book reviews

Chasing the Shadow by Maria V. Snyder

Book Review
48345515Chasing the Shadows 
by Maria V. Snyder

Rating: XXXXX

Published November 18th 2019 by Maria V. Snyder

QUOTE

SPOILER ALERT: Although this review will be spoiler-free for this book, this review and even the following synopsis are full of HUGE spoilers for the first book so if you’ve yet to read the first book and intend to do so without being spoiled for big plot points turn back here, I’ll see you back here when you’re ready to start the second. 

Year 2522. Lyra Daniels is dead.

Okay, so I only died for sixty-six seconds. But when I came back to life, I got a brand new name and a snazzy new uniform. Go me! Seriously, though, it’s very important that Lyra Daniels stays dead, at least as far as the murdering looters, know.

While dying is the scariest thing that’s happened to me, it morphed my worming skills. I can manipulate the Q-net like never before. But the looters have blocked us from communicating with the rest of the galaxy and now they believe we’ve gone silent, like Planet Xinji (where silent really means dead).

A Protector Class spaceship is coming to our rescue, but we still have to survive almost two years until they arrive – if they arrive at all. Until then, we have to figure out how to stop an unstoppable alien threat. And it’s only a matter of time before the looters learn I’m not dead and returns to finish what they started.

There’s no way I’m going to let the looters win. Instead, I’ll do whatever it takes to save the people I love. But even I’m running out of ideas…

After rereading/listening to the first book of the Sentinels of the Galaxy books by Maria V. Snyder in preparation for the release of its sequel, Chasing the Shadows Maria reached out to some bloggers to receive early copies of said sequel in exchange for an honest review in the two weeks surrounding its release. Not only was I lucky enough to receive an ecopy early but my paperback copy arrived early too and I absolutely devoured the whole thing in about a week which is a quick read for me nowadays.

I enjoyed Navigating the Stars (you can check out my spoiler-free review here) but Chasing the Shadows is a whole other ball game, I adored this book. It took all the best parts of the first and just improved on them and gave us more. I think a mix of Lyra having to mature after the events of the last book and perhaps getting used to her inner voice meant that the side of her that could be a little annoying at times was much less present this time around. She made a lot of rash choices don’t get me wrong but I could always see where she was coming from and why she made those decisions. I actually found I was really proud of her in this book, she’s come a long way and she’s learned so much physically and emotionally. Watching her actively take other peoples advice and at least consider her own safety at the behest of those who care for her was really refreshing and a great way of showing how much she’s grown.

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books I wanna snuggle with

Six for Sunday
This prompt is absolutely perfect. As I sit writing this I am currently in my comfiest PJ’s wearing my snuggliest pair of bed-socks and I’ve just managed to spend an entire hour snuggled up with a blanket and a book in my reading corner and let me tell it was pure bliss. I’ve found recently that I was snatching time to read books wherever and whenever I could, reading a few pages at a time etc but a couple of days ago I decided no matter how busy I get, no matter just how much I have to do, I am going to get comfortable and I’m going to spend at least half an hour on my sofa in the evening, in my reading room with a book, just reading and chilling out. Let me tell you, it’s only been a few days but I just feel so much more relaxed and calmer for it. I cannot recommend it enough. So now that I’ve enlightened you let’s crack on with books I wanna snuggle with.

Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
My copy of the last book (I think?) in the folk of the air series came early and it’s taking all of my willpower right now not to just immediately devour the entire damn thing. I’m currently reading a book for a blog tour in early December so I need to finish that and I’d promised to buddy read it with a friend who hasn’t received their copy yet and is away for the weekend. As a result, I’ve asked my husband to hide the book somewhere I can’t find or get to it because I have no willpower. This morning I found it on top of our board games which live on my bookshelves, it’s the highest point in our flat and I can’t reach it. Smart guy! So what I’m trying to say is that I would really love to snuggle up and read this damn book right now.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
This is a prime snuggling up book, there are so many lovely sweet moments and it’s such an easy book to just fall into it’s absolutely perfect.

Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse
Much like with Queen of Nothing this is a book I desperately want to read as soon as I can. I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since it was announced and I can think of nothing better than snuggling up with a long-awaited book,

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
This is one of my favourite reads of the past few years and a book I would happily read again, this definitely feels like it would be a good book to snuggle up with on a cold night just thinking about it is making me want to reread it!

Finding Home by Hari Conner
Another brilliant graphic novel and quite possibly my favourite I’ve ever read. The slow burn is SO on point that I cannot explain and the art is absolutely exquisite. I could read this anywhere but I feel like snuggled up in bed is probably the best to enjoy it.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Another book that I tend to enjoy rereading which is weird because I actually hated it the first time I read it. I think this one might be interchangeable with A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury as well as these are all books that hold a lot of nostalgia for me I think nostalgia and nice, warm comfy blankets are a good combination,

I feel like I need to crawl back into bed with a good book now! What books do you love to snuggle up with?

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books you think should be studied in school

Six for Sunday

Yikes! Steph from A Little but A Lot who comes up with these prompts picked a hard one for this week! I have no idea what would be beneficial to children today, I’m so out of touch! I will, however, list six books that I would have liked to have studied in school or that I think would be interesting to discuss.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I feel like this would potentially be a difficult one because it is so filled with grief and some behaviour that could be construed as negative (but realistic). I’m a little out of touch with how teenagers or those who had lost someone very close to them would feel about reading or studying this so not sure this would actually be the best of choices as it could be a sensitive subject but I think it’s something that I would have valued at a younger age personally.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
This is an incredibly important book. It showcases so many relevant topics, although this would probably be a 16+ book.

His Hideous Heart by various authors, edited by Dahlia Adler
I think this anthology of retellings of the works of Edgar Allen Poe would be a brilliant book to study, especially as it also includes the original poems in the back of the book too. Perhaps when studying this, students could pick a poem and write a story about that in the same way?

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
This book is a great read but it also has some important messages about how we treat the world itself and what it means to be human, I feel like this could lead to some important and educational discussions and ideas.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Sailsbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood
I feel like this book is so good at showcasing a group of very different young people and how despite their differences and disagreements they can still care about each other and still get along with dealing with some pretty hard times in their life and topics that may be difficult to broach otherwise.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Okay so this is probably boring for a lot of people but I studied Macbeth multiple times in school and I LOVED it. I was so glad we weren’t stuck studying Of Mice and Men or Romeo and Juliet but Macbeth had battles and witches and Lady Macbeth telling her husband to sort himself out and murder the king already, also regicide is always fun, let alone the characters and then going mad with guilt. Also, I won’t spoil it but that loophole in the prophecy hey? LOVE it. I think studying Shakespeare is cool but we defintley need to look at some of the more awesome plays instead of repeatedly studying the same things. (I would have loved 12th night or Hamlet in addition to Macbeth instead of doing Macbeth twice despite how much I loved it).

Okay so most of these probably aren’t great or realistic choices but I tried? Was there a particular book at school that you studied and really liked? I was particularly fond of The Crucible and that always stuck with me.

 

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books and the Seaside

I was hoping by the time this prompt turned up we would have been able to go on a family trip to the beach but no such luck yet! Soon though hopefully! For now, however, I just decided to see if I could think of six books that feature the seaside, or beaches at the very least.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
I adored this really sweet and relatable tale based in one of my favourite places in the world, Devon! I used to go on holiday with my family to Devon every year for most of my childhood and I love the place to death and it really helped me envision a lot of the beach scenes in this book.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
This is an ultimate beach book, don’t get me wrong, it’s hard and full of chest gnawing grief but I swear you can hear the waves and feel the sand between your toes reading some of the scenes in this book.

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne Harris
A completely different feel from the beaches of Summer Bird Blue, for me the beaches of The Blue Salt Road are cold and windy, filled with pebbles and sea spray, not to mention selkies.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
The beach out by the Los Angeles institute features in all three of The Dark Artifices books but my favourite beach moment is right at the end of Queen of Air and Darkness. If you know, you know.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
I’ve been rewatching the Twilight films if I can’t sleep recently and I ended up watching the whole of New Moon and Eclipse last week instead of actually sleeping. I remember when reading them I loved the sound of La Push and the reservation etc and I love the scene with Bella and Jacob just walking along the beach chatting before all the supernatural stuff didn’t seem real.

The Wicked King by Holly Black
So I know this is pushing it a little but one of the biggest and most important scenes happens on a beach! (I literally just lost half an hour after going to check it was defintley on a beach and carried on reading the end of the book again damnit) So it totally counts right? I’m already so desperate for the Queen of Nothing already like I can’t explain. GIVE ME MORE.

Okay so only of these technically featured a “seaside” but they all have beaches in! Or at least sand? This was still easier than finding sunshine on covers last week at least! Also as I’m writing this the weather here is absolutely horrid, it’s humid and rainy and gross so thinking about these lovely beaches has been quite nice!

I also want to mention Lifes a Beach (Bookshop Girl #2) by Chloe Coles because this would have been a perfect book for this post but despite loving the first book I haven’t got around to its sequel yet and I’m disappointed in myself for it so this is me, calling myself out and telling me to read that damn book already.

spoiler free, Tags

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I’ve been trying a few different book tags this week and I’ve been finding myself really stumped about answering some of them so I decided that today’s blog would instead be a really simple fun book tag I picked up from Sarah from Book Hooked Nook a little while back, the rapid-fire book tag!

1. E-Book or Physical Book?

If it’s small enough physical, if not an e-book is more comfortable.

2. Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback.

3. Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Usually online as the only bookstores nearby are all in other towns and it costs me the price of a standard paperback to get to any of them.

4. Trilogies or Series?

I quite like standalone books at the moment but if I had to pick it would be a trilogy.

5. Heroes or Villains?

It feels so cliche but villains are so much more fun.

6. A book you want everyone to read?

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman because that stuff is food for the soul.

7. Recommend an underrated book?

Invictus by Ryan Graudin, I never hear anyone talk about this book but I adored it.

8. The last book you finished?

I finished Heartstopper Volume 2 in one sitting before bed a couple of nights ago and I’ve barely been able to stop thinking about it since.

9. The Last Book You Bought?

I did a little book order when I got paid a couple of days ago and ordered Do you dream of Terra-Two? By Temi Oh, a finished copy of The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James, Heartstopper volume two by Alice Oseman and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil. It had been a while since I’d brought books!

10. Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

A fork.

11. Used Books: Yes or No?

As long as they’re in good condition then used is fine with me.

12. Top Three Favourite Genres?

Sci-fi, Fantasy and thriller

13. Borrow or Buy?

Buy, I don’t go into town often enough to to get proper use out of the library and I’m terrible at returning things on time. Also because quite often I’m buying a finished copy of an ARC I’ve enjoyed and might not get to reading it right away.

14. Characters or Plot?

Having one without the other is not enjoyable but I think good characters can save bad plot but a good plot doesn’t often save bad characters.

15. Long or Short Books?

Probably short. I’m finding it really hard to drag myself through longer books. Max 400 ideally although I’m reading a good few that are more than that at the moment so it’s not a make or break thing, I just like to read shorter books, if anything they’re more comfortable to hold.

16. Long or Short Chapters?

Short. I love the feeling of finishing a chapter, plus I tend to wait until I’ve finished a chapter before I stop reading and if it’s too long it just gets annoying.

17. Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

18. Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

19. Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional, or actually I like a bit of both so our world with a hint of fictional is great sometimes too. I want to say it’s called urban fantasy but I’m bad at this book blogging thing.

20. Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes. I’m sad that I don’t really listen to them as much now. I often still listen to ones I’ve heard before when I’m trying to get to sleep (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them read by Eddie Redmayne is my favourite) but now that I’m not in a job where I can just crack on and get my work done with my headphones in all day I’m seriously lagging on the audiobook front.

21. Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong, a book with a bad cover can be good and vice versa but it’s almost always the cover that draws me in or pushes me away.

22. Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

I really enjoy them for the most part. Sometimes they get me interested in a book I’ve yet to read (i.e Dumplin) even though I always try to read the book first but also they sometimes give me the feeling of rereading a book without having to actually do so.

23. A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Stardust. I enjoyed the Stardust book but the film is one of my all-time favourites and just blew the book out of the water.

24. Series or Standalone’s?

I love me a standalone.

That was a such a fun tag, thank for so much for posting it, Sarah! I won’t tag anyone in particular but as always if you’d like to take part then consider yourself tagged!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 17th

Okay so after June moving at a glacial pace July is moving far too quickly, YALC is next week and I still have so much more to read! Still, it’s time for my fortnightly bookish check-in!

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? 

I feel slightly victimized by this question because I’ve dipped my toe into numerous books over the past fortnight as I frantically try to find the best order to read them in. My main current read is Revenger by Alastair Reynolds in preparation for YALC (and I’ve had it to read for a while). I’ve also been reading Finding Home by Hari Conner and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil, both of which have been absolutely healing my soul. I’ve been enjoying Revenger as well but there’s just something about the story and art styles for these two graphic novels that just soothes me, Hari’s landscape pieces transport me to beautiful forests where I can fill my lungs with sweet air and Katie’s soft edges and pastel colours lull me into a relaxed dreamland, I can’t get enough of them.

What did you recently finish reading?

Last weekend I finished Wastelands: The New Apocolypse, the dystopian anthology I was reading and Heartstream. I really enjoyed Heartstream and read it very quickly, it was a little traumatising and had some difficult parts in it but I loved it, you can check out my review here. Wastelands was a great anthology but it just felt so huge! Just writing the review is taking me ages as I made notes for every single story and there are over thirty of them! I’m glad I decided to read it but I was so pleased to finally finish it. A review should be coming next week with any luck.

What do you think you’ll read next?

For a change, this is actually super easy to answer and shouldn’t change! If it hasn’t already arrived by the time this post goes live Heartstopper volume two should be arriving and I’ll be dropping absolutely everything for that! My next YALC book to read is Do you Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh which will my next non-graphic novel read. I’m also lucky enough to have been accepted for the new Tea Dragon Society graphic novel due out in September so will defintley be getting to that too!

What are you reading next? What have you been reading? What are you reading right now? Let me know!! Those of you attending YALC and still working through your TBR’s for it how are you getting on?

 

spoiler free, tbr thursday

July TBR

I know I shouldn’t be shocked as I just did my June wrap up last week but OH MY GOSH how is it July now?! YALC is this month and I’m in no way prepared. I’m only there for one day in all likely-hood but I still have some reading to get done! I have a backlog of books to review but there are also some books I want to read in time for YALC as well as some new releases I’m desperate to get around to. I think my TBR list for this month is going to be a little over hopeful but what the heck I can but try!

Heartstream by Tom Pollock
I actually started this last night and I already can’t wait to get back to it. This is my first book by Pollock that I’ve read and I think I’ll look into his other works after as I’m really loving his writing style.

Revenger by Alistair Reynolds
I got this when Shadow Captain came out earlier this year in preparation for my sci-fi binge but never got around to it, Reynolds will be at the sci-fi panel I’m excited for at YALC so I wanted to make sure I got it read in time for then, hopefully if I really enjoy it I can pick up the sequel as well and get them both signed too.

Do you Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
I’ve seen quite a few people who enjoy similar books to me that have been loving this and I’ve been intrigued for a while but I don’t often buy hardbacks and I kept putting it off but as Temi Oh will also be at YALC on the same panel as Alistair Reynolds (in addition to Lauren James and Sasha Alsberg) I feel this is a sign I need to finally get around to reading it.

Shadowscent by P.M Freestone
Another YALC read, I brought Shadowscent on the day it was released because it sounds brilliant and the cover is gorgeous but, yet again and shocking absolutely no one I still haven’t read it because I’m terrible. I’m enjoying using YALC as a good excuse to get all these books I’ve been looking forward to actually read. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve known authors were at events but because I hadn’t read their books yet (despite already owning them in most cases) I didn’t get my book/s signed and then regretted it terribly once I’ve read and loved the book. I do not want this to be one of those times!

Heartstopper – Volume two – By Alice Oseman
I’m SO excited for volume two of Heartstopper releasing this month! I was hoping to make it to the event on July 11th but sadly don’t think I’m going to be able to make it now, I can’t wait to read it though!

Men in Black International: The Official Movie Novelization by R.S Belcher
One of my review books, I had decided to take fewer review books on this month but as soon as the lovely people at Titan offered me this book I couldn’t say no. I’ve really been looking forward to the film, I’m yet to see said film itself yet so I think it would be interesting to compare the two when I do finally see it.

X-Men: Days of Future Past by Alex Irvine
Another review book for the month from Titan, I received this last month and will quite likely be my next read after Heartstream. I’ve been in an X-Men mood for a little while now and although I’m not officially taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo I am starting to jot down ideas etc for the project I’ll be carrying on with for NaNo later in the year and as my characters have extra “abilities” I always consider anything X-Men related as “research” plus I just kind of love them.

Sanctuary by Vic James
So I have actually already read Sanctuary once already. I was lucky enough to have read a copy via NetGalley and my review has been written and ready for a while now but as the book isn’t out until August I’ve kept it waiting in the wings. I’m going to be taking part in the blog tour for the release and would love to give it another read through and maybe spruce up my review for the occasion. I’m really hoping I get enough book time to do so!

I have a good feeling about this months TBR, despite it being so huge (for me). I think it might be a bit of a squish towards the end but after stressing (non-bookish/blog related stuff) so much last month that I made myself ill I’m taking a lot more time to just read, relax and enjoy my books.

What do you absolutely have to read this month? Have you read any of these books already? Let me know what you thought of them!