Literary Lady: Illuminae & Instant Happy Journal

Jan 19, 2016


I've been really wanting to spread the love for all of the awesome books, shows, and games that I get into on a daily basis, because sharing is caring, right? Truth time: I don't know how to review things, so I'm not going to try and force it. I do, however, want to talk a little bit about why I love these books and why I think you might too!

Both of the books I'm talking about today were released back in October of 2015, so I'm definitely behind the times here. I'll have to step up my book reading game (I'm currently super into the second book of the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater...I know, it's like I live under a rock), but for now I'm just hoping you haven't all read my favorite book this month:


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff! For those of you who haven't heard of it, here's the synopsis:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again!

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Holy crap, you guys, I don't even know where to start with this book. I actually first 'read' it via audiobook, which was pretty entertaining despite the cringey voice acting. I ended up loving the story so much that I looked it up on Goodreads to rate it and discovered, thanks to reader reviews, just how much I was missing out on by not reading the hardcopy!


I don't want to spoil any of the awesome artwork in this book, but I did want to give you all an idea of its unique and fun format. The book in its entirety is styled as a dossier of files revealing a corporate conspiracy, and I was absolutely taken by how different it is. I loved getting to know Kady and Ezra through their snarky emails and IMs to each other, and I basically fell in love with AIDAN, the completely bonkers A.I. programmed to protect the fleet, through the beautifully artistic pages that portrayed his voice.

Something about the fictional baddies always draws me in, but the authors did a damn good job with this one considering AIDAN is a computer.  At first he was, you know, robotic and devoid of emotion, but he showed the best character development by far. I don't want to give away anything from the story, but all in all, it was so much fun! All of the characters were relatable and the story was action-packed with a super cool ending. I'm a sucker for a good space opera, but this one took the cake with all the sci-fi goodness. Also, zombies.

Links: AmazonGoodreads


The second book I want to rave about today is actually not a book at all:P The Instant Happy Journal by Karen Salmansohn is a sweet little journal full of prompts designed to bring some instant happy into each and every day. Here's the synopsis:

Brighten your day with this colorful journal from happiness expert Karen Salmansohn. Jam-packed with 365 “happiness prompters” including motivational quotes, scientific studies, and thought-provoking questions, this journal amps up your ability to notice (and create!) moments of joy and gratitude in your life—one day at a time.

 I don't know about this 'happiness expert' business since, I mean, doesn't that sound like make believe? But I really am having a lot of fun with the daily prompts, so maybe there's something to Karen's claims (full disclosure: I haven't read her book, Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers, so who knows, maybe she really is an expert on happy.)


Most of the prompts have been funny, thought-provoking, and sentimental all at once. There isn't a ton of room to write on each page, so it's been a nightly routine to sit and reflect on the prompt and my day for a few moments before moving on to World of Warcraft. I really feel like this journal is helping me manage my anxiety a bit and I love that it's getting me to pay more attention to all my feels.

Links: AmazonGoodreads

I managed to get a copy of the Instant Happy Journal through Blogging for Books, which I heard about through the awesome Natalie of Natalie Patalie. It's a website that provides review copies of books in exchange for an honest review, and I'm stoked about how easy it was to sign up for and use! I wasn't super thrilled with the selection at first, but I pretty much stopped looking as soon as I came across this journal since I have a major thing for writing prompts...so I'm hoping that my next look through the site will yield more fun finds!

Do you have any good book recommendations for a YA fantasy and sci-fi lover? I'm in the middle of two book series right now (Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle and Sherrilyn Kenyon's  Chronicles of Nick) but I always love new suggestions!

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