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Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings

Book Review: A Ship Made of Paper

A Ship Made of Paper Book Cover

Rating: 2 stars

No novelist alive knows the human heart better than Scott Spencer does. No one tells stories about human passion with greater urgency, insight, or sympathy. In A Ship Made of Paper, this artist of desire paints his most profound and compelling canvas yet.

Daniel Emerson lives with Kate Ellis and is like a father to her daughter, Ruby. But he cannot control his desire for Iris Davenport, the African-American woman whose son is Ruby’s best friend. During a freak October blizzard, Daniel is stranded at Iris’s house and they begin a sexual liaison that eventually imperils all their relationships, Daniel’s profession, their children’s well-being, their own race- blindness, and their view of themselves as essentially good people.

A Ship Made of Paper captures all the drama, nuance, and helpless intensity of sexual and romantic yearning, and it bears witness to the age-old conflict between the order of the human community and the disorder of desire.

Overall, A Ship Made of Paper was an okay read for me. I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t necessarily enthralled by the story and characters either.

The main plot centers on Daniel Emerson, a lawyer who moves back to the small town he grew up in with his girlfriend Kate Ellis and her daughter Ruby. While back at home, he meets Iris Davenport, an African-American woman whose son is best friends with Ruby. He becomes deeply attracted to Iris Davenport and begins to explore a deeper relationship with her one snowy night in October when a blizzard traps them inside her home. But this secret relationship ends up affecting every aspect of their lives.

What I enjoyed about the story was the writing. It was very descriptive to the point where I felt like I was right in the story as these events transpired. I especially enjoyed seeing the dialogue in the story because it brought the characters to life even better for me.

What I also enjoyed when reading A Ship Made of Paper is the variety of topics that can be discussed when it comes to this book. These topics include racism, sexual desire, infidelity, interracial relationships, justice (these events take place around the time of the OJ Simpson trial), alcohol addiction, and pedophilia (one of the married characters in the story is in love with a blind girl who he’s fancied since she was a child).

I feel like each of these aspects was wonderfully woven into this story through some of the characters who in some ways represent one of these topics. For example, Daniel’s girlfriend Kate Ellis is a writer who to me seems like a good example of what racism and alcohol addiction look like. She denies being racist (of course), but is convinced that OJ Simpson is guilty and writes about the trial throughout the story. She also calls the police when two boys brake into her home during the storm and is convinced that the boys who broke into her home are the recent prisoners who escaped from jail in the story, despite not at all getting a glimpse of their appearance. She also drinks heavily throughout the book, doesn’t matter what’s going on in her life. She always finds a reason to drink even when her relationship with Daniel is starting to fail. She’s a wonderful example of what racism and alcohol addiction look like and I feel like I can see other topics of discussion through all the other characters too.

While I enjoyed reading A Ship Made of Paper because of the writing and the different topics that can be discussed, there are a whole lot of things I overall don’t like about this story that make it difficult to give it a higher rating. While I enjoy the way the story is written, I found the pace and plot of the book to move very slow. It made reading this book all the more difficult for me because I kept waiting for the plot in the story to move along, to reach a climax that made me reading this book worthwhile. But the story kept disappointing me again and again. There were only two moments in the story that really made me want to continue reading to see what happened next: the night of the blizzard and the night when Marie Thorne goes missing. But even that was short lived for me, especially the night when Marie Thorne goes missing, because excerpts of what happens during the search for her are at the beginning of each chapter. So even the most exciting parts of the book become mundane for me because I already catch a glimpse of what’s going to happen even if I don’t get to see all of it.

I also don’t like that none of these characters are at all relatable to me. I especially don’t understand Daniel and his stalker-like behavior towards Iris Davenport, the woman he desperately wants to be with despite already being in a committed relationship with Kate Ellis. His behavior throughout the book screams creepy to me when it comes to Iris, and I found the way he felt about her was more sexual desire than actual true love. The only time I ever believe their relationship to be real at all is whenever they both have serious discussions about what they’re doing. Otherwise, I’m not really convinced that their loving relationship will last. It just seems like a fantasy relationship to me throughout with nothing substantial holding them together. I know a lot of it has to do with them both being unfaithful to their partners. I guess I just don’t understand why someone who’s already in a relationship would stay with their partner if they knew they were developing feelings for another person.

The biggest criticism I have for A Ship Made of Paper is the last half of the book after Marie Thorne goes missing. It felt as if the plot after this point in the story took a complete nosedive, leaving the reader feeling confused about what’s going on. While I understood what happened that changed everything, I feel almost as if this part of the story was a whole lot worse than the first half of the book, which wasn’t that much better either. While I liked that the end of this book was ambiguous, the rest of the story just lacked any sort of plot. We know Daniel feels guilty about Hampton’s condition, but the way Scott Spencer decides to take the story with him wasn’t at all an improvement. And then I felt like the robbery at the bar didn’t really add anything to the story because everyone then screamed they were robbed by black people. So all it did was show the prejudice of these characters, that they haven’t at all changed since the beginning of the book started.

So overall, A Ship Made of Paper was an okay read for me. I liked that there are a variety of topics that can be discussed when it comes to reading this book, but the plot of the story isn’t something to boast about. The book was fascinating enough to read, but not a story that I’ll reread anytime soon.

Confessions of A Reader #1: Choosing Books to Read is Hard

Stack Of Books

Hello everyone, fellow readers and bloggers alike! Since I started doing my Confessions of A Writer posts, I’ve found I’ve enjoyed talking about writing and I know I’ll enjoy talking about my reading tastes just as much. So it is with great excitement that I bring to you what will be my first of what I hope will be many Confessions of A Reader.

With this first post, I’d like to talk about a struggle I know all readers face: choosing what book to read. Finding the next book to read is always one of the things I struggle with the most when it comes to my own reading. It’s not because there aren’t too many books to choose from, but because there are so many wonderful reading options I never know where to begin.

I mostly read young adult literature, fantasy and mystery. However, I’m not always in the mood to read these books and will definitely go outside of these genres to find something that strikes my fancy.

The way I choose what book to read next is completely random. It entirely depends on what I have going on in my life and if I have any books on my shelf at home that I haven’t read that I’d like to give a try. But even that isn’t a complete guarantee either because I never know when I’ll stumble upon a book I really want to read. For example, The Creeping is a book that was once on my Goodreads to be read list that I decided to buy on my tablet with some Barnes & Noble gift card money I was given for Christmas. Then a couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went to Greenville for a day. Along the way, we stopped at 2nd & Charles, which is a local second hand bookstore here in South Carolina. I bought a couple books there with a gift card my boyfriend gave to me as a birthday present, and am planning on reading those books next.

Confessions of A Reader #1 My Books I Brought Home
These are the books I bought at 2nd & Charles in Greenville.

But after I’m done reading these books, I don’t know what I’ll read next. I’ll have to see what I feel like reading on my shelf or maybe I’ll go to my local library and read some books from there.

Either way, readers have a difficult time choosing what book to read next. Because there are just too many books in the world to choose from and not enough time to read them all.

What about you? Do you struggle with choosing what book to read next? And what is your strategy to choose what book you want to read next?

 

Book Review: The Creeping

The Creeping Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Only Stella came back.

Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush – until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.

Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t.

She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore.

This book wasn’t at all what I was expecting, which was both a good and bad thing for me. I overall enjoyed the story, but there was a whole lot of things with it too that made me enjoy it a lot less.

For starters, the book cover for The Creeping is absolutely gorgeous. It’s gorgeous in the sense that it’s creepy in all of the right ways, making it where the reader wants to dive within the pages to see what the story is going to be about. I know it was one of the things I saw on Goodreads that made me want to read the story, to find out what happened to the characters. To see if the cover matched the overall tone in the book. Whether it does or not depends on the individual reader.

I also enjoyed all of the horror elements in the story, starting from hearing the story about what happened to Stella when she was a child to her looking to uncover the truth of what happened on that day. There was just so much interesting information about the town she lived in and the other girls who went missing that I was interested to see where it’d lead. It made The Creeping a much more interesting read for me because without it, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed this book quite as much. I like that Stella decided to take the matter into her own hands because we learn so much more about the town she lives in and what she’s like as a person that we would’ve never known. It added to the overall tone of the book, which made me want to continue reading to see what happened next.

Related image
Via Giphy.

However, there is just so much with this book that I can’t look past that made me enjoy it less. For starters, I wasn’t fond of most if not all of the characters. Because of what happened in her childhood, Stella ends up becoming one of the popular girls at her school and her best friend Zoey makes her choose between staying friends with her or Sam, the first boy Stella kisses. So despite Stella choosing Zoey over him, Sam still cares about her and tries to be a part of her life. He lets Stella treat him like crap over the years in the hopes that one day she’ll realize how much he cares about her.

While she does eventually realize how much he cares and starts to feel the same way, I felt like their whole relationship was completely unrealistic. Especially since she was still friends with Zoey at the time who cares nothing more than about being popular at their school. I also just feel like Alexandra Sirowy added their romance in the story to add some unneeded drama into the book. Because while Stella and Sam grew up together and had been friends for a really long time, I just didn’t really see their relationship develop well in the story. I pretty much felt bad for Sam, despite not liking him that much either because he seemed desperate to win Stella over. I felt like he deserved a much better person in his life and just didn’t understand why he still cared so much about her when she didn’t take his feelings into account at all.

I also hate her relationship with her best friend Zoey. It feels like it’s extremely toxic because all Zoey wants is to be the most popular girl at their school. It’s to the point where I think she’d be willing to end her friendship with Stella in order to stay at the top. While I get there all in high school and haven’t reached maturity yet, their friendship just didn’t sit well with me at all. Even during the moments when Zoey backed Stella up and supported her, I still didn’t like her because there were a lot of moments when she wasn’t there for Stella too.

I also hated the ending of The Creeping. As someone who believes in the supernatural, I felt like there was so much potential to make the mystery of Jeanie’s disappearance so much more than what Sirowy decided to do. We were given all this information about the town and other lore that I was expecting something more to come out at the end of it. I was deeply invested in the book because of the horror in the story and we are given a predictable ending for the story instead. The ending was predictable because it felt like an obvious choice to make this person responsible for what happened to Jeanie. And for me, that was extremely disappointing because I saw so much potential for something extraordinary to happen instead. It made this book that much more of a disappointment to me because I felt like there was so much more that could’ve been explored.

I overall liked reading this book because the horror in the story made me invested to find out what happened next. However, I wasn’t quite keen on the YA elements in the story, like the romance between Stella and Sam and Stella’s friendship with Zoey was too toxic for me to enjoy. I also didn’t like the ending because it felt too predictable and obvious to me when I felt like there was potential for something more. But the horror in The Creeping was exactly what I needed because it kept me reading to find out more.

Book Review: Redemption (MILA 2.0 #3)

Redemption Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

Mila has been running for her life for so long. But there might be nowhere left for her to go. Especially now that she’s an incredible danger to herself and anyone who dares get close to her.

That’s why Mila has gone into hiding with friend and tech expert Lucas. She can’t take the risk of hurting people worse than the way she hurt Hunter: the boy she’ll always love, the boy who might never forgive her for what she’s done.

But then Mila discovers that General Holland—her ultimate enemy—has plans that are an even bigger threat to humanity than she is. His quest to reclaim Mila is only part of a larger mysterious endgame that will put people’s lives at stake. Mila must make a choice: either push aside her fears and fight him with everything she’s got…or turn her back on the world forever.

After getting to the end of this book, I can definitely say I enjoyed reading Redemption. While the ending itself made me want to cry, the overall direction Debra Driza takes this last book in the trilogy was really enjoyable to read. I felt like we finally got the real answers we needed as to why Sarah (the person who Mila used to be) died in the fire and found out what Holland was planning on doing next.

I found the way the story developed to be quite surprising. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I went with it because I wanted to see where this would all end up. I also enjoyed reading about Mila’s relationship with Lucas. You could tell there was a good connection there and I really wanted to see where it’d go. While I like Hunter’s character, I found that I actually like Lucas better because he’s understood Mila since the beginning and still wants to help her find out the truth. And at this point in the story, Hunter and Mila’s relationship is pretty much dead anyway.

One of my favorite things about Redemption is the amount of detective work the characters do to find out the truth about Holland and what he’s plotting. In particular, the last half of the book where they are in the school trying to find out what’s going on with the scholarship recipient students. It’s quite an interesting plot in the story I wasn’t at all expecting because then we realize how big of a threat Holland truly is.

I also enjoyed that redemption was a big part of the story too. It came into play with Mila gaining back the trust of some of Quinn’s members of the Vita Obscura and Holland at the end of the book. Because after the events in Renegade, a lot of the characters are still weary of Mila and whether she’s really someone who can be trusted. The same is said with Holland because he is given a choice to make at the end of the story, which I feel like I can’t really get into without ruining the end of this trilogy. But it’s definitely a big choice, I can say for sure.

As the last book in this trilogy that I’ve enjoyed reading, there were still some things I didn’t quite enjoy about this one. For starters, while I enjoyed seeing a connection blossom between Mila and Lucas, I hated that the beginning of Redemption was pretty much the same as Renegade, except that Lucas is the boy with Mila instead of Hunter. But the plot pretty much starts out the same there because they both look together to try and connect Sarah’s death with Holland and to find out what he’s planning on doing next.

I also wasn’t quite fond of the way Driza decided to end this trilogy. I hated it because I felt like Mila deserved so much better after everything she’s gone through and it actually made me want to cry. But it also didn’t really tell us much either because we don’t know what happens with the other characters afterwards. Mind you, I wasn’t exactly expecting this trilogy to have a super happy ending or anything. I was expecting it to have a neat resolution though, and I feel like that didn’t really happen.

I think as a trilogy though, I think that’s one of my biggest problems with it. Because while I’ve enjoyed reading this trilogy overall, I just feel like there’s something missing in the plot. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that it’s rushed so certain things that happen in the trilogy don’t necessarily make sense to me. The best example that comes to mind for me right now is the Vita Obscura group as a whole. From the beginning of the trilogy, the author made this group sound like it was huge with a lot of members in it. However, the only members of the group that come to help Mila out with uncovering the truth about Holland are the ones she interacts with in Renegade. Then, there’s everything that happens with Holland in general that’s full of plot holes. I know that Mila as an android is supposed to be a secretive military operation that not too many people are supposed to know about. But besides Holland, Quinn, Nicole and Daniel, there weren’t too many other key players who knew about Mila. To me though, that just seemed too convenient because I feel like more people would’ve played a part in Mila’s creation, therefore they’d be playing a big part in the story.

And that’s one of my biggest problems with this trilogy. The story being told overall is unique, amazing and everything I want to read in a science fiction, young adult story. But there’s just so much with the plot that doesn’t add up, isn’t fully explained that makes it hard to wrap your head around and accept what’s been told to you.

However, I still enjoyed reading this trilogy and was sad to see it come to an end, even if the ending isn’t at all what I wanted for Mila. It left me feeling emotionally sad to be done with these books, but also looking forward to whatever book I decide to read next.

Book Review: Renegade (MILA 2.0 #2)

Renegade Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

There is no one left for Mila to trust. Except for a boy she barely knows.

But Hunter has no idea who—and what—Mila really is. She can’t bear to reveal her secret, even though he’s unwittingly joined her search for Richard Grady, a man who may know more details of Mila’s complicated past.

Yet the road to the truth is more dangerous than ever. With General Holland and the Vita Obscura scouring the earth for her whereabouts, Mila must rely on her newfound android abilities to protect herself and Hunter from imminent harm. Still, embracing her identity as a machine leads her to question the state of her humanity—as well as Hunter’s real motives.

While I wasn’t completely sure what to make of MILA 2.0 when I started reading it, I know for sure that I enjoyed reading Renegade immensely. It was action packed, suspenseful, and ended with me wanting to find out more. Continuing where MILA 2.0 left off, Renegade shows us the journey Mila went on with Hunter to find out more about who she really is. But in doing so, her relationship with Hunter takes a turn for the dangerous as she contemplates whether she really can trust him with the truth or not.

I enjoyed Renegade more than its predecessor because the beginning didn’t start off quite as slow. You have Hunter and Mila interacting with each other, trying to find out what they’re going to do now. While I was frustrated with Mila for not telling Hunter the truth and hated that she kept bringing it up, I was fascinated by their journey into learning more about Mila’s identity. She learned more about who she is in this book, and I felt like it really explained everything that happened up to this point in the story. It explained why she was having memory flashbacks of a life she never truly lived, but also explained why even though she’s an android she has such strong emotions. I enjoyed this book better because I felt like I understood Mila better than before.

I also found this story to be more action packed, which helped too. Because while Mila is with Hunter, she’s still on the run from General Holland so she has to be careful who she trusts. So when she finds Grady, she starts becoming weary of the person she’s traveling with. She starts questioning her decisions and comes up with a plan for what to do next. While I was annoyed that she was continuously questioning Hunter’s motives throughout, I also understood her reasoning for it. I understood because I honestly didn’t understand why she even brought Hunter into this situation to begin with. Yes, he was one of the few people she felt like she could trust in Clearwater, but she barely knew him.

I also enjoyed finally being introduced to the leader of the Vita Obscura. I like how Driza made it seem like she was trustworthy at first, though I was suspicious of her character immediately. She just seemed too nice and it made me very weary of her character. It wasn’t until we see Mila make that terrible decision that her true nature really came out. While I completely understand her part in the story, it really put a twist in the story that I never saw coming.

However, there are some criticisms I do have with Renegade that I didn’t have with MILA 2.0. For starters, while I do overall like her connection with Hunter better than before (despite it being instant love), I found it to be too convenient that his family actually has a role in the story. I also hated that he decided to just come along with her on this trip without fully questioning what was going on and why she’d reached out to him. I also didn’t really understand why she wanted him around knowing that she was putting him in serious danger. I get she really likes him, but I feel like he shouldn’t have really been given a role in this story. Or that if she did talk to him it wasn’t until later after the events that transpired. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like his character and I do understand why he’s in the story. But I don’t know, I feel like romance shouldn’t even really be in this trilogy. And there’s a possibility that this trilogy will become a love triangle, which is something else I’m truly starting to hate in young adult novels. It’s starting to become a cliché in young adult literature for the female character to have two boys fighting for her affections, and I’m really starting to hate it because it’s very unrealistic.

But anyway, enough of that. Another part of the story I didn’t particularly like is when the Vita Obscura leader’s plans are finally revealed through the decision Mila makes. I’m not going to go too much into detail about this part of the story because I want to try the best I can not to spoil it. But basically, Mila makes a decision for herself that doesn’t go particularly well. It actually results in her briefly becoming less human and more android, which in turn leads to a discovery none of us find out about until the end of the story. In this part of the story, Mila makes terrible decisions that affect the lives of others. She also briefly looses the part of herself that made me like her character in order to not deal with the hurt and pain she’s experiencing. I hate that she made this decision because while I do completely understand why she did it, I knew something bad was going to come from it. I also knew that the end result of this decision would be her character being less human and making decisions she wouldn’t make herself. While I enjoyed seeing more of her android side in this moment, I overall hated this part of the story because she did something she would’ve never done. And that frustrated me because her character has been through a lot already and I feel like she didn’t deserve this.

However, despite these two parts of the story, I overall enjoyed reading Renegade.  I enjoyed reading this book because I learned the truth about Mila’s identity, the story was more action packed and fast paced, and we finally were introduced to the Vita Obscura and found out why their leader was interested in Mila. I really can’t wait to finish reading the final book in the trilogy Redemption to find out what happens next to Mila.

Confessions of A Writer #5: Reading Inspires Writing

Stephen King If You Want to be A Writer Quote

I know sometimes you feel like you don’t have time to read because you want to use that time to write. However, I personally believe reading and writing go hand in hand. When you’re feeling lost, reading can be the greatest inspiration to get yourself back into writing again. If anything, I honestly believe what inspires most writer’s writing is the books the writer reads.

For me, most of the writing I do here on my blog is mostly book reviews and video games, with these confessions posts being published whenever I feel inspired to write about writing. However, what you’ll notice if you go through the books I’ve written reviews on is that I mostly talk about young adult literature, fantasy and occasionally science fiction, romance and mystery. This makes sense for me as a writer because these are the type of books I read. But, I also feel like with my own writing, these types of books inspire me to write outside of what I do here on my blog. Most of the writing I do outside of here that I decide to publish on my blog is usually one of these genres. This is because I gain my inspiration from these stories and use them to help me come up with unique stories of my own.

I write within the genres I read because I find that reading inspires writing. And I think most writers can agree with me on this. I honestly think one of the basic tools a writer needs to be successful is to read a lot. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean someone can’t be a writer because they don’t read. I just think a writer who doesn’t read will have a much more difficult time at being successful as a writer due to having one less source of inspiration in their lives.

I feel like reading can help you a lot with your writing. By reading other books, you expose yourself to a variety of different writing styles and can see what works and what doesn’t. You can also make note of writing devices such as plot, setting, character, etc. in a story to get an idea of how to improve your own writing.

I believe that reading helps you gain knowledge. So as a writer, I believe the more books you read, the more you are able to understand writing as a whole. So for me personally, I believe in order to be a successful writer, you have to read just as much as you write.

Book Review: MILA 2.0 (MILA 2.0 #1)

MILA 2.0 Book Review

Rating: 3 stars

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

When I first started reading this book, I wasn’t completely sure what to make of it. The pacing was slow, the characters you as the reader were introduced to were annoying, and the storyline didn’t flow together quite as smoothly as you’d expect. As you continue reading, however, the story gets more invigorating, the main character becomes much deeper, and the plot becomes even more intense. It’s as if Debra Driza’s writing became more focused and she knew exactly what direction she wanted to take her readers.

And for me, it worked. The story came together, started making sense and I liked what I was seeing overall. I enjoyed it because while it started off slow, I still found myself wanting to continue reading to find out what happened next. I wanted to see what happened to Mila, how she’d deal with learning the truth about herself and what she’d do next.

I gave this book a chance because my grandmother recommended it to me. And I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. What I enjoyed when reading MILO 2.0 is that it’s unlike any other book I’ve read. What I mean to say is this is the first book I’ve really read that’s focused on a character who isn’t quite human. She’s an android with unusual abilities who questions her humanity and what it means to be human. Yet, has the capacity to feel deep human emotions that makes it much more difficult for her to survive the tasks she encounters throughout the story. And I enjoyed every minute I learned more about her abilities.

What I also enjoyed when reading this book is how Mila’s character questions what it means to be human. She questions everything she’s dealing with in her life and refuses to do anything that’ll make her even less human. I like this aspect of her character because she wants to fight to be alive and free from what’ll happen to her when she’s caught.

MILA 2.0 Book Quote
Via Epic Reads.

I also like that MILO 2.0 is very action packed. As the story continues moving along, it gets even more intense with each page the reader turns. One minute, Mila is enjoying her normal life as a teenage girl. The next, she’s having to flee from those who are trying to catch her. She doesn’t completely understand what she’s running away from, just knows that if she gets caught, her life will get a whole lot worse than it was before.

However, there are a lot of things with this story I don’t completely like. For starters, the first half of the novel like I said before moved at too slow a pace. It was like Driza was struggling to write, figure out where she wanted the direction of this story to go. Everything was a complete mess that desperately needed to be changed. Especially the plot because I have a hard time believing they were found out because of an accident in a car.

Part of what made the first half of the story not as good as the rest were the characters. In particular, the girls Mila had become friends with when she moved to small town Minnesota. They were all just sort of snooty, rude, mean, not the type of people she should’ve been friends with when she moved there. I know part of the reason she was friends with them was because the leader of their group Kaylee welcomed her into the fold since she was new there, but overall, I didn’t see any other valid reasons for her to continue interacting with them, especially when Hunter came into town.

Speaking of which, I hated the instant attraction Driza made Hunter and Mila feel for each other. While I overall like Hunter’s character (what we see of it, I mean), I feel like their romance is completely rushed. They’ve only had a small amount of interactions with each other, yet they’ve almost kissed a couple times and Mila is constantly thinking about him while she’s on the run and when she gets captured. It feels like infatuation instead of love to me and I wish she’d given their interest with each other more room to grow. Or I would’ve been perfectly fine if there was no romance at all throughout the story. I know it’s in there to show that she’s capable of having human emotions, but I do feel like it doesn’t need to be there. And I don’t know, I have a feeling it could be the death of her at some point in the rest of the books to come.

However, I overall enjoyed reading MILA 2.0. Despite its flaws, it was a book unlike any other I’ve read and I can’t wait to continue reading the rest of the books in this trilogy to find out what happens next to Mila. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s willing to push through a book to get to the juice of a story and to people who love young adult science fiction novels that center around a teenage android.

 

First Impressions: Arena of Valor

Arena of Valor Picture

Arena of Valor is a multiplayer online battle arena game for mobiles published by Tencent Games. In this game, you are on a team with four other players as you try your best to destroy their home base. Doing so requires a lot of leveling up and good teamwork. Depending on what hero you choose determines what abilities you have. For example, some heroes are good at jungling (where you go into the wild and defeat monsters to gain experience and level up your hero) while others are good tanks. So do the best to choose heroes to balance out your team so you can win.

Arena of Valor Pic 2
Via Flip Geeks.

I just recently started playing Arena of Valor when I saw one of the Youtubers I follow play it. And man, do I really enjoy it. What I enjoy about this game is that its team based. While I enjoy playing video games by myself, I don’t mind a game that involves playing with other gamers and trying to reach victory together. It gives me the chance to interact with other people who enjoy video games as much as I do.

I also like Arena of Valor because of it being a 5v5 game for mobile. While I’ve never played a game like this on my phone, I like that MOBA games are being brought to mobile because I feel like the controls are a lot easier. I also think it’s very convenient too because you don’t have to worry about booting up your computer or laptop to play, it’s all just right there in your hands. The controls are also pretty easy to learn too, which is another plus to me because the player doesn’t have to worry all too much about what buttons to push to use their abilities.

I love that this game has a variety of heroes for you to choose from. Every time I play a game feels like a new experience because I want to play as many of the heroes I can so I can see which heroes work for me. I like that as you continue playing the game and getting a feel for how it works, you can unlock more heroes to experiment with along with more talents. This gives me incentive to continue playing Arena of Valor and seeing how far I can get.

Arena of Valor Pic 3 Heroes

My biggest challenge playing this game is that I don’t yet completely understand how to use the Arcana system and what items I should be buying when I level up my heroes. While I get how the Arcana system works (you have three types of Arcana: red is strength, life is purple, and green is willpower and as you play and level up, you unlock more Arcana to build up your heroes), I haven’t completely figured out how to use the Arcana and the items I buy in game to my advantage. I know I’ve just started playing recently so this’ll come with time so I’m just doing the best I can with it until then.

Arena of Valor Pic 4 Arcana Building

While I really love playing Arena of Valor, I do have some things I don’t like about it. The biggest thing I don’t like about it is the Credibility system that’s in place to make sure players aren’t leaving games or trolling. With this Credibility system, if you leave a game for any reason at all, players can then report you for being AFK and you lose credibility points. While I get why this system is in place and do overall believe it’s a good thing to have, I think it needs some improvements. I’m not the type of person to leave in the middle of a game intentionally and then come back later. But there have been times where I’ve been playing and the game suddenly froze on me and I wasn’t able to get back into the game no matter how many times I tried. And I’ve lost credibility points whenever this has happened to me. This then left me frustrated with the game because I wanted to continue playing and enjoy it, but getting points taken away from me due to a system error made me less inclined to do so. And there is no way to dispute when someone reports you for being AFK, even if being gone from the game isn’t your fault. So people could end up taking advantage of this system, which is why I think they should have it set up where there’s a way to check that someone is actually AFK verses having system problems. I think there should be a way to tell so people don’t keep getting penalized because they have a crappy system because it’s hard to enjoy a game when it’s laggy and you keep being penalized because of it.

I also don’t like with Arena of Valor that to unlock some heroes you have to pay for them. I get having something in place to unlock heroes as you level up and play. But I don’t think you should have to pay to unlock heroes you really want to play as.

However, I am overall pleased with Arena of Valor as a MOBA game and am excited to continue playing it. I remember playing League of Legends and enjoying that a lot, but I think I like this one a little more because of how convenient it is. I also hope to try out more games like this one in the future because I know they’ll definitely be fun to play.

Book Review: The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2)

The Silkworm Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

Wow. I really enjoyed reading this second book in the series more than The Cuckoo’s Calling, which wasn’t at all a bad read, but was missing something The Silkworm had for me: suspense. It was a page-turner, from start to finish because I really wanted to know who killed this writer. I was also curious about the world Strike immersed himself into in order to find the killer and figure out why this person went after Owen Quine. The world of publishing has never been a world I’ve been a part of, though I hope for that to change one day. But I was curious about Quine and this mysterious book he wrote about the people in his life so I was ready to dive in.

I’m not going to lie when I say part of my enjoyment of this book is because the case involved an author. I wanted to learn more about his book, and what about it was so terrible that it couldn’t be published. But what I got from that caught me off guard, but also made me laugh at the same time. So I was surprised about the type of books Quine typically wrote, but was also intrigued as to what this revealed about his character. I like that his book was connected to his death. I like that being incorporated into the case because it eliminated a lot of people being responsible for his murder except for the characters we were introduced to.  The only problem I had when it came to this case is that Galbraith made Quine seem like the stereotypical author. His character sounded very cocky and arrogant, yet still eccentric at the same time, which is pretty normal to the way I’ve seen authors being described in books. This is a problem for me because people see authors this way already and was hoping his character would be described differently.

I also enjoyed seeing Strike and Robin’s friendship continue to blossom. I like seeing the way the two of them work together to investigate because you can tell that they trust each other. But at the same time, I worry that Galbraith is going to try and get them together as a couple. While I wouldn’t necessarily mind that, I really like seeing them work together and just being friends outside of the job. I also like seeing Robin’s character continue to develop as she stands up to her fiancé because she really enjoys her work. I feel like as she continues helping Strike with cases, she comes into her own and is becoming the person she’s meant to be.

I also enjoyed this book in the series more than The Cuckoo’s Calling because there was a lot of buildup when it came to finding Quine’s killer. The killer was revealed to us in a surprising way, which made us even more interested in finding out why this person killed Quine.

My biggest problem with The Silkworm is the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I usually don’t mind when books have quotes, but the ones in this book felt like they didn’t belong to me, and I would’ve been fine reading the book without them.

I also felt that most of the characters who knew Quine were too similar. I don’t know if it’s because they all worked in publishing or were authors, but it annoyed me because I didn’t really like any of them. They just seemed too similar to me so when the killer was finally revealed, I wasn’t quite as surprised as I thought I’d be. I felt like any one of them could’ve killed Quine, it was just a matter of which one Galbraith decided on.

However, neither of these problems for me made me enjoy The Silkworm any less. It was overall a very suspenseful, intriguing read that made me continue turning the page. I can’t wait to continue reading this series to find out what happens next.

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