Book Review: Resembling Lepus by Amanda Kool

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A speculative fiction police procedural with a unique and interesting premise.

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!

Premise (from Goodreads)

Earth’s sixth mass extinction has ended, and in its wake a post-dystopian civilization has struggled to rebuild after a global cataclysm shattered its ecosystems and propelled all life to the brink of eradication.

In a world where the air is unhealthy, food is strictly rationed, and the energy consumption that triggered the destruction is highly regimented, scientists experiment with artificial biospheres to secure survival and techno-mimicry to breathe life into long-dead species. It’s an unavoidable surveillance state where every living thing is tracked, numbered, and categorized.

In this fledgling society born out of catastrophic loss and now challenged with a new reverence for all life, a lone detective is haunted by a series of murders traumatizing the populace. Assisted by a medical colleague, she finds herself entangled in a crisis with far-reaching consequences and dangerous repercussions that threaten the fragile balance of all existence.

What is the impact on humanity when mankind is required to play god to the creatures they have all but destroyed?

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

Review (No Spoilers)

First off, big thank you to Grey Matter Press for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! I was particularly excited to make a connection to a publisher that operates in the same city as me. I can’t wait to see what other stories they are producing.

The surrounding premise of Resembling Lepus is an extremely interesting one. Taking place in a world very similar to ours, there are a few stark differences. After almost single-handedly killing off all of the world’s natural resources, society has undergone a huge paradigm shift in which non-human animals are now respected just as much as humans. On top of that, as a form of recreating the nature that they lost, humans have also invented a way to make imitation beings (both human and animal) that can be recycled when needed.

The novella is formatted like a police procedural, following a detective as she attempts to find a serial murderer who has been strangling rabbits and leaving them with a ribbon around their necks. Unfortunately, unlike many police procedurals and mystery novels that I’ve read, I didn’t feel like the reader was ever really involved in attempting to solve the case. Due to the short nature of the story, I didn’t feel like I had the information needed to come to a proper conclusion until right before the detective made her deductions.

Speculative fiction is a genre that I find particularly fun to read because they never seem as far-fetched as some of the science fiction novels that I’ve read in the past. There are no space battles or time travel, just a society much like ours that has made the same mistakes we are currently making right now. I find the exploration of where society is heading to be both intellectually stimulating and potentially groundbreaking. As as a result, a part of me feels like this novella would have worked better as a full-length novel. Giving the story 100+ more pages to unfold would have helped solve the issue of the mystery being solved too quickly, while also giving readers a fuller picture of the surrounding world’s circumstances. I ended the book wanting to know more. How many species did we successfully kill off and how many did we successfully save? What is the quality of vegetation and the atmosphere? What other scientific advancements have we made as a whole? All in all, Resembling Lepus was a quick and enjoyable read. I’d love to see what other ideas this author has nurtured and published in her other works.

Resembling Lepus was just release this week and is currently $0.99 on Kindle! You can check it out at the link above!


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Review: Aether Ones by Wendi Coffman-Porter

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Definitely a book that requires a lot of brain power in order to follow what’s going on.

Thank you so much to The Write Reads and Wendi Coffman-Porter for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary physical copy!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

Review

Book CWs

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise (from Goodreads)

Leilani Falconi is a top agent for the Imperial Investigative Service, tasked with policing the veil between two realities. Long ago, the Great Sundering tore the universe into two mirrored halves; aether space, which progressed using magical energy or eldrich, and kuldain, which advanced via electromagnetic technology.

But now a series of suspicious deaths stretching back more than a decade has the agent trapped directly between secretive bureaucracies and their peoples. If she can’t solve the mysterious crimes in time, existence as she knows it could erupt into chaos.

Review (No Spoilers)

I think this book expanded my brain! Have you ever read a book where once you finish you feel like your head is fuller?

Aether Ones follows Agent Leilani Falconi who finds herself stuck in the middle of a deeply rooted political scandal, full of murder and suspicious occurrences. I had a really hard time keeping up with everything that was happening because this book is chalk-full of information. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work Wendi Coffman-Porter had to put into making such a fantastically complex world. I’ll definitely have to re-read this book again when I have a clearer headspace because I feel like I really only comprehended around 20% of it. I think it might have been easier to follow if the pacing slowed down a bit to build the world up more comprehensively but it could have just been me tbh.

Throughout the book we are introduced to multiple types of characters, species, magics, and realms. It was fascinating to read about all of these creatures existed and how they interact with each other. I would recommend keeping track of the character names as you read because the narration switches back and forth between referring to them by their first name, last name, and/or their rank. There are also quite a few time jumps, so if you aren’t good at remembering names (like me) than this list will keep you from having to flip back and forth between chapters to remember who someone is.

The book ending paves the way for a second (or perhaps even more?) book so it will be interesting to see where these characters are headed!


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Review: The Unajdusteds by Marisa Noelle

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

An exciting first installment to an undoubtedly interesting trilogy!

Thank you so much to The Write Reads and Marisa Noelle for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary digital copy!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

Review

Book CWs

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise (from Goodreads)

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

Review (No Spoilers)

I literally just finished reading this book so I have a lot of fresh thoughts flying around in my brain. Please forgive me if this review is a tad incoherent.

As someone who recently started toying with the idea that maybe YA Dystopia is my favorite genre, this book really succeeded in deepening this thought. While the book is pretty formulaic in terms of what a standard dystopia plot involves–oppression, a breaking point, a rising rebellion–there were still a couple of curveballs thrown in there that shocked me in a really good way. I actually thought I had a good idea about where this book was heading but I did not expect that ending at all. I basically have no idea what the next book is going to involve which is only making me more anxious to read it.

Something that I think this novel really excelled at was grabbing my attention from the very first chapter. A lot of novels (especially SFF novels) will take a few chapters to establish a background story and as a result the action might only begin around 50% into the book. The Unadjusted on the other hand throws you into the action almost immediately and I found that very refreshing.

There were a few instances in the book where I got confused by the pacing, but never enough to make me lose interest in what was happening overall. I think the biggest example of this was in this kind of love triangle plot that never really got established.

I’m going to get into mild spoiler territory here you feel free to skip this next section.

If you know me then you probably know that I absolutely despise love triangles, so when I noticed that it didn’t seem to be developing in this book I was pretty satisfied. I continued to be happy until suddenly a bunch of stuff happened in the span of a single page to force this trope out into the open. When I got to this part, I was so confused with what had just happened that I kind of just froze. It almost seemed as if certain events were thrown in to get the triangle over with and quickly check the “includes a love triangle” box. I think I would have preferred for it to be drawn out more (to see more interactions and developing feelings between the characters involved) or for it to not have happened at all (though as I’ve said I’m totally biased against love triangles).

You may resume reading if you skipped the previous section.

The other main pacing issue I had is something I keep going back and forth with because it’s what made the ending so unpredictable and the unpredictable ending is what is getting me excited for the rest of the trilogy. Basically there were several events that happened in The Unadjusteds that I would have expected to happen in the second or third installment and it has kind of thrown me for a loop. I’m curious to see what some of the other readers on this tour thought of the ending because I still don’t know if it was absolutely brilliant or super confusing.

That being said, I’ll definitely be continuing this series. If you’re a fan of YA dystopias like The Hunger Games and Divergent, definitely give this a try!


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Book Review: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Just as raw as its predecessor, but even more enjoyable!

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!

Premise

After a series of escalating disasters, the outside world has now become a desolate wasteland. Breathe the outside air for too long and you might find yourself in caught in uncontrollable rage, overwhelmed by hallucinations and extreme paranoia, or even on the brink of death.

Following the events of Monument 14, our young group of survivors has split up. Now in two separated groups, brothers Alex and Dean document their journeys of survival as one group struggles to make it to the Denver International Airport to get government help, while the other continues to hide out in the local superstore until they return.

But with no means of communicating to each other, how will one group know if the other makes it through the disaster alive. Will Alex and his group be able to make it 40 miles to the airport with nothing but a barely-operational bus and a few backpacks of provisions? Can Dean and his group hold off the violent outsiders who are attempting to claim their sanctuary as their own?

Purchase this book (affiliate links): Amazon (Sky on Fire), Amazon (Monument 14)

Review (No Spoilers)

I read Monument 14 back in August when I was taking part in the Trope-ical Readathon. Because that was the month that I read 53 other books, I never took the time to review it. To compensate for that, I’ll use the next paragraph to talk about my feelings on that first installment before getting to my review for Sky on Fire.

Monument 14 was probably the most realistic apocalyptic book I’ve ever read, and it doesn’t even seem to take place in the same reality as ours (though admittedly it is very similar). What makes Monument 14 so real is the fact that these characters are just children and the book does a really good job and reminding you of this fact. A lot of YA novels will have protagonists who are 13-17 but this is often easy to forget as you read through the book. Monument 14, on the other hand, makes it clear from the get go that these kids have no idea what to do and they are scared out of their minds. It’s something that I really appreciated because it was a rawness that I think is so rare when it comes to novels like this.

Moving on to Sky on Fire, much like its predecessor, this book is does a great job at being raw and realistic. The two books take place immediately after one another so it makes sense that this would be the case. Still, the book is also really good at showing the character devolpment that each child was forced to go through. While they still are clearly young and foolish, they have also just been through months of living on their own and have matured quite a bit as a result.

I think what I enjoyed most about Sky on Fire was how Emmy Laybourne succeeded in making me care about basically all of the survivors. A lot of post-apocalyptic novels only focus on small groups of around 2-4 people, but this series managed to make me care about over 10 people. It is the ultimate example of the Found Family trope as these survivors have formed such a tight-knit bond with each other that you can’t bare to see them apart.

After I finished this book, Rob (my partner) asked me if I was going to read the next one in the series and to be honest, I thought this was the end. Now that I know there is more to the story, I’ll definitely be giving the next installment a try and I hope that this review can convince you to as well.


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Book Review: Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine by Michael Gordon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Full of interesting plots and ideas!

I received a free copy from the author, Michael Gordon, in exchange for an honest review. Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine is the first book in a series that is scheduled to be released throughout 2020 and 2021. For more info, check out Michael Gordon’s website here.

Book CWs: For a list of warnings (and tropes) for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise (from Goodreads)

Barnaby is an English boy, new to New York and daunted by the prospect of making new friends.

Adventure begins when Barnaby discovers that the ‘Teleport device’ he thinks his mad uncle has been working on is actually a time machine!

Powered by an alien crystal that endows the holder with great powers, the devices use awakens the watchful eyes of those who have been moderating them in the universe for millenia.

It’s not long before billionaire arms manufacturer Darius Dent, learns of it’s existence and hatches his own plans for the device.

Join Barnaby and friends in a journey through Nazi occupation, alien worlds and much more.

Review (No Spoilers)

There are two main reasons that I agreed to read this book:

1. The blurb is super interesting
2. It looked like a Middle Grade and I’m looking to read more MG books

Funnily enough, these two things are what my review will revolve around.

Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine has a unique and thrilling plot that didn’t stop surprising me. Every time I thought I had an idea of what was going to happen next, something or someone new would pop up and give the story a fun twist. This was by far my favorite part of the book.

That being said, I do think that the pacing was a little off. The beginning lagged a bit, the middle was great, and the end seemed a bit rushed. There were a lot of times where the plot would end a certain arc and I’d be left wishing I had spent more time in it because I wanted so much more. This brings me to my second topic/question: what is the target age?

While the cover of Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine screams Middle Grade to me, the book itself is about 15 year old teens and has some mature content in it. Halfway through I started to wonder if maybe it was a YA novel. Now that I’ve finished, I think it’s kind of somewhere in between.

Despite the fact that the characters are 15, their personalities seemed to be those of middle schoolers. I actually forgot that Barnaby was 15 when I was reading the beginning chapters and assumed he was 11-12 based on his interactions. I will admit, though, that it’s completely possible that I’m just too old now and forgot how immature high schoolers can be so let’s move on to the next point about the age bracket: the plot was YA, but the writing was MG.

I don’t read many MG novels but from my understanding, they are lighter reads than YA novels because they’re for a lower age group. Based on this, I’d say that while Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine has the writing/pacing of an MG novel, the plot/content has much more YA potential. I sincerely think that this one book could have been split into two separate 300-400 page YA novels if the plot explored it’s side arcs more.

If you’re interested in Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. Not only does it release TODAY, but I also think Michael Gordon is on the lookout for more interested book bloggers. If this is you, check out his website for details about his other books as well as his contact info!

Book Review: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Rating: 5/5

A thriller that actually had me on the edge of my seat.

Book CWs

  • Death
  • Widespread Infection
  • Sexism
  • Suspense

Premise

A military satellite crashes near a small town of Piedmont, Arizona. Almost immediately after it’s opened, all of the towns inhabitants suddenly drop dead.

After discovering the town’s desolation, a protocol known as “Wildfire” is set in motion. The Wildfire group consists of several scientists who, having predicted the inevitability of alien biological warfare, have set up a secret laboratory made specifically to quarantine unknown pathogens.

Operating in the deepest, most secure level of the facility, the scientists must work fast to stop this new organism (labelled the Andromeda Strain) before it spreads to the rest of the world.

Review

The Andromeda Strain was a book recommended to me by my partner to satisfy the Alchemy prompt in House Battles. I have pretty much started actively avoiding adult novels because I keep not liking them, so I was pretty certain I would hate this book.

Fortunately for me–and I guess also my partner–I actually really enjoyed it!

I do want to warn anyone who might be thinking about reading The Andromeda Strain that it is pretty science heavy. The book revolves around a team of scientists so it dives pretty deep into scientific details; it even has some diagrams and photos to illustrate some characteristics of the strain. I admit that I skimmed through the heavier passages but I did appreciate the dedication to making the book read like an actual government file.

The thing that surprised me the most about this book was that it affected me (in a psychological thriller type of way) more than any other book that I’ve read. There were times where I was literally freaking out about what was coming next. I had to actively force myself not to read ahead and spoil everything. There were also a surprising amount of times where I found myself laughing despite the serious nature of the story.

I know there are a lot of comments on Goodreads that say the ending was “anti-climactic” but I thought the ending was absolutely perfect. I can’t say much more without spoiling the book but I really did think it had a satisfying conclusion.

Book Review: Pop Apocalypse by Lee Konstantinou

I recently started reading more frequently as a result of missing it and feeling guilty about not progressing in my Goodreads 2019 Book Challenge. I was suggested Pop Apocalypse by Lee Konstantinou.

Book CW/TW:

  •  There are I believe 2 date-rapey scenes. The main character is in fact introduced via one of them.
  • MC expresses sexual interest in a 16 year old girl, despite being 27/28 in the book.

Rating: 2/5 stars

I found this book incredibly boring for the first half. Once I got to the start of the main arc, I regained interested for a short while before losing it once again. There are certain instances of hilarity but as someone who prefers YA novels and stays away from political/religious news, this book wasn’t for me. 

Premise

The book takes place in the near future (around the year 2028). Several religious factions and powers exist throughout the world, some allied and some at odds. The world seems like it may be on the brink of a huge religious war. 

The story follows Eliot Vanderthorpe Jr., the 27 year old son of and heir to Omni Science, a corporation that from my understanding has created a sort of future capitalistic google where people can search footage from all over the world and purchase premium footage/photos for a price. Eliot is a major screw up party boy who left his family to go on a major drug binge, isolating himself from his friends and ex-girlfriend Sarah. 

After returning home and being put to work by his father, Eliot uses a super search in his father’s office and discovers that there is a man who looks exactly like him in California, in an area that regular Omni searches don’t pick up. He embarks on a search to discover who this person is and why he exists. All while trying to fix his negative reputation and relationship with those he cares about. 

Review (Mild Spoilers)

This was the first “adult book” that I’ve completed in a long time. I mostly enjoy reading YA novels because I don’t really look to books as intellectual exercise machines but rather as fun ways to pass the time. After reading this book I realized why I don’t like adult books. 

First of all, I felt like over half the time I had no idea what was going on. Even after finishing the book I didn’t have a complete picture of what the state of the world was and what exactly what going on with the waring religions. This was partly because my vocabulary isn’t as big as this book needed it to be, especially with it’s religious undertones, but also because I found myself getting bored when reading and skimmed certain passages. 

Something that I complained about in the first half of the book was the fact that I felt as though most of the things being said to me as a reader weren’t actually important to the story. There were many “weird” scenes mentioned in the book that were in fact very entertaining but also not vital to the story. So when I got to scenes or paragraphs of text that weren’t entertaining in their weirdness, I got annoyed at being forced to read things that I didn’t actually care about. 

I finished the book and had NO idea how I was supposed to feel. Though it might have been a result of me basically hating the protagonist the entire time.