ARC Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

I had to take a few days to really digest this book, because if I wrote my initial thoughts after finishing this it would just be screaming (AAAHHH) across the screen.

I won an ARC of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini from Bookish First and Tor in exchange for an honest review. I’m going to start off by saying that I love the Eragon series (though I haven’t read it in many years) so I was a little biased going into this. But let me tell you, this book is so good, it blew my expectations out of the water!

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Review: Aurora Burning

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Aurora Cycle series. If you have not read the first book, Aurora Rising, feel free to check out my spoiler free review here! While this post will be spoiler free, I cannot guarantee that it will not spoil the first book, so if you have not read it yet, thanks for checking out this post and hopefully I’ll see you again once you’ve finished Aurora Rising!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

So I had seen some … adverse reactions to this book. And I’ll be honest, I was nervous. After finishing Aurora Rising, and crying for hours afterwards, I knew Jay and Amie were out to get us.

The beginning of this book was sad. Everyone was still sad and sore about Cat’s death (honestly, me too) and we’ve now unlocked a piece of the puzzle. Seeing everyone go through their mourning for Cat, as well as continuing to fight to help Auri save the world, is hard. Especially for Tyler.

While the beginning started off slow (for like a few pages lol), we quickly jump back into action and into galaxy saving mode. This whole book was an action filled revelation waiting to happen and the last 150 pages had me locked in.

And the ending. Well, I think I summarized my feelings on the ending with this tweet. Also Jay’s reaction was pretty funny!

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Yeah, I was pretty upset. Not sure why Amie and Jay decided to end the book this way, but it ripped my heart out and I’m mad! If you know their writing style, you’ll know what kind of ending I’m talking about.

One of the things I loved the most about this book were the characters. Tyler, while always the golden boy, breaks out of his strict mold. Zila speaks up more and I love it. We see a change in every character throughout this book and I’m here for it. And after that ending, I’m really curious to know what happens to them now.

One thing that annoyed me though was a certain moment in the book. I won’t go into detail, but this revelation came about and I don’t know how I felt about the reaction to it. Like, it didn’t seem fully fair and I think some biases came into play here. It made me really upset and this character did not deserve it one bit.

Besides that, I love this series. I’m really upset I don’t have the next book in my hands ready to go. I really want to know what happens next!

If you’re surprised that I’m giving this book starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars – why? I loved Aurora Rising and I loved Aurora Burning – each for their own unique reasons. I can’t wait for the next book to come out and hopefully we don’t have to wait too long!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series) by Marissa Meyer or Zodiac by Romina Russell. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: The Vanishing Deep

Today I am reviewing The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte. I read her debut novel, Four Dead Queens and absolutely loved it! The ARC I had received was a BookCon exclusive and it almost killed me to get it. Her second book is just as good, asking the question “What would you do if you could have more time after someone has passed?”

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed.

This is Astrid’s sophomore novel and just as good as her first! I got an advanced copy of 4DQ at BookCon 2018 and it was so good! Getting an ARC of Vanishing Deep was awesome – I love Astrid’s writing and was so excited to read this book.

The hardest part about this book was the beginning. I recently had three deaths in my family this year and the death of a friend. To read Tempe’s struggle of her parents and sister dying hit me really hard and reminded me of the feelings I had experienced and am still going through. As she talks about the revival and getting to see her sister one more time alive, it almost broke me. I wanted to continue but also had to stop for my own sanity.

I’m glad I kept going though. While the beginning is heavy, the action picks up and pushes towards a different message thankfully. As the plot progresses, we get more details about the characters and find out that everything is not as it seems.

I thought the main characters were well set up and had clear motivations and intentions. The only person who I thought was under developed was the director at Palindromena. We get a character shift from her, or at least a bad perspective of her from other characters. She starts off as a nice characters we meet, but then we find out she’s a horrible person, and then we interact with her again and she’s okay to be around? It was confusing for me. I wish there was more development with that or at least a better explanation for why they somewhat ignored warnings about her.

Overall, I had fun with this story, even though it was heart breaking at first. I give this story a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars for the unique plot, sisterly love, and fun adventure. This was a fun read and it showed a realistic look at loss and what people will do to see their loved ones one last time.

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If this story sounds good for you, check out Seafire by Natalie C. Parker for an all girl, seafaring adventure. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Goddess in the Machine

Before I get into this review, just a reminder that the giveaway my friend Writing the Universe and I are holding ends on Monday! Here is the link to enter – please make sure you enter through Rafflecopter (link in the giveaway post) and are doing all FIVE of the mandatory tasks to be entered properly! Good luck!

My friend Grace and I were lucky enough to snag a YallFEST exclusive of Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson this past November and decided to buddy read it while in quarantine. It was a rocky start, but a solid finish and now I’m so excited to read book 2!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.

Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

So the biggest issue we both had at the beginning was the language. Lora Beth shows how the language has changed within those thousand years with different spelling and their own slang. At first it’s very daunting trying to understand what these people are trying to say but as we continued to read, we found it easier to understand the characters and her writing. This was a huge relief for us. Both of us were considering DNFing the book due to the inability to fully grasp what was going on, but I’m glad we stuck it out.

The other thing I had an issue with was the main love interest. Because of the language change and confusion, Zhade came off as a child to me. It was so hard to think of him as a teenager, or an adult, or however old he was. I could only see him as this 11/12 year old kid helping Andra with the way that he talked. Which is not what you want for a love interest. Over time, it got better, but the beginning was rough especially when trying to picture him flirting, which he does a lot.

Now, I didn’t get fully invested into the story until 200 or so pages in. That’s a lot of pages to read before I’m excited to see what’s next. I had been mildly interested in what was going on before the 200 page mark, but the events that happen after page 200 is what really brought me in and got me excited to read what happens next. Not everyone has that patience though.

Once we got into the thrill of the book, it was really good. Good enough that we both want to read the sequel when it is released. Yay! This book isn’t supposed to release until June 30th, 2020 so the early draft we got could have changed a lot in that time between when we got the ARC in November and release date. So take my criticism with a grain of salt on this one.

Again, besides the language, and a slow beginning, I really enjoyed this story and thought it was a great sci-fi mystery! This was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.png.5 // 5 stars for me and I think anyone who likes science fiction will love this story!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman or Skyward by Brandon Sanderson!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

Review: Aurora Rising

I received a copy of Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I know, I know, I’m late on this one, but better late than never right? This book has been sitting in my NetGalley queue for like a year now and I finally read it. In less than 24 hours. Why did I wait so long!?

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

So first and foremost, OW. Like, OWWW. I wasn’t expecting my heart to be ripped clean from my chest like that and honestly, I’m hurt. I know Jay is well known for his ability to sever heart strings and murder his readers, but damn Jay! Damn Amie! You didn’t have to destroy me like that! So yeah, the ending hurt. I was definitely holding back tears and this is my warning to you.

Besides that, WOW this book was amazing. I’m a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy books and this one filled my heart with joy (you know, until it was ripped from my chest). We had a rag tag group pushed together and struggling to work with each other. We have sass and lots of it. An epic space adventure. Spy work. It was everything I could have asked for and more.

There really wasn’t much I didn’t like about the story. It was fast paced and had me sitting on the edge of my seating waiting for the next twist and turn. Even the cheesy moments, and there were a few, didn’t make me roll my eyes. I was elated reading them and shipping characters together.

Overall, a total win for me. star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars

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If this book sounds interesting, check out Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman’s other series, Illuminae.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

Review: Lobizona

Lobizona was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and it did not disappoint. If you haven’t read Romina’s other series, the Zodiac series, you need to check it out! I snagged an ARC of her new series and here are my thoughts!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

Reading Manu’s story brings up issues of immigration through a fantastical lens, as well as a realistic one. The separation between the real world and the fictional is a thin line that is crossed about 1/4-1/3 of the way through and highlights similar issues between these two worlds. Between the review version (300 pages) and what seems to be the final version (400 pages) there is a lot of details that could have been added, moments that changed, or even new scenes that I didn’t get in the review, but I hope are there. I feel like the beginning, which takes place in Miami, is more fleshed out than the fantastical world. It’s not clear whether it’s due to lack of explanation, or that it’s a completely different world these characters are living in, but I felt a bit lost. 

In some moments I find myself not fully comprehending what Romina wants me to see or getting confused on the technicalities of what Lobizóns can and can’t do. It made it difficult to fully immerse myself during those moments and I felt pulled away. With 100 pages being added to the final copy, I assume, and I hope, that the fantastical world is fleshed out a bit more. If so, then I think the book is going to connect and resonate a lot more with readers than it would right now.

Overall, I really liked the story. I’m a fan of Romina’s work in general and I’m excited to see this new story come to light soon! I would rate this book star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars but I’m excited to see if I like the finished copy even more.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

My NetGalley Waitlist

As a reviewer I am not big enough or lucky enough to go to every convention or receive physical ARCs, so I use NetGalley for my ARC review fix. If you haven’t heard of NetGalley before, it’s a site that allows you to request and download e-books. Some of them are released titles but a lot are unreleased titles, so if you are a newbie blogger or dipping your toe into review ARCs, this is a great place to start!

I’ve been using NetGalley since January 2018 and here are some of the books I’m currently pending on NetGalley for:

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Links to each book listed down below.

  1. All the Stars and Teeth
  2. The Shadows Between Us
  3. Night Spinner
  4. Witches of Ash and Ruin
  5. The Raven and the Dove
  6. Unravel the Dusk
  7. Incendiary
  8. Lobizona
  9. Of Silver and Shadow
  10. Girl, Serpent, Thorn
  11. We Are Blood and Thunder
  12. The Midnight Lie

I’m currently crossing my fingers that I can even get one of these to approve! I currently have to read and review Foul is Fair, Sensational, and Aurora RisingIt seems like Foul is Fair is going to be my next serious read and then we’ll go from there!

One thing I hate when I look through NetGalley, is all the rejections – especially since I’ve hit 25 declined books so far. Hopefully that number doesn’t rise anymore!

Do you use NetGalley and if so, what are your current reads from it?

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If you liked this post, please like it, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: Gideon the Ninth

Guys … guys … GUYS!!! I finally finished a book! Holy cow! For the first time in 2 months I finished a book and thankfully, it was a good one. Here’s my review for the new adult fantasy series, Gideon the Ninth.

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Here’s the description from Goodreads:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

First off, this book has a slow start. I’m gonna say it, because it almost ruined the rest of the book for me, but it’s a slow beginning. There’s a lot of sassy, witty banter but it’s mostly history explanation and getting the character where they need to be. Then the fun begins.

I loved basically everything in this book, it was a perfect match for my taste. Snarky, sassy characters who are assholes but soft for certain people (eventually). Funny, witty banter. Amazing, intensive fantasy aspects such as necromancy and the ability to control the dead and their bones. Like what? It was everything I was looking for, plus lots of gay stuff. It was awesome.

There wasn’t much I disliked minus the beginning, although it was hard to fully understand everything happening. There were moments throughout the book where the explanations of events or items or even places didn’t click in my brain. That could be a me thing, but it made it frustrating trying to imagine what’s going on. I wish the word choices/images used were a little clearer. I’m not sure if it was what the author was saying or how she was saying it, but I got lost a few times.

Overall, I loved this book and it’s a definite star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars for me!

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones for a similar YA title and Red Rising by Pierce Brown for an adult novel.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!