Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope to Read This Spring

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

1.) Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter - Add to Goodreads
This book comes out next week. I had planned to read it this month but I don't think I will have time. I think I will have to push it to next month.

2.) Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles - Add to Goodreads
I have a copy of this book from the publisher that I got on Netgalley and it sounds really interesting. Originally I wasn't sure I would have a theme next month but I think it will actually be a contemporary month so this fits right in.

3.) Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody - Add to Goodreads
This one does not fit in with that theme but it sounds really good. I know a lot of people are super excited about it. I wasn't originally interested because I thought it was a sequel but then I realized that it involved fantasy and organized crime.

4.) Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli - Add to Goodreads
I love every book Becky has ever written. I am super excited for a Leah book too. I feel like Leah is the character in Simon Vs who deserves a book. She needs a happy ending.

5.) Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young - Add to Goodreads
This is one of my most anticipated debuts of 2018 and one of my most anticipated reads. I mean it's a YA fantasy inspired by Vikings so like I need to read it.

6.) Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian - Add to Goodreads
I have an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley that I have been saving for months. I am finally reading it next month around when it is coming out. It is another highly anticipated YA Fantasy debut.

7.) Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh - Add to Goodreads
I loved Flame in the Mist, it was one of my favorite books of last year. So obviously I am super excited for its sequel which is coming out in May. I'll probably get myself a copy of this when it comes out.

8.) Providence by Caroline Kepnas - Add to Goodreads
I LOVED the You duology. I'd probably read anything she wrote to be honest. But also this sounds like a really interesting mystery and it takes place in Providence which is where I live.

9.) Final Draft by Riley Redgate - Add to Goodreads
I really liked Noteworthy and I'm excited to read another one of her contemporaries. Plus this sounds like a fun contemporary about a slightly nerdy protagonist which I am always down for.

10.) The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara - Add to Goodreads
I am also always down for a book about pirates, especially real life pirates. I am super pumped to read a book that involves Anne Bonny too!

There you have it. A handful of books I plan to read this spring. These are my April, May, and June months. What books are on your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Obsidio
Series: Illuminae Files # 3
Written by: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published: March 13, 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

This series conclusion was everything I was hoping it would be. Amazing, thrilling, and emotional. I loved the two previous books in the Illuminae files and I was nervously awaiting it’s finale. It did not disappoint.

For one thing, the characters in this series are amazing. I’ve always been super impressed on how these books are able to balance the character development and the plot but it does that so well. The characters are complex and likable. They’re sweet, funny, and romantic. In two and three books you get really connected to them and their struggles. There’s a lot of characters in this book and they are all really fantastic. Of course I loved Ezra and Kady, they were amazing in the first book. Hannah and Nik won me over in the second book. It was great to see all of them again and have them working together. And then there is AIDAN who is a great anti-hero and what up to his old tricks in this book. But there were also some great new characters. Asha and Rhys didn’t get as much screen time but they still made a big impression. And that’s just the main characters.

The real heart of the story is with the characters. A lot of this book was about exploring the idea of right and wrong, good an evil. It’s about doing whatever it takes to make sure that people survive. It makes for really odious characters and that’s one of the reasons I love them. But it goes deeper than that. It’s a book about family and found family. It’s about survival and people who will do whatever they can to make sure they and everyone’s else survives. The characters in this book are underdogs. They are people who no one expects much from but when push comes to shove they do amazing things and save the day. It makes them easy to root for because of that. I’ve always wanted them to succeed and in this book that was all heightened because it’s the last book in the series.

Of course the plot was heightened here too. The stakes here are incredibly high. Every book in the series has been about saving the world and saving people and that was the case here as well. I mean it’s a pretty epic space opera which I am always here for. And just like the other books in the series there was a lot to this book. Tons of perspectives and differing opinions which made for a complex and interesting story. There were lots of surprises and twists throughout the book which had me either crying or wanting to throttle the book and throw it across the room. And of course a thrilling conclusion that had me on the edge of my seat totally reeling. This is one of the most unique books I have read in a long time and that’s not just because it is written in an epistolary format.

And like the other books in the series, I listened to the audiobook for Obsidio. If you haven’t heard me raving about the audios for this series they are some of my all-time favorites. You wouldn’t think that this format would work in audio but they have been able to do that by having a full cast, sound effects, and plenty of other tricks to make it one of the most immersive audiobooks I have read in a long time. I do like to still flip through to book to see the images but there actually weren’t that many here so it worked incredibly well in the audio format.

Obsidio was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint. It was an amazing conclusion to a brilliant series with great characters, a thrilling plot, and a truly unique read.

I give Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 10 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! If you are a fan of science fiction and have not read this book you are missing out. But even if you don’t like Sci-Fi still read it. It’s unique and interesting and you will seriously love it. It’s brilliant!

There you have it, my thoughts on Obsidio. Have you read it? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Hullmetal Girls
Published: July 17, 2018 by Delacorte (Random House)

Synopsis: Aisha Un-Haad would do anything for her family. When her brother contracts a plague, she knows her janitor's salary isn't enough to fund his treatment. So she volunteers to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier sworn to protect and serve the governing body of the Fleet, the collective of starships they call home. If Aisha can survive the harrowing modifications and earn an elite place in the Scela ranks, she may be able to save her brother.

Key Tanaka awakens in a Scela body with only hazy memories of her life before. She knows she's from the privileged end of the Fleet, but she has no recollection of why she chose to give up a life of luxury to become a hulking cyborg soldier. If she can make it through the training, she might have a shot at recovering her missing past.

In a unit of new recruits vying for top placement, Aisha's and Key's paths collide, and the two must learn to work together--a tall order for girls from opposite ends of the Fleet. But a rebellion is stirring, pitting those who yearn for independence from the Fleet against a government struggling to maintain unity.

With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.

Why I'm Waiting:

I loved Emily Skrutskie's debut series. The Abyss Surrounds Us was amazing and The Edge of the Abyss was really fantastic. It was creative with a really cool world and complex characters. I think I would be super excited about any of her new books because I loved the series so much.

But even if I wasn't that interested in ready books by this author I think that I would still want to read this book. It sounds completely amazing. For one thing it's pitched as Battlestar Galactica meets Pacific Rim which I am all about but I also saw one person call it Cybrog SpaceJam. I mean come on! Who wouldn't be all about kickass females saving the world as some sort of space robot. Am I understanding right? Who cares, sign me up.
I am definitely excited about this book. I am hoping to get my hands on an ARC. I typically have pretty good luck with books from Random House on Netgalley so hopefully. But if not I will buy myself a copy. I have to read it.

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on Hullmetal Girls along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me (With Plot Twists) in a Good Way

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I was originally going to make a list of books I loved more than I thought I would but then I realized I basically did that list. So then it hit me, I can make a list of books with crazy twists I did not see coming. If you know me then you know I pride myself on being able to solve twists so books where I didn't predict them are all the more sweet.

1.) The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
I could really include any book in the Mistborn series. I mean every book in that series has one major twist that I definitely did not see coming. But the one in Bands of Mourning was insane. I mean it harkened back to The Final Empire.

2.) Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
I could probably make a list of 10 books written by Sanderson. Instead I'll stick with these two. This series had great twists, but this one was probably the best one for me because I was so distracted by a smaller reveal that I didn't see the big one coming.

3.) The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
The ending of this book was insane. I mean I was reeling so hard that I think I'm still not over it. It was so crazy confusing and I loved it.

4.) The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
I still can't believe that I didn't figure out the twist about halfway into this book. When I reread it when The Raven King came out I was kicking myself because it seemed so obvious. But fool me once shame on you, never fool me again.

5.) Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I'm rereading this now and even though I know the twist about that one character is coming it still shocked and angered me. I mean how could you ruin one of my favorite narrators like that!

6.) Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
I love me some Amie and Megan reads, they are full of surprises. Last time I made a list it had These Broken Stars but the ending in this book was out of control and it shocked me in the best possible way.

7.) The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
I loved the twist in this book so much. I really did not see it coming at all. It made an already book even better and is one of the main reasons I loved this book.

8.) Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
And another book with an insane twist that made me love this book even more. This is one of those books where I think I looked at every possibility and was still surprised. It's an amazing mystery.

9.) This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Victoria Schwab writes some books with really great surprises. There were some big surprises in this one that caught me off guard including a big reveal at the end that was totally amazing.

10.) The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
The thing about this book is that I kind of knew where it was heading but the reveal still shocked me in the best possible way. It was a great twist and another book that I loved even more for it.\\

There you have it, the books that surprised me (with twists) in a good way. What books had great twists for you? Leave me a comment for your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, March 12, 2018

ARC Review: The Radical Element by Jessica Spotswood and more

Title: The Radical Element
Series: A Tyranny of Petticoats #2
Written by: Jessica Spotswood and more
Published: March 13, 2018 by Candlewick Press

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis:In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It's a decision that must be faced whether you're balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it's the only decision when you've weighed society's expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they're asking you to join them.

I read A Tyranny of Petticoats in 2016 and I totally enjoyed it. I don't read a ton of short story anthologies but I loved that one and I was excited to read more, especially with the amazing authors in this collection, and I was not disappointed.

Like the last book, this one was full of diverse stories. It spanned different locations and centuries and immersed the reader in the period and the setting. Each author did a great of establishing the time and place. Some of the stories and locations were familiar and others were completely new to me. Some of the stories had some magic to them, and others were rooted in reality. I think some of my favorites were ones that had more fantasy elements like When the Moonlight Isn't Enough By Dhonielle Clayton and Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore. I also loved The Magician by Erin Bowman, Step Right Up by Jessica Spotswood, and Land of the Sweet Home of the Brave by Stacey Lee. Obviously some stories were better than others but I don't think there was a bad story in the bunch.

I think one of the best things about this book and the real connective tissue is the characters. Even though they were so different, they all had one thing in common. For one thing, they are all these kick ass female characters. But the real reason they all felt so familiar is that they all had this yearning. This yearning and desire to be more than they are or exactly who they are even though it may not be what people expect for them. It made them really engaging and likable characters. I rooted for all of them and wanted to seem them achieve their goals. Each author really did such a great job with the characterization in such a short story.

This was a really short and easy read. Each of the stories was engaging and interesting and it was easy to read them in short bursts. But before you know it you have finished the entire book. Each story on it's own was really great but collectively this is look at amazing young women throughout history who were completely themselves and achieved their yearning for more. It's a fantastic collection of stories of kickass women that I really enjoyed.

I give The Radical Collection by Jessica Spotswood and more 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy! This was a really good read. I enjoyed the stories a lot and I think not only will fans of anthologies or short stories will like it but also fans of historical fiction.

Have you read The Radical Element? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, March 2, 2018

February Wrap Up and March TBR

Read in February: Dragons

Ugh! Well that didn't go well. I had high hopes for February, but alas, work and life got in the way again and I didn't quite have the great reading month. I did not read that many books at all this month. If I'm being entirely honest it's because I would rather watch Outlander and other stuff on Netflix and Amazon instead of  I have a not quite actual goal of reading 10 books a month and after once again rushing to finish a comic I ended up reading 7 books. Not a great showing but it is what it is.

For challenges, this year I'm sort of only low key doing challenges. I set a Goodreads goal of reading 120 books in a year. I'm on track for that with 18 books total for the year but I should probably pick up steam a little. For the rest of the challenges I only low key set them. I want to read 20 debuts this year. I read one this month so I'm at three total. I want to read 36 books from Netgalley and Edelweiss and I only read 1 this month. I haven't really been reading e-books lately so this might be a problem. I also want to read 20 backlist books. This month I read 2 so I'm doing well on that.

The Books

1.) Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen Rating: 9.5 out of 10 [My Review]
2.) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander  
(aka J.K. Rowling) Rating: 8.5 out of 10 [My Review]
3.) Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman Rating: 9 out of 10 [My Review]
4.) To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo Rating: 9 out of 10 [My Review]
5.) Talon by Julie Kagawa Rating: 8.5 out of 10 [My Review]
6.) Blood of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza 
Rating: 9 out of 10 [My Review]
7.) Supergirl Vol. 1: Reign of the Cyborg Superman by Steve Orlando,
Brian Ching, and Mike Ativen Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

To Be Read in March: Historical Fiction

I think it would be optimistic to read 12 books in March but a girl's gotta aim high. There are a few books I am super excited about and I have a few audiobook rereads planned so maybe I will be able to make it happen. We shall see.
Books for Review

The Radical Element by Jessica Spotswood and many  - Add to Goodreads
I am so excited for this book. I loved A Tyranny of Petticoats and I am super excited for another collection of short stories. Plus even more authors I love are featured in this book.

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner - Add to Goodreads
I really loved Whitney's Debut and I am excited for her next book. Plus I always really like contemporary reads with nerdy characters so this sounds right up my alley.

Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood  - Add to Goodreads
I am super excited about this book. I love historical books that have something to do with planes, I love books set in World War I, I like books about strong female characters and this combines all three.

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons Add to Goodreads
Despite having interest and even getting a few of her books I have year to read a Kristen Simmons. Maybe this will be my first.

Carmegie's Maid by Marie Benedict - Add to Goodreads
I picked this book up at ALA because Andrew Carnegie spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh. Also it sounded interesting.

New Releases

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Add to Goodreads
The last book in the Illuminae Files comes out this month! I can't wait. I'm so excited that I have already started my audio reread of the series.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw Add to Goodreads
This book sounds totally amazing and I can't wait to read it. I preordered a copy and I can't wait for it to arrive. I mean it's about witches and sisters so yeah, I need to read it.

Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzie Lee - Add to Goodreads
This book just came out and I am a huge fan of Mackenzi's and love her Bygone Badass Broads posts on Twitter. I'm going to her signing today in fact and can't wait!

Backlist Books

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes - Add to Goodreads
I have been wanting to read this book for ages. My friend Michelle let me borrow it and I really think this will be the time.

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough - Add to Goodreads
I got a copy of this from a a TBTB Secret Santa (thanks, Alyssa!) and I have not yet read it. But it sounds really fantastic and I trust the recommendation.

There you have it. Some of the books I hope to read in March. As always, these are subject to change. I may read all of these or I may only read a few and then read a bunch of different ones. But honestly I think this list I can stick to. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Audiobook Review: Blood of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Title: Blood of a Thousand Skies
Series: Empress of a Thousand Skies #2
Written by: Rhoda Belleza
Published: October 28, 2014 by Harlequin Teen

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Empress

With a revolution brewing, Rhee is faced with a choice: make a deal with her enemy, Nero, or denounce him and risk losing her crown.


Framed assassin Alyosha has one goal in mind: kill Nero. But to get his revenge, Aly may have to travel back to the very place he thought he’d left forever—home.


Kara knows that a single piece of technology located on the uninhabitable planet Wraeta may be the key to remembering—and erasing—the princess she once was.


Villainous media star Nero is out for blood, and he’ll go to any means necessary to control the galaxy.

Vicious politics and high-stakes action culminate in an epic showdown that will determine the fate of the universe.

I really liked Empress of a Thousand Skies. It was one of my favorite debuts of last year because it was an amazing audiobook with a plot full of political intrigue in space. I was really excited for the next book in the series to find out what would happen next.

One of the great things about this book was the plot development. Not that I particularly remember the plot of the first book but I think it was a little different than this one. It was less action-packed maybe, but still with plenty of surprises and plenty of political intrigue. Many of the information from the first book came into play in a big way in this book which was really cool. It also really built to an exciting conclusion that had me nervous and ultimately very surprised. However I do think the plot dragged a little bit. There was a lot of moving parts and they all had to line up for things to move along and I think that really kind of complicated things. When we did finally reach the climax it moved entirely too fast and there was so little falling action. You would have thoughts there was another book coming the way it all wrapped up but there isn't.

But I will say, there was also a good amount of political intrigue. So much of this book involved the hunt to fund and keep power. It's not there was a lot of plotting and scheming though, it was more just constant shifts. So many shifts that I couldn't really keep things straight. But that all worked together for me to make an engaging read. We also learned more about the world and some of it's technological aspects as well as some of the religious elements of the book but I think I would have liked more from the political.

One thing I do think this book did much better was character development. In this book we alternated perspectives between Rhee, Alyosha, and Kara. Being in each of their heads we had to get to know them all very well. I really liked each of the characters in the first book and found them just as likable and complex in this book. For both Rhee and Kara they are torn between what they want and what is expected of them. For Kara that is all the more heightened because she is only just realizing who she is. There's a subtle story of discovery in this book. But more Kara meant less Aly. I loved Alyosha in the first book and I wish he got a little more screen time, but I totally respect that the two females got top billing. Their stories were interesting and I wanted to see them succeed.

I am mostly glad that I listened to the audiobook of this one. I listened to the audio of the first book in the series and as always I loved Rebecca Soler's narration. She does an amazing job in embodying the characters. She brought the sass and uncertainty of Rhee, the strength and caring of Aly, and the thoughtfulness and toughness of Kara. I love how she gives them their own felling and voice. Plus she captures the action and adventure of the book. This book is just one more example of why she is one of my favorite narrators.

I really enjoyed this book. It's not perfect but it was a fantastic read with an engaging plot, great characters, and a fantastic audiobook. I do wish the plot wasn't so complex and it had more info about the politics but I still really enjoyed it.

I give Blood of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you liked the first book in this series I recommend you pick this one up. But if you haven't an you are intrigued by a book that is political intrigue in space then I recommend this series. Plus I would definitely recommend the audio.

Have you read Blood of a Thousand Skies? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!