Starflight by Melissa Landers
on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
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Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.
When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe...
Space themes are always tricky for me. I either love them, or I can’t stand them. I either have a desperate need to read the book or watch the movie, or I just sit there thinking, “Meh.” Starflight fell into the former. It‘s a book that initially drew me in by the cover…and held me with the story.
The only downside to this book was that pieces of the plot were a bit clichéd and predictable. Very little of the overall plot was a surprise to me. But the details and the journey to reach those overarching themes were interesting and entertaining. So, I didn’t find myself too disappointed about knowing what was coming next; I wanted to see how they got there. What paths did they take? What trouble did they encounter? That was what interested me most.
The secondary characters were also excellent. I loved discovering their personalities and the dynamics of the group. They were all so entertaining and I wanted to know the entireties of their backstories, every detail. I cannot wait for the sequel, Starfall, to release next year and tell the story of my favorite dynamic duo, Cassia and Kane. Honestly, these two together were hilarious, but I can’t wait to find out how deep their connection really goes.
Overall, Starflight was a great, entertaining read. It was a space book that (surprisingly) was able to keep me interested and flying through the pages of this book. It made me even more excited for the sequel. 2017 is already looking like an excellent year for new books, and I cannot wait to get my hands on Starfall in February.
The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino
Published by Thomas Nelson on October 18th 2016
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Are you ready to see your fixer upper?
These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like Who are these people?What s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America s new best friends.
The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.
They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day.
In The Magnolia Story fans will finally get to join the Gaines behind the scenes and discover: The time Chip ran to the grocery store and forgot to take their new, sleeping baby Joanna s agonizing decision to close her dream business to focus on raising their children When Chip buys a houseboat, sight-unseen, and it turns out to be a leaky wreck Joanna s breakthrough moment of discovering the secret to creating a beautiful home Harrowing stories of the financial ups and downs as an entrepreneurial couple Memories and photos from Chip and Jo s wedding The significance of the word magnolia and why it permeates everything they do The way the couple pays the popularity of Fixer Upper forward, sharing the success with others, and bolstering the city of Waco along the way
And yet there is still one lingering question for fans of the show: Is Chip really that funny? Oh yeah, says Joanna. He was, and still is, my first fixer upper. "
HGTV is my not-so-guilty pleasure. I watch it constantly. It’s my go-to channel whenever I turn on the TV as background noise. And my favorite of all has to be Fixer Upper. So, naturally, when I found out that Chip and Joanna were releasing a book, I was thrilled. Over the moon when I found out said book was releasing on my birthday. There’s no better birthday present that a book full of Chip Gaines’ jokes.
And this book didn’t disappoint. If anything, I love Chip and Joanna even more now. The Magnolia Story is full of behind the scenes information and tells the story of Chip and Joanna. I loved it. From the very introduction, and the tale of the not-so-fantastic house boat, it was clear that Chip and Joanna are the real deal. I loved getting to hear more of their story and finding out just how deep their love goes. There’s so much I didn’t know before, and now have the story to. Honestly, they set an unrealistic relationship expectation. No wonder I’m single.
If you’re a fan of Chip and Joanna or Fixer Upper, or just HGTV in general, then you definitely need to read this book. They’re so great, and this book only confirmed just how loving and phenomenal they are.