Mini Reviews: After the Crown & Beyond the Empire by K.B. Wagers

Thanks to Sirens Conference, I’ve discovered a plethora of new books and authors, and K.B. Wagers’ Indranan War trilogy is definitely among them. Check out my thoughts on books 2 & 3!


AftertheCrownAfter the Crown by K.B. Wagers

Published by Orbit on December 13, 2016

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 416 Format: Paperback Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Former gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to fill her rightful position in the palace. With her sisters and parents murdered, the Indranan empire is on the brink of war. Hail must quickly make alliances with nearby worlds if she has any hope of surviving her rule. 

When peace talks turn violent and Hail realizes she’s been betrayed, she must rely on her old gunrunning ways to get out of trouble. With help from an old boss and some surprising new allies, she must risk everything to save her world.

Continuing the fast paced nature of the first novel, After the Crown follows Hail’s journey as she tries to hold her throne and prevent a massive war. There’s a lot more space action in this one and the author explores more of this intriguing world. Gunrunning plays a much larger role and Hail’s skills become much more apparent as the story unfolds. Emmory and Zin are still my faves and I love their relationship/team dynamic. I also loved learning more about some of the side characters and seeing them come into their own. Obviously I adored this one especially for all the action/adventure aspects and the emotional turmoil.


BeyondtheEmpireBeyond the Empire by K.B. Wagers

Published by Orbit on November 14, 2017

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 416 Format: Paperback Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to take her rightful place in the palace. Her sisters and parents have been murdered, and the Indranan Empire is reeling from both treasonous plots and foreign invasion.

Now, on the run from enemies on all fronts, Hail prepares to fight a full-scale war for her throne and her people, even as she struggles with the immense weight of the legacy thrust upon her. With the aid of a motley crew of allies old and new, she must return home to face off with the same powerful enemies who killed her family and aim to destroy everything and everyone she loves. Untangling a legacy of lies and restoring peace to Indrana will require an empress’s wrath and a gunrunner’s justice.

Thank goodness there is a sequel series to this! I’m just not ready to say goodbye to these epic characters and intriguing world. In Beyond the Empire, Hail continues to fight for her empire and the cards seem stacked against her. With more epic space battles and high octane action, I couldn’t put this book down. Plus this rag tag band of characters really proved their worth! I particularly loved Hao’s role in this one and of course Hail, Emmory, and Zin were amazing. With a unique world and female led society, this book pretty much has it all. It’s a must read for SciFi fans!


Have you read The Indranan War trilogy? Like action-packed SciFi?

Let me know in the comments below!

Waiting on Wednesday: Firestarter

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.


FirestarterFirestarter by Tara Sim

Publisher: Sky Pony

Expected Date: January 15, 2019

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

The crew of the Prometheus is intent on taking down the world’s clock towers so that time can run freely. Now captives, Colton, Daphne, and the others have a stark choice: join the Prometheus’s cause or fight back in any small way they can and face the consequences. But Zavier, leader of the terrorists, has a bigger plan–to bring back the lost god of time.

As new threats emerge, loyalties must shift. No matter where the Prometheus goes–Prague, Austria, India–nowhere is safe, and every second ticks closer toward the eleventh hour. Walking the line between villainy and heroism, each will have to choose what’s most important: saving those you love at the expense of the many, or making impossible sacrifices for the sake of a better world.


Tara Sim’s Firestarter is most likely to wreck me but I just love Danny, Colton, Daphne, and all the rest so much and I don’t want this series to end. Protect the clock towers at all costs!!!

Have you read Timekeeper and Chainbreaker? Excited/terrified for Firestarter?

Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers

BehindtheThroneBehind the Throne by K.B. Wagers

Published by Orbit on August 2, 2016

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 413 Format: Paperback Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Meet Hail: Captain. Gunrunner. Fugitive.

Quick, sarcastic, and lethal, Hailimi Bristol doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire. That is, until two Trackers drag her back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir.

But trading her ship for a palace has more dangers than Hail could have anticipated. Caught in a web of plots and assassination attempts, Hail can’t do the one thing she did twenty years ago: run away. She’ll have to figure out who murdered her sisters if she wants to survive.


Continue reading

Sirens Conference 2018: Fantasy Fun

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My big trip for 2018 was Sirens Conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Hosted by Narrate Conferences, Sirens is a yearly gathering celebrating women and non-binary creators and characters in fantasy literature. Attendees range from writers, academics, readers, librarians, educators, and so many more and everyone’s voice is equally important. 2018 was Sirens’ 10th anniversary and this whole trip was absolutely amazing from start to finish.

My friend and I flew into Denver on Wednesday and took the Sirens Shuttle into the mountains. It’s an extremely beautiful drive as you go deeper and deeper into the Rockies especially with the dusting of snow at higher elevations. The Park Hyatt (where the conference is hosted) definitely leaned into the mountain aesthetic with lots of comfy/cozy chairs and fireplaces as well as antler lighting fixtures that screamed Shadow and Bone. Wednesday night was mostly acclimating to the altitude and wow did I drink a lot of water.

 Thursday evening was the official start of Sirens and for 2018 the conference was reflecting on four themes from previous years: hauntings, revolutionaries, lovers, and women who work magic. The guests of honor were Violet Kupersmith, Kameron Hurley, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Leigh Bardugo. Friday and Saturday were packed with programming, panels, keynotes, and tons of fun. Honestly I was blown away by the discussions and presentations that I was able to attend and there were so many other choices available. Plus the food was amazing and even with my gluten allergy there were plenty of choices.

The best thing about this conference though was the community itself. It didn’t matter if you were a first time attendee (me) or had been coming for all ten years. The staff and volunteers go out of their way to make Sirens an exceptionally diverse and welcoming experience and it was so easy to meet people and engage with others. Part of this probably has to do with everyone’s love of books (fantasy especially) but it also speaks to the quality of the conference itself. From meal excursions to ice breakers at keynotes and the most wonderful bookstore that was built for me; Sirens felt like home, a rejuvenating spring and I’m so grateful I could attend.

I loved Sirens so much and I definitely plan on going back. Next year’s theme is Heroes featuring some amazing authors and academics. The unabashed passion of the Sirens community and the experience I had in Beaver Creek is something that I will hold close to my heart and I highly recommend checking this conference out. Maybe I’ll see you in 2019!

Been to any amazing conferences? Love the book community?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

Teaser Tuesday: Behind the Throne

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Hosted by A Daily Rhythm, Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme meant to highlight passages from books you are currently reading.

Here are the rules (as described by A Daily Rhythm):

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

This week’s teasers come from K.B. Wagers’ Behind the Throne, a fast paced scifi featuring a no nonsense female protagonist forced to play politics. So far I’m really enjoying it so check out these snippets for a taste.

“The empire is in chaos. Things are falling apart even more rapidly than your sister feared. Read the files she sent you, and I’ll catch you up when I can. We’ve been off the grid for too long already.”

~

I thought I’d been free. I’d thought that my life was my own. The one thing I really wanted, the thing I’d given up every piece of my life at home for, had turned out to be a lie.

Have you read Behind the Throne? Enjoy action packed science fiction?

Let me know in the comments below!

Mini Reviews: Spell on Wheels, Ladycastle, & Monstress Vol. 1

I’ve been on a bit of a comic reading kick lately so today I’ve got three mini reviews featuring fierce women. Check out my thoughts below!


SpellonWheelsSpell on Wheels by Kate Leth

Published by Dark Horse Comics on June 20, 2017

Genres: Adult, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Paranormal

Pages: 136 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

A road trip story. A magical revenge fantasy. A sisters-over-misters tale of three witches out to get back what was taken fom them.

Andy, Jolene, and Claire aren’t your average twenty-somethings. They’re legacy witches making their way through a modern world. When a jealous nonmagical ex breaks into their home and steals a spell that could awaken potentials with magical powers, the witches plan their revenge. Traveling down the East Coast, they must retrieve their powerful stolen artifacts and strengthen their friendship… the big bad is even worse than they imagined. 

Collects Spell on Wheels #1–#5.

What’s better than witches on Halloween? Empowered ladies road tripping to take back what’s theirs, that’s what! Andy, Jolene, and Claire were three incredible friends who are vastly different yet work super well as a team. Their trip takes them from hopping city establishments to the streets of suburbia and even dilapidated cabins where they discover the good, bad, and ugly of the magical underground. I absolutely loved the art and the author did a phenomenal job fitting so much character and story into these five issues. Highly recommend!


LadycastleLadycastle by Delilah S. Dawson

Published by Boom! Studios on October 18, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Adventure

Pages: 112 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

When the King and all the men of the castle die, it’s time for the women to knight up.

When King Mancastle and his mighty vassals ride off on a crusade, the women left behind are not at all put out—that’s a lot less armor polishing to do. Of course, when the men get themselves eaten by a dragon and leave a curse that attracts monsters to the castle . . . well, the women take umbrage with that.

Now, Merinor, the blacksmith’s wife is King, Princess Aeve is the Captain, and the only remaining (and least capable) knight, Sir Riddick, is tasked with teaching the ladies of the castle how to fight, defend, build, and do all manner of noisy things the men had done while the women assumed they were just drunk.

The premise of all the men but one being killed and the ladies taking charge of the castle definitely sucked me into this comic and with the likes of Delilah Dawson writing I knew it would be enjoyable. I loved seeing the women come into their own and face the inner struggles as well as the ones that threatened their kingdom. Plus there were a few song interludes plucked from pop culture that added plenty of humor to this bind up. While the art wasn’t my favorite it definitely fit the story well. This one will definitely appeal to a lot of people!


Monstress1Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu

Published by Image Comics on July 19, 2016

Genres: Adult, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Pages: 192 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers. Collects MONSTRESS #1-6

OMG why did it take me so long to read this? I mean, I bought Monstress two years ago and cannot believe I put off this incredible graphic novel. The art by Sana Takeda is exceptional with an intricacy and beauty that stands out on every single page. The detail, however, goes beyond the art with a world steeped in history and mythos as well as intriguing characters that pop up at every turn. While the gore and horror aspects can be slightly off putting, the darkness that lurks within this story will keep the reader enthralled. I totally recommend this though people should be conscious of triggers.


Have you read any of these graphic novels?

Let me know in the comments below!

Highly Anticipated Titles ~ November 2018

Highly Anticipated Titles is a monthly feature showcasing some of the book releases I’m most excited for each month. November is a little lighter on the new titles front but that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited!


ArchenemiesArchenemies by Marissa Meyer

Published by Feiwel & Friends

Expected on November 6, 2018

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.


Continue reading

Mini Reviews: Wildcard & Escaping from Houdini

I’m finally getting to a bunch of fall releases which means I’ll probably be doing lots of mini reviews. This time around I’ve got my thoughts on Wildcard and Escaping from Houdini to share.


WildcardWildcard by Marie Lu

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on September 18, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction

Pages: 341 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

All bets are off. This time the gamble is survival.

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems—and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

Marie Lu’s writing is constantly evolving and always leaves me impressed. Wildcard is no different with intriguing characters and a fast-paced gripping novel that left me reeling. Emika, guided by her conscience and adapting to no longer being a lone wolf, led the way but I couldn’t get enough of the side characters. The innovative and engaging world that these characters inhabit is still so cool to me and there was tons of action even if it wasn’t all game specific. Lu did not shy away from some massive revelations and took on answers to difficult moral questions. Overall I was thrilled with the conclusion to this duology and totally recommend this to Marie Lu and SciFi fans!


escapingfromhoudiniEscaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 18, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Historical, Mystery

Pages: 431 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

Once again Kerri Maniscalco has delivered a riveting tale of murder and mayhem and my love for Audrey Rose and Thomas continues to expand. The two of them are just perfect! Sure they make mistakes, but even though the mind and heart can be confusing, the two of them make exceptional partners. The deaths and investigation were incredibly gruesome and being stuck on a ship traveling across the Atlantic added more terror to the atmosphere. Plus I’m forever a fan of carnivals, circuses, etc. and Mephistopheles’ show and stars thrilled me and provided plenty of cover for crime. I absolutely recommend picking up this series!


Have you read either of these books? Enjoy these series or authors?

Let me know in the comments below!

Waiting on Wednesday: Archenemies

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.


ArchenemiesArchenemies by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Expected Date: November 6, 2018

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they are each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.


I’m always hype for new Marissa Meyer material and Archenemies has the potential to rock my world. Also that cover blows my mind!

Are you excited for Archenemies? A fan of Marissa Meyer?

Let me know in the comments below!

Waiting on Wednesday: Mirage

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.


MirageMirage by Somaiya Daud

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Expected Date: August 28, 2018

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.


Give me all the cultural YA SciFi/Fantasy please! Seriously Mirage by Somaiya Daud sounds like a gold mine of all my favorite things and I cannot wait to dive head first into this new world and story.

Are you excited for Mirage? Intrigued by the body double plotline?

Let me know in the comments below!