Thursday, 10 August 2017

ARC: Zero Repeat Forever

Zero Repeat Forever

By: G.S Prendergast
Published: August 29th, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster CA
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3.5/5


He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other

My Thoughts
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This in no way influenced my review and opinions*

Initially I saw this book pitched as an alien invasion/survival novel set in Alberta and I KNEW that I needed to read this book. I’m from Alberta and pretty much the only books I’ve ever read sent in my province were pioneer stories- I was SO ready for something new!

Plus I’ve oftentimes scoffed at zombie shows or alien invasion shows because in the province I grew up in, you could happily disappear into the mountains and live a happy live with the bears and mosquitoes. With that idea in mind I could wait to see how Prendergast would take this idea and run with it. 

I loved how this story and it’s characters where so real (sometimes heartbreakingly so). The characters fought for survival, they questioned their abilities, they made mistakes. Above it all, there was a constant thread that these crappy things happen, and sometimes we don’t know what to do, but somehow humanity lives on. 

The main character Raven is so complex and intricate. Prendergast has woven a true, real young teenager in the character of Raven which is this books biggest strength. She makes mistakes and gets frustrated, she’s angry and sad and in love all in one. I would really like to see more of her family dynamics in the second book- Raven herself is both black and white and struggles with not fully belonging to either group. On top of that her stepfather is an influential Metis activist. Her character was such a realistic example of what it means to be Canadian.

I had heard this book being marketed as a romance but I’m not sure how much I agree with that. In a sense, I feel like the story is more about the deep bonds of friendship and learning what it means to love another being. Its about the innate need of all humans to have a connection with others and while that connection may be a romance, it can also be so much more. So I would say that this novel is so much more than a fluffy romance, it is flawed and intertwined and full of deep explorations of humanity and what that means.

Looking back I also love how the cover and title connect so well with the book! The cover is pretty without any context but once you read the book and understand I can see how perfect the design is for this book. 

So I'd mark August 29th on your calendar and head out to your local bookstore and pick up this great Canlit book

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

By:Katarina Bivald
Published: August 25th, 2015
Publisher: Bond Street Books
Source: Recommended/ Present
Rating: 4/5


A debut novel to charm all readers, that shows beyond all doubt that it's books, along with love, that make the world go round.
It all began with a correspondence between two quite different women: 28-year-old Sara from Haninge, Sweden, and 65-year-old Amy from the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa. After years of exchanging books, letters and thoughts on the meaning of literature and life, Sara, mousy, disheveled, who has never been anywhere in her life--has really lived only for her work in a beloved bookshop, which has just closed its doors for the last time--bravely decides to accept her unknown friend's invitation to visit. But when she arrives, she finds her house empty, the funeral guests just heading home. . .(x)

My Thoughts

This book was recommended to me by a very good friend. She told me that it was a perfect "university read", something we are both always looking for!
A university read has to be interesting enough to keep the reader engaged, but it can't have too many crazy plot twists because then you end up with no sleep and a cranky next day! So it needs to have characters that you can relate to and want to read about, with an interesting and compelling plot. A lot of the times, I like my university reads to be fun and more on the light hearted side of things (because school is sad enough as it is!)

The Readers of Broken Wheel was everything a university read needs to be and more! Right from that first letter from Amy, when she talks about An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott I KNEW this book was going to be my kind of book. (I LOVE all of Alcott's book including AOFG) What could be more compelling than a book about books and the power of the connections forged by stories? 

The characters of Broken Wheel were so compelling and interesting, I always wanted to read another chapter. I grew up in a small community and it wasn't particularly broken, but the vibe and feel of a small town was completely captured in this story. In a way they also reminded me a lot of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls (which I've been binge-watching) 

I enjoyed the format of the book especially that the chapters were shorter and from various town members perspectives with letters from Amy to Sara interspersed throughout. Also every single book I've read by a Swedish author has be amazing! I wonder what they've got in the water over there?

I would highly recommend this book to any and all book lovers, as well as to anyone who is looking for a "university read". 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science- and the World

By: Rachel Swaby
Published: April 7th 2015
Publisher: Broadway Books
Source: Present
Rating: 5/5


In 2013, the New York Times published an obituary for Yvonne Brill. It began: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise three children.” It wasn’t until the second paragraph that readers discovered why the Times had devoted several hundred words to her life: Brill was a brilliant rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites in orbit, and had recently been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Among the questions the obituary—and consequent outcry—prompted were, Who are the role models for today’s female scientists, and where can we find the stories that cast them in their true light?    

Headstrong delivers a powerful, global, and engaging response. Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, Rachel Swaby’s vibrant profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one’s ideas developed, from their first moment of scientific engagement through the research and discovery for which they’re best known. This fascinating tour reveals these 52 women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats. (x)

My Thoughts:

I am studying chemistry in university and I LOVE it but there is definitely a lack of female students (there are three of us) at my school. Since so many of the scientists we learn about are male I thought it was high time for me to actively seek out information about female scientists. Which is how I found this book!

There are 52 chapters in this book- covering 52 different female scientists. I know one of the big complaints people have with this book is that each chapter is so short (most are 3-5 pages) and doesn't go very in depth. However I don't think that is the purpose of this book. This book is supposed to introduce you to female scientists- to act as a springboard if you will. Then if you enjoy one of the bios you can go out and seek more information. Like the chapter on Alice Ball? Well know you can go to the library/bookstore to find a more in depth biography on her.

I loved getting to read about the success of my fellow female scientists and in particular I LOVED getting to learn about the things I never knew women had invented (like the cure for leprosy!). It was disheartening to read about the treatment of the female scientist (and honestly how see how little has changed since then)

I was able to impress my biochemistry professor because I knew about Gerti Cori and her discovery of the Cori Cycle- thanks to this book!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about the scientific achievements of women. As well there is a version of this book (written for the middle grade age) that is being published in the fall (I will definitely be buying this for my classroom!)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

TTT: Books I Don't Talk About Enough

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke and The Bookish
This week's topic is books I love and don't talk about enough, so I chose to highlight 6 of my favourite books that I just don't talk about enough!

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I think one of the reasons I don't talk much about this book is that I do tend to focus primarily on YA with the occasional children's book. That being said I ABSOLUTELY love Gabaldon's Outlander series! I only started reading them last summer (last book I've read is Drums of Autumn) and am hoping to finish them this summer. Not only is the storytelling mesmerizing and incredible, I also love this book series because its my Mom's favourite and I love getting to share it with her.

2. The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

I don't know why this book doesn't get talked about more because it is amazing! Sadly it is a standalone book but the story telling and characterization is incredibly well-written. It probably helps that I am also totally a sucker for books with girls kicking ass and fighting.

3. Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

Again this is a series that my mom and I read together. I don't remember how we got started reading them but I do remember scouring the used bookstores to find every copy of each of her books! (We did find them all). One of my favourite things is that its a highly developed fantasy world, AND there has to be close to 30 books set in this world. And when I love a world and its characters I want to read a billion pages of it! Plus DRAGONS

4. The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

Oh wow, I'm sensing a pattern here. A few years ago I unwrapped my Christmas present to find this book. My mom then told me that she really wanted me to read it, but that it wasn't mine, it was hers and she was just lending it to me! I enjoyed that this book had magic but was still set pretty much in our world (is there a name for this genre? Its not quite fantasy but its not contemp either)

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

When I think about why this book means so much to me, I think it has to do with the particular time that it came into my life. It was exactly the story I needed, with the message I needed. And that might be why I don't talk about it much it because it has such a deeply personal meaning to me. Also its right up my alley with a 'lost' princess, magic and great worldbuilding.

6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery

When I was a little girl I used to read my Mom's copies of the Green Gables series, which I loved doing. But Anne herself also spoke to me so much! I loved her whimsy and imagination but also her stubbornness and intelligence. She was one of the first examples I had of a real woman character who was completely three-dimensional. I know I talk about Anne of Green Gables a bit but its really this whole series that NEEDS to be talked about. A lot of people don't even seem to be aware that its a series which is a real shame because the entire series is fantastic!

Do you guys love any of the books I've talked about? What's on your list this week? Link me to your post in the comments!

*this post was originally published in 2016*