Top 5 Wednesday #16 | Authors your discovered this year

Hello, everyone! I’m slowly starting to get into a routine at school, so I should be back to posting regularly within the next week or two.

For those of you that haven’t heard, I was just hired as a special education teacher in my local elementary school. School started two months ago, so I’m playing catch up! It’s really exhausting so far, but I’m having a blast. I work with third and fourth graders.

t5wfamily


As always, Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. For a complete list of Wednesday-ers and topics, please visit the Goodreads group!


This week’s topic is all about authors that are not necessarily new…but new to me. This post will be really quick because I need to get to bed, but here are my top five authors that I discovered this year.

#5 – David Levithan

I first read David Levithan in his collaboration with John Green, Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I did not like it. I then read his newest, Another Day and loved it!

#4 – Sarah J. Maas

I’m new to the Throne of Glass craze. I haven’t read Queen of Shadows yet, but I enjoyed the first two books of the series. Wasn’t thrilled with the third book, but I like the series and Maas overall.

#3 – Leigh Bardugo

I’ve only read Shadow and Bone, but I flew through it! I enjoyed her writing immensely.

#2 – Andy Weir

I’m not sure if I’ve recovered after reading and loving The Martian. I really need to see the movie adaptation.

#1 – Ernest Cline

I read both of his published books and I enjoyed them! He is my favorite author of the year (so far).


There you have it folks. What authors do I need to check out? Give me some suggestions!

kacie

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Where have I been?

Hello, everyone. I’ve been absent for almost two weeks now. Let me explain why.

I GOT A TEACHING JOB!

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed for a long-term substitute position at the local elementary school. Last week, I was notified that I got the job! The past week has been filled with getting things ready to start teaching. I started today!

So, I do not have a Top 5 Wednesday post for you. That’s two missed weeks in a row! That’s okay. I don’t really have a list prepared anyway. I do hope to be back next week with the topic, “New Authors You Discovered This Year.” Keep an eye out for that!

In the meantime, I might do a few tag posts. I’m not reading as much as I would like because I am very busy now, but once I get into a schedule at school, I can create one at home.

Until next time…

-Kacie

Book Review | Armada by Ernest Cline

Note: I received this copy of Armada by Ernest Cline from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Adult Science-Fiction

armadaAfter reading Ready Player One by the same author, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Armada by Ernest Cline. His books seem to cater to my own interests, video games and 80’s popular culture. While I do not understand every reference that Cline throws down, I get enough of them to chuckle every few pages or so.

If you have read Ready Player One and are thinking about reading Armada, please take my advice:  you must look at these two novels as completely separate entities. If you need to, reread that sentence a few times. Armada is not a continuation of Ready Player One. While it is filled with 80’s pop culture references and video games galore, it is a completely different book.

Sure, it has some other similar elements. We have the hero of our story, a lover of video games who idolizes a person who grew up in the 1980’s, causing him to become obsessed with the music, games, and movies of this era.

It seems like I’ve just told you that the books are pretty much the same. Here’s the key difference. In Ready Player One, our hero chooses to go into the video game to solve puzzles to gain access to fame and fortune. In Armada, the video game comes to him and he has no choice but to help save the world.

See, they’re different. Kinda.

Premise: 4/5

It’s almost a reverse of Ready Player One. Cline already wrote about a kid going into a video game and being awesome. In Armada, he wrote about a video game coming to life and a kid being awesome. I’m still giving the premise a four out of five because it is rather intriguing. Who doesn’t love the idea of a regular, every day kid saving the world? And he has to use his video gaming skills, which mothers everywhere say we spend too much time playing? Sign me up!

I’m docking a point because the premise isn’t completely original. Heck, the book itself talks about how it’s been done before in movies like WarGames, which Ready Player One heavily referenced. Armada’s main character even shares the same surname as the hero in WarGames, Lightman. Its premise is familiar, but not overdone in my opinion.

Plot Development: 4/5

The book follows a pretty fast pace, which made it quite enjoyable to read. The entire book spans over the course of one day and Cline was able to remind the reader every so often of this timeline. Some of the plot points were a tad predictable and cheesy, but once again, the book kind of pointed that out to the reader as well. Cline, you’re so meta.

Characterization: 4/5

Because the majority of the plot happens all on one day, it’s not surprising that we don’t get to know the characters terribly well. Zack, the main character, is only just meeting pretty much everyone in the book. We cannot expect to know characters on a deeper level that Zack, can we? The characters that he actually knows well play minor roles in the book.

My only issue with the characters was their unbelievable knowledge of all things 1980’s. Zack had a strong connection to the 80’s and a reason to memorize its culture. A few other characters we meet lived through the culture of the 80’s. Why did the young folks constantly make and understand the references? In Ready Player One, there was a huge reason that the entire human population studied the decade. In Armada, only Zack and the older guys have an excuse.

Writing Style: 4/5

Cline is becoming known for his showing off his knowledge of 80’s music, movies, and video games. I think that he saw such success with is debut novel and was praised for his references, so he felt that he needed to do it all again. With this one, some of them seemed very forced. The references would actually detract from an important moment in our characters’ stories. They just didn’t flow. The dialogue was a bit too cheesy for my liking, but it was tolerable.

Readability: 4/5

The only thing that really affects the readability of this novel is the 80’s references. If you don’t understand any of them, then this one would be a toughie.

Total Score: 20/25, avg. 4/5

While Cline’s second novel was every bit as addicting to me as his first, Armada wasn’t my favorite. I’ll still recommend it to all of my 80’s loving, video game nerd friends, though.

My favorite part was that it included a track listing of the mixtape that the main character listens to, “Raid the Arcade.” Looks like it’s time to build a Spotify playlist!

4 stars

Have any of you gotten the chance to pick up Armada yet? What did you think? Let’s talk about it.

kacie

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Want to purchase a copy of Armada by Ernest Cline for yourself? Check it out on The Book Depository by clicking HERE.

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up | September 2015

Hello! It’s October already! It feels like I just posted last month’s wrap-up…time is flying by.

For me, this month is all about camping, football games, hot chocolate, and of course, Halloween! I think I’m dressing up as Tina Belcher this year. We’ll see.

wrapup

September was a weird month for me. As you know, my brother was in a pretty bad motorcycle accident. He is very lucky to be alive and the doctors said that he is recovering much more quickly than they anticipated! That’s great!

I spent two weeks at his house, taking care of him and his dog. We did a lot of Netflix binge-watching since he is unable to do a whole lot. Unfortunately for me, that was a big distraction from my reading plans!

Here’s what I read this month:

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (5/5 stars, of course) – finished 9/2
  2. Bob’s Burgers, volume 1 (4/5 stars) – finished 9/2
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir (5/5 stars) – finished 9/14
  4. Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman (4/5 stars) – finished 9/17

I only read four books and one of them was a compilation of comic books. That’s okay! I loved what I managed to read this month and that is what is important!

uh huh

Here’s what I started in September, but haven’t finished yet:

  1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I’m struggling with this book and I don’t know why. I’m very much interested in the plot, but I also find it a bit weird. I know I’m not supposed to fully understand the “challenge” that the characters are participating in, but it’s vague enough that what I’m reading still sounds like exposition. I’m 65% through this book, but feel like nothing is happening. I’m currently taking a break and reading something else until I’m ready to come back to it.
  2. Armada by Ernest Cline – I started this book yesterday and am already in love. This book got a lot of mixed reviews, so I was a little unsure about it. I adored Ready Player One and I heard that if you loved RPO, then Armada was going to be a let down. I’m 32% through this book and things are heating up. I’m getting really excited about this. There will absolutely be a review to come.

That’s it for me! I’m not building an October TBR because I never follow those anyway. I still have some library books to read. I do have plans of finishing Illuminae before its release date at the end of the month. You can look forward to its review as well!

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon!

kacie

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