Book Review Tuesday (4/9/19)-Last of Her Name

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

 

I’ve begun to notice that I’m a bit of a sucker for retellings. Most of my library “hauls” include at least one retelling them. Sometimes I read them consciously, sometimes I don’t know that they’re retellings until I read somebody’s review on Goodreads. Some I absolutely adore, some I loathe with a passion. Some are very well executed, and some fall embarassingly flat. You get the idea.

I’ve also begun to notice that I’m immediately attracted to sci-fi retellings of the story of Anastasia. (*coughcough*HEART OF IRON*coughcough*) As far as retellings go, these ones are few and far between, but when they’re good, they’re good. Heart of Iron might just be my favorite book of all time (coming close with Frankenstein, Carry On, A Monster Calls, Neverwhere, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a few others), and Last of Her Name was no exception. Beautifully crafted and action packed, this one left me on the edge of my seat, grinning from ear to ear.

Enjoy the review!

 

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Last of Her Name

 

Stacia has heard the stories many times over; sixteen years ago, the ruling family of the Belt of Jewels were all assassinated, and from the ashes rose the tyrannical government that still stands to this day. Stacia has led a quiet, peaceful life in her parent’s vineyard, with her two childhood friends, Pol and Clio. But that quiet life is soon disrupted when the director of the cruel Union government arrives on her planet, intending to snuff out the loyalists-those who still support the murdered empire. What’s more is that the director claims that the princess of the empire is still alive, and she has gone by Stacia ever since.

Now on the run from the Union, Stacia and Pol mount a daring mission across the galaxy to save Clio–and to discover Stacia’s true identity.

 

 

Oh, where do I begin?

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First off, I ADORED the world-building. The Belt of Jewels is such an intricately-crafted galaxy, with a rich history, and…alright, not quite aliens, but we’ve got a pretty fantastic myriad of “adapted humans”. Although I wish that we’d gotten a more in-depth look at the various species, I loved seeing their individual cultures, planets, and how they fit into the grand scheme of the Belt of Jewels.

Plus, there’s an aquatic species of adapted humans that…okay, yeah, I imagined them all looking like Abe Sapien.

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The characters were all so lovable, and I found myself nearly crying for them-on multiple occasions. I didn’t love some of them at first, but almost every one of them grew on me quickly. The plot was wonderfully fast-paced, intricate, and engaging, with a perfect ending that tied everything together quite nicely, I’ll say. All in all, a solid 4.25/5, which lands at about an 8.5 to a 9 on my book rating scale. Highly recommend it!

Last of Her Name is a standalone (*single tear slides down cheek*), but I think that the ending is satisfying enough. It’s a shame that the galaxy probably won’t be explained in more detail, but I’m happy with what we’ve got.

 

Thanks so much for reading this review, and have a great rest of your day! And for those of you in the path of winter storm Wesley…please stay warm and take care of yourselves.

 

And for those of you who want another retelling and haven’t read this book/review, check out my review for Heart of Iron (see 8/14/18)!

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2018

Whew.

The past 2 or so years have both been dumpster fires, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Mostly 2016, but you know what I mean.

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And this year?

Weeeell…I wouldn’t quite go so far to say that it was good, but it was less of a dumpster fire. You get my drift?

I’d be lying if I said that 2018 was easy. I had to face many daunting obstacles, make some difficult transitions, and come to terms with some truths about myself. But you know what? I managed to overcome those challenges, and I bet that you were able to do the same with yours. But if we look past all that we’d like to forget about this year, parts have been pretty awesome. I got to have so many new and wonderful experiences (Chicago, Sequoia National Park), discovered LOADS of new and spectacular books (some notable 2018 releases included Heart of Iron, Thunderhead, Honor Among Thieves, A Conspiracy of Stars, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and a few others), some amazing films (Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, The Crimes of Grindelwald, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Antman and the Wasp, and I haven’t seen Aquaman but I’ve heard that it’s great), incredible music (Lush, Twin Fantasy, etc.) and much more. Of course, we’ve had some not-so-great moments in those respects (The Light Between Worlds, Venom, etc.), but overall, it’s been alright. And regardless of what kind of year we had in 2018, we’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2019.

I saw a meme the other day that was kind of hopeful, however silly it was.

 

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Fingers crossed. 

 

And I’m really hoping that this will be the way things are. If it gets too bad, I’ll just remember that Dark Phoenix, Avengers: Endgame, Soul of Stars, Honor Bound, King of Scars, and An Anatomy of Beasts are in our futures. So let’s try to make 2019 the inverse of 2016, everyone. Make it good. 🙂

 

Book Review (Tuesday), 3rd Anniversary Edition-Dare Mighty Things

Three years ago today, I was probably hunched over my laptop, and I had a fetus of an idea to do a book review on my blog, every week on Tuesdays. Over the course of time, I’ve forgotten a fair amount, my book genres and audiences have shifted, and hopefully they’ve gotten a little longer, and maybe even more intelligent sounding. (Like I said, hopefully.) And here we are now, with 2018 almost behind us. I’ve got one last book review for 2018, and then it’ll be 2019! And would you look at that-the first Tuesday of the year is NEW YEAR’S DAY!

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THANK GOD 2018 IS ALMOST OVER, amirite or amirite, guys? 

So now, without further ado, the last Book Review Tuesday of 2018!

 

I got this one at the library a little before the mental dumpster fire that was finals week. It had been on my to-read list for about a year or so, and I thought, hey, why not check it out? My expectations were average-nothing spectacular, but nothing egregiously bad.

Boy, was I wrong about that one.

Dare Mighty Things had close to everything I’ve ever wanted in a sci-fi novel. Do not be fooled by its unassuming appearances-it quickly becomes something like nothing you’ve ever read before. Buckle your seat belts, folks, this one’s a wild ride. 😉

 

 

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Dare Mighty Things

Thirty years from now, NASA has taken great leaps and bounds in the field of space travel and exploration. Now, they are offering a program for a new generation to take the reins. Twenty five gifted young adults will undergo many physical and mental challenges to become candidates to board a spacecraft with other astronauts, and explore the unknown regions of the universe. Out of these 25, only one will be able to go to space. Cassandra Gupta, an incredibly gifted young woman and one of the youngest candidates, is determined to rise to the top. Becoming an astronaut and exploring deep space has been her lifelong dream, and with her prowess and smarts, should be a shoo-in for the space program. But everything that she’s been told and trained in pales in comparison to what she truly faces in the darkest reaches of the universe…

 

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

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HOLY MOLY, that was amazing. As I said earlier, I greatly underestimated the potential of this book. But in the end, we’ve got the full-meal-sci-fi-deal, folks. The plot kept me on my toes, I grew to love (and to almost hate, in some cases) the wonderful and diverse cast of characters, and oH MY GOD…

Just to warn you guys, there’s an insane cliffhanger at the end that will, without a doubt, leave you hungry for so much more. I know that’s how I felt, certainly.

 

The sequel to Dare Mighty Things, One Giant Leap, came out in October, and as of right now, I haven’t been able to find it on the regular library or the Kindle library. Maybe it’ll be reasonably cheap on Amazon…who can say? I mean Heart of Iron (see 8/14/18) came out this year, and it was…what 7 bucks on Amazon? Pretty great deal for something that recent, if you ask me.

 

Aaaaaanyway, I hope you have a great rest of your day, and a happy new year!

“Go to madelinetodd.com…they’ve got a new thing called…uh… FR E SH F AN AR TS…*wheezy laughter*”

Yep, I’ve got some FRESH FAN ARTS for you guys!

I haven’t really posted any of my art since late June (oops), and I feel like I’ve improved a lot since then, what with the art class at my school and just a little more experience in general. I’m excited to share some of these with you guys, I hope you enjoy them!

 

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My interpretation of the Darkling from Shadow and Bone.

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A little porg, who is now quite traumatized after seeing his brethren being roasted on a spit by Chewbacca.

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Johann Krauss, in his newest suit. (B.P.R.D.)

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My interpretation of the wonderful Jax, from Heart of Iron. 

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Professor X, X-Men: First Class . (I watched it for the first time in about three or four years in September; I felt the judging eyes of my cats on me as I cried during the “I can’t feel my legs” scene.)

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Mystique, from the new Dark Phoenix trailer. (*LOUD SCREAMING*)

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Nightcrawler, X2: X-Men United. (Which celebrated its 15th anniversary this May! Yay!)

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Abe Sapien, Hellboy (2004). 

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Newt Scamander, The Crimes of Grindelwald. (I saw it a few weeks ago, and it was ASTOUNDING. Certainly didn’t deserve that low of a rating from Rotten Tomatoes.)

 

Well, thank you for sticking around long enough to see more of my art and endure the deluge of book reviews! Once I get some more done, I will definitely post some more. Have a nice day, and stay safe!

It sounded better in my head (A Heart of Iron theory)

WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT READ OR HAVE NOT FINISHED ASHLEY POSTON’S HEART OF IRON, THIS POST CONTAINS SOME MAJOR SPOILERS.

(For the review of Heart of Iron, see 8/14/18).

 

Hi, fellow bibliophiles! I’ve been promising for weeks that I’d post more non-BRT content, and I have (finally) delivered.

Since August, I’ve re-read Heart of Iron twice. During my second re-read, I noticed something near the end of the book that could possibly give us some clues to the outcome of the sequel, Soul of Stars. It could turn out to be nothing, but…

I’ve got a theory, folks. 

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Here we go.

 

Take a look at this passage on page 412 of  Ashley Poston’s Heart of Iron, in which Di is on the brink of being controlled by the HIVE, and is repeating a series of words and names to himself to remember who he really is.

”Ana. Dossier. Siege. Jax. Robb. Tsarina. Nevaeh. Di. Cerces.

Ana. Dossier. Siege. Jax. RobbNevaeh. Di. Cerces.

Ana. Dossier. Siege. Jax. RobbNevaeh. Di.

Ana. Dossier. Siege. Jax. Robb. Di. 

Ana. Dossier. Siege. Robb. Di.

Ana. Dossier. Siege. Di.

Ana. Dossier. Siege

Ana. Dossier—

Ana,

Ana,

A…

…”

 

My theory is that this passage could determine the order of the fates of the characters. In her various Instagram stories, Poston has often hinted that the crew of the Dossier are definitely not gonna be completely alright by the time Soul of Stars is over. (I’m reasonably worried.) So, let’s break this on.

The first to go is Tsarina, the ship where the crew encountered the red-eyed Metals, and discovered Di’s current body. I’m not sure how that will come into play.

The second to go is Cerces. Cerces was a planet that was only mentioned a few times throughout the book, but whenever it came into the conversation, it was noted that Cerces housed infamous mines. Could we witness what Cerces is actually like in Soul of Stars? Only time will tell…

Next is Nevaeh, where the chase scene with Ana, D09 occurs in the beginning of the book. Though the crew of the Dossier is, as far as we know, bound for a place called Xourix, there’s definitely a possibility of them returning to world of the Ironbloods.

The fourth one worries me the most-now, JAX IS GONE. TIME TO PANIC.

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nOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

 

It’s mentioned that every time he reads somebody’s stars, his life span shortens. And throughout the course of Heart of Iron, he (unintentionally) reads the stars of at least three people. Chances are, if he does survive, he’ll barely escape with his life.

NO. NO. NO. UNACCEPTABLE. HE’D BETTER NOT DIE. I SWEAR TO GOD—-

 

After Jax is Robb. With the threat of his tyrannical mother gone, his chances of survival are…slightly higher. Of course, the royal guard is definitely still after him. And maybe his fate could be connected to that of Jax? I mean, they’ve kissed twice now…(PERFECTION. COUPLE OF THE YEAR. 100/10,)

 

Next to go is Di himself. His chances of survival are fairly slim, seeing as he’s fighting a losing battle to keep the HIVE out of his body. But what will this mean for him and Ana? (Close second for couple of the year, I might add.)

 

After Di is Captain Siege. If she does shuffle off this mortal coil, something tells me that she’ll go out with a bang, with a gut-wrenching sacrifice for the rest of the Dossier’s crew. If anything, I’ll be saddened to see her go.

 

Second to last is the Dossier itself. Like with the Tsarina and the various locations throughout the galaxy, I’m unsure as to how this will factor in. Maybe the Dossier sustains some substantial damage, or gets destroyed? Only time will tell…

 

Lastly, of course, is Ana, the love of Di’s life and the main heroine. She’s probably the most likely to survive, but she’s still in considerable danger, seeing as she’s badly injured from the attack by HIVE’d Di, so depending on where Soul of Stars picks up, she could either be in critical condition, healing, or healed. You never know. We’ll just have to wait ’til next year…*gulp*

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F E A R 

 

Welp, thank you for tolerating that tangent. Again, it could turn out to be completely illogical, but I’m keeping my hopes up. I just wanted to share this theory with the interwebs, regardless of whether or not any part of it turns out to be true.

Anyway, if you haven’t read Heart of Iron yet, PLEASE go and read it, and when you’re finished, feel free to read my review and share your thoughts! Hope you have a great rest of your day! 😉

Book Review Tuesday (8/14/18)-Heart of Iron

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of August 2018!

It’s the last day of summer for me, so I might as well end the summer BRTs with a bang. And by a bang, I mean a really, really, good book. 

The book I’m reviewing today is exceptionally good. Astounding. Honestly, it might be my favorite book. (Yep…with all of the new series I’ve got into this summer, it seems The Search for WondLa series has been dethroned. Still pretty great, though.) I nearly bought it at Barnes and Noble a few months after it came out, but it was $22, so that was kind of ridiculous (despite the quality of the book). So I was delighted when I found out that it was only $7 on the Kindle store. I promptly bought it, started it on the plane ride to Chicago, and finished it in the hotel room. And I was hooked from page one.

Heart of Iron is a retelling of Anastasia, but set in, well, for lack of a better phrase, a galaxy far, far away. (*cue Star Wars opening crawl*) And it truly captured my heart.

Enjoy the review, everyone!

 

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Heart of Iron

Ana barely has a clue about her past life. She doesn’t remember parents, siblings, or anything else close to a human family. All she knows is that she was found out in the darkest reaches of space, drifting in a spaceship with her Metal companion, D09. She was later discovered by Captain Siege and her crew of pirates and outlaws aboard the Dossier, and soon found a family to call her own.

Years later, D09 is becoming battered by all of the adventures in the galaxy; his glitches are more frequent, and it is only a matter of time before he shorts out completely. But Ana is dead set on fixing her first friend, and will do anything to save him. For that, she needs a new memory core; and in her desperation, leads the crew of the Dossier to the wreck of a long-lost ship. But upon arriving, she and the crew begin to discover that Ana might not be the orphan that she think she is…

 

OH. MY. GOD.

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YOUR LIFE WILL BE BETTER IF YOU READ THIS BOOK.

 

I loved virtually everything about it. World building? Super fun to visualize, and not to mention amazingly crafted. Characters? I LOVE YOU ALL. I WILL PROTECT YOU ALL AT ANY COST. Plot twists? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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Basically my brain cells during/after reading this book. AAAAAAAAAAA

 

So please, sci-fi fan or not, READ. THIS. BOOK. I gurantee your life will improve after doing so. Thank you, Ashley Poston, for this true gem of a book.

AND, the sequel is scheduled for some time in 2019!

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YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Also, I have some fan arts underway; one is done, and I’ll probably do a few more.

Well, I hope you have a great rest of your day and week, and PLEASE READ HEART OF IRON. RIGHT THIS INSTANT.