Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Gemina by Aimie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2)
by Aimie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Summary: Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
This review is going to be relatively short, because there isn't much to say about the book except that I really loved it.

The first book in the series took a while to grow on me, I did love it in the end but it was a long process getting to that point, but this one hooked me fast and kept its grip right until the end. I stayed up all night reading it and I regret nothing about that decision.

The format of this series is so unique, I've never read any other books quite so stylistically distinctive and I adore that about them. And I'm surprised by how easy it is to care about and feel invested in the well being of these characters, given the fact that we're not inside their heads in quite the same way we would be with a normal book but yeah -- I love the characters.

And the plot, it was addictive and I loved the ways it tied in with the first book and left me desperate for the sequel.

Basically, I love this series. I'd rate this one 5 stars out of 5.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Ten LGBTQIA+ Books In My TBR

The topic for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday was "10 Books From X Genre That I've Recently Added To My TBR List" and given it's Pride month, I figured I'd give a list of the LGBTQ+ books I've added to my TBR recently (whether they're books I already own and plan to read, or ones that are out later in the year that I'm looking forward to).

In no particular order...

1. Wildthorn by Jane Eagland - This one has been in my TBR for years and I'm not sure why I haven't gotten to it yet, but I think it's a set in Victorian times and it's set in an asylum and the romance in it is F/F?

2. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst - F/F YA high fantasy novel about a princess who falls for the sister of the dude she's betrothed to. I've been saving this one...partly because my expectations are sky high, partly because I have a feeling I'm going to love it so I'm waiting for the right time to read it.

3. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo - This one didn't grab my attention from the summary, but I've heard nothing but good things about it and the main character is transgender and I want to read more books with good representation of trans characters so it's in my TBR now.

4. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy - There was a lot of controversy before this was released because the summary made it sound like the book was about a lesbophobic trope, but the author doesn't write the summary and the story is an own voices book about a bisexual and it sounds like it might tackle a lot of biphobic attitudes and stereotypes so I'm excited for this one.

5. Run by Kody Keplinger - This is another one with bi-rep, and I think of the main characters is blind too and it sounds like friendship will play a big role and I'm so here for more positive female friendships in books.

 6. Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore - I know very little about this book, except that Anna Marie McLemore could write the phonebook and I'd read it in a heartbeat. I don't know what the LGBTQ+ rep in the book is specifically (beyond bisexuality), but the author has said that it's about a whole generation of queer Latina girls (and the author herself is queer and Latina and married to a transman, so it's own voices and I trust the rep).

7. The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie - Space monsters... Space pirates... Space lesbians. Lesbian space pirates who train monsters? *Pining for this book* (At least I think they're lesbians, I don't know if one or both of them ID's as bi/pan, but I'm sure I saw a review that said lesbian - correct me if you've read it and that's wrong).

8. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee - Julie and a bunch of other people speak so highly of this one, and it's one of the few YA books with asexual rep so...sign me up!

9. A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner - This one has actually been in my TBR for years. I remember starting it but I put it down and didn't pick it up again and I can't remember why, so I think it deserves another chance. I can't remember, but I think the main character is either a lesbian, bisexual, or pansexual? (I know there was some f/f romance going on but I'm not sure I read far enough for labels?)

10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Seanz - Everyone seems to love this one, I think that's part of the reason I've put off reading for so long because I've found so many hyped up books to be a disappointment. But it has gay characters and the audiobook is narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda so I'm going to listen to this one on audio this month.

If anyone has any other LGBTQIA+ recs, feel free to leave them in the comments (particularly if they have LGBTQIA+ characters with identities unrepresented on this list).


Monday, 5 June 2017

Everything and the Moon by Julia Quinn

Everything and the Moon
by Julia Quinn

Seven years ago she broke his heart...

When Robert Kemble stumbles across Victoria Lyndon in hedgerow maze, he can't believe his eyes. The girl who'd torn him in two, who let him plan on elopement and then left him standing by the side of the road, was suddenly within arm's reach, and even though his fury still knew no bounds, she was impossible to resist...

Seven years ago he left her all but ruined...

Victoria's father had told her an earl would never marry a vicar's daughter, and he was right. Robert had promised her marriage, then danced off to London while she suffered the shame of a foiled elopement. But even though Victoria doesn't particularly enjoy her new life as a governess, when Robert offers her a job of a different sort—his mistress—she refuses, unable to sacrifice her honor, even for him.

But Robert won't take no for an answer, and he vows to make her his, through any means possible. Can these star-crossed lovers learn to trust again? And is love really sweeter the second time around?
I had heard so many good things about this author, and this book in particular, and I was so looking forward to reading it. Few things can snap me out of a reading slump as well as a good regency romance novel...and this did accomplish that, but it was also such a disappointment.

By the end, I didn't hate it, but getting to a point where I actually liked it took ages and I had so many issues with it.

For starters, the insta-love. I loathe insta-love, with few exceptions. The author herself acknowledged at the beginning that those stories usually weren't her kind of thing but that she started writing these characters and there was just a spark there...okay. Except I felt absolutely no trace of that spark. Their relationship was so mind numbingly bland, nothing about it made me believe it was a case of love at first sight, nothing made me root for them as a couple. And because it attempted in a very deliberate way to show love at first sight, it skipped the best parts of these types of stories -- the falling in love bit, the bit where we get to go along for the ride on that journey with characters.

Plus, the conflict in the story was so ridiculously contrived. The conversations the characters have, for a large chunk of the story, were frustrating as hell to read because it was like they were having two entirely different conversations and they would make comments that should have the other being like "wait, what? could you explain that because that doesn't match up with my version of events at all." but instead those comments are ignored entirely because...well, contrived drawn out conflict.

And then there's the fact that rape is used as a plot device, not once, not twice, but three times. I can forgive the third because at least it wasn't used as an excuse for the male love interest to be a hero, unlike the first two...but yeah, I wish that trope would just go die in a fire and never be written again (also, the male love interest implies that he couldn't rape her because he knows she wants him so even if she protested it wouldn't be rape...uh, no. All of the no).

I'm sure there were other things....but I think that's the gist of my issues with the book. The frustrating thing was that it wasn't inherently bad -- at some point in the story, it did hook me enough for me to continue reading, so it must've done something right. But it was mostly boring or frustrating. I think I might have more luck with a different book by this author because this one just pushed so many of my Nope buttons.

I think the fact that so many people told me how great it was made it more of a disappointment than it would've been other wise. I'd rate it 2 stars out of 5.



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