Friday, August 14, 2015

Armada by Ernest Cline

Title: Armada
Authors: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publishing Date: July 14, 2015
Genre: Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis:
Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

I have read/heard a lot of really great things about Ernest Cline's previous book Ready Player One. The book’s storyline sounded like something I would enjoy and is still sitting on my never ending TBR list. When Random House Canada gave me the opportunity review a copy of Armada, I was super excited.

Similar to the main character, my childhood was filled with memories of videogames, sci-fi movies and action figures. This is likely why I was able to easily connect to Zack and his journey to save the human race. There are an abundance of pop culture references, which I LOVED. They are often used to explain/help visualize the characters’ actions and reactions or to describe settings. Some readers may not enjoy the book as much if they don't pick up on them. But, if you do, it makes Armada that much more amazing.

Overall, I found Armada to be a fast paced and thrilling coming of age story. It was really hard to put down and now that I’m done, I can’t stop raving about it. Armada is the perfect read for gamers, geeks and anyone in between who appreciates a down and dirty alien apocalypse.

Disclaimer: I received a finished copy of Armada from Random House Canada for review. All opinions are my own

Rating: ★★★

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays #6

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page (some times you need more than two for it to make sense).
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here's a peek at this week's book:

Title: Armada
Authors: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publishing Date: July 14, 2015
Genre: Fiction

Maybe it was just as I had always secretly feared: The apple had fallen right next to the Crazy Tree. (p.5)

"May the Force be with us," Shin repeated, with no hint of irony in his Voice. (p.265)

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Blue: A Novel by Lucy Clarke

Title: The Blue: A Novel
Author: Lucy Clarke
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Publisher
Publishing Date: August 11, 2015
Genre: Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis:
In the tradition of Alex Garland’s The Beach, a spine-tingling adventure novel about a group of friends whose journey around the world on a yacht turns from a trip to paradise into a chilling nightmare when one of them disappears at sea.

A group of friends. 
A yacht. 
And a disappearance-at-sea that turns paradise into a chilling nightmare. 

Lana and her best friend Kitty leave home looking for freedom—and that’s exactly what they find when they are invited onto The Blue, a fifty-foot yacht making its way from the Philippines to New Zealand. The crew is made up of a group of young travellers bitten by wanderlust, and it doesn’t take long for Lana and Kitty’s dream of sea-bound romance to turn into reality.

Both women fall under the hypnotic spell of The Blue, spending their days exploring remote islands and their rum-filled nights relaxing on deck beneath the stars. But when one of their friends disappears overboard after an argument with another crewmember, the dark secrets that brought each of them aboard start to unravel.

At turns gorgeously scenic and entirely haunting, The Blue is a page-turning thriller about friendship, freedom and wanting to leave the past behind

I've had to decline a few review requests over the past couple months because I've been so behind in my reading. When I received an email from the Simon & Schuster Canada team about reviewing The Blue, three things popped out at me: New Zealand (I love the Hobbit and all things LoTR), the Philippines (where my parents are from) and its genre - a psychological thriller. There was no way I was turning down the opportunity to read  it. 

The story begins with two best friends who have had enough with their life in London and decide to travel the world. They grab a globe to choose a random location and land on the Philippines. Lana and Kitty embark on their adventure living day to day on the islands. During one of their day trips they come across a crew that lives their life on a yacht called, The Blue. Lana and Kitty join the crew and live a carefree life until a turn of events leads to a crew member missing and each person's deepest secrets revealed.

The Blue was a fantastic book. It was beautifully descriptive and had perfect details about each of the settings. The suspense carried throughout the book especially as it skipped between the past and present, often leaving you hanging and wanting more. As much as I enjoy psychological thrillers, I always find it so difficult to review them because I do my best to keep my posts spoiler free. The Blue had so many plot twists and unexpected turns. I will say that I normally come close or hit it bang on when it comes to twisty endings, but this one totally fooled me. I recommend this book to those who enjoy a great suspense. mystery, or thriller novel. It will definitely keep you on your toes.

Prior to reading The Blue I had never heard of Lucy Clarke or any of her previous work. After finishing this book, I looked into some of Lucy Clarke's other books and the Sea Sisters definitely looks like something I would enjoy. I really hope to get to it... one day.  This is one huge reason why I love being part of the book blogger community. It gives me so many wonderful opportunities to meet amazing people and discover my next favourite book. 

Question to my blogger friends and readers: Which books/authors have you discovered over the months/years that have unexpectedly become one of your favourites?

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of The Blue: A Novel from Simon & Schuster Canada. All opinions are my own

Rating: ★★★

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