Saturday, August 27, 2016

Alien Love Story | A. K. Dawson

Alien Love Story by [Dawson, AK]
*This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Dan, an orphan who lives with his grandmother, has suffered migraines since the day his family was taken from him. He can't do much socially because of the pain. One day, when he attempts to skateboard, he finds himself on his back with another migraine. Then, he meets a girl digging for food in a dumpster and realizes after that, his migraine was gone. The girl looks weird, she has huge eyes, but he must find out more about her and why she helps his headaches. Before long, he's in love.


By now, you know that I don't like love stories. When the author approached me with this book, I (hopefully politely) asked him to re-read my review policy. He insisted he read it and promised me it would be worthwhile, that it wasn't a regular love story. He was right. 

This was not the kind of story I was expecting. The fact that everything was from Dan's perspective really helped. It kept me in a state of just-enough-information. It's also adorable how much of his thought process is dedicated to his mystery girl, even though she may not exist. After all, why would any sane person believe that aliens exist and experiment on humans? Or believe that he has telepathic abilities?

The book was a pretty fast-paced read, which makes sense given that it's 125 pages. I felt like it ended abruptly, but in a good way, if that makes sense. I got to the end of the book and thought "I need to know more!" Despite the abrupt ending it is an endearingly optimistic story about a young boy in love. I give it 4 hoots and recommend you pick it up.


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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Calendar Book Tag

Calendar, Owl drawing, Desk calendar, CD calendar, Monthly calendar, Cute Owl calendar, Cute Kids calendar, Printable calendar DOWNLOAD

Hello everyone! Once again I'm doing a book tag that I found on BookTube. This time it's from BooksAndOtherNerdyThings. While I was not tagged, I kinda liked this one and decided to join in!

January: New Years: A new book coming out that you are greatly anticipating.

I don't actually know that it will be released this year, but TwoKinds author, Tom Fischbach, recently had preview copies of his book The Art and Evolution of TwoKinds available at Comic Con (someday I'll get to go to Comic Con!) While I haven't been a fan of his since the beginning, I have reread the comic several times and have an appreciation for how his art has developed over the years. 

February: Leap Year: A book or series that you would like to skip, and refuse to read.

I know I love high fantasy. I know I love books about dragons, but I will not be reading the Game of Thrones Series. Possibly ever. What's the point when all the good characters get killed off? When, even when I don't know the characters, I want to smack so many of them. Plus, I don't have a good history with really long books. I had to force myself to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So, I will not be reading any of these books. 

NOPE. 12 Charts Only Game Of Thrones Fans Will Understand:

March: St Patricks Day: Favorite book set in the countryside or a rural area?

I gotta give this one to a childhood favorite of mine: Little House on the Prairie. It was one of the first books that made me interested in an entire series. Plus, it doesn't get much more rural. 

April: April Fool’s: A book that had a story that tricked you into thinking it was going one way, but ended up going somewhere else.

I'll admit, there have been a handful of books that had major surprises for me or kept me guessing, but I'll give this one to Cinder because I thought it was just going to be a boring, lovey-dovey fairy tale remake. It ended up being an incredibly interesting story about cyborg rights, plagues, and aliens!

Cinder book cover.jpg

May: Mothers Day: A book that's always there for you. You love it and it lightens the mood when you're feeling down.

I don't generally re-read my books. I have far too many for such luxuries. But, over the course of my lifetime, I have continuously re-read Foxtrot books by Bill Amend. They have a touch of nostalgia for me and remind me of some good times. I almost always have one of the books within reach, especially when I'm feeling a little low.


June: Summer Solstice: A book that felt like it took forever to read.

I could default to LotR, but I feel like I've said it often enough. So I'm going to go with More Than This by Patrick Ness. I struggled to keep my interest in that book because so many people said that the ending was so beautiful and perfect. I got to the end and said "THAT'S IT?!" 

what the hell community shirley bennett yvette nicole brown

July: Independence Day: A strong, independent character that inspired you.

Definitely Onyesonwu from Who Fears Death. That book had my soul burning and ready to take on the world. I highly recommend you read it.

August: No holidays - If you could create a holiday that was about books, what would it be?

I actually consider the Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon to be my biannual book holiday. I cook food in preparation of the event. I request time off to recover from it. I get to interact with all sorts of friends and strangers about books. And, most importantly, I get to READ!!!! If you haven't participated before, feel free to join in April and October. I'm so happy I've finally reached the point in my life that I can donate prizes and host my own challenges!


September: 911 Remembrance Day: A book that had a huge impact on you, one that you will always remember?

This may sound strange, but I have to give this one to The American Girls: Addy series. I first read her books when I was in 3rd grade. By 4th grade I had exhausted my school library of its books on the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. While I don't read many books on these topics today, that book was my introduction to a different part of American history that, previously, I either didn't know about or didn't comprehend enough.

October: Halloween: What is your favorite mystery or horror book?

I'm not ashamed to admit that World War Z scared the sleep out of me. I couldn't rest easy while reading that book. If you've only watched the movie, you won't understand. The horrible things people went through and the even worse things they did to each other kept me wide awake at nights.


November: Thanksgiving: What series are you most thankful exists?

Honestly, I give full credit to the Dragonriders of Pern series for getting me into science fiction and fantasy. If those books hadn't existed I don't know what I'd be reading today. While I haven't continued the series since The Dolphins of Pern I am still very glad that it exists. It is a gateway series to so many others.

December: Christmas: If you could recommend one book as a gift, what would you recommend? 

I never feel comfortable answering this question. So many people have such varied tastes, myself included, that it feels impossible to recommend just one book.That being said, you can never go wrong with Calvin and Hobbes. Any of their books is almost guaranteed to bring anyone a smile. Which reminds me, I need to buy some more of them. I lost several in my many moves since college.

So, those are my choices for each month. Do you agree? Disagree? Have some other ideas? Let me know! And, as always, keep reading!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Weapons of Math Destruction | Catherine O'Neil

*Image and book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Today's world is run by algorithms. From our credit reports and finances to how well teachers and employees are doing, algorithms guide business in their decisions. They praised as being non-biased since they are programs, not people. Yet, as O'Neil shows us, the fact that they are made by humans and built upon data from prejudiced humans, the algorithms are not so fair as they are made out to be.


I first found out about this book because I follow O'Neil's blog, Math Babe. So when it came up on NetGalley, I immediately requested a copy. As someone who reads her blog, little of the information presented was surprising, but the depth that she was able to add in this book was very helpful.

The first several sections of the book talk about the author's relationship with algorithms. She worked in the finance industry and was only given so much information about each "black box" algorithm. This way no one employee could have all the secrets to what made the algorithm work. Unfortunately, this lack of transparency ended up hurting a lot of people. And it wasn't just the financial industry, either. Many companies, as well as the government, use algorithms based on data that may be incredibly irrelevant to whether or not someone will be a good employee or should stay in jail longer or shorter times, or should pay higher insurance premiums. Many aspects of humanity can't be quantified, so the algorithms attempt to fill the void by using other data. The problem with that is that there is no feedback on whether or not it works so the algorithm cannot adjust itself.

While the majority of the book is explaining these algorithms and how they hurt people, I was very grateful that O'Neil included a section on proposed solutions. I was worried the author would only complain about the problem throughout the book, but there were ideas for making things better. More importantly, to me, every claim she wrote about why the algorithms are broken or need transparency had a reference to back it up. O'Neil presents the problem, proposes solutions, then enables the reader to follow up on her research.

This is a good book for anyone looking to see how mathematics can help and hinder real life. This is also a good book for anyone interested in learning more about Big Business. Heck, even if you just need an explanation for why you pay so much for car insurance, give this book a read. 4 hoots!


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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Necrotech | K. C. Alexander

Necrotech by K. C. Alexander
*Image from publisher site.
**This book was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Riko, one of the rare people born without a SIN chip permanently installed, is a well known street thug. She's the scattergun of her group, the brawler. When she wakes up, however, she has no idea where she is, when it is, nor why there are sirens blazing throughout the hall she's in. As she escapes, she sees her girlfriend is trapped in the building, too, but she's changed. She's covered in tech gear when, previously, she had nothing. Riko gets out and finds she's lost a few months of her life and, most importantly, the vast majority of her street cred. She needs to find out what happened, when it happened, and get her girlfriend and her cred back.


This book is definitely not for everyone. There is an intense amount of colorful language, even more colorful metaphors and violence. That being said, I loved this book! I read all 400+ pages in one day, never wanting to put the book down. If I'd had the right soundtrack playing in the background, I probably would have read it quicker. This is one of those books that hooks me in quick and keeps me guessing. Even after completing the book, I'm as in the dark as the main character. I have my theories, but I'll have to wait until I can get my hands on the next book.

I'll admit I'm not as well versed in the cyberpunk genre as I'd like to be, but if the world they're in is like this one, I'm definitely adding more to my TBR. I love seeing all the different ways authors can think of for how technology will integrate itself into our lives, and even our anatomy. The only reason Riko is able to survive as much as she does is because everyone in this world has nanobots in their blood stream that repair damage, provided they're given enough energy to do so.

Of course, there are consequences for having too much tech. At some point (different for each person) a human becomes more tech than human and the tech takes over and turns the person, essentially, into a fast zombie. These are Necrotech and they are scary. Some of the descriptions made me think of Japanese horror movies. At least one or two scenes left me feeling genuinely terrified.

The best part, for me, was that I only knew as much as Riko, the narrator, knew. I have some theories, about what happened and what will happen, but, just like Riko, I have no certainties. I am very eager for the next book to come out to either confirm or rebuke my theories. I was left guessing on a lot of things, in a good way. Plus, by having the book from Riko's perspective, we get to see just how badass she really is. I was rooting for this woman the whole way, downsides to her personality and all.

Once again, this book is not for everyone. Those that are okay with strong language and violence, however, and are looking for a cyberpunk mystery or thriller story will definitely enjoy this. I happily give this book 5 hoots and am already chomping at the bit to get the next one!


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