Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, so here goes!
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
First Sentence: “Absolutely not. What an utterly harebrained idea, Annabelle.”
The Queen’s Gambit by Jessie Mihalik
First Sentence Read: “I lowered my spaceship’s cargo ramp and slipped in the night with the ease of long practice.”
I went for a mood changer with the switch from historical romance to romantic sci-fi. Bringing Down the Duke was so fabulous that I had to switch it up to try to carry that great book glow into the next novel. I haven’t gotten too far into The Queen’s Gambit to decide if this was the right choice. I’ll let you know!
Now that you know what I’m reading, feel free to catch me up! It’s Monday! What are you Reading?
As a book blogger it’s hard not to pay attention to the blogosphere drumroll of upcoming book releases. We all have our favorites authors and certainly whenever one of those authors releases a book I am ALL OVER IT. There are a few books that have May’19 release dates and I am eagerly rubbing my hands in anticipation…
We all have genre’s that we favor but I think a couple of these title’s may be on your own most anticipated list. If they aren’t? Well, sorry if I’ve added another book to your TBR!
MY MOST ANTICIPATED MAY’19 BOOKS ARE….
5) The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May14, 2019
For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.
Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.
Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.
Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.
With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: I haven’t read a Christina Lauren novel in a few years, but this enemies to lovers tropes is one of my favorites! This is why it’s #5 and a must read for me.
4) Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling authors of the Illuminae Filescomes a new science fiction epic . . .
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder An alien warrior with anger-management issues A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: I LOVED the Illuminae Files and want to see if Kaufman and Kristoff can repeat that amazing energy and excitement. Who’s going to join me?
3) The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang
Release Date: May 7, 2019
From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart…
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: I’ll admit to having mixed feelings for the Kiss Quotient. I didn’t love it, but am curious to see how Helen Hoang will handle the follow up.
Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!
A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.
It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.
With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.
Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: I love the magical world of Caraval and am curious if this author can keep this magic flowing through the Finale.
#1 Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Urban Fantasy
In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves…
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.
And a coyote shapeshifter.
And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.
Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.
The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.
But we are pack, and we have given our word.
We will die to keep it.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite (in a very long list of favorites!) urban fantasy heroines. Her character growth over the lifetime of this series has been huge and her challenges just keep getting bigger. This is the next book I’m starting (yes, I got an ARC!) and I can’t wait to read how she will overcome her next challenge!
It’s been a few months since I’ve read a science fiction novel. The Terrans was recommended to me a long time ago by my sister who is seldom wrong when it comes to book recommendations. I like science fiction but have to really be in the mood because sometimes the book may be more technical than I’m comfortable with, but The Terrans was a great balance of sci-fi imagery, technology, and a Star Trek like “going where no man has gone before” adventure.
Jacaranda MacKenzie finds herself drawn back into service after retiring to her home in the Hawaiian islands. Having strong psychic tendencies, language skills, and proven psychic fighting techniques she is now on a mission as an Ambassador because her face was seen in psychic precognitive visions as being important in a future war. On their first mission they come upon an alien life form called the Salik who have human captives that her team must save. After reaching out telepathically to the humans leader Li’eth, she gathers that the Salik are not friendly aliens and in fact are only looking for their next meal. Humans are a tasty treat, and live humans are their preferred meal. Saving Li’eth and his team who are human, but not Terrans, is the first contact with another life force that the Terrans have ever had. They realize pretty quickly that both races have qualities that are needed on the other side and can make them allies in the war against the Salik.
Jackie’s a really unique lady! She’s a linguist, and her thought process on how to quickly learn V’Dan (Li’eth’s planet, language, and people) teach the V’Dan her own language and then also the cultural proprieties could’ve been really time consuming. Thank goodness she was telepathic and could skip a lot of steps! She knew how to speak to people without being offensive, yet still be warm and welcoming. Underneath all of these kind of technical aspects to her personality was also the fact that she was mostly Polynesian. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a science fiction book that had a Hawaiian main character? It really added a level of depth to her understanding of body language due to her hula dancing training. Her ancestors way of story telling with body movements. I really enjoyed her character alot.
Li’eth was also what you’d want your hero to look and act like. As the Captain of his ship he had a commanding presence. Like Jackie, he knew how to act with other cultures. He and Jackie had to interact with each other quite a bit as they were the two highest ranking people on the ship. She “downloaded” his language and had to do a Spock type mind meld to get that done relatively quick. The two of them talked telepathically and developed a bond that drew them together. It was natural that they started to have feelings for each other, however their titles made it a politically bad choice.
As you would imagine with finding a new race of human’s there was a lot of political talk about how to handle what, who and how far. Even with that jargon, I still really enjoyed the story. I think as I read further into this series Jackie and Li’eth may grow on me even more. He did well in her world, I’m looking forward to seeing how Jackie handles immersion into his alien culture.
If you like science fiction, I’d really recommend the Terrans. It’s a pretty soft immersion into this genre and is more story than techno jargon. The characters were developed well, and I really wanted to know more about them and follow their growth into the next book. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
For those of you who love swashbuckling action, you’ll LOVE Ignite the Stars! Ia Cocha is the scourge of the stars. Fighting against the Olympus Commonwealth, Ia is part terrorist, part Robin Hood. When the story starts she is trapped on a Tawny ship and is being taken captive. When it is found out that she is just a 17 year old girl and not an adult man, it’s determined that it would be better to bury her in an Academy of students in an unknown location than to put her on trial and kill her. That would look bad, I guess? When she gets to the Academy she is a prisoner of sorts, but able to roam free. She is kept from flying but her mind is always looking for an escape.
Brinn, Ia’s roommate, has a secret. One that she is desperate to keep, but Ia figures her out pretty quickly and blackmails her into doing something for her. Through the sharing of this secret Ia and Brinn develop a friendship of sorts. Brinn, who is kind of prickly because she doesn’t let herself get close to anyone, can let Ia close because she knows her secret. It is this friendship that drives the book. We learn that no one is who we think they are. Ia the terrorist actually has empathy and fights for the underdogs and Brinn the loner comes face to face with her heritage and embraces it. When it finally happens, these two are a powerful team.
There are a whole other cast of characters in this novel. Heroic figures and villainous ones fill the classrooms. Flight Master Knives, just out of school himself, is Ia’s jailer and love interest. Not as gruesome as that sounds, I swear! He has his own issues with the Olympus Commonwealth, most notably his father who is an Admiral and a not so nice character. This love connection between he and Ia is PG rated, but it does allow both of their characters to show another side.
I love a fast moving plot and Ignite the Stars was quick, emotional, and fun. It’s hard to believe this was Maura Milan’s debut novel. It seemed like every character had their own hidden battle they were fighting. I’ll admit that Brinn was probably my favorite character, but Ia was a close second. They were both underdogs, and I do like to root for the underdog. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“I’ve been looking for a book to appease by craving for more sci-fi adventure after I finished Obsidio, and let me tell you that Ignite the Stars did the trick! You’re dropped right into the action, and it doesn’t stop until the very end. I fell absolutely in love with our cast of characters and adored how each had their own unique story that eventually intertwined.” A Myriad of Books
“For all its shortcomings, Ignite the Stars was a decent, easy read. Knives and Brinn are strong deuteragonists, and Maura Milan has a good deal of fun with the supporting cast. As socially conscious YA, the story integrates a timely if heavy-handed political message on the refugee crisis. As a space opera…eh.” Serendipitous Reads
Capt. Tess Bailey is stealing from the more fortunate by providing for those who have less. A Robin Hood type heroine with a big heart and small pockets. She is running from the Dark Watch and has a price on her head with her identity a secret even from her own crew. When she comes face to face with the commander of the Dark Watch, someone she knows from her past. she makes the decision to jump into a black hole to what she and her crew thinks is certain death, to find they’ve landed close to a planet where they can recoup and hopefully get their ship repaired. She meets Shade Ganavan, a man she thinks is a mechanic, but who is really a bounty hunter. As he fixes their ship they grow close and we see a different side of Tess. One that is shy and sweet rather than direct and take charge. As Shade gets to know her, he can’t imagine that she is the type of criminal deserving of the price on her head and is forced to make a difficult decision, turn her in for the reward or let her walk away from him forever.
Amanda Bouchet proves again that she knows how to write a novel. This world was interesting and the characters grew on me, but it was hard not to compare Nightchaser with her Kingmaker series. They are completely different, one a science fiction romp while the other is a Greek mythology action adventure. Tess, like Cat, wasn’t sure exactly who she was and what powers she held and watching her explore and understand who she was and I’m sure in future novels, her personality and powers will unfold a bit more, but I found myself to be impatient for a big reveal that when uncovered was a little light on impact. I couldn’t quite figure out why this novel wasn’t a home run for me. I enjoyed it, but wanted more than what I got.
Shade was a scoundrel which fit this space adventure very well. Even though Tess was uncertain of his feelings, we knew from his POV that he’d fallen for her which took a little of the air out of his more impactful scenes. I have high hopes for the future novels in this series where we can get some epic adventures out of Tess, Shade and their crew.
A word to the wise, don’t do what I did by comparing this to the Kingmaker series. It’s completely different! I think I did myself a disservice, but in my own defense, I had really enjoyed the last series and wanted to escape into a book that good again. I didn’t get that but I still got a story that was good and characters that had a lot of heart and were interesting. They have room to grow and I have faith that this author will make this series another epic ride. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I was given an ARC of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“The truth is, I enjoyed this story immensely and it really got me excited to read more of Bouchet’s work. Tess and Shade are a great heroine/hero pair and play off one another nicely, both in their anger and their sizzling sexual tension.” KJ Harrowick
Amani, our 16 year old heroine receives facial tattoo’s that tell a story about her family’s history as well as attributes of her personality. When some robot type soldiers scan her face and take her hostage, I was intrigued. OK, this is a Moorish/Sci-fi book. Interesting! When Amani finds out why she has been taken, because she has features close enough to be their princesses body double I thought hmmm again. I’m not sure how this is all going to fit together. Even though at times I stopped to hmmm at the plot, I did think Samaiya Daud crafted a really interesting world.
As I read further the interesting bits seemed to fade away until I felt like I was reading another Alwyn Hamilton novel though not as exciting. A young woman finds herself in unfortunate circumstances and rises above her situation to take a stand against the evil empire and fall in love. Don’t get me wrong, it was an enjoyable story! It just felt kind of familiar. What wasn’t familiar was the science fiction aspect of it and I really wish that the feeling was more sci-fi than Moroccan? It was that that made this novel original, although I suppose a mash-up of the two hasn’t been done before.
Amani was a nice solid heroine. Once she got past her circumstance she was determined to make a difference. I always like a heroine who doesn’t turn to mush when things get difficult. The Vathek is a conquering race who has subjugated the natives, slowly killing them off (sounds familiar to us Americans, doesn’t it?) and Amani wants to do her part to help stop them.
The evil Princess Maram, who’d had Amani kidnapped to be her stand in was the most interesting character. She was evil, anxious, and confused and her flaws made her interesting. As the story went on and we learned how sad her life was, she went from black and white 2D to full 3D technicolor. I wished that this book had been written from her POV instead of Amani’s.
Yes, there was also a love interest. Idris? Ilbis? I’ll be truthful, I couldn’t get Idris Elba out of my head and have smashed his name together in my head. Anyway, he was from one of the subjugated tribes, fated to be the sole survivor and marry the evil princess. Instead he hangs with her body double. You can guess what happens to that love triangle.
Did I love this book? No. Did I hate it? Definitely not! I just couldn’t get past some similarities to other novels I’d read and that kind of ruined it for me. If the pace had been a bit quicker, I might’ve enjoyed it a bit more. However, other readers have absolutely LOVED this novel. I say, read it and you be the judge!
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.
Elena and Adam have traveled to the future several times, initially as part of a team hired by a tech firm, Aether Corporation. Each time they have traveled, they have seen different visions of what their future would be like, and those future’s keep getting more and more grim. After things went wrong in the previous novel, Future Threat, Elena and Adam and their friends are determined to never make that trip to the future again, but Adams search for the cure to cancer becomes and obsession. When he disappears one day, Elena finds out that he took a trip back to the future again, alone.
Future Lost does a great job of subtly recapping the previous two novels into the plot, so I could quickly become engrossed in the plot and root for Elena to finally find security and happiness in her life. When Adam goes missing I knew where he went and eagerly looked forward to seeing what their future world looked like now. Without getting into the intricacies of the plot, I’ll just say “Apocalyptic” would be a good description.
Elena is an easy character to root for. She’s led a tough life and has found happiness with Adam and seen a future that she is willing to fight towards. Hope is one of Elena’s greatest characteristics, but unfortunately she has to set it aside and go back to a darker place using some of her darker skills to fight the Aether Corporation and save her future. Adam starts off this novel in a darker place than Elena and it’s interesting to see how her initial hopefulness and his desperation to find the cure for cancer seem to run on a parallel path to each other, only meeting when her hope turns to desperation and his desperation to hope.
Future Lost was the darkest of the three novels but that glimmer of hope ran through the story like a grain of gold waiting to be mined. The plot took me on a journey of feelings, despair, desperation, sadness, love and most importantly that hope. On any other novel I may have felt the conclusion was a little too perfectly wrapped, but I think the feeling of calmness I felt was a kind of conviction that the characters finally found themselves in the right place, at the right time. Their happily ever after stretching out in front of them. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
To read my review of Future Shock click HERE and Future Threat click HERE
I was given a copy of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.
When Earth receives a message from an alien race scholars and scavengers both react with joy. The scholars for obvious reasons. An alien race exists and their planet may have the resources to save Earth. Scavengers, or scavvers as they are called in this novel, are also rubbing their hands with greed over these same resources that could save Earth, but they see the profit they could make. Mia, a scavver, and Jules, a scholar, meet each other on the Undying’s planet of Gaia. He to observe and learn, she to scavenge and sell items to free her sister from slavery. They are essentially abandoned on this planet with only each other to turn to against other less savory scavvers. Do they trust each other? No. However, as time goes on they come to see that they only have each other to help get themselves off this planet.
Unearthed was an Indiana Jones meets Star Trek action adventure science fiction novel. As Mia and Jules traverse across this planet trying to outsmart other unsavory characters they form a bond that is unbreakable. Mia, although uneducated, uses her street smarts, while Jules uses his education in all things Undying, able to read their glyphs. Both skills making them equals on this adventure.
Mia’s character was as bright as her two toned hair. Sassy and energetic, she was driven by the need to save her sister. Jules’s nerdy prep school smarts made him her complete opposite, yet he had that same drive to succeed, but his need was to restore his father’s honor. I really liked the detail and descriptions the authors wove into the story. This alien race in technology was light years ahead of the human race, and these two kids were able to crack the code of their existence on this planet, and why they were reaching out to Earth. The puzzles were detailed and Mia and Jules’ teamwork gave this novel great energy, moving the plot forward quickly.
Kaufman who also co-authored Illuminae and Gemina with Jay Kristoff, has a deft hand at imbuing teens with adult attributes. As with other great Young Adult novels, I forgot I was reading about a couple of seventeen year old’s maneuvering through these traps and triggers. This novel was great fun and ended way to quickly. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️