May the Reads be with You

Hello lovely humans! It’s been some time, hasn’t it? I can’t believe we are already in August! Quite a bit has happened since my last check in–including the addition of a new (furry) family member–though I’ll save that update for my next post.

In the meantime, I hope you and your loved ones have been staying safe, healthy, and sane. I’ve found myself reading a lot more since returning home–and not gonna lie, it feels nice being back with the family after being away for so much of the past four years. For once, I’m actually on track to meet my Goodreads Reading Challenge (I’ve read 18 books so far, not including WIPs from my CPs which should totally count, right???) Anyway, without further ado, here’s a halfway through Summer reading wrap up beginning with the month of May. Stay tuned for June, July, and August!

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So this was technically a re-reread–but trust me, this gorgeous novel punched me in the feels right over all the same. CODE NAME VERITY is one of those books that contains many layers of details, and I was delighted to catch foreshadowing that I’d missed previously. I stayed up ridiculously late finishing this novel, largely due to the gripping voice of the narrator(s). Although the pacing of this book tends to wander, I promise it’ll all make sense and pay off at the end.

Blurb:

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

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I confess, I’ve been putting off reading OBSIDIO for as long as possible because I didn’t want the trilogy to end. The Illuminae Files is by far one of my favorite series of all times–and OBSIDIO doesn’t disappointment in its sweeping conclusion. In addition to the unique reading format, the characters are as vivid (and angsty) as ever, the plot as racing and twisty, and the story itself jam packed with easter eggs and snippy humor. Definitely read this with a sharp eye!

Blurb:

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza–but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys–an old flame from Asha’s past–reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.

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THE BEAST PLAYER is the first installment of a four-part volume of work, translated from Japanese. And although the character is very much young-adult aged, this novel would fall squared in the Adult Fantasy category–though it is also quite accessible compared to other Adult Fantasy books. Buckle down and prepare for a long, somewhat meandering–yet nonetheless magical–ride. Not only is the worldbuilding unique, the areas of focus in the setting is what makes this story really stand out: the winged beast sanctuary. Complementing the veterinary setting is the main character herself. Elin’s talent for observing the natural world and working with beasts is something that made me fall in love with her, and I look forward to reading future translations of the series.

Blurb:

Elin’s family has an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin’s mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety.

Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or is there no way of escaping the terrible battles to come?

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Continuing my search for historical novels taking place between 1930’s – 1950’s, I decided to give SUSPECT RED a whirl. This fast-paced novel is packed with historical facts, pictures, and real newspaper headlines with quotes. Overall, this was a breezy read featuring a main character with a strong arc and solid supporting cast. Also, unlike many YA novels, the parents are very much alive and quite involved with the plot, which was a nice change.

Blurb:

It’s 1953, and the United States has just executed an American couple convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Everyone is on edge as the Cold War standoff between communism and democracy leads to the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and his zealous hunt for people he calls subversives or communist sympathizers. Suspicion, loyalty oaths, blacklists, political profiling, hostility to foreigners, and the assumption of guilt by association divide the nation. Richard and his family believe deeply in American values and love of country, especially since Richard’s father works for the FBI. Yet when a family from Czechoslovakia moves in down the street with a son Richard’s age named Vlad, their bold ideas about art and politics bring everything into question.

Richard is quickly drawn to Vlad’s confidence, musical sensibilities, and passion for literature, which Richard shares. But as the nation’s paranoia spirals out of control, Richard longs to prove himself a patriot, and blurred lines between friend and foe could lead to a betrayal that destroys lives.

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FLAME IN THE MIST was a lush fantasy with lyrical pose, badass characters, and gorgeous descriptions. I love sibling relationships in stories, and this novel serves plenty of that. Add in a grudging romance, a dash of magic, and witty dialogue and you’ve got yourself an adventure. The pacing never let up, and there was always some mystery hanging over the reader’s head begging to be solved and urging me to turn the page.

Blurb:

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

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Bonus book feature! I loveeee a good sci-fi book. I adore space operas. Add in a dash of Greek mythology? And you’ve got my interest! So, it’s no surprise that ALETHEA popped onto my TBR list once I found out about it. Need a little more convincing? It’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited (or only 0.99 to buy as an eBook), and check out this awesome blurb below. Be sure to snag your copy on here!

Blurb:

“We are not Gods. No matter what Zeus thinks.”

Herathina Log Entry ATD 1,784,652.51 Terra

The study of evolution had come to a standstill when we discovered Terra. It was the perfect incubator for a Millennial Project. But from the beginning, everything has gone wrong.
Our mandate said limited contact, not domination but Poseidon is too blinded by his lust for that human to listen.

Sydney present day

I don’t know what I am. My dreams are filled with an island of blue and a woman’s indiscernible pleas. On the back of the dreams come abilities. Abilities I’m desperate to hide.
But it’s the voice, in my mind that terrifies me most. Is it real or have I cracked? Can you live a normal life if you aren’t? I can’t run from the truth or from myself, because the dreams are driving me to find answers. Where is the island, who is the voice in my mind, what does the woman want, and how do I hide the truth and still appear normal on the outside?

Truth always comes with trauma.

Sydney and Herathina, two women whose seemingly unrelated lives come together over a millennium to change the fate of the universe. Nothing has prepared you for the culminating clash between Gods and Titans that has raged from the dawn of time, just out of human sight.

BTW, do you like slightly judgey snippets about books, writing (or lack thereof), engineering, and life musings? Be sure to follow me on twitter @author_t_a_chan

Seriously though. I love tweeting about random writing thoughts, providing twitter-only updates on my WIPs, shouting out encouragement to other amazing writers/readers/humans, and tips for pitch events like #SFFPitch, #PitMad, and more. (Sometimes I even open my DMs to help others polish pitches if I have the time.)

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