Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (1/14/20)–Sanctuary

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I found this one whilst digging through my TBR recently. The premise–a mash-up of both the superpowered/trapped on a ship plagued with murderous, extraterrestrial who-knows-what intrigued me, and so I decided to give it a go. (Now that I think about it, Sanctuary is kind of an X-Men meets Aliens kind of deal.) My thoughts? Not amazing, but certainly a fast-paced and multilayered plot!

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Sanctuary (Sanctuary, #1)

All her life, Kenzie has known nothing but the Omnistellar Corps, the organization that keeps Earth safe from harm–and keeps those with superpowers at bay. At 17, she’s already in training to be a prison guard on one of Omnistellar’s many orbiting prisons, this one for delinquent, superpowered teenagers. But when she isn’t watching her back, she’s taken hostage by the ship’s prisoners, and witnesses an entirely new side to the superpower story. Before she can escape, however, the ship faces a threat–prison guards and prisoners alike are being picked off unawares.

Some are reduced to corpses in the hall.

Others simply disappear.

Can Kenzie and the prisoners find the source of the mysterious killings–or will the killings come to them instead?

 

 

First of all, hats off to Lix for a successful and well-executed mash-up of these sci-fi subgenres! Though wildly different, they worked well together, creating a cohesive, original story.

Beyond that, there was loads of attention put into the world-building, as well as the state of Earth in the near future. I’ll try not to spoil *much*, but the *things* that are going bump in the night aboard the prison ship were fascinating to delve into. My only complaint (half-complaint?) is the characters. There was such a wide range of them, and at times, there were a handful that seemed interchangeable, and didn’t contribute as much to the story. However, I did love seeing Kenzie’s arc come into play, from being sheltered and naïve to realizing that the world around her was built on lies.

Overall, a fascinating and creative twisting of common sci-fi tropes. Solid 3.5 stars for me! 

 

Sanctuary is part of a trilogy, which consists of Containment (2019), and the forthcoming conclusion Salvation (2020). I think I like it enough to continue with the trilogy, though I know that I might forget about it…as I do with…every trilogy that I come across…

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Today’s song:

(Is it just me, or does this just…transcend music?)

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

 

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (1/7/20)–Supernova (Renegades, #3)

 

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Hey there, fellow bibliophiles!

I’ve mentioned this one several times before, as it was one of my most anticipated 2019 releases. And man, am I glad to say that this book was not only my first read of 2020, but an incredible conclusion to an unforgettable, action-packed series.

WARNING: This post may contain some spoilers for the previous two Renegades books. For my reviews/Goodreads reviews for books 1 and 2, click here:

Renegades (Renegades, #1)

Archenemies (Renegades, #2)

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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Supernova (Renegades, #3)

Nova and Adrian. Both battling their forbidden romance and their inner demons. Both with double lives, days from being exposed and shattering each other’s relationships.

As an old enemy resurfaces in Gatlon City, the two Prodigies must reconcile their pasts and save their beloved city from the brink–even if it means exposing themselves and those who they love. And the further Nova and Adrian entrench themselves in their webs of lies, the more they realize…is the line between heroes and villains as clear as it is made out to be?

 

 

Marissa Meyer truly outdid herself in this final installment to the Renegades. With such a wide cast of characters, I’m still astounded by the way that they were all intertwined so seamlessly, without muddying or confusing the story. (Though, I suppose the very high body count thinned the cast out a bit, but mostly for character development. Mostly.) The theme of the moral gray area between good and evil was stronger than ever, and Meyer’s clever writing and world building truly shined in this novel. Clocking in at 548 pages, I was worried for the last 100 or so that the rest of the plot would be filler, but boy, we almost had not one, but two incredibly climactic battles that served the plot well and furthered the story in a satisfying way.

My only qualm, is, I’ll admit, pretty nit-picky. One thing that bothered me a little bit was the dialogue; some of the characters (Nova, etc.) seemed a bit…too eloquent in the way that they spoke. I get it, she and some of the others are intelligent characters, but their lines read like they were reading from a ghostwritten speech. It made for a bit of discordance in some of the more climactic scenes, but I’m glad to say that it didn’t take away too much of my enjoyment.

Overall, a simultaneously shocking and satisfying conclusion to a YA superhero series that may well become the benchmark for the sub-genre to come.

Solid 4.5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

 

Supernova is the end of the Renegades trilogy, but I’m almost certain that Marissa Meyer has another whopper up her sleeve, though nothing’s been confirmed yet. I just have a gut feeling. 😉

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Today’s song:

[heart eyes] SOOOOOPPPHHHHIIIIIIIEEEEE

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Stay tuned for more content later in the week! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (12/31/19)–The Gilded Wolves

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and happy New Year’s Eve!

 

I have this book to thank for (partially) getting me through finals, so that’s an automatic three stars right there. Just kidding, but seriously.

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Though I had mediocre expectations for it, The Gilded Wolves was ripe with intricate world-building, unique characters, and lavish and unforgettable writing. Unfortunately, that made for a bit of confusion and convolution, but for the most part, that was overshadowed by all of its other aspects.

Enjoy this week’s review!

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The Gilded Wolves

In an alternate, 19th century Paris, trouble–and magic–is brewing.

Séverin has been harboring a deep grudge ever since the line of his House was deemed dead, and his power stripped away. He now ekes out a living as a hunter of artifacts, stealing from Paris’ magical elite. But his reputation hasn’t gone unnoticed: the Order of Babel, an all-seeing organization that oversees all the world’s magical elite, soon hunts Séverin down, and forces him into finding an artifact more famed than anything he’s ever hunted. His reward? The resurrection of his House, and the reclamation of his birthright. Calling on a band of unlikely misfits, he must scour all of Paris to uncover this artifact, before time runs out.

 

 

The only thing that irked me about The Gilded Wolves was that I often found myself having to second-guess myself and try to remember wait, why are they doing this? Maybe it’s more of my fault than the book’s, but the plot did feel rather convoluted at times.

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Other than that, The Gilded Wolves was most definitely a success! The world-building was so intricate and lush, and I loved exploring the alternate, magical Paris that Chokshi dreamed up. The characters worked so well together, and the prose was flowery, but not so much that it was unenjoyable. Overall, The Gilded Wolves was a hit with me! Solid four stars.

The Gilded Wolves is the first in a trilogy; the sequel, The Silvered Serpents, is slated for 2020 (!!!), and there is currently no information about the third and final installment, other than the fact that it’s likely to be published in 2021.

 

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a great rest of your day, and enjoy your New Year’s Eve!

 

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (12/24/19)-The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, book 3)

Hey there, fellow bibliophiles, and happy holidays! Whatever it is you celebrate, I hope that you have a lovely holiday season!

 

Now, I know I mentioned reviewing this book weeks ago, but I cancelled those plans abruptly due to a finals hiatus. So, sorry to keep you waiting.

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That aside, I managed to snag a copy of this one, which I’ve been anxiously awaiting since the end of Thunderhead (book 2), and I must say…what a monumental conclusion to an unforgettable series. Without a doubt, one of the best books to come out of this year, and one of the best trilogies to come out of this decade. (Can I get a WOOOHOOOO for Mr. Neal Shusterman?)

NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW UNLESS YOU HAVE READ BOTH SCYTHE AND THUNDERHEAD, AS IT WILL CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS. 

If you’d like to read my reviews for the previous two books, you can do from these links:

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

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The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3)

It has been three years since the Endura disaster, when Goddard orchestrated an attack that killed most of the world’s revered Scythes, and the Thunderhead, the artificial, world-ruling hivemind, has shut itself off to all of mankind.

In MidMerica, the diabolical Scythe Goddard has come to power, declaring himself OverBlade of the entire continent, and gleaning all who stand in his way. But on an isolated island, a Scythe that was thought dead by the world lies in wait, preparing for the opportunity to strike Goddard and his ruthless empire down.

And in the oceans where Endura once sat, a scavenger ship has uncovered a treasure that may mean the difference between restoring the balance and total anarchy.

 

 

Now, let me just say…

OH. MY GOD.

This book is very nearly flawless. The Toll is the prime example of Neal Shusterman’s storytelling prowess, a heart-pounding, dystopian epic for the ages. With even more in-depth explorations of not just the world, but of the moral grey areas in society and the consequences of religion and absolute power, The Toll brings this unforgettable trilogy to a beautiful conclusion, one that leaves the reader thinking, and provides a sense of hope. This book deserves every star in the sky, without a doubt. So thank you, Mr. Shusterman, for providing a trilogy that will stand the test of time, a beautiful spot of light in a sea of mediocrity that has defined the dystopian genre for the latter half of this decade. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Plus, you can’t argue with Jaws references. ‘Nuff said. And, if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got some LGBTQ+ representation from a secondary character who plays a major role in The Toll, how cool is that! (Jeri, who you’ll meet somewhat early on, is genderfluid.) 🏳️‍🌈

 

The Toll marks the end of the Arc of a Scythe trilogy (*wipes single tear from cheek*), but without spoiling anything, the ending *could* open itself for spin-offs, though that isn’t likely. Personally, I’d rather the trilogy be left alone, but I wouldn’t be complaining if Shusterman wrote other novels in the same universe.

 

 

And there you have it! I hope you have a lovely rest of your day, and a very happy holiday season! Stay tuned for more content later this week!

 

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (12/3/19)–Everything Grows

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

 

This is one of the few gems I’ve found that Goodreads didn’t recommend to me. In fact, though I forget what book the recommendation came from, this one came from the library. I inhaled this one over Thanksgiving break (I’m so glad I had that much time to read…), and I must say, an absolute gem among this year’s releases! A criminally underrated, 90’s LGBTQ+ novel about growing up and discovering yourself.

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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Everything Grows 

1993. Eleanor Fromme, newly 15, has just started high school, and is already faced with more emotional challenges than she could ever anticipate. After her longtime bully, James, unexpectedly commits suicide, she’s shocked, and unsure how to cope. Her solution? Chopping off and dyeing all of her hair, and writing letters to him for an English assignments.

All the while, Eleanor has begun to struggle with her sexuality, after she realizes that she’s a lesbian. As her old friendships crumble and new ones begin to blossom, Eleanor must find her way in a word that seems to frown upon her.

 

 

I’ve hardly heard anyone talk about Everything Grows, probably due to the fact that it’s from a more indie publisher. But man, am I glad that this one was recommended to me…

Aimee Herman deftly captures what it is to be 15, to be struggling with your identity, transitioning into a new school and a new way of life, and coping with things that none should have to. Eleanor’s character had such a poignant and relatable journey, which, combined with stellar writing and explorations of several facets of  the LGBTQ+ community (besides Eleanor, there are also more lesbian, bisexual, and  transgender characters), made for an unforgettable book. If you haven’t already read Everything Grows, please do so–and recommend it to your friends. More people should know about this book. A solid 4.5 stars from me. 💗🏳️‍🌈

 

Everything Grows is a standalone, but Aimee Herman has several collections of poetry, published prior to it. I’m debating whether or not I should delve deeper into her works, but I’m sure I’d enjoy it.

 

Have a lovely rest of your day, and stay tuned for more content later this week!

 

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (11/26/19)-Ziggy, Stardust and Me

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

 

When I first saw the premise of this book, I practically leapt for joy.

I mean, not only is it an LGBTQ+ romance, but the main character’s hero is David Bowie. And, of course, being a devotee of David Bowie for most of my life, I just had to read this. And honestly? Ziggy, Stardust and Me certainly had its flaws, but it is a story that absolutely needs to be read.

 

Without further ado, let’s begin this review!

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Ziggy, Stardust & Me

1973. Jonathan Collins is 16, and all around him, the world is shifting. His therapy, meant to cure his homosexuality, only serves to make him feel worse. The bullies are constantly at his back, and his father is relapsing into alcoholism. Jonathan’s only source of comfort lies in his imagination, and in David Bowie, the flamboyant rock god whose music is a source of solace.

Then, Web, the new, openly gay boy at school, tumbles into his life. Web is everything that Jonathan wants to be–confident, tough, and unabashedly unafraid of being himself. As Jonathan begins to fall for Web, he begins to push the boundaries that have confined him for his entire life–but at what cost?

 

Aaaaah, what a book!

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I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing (I get that it’s from Jonathan’s teenage perspective, but it still felt a little bit sloppy), but my criticism just about ends there.

Ziggy, Stardust and Me deals with a boatload of difficult to talk about topics (namely racism, homophobia, and conversion therapy), but it did so in a way that was perfectly balanced–not glossed over by any stretch of the imagination, but in a way that was showing, not telling, to be sure. A lot of it was absolutely heartbreaking to read, but this is content that people need to know about. Spectacular representation (besides the fact that Jonathan and Web are both gay, Web is Native American), and a beautiful relationship that had me gushing. I cried…several times…but it was all worth it. Solid four stars for me. 💗🌈

And…David Bowie. I’m sold.

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Ziggy, Stardust and Me is a standalone, and James Brandon’s debut novel. Though I haven’t heard any news of him writing anything new, I sure hope we get something from him in the next few years. We certainly need more stories like this in literature.

 

Well, I hoped you liked this review! Have a lovely rest of your day, and stay safe out there! (I almost said “stay warm,” but I don’t know what kind of weather you’re all having…currently looks like a snow globe outside my window, so…🥶)

Stay tuned for more content later this week!

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (11/12/19)–Crier’s War

Hi again, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

After dithering about whether or not I wanted to read Crier’s War, I bought a signed copy a few weeks ago, complete with the John Hancock of book signatures on the inside. (Go big or go home, Ms. Varela. Thanks for making my day.) Though I had average expectations, Crier’s War defied expectations, with an intricate and immersive world, and a forbidden romance to die for (and not to mention, a ✨very gorgeous and shiny cover✨. )

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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Crier’s War (Crier’s War, #1)

Many years ago, man made the first Made being, an automaton with independent thought. They grew more intelligent as the years went on, and soon, they had overthrown the human race, settling in gold-laced palaces, while the humans were banished to the streets.

Crier is Made royalty, a princess with hidden potential and a tenuous betrothal in her future. Ayla is a human servant, selling her wares in the street while harboring a deep hatred for the Made, after the massacre of her family. In a chance meeting, Ayla saves Crier from certain death; They both know that their relationship cannot continue, but the days go by, and the unlikely pair find themselves drawn to each other. Both knowing that their romance can never be, they must come to terms with their fates, while navigating the political turmoil that threatens to topple the worlds of the human and the Made.

 

 

Forbidden romance, forbidden romance, forbidden romance. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before, hundreds, if not thousands of times. Lucky for us, we’ve got ourselves a well-executed, emotional, and LGBTQ+ romance in Crier’s War. Who could ask for more?

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And beyond the romance, Crier’s War has several, fantastically executed aspects. I particularly loved the rich worldbuilding, complete with a lovely map, a timeline, and an intricate history, as well as an in-depth look at how the Made government works. For the most part, Varela successfully did this without excessive infodumping, so that’s a big YES from me. There were, however, some little excerpts from Made histories in between chapters; I personally found only 25% of them to be relevant, but hey, that’s just me. They seemed a bit extraneous and unnecessary, but they did add to the prospect of the rich cataloguing of the tumultous history that this book exhibited.

But the ending. That did NOT feel like an ending. I get cliffhangers, but that felt far too abrupt. At least give us some sense of finish, some sense of continuity, I beg you…but I must admit, it does leave me hungering for the sequel, so I guess that it did its job.

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A lovely melding of science-fiction and fantasy, Crier’s War garners a solid 4 stars from me: romance to root for, and a world to lose yourself in.

 

Crier’s War has been confirmed to be part of a series; the only knowledge we have of its sequel, since this book came out a little over a month ago, is that it’s been titled Iron Heart, and it’s expected to come out in 2020. Brace yourselves, folks…

 

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day! Stay tuned for more nerdy content later in the week! 🙂

 

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