Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday Screen Time #11: Mostly mediocre


Hi, everyone! I had the chance to see a few movies this week, but I'm sad to report they were pretty mediocre. Fortunately, nothing was terrible and I even kind of liked some of them! I went to the theater to see The Death Cure, watched a movie on Amazon Prime, and rented two blu rays via Netflix DVD (yes, that still exists). Hopefully next week is move of a 5 star week!


THIS WEEK IN FILM


Maze Runner: The Death Cure - I don't know why I went to the theater expecting to actually like this movie. I really enjoyed The Maze Runner, didn't care for The Scorch Trials, and this was more of the same. It deviates a crazy amount from the source material, which is actually fine since I didn't like the books, but the movie is a little too ridiculous for me. The characters make decisions that aren't logical and some scenes are so over the top dramatic it was hard to watch. It was a mildly entertaining action movie, but I wouldn't watch it again. (2.5/5 stars)

Captain Fantastic - This film has been on my watchlist for quite awhile and it was pretty much what I expected. Captain Fantastic is a quirky kind-of comedy that is a little uncomfortable at times. I had fun watching it and loved the totally inappropriate (but are they?) ways the dad interacted with his army of children. I liked that it made me think a little and kept my attention, but I definitely don't think this is a film many people would love. (3.5/5 stars)

Jigsaw - I watched a few of the Saw films about 8 years ago and I don't remember a single thing about them. After reading some reviews, I think the not remembering contributed to my enjoyment of this movie. It wasn't as gory and gross as I expected and actually explored the characters and their relationships. I liked the overall story, but it definitely had some downfalls. Some loose ends were left untied and the CGI was pretty awful for a recent release. (3/5 stars)

Happy Death Day - Horror and comedy are pretty equal in Happy Death Day. I didn't expect it to be a horror/comedy, so I was pleasantly surprised, since I've found myself enjoying more and more of the genre recently. It's actually pretty interesting that this is just categorized as horror and thriller everywhere I've looked. Let me be the one to tell you: this is a fun horror movie that probably won't leave you sleeping with the lights on. It wasn't perfect and there were some super obvious plot holes and dumb decisions made by the main character, but I'd definitely watch it again! (4/5 stars)



Have you seen either of these? What did you think?
What movies have you watched lately?
Let me know in the comments!
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Title: The Grownup
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publication Date: November 5, 2015
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Pages: 79
Add to Goodreads

A young woman is making a living, faking it as a cut-price psychic working at Spiritual Palms (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side). She makes a decent wage - mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke. Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15-year old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor, built in 1893. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home, and taking possession of the stepson. She has even found trickles of blood on the wall. The young woman doesn't believe in exorcism or the supernatural, but she does see an opportunity to make a lot of money. However when she enters the house for the first time, and meets Miles, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time.... 

I have only read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and it was a book I really enjoyed, so I was hopeful walking into The Grownup. I have heard that her other works aren't as good as Gone Girl, but I still thought I would enjoy this short story. I was wrong. I didn't enjoy a single thing about this book and I really only finished it because it was so short.

This is completely a matter of personal opinion, but I found the story to be unnecessarily crude. Our main character works in a psychic shop that also offers hand job services in the back room. And it felt like the entire first half of the book was just talking about servicing men. This is a subject I tend to avoid in general, but when I am reading a book that is this short, I really don't want to spend half of it talking about sexual acts. I want to get into the story.

Once the story actually started picking up, it was definitely interesting...until the end. You know how in The Return of the King movie it fades to black about five times before the movie is actually over? So you keep thinking it's done, until BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! That's exactly what happened in this story. There was a twist at the end that was simple, nothing outlandish, but a solid end to the story. BUT WAIT! Another twist. Ok, fine, I liked the other one better, but sure, that works. BUT WAIT! There's a twist on the twist! Or is there? Or isn't there? Or....wait, I'm so confused. (In case it wasn't already obvious, the ending completely ruined this book for me.)

Honestly, I wouldn't waste my time picking this up. Yes, you could get through it quickly, but you could also spend that time reading a super awesome book that might become a new favorite. Apologies for the short review, but there is not much to elaborate on with such a short book. It was crude, underwhelming, confusing, and ultimately a big flop.



Monday, February 19, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #175: Books I'm no longer interested in reading


Today's Topic: 
Books I’ve Decided I’m No
Longer Interested In Reading

Hi everyone! Today's topic was so much fun! I decided to go through my Goodreads TBR list and pick out ten books that have been on it so long that I'm not even interested in reading them anymore. Whoops!


City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
The Fever by Megan Abbot
Hungry by H.A. Swain
Legend by Marie Lu



Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Ruins by Dan Wells
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

ARC Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 384
Add to Goodreads

//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy? 

I will admit, I didn't know much about To Kill a Kingdom when I picked it up other than that there was a lot of hype surrounding it. I expected standard YA fare, maybe some instalove, but this book delivered! Say hello to my first five star read of 2018!

Princess Lira is the MC of this story, and she is a siren. More specifically, she's the daughter of the Sea Queen. Her life has been brutal and she has spent her childhood gaining a reputation as a prince killer. When her mother turns her into a human, Lira is forced to live as one of them in order to get close enough to kill Prince Elian.

I loved both these characters so much! In fact, I loved them all. Lira is brutal and strong and amazing and I loved her. I also loved Prince Elian, who was completely not who Lira (or I) expected him to be. I adored the chemistry between these two characters and loved watching them not trusting each other. I love the enemies to lovers trope so much and, although it goes wrong so often, Alexandra Christo wrote it perfectly! Thankfully, no instalove in sight and the romance is written convincingly, even though you know what's going to happen from page one.

One of the things that makes To Kill a Kingdom so great is the incredible cast of secondary characters. The Sea Queen was honestly kind of terrifying in a way that not many villains achieve and I loved it every time the threat of her was near. I thought Elian's crew and Lira's cousin were all well fleshed out, important side characters and I loved them all!

The world building was also fantastic, blending multiple cultures and mythologies seamlessly. I felt like I could picture each new setting in my mind and, following the characters on their journey, I could almost imagine I was with them! The pacing is also great, not at all too slow. It was just enough to keep me interested with some totally crazy action thrown in here and there.

This brings me to the absolutely amazing plot of To Kill a Kingdom! Confession: I've never read a siren story that I really enjoyed. To Kill a Kingdom did sirens the right way. They are fierce and terrifying. I loved following Lira from that undersea world into one that was totally unfamiliar and watching her go from a girl on a murderous mission to one completely different was thrilling! There were real stakes and urgency and I feel like I'm started into fangirl territory.

To Kill a Kingdom was the biggest surprise I've had this year! I was surprised when it showed up in my mailbox and I was surprised when I absolutely loved it! Although I thought it had an absolutely perfect ending, I am a little sad that there won't be a part two. Alexandra Christo has definitely won a space on my autobuy authors list! Whether you're a fan of sirens and mermaids or not, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book!


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Weekly Recap: 2/11 - 2/17


TRACY'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi, everyone! This week has been a little crazy for me, but not in a bad way! Just a lot of running around and doing things. On Tuesday we went to the state fair and walked around A LOT, then on Wednesday we went to Animal Kingdom to get lunch for Valentine's Day. I ended up feeling a bit sick, so the rest of the day was spent trying not to die. On Friday I got to see Black Panther and it was AWESOME! Definitely highly recommended. Unfortunately, all the excitement meant I didn't get very much reading done this week (and I'm sorry for falling down on the commenting back job). Better luck next week, I guess!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

   


THIS WEEK I READ

Nothing read this week!



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was favorite YA couples for Top Ten Tuesday
On Wednesday I did the Valentine's Day book tag
Friday book review of The Cruel Prince
I watched horror, sci-fi, and King T'Challa for Saturday Screen Time


UPCOMING REVIEWS



We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday Screen Time #10: Horror, sci-fi, and King T'Challa


I just realized I haven't done one of these in February and... this might be a long one. I've watched a few things this month, what with all the amazing movies floating around. 


THIS WEEK MONTH IN FILM



The Cloverfield Paradox - When the trailer for this movie came on during the Super Bowl, I sat up so fast I startled my husband. I've been a huge fan of Cloverfield since the first movie and I'm so old now that no one I tried to tell about Paradox knew what I was even talking about. While I do like the answers this one gave about the first movie (kind of?), it was obvious that it hadn't been written as a Cloverfield movie. I love what it adds to the universe, but it's firmly seated at the bottom of this otherwise fantastic franchise. I can't wait to see how Cloverfield 4 ties in! (3.5/5 stars)

It Comes at Night - I knew going in that this wasn't your average horror movie, but I wasn't totally sure what I was in for. It Comes at Night is a movie that leaves you with more questions that you had going it, but also makes you sympathize with everyone involved, even the "bad" guys. It was super slow, but also tense at times and I was constantly wondering what exactly caused the world to go this way. I enjoyed this film, but I do wish there had been a bit more to it. (3/5 stars)

Coco - I know I'm calling the hate train, but I didn't absolutely adore this movie (I didn't love Inside Out either, sue me). I thought that the characters were fun, the world building and animation were both incredible, but I did find the whole thing predictable at times. I also became incredibly frustrated with the character almost getting what he needed and being thwarted. The ending was heartwarming and the movie was enjoyable, but it isn't my favorite Pixar flick. (3.5/5 stars)

Don't Breathe - My second horror movie of the month, I expected Don't Breathe to be absolutely terrifying! I had been told it was one of the scariest movies in years and I refused to watch it without my husband home. While it was incredibly tense and is a fantastic film, it's really more of a thriller than a horror movie. I loved that I wasn't sure who the bad guys were until about halfway through and then I still wasn't quite sure how to feel about certain characters' actions. I'll definitely be adding this to my blu ray shelf! (4/5 stars)

The Mountain Between Us - I had seen a trailer for this, but I really didn't know a ton about it except that it was led by two incredible actors. It's probably obvious that a movie about two people stuck on a mountain is a little slow, but I still really enjoyed it. I loved the way the characters depended on each other in their desperation and the ending was my favorite part! Oh, and of course I loved the dog. (3.5/5 stars)

Black Panther - Rating Marvel movies is SO HARD because I love so many of them, but even though I've ranked a few of them 5 stars, there are still some 5 star movies that I love more than others. Black Panther absolutely ranks near the top. I loved T'Challa so much in Civil War! I couldn't wait to learn more of his story and see him become king of Wakanda. I knew I was going to love this, but I didn't realize how much I'd love almost every part of it. The set design, the story, the villain, and Shuri! I cannot wait to see all of these characters again and to own this in 4k! (5/5 stars)



Have you seen either of these? What did you think?
What movies have you watched lately?
Let me know in the comments!
Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Author: Holly Black
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 384
Add to Goodreads


Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him--and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

I'll be honest, I had no intention of reading The Cruel Prince. I saw all the hype, I saw the ARCs circulating, and I really didn't think I'll read it. It's not that I don't like Holly Black, I just... had no desire to read her books? But then I had an Audible credit and then everyone told me how incredible this book was and I finally gave in. Halfway through I bought the physical copy so I could read more quickly and here I am with the ARC, the B&N edition, and the Owlcrate edition on the way. What can I say?

Jude is at the center of this story. As a child, Jude is ripped out of the human world, along with her sisters, when her parents are murdered. Madoc, her older sister's biological father and her parents' murderer takes them to live in the faerie world. There she is despised by the fey for being human, and Prince Cardan is the worst of the offenders. He and his friends make Jude's life miserable, causing her to find way to gain power over them, which obviously makes her a total badass. I loved Jude so much! I sympathized with her (how could you not?) and rooted for her to gain the advantage over the fey who looked down on her. And vengeance, of course. I loved that she had suffered such a traumatic past and was still strong, choosing to make her own path instead of following the one she was placed on.

I also loved that I was never quite sure which of the characters was trustworthy. You see, although the fey cannot lie, they can certainly be deceptive, and I was kept guessing who was truly good throughout most of the book. There were some truly despicable characters that were obviously pure evil, but Cardan (the Cruel Prince?) was a mystery to me from the beginning. He's arrogant and just plain mean, but there's also something about him that made me wonder if there was more to his story. I've seen a lot of reviews with people fangirling over Cardan and going on and on about how incredible he is. I'm not quite there yet, but I can't wait to learn more about him in book two!

The story, although at times predictable, was a pretty wild ride! There was a bit of a lag during some of the world building, but I was never bored. I loved learning all about the faerie world and even found the politics intriguing. Holly Black certainly knows how to set a mood. The Cruel Prince felt both dark and magical and a little dangerous. She also knows how to deliver the twists! Like I said, some things were a little predictable, but there were also several things I didn't see coming.

The second half(?) of The Cruel Prince is where things really get dark. While the beginning is a bit slow (thank goodness I listened to the audio of that half!), things get brutal later on. I was shocked at some of the things that Jude did to protect herself, her family, and those she was loyal to. (Have I mentioned what a great character she is?) There were shocking moments, heartbreaking moments, and then it ended and I immediately wanted to grab book two.

This year has been disappointing read after disappointing read, making The Cruel Prince a breath of fresh air! It wasn't perfect, but I did love it enough to grab a few editions and put book two on my TBR! I definitely recommend The Cruel Prince if you love fantasy that's a bit dark and twisted and brutal.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Valentine's Day Book Tag

Happy Valentine's Day (or anti-Valentine's Day) to everyone! I hope you have some awesome plans (or not?) to make today extra special! No matter how you're celebrating today, we can all agree that books hold a special place in our hearts. They're one of my great loves, so it only makes sense that I'm doing the Valentine's Day book tag! I found this tag over at The Sassy Geek!


STANDALONE BOOK YOU LOVE


Am I allowed to talk about my love for this book yet? Because I LOVED it! While I'm a little sad it isn't a series, I feel like it's pretty much perfect the way it is.


DYSTOPIAN BOOK YOU LOVE


This book was so unique and so mind blowing, I can't believe it doesn't have more of a following! Now that I think about it, I really need to read book three soon...


A BOOK THAT YOU LOVE BUT NO
ONE ELSE TALKS ABOUT


Where is the hype for this duology?? I love Phantom of the Opera and I LOVE this book so much! It is such a fantastic story and unique retelling of an old favorite. More people need to read this book!


FAVORITE BOOK COUPLE


I'm going with my favorite couple that didn't happen, Alina and the Darkling. They would've been perfect and I'll never stop shipping them!


A BOOK THAT OTHER PEOPLE LOVE
BUT YOU HAVEN'T READ YET


ONE DAY I'll read this book! I know everyone on the planet loves it... I just haven't gotten around to it and I'm kind of waiting for the series to be complete before I start!


A BOOK WITH RED ON THE COVER


Oh look! Cruel Beauty, one of the most under-appreciated retellings in the YA world. I love Rosamund Hodge so much, and this world she created is incredible!


A BOOK WITH PINK ON THE COVER


I think this might be the only pink book in my entire read list... Whoops! The fact that I don't read much contemporary probably has something to do with it. I loved this book, even though it didn't feature much of Tarver and Lilac.


YOU ARE GIVEN A BOX OF CHOCOLATES. WHAT BOOK BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND GAVE THEM TO YOU?


I'm going with Morpheus because there would probably be some elaborate scheme and beautiful words involved on top of the chocolate. To be honest though, I don't really care WHO gives me the chocolate as long as I get chocolate.


YOU ARE SINGLE ON VALENTINE'S DAY. WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU READ? WHAT TV SHOW WOULD YOU WATCH? WHAT MOVIE WOULD YOU WATCH?

  

Hmmmm. I think if I was single on Valentine's Day (and was sad about it), I'd read Harry Potter, because that's what I read when I'm sad. I'd watch Gossip Girl and Tinker Bell because, again, those are the things I watch when I'm sad (or sick).


YOU ARE IN THE BOOKSTORE. ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU GET SHOT WITH AN ARROW BY CUPID. WHAT
NEW RELEASE WILL YOU LOVE? 


So this is kind of a weird question so I'm going to give a weird answer. I actually really didn't like Shadowsong, so I'm going to say Cupid's arrow would make me love it as much as I loved Wintersong!
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #174: Favorite YA couples


Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Favorite Couples In YA

Happy almost Valentine's Day, everyone! I hope you all have amazing plans, whether it's a romantic date or cuddling up with your favorite literary couple. For today's freebie I decided to share ten of my favorite couples from YA books!


Feyre & Rhysand | A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Cath & Jest | Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Isobel & Varen | Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Alina & The Darkling | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Maya & Amar | The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi



Lilac & Tarver | These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Mara & Noah | The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Alyssa & Morpheus | Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Kestrel & Arin | The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Liesl & The Goblin King | Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Weekly Recap: 2/4 - 2/10


TRACY'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi, everyone! It's just me this week, as MC is off doing exciting things! My week has been hectic, although it doesn't feel like I've accomplished much... On Sunday I went to a friend's house for the Super Bowl, where I was bribed to stay via homemade cookies. Afterwards I rushed home to watch Cloverfield: Paradox, but more on that next week! On Tuesday we took some friends to Disney for a special event - their first trip since 1974! It was so exciting to show them all the changes and I can't wait to take them to Animal Kingdom in April! I also did something I never thought I'd do this week - completed a 9k! I didn't run the entire thing, but I finished and my medal should be coming soon. All of that, and I actually got some reading done, so hurray!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

   


THIS WEEK I READ

 



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Monday ARC review of Shadowsong
The topic was books on my TBR the longest for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday ARC review of Unearthed
On Friday I shared my list of best & worst retellings


UPCOMING REVIEWS



We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, February 9, 2018

Retellings: The best and worst

As you probably know if you've been around the blog for awhile, I ADORE retellings! While I mostly enjoy all of the ones I read, there are some that definitely stand out as the most incredible and others that, well, kind of suck. Today I want to share with you the best and worst of the retellings I've read over the last few years!


THE BEST


AND I DARKEN - I've raved about this book a lot to my friends and on the blog! All I ever knew of Vlad the Impaler was Dracula, which was also a retelling, I guess. And I Darken took a story I knew very little about and told it with a female MC who is so ruthless and amazing that I really can't get enough! (5/5 stars | Review)

HEARTLESS - One of the best Alice in Wonderland retellings I've read, while having absolutely nothing to do with Alice. I was skeptical when I heard about this Queen of Hearts story, especially considering the depictions I'd seen of her, compliments of Disney. But Marissa Meyer made her such a sympathetic character with a heartbreaking romance that I ended up adoring! (5/5 stars | Review)

NEVER NEVER - Another story retold from the villain's POV, Never Never made me care about Hook in a way that only Once Upon a Time had previously. Of course, Peter Pan also played a big role, but seeing it from a different perspective made it brand new. I loved reading his story from start to finish and kind of wanted to cry when it was over! (5/5 stars | Review)

SPLINTERED - The second Alice retelling on my list is actually about Alyssa, the granddaughter of Alice, and it has such a unique vibe! I loved this entire series and I loved A.G. Howard's take on Wonderland itself. It's a little bit gothic, extremely artistic, and has everyone's favorite blue caterpillar, but with an amazing twist! (5/5 stars | Review)


THE WORST


BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE - Man, this one pains me! I loved Rosamund Hodge's first series, but Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, which was meant to be a Romeo and Juliet retelling, was just hard to read. It was super convoluted and confusing and left me not caring a whole lot about the Romeo or Juliet characters. I'm definitely giving her another chance with book two in the series, though! (3/5 stars | Review)

FLAME IN THE MIST - I know that everyone and their mother loved this book, but I didn't and it is NOT a Mulan retelling by any stretch of the imagination! The romance was super weird, the main character did nothing to impress me, and again, the "retelling" part of this retelling was nowhere to be seen. (2/5 stars | Review)

HUNTED - Yikes, this retelling was a mess. I fully expected to love it based on the author and the fact that it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it was slow and made the Beast even more of an unlikeable character.  It was also the first time a BatB retelling felt Stockholm Syndrome-y to me. (1.5 stars | Review)

REIGN OF SHADOWS - In this Rapunzel retelling, the main character is a total badass who happens to be blind. Unfortunately, the book did next to nothing to show that she was blind, instead giving her magical sonar powers (?) that were never explained instead of showing how she was a badass on her own. (2/5 stars | Review)



Have you read any of these?
Which retellings are your favorites and least favorites? 
Let me know in the comments!
Thursday, February 8, 2018

ARC Review: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Title: Unearthed (Unearthed #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 284
Add to Goodreads


When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

Jules and Amelia have come to Gaia for very different reasons. They have opposing opinions, histories, and mindsets, yet they find themselves stranded on Gaia with only each other to rely upon. They must navigate an Undying temple, trying to decipher the message left for humans by an ancient alien race. Their lives, and the lives of everyone on earth, are in jeopardy as Jules and Amelia discover a horrifying secret.

Gah, I wanted to love this book so much. I was in a super sci-fi mood when I picked it up, and there has been a ton of hype surrounding this book, so I was really hopeful. Unfortunately, it let me down for a couple different reasons.

First of all, there was absolutely HORRIBLE instalove in this book. [Insert scream of frustration here.] Jules and Amelia were stuck on a different planet in another galaxy, with a limited supply of oxygen that would probably run out before they could get rescued, while being chased by a group of hired guns through an Indiana Jones-style temple full of deadly booby traps. Oh, and the entire human race might be destroyed if they fail. But what are they thinking about? How dreamy the other person is. Ugh. I could maybe have gotten past some of their attraction if it had been just that - ATTRACTION - but they were practically obsessed with each other after only one day. Some of the things they thought about each other were absolutely cringe-worthy. I was constantly rolling my eyes.

Another thing that bothered me is something that I really don't think should have been an issue. The story was told in alternating perspectives of Jules and Amelia. I don't know for certain, but I am assuming that each character was written by one of the authors. I know that is the way they handled the writing in their other series. But I could not tell the perspectives apart! That sounds absurd because they were written by different people, but there were multiple times when I had to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to remember who's perspective I was reading. There is no way that should have happened when the writing was coming from two different people.

The one thing that I really did enjoy about this book was the alien plot line. Despite the problems I was having as I was reading, I was determined to press on because I really wanted to learn more about the Undying. And I have to say, I am so glad I finished this book. It will not be one of my top reads of the year, but it definitely wins an award for a really interesting story. I was really impressed with the Undying race and the revelations that developed towards the end of the book.

If you are interested in sci-fi, and particularly in stories with aliens, I would suggest giving this book a try. If you don't mind some romantic distractions in your books, you might not have as many issues as I did. I was quite disappointed with how a lot of the book was handled, but I am glad that I read it. I haven't decided yet if I will continue on with the series. I might wait until a synopsis for book two is out to make my decision. For now, I would give this book about 2.75 stars. It wasn't a bad read, but it was lacking a few things that would have made it a true 3 star read for me.