Sunday, February 7, 2016

Book Review: Emotions by Arnulfo Cantarero

"Several hundred thousand of your years ago we engineered emotions out of ourselves and have spent a millennia trying to put them back in without any success. Whatever we did, went beyond genetics, beyond our capacity to understand. We have no pride, no hate, no anger, and no fear but at the same time, no laughter, no joy, no love, no imagination. I am an emotionless being in an emotional world. A rough combination to say the least."
- Arnulfo Cantarero, Emotions 

When the author of this book sent me an email requesting a review he also sent a synopsis. It sounded interesting and I accepted the request. The plot for this book is a very unique science fiction story that raises a lot of questions about your own emotions. 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Jason Ariaz is not your average 22 year old. He has been enhanced but that's only the beginning. He is an emotionless extraterrestrial born to human parents and living amongst us. Both him and his implanted thinking computer were damaged on landing and must go through life as less than what they really are. The purpose of their mission: to gain permanent emotions from the more primitive society that is Earth. If he is successful, he will be the first of his species to do so in nearly 200,000 years. Hope lies in the fact that he is capable of emotional episodes and he has been able to forge true friendships. However, he does have the chance of completing his mission if he can truly care for Ariel, the closest human in his life. But he better know his heart soon. Their lives are in danger of ending tonight, unless he can recover what his species has lost.

We spend two-thirds of the book in Jason's past. The main part of the book does happen at his college graduation but a lot is explained in his past. Seeing how he got where he is. The earliest we see him is seven years old. We see him move to a new house and start at a new school. I loved how we got to see how his unemotional state was affected by age. 

Emotions are something we've always had. They're just there. Sometimes you wish you could live without fear or forget your pride for a little bit but feeling love and joy is something that makes life worth living. I loved how Arnulfo took on this book and we got to see someones struggle with his lack of emotions. There are a few obvious scenarios we could think of but how would you react to a death threat or a fight or a confession of love without emotions?  That is something I enjoyed seeing throughout this book.

One of the things about this book was that it flowed really well but there were a few times were the author was really blunt. So blunt it would make me cringe. I also found myself wishing for a bit more action. Since Jason has an implanted thinking computer he spends a lot of time in his head and a lot of the book is his thoughts. 

Ariel got on my nerves a little. She just seemed a little to helpless. The rest of the characters were really interesting though. I personally liked Stephanie. Jason of course got extremely frustrating at times since he lacked emotions. There were a few times where I wanted to smack him but hey it all worked out in the end.

I had a few issues with this book but the plot was so thought provoking I let it slide. If you enjoy science fiction with a bit of a twist then I'd recommend this one to you.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Author: Arnulfo Cantarero
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 2015

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review: A Bucket Full of Awesome by Zainab T. Khan

"You know, Blake, even though we all know that cancer is a heartless dragon who wants to take everything and everyone into its fiery pit, we still fight with it. We still hope. And we clash again and again with its fire, and even though we get burned, we don't accept defeat. Humans are the most fragile yet the strongest beings on earth." 
"And they are the most stubborn." 
I laughed, "Right. They are stubborn." 

This story was touching. Cancer stories  always get to me because I think about what I would do if I found out I had cancer and I constantly compare myself to the character. I would definitely not be like this spunky main character, Summer.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Summer Wallace is a wild, crazy girl who simply couldn't care less about her appearance. She strongly believe in the saying, "You Only Live Once", in teenage subculture also known as YOLO. She plays basketball like her life depends on it. Well, it sort of does, she loses one game and there's a dent in her ego, not a small one either. 

Meet Blake Walker, her best friend and her partner-in-crime. Although he is just like his childhood best friend in acting-like-a-kid department, he can be a bit saner than her. Though, at times, he can be crazier than her. But a day changes both of their lives which leads Summer to make a bucket list and complete it before her whole life takes a 180 degree. Whereas, Blake is determined to keep her as long as he can. And he is perfect for the job. After all, he knows her more than anyone else. And they have no room for regrets. As Summer Wallace says, "There shouldn’t be any space for regrets in our beautiful lives.” 

Summer Wallace is a tough, fearless girl. When she finds out that she has cancer she fights her best friend, Blake Walker, tooth and nail on taking treatment. When he agrees to help her with her bucket list if she accepts treatment they set of to complete a bucket list full of awesome.

This book was face paced and so much fun to read. I loved how much Summer tried to protect her family and friends from what was coming. She was sick and getting worse but she was concerned about what would happen if she didn't make it.

Summers best friend, Blake, is a huge part of the book. Summer and him constantly bicker but they're there for each other no matter what. Blake does his best to keep Summer focused but fails miserably. Seeing them fight cancer together was touching and watching their friendship grow throughout the book was amazing.

Zainab offered to send me a copy of this book along with her newly released book, Sanctuary. When I read A Bucket Full of Awesome I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Zainab has a fresh and quirky way of writing that made this book a "bucket full" of pleasure to read (I'm cringing at the cheesiness of this sentence but it's true!).

If you're wanting a book that's free from all the usual heroines saving the planet and has a crazy main character just trying to live her life then I recommend this book to you!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Author: Zainab T. Khan
Genre: New Adult
Published: 2015

Book Review: Sanctuary by Zainab T. Khan

"Without any reluctance, without a falter to their steps, people of sanctuary were ready to help, ready to support you. They became your walls to lean on, they became companions when you needed them, and they came together when it was needed."
-Sanctuary, Zainab T. Khan

I loved the idea of this story. That somewhere there was a town where people of all races, religions, and languages lived together. And loved each other. And were there when you needed them. It was a beautiful idea but a little bittersweet.

Goodreads Synopsis:

(n.) the protection that is provided by a safe place.

"And Sanctuary was the right word to describe our small town with its mouth-watering Pakistani fruits, Spain's bullfighting, Italian pizzas, French artists, Indian spices, Korean kimchi, and Turkish delights. Because to every single one of us – a Pakistani, Spanish, Indian, Korean, French, Italian, and Turkish - it was a sanctuary. Our own safe haven. Our home with its different cultural styles yet with a culture of its own."

The story focuses mainly on a girl named Adelaide. Shes a French girl living in Sanctuary with her brother, Ruelle. They have a group of friends from all over the world and together they walk through life supporting each other. 

Seeing all these cultures mix together was surreal. I loved how Zainab had all these events going on  during the book and we got to see how the different traditions and religions came into play. The Italian wedding with a Muslim Maid of Honor. A Spanish couple asking a French girl to be a godmother. A Russian funeral put together by people of different religions just to help out a friend and show they care. I loved seeing all the mixing of different traditions. 

This story is only ninety pages so I got through it in a couple hours but it made me think. All this love for people they don't always understand. Respecting people even if their religion is different from their own. It really made me wish that there was a place like this. That the world could be more like this.

 It was a great idea and the story was sweet I just wish there had been a bit more to the story. I was left wondering about a lot of things but at the same time I think Zainab was just showing us what she thought the world should be more like. All in all it was a sweet story that I would reccomed if you want a light, happy read. 

My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Author: Zainab T. Khan
Genre: New Adult
Published: 2015