Majesty by Katharine McGee

GoodReads Summary:
Is America ready for its first queen?
Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.
As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.
A new reign has begun…
Majesty (American Royals, #2)Review:
Majesty wasn’t as dramatic as the first book, but I still enjoyed it. This story follows several characters as their lives change after the events in book one.
Beatrice is now the Queen of America. She faces unexpected hurdles and also finds some happy surprises. There are challenges to being the first Queen, certain people are purposefully getting in her way and undermining her. It takes her a while, but she finally stands up and stops letting others tell her what she should or shouldn’t be doing. I really liked seeing Beatrice figure out how to be the Queen she wanted, to be what her father would have wanted her to be. I also really liked seeing Beatrice fall in love. I was really happy about how Beatrice and Teddy’s relationship developed. I enjoyed seeing them become better friends and then gain stronger feelings. I also like how everything happened with the wedding (I won’t say more because of spoilers).
Now Samantha is my favorite. She ends up fake dating a guy that’s actually mostly acceptable for her to date. It starts with both Samantha and Marshall fake dating to make their ex’s jealous, but somewhere in there, they realize that they like one another and they don’t want to pretend anymore. This was my favorite romance. Marshall is a part of the nobility, but he is also black. I liked that this was addressed. It’s acknowledged that slavery still existed, but I think there should have been more to this part of the conversation. I liked Samantha and Marshall’s relationship but I wanted more of it.
The author did Nina dirty. I understand why her storyline was like this. Nina has wanted to get out of the spotlight. She wanted to get back to her regular college life and stay out of the tabloids. That’s one of the big reasons that she and Jefferson broke up. But her chapters were boring and her break up with Jefferson really affected her friendship with Samantha and that was upsetting. Some of the best parts of Nina’s story were her adventures with Samantha. I was just bored with her story this time.
Daphne is still terrible. She’s still trying to win Jefferson back. But she also still shows these moments where it’s clear she just doesn’t want to do any of this anymore. There’s so much pressure from her mom. When she regains a friend from the past, I really thought things were going to change with her, but they didn’t. I just think she could have ended better and that didn’t happen. Daphne is just painted as a villain with no growth.
Overall, this was an entertaining read with some parts that I liked and others that I didn’t. I’ve read that this is the final book and I’m very unhappy about that. The ending of this book was not a strong series ending. Too many things were left open, leaving the reader thinking that more will be coming.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

GoodReads Summary:
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the sequel to the critically acclaimed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, a brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence. Among many other challenges, Sal and Gabi have to try to make everything right with our world when there is a rogue Gabi from another universe running loose.
Sal Vidon doesn’t want to live a Mami-free life. Pulling different versions of his mother from other universes is how he copes with missing his own, who died years ago. But Sal’s father, a calamity physicist, is trying to shut down all the wormholes Sal creates, because Papi thinks they are eroding the very fabric of our world. All of Papi’s efforts are in vain, however, because a Gabi from another universe has gone rogue and is popping up all over the place, seeking revenge for the fact that her world has been destroyed. While Sal and Gabi work together to keep both Papi and Rogue Gabi under control, they also have to solve the mystery of Yasmany, who has gone missing from school. Could it have something to do with the wormhole in the back of his locker?
Readers who enjoyed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe will relish being back in the world of Culeco Academy and the Coral Castle along with such unforgettable characters as American Stepmom, the Gabi-Dads, Principal Torres, and the sassy entropy sweeper. With multiple Sals and Gabis in charge, it’s no wonder this sequel offers even more hilarious weirdness and love than the first book.
Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe (Sal and Gabi, #2)Review:
I absolutely adored Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (read my review here), so I was beyond excited for this sequel. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to finally pick it up, but it was everything I expected.
So, in the last book, Sal and Gabi finally let their parents in on what they’ve been doing with the holes that Sal can make in the universe. That’s one aspect I really liked about this book (and series) the parents were actually involved in what was going on, for the most part. In this sequel, Sal is definitely hiding some things from his Papi, but he did it for what he thought were the right reasons. I really also loved the school that Sal and Gabi go to. There’s such a sense of community and it’s just such a wonderful place. I can only hope to find a school like that for my child in the future.
The thing I liked best about this story was the characters. Sal is a boy that has diabetes. He doesn’t let it hinder his life, but it’s very present in the story. I really liked this aspect of the story. On top of Sal’s diabetes, he’s Cuban (as are many of the other characters in the story.) I loved that the main cast of characters was diverse and interesting.
Gabi, Sal’s best friend, is equally one of the best parts of this book. She’s such a take-charge girl and I love her so much. She has such a huge heart and does anything she can for the people in her life. I love her caring personality and I love her family. She has such an interesting and wonderful family dynamic that I loved seeing in this book. She has many dads and I love how different and loving her family is.
Overall, this book was amazing. The story was interesting and kept me wanting to read non-stop, but also want to read it slowly so that it wouldn’t be over. This story is so full of love, supportive friendships, adventure, and a whole bunch of science I could never understand. This series is one I will scream about forever.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

H2O by Virginia Bergin

GoodReads Summary:
.27 IS A NUMBER RUBY HATES.
It’s a number that marks the percentage of the population that survived. It’s a number that means she’s one of the “lucky” few still standing. And it’s a number that says her father is probably dead.
Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning “It’s in the rain. It’s fatal, it’s contagious, and there’s no cure,” the drinkable water is running out. Ruby’s left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father–If he’s even still alive.
H2O (The Rain, #1)Review:
My biggest issue with this book was that the main character, Ruby, was honestly so annoying. There’s literally no way she should have survived. She only did because of her step-dad who she was a huge jerk to until the world was ending. If Ruby had been a more likable main character, I probably would have really loved this book. It had all of the things I love: the world ending via spooky alien things, acid rain (it’s not really acid but whatever), nerdy boys who take in children. There were so many good things that were overshadowed by Ruby being the one telling the story. She’s just so rude and selfish. She also continually made really poor choices. I wanted to love this book, but Ruby made that hard.
So, I didn’t love it. I read reviews for the second book that said this aspect of the story (Ruby) is much better in the second book, so, I’m going to check out the ebook from my library and give it a go.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

GoodReads Summary:
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)Review:
The Fifth Season was an absolutely wild ride and I loved every page. I definitely spent most of this book confused, but that’s really nothing new when it comes to my reading fantasy or science fiction that’s really in-depth like this. I really loved the way Jemisin wove this world. We follow Essun as she’s trying to follow her husband and her daughter while the world is ending. I was immediately gripped by this story. I am blown away by Jemisin’s ability to pull me into a story so quickly. Especially since I really had no idea what was going on most of the time. We also follow two other perspectives, Damaya and Syenite. The twist that involved these two characters really blew me away. I had started to suspect that these two points of view were in a different timeline than the one of Essun (because for Essun the world was ending and that wasn’t happening for the other two girls). But Jemisin went even further and that took this story to a whole new level of greatness.
The world this story takes place in was fascinating. The culture and politics were pretty terrible to those with abilities. I liked that we got to see the way they are raised in Yumenes. But I also really enjoyed getting to see how hard it was for Essun to live free and undiscovered. What I really want to know is whether or not this is happening on Earth in several hundred years. I suspect this is the case, but I didn’t see any concrete evidence in the actual story.
Overall, I am trying to type like the wind so that I can immediately go and pick up the second book. We were definitely left on a cliff hanger, but I’m not even mad about it. I loved this book. I loved its characters and their complexities. I am just fascinated by every aspect of this story. I cannot wait to continue on with this world and the people in it. I also want to mention how incredibly diverse The Fifth Season is. We see several transgender characters, there are many different races and skin colors, we even get a wonderful polyamorous relationship (that I would die for). I loved all of the representation we got.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

GoodReads Summary:
Thirteen-year-old Min comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.
Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
Dragon PearlReview:
I have been loving the books that are coming out of Rick Riordan Presents publishing imprint. These stories are unique and diverse and Dragon Pearl was no different. This story was a mix of Korean folklore, science fiction, and a bit of magic. We follow Min, who has fox-magic (which is thought to no longer be around). She sets out to find her brother and ends up way over her head.
I really liked Min. She’s just a young girl, so she didn’t always make the best decisions, but most of the time she was really thoughtful about her choices and I appreciated that. I loved that Min was determined to find her brother. The family dynamics in this story were really interesting. The whole story is because Min sets out to find her brother. But she finds other adventure along the way. I really liked that Min was getting to be a part of the Space Forces, even if it wasn’t how she’s originally hoped it to be.
My favorite part of this book was the ending. When she finally makes it to the world filled with ghosts and everything finally comes out. It was such a satisfying ending.
Overall, there was action and adventure. There were really likable characters. There is a nonbinary character, which was something I really appreciated as this is a middle-grade book and I think that was so important for it to be included. I also really liked that there wasn’t any sort of romantic aspect of the book. Min was just a kid trying to do the right thing for the people she met and for her brother. I definitely think more people should be reading this story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

GoodReads Summary:
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.
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)Review:
I really wanted to like this book I swear I tried. But I just was more disappointed the further I read. I didn’t love the first book (Aurora Rising) but I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was creative and interesting. But many of the things I loved about the first book didn’t seem to be in this one.
I liked the characters, but they seemed to have gotten less mature somehow. I think what the authors were trying to add as ‘lightheartedness’ really just made them seem immature and childish. There was literally a whole chapter where Scarlett talks about her boobs. Normally, I’d love this, but they’re supposed to be saving the galaxy and it just seemed out of place. There just wasn’t any sense of urgency or seriousness about the task they’re supposed to be working toward and I didn’t like that.
I also didn’t really care for this book because not much happened. There was action and adventure, but it didn’t really seem like all of the events were especially important toward their larger mission.
Overall, I wanted to love this book but it just didn’t do it for me. I wanted to like this book so much, but I just didn’t. To top it all off, the ending of this book made me so mad. I get a cliff hanger but this ending was just ridiculous. I think I’ll probably continue the series, but I hope the next book is better than this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The 100 by Kass Morgan

GoodReads Summary:
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents—considered expendable by society—are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves—but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.
The 100 (The 100, #1)Review:
I have to start this review with a little backstory. I have been wanting to read this series for quite a few years because I watch (read: am obsessed with) the tv show. The final season of the 100 tv show is starting and I thought I would try to catch up with the books before I finish the show. I might even rewatch the whole show after I read the whole book series. Okay, onto the book review.
The 100 follows 100 people that are under 18 and have been arrested. The space station they grew up on is running out of air, so the higher-ups need to figure out if Earth is livable again or not. We follow four different points of view and their stories. I really enjoyed the science fiction parts of this story. The concept of the human race destroying the Earth is not out of the realm of possibilities, and I’ve always been fascinated by space. I would love to travel in space and live there as well. I didn’t love the class issues that still lingered in space. This was something that was changed in the show, there were different stations, but none were better than another.
Clarke is the first point of view we see. We get her backstory as well as where she currently is. I really liked her. She’s smart and creative. She’s good in hard situations. I thought she was strong and well developed. I thought the backstory with her parents (which is different in the book from the show) was dark but somehow fascinating.
Wells is the chancellor’s son. He’s also Clarke’s ex-boyfriend and the reason that her parents died. I thought that Wells had the hardest journey. He purposefully committed a crime so that he would be sent to Earth alongside Clarke. Was that choice worth it? He’s made to be ‘other’ because he is the son of the chancellor. He’s familiar with leadership, but when he tries to share what he knows, he’s shunned. Wells is determined and continues trying to be helpful which I liked. I’m interested to see how his story compares to the show in the next book.
Bellamy is my favorite. I love him in the book and the show. I also totally ship him with Clarke. Bellamy did whatever he needed to get onto the ship that held his sister, the one going to Earth. His sister, that he doesn’t know as well as he thinks he does, that never should have been born. Bellamy isn’t afraid of making waves or pissing people off. But he quickly proves that he’s probably the most prepared to survive on Earth. I will love him forever.
Then there’s Glass. She’s not even in the show so I was interested right from the start. Glass was supposed to be one of the 100, but snuck off the ship through the air vents to see her boyfriend, Luke. I had a love/hate relationship with her story. Her history is not pretty. She’s a part of the wealthier station and Luke is not. So, when certain events happen, she says hateful things and breaks up with him to protect him. But once she sees him again, the truth starts to come out. I’m definitely interested to see where her story goes. There are more secrets to be spilled and I thought it was an interesting choice to keep one of the perspectives on the space station.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book. I’m very excited to continue the series and see what happens to these characters that I love dearly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Deceivers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

GoodReads Summary:
Until their mother vanished, the Greystone kids—Chess, Emma, and Finn—knew nothing about the other world.
Everything is different there. It’s a mirror image, except things are wrong. Evil. Their mother tried to fix it, but she and an ally got trapped there along with Ms. Morales, their friend Natalie’s mom.
Now the four kids—brave Chess, smart Emma, kind Finn, and savvy Natalie—are determined to rescue everyone.
To do so, they have to go back: into the other world, where even telling the truth can be illegal.
But in such a terrifying place, Chess doubts he can ever be brave enough. Despite all her brains, Emma can’t seem to break the code. With everything spiraling out of control, Finn has to pretend he’s okay.
And for Natalie, the lies of the other world include some she wishes were actually true. What if she’s gotten so used to lying she no longer knows what to believe?
The second book in the Greystone Secrets series, The Deceivers, by bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix, continues the twisty and suspenseful story of the Greystone kids and examines the power of the truth—or a lie—to alter lives, society, and even an entire reality
Greystone Secrets #2: The DeceiversReview:
While I really enjoyed this book, I definitely liked the first book better. (Read my short review of the first book here.) I think this book suffered from telling instead of showing, though this got better toward the end.
We’re following Chess, Emma, Finn, and Natalie as their living with Natalie’s dad and trying to figure out how to save their mothers. After everything went wrong at the end of the last book, they’ve lost their way into the other reality and need to figure out how to get back so they can rescue their mothers. I thought the kids being able to figure out their mother’s message and another way to get to them was interesting. But once they get into the other world, they spend much of their time watching and trying to decipher the rest of the letter from their mother. While Emma is decoding the letter, the others watch cameras trying to figure out what was going on around them. Chess, Emma, and Finn spend most of this book hiding inside secret passages while Natalie impersonated her doppelganger. So, while Natalie’s chapters were exciting and full of new things, the other three were left to watch and stew in their inner thoughts.
Overall, this was still a really fun story and I enjoyed it. I’m definitely excited to see what’s going to happen next in this series. I think this is a great middle-grade series and I wish I saw more in the book community talking about it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Goldilocks by Laura Lam

GoodReads Summary:
The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.
Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.
The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.
The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.
But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .
GoldilocksReview:
Goldilocks was not what I was expecting. I was expecting a more adult version of The Final Six where people are sent into space (some authorized and some not) to find a new world for humanity. That’s sort of what happened. But this book was more of a thriller set in space than a search for a new world.
I really enjoyed this story. It’s told from the point of view of Naomi but written in a book as she’s telling her daughter what happened many years later. I thought that was an interesting way to tell the story.
I like Naomi. She’s a girl that has experienced loss, but still acknowledges the privileges she had growing up as a wealthy white female, except for the female part because in this story female’s rights are slowly being taken away. I thought the future world was realistic and terrifying. I liked seeing Naomi’s history and the things she experienced that turned her into the person she was in space.
Then there’s Val. I really liked her storyline. It was interesting and surprising. I could find myself agreeing with her more outlandish ideas, which was a little scary.
The rest of the crew was interesting too. Though I would have liked to learn more about them. I would have liked to see a little more friendship and comradery among these women.
Overall, this thriller was a wild ride. The science-fiction aspect of the story was interesting and horrifying. I liked the characters and the diversity among them. I definitely think this will be a hit for lovers of thrillers and lovers of science fiction.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Internment by Samira Ahmed

GoodReads Summary:
Rebellions are built on hope.
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.
With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the camp’s Director and his guards.
Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.
InternmentReview:
What a horrifying potential future this story was. I cried for most of the beginning of this book. I chose to read this via audiobook and I just have to mention that it was incredibly well produced. Though there’s only one narrator, there were all sorts of interesting effects included. I don’t want to say that I enjoyed this story because it was terribly hard to listen to and it was a very hard topic, but it was a fascinating story.
We follow Layla as her family is removed from their home and forced into an internment camp. This was the hardest part of the story. Samira Ahmed did an incredible job of filling Layla’s experience and internal thoughts with emotions. I couldn’t help but cry at the things that Layla was made to see and experience. The hardest thing for me about this story was how easily this “five minutes in the future” could come to pass. As someone who was born and raised as a white girl in America, I kept saying to myself, “this could never happen because of xyz.” Then, minutes later, Layla would say the same thing to her parents. I think that was the worst part for me. Layla was born in America, she was a citizen, and yet all of these horrible things were happening to her because her family wouldn’t hide their religion.
I really loved Layla’s spirit. She refused to be beaten down while in the internment camp. Surrounded by horrible things, seeing people speak out getting taken away or literally beaten didn’t stop her from plotting a rebellion. I really liked this aspect of the story. Hope in the face of something so hopeless was the highlight. Along with this, I really liked that this wasn’t an “I hate America” story. There were guards that were on the side of those imprisoned. There were protests all over the country. The people that weren’t hateful and horribly racist stood up for the Muslims that were being taken from their homes. I liked that all of the people came together to change what was happening.
Overall, this was a hard story to read, but an important one. It’s a story sure to make you cry, but by the end of it you will see that hope and resisting those with hateful beliefs will not win.

Quotes:

“What’s that thing people always say about history? Unless we know our history, we’re doomed to repeat it? Never forget? Isn’t that the lesson? But we always forget. Forgetting is in the American grain.”

“But it’s also a reminder that being quiet doesn’t always signify weakness. Sometimes it takes great strength to find that silence. Sometimes it takes incredible strength to survive.”

“It’s not about danger. It’s about fear. People are willing to trade their freedom, even for a false sense of protection”
“Then I glance beyond the fence at the sea of people. In this place where I thought I was lost, the world has found me. Hope courses through my veins.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Artemis by Andy Weir

GoodReads Summary:
Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.
ArtemisReview:
After reading and loving The Martian, I was really excited to pick up the other Andy Weir book I already owned. I’m glad I’ve finally read Weir’s books that I own because I loved them both.
We follow Jazz, who is a criminal. She’s smuggling things into her home on the moon when the opportunity of a lifetime arises. She can make a million slugs off one job, though it’s a rather dangerous one. Murphy’s Law is in full effect, even on the moon. Anything that could have gone wrong for Jazz, did. I loved Jazz as a character. We get her backstory in bits and pieces. There were emails from her pen pal on Earth and we learn a lot from him, which I really liked. I thought the emails were an interesting way to give us more information. Jazz was a real firecracker. She’s sassy, says what’s on her find, even if it’s vulgar and completely inappropriate. I totally loved it.
The plot of this book took a little while to get to. At first, we’re led to believe that the plot is going to center on Jazz doing this job and what will happen after she succeeds. But there ends up being so much more to the story. There are some murders, a bit of chloroform, and a whole lot of action.
Overall, I really loved this book. It was sassy and unapologetic about that sassiness. There was action and adventure, friendship and love, and of course, walking on the moon. I absolutely look forward to reading more of Andy Weir’s writing.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

GoodReads Summary:
Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)Review:
Huge thanks to NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I have to say that I 100% requested this book because of the cover and the comparison to Marissa Meyer’s Renegades series. I didn’t really have very high expectations going into this book. I think that’s because the summary of the book really doesn’t cover the awesomeness inside. It’s interesting because it does cover all the things that make this book wonderful, but it’s a case of the summary telling and the book showing these things that really makes the difference.
This book follows Nick, who is a queer boy in high school that has ADHD. I absolutely loved him right from the start. I have people very close to me in my life that have ADHD, so it was really interesting to see Nick’s experiences with it and get his thoughts and feelings. He manages to get in trouble in and out of school very often. Nick doesn’t have it easy, but he really tries so hard and I think that’s what I liked so much about him. He really makes the effort to do and be better. I thought the portrayal of his ADHD was really thoughtful. He also takes medication to help him, which I thought was a great addition. While Nick is the most cinnamon-y of all the cinnamon rolls out there, he was also quite oblivious. He really had a problem getting stuck in his head and hyper-focusing on his problems. So, I totally predicted the end of this book around the 50% mark, but I had the secret identities mixed around.
Nick’s friend group was the best. He is a misfit, as are his friends. Seth and Nick have been best friends since elementary school. Gibby joined them in middle school. She’s a lesbian and will literally kick your ass. I loved Gibby. She calls Nick out when he needs it, but is a loyal friend to Seth at the same time. Then there’s Jaz, Gibby’s girlfriend. She was last to the friend group, but no less loved. I really enjoyed getting the history of their friendships and their banter and interactions literally had me laughing out loud.
I laughed so hard during this book, but this author didn’t hesitate to turn it all around. I also balled my eyes out once or twice. Another really great part of the story was Nick’s dad. The relationship that these two have was nothing short of wonderful. But it’s also realistic. It’s hard to be a single dad and Nick’s dad was certainly not perfect. But it was clear how much he loved Nick and how hard he was trying. I can’t imagine trying to grieve the death of my wife while also still having a child to take care of. I loved how accepting his dad was, but also their open communication. They talked about Nick’s sexuality. They talked about his ADHD. His dad was there for him as much as he could be as a cop that had to work nights. Nick and his dad also made me laugh so much.
Overall, this book surpassed all expectations I had for it. The writing was fantastic. The characters were incredible and I love each of them so very much (even the villain). The world was really interesting (with a history I’m dying to know more of). And the book left of leaving me wanting so much more. I’m so glad this is a series, but so sad I will have to wait who knows how long for the next book. Please do yourself a favor and read this fabulously queer and heartwarming book.

Quotes:

“Sometimes, people do things just because they can. There doesn’t have to be a reason. It’s all chaos.”

“Nick knew the power of words. He knew that sometimes when they landed, they exploded with the force of a carelessly tossed grenade.”

“We’re teenagers. Everything is unnecessarily complicated. We’re told that we have to be a certain way, even if we know it’s wrong. We’re not taken seriously. Our ideas are cast aside as though they’re without merit. Sometimes we need to act out so that people pay attention to us. So that people know we mean what we say. That we’re capable. That we shouldn’t be dismissed.”

“They’re brave,” Mary said. “But we are too. Because while they’re out there, saving the world, we’re the ones they come home to. And it may not always be fair, and there are times when you know they’re in harm’s way, but they’ll always fight like the dickens to get back where they belong.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Martian by Andy Weir

GoodReads Summary:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
The MartianReview:
I absolutely loved this book. I bought it a few months ago after Antonia read it and loved it. But I couldn’t seem to pick it up until the Bookclub I’m in with a few local friends pick this one for March’s book. I read this book on the best day, it was warm and sunny so I got to sit outside and imagine myself on Mars.
Mark Watney was such a great character. He’s trapped on Mars after his crew left him behind thinking he didn’t survive after getting hit by a piece of equipment during a dust storm. The best part of this book was Mark. Despite facing what is likely imminent death he has such a positive attitude. He really excelled at focusing on one problem at a time. He has a really great mindset of “well I’ll worry about starving later because I won’t be able to worry about starving if I can’t solve problem x right now.” I think this was one of the best parts of the book.
Once we get to see what’s going on back at NASA the story really gains momentum. Things seem to move fast even though time isn’t actually moving fast, but we only get updates from Mark every few days. But the whole book was high stakes and full of excitement even if Mark made the situation seem funnier than it was.
Overall, this book was funny and exciting. Sometimes it felt like I was right there with him trying to work through the problems that he needed to solve for his survival. I loved everything about this story and I am beyond excited to read more books by this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

GoodReads Summary:
The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian fighting to keep their identities secret. While the battle rages on between their alter egos and their allies, there is a darker threat shrouding Gatlon City.
The Renegades’ worst enemy is back among them, threatening to reclaim Gatlon City. Nova and Adrian must brave lies and betrayal to protect those they love. Their greatest fears are about to come to life, and unless they can bridge the divide between heroes and villains, they stand to lose everything. Including each other.
Intrigue and action will leave readers on edge until the final, shocking secrets are revealed.
Supernova (Renegades, #3)Review:
I have to start this by saying that I listened to the audiobook and somehow I managed to listen to all seventeen hours in less than two days. This may make it seem like I really loved the story, which isn’t completely true. I really enjoy the characters and the conflicts and the things going on, but I had issues. I was annoyed quite a bit but I was definitely gripped by the story.
Supernova was the finale book in the Renegades trilogy. It’s a series I was determined to finish this year (because 2020 is the year of finishing series I’ve gotten behind on.) Superficially, I had fun with this book but I spent most of the time yelling in my head “JUST TELL THE TRUTH ALREADY!” I thought this in the direction of several characters.
So, there’s Nova. She’s a complex character. I really loved her as a whole because of her inner struggle, between loyalty to the villain family that raised her or the heroes that she’s struggling not to agree with. This inner battle was honestly fascinating. Her journey was the only reason I kept going in this series, to see how her choices fell and her story ended.
Adrian was interesting too, but he just irritated me. He had a great life. Though it’s sad he lost his mother, he had two wonderful adoptive dads and brother. He had powers to draw things that come to life. But that wasn’t enough for him. He had something to prove. Enter his alter ego, who is a vigilante and plays outside the rules that his dads enforce for all Renegades. I just wanted him to tell his parents and Nova the whole book.
Between Nova’s secret identity and Adrian’s, I was just annoyed. I really hate the secret-keeping trope when if Nova had just told the truth the plot twist (which I should have seen coming but totally didn’t) would have come out earlier and maybe she could have become a hero sooner.
Overall, this story was action-packed and full of interesting and diverse characters. I loved all the supporting characters and their stories. I loved that Nova and Adrian were both morally gray. The audiobook was super well done and kept me engaged, but there were just too many moments that really annoyed me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Life Below by Alexandra Monir

GoodReads Summary:
As Naomi lifts off into space and away from a rapidly deteriorating Earth, she watches the world fade away, and along with it Leo, a Final Six contestant she grew close to during training. Leaving Earth behind is hard, but what’s ahead, on Europa, could be worse. The International Space Training Camp continues to hide the truth about what happened to the last group of astronauts who attempted a similar colonization but failed mysteriously. With one shot—at this mission and to Europa—Naomi is determined to find out if there is alien life on Europa before she and her crew get there.
Leo, back on Earth, has been working with renegade scientist Dr. Greta Wagner, who promises to fly him to space where he can essentially latch on to Naomi’s ship. And if Wagner’s hypothesis is right, it isn’t a possibility of coming in contact with extraterrestrial life on Europa—it’s a definite. With Naomi unaware of what awaits, it’s up to Leo to find and warn her and the others.
With all the pieces of their journey finally clicking into place, everything else starts to fall apart. A storm threatens to interfere with Leo’s takeoff, a deadly entity makes itself known to the Final Six, and the questions the ISTC has been avoiding about the previous failed mission get answered in the worst way possible. If the dream was to establish a habitable domain on Europa… the Final Six are about to enter a nightmare.
The Life Below (The Final Six, #2)Review:
I loved this book. I really loved the first book, The Final Six, but honestly, I think I somehow loved this second installment even more. I really adore series that have books that just keep getting better. This seems like it’s definitely going to be one of those.
I loved everything about this book. The crew has officially left the Earth and things are getting real. We follow the crew through the perspective of Naomi and Leo, as we did in the first book. Traveling through outer space is fascinating, but sad for some of them. Naomi will likely never see her family again. There are some losses and they totally took me by surprise. I thought the author did such a good job of showing what happens to these characters rather than just telling us the events. Naomi feels alone now that Leo is not with her, but she does her job and manages to make friends. Leo, however, is doing whatever he needs to get back to her. I loved their love story more and more with every page. Getting to see them reunite what literally my favorite part.
Now, science fiction is one of my favorite genres. This book had some really excellent science parts. The crew is flying through space. They need to make a pit stop near Mars before continuing onto Europa. I thought the Mars bits were horrifying and fascinating. Then we get to get to Europa and things get even more horrifying and fascinating. I liked that the science was well explained so that I could understand it but not overly dumbed down for me. The creatures and their reactions, as well as the crew’s reactions, were all so realistic.
Overall, I feel like I’m not doing this book justice. So, if you’re a science fiction lover like me, please just go buy or borrow The Final Six so that you can read this incredible sequel.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.