pass, become the Peerless Scarred and lead fleets of ships. Though the test is extremely hard, Darrow achieves a near perfect sore, missing only one question, highly rare among the thousands of Golds that take the exam. Once in the Institute, the students are each chosen by houses. Darrow is chosen by the House of Mars, and these gifted Gold children are forced to endure the Passage, when all initiates are put into rooms two apiece and made to see who will survive. Darrow must choose between life and furthering rebellion and killing his new friend’s twin brother or death and the death of his wife’s sacrifice.

Next comes the true test of the Institute, who will learn the skills of conquest that are so honored in Gold history and thereby preserve their society? It is one giant war. As Golds are turned into lowColors and forced to compete for supplies, food, shelter, allies. A battle of houses against houses. A battle of survival. And Darrow must win it all or see his wife’s dream turned to ash.

Darrow is a realistic hero. It’s easy to live inside his head and feel sympathy for him. However, it’s hard to predict his choices. This combined with the rich worldbuilding and other larger-than-life characters, makes for an utterly compelling, grisly, yet poetic tale of adventure, love, loyalty, and war. I still can’t find the words for loving such a crass and untouchable character as Sevro, and Mustang is simply the best noble heroine. She’s my inspiration, and I always want to understand her more, get in her head. I also love Pax, Mustang’s right hand man, and am devastated every time I read this book. Though I’ve read the trilogy (not the beginning of the new series yet!), this one is always my most favorite, possibly because it really is a giant RISK game and it is unfathomable to me how Darrow does it every time. This would be an epic film, the image of Mustang at the end with the Jackal? Priceless.

Teens who loved The Hunger Games can pick up this next logical young adult step and be even more hooked. Bloodydamn, is it GOOD!

Note: Sometimes this is considered YA, but mostly it is adult.


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