Posted in Books

A YA Reader’s Guide to Space Opera 👽

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

Would you look at that…for once, I actually have a post that isn’t a meme, an update, or a book tag…

I’ve been planning for this one a little bit, and I’m excited to get into it! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know how much I love sci-fi. So for this post, I decided to go semi-in-depth on my favorite subgenre of science fiction and dole out some recommendations of mine.

Let’s begin, shall we?

So first off, what is space opera anyway?

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In all forms of media, space opera is a subgenre of science fiction. It tends to focus less on the heavy science/physics of the universe it’s in, and more on aspects such as plot and characters. There’s often adventures at a breakneck pace, intergalactic war or conflict, strange planets/other locations, and drama between a set of characters. A lot of space opera media that I’ve consumed tends to throw in a ragtag bunch of characters with nothing in common together, and then throws them into an adventure of epic proportions. (Commonly referred to in many of my posts and reviews as “[chaotic] space misfits.”) More often than not, there’s some light elements of fantasy, sometimes as placeholders to explain the workings of the universe. And, as you probably can figure out, it’s usually set in space or on a distant planet.

Star Wars is often used as the quintessential example of a space opera–dogfights in space, romance, strange worlds, and (amazing) lightsaber duels. (What more could you possibly want?) Although it’s probably not *the original* space opera, it’s influenced a huge chunk of space opera/sci-fi media for the last 40-ish years. Guardians of the Galaxy is another widely-known example of space opera, and from= the world of literature, Dune and Foundation are some of the most well-loved space opera classics.

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Sci-fi has only become my favorite book genre in the past…six or seven years; for a while, I was mostly drawn to fantasy, but after reading Tony DiTerlizzi’s Search for WondLa trilogy, there was no going back. And I was raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, so it was bound to happen eventually. There’s a multitude of reasons why I’m drawn to it. Even though fantasy has virtually no limits as far as making up universes goes, there’s just something about about flying through the vast reaches of space and traveling to strange worlds that has always appealed to me. And as someone who’s been something of an outcast for the better part of my life, I’m drawn like a magnet to any kind of found-family tropes. Now, I know full well that it’s not exclusive to space opera, but everything from Star Wars to Aurora Rising has a cast of strange and distinct characters that come to see themselves as a family, and I’ve always loved the theme of finding your tribe of weirdos.

So now, if you say “space opera,” there’s a good chance that I’ll immediately want to read it. (Doesn’t mean I’ll love it–there’s good and bad books in every genre, of course–but I’ll certainly read it.)

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Now, I’ve compiled a list of some YA space opera recommendations! Each one is tailored to different types of readers/tastes, because I firmly believe there’s something for everybody, even if sci-fi isn’t normally your thing. So let’s get to it, shall we?

🪐YA SPACE OPERA RECS🪐

For readers who like character-driven books…

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

Heart of Iron duology–Ashley Poston

A retelling of the story of Anastasia, this unique duology boasts a diverse and lovable cast of characters, royal intrigue, creepy androids, and some really cool spaceships.

For readers who like fairytale retellings…

Amazon.com: Once & Future (9780316449274): McCarthy, Cori, Capetta, Amy  Rose: Books

Once & Future–A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy

A retelling of Arthurian legend where the reincarnation of King Arthur is a pansexual woman of color and a spell gone wrong made Merlin age backwards…into an awkward, voice-cracky teenager. Super diverse, super feminist, and super fun!

For readers who love a good found-family story…

Aurora Rising - (Aurora Cycle) By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Paperback) :  Target

Aurora Cycle–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

In short, this is what happens when you put Captain America in a spaceship with his sister, his ex, a whole bunch of random students from the bottom of his class, and a girl with a glowing eye that may or may not start an intergalactic war. Hands down, my favorite series of all time.

For readers who love a little romance…

Amazon.com: Defy the Stars (Defy the Stars (1)) (9780316394031): Gray,  Claudia: Books

The Constellation trilogy–Claudia Gray

The worldbuilding and the imagery are beautiful in all three books, but it’s really the unlikely relationship between Noemi and Abel that shines in this one. [🥺 intensifies]

For readers who like plots with high-stakes competitions…

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (9780062845160): Coffindaffer, Rebecca: Books

Crownchasers–Rebecca Coffindaffer

(Would you look at that…another pansexual protagonist!)

I had my expectations a *bit* too high for this one, but it was still a whole lot of fun! A lot of reviewers have pitched it as Aurora Rising meets The Hunger Games, and I’d say that’s pretty spot-on. I’m excited to see what Coffindaffer has up their sleeve for book 2.

For fans of steampunk…

Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

Tarnished Are the Stars–Rosiee Thor

This one has elements of both sci-fi and fantasy woven in–royal intrigue on other worlds, and lots of clockwork hearts! Plus, it’s a beautiful queer story; we have a wlw romance, as well as a beautiful aro-ace coming out scene for one of the main characters.

For readers who prefer standalones to series…

Amazon.com: Last of Her Name (9781338243369): Khoury, Jessica: Books

Last of Her Name–Jessica Khoury

Another space opera retelling of Anastasia, comin’ right up…

Last of Her Name is a truly beautiful novel, with intricate and detailed worldbuilding, tender romance, and no shortage of twists that I couldn’t see coming. I do wish we’d gotten a larger glimpse into this world, but it was still satisfying as one book.

For thriller fans…

Amazon.com: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) (9780553499117): Amie Kaufman,  Jay Kristoff: Books

The Illuminae Files–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Normally, I’d try to avoid putting two series from the same author(s) in a post like this, but Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are masters of sci-fi, so I kind of *had to.* Composed of interviews, emails, security footage, and more, this is truly a trilogy like no other.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK? What are your favorite space opera books? Do you have any space opera recs for us? Tell me in the comments!

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Today’s song:

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (6/20/20)–Books You’d Give a Second Chance 🤔

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is books that you’d give a second chance.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE: 

6/6/20 — Books Set Near/On the Sea

6/13/20 — Books with One Word Titles

6/20/20 — Books You’d Give a Second Chance

6/27/20 —  Books with Morally Grey Characters

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

TOP 5 SATURDAY (6/20/20)–BOOKS YOU’D GIVE A SECOND CHANCE

Foundation, Isaac Asimov

Foundation: Asimov, Isaac: 9780553293357: Amazon.com: Books

This is more of an “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of deal; from the premise, I thought there would be a little more action, but it ended up feeling like a bunch of old white guys in the room discussing their eminent annihilation. I suppose I didn’t quite appreciate it for what it was, but I don’t know.

Starflight, Melissa Landers

Amazon.com: Starflight eBook: Landers, Melissa: Kindle Store

I remember…next to nothing about this book, but I rated it two stars, so there must have been something that didn’t click with me at the time. The premise seems…semi-intriguing, so I might try and go back and see what went wrong the first time around.

Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass) Sarah J. Maas: Bloomsbury YA

Everybody and their mother (including my own mother) seems to adore this series, so maybe there’s something I’m missing. Granted, I was feeling grumpy and I had a stomach flu when I read this, so that might have contributed to the two-star rating. Maybe.

Starglass, Phoebe North

Starglass (Starglass, #1) by Phoebe North

Again, I remember next to nothing about this one, other than the fact that I was listening to “(You’re My) Dream Come True” by the Temptations while I was reading it. Maybe it’s worth another read.

Orvis, Helen Mary Hoover

Orvis: Hoover, H. M.: 9780812557350: Amazon.com: Books

I read this one for school in 5th grade, and I remember thinking it was okay. I liked the character of Orvis a lot, but something about it failed to grab me at the time, but I think I might like it more the second time around.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

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Today’s song:

SUCH. A. GOOD. ALBUM. Expect a review next week…

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

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Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag at A Little Haze.  You all know how fiery I can get when ranting about a book/series/trope that I hate, so I’ll channel all of my bookish salt into this one.

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Let’s begin…

 

A POPULAR BOOK OR SERIES YOU DIDN’T LIKE 

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Red Queen has gotten BOATLOADS of hype over the years, and I just don’t. Understand. At. All. IT’S EVERY BAD YA TROPE ROLLED INTO A SINGLE MONSTROSITY. UGH.

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A POPULAR BOOK OR SERIES THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO HATE BUT YOU LOVE 

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I mean…?

From what I can tell, Daughter of the Pirate King has been fairly well-received (and has a solid 3.98 on Goodreads), but both my mom and I have noticed that when the bad reviews come in, they are positively scathing. I know this doesn’t really count, but I couldn’t think of any other books/series.

 

A LOVE TRIANGLE WHERE THE MAIN CHARACTER ENDED UP WITH THE PERSON THAT YOU DID NOT WANT THEM TO END UP WITH OR AN OTP YOU DON’T LIKE 

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UUUUUUGGGGGGHHHH. I am still FURIOUS over the fact that Juliette ended up with Warner. He’s just…I don’t know, they’re trying to make it seem like he’s “changed” or whatever, but I can’t see past the manipulative, controlling creep he was in the first two books or so. I’ve jumped off the Shatter Me ship anyway, after the disappointment of Defy Mebut this was my first dealbreaker.

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A POPULAR BOOK GENRE YOU HARDLY EVER REACH FOR

Mystery. I mean, it’ll do in a pinch, but it’s never been my go-to.

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A POPULAR OR BELOVED CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE

As much as I adore the Harry Potter series…the chosen one himself really doesn’t do it for me. I suppose he’s got some admirable qualities, but I think it was his actions in Order of the Phoenix that really ruined it all for me. He was just so whiny…so entitled…so repulsive…

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A POPULAR AUTHOR YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO 

Weeeeell…

I’ve only read one of his novels (Foundation), but I really haven’t taken much of a liking to Isaac Asimov. Eh…it had such a fascinating premise, but most of the book seemed to be a bunch of old white guys sitting around… “Oh, so we might all be annihilated in a matter of days? Let’s discuss…”

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A POPULAR BOOK TROPE YOU’RE TIRED OF SEEING 

Love triangles. Never start well, never end well, and they create a disgustingly unnecessary (in most cases) romantic subplot. And even if you’re rooting for one party, the main character ALMOST ALWAYS, WITHOUT FAIL, PICKS WHOEVER YOU’RE ROOTING AGAINST. Disappointing.

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A POPULAR SERIES YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING

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After the train wreck that was Atlantiayou can consider me all but turned off to anything else by her. Matched is no exception, and even though it may have been one of the first series of the YA Dystopia revolution, I have zero interest in it.

 

THE SAYING GOES “THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE FILM,” BUT WHAT FILM OR TV ADAPTATION DO YOU PREFER MORE THAN THE BOOK?

Image result for fantastic mr fox movie poster

As much as I adore Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of the few movies that I feel surpasses its source material. Anderson expanded so much on the world that Dahl built, and brought an immeasurable amount of life to it via the gorgeous stop-motion animation.

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Today’s song:

 

I tag anyone who would like to participate! 

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Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Books, Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: January 27-February 2, 2020

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Hey there, fellow bibliophiles! Hope you all had a good week. ☺️

Aaaaand now it’s February. Wow. January was an odd month for me, filled with a whole plethora of ups and downs. But hey–I read 21 books, got to about 38,000 words (about 60 pages) in my WIP, and got past 100 followers! What a month, indeed…

I’ve had a bit of a disappointing library haul this week, but I did find a few noteworthy books among the meh, at least. Here’s hoping that this week’s haul will be better. 🤞

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)–Kelly Coon (DNF–⭐️.5)

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From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars anthology)-Elizabeth Schaefer (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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Foundation (Foundation, #1)-Isaac Asimov (⭐️⭐️.5)

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OCD, The Dude, and Me–Lauren Roedy Vaughn (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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Nausicaä of the Valley of the wind, vol. 1-Hayao Miyazaki (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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POSTS AND SUCH: 

 

SONGS:

 

TO READ NEXT WEEK: 

Kiss Number 8–Colleen A.F. Venable, Ellen T. Crenshaw

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The Order of Odd-Fish–James Kennedy

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Lizard Radio–Pat Schmatz

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One Giant Leap (Dare Mighty Things, #2)–Heather Kaczynski

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Today’s song:

 

(0:00-0:15–your headphones aren’t conking out on you, that’s just the intro 😜)

 

That just about wraps up this week in blogging! Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

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