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Well Played: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Welcome back BookTasty friends!

James Dashner is one of my favorite YA authors and his Maze Runner series is always my number one recommendation in my library. So, I was pretty excited to see that he had another book coming out! The Eye of Minds is the first book in the Mortality Doctrine series.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to Eye of Minds by James Dashnertechnology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Let me start by saying that The Eye of Minds is not as good as The Maze Runner books, but it is an entertaining adventure that has Dashner’s signature non stop action style!

In typical Dashner fashion, the first scene is so intense that you’re automatically captivated by the story! We quickly learn that, Michael lives in a future where many people get their entertainment in a virtual reality experience, the VirtNet. I like this take on futuristic technology and the idea that there is someone, or something, in this “game” that is hurting people in real life, as well as in the virtual one. It makes for a very menacing and mysterious villain.

One thing about this book I enjoyed was that Micahel isn’t in it alone. He doesn’t leave everyone else behind to achieve his goal. He takes his friends with him because he knows that they all have different strengths and weaknesses. Although the characters fell a tiny bit flat at times, I still really liked Michael and his friends mostly because of the way they interacted together, which is a change from the usual YA “only you can save the world”.

The Eye of Minds reminded me of a giant game of Mouse Trap, in that each chapter is action packed with hurdles and challenges for Michael and his friends to overcome (they reminded me a little of Doctor Who episodes sometimes). However, there is a sense of predictability in the overall plot. Until you get to the twist of course! I remember standing in my kitchen cooking dinner while listening to the audiobook and having to relisten to the final chapter because I was so stunned and surprised by what had happened! Well played Mr. Dashner. Well played.

Although this is not the first Dasher title I’d recommend to people, I think that those who are fans of his writing will ultimately enjoy The Eye of Minds. It’s not as strong as I would’ve liked, but it was still a fun and exciting read.

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Listening Library (October 8, 2013)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hours and 36 minutes

Narrator(s): Erik Davies

Series: First in the Mortality Doctrine series

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Welcome to YA

Hi there everyone!

I’m typing up this post from the Detroit airport as I’m waiting for my flight back home to South Carolina. I spent the weekend at an International Baccalaureate educator’s workshop specifically for librarians and it was pretty darn awesome. I met a lot of like-minded librarians from around the world and learned a ton about the IB programs!

But now it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday. It’s been a few weeks so remember that Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish and I participate on a (mostly) weekly basis. This week’s theme is “gateway books” and I’ve decided to focus on books that I recommend to friends and other adults to welcome or introduce them to YA or Middle Grades fiction. Obviously, I do take into account the readers’ interests, but these are some of my “go-to” titles for recommendation. Each of these titles have successfully hooked an adult reader into YA fiction!

The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner

This is one I recommend the most. It’s great for sci-fi/dystopian lovers and pretty much anyone.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I mean, this is just YA canon. It’s a fabulously easy gateway into YA.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My go-to for contemporary romance lovers

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

If you’re a fantasy fan, I’ll recommend this to you!

Princess Academy by Shannon HalePrincess Academy by Shannon Hale

For those who enjoy a good fairy tale, middle grades style.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Those interested in historical fiction will be hooked.

I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally CarterI’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

For those looking for a fun, girly read with some spying thrown in.

Along for the Ride by Sarah DessenAlong for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Dessen is always good for a realistic contemporary beach read.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail CarrigerEtiquette & Espionage by Catherine Fisher

For those who enjoy some steampunk fun!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

For those interested in some supernatural romance you can’t beat Clare.

There are tons of other books I recommend to introduce adult readers to YA, but these are the ones that come up the most frequently. Each of the ten titles listed above are guaranteed to get you hooked into YA…just let them be your gateway drug!!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books with Male Narrators

Top Ten TuesdayHello friends!

This week, my theme for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish) is Favorite Books with Male Narrators. It’s just a thing with me, I’m usually not drawn to books with male narrators, but I make myself read one once in a while and I do usually end up enjoying them. I just have a difficult time relating to male narrators, but all the titles on the list below are those with male narrators who I feel are simply compelling characters. They defy my assumptions about male narrators!

The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Maze Runner series by James Dashner

This story is just fabulously creepy and Thomas has so much perseverance.

The False Prince by Jennifer A NielsenThe Ascendance trilogy by Jennifer A Nielsen

Sage/Jaron is sarcastic and snarky and I love him.

Airborn by Kenneth OppelAirborn by Kenneth Oppel

Matt Cruise is just the kind of boy you’d want to be friends with.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin is stubborn beyond all measure, but he’s also brave!

Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtOkay for Now by Gary Schmidt

Doug Swieteck is so lovable and loyal!

Beautiful Creatures by Kami GarciaBeautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Ethan is a breath of fresh air in a world dominated by female narrators!

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal AllenHow Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen

Lamar is hilarious and remind me of some of my past students!

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack GantosDead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Jack is so funny!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay is sweet and in so much pain.

Eighth Grade Bites by Heather BrewerThe Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer

Vlad is the coolest teen vampire ever!

And there you have it! Each of these books come to you with the BookTasty stamp of approval so you should definitely check them out if you haven’t already!

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Reading Queue: March

The Reading QueueHi there!

Welcome back friends!

What is the Reading Queue?  Well, the Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hola!) and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for the month. You can check out other

Snowy House

I like the way our house wears snow!

participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

Well, let me start out by saying that February was a big month in our household. We had our second snow days ever! South Carolina had a huge snow and ice storm in early February and the school district was closed for about a week.  I love snow days because they force you to snuggle down and just relax!

What I read in February

Those snow days allowed me to read some really awesome books!

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (audibook)

LaFevers’ books are just amazingly engrossing. I cannot put them down.

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter (print)

A fitting end for my beloved Gallagher Girls series. I will forever wish I was a real Gallagher Girl!

The Sound of Your Voice Only Really Far Away by Frances O'Roark DowellThe Sound of Your Voice…Only Really Far Away by Frances O’Roark Dowell (print)

What a suprisingly sweet read. I really enjoyed this one!

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth EulbergBetter Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (e-galley)

This was my first Eulberg read and I absolutely thought it was a winner!

Eye of Minds by James DashnerThe Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner (audiobook)

I really like Dashner’s ability to write page turners.

The Diviners by Libba BrayThe Diviners by Libba Bray (audiobook)

I listened to almost half of this audiobook in one day (thank you snow days) because it was THAT good. I had a hard time going back to work because it meant I couldn’t listen to this one all day!

My March Reading Queue

So I have high hopes for myself this month! There are a ton of books I want to read/listen to, so I figure I’ll go big or go home right!?

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook)

VIrals by Kathy ReichsVirals by Kathy Reichs (audiobook)

Skybreaker by Kenneth OppellSkyBreaker by Kenneth Oppel (audiobook)

Starclimber by Kenneth OppelStarClimber by Kenneth Oppel (audiobook)

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne (The Ascendence Trilogy #3) by Jennifer A. Neilsen (e-galley)

Jessica Darling's It List by Megan McCaffertyJessica Darling’s It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty (print)

Jinx by Sage BlackwoodJinx by Sage Blackwood (print)

Icons by Margaret StohlIcons by Margaret Stohl (print)

March, you’re going to be a great reading month, I just know it! Are you familiar with any of the titles on my Reading Queue this month?  Are there any I should put ahead of others?  I’ve already started Fangirl, so that’ll be my first one of the month!


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Reading Queue: February

The Reading QueueWell hi there!

What is the Reading Queue?  Well, the Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hiya!) and Books: A true story , where we share our reading plans for the month. You can hop to other blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

How I Did Last Month

January is such a great month! I’m always so motivated to do stuff…you know, the whole New Year Effect! haha So, I managed to read seven books in January, three of which were on my Reading Queue! I just feel so accomplished!

Runaway King by Jennifer A. NeilsenThe Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Fever Crumb by Philip ReeveFever Crumb by Philip Reeve

The Elite by Kiera CassThe Elite (The Selection #2) by Keira Cass

Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiUnder the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Airborn by Kenneth OppelAirborn by Kenneth Oppel

Cress by Marissa MeyerCress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer (ARC)

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon CameronThe Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

My February Reading Queue

Oh hai February! You’re already here! Wow! Well, my hope is to continue my motivation and read the heck out of some books this month! I was just talking with Alexa Loves Books on twitter last night about how there are just so many books to I want to read!  She said:

Oh so very, very true! hahaha Considering that deep thought, let me share my Reading Queue with you!

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy by Ally Carter (print)

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell (print)

Defy by Sara B. LarsonDefy by Sara B.. Larson (e-galley)

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne (The Ascension Trilogy #3) by Jennifer E. Nielsen (e-galley)

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers (audiobook)

The Diviners by Libba BrayThe Diviners by Libba Bray (audiobook)

Eye of Minds by James DashnerThe Eye of Minds by James Dashner (print)

I did pretty good with six last month, so let’s try one more! Have you ready any of the titles on my Reading Queue for February? If so, which ones should I make top priority?  Also, don’t forget to join up with us this month!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Never Switch Places With

Hello!

Welcome back for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday!

You know how sometimes you finish a book and you just wish you could trade places with the main character and live their charmed life for a little while?  Well, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish) is about the opposite of that! This list is all about those “Characters I Would Not Want to Switch Places With”. The lives of the characters on my list are not charmed, and are in fact, pretty terrifying. Are you ready?

Nick and Allie from The Skinjacker Trilogy by Neal Shusterman. I hope and pray that Everlost is is not Everlost by Neal Shustermanreal because this place freaked me out so much when I read these books. There is just so much creepiness that happens in Everlost that I think I’d rather just sink into the Earth rather than tough it out with the Afterlights.

Aria from from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.  Aria undergoes some major character growth while traveling through “the Deathshop” with Perry, but the dangers she encounters while there are not something I’d want to mess with. First you have these terrible ether storms, then you have the cannabalistic Croven with their sinister jinge bells, and dweller society that isn’t as safe as it first appears. No thank you!

Any person living in one of the Panem districts from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This one is obviously easy. Why would I ever trade places with anyone from any of the districts when you have to live in constant fear of The Hunger Games?! Not only is there the fear that you might get chosen as tribute, but think about all the other people afraid for their children?! And even if you’re lucky enough to never get chosen, you still have to live in a world where killing kids is entertainment.

Anyone in a Soviet work camp from Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. This is really a hard one to talk about because Between Shades of Gray is based on actual events. Thousands of people (men, women, and children) were forced into Soviet work camps and lost their lives during Stalin’s cleansing of the Baltic region. Sepetys’ writing is beautifully haunting and you get good understanding for the horrors these people experienced. I debated adding this one to the list, but this story and setting still stick with me months after reading it and reminds me to be thankful.

Ender Wiggins from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender’s life kind sucks. He thinks he’s in charge of his life, but the whole time someone else is pulling the strings purposefully testing him and making things difficult to bear. Not my idea of fun!

May from May B. by Caroline Starr Rose. May thinks she is going to work for this nice young married May B. by Caroline Starr Rosecouple as their housemaid only to be abandoned in a snow covered prairie homestead with winter coming in full force. May has to struggle to survive all alone and no one knows she needs help. Talk about feeling helpless!

Sam from In Too Deep by Amanda Grace. The amount of guilt Sam experiences due to the choices she makes is just overwhelming while reading this book. I’ve gotten myself into bad situations where the guilt just slowly eats away at your insides and I never want to go through that again! So, no. I will not be trading places with Sam.

Pippa from the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I can’t say much about this without things becoming majorly spoilery so I won’t got any further. Just know that I wouldn’t switch places with her for anything.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie BabbittThe Tuck family from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. The poor Tuck family never got a choice in the whole eternal life question; it happened to them with out them even knowing it. I even can’t imagine knowing you are forced to live eternally and you had no say in the matter.

Thomas and The Gladers in The Maze Runner series. A life of hardship and fear forced on you by a government stuck in a desperate situation. Nope. I would have never made it out of the tunnel in the second book because those orbs are so terrifying, not to mention “the cranks”. I can’t even…

All of the books mentioned above were great reads, I just have no desire to trade places with the characters! haha So, what characters would you never trade places with?

 

 

 

 

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October New Releases

Hi there!

Well it seems that October totally snuck up on me! I forgot to schedule this New Releases post for last week, but that’s okay, everything’s shiny. Better late than never right?

hehe

hehe

As you may know, October is a VERY big month as Veronica Roth’s final installment in the Divergent series will release *squeeeeeeeeee!*

So, let’s just get right to all the new books!

Allegiant by Veronica RothAllegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth (October 22)

AHHHHHHHH!!!

The House of Hades by Rick RiordanThe House of Hades (Heros of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan (October 8)

My students have been asking me about this since August.

Unsouled by Neal ShustermanUnsouled (Unwinded Dystology #3) by Neal Shusterman (October 15)

Eye of Minds by James DashnerThe Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner (October 8)

Just One Year by Gayle FormanJust One Year by Gayle Forman (October 10)

Time After Time by Tamara Ireland StoneTime After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone (October 8)

The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann CokelThe Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal (October 8)

Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana PeterfreundAcross a Star Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2) by Diana Peterfreund (October 15)

The Twistrose Key by Tone AlmhjellThe Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell (October 22)

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny LundquistThe Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist (October 22)

So there you have it! In addition to candy corn and falling leaves October brings a bunch of brand new books to enjoy! Are there any October new releases you’re particularly excited about?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Sequels

Hello and welcome back to BookTasty!

I’m a big fan of book series. I just adore how they allow me to continue living in a world that I don’t want to leave. They allow me to just keep on doing exactly what I want to do!

Well, today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) theme gives me the chance to highlight some of my favorite sequels ever.

Are you ready to see some of my favorite sequels? Here we go!

Catching_FireCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My favorite book in the trilogy because Katniss’ world opens up and we meet more of the past tributes. Tick-tock!

Rebel Angels by Libba BrayRebel Angels by Libba Bray

This second book in the series has the Spence girls in London attending fancy balls. Oh and more Kartik.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally CarterCross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

This sequel introduces a brand new group of spies to the Gallagher Academy!

The Scorch Trials by James DashnerThe Scorch Trials by James Dashner

This series is awesome, but there was something more frenzied and creepy about this sequel, which I loved.

The Crown of Embers by Rae CarsonThe Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

This series is just perfection.

The Madness Underneath by Maureen JohnsonThe Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

It’s not as atmospheric as the first book, but suddenly there is a new enemy that I didn’t expect!

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann BrasharesThe Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

Honestly, I read these books so long ago that the plot of the last three kind of run together for me (thanks to that mashed up second movie), but I just remember my love for this series growing with each book.

The Boy Book by E. LockhartThe Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them by E. Lockhart

Ruby Oliver. She just gets better and better.

Fire by Kristin CashoreFire by Kristin Cashore

Cashore is the queen of awesome, sexy fantasy. I loved Graceling, but I REALLY LOVED Fire.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

The wizarding world finally opens up and we get to meet other schools of wizardry when Hogwarts hosts the Triwizard Tournament

Are you a fan of any of these sequels too? What are your favorite sequels? Please feel free to share in the comment section!

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TraumaBonds and The Kill Order by James Dashner

Hi there BookTasty friends!

I’m  glad that it’s Friday and I get to bring you another book review…although today is my official last Friday of freedom before the school year starts as next week is all preplanning. I do love my job (so much!) but I also love my summer vacations so it’s definitely a mix of excitement and lament!

Well, let’s talk books! Today’s review is for James Dashner’s The Kill Order.

The Kill Order by James DashnerBefore WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees. Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

The Kill Order is Dashner’s prequel to the amazing Maze Runner trilogy, which my husband and I read together and loved. Because we loved the original Maze Runner books we were both excited to read this prequel…although I was also a little hesitant as well.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it…especially when I realized none of the previous Maze Runner characters I loved were in it (which makes sense since it’s a prequel duh!). It quickly became clear that although this book had no Thomas, Newt, Minho, or Brenda in it, that didn’t even matter. The new characters, Mark, Trina and Alec were just as interesting and the story was action packed with intensity the whole way through!

One thing you need to know about James Dashner’s books is that whenever the characters start to feel even the smallest ounce of security and safety it is violently ripped from them! Seriously, he’s done this from book one and it’s only magnified in The Kill Order; the craziness just doesn’t let up. The events of Mark and Trina’s story go from bad to worse quickly and just keep getting worse. It is relentless…but in a thrilling page-turner way. Even the ending (which I’m not spoiling) isn’t necessarily a victory because we already know what happens in the rest of the Maze Runner series.
So, Mark and Trina. How did they stack up to my beloved Gladers? They were just as likable and interesting. Mark and Trina have this relationship that feels like the only fresh and positive thing that either one of them has. Their friendship is long-standing, starting even before the sun-flares, and now it is blossoming into something deeper and more romantic than either of them is sure of. Similarly is the relationship between Mark and the gruff Alec. They have this whole father/son thing going on, but there is also a certain level of respect and equality between them, especially as the story progresses. Dashner’s characters form these strong bonds fast. It’s kind of like relationships formed at summer camp…only with demented “people” hunting you….(gosh I hope that makes sense). My husband calls them “TraumaBonds”.

If you haven’t read any of The Maze Runner books they are absolutely fantastic reads.  Once you’ve read all three of the original books, go and read The Kill Order. They’re all fast-paced dystopian, creepy thrillers that are great for both guy and girl readers. I also highly recommend the audiobooks of all the titles in this series; the narrator is talented and does a great job with all the voices. If you needed anymore motivation to read them just know that they’re currently filming The Maze Runner movie and it’s scheduled to release in February 2014!

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Listening Library (August 14, 2012)

Format: audiobook

Length: 10 hours and 2 mins

Narrator(s): Mark Deakins

Series: Prequel to The Maze Runner trilogy

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel) (Maze Runner Trilogy)