Review: Starflight

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Goodreads Summary:

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

I really enjoyed Landers debut, Alienated for its humor, swoon, and adventure. Her second installment in that series let me down a bit though so I was apprehensive to read this new series of hers. I’m glad I listened to the reviewers who loved this, because I thoroughly enjoyed it!

This seemed more grown up to me, a bit darker, and with the constant adventure, trials, and nice amount of a budding romance I was hooked. The synopsis promises more political/economic repercussions than I think we experienced, but that didn’t bother me at all. I really liked the journey’s of the characters, and seeing them let down their shields.The host of secondary characters all are quirky and add an eclectic and fun mix to the crew. But overall, what was really fun, was watching the crew mesh together and become an unconventional family.

I’m not sure if I will continue with the series, after I was let down with her last sequel, I’m a bit apprehensive. The synopsis of the next one also doesn’t sound as intriguing to me, we’ll have to see what the reviewers say.

Review: The Impostor Queen

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Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

This book took me a little while to get invested in, but by about chapter nine I was there. The slow start has a lot of necessary information, establishes an understanding of the life Elli was raised to believe in, and draws clear character traits in Elli. We can see from the beginning that she in inquisitive, fast to love others, and has a fierce belief in herself. It was really interesting watching those elements grow when she was in the outlands and to see how her faith in herself altered and matured.

I also really enjoyed the new take on ‘the chosen one.’ She is still unique, but she is not at all what she expected to be, and still has to grapple with that revelation to find out how she can still serve her country and her people, while also maintaining a semblance of the life she created for herself outside of the temple.

The romantic entanglements I think are also going to draw a lot of people to this story. When we enter the book Elli is in love with her handmaiden, bringing some diverse relationships into the mix. While it’s never really developed past infatuation, I think it is still a nice element and shows how the YA genre is continuing to try and become more diverse and inclusive. Enter Oskar, who is definitely swoon worthy.  I felt like their relationship was much more real than the one with her handmaiden, and I’m really interested to see what happens with them given the circumstances we left them dealing with.

Overall, I was impressed by the original take on ‘the chosen one,’ the intricacies of the magic in the world, the political backdrop, and the darkness that permeated the conflict of the story. Definitely a series I plan to continue.

Coming This Week: March 28

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The craziness that comes with moving has already descended. While this is probably going to be the easiest move for us thus far – no oceans to cross and whatnot – that doesn’t mean that it’s less time consuming. This week we are making our last trip to TX before the move, and beginning to clean and organize for the packers. Then we’ll be packing what we are moving ourselves, having the packers clear out all our stuff, and clearing the apartment. So my reading is going to be sporadic.

That said, from now until May most likely, things here are going to be a bit unpredictable. I’ll keep putting up reviews as I read, but I can’t guarantee twice a week. This week for instance, I only have one I know will get out:

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Hopefully, I will have a Thursday post too. So hang in there with me, and keep a look out for the book reviews that make it through, I have a few really good ones in the line up!

Review: Their Fractured Light

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Goodreads Summary:

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

I’ve really enjoyed these ‘space operas,’ the first was my favorite, but the second one continued to expand on the huge world and built upon the mysteries uncovered in These Broken StarsThis last installment was not a let down. It carried on the great cast of complex characters, resolved the issue with LaRoux Industries, and made a poinant statement on humanity and what it means to be individuals.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that we had already met Sofia, and thought it was very cleaver of the authors to use a character who we already had a taste for since the second half of the book intertwines all six of our main characters from the series. There was also a connection to Gideon that I figured out before it was revealed that I appreciated and also gave us some insight into his characters.

These two MCs were probably the most complex we’ve had so far. All of our characters have had tough pasts, trials, and obstacles to overcome to become the people they want to be and to be with the people they want to be, but these two had a harder go of it than I think our others did. They are so secluded that they have lost a part of themselves, and it takes a long time in this story for them to find out who they are at their cores, and if that’s someone they can be again.

I thought the resolution was complete, and filled all the gaps about what was going on with the whispers’ and leaving us with a look at how all of our main characters were going to live. My favorite couple has always been Lilac and Tarver, and they had a lot of challenges in this on. I was surprised that they were the couple facing the most repercussions, but it all made sense, and if anyone they could get through it. It was really interesting seeing how Jubilee and Flynn had grown together, and I loved their dynamic, they were still such strong individuals who worked even better together. I have to say they went up a few notches for me in this, their book was my least favorite of the series, I also liked how they had formed such a friendship with Lilac and Tarver.

Overall, this was a satisfying conclusion to the series, but the first book will always be my favorite.

Let’s Think About This

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There are some major life changes coming at me in the next few months. Some like the move are the usual things, but others are much bigger, and I’m not quite ready to talk about it in this public of a forum just yet. But what it comes down to, is that I really need to figure out what my priorities in life are. What am I trying to achieve, what is the career I see myself in ten years down the line? And if the answer isn’t as a full time writer, then should I be focusing so much attention on my writing?

Right now, between jobs and in a temporary location it has been a great tool for me to stay busy, to feel like I am accomplishing something, and to keep my mind sharp. But when I really think about it, I am not confident in my ability to be a published author . . .  and I don’t think I really want to be one. I enjoy the creative process of writing, I like pushing myself to think outside of my normally analytical brain, and to find new ways to talk about what I love most – history.

That all said, what I really want to focus on, is getting back into a museum. Moving up to a managerial role in an archive or a collections department. Looking into preservation/conservation degree’s, and ultimately setting myself up to open a contracting business where I can work with museums, heritage sites, and personal collectors to provide preservation/conservation services.

Given all that, I still want to push myself to write, even if it shrinks down to small daily prompts or short stories. I love that it keeps me writing, I love the challenge of being creative, and I love the writing community I have found here and through the writers whose novels I enjoy. Therefore, I have an idea. You all know I have been working on this one story for what feels like forever, and what I am proposing is releasing it scene at a time, here on my blog. It would probably be a weekly thing, and it would let me share this story I have been talking about, and to get feedback on my writing, while not having to keep asking myself if I am good enough to publish. I think it would be quite freeing, even if I am still slightly terrified to share my writing.

So what do you all think? Would a weekly post, slowly sharing my story, be something you all are interested in?

Review: The Dark Days Club

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Goodreads Summary:

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

I loved this book. It reminded me a lot of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series (one of my all time favorites) in style and impact.

Honestly, it’s a little slow, and while I know that will be a turn off for a lot of people, I loved that Goodman took to time to really let us get to know Helen before things started to escalate. We also had the opportunity to become immersed in Regency London, and I appreciated the detail and the devotion to the historic side of that.

The paranormal element was unique, taking the idea of demons to a whole new level with a healthy dose of originality. We also get two amazingly interesting characters, as well as a slew of formidable secondary characters. Helen comes in with strong personal beliefs about her mother (a sore spot), her culture, and herself. She is able to maintain these throughout the story, making her decisions always remain true to herself and never coming off as rash. That said, she goes through a decent amount of growth in this first instalment, and facing challenges and big decisions that alter the course of her life. The character who I most liked though was Lord Carlston, he’s so complex and interesting, I loved seeing a new layer of him revealed the further into the book we got and the more Helen got to know him. There are still a lot of questions about him that have yet to be discovered, and I can’t wait to see how that happens in the following instalments.

Beyond a great story, complex characters, and an interesting setting, Goodman’s writing was easy to read while still being smart. She carries you through the story at a leisurely pace that never bogs down, and manages to depict Regency London without large paragraphs of setting descriptions. I anxiously look forward to the next installment in this series, and may just have to look into Goodman’s sci-fi duo to tide me over till then.

Coming This Week: March 21

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I’m back, for a little while at least. We are in the process of getting ready to move again, and that’s going to throw the blog schedule up in the air for a while, but when I figure that out I will let you all know! But while we have some normalcy, let’s get down to the usual business.

This week in book discussions:

The premier of a new series, and the finale. One a Paranormal Historical Fiction, the other a Space Drama, lots of variation this week! I really enjoyed both, though I know that The Dark Days Club won’t be fore everyone.

Also, on Wednesday I’m going to talk about some recent thoughts I’ve been having on my writing, I may just be in a slump, but I think I am being realistic, and I’m going to present some ideas on how to move forward in a way that I think will satisfy us all!