Friday YA: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Weather catastrophes are destroying the Earth and many countries are now underwater from severe storms and typhoons. Leaders band together to finance a voyage to Europa and eventually colonize it. After the failure and death of the astronauts from the previous mission, it’s been determined that a younger group may have a better chance at survival. 24 teenagers from around the globe are drafted to compete at the International Space Training Camp for a place on the team of six people that will be sent to Europa. From the moment I picked this novel up I was enthralled by the action and intrigued by the mystery and had a hard time putting it down!

Naomi is Iranian-American and a science genius. Before Earth’s self destruction she had dreams of going to NASA but now doesn’t want to leave her family behind. If she gets chosen as one of the final six, she’ll never see any of them again. Leo’s family and home were lost to a typhoon and this competition gives him a reason to be alive. His championship swimming skills were the reason he was chosen to be in the top 24 and he’s eager for the challenge in front of him. When strange things start happening he helps Naomi investigate the truth behind their mission.

This was such a fun novel! I loved that Naomi an Iranian-American was so smart and seemed to be the only one who was questioning what they were training for.. there were so many question marks. She had strength, but with a sick younger brother at home also had a reason to not want to go on this mission. Leo’s background may have been more sad, but I liked Naomi’s inner struggle. What’s right? Saving multiple people or only her own family?

Leo’s back story was certainly more sad. His entire family lost to a typhoon and he is left alone with the memories of their faces underwater. This mission gives him life and a reason to live, then meeting Naomi gives him a possible future. Their romance was the frosting on the cake for me. I liked the two of them together so much.

If you like science fiction that are quick to read then you need to put this one on your list. The second novel doesn’t come out until next year which was a big disappointment for me, but I will definitely be picking it up to see how their journey continues on and if all of their fears are realized. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“his book entertained me liked I hoped it would. This is an easy sci-fi book perfect for summer or when you need something easy to pick up. While parts were solid enough, I do think parts really suffered from the terrible, one dimensional adults and the story needed to be longer to bring more to Naomi and the actual space training. But I will say that the mystery was interesting, great male lead in Leo and a solid ending that I am interested in reading the sequel.” Metal Fantasm Reads

“Overall this was an okay book. I definitely had some issues with it but it didn’t take so much away from me enjoying it. I liked it enough that I am interested in reading the second book but I’m not sure how soon I will be reading it once its published.” AfictionReality

Click this link to purchase!* The Final Six

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Eclipse the Skies (Ignite the Stars #1) by Maura Milan

At the end of Ignite the Stars, our three heroes found their lives changed in ways that made them question all they’d known previously. Eclipse the Skies is the story of how Ia, Brinn, and Knives rediscover their reason to fight for their beliefs, even if it’s hard to see the path to enlightenment.

Ia, the Blood Wolf of the Skies, lives for the day when she and her brother will come face to face, knowing only one of them will be left alive. Brinn embraces her heritage just as the world wants to demolish that same heritage. Knives finds out his father is not the ogre he thought just as he is about to lose the chance to make amends. Needless to say, Eclipse the Skies definitely takes a turn to the dark side, as our characters fight to overcome adversity.

I will admit, I did miss the more swashbuckling adventure the first novel set into play. It was a little harder for me to lose myself in this world without the interaction between these characters. They were separated through most of the book and all three of their storylines were pretty gloomy. The story picked back up when they started interacting with each other again and that’s when my enjoyment of the book ratcheted up.

This was a good sequel to Ignite the Stars, but beware, the pace is a little slower and the plot a little gloomier. My favorite character, Brinn, really took a turn to the dark side and I’m still recovering from that momentary panic that she wouldn’t return to the light. If you’re a fan of young adult and would like to give this sci-fi series a try, please read the books in order as this novel is a continuation of the previous plot. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Eclipse the Skies (2) (Ignite the Stars)

Copyright Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The first book in a new series by the authors of the Illuminae Files, Kaufman and Kristoff once again create an action packed science fiction space opera. Aurora, part of a team sent off planet to inhabit a new planet, was woken from cryo-sleep to find over 200 years had passed. The only living survivor of a ship of people, she is rescued by cocky cadet and team leader Tyler Jones. Along with the rest of his team, Aurora navigates a new world where she is being chased by an unknown enemy because of powers she doesn’t know she posses. Aurora Rising takes off from the first word read and doesn’t slow down until the last page.

Auri may be the catalyst for this plot but it’s the entire cast of characters that hold my interest. I’m going to share the description from the synopsis because really it says it best…

“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”

There are so many different relationships and sub plots at play between the five cadets I was inundated with surprise after surprise making me second guess who plays what part. These are not the obvious caricatures I am used to seeing in YA action novels. Auri is a sympathetic heroine but has hidden depths even she is only just discovering. Tyler seems to be the obvious hero, after all he’s the leader of this team of super smart rejects, but is he her romantic interest? As I turned each page something new was revealed that made me second guess my expectations of where the plot was leading and I was totally excited that I kept being surprised.

Overall Aurora Rising was a classic good versus evil plot, the main characters were charming, irreverent, funny, loving, and heroic. The villains? Super scary! All the traits expected in a great action filled sci-fi novel. This one was right in my wheel house and I enjoyed the heck out of it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“The premise of Aurora Rising is also not as complex as any of the books in the Illuminae Files trilogy, nor is it anywhere near as unique. It’s pretty much your standard heist plot, but in space, and I’ve read better. Still, to its credit, this book is exciting, if a bit drawn out at times—though often when we get lulls, it’s because of character development, which is why I give some of the wonky pacing a pass.” The BiblioSanctum

“The first thing I’m going to mention is the fact that I read this book with a perma-smile on my face. The dialogue and character interactions are fantastic! Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are hilarious! The way these characters talk to each other had me laughing pretty much the whole way through. “ Bionic Book Worm

Click this link to purchase!* Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick all Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Undying (Unearthed #2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

If you haven’t read Unearthed please know there are slight spoilers for that novel ahead.

At the end of Unearthed Mia and Jules were trapped aboard what was an abandoned alien spacecraft when suddenly it was no longer abandoned. The Undying stepped through a portal filling the ship to capacity. Mia and Jules are still trapped but this time living in the duct system trying to find a way to get off this ship and back home to warn everyone that the Undying were no longer extinct but were on their way to take over Earth.

Similar to Unearthed, Undying was very fast paced, full of action, and the budding romance of Mia and Jules. However, unlike Unearthed I found myself a little less wrapped up in the plot. Although this is a science fiction novel I think when the setting moved back to one I’m familiar with it became a little more mundane. Yes, they were trying to save their planet but instead of the focus being on two teenagers who were trying to survive, the introduction of so many adults to the plot subdued their ability to act immediately. Mia’s jump before you think nature was still in play, but her doubts about their ability to save the earth were tied to the fact that they were so young. When I read YA fantasy and science fiction I immediately throw away the thought that these are kids that have the responsibility to save the world. Kaufman and Spooner chose to make adults a larger part of this plot. By doing that it took me out of my head and made me start to ask those questions again. Why and how are this “kids” going to make everyone believe that the Undying are here already and trying to take over. It wasn’t a huge problem but it did stop me from enmeshing myself fully in the story. I didn’t have that problem in Unearthed. I went along for the crazy ride and really enjoyed it.

Mia and Jules were adorable as a couple. Their feelings were on display to the world and even though they had private moments of doubt their feelings were clear from the start. I also enjoyed the political nature of this novel. You have this other species trying to eradicate the existence of “proto” humans from Earth, but within that species is a faction that disagrees. It gave Dex, one of the Undying, depth and through his actions gave the Undying humanity. If you didn’t have that comparison you wouldn’t have cared at all for their existence.

I did enjoy this novel even though the pace was slower and bogged down in the middle. I think it was a fitting sequel to Unearthed although if I’d had my way they would have kept the action up in that space ship, but that would’ve been a totally different book. LOL. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere.

“Although I did enjoy it, unfortunately, I felt like this one fell a little flat. I mean, it was still enjoyable and I really loved the two main characters, but it was just missing the adventure and the mystery that I loved about the first book. ” The Chronicles of Danielle

“Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book quite as much as the first. I mean, Earth is simply a boring setting when you’ve been to another planet. There was also no thrill of characters falling in love with each other (because, well, they already had).” Brylie and Books

Click this link to purchase!* Undying (An Unearthed Novel)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

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

Click this link to purchase!* Ignite the Stars

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate