Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Wrap Up



So I just checked and the last time I actually sat down to write a monthly wrap up was in August. AUGUST! I've been really bad about doing this, but I'm trying to get out of my reading slump and get back to business as usual for this blog. I try to write something even if it's just a Top Ten Tuesday at least once a week, so at least I've been pretty consistent.

BOOKS I READ


AUDIOBOOKS




So...yeah I haven't been reading as much as I used to, but thankfully I do a fair amount of audiobooks. I am hoping to get back into reading more books in print soon!

WHAT ELSE I'VE CONSUMED




We are really into The Flash, which can be difficult sometimes because I think we gave up on Arrow and there are a lot of Arrow crossovers. We just love The Flash so much more, it's so much more comic booky, and I think it's really Cisco that makes the show for us.

Daredevil just got loaded a few weeks ago on Netflix, and we blew through it. I have to admit I think I like Jessica Jones better, but it's still a really good show, and we have been enjoying it.

Let me say the biggest reason that my reading has gone to crap is because of Bethesda Games. I starting playing a little bit of Fall Out New Vegas, but I got stuck on a quest, so my boyfriend finally convinced me to start Skyrim. It was the best and worst thing to happen to me. Usually when I start I new game I say I hate this game for about a month before I get into, but that was not the case with Skyrim. I liked it immediately. So I have gotten a little lost in that for the past month. 

What books did you read in March? Are you like me, and do you have something else that has been consuming all your reading time?


Happy Reads Everyone!
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Audiobook Review: Lost Stars By Claudia Gray

Lost Stars By Claudia Gray
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilms Press
Release Date: September 4th, 2015
Format: Audiobook narrated by Pierce Cravens
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Star Wars meets Romeo and Juliet in this epic YA novel that follows two best friends who find themselves on opposite sides of the war between the Empire and the Rebellion.

This thrilling YA novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe: from the purge of the Jedi in Episode III, to the beginnings of the rebellion in Star Wars Rebels, and through the fall of the Empire in Episodes IV-IV. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two best friends who grow up in these troubling times, and find themselves on opposite sides of the war.

As with other Journey to Episode VII titles, hints about the upcoming film will be included in the narrative, as well a original, post-Episode VI content that sets up the new film.

DUAL NARRATIVE: Chapters alternate perspectives between our two protagonists – one a Rebel pilot, the other an Imperial officer. By exploring these two different worlds, readers will experience many of the major moments in the original Star Wars trilogy – from the destruction of the Death Star to the battle of Hoth – through these two characters' eyes.
This is another book that I read in contingent with The Star Wars Stacks Podcast.  I have a lot of feels about this book and our two main characters. A lot of feels! Ciena & Thane forever!! 

I'm not going to give away the ending, but fair warning to remember that the Star Wars Saga is a tragedy. So keep that in mind when you read this book, because the ending won't leave you with happiness.

The frame of the story wasn't that original, but the way Gray painted these characters I found them so real and cared about what was going to happen to them.Their tragic romance was so compelling that I would even recommend this to people who may have never picked up a Star Wars book before. Their romance is a slow burn, and I found it really believable that they don't get together until they were out of the Academy and working at their different posts. No instalove in this one, at all!

What I liked about this book was that it gave you the perspective of the Imperial Fleet, and how people would have been swayed to believe in the Empire despite the atrocities they commit. We see this a lot in Ciena who despite the Empire blowing up Alderaan, she believes that it was a preemptive attack and that it would save more lives down the line. Her background and her belief in loyalty is what is ultimately her downfall. She believes whole heartedly that the Empire is doing good and they are providing order to the Galaxy, that she gets blinded to the terrible things they do.

This book had me questioning a lot of things about the Star Wars universe. We always see the Empire as evil and the Rebels as good, but who is really in the right here? War is not so simply that black and white. Both sides of the war do terrible things, and innocent people get killed on both sides. I think as Star Wars fans we always see the Empire as being evil monsters, but a lot of the officers were just doing their jobs and like Ciena may have justified it in their heads even if in their hearts they knew it was wrong.

I also enjoyed the narrator of this audiobook. I appreciated that they chose a young sounding narrator. Even though this book is written in third person, I felt like having a younger sounding voice made me relate to these young adults better. I have listened to a couple YA audiobooks where I felt like the narrator was trying too hard to sound younger and it didn't work. I think it worked for Pierce Cravens, so it was definitely a plus. 

Of the new Star Wars Expanded Universe books, I think this is one of my favorites. No, this was probably the best of the new books that I have read so far. If you're thinking about picking this one up and you still aren't sure yet, I would highly recommend you do so.

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Books


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is books I love that I haven't talked about in a while. So basically books I feel are really underrated and I want everyone to read.


The Divine Cities Series By Robert Jackson Bennett

I recently reviewed the second book in this series, so maybe I have talked about this recently, but I just really want to push this series on so many people. It's so good!


Invisible Monsters By Chuck Palahniuk

This is my favorite book by Chuck Palahniuk. I never reviewed it on this blog because I read it WAY before I had a blog. Sadly I leant it to someone in high school that I'm no longer friends with, and I never got it back. :( 


I Heart Robot By Suzanne Van Rooyen

I read the ARC of this book last year and it was a pleasant surprise. If you are a sci-fi fan it might be a little predictable, but I really enjoyed this one. 


The Secret life of Sparrow Delaney By Suzanne Harper

This middle grade book was another pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed it, but I definitely would want it to be a series. 


The Curse Workers by Holly Black

I think I do actually talk about this series a lot. I love this mobster magical realism book from Holly Black. I highly recommend it. 


Graceling By Kristin Cashore

I love that this series is told in companion novels, each book has a different perspective and in a different time. I really enjoyed exploring this world in different ways. 


His Dark Materials Series

I know this series is a little controversial because it's very anti-religion, but I always think that a story is a story and you can enjoy it for what it is. I never really bought into the messaging behind it, and read it more for the fantasy story.


The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel By Michael Scott

I saw this series next to Harry Potter at a bookstore and it peaked my interest. If you want to know more about the myth of Nicholas Flamel I would recommend this one. 



Avalon High By Meg Cabot

This is one of my favorite stand-alone novels that Meg Cabot has written. It's also probably why I started watching the show Merlin. I loved the concept of Arthur's court being reincarnated. 


Oh.My.Gods By Tera Lynn Childs

Has anyone else read this series? I don't think I have found a lot of people. I think this came out when Greek mythlogy was "the thing" in YA fiction, so it might have flown under the radar. I think there are just two books in this series, but it was pretty cool. It actually made me want to run faster when I took it to the gym with me. haha. 

What books are you talking about this week? 

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Monday, March 21, 2016

Audiobook Review: Fever 1793

Fever 1793 By Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Listening Library
Release Date: April 24th, 2007
Format: Audiobook narrated by Emily Bergl

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.

Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.
Okay, I have to admit, I wasn't really that into this book. I really like Laurie Halse Anderson, so I thought I would finally give this one a try, but I think this book just wasn't for me. It was okay, but didn't overwhelm me with awesomeness like her books normally do. It's definitely for people that like historical fiction set during the American Revolution, which is definitely NOT ME.

So one reason I really couldn't get into it was because of the time period. I'm not really that into this time period, and I think I only picked this one up because it was written by Anderson and it was set in Philadelphia. My city is rich with history, but I feel like this book didn't give it much justice.

The other reason I just wasn't that wowed by this one was the narrator. I feel like she tried a little too hard to make her voice sound like in the time period, and she ended up speaking with a light southern accent which just really bothered me. I know she wouldn't have a modern Philly accent, but it just seemed off-putting to me. Overall I just didn't really care for how she delivered the lines. I think I would have liked this one way better had I just read the actual book instead of listening to the audiobook. Sometimes I am really picky when it comes to narrators, which I find is a huge problem for me.

I feel like I'm turning a lot of people off from this book, but I think a lot of these reasons for not really loving this book are specific to me. This book is about a real epidemic that happened in Philadelphia, so if you really want to see that from a teenager's eyes I would highly recommend it. It's not a bad book, it's a short read that I did enjoy, but just not as much as I thought I would. There is definitely an audience for this novel, but that just doesn't include me. If you really enjoy American Revolution historical fiction, I would highly recommend this one to you.


Happy Reads Everyone!
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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Review: City of Blades

City of Blades By Robert Jackson Bennett
Publisher: Broadway Books
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Format: Paperback, 469 pages
Source: Blogging for Books
Summary Via Penguin Random House

My Rating: ★★
Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
A triumphant return to the world of City of Stairs.
 
A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of war and death, the birthplace of fearsome supernatural sentinels who killed and subjugated millions. So it makes perfect sense that General Turyin Mulaghesh— foul-mouthed hero of the battle of Bulikov, rumored war criminal, ally of an embattled Prime Minister—has been exiled there to count down the days until she can draw her pension and be forgotten.  
 
At least, it makes the perfect cover story. 
 
The truth is that the general has been pressed into service one last time, dispatched to investigate a discovery with the potential to change the world–or destroy it.
If you haven't read the first book in this series, City of Stairs, I highly suggest you do so. However, having read both books I can say that the writing and plot of both books are strong enough that they can stand on their own. If you pick up this book before reading the first one, I don't think you would be lost at all. There are references to the first book, but the overall plot and what happens to our protagonist Mulaghesh are not dependent upon the first book. That is something that really makes me like Robert Jackson Bennett's writing a lot, because he really makes this strange urban fantasy story accessible to all sorts of readers. 

Initially this book did take me awhile to get into, and I think for the most part that was because I felt like it starts off pretty slow. Part of this was Bennett giving us the world building of the city of Voortyashtan, so we can understand the politics, landscape and what exactly Mulaghesh is getting herself into. Once Sigrud je Harkvaldsson shows up and the story really got into the mystery aspect of finding the Prime Ministry's missing operative, that's when things got really interesting. That's when Bennett hooked me in, and I could hardly put this one down.

What I really like about Bennett's writing is that he has this way of blending urban fantasy with mystery all in a backdrop of a geo-political power struggle. The way he does it has to be Divine, because if another author attempted this it might come off as too much, but Bennett has a way of making it all fit into a concise story. I think he also writes in a way that always keeps me guessing, because I did not guess who was behind bringing destruction to the city. I know it's common that in mystery it's the least person you expect, but seriously in this book I would not have guessed at all who it was!

It's been a while since I read the first book in this series, I actually didn't know this was going to be a series, so I immediately jumped on the chance to read City of Blades. I'm really glad I did, because I think I actually liked it more than the first book. One thing I noticed that I think differed a lot between the two was the swearing. I don't remember there being a lot of swearing in the first book, but Mulaghesh swears a lot in this book. This is an adult fantasy book, and I have a mouth like a trucker so this didn't bother me at all. I think this was a way to show Mulaghesh as a somewhat unlikeable character, but it actually endeared her to me. She was kind of abrasive and got what she wanted through force and lots of F-bombs, so of course I loved her! I also think her determination to get to the bottom of things and save civilians make her a more likable character to me. She had guts, but she also was fighting on the right side of justice.

I throughly enjoyed this book, and I'm actually surprised that I haven't seen more book bloggers getting on board with this series. I think more people need to read this series to see what I am talking about. I am highly recommending this book (and the series as a whole) to everyone I know that reads fantasy. I'll just be sitting here patiently waiting to see what Bennett has in store for me in the third installment of this series in 2017!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Friday, March 18, 2016

What makes you give a book a 5-star rating?


★★


So I have been thinking about this topic for awhile, and wanted to finally discuss it on the blog. What makes you give a book a 5-star rating? 

I ask this mostly of myself when I go to write reviews, because a lot of times I'm not sure if the book I just read is a 4-star review or a 5-star reviews. To be honest a lot of times I just decide on 4 1/2 stars to compromise...with myself. Here are a few ways that determine if I should give a book 5-stars or not.

My Mood

I think if I've just come off reading a terrible book I am more critical of the current book I am reading. So while I may enjoy a book a lot, I might just give it 4 or 4 1/2 stars because I just don't think it deserves my 5-star rating. Sometimes if I'm just coming off a great read I think I am more lenient with reviews of my next book. There have been times where I've gone back even after I've posted a review and thought, "Hey, is this really a 5-star book?" I'm too lazy to actually change my review, but there have been times where I should have been more critical and I wasn't. This is definitely something I have noticed and I am trying to make my review unbiased from the other books I had previously read.

Favorite Authors

Okay, I definitely admit it, I have given books 5-star ratings just because they were written by one of my favorite authors. I just love those authors and their other books that I feel like I'm betraying them by not giving them a 5-star-review. At the same time, I feel like that's not being honest, and I do want to try to fairly review every book I read.

Problematic Content

There have been times that I have really enjoyed a certain book but there was just something that I found problematic in the content that just couldn't allow me to give it 5 stars. For instance I really don't like infidelity in books, but it seems to be a plot driver in a lot of romance novels. For instance in Outlander, Claire basically cheats on her husband Frank, which I thought was okay since he wasn't really alive yet in the plot, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. I also don't really like abuse of woman, so there have been some really great books that I LOVED but certain parts of it just made me extremely uncomfortable that I just couldn't see myself giving it a higher rating. 

Audiobook Narrator

I read a lot of audiobooks and review them on this blog, and it definitely effects how I review things. There have been books, like Ready Player One, that I absolutely LOVED because the narrator was amazing. There have also been books that I have straight up DNF because I couldn't stand the narrator's voice. I can be fickle about this at times, so this definitely is another merit on how I decide if a book deserves a 5-star rating.

These are just a few reasons why I decide on what stars to give my reviews. I want to know what metrics do you looks at when deciding if a book is a 5-star review? How do you determine if a book is worth of 5-stars? Do you even think about as much as I do?

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Blog Name Change


So I decided to change the name of my blog. It's a subtle change going from Deanna Writes to Deanna Reads, but I've been thinking about changing the name for awhile. I just finally decided to make a decision about it.

When I started this blog I initially thought I would would use it more to talk about my own writing (HAHAHA what writing??) but over the past year or so it has evolved into something more. It became more about what I was reading or listening to if we count my Deanna Listens podcast feature, but it wasn't quite about my writing anymore, so I thought a change was necessary.

Honestly. I haven't been that great about reading lately, the only thing that has been keeping my blog afloat is that I listen to so many audiobooks. So thankfully I've been able to get a blog or two in a week. Which is perfectly fine by me! So I definitely hope that this change will allow me to get back into the swing of things and start reading more again.

I'm also thinking about some new things that I can do on the blog. Like actually writing discussions piece. I also have an idea for a video game feature, and I'm considering having April be dedicated to comic books.

So what does the name change mean? Nothing really that should impact my followers. My URL has remained the same, it's just the title of the blog that has changed. So you'll still be able to follow me even though I'm now blogging as Deanna Reads.

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on my Spring TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is the ten books on your spring TBR. Oh man I have so many books on my TBR it is not even funny, but here are the ones that I am really trying to get to.


Dragonfly in Amber By Diana Gabaldon

I actually am 130 pages into this novel, it's just very long and every time I go to read it I'm just not prepared for it, so this is one I will DEFINITELY read this spring/summer



Fever 1793 By Laurie Halse Anderson

This one is actually in my audiobook download queue so I might have already read it by the time this gets posted but I haven't reviewed it yet. So another one I will actually read when I say I will.



Saint Anything Sarah Dessen

For shame, I still haven't read this one, but I'm trying to get to it. Soon!


Sailor Moon Volume 2

I started this one too, so I imagine I will get through it rather quickly, just haven't gotten quite there yet.


The Knife of Never Letting Go By Patrick Ness

I read the first chapter, but I just need to come back to this one. I'm not prepared for it yet.


Matched By Ally Condie

Maybe I'll actually get this one, maybe? Hahah who am I fooling? 


City Of Blades By Robert Jackson Bennett

I am reading this right now, just need to finish it. So another that is sitting at my bedside table waiting to be finished. I think I have a problem. But I'm halfway through it now and it just got really interesting so I hope to be done it soon.


Shadow and Bone By Leigh Bardugo

Maybe this is the year I finally get to this one? 


The Darkest Minds By Alexandra Bracken

I have a friend that has been dying for me to read it, so I finally got a copy. Maybe if I finish this, she will finish The Lunar Chronicles?


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown By Holly Black

Uh...maybe I should just wait until Halloween? 

So...I'm terrible at sticking to my TBR lists. What books are on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Monday, March 14, 2016

Audiobook Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz By A.S. King
Publisher: Listening Library
Release Date: March 8th, 2011
Format: Audiobook narrated by Lynde Houck

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.
This book was a hard one to get through, so much that I listened to this audiobook back in December and I still haven't reviewed it. Part of the reason it was difficult for me to get through was that it dealt with a lot of heavy issues like teen pregnancy, domestic abuse, alcoholism, etc. The other reason is that I found Vera to be a little unlikeable. I understood why she was a bitter, cynical person but at times I just wanted to shake her. I think this is me showing my age, because I think I would have been more on board with her attitude as a teenager than I am now.

Vera doesn't have an easy life. The book starts out at the funeral of her best friend Charlie Kahn who dies mysteriously, and we learn quickly that they had a falling out right before his death. Vera was a product of teen pregnancy and it seems to haunt her life ever since her mom took off a few years ago to leave her with her recovering alcoholic father. Her dad is very hard of her, but I think I could understand why because he just never wanted her to go through the things he went through. He wanted to teach her responsibility and make sure she didn't make the same mistakes. I got that, really I did, but it kind of annoyed me how much he cared about how much money she could make at her pizza delivery job. He also wasn't very understanding about how much school combined with a job could be a lot of pressure on a kid. I went through a similar experience in my senior year of high school, so I understood how exhausted Vera was. I think he had the best intentions but it annoyed me how much he hammered in that she needed to make money. Personally, I think when you are a kid being in school is your "job" so that really annoyed me.

I think the one thing that made Vera unlikeable for me was that she basically was a functioning alcoholic. She grew up with her dad talking about how bad he was and trying to tell her how dangerous drinking was, but she was driving pizza to people with alcohol underneath the seat of her car! And not just sitting there, she would sit at a stoplight or parked in between runs to take some sips. Like, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?! I hate drinking and driving, so seeing it in a book made me really annoyed. However, I think the author's intentions was to show how messed up Vera was that she somehow thought this was okay.

I mentioned that this book also deals with domestic abuse, but don't worry Vera never faces that personally. It is made pretty clear early on that Charlie's father is abusive. Nothing is ever done to get him out of that situation. Once when Vera mentions doing something to her father he basically tells her to not get involved. That bothered me a lot, and nothing ever gets resolved on that end even after Charlie's death.

This book mainly deals with Vera ways of coping with the death of a loved one. As we can tell she has a real hard time with it, to the point she is even seeing "Charlies" running around and preventing her from doing things. I'm still not even sure if Charlie was a ghost in this novel, or if it was Vera's guilt at never patching things up with him before he died.

I did really like the narrator in this audiobook. She did a really good job with Vera's biting sarcastic voice, and it made me feel like I was actually listening to a teenaged girl going through this ordeal. I'm not sure how this came off in the actual book, but I think listening to the audio version really made me understand this.

This is my first time reading a book by A.S. King and I think I would definitely recommend it and read her other books. This book was hard to get through because it dealt with hard situations that we don't like to talk about. I think these are things we need to talk about despite their difficulty, so I definitely think this book has a lot of worth and merit.


Happy Reads Everyone!
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Friday, March 11, 2016

Audiobook Review: Winter

Winter By Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners
Release Date: November 10th, 2015
Format: Audiobook narrated by Rebecca Soler

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?
Okay, so I shied away from this book for awhile because I just didn't want this series to be over. So I kept on putting it off, but I finally got a chance to listen to the audiobook! I loved this book, it's one of the few that I have enjoyed so much that I had to give it a 5-star rating. I really enjoyed this series as a whole with the diverse cast of characters and interesting world building, so I'm really sad to see that it's now over. 

First let's talk about the narrator Rebecca Soler. Soler was the narrator for the entire series, which is something I feel like every series needs to do. I had listened to her on the audio for Scarlet so when I started Winter I was really glad to hear her familiar voice. I think she did a pretty good job, especially in this final book because she has to do a lot more voices. I think she does an awesome job with accents and making you really understand that this is a different character speaking. I would definitely try to listen to any other books she has narrated. 

Winter the character is different from the others because she refuses to use her Lunar gift and she has gone mad from it. I liked that we got to see a character suffering from a mental illness, especially in a science fiction book. I think it was done realistically, and I did like the conversation she has with Jacin at the end of the book about whether she needs to be "fixed". I felt like at times Winter was really naive, which is a major plot point that I don't want to spoil, but I understood why due to her upbringing in the palace.

This was the final book so a lot of crazy stuff happens in it, and I feel like I can't really talk about any of it without spoiling things for people! I will say that I freaking hated Levana. This whole book had me seething with everything she did. She was straight up EVIL!! I read Fairest, and although I felt bad for what Channary did to her, it didn't make me pity her because inside Levana was ugly. It didn't matter what she looked like for real or by Glamour she had an ugly personality, and would never really know "true beauty." 

This book is a lot longer than the other three, but I didn't find that it dragged on at all. The book was action packed and it kept me wanting to listen to it every chance I got. If you haven't started this series yet or you're not ready to finish it, I would highly recommend you get on that now!

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review: Lords of the Sith

Lords of the Sith By Paul S Kemp
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: April 28th 2015
Format: Epub, 320 pages

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”

Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.

On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.

For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.
This book is basically what I thought Aftermath was going to be. A concise story about a band of rebels trying to take down the Empire. I really enjoyed this one and I think it actually brings a lot of the new star wars canon together. If you watched Clone Wars or are currently watching Star Wars Rebels, Cham Syndulla the leader of the Ryloth rebellion with seem really familiar. (Spoiler Alert he's Hera's father). So if you know that, you know that you will see him again and see how what he does in this book affects the rest of this universe.

What I like about this one is that it's a nice way to bridge the gap between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope. This is about Darth Vader shortly after he became a Sith, but Anakin Skywalker is not completely gone. You can still sense his hesitation to do things the Emperor asks of him, and he's still has spare thoughts about Padme and Ahsoka. He is not the Vader from a New Hope, at least not yet and I really like that. I also think it helped me understand why Vader does turn on the Emperor in the end of Return of The Jedi. Vader did still have good in him, but it was masked by his desire for power and his anger. This book is Vader at his start, but it's also just one big test for him. With all the crazy stuff that goes on in this book, The Emperor is just essentially testing that Vader can be his apprentice, and that's why he's so unfazed by the assassination attempts they face. He knows Vader will succeed, because he has to.

What I also liked about this one was that I got a better understanding of the Twi'Lek species. I didn't know that much about them prior to this book, but I did enjoy reading about their plight and seeing them on their home planet. I definitely what to know a little bit more about their culture and what their planet was like before they were occupied.

I do admit that towards the end I felt like the book started to drag on. It got a little too much when Vader and the Emperor were killing creatures in caves. I just felt that was a little unnecessary and didn't really do anything for the plot. I could have been happier with this part left out.

Of the new Star Wars Canon, I think this might be my favorite. I've only read a few that are considered part of the new official disney canon and I haven't been that impressed. This one finally reads like a Star Wars book to me. So if you love the Legends Expanded Universe, I think you would like this one too.

Happy Reads Everyone!
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