Uncategorized

S4S – Series you’re dying to read

Six for Sunday

Before we get into things I’d just like say Hello, it’s been a while hasn’t it? A little while into the official lockdown I decided to go on hiatus for a little while. I was having trouble reading and finding time and inspiration to write anything or take photos for Instagram as well as just not being able to get into any reading for very long. A little over a month later but I’m finally back. I can’t guarantee things will be totally back to normal, but it’s still not a particularly normal time is it? I do however have one or two reviews lined up, a book tag and I’m going to try and get back into these weekly Six for Sunday posts too. So long time, no see, hope you’re all doing as well as you can right now and thank you for sticking around. Now, on with the show and all that.

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Happy Six for Sunday! The weekly challenge where we give six answers to a prompt form the lovely Steph at A Little But A Lot. This week the prompt is six series I’m dying to read. I have a lot of books I’m dying to read at the moment and a fair few of them are series. They tend to get left out a little depending what I’m looking to read, sometimes I’m looking for a book to bridge a gap or I don’t have time to get into a new series etc, especially while I have/had a few on my plate with review books. I still have quite a list but I haven’t been taking anything new on as I’m trying to concentrate on reading what I already have where possible so this feels like it was a really good time to have a look at some of the series I already have books for and am dying to read!

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Wayfarers by Becky Chambers

Camelot Rising by Kiersten White

Once Upon a Con by Ashley Poston

Summoner by Taran Matharu

Monsters of Verity by V.E Schwab

Are any of these on your list? Have you really enjoyed any of these? What would be on your list? Let me know in the comments and have a lovely Sunday!

spoiler free, tbr thursday

April TBR

monthly tbr

After not getting a lot read last month (although what I did read was actually from my TBR for a change) I’m planning to keep it small this month too. I do a lot of my reading when I get quiet moments at home and lately, there haven’t been too many of them at home so I plan to take it a bit more casually this month and see how I get on.

Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman.
This is my current read and I think I’m about halfway through at this point so will definitely be finishing this up within the next few days with any luck.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Heroes by Tom Taylor.
My comic review for the month will be a follow on from last months, this time looking at the trade paperback collection focusing on the heroes from the sequel trilogy. This might change to The Rise Of Kylo Ren comics as I am due the last issue any day now so we’ll see how long I can resist and avoid spoilers.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston.
As you may have seen previously I was lucky enough to be gifted an arc copy of Bookish and the Beast, part three of the Once Upon a Con series which I plan to start this month. The few conventions I attend a year have been (understandably) postponed and it’s still unknown whether they will happen at all so I’m hoping I can live vicariously through these books. Not to mention I’ve been planning to read them for ages!

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston.
Being the second book in the Once Upon a Con series this follows the same reasoning as Geekerella. I’m not sure I’ll get to the sequel this month but I’m hopeful!

Have you read any of the books on this months TBR? If so let me know what you thought or if you’re reading any of these this month as well! What book are you hoping to get read this month? Also, are you finding you’re reading more or less during the lockdown?

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free, Uncategorized

Heartstopper Vol 3

Six for Sunday

43449920._SY475_Heartstopper Volume Three by Alice Oseman

Rating: XXXXX

Published February 6th 2019 by Hodder Children’s Books

“There’s this idea that if you’re not straight, you HAVE to tell all your family and friends immediately like you owe it to them. But you don’t. You don’t have to do anything until you’re ready.”

In this volume, we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…

Meanwhile, Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

If you haven’t already checked out volumes one and two of Heartstopper yet what is wrong with you?! This gorgeous, brilliant graphic novel By Alice Oseman centres around Nick and Charlie, previously featured in one of Alice’s ‘written’ novels, Solitare; whose main character Tori is Charlies older sister. Oseman later released an ebook story about Nick and Charlie set a year after the events of Solitare and begun thinking about the backstory behind their relationship prior to Solitare but no matter how she tried she just couldn’t get their story on the page the way she wanted; it occurred to her that maybe it was because their story didn’t fit into a conventional novel format and instead on September 1st 2016, created the Heartstopper comic Tumblr page and uploaded the first eleven pages of Nick and Charlies story. The comic gained immense popularity which would only continue to grow when she released a bound physical edition of volume one, first via Kickstarter and then after it was picked up by a publisher, Hodder.

I adored the first two volumes, (you can check out my spoiler-free review for volume one here or volume two here) and was so happy to have made it to the London release of volume three to hear Alice speak about her this brilliant series and get my copy signed.

If like me, you enjoyed the first two volumes you are in for a treat as volume three is largely more of the same, which for any other book would possibly be a negative point but if you read Heartstopper this is probably what you’re here for. Nick and Charlie being beyond adorable, beautiful and heartfelt moments and the sweetest, cutest flirting I have ever witnessed. We get to know more about Nick and Charlie’s friends which I really enjoyed, I love that they’re each so distinct and memorable; hearing their stories gave me such joy along with seeing more of their personalities come to the surface.

Volume three is the biggest volume so far and there’s so much great stuff packed in without making it overwhelming. I’m always happy to have a good amount of Heartstopper to get through so this was an absolute bonus, it did mean, however, that due to real-life time constraints and things this is the first one I’ve not been able to read in one sitting. Volume three isn’t just physically larger though, the story itself is broadened as we see the characters out of their typical settings and there are some heavy emotional moments and serious issues addressed (trigger warning for self-harm and eating disorders).

Heartstopper Volume Three is another absolute gem with a fantastic, sweet and funny story, a perfect continuation of the series and a big warm fuzzy hug for your soul and it’s out now!

 

 

 

book reviews, q&a, spoiler free

The Unspoken Name

Book Review

45046552The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

Rating: XXXXX

Published February 20th by Tor Books

“Nothing in this world has earned the power to frighten you Csorwe…You have looked your foretold death in the face and turned from it in defiance. Nothing in this world or any other deserves your fear.”

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honoured title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

I was lured in by a pretty cover and I stayed for the orc assassin. Usually, I have a good long paragraph at the beginning of my reviews explaining how and why I chose this particular book to review but it’s really that simple and I’m so glad I let my fickle mood reading self, pick this book because folks, it’s a doozy.

I haven’t read a lot of big or high fantasy in a good while, mainly because they tend to be chunky books and I’ve found it really hard to slog through larger books lately and when this turned up I panicked that I’d made a mistake. At over 450 pages it’s not huge but it was large enough to intimidate me a little. Within 100 pages I don’t know why I worried and by the end, I wanted to go back to the beginning and read the whole thing again or even better read the next book immediately (can I have the next one yet? Please. I’m desperate). The pacing was a little slow by the end of the first third but not terribly slow and by the time I was just over halfway through I was ravenously turning pages. I’m someone who procrastinates over the last 100 pages of a book but I’m honestly shocked I managed to accomplish anything else when I still had some of this book to read because it absolutely hooked me in and that last third is crazy. I kept turning to my husband to tell him “There aren’t enough pages left.”

One great thing about The Unspoken name is that although it really feels like high fantasy, to begin with, it has such a great mix of genres swirled in, we have some science fiction and space opera elements even. The world that Larkwood has created is rich, stunning and at breathtaking; the image of all these worlds connected to each other, some thriving and full of life, while others are dying and decaying, is just hauntingly beautiful. The way magic works too, as a warlock player in dungeons and dragons I felt was particularly interesting and alongside the world-building, all of the information is just introduced and explained in such a natural organic way throughout the story.

Pretty much all of the characters in this book are a hot mess, in the best way. There is no one main antagonist and almost every character is a beautiful shade of morally grey in some way or another and honestly, I am absolutely here for it. I love characters that aren’t black and white and don’t tend to fall fully towards particularly ‘good’ or ‘evil’ which I’ve seen a lot of in the high fantasy I’ve read previously which made this book even more of a breath of fresh air. I love the messed up relationship between Csowre and Tal (No hard feelings) and I really hope we get more of that in the next book.

The Unspoken Name is out now and I cannot recommend it enough, especially if you’ve had enough of your garden variety fantasy books! Thank you once again to Tor Books and the ever fantastic Jamie-Lee for sending me this early copy for review. When can I get my hands on the next one?

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

Harley in the Sky

Book Review

38326343._SY475_Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Rating: XXXX

Published March 10th by Ink Road Books

“I love the circus. I love the mystery, and the wonder, and the way every act transports my soul into another dimension. I love the way it makes me feel as if the world is in reverse and upsidedown all at once – like there’s starlight beneath my feet and the ocean above my head, and every impossible dream can come true with a single whisper.”

Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival travelling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams. 

As you may have seen from when I posted the cover reveal for Harley and a Book Tag (have a go yourself and you could be in with a chance to win a set of art cards from the book!) a few weeks back I was lucky enough to be a part of the Street Team for Akemi’s newest book and had the chance to read it early. I adored Starfish and Summer Bird Blue and I was so pleased to be given this chance, although I’m not primarily a contemporary reader Akemi’s books just seem to have this spark and this energy to them and she’s become an insta-buy author for me.

First of all, I haven’t been to a circus for years but the moment we see both of the circuses in this book through Harley’s eyes I find myself filled with the wonder and magic of it all that Akemi has captured so incredibly well. She really manages to anchor you into Harley’s point of view which I think is vitally important for a character who makes rash and sometimes hard to understand choices but put in her mindset it’s much easier to rationalise the seemingly irrational thoughts. Harley is, at times a difficult character but as a teen who often tried to run away (thankfully with much less success)  and who to this day still makes decisions based too heavily on strong, fleeting emotions I feel like I got her and that a lot of us possibly used to be her to some extent.

The cast of characters, Harley included, is a wonderfully diverse mix of cultural backgrounds and full of colourful personalities who are hard not to get immediately attached to, I particularly loved Dexi and Vixen! I found Vas an interesting character and thought he played mysterious stranger well, with all of the information about his past and motives coming out in a way that wasn’t exactly hidden but forthcoming due to Vas purely being a private person which was a nice touch.

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Although for me the characters really make this book the plot is still an enjoyable one and although a little predictable at times, especially the romance I still enjoyed it immensely and although there are certainly some wonderful and painful moments I found it a much lighter read than Starfish and Summer Bird Blue making this a bit of a comfort read for me, especially the around the middle of the story. Don’t let my words fool you though, there are still definitely some tough moments (trigger warnings include depression, mood swings, heart attack and references to suicidal ideation).

One of my random, favourite things about this book that didn’t fail to make me smile every time was the sheer amount of “nerdy” references. ‘Nerd’ culture is, I think, more popular than ever at the moment which is brilliant but other than the occasional mention of Harry Potter I haven’t seen it reflected in many books (this may be because of my habit of not reading a lot of contemporary) and it was very enjoyable, it also seems me and Akemi have a lot of the same taste in fandoms!

Harley in the Sky is out March 10th (in just three weeks) so make sure to get your pre-orders in and get ready to visit the Circus with Harley!

 

Tags

Harley in the Sky, Circus Book Tag

tag Thursday

One of my most anticipated releases for 2020 is out in just 47 days! Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman (author of Starfish and Summer Bird Blue) is out on March 10th and let me tell you I’ve been excited for this beautiful gold book for a good while now! In-fact you might remember my cover reveal post last year when I became a part of the street team. I’ve now read an advanced reading copy of the book and let me tell you, folks, you are in for a treat so don’t forget to pre-order!

I decided to drum up some extra excitement on the run-up to release by creating a Harley in the sky/Circus themed book tag! I won’t tag anyone in particular as if you see it and like, you are more than welcome to have a go yourself (please link back to me in your posts) and you could be in with a chance of winning a set of Harley in the Sky art cards! Don’t forget to also check out all of the other lovely challenges that have been going on and are yet to come!

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RingMaster – What book introduced you to your favourite genre? 
I’m not actually sure what my favourite genre is, either fantasy or Sci-Fi I think. I know for fantasy the book that introduced me was “The Two Princesses Of Barrmere” by Gail Carson Levine. “The Other Boelyn Girl” by Phillipa Greggory introduced me to Historical Fiction and The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith introduced me to paranormal romance/YA in general but for some reason, I can’t pinpoint a book that got me interested in Sci-Fi which I think was a progression from watching a lot of it on TV and in video games instead.

Acrobatics – A fast-paced read.  
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson is the first book that comes to mind, there are some quiet moments but there are some absolutely adrenaline-filled moments whenever Spensa gets in a cockpit.

Clowns – A book that made you laugh. 
I’m someone who will often cry at a book but I very rarely laugh at them while I’m reading so this one took a fair bit of effort to look back on but in the end, I remembered this PERFECT moment in Finding Home volume two by Hari Conner that had me in absolute fits. Poor Janek.

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Knife thrower – A book that had you on the edge of your seat.  
Obsidio by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I think I had my jaw gritted for most of this book, all of the books in the Illuminae trilogy have had me on edge really which I think is brilliant considering the kind of format it’s presented in. The third one though just felt like all bets were off and anything could happen which is why it was the one I picked for this answer.

Tightrope Walker – A book you just couldn’t put down. 
Sanctuary by V.V James.  This book was a fantastical wild ride that felt almost physically painful to have to stop reading for any length of time. If you haven’t read it, folks, you seriously need to get on it.

Ventriloquist – A book with a great twist. 
*Brings out a list of Lauren James books*
Seriously though, I have to pick just one?

I pick The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James, it’s just done so SO well. The particular twist I’m referring to is a fairly big revelation that I kicked myself for not seeing coming after it blew my mind at 2am, but it’s set up so well and looking back there are so many little clues sprinkled around and it just made so much sense, that’s a great, well-crafted twist to me and this one nails it.

Magician – A book with a magic system you love. 
I have a lot more to find out about it but I love the “creatures” in A Discovery of Witches with the witches, Daemons and Vampires, not just the differences between them but also how we get to see a more scientific approach (to a degree) to the point where they can tell a witches powers, which they seem to inherit genetically from analysing her blood. I’ve only read the first book but I can’t wait to get further into the series and find out more!

Static Trapeze – Best or Worst Cliffhanger. 
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I haven’t decided if it was the best or worst cliffhanger yet but it was definitely one of them. The whole third quarter of that book was insane and the end was just…

I’m so glad that I only had to wait a few weeks between Godsgrave and Darkdawn because I would have lost my mind if I’d had to have waited a full year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tag and that you’re looking forward to the release of Harley in the Sky just as much as me! You can add it on Goodreads here and you can preorder from Amazon here and Waterstones here (but don’t forget to support your local bookstore if you’re able).

 

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

The God Game

Book Review

50275977._SY475_The God Game by Danny Tobey

Rating: XXXX

Published January 9th 2019 by Gollancz

“So said God, or at least the first artifical intelligence bot claiming to inhabit the persona of God.”

You are invited!
COme inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smouldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

Towards the end of last year, the Stevie from Gollancz offered two ARCS out to people chosen at random and then each of those got to choose another person each to receive the same arc. I missed out on the first try but then the lovely Rebecca from ReviewsFeed chose me to receive a copy of The God Game with her! I finally managed to get around to reading it this month and I have been absolutely hooked the past few days. It sounded like it was a mix between Ready Player One and the more recently released Ctrl +S both of which I enjoyed immensely so I was fairly confident I would enjoy this and let me tell you if you enjoyed either of the books I’ve mentioned you will love this. I will say though that The God Game has a lot more sinister of a plotline than Ready Player One and there isn’t that 80’s nostalgia high to add to it (unless you count the War Games feel to parts of it) but it shines in its own completely different way and I’m so very here for it.

I’d also like to add there are definitely some content/trigger warnings some should be aware of, such as suicide and suicidal thoughts, bullying and minor drug use (I think I’ve covered them all but if I’ve missed any let me know and I’ll make sure to add them to my review.). 

To begin with, I sighed at the seemingly stereotypical set up in The God Game, the group of “nerdy” boys with the “token” girl that one of them is probably in love with and that stereotype is definitely here to a degree but in a way that is done really well. It’s not over the top or in your face and is barely mentioned but when it is it is done so to an organic way that’s hard to explain without spoilers so I won’t say any more but just wanted to give a heads up to those who might pick it up, read the first page or two and put it down because of that very overdone trope in these kind of books. This book is more than what it seems to begin with I promise. It’s fast-paced, well interconnected, full of tension and it keeps you guessing at every turn.

So we start with these stereotypical characters and over the course of the story we inevitably get to know them better, they each have hopes and dreams, even if some of their aspirations aren’t obvious even to them, o begin with. The character progression is interesting in this because we are naturally treated to more information about each of them as the story progresses and this is done very well, facts and histories are organically placed in the story and the progression to a degree is very much just seeing what was there in the first place but hidden, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not even known to the character. I found the whole process fascinating and the mortality and choices characters are faced with in this book feels very close to home in that they are easily decisions that feel visceral and real. The story itself is obviously interesting and I’ll get to that next but for me, it’s absolutely the characters, their choices and actions that make the God Game.

The plot for The God Game is not a new one but it is a good one. The idea of an A.I with a warped sense of perceived morality is something we’ve seen before in tv shows, films, books and video games and is an interesting concept because of the different takes on it and as with a fair amount of science fiction thrillers, the ease with which it can be imagined. It makes sense and true A.I’s feels like a step that the human race will eventually make or at least be able to and that brings so much more into the discussion although there’s not much of that in this book as our main characters are more worried about the consequences a bit closer to home than whether it should have been created or not although we get a little bit of background on “G.O.D” that is both interesting and vague enough to perhaps be a kind of urban myth itself. 

I could honestly go on about this book for ages, it was really thought-provoking in a lot of ways that I’m still thinking about almost a week after finishing it and that I think will stay with me for some time to come.

 

#SixforSunday, Roundup / Recap, spoiler free

S4S – 2019 Favourites

Six for Sunday

Happy Six for Sunday! This prompt for this week from the lovely Steph at A Little But A lot is 2019 favourites. I did a top ten favourite books for 2019 already SO I decided that I would tweak what I think the intended meaning was a little bit and give you a list of six of my favourite book-related things from last year!

London Darkdawn Launch
I didn’t go to a huge amount of events last year but the ones I went to I really enjoyed, especially the London event for the Darkdawn launch. I got to hang out with my friends, bring my husband to his first bookish event, visit Goldsboro books, eat ice cream, listen to Jay’s talk chaired by Samantha Shannon and then meet the guy himself and get my books signed, it was amazing and serial and honestly some of the most fun I’ve ever had at an event.

Being asked to recommend Star Wars books 
This one is going to sound a little silly but I’m always insanely flattered whenever anyone asks me for book recommendations and when I posted about Star Wars (which was a LOT last month) a number of people actually asked me about the Star Wars books and where to start, which ones I’d recommend etc and as someone who is a bit of a Star Wars fangirl and still trying to pluck up the courage to email Century about reviewing for them this really touched me and made my week with every message.

Doing a Q&A with Lauren James 
I was so amazed and excited to have been added to the blogger list for Walker this year, mainly as they publish books by Lauren James who is one of my all-time favourite authors so I pretty much lost my mind when not only did I manage to get an early copy of The Quiet at the End of the World but also had the opportunity to host aQ&Aon my blog with Lauren herself! I have never worked so hard on a set of questions in my entire life let me tell you. I’m so happy with how it turned out and it’s hands down I think my favourite blog post I’ve ever done.

Receiving early copies of some of my favourite books  
I guess this one might sound a little simple but I am honestly SO grateful for being able to work with so many great publishers who have given me fantastic opportunities to review books from their authors. Last year I got to receive and review early copies for some of my absolute favourite books including (but not limited to) Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder (who has been a favourite author of mine for over ten years now), The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James, The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman, Once and Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta and Sanctuary by V.V/Vic James! (Thank you Maria, Walker Books, Titan Books, Rock the Boat/Oneworld and Gollancz).

Memento 
The Illuminae Files books by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are my favourite books. If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time it’s quite likely you already know this as I don’t really shut up about them so when the Memento novella was announced I was devastated it wasn’t something that we would be likely to get in the UK until Goodchoice books in the US announced they were shopping their copies of Aurora Rising with them and I was over the moon to get my hands on one! Reading it was like coming home, I missed the world and format of these books so damn much and DAMN it was good.

Blogger Brunch at MCM 
I was invited to the Blogger Brunch at MCM London last May and although I’ve been invited to other events before this one just felt so relaxed and chill I had the best time. Meeting all of the authors was fun and chatting with them felt organic and it was the least nervous I have ever been in that kind of setting. Not to mention I met some other lovely bloggers, got a bag of goodies and some books signed! A brilliant event and I hope to get invited to another if they have one! Fingers crossed!

There we have it! Six of my bookish favourites from 2019, I’m excited to see what 2020 brings with it! Maybe I’ll finally e-mail Century?

 

 

spoiler free, Tags

New Year Resolutions Book Tag

tag Thursday
So the New Year is now well underway, I have a new hair colour, my bookshelves are rearranged (I have space on them now!) my TBR is decided and Nate is back to school SO I think it’s probably time for a New Year Book Tag! I found this particular one on Jenn’s blog at Jenniley.com and it ties in with my latest Six for Sunday post perfectly as it’s called the New Year Resolutions Book Tag!

1. An Author You’d Like To Read That You’ve Never Read

I definitely want to get around to reading something by Samantha Shannon this year. I’ve seen her chair a good few events now and met her at YALC twice and I love how into her world-building and naming system in particular, she gets. It just feels like such attention to detail I can’t read to read one of her books, probably Priory of the Orange Tree but I do have the first Bone Season book as well so we’ll see?

2. A Book You’d Like To Read

Ahh there are loads of books I’ve like to read! I think perhaps Gilded Cage from Vic James is a book I absolutely need to read this year! I adored Sanctuary and I’ve heard amazing things about this book, plus Vic is lovely!

3. A Classic You’d Like To Read

I don’t tend to read any classic books at all really but I’ve found myself tempted by Pride and Prejudice or perhaps Jayne Eyre? What classics can you recommend?

4. A Book You’d Like To Re-Read

Honestly maybe the Illuminae Files books via audiobook. I can never get enough of that trilogy. I’m tempted to try the audiobook for Aurora Rising ready for the sequel later this year too.

5. A Book You’ve Had For Ages and Want To Read

Again, SO many books that come under this. I’m going to say Six of Crows, which you’ll know about if you read my Six for Sunday post that I started reading last year (at last) but I kept NOT finishing due to having different deadlines etc but this year it’s time to finally finish it.

6. A Big Book You’d Like To Read

I don’t really like big books as I find them so uncomfortable to read. I (as previously mentioned) do however want to read Priory of the Orange Tree this year and that is A BEAST.

7. An Author You’ve Previously Read and Would Like To Read More Of

Holly Black I think? I really enjoyed the Folk of Air trilogy and I need some more of that twisted fae fix, to be honest.

8. A Book You Got For Christmas and Would Like To Read

All of them? Haha. I think maybe Sorcery of Thorns is the one I’d like to read the most though, or maybe the Martian?

9. A Series You Want To Read From Start to Finish

I would say the Cinder books but I think there are quite a few of them so maybe the Renegades trilogy by Marissa Meyer? I’ve had the first book for a good while!

10. A Series You Want To Finish That You’ve Already Started

Most of the series that I want to finish I only haven’t finished because the next books aren’t out yet but one exception and probably my choice for this question is I can’t wait to read Lady Smoke! I really enjoyed Ash Princess and I’m interested to see where the story goes next.

11. Do You Set Reading Goals? If So, How Many Books Do You Want To Read in 2020?

I’ve been doing the Goodreads challenge since 2012 so yes. This year I decided on fifty books after only just making it to sixty this year. I figure I can always make it higher later in the year if I’m doing really well.

12. Any Other Reading Goals?

Sort of? Like unofficial ones I guess? You can check out my six bookish resolutions for the year in my latest Six for Sunday post right here.

Are there any books you MUST read this year?

book reviews, Comics, Uncategorized

Journey to Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance

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45485630Journey to Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance 
by Ethan Sacks (writer), Luke Ross (artist)

Rating: XXX

Published November 19th by Marvel Comics

“I wasn’t going to allow my friends to suffer while I can do something about it either”

BEFORE THE EXCITING EVENTS OF STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER! Hounded by the FIRST ORDER across the galaxy, the RESISTANCE is in dire need of ships, weapons and recruits to make a final stand against KYLO REN’S forces. Desperation drives a delegation led by GENERAL LEIA ORGANA and REY to entreat the Rebel veteran’s one-time allies, THE MON CALAMARI, to join the fight – but decades after Imperial occupation enslaved their planet, there are those willing to stop at nothing to prevent another war from bloodying the waters of Mon Cala. A system away, POE DAMERON and FINN have their own mission: to hunt down a weapons cache on the remote moon of Avedot, unaware that they are being hunted by the most notorious criminal gang in the galaxy!

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So although the Journey to The Rise of Skywalker content is meant to be read before the film is released, I had only read Resistance Reborn before going into the cinema and instead found that I tried to read through some of the Journey content afterwards instead to fill the hole where the film novelisation should be. The Allegiance comics are one such distraction and I haven’t read a Star Wars comic in a good long while with the exception of the first Poe Dameron comic last year (or maybe even the year before…it’s been a while) so I wasn’t sure what to expect, not to mention obviously things will change with different writers and artists. This review covers issues one to four of the Allegiance comic series designed to link the events of The Last Jedi to The Rise of Skywalker.

At the start of the comic, we get one of the iconic Star Wars scrolls and honestly this was a brilliant start and feels better than the one we got at the beginning of TROS (The Rise of Skywalker). Not everyone reads every single bit of content or plays Fortnite (yes I’m still salty we got the emperors “returning speech” in a Fornite event okay…) so I was immediately pretty done with the TROS crawl but this one feels relevant and I feel actually does a good job, off to a very good start!

If you’ve read Resistance Reborn then this whole scenario probably sounds quite familiar, Leia appealing to others for aid, Finn and Poe off an a side quest for the rebellion somewhere and it’s very much the same here which has the unfortunate effect of making Allegiance seem like a heavily watered-down version of the novel with the novel having better emotional stakes and pay off. These comics were released first but I think in the timeline the novel comes first as it’s pretty much directly after the end of The Last Jedi but who knows, as it always is with Star Wars, the timeline is a little hazy.

On its own, however, Allegiance is not a bad read, there are no especially huge moments but I think they’ve done pretty well to get through two stories with some interesting character interactions and such within the space of four issues. Saying that, the story is relatively paper-thin but honestly a little fun and they really reminded me of the old weekly Star Wars comics  I used to read when I was a kid. The characters have missions to complete, they attempt to, trouble happens, they get out of trouble simple and easy, a bit like the equivalent of the “monster of the week” style you find with some TV shows and the first few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Honestly, it works though and it was only really on reflection for this review that I realised how little story there really was. It was by no means mind-blowing but it was enjoyable and as a result, I ended up ordering some more Star Wars comics and I do think I’m ready to see TROS again at some point in the future so I guess it did its job? Not to mention it explains a couple of things like the inclusion on the Mon Calamari forces in TROS and the presence of Admiral Ackbar’s son who has a few lines in the film.

With not a huge amount of story there were a few other things we managed to get out of the Allegiance comics, one of which was more Rose Tico and not only more Rose content in general but alongside Rey! She doesn’t play a massive part but is integral and has some brilliant characterisation that was sorely lacking in the film. Her personality really shines through and it seems like she and Rey have become good friends which was lovely and honestly, I’d read a whole comic about them two hanging out and going on missions etc.

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Essentially being one of the main characters of the sequel franchise Rey obviously gets a lot of page space and we get to see her doing a little force training as well as a fair bit of fighting (again like the older comics, we get a large amount of action), during which we see her beginning to use the force a lot more which I enjoyed. One thing I really noticed about her character was just how angry she was which felt very at odds with how Rey is portrayed in the films, sure she gets angry but she spends so much of these comics making threats and barring her teeth in 80% of her scenes that just seemed a little out of character although it does harken back to a lot of Anakin’s reactions in Revenge of the Sith so maybe this was the idea? To spread a little seed of doubt as to Rey’s “place” in the force in addition to the “Dark Rey” we see in the trailer.

Rey was also one of the only characters I had any problems with art wise too as she just seems like someone decided to see how many action figure poses they could put her in instead of just standing normally like an actual person and not a power ranger (see above image).

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I haven’t really mentioned the Finn, Poe and BB8 side of things for which I would be remiss but there’s unfortunately not a lot to say about it. It’s good, it’s fun and we are treated to the usual Finn and Poe b/romance banter but it does sadly feel largely unimportant and unneeded which is a shame as they’re really fun characters.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and it certainly scratched an itch but just wasn’t satisfying enough for me. Definitely not required reading for TROS in any capacity other than understanding the presence of the Mon Calamari.