Member Reviews

I think Marie Lu, unfairly, suffers from the blinding success of Legend. I keep expecting every succeeding novel to be just as good but they always come up a tiny bit short. However, Stars and Smoke comes awfully close to the Legend trilogy. The story is great, and character development, fine-tuned through flashbacks, is at the normal Lu level of excellence. This is a nice fast read that most readers will be glad they picked up.

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This book took my be surprise! I love Marie Lu and will read anything she ever writes, because I love her style. This book is considered an enemies-to-lovers, and even though I don't usually enjoy romantic storylines, this one was done just right! There was not a ton of romance (thank the book gods) but there was just enough angst and interest to keep it good. The MC's were both interesting, a little better than real life, and they had layers. I need layers in my MCs or I feel they are too fake. The storyline was perfect to keep me turning those digital pages! It kept me interested and guessing and I just LOVE that. Thank you NetGalley for the e-book!

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This was a fun YA thriller/romance that got better as the book progressed!

Sydney Cossette is Panacea's youngest spy. She has a tough exterior - she's had to, given her life - and she wants to be the best spy the agency has. She considers her handlers as the closest thing she has to parents. She is not happy that her next mission will be with Winter Young.

Winter is a pop superstar, with all of the charm and good looks that come with that territory. But he's also a very smart guy who also hasn't had the best home life. Panacea recruits him because their target, Eli Morrison, has a daughter Penelope who is obsessed with him.

Eli Morrison contacts Winter with an offer he can't refuse, to perform at Penelope's 19th birthday, an exclusive event that Panacea couldn't get an invitation to without Winter. Sydney poses as Winter's bodyguard for the weekend and hopes to use the event to get the logs and records from Morrison's business. The records they are seeking will show how Morrison's company is shipping a biologic weapon that kills people quickly with a vapor. With the records, they can stop the shipment and save the world.

The book starts off slow and at first, and feels formulaic. The sensitive rock star, the jaded young agent who won't let anyone close to her, the sparks that fly when they have to spend time together, how they grudgingly earn each other's respect... I've read this story before.

But once I got into the meat of the book, the fact that it was formulaic wasn't as much of an issue. The action is so good you forget you've read this story before, and you can't stop turning the pages!

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the sequel(s). Thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.

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Really cute and fun story!

At first, the age of the characters (and the plot) seemed silly. But if you get past that, it’s well worth the read.

I love that it’s fast paced and doesn’t end with a cliffhanger.

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Marie Lu continues to hand us some great books. This one really had me chugging along. I couldn't put it down.

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I received this and as an eARC to read for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, and Roaring Brook Press for giving me access.

Marie Lu is one of my go to authors, I'll read anything that she writes. When I saw that Stars and Smoke was up for request, I knew that I had to try to get it.

Singer turned spy turned possible love interest? Yes please. Stars and Smoke was completely different from the YA fantasy that I am used to, but it was a refreshing change. My only complaint (and yes, I have one) is that the beginning was so slow, it took me a whole to get into it. Could it have been because I anticipated something more action packed up front? Maybe. But overall, S&S will leave you wanting more and apparently there will be more! This time I will be ready.

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Wow, i am obsessed!!! This book was so much fun. it was action packed, exciting and had me unable to put it down! I loved the dual POV and loved the twists throughout the book! My jaw was on the floor for parts! I really enjoyed Sydney and Winter's relationship. They were so fun together and it was fun to get to know them. The end had me smiling and i hope we see more of them in the future!

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This book was an interesting blend of 007 Jr. and a enemies to lovers trope. Winter was very believable as the pop star as was Sydney as the Jr. secret agent. Although the story was engaging and kept my inteeest, at times I had to suspend my disbelief to really connect with the text. Overall, I would give the book 3.5 stars and I would recommend it to younger readers.

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was excited about reading this book by Marie Lu, it’s like reading the plot line for a tv series. It is an action-packed book. The characters are developed and Marie shares much information about them. I just feel like it was missing something. It is enjoyable and a wild ride for readers.

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I listened to the audiobook. The narrator was very good. The story was fun and full of action. I really enjoyed the characters and hope this is the start of a new series.

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A pop star and a spy pair up against a menacing crime boss in this thrilling series starter.

19-year-old Chinese American popstar Winter Young is a global sensation with struggles of his own. Approached by a spy agency to help take down a target during a private concert abroad, Winter is thrust into an unfamiliar world teeming with high-tech gadgets and dangerous liaisons. There, he meets Sydney Cosette—a talented covert agent whose no-nonsense, often-brash attitude collides with his own demeanor.

Their upbringings and dispositions are wildly divergent, but the pair’s chemistry burns up the pages as they work to infiltrate the inner circle of the nefarious syndicate. Sydney’s own trauma has shaped who she’s become, and amidst the chaos of their situation, they forge an unexpected connection.

Marie Lu delivers a story replete with thrills, poignancy, and humor. Its fast pace and action-packed scenes make it impossible not to devour. The romance didn’t feel overwhelming, and rather added emotional depth to balance with the ratcheting tension of the spy narrative. ‘The Hating Game meets Mission Impossible’ is an accurate way to depict this propulsive, high-stakes caper that’s particularly fun for us fangirls to read.

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I'm going to have to give it a 2nd re-read just to verify where I stand on this book. I'll come back later

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Stars and Smoke, by author Marie Lu, is the first installment in the authors Stars and Smoke series. This is a series that alternates between two entirely different characters, from a variety of backgrounds. One is world famous, the other is a secret agent for the Panacea Group who are thrown together to help bring down one of the most dangerous men in the world: Eli Morrison. This book has forced proximity, fake dating and some hints of enemies to lovers tropes. It also has a few transcripted dialogues between two covert agents, Sauda and Niall, that gives the reader some additional background.

Winter Young is one of the most famous superstars in the world, with a voice like velvet and looks that could kill. His star power has smashed records, selling out stadiums from LA to London. His rabid fans would move heaven and earth for even a glimpse of him – just imagine what they’d do to become his latest fling. After being kidnapped, temporarily by Sauda Nazari of Panacea Group, he is told that because of his status, he is needed for a mission that could save the world and save millions of lives. He also learns a secret about his brother who allegedly died while part of the Peace Corps.

Sydney Cossette is part of an elite covert ops group known as Panacea Group. Sydney joined their ranks as their youngest spy with plans to become the best agent they’ve ever had. An ice queen with moves as dangerous as her comebacks, Sydney picks up languages just as quickly as she breaks hearts. She's fiery, no-nonsense, and has zero time for romance – especially with a shameless flirt more used to serving sass than taking orders. Sydney has to stay in the shadow as Winter is aim to live in the spotlight. Even though they achieve to complete their mission, how could they stay away from each other against all odds?

When Eli Morrison gifts his daughter Penelope with a private concert with Winter for her birthday in London, Sydney and Winter's lives suddenly collide. Tasked with infiltrating the crime organization’s inner circle, Sydney is assigned as Winter's bodyguard with Winter tapped to join her on the mission of a lifetime as a new spy recruit. Sydney may be the only person alive impervious to Winter's charms, but as their mission brings them closer, she’s forced to admit that there's more to Winter Young than just a handsome face.

Winter is a character who has had a heavy weight put on his soldiers. First, his brother dies, then his mother acts as though Winter doesn't exist. Winter chooses to put all his energy into his music and his performances, and that's why he's a character you can root for. Sydney basically lost everything before the age of 16. She was recruited at a young age, she quickly picks up on languages which allows her to fit in anywhere she goes, she's made mistakes, but she refuses to let those mistakes and her past from dragging her down from being the best agent she can be even if that means losing her heart to Winter.

This story could easily have been a standalone, and I would not have minded. However, I do think there is more to the Winter and Sydney connection that needs more adventures. One can call this K-Pop meets Mission Impossible. While this book has been labeled as young adult, the two main characters are at least 19, including Winter's back up dancers, as well as Winter's handler Claire who is as much of a mother to Winter, than his own.

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"Stars and Smoke" by Marie Lu is an exhilarating young adult spy thriller that is sure to captivate readers from start to finish. Set in a world of high-stakes espionage and international intrigue, this book follows an emotionally guarded, up-and-coming secret agent named Sydney and global pop-superstar Winter Young as they are forced to team up to take down a criminal tycoon and stop a plot that would endanger the fate of the entire world.

Lu's writing style is top-notch, with fast-paced action, clever twists, and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The characters are well-developed, and the electric enemies-to-lovers tension between Sydney and Winter is intoxicating!

Overall, "Stars and Smoke" is a thrilling and delightfully satisfying read that will leave you eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series. I highly recommend it to fans of spy thrillers and anyone who loves a great romance wrapped up in fast-paced adventure!

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Lu has written a number of outstanding novels for young adults. Her latest is a contemporary story of a young rock star who’s recruited to help a secret organization take down a criminal. Winter Young is the hot young celebrity who gets invited to perform at the birthday party of a criminal’s daughter. It’s an opportunity for authorities to gain access to the elusive crook. An attractive young spy named Sydney has been paired with Winter to help with the mission. She accompanies the rocker under the pretense of being his bodyguard.

Winter and Sydney get ensnared in a snafu that puts their lives at risk. They will need to use all their skills and expertise to get out alive. Tensions rise as the plot races forward with the pair facing increased jeopardy.

Lu’s character of Winter is robust and shining. He’s beyond impeccable, almost too good to be true. Sydney is more of a mystery and her spy skills are incredible for a teen. But part of the fun is having teens outwit, outmaneuver and circumvent more mature adversaries.

Quite unlike Lu’s outstanding Legend series, this new venture should appeal to readers who enjoy Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Hawthorne Brothers books.

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Stars and Smoke by Marie Lou

This novel puts a superstar and a young, hotshot spy on a collision course with danger and Cupid’s arrow in a new series - perfect for young readers looking for adventure.

This novel was excellent. Spies, criminals, murderer, international - it had the, all. You didn’t find out the true picture until the very end. Fantastic characters. This novel surely lives up to its total ==lots of smoke and stars. I recommend this book.

Thanks to Net Galley for sending me an advanced reader’s copy for my review.

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I really like this story I am the spying on was really fun. The only downside is that it could be a little predictable at times. It would keep you on your toes at some points, but other times you would see it from a mile away.

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This might be my favorite Marie Lu book to date! I loved the spy angle of this story. Okay, maybe YA spy stories are my weakness—still Lu pulled off a great story that had me glued to my Kindle until the end!

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Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an Arc of this book.

Im am honestly conflicted... giving it 3 stars is me being nice but I honestly think it would be fair since I am not the correct age range for this novel.

It's quite predictable, and the plot twists weren't really shocking at all... and the romance is a bit unbelievable.

Also, there is so much telling and a lack of showing. The action scenes in her Legends Trilogy was written so much better than in this book... I couldn't visualize anything that was happening.

The audiobook was nice to help speed the book along... yet listening it to it at 3x speed just tells me more how I wanted the book to be over.

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Another Marie Lu phenomenon 👏🏽🙌🏽
The action and sci-fi theme pulled me and kept me interested, it was very fast paced & enjoyable

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