Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (6/27/20)–Books with Morally Grey Characters 🌫

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 have morally gray characters. This one was a bit harder than the rest–I’m trawling my brain for all the antihero-ish books I can think of…

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 (6/27/20)–BOOKS WITH MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS

The Young Elites, Marie Lu

The Young Elites (Young Elites Series #1) by Marie Lu, Paperback ...

My favorite of Marie Lu’s works has morally gray all over the place…and maybe not so gray in many others…

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land: Heinlein, Robert A.: 9781442005839 ...

There’s always the possibility for moral grayness when you’ve got a naïve extraterrestrial who has powers beyond imagining, but has no idea of the consequences…(oh, and goes and forms his own religion, as one does…[ahem])

Scythe, Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Barnes & Noble YA Book Club Edition) (Arc of a Scythe ...

Now THIS series is just CRAWLING with moral grayness…part of what makes it such a memorable series, really. Scythe truly makes you think.

The Final Six, Alexandra Monir

The Final Six | Alexandra Monir

The morally gray aspects are more expanded on book 2, but The Final Six certainly has a prominent, well-done series of subplot that explores the motives of the different parties involved.

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

Amazon.com: One Giant Leap (9780062479907): Kaczynski, Heather: Books

As with The Final Six, there’s a significant exploration of moral grayness in book 2 (here); it’s one of the highlights of the book for me–it encourages the reader to think about the different sides of war, and whether or not there is truly a “good”/”bad” side, and that there may be neither hero or villain in the conflict.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

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Today’s song:

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 Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (4/28/20)–The Life Below

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!

After re-reading The Final Six recently, I knew I had to get my hands on the sequel. Though I was worried that it wouldn’t be as good as book 1, The Life Below ulimately surpassed its predecessor, making for a complex sci-fi novel that had me on the edge of my seat!

WARNING: THIS REVIEW IS LIKELY RIFE WITH SPOILERS FOR THE FINAL SIX. 

If you haven’t read The Final Six and plan on doing so, I suggest you don’t yet read this review. For now, if you want to read my review of book 1, click here! 

Spoiler Warning Spoiler Alert Spoilers GIF | Gfycat

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Life Below (9780062658975): Monir, Alexandra: Books

The Life Below (The Final Six, #2)

After the tumultuous choosing of the contenders for the Final Six, Naomi is set on a course for space, heading to Europa with five other contenders–including her archrival, Beckett. Bemoaning the fact that she may never see Leo again, she boards the ship with suspicion. But as they fly closer to Europa, she discovers that there may be even more secrets that the International Space Training Camp may be hiding. Secrets that may mean the difference between life and death.

Crestfallen at losing his place on the Europa mission, Leo is summoned by Greta Wagner, a scientist responsible for constructing the backbone of the Europa mission–that was fired before the Final Six fought for a place on the mission. Her intel on the mission and the ISTC puts Naomi and the others in danger, and they only have one option to save her and the other five crew members–and that’s running their own Europa mission.

Will their paths collide in time for the truth to be revealed?

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Fresh off of reading The Final Six, I was worried about book 2 for the first third of the novel, or so. The plot seemed to be going nowhere, and I was desperately worried that $11 had hopelessly gone down the drain. But lucky for us, The Life Below picks up in a heartbeat, cranking up the volume and turning the stakes up to the next level. In the end, it was even better than book 1–a positively pulse-pounding, intergalactic thrill ride.

First off, CHARACTERS. Now that the Final Six had been narrowed down, I was fascinated to get a glimpse at some of the characters that were just background noise in book 1. I liked Sydney, in particular–she had a vital place on the mission, and she was generally just a very human character. I liked returning to the minds of Leo and Naomi, and though their romance still felt a bit forced at times, it was ultimately a good choice.

Now that everyone’s been thrown out in space, the stakes are ten times higher. This was where the book picked up for me; the results of everything from the Athena supply run to exploring the RRB bacteria had often frightening repercussions and conclusions, making for a novel that had me on the edge of my seat.

My personal favorite part was one of the main subplots, in which Naomi and the rest of the crew figure out a decoded message in the form of the musical structure of Radiohead’s “Sail To The Moon”. Besides the fact that I’m a total nerd for Radiohead, it was such an inventive way to make and figure out a cipher. Honestly, a heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Monir for blessing us with all these Radiohead references.

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All in all, a thrilling sequel with all of the elements of a solid sci-fi novel. 4.5 stars for me! 

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The Life Below is the second in the Final Six series. From what I can tell, it’s a duology, but…ugh, the ending made it seem like there would be another book…CURSES! 🤬

Anyway, we’ll see how that goes…

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your week, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt Book Tag

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Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at The Comfy Reader, and I thought it would be super fun to give it a go! I’m not sure who created it, so please let me know, if you can. 👍

FIND AN AUTHOR NAME OR TITLE WITH A ‘Z’ IN IT 

Amazon.com: Kat and Meg Conquer the World (9780062560803): Anna ...

Kat and Meg Conquer the World–Anna Priemaza 

Hey, Anna Priemaza!

FIND A CLASSIC

The Illustrated Man: Amazon.ca: Bradbury, Ray: Books

The Illustrated Man–Ray Bradbury

FIND A BOOK WITH A KEY ON IT

Spirit's Key by Edith Cohn

Spirit’s Key–Edith Cohn

BOOM. Key necklace!

FIND SOMETHING ON YOUR BOOKSHELF THAT’S NOT A BOOK

Lots of things…I have host of random trinkets, action figures, mementos, and Pop! Figures, as well as my Universal Studios Harry Potter Wand, on my bookshelves. 🙂

FIND THE OLDEST BOOK ON YOUR SHELF

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row–John Steinbeck 

I think this one takes the prize…published in 1945!

FIND A BOOK WITH A WOMAN ON IT

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720964 ...

Aurora Rising–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

AURI! SPACE ROGUE!

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FIND A BOOK THAT HAS AN ANIMAL ON IT

Serafina and the Twisted Staff (Serafina (2)): Robert Beatty ...

Serafina and the Twisted Staff–Robert Beatty

There’s quite a few books that might fit the bill here–I was big into animal stories for a while–but this was the first book that came to mind.

FIND A BOOK WITH A MALE PROTAGONIST

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet): Card, Orson Scott: 8601401251873 ...

Ender’s Game–Orson Scott Card

My school library was giving out free copies of books that were in low circulation last year, so I snagged a copy of this one.

FIND A BOOK WITH ONLY WORDS ON THE COVER

Amazon.com: LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike) (9781524713928): Kristoff, Jay: Books

LIFEL1K3–Jay Kristoff

FIND A BOOK WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN IT

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Search for WondLa–Tony DiTerlizzi

Not only is Tony DiTerlizzi a writing god, he’s an art god, too…

Millenia's review of The Search for WondLa
Case in point…

FIND A BOOK WITH GOLD LETTERING

Amazon.com: The Smoke Thieves (9780425290217): Green, Sally: Books

The Smoke Thieves–Sally Green

FIND A DIARY, TRUE OR FICTIONAL

Ooo…I don’t think I have any diaries…gonna have to skip this one…

FIND A BOOK WRITTEN BY AN AUTHOR WITH A COMMON SURNAME 

Amazon.com: I Capture the Castle: Young Adult Edition ...

I Capture the Castle–Dodie Smith

This one will always hold a special place in my heart. My mom got it for me when I had a sick day a few years back 💗

FIND A FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK

Warriors Super Edition: Yellowfang's Secret: Erin Hunter, James L ...

Yellowfang’s Secret–Erin Hunter

I’ve since made room for more books on my shelf and taken this one off (the sheer amount of Warriors books…), but this was one of my favorite of the Warriors books.

FIND A BOOK BASED IN THE EARLIEST TIME PERIOD 

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neale Hurston: 9780061470370 ...

Their Eyes Were Watching God–Zora Neale Hurston

…whoops, I think this one was published earlier than Cannery Row…just ignore that…you saw nothing…

FIND A HARDCOVER WITHOUT A JACKET

Gonna have to skip this one, too…I don’t take the jackets off of hardcovers!

FIND A TEAL/TURQUOISE COLORED BOOK

Amazon.com: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad) (9780399556791): Reintgen ...

Nyxia–Scott Reintgen

FIND A BOOK WITH STARS ON IT

The Final Six | Alexandra Monir

The Final Six–Alexandra Monir

So many stars…

FIND A NON-YA BOOK

Alistair Grim's Odditorium (Alistair Grim (1)): Gregory Funaro ...

Alistair Grim’s Odditorium–Gregory Funaro 

I feel like I have a fair balance of MG and YA books on my shelf at this point. There’s a lot leftover from middle school, and some books from even before that time.

FIND A BOOK WITH A BEAUTIFUL COVER 

Amazon.com: Soul of Stars (9780062847331): Poston, Ashley: Books

Soul of Stars–Ashley Poston

Am I wrong?

I tag anyone who’d like to participate! 

Cat Books GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

CLASSIC. CLAAAAAAASSIC. And their new album comes out in…almost a week? AAH!

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

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Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Music

My Favorite Music References in YA Literature

Best Abe Sapien GIFs | Gfycat

If there’s one thing I love as much as books and reading, it’s probably music. I was raised in a family of wonderful music nerds, and as a result, music has grown to be an integral aspect of my life.

And so, it always brings me a rush of joy whenever I find music references hidden inside books I love, and by proxy, authors with similar musical taste. I thought I might compile a few of my favorite books with music references in them, just for fun.

THE BLACK BEAST LIVES! - HalfGuarded

 

  1. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, David Arnold

Amazon.com: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik ...

Artists referenced: David Bowie, brief joke about Wilco/Jeff Tweedy

I mean, one can sort of tell from the get-go that this book is very Bowie-centric; The title itself (a reference to a lyric from “Changes”), and the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt in the ‘I’ in “Fascinations”. (On another edition, it shows Noah with the bolt across his face, just like the Aladdin Sane album cover!) Other than that, there’s a continual respect for Bowie throughout the novel. Other than the general wondrousness of the novel, I’m just glad to see that someone else holds Hunky Dory as highly as I do.

Also, the mention of Wilco is very brief, but it was still pretty funny to see. Even if it was poking fun at them.

David Bowie GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

2. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (9781250297327): Albert ...

Artists referenced: The Beatles, Nirvana, T.Rex, (!!!), David Bowie

Though music doesn’t play (no pun intended) as big a role in The Hazel Wood as it does in some of the others in this post, there’s wonderful references aplenty in this one, from a minor character being described as reminiscent of David Bowie to a discordant, chaotic scene in which the main villain sings an off-key rendition of “Yellow Submarine”. Also, I’m frankly so impressed that Albert slipped in a T.Rex reference in there. COME. ON. That’s the deep cut to end all deep cuts!

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3. The Final Six and The Life Below, Alexandra Monir

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Artists referenced: Radiohead

Weirdly enough, though I’d heard Radiohead here and there before reading The Final Six,  but seeing the reference was ultimately what convinced me to listen to Radiohead! This is easily some of the best utilization of references I’ve seen in a novel, period. First off, in The Final Six, there’s a particularly chilling scene in which Beckett, the main antagonist, glimpses Naomi sneaking around, and after a tense conversation, he sings part of “Paranoid Android.” (“When I am king, you will be first against the wall/With your opinion, which is of no consequence at all…”) Already veeeery spooky, but the song’s title hints that Beckett knows more than what he let on. (No spoilers)

In The Life Below, Monir also uses “Sail To The Moon”–in particular, its musical structure–as the center point of one of the main subplots in the novel. And boy, it’s FASCINATING.

Thom Yorke GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

4. The Looking Glass, Janet McNally

The Looking Glass - Janet McNally - Hardcover

Artists referenced: St. Vincent, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac (I don’t really care about the latter at all, but hey)

Another dip into the realm of magical realism!

Music plays a semi-important role in this one, as part of the novel is set on a road trip; there’s a running joke where Sylvie’s friend’s brother (I can’t remember his name for the life of me) listens to one specific artist in the car for the month. His pick of the month is Fleetwood Mac; there’s a line (which I can’t find) where Sylvie makes a remark something along the lines of “why can’t we listen to something good, like David Bowie?” to which the other character responds that he’d already listened to him for all of April. And though the St. Vincent reference was brief, McNally perfectly captures the nature of her music.

St Vincent GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

5. Ziggy, Stardust, and Me, James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon: 9780525517641 ...

Artists referenced: David Bowie, Pink Floyd

Again, another Bowie-centric book. I related to this one in particular because Bowie is Jonathan (the main character)’s hero; the book is set in 1973, so it’s at the heyday of his Ziggy Stardust era. As someone who similarly worships him, this novel hit the sweet spot for me. There’s also a wonderful scene where Jonathan and Web soundtrack a school presentation with Pink Floyd’s “Time”, easily my personal favorite of their songs.

David bowie GIF on GIFER - by Kirindis

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

 

So what do you lovely people think? What are some music references in literature that you love? Tell me in the comments! 

ziggy stardust david bowie gif | WiffleGif

 

Since I’ve already posted today, head over to today’s Goodreads Monday to see today’s song.

 

Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Books, Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: April 13-19, 2020

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Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! As always, I hope you’re all safe, sane, and healthy. And please, STAY HOME. FOR ALL OF OUR SAKES, STAY HOME. 💗

This week began fairly normally; it had its ups and downs until about Thursday afternoon or Friday, and from there, things started to really pick up. I read a whole score of great books, watched Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson is always a win), there’s new Car Seat Headrest, goofed around on my guitar, and did a lot of drawing! And on this leg of Camp NaNoWriMo, I finally got to 100,000+ WORDS! WOOOOHOOO!

Happy Jennifer Aniston GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Also, my dad and I finally completed that 1,000 piece Hellboy puzzle! Here’s the final result:

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AT LAST!

Oh, and Jay Kristoff recently confirmed via Instagram that the use of the sound effect BAMF for the disruptors in Aurora Rising was, in fact, a reference to Nightcrawler’s teleporting sound effect. REJOICE!

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WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations–David Bowie et. al. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

David Bowie: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last ...

 

The Final Six (The Final Six, #1)–Alexandra Monir (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Final Six | Alexandra Monir

 

The Life Below (The Final Six, #2)–Alexandra Monir (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Life Below (9780062658975): Monir, Alexandra: Books

 

Pet–Akwaeke Emezi (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Pet: Emezi, Akwaeke: 9780525647072: Amazon.com: Books

 

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)–Genevieve Cogman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel): Cogman ...

 

Hellboy: Art of the Movie–Guillermo del Toro, Mike Mignola (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Hellboy: The Art of the Movie by Dark Horse Comics (2004-03-16 ...

 

(The latter of that list has inspired me to try and do a bunch of character sketches for my book…)

 

POSTS AND SUCH:

 

SONGS:

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Hellboy II: The Art of the Movie–Guillermo del Toro, Mike Mignola

Hellboy II: Art of the Movie by Mike Mignola (2008-06-17): Amazon ...

 

Infinity Son–Adam Silvera

Amazon.com: Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle) (9780062457820): Silvera ...

 

Today’s song:

(Like I said. Darjeeling Limited.)

 

 

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

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Dreamy Book Covers Book Tag

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Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Hope that all is well in your world!

While looking for tags to do, I found this one at Not-so-modern girl. The tag was originally created by Tiana @ The Book Raven. I have a whole shelf on Goodreads dedicated to covers I love, so this one should be fun…

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Rules:

1. Thank the lovely person who tagged you, spread the love!

2. Mention Tiana @ The Book Raven as the creator of this book tag

3. Use the original tag image in your post. (However, feel free to add whatever other graphics your heart desires)

4. Tag at least 1 fellow blogger for this tag

5. List the rules

 

Here we go…

 

“NO IDEAS BUT IN THINGS”: A Book Cover that Perfectly Expresses the Novel Inside of It

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (9781250297327): Albert ...

The Hazel Wood‘s cover is filled to the brim with gorgeous little fairytale Easter eggs, all of which eventually turn up somewhere in the book!

“SUGARY SWEET”: A Cute Cover that is So Fluffy You Want to Give it a Hug

Amazon.com: I Wish You All the Best (9781338306125): Deaver, Mason ...

The cover for I Wish You All the Best is so lovely on so many levels…GIVE THEM HUGS

GIF: Hugs! by Cindy Suen on Dribbble

 

“THE SIMPLE AESTHETIC”: A Book that Stuns with the Most Minimalistic of Designs

 

Stranger in a Strange Land (Penguin Galaxy) (Hardcover) | Sandman ...

There’s several different editions of Stranger in a Strange Land out there, but this is the one that I borrowed at the library. The letters were shiny, too…isn’t it just so pretty?

You are pretty GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

“COVER ENVY”:  A Book Cover that You Wish You Had on your Shelf, but Don’t

Amazon.com: The Final Six (9780062658944): Monir, Alexandra: Books

The Final Six is one of those books that I deeply regret borrowing from the library…SO GOOD…I WANT TO OWN IT…

Also, on an unrelated note, I think this book might be what ultimately pushed me to listen to all of Radiohead’s OK Computer. There’s this really creepy scene where one of the characters quotes a line from “Paranoid Android” (“When I am king/You will be first against the wall…”), and though I’d heard Radiohead before, this was what ultimately convinced me.

 

“TRAVELLING ABROAD”: A Book Cover Featuring a Country Outside of Your Own

White Rose: Wilson, Kip: 9781328594433: Amazon.com: Books

The cover doesn’t necessarily show it, but White Rose is set in World War II-era Germany.

 

“THE COLOR WHEEL”: A Book Cover that Showcases One of Your Favorite Colors

Even the Darkest Stars : Heather Fawcett : 9780062463395

Teal and turquoise are my favorite colors, and the cover of Even the Darkest Stars is dominated by both, luckily for me!

 

“SWITCHING GEARS”: A Cover Change you Absolutely Adore

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

I think they switched the Carry On cover for the paperback edition, and I am SO HERE FOR IT! I mean, what could go wrong with Kevin Wada’s gorgeous art?

 

“AND THE WINNER IS…”: Which Book Cover Mentioned Above is Your Favorite? 

Oh man…

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (9781250297327): Albert ...

I think I’m gonna have to go with The Hazel Wood! 

 

I TAG: 

You guys have fun GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

Today’s song:

(Guess who put on her Nostalgia playlist…)

 

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

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (10/2/18)-The Final Six

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of October 2018!

That’s right, OCTOBER. IT’S OFFICIALLY SPOOKY TIME, FOLKS.

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I’ve got my Halloween costume *almost* complete, and the leaves are already starting to turn yellow. Forget Christmas, this is the best time of the year.

 

Aaaaaanyway, this week’s book is a jaw-dropper. I borrowed it from the library and managed to gobble it all up in one sitting (whilst wrapped in a warm blanket and in a fuzzy hoodie). And OH MY GOD, IT WAS PHENOMENAL. A chilling, inventive look at the future of humanity, and the race to find a planet to colonize.

Enjoy the review!

 

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The Final Six

Climate change is out of control, and all over the world, cities are being swallowed by floods and shattered by earthquakes. After the mission to colonize Mars failed, humanity’s next candidate for a new home is Europa. The first to colonize it? Twenty four teens with exceptional skill and intellect, drafted from all over the globe into the International Space Training Camp. As they progress in their training, some will be eliminated through a series of tasks and tests, and in the end, only six will remain.

Naomi, a budding scientist, and Leo, a championship swimmer, are two of the draftees, and they have been placed on the same team. When peculiar events cause one of their teammates to fall fatally ill, they suspect that their mentors may not be telling them everything. But can they get to the bottom of the mystery before the six are launched to Europa?

 

Okay, I should probably stop saying this, but I’m nothing short of shook.

SHOOK.

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The Final Six was a truly exceptional book! One minute, I was on the verge of tears, and the next, my jaw had clattered to the floor. Everything about it was truly stellar (would that be considered a pun? I hope not…)-writing, world-building, characters, and those INSANE PLOT TWISTS, OH MY GOD. I would highly recommend it not only for science fiction fans, but anyone who likes getting chills while reading.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed this review, and have a great rest of your day!