Ensnared by Rita Stradling


Ensnared

Title: Ensnared

Author: Rita Stradling

Publisher: Kindle Press

Date of publication: March 6th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction

POV: 3rd person

Number of pages: 380

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A Near-Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five-year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

My review:

This book was very interesting to read but I really wouldn’t compare it to Beauty and the Beast. Honestly, I would compare it to more I, Robot than anything. I mean, I get where the Beauty and the Beast lines were drawn: a beautiful woman trapped by scarred (physically and mentally) man but that is it.

What I really enjoyed was the usage of robots and AI’s in the book. I also like that Rose, the main AI, was self-sufficient and admitted to starting on rewriting her programming. It was at that point where I went “Oh no” and started reciting the 3 rules of robotics to myself:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Just based on these rules of robotics and the fact that at least one of them were broken within the first couple of chapters, I was hooked. Seeing that AI’s are becoming more commonplace in daily lives (hello, Cortona, Siri, Alexa/Echo!!!), I was pretty interested to see where the author would take this book and I wasn’t disappointed.

I really felt that Alainn didn’t have a choice to masquerade as Rose when given the choice. Actually, she wasn’t given the choice. Rose, the AI, basically told her to do it or her father would go to jail. All Alainn wanted to do was to go back to work on the ski patrol and not clean up her dad’s mess (not delivering Rose as promised to Lorcann). But she did it because she loved her father and she wanted to keep him out of jail.

Lorcann was messed up. He never leaves his tower and only has automatons and AI’s as companions. He is a germaphobe (requires everyone to be decontaminated before they enter the tower). I put the way he is on his parents. They never let him leave, installed a fear of germs and I believe abused him (there was one scene where he was getting beaten by his mother). Let’s not mention the scars on his face. The whole side of his face is scarred. It really wasn’t gotten into about why he was scarred. If it was an accident or if the scars were done intentionally. He believed that he was a beast. His only relationship is with a woman that he talks to over the phone. Until Alainn, under the guise of being Rose, enters the tower.

I thought that the romance between Alainn and Lorcann was kinda creepy at first. I mean, he thought she was an AI that was programmed to be absolutely humanlike. She, however, was there to buy her father time to finish Rose. But it happened, as creepy as it was. I really thought, during certain scenes, that Lorcann had caught onto Alainn’s ruse. Oh, was I wrong.

The AI’s were split between those that obeyed the three rules of robotics and those that didn’t. I actually felt bad for Rosebud, Lorcann’s house management AI. I had thought the whole time that she was working against Alainn when she was trying to help her and ended up getting hijacked by Rosette and Rose.

The last half of the book was nail-biting. I mean, I was on the edge of my seat and was literally cheering Alainn on. There were a few plots twists that were thrown in that actually made sense and gave me more insight into Alainn’s character.

The author didn’t end the book after the rescue (consider this a clue). Everything after that was a build to the second climax of the book. I have never read a book where the author has successfully had two climaxes in the same book. So be warned when you think there is a lull. It isn’t and the other climax is something that I didn’t expect. All I am going to say about that. Read the book!!

How many stars will I give Ensnared: 4

Why: I enjoyed reading this book. It was fast paced with characters that you actually like and a plot line that is engaging.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Ignite by Danielle Rogland


Ignite

Title: Ignite

Author: Danielle Rogland

Publisher: Inkitt

Date of publication: April 8th, 2017

Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Number of pages: 329

POV: Alternating 1st person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In the ruins of dystopian London, the Empire rules through fear and fire.

“Everyone knew about ‘The Flames’ and how much trouble they had caused the Empire. They were the only rebel group anyone knew of that had lasted longer than a few months without getting caught, leaving candles behind whenever they snatched somebody out of the Empire’s grasp. To get involved with people like them is stupid. So stupid.”

Ever since her parents were murdered by the empire’s agents, Jacks has been living on the street as a pickpocket trying to keep away from trouble. When she accidentally witnesses the rebel group ‘The Flames’ in the middle of an operation she is unwillingly swept up into their world and has to decide if she’s going to go back to looking after herself or join the rebellion and help them fight for the people of London Ruins.

She knows that getting involved was stupid, but does she really have a choice?

My review:

I am a fan of dystopia. I just love reading about what civilization could be like in the future. So when I was approached by Inkitt to review Ignite and I read the blurb that came with the email, I immediately responded with a yes to my contact person. I wasn’t disappointed by Ignite. Honestly, I was blown away by it.

Usually, when I read 1st person and the views keep switching from person to person, it does something to the story. Makes me disconnect from the story and I usually end up not liking it because of that. I have read books, though, where the switching back and forth between different people has worked and it worked well. Ignite is one of those books. The switching between the characters did not take away from the story. The author actually labeled the chapters with the main characters name (Jacks, Corry, Zira, and Jeremy). That way you could always tell who was speaking.

The Emporer and the Burners were pretty bad people. The author only touched on what happened to dismantle the government that used to rule London and replaced it with an Emporer who liked to burn things. I am going to take a wild guess and say that it was pretty bad. I mean, there is a part of London called London Ruins. Kinda answers my question right there. The Burners I perceived as reverse firefighters. They lit contained fires that forced people out of their houses. Then they killed them for being rebels. Hence reverse firefighters. I never figured out if they put out the fires or if the fires went out themselves.

My favorite character was Zira. At first, I didn’t like her and I did have my suspicions that she definitely had her secrets. When they were revealed, I was just as shocked as the rest of the Flames. But, during her chapters, you could see her anguish over the past and her past deeds. It was after that confrontation with Jacks, that I started to like her. By the end of the book, she was my favorite character.

Jacks had to be my second favorite character. She was a tough cookie and she had overcome a lot in her life. It was that strongness that showed in the last part of the book.

The ending was pretty much what I expected but the author did throw in a few curves which made the story a lot better and added depth to it.

How many stars will I give Ignite: 4

Why: I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick read with characters that you couldn’t help but like.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older teen

Why: Violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Moonstroke by Blaine C. Readler


Moonstroke

Title: Moonstroke

Author: Blaine C. Reader

Publisher: Full Arc Press

Date of Publication: December 1st, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Number of pages: 252

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

It’s been twelve years since a massive solar flare destroyed communications with the American base on the far side of the Moon, killing the platinum mining workers and leaving just three adults to raise thirty-seven orphans. Isolated, the base has carried on, and the orphans now teenagers have taken up the mining. It’s all they’ve ever known. But now enigmatic lights on the horizon and in the sky mark the arrival of someone or something that heralds an end to a patterned life of restraint and enforced duty. Katlin, the daughter of the base leader, has enjoyed the full education afforded by the base library and finds her loyalties torn between her father and Van, the capable teenage leader who is ready to break the yoke of servitude and face the wonders available in the wide universe.

My review:

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a huge fan of science fiction, fantasy, young adult, romance and any combination of those. When Moonstroke showed up on my Titles in My Categories section on NetGalley, I clicked on it to see what it was about. What I read caught my attention and made me click on the read now button. I think that I can’t remember if I have ever read a book that took place solely on the moon. I know I have read books where the moon was a stopping point but never the sole area where the story takes place. Also, factoring into my decision was that the entire book took place on the dark side of the moon. Which fascinated me and I couldn’t wait to see how it was the storyline went.

Speaking of the storyline, I liked that the author chose to have almost all the base’s adults die in a solar flare and leave their toddler children in the hands of 3 men. I do wish, though, that there was some sort of preface about the solar flare that happened. It would have given a lot more insight into why the toddlers, now teenagers, are called nextgen and why they continued mining.

I do think that the storyline started really slow in the beginning. Like super-duper slow to the point where I honestly thought nothing would happen, even though it said on the blurb that it would. What also bothered me was that the nextgens were being kept in the dark about Earth and their heritage. Almost everything that they know about Earth came from movies that they were allowed to watch. The only one exempt from this was Katlin, the daughter of the base leader. And even she was exempt from some things. But the book did pick up towards the middle of the book and I was able to enjoy it.

The main characters were teenagers and I thought that the author did a great job portraying how they would act if they lived in a community with no access to Earth. I do think that they acted pretty normal for kids who had no contact with anyone but the people on their base. I mean, they acted like typical teenagers and rebelled like typical teenagers. I loved reading the parts with Van in them because he was very forward thinking for being in seclusion for his whole life.

The last half of the book was very surprising to me and I didn’t expect certain events to happen or certain truths to be revealed. It kinda blew my mind when those truths were revealed and made my heart hurt for those involved.

How many stars will I give Moonstroke: 3.5

Why: I did like this book but I do think that it could have used a bit more backstory than what was given (just my opinion). The beginning of the book was very slow and to be honest, I almost DNF’d it. But, it did pick up speed towards the end of the book and I did enjoy the read from that point on.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Young Teen

Why: mild violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Inspector Hobbes and the Bones (Unhuman: Book 4) by Wilkie Martin


Inspector Hobbes and the Bones (Unhuman #4)

Title: Inspector Hobbes and the Bones

Author: Wilkie Martin

Publisher: The Witcherley Book Company

Date of publication: December 16th, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: 319

POV: 1st person

Series: Unhuman

Inspector Hobbes and the Blood – Book 1

Inspector Hobbes and the Curse – Book 2

Inspector Hobbes and the Gold Diggers – Book 3

Inspector Hobbes and the Bones – Book 4

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

There’s going to be trouble. Andy Caplet’s wife goes away, someone is out to get him, and he loses nearly everything in a storm. Amazing both himself and his unhuman friend Inspector Hobbes, he heroically rescues flood victims and uncovers something shocking.
Is Andy being set up for blackmail by the apparently charming young woman who attempts to seduce him, or is something even more sinister afoot? Hobbes certainly believes so, and he’s getting worried.
This is the fourth in Wilkie Martin’s unhuman series of cosy comedy crime fantasies.

My review:

As most of my regular readers know, I absolutely hate getting a book to review and finding out that it is 2nd, 3rd, or 4th book in a series. 9 out of 10 times, I get so lost that I just want to put the book down and DNF it. But, I usually push through the book and I usually am totally confused about what is going on. Luckily, with the last few books that I got and were part of a series, they were pretty easy to follow and gave information about the earlier books in a way that didn’t underwhelm or overwhelm the current book. Happily, I can group Inspector Hobbes and the Bones in with them.

Now, this is a book that is set completely in England and there is a ton of dry English humor (which I love) and a lot of English vocabulary. Luckily, my Kindle’s English (not American English, English English…lol) dictionary was downloaded because I had to use it a few time. Not that it took away from the story but it did add some time to my reading. Not complaining, though, because I did learn some new words.

This book is a paranormal mystery. Now, if I hadn’t of read the blurb, I wouldn’t have believed the paranormal part of the book. Trust me, it’s in there but the author chose to focus more on the mystery part of the book with the paranormal part really not coming into play until the last half of the book. There are paranormal elements in the book (the vampire and Hobbes’s habit of eating bones are two) but the focus is on the many mysteries that Andy and Hobbes happen upon.

Now speaking of the mystery part of the book, I loved that the author was able to handle a few mysteries at once and then was able to merge them with the main storyline. I have read other mysteries that attempted to do that and then they just lose track of the sub-storylines and those are never resolved or merged with the main storyline. Again, something else I really liked about this book.

Andy came across as an idiot. I mean, how can someone get into that many predicaments and how can someone be that unaware of their surroundings? Plus, he also had a huge knack for ticking people off and just plain doing/saying the wrong thing. I mean, who would pack chocolate in their wife’s luggage when she was going to a dessert and then wonder why she was so upset because ants bit her and her clothes were ruined. His bumbling antics really didn’t do it for me in the story and I was truly waiting to see if he was going to get knocked off.

Hobbes, however, I was fascinated with and I really wish that more was revealed about him other than he policed the supernatural. I mean, he ate bones and according to Andy, he had a ferocious temper, unlike anything that he (Andy) had ever seen before. Also, he never seemed to age. So what is he? Now, this is where I wish I had read the first 3 books. I am sure that more insights to who/what he is in there.

The secondary characters were written awesomely too. From the little person who moonlighted as a ninja (OMG, did I die laughing during that scene) to the bar owner who had a temper and liked to fight to the vampire banker to Hobbes housekeeper and dog to the literal man killer and her cousins…..I absolutely loved them. Honestly, a good book has excellent secondary characters and this book definitely did.

I will say that the end of the book did surprise me and the mysteries were solved. There were really no twists, which for once was refreshing. I also liked that while those storylines ended, the book was left open for potentially a 5th book.

How many stars will I give Inspector Hobbes and the Bones: 4

Why: This was a great mystery with paranormal elements. I was genuinely kept guessing about who killed the bodies that Andy and Hobbes found. I was also guessing that the other sub-storylines.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older teen

Why: Mild violence and some adult themes/jokes

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Defy the Stars (Defy the Stars: Book 1) by Claudia Gray


Defy the Stars

Title: Defy The Stars

Author: Claudia Gray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: April 4th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

POV: 3rd Person

Number of pages: 513

Series: Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars – Book 1

Where this book can be found: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

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Not Dead Enough: Tales of Windhaven by Watson Davis


Not Dead Enough: Tales of Windhaven by [Davis, Watson]

Title: Not Dead Enough

Author: Watson Davis

Publisher: Unknown

Date of publication: September 20th, 2014

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal

Number of pages: 99

POV: 1st person

Series: The Windhaven Chronicles

The Devil’s Library – Book 1 (review here)

Not Dead Enough – Book 2

Where you can find this book: Amazon

 

Book synopsis (through Amazon):

A Vampire Assassin and a Book of Evil.

With the Empress’ soul bound into the pages of a book, all Gartan the Cursed has to do is destroy it to be free of her forever, free to wreak his vengeance on those priests and nobles who treated him like a subhuman animal, free to return home to the ruins of a city he ruled centuries before.

But the Empress did not escape from Hell by accepting Her fate, and She is nothing if not cunning.

In this collection of sword and sorcery short stories set in the world of Windhaven, Watson Davis takes us on a harrowing series of adventures through ghost towns and vibrant cities, into the mouths of angry volcanoes and across stormy seas filled with monsters.

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Book Review: The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch: Book 1) by Rin Chupeco


The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)

Title: The Bone Witch

Author: Rin Chupeco

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Date of publication: March 7th, 2017

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Part of a series: The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch – Book 1

Standalone: Yes

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

My review:

I had a very hard time keeping my attention on this book. The beginning had no problem keeping my attention. I mean, not a lot of books deal with necromancy in an almost positive way. The only books that I can even begin to think that even comes close to that are the Anita Blake series (before the series took a walk down the smutty side). It was the middle to almost the end of the book that I couldn’t focus on.

Not that I didn’t like the book, I thought it was great. I just got really bored reading about Tea’s training (her dance lessons, her music lessons, her history/current events lessons, her dealings with the other asha’s). That took up a huge part of the book and to be very honest, I almost DNF’d the book. Stress almost.

Then things started to get interesting. Tea learned how to “blood” her familiar (her brother, Fox, who she raised from the dead at his funeral), battled a centuries old demonic creature (did she or didn’t she defeat it???), got promoted to Asha (a witch that can control elemental powers) and oust a rebel from her House.

I also loved that there was a strong Asian theme running through the books. The asha’s are kinda sorta like geisha. The demons resemble demons from Asian Lore. The clothing (the hua) that the asha’s wear is also very reminiscent of the kimono’s that the geisha’s wore/wear.

There are two very distinct storylines running through the book. One with Tea at the age of 17, exiled and plotting revenge. The reasons she was exiled is unknown and it is left open to be continued in the next book. The other storyline, which I outlined above, is being told to the Bard as an explanation and warning as to why she is doing what she is doing (I know, really confusing but it works in the book). Both storylines are easily distinguished from the other. So no confusion there.

The ending of the book was kinda left up in the air….which makes sense if there is to be a second book. I am curious as to how the second book is going to be and will definitely be reading it once it is published.

How many stars will I give The Bone Witch? 3

Why: Great book that I felt went on for a little too long. Like I said above, I almost DNF’d it because I lost interest about halfway through and had to force myself to read it. But once I got over the boring part, the book turned really good.

Will I reread: Maybe. Can’t really say yes or no right now.

Will I recommend to family and friends? Again, maybe.

Age range: Teen

Why: Very clean. No sex, some violence (not a ton and not very descriptive). But the descriptions of some of the demons and of raising the dead might frighten younger readers.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance copy**