LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

By Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9781524713928
Pages: 416
Genre: YA Science Fiction


On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

My Thoughts

*SPOILER ALERT* I LOVED THIS FREAKING BOOK! Seriously.. I cannot even maintain my maturity while trying to contain the enthusiasm I hold for LIFEL1K3. This was my first encounter with Kristoff’s work *hangs head in shame* but will certainly not be my last. Within mere pages, I knew I was committed and would be dropping everything else in my life like a bad habit. So what happened? A lot!

The skinny..

If I had to sum this up in a few words I might choose something along the lines of “A beautiful collision of Mad Max and YA!”   Eve is a young scavenger with a talent for robotics. Having developed her own robot gladiator Miss Combobulation, she competes in the Wardome for the credits necessary to keep her grandfather supplied with medicine and stay afloat. But when Miss Combobulation is diminished to a heap of junk and deemed OOC (out of commision) during a battle, she loses everything. To add insult to injury, when she finds her life in jeopardy as a result, she discovers she is an abnorm who holds the ability to shut down and interfere with electricity with her mind. Now things have become extremely complicated because she is being hunted by the Bortherhood as a result. It doesn’t seem like things could get much worse for Eve. Toss in the discovery of an android boy named Ezekiel Eve’s world unravels on all ends. Simply put- Read this one because I am not spoiling it for you!

“Rule Number One in the Scrap, remember? Stronger together, together forever.”

What I appreciated loved..

  • Characters – this is quite honestly one of the most ragtag and unlikely but completely compelling ensembles I have ever encountered in a book and they drive this story with incredible force! The real winner here came in the form of Eve’s bestest Lemon Fresh. She stole my heart and ran miles away with it. The relationship established between the two girls is one to be envied and admired on multiple levels. Each individual adds their own layer of depth to LIFEL1K3. Growth and development was on point.
  • Post-apocalyptic plots are nothing new, but this feels incredibly exhilarating and charged! Kristoff takes the familiar and really dresses it up, transforming it into something remarkable. The underlying tropes and themes we expect make their appearances do so but never once feel ordinary. There is a constant element of surprise lingering around each corner, commanding attention.
  • The world building is crisp and ambitious, opening up a new level of possibilities and exploration. We are supplied with a futuristic setting that seems not only possible but tangible. We have been entrusted with the knowledge of what was and what is. It all comes together flawlessly, creating something that is cohesive and immersive while fully supporting the plot. It feels complete.
  • Underneath all of the fun and chaos (because there is a ton!) we still find incredibly valuable messages tucked throughout. Each character holds their own story and secrets. But at the end of the day we are still reminded that life is what we make, we are who we choose to be!

“It’s simple to love someone on the days that are easy. But you find out what your love is made of on the days that are hard.”

Challenges some may encounter.. 

  • Some violence and graphic content with themes of loss (please feel free to contact me if you have questions. I happy to share my experience).
  • Having to wait for a sequel? Because I needed more of these characters immediately!

LIFEL1K3 is a high-octane read full of big heart! It delivers an incredibly fast-paced and fun experience with an unexpectedly emotional core that impossible to put down. It left me holding my breath and begging for more. Definitely a top read of 2018!

*I would like to thank Knopf Books & Netgalley for this advanced copy. The quotes included above are from the advanced copy and subject to change. This review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup


Pair with multiple cups of your favorite black tea. You will want to keep up with this one!

Grab a Copy: Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,
Danielle ❤

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Book Extract: That Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina

Today I am pleased to share something different with an extract of Valeria Vescina’s ‘That Summer in Puglia’ as the final stop on the blog tour hosted by Bookollective.

The Book

that_summer_in_pugliaThat Summer in Puglia
By Valeria Vescina
Publisher: Eyewear Publishing
ISBN: 9781912477999
Pages: 303


Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years but a young private investigator, Will, has tracked him down. Tommaso asks him to pretend never to have found him. To persuade Will, Tommaso recounts the story of his life and his great love. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief. Now he’s being presented with a second chance – but is he ready to pay the price it exacts? THAT SUMMER IN PUGLIA is a tale of love, loss, the perils of self-deception and the power of compassion. Puglia offers an ideal setting: its layers of history are integral to the story, itself an excavation of a man’s past; Tommaso’s increasingly vivid memories of its sensuous colours, aromas and tastes, and of how it felt to love and be loved, eventually transform the discomforting tone with which he at first tries to keep Will and painful truths at a distance. This remarkable debut combines a gripping plot and perceptive insights into human nature with delicate lyricism.

Purchase A Copy: Amazon  Amazon.UK  Book Depository

Extract From Chapter 4 of That Summer in Puglia

‘I wish I hadn’t fallen in love with you.  You’re going to break my heart, I know it already.’  

‘I’ll never do that.’  We kissed again. Her perfume, flowery and faint, almost made me light-headed.  ‘My God, you’re so beautiful,’ I said.

‘I hope I’m not your God.’  

We both laughed.  

Anna might have said it in jest, but that sentence – ‘I hope I’m not your God’ – has rung in my ears again and again.  Anna’s love felt like an unparalleled blessing. For her and with her I would have perfected any aspect of myself, though she made me feel loved in my entirety; for a time, she could have said the same.  If there’s a God, love between human beings can bring us as close to Him as we’ll ever get.  Cynics scoff at the mention of loves like ours, but their arguments sow misery: too many people settle for second-best in the belief they’re being ‘realistic’, and before long become cynics in turn.  Countless human beings will never experience the kind of love I’m describing, and there it was, being served to Anna and me on a plate. So young. Too young.

How, you might ask, can I have the arrogance of asserting that it wasn’t the elation of ‘first love’, or of the early phase of love, that made ours feel so extraordinary?  

The stubborn rationalist I once was – before falling in love with Anna – would almost certainly have answered by listing some facts: the generous dose of interests we shared; presumably a sprinkling of unconscious mutual needs; a fortunate correspondence and complementarity of qualities…  It wouldn’t be untrue. But it would deny the magic – the most important, yet most elusive, of all facts. How tragically reductive that would be. All I can do is to leave you with my certainty of how it felt to be loved by, and to love, Anna – and with a thought: the man who concluded that ‘The Heart knows reasons whereof Reason knows nothing’ wasn’t a hopeless romantic but a stern mathematician.  

In the days which followed the evening in Villanova, we spent every spare moment together, at and outside school.  We dived into our pasts and resurfaced with fragments of memory which the other greeted like priceless finds – stories about our childhoods, our families, friends, old schools, trips…  We shared hidden moments – the hilarious, the painful and the most embarrassing ones – without inhibitions. It’s difficult to remember examples of them now, to fish them out of what feels like a torrent.  But I do recall telling Anna of my maternal grandfather.

He and my grandmother died when I was thirteen.  During my childhood, at our customary Sunday lunch with them, he sometimes offered me two one-hundred-lire coins, provided I managed to keep them under my armpits for the whole meal – an old-fashioned method for teaching table manners.  At age five I was unable to keep my elbows stuck to my ribcage and the coins dropped within seconds onto the floor; at age seven they slid inexorably down my arms until their high-pitched ding on the ceramic tiles chimed my fiasco. Dad’s regular protestations against this practice – a surreptitious cruelty to which I was a willing party, lured by those elusive coins – provoked periods of grudging silences between him and my grandparents.  I must have been eight when at another of Grandpa’s attempts my father’s exasperation spilt over.

‘Isn’t it bad enough that you… already did this to Emma?’  

My grandfather stiffened in his chair.  ‘Did what?’

‘Drummed that pernicious sense of your family’s bygone ‘rightful place in the world’ into her head, and – now I understand – even into her movements.  You want to do the same to my son? Never.’ He poured himself a glass of wine, and took a swig.  

Grandma clutched Grandpa’s arm.  He pulled his glasses closer, the better to glare at Dad.  

Mum looked from him to her parents, and back again.  ‘How can you be so disrespectful?’ Her voice was shaky.  ‘To my father, to me…’

‘Darling, I have huge respect for you.  More than that. You’re the love of my life.  But the whole attitude behind such things – ’ he pointed to the coins on the tablecloth – ‘hasn’t done you any good, has it?’  

‘Ha!’  My mother crossed her arms.  

I watched, uneasy.  I had never witnessed a flare-up between my parents.  Dad’s humour, or Mum’s fondness for him, normally defused their little disagreements.  

‘It’s painful to watch how hard you have to work to overcome your snootiness – whether towards other guests at a party, or towards the grocer, the…’ Dad said.  ‘Being able to enjoy conversations with perfectly nice people shouldn’t require such effort. And that’s progress, compared to when we first met.’

‘You – ’ Mum stammered.  ‘Blowing things out of proportion like this.  Father was only encouraging good manners in Tommaso.  You should be grateful.’

Grandpa nodded, his eyebrows a scowl, his cheeks hollow.  

Dad sighed, and said nothing.  

But my grandfather never subjected me to the exercise of the coins again.   

So you see?  Episodes and feelings of which I had never spoken – presumably considering them unworthy of anyone’s interest or maybe fearful of others’ judgment – tumbled out of my lips and were met with understanding, warmth and humour.  To the example I have given you, I believe Anna quipped she had never thought of coins as torture instruments. I can still see her, shaking her head in sympathy as you have done, while I recounted this and other incidents, or laughing with me when I told her of happier ones.  I, in turn, couldn’t get enough of the glimpses of the life she had led until then, of the slivers of time that had gone into who she was.

‘I wish I had known you years ago,’ I kept saying.  

‘I wish I had known you, too.’  

I suppose that, through the sharing of details from our past and present, we were seeking to overcome that impossibility.  

About The Author


Valeria Vescina is from Puglia, was educated in Switzerland and the UK, and has lived for years in London with her family. After a successful career in management, she gained an MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths (University of London). THAT SUMMER IN PUGLIA (Eyewear Publishing, 2018) is her debut novel. Her activity as a critic includes reviews for Seen And Heard International, Talking Humanities and the European Literature Network . She has taught creative writing workshops on the narrative potential of various art forms. Valeria also holds a degree in International Studies (University of Birmingham) and a Sloan Msc. in Management (London Business School).

Follow Valeria Vescina: Website  Twitter

I want to extend a special thank you to Aimee with Bookollective and the author for allowing me to particpate and providing the extract today!

Happy Reading,
Danielle ❤

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Sunday Sum~Up

Sunday Sum_Up (1)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer that I am linking my Sunday Sum-Ups with. Stop by and say hello!

This is my first weekly recap in a few weeks due to a Small Health Break and then an unexpected back injury that has left me with nerve damage. I am currently on a heavy round of medications to combat pain and inflammation while I await my next follow up appointment to reassess where I am at with it all. Needless to say, my return has been slower than expected and my writing subpar. I am quite honestly, a bit of a train wreck lately 😉


But on the plus side, the restrictions and bedrest have meant plenty of fantastic reads! The blog should pick up more once I start to feel better and I am looking forward to sharing some of my recent reads.

Recent Reviews


Currently Reading

I have made the difficult decision to shelf 1Q84 for now. Between the increased meds and my current mood, I just cannot muster the appropriate attention for this book (and I feel like it deserves more from me). But I will be returning to it!

the_thiefThe Thief
By Megan Whalen Turner


The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Other Happenings

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”
~Ursula K. Le Guin

What are you reading this week? Drop me a line with a recommendation or a title you recently enjoyed!

Danielle ❤

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