Wheels Gone Cats PUBLISHER: PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS Synopsis In a future where violence is encouraged and duels are required by law, Dathin Long has the answer: devolution. He proposes a medical procedure that will restore humanity to the state of primal bliss—to pure reptilian instinct, before […]
Tag: Science Fiction
Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Author: Audrey Grey & Krystal Wade
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Blaze Publishing, LLC.
Page Count: 316
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Cover Artist: Molly Phipps
My Rating: ★★
Will and his crew aboard the Odysseus come across a strange object floating out in space. Hoping to get a good payout and a good reputation back, the crew risk their lives in order to bring the vessel onto the ship. When they successfully do, the metallic object appears to be no more than junk. Will, a Flesher-turned-Mock (human turned into a droid), was a captain in the queen’s guard, When he failed to shoot down an Alliance ship which had then escaped, he was demoted and is threatened with remaining and Endor (a droid that cannot shift into an upgraded body) and therefore having a long-life cut short.
The plot shifts back one hundred years to Talia, who is preparing for the night when she will be sold to Prince Cassius as his future wife. She wants to be a pilot, but that isn’t considered to be a position for a future Sovereign. Her harsh grandmother reminds her that she has no future other than becoming a wife to a Thorassian. When she is introduced to her betrothed, Cassius, she realizes why she is being sold into this union: her family has accrued a bad rep with their tolerance of Mocks–a term used for human-like droids. Mocks gained a bad reputation when a virus spread that overwrote their system and allowed them to defy orders of humans. Talia’s Mock and best friend Ailat, is made an example of at the celebration by Cassius, and is revealed to carry the same virus. Ailat flees, and becomes a wanted criminal. Talia searches for Ailat, but is then forced to leave the planet. Shortly after takeoff, her ship is attacked by rebel Mocks. Her family forces her into an escape pod, where she enters a deep sleep.
The story converges to the same time frame when Talia wakes up and exits the escape pod that was brought aboard the Odysseus. Unaware that one hundred years have passed, Talia knows enough to keep her identity a secret, and tells the crew of the Odysseus that she is Ailat. Will, suspicious of her sincerity, eventually discovers that her true identity is in fact, the long-lost Starchaser princess. Initially unaware of its significance, both Will and Talia learn about how much everything has changed in a century. Talia, previously knowing Mocks as second to humans, learns that now humans are second to Mocks. Will also realizes that some of his origins as a human have stuck with him, even after his transformation into a Mock, which causes him to accept the truth about himself and the fact that he is a hybrid.
The Starchaser dynasty is known only by few, as the current queen took great lengths to wipe the history from the people’s common knowledge. Talia’s existence becomes known to one of Will’s former comrades, when then alerts the queen. A bounty is put on Talia for anyone who can bring her in. When Talia discovers who the Mock-queen is, the situation becomes all-the-more dire.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
”Never forget that, Talia. You are a Starchaser, descendant of the first explorers.”
I almost DNF’d this read at a little under halfway through. I decided to stick with it because the plot became more complicated right at the moments I thought I was going to call it quits. While certain traits were intriguing, in the end, the book was too predictable and lacked the individuality I was hoping for.
Our Dark Stars is set in outer space, in various settings. It varies between onboard spaceships, and travels from planet to planet, following in the wake of the characters. The story jumps between 3731 AD and 3631 AD, then remains in 3731 for the remainder of the book.
Society is comprised of a mixture of humans and droids–the droids having different variations within their category (i.e. Ender, Permanent) signifying their ability to jump from one body to another, essentially living forever. Everything is very scientifically inclined, as no religions are identified.
Pacing & Readability
The pacing remains steady and rather fast. The only instances it lulled was when Talia first awoke on the Odysseus. Otherwise, it was an easy and quick to read.
Point-Of-View & Characters
The point-of-view not only shifts between Will and Talia’s characters, it also shifts between past and present time frames. Will Perrault is one of the main characters but starts out as an antagonist to Talia. With the relations between Fleshers and Mocks being strained for years, the two don’t know what to think of one another until the truth is uncovered.
”But don’t forget what your kind did. When I found you tossed into the mines like a piece of trash, skull split open, you were half-dead. That’s what the fleshers did to you. They’re savage, cruel beasts. It was us who took you in, who made you one of our own to save your life.”
Will’s character holds the most complexity, as his human and droid counterparts are constantly warring against one another. This aspect comes out more and more as the plot moves on, and he begins to develop feelings for Talia. He constantly tries to deny his human origins and emotions, trying to prove that he is a Mock. It is through Will that his rag-tag diverse crew of scavengers, including Lux, Leo, Jane, and Dorian are introduced.
Talia Starchaser grew up in a life of privilege. The next in line to the Starchaser dynasty, the princess is made into a makeshift scape-goat for the Starchaser family to patch up their reputation with the rest of the royals. Her abusive grandmother makes Talia’s position very clear and is part of the reason why Talia decides to betray her best friend, even though she doesn’t want to. Talia’s character acts privileged, and this is clear when she meets Will and his crew. It is a trait that makes her rather unlikeable, as she comes across as snobby.
Diversity plays a large role in the casting specifically in race and sexual orientation. In general, the plot rotates around the idea of station-reversal between the Fleshers and Mocks, ultimately driving them to work with one another in the end.
⇒ “What goes around comes back around.”
This was the aspect of this book that I disliked the most. The way this book ended was so disappointing. I was hoping for the moment for reconciliation between Ailat and Talia, but it never happens. Ailat’s character becomes unredeemable, which I don’t think is a great message to enlist. Yes, Talia did Ailat wrong. In turn, Ailat did Talia wrong as well by killing the rest of her family. Talia still went through lengths to find Ailat after the incident at the gathering. While what happened to Ailat after she became a fugitive was tragic, she never gave Talia the chance to explain her side. Both parties were are fault here. Yet, neither of them fully humbled themselves before the other in order to understand and forgive, resulting in this “payback” mentality (mostly seen from Ailat’s character.) It made the ending feel incomplete and somewhat unjust for me. I get that this is Sci-Fi, and disagreements are often settled by battles, but I hoped for more from these characters.
Things that I liked:
⇒ The layout of the book, and how it alternated point-of-views between Talia and Will in the different eras.
⇒ While the romance between Will and Talia is obvious (immediately when he says that Talia isn’t his “type” I knew they’d end up together), it managed to be realistic and not over-the-top. It didn’t take away from the main focus of the plot and helped to give further incentive to the characters’ decisions.
⇒ Will’s character overall, mainly with how he is both a Mock and a Flesher.
Things that I didn’t like:
⇒ This book felt like any other Young Adult Sci-Fi. There wasn’t anything that set it apart.
⇒ The brashness of some of the characters, and the overall sexually-charged interactions. Personally, this aspect made this another reason why this may be a read more appropriate for the New Adult genre.
⇒ The “what goes around comes back around” mentality. Payback over reconciliation.
Overall, Our Dark Stars didn’t really impress me. While there were some elements that I enjoyed, there was nothing that made it distinguishable from its genre. It felt like a mix of Heart of Iron with a dash of The Hunger Games towards the end.
Vulgarity: Moderate. I counted 50 words total.
Sexual content: While there’s nothing explicit, some characters were crude with making sexual remarks. There’s also a scene in a strip club, and mention of brothels and escorts.
Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: A Wrinkle in Time Series: Time Quintet Author: Madeleine L’Engle Publication Date: May […]
Release date Feburary 27, 2018! Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls […]
The year is 2030, and climate change is making life on Earth more challenging. Fourteen-year-old Jasmine Guzman is struggling to come to terms with the abduction of her twin sister, Jade, and her mother’s illness. Things go from bad to worse when a series of bizarre occurrences make Jasmine wonder if she’s losing her mind.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Book: Finding Jade
Series: Daughters of Light #1
Author: Mary Jennifer Payne
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Dundurn Group
Page Count: 216
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Paranormal
My Review: ★★★
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Dun Durn, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Jasmine has always been different from most kids her age–she was born a twin. She grew up close to her sister until a few years ago when Jade was abducted. Jasmine and her mother have never recovered from the incident, understandably. With no body, or trace of evidence, there was no closure for them.
Life in 2030 was hot, no matter where one lived. After a drastic climate change, much of the world has been changed past the point of inhabitation. The conditions make it difficult for anyone to thrive. Jasmine’s mother, riddled with a debilitating disease, only grew worse when the abduction happened. Jasmine has worked hard ever since to help her mom out in any way possible, alongside her mother’s close friend Lola.
When Jasmine is transferred to a new school, she realizes that something strange is going on. Most of her classmates are made up of twins. Introduced to the world of demons, Jasmine learns that she is a part of a special network of individuals who have access to unusual abilities. There, she meets a boy named Raphael who has a hankering for helping her in the times that matter the most.
Jasmine learns through a series of extraordinary events that her sister is alive, but is stuck in a place called The-Place-in-Between. More sinister than it sounds, Jasmine must quite literally face her demons in order to rescue her long-lost sister from the shadowy realm.
I like it when I go into a book not really knowing what to expect. I like even more when a book takes the reins and leads me down a path that I don’t foresee. Finding Jade had a lot of surprising attributes to it that make it stand out. However, a few of those attributes could ultimately be its downfall, as some are under-developed and without must investigation. Needless to say, I thought this was an interesting take on the paranormal topic of angels and demons. While I didn’t necessarily like parts of the backstory, I appreciated the author’s ingenuity and ability to converge several (seemingly random) paths into one.
Things that I liked:
#1 There is a lot of diversity among the characters. Both Jasmine and Jade are of Chilean descent, and the book is mostly set in Toronto which has a lot of diversity in and of itself.
#2 The concept, while a bit unpolished, was interesting. I did not expect the book to travel in the direction that it headed toward, which made for a surprising read.
#3 I loved the (random) variation of settings, and how they were tied into the plot. The-Place-in-Between, aka a Pergatorish “Hell-like” state where people would become stuck in was original and rather creepy. I felt like I was stepping onto a London street at night knowing that Jack the Ripper was on the loose when reading these scenes.
Things that I didn’t like:
#1 I felt that there were several aspects of this book that were left without much explanation. Granted, this is the first book in a series, but I found that it would have been more beneficial to have more information on specific topics such as Lola’s Ibeja doll, the Seers themselves and what all they are actually capable of, and more on Raphael (but I’m certain more is coming on him in Solomon’s Ring.
The Seers were never painted into a full picture for me.
Seers are genetically connected to this chick called Lilith, who was apparently Adam’s wife before Eve. She’s gotten a bad rap over the centuries because she held supernatural powers and led armies into battle, refusing to be subservient to men. Good for her, right? But because she used her girl power without shame and men could not control her, they made up nasty rumours about her. Rumours that she was a demon, a vampire, and an evil whore. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: not a lot has changed between guys and girls over the years. Kind of depressing. Instead of spreading this stuff on social media, guys back in the day wrote trashy rumours on scrolls and cave walls. Nice.
While we do get some background information, (with some jabs at the male gender – another thing I didn’t care for) I couldn’t seem to grasp the entirety of their capabilities and entire purpose.
#2 SPOILER ALERT!!!
I found Jasmine’s reaction to finding her sister so…odd. A lot of time was spent in the first portion of this book with her pondering her sister’s disappearance. Yet, when she discovered she was alive and successfully rescued her from The-Place-in-Between, she almost seemed indifferent. No, I don’t expect her to be jumping up and down from that moment on. I just found her to have a lack of engagement with her sister’s return. It was weird.
[I found Jasmine’s reaction to finding her sister so…odd. A lot of time was spent in the first portion of this book with her pondering her sister’s disappearance. Yet, when she discovered she was alive and successfully rescued her from The-Place-in-Between, she almost seemed indifferent. No, I don’t expect her to be jumping up and down from that moment on. I just found her to have a lack of engagement with her sister’s return. It was weird. (hide spoiler)]
END OF SPOILER.
#3 While the setting clearly takes place in Toronto, I had a hard time envisioning where the characters were throughout. The proximity of the schools, what they were like, the subway scenes, and The-Place-in-Between settings were only briefly touched upon. Especially seeing how this takes place in a dystopian future, I was looking for more detail on the different locations, as well as the drastic variances between them and the eras in which the characters travel.
Overall, I thought this was a unique read. While I had some issues with underdevelopment of some aspects of the plot, I thought the characters were decently-developed and played into the plot well. I’m curious to see where they will end up in Solomon’s Ring.
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: Moderate – there were some scenes particularly in The-Place-in-Between that were grotesque, including decapitation of some characters.
In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never […]
Peace and safety…a promise often made but seldom kept. Can Raven trust that anyone will be able to protect the young baron as she has? Synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: Raven Episode 4 Series: Chronicles of Steele Author: Pauline Creeden Publication Date: October 4, 2014 […]
Episode 3 of a 4 part Steampunk Fantasy set in an alternate universe. A tenuous alliance and the hunt for a kidnapper. Can sworn enemies become allies?
Synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Book: Raven Episode 3
Series: Chronicles of Steele
Author: Pauline Creeden
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: AltWit Press
Page Count: 80
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Novella
Cover Artist: Alchemy Book Covers
My Rating: ★★★
“Power is a consuming thing. Once you have a taste of it, you keep trying to get another. It’s a vacuum. What once gave you a great thrill diminishes with each passing day. You must have more in order to maintain the same level.
I’ll start off saying that I didn’t enjoy this episode as much as the previous two. It covered that “in-between” period of transition from one major event to the next. While the writing quality is fantastic, the content wasn’t as present.
The tale resembles a fairy tale retelling about the evil witch in Hanzel and Gretel. As Raven and the king’s guard team together to hunt down the witch who has run off with Darius, Raven unveils disturbing information about the wood witch herself and the reputation she has built for herself. Fearful that they are running out of time to track her down before she harms Darius, Raven races against the clock.
Fast-paced, action-packed, and multiple twists and turns, this episodical book series has a way of sucking the reader in at every turn. And the best part? It’s clean!
“Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.”
“A person is rarely ever purely good or evil…black or white, but rather has shades of grey. They have good points and bad ones.”
“Things rarely go according to plan. Be flexible and willing to change at all times.”
“Power is a consuming thing. Once you have a taste of it, you keep trying to get another. It’s a vacuum. What once gave you a great thrill diminishes with each passing day. You must have more in order to maintain the same level.”
Andddd we’re back with another Top 5 Wednesday! And this one may be filled with a little bit of… Regret? Remorse? Ridicule? I guess we’ll find out… Let’s be honest here, folks, we’re all here to have a little fun and discuss some books! (What’s […]
Episode 2 of a 4 part Steampunk Fantasy set in an alternate universe. For Captain Jack Grant, the hunt has just begun. Can he capture the elusive Raven Steele, or will she slip through his grasp? As both sides take on new alliances, they will […]
But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder's all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi's past.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: The Androma Saga
Author: Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 512
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Cover Artist: —
My Rating: ★★½
I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
A soldier, yes. But so young, with so much responsibility. It was a mistake. No matter how strong the person, everyone makes mistakes.
My thoughts on this read were initially, and have remained quite indifferent. While there were aspects of Zenith that I liked and appreciated, there were equal parts I didn’t care for. In the end, these points seemed to have canceled each other out, making it even less impressionable.
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical going into this read (as I always am with Sci-Fi’s). This genre varies so much and can be difficult to nail down. While the plot was relatively straightforward, I felt that the minimal world (or worlds, seeing we are in outer space) building and character development were big drawbacks to my liking this read more.
Before I break down the issues I had with the book, I’d like to mention that there are some great qualities here as well. Diversity amongst the characters is obvious. The text touches on a wide berth of character demographics and origins, creating the idea that we are dealing with a large area that the characters originate from. The various backgrounds, specifically with Androma’s team, create interesting crew dynamics. While the diversity may not be on the scale of Star Wars, it’s something worth noting.
Secondly, I thought the pacing throughout remained consistent. While the book is written with several point-of-views, as well as in different tenses, its consistent helped with delivering a constant, fluid story.
Despite these positive points, there were quite a few things that I didn’t care for.
One of the biggest being that the plot was anticlimactic. If there had been a climax, it was ill-placed as there was nothing towards the end to really gear up the pace and intensity. Without a climax, it makes me wonder how this book will move forward? Either the sequel will be jam-packed with action (which it better be to make up for that ending) or it will simply draw out the plot which would have been better to pack it into a stand-alone novel.
Secondly, main characters felt like they were only moderately developed. I would have liked to get to know them more intimately and who they really are. Androma’s character works against itself. She’s gained the title “bloody baroness,” yet, I failed to see the ruthlessness that would accompany such a title? In the instances where she did take someone’s life, there was too much work involved to make the reader believe she didn’t care about killing another. This forced action and her not-so-bloody-baroness reactions didn’t mesh. Other characters remained rather underdeveloped. Characters like Breck and Gilly barely get any singular page-time other than displaying their womanly awesomeness and skills. I think the lack of depth in a majority of the characters ate into the rest of the plot.
The last issue I had was the underdevelopment of the world(s) this takes place in. Clearly, the crew is out in space, so it’s not as easy to establish that. However, more time outside the ship and on land of some sort would have helped this along.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad read. It felt like it wasn’t a complete read, and that something was missing (the climax!) I’m not sure if this is a series I will continue on with or not.
Vulgarity: Quite a bit.
Sexual content: Some, but not with much detail.
Violence: Quite a bit.
“War was a heartless thing, claiming lives left and right. But it was the survivors who had to continue battling even after the fight was over.”
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. Partial […]
Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If […]
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Released January 2, 2018!
Book: The Wolves of Winter
Author: Tyrell Johnson
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Page Count: 320
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Cover Artist: —
My Rating: ★★★★
I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
Set in future, the post-world war world is decimated. Not only have nuclear weapons wiped entire countries out, the yellow flu hit the remaining population and took out almost all of the survivors. When the flu struck, people fleed from cities, traveling to more remote locations away from the populace. Gwendolynn and her family left Alaska for the desolate landscapes of the Yukon. Their small village hadn’t heard from the outside world for several years after the migration, until one day when a stranger appears in their territory. The man, later known as Jax, is an untrusted and unwelcomed guest to the hunters. Jax, knowing his place to be out on the frozen tundra alone, knows that he cannot outrun his past, nor evade his future. Staying with them will only bring harm, but is it already too late?
“First you survive here.” He pointed to my head. “Then here.” He pointed to my stomach. “Then here.” He pointed to my heart. “You have to have all three.”
When I was into the first 10% of this book, I immediately thought two things:
- I want some venison steak, right now!
- I want to go to the Yukon, right NOW!
This is the perfect read for the Winter months, especially if you like your books with a side of edginess. Look at me and all my food analogies.
The Wolves of Winter is as feral as it sounds.
It’s safe to say (for myself as the reader) that the atmosphere is absolutely indespensible. It makes everything more believable, not to mention tangible. This may be the most realistic post-apocalyptic read I’ve read to date. While these types of books fall into the Sci-Fi/Dystopia genres, it didn’t feel like one to me. The overtly technological futuristic setting that I was expecting didn’t exist. This book has the ability to cleanse the palate of overly-indulged dystopian consumers. When these (minor) elements did appear, they felt like an intrusion on the plot. Instead of a decimated world (which is still was in ways), wildlife adapted and flourished. It gave the illusion that everything was still alright in the far reaches of the world, untouched by humans and their corruptible ways.
What had happened to the world had made animals or monsters of us all. Survivors or murderers. Sometimes the line between the two was blurry…
Another major part of this book that I appreciated was the complex simplicity each character possessed. The survival they endured each day in the brutal landscape wasn’t overdone. The characters may not have loved their situation, yet, they didn’t constantly dwell on the past and wishing for it back. They too, adapted. They too looked to the future. Gwendolynn’s character was exactly like this. She shares her honest feelings about the past, present, and unpredictable future, without it being overbearing. Putting myself in her situation, I felt as though I’d feel and think similar things. I appreciated how practical everyone’s mentality was. It made me feel like I could really connect with most of the characters, especially Gwendolynn.
The only thing I found in Gwendolynn’s character that I didn’t like were her frequent thoughts of sex, attraction, and reproduction to Jax. Sure, in this setting, it makes sense. I think it’s a natural thing to consider at that point seeing how the majority of the world’s population no longer existed. Even so, I thought her deliberations we a bit much, and rather brash.
For how much I appreciated certain aspects of this book, I equally disliked others. There is one scene where the main character Gwendolynn is sexually assaulted and then raped in another by the same man. His animalistic brutality is unprovoked and deterring. On top of that, the amount of profanity throughout left a bitter taste in my mouth. If my calculations are correct, I counted 208 words. I haven’t seen this book being marketed as Young Adult, but if it is, know that it is not Young Adult appropriate! The amount of detailed violence, sexual content, and profanity are far too graphic and frequent for immature eyes.
I believe this will be one of those reads where the reader either loves it, or hates it. There isn’t much room for middle ground. Because some of its traits are so extreme, they may make the entire plot off-putting, or, entirely engaging. While I felt strongly pulled to love this book, I couldn’t due to its negative points mentioned earlier.
“Grief never goes away. It just changes. At first it’s like molten-hot lava dripping from your heart and hollowing you from the inside. Over time, it settles into your bones, your skin, so that you live with it, walk with it every day. Grief isn’t the footprints in the snow. It’s the empty space between.”