The Martian: Book Review

The Martian by Andy Weir strikes the perfect balance between hard science fiction and snarky humor, to give us one of the most entertaining space survival stories of the last decade.
Rating: 4.5 stars

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The Themis Files: Book Review

The Themis Files isn’t perfect, but with its unique formatting and enthralling story, it is still one of my new favorite science fiction series.
Series Rating: 4.5 Stars

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe: Book Review

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Author: Lauren James
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Synopsis: The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on the Infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.

Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.

Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone….

While there are no outright spoilers for the story, I do describe certain elements of the plot and though vague, they could be viewed as spoilery. If you want to go into this book pure, then maybe skip this review.

Rating: An absolute delight of a story that expertly builds up the tension until it crescendos into a series of plot twists that leave the reader breathless.
4 stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books from My Favorite Genre

Hello and Happy Tuesday, my dear bookish people! I hope your week has had a fantastic start. I’m happy to be here with a Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s topic is the top ten books from your favorite genre. Now, you might not know this about be, considering how fantasy heavy my blog and bookstagram is, but Sci-Fi is actually my favorite genre. I just find it harder to find Sci-Fi books that click with me. Fantasy is easier for me, but my heart lies in space.

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Book Review: Skyward

Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

Rating: Sanderson strikes again, but this time with a fantastically over the top female MC, a mysterious sci-fi setting, and a snarky, mushroom obsessed AI.
Stars: 5 stars

I had no idea what to expect from a YA science fiction story from Brandon Sanderson, who is best known for wildly epic adult fantasy (go read Mistborn and Stormlight Archive RIGHT NOW!). I should have known that I would end up loving this book as much as I have with every other Sanderson book I’ve read. With a strong female lead, a wildly mysterious world, and epic dogfighting scences, Skyward stands up to the epic fantasy tomes that we’ve come to expect from Sanderson.

Sanderson’s strengths lie in world and character building. His prose is very straight forward and almost dry at times, but he manages to draw you in with exquisitely realized worlds and characters, that no matter how well or little they are developed, you can’t help but love or loathe. I’ve never known another author who could build such an in depth world without dragging down the pace of the story. I honestly think Sanderson is a wizard.

The main character, Spensa Nightshade (call sign: Spin), is filled with a righteous determination to prove herself and become the greatest pilot in the Defiant Defense Force. She has the world’s biggest chip on her shoulder from the mysterious defection of her father from the DDF and her society labeling her a daughter of a coward. Her grandmother has filled her head with heroic stories from Earth and it leads to some of the most fantastically ferocious battle speech from Spensa. As ridiculous as Spensa can be at times, she is a wonderfully human main character and even though I don’t share many of her qualities, I found myself relating to her in many ways.

The rest of the characters are developed to varying degrees, but as I said earlier, you still can’t help but feel emotions towards them. My favorite character is the one I won’t talk about because it’s mildly spoiler-y. But you’ll know who it is when you read the book. I was convinced there would be a romance in this story, but I was happy things didn’t go fully that way. I like romance in books, but it doesn’t always have to be there. The friendships that grows between Spensa and her flight mates is the heart of the book.

What I really loved was the mystery in the story. It is clear from the get-go that something is off about the DDF and the story of how the humans came to be trapped on their world. There are many twists and turns, and the final one is something I never saw coming. It sets up for what I’m sure will be a very interesting sequel. I cannot wait for Starsight, which is sure to be another stellar Sanderson story.

Aurora Rising: ARC Review

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher at my request. The following review reflects my unbiased opinion of the story and is no way influenced. Thank you to the publisher, Knopf Books for Young Readers.

FYI: This review is spoiler free.

Aurora Rising
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Synopsis: 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 bunk mates
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 inter-dimensional 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.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Rating: Kaufman and Kristoff have once again struck me deep in my Sci-Fi loving soul with their new high stakes space adventure featuring found families and healthy doses of snark.
Stars: 4.5

Aurora Rising is the newest YA Sci-Fi offering from my favorite killers of feelings, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. They have once again created an in depth SF world, given us a group of misfits to love, and then put them through many ghastly situations. It’s the kinda of emotional trauma we’ve come to know and love from these two.

While each character is unique, all were well fleshed out with the exception of Zila, which is a damn crime. The few, very brief POV chapters she had were perfection, but I wanted more of her straight-forward observations of the wild situations Squad 312 found themselves in. I almost feel like the authors didn’t know how to flesh her out and just left her characterization to be built through the other character’s POVs. I am certainly hoping for more Zila in the next book. That being said, all the other characters had their own voices and each were extremely lovable in their own right. Squad 312 will easily shoot their way into your heart.

The plot was well paced, and the slower bits were filled with intriguing back story or world building, so they never felt boring. I got some Firefly vibes, which I loved, but this story is entirely it’s own. If Kaufman and Kristoff know one thing, it’s how to write a gripping, hilarious, mysterious, and emotional space adventure.

Did I mention it has super hot space elves?

If you haven’t pre-ordered this book already, I highly urge you to do so. Don’t let your squad down. Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.