The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

“So your point is I’m a little worse off than a cockroach. Thanks. I’ll work on exactly what kind of disease-carrying pest I am.”

Cassie Sullivan

This is one of those books that I’m kicking myself for not reading sooner. Seriously. This is one of the most captivating books I’ve read in a long time. I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of the best books I’ve read ever. Definitely top 10.

I’m so excited to write this review, so let’s get to it, people!

WARNING: spoilers ahead!

Despite this book’s similarities to The Host, I really liked it. The writing style was interesting and very easy to read. It’s disjointed in some areas, and I really like that. I can really see this book being written by a bunch of teenagers which, in this context, is a very good thing.

It’s very obvious that Yancey really thought this through and pieced together the Waves very carefully. It was very cohesive and makes perfect sense. In chapter 10, really showcases this. There’s a fantastic quote from Cassie in this chapter: “Time was flowing in reverse. The 1st Wave knocked us back to eighteenth century. The next two slammed us into the Neolithic.”

Going off that quote, I’d like to take a moment to appreciate Yancey’s astute observations of human behavior. The reaction everyone has to the 1st Wave (freaking out because the electricity has gone out, trying desperately to get their phones and cars working again, assuming the electricity will come back on because it always does), Cassie still brushing her teeth and doing laundry despite being completely isolated in the first part of the book, people constantly waiting for the “People in Charge” to come and save the day (because humans are an inherently hierarchical species and naturally need a leader), and many more examples. I had to look up whether Yancey was a psychologist or anthropologist because his grasp of human behavior is that good.

The characters were really well-written. I like that Cassie was strong and independent even in the face of all the shit she’s gone through. Ben was the same way. He made a point not to make the mistake of running again after what happened with his sister. Finding Sammy is what drove Cassie, and Ben’s sister’s death is what drove him. In the end, they both rescue Sammy and that fulfills Cassie’s wish (obviously) but also Ben’s because he’s now saved someone when he couldn’t save his sister.

Evan was an interesting character, and I wish we got more than just one part in his POV. I like that Yancey used the third person past tense perspective for Evan but the first person present tense perspective for everyone else. When Evan explains who/what he is to Cassie, that choice of perspective makes a lot of sense. He’s not really Evan Walker. He’s an Other living inside Evan Walker. I also wonder what it’s like for Evan and the Other to live in the same body. Is it like Wanderer and Melanie in the Host? Is it really like Evan said where they’re as one, where it’s impossible to tell where one stops and the other begins? I really wish we learned more about him and got a little more inside his head in this book.

The message of this book is amazing. Humanity is much more fragile than we think. These days, humanity thinks we’re above nature and that we’re the masters of the universe. The Others show otherwise. With 4 attacks, the Others managed to cripple humanity and kill billions. By the start of the 5th wave, humans are turning on each other because they’re so paranoid. Who can they trust? Who should they trust? Is the person in front of you really a person or an Other?

What really matters once everything you know is stripped away? Ben is thinking about this in Chapter 56 and says, “By killing us, they showed us the idiocy of stuff. The guy who owned this BMW? He’s in the same place as the woman who owned that Kia.” In addition to putting our mortality into perspective, Yancey calls to attention how things are determined as valuable. Things only have value because we give them value. Nothing but life itself is inherently valuable, and the people living in the 4th and 5th Wave know that.

The concept of “going Dorothy” was a really good one, and a quote from Ben puts it perfectly: “It is hopeless. It is crazy. Tank is the sane one because he sees it clearly.” The Others have set up a society in which people are so brainwashed that people who are sane and see through the lies (like Tank) are deemed crazy and quickly disposed of. After all, the Others would have a harder time dealing with the human race if nobody believed their lies. Instead, they brainwash and indoctrinate enough people that the sane ones are on the outside. They’re laughed at and dismissed as “crazy.”

I guessed a few of the plot twists, but I think that’s just because I was taking extensive notes. If I hadn’t been taking notes, I think I would have missed them. One thing I guessed from the beginning was that the military wasn’t run by humans anymore. Every time the military personnel talked about the Others, they left their statements intentionally ambiguous. When they talked about infested human beings, they meant literal human beings being the infestation of the planet. When they talked about mapping an alien consciousness, they meant mapping the human brain. When they talked about understanding how the enemy thinks, they meant understanding how humans think.

I would be lying if I didn’t have the urge to buy a comprehensive wilderness survival guide after this book. The concept of this book (alien invaders attempting to wipe out humanity) seems like a far-fetched one… but is it really? It would be a lot easier than we think for something like this to happen even if it’s not the result of alien attacks. If you ever need a reminder that you’re human or an ego check, read this book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next two!


What do you think of my review? Do you agree or disagree with me? Did this book make you think about your own mortality as much as it did me? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!

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2019 2nd quarter TBR list.

Today, I’d like to share my TBR list with you. I’ll be making posts like these quarterly. I’ll post the TBR list at the beginning of the quarter and talk about why I want to read the books on my list. At the end of the quarter, I’ll make an update post about which books I read and providing links to the corresponding reviews.

I hope you enjoy this series!

I’m going to list the books in no particular order. I’m not one to put a set number on my book lists; I like to look through my list and pick out what sounds most appealing to me at the moment.

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)

I don’t know why I’ve put off reading The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey for so long. I do that with a lot of things, and I always kick myself for not reading books or seeing movies sooner. I’ve already started reading this, and I’m hooked. I’ve barely been able to tear myself away from it to write this post. It’s a futuristic survival book. It reminds me of the movie A Quiet Place but much better (because I hated that movie).


Crave (The Clann, #1)

Crave by Melissa Darnell is appealing to me because of the “mysterious illness” thing. It also has the forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet theme going on. There’s obviously some fantasy elements in the mysterious illness and Tristan’s desire to protect Savannah. I’m also curious to see if the Clann is a group name or just a family name. I might read the other books in this series if this one impresses me enough.


A Want So Wicked (A Need So Beautiful, #2)

A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young is the sequel to A Need So Beautiful. I read the first book a while ago, and I really liked the concept. I’m hoping the second book lives up to the first one, but sequels are kind of iffy. This book focuses on a different character in the same world, and those are more likely to be good. We get a different, unique perspective on the world, and it’s nice to see different aspects of the world.


The Spare Room

The Spare Room by Helen Garner intrigued me because the synopsis isn’t like any book I’ve read. It focuses on two friends: one is dying from cancer and the other is caring for her dying friend. The caretaker’s name is Helen, so I’m assuming the author based this on personal experience. I think this will be an existential book that makes you question what it really means to be a friend and to be human.


Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for so long. I used to work at Barnes and Noble, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer was always prominently featured on the shelves. I don’t know why I avoided reading it for so long, but it came up in my Goodreads recommendations. I knew as soon as I read the synopsis that I had to read it. Futuristic androids + fatal plague = happy Danielle.


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

I love amnesia in books, and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin has that plus a mysterious crash that killed Mara’s friends but left her unscathed. The blurb about this book is short, sweet, and quick to the point. It was really good at piquing my interest Amnesia is a great concept because we get to discover and learn about the character the character alongside them discovering and learning about themselves.


What’s on your reading list? Are you planning to read any of the books on my list? Have you already read them? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!

Rise by Anna Carey (Eve series book 3).

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Rating: ☆

I just couldn’t finish this book. I tried so hard, but it just wasn’t happening. It was just awful. Eve is one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever seen, and the whole thing with Caleb is obnoxious. Eve is so obsessive over him, and I just couldn’t take it. I skipped to the last chapter or two and skimmed it. I hate doing that with a book, but this one was just too bad to finish the entire thing.

WARNING: spoilers ahead!

Caleb should have been dead. Not because I didn’t like him, but because it’s too perfect an ending. I know that sounds weird, but it bothers me that Caleb defied literally all the odds and survived being shot. Moss didn’t survive. Otis, Marjorie, Lark, and many others didn’t survive being shot. How the hell did Caleb?! Caleb’s death was the saving grace of this series because it forced Eve to develop as a person. She went from the School to being Caleb’s girlfriend to actually being a somewhat palatable character. I still really hated her, though. She was too perfect and so many things worked out for her that shouldn’t have worked at all. And the actual ending itself was terrible. It was extremely cliche to me, and I can only imagine how unsatisfying it was for people who shipped Caleb and Eve.

The ending was too cliche. It shouldn’t have worked out the way it did just like many other things in this book. Overall, I think this book was irritating and, to be very frank, a waste of my time.

I know this is a really short review, but I just didn’t have anything more to say. If I laid out all the reasons that I thought this book was terrible, we’d be here all day.


What do you think? Have you read this book or the Eve trilogy? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading, everyone!

Hollow by Ava Conway.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This is one of those books that teaches you not to judge too quickly. I really thought the first part of this book was laughable. Lucy seemed like an arrogant, stuck up priss while Jayden seemed like an alpha male, I’m-better-than-everyone-and-need-to-help-them type. By the end of the book, those opinions were completely changed.

WARNING: spoilers ahead!

Plot.

The book starts out with describing how Lucy ended up being committed to Newton Heights mental institution.

She finds out that her best friend, Bethany, was in the “Den of Pleasure” with Lucy’s boyfriend, Kyle. Lucy then makes the terrible decision to drive herself home despite the fact that she’s too drunk to walk straight. A fight for the wheel between Lucy and Kyle ensues, and all three end up in a severe car crash. Lucy was the only survivor. At the hospital, Lucy tries to pull out her IVs in an attempt to kill herself. Her parents have her committed to Newton Heights to keep Lucy out of the press.

Lucy’s parents, Marion and Clark, are huge animal rights activists who lobby on animals’ behalf at Capitol Hill. They have a bill about to be put forth to Congress, so Lucy being committed to Newton Heights is a little bit of an issue for them.

When Lucy arrives at Newton Heights, she’s initially very snobby. She thinks that her and a man named Jayden are the only sane people in the place. Honestly, Lucy’s entire attitude throughout the first half of the book is really obnoxious.

The rest of the story follows Lucy’s adventure through treatment at Newton Heights. She witnesses the corruption of the staff, the horrors they inflict on some of the patients, and finds out secrets that rock her world. She makes friends with some of the residents in the hospital including Jayden, Flynn, Nesto (to a certain degree), and Iris.

Watching all the characters develop and grow throughout the story is wonderful. By the end of the book, I was thoroughly pleased with each character’s back story and role in the book. A lot of times, authors focus too much on the main character and kind of ignore the side/supporting characters. I didn’t feel like that happened in this book at all.

It was a really refreshing read all around and one that teaches you patience, that everything is not what it seems, and that people are capable of change and growth no matter their position in life.

Characters.

Lucy & Jayden – The are our two main characters in this book. I really didn’t like Lucy or Jayden at the beginning of the book. Lucy seemed like a stuck up, pretentious priss to me, and Jayden seemed like the embodiment of a hero complex. Lucy gradually changes her attitude and shifts her personality throughout the book until, at the end, she’s quite lovable and admirable. Jayden’s personality basically stays the same, but it makes a lot more sense and made me respect him so much more once we find out about his past.

Flynn – He’s a kleptomaniac and says he can’t help himself when he steals things. He’s not developed or focused on as much as Jayden and Lucy, but he’s a very good supporting character. He and Jayden are roommates and obviously close friends. He generally seems to be a lighthearted character, and it’s always a pleasure to see his interactions with other characters.

Nesto – We don’t see much of Nesto in this book. He’s constantly in and out of “confinement,” so he’s not really covered much. He’s the most suicidal character in the novel, though, and that aspect of him is written really well. One of my favorite and most relatable quotes in the book is “Just let me die. Let me go. … I’m living in hell, buddy. I just want it to stop.” This portrays suicidal tendencies very well in my opinion. What little we see of Nesto is really well-written and gives a good glimpse into the struggles of someone who is prone to suicidal thoughts.

Iris – Iris is Lucy’s rommate and is very obviously suffering with mysophobia (germaphobia to those not familiar with the medical name), and that’s something she greatly improves upon throughout the book. Lucy helps Iris battle her phobia and gradually get more comfortable doing things that she wasn’t previously comfortable doing. Iris is slow to trust Lucy, but they end up developing a very heartwarming friendship.

Marion – Lucy’s mother, Marion, is definitely a tiger mom. She’s got Lucy’s entire life planned out. She gave Lucy an application to a veterinary school for one of Lucy’s birthdays and constantly talks about passing the family legacy on to Lucy. Even when Lucy is in the hospital after the crash, Marion touches up Lucy’s makeup and says they need to “keep up appearances.” She doesn’t develop much as a character aside from coming clean about a family secret to Lucy.

Hospital staff – The staff are mainly supporting characters. Dr. Polanski, Elias, and the other orderlies don’t serve much purpose other than to provide exposition.

Writing.

The writing is incredibly repetitive throughout the book, but it seems to be done with purpose.

If I had to read one more description of those “discount store framed prints,” I was going to scream. However, I really like the way Conway singled out one print–the girl in the yellow dress–and used it as a reflection of what was going on in Lucy’s head.

Another recurring image is Lucy’s hair. At the beginning of the book, she’s constantly looking at people through her hair which gave me major Grudge vibes. Have you ever tried to look at someone through your hair? Not only is it inconvenient but it probably looks creepy as hell. Eventually, as Lucy becomes more comfortable with herself, she begins wearing her hair in a ponytail. If you’ve ever struggled with depression or know someone who has, you know what a huge step this is. Personal hygiene is often the first thing to go when depression gets bad. Lucy wearing her hair up and putting effort into her appearance shows how far she’s come.

I hated the instant romance between Jayden and Lucy. That’s something that never fails to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Their relationship progressed really well after their initial attraction, though. I wish their relationship timeline was kind of reversed. That would make more sense and would add more of a slow burn to the relationship.

The first half of the book was annoying and laughable at times. By the time I finished the book, though, everything made perfect sense. Once I realized what was happening, I immediately changed my review from 1 or 2 stars to an emphatic 5 stars. The exposition in this book was slow, but it was epic when things were revealed about the characters.


Have you read this book? If so, are you excited to read the second book? Do you think my review was accurate, or do you disagree? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!

Once by Anna Carey (Eve series book 2).

Once (Eve, #2)

Rating: ☆☆☆

All right, folks. Here is my full review of Once by Anna Carey. If you missed my review of the first book in this trilogy, click here to check it out!

I really want to give this book 2 stars, but I can’t bring myself to do it because of how much it picked up at the end. If I’m rating the first part of the book, it’s 2 stars. If I’m rating the last 1/3 or 1/4 of the book, it’s 3 or 3.5 stars.

WARNING: spoilers ahead!

Characters.

Eve is the single most annoying character in the book. She repeatedly puts her friends in danger for her own sake and puts herself and Caleb above everyone else. It feels like her thinking about her friends is basically the author trying to save Eve’s terrible personality. There were a few chapters of respite from the constant obsessing over Caleb, and that was nice. Of course, as soon as Caleb is mentioned again, Eve’s obsession is back in full force. I really don’t like that she kind of forgets about her friends periodically, especially Arden.

Arden is the one who helped Eve realize what was going on in the first place. If not for Arden, Eve would have been taken to the City of Sand after graduating from School and never understood the struggles of the people. Arden is basically Eve’s saving grace. I said it my review of the first book in this series, and I’ll say it again: Arden should have been the main character of this book.

Eve is a generally obsessive person. She’s also someone who doesn’t really think before she does anything. She makes repeated attempts to escape throughout the book despite knowing that she and Caleb would be on the run forever if they did get out of the City. Eve’s desire to drop everything and be with Caleb actually got him killed.

The side characters are so much more interesting than Eve despite the fact that they are so underdeveloped. Even recurring characters like Arden, Caleb, and the dissidents are woefully neglected. I would love to have some more back story on the other characters in this book, and it’s a shame that the women of Califia didn’t show up again at all after the beginning of the book.

I really like Charles. I know Eve casts him as the bad guy, but he’s really trying with her. He doesn’t want her to be miserable even if she’s a total pain in the ass to him. In fact, he’s so nice and so good to her that it makes me question him. Why is he being so nice to someone who is so obviously callous to him? I’ll address the suspense and uncertainty of this novel later in this post.

Plot.

The plot of this was so excruciatingly slow. I got about 60% through the book (I read books on Scribd and that’s why I use percentages instead of page numbers) and almost gave up. In fact, I would have given up were it not for my intense hatred of leaving a series unfinished.

There was not nearly enough coverage on Califia given how important it was in the first book. There wasn’t enough coverage on how Arden made her way to Califia either. It’s not really possible in a first person narrative like this, but I really wanted to see what happened in Califia after Eve and Arden left.

There were a few really good plot twists, though. I can’t remember the order of the twists, so I’ll just list them in no particular order.

Eve is not actually being hunted down by the King to give him an heir. She’s being hunted down by the King because he’s her father. I will admit that my jaw dropped when I read that. I didn’t see that coming at all, and plot twists that catch you completely and utterly off guard are the best kind.

Another one that caught me completely by surprise was Reginald actually being Moss. That was an excellent touch. I was initially shocked when it was Beatrice who revealed Eve’s plan to escape. Once Beatrice explained that the King had threatened her daughter, though, it completely took away the shock value. Caleb dying was a shock, but I can’t believe it’s real. It seems too implausible that the author would just let go of the “epic romance” between Eve and Caleb.

Now, I’d like to talk about how the author made me question certain aspects of the plot throughout this book. First of all, you have to wonder who to trust. Obviously, the King and his regime are doing some shady things. Their morals are different than those we have today. However, the King mentions that Caleb did have that picture of Eve when they first met in the last book. That was never addressed in this book, but it was definitely something that made me think. Charles is also an iffy figure. He’s trying so hard to make Eve happy, and I just have to wonder why. Eve makes her distaste for Charles very clear from the beginning, and he just doesn’t give up.

Top complaints.

The biggest issue I have with this book (aside from Eve being annoying) is the amount of unresolved subplots. What happened with the women in Califia after Eve and Arden left? Why do people in the City have so many physical issues? (“Some were badly scarred, others had leathery, sunburned skin, deep creases in their foreheads. A man standing on top of a hotel awning was missing an arm”)? How do the citizens buy things from the Palace mall? Do they have some sort of currency or do they just barter like people do in the wild? How did all the animals get from the old zoos to the current zoos that the King is building? How did they survive all that time without being in their native habitats? Who was that mystery girl from Eve’s dream in Chapter 32 ( Another girl had appeared, a younger girl, her features faint in the haze of the dream.)?

There are so many unanswered questions. Some of them might be nitpicky questions, but they still bother me. There are also things that are left out that would have been fascinating to know about. I know it’s a first person narrative, but I would love to see more of what the “Trade School” is like. Physical descriptions of the building and the girls, what daily life is like, what’s expected of them, etc.

The other issue I have with this book is the repetitiveness. There are multiple phrases and images used throughout the book. I can’t count the number of times the “sparkling blue pools” or the fountains, or Eve “picking at the thin skin around her nails” came up. Like, I get it. There’s water in a desert and Eve picks at her skin when she’s nervous. Those things don’t need to be brought up every other page.

In summary,

I wish the entire book would have been like the last 1/3 or 1/4 of it. The beginning was so slow and agonizing, but the saving grace was when the plot picked up toward the end. Eve is annoying, the side characters don’t get enough attention, and there are way too many unresolved questions and plot threads.


Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Did you like it more or less than I did? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!

Eve by Anna Carey (Eve series book 1).

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Rating: ☆☆☆

I read this book a long time ago, so this read was kind of like reading with fresh eyes. This wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t the best either. If I had to review this book in one word, it would be “meh.”

WARNING: spoilers ahead!

The girls in this book are very Mary Sue-ish and are all described as conventionally attractive. It wouldn’t be so annoying if the author didn’t go out of her way to describe all the girl’s physical features so extensively and use the word “beautiful” in all the descriptions. In my opinion, the physical characteristics of characters in books aren’t all that important. That’s just a personal preference thing. All the girls but Arden at least start out being very naive. Of course, that’s because of the Schools, and that kind of indoctrination does lend itself well to character development. Speaking of which…

The character development in this book is hit and miss. Other than Eve and Arden, we don’t see much development of the characters, particularly Caleb and the rest of the boys. Memories are really the only glimpse of Caleb and the boys we get before they meet Eve and Arden. Eve is really the only one that develops as a character very well, going from completely clueless to pretty independent-minded. Arden develops as a character just a little in that she comes to trust and be kind to Eve. Lark’s character is a perfect reflection of Eve just after making her escape from the School, and that’s actually mentioned in the book as a thought Eve has to herself. Lark shows how much Eve has progressed in the time she’s been away from the School. 

To be completely honest, I wish that Arden had been the main character of this book. She’s a complete badass and a good tough-person-with-a-soft-side character.

I like Eve’s torment over leaving Pip too. I hate it when a character gets into a romantic relationship and forgets everything and everyone else in their life. It feels pretty nitpicky to talk about this, though, considering that Eve is the main character. It just felt a little lacking in the character development area for me personally.

I quite enjoyed the relationship between Eve and the younger boys. I do wish that Leif would have continued being distrustful of Eve though. It seems like all the boys were enthralled with her and kind of fell at her feet which reinforces the Mary Sue thing. But Eve kind of took up the motherly role in the dugout despite her relationship with Caleb progressing.

The “aftermath of a plague” thing is kind of overused in dystopian books, and the plague in this book seemed pretty cliche. I wish we were told more about the plague itself, but that’s a nitpick at best. It was nice to get a little information about the Trail and its resemblance to the Underground Railroad.

Califia was a good plot twist at the end of the book. It’s a cliffhanger (and I usually really hate those), but it’s done in a good way and builds a lot of anticipation and curiosity for the next book.

I really hope we see Arden again in the next book as well as Caleb, Pip, and maybe even Leif too. Overall, I think this book is pretty decent. I’m excited to read the next book!


Have you read this book? If so, do you plan to read the other books in the trilogy? Did you like it more or less than I did? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!