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

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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

Hyped Books: The Good & The Bad

Top Ten Tuesday(2)

Hey guys! So today I’m just going to discuss a couple of really hyped up books in the book blogging community, ones that I’ve read at least, and share my opinion on whether I think they deserved all of the hype they got or not. Some of these are new and some are older series but nonetheless we hear a lot about them in this community.

I’d just like to remind everyone again that these are strictly my opinions and I mean no offense to any of you if you liked or disliked any of these books!

I will also link my reviews to all of these books as well!

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The Good

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

This book and series may not be quite as hyped anymore since it ended but it is still pretty popular. Not to mention it feels like everyone who reads it ends up loving it! I’ve been seeing this series around for a while and with Laini’s new book “Strange the Dreamer” coming out this fall I decided it was finally time to see what the hype was all about.

Laini Taylor’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and I would read this book just for that but also the mythology, the plot, and the world building are amazing as well. I don’t think I found a single flaw while reading it! So in my opinion “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” definitely lives up to the hype.

Illuminae ( The Illuminae Files #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

This one is a fairly recent release and so the hype is big especially since we’re all anticipating the sequel “Gemina” this October. Everybody seemed to have read this right when it came out and the reviews were a bit mixed, people either hated it or loved it. So of course I was extremely nervous to read it because I wanted to like it!

Long story short I ended up LOVING it! So for me the hype surrounding this book was worth it.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Probably the second most hyped YA series out there, next to Throne of Glass. I don’t know but The Raven Cycle is CRAZY hyped, everybody loves it and talks about it all the time. Plus with the recently released “The Raven King” it was practically blowing up the blogosphere so of course I couldn’t stand it any longer and finally caved.

I didn’t think I would love this one as much as everyone else but boy was I pleasantly surprised! It was a ton of fun to read through and left me craving more and that craving caused me to go out and buy the rest of the series without question. Worth the hype? You bet.

The Wrath and The Dawn (The Wrath and The Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh

This one came out last year with the sequel being released this year so the hype was pretty insane. Seemed like everybody was reading it and loving it and giving it great reviews!

This book gave me the warm fuzzy feelings, it’s full of adorable-ness and magic. Rarely does a romance based book win me over but this one certainly did.

Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) by Leigh Bardugo

This book was a big deal last year mostly because it was a new series by Leigh Bardugo and her Grisha trilogy is very, very popular. Since I wasn’t a huge fan of “Shadow and Bone” I wasn’t really sure I would want to try “Six of Crows” but there were just so many glowing reviews that I was curious enough.

This is SO MUCH better than “Shadow and Bone” the characters are better, there are multiple POVs, the action is better, and the world building is more complex. It is a fast paced book and it’s just awesome. So when you hear everyone talking about how great “Six of Crows” is, listen to them.

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Lots of love for this series but maybe not quite as hyped up as a few of these others on this list. Don’t get me wrong it’s definitely a very popular book and series BUT we don’t hear about it as much as Throne of Glass or The Raven Cycle, especially since the last book of the trilogy came out this year.

This one I was a little leery about since it looks like it’s a bit too fantasy lite for me with more focus on ballgowns and dancing and boys. While there are elements of those things in “The Winner’s Curse” it most definitely isn’t the focus, it has some great action and politics. However, with this first book it pays off to be patient with it until the end!

The Good(1)

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

This was an OK read for me, it wasn’t horrible but it was not as great as I thought it would be either. This is probably one of the most popular YA series out there and so my expectations were pretty high and honestly I should have gone in with none so I wouldn’t be so disappointed.

Celaena was not as badass as the book promises which was my biggest pet peeve, I mean how hard was it to give me some assassin action? Celaena is apparently the deadliest assassin out there and it just doesn’t show. Overall the hype surrounding “Throne of Glass” didn’t really feel worth it to me and I might have enjoyed it more if there wasn’t so much hype.

Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

You’ve heard of the Grisha trilogy, right? Probably, it’s pretty popular and still is.

It has magic and is based off of Russian culture/folklore, how could any of that go wrong? Well it went wrong with the characters if you ask me that and some very light world building. Not worth all the hype it gets to me but maybe the series gets better? I’m willing to give the rest a try.

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

This book was plastered all over Twitter for the longest time up until it’s release, then when it was released it felt like the entire world was reading it! So of course when you see a book that much everywhere you look you want to check it out, right? I did and I almost wish I hadn’t bothered.

It got pretty slow paced, lacked great world-building, and the plot had quite a few holes and left me with more questions than answers. For me a fantasy relies heavily on the world that’s built for it and “Truthwitch” didn’t really have that. Not worth the crazy amounts of hype it received and I don’t know if I’m even interested enough to read book 2 when it arrives.

Soundless by Richelle Mead

Not as hyped up as other books but since it was a book by Richelle Mead it still received a lot of attention. Did you read her Vampire Academy series? If you did you’ll understand why everyone was so excited for a new standalone book by her that was “steeped in Chinese folklore”. Yeah that’s how it was marketed and it was basically just that, marketing. This book really didn’t contain any Chinese folklore or mythology to speak of and there was next to no world building at all.

Big disappointment especially since I loved her Vampire Academy series a lot but I think I may just have to give up on any other books she writes.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Just thinking about this book makes me want to rage. It’s HUGE of course since it has a movie and a TV series now and there’s also tons of books plus their spin off series. Too much if you ask me but then again I’m not a fan.

This book just failed to captivate me I was left wondering what the heck the big deal about is was. I have no interest in ever reading anything else by Cassandra Clare either since it seems she won’t write anything outside of the Shadowhunter universe.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Don’t hurt me, please,I know The Lunar Chronicles is a super big deal! It seems to be yet another one of those books/series that pops up everywhere and everyone’s read them. I actually read “Cinder” a long time ago and didn’t really enjoy it because I thought it was too predictable. I mean the “big twist” at the end of it wasn’t even a little surprising and to me that makes the book a bit boring.

However, I do own “Scarlet” and it seems that that the series may get better so I’m willing to continue with it and find out.

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So are there any books on this list that you thought were worth the hype?

How about not worth the hype?

Have you read any books that received crazy amounts of hype, not on this list?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Rainy Day Reads

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Top 5 Wednesday group on Goodreads!

This week’s theme is “Rainy Day Reads”, which got me thinking: what exactly is a rainy day read? Well I just decided to do what I think they would be, to me a rainy day read would be a book that is fast paced and un-put-downable. Something that would keep you entertained while the weather outside is…well not so entertaining.

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5.) Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

A fast paced, heist book with fantastic characters. You’ll be so drawn into the action of the heist and so intrigued by the backstories of the characters you won’t be able to put it down until you finish. Definitely a great book to start when you’re stuck inside all day.

You can read my full review of “Six of Crows” here.

4.) Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

For me, this book was about as fast paced as you can get! There’s a constant stream action. Think of everything imaginable that could go wrong for a group of people and this book has it happen. There’s crazy AI’s, space battles, mutating viruses, and more. This book is more than capable of keeping you entertained for a day, you’ll definitely keep turning pages.

You can read my full review of “Illuminae” here.

3.) Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious (Vicious, #1)

Once again we have a book with a fast paced plot, the story progresses so quickly you won’t be able to stop reading until you find out what exactly is going on! Morally ambiguous characters who are so fascinating you’ll keep reading just to spend more time with them. Everything about this book will keep you interested and makes for a great book for all day reading.

You can read my full review of “Vicious” here.

2.) Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happend by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

This book is absolutely hilarious, plain and simple. So funny, in fact, that I can’t resist NOT recommending it for a rainy day. You’ll be so busy laughing that you’ll completely forget about the bad weather outside!

You can check out my “mini” review of “Hyperbole and a Half” here.

1.) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona

This is actually a graphic novel but it’s a very loooong one and therefore I think it can qualify on here as being more of a book. This book is hilarious and heart-warming all at once, really those two words sum up the entirety of “Nimona” perfectly I think. You can definitely finish it in a day so it’s perfect for a rainy one where you can just stay inside and read until you’re done.

You can read my “mini” review of “Nimona” here.

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So that wraps up my Top 5 Rainy Day Reads! Hopefully you found some books on here to stash away for a rainy day or just to add to your TBR anyways.

Feel free to link up your T5W’s as well!

The Sassy