Reading Lately: November 2020 Edition

Hello friends. I feel I’m finally back into the swing of reading. I finished 5 books this month (well, there is an asterisks on one of those). That’s the most I’ve read in a month in quite awhile. There were some really solid books too, which always helps.

Reading Lately: Nov. 2020 Edition | Book reviews of The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis; Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler; Illuminae by Amie Kaufman an Jay Kristoff; The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner; The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff | Puppies & Pretties

What I’ve been reading lately

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis: I was really impressed with this book. Set far into the future where Earth and Mars have joined forces (the Geans) and are partially led by a religious group called the Sisterhood. And then another group of humans, the Icarii, are from Venus and Mercury and are technologically based. And finally, there is another group, the Asters, who have modified themselves for deep space and are looked down upon by both groups. There are two main POVs, with a few secondary ones as well. We meet the First Sister of the Juno when she gets her hope of freedom dashed when the captain decides to leave without her. Now she has to ingratiate herself with a new captain before she is turned back over to the crew (the sisters are part confessionals part whores. Oh, and they get their voices taken away at puberty. Real fun there). Then the other main POV is Lito, a Icarii duelist recovering from a fight without his partner, who has now turned traitor according to his leaders. The First Sister and Lito are on a crash course with one another with Saito Ren pulling them together. This is a fantastic space opera that explores autonomy, religion and technology. I can’t wait to read the next book.
4.5 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler: Set in a world where a magical war a generation ago or so destroyed an empire, only to have another grow in its place that is stuck in place with little to no progress. Gyre saw his little sister be taken by the magical order that has been in place since the war. He made it is life’s work to try and take down that order. But Maya, his sister, is now a member of that order and both will have to reconcile how they view the world when their loved one is on the other side of battle. Maya also struggles with how she sees the order she is a part of and what the leadership does with their power. I really enjoyed the magic systems and the intrigue in this book. The characters are pretty solid as well. If you enjoy stories with the little guy fighting against tradition and trying to figure out a better future, this is for you.
4 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff: This book is written in a series of “hacked” documents, chats and graphics. It is one that it definitely helps to have the actual book so you can turn it this way and that. Kady and Ezra live on a middle-of-nowhere planet that has a slightly illegal mining operation going on and just broke up. A rival company swoops in and decides to bomb and try to take the planet by force. Kady and Ezra barely escape on a couple of ships that answered the planet’s SOS call. But the fight is just beginning because there may or may not be a plague on one of the ships, the AI might be crazy and Kady is still mad at Ezra. But it is up to Kady and her hacking skills to figure out what is actually happening and hopefully get them to safety. This really is a fun book. It takes a bit to get used to the format, but once you get the hang of it, you can really fly through book. This book hits on big topics like is the truth really the best for people, coverups, and unexpected people stepping up to save the day.
4 out of 5 stars

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner: I’ve had this on my digital bookshelf for probably at least two years. Whoops. I had heard good things about this book, so I had some hopes. But it didn’t do it for me. Two Jewish sisters, one light and one dark, live in the wood at the edge of town with their parents. The father is called away to extended family that the girls didn’t even knew existed and both parents decide to leave the teenagers alone while they traveled. Oh, and also dropped the bomb that both girls will likely shape-shift because both parents can. What results is both girls going a little “whoe-is-me I need to keep my sister safe” while engaging in hormone-raging idiocy. I did appreciate the fairytale come to life setting, but there was far too much teenage angst for me to really enjoy the book.
3 out of 5 stars
c/o Goodreads giveaway

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff: This was my asterisks book. I’m calling it finished, but I really only got to page 300 (out of 525) before my renewals at the library ran out. While I found the content fascinating (and slightly alarming), it read like a textbook and I really struggled to keep at it. I would read a section, put the book down, and then not come back to it for a day or so. Not the way to get thru a very large book. But I would highly recommend everyone either read something like this or do research on surveillance capitalism. It is a scary to think about how much of our data is being used, and often in ways we likely wouldn’t agree to.
3 out of 5 stars


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