November and December Wrap-Up || So Many Great Reads

Monthly Wrap-up

November and December proved themselves productive reading months, but not so much in terms of writing months.

Bluejay Feather

Reading

127455

The Lies of Locke Lamora

Short Synopsis

A theif named Locke tries to get out of the dangerous web in which one of the city’s other influential thieves has him ensnared.

Thoughts

I heard such great things about this book. I enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it even more had my version of the audio book not had a tendency to cut off before the end of chapters.

That said, my willingness to put up with the audio book’s quality speaks magnitudes for the book itself.

Rating

4 blue jays

8253920

Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time #2)

Short Synopsis

Thirteenth book in The Wheel of Time series.

Thoughts

I enjoyed it but, again, not enough to motivate me to finish the books in the middle of the series that I skipped.

Rating

4 blue jays

33152795

Invictus

Short Synopsis

A group of teenagers travel through time and steal historical artifacts.

Thoughts

I enjoyed this one. See my full review for my thoughts.

Rating

4 blue jays

29385546

Warcross

Short Synopsis

A teenage girl goes from almost homeless to completing in her timeline’s most competitive video game tournament.

Thoughts

I loved that this novel was set primarily in Japan, as there aren’t a lot of YA novels set there. The video game setting was fun, but the characters didn’t stand out in my mind as much as I would like.

Rating

4 blue jays

33652251

The Empress (The Diabolic #2)

Short Synopsis

Sequel to The Diabolic, which followed Nemesis, a girl bred for the sole purpose of being an assassin.

Thoughts

My feelings for this book were conflicting and not helped by the fact that some of the elements that set Warcross apart from some of the other YA novels I’ve read were also present in this book.

However, I ultimately gave the book a high rating for reasons discussed in my spoiler review.

If you’re new to the series, please see my The Diabolic review.

4 blue jays

34002132

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Short Synopsis

Third book in an epic fantasy series.

Thoughts

A worthy sequel to Words of Radiance. (Which is saying something considering that the prequel is basically my favorite novel of all time.)

Its plot is less cohesive than its predecessor, but  there is still much exploration of the word of Roshar, the Knights Radiant, and Stormlight.

There will likely be a full review to come. In the mean time, those new to the series may enjoy my review of The Way of Kings. 

Rating

five blue jays

 

35527721

The Hate U Give

Short Synopsis

Starr is the only one who knows the truth of her best friend’s death. A truth with the potential to tear her community apart.

Thoughts

It’s no secret that I don’t read a lot of contemporary books, but I make an effort to read some from time to time because there are some great ones out there.

This is one of those.

I was hesitant at first because I worried that, like a lot of books that deal with political topics, this book would be preachy. This fear proved unfounded.

The characters are well developed and the author’s world-building, and yes, I am referring to setting the scene in a contemporary novel as world-building, of Starr’s city and the division within it was fantastic. In addition, the book’s subject matter is incredibly timely.

One of the best debut novels I’ve read, and a great way to start discussions about a difficult topic.

Rating

five blue jays

25985241

Before The Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3)

Short Synopsis

Third book in The Diviners series, which follows a group of young people with supernatural abilities.

Thoughts

Wow, this escalated quickly, but not quickly enough in some ways.

I went into this believing it was the final book in the series and not a book still in the middle of the series. This, at first, left me confused by the lack of resolution.

Rating

4 blue jays

Aether of Night by Brandon Sanderson

Thoughts

Not including a synopsis because I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to discuss the contents, but this proved one of the best unpublished manuscripts I’ve read, if not the best unpublished manuscript I’ve read.

I had some issues with it that made me see why it wasn’t published, but it was still good.

Rating

4 blue jays

28116739

Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, And The Deep Origins of Consciousness

Short Synopsis

An exploration of octopus’s intelligence.

Thoughts

I’ve long been fascinated by octopuses, and this was an interesting exploration of their thought process.

Rating

4 blue jays

22609485

The Soul of an Octopus

Short Synopsis

Yet another exploration into octopus intelligence.

Thoughts

No, I did not suddenly develop a desire to listen to a string of nonfiction books about octopuses.

This one was turned on in audio book form while I was traveling because one of my traveling companions mistakenly believed it to be the book I’d been reading.

We listened to it anyway.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

28815

Influence

Short Synopsis

Details the ways people exploit psychology to convince people to do what they don’t want to and ways to circumvent falling for their ploys.

Thoughts

Read this one in audio book form on the same trip where I read Soul of an Octopus. My traveling companion was a huge nonfiction fan.

In some ways, this book changed the way I thought of the actions of those around me. I noticed some of the practices detailed in the book being used by people even before I finished reading it.

Rating

4.5 blue jays

29430620

Children of Eden

Short Synopsis

Rowan is a second child born in a city where the law that each couple may have only one child is harshly enforced.

Thoughts

This may well be the most unpopular opinion I have ever posted, but I have to be honest.

I read this book because it was one of the only ones downloaded on my Kindle during a time when I had no access to WiFi or cell service.

Someone else downloaded this book while they were borrowing my device. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have chosen it to begin with.

Reading it with no prior knowledge of the reviews or publisher of this book, I honestly thought that this had been self-published and would have a low average rating. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this was not at all the case.

The most positive thing I can say about the book is that it is captivating. I was able to read it in a crowded place. Beyond that, the plot felt derivative of other YA dystopian novels I have read, and I didn’t care much for the characters.

The reason I felt the book might be self-published is because of all the melodrama, (Though, to be clear, I have read many great self-published books with little melodrama.) The book reads like a debut.

I can, however, see many people who are new to the dystopian genre enjoying this book because of its captivating nature and bisexual love triangle that I hear some readers searching out from time to time.

Rating

2.5 blue jays

24795966

Steering the Craft

Short Synopsis

A non-fiction writing craft book by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Thoughts

Okay, so I didn’t read this book during November or December, but I did read sections of it throughout 2017. I never reported the book in my wrap-ups, so I’m mentioning it now instead.

A good, brief book on writing craft.

Rating

4 blue jays

Writing

Writing wise, the only thing I accomplished was writing and revising a short story. If my attempts at publication prove fruitless I may post it to the blog because I was rather satisfied with how it turned out.

Bluejay Feather

Hope you all had a happy New Year!

Anyone read any of these books? What did you think? What did you read at the end of this year? 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Advertisements

Should books make us happy? A Discussion || The Empress (Diabolic #2) Review

The Empress Discussion

Okay everyone, today I’m trying something a little different and writing a discussion post followed by a review. The discussion is spoiler free. Unlike my usual reviews, this review will contain spoilers. You have been warned!

Also note that this discussion is only my personal opinion. Feel free to disagree.

Not too long ago, I finished reading The Empress (The Diabolic #2) by S.J. Kincaid. It left me conflicted.

The root cause of this confliction is this: I regard good books as books that make me feel emotion, but how many of these emotions need to be positive for me to consider a book good?

Discussion

Extreme tragedy is more realistic. People experience constant ups-and-downs. Fiction reflects this reality, but it is not reality. Therefore, it doesn’t necessarily need to reflect the level of tragedy experienced in real life.

People in real life don’t often make a single decision that changes everything and leads to action. People in real life repeat themselves, are grammatically incorrect, and speak in run-on sentences.

Try as writers might, words on a page cannot and never will reflect every aspect of the world around us. Good thing too: if it did, novels would bore us all to tears.

And, yet, this makes the reality writers present in fiction no less important. Movements like “#ownvoices,” which promotes books written by someone belonging to an underrepresented group about a character from that same group, show how the reality presented in fiction might shape others perception of our own.

Herein we have the root cause of my dilemma: fiction cannot reflect all aspects of reality but the reality that is presented is of critical importance.

I suppose, then, the answer to my question depends on whether or not the depiction of extreme suffering depicted in a way that the reader feels some of the character’s emotions because they have come to care about this character so much is critical to what people need to experience in fiction to sympathize with the experiences of our fellow humans.

To this, I have no answer.

There is also the question of whether this matters in a work like The Empress, where the characters’ problems are ones we of the 21st century do not experience . . . At least, I hope there are no genetically modified bodyguards out there because if there are, I must be living under a rock.

Conclusion

In the end, it depends on the reason we’re reading. If we’re reading for escapism, books should, most likely, make us happy. If we’re reading for authenticity, then books probably won’t make us happy because life isn’t the most happy of places.

Bluejay Feather

Review

Please check out my spoiler free The Diabolic review or skip to the “Rating” section if you do not want to be spoiled!

33652251

Last warning: spoilers ahead.

As you may have guessed from my discussion, I am still not sure how I feel about this book.

The first half is super awesome and I loved it. One of the things that bothered me about the world building in the last book was that the characters have all of this advanced technology but no one knew anything about science because science was forbidden.

In this book we have an answer. It’s explained so well, and I love the author’s idea for a space-faring society that regressed to the point where a ten-year-old today might know more about physics than the society’s emperor.

It’s the second half that left me conflicted.

It was so heartbreaking to first see Tyrus during the second half, mostly because it was hard to see Nemesis’s heart breaking. It made me realize how much I’d come to care for her, but it also hurt to see her so distraught.

I think the other thing I didn’t like about the way this book ended is that the second half almost seemed to undo the progress made in the first half. The characters made so many discoveries, but those discoveries were invalidated when most of what they discovered got destroyed.

I’m also surprised by how much I disliked the romance ending the way it did. Usually, I would love the female protagonists to have more agency and realize they don’t need a guy or, in some cases, that the guy is essentially abusing them, but seeing such a drastic change in the love interest just hurt too much.

Yet another example of how much I’ve come to care for these characters.

In the end, I suspect much of how I feel about this book will be influenced by the course book three takes.

End of Spoilers

Rating

Despite my misgivings, I will give this book a good rating because a book that can make me experience so many emotions is a well executed one.

4 blue jays

Do you read books that make you unhappy? Have you read The Empress? What is your favorite book that has left you emotionally torn? 

Please remember to flag spoilers in the comments!

I believe this is my first discussion post on my blog. If you would like to see more in the future, let me know in the comments!

 

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is my top ten most anticipated releases for the second half of 2017.

I had a hard time choosing my top ten books I wanted to read overall, so this wasn’t easy. However, once I got started I realized there really are some great books coming out in the next six months, so let’s get started.

Bluejay Feather

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

32075662

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: *Contains Spoilers for book 1*

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

Thoughts: Our Dark Duet is the sequel to This Savage Song. I loved the first book, so of course I want the second.

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3)

31817749

Release Date: August 15, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: *Contains spoilers for the previous books.*

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.

Thoughts: I loved the first two books, so of course I want the final.

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

34002132

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: *Contains spoilers for the previous books.*

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together―and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past―even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.

Thoughts: Do I even need to explain why I want this one? The prequel, Words of Radiance, is one of my favorite books of all time. Of course I want the sequel.

The Empress (The Diabolic #2)

Cover to come.

Release Date: October 31, 2017

 

Goodreads Synopsis: *Contains spoilers for the previous books.*

The thrilling sequel to S.J. Kincaid’s New York Times bestselling novel, The Diabolic that TeenVogue.com called “the perfect kind of high-pressure adventure.”

It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?

Thoughts: The first book in this series managed to get me out of a reading slump. I am thrilled for the chance to read the sequel.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase

33843251

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

Thoughts: I liked but didn’t love the Unearthly series, but this book sounds like fun. Depending on the reviews, I might give it a try.

Whichwood

31563982

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.

Thoughts: I enjoyed but did not love Furthermore. However, this cover and synopsis have caught my attention. I’m excited to learn the direction this companion novel takes readers.

They Both Die at the End

33385229

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: 

New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”

Thoughts: I’ve heard next to nothing but good things about this author’s books. Maybe this will be the year I pick one up. The only reason I haven’t yet is because his books all sound sad, and I’m almost never in the mood to read something sad.

The Language of Thorns

34076952

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Thoughts: I’m not usually one for short stories, but I loved The Six of Crows Duology, so I might give this a try.

Warcross

29385546

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Thoughts: I wasn’t particularly impressed by Marie Lu’s last series, but enjoyed Legend, so I’m willing to give this one a try.

Invictus

33152795

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.
But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

Thoughts: Time travel is hit or miss, but I enjoyed this authors alternate history series, so I’m willing to give this one a try.

Bluejay Feather

Is anyone else excited for the books on this list? 

What are everyone else’s most anticipated releases for the rest of the year? 

Does anyone want me to continue doing Top Ten Tuesday in future weeks? 

Tell me in the comments below!

Top 10 Best Books of 2016

This is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post. I don’t usually participate, but it just so happened that the idea I had for my next blog post corresponded with their theme, so I decided to participate.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Brook and the Bookish. Read the original version of this topic here.

These are my top ten favorite books I read this year in no particular order.

1916185226228034

The first two books in the Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin are phenomenal. The world-building is some of the best I’ve seen. I liked the first book more than the second, but the second is still good enough to make this list.

I read the first book in the middle of a massive reading slump and with a lot happening in my life, but it managed to get through to me all the same. That’s impressive.

I wouldn’t recommend this to the younger readers of this blog because this is definitely an adult book, but for everyone else reading this who likes fantasy I highly recommend picking these books up.

22299763\

I loved the first book of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crow’s Duology, and the sequel was just as good. I loved the way the cast meshed so well with one another. One perspective never overwhelmed the others. I loved reading from each and every character. The anti-human trafficking message is great as well.

28190254

This book surprised me. I expected it to be terrible, but this prequel is better than the main series. I love the complexity of Darkstalker’s character: how I’m never sure if he is the hero or the villain. It’s something I don’t see a lot of in middle grade novel, but I do wish the author had chosen a name other than Darkstalker.

Darkstalker is a prequel to the Wings of Fire Series, but can be read as a standalone.

16299

And Then There Were None is my first Agatha Christie novel, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. This book is a classic for a reason. Agatha Christie knows how to tell a mystery. My only qualms are that I had trouble connecting with the characters because of the distant narration, and I’m quite glad to have read the modified version as opposed to the original . . .

1873942628698036

These two books are very different but technically part of the same series, so I’m lumping them together.

The Bands of Mourning is the sixth book in the Mistborn Series, and you definitely need to have read from at least the first book in the spinoff, The Alloy of Law,  and preferably the original trilogy too to understand what is happening.

The Bands of Mourning has a different tone from the previous books in the series with more focus on discovery, but was still excellent.

Mistborn: Secret History is a novella that it’s impossible to say anything about without spoilers except that “There is always another secret,” and you need to have read at least the first three Mistborn books before this one, and preferably most of the books in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe too. I highly recommend Mistborn: Secret History to fans of Sanderson’s Cosmere, but no one else because you will be too confused.

23299512

This Savage Song kept me up late into the night, and I read it twice: once in physical form and once in audio because I liked it so much. The sequel is one of my most anticipated reads of next year.

I love August’s internal struggle as a monster who wanted to be human, and can’t wait to see what happens next in this fascinating world.

26836910

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not asked to put it on this list. Opinions are my own. 

The Diabolic had great timing for me. It’s the book that marked an end to the reading slump I mentioned earlier. It also contains some of my favorite tropes. I love space operas and characters from one social group masquerading as a character from another social group.

18966806

I love Morning Star for similar reasons to the book above as it contains similar reasons to the book I mentioned above as it is also sci-fi and contains a character from one group masquerading as a person from another group.

This is the only book on this list I went to the book store to buy because I couldn’t wait the amount of time it would take for shipping to get this book. I was not disappointed.

The Diabolic 4.5 Stars

26836910Title: The Diabolic

Author: S.J. Kincaid

Publication Date: November 1st 2016

Note: I was provided an advanced copy by the publisher, but opinions are my own.

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Synopsis: Nemesis was engineered for one purpose: to keep Sedonia, the daughter of a galactic senator, safe. When it becomes clear the emperor plans to hold Sedonia hostage, the only way for Nemesis to keep Sedonia safe is to impersonate her.

Nemesis is a genetically Diabolic, not a human, yet the more time Nemesis spends pretending to be human the less it feels like an act. Everything Nemesis thought she knew is thrown into question as she begins to wonder how different human and Diabolics really are.

As the Empire starts to fall to ruin, Nemesis’s new understanding might give her the ability to end the chaos.

Thoughts: This book helped get me out of one of the longest reading slumps I’ve had in years. Part of what allowed me to do this is the novel’s fast pace. There is a lot of plot in a relatively short time. The amount of plot in this book could have been an entire trilogy.

The trade-off of this is that the book ends up feeling too fast at times. I would have liked more time for character development and world-building, but managed to understand and enjoy the novel’s sequence of events regardless.

I would like to note that this novel is very different from S.J. Kincaid’s Insignia trilogy. This novel is on the edge between YA and adult whereas the Insignia trilogy is on the edge of middle grade and young adult.

I read this novel before Insignia. As a result, I found myself surprised at the different feel of the two works. I would have liked to know going in that her other works were for a different audience.

My favorite aspect of Nemesis’s character was her identity struggle. Nemesis struggles with her own humanity and what she believes she deserves. I enjoy the trope where a character from one group has to pretend to belong to another group. That the character was imitating someone else while searching for her own identity further heightened her identity crisis.

I’ve read books with elements of the world building contained within this book before. It has a very space opera feel with some fantasy elements thrown in with the science fiction ones such as the the monarchy and long term technological stagnation before the story began. That said, these are elements that I really enjoy, particularly as this novel used some of these elements in ways I haven’t seen done a lot before.

I read most of this book believing it to be a series, and was disappointed when I learned it was a standalone. The book does have a satisfying ending, but I would really like a sequel.

Rating: I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of space opera, political intrigue, and plots where a character from one group must disguise themselves as a member of another.

4.5 blue jays

August 2016 Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)

August started with a reading slump. Thankfully, I got out of it during the second half of the month and read some great books.

Reading

26836910Short Synopsis: Girl genetically engineered to have her life revolve around protecting a single person must pretend to be the person she would die to protect.

Note: An advanced copy was provided by the publisher, but opinions are my own.

Thoughts: This book managed to get me out of my reading slump. It was so addictive I had a hard time putting it down when I needed to.

I’m also a fan of sci-fi novels in which the main character has to masquerade as someone from a very different walk of life, and enjoyed the main character’s internal struggle of trying to decide whether she could be her own person when she’s internalized that she is less important. Full review to come closer to the release date.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

28190254

Short Synopsis: Three young dragons have choices to make. What they choose will influence their world for centuries.

Thoughts: This is book can be read as a stand alone without reading the series it’s a spin-off from. In fact, the main series contains spoilers for this book.

I wasn’t expecting much from this book since I already knew how it ended and spin-off books have a history of being not that great, but this book surprised me.

My favorite part was Darkstalker (one of the three narrator’s) moral ambiguity. It seems to be becoming more common lately, but it’s still rare to see the main character in a middle grade novel, or novel in any genre really, walk the line between good and evil so closely. I want to like Darkstalker, but part of me thinks he is the dragon equivalent of Hitler.

I have a bit of a problem with the names of Darkstalker and his sister, Whiteout. The names sound like some sort of racist joke, but other than that this story was great.

Rating:

4.5 blue jays

13259262Short Synopsis: Collection of short stories about fictional Martian colonization.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this overall, but at times certain details seemed illogical to me, or not to connect to the story as a whole. It was as though most of the short stories contained in this odd combination of an anthology and a novel were set on the same timeline while a few were set on different ones.

Still, this is probably one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read, and Ray Bradbury’s prose is beautiful.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

13612965

Short Synopsis: Third book in the Magisterium series.

Thoughts: Something about this series has me hooked, but I have a hard time figuring out what it is that makes it so addictive. I’ve come to the conclusion that I really enjoy the protagonist’s internal struggle, though I can’t go into what that struggle is without telling spoilers.

I’ve read books with similar concepts to this one many times before, but never executed exactly this way. I think it’s the exact set up of the protagonist’s internal struggle, and the reaction of those around him to that struggle that make this series so attractive to me.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays