Top Ten Tuesday July 7: Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

July 7: Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Ann M. Martin – about 80 books.
The Baby-Sitters Club series. This was all I read as a kid.

Timothy Zahn – 12 books.
Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command)
Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn Duology (Specter of the Past, Vision of the Future)
Star Wars: Thrawn (Thrawn, Alliances, Treason)
Outbound Flight
Star Wars: Survivor’s Quest
Allegiance
Choices of One

J.K. Rowling – 9 books.
Seven Harry Potter books and The Casual Vacancy.

James Luceno – 7 books.
Darth Plagueis
Labyrinth of Evil
The Rise of Darth Vader
Star Wars: The New Jedi Order (Hero’s Trial, Jedi Eclipse, The Unifying Force)
Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

Stephenie Meyer – 6 books.
Twilight series, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, The Host.

Pierce Brown – 5 books.
Red Rising Saga.

Katherine Arden – 5 books.
The Winternight Trilogy, Small Spaces, Dead Voices.

Troy Denning  – 5 book.
Tatooine Ghost
Star by Star (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order)
Star Wars: Dark Nest (The Joiner King, The Unseen Queen, The Swarm War)

Deborah Harkness – 4 books.
All Souls trilogy and Time’s Convert.

Ruta Sepetys – 3 books
Between Shades of Gray, Salt to the Sea, The Fountains of Silence.

I could go on because I have read so many Star Wars novels. Many (e.g. the X-Wing series, The New Jedi Order series) were written by Michael A. Stackpole, and Aaron Allston. But just like Zahn, Denning, and Luceno, I have not read any of their books outside the Star Wars universe.

Top Ten Tuesday June 30: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

June 30: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

  1. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer – I liked the draft and am excited to read Edward’s POV in full. Get to hear all the thoughts of the Cullens.
    Expected publication: August 4th 2020
  2. Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn. – I am excited to know more about the Chiss Ascendancy.
    Expected publication: September 1st 2020
  3. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – I tried to get an ARC from the virtual Book Con giveaway. I didn’t win. I have yet to read anything by her, but this sounds so good.
    Expected publication: October 6th 2020
  4. Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray – I like her Star Wars stories and would like to check this out. It’s Disney’s version of the Knights of the Old Republic.
    Expected publication: October 13th 2020
  5. From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes BackJust like the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back is getting it’s anniversary book too! So happy!
    Expected publication: November 10th 2020

Woodwalker by Emily B. Martin

251055_600

“What on earth would I gain from that?” I asked him. “Risk my own neck by violating my banishment just to leave you? The sentence placed on me if I return is execution. If I’m entering the mountains again, I’d damn well better get something out of it.”

Exiled from the Silverwood and the people she loves, Mae has few illusions about ever returning to her home. But when she comes across three out-of-place strangers in her wanderings, she finds herself contemplating the unthinkable: risking death to help a deposed queen regain her throne.

And if anyone can help Mona Alastaire of Lumen Lake, it is a former Woodwalker—a ranger whose very being is intimately tied to the woods they are sworn to protect. Mae was once one of the best, and despite the potential of every tree limb to become the gibbet she’s hanged from, she not only feels a duty to aid Mona and her brothers, but also to walk beneath her beloved trees once more.

A grand quest in the tradition of great epic fantasies, filled with adventure and the sharp wit—and tongue—of a unique hero, Woodwalker is the perfect novel to start your own journey into the realm of magical fiction.

I got this book as part of the Harper Collins Fantasy Quest mystery box I bought at New York Comic Con 2019.

It’s scary and exciting to buy books blindly. The Harper Collins Fantasy Mystery Box is 2 for 2! I really enjoyed this story.

The world building and pacing is very well done. It was easy to get into the world and understand the politics, religions, customs, and history.

Emily B. Martin uses her knowledge as a park ranger well. I am not an outdoors person, but as I stepped into this world I wanted to become a Woodwalker. It was very magical, even though there is no magic/spell casting in the world. It was a very exciting adventure story.

I figured out the twist shortly before it was revealed because I recalled the first chapter.

5 out of 5 Fireflies. 

Favorite Quotes:

Page 124: -don’t do something if you don’t think you can do it well.

Page 139: “Always determine what’s important, and what’s urgent. Prioritize.

Page 217: It’s a cruel thing, time. Some days stretch into a thousand lifetimes, endless in their drudgery. Some flip over as quickly as the turn of a book page. And the some seem to do both at the same time, speeding you along faster than you can blink while still allowing you that slow, simmering dread deep in your stomach.

Page 248: “..the Light is more than just how people revere it. It’s more than a full moon, or a reflection on a waterfall. It exists beyond how we perceive it, and beyond how folk act on it.”

Top Ten Tuesday June 23: Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

June 23: Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10! Option 2: pick a past TTT topic you wish you’d done, but didn’t get a chance to do.

I had missed these because I liked the topic but at the time I couldn’t think of books to fill the topic. So I am listing them now.

April 7: Books I Borrowed Because… I wasn’t sure I would like it and didn’t want to spend money – but then I ended up loving it and bought them.

1) Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

2) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

Books I Borrowed Because there are a lot of issues in the series and I just don’t have the space for them all.

3) Saga Volumes 1-9, by Brian K. Vaughan, Artist Fiona Staples.

4) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 1: Aphra by Kieron Gillen, Illustrator – Kev Walker.

5) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 2: Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit by Kieron Gillen, Illustrator -Kev Walker.

6) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 3: Remastered by Kieron Gillen, Illustrator – Emilio Laiso.

April 21: Titles That Would Make Good Band Names

1) Because music is Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.

2) They make gold records –> Iron Gold by Pierce Brown.

3) Tunnel Vision by Keith Lowe.

4) The irony –> Dead Voices by Katherine Arden.

5) For those that don’t dance at parties –> The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

6) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows.

7) N0S4A2 by Joe Hill.

8) And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

9) Silence – ironic –> The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys.

10) Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

15801353._SY475_

Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

I bought this book back on July 29, 2014 and it has been on my TBR since. It being June and Pride month, I finally read it, and much if it takes place during the summer, so it is a great summer read.

I really loved it. It’s beautiful. I cried.

I did have some small issues with it.

Spoilers  Spoilers  Spoilers Spoilers.

Continue reading

Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston

49000155

When fourteen-year-old Padmé Naberrie wins the election for Queen of Naboo, she adopts the name Amidala and leaves her family to the rule from the royal palace. To keep her safe and secure, she’ll need a group of skilled handmaidens who can be her assistants, confidantes, defenders, and decoys. Each girl is selected for her particular talents, but it will be up to Padmé to unite them as a group. When Naboo is invaded by forces of the Trade Federation, Queen Amidala and her handmaidens will face the greatest test—of themselves, and of each other.

Queen’s Peril just came out this month and it’s a prequel to Queen’s Shadow.

Just like Queen’s Shadow, I really enjoyed this book. I only have the hardcover and so I didn’t listen along with the audiobook this time. It is such a fast read, mostly because it is for YA readers, but I like YA. Also, like I said with my last review: there aren’t any big battle scenes and no lightsaber fights, but if you love Padmé, then this is a book to read.

*A few minor spoilers – but not really if you know Star Wars like the back of your hand, and read Queen’s Shadow.*

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday June 9: Books I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

June 9: Books I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why

I am going to change this topic slightly because looking at my TBR piles I can remember why I bought the ones I paid for, and everything else I picked up for free at conventions. So instead I am going to go through my “Want to Read” books on my Goodreads. There are a ton there that I cannot remember why I added them to that list. The only reason I can think why they are there is because I saw them on a list in a newsletter, or social media, or I entered a sweepstake to try to win a copy.

1) Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

2) The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes.

3) Ashes of Fiery Weather by Kathleen Donohoe.

4) Descendant of the Crane by Joan He.

5) Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr.

6) The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner.

7) In the Shadow of Alabama by Judy Reene Singer.

8) Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff.

9) Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick.

10) The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes.

I could keep going, but let’s keep this at ten.

Star Wars: Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray, narrated by Jonathan Davis.

212100_600

An unexpected offer threatens the bond between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi as the two Jedi navigate a dangerous new planet and an uncertain future in the first canon Star Wars novel to take place before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

A Jedi must be a fearless warrior, a guardian of justice, and a scholar in the ways of the Force. But perhaps a Jedi’s most essential duty is to pass on what they have learned. Master Yoda trained Dooku; Dooku trained Qui-Gon Jinn; and now, Qui-Gon has a Padawan of his own. But while Qui-Gon has faced all manner of threats and danger as a Jedi, nothing has ever scared him like the thought of failing his apprentice.

Obi-Wan Kenobi has deep respect for his Master but struggles to understand him. Why must Qui-Gon so often disregard the laws that bind the Jedi? Why is Qui-Gon drawn to ancient Jedi prophecies instead of more practical concerns? And why wasn’t Obi-Wan told that Qui-Gon is considering an invitation to join the Jedi Council – knowing it would mean the end of their partnership? The simple answer scares him: Obi-Wan has failed his Master.

When Jedi Rael Averross, another former student of Dooku, requests their assistance with a political dispute, Jinn and Kenobi travel to the royal court of Pijal for what may be their final mission together. What should be a simple assignment quickly becomes clouded by deceit and by visions of violent disaster that take hold in Qui-Gon’s mind.

As Qui-Gon’s faith in prophecy grows, Obi-Wan’s faith in him is tested – just as a threat surfaces that will demand that Master and apprentice come together as never before or be divided forever.

I did the same thing that I did for Queen’s Shadow. I bought a hardcover special edition at Celebration Chicago last year and I downloaded the audiobook, because I like the music and sound effects included. And I read along as I listened.

I really enjoyed this book, but let me get the things I didn’t like out of the way. These little things knocked off a star in the rating.

– No character, especially Jedi, in the Star Wars universe, in the films or other mediums says “By the Force” or “Thank the Force.” Actually, it’s a big pet peeve of mine when I see it written in fan fiction.

– The voice for Mace Windu was totally off. Which was a let down because the other voices were spot on. I don’t know what that accent was.

– Young Obi-Wan’s love of flying felt out of character.

Ok, so on to the likes!

– Great voice work for Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Dooku, and Rael Averross (a new character).

– I loved the flashbacks with Dooku and studying the prophecies.

– I loved any discussions and debates the Jedi had about prophecies, and how wanting to control the future lead to the Dark Side.

– I loved Rael’s renegade Jedi attitude and disregard for the Jedi Code, especially when it came to celibacy. Now I want to read a fan fiction where he became Anakin’s teacher because things would have turned out WAY differently.

– I really liked Rahara and felt such sympathy for her.

– I found the idea of performance artist demonstrators really amusing.

– One of my favorite things were seeing the fault lines in the Jedi Order because it makes their downfall understandable. Like how they would serve the government of the Republic over being guardians of justice. Also, how some of their methods of raising young Jedi are wrong. I made a lot of bookmarks.

– I loved the little preludes to The Phantom Menace.
Like the plight of the enslaved people that Czerka corportation owned.
The Chosen One prophecy.
I am sure Qui-Gon learned from the young princess to look closer next time, and don’t underestimate her.

Everything tied together to well. Sometimes the pacing was a bit slow, but I liked the plot of story and the conclusion of it. I had so many suspects and was actually surprised by the twist.

4 out of 5 Prophecies.

Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston, narrated by Catherine Taber

Written by the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Ahsoka!

When Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo, steps down from her position, she is asked by the newly-elected queen to become Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about taking on the new role, but cannot turn down the request to serve her people. Together with her most loyal handmaidens, Padmé must figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of politics and forge a new identity beyond the queen’s shadow.

I bought a hardcover copy at Celebration Chicago last year and I downloaded the audiobook, because Catherine Taber (the voice of Padmé on The Clone Wars) narrates. I read along as I listened.

I loved this book. This might not be a book for every Star Wars fan because it is way more political than the novels we’re used to. There aren’t any big battle scenes and no lightsaber fights, but if you love Padmé, then this is a book to read/listen to.

So I loved this book for many reasons. The friendships between Padmé and the handmaids were great. It was wonderful to see what their strengths were and what their interests were outside of their duties.

The transition from being queen to becoming a senator and navigating the different political arenas was so well done. I especially like seeing Padmé learn how she had to change her demeanor, make allies, and learn how to shed the negative image people had about her. She had to get out of the shadow of what she did to Chancellor Vellorum as queen.

I loved the inclusion of the press articles because image is everything in the public eye.
Besides character image I loved the descriptions of her clothing. Practical armor hidden in style.

Minor spoilers below, but not really if you know a lot about Star Wars.

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday May 26: Opening Lines

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

May 26: Opening Lines (Best, favorite, funny, unique, shocking, gripping, lines that grabbed you immediately, etc.)

1) Favorite famous quote: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

2) Gripping: “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” The Cast of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe.

3) Unique: “August 25, 1991
Dear friend,
I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.” The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

4) Accurate character description: “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

5) Funny and unique: “There is a pirate in the basement. (The pirate is a metaphor but also still a person.) (The basement could rightly be considered a dungeon.) The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

6) Gripping: “The circus arrives without warning.” The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

7) Gripping: “I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.” Red Rising by pierce Brown

8) Haunting: “It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.” A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

9) Haunting: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

10) Thought provoking: “The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.” The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.