Rating: 4.5 STARS!
Series/Standalone: Light Years #1
How I got this book: Received in May 2018 'Hidden Talents' Illumicrate Box
Reeling from the latest attack by a mysterious enemy, the Quatra Fleet Academy is finally admitting students from every planet in the solar system after centuries of exclusivity.
Hotshot pilot Vesper, an ambitious Tridian citizen, dreams of becoming a captain - but when she loses her spot to a brilliant, wisecracking boy from the wrong side of the asteroid belt, it makes her question everything she thought she knew. Growing up on the toxic planet Deva, Cormak will take any chance he can get to escape his dead-end life and join the Academy - even if he has to steal someone's identity to do it. Arran was always considered an outsider on icy Chetire, always dreaming of something more than a life working in the mines. Now an incoming cadet, Arran is looking for a place to belong - he just never thought that place would be in the arms of a Tridian boy. And Orelia is hiding a dark secret - she's infiltrated the Academy to complete a mission, one that threatens the security of everyone there. But if anyone finds out who she really is, it'll be her life on the line.
These cadets will have to put their differences aside and become a team to defend their world from a cunning enemy - but the danger might be lurking closer to home than they think...
This book took me entirely by surprise - I just did not expect to love it as much as I did!
I received an ARC copy of Light Years as part of the Illumicrate May 2018 'Hidden Talents' book box subscription - gosh I miss book boxes so much (damn you financial responsibilities!!) - and had intended to read it immediately, but I'm sort of glad that I left it for over a year because now I don't have to wait as long for book two (out October 2019) which is already too long because this book has a really, really good cliffhanger that I both did and didn't see coming and I need to find out what happens next.
As is the never-ending circle of pain you get when starting a new series! You'd think I'd be used to it by now...
Anyway, back to the book. It features a 4-way split narrative which at first, I couldn't get enough of because the pace was fantastic, very quick (I finished the book in under two days) and the characters were great. They were each distinct enough that I knew who's chapter it was without looking at the name.
However, as the story became a little more complex, the split narrative and fast pace did grate a little as some things that I felt deserved more time just flew past and also, some of the relationships and character developments seem to happen really quickly because the book would go three chapters between each character's viewpoint, but overall, it was a very immersive read and I still enjoyed the narrative style.
Light Years gave me massive Divergent/Hunger Games/Illuminae vibes the whole way through, which was great. It also has LGBT representation (PRIDE MONTH Y'ALL) and whilst I would have preferred a little more build-up, what I love in particular about the LGBT rep is that it's not a 'big issue', there's no drama because the two characters in question are queer, it's just accepted. #loveislove
This book also contains a racially diverse set of characters, although, without the cover, you wouldn't really know it, as the author sort of leaves the visualising of the characters to the reader. The book does tackle racism, but it's more specifically targeted to where a person is from (i.e. their home planet) than their appearance.
I loved the main plot and the intertwining sub-plots in this book. The whole journey from the character's various planets and through their journey was very vivid and detailed without being overbearingly so.
The characters were all unique with their own backgrounds, challenges, inner demons and abilities. They clash and they gel at different times which made for really interesting relationships both platonic and romantic.
The writing was addictive, it's one of those glorious books that I just couldn't tear myself away from and as I've mentioned twice already, the cliffhanger was great, it was both predictable and unpredictable simply because of the timing. Just when you think everything's going to work out(ish), bam! Everything changes and now I have no idea what to expect, so I'll just be anxiously counting down until book two is released later this year!
Have you read Light Years? Let me know what you thought in the comments!
Rating: 3.5 STARS!
Genre: Contemporary YA
Standalone/Series: Creekwood #2
How I got this book: Bought
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
I was so ready for this book! Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was amazing. I loved The Upside of Unrequited and I was ready to love Leah on the Offbeat, even if I had some trouble with her character whilst reading Simon...I mean, she's fat, and bi, and I was all ready for that!
I should mention that this is the first audiobook I've ever reviewed on my blog. I've never really 'gotten into' audio books before but after listening to The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue almost on repeat this year, I decided to try another.
The book was narrated by Shannon Purser and I think she did a fantastic job of capturing Leah's essence and portraying her character.
I was immediately captured by her voice and by Leah's sarcastic wit. I also really, really liked that there was an f/f romantic interest, even if the character did throw me somewhat.
Sadly, my biggest problem, was Leah herself. Like I said at the beginning, I should have really, really loved this book, but I just could not get over how horrible Leah's character was. She's a complete bit** to her mum, her mum's boyfriend, and to all of her friends. She was judgemental and patronising and manipulating and it really threw me off.
Don't get me wrong, there were sweet moments, tender moments and moments where I felt sorry for Leah but a lot of the time I just couldn't get over how much I didn't like her personality, and that sucks because I wanted to love her.
However, it wasn't all bad. I loved that I got to see more of Simon and Bram. I love this pair and they are seriously cute in this book! Prepare yourselves to gush!
I liked Garrett. I can't actually remember if he was in Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda but I did find him funny and sweet, yet I didn't like that he was basically strung along the whole time.
I also liked that Leah was quite body positive. For the most part she doesn't go on and on about her body size and how bad her life is because of it. I love that she dresses how she wants to, how she falls in love with a prom dress and doesn't obsess over looking 'bigger' than everyone else. It's nice to have a little more positive body size representation in books, especially in YA where it can make all the difference.
Overall, I did enjoy the story. I enjoyed getting back with the gang. I enjoyed the romance and I liked Leah's sarcasm, I just didn't love her the way I wish I had.
What do you think? Have you read this book? I'd love to know your thoughts!
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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