#SixforSunday

S4S – Couples who need a sequel

Another week has gone by, another Sunday has arrived and it’s been somehow both a long week and a short one. It’s flown by but it’s been a hard one and I’m glad to see the back of it! I’m hoping things will calm down with any luck although amongst other things I’m off to Lego Land with my little family next week so we shall see. For now, at least it’s Six for Sunday time and this week the prompt is “Couples that deserve a sequel” which considering the past couple of weeks have been similar it was starting to get very difficult to pick some new and fresh ones but here we are and  I hope you enjoy them!

BRIEFING NOTE: Couple related spoilers are present throughout for Heartstopper, To Kill a Kingdom, The Mortal Instruments etc, Gemina/The Illuminae Files, Strange the Dreamer and Ouran High School Host club.

Nick and Charlie from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

I know they are getting a sequel and Alice updates Tapas with chapters regularly but these two will always need more because I love them so much.

Lira and Prince Elain from To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I would love for there to be a sequel with the gang all getting back together, crew and all!

Jace and Clary from City of Bones etc by Cassandra Clare

Okay so I know that they technically already have like, six books BUT I would love even just a short story about them running the institute or something. I hate to say it but I kind of miss them.

Nik and Hana from Gemina by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

I would love a story (short form or otherwise) of the two of them off on holiday or something after everything that happens. Hana just wants things to be normal so they try to go on a simple trip for a weekend, something like an exotic beach on another planet etc but then maybe there’s a hostage situation or something and things get all Die Hard? Oh my gosh. Die Hard meets Gemina yes, please.

Thyon Nero and Lazlo from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

So I know these two aren’t really a couple but I loved the chemistry between the two of them right at the beginning of Strange the Dreamer and I think I would love a soft little story with these two just being kind, it doesn’t have to be romantic, although I think Thyron has always had a bit of a thing for Lazlo, to be honest.

Tamaki Suoh and Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

So this couple is actually from a manga series I read years and years ago that ran for eighteen volumes (80-ish chapters) it was a sweet, silly series about a girl who pretends to be a boy in a male host club at a school for insanely rich kids so that she can pay back a huge debt she incurs when she breaks an incredibly expensive vase. Both Tamaki and Haruhi have trouble understanding and later confronting their feelings for each other but everything turns out okay in the end as Tamaki moves to the USA with Haruhi and unbeknownst to them until the last moment, the rest of the Host Club are their neighbours! I loved the series and it did have a really great end but I would still very much like to see another volume or maybe even a small mini-series about what the gang get up in the USA.

Let me know what your choices would be in the comments or send me a link to your Six for Sunday post for this week!

 

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book reviews

Nexus Review

43257123Nexus by Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg

Rating: XXXX

Published: May 7th 2019 (Kindle Version)
June 13th (Paperback version) by HQ Young Adult

“There was only one person who might have the power to free the galaxy from Nor’s rule – and yet completely unaware that the lives of millions now rested in her hands.”

From the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of Zenith comes the dazzling finale to the Androma Saga, where stunning betrayals and devastating secrets expose an embattled galaxy to the ultimate nightmare. 

Her ship is gone, her crew is captured and notorious mercenary Andi Racella is suddenly a fugitive, ruthlessly hunted across the galaxy. The bloodthirsty Queen Nor now rules most of the galaxy and she’ll stop at nothing to destroy her most hated adversary. Andi will risk anything, even her precious freedom to stop Nor. However as her crew fight to regain their freedom, Andi and her unlikely ally Dex discover a threat far greater than anything they’ve faced before. Only by saving their mortal enemy can they make one last desperate strike to save the galaxy, unaware that a shattering, centuries-old secret may demand the most wrenching sacrifice of all.

Despite being a little disappointed in the first book, Zenith I had high hopes for its sequel, Nexus. I requested it via NetGalley a few weeks back and was pleased to be approved quickly so I could get to reading it during my sci-fi binge. Thank you so much to YA HQ for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Zenith had some great ideas and character outlines but fell short for me, it just seemed lacking in too many areas and I mourned that lost potential. Nexus, however, seems to have thrown off any shackles placed upon it by its predecessor and is a much better, interesting and enjoyable read. A warning that this review will probably be comparing the two works because the difference is so pleasingly apparent. I would say, despite this being a sequel you don’t absolutely need to read Zenith beforehand because it recaps the events that have unfolded previously although it does make it a little easier to know what’s happening from the get-go; that being said although this review will be spoiler free for Nexus there will be spoilers for Zenith.

Although I missed having the crew around for a larger part of this book than previously I think it actually really worked and I found Lira much more interesting in Nexus while she was away from Andi, the same goes for the Bloody Baroness herself who also was much improved. In Nexus, Andi is still very (understandably) focused on her friends devoutly it feels much more in the right place here and I think giving Andi a much more direct purpose she cared for really worked out well as well as giving her a legitimate reason that made sense as to why she’s so important in the fight against Nor. Her space pirate persona is, thankfully, much less overhyped this time around, even with there not being a huge amount of action involved and don’t even get me started on Dex becasue I actually liked him in Nexus which was a nice surprise, I think the events of Zenith really caused him to see what’s important and to grow a bit more of a spine without making him too overconfident to a fault. All the characters in-fact were much improved and although characters don’t have to be likeable for them to be good I think it is preferred that we understand their motives which we got in truckloads during Nexus and I couldn’t be happier about it.

There is a little romance in Nexus but it isn’t a huge plot point and I enjoyed it all the more because of that. Romantic scenes didn’t feel out of place or as flat or frustrating as it had done previously and I actually enjoyed them and the paring as a whole.

The writing was much improved which makes sense, whether it be a result of the collaborating authors working together better after already writing one book with each other or perhaps experience over time? I found there were a lot less clunky sentences and I didn’t find myself having to reread parts to make sense of them which I experienced in Zenith. Apart from a small part in the middle, the pacing was spot on and towards the end especially I found myself reading frantically, desperate to know what happened, there was some good tension building for sure. I really enjoyed the ending despite having worried that I was getting perilously close to the end of the book with no clue as to the outcome (a good thing, it just makes me anxious!).

Overall, Nexus was a good read and one I would be happy to recommend, I absolutely loved reading it and would say it’s definitely worth giving it a try even if Zenith fell short for you as you may be pleasantly surprised! Nexus is out now on Kindle and releases on paperback in the UK on June 13th.

(Extra note that isn’t at all relevant to the review at all but I’m meeting Sasha later this month and I’m SO excited!!)

 

spoiler free, Tags

Aurora Rising – Squad 312 Book Tag

So last year when the cover was revealed for Aurora Rising I wrote a post discussing the artwork and synopsis we were given as well as creating a book tag for the occasion. Now that I’ve had the chance to read the book itself and as it’s been officially out for a few days now I figured I would update it and give create a single post for it to make it easier to read and take part in. If you read the previous edition you’ll notice that I’ve changed a few of the questions to fit more in line with the characters and some of my answers will have changed as it’s been about six months since I initially posted the first one.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Let’s meet the Squad. Awesome artwork by @kiranight_art

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Tyler Jones – The Alpha. Your favourite main character.

I find I’m usually a bigger fan of supporting characters but I pretty much kind of adore Lazlo Strange from the Strange the Dreamer books. He’s a massive book nerd, gets lost in his imagination and creates beautiful dreams. I love that he believes and loves with his whole being. Not to mention that he sounds pretty gorgeous and thanks to Steve West he sounds like a slightly huskier Orlando Bloom circa the Legolas Years.

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Scarlet Jones – The Face. Which character could talk themselves out of anything?

Not only can Loki from Joanne Harris’s Loki books talk himself into a corner he has an uncanny knack of managing to talk his way out as well. I love that he always has a 50/50 chance of making things worse even if he eventually makes it out in the end.

 

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Zila Marden – The Brain. A super smart character who would probably kill you.

Most of them to be honest. I love that we’re beginning to lose that stereotypical ‘nerd’ outlook and more often than not the smartest are the most kick-ass and could almost certainly kill or maim you in multiple ways. I hate to say it but my favourite is A.I.D.A.N from The Illuminae Files, it’s crazy but damn I love that insane murderous A.I.

 

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Finian de Karren de Seel – The Gearhead. Favourite piece of fictional technology.

I mean I didn’t realise artificial gravity from almost any sci-fi book set in space ever, wasn’t already a thing that existed yet so that would be my boring answer. My better answer would probably be M-Bot from Skyward. The smart, sassy, fungi loving Artifical Intelligence inside a ship is fantastic and was my favourite part of Sanderson’s newest series out last year.

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Kallis “Kal” Gilwraeth – The Tank. A book that made you angry. 

The Island by M.A Bennett, I had to stop reading a few times because I was just so damn mad at some of the things Link did and/or got away with. Just thinking about it now is making me mad.

 

 

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Catherine “Cat” Brannock – The Ace. Fictional Crush you’re still not over. 

Okay so there’s a few but I think the oldest one would probably be Damon from The Vampire Diaries books (and later the show) but other front runners would be Jace from the Mortal Instruments, Lucien from the ACOTAR books, Jude AND Cardan from The Folk of the Air books by Holly Black.

 

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Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley – Girl out of Time. If you had to pick just one book or series to read for the rest of your life what would it be? 

I feel like I should pick a really long series to keep it interesting but honestly, it would probably be The Illuminae Files. I am forever re-reading these books. Sometimes I’ll just pick one up on a whim and suddenly I’ve read half the damned thing or quite often I listen to the Gemina Audio Book if I can’t sleep at night.
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I hope you enjoyed the slightly updated Aurora Rising: Squad 312 book tag! I’ll tag a few people via twitter but if you want to take part, tagged by me or not feel free to have a go! I’d really love it if you could link back to this post if you do so and let me know in the comments so I can check out your answers.

book reviews, book talk, spoiler free

Aurora Rising

auroraAurora Rising by Amy Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: XXXXX

Published: May 7th 2019 by Rock the Boat

“Squad 312. This pack of losers and discapline cases and sociopaths, these misfits that nobody in the whole of Aurora Academy wanted to get paired with.”

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

Nobody panic.  

So if you’ve been reading my blog at all for the past year you’ll already be very well acquainted with this book and just how beyond excited I’ve been for its release. If you’re new here, welcome! Amie and Jay, the authors of Aurora Rising wrote a series of books called The Illuminae Files which are my favourite series of books, at the end of the last one they teased a new series of books in space with hot space elves. I have been excited ever since. We got a title, we got more details and we got art for each of the Squad members and Aurora herself and I have just been getting more and more excited. This is my most anticipated book release this year and I was lucky enough to get to read one of these gorgeous arc copies!

I went into this book rather unsure of how to feel, the first time I held it and realised I was about to actually read this book that I’d been so excited for I realised I felt some hesitation. I wanted to love it just as much as the books of the Illuminae files series and I was worried that it might end up feeling too samey or that it would be so different I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I’m pleased to report I need not of worried. Aurora Rising absolutely holds its own, being written by Amie and Jay it still has that brilliant banter suffused with action and emotion that we see throughout their own books as well as the ones they’ve worked on together and thus it contains the same essence at its core that the Illuminae Files do while still being its own entity. Much like The Illuminae Files, Aurora Rising is also set in space but that my friends, is where the similarities end and we strap in for a whole different kind of ride.

Aurora Rising is told from seven different POV’s and that may sound like a lot but it’s done spectacularly and is, in my opinion, one of the many reasons it’s so very easy to absolutely fall head over heels in love with Squad 312. Each POV has its own distinct voice and quirks and I am still taken aback at just how easy it is to recognise each of them from that alone as I often have trouble keeping track of who’s who in books with even two or three POV’s on occasion so this was huge for me. The characters themselves are fantastic and not since the Mass Effect games have I felt such an attachment to fictional characters as I have to squad 312, my squad. Each character feels completely unique and detailed, full of habits and flaws,  intriguing backstory and overflowing with their individual personalities so vibrant and rich that honestly, I could talk about them all day.

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Tyler Jones: Alpha – All round golden boy, goodie two shoes, wielder of dimples, squad leader and Captain hotness. Tyler goes through some stuff, as do the rest of the crew but I loved how he changed and moulded with the circumstances as they occurred. A brilliant leader and certainly one I would follow. 

Scarlett Jones: Face – The cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm, Tyler’s slightly more charismatic, sweet talking, red-headed twin sister. Older twin sister don’t you forget!  Scarlett is an absolute queen and really holds the whole team together. She knows when to flash a smile, a simple nod or a kind word which isn’t unusual perhaps for a face, those who are considered the peacemakers and fast talkers of the Aurora Legion but Scarlett really has an innate gift for it. Not to mention she’s sassy, confident and is well aware of how hot she is.

Zila Madran: Brain – A sociopath scientist with a fondness for her disrupter and shooting her bunkmates. Zila is cool, calculating and doesn’t mince her words, she’s no-nonsense, smart as hell and absolutely brilliant. Like Tyler, Zila had a brilliant character arc that you can really see change as time goes on, her particular quirks were especially interesting and I just loved her so much.

Finian de Karren de Seel: Gearhead – A smart ass techwizz with the galaxies biggest chip on his shoulder. Fin is a member of a pale-skinned humanoid species called the Betraskan who have to wear dark contacts above ground to protect their eyes. Fin is fantastic, he’s incredibly funny, witty and clever, he’s bi/pansexual and disabled, needing to wear an exo-suit to help with his mobility which I think was done particularly well in that it was something that was just accepted and no one tried to ‘fix him’ but he also had realistic limits. I would almost certainly die for him.

Kallis Gilwraeth: Tank – Kal is a hot, angsty space elf known as a Syldrathi, some say he has anger management issues but as the team’s tank, responsible for all things fighty this might be a good thing? Right?? Kal is utterly swoon-worthy, managing to be angry and hostile as well as the sweetest bean in the universe. I love him to pieces.

Catherine Brannock: Ace – Cat, also known at the Aurora Legion Academy as Zero, is fast flying, no crap taking, tattooed, hot-headed and absolutely not into Tyler. Cat was a hard character at times, occasionally repetitive and the one I felt least invested in for quite a while which I think may have actually been on purpose, to be honest. She pulls some damn punches throughout the story though that really gave her an extra dimension and really endeared her to me.

Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley: Girl out of time – Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries Aurora feels not only out of her time but out of her depth as well, as one might when you awaken to find everyone you ever knew has almost certainly died over a hundred years ago. I found Aurora one the harder characters to get into, not so much as Cat who I initially didn’t like and although this wasn’t the exact case with Aurora who I did like from the get-go, it just took me a lot longer to click with her like I did all of the others. I think this has more to do with Aurora trying to find herself, which isn’t a bad thing, it just meant it took me a while to find her as well which I think, especially if intentional was an extra fantastic layer to her character.

Everyone changes throughout the story and watching everyone adapt is fantastic, you really get to know someone when you see how they make decisions in tough moments and Aurora Rising is no different despite being a work of fiction. It makes me so happy to see such diversity throughout the Squad too, I loved this book to pieces and I’ll get into the rest of it but my favourite part is definitely these band of misfits.

I briefly want to mention the romance elements to this book, I won’t go into huge detail because of spoilers and this review is getting to already be huge but I wanted to put a mention in any way. Romance isn’t a huge thing in Aurora Rising but it is present, there is a ton of cute flirty language and moments which I love and there are some emotions flying around as there often is in YA novels. There is some tension that I found a little annoying at times but found easy to get over but there is also a whole other kettle of fish going on that I found absolutely fantastic and I’m not always that into the romance side of things. I’ll go into more depth when I hopefully film my spoiler-filled book talk in the next couple of days but I just want to say there are some real, pure good moments that melted even my little cold black heart.

There’s not an enormous amount of world-building here but as it is some large amount of time in the future we do get a bit of an update on what he missed thanks to Aurora needing the information, it coming up in general conversation and some handy info pages before each chapter which all felt super organic and natural instead of an overload of info which I feel can sometimes happen in sci-fi. We didn’t have to go into huge amounts of detail for any of the future tech as most of it such as artificial gravity, mag-boots the uniglass systems the team uses etc are all pretty self-explanatory and make sense at a pretty simple level meaning I don’t need to try and wrap my head around crazy new technology to understand a scene, always a bonus.

I found the plot a little slow going at times but not hugely so although there are moments when there is little to no exact direction which again, I feel is on purpose and fits with the mood of the story at the time but it irked the ‘must have a plan for everything’ part of me, I’m not a great risk taker and certainly not good with leaps of faith but that’s more of a personal issue and no real mark against the plot itself. I liked how it all came together over time and that we had a lot of different aspects throughout, we got space fights, we got a crazy heist, bar fights, creepy beyond belief aliens, an entire space station that is basically a jacked up Mos Eisley, crazy awesome mind powers and so much more. For me, this book has.it.all.

Aurora Rising is a brilliant mish-mash of The Breakfast Club meets Guardians of the Galaxy (as claimed by Jay Kristoff himself) but also has (for me at least) huge Mass Effect undertones which has firmly placed this in my favourite book category.

This book is out for general release May 7th (TOMORROW!) and I honestly cannot recommend it higher. If you’re still not sure  you can check out the first chapter and a clip of the audiobook (with a fantastic cast!) right here now and take the Aurora Legion Academy test here to see which role you would play in your own squad, I’m an Alpha like Tyler which makes sense as I over plan, am a bit of a stickler for rules and am far too bossy for my own good. Let me know which you end up as?

 

 

 

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

Once and Future

36233085Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Rating: XXXXX

Published: March 26th by Rock the Boat

“So tell me, forty second King Arthur, do you believe your fate is to unite humankind?”

“My fate…” Ari gasped, “…is mine.”

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

So this is the part where I usually quite calmly talk about how I discovered this book (I was stalking the Rock the Boat Twitter feed for news about Aurora Rising arcs) what interested me about and made me want to read it (all of the things) and occasionally how and where I received it from (drooling over it via Twitter, thank you so much to the lovely people at Rock the Boat for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review) but honestly I just want to yell SWORDS, JOUSTING, SPACESHIPS, STRONG QUEER WOMEN, TEENAGE MERLIN, GORGEOUS FLUIDS AND NON BINARIES, MAGIC, ANGST, SEXUAL TENSION AND DID I MENTION THIS IS MOSTLY SET IN SPACE BECAUSE YES.

I’m genuinely not sure where to start with this review because as I suspected this is a book I really want to scream and shout about. The characters are all so unique and different with different strengths and beautifully tragic flaws. On the back of my arc copy one of the things this book is likened to is Mass Effect (my favourite game series) and I can totally get behind that because Ari and her ‘knights’ feel like an amazing, dysfunctional family in much the same way as the crew of the Normandy in that they all have their own goals and most of the time those goals line up but not always and that can make things messy, especially when you know each other but you’re not really sure you know them enough to trust them as much as you should. The differing interactions between the characters here feel just the right kinds of tense and it really gives weight to those moments.

I hate to say it so bluntly but this book is hot. Honestly, there are some fantastic moments that pretty much took my breath away but without being crude or even bordering on erotica. I love that pretty much everyone is a little “thirsty” because honestly they’re all beautiful and fairly confident with their sexualities and there isn’t much of any pussyfooting around these moments apart from one AMAZING almost kiss that blew me away. I’m obviously not saying that everyone needs to be like this in their day to day lives but there is certainly something very liberating and refreshing about how comfortable these kind of moments we see in this book are.

While on the topic of sexuality one of my favourite things about this book is how diverse it is, the main character is pansexual and as someone who is pan themselves I cannot explain how pleased I am and how much it means to me to see this kind of rep as we’re often just lumped into gay/straight/bisexual and it’s exhausting, we’ve been totally spoiled with Ari, she’s such an interesting, complex bad-ass and I’m honestly pretty much in love with her myself. Not only do we have a wide range of sexualities it’s also not made a huge deal out of and it isn’t used as any kind of plot point, they just are because that’s how real life works. This book is chock full of amazing characters that are gay, pan, straight, disabled, fluid, cis, non-binary, black, aromantic, mixed heritage, lanky, muscley and curvy and it really makes me yearn for something like this kind of acceptance for all – just without the evil mega-corporation, please.

I immensely enjoyed that Once and Future is not only a kind of parallel of sorts to the King Arthur tale but it also manages to completely turn it on its head and look at from different perspectives. I know the story of Arthur, Merlin, Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table is something that has been done and done and done again but honestly, you will never find another story like this, it feels so fresh and unique, not just because of the gender twist but the heart of the story just feels so very new.

The plot is an absolute ride, although I do think there are certainly some pacing issues and moments where I found myself thinking, “huh…what…how did we get here? How did this happen? Did I miss something?” as well as feeling like there were a few plot holes here and there but having spoken to Amy and Cori, I’m told there were A LOT of copy edits due to the ARCs needing to be done and sent out so early so I’m really looking forward to having another read through when my finished copy arrives today (if it hasn’t already because I’m writing to you from the not so distant past) because even WITH the small issues I had I loved this book to the stars and back so I can only imagine how I’ll feel about the complete finished product.

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Once and Future absolutely blew my mind, it riled me up, it crushed my heart then it brought me back, shoved a sword in my hand and it told me to go save the world.

Once and Future is out RIGHT NOW and just in case you hadn’t already preordered it or ordered it today then may I just say again…SWORDS, JOUSTING, SPACESHIPS, STRONG QUEER WOMEN, TEENAGE MERLIN, GORGEOUS FLUIDS AND NON BINARIES, MAGIC, ANGST, SEXUAL TENSION AND DID I MENTION THIS IS MOSTLY SET IN SPACE BECAUSE YES.

 

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe Review

32601841.jpgThe Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

Rating: XXXXX

Published September 7th 2017 by Walker Books

“Love takes so much energy, and it just leads to pain. I think it’s probably best for people to be self-sufficient. If I was strong enough to be independent, then I wouldn’t be so desperately lonely. I’m sure of it,”

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

I stumbled across this beautiful book at YALC in 2017 on early sale at the Waterstones stand and although to me it looked like it was probably just a contemporary, maybe set in space? (I know contemporaries can be good too, I’m just not usually as interested in them). After I read the blurb I figured it was maybe a cross of Fangirl and the lake house somehow? Either way, I couldn’t say no to that shiny, sparkly cover. That and on behalf of Walker to celebrate the books release I’d just had a sparkly makeover so figured the least I could do was to check out the book they were promoting (and that sweet sweet cover). I had no idea that The Loneliest Girl would end up being one of my absolute favourite books. Two years later and now eagerly awaiting Lauren’s new book “The Quiet at the End of the World” which is out in early March, I decided to revisit the book that started it all for me, “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.”

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The first time I read The Loneliest Girl I found out far too late that this book is a thriller. It starts off fluffy and light, very much in the vein of Fangirl, despite the darker sides to Romy’s backstory and her situation it feels like boy meets girl but are thousands beyond thousands of miles away from each other, cute emailing ensues etc. When I realised it was a thriller it was far too late to turn back, I was utterly hooked and terrified at the same time. I want to say that it’s different the second time around but to be honest it still pulls you in, lulls you into a false sense of security and makes you complacent so that when it really gets going you still feel like you’ve hit the floor at the bottom of the stairs when you were convinced there was one more step. This book is a wild ride that will not let you go, as the story goes on you recognise that feeling when you know something bad is going to happen but you can’t stop looking anyway and it is WORTH IT.

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Romy is a fantastic character, she’s realistic and relatable despite living her entire life on a spaceship she is wracked with anxiety and real fears and wants that just really hit a note with me and from having spoken to others who have read this she has the same effect on them as well. There are only a small number of characters in this book and I think in a lot of other books I might have found that boring but it works so well with The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, it adds to Romy’s isolation and you feel how important any kind of communication between the small number of characters really is and makes you appreciate them all the more which I imagine is the same case for Romy. This is one of my favourite aspects of the book because it really puts you in Romy’s shoes and heightens so much of the story.

The science is fantastic and fairly easy to wrap your head around instead of the pages of confusing words that don’t actually make sense together or sound ridiculous like you find in some Science Fiction books, strangely especially the adult ones… I now realise after having read Lauren’s other books that this is always a defining feature as well as featuring female scientists in prominent roles which gets a huge thumbs up from me! I actually found out after reading this book for the first time that it was inspired by a physics calculation Lauren was tasked with completing while at university! How cool is that?!

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If for some reason you haven’t checked this book out yet I highly recommend you do so, it’s only a short read and you can even buy a personalised and signed copy from Lauren’s Etsy store (it’s a dangerous place) there are pin badges and different versions of the books of which I now own all of…my personal favourite is the doodle in my US copy of a space cat because I like space. and cats. You get the idea. Don’t forget you can also preorder The Quiet at the end of the World, I just read the prologue and I HAVE CHILLS.

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book reviews, spoiler free

One Way – Spoiler Free Review

34326051.jpgOne Way by S.J Morden

Rating: XXXX

Published August 23rd 2018 by Gollancz

Eight Astronauts.

One Killer.

No Way Home.

ONE WAY opens at the dawn of a new era – one in which we’re ready to colonise Mars. But the contract to build the first ever Martian base has been won by the lowest bidder, so they need to cut a lot of corners. The first thing to go is the automatic construction… the next thing they’ll have to deal with is the eight astronauts they’ll sent up to build it, when there aren’t supposed to be any at all.

Frank – father, architect, murderer – is recruited for the mission with the promise of a better life, along with seven of his most notorious fellow inmates. As his crew sets to work, the accidents mount up, and Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all. As the list of suspects grows shorter, it’s up to Frank to uncover the terrible truth before it’s too late.

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Following on with the theme of murder and mystery I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read One Way which features both of those things IN SPACE. Count me in!!

This was one of those books I absolutely devoured at every opportunity I could. There were shocks and twists around each turn and I enjoyed that you were never really sure who you could trust, this is one of my favourite things in any kind of murder mystery or “whodunnit” type story and although by the time we find out who the killer is I think I was a little underwhelmed as it seemed fairly obvious by that point and was certainly an option I had considered fairly early on. One way is, however still full of tense, suspenseful moments throughout.

We are introduced to Frank Kitterridge, our main character who is in prison for killing his sons drug dealer, he is a well described and somewhat relatable character considering he is a murderer and I feel we get a really in-depth look into his background and characteristics, we understand him very early on. When he takes a job that will send him to Mars with a group of other cons he ends up at a training camp and meets his team of other inmates there. This is one of my favourite chunks of the book, a part that would probably be nothing more than a training montage if it were a film was insightful and at times just as tense as some of the moments on Mars. We get a little background on some of the other prisoners and learn a few important things about them, their characteristics and what kind of role they will potentially play on Mars.

On Mars the situation is dire and there was a real sense of panic that came across in the pages that had me turning them frantically. There were times though when there was just driving happening or a lot of explaining of the tech stuff that I feel could have been used a little less, I understood some of it but I just ended up glossing over it because it just felt like it went on a little too long or was a little too wordy. The “techno babble” as it were may be fantastic for people who are interested in those fields or enjoy that kind of thing but it reminded me of food being described in G.R.R Martin books. I would much rather have had more information and development from the other characters who at times felt like walking stereotypes which is a shame as I would have liked to get to know some of them better, especially Zeus and Marcy.

Despite some of the little problems I had with the pacing and the fleshing out it was overall a really good book, as mentioned before the tense moments are done really well and its an interesting story that I’m glad I got a chance to read.