Love Letter to IRL Talk

If you know me ‘IRL’ (crap, the puns are already starting and this only the first sentence…), then you have probably heard me talking about ‘this one podcast I really like about tech stuff.’ And you’ve probably heard the story about how it was once called Geek Friday, that show ended, and it became IRL Talk. Anyways, if you know me ‘IRL’ you’ve heard the whole spew.

I started listening to Geek Friday back in 2012. Back when I was having a really difficult time embracing my awkward, geeky personality. I started to listen to this podcast. This podcast whose hosts were undeniably awesome, and were the exact kind of people I wish I knew ‘IRL’ (I’m trying to stop using that as a pun but I just can’t control myself. Sorrynotsorry.).

Anyways, over the years, getting the new episode every Friday became a huge highlight for me! Definitely the best day of my week. Listening to Jason and Faith’s shenanigans never failed to make me laugh. I learned about technology, and culture, all the while slowly learning to embrace my geekiness. In fact, these two inspired me to start pursuing my interests in programming and writing. Faith is just the sweetest sass master I’ve ever heard, and Jason has taught me ways to be awkward that I use everyday. They’ve really influenced me a lot more than either of them, or I, will probably ever realize.

Because of them, I know that I want a firetruck as an everyday vehicle. Because of them, I want a robot butler (who I will not abuse because that’s just mean). Because of them I realize that both a submarine or helicopter would both be pretty freaking cool things to have.

Sadly, every good thing comes to an end. And now that IRL Talk’s finale is impending, I just wanted to say thanks. Faith and Jason, thank you for putting all the work into these podcast for all these years. Thanks for making all of our weekends so great. You rock.

That’s all I’ve got.

Maddie

Let’s Get Lost

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Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

I was VERY pleasantly surprised by this book. I was sent it to review, and was intrigued by the summary. Sounds kind of like a John Green book, right? It was so much more than just that! It had intriguing, and different characters, and each of their stories kept you guessing until the end. The writing was strong, and creative, and kept me reading until the very end. It was a very inspiring contemporary novel, that I would recommend to all ages.

Seize the Tuesday!
Maddie

A Spark Unseen

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The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron’s blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

As it usually goes, A Spark Unseen was a wonderful novel,  but it didn’t quite capture me in the same way its predecessor did. The Dark Unwinding started out slow, as I mentioned in my review, but it did eventually pick up quite pleasantly. A Spark Unseen started out slow… And stayed slow. The whole book just felt, slow. The writing style was much more developed, which was great! It kept it’s beautiful flare, and kept me intrigued enough to finish the book, but overall, A Spark Unseen didn’t seem to have as much as a plot as I would have like.

That said, I did thoroughly enjoy it! It was a great addition to The Dark Unwinding, and though unlikely, I hope to see more stories with Lane and Katherine in the future.

I give A Spark Unseen 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Maddie

The Dark Unwinding

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When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it.

As you all should know by now, I am a big steampunk fan. But after awhile, all steampunk books kind of seem… the same. That’s why I was so thrilled when I stumbled across The Dark Unwinding. Similar to The Diamond Thief, this series does not have too much steampunk in it, just a flare. Which was PERFECT. The story line itself was interesting, and the writing style was very hauntingly beautiful, that it just… felt steampunk without have gears all over the place.

Although it started out a bit slow, once it really got moving, it was great. It had a fast pace, and it kept me guessing. Some plot twists were a bit predictable, but then there were a few I really didn’t see coming. Having the contrast between the two really added to the story, and made it all the more puzzling – in a good way.

If any of you have played the Professor Layton games – which if you haven’t, I highly recommend them – this was ‘steampunk’ in the same way those games are. So if you’re a fan of those games, definitely check this book out!

I give The Dark Unwinding 5 out of 5 Stars

 

Maddie

The Diamond Thief

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No one performs on the circus trapeze like 16-year-old Rémy Brunel. But Rémy also leads another life, prowling through the backstreets of Victorian London as a jewel thief. When she is forced to steal one of the world’s most valuable diamonds, she uncovers a world of treachery and fiendish plots.

Meanwhile, young detective Thaddeus Rec is determined to find the jewel and clear his name. Will Thaddeus manage to rescue the jewel? Or is it really Rémy that he needs to save?

Okay, when I say I love this book, I mean I LOVE IT. Genuinely the first book Ive read in a long time that kept me captivated the entire time. The writing style amazed me me, and I felt as if I was one with the characters. It has such a unique, whimsical writing style, that made me crave more! The steampunk flare was exceptional, neither overwhelm or lacking. It’s so common for steampunk novels to flop, but this one was great. So much more to it than gears and corsets. Perfect, in my opinion.

5 out of 5 stars, no question!

Maddie

Revealed

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After a mysterious cameo from Charles Lindbergh, it’s up to Jonah to save his town in the seventh book of the New York Times bestselling The Missing series, which Kirkus Reviews calls “plenty of fun and great for history teachers as well.

It’s morning as usual at the Skidmore household—until Charles Lindbergh, the famous historical pilot, appears in their living room. Jonah can hardly believe his eyes—and then Lindbergh grabs Katherine and vanishes again. And that’s not all. Chip, Andrea, and all the other children from the plane have disappeared too. And worst of all, Jonah’s parents and all the other adults in his town have de-aged into children.

Jonah is the only one left, and the only one who can save everyone. With the help of de-aged JB and Angela, he has to collect the clues. And they lead directly back to Gary and Hodge, and a terrible plot that could mean the end of everything Jonah has ever loved. Can Jonah put the pieces together before time runs out?

As some of you long time readers may remember, I am a long time fan of Margaret Pererson Haddix, and especially her series The Missing. And Revealed is a great addition to the series! In it, we find out Jonah’s identity, and some other plot twists. Some of which, I had theorized about back when Foundfirst came out, and I was spot on! Pretty proud of myself.

Feuds

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In this breathless story of impossible love, perfection comes at a deadly cost.

For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.

Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.

Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold–and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world…in Avery Hastings’s Feuds.

Never before have I read a book that incorporates sports, dystopian, and romance… And so well too! Ballet novels are hard to write realistically, but Feudsgreatly depicted the intensity and dedication ballet includes. All the while having a marvelous storyline! One of the few dystopian novels I’ve read in the past couple years that seemed truly unique. An amazing take on the Romeo and Juliet storyline we see so commonly used in YA.

5 out of 5 stars!

Maddie

My Life Undecided

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PLEASE READ THIS! MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!

Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.

Again, anger fabulous book by Jessica Brody! In general, I highly recommend her books to anyone who is interested in the YA genre. Especially younger kids who want to read YA, but aren’t necessarily prepared for some of the more mature content. Ms. Brody does a fabulous job telling morally rich stories, all while including great characters and humor. I was laughing at least once every page; her characters have such great sassy wit! I love it!

4 out of 5 stars!

Maddie

52 Reasons to Hate My Father

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Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

I’m admittedly very late to reviewing this. I’ve been wanting to read it forever, after seeing the wonderful book trailer (All of Jessica Brody’s trailers are great)! It looked like such a fun book, and I was totally right!

It’s been a long time since I read a book that was so cute, funny, and entertaining, all while being very clean! YA tends to be a sketchy genre, especially in the contemporary sector, but Ms. Brody really pulled it off! I was very impressed. There was fabulous character development, and story lines, all the while being all around funny! I very much enjoyed it, and highly recommend it.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Maddie

The Geography of You and Me

imageLucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

It’s exceptionally rare to find a YA romance novel as cute, and well written as this, yet totally family friendly. Like, I’d be comfortable letting my 10 year old sister read this book. But at this same time, it was amazing. It was AMAZING. The actual plot was a cool idea, and the writing style just made it even better. Plus, now I want to go send people postcards. Yo, it’s just good. Go read it.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Maddie

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