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Weekly Reads: Week 44

**Welcome to Weekly Reads! Each Monday I’ll share reviews for my most recent reads. For more reviews, please visit my page, The Reads: From A to Z.**

After finishing Gemina, the second of The Illuminae Files, I’ve been struggling to find the right follow-up novel, from the emotional highs to the shocking twists to the non-stop chaos on board a failing space station – how am I supposed to move on!?

Still, somehow I managed to finish Mischling by Affinity Konar before it was due back to the library, not exactly the follow-up I had in mind, but a beautiful novel nonetheless. Luckily, I got out from work early on Friday, giving me plenty of extra time to to finish the last few chapters before Saturday’s due date, and bonus, it was PERFECT patio weather!

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This week, I have a fresh batch of library books to choose from – chalk full of new releases and a few of my picks for Non Fiction November (full TBR tomorrow!). Now I just have to choose one to start reading!

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Set just where Illuminae left off, Hypatia is en route to Heimdall not knowing the space station, itself, is under threat of another BeiTech attack. Just a day before, Hanna Donnelly was like any other teen, spending her days plotting to spend more time with her boyfriend and picking out the perfect dress for the ball, but being the captain’s daughter isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure she can get away ordering drugs on the sly, but the down side being an obvious target in the case of attack. Nik, on the other hand, is more incognito. Part of a notorious family in crime, he’s a small fry on the totem pole, but he’d do anything to save Hanna from getting herself killed. Together, they’ll have to rush against the clock to save the station, actually the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, from being sucked into a wormhole all while under attack by BeiTech and a mysterious alien predator.

“It’s not about what I say, right? It’s what I do that matters here.”

Like its predecessor, Gemina is told in a series of multimedia messages, video transcripts, interviews, and emails, seamlessly switching perspectives throughout the story and covering the action from all angles. My only complaint is the striking similarity between Hanna and Kady – they’re both kick ass ladies with immeasurable smarts and a keen dislike for authority. They could easily be the same person, except Kady is better with computers and Hanna’s more for actual combat. But, for as similar as Kady is to new girl Hanna, Nik is completely different from Ezra. Ezra is built to follow the rules, he’s straight laced to a tee and has no problem staying that way, Nik is strikingly similar in this way, but his background gives just enough distance to make him a more distinct character. Born into a family of crime, Nik struggles to earn himself a good name, and while he works the family business, trying his hardest to walk the line as much as his family allows, but still, general bad boy from a bad family falls for a privelaged space princess… Even so, the assualt against the Heimdall will leave you completely breathless, racing you to the finish line and leaving you completely enthralled.

Rating: 5 Stars      Goodreads

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Mischling by Affinity Konar

A harrowing tale of love, friendship and family, exploring one of the most deplorable places known in history, Mengele’s Zoo, an experimental lab inside Auschwitz. Twin sisters Pearl and Stasha are spared the daily horrors of the camp, but in exchange, they’re taken in as Megele’s pets, prized for their identical natures. While Pearl is in charge of the past, and the immense sadness that comes with remembering, Stasha is in charge of their future, no matter how bright or how dim it may be. Just as rumors of the Russian’s approach spread, Pearl mysteriously disappears, leaving Stasha desperate for vengeance and the hope that one day, she’ll find her sister alive. Together, and apart, the sisters will navigate their way through the new world, finding the depths of despair reaching far past the confines of the zoo.

“Auschwitz was built to imprison us. Birkenau was built to kill us. Mere kilometers bridged their attached evils. What this zoo was designed for, I did not know – I could only swear that Pearl and I, we would never be caged.”

Though one of the saddest tales I’ve ever read, Mischling is hopeful in spirit, told in a childlike wondery fitting the young ages of Pearl and Stasha (barely 13 by the end of the war). Both responsible for a portion of time, each sister finds it within herself to shield the other from the terror’s they’ve experienced, covering their starvation with a simple game to pass the time or crafting curious tales to shadow the horrorific injuries done to them. A truly heartbreaking look into one of the darkest times in human history, Mischling is a beautiful tale of hope, showing the remnants of beauty even in the time of great turmoil.

Rating: 5 Stars       Goodreads

What have you read lately?

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