Book Review: Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves

Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves

A New Adult Science Fiction Novel to be published (10/03/18)

Summary:

“You need power to be heroic, but there’s no way to get it if you’re shackled. So, you have to start as the villain, grab the power, and then put the shackles on.”

Dorian Waters, along with the majority of humanity, cannot afford the nano-implants and genetic augmentations that are now available. Without Revision, Dorian, will never be as smart, as fast, or as good at anything as those who can afford to Revise. He, along with many others, is fast being left behind. Not only can he not compete in the same sports leagues, but he is fast losing any prospects for a job, a career, or a worthwhile life. And that’s no way to live. But Dorian has one trick up his sleeve. All he needs to do is get enough money to Revise and then the smarts that come with that upgrade will help him buy more Revisions. All he needs is that first push, that first bit of cash, to get him started. After that first Revision, there’s no going back and it’s like Dorian has pushed himself down a steep slope and with every passing moment, every little Revision, the momentum pushes him further and faster toward the bottom. And there’s no stopping, only an imminent impact.

Keywords:

Upgrade, Genetic Manipulation, Genetic Augmentation, Implants, Speed, Robberies, Thefts, Criminals, Mastermind, Choice, Self-Enhancement, Anxiety, Worry, Regret, Unravel, Police

My Review:

Ethan is the partner in crime – willing to take everything to its farthest – which makes him the greatest partner, but also the worst in the end. Ethan will pull Dorian in, but he will also pull him in so far that neither of them will be able to crawl back out.

Dorian is smarter than he gives himself credit for and he gives himself enough quite a bit of credit. It’s just not enough to compete with the Revised… Being your best and trying your hardest isn’t enough because the rich kids can purchase better genes and are suddenly twice as good without even trying.

I fell in love with more than just the characters. Their situations and how they felt about their own lives was so tangible, so real that I empathized with them and their actions. Dorian IS a good guy. He spent five years trying to help a guy who had crippling anxiety. He spent years helping his brother pretend to be empathetic and cope with who he is.

I didn’t know what was coming, but I knew something was coming. Something big that was going to blow everything up for Dorian. The ending was everything I wanted it to be and more.

I was so intrigued with everything Jaden… Jaden is this black hole that is drifting closer to planet Dorian, ready to swallow him up.

I loved all the little details of this book and can’t wait to read more by Merritt Graves.

This novel will be published on 10/03/2018

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

NetGalley

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Book Review: Alfheim Seoul (Magic Parcel Service Book 1) by Chris Coleman

Alfheim Seoul (Magic Parcel Service Book 1) by Chris Coleman

A Coming of Age YA Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (06/12/18)

Summary:

Alecia is 15 and doesn’t want to get a job. Thankfully, she can always help out at her grandpa Dan’s Asian imports store to make some extra cash.

Out with friends one day, Alecia smells a faerie ring. Then she chances upon an otherworldly creature who is in danger. Magic is suddenly a part of her world and Grandpa Dan hasn’t been up front with her about what he knows about magic…

Keywords:

Magic, Fae, Portal, Asian, Travel, Chase, Evil Magic, Police, Escape, Student, Friendship, Soul, Coming of Age, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

My Review:

Alecia is a likeable character. She’s up front about what she’s thinking and what she’s doing. Her faults, like jumping into things without thinking, make her a more interesting character.

The plot and the writing style were easy and simple. This book was a fun and short adventure with a diverse cast that included non-humans. I liked that the main character and those that surrounded her were Korean and there were subtle hints at her diversity and uniqueness that blended into the story and the character.

I love that this story is set in Seattle! I loved the use of the portal between Alfheim and Seattle and thought every interaction with Iveragh brilliant in relaying backstory and showing us who Alecia was and what Alecia was like.

Alecia is 15 and the story is marketed for young adults, but I thought the writing style and simpler plot were written for a younger, more middle grade audience.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 06/12/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Chris Coleman’s Website

Book Review: Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves

Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves

A Space Opera Science Fiction Novel to be published (09/04/18)

Summary:

“There was so little I understood about this place. It all felt like I was teetering on the edge of a nightmare.”

“What kind of worlds would there be if people invented monsters and no one tried to stop them?”

Aaron expected to be sent to the rim; he expected to die. Instead, Aaron is assigned to Corinth and some other luckless foot-soldier assigned to the rim as a fatality statistic. Corinth is a training ground for students and home to some of the most elite scientists. The first rule of Corinth is to not break the rules, but Aaron and the other new students don’t even know the first rule yet. The superiors look the other way when certain rules are broken, but come down hard on those in their way and it won’t take long for Aaron to stick his nose out too far.

Keywords:

Science Fiction, Space Opera, Death, Planet, Colonize, Friendship, Fighting, Points, Blood, Classes, Science, Lab

My Review:

I was instantly sympathy with the main character, Aaron. Even though he chose his fate to be a suicide, an act of intervention (that we learn the details about later), gives him a kick in the butt to do otherwise with his life. It’s the camaraderie with the other students at Corinth and the sticking up for Sebastian that helps to show him that he wants to live. That he has something to fight for. Aaron spends a lot of time with his inner thoughts and turmoil regarding the morals in the choices he will make. I was right there with him, analysing the problem, and trying to find a solution where people wouldn’t die. It never felt black and white, I was torn about it as much as Aaron.

The lingo for the fights is above my head, but I could feel the excitement and follow the big picture. The specific tech lingo gave the scenes more authenticity, especially within the science fiction genre. My vocabulary; however, was challenged, in a good way. The writing style was smooth, yet complex. I was only confused by the time jumps with chapters.

The classes and the professors appeared authentic, and the information was delivered scientifically and logically. I felt like those classes truly exist somewhere in a universe somewhere. On that note, the world building was incredible.

The plot was built layer by layer into a flawless stack-up that slowly unraveled. Not everything was easy for the characters. They made mistakes. Wrenches were thrown in their plans. New developments arose. It was like watching a real life catastrophe unfold in slow motion. This book had one of the most suspenseful and well-written climaxes that I’ve read.

This novel will be published on 09/04/2018

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

NetGalley

Book Review: Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams

Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams

An Urban Fantasy Novel published by Rumian Publishing (05/29/18)

Summary:

“I avoided an ordinary life long enough for the extraordinary to corner me. Now I’m trying to do something about it.”

Pax Kuranes is a card player. She only works during the night, when a certain type of person is out and about. She doesn’t mind it. She enjoys her nights and her wins. With her current night’s winnings she hopes to get into a poker tournament and win big. But after a crazy spouting nonsense about a minotaur bumps into her and suddenly her winnings disappear, a mysterious man who wants to recruit her for a nearly fictitious branch of the government, rumors of monsters and creatures turn out to be true, Pax won’t be able to go back to her simple life playing cards.

Keywords:

Gambling, Winning, Money, Disappear, Fae, Fairies, Monsters, Sewers, Tunnels, Government, Ministry, Interference, Gang, Kidnapping, Family, Friendship, Weapons, Shooting, Escape, Life or Death

My Review:

The author is great at pushing the msytery early on while giving us just enough details to keep us interested as the story slowly unfolds. The language is complex and the writing style is excellent. I love that the main character is a female, but without any gendered baggage. Pax is just as sharp as the author and his writing.

I think Letty was my favorite character. She is hilariously rude. Her insults are snappy and creative. She is such a funny character. Letty is a kick-butt character who is uncompromising in her personality and I wish more female characters (good or bad) were like her.

Phil Williams has expertly mastered the art of description and sensory detail. This book was so masterfully written that I got lost in the scenes and the imagery.

As someone trying to learn better negotiating I appreciated the parts where Pax negotiated. I loved seeing negotiating in action.

Very rarely do I find an urban fantasy that is so good I can’t put it down. An urban fantasy any reader would enjoy. An urban fantasy that is well written. Typically I don’t even like this genre of fantasy, but Under Ordshaw was an amazing and shining example of a good book that happened to be urban fantasy.

I liked how the diverse characters had equal voices and equal stories. I liked how well developed the fantastical elements were and how vivid the descriptions of the beasts were. I liked How witty the dialogue was and how fast-paced the action was.

The writing is also sometimes as cheeky as the dialogues between Letty and Pax, kind of like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

This novel was published by Rumian Publishing on 05/29/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Phil Williams’ Website

Book Review: What Happens at Con: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 4) by Cathy Yardley

What Happens at Con: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 4) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by RYW Publishing (07/31/18)

Summary:

Ani is prepared to spend the next two years in her grad program dealing with a sexist adviser and a nearly insurmountable amount of work in addition to her own thesis. After one night of recklessness, one night of abandon, one night of worry-free sex with a stranger Ani still won’t set aside her goals for a fling, but maybe she can find the time for a relationship.

Abraham is starting to feel tired and alone without a partner. One night stands just aren’t cutting it anymore and when he meets Ani, he can’t get her out of his head.

He’ll have to fight to win her over. She’ll have to decide what’s worth her time and energy. Will either of them survive Ani’s thesis adviser from hell?

Keywords:

Convention, Fantasy, Coding, Gaming, Doctorate, Research, Lab, Bad Boss, Busy, Hardworking, Romance, Sex, Sexist

My Review:

I read this fast-paced romance in one sitting. As soon as I finished, I wanted to read more.

Yardley reels the reader in with her vibrant characters and their believable problems. I was riveted during the entire story.

I was pleased that Ani wasn’t your run-of-the-mill damsel, but none of Yardley’s characters are in any of the books I’ve read. Ani is such a great role model to read about. She’s a hard-working, nose-to-the grind woman who’s in STEM and going for her doctorate. She knows what she wants and she does what she has to do to get there. And yet society is still there pushing back at her for being a woman in STEM.

Abraham wasn’t a cut and dried male lead, either. Yardley gave him depth. There was much more to him than met the eye and I’m glad Ani didn’t immediately fall for his good looks. Scratch that, because she totally fell for his good looks! Even though she saw him as only his good looks to begin with (I see what you did there Yardley), she eventually saw past his surface level attractiveness to his personality.

This novel was published by RYW Publishing on July 31, 2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Aftan Whispers (Estalia) by Phil Williams

Aftan Whispers (Estalia) by Phil Williams

A Steampunkian-Dystopian Novel published by Rumian Publishing (01/16/18)

Summary:

“People who can do something to help others should!” Tyler said. “This is big. We can change the sky. We can change the world. It’s more than just doing the right thing, it’s the only thing.”

Tyler is a young roofer that gets pulled into Deni’s story after she drops a precious message. Tyler won’t stop at returning the message because Deni is in trouble. She’s on the run from the slavers and the Guard and someone more sinister than both combined. After figuring out the message together, they will work together to find a rocket, return what was lost, and take down the evil in their town.

Keywords:

City, Weapons, Post-Apocalypse, Friendship, Evil, Power, War, Fighting, Knives, Guns, Science, Secrets, Crowds, Village, Traitors, Government, Guards

My Review:

The pacing is excellent. The first scene is intriguing and will immediately pull you in. Most post-apocalyptic novels push ordinary folk into roles of heroism amidst a great and powerful evil. This novel; however, is different. Instead of the ordinary folks being up against an insurmountable enemy, Tyler and Deni are up agains the government of one town. Their home. As the plot unfolds, the stakes get higher, and the lies unravel, it is up to the two of them to uncover the evil and show those who can fight that there is a fight and that it is worth fighting.

Deni and Tyler are both conflicted. Deni wishes the world was an exciting place with good people, but realizes the world is full of people who don’t care about others or only care about their own plight. Tyler wants to think people do things for good reasons, but is slowly starting to see that not everybody has good intentions in mind. I espeically loved the scenes where Deni and Tyler commented on each other’s actions. Especialy telling was when Deni commented on Tyler ‘helping’ the lamp lighter guard in one of the beginning scenes.

Tyler is extremely empathetic – he feels the pain of others so clearly that he drops everything to help those in need. tyler is driven by a need to do right! he is the good in the world and becomes Deni’s driving force. He shows Deni that all is not bad in the world. He is the smile that brightens each moment and the embodiment of hope and life.

This novel was published by Rumian Publishing on 01/16/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Phil Williams’ Website

Book Review: The Time Mechanic by Victoria Bastedo

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The Time Mechanic by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (07/16/2018)

Summary:

“I’m the new Time Mechanic. I was chosen, just like you, to take on an important mission. We’ll journey, risk our lives, and perhaps never return. But we’ll save this present time from encountering wreckage so catastrophic that history is shattered here. We’ll save many lives.”

Jeremy lives a simple life. He works hard in an honest job and saves as much of his income as he can. That all changes when he gets the urge to buy a new coat. His life changes don’t end there with the coat. Jeremy must soon deal with an ex-fiancee and confront an old friend before everything he knows and counts on changes. Life as the new Time Mechanic is chaotic and dangerous. Still, Jeremy will find new friends and form a team. Together they will fight new enemies on their new adventures together.

Keywords:

Simple Times, Action, Adventure, Thievery, Ordinary, Secrets, Gifts, Fighting, Capture, Rules, Friendship, Family, Steam, Mechanics, Engineering

My Review:

Jeremy may be simple and plain, but he reveals himself to be smart, levelheaded (most of the time), honest, and caring. Though “it’s from ordinary friends that Time Mechanics are made” Jeremy is not ordinary. His life may be ordinary before he encounters the mysterious steam that changes his life forever, but he is a larger than life character who embodies the characteristics of a do-gooder. He picks up the mantle of savior and Time Mechanic naturally, though he continually questions his own role and and choice as the Time Mechanic.

I liked how the book was grounded in the relationships between Jeremy and his team and the plot that unfolds as the evil plans of the bad guys are slowly revealed. Jeremy is granted special powers as the Time Mechanic and the book is set in some undefined time period in a fictional place called Tonturin where there are no cars and life appears to operate on a much simpler plane of existence. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fantasy book that was grounded in the characters’ reality.

Jeremy takes on the responsibilities as Time Mechanic, but he does so willingly and with full knowledge of the rules and potential dangers. I liked how the rules of the Time Mechanic were revealed immediately, but the mystery surrounding how Time Mechanics came to be is revealed slowly. I especially liked rule 2 – “accept the help and company of others who are so compelled.” The way those “compelled” people resisted at first was very entertaining.

This book was grounded in some alternate past and the way women were viewed (by the narrator Jeremy) as more delicate and needing to be protected threw me off even though Kannikey and Ffefferpip both proved more able and crafty than Jeremy and Miles at times.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 07/16/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog

Book Review: A Case of Serendipity by K.J. Farnham

A Case of Serendipity by K.J. Farnham

A YA Teen Drama Novel published by K. J. Farnham Publishing LLC (03/20/2018)

Summary:

Ruth never signed up for Bucky’s Beans promotional tests and if they keep spamming her with their discounts, she’s going to go nuts! After failing to stop the messages herself, she resorts to a final plea on the company’s Facebook page. The company isn’t the one to respond to her, but a lawyer trying to sue Bucky’s Beans. At her wit’s end, Ruth signs up with the lawyer, Henry Mancuso. After adding him as a Facebook friend, Ruth and Henry keep bumping into each other offline. As they create the legal case against Bucky’s, their friendship grows. They both like each other, but can their relationship be more than professional?

Keywords:

Coffee, Lawyer, Suing, Biking, Running, Farmer’s Market, Spam, Promotion, Facebook, Romance, Friendship, Exes, Flirting, Quirky, Workaholic, Unsubscribe

My Review:

Another adorable and well written novel from Farnham. Every book I read from this author is better than the last. This book’s writing style was seamless. The romance was adorable and well-built. This book was a fun and lighthearted easy read.

I absolutely loved the quirky characters. I loved seeing Ruth from Henry’s perspective and from her own. She became more quirky through Henry’s eyes and I loved that about her (and the writing).

I enjoyed the lawyer talk, and thought the balance between the plot against Bucky’s Beans and the budding romance was done well. I did think some of the plot dragged a bit through the middle of the story.

This novel was published by K. J. Farnham Publishing LLC 03/20/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

K.J. Farnham’s Website

Book Review: The Call: A Baseball Novel by Laurie Boris

The Call: A Baseball Novel by Laurie Boris

A Women’s Fiction Sports Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (9/01/07)

Summary:

Margie is the first female umpire in the minor league of baseball – but it was an uphill battle. Without support from some progressive folks, she never would have made. Every step of the way she is disrespected, insulted, and worse because some people think baseball is a man’s world.

Keywords:

Baseball, Umpire, Season, Enemies, Sexism, Major-League, History, Historical, Women, First Female Umpire, Man’s World, Resistance, Career, Male-Dominated, Learning, Personal Growth

My Review:

The baseball scenarios went right over my head, but because of the excitement of being a part of the game, I didn’t care. I could feel the tense atmosphere in the stadium when the ball connected with the bat. I could feel the sweat from the players. I could sense the emotion and love Margie felt for the game and her role in it.

I loved Margie. I loved her conviction and her love of baseball. I loved her stubborn personality and her willingness to learn from her mistakes. She was an amazingly full and rich character. She is an excellent role model. She sticks by her calls.

I absolutely loved every scene with Margie and Wes. Their friendship was awesome and I liked that Margie had a relationship with a man that was not romantic.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 9/01/07 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Laurie Boris’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Nocturne by Heather McKenzie with Book Blitz

Nocturne by Heather McKenzie

A YA Novel published by Clean Teen Publishing (04/20/18)

Summary:

Kaya, free from her father, is not on her own. She has Luke and part of his crew. Hiding out in a random motel, they think they’re safe but it proves much harder to disappear then to run away. Kaya must leave behind those she loves to keep them safe and truly disappear. Or so she thinks.

Keywords:

Suspense, Romance, Love Triangle, Self-Discovery, Hate, Secrets, Mystery, Loyalty, Family, Hiding, Running, Escape, Heiress, Protection, Discovery, Past, Power, Corruption, Fight, Motivation, Money

My Review:

Nocturne starts off with a bang – right where Serenade left off. Kaya is still with Luke and all the problems revealed in book one are pressing down on her. She doesn’t just want to be normal anymore. She can’t have the normal life. Not with both her parents trying to find her – and not necessarily alive.

Kaya really comes into her own with this book. She is still young and ignorant of the wide world, but she is learning. She grows so much throughout this book, accepting who she is and what she must do. She is part of a larger conspiracy between her parents. A lesser person would slink off and disappear into whatever normal life is left for her, but Kaya shines. She is stubborn to a fault, but she almost always does what’s right. Even when it puts her in danger. Especially when it puts her in danger, it would seem.

Everyone falls in love with Kaya and her do-what-she-believes-in attitude. She wears her heart on her sleeve, will dig in her heels when she needs to, and will do anything to protect those she loves. Kaya is the heroine everyone wants to be and the woman all the men fall in love with.

I couldn’t put this book down and I can’t wait for more of Kaya’s story.

This novel was published by Clean Teen Publishing on March 20th, 2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Heather McKenzie’s Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Nocturne
Heather McKenzie
(Nightmusic Trilogy, #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Young Adult

I am hunted.
A pawn in a vicious game.
The only way I can protect the ones I love…
…is to disappear.

Finally free of her father, Kaya has the one thing that keeps her heart beating—Luke.

Blissfully content in his arms, everything seems perfect…until their world is shattered by a deadly invasion. When an old ally comes to the rescue, Kaya wants none of it. She is devastated to learn the identity of her attacker, and that she must do something truly heartbreaking if she wants to save the ones she loves. Sacrificing everything and sinking into bottomless sorrow, Kaya finds solace in an unlikely friend—one who shows her a different kind of love, and helps her discover an inner strength she never thought possible.

A heart-pounding journey of self-discovery, Nocturne is the transformative second installment of The Nightmusic Trilogy by Heather McKenzie.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Grab book 1 – Serenade – for FREE!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

I flew out the door into the cool night, took four steps, then stopped—the latest enlightening news about my father had sent me over the edge. Tears burst from my eyes. The last shred of hope I’d been hanging onto that Henry wasn’t all bad had been completely obliterated; he was an actual monster.

I dropped to the curb and put my head in my hands. The rain started falling, lightly dusting my shoulders at first, then becoming a downpour just to add to my misery. I became soaked head to toe, but I didn’t care. I stayed where I was, wishing the rain would melt me into a puddle that would drain into the gutter and then just disappear into the earth…

“You left something in my truck,” said a voice from out of nowhere.

At the edge of my vision was Ben, rain coming down even harder now and pouring off his cowboy hat in rivers. He was holding out a paper bag, which was now soaked. It was the muffin I hadn’t eaten.

“I didn’t want it to go to waste,” he added, eyeing me with concern, then glancing at the café window where I could feel many sets of eyes on my back.

I dropped my gaze back to the gutter. My body didn’t want to move, and I still held out hope that the rain might just wash me away. Ben said something, and then he hauled me up and turned me to face him. He lifted my chin, and I had no choice but to meet his eyes. The rain plastered my hair to my face, mixing with the tears that were spilling out of me with blinding force.

He gave me a weak smile. “I tried to leave. Got in my truck and was ten minutes out of town, but then I realized…” He paused, fumbling for the right words. “I could really use some help at my ranch. Now, the job doesn’t pay much, but you’ll have your own room and all the food you can eat.
You’ll be dry.”

He waited patiently for an answer, but I was so grateful that all my words caught in my throat. He tossed the paper bag with the muffin into the garbage. After a quick glance at the internet café and the white-haired waiter watching from the doorway, his hand firmly latched onto mine. I had the sense I wasn’t being given a choice, I was going wherever this cowboy wanted me to.

“I’m taking you home now,” he said over the downpour.

Home. Home was in Luke’s arms….

The rain was falling in sheets. Since I wasn’t about to turn into a puddle and dissolve, I let the cowboy lead the way.

 

Author Bio:

Heather McKenzie is the Canadian author of The Nightmusic Trilogy. Also a professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she told stories through music for years before falling in love with novel writing. Heather pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. She is a rocker at heart, a mom of three and an aspiring painter.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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