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Book Review: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: YA Dystopia Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 473 pages
Author: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic. 

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT FOR THIS SEQUEL?!

Y’AAAAAALLLLLLLL.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Like Illuminae Files this duo has destroyed me. I buddy-read this with a Bookstagram friend and it was so much fun to go over things together with her!

This book is so good. I have no words.

I love this group of characters. Squad 312 is full of unique, emotional, interesting, creative souls. Everyone stands out in their own way and I love them all for different things. My favorite currently is probably Kal. I could go into a bunch of reasons for each character, but trust me, everyone has a reason to shine. The chapters rotated in a perfect way where the main POV was the right character to be observing from. This made the entire book soar.

There were so many twists and turns. Some you can pick out, others left me like WHAT. I’m still reeling from the last few scenes. Though, what’s really nice is that it doesn’t leave off on some major cliff-hanger. While absolutely crazy things happen, it also closes out the book. Leaving you begging for a time machine to get to book two.

The main antagonist is so complex. We only scratched the surface on what’s happening in the universe and I have so many theories. I love having theories about what’s going to happen.

A lot of relationships were thrown around and happened a little here, a little there, a maybe here, a maybe there. I think this nuanced banter and love was entrancing. Within all the action we got to the nitty-gritty of each characters flaws and dreams. Each one immensely different, but also intertwined.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopian sci-fi + fantasy
  • Language: a little (mostly phrases like son of a biscuit)
  • Romance: a no-details remembrance of a night together
  • Violence: physical, guns, magic

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction/Sci-fi
Length: 303 pages
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 15th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned. 

Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

TOO THOUGHT-PROVOKING.

I never thought I’d say this about a book, but my head hurt after reading this. I’ve sat on this review for a bit because I was gathering my thoughts.

This book actually spooked me out a bit (note: easily spooked). I started thinking about what would it be like if this actually happened and started spiraling. Seriously, how scary?! Especially when they kept going back to the family with the baby. My intense Momma Bear voice was raging in my head trying to protect them.

I also felt sad reading this. A feeling I generally don’t like to find when reading (unless purposely chosen or previously known beforehand). A lot of this was making my heart hurt. Watching one character drop after another. Having to deal with being quarantined. Some never waking, really hard-hitting stuff.

Everything was too philosophical. One of the characters even offered up those philosophical puzzles that make you run around in circles. It was a battle of who to save, who was worth it, and I didn’t want to make those decisions! This isn’t as light as it may seem, even when it’s only 300 pages.

I was bummed with the resolution. It wasn’t anything spectacular. Things were all of sudden solved. I think that was supposed to be the mystery of the entire illness itself, but it left me wanting more. I personally like endings where I feel all loose ends are tied up and I’m not asking too many questions.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction/Sci-fi
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: a kiss, a vaguely implied night together
  • Trigger warning: suicide

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Book Review

Review: Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA sci-fi, dystopian
Length: 510 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: November 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with that of her father’s—a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa the daughter of a coward, her chances of attending Flight School slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

SANDERSON DOES IT AGAIN!

I STAYED UP WAY TOO LATE TO FINISH THIS AND I REGRET NOTHING. Sanderson should keep writing YA sci-fi novels, because this was fantastic.

“The answer is not to fear the spark, but to learn to control it. “

The world of Detritus is intricate and well thought out. The underground civilization, the above-ground command centers, the ring of debris around the planet!? So stinkin’ cool.

I know I only have the Mistborn series to go off of, but Sanderson puts together amazing female heroines. I absolutely love Spensa and her personality. She’s stubborn, blunt, and full of witty and odd old school remarks. I love how she handles and approaches her own issues and flaws, but in the same breath, stands for her crew and friends.

“You’re insubordinate, mouthy, and…well, you’re scudding frustrating. But when you fly, Spin, you fly as part of a team—and you keep my people safe.”

Also, the minor love interest that is screaming hate-to-love is making me beyond excited for the next installment. I love Jorgen and I am here for their romance y’all.

The banter and camaraderie in the Skyward crew is my absolute fav. I love a group of characters who balance each other so well. Even with the few people that you don’t get to know that well, I still felt attached to them. As I’ve noticed, Sanderson isn’t afraid of death. Spensa and the surviving crew mates have to deal with grief and guilt and it was making me feel too.

I can’t even handle M-Bot and Doomslug. I laughed so much listening to M-Bot attempt human emotions. Then the fact she has a random pet/creature that she named Doomslug who makes little noises? Dead. It was great and I loved these two.

“Brave to the end.”

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi
  • No language
  • Violence: space ship blasts, war
  • Romance: a hug
  • Trigger warnings: grief, loss of loved ones
Book Review

Review: Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

Wildcard

Rating: ☆☆☆.5
Audience: Young adult, very little language, some violence, a love scene
Length: 341 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

MIXED EMOTIONS.

This book is good, it is, but the author has let me down yet again with the ending.

[*side note: The ending to the Legend series was fine, but I thought it could have been a lot more satisfying. The Young Elites ending also left something to desire for me, so upon reading her third series I’m once again feeling let down.]

I wanted more. More about Hideo, about Sasuke, the Phoenix Riders, everyone. I think an epilogue would have been beneficial and would have satisfied my craving.

My main issue was Emika is so bland. She jumps from the Blackcoats, to the Riders, to Hideo, doing whatever they ask and not really following her own ideas. The action is there and intense, but because she lacks independence it runs dry.

The love story leaves you wanting more. It even says in the description that Emika has to take down the man she loves. I DON’T EVEN SEE WHERE THERE IS LOVE. They are barely in the book together, the one love scene is nice and all…and totally expected. A little extra fluff for the plot to give us what we thought we wanted. My heart was way more invested in Roshan and Tremaine’s story than Emika and Hideo’s.

Speaking of side characters, I missed them too. I missed the Phoenix Riders. Their presence is small and forced. Their dynamic was so fun in Warcross! It would have been nice to see them really all together.

I do appreciate we got all of Sasuke’s story. And that Jax was included. She was a great addition to the book. The plot focuses on Zero’s story and was fascinating for a sci-fi novel! The twist grabbed me and had me reconsidering my opinion on all things data based. That was different and great to read.

A young adult sci-fi novel. There is a few swear words and some violence. Discussion of suicide (no details). The love scene is glossed and small.

Monthly Wrap-Up

May Reading Wrap-Up!

INTERNET AT LAST.

I think we can all attest to the fact that moving sucks. We spent an entire weekend moving stuff, and we still have a lot to go before our rental is all cleaned out. I’m without internet until Monday so I literally drove to FOUR different locations to find free wi-fi that was working, and where I could plug in my computer. Holy cow.

FUN FACTS:

Number of books read: 6

Number of pages: 2,177

What I read this month…

A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas

ACOFAS

Synopsis:

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

It’s rare I give anything less than 5 stars for Maas related material, so no surprise here, but I was sitting at my door waiting for the mailman to drop this off. My review can be found here.

And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga #1) by Kiersten White

And I Darken

Synopsis:

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Wasn’t a big fan of And I Darken. Also, wasn’t convinced to read the next one. If you think I should, leave a comment! I love to hear differing opinions. This review is here.

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara

Synopsis:

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Oh guys, I was totally smitten with this book. I LOVE DRAGONS. And it’s different than a lot of the YA (that I’ve at least) come across lately. I don’t think you’d be disappointed checking this one out. Review here!

Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Mirage

Synopsis:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

PUT THIS ON YOUR TBR FOLKS. I graciously received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley and was enamored by this story. It’s in space. That should convince you to check out the review here. Mirage will be out in August!

Glitter (Glitter #1) by Aprilynne Pike

Glitter

Synopsis:

Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.

But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

While I do think this cover looks cool, this book had me up in arms in disappointment. The plot played towards an interesting take, but I personally found it hysterically full of drama. Read my review because maybe this is up your alley! Just not mine.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

Synopsis:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

I was in a book funk for a few days trying to pick out what to read next, then this showed up at my door! (I may have forgot that I ordered it, whoops). This book dragged me right out of that funk. I loved it! It was clever, Little Mermaid-esque and the love story was somehow slow enough for a standalone book. Find out more at my full review.

To end my saga,

My favorite book this month was ACOFAS (Mass, always. Guys why isn’t October after May?!). And my least favorite was And I Darken.

I’m currently reading Alexander Hamilton (yes, willingly). It’s actually pretty good and I am hoping to finish soon and write a full review. It is just SO LONG. SO VERY LONG. And tiny words. My attention span may be waning at this point.

Also I hope to pick back up my Instagram now that we’ve moved. I first have to organize 300 books though. How should I do it this time? Usually I do it by genre/hardbacks, but I’m leaning towards trying by author.

Happy reading!

Book Review

Review: Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Mirage

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA, no language, a few kiss scenes, some violence
Length: 320 pages
Author: Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: [expected] August 28th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

THEY WERE ON A MOON.

The first thing that made me excited was this fact. That’s so cool. And so different!! It reminded me to a degree of the Red Rising series with the sci-fi esque pieces of this novel. I love when authors take risks and explore cultures and worlds that aren’t often seen!

I loved the depth of the main characters. Amani maintained who she was during all the uproar. Maram had a lovely character arc, and the author left a solid suspense for the second book. Idris was totally adorable and the story between him and Amani is precious and sweet.

The story flowed well as I discovered the world Daud built. There was the right touch of drama that actually let you feel for the characters rather than wondering why there was too much going on. The action scenes weren’t huge, but were written well. There was a larger focus on the politics of Ziyaana [the palace] and how Amani was able to navigate as a body double. Though, unlike some stories the politics enhanced the story rather than took away. You weren’t stuck reading drawn-out council meetings.

They’re aspects of religion throughout the book. It is a guiding factor for different tribes and I thought it was very well done. Nothing was in your face, but you understood the importance of their God to them. It guided their choices and gave more of a background into what characters actions were occurring and better yet, why they were happening.

True YA, no language [which is awesome]. A few kiss scenes that are sweet and appropriate. Some violence, but nothing gruesome.

Thank you to Netgalley and Flatiron Books for the digital ARC!