Book Review: Lies & Legacy (Project Gene Assist Book 3) by Allie Potts

Lies & Legacy (Project Gene Assist Book 3) by Allie Potts

A Science Fiction/Cyberpunk/Dystopian Novel published by Axil Hammer Publishing (03/26/20)

Summary:

Juliane wakes out of her cryogenic sleep to a devastated world where her legacy, her tech, is not being used the way she intended. What’s left of humanity is on the brink of war as those with the opportunity have stepped up to seize control. Can Juliane stop them? Stephen is convinced that Juliane can stop the drain, the key to halting the power-hungry new world leaders. All he has to do is find her before it’s too late.

Keywords:

Genetic Engineering, Science and Technology, Rivals, Technology,  Future, Dystopian, Survival, Dark Ages, War, New Government, Towers, Grit, Magic, Evolution, Economic Collapse, New Order, Salvation, Friendship, Romance

My Review:

It was difficult to pick up this third book after so much time between finishing book two. I couldn’t remember who the characters were, their relationships to each other, or what they wanted and how they got there. The third book starts off where book two ends without a lot of re-explanation of what happened before and it took a few chapters to get back into the swing of the plot and hooked into the current dilemmas. If I hadn’t immediately skipped to chapter one, I would have seen the handy recap of characters at the end of the book listed in the table of contents that would have helped me sort out who is who. If you’re also not reading each book right after the other I would highly recommend browsing the contents at the end of the book as a great refresher into the many characters.

I couldn’t wait to see how the isolated characters finally met up in the end. I did enjoy reading their separate journeys as they traveled through the post-apocalyptic landscape. I also enjoyed the growing romances between several of the characters and felt it added more depth to this novel.

Every time Juliane used her abilities for something small, like lighting up a dark space with her own body and technology, I was fascinated. The small details in the world building were well done and very intriguing. Juliane, as a strong female main character from the previous novels, continues to be a leader in this third novel of the series.

This novel was published by Axil Hammer Publishing on 03/26/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Allie Potts’ Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Gospel for the Damned by Gordon Gravley

Gospel for the Damned by Gordon Gravley

A Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Book published by Amazon.com Services LLC (03/23/13)

Summary:

The deadly contagion called the Omega Virus has been contained to the heavily quarantined city of San Francisco. Journalist Aaron, immune to the virus, is assigned to enter the area and investigate the initial release of the virus. Rumors point to a single minister suspected of purposefully releasing the virus. Upon entering the quarantined zone, Arron finds a city that is still like a war-zone and the people left within it are quite different than he imagined.

Keywords:

Contagion, Virus, Deadly, Quarantine, Bay Area, Journalist, War-zone, Violence, Misery, Death, Immunity, Investigation, Minister, Law, Friends, Suffering

My Review:

I was fascinated by the details of the quarantine and the psychological effects of being quarantined and of being so close to death’s door from the deadly virus. This book is even more fascinating in light of recent world events (Covid-19). The idea of the deadly contagion and the effective quarantine on the bay area is a compelling idea that has been truly well thought out in this book. The story has a Mad Max feeling within its city landscape.

Though this book felt like more of a slice of life than a story with a traditional plot, I did enjoy it quite a lot. The subtle plot that was introduced was slow to develop and it took a while for me to get hooked on the characters and to become fascinated by the world building centering on the idea of a plague and quarantine.

Another critique I had was the way the narrator created distance from all the current action by talking about these events as they occurred in the past.

This novel was published by Amazon.com Services LLC on 03/23/2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Gordon Gravley’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Tailwinds Past Florence by Doug Walsh

Tailwinds Past Florence by Doug Walsh

A Time Travel Romance/Adventure Novel published by Snoke Valley Books (01/22/19)

Summary:

“It was the nature of cycling to have your emotions dictate the pace.”

Kara had always wanted to travel the world by bicycle but Edward is too caught up in his work to take several years out of his career for this shared dream vacation. The day Edward loses his job is the day he will commit to cycling around the world with Kara, and not tell her why he changed his mind about the adventure of a lifetime. Little by little she will suspect something is going on with Edward as they race around the world together. Not only is Edward keeping secrets, but they keep discovering other mysterious travelers along their route.

Keywords:

Travel, Adventure, Marriage, Secrets, Cycling, Journey, Partners, Time Travel, Discover, Escape, Love, Mystery, Weather, Workaholic, Dream Adventure, Soul, Eternal Love

My Review:

Is it really possible to cycle around the world? What happens if you start too early in the season and are stuck cycling in the snow, mere inches from trucks and cars on the road? I was immediately hooked on the premise of this story and quickly dove into the plot of the book and the tension between Edward and Kara that was present all along. From the very beginning of the story, where Edward kept his first secret from Kara, I could tell that the tension was going to increase until all the secrets unfurled. And yet, the cute things that they did together and their easygoing nature made me root for their marriage from the get-go. What was going to happen to keep them together or to finally push them apart as a couple?

Meanwhile – they encounter various difficulties along their route, not to mention the fact that Edward keeps pushing them past their original pace, racing to a finish line only he can see. I wanted to yell at him to just come clean! He knew all along what Kara valued and yet he obstinately kept justifying his actions by telling himself that he wanted to provide for her, blindly ignoring the fact that that’s not what Kara wanted. And Kara wouldn’t talk to Edward about her misgivings, only expressing her anger when Edward blatantly changed something about their route. It’s easy to blame them both for lack of communication because it’s not always easy to talk with those you love.

At first I didn’t care to switch plots and characters from the young cycling couple to Alessio but soon realized the importance of Alessio and appreciated his perspective. He was at times both funny and rude! It was quite hilarious to read some of his scenes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of the difficulties of cycling and traveling along lesser used paths and through smaller towns. The author was very adept at providing all sorts of tension, from the couple’s relationship, to the setting, to the addition of the mysterious men that kept appearing along their route.

This novel was published by Snoke Valley Books on 01/22/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Doug Walsh’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Flight of the Spark: Book 1 of the Outlawed Myth Fantasy Series by Evelyn Puerto

Flight of the Spark: Book 1 of the Outlawed Myth Fantasy Series by Evelyn Puerto

A YA Fantasy novel published by Open Water Books (12/03/2019)

Summary:

“Taking a risk stretches you, so you can find out what you can do, instead of being sure you cannot.” (Location 2602).

Iskra has lived in her small town her entire life. She is safe. She follows the rules. But she longs to visit the next town over and when her mother allows it, she giddily accompanies her friend on the trip. The road between towns is dangerous, full of Riskers and other barbarians. Iskra wasn’t worried before stepping outside the town’s gate, but with only the protection of the guards Iskra is plagued with worry. Even her carefree friend can’t keep her from anxious thoughts and when she misses the caravan back to town, to safety, what will Iskra risk to get back home in time? What else is Iskra willing to risk when her friend is taken because Iskra was a cowardly mushroom? The more Iskra learns how the town keeps peace and safety for all its citizens, the more Iskra is willing to risk.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Travel, Journey, Risk, Attack, Flee, Hide, Town, Secrets, Dystopian, Power, Prophecies, Rulers, Guardians, Guards, Peace, Safety, Love, Friendship

My Review:

From the moment I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down. Before I had even started reading, this book contained certain elements I love in YA books: dystopian features and a female main character.

The mood is set so well, especially in the beginning. “The wind picked up, raising goose bumps on Iskra’s arms.It rocked the branches of the trees that stood behind the pines back and forth, rustling the leaves, sounding to Iskra like a thousand whispered threats.” (Location 316). The writing style was very easy to read and flowed from word to word and page to page. It was the dystopic plot, though, that really drew me in.

The story was very well set and the world building was very well done. Tension and mystery hinted at a deeper plot that both Iskra and I couldn’t help but run toward. The suspense and tension builds until the end.

I loved how much Iskra grew throughout the book. She is such a dynamic main character. As the reader, we really get to know and understand where she is coming from and how brave she is to question her surroundings and change. Those around her were fully fledged characters with backstories. The love story is well crafted and very believable and so sweet.

I can’t wait to read book two.

This novel was published by Open Water Books 12/03/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Evelyn Puerto’s Website

Book Review: The Mere’s Crown: Anthym Quest: Book Two by Victoria Bastedo

The Mere’s Crown: Anthym Quest: Book Two by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy novel published by Amazon Digital Services (11/25/2019)

Summary:

Anthym’s quest to find the Mere and save Moonlight continues. The Otterby travels with Anthym, along with members of the Blue Guard, leaders of the town of Moonlight, their out-of-town guide and her two friends. It is still unclear why Anthym was chosen, why he was changed, and why the gate is failing. It is up to this group of travelers to find the Mere and set things right again, but their journey is full of perils along the way.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Mythical, Otherworldly, Fighting, Quest, Water, Legend, The One, Boy, Change, Family, Friendship, Soldier, Citizen, Travel, Quest, Journey, Passageway, Training, Waiting, Secrets

My Review:

It was clear to me why Anthym was changed in the first book and I thought that the characters should have also guessed what his newfound abilities would be for; however, I wasn’t completely correct in guessing what Anthym was called to do in the end. This second book focused less on Anthym and more on the group’s journey as a whole, which I enjoyed.

It took me nearly a third of the book to get really into the story, though. This second book picks up right where the first book leaves off and they are already partway through their journey to the Mere. There wasn’t enough sense of urgency until the group gets to the water. Then I couldn’t put the book down.

I really enjoyed reading more about Kye and his story. I think he grows as much as Anthym does during the Anthym Quest Books. I really loved the fantasy setting of the world outside of Moonlight as well as the creatures that roamed (not all of them friendly) in this setting.

I enjoyed this second book more than the first and recommend reading them both one after the other.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 11/25/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Book Review: Otterby’s Child (Anthym Quest: Book One) by Victoria Bastedo

Otterby’s Child (Anthym Quest: Book One) by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy novel published by Amazon Digital Services (11/22/2019)

Summary:

Moonlight must find the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son before it is too late. Legend tells that this prophesied child will be the one to save Moonlight. Each night the bells toll, signifying that another day has passed and the child has not been found. Yet, fourteen years later, the steadfast and determined soldier Kye finally finds the boy. As three generations approach Moonlight’s gate, the question in everyone’s mind is not whether the boy is truly the ninth of the ninth of the ninth, but whether the town is really in any peril and what such a young teenager can do to save it.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Mythical, Otherworldly, Fighting, Quest, Water, Legend, The One, Boy, Change, Family, Friendship, Soldier, Citizen

My Review:

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read epic fantasy, but you still want elements of high fantasy, then Anthym Quest may be for you. Anthym, the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son is mysterious, the unusual sibling and an unlikely hero who begins as a sarcastic teenager but must mature rapidly as he undergoes a fantastical change.

I really, really liked the concept of the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son and of a town that could be swept out to sea like in the movie Frozen. Evil is out there, somewhere. Are the Mere evil? Are the townsfolk evil? Is the possibility that the entire town could be swept under water evil?

I tend to prefer stories with a classic beginning, middle, and end story structure but Anthym Quest: Book One reads more like a prologue where the problem is described and the heroes are gathered for the journey ahead, much like the lengthy beginning of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 11/22/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 3.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Book Review: Barbara and the Rage Brigade by Karen Eisenbrey

Barbara and the Rage Brigade by Karen Eisenbrey

A Young Adult novel published by Not a Pipe Publishing (11/19/2019)

Summary:

Barbara had it all at the end of high school: a band, a group of friends, and her super cool superpowers. Now, her friends have left town for college and the band can’t practice without all the members. Barbara still has her superpowers at least but she’ll have to find her confidence again to make new friends. She’ll need all the help she can get when facing a new adversary in town.

Keywords:

Music, Band, Girl Band, Punk, Rock, Teenagers, High School, Superpowers, Garage Band, Invisible, Bully, Introverted, Church, Singing, Costume, Anxiety Driving School, Relationships, Friendships, Holidays

My Review:

Like the first book in this series, I read Barbara and the Rage Brigade from start to finish in almost one sitting. It is a very engaging story with interesting characters that is written in a mesmerizing writing style. This book is, in one word, polished.

This second book was more predictable than the first, but in the best of ways. The author even managed to pull off a complete happy ending, which is hard to do when some of the characters are villainous and even downright evil. I really, really enjoy reading about positive transformations, even when it appears hopeless.

I liked how the magic of book one expanded into a larger world of magic in this second book. More people had more powers and they were very interesting and imaginative powers. I would love to see how this magic develops even further and spreads out into the world even more with the next book.

Barbara is the sole narrator in this book and she grows into her superpowers even more. I really liked Barbara as the narrator. I especially loved everything to do with the anxiety driving school. Even though Barbara is often anxious around others, she seems to meet quite a few of them in the course of this novel. Each person she meets is unique and well developed.

My only critique is for the formatting. I’m not sure what is typical for formatting texts in a novel, but I am a very fast reader and was confused and had to slow down to read the message tags so that I knew who was texting. I wish the initials had been full first names instead, akin to dialogue tags.

This novel was published by Not a Pipe Publishing 11/19/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Karen Eisenbrey’s Website

Book Review: Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library Book 3) by Cathy Yardley

Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library Book 3) by Cathy Yardley

A Romance published by Amazon Digital Publishing (11/05/19)

Summary:

Thuy Nguyen is fully supportive of her best friend, Maddy… Even when Maddy returns to her childhood small town to become a farmer whilst pregnant and no baby-daddy insight. Small towns can be very judgmental and the local biker gang is no exception. It isn’t just the biker gang that harasses Maddy and Thuy, but one in particular is keen to bump into the duo of women. Maddy’s brother is a loyal member of the biker gang and he will have to decide between helping his sister or staying with his biker family. And Maddy can’t keep her eyes off of him but she knows intimately how impossible and dangerous a relationship with a biker can be.

Keywords:

Multicultural, Interracial, Library, Small Town, South, Romance, Contemporary, Motorcycle Club, Gang, Money, Inheritance, Siblings, Family, Love, Sex, Danger, Redemption, Loyalty, Fighting, Violence

My Review:

I absolutely loved the fact that Thuy is a librarian and has a great love for books, reading, and introducing others to the world of literature. I especially enjoyed the parts involving her talking about her love of books, how reading influenced her childhood (in a good way) and how she values those who value reading and books. The scene with Thuy talking to Drill about books was hilarious and even though his reaction seemed too good to be true, it was such fun to watch them bond over reading.

Thuy may seem like an innocuous librarian, but she is full of solid backstory and backbone. She is sweet and kind yet fierce and loyal. I loved how protective she was of Maddy and how close the two of them are in their relationship. I like how their friendship is such a strong bond. They are family. They support each other and don’t doubt the success of each other. I would have tried to dissuade Maddy from running a farm, but Thuy is with her best friend 100% on her decisions and is willing to learn how to be a farmer. She’s willing to give up her old life, her old job, her old way of doing things to be with Maddy through thick and thin.

I had to warm up to Drill. Just like it took time to warm up to that name, it took time to warm up to him as a character. A lot was stacked against him. Being part of a notoriously violent gang that doesn’t allow its members to talk to their ‘former’ family just seems childish. They have questionable morals but Drill proves that he’s ready to live a life less violent. He shows Thuy, his sister, and his MC family that he has changed over the years and I really liked seeing his transformation.

I was really worried that the ending couldn’t live up to the buildup and climax, but I was pleasantly surprised by the twist – which seemed obvious afterwards – and I was not let down at all. The resolution was very satisfying.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Publishing on 11/05/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Snow in Vietnam: A Novel by Amy M. Le

Snow in Vietnam: A Novel by Amy M. Le

A Historical Fiction novel published by Amazon Digital Services (05/24/2019)

Summary:

Snow is the youngest of seven children growing up in Vietnam during a time of war. Life isn’t always certain. The future isn’t always certain. Snow agrees to marry a Vietnamese man even though she pines for an American G.I. She gives birth to sick child with a heart problem. America could be her daughter’s chance to live and Snow’s chance for freedom. Vietnam is uncertain in times of unification but every time Snow gathers enough resources to leave, another tragedy forces her to prolong her escape.

Keywords:

Love, Family, Survival, Hope, Politics, War, Vietnam, Mother, Struggle, Historical, Women’s Fiction, Trust, Strength, Fear, Uncertainty, Freedom

My Review:

This book was gritty and raw. I didn’t always understand why Snow treated her daughter or family like she did at times, but I felt like I was looking into the life of a real person. Snow felt like a completely genuine person, flaws and all. Snow was the essence of bravery and determination. Her goal to escape with her daughter was always in her mind and always in her actions. But family and tragedy kept getting in the way. I loved how close knit family is portrayed in this book. The characters in this book would do anything for family – to honor them, to love them, to provide for them, to give them a chance for a better life.

The love story in this novel was cleverly wound around the war-torn country and its effects on Snow’s family. The mystery surrounding her G.I. will keep you guessing as to where he is. The book was sad yet compelling because Snow had the strength to continue to adapt and survive and care for her sick daughter. If she can live and prosper and love under those conditions, then anything is possible.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 05/24/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Amy M Le’s Website

Book Review: The Gospel According to St. Rage by Karen Eisenbrey

The Gospel According to St. Rage by Karen Eisenbrey

A Young Adult novel published by Not a Pipe Publishing (08/20/2019)

Summary:

Barbara Bensen doesn’t want to be invisible anymore. She’s ready to be seen. She wants to form an all-girl punk rock band but doesn’t know who to ask or how to ask them. Then she meets Jackson, charismatic and popular, and he introduces her to the first member of the future band. But Barbara isn’t the only one on the fringes outside of popularity who wants to be seen.

Keywords:

Music, Band, Girl Band, Punk, Rock, Teenagers, High School, Superpowers, Garage Band, Invisible, Bully, Introverted

My Review:

I absolutely adored Barbara’s inner commentary about herself and the world. She’s bleak and yet hopeful at the same time. She is the perfect blend of quirky and shy. She is the underdog I immediately root for. Her goal is to be seen. Her dream is to be in an all-girl rock band. I know what she wants and I’m right there with her wanting her to get everything she hopes for and more. We are all losers sometimes. Barbara’s story and her description of high school reminded me all too well of my own time as a shy girl in school.

I was at first shocked when Barbara wasn’t the only narrator in this story, but I really liked getting the perspective of the other students and members of the band. I loved how distinct each voice was and how each person had their own look, personality, and set of unique problems. I loved seeing the characters grow as the novel progressed.

I’m not a huge music person, but I really enjoyed all the nuances of starting a band and holding practices and performing. I could feel the band’s excitement when they were on stage and I was right there with them.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the supernatural element in this book as it seems to fit perfectly with Barbara and her teenage dramas, but them seems at odds with the very realistic contemporary setting. I’m not sure the story was improved by including this element of fiction, but I’m also not sure that it detracts at all from the story either. The plot was complex enough to where the fantastical element was not necessary but I’m interested to see where the author takes it in the sequel.

This novel was published by Not a Pipe Publishing 08/20/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Karen Eisenbrey’s Website