Friday, December 13, 2019

[Review] Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Nuevel

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

Series: The Themis Files #3
Rating: 4 stars

Published: May 1st 2018

Goodreads Synopsis:
In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.
A thrilling conclusion to the end of one of my favorite science fiction series.

Rose Franklin, Vincent Couture and his daughter Eva have returned from space almost ten years later. Instead of a war between aliens and humans, they are now in the middle of a war between world powers, as countries fight for control of the giant robots, and have strictly regulated who exactly is considered human.

Friday, December 6, 2019

[Review] The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Rating: 3.5 stars

Published: March 10th 2010

Goodreads Synopsis:
Adrift after her sister Bailey's sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby—Bailey's boyfriend who shares her grief—and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs... though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.
Join Lennie on this heartbreaking and hilarious journey of profound sorrow and mad love, as she makes colossal mistakes and colossal discoveries, as she traipses through band rooms and forest bedrooms and ultimately right into your heart.
As much a celebration of love as a poignant portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often uproarious, and absolutely unforgettable.
I read The Sky is Everywhere directly after All the Bright Places, and the subject matter is so similar (protagonist coping with loss of sister), that it's really going to be hard to separate myself from the two and not compare them.

Even though the two are super similar in premise, Lennie is coping with her sister's death in an entirely different way. Even though life was supposed to move on, Lennie isn't, or not in the most expected way. There's no one else who could understand her grief besides Toby, Bailey's boyfriend. And there's now a new kid at school - Joe, who complicates Lennie's feelings further. Lennie was supposed to share the woes of being a teenager with Bailey. But now that Bailey is gone, she's stuck in some kind of limbo, expressing her feelings through poetry, introduced at the beginning of every chapter.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

[Review] Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene

Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene

Series: Amber & Dusk #1
Rating: 3.5 stars

Published: November 27th 2018

Goodreads Synopsis:
Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies.
So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.
But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The moment I found out it had an enemies to lovers trope in it, I was all for what followed. Plus, I thought that the journey of a heroine to reclaim her inner strength is a tried and true quest of both physical and emotional growth.

Monday, December 2, 2019

[Review] The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Rating: 4.5 stars

Published: November 5th 2019

Goodreads Synopsis:
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues--a bee, a key, and a sword--that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians--it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.
Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose--in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
This was an intense, super abstract ride. I essentially equated The Starless Sea to "Alice in Wonderland on crack" because you're thrown into a mystical world amped up by a thousand. It's a story within a story within a story. Zachary Ezra Rowlins discovers a book called Sweet Sorrows, and finds that he is featured within its pages. He had a chance as a child to open the door to the Starless Sea, but chose not to. Now, as an adult, he has that chance to enter through that door, and start his adventure.

Monday, November 25, 2019

[Review] The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

Series: The Merciful Crow #1
Rating: 3 stars

July 30th 2019

Goodreads Synopsis:
A future chieftain.
Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.
A fugitive prince.
When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.
A too-cunning bodyguard.
Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?
This book was so hyped up on my TL, but then it ended up being rather disappointing.

Fie is part of the Crow caste, which has the ability to steal magic from other castes. It's the teeth of the dead that allow them to use such magic. The Crows are sent to collect the bodies of Crown Prince Jasimir and his bodyguard Tavin, but they may have gotten more than what they bargained for...