Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Summary:
Alyssa Farshot never wanted to rule the empire. But to honor her uncle’s dying wish, she participated in the crownchase, a race across the empire’s 1,001 planets to find the royal seal and win the throne. Alyssa tried to help her friend, Coy, win the crownchase, but just as victory was within their grasp, Edgar Voles killed Coy—and claimed the seal for himself.
Broken-hearted over her friend’s death, Alyssa is hell-bent on revenge. But Edgar is well protected in the kingship. Alyssa will have to rally rivals, friends, and foes from across the empire to take him down and change the course of the galaxy. 

Review:
Thronebreakers is the sequel and conclusion to Crownchasers. Things are left pretty up in the air in the final pages of the first book. So, we open to Alyssa and Hellmouth a few weeks (maybe days, I don’t remember), later and they’re on their way to enact the first step of their plan to avenge their friend and save the empire.
Without going into much detail about the plot, I can say that this book has the same action-filled and exciting plot. It was fast-paced and the stakes were high making the whole story a tense experience. I liked Alyssa. She felt like a real character. She was hurting and maybe not making the best decisions. But that made things more fun.
The best part was the romance with Hellmouth. I just loved them both together so much.
Overall, I highly recommend this duology. The whole and politics were interesting. I loved the competition to find their new leader and the repercussions of that competition. I loved the characters and their relationships. They were hurt and that hurt was shown, which I appreciated. I highly recommend these two books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda Recommends 11 Books to Read in One Sitting

Hello, lovelies! Since I have two young children, I don’t often get to read books in one sitting anymore. So, I’ve been longing thinking about past times when I’ve been able to do that. Today I have a list of books that I read (and loved!) in one sitting.

To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters
“Lady Emily Turner has been a debutante for six seasons now and should have long settled into a suitable marriage. However, due to her father’s large debts, her only suitor is the persistent and odious owner of her father’s favorite gambling house. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Belfry, the second son of a marquess, has scandalized society as an actor and owner of a theater—the kind of establishment where men take their mistresses, but not their wives. When their lives intersect at a house party, Lord Julian hatches a plan to benefit them both. With a marriage of convenience, Emily will use her society connections to promote the theater to a more respectable clientele and Julian will take her out from under the shadows of her father’s unsavory associates. But they soon realize they have very different plans for their marriage—Julian wants Emily to remain a society wife, while Emily discovers an interest in the theater. But when a fleeing actress, murderous kitten, and meddlesome friends enter the fray, Emily and Julian will have to confront the fact that their marriage of convenience comes with rather inconvenient feelings.”

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
“The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.  When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​  To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.”

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
“Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.
For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:
#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.
The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…”

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist
“Med school dropout Lena is desperate for a job, any job, to help her parents, who are approaching bankruptcy after her father was injured and laid off nearly simultaneously. So when she is offered a position, against all odds, working for one of Boston’s most elite families, the illustrious and secretive Verdeaus, she knows she must accept it—no matter how bizarre the interview or how vague the job description. By day, she is assistant to the family doctor and his charge, Jonathan, the sickly, poetic, drunken heir to the family empire, who is as difficult as his illness is mysterious. By night, Lena discovers the more sinister side of the family, as she works overtime at their lavish parties, helping to hide their self-destructive tendencies . . . and trying not to fall for Jonathan’s alluring sister, Audrey. But when she stumbles upon the knowledge that the Verdeau patriarch is the one responsible for the ruin of her own family, Lena vows to get revenge—a poison-filled quest that leads her further into this hedonistic world than she ever bargained for, forcing her to decide how much—and who—she’s willing to sacrifice for payback.
The perfect next read for fans of Mexican Gothic, Tripping Arcadia is a page-turning and shocking tale with an unforgettable protagonist that explores family legacy and inheritance, the sacrifices we must make to get by in today’s world, and the intoxicating, dangerous power of wealth.”

Fresh by Margot Wood
“Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot’s mind when she’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer—from dancing all night at off-campus parties, to testing her RA Rose’s patience, to making new friends, to having the best sex one can have on a twin-sized dorm room bed. But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she’s having isn’t that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate’s boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe.”

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
“After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help. The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved. Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?”

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
“Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana’s parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family she’s got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP. Ana’s freshman year culminates with the class’s weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it’ll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives. But wait, there’s more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. Now that cold war has been turned up to a full broil, and the freshmen are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.”

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogel
“Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start. Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property’s future. Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.”

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
“The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…”

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
“It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one. Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.”

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
“Centuries before, robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, wandered, en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again. They faded into myth and urban legend. Now the life of the tea monk who tells this story is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They will need to ask it a lot. Chambers’ series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?”

Do you often read books in one sitting?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Messengers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Summary:
As book three of the Greystone Secrets series opens, the Greystone kids have their mother back from the evil alternate world, and so does their friend Natalie. But no one believes the danger is past.
Then mysterious coins begin falling from unexpected places. They are inscribed with codes that look just like what the Greystones’ father was working on before he died. And with the right touch, those symbols transform into words: PLEASE LISTEN. And FIND US, SEE US, HELP US. . . .
The coins are messengers, telling the Greystones and their allies that their friends in the alternate world are under attack—and that the cruel, mind-controlling forces are now invading the better world, too.
After another spinning, sliding journey across worlds, the Greystone kids must solve mysteries that have haunted them since the beginning: what happened when the Gustanos were kidnapped, what created the alternate world, and how a group of mismatched kids can triumph once and for all against an evil force that seems to have total control.

Review:
The Messengers is the third and final book in the Greystone Secrets trilogy. I really liked the first two books and I actually reread them before finishing the series with this conclusion. 
We are still following the three Greystone siblings, Chess, Emma, and Finn. They tell us about how their mom’s double knocks on their door with her three kids that were just like Chess, Emma, and Finn, but maybe they actually weren’t. The two families work together to change things for the better before the mayor takes over both worlds.
I really loved this book and this whole series. I’m glad I reread the first two before this one because the series as one long story is a good one, but also each book is its own great adventure. This finale was no different. The kids faced tough challenges and had to think quickly and cleverly.
Overall, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more new books by Haddix and probably even rereading some of her backlist.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Summary:
Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?
But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.
Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

Review:
I’m going to preface this review with the fact that I listened to this book and wrote this review mostly while taking care of my six-week-old baby, so it’ll probably be a little more disorganized than my usual reviews. I’m not really sure if I have the brain space to write this review, but I really loved this book so I want to share that love and recommend it.
Crownchasers follows a group of characters that are racing around space on what was essentially a scavenger hunt for the ability to become the next ruler. That’s an incredibly simplified explanation of this book, but I don’t think I could coherently explain it all in more detail without spoilers.
I really enjoyed the universe. It was explained well and easy to understand despite the characters jumping around to a handful of different planets.
I thought the politics and plot were compelling. I was very interested to see what was going to happen next. The author did a great job of raising the stakes, leaving the reader in real fear for some of the characters and real anger at others.
I really grew to love the romance with one of the main characters. It felt really realistic and I felt my feelings for him growing alongside hers.
Overall, I highly recommend this book and I’m very eagerly awaiting my library hold for the second book. I listened to the audiobook and I really loved the narrator. She did a great job telling this story in a way that kept me interested. I’ll definitely be recommending this book on lists in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

10 Completed Series Amanda Recommends You Marathon

Hello, lovelies! I previously shared a post about series that were completed for you read as fast or as slow as you’d like (find that post here!) I’ve finished a few more series since then, so I thought I would share a part two of sorts. I’m going to just list the first book in each series to make it easier for myself.

The Gilded Wolves trilogy by Roshani Chokshi
The Gilded Wolves, The Silvered Serpents, & The Bronzed Beasts
“It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.”

The Age of Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
There Will Come a Darkness, As the Shadow Rises, & Into the Dying Light
“For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared. All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?”

The Greystone Secrets by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Strangers, The Deceivers, & The Messengers
“What makes you you?
The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best—acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom. But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children reach the Greystone kids, and they’re shocked by the startling similarities between themselves and these complete strangers. The other kids share their same first and middle names. They’re the same ages. They even have identical birthdays. Who, exactly, are these strangers? Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a sudden work trip and leaves them in the care of Ms. Morales and her daughter, Natalie. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret that will turn their world upside down.”

Goddess in the Machine duology by Lora Beth Johnson
Goddess in the Machine, & Devil in the Device
“When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning. Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists—including her family and friends—are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth. Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne—if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her. With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?”

Crownchasers duology by Rebecca Coffindaffer
Crownchasers & Thronebreakers
“Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship? But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne. Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.”

Hell’s Library series by A.J. Hackwith
The Library of the Unwritten, The Archive of the Forgotten, & The God of Lost Words
“In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.
Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto. But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell … and Earth.”

The Harbinger Trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Storm and Fury, Rage and Ruin, & Grace and Glory
“Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers. When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…”

Sands of Arawiya by Hafsah Faizal
We Hunt the Flame & We Free the Stars
“Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be. War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.”

Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder
Poison Study, Magic Study, & Fire Study
“About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…”

Shadow Player trilogy by Heidi Heilig
For a Muse of Fire, A Kingdom for a Stage, & On This Unworthy Scaffold
A young woman with a dangerous power she barely understands. A smuggler with secrets of his own. A country torn between a merciless colonial army, a terrifying tyrant, and a feared rebel leader.
Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.”

For some of these I had to wait for each book as they were published, but for others I was late to the party and was able to marathon them. Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if any of them are on your tbr.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Last Exit by Max Gladstone

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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen

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.

Book Cover

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. 

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Constance by Matthew FitzSimmons

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.

Book Cover

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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

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.

Book Cover

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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

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 . . .

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Devil in the Device by Lora Beth Johnson

Summary:
Zhade’s power might be going to his head.
He’s still getting used to wearing Maret’s face, but he can’t deny that the influence it affords him has its perks. But when the magic of Eerensed starts to turn deadly, Zhade must master the Crown if he’s going to save his people, and Tsurina’s destructive plans for Eerensed aren’t going to make that easy. Worse, he’s starting to see her point.
Meanwhile, Andra is in hiding.
Assumed dead by the people of Eerensed, she must stay underground if she’s going to live long enough to build the rocket that will finally save the colonists from this dying planet. But when Andra hears voices urging her to destroy everything, she starts to dig deeper into her subconcious. What she finds leads her to question whether she’s destined to be a savior after all.
Battling the dangerous forces buried within their minds, can Andra and Zhade truly decide their own fates? They must find a way to work together before two power-hungry leaders and a deadly swarm of rogue technology destroy humanity for good.

Devil in the Device by Lora Beth Johnson

Review:
I am so glad that my library had this ebook so that I could devour this sequel. I really loved Goddess in the Machine but I think I liked Devil in the Device even more.
Devil in the Device starts off after everything basically blows up at the end of the first book. This sequel picks up right where we left off. Zhade is thinking that everything is going according to his plan while Andra is trying to figure out what the hell she is supposed to do next. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything from the first book. Let’s just say that things go from “according to plan” to hell in a handbasket incredibly quickly.
Because we’re already familiar with the world, this book felt like it had a way faster pace. I think maybe that’s why I liked it more. I wouldn’t say there was non-stop action, but there were twists and turns and all kinds of things that made it feel like these characters never really had a moment to catch their breaths. There were a few twists that I had suspected, but even more that had me totally shocked. I think the plot of the story was clearly well executed. I liked that the stakes were high and you could never quite tell how things were going to play out.
As I said in my review for the first book, the characters were really what made the story. Zhade is slowly realizing that what he thought he wanted isn’t going to satisfy him because it’s not what he really needed. He’s realizing that his plan might not actually be working out how he thought it was. Andra was basically floundering (which isn’t all that different from the first book) but she’s doing the best she can and that’s what really matters. She truly learns and adapts to all the things that are thrown at her. I really enjoyed seeing her fight against the negative influences and choose the right side of the conflicts.
The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was that for the first third of the book Zhade and Andra stay away from each other for literally made-up reasons. Zhade has ideas in his head about why Andra couldn’t possibly feel the same, romantically, about him as she did before he did certain things. While Andra is doing the same thing, making up ideas that Zhade couldn’t possibly still care about her now that he knows the secrets about her that we’re revealed in the first book. But if they had just talked to each other (which they ended up doing about a third of the way into the story) they would have realized they were both being dumb. And then, once they did finally talk and resolve this issue, everything was amazing for them again, for about a day. I was so frustrated when almost immediately after their reconciliation, another conflict was created to keep them apart. It took entirely too long for them to both get it together long enough to finally work things out.
Overall, I loved this book. The world is absolutely fascinating and I loved learning more about how the planet ended up the way that it is. I think the way humanity grew and developed and changed was incredibly compelling. The characters were engaging and I couldn’t help but love them. I just wanted more of Andra and Zhade together. Also, did I see hints of a spin-off for Zhade’s brother in the epilogue, I’m absolutely all about that.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Summary:
When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.
Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.
Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.
With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Review:
Oh man, I’m so glad I impulsively bought this book. Goddess in the Machine follows main characters Andra and Zhade. Zhade is a prince of the world that Andra has awoken on. Andra is the third goddess. She’s been frozen in a cryogenic pod for 1,000 years. Except, it was supposed to only be 100 years. So, while Zhade is trying to use the goddess for his own ends, Andra is trying to figure out what the hell went wrong and what to do next.
This book was a wild ride. The story goes all over, but not in a way that made it seem like there was too much going on. There absolutely was a lot going on, but it was balanced really well and made sense for the story. I think the pacing of the story was well done as well. The author lets us get our bearings as we get to know the world and the characters and then incrementally turns things up with a well-placed twist here and there. I think the story was incredibly well written.
The characters were really what made the book though. Andra is the daughter that never made the cut. She was always the disappointment of her family. And she’s still dealing with these feelings. So, she’s not the most confident of main characters, but honestly, she’s doing the best she can and that’s actually pretty damn good. I loved following her growth and progression and the way the story ended! Oh, my goodness, I am going to start the second book immediately after finishing this review. Zhade was not hard to love. He was funny and charming. But also, the guy that you know you can’t trust for anything, but you can’t help but trust him anyway eventually being completely unsurprised when he betrays you. I think his plan was so dumb, but I am incredibly excited to see where it leads.
Overall, I loved this book. There were twists and turns that I didn’t see coming at all. A few that had my jaw-dropping. The story was well-paced, engaging, and kept me interested the entire time. The characters were, mostly, easy to root for and I can’t wait to see how they develop further in the sequel.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.