Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Announcements! Finals and Meme

Hey everyone!

So as you know, it's the holiday season, and that means for students it's exam time. I have my final exams coming up in the next couple of weeks, and my teachers (as always) love loading on as many homework/project/test assignments as possible. Unfortunately, I won't be able to post as often because of this hectic study schedule.

I'll try to get out posts as much as possible, but please don't expect much from me for the next few weeks. After finals, I'm heading out of town for a week--so that will also take time out of my free schedule.

Also, I've decided to stop my Sad Sunday Book weekly meme. Instead, I'll be starting What's the Word Weekends. This meme will have me picking random books from my bookshelves, selecting random pages via a number generator, and reading a random quote off that page. It'll be fun and way more light-hearted than a meme covering the books that made me cry my heart out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fan Trailer Tuesday: Shiver

I don't like the book Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Her writing style is too flowery and unnatural, and whatever good there is to it is wasted on a clichéd, melodromatic soap opera. But I'm not looking for books I loved when I go searching Youtube. 

I found a pair of fan trailers for Shiver that a person did. She switched up the cast in each version and slightly altered the clips. I personally like the first version better. And what's interesting is that the creator actually put in voice overs that meshed over the actor's silent dialogue so the words matched up with the lips. I thought that was a creative way to get the right dialogue into the trailer but still keep the right actor. 

I would love to hear what you guys think about these two trailers. Which one did you like the best? Which one had the best cast? Best clips?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: Ashes

Title: Ashes 

Author: Ilsa J. Bick 

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 

Part of a Series?: First in series 

Goodreads summary:
 It could happen tomorrow . . . 

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. 

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. 

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human. 

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

3.5 stars but rounding up because I’m feeling generous. 

Ashes borrows heavily from other popular dystopian books like The Maze Runner and Enclave. EMP bombs knock out the world’s power and turn everyone within a certain age range into animalistic beasts. Alex and her companions have to survive this new, deadly environment while running from vicious zombiefied teenagers and geriatric grandpas with guns. 

Minus the EMP stuff (I’m disregarding whatever scientific reasonability there is behind Bick’s explanations because I know next to nothing about stuff like this), Ashes is a pretty generic survival dystopia book. But I think Bick elevates the actual story to a higher level because she has a way of making everything seem more dramatic. Ashes is the first book in the series—which I plan on continuing—which means that a lot of questions are proposed, but not a lot of them are answered. Cliffhangers plus incredibly gory details? This book practically screams “make me into a movie.” The sequencing of events is very cinematic, with intense revelations and action scenes counterbalanced with an even measure of character building. I have a very visual way of thinking, so Bick’s to-the-point writing style is refreshingly satisfying. 

I actually ended up liking the characters. The first ten chapters (they’re short) grated my nerves. Alex and Ellie were too childish and too selfish when they initially paired up together. But they both grew on me, admittedly. When Tom, the soldier, joined their mini family, Bick created a very cute makeshift family unit. 

However, the entire last third of the book (the part in the Christian-y commune of Rule) went a tad slowly for my taste. Don’t get me wrong; there were some fascinating characters living there and some key developments were brought to light. But compared to the gritty edge from the first two-thirds of the book, I felt like the Rule chapters threw off the book’s fast momentum. Furthermore, I thought the addition of a second love interest for Alex was not appropriate.Chris felt like a last minute decision. There are plenty of books that survive without love triangles, and I felt like Ashes could’ve been one of them. If anything, the development with Tom’s disappearance gave the Alex-Tom relationship the needed amount of drama without the addition of another guy.

Overall, the book has plenty of faults. But I think this is a good start to a promising series.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sad Book Sunday: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I remember first reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 3rd grade. I remember listening to the audiotape of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on my 5th grade family road trip to the Grand Canyon. I remember screaming like a baby when a coincidentally timed blackout zapped all power from the house while my friend and I were watching the scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban where Harry follows the kidnapped Ron into the Shrieking Shack.

Harry Potter has been part of my childhood. And when the 7th book rolled around, it wasn't just the deaths of precious, beloved characters that made me cry. It was the fact that this series--and even if you hate HP, you can't deny that the boy wizard will be a lasting figure in literature for years to come--was coming to an end. Of course, I cried when Harry realized how many of his friends had died in the battle at Hogwarts. But I also cried at the epilogue (yeah...I have my own opinions about that part of the book) because the saga had ended, and I would no longer relish the one-two year wait for the next midnight release. 

Same thing happened with the movie. I balled my eyes out in the movie theater when I watched the second part of the last movie. 1) The musical score was genius. It had the right amount of poignancy that pulled at each emotion as it should have. 2) I cried because of the nostalgia. 

The Harry Potter series definitely has its tragic moments, but the main reason I'm listing this specific book as a "sad book" is because of the finality it carries for all my precious memories growing up alongside Harry Potter.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Trip to the Movies: Breaking Dawn Part 1

I was a preteen when the Twilight books were published--yes, I will admit that I followed the craze just like every other little rabid fangirl. But I grew out of it. Thank God. I think I started to realize what a fool I was when I reread The Hunger Games and Graceling. Undeniably, the female protagonists Katniss and Katsa (LOL, yes eerily similar there...coincidence?) are two of the baddest badasses in literature from the last few years. Comparing them with Bella is almost like comparing the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang with napping kindergarteners. Seriously.

Anyway, I went to go see Breaking Dawn yesterday with some of my friends. We decided to go on Friday because it gave sufficient time for the Twihards to see Breaking Dawn three times and be satisfied, leaving the theater for the quieter folk.

Except, we weren't quiet. The entire movie, my friends and I had this running commentary. For example:

"Bella and Charlie could crack a smile. It's a wedding, not a death sentence."
"How does the deed? He doesn't have blood circulation"
"He twitched. Did you see that? Did you see? SEE! HAHAHAHA!"
"Jacob, I LOVE YOU!"
"Oh God, please let there be creative license! DO NOT TURN JACOB INTO A PEDODOG!"
"The wolves are all so fluffy. *makes squishy noises under breath*"
"Ew. The baby's ugly. Isn't she supposed to be the prettiest baby on the planet?"
"When you were born, you were that bloody too."

It was pretty funny, especially since we probably ruined the movie for the people sitting in front of us. Oh well. In my personal opinion, the movie was much better with our commentary. I kid you not, during the scene where the housekeepers come to the Cullen's private island to clean up and they see the trashed bedroom, all four of us burst out laughing, and the other audience members gave us death glares.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! I am completely stuffed of turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing (hehehe...yum.), and all the other Thanksgiving staple foods. Ugh, I'm going to be feeling it tomorrow when it all solidifies in my bowels.

Anyway, that's gross imagery. And I've decided not to post a Terrible Thursday book today because what kind of holiday would this be if I decided to celebrate it with a crappy book?

But I do have a note about the book The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I had previously posted that I was reading the newly pubbed book, and I had in fact checked it out from the library. I got about 50 pages in before the boredom kicked in. And when it kicked, it hit hard. The Night Circus will please many of you. It's a wonderfully written book. The prose will amaze you. The mystery and 3rd person formality will tantalize you. But the plot will bore you to tears. I got about to 100 pages before giving up. Sorry, but it just wasn't the kind of book I typically enjoy. I prefer plot to description. Preferably, the best books will have an even measure of both; however, if I was to choose one over the other, I would pick plot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: A Need So Beautiful

Title: A Need So Beautiful

Author: Suzanne Young

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:
 We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten... 

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger. 

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely. 

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.

Frankly, this book was pretty boring. It didn't do anything unpredictable, so each plot "twist" made me think, Great...sooo...when's dinner? The only thing that really kept me reading was the question of if Charlotte would give into being a Forgotten or end up living immortally on Earth like Onika (Okina? How's it spelled? I'm too lazy to look it up). 

The book is well-written, and I think the problem is that the writing was wasted on a pretty standard plot line. I can tell Young really put some thought into her concepts about the Forgotten and the Seers and the Shadows, but the story line was very disjointed. We have the Sarah-and-her-daddy-issues plot, the Harlin-the-boyfriend plot, the Charlotte's-glowing-skin plot, and finally the Monroe-Onika-Seer-Charlotte plot. There are a lot of components to A Need So Beautiful, but I don't think Young was able to fluidly interconnect the pieces. Also, she just left us hanging on the most important bits. The evil Shadows that Monroe keeps mentioning--they don't play any part in the plot other than acting as the figurative scapegoats for Charlotte's problems. 

Furthermore, everything was black and white. Charlotte and co. don't carry the necessary depth to pull off a story that is measured on how connected the readers get with the characters. This book is essentially posing the question, "If you were destined to be forgotten by your loved ones, what would you do?" And when Charlotte has to come to terms with her Forgotten status, it's pretty important that we feel the torment and indecision alongside her. But I didn't really feel like Young managed to pull off the poignancy very well. It would've helped if the characters were fleshed out more. Charlotte whined the entire book (We get it. You don't want to be a Forgotten. Now, try to stop crying, for the love of God), so we didn't get to see her express much range of emotion. This problem was further worsened by the secondary characters, Sarah and Harlin. Sarah fell right into the snobby, rich girl stereotype, and Harlin did little to express any emotion that contradicted his sensitive, tormented persona. 

If anything saved this book, it was the ending. The last scene was rather tough to get through, primarily because I knew the story was coming to an end. The last chapter was the climactic "choose good or evil" scene for Charlotte, and this is where Young's writing really shone for me. Also, the end was a semi-cliffhanger, that posed some interesting questions which, if they'd been asked and answered in the actual body of the book, could've provided some more drama and excitement to the plot...SPOILER!!!!!(e.g. Harlin's a Seer? Monroe knew this? What's with the "After" section?).

Overall, the book was kind of boring. But I'm going to read the sequel because the last chapter hinted at an intricate story only skimmed upon in this book.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fan Trailer Tuesday: Divergent

The trailer for this week is a fanmade trailer for Divergent by Veronica Roth. I personally really enjoyed the book. It wasn't the most unique dystopia I've read, but it was one of the most fun.

Anyway, here is the trailer:

The good things about this trailer: the scene clips. I can literally pick any part to this trailer, and identify the scene with a part from the book. Also, the music just made the trailer. It provided an eerie suspense and tension to the clips, which might've seen bare without the right track selection. However, I would've preferred if there was a little more about the other factions. One of the great things about Divergent is the incorporation of the faction system. I really wanted to see more of the Abnegation and Erudite.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: White Cat

Title: White Cat

Author: Holly Black

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers—people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail—he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.


This book made my head hurt in the best way possible. It's a con within a con (con-ception...errr...yeah...awk)! And is it possible that I could allude to Oceans Eleven twice in one week? White Cat really captures the mystery, intrigue, and last minute reveals that makes a great mystery book great. 

First of all, I really like it when authors present the fantasy/paranormal elements as realities rather than something mythological and made up. However, I feel like Black probably could've found a more unique way to world build the concept of curse working. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of curses. But I've read a fair share of AU-esque urban fantasy that utilizes mafia elements. IMO, the crime family foundation feels like a crutch that gives an unnecessary feeling of cliché to the whole book. But I do like the world building in general. Interestingly, good-hearted people can curse people; it's not just the bad guys who curse you with death.

The best part about this book are the characters. Cassel is a refreshing narrator. He's so thankfully flawed and ungirly. Most guy protagonists I've read don't seem like any guy I've ever seen; in other words, they usually have an obsession with confessing their deepest darkest emotions and secrets. That wouldn't work with Cassel. He's a rather deep character; he's internally troubled yet confident in his own non-worker con man abilities. Also, I rather enjoyed Lila's character, for the amount of time we got to see her in the story. She defied my expectations from the moment we first see her in a flashback; she is capable and independent--hell, it doesn't even look like she likes Cassel the way she likes him. And the fact that she isn't the narrator, ironically, makes her even more relatable to me. I think this is the trend for the general cast of White Cat. They don't fit one mold. Overall, Cassel's family members are coldhearted, ruthless crime ring thugs, but they look out for each other in was that only true family could. With regards to the side characters, I have to agree with Cassel when he says something like how he's thankful that Sam and Daneca still are his friends even though he uses them for his own purposes. I felt like Sam and Daneca were really shoved aside when it came to the real story, instead of being incorporated into Cassel's plans. 

Overall, it had its flaws, but this was a great book. Totally reading the sequel.  


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Sad Book Sundays (Monday): Feed

Okay, here is my excuse for missing yesterday's Sad Book Sunday: It was my birthday. Hahah, and I spent it at my best friend's house hosting a Vampire Diaries marathon and fooling around with my brand new iPhone 4s. Now, as much as I love posting on this blog of mine, I love my friends more.

So this mini review is a little late, but it's here nonetheless. For any of you that haven't read Feed by Mira Grant, it is a must-read. It's a full-immersion zombie book (and series) that takes you on a rollercoaster ride that will frustrate you, excite you, and, most of all, sadden you all in 500 pages. Here is my review.

The sad parts to this story are sudden and unexpected. But when they arrive, you get the full force of the poignancy. Initially, Grant blinds you into thinking this is just another zombie story. But as you get more involved with the characters, the blind side is revealed to be a cover for the saddest, most realistic zombie stories I've ever read.

I can't actually get into saying what the sad parts are in this story, but please read this book! If you get through the entirety (and I know, it is a little too long), you won't be disappointed. The end is a cliffhanger-esque tragedy all on its own.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: The Faerie Ring

Title: The Faerie Ring

Author: Kiki Hamilton

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5 

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger. 

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty

2.5 stars

I feel like I might be a just a little harsh in reviewing this book. But when a book like The Faerie Ring takes itself as seriously as it does, I like it when my historical fiction actually feels like historical fiction. I admit that the description of London in this book is fairly impressive, but the way the characters speak, think, act, etc., you wouldn't know they live in Victorian England. Everything remotely interesting about that period in time has been watered down by the author to satiate the blind tastes of the masses. As a history buff, I was incredibly disappointed. 

First of all, I really, really don't like Kiki. I didn't like her from page one when I realized the author was self projecting herself into Kiki's character. When authors do that (e.g. Stephanie Meyer), the characters end up a mess--in other words, they end up trying to hard to be likeable. Take Kiki--I MEAN Tiki's character. Tiki is the maternal figure to her family of street urchins in Victorian London. She has this darn tragic past, and now she struggles to make a living because she has to sacrifice her day's pickings to get money for Clara. She's actually beautiful and intelligent despite her situation, and she's loyal to the bone. Gosh, she's just so perfect. She's a model citizen. And I want to facepalm. It's just this lack of any personality flaws that makes a nerve pop in my forehead. And yet, despite being so intelligent, Tiki is just so stupid sometimes. She doesn't believe Rieker could actually be helpful. It takes her more than half the book to even believe that he's not trying to scam her, let alone allow him to help her. Even when Rieker protects her TWICE from vicious faeries, Tiki doesn't even thank him. So let me revise my previous statement. Tiki is so perfect except for the fact that her judgment is crap. 

My second main disappointment with this book is the mixture of supernatural aspects into the story line. Actually, I wish that The Faerie Ring was just The Ring. For the first time ever, I wish that this was just a historical fiction story...not a historical fantasy. The concept of the faerie truce was cheap and weakly written. We mostly learn from it via Rieker's info dumps and a few scenes in the later half of the story. The faeries are not a major or necessary part to the story. I have this fantasy about what the book could have been if it was just a crime-heist-mixed-with-Victorian-England--think 19th century Oceans Eleven. But alas, Hamilton has failed my expectations. 

This could've been a great book. Maybe if Hamilton hadn't tried so hard...oh well.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Terrible Thursdays: Wither

What a pretty
Wither by Lauren DeStefano is a prime example of the most gorgeous cover in the world paired with the most ridiculously heinous example of dystopian literature I've read in a long time.

I want to start off with my little mini rant by saying this book is eerily (and possibly not coincidentally) similar to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. In Wither, the genetically enhanced generations of the future can only live up to about your mid twenties. Comparatively, in The Handmaid's Tale, it is insinuated that nuclear war (which also apparently happens in DeStefano's book) has made almost the entire population of women infertile.

Both books have polygamy. But Atwood is a supremely divine storyteller, while DeStefano is the inferior Luigi to big brother Mario...I am a gaming nerd, in case you didn't notice.

Furthermore, I just don't like how the world is set up. There are many discrepancies that I don't believe could happen, even if for some reason, there was a disease that suddenly off-ed people's bodies at a specific age. Do you know any disease that kills you within months of your twentieth birthday?

I rant a lot more in my full review, so Click Here for a longer, more rantish review.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hunger Games trailer

And speaking of trailers, have you seen The Hunger Games trailer that was released yesterday! Can you say wow?

This is amazing. I am a huge fan of The Hunger Games. In a day and age where YA fiction is geared towards the Twihards, Suzanne Collins dared to write something that wasn't focused around a damsel in supernatural distress. Regardless of what you have to say about the book series, I think it's pretty obvious that this movie will be great--or at least, I hope it will be. I can only pray that The Hunger Games movies turns out to be the next Harry Potter rather than the next Eragon or Inkheart.

Fan Trailer Tuesday: Fever Series

If you've read my reviews for the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, you know that I have a love hate relationship with the books. They drive me insane, and half the time, I feel like a sadistic creep for enjoying it. Mac is so infuriatingly stupid, but she grows in strength and knowledge throughout the 5 books. And Barrons is just so damn sexy, but his misogyny makes me barf, hands down.

But regardless, I found a really good trailer for the series in general. Compared to The Iron King trailer or the Ender's Game trailer from the last few weeks, this isn't as good. But this trailer has some great sweeping action shots that remind me of the book. Also, I just like the feeling of the trailer. It has this constant moodiness to it that matches the series 100%. My qualms are the song and the actors. The song is annoying. 'Nuff said there. And while I like Kristen Bell as Mac (she has that pretty, edgy look that works), I don't think the choice for V'lane was well done. There was another trailer I was looking at to feature that portrayed V'lane as the fairy prince from Hellboy II. That fit better, in my personal opinion.

But here is the trailer to see for yourself. Enjoy and comment!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sad Sunday Books: Thirteen Reasons Why

Suicide is a difficult subject to write about. The author can't gloss over the subject nor can he or she dramatize it into a soap opera. Because in reality, suicide is a tragedy that can happen to anyone, anytime. A few weeks ago, our school was rocked by the news of a girl who killed herself. And that girl had been my best friend in middle school. The news was heartbreaking, especially when I found myself reflecting over the distance that had grown between us.

Anyway, the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a story of teen suicide that perfects the art of walking the middle ground between teen angst and hope. The story is a sad tale of Hannah's suicide. She sent tapes out to all the people in her life that contributed in some way to her suicide. My review can be found here.

In general, Asher gives Hannah the most humanity of all the people in his book, even though you only see her through her recordings. And Asher knows, I think, better than anyone how to portray Hannah's spiral into depression. Suicide can happen to the happiest of people. Take Hannah's first story for us: her first kiss. I won't spoil the story, but every flashback into Hannah's life brought a little more sadness to my heart because you do know that once the tapes run out, Hannah's story is done. And it makes you afraid to let yourself feel for her story. Yet, it's impossible not to feel sympathy and sadness for Hannah.

It's an amazing book that makes you think hard about life and consequences. Please read it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: Grimspace

Title: Grimspace

Author: Ann Aguirre

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads summary:
 As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace—a talent which cuts into her life expectancy, but makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. But then the ship she’s navigating crash-lands, and she’s accused of killing everyone on board. It’s hard for Jax to defend herself: she has no memory of the crash. 

Now imprisoned and the subject of a ruthless interrogation, Jax is on the verge of madness. Then a mysterious man breaks into her cell, offering her freedom—for a price. March needs Jax to help his small band of rogue fighters break the Corp monopoly on interstellar travel—and establish a new breed of jumper. 

Jax is only good at one thing—grimspace—and it will eventually kill her. So she may as well have some fun in the meantime…

I found myself enjoying this book way more than I thought I would. Typically, I just don't mesh well with science fiction books. It's hard for me to imagine spaceships, alien environments, and in this book's case, grimspace. Yet Aguirre metaphorically waved the steak in front of my face, and I fell for all of her little traps. Darn you, Aguirre!!

The premise is really interesting. Jumping through grimspace is an amazing power that is highly prized by the Corp for interstellar travel, but it also strips away the soul over the years. Jax (love the name) is a Jumper accused of killing her previous crew. She's rescued by March and his renegades, recruited into their plot to overthrow the Corp's monopoly on space travel.

On the surface, the book is made up of generic components: snarky protagonist, dark male lead, witty one-liners, and action and romance, not necessarily in that order. But I feel like Aguirre's writing made up for most of the book's shortcomings. True, Jax's alpha female persona was a little clichéd, but I enjoyed her character more than I thought I would. She suffers from the guilt of killing 82 people aboard her last ship, the Sargasso, including her lover Kai. But her guilt isn't overwhelmingly depressing or anything. Jax is also incredibly rational. Aside from her strangely sudden hatred for March (I didn't get that), she is very coherent for a woman supposedly losing her mind to grimspace. She understands the weight of her actions--especially when characters started dying around her. Also, I enjoyed Jax and March's relationship. Obviously, there is that underlying sexual tension between them, but it wasn't the main part of the story. 

Action and adventure through space are incredibly important to this book. There are some incredibly intense action with guns, defensive maneuvers, etc. I think Aguirre pulled it off very well. I managed to stick with the characters through the entire book without getting completely lost (sorry, Dune). I wish I could be in Jax's shoes, just to see grimspace the way she does. Description is something that Aguirre specializes in. She definitely fleshes out each species, spaceship, and planet with simple, yet descriptive adjectives. 

All in all, great story. It has its flaws...mainly that it can be read as "just another girl-meets-boy-with-ensuing-sexual-tension story set in space." But in my opinion, there is something much better to this story if you look for it