Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Review

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 2017Empress Of A Thousand Skies (Empress #1)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

Summary: CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA’AN WANTS VENGEANCE.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Belleza delivers a character driven sci-fi space opera that discusses very timely issues + politics as a princess + a tv celebrity find themselves on the run!

Empress had so many great elements! It was very plot + character driven and had little to no romance for most of the novel.

Being told through dual POV (3rd person) and it worked extremely well for this story! Because both characters aren’t exactly together for most of the novel, we get to see the politics, culture, etc. of the unique worlds from differing perspectives.

Aly, due to his Wraetan background is seen as different by others and fears if he is to do anything to damage his reputation while on TV, it would look bad for all Wraetans. Reading that made me feel so bad for Aly (with all the pressure upon his shoulders). Reading from his POV brought up very relevant and timely issues one could mirror to our own world that is sadly still seen today, how there are those out there who aren’t as accepting when they view people from other cultures and see them only as “different.” Which is so wrong!

Through Aly’s POV we see that just because he is Wraetan, he is framed from Rhee’s assassination.

Aly really goes into depth about his war-torn home and the struggles he’s faced to get to where he is. I loved the expansion on this subject, not only because it mirrors our own and gives perspective, but it shows how wrong/harmful these ideas are and can be.

As with Rhee, she flees her home planet after she nearly escapes an assassination attempt on her own life. She finds herself charting across different planets to track down who she suspects is behind her assassination and reclaim her throne!

She was very determined and came up with plans, however usually hesitated when the moments to enact her revenge finally came. With this all suddenly upon her, it would make sense that she would have her reasons for hesitation. Regardless, while she does make mistakes, she grows and no matter what happened along the way, she stayed true to herself and her goal. She never strayed away from it!

My heart broke reading what he had faced! I loved reading from both POV’s however Aly’s was definitely my favorite! Aly lost his family, his home, faced discrimination but no matter what, he kept pushing forward and never gave up fighting to clear his name.

From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure there is a sequel! So I’m hoping with the next one, Rhee, Aly and the other characters introduced are given even more background and development, because there was so much mystery surrounding these characters.

I loved the unique aspects that Belleza was able to weave into this story, from the memory cube technology to the unique creatures found across the planets.

Additionally, a majority of the cast of characters were people of color, which is amazing!! I’m always happy to read a book with a diverse cast!! ❤

For the plot as a whole, I was kept surprised with each and every page! I could never guess where the story was headed which I adored, because it kept me invested from start to finish!

As for the pacing it was rather slow for me, however the mysteries that unfold had me turning the page to figure out who was behind it all!

As mentioned + introduced above, Belleza continued to discuss very timely issues such as immigration, politics, views on technology & privacy + so much more!

That is an aspect I loved so much about Empress! She really makes them an integral part of the plot and overall themes of the novel that really have you thinking all through out the entire story.

Additionally, there are so many layers to the story as a whole. Essentially, from Rhee’s perspective you learn there is a treaty in place and while it made the worlds stable when Rhee’s father established it, there’s still discrimination and tension between the planets.

Now as to why it wasn’t a full 5-stars:

First off I will admit, the summary was a little misleading for me, because going into the book I assumed Rhiannon + Aly would be together for most of the novel, however that wasn’t the case which is what I was expecting.

There were some moments I wish the worlds themselves were fleshed out a little more, while a lot of social issues are brought up within each world and discussed when Aly or Rhee visit them, in terms of descriptions + atmosphere I wanted a little more!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies is a thought-provoking story which takes the time to discuss very timely issues, introduces multi-layered politics and world-building, puts characters and plot at the center, and overall delivers a refreshing and unique tale in YA Sci-Fi!

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu Review

The Midnight Star Cover RevealThe Midnight Star by Marie Lu (TYE #3)

Publisher: G.P.  Putnam’s Son’s Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 316

Summary:There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina’s story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A stunning conclusion to a dark and epic fantasy trilogy!

As with any Marie Lu book, you can see that she really understands her characters and they truly shine on the page.

What I adore about her books is the way she approaches character/character-development!

With The Young Elites Trilogy as a whole, Adelina was truly the heart and driving-force of this story and it was great being able to join her on the ups & downs of her journey!

Adelina has taken her role as queen, but is still struggles with her inner darkness and the betrayal she feels from Violetta.

It was fascinating seeing Adelina’s development and how her position influenced and changed her along the way.

As for plot (without going into specifics) I was truly surprised at the turn of each page. Marie is a master at keeping her plot fast-paced and truly original ❤️💕

With the plot/characters as the main focus, there was still room for world-building in terms of the magic, gods, and travel which expanded on the world Marie crafted.

While in the last book, I personally found it hard to still get a full grasp of this world (in terms of visuals), there were so many fantastic elements of this final novel overall that it was a blast to read!

In terms of the ending (which I won’t spoil) I was really surprised, but I felt Marie wrapped it up perfectly!

Overall Marie delivers a fast-paced finale with a fantastic plot, incredible character development, and wonderfully concludes an unforgettable anti-hero tale!

Top 10 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To!

top-10-tuesday-podcastsSo pumped for today’s Top 10 Tuesday!!

Today’s topic is all about audio freebies! (audiobooks, podcasts etc.)

If you’ve been following me on twitter, you’ve probably seen me talking about a couple of podcasts that I’ve caught up with & am obsessed with!

I only recently started getting back into podcasts, but am having so much fun discovering more of them and getting immersed in this unique way of story telling!

If you’ve heard any of these podcasts please let me know b/c I’d love to find more people to talk about them with!

While only 2 are listed, please feel free to tell me any podcasts you recommend + any that are similar to the one’s listed below! ❤

audio-dime-museum1.Audio Dime Museum (All Caught Up)

Summary: From the Just A Story team, comes a weekly, serialized experimental storytelling podcast which explores historical legends through the artifacts on display in the Audio Dime Museum. Part guided tour, part radio drama; each episode presents the curious story of one object from the collection. Meet your guide on this journey, The Curator, and learn her secrets as you delve into the world of possibility, magic and the unknown. Merging the suspenseful style of mystery with the conventions of ghost stories and the peculiarity that only historical fact can provide, this podcast is not for the faint of heart.

Why I Love It: The Writing!! The Writing!! 

From the beginning you are transported into this magical and mysterious world and learn more about it and the mysterious Curator with each and every line + the story’s are brilliantly told! 

The separate stories + overall plot effortlessly weave themselves together to deliver a fascinating/unique podcast! ❤

the-bright-sessions2. The Bright Sessions (All Caught Up)

Summary: Dr. Bright provides therapy for the strange and unusual; their sessions have been recorded for research purposes.

Why I Love It: The unique format of audio recordings in the form of therapy sessions + the voice actors bring to life many incredible and unique characters!

With each episode you discover more about the many patients + the mysterious Dr. Bright!

Similar to Audio Dime Museum, each episode uncovers more about the overall plot underneath!

Each voice actor/actress delivers so much to their character, I could really picture the story in my mind as if it were a movie!

I highly recommend checking out both of these podcasts, if you love stories/story telling they are absolutely incredible! 

What Podcasts Have You Heard?

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

 

Of Fire And Stars by Audrey Coulthurst Cover Reveal

Coming November 22, 2016 is

Of Fire And Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Summary: Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought.. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Earlier today, EpicReads revealed the cover!

& now I will share the cover w/ you..

Here…

It…

Is..

Of Fire And Stars Cover

Such a great cover!

I love the font/gold used for the title! & I really love the art style! ❤

& Audrey is currently holding a giveaway in honor of the cover reveal:

Of Fire And Stars Contest

What are your thoughts on the cover?

Let me know in the comments below

Top 10 Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

As always, Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke And The Bookish 🙂

With Christmas just a few days away, here are some books I would love to find under my xmas tree this year 😀

631.Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

This YA contemporary is one I would consider an all-time favorite! I got through it in about a day & I absolutely loved it! Everything about this book was amazing from writing style, to characters and plot ❤

 

252231152. Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

I have yet to read a book by Dahlia! I’ve heard great things about her books &  once I read the synopsis for this one, I knew I had to read it! So hopefully I get this book for x-mas 🙂

 

97815947478923. The Fangirl’s Geek Guide To The Galaxy: A handbook for Geek Girls by Sam Maggs

Similar to Bone Gap, I read this book basically in one sitting b/c it was so good! And now I really need to have my own copy of this book!

From the title I’m sure you can tell what this book is about, but honestly if the cover doesn’t draw you in, the summary will!

Summary: Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

ThePiratesWish-144dpi.jpg4. The Pirates Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

This book is a sequel to a book I already own called The Assassin’s Curse! Having read it already,  I would really just love to complete my collection!

 

Those are the books I would love to find under my tree for X-mas! 🙂

If you have any books you would love for X-mas this year, feel free to comment below 🙂