All Systems Red by Martha Wells Review

All Systems Red by Martha WellsAll Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

Publisher: Tor.com

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Pages: 160

Summary: In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Review: All Systems Red is a fascinating  sci-fi novella told from the point of view from a serious & comedic AI unit. Great character development, unique world building, mystery, and bits of humor throughout blend together to deliver a novella that will leave you wanting more once you’ve reached the last page!

I loved this novella so much! I’m usually hesitant because of the short length, I might not get all the development, etc. I’m hoping for, but not with All Systems Red!

Just this first paragraph alone was a sign that this novella would be amazing:

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.

Reading from Murderbot’s  perspective was so entertaining, hilarious and at many moments, pretty relatable too (b/c all it basically wants to do is to stay inside & avoid people 😂)

The story starts off on the coastal island of a distant planet where two teams of scientists are conducting research. The first sign of trouble is when two of the Murderbot’s scientists are examining a crater and get caught in an explosion.

After getting them to safety, they review their reports and with the Murderbot’s help, notice their report may have been altered or tampered with in some way.  Even more signs of trouble is that not only do they discover a section of their map missing, but almost land in a “hazard marker” and they can’t even contact DeltFall, the other team joining them on the planet.

They decide to see if the other team is okay with their leader, Dr.Mensah assessing the risks but ultimately agreeing they should check it out. Murderbot is always on her side, even when they get into trouble always sympathizes with her and understands the risks she must take to keep her team safe.

Along the way, it was great to see the Murderbot connect even more to its team (Dr. Mensah, Volescu, Pin-Lee, Arada and Gurathin)  even though its really hesitant in interacting with them.

Learning more about Murderbot itself (what its willing to risk and how it came to work with them) through its both serious and hilarious moments was genius!

The technology and politics of this world were so fascinating and it was great to learn about it from the perspective of an AI who understands so much, yet knows when to be comedic about it too!

They are such an integral part of the world and aside from learning more about the Murderbot & scientists, were such interesting aspects of the world/story that I’m glad to have gotten so much background on.

As the story progresses, it learns more about the government it works for and why these bad things have been going on during the mission.

I don’t really want to get into too many spoilers b/c its really an immersive and intriguing story that’s more fun when you discover it along the way.

I was worried about not getting enough world-building, but along the way as they explore the planet and try to solve the mystery, there’s so much depth to it that gets revealed.

My only minor issue was some slow pacing through out the middle. Aside from that…

All Systems Red is an immersive novella with a unique world and perfectly blends mystery, space + technology, and bits of comedy to deliver a fascinating speculative fiction/ science fiction short story that will intrigue you from start to finish!

Highly recommend to check out All Systems Red! 😍📚

Advertisements

June 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Internet Famous by Danika Stone1. Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Internet Famous Full ARC Review

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Internet Famous is a YA Contemporary that discusses more than just blogging & fandoms. While also weaving in themes of family and independence, this novel also brings up more serious topics like cyberbullying! When conflict arises as her mother leaves town, Madi finds a way to balance her personal life and blogging, while connecting more to her family.

I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia2. I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia

I Am More Than A Daydream Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: April 15, 2017

Pages: 74

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Another amazing collection of poetry from Cecelia! Similar to Uncaged Wallflower, her poems are filled with inspiration and positivity. However this collection mainly focuses on the inner strength we have to follow our dreams. Highly recommend checking out her poetry!

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie3.The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (TASU #1)

The Abyss Surrounds Us Full Review

Publisher: Flux Books

Release Date: February 8, 2016

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven YA Sci-Fi set in a fascinating/futuristic US! Cas Leung is a Reckoner trainer and finds herself among pirates when she gets captured and is forced to train a young Reckoner to work alongside pirates! I loved the diversity (Chinese-American protag. + f/f relationship) and there was a large cast of female characters, which was awesome. I just personally wanted more plot-wise. However, I adore the world & characters and am excited to see what happens in book 2!

The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera4.The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (Their Bright Ascendancy #1)

ARC Review To Come Closer To Release Date

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This book was phenomenal! Arsenault’s adult fantasy debut is a spectacularly written tale centering around divine empress Shizuka and warrior Shefali, and the powerful bond/relationship that they share! The world is rich and immersive, the characters are all written with such depth, and the writing is utterly beautiful! The Tiger’s Daughter had me hooked from page 1!

Keep your eye out for this novel, it is not one to miss! Cannot wait to share my full review 😍

our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab-cover-reveal5. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Monsters Of Verity #2)

Our Dark Duet Full Review

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 510

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Our Dark Duet was a character-driven and action-packed conclusion to the Monsters Of Verity duology! As with book 1, Schwab’s writing delivers a dark and immersive atmosphere and we see new sides to Kate and August! While there were some elements that did keep this book from being 5-stars, it was a solid conclusion and it was great following Kate & August on their adventures in Verity. 

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia6. Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza And Her Monsters Full Review

Publisher: Harpercollins

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There were so many layers to this book, with discussions on internet culture, fandom/fan fiction, depression and social anxiety! I flew through it and adored it. Eliza is the popular web comic creator of Monstrous Seas and one day she meets Wallace, a popular fanfiction writer of her comic! I loved reading how their relationship developed over the course of the story. The plot was unique and engrossing + the characters were all wonderfully written. I did feel the plot rushed in some places, but aside from that Eliza & Her Monsters was a great YA Contemporary! 

All Systems Red by Martha Wells7.All Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Originally this was going to be a 4, but the more I read, the more I loved it! 

A fascinating science fiction/speculative fiction short story! Told from the (both serious & comedic) point of view from an AI, we follow a group of scientists and a “Sec-Unit” as they run tests on a distant planet. Following the AI, we learn how it came to be a part of its group and along the way, how it becomes more connected to its team + what its willing to risk to keep them safe. All the characters from the scientists in the AI’s group to the AI itself, even the unique world, were all given such depth in quite a short story. There’s a second book set to be released and I cannot wait to read it!

(B/C I was on vacation I didn’t put up a full review for it, but I will definitely try to put one up on the blog soon!)

Additional Posts From This Month:

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones Cover Reveal 

April 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

The Golem And The Jinni1.The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #1)

The Golem And The Jinni Full Review

Publisher: Harper

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Pages: 486

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: I hardly ever rate books a full 5 stars, but this novel truly deserved it! It captured my heart! I loved everything about this novel from the characters, writing, world-building…I could go on & on about this book! It follows both Chava (a Golem) and Ahmed (a Jinni) as they learn more about  themselves and the world when they find themselves in 1899 New York. There is multiple POV, but Wecker does a fantastic job at differentiating them through the 3rd person POV. This is a novel I will never forget! A true gem + Highly recommend!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner2.Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A magical and captivating Beauty & The Beast retelling! Spooner delivers such complex characters and makes them + their development a huge part of the novel! The writing really delivers a “magical” tone to the novel and I loved that! I do wish there was more description for setting + faster pacing towards the middle/end. Regardless, this is a captivating tale with an immersive plot and wonderfully written characters/atmosphere! Spooner takes a classic fairy tale and makes it her own!

A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi3. A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2)

A Crown Of Wishes Full Review

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Pages: 369

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi’s previous novel, The Star-Touched Queen was one I felt dispapointed me, however A Crown Of Wishes blew me away! It was phenomenal! Following Gauri and Vikram, they find themselves teaming up to compete in the Tournament Of Wishes! Chokshi’s writing is exquisite, she elegantly crafts her characters, world/setting and plot through both 3rd + 1st person POV! The plot is filled with twists & turns + is nothing short of magical! I adored it! ❤

Every Heart A Doorway4. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #1)

Every Heart A Doorway Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Pages: 173

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: This novel takes the idea of of portals and other worlds and gives it depth. The main characters struggle when they find themselves returning from their Door, eager to find a way back. Filled with a diverse cast of characters, atmospheric writing, and a good amount of mystery, McGuire’s novel is engrossing and unique! My only issues were slow pacing towards the middle and a few disappointments plot-wise. Regardless, this unique tale will keep you turning the page!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Listens: YA Books That Need Podcast Adaptations

Waiting On Wednesday I #9 (When Dimple Met Rishi)

The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker Review

The Golem And The JinniThe Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #1)

Publisher: Harper

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Pages: 486

Summary: Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.

The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: The Golem And The Jinni is a wondrous story filled with such in-depth characters, fascinating world-building, and a magical plot that will leave you captivated long after the final page!

Originally on my Goodreads review I rated it 4.5 stars, but honestly I’d spent maybe a month or so reading this book (which I’d been wanting to read for years now! ❤ ) and now that I’ve finished, this story truly a masterpiece and I felt it deserved a full 5. Aside from a minor issue (mentioned later in my review), The Golem And The Jinni is a tale I’ll never forget!

I don’t usually mention my “reading experience,” but that’s definitely another aspect that made me love this book so much. No matter where I stopped, I was immediately thrust back into the magical world of The Golem And The Jinni whenever I picked it back up! ❤ ❤

*~While I mostly read/review Young Adult, note that The Golem And The Jinni is an Adult book!~*

There were so many incredible aspects of this book I’ll try my best to explain them all.

Firstly, the plot. It was beyond amazing~ It follows Chava who is a Golem (creature made of clay) and her beginnings as she is created for Otto Rotfeld, who wants a wife. But her husband falls ill on their ship voyage to New York and passes away.

A Golem itself is also created to follow the desires/wishes of its master, however now that her husband Otto Rotfeld has passed, the desires/thoughts of people around her begin to invade her mind and she is unsure of what to do as she tries to better understand herself and navigate this world alone.

Then there’s the Ahmad the Jinni. He finds himself in a tinsmith’s shop in New York and realizes he’s been trapped in a flask for thousands of years. He does have gaps in his memory, but remembers for sure that there was a wizard who trapped him. All he wishes for is freedom.

These magical creatures are now understanding who they are and where they fit, in this new world.

As for other elements of the story (like plot) I don’t think I’ll go too much in depth, because I feel this a tale you really need experience for yourself without much background. But, I will mention the basics and a few specific elements that I really loved!

The writing (3rd person POV) is very descriptive and creates a magical atmosphere which immediately draws you into the story. There is a lot of description of food, setting/nature, that the setting feels rich and immersive.

There are multiple POV’s however, Wecker does a masterful job at making them distinct, really letting you understand each and every character with such depth that they feel so real throughout the story!

The story weaves together phenomenally which is shown masterfully through the differing POV’s.

At its heart, this tale is about finding yourself and understanding who you want to be. I loved that theme of self-discovery was weaved all throughout the story.

The diversity was fantastic! There’s mainly a Syrian and Jewish cast of characters and an array of ages among them.

I adored the world-building! There’s so much detail put into the differing neighborhoods, buildings and architecture. Additionally, I found each character lends a unique scope to the world-building as well, which truly made the settings come to life.

While reading I could really picture the wear and tear of the apartment buildings, the baked goods, the sunsets, bustle of city life…everything! Being able to really envision these little details really transported me.

Magic weaves with history and religion as this tale, which fuses both Jewish and Arabic folklore, unfolds.

The female friendships in this book were fantastic! While a problem or two arises along the way, they show support and care for each other no matter what!

I suppose my only minor issue pacing with some moments throughout the POV’s where it is rather slow.

The Golem And The Jinni is a captivating & atmospheric tale that melds history with fantasy. Filled with compelling characters, themes of family, friendship, and a dazzling setting, this is not a tale to miss!✨

A Conjuring Of Light by V.E. Schwab Review

A Conjuring Of LightA Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #3)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 624

Summary: The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab.

Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Shades Of Magic Series comes to an end in this spectacular + marvelous third and final book, A Conjuring Of Light!

I do not know where to start, but… I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! ❤ ❤

As always Victoria is a master at characters/character-development and this final book felt bitter-sweet, but I adored it all the same!

*I will try my best to leave out major spoilers, however I will mention minor one’s here & there! (Be aware)*

Schwab’s writing as with previous novels is rich + detailed and even in this final novel she continues to build on her fantastical parallel Londons!

She crafts scenes and character struggles with such emotion and gravity, you feel for each and everyone as you turn the page!

Another aspect which made this novel a well-rounded and overall epic conclusion was the immense development + inclusion to a number of characters we’ve seen/read about in previous installments!

Osaron has conjured up a devious plan to conquer Red London for himself however Kell & the crew, while they have their clashes, are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their world safe.

While reading this novel, I couldn’t help but realize with each + every page Schwab continued to build the world to the very end! Her world-building is a huge foundation to this series and she truly approaches it with finesse & subtlety because while not every aspect of her worlds can be explained, the mysteries and secrets make it that much more magical!

Adding to the character development, Schwab gives each of the main/prominent characters the perfect amount of space/time throughout the story to follow their internal struggles and triumphs as darkness looms close.

Schwab perfectly balances the grave dark fragments of this world, with hopeful shards of light and its done in an absolutely flawless way!

The core characters, Kell, Lila, Rhy, Holland & Alucard are like a family and this novel truly highlights those important friendships/bonds they have with each other!

Kell and Rhy’s deep bond is also tested as darkness continues to spread and they risk everything to bring peace to their world.

My only minor issue was the slow pacing/dragging of scenes in some parts!

Schwab masterfully concludes her Shades Of Magic Series with A Conjuring Of Light! A truly unforgettable journey to bring an end to an absolutely brilliant and wondrous world!

 

Lady Killers Vol. 1 by Joëlle Jones + Jamie S. Rich Review

Lady Killer Vol. 1 by Joëlle Jones + Jamie S. Rich

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Release Date: September 15, 2015

Pages: 138

Summary: Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer for hire! A brand-new original comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival.

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

My Review: A dark, fast-paced story + non-stop action + housewife assassin = PERFECTION!!

I’ve had such great luck choosing my graphic novels/comics & Lady Killers is one I’m definitely adding to my favorites list!

Josie, mother of two, is also an assassin for hire!

Not only is her mother-in-law suspicious, but it gets even more complicated when her boss starts to question her loyalties to the company.

It had shocking twists & suspense at every turn!

The 60’s not only brought a unique setting , but also perspective to this story!

W/ the time-period, women were only expected to stay-home etc., but Josie breaks those boundaries and struggles to protect her family while still being loyal to her work.

It was very interesting to see the contrast (in her personality) between her family life and her assassin work!

After her bosses suspicions, her “partner in crime” of sorts, is asked to get rid of Josie!

While still trying to keep her family safe, she is on the run to get this mess sorted out.

With the suspicious Mother-In-Law, while it may have seemed obvious, it came as a complete surprise to me that she would be connected to one of the major characters later on!

The art-style is wonderful! It has that “vintage” look to it &  it works!

The setting/clothing is all done beautifully! If your a fan of vintage, such as myself, you will definitely love the dresses/overall art of this novel!

Another important note is Josie. With the type of work she does, it was great to see the art represent that (she is shown to have muscular arms)

 I loved/appreciate that she still wore dresses as an assassin!!!

+The fight scenes she’s in are epic!

The ending will definitely leave you wanting to figure out what happens next!

Overall a great comic with wonderful art, dialogue, characters & plot!
If there are to be future volumes, I will be reading them without a doubt! It was fantastic!!

**From the cover alone it was obvious there would be violence/blood, while it isn’t too graphic, if that content bothers you, you may want to steer clear of this one**

 

A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab Review

A Gathering Of Shadows.jpgA Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #2)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 512

Summary: Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts:

This is book was a masterpiece!

Going into this book, I was definitely surprised to see how much more character-driven the story was. Don’t get me wrong the plot is there and its wonderfully done, but the characters truly take center stage!

The characters Lila/Kell/Rhy really reflect on the events which happened in A Darker Shade Of Magic but it was executed perfectly. Each reflection obviously hinted at past events, but never felt overdone!

They each have their own issues to deal with!

1.Kell -Being an Antari, guilty for what the bond between him and Rhy, and having so much power and being unsure of what to do with it!

2.Delila-Finding herself and getting a better understanding of her magic and what she wants

3.Rhy-Also having some guilt of the bond between himself+Kell!

+ what makes him so great is how we know there is so much more to him than being a prince & we really see that in this book!

What I was honestly worried about throughout this whole book was:

When will Kell+Lila MEET AGAIN & FINALLY TALK???

B/c they are separated throughout of most of the book, but there were many moments here and there that hinted at their reunion.

What I also loved was the politics involved w/ the Games! I’m starting to enjoy political aspects in stories a lot more now & through V.E. Schwabs wonderful writing she not only makes it intricate/complex, but fun to read and really builds it into the world.

There was a new character introduced by the name of Alucard Emery! Who was freaking fantastic!! ❤ ❤

Even though he was only introduced in this book, I really felt I knew him by the time I finished! After learning about his past and how he came to know Prince Rhy I really want to know more about him in the next book!

I did take away 1/2 a star b/c the pacing of the plot felt quite slow and dragged a little in the middle. But that is because this is also a very character-driven story & the plot, while its there takes a backseat at some points.

There is definitely a cliffhanger ending, but hints at much more to come once book 3 is out!