Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Can we talk about how no one hit me over the head with this brilliant book when it first came out to get me to read it? With the upcoming release in March of Obsidio, the third book in the Illuminae Files series, I had to get into this series.

Wow, Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman lives up to all the hype and more.

23395680.jpgThis morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Illuminae is unlike any other reading experience I’ve ever had. The story is told in recovered documents and correspondence from an incident deep in the galaxy involving a fleet of ships ferrying refugees after an attack on a faraway planet, a pursuing battleship and an out-of-its-mind Artificial Intelligence. I thought the removed perspective from the main characters would make it difficult to get into the story and feel what the characters feel, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I can’t get over the way these authors used text, graphics and white space to tell one of the most compelling in-space battle scenes I’ve ever read. The text was arranged in a way that it looked like fighter ships flying around shooting each other. You guys, I CRIED. I had big ol’ tears pouring down my face from the death throes and last words of fighter pilots, which was only made worse – or more impactful – by the way the text was arranged. It was heart-wrenching. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding and it was just so. Frickin. Good.

In addition to all the feels, including the gut-punching terror, soul-crushing why-god-why events and edge-of-your-seat anticipation, this book was also hilarious. The main characters, Kady and Ezra, were so funny – the kind of sarcastic people that love gallows humor and can lighten any life-or-death situation with a well-timed joke.

If you like YA Sci-fi at all, this is the book for you. My mind is completely blown. There is brain matter dripping down my walls as we speak. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!

STARS: 5 out of 5


Releases and Recommendations: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, which will be released on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

I love warrior women in my fantasy, and I’m particularly looking forward to the world-building with this one. The idea of fighting “clansmen” is more primitive than the typical YA fantasy and I can’t wait to see what it all entails. Plus, I’m all about the enemies-to-lovers trope, so I’m preparing the Eelyn/Fiske ship as we speak.

Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

Anyone reading Sarina Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers series has been dying to read Becca and Nate’s story. It’s finally arrived with Brooklynaire and it was totally worth the wait.

35053870.jpg A sexy new standalone from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.

You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other?

The best thing about Nate and Becca is the slow burn attraction that we’ve seen sprinkled throughout this series in other people’s stories. All their stories overlap a bit, and it seems everyone knows that Nate is in love with Becca except Becca. And to finally see it come to fruition made this book my favorite from this series. (Technically, this story is a standalone, but I’d recommend reading the other Bruisers books first. Who doesn’t want more Sarina Bowen?)

I particularly enjoyed the agonizing pace at which these two got together. It made their connection natural and more real. I also enjoyed the way the obstacle of dating your boss’s boss for a woman was portrayed. It’s a serious thing in the modern world, and it wasn’t just swept under the rug in an Oh-well-love-conquers-all way. Nate took her seriously and gave her the time she needed. Plus, I loved the way this was all resolved at the end of the book. Find you a Nate, ladies and gentlemen!

My favorite side character had to be Bingley – the Alexa-like Artificial Intelligence, but you know, ten times better because Nate designed it. Their conversations/commands with Bingley were downright hilarious and I particularly enjoyed the misunderstanding when Bingley thought Becca was talking to him during a particularly steamy session with Nate.

Brooklynaire was everything I wanted and more. It was romantic, practical and a fairy tale all wrapped up into one.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world!

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf, which will be released on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

35144326.jpgA lush, unique new fantasy trilogy about a girl tasked with stealing the prince’s heart…literally, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Lovely Vicious series.

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.


Heart stealing? Immortal, unageing soldiers? A game of cat and mouse? I’m SOLD. I love me some YA Fantasy and this looks like it’s right up my alley. I’m very much looking forward to meeting this Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane and seeing what kind of havoc Lady Zera will bring.


Meeting Marie Lu and other reasons I’ve been MIA

Hi there, internet :: waves ::

I’ve been MIA as of late. I blame the horrendous winter weather. (Haha, just kidding. I live in the south! But it has been “cold.”) I’ve been doing more than documenting, including reading without reviewing.

As part of my personal resolutions as opposed to my bookish ones, I’ve been trying to focus more on myself and “self-care,” which means putting less pressure on myself to do all the things. Finding opportunities to “rest” and “relax” helps me “recharge.” (I’m using all the buzzwords in the hopes that it will make it easier. I don’t think it’s working. HA!) Anywho, I’m back. Cue dramatic entrance.



Meeting Marie Lu


For the release of Batman: Nightwalker, I went to Parnassus Books in Nashville to see Marie Lu speak. She was so awesome and sweet in person. Per usual, I completely blacked out when I actually spoke to her but I believe I rambled about my love of Batman and how my car’s name is Bruce Wayne. I’ve yet to read the book but it’s definitely on my TBR.

Jan/Feb Reviews 

 2018 Reading Challenge Progress


 I have read 15 out of 100 books.

Currently Reading


Next on my TBR


What I’m Listening To


What I’m Watching

Image result for bachelor winter games

I’m a proud member of #Bachelornation, and The Bachelor Winter Games was the most entertaining 8 hours of television I’ve ever seen. (In addition to the Bachelor, I was watching six hours of bachelor television a week. No wonder I went MIA.) Not only did it have our favorite cast of characters from various seasons of the Bachelor and Bachelorette, it included people from the international versions as well. The tongue-in-cheek way the Bachelor franchise replicated the winter Olympics, including sports broadcast-type interviews and winter sport competitions, was epic. I’m pretty sure I laughed my butt off the entire time. The show is over now, but its definitely worth streaming if it seems like your type of thing.

What I’m writing


The main reason I’ve been MIA is because I’ve been in my writing cave. I’m trying to stay motivated to finish my manuscripts. I have three of them. I need to stop worrying about querying and finding an agent and just do it! I’m finalizing edits and looking for beta readers. Every day after work, I tell myself “I got this” complete with the SOA-inspired black eye from my own self-doubt. Wish me luck!



Grey & Darker by E.L. James

(NOTE: This may contain spoilers if you haven’t read the original trilogy.)

The release of the final Fifty Shades of Grey movie, Fifty Shades Freed, is upon us, and with the prompting of a friend, I decided to give Grey and Darker, the first two books in the Fifty Shades trilogy told from Christian Grey’s perspective, a try.

32024902E L James revisits the world of Fifty Shades with a deeper and darker take on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the globe.

Their scorching, sensual affair ended in heartbreak and recrimination, but Christian Grey cannot get Anastasia Steele out of his mind, or his blood. Determined to win her back, he tries to suppress his darkest desires and his need for complete control, and to love Ana on her own terms.

But the horrors of his childhood still haunt him, and Ana’s scheming boss, Jack Hyde, clearly wants her for himself. Can Christian’s confidant and therapist, Dr. Flynn, help him face down his demons? Or will the possessiveness of Elena, his seducer, and the deranged devotion of Leila, his former submissive, drag Christian down into the past?

And if Christian does win Ana back, can a man so dark and damaged ever hope to keep her?

First, I don’t know why, but I hate strongly dislike books told from alternative points of view, especially if it’s an entire book published way after the fact to capitalize on the success of the first. Why wasn’t the story told in dual POV in the first place? Does this character – a secondary character, really – have anything to add to the story? Alas, there’s a special place (a small, red room, perhaps?)  in my heart for Fifty and I gave Christian’s perspective a try.

Grey and Darker were impossible to put down. Much like reading their counterparts for the first time, I was immediately immersed into Christian’s dark world and it was kind of a pleasure to get a peek into his fifty-shades-of-effed-up head. However, Christian comes across less domineering and more damaged hero with his constant worrying and insecurities. I found them endearing.

My biggest struggle with reading Grey and Darker is you only get Christian’s perspective. Sure, it allows you to see some interesting things we missed in the original books (i.e. Christian’s fear and immediate attachment to Ana, what really went down when Charlie Tango crashed, and my personal favorite, what Christian’s mother said after finding out Mrs. Robinson and Christian’s secret.) However, I found myself struggling to remember what actually happened when Ana is “off-the-page,” specifically Ana with her Mom in Georgia and Ana and the gun-wielding sub in book two.  It made me want to go back and read the originals (even though I loathe re-reading), which I read years ago now, to get the full picture.

I did enjoy Christian’s perspective, but I wish these stories had been told side-by-side since the get-go, which goes back to my instinctual dislike of Alternate POV retellings. However, Christian’s nervous energy and fear would have taken away from his allure in Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s only endearing to readers after we get to know him and the end of his story.

My favorite part of Christian’s POV is the look into his past, specifically his “crack whore” mom and his early sub days with Mrs. Robinson. This really filled out Christian as a character for me and made his domineering, controlling ways more palatable. He became more of a person than a typical caricature of an “Alpha Male.”

I initially listened to Grey on audiobook, and the narrator did an AMAZING job, but I don’t think this book is conducive to narration because of all the email traffic and contracts. There is nothing more boring than listening to the narrator read the ENTIRE contract, especially when I skimmed through most of it the first time I read this story.

In the end, I give this story four stars because I couldn’t put it down and it was entertaining and familiar. I love these characters and their story, and I enjoyed being immersed back into their world. I couldn’t give it five stars because it can’t standalone. You have to read the original to get the retelling.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Wild Card by Rachel Vincent

I’m a huge fan of Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series so I’m loving her Wildcats spinoff, and Wild Card is the third book and its Kaci’s story!

Wild Card (Wildcats, #3)Kaci Dillon is a man-eater.

She’s grown up on the fringes of shifter society, hearing the whispers. One desperate act as a starving, terrified child has made her the first tabby in history with no romantic prospects. But whatever. Eighteen is too young to get married anyway. Still, when she stumbles upon an opportunity to get away for a few days, who could blame her for seizing it?

Justus Alexander is screwed.

Confined to the South-Central territory, awaiting trial for crimes he committed as a traumatized, newly infected stray, Justus has discovered that the tribunal already intends to vote for the death penalty. He has no choice but to run. Too young to touch the trust fund that could finance his escape, he’s betting on a big win at the poker tables—until Kaci, his secret crush, catches him sneaking out and demands that he take her with him to Las Vegas

After a wild night she can’t remember, Kaci wakes up with a ring on her finger, next to a young billionaire who can’t access his fortune until he turns twenty-five—or ties the knot. If she can keep her hands off her hot, charismatic new groom, she can have their unconsummated marriage annulled. But can she really abandon Justus to his death sentence, just to undo her own mistake?

It took me a minute to remind myself of who was who in the original shifter world, but once I was in, I was back in. It was so nice to see Faythe and Marc and others again. It was great to see Kaci all grown up and to meet Justus.

I loved being back in Vincent’s shifter world – the struggles of being a wildcat, the challenges of being a female, and all the shifter politics! I loved that Kaci had a mind for strategy and played a major role in council politics with this story. She’s beauty AND brains!

I’m a huge fan of the “waking up in Vegas married” trope and this has got to be one of the most unique with the added complexity of being shifters. This story was romantic with Kaci and Justus falling for each other but it was a little more PG-13 than her other Wildcat novels since the protagonist is only 18. It’s a bit of a YA shifter story. Wild Card was also action packed – death-defying escapes, car chases and fighting. I wish there was more fighting in cat form or spending more time in cat form in general.

If you’re a fan of Vincent’s Shifter series, this spinoff series is a must-read. I believe she self-publishes it so it doesn’t get out there as much as her other series, but it deserves all the recognition.

STARS: 4 out of 5