On Starships and Dragonwings

Welcome to a dragon-filled, sci-fi/fantasy reviewing, list-filled blog! 


Fireborn by Toby Forward {2 Stars}

Fireborn: A Dragonborn Novel - Toby Forward

Fireborn by Toby Foward is a juvenile companion novel to Forward’s Dragonborn, set in a different time but the same fantastical world. I haven’t read Dragonborn and was under the impression by “companion novel” that that wouldn’t impede my reading of Fireborn. I’m not sure if that is the case, but if you think it would have made a difference, let me know! As it was, let me just say that there are no dragons…. Disappointment :(. While Fireborn has an interesting world and adventure to it, it is not appropriate for the full range of middle-grade readers and it just didn’t really draw me in.

Note: I received Fireborn through Netgalley for an honest review.


Fireborn by Toby Forward (The Flaxfield Quartet #2)
Published by Bloomsbury on December 3rd, 2013
Genres: FantasyMG 
Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

If magic sets the world on fire, something new is born from the flames.

When an old, dying wizard steals magic from his young apprentice, Bee, he changes his own life and nearly destroys hers. But he also releases something new into the world - a wild magic that turns fields to flames and upsets the order of the world. It will take another apprentice, Cabbage, to find Bee and try to set the world right again. 



  • There are pieces of Fireborn such as the magic and the different creatures that was fascinating. In hindsight, I actually did enjoy the overall story too, but those pieces didn’t fit together all that great.
  • The world that we are given glimpses of in Fireborn looks awesome.
  • Fireborn has a definite whimsical feel to the writing and dialogue. If you like whimsical dialogue that is sometimes a bit zany, you might enjoy that aspect ;-).


  •  Fireborn has some pretty graphically violent scenes (beetles swarming over and eating people, horrible burns) that really makes me not want to see it in the hands of middle-graders.
  • Especially in the beginning of Fireborn, everything felt scattered and just downright strange. I had no real idea of what the central plot was going to be until about 50% and I didn’t enjoy how jumpy the storytelling was.
  • Part of the problem causing the previous point are the number of characters. Fireborn is constantly jumping between characters, with only a couple of paragraphs in each POV before switching scenes. This might work with just a couple main characters, but I think I counted at least five different POV that we frequently jumped to.
  • The names in Fireborn are fairly ridiculous and impeded my ability to take the characters seriously. The main MC is called Cabbage…. There is a wizard named Flaxfield and another female wizard named Flaxfold. When they are in a scene together, it’s freaking confusing!
  • There was just way too little world-building in Fireborn for it to be a companion novel. This is the real spot where I think reading the previous novel would have significantly helped, since I had no idea what these humanoid species looked like, no idea where all these places that were being discussed were in relation to each other, and too little knowledge of the backstory surrounding the main villain and Flaxfield. It felt like there were things I was expected to already know about, which does not a companion novel make!
  • The big ending is completely a let down and really quite a load of BS in my opinion. The children characters just abandon another character that they previously cared about. He is literally left trapped with the villain and no one seems to have a problem with this. That is how I want middle-graders to learn how to treat their friends, yup indeed….


Fireborn raised my interest in the first novel, Dragonborn, but I don’t recommend reading it as a companion/stand-alone novel. It also really doesn’t seem appropriate for middle-graders, though the lack of an intricate plot and character names that I could take seriously leaves me doubting that many older readers will be interested either. I would very much like to know if any of you have read Dragonborn and what your thoughts are on that one, since I suspect that that might have heavily changed my opinion on a couple elements of Fireborn. However, I doubt that I would have enjoyed Fireborn much more given the rest of the problems.


2 Stars

The Breeders by Matthew J. Beier {DNF}

The Breeders - Matthew J. Beier

I received The Breeders over a year ago and feel bad that it took me this long to get to reviewing it. I decided to start it tonight and only got a couple pages before hitting my max of three elements I just can't handle in a book. The Breeders is well-edited and of high quality, which is always my first concern with small-pub/indie books, so that was nice to find. However, it's for readers with a stronger stomach than I when it comes to derogatory language for homosexual people and obese people. I just can't really handle reading f*g and "fatties" even though I know the book was written by an LGBT author who is using the words to make a point. The real kicker though is the premise of a world with a strictly controlled breeding program (with you so far) where most people are born infertile (creepy but fine), but the main character gets cramps and bleeding in the opening scene and explains through internal monologuing that she will be sent to Antarctica since she is illegally fertile and she'd rather die than have that happen. There is a brief explanation that the engineering of "heterosteriles" (heterosexual people born infertile) was to avoid the need for forced hysterectomies, but I really don't understand why someone who finds out they are fertile can't have a voluntary hysterectomy instead of being banished or executed. Win win for everyone since Grace doesn't seem thrilled with the idea of going to Antarctica in order to stay fertile. My brain is very unhappy with this whole premise, and so I must leave this story for others to read. Anyone want my signed copy?

Avalon by Mindee Arnett {3 Stars} - Strong start, boring finish

Avalon - Mindee Arnett

Avalon by Mindee Arnett is a sci-fi YA billed as a great story for Firefly fans, with spaceships and thievery but with teenagers! I started out intrigued by the creepiness of a Bermuda Triangle in space and delighted by the teenage crew of space thieves (with justification to why a teenage crew was better than an adult crew!). However, we find out what is going on with the creepy questions by about halfway through and then everything just lagged. I kept hoping that the ending would pick up, but I just didn’t care when that final page went by (except perhaps relief that I was done…).

Note: I received Avalon through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.


Avalon by Mindee Arnett (Avalon #1)
Published by Balzer & Bray on Jan. 21st, 2014
Genres: Sci-fiYA 
Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long. 



  • The beginning of Avalon is filled with spooky mysteries that got me so intrigued. There was just enough gross stuff to have me cringing and wondering what could possibly have caused the damage the team encounters. It reminded me very much of the mysteries in These Broken Stars, so I had high hopes!
  • The Firefly comparison is quite accurate. Avalon had basically teenage versions of most of the Firefly characters and the initial heist was just something that my favorite space cowboys would pull.
  • I have been asking for more space and classic spaceship heavy YA sci-fi, so I’m glad that those elements are finally starting to become more prevalent in YA. Avalon is a great example, so if you like the classic sci-fi space stories, Avalon delivers.


  • The middle and end of Avalon are sooooooo freaking slow. Even when action was happening, it just didn’t pull me in.
  • The characters are completely static. There really wasn’t any development at all and so I just didn’t care what happened to them. There was a bit of a romance, but Jeth (the MC) didn’t really convey emotion beyond “Oo pretty girl is pretty and makes me feel funny.”
  • The “twists” were predictable and delivered in a rather dull fashion. You know me and twists after all, so this was quite disappointing.
  • I actually fell asleep around 90%, my eyes were so heavy from boredom :(.


Avalon started out with a bang and I was so hopeful that I had hit another gem of a sci-fi. However, it just didn’t deliver past the initial draw. We quickly switch from interesting mystery to typical wheelings and dealings that I just didn’t care about. The plot twists could have been so interesting, but since I couldn’t care about the characters, the twists just didn’t spark my interest. I really wish that Avalon had been told in alternating POV, since I think certain other characters could have told a much more interesting story than Jeth.


3 Stars
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder {4 Stars}

Touch of Power - Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder is the first book in the Healer series which I have been meaning to read FOREVER! I love healers (I was totally a heals druid in WoW and now want to go start raiding again, must resist!), I’ve heard such amazing things about Snyder’s writing and stories, and the cover is sooooo pretty! Oh and I’ve had a copy for months since I grabbed it when my friend was clearing out old ARCs ;-). Fortunately, Touch of Power completely lived up to my expectations and I’m freaking pumped to keep reading this series. That’s the benefit of most of the books already being out right??

Note: I received borrowed an ARC of Touch of Power. Some things might have changed in the final version.

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder ARC {4 Stars}

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #1)
Published by Harlequin MIRA on December 20th, 2011
Genres: FantasyYA 
Length: 390 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life.... 



  • I’m generally a hater on broody boys turning in to the love interest, but Touch of Power takes place over quite a bit of time and so the relationship develops slowly, believably and so adorably! I was very adamantly against this romance at first and Kerrick even won this crotchety old grouch over by the end ;-).
  • I love the classic magic systems of earth, air, life, death, etc. However, they have to be done in a new way otherwise it’s just lazy right? Fortunately, Touch of Power does a marvelous job of tweaking the classic magic system (adding moon magic for one thing :D) so I wasn’t disappointed! We only get glimpses into what powers are involved in each type of magic, so I’m really excited to find out more in the subsequent books :D.
  • I knew that the ending couldn’t be as sad as it was aiming to be since there is a sequel, but I was actually quite impressed with how Snyder ended up solving everything. I hadn’t predicted it but it made a fair amount of sense :D. It also has opened the way for some really interesting discovery and research for Avry in future books!
  • As we all know, I’m a fan of characters dying in meaningful plot points and Touch of Power doesn’t hold back from those grittier and darker aspects of life-or-death situations.


  •  Touch of Power had slow points where I found my attention drifting, so just push through if you have the patience.
  • There are a fair amount of times when Touch of Power skipped over chunks of time (days to weeks) by just saying that things continued as they were for a while. It felt a bit forced to me, though I can’t really think of a better way to handle that.
  • There is some trigger stuff regarding manipulative and forceful romantic interaction, though it doesn’t go too far.
  • Avry and the other characters would at times use words that seemed rather modern for the fantasy setting and made me pause for a second. I suppose I can’t say that characters in a fantasy world wouldn’t use slang like we do, but it pulls you out of the story ya know?


Touch of Power really hits on some of my favorite elements of the classic magical fantasy story with healing powers, an epic quest, insane villains, and more magic to discover. I found the whole post-apocalypse element really fascinating as well, since everything is happening a few years after a plague has decimated the world. There is so much left to discover about the plague, Avry’s magic, and Avry and Kerrick’s feelings for each other that I think I might have to start Scent of Magic pretty darn soon >.>


4 Stars
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau {3 Stars}

Independent Study: The Testing, Book 2 - Joelle Charbonneau

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau is the second in The Testing trilogy. There are going to major spoilers in this review for The Testing because that’s how edge of your seat trilogies go ;-). I was one of the people who loved The Testing, unfortunately I wasn’t quite as in love with Independent Study. I did read my copy on Adobe Digital Editions, so that could have partially disturbed my reading mindset; it’s hard for me to tell, except that I know I don’t like reading on ADE. Anyway, Independent Study had the same writing style and dystopian thrills as The Testing, but it didn’t have as clear of a goal and plot, which bothered me. This is the freaking mother of all cliffhangers…. Or maybe just endings that aren’t endings that you wish were compelling cliffhangers…. We’ll see!

Note: I received Independent Study through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau (The Testing #2)
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on January 7th, 2014
Genres: DystopiaYA 
Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Purchases made support this blog 

In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her. 



  • The beginning of Independent Study was a lot of fun with the university setting. I just graduated undergrad, and so I might be biased here, but I found the lead up to university life quite intriguing.
  • Between Cia’s actual memories and the recording, there is a lot of character re-development for her. She changed a lot during The Testing, and now she has to figure out who she really wants to be. This was pretty fun to go through with her.
  • There is no love triangle, whew. I also quite enjoyed the dynamic with Thomas of a relationship that has to figure out how to forgive and they manage to do so in quite a healthy way, yey functional relationships!
  • The Testing was criticized for being very much like The Hunger Games (fairly in some ways), however Independent Study is not like Catching Fire at all, especially on the surface elements people noticed previously.


  •  The ending of Independent Study was barely an ending in my opinion. You could call it a cliffhanger, except it wasn’t all that dramatic. I almost wonder if I didn’t get the full book, except my page-count agrees with Goodreads…. Yes this makes me want to read the next book, but not in an excited way, more in a completion, I need an ending way.
  • Partially because of the ending, Independent Study has hardcore second book issues in that it doesn’t have a plot of its own. It is just setting up for the third book.
  • There were still a lot of problems with show don’t tell, since conversations were described instead of read through dialogue, etc. Hopefully this will be fixed in the final version.


While I was very excited for Independent Study, I was also a bit disappointed. It has a strong start, but faltered at the end by being cut off before any real resolutions could happen. I’m a strong believer in second books of trilogies still having a plot of their own, hence my disappointment with this aspect. I am excited to see a strong relationship being continued as a support to the plot instead of the plot itself! I will definitely be reading the third book, but if you didn’t like The Testing, you probably won’t be happy with Independent Study unfortunately.


3 Stars
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com

Giveaway of Cress ARC!

Cress - Marissa Meyer
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/2013/11/14/cress-marissa-meyer-arc-giveaway

Vicious by Victoria Schwab - Superheroes with a dark and wonderful twist!

VIcious - V.E. Schwab

Vicious by Victoria Schwab turns the superhero story on it’s head with near death experiences being necessary to develop superpowers, and those superpowers being determined by your last thoughts as you are dying. Not to mention that our protagonist seems to be evil and the villain at first glance appears to be the hero. I love gray characters :D.

Note: I received Vicious from the fantabulous Pabkins!


Vicious by Victoria Schwab 
Published by Tor Books on September 24th, 2013
Genres: AdultSci-fi 
Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 



  • Right from the beginning of Vicious, we are forced to question who is the good guy and who the villain. All of the characters we are presented with have a darkness to them, so it really boils down to gray: there is no good guy and I love it!
  • I love love love the way Vicious handles superpowers and their acquisition. I was so intrigued as Victor started to uncover how an ExtraOrdinary person came to exist and the connection between last thoughts and powers was beautifully subtle and fresh.
  • All of Vicious consists of a number of timelines from ten years ago to two days ago to this morning. Those are the actual titles of the each of the timelines that we get at the beginning of chapters. I love this technique for identifying timelines since it gives such an eerie feeling of “This is happening right now and you don’t even know it!”
  • Science fiction stories are always hard-pressed to impress me since I study science for a living. However, Vicious succeeded in using just enough actual science to justify the superpower acquisition process that I was quite happy to suspend my disbelief about the rest. Quite refreshing to find!
  • It was so freaking fun finding out what every ExtraOrdinary’s superpower was and how that power reflected their personality and last thoughts. While some of the powers were your typical healing, etc, figuring out what thought elicited said power was so exciting.


  •  There were several moments in Vicious where I was hoping for some cool twist and ended up with a quite predictable plot progression. I think some of this disappointment stems from the uber-hype that I ran into before starting Vicious, so you’ve been warned!
  • I had a bit of trouble keeping the timelines straight, especially as they started getting closer together and involving the same characters. You’ll not want to put Vicious down for too long.
  • I can’t explain this weakness all that well without a minor spoiler, but remember how we talked about all those bookish pet peeves? There is something in Vicious that was on A LOT of lists, but it isn’t too bad >.>.


Vicious astounded me with how fresh and original it was able to make the superhero tropes. Throw in a whole bunch of dark and grey characters and I’m in love ;-). While I kind of wish there was a sequel scheduled, I also feel like Vicious was just the right amount of story for me. It’s so easy with superhero worlds to keep making more and more powers, but then things start to get formulaic. Vicious had just the right number of ExtraOrdinary characters to showcase clever powers without getting cliche. Basically, Vicious lives up to the hype, but it’s strengths lie in creative ideas, not so much uber crazy plot twists ;-). But can someone explain the cover and title to me now?


4 Stars
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen {4 Stars}

Scarlet - A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen is a retelling of the story of Robin Hood, where Will Scarlet is actually a girl in hiding :D. I haven’t read any Robin Hood retellings, so I was really excited to hear of this series, plus breaking gender-norms is the best! Scarlet did not disappoint. I so thoroughly enjoyed this one despite a couple of hang-ups and can’t wait to start on Lady Thief!

Note: I borrowed Scarlet from my library. All opinions are my own.


Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen (Scarlet #1)
Published by Walker Childrens on February 14th, 2012
Genres: Fairytale RetellingYA 
Length: 292 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for. 



  • Omg Robin Hood retelling :D. Possibly one of my favorite Disney movies, even without foxes, Robin Hood is a wicked fun story and deserves more retellings. I love the noble thieves trope and Robin Hood is basically the quintessential noble thief after all!
  • Scarlet is narrated in first-person from Scarlet’s perspective (the girl pretending to be Will Scarlet) and she narrates in dialect! It was just so wonderfully authentic feeling to start saying “I were running” in my head when I slipped into Scarlet’s story. This narration style really brought a lot to Scarlet’s character <3.
  • Speaking of Scarlet’s character! I love Scarlet so much! She is such a great kick-butt heroine, standing up to the “lads” of the gang and rolling her eyes at their advances. She is bull-headed to a fault and determined to help people despite how damaging she believes her thieving is to her soul. I want to be this girl’s friend so badly!
  • We know early on that Scarlet has a dark past, but we don’t find out until pretty far into the book exactly what that past is. When we do it is really quite tragic and thoroughly explains Scarlet’s actions. I just want to hug her and make her feel better :(.


  •  John Little (ie Little John) is so freaking annoying! He’s just a huge asshole really. He is constantly hitting on Scarlet and insisting that she will start liking him even when she says she isn’t interested in him. On top of that, there are a couple of times when the boys of the band blame Scarlet for things they have absolutely no right blaming her for and I just want to knock their heads together!
  • While I ended up loving the dialect, it takes a fair amount of getting used to ;-).
  • Scarlet is a fairly short book, and this translated into not enough time to really develop the secondary characters. I point this out not because I expect this of all books, but because I found myself specifically wanting to get to know the lads and townspeople as well as Scarlet knows them.


If you enjoy the tale of Robin Hood and can get behind a book in dialect, you simply must pick up Scarlet! Annoying boys aside, I loved every minute reading this one. I’m so glad I was finally able to nab it from the library and actually read it, since it’s made the trip back and forth a couple of times now >.>. Don’t make my mistake and continue to put Scarlet off! Reeeeaaaad iiiiiiit!


4 Stars
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com

I must admit, I love character deaths!

Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/2013/11/13/character-deaths-love-em

Crystal Fire - DNF

Crystal Fire - Jordan Dane

I was trying to make it to at least 25% of Crystal Fire, but I just couldn't do it anymore at 13%. I was hopeful for a bit there since we start off with new characters, but things quickly went down hill. The couples from the previous book show up a couple of chapters in and immediately manage to annoy me with their cheesy interactions. There was a section of at least 5 paragraphs of info dumping to remind us of the previous book that masqueraded as reminiscing. There is a secondary character that dies in the previous book and said character very clearly only existed to die and make us sad and hate the bad guys. That being said, I still don't have strong feelings about the villains because I know nearly nothing about them! How did their organization come about? What is its actual goal? What does it pretend to be to the outside world? How does it have all this money? I can't hate something I know nothing about D:. Finally, despite the info dumps, I still know very little about the structure and rules of the magic powers in this series and it drives me nuts. There are Indigo children and Crystals apparently? Crystals are more peaceful and Indigos more warriorlike? Except the characters that are supposed to belong to each group don't reflect that AT ALL?? Everything feels so arbitrary and I just can't finish this one unfortunately.

Indigo Awakening Review - Almost okay...

Indigo Awakening - Jordan Dane

Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane is the first book in the Believers series. While Indigo Awakening had a promising premise, everything else was either annoying, confusing, or just plain boring. The cover is fairly pretty though, curse pretty covers and their deception!

Note: I borrowed Indigo Awakening from my library; all opinions are my own.


Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane (The Hunted #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on Dec. 18th, 2012
Genres: Paranormal RomanceYA 
Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.

Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her.

A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all. 



  • I love the premise of children being born with psychic powers and a secret organization trying to hunt them down. Indigo Awakening even seemed to take a new spin on this fairly standard story with the blue flames and auras element.
  • I found myself with some lovely mental imagery while reading Indigo Awakening. There are fireflies conjured and I love fireflies!


  •  The psychic powers that the Indigo Children had were freaking all over the place. We only got details about a couple of kids’ powers, so I don’t even have a good idea of what the rule system is for this magic, but it very much seemed like powers were being made up as Indigo Awakening progressed for whatever was needed in the plot. This is one of my huge pet-peeves in fantasy stories! Rules are important for magic to be interesting.
  • On top of that, there are a couple of scenes during the epic battle that involve magic that makes absolutely no sense given what has been done previously and is never explained. This irks me unbelievably.
  • The church that is hunting these children is never given any background. How did this church emerge, how does it sit with the general populace, what are the tenets of its beliefs? The big bad organization needs to actually be something other than “those people who are hunting our MCs down, grrr on them” ya know?
  • The dialogue is sooooo cheesy. I’m all for people talking normally, but Indigo Awakening took teen slang to a whole new annoying level on top of teens saying cheesy romance lines.
  • Speaking of the romance: insta-love!
  • You know how we hate when animals are in stories just to be killed and make you sad? It’s even better when human characters are so obviously placed in the story just to die and make you sad. Except I wasn’t sad, I was really really angry at how cheap of a trick this was.
  • There are subheadings within the chapters that specify time and place, but some of them say “Minutes Later” or “Seconds Later.” This was so disruptive and unnecessary while I was reading. If there is a blank line, that very much implies that there is a slight break, such as to transition to a new scene, but not a huge one since that would be a new chapter. I’m not dumb okay!
  • The big reveal at the very end of the book is just freaking stupid. I didn’t see it coming because it’s just too unbelievably cliche, and that is not a good was to surprise me.


Honestly, there are more weaknesses listed in my notes, but I feel like this list is too long as it is. Indigo Awakening is almost certainly not worth your time. If you don’t care about a complete lack of world-building, character development, interesting plot development, or dialogue and the premise sounds awesome, go for it! But maybe borrow it from the library or keep that receipt. I definitely would have DNF’d Indigo Awakening if I hadn’t stupidly requested the sequel for review before realizing it was the sequel to this one…. I swear I thought Crystal Fire was a first in series! Why did I do this to myself???


1.5 Stars
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com

Cracked by Eliza Crewe {4.5 Stars}

Cracked - Eliza Crewe

Cracked by Eliza Crewe is the first in the Soul Eater series and stars Meda, a slightly mad soul-eating monster. What a great MC right?? Meda has a delightfully deranged sense of humor and her sarcastic inner thoughts made a wonderful running commentary during Cracked. I absolutely love that Crewe was able to present such a broken and yet deeply relatable narrator  in Meda. Despite the fact that she is self-confessed evil and has to kill people to survive, I wish I could get to know her in person! Definitely when she is well-fed though >.>.

Note: I received an eARC of Cracked through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.


Cracked by Eliza Crewe (Soul Eater #1)
Published by Strange Chemistry on Nov. 5th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary FantasyDark FantasyYA 
Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it. 



  • Meda! Oh Meda, how I love you. So often books are narrated by the chosen one who is going to save the world, but Cracked is narrated by the monster that the good guys are supposed to be hunting. The beginning of Cracked starts off pretty gruesome and gives us a clear idea of just how terrible Meda is, and I couldn’t help celebrating that finally I had come across a truly unique MC!
  • Cracked still has romance, don’t you worry, but it’s between two of the secondary characters and it’s adorable! This was such a great way to bring in that warm fuzzy element without the main character needing to do a 180 to appease our thirst for teen romance.
  • Meda is so freaking hilarious. She is snarky and sarcastic and since she is trying to hide that part of her personality throughout Cracked, we are privy to some really fun inside jokes that the other characters don’t get to enjoy. Especially in the beginning, I was freaking chuckling and laughing out loud from Meda’s snark.
  • I’m not generally one for dark fantasy, but Cracked won me over and I can only describe it as deliciously dark. I actually found myself enjoying the darker elements because Meda convinced me to!
  • I wasn’t really expecting many feels in Cracked because Meda is a monster after all, but wow was I wrong. The feels! Cracked surprised me by bringing tears to my ears through sad moments that break from the normal sad things you cry about. There was some of the normal causes of feels, but also some unexpected moments. So refreshing.
  • I love it when epic battles have clever endings! When the characters do something that makes total sense in hindsight, but I definitely didn’t see coming, and instead of being magically awesome, they use their brains to save the day!
  • Cracked has some really thoughtful and sweet sentiments, including a habit Meda develops of eating imaginary popcorn with a certain adorable side character. The final line of Cracked better not change because it was so beautiful and perfect.
  • I haven’t read many books with Templar myths outside of the mystery genre, so it was fun to see contemporary fantasy pull on those!


  •  Meda becomes a bit less humorous as Cracked continues. Perhaps I just got too used to her snark, or perhaps she is meant to be less snarky throughout, but I was sad that I wasn’t laughing as much by the end.
  • Despite certain epic battle surprised, Cracked followed a fairly predictable storyline. I’m interested to see where the second book goes, but I certainly wasn’t wowed by any plot twists.


Cracked was utterly delightful in a dark fantasy kind of way. If you like dark fantasy, you simply must read Cracked. It is by far my favorite thing from Strange Chemistry so far! I am just so in love with a very clearly evil character being the first-person narrator of a story, and Meda somehow managed to worm her way into my heart ;-).


5 Stars
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com

Pawn ARC Giveaway!

Pawn  - Aimee Carter

I'm giving away my ARC of Pawn by Aimee Carter because I freaking adored it, check it out!

Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/2013/10/31/giveaway-pawn-aimee-carter-arc

Just finished Cracked and wow, just wow

Cracked - Eliza Crewe

I'm still digesting, but I just have to tell you all how much I loved this book! Meda is a fantastically, deliciously flawed character with a wicked sense of humor. I had no idea where Cracked would take Meda's adventures, but it went perfectly. Heart-wrenching, heart-warming, pulling on human relationships in ways most YA books don't, bringing in a fun new mythos with Templars and demons, just everything was awesome. I'm pretty sure it's still on NetGalley and it's definitely the most impressive Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry book I've read!

After Eden by Helen Douglas {3 Stars}

After Eden - Helen  Douglas

After Eden by Helen Douglas is a (currently) stand-alone story combining time travel with light YA romance. I was excited while reading the first half, and then mellowed to only intrigued during the second half. After Eden has an intriguing premise with a fair amount of sci-fi potential, but it ended up emphasizing the romance elements instead of really digging in to the sci-fi possibilities. It’s a light and quick read (took me about 3 hours), so if you are in the mood for something easy and fun, you might give it a try ;).

Note: I received an eARC of After Eden through Netgalley in exchange  for an honest review. Some things might be different in the final version.


After Eden by Helen Douglas 
Published by Bloomsbury on Nov. 7th, 2013
Genres: Sci-fiYA 
Length: 288 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever. Actually, not just her world. Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world. In a few weeks, Eden’s best friend Connor will discover a new planet—one where human life is possible. The discovery will make him famous. It will also ruin the world as we know it. When Ryan asks Eden for help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friend’s greatest achievement. And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have imagined. Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart. That girl is Eden. 



  • Time travel! I’m a fan of time travel books that have a fairly logical reason why the time travel is happening (not that I have anything against the Doctor traveling around for kicks, hehe), so I was happy to see that the travelers in After Eden had a very good reason for coming back.
  • The romance is pretty darn adorable. It’s fairly obvious from the beginning, but I’m always happy when I like both characters and they behave cutely instead of dramatically.
  • The writing in After Eden is fluid and easy. I found myself at 50% in the first evening without any effort.
  • Ryan’s big secret has some really interesting sci-fi elements to it. I won’t spoil it, but I did enjoy having that extra dimension.


  •  Whenever teenage characters decide they are deeply in love within a short time of knowing each other, I roll my eyes. Just… gah.
  • After Eden was fairly jumpy at times. All of a sudden one scene would be over and another begun without much of a transition and I had to orient myself to figure out what was going on again.
  • The plot and ending were predictable and fairly cheesy. I’ll give you three guesses how things end….
  • When characters are running for their life or trying to save the future, I should probably be riveted, but I just wasn’t while reading After Eden. This was partly due to it being clear that things would work out, and partly just from the writing style.


After Eden was cute and enjoyable, but not much more. I certainly didn’t have any negative reactions to it, but I wish that the sci-fi storyline and time travel had been more emphasized. This is definitely “light sci-fi” since the same plot almost could have been told without any time travel being involved: boy meets girl and the rest is history.


3 Stars
Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com

Finished After Eden - Cute by predictable

After Eden - Helen  Douglas

So I just finished reading After Eden (well my Kindle had a meltdown with a paragraph to go, I had to fix that, and then I read the last cheesy paragraph) and while I enjoyed the easy reading and adorable romance with mild sci-fi elements, it definitely wasn't anything special. Full review to come (hopefully tomorrow!)

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