All the Stars and Teeth – Book Review

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Synopsis:
As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

Review:
Amora starts out in the story naive and entitled. But when she has to prove her worthiness to rule, it goes terribly wrong. And Amora flees with a pirate to the open seas. Along their journey to discovery and helping her people, Amora grows. She becomes more likable and matures. And she shows her true colors in the big showdown.

All the Stars and Teeth is first in a duology. The story starts with fun characters and an exciting example of the magical power that these people have. It’s a fascinating world, but we learn more about it as we go without the dreaded info-dump. There is plenty of action and adventure with a bit of romance. And as Bastians’ secrets are revealed, there are plenty of surprises along the way. And I appreciate that the main antagonist is complicated and is a bit sympathetic when it comes to his people. The suspense culminates to an exciting finale. And thankfully, this story doesn’t have a major cliffhanger, which I appreciate. But there is plenty of story left that I look forward to in the sequel.

Book Giveaway: Bridge 108

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Picard Episode 1: “Remembrance” Review (SPOILERISH)

Episode 1: Remembrance
At the end of the 24th Century, and 14 years after his retirement from Starfleet, Jean-Luc Picard is living a quiet life on his vineyard, Chateau Picard. When he is sought out by a mysterious young woman, Dahj, in need of his help, he soon realizes she may have personal connections to his own past.

Review:
The pilot episode opens to a dream sequence with Picard and Data playing cards on the Enterprise D. It’s poignant and special to those of us Next Generation fans who loved this version of the Enterprise. Picard is now living on his family vinyard in France, along with a couple Romulans – who we later learn are refugees.

I appreciate that we don’t get a data-dump of what happened between Star Trek: Nemesis and today. Instead, Picard gives an emotional interview about what happened to the Romulans and how he has lost faith in the Federation. It turns out that Synths (androids) attacked the Mars colony (and we still don’t know why) at the same time the Federation was offering aid to the Romulans after their sun went supernova. There is mention of this in the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot (aka Kelvin timeline). However, after the Synth attack, the Federation abandoned the millions of Romulans now without a home.

This is the set-up for the season. What happened to make the androids attack? And what has happened to the Romulans? Meanwhile, a young woman named Dahj comes to Picard for help. It’s soon obvious that she is a synth as well, and Picard learns has ties to Data, his deceased friend.

This pilot episode is full of nostalgia, drama, action, mystery, and intrigue. A lot is packed in to this first episode, yet it’s over all too soon. Patrick Stewart is just as amazing as ever. While it’s been 18 years since he last played Picard, he makes it look effortless. Despite getting on in years, he still has the same commanding presence – yet obviously a lot has happened to harden him.

I’m really excited about this new cast and that we finally have a new Star Trek set post previous series. And I hope this will usher in a whole new generation of Star Trek fans.

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SciFi Book Review: Starsight

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis:
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true–he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.

Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

Review:
When an alien crash-lands on their planet, Spensa decides to take her place in order to steal vital technology for humanity. But Spensa isn’t trained for espionage. And she only has her secret AI to keep her company.

Starsight is the second book the Skyward series. This story is very different from the first as far as the setting goes. But there is still a lot of flight action and suspense. And there were several surprising twists along the way. I really enjoyed the new, diverse characters. In fact, I enjoyed this sequel even more than the previous novel. With plenty of danger, suspense, intrigue, and drama – this well-paced story left me excited for the next installment.

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