WWW Wednesday: 10-23-2019

Happy Wednesday everyone,

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Image result for the grace year

A recently went to an author talk by this author, and the book kinda caught my attention. There is a lot of Handmaid’s Tale vibes to this story, in which girls are told that they have power “to lure grown men from their beds”, and when they are 16, the girls are banished to the woods to release their magic and return “purified”. I am really enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish?

Image result for slayer kiersten white

This is a unique take on the Buffyverse, sort of from the perspective of the Watchers Academy. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great first book, and I really enjoyed Nina as a new character in the Buffyverse.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Image result for the blood of elves

I am a fan of the Witcher video games, and also very excited about the series on Netflix, so I finally decided to start reading books, that the game is based on. I have played so many hours of the Witcher 3 and I haven’t finished yet, mainly because I get lost in side quests.

Image result for siege and storm

In my quest to read the Grisha books, other than the Six of Crows duology, I have decided to finally read the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I recently re-read Shadow and Bone, and have decided to finish the Netflix series, thanks to the upcoming Netflix series.

That is my WWW Wednesday. What books are you currently reading? What have you recently finished and what will you be reading next? Let me know in the comments below!

Slayer by: Kiersten White

Summary:

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

The Review:

I am a Buffy fan. I love the show, I have watched the entire series so many times now that I cannot even count the number of times. I still almost cry during Becoming and The Body. So, of course I was excited that a book set in the Buffyverse was coming out and also written by one of my favorite authors, Kiersten White who wrote the And I Darken series.

It starts with Nina or Athena as her full name, whose twin sister Artemis is training to become a member of the Watcher’s council who are tasked to guide the slayers as they hunt the demons and the vampires. The story is set at least 3 years after the Buffy series finale, in which she saved the world, but it had a price and with what happened at the end of the series, which had every young girl become “chosen” to be a slayer which resulted in too many slayers and not enough watchers. What surprised me, was how much the characters really hate Buffy, it was almost too funny to believe, but it added a lot to the story and created kind of deconstruction of Buffy as a character through the eyes of others.

With Nina, while her sister is training at the Watcher Academy, she is being trained as a healer, but in a course of events has her become chosen to be the slayer, a job she definitely has not trained for. Nina is a very different character from the Buffyverse, in which she is not prepared to take on this responsibility. While Buffy in the TV show has done the same, it took Nina a long time for it to get through to her. Throughout the book, she is trying to figure out her place in the slayer world, mainly because she spends most of her time blaming Buffy for the death of her father, who was her first watcher before Giles.

This book also had a few Easter eggs to the Buffy verse, my favorite was the Wyndham Prices, who are related to Wesley, who was mentioned as a watcher in training who moved to LA to work with a vampire. Also a dark haired girl, who is basically Faith.

The supporting characters were also good, There is Leo who is a watcher in training who is helping to train Nina, and there are also Rhys and Cillian. They reminded me a little bit of the Scoobies from Buffy and with the setting of the Watcher Academy, we got to see the research in what goes on with the world of the demons, from Buffy.

My main criticism, with the book was the pacing. The beginning of the book, was very info dump heavy, and I think it was made for people who aren’t familiar with the Buffyverse, and the book was not as plot heavy and it was mostly character focused, hopefully with next book we could also see more vampires which was lacking in this book.

In the end, I really enjoyed Slayer, I think it is a great series for those who are fans of the Buffyverse. It did a good job at introducing the new status quo in the world, and I kinda want to see more of what the world has to offer.

Grade: 4/5

Undead Girl Gang by: Lily Anderson

Summary:

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again. 

The Review:

This book was on my TBR for a long time, ever since last year and I finally got it at the bookstore, with the much better soft cover.

The book is very  much a zombie murder mystery novel which reminded a lot of the 90s movie The Craft, especially when dealing with the supernatural.

The story begins with the “suicide” of Mila’s friend Riley, and Mila obviously believes that it wasn’t a suicide, even when two other girls; June and Dayton who also have committed suicide much earlier. Mila using Wiccan powers brings them back to life to try to find out who killed them, but they don’t have any memory of their murders.

Mila is very sarcastic and snarky, and a lot of her light dialogue adds a lot of humor throughout the book.

The resurrected girls provide a lot of the humor throughout the book, especially when they find out that they are in fact dead. Some of my favorite scenes included the “mean girls” June and Dayton haunting their friends in order to find out who killed them. While June and Dayton are the stereotypical mean girls but they become a lot more fleshed out as the story goes on.

Another highlight was the relationship between Riley and Mila. As they are best friends, you really get a sense of how much Mila missed Riley after she died.

As a murder mystery book, it does cover a lot of the mystery formula in which Mila and other girls would have to find clues about their murder. There was a couple of red herrings, in which when you meet this one character you would think that he is the killer, but it turns out to be false.

My one main issue with the book was the rushed ending. The real killer’s identity I felt was not as fleshed out as I wanted it to be, while it sort of was hinted at the beginning of the book, but it was way to rushed. Also with the rushed ending it didn’t give enough time for me to really sink in what has happened.

In the end, I did enjoy Undead Girl Gang. It was a nice supernatural story with lots of humor throughout. I did enjoy the characters a lot, and even though it was a stand alone I kinda want to see more of Mila.

Grade: 4/5

Skyward by: Brandon Sanderson

Summary:

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul. 

The Review:

I was always a fan of Brandon Sanderson, I loved Mistborn and the Reckoners series, and while his writing may seem very dense but he is very good at world building, and I always wanted to read this book ever since I got a sample at BookCon 2018.

It was also nice to see Brandon Sanderson write a space opera, since he has done a lot of fantasy, most of which I would highly recommend to readers so it was a nice change of pace.

The main character is a girl named Spensa, who wants to be a space pilot like her father. She also has to tend with the the fact that her father was branded a deserter and coward and has to live with the fact everyday since she entered the academy. She was always told by her grandmother how she was descended from people such as Beowulf, Sun Tzu and Genghis Kahn, while she may have known it was obviously fake it have Spensa something to look up towards and the learning of Old Earth.

The main setting is on a planet called Detritus, which is inhabited by humans who live underground because of the Krell who keeps attacking. It seemed like an odd setting for the book, but I like that it was very different and using an underground city made it a lot more cramped and added a lot to the characters.

One of the main highlights was the relationship between Spensa and M-Bot an AI -driven ship. M-Bot was very snarky and I really liked it. I liked that she would confined in M-Bot, especially when dealing with everything that she is going through at the academy.

When Spensa is at the academy, while still being the daughter of a coward, she begins to learn more about what happened when her father died. It takes a lot of good twists and turns, and it kinda begs the question of what makes a hero and what makes a coward, with the consequences that come with it.

A lot of the supporting characters are also well developed. One of my favorites is Jorgan, and there back and forth is amazing, and I like how it kinda grew into a friendship between them and learned to respect each other.

In the end, I really liked Skyward, it of course has the same Sanderson style. Spensa is an amazing character and I really want to follow this series and see where it goes.

Grade: 5/5

Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart? 

The Review:

This is a book, I picked up on a whim, mainly because I have heard good things about this series and also with the release of Counting Darkness, which is said to be a spin off of that series.

What intrigued me about the premise is the fact that it deals with assassins, and a convent that deals with them. It starts with Ismae who escaped an arraigned marriage and seeks refuge. The convent gave me a lot of Red Sister vibes to it, I just wish I had seen more of the convent.

The main plot of the story is when Ismae goes to the high court of Brittany, and deals with the political intrigue that is going on, especially when dealing with Gavriel Duval, who is very mysterious.

I thought the book would have  a lot more assassinations, but the political intrigue was enough to keep me interested with a sinister plot. The main plot of the book also deals with the romance between Duval and Ismae, and yes it did start off as the enemies turned lovers, but their relationship was good enough to keep me interested.

A problem I had with the book, was the pacing. It did suffer from a kinda of boring middle part of the book, which nothing much was happening, but when the twist happened , is where the book started to pick up again.

I also liked the world building. It is a historical fiction dealing with a war between Britain and France, and it didn’t feel like info dump.

In the end, I enjoyed reading Grave Mercy. The political intrigue was enough to keep me interested, and also the romance between Ismea and Duval was interesting as well, even if the book had pacing issues. I do want to read the other books of the series.

Grade: 3.8/5

August TBR

Happy August everyone,

Wow, where did this summer go. I realized that I haven’t done a TBR in a while mainly because I have had a reading slump, but now I am trying to get back into reading.

Image result for Monstress vol 2

I read the first volume recently and what can I say, I am in love. The world building is amazing, I never read any graphic novel like that before.

Image result for grave mercies

I have heard some great things about this author. I saw Courting Darkness at bookstores but realized that I may have to read the other books, to get into the world and why not start at the beginning.

Finally dipping my toe into the world of Naomi Novik. I have heard so many good things about this author, that I have to start finally reading her books, instead of putting it on my TBR.

Image result for the shadow of what was lost

I picked this at a bookstore warehouse sale, and just judging by the premise alone I decided to pick it up. Another book I have heard good things about.

I bought this last September and it was sitting on my bookshelf, not being touched. Now I have decided to read it. The premise is strong, dealing with mages and how one has so much power that it could threaten an empire.

That is my TBR for August. What are your August reads? Let me know in the comments below.

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Summary:

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

Review:

I was very excited to find out that after the Illuminae files that Kay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman was going to write another series, because if you have read my blog, you know that I love the Illuminae files and its one of the few series that received 5 stars for each of the books.

Aurora Rising, isn’t however written in the multi media format that the Illuminae files was written in but in the standard format with POV chapters for the characters. I like that each of the characters has their own personalities and charter arcs within those chapters and what makes it really good, is the fact that you get to see the different perspectives of what is going on in the story. It really reminded me of Mass Effect in a sort of way.

What also made the story great, was that it was about a crew of misfits who no one would really want on their crew, especially the main character of Ty, who is in the top of his class at the academy and is now dealing with the rejects because he was late for the ceremony and now has to deal with the last picks of the cadets.

The main plot of the story is dealing with a young girl named Aurora who wakes up and is found by Ty. Aurora is a girl out of time who was suppose to be in a sort of hyper sleep and is now waken up to a time not her own. There is a lot of mystery to unpack in the novel, and the story takes a lot of twists and turns.

My only issue with the book, was sort of the pacing. While the beginning and the end was very well done, the middle section of the book It is not as action packed as the Illuminae files but it still kept up with my attention.

In the end, I enjoyed Aurora Rising, while it did have some issues with pacing, it was the characters that kept my attention. I am very excited to see another Jay and Amie Sci Fi series.

Grade: 4/5