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?

Steam Community :: :: Obi-wan has taught you well.

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.

I'm Mary Poppins, y'all! (gif) | Guardians of the galaxy, Marvel cinematic,  Marvel cinematic universe

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.)

Pin on Art

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!

Baby Yoda Soup Baby Yoda Tea GIF - BabyYodaSoup BabyYodaTea BabyYoda -  Discover & Share GIFs | Star wars nerd, Star wars yoda, Star wars

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Totally Should’ve Book Tag

book tags header.jpg

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at Bookidote, and the tag was originally created by Emmmabooks. I was browsing tags to give a go, and decided that this one looked liked a lot of fun! Let’s begin, shall we?

1. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel

Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury

Man, I’m still so sad that Last of Her Name  was a standalone…though the ending was certainly satisfying and was wrapped up very nicely, the worldbuilding had SO much potential, and I would’ve loved to delve into it again.

2. Totally should’ve had a spin off series

Amazon.com: A Conspiracy of Stars (Whitecoat's Daughter ...

Man, this was a surprisingly hard question…

I mean, technically, the series isn’t *quite* finished, but I’d totally be on board for some more bizarre, alien adventures in the world of A Conspiracy of Stars

3. An author who totally should write more books

Amazon.com: Like a Love Story (9780062839367): Nazemian, Abdi: Books

Abdi Nazemian, without question. I mean, it’s only been a year(ish) since Like a Love Story hit the shelves, but I need some more of that wonderfully human writing, STAT.

 

4. A character who totally should’ve ended up with someone else

Amazon.com: Shatter Me (8601300047799): Mafi, Tahereh: Books

I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: JULIETTE 👏 SHOULD 👏 NOT 👏 HAVE 👏 ENDED 👏 UP 👏 WITH 👏 WARNER 👏

It’s not like Adam was a much better choice, but Warner was such a manipulative, domineering creep, and I’m still so baffled at the fact that people…like him? And like him and Juliette together? Ew. Just no.

5. Totally should’ve ended differently

Amazon.com: I Hope You Get This Message eBook: Rishi, Farah Naz ...

I just finished up I Hope You Get This Message last night, and I must say, for a novel with such a lofty premise, the ending felt so haphazard and last minute. There was so much potential for the ending, something emotional, something human, something like that scene in Rogue One where Jyn and Cassian share a final hug before Scarif exploded…something like THAT, I don’t know. It just felt so blown-off and left to the last minute.

6. Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

The decision to put Stranger in a Strange Land here is mostly because of the knowledge that they almost made it into a movie in the early 70’s, and DAVID BOWIE was going to be cast as Valentine Michael Smith. ZIGGY ERA BOWIE.

But even beyond that, this novel has the potential to be a revived, cinematic masterpiece, something as tender and thought-provoking as the novel itself.

7. Totally should’ve had a TV show

Amazon.com: The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace) (9781481442725 ...

The slow-burn, dystopian format of The Scorpion Rules would be perfect for a TV series, from the unique and diverse cast of characters to the action and buildup.

8. Totally should’ve had only one point of view

Half Bad: Sally Green: 8601300121086: Amazon.com: Books

For Half Badthe problem wasn’t so much POV, but it switched between Nathan’s normal perspective and random tidbits of 2nd person. Brave of Green to try 2nd person for her debut novel, but I’m sad to say that it didn’t quite work out.

9. Totally should have a cover change

Prince of Shadows: A Novel of Romeo and Juliet: Caine, Rachel ...

Prince of Shadows was decent enough, but the cover gave off some uncomfortably bodice-ripper energy…I was kind of embarrassed to carry it around while I was reading it 🤣

10. Totally should’ve kept the original covers

Skyward (Skyward, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Though this wasn’t the edition I checked out at the library, I like this cover of Skyward a lot better. I’m a sucker for Charlie Bowater’s book covers, but this seemed to fit the feel of the novel a little more, and the almost monochromatic color scheme is incredibly pleasing to me, personally. Granted, I didn’t like Skyward all that much (2 stars for me), but these covers are still wonderful.

 

11. Totally should’ve stopped at book one

Amazon.com: Carry On (Simon Snow Series) (9781250135025): Rowell ...

As much as I love Carry OnRainbow Rowell, and the eternally charming Simon and Baz, I think their story could have stopped here. After Wayward Son‘s cop-out of a cliffhanger, it just seems that the series is being uneccessarily perpetuated beyond its limits. Don’t get me wrong–Carry On is one of my favorite books, but I’d liked for it to have stayed a standalone.

 

If you want to see today’s song, click here, since I’ve already posted once today. 🙂

 

I tag anyone who wants to participate! 

Cat Fun GIF by Ivo Adventures - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

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

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Book Tags, Books, Geeky Stuff

High School Stereotypes Book Tag

book tags header.jpeg

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

This tag was created by  Another Book in the Wall, (oh my God, what an incredible blog name…🤣), and I got this tag from The Corner of Laura. It looked super cute, so I figured that I’d give it a go!

 

The Mean Girl | A Book You Can’t Help But Rant About

I’ve got a fair amount of books that I’d put in this category, but I’ll go with Samantha Young’s Smokeless Fire.  Lord…this book is practically screaming in agony for an editor’s pen…

Image result for smokeless fire samantha young

 

The Bro | Your Favorite Sidekick

Without question, Doop from Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix.  He’s just…floating about wherever the team goes, filming everything, knowing everything, and just being straight-up relatable, sometimes, with that tired face of his. I mean, he plays a hilariously big role later on, but I guess you could call him a sidekick.

Related image

For those of you who aren’t familiar with X-Statix, here’s Doop himself…

Image result for x statix doop

LEGEND.

 

The Dumb Jock | A Book Whose Cover Is Better Than Its Story

I’ll have to go with Laura Weymouth’s The Light Between WorldsThe cover is stunning and so well designed, but the story was just so…unbearably…boring…

Image result for the light between worlds book

 

The Loner | A Standalone You Love

Jessica Khoury’s sci-fi retelling of the tale of Anastasia, Last of Her Nameblew me out of the water with its lush writing and worldbuilding. Maybe I should read it again sometime.

Image result for last of her name book

 

The Overachiever | A Series That Should’ve Ended After Book 1

As much as I love Rainbow Rowell’s Carry OnI don’t know if Wayward Son was really necessary, as much as I hate to admit it. It just lacked that emotional punch that defined book 1, and now a third book is confirmed…dunno how to feel about that…

Image result for carry on rainbow rowell

 

The Class Clown | A Book That Makes You Laugh

Without a doubt, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good OmensThat book made me laugh like no other book I’d read before.

Image result for good omens book cover

 

The Outcast | A Unique Fictional World You’d Want To Visit

As mediocre as much of the book was, I must say, I’d definitely like to visit the Martian Exovet Cloister in Christian Schoon’s Zenn ScarlettCertainly wouldn’t have any dull days while caring for weird alien critters.

Image result for zenn scarlett christian schoon

 

The Nerd | An Author With the Best Writing

Neal Shusterman, without question. Not only is he incredibly clever in every little detail he creates, the writing is all at once heartrending and witty, beautiful and terrifying.

 

The Prom Queen | An Over-Hyped Book

I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again…Red Queen.  [whips out megaphone] IT’S JUST A SLOPPY LITTLE BALL OF OVERUSED TROPES, PEOPLE, NOTHING TO SEE HERE…

Image result for red queen cover

I promise that I didn’t choose this one because both it and the prompt have the word “queen” in them…no pun intended, I swear…[breaks into a nervous sweat]

The Drama Kids | A Protagonist Who Is Melodramatic

It’s been a while since I’ve read Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Landsbut one of my distinct memories of why I DNF’d it was because of how whiny and entitled I found Elliot to be.

Image result for in other lands book

 

The Teacher’s Pet | Favorite Animal Sidekick

Again, I’m turning to the world of Marvel–specifically the world of mutants–because Lockheed is an absolute show-stealer who I must shower with love and appreciation.

Image result for lockheed x men

Here’s Our Boy™, shown with Kitty Pryde.

 

The Hipsters | A Book You Love That Isn’t In Your Comfort Zone

I’m not an avid fan of neither novels in verse, nor historical fiction. Kip Wilson’s White Rose happens to be both, and I adored its poignant and tragic story.

Image result for white rose kip wilson

 

Aaaand that just about wraps it up! I had so much fun doing this tag!

Today’s song:

I forgot about this song for years, and I just remembered its existence a few days ago. And what can I say except…[loud sobbing]

 

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

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Productivity Book Tag

Whoa, look at me! Baby’s first book tag! 😄 I was tagged by A Little Haze Book Blog, and I’m so excited to join in the fun!

Let’s lay out the rules for those who participate:

And most importantly…

  • Have fun! 🙂

 

Alright, here goes nothing!

 

PLANNING-A BOOK THAT IS COMPLETELY THOUGHT OUT

The Smoke Thieves–Sally Green

91-+f0-PaFL.jpg

There isn’t a place in this novel where I couldn’t find evidence of incredible attention to detail. And the world building…I couldn’t even dream of laying out something as intricate as that!

Read my review here: The Smoke Thieves

 

FOCUS–A BOOK THAT KEPT YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION

Aurora Rising–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

81DOo37t7UL.jpg

This. Book.

I swear, I think I shaved off around 300 pages in a single sitting the first time I read this. And honestly? I could’ve gone on longer if I hadn’t had to…y’know…eat…[ahem]

An absolute gem of a novel.

Read my review here: Aurora Rising

 

DELEGATING–A BOOK THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SERIES

Last of Her Name–Jessica Khoury

39983511.jpg

Although the conclusion was perfectly satisfying, I absolutely adored the galactic setting, and all of the alien fauna. I would have loved to explore this world more, be it in a sequel or a spin-off.

Read my review here: Last of Her Name

 

SMALL GOALS–A BOOK UNDER 150 PAGES THAT YOU LOVED

Fahrenheit 451-Ray Bradbury

71OFqSRFDgL.jpg

Okay, I’ll admit, I kinda cheated here. The edition I read was 159 pages…oH, scANDaLOuS…

Anyway, Ray Bradbury. ‘Nuff said. [mic drop]

 

PEAK HOURS–A BOOK/SERIES YOU CAN ONLY READ AT A CERTAIN TIME

Undead Girl Gang–Lily Anderson

A1DcwxGrlKL.jpg

I read Undead Girl Gang in the middle of summer, but it’s definitely best read around Spooky Time™️, what with witches, zombies and whatnot. [blasts the entire soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas from a boombox]

Read my review here: Undead Girl Gang

 

LISTS–A BOOK YOU FINALLY CROSSED OFF YOUR TBR

Red Rising–Pierce Brown

81tZufOGaZL.jpg

Finally crossed off my TBR…but at what cost?

Unpopular opinion: eh…I liked Red Rising, but I found it to devastatingly overrated. Far too derivative of The Hunger Games, in my opinion.

 

PROACTIVE–A BOOK THAT IS/WAS AHEAD OF ITS TIME

1984-George Orwell

41E9Z5XaHcL.jpg

I know, I know, this is rather cliche choice. But in the current political climate (especially in the U.S.), it’s far more relevant than I’d like it to be. Let’s face it: we’re living through a terrifying part of history.

 

DECLUTTER–A BOOK/SERIES THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD UNREAD

Smokeless Fire–Samantha Young

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 4.43.49 PM.png

GOD. Where to begin with this one…

I fell into the trap of buying this one on my Kindle, as soon as I saw that it was only 0.99. Let’s just say you’re getting what you’re paying for; highly predictable plot, writing that practically begs for an editor, and a cast of cliched and disgustingly unlikable characters. I hate to say it, but…this is more Dumpster Fire than Smokeless Fire.

Oop. That last one was kind of low-hanging fruit, sorry…

 

MULTITASKING–BOOKS YOU READ AT THE SAME TIME

Two Dark Reigns–Kendare Blake

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 4.49.17 PM.png

Alright, sorry, I’m cheating a little bit on this one as well. I swore off reading multiple books at once sometime before middle school, so I can’t recall any specific books before then. But, I read this around the same time I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (probably my favorite book, personally) for an English project, so I *suppose* this counts.

Read my review here: Two Dark Reigns

 

I TAG…

 

Thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! I promise I’ll get my blog format presentable sometime in the near future…

 

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

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!

 

91L2sHa9hEL.jpg

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?

giphy.gif

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.

68747470733a2f2f73332e616d617a6f6e6177732e636f6d2f776174747061642d6d656469612d736572766963652f53746f7279496d6167652f4a7470525043474e665a505857413d3d2d3635323030383135322e313536353065363033393733376134633538383733343630303636392e676966.gif

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)!