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Mini-Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) – Seanan McGuire

Mini-Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) – Seanan McGuireTitle: Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire
Publishing Info: January 9, 2018 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Scribd
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Date Completed: July 17, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can't find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests...

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts.

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This was the book with the most action and forward motion, I think. The first book did have its own murder mystery but the characters actually went on a quest here and we got to see a few different worlds which was so exciting! Seeing the worlds is one of the things I enjoy the most because I just love exploring new worlds and all the world-building! I also really appreciate how Seanan McGuire already designed explanations to be in the book with the characters mapping each world as nonsense/logical and virtue/wicked to really give the whole concept a structure. I also loved that Tor created a full list and a graphic of all of the known portal worlds! That’s definitely the kind of thing that hooks me into a book, especially this one.

I had a lot of fun getting to know more of the characters here and pushing the plot forward even more! I felt like more characters came together, or maybe it just felt like it since it’s the third book and I’m getting to know how they’re all starting to intertwine. This was definitely the book that I appreciated most so far and I think knowing more characters and worlds allowed me to fall deeper into the these worlds, especially considering these stories are so short!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Portal worlds! We got to see a few different doors in this book and I loved it!!
Left Me Wanting More: Pages. I really do enjoy the length of these and how short they are but I was really enjoying this story!!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This has been a fun series so far and I enjoy this book a lot! I’m definitely looking forward to continuing on and getting to know more characters and their stories.

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BOOKS LIKE BENEATH THE SUGAR SKY

             

Mini-Review: Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Mini-Review: Dark Matter – Blake CrouchTitle: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Publishing Info: July 26, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Scribd
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: July 17, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

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DARK MATTER was a little different than I thought I’d be but it was so cinematic and entertaining with an excellent sci-fi thread! I was expecting it to be more psychological and almost a little scary like a thriller and it was much more sci-fi and alternate universe, which I also love. The book went through an number of different scenarios and changed tone a few times, still consistent with the Book’s overall tone but adapting with what the characters had experience and changing so we could follow what would happen next.

The audiobook was also highly entertaining and I was engaged the whole time! I think because of my expectations I was looking for some particular thrill in there but I really did enjoy it from start to finish, and I also really enjoyed Blake Crouch’s writing style! There was a lot of great story there and the details all felt pertinent.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Interesting sci-fi concepts. This book felt really unique and packed with sci-fi elements that I wasn’t even expecting!
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. I thought this was going to have a few more thriller elements in it, and while it was jam-packed with things, for some reason I was just left wanting a little bit more.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I  really enjoyed this one and I think other sci-fi fans who like a fast-paced story will too!

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BOOKS LIKE DARK MATTER

             

Skyward (Skyward #1) – Brandon Sanderson

Skyward (Skyward #1) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: November 6, 2018 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Amazon, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: February 5, 2019
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with that of her father's—a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa the daughter of a coward, her chances of attending Flight School slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

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Well, this is awkward. I seem to be one of the only people so far who hasn’t really loved or enjoyed this book. SKYWARD was just…. fine. I’ve read all of Sanderson’s major published works (minus some of the latest Alcatraz books since I’m not a big MG reader) and this one fell really flat for me. I’ve come to know Sanderson’s writing and no matter what kind of book he’s writing, there’s still that typical style that packs a novel with punches and sass. SKYWARD did have some enjoyable moments and it did have its great sassy characters, but nothing really stood out for me while reading.

I felt like SKYWARD, in short, was slow. I kept waiting for things to get interesting and they kind of never did until the very end, by which time my interest was long gone. I’m used to picking up more things along the way and I kept trying to grab those pieces as I read but the “clues” either felt really obvious or weren’t divulged at all, making for a frustrating reading experience. It almost felt like he toned down the world-building for this, and I won’t say it’s *because* it’s YA but it felt like he aimed to write this younger than his adult novels, which is fine and that appeals to the actual teen audience, but I also felt like it was a little too muted. I really missed a lot of his incredible writing style where there are so many layers to the book and I just didn’t really feel it here. The big plot twist (towards which the whole book is building) happens at the very end, but even then I didn’t quite love it. I felt like all of the flight school and repetitive mentions of how the main character’s father was a coward was overkill. There were a lot of action sequences with fighting off the bad guys where I felt the book could have benefitted from other important pieces of plot or world-building.

I also didn’t love the character relationships here either. I did like the friendships created but I still didn’t feel connected to them, like these characters were really a squad. They did come together and I enjoyed it, but I don’t know… they just never felt totally cohesive where I wanted to shout “#squadgoals!”, you know? I liked that this book didn’t really have a romance because I really don’t need a romance to enjoy a book. Things did start building in a certain direction but I also think I would have enjoyed it more if that tension had started building a little bit more in book one. I don’t need characters to get together right away but that development felt slow to me also. I wanted to see more on-screen time with the two we know are building towards a love interest to really build their relationship for me and there were only small portions of that here with the two of them alone. I did see the chemistry but it was in too short of a timeframe.

SKYWARD was a fine read and it wasn’t a bad one by any means, but compared to the other books I’ve read from Brandon Sanderson, it’s by far my least favorite. I just felt like it could have used a lot more development and a lot fewer details and fight scenes. I’m sure I’ll continue the series because it’s Brandon Sanderson and that would be hard NOT to continue but I’m also really bummed that I didn’t love this book and it’ll be hard to go into the next book with an open mind.

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Space Adventures. I really, really love adventures in space, especially ones that take us to new corners of the galaxy.
Left Me Wanting More: Advancement of plot. Brandon Sanderson has the great concept of some serious twists but I wanted it to lead up to it a little bit more. I felt like there was some poor hinting and then it just happened. I wanted more of that adult-feel with the plot development and it felt too easy or quick.

Addiction Rating
Try it

It was enjoyable even though it wasn’t a favorite of mine. A lot of people seem to still like it so I’d say give it a shot!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE SKYWARD

             

Foe – Iain Reid

Foe – Iain ReidTitle: Foe by Iain Reid
Publishing Info: September 4, 2018 by Simon & Schuster
Source: ALAAC18
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction
Date Completed: June 30, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: I'm Thinking of Ending Things

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm...very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won't have a chance to miss him, because she won't be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.

Told in Reid’s sharp and evocative style, Foe examines the nature of domestic relationships, self-determination, and what it means to be (or not to be) a person. An eerily entrancing page-turner, it churns with unease and suspense from the first words to its shocking finale.

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After being totally wowed by Iain Reid’s first fictional novel, I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS, I was very excited to find out that he had FOE coming out, which I was lucky enough to find at ALA this year. I knew it was something I wanted to pick up immediately, trying to find the same exciting spark but this one just didn’t have the same effect on me, mostly due to the ending, which was the selling point of I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS.

One thing that really did stay consistent was that ever-moving pace. Reid’s writing style just makes you want to race through to the end, constantly clueing readers in on subtle nuances that play a bigger part in the overall story. There are little things to pick up along the way, clues planted, and key points that constantly kept me guessing. I had so many wild theories as to what was going on (all of which were WAY off) and it wasn’t that they were red herrings but there were so many things to pay attention to that I should have guessed what was happening here and I didn’t. This was really similar to my experience read his first book as well, which made for a really enjoyable experience and I pretty much sat in the same place, ignoring everything until I finished.

I also love that this book is another 200+ page novel. It makes it easy to want to just sit there until I’m finished with the book. The pacing adds to the need to binge read and I really didn’t put it down until I was done! I read it within a span of a few hours, not wanting to stop until I found out what Reid had in store for his readers.

I will say, though, that I didn’t love the ending. I do want to talk about it so THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. Look away from he rest of this paragraph if you don’t want to read the spoiler part! So throughout the whole novel, there are little hints that this book is set in the future at some point in time. Junior and Hen live on a farm so their lifestyle hasn’t changed so much as far as technology goes, so I wasn’t sure if that was something to lead me off the path, but it really was a part of the story. “Screens” instead of a cell phone, the fact that Junior is even chosen for this space program, cars that drive themselves. All legitimate parts of the book. We find out down the road that this mysterious Terrance is there to create a duplicate of Junior for his wife while he’s gone for two years so then the suspicion is why and is that the real purpose? When it all comes to an end, we find out that the narrator WAS the duplicate almost the whole time and then the real Junior comes home. Definitely twisty but I was really hoping for another psychological twist where Junior was in a psych ward and this was a schizophrenic break, or that some things were real but others weren’t. I know the psychological twist was already done but I didn’t really like the sci-fi aspect of it. I guess I just wasn’t expecting it and was waiting for something huge. I did like the reveal and it was a great concept but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.

I did enjoy the book and it was impossible to put down, but didn’t love the ending. More so, I just love Reid’s writing style and even if I didn’t love this book, I will for sure be picking up anything else after this because the story is so enthralling and I can’t put these books down!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fast-paced novels. Both of the novels I’ve read from Iain Reid had me racing through, not wanting to put the book down! It was so easy to want to keep going to with a short number of pages, easy to inhale without getting up off of the couch!
Left Me Wanting More: Psychological thrills. I liked the psychological element of the first book and while I did like that this book had a different twist, I found myself wanting that same sort of twist.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

It’s an easy, quick, and addictive read. I didn’t quite love the ending but I think I’d still recommend it and find it worth the read!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE FOE

              

Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) – Pierce Brown

Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) – Pierce BrownTitle: Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: January 16, 2018 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: February 5, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Red Rising (Red Rising #1), Golden Son (Red Rising #2), Morning Star (Red Rising #3)

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

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WELL. This book has given me quite a number of confusing feelings. MORNING STAR was my favorite book of the Red Rising original trilogy and I’m not ashamed to admit that part of the reason was all of the stunning punches that Pierce Brown packs into those pages. I wouldn’t say I was let down because that’s silly and harsh but the twists of the first three books did really set up for IRON GOLD to follow suit and I just didn’t feel as floored by the plot. I guess it makes sense with IRON GOLD really being the new start and taking place ten years after MORNING STAR, that it restarts the three-act process and reestablishes stories from the beginning, setting a new series arc into motion. I’m back at square one where I was with RED RISING where I enjoyed it quite a bit but there was still that smidge of something that I was missing where I didn’t QUITE love it.

That being said, Pierce Brown is an amazing, AMAZING character creator. These characters are some of the most in-depth fictional characters that I’ve ever met. There are things that I hadn’t even though about, running through so many emotions, turmoils, and logical thoughts, that really just don’t make it into the pages of books. These characters carry grief and love and purpose well beyond the pages that we witness. One thing that I love is that for example, as Darrow grows, his grief grows with him. His heartache changes based on the things he’s learned in life. His view of people like Eo and his father and Mustang and Pax constantly change based on his experiences and that’s something that really hit me in the gut reading this book. So often we see characters who carry their grief along but it’s just this empty hole that can be all-consuming… and that’s absolutely true, but Darrow and Ephraim and Lyria and Lysander — they all experience these things so deeply and go through so much that their lives change perspectives and change the way they look at their past. It just feels like Pierce Brown is able to take this to a layer that I’ve experienced very few times and I’m wholly impressed with the emotion that it leaves behind.

For some reason I just wasn’t connected it IRON GOLD like I had hoped, even after binge reading the first three books. I still felt taken out of this world because of the character shift (Darrow’s first-person to four different first-person narratives) as well as the shift in purpose, maturity, family focus, and so much more. It was an adjustment for a while and I did enjoy the other POVs but there was still something that wasn’t quite cohesive for me. It picked up with POVs started merging and things really got interesting and then it seemed like everyone started to fall back apart again and things lost momentum.

Also like RED RISING, there were a lot of new characters who weren’t necessarily BRAND new but who we started to see take on more prominent roles. I’m not sure if it’s an audiobook thing but sometimes I have a hard time keeping track of all of the names and families (though that did seem to be a RED RISING issue and I read that in print) so there were times I forgot who was related and why they were important. I don’t think I would have changed anything because obviously their stories are so very important, but it was something that took me out of that experience enough to be noticeable.

Overall, the writing is just brilliant but I think IRON GOLD may be my least favorite book so far. That may change as the series progresses and I get more of a grip on this new story arc but I don’t feel as invested as I did with the previous story arc… but this same exact thing happened with my reading experience with the Red Rising books. It took until GOLDEN SON to really start to connect with everyone and everything and then MORNING STAR blew my mind, so there’s still the overall series experience to look forward to. This is only part one (or part four… I feel like Star Wars here) of much more to come and there’s a lot left to experience, that much I know!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Series continuations. It was really interesting to see these characters grown as adults and how they deal with the aftermath of everything from the original trilogy!
Left Me Wanting More: Twists. Is that greedy? There are just so many great twists throughout the first three books and I just wanted more!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Obviously if you’ve ready the original trilogy, I recommend it! It wasn’t my favorite of all the books but I’m interested in where this set of books goes!

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BOOKS LIKE IRON GOLD

          

Morning Star (Red Rising #3) – Pierce Brown

Morning Star (Red Rising #3) – Pierce BrownTitle: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: February 6, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: January 26, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Red Rising (Red Rising #1), Golden Son (Red Rising #2), Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

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OH MY.
WHAT.
WHO.
THIS BOOK.

So I started reading RED RISING and it was enjoyable but I think I lacked direction on where the series was going. GOLDEN SON was similar to RED RISING in the beginning for me, feel-wise, and then I really connected to the characters in the second half. And I actually started MORNING STAR off with that bit of feeling like I was looking for where the series would end up and OH. MY. GOD, PIERCE BROWN.

Okay, so let’s back up even more. I finished the book on a on a Friday and I saw Pierce Brown on the Tuesday before. The event blatantly spoiled a big THING *cough*it was all Pierce*cough* and I really did expect spoilers but I was still upset. I thought that would be one of the biggest things in this book and HA it was not even close. The end of MORNING STAR was just phenoooomenal. You think you know a twist? There’s another. And another. And another. Ugh, I was so surprised and angry and happy and relieved and pleased and just the entire range of emotions.

I wasn’t understanding the love for this series because I wasn’t quite connected to it early on but DUDE. Pierce Brown totally nailed it in this book and things came together FROM THE BEGINNING (which I love. A+ world-building there) and it was so, so rewarding.

It’s hard to talk about MORNING STAR without spoiling anything so I’ll leave this as more of a feelings review, but if you were ever on the fence about this series, hopefully this book makes it all worth it because it totally blew my mind!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Insane twists. Pierce Brown packed some punches in here that I just did not see coming! It was so exciting and I never knew what was going to happen next.
Left Me Wanting More: Of everything. This book truly had it all, and I absolutely loved it. I didn’t want it to end!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’ve been hesitant about the series, this is the book that brings it all together. If you haven’t, well, I think you’re about have your world rocked.

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BOOKS LIKE MORNING STAR

          

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) – Pierce Brown

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) – Pierce BrownTitle: Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: January 6, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: January 20, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Red Rising (Red Rising #1), Morning Star (Red Rising #3), Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

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It’s been quite a bit since I read this book and I had a hard time putting my feelings into words because Pierce Brown kind of took all my words away on this one. GOLDEN SON is definitely my favorite book out of the whole series so far (having read through all of the published works at the moment) and it really did blow my mind!

I had the same sort of issue starting GOLDEN SON as I had with RED RISING where I was enjoying it but didn’t quite love it, and then almost halfway through, everything snapped into place and I was in love! GOLDEN SON, unlike many other sophomore novels, really started getting everything into place for the trilogy’s conclusion while still connecting to everything in the first book. The whole cast of characters really started to shine, outside of just the main cast, and I finally felt like I had a hold on all of the character connections and the different houses.

The plot also really takes off and the reader really gets a sense of the direction of the whole series. RED RISING was great but it was also a lot of world-building and set-up that had to take place before we really got to some of the good stuff in GOLDEN SON. I also think GOLDEN SON had the most twists which of course is something I treasure in books because I always love being surprised and Pierce Brown sure dropped a few bombs in here (no pun intended).

I think GOLDEN SON was the strongest Red Rising novel and Pierce Brown about killed me in the end! There was so much going on, new and wonderful characters, familiar faces, and a whole lot of action! Definitely my favorite out of all of them.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Insane twists. Pierce Brown packed some punches in here that I just did not see coming! It was so exciting and I never knew what was going to happen next.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection in the beginning. I still had that sort of distance in the beginning but it did come around quickly!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you hated RED RISING, well, you probably won’t like the rest of the books BUT if you liked it or thought it was okay, things definitely get better in GOLDEN SON so I highly recommend it!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE GOLDEN SON

          

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) – Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) – Pierce BrownTitle: Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: January 28, 2014 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Adult, Action/Adventure
Date Completed: December 27, 2017
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Golden Son (Red Rising #2), Morning Star (Red Rising #3), Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

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By the time I got around to writing my review for RED RISING, I’ve already finsihed the entire first trilogy and finished the first installment in the next era with IRON GOLD, so admittedly, I have quite a different view of this book than when I write down my initial thoughts. It actually makes it all the more interesting to see how I’m able to look back at this book in a such a different light, so I’ll try to capture both aspects since I’m able to do so!

RED RISING really wasn’t what I expected at all. First off, it’s not really young adult. It’s a young adult book in the sense that it has a teenage protagonist and involves many things that are prominent themes in YA novels, but the whole series is marketed and was sold as adult, which I had no idea! It’s weird because I don’t find young adult to be young, or limiting, or unable to reach the depth that adult novels have, but there was a sort of different tone that had a more mature feel and made the journey much more of one where the main characters are being pushed into adulthood rather than experiencing the normal coming-of-age transition that many YA novels focus on. This also becomes a lot more noticeable throughout the series, at least for me.

To go along with that feel and concept, the book had a much different flow than I was anticipating. I’m not sure what I really was expecting with this book but I was not anticipating a HUNGER GAMES read-alike, something of which I have never truly found. The book kicks off with Darrow and his life on Mars, setting up the current state of things and once that’s established, it quickly moves to murder school where the teens essentially learn what it is to be an adult in this type of society. I was kind of disappointed with the abrupt switch because I really wasn’t expecting it and it felt like a whole different plot and even a different book. That being said, I did still enjoy everything that happened, but it was quite a different feel! It was super brutal and really had that cut-throat (sometimes literally) feel of the HUNGER GAMES mentality, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away and everything that takes place there sets up the relationships for the entire series, which I loved.

At the end of the book, I wasn’t totally dying to run and pick up the next one. I had mixed feelings on the overall flow and while the writing was deep and beautiful and amazing, the way that it ended just didn’t push me to pick up GOLDEN SON right away (even though I basically did). It was hard to see where life was headed after this and it was set up but still quite fuzzy. I could tell it was going to delve much more into the politics but without knowing what the world was like outside of this academy, it was hard to anticipate exactly what the feel of the next books would be. 

This was the first book I’ve read (in print) in a while that I’ve really been able to focus on and enjoy so that did have me excited to continue with the series! The hype was real and while I didn’t seem to love this first one as much as other people had, obviously at this point in time, I know the hype for the series is real! If you’re new to the series, it is definitely worth it, even if you’re not in love with RED RISING; however, if you’re not a fan of the themes, action, or writing of RED RISING, that is the general feel of the whole series so you may want to think how you might feel about future books!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Mars?! I loooove books that take place on other planets. I love space and it’s so neat to see how authors create livable atmospheres on other worlds.
Left Me Wanting More: Flow. The book didn’t really flow like I had wanted it to. It felt a little choppy in the beginning but I think it really came together in the end!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This one wasn’t my favorite of the series but it really sets up everything for the series and the characters, action, twists, and adventure are so worth it!

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BOOKS LIKE RED RISING

          

Mini-Review: Snapshot – Brandon Sanderson

Mini-Review: Snapshot – Brandon SandersonTitle: Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: February 17, 2017 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 19, 2017
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

If you could re-create a day, what dark secrets would you uncover?

From New York Times #1 bestselling author Brandon Sanderson comes a detective thriller in a police beat like no other. Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz are the only real people in a city of 20 million, sent there by court order to find out what happened in the real world 10 days ago so that hidden evidence can be brought to light and located in the real city today.

Within the re-created Snapshot of May 1st, Davis and Chaz are the ultimate authorities. Flashing their badges will get them past any obstruction and overrule any civil right of the dupes around them. But the crimes the detectives are sent to investigate seem like drudgery—until they stumble upon the grisly results of a mass killing that the precinct headquarters orders them not to investigate. That’s one order they have to refuse.

The hunt is on. And though the dupes in the replica city have no future once the Snapshot is turned off, that doesn’t mean that both Davis and Chaz will walk out of it alive tonight.

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I love Brandon Sanderson’s novellas and one thing I really enjoy about them is how so many of them (probably most of them) delve into the sci-fi world. Most of his full-length novels are fantasy-based (although STEELHEART was more sci-fi with a dash of superhero and some of his fantasy concepts fit well with scientific explanations). It’s a fun change of pace and a great way to dip into a new world.

SNAPSHOT was a really fun novella! It takes place in the not-too-distant future of 2018 where “Snapshots” have been developed to help a local police branch relive a specific day in order to gain some insight or knowledge on a particular crime. A snapshot is a full recreation of that specific day and the snapshot plays out as the day had originally happened from start to finish. The premise of the story is that Davis and his partner are “IRL” people (as opposed to the recreations in the snapshot) and they go into each scenario to try to gather any information that might give their IRL cops a lead to investigate. The concept was really fun and interesting, constantly trying to wrap my mind around a snapshot and how the interaction of “in real life” people altered the course of the day that was playing back.

Of course it’s Sanderson and I knew a twist was coming but I had no idea what that twist was. I really should have guessed it but I was enjoying my listen to this audiobook so much that I just let myself get lost in the story and didn’t try to figure it out. I really enjoyed the ending and it was a rather interesting finish!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Sanderson sci-fi. I love dabbling into the more sci-fi side of things, which seem to happen more often in Sanderson’s novellas than his full-length novels!
Left Me Wanting More: Surprises. The ending was good and a little twisty but I can always use a few more exciting moments!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Perfect for Sanderson fans, true to tone, quick, and fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SNAPSHOT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 LOYALTY IN DEATH    ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

I happen to have read two novellas/short stories from Brandon Sanderson recently and I decided to combine them into one set of mini-reviews! I grabbed the audio of PERFECT STATE  and SILENCE FOR SHADOWS IN THE FORESTS OF HELL in a recent Audible sale and managed to squeeze them in between full-length novels. Then I immediately ran to read MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY after finishing THE BANDS OF MOURNING because A) that series is addicting and B) I always want more answers and backstory to the Mistborn universe! Below you’ll find some brief thoughts on each.


Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: March 31, 2015 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 25, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai's world.
Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date.
Forces have conspired to require him to meet with his equal—a woman from another world who has achieved just as much as he has. What happens when the most important man in the world is forced to have dinner with the most important woman in the world?

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PERFECT STATE was a lot of fun! I really liked the whole concept of “meta fiction” (I recently discovered this term!) in which the main character is essentially playing out their life through a simulated world (think The Matrix or even a VR world like in READY PLAYER ONE). PERFECT STATE follows the story of Kai who is the ruler of his own (fictional) world and now the time has come for him to interact with other actual humans and do his duty to reproduce in order to keep the population going.

These quick novellas from Sanderson are always so hard to rate! I know his amazing world-building and I always go into these novellas excited to read more Sanderson and I’m left wanting so much more! I could easily read a whole novel or series about this world and these characters! It would have been a fantastic series if that were the case. It’s classic Sanderson through and through — great world, witty characters, interesting intersection, creative twist. I loved the characters and I wished I could have spent more time in all of these different worlds!
I also really loved the combination of fantasy and sci-fi. It was really neat to see the two collide like that! I’ve really enjoyed everything that Brandon Sanderson has written, no matter the genre, and I will keep reading everything that crosses my path!


Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Amazon
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 4, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Mistborn: Secret History is a companion story to the original Mistborn trilogy.
As such, it contains HUGE SPOILERS for the books Mistborn (The Final Empire), The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. It also contains very minor spoilers for the book The Bands of Mourning.
Mistborn: Secret History builds upon the characterization, events, and worldbuilding of the original trilogy. Reading it without that background will be a confusing process at best.
In short, this isn’t the place to start your journey into Mistborn. (Though if you have read the trilogy—but it has been a while—you should be just fine, so long as you remember the characters and the general plot of the books.)
Saying anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowledge of this story’s existence is, in a way, a spoiler.
There’s always another secret.


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MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY was incredibly mind-blowing. I can’t really say TOO much about it because it’s incredibly spoilery for those who haven’t read MISTBORN yet or even those who haven’t finished THE BANDS OF MOURNING yet. This short story takes place just after the rush of events as MISTBORN is ending and continues to span throughout the rest of the original trilogy, setting things up for the Wax & Wayne era.

Sanderson’s world building is astounding. I love that he’s been compiling this story little by little as he’s been writing the series and finally shared it in this novella. I agree that it may have been too much to mix in with the series chronologically and I was happy to read this all from one POV!

Honestly? I got a tad lost in the middle. Well, not lost but I just have a hard time adapting to new ideas/places/people without enough anchors to hold me to an original character/story. Maybe I’m just not well-versed enough in the Cosmere? But I was having a bit of a hard time wrapping my brain around some of the sections in the middle just because we’re dealing with such higher forces (without giving any spoilers away) and a nearly new concept which I would have loved to spend more time with! Could be that these things/concepts/whatever also appear in other Sanderson books that I just haven’t read yet and that’s why I’m not picking up on it as much! Truly, the things you find out in this short story are so amazingly fantastical that I actually want to re-read the whole series and have MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY in hand so I can read them on the same timelines. I also want to go back and read sections of this again so I can really grasp what’s going on. Some things did  seem to be tied to other books set in the Cosmere so I really need to read those soon!!

There were some amazing moments between original Mistborn characters that just totally warmed my heart and really put a happy ending on everything. I loved tiny glances at different POVs (especially Kelsier’s) as scenes from the endings of MISTBORN, THE WELL OF ASCENSION, and THE HERO OF AGES appear in the novella. I loved seeing some of my favorite characters and getting even more answers as to what happened to them and exactly how things played out since we get a different perspective here.

Always a joy to read, some MIND-BLOWING knowledge that has me dying to pick up more books (not like that was an issue anyway. I already have reads planned out!), but now I can’t believe how long I’ll have to wait for new Mistborn books! AHHH!

Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: December 3, 2013 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 7, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

When the familiar and seemingly safe turns lethal, therein danger lies. Amid a forest where the shades of the dead linger all around, every homesteader knows to follow the Simple Rules: "Don't kindle flame, don't shed the blood of another, don't run at night. These things draw shades."
Silence Montane has broken all three rules on more than one occasion. And to protect her family from a murderous gang with high bounties on their heads, Silence will break every rule again, at the risk of becoming a shade herself.


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I think this is one of my favorite Brandon Sanderson novellas to date. (Though I think LEGION is right up there but in a totally different way.) SHADOWS FOR SILENCE IN THE FORESTS OF HELL (whew, that’s a long title for a short book) was instantly engaging for me! It took just a minute or two before I figured out who the focus of the novella was (you know me — I don’t re-read synopses before starting a new book) and then once I was there I was totally there. It was a short story but I was instantly captivated. Although it’s set firmly in the Cosmere, the characters and setting actually really reminded me of Patrick Rothfuss’ THE NAME OF THE WIND — which I also adore — and so I think that familiarity (even though totally unrelated) really helped me get a feel for things quickly which is something that I do have issues with sometimes in novellas.

The characters, action, and plot were all great! As usual with a short story, I was left wanting so much more world-building and backstory but in the sense that I was interested and invested, not that it was lacking. I felt like I had a nice grip on the concept of what was happening and the characters were interesting and showed a nice depth.

I think if you’re interested in picking a novella of Sanderson’s this is one I’d highly recommend on starting with! The audiobook was also great (and cheap) and it was perfect for a little change of pace between full-length novels.


Are you a big Sanderson fan? Have you read any (or all) of these? I can’t get enough of the Mistborn books!!