[Teaser Tuesday] Groupie by C.M. Stunich

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This Week:

34023624

Groupie – C.M. Stunich

“Rough, ugly sobs break from my throat as I cry for all the people I’ve lost, the family I’ll never see again, the life I’ve never been brave enough to live. Eventually, I’ll have to pick myself off of the cold cement and find a way to do just that.”


Does the teaser pull you in? What’s your book teaser for the week? Let’s chat in the comments below!

[Review] A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

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A Little Something Different 
by Sandy Hall
Published: August 26th, 2014 by Swoon Reads
Genres: Young adult, contemporary romance, fiction
Trigger Warnings: alcohol consumption, car accidents, relationships, injury
Pages: 272 pgs.

Goodreads

 

 


Synopsis:

The distinctive new crowdsourced publishing imprint Swoon Reads proudly presents its first published novel—an irresistibly sweet romance between two college students told from 14 different viewpoints.

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.

But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….


Review:

If it takes a village to raise a child properly, then, apparently, it takes a whole college town to get two awkward lovebirds together. In Sandy Hall’s YA debut,  A Little Something Different, she tells the story of two young college students whose blossoming romance is more than just coincidence: it’s mostly done through the meddling of everyone — and everything — around them. This unique contribution to the contemporary YA romance genre was a surprising delight among a genre quickly going stale.

Following two young co-eds, Gabe and Lea, A Little Something Different chronicles their burgeoning love through the perspectives of fourteen friends, professors, baristas, and squirrels. Over the course of a school year, perpetually shy Gabe has fallen head over heels for Lea, the quiet and giggly freshman in his creative writing class. Lea’s noticed him, too; it’s hard to miss the tall, cute guy in her dorm that places the exact same Chinese takeout order she does. But they’re still unsure about pursuing a relationship. Luckily, literally everyone sees the sparks flying around them — and they’ll make sure that they’re a couple before the year is out.

The most noteworthy thing is, as previously mentioned, Hall’s decision to write through the eyes and experiences of all of the significant people — and things — Lea and Gabe have interacted with as their bond grows. Deciding to any multiple perspectives, let alone fourteen, throughout the course of one book is a great undertaking for a newer author. I commend Hall’s execution on this arduous task, as it was executed in such a way that swapping between these characters did not become cumbersome as the plot moved along. Instead, the rotating perspectives helped to continue scenes and fill in gaps where they might have otherwise been lost. At no point did this device feel forced or the characters lost in translation. I really was impressed.

Additionally, her writing is so casual and easy to read. While it took me a few weeks from start to finish with this book, it mostly stemmed from me putting it down to tend to other reading projects. I’m always pleased when I can put something down for a few days and not feel like I’m lagging behind, or having to read back a few chapters to catch up. When it comes to contemporary YA romance, I really don’t feel like I should have to work too hard to resume after putting the book on pause for a short time, like some of the others I’ve come across lately (looking at you, Twisted Sisters).

Hall also did a great job in making A Little Something Different as inclusive and diverse as possible. This book featured queer characters (married lesbian women!!!), main characters of color (Lia is Chinese, her best friend/roommate is Latinx, their other friend is black), disabled characters (Gabe is Deaf following a car accident). I wish there were a trans character, but, still, the representation here is astounding. Furthermore, Hall didn’t fall into the reductionist trap that so many white writers do when they attempt to write diverse characters: making them nothing more than stereotypes of the groups to which they belong. I appreciate the effort she put in to make these folks seem as real as possible.

However, I’m not going to say that this book was the most perfect, revolutionary thing that has ever happened to the genre. While Hall hit a lot of the right notes in the foundation of the book — the storytelling, the diversity, the ease of reading — I did find it lacking in overall substance. There was very little chemistry between the Lea and Gabe when they did interact, but the other characters constantly spouted how perfect they were for each other. I really felt like Hall was stooping down to tell us of their attraction towards one another, rather than just showing us. If the two main characters don’t really show any form of attraction or chemistry with each other, then what’s the point of the book?

Additionally, I thought there were some choices made within the story that didn’t really add much to it other than to add an extra quirky flair. A perspective from a squirrel? A park bench? I get that this is YA and is, realistically, trying to appeal to a slightly younger audience than me, but I just felt like some of these elements were more juvenile than anything. What are we, as readers, supposed to gain about this relationship from a park bench that goes on and on about how perfect of an ass Gabe possesses?

Overall, A Little Something Different was exactly what it says on the tin. I liked the bold choice of trying to present a cohesive romance between two characters from a litany of outsider perspectives. The book was a fun, lighthearted romp perfect for the early springtime reader. However, I did feel that there were some more juvenile elements thrown into the mix for seemingly no reason and lack of attraction between the main characters, which took away from the overall effectiveness of the book.


Amazing Pug Scale:

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[Book Blitz] Last Semester – Corine Mekaouche

Last Semester
Corine Mekaouche
Publication date: April 21st 2017
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance

When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn’t always easy and it’s up to her to learn how to survive the remainder of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college while planning for life after graduation?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“Breathe, Rob! Just breathe!” I demand in a panicky voice from the back seat as we swiftly pull up to the entrance of the hospital. Clutching his chest in pain next to me, he heaves out a few spouts of air, but it’s not enough to help him.

Shit!

I watch my roommate Rob’s cheeks turn from a shade of deep pink to a dark crimson red. “A.J.! He’s getting worse!” I yell to my other roommate in the driver’s seat. He rolls his eyes then turns around.

“Calm down, Jo!” he exclaims. “I can’t think when you’re yelling like this!”

Drew, our other roommate, and usually the voice of reason, says nothing as he quickly jumps out of the Range Rover and runs into the hospital entrance.

“Can’t. Breathe,” Rob manages to force out of his mouth, then before I know it, his body falls limp and his head somehow ends up on my lap. His eyes roll to the back of his head.

“I think he’s dying!” I whine and suddenly I’m losing my breath.

Releasing a loud groan, A.J. climbs out of the SUV and casually walks into the hospital as if nothing is wrong.

Why is he so calm and I’m flipping the hell out?

I begin to shake Rob’s shoulders but he doesn’t respond and I’m almost positive that he’s not breathing at all now.

It’s official.

I killed my roommate.

Okay, maybe he’s not dead yet, but if death was a road, he just made a left turn for the worse then ran over a few annoying potholes and some week old roadkill…and probably drove off a cliff or something…

Ugh! I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore! I feel guilty for doing this to him and I feel even more guilty because I kinda hate his arrogant, smug ass, but just because someone is an asshole doesn’t mean that they deserve to die, does it?

The back door opens and I see A.J. and Drew standing outside with a wheelchair. A.J. roughly wraps his arms around Rob’s body and begins to pull him out of the car. “Fuck! He’s like the size of an ogre,” he complains as he struggles to get Rob into the wheelchair. The fact that Rob is as useless as a wet noodle right now makes it difficult for A.J. to adjust Rob’s body in the chair. I cringe just watching it.

“I knew this was going to happen one day,” Drew says shaking his head. “The inevitable always happens.”

Shooting Drew a snarling glare, A.J. grits his teeth. “Just roll the goddamn chair into the hospital,” he instructs. Drew turns the chair around and begins to jog into the emergency room with Rob’s body leaning to one side. A.J. looks at me in the SUV, annoyed. “Well, are you coming?” he asks and I just freeze.

Do I stay? Do I go? I don’t know what to do with myself!

Taking a quick yet deep breath, I climb out of the SUV, shut the door and join A.J. on the other side of the vehicle.

“I’m horrible,” I blurt out and I can feel wetness welling in my eyes. “I’m a horrible person.”

“Dammit, Jo! I hate it when girls cry,” he complains as he shuts the other back door and begins to walk into the hospital. He pauses in his tracks when he notices that I’m not following him.

I’m frozen.

 

Author Bio:

The geek and a dreamer, Corine Mekaouche has always had the vision of becoming a writer. While growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, Corine spent her childhood immersed in music, novels, and writing. To her, the arts was the best escape ever. For college, she attended Rutgers University majoring in English and minoring in Theatre Arts. Somehow, Corine survived the college experience and became somewhat of a grown-up yet still kept the vision of being a writer alive because it may be all she’s qualified for. So, she wrote and wrote until Last Semester, a new adult novel about college life and growing up, was born. Currently, she is writing other novels and plays for future release. When she’s not writing, loudly singing to songs in her car or dancing in random places for no apparent reason, Corine is being an awesome wife and a mom residing outside of the wonderfully flawed New York City..

Website / Twitter

 

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[Whatcha Readin’?] April 20th, 2017

It’s that time of the week again where we ask the lovely blog owner: WHATCHA READIN’? In this weekly segment, I give a brief glimpse into the books that are currently occupying my spare time, as well as a little recap of the past seven days, overall.

So, Amber, whatcha readin’?

Wowza, two consecutive weeks of WRW, huh? Everything’s in retrograde right now, so this seems like the time for me to actually get my ass in gear. This week was pretty significant for me in my personal life — six year anniversary with my partner!!! — so I actually wasn’t anticipating having too much time to read, but I surprised myself by giving myself the time where applicable. I was able to start a new book, read a graphic novel trade paperback, and enjoy time with my partner to celebrate our coupledom. I’m hitting a bit of a wall in one book, but I’ll elaborate on that in a moment.

31409135Truth be told, I probably haven’t read more than a page of this particular book since last week. I tried sitting down and tackling a big chunk on Sunday afternoon, but found myself reading something else instead. Don’t get me wrong, the premise is great and I’m glad these women are finally getting their stories told after being used solely as case studies for nearly 100 years. However, this shit is absolutely depressing; it would be for anyone with a soul. As much as it’s important to learn about the stories of these women’s suffering through radium poisoning, holy shit, it is so hard to be able to read the gruesome details of their final months on this planet. I know I need to power through, but it’s a struggle.

34023624What hasn’t been giving me lots of issues has been Groupie, by C.M. Stunich. As y’all know, I don’t read adult romances often, but I figured that, with summer coming up, it might be the season for turning up the temperature with my reading habits. Groupie follows Lillith Goode immediately after her father dies of cancer. Broke, newly single, and homeless, Lillith’s last-ditch effort at getting some cash turns into a whirlwind of wild sex with hard rock heartthrobs Beauty in Lies. In this reverse harem tale, Lillith has to decide: what’s the best way of honoring her father — mourning him constantly or living her life to the fullest? It’s absolutely porn with a tiny bit of a plot, but it makes the morning commute more interesting for sure!

23308488With this graphic novel trade paperback, I’m branching out of my usual reading habits — again. You may recognize the character of Sabrina the Teenage Witch from the 90’s show starring Melissa Joan Hart, but this is not the joyful romp you remember. However, this horror retelling of Sabrina’s origin story gives readers a frightful look inside this witchy coven and might even convert some folks into exploring some more daring retellings of their childhood faves. When I was reading through this on Sunday on the patio, eerily enough, the weather changed from warm, clear skies to a chilly, gusty storm. It totally set the mood and made the experience that much better.


So, whatcha readin’ this week? Any interesting updates or books you want to start soon? Let’s chat in the comments below!

[Teaser Tuesday] Groupie by C.M. Stunich

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This Week:

34023624

Groupie – C.M. Stunich

“I make a plaintive whimper, but my brain is firing on so many primal levels, there’s no room to think treacherous thoughts — not about dad, not about my car, not about anything.

Pax finally presses his mouth to the crotch of my red lace panties and white-hot color explodes behind my eyelids.”


Does the teaser pull you in? What’s your book teaser for the week? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Whatcha Readin’ Wednesday: April 12th, 2017

It’s that time of the week again where we ask the lovely blog owner: WHATCHA READIN’? In this weekly segment, I give a brief glimpse into the books that are currently occupying my spare time, as well as a little recap of the past seven days, overall.

So, Amber, whatcha readin’?

Seems that I’m in a pattern of posting these once every two or so weeks, haha. I’ve started going to Barre classes after work on Tuesday (and Thursday!) nights, which has been sorely cutting into my WRW time. However, I haven’t made too too much progress this week in terms of reading due to the sheer volume of things I had to get done in my personal and work life all last week. I swear, I’m treating myself to the most decadent shots once this brand work finally launches. My ass has been busted to hell and back with this. BUT AT LEAST I’M READING A LITTLE BIT RIGHT. RIGHT?

20757526This was my latest tub-time book that eventually turned into “the other book I’m reading is dense as hell so here’s something a little lighter for me to read on my commute through the Metro.” Sandy Hall’s A Little Something Different is exactly what it says on the tin: it tells the love story of two young college students from the perspectives of the people — and squirrels — around them. Don’t let the sheer volume of differing perspectives alarm you — this book flows well and is a quick read. I had put it down for about two/three weeks while I worked on other books, but was able to quickly pick it back up and finish it in about two shots. Expect a review of this to go up sometime this weekend!

31409135And this is the aforementioned “dense as hell” book that I needed A Little Something Different to water down. The Radium Girls is a non-fiction account of the medical horrors that befell hundreds of women radium workers in the early 20th century and the struggles they faced to get legitimate treatment — if they even lived to tell the tale. Not only is this book dense as previously mentioned, but it is heavy as hell; another person dies essentially every other page, which only highlights how rampant radium-induced poisoning was in the workplace. Honestly, I get more and more pissed off at the blatant misogyny and pursuit of the dollar with each page — but that’s the marxist feminist in me pissed off at the world in general.


So, whatcha readin’ this week? Any interesting updates or books you want to start soon? Let’s chat in the comments below!

[Teaser Tuesday] The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This Week:

31409135

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women – Kate Moore

“It was radium, lurking in Mollie Maggia’s bones, that had caused her jaw to splinter. It was radium, making itself at home in Hazel Kuser, that had eaten away at her skull until her jaw bones had holes riddled right through them.”


Does the teaser pull you in? What’s your book teaser for the week? Let’s chat in the comments below!

[Book Blitz] July Thunder – Shannon A. Thompson

July Thunder
Shannon A. Thompson
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

From best-selling author Shannon A. Thompson comes an exciting new duology in the Bad Bloods universe.

Fourteen-year-old Violet has been called many things: a bad blood, a survivor, an immortal…now she has a new name–citizen. But adjusting to a lawful life is not easy, especially when she must live under the rule of the same officers who justified the killings of her flock only eight months earlier.

Segregation of bad bloods and humans is still in effect, and rebellious Violet steps into a school where she is not allowed. When the police get involved, things deteriorate quickly, sparking a new revolution at the wall separating the Highlands from the outskirts.

That’s when Caleb steps in. He might appear to be an average sixteen-year-old bad blood, but he has secrets, and Violet is determined to figure them out. Caleb knows who’s attacking the wall and why, but his true identity remains a mystery–and how he relates to Violet could shake the threatened city to its very core.

Together or not, a storm will form, a rally will start, and shocking truths will be revealed.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords

EXCERPT:

While the Northern Flock had to be quiet to survive, the herd played music in order to live.

Caleb’s hand found mine. “Dance with me?” he asked, but I hated my answer.

“I can’t.” My confession came with my wrecked knee. With one gesture, Caleb seemed to understand, but as he turned his eyes to his herd—to Britney prancing around with Plato, to Kat covering her ears, to Yasir holding Hanna with his protective gloves between them—Caleb pulled me up to my feet.

“Let me do it for you,” he said, and then, he lifted me up and placed me on the tops of his boots.

As he swayed, I saw the sunburn on the tops of his cheeks, the sand in his hair, the sea salt on his skin. Then, his chapped lips as he managed a shaky smile. For once, Caleb looked disheveled, and I had never liked him more.

“That’s some crew you have,” he said, but I hadn’t noticed anyone else in the world around us until he spun.

Life-sized shadows—dozens of them—danced all around us, and I recognized their shapes as people I would always know. Blake and his teddy bear. Floyd’s stretched limbs, and Ami’s swinging braids. Even Adam’s speed.

Alive or dead, the shadows of every member of my own flock joined in on the dance of a herd, and my heart fluttered at the sight.

Losing control had never felt so great.

Neither had a storm descending down upon us.

 

Author Bio:

Shannon A. Thompson is a young adult author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox.

As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat, Bogart, named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Her other two cats bring her coffee. Between writing and befriending cats, Thompson graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and her work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies. Represented by Clean Teen Publishing, Thompson is the best-selling author of The Timely Death Trilogy and the Bad Bloods duology. When she is not writing, she is climbing rooftops, baking cookies, or watching murder shows in the middle of the night, often done with her cats by her side.

Visit her blog for writers and readers at http://www.ShannonAThompson.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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[Mini-Review] Husbands by Jane Espenson & Brad Bell

16292157Husbands by Jane Espenson, Brad Bell, & Tania del Rio
Published: April 9th, 2013 by Dark Horse Comics
Genres: graphic novels, LGBTQ, fantasy, humor, romance
Trigger Warnings: perilous situations, snakes, hostage situations (all humorous???)
Pages: 112 pgs.

Goodreads

 

 

 


Synopsis:

Written by Husbands creators Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Brad Bell, this is the comic-book continuation of the sitcom phenom. Husbands tells the story of famous gay newlyweds Brady and Cheeks, who sparked a media firestorm when they woke up legally wed after a drunken Vegas weekend. Now, a mystical wedding gift launches the couple on a series of adventures-a tongue-in-cheek journey through iconic genre realms-filled with obstacles that threaten to tear them apart. Follow Brady and Cheeks into a superhero showdown, a fairytale fantasy, a Holmesian mystery, an epic galactic battle, a madcap high school romp, and a saucy secret-spy thrill ride. Includes bonus “making of” material and a special introduction.


Review:

When marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States in 2015, a lot of (unfortunately, over-idealistic) folks thought that it would be the final hurdle that would lead to full LGBTQ+ acceptance in the country. While it’s not the case, Husbands provides at least 100 or so pages worth of what a world where queer identities are normalized looks like — all with a little bit of interdimensional travel thrown in.

I’m not here to say that this graphic novel is ground-breaking or revolutionary in any way, because it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cute story of two men gradually getting to know themselves as a couple better through hopping through various comic universes. It’s fun and lighthearted with good art. I honestly enjoyed myself for the hour or so it took to breeze through this.

If you come into Husbands with this in mind, then you’re going to enjoy it. If you’re expecting commentary on the queer struggle in a larger context, then this is not the graphic novel for you. (The Wicked and the Divine might be, though.)


Amazing Pug Scale:

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[Book Review] Defy the Stars – Claudia Gray

31423196Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
(Defy the Stars #1)
Published: April 4th, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young adult, science fiction, speculative fiction, space opera
Trigger Warnings: depictions of war, death, emotional manipulation/abuse
Pages: 512 pgs.

Goodreads

***I received a copy of this book free from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.***


Synopsis:

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.


Review:

With the recent discovery of several Earth-like planets, the following question within the scientific community has arisen: can we colonize them in the event that Earth starts to become completely inhabitable? In her most recent space opera, Defy the Stars, Claudia Gray creates her own vision of what this future could possibly look like. Despite not previously being the biggest fan of space-based science fiction, it’s Gray’s multi-faceted, fully-realized characters and world that made it so easy for me to get lost within the pages. It’s an unexpected, gripping delight from start to finish.

Taking place in a distant future in which Earth has colonized four other planets in various galaxies, Defy the Stars explores topics of religion, artificial intelligence, and the dangers of imperialism/colonialism. Noemi Vidal is a young soldier from the planet Genesis getting ready to partake in the Masada Run: a kamikaze-type mission her leaders plan to set into motion. When things go awry during the rehearsal, Noemi finds herself veering off course and discovers an abandoned Earthling ship — which might just house the thing that could save her home planet. After partnering with an unlikely ally, Noemi embarks on a journey across the universe to destroy the link between Genesis and Earth.

It is exceedingly rare for me to encounter a book that makes me revisit my thoughts on an entire genre of fiction. Usually, I try to stay within my comfort zone of paranormal romances, feminist literature, and fantasy books. However, when I saw the cover to Defy the Stars in my inbox from Netgalley, I immediately knew that I had to get my hands on it — just to get a taste of what space operas are like. Let me tell y’all: my reading world has dramatically changed. #thanksclaudiagray

What gripped me the most about Defy the Stars is how completely immersive and full Gray made this universe. Despite there being layers upon layers of colonial history between Earth and the rest of the loop, there was never a moment in which I felt that there were questions that went unanswered. Advances in technology, historical events, and important figures were all explained in a way that made sense within the context of this world. This is an area in which the science fiction authors that I’ve read in the past have been extremely lacking (*coughveronicarothcough*), so I’m glad that Gray has made everything explicitly clear.

Furthermore, characters are obviously the most important part of any story and world, and I can’t gush enough about our main characters, Noemi and Abel. Noemi has quickly become one of my favorite YA heroines with her nuanced character growth throughout the course of her journey in the stars. Without spoiling, I really enjoyed Noemi’s transformation from a devoted soldier of Genesis to someone with their own thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the intergalactic conflict. Abel’s path to self-discovery, too, is just so completely heartbreaking. I never thought that I would care so much about an artificially intelligent entity. His progression, as well, is such a delight to read through; he’s probably the best AI that I’ve encountered in any entertainment medium.

Best of all, this book is diverse. as. hell. Noemi herself is of Chilean descent and nearly every other character — apart from Abel and his creator, Burton Mansfield — is a character of color. There are no overtly queer colors, which sucks, but there are a wide range of religions represented amongst the scientific-based backdrop.

A few comments about the length of the book: yes, it’s over 500 pages. Yes, it’s going to deter a lot of readers who prefer books 300 pages or less. However, if you’re one of those who prefer shorter books, I absolutely implore you to pick up Defy the Stars, despite the length. The plot pacing in this novel is spot-on and action packed as the characters hop from planet to planet. Furthermore, Gray swaps perspective between Noemi and Abel in each chapter, which helps to speed it up further.

If it’s not clear, I absolutely recommend Defy the Stars to everyone. Like…everyone. For science fiction fans, you’re gonna love it. For folks who aren’t science fiction fans (yet), I recommend it. Wow, I absolutely sound like a broken record but, for real, this book has made me a sci-fi convert. It’s hella.


Amazing Pug Scale:

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