#SixforSunday, Uncategorized

#Six for Sunday – Stuck in a lift: Star Wars Edition

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So Six For Sunday is usually reserved for bookish related prompts but as today is the last day of Star Wars Week here at Fantastic Books and Where To Find Them I thought I’d give it a Star Wars twist. This week’s prompt is Characters you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a lift with. I will be following this prompt but I’ll be using Star Wars characters instead!

 

 

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1. Jar Jar Binks.
I feel this may be a fairly obvious one. I actually enjoyed factors of the prequel films but Jar Jar was NOT one of them. He is quite possibly the most annoying character of all time. One the bright side if I hear the phrase “Mesa Jar Jar Binks” one more time I would probably strangle him with cables from the lift circuitry and that would be the end of Jar Jar.

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2. C3PO.
Only slightly less annoying would be everyone’s favourite shiny gold protocol droid. I do find him funny on occasion in the films and he helps us understand R2 a bit better but the idea of being stuck in a lift with him is the stuff of nightmares. I can imagine him telling me the odds of our being rescued or dying horribly and I don’t need that kind of negativity.

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3. General Grievous.
With all the whirring of his mechanical limbs and that infuriating hacking cough of his I’d be at my wits end stuck in a lift with this guy.

 

 

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4. Jabba the Hutt.
I feel like personal space would be a big issue here. Not to mention the smell and the drool and a whole host of other gross Jabba related things, especially if he brings his horrible little belly button creature. Eurgh. I wish I hadn’t eaten breakfast today.

 

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5. General Armitage Hugs Hux.
Now I absolutely love to hate Hux. He’s a big headed, pompous, self serving, show off and when things go wrong for him it’s hilarious.  I think being stuck in a lift however would be hellish, I can hear him now complaining about how he asked Kylo to fix the damn lifts LAST WEEK but did he listen to him? OF COURSE NOT, no one gives him the respect he deserves on this ship yada yada yada.

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6. “Supreme Leader” Snoke.
At best he’s a creepy old guy wearing nothing but a smoking jacket, at worst he’s a guy who groomed a teenager to turn his back on his family, kill people and join a cult. Both of these are big no thank you’s from me. He has classic villain talks too much syndrome and I’m not a talking in a lift kind of person (unless we’re talking Poe Dameron or Kylo Ren telling me I’ll turn to the dark side of course).

 

That was, as usual a lot more difficult than I’d first imagined. I’m a fairly anti social person at the best of times so wouldn’t be keen on being stuck in a lift with basically anyone (other than some of the exceptions mentioned above) but I feel like I needed to have reasons other than I don’t like people.

This post concludes Star Wars week! It’s been a fun one! There will probably still be Star Wars related book reviews in the future as I’m still reading more of the books but I’ll be returning to the posts a couple of times a week instead of every day because DAMN that is a lot of work. It’s nice to know I’m capable of creating content every day but far too exhausting to do on a permanent basis. I hope you’ve all enjoyed my Star Wars posts and I’ll be back soon with my review of the first #Crone Book Club read so keep your eyes on your reader and follow if you haven’t already. May the force be with you. Always.

 

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Star Wars Battlefront / Mass Effect Live stream highlights.

This week I had planned to do a mini book haul but due to being super busy, unwell and having technical difficulties I’ve instead decided to bring you the best of the stream I did on Twitch on the evening of Day Five of Star Wars week for those of you that missed it. The plan was originally to just play Battlefront but the rig I was using couldn’t quite play it while also streaming so after a break I switched out to Mass Effect 3, one of my absolute favourite games! I apologise for the not quite up to standard editing but my hearing is a little out right now and I was unable to film any kind of intro. I hope you enjoy it all the same and I’ll promise I’ll have a book talk for you next week. *technology permitting.

spoiler free, Uncategorized

Mini Star Wars Book Haul

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If you’ve been following my Twitter you’ll know I’ve been a bit over excited about the release of the Expanded Edition of The Last Jedi novelisation by Jason Fry pretty much since I first saw the film. I’ve been reading through a lot of the Star Wars novels and audio books lately and getting my Star Wars fix where I can. As a result when it came to preordering my copy of The Last Jedi I ordered a couple of other books as well, thus I have a nice mini haul to talk you through today.

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These beautiful copies of the Star Wars: A new hope, a Junior Novel and the proceeding other two original trilogy junior novels and the one for The Force Awakens came out last year to celebrate 40 years of Star Wars and although I just brought the first one for now I’m certain I’ll need to get them all. They all feature a similar beautiful but simple cover with a corresponding lightsaber and it was this cover design that caught my eye. I also thought that perhaps my three year old may one day long to know about a galaxy far far away and Mum would 28907250_10155087827466581_1200349095_n pull these beautiful things off the shelf and we could read them together. The book book itself is a normal paper back size and as is the norm for a junior novel it’s quite thin so I’m looking forward to a nice easy read some time in the future. The font as well is comfortable but also has an appropriate kind of Sci-Fi feel to it that I think young and old Star Wars fans will appreciate.

 

28829616_10155087827481581_492495180_nNext up is probably one of my favourite books I now own and am really pleased I brought. While scrolling through my Instagram feed I came across a Star Wars post featuring a few different books including a black and gold leather bound book saying simply “The Star Wars trilogy” on it’s spine. After having a look around online I found out it was a collection of three original novelisations and knew I probably needed to have it. I had a look on Amazon seeing as I’d preordered TLJ from there and found this blue, white and silver copy
with R2-D2 on the front instead of the black 28832952_10155087827666581_486337353_nand gold one and for under a tenner I was definitely willing to check it out. When it arrived it was wrapped in cellophane with a gold sticker on the wrapping telling me this was in fact a “Collectors edition”  which is always a nice surprise. I assumed it was just the different colour but it has loads of nice little extra features. The pages for a start are sprayed a shiny chrome silver, it comes with a little built in blue bookmark ribbon (one of my favourite things in books) as well as two illustrations on the back and front  inside covers and a sizable poster of the original film you can
28829634_10155087827591581_2094030229_ntake out separately. Each of the three novelisations have letters before them from the authors (The letter before A New Hope is by George Lucas even though it was ghost written by Alan Dean Foster) and is a really nice touch. In addition the pages themselves also feel of a superior quality and are supremely smooth and just help make this book feel like a premium product. None of this was mentioned in the description of the product when I brought it, just that that the cover was leather so I feel really lucky to have received this beautiful copy.

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Last but by no means list was the long awaited book itself. The novelisation of The Last Jedi. I feel we in the UK were robbed of the gorgeous cover I’ve seen some in the US have gotten but I read jacketed books without their jackets on anyway so I’m sure I can forget about it. This book seems very similar to it’s predecessor, the novelisation of The Force Awakens and I like the contrast with the first books jacket being full black and this one’s being full white. I’m not keen on the glossy jacket either.
28908228_10155087828366581_247707467_ntake book pictures for my instagram account and to help promote them and it’s awkward to photograph in certain light. It’s laid out very nicely inside though and what I’ve read of it so far alone has totally been worth it, there’s so much extra content and I’m hoping it really helps improve on the film. Speaking of the film, in the middle of the book are eight colour pages of stills from the film. This doesn’t really bother me and I’ve seen it book/film adaptions for as long as I can remember, I don’t feel they add anything though.

I will do seperate reviews for these or similar once I’ve managed to read them all. I complained about the size of my TBR are the beginning of the year and am totally doing myself absolutely no favours by buying more and more books but I’m glad to have brought these and look forward to reading all of them. Today marks the day five out of seven days of Star Wars here on my blog, tomorrow’s post will be in the form of a YouTube video and if you happen to be reading this before 8pm GMT on Friday 9th March I will be live streaming tonight as a guest on Radlt Gaming’s Twitch channel playing (badly) some Battlefront 2 so feel free to come say hello! If all goes well I’ll be uploading a highlight trailer with tomorrows video. Wish me luck and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a video before we conclude our week long Star Wars celebration on Sunday. Until then, may the force be with you.

 

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 – Inferno Squad Review

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Inferno Squad by Christie Golden. 
Rating: XXXXX

Published: July 25th 2017 by Del Ray 

“You know what they say, live in hope, die is despair.”

The Rebellion may have heroes like Jyn Erso and Luke Skywalker. But the Empire has Inferno Squad.

After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the resulting destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. In response to this stunning defeat, the Imperial Navy has authorized the formation of an elite team of soldiers, known as Inferno Squad. Their mission: infiltrate and eliminate the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. Following the death of their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to thwart the Empire—no matter what the cost. Now, Inferno Squad must prove their status as the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But as the danger intensifies and the threat of discovery grows, how far will Inferno Squad go to ensure the safety of the Empire? 

The way I picked this book to read wasn’t my usual method. I decided to try out a free trial of the Battlefront II and after playing barely an hour of the story driven campaign mode I knew this game was for me. When I decided to buy the game the same site recommended Inferno Squad, a book about Iden Versio and her team whom I’d just spent an hour playing as and interacting with, I was mildly interested but wasn’t sure, I had so many other books on my TBR right now. Then I saw it was by Christie Golden, one of my all time favorite authors and that sealed the deal. Golden has written pretty much every one of my favorite Warcaft novels and I adore her story telling.

Inferno Squad is a prequel to the story we can play in campaign mode in the video game Battlefront II so I wasn’t expecting huge things from the story, maybe just a little world building and backstory and we did get that but we got so much more as well. Although you can tell from the way the book end that there is certainly more to come it’s still a good, enjoyable whole story. Inferno Squad takes place not long after the first Death Star is destroyed, which, being one of the only survivors we see from Iden’s point of view. Due to the time line I did find this book was a little more enhanced having watched the Rouge One film as the Partisan’s were originally led by Saw Guerra from the film, it’s not essential to enjoying the story but it just adds an extra dimension (and pain!).

Being a Christie Golden book I was pleased to find the writing was just as great as I remember. Inferno Squad features different points of view from the four team members and I was pleased to find that each POV was almost immediately distinguishable. Events flowed together well and it was a nice change to find that I was very rarely jolted out of the narrative. There are some fantastic lines of dialogue to be found in this book and I made a note of a lot of quotes but sadly most of them are too spoiler entwined to post. One of my favorites as done so well though that it felt like a literal punch in the gut.

Each of the four team members of the Inferno Squad are introduced well, easy to visualise  and get a feel for almost straight away. Through their interactions with each other and the members of the partisan’s, the phrase “The best lies always hold a grain of truth” or something to that effect is used a lot and you can really see the team come through even while trying to infiltrate the enemy. They, like the Partisan’s themselves are very easy to become attached to and although they are agents of “The Empire” they are still for the most part, good people which leads to some fantastic scenes of moral dilemma, some of which are utterly heart wrenching.

Recently (especially after Phasma) I’ve quite enjoyed reading books from the Imperial/First Order side of things. Quite often a lot of these characters just want peace and feel that if they do the hard/dirty work others won’t have to. It’s quite strange seeing the good aspects in those on the side of “the bad guys” but it seems to be a running trait in almost every Star Wars book I’ve read so far and a part I enjoy. The idea that not everyone is just good or bad and the very real notion that good people can do bad things for what they feel is the right reason and vice versa.  The Partisan’s as well are characters that are mostly very likable as well. We get to see a lot of these people when they are at their most vulnerable, we learn their passions and their weaknesses which make you feel very close to them, thus adding to the moral dilemma that I feel is completely central to this story.

This story feels less about the actual events that happen then about the progression and growth of it’s characters. The events are interesting and help to give this book their “Star Wars feel” but I think it’s the journey that every single one of these characters go on and the way you feel about each of them at the end that really makes this a great book, for me personally at least. The book on the whole is fantastic, it’s entertaining, engaging and thought provoking, I love any book that can do that easily and not at the expense of good character development. Although I feel I may have preferred the actual “story” of Bloodline, I don’t think I’ve become this attached to a group of characters in Star Wars outside of the films and even then maybe even more so in some cases. I look forward to playing the rest of the campaign and finding were Inferno Squad ends up at the end of it all. I would also like to request that Christie Golden write more books set in the Star Wars universe please!

You can get Inferno squad here with free shippng or here from Amazon and you can read this book to your GoodReads here.

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The Women of Star Wars

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Scrolling through Twitter aimlessly when I was meant to be writing a blog last night I came across a tweet from someone who’s daughter had been crying because she wanted to wear her Star Wars top to school the next day but was worried she would laughed at  for liking “boy stuff” so her mother asked people retweet and comment to show her how awesome girl Star Wars fans are. At the time of writing that tweet has been retweeted 2,711 times, received 4,472 likes and 946 comments from people all over the world including other parents, cosplayers, astronauts, voice actors from the Star Wars TV shows and authors including Christie Golden who has written for Star Wars among many other fandoms and so many more all backing this seven year old fan. It is by far the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on Twitter and I welled up reading through all the amazing responses. It got me thinking about how much the women in Star Wars mean to me and how many amazing women there actually are in Star Wars and although today was meant to be another review I thought I’d take the opportunity to list some of the best ladies that the Star Wars universe has to offer.

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Princess/Senator/General Leia.
This one is probably an obvious one but Leia Organa is in my opinion one of, if not the best female character in Star Wars. She was involved in Politics from a young age like her biological mother and went on to become instrumental to the Rebel Alliance, she watched her home planet as it was destroyed but still remained fiesty and witty as ever even as she was being “rescued” after having been tortured. She learns the man who destroyed her planet and her adoptive family was her biological father but still offered comfort to her brother. The Princess becomes a Senator as well as a wife and a mother and then goes on to become the General of the Resistance, all the while remaining firm in her beliefs and loyal to her allies. Leia is smart, brave, a warrior and a diplomat.

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Rey.
Rey has a strong moral core, helping those she finds in need without question. Growing up alone on Jakku she learned how to survive and make the best of her situation. She is fierce, loyal and a fast learner, picking up fighting with a lightsaber and using the force relatively quickly. Rey is a fighter and fights for what she believes in and those she cares for. On top of all that she’s a pretty awesome pilot too!

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Sabine Wren.
A madalorian warrior who forged her own armor and became a bounty hunter when she decided the Imperial academy wasn’t for her. An expert with weapons of all kinds (but a certain knack for explosives!) Sabine is also one of the first known members of the Rebel Alliance.

 

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Mon Mothma.
As a loyalist leader Mon Mothma was one of the first people to openly oppose Palpatine and helped to forge the Rebel Alliance itself. When she becomes ill about six years before the events of “The Force awakens” and is unable to lead the Republic the Senate is thrown into disarray and unable to agree on anything.

 

il_570xn-1179493427_26uy.jpgJyn Erso.
After her mother was killed and her father kidnapped, Jyn was raised by a Resistance fighter, the leader of the Partisan’s, Saw Gerrera. Jyn became a child soldier for the Partisan’s but after she was abandoned she made her own way and eventually joined the Rebel Alliance to track down Saw who held vital information concerning the battlestation known as “The Death Star”. After retrieving the information Jyn and others formed the team “Rouge one” who sacrificed themselves to retrieve the Death Star plans revealing it’s weakness and leading to it’s ultimate destruction, thus making Jyn an especially important character in the the Star Wars universe.

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Hera Syndulla.
The heart and Leader of the “Star Wars: Rebels” as well as the pilot of The Ghost, Hera is an Optimistic and fair leader. Trusting in her team and guiding them when they need it Hera fights along side Leia and Lando for the republic.

 

 

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Rose Tico. 

The Star Wars universe tells us that no one in unimportant and that is certainly the case with Rose Tico who gets an unfair amount of negativity. Rose is a true believer in the cause and even after losing her sister she still willingly gives up her only reminder of her to help accomplish her mission for the Resistance. She is smart and stronger than people give her credit for, she may not have a mask, a lightsaber or amazing fighting moves, she’s a ship maintenance worker and she has so much heart. Her line “That’s how we win. Not by fighting what we hate. Saving what we love” is one of my absolute favourites. Not to mention my hair totally sticks out just like hers!

padme-amidala_05d50c8a.jpegPadmé Amidala
Elected as the Queen of Naboo at just fourteen Padme served two terms as Queen and went on to hold a position as Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. She was a leading member of the Loyalist committee whose goal was peace between the warring Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems. Her views were often controversial among the senate but she stood by them through everything. She married a Jedi Knight in secret and when he turned to the dark side while she was carrying their children she travelled to a volatile volcanic planet to try and convince him to come back to the light. She may not be a big fighter in the traditional sense but she is determined and not afraid to do the hard thing.

captain-phasma1-625x350.jpg Captain Phasma.
Not all the amazing women of the Star Wars universe fight for the Rebels, the Resistance, the Republic or the Jedi order. Captain Phasma worked her way up from the sister of a primitive clan leader on a forgotten planet filled with dangers to the most recognisable and highly ranked stormtrooper in history. In charge of training the older recruits Phasma is completely merciless and will let absolutely nothing stand in her way, weather that be her brother or her superior. She is beyond strong and adept with many weapons with which she continuously trains. Her special armor was created especially by her from the wreckage of a Naboo yacht that had once belonged to Sheev Palpatine (more commonly known as Darth Sidious, the Emperor) she pried the chromium off the ship herself.

Iden3Iden Versio.
Iden served the military of the Galactic Empire, was a TIE pilot in the Starfighter Corps, was one of the only survivors of the destruction of the first Death Star (among those, Vader himself) and was named Commander of an elite task force called “Inferno Squad.” She is immensely well trained and disciplined, although she can appear quite intense Iden can also be compassionate towards civilians and friendly, yet professional with members of her team.

I know there are still many more I haven’t mentioned here and Ashoka Tano, Amilyn Holdo, Aurra Sing, Kor Sella and Aayla Secura all get honorable mentions but this post needs to have an end point somewhere even though it’s been so much fun to write. I’ve loved remembering all these great characters and why I love the Star Wars universe so very much. I hope anyone out there who still thinks Star Wars is only for boys will take a look at all of these awesome ladies on this list and think again.

 

Edit: I also realise there are a ton of awesome ladies in the now non canon legends universe too but it was hard enough to narrow down the cannon candidates, let alone if I included the ladies from Legends as well. Plus Mara Jade would probably kick their butts anyway.

book reviews, spoiler free

Star Wars: Bloodline Review

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Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Rating: XXXXX

Published: December 1st 2016 by Arrow

“There was a limit to the amount of stupidity Leia could tolerate in one day, and she’d just hit it.”

Witness the birth of the Resistance

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy. 

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing…

Bloodline is the first full length new cannon novel that is set closer to The Force Awakens than it is The Return of the Jedi and is penned by Claudia Gray who brought us the Star Wars YA novel, Lost Stars and went on to write another YA Star Wars novel about Princess Leia in her younger days (both of which I need to read as soon as possible) and is considered by some to be the best modern Star Wars writer.

This was the second Star Wars book I’ve read (that wasn’t a novelisation) and my favourite so far even after having read others. Unlike Phasma, I read this book rather than listened to it (as it was a Christmas eve Jólabókaflóð gift) and I’m glad I did as I don’t think the sound effects would have added much more than an annoyance in this book as it’s not as action based.  I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this book, I love Princess Leia but I was having prequel film flash backs about trade negotiations. That being said I managed to read half of the book in one sitting through Christmas eve on into Christmas morning so this book clearly did more than something right.

Set six years before The Force Awakens, Bloodline is an excellent mix of political thriller and intrigue with a healthy sprinkling of action throughout once the story gets going. The beginning of the book is a little slow but I appreciate that although we don’t necessarily need world building in the usual sense we do need to know about the political state of things, in this case that’s the goals and ideals of the populists and the separatists. Gray’s clever writing style here (and throughout) allows us to see that neither side is perfect (as is often the case with politics) and more importantly that due to their unwillingness to work together nothing important is getting done and change is needed, prompting the entire senate to want to elect a first senator, which Senator Leia feels comes a bit too close to repeating their mistakes that led to the creation of the Empire. I think the mix of politics and action felt right, especially for a story mostly centered around Princess/Senator Leia and I enjoyed it.

My favourite thing about Bloodline was how well Senator Leia was written and portrayed. It honestly felt like Carrie Fisher could just jump right off the page it felt so genuine. Gray has captured that complex mix of being still feisty but wise and yet sometimes tired of it all and unsure perfectly. I enjoyed the insight into Leia’s family life here, we get to see her interact with her husband Han Solo which is pretty much how I always imagined it as well as seeing her she feels about her son and the situation he’s currently in and how the events of this book will affect them as well.

The relationships in this book were done exceptionally well. Not just between Han and Leia but the way the characters reacted with each other was the heart warming side of semi realistic, one of those stories when there are two people who believe in different ideals but put their differing views aside for a common goal, I really enjoyed seeing that and it made it more difficult to ascertain who exactly was the “bad guy” in this book.

I can’t say too much more without heading into spoiler territory but I will say that I loved this book and it had the right balance to keep me intrigued. The only thing I do regret is the order in which I’ve read these books, I probably should have at least started with this one, if not Catalyst but that’s another story and discussion for another time.

If you want to buy this book with free shipping you can do so here and if you’d like to add this book to your good reads you can do that here.

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A long time ago in a blog far far away – Star Wars Week announcement!

28536196_10155068996071581_111309964_nIf there’s one thing I love, it’s books. If there are two things I love, it’s books and Star Wars. The only thing better is a combination of the two! The novelisation of The Last Jedi is released here in the UK on March 8th and I’ve been excited to read this book since I left the cinema after seeing the film the first time, having to wait this long when the novelisation usually comes out the same day has been almost painful but I’ve found more Star Wars books and comics to fill the void and get me through and now the release day is almost here!

So, all going to plan starting March 5th, I’m going to spend an entire week posting about Star Wars. I have spoiler free reviews of Bloodline, Phasma, Inferno Squad, The Poe Dameron comics and hopefully an extra two reviews AND MORE if time (and my todder) are kind! I’m super excited about this week and if YOU have reviewed any of the Star Wars books I want to read them and I want to help you promote them! Link me in the comments or on Twitter and I’ll make sure to retweet and will promote those reviews in my posts throughout the week. Are you excited about the release as well? If so let me know too or tell what your favourite Star Wars book or film is! I can’t wait to share my excitement with you and I hope you guys will share yours with me too!