Tag Archives: YA

aurora cycle

Book Review: Aurora Rising & Aurora Burning, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I borrowed an audio copy of Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff‘s Aurora Rising from the library. When they didn’t have an audio copy of Aurora Burning, I borrowed an ecopy.

Description from Goodreads:

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 techwiz 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.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

my review

These days, I go into Young Adult books hoping for the best and expecting to be disappointed. But Aurora Rising not only didn’t disappoint me, it was an all-out pleasant surprise. I had a lot of fun with it. I laughed frequently, liked the characters and diversity, and was invested in the plot.

Yeah, I thought there was some predictability and a few cliches. But I also liked the unexpected nature of some of them. The heroine doesn’t fall for who you’d expect, for example. All in all, I liked the book and raced out for book two. (OK, ‘raced out’ means I went online to digitally borrow the next book. But you know what I mean.)

As to the audio, I thought the narrators did a great job. I only had one irritant. As much as I liked all the character voices, I couldn’t figure out how three people who grew up in the same place (knew each other from Kindergarden) would end up with drastically different accents. Or rather one of them would sound completely different from the other two. Even if your parents are from different places, you’d still sound like where you’re from…all of you.


aurora burning

Description from Goodreads:

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

my review

As is so often the case with second books, especially when they’re also middle books, I didn’t like this as much as the first. That isn’t to say I didn’t still enjoy it, but not quite as gleefully. I missed having the crew together and all the banter that went with it. And I thought the predictability in the plotting stronger here too. I still like the characters though. I’m still interested in seeing how it all plays out, and look forward to book three. Unfortunately, it’s not out yet. Which I didn’t realize when I picked the series up. If I had, I might have waited a few more months to start it. Oh well, now I have to wait. But I will, because I do want to read it.

song of shadow

Book Review: Song of Shadow, by Natalya Capello

I picked up a copy of Natalya Capello‘s Song of Shadow as an Amazon freebie, earlier this year.
song of shadow natalya capello

They said she was out of her mind. The dark truth will shake the foundations of the fae realm…

Lorelei refuses to believe her wild visions mean she’s insane. But despite her royal sidhe heritage, she’s banished to a remote priory to prevent her causing trouble. So when a priestess of the Elemental Order urges her to join a risky pilgrimage, she flees her prison and sails headlong into danger.

Traveling to an ancient land imbued with volatile magic, she chokes back her disbelief after unearthing evil sorcery that shouldn’t exist. And now that Lorelei holds the forbidden secrets, she fears it’s only a matter of time before the powerful Elphyne Empire silences her permanently. If the fae church’s ruthless assassins don’t hunt her down first…

Can Lorelei expose the sinister conspiracy before darkness falls forever?

 

my review

I gotta be honest. This has a great cover, but I was board stiff by it. It’s just so very linear. This happens, and then this happens, and then this happens, and then this happens. There is no build up of tension or feeling of being immersed in a broader story. And so very many of the things that happened were the group running into battle, getting injured, freeing someone, getting healed to run off and to the exact same thing again. It got redundant.

Then there is one of my biggest pet peeves. This book is labeled as book one. But there is apparently a novella that comes before it that really needs to have been read for some things to make sense. I am of the firm belief that if the prequel needs to be read (not just a bonus, but is an integral part of the story and plot), IT IS BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES.

I did like some of the characters, Wes in particular. And the mechanical writing is plenty readable. But I just couldn’t really ever get into it.

The Awakening Kaylee Johnston

Book Reviews: The Witch & The Awakening, by Kaylee Johnston

I first came across Kaylee Johnston’s The Witch & The Awakening when Sadie’s Spotlight had a Release Day Blitz for The Awakening. I read them as part of my Awakening Challenge, where I set out to read eight books titled Awakening. (Or rather, I read The Awakening for the challenge and read The Witch because it’s the preceding novella.)


the witch kaylee johnston

Description from Goodreads:

Magic always has a cost.

In a world where humans aren’t meant to know about witches, Ella Louise Duncan just wants her boyfriend to know who she truly is and what she can do before they take their relationship to the next level. When she shows him her true identity, she doesn’t expect him to completely reject her — or send a posse after her and all of the other witches in town.

With the humans wanting to do away with witches for good, Ella Louise is ready to bring the fight to them. When her parents and all the other elder witches force her to run with her sisters, she’s not exactly happy. She is ready to fight for her right to live out of the shadows, but nobody else agrees.

When she runs into a stranger who reveals he’s not who he says he is, she has to learn how to take responsibility for her actions, follow directions even when she doesn’t want to, and protect her friends and family. Does Ella Louise have what it takes to bring the witches out of the dark and into the light…or will it all end in ruin — and her death?


Not all out horrendous, but sloppy and inconsistent. I appreciate that Ella Louise was strong and willing to stand up for herself, but I disliked her to the extreme. She was selfish, stubborn, and ultimately ignorant to the obvious, a fact I found implausible.


the awakening kaylee johnston

Description from Amazon:

Not everyone wants magic.

In a world where humans hate witches, there’s no one who hates them more than Jameson Tyler – they are the reason his mother and little sister are dead. Then one morning, he wakes to find those he’s hated for his entire life are now his only hope to understanding his new identity, his new life…as a witch.

Jameson has to get to the witch’s side of town – a place he’s never been and has loathed his entire life – and give up everything he’s ever known before the Witch Special Forces (WSF) captures him. On top of avoiding the WSF, when his new Headmistress attacks him, things get even more complicated.

He must accept his new fate and life before being killed, letting the Magical Community fall into the wrong hands. Can Jameson put his hatred aside or will he let his prejudice destroy them all?

my review

I hate to do this. I mean really, really hate to do it. I abhor having to leave a bad review as the first review a book gets and every second it sits as the only review a book has bothers me. But I’ve promised myself to be honest in reviews, so I’m not going to pull punches. This book is A MESS. I often read ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) that haven’t had a final edit yet. I am accustomed to overlooking a few editing mishaps. This is not an ARC as far as I know, since it was published in February. But even if it was, I’d call it too much of a mess to have been sent out for review.

I’m talking homophones (passed and past are misused a lot), repeat words (scoffed used in subsequent sentences, for example), inconsistencies (has it been 1000 or 50 years since the last Guardian), and timeline quagmires. At one point a new un-introduced character shows up and then in the next chapter the main character meets her (and there’s no time travel involved).

Then there’s just the story itself. The main character is literally homicidally anti-witch. He tries to kill one. Then he meets a witch and in less an hour is laughing and making friends with him. The plot leaps around, focusing on the minutia and literally skipping over the important events. At one point the main character is kidnapped and rescued, resulting in a death of someone important, and the author literally doesn’t show it, just lets the friends relate the events in about 3 paragraphs. But we’re told about cooking a roast over several pages.

I think even if someone came to me and said, “Hey, you actually did read an ARC” or “turns out the author uploaded the wrong file, not the final one” and I had to ignore all the editing problems, I’d probably still give this a 1 or 2 stars based on the jagged writing and overblown emotions. No one talks, everyone yells. Peoples’ miens swing from calm to exaggerated in seconds. The pacing is inconsistent, etc.

I hate to say it, but skip this one…at least if or until a new edition comes out.