Book Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)

Thank you Lord for the perfection that was BookCon, and that because of this amazing convention I was able to snag a copy of one of my most anticipated sequels of 2016, Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. Not only that, but I got it signed by both authors and they are just the coolest, nicest people ever.

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Since this is a review for the ARC and Gemina won’t be released until October, I’m going to keep this review pretty basic and try not to give too much away. I think that’s the only way to go into this series, blind and without any real expectations. So plot wise, this one basically follows in the same footsteps of its predecessor, where you’re immediately thrown into the action and it never slows down. There are so many twists and turns, that it takes a bit to keep up and you’re constantly on the edge of your seat. If there’s only one guarantee when it comes to the The Illuminae Files, it’s that whatever you think is going to happen… You’re dead wrong. And of course, it does end on a major cliffhanger, just like the first book. DAMN YOU FOR MAKING US SUFFER YET AGAIN!

If you’re hoping for Kady and Ezra, while they do make an appearance, the shift has focused to two brand new characters, Hanna and Niklas. We are now following on what has been occurring on the Heimdall Station that has kept it from coming to the aid of Kerenza. Hanna has the sass of Kady but upped by factor of 100. She’s such a great character! I love that Kaufman and Kristoff create such strong badass female leads. Hanna is a take charge, headstrong girl and she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. There are some very strong parallels between her and Kady when it comes to their personalities. Whether you liked or hated Kady, then chances are you’ll feel the same way about Hanna.

%22Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. and her name was vengeance.%22

Nik is an interesting character. He’s got the cockiness and sarcasm that Ezra has, however, we get to know him much better as he is around the entire book. (If you’ve read Illuminae then you’ll know what I’m talking about). I really enjoyed him as a character. Nik is a criminal so he’s a bit rough around the edges but he’s also got that soft side that all girls believe bad boys have. Ladies, don’t think that’s always true in reality! His interactions with Hanna are nothing but pure awesomeness. I basically lived for them, true story!

I think my only complaint with this book is that it is so similar to Illuminae. The setup and flow, even the twists and turns, are very much alike. Even though I didn’t guess what they would be, I wasn’t as surprised and shocked as I was while reading the first book. I was hoping that Kaufman and Kristoff would be able to elevate that kind of tension to a different level, but unfortunately, it never reached that point. However, this is only the second book so I’m sure I’ll be thoroughly satisfied on that front in the next book. Don’t let that disappoint you or affect your expectations for Gemina though, it is still phenomenal and worth all of the damn stars in the world!

Read it. Love it. Obsess.

I’m only sorry that you will have to wait until October to do so.

Hype or Like Friday – May 20th, 2016

Woohoo, it’s Hype or Like Friday again! This meme and Goodreads group were created by myself, Jill @ Rant and Rave Books, and Britt @ Geronimo Reads. To join our group and find out more information about what it’s all about, please go to our Goodreads page HERE.


  • Answer the weekly discussion topic.
  • Optional: Discuss your chosen hyped book of the week.
  • Optional: Talk about your progress on the BOTM.

TOPIC OF THE WEEK: When Do You Consider a Book to Have Reached Hype Status?

When Do You Consider a Book to Have Reached Hype Status?

For me, I think it actually depends on the author. Some books are very gradual in the amount of time it takes for them to reach that certain hyped status, while others reach it before they’ve even been published due to the author already having a pretty large following. A debut novel isn’t probably going to reach hype status for at least a few months following publication while a new novel from Sarah J. Maas or Cassandra Clare already reaches that hype status almost as soon as it’s announced.

But with the amount of growth that the bookstagram community has experienced in the past year or so, definitely affects how quickly books are reaching that status. You no more see one person post about how great a book is before you’re seeing everyone mention it. Social media is definitely playing a part in the marketing of new novels, and it’s really interesting to see just how much of an effect it’s having.

BOTM Update

So I have already finished the May BOTM, The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, #1), and I must say that I really really enjoyed it. It was so much more than some sappy romance, filled with political intrigue and action. I highly recommend you giving it a chance if you’ve been on the fence about it. You can read my full review HERE.

As for my weekly hyped book, I’m currently in the middle of Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book will actually not be released until October, but thank God for BookCon where I was able to snag an ARC and get it signed by both authors (who are totally awesome and nice!). I will be posting a review as soon as I’m done but I will say this…. HOLY MOLY! IT IS AMAZING AND AWESOME AND INSANE AND GLORIOUS AND PERFECT!!!!!!!!

Was that too much?

What makes a book reach hype status for you? Do you usually agree with the hype or does that typically affect how you view it? What are your thoughts on The Winner’s Curse? Have you read any hyped books lately?

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, #1)

Guess who finally finished a book for the first time in almost a month?! Yup, me, that’s who! Aren’t y’all proud of me? Luckily, this book also happened to be the BOTM for Hype or Like Friday, so bonus in that this was the one I finished since I had to DNF Passenger last month as I was trying to read it during a slump. Don’t ever do that, trust me. But The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, #1) by Marie Rutkoski was such a pleasant surprise!

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I hate to be THAT person, but I’ll be honest and say that I picked this book up because of all of the good reviews I’ve read about it, but I kept putting it aside because the cover is awful. I cannot stand book covers that have a girl in a dress on the cover. Like why do you do that?! Yuck. Hate it so much. But anyways, I thought this book was going to be some sappy, silly romance a la The Selection series. Yeahhhhh…. I was wrong! The romance was surprisingly just a tiny part of this story, this was much more focused on the character development of the two MCs and the story of their personal sacrifices. This plot is full of twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting but really appreciated. And that ending?! I need the second book right now because I am dying to see what happens next!


Kestrel is my kind of MC. She marches to the beat of her own drum and basically just does whatever she wants, instead of following the crowd. I also appreciate that she’s not a part of the current YA trend, where the MC is some really small, I-don’t-think-I’m-pretty-but-everyone-else-does, weak girl. Kestrel may not be the best warrior but she’s insanely intelligent and isn’t afraid to get dirty to win. I really enjoy that in my MCs.

Arin was an interesting character. I liked learning his backstory in small doses as the book went along. It explained a lot more about why he is the way he is. I’m interested in seeing some more development from him in the next book. I like him but I need to see more from him and his part of the story, before I can love him. For those of you who have finished the trilogy – do I get what I want?!

“Isn't that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”.jpg

This book was so much more than what I was first expecting. I loved that the focus was less on the romance, and more on the actual political intrigue and action. I would have never pictured that when looking at the cover and just reading the blurb. It does take a little bit before this book hits its stride, but once it does, you won’t be able to put it down!

Final Verdict: 4/5 stars

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? Does the rest of the series measure up, get better, or is it disappointing?

BookCon2016: A Wrap-Up (& Absence Apology)

Well hello to all of you beauties, long time no see! Before I get off on how amazingly awesome BookCon 2016 was and how much you missed out on if you didn’t get to go, I would like to apologize to all of you for my month long absence. After Genrethon I kind of went into a reading slump and just could not pick up a book. I tried Passenger and just wanted to shoot myself and nothing else sounded interesting. Luckily, I decided to pick up The Winner’s Curse to read on the plane to Chicago since it’s the May BOTM for Hype or Like Friday. And guess what?! I LOVED it and finished it the other night! SHE’S BACK!!!!

Okay, now on to BookCon amazingness… I’m just gonna basically bullet point some things of interest because my mind is literally jumping all over the place right now. This is the problem with being away for soooo long!


  • This was my first time to Chicago and I have to say it’s a wonderful city! Also, McCormick Place is apparently the largest convention center in the world and after experiencing it for myself, I would say that certainly seems pretty damn accurate. BookCon was literally only in the West Building… There are 3 other buildings this size!!!


  • None of these photos have been edited and were all taken with my iPhone, so sorry for the bad quality! There are a few from Instagram that have been edited but just a couple. Also, yes that is a massive scab on my nose. I got sunburned last weekend and then it blistered up, and yes I know it’s hideous.


  • Okay, so how the signings work is that all of the major author signings required wristbands to be able to get in line. BookCon doors opened at 10am on Saturday but the wristbands were given out starting at 8am. Each author wristband was in a separate line so you had to try and make it in all of the lines to get the ones you wanted, and even then you weren’t guaranteed to get one as there was only a certain number being handed out. Me and my friend Samantha decided that we just weren’t interested in getting into all of that craziness as the authors we wanted were doing in-booth signings as well so we were just gonna focus on making it to those. And thank God we decided to do that! There were tons of girls upset and crying because they missed out on wristbands, and some had even been in line for HOURS. I can’t even with that craziness!


  • This is what it looked like when they opened the exhibition floor and we were actually towards the front of line. We got there about 9:30 and got to bypass the entire line pretty much because there were too many people in the ballroom waiting area so we got to moved to the hallway on the side and basically just went straight on into the convention. Oops!!!


  • The first author I got to meet was Dela who just released her debut novel, The 52nd. I had been seeing this book all over bookstagram and the blogging community so I knew I had to get it when I found her booth. She is the nicest person too! I told her that I was blogger and how I had heard about her book and she got all excited and we ended up having this huge conversation about how great bookstagram is. She was so happy to hear about how I had found her book that she even signed a bookmark for me, on top of signing her book. I may be doing a giveaway soon for it! I also found out that she’s turning the book into a series!


  • This is the line for the in-booth Melissa de la Cruz signing. We saw people lining up for a signing and so we just jumped in before we even knew who it was! Luckily, it ended up being someone I was familiar with! I read her Blue Bloods series a long time ago and enjoyed it. She was really nice and was signing a bind up of the first few chapters in her upcoming book, Something in Between, which will be released in September.


  • The first panel of the day (and only one we went to) was Unwritten: Stories You Haven’t Read (Yet), which was with Del Rey authors – Naomi Novik (Uprooted, Temeraire series), Scott Sigler (The Generations Trilogy), Justin Cronin (The Passage Trilogy), and my reason for attending, Pierce Brown (Red Rising Trilogy). I’m so glad we attended this panel because they discussed their personal writing processes and how they came up with the ideas for their books. It was extremely interesting and ended up being Samantha’s favorite part of the day, and she only attended it because I wanted to! Fun Facts: Pierce Brown doesn’t outline but turns in post-it notes to his editor. Hahahaha! And Justin Cronin doesn’t let anyone read his book until he completely finishes it, not even his editor!


  • This is a view of just a part of the exhibition floor. It was lunchtime and during two really popular panels so it looks fairly calm. Don’t let it fool you though, this convention was anything but!


  • This is a small view of the line for Pierce Brown’s in-booth signing. We were close to the front and I was basically freaking out at this point.


  • I DIED… I finally got to meet Pierce Brown. He was so nice and funny, too! When I first walked up, he goes, “You have really white teeth!”. I got a little embarrassed about it and he was like, “No no, not in a bad way but a good way!”. Then he mentioned the Friends episode where Ross got his teeth whitened and a spray tan and we just started talking about how hilarious it was. Then this glorious photo happened. And before I left, he double checked what my name was and then liked our picture on Instagram. Basically, we’re best friends now. Haha!


  • Obviously, I’m a bit excited that I was able to snag a ticket for the Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff signing. That line was insane! It snaked around like 5 different booths and the authors even walked the entire line and filmed us. They were so excited and happy that so many of us were lined up just to see them.


  • And look what they were giving out to be signed! I saw that people got copies of this at BEA and I was so jealous! But when I saw this was what they were signing, I literally freaked out! And Kristoff and Kaufman were the nicest people! I wish I could’ve gotten a photo with them but I felt bad taking up more time since there was such a long line behind me. We discussed how I got my dad to read and then obsess over Illuminae, which they were really happy and surprised to hear. Kaufman told me about Kristoff’s upcoming book, Nevernight, which I’m now dying to read. It sounds sooooo good!



  • These are just a bunch of freebies that were being given out – bookmarks, pins, stickers, pens/pencils, magnets, etc.


  • Apparently after every one of these kind of conventions, there’s a bunch of drama that occurs. BookCon 2016 was no different. This time it was about the people who grab multiple copies of the free books and ARCs being given out, and about how people are already selling these ARCs on eBay which is basically stealing from the author and publisher.
    • Multiple copies: I am all for being pissed off about this. It’s very upsetting to see people running and grabbing multiple copies of books to use in giveaways, etc. By doing that, you’re only promoting yourself and blog, twitter, instagram, social media account. You’re actively keeping someone else who truly has been looking forward to reading this book from getting one, all because you’re greedy and selfish. It’s disgusting to me. There’s no reason to act that way. In turn, you’re bringing a bad name to the blogging community. This has become such a problem that there have been talk of not allowing bloggers to attend conventions and expos, like BEA and ALA. I’ve seen the photos and proof of this firsthand, and I have to say, I’m not impressed with that behavior at all. If you’re that type of person, shame on you.
    • Selling ARCs: DON’T DO IT. I don’t care if someone is offering to pay you for that ARC, or whatever. It literally says on the book, do not sell because it is for promotional use only. ARCs cost the publishing companies money to make, in hopes that they will see a return on the investment later on when the book is finally released. By you selling that ARC, you’re basically stealing the publisher’s money, as well as stealing from the author. It’s not illegal in the literal sense, but it’s damn well close enough. As a book lover, sharing it with someone should be the only thing that matters, not making money from it. Instead of selling your copies, trade them, give them away, donate them, etc. Don’t be an asshole.
  • And finally, BookCon 2017 will be returning to NYC next June! Samantha and I are already making plans to attend. Hope to see you there!

Have you attended any book conventions or expos? Do you have future plans to? What have your personal interactions with authors been like, good or bad? Tell me about your experiences!