August 20, 2017

James Wymore & Aiden James: "Fractured Earth"

Title: Fractured Earth [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: The Actuator (1st of 5 books, including a set of short stories which is Book 1.5)
Author: James Wymore [Site | Goodreads] & Aiden James
[Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Year: 2013
Age: It's marketed as an adult book, but it can be read by teens without any problem
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: Creative premise. Breathless adventure, though there's a time for reflection as well. Constant change of scenery.
Cons: Essentially a "male" book, though at least a female character plays a somewhat bigger role. Would have benefited from a little character backstory, or better, interaction, before chaos ensued. Some convenient occurrences. A handful of (harmless) typos that apparently escaped revision.
Will appeal to: Alternate realities enthusiasts. RPG fans. Readers who get bored easily.

Blurb: On a secret military base, a dangerous machine lies hidden from the American public. Known as “The Actuator”, this machine is capable of transforming entire communities into alternate realities. In theory, these often terrifying realities are reversible. The scientists in charge of this machine employ operatives called Machine Monks. Experiments progress to where they feed more than twenty different genre ideas simultaneously into the Actuator’s database. Meanwhile, an unknown saboteur dismantles the dampeners. The effect is catastrophic. The entire world is plunged into chaos, and familiar landscapes become a deadly patchwork of genre horrors. Can a few surviving Machine Monks band together to set things right again? It all depends on whether Red McLaren and the Monks can survive their journey through the various realms that separate them from the Actuator, where ever-present orcs, aliens, pirates, and vampires seek to destroy them. (Amazon excerpt)

Review:  First off...DISCLAIMER: I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased. It's just that they have so many (sometimes underrated) gems under their belt.

CROSS-WORLD PUZZLE

The premise of this book (well, series) is fantastic, and I couldn't resist its pull. Although not a fantasy aficionado or a role-player, I always enjoy a story where reality as we know it gets upended and pretty much anything can happen, all while the characters have to navigate a suddenly unfamiliar landscape. In a sense, I got more than I bargained for with Fractured Earth. The characters embark on a journey to set things right that causes them to cross a number of different "realms", each one with its rules and dangers, where the very things they bring with them or travel on (not to mention their own physical appearance) can change drastically - sometimes with quite funny or downright weird results. For some reason, I didn't expect the straight-up fantasy/historical angle to be so prevalent, but the story as a whole was enthralling and kept me going, and I'm sure those readers who are more into fantasy and history than me will be delighted. [...]

August 15, 2017

A.W. Hill & Nathanael Hill: "The Switch" (ARC Review)

Title: The Switch [on Amazon: the link will be live on Aug. 29 | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: A.W. Hill & Nathanael Hill [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Multiverse
Year: 2017
Age: 12+
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: Rich, impassioned tale where science (real and potential) meets philosophy, adventure, danger, friendship and a touch of romance. Characters with authentic voices who get under your skin.
Cons: Might require a re-read in order to grasp all the concepts. Some of the alternate realities are not accounted for.
Will appeal to: Those who like to rack their brains. Those who are in for a great adventure with a number of twists (well...switches 😉) and a lot of soul.

Blurb: Jacobus is a fifteen year-old who believes - as many fifteen year-olds do - that his life could use improvement. School is a numbing routine, and his parents’ marriage seems to be imploding before his eyes. Lured by his best friend into a strange little house containing nothing but empty rooms and an oversized circuit breaker, he’ll discover that reality comes in a plural form, and that our choices create a continuous web of branching worlds, any of which is as ‘real’ as another. A solo odyssey becomes a duo, a trio, and then a quartet, as Jacobus befriends other interdimensional travelers along the way. THE SWITCH is the story of their journey home. The question is: if they get there, will it be the same place they left behind? (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased. It's just that they have so many (sometimes underrated) gems under their belt.

RARE FIND

As a reader, multiverse is one of the genres I'm most interested in. But it's so rare to find a book that - though still leaving you with questions - plays it right and at least tries to explain the gist of it, all while having you ride along with a great cast of characters. The Switch does just that. It relies on many theories - some of them I understand are scientific material - and they are great to read, if not all easy to grasp or always making total sense...but at its core, this book is a celebration of human curiousity and courage, genuine friendship, and a reminder that choices always bear a weight, no matter how many universes you visit. I would be tempted to say The Switch is also one of those books that close the gap between YA and MG - it's clean but not artfully so, some of its characters are slightly younger than your average YA, and it's the kind of adventure that plays like a videogame, with each "level" getting increasingly complicated. On the other hand, some of the concepts this story is built on and around are - as I said - not easy to grasp. I'll say that this one can be enjoyed by younger kids, but will be better savoured by teens and even adults...like me 😉. [...]

August 11, 2017

Book Blitz: "I Stop Somewhere" by T.E. Carter (with Excerpt)


  Welcome to the I Stop Somewhere book blitz!
 
Today is my stop for the book blitz regarding I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter. This book blitz is organized by Chapter by Chapter, and it runs from 7 till 11 August. I Stop Somewhere will be released on 2/27/18 from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan in the US and on 5 April 2018 from Simon & Schuster in the UK. For those who need to get their bearings, this novel is described as "The Lovely Bones meets All the Rage". After the page break, you'll find all the book vitals, plus an excerpt and a giveaway! But first let me reiterate a small detail...I never do promo posts unless it's a book/author I'm familiar with, or a book I want to read. This one made my TBR list, so without further ado, and with thanks to Chapter by Chapter, here goes...

July 28, 2017

Author Interview: Fanni Sütő

Londemonium mock cover
Hello my darlings! 
Today I'm sitting with short-story author and aspiring novelist  Fanni Sütő, whom I've recently met on Twitter via a common passion for Doctor Who, and more specifically, David Tennant 😀 (you know me and David, right? But I digress....). During this interview, you'll see that the DW reference is actually integral to Fanni's approach to writing, since the worlds she creates are often (if loosely) inspired by the show, and populated by characters who slightly resemble a few Doctor Who cast members. And no, before you shake your head, I'm NOT talking about fan fiction here. I'm talking about inspiration and atmosphere. I will redirect you to some of Fanni's writing in a few paragraphs, but before I do that - and before the actual interview takes place - let's have a look at one of her works-in-progress...

Another mock cover
Novel vitals by the author: Londemonium is an urban fantasy, set in a world where Hell is a multicultural, global enterprise, sprawling in its own dimension like an infernal version of London.
Gregor is a German computer programmer whose girlfriend, Irene gets abducted by a young demon during their London trip. The ever calm and rational Gregor embarks on a fantastical journey to recover Irene from Hell. His story is a version of the Orpheus myth with a twist.
Molly, the other main protagonist, is a feisty Irish biologist whose research partner gets spirited away. She also finds a passage to underworld just to discover her secret heritage as one of the descendants of the Sidhe, the Irish fairy folk.
Aiko is an English-Japanese girl who comes to live with her drunkard father because it’s still a better option than staying under the same roof as her mother’s new boyfriend. She sees visions of a mysterious woman in white.
Raphael is an immigrant angel. He arrived from Heaven and works hard as a police intern to get accepted. His task is to round up a dangerous journalist who threatens to expose the secrets of Hell.
Londemonium is about how the lives of these four characters intermingle. Gregor and Molly end up in a flat share with Demi, the demon who got their friends. Aiko meets Rei, the majestic fox demon who helps her deal with her rage. The same Rei is Raphael’s superior who tries to help him get his naturalisation.
For the story’s aesthetic, feel free to check out my Pinterest board and Spotify playlist.


Fanni Süto

Dream cast for Londemonium

July 23, 2017

Edward Aubry: "Static Mayhem" (ARC Review)

Title: Static Mayhem [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Mayhem Wave (2nd of 5 books)
Author: Edward Aubry [Facebook | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Year: 2017
Age: 14+ (note: Book 1 was marketed as a YA/NA crossover. This one sounds more adult to me - especially because it lacks Dorothy's POV - but like the first installment, I would say that it covers all the spectrum from teen to adult).
Stars: 4/5
Pros: As in Book 1, quirky and audacious blend of post-apocalypse, technology and magic. Characters who are easy to empathise with.
Cons: The blend I mentioned might not work for everyone - and it's even more audacious here than in the first installment. Some of the many twists may sound confusing. A relationship from Book 1 threatens to take a strange and unsettling turn.
WARNING! There's talk of sex and a few F-bombs.
Will appeal to: Those who are looking for a fresh approach to post-apocalypse.

Blurb: A year after the world was thrown into magical chaos, Harrison Cody takes part in an expedition to learn the cause. What his team finds is an unfathomable enemy, who intends to finish what was started and wipe out every remaining survivor. Harrison is the key to stopping it, but doing so will come with an unbelievable sacrifice, one he might not be willing to make. (Goodreads)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I have been talking to the author on a few occasions since reviewing his previous titles, Unhappenings and Prelude to Mayhem - which I also rated 4 stars. Moreover, I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased.
Note: an earlier version of Static Mayhem was released back in 2010. If you are curious about the whole story (which is also inspiring for every struggling writer out there who despairs of ever being published), you can read my interview with the author.

RAISING THE STAKES

The first installment in this series, Prelude to Mayhem, was a quirky post-apocalyptic novel full of unknown, often ghastly dangers lurking around, but I can see now that the title was indeed appropriate - that was only the start of a nightmare. In your typical post-catastrophe scenario, the main focus (often the only one) is survival and the rebuilding of a new world, while trying to make sense of the shift and adjusting (or not) to its rules (or lack thereof). In Static Mayhem, our characters not only explore a broken and upside-down world, but try to find a way to save what's left of it AND even to bring back what they can (if the can) of the old reality. All in an environment where magic and technology are mutually exclusive, except for a single instance. It's imaginative, though it probably requires more suspension of disbelief than your average fantasy or sci-fi novel, precisely because the two worlds are coexistent - if opposite - here. I'm usually not a great fan of fantasy creatures, but for some reason, Glimmer - the last pixie - and even a couple of famous mythical creatures whose names I won't spoil seem at home in this series. I think it's seeing them through Harrison's eyes that makes all the difference - he's sympathetic, warm-hearted and open-minded...among other good things 😉. [...]

June 18, 2017

How to Be an Absolutely Unreliable Blogger: Lesson No.1

Oh, dear me, where did MY time go. I SO need a TARDIS.


My latest adventure in blogging is dated May 26th. Let me do the math...um...ah...it's been MORE THAN 3 FRIGGIN' WEEKS *cowers*.

May 26, 2017

B.C. Johnson: "Deadgirl: Goneward" (ARC Review)

Title: Deadgirl: Goneward [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Deadgirl (3rd of 4 books)
Author: B.C. Johnson [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary
Year: 2017
Age: 14+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Imaginative plot. Strong mix of adventure and paranormal occurrences with focus on friendship. Characters manage to feel realistic in the middle of mayhem, and will warm your heart.
Cons: Very dark in places (though temperated with funny dialogue/inner monologue). Some chapters (especially the first ones) might sound confusing due to time and perspective shift.
WARNING! Horror and heartbreak around the corner. Some language.
Will appeal to: Those who enjoy a mix of laughters and tears, action and strong feelings. Those who like brave teens who don't pose as heroes.

Blurb: Lucy Day and her friends (mostly) survived last year's encounter with serial killers, a teenage sorcerer, new romance, and drama class. But - as usual for Team Deadgirl - the horror never ends, there's more monsters to slay, and magic is the worst. A roadtrip for answers leads to new questions, strange allies, and the wrath of an ancient undead girl named Imogen Dane. What strange locales will they discover? Will they all make it back home? (Amazon excerpt)

Review:  First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. And the author being B.C. Johnson, you all know I've been campaigning for his first Deadgirl book with all my might since 2012, when the original version came out. Also, B.C. Johnson and me have stayed in touch, if sporadically, for the whole time. I'm not what you would call a friend of his though, only a fan of his work. And an unbiased one. As usual, this review is the love child of my penchant for quirky, uniquely worded books and B.C. Johnson's ability to deliver them. Also, please note: my reviews are usually rather straightforward, though I always do my best to refrain from spoilers. But this one will probably be my vaguest review ever, because there's so much I can't discuss without uncovering relevant plot points. Here goes...

SURPRISE FEAST

This series always manages to surprise me. Building strongly on the mythology established since Book 1, every installment will bring you to a different place nevertheless, where the only common denominator are strong emotions and an ever tighter ensemble cast. Lucy may be the star of this story, but her friends are given more and more screentime, not to mention weight. Deadgirl: Goneward is the first book in the series to feature a double POV (which I found thoroughly enjoyable, though sometimes a little confusing), and the first one where the relationship between Lucy and her closest friend is explored to its fullest. B.C. Johnson has proven himself more than once, when it comes to capturing the shades of his female characters and creating a solid palette. This book is no exception, and still makes you see Lucy and Morgan in a new, enhanced light. In the meantime, tension never lets up, and unexpected events (of the dangerous kind) heap on one another, while Team Deadgirl's quest for answers about Lucy's nature leads the readers in places they didn't anticipate. And with a few unexpected allies... [...]

May 20, 2017

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #5 B.C. Johnson, A.S. King, Dawn Kurtagich


Intro


Hello beauties!

Welcome again to my own brand of mini reviews! I had never though I'd done minis, until I recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post in 2014, and then guest-posted with some shorties for a blogging event in 2015. And Karen from For What It's Worth started praising my short recs/recaps :). Just to be clear,  I'm NOT taking a break from writing long review - no such luck LOL. But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, or in case I want to draw attention to some old ones I've already reviewed, I might as well give you the short version ;). Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random! So, here goes...