Book Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies

Empress of a Thousand Skies

Empress of a Thousand Skies – Rhoda Belleza – Razorbill – Published 7 February 2017

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

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.

My thoughts

Empress of a Thousand Skies is compelling and action-driven science fiction. Planets and their moons, droids, holos, space craft, and a plot to keep the crown princess from taking her throne as Empress, it has a very Star Wars feel to it.

Rhee knows that she must one day take her place as Empress. But before that she plans to enact her revenge on the man who killed her family. Rhee has planned her revenge for years, but an attempt is made on her own life before she can act on her plans. Adrift in the galaxy, she is on the run. Meanwhile, Aly is framed for the princess’s murder and he too becomes entangled in the plot to return war to the planets.

Empress of a Thousand Skies is told in alternating chapters from Rhee and Aly’s perspectives. They come so very close to meeting many times in the novel and yet they never do connect. Instead their story lines run almost parallel as they uncover the motives behind those who killed Rhee’s parents and who plan to kill Rhee.

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Book Review: Split The Sun

split-the-sun

Split The Sun – Tessa Elwood – Inherit The Stars Trilogy #2 – Running Kids Press – Published 6 December 2016

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

The Ruling Lord of the House of Galton is dead, and the nation is in shock—or celebrating, depending on the district. Kit Franks would be more than happy to join him.
Kit’s mother bombed the digital core of the House, killing several and upending the nation’s information structure. No one wants the daughter of a terrorist. Kit lost her job, her aunt wants her evicted, her father is using her as a shield against a drug lord, a group of political rebels need Kit to ignite an interplanetary war, and the boy two floors down keeps jacking up her suicide attempts—as if she has a life worth saving.
When Mom-the-terrorist starts showing up on feeds and causing planet-wide blackouts, everyone looks to Kit for an answer. The rebels want Mom on their side. The government needs to stop Mom’s digital virus from spreading before there’s no record of government left. Both sides will do anything, destroy anyone, to make Kit crack. They believe she’s the key to Mom’s agenda and the House’s future. Worst of all, they may be right.
Kit’s having dreams she can’t explain, remembering conversations that no longer seem innocent, understanding too much coded subtext in Mom’s universal feed messages. Everyone, from Mom to the rebels, has a vision of Kit’s fate—locked, sealed, and ready to roll. The question is, does Kit have a vision for herself?

My thoughts

Split The Sun mixes fast-paced and edgy drama, action, family, romance and one hell of a resilient character to create an addictive story.

Kit has achieved a status of notoriety thanks to her mother blowing up their planet’s archive. Kit is left feeling both guilt and hopelessness, despite her ignorance about her mother’s deadly plans, despite what the rest of the planet chooses to think about her. But it seems like no one will let Kit fade into the obscurity she craves – not the crowds who lay blame, the government who seek answers, a rebel group of protestors that think Kit might live up to her mother’s apparent glory, her family who only want to take from her, nor the boy who lives in the apartment above Kit. Kit will need to decide what she will fight for – if anything.

Split The Sun is the second book in the Inherit the Stars series. It is more like a companion book, with a different set of characters and different plot line, but set in the same world and with the same mix of action, sci-fi adventure and romance. I think I enjoyed Split The Sun more than I did Inherit The Stars. Both are great books but I really connected with Kit. I had initially expected Split the Sun to continue the story of Eagle and Asa from Inherit the Stars, but wasn’t disappointed at all in Kit. She is a fantastic character. Continually knocked down, she is on the very edge of giving up and yet she cares so much about people, does everything she can for the people that treat her like rubbish. Her resilience and strength is amazing. 

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Book Review: Infinity

infinity

Infinity – Jus Accardo – The Infinity Division #1 – Entangled: Teen – Published 1 November 2016

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

Jump dimensions. Find the bad guy. Don’t fall in love.

Nobody said being the daughter of an army general was easy. But when her dad sends a teenage subordinate to babysit her while he’s away? That’s taking it a step too far.

Cade, as beautiful as he is deadly, watches Kori with more than just interest. He looks at her like he knows her very soul. And when he saves her from a seemingly random attack, well, that’s when things get weird.

Turns out, Kori’s dad isn’t just an army general—he’s the head of a secret government project that has invented a way to travel between parallel dimensions. Dimensions where there are infinite Koris, infinite Cades…and apparently, on every other Earth, they’re madly in love.

Falling for a soldier is the last thing on Kori’s mind. Especially when she finds herself in a deadly crossfire, and someone from another Earth is hell-bent on revenge…

My thoughts

Infinity is the exciting start to a new series, with a complicated love story, sci-fi inter-world travel, a dangerous bad guy set on revenge across worlds, and an independent and feisty protagonist. It sets the scene for what promises to be a fun series.

Kori’s father, general in the US army, has left on duty once again. But not before laying down his punishment for her sneaking away from home in the middle of the night and contributing to her town’s artwork. Some might call it vandalism, she calls it bringing colour and beauty to dark places. But her new babysitters are unlike the stuffy soldiers her father usually sticks her with. Young, loud, messily dressed and hot, Private Cade and Recruit Noah are hiding secrets from Kori – secrets that could throw her life into chaos and change everything she has ever known about her world and family.

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Display: Books From Outer Space

  Outer Space Display

world-space-week

This was a quick display to tie into World Space Week, held this year from 4-10 October 2016. More information about World Space Week can be found on their website.

The titles displayed are all sci-fi titles with some sort of space tie-in, whether it is visitors from outer-space or intergalactic journeys.

I included the World Space Week poster. The stars were left-over from a previous Book Week display, and the Tardis and spaceship complete this simple display. It helps that the board has a black backing. I used the font SF Outer Limits from 1001 Fonts.

Book Review: Spare and Found Parts

Spare and Found Parts

Spare and Found Parts – Sarah Maria Griffin – Greenwillow Books – Published 4 October 2016

♥♥♥/♥

Synopsis

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

My thoughts

Spare and Found Parts is a steampunk-like sci-fi, set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world. It is a strange story, hopeful, intriguing and yet slightly off-putting, inspired by Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Nell lives in a world where computers are a word whispered in fear. Computers caused the sickness that spread through the city, killing many and leaving others missing arms, legs or ears. The city is slowly rebuilding and now tech is used only as body parts in place of those that were lost in the sickness. The idea of tech that can think for itself is terrifying. But not for Nell. She longs to construct a machine that can be brought to life, longs to uncover the meaning behind code and understand what computers could do for her city.

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Book Review: Night Speed

Night Speed

Night Speed – Chris Howard – Katherine Tegen – Published 3 May 2016

♥♥♥

Synopsis

Only those young enough can survive the pulse-pounding rush of tetra, a dangerous and addictive new drug that fuels a nine-minute burst of superhuman strength and speed. Alana West has been trained to use the drug so she can pursue the young criminals who abuse its power—criminals like the breakneck who nearly killed her kid brother.

On tetra, Alana is unstoppable. The rush makes her an explosive blur as she surges through New York City, battling to bring down breaknecks before they leave more people dead or injured in their wake. But with the clock ticking down to her eighteenth birthday, Alana will soon be too old for the rush…when just one more dose will prove deadly.

Supported only by her strong and steady handler, Tucker, Alana goes undercover, infiltrating an elite gang of breaknecks to stop the supply of their drug. But when Alana gets trapped on the wrong side of the law, she learns the breaknecks are not quite what they seem—especially Ethan, the artistic boy whose bottomless brown eyes seem to see the truth inside her. With her own dependency on tetra increasing, Alana must decide where her loyalties lie before the rush ends. Forever.

My thoughts

Night Speed is an action-packed thriller but I think it speaks louder as a statement about the tight hold drugs have over the mind and heart, the blurred lines between right and wrong and the fight addicts must go through to reclaim themselves.

Alana started her use of tetra in an effort to fight the breaknecks who take the drug to commit crimes, using the high speed rush to fuel their getaway. But Alana has become enamoured of the rush tetra provides and the distance between the good guys and the bad guys shrinks when Alana is blamed for a breakneck’s death. She decides to go undercover to take down the source of tetra once and for all.

Night Speed addresses a poignant topic considering the parallels to today’s prevalence of drug use. I spent the majority of the book unsure what the underlying message was, that drugs were okay if the rush was worth the fallout or that drugs take everything from you. I think this is reflective of the grey areas of life and it certainly kept me guessing. However, despite the high percentage of rush chases, shoot outs, fights and armed robbery, this was a slow read for me.     Continue reading

Book Review: The Love That Split the World

The Love that Split the World

The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry – Razorbill – Published 26 January 2016

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

My thoughts

Ahhhh. That ending. Perfect, yet… Arhhhh. Read it. It is so worth reading. Clever, frustrating, sad and charming, The Love That Split the World is an epic story.

It is Natalie Cleary’s last summer in her home town of Union, Kentucky, before she leaves for college. She can’t help but reflect on her friendships, her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and the way she has withdrawn from her life-as-it-used-to-be over the last three years. Natalie is accustomed to being different, both because she is the only Native American in the town and because throughout her childhood she saw and spoke to people no one else could see. It was the sudden absence of these people, particularly the loveable ‘Grandmother’, that changed her life. But when Nat once again starts to see things that ‘aren’t there’ and Grandmother returns to issue a warning “You have three months to save him”, things get complicated, fast, especially when she meets the gorgeous and mysterious Beau who seems to exist as if in another world.  Continue reading

Book List: Geek/Nerd Young Adult Fiction

Geek/ Nerd Young Adult Fiction

Comics, superheroes, live-action role-playing, comic con, aliens, sci-fi movies, gadgets and the epic universe of fandom. As a self-proclaimed nerd, there is something so enticing about everything geeky.

The books in this list are young adult contemporaries with characters who have a severe love for at least one of these geeky/nerdy obsessions. They may be funny, serious or somewhere in between. This list also highlights a few books to be released in 2016 – which looks like it’s going to be a great year for geek/nerd fiction.

Click on the covers for full reviews.

9781453663318 Geek Girl – Cindy C. Bennett – Createspace – Published 26 July 2010 

17-year-old Jen turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek Trevor into someone like her. Instead, the goth girl finds herself sucked into his world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even -ugh!- bowling. To truly belong with him -and with her new foster family- she must first come to terms with her violent past.


9781742973951Life in Outer Space – Melissa Keil – Hardie Grant Egmont – Published 1 February 2013

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls. Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it. Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies … but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones. 

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New Book Releases December 2015

New Book Releases for December 2015

Here is my list of books due for release in December 2015. These are the titles I have already had the pleasure to read or have made it onto my to-read list. Click on the covers for detailed reviews.

Young Adult Fiction


Not If I See You FirstNot If I See You First – Eric Lindstrom – Poppy – Published 1 December 2015

I loved this book. Loved. Loved. Loved. It is hilariously funny, and yet so very moving. Parker is blind. She lost her sight seven years ago in the same car crash that killed her mother. But she never let that slow her down. Parker runs each morning, has a list of rules and isn’t afraid of letting everyone know what she really thinks.  So she can deal with once again coming face-to-face with the boy who broke her heart three years ago. Right? 

Full Review.

Young adult fiction: contemporary.


9780762458400Inherit the Stars – Tessa Elwood – Inherit the Stars #1 – Running Press Kids – Published 8 December 2015

Great story – strong characters, intriguing plot and sweet romance. Oh, and space adventure involving a variety of planets, competing ruling kingdoms, and flightwings, skidcycles, and other cool space tech.  

Full review.

Young adult fiction: Science fiction.

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