Review: The Burning Shadow (Origin #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Burning Shadow (Origin, #2)The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WHAT THE…

Holy smokes! The revelations…

I need my head to stop spinning so I can see my screen to type this.

Picking up directly after the events of The Darkest Star, this book delves deeper into Evie Dasher’s past, as she questions blank spots in her memory and where she came from.

Now constantly by each other’s side, Evie and Luc, continue to grow closer and as she finally comes to grips with her feelings for him, he lets his true self shine more and more.

In the midst of investigating her own identity, a greater threat comes seemingly out of nowhere.

A highly infectious virus sweeps across the world, infecting humans, killing many and turning others into Walking Dead type nightmares.

The government blames the Luxen for the disease and discrimination against them flourishes.

After armed men invade her home, Evie is forced to flee all she has ever known and goes into hiding with Luc and a group of like-minded Luxen.

This was an excellent continuation to the Origin series. It did its job as far as a sequel goes by introducing interesting new characters and upping the stakes.

This one definitely made me want to go back and read the original, Lux, series, as I feel like it would help, at this point, for me to know more about the events that brought the Luxen and humans to where they are now.

Considering the third book in this series doesn’t release until October, I think I have just enough time to complete the Lux portion.

If you love teen angst, witty banter, high body counts and shocking revelations, you should definitely consider checking this series out!

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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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Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Continuing to build the world, upping the stakes, introducing new characters, Meyer sure knows how to write a sequel!

Scarlet Benoit’s Grandmother is missing and she’s the only one who seems to care.

As she begins to investigate the mysterious disappearance, she meets a stranger, Wolf, a street fighter, who may have some important information.

They are drawn to one another and a tenuous bond begins to form.

The more she digs, the more Scarlet discovers that there is quite a bit about her Grandma she didn’t know.

It turns out, Grandma was keeping a lot of secrets. Dangerous secrets that could sway the fate of the universe.

Cinder, our dynamic cyborg mechanic, is in prison, trying to escape. With her usual tenacity, she will stop at nothing to regain her freedom, gaining alliances along the way.

Cinder and Scarlet’s worlds come together as Meyer takes this story to the next level. I had so much fun reading this.

I wasn’t sure we would get to see Cinder in this one, so I was quite pleased with how Meyer weaved everything together.

I cannot wait to continue on with this series and hope to do so very soon!

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Review: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)All Systems Red by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A hearty thumbs up to my new relationship with Martha Wells!

This novella was such a delightful surprise. Bringing all the humor I love in my scifi, I definitely plan to continue on with the rest of The Murderbot Diaries.

In All Systems Red we meet our protagonist, who calls itself Murderbot, a sentient Security unit, as it accompanies a group of scientists on an exploratory mission of a uninhabited planet.

When they discover another group of explorers are on the planet but are unable to reach them on comm channels, they go to investigate.

Spurred on by corruption, hijinks and battles ensue, with Murderbot and the crew trying to flee unharmed.

I loved that this was told from the perspective of Murderbot. It was great to follow its thought processes at it navigated its complicated relationships with the humans.

I am so ready to continue on with Murderbot’s story in the next book, where I believe we learn more about its backstory.

Super compelling, highly readable and a must for any scifi fan!

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Review: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufmann

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

**4.5-stars rounded up**

So, this is what it feels like to have your heart ripped out?!

The year is 2380 and our story begins on the eve of graduation at Aurora Academy, after which squad leaders will choose their teams and be given their first real assignments.

Tyler Jones, star pupil and known leader, cannot sleep. Call it nerves, call it excitement, whatever it is, sleep is not happening!

During the course of the night he hears an SOS over the comm system and sets out to see if he can help. Since he is incredible in almost every way, of course he can help.

When he comes across the beaconing starship he finds hundreds dead with one survivor locked in cryogenic sleep.

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

Aurora is shocked when she comes out of cryo to find herself at some Academy for space cadets and not Octavia Colony, her original destination.

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

Tyler is disappointed and confused as well upon returning to the Academy. Due to his late night rescue mission, he missed graduation and as a consequence he missed out on the selection of teams.

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 and her puzzling claims about the nonexistent Octavia Colony.

Guys, to say I am anxiously anticipating Book #2 would literally be the understatement of 2019.

I loved this story a ton, my only small compliant being 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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Review: Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, #2)Golden Son by Pierce Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am wrecked.

Picking up approximately 2-years after Red Rising left off, we continue to follow our intrepid hero, Darrow au Anadromedus, The Reaper, as he forges secret warfare against the heartless rulers of society.

Full of the same action-packed, pulse-pounding battle scenes as the first book, this one adds on to the level of political intrigue and plotting.

It left my head spinning. In a good way!

My favorite part of this continues to be the world-building. Brown has created a dark, dystopian world with all of the brutality of ancient Rome but in space. As we all know, everything is better…

Additionally, the characters are compelling and well-fleshed out. Darrow is particularly riveting. I love his evolution as a character and have truly felt for him as he grapples with impossible decisions that ultimately end up haunting him.

It’s hard to lead a revolution. Particularly when you have to keep it hidden. A proverbial snake in the grass, who can he trust with his secrets?

His pain and joy are visceral. I felt every moment. Relationships are continuing to develop and as always, there is a healthy dose of back-stabbing and betrayals mixed in for good measure.

I am really looking forward to moving on with this story. My plan is to continue with the audiobooks. The narrator is Darrow to me. They couldn’t have selected a better choice! So well done.

If you haven’t picked up this genre-bending series yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

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Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)Gemina by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As the BeiTech assault continues, we follow two all-new characters aboard the Jump Station Heimdall.

For those of you familiar with this series, you may recall that the Heimdall is the destination that one of our protagonists from Illuminae, Kady Grant, on the Hypatia, was ultimately hoping to reach with news of the Kerenza attack.

If you haven’t yet read Illuminae, number one, what are you waiting for? Number two, you can read my review here to see how much I loved it: Meg’s Illuminae Review

One thing you may be wondering at this point, is why did I only give this 4-stars, when I gave Illuminae ONE MILLION STARS?

Format. It’s all about the format.

Due to receiving a lot of comments that I should try the audiobooks for this series, in conjunction with the hard copies, I decided to do just that.

I was going on vacation, including a long road trip, so downloaded the audiobook and packed my hard copy. The thought was I could listen in the car and while at our destination, I could read my hardcover.

However, I had zero time to read on vacation…

…so, I ended up listening to the entirety of the book on audio.

Now don’t get me wrong, the production was flipping fantastic. Absolutely phenomenal full cast with sound effects, etc., but I am such a visual person, I missed the unique formatting and illustrations within the hard copy.

Additionally, I became quite attached to Kady, Ezra and AIDAN in the first book and was sad not to be following them directly in this story as well.

I did eventually come to really enjoy Nik, the Heimdall’s resident bad boy with a heart of gold and Hanna, its spoiled princess with an edge, but Kady will always be my number one.

There is no doubt that this book is action-packed and a great continuation of the BeiTech assault. I am really looking forward to the final book in the trilogy, Obsidio, but I will definitely be reading my hard copy version to conclude the series.

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Review: When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

When the Sky Fell on SplendorWhen the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

This is a tough one.

A sort of genre-mash of things I love but together seemed a little disjointed but still good…yeah…

A few years back the town of Splendor was wracked by an industrial accident. Pretty much everyone in the town was effected in some way.

The plant were the accident occurred literally employed about half the town. There was an explosion and a lot of people were killed.

As you can for imagine, for a small town, this had horrible ramifications. People had brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and spouses stolen away from them in an instant.

In part, that is what this book is about. Even though it is around 5-years later, the aftermath continues to be challenging for those remaining residents of Splendor.

We follow a group of teens who have really come together since the accident. The adults in their lives are dealing with their own grief and sort of left the kids on their own to deal with theirs. This group of kids has come to rely on each other in both meaningful and beautiful ways.

As an exploration of grief, this is a touching, heart-wrenching story but there is also a science-fiction element that I found truly interesting.

You can tell that the author really enjoys science, as do I. There are detailed sections on black holes, time/space, fibonacci spirals and the idea of a cosmic consciousness.

I loved the friend group and how supportive they were of one another and I loved the science. However, there was something a little wonky about the way it was all strung together. It didn’t feel cohesive to me.

As always, this is 100% subjective and you may read this and think, ‘what the hell was Meg talking about?’ And that’s fine!

Just for me, it felt like the narrative was fighting over what kind of story it was trying to be. It didn’t feel like a seamless composition, if that makes sense.

Overall, I am really glad that I read this book. It is definitely a thoughtful exploration of a lot of interesting and important topics. I also think Emily Henry is a very talented woman and clearly a lot more intelligent than I am!

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Review: The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss #1) by London Shah

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1)The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Debut novels have really been impressing me lately and this one is no exception. Man, what a captivating story. I don’t think I have ever read anything quite like this.

Set at the end of the 21st-century, the world is now underwater. Our protagonist, 16-year old Leyla McQueen is living on her own in London.

Her Father has been arrested and spirited away by government officials, although no one will tell her exactly where.

Leyla knows he is innocent of the crimes for which he is accused and now her whole life is focused on trying to find him and get him back.

When the opportunity arises for her to compete in a government-sanctioned auto race, with the prize being anything the winner desires, she puts her whole heart into winning.

The marathon doesn’t turn out to be what she expected, however, and Leyla finds herself fleeing the perceived safety of London and heading out to lesser chartered waters for the first time in her life.

Now in her own submarine with her sweet pup, Jojo, virtual domestic help, Oscar, and a new body guard, Ari, she sets out to finally solve the mystery of what happened to her Father.

This book is so intriguing, you guys. Once I got into it, I could not put it down and pretty much read it in two days. There is a an enemies-to-lovers plot element which I enjoyed. It was very mild though so if romance isn’t your thing, I would just say that it never overpowered the rest of the storyline.

For me the elements I was picking up the most were the great bits of politically-charged social commentary. That may not be the greatest way to describe it. The story itself isn’t of a political nature but the topics explored definitely were and are poignant for a lot happening in the world right now.

Topics I noticed would include the idea that it is okay to question authority, to question the official story. It explored the idea of governments molding citizens viewpoints on ‘others’ and how individuals can be punished if they speak up or against such sanctioned ideas. There were elements of ‘terrorism’, domestic and otherwise, explored, as well as an us-versus-them mentality.

While all these topics were threaded throughout the narrative, to me, they never felt forced or like the author was championing an agenda. It was all very natural and organic to the plot progression. I was impressed with how the author was able to do that.

It’s also important to note this is Own Voices representation for a Muslim main character. Both of Leyla’s parents were of Afghan descent. So if you are looking for more stories with Muslim main characters, I think this would be a great one for you to check out!

I thought the scifi elements in here were excellent. Very forward thinking and unique as far as the whole world being underwater. I think the concepts are very approachable for all readers, so even if you don’t read a lot of scifi, maybe you are afraid you won’t necessarily understand it all, I don’t think that would be the case here.

Finally, there are very cool ‘monsters’ in this story! They were honestly one of my favorite parts. They are called anthropoids and are basically genetically-modified humans that can breathe underwater. So, think the evil mermaids from Harry Potter — very well done.

Thank you so, so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I was so impressed and cannot wait for the next book to be released!

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