Monday, 22 July 2019

Queen of Ruin - Book Review

Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2)
by Tracy Banghart

What is it about:
Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi's sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina--polite, submissive Serina--is its leader.

Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they'll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart's unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.

What did I think of it:
I loved the first book in this duology, so I eagerly dove into this book once it arrived.

And what a great read.

I loved seeing Nomi and Serina together. Serina grew from a submissive girl into a strong woman who fights for what she believes in and for her people, while Nomi is trying to find a way to handle the guilt she feels and to make things right.

I was hooked from the start and was rooting for both sisters and the people close to them to succeed in their plans. Things get very dire a few times, and there were some very emotional moments.

All in all this sequel is everything I had hoped for and I was more than satisfied when I finished it. What a great duology, and what a perfect ending.

You bet I'll reread and that I'll keep an eye out for Banghart's next book.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome YA Fantasy read.

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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Enemy Within = Once Again Available!!! + Review

The amazing Enemy Within is once again available!

You want this SF Romance!

Enemy Within (Chronicles of the Empire #1)
by Marcella Burnard

What is it about:
Horrific torture in an alien prison torpedoed Captain Ari Idylle's military career. Stripped of command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn't want, Ari refuses to fly a desk. She intends to have her command back by any means possible, until pirates commandeer her father's ship, and she's once again a prisoner. Perhaps this cunning captor isn't what he pretends to be.

As far as Cullin Seaghdh is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past association with aliens puts her dead center in Cullin's cross-hairs. If she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. He can't afford the desire she fires within him. His mission comes first. He'll stop at nothing, including her destruction, to uncover her true purpose and protect what is his.

What did I think of it:
I love this book!

It's got everything you want from a SciFi: spaceships, intrigue, nasty aliens and firefights. Add an intense and complicated romance to this mix and you got a story that sizzles and captivates.

Ari is a character that's been damaged, but luckily not broken and it makes you cheer her on and hope she will get a happy end in both love and her normal life.

Some plot twist I saw coming, but that didn't spoil the story for me in the least. And I have to mention the aliens! They're nasty and cool!

If you haven't read this book when it was first available, you really need to go get it asap. You won't be disappointed.

Why should you read it:
Spaceships, intrigue, nasty aliens, firefights and romance!!

Buy from Amazon

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Shadowscent - Book Review

Shadowscent/The Darkest Bloom (Shadowscent #1)
by P. M. Freestone

What is it about:
Across the Aramtesh Empire, scent is everything. Prayers only reach heaven on sacred incense, and perfumes are prized status symbols. 17-year-old Rakel has an uncanny ability with fragrances, but her skills aren't enough to buy her dying father more time.

Ash bears the tattoos of an imperial bodyguard. When his prince, Nisai, insists on a diplomatic mission to an outer province, Ash is duty-bound to join the caravan. It's a nightmare protecting Nisai on the road. But it's even harder for Ash to conceal a secret that could see him exiled or executed.

Rakel and Ash have nothing in common until smoke draws them to a plantation of the Empire's rarest flower. Nisai's been poisoned, flames devour the priceless blooms, and the pair have "suspect" clinging to them like a bad stench. Their futures depend on them working together to decipher clues, defy dangers and defeat their own demons in a race to source an antidote . . . before the imperial army hunts them down.

What did I think of it:
This is a really enjoyable Fantasy read.

I liked how it slowly builds towards the moment Rakel and Ash get in trouble. In alternating viewpoint chapters you get to know both of them, their motives, dreams, hopes. So once the two of them have to work together you know just how they both ended up in this situation and how important it is for both of them to survive and to save the prince.

I loved seeing both of them work together and to see how both have very different approaches to problems they encounter. Their quest leads them on a journey through the different provinces of the country, and I enjoyed discovering the dangers and beauty of each. The way the story is written it felt like one big exciting adventure, I never did get a feel of suspense or dread, or even great urgency. It would make a great Fantasy adventure movie in my opinion.

All in all I had a great time with this book, and I'm definitely keeping an eye out for the sequel.

Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable YA Fantasy Read.

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Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Teaser Tuesdays - Immunity

"It was never me, Nova. It was you. You were everything you needed to get through this, and you will continue to be everything you need moving forward. You are enough. Don't forget that on the other side."

(page 54 Immunity by Erin Bowman)

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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 sh"are 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 July 2019

American Hippo - Book Review

American Hippo (River of Teeth #1-2)
by Sarah Gailey

What is it about:
In 2017 Sarah Gailey made their debut with River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, two action-packed novellas that introduced readers to an alternate America in which hippos rule the colossal swamp that was once the Mississippi River. Now readers have the chance to own both novellas in American Hippo, a single, beautiful volume.

Years ago, in an America that never was, the United States government introduced herds of hippos to the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This plan failed to take into account some key facts about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

By the 1890s, the vast bayou that was once America's greatest waterway belongs to feral hippos, and Winslow Houndstooth has been contracted to take it back. To do so, he will gather a crew of the damnedest cons, outlaws, and assassins to ever ride a hippo. American Hippo is the story of their fortunes, their failures, and his revenge.

What did I think of it:
I read River of Teeth shortly after it released and loved it. I meant to read Taste of Marrow as well, but you know what happens when too many cool books arrive at the same time: some end up forgotten, no matter their awesomeness.

And then I saw this beauty!!!

Look at it! How can any hippo lover resist this? I couldn't anyway!

So when American Hippo arrived I dove right into it and reread River of Teeth before devouring the rest of the stories as well.

What a wonderful and awesome world Gailey created here. It's an alternate history where feral hippos rule the Mississippi and hippo wranglers ride hippos through the swamps. This is a hippo lover's dream! I loved the world building and the atmosphere in these stories.

I must say I enjoyed River of Teeth even more than the first time I read it. I was totally engaged and rooted for Winslow and his crew to succeed. I once again fell in love with Hero, they absolutely do their name proud in my opinion. And the hippos! There were lots of hippos: smart hippos, feral hippos, hippo mayhem: All the hippos!!

And I finally got to read what happens after that cliffhangery ending! Taste of Marrow was just as awesome as River of Teeth, and there were lots of hippos once again. Hero was once again my favorite character, although some of the others got more screen-time and were very cool as well.

Things were dire at times, and I was on the edge of my seat to see if things would turn out ok. The ending was everything I could hope for.

Next there were two short stories that take place before the start of River of Teeth and that are fun little extras you don't want to miss if you loved the duology.

All in all a hippo-filled and awesome book! I'm so going to try to get this beauty signed by Gailey when I'm at Worldcon.

Why should you read it:
Hippos in the Mississippi!
Awesome characters!
A daring caper operation!

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Friday, 12 July 2019

Into the Drowning Deep - Book Review

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1)
by Mira Grant

What is it about:
Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

What did I think of it:
I really enjoyed Parasite and remembered I bought Into the Drowning Deep when it was on sale, so I decided to give it a try.

And this is yet another suspenseful read.

Grant is a master at setting atmosphere and building tension. I think this might be what put me off Feed: I wanted a zombie mayhem story, but got moody suspense. Maybe if I would reread Feed I'd enjoy it more this time. But back to Into the Drowning Deep.

I loved the way the tension and suspense build up to the moment things start to go wrong. By the time the proverbial shit hits the fan I was so into the story and mood that I was unable to put the book down. I had to know what would happen to the characters: both those I loved and those I loathed.

There were some characters I had wanted to know a bit more about, but luckily there were plenty more to get to know, love or hate, and root for. This is a tense, dark, and creepy story, and you bet I will read more by Grant!

Why should you read it:
It's an atmospheric and suspenseful read set at sea.

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Thursday, 11 July 2019

Artificial Condition - Book Review

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2)
by Martha Wells

What is it about:
It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

What did I think of it:
This is another Hugo read. I wasn't sure if I should read it as it's book 2 in a series, but then Jeffe told me she started it and didn't feel lost even though she hadn't read book 1, so I decided to give it a try as well.

And this is a really fun read. I especially loved ART and the interaction between ART and Murderbot. The two of them really have a unique and cool way of looking at things. I thought Wells did a great job at making them sound and act other than human.

The story itself delves into the past of Murderbot and also is about Murderbot trying to find out where it/they belong and how they want to be.

All in all a very enjoyable novella. I think I'll go back and read the first one as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable SF novella.

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