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review 2018-08-13 16:20
Killing It
Killing It - Asia Mackay

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A fairly entertaining novel, although it didn’t keep me enthralled.

I couldn’t decide if ultimately, the whole spy organisation was believable or not; some aspects felt far-fetched, where I had expected something more on the… ‘realistic’ side? Not that I know much about actual MI6 operations are conducted, that is: it was more a feeling than anything truly objective. Some parts I found amusing and inventive, in a sort of parodic way that I could only envision in a novel or a game (such as conducting interrogations in disused Tube parts, so that nobody would hear the cries over the din of trains or wonder about ‘that drunk, stumbling friend I’m dragging with me at 1 am is absolutely not a suspect I’ve just finished torturing’). I’d say this works if you’re looking for the kind of caricatural spy network, and works probably less well otherwise. As far as I’m concerned, I’m on the fence with it.

As a result, the plot was a little unconvincing, and I couldn’t really connect with Lex as a character: I liked her snarky comments in general, but found it difficult to reconcile her callous take on offing and torturing people with the double standard of ‘I do it on a regular basis to other people, but no one dare touch my daughter’. While wanting to protect one’s family is totally normal, there’s an underlying hypocrisy here that doesn’t sit too well with me, probably because I usually have a strong reaction to ‘do what I say, not as I do’ people.

On the other hand, the novel raises interesting, if not unexpected points about age-old attitudes in the workplace regarding women, and especially mothers. In that, ‘Killing It’ is close to a lot of things we can still see nowadays, where in spit of feminist progress and workplaces generally opening up, a woman’s position is still subjected to ‘having to prove herself twice as much as the men’. (There’s been a lot of progress IRL, and I sure won’t deny this, but I’ve been in enough interviews with barely concealed sexist questions to know that the way to full equality is still long.) Basically, Lex’s struggle with coming back to work after her maternity leave felt real and relevant: some of her colleagues, and especially her boss, kept on questioning her ability to do her job and not ‘giving in to hormones’ and all manners of crap arguments. Here, too, some things were caricatural and laid out too heavily (like Bennie’s attempts at putting Lex down)—and, of course, Lex’s job is not just any office job, and is much more dangerous—but it doesn’t change the fact that many people (other women included) still assume too often that as soon as one becomes a mother, one becomes ‘weaker/less smart/less able/whatever’ and have to prove herself all over again… while nobody bats an eyelid at a man becoming a father.

Conclusion: The humour didn’t always work for me, and some things were definitely hammered in too much. Still, as a light novel that doesn’t demand too much focus, it worked.

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review 2018-08-12 23:31
To Terminator, With Love by Wes Kennedy
To Terminator, With Love - Wes Kennedy

Dexter Wu isn't a terribly social guy. He's a grad student whose life currently revolves around his big project, a robot named HAL that's supposed to be able to read stories to children. He has one close friend, Sandhya, who's about to move back to India. He's trying not to let that fact utterly wreck him, but it's hard. He's tired, stressed out about finals and HAL, and...suddenly in a confusing and terrifying amount of danger.

According to a powerful device owned by a shadowy group known as the Agency, HAL is going to destroy the world. Dexter's work on it must be stopped at all costs. The Agency's people don't normally try to kill their targets, but for some reason protocol is being broken this time around, and Dexter's running for his life. Luckily he has one agent on his side, Andre Jackson.

I bought this because it was listed as sci-fi with an asexual main character and its description sounded decent. The title and relatively vague description made me think that HAL would be prominent and that there would be time travel. This turned out not to be the case. There were a few brief Terminator references, but the nature of the Agency's secret device meant that it had more in common with Minority Report.

Sci-fi and fantasy pop culture references were all over the place. The one I enjoyed the most had to do with Dexter's efforts to figure out his role in this action story he'd suddenly been plopped into:

"Because he wasn't Neville Longbottom. He wasn't even Jar Jar Binks; he was Leeroy fucking Jenkins." (76%)

It's the kind of line that's fun if you know who Dexter's referring to but that would be completely incomprehensible to every one else. As it was, I had to google the Leeroy Jenkins reference - I'd heard the name before but that was it. The text is peppered with this sort of thing. I mostly liked it, but I could see it being annoying and exhausting for anyone who doesn't have the right pop culture background.

I was a bit iffy about the asexual rep. While it was nice that there was zero drama and nastiness over Dexter being ace, it felt really weird that he and Andre didn't talk about it at all beyond a brief mention. The two of them started making out, Dexter paused things to tell Andre that he was asexual and that he enjoyed kissing but wasn't interested in having sex, Andre calmly accepted this, and they never talked about it again. Granted, I'm not sure if they could be considered a couple since the story only takes place over a couple weeks, but it ended with Dexter hoping they could keep in touch and continue their relationship. I don't know.

In the end, I wanted to like this more than I actually did. Andre and Dexter were adorably geeky together, and the humor was decent. Unfortunately, the story was so-so, Andre and Dexter's relationship didn't really work for me, and I was disappointed that HAL was ultimately unimportant, little more than another one of the story's many SFF references.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-08-10 16:41
3.7 Out Of 5 "Untamable Demdji" STARS
Hero at the Fall - Alwyn Hamilton

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BOOK BLURB~

Hero At The Fall

Alwyn Hamilton

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When gun slinging Amani Al'Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she'd join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn't have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untamable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn't exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I have struggled with each book in the Rebel of the Sands Trilogy when I first start them, there is a lot of characters to keep straight and the story is really complex, but I have always managed to get "with" the story early on…at least with the first two books.  This third book…not so much.  It has too many small stories within the main story itself, to keep it all straight.  I also believe it could have benefitted from a list of characters, I have just learned that the book does have a list…unfortunately, the audio does not.

 

Overall, I'm glad I finally managed to listen to this final book, and I think I it was satisfying ending to the series, at least once it got to the actual story.  I would have liked it to be a tad shorter, without all those other mini stories.  I still love the characters, Amani and Jinn and lots of others who have joined the rebellion along the way.  They are what makes this story so memorable.

 

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

~MY RATING~

☆3.7☆STARS - GRADE=B

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 3.8/5

Main Characters~ 4.5/5

Secondary Characters~ 4.2/5

The Feels~ 3/5

Pacing~3/5

Addictiveness~ 3.5/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 2.8/5

Backdrop (World-Building)~ 3/5

Originality~ 4.5/5

Ending~ 4/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~ This one is cool…I like it. The actual cover for the audio version is not so cool.

Narration~ Soneela Nankani, she's perfect for the voice of Amani.

Series~ Rebel of the Sands #3

Setting~ Miraji Desert

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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review 2018-08-08 10:00
Release Week Review & Blog Tour with Giveaway! Entropy (Atrophy #4) Jess Anastasi!
Entropy - Jess Anastasi

 

 

 

Captain Qaelan Forster is used to trouble. He lives on the wrong side of the law and he’s on the most-wanted lists. He’s mixed up in his cousin's mess who has problems on a cosmic level—like shape-shifting aliens who want them dead. But Qaelan’s not prepared for the cheeky kind of trouble called Camille Blackstone, whose infamous father has any man interested in his daughter executed.

 

After Camille drags Qaelan into an impulsive act of rebellion, she finds herself trying to defend the sexy captain from her overprotective father's wrath, even if she has to handcuff herself to the captain to keep him alive. However, it soon becomes apparent there are much more dangerous things lurking in the dark corners of the universe than a vengeful pirate lord. And she's just landed in the middle of it.

 

 

Used to trouble, Captain Qaelan Forster is on the most-wanted lists, and mixed up in his cousin’s mess but he’s not prepared for Camille Blackstone’s kind of trouble. In an act impulsive rebellion, Camille finds herself defending Qaelan from her father and handcuffing herself to him the captain to keep him alive.

 

The fourth book in the “Atrophy” series is cosmic explosion of thrills and passion that keeps readers on the edge from beginning to end. Qaelan and Camille are two strong, charismatic characters that easily draw readers in and hold them hostage throughout their romance which is full of sizzling chemistry, explosive passion and emotional turmoil. This relationship starts off with a major life and death obstacle that keeps readers in suspense until the very end while the characters entertain readers with lots witty repertoire and daring personalities.

 

Suspense builds and action explodes throughout this fast paced plot with lots of thrills, intrigue and surprising twists that keeps readers as well as the characters on their toes. There are plenty of bad guys to inspire readers to cheer for their demise as well as conflicts regarding friends and family so there is never a dull moment and readers can’t help but feel as if they are part of the story from the very beginning as the author’s well written words and well-developed world paints vivid imagery and sparks the imagination.

 

I love the sexy, adventurous feel of this sci-fi romance series and there was no way I could put “Entropy” down until I had read every last word and the conclusion was certainly added an intriguing element to the conflict with the shape-shifting alien enemies that face the characters of the “Atrophy” series and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

 


Entropy

Goodreads - https://bit.ly/2n94pCM


Entangled - https://entangledpublishing.com/entropy.html

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/entropy-by-jess-anastasi

 

 

is the 4th book in the Atrophy series

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/184708-atrophy

 

which includes:
1 Atrophy
2 Quantum
3 Diffraction

 

& is available at:

 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LRY5OY

 

B&N: https://bit.ly/2vDysGs

 

iBooks: https://apple.co/2AGaK2a

 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2OHUgJR

 

GPlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jess_Anastasi_Entropy?id=eo1iDwAAQBAJ

 

 

Excerpt 2:

 

Cami didn’t bother trying to make conversation with Captain Qaelan Forster as they left the noise and stale-alcohol smell of the bar and headed out into the balmy night. He hadn’t followed her for some kind of deep-and-meaningful or even the slightest bit of small talk.

 

The only thing he was interested in wasn’t going to require any words. Well, not any coherent ones, anyway. Not that she was looking for anyone to talk to. The last run for her father hadn’t gone well, and she’d ducked into the bar to avoid seeing him. He probably wouldn’t say anything about it, and he couldn’t be more pissed at her than she was at herself. But he’d get that look. The one that said she’d disappointed him. And she hated that look more than anything. Would rather he yelled at her.

 

So, leaving the bar with the infamous Qaelan Forster hadn’t really been about him at all. It’d been about avoiding her father. And for the fact she was sick of her demon princess- of-hell reputation. Sure, it was well warranted, and she’d always thought it didn’t matter that a bunch of people who weren’t significant thought she was an unfeeling callous bitch who believed they were all beneath her.

 

But for some reason, tonight it had gotten to her. Qaelan Forster had been there, and she couldn’t deny the tall, dark haired, blue-eyed captain was seriously hot, just like she’d heard. Kissing him to shut up a few morons up hadn’t been a chore at all.

 

In fact, it’d been the exact opposite. An instant fire had lit up her blood, and while initially she’d been planning on ditching him as soon as they got outside, now she was trying to remember the last time she’d let anyone get close to her. It’d been almost two years ago, that gorgeous blond waiter she’d seen a handful of times passing through a space station not too far out of the Belt.

 

Claude had been the first and only casual relationship she’d had. She’d thought if it wasn’t serious, then her father would be less likely to interfere or threaten anyone. Turned out she’d been wrong. He’d still managed to have a hand in messing things up. Truth be told, her heart hadn’t been in it, so she hadn’t been all that devastated.

 

Though her handful of other relationships had been short, she’d never had a one-night-stand with a complete stranger before—usually she was at least somewhat familiar with her partner.

 

And she couldn’t actually remember the last guy she’d been serious about, not clearly anyway. Her father had probably gotten him killed, or banished him, or some equally ridiculous overreaction. The second she ever looked at a guy twice, her father was plotting murder and mayhem. She glanced at Qaelan as they silently walked through the bright, night-lit streets, people spilling out of all kinds of establishments or shopping in the bazaar. Life in Tripoli never stopped. The party just kept rolling on.

 

Qaelan had his hands in his pockets, casting her glances every now and then, probably trying to figure her out. Men were always trying to figure her out. It annoyed the crap out of her.

 

For half a second, she considered cutting him loose again. Her father favored Qaelan and his even-more infamous cousin, Rian Sherron. He’d be seriously pissed if he found out Qaelan had touched her, let alone anything else. But maybe that favoritism would mean Qaelan would simply get banished, not dead. And that would only happen if her father found out…

 

 

$15 Amazon Gift Card
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjA4ZWI4ZWQ3NTUyM2VlYWJhMzFjOTYxNDNhZTI1OjE3MTY=/

 

 

Jess has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn’t deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. She loves loud music, a good book on a rainy day, and probably spends too much time watching too many TV shows. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia, with her very supportive husband, three daughters, one hyper-active border collie dog, one bunny with anger management issues, and one cat who thinks he’s one of the kids.

 

Connect:
Site: http://www.jessanastasi.com


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jess-Anastasi-Author-Page-129441077081452


Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessanastasi


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Jess_Anastasi


BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jess-anastasi


Entangled: https://entangledpublishing.com/author/jess-anastasi

 

 

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review 2018-08-06 19:30
Loved This Spin Off Series
Dance of Thieves - Mary E. Pearson

Oh I love Ms Pearson's writing. She has such talent for building worlds with unforgettable characters. The characters are well developed, complex and vulnerable. Just the way I like them. The words are spun so visually reading them is like watching a movie. Thrilling, edge of my seat action, heartbreak, romance, and some fun.
This book follows in the world of The Remnant Chronicles, the author's previous series which loved. Some years have passed, and there are a few crossover characters. The heroine, is a elite guard for the Queen, who has a vary sorted, sad past. She struggles with her demons while trying to keep her promises to her queen. The male lead is a strong, honest man who is thrust into his role as head of a country when his father suddenly dies. She expresses her superiority in a public way and he tries to teach her a lesson that backfires on them both. They find themselves chained together as slaves, the sparks fly hot and mistrusting. being chain together, needing each other can bring two together or scar them forever. The beginning of tale has just begun at this point, it goes so much farther.
I can not wait to see where these characters go in the next book.
Thank You NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for the review copy

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