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REVIEW: WISTFUL ASCENDING (THE HYBRID HELIX #1)

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Superheroes, sentient AIs, and space bears, oh my!... WISTFUL ASCENDING  is a self-published science fiction novel that I didn't necessarily have on my radar, though I have heard some reviewers on YouTube give it high praise. After receiving a free code from the author for the Audiobook, this is one I was happy to work into my Audible rotation. HOW I RATED IT  4.5/5  Despite an opening that I found odd as well as some humor that didn't quite charm me, I really enjoyed this epic slice of life in space that is brimming with quirkiness and some high stakes action.  CHARACTERS This story centers around Rohan, a half human "hybrid" whose (il’Drach) alien side grants him superhuman abilities (although they come with a little bit of a nasty side). Rohan has made a new life for himself aboard a sentient space station named, Wistful, in order to move on from a colorful past in the imperial military. The truth about who he was is slowly revealed over time and I loved how the ta

MINI REVIEW: IMPACT WINTER

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Everything changed when the comet came... 2022 was the year that I gave audiobooks another chance after having a couple of rather lackluster experiences with them in the past. As I explore the world of auditory reading, I stumbled across IMPACT WINTER as a title that Audible allowed me to download totally free from a small catalogue of freebies (which are undoubtedly meant to let people like myself experiment with the medium without the financial commitment) HOW I RATED IT  5/5  This one is almost certainly not going to be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it for what it was and can't believe that Audible was giving it away for free (they might still be). CONTENT Set in a sort of post-apocalyptical version of England,  this story is told in different "episodes" which flowed quite nicely together in the way a television show might. There's a broad cast of interesting characters and a ton of supernatural conflict to enjoy alongside all the interpersonal drama. What ma

REVIEW: THE GIVER (THE GIVER #1)

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Back and back and back... I originally read  THE GIVER  back in High School and devoured it within a day or two. Ever since, this story has had a very special place in my memory (which might be ironic given it's emphasis on memories). A few years ago, I'd bought a hardcover box set of all four books in THE GIVER QUARTET (I had no idea there were sequels written) with the intention of both re-reading this all-time favorite of mine and experiencing the other books in the series for the first time. It can be a bit scary to revisit an old favorite since there is always a risk that I won't appreciate the story as much a second time, but I am so happy I finally jumped back into this world.   HOW I RATED IT  5/5  Although this was intended for younger readers, I continue to find deep meaning in it even as an adult and am so glad to have done this re-read of such a classic story.  CHARACTERS The story centers around Jonas, a pre-teen boy who has grown up in a peaceful and orderly

REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF BLACK JACK

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A reluctant hero rises... THE LEGEND OF BLACK JACK is a self-published novel that made waves last year within some bookish communities. After having received it as part of a book gift exchange, I was excited to dive in and see what all the fuss was about.  HOW I RATED IT  4/5  While not everything landed perfectly for me, I really enjoyed going on this wacky adventure filled with tons of interesting side characters.  CHARACTERS The main protagonist of the story is, of course, Jack, a young boy with an abnormally good memory, but no other inherent abilities of note. What I found to be particularly interesting about him is that he both is and isn't the titular "Black Jack." Seeing him handle the lofty expectations placed upon him and grow from this pressure and all his trials was immensely satisfying. Along the way, Jack encounters a legion of interesting characters with diverse backgrounds who belong to various fantasy races. Initially, I felt like too many of these were

DECEMBER READS

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With the holidays upon us, I anticipated having time off of work would free me up for a ton of reading, but I ended up being a bit busier than I expected. That said, I still finished some amazing books this month.   1. ELANTRIS This was a  5/5  read for me Brandon Sanderson is at the top of my list again with his debut novel, ELANTRIS . I had been nervous to pick this up due to things said by both fans of the Cosmere as well as Sanderson himself, but I think this might be my favorite of his stories (it could be recentcy bias, so I will see if that opinion sticks). If you've been staying away from this one like I was, then I'd highly urge you to give it a shot and just understand that it is definitely different from many of Sanderson's other novels, but just as magical in it's own way.  Full review here 2. THROUGH THE YEAR WITH FULTON SHEEN I gave this  4/5  stars (for the curation/editing) Technically, it took me the full year to read this one (since it is designed for

MINI REVIEW: THROUGH THE YEAR WITH FULTON SHEEN

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Daily reflections for the whole year... I've had this book in my personal library for many years now and have even begun it several times, but always seemed to drop off halfway through the year either due to big life changes, general business, or (most often) simply not finding a good way to work it into my daily schedule. 2022 finally proved to be the year that I stuck with it, largely due to the simple trick of leaving a space for the book on my nightstand and reading that day's entry right before I went to bed.   HOW I RATED IT  4/5  While Fulton Sheen is certainly one of the wisest and most pious members of The Catholic Church, there were some questionable editing choices in terms of how the daily reflections are split up that held this back slightly for me. CONTENT I am certainly not in a position to critique the actual works of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, but I can share some thoughts on the editing quality, what kind of content is present, and how it all made me feel from a

REVIEW: THE STARDUST THEIF

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Neither here nor there, but long ago... I don't often read new releases (mostly because I am always behind the times with my reading), but this is one that sounded particularly interesting to me. I would not have been able to fit it into my physical or eBook reading, but was able to sneak it in via Audible and am glad that I did. HOW I RATED IT  4/5  THE STARDUST THEIF  is a breakout new release for good reason and the impressive voice talents that support the audiobook largely overshadowed certain aspects of the writing that I felt to be odd or annoying.  CHARACTERS As is typical with a lot of what I read last year, this is a story that switches between three main perspectives (not sure if this reflects market trends or just my personal tastes). Loulie/Layla is a famed seller of magical items (relics) who is dubbed "The Midnight Merchant." Mazen is the youngest son of a Sultan and feels stifled by being his father's favorite. Aisha is a brutal assassin who works for