Book Review

Book Review: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi / Fantasy
Length: 512 pages
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well. 

WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

I’m pretty sure I said that out loud multiple times while reading this. But also, I don’t know how to write a full review without shouting spoilers at you, so bear with me. STILL SPOILER FREE. Just…seriously…GO READ THIS SERIES ASAP PLEASE.

Okay okay, this book was glorious and also destroyed me.

I absolutely loved getting to know all of the characters more. I felt that was missing from Aurora Rising and appreciated the depth and back stories that were added to each of the squad. I have a love for each of them in their own ways and I usually have a main character I don’t like…I can’t hate anyone from Squad 312.

I was especially smitten with getting more of Auri and Kal because woo-wee I am low-key [let’s be honest — high key] ObSeSeD with Kal. NOT TO MENTION, his narrator, Steve West, is also a minor obsession. I will listen to any book he reads. The audio books for this series are fantastic with a full cast, sound effects, and just making you feel like you are sitting there truly listening to the characters. I would highly recommend this as an audio book if you haven’t tried (and are curious about them) before!

A many many things happened over the 500 pages. So much that I can’t recount it all, other than saying, it was intensely filled. There was maybe one slow-ish portion for me, but that was it. Everything hit its markers and kept me reading as fast as I could. I loved the character progression and where this story is going.

AH I DON’T WANT TO FORGET TO MENTION. I have a new ship. And I can’t say that ship because it would spoil some things, but if you’ve read it, and know who I’m referring to, lets discuss. Because I love them. Their dynamic and intensity. The banter and forced proximity. Oooooh boy I hope this is going in the direction I’m imaging or book three might sink me.

I honestly can’t tell you how it ends, because I don’t know how it ends. How twisted is that? And hopefully that sentence made you want to pick this series up because it’s faaaabulous.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi
  • Language: not very much
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; fade to black scenes, closed door scenes
  • Violence: plenty, and fairly gory/bloody; weapons, explosions, physical, torture, guns, magic

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Book Review

Book Review: The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-Fi / Romance / Retelling
Length: 400 pages
Author: Alexa Donne
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

NOT WHAT I EXPECTED.

Wow, I was disappointed with this read. It wasn’t the romantic bachelor-esque sci-fi book set in space. It was hardly a romance, and mostly teenagers sitting around talking about their problems while they go on dates. I think this actually needed more romance and less of Leo constantly denying even the smallest interactions.

*sigh*

I liked the main character, Leo. She was stubborn and caring, with a dash of ingenuity. I wish she would have stood up for herself a bit more, but I could at least keep reading this book because I enjoyed her voice.

There was definitely a lot of angst between Leo and Elliot. Not as flirtatious / lovers to enemies to lovers angst as I was hoping. You could feel the connection and chemistry they had though. I liked their interactions and wish they had more quiet romantic moments together! The last few in the closing scenes were tender and sweet and I wanted mooooore.

Side characters were a bit all of the place. I liked the vast majority of them and what they brought to the story. Good friends, siblings, and companions throughout. I could do without Leo’s awful Dad though. Why is there always a parent forcing a teen to marry? You’re the one who messed up? I don’t know, maybe I think this has been over-played one too many times (in YA novels).

The setting was awesome. I loved the idea of all of these people from Earth living in different ships and still following the same kind of dystopian setting of their cultures. If there were even more ships we could have visited and seen it would have been even better. I liked learning the intricacies of each ship, captain, and function as a whole.

At the end there was actually some drama and things happening. I liked that everyone got a happy ending and pieces of the story were wrapped up well for a standalone.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses; hints of overnight, but very glossed over with no detail
  • Violence: near drowning

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Truel1f3 (Lifel1k3 #3) by Jay Kristoff

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi / Dystopia
Length: 480 pages
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 30th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Best friends have become enemies. Lovers have become strangers. And deciding whose side you’re on could be the difference between life and death. For Eve and Lemon, discovering the truth about themselves–and each other–was too much for their friendship to take. But with the country on the brink of a new world war–this time between the BioMaas swarm at CityHive and Daedalus’s army at Megopolis, loyalties will be pushed to the brink, unlikely alliances will form and with them, betrayals. But the threat doesn’t stop there, because the lifelikes are determined to access the program that will set every robot free, a task requiring both Eve and Ana, the girl she was created to replace. In the end, violent clashes and heartbreaking choices reveal the true heroes . . . and they may not be who you think they are. 

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

GREAT BOOK.

I’m so excited I received an eARC of this book because I have been anxiously awaiting the finale. It was stellar.

So much happened in this book y’all. Sooooo much. I was amazed at how much was fit into a book less than 500 pages. A ton of action, changes in point-of-view and locations, drama, it’s all there. At times I thought there was no way that everything could be wrapped up properly. I was happily surprised that everything did! I don’t remember having any major plot holes that weren’t filled or questions answered. I got the ending I was after, which is always a good sign.

I love that this series really transferred to being about Lemon Fresh. I loved her as a heroine. Sassy and fiery with incredible amounts of bravery and resilience. It was fantastic and fit into the young adult category well. I enjoyed getting to know many new characters and getting a lot of POVs. I like seeing all sides to the story and this really helped create that scenario.

Even characters I had a hard time loving [Eve and Preacher] to name a few had some redeeming moments throughout. I was impressed with the writing and would expect nothing less from Kristoff. I continue to return to his books because of all the emotional entanglements I find myself in and the way I can’t help but cheer for the characters.

There’s quite a bit of philosophical questions that come up while reading and I love the discussions that could arise from reading this series. I appreciated the way the story was able to open my mind to new thoughts and concerns.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / dystopia
  • Language: a moderate amount
  • Romance: kisses; a closed door scene that is hardly mentioned
  • Violence: guns, explosions, poison, physical
  • Trigger warning: a brief suicide scene with method

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Book Review

Book Review: Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Sci-fi / Dystopian
Length: 464 pages
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: March 31st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The explosive finale to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars.

Ella Sommers.

Which is the truth and which is the lie?

Now that Ella knows who Juliette is and what she was created for, things have only become more complicated. As she struggles to understand the past that haunts her and looks to a future more uncertain than ever, the lines between right and wrong—between Ella and Juliette—blur. And with old enemies looming, her destiny may not be her own to control.

The day of reckoning for the Reestablishment is coming. But she may not get to choose what side she fights on.

SET LOW EXPECTATIONS.

This is what I’ve told people who’ve asked me about this series. The first three books (the original series) was stellar. One of the few dystopian series I really enjoyed. Then came the next three books which felt like extended novella/Warnette series (I do love them, so that part’s fine), but they never felt necessary. And this is where I stand on the last book – wondering yet again, why it’s here.

It was essentially another rescue mission book. Rescuing Juliette/Ella from the Reestablishment. The whole book. I was surprised at how fast I read it, and how much didn’t actually happen. A lot of neat bows were tied to get some closure on characters (truthfully, much appreciated or I would have had too many questions), yet again though…this was all solved with finishing the original three books.

WE DIDN’T EVEN GET THAT MUCH AARON/ELLA TIME. WHY.

Clearly, my biggest gripe. I read this book for them. I needed the happy ending (and you do get that much) they just weren’t together much of the book and lets face it, they carry the series.

Well them, and Kenji. Gosh dang, I love Kenji. He ranks up there with some of my favorite main (but more side) characters; i.e. Sevro from Red Rising. Kenji is funny, honest, a lover, and a genuinely good guy. Watching him and Warner through around a bromance was one of the highlights of this book. I like that it’s clear they both care of each other’s well-being, even if they have a hard time showing it.

Side-step back to my loves Warner and Juliette (I have the inability to decide which names to call them in this review so I apologize). I am smitten with Warner and his unending love for Juliette. He gives me all the butterflies and swoon worthy moments and that’s why there needed to be more. I loved the closing scene with him finding Juliette and the epilogue was perfectly fluffy as well.

Yes, yes. Buildings explode, some people die, and at last things seem to fall into a new world order. Lets leave it here.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi/dystopia
  • Language: some strong (mostly in Kenji POV’s)
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs with removal of some clothes
  • Violence: guns, machetes, powers (Juliette can literally rip people apart); pretty gory at times

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