The AM Archives Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

The AM ArchivesThe AM Archives created by Lauren Shippen

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Episodes: 1 (Ongoing)

Running Time: 24 Minutes

Release Schedule: Weekly

The AM Archives Podcast is available through Luminary

Summary: This sci-fi series picks up where hit podcast The Bright Sessions left off. The original series followed a group of therapy patients with supernatural abilities as they uncovered the secrets of their therapist, Dr. Bright. Six months after The Bright Sessions concludes we begin again with The AM Archives, a Luminary exclusive that tracks the mysterious Dr. Bright as she tries to reform the institution that once betrayed her. Along with time traveler Sam Barnes and ex-enemy Owen Green, Dr. Bright helps “Atypicals” learn how to use their abilities. But in an effort to defang The Atypical Monitors, the trio comes face to face with a patient unlike any other…

My Thoughts: The AM Archives brings you back into the world of The Bright Sessions with an all-new story to tell! This first episode reintroduces the listener to familiar characters like Dr. Bright, Sam, & Agent Green! The world of The AM was shrouded in mystery, however this series shows a new perspective to this core setting of The Bright Sessions universe!

This is a series that I’ve been really looking forward to because it is a spin-off to a favorite audio drama podcast of mine, The Bright Sessions!

The AM Archives Episode 1 is a new chapter in this universe that will leave listeners ready for all that’s to come next in this series.

Six months have passed with Dr. Bright, Sam, and Agent Green finalizing their work to the new AM facility.

Throughout the episode there is a lot of discussion (with ideas they bounce back & forth among each other) to ensure the new facility works in the best interest for not only its new image, but being more inclusive/personal to Atypicals as a whole, and the patients especially!

When fictional universes have continuations, sequels, etc. it can seem like there’s often rehash or excessive reminder of past events. With The AM Archives that is not the case!

The information that’s relayed to us, in my opinion, offers important reminders listeners ought to keep in mind (about the AM facility, Tiers, dynamics of the AM) that will be vital as the story progresses.

The world-building was definitely a highlight of this episode. While we’re all familiar with this universe of The Bright Sessions with Atypicals, the AM facility, etc., The AM Archives really symbolizes the growth to the organization and all the progress that’ll surely follow.

What I loved about this first episode was that I could hear the excitement, also anticipation that these characters are working towards and the change they are eager to bring to the world of Atypicals.

I’m looking forward to the new AM and how they really want to be more inclusive of Atypicals in their division now!

We’re introduced to a couple new characters right away–there’s Jackson Crawford, a new agent assigned to the facility who came all the way from The AM’s HQ.

From my perspective I see how his introduction may sort of symbolize this “old vs. new” view of The AM, but he’s very eager to help the organization as much as he can.

There’s also Maggs, Operations Manager for the AM! She’s also wanting to bring change to the AM as well and I loved that she’s all for making The AM feel more personal and inviting!

Overall I loved both Maggs & Jackson, their great introductions, and their interactions with Agent Green, Sam, & Dr. Bright! I can’t wait to learn more about them. There was also a new character named Dr. Sharpe who listeners get a small glimpse of in this episode and I can’t wait to learn more about her to!

The dynamic between Sam, Agent Green, & Dr. Bright was also great to listen to its something we got a lot more of near the end of The Bright Sessions, so I’m really looking forward to hearing how their relationships develop among each other!

To avoid major spoilers for the rest of the story I will say that the voice acting (writing/script included) and sound design really immerse you into this world and new adventure of The Bright Sessions! Everything comes together fantastically!

I’m incredibly excited to continue exploring The Bright Sessions universe and see where this new story is headed!

One thing to mention is that I found it funny that I hadn’t noticed until the end, the show is no longer in the format of audio recordings 😂🎙

The AM Archives is a must-listen for fans of The Bright Sessions! This first episode lays the foundation for what looks to be a great continuation to the series! From the return of past characters, to new introductions, immersive/detailed world-building of The AM, and a plot that will have you hooked, this is an audio drama you don’t want to miss! You’ll finish the first episode of The AM Archives wanting the next one right away! 🎙💡✨

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water by Michelle Kan Exclusive Cover Reveal!

Today on the blog I have a cover reveal I am incredibly excited to share with you all! (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥

To give you a bit of background, last summer I read this action-packed and character-driven superhero book called, No More Heroes!

Within Michelle Kan’s novel, we learn Vigilantes are those with supernatural abilities and they use them to keep their city safe! In book 1, we get introduced to a group of super-powered teens who get more than they bargained for when they meet a Vigilante just like them who gets involved in a bit of a mystery when other Vigilantes begin getting killed off!

It focuses so much on friendship and the plot is wrapped up in so much mystery and adventure, the pages just fly by!

I’d been hoping for a sequel one day to see what more adventures Kan had in store for the Vigilante crew and now, that moment has arrived!

Here is the official cover and summary for the sequel to No More Heroes, titled:

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water

No More Heroes Hell Or High Water by Michelle Kan

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water is book 2 in the No More Heroes series, which is set to be released in 2019!

Here is a full summary: 

The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted Vigilantes the world over – and since the Vigilante Killers were taken down six months ago, order has returned to the community once more. Vigilantes everywhere have resumed their usual rhythm, defending their domains within the safety of the shadows, and all is right with the world. So when an old enemy resurfaces and asks them for their help, the Vigilantes of the City are reluctant, to say the least. But some offers are hard to turn down, and soon Team City find themselves diving headlong into a mystery that will test their limits, their capabilities as Vigilantes, and their relationships with each other.

If your looking for a fun, action-packed, diverse #OwnVoices, superhero tale, Michelle Kan’s No More Heroes is definitely the book to check out! 🌃💥📚

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water by Michelle Kan is also now available to add on Goodreads!

You can also add book one, No More Heroes on Goodreads too:

No More Heroes

What are your thoughts on the cover? ✨📚🎉

If you’ve read No More Heroes or are planning to, lets discuss in the comments below! + What are your favorite superhero books?

March 2018 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Here are the YA Books releasing this month, I can’t wait to read! 😍📚🎉

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi1.Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy of Orïsha #1) (March 6, 2018, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (FierceReads), 544 Pages)

Summary: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo2.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (March 6, 2018, Harper Teen, 368 Pages)

The Poet X ARC Review

Summary: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo3.To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (March 6, 2018, Feiwel & Friends (FierceReads), 352 Pages)

ARC Review To Come (Currently Reading)

Summary: Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth4.Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth (Second Sentinels #1) (March 15, 2018, CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 324 Pages)

ARC Review To Come

Summary:Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a super villain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

Finding Felicty by Stacey Kade5.Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade (March 20, 2018, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 304 Pages)

Summary:Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.

Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

The Astonishing Color Of After by Emily X.R. Pan6.The Astonishing Color Of After by Emily X.R. Pan (March 20, 2018, Little Brown Books For Young Readers, 480 Pages)

Summary:Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi7.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi (March 27, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 400 Pages)

Summary:For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him. 

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Moonstruck Vol. 1 Magic To Brew8.Moonstruck Volume 1: Magic To Brew by Grace Ellis & Shae Beagle (March 27, 2018, Image Comics, 120 Pages)

Summary:Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late.

 

What March 2018 Books Are You Looking Forward To? 😍📚❤✨🍀

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn Review

Heroine Complex by Sarah KuhnHeroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex #1)

Publisher: DAW Books

Pages: 378

Release Date: July 5, 2016

Summary: Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she’s not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest comes out: she has powers, too. Now it’s up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda’s increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right… or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Heroine Complex follows Evie Tanaka, assistant to her superhero best-friend Aveda Jupiter! When problems arise, Evie has to take over for Aveda and learns more about herself when she’s tasked with filling in for her best friend. With humor, mystery, and themes of family and friendship, Heroine Complex is a fun and action-packed adventure!

After having read No More Heroes and now Heroine Complex, I’m happy to be getting back into superhero books again!! Heroine Complex book had been on my tbr for some time and I’m so glad I finally read it! It was the perfect mix of comedy, action, and adventure! ❤

Evie Tanaka is the assistant to Aveda Jupiter, San Francisco’s beloved superhero! Both Evie and Avenda have been friends since they were little. Now in their 20’s, they work as part of a team to keep San Francisco safe from demons that take on forms depending on their surroundings.

Told through 1st person POV, we follow Evie as she fills in for Aveda (as she recovers from an injury) one night and finds herself unleashing a super power she’d hoped would have been better left forgotten. Now Evie finds herself taking on a role she never wanted all while helping Aveda’s image with her fans!

What was great about the POV, was the real and comedic voice Evie had! It was great being in her head and reading about her journey on becoming a hero. This also gave so much depth to the characters and plot, it all really came on the page! Aside from that, we better understand the stress she’s put under and how she’s almost hidden in Aveda’s shadow. She is an intelligent, funny, and compassionate person who better understands herself as the novel progresses and it was great to read how much she grew and came to accept who she is.

What I also loved about the writing-style was the fun/superhero vibe it had, which really delivered a perfect atmosphere to the story! 

The group dynamic was one of my favorite parts of this novel! Aside from Aveda and Evie, there’s also Nate, the scientist/healer of the team, Lucy, who joins Evie in assisting during Aveda’s battles with demons, Scott who’s an expert with magic, and Bea Evie’s little sister, who joins the team soon after!

Its clear there’s such a strong bond between Evie and the team, with the humor, banter, and support they offer each other all throughout the story. Just reading Evie build the bonds with her team, especially Aveda and her sister Bea was wonderful to read about.

Throughout the story its clear that Aveda does manipulate + demand Evie to do a lot of tasks for her, it was clear that the Aveda’s demands were beginning to put a lot pressure on Evie, as she struggled to better understand who she was, while not only taking care of Aveda, but her younger sister Bea all by herself. Evie slowly, but surely finds the confidence to forge her own identity and better understand who she is and not only see herself as Aveda’s assistant.

Over the course of Heroine Complex, Evie stand up for herself and calls out Aveda for the toxic behavior she shows in their complex friendship. While they have history and really care for each other, it was great to see Aveda finally understand the manipulative ways of her behavior and see the both of them strengthen their friendship even more as they supported and were there for each other.

It was so great to see diversity in this story! There’s Evie & her sister Bea who are 1/2 Japanese, Aveda who’s Chinese, and Lucy who’s lesbian!

While I’ve seen many YA bloggers talk about this book, I went into this novel not knowing it is  more Adult/NA (but that didn’t bother me, its just something I figured out as I read). So, there is a romantic story line with Evie and another character, with sex, discussions of sex, but it was also great to read that there was also discussion of sex-positivity in this novel!

There was so much to plot, from the demon’s the team must take down, to Evie learning to accept herself and her abilities, growing closer with her team and them growing closer with each other to keep San Francisco safe from the demons and it was great to read Kuhn pack so much into this story!

There was never a dull moment and I loved how many different sides there were of Heroine Complex to tell! It was also great to see the impact of blogging/media on Aveda and her image as a superhero, it was a unique and interesting aspect I enjoyed reading about.

I will admit I did find the pacing to be rather slow, hence the 4-stars and it would have been great to get a little more development on the super powers/demons as they got discussed even more over the course of the story!

Aside from that…

Heroine Complex is a delightful superhero and urban fantasy story! There are strong themes of friendship, family, self-identity, and finding yourself! With so much character and story depth, this action-packed, heroic adventure was such a fun and immersive read!

No More Heroes by Michelle Kan Review

No More Heroes by Michelle KanNo More Heroes by Michelle Kan

Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing

Release Date: June 27, 2015 (Feb. 2017 for 2nd edition)

Pages: 265

Summary: The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted vigilantes the world over. But a sudden rash of vigilante deaths heralds the arrival of a new and unfamiliar enemy – one whose motive is as unclear as their identity. Someone or something seems determined to disturb the peace, and they’re going straight for the watchmen to do it. In a city where those who are gifted make up their own rules, who will step forward when the threat of a swift end is real and there stands so little to gain?

No More Heroes is an urban fantasy action/adventure novel about young, would-be heroes who get more than they bargained for when they delve deeper into a world they never knew they were a part of. Featuring a diverse cast of players, discord, a mystery to be solved, plenty of literary action and high-stakes battles, No More Heroes is a story about self-belief and camaraderie, persistence in the face of trials, and what it means to be the best version of yourself.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: This action-packed and character-driven urban fantasy, follows a diverse cast of characters who have superpowers! No More Heroes is a tale about friendship and what it means to be a hero!

No More Heroes had me hooked from page 1! Vigilantes (or those who use their Abilites to protect the City) mysteriously seem to be getting killed off 1 by 1!

A group of teen Vigilantes: Clare, Linus, and Mallory (who are fairly new to it), become involved when they rescue Vigilantes (Shockwave +Resonance) from a burning building!

Resonance tells them more about what Vigilantes do, but to stay safe!

Over the course of the novel, Linus, Clare, and Mallory become more involved in this mystery of surrounding the Vigilantes. They soon join Shockwave, Resonance (much to her dismay), and a few other Vigilantes as they uncover more behind who could be behind these attacks.

This novel really put a focus on character development and I loved that so much! There is also so much representation, which is amazing!

There’s Samoan representation (Linus), Chinese (Resonance aka Fang), Indian, Maori+ Cambodian rep.! Also characters who have ADHD (Clare) and anxiety (Resonance). There was also characters who identify as aro-ace, gay and genderfluid!

I also really felt connected to Resonance as it gets mentioned that she has anxiety! As the novel progressed, I picked up on certain actions/moments that showed Resonance’s anxiety, but no matter what she pushed on and continued to be a strong leader, despite it! Even when she encountered some obstacles along the way,  she was so brave and so determined to keep her friends safe!

With the mystery that surrounds who’s been killing off the Vigilantes, I was surprised when it gets revealed! Kan did a great job at keeping the element of mystery present throughout the story!

As for world building I found it to be so unique. The novel takes place in the City, a fictional city that has numerous skyscrapers, buildings, etc. and has a mainly cool/foggy weather. It was fascinating and with night being a big element of the setting I felt it really added to the mysterious tone of the story! Continuing with the world building, I also loved the explanation for why Vigilantes mainly work at night-time/evening (b/c a theory suggests that the night enhances Abilities). It was an additional little tidbit of info, but for me it added much more to the knowledge of Abilities and above all the direction Kan took with superpowers/abilities was so unique!

+ I really loved Clare’s ability (being able to travel through fog) it was so unique and I loved learning more about it!

Also if your looking for a novel with no romance, this is the book for you! No More Heroes really focused on its characters + story and friendship was a theme present throughout the whole novel.

I loved the friendship/dynamic between Clare, Linus & Mal so much ❤ ❤ (+ Shockwave/Resonance)!!  Its clear from the very beginning that they are all looking out for one another and have each other’s backs! While I really loved Clare + Linus’s dynamic, it would have been great to get more between Mal + Clare too, but I loved their dynamic all the same!

As the story progressed, there was also expansion on some of the older/ more experienced Vigilante’s motives which touched upon some characters showing morally grey sides/elements of antihero and that really added another layer of depth to these characters who already had so many differing sides to them.

While I am usually pretty hesitant with 3rd person narration, Kan did a fantastic job! It really helped to expand on the large cast of characters and overall went perfectly with the story! I do hope for future novels there is more development + expansion on the characters! I really loved each of them, but felt I needed to known so much more about them~

As to why I took off 1/2 a star: I wish there was more description/expansion on the City! Its such a fascinating setting and it would have been great to get more development + same goes for the characters (as mentioned above)! I adored them and felt they were all so unique & amazing, I just wanted to learn more about them~ ❤

With the way the novel wraps up, it sets up for a great sequel! I’ve read online that there is another novel in the works and I’m so happy about that b/c I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to these characters and the fascinating world just yet! :’)

No More Heroes is a perfect read if your looking to get into urban fantasy or really love stories about superheroes! This novel is filled with diverse characters, action, perfectly planned mysteries, fantastic character dynamics, emphasis on friendships and above all a fun and fascinating plot that will keep you turning the page!