Netgalley Reviews & BookishFirst: Mostly Late

(I received these books unless stated otherwise from netgalley in exchange for my review)

Gracie La Roo

3/1/18

Why DNF? I could not get into it but I think it is just not for me.

Liked: How bright and colorful the art is

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Shai & Emmie Star In Break An Egg!

10/3/17

Why DNF? It is not for me but I think other people will really be into it.

Like: That it is ownvoices, interesting that it is set in a performance arts school

 

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Jade City

11/7/17

Why DNF? I just could not get into it

Liked: Setting, Gems giving characters abilities, it seemed already very complex from the few chapters I read (it would be one of those stories that goes against a readers expectations)

 

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Nick Newton Is Not A Genius

10/21/16

19%

Why DNF? Not enough is happening, it feels like the same thing happens each chapter

Liked: The art, idea of kid who is not genius among genius family

 

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I Love My Purse

9/12/17

+Art, the idea of pushing for acceptance of people particularly boys who go against our societies standards of them

-very simplistic (probably the adult in me) in how it talks about toxic masculinity and being different.

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Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover

5/16/17

Art: very detailed (texture fur, bugs as something they eat)

Story: Realistic in terms of what the animals eat (I don’t know if this can be attributed to artist or writer) and it just was a fun adventure in these characters lives.

BookishFirst

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The Belles

2/20/18

Samples two chapters courtesy of BookishFirst for a possible free print copy of the book

World~

Pro The world is interesting, the implications exist for this story to really say something about beauty, the representation of different body sizes and skin tones

Con My biggest worry is how the beauty aspect will be handled.

Finishing these chapters I was left with a few questions…

Questions: Have there been more than six beauties at a time? Where do the old beauties go? How does beauty save in this world? What is beautiful to this society?

 

(Cover images are from goodreads)

 

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Analyzing Book Covers

Quick catch-up: after a mostly great months reading novels I’m in a not slump but everything that I’m reading is okay.  They are in that ugh middle ground of being neither bad or amazing. Bummer.

So a couple of days ago I randomly analyzed a book cover which was really fun so now I want to do more. All of these are from my goodreads to read shelf so I know at least a little bit about them making this not a just based on cover alone thing.

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Monday’s Not Coming

First thoughts: The cover is atmospheric the red color makes me think of an alarm blaring. Look at her facial expression and body language. She doesn’t have her hands around her knees but it still looks hectic with the color.

Second Viewing: A couple of things I did not notice or know how to pinpoint- I did not notice that the red is not just a background that the character is sitting on top of it is lighting her skin, shoes, and clothes (I know there is a word to describe what the red is doing to her but I can’t think of this exact word/wording).The red lighting makes the white  words stand out even more. I did not notice that the words are basically white chalk.

Further into her facial expression which I couldn’t pinpoint. Looking at it now it seems like she is distracted, her mind is somewhere else. This probably ties into her being distracted thinking about her missing friend.

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Princeless Short Stories Vol. 1

Black girl riding a light pink/purple dragon in the air. She looks like she is ready to go into battle seeing as she has her knife out in the air. She and the dragon are not going angry or sadly into battle but happy. The warrior princess is very in line with the Princeless series.

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Babysitter IV

Tagline: Her life is still on the line…

She is obviously in the kitchen on the phone. This is the fourth Babysitter but she has the window opened…drapes opened…(Or the blinds are those type of drapes that cannot be closed).  Also, she has her back turned to the window with all the aforementioned things… Definitely can tell it is the 80s-90s because she is on a cordless phone (side comment: some people say the cellphone killed a lot of horror trappings). It is midday about to turn to the darkness of nighttime so she is doing all of this when it is about to be dark out.
Her face is scared and she is holding the cord on the phone tightly. It makes me think of Scream since I sampled (but did not finish) the script and saw the movie trailer. I feel like a scary movie character wore the exact outfit the main character wears on the cover but I have not seen enough scary movies to really tell.

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Tooth And Talon

Don’t remember what this is about so this is going to be interesting?

The main character has a high tech suit in a forest. What does that mean? Is the forest she is going into dangerous? There are red leaves that look like feathers so is the “Talon” referring to a bird she is trying to get to? Look at how huge the leaves are they are almost taller or are taller than her. What is the blue-ish bulbs on the leaves?

The woman pictured has a look of searching that blank what is going on look.

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The Legend of Shadow High

Tagline: Ever After High meets Monster High!

Mirror: The broken window in the middle I’m assuming signifies the portal between the worlds. In the mirror is the forest which is usually something you see in Ever After High than Monster High.

Sides: From monster high there is Frankie Stein and Draculaura, from ever after high Raven Queen and Apple White (these are  usually the spokesman from both worlds which ugh since I don’t like Draculaura and Frankie Stein but that is another conversation)

Anyway, the emblems around the mirror incorporates monster high skull (bottom) and ever after high girl with hood (top). On the top above the ever after high emblem is the two skull crests leaning on each other. All of the emblems and lining around mirror are in gold and black.

Background: There is a grey symbol that starts off big then gets smaller. The symbol is distinguishable at the top until it all bunches all in together at the bottom.

The overall style is something that Ever After High first series by Shannon Hale does which makes sense seeing how the story is set in Ever After High and written by Hale.

It would be interesting next time analyzing covers of books I know absolutely nothing about or have already read.

Netgalley Reviews: Fairy Tale Retellings

I did not plan for this random fairy tale theme actually.

(I received these for my honest review from netgalley)

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Girls Made of Snow and Glass

9/5/17

12%

Why DNF? The way the writing was set up (the two main characters stories paralleling each other) was confusing. So I would keep mixing up Lynet and Mina. Where are the fantasy elements? The story was slow going and barely had any fantasy which as a personal preference I do not like in fantasy unless the characters are really compelling.

Like:  idea of the fantasy elements (glass heart), idea of exploration of snow white and evil queen relationship

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Little Red Wolf

10/3/17

Art: artistic (play around with color and style), reminiscent of fairy tales, font fits what would be in a fairy tale book

Story: I liked the twist on red riding hood and how the story captures fairy tales essence well. It captures the brutality, whimsicalness, and the beats without it being an average fairy tale story.

Netgalley Reviews: Good Batch

(I got these for review from netgalley)

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Children of Blood and Bone Excerpt/Preview (Chapters 1-6)

3/6/17

Cover: is actually representative of what is in the novel. The colors are so eye-catching and vibrant.

Pros

  1. Fantasy world- it’s not clunky/info-dumpy, it is interesting to have a world that is majority if not completely filled with black people
  2. How it deals with the problems of the world- the greatest thing about having a world with majority/completely filled with black people is that the story can be intraracial issues such as colorism. It also does a good representation of systematic oppression ( there is even some commentary about misogynoir )
  3. Brutal- the stakes are high and real

I really did not have anything I did not like about it so I’m ready  for it to come out. I’m actually a bit annoyed at myself for sampling something coming out next year in March.

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My Nana and Me

8/1/17

Art:  Black girl with black doll, good drawing black people, dream like different images that blend into one

Story: love between grandmother  and her granddaughter

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Sweet Dreams, Super Girl

2/1/18

Art: mix comic and picture book-transition for young superhero lovers, poc children

Story: takes everyday lessons and adds superheroes to it

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Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament

9/5/17

Art: colors bright, black people in background (different between black and white features)

Story: actually kinda funny, was history lession without me realizing its a history lesson (didn’t feel messagy)

Netgalley Reviews: Penguin Teen Game-Changers & Starswept & Picture Books

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Penguin Teen Game-Changers

Pub: 9/12/17

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Warcross

Pub: 9/12/17

The first five seconds into this one it was a hard no because of the main characters voice did not appeal to me.  I’m not engaged by this one.

+Older heroine who lives a different lifestyle

-pacing (which probably is because (I read a couple of pages of this and knew I did like it.)

Continue? Nope

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Jane Unlimited

Pub: 9/19/17

+different view of teens (dropout)

-voice of the characters it felt like they were trying hard to be quirky at times, it did not engage me

Continue? No

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Someone Inside Your House

Pub: 9/26/17

I wanted this to do well because I do want more horror non-supernatural young adult to do well.  It is readable. Emotionally I am just not into it.

+Main character is Hawaiian, it was readable (it did not feel heavy)

– It was not scary/suspenseful to me

Continue? No

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Things I’m Seeing Without You

Pub: 10/3/17

+Short chapters, different lifestyle (high school boarding school dropout)

-voice of main character

Continue? No

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Pub: 10/10/17

I like the description of this the most so I thought I will actually like this one. I was right.

+I really liked the mythology, pace, that it  showed early on it can be dark/gory (saying to me yes I can and will go there). The chapters were short which ties into the pacing and the overall good job she does with giving the world and mythology info.

Continue? Yes

Overall

It was an okay sampler, did not like 4 of 5 of the books. There was variety in terms of the characters lifestyles, and genre.

Favorite Cover: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Favorite Book: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Other Netgalley Reviews

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Starswept (DNF)

Pub: 8/29/17

4% (according to my kindle app)

Like: The setting being a music school in space

Why DNF? The info dump was heavy and I just was not engaged by it.

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From Far Away

Pub: 8/8/17

Like: Art, smooth transition, imagery of dark skin woman on cover, showing difficulties that a kid who is not from America would deal with (skeleton)

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Tiny Tale of little Pea

Pub: 9/5/17

Like: Ending surprised me (I thought this is what is going to happen, then this will happen, after that it will end like this), art, this is what a person who is the size of Thumbelina would go through (was surprised the cat did not try to pick with him)

Some Books I’m Looking Forward For Rest of 2017

In my quest to not do so many book reviews here is a tbr for future me. This TBR was  unintentionally science fiction and fantasy heavy.

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Miles Morales

August 1st

Genre(s)= science fiction, fantasy, ya

“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.

But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It’s time for Miles to suit up.

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Calling My Name

October 24th

Genre(s)= contemporary, ya,

Taja Brown lives with her parents and older brother and younger sister, in Houston, Texas. Taja has always known what the expectations of her conservative and tightly-knit African American family are—do well in school, go to church every Sunday, no intimacy before marriage. But Taja is trying to keep up with friends as they get their first kisses, first boyfriends, first everythings. And she’s tired of cheering for her athletic younger sister and an older brother who has more freedom just because he’s a boy. Taja dreams of going to college and forging her own relationship with the world and with God, but when she falls in love for the first time, those dreams are suddenly in danger of evaporating.

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Black Beauty

September 15th 2015

Genre(s)= fantasy

At Vista Apartment Complex, life drastically changes for few of its residents when they decide to do business with Crazy Jade—the supposed voodoo witch that can grant your wish, for a price.

Shemeya wants the confidence to stand up against the girls bullying her at school, but she soon has to choose between keeping her dreadlocs or living a normal life. After catching her boyfriend cheating, Latreece just wants to have the same curves as all the other girls. Ashley will do whatever she can to have “White Girl Flow”, but takes her pursuit too far when she steals from Crazy Jade.

Everyone who comes into contact with Crazy Jade soon learns the true price of her magic—and how horribly wrong it can go.

BLACK BEAUTY takes the reader on a journey through the point of view of five residents of Vista Apartment Complex, and how each of their horrors crash together in ways they could never have expected.

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An Excess Male

September 12th

Genre(s)= science fiction

From debut author Maggie Shen King, An Excess Male is the chilling dystopian tale of politics, inequality, marriage, love, and rebellion, set in a near-future China, that further explores the themes of the classic The Handmaid’s Tale and When She Woke.

Under the One Child Policy, everyone plotted to have a son.

Now 40 million of them can’t find wives. China’s One Child Policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by 40 million unmarriageable men. By the year 2030, more than twenty-five percent of men in their late thirties will not have a family of their own. An Excess Male is one such leftover man’s quest for love and family under a State that seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritatian measures, reinvigorated Communist ideals, and social engineering.Wei-guo holds fast to the belief that as long as he continues to improve himself, his small business, and in turn, his country, his chance at love will come. He finally saves up the dowry required to enter matchmaking talks at the lowest rung as a third husband—the maximum allowed by law. Only a single family—one harboring an illegal spouse—shows interest, yet with May-ling and her two husbands, Wei-guo feels seen, heard, and connected to like never before. But everyone and everything—walls, streetlights, garbage cans—are listening, and men, excess or not, are dispensable to the State. Wei-guo must reach a new understanding of patriotism and test the limits of his love and his resolve in order to save himself and this family he has come to hold dear.

In Maggie Shen King’s startling and beautiful debut, An Excess Male looks to explore the intersection of marriage, family, gender, and state in an all too plausible future.

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Valley of Terror

August 29th

Genre(s)= horror

A mysterious “fear disease” is scaring to death the citizens of Longzhou, China. Literally. Victims go insane or die frozen in terror, while survivors rant maniacally about demons infiltrating the city. But what’s really behind the sudden epidemic? To find the answer, Chief Inspector Luo Fei teams up with a controversial historian and a brilliant psychologist to track down the true source of the illness and halt the wave of horror that threatens the metropolis.

As the trio ventures to the primitive jungles and mountains of Yunnan, they’re haunted by tales of a seventeenth-century general whose demonic soul, said to have been sealed away in a vial of his blood, has been unleashed on the modern world. Now, trekking deep into the legendary Valley of Terror, they find themselves being stalked by someone—or something—daring them to uncover the truth. And as superstition, science, and history collide, their discovery could be as heart-stopping as fear itself.

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

October 10th

Genre(s)= fantasy

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

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Talon of God

July 25th (already out)

Genre(s)= fantasy, horror

The acclaimed actor makes his fiction debut with this enthralling urban fantasy in which a holy warrior must convince a doctor with no faith to help stop a powerful demon and his minions from succeeding in creating hell on earth—a thrilling adventure of science and faith, good and evil, damnation and salvation

Imagine that everyone you have ever known or loved was forced against their will into a state of demonic possession and spiritual slavery. Imagine an unholy cabal of the world’s richest and most powerful men directing this sinister plan in order to cement their unbridled control of the planet.

Imagine two heroes emerging from that darkness to do battle with the forces of evil.

Set in the mean streets of Chicago, Talon of God is the action-packed adventure centered around the Lauryn Jefferson, a beautiful young doctor who is dragged into a seemingly impossible battle against the invisible forces of Satan’s army and their human agents that are bent on enslaving humanity in a mission to establish the kingdom of hell on Earth.

But Lauryn is a skeptic, and it’s only as she sees a diabolical drug sweep her city and begins to train in the ways of a spirit warrior by the legendary man of God, Talon Hunter, that she discovers her true nature and inner strength. Facing dangerous trials and tests, it’s a true baptism by fire. And if they fail, millions could die. And rivers of blood would flow throughout the land.

Imagine such horror. Such pain. And imagine what it would take to fight against it. For only the strongest and most faithful will survive?

Get ready. Armageddon approaches quickly.

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The Tiger’s Daughter

October 3rd

Genre(s)= fantasy

Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

 

T5W: SFF TBR

Recently, I have been in a mood for reading some science fiction (well, some of these are fantasy but I am more in a mood for science fiction. I think I actually may like sci-fi more than fantasy) books.

T5W Group  where meme originated can be found on the link.

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1. Unplugged

Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.

Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.

But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.

Status: Currently reading but waiting to get from the library. I already sampled the first three chapters.

What I like about Unplugged is that it has a dystopia that I feel is plausible. It has so many allusions to current day issues that black and brown people deal with and main character is latina. Also, this would be a good series to get into because the second one came out recently and the third  one comes out in December.

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2. The Between

When Hilton was just a boy, his grandmother sacrificed her life to save him from drowning. Thirty years later, he begins to suspect that he was never meant to survive that accident, and that dark forces are working to rectify that mistake. When Hilton’s wife, the only elected African-American judge in Dade County, FL, begins to receive racist hate mail, he becomes obsessed with protecting his family. Soon, however, he begins to have horrible nightmares, more intense and disturbing than any he has ever experienced. Are the strange dreams trying to tell him something? His sense of reality begins to slip away as he battles both the psychotic threatening to destroy his family and the even more terrifying enemy stalking his sleep. Chilling and utterly convincing, The Between follows the struggles of a man desperately trying to hold on to the people and life he loves, but may have already lost. The compelling plot holds readers in suspense until the final, profound moment of resolution.

Status: Currently reading – same as Unplugged except I am going to buy this one because it is cheap online.

Horror and fantasy!

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3. On the Edge of Gone

January 29, 2035.

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

Status: Haven’t started yet.

I moved it up my TBR because I think it would be fun to read it for autism awareness month. With the line “When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?” it is a sci-fi I have to read.

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4. Sorcerer to the Crown

Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Status: Read the prologue but have not read further yet.

Black. Victorian. fantasy.

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5. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

Status: Still haven’t started yet.

A lot of sff books are doom and gloom so I like the idea of reading something hopeful. Having a book about exploring species, cultures, and worlds is appealing. I have not  read a book with any of these things since reading The Best of All Possible Worlds last year so I hope it is good.