Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 25

Cover of "All Systems Red" by Martha Wells.
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Science Fiction
Series: The Murderbot Diaries #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: “As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

All Systems Red was an excellent, fast-paced, captivating story with perhaps one of the best/unique main characters I’ve ever read. I don’t read sci-fi often and it’s rare to find a gem like what Martha Wells has created.

Could you ever imagine a robot built for mass murder turn out to be a socially awkward turtle who just wants to watch serials (media) all day? I couldn’t. Murderbot’s clients can be a hit or miss on the quality scale (not that it cares).

Murderbot is currently working as a SecUnit for a group of scientists studying an uninhabited and mostly unexplored planet. It does it’s job (for the most part) but keeps itself separate from the humans unless needed. The scientists view Murderbot in varying degrees, from a person with thoughts and feelings to an object/tool to be used as directed. As unknown danger mounts, it’s interesting how far it is willing to go to protect it’s clients (a curious thing for Murderbot to feel towards humans).

Murderbot has a fascinating personality despite it’s indifference and frankness. It is independent and has wants and needs, but stays within the human expectations of a robot. It is courteous in different ways towards humans to make it’s life easier and keep clients satisfied.

The ending was surprisingly emotional. I did not expect – even though I should have – Murderbot to make the choices it did. But I’m really intrigued about where Murderbot’s journey takes it next as it continues to discover itself. All Systems Red lived up to the hype and I would highly recommend it as well.

Categories
About Books Spotlight

BEST OF 2020: Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Happy Saturday, Bookworms!

It’s finally that time of year where I spotlight my favorite books read in 2020 in various genres/categories.

I’ve done this series every year since I started blogging. It’s fun to look back on all the amazing books you’ve read and reminisce over the ones that totally won your heart. Be sure to check out the other posts over the next five days.

 

 

 

 


*images via Goodreads and NetGalley*


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

Categories
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.

Categories
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!

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Zodiac #4
Rating5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “…he realized how ridiculous he’d been to ever care about our Houses. He said even though we’d been born on different planets, the stars had always meant for us to find each other – that was why they’d given us each one half of the same soul.”

ABOUT: The master has been unmasked. Rho’s world has been turned upside down. With her loved ones in peril and all the stars set against her, can the young Guardian from House Cancer muster the strength to keep fighting? Or has she finally found her match in a master whose ambition to rule knows no limits?

 

My Review: After 3 long years, I have finally finished the last book of this incredible series. Thirteen Rising was indeed an epic conclusion to a defining moment millenniums in the making.

Thirteen Rising was a lot to take in. The weight on Rho’s shoulders was unbearable. Very rarely do I see an MC in such a despondent state that’s all-encompassing. Yes, there are plenty of book characters who face impossible odds and have everything to lose if they fail. But for Rho, it was a whole different monster and I couldn’t blame her for the choices she made in order to save the Zodiac. It’s Rho who makes this final installment so particularly riveting.

It’s so interesting learning what originating events caused things to end up where this series first starts. The big piece of this story is unity in every way imaginable. Houses divided cannot stand together and it’s a painful less everyone comes to learn: that the Zodiac is one singular, unified species.

But when the master’s identity is reveal, is salvation possible after millenniums of persecuting Risers (people born in one house but not able to fit that House’s mold) and us versus them mentality? The tension is so taunt that I didn’t want to stop reading.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the dazzling, cosmic cover art. All of the books in this series show oh-so beautiful, abstract space scenes of stars and constellations. And then there’s that striking tagline at the top: Beware the 13th sign. So so chilling!

The climax was agonizing to read. It was uncertain chaos that kept you guessing whether Rho and her friends would be able to save the Zodiac. The amount of loss was heartbreaking and I wish certain things didn’t happen.

The ending….I wanted to know just a tad more but it was satisfying nonetheless. I don’t think things could have ended any other way.

If you haven’t read this series yet, please do! It’s one of my favorite YA series of all time. If you love sci-fi/fantasy and strong heroines who always give it their all, this series is for you!


Zodiac Series (my reviews)

Zodiac – book 1
Wandering Star – book 2
Black Moon – book 3

Categories
Books of the Month

[January 2020] Book of the Month: “Zodiac” by Romina Russell

Image via Goodreads

Title: Zodiac
Author: Romina Russell
Series: Zodiac #1
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Categories
Book/Library Hauls

Mega Book Haul – The Last One of 2019

Here’s my last book haul of 2019, then it’ll probably be a long while before I get more books. In this mega haul, I got 8 books, 3 ebooks, and 3 e-ARCs via NetGalley.

 

BOOKS
THESE REBEL WAVES by @sara_raasch
GLOW OF THE FIREFLIES by Lindsey Duga (@linzduga)
THIRTEEN RISING by Romina Russell (@rominagarber)
ROAR by @coracarmack
THE ROYAL TUTOR (Vol. 12) by Higasa Akai
BACKSTAGE PRINCE by Kanoko Sakurakoji
THE QUEEN’S RISING by Rebecca Ross (@beccajross)

eBOOKS
HEARTSONG by @tjklunebooks
THE NEVER TILTING WORLD by @rinchupeco
FIRE DANCER by @catherinejonespayne

ARCs
A LOVE HATE THING by Whitney D. Grandison (@wheadee) (Jan 7, 2020)
DON’T READ THE COMMENTS by @ericsmithrocks (Jan 28, 2020)
BLOOD & ASH by Deborah Wilde (@wildeauthor) (Jan 14, 2020)


CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!

Categories
#PubDayTuesday ARCs

#PubDayTuesday: “The Deep” by Rivers Solomon; with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes

Thanks again to Saga Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

Image via NetGalley

THE DEEP
by Rivers Solomon;
with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes
(my review)

Genre: Science Fiction, Historical Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group Clipping.

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.


 

AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!!

 


CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Categories
About Books Anticipated Book Releases Bookish Lists

November 2019 – Upcoming Anticipated Book Releases

NOVEMBER 5

The Deep by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

 

Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 4) by Sorata Akizuki

Manga, Graphic Novel, Shojo, Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy

A romantic retelling of a classic fairy tale about a beautiful herbalist and a lovestruck prince.

Shirayuki is an herbalist famous for her naturally bright-red hair, and the prince of Tanbarun wants her all to himself! Unwilling to become the prince’s possession, she seeks shelter in the woods of the neighboring kingdom, where she gains an unlikely ally—the prince of that kingdom! He rescues her from her plight, and thus begins the love story between a lovestruck prince and an unusual herbalist.

Shirayuki is determined to help Kiharu and her bird Popo prove their necessity to the kingdom. She even goes so far as to risk her life to see Popo home! When she succeeds, Zen kisses Shirayuki for the first time! Now she can’t get that kiss out of her head. Will she be able to keep her cool around the man she’s falling for?

 

NOVEMBER 19

Crying Laughing by Lance Rubin

Young Adult Fiction

Winnie Friedman has been waiting for the world to catch on to what she already knows: she’s hilarious.

It might be a long wait, though. After bombing a stand-up set at her own bat mitzvah, Winnie has kept her jokes to herself. Well, to herself and her dad, a former comedian and her inspiration.

Then, on the second day of tenth grade, the funniest guy in school actually laughs at a comment she makes in the lunch line and asks her to join the improv troupe. Maybe he’s even . . . flirting?

Just when Winnie’s ready to say yes to comedy again, her father reveals that he’s been diagnosed with ALS. That is . . . not funny. Her dad’s still making jokes, though, which feels like a good thing. And Winnie’s prepared to be his straight man if that’s what he wants. But is it what he needs?

Caught up in a spiral of epically bad dates, bad news, and bad performances, Winnie’s struggling to see the humor in it all. But finding a way to laugh is exactly what will see her through.

 

NOVEMBER 26

The Little Book of Big Feelings by Maureen “Marzi” Wilson

Graphic Novel, Nonfiction, Self-Help

We’ve been conditioned to think that the most acceptable response to “How are you?” is, “I’m fine.” But our emotions are much more complicated than that! Sometimes we feel a little annoyed, or elated, or afraid. And you know, that’s okay!

In The Little Book of Big Feelings, Maureen “Marzi” Wilson takes us on a journey of self-acceptance and validation. After all, our emotions are only reactions to experiences that we can learn from; there’s no such thing as a “bad” emotion. It’s okay to be scared, it’s alright to feel hopeful, and it’s perfectly fine to feel both at the same time. There is a wide range of human emotions, and it’s time we start embracing each one!

 

A Cowboy Like You by Donna Grant

Adult Contemporary Romance, Western, Fiction

In the Heart of Texas, a heartthrob cowboy may get his second chance at love…

Danny Oldman, the handsome Lone Star sheriff, is still single. He tells himself, and anyone who asks, that he is married to his job―and what matters most is keeping the people of his beloved Texas hometown safe. The truth? Danny still hasn’t gotten over his high school crush. She moved away after graduation and took Danny’s heart with her.

Skylar Long never thought she would have to flee Houston and return home―where it all began for her. But that’s what happened after the man of her dreams turned out to be an actual nightmare. Now, Skylar is desperate to escape her obsessive boyfriend. Nothing shocks her more than seeing Danny again and realizing that their long-ago attraction is more powerful than ever. But can she and Danny find a way to fight against Skylar’s wealthy, powerful ex who is dead set on tearing them apart?

Categories
ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Book Review: “The Deep” by Rivers Solomon; with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, & Jonathan Snipes

Thank you to Saga Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review. The Deep by Rivers Solomon; with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, & Jonathan Snipes is set to be published November 5, 2019.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Science Fiction, Historical Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group Clipping.

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
The Deep is a thought-provoking work that embraces the history of pregnant African slave women being thrown overboard slave ships, along with their histories, memories and identities.

Yetu is a powerful but frail character. She serves as the medium, the Historian, to her people who carries the memories of their descendants. This way her people (the wajinru) can live without the pain of their descendants terrible past. After two decades, Yetu is near death by her position that she sees as an unfair burden while others see it as an honor. So she seeks to claim a better life for herself that so few during that time can claim to have achieved.

In her moments of tumultuous pain and grief, it’s impossible not to acknowledge how far we are removed from that particular history that we sometimes cannot fathom the trauma of it all. Yetu, therefore, must carry that history for all wajinru and the reader.

The story is tragically beautiful. No matter the depths within which the wajinru live in order to escape the pain of the past, it still haunts them, finds them in the darkest depths.

At times I found it hard to believe that Yetu’s people couldn’t even muster up an ounce of sympathy for what Yetu goes through in some phantom feeling. I know they have no memory of the past and therefore whatever Yetu says comes across as fantasy and imaginings, but periodically there is a gap in their being that needs to be filled briefly with those memories in order to survive. After the Remembrance, they happily move on with their lives – unlike Yetu.

I love the themes of identity and culture that courses throughout the story. It’s lessons beg to be heard: that history no matter how painful is not something to forget but to embrace and learn from.

After reading this book I am left impassive but moved, sad yet embolden. I ache but wish the story would continue. I am lost in thought. Great story!