Currently Reading: 6/12/17

Cover- Soul of the World

Soul of the World by David Mealing

Rejoice, all ye who have asked about this book or mentioned wanting to see a review… for at last, I AM READING IT! I’m barely past the maps, but the first few chapters have already grabbed my attention and that’s always a good sign. It’s a hefty tome, so it will probably be the only physical book I’ll read this week.

 

 

Cover- Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

AHHHH I LOVE THIS BOOK! I began the audiobook last week, so I’ll be finishing it up pretty soon. I can’t express how much I love these books- they’re so addictive and the story is actually fantastic! Also, the UK covers for this series are really much better than the US covers (pictured), so check them out.

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett – Review

Cover- The Space Between the Stars

Published: June 13, 2017

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Standalone

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…


If you haven’t heard of The Space Between the Stars or you’re on the fence about whether or not to read it, allow me to give you my humble opinion. You should seriously check this one out- it’s got that “end is nigh” vibe, but without the typical imminent demise aspect and you get a brief tour of the inhabited worlds. There’s even a bit of internal strife, long distance love, and all the characters seem to struggle with their pasts to some degree or another, plus it lacks any sort of zombie which takes away the scary/creepy vibes!

This isn’t a story about the whole of humanity, but rather a story about a group of survivors and how they deal with the loss of most of their fellow humans. Every human inhabited planet was struck by a virus with a survival rate purported to be one in a million leaving human conversation to become something of a rarity. Jamie Allenby is on a remote planet working as a livestock veterinarian when the virus hits and doesn’t know if there’s another living person on the planet. Having livestock as your only company for the rest of your life isn’t very promising. Eventually, she gets off planet with the goal of going to Earth, her home planet and where her ex-significant other (unsure of actual relationship) Daniel had been traveling to when disaster struck.

What I’ve just written is the most basic summary of the plot and doesn’t even begin to cover the richness of the characters in The Space Between the Stars. Jamie in particular is quite interesting. She struggles with her past and her continuous effort to run from every problem and hardship has failed, because now she’s running back to the man she left. This story really brings her full circle and is almost a story of personal reconciliation with the viral apocalypse as a background theme rather than the reverse. The other characters were almost equally interesting, though obviously much less defined than Jamie. Rena and Lowry are members of a non-denominational religious order and have a long history with each other. Mila struggles to see a place for herself in a world were skills other than her limited set are required.  Finn is probably incapable of surviving by himself and struggles with the ever-changing situations. The inter-group strife was quite believable given the circumstances and really helped keep the story moving, though some bits of the plot were wrapped up very conveniently.

The Space Between the Stars was just a really good book and so difficult to put down! Anne Corlett has successfully written a book about the destruction of society that wasn’t bleak and awful, but rather focused on personal reconciliation and new beginnings. This is a book that will definitely be placed on my shelf of keepers for more than just that lovely cover. I hope her future books will only continue to get better!

Waiting on Wednesday: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers feature a book that we just can’t wait to get our hands on!


Cover- All the Crooked Saints

After reading The Raven Boys series last year I’ve become a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater. What a lyrical storyteller! I’m tremendously excited for her next work, All the Crooked Saints which follows another family of interesting and talented people that I hope will be as wonderful as Blue Sargent’s family. Can she achieve the same quality of character dynamics/interactions that she did with The Raven Boys?? I can’t wait to check this one out when it’s released October 10, 2017.

Currently Reading: 6/5/17

Cover- A Gathering of Ravens

A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden

This is the first book I’ll be finishing up this week. As I type this, I’m about 100 pages in and find it to be epic. It reminds me of a mix between Beowulf and the Vikings tv show.

 

 

 

 

Cover- Kangaroo Too

Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen

I’ve tentatively decided to read Kangaroo too this week also, but I might be overreaching a bit! If it’s anything like it’s predecessor, this should be a quick, fun spacey-spy adventure with a bizarrely humorous twist.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner – Review

Cover- Hunted

Published: March 14, 2017

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Pages: 374 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Synopsis:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?


After seeing a really encouraging review by one of my fellow bloggers, I decided that I obviously had to order a copy of Hunted for myself and see what the deal was. How surprised I was to find that I enjoyed this Beauty and the Beast retelling! There are definitely some common themes that show up in Hunted but it’s not sickeningly saturated with them.

Yeva longs to return to the woods where she has fond memories of her younger years, so when her father loses his wealth she is given a reprieve from the trappings of society. Her father begins hunting but after glimpsing the Beast he goes missing and Yeva sets off into the woods with only her bow to find him. Yeva is captured by the Beast (of course) and is carried away to his lair in an enchanted valley where he imprisons her and eventually trains her to hunt magical creatures like himself.

I like Yeva and felt that she was a convincing main character- she didn’t magically acquire an incredible skill set, she was actually afraid of her captor, and had totally reasonable emotions (and perhaps a touch of Stockholm syndrome). I also appreciated that, for once, the sisters in a fairy tale weren’t evil and they had a good relationship with Yeva. What a relief! The Beast’s mini-chapters added just enough perspective to make the reader empathize with his plight and understand his actions and reactions towards Yeva. Without them I think the story would have suffered.

Overall, Hunted was a well-done retelling that I would absolutely recommend to anyone who love the original Beauty and the Beast story. Though appearances don’t really matter, the book itself is quite attractive- the dustjacket has a nice shine to it, the Beast chapters have some added graphic effects, and the naked book is a pretty white and emerald color scheme. Did I mention that this is also a standalone? I hope it stays a standalone because it worked perfectly as such.

Stacking the Shelves: 6/4/17

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Guys, this has got to be one of the coolest book hauls I’ve posted. Every single one is a finished copy AND they’re all June releases, so obviously it’s going to be a huge month for fantasy readers. And here’s the list:

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Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell

I was offered a copy of Tyrant’s Throne and decided there was no time like the present to finally start the Greatcoats series.  So I did. I’ll be knocking down books 1-3 nearer to the end of June and then I’ll be reading the grand finale! Thanks Jo Fletcher for a huge hardcover doorstop!

The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan

Yet another release in the Summer of Awesome Books, we’ve got this semi-industrialized era, dragon filled and action packed sequel. My thanks to Ace!

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett

I’m a sucker for pretty covers and this one has such an appealing color scheme! I’ve already finished this one and let me tell ya, it’s one of the most hopeful ‘society is doomed’ stories I’ve ever read. I loved it and a review will be posted soon!

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Soul of the World by David Mealing

YES, FANTASY DEBUTS!! By now, I’m sure it’s obvious that I love fantasy books and debuts are one of my favorite things ever… so it goes without saying that I’m excited for Soul of the World, right? Thanks Orbit for the finished copy!

Roar by Cora Carmack

Surprises are awesome and surprises that are also books are even better. I’ve heard really positive things about this YA fantasy debut and can’t wait to read it this summer! Much thanks to Tor Teen.

More of Me by Kathryn Evans

Another bookish surprise, this time from Amulet Books (thank you)! This is about a girl that must keep cloning herself, but one of her clones starts getting in the way of her life. Makes you curious, doesn’t it?

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – Review

Cover- The Long Way to A SMall Angry Planet

Published: August 13, 2015

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Wayfarers #1

Pages: 404 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.


Can I just say that this book was shockingly awesome? It really was. Since its release in 2015 I’ve seen lots of buzz and mostly favorable reviews so I decided it was high time to check it out for myself. I decided to pick up the audio version, which had great narration and is definitely worth checking out if you’re also an audiobook listener.

The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet is a wild, fun, character driven sci-fi roadtrip. The crew of the Wayfarer is vibrant and kind, plus it’s a multi-species crew which means ample opportunity to learn about the different alien (and human) cultures. Kizzy, the zany mechanic, was one of my most favorite characters. She always had a snack in hand and her tight friendship with Jenks was great. Doctor Chef came in at a near tie for Kizzy, because who couldn’t love a giant caterpillar-esque person that loved all things cuisine and served as ship’s doctor too?

The plot of the story, though not so thoroughly detailed as the characters, was engaging as well. The Wayfarer is a ship outfitted to punch holes in space, which means shorter travel time between distant planets. The Wayfarer has recently picked up a new crewmember and has a brand new job lined up that could mean moving into a whole new league once complete. This job means going into the potential hostile territory of the Tauremi, an alien species that has interest in joining a sort of space confederation. This is exciting, but it’s not the endpoint but the journey here that’s important. There are tons of pit stops- family visits, part pick-ups, rescues, and rendezvous- and each is a brand new adventure.

The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet was a tremendously fun read that provided a little something for everyone. The characters were lovable, the action was memorable, and best of all it had a great ending. You can leave this as a standalone or continue on with A Closed and Common Orbit, which features a few familiar characters, but from the synopsis it seems to branch off in a different direction. I look forward to reading more from Becky Chambers in the future!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers feature a book that we just can’t wait to get our hands on!


Cover- The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter

Honestly, I’m really intrigued by the title of this book and the crazy cover design. I mean, sure it’s also cool because it’s got Homes & Watson, Jekyll & Hyde, and various ladies that have dabbled in the art of “mad science” but the cover is what’ll grab your attention in the aisle or as you scroll endlessly through Amazon. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter promises to be a uniquely interesting story that I hope to find time for sooner rather than later. It will be released June 20, 2017 and has glowing reviews on Goodreads!

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau – Review

Cover- Dividing Eden

Published: June 6, 2017

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Dividing Eden #1

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

A sweeping fantasy, by the bestselling author of The Testing, about two royal siblings forced to compete for the crown.

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option: to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?


Eeek! I’m so happy that Dividing Eden was actually really good, especially since so many YA books fail to live up to the hype generated on social media! I can’t say that I’ve seen an excess of promotions for this one and it deserves the promos! My eye was initially drawn to Dividing Eden by the simple, elegant cover design and a synopsis that promised some serious sibling rivalry- something that hasn’t yet become overdone in the genre.

The aforementioned siblings are Princess Carys and Prince Andreus of Eden- twins that have always had each other’s backs no matter what. This begins to change after the king and their elder brother Prince Micah are killed (supposedly) by a neighboring enemy and their mother is declared unfit to rule. The two must compete against one another in a series of trial to gain the throne and this, as one would expect, drives the once close siblings further and further apart. What makes this really interesting is the fact that both are hiding things that would be detrimental if brought to light – Carys is addicted to a painkiller and Andreus has episodes that sound similar to a panic or asthma attack (I’m no doctor). There’s a whole big mess that happens because of kept secrets and trusting the wrong people. If you add in snow monsters, curses, and a hint of future sight you have a rather dramatic and enticing story.

Carys and Andreus were great characters from the start and each developed even more distinct personalities as the book progressed. They made real choices that people would make based on feeling betrayed, fearful, neglected, etc. and they were understandably naïve about certain things, particularly Andreus who didn’t have to be as forward thinking or cunning as Carys. I liked Carys from the moment she had slitted pockets sewn into her dresses so she could access her weapons- a girl should always have something sharp handy! One thing about the characters/story was how the queen suddenly just snapped after the loss of her husband and son and decided that she was going to go get eaten by the Xhelozi – I have suspicions about this… poison perhaps? Previously she had seemed very collected and while grief can elicit some very atypical behavior, I felt this was a little odd.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that Dividing Eden exceeded my expectations and even made me wish it was a little longer. I was SO rooting for Carys at the end and I hope she crushes her enemies thoroughly in the sequel. It would be so satisfying. I highly recommend Dividing Eden for those who enjoyed Kendare Blake’s newest book, Three Dark Crowns. The stories have some similar themes that I really enjoyed!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers feature a book that we just can’t wait to get our hands on!


Cover- The Cruel Prince

If you enjoy YA fantasy and haven’t read any of Holly Black’s books, I would highly recommend that you do! She’s long been one of my favorite YA authors, dating back to my mid-teen years reading her Modern Faerie Tales series. The prospect of another Holly Black series featuring dark, creepy faeries is FANTASTIC! I’ve got awhile to wait because The Cruel Prince is scheduled for release on January 18, 2018.