Review: The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Darkest Star (Origin, #1)The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4-happy shining stars**

“We were all dark stars, but Luc…he was the darkest.”

The Darkest Star is the first book in a new YA-series written by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This is a companion/spin-off from her hugely popular Lux series. Hold on to your hats Ladies & Gents because I have a confession to make: I have not read the Lux series!!!

Yes, it’s true. I went into this having never read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book and having no idea what the Luxen were all about. I was most pleasantly surprised! I think it is a testament to Armentrout’s skill as a writer that I never for a moment felt lost or like I was missing anything. If I had not heard of the Lux series prior to starting this, I would have never guessed that there was a prior series. So, if you are like me and have never read the Lux series and you don’t really have time or space on your tbr to fit it in, please don’t let that dissuade you. If the synopsis of this one sounds interesting to you, pick it up, have no fear, you will understand everything. That’s a megs_bookrack guarantee!

This book follows teenager, Evie, as she navigates a lot of disturbing revelations about herself. Early on in the story she meets a handsome stranger, Luc, at the club ((you know how it is)) and one thing leads to another and before you know it they are running from the cops, hiding in a broom closet and then seemingly just a part of each others lives from there on out.

I had a lot of fun watching Evie and Luc’s relationship grow. It was heavy in the hate to love feels and I cherish that when the banter is super witty. Luc is a sexy and successful young man…well, actually he is an Origin ((Origin = the child of a Luxen + mutated human)), who is the baddest badass of all. Side Note: the Luxen are an alien race that cohabits Earth with us after they had to flee their own planet.

Through Evie’s new relationship with Luc a lot gets revealed to her about her own past and who she really is. Pretty much anything she thought was real, wasn’t. Poor Evie really gets through for a loop in this book but she handles it as well as could be expected and her growth is satisfying. I look forward to seeing where the next book goes. I have a few ideas of areas/plot lines that I am hoping will be explored but only time will tell!

I really enjoyed Armentrout’s writing style. I found it was relaxed and had a nice, even flow to it. The pace was good and there was a lot of great, natural humor that I found refreshing. I also picked up on some social commentary on issues such as race, immigration, minority communities, fear-mongering, etc. I was surprised by some of the connections I was able to make from what was happening in the book and what has happened in my own country in recent history. I always appreciate when an author throws in real social issues into a fantastical or magical narrative. It feels like finding Easter Eggs.

Overall, I had a great time reading this book. I was impressed with the writing, I found it very easy to read and follow and I appreciated the fact that Armentrout made the story approachable for both new and veteran readers of her material.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen, for providing me with an early copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to jump into this world created by Armentrout and am already excited for the next book in the series!

Original: My October just got more interesting – ARC received!

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Review: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Neverworld WakeNeverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

…time for you has become snagged on a splinter, forming a closed-circuited potentiality called a Neverworld Wake.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl is a YA science-fiction novel that incorporates the idea of a time loop to tell the story. If this doesn’t sound like something you would be into…probably should avoid this one. If however, you are like me, and live for this type of story, definitely pick it up!

This story follows our main girl, Beatrice ‘Bea’ Hartley, as she goes to her estranged friend Whitley’s seaside mansion, Wincroft, to try to get answers regarding the mysterious death of her boyfriend, Jim. Basically, Bea and Whitley were part of a super tight friend group at their private school, Darrow, which was comprised of them, Jim, Kipling, Cannon and Martha. After Jim’s death, ruled a suicide (which Bea never believed), Bea separated herself from the rest of the group as she struggled to overcome her grief.

Once she arrives at Wincroft for their ill-fated reunion, the group (all in attendance, of course) pretty much accepts her back with good grace, as friends tend to do and they whisk her out for a night of clubbing. As we all know, nights out at the club can end dramatically and this one definitely did.

Once they finally drag themselves back to the mansion shit starts to get real freaky, real quick. A knock at the door. A mysterious creepy old dude. The rules of the Neverworld Wake are explained to them and it’s off to the races. Bea never gives up her quest to discover what really happened to Jim and that is where the rest of the narrative takes us. The group investigating and uncovering what truly happened to Jim. Secrets and deceptions are revealed as we race towards the finale.

Guys, I loved this book. I loved the mystery. I loved the sci-fi elements – anything relating to the concept of time I am down for. I loved the dynamics among the friends. I loved the characters. This group of kids were the golden children of their school. They were all so smart and ambitious. I got real Slytherin vibes from this. If you are a Slytherin and are looking for book recs, I definitely think this would qualify.

This is my second Marisha Pessl book. I love her and will basically read anything she writes. Anything. Got one of her discarded grocery lists? I’ll read that.

Initial Reaction: We are all anthologies. We are each thousands of pages long, filled with fairy tales and poetry, mysteries and tragedy, forgotten stories in the back no one will read.

I loved this. Full review to come…stay tuned!

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Review: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Brightly BurningBrightly Burning by Alexa Donne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


CONFESSION TIME:

I have never read Jane Eyre.

I know, I know. Put your pitchforks down….
How can I possibly rate a Jane Eyre retelling without having read the original source material? Well, I am going to rely on my very light JE knowledge from the multiple adaptations that I have viewed. My favorite being the one with Mia Wasikowska – I mean, that girl can act, am I right?

Anyway, moving on…this book, Brightly Burning, is a standalone YA science fiction story that retells the story of Jane Eyre but in SPACE. Quite frankly, that is what sold me. I will literally read anything if you tell me it is ‘set in space’. In this version, our Jane is played by Stella Ainsley. She is an engineer and part-time teacher on a decrepit spaceship called the Stalwart. Stella longs for a different life, one that will take her far away from the failing Stalwart. She begins applying for jobs on other ships; the only real way you can transfer among ships in this fleet that are basically assigned based on social class. To her complete surprise she ends up being offered a position as a governess aboard a private ship called…wait for it…the Rochester.

It doesn’t take long after Stella boards the Rochester before she begins to suspect that something sinister may be going on aboard this ship. Strange occurrences, things going bump in the night, inexplicable laughter in the halls…you get the gist. As Stella grows closer to the other people aboard the Rochester, most importantly, the Captain, Hugo Fairfax (also the owner of the ship), she begins to piece together the strange history of the ship and the Fairfax family. Along the way Stella and Hugo’s relationship begins to go way past employer and employee…sparks fly, etc., etc.

That is all I will say on the plot as I don’t want to reveal too much. There were many connections to the original Jane Eyre story – I feel in a way that payed a nice homage to the original text without being ‘copycat’ in its styling. I really loved the setting and I think any YA science-fiction fan could appreciate it. I thought the ships and fleet in general were well constructed. For me the pace of the story was great. I was never bored and I really liked Stella. I understand from reading other reviews that not everyone was a fan of Stella, but for me, I really liked her. I felt I could relate to her – I mean, she is a major book nerd and isn’t one to cow to what society may expect of her; I felt I understood her motivations.

That last maybe 20% felt a little rushed to me and a bit of the science on that end didn’t make sense – it wouldn’t have been possible for the events to occur as quickly as they did but it is a fictional story so I’m not going to go too crazy about that. It definitely didn’t effect my rating at all, I just had a good giggle about it. I can’t really go into what I mean because it would completely spoil the end. I was really happy with it though when I finished. I think it came to a nice conclusion and was a good way to end a standalone novel. I would definitely read more books by Alexa Donne and look forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

Original: I’m very happy with this but it is late and I must sleep. Full review to come…stay tuned!

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The Raging Ones – Review!!!

Publication Date: August 14, 2018

Rating: 5-Raging Stars!!!

The Raging Ones, by Krista & Becca Ritchie, is the first book in a new YA-scifi duology that clobbered me over the head and left me for dead. Seriously though, WOW, I was so impressed with this book. This story had everything I desire, i.e. complex characters, intriguing plot, a competition element and phenomenal world-building. I don’t even know where to begin with this so will start with the basics:

The year is 3525 on a harsh, frozen planet where society is divided into a type of caste system based on how long you will live. How is this possible, you ask? Well, in this world, every baby has a simple test performed that tells the exact day they are going to die. As you can imagine, this extinguishes plenty of fear in the world because you can take risks and know that you will not die from them (unless it is your death day). However, it also extinguishes a lot of hope as well since you know it can never be changed. People accept the social structure and focus more on just surviving in such a severe environment.

The story focuses on three main characters and we follow each of their perspectives along the way. There is Franny Bluecastle, an impulsive and hard-edged Fast Tracker (death days between the ages of 13 – 29) girl who we first meet the day before her impending death day. Court Icecastle is a tough, well-educated ‘thief’ who has a hidden and mysterious past. Lastly, Mykal Kickfall, who is a sweet baby cinnamon roll who hails from the North and was a hunter/warrior prior to falling in with Court. Court and Mykal are drawn to Franny just after she survives her death day and the drama takes off from there.

Our three main characters are linked, you discover this early on, not just in the fact that they are the only known individuals to ‘survive’ their death days but also mentally and physically. They have a bond that is unlike anything I have ever read before. It is hard to describe because it is really more of a feeling than anything – they share senses, quite literally.

I know what you’re thinking…two boys, one girl, classic set up for a love triangle. Nope. Stop right there. This is NOT that book. This is not who will she choose, who will he choose. There is LOVE but not THAT kind of love. The foundation of this relationship is M/M. Mykal and Court have an incredibly deep, unbreakable bond that goes beyond anything that you would typically find in a ‘romance’ story. Franny does become a part of this but not in a third wheel, add-on, aggressive sort of way. The dynamic between the three is equal and all-consuming and I (a non-romantic) absolutely cherished every moment of it.

As a trio, Franny, Mykal and Court enroll to compete for the chance to become employed by StarDust (think NASA meets NSA) and hopefully get one of 5-coveted slots for the Saga-5 Mission. Essentially a space mission, the first in this society for over 300-years. Franny, Mykal and Court make it through enrollment and become three of 1,024 people competing for these spots. They live in dormitories, they have rivalries, they compete in challenges and undergo training on flying space ships, surviving in zero-G environments, etc. This part of the story gave me life! I absolutely love competition/training elements in books – it is one of my all time favorite tropes in YA and this one was so well done. We meet a great cast of side characters and learn more about the world overall through their interactions with our MCs.

I am a big fan of science-fiction books and particularly YA-scifi. I read a lot of them. This one impressed me because it felt very true to the genre without weighing you down in science jargon that would make the story unattractive to the masses. They kept the mysterious, dark, smart scifi feel without making it too snobby nerdy -does this make sense? I mean, I am a nerd, I will be the first to admit that, but I like my scifi to have the power to enthrall all types of people – nerd or not.

I loved so many things about this book, I know as soon as I publish this review I will think of 50 more things I should have mentioned. This storyline to me was so unique and the characters were so well fleshed out, I am going to be thinking about this one for a long time to come. Which makes me think…how long until the next book? That ending…honestly, I don’t know how I am going to live with this cliffhanger! It blew my mind the end of this book. I cannot wait for my book friends to read this so I can discuss with somebody!  Please let that be you – If you haven’t already, please add this book to your TBR – you won’t regret it!

These authors, Krista and Becca (identical twins by the way – how cool is that?) deserve a big round of applause! That they came up with this, through a collaboration, is just so significant and I think demonstrative of their level of talent. I am really looking forward to progressing with this series!

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for providing me with an early review copy of this book. It is, so far, my favorite read of 2018 and I just had such a wonderful time with it and providing my thoughts and opinions. I appreciate the opportunity!

Review: Nyxia Unleased by Scott Reintgen

Publication Date: July 17, 2018    |    Rating: 5-stars!!!!

Nyxia Unleashed is the second book in The Nyxia Triad. Just like the first book, I absolutely loved this and gave it FIVE well-deserved stars. This is a YA science-fiction novel that is incredibly inclusive and has a strong undercurrent of social commentary which I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed.

In this book, our MC, Emmett Atwater and the rest of the kids from Book One have now arrived on the planet they have previously known as Eden. Throughout their training, Babel, the corporation they work for, had taught and prepared them for meeting the ‘aliens’, who they called Adamites, of this planet. Once on Eden, the kids are assigned local emissaries that ultimately end up teaching them in the true ways of their planet, which they call Magnia and refer to themselves as the Imago people. They travel through the various communities of this planet meeting with the peoples and learning their history, political structure and immediate societal issues. The kids, disenchanted with Babel Corporation, after their excruciating training period, begin to realize that Babel’s goals are much more sinister than they had previously expressed. Without giving too much away, they must ultimately decide who and what they are willing to fight for.

What happens next will change the fate of worlds. We are genesis.

This novel is much darker than the first as the subject matter settles down and becomes more serious. Throughout the book I had an incredible feeling of something ominous just at the edge of the horizon. As the storyline began to unfold, I had no clue as to where it was leading. I loved learning about the Imago and experiencing the wonder of learning about their society, past and future. This story is an excellent examination of colonizing powers, indigenous populations and how people choose to treat other people.

Do we treat others with the dignity they deserve, regardless of where they come from?

There are some things a person should never stand by and watch…Pops taught me that much.

The above are thoughts of Emmett Atwater, our protagonist. Emmett is such a sweet, precious little cupcake. He is a great kid, raised but loving parents in the city of Detroit, where although poor, he never lacked for love or a strong kick in the backside, whichever he needed more. Seeing Emmett grapple with good versus evil, standing up for what he believes is right, overcoming adversity, is such an enjoyable thing to read. I loved watching him gaining strength and confidence throughout these two books and I am so excited to see where the third book takes him. He could lead a revolution, this one!

The other kids working with him are from all over the world – we really have everyone represented here – there are kids from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, Europe, we have LGBTQ+ characters and we get to learn a bit about all of their perspectives; it’s a great thing to see in a YA book. We learn the most about them in Book One but I thought it was important to bring up again here for people searching for diverse representation in their books.

I’m an angel without wings. I’m a demon without fire.

The ending of this book was INCREDIBLE! I have no idea how I am going to make it until next April waiting for the last book in the series. (cue letter writing to publisher begging for early copy…) We are on the edge of a major precipice here – a battle of good versus evil – a battle where fates and worlds will indeed be changed. Are the kids on the right track? Have they made the right choices? Are they siding with the right people? I DON’T KNOW!!!! But I am incredibly ready to find out! If you like sci-fi, if you like diverse books, if you like books with a point, please, please, please pick up this series! It deserves all the love it can get!

Thank you so much to Crown Books for Young Readers for giving me the opportunity to read this book early. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year so I am very grateful!!!

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Publication Date: April 7, 2016    |    Rating: 4-action packed STARS!

‘You cannot fathom the distance I would travel for you.’

Swoon! This high stakes adventure really took me by surprise. I expected it to be good but not this good. I really, really enjoyed this and subsequently picked up the second book already. I started this one mainly because I hadn’t read a good time travel story for almost a year and it is one of my favorite sci-fi subgenres. This book had nonstop action and a scavenger hunt feel as our main characters, Etta & Nicholas, follow clues searching for an object left for Etta to find by her mother, Rose. Sound confusing? At times, I’ll admit, I felt a little lost but I think that was more due to my mind wandering due to LIFE than to an actual issue with the book.

This is the first Alexandra Bracken novel I have ever read and I am happy she has so many other books for me to choose from! Her writing style is very fast-paced and that action kept me flipping pages at a speed that even for me, seemed impressive. I finished this so quickly and am just itching to get farther in Wayfarer. Passenger left off on such a cliffhanger I can’t imagine the people who read it when it first came out having to wait for the 2nd book to be released! Literal torture and this is why I am years behind on my duologies, trilogies and series.

If you are looking for a super fast, engaging and lively adventure this could be the perfect book for you. There is some romance which although no necessarily my favorite plot element was pretty okay. I didn’t cringe once so that’s huge for me. I love Nicholas, a time traveling sailor with a heart of gold -he may actually be my first book crush this year- so cheers to that!

I really enjoyed Etta as well. She is a violin prodigy who when we meet her is under a lot of pressure to perform and live up to expectations. Once she is swept up into the unexpected reality of time travel, we really see her blossom. I thought her character was really strong and took everything in stride. At one point, she thought to herself, if my mother could do this, than so can I. I loved that self-assurance and just taking things as they come. She had no idea this whole underground world was part of her mother’s life, or part of hers, and she was able to adapt and assert herself and I thought it was great to see as opposed to a heroine who just needs to be saved!

Have you read this book? Do you have any other time travel recommendations for me? If so, please leave a comment below – I want to be sure I am not missing out on any other gems like this one!

Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Publication Date: September 12, 2017    |    Rating: 5-STARS

It just occurred to me that I never wrote up a full review for this wonderful book! I am currently reading the 2nd book of this planned trilogy, Nyxia Unleashed, and went back to see what I had written in regards to the first book and alas, NOTHING! I think this was one of those books where I needed to process for a bit after I finished and than never ended up compiling those thoughts into an actual review. It’s a problem I am sure many of you have experienced.

This book is set in ‘our world’ in the near future where this huge corporation, Babel, selects ten teenagers to go to space and compete for a chance to be sent to the planet of Eden to mine a new miracle substance called, nyxia. The characters are very diverse, coming from countries all over the world, and the competition is fierce. The author, who is a teacher, writes teens very well in my opinion. The dialogue felt natural and how they relate to one another is spot on considering the circumstances they find themselves in. The main character, Emmett Atwater, is a great character. I had no problem becoming attached to him and was rooting him on from the very start.

Competitions in books are one of my favorite tropes. I am a competitive person (hello, Slytherin!) so I absolutely adore and relate to reading about competitions – the training, the mentors, the challenges…yep, love it all. These kids go through very vigorous training that at times is downright dangerous. They have so much to prepare for after all; being sent onto alien soil, that is in fact inhabited by aliens; dangerous ones according to Babel. A lot of the training takes place in VR (virtual reality) which adds a super cool gaming element to it as well! If you have been seeing any buzz for Nyxia Unleashed and wondering if it is worth tracking down the first book and starting this triad, I would say YES! It definitely is. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great, action-packed science fiction story; particularly with YA characters – great for readers of ALL ages!

What is your favorite trope to find in books? I want to know – leave a comment below or reach me through my contact links!  Cheers~

Fierce Competitors

Hey bookies!  Happy Hump Day (…and I’m already ready for the weekend!) – this has seriously just been such a busy week and I have barely gotten any reading done which makes me sad.  Since I have no books currently to review, I figured I would write a post today showing some love for fierce competitors in books.  I love competitions in books – they are actually one of my favorite plot lines.  Not sure what that says about me but I am Slytherin after all and I can admit to being a fairly competitive person. In addition to the competitions themselves, I also really enjoy the training that oftentimes leads up to those competitions.

What got me thinking about this is one of my current reads, Nyxia, by Scott Reintgen. This is a fairly recent YA sci-fi novel that I am absolutely loving! It was published in September 2017 and although I do not see too much buzz about it through social media channels, it definitely deserves some. The book is set in the near future where this huge corporation, Babel, picks ten teenagers to go to space and compete for a chance to be sent to the planet of Eden to mine a new miracle substance called, nyxia. The characters are very diverse, coming from countries all over the world, and the competition is fierce. The author, who is a teacher, writes teens very well- the dialogue and how they relate to one another is spot on.  I am about half way through and the gist at this point is training, training and more training. These kids have so much to prepare for, being sent onto alien soil, that is in fact inhabited by aliens! A lot of the training takes place in VR (virtual reality) which adds a super cool gaming element to it as well!  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great sci-fi story with teenage protagonists!

Of course, one of my favorite books of all time featuring a fierce competition would be The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This book is pretty much the epitome of competition narrative. When this book was released in 2008 it quite literally took the world by storm.  Everyone of every age seemed to be reading it. The story takes kids seriously and puts them into a competition where the ultimate goal is to be the last man (or woman) standing – it was gritty and ground-breaking at the time and has seriously inspired a great assortment of other similar stories in YA-literature.

One of the main reasons why I love The Hunger Games so much is Katniss Everdeen.  I absolutely adore Katniss as a protagonist due to her smarts, her strength and her ability to overcome any obstacle set before her.  Her will and drive is unsurpassed and although at times aloof, I feel her character is one of the most likable around.  After she volunteers to be a tribute for her district, in order to save her younger sister, Prim, Katniss is swept away to the Capital for training. She is definitely in the position of underdog going into this competition. Firstly, she is a girl which people tend to underestimate in competitions of strength and survival, and also because she comes from one of the poorer districts. Once the media coverage for the games begins however she is quickly able to transform herself, owing especially to a cleverly plotted ‘romance’ with her district’s male tribute, to a crowd favorite. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, at least watch the movie! A very well done adaptation in my opinion.

Now, I couldn’t possibly write a post about competitions in books without mentioning Harry Potter! Although a vein of competition runs throughout the series, through everything from Quidditch games, to the House Cup, my ultimate for the series would be the Triwizard Tournament. The Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in J.K. Rowling’s epic fantasy series, has always been my favorite and I think a lot of that is due to the competition itself. In The Goblet of Fire, we get to meet wizards and witches from other schools, which is also very cool and unique to this book. Even the legendary quidditch player, Viktor Krum is in residence at Hogwarts for this one! (swoon) The Tournament itself, well, it is by no means an ordinary competition – the level of danger and mystery is unequaled and this one, I know, will always stand on a pedestal to me!

Another book with an intense and highly satisfying competition element is, Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas.  This is the first book in Sarah’s hugely popular Throne of Glass series and it is where we meet 18-year old assassin, Celaena Sardothien. Celaena is a great character and has quickly taken a place on my ‘favorites’ list.  She is snarky, bold and haunted by a violent and mysterious past. In this start to the series, you learn that Celaena has been a prisoner at a labor camp, a mine to be exact, and she gets pulled out by Prince Dorian who offers her a chance to win her freedom.  In order to do so, she must act as his champion to compete for the chance of becoming the royal assassin. She agrees to his conditions and travels to the capital to begin her training. Once there she meets all the other champions, all strong, murderous burly men – okay, she is definitely an underdog but does she let it get to her? No way! Not Celaena – this girl is fully confident in her abilities and indeed they seem to be unmatched. She begins training with Chaol Westfall, the Captain of the Guards and Prince Dorian’s long-time friend. No matter what he throws at her she never backs down.  I love this girl! The competition is brutal and it pushes all contestants to their limits. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys a hearty competition!

Finally, the last book I would like to mention in this fierce competitors post is, Warcross, by Marie Lu.  This YA sci-fi novel was released in September of 2017. I pre-ordered a copy of this one for the cover alone but it ended up being one of my favorite books of 2017! The competition in this book is the International Warcross competition – what is Warcross you ask? In this story, Warcross is a VR game that essentially has taken over the world. Everyone in this story plays or at least it seems that way. Set in a rather bleak near-future, Warcross isn’t just a game, it is a way of life.  Our main character, Emika Chen, is a brilliant computer hacker who makes her living as a bounty hunter tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. When she uses her hacking skills to actually glitch into the real Warcross games she attracts the attention of the game’s creator, Hideo Tanaka, and our main course of action begins there. The gaming elements and competitive feel of this book keep it rolling along nicely with plenty of action. The final two chapters left me with chills. They say so much about our times, real life issues and philosophical ideas that could be hotly debated.  The second book in this duology is being release on my birthday this Fall (September 18th) so how perfect is that?  I will definitely be pre-ordering this one as well!

Do you know of any books with a strong competition element to the storyline that I haven’t mentioned here? If so, let me know about them! Comment here or message me on IG – I want to know and add them to my tbr! Cheers for now and happy reading!

 

Review: Wonderblood by Julia Whicker

Expected Publication Date: April 2018

Firstly, hello bookworld! I have been very absent lately on what I believed to be a 1-week Christmas vacation that has since turned into a 2-week Christmas vacation.  Yes, you read right!  Unexpected 2-week vacation. Due to inclement weather I have been unable to get back home – part of the joy of living on an island!

Okay, back to the topic – Wonderblood by Julia Whicker! I finished Wonderblood late last night and needed to sleep on it before I could formulate my thoughts into a coherent review. Firstly, this is a debut novel for Julia Whicker and although this book did not blow me away, I would certainly be interested in other books (unrelated to this one) that she may write in the future. I enjoyed her writing style a lot which was not just agreeable but at times absolutely lyrical.

At the beginning of the book, literally the first 10 to 15-pages, there was some content that almost made me give it up. It did not grab me at all and in fact certain elements of it turned me off. It is an adult sci-fi novel that is set in a very gritty, very harsh post-apocalyptic wasteland. There are triggers for abuse, child rape, sibling incest and/or sibling molestation; I could see this causing a lot of people to turn away very quickly from this book. If you can get by that, it does get a lot better and I am glad that I stuck with it.

The middle is where I feel the story is at its strongest, with political intrigue and an interesting “religious” system. The story does take place in a future United States, which has had its population decimated by a mad cow-like disease – this story picks up in the aftermath of that although we never learn too much about the chain of events prior to the current action. Quite generally, it reminded me of Mad Max meets The Road.

One of my biggest disappointments for this book was the lack of character development. I came away just feeling blah about all of the characters – there were none that I related too or even felt that I knew enough about to care for in any way. If this were a start to a series (I am not sure if it is slated as a stand-alone or a series), I would not pick up the second book, really because I just do not care what happens to any of these characters. Additionally, I didn’t feel like the atmosphere was strong enough to make up for the lack of character development.

Mainly, I gave this three stars due to the writing style of the author and the unique ideas included in the world she was creating – for example, I loved that the characters worshiped NASA space shuttles and had Cape Canaveral as their holiest of sites – but the execution overall fell a little flat for me. Please note, I was given a copy of this book from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to read it, comment on it and am excited to hear what other readers think of this story!

Another great thing about 2017….

Happy Saturday my bookish friends!  Earlier today I was watching a few different booktubers and it is definitely the time of year for wrap-ups!  While I was thinking back over the books I have read this year (73 books in all, if you’re interested in that sort of thing), I tried to pull together my top 5 to 10 books. This is a much harder task to do than one would think.  I haven’t decided what exactly those will be for now so decided to write a little bit today about an author, new to me, that I discovered in 2017.

Octavia E. Butler (1947 – 2006) is a phenomenal American science-fiction writer who I certainly wish I would have discovered earlier in life.  Her writing is intelligent, heartfelt and oddly prescient of today’s political climate, e.g. The Earthseed Series, (please look this up on Goodreads if you haven’t heard of it).

Kindred, originally published in 1979 was the first Butler book I read and I am very glad I started with that one.  In fact, I feel that is a good starting point to anyone new to her writings. I’m not sure I can properly convey in words how much I enjoyed this book. First person slave narrative portrayed by a person not of that time, seeing that time with fresh eyes; a true examination of American history. Categorized as a science fiction novel, the only sci-fi element really was the time travel that allowed Dana, our protagonist, to travel back through time to antebellum Maryland. It was seamless and simple and worked very well with the story. I was moved to the point of tears in the last portion of the book and my brain was still running in circles hours after finishing it. I loved everything about this book. It didn’t shy away from harsh topics: rape, slavery, race relations – I found it real and meaningful. I would recommend this book to anyone, everyone – get your copy today!!