Review: Black Tide by K.C. Jones

Black TideBlack Tide by K.C. Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beth is a bit of a hot mess and she’s the first one to admit it. She drinks a tad too much and has been known to flee in the face of responsibility; at least before.

Lately though, Beth has been turning things around. She’s been pet-sitting and feels like she is getting good at it. She’s even getting referred to new clients by happy patrons.

That’s how Beth ends up at a beach house on an empty stretch of the Oregon coast on the day the world ends.

She is staying with the best good dog, Jake, and all has been going well. She’s been spying a little bit on the man next door, but that’s to be expected, isn’t it?

He’s handsome, in a mysterious, scruffy sort of way. He seems lonely. Beth is all kinds of curious about this mystery man.

So, when she sees him drinking expensive champagne on his deck one evening, she heads over to introduce herself.

His name is Mike and he is a film producer. The two hit it off and spend the evening enjoying each other’s company in every way you can imagine.

That night, at Mike’s place, Beth doesn’t sleep well. Her drunken dreams are full of horrifying images that are still rattling around in her brain upon waking.

She finds Mike and Jake together on the beach. Apparently, Mike had gone to the dog’s rescue. Beth can’t believe she left Jake alone in the house next door overnight.

That’s what the booze can do; great decision-making, Beth.

Mike tells Beth all about the insane meteor shower he witnessed from the beach. There’s still evidence of the destruction it wrought. Plus, there’s the thing that he found.

The power is out, so they have no way of listening to any news. How wide spread was the event and what exactly was it?

They decide to drive up the beach and investigate where they believe one of the meteors actually struck. Maybe there will be someone around who knows more of what’s happening.

Black Tide is the most intense book I have read in a long time. Edge of your seat doesn’t even begin to describe it.

From that very first night, as the meteors start to fall, the tension begins. Driving down the beach the following day, they become stranded and the circumstances continue getting worse for the trio; yes, I am counting Jake.

The entire thing was a nail biter. I was yelling at the book, advising them what they should do: protect Jake at all costs!!

I love Sci-Fi Horror and I found this one to be incredibly fun. The concepts were unique, the character development was great and the build-up of intensity was fantastic.

It had such a claustrophobic feel. Oh My goodness, I am squirming even thinking about it!

I grew to really care for these characters. In particular, Beth and Jake. I felt like I was able to relate to Beth so much. It made the stakes feel a lot higher for me. I just wanted them to be safe.

I would definitely recommend this to any Horror Reader, but particularly to those who enjoy a lovely blend of Sci-Fi and Horror elements.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Nightfire, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Black Tide releases on May 10, 2022.

Be sure to add it to your Spring TBR!!

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Review: Tiger Honor (Thousand Worlds #2) by Yoon Ha Lee

Tiger HonorTiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Tiger Honor is the second book in the Thousand Worlds series by veteran Sci-Fi writer, Yoon Ha Lee. This series is published through the Rick Riordan Presents imprint.

The first book, Dragon Pearl, was released in 2019 and was my favorite Middle Grade release of that year. At the time when I read it, I thought it was a standalone.

I was so happy when I heard the news that we would be getting more in this world; best described as a Space Opera inspired by Korean mythology.

In this installment we follow a young tiger spirit, Sebin, who dreams of joining the Thousand Worlds Space Forces just like their Uncle Hwan, who they greatly admire.

But on the day that Sebin’s acceptance letter arrives, another letter arrives as well and the news it brings is not good.

According to this letter, their Uncle Hwan abandoned his duty in search of the legendary Dragon Pearl and has thusly been branded a traitor. His current whereabouts are unknown.

As Sebin heads off to their orientation, they decide that no matter what, they’ll find the truth, hopefully clearing Uncle Hwan’s name and returning honor to their clan in the process.

As you may expect, however, things do not go as planned for sweet Sebin.

This story is full of action and a ton of heart. Sebin is such a cinnamon roll, who is easy to become attached to. The pace is super quick, and I’ll be honest, at times I found myself a little lost.

Even though that’s the case, it always came back around for me and I had a lot of fun reading it.

For me though, this wasn’t quite as enjoyable a story as the first book, in that it lacked a bit of the humor that I always felt when following, Min, the protagonist of Dragon Pearl.

Sebin, I would say, is more of an old soul, a bit more serious than Min was, and the narrative reflected that, making this story feel more mature than your average Middle Grade.

With this being said, Lee’s writing, as would be expected, is impressive. The complex mix of Sci-Fi with Mythological elements was so well done.

Additionally, the characters Lee develops are extremely likable. You root for them when you’re supposed to, you dislike them when you are supposed to and you certainly love them when you are supposed to. Chef’s kiss.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Audio and Rick Riordan Presents, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This one left off in a great place. This could be it, but I am really hoping for more in the Thousand Worlds. There are endless possibilities as to where this series could go!!

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Review: Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells

Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4)Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Exit Strategy is the fourth novella in Martha Wells’ beloved Sci-Fi series, The Murderbot Diaries.

I have really enjoyed my time with this series so far. It’s hard to believe how attached I have become to the unconventional protagonist, an antisocial SecUnit, Murderbot.

I have read all of the novellas in this series via audiobook. Part of the reason for that is because they’re narrated by Kevin R. Free, who is the absolute perfect narrator for this series. He is Murderbot in my mind.

In this installment, we reunite with Murderbot, who continues on their galaxy-wide quest to find answers regarding their past, all while gathering info on the mysterious and sinister GrayCris Corporation.

After Milu, Murderbot chooses to return to HaveRatton Station, which may turn out to be a big mistake. It hopes to meet with Dr. Mensah, but it looks like Dr. Mensah may be in a bit of trouble.

Experiencing something that could be defined as a feeling ((yuck, says Murderbot)), it decides it will do what it needs to in order to help save Dr. Mensah; pairing up with some old acquaintances in the process.

I was pleased with this novella, although I feel like it didn’t quite capture my attention in the same way that the previous three have. I think for me, it felt like it wasn’t quite as humorous as the earlier books.

Perhaps, that’s because Murderbot didn’t have the same lovable AI characters to exchange witty banter with. Yeah, that is probably it.

I am loving how Murderbot continues to evolve, as far as its relationships with humans go. I am particularly into whatever is happening with Mensah; it’s quite intriguing.

The next book in the series, Network Effect, is the first full-length novel in this series, coming in at 350-pages. I am super excited to get into that one!

I highly recommend this to Readers who enjoy action-packed, light-hearted, often hilarious Sci-Fi stories. Look no further, Murderbot is where it’s at.

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Review: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle, #2)Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Aurora Burning is the second book in veteran writing duo, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s, The Aurora Cycle trilogy.

If you have read The Illuminae Files you are well aware that these authors are no strangers to writing hella compelling, action-packed, YA-science fiction stories.

In this installment, Squad 3-1-2 is back, this time on the run from both the authorities and baddies alike.

With an ancient evil force threatening to consume the entire galaxy, it is safe to say that our lovable band of heroes have a lot on their plate. They believe Auri could be the key to solving the problem, but they still need to figure out how.

They get the opportunity to head back to the Hadfield, the ship from Auri’s past, to try to figure out some of the mystery surrounding her; there’s a lot.

As always, they run into a wee bit of trouble on that mission.

Bigger trouble is on the horizon when Kal’s savage long-lost sister makes an appearance with an entire Slydrathi army at her back. Let’s just say, she’s not there for a charming family reunion.

This entire book is go-go-go, from the very beginning. I enjoyed learning more about all of the characters, as well as being introduced to new ones.

The stakes are getting higher and I seriously have no idea how this trilogy is going to be concluded. I am really glad that I held off on reading this one until Aurora’s End released.

I don’t know how I would have made it through otherwise. This one finishes on such an incredible cliffhanger, oh my goodness!

I’m hoping to finish up with the trilogy by the end of the year. Wrapping up 2021 in style!

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Rereading Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Squad 3-1-2 forever!

Reading Aurora Rising for the second time was such a treat. I think I am going to be rid of that pesky 4.5-stars rounded up thing we did the first time round.

It felt so incredibly good to be back with these characters and in this world.

I felt like I was able to relax more into the story this time, as I wasn’t flipping the pages a million miles per hour to see what was going to happen next.

Therefore, I was able to learn more about and become even more attached to this cast. Each character is unique and brings their own special blend of something good to the table.

My plan is to move directly on to the second book, Aurora Burning, and then straight on through to Aurora’s End.

My copy of Aurora’s End just arrived today and I am so excited to see how this is going to turn out. I literally have no predictions.

If you are a Scifi fan, if you loved the Illuminae Files, if you love stories set in space, if you love stories featuring a ragtag group of individuals fighting for survival, you should pick this up.

Heck, everyone should pick this up! It’s a great book, an action-packed story and a phenomenal start to a series.

Earlier

Now that the final book, Aurora’s End, has been released, I am rereading this, because I hope to actually binge the entire trilogy this month!

#goals

Let’s do this!!!

Original:

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Apparently, this is what it feels like to have your still beating heart ripped violently out of your chest?!

The year is 2380; our story begins on the eve of graduation at Aurora Academy. Traditionally, immediately following the graduation ceremony, squad leaders choose their teams and are given their first real assignments.

Tyler Jones, star pupil and known leader, cannot sleep.

Call it nerves, call it excitement for the future, whatever it is, sleep is not happening.

During the course of his restless night, he hears an SOS over the comm system and sets out to see if he can help.

He reasons, since he is incredible in almost every way, he will definitely be able to help.

When he comes across the starship emitting the SOS beacon, he finds hundreds of dead aboard, with just one survivor locked in cryogenic sleep state.

Fortunately, he is able to save her and bring her back to the Academy with him. But just who is this beautiful lone survivor?

Coming out of cryosleep, Aurora is shocked to find herself at an Academy for space cadets and not at Octavia Colony, her original destination.

As she struggles to clear her head and put the pieces of the puzzle together, she also discovers she has some sort of mysterious powers awakening.

Tyler is disappointed and confused upon returning to the Academy as well.

Due to his late night rescue mission, he missed graduation and as a consequence, the selection of teams.

As a new squad leader, what is he left with?

His sister, a loyal friend and a few other miscreants: Scarlett, Cat, Kal, Fin and Zila.

Thusly, Squad 312 is formed. The most lovable bunch of misfits the galaxy has ever seen!

The story follows all of their perspectives as they go on their first mission and learn more about Aurora, as well as her puzzling claims about the nonexistent Octavia Colony.

Guys, to say I am anxiously anticipating the next book would literally be the understatement of 2019.

I loved this story a ton. My only negative is that I found the numerous POVs a bit jarring at times. Other than that, nothing but love from me!

Squad 312 against the whole galaxy?

This author duo is hard to beat in my eyes. I hope they continue to collaborate for years to come!!!

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Pines (Wayward Pines #1) by Blake Crouch

Pines (Wayward Pines, #1)Pines by Blake Crouch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pines, the first book in Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy, was originally published in 2012. This is a significant backlist bump for me and luckily, quite successful.

When my dear friend, Shannon, suggested buddy reading this together, I was 100% on board.

I loved both Dark Matter and Recursion from Crouch and suspected it would be more of the same with this series. I was completely correct with that assumption.

I actually did watch the first season of the television show, Wayward Pines, released in 2015 on FOX, so I had a very strong idea of what this story was all about.

The whole time I was reading this, picturing Matt Dillon as Ethan Burke of course, I couldn’t help but be impressed with how the television show was handled.

I mean, as adaptations go, this one was actually pretty stellar. Because of that though, not a lot of this came as a surprise to me, however, this is a really clever story.

I would say it is definitely worth a read, even if you have watched the show. There’s just something about the way that Crouch can consistently build intensity that is just so damn impressive.

Ethan is a great main character to follow. He’s extremely intelligent and vigilant in what he does, and it is such a treat watching him discover what Wayward Pines is all about.

I have already finished the second book, Wayward, and am really looking forward to wrapping the series up. I cannot even imagine how this will end!

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Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Project Hail MaryProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Ryland Grace awakens from a coma, he discovers he is on a spaceship. He doesn’t know why, or how, in fact, he can’t even remember his own name.

Checking his surroundings, Ryland quickly determines he is alone; the other two crew members evidently not making it out of their comas. Well, shoot, not good.

Figuring he has nothing but time, Ryland sets about investigating his surroundings in the hopes he can determine his purpose for being where he is.

As his memories slowly return, he understands the importance, and improbability of his task. He’s on a solo mission to save Earth from an extinction-level event. So, no pressure.

I absolutely adored this story. I am one of the few people left on the planet who hasn’t read, The Martian yet and after reading this, I’m disappointed in myself.

This was incredibly well-written; fast-paced, clever and hilarious. I loved Ryland’s character so much. His analytical, yet humorous nature, truly made this story shine.

As a longtime Sci-Fi fan, I can honestly say, this is one of the best books I have read in the genre. Everything about it was gripping from start to finish.

The way Weir constructed the mystery of it all and then plotted the reveals, chef’s kiss!!!

I highly recommend this, even if you don’t tend to read Science-Fiction, I believe this story can be enjoyed by Readers of all genres.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It was a remarkable reading experience, one I will remember for a long time!!

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Review: Star Wars The High Republic: Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland

Star Wars The High Republic: Out of the ShadowsStar Wars The High Republic: Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out of the Shadows, is an upcoming Young Adult novel set to be released on July 27th, as part of the new Disney Star Wars: The High Republic content.

This novel is set approximately a year after the galaxy-wide event known as the Great Disaster.

This is the fourth installment of the High Republic materials that I have read and I enjoyed watching all the various storylines converge a bit in this one.

The larger, outlying picture is beginning to come more into focus. This novel follows a host of different perspectives including one of my favorite new characters, Jedi Vernestra Rowh, along with various other characters that I have come across in the earlier HR works.

As generally happens with Star Wars novels, there was quite a bit of action, but this additionally had a healthy dose of back-handed political maneuverings and finer details surrounding the Nihil raiders.

While the Young Reader installments, such as A Test of Courage and Race to Crashpoint Tower focus on a singular encounter with the Nihil, this was broader in scope. It clearly shows that the Nihil are much more resourceful a foe than the Jedi initially surmised.

Following shortly after the Nihil attack on Valo, many of the characters are still reeling from that trauma and are ill-prepared for what may be coming next.

I appreciated how Ireland kept that a part of the narrative. Allowing even Jedi to question their role and feelings regarding the current threats in the galaxy. Particularly conversations between Vernestra and her Padawan, Imri, I found to be quite touching.

I am genuinely excited to see what happens from here. Also, I still have a couple earlier HR books I still need to get to, so definitely plan to do that soon.

Like any Star Wars book, the HR books can be read in any order, as long as you are cognizant of where it falls in the timeline.

With this being said, you do have some time until this one releases, so I would definitely recommend checking out some of the previously published HR books while you wait. To make things easier for you, I will list them below:

Light of the Jedi
Into the Dark
A Test of Courage
The Rising Storm
Star Wars The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower

That’s a lot of great content to sink your teeth into. Don’t delay, start today!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms Press, for providing me with an early copy of this to read and review. It has been my absolute pleasure to devour all these recent publications!!!

This is top-notch Canon content here and I’m living for it!

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Review: Star Wars The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel Jose Older

Star Wars The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint TowerStar Wars The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel José Older
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Race to Crashpoint Tower is another fantastic Junior Star Wars novel set in the era of the High Republic; the golden age of the Jedi.

The recently released HR books all take place around the time of a galaxy-wide event known as the Great Disaster.

This catastrophic event caused a bit of chaos as ships were launched out of hyperspace, moons were destroyed and great amounts of debris were spread about.

To put it in a timeline perspective, these High Republic novels predate all previously released Star Wars Canon materials.

This story is set on the planet of Valo, after the Great Disaster, where a Republic Fair is about to take place.

Jedi Padawan, Ram Jamoram, is working diligently in his garage when a security alarm sounds from the communication center known as Crashpoint Tower.

Ram sets out with his trusty droid, V-18, to investigate. Once there he discovers the tower has purposefully been tampered with; blocking all communications. Nihil sabotage!

Now Ram must warn the Jedi and seek help as the planet comes under siege. With the galaxy teetering between balance and chaos, can order be restored?

Luckily, another young Jedi Padawan arrives from off-planet, Lula, and she joins Ram as they try to repair the comms, so they can notify the Republic they’re under attack. Perhaps Starlight will send reinforcements.

The Nihil raiders have also joined forces with other dark force beings from the wider galaxy, raising the stakes and the difficulty level of Ram and Lula’s mission significantly.

This was such a fun story. I loved seeing the connections between this and the other stories within the new High Republic materials.

There was even character crossover, as one of my favorite characters from A Test of Courage advised on this mission.

As always with the Junior Canon novels, I found this to be easy to follow, fast-paced, funny and an excellent introduction to the belief system of the Jedi and the workings of the galaxy in general.

I am really glad I had a chance to read this one. The audiobook is incredible, as the Star Wars audiobooks always include great narration and fun sound effects.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms Press, for providing me with the audiobook of this to read and review.

It was a ton of fun and I cannot wait for the next releases in the High Republic content!

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Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Story by James Luceno

Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One StoryCatalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Story by James Luceno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Catalyst: A Rogue One Story, while admittedly not my favorite, was still a good story. I can appreciate all the fine details it adds to the larger picture.

It’s probably my fault for picking this up directly after, Dark Disciple, which I absolutely loved!!!

This is a prequel novel to the Rogue One film.

Basically it follows Orson Krennic, part of Chancellor Palpatine’s Death Star Project, along with brilliant scientist, Galen Erso and his family.

This had a lot more technical details and political maneuverings than character work and drama, but as I said, it was still good.

I’m glad I read it as it provides a solid backdrop for the events of Rogue One, an immediate prequel to A New Hope; probably only necessary, or interesting, to hardcore fans.

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