Author: Alexa Donne

BOOK REVIEW: The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

BOOK REVIEW: The Stars We Steal by Alexa DonneThe Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Review

Man am I bummed about this, you guys. For those of you who didn’t know, this is a loose science fiction re-telling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I personally have never read it before but I HAVE read and loved For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund which was also inspired by the book. After finishing that I watched the movie from 2007 just to see how the Austen version went. Basically, this story is one of the move FRUSTRATING (but ultimately rewarding) cases of slow-burn/second chance romances that you will ever see in your entire life.

This version had a LOT of potential and I still think that a lot of people will really like this. I personally think that I would have liked it more if it had even been a duology. Even though the world building and plot were pretty well formed and made sense, there was still so much MORE that could have been delved into if there had just been even one more book.

The concept of this book is that the inhabitants of Earth who had the means to do so, left in a fleet of space ships based on different nationalities after another Ice Age came on and froze the planet solid. Our main female protagonist, Leo, is considered a princess even though her family is just about destitute an the title is only really that–a title. Her aunt, who is captain of a much larger ship that is doing really well and has quite a bit of wealth, allows them to dock there.

Said Aunt is about to be hosting an event called the Valg Season which allows young people from all the different ships a chance to come together to find a suitable partner from a different bloodline. Surprise, surprise, Leo’s old love (who she had been engaged to for a hot second years ago before she was talked out of it by her father, aunt, and cousin because he was poor) shows up. Only now, he’s got money and is suddenly the heir to a ship. The two are at each others throats understandably after what happened in the past and there is a lot of tension due to a number of different things that go down.

As much as the small snippets of them reconnecting had my stomach fluttering, I wanted more. More, more, more. There wasn’t enough of them reconnecting because too many other things were going on with different political aspects involving her aunt’s ship and the fleet in general. I didn’t learn nearly enough of what their past was like, or even who they had been as people to compare to the people they had grown to be in each others’ absence. Again, if this had been more than one book, I think everything could have been executed perfectly with a better balance between the two things. Either way, it was still a quick read and I did still enjoy myself.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

BOOK REVIEW: Brightly Burning by Alexa DonneBrightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

**Many thanks to HMH Books for Young Readers for sending me an ARC. This in no way influenced my review-my opinions are my own**

This is one of those times where I emailed the publisher and didn’t expect any response-and I didn’t get one. Oh well, right? But then, one night when I had been having a bad day, I came home to the most exciting and unexpected package-this beauty of an arc. I knew I had to read it right away-and I’m so glad I did.

I just loved the two main characters so much. Especially, as many will probably agree, the captain. Hugo was absolutely breathtakingly adorable. Uncertain of himself, lonely, determined not to make the wrong decisions…but with a heart of gold and a quirky personality.

When Stella gets the job on his ship, he immediately has a connection to her. They begin to get closer, to hang out at their standing ‘reading appointments’ every night, and begin to form a bond that starts to ease the ache that being the captain of a ship brings.

I’ll admit he broke my heart quite a few times. You could tell when they were hanging out he was desperate for someone he could talk to, relate to, be friends with…she would try to read and he’d continue talking to her and..agh those were just my favorite parts. Adorable.

And I enjoyed the turmoil that extra guests on the ship brought-I LIKE jealousy. It’s just the BEST relationship jump starter [when it comes to books]. Come on now, I’m not THAT crazy-it may work in real life, but I certainly don’t go looking for it nor do I condone it.

But here I am…just searching for more to say past that. This book was pleasant, it was well-written, even (my biggest fear when it comes to asking for ARCs, because I like to know what I’m putting my neck on the line for). And here-I don’t regret asking for this book, I really don’t. But I do feel bad not just adoring it like I’ve seen-because I know that, likely, it’s just a matter of taste.

This book is a fun play on Jane Eyre. And it’s set in space. Now. See. I’m neither a fan of classical books, mostly Jane Austen, nor do I read many space books. Did this work for me? It did. I really devoured it. But did I obsess over it, pine for night time when I could curl up under the covers and read it? Did I think about it all day every day just counting down the minutes until I could be reconnected with it again? The answer, sad as it may be, is no.

I’m beginning to understand that perhaps I’m not a huge fan of books set in space-only a few really stand out to me as unforgettable…and, unfortunately, this isn’t one of them. I really really enjoyed it-that’s not a lie. But, like in EVERY book I read, when I needed a HARD push, a big, dramatic event that gets larger and larger as it chugs along, this book stayed relatively even.

Which really is a good thing, honestly-especially to most people. So it’s through no fault of the author or, if I’m speaking in a creepy way, any of the characters-it’s me. I just wanted a huge eruption and a certain end…and it didn’t go that way. *shrugs* What can I say? I’m picky.

And, perhaps, I wanted a denser writing style. For a story that was somewhat dark (well..it was very dark), the writing seemed light. Like maybe there should have been more of an edge, a sharper tone at times where, instead, there was a soft, pillowy feeling and the lack of an implication that anything TOO bad could happen. I can’t explain what I mean-I can’t. It was expertly written, to be sure. No errors to be found. Yet…I wanted or needed more, and I’m not sure what that means.

The addicting and heart-wrenching moments far outweighed the underwhelming, yet I find myself drawn to remembering the things that didn’t work for me. Maybe I wanted to love this [more] too much. Maybe I had too high of expectations because everyone else is loving it-and, again, maybe I’m just spoiled, because I had a lot of fun reading it and I really liked Hugo. I thought about him, separate from the book, frequently. But, without him, this book wouldn’t have been much to me-and that’s not really a good thing, is it?

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