Star Wars Books that Changed My Life

May the 4th be with you!

This year, in order to celebrate ‘Star Wars Day’, I’m going to share with you some of my own history with what I consider to be one of the best fantastical worlds ever! As a child, I remember watching the Star Wars Movies every chance I got. My favourite was Return of the Jedi (it is now Empire Strikes Back), and I borrowed it every chance I got on VHS from my public library. I borrowed it so many times that my father banned me from borrowing it for six months! I was crushed.

I always dreamed of new Star Wars movies, but they never arrived in my childhood. Instead, I turned to the books. By the time I turned 10, there was an entire Star Wars Universe waiting to be explored on the page. I began with Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn, and read everything I could get my hands on. I still have some of these books, as I’ve never been able to part with them.

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One of my favs was the Young Jedi Knights Series, by Kevin J. Anderson with Robecca Moesta. This series was about Leia and Han’s twins, Jaina and Jacen. I wanted to be them, go to school with them, learn how to be a Jedi Knight too. So I consumed these books with a vengeance. I credit the strong character of Jaina and her mechanical aptitude for my own interest in science and my the much later degree in Engineering that I received in 2004. I was disappointed with Disney when they kaiboshed everything that was Star Wars, making it legend, and coming up with their own cannon. But there are a lot of similarities between Rey and Jaina, and after I watched Star Wars, The Force Awakens, I found I could accept this new story and love Rey as I loved Jaina (to me, they are really the same girl by a different name. I’m positive that Rey belongs to Leia and Han, and that Kylo Ren is her long-lost twin brother, just like in the books).

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Another of my favorite characters from the book world, Mara Jade, in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series, and pictured fighting Luke, above, is also now legend. Mara Jade was an apprentice to the Emperor, and takes it upon herself to battle Luke. But Mara Jade isn’t all bad, and she’s also my favorite Sith ever.

While my Star Wars book collection is not what it once was, I still treasure it, and it is still growing. With the Disney takeover, more material is being released now than ever. I’ve previously blogged about reading some of the new comic books, and I’ve also finished the first book in Chuck Wendig’s new Trilogy, beginning with Aftermath, about the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. When it comes to my love of Science Fiction and space travel, Star Wars will always have a very large place in my heart. So happy May the 4th, and may the Force be with you.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, or if you just want to watch it again because it is May 4th, be sure to check out The Last Jedi Trailer below.

JEH

Books I’ve Read: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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As I continue to look through my old book journal, I’m posting about books I read a number of years ago. This week, I’ll be posting my initial “review”, on Divergent by Veronica Roth. It isn’t so much a review as my opinion of the book, and boy was it opinionated. See below:

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This write-up is pretty harsh. It sounds like I hated the book yet I gave it 4.5 stars. I guess that says a lot about a books ambiance, which to me means the general feeling the book generates and my ability to ‘suspend disbelief’. Divergent was a book that I really had to not try to reason out. I mean, the entire population of the city is forced into four groups—FOUR! People are so much more diverse than that. And there are so many more job functions than that. Anyway… Even if I had a difficult time falling for the premise and the choices some of the characters made, I liked the FEELING of the book. The tone. I guess that’s what won me over.

Come back later in the week to see what I thought about Insurgent.

JEH

What I’m Reading: What Light by Jay Asher

Young Adult Book Review: What Light by Jay Asher

When I heard that Jay Asher had a long awaited second book coming, I was excited. Then I began to read it… The premise of What Light is very different than 13 Reasons Why, which I loved. What Light is really just a Christmas Romance, and I use the word ‘just’ heavily.

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The real problem with this book for me was that it had potential (I mean a Christmas Tree Farm and a Bad Boy sounds like fun…), but nothing happened. Like ever. The story, while it may have been well written, lacked tension. And I really hate to say that just because I loved 13 Reasons Why so much. (Though I haven’t had time to check out the Netflix series yet).

Sierra (cool name), goes to California every winter to sell trees with her parents for the month before Christmas… and that’s about it. The entire time I read this book I expected something to happen. But it never arrived. I imagined at least ten different twists that never came to light. And the result was that it took me a long time to read this book. I also had a problem with the dialogue, which at times felt pretty forced. I would recommend this book if you really love Christmas and sappy romance, but otherwise, I’d give it a pass (but I still love 13 Reasons Why).

2/5 Stars

JEH

Books I’ve Read: Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

It’s not often I pick up a graphic novel. My husband gave me Castle Waiting by Linda Medley as a gift a couple years ago, and I loved it. Castle waiting is a beautifully illustrated black and white graphic novel great for all lovers of fairy tale and fantasy.

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Sometimes a change of pace is nice when reading, and after finishing Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners trilogy I was ready for something a bit different, so I picked up volume two and am currently working my way through it. This reminded me thg at I’d never posted anything about Castle Waiting Volume I, so here’s a picture of my book journal and my review from October 2014. As you can see, I was looking forward to the sequel.

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If you haven’t checked out this graphic novel yet, I highly recommend it.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Young Adult Book Review: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

This week I was pretty obsessed with finishing the last book in Brandon Sanderson’s Young Adult Reckoners Trilogy. If you haven’t read the review of the first book, Steelheart, you can find it here. Now that I’ve finished the trilogy, I can admit a few things: Steelheart was my favourite book of the Reckoners, I wish I could write as well as Brandon Sanderson, and I’m sad that I never got to go back to Newcago. While the setting of every book was unique and interesting, Newcago was my favourite by far. I would definitely go visit it if I could, if the Reckoners wasn’t a dystopian-Marvel-esque- Fantasy.

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Brandon Sanderson has already announced that his next Young Adult series will be called the Apocolypse Guard and will be set in the same world as Reckoners. I will definitely pick it up. The ending of Calamity definitely left me thinking, and there are still a couple things I’m trying to figure out (like most of Sanderson’s books, I’m not sure I’m supposed to understand everything). You can read more about his next series on his blog if you’re interested.

Calamity of course was  full of action, fairly quick paced (though I thought it dragged slightly more than the other two books, though I would hardly call it dragging). There were lots of laughs and lots of tension.

A solid 4.5/5 Stars.

NOTE: Finishing this book puts me at 16/60 books on my Goodreads goal, 2 books ahead of  schedule!

JEH

What I’m Reading: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

The second book in the Young Adult Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson moves the action from a futuristic Chicago (Newcago) to a futuristic, dystopian Manhattan (New Babylon). I loved this second book and I found New Babylon (also called Babilar) to be very interesting, but part of what I loved about the first book, Steelheart, was the setting: a city that had been completely morphed into steel, and I missed that setting in Firefight. Not that I didn’t love Babilar, I just love Newcago more.

The action of the second book, Firefight, is just as fast and heart-pounding as in the first book. The stakes get higher, and we discover more about the world and Epics (the bad guys), in general.

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Like the first book, Firefight is 75% action, 20% romance, and 5% bad metaphors (which are often hilarious). That isn’t an exact breakdown, so don’t quote me on it. The main point is that this book is mostly the kind of action you would see in a Marvel movie.

Loved it.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson

In case you missed it, I posted a review of the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners Series, Steelheart, last Saturday. I picked up Book 2, Firefight, and began reading but kept coming across this mention of a battle with Mitosis, which sounded familiar, so I checked, and sure enough, Mitosis is a standalone story that falls between Steelheart and Firefight.

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Mitosis was fairly short and I finished reading it in under an hour. It was a good piece of action between the two main novels. I wouldn’t say it’s a must read. I think one could just go from Steelheart to Firefight and not feel like they’re missing much, but it did add a nice bit of backstory during the passage of time between Steelheart and Firefight, which is a few months.

If you’re a Sanderson fan, or just need to read every piece of lore in a universe, then you probably won’t want to skip Mitosis.

4/5 Stars

JEH