Author: Arielle (page 1 of 12)

BOOK REVIEW: This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerThis Shattered World (Starbound #2)
by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

Review:

“What do you know of souls and hearts and how they break here? You don’t know me at all.”

“Oh, Jubilee.”
My resolve shatters, and my hand slides toward hers. She doesn’t pull away, but she doesn’t look up either, watching my fingers curling through hers.
“Hearts and souls and how they break? That’s all Avon teaches anyone.”

Man I am just so happy that I decided to re-read this series. I forgot how much I truly loved it and that’s saying something considering the fact that I first read it quite a while ago and have grown as a reader a lot since then. Going into this in the back of my mind I was thinking that this was my favorite book of the series. While I’m not sure if I in fact liked it more than book one, I think that overall the story line is a lot more solid and intense than book one. Even the romance develops a bit more realistically (though let’s be honest, I’m usually not a judger of insta-love….usually).

“I’m not special,” I snap. “I’m no more important than anyone else.”
“You’re the most important thing in this universe. You; this vessel; the people of this planet; lovers, warriors, artists, leaders, dreams more numerous than stars. Each mind unique, each thought created for an instant and then broken apart to form new ones. You don’t understand the unbearable beauty of being you.”

While this is a continuation of another planet that has been affected by the Whispers, it’s more of a story about the people of Avon and the soldiers that occupy it and their power struggles. It’s about peace-keeper Finn, who is part of the local group of people and the brother of the women who tried starting a huge rebellion, failed, and was executed for it and Jubilee, or Captain Lee Chase who is obviously part of the military force occupying Avon. The two meet when Finn captures Jubilee, hoping to find information on this mysterious base he finds deep in the swamp. He ends up eventually letting her go and the two wind up forming a tentative relationship for the sole sake of finding out what in the hell is going on with the slowed terraforming and this mysterious “fury” that used to only affect soldiers but spreads to more people.

This book is just so much…more (?) than the first book. Finding out about the struggles of the local people versus the soldiers and hurting for them. Talk of change, of rebellion, of just spending every day trying to survive. It’s pretty heavy honestly. There is one scene involving death that just fucking ripped my heart out and stomped all over it. I forgot how intense this book was at times, honestly but that’s what made it so good. I loved reading about Finn’s love for his people and how all he wanted was peace and to find out why his planet wasn’t doing better. I loved reading about Jubilee’s strict moral code and how she eventually had to change what she thought because she realized she didn’t have the whole picture and that sometimes you need to break the rules in order to help people and actually do the *right* thing.

Their relationship, too, was just so good. Watching it develop was so satisfying in the end and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it at all. Overall, like I said, I am so happy to have re-read this. It’s of the good ones.

ALSO, SIDE NOTE, the audio of this is AMAZINGGGGGG. Between every chapters is a few pages of what we find out later to be Jubilee’s dreams that are being “stolen” from her. They are read buy this guy who does this soft, voice that honestly creeped me out while you can hear people whispering in the background. Like holy shit. So eerie and so amazing. HIGHLY recommend.

He can’t take his eyes off the stars, but I can’t take mine off his face.

BOOK REVIEW: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerThese Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

How do you live again, knowing what waits for you in the end?

After I finished Aurora Rising I knew that I wasn’t yet ready to venture out of the world of sci-fi. With the loss that I was feeling though, I just wanted something familiar, something that I knew I had liked before. My mind immediately went to this series (which is partially even wrote by Kaufman). This is my third time reading this book and I have to say that I liked it just as much as the other two times. I think overall I’d rate it a 4.5. It’s not a book that blew my mind but you know what? I’ve realized that you can give a book a high rating just for the sole fact that you really, really enjoyed it. It doesn’t have to be life changing but if it means something to you, makes you happy, and is memorable in any way, rate it five stars if you’d like.

That’s what this book is to me. It’s a story about Lilac and Tarver. The daughter of the richest man in the universe and a cynical war hero. The two meet on the Icarus, the spaceship which then gets sucked out of hyperspace and ends up crash landing on a strangely deserted planet. They were lucky enough to make it to an escape pod and Lilac was able to use the knowledge she’d learned from an old friend to hotwire their pod off the ship. Out of 50,000, the two are the only survivors.

The book basically just features them getting from their downed pod, to the wreckage of the Icarus, and then on from there. It’s a journey book and I know that’s just not everyone’s cup of tea. For some reason though, I just really liked it. I liked reading about them trying to survive. I liked them observing this planet that was weirdly terraformed and not familiar. And most of all I loved their hate-to-love relationship. Actually, if I remember correctly, the relationships and the characters were the defining part of what I loved about this entire series. Some of the plot lines become kind of weak later on but the characters never failed me.

Even though it initially seems like Lilac could have the potential to be a spoiled brat, she’s the complete opposite. She never whines or complains to Tarver when he’s trying to get them from point A to point B, even when she got huge blisters on her feet and was completely worn out from not having any kind of stamina for a journey like that. ESPECIALLY after falling out of the sky and realizing you are probably the only one that survived. And Tarver. Of course I loved Tarver. Tarver is the kind of guy character that will always be my type. (similar to Gale, Chaol, Garret, Cassian, etc.) Soldier, hard ass, but also has that gooey caramel center that you didn’t expect at first, lol. I enjoyed watching their relationship bloom and EVEN THOUGH I would have been really sad for Tarver’s family if he had never come back, is it weird of me to think it would have been a really interesting read to see how they flourished if they would have just stayed on that planet and made a life for themselves (kind of like in the movie Passengers)??!?!? 

Also, can I just say that the Whispers kind of creep me the F out? I know they meant no harm in this book but the whole thought of Lilac starting to hear voices and them creating those specific ~things~ was just…something else. I started to listen to This Shattered World on audio late last week and OMG. The narrator who does the scenes between chapters that are set in Jubilee’s past and brought up by the Whispers is so eerie to listen to. It’s quite frankly amazing. I’ve only just gotten into audiobooks and am finding out they can make a book 10x better because of those extra things. 

Overall this is a series that I will always love and will come back to from time to time to read again! If you’re looking for a kind of lighter (POSSIBLY AT TIMES CHEESY BUT WHO CARES) sci-fi series that is strong in the character/relationship department, I’d give this a try!

For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it’s gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away.

Until all that’s left is us

BOOK REVIEW: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay KristoffAurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)
by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

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 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.

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

Review:

You know you’ve read an exceptionally good book when you relish the idea of writing your review as soon as you’re done because you want to impress upon everyone the exact emotions you were feeling as soon as you’ve reached the last page. Guys. I know we’re only a quarter of the way through 2019 but I’ve read some damn good books so far. This….is one of the best. As much as I loved Finale this might honestly have been better. I’ve wanted to get my hands on this book since it was first announced. I loved the Starbound trilogy by Kaufman and Spooner and also ate up The Illuminae Files which was by the same two authors who also crafted this gem of a book. In both series, I loved their take on the distant future and their incredibly addicting writing. The characters were unforgettable and there was always at least one relationship that had me swooning and dying for more. Based on ALL of that, THIS BOOK LIVED UP TO EVERYTHING I HOPED AND DREAMED IT WOULD BE.

Premise wise this book is about Tyler—a star squad leader who is about to get his dream cadet picks at the Aurora Academy and spend his life doing good and keeping peace in the ‘Way….until the complete opposite happens…kind of;

It’s about Scarlett, who only joined the Academy to stick with her twin brother, Tyler, and who is the mother hen of the group while also having killer wit and sarcasm;

It’s about Cat, Ace pilot, tomboy, not-so-secretly in love with her best friend who might also happen to be squad leader;

It’s about Kal, hot Legolas lookalike alien who has anger problems and may be the new love of my life;

It’s about Zila, trigger happy, very quiet, possible sociopath but also possibly there is a lot more to her than meets the eye and I’m interested to learn more???;

It’s about Finian, ALSO SUPER SARCASTIC, alien, techie boy who loves giving his squad shit whenever possible about whatever possible;

And finally, it’s about Aurora, or Auri, who was stuck in cryo-freeze on a missing ship for the past two hundred years and finds out she was the only one who survived and that she now has confusing new powers when she wakes up.

AGAIN, this is another one that’s been likened to SOC but other than the fact that it’s a group of misfits, it’s entirely its own thing. Each character has POV chapters but they never felt disjointed. I knew exactly who each one was immediately and loved each one immediately. What I’m trying to say is that Squad 312 is my new ~squad~ and I would die for each and every one of them. *sobs*.

This book was intense in a way that I had forgotten sci-fi could be. I don’t read a ton of it but when I do it strikes me that same way every time. I mean there’s the magnitude of Auri waking up TWO HUNDRED YEARS after she was put into cryo-sleep, knowing that life as she knew it is completely different and everyone that she had ever known and loved is dead. There’s the fact that a character dies and the incident ripped my fucking heart out and stomped all over it and I was sitting there crying in my car trying to hide it so my husband wouldn’t ask and then make it worse hahaha. I guess I’ve been reading too many romances or something. But I took it hard. HARD I TELL YOU. And the mystery of the story itself was one of the most gripping that I have read in a long time. I am dying for the next few books. Dying to see how certain characters grieve and heal. Dying to see how certain relationships blossom. And most importantly, dying to see how the universe is saved from sure destruction.

Do yourself all a favor and pick this book up when it comes out. I give it my highest of recommendations.

HUGE thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) by Jessica Brody & Joanna Rendell

BOOK REVIEW: Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) by Jessica Brody & Joanna RendellSky Without Stars (System Divine #1)
by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A thief. An officer. A guardian.

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.

Review

The rich traded good and extravagances.
While the poor traded dreams and ideas.

From The Chronicles of the Sisterhood
Volume 12, Chapter 1

When I first came across this book, I wasn’t so much drawn in by the fact that it was a Les Mis retelling. It really was as simple as me seeing “where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet” in the synopsis. Little did I know, that was going to be one of the last things on my mind after finishing this book.

I don’t know how many people are going to pick this up because they love Les Mis. I personally have only seen the movie from 2012 once so before getting into this I read a synopsis of the original book by Victor Hugo to refresh my memory. That probably isn’t necessary—in fact, I almost don’t think you should. If anything, it caused me more stress because I was too wrapped up in worrying about if Chatine was going to die like her counterpart does in the book. Also, it almost took some of the suspense out of several parts because you can guess what might happen based on what happened in Les Mis. But let’s just forget about the retelling aspect of this for a moment.

Let’s just focus on what this book is. In short, it’s a book about the separation between the rich and the poor on a planet that has formed after the destruction of the First World (Earth). It’s a story about rebellion. It’s a story about spending your whole life thinking one thing is true because of what you’ve learned from your family, only to have that life flipped on its head after discovering there’s more to the story than you ever could have imagined.

Even though I knew this story was going to be about rebellion, I wasn’t prepared for how dark it was going to be. How visceral some of the emotions that this book elicits might be. Ever since I’ve become a mom I have felt things a lot more intensely. So reading about an infant death, poor, starving people that have to accept their lot in life, parental abuse, etc. really got to me. It made the book more real to me. Made the rebellion more gut-wrenching.

If I haven’t already made it apparent, these ladies can write. I truly was sucked in while reading. The characters were great. It was easy to love them, to hate them, to desperately root for them. There is *kind of* a love triangle that I feel like we might see play out more in the next book(s). (Personally I’m rooting for Chatine, lol she deserves a happy ending, damn.) And that’s actually where I pray things deviate from Les Mis. I don’t want to know who dies and who ends up together based on the original book. I want to be surprised in this next book PLEASE.

The only reason I’m not giving this a full five stars is because there were parts where I felt it drag a bit. I mean I’m not quite complaining about the length? There was a lot of world building and plot to build up so it’s not like it could have been much shorter…I honestly can’t even quite put my finger on it. I just wasn’t feeling a half star’s worth of the book. Regardless, I am dying to see how EVERYTHING plays out in the next book. Definitely give this one a shot!

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for allowing me to read an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: Make Me Bad by R. S. Grey

BOOK REVIEW: Make Me Bad by R. S. GreyMake Me Bad Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

I was issued a warning: stay away from Ben Rosenberg.

As Clifton Cove’s resident “king”, he thinks he’s entitled to anyone and anything.

The trouble is, I’ve spent my whole life following the rules and playing it safe. I know what it feels like to be the good girl. I’m the police chief’s daughter and a librarian—for adorable children, no less.

An all-nighter with a fictional hunk is about as exciting as my life gets until one day, fate decides to take pity on me and shove me straight into the path of Mr. Off-Limits himself.

Just as I suspected, every inch of him promises to be my demise. Up close, he’s tall, menacing—a lawyer who looks like he’ll bite. A well-behaved girl would do as she’s told and avoid him at all costs, but I’m overdue for a little rebellion.

So, I ignore the warning and throw caution to the wind. But Ben doesn’t just nudge me out of my comfort zone—he thrusts me into a dark corner and presses his hard body against mine, covering my mouth with his hand to ensure we don’t get caught sneaking around. In that moment, I finally understand why everyone thinks he’s going to ruin me.

To him, this is all a game.
He wants to tempt me with his dares and taunt me with his words.
I should play along. After all, I asked him to make me bad. I just never thought he’d take his job quite so seriously...

Review: 


“Eli! Ahem, Eli!”
 
I turn to see a short elderly woman holding a book outstretched toward the guy talking my ear off. 
“Eli,” she says, tone stern, chin raised. “This book has a tear right down the first page. I think it’s only fair that I get to keep it—for free.” 
I turn back in time to see Eli roll his eyes. “That’s the fifth book this month. Mrs. Taylor, if you keep tearing up our books, we’re going to cut up your library card.”

That’s it. I can now say without a doubt that if you’re looking for a feel good romantic comedy, R. S. Grey is the one for you. While they’re all not mind blowingly life-changing, you can be sure that they have all warmed my heart and have made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions. This book is no exception and I’m so glad I picked it up as a cure to my Red, White & Royal Blue hangover.

“What kind of law do you practice again?” I ask, perusing his suit. 
He squeezes my hand and then lets it drop. “Corporate.” 
“Pity. You look like you should be putting criminals behind bars. Very intimidating today, like you’ll bite.”

I felt like I easily connected to this book (and especially Madison) for a few different reasons. For one, I also work in a library as a librarian–though I do have a few thoughts on that later. For another, I had a pretty strict family and while I moved out of my house as soon as I was in college, I can sympathize with Madison’s inner struggles when it came to being torn over becoming “bad” and living life but also not wanting to disappoint make any waves with her dad and brother.

Quickly back to the library aspect–while I always get really excited when I find out there’s a librarian character, I feel like there are a lot of times when I can clearly tell that the author doesn’t quite know what it is that a librarian ~does~. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Grey has either been to a library or did some research because it wasn’t far off base–there were just some aspects that felt off to me. I’m probably just being picky though. If the library that Madison worked at was smaller, then her wide range of duties make sense to me. If it was bigger, then no??? Like it seemed like she was doing story times, other children’s programs, working the help desk, shelving books–basically a LOT of stuff. There’s no way that if that library served a good sized community that she would have the time to do all of that stuff. BUT I DIGRESS. That stuff is only going *maybe* going to bother a person who works as a librarian haha. It’s such a small thing I easily ignored it. Especially when Madison had such killer story times and made Ben dress up as Mr. Darcy lollll.

“Are you almost done?” I ask. My voice sounds like it came out of a mouse. 
“Not if you don’t stand still. 
His hands grip my waist and he squeezes. 
Apparently, I’m fidgeting. Hot. Bothered. 
He ties the laces together at the bottom and steps back. 
I turn around and hold out my arms. “What do you think?” 
He clears his throat, glances away, and when he looks back, his gaze is narrowed. “I think it’s a little much for a toddler story time.” 
I glance down and laughter erupts out of me. “Oh jeez.” 
My breasts have been pushed up and forced together to form a tantalizing amount of cleavage. Even I’m slightly turned on by the sight. I look like a serving wench.

Ben was definitely a very enjoyable hero. I always like a good story line where the guy “teaches” the heroine sexy times or in this case–how to be bad. I mean, in Madison’s case the stuff wasn’t even that bad…it more of like she just wanted to live. I loved their texts and how Ben egged her on. The scene when she was getting her tattoo and he was drawing words on her hand with his finger WAS ADORABLE. He was wonderfully serious and occasionally grumpy which I always weirdly like, too haha. I am also happy to report that this is another instance of a good love story where there is no “misunderstanding” between the two. Gosh I have really come to hate that. Overall, very sweet, hilarious, and a quick read. Basically if you’re ever in need of a pick me up or are on a beach somewhere wanting a string of light reads, all of her books are for you!

“Ugh, do I have to go?” 
It really is embarrassing. 
Ben stands and hooks his hands under my arms, forcing me. “C’mon, I’ll help you.” 
We all know what that means. We’ve seen the movies. Ben’s going to stand behind me a little too close, touch me a little inappropriately, all in the name of sport. And, of course, because our friends are all mature adults, they whistle and catcall us as Ben moves up behind me. 
“Oh yeah, Ben, show her how it’s done,” Andy says. 
Ben flips him off. 
“Oh, I’m not sure, Ben—do I stand like this?” Arianna mocks and okay, she’s funny, and I like her. Also, how dare she?

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