March New Releases I’m Excited For!

Top Ten Tuesday(27)

Another month and more new book releases! There are, of course, a few more releases coming out this month but these are the books I personally am the most excited for.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading For SFF Lovers

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Hello fellow book lovers!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

Time for another Top Ten Tuesday and this week’s theme is “Back To School” which can be anything from books you read in school or books you think should be required reading etc. So I decided to go with books I feel are required reading for any Sci-fi and Fantasy lovers out there!

I do have full reviews for each of these titles (which I am not going to link this time around) if you’d like to check them out!

These are also in no particular order and there are equal amounts of sci-fi and fantasy books here!

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10.) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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This book is simply amazing and definitely something you should check out if you’re a fantasy lover! Schwab weaves together some incredible world building and an action-packed plot focusing on a main character who has the magical ability to travel between the 4 parallel versions of London.


9.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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This is technically sci-fi but while reading you don’t get very many vibes of this except for the alien type creatures and some plot information you receive later on. It’s sci-fi though trust me! This is about a boy living in a town of men who can all hear everyone’s thoughts and when he learns a secret about said town he must flee for his life.

Very heartbreaking story but so, so good.


8.) Vicious by V. E. Schwab

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Yes, another Schwab book! Basically if you’re a lover of SFF then just check her out period! This book is probably my favorite of hers and it involves morally ambiguous characters and super powers, what more could you ask for? It’s definitely a page turner!


7.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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This is one of those books that may not be for everyone but with the super unique formatting and the literal non-stop action I can’t help but recommend it for all sci-fi lovers. It has everything from a self-aware AI to creepy space viruses! There really is never a dull moment.


6.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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 I honestly recommend this book ALL the damn time but here I am again with it! This book has such creative world building and the characters were amazing too, tons of plot twists, and plenty of action as well. All around amazing fantasy book with all of the fantasy elements I personally look for. Who doesn’t love talking animal companions?


5.) Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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Another fantasy book I recommend all the time which is also very underrated, it has some very unique world building along with four different retellings weaved into the plot as well (Hua Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Jane Austen’s Emma). It’s got some very heart warming and heart breaking moments for sure, overall amazing story though!


4.) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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This is sci-fi but the political intrigue and plots are very reminiscent of fantasy as well, the pacing is insanely fast and there’s non stop plot twists and action! You’ll also love the complete badass main character, Nemesis, who pretty much just kicks ass the entire book. She’s one tough cookie!


3.) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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If I were going to sum up why this should be required reading it’d just be me screaming because of how awesome this book is.

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There are so many wonderful characters and it’s like a much more brutal and violent version of the Hunger Games except in space….well Mars but you get what I mean.


2.) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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The world building is very Ancient Roman inspired, there’s loads of action,  fantastic characters, and plenty of shock worthy plot twists. This has all of the wonderful fantasy elements most of us look for and is extremely entertaining!


1.) Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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Very short, sweet, and to the point this book is magical and actually has some great world building for how short the story is. It’s about a home for “chosen one” children who have been kicked out of their magical worlds and must learn how to cope back in reality.

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Have you read any of these books as well? What did you think?

Do you think these should be required reading for SFF fans?

What are some books you’d consider required reading for SFF lovers?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Backlist Books I Need To Read

Top Ten Tuesday(80)

Hello fellow book lovers!

Have you noticed my love for making bookish lists yet? I do a ton of them…..Today’s list is all about those backlist books! We all talk so much about new or recent releases that I sometimes forget I can talk about books that were published ages ago as well. So today I’m just going to be listing a few backlist books I’ve been meaning to read and that I’m excited to get to! Of course these aren’t even close to all of them though!

I’ll link each title to their Goodreads pages in case you want more of a description or to add them to your TBR as well!

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Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

Alias Hook

I’m 100% all for any kind of Peter Pan retelling so of course I want to give this one a try. It’s about Captain Hook surviving the end of the original tale and meets a grown woman who comes to Neverland who discovers that Hook may not be the villain everyone makes him out to be. Like I said, I’m ALL for it!


Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box

This book just sounds interesting, creepy, and short. I’m not sure how to describe it but it’s about someTHING that with one glimpse will drive a person to extreme violence and no one knows exactly what it is. After surviving it five years ago Malorie wants to escape to somewhere safer with her two children but must travel down the river blindfolded as something follows them.

Sounds super creepy and very unique, I can’t wait to read this one!


Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Furthermore

This one isn’t quite a year old yet but I still consider it backlist by now, while I’m not super interested in Mafi’s other series “Shatter Me” I did think this one sounded really fun and interesting. It seems to be inspired by “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” with the magic and seemingly whimsical land of Furthermore that the main character must travel through.

Plus the cover is so colorful and pretty!


Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

Keturah and Lord Death

I really, really need to get my hands on a copy of this book, it seems like such a hidden gem! It’s about Keturah who gets lost in the forest and as death nears she comes to find that he is a handsome, young lord who she charms with her storytelling which gains her 24 hours to find her true love or perish. This story seems very unique and I’m just itching to read it especially since it’s so underrated.


Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens

There are actually quite a few backlist Libba Bray books that I need to read but this is one I didn’t even know about until a little while ago! It’s about a group of beauty pageant contestants getting stranded together on an island after a plane crash and must survive and work together. It sounds like such a witty and hilarious story though, I can’t wait to read it!


Scarlet by A.C Gaughen

Scarlet (Scarlet, #1)

This one’s a Robin Hood retelling, I think that’s kind of all I need to say about it. I loooove retellings and especially underrated ones such as Robin Hood.


The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones, #1)

This sounds unique and also pretty creepy! It’s about an Amish girl whose village has declared that no one is to leave or enter their village due to massive unrest out in the “real world”. However, she finds an injured young man and opts to hide him in her family’s barn at a cost.


Say Her Name by James Dawson

Say Her Name

This is a horror story about the urban legend Bloody Mary, that’s kind of all there is to say about it. Sounds super good and super creepy! Finding a copy for some reason is really hard though?


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

First of all I love Stiefvater’s other book “The Raven Boys” so of course I’m going to add her other book as well. Second of all a book about horse racing is for me since I’m a pretty big horse lover!


These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

Ever since I loved “Illuminae” I’ve been wanting to try Amie’s other series and plus I’m always one for a good YA sci-fi! I do have my doubts with this one a little bit since it seems like it might be full of tropes and be heavily romance focused. It’s about two teens crash landing on a planet.

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

What are some backlist books you’re dying to read?

Do you have any backlist book recommendations?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s topic is favorite fantasy and science fiction books in collaboration with BooktubeSFF Awards! I decided to do both genres but in only Young Adult. I have read and reviewed all of these books so I’ll attach my review links to the titles if you want to read more of my thoughts on each of these!

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5.) Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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I’ve said this countless times but it’s so true: this book is a hidden gem! Not only did I find the world building very good but also the fact that it had it’s own plot going on along with four sort of “mini stories” and each is a fairy tale retelling (Mulan, Emma, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella). I loved all of the characters as well and actually grew very attached, I didn’t even mind the romance either!


4.) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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The romance in this one did have some problems but I still really enjoyed it, the characters, and the world building was AMAZING! Also Laini Taylor has THE most gorgeous writing I’ve ever come across, seriously I’d read the woman’s grocery list. Overall the story is just so engaging and I really recommend reading it.


3.) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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Let’s see here: actual badass main character, lots of action and plot twists, plenty of “court intrigue” with plotting and revenge, and a romance I could actually ship. Not to mention it’s all in space! If you’re looking for a fast paced space adventure than this is definitely a book I recommend reading, it’s one of my new favorite sci-fi books of all time!


2.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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I think you’ve all heard about “Illuminae” but in case you haven’t…..its yet another super fast-paced, action-packed, space opera! Complete with crazy AIs, mutating space viruses, and hella plot twists. Plus there’s that unique formatting that is to die for! If you’re looking for an awesome YA sci-fi book look no further.


1.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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While I do acknowledge that this book is very problematic (as seems to be the case with a lot of Kristoff’s books) I still consider it to be one of my all time favorite fantasy books. It’s got fantastic world building (some of the best I’ve seen) and mythology and great characters that I grew very attached too! Plus there’s a bit of steampunk in it as well, they have chainsaw katanas!

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What are some of your favorite YA fantasy or sci-fi books?

Have you read any of these on my list? What did you think?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your T5W as well!

The Sassy

Book Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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description

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

review

Let me say this first: Not as good as “Illuminae”.

I gave “Illuminae” 5 full stars despite the minor issues I had with it and so my expectations were extremely high for “Gemina” and I have to say I was a bit disappointed with it overall. However, this book is still getting a 4 star rating because it’s still a great book despite not enjoying it as much as the first book.

PLOT

First of all the plot stays really true to what Kaufman and Kristoff did in “Illuminae” in which case I mean it’s full of action and death mostly. However, I felt like the plot could have used MORE suspense and that survival feel that we saw in the first book. I didn’t feel as…thrilled as I did during “Illuminae” my adrenaline wasn’t pumping as much (well as much as it can be while reading a book). Remember all the insane plot twists in “Illuminae”? Yeah. Didn’t really see them in “Gemina”. There were a few that I enjoyed but for the most part they were either not that great or a little bit predictable.

I did enjoy the inclusion of alien life forms in this book because come on what sci-fi series would complete without that? They were terrifying and interesting and probably one of my favorite parts about this book and I almost would have enjoyed them playing a bigger part than they did. There’s also a kind of Russian Mafia in this story too which is pretty much guaranteed to always make things more interesting. Then we have space pirates/mercenaries invading a space station and even a time paradox which may or may not be a little confusing.

The pacing of the story was a little off in the beginning of the book by which I mean it was slow and a little boring at first. I’m here for the spaceships and death! I don’t care about a teenage girl and her boy problems, damnit! Anyways, the pacing picks up as the story progresses until suddenly you’re done with the book, very much true to “Illuminae” style.

Of course we have the same awesome format in “Gemina” that we saw in the first book and even the inclusion of some of author Marie Lu’s illustrations. There’s also a few hidden things in the book if you pay close enough attention, one being the names of several other YA authors included on a list of casualties. So I thought those were some cool little treats to include for us booknerds!

I enjoyed the story at the ending the most where we got to finally see some of the characters from “Illuminae”, *cough* AIDAN *cough*. It really livened things up in my opinion.

I would also like to take a moment to discuss the thing that irritated me the MOST in this entire book and while I will not mention names I will mention a sort of situation that might be considered a spoiler soooo….

****Start of potential spoilers****

The single most irritating thing in this whole book is: HOW DEAD PEOPLE DO NOT STAY DEAD!!!! This is the most proficient way to piss me off and make me resent the character that did not stay dead. The whole entire point of killing a character off is to make us shocked and it really ruins that when they were fine the entire time! Quit ruining it!

I also feel like that twist is a little “been there done that” considering it was used in the first book as well.

****End of potential spoilers****

characters

One word for the characters in this book *ahem, cough* NOOOOOOOOOO!

Really by this I mean Hanna one of the main characters, couldn’t stand her. I thought I had issues with the characters in “Illuminae” but oh boy they look like gold compared to the characters in “Gemina”. Hanna starts out as a spoiled, entitled teenage girl and really that shows in her attitude a lot of the time. Does she develop? Yeah, I guess but she still never failed to annoy me.  I thought Hanna acted really selfish through a lot of the book, sorry sweetheart but the world doesn’t revolve around you…or your boy problems.

Nik, the other main character, I actually thought was pretty decent. He was funny and a little more down to Earth (space? space station? not technically Earth…) than Hanna was. Although his constant flirtations with Hanna were by far the most annoying thing about this book. Still liked him though.

I liked a couple of the secondary characters as well and the villains for this book were pretty intimidating which I LOVED.

Overall though I just felt that the characters weren’t all that great in “Gemina”, I didn’t feel a connection and I really could have cared less about most of them.

romance

I briefly mentioned the constant flirtations between Nik and Hanna but I’m here to say it again. This took so much away from the plot itself I thought, it wasn’t cute or funny it was just extremely irritating because of how constant they were. Seriously! I do not exaggerate! It’s happening all the time throughout the entire length of the book.

There’s also insta-love, not in it’s traditional form but it’s still kind of there. If you’ve read the book you might know what I mean and if not you’ll find out. There’s also a love triangle that once again isn’t your typical love triangle but is still technically a love triangle. Both of those things annoyed me as well….

Overall not impressed with the romance whatsoever but no real surprise there.

in conclusion

I DID like this book but it was not as impressive as “Illuminae” in my eyes. I’m hoping this is just a case of “middle book syndrome” and the next book will live up to expectations.

What I Liked:

  • The unique and fun format
  • The fast pacing (although it was a little slow to start)
  • Aliens
  • Space mercenaries
  • Time paradoxes
  • The inclusion of characters from “Illuminae”

 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The thing in my potential spoilers section
  • Hanna, the main character
  • A lot of the other characters were bland
  • The romance
  • The constant flirting which was more annoying than cute

RECOMMEND

If you’ve read “Illuminae” I definitely recommend continuing with “Gemina” but I would maybe lower your expectations a little bit so you don’t end up like me. If you aren’t sure about this sequel you can always wait to binge read it when the last book comes out!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I’d Like To Meet At BookCon

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s topic is “Authors You’d Want To Meet at Book Expo America & BookCon” which I unfortunately am not attending either but I can dream! Maybe one of these years I can actually attend.

I’m only doing authors appearing at Bookcon because the list for BEA was a little tedious to look through. You can find a full list of the authors appearing at BEA and BookCon HERE and HERE.

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5.) Leigh Bardugo

While I have only read the first installment of Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy (so I’m not a die hard Grisha fan) and “Six of Crows” as well I still would jump on the opportunity to meet her.


4.) Kendare Blake

Love, love, loved her book “Anna Dressed In Blood” and I own its sequel as well as the first book in her other series “Antigoddess”, I also cannot wait for her new book “Three Dark Crowns” this fall! So many awesome books!


3.) Richelle Mead

When I was younger Mead’s Vampire Academy series was everything to me, I adored it and meeting the architect of one of my favorite series would be amazing.


2.) Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Two in one because they both wrote “Illuminae” which I freaking loved, I five starred the shit out of that book and I would love to meet the masterminds behind that awesome piece of science fiction!


1.) Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor is amazing, she is a goddess of writing. Seriously, she is awesome I absolutely loved her books “Lips Touch: Three Times” and “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” and her writing is magical and beautiful. I would LOVE to meet her! I would probably scream in excitement.

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Sorry for the short post guys but there’s only so much I can say about authors I’ve never met and how much I love their books!

Are you attending BEA or BookCon? (If so, I’m jealous)

What authors will you be meeting or want to meet if you went?

Did any of these authors make your list as well?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave a link to your T5W as well!

The Sassy