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

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Published November 6, 2018

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. 

 


I’ve read a few Brandon Sanderson books, I do believe this is my 5th one, and my goodness. He always blows me away. When I first came back to reading about four years ago, I randomly picked up Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, and  I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on such good books like the one I had just read. Between the Reckoners trilogy, the first Mistborn book, and Skyward…this man can do no wrong. Seriously. I felt like I was in the middle of watching an epic Star Wars dogfight about 85% of this book, and all the other times, I was just so engaged and into the perseverance and uniqueness of Spensa that I couldn’t put it down.  His writing is so entrancing and it pulls you in like a siren’s song. I kick myself sometimes for devouring his work so quickly, but I just can’t put it down! 

Let’s start with Spensa, our main character. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy with a main character than I had with Spensa. She’s determined, strong, her tenacity and personality overall is just *chef’s kiss*. I felt like reading a book with a character like Spensa, makes me feel like I’m capable of doing anything. Which, as an almost thirty year old woman, I know I can do anything if I put my mind to it but Spensa for some reason makes it feel like that phrase is more attainable for whatever reason. She’s a wonderful main character and would recommend if anyone is looking for a strong female MC to pick this up because she makes this book worth it alone. 

Now, during this book, Spensa finds a ship wrecked in a cavern. This lovely being is M-BOT. He’s a ship with high tech and artificial intelligence which Spensa is NOT familiar with. And I ADORE this ship. And no spoilers but the end, I couldn’t handle it. He had such great character growth even for a silly little ship A.I. it was impeccable. I loved it. I love love love how much time and thought Sanderson puts into each and every one of his characters in his books.

The story is so great, wonderful pacing, a lot of just chipping away at the main plot but also keeping a good bit of mystery along the way. I think that was my favorite thing about it really. You had some really big moments, suspenseful ones like all the dogfighting etc, and then you had flight school, and M-BOT etc. which was still great paced but help keep you engaged the whole time. I loved how Brandon Sanderson revealed all the big reveals. It was great, and he left just enough to make you want to continue reading more into the series. 

This is going to be a 4 book series (so far) and I feel like this first book is just such a great foundation to be able to expand and continue with some great stuff so just like with From Blood and Ash, the sequel is my immediate next read 

On to “Starsight”!  

5/5 Stars

 

Blog Tour: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza + Giveaway

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empress-coverEmpress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Publication: February 7th 2017 by Razorbill

Empress
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

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Review:

This book was almost everything I wanted it to be and more.
I absolutely fell in love with the word building and the characters were amazing. I’d never read a “space opera”, as this was repeatedly described as, but I loved it. It was so exciting and fun and I couldn’t get enough of it. It was a little confusing at times but I didn’t mind.
I really liked the characters even though I never became emotionally invested in them.
The only reason I gave this book four stars is because the synopsis says Rhee and Aly “are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy” and that never really happens.
But other than that, I loved this book. Empress of a Thousand Skies has diverse characters, an awesome concept, and killer world building.

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Giveaway

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of three (3) signed copies of Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (ARV: $17.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 6, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 20, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 22, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

About Rhoda Belleza

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Rhoda Belleza was raised in Los Angeles, where she grew up writing XFiles fanfiction and stuffing her face with avocados. When she’s not writing, Rhoda obsesses over nail art tutorials, watches kung fu movies, and sews together crooked things that pass for clothes. She’s a children’s editor at a publishing house and writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment stuffed far too many bikes and far too many shoes. Empress of a Thousand Skies is her debut novel.

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Review: Arena by Holly Jennings

30687917Arena by Holly Jennings

Published April 5th 2016

Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV. She s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier…

The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death. Every kill is broadcast to millions. Every player leads a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.
And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.
Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who s far more distracting than he should be.
Between internal tensions and external pressures, Kali is on the brink of breaking. To change her life, she ll need to change the game. And the only way to revolutionize an industry as shadowy as the VGL is to fight from the inside

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I really enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected I would.
I loved the concept and the world building was really interesting. I love the idea of VR becoming such a massive “sport” and the whole book felt futuristic yet obtainable. With VR becoming more readily available, I can definitely see gaming jumping to a whole new level.
I really loved Kali and I though she was a very complex character. I really appreciated how the author included Kali’s struggles with being a women in a man dominated industry. I liked how the sexism towards Kali and her fellow women gamers was shown and not swept under the rug. I also really appreciated how Kali didn’t let it stop her from gaming.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was very different from anything I’ve read before and I loved the concept. If you’re into video games or sci-fi, I think you might want to check this book out.

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Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

51vpagsvayl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published: November 1, 2015

One moment, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason have nothing bigger to worry about than each other. Specifically, avoiding each other in the wake of their messy break-up. In the next second, their entire world falls apart.

The year is 2375 and one of the mega-corporations that control much of deep space has just fired the opening salvo in an intergalactic war, destroying Kady and Ezra’s planet. Forced to flee on a small fleet of crippled rescue ships alongside thousands of other refugees, the fear of enemy warships chasing them down is at first all-consuming but soon becomes the least of their worries. A deadly plague is ravaging the refugees on the ships; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be an enemy; and High Command is refusing to acknowledge that there may be a serious problem. As Kady plunges into a tangled web of data in search of the truth, she realizes that Ezra is possibly the only person who can help her save the refugees before it’s too late

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Holy cow. This was so awesome!

I cannot even begin to explain how great of a reading experience this was. I absolutely loved this book and it was one of the greatest reading experiences I’ve ever had. Nothing like it.

I wasn’t expecting Illuminae to be as good as it was. I loved Kady and I thought she was an amazingly strong and stubborn character. And I was literally on the edge of my seat every time AIDAN did something well…a bit crazy. I was insanely impressed with how much emotion and how much excitement and great plot line you get from such a different format of a book.

I have to say I read 1/2 the book on it’s own and then 1/2 with the audiobook as a companion and I have to say, it was even more so phenomenal with the audiobook companioning the read. I wasn’t surprised at how quickly I read this but I was EXTREMELY surprised with how complex the plot got and how it kept a great flow throughout the book.

I think I connected more with the characters since a lot of the content was through personal IMs and personal comms as well as e-mails and audio/video surveillance  which I thought was a great and new way to get the reader to connect to characters in a very new and original way.

As for the plot, I thought it was great and I absolutely adored the plots constant twists and turns and consistently happening “Oh crap, what’s happening next, do I put the book down? No I cant!”

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Review: Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chang, Matthew Wilson

28204534Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chang, Matthew Wilson
Published: April 5th, 2016

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.


HOLY COW. Okay so I wasn’t expecting to like this comic as much as I did. So I watched Stranger Things and then, out of the blue I picked this up and if you liked Stranger Things, most definitely a compelling read. I sat down and just plowed through all 5 issues in a very short time. And I’m anticipating the next volume hopefully soon.

I loved all of the characters, they’re all so great and I really really love everything Brian K. Vaughn does. You guys really need to pick this one up. Most definitely a cliff hanger and keeps you wanting more!

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November Wrap Up and December TBR

November was an alright month for me, nothing too bad but nothing too exciting either. I’m 2 books behind on my goal for 60 books this month, which is semi upsetting but I did take down 5.25 books this month! 7 left to reach my goal. So fingers crossed people! Here’s what I read in November

Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee – 3/5 Stars

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – 2/5 Stars

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider – 3/5 Stars

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – 4/5 Stars

The Martian by Andy Weir – 5/5 Stars

(some of) Armada by Ernest Cline

And here’s what I hope to read in December

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (THIS IS OUR BOOK OF THE MONTH!)

Armada by Ernest Cline

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Grey

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

I’m super excited for all of these reads! I hope this is how my month goes and I get to my challenge goal for the year! Have any of you read any of these titles? What are you guys reading this month?