Friday, 19 October 2018

Valiant - Early Book Review

by Merrie Destefano

What is it about:
The Valiant was supposed to save us. Instead, it triggered the end of the world.

Earth is in shambles. Everyone, even the poorest among us, invested in the Valiant’s space mining mission in the hopes we’d be saved from ourselves. But the second the ship leaves Earth’s atmosphere, our fate is sealed. The alien invasion begins. They pour into cities around the world through time portals, possessing humans, forcing us to kill one another.

And for whatever reason, my brother is their number one target.

Now the fate of the world lies in the hands of me, a seventeen-year-old girl, but with the help of my best friend, Justin―who’s suddenly starting to feel like more―maybe if we save my brother, we can save us all...

What did I think of it:
You can bet I pre-ordered this book after seeing the cover and reading the blurb. Then I was offered an Advance Reader Copy, and I just couldn't say no to the chance to read it early.

The book begins with a prologue to explain the situation and what is at stake: After the launch of the Valiant aliens attack earth and for some reason they're particularly interested in Sara's brother Gabe. Only minutes into the invasion he is killed. Then Sara meets an alien who sends her back in time and tells her it is important to keep Gabe alive if humanity is to survive.

And that's where the story really kicks off: Launch of the Valiant is near, Sara knows what's coming, and knows she has to keep her brother alive.

I was immediately drawn into the story which is a thrill ride of dangerous situations for Sara and her friends. As they barely escape one attack, the next danger is already waiting for them. This book is about 400 pages long, but with all the action it felt much shorter. I couldn't put it down, I had to know what would happen next, and if Sara and her friends manage to keep Gabe alive and out of the hands of the aliens.

In between the fighting, fleeing, and planning their next move Sara starts to realize she might be feeling more than friendship for her best friend Justin. This storyline takes second place (as it should in such a dangerous situation), but is very sweet. I also liked Sara's relationship with her friend Natalie which is one of mutual support. During their adventures they also meet other people, but when the aliens can take over a human body, who can you really trust?

All in all this is a really awesome, action-packed read, with twists and turns I didn't see coming and that kept me on the edge of my seat.

The book ends in a way that makes it work as a standalone, but it also made me more than eager for more. You bet this book ends up on my keeper shelves once my print copy arrives.

Why should you read it:
It's a thrilling and suspenseful YA SciFi read.

buy from bookdepository

Expected publication: December 4th 2018

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Year One - Slightly Ranty Book Review

Year One (Chronicles of The One #1)
by Nora Roberts

What is it about:
It began on New Year's Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed--and more than half of the world's population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river--or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

What did I think of it:

I had never read anything by Nora Roberts before, but the post apocalyptic nature of this book made me want to give it a try.

And I can tell you that the world building is terrific. The plague spreading, the chaos, the desperate attempts of people trying to get out of the big cities. I was totally hooked. Slowly the major players are introduced, and I like some, didn't care much for some others.

And that's where the story fell short for me. Soon it was clear that the couple I didn't much care for was the most important. Lana turns out to have a Virgin Mary kind of role in this story and the hints given before she finds out were not subtle. I grumbled a bit, but there was the other group of survivors who I liked, so I kept reading, wanting to know how they would cope.

Then the two groups meet up, there are of course Bad Guys after Mary Lana, and as she flees the story kept following her, never returning to the others, even though the story left them in quite a nasty situation.

I made it to the end of the book because I expected the story would switch back to my favorite characters, if I'd known the rest of the book would only be about Wonder Witch Lana I'd have stopped reading. What started out as a cool story with a mixed bag of characters, turned into a big disappointment. I won't be continuing with this series, I can tell you.

Why should you read it:
It has some cool characters and cool worldbuilding.

buy from bookdepository

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - Duke of Sin

The Duke of Montgomery was a wicked, vain blackmailer. Evil and duplicitous. Not a man who should merit a second thought from her beyond her duties. And yet she had thought about him quite a lot since this morning.

(page 40, Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt)

Buy from bookdepository


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, 15 October 2018

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein - Book Review

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
by Kiersten White

What is it about:
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

What did I think of it:
This is a re-imagining of Frankenstein, but told from the viewpoint of Elizabeth, Victor's childhood friend who eventually marries him.

And this is a wonderfully dark and atmospheric story. It starts with Elizabeth going in search of Victor while he is way to university, and switches back and forth between that timeline and events from the past. Slowly revealing how Elizabeth and Victor became friends, how they grew up together, and what's happening in both their lives in the 'now'.

As the story progresses you get a clear view inside the mind of Elizabeth, and it is not a nice place to be. Elizabeth is driven by the desire to stay alive and safe, and she is willing to do a lot to build a secure future for herself. But along the way she discovers dark and dangerous secrets, and she might actually be working towards disaster instead.

I could understand Elizabeth and rooted for her to succeed in her plans, even as I wanted to kick her for getting herself into trouble. I loved seeing this familiar story from Elizabeth's point of view, and I loved the changes White made to the story. It is a dark and delicious read.

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderfully dark re-imagining of Frankenstein

buy from bookdepository

Saturday, 13 October 2018

On McPig's Radar - It was a Small Affair

This is so tempting, as it's a time travel story. I might have to pick it up after I reduced my TBR pile a bit.

It was a Small Affair
by Ken Hart

On February 23, 1836, Mexican troops under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna took control of San Antonio de Bexar. Just before Santa Anna's arrival, the Texians retreated to the relative safety of the San Antonio de Valero Catholic Mission and the siege of the Alamo began. For twelve days, Santa Anna fired a continual cannon bombardment, and attacked with a flurry of cavalry and light infantry charges, all designed to keep the Alamo defenders stressfully awake. Late on March 5, the bombardment stopped, and the fatigued Alamo defenders fell into a deep sleep. The siege ended in the early hours of March 6 when Santa Anna committed over 2400 infantry and cavalry to attack the walls of the Alamo. By sunrise, all 188 of the Alamo defenders had been brutally slaughtered to the last man.

This is how history recorded the battle, but is this how it happened?

On February 23, 2010, an Army infantry squad, carrying ammunition to a training exercise is caught in a time rift that takes them to the Alamo, thirteen days before it fell.

Read an excerpt

Buy from Amazon

Friday, 12 October 2018

Fringe Runner - Book Review (repost)

Fringe Runner (Fringe Series, #1)
by Rachel Aukes

What is it about:
The first in a new space opera series!

After the colonization of Mars and Europa, it took us fewer than five generations to reach beyond our solar system and discover new planets capable of supporting human life. Too far away to be governed under Earth law, the Collective was formed. Several hundred years later, the Collective has expanded to a thriving system of six inhabited worlds, but power struggles are common, and a seemingly inevitable interplanetary war looms on the horizon. It’s nearly impossible for the working class to make ends meet.

Aramis Reyne is one of the working class. An old space captain hounded by arthritis and war memories, he struggles to make enough credits to feed his crew and keep his ship flying by running mail and supplies to the farthest, most dangerous reaches of the Collective known as the fringe. When he’s offered a no-questions-asked contract to pick up a package, he jumps at the opportunity. But, he quickly learns that he should’ve asked questions…and that there are far worse things in the Collective than being broke.

What did I think of it:
If you haven't noticed I love Rachel Aukes' Deadland Saga, I haven't been singing its praises loud enough. So when I was asked to read and review her new book Fringe Runner, I jumped at the chance.

And Fringe Runner is a great read!

Obviously the Deadland Saga is better in my opinion (Zombies!), but Fringe Runner is a seriously cool SF adventure.

Reyne is a cool lead character. He's not a virile cocky alpha dude, but instead an older seasoned captain, struggling with age and his past. His crew is very interesting as well. My favorite was Throttle, the pilot and Reyne's adopted daughter. All of them get caught up in events that might destroy the life they have, and even kill them if they can't figure out what's going on.

I was hooked from the start. Aukes knows how to write a compelling story. There is lots of action, conspiracies, and dangerous situations. I liked getting to know Reyne and his past, and was rooting for him and his crew to come out of their predicament alive.

The world building is well done without unnecessary info dumps and while some things stay vague, there's enough explanation to be able to picture the planets and people Reyne and his crew encounter.

Some of the major story lines got their solution in this book, making sure you aren't left totally frustrated when finishing the book, but there's enough still unresolved to make you eager for the next book.

All in all I very much enjoyed this book and will be keeping an eye out for the next.

Why should you read it:
It's an action-packed SF adventure.

Find buy links here

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Seasons of Sorcery - Cover Reveal

Seasons of Sorcery

An anthology of fantasy novellas for all seasons from the hottest authors of fantasy romance and urban fantasy.
Amanda Bouchet
Grace Draven
Jeffe Kennedy
Jennifer Estep

Coming November 13, 2018

Pre-order links:
Kobo - B&N - Amazon