Skywatchers – Carrie Arcos [ARC Review]

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


From National Book Award Finalist Carrie Arcos comes a thrilling, genre-bending mystery about the history of the Cold War and the UFO phenomenon. Perfect for fans of In the Woods by Tana French and Netflix’s Stranger Things.

The year is 1952. The threat of invasion from the Soviet Union has people in a panic. The government has issued a call to civilians to act as radar–and Teddy, John, Caroline, Eleanor, Bunny, Frank, and Oscar eagerly answer. As members of their high school’s “Operation Skywatch” club, they, along with others across the country, look to the sky in an effort to protect the country from attack.

But they’re not prepared for the strange green light they see when on duty, which looks like nothing they’ve been trained to look out for. So when the mysterious object lands in the forest, Teddy, John, Caroline, and Bunny go in to investigate. Then, they disappear.

In this thrill of a novel inspired by real events, one group of teens will come face to face with the UFO phenomenon and the vastness of the unknown as they try to save one another, and possibly, the world. A powerful exploration of what if.


Huge thank you to the Penguin Teen Influencer program, Philomel Books, and Netgalley for providing this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Prior to receiving the Penguin Teen influencer Fall 2020 ARC email I had not heard about Skywatchers by Carrie Arcos. The cover immediately caught my eye so I had to check the book out. I was super intrigued by the plot.

Skywatchers tells the thrilling story of a group of teens in the 1950’s who are a part of the “Operation Skywatch” club. Their job is to watch the skies for enemy aircraft. The club is pretty boring, at least until one night when a strange light appears in the sky. Four of the teens go to investigate, but they all disappear. The teens return, but all of their memories of the incident have been erased, and one of their group is still missing. Skywatchers is an exciting mystery that combines sci-fi and history.

Skywatchers was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed the suspense and the mystery! The story took a turn for me once the teens started to regain their memories. I liked the way the author went back in time to reveal what happened to the teens. I liked the big reveal, but everything happened very quickly. The reveal, the climax, and then the resolution felt very rushed.

Overall I really liked this story. It was a fun mystery that is outside my normal realm of reading. I enjoyed the suspense and the sci-fi aspects. The ending was just too rushed and resolved too easily. However, it was still super fun and exciting!

Skywatchers will be released on August 18th by Philomel Books & Penguin Teen.

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. NOBODY PANIC.


Our favorite sci-fi writing duo is back!!! I don’t know how they do it, but Amie and Jay have done it again!!! I was a little nervous because I didn’t know how Amie and Jay could possibly follow The Illuminae Files, but I did not need to worry at all! Aurora Rising is an epic, fast-paced, action-packed adventure!!

Aurora Rising follows Squad 312 from the Aurora Legion. Tyler, aka the Golden Boy, is the Aurora Academy’s top student. He’s meant to be the Alpha of the best squad. But that all changes when he decides to go on a solo trip into the Fold to clear his mind before the squad draft. While in the Fold, Tyler comes across an abandoned ship and discovers a girl in cryo-sleep. He successfully rescues her, but misses the draft. Tyler is now stuck leading a squad with his sister, best friend, and the rejects from the draft. Squad 312 leaves on their first mission and chaos ensues.

Aurora Rising was NON-STOP! From the very first page, the story grabbed me and did not let go! Squad 312 is a magnet for danger! Everywhere they go they get into trouble! The plot is fun and full of action and epic battle scenes. The story flows and is well paced. Amie and Jay built the world of Aurora Rising perfectly. There is never information overload or dumping. I especially loved the Illuminae Files-esc pages. It was such a cool way to provide the reader insight and more information into this world.

I absolutely LOVED this cast of characters. Jay and Amie create the most original, complex, and hilarious characters. Seven point of views could be a lot, but it was not overwhelming at all. I enjoyed every single point of view chapter. My ONLY complaint would be to have more Zila. However, I have a feeling that more is coming in the next books.

If I had to pick a favorite character it would probably be Finian with Scarlett as a very close second. I just love Fin’s sarcasm and little quips. And Scarlett is just so bad ass! She is fierce!!

Aurora Rising was absolutely incredible. Amie and Jay are GENIUSES! I seriously don’t know how they do it. It is going to be a very long wait for the next book!!

Skyward (Skyward, #1) – Brandon Sanderson


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s–a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.


This is my first Brandon Sanderson book (I know I am super behind on the Sanderson train) and I AM NOW HOOKED! Skyward is an incredible action-packed sci-fi adventure with a twist ending that I did not see coming! And how gorgeous is that cover?!

Skyward follows Spensa (Callsign – Spin), a teenage girl on the planet Detritus, who dreams of being a pilot for the Defiant Defense Force. She wants to be like her father and defend the planet from the evil Krell aliens. The only problem . . . her father died while fleeing a battle and is branded a coward. Spensa must live with her father’s reputation while fighting for her dreams.

The world Brandon Sanderson created in Skyward is absolutely incredible. Everything was so well done – from the cavern cities to flight school to the EPIC starfighter battles. The world was immersive and full of detail, but I never felt overwhelmed. I saw myself with Spensa and the rest of Skyward Flight as they trained and battled. I felt like I was part of Skyward Flight.

All of Sanderson’s characters in Skyward were so well done. I felt like I really got to know the main cast. However, I’ll be honest. Spensa annoyed me at first. She starts off as this overly cocky girl with a huge chip on her shoulder. She needed some sense slapped into her. Cue flight school. As soon as Spensa starts flight school, she realizes that she is not even close to the best. This reality check changed her for me and made me absolutely love the character. Spensa experiences so much growth throughout flight school. She matures so much. Spensa must deal with friendship, loss, and finding herself. She has an existential crisis and must confront her knowledge of herself, her father, and her world. Spensa must decide what it means to be a good pilot or to be a coward. I really enjoyed watching how much Spensa grew and how she confronted these challenges.

My favorite thing about Spensa is how freaking weird she is. She is so imaginative with her speech . . .

  • “When you are broken and mourning your fall from grace, I will consume your shadow in my own, and laugh at your misery.”
  • “Firstborn will be Executioner Destructorius. But you can have number two.”
  • “Ha! Your children will weep tonight, you holographic Krell bastard!”

One thing that I really liked about Skyward was that there was no romance! There is definitely some beginnings for the potential of a romance for Spensa and Jorgen, but it didn’t feel forced, rushed, or insta-lovey. I liked watching Spensa and Jorgen’s relationship grow from hate to pure friendship and admiration for one another. I can totally see them slowly falling for one another in books to come.

Now, before I move on from characters, I HAVE TO talk about my absolute favorite . . . M-BOT!! M-Bot is the most hilarious and sassy AI that ever was. The one liners from him/it? were on point and made me laugh out loud. I could probably write an entire review of just quotes from M-Bot, but I’ll save you from that and just include some of my favorites (and yes . . . this was me cutting down the number of quotes I wanted to include).

  • “Good night, sweet prince,” M-Bot whispered as the junk crashed to the ground. “Or princess. Or, most likely, gender less piece of work inanimate space junk.”
  • “Ah yes. Human squishiness quotient. Is that why you’re so mad at that space junk? Jealousy is not pretty, Spensa.”
  • “You have slightly under two minutes until you die a fiery death and I’m left with only Rig and the slug. I haven’t been able to compute which of those two is the less engaging conversationalist.”
  • “It can appreciate something at a million times per second. So you could say your comment is likely the single most appreciated thing you’ve ever done.”
  • “Hello!” M-Bot said to me form the cockpit. “You have nearly died, and so I will say something to distract you from the serious, mind-numbing implications of your own mortality! I hate your shows.” I laughed, nearly hysterical. “I didn’t want to be predictable,” M-Bot added. “So I said that I hate them. But actually, I think those shoes are quite nice. Please do not think I have lied.”
  • The best is when M-Bot starts to talk like Spensa . . . “Tremble and fear, all enemies! For we shall shake the air with thunder and blood! Your doom is imminent!”

While the entire book was full of action, the last ~75 pages were on a whole other level! I couldn’t put it down! The battles were insane and so epic! My heart was beating so fast throughout the battle sequences. I had no idea what to expect! There are twists and turns and huge reveals that changes all we know about the Krell. I loved the ending and I am so excited to see what happens next!


Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
      The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
     But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
      Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


I am speechless. I do not know how I am going to form coherent thoughts to write this review. I am now OBSESSED with Illuminae. I don’t know why it took me so long to read it! I had heard that it was incredible and everyone loved it, but it just kept getting pushed down on my TBR list. I have been missing out!!! Illuminae (and I’m sure the other books in the series which I am currently waiting on Amazon to deliver) is one of my new FAVORITE books. It was so damn good.

I absolutely loved the way Illuminae was written. The first time I flipped through the book I was a little nervous about the “dossier of hacked documents” style of writing. I was worried it would be difficult to follow. IT WAS NOT AT ALL DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW! I don’t know how they did it, but Kaufman and Kristoff were able to pull off this incredible story-telling style. My brain literally cannot process how these two super-humans were not only able to successfully co-write an incredible story, but also format it in such an untraditional way that not only worked but elevated the story! I have no other way to describe the formatting and story telling method other than IT IS SO COOL!

As for the actual story of Illuminae . . . it was exciting, suspenseful, emotional, and action-packed. I adored our main characters, Kady and Ezra. All of the different POVs (including Kady and Ezra’s) were so well done. I felt like I was there on the Hypatia and Alexander with them. I was stressed, anxious, terrified (looking at you plague afflicted), and grief stricken along side Kady, Ezra, and the rest of the passengers. Marie Lu’s quote on the cover describes my feelings about Illuminae perfectly . . . “Brace yourself. You’re about to be immersed in a mindscape that you’ll never want to leave.” She’s 100% correct . . . I never want to leave this incredible story.

Illuminae was an emotional twisty-turny super intense rollercoaster. And I loved every minute. I am officially on the Illuminae hype train! I am so freaking excited for Gemina and Obsidio to be delivered so I can dive in to the rest of the series!