Starsight – Brandon Sanderson

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
Published November 26, 2019

All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing.

Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to. 


Ok so… I have feelings. And they’re mostly good, which I’d say is a good thing. But, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that there were some parts of this book that I didn’t like. I feel like I had really high expectations for the book and did it live up to them? It’s about 50/50. I re-read Skyward just to prepare myself FULLY for Starsight. But anyway…let’s really dive into why I feel a bit conflicted on how much I truly loved it.

The beginning of the book picks off kind of where you’d assume Skyward left off. The DDF has studied M-BOT to help their technologies, they use Spensa and M-BOT to defeat the Krell which they know more about etc. But when an alien craft crash lands of Detritus and Spensa goes to check out what happens, she finds out the alien is also a cytonic and imprints her destination in Spensa’s mind, her destination being a Superiority ship called Starsight where she was going to learn to be a fighter pilot… I won’t go too much further into this, but I thought this was such great set-up for this book. And setting it up kind of like an Ocean’s 11/espionage type of mission was SO GREAT. Spensa’s mission being to learn exactly how the Superiority creates hyperdrives so the people of Detritus can GTFO. So I was HOOKED when I caught wind of this being like a spy/espionage type of book, those are my absolute favorites.

And then, it happened, it all just slowed down. To a pace that I hate to use the word, but it dragged. It did, just a bit. And I know there’s a lot of setup in terms of espionage/spy books and they’re a bit slower paced but I mean, there’s usually some suspense or a slip up here or there, but there was nothing, for a whole middle section of a book, other than Spensa training these alternate alien races how to be fighter pilots. It was mostly regurgitation from Skyward (I feel like an ass for writing all this but…it’s my F E E L I N G S. Please, Brandon Sanderson if you see this don’t hate me.)

But then, THEN, the catalyst to all of this was great. Once you hit that late middle/end section of the book. Boy, does it redeem itself. It was seriously hard for me to stop. I had to keep going because it was like getting back into the twists and turns and just overall amazingness of Skyward. I just got so invested into all the new characters, and everything going on it was so wonderful. Everything between M-BOT, Doomslug, Kitsen, Vapor, Cuna, Morriumur (yes, these are all new characters, and yes you’re going to love them) was so well done, it completely turned around my feelings for this book.

All that being said, I’m really hoping this third book gets back into the action because I’m not quite sure where this will go next. There’s a lot of just loose ends, which is great to keep going down but I’m interested to see what Brandon Sanderson has in store for Nowhere which I do believe is set for a Spring 2021 release.

4.25/5 Stars

From Blood and Ash – Jennifer L. Armentrout

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published March 30th 2020

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.


Ok well, I wasn’t expecting to start my year off with a read like this, but I did. I decided I wanted to get myself to try and read one book a week. And damn it, I read this book like I was getting paid to do it. I finished it SO QUICKLY. I couldn’t put it down. I have been asked to read Jennifer L. Armentrout books for a while, and none of them really spoke to me (SORRY JLA!) but this one, after reading this I would roam the earth recommending this author to people.

I felt like this book was like seeing an old friend after being apart for a long time. It just felt like the right read, and it was somehow reading a favorite book I had set aside for a very long time. The writing was so smooth, approachable, and just the flow of everything worked and felt familiar, it made it so easy for me to get lost in this book for hours on end. And I know sometimes reading a book you have to read it at the right time to really strike a good rapport with a book, let alone a 600+ page book that’s you’re first read of 2021 coming out of a slump. 

There are a few small things I have to get off my chest though…as much as I’d hate to. I was getting a bit antsy at the beginning of this book to really get moving with some sort of catalyst. It took a while to really get things moving plot wise, and as much as I love how strong Poppy is, witty Hawke is, loving Tawny and protective Vikter are, there’s only so much of that content I could absorb. I also felt like it got a bit repetitive with all the Maiden stuff and what it was like being the Maiden day to day and the sneaking out. I was beginning to get bored, and then BAM! COMING IN WWITH THE SECOND ACT. The book really rose to the occasion of a stellar read at about 25% I’d say. So if you’re struggling with this read I BEG YOU to tough it out and wait because it’s so worth it. 

My small tiny other piece that kind of made me go “oh bummer” was, I’m not sure if I just have really good deduction skills or figuring out plot twists, but I knew it all along. I won’t spoil, but I knew the twist the whole time. Not sure if it was supposed to be that obvious, but I figured it out and it made the reveal really anti-climactic for me. But that’s not to say that it wasn’t a great plot twist. But it just was a bummer that I had already put the clues together to figure it out so early on. 

Everything else in this book really worked for me. The romance was steamy and amazing (probably some of my favorite steamy scenes I’ve read from an author) and I just loved the progression of Poppy and Hawke’s relationship through the book. I loved Poppy as a main character. A strong-willed, strong bodied, smart woman suppressed to be this quiet, submissive “chosen one”, and as much as that can sometimes be a trope, I feel like JLA wrote Poppy so wonderfully that it didn’t feel like an over done trope or that I’ve read about this character a million times. And I loved that. Poppy felt like such a unique character to me (and I might have some bias towards the name as I’ve always wanted to name a daughter, if I have one Penelope). 

I also feel like I’ve never read anything like Armentrout’s writing before. It felt lyrical, heart-felt, and just some overall strong writing. I literally would feel my heart clench or my stomach drop, and just FELT while reading this which is the best sign of great writing, truly, and the fact that I haven’t had a book do that in a while, I appreciate it so much. This book had almost everything I’ve been looking for in a book and I’m so glad I picked it up. And I want to thank JLA for taking the time to really make an amazing book, I wasn’t expecting it at all. 

On to “A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire”! 

4.75/5 Stars

Say You Still Love Me – K.A. Tucker

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker
Published August 6, 2019

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.


OK so, K.A. Tucker is 2 for 2 right now. She’s crushing the romance/contemporary game. I read this almost right after The Simple Wild, and that plus this book, made her an instant read author of mine.

The classic tale of two kids, in love from two completely different sides of life. She came from money, he came from nothing. They leave camp, he never calls and then twenty three years later, they see each other and connect again.

I loved the way this went back and forth from Piper’s 16 year old self and currently her 29 year old self. Piper starts off with almost the perfect life. Next in line to be the VP of her family’s real-estate development company BUT, is working with her ex-fiance, who has the abutting office.  And then a familiar face shows up as she’s leaving the lobby for lunch, and sees Kyle, her teenage love, who never called her back after all those years when her family pulled Piper away from Kyle towards the end of the camp season.

This whole book is just a great show of teenage love, and the story of a reconnected flame. But there is so much more to that. Piper is living with her camp friends which you realize are some great side characters that don’t go unnoticed which I find happens a lot in some books, and I really appreciate K.A. spending the time to really incorporate those side characters.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the issues that arise from past to present, it’s really well done. A good secret that comes up and really just pushes all characters to a new emotional peak. I actually feel like I want to re-read this again. Please pick this up, it’s such a great read.

4/5 Stars

Neanderthal Seeks Human – Penny Reid

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
Published  March 13, 2014

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 
1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 
2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 
3) She doesn’t know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. 

To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan—aka Sir McHotpants—witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn to make her an offer she can’t refuse.


What a great re-read! I don’t think I fully reviewed this book the first time I read it, but this book kick-started me into being OBSESSED with Penny Reid romances (especially the Winston Brothers series). I absolutely love the way she writes romance. It’s so unique and unlike anything else in the genre. I feel like most of the time you find super steamy romances, and although yes, this had some great romantic tension. This book was more about the intellectual and emotional love, which I greatly appreciate.

Janie is such a great main character, she’s super smart and different. I don’t think I’ve read many books with such a quirky main character. She was so robust, and her wealth of knowledge, it made stuff really interesting. And it was easy to sympathize with her when she got laid off and her whole jerk of an ex. I actually found myself connecting a lot with her. I had a few exes cheat on me and have been laid off about three times in the span on my design career. So it was really easy to connect with Janie on a more personal level, which is why I feel like I really enjoyed this book.

But Quinn, although sweet, I felt like he lacked a little something, I wasn’t sure what, and I’m still not sure unfortunately. Maybe it was because it was so easy for me to figure out who he was in this whole plot? I can’t really put my finger on it. But I loved watching their romance grow. It was really cute and sweet. And I have to say if you’re looking for a romance that has a great growth in love, pick this up. Quinn genuinely loves Janie for who she is and that’s something super special and really constant throughout the book, and it warmed my heart from the first moment.

This book is a great read, it’s funny, light-hearted, has some good twists and turns, and is all around a great feel-good romance.

4/5 Stars

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You coverMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Published: December 31, 2012

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.


The story of Lou and Will is going to be one I forever remember. I never really get in the mood for a romance book but although the love between the two of them was slow burning, this book thoroughly satisfied my needs of a book taking my heart, tearing it from my chest and crushing it.

I know that might sound awful, but no, that’s exactly how it felt and it was…great. Now you might be thinking, Stephanie, you’re crazy no one ever wants to feel that way. But this book was just pure perfection and I can’t thank it enough for being a great romance book.

I loved Will and Lou’s dynamic and how they knew they wanted more but were both mature enough to just be there for one another while Lou kept dating that moron Patrick. I think my favorite scenes where when Will was making Lou get out of her comfort zones at times (especially when they go get tattoos, I think that’s my favorite).

Lou was so lovable and quirky and just that kind of person a lot of us can relate to. And seeing her find love and grow as a character was beautiful. I think her whole journey growing as a person made me more emotional than the actual sadder parts of this book.

All in all this is a great story of love and growing into love as you grow as a person and the issues this book also brings up (assisted suicide being one of them) I think were brought up in a good informed way and Moyes took the time to show both sides of the argument rather than just one. Which I appreciated.

Thank you Jojo Moyes for ripping my heart out and fulfilling my romance needs.

starstarstarstar

 

Stephanie-Signature