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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Sky Without Stars by: Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Summary:

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spying on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a traitor. Groomed to command by his legendary grandfather, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when he discovers a cryptic message that only one person, a girl named Alouette, can read.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have roles to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece Les Misérables.

The Review:

When I heard the terms “Les Mis in Space” I of course had to get this book, because I always love a good retelling especially one set in space. While it did have a Les Mis feel to it did tell its own story.

The book is told through three different POVs. First there is Chatine, a thief who hustles her way out of everything  especially when trying to survive as a young orphan girl. Her storyline involves disguising herself as a boy and is set to spy on Marcellus, for his grandfather.

Marcellus, has the reputation of being the son of a “traitor” and dealing with the aftermath of what his father did . As the book goes on he starts to learn more about what his father did. Throughout the book Marcellus is contently at odds with dealing with what his father did in the name of the revolution and also dealing with his grandfather.

Then there is Alouette, who spends most of her life as a refugee living in the underground being raised by sisters. A majority of her story line is discovering the world outside of her being a refugee because most of the what she knows is through books

The main story kicks off with the murder of the Premier Enfant, the the people trying to find out who murdered her. A major strength about the story is how it is full of political intrigue, and the while the beginning of the story is very slow, mainly because it focuses a lot on fleshing out the characters and the world it is set in.

Each of the POVs has their very own fleshed out stories to them. My favorite POVs is the relationship between Chatine and Marcellus. It does come across as a sort of enemies to lovers or more like undercover and then falling in love trope. But I did find myself rooting for them.

There is also Marcellus’s grandfather, who I always pictured as Tywinn Lannister from Game of Thrones mainly as a leader who finds himself engaged with power, but he always sort of have a gentlemen quality to him, trying to mold his grandson into something like him.

The book also has discussions about class issue, with the planet being divided into classes in which the rich lives extravagant lives, while the poor suffer. Like Les Mis it talks a lot about the theme of revolution and part of me was almost singing the soundtrack as I was reading the book.

In the end, Sky Without Stars, was a great read. It was a mostly character driven story. While it did have some pacing problems especially towards the beginning, I do find myself wanting to know what happens next.

Grade: 4.5/5

June TBR

Happy June everyone,

The summer is about to begin, and there is so many books I want to read this month and I want to put together a TBR to help me keep track. It may be subject to change, depending on what I would want to read

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When I was at an author talk with Claire Legrand discussing Kingsbane, A.C Gaughen was also at the talk, and I really enjoyed hearing talk about the different aspects of elemental magic in their books.

 

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This was a book I kept seeing at bookstores and would it always be one of those books I would pick it up and put it back down, and then recently I decided to actually buy the book, and the premise is interesting, dealing with Earth after the aliens invade.

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This is a graphic novel series that I recently got into, and it deals with a pretigous prep school with a very dark secret, and a bunch of misfits who are starting to figure out whats going on. This is one I would highly recommend.

 

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I know, Finale just came out, but I realized that I haven’t read Legendary yet, and heard so many good things about the book, and I really enjoyed Caraval.

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Earlier in the spring, this author came to Boston, and the book was always on my TBR, because its a fantasy dealing with illegitimate children with a lot of mystery.

That’s my TBR for the month of June. What books do you plan on reading in June? Let me know in the comments below.

WWW Wednesday 5/15/19

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?

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A Les-Mis retelling set in space, of course I will want to read it, and I am enjoying it so far. It was some great world building and the characters are amazing.

Saga Vol. 6 

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Earlier this year I started reading graphic novels, and I started reading Saga again and I am loving it. The story just keeps taking a lot of twists and turns, and I am just along for the ride.

What did you recently finish?

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Ashley Poston has done it again. She made a fairy tale retelling set in a Sci Fi convention and made it awesome. I love who she expanded the world of Geekerella.

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Another great Asian inspired fantasy. While the beginning of the book, starts off slow, it really picks up and I couldn’t put it down. So much suspense I just had to keep reading.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I loved Want, and Cindy Pon, is starting to become one of my favorite authors. I felt the wait was very long in-between books and I want to know how this ends.

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!

Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Summary: 

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

The Review:

Geekerella, was one of my favorite contemporary stories, and I don’t usually read a lot of contemporary stories. This is more of a companion novel to Geekerella rather than a direct sequel, it is still set in the world of Geekerella with even some of the characters making a few quick cameos.

The star of this one, is Jessica Stone, who was the leading actress of the Starfield movie who was in Geekerella, who used the Starfield movie to try to push her own career. She really gets to shine in this book, and I like that she became a more fleshed out character in this book, talking about her own career and how the Starfield movie affected her.

Then there is Imogen, who is the definition of a fangirl, with her own fan campaign to #SaveAmara, Jessica’s character in Starfield. She also deals with online fan culture plus dealing with an ex-boyfriend who also goes to the convention.

I did feel that the beginning of the book was a little bit slow, and the plot really didn’t get going still at least 30% into the book. But the story did takes its time to follow the new characters in the Once upon a Con universe.

This book also touched upon a lot of issues in fandom culture especially when one is a female, and the online hate they would receive. It happened a lot to Jessica when Starfield premiered, and she was the one getting online hate and “ruining the franchise”. It was one of the main reasons why she hated Starfield and going to conventions and dealing with the hate, which is what of actresses have dealt with in real life, just ask Brie Larson, and Kelly Marie Tran.

The story also touches upon con harassment and dealing with the Cosplay is not Consent. Especially as this book is a love letter to fandom it does a good job at highlighting the dark side.

The main plot of the story is a retelling of the Prince and the Pauper in which two doppelgangers switch places and learning about the other side. It was mainly for good reason because when a script for the Starfield sequel got leaked it is up to Jessica to find out who did it by disguising herself as Imogen. Jessica as Imogen was one of my favorite parts about the book, she learning about much the character Amara means to people, and why Imogen wants to #SaveAmara. Also I loved her romance with Harper especially when pretending to be her best friend Imogen but wanting her as Jessica.

Also I really want Ashley Poston to write a Starfield book series, because I think it would be awesome, or even a collection of short stories I will take.

In the end, Princess and the Fangirl, was a perfect companion novel to Geekerella. It was a nice retelling of the Prince and the Pauper while also being a love letter to fandom. I love that the Once upon a Con series is really coming through.

Grade: 4.5/5