Monday, April 22, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Veil of Ashes (Princess Vigilante #2) by S. Usher Evans

Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to participate in the cover reveal for THE VEIL OF ASHES by S. Usher Evans! This is the second book in an epic YA Fantasy series and book one, THE CITY OF VEILS, just released on April 16th! Check below the beautiful cover designed by Jo Painter and don’t forget to enter the INTL giveaway.

About the Book:
Title: The Veil of Ashes
Series: Princess Vigilante #1
Author: S. Usher Evans
Publisher: Sun's Golden Ray Publishing
Publishing Date: July 9, 2019
Genres: YA Fantasy
Goodreads | Preorder: SGR Pub | Amazon | iBooks
Blindsided by betrayal, Brynna has been licking her wounds away from the city she loves. But the call to duty soon becomes too much to bear, and Brynna embarks on a quest for friends and allies who'll help her reclaim what was once hers. But vengeance comes with a heavy toll, one Brynna isn't sure she's willing to pay.

The Veil of Ashes is the blockbuster sequel to The City of Veils, which Foreward Reviews calls, "entertaining from the first page to the last."

Excited about this, and want to read the first book in the series?

You're not alone. Here's the info for THE CITY OF VEILS, which is where you can start if you're new to this series like I am!

Title: The City of Veils
Series: Princess Vigilante #1
Author: S. Usher Evans
Published: April 16, 2019
Genres: YA Fantasy
Goodreads | Buy here:
For the past three years, Brynna has been patrolling the streets of Forcadel as a masked vigilante, protecting the innocent and beating up bad guys. Her current target is Lord Beswick, a slumlord businessman who keeps the townsfolk in a vicious poverty cycle. But one fateful evening, she's captured by Felix, the captain of the king's guard, and told a shocking truth: her father and brother are dead, and she needs to hang up her mask and become queen.

Before long, she negotiates a deal with Felix: attend to her royal duties during the day and continue her vigilante mission to take out Lord Beswick at night - at least until her coronation. But the politics of Forcadel are as volatile as the streets, and Brynna isn't sure whom she can trust in the castle. With two royals dead in less than a month, she must use all her wits to make sure she isn't the third.
S. Usher Evans was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. After a decade of fighting bureaucratic battles as an IT consultant in Washington, DC, she suffered a massive quarter-life-crisis. She decided fighting dragons was more fun than writing policy, so she moved back to Pensacola to write books full-time. She currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit, and frequently can be found plotting on the beach.

Evans is the author of the Demon Spring Trilogy, the Razia Series, the Madion War Trilogy, the Lexie Carrigan Chronicles, and Empath.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

A copy of The City of Veils plus a preorder of The Veil of Ashes from Book Depository.
Open International.
(More chances to win by entering in all the Instagram accounts participating with #TheVeilofAshesMTMC)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A shameless plug!

I just wanted to give a shoutout to my bookstagram account on here, in case any of you would like to come and visit! Right now I'm hosting a bookish bingo game (#springsummerbingo) that has a whole bunch of really amazing prizes up for grabs! Just like with any bingo, you read books and check off squares. Get a bingo, get points. Get a blackout, get more points!

There are also weekly giveaways coupled with photo prompts, and a group full of fellow participating bookworms who are eager to chat! Come and join us!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Book Review: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: The Invited
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: Hardcover; 384
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Genre: Paranormal Thriller / Mystery

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who are looking for a slightly spooky mystery with a historical feel.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don't simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it's too late . . .

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home--wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks--she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie's descendants, three generations of "Breckenridge women," each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

My thoughts about this book are jumbled mess. I've been holding off on writing a review because, truth me told, I just couldn't pinpoint what about this story it was that didn't resonate with me. This isn't a poor story, by any means. It has a gorgeously rendered setting, and characters that feel like real people. The Invited even has a mystery that was complex enough to keep me guessing for a good portion of the story. Still, this book and I didn't really ever mesh and that was a pity.

Although Helen and Nate were excellently rendered characters, I had a hard time falling for them. They drove me a little bit crazy with their incessant bickering and wild spending habits. Helen especially grated on my nerves at the beginning. I know it's probably just me, but I have a hard time with a character who constantly overreacts. She did grow on me as the book progressed and, in fact, as the mystery started to unwind I found myself drawn more and more to this couple. I definitely appreciated that they cared so much about their new home, and the nature that surrounded it. The fact that the home that they were building was also steeped in such terrible history had me rapt. 

As I mentioned above, the mystery was actually fairly well structured also. There were just enough clues peppered throughout to really keep me guessing as to what the ending would be. Unfortunately I did figure out the twist about halfway through and, after that, I was more just reading for the glimpse of any haunted happenings. I love stories that have rich atmosphere, especially when there are ghosts involved. In this case, all the atmosphere was there. The potential for a really excellent ghost story was just in sight. It just never panned out the way I hoped it would. This story meandered, and lacked the bite that I desperately wanted.

I suppose that the fact of the matter is that this story just wasn't for me. I love ghost stories. I love horror. The Invited doesn't really meet either of those marks, in my opinion. This is honestly more like a really well written mystery that happens to have a ghost as part of the plot. There's a lot to love here, and I know that there are plenty of readers out there who are going to adore this book. I'm unfortunately just not one of those people. For a lovely setting, well written characters, and the fact that I did indeed finish it, I'll happily give this three stars.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Happy Tuesday lovely people! We worked our butts off this weekend, doing all of the Spring chores that it's been too windy or rainy to do until now. The front of our house now sports adorable handmade window boxes, and a potting ledge! We even re-mulched the front planters and re-screened our windows. Hahaha. Ah, home ownership. It's a thing.

Now let's get to the prompt.
Top Ten Rainy Day Reads

This is hilariously appropriate because, despite the weather not telling us, it's totally sprinkling outside. What are you gonna do?

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

This is actually a book that I'm leading a group read of right now, and one that I've read before! Sarah Addison Allen weaves such beautiful magical realism stories, that it makes it the perfect place to escape to on a rainy day! Garden Spells, in particular, is one of my favorites. 

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

So I might be just a little bit biased, because this is one of my favorite stories of all time, but this is an excellent rainy day read. Foggy moors, unrequited love, and the kind of witty banter that can only come out of the mouth of a Bennett. 

The House With A Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs

A perfect rainy day read needs a little bit of mystery, and that's where this book comes in. A little spooky, but with the kind of characters who make you want to explore right alongside them. It's one of my favorite books and, in my opinion, an excellent rainy day choice.

Elevation by Stephen King

In my opinion, novellas are excellent rainy day reads because there's not a lot of commitment there. You can start in the morning, meander through, maybe even nap, and you can still finish by the evening. I loved this Stephen King story, even though it had a lot of divided reviews. I recommend it!

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Looking for a witty, unapologetic read that will equal parts make you giggle and gasp? That's this book. I think a boarding school is just an excellent place to spend a rainy day, and the girls from this particular school are such fun company!

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

I think I rainy weather would only accent a read of this beautifully written book. It's already full of the kind of emotional tension that puts you on edge, but it's also written in a way that makes you swoon.

The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

If you're looking for a historical fiction book for your rainy day, I highly recommend this one. It's so calming to read about a small town, with one pub and all manner of old buildings. It's also so magical to get lost in the world that our main character finds herself in, transported back in time. This book had the perfect romance, and I loved it.

The Rules of Magic  by Alice Hoffman

If there is anyone I love more than Sarah Addison Allen (or maybe an equal amount?) it's Alice Hoffman. This prequel to her amazing Practical Magic is a must read, especially on a day when you're trapped inside anyway!

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To me, a perfect rainy day Fantasy is one that I can easily fall into and be totally enamored with. This book fits that bill easily, and will enchant you too! Who doesn't love a story with a good forbidden romance?

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

It feels only fitting to end on this book, since it's one of my all time favorites. Anything Neil Gaiman is a rainy day read. Anything Neil Gaiman is an excellent audio book to doze to, or knit to, or pretty much just sit and zone out to. This man is magical, and this book is one of his best.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Book Blogger Hop (4/12/19)

I decided to join in the weekly Book Blogger Hop this week!

It's honestly been a while since I've done one of these, but I'm in need of inspiration and I loved the question for this week! Friday is finally here, so let's do this thing!
When reading a series, do you re-read the previous book/s before reading the newly released book? (submitted by Angelica @ Paperback Princess)
In a perfect world, where I had all the time I wanted to read, I would so want to re-read previous books! Sometimes it actually takes me a few months to start the newest book in a series that I've been dying to get my hands on, simply because I don't have time to re-read the book that came before it. I did this with the newest Kate Daniels book. I finally had to give in and just read it without going backwards. Hahaha.

If the books are on the shorter side, I'll usually go back and give a re-read to the last one released! I've also found that even skimming the last few chapters clicks on that AHA light that reminds me of what happened. So there are coping mechanisms! At least until we finally make full-time reading a job that pays well.

Happy Friday y'all!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Book Review: Lovestruck by Kate Watson

Title: Lovestruck
Author: Kate Watson
Publisher: Flux
Pages: Paperback; 300
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Content Screening: Nothing of note.

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy lighter reads with great messages.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Sixteen-year-old cupid-in-training Kali is in an Olympus-sized mountain of trouble. Rule number one in arrow-toting matchmaking: don't stick yourself. But accidents happen, and Kali instantly falls hard for her indie rock, bass-playing target, Benicio.

The God of Love is going to kill her. Even if he is her dad.

Being the daughter of Eros isn't all it's cracked up to be. For one thing, a girl can get jaded when her parents have the most beautiful and fatalistic love story in history. For another, immortality royally sucks when the Oracle condemns you to eternity in the wrong profession. Do the Gods care that Kali wants to ditch the love stuff and be a muse?


To reclaim her heart and her destiny, Kali is left with no choice but to defy the Gods, tempt the Fates, date the mortal love-of-her-life, and hope she doesn't lose her best friend, Hector, in the process.

Where to start with this book? I should start with the fact that I do love stories about Gods and Goddesses. Their personalities, their whims, the fact that they're all powerful, it all wraps up into something that has me firmly invested in books revolving around them. So when Lovestruck appeared on my reading list, I was pretty darn excited. As a Cupid in training, and a reluctant one at that, I hoped that Kali and I would get along swimmingly. After all, who doesn't love a story about star crossed love?

I'm going to start with the honest fact that Kali and I didn't get along as well as I'd hoped. While I absolutely understood that this is a YA story, Kali's character felt really young to me. The fact that Kate Watson set Kali on a path that she wasn't 100% sold on, really touched my heart. I felt hopeful and anxious right along with her, as she tried to figure out how to get around her supposedly inevitable fate. However I also felt frustrated with her, a lot. Her attitude towards her friends, and her inability to see how selfish she was being, made me want to smack her more than a few times. I did feel like she ultimately learned and grew up by the ending, but Kali isn't an easy character to love. That might be rough for some readers.

Still, the story that Watson weaves around Kali's fate fueled dilemma is an excellent one. She perfectly weaves backstories for each of the Gods and Goddesses who are featured, without it ever feeling like something overwhelming. I loved watching Kali interact with all of them, and giggled quite a bit at the parent/child relationships in this book. It should be noted that there are also really excellent messages woven into the tapestry of this book. Watson touches on familial relationships, one-sided friendships, and (best of all, in my opinion) on what a real romance looks like. I can't count the number of times that I found myself nodding my head along with Kali's realizations that the relationship she was in might be toxic. Oh, to have read this book as a teenager.

Lovestruck also has its fair share of laugh out loud moments! The interactions between godly brothers and sisters had me cracking up. I love that these ethereal beings are just as silly and petty as all of us here on Earth. This book moves so quickly, and 300 pages all but flew by. Overall, I had a really good time with this book. It might read a little younger than I'm used to for YA, but it has a ton of heart. For that, I happily award it 3 stars.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Graphic Novel Review: Operatic by Kyo Maclear

Title: Operatic
Author: Kyo Maclear
Illustrator: Byron Eggenschwiler
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Pages: Hardcover; 160
Recommended Age Group: Upper MG/YA
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Source: NetGalley / Publisher

It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. The class learns about a different style of music each day, from hip-hop to metal to disco, but it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks. On top of everything, she has been talked into participating in an end-of-year performance with her best friends.

Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria’s life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?

This evocatively illustrated graphic novel brilliantly captures the high drama of middle school by focusing on the desire of its finely drawn characters to sing and be heard.

I really enjoyed reading Operatic. Not only is this graphic novel filled with stunning illustrations, it's also a story with a ton of heart. If you've ever felt inspired by music at all, even a little bit, this story will resonate with you. All of the other messages that were wrapped up in this story were simply icing on an already beautifully created cake.

I thought that this graphic novel perfectly captured the tumultuous feelings that come along with transitioning from middle school to high school. Poor Charlie isn't sure where she fits into the world and so, when her teacher tells them to find their own perfect song, she's equally confused about what would really describe her. Watching her mull over her choices, and ultimately find someone who inspired her, made my heart happy. It's hard not to feel emotional while reading this, partially because of the content and partially because the illustrations just have so much movement and atmosphere wrapped up in them.

If I had one complaint, it would be that this story does jump around a lot. There are a lot of items to fit into one girl's story, including crushes, lost friends, and feeling unsure of oneself. Still, I kind of felt like this also fit with the content. After all, a middle school brain is definitely exactly like that. Lots of emotions, lot of skipping around, essentially a torrent of new and processing information. So, I gave that a pass. As I said above, the illustrations are honestly too beautiful to ignore either way. I never felt all that lost during Charlie's story. In fact, I saw a bit of myself.

Lovely story, stellar illustrations, and an all around beautiful read.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, April 8, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (4/8/19)

Happy Monday, my little readers!

I'm hoping you had as lovely of a weekend as I did! I didn't get much reading done, but honestly it was kind of nice to take a break. I spent time with family and friends, ate way too much good food, and just spent time with my hubby. Weekends like that keep me sane, and so I'm not too sad that I had to give up reading time. I'll make up for it this week, I'm sure!

Here's how my reading is going right now.

Last week I finished, and reviewed, We Rule the Night by Clarie Eliza Barlett. If you haven't read this, pick it up now. This book was so amazing! Full of strong women, nonstop action, and so many emotions that I can't even accurately describe to you how I felt. I tried in my review, if you want to read it. Be warned that it's pretty much just a rambling mess though.

Last week I also finished Lovestruck by Kate Watson. This was a super cute YA book, with ties to Greek mythology. My favorite part though, and I'll go over this in the review I eventually write, was that this book had tons of positive messages for its female readers. Mainly that a guy always wanting to be better than you isn't a turn on. Hahaha. This was a nice light read.

Do you ever stumble across a book that just takes you forever to get through? That doesn't happen to me often, but Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk is falling into that category. The thing is that this book isn't bad, by any means. It's a little over the top, and slightly gory, but otherwise a good story. I'm beginning to think that the sheer disturbing nature of it is what is making me take my time. It's a lot to process every time that I finish a chapter.

I'm also slowly reading my way through The Invited by Jennifer McMahon. This book started out really promising, but now the main character and I are having a war with one another. She's very, very over reactive, and I am not patient with people like that. We'll see how things go though. Maybe once the ghost aspect starts up, I'll fall in love with this!

Next up I'll be reading The Binding with one of my reader buddies! We were supposed to already start but,  like I always do, I fell behind. I'm a pretty good reading buddy once I finally get started. The problem is that I always take on way too many books at once and start late. Ah, the life of a bookworm.

That's it for me this week!
What are you reading?

Friday, April 5, 2019

Our Blog's NINTH birthday!

Nine years ago, I stumbled into the magical world of book blogging.

I found this place where my people were hiding. People who gushed endlessly about the books that they loved, had friendly debates about books that were on the fence, and actually talked to authors who they admired. My little bookish heart was overjoyed! I'd found a home. I wanted to be a bigger part of that world. So, I decided I was going to start a blog of my very own.

Nine years ago, I started my blog under the name "A Fanatic's Book Blog".

I went with one of the original templates for Blogger, and started typing my little heart out. I reviewed books that I had borrowed from the library, and ones that I'd borrowed from friends. I wrote some pretty terrible reviews (sorry early authors), and slowly felt my way into the wide world of the blogging kingdom.

Nine years ago, I decided that I would keep doing this as long as it was fun, whether I ever got anything out of it or not.

And here I still am.

This blog has had some ups and some downs, like any hobby will! I've had to take breaks. I asked the amazing Tina to come on as my co-blogger because constantly pumping out new content for this site is very daunting to do alone. I've had to learn how to manage my reading in a way that doesn't make it feel like a chore, and (the hardest lesson of all) that comparing yourselves to others is a well that you really shouldn't go down.

It's been nine amazing years, and I'm still here!

Thank you all so very much for sticking with me, and making this hobby something wonderful. Thank you for all the comments, all of the reviews you read, and all of the books that you let me know you pick up because I share my thoughts with you. Thank you, most of all, for being a passionate group of readers who make this space a welcoming one.

Here's to the future.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Book Review: We Rule the Night by Clarie Eliza Bartlett

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: We Rule The Night
Author: Claire Eliza Bartlett
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 400
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Source: Publisher / FFBC Tours
Content Screening: Violence, Adult Language

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love stories with realistic characters, facing impossible odds.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.

Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, LinnĂ© defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and LinnĂ© can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.
Oh, holy hell, this book. Never in my life did I think that I'd read a book so bleak, and so maddening, and love it so damn much. I don't know know what kind of magic Clarie Eliza Bartlett wove to create this story, but it worked. Oh, it worked. Strap yourself in for some rambling, my friends, because that's all I know how to do at this point.

Look, I'm all for likable characters. It's nice when the MC is sweet, or snarky, or any manner of traits that are easy to connect with. Linne is not that character. Linne is difficult. She's not just rough around the edges, she's a solid block of stone. And yet, I fell in love with her all the same. Linne felt realistic to me, because she was a multi-faceted human being. Someone who looks so hard on the outside, but is really just trying to protect everything inside of her that she's afraid to let out. As the story progressed, I saw her cracks. I saw her flaws. I loved her more for it. 

Then there was Revna. The exact opposite of Linne in the beginning, but with her own imperfections. A woman who had constantly been told she wasn't enough, but managed to push through anyway. A woman buried under self doubt and shame, but being pressed into a diamond without noticing it. The love I felt for Revna was instantaneous, unlike with Linne, but Bartlett didn't let Revna stay in her shell for long. These two girls were like fire and ice when they met. Completely different, and yet linked together in ways that they couldn't see.

This isn't a happy story. Sure, there are portions of it that are lighthearted. There are moments of light in the darkness. However, this is a story about war. It's about women who are willing to risk everything for the good of their country, even when the men around them take away every shred of their credit. I won't lie, I cried while I read this book. Linne and Revna, plus all of the other women in their division, go through hell and back during the course of this story. What I loved more than anything though was that it didn't take away their individual personalities. Sure, they grew and adapted. Just like in real life though, they were still always very much themselves. My hard, stony Linne and my sweet, unsure Revna. Battered, but not completely broken.

We Rule The Night is a lightning fast read. There isn't a moment to breathe really, from the second you read that first sentence. I know it's kind of cliche to say things like "ALL THE FEELINGS." but that basically sums up this book better than anything else I could say to you. This story is full of intense emotions. It's bleak, it's frustrating at times, but it's beautiful too. The women in this story are stronger than I could ever be, and I loved them for that. I can't thank Claire Eliza Bartlett enough for writing a book that doesn't try to make her female characters bad ass assassins, or smart-mouthed space pirates, but just takes women who are already amazing and makes them even more impressive as they grow. I felt like I knew these women intimately by the end, and that's why this book stole my heart. Read this. I'm sure that you'll love it too.

Follow the Tour!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review: Semiosis (Semiosis Duology #1) by Sue Burke

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Semiosis
  * Series: Semiosis Duology #1
Author: Sue Burke
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: Hardcover; 336
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy science fiction rife with survival, and with deep roots to nature.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
In this character driven novel of first contact by debut author Sue Burke, human survival hinges on an bizarre alliance.

Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet's sentient species and prove that mammals are more than tools.

Forced to land on a planet they aren't prepared for, human colonists rely on their limited resources to survive. The planet provides a lush but inexplicable landscape--trees offer edible, addictive fruit one day and poison the next, while the ruins of an alien race are found entwined in the roots of a strange plant. Conflicts between generations arise as they struggle to understand one another and grapple with an unknowable alien intellect.
My footing in the genre of Science Fiction is still a little rocky. I've been trying to stretch outside my comfort zone, and pick up more books that I wouldn't normally read. So when Semiosis came along as a review opportunity, I jumped on it. What caught my eye about Sue Burke's story was the fact that this book isn't just about space colony survivalists, but also about their deep connection with the nature around them. Give me a book about sentient plants, and you have my attention! I'm happy to report that this book really impressed me.

I'll admit, it did take me a whole generation (essentially a chapter) to really settle in to this book. The humble beginnings of the colonists were intriguing, but confusing. I had to learn their day to day workings, their history, and even their speech. However as I read, and as the generations of colonists slowly started to float by, I became fully immersed in this story. Burke does an amazing job of picking the perfect spokesperson from each generation, someone who is right on the inside, to tell the current story. I watched as the people when from barely surviving, to thriving within the ecosystem that had once terrified them. As they learned, I learned, and it made me feel like a part of it all.

Semiosis has so many ethical quandaries to consider. Whether to live with nature, or to force it to conform to humanity is one of the biggest. The colonists slowly learn that giving the intelligence of the world around them the credit that it is due, helps everyone. There is also a fascinating discussion of merging two cultures. When faced with a the prospect of whether to completely destroy one another, or to work together, things are predictably split. I actually loved this portion of the book. It was a bit violent, but also fascinating. To watch two sets of beings who can't understand one another ever so slowly learn to mesh. I was so caught up in the debates of the colonists. It was intriguing to watch them essentially forge a brand new society from the ground up, and try not to make the same mistakes as on Earth. After all, if we don't learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. Right?

To wrap things up, because I don't know how to really discuss this book without ruining anything, Semiosis was so much more than I expected. Yes, it was a little slow at the beginning. Yes, I had to push through the first chapter to learn how this new world worked. However the multi-generational storytelling really caught me up, and I ultimately finished this book with a smile on my face. It was surreal how obsessed I became with these people as I watched them grow. That's a huge nod to Sue Burke's writing.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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