Review: Dark Disciple (Star Wars) by Christie Golden

Dark Disciple: Star WarsDark Disciple: Star Wars by Christie Golden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The only way to bring down the Sith’s most powerful warrior may be to join forces with the dark side.

Dark Disciple is an Adult novel within the Disney Star Wars Canon. To put it in timeline perspective, it is my understanding that this book falls after the novel, Catalyst and just prior to the Revenge of the Sith movie.

Interestingly, or at least for fans, this novel is based on a story arc scripted for The Clone Wars television series that went unproduced after the show was canceled.

My initial attraction to this book, besides the fact that I want to read all the Canon novels, was Asajj Ventress, the infamous former apprentice to Count Dooku.

This book built out her character in such a pleasing way. I love when a antihero gets their time to shine.

As the war rages on in the galaxy, Count Dooku’s tactics become more and more brutal. The Republic cannot stand by while hundreds more innocent lives are lost.

The Jedi Council surmises the best way to defeat Dooku, perhaps the only way, would be to join forces with someone who knows him best.

Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku’s former protege, becomes their focus for the mission.

Ventress, now making ends meet as a bounty hunter, is perfect for the assignment. After Dooku attempted to have her killed, she severed all ties with him and that hatred runs deep.

Quinlan Vos, the Jedi Knight assigned the mission, sets out to find Asajj with the goal of getting her to assist him in assassinating Dooku.

Once the two meet up, their budding relationship grows quickly. I loved the banter between them as they struggled to figure out a power balance.

Ventress ultimately teaches Vos many things, including how to harness the power of the dark side; a line that is most dangerous to cross.

As is to be expected, there was a ton of action in here. I loved the various battle scenes, but also loved the quieter moments between Vos and Ventress.

I certainly don’t need romance in my Star Wars, but for me, it was more about watching Ventress being able to let her guard down and open up to someone.

She has such a tough facade and reputation, and rarely lets that slip, even for a moment. Reading her in the more vulnerable moments, particularly when she told Vos the truth of what happened to her fellow Nightsisters, it gave me all the feels.

Additionally, the deep bond that forms between them was so well written. A forbidden romance if ever there was one.

Ultimately, this story did shred my heart in a hundred million pieces, but I’m willing to forgive Christie Golden because she wrote it with such care and grace.

Overall, I loved this story. Highly recommend to Star Wars fans who enjoy to dabble in the power of the dark side.

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Review: Immunity (Contagion #2) by Erin Bowman

Immunity (Contagion, #2)Immunity by Erin Bowman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

After narrowly escaping an infectious zombie horde on Achyls, Nova, Thea and Coen find themselves facing a completely different threat altogether.

What they thought was their salvation, may actually end up as their demise.

The three must band together, along with some new allies, to stop the possible destruction of the galaxy.

So, no pressure.

With fewer characters in this sequel, at least to start, I felt like I had a bit more time to get to know them. While that was nice, it did give it a slightly different feel to the first novel.

Don’t get me wrong, there was still a ton of action here, but in my opinion, there was definitely more character examination.

Another difference in feel concerns the atmosphere. As high-stakes as Immunity is, we’re talking possible interstellar catastrophe here, the atmosphere of this installment was completely different.

In the first book, we have the slightly unqualified crew heading out on a SAR-mission to an abandoned mining planet.

It’s remote, cold, dark and dangerous. They have no idea what they are go to find and what they found was terrifying.

Contagion, the first book, grabbed me because of its edge-of-your-seat SciFi-Horror narrative; one of my favorite subgenres within Science Fiction.

While this is still a really good book, I would categorize this as strict SciFi.

So, for me, it lost a bit of that edge over the course of the evolution of the story.

With this being said, the events were wrapped up nicely and I am happy to have another completed duology on my shelves.

Overall, this is a super solid YA Science Fiction duology that I would absolutely recommend to any fan of the genre.

Even though I didn’t love this one quite as much as Contagion, I can definitely appreciate how fully developed this story is.

Well done. I look forward to reading more from Erin Bowman!

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Review: The Earthling’s Brother by Earik Beann

The Earthling's BrotherThe Earthling’s Brother by Earik Beann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It all begins when an attractive naked man stumbles into the hotel where Maria works.

It’s very late at night, and with nothing better to do, she engages him in conversation.

Initially thinking he’s high as a kite, she sets him up with some clothes from the Lost and Found and a place to sleep it off. Her hope is that with time, whatever he has gotten into will wear off.

Unfortunately, when her shift ends, he’s still not making any sense. Maybe he needs food.

She takes him with her to a local diner for breakfast. Deeper into the conversation, she finally realizes this man, who she has christened, Sam, may not be of Earth.

After he heals a local homeless man who has been in a wheelchair for years, unable to walk, and gifted him a toilet made of solid gold, others around them begin to take notice.

It just so happens, Sam’s first miracle is performed directly in front of a police station. Not good.

Their first interactions with the police do not go well.

Maria, an immigrant, who it is clear they do not trust, is unable to get them to listen to her. Sam, well, he quickly gets branded a terrorist and all hell breaks loose.

Sam’s alien brother, Mustafa, who happens to look like a purple octopus, joins Maria and Sam as they flee from federal agents and try to save the world from The Authority, an alien power set on terraforming the planet.

If this plot sounds confusing, I assure you, while you reading it, it is not. It all makes total sense.

Just trying to summarize it is difficult, as it is such a wildly creative story.

My favorite aspect was Mustafa. He was so funny! I love him. Him and Sam definitely brought the humor to the narrative.

My only slight critique is that it felt like the ending was rushed. There was quite a bit of build up and the conclusion happened extremely quickly.

This being said, I did enjoy the content of the actual ending. It was cute, like having a little bow tie it all up.

Beann’s writing is compelling. I find his stories read really fast and they are full of action, humor and heart.

If you are looking for a quick, unique, standalone SciFi read, you should definitely give this book a shot. It’s quite enjoyable!

Thank you so much to the author, Earik Beann, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I appreciate it very much!

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Review: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

Morning Star (Red Rising Trilogy, #3)Morning Star by Pierce Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s finally happened.

I just let out a breath I didn’t even realize I was holding!

Morning Star, the third installment of the Red Rising Saga, exceeded all my expectations. My favorite so far!

Pierce Brown is currently battling George R.R. Martin for the title of, ‘Author Trying to Crush My Soul’.

Brown has created a hellishly brutal world. No character is safe. Ever!

Just when you start to let your guard down…

Without giving too much away, as this is the third in the series, the battle against the sovereign continues with The Reaper and his allies trying to disassemble the Color System.

The highlight for me, although there is always a ton of action, is watching the relationship growth among Darrow and his friends.

Particularly Darrow and Sevro, which honestly is one of the best male friendships I have ever read. It gives me life.

At the conclusion to this story, six years has passed since the start of Red Rising, so much has happened. It’s a complicated story and really very impressive.

I am entertained beyond reason and cannot wait to continue, although I will most likely need to take a breather before I start the next book.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty clear that I am low-key obsessed with this series and cannot wait to see what Brown has in store for these characters.

With this story, it could literally be anything!

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Review: Star Wars Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston

Queen's Peril (Star Wars)Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Queen’s Peril, when it releases on June 2, 2020, will be the newest addition to the Disney Star Wars Canon.

The events in this novel take place after the events of Master and Apprentice and just before the film, The Phantom Menace.

In fact, to my surprise, the last quarter of the book runs parallel to The Phantom Menace.

It is not a novelization of the events in the movie, it’s more of an expansion.

With that bit of timeline info out of the way, let’s get into this story, shall we?

At just 14-years old, Padme Naberrie is elected Queen of Naboo. Her parents exposed her early to civic duty and the idea that she could one day be Queen never felt far-fetched to her.

After her election, the Head of Security Forces for Naboo, Quarsh Panaka devises a plan to select special handmaidens for the Queen.

These handmaidens will be a lot more than meets they eye. They will actually serve as body doubles and protection.

Each one, chosen with care by Panaka himself, brings a different skill to the table. Together they make quite a team.

A large portion of the story is learning about the girls and how they contribute to the function of the Queen’s reign.

It was interesting to follow as these girls go from being strangers, to companions and ultimately, to friends.

As Naboo becomes threatened by the Trade Federation, maneuverings take place to secure the Queen and gain help for Naboo.

Once the events begin to align with those of The Phantom Menace, we get more insights into what was going on behind the scenes during Padme’s flight from Naboo.

E.K. Johnston writes with such care and skill within the Star Wars universe.

You can tell that she knows the ins-and-outs of this world, complex as it is, and that she is equally passionate about it as we are as readers.

I loved the subtle feel of the narrative. It’s a character driven story, although the action does pick up towards the end, and I feel like I learned a lot.

Some of the highlights for me were learning about each of the handmaidens, why they were chosen and what their specific skills were.

I also liked the little cameos of beloved characters popping up throughout, including Yoda, Anakin, Qui Gon and Jar Jar Binks.

Senator Palpatine is also explored in greater depth here which I loved.

The duality of his character is so freaking interesting and the way Johnston wrote from his perspective was perfection!

Overall, this book is a joy to read and for Padme fans, an absolute gift!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Lucasfilm Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I had already preordered my copy prior to receiving my ARC and was beyond the moon excited to be able to get my hands on it early!

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Review: The Last Astronaut by David Wellington

The Last AstronautThe Last Astronaut by David Wellington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a large alien object is identified hurtling toward Earth, seemingly under its own propulsion, NASA quickly assembles a team to try to intercept it.

The object, apparently a space ship, dubbed 2I, is unresponsive to all attempts at communication, so the experts figure, they’ll get a little closer. What could go wrong?

Sally Jansen, a former NASA astronaut, who has been living a quiet life since a failed expedition to Mars, that left a fellow astronaut dead, is called upon to lead the mission to investigate 2I.

Jansen is not necessarily eager to answer NASA’s call, but she understands this could be her only hope for salvation, so she agrees to help.

The other members selected for the mission include Parminder Rao, an astrobiologist, Sunny Stevens, an astrophysicist and Windson Hawkins, a military pilot.

Jansen is the only one among them to have old-school astronaut training and experience. She’s the glue holding the hodge-podge team together.

Jansen and her team learn that a private-sector company, KSpace, has already sent a shuttle, the Wanderer, to 2I and beat NASA to the punch. Their team has already boarded the mysterious craft, thus making the official ‘first contact’.

When the NASA team tries to contact the individuals from the Wanderer, however, no one responds. Thus, Jansen and her team board 2I to investigate.

2I is an enormous space craft. A looming hulk of unknown machinery that functions in complete and utter darkness. Their only source of light, that which they bring with them on their suits.

The truth of 2I was NOT AT ALL what I expected. It flipped my idea of what I thought this first contact would be on its head. It is so gruesome and all-encompassing, I thought there is no way any person is getting out of this alive.

Wellington did a fantastic job of creating a constant feeling of tension with this story. You were always waiting for something to pop out of the dark.

It felt terrifying, even when not a lot was happening. There’s something about the vastness, darkness, silence and isolation of being in deep space that legit freaks me the f* out. But when you add in the terror of this alien craft, it really took it to the next level.

I had a lot of fun reading this. It’s a solid Scifi Horror! I definitely recommend for people who enjoy the genre.

Well done!

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Review: Master and Apprentice (Star Wars) by Claudia Gray

Master and Apprentice (Star Wars)Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

In anticipation of Star Wars: The High Republic releasing the first books this Fall, I have been in such a mood to just devour all of the current canon content I can.

I will tell you that reading Master and Apprentice hot on the heels of Dooku: Jedi Lost was so satisfying!!!

This novel follows Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The events of this book fall after the audiobook, Dooku: Jedi Lost, and prior to the film, The Phantom Menace.

Obi-Wan is Qui-Gon’s first Apprentice. Their relationship is examined closely, both Qui-Gon’s fears of failing his Padawan, and Obi-Wan’s frustrations with his Master who often seems unavailable.

After a secret is revealed, their relationship becomes more fractured and it seems, it may actually be coming to an end.

When Rael Averross contacts his old friend, Qui-Gon, to ask for his assistance with a political issue, Master and Apprentice travel together to the royal court of Pijal to see if they can help.

This may be their last mission together, so both men are silently dealing with a lot of emotions.

Even though Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan view their duties to the Jedi Council differently, each is at their heart battling for what they think is right.

There was quite a bit of political maneuverings in this one, as we see a bit more into how the Jedi Council interacts with the various planets, and governments, within the galaxy.

Prophecies were also revealed on multiple occasions. In short, there was a lot going on! Really great content as far as filling in the backstory of, and providing foundation for, the events in The Phantom Menace.

I could probably read this multiple times and still not pick up on everything.

That’s one great thing about the Star Wars Canon. It’s so vast. You can read, watch, review things over and over and over and the story just keeps on growing and expanding.

It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. Overall, super glad I read this. I think Claudia Gray is such a great author for these stories. You can feel her passion for the whole universe coming off the page.

Really well done. I am pumped to continue on with my 2020 Star Wars binge.

As a side note, also a really great time to have a Disney+ subscription.

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Review: The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Vanished BirdsThe Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

This book went so far over my head, it’s in the thermosphere.

Let’s chat about it, shall we?

This is a GREAT book. The quality of the writing is delicious. Absolutely gorgeous storytelling, however, I have to rate the book based on my reading experience.

For me this was a good, to very good, reading experience. If I had the mental capacity to understand it more, I am sure my rating would have been higher.

I think what it boils down to is that this just isn’t my type of book. I am fast reader. Additionally, I am a polygamous reader. I read multiple books at the same time, quite quickly.

As annoying as this character trait is, it is the only way for me to do it. I have tried to take my time, or just read one book at a time, and it puts me into a reading slump.

Therefore, deep books steeped with a lot of philosophical meaning tend to be wasted on my brain.

I just don’t take the time to really sit back and assess the messages that the author is trying to convey. If wish I could. I envy those of you who are able to do that.

The Vanished Birds is a lyrical science fiction story of various relationships connected across space an time.

I think a lot of readers will be able to get so much out of this. Even I can tell that the quality of this story is far above average.

As a character piece, I think this holds a lot of value, and I’m not afraid to admit that it is beyond my comprehension.

I want to encourage everyone to read this synopsis and if it sounds intriguing to you, please pick it up. The synopsis is true to what is in the book, so I think it will draw in the appropriate readers.

With intelligent, subtle narrative, futuristic concepts and beautiful writing, for many scifi readers, I anticipate this being a 4-or 5-stars! Maybe that will be you!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Del Rey Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate it so much and look forward to seeing other reviews for this one!

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Review: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)Cress by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Lift off!!! I am over the moon for this series!!

Our favorite fugitives, Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf, are on the run. They surprisingly continue to evade all authorities as they travel through space.

Their best hope for a clean escape lies in a girl kept captive, and alone, on a satellite. Cress, unbeknownst to them, has actually been helping them evade capture for a while.

A genius hacker, she has been able to keep the Queen’s forces from locating the fugitive ship.

During this time, she has developed a healthy crush on our very own, Captain Thorne.

When Cinder and crew try to rescue Cress from her virtual prison, things go terribly wrong and their group is separated.

Now they must not only try to evade the Queen, but also try to reunite again as the stakes are raised even higher, with the fate of the entire Earth in their hands.

I loved the introduction of Cress as a character. There is something so sweet and relatable about her.

Once the group gets separated, she gets stranded with Thorne and they have to work together in order to survive. Their relationship…

I ate it up like a school girl. I cannot wait to see where that goes in the next book.

Speaking of the next book, I need to read it so soon!!!! If so, this will be my first completed series in A WHILE!

Hoping Queen Levana gets hers in the end. Precious Kai deserves more, as does my girl Cinder.

So, in short, loving this series with my whole heart. Incredibly happy that I finally decided to give it a shot. It has far surpassed all of my expectations.

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Review: Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott

Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars)Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dooku: Jedi Lost is a phenomenal listening experience for anyone who considers themselves to be a Star Wars fan.

Currently, though not for long, the first piece of the Canon timeline, this quick audiobook essentially tells the origin story for Count Dooku.

Many of us think of Dooku only as the Dark Lord of the Sith, but he was once a powerful Jedi who eventually succumbed to the pull of the dark side.

The narrative is actually set up as following his Sith Apprentice, Asajj Ventress, who yearning to know more about her mysterious master, delves into his past to discover what made him the man he has become.

The timeline then follows him through different formative moments in his life.

I loved getting a glimpse into his past, from being abandoned by his father prior to his acceptance to the Jedi Temple, to his relationships with his sister and Jedi contemporary Sifo-Dyas, to his selection and training by Master Yoda.

There’s no denying Dooku was an extremely motivated and strong-willed young man. The force was strong with him, but I could definitely see his side as to why he became disgruntled with the Jedi Council.

This production is absolutely incredible. The full cast, the sound effects and musical score all contribute to bringing this story to life.

Absolutely recommend!!!

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