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Book Review: Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Sanctuary

Sanctuary

Release date: July 24th 2018

4 stars

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.
As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.
But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.
At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.
As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the concept of the world. I was on a Sci-Fi binge when I picked this up and it(plus Contagion and Netflix’s Lost in Space) was exactly what I needed to satisfy my space craving. A futuristic world where companies can buy cities, teenagers with powers are sent to a jail in space, and a survival story all wrapped into one.

The book was all in Kenzie’s POV, a teenage guard whose parents worked on Sanctuary. Her mother was in charge of the whole complex and when circumstances left them as the only two to man the jail, Kenzie stepped up beyond her junior guard duties. Kenzie was proud of her status that she’d worked so hard to achieve, though still felt like her co-workers saw her as a kid. The plot really picked up once she found herself locked in one of the floors housing some teen prisoners and learned more about them, their conditions, and the real reasons they landed behind bars.

A lot of the teens Kenzie met were only mentioned briefly but there were a small group who she banded together with when Sanctuary seemed to be under attack. I really liked the supporting characters, from Kenzie’s love interest Cage, to Cage’s sister, Cage’s best friend Matt. I wouldn’t have minded seeing an occasional POV from Cage thrown in but Kenzie was a great narrator. Through her we got to see the differences between being a corporate citizen(city owned by a company) and government citizen(city not owned by company) and that the way things were run was not fair on many people. The more she got to know the prisoners, the more she questioned her beliefs.

At first I wasn’t sure how the two separate ideas(the more dystopian corporate/government citizens with power sent to space jail and the sci-fi space station under attack) would mesh but they melded together quite well. It will definitely be interested to see where Caryn Lix takes things from here(and there better be more coming because I need more).

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Contagion by Erin Bowman

Contagion

Contagion

Release date: July 24th 2018

4 stars

It got in us
After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.
Most are dead.
But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.
Don’t set foot here again.
As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

This was very different from the other series I’ve read by Erin Bowman, one being a Western and one Dystopian. I was in a Sci-Fi mood and this has been waiting on my TBR for a while. I picked it up, started reading, and then only stopped because I had to be a responsible grown up and get some sleep. It was action-packed and also a book I could see appealing to older readers since it had multiple POVs of characters of different ages, not just teenagers.

The story was about the members of a search and rescue mission as they were sent to investigate a distress call on a dangerous planet. Two primary characters, Thea and Nova, had the most focus through the novel and were two of the youngest characters. Thea was a student assistant working to impress so she could land a permanent job instead of going back to the orphanage. Nova had dropped out of school to become a military pilot but was forced to take a trial position with a company when the military wouldn’t take her. Neither of them had the option to say no when chosen for the sudden search and rescue mission. We also got POVs of Dylan, the captain of the crew; Toby, who could be frustrating in his ‘I’m a man and I know more than you’ attitude, Sully, Nova’s cousin, and more.

With so many POVs and the short timeline, there wasn’t much time for character growth. Most of the book took place within the same day or two and that made the book very plot focused over character focused. I can definitely see where the Alien comparison come from and it had a very ‘bump in the night’ quality to it. The whole thing really sucked me right in as I tried to figure out the twists and I cannot wait for the next book.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Haul

Bought:

Leah on the offbeatcourt of frostBurning mazePuddinAllied

ARCs:

Little Do We KnowWar outsideRuleWhat If It's UsDeepest RootsWildcard

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish, and has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is Top Ten books set in another country but that’s almost every book so I did Top Ten books out of this world aka space books.

10. Zenith Zenith – Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings.

9. Honor Among Thieves Honor Among Thieves – Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre.

8. Invictus Invictus – Rayn Graudin.

7. Alienated big Alienated – Melissa Landers.

6. starfall Starfall – Melissa Landers.

5. avalon big Avalon – Mindee Arnett.

4. Defy the Stars Defy the stars – Claudia Gray.

3. Nyxia Nyxia – Scott Reitgen.

2. empress-of-a-thousand-skies Empress of a Thousand Skies – Rhoda Belleza.

1. Heart of Iron Hert of Iron – Ashley Poston.

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Series Spotlight: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Thursday I’m going to be putting the spotlight on a book series and talking about it. It might be one I’ve read, one I’m reading, or one I haven’t gotten to yet, depending on what I feel like talking about that week. This week’s series is another duology with each book focusing on a different couple.

starflightstarfall

The Starflight duology by Melissa Landers

Review status: 2/2. Starflight, Starfall

All books are released, own in hardcover.

I fell in love with this crew in the first book and was so excited when it was announced that a companion was coming out. The dynamics between the crew reminded me of Firefly, always a good thing, and both books were very different from each other but still had the same feel to them.

Favourite character: Kane. He was sarcastic and protective and head over heels for Cassia. He grew a lot in the second book and I loved it.

Favourite book: Starfall. I know it might not be the popular choice but I loved seeing Kane and Cassia’s relationship put to the test. Even though it was hard. And we really got to see how much some of the characters from book one have grown.

Status: Finished.

Author status: Auto-buy. I also loved her Alienated series(still have to read the last one).

Next up from Melissa Landers. The Half King, coming out later this year(hopefully). It’s a fantasy duology involving a failed oracle and a king who turns to shadow at sunset.

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Book Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

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The Final Six

Release Date:  March 6th 2018

3.5 stars

When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition. For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk. As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

The concept of this book, at least the Earth side of the plot, was a little scary. The mission to Jupiter’s moon with teenagers as the main hope, even genius teenagers, might have been a little far fetched, but the natural disasters hitting Earth and making such a mission necessary felt very likely. I’ve been enjoying all the Sci-Fi coming out this year and I think that with so much of the book being set on Earth, it stood out a little. At first this book felt very similar to Nyxia, a book I loved last year, but after finishing it, I think the two series will end up going in different directions.

The two main characters, Leo and Naomi, were good characters but it felt like the more they became involved with helping each other, the less we got the see any of the other teens. Besides Beckett, an antagonist of the group of teens, no one else really got the chance to stand out. There was definitely potential with some of them to be very interesting supporting characters if they’d been given a little more to work with. I did like the contrast in the way Leo and Naomi viewed the mission. It added an interesting dynamic to their relationship as they worked to help each other even though they didn’t necessarily agree.

I liked that there was so much science involved in the plot. I was expecting some but the book was full of it, written in a way that wasn’t overwhelming but still always present. I have no clue how accurate the science was but I liked that it was there. There were some plot twists and some did manage to surprise me but I did find I could predict a lot of what was happening. It was a solid first book and I will be interested in checking out the sequel.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Series Spotlight: Firebird series by Claudia Gray

I love sci-fi but alternate worlds never really grabbed me until this series.

thousand pieces of youten thousanda million worlds with you

The Firebird series by Claudia Gray

Review status: 3 of 3. A Thousand Pieces of You, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, A Million Worlds With You

All books released, own in hardcover, these beautiful covers match:)

The idea of alternate worlds, parallel worlds, whatever you want to call them, never really intrigued me in my science-fiction reading. I was all about space and living on other planets. Then I received an ARC of the first book in this series and gave it a chance. I was immediately hooked. I loved the way world hopping was handled, jumping into a different version of yourself instead of your body actually jumping. I also absolutely loved the family and the friendship dynamics of this series. And they just got better as it went along.

Favourite character: Theo. I have a huge soft spot for a guy with a great sense of humour, and when that guy is willing to fight for the people he cares about like Theo was, I’m sold. The first time he called Paul his ‘little brother’, I knew he would be a favourite.

Favourite book: A Thousand Pieces of You. It’s hard to pick a favourite in this series so the first one that introduced me to the characters wins by a slim margin.

Reading status: All finished!

Author status: Auto-buy.

Next up for Claudia Gray: Book 2 of the Constellation series, Defy the Worlds, due out April 3rd 2018.

Question from this series: If you could jump into any version of yourself, what would you want to be?

Answer from this series: I’m not big on travel or adventure but if I could jump into a version of myself that lived in space, just for a day or two, I would definitely do it.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

34848207

A Conspiracy of Stars

Release date: January 2nd 2018

Goodreads: Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.
But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.
With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.

Why I’m excited: I can’t wait to see a book about a girl scientist and this sounds like it’s going to take very relevant topics to today into its fantasy/sci-fi world.

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Book Review: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Heart of Iron

Heart of Iron

Release date: February 27th 2018

4.5 stars

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.
Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.
When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.
What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

Geekerella was very cute and I was really intrigued by the synopsis of this book. I wasn’t expecting the four person POV but it was a pleasant surprise as I really enjoyed all four characters’ thoughts. They were so different from each other so it never felt confusing but they all complimented each other, and it worked to give a full story instead of being relegated to staying in one person’s thoughts and location.

The synopsis mainly mentioned Ana and D09 so I was expecting them. They had a strong bond that had formed since childhood when they were rescued together. I could definitely understand Ana’s motivation to save her friend, someone she loved. D09’s POV was really interesting because he was an android and his thoughts were unique compared to the other four. Much more analytical. The other two POvs were Robb and Jax, two complete opposite boys who fit well together. Robb was the younger son in a family that was hungry to rule while Jax was the last of his kind and hiding secrets. I loved getting to see them bantering back and forth.

The plot seemed pretty simple at first. Ana just wanted to find the coordinates to a lost spaceship that would hopefully hold the key to fixing a glitching D09. I loved seeing all the additional layers being added, giving us more mysteries until the pieces began to fall together. I can definitely see where the Anastasia meets Firefly/Guardians of the Galaxy comparisons came from but I think it stood well on its own as well. I liked seeing the world-building, the political unrest, the familial feel of the crew. All the aspects of the book worked so well together.

The pacing had me hooked right from the start. It would have easily been a one night read if it wasn’t for work. This is definitely a favourite of 2018(even though it’s still 2017). The only bad thing is that it’s going to be such a long, long wait for the next book.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Zenith by Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg

Zenith

Zenith

Release date: January 16 2018

3.5 stars

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.
But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder‘s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.
Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.
Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

I’ve really enjoyed Lindsay Cummings writing in the past so I was really excited to see she had another book coming out, this time in Sci-Fi, a genre I love and am really happy that there seems to be a lot of books coming out in 2018. I’m less familiar with Sasha Alsberg. I’ve seen a few of her YouTube videos but that was it. Going in, it seemed like it would have a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe or maybe a Six of Crows in space.

There was a huge cast of characters in this book and many, many POVs. I didn’t find it too hard to keep track of who was who, though skimming might make it harder to distinguish the characters. I enjoyed the dynamics of the crew and it really added to the before mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy vibe. There were times when it felt like character development suffered in exchange for having so many POVs but that’s something that can hopefully be rectified throughout the series.

I thought the plot was good, maybe a little cliche at times, but still a fun read. There were some times when the plot felt a little slow and it did have a bit of predictability to it. It was a good start to the series and I look forward to seeing where it goes. There was a lot of good things happening, definitely enough to outweigh the bad or my nit-pickiness. I thought the descriptions was where the book really shone and it made me very excited to see what these two do next with their characters and world.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

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