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.

book reviews, Older books, spoiler free

Navigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder

Book Review

42756706._SY475_Navigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder

Audiobook narrated by Gabra Zackman

Rating: XXXX

Published December 1st 2018 by Maria V. Snyder

“There’s this girl, she’s like a comet – makes the rest of the galaxy seem dull in comparison.”

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels’ parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who. 

I first read the first book in Maria’s new Sentinels of the Galaxy series, Navigating the Stars last year. Maria has been one of my favourite authors for a very long time and this month, to celebrate the release of of the second book in the Sentinels of the Galaxy, Chasing the Shadows coming out in under two weeks I decided I would reread the first book, Navigating the Stars via audiobook.

Maria has written in this particular genre before but this time feels very different, we get a lot more tech, world-building and space travel in Navigating the Stars then we did with the Outside/Inside series, I believe Lyra is a little older than Trella and their priorities and dynamics are very different. The blending of futuristic technology on faraway planets with archaeology feels right and I could honestly have read even more about the whole process and I couldn’t get enough of the mystery and wonder surrounding these Terra Cotta Warriors and their unexplained presence throughout the galaxy.

I liked most of the characters but didn’t feel a huge attachment to loads of them. Lyra is seventeen but sometimes feels a little younger but I understand that because although I’m thirty honestly I sound a bit like Lyra at times. She’s a bit snarky, very sarcastic and has a knack for getting into trouble, there are a few moments where she effectively breaks the fourth wall and sort of addresses the reader which it took a little while to get used to but honestly I kind of liked it after a while and made it feel like me and Lyra were friends. She certainly made some questionable choices but they always make sense for her character. Gabra Zackman was a perfect choice for the audiobook narration, she really captures Lyra’s snark and in my reread thanks to her I ended up spitting half of a glass of orange juice across my lounge.

I love the world-building for this book, the idea of effectively crinkling space to travel across large distances was explained really well with two different ways of measuring someone’s age as a result which was an interesting concept. I love the Q-net and the way users, especially wormers (like hackers) are able to navigate it, one of my favourite parts being the star roads within the Q-net. Then we get a whole other set of lore surrounding the warrior pits themselves and the things that lurk within but I won’t give anything away!

Navigating the Stars is already out now and it’s sequel Chasing the Shadows officially launches November 18th (my review is coming next Tuesday on the 19th!). You can pre-order the Kindle edition on Amazon now buuuuuut if you want the paperback Maria sneakily made them available to order RIGHT NOW!

 

spoiler free, tbr thursday

TBR Thursday – November 2019

tbr Thursday
Okay so it seems forever since Octobers TBR post for some reason although I did only get around to reading one of the books on that massive list I made, I was definitely far too ambitious and underestimated how busy a month it would be. As a result, this months TBR is much smaller, especially because on top of everything I’m also taking part in NaNoWriMo which is taking up almost all of my free time to be honest (I feel like I haven’t seen my FFXV boys in YEARS and none of my animal crossing villagers like me anymore). Still, these are the books I still hope to be able to read this month.

Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder
If you caught my WWW Wednesday post yesterday you’ll know that this is my current read. I’m lucky enough to have been granted an early e-book copy ready for the release which is fast approaching now! It’s been a great read so far and I’m finding it very hard to put it down, even more so than Navigating the Stars.

CTRL S by Andy Briggs
I believe I mentioned this in my last two WWW Wednesday posts but the book took a little longer to arrive than I thought it would BUT it’s here now and will definitely be my next read! CTRL S is apparently perfect for fans of Ready Player One and follows Theo Wilson as he searches the dark side on an online universe for his kidnapped mother in a world where people are harvested for their emotions.

The Sky Weaver by Kristen Cicarelli
A second sequel/companion story to The Last Namsara which I LOVED to pieces! I can’t wait for the next instalment and was so happy to find this on NetGalley by accident a little while ago! I of course also have my copy pre-ordered and have already received my beautiful pre-order goodies, these gorgeous art cards featuring characters from the books!

Dewdrop by Katie O’Neil
This is another early copy I received via Netgalley and is a children’s story about an Axolotl I can’t wait to read and hoping my little one will share with me!

I also have some comics and graphic novels I’m hoping to get around to reading too but we’ll see how things go although all bets are off if the newest copy of NPC Tea arrives because I am in DIRE NEED folks. Have a great weekend and I’ll hopefully see you back here Sunday if I don’t drown under my word count goal!

 

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday October 23rd 2019

www wednesday

Another fortnight has been and gone and I’ve not made huge progress reading these past two weeks. I’m actually behind my reading goal on Goodreads now too. I think I’m finding that I don’t have the patience for many bigger books at the moment or they have to REALLY take my fancy perhaps. Good news is some of my reads coming up are books I’m stupidly excited for so fingers crossed! Not to mention there are a few books etc I’m reading alongside my main reads too…

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’m super excited to say that I’ve just started reading (literally this morning) Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder!! It’s not out until November 18th but the lovely Maria has gifted me with an early copy in advance in exchange for an honest review the week of release. I loved the first book in the sentinels series ‘Navigating the Stars’ and I’m absolutely hyped to be able to read this early!!

(I’m also reading How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell at bedtimes with Nate at the moment and it’s such a fun read with some actually really great messages)

(annnnd I’m reading the weekly instalments of An Unauthorised Fan Treatise by Lauren James! You can check it out at ‘Gottie’s blog’ here every Monday or like me you can pledge to Lauren’s Paetron for early access a week ahead and maybe a cameo in the comments. Look closely at the comments for Chapter one for a Fantastic surprise! )

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Angel Mage by Garth Nix for my blog tour post next week and I’m giving my self a few days to mull it over before I write my review because my initial thoughts were…underwhelming. The pacing just felt totally off making the ending really jarring for me. It also took me forever to read and I think I’m going to try and steer clear of big books for a while.

What do you think you’re read next?

The plan is to read CTRL S by Andy Briggs for a blog tour I’m taking part in come early December. This planned read has another reason though which is that it sounds like it has some really similar themes to my project for NaNoWriMo and I find it really helpful to read or casually watch something in the same vein or with the same feel as what I’m writing to help keep me in that mindset so this was just timed perfectly.

Although my review list is pretty full at the moment and so I’ve not been accepting many requests I couldn’t resist the new Maria Snyder book as she’s been one of my favourite authors for more years than I can remember and the timing etc for CTRL S was just spot on. I do also have a NetGalley copy of The Sky Weaver by Kristin Cicerelli AS WELL in addition to NPC Tea volume seven coming out at the end of the month and the fact I now have access to six months advance worth of Finding Home by Hari Conner (You can check out my spoiler-free reviews for Volume One here and Volume Two here). AND DID I MENTION I’M DOING NANOWRIMO IN NOVEMBER?! It’s going to be a damn busy month let me tell you. See you here tomorrow when it’s NaNoWriMo tag time!

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books I read in school

Six for Sunday
Not sure if this is meant to be about books I had to read in school or books that I ended up reading in school because I spent almost all of my free time in the library (until the last year when I became a music/drama nerd but shh) so I read A LOT of books and I don’t remember most of them but a good few stuck with me.

Animorphs by K.A Applegate
I’m not sure if I read the books because of the TV show or watched the TV show because of the books but I know that I loved them both. I adored that this group of teenagers could turn into different animals but always had that element of risk that if they stay too long in animal form they would be stuck in it forever. The tension in these books was also so well done, there were so many close calls and reveals throughout, they were absolutely addictive. I think these were some of the first books I read that I found really interesting, not forgetting the blossoming of my first book crush in the form of Tobias who I fell head over heels in love with. Turns out I’ve always had a thing for the angsty boys.

The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith
I found the first Vampire Diaries Books not long after I finished Animorphs. I spent a lot of time at my local library by this point and they had a lovely YA section with nice comfy chairs where I would go to read in peace while my mum thought I was out playing. I had finished the Animorphs books and didn’t really know where to go from there but there was a whole section of the YA shelves that were just black and I was a little nerdy goth girl then so naturally, this drew my attention and there I found the first of the four Vampire Diaries books. I sat in the library from opening until close reading The Awakening in one sitting. It rocked my damn world and I took the other three out and barely left my room for the weekend. I think I’ve loved vampire books ever since.

Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
A possibly obvious one I know. I actually hadn’t heard of Harry Potter until I started secondary school and a friend I made there (I knew no one when I started so it was nice to find bookish friends) told me I needed to read Harry Potter…so I did and I fell in love with that too, it was perfectly timed with my starting of secondary school so I just felt like I was going on the same journey I think. It was nice to identify with the trio as they got older. I also distinctively remember that I made me and my friend our own full length (with book lists) Hogwarts acceptance letters.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
I think this was a read from primary school and I read it often, over and over again, I loved that there were girls who liked to fight with swords but it also showed me that you didn’t always have to have a sword to be brave or to fight for the people you love. I’ve learned recently that there was also a sequel that I absolutely have to read.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This one I discovered my first half-year of college. I had discovered sometimes we had free periods and once a week I had a two-hour free period and approaching Christmas I decided to use those two hours to head into town and do some Christmas shopping. Waterstones was running its 3 for 2 offer that it ran every Christmas for years, I brought two for gifts and at the desk, they had a selection of books also on the offer, one of those was Poison Study. It had the classic purple UK Cover and it looked pretty cool so I brought it and it was brilliant, Maria went on to become one of my absolute favourite authors.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Another free period college find, this time with book vouchers from Christmas. I actually picked up New Moon first because it was new out and caught my eye but they had sold out of copies of Twilight itself so I couldn’t start the series. I managed to find out about the series online and found somewhere to order it from. I was able to read the first chapter or two online while I waited and did so immediately, then also the equivalent of the first couple of chapters of Midnight son (Twilight told from Edwards point of view). I fell in love with these books pretty quick and although I wasn’t an over the top “Twihard” I was definitely a fan. Even though now I’m older and I’ve read a lot more and can see the problems in both the books and films, not to mention Edwards behaviour (and Jacob’s) I still love them both and the films in particular (THOSE SOUNDTRACKS Y’ALL) hold a lot of brilliant nostalgia and I watch them every few months.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the books I read when I was in school/college and would love to check yours out too, don’t forget to let me know if we have any in common! I also want to give an honourable mention to The Crucible by Arthur Miller and Macbeth by (duh) Shakespeare, which were two books/plays we were required to read for my English literature classes and I utterly adored both of them.

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Fictional places you’d love to go on holiday

Six for Sunday.png

Its Six for Sunday time and this week the prompt from Steph at A Little but A Lot is “Fictional places you’d love to go on holiday” I really miss going on holiday so I feel like this one might be fairly easy for a change although I would probably end up dead or in trouble in one or more of these places for sure.

The Prestigious Academy from the Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James
I thought about adding so many different schools and/or academies I would love to visit like Hogwarts or the Aurora Academy etc but I opted for The Academy featured in The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James because I love how wonderfully diverse and inclusive it is and I would love spending a whole summer there just learning about the students who study there.

The LA Institute from The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare
I’m just such a sucker for that damn beach.

Velaris from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
I’ve always loved Velaris, it sounds absolutely beautiful and was one of my favourite things about A Court of Mist and Fury.

Whitestone from Vox Machina Origins by Matthew Mercer etc
Although I’ve still not finished Campaign one of Critical Role which features the Vox Machina story I’ve become so curious about it and have really enjoyed what I’ve seen so far, especially the city of Whitestone. (I want to go visit the sun tree!)

Sitia (Ideally somewhere near the citadel) from The Chronicles of Ixia books by Maria V. Snyder
Magical, beautiful Sitia! Obviously, some bad stuff happens here (where doesn’t it) but I used to dream about shopping in the market by the citadel when I was younger and meeting Fisk and some of the Grand Masters as well as Yelena and Valek (but in disguise of course!).

The Shire from The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
How could I not choose this one? For a brief moment, I pondered Rivendell, which I’ sure is very beautiful but I’m absolutely a Hobbit at heart and honestly, I think it’s quite likely that if I went on holiday to the Shire I would defintley end up trying to live there.

What fictional place would you love to holiday in? Do any of my answers appeal to you?

#SixforSunday

#S4S – Less well known favourite books

30947518_10155196791291581_53056448_nHere we are again, another week down, another Sunday has arrived.. I’ve got today off and plan to crack on and get my Camp NaNoWriMo project finished with any luck because I’m starting to cut it close. Today’s #Six for Sunday post prompt from Steph at A little but a lot is “less well known favourite books” some people would have heard of these obviously but they’re probably books I would consider to be less well known in today’s YA community than most. That be saying said there might be one or two you’ve heard of, it’ll be interesting to see what books are maybe more well known than I thought.

1. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
This was a book I not only hadn’t heard of but had also not set out to buy. Back when Waterstones did their 3 for 2 deal every Christmas I brought a couple of books and couldn’t decide on a third one but “The Gargoyle” was sitting by the front desk, the cover was quite pretty and it had black stained edges. The stained edges sold it to me and back then my TBR was quite small so I read it not long after and I simply adored it. I blame this lucky purchase for my love of stained pages and the reason I so often will just pick up a book and think, “I like the look of this” and just buy it.

2. Touch of Power by Maria V Snyder
A fair few people of read and talk about The Poison Study series by Maria V Snyder, including myself but a series I don’t hear talked about as often, if at all is the healer series, starting with A Touch of Power. I became fascinated in the way the healing magic and the world worked in this book, along with the moral journey main character Avry is forced down. It’s one of my all time favourite books and I’ve always wished we got more than the trilogy.

3. Tides of War by Christie Golden
So we all know I adore Christie Golden but the Warcraft books might not be something people who don’t play Warcraft would read which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, the books are one of my favourite things about the game and the lore within and one of the books I enjoyed the most but is probably a little less well-known is Tides of war, a story following Jaina Proudmore on her home isle of Theralas and what transpires after the Cataclysm but before we travel to Pandaria.

4. The Two Princesses of Barrmare by Gail Carson Levine.
A lot of people when thinking about Gail Carson Levine books will go straight to Ella enchanted which is a great book but I read The Two Princesses before that and although I’ve always loved reading this book was special because it was the first truly fantasy book I read and I totally fell in love with it. To this day when I write I often find myself writing characters that relate to both princesses whether I notice it or not.

5. Shadowmagic by John Lenahan
This was actually a book my husband recommended to me. He found it for free on the Kindle store somehow and after reading it couldn’t stop talking about it, it sounded like it might be up my alley so I decided to check it out and although perhaps a little more middle grade than I would usually read I really enjoyed it and proceeded to read the rest of the trilogy.

6. Inside out by Maria V Snyder
Another one by Maria V Snyder! For the few people I have heard mention the healer series by her I’ve never heard anyone talk about this duology which was one of the first dystopian/sci-fi books I read and enjoyed. I will admit it gave me so much of a book hangover and the end got me so bad that I still haven’t read the sequel Outside In but will be rectifying that in the very near future. This book features on my all time favourite twists that I didn’t remotely see coming and can probably be blamed for my love of third act twists/reveals.

So there we have it, the last #S4S of April is done and dusted but I’ll be back with a review and a new book tag and/or discussion (when I finally decide) next week!