Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

GoodReads Summary:
First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.
Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.
And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.
Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.
When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.
Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)Review:
I really wanted to like this book I swear I tried. But I just was more disappointed the further I read. I didn’t love the first book (Aurora Rising) but I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was creative and interesting. But many of the things I loved about the first book didn’t seem to be in this one.
I liked the characters, but they seemed to have gotten less mature somehow. I think what the authors were trying to add as ‘lightheartedness’ really just made them seem immature and childish. There was literally a whole chapter where Scarlett talks about her boobs. Normally, I’d love this, but they’re supposed to be saving the galaxy and it just seemed out of place. There just wasn’t any sense of urgency or seriousness about the task they’re supposed to be working toward and I didn’t like that.
I also didn’t really care for this book because not much happened. There was action and adventure, but it didn’t really seem like all of the events were especially important toward their larger mission.
Overall, I wanted to love this book but it just didn’t do it for me. I wanted to like this book so much, but I just didn’t. To top it all off, the ending of this book made me so mad. I get a cliff hanger but this ending was just ridiculous. I think I’ll probably continue the series, but I hope the next book is better than this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Summary:
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)Review:
Aurora Rising is the latest science fiction release from the wonderful and talented writing duo, Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. It was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I have been living for science fiction lately and I don’t know why it took me so long to get to this new release. I’ve heard so many mixed reviews from friends that I trust so I was a little nervous going into it.
I’m happy to say that I fall somewhere in the middle of the mix. I really had fun with this. I flew through it, holding my breath, and gripping the pages. I was frustrated at first because none of my questions were being answered. I was so confused about what the hell was going on. We got a sufficient amount of answers for my liking and that’s where the story took a direction I did not see coming. I cannot wait to see what will happen in book number two.
This squad has been dubbed as ‘not the heroes we wanted, but they’re the ones we got’ and that right there had me very intrigued. I think there was not enough development to some of the characters. There was an uneven distribution between the alternating chapters.
The Alpha, Tyler. I really liked him. He’s a great leader and follows his instincts. I really enjoyed seeing him fight with himself between doing what he’s ‘supposed’ to do and what he feels inside to be right. He was what pulled the squad together. Without him, they would have failed.
The Diplomat, Scarlett. Tyler’s twin sister. She was totally my favorite. She’s sassy and fierce and takes no shit from anyone. She always knows the right thing to say and trusts her brother completely even when she’s not sure what he’s thinking. I enjoyed the brother/sister relationship between them.
The Scientist, Zila. She’s one that I wished had a bit more development. We know that she’s weird and incredibly smart. But that’s about it. Oh, and she’s awfully fond of her gun. I would have liked to know more about her, her past, what makes her who she is.
The Gearhead, Finian. I adored him. He’s bisexual (I think) and shoots his shot whenever the opportunity shows itself. He’s also incredibly smart. I loved that despite having a physical disability, he has a fully developed personality. He wasn’t just his disability or just his sexual identity. He was the comedic relief of the squad and I loved him.
The Warrior, Kal. I also loved Kal. He’s fighting a battle with himself. I would have liked to learn more about him outside of who he is as a part of his culture. He’s part of an alien race that’s currently at war and we learned a lot about him in that context, but I want to know more about him in general.
The Pilot, Cat. I really didn’t like Cat for most of the book. I really thought she would betray the squad at the first chance she got. She joined this squad to support her best friend, Tyler, who she’s in love with. She’s a negative Nancy and I didn’t care for it. But she’s really good at her job which I liked. I came to like her a little more by the end of the book and that’s completely due to actions that I cannot talk about without spoilers.
The Mystery Girl, Aurora or Auri. Auri was my favorite. A girl that was frozen for over 200 years and is trying to figure out what the hell is going on. She’s a wild card because she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know and she doesn’t know much. What she does know seems to be surrounded by mystery and secrets. I wish we’d gotten to learn a bit more about her abilities and what those abilities mean.
Overall, I enjoyed Aurora Rising but I didn’t love it. I really liked it because it was unique, complex, and fast-paced. I loved the mystery and suspense. The world was interesting and I just wanted to know more about it. I will be anxiously awaiting the next book and not so patiently waiting to find out what the heroes we were given will get up to.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review – Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Summary:
Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?
Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.
With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.
Review:
Okay, I legit just finished this book and I am DECEASED. These authors just PLAYED ME and my emotions in SO MANY WAYS. Like, I’m happy with how this ended but getting to that ending was TORTURE.
I loved this conclusion to an amazing trilogy. Like the first two, this was written as a series of instant messages, emails, surveillance footage transcriptions, and things like that. So it makes for a pretty quick read even though the books themselves are a decent size. I love the creative way this book was written. The story wouldn’t have been the same if it was told in the traditional format that’s for sure.
We meet new (ish) characters in this final book. Most of this story takes place where the series began, on the planet that all of our characters were illegally living on. So it’s only fitting that is where the story ends too. I liked this because we got to see so many characters that we’d thought were dead for the last two books, loved ones that our main characters were mourning. I loved even more now that all of my the players I’ve come to live in this story come together for the thrilling conclusion. Everyone is finally together to tell us how this all ends.
Katy as always is smart and caring and clever. I loved her twisted relationship with AIDAN even though it also sort of terrified me. Her and Ezra are the CUTEST. The OG couple and my forever favorites. Ezra proves that he’s still brave and determined and hardworking. I liked seeing how his past came to light.

“At least our lives will have been worth dying for.”

AIDAN – the AI that is pretty much just horrifying this whole series – is still absolutely horrifying but in like a train wreck kind of way where you know it’s all going to go wrong but for some reason, you still just can’t tear your eyes away. I would really really love AIDAN if I wasn’t so scared of him and his crazy ass ways.

“I am not trying to be anything except AIDAN. That is all I know how to be. Every story needs its villain. And its hero. And its monster.”

Hannah and Nik are the best. Hannah is kick ass and takes names and even though she’s constantly being condescended she holds her head high and does her best to help where and when she can. The same goes for Nik. Most still just think of him as a criminal, but he doesn’t let that bother him and he still does his part. I loved the constant flirtation between the two. They don’t take things too quickly in the face of death like in some other stories and I appreciate that.

“Because as I write up all this footage, the one thing getting clearer and clearer is that just about everyone I see is doing the best they can with what they have.”

Ella is bae. She’s a badass chick that proves again and again that she’s not to be messed with. She comes and saves the day over and over. I just love her and her hilarity. She keeps the story light and funny while also playing her serious role well.

“The beauty of the universe is in the grandest and smallest things.”

Asha and our new character were interesting. I really wasn’t sure what to think at first. I didn’t know how it would work out in a good way especially because the narrator of the video footage kept talking about how there was no way for this to end well.

“Be the pebble, Rhys.”

All the supporting characters, there are too many to talk about each of them like above. I loved every single one, even the ones meant to be ‘bad guys.’ They all have their own stories and play a specific role in the stories. I loved how realistic and relatable they all were.

“From the Latin verb Illuminare: “To shed light.” Also: “A ray of light.” Or female, plural: “Those who shed light,” “The shining ones.”

The story was insane. All the twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat for sure. I am absolutely still recovering from this emotional turmoil. But like, go buy this series and read them and die and love them like I do.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

GoodReads Summary:
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illumina continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair is struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
Review:
I just finished reading Gemina and I’m 100000% still reeling. How are you going to end a book like this? I’m pretty furious with Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff because it’s super unfair of them to do this to me, their reader. Especially after screwing with my feelings LITERALLY the entire book.

“You wanna know how it ends?”

Get outta here with that shit. OF COURSE, I WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS WHY ELSE WOULD I BE READING THIS BOOK. IM SO MAD RIGHT NOW. I CAN’T EVEN.
I’m legit a bundle of sadness and mad and happy. Somehow all at the same time. This story was (idk how) even crazier than Illuminae. It’s written in the same formatting as the first, which I totally loved. (Check out my review for Illuminae here.) Gemina is told via a series of journal entries, transcribed video surveillance feeds, instant message conversations, and emails. This is such a creative and interesting way to tell a story. I think it really helps the story fly by. This is not a small book, but I read it in two days. (It would have been one, but I have a baby now and I have to be responsible and stuff.)
I was a little sad that Gemina didn’t continue to follow Katy and Ezra because I totally adored them, but I definitely enjoyed our main characters. Hanna and Nik were extremely entertaining. They were sassy and fierce. But also so loyal and caring. They were excellently written characters.
Hanna is portrayed by others as a princess who thinks she’s better than everyone else. She’s got a perfect life and the perfect boyfriend and gets everything she wants. Nik literally calls her “Highness” (which is adorable and sassy.) But the reader gets to know her better than that. She’s super down to earth and knows that she has opportunities that not many others are afforded and she’s grateful for them, even if they’re not how “regular” families do things. She’s a station captain’s daughter, so why shouldn’t she take advantage of the opportunities that are provided. These opportunities are what save her life in this story. Without her military strategy sessions with her dad or the various martial arts that she’s learned she wouldn’t have survived the things she did. She proves herself to be a little pampered but also mostly kick ass. Because that’s absolutely what she did. She kicked ass and took names for every page of this book. Except for the moments she allowed herself to break down because of the horrible things happening around her. I liked this realistic aspect of the book. The world is falling apart, she’s not supposed to be able to just run around and kick ass and not feel anything. She’s climbing through the ventilation shafts with tears streaming down her face because she has no idea who’s still alive and who’s dead. I like this because too many books just skim over the bad stuff and don’t let the character feel what’s going on because it’s heat of the moment or whatever. Anyway, I loved all sides of Hanna Donnelly. She was an excellent heroine.

“You might only get one shot. So shoot. You know who said that? … Hanna ****ing Donnelly. That’s who.”

When it comes to Nik, I didn’t like him at first. That ‘bad boy’ image just didn’t do it for me. But like Hannah, we really got to know him. As we got to know him we learned that he isn’t so tough as he might like us to think. I really liked Nik. I liked learning about his past and seeing him interact with his cousin Ella. You can really tell that Nik would do anything for his family, and has proven that. He also proves that he is someone that tries to hide his feelings via inappropriate jokes (which is basically what his conversations with Hanna consisted of for a solid chunk of the book.) He’s got a great sense of humor.
I just have to mention all of the heartbreaking plot twist and how seriously messed up they were. The authors were really trying to screw with me by telling me this horrible thing happened and then saying, “Just kidding, this didn’t actually happen.” And somehow did this MORE THAN ONCE to us. This book was written so well and I might consider giving my first born child up to get the third book, Obisdio (this is a joke. I only say it because she’s crying while I try to write this really fast.) I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen in this last book, but I can tell you I’m SO EXCITED even though I know Kaufman and Kristoff are going to, once again, rip my heart out, stomp on it and then put it back in my chest, slightly mangled but still beating.

If this sounds like a good time to you, feel free to read these books. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

GoodReads Summary:
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Review:
I have been on a science fiction reading spree. I’ve also been trying to catch up on the books that have been super hyped up that I’ve learned about through Bookstagram. It seems that I’ve missed out on a ton of great reads. This one is included. This series seems to almost have a cult following and I’m starting to understand why.

“You deserve every star in the galaxy laid out at your feet and a thousand diamonds in your hair. You deserve someone who’ll run with you as far and as fast as you want to. Holding your hand, not holding you back.”

Illuminae is written in an interesting format. Rather than being written in the traditional style of a novel, this story is told through a series of interviews, instant messages, emails, transcribed video surveillance and materials retrieved from inside the artificial intelligence that ran the Alexander spacecraft. I think this is a really inventive way to tell this story. It shakes up the story and definitely kept me enthralled in the story. I think this formatting also gives the illusion (or maybe it’s not an illusion) that I’m reading the book faster. I feel like I flew through this story trying to get to the ending.

The way this story is told I think also allows the readers to get to know the characters in a unique way. Traditionally the reader is inside the characters head learning who they are, but with Illuminae we get to know Katy, Ezra and gang through their actions and how they treat one another rather from any inner thoughts or ideas. I loved Katy. She’s a fierce female lead and I loved that she was brainy and nerdy but also had a sensitive, vulnerable side that she let us see here and there. Ezra is totally my newest book boyfriend. I love how things turned out with him because I definitely almost cried at certain points in his story. I liked Ezra because he complimented Katy in an interesting way. They both push one another to do the best thing for the most amount of people, even if that means sacrificing themselves. I’m interested to see where Ezra’s story goes especially with the ending of the book.

AIDAN is the artificial intelligence that pilots and runs the Alexander spacecraft adds a very interesting aspect to our story. I was totally creeped out by AIDAN for many reasons.

“But what I do is not murder. It is mercy.”

Alright, you psycho computer. Having artificial intelligence turn evil and take over the world is honestly one of my biggest irrational fears of how humanity / the world will end. So AIDAN’s role in story totally added a creepy and dark aspect to this otherwise thrilling book. I’m incredibly impressed by these authors because by the end of the book I didn’t totally hate AIDAN. Somehow they gave this computer some unimaginable character development. Somehow AIDAN grows and learns and loves Katy. I grew to like AIDAN and get excited for what he (it?) might do next.

Overall this story absolutely lived up to all the hype that I’ve heard from the bookish community. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second and third books in the series. I adored Katy and Ezra and even AIDAN. There were also some wonderful supporting characters that added so much to the story. This book was full of action and adventure, suspense and mystery, menace and intrigue. There were characters to love and also characters to hate. I recommend this to any and all lovers of science fiction. This will for sure be a book that I will read again. I might even have to go out and buy the series so I don’t have to wait to get it from the library every time I want to read it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!