THE FIRST SISTER by Linden A. Lewis

Combining the social commentary of The Handmaid’s Tale with the white-knuckled thrills of Red Rising, this epic space opera follows a comfort woman as she claims her agency, a soldier questioning his allegiances, and a non-binary hero out to save the solar system.

First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars—the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed when she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no power, and a new captain—Saito Ren—whom she knows nothing about. She is commanded to spy on Captain Ren by the Sisterhood, but soon discovers that working for the war effort is so much harder to do when you’re falling in love.

Lito val Lucius climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus, but was defeated in combat by none other than Saito Ren, resulting in the disappearance of his partner, Hiro. When Lito learns that Hiro is both alive and now a traitor to the cause, he now has a shot at redemption: track down and kill his former partner. But when he discovers recordings that Hiro secretly made, Lito’s own allegiances are put to the test. Ultimately, he must decide between following orders and following his heart.

A stunning and sweeping debut novel that explores the power of technology, colonization, race, and gender, The First Sister is perfect for fans of James S.A. Corey, Chuck Wendig, and Margaret Atwood.


Title : The First Sister
Author : Linden A. Lewis
Series : The First Sister #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Sci-fi
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

THE FIRST SISTER was an engrossing read, once I hit a third through, it was really hard to put down. Told from two different POVs, two sides of a war and two characters that couldn’t be more different, it took quite a time for these separate stories to converge but both narratives were gripping.

The worlds of Mars, Venus, Mercury, the asteroids and moons were complex in their settlements and evolving races but only in retrospect. This complexity was woven so carefully into the narrative without info-dumping. There was a drip of information when it was needed, so I was never jarred by getting to know history and contemporary life and their hierarchy.

I was probably most fascinated with the life of First Sister, her tenuous position on the ship, the new Captain and her self-discovery. First Sister was more than she first appeared, more than her silence, more than her role to serve and comfort. Her self-discovery and stretching of her own boundaries was riveting. Her relationship with Ren, slowly and naturally unfolded.

Lito, Hiro and the Asters were also great reading, as was life on the worlds. This book had a superb non-binary character that I loved, how they were written was just really beautiful in my non-own-voices opinion. I just had a niggling feeling about the later twist and I was right; I felt quite smug about that.

I couldn’t be more excited to see this is the start of a series and not a standalone. I need more from this story of worlds, more from these characters who have found a home in my heart and I want to see justice in this opressive wrangling of species and races.

THE FIRST SISTER is one heck of a debut, written with deep thought, ingenuity and natural flair. The research underpinning the writing felt solid. Linden A. Lewis has my attention and I will be ready and waiting for more.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy.

THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS by Micaiah Johnson

Reasons Cara has died:

– The emperor of the wasteland wanted to make an example of her mother and started with her
– One of her mother’s boyfriends wanted to cover up what he did to her
– She was born addicted and her lungs didn’t develop
– She was left alone, and a stranger came along
– The runners came for a neighbour and she was in the way
– The runners came for her mother and she was in the way
– The runners came for her boyfriend and she was in the way
– The runners came for no one, serving nothing but chaos and fear, and she was what they found
– Her mother left her alone in a shed while she worked or got high and she fell asleep alone and hungry and forever

Reasons Cara has lived:

– She doesn’t know but there are 8.

The multiverse business is booming, but there’s just one catch: no one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive.

Enter Cara. Of the 382 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but eight

But on this earth, she survived. Born in the wastelands where if a basic lack of resources didn’t kill you, violence would, Cara is happy to reap the benefits of a job and a safe place in the city to call home.

But when one of her eight remaining doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined – and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.


Title : The Space Between Worlds
Author : Micaiah Johnson
Format : Paperback ARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : Sci-fi
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Fresh, unique, complex and compelling….this book took some navigation of world building at first but it was so worth that bit of investment to be pulled into Cara(s) lives and travels. This sci-fi navigated the multiverse with a cast of characters all of which were shades of good and bad. I got completely invested in the characters of Cara, Jean, Nik Nik, Esther, Mister Cheeks and eventually Dell.

Earth Zero had an identifiable society in many ways in terms of priviledge and colour and these similarities were perpetuated across the multiverse. Cara had come from the rough, dirt-ridden Ashdowns but her ability to traverse the different worlds had given her a place in the elite society. It was unsurprising that she really didn’t have any power despite the fact they needed her and any allies she had weren’t completely trustworthy. It was an isolated life for Cara and her only real connections were family back in the Ashdowns.

I was so fascinated by life on Earth Zero with shades of longing for her on Earth 22. It didn’t take long for the story to serve up some twists and there were many further twists along the way. I found the second half so unputdownable that I romped to the end as fast as I could.

Don’t come into this read expecting to know the rules of the world, the reader has to flex with the story as it rolls unexpectedly out and quite honestly, that’s one of the best things about it. I can’t say I’ve read a story quite like this before and I do read quite a bit of sci-fi, so complete props to Micaiah Johnson for her ingenuity. I’ll definitely be reading anything she publishes from here on.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – AUGUST 4, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.

HARROW THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir is here! She’s out! Is it too early to be asking about the final book? Yes? Okay, we shall have to hunt down our stash of chill.

MIDNIGHT SUN by Stephenie Meyer is another we probably need to chill about. Will this be a book you pick up now or later when the hype it over? Are you even excited about this POV swap?

SEVEN DEVILS by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May is the “first book in a feminist space opera duology follow[ing] seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire–or die trying.” We love ourselves some sci-fi but we love ensemble sci-fi even more!

THE BLACK KIDS by Christina Hammonds Reed takes the reader back to 1992 in this contemporary YA. A rich black kid, Ashley and her family are caught up in the Rodney King riots which forces issues Ashley to really figure out who she is.



THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS by Macaiah Johnson is a fabulous debut and story about multiverses. Cara’s job is to visit other worlds, but she can only visit ones where she has died.

THE FIRST SISTER by Linden Lewis was another debut in the land of sci-fi and along with that stunning cover, this story of two sides of a war was fast-paced and exciting. This book narrates themes of feminism, equality alongside strong LGBTQIA+ connections and a great non-binary character.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE by Lia Louis is a contemporary fiction/romance that is simply perfect for your summer reading needs. Told back and forth across the English/French channel, Emmie Blue has an amazing story to tell and she will steal your heart. The UK release is August 6th.

EVERY LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART by Non Pratt is a contemporary YA with all the illness rep we’ve needed in YA. Non Pratt writes diversely as ever and this is a special story and it’s out on August 6th.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

HARROW THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir

She answered the Emperor’s call.

She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend.

In victory, her world has turned to ash.

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her. 

Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor’s Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?


Title : Harrow the Ninth
Author : Tamsyn Muir
Series : The Locked Tomb (book two)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 512
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/sci-fi
Publisher : Tor.com
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

No one does it quite like Muir.

I could protect you, if you’d only ask me to.
I would rather have my tendons peeled from my body, one by one, and flossed to shreds over my broken bones. I would rather be flayed alive and wrapped in salt. I would rather have my own digestive acid dripped into my eyes.”
So what I’m hearing is.. maybe.

And by that I mean no one confuses me so utterly, for so long, in such devastating ways, only to give me exactly what I want, and then completely messes with my mind, all over again, by the final pages of the book.

What the fuck is going on?” <– what a mood

Like, what, even is that? Huh? Seriously? How dare.

You’re certain that [spoiler] tried to kill Harrow?
Yeah.”
But that doesn’t– why would she–?
Do not fucking ask me for information. I could not be more lost right now.”

In a scarily similar recreation of my reading experience with GIDEON THE NINTH, this book took me forever to get through because of slumps, work, life, the world, etc. Also because this book is over five hundred pages of who even fucking knows. Truly, I had no idea what was happening because while I understood the words I was reading, and there were familiar characters and faces, even some familiar-ish events.. nothing made sense. I was confounded, confused, and having a crazy good time anyway. This author has skills, I tell you. No one else could put me through this nonsense and have me asking for more.

Stay here.”
Get fucked. I absolutely did not become the eighth saint to serve the King Undying so [spoiler] could play hero for me.”
Why did you ascend to be Lyctor?
Ultimate power — and posters of my face.

All I can say is : don’t go in expecting to understand anything. Possibly ever. Because what little I thought I had eventually grasped by the end of book one, was just, poof, gone, by the start of this. And then what I thought I had pieced back together just before this concluded? Obliterated. Elle oh elle.

She wants the D. [..] The D stands for dead.

But speaking of that, I laughed, oh how I laughed. Some parts were so outrageous I couldn’t believe it. It was weird, it was whacky, it was wonderful. I want more. Because here we are again where I have been devastated with how this second book has concluded and I.. what.. but.. I..

I was not following all of this, because necromantic theory is a lot of hot bullshit even when I’m not busy having Complex Emotions.

Yeah, I need book three, like, yesterday.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

DEAR EMMIE BLUE by Lia Louis

In this charming and poignant novel, teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it; now, fourteen years later, the one thing Emmie has been counting on is gone for good, and everything she planned is up in the air.

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over


Title : Dear Emmie Blue
Author : Lia Louis
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : Women’s Fiction
Publisher : Trapeze Books
Release Date : August 6, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

This is my summer read of 2020. FACT.

I picked up this DEAR EMMIE BLUE and I could not put it down, at all. Okay, there were moments to pause, look at the wall and process my feelings but that was the only break I took. This book had a light start followed a sneak attack of of more serious themes that were all fabulous-ness. DEAR EMMIE BLUE had characters to cling onto, a story that sunk me into immersion and it was one that made me hope like mad for Emmie.

At first, Emmie made me wonder if she was weak, a sap, the loyal friend being trampled on. Little did I know Emmie, because as I grew to know her better, she had such depth of spirit, a fighting character and that loyalty of hers was amazing. I came to adore her, cheer for her and want the best of things for her.

Emmie had a very quiet and hard working life, an absolute mess of parental proportions and a past trauma to navigate. She was supported in all things by Lucas and the Moreau family as a whole, but Lucas’ brother was a loyal friend, in the background, full of integrity. I’m saying nothing more because the whole story is orientated around these friendships. The story is rich, deep and wonderful with a good slice of heartache.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE had me feeling all the emotions, brimming over my kindle, onto my tissue (at times) and into my friend’s DMs. This book was written so well, so balanced with character development to die for, story to be wrapped up in and all of the feels. I am completely bowled over by it and I want to sing from the rooftops about how good it is. So good, you just have to read and discover it for yourself. Lia Louis wrote beautifully, realistically and with heart, I am dying to devour more from her.

Don’t come into this expecting all light, come in to this and fasten your seat belt…you won’t regret it.

Thank you to Trapeze Books for the early review copy.

AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY by Danielle Jawando – double review!

An emotionally rich and current story of suicide, mental health, bullying, grief and growing up around social media.

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?


Title : And The Stars Were Burning Brightly
Author : Danielle Jawando
Series : And The Stars Were Burning Brightly #1
Format : Paperback ARC / eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : Simon and Schuster UK
Release Date : March 5, 2020

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY is the kind of book you do need a snapshot of insight into before you enter, in this case I do recommend reading the blurb. This is a story about suicide, grief, bullying and social media. It is powerful and painful, chilling and stunning. I think it’s a really important book and it’s 100% worth the emotional investment.

The book started and ended with an author note, I had the privilidge of hearing the author read the beginning note and the first chapter at a publisher event. There wasn’t a whisper in the room and I fought tears listening to her. The reading experience is pretty much like that, the story and the characters plunged me into their worlds, wrapped me up in their fraught emotions and spat me out a bit of wreck.

Nathan was the brother, grieving his older sibling and questioning everything; he needed the why to these events, some reason and he was determined. Alongside Nathan were family, other siblings, his mother, his friend, Al’s friend Megan and some nasty characters. This was a intricately woven story, where as the reader you were alongside Nathan, searching for answers.

“My chest goes all tight, knowing that I’ll never see him for real again, that he’ll only ever be this person in a photo.”

Eli’s character was tangibly written, believable in his cruel manipulations and plain bullying. Tara and Lewi were more subtle in their connections to the situation and how events finally wove together was pretty shocking. Social media was the weapon wielded in this book and some of the elements took my breath away.

The picture of grief was palpable, I could feel the anger, despair and sadness rising out of the pages, I’m not an easy crier at books but I was an easy crier at this book. Nathan’s emotions had the power to affect me deeply as did Al’s short chapter starters.

For me, as a Mancunian, this book was gift in dialogue and narrative. It was written as Mancunians speak, quite literally and I found it easy to sink into. I don’t think this element will be difficult for any other readers, but you might wonder for the first few pages as you settle into this.

Danielle Jawando captured the issues in this book with honesty, she didn’t hold back on the difficult stuff, this was an absolute strength of this book. These issues shouldn’t be diluted to make it more palatable, your heart should break as you navigate this with the characters. I am beyond impressed with this fictional debut and I will be watching avidly for more from this author.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for this early review copy.


Hollis’ 4 star review

Despite what this book made me feel, and the tears, I’m happy I read this book. Not just because it helped to haul me out of a slump but also because this story is so important to read, particularly for teens, and was done so beautifully.

I went into this read pretty unaware, as per usual, and knew only that Micky, blog buddy extraordinaire, has been raving about it for what feels like ages now. I’m so thankful she put this on my radar.

When you’re angry, it takes you away from the pain somehow. Stops it from tearing into you.

I truly don’t have much to say, and certainly nothing to add to my partner’s great review, but I couldn’t not make a point to add something, to repost this, boost it once more, because this story deserves more awareness and, most importantly, deserves your time. It’s heavy but never without hope, without light — just like stars; though they aren’t seen until it’s dark.. they shine so bright.

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