Review: Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik
4 Stars , Reviews / September 30, 2019

Aurora Blazing was another intergalactic adventure with a strong female protagonist, Bianca, who is mastermind hacker with some serious computing skills. Another girl after my own heart like her sister, Ada from Polaris Rising, but in different ways. I mentioned her tech skills, but her strengths definitely don’t end there. She finds ways to gain an advantage by knowing as much as she can, and as many secrets as she can gather and hold on to until she finds an advantageous way to use them. Aurora Blazing is the second in a trilogy but follows a different set of characters from the first book. For those that missed the first one, I think this book probably could be read out of order as the main storyline will work independent of the first book. However, I would highly recommend reading Polaris Rising before this. There are secondary characters in this book that were main characters in the first book (and the characters in this one were secondary in the first), so there are spoilers for the first book if you read them out of order. Plus, even though I did enjoy this one, I think I enjoyed Polaris Rising a bit…

Review – Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
4 Stars , Reviews / July 1, 2019

I have to admit, I am a sucker for the girl dressed as a boy trope, so this book had an immediate edge for me. Maia dreams of becoming the best tailor in the empire. However, a dream is all that it can be as women are not allowed to be tailors, a career reserved only for men. So instead, she works quietly behind the scenes of her father’s business, gaining skill and experience, but knowing that she can never take over or become the face of the business. Instead, she will be expected to marry and be a good wife and all that boring stuff that is expected of women. But when an invitation is extended to her father for an incredible opportunity and honor to the royal court, Maia seens an opportunity. Her father has been declining in ability and would certainly not be able to attend himself, and her brother would have no interest or ability as well. So, that leaves her, with the option of attending as her brother. It’s a real risk to both her and her father’s reputation, but the allure of it plus her confidence that she was skilled enough outweighs the risk….

Throwback Thursday – Dune by Frank Herbert
4 Stars , Reviews , Throwback Thursday / May 16, 2019

Throwback Thursday is a weekly feature to highlight books from the past. It can honestly be anything as long as its not a book that is a current release. Maybe its a book that I read and reviewed and just want to highlight, maybe its a book I read before I started reviewing or maybe its a book that has a sequel coming out soon or maybe its a backlist book from my TBR that I just want to revisit and decide if I will make the time to read. Pretty much, anything goes.  If you have a backlist book you want to feature in someway, please feel free to join in!  This week’s choice is Dune by Frank Herbert. Dune was a book that read for book club, not because I chose it myself. I very rarely gravitate towards science fiction now and back when I read this I just about never chose to read science fiction. Turns out it was a good book for me to read and see that the genre labels are not nearly as important as what is in them. I say that, but I also feel like Dune is pretty much just a fantasy story that happens to be set in space. There is a lot of political intrigue (which I always enjoy). There is obviously a traitor in the midst of the characters, and…

Review: An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass
4 Stars , Reviews / May 13, 2019

I really enjoyed this one. It was an impulse request because when I was looking for my next book to read, it just sounded like a better fit for what I was in the mood for than anything I had on hand. I started reading it immediately and am quite glad I did. Turns out there’s a great story here. As with so many books I love, this features a strong female protagonist. Romy started life in Beggar’s Ring, the poorest and most downtrodden part of the city. However, her family sold her at a young age to what is essentially a training program for courtesans (yup, her family sold her as a child to become a high end prostitute). This is kind of a mixed thing. Of course it is bad, no one would choose to be sold for anything, much less for this purpose, but it also gave her an education and training that would never have been available to her otherwise. Her life as a well and diversely educated courtesan gives her a unique background. But one of the most unique qualities is that she is able to do magic. Magic is forbidden, only people from Costa…

Review: The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
4 Stars , Reviews / May 6, 2019

The Fated Sky is set a number of years after the end of The Calculating Stars. A colony has been established on the moon, and they are working to develop a colony on Mars. I continue to really enjoy this series. Kowal creates very intriguing characters, keeps the pace moving well and just writes very readable and compelling stories. If you missed reading the first one, I highly recommend you go check it out. It is an alternate history set in the 1950s and the gist is that the earth is dying, and the space program is working to find a place to relocate the human race to ensure our survival. It turns out women are critical to this as they are the ones with the math skills required to complete the complex calculations. Elma is working as something like a glorified space bus driver, piloting a shuttle for the moon colony and plans are in full swing to get the mars colony going. The team selection for this mission is a big deal and more than just skill definitely seem to come in to it, which causes tensions between friends and teammates. I enjoyed Elma’s relationship with her husband….

Review: The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst
4 Stars , Reviews / April 15, 2019

While this is the first book from Tales of Renthia that I’ve read, it’s not my first book by Durst. I read Fire and Heist last year, and while I really enjoyed many parts of the book, I ultimately felt like it was aimed at a younger audience, parts of it feeling almost middle grade. I was happy to find The Deepest Blue did not feel this way at all. The Deepest Blue is a standalone book that quickly drew me into the world and story. This book read extremely well for being new to the world. I never felt like I was missing backstory or information that might have been relayed in other books. As a reader new to her Renthia works, I found this to be an excellent start. I suppose its possible there are references in here that might be potential spoilers for her existing series, but someone who has read it would have to speak to that. I find I enjoyed this one enough that I’m honestly not too worried about it. The Deepest Blue is a wonderful story that starts by introducing us to Mayara, a strong and independent young woman whose fierceness and determination…

Review: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dalton
4 Stars , Reviews / March 11, 2019

Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful is a book that explores the many sides of how science can impact our lives and our bodies. My review for this might be a bit different than my typical reviews just because I am not going to focus on characters at all. The entire point of this book is the questions it raises and the topics it makes you think about. It’s this aspect of the book that I found stuck with me the most, and so that is what I am going to try to relay in my review. Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is an interesting reflection that can make you wonder how far is to far? How much should humans modify our bodies? Just because we can do something, should we? And should some reasons be more acceptable than others, should vanity or performance modifications be less justifiable than life saving procedures? This book really left me with a series of questions to think about. My opinion on any of this is not the point, the point is that the reader is presented with scenarios that highlight areas and situations to consider. My intro sounds like it could apply to today’s…

Audiobook Review: The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston
4 Stars , Reviews / February 12, 2019

This has been such a fun series and this final installment was not a disappointment. Fallon continues to be a fierce warrior and leader, I love her and her fellow gladiatrices . We also get to see more of Cai in this book, which is always a plus. Speaking of Cai, some time has passed between the end of the second book and the beginning of this one. During that time, Fallon has felt rejected by him, and while she doesn’t understand what happened, she accepts it even though she obviously still cares deeply for him. When Fallon learns that Cai is in trouble, she will do whatever it takes to help him without hesitation. This is one of the characteristics that I love about Fallon, her unwavering support for those she loves as well as what she believes is right. After a very catastrophic event in Rome, she she learns that Cleopatra is in grave danger, so of course takes on the mission of ensuring Cleopatra’s safety as they journey to Egypt where she will be safe. This is a book that really tests allegiances and friendships. There are some great twists of both betrayal and unexpected support. It makes…

Review: Suspicious Minds (Stranger Things #1) by Gwenda Bond
4 Stars , Reviews / February 4, 2019

Suspicious Minds was not quite what I expected, but it turned out to be a wonderful read that gave a great backstory on Eleven’s mom, and how Eleven came to be in Dr. Brennar’s care and more about the origins of Dr. Brennar’s crazy experiments and meddlings with the natural world. Pretty much it was full of lots of the things we’ve wondered about since the show started. Terry Ives is a college student in the 1960s and while there is a lot of turmoil in the world at this time, she is somewhat sheltered in her college life, but she wants to feel like she is doing something more, something more meaningful. It’s this desire that gets her tangled up with Dr. Brennar, whose research project seems like an honor to participate in and “important” in some way to her. She basically signs on to be a human guinea pig for a study that she really knows nothing about. As the study progresses, Terry definitely starts to see signs that maybe everything is not quite as on the up and up as she first thought, and that there might just be cause for concern. I quite enjoyed Terry and…

Review: Polaris Rising
4 Stars , Reviews / January 21, 2019

Polaris Rising is a steamy fun adventure with two main characters who just happen to be the two biggest fugitives (for one reason or another). Ada is a younger daughter of the leading figure of one of the three High Houses in the universe. Needless to say, her father is incredibly powerful and her name carries quite a bit of weight. But when her father tries to press her in to a marriage she does not want, Ada flees her home and makes a life for herself outside of her house. Unfortunately for her, her father did not just forget about her but instead put a huge price on her head, the second highest bounty in the universe. Ada is the kind of kick ass heroine who will not give up and bow to daddy, but will rather use her determination, skill and cunning to plan a way to escape. One of my favorite things about Ada is her intelligence and her determination. And her ability to kick ass. I guess there are a lot of things I love about Ada, but the fact she relies on more than just fighting skills or her womanly wiles was certainly a huge…