Short DNF Reviews: The Fireman & Cure for the Common Universe

Title: The Fireman
Author: Joe Hill
Pages: 752 pages
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Source: Hardback from Barnes & Noble
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

Buy it now! 

DO YOU SEE THIS BOOK SYNOPSIS? The synopsis for this book is unnecessarily long. I'm pretty proud of myself considering I was halfway through the book when I finally decided that it was dragging and had to put it down. The synopsis promises the introduction of a new plague, a selfless main heroine and even a possible villain. 

One of my main concerns with this one was the length. No, I'm not bashing the book for being 752 pages long. For christ sake, Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas is not so far off! I was disappointed because the book didn't have to be that long. There were so many parts of the book that I felt just dragged the entire story along and didn't add anything but more words. I loved the whole idea behind the disease and how there was some beauty in the horror that it has brought upon humans. I wasn't seeing enough of it. I would have liked to know more of the spore's origins and its toll on the world. We got that it was causing wildfires and spreading to millions in a short amount of time, but I couldn't imagine the chaos as well as I wanted to. 

We get this extremely selfless and independent heroine that I enjoyed reading about! I would even go as far as saying she's one of my favorite female protagonists in a book. Her ability to get herself out of every horrible situation without being the damsel in distress, gahh, she was amazing. Joe Hill also successfully brought the horror to the table. I was more scared about how some people reacted to the plague rather than the plague itself. I could feel the fear emanating off of Harper when she found out she was infected. 

The beginning hooked me from the start. For the first 200 pages, I could not put this book down. Then, however, we drifted far from the plague, and I was just bored near page 450. I do have plans on picking this up again because, for the most part, I really enjoyed the writing and the storyline. I just wish the story were more condensed.

I WILL!!! 

Title: Cure for the Common Universe
Author: Christian McKay Heidicker
Pages: 320 pages
Release Date: June 14th, 2016
Source: ARC from Simon & Schuster
Genre: Gaming, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab.

ten minutes after he met a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.

Jaxon's first date. Ever.

In rehab, he can't blast his way through galaxies to reach her. He can't slash through armies to kiss her sweet lips. Instead, he has just four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he'll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date.

If all else fails, Jaxon will have to bare his soul to the other teens in treatment, confront his mother's absence, and maybe admit that it's more than video games that stand in the way of a real connection.

Prepare to be cured.

Buy it now!
** I received a copy to review from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way **

The book goes as follows: Video games seem to have taken the world by storm. Teenagers are now being committed to video game rehab, in hopes that they will learn reality is better than living in the virtual world. Jaxon is among those that are brought into rehab by their unforgiving parents. However, Jaxon doesn't have time for rehab. He's just been asked out on date, which doesn't happen often! So he has four days to get out of rehab and make it to see Serena. FOUR DAYS!! 

The whole idea behind this book really intrigued me. My brother is a video game addict, to say the least, so it was easy for me to understand the quips and snarky remarks of the characters. 

I was so close to the end! I had less than 100 pages left of this book but I just couldn't do it. It was to the point where I didn't really care about what would happen next in the story that I decided to put it down and start somewhere new. Throughout the book, I was so keen on seeing Jaxon make it out of rehab in time for his date so when the thing that happened near the end of the book spontaneously occurred, I was a little ticked off.

The characters were a lovely bunch. From a heroin addict to an awkward, Chewbacca-imitating group leader, I couldn't help but love each character's quirky personalities. My favorite character had to be the kid named Soup. He was shy and easily manipulated by Jaxon, but I admired his hospitality and welcoming personality.

This one just wasn't for me. It's not to say that I didn't enjoy it at some parts because I did! This book was insanely hilarious and it's not every day that I come across a story about a character realizing more about him/herself. I've been having a really rough time picking what to read ever since I finished A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. That book just ruined me, and I've been in a bad slump. I will be picking this back up in the future in hopes of finishing it and feeling satisfied!

DUOLOGIES | Recommendations

Hey all, it's Yingchao here! One thing I’ve noticed this year in Young Adult literature is the sudden rise in duologies. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still bunches and bunches of trilogies and series in the works, but right now, let’s talk about duologies.

These two book pairs/companions/partners, whatever you prefer to name them, are great (and for several reasons). They’re somewhere in between a stand alone and a trilogy- well I guess the number two is also in the middle of one and three. But that’s not what I mean. I like to think of a duology as a stand alone, but a stand alone in which the story wasn’t fully complete, but so near completion that a third book would have been unnecessary. Duologies are also great because they don’t require much commitment- you get a sweet and hopefully satisfying conclusion after the cliffhanger from the first installment (which left you hanging on for dear life), without having to plow through 5 other tomes. However, do I wish a lot of duologies continued? Yes. GIVE ME ALL THE BOOKS :D Now that you’ve heard why duologies are so awesome, here are some of my favorites (in no particular order):

Eon + Eona by Alison Goodman

One word. DRAGONS. Three words. BADASS FEMALE PROTAGONIST. Are you convinced? If not, then hear me out. This epic tale follows a young boy named Eon, who is training to become the next Dragoneye -or master of the celestial dragons. However, Eon has a dangerous secret that is destructive to the Empire of the Celestial Dragons. Between the political maneuvering, mythology, constant plot twists, and intense action sequences, this book sets the basis for the astonishing finale. The world that Alison Goodman built is so vibrant and rich that once you read the first few chapters, it’s near impossible to stop.

The Wrath and the Dawn + The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh 

This lovely duo is based off the legendary tale: A Thousand and One Nights. Similar to the original tale, there is a royal figure who marries a young girl from the village each night before killing her the next morning. When Sharazad’s best friend becomes the victim of the mad boy king, Sharazad makes it her task to personally end her best friend’s murderer. However, things aren’t always what they appear to be and as Sharazad learns more about the secrets behind the deaths of the young brides who came before her, the story heightens to a crescendo. Renée Ahdieh’s writing is so beautiful and the romance made me want to physically tear my heart apart while dabbing at the endless stream of tears. If you’ve been with the Book’s Buzz for a while, you’ll know this is one of Alex’s all time favorite series, and after reading it for myself, there’s no reason why anyone should doubt that.

Reboot + Rebel by Amy Tintera

Nowadays, it seems that ALL young adult dystopian is told in the form of a trilogy. But not Reboot. Amy Tintera brings on a different take of the classic zombies that we’re used to from the Walking Dead and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. These are zombies, sans the gore and flesh eating qualities. In this futuristic tale that takes place in dystopian Texas, when people die, they can come back to life as a Reboot. Reboots are faster, stronger, more immune, and don’t have emotions; and the longer someone is dead, the more lethal they become when they are Rebooted. I would highly recommend this read if you’re stuck in a reading slump (or if you’re feeling some Dystopian). The story is fast paced, and you are almost immediately thrown into action. While this duology seems like its like every other YA Dystopian out there, don’t let its genre fool you into thinking it’s not worth the read! 

Six of Crows + Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

THIS BOOK. THIS. BEAUTIFUL. WORK. OF LITERATURE. IS ONLY A DUOLOGY? This is the sort of book where I want more- not another book of sorrows and mishaps- but a third book where the entire cast of characters has found their happy endings and nothing good goes bad for them because these baby cinnamon rolls have just been through TOO DAMN MUCH for more suffering.

But anyways, moving on from my mental breakdown thinking about the Dreggs, and Kaz, and Ine-nope, not gonna go there again. Ever since I finished reading Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, I have been so enthralled by the universe. The Grishaverse is so vast, yet so intensely described that I could almost go to my travel agent and ask for a ticket to an alternate Russia where people are both feared and revered for practicing Small Science. Six of Crows is the tale of an impossible heist. It’s so impossible that even you -the reader- will go into the story not knowing what’s at the next turn or how the squad is going to get themselves out of the next tangle of turmoil. This book is best going into not knowing anything about the plot, and just being pleasantly and mind-blowingly surprised at every plot twist. It being high fantasy, I do suggest giving this book around 70 pages before you decide to put it down. But I guarantee you, once you decide to finish this book, there truly is no going back from the emotional wreckage you are about to experience.

Crooked Kingdom (the anxiously anticipated soon-to-be stunning sequel and finale) will hit be hitting bookstores near you on September 27th, 2016!!

Passenger + Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

I will be truthfully honest, I purchased this book because of its cover. But you know that saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” Yep. It applies to this book. This cover is only a shell for the MAGIC that is hidden inside. There is time travel and romance and mystery and adventure and magic and so so so much more. Time travel is a concept that can be extremely difficult to construct and explain, but Alexandra Bracken does this with ease. The time travel makes this book truly a unique read, and like Six of Crows, its better not knowing the full synopsis to Passenger. And like Etta, you’ll be thrust into a world in-between worlds, learning the mysteries of the past, all while sailing on a ship with the handsome Nicholas Carter ;)  

Look out for Wayfarer (the long anticipated sequel and finale) at the very beginning of 2017!

Let me know some of your favorite duologies!

Introducing... MY NEW CO-BLOGGER | Say Hello

The Book's Buzz is about to undergo some serious changes. What better way to experience change than to have someone to share it with? I've been thinking about adding someone to share the site with but have had a little difficulty finding the right person. But... I think I've finally found "the one".


I don't know if you've noticed but this site has been pretty quiet these past few weeks. I would blame it on the amount of schoolwork and tests but that wouldn't be the case, since school ended on the 13th. I should be back in the game, but for some reason I haven't been able to get back on my own two feet. It's not that I've quit blogging. Oh heck no, that is not the case. It's more that I've been active on my other platforms and have since neglected my book-blogging duties. BUT NOWWW, FINALLY. I've found someone I can share the load with. I can talk to someone who isn't on a screen!! Just know that I love this site too much to see it come crashing down in flames. 

Who is Yingchao?

(Well, I'm gonna let her tell you herself)

Hello fellow bibliophiles!! As Alex mentioned earlier, my name is Yingchao and I will be the new co-blogger for The Book's Buzz. For the past year, I have been following Alex's Instagram (@thebooksbuzz), and recently, I have been following her posts on this blog. It is such an incredible honor for me to write for The Book's Buzz; Alex's work is so amazing and beautiful- I definitely have big footsteps to follow in.

I guess one of my biggest secrets (that I shall now reveal to the Internet) is that I didn't love reading when I was growing up. In fact, I despised reading until I was introduced to The Hunger Games in the 7th grade. This was the book that threw me into the world of young adult literature and for the past five years, it has been my personal goal to be Matilda and read every single book in the library. Impossible? Nope. Improbable? Yes. But obviously, you lovely readers on the Internet have an interest for books! I mainly read science fiction and fantasy -anything with a princess, intergalactic space travel, assassin, weapons, AND magic, I will devour- but I also love the occasion contemporary and memoir. Besides reading, I enjoy fashion and cosplay designing, practicing archery, and baking- OH and can't forget: spending endless hours on tumblr (follow me @rhys-and-feyre) c:

Writing for The Book's Buzz is a way for me to fangirl about my current reads and the written reviews will be a way for me to make my intangible thoughts and emotions about a novel into tangible, conceivable words. I am so extremely excited to be able to share my honest thoughts about the books I'm reading and if you ever want to talk more about a certain character *coughrhyscough* I'm your girl!

All the Love,
Your next door Internet bibliophile neighbor

Follow her!
Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads


1. Dorian Havilliard (Throne of Glass), Tobias Eaton (Divergent)  and Edward Cullen (Twilight)

MARRY: Dorian BBY cinnamon roll
KISS: Edward Cullen
KILL: Tobias Eaton

2. Tamlin (A Court of Thorns and Roses), Voldemort (Harry Potter) and Valentine Morgenstern (The Mortal Instruments)

MARRY: Tamlin
KISS: Valentine (when he was younger)
KILL: Voldemort 

3. Simon Lewis (The Mortal Instruments), Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss) and Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)

MARRY: Etienne
KISS: Thorne
KILL: Simon (srrryyyy my smol cinnamon rollllll)

4. Gale Hawthorne (The Hunger Games), Liam (The Darkest Minds) and Magnus (Falling Kingdoms)

KISS: Magnus
KILL: Gale 

It will be less lonely around here, and I can finally feel like I'm talking to an actual person rather than to myself. I'm so excited to see what this collaboration will bring. I met Yingchao back in my freshman year at Bookcon! It was so exciting to see another person in my school as enthusiastic in books as I am. I guess that's what snapped for us, and I immediately sought her out to talk to her. I never would have imagined this happening and couldn't think of anyone that I trust more with keys to the site. Yingchao is the ultimate fangirl, and I could literally talk to her for hours on OTPs, the latest books in YA and Sarah J. Maas. I just wanted to say, welcome to the fam! 

With Malice by Eileen Cook | MYSTERY NOVEL OF THE SUMMER

Title: With Malice
Author: Eileen Cook
Pages: 320 pages
Published: June 7th, 2016
Source: Hardcover from The Strand Bookstore
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

Get it now!
Yes. yEs. YES. Finally the summer mystery/thriller I've been longing before. As you all may know a few weeks ago I finished A Court of Mist and Fury. To say I wasn't torn apart by that book would be a lie because I was irrevocably messed up for the next week or so (give or take a few days) and couldn't read anything. Every book that I tried to pick up, I just put down soon after starting. The fact that this book got me out of a Sarah J. Maas-sized hangover speaks volumes.

The story begins with Jill Charron waking in a hospital bed, unaware of the incident that caused her to be there in the first place. She has no memory of the past few weeks in Italy, of her romantic fling with a cute Italian boy, of the car accident she got into and of her best friend who was killed in that accident. Now everyone thinks she's to blame. The car was in perfect working condition. People claim the two girls were fighting prior to the accident. Who else to blame than the best friend who was driving and survived the accident? The hands are all pointed at Jill as the killer. But did she really do it? Find out in this fast-paced thriller!

First I must state that the memory loss of Jill was done so wonderfully. I personally don't know professionally or medically how memory loss is supposed to occur but was pretty impressed, to say the least. It made sense. It was logical. The author got technical at times and brought up some medical terms like aphasia. I think it just made the story 1000x more believable. Well done, well done. I can just tell a lot of research was put into the backbone of this story. Throughout the story we know that Jill doesn't remember anything that happened in Italy so she's most likely not a trustworthy character and we, as the reader, can't depend on her to help us solve this mystery.

While we're still on this topic, I appreciate how the author dragged out the recollection of her memories. She didn't regain her memories all at one time and the most important memory made an appearance at the end! Now that was one big jack-in-the-box ending!

The author went the extra mile and decided to add a hodgepodge of the evidence in the story. The book would alternate between storytelling and then evidence, varying from things like interviews, police reports, news articles and blog posts. It was literally the coolest thing eva and made me enjoy the book so much more.

The way the author planned out the entire story was just mind-blowing. I obviously can't tell you the plot twist without spoiling everything, but I can tell you this. As the story unravels itself, you begin to realize things that you never imagined would happen. It kept me at the edge of my seat and it was all I could do not to flip to the end of the book and read the ending that everyone was talking about. I'm not even remotely talented at guessing the endings of books so I can't tell you if the ending was surprising, but it sure as hell was mind-blowing to me though.

So you're probably wondering, why not give it the five stars it deserves, Alex? Yes the ending was not what I was expecting at all,  but I thought it was mostly left unresolved. For some reason, I feel like this book should have ended differently or at least on a better note. It just felt like the author was trying to take the easy way out the entire time. You know what I mean?

*You see, even Phoebe knows what's up 
Besides that point, I really did enjoy this book. I knew I made a right choice in picking it up! I couldn't relate to any of the characters personally, but I liked the FOIL aspect of Simone and Jill's relationship. We're given that they're friends but we soon discover where that base of friendship comes from and what the true meaning of friendship really is. We even get dragged into the courtroom! Like.. how did that happen? I just finished watching a few episodes of How to Get Away with Murder and am now being dragged back into talk of law.

The portrayal of the media was so beautifully refreshing. Sure, we read books about famous celebrities that get so screwed by the media but never to the extent as it was portrayed in this story. In fact, the media makes Jill out to be some psycho killer who wanted to murder her best friend because of a little jealousy. She can't say shit that will back her up because she has no memory. Cook didn't shy away in showing her readers just how manipulative and malicious the media can be in these kinds of cases.

With Malice is exactly what's it made out to be. The ideal mystery/crime read that puts both the 'C' in crime and the 'M' in mystery. Also.. what a bomb-ass cover and title. 

Will you be getting your crime game on?

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