Review: Doctor Aphra

Series: Star Wars Disney Canon Novel
Author: Sarah Kuhn
Narrators: Emily Woo Zeller, Jonathan Davis, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Sean Kenin, Nicole Lewis, Carol Monda, Euan Morton, Catherine Taber, Marc Thompson
Publisher: Disney
Released: July 21st, 2020
Received: Own

4 kitties

Doctor Aphra is an Audible Original (I believe), and the first audiobook adventure for a Star Wars character that I am mildly obsessed with. It is basically her origin story all over again, so fans from the comics will find a lot of the details and storyline to be familiar.

Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra calls herself an archaeologist, but that isn’t an accurate depiction of who she is, or what she does. She may be one of the best at digging up information about rare artifacts, but keeping those artifacts safe is a completely different story.

You see, Doctor Aphra has a tendency of getting these grand schemes in her head, and more often than not, that results her getting in completely over her head in the process. Take the situation where she ended up working for Vader. An event that would naturally for an early end to her life.

One of the highlights from this audiobook telling of Doctor Aphra‘s story is that it is fully narrated. Emily Woo Zeller, Jonathan Davis, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Sean Kenin, Nicole Lewis, Carol Monda, Euan Morton, Catherine Taber, Marc Thompson all play a role in this adventure, and it really does bring the story to life. At least, it did for me.

“Oh, right. There are no auxiliary systems, and I don’t have a crew. Time to get creative.”

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Review: Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released: October 20th, 2020
Received: Arc
Warnings: Animal death, abuse, violence

4 kitties

I received a copy of Poisoned in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Jennifer Donnelly is famous for her retellings of classic fairy tales, and her writing adventure is far from over. Most recently, she’s taken to retelling Snow White, in Poisoned.

Sophia has always been told that she would make a horrible queen. That she was too emotional, too kind, too caring, to do what was needed. So she wasn’t surprised when one day, her death had been ordered. By her stepmother.

What did surprise Sophia is the adventure that followed. She may have had her heart stolen – literally – but that wasn’t enough to keep her down. Thanks to a seven kind strangers, at least. Now she’s on a quest to get her heart back, and save her kingdom.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall…who will bring about my fall.”

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Blog Tour & Review: Little Falls by Elizabeth Lewes

Little FallsAuthor: Elizabeth Lewes
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Released: August 11th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Drugs, PTSD, statutory, torture
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Little Falls in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Little Falls is Elizabeth Lewes’ debut novel, a thriller of epic proportions that merges together the past and the present into one intense read.

Sargeant Camille Waresch’s life hasn’t been the same since she came back from Iraq. She tried to put it all behind her, but life doesn’t work that way. Now she’s juggling two jobs, an estranged daughter, and PTSD, all while trying to live a normal life.

All of that was before she found the body, of course. Everything changed that day, as Camille found she couldn’t let go of a case that shouldn’t have been hers. Still, something made this body personal – beyond her being the finder, that is.

“Then something…snaps. Fragments. It just happened. Here. In the barn. Flakes of snow are melting on my jacket; they’re damp on my numb fingers.”

Warnings: Little Falls touches upon several heavy subjects. Torture and murder the probably the most dominant, but there are also implications/references to drugs and statutory rape. Then there’s Camille, who is very clearly experiencing strong PTSD.

In a world drowning with new thrillers, Little Falls somehow manages to stand out in the crowd. Camille’s story is one that demands to be read, with raw intensity and emotions bursting from the pages.

Honestly, it was refreshing reading a book that had a solid grasp of PTSD and other concerns of that nature. It’s really hard to portray, especially in a way that feels so organic. And yet, that is exactly how it felt in this novel. It’s hard not to feel for Camille, even as she continues to dig herself deeper and deeper into this hole of a mystery.

Lately, it feels like I’ve been struggling to find a thriller that I can really dive into, so you can imagine how happy I was to get sucked into this tale. Regardless of how dark it became.

Little Falls is a story that hints at the conclusion, right from the start. From there it’s really all a matter of explaining what happened – and why. It’s a novel full of twists and turns, yet the reader can arguably suss out the conclusion before it occurs. It’s all tightly woven together, with Camille’s path almost feeling inevitable by the end.

At least, that was how it felt while I was reading it. It was like she was on a journey she couldn’t turn away from. All while I was watching, unable to look away from what she was about to do next. Clearly, this book got into my head.

Truth be told, I’m still processing the end a little bit (despite the hint towards the beginning about how it would all unfold). I think that’s a good thing, but there is still a lot to take in about what happened. A lot that was left unsaid. I wonder if this novel will become a series? Or if it will stay a standalone piece?

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Review: Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld

Shatter CityAuthor: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Imposters #2
Publisher: Scholastic
Released: September 17th, 2019
Received: Own
Warnings: Disasters, dependency on medications
Rating: 4 kitties

Shatter City is the second novel in Scott Westerfeld’s latest series, The Imposters. Set after the events during The Uglies, this is a series sure to draw in all of his old fans once again.

Frey and Rafi are twins, though until recently the world only ever knew about Rafi. Thanks to the brutal tactics of their father, Frey has been forced to go above and beyond – joining her father’s enemies in order to save as many lives as possible.

Okay, and it doesn’t hurt that Frey will finally be allowed to be herself in the process. Or so she hoped and thought. Things haven’t gone quite as planned during her rebellion, and that somehow leads her right to Paz.

Paz is one of the few truly free cities in this world. It’s also her father’s next target. Frey doesn’t know what is in store, but she’s not going to sit idly by and watch her father destroy an entire nation for the sake of his greed.

 

“The vast silence rings my whole body. My lungs are full of dust, my vision swimming.”

Spoiler Warning

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Review: Star Trek: Picard – Countdown

Star Trek Picard CountdownAuthor: Kirsten Beyer
Artists: Mike Johnson, Angel Hernandez
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Released: June 30th, 2020
Received: Own
Issues: Star Trek: Picard – Countdown 1-3
Rating: 4 kitties

Did you binge through Star Trek: Picard, and find yourself wanting more? If so, then this graphic novel is probably perfect. It’s not the same as getting a second season, but it’ll help pass the time as we anxiously await all news on that front.

Star Trek: Picard – Countdown is set before the events of the show, portraying Picard before he left Starfleet – back when he still thought he could help the Romulans. This is the tale of how he tried to help one planet evacuate, and the two allies he found in the process.

Created by Kirsten Beyer, Mike Johnson, and Angel Hernandez, Star Trek: Picard – Countdown is everything it promises to be, and then some.

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Review: A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Author: Samantha Cohoe
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Released: October 13th 2020
Received: Goodreads Giveaways
Warnings: Illness, suicide, insanity, sexual assault

4 kitties

I received a copy of A Golden Fury in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe is one of those debut novels that people everywhere seem to be talking about. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy, and I found it to be worth the hype.

Thea Hope has always wanted to be an alchemist – which is fortunate, since that is what her famous mother raised her to be. She’s joined in the quest to recreate the infamous Philosopher’s Stone, only things haven’t gone quite as planned.

For one thing, Thea thought she’d be working alongside her mother, not forced to find her own path in this journey. Naturally, more complications quickly followed the first, and now Thea’s in a race to save her sanity – in the most literal sense.

“She discovered that I wished to belong to myself, instead of her.” I said. “And she found that unacceptable.”

Spoiler Warning
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Blog Tour & Review: The Emperor’s Wolves by Michelle Sagara

Stay tuned below for a review and excerpt of The Emperor’s Wolves!

Author: Michelle Sagara
Series: Wolves of Elantra #1
Publisher: MIRA
Released: October 13th, 2020
Received: Blog Tour
Warnings: Child death, drowning

I received a copy of The Emperor’s Wolves in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Emperor’s Wolves, by Michelle Sagara, is the first novel in the Wolves of Elantra series. However, fans of Sagara will certainly recognize the world and characters within. This series is a direct spin-off of the Chronicles of Elantra series, and focuses on one of my favorite characters of all time.

Severn Handred grew up in the fiefs. He proved his willingness to do anything and everything to protect somebody he loved. Now, he’s trying to find a path through life, while carrying the guilt of his actions.

His skills, determination, and personality make him a strong candidate for the Wolves. They, like the Hawks, are an organization that upholds the law in Elantra. However, they are considered to be a darker branch, and are frequently (and not entirely incorrectly) considered to be the assassins for the Emperor.

It doesn’t take long before Severn, a probationary Wolf, finds himself in a case that should quickly have gone over his head. However, Severn has always been a quiet and confident character, and this tale shows how he grew into the character we all know him as.

“To live as a Wolf, you must be true to the principles you have chosen to uphold. Those principles cannot be rocked or shaken by anger, by grief; they cannot be ignored when convenient. The act you commit, you commit for a reason, and that certainty is what hold you above the abyss.”

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Blog Tour & Review: Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger

Author: Lisa Unger
Publisher: Park Row
Released: October 6th, 2020
Received: Blog Tour
Warnings: Sexual assault, stalking, affair

4 kitties

I received a copy of Confessions on the 7:45 in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Confessions on the 7:45 is the latest novel to come from the mind of Lisa Unger, a well-known and loved thriller and mystery writer. Obviously, when I heard about this newest book, I knew that I had to give it a go.

There is no doubt that in this world, everyone has a secret. Some of them are simple and almost sweet. Others are much darker, and more likely to cause pain. Whether or not they come out into the light.

By all appearances, Selena Murphy has the perfect life. A charismatic husband, two adorable kids, the ideal nanny, and a job that she loves. But that image is a lie – something that Selena is about to learn the hard way.

Some of the lies she knew, of course. She’s not an idiot. But even she could never have anticipated the depth in which her life was about to change. And all because of the stranger she met on a train.

“The observer only sees, never interferes. Still, tonight she felt the tingle of bad possibilities. She waited in the cool night, patient and still.”

Spoiler Warning
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Review: Storm Warning (gen:LOCK) by Melissa Scott

Author: Melissa Scott
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Released: October 6th, 2020
Received: Edelweiss

4 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Storm Warning (gen:LOCK) in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Storm Warning (gen:LOCK) is the first novel to come out from an animated series that I personally adore. It may only be one season in, but I’m totally hooked. This first novel is set after the events of season one, and presumably before season two (cannot wait!).

With the Union ever gaining ground, the gen:LOCK program is one of the last remaining hopes for any semblance of freedom. Introduced in the first season of the series, the program allows five pilots to mentally enter and drive their holons – the best technology they have available.

Basically, they’re five giant mechas with a whole lot of pressure on their shoulders. The novel takes a deeper look into the characters involved, paying special attention to the youngest member of the team, Cammie MacCloud.

Once upon a time, Cammie was a hacktivist. Then she got caught, and started serving her time by backing up the Polity. Then gen:LOCK found she was a match…and the rest, as they say, is history. Only, she was never trained to fight. Not like the others. That provides unique challenges, while also bringing about a different view on the same problems they all face.

“We’ve now received intel that Union forces are moving to intercept them. If they’ve got anything on the Union’s use of the gen:LOCK technology-we want it. We need it, Chase.”

Spoiler Warning
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Review: Ragged Alice by Gareth L. Powell

Ragged Alice by Gareth L. PowellPublisher: Tor.com
Author: Gareth L. Powell
Released: April 23rd 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Graphic murder, domestic dispute
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Ragged Alice in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Ragged Alice is a standalone novella by Gareth L. Powell, but don’t let its short length chase you off! This novella was a lot of fun to read, and I actually wish that I had read it sooner. And that it was part of a larger series.

Ragged Alice is a thriller novella, following DCI Holly Craig as she investigates a series of murders. The case ends up being a lot more personal than she was prepared for, leaving her to deal with a lot of unexpected twists and turns along the way.

Spoiler Warning

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