Summary: Melanie has a destiny, though it isn’t the one everyone assumes it to be. She’s delicate; she’s fragile; she’s dying. Now, truly, is the winter of her soul. Harry doesn’t want to believe in destiny, because that means accepting the loss of the one person who gives his life meaning, who brings summer to his world. So, when a new road is laid out in front of them—a road that will lead through untold dangers toward a possible lifetime together—walking down it seems to be the only option. But others are following behind, with violence in their hearts. It looks like Destiny has a plan for them, after all….
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Seasonal Fears is the sequel to Middlegame (which I read and loved last year). It’s set in the same world but follows new characters. We get to know Melanie and Harry. Melanie was created by alchemist parents. Her mother died while giving birth, along with Melanie’s twin sister. Harry is a local boy, one that Melanie has loved from childhood, and Harry loves Melanie just as much. But when the ruling Winter and Summer die, Mel and Harry are in for a big surprise. I had a total blast reading this book. I feel like this one was a bit simpler than the first book only because the differences between the seasonal magic and whatever Roger and Dodger are, are many. Also, because of certain plot reasons, Harry just really struggles to understand what the hell is going on, so things are explained several times in a few different ways. I really liked following Melanie and Harry. They were a really sweet young couple and their love was wholesome until it wasn’t. Their relationship progressed with the changes going on around them. They were both more mature than the other kids their age because Melanie was likely to die soon, so the pair knows how to deal with heavy things. But learning magic is real, and the lengths they need to go to in order to survive and stay together will take things down a darker path. Overall, I loved this book. I loved the surprises and twists. I loved the world of alchemy. I loved the characters. I highly recommend both this and Middlegame.
Summary: Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organization was simple: To advocate for the world’s future generations and to protect all living creatures, present and future. It soon became known as the Ministry for the Future, and this is its story. From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a vision of climate change unlike any ever imagined. Told entirely through fictional eye-witness accounts, The Ministry For The Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, the story of how climate change will affect us all over the decades to come. Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us – and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face. It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written.
Review: The Ministry for the Future follows several different characters over several different years. It was a strange story because I was never really sure where it was going outside of ‘how do we save the Earth?’ It seemed liked it was going to, and it did with character relationships, but the whole plot was about how to stop climate change. Now, I liked the story of climate change visibly worsening, and the sometimes-outlandish things that were tried to have any sort of positive impact. But we followed some characters really closely and got to know them really intimately. I thought all of these characters were unique and made the story more interesting. Overall, this book was enjoyable. I think that’s partly because I listened to the audiobook which has a full cast of narrators. I think they did a great job bringing this story to life. I think my issue with this book is that I wasn’t expecting it to be such a character-driven story. I still liked it, but it wasn’t what I expected. I will for sure recommend this one to other sci-fi lovers.
Summary: The dinosaurs is back on earth–alive, now, in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. The story, told with an almost documentary verisimilitude, is an account of the attempt, through a hair-raising twenty-four hours on a remote jungle island, to avert a global emergency–a crisis triggered by today’s headlong rush (virtually unchecked by any government or scientific watchdogs) to commercialise genetic engineering. In Jurassic Park, Crichton makes brilliant and mesmerizing use of the unique amalgam of suspense and informed science (this time palaeontology, biotechnology, and chaos theory) that he originated in The Andromeda Strain. Of all his superb scientific thrillers–all of them best-sellers–Jurassic Park is in every way the strongest. It is certain to be his most widely read, talked about, and unreservedly enjoyed novel to date.
Review: So, I’ve always been a fan of the Jurassic Park movies, but recently, I’ve binge-watched all the movies over again as well as the animated Netflix series. This prompted me to finally work on reading the book. I’m glad that I did because I really enjoyed the book. Jurassic Park, if you don’t know, tells the story of what could happen if we recreated dinosaurs, but for what’s essentially a zoo. The why behind this is of course because of the potential to make money. But with dinosaurs, obviously, everything that can go wrong does. I was most interested to see the differences between the book and the movies. I thought the things they’d decided to change from the book to the movie were really interesting. For example, the owner of the park Mr. Hammond was a total asshole in the book. He was greedy and rude and didn’t listen to any of the experts that he had hired. But in the movie, he is more of a sweet old man with a dream. There were a few other things that stood out to me as big differences, but I overall really liked the book. I had a good time picturing all of the actors as the characters. It felt like I was coming back to a familiar story. I’m glad that I finally read this.
Summary: Ten years ago, Zelda led a band of merry adventurers whose knacks let them travel to alternate realities and battle the black rot that threatened to unmake each world. Zelda was the warrior; Ish could locate people anywhere; Ramon always knew what path to take; Sarah could turn catastrophe aside. Keeping them all connected: Sal, Zelda’s lover and the group’s heart. Until their final, failed mission, when Sal was lost. When they all fell apart. Ten years on, Ish, Ramon, and Sarah are happy and successful. Zelda is alone, always traveling, destroying rot throughout the US. When it boils through the crack in the Liberty Bell, the rot gives Zelda proof that Sal is alive, trapped somewhere in the alts. Zelda’s getting the band back together—plus Sal’s young cousin June, who has a knack none of them have ever seen before. As relationships rekindle, the friends begin to believe they can find Sal and heal all the worlds. It’s not going to be easy, but they’ve faced worse before. But things have changed, out there in the alts. And in everyone’s hearts. Fresh from winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Max Gladstone weaves elements of American myth–the muscle car, the open road, the white-hatted cowboy–into a deeply emotional tale where his characters must find their own truths if they are to survive.
Review: Thank you to NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Last Exit follows Zelda who is trying to protect the world from ending. When she was in college, she and four others that connected, discovered a way to travel to alternate realities. But while in their search for a better world, they discovered the rot. The rot is coming for the world they live in and Zelda has spent the last ten years combating the rot. But when Zelda learns that Sal, her girlfriend who disappeared ten years ago, thought to be taken by the rot, is still out there, she contacts her friends from college for one last trip. I was so easily sucked into this story. The concept of a bunch of alternate realities was so interesting. I think Gladstone did an amazing job with the world-building and the setting descriptions. I’m not usually very good at picturing settings but Gladstone made it easy to picture the different alts (what the characters call the alternate realities they travel to). I would love a whole book just about these friends’ adventures in the alts when they were first traveling through them. This is a friend group that I feel like I would fit right in with. Zelda and Sal were in a relationship before they discovered the alts. There’s also Ramon who seemed like a total cinnamon roll. Ish was the one character that I felt like I could never really put my finger on. And Sarah, the mom of the group. Sarah never wanted to travel to the alts but did so anyway because she knew someone needed to look out for her friends. I really liked all five of them. Plus the new addition of June, Sal’s cousin joins Zelda with the goal of learning the truth of what really happened when Sal disappeared. Each of the six bring something different to the group and I just really enjoyed getting to know them all. This story is told in both the present, with everyone reuniting, and also in flashbacks to the past where we learn the stories that are mentioned in the present. I think this was such a good way to tell this story. It built up the suspense of the group traveling back to where everything went wrong by sharing small bits and stories from the past. We follow them in the present, but we also follow them in the past on their path to losing Sal. Overall, this book was strange as hell and I really loved it. It’s angry and broken, but also full of healing from the past and characters that each find different ways to move forward from their past. I think the world was compelling and the characters were engaging. I will absolutely be recommending this book in the future.
Summary: Caiden’s planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans. He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.
Review: I have to be honest. I’d never heard of this book until I accidentally requested its sequel in NetGalley. I didn’t read the synopsis very carefully when requesting and once I was approved, I found Nophek Gloss from my library and borrowed it so that I could read Azura Ghost. Nophek Gloss follows Caiden (also called Winn, which yes, was absolutely confusing now and again), as he manages to be the only survivor of the genocide of his people. He’s raised as a slave to the “overseers” and when his people no longer serve their purpose, they’re fed to the creatures named nophek which grow gems in their heads that are very valuable. Caiden manages to survive this slaughter and finds a ship, and also a crew searching for a ship, to escape the planet the nophek live on. Caiden makes a deal with the crew, they will get him to safety and he will give them the gem he pulled from the head of a dead nophek. But Caiden is set on vengeance, he won’t be dissuaded from his newly decided mission. And the story sprawls out from there. Caiden was a tough main character to follow. He’s 14 years old when the story starts, but because of science capabilities in this world, he’s accelerated six years. He is physically 20 years old and has all the knowledge that he needs to survive implanted in his brain. He changes pretty drastically. But there are side effects and as the story continues, he essentially tortures himself to relieve those side effects and once again, he’s changed pretty drastically. It made sense with the plot and what was going on with the story, but his growth as a character never really felt organic or natural. He was forcing change upon himself and not always for the better. He also just wasn’t super nice. We’re supposed to believe that the crew who rescued him have become his found family, but I wasn’t really invested in those relationships. And even less so when we learn about Caiden’s genetic history and the abilities that come with that history. By the end of the story, I was a little bit more convinced, but I just didn’t feel convinced by the relationships as much as I think was supposed to be. The world-building was top-notch. It was a little confusing because once Caiden accelerated his age and knowledge, we didn’t get everything explained to us as much as we did before then. But it’s clear that the author really build a detailed and intricate world for this series. There were just a lot of different species and people to learn and remember. I was pretty engaged by the politics of the world though. The concept of endless universes and the ability to travel through them was interesting. But the politics of the different leaders and governments were pretty compelling. I think we will be getting a lot more of that in the sequel and I’m excited to see it. Overall, I liked this book. It’s not a new favorite or anything, but the world-building was interesting and the journey that the characters went on was engaging. Even though I wasn’t fully invested in the characters themselves, I still was interested to see what they did and what would happen next. I absolutely predicted the ending and set up for book two, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that all plays out.
Summary: In the near future, advances in medicine and quantum computing make human cloning a reality. For the wealthy, cheating death is the ultimate luxury. To anticloning militants, it’s an abomination against nature. For young Constance “Con” D’Arcy, who was gifted her own clone by her late aunt, it’s terrifying. After a routine monthly upload of her consciousness—stored for that inevitable transition—something goes wrong. When Con wakes up in the clinic, it’s eighteen months later. Her recent memories are missing. Her original, she’s told, is dead. If that’s true, what does that make her? The secrets of Con’s disorienting new life are buried deep. So are those of how and why she died. To uncover the truth, Con is retracing the last days she can recall, crossing paths with a detective who’s just as curious. On the run, she needs someone she can trust. Because only one thing has become clear: Con is being marked for murder—all over again.
Review: I read Constance for my local book club and I’m really glad we ended up picking this one. I voted for a totally different book, but Constance ended up being a totally wild ride that I devoured in one day. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by a narrator that I didn’t realize I’d listened to before. She did an excellent job telling this story. I will definitely recommend the audiobook in the future. The story follows Constance who prefers to be called Con. We’re introduced to Con and her life, and the experience of going in for her monthly memory upload. You see, Con lives in the near future where cloning is common (for the rich), and her aunt is one of the scientists that made the big break into cloning, so even though Con isn’t one of the super-rich, she has a clone. But something’s gone wrong, Con wakes up from her normal monthly memory upload to learn that she’s not actually just done a memory upload, and instead she’s now the clone waking because the original Constance must have died. And also, the original hasn’t been in for a memory upload in almost two years, so Con has lots of missing pieces that need to be filled in. She’s determined to fill in those pieces but the more she learns, the more questions she has. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this story, but I certainly wasn’t expecting a sci-fi thriller. I didn’t really read the summary before starting the story, but once Con (the clone) wakes, I was absolutely hooked. The author did a really great job of building suspense and letting the reader think they were getting their questions answered before the big twist. The buildup of mystery and all the things that Con learned allowed for a lot of theories and speculation and I think that was part of the book that I liked the most, the wondering of who was really behind everything and what the real answers were. Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I loved that there were so many diverse characters. I loved the moral and ethical questions of cloning. I loved the mystery and suspense of wondering what the hell was really going on. I believe there is a sequel for this book and I will absolutely be reading it.
Summary: It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order… Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever-changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
Review: I picked up this book because Soleil from The Little Readers Corner recommended it in a video she made about time travel books (watch that video here). The premise of this story is that it’s almost Oona’s birthday (which is New Year’s Day) and every year, at midnight, as her birthday starts, she time travels to a different age. She starts as she is celebrating her 19th birthday, except when the clock strikes midnight, she’s suddenly 30 years older and her body has just turned 51 years old. By her side is her good friend, Kenzie, trying to explain things but Oona is pretty much freaking out. The story follows from there as we get to see several years of Oona’s life, out of chronological order that most people live. She never knows what age she will be next and most times there is a letter waiting for her from the previous year’s Oona. I really loved this book. The concept was an absolutely fascinating one and I think it was executed brilliantly. We obviously don’t get to live every year of Oona’s life, but the ones that the author did show us were beautiful, fun, heart-wrenching, and meaningful. Each year that we follow Oona in is a year filled with life lessons and mistakes, attempts to change her future (or her past?), and they were all enjoyable, even the hard ones. I absolutely loved the way this book was written. Living “out of order” alongside Oona was such an engaging way of telling this story and I really enjoyed every minute that I spent reading this book. Oona grows so much in this story. I have to commend this author on some truly excellent character development. She’s flawed. She makes the wrong choices, sometimes in spite of the advice from the past year’s Oona, sometimes because she’s following that advice. She doesn’t always do the right thing and sometimes that ends up hurting the people that she loves (those few that do know she’s living her life out of order especially). I really liked following her as she traveled at random through the years of her life trying to find and make amends for mistakes that haven’t happened yet or have happened 20+ years in the past for the people in her life. Overall, I will absolutely be recommending this book to everyone I know that likes science fiction. I had such a good time reading this story (and the way my jaw dropped when we find out the twist about her tattoo. I wish I’d taken a picture). This book made me smile and laugh, but also occasionally a little mad and sad. There was such a range of emotions to feel throughout this story and the author did a great job of making me feel them all. I also really loved the fact that this story left me feeling filled with hope. That sounds sort of weird considering that Oona will continue living her life in random years, turning random ages, jumping through time, but the story that is told is filled with hope and lessons about living your life and making the best out of the time you have and the people you have that time with. I just really liked this book.
Summary: Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire. The mysterious Domino Programme has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim – her former enemy – at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war. As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them – and could end with them . . .
Review: I just finished The Mask Falling and I feel like I need to write this review immediately (I’m writing this in the notes app on my phone because I should be going to sleep, but instead I’m going to lie here and think about the emotional harm that Samantha Shannon has just done to me with this book). Part of me wants to blurt all of my feelings into a mostly nonsensical review and another part of me has absolutely no words to explain the wild ride that I just went on while reading The Mask Falling. Okay so, The Mask Falling picks up immediately after the ending of The Song Rising, so I’m very glad I just reread the first three books before diving into this newest installment. If you haven’t read any of this series yet, you can find my non-spoiler review for The Bone Season and then come back to this review once you’ve read the first three books. Paige is in pretty dire shape as she is fleeing from London and heading to Paris for some rest and recovery. But that’s not all she will be doing in Paris. She’s been approached by a group that’s outside both the syndicate and Scion that wants her help to work against Scion. This mysterious group is present for the whole book and I’m incredibly excited to see where things with this group lead for the rest of the series. They keep Paige and the Warden (who has traveled at Paige’s side from London) in a safe house to recuperate for a few weeks before sending her on her first mission. Paige is genuinely a force of nature. She’s grown so much and come so far from the mollisher that we got to know in book one. She knows her own mind (mostly) and she’s always scheming. The way her brain works to turn any situation in her favor was so enjoyable to follow. She will reach her goals by sheer force of will if that’s what it takes. But she’s incredibly smart and clever, always thinking ten steps ahead of where she is at the moment. It was really interesting to see her struggle with the traumas that were inflicted upon her in book three and how she handled those feelings and the PTSD that she was definitely dealing with. I thought Shannon did an excellent job showing us the ways that Paige was struggling, but that she was still strong despite those struggles. Shannon didn’t just act like Paige was never tortured, she added to who Paige had become as a character and I really think she did Paige justice with the balance of showing us what Paige was struggling with and her strengths as a leader in spite of those struggles. Since the story is told from Paige’s point of view, we don’t get to see inside the side characters’ heads. But I think we really got to know the Warden better. Their relationship has been so up and down in the first three books. It’s absolutely a slow-burn romance and I’m living for it. I’ve always been on board for their relationship, but this one had so many good scenes of the two just spending time together. Also, how dare you rip my heart out the way you did Samantha Shannon, with the secrets and twists at the end of this book. As for the plot of the story, I think this one was more action-packed and productive with pushing the overall story forward than any of the other books. So many things happen, but not so much that it felt like too much. The story, despite being over 500 pages, was really well-paced with action and things that needed to get done for Paige to reach her goals. But there were also a few moments of calm and time to take a breath before the next big thing happened. I loved the backdrop of Paris and seeing more of the world that Scion rules. It was really interesting to see another Scion citadel and how it was similar and also different from London. I think the politics that Paige gets herself involved in were compelling and I cannot wait to see what’s going to happen because of the events in the final pages of this book. Overall, this was a huge book that I still felt like it was easy to fly through. Especially after binging the first three books in a reread, this one was all too easy to devour. There’s so much great character building and development with both individual characters and with character relationships. We get to meet new faces as well as see old friends (and enemies). I can’t wait to see what will happen next in this world.
Summary: One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theatre troupe known as the Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame and the beauty of the world as we know it.
Review: Station Eleven has been on my tbr for entirely too long. This story follows a wide array of characters before and after a world-changing pandemic. Considering the state of our current world, the bits of the story involving the pandemic that kills 99% of the population was pretty tough to read about as they felt like an all too real possibility for our future. The author painted a vivid picture of how something like this could happen and what the “after” looked like. As for the plot of this story, there wasn’t really one that I could see. But I was okay with that. I’m not usually a fan of only character-focused stories. I like books that have at least some semblances of a plot to follow, to push the characters forward. But following these characters as they lived through the apocalypse and what the world was after that was really compelling. The characters, as I mentioned above, are what made this story. While I don’t think we got to know any of them incredibly well, the way that they were all connected was fascinating. I loved seeing all of the details and bits and pieces slowly coming together to connect the characters in one way or another. The journeys that each character went on were compelling and I cared what happened to each and every one of them, except the Prophet, because fuck that guy. But the thing that stood out most about this story was the writing. I said earlier that that author paints a vivid picture of what the world might look like after society as we know it has ended. But along with that vivid picture, she points out stark contrasts between so many things, but in subtle ways. The writing was lyrical and beautiful, but also thoughtful and thought-provoking. Overall, I feel like I just went on a journey with these characters, even though there are a few that I feel I got to know much better than others. I think the writing is really what makes this book such an engaging and compelling story with characters that you can’t help but care about. And being set on a backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world made the story that much more interesting. I can absolutely see why so many people love this book.
Summary: New Liberty City, 2134. Two corporations have replaced the US, splitting the country’s remaining forty-five states (five have been submerged under the ocean) between them: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities within the continental US, and New Liberty City is the only amalgamated city split between the two megacorps, and thus at a perpetual state of civil war as the feeds broadcast the atrocities committed by each side. Here, Mallory streams Stellaxis’s wargame SecOps on BestLife, spending more time jacked in than in the world just to eke out a hardscrabble living from tips. When a chance encounter with one of the game’s rare super-soldiers leads to a side job for Mal–looking to link an actual missing girl to one of the SecOps characters. Mal’s sudden burst in online fame rivals her deepening fear of what she is uncovering about BestLife’s developer, and puts her in the kind of danger she’s only experienced through her avatar.
Review: Firebreak follows Mal, who is a gaming streamer in a terrifyingly realistic dystopian future. It’s about 100 years or so in the future and two corporations have taken over the United States. One controls the water supply for the population and the other controls the agricultural supply for the population. Climate change has ravaged the coasts and the war between these two corporations has done its own damage. Mal lives in what was once a nice hotel in the city. She shares one room with like six other people. When she’s not working odd jobs (dog walking, babysitting, attempting to brew beer) she’s gaming and streaming with her best friend and roommate, Jessa. The two manage to spot one of the rarer special operatives in the game (read: the special operatives are essentially celebrities in this world) and talk to her for about a half a second before the power is cut for the day. This thrusts them into a minor spotlight, just enough to grab the attention of B. B is a mysterious sponsor who, after meeting with Jessa and Mal, shares a theory that she and others have about the special operatives. This is where the story really gets going. I really liked Mal. She sort of held herself apart from her other roommates, and kept to herself. But I really was a great moment when she realized what a mistake that had been. That she should have taken more time to get to know them all. I loved her loyalty and love for Jessa. The two of them were and excellent friendship dynamic with how they pushed and pulled each other when it was called for. I liked how they complimented one another. But I liked Mal outside of her relationship with Jessa too. We get to see her act selflessly, recklessly, and with her whole heart. She was a really well-developed character and one that I enjoyed following through this story. As for the story itself, oh man, what a wild ride. We get a brief summary of how the world ended up the way that it is in the story. Though I usually like more backstory and world building, I found that I liked learning how this future worked as the story went on. We see how society works as we follow Mal and we see what’s wrong with it as she does. I think that Mal questioning the status quo felt natural for her character. And everything after was really well done. The story starts with a slow build-up, showing us the world. Then starts to show what’s wrong with it, and once Mal’s eyes are opened to the theory that B shares, there’s just nonstop action. Also, I don’t know if this was on purpose, but I really thought the way the author took things from the game that Mal and Jessa play and started showing that same violence and action in the real world was absolutely fascinating. Overall, this book was a wild ride to say the least. It’s a book that shows characters fighting for their basic human rights, against corporations that are just trying to wring every dollar out of anyone they can. I absolutely enjoyed this one and I will definitely be looking into this author’s backlist.
Summary: Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials. Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he’d been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob. When Evie’s UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He’s different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven’t changed at all. If the family is going to come together to help Jakob, then Kass and Evie are going to have to fix their issues, and fast. Because the FBI is after Jakob, and if their brother is telling the truth, possibly an entire space armada, too. The perfect combination of action, imagination and heart, Light Years From Home is a touching drama about a challenge as difficult as saving the galaxy: making peace with your family…and yourself.
Review: Thank you to NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I am a part of the blog tour for this book so thank you to MIRA books for the opportunity to share my thoughts about this one! I’ve read all of Chen’s previous novels and while they are all technically science fiction stories, they are all so different from one another that I never really know what to expect going into them. That was accurate for this story as well. I sort of thought I was getting into a hard sci-fi story full of action and adventure and space wars. But this is really the story of three siblings: Jakob, Evie, and Kass. Jakob’s disappearance fifteen years earlier fractured this family so much that when the three are finally reunited fifteen years later, it might not be possible for them to mend what’s been broken. Especially considering that Jakob has returned with stories of a war that’s raging between aliens and while Evie absolutely believes him, Kass thinks it’s more likely that Jakob is suffering from a mental illness. I definitely didn’t think this was going to turn into an “is it really aliens or is it actually mental illness” story, but the author totally had me convinced when I was reading the chapters from Kass’ perspective. Since we get three points of view, one from each sibling, it felt like we really got the whole story. We really got to know each of these siblings. I really enjoyed that. I think having all three voices really made the story what it was because if it had just been from Jakob’s perspective it would have been a totally different story. Each sibling brought something different to the story. I liked all three of the main characters. It was interesting because when I was reading Evie’s chapters, I totally agreed with her resentment of her older sister, but when I was reading Kass’ chapters, I also totally agreed with her disdain toward her siblings. I think Chen did an excellent job with these characters. Overall, I loved the blend of family drama with the science fiction genre. The threat of an alien war coming to earth unless Jakob can get certain information to them raised the stakes of the story and set the pace. But the characters were absolutely what made this book what it was. The family dynamics were compelling and the issues between the siblings weren’t resolved with a nice neat bow, which I appreciated. I think there will be some mixed reviews on this one from those that are expecting more of a sci-fi story. But I will definitely be continuing to recommend Chen’s work.
Summary: Two human Civilizations One will rise One will fall 300 years ago, A small group of human left behind their violent past and human counterpart on Earth to create the most advanced civilisation in history. Until now, when mercenaries steal a deadly artefact, the meridians have no choice but to send a military expedition back to Earth to retrieve it. However, the mission is compromised upon arrival and the crew members get separated on the surface of the hostile planet Earth that has never experienced alien contact. Elmyra Conrad, a disgraced cadet; Effra Jones, a spineless xenoanthropologist and Zayn, a dangerous Antharian prince must work together to survive and find the other survivors before their demise…
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. We Are Meridians follows a cast of characters that are trying to stop a group of criminals who have stolen a very deadly object. The story takes so long to pull itself together to get to that aspect of the plot. I think there was a bit of info-dumping at the start of the story. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t push through, but it was noticeable. There were so many characters and things that had to be introduced before the story could really get going. I feel like the author took a bit too much time letting us get to know the characters and the world before pulling the actual plot of the story into play. But somehow, at the same time, I feel like there was so much that happened and we didn’t get enough of any of it. I’d say there were three main characters: Elmyra, Effra, and Zayn. Much of Elmyra’s story is still a mystery. We get to know her and her backstory pretty well except one big secret. And when that secret was finally revealed, it wasn’t elaborated on all that much because the person that knows all the details was dying. So, there’s answers, but still a bit of mystery surrounding that particular twist in the story. I really liked Zayn. I wasn’t sure if he was going to turn on the humans or end up deciding to truly join them and help with their mission. I think he was the best developed character and I look forward to reading more about him. Finally, Effra. I feel like we got to know him the least because he’s not really introduced until way into the story. We don’t spend that first third of the story getting to know him. So, his backstory is dumped when he’s introduced. He also spent much of the story needing to be saved, so I guess that’s all we need to know about him. Overall, this was way more of a science fiction thriller/mystery then I thought it was going to be. I actually really enjoyed it. The author’s writing was good. It was descriptive but still easy to follow. The characters were well developed and not hard to get invested in. The world was my favorite part, I think. The world building and history of the humans that live in space was really well done. I don’t see any news about a sequel but I would definitely read it if/when one is released.
Hello, lovelies! I’m here today to share with you a wonderful and fun reading challenge that my friend Ari over at Bookish Valhalla is hosting (her announcement post is linked for anyone that wants to read it). For the last few months, I’ve really been trying to focus on moving away from YA fantasy and science fiction and exploring more adult SFF stories. I just haven’t been connecting with YA stories as much and I’ve really loved the adult SFF that I have read recently.
So! To say that I was excited when Ari shared this reading challenge is an understatement. This challenge focuses on reading backlist adult books that are fantasy and science fiction. Each month has a loose theme, so I’ve picked some books that I think will work for each month. I’m going to share all the options that I have on my TBR for each of these because I’m not sure which book I’ll end up reading for the months that have more than one option to choose from. Also, this TBR will only be the books that I own, I may end up reading books I don’t own for this challenge but as of now my goal is to focus on the adult SFF series that I already own.
January // Winter
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
February // Time
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
March // Oaths
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
April // Hidden Places
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
May // Starlight
The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
June // To Sea
July // To Sky
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
August // Sacrifice
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
September // Fire
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
October // Ritual
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
November // Forest
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
December // Omens
I have some ideas about recommendations for this reading challenge, too. So, you can expect to see a post about that eventually. Share some recommendations for the themes that I didn’t list anything for please! What adult science fiction and fantasy books are you hoping to read in 2022?
Hey, lovelies! I’m back with my second installment of my genre specific gifts for bookworms. Today, I want to recommend some underrated science fiction books that I absolutely think you should gift to the sci-fi readers in your life. Science fiction is my favorite genre, so, I’d like to think that these are some pretty good recommendations.
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez “When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for the third time in three days, and it’s still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he’s capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken–including his dead mother–and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There’s only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in this mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.”
Unchosen by Katharyn Blair “For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice. The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister. The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters. Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse. When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner. The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found. But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world. Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning.”
The Last 8 by Laura Pohl “Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it. When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth. Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.”
Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore “There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything. Witty and heartfelt with characters that leap off the page, Miss Meteor is acclaimed authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s first book together.”
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh “When an Earth-like planet is discovered, a team of six teens, along with three veteran astronauts, embark on a twenty-year trip to set up a planet for human colonization—but find that space is more deadly than they ever could have imagined. Have you ever hoped you could leave everything behind? Have you ever dreamt of a better world? Can a dream sustain a lifetime? A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the twentieth century’s space-race. And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives. It will take the team twenty-three years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.”
Adaptation by Malinda Lo “Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now. Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded. Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed. Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.”
The Final Six by Alexandra Monir “When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition. For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.”
Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor “A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher’s chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog — donning the moniker Technician — to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner’s tyrannical laws. Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner’s son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father’s respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father’s elusive affection is worth chasing at all. Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner’s secrets at any cost — even if it means betraying her own heart. When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic — before the Commissioner ends them first.”
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi “Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days. When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization. For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance. With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart.”
Goldilocks by Laura Lam “The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it. Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation. The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference. The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet. But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .”
These are some of my favorite underrated science fictions stories. I think each one of these books deserve more love and attention, so please, I beg you. Buy these books for the science fiction lovers in your life.
Summary: Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.
Review: I was gifted this book from a friend off of my wishlist. I went into it not knowing much, but I’d heard really good things. I assumed from the little bit that I did know that this was going to be a space opera of sorts. But it felt to me more like a murder mystery set in space and filled with politics. I listened to the audiobook and I think that led to most of my feelings about this book. I don’t think I can really even talk about the characters all that much because I can’t remember half their names. I think this is because I listened to the audio. The characters have unusual names like 3 Sea Grass and 6 Direction. This is all a part of the culture on the planet that the main character travels to for her new job. I mostly liked the characters. They were quirky and made the story fun. The politics and mystery were the main focus of this story. Someone has killed the main characters predecessor. She’s been sent as his replacement and she is determined to figure out what happened even though she has a huge gap in her knowledge. So, she’s thrust into political maneuverings that she has little to no information about. She spends most of the book trying to put the pieces together (hence the murder mystery comment earlier in this review.) I thought the way she and her new friends put the pieces together was interesting. It didn’t all fall into her lap. She was a really active protagonist and I thought that kept the pace of the story feeling like it was fast-paced. The politics come into the story because she’s an ambassador for the government of the planet she’s just arrived on. The previous ambassador was murdered and it all has to do with local politics. The idea that there were two sides fighting was easy to understand, but when it got more complicated than that with all the different offices and departments it was hard to keep them all straight. Again, I think this is because I listened to the audiobook. Overall, this was a good book and I think I would have enjoyed it significantly more if I’d read it in a different format. I’m not sure if I’ll continue the series, but if I do, I’ll definitely read the synopsis of the second book before I start.