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Books of the Month

[March 2022] Book of the Month: Skyhunter by Marie Lu

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My March Book of the Month pick is an outstanding read that shook me to my core. Today I’m spotlighting Skyhunter by Marie Lu. It’s a YA sci-fi dystopian that has an incredible main character, Talin, who communicates through sign language and helps defend the last free nation. She’s such a complex and compassionate character. I LOVED this book. I don’t normally care for dystopias but this one…this one was *chef’s kiss*.

It’s book one of a duology and the second book came out last year. However, I’ve been putting it off because I haven’t been emotionally ready to continue. The ending of book one was devastating and magnificent (if that’s even possible!). But I do plan to read Steelstriker (book 2) this year because I must. know. how. it. ENDS!

"Skyhunter" by Marie Lu (cover)
Image via Goodreads

Title: Skyhunter
Series: Skyhunter #1
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA Science Fiction, Dystopian
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Recommended?: Yes

ABOUT: A broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.

Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara.

A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding?

Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left… with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save—or destroy—them all.

Loyalty is life.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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About Books

Currently Reading – October 11, 2021

Happy Monday!

What is the genre of your current read?

I’m stepping outside my comfort zone and am reading a speculative cli-fi novel, Trashlands by Alison Stine, that I was invited to participate in a blog tour for. Speculative fiction and dystopian aren’t genres I actively seek out. But I’m intrigued.

There’s something in the synopsis that draws me in. Perhaps it’s the main character able to make art in a despondent place (a light in the darkness). Perhaps it’s because the setting isn’t a not so impossible future. I also didn’t know cli-fi (climate fiction) was a thing, but totally worth exploring. All in all, I think it’ll be a good read.


Image via NetGalley

ABOUT: A few generations from now, the coastlines of the continent have been redrawn by floods and tides. Global powers have agreed to not produce any new plastics, and what is left has become valuable: garbage is currency.

In the region-wide junkyard that Appalachia has become, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She’s stuck in Trashlands, a dump named for the strip club at its edge, where the local women dance for an endless loop of strangers and the club’s violent owner rules as unofficial mayor.

Amid the polluted landscape, Coral works desperately to save up enough to rescue her child from the recycling factories, where he is forced to work. In her stolen free hours, she does something that seems impossible in this place: Coral makes art.

When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself?

Told in shifting perspectives, Trashlands is a beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative tale of a parent’s journey, a story of community and humanity in a changed world.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Image via Goodreads

Genre: YA Science Fiction, Dystopian
Series: Skyhunter #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “Because my mother taught me that, in spite of everything, I must choose goodness.”

ABOUTA broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.

Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara.

A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding?

Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left… with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save—or destroy—them all.

Loyalty is life.

 

My ReviewSkyhunter is an epic story that wowed me beyond belief! I have been missing out on a talented author and storyteller. Just, wow!

I normally don’t read dystopians, but there was something so interesting about the premise that I decided to read the chapter samples on NetGalley (read my first impressions here). It included only the first three chapters of Skyhunter and oh-my-surprise I was blown away! I couldn’t believe what I was reading nor how already in love I was with the world-building and main character. Skyhunter easily became one of my favorite reads of 2020.

If you’ve ever seen/read Attack on Titan and/or Dr. Stone (both of which I highly recommend), then you will love Skyhunter. It was like I was reading a brilliant blend of the two. This story I think takes place in the distant future of reality where we the readers are referred to as the Early Ones. There are ruins of pointed buildings, relics, and tech that humanity in the story has salvaged and improved upon. The fantastical element being Ghosts, the horrific results of human experimentation.

Talin is now one of my favorite characters. Even though she can’t speak, she can still clearly communicate sass, sharp wit and deep ocean compassion. Talin is willing to lay down her life every day for a country that scorns her and other refugees like her who exist in the Outer City. As the novel progresses, we slowly unravel the complex layers that make Talin who she is and why she fights. She is a warrior and her story will transcend time. A true Striker and heroine.

Red I loved even though there wasn’t much character development for him. Based on his backstory and the fact that there are more books to come, I think book 1 Red was meant to show the contrasting life of humanity: the Karensa Federation, the self-proclaimed inheritors of the Early Ones, and Mara, the last free nation. I think book 2 is when we’ll see the most growth.

The main antagonist, the Karensa Federation, became more and more familiar the more information learned about them. They believe in their right to rule over all and be better than what the Early Ones left behind. It is their “Infinite Destiny,” a somewhat close parallel to the US’s “Manifest Destiny.” How eerie. But it works so well in this story.

In one scene, the most critical question of the book “why do you fight?” really stuck out to me. Mara faces insurmountable odds and Ghosts whose venomous bits will turn you. The answers are so distinct to each character. It was such a quiet, haunting moment.

Skyhunter is an incredible story that really shakes you to your core. It’s happiness and sadness, triumphs and tragedies. It is a devastatingly shining example of a great dystopian story. I was left stunned breathless, filled to bursting with tumultuous emotions. I can only imagine what book 2 will bring.

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Writing Prompts

Weekend Writing Prompt #57

PICTURE PROMPT: A small portion of humanity has survived an alien invasion. What do they do to take back the Earth? Write a sci-fi dystopian story about the picture below.

 

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

 

Eager to write more? Check out more writing prompts here!

HAPPY WRITING!!!
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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Excerpt Review: Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Thank you to Roaring Brook Press and NetGalley for the eARC Chapter Samples to read and review! Skyhunter goes on sale September 29, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Series: Skyhunter #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.

#1 New York Times-bestselling author Marie Lu is back with an adrenaline-laced novel about the lengths one warrior will go to fight for freedom and those she loves.

Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara.

A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding?

Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left . . . with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save—or destroy—them all.

Loyalty is life.

 

*this review is of an excerpt (chapters 1-3) of Skyhunters only*

My ReviewI knew Skyhunter would be a winner the moment I read its thrilling synopsis. This extended preview is only the first three chapters but I majorly hooked on the world-building, characters, and plot.

The world of Skyhunter reminds me of a cross between Attack on Titan and Dr. Stone – futuristic yet primitive dystopian fantasy. These familiar vibes made it easy to acclimate and deeply immerse myself in the setting that are vividly described by Lu.

Talin’s personality is loud and clear despite not being able to speak. She is literally and figuratively scarred by past horrors but does all she can to not only keep her and her mother afloat but protect the very nation that despises her kind (a Basean refugee or aka a rat). She communicates through sign language, which is helpful as a Striker. I think many readers will fall in love with Talin.

Skyhunter has the makings of being one of my favorite 2020 reads. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book!

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About Books Miscellaneous

2017 Reading Challenge COMPLETED!!!

I finally finished my 2017 Reading Challenge on Goodreads! My goal was to read 30 books this year and I managed – miraculously – to accomplish that goal. To celebrate I thought I’d look back on some of the books I read as a part of this challenge, including post-read thoughts and highlights from the reviews I wrote. Note: title links lead to my review of each individual book.

 

The Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flanagan

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder

Image via Goodreads

A book finale I won’t soon forget. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 but it still makes me smile with happiness and sadness to this day – so is the way of a story come full circle.

Review Excerpt: “The storyline was amazing and suspenseful. I thought, Holy guacamole! That just happened. and Oh no! and What in the world?! and Please tell me there’s a way out of this. I had no idea what would happen next or how characters would overcome, which made me feel fearful for everyone involved. The strain of it was exhausting but I enjoyed every minute of it. It was an entertaining story.”

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

Image via Goodreads

Goodness, this whole series was a lot to take in but so worth it. I enjoyed each book and it all culminated into a wonderful finale. Snow Like Ashes series is now one of my new favorite YA Fantasy series

Review Excerpt: “A long read but worth it. I’m very satisfied with how everything came together as the conclusion of this series.”

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Image via Goodreads

I remember needing a book to read for something but I couldn’t use this one. I still kept the title written down to read later because the plot interested me and the cover was just gorgeous. I was so glad my local library had a copy. This book was amazing – as was book 2 – and I cannot wait to read book 3, Heart on Fire, when it’s released in early 2018.

Review Excerpt:A Promise of Fire was really good. I couldn’t put it down and finished reading it within a couple of days. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a 400+ book so fast and laughed so much.”

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Zodiac by Romina Russell

Image via Goodreads

I am so happy to have discovered this book because I am in love with this series. It’s so good and different and everything I love about YA sci-fi and fantasy. Rho is such aThe fourth and final book of the Zodiac series just came out and I can’t wait to read it.

Review Excerpt:Zodiac has been one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time. This book was amazing – I loved it so much. I had only read a few chapters before I decided that I had to read the other books in this series.There are so many twists and turns that’ll keep you guessing and enthralled for the entirety of the story.”

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Wandering Star by Romina Russell

Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

From This Moment On by Lynn Kurland

Image via Barnes & Noble

I remember adding this to my reading list this year because the book I had read before it was just….ugh. I needed a pick me up and a Lynn Kurland romance novel was just what I needed. I would read this book a third time, it was that good.

Review Excerpt: “This is my second time reading this book and it was just as good and sweet and lovely as I remembered.”

Black Moon by Romina Russell

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin (ARC review)

Image via NetGalley

This was the first ARC I’ve ever read and reviewed and also the first book I read and reviewed for NetGalley. It was so good and refreshing to read. Loved it and the strong sense of community it highlights. I also did an interview with the author, which was really cool.

Review Excerpt: “Hannah Bucchin’s debut novel, Paintbrush, was a delightful story that had me falling in love with the characters, on the edge of my seat with its plot, and feel all the feels with its touch of romance. This was a big win for me. And I look forward to reading more from her.”

Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear, Pictures by Esmé Shapiro (ARC review)

A Pattern for Pepper by Julie Kraulis (ARC review)

Prophecy Awakened by Tamar Sloan (NetGalley review)

Image via NetGalley

I really really want to read book 2 because this book was so amazing. I love werewolves in fiction so this was just right for me.

Review Excerpt: “This book was everything and then some – perfect for a paranormal romance-loving, wolf-obsessed, hopeless romantic like myself! One of my new favorite books ever and of 2017.”

Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland

Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis, Illustrated by Carmen Mok (NetGalley review)

The Hunters by John Flanagan

All Things New by Lauren Miller (ARC review)

Image via NetGalley

I’m so glad I got to read this book! It’s just…everything you want from a book and does a great job expressing what mental health issues look and feel like.

Review Excerpt: “Beautiful, poignant, and honestly portrayed, All Things New is an enchanting story that gives hope for a brighter today and an even brighter tomorrow. I underestimated how good All Things New would be – it was unbelievably fantastic!”

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown (ARC review)

Image via NetGalley

I am still reeling over how amazing this book was. I highly recommend this wonderful middle grade novel based on a true story.

Review Excerpt: “Maddie’s voice is clear, distinct, and her personality shines through every line. Her active imagination colors every word and phrase, making the reading experience extremely enjoyable. Her perspective on life made me think about my own, especially when I was her age. I felt included in her world. Maddie is a sweet, admirable individual who anyone would feel lucky to have as a friend.”

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Image via Goodreads

This was the first book by Sarah Dessen I ever read and oh my goodness it was good. Any recommendations which other books by Dessen I should read?

Review Excerpt: “This novel really pulls at the heart-strings, especially with what incites the conflict and every obstacle that follows. What made me pick up this book was that it involved wedding planning and the premise seemed really interesting. Those two things combined surely would make a great story, right? It did. Also, let’s not forget that the cover is simple but gorgeous.”

Blood Guard by Megan Erickson (ARC review COMING SOON)

Me, Me, Me by Annika Dunklee, Illustrated by Lori Joy Smith (ARC review COMING SOON)


Thanks for reading today’s post! I hope you enjoyed it. More reviews are to come within the next four months.

My Fall 2017 TBR List is up – check out what books I’ll be reading. I update my Currently Reading page and Goodreads regularly when changes in books occur. I’m still reading Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan and The King’s Champion by Xina Marie Uhl (ARC), but I hope to finish those really soon.

You can also follow me on Twitter for updates on my reading list and about the blog.

As always, happy reading!

Categories
About Books

Popular Books I’ve Never Read

I am a firm believer in reading the book before seeing the movie (unless I’m unaware that a story was a movie first) for, in my opinion, the book is always better. Yet there are several popular books that I’ve never read and/or seen its movie adaptation. It’s not because I don’t like these stories – you can’t dislike what you haven’t read/seen. I either was not interested at the time (either because of my age or where I was at in life), was going to read it but decided not to (because my TBR list was just too long), or I tried to read it but lost interest.

 

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (1997-2007, 2016)
I tried to read the first book but I probably shouldn’t have at the age I did. For me, it was too big and too much, so I thought maybe when I was a bit older I’d go back to the series. Then the movies began to come out. I still thought “Oh, I’ll see the movie and catch up on reading the books when I can. No worries.” But as more time passed I continued watching the movies without reading the books until I finally gave up. I was in too deep with the movies to go back.

Anyway, I love the movies. They blew my mind and I could just imagine how much more amazing the books must be. All my friends who’ve read Harry Potter tell me how there’s certain things missing from the movies (which is understandable when a book is adapted to a movie) but that the books are better (they still love the movies though). I think it’s likely I’ll read this series in the future when I have time.

Also, if I had a choice I’d want to be in Gryffindor and I’d want Maggie Smith to be my mentor (she’s so amazing and a great actress). And don’t get me started on Potter Puppet Pals (so so funny and adorable).

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1862)
When I first heard about/seen the stage/movie adaption, I did not know it was originally a book. I’ve seen three different movie adaptations of it: the 2012 version, one was in black and white and spoken in French (don’t remember the year), and the other was in color but I don’t remember much else about it. All were equally interesting and enjoyable to watch.

It’s staged musical production was my first introduction to the story. It was late at night and I was flipping through channels and I saw what I thought was a commercial (not sure what you’d actually call it) but it was showing Les Misérables: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (10th anniversary). I was thoroughly amazed by the singing and the story was so moving even though it was an all sung concert. I fell in love with it and soon got my hands on the soundtrack from that concert.

I would like to see this show in person someday. It’s such a sad but incredible story…I’m not sure if I could get through reading the book without falling to pieces. But it’d be worth the read someday.

The Lord of the Rings series (1954-1955) & The Hobbit (1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien
I knew about the movies before I knew they were books first. Most of my friends have seen (and I think read) them but I haven’t done either. I’m all for epic fantasy adventures but these just never really interested me. Although, I do enjoy watching The Hillywood Show‘s parodies of them, especially of The Hobbit.

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (2008-2010)
I actually had the first book on my TBR list way back when it was first published but I just never got around to reading it – too many books kept being added to my TBR list and taking precedence. I really wish I’d had time to read them but some things just don’t work out. I did enjoy each of the movies, the first and part two of the third book being my favorites. The Hunger Games is an awesome dystopian story and series. And, of course, I have to point out The Hillywood Show’s amazing parody of it.

Divergent series by Veronica Roth (2011-2013)
I heard about the books back when only the first book had been published. I debated for a while whether or not to read Divergent and ultimately decided not to. I just couldn’t see myself enjoying it and part of me didn’t really get what it was supposed to be about. Now that I’ve seen all the movies that have been released so far, I kind of wish I had. I think as a reader I am just personally not drawn to dystopian books or just haven’t found any ones to read that spark my interest – which is strange because I enjoyed watching their movie adaptations. Based on my impressions from seeing the movies, I don’t believe I’ll go back and read this series in the future.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (2012)
I discovered this book and it’s movie adaptation at the same time because everyone (who had read the book) was excited for the upcoming film. After the film came out I bought the book because I’d only heard good things about it both. But I haven’t read it yet and I think it’s because the hype kind of killed it for me. However, I do love John Green as a person – I think he’s smart, kind, and funny. I still would like to read this book before seeing the movie but I don’t know when that’ll happen.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fizgerald (1925)
A classic piece of literature often used in school English/Language Arts/Literature classes. I never had to read it in school. To be honest, most classic literature never really interested me growing up. I think it’s due to a mix of me having to study a book too intensely, being prone to getting lost in my imagination, or just loving all things fantastical more. I heard the 2013 movie adaptation was good but I didn’t go see it. I do find it interesting that the story isn’t told through the title-character’s perspective (from my understanding). But I don’t see myself reading this in the future.

So there’s my list, the honest truth. And again, I have no ill will towards any of these books. Perhaps one day I’ll read them and/or see their movie adaptations and there’s probably others I haven’t read that aren’t on this list. But for now I’ve got an extensive TBR list to get through.

What popular books have you not read or gotten a chance to read yet? What book(s) should I make a point of reading? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!