Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Despite it being released in North America on November 6, 2018, I didn’t get my hands on a copy of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson until I unwrapped it on Christmas morning (you can check out my entire Christmas Book Haul here – I think it’s safe to say that my family knows I love books!). I am not normally a Brandon Sanderson fan, but with all the hype that Skyward has been getting, I simply couldn’t resist – and I am glad that I did end up reading it, because I simply loved it!

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s–a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none. No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

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March 2018 To Be Read

Here we are again – another month, another To Be Read List. I’ll be honest with you all (to those of you who actually read these, anyways), I mostly share these lists for my own personal reference, for months from now (when I actually have free time) when I want to go back a read books I missed during the mayhem that is the school year. And let’s be honest – 2018 has been riddled with fantastic YA Fantasy and Sci-Fi releases thus far, not to mention all the Adult Fantasy books that have found their way onto my shelves in recent weeks. I don’t want to miss a thing!

But I’ll be honest – life is busy. My TBR list is often out of control. So I have created a physical system to limit my book buying – a “TBR Box”. If the box is full, I can’t buy another book until there is room for it. This is actually working quite well so far! You’ll see my TBR box featured on my Bookstagram now and then (and here it is below – although it’s not holding TBR books in this photo!).

How do you control your To Be Read Books?

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I did pretty good last month – despite how busy February always ends up being, I managed to read nearly all the books on my list (which you can find here). Those that I didn’t quite find the time to get to have been included on this list – here’s to hoping I can tackle this months list just as efficiently (Please note that the below list is based on my own personal interests and release dates in Canada)!

  1. Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking (Release Date: January 2, 2018)
  2. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (Release Date: January 16, 2018)
  3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Release Date: March 6, 2018)
  4. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (Release Date: March 6, 2018)
  5. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (Release Date: March 6, 2018)
  6. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Release Date: March 13, 2018)
  7. The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco (Release Date: March 20, 2018)
  8. From the Earth to the Shadows (ARC) by Amanda Hocking (Release Date: April 24, 2018)
  9. Song of Blood & Stone (ARC) by L. Penelope (Release Date: May 2, 2018)
  10. Furyborn (ARC) by Claire Legrand (Release Date: May 22, 2018)

The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it? 

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MINI MONDAY: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

The Diabolic is S.J. Kincaid’s most recent novel, and since its release on November 1st, 2016, it has quickly sky-rocketed in popularity – and for good reason. The Diabolic is a strong addition to the Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre, with memorable characters, strong motivations and mind-blowing events that will leave readers reeling long after they’ve closed the book.

“Perhaps scorpions were the only ones who could save each other.
Whatever lay ahead, it would always be the two of us above the rest of the universe, and woe to any who dared step in out path.” – S.J. Kincaid, The Diabolic

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe. When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire (chapters.indigo.ca).

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Alanna’s Top 16 of 2016

To celebrate the end of what has certainly been a tumultuous year, I have decided to create this little list featuring my favourite books of 2016. In order to qualify for this list, the book must have been published between January 1st 2016 and December 31st, 2016.

In addition, all books featured on this books are books I have personally read – meaning that any books I have not read were not taken into consideration during the creation of this list. That being said, most of these book are Young Adult, Fantasy and/or Science Fiction novels!

Reviews for books I have previously reviewed can be found by clicking on the links below – if there’s a book on this list that does not have a link to a review, don’t worry! I will be posting even more reviews in the New Year! 

  1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  2. An Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Spoiler-free review can be found here)
  3. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  5. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  6. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  7. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  8. Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
  9. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
  10. Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott
  11. Morningstar by Pierce Brown
  12. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
  13. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  14. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  15. Spindle by E.K. Johnston
  16. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

My earlier review for Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff can be found here

After reading Illuminae early on in the summer, I was quite excited to pick up Gemina. When I first picked up Illuminae,  I started off a skeptic, because the whole “found documents/recordings/we blacked out half the words” thing was a bit offputting, but the story and the execution of this unique writing style quickly drew me in. And then blew me away with its originality and complexity. Gemina  was no different – except this time I started off excited to delve back into this unique mish-mash of found documents.

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.

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The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

This blog post (inevitably) contains spoilers for The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. If you have not read the first book in this series, I highly recommend doing so before going any further. My review for the Bone Season can be found here

As soon as I finished The Bone Season, I could hardly wait to pick up its sequel and get started. In fact, I was back at the book store the very next day! I did take my time with this book though; not because I didn’t enjoy it (I did), but because it was the book I brought along on our European adventure, and I wanted to make it last. Needless to say, it did not  last the entire trip, and I ended up making an emergency  trip to Waterstones before our flight home to pick up a read for the excruciatingly long flight over the Atlantic.

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London . . . As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

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Morningstar by Pierce Brown

“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war. My name is Darrow of Lykos. You know my story. It is but an echo of your own.” – Darrow (Pierce Brown, in Morningstar, page 180)

After reading the first two books in this series in a matter of days, I could hardly wait to finally read Morningstar. Thus far, Brown had done an exemplary job when it came to word building, character development and story telling – Morningstar is no exception to this. From beginning to end, I was enthralled by Darrow’s journey to at last overthrow the Golds in an all-out rebellion, following the shocking conclusion to Golden Son.

If you’ve not read Red Rising or Golden Son, I would recommend doing so prior to reading this review, as it may contain some unintentional spoilers!

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within. Finally, the time has come. But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

As Marie Lu, author of the Legend Trilogy (which I am not a fan of, in case anyone was wondering) aptly said, this book is “wholly unique and utterly captivating”. It truly is. I started off a skeptic, because the whole “found documents/recordings/we blacked out half the words” thing was a bit offputting, but the story and the execution of this unique writing style quickly drew me in. And then blew me away with its originality and complexity.

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again. Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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