**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Ark by Patrick S. Tomlinson

This novel is brilliant! I hardly ever use exclamation points in reviews but I really believe this book has earned it. Rarely can I pick up a sci-fi novel and be completely absorbed in its story, but there's something very special about The Ark. The mystery, the military conspiracy and the human interactions are just a few things that make this story so gripping. I also think it's the subtle way the author was able to illustrate the fragility and the resilience of the human race

The book feels very similar to Robert J. Sawyer's Red Planet Blues, but it still manages to retain its originality. Like Sawyer's novel, it's a mystery/thriller that just happens to be set in space. In The Ark, we follow Chief Bryan Benson as he investigates the murder of Edmond Laraby, an important geneticist for the survival of the human race. His suspect list is 50 000 long, so basically anyone on board the ark, the ship that hold the last of the human race. The ark is on a two centuries old voyage to a new planet since Earth has probably been destroyed by a black hole called Nibiru. Some believe it was an act of God, others think it's a message to the human race to take better care of its resources. Benson has his theories and his hunches, but being led on a wild goose chase leads him nowhere near the real killer.

Benson has no real experience dealing with murder investigations. What he knows is limited to old Earth movies. His duties are usually limited to enforcing conservations codes, codes that are written to help ensure human survival with its limited resources. Since the ship is fast approaching its final destination, Tau Ceti G, Benson needs to solve this mystery before the Flip, less than two weeks away. His hunches are telling him that something else is about to happen that might put the whole ship at risk. Unfortunately, terrorism isn't something that died with Earth. A small faction of terrorists seem to have emerged from the depth of the ship, and Benson has no proof and no leads to tracking them down. He really believes there's a link between the Laraby murder and the possible terrorist threat, however, he has no way to prove it.

While the author took the time to describe who is on the ship and what it's general mission is, the writing could be a little bit more refined, especially when it comes to describing the ship and its hierarchy. Some scenes were a little bit rough, but as the series moves on, and the author gains more experience, I anticipate better quality in the future. The character building was also quite limited and I would have liked more background information on the main characters. I do appreciate the little details such as the food available on the ship, and some of the technology described. I'm also really glad the author uses the metric system, despite the fact the book was published in the USA. And as a big sports fan, I'm delighted the author took the time to develop a sport that can be played in space. I mean, two centuries is a long time and humanity does need entertainment to stay sane.

As a whole, I definitely recommend this book, not just for this series debut, but for the possibility of what's to come. There's so much more to be told, especially since so many secrets and lies were exposed in the last few pages of the book. Also, the ship hasn't even arrived to its final destination, and already you can feel the anticipation about landing on a new planet. The Ark and Patrick S. Tomlinson certainly deserve more recognition and I strongly urge you to become their next supporter.





Saturday, November 26, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [234]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Happy Thanksgiving weekend to those celebrating in America!

Honestly, I haven't added anything to my shelves this week. It's probably for the best because Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was released yesterday. And while I'm only (already?) half way through, I feel like four extended episodes won't be enough for me so I'll end up binge watching all the previous seasons. As a huge fan of Gilmore Girls, I'm ecstatic about this revival. What about you? Are you a fan?

gilmore-girls-befa2363-6f7b-4a68-a37f-17e99fd3513cCredit: Netflix

Even though I'm not stacking anything new on my shelves, feel free to share what you go this week! Have a wonderful weekend!


[inlinkz_linkup id=680101]

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray

A Million Worlds With You is the the third and final book of the Firebird trilogy. I got hooked on this series a couple years ago and I finally got around to finishing the trilogy. Quite honestly, I was a little disappointed in the conclusion but the actual story was still gripping and exciting. I love the idea of corporate conspiracy through different dimensions and Claudia Gray delivers an intense man hunt through different worlds. She also delivers a touching love story that spans through different universes, uniting Marguerite and Paul time and time again.

Marguerite is chasing after another version of herself, a broken and angry Marguerite that is willing to destroy other worlds to achieve the ultimate goal of saving her sister. But the main Marguerite, the narrator of the book, can't justify destroying other worlds, killing billions of people to save the life of only one person. The only way Marguerite can save these other worlds is by travelling to these different dimensions, save her other selves, and neutralize the plan threatening those dimensions. Marguerite not only travels to different dimensions, but she also finds herself in different places like a futuristic London, a primitive Roman civilization, an antiquated Egypt, a space station, a soviet Russia and many other. Honestly, I love reading about all these different worlds. It's almost like reading short stories, mini adventures that fit into a much larger one.

What I love the most about the book is Marguerite and Paul. Their lives seem intertwined in all the universes they visit, which proves to Marguerite that there's a force uniting them time and time again. Their love literally span dimensions, however, her version of Paul isn't convinced that they're meant to be together. His soul was actually fractured into many pieces, and although Marguerite was able to put him back together, he still feels broken and unfit for Marguerite's love. Their relationship might be complicated, but it's also a captivating one. I love the small intimate moments they have together and you can't help but hope for the best for these two.

The main issue I've had with this series is the use of the Firebird, the device that lets the holder travel through dimensions. The author sort of explains the idea behind dimension jumping but doesn't fully describe the actual device. She doesn't say if it has buttons or a digital display to let you know which world you might have entered. It seems that Marguerite takes a chance every time she jumps dimensions that she'll end up in the right one and we don't really know how she manipulates the Firebird to accomplish the jump. I'm a very visual person so I always enjoy descriptions. It seems the author took the easy way out and chose the least scientific character and made her the narrator. Everyone one else seem to be science geniuses but Marguerite blanks whenever they try to explain anything "too complicated for her artistic brain." I'm sure if she took the time to learn she would understand, but I guess for the sake of fiction, Marguerite ignore the math and the science bits.

I highly recommend this series to anyone that enjoys a thrilling science fiction story. However, a fair warning: the novels can't be read on their own. They really need to be read one after the other. Because each novel spills into the next one, I would actually recommend reading them one after the other. Nothing better than binge reading a great series!


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [233]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Happy weekend everyone! Sorry for this post being so late in the day, but at least I didn't forget completely! This week, I only added one book to my digital shelves, which I'm currently listening to. I'm hooked on this series and I'm binge listening to it, one book after the other.



Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones

Once I'm done binge listening this series, I'm looking for recommendations for my next series to listen to. Any suggestions? Leave your recommendations in the comments and don't forget to share your own StS.

[inlinkz_linkup id=678707]


Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Wizard Returns by Danielle Paige

The Wizard Returns is the third prequel to Dorothy Must Die.  It can be read as a standalone, no problem, but you can also read reviews of the other books by clicking on the titles:  No Place Like Oz (#0.1), The Witch Must Burn (#0.2), Dorothy Must Die (#1).

These prequels have been so enjoyable that I almost regretted coming to this final one!  I've already got a copy of The Wicked Will Rise from my library so that I can stay in this alternative Oz.  The Wizard Returns was, unfortunately, the weakest of the prequel trilogy.  Not to say that I hated it; it just wasn't as WOW as the first two.  The title is just slightly off- it turns out that the wizard never left Oz!  His balloon crashed, he landed in the field of poppies, and has been asleep for 20+ years.  When he wakes, all of his memories are gone.

This novella traces his journey from the field of poppies to the headquarters of the resistance.  Along the way, he's guided by an Ozian named Pete, who takes him through three "tests" to earn his memory back.  The story wasn't terrible, but it was pretty full of tropes.  I didn't sense a ton of imagination in this one.  Terrible person gets amnesia and needs to redeem himself?  Done before.  Three tests/tasks to earn a big reward?  Done before.  I even saw the grand finale coming, in a way.  (I didn't specifically see fairies, but you know what I mean.)

I also wasn't really "feeling" the wizard, as the young folks say.  ;)  He came across as rather whiny, petulant, and weak.  I understand that life isn't going as he'd planned, but come on!  Pete just explained that he was a terrible guy and that he gets a second chance!  Be grateful, not whiny!  Overall, I'm not entirely certain this particular novella was all that necessary.  :/

Something that made it all much better, though, was the narration!  I listened to the audiobook of The Wizard Returns and the reader was fantastic.  His voice was lively and upbeat; a real joy to listen to.  He also did different voices/accents for each character, without any of them sounding contrived or goofy.  Real talent!  I'd listen to more books read by Luke Daniels.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [232]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Happy weekend fellow readers! I’m on the road this weekend but I did take the time to post this Saturday. Apparently none of us had anything to share last week, and quite honestly, it completely slipped my mind. I'm so sorry about the slip up.

I did, however, go a little crazy on Sunday. Chapters Indigo had a wonderful sale so I couldn't resist!



A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray

The Rift: Uprising by Amy S. Foster

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

The Beast by J.R. Ward

The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

 Let me know what is stacking your shelves this week. Again, I'm sorry for forgetting last Saturday. I think I more than made up for it today!


[inlinkz_linkup id=677239]

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Witch Must Burn by Danielle Paige

The Witch Must Burn is the second book of the prequel trilogy to Dorothy Must Die.  It's not necessary to have read Dorothy Must Die or No Place Like Oz in order to enjoy this one, but you can read reviews of them by clicking on the titles.

No Place Like Oz, the first prequel in Dorothy Must Die: Stories, was kind of dark.  Dorothy was the quintessential nasty, angsty teen... to the umpteenth degree!  So it was really refreshing to get into The Witch Must Burn, told from Jellia's point of view.

Jellia is a servant, the head ladies' maid, in Dorothy's castle.  Even though she's just a teen herself, she's still old enough to remember what Oz was like under Ozma.  Right from the beginning of the novella, the reader can sense her depression regarding Dorothy's rule.  She misses Ozma, and worries about her.  She despairs that things could ever improve again.  On top of that, she still has to work for the very mercurial and often mean Dorothy, and keep a big secret.  (You know I never give things away in my reviews!  You'll have to read the book to find out more!)

My heart went out to Jellia!  She's trying so hard to please Dorothy and to shield her subordinates from Dorothy's wrath.  She's not a naively blind follower, though- she knows that Dorothy is in the wrong.  She just doesn't know what to do about it.  Yet.  (*wink wink nudge nudge*)

If you've read Dorothy Must Die, you'll know what needs to be done.  Even if you've read it, though, you'll still be surprised at the path that Jellia takes to get there.  I know I was!  It was heartbreaking in places, but always inspiring, what with Jellia's never-say-die attitude.  There were even a few parts that were almost reminiscent of mad scientist horror tales, so it was a perfect October read for me.

The only small quibble I had was with the reader (I listened to the audiobook of The Witch Must Burn)- she just wasn't my taste.  I can't exactly put my finger on anything in particular that was wrong; I think the accent just wasn't my cup of tea.  It wasn't bad enough to distract me from the story or anything, so there's a good chance that other people will love the narrator.


Monday, November 07, 2016

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

This book is genius. Everything about it is entertaining and captivating. What's so brilliant about it is the fact that it encompasses so many different genres and themes. The right genre might be speculative fiction but I would definitely categorize it as science-fiction. However, it's so much more than that. It's also a mystery thriller with a hint of corporate surveillance and psychological suspense. It tells the story of a man that lives and would do anything for his family. His love for his wife and son is what keeps him going and what makes him such a powerful protagonist.

Everything starts going wrong for Jason the night his friend is awarded a prestigious prize in science achievement. Jason is a little bit jealous of his friend, believing he could have won the prize if his life had turned out differently. If instead of starting a family, he had pursued his research in experimental physics. As he's leaving his favourite bar, where his friend is still celebrating, Jason is abducted and thrust into a whole new world where nothing makes sense and everything isn't as it should be. He's no longer married. He doesn't have a son. He owns the same house, yet everything is different.

Jason's experience with this alternate reality is confusing at first, and it's confusing as a reader too because you have no idea where the storyline is going. The way the book is written is brilliant because we experience Jason's confusion, disorientation, and frustration as the story unfolds. The scientific explanation behind alternate realities is intelligent yet not too complicated. The author makes the story very accessible and doesn't confuse the reader too much with complicated theories. He explains just enough to keep the story going. However, the more Jason investigates and asks questions, the more trouble he seem to be getting into. His quest to find his way back home is filled with violence, death and the unknown.

The author manages to tell an incredible story while raising many existential questions. He makes you question reality and makes you wonder if your life would have turned out differently based past decisions. He also makes you wonder if there's another you out there, living a different life, in a different world. This book takes the question "what if?" so much further than you could ever have imagined. I envy Jason, in a way, because he got the chance to see how his life might have turned out based on a decision he made 15 years ago. However, I don't envy his pain and the trouble he had to go through in order to survive his journey.

Dark Matter takes you on a wild ride but deep down, it's the story of a man, trying to find his way home. Human nature makes us do incredible things but for Jason, his emotional attachment to his wife and son is what keeps him going. Dark Matter may be a science-fiction novel, but I personally see it as a love story that spans multiple dimensions. I highly recommend this novel. It has been nominated for a Goodreads award for a reason!



Thursday, November 03, 2016

Second Look: No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

No Place Like Oz is the first of three prequel novellas to Dorothy Must Die, packaged together in Dorothy Must Die: Stories.  I listened to the package as an audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed them.  You can see Stephanie's review of Dorothy Must Die here, but it's not necessary to have read it first to enjoy No Place Like Oz.  And you can read Jonathan's original review of No Place Like Oz here.

No Place Like Oz opens on Dorothy's sixteenth birthday.  Even in the 1920's, this is a big deal birthday for a young girl.  She's going to have a party that afternoon, but everything starts to go wrong.  First, her Aunt Em disappoints her with a smaller-than-expected birthday cake.  Then she catches her friends gossiping about her and her tales of Oz.  The straw that breaks the camel's back?  Her aunt gives her a mustardy brown, long, spartan dress for her birthday instead of a new, hip dress.  She skulks off to her bedroom and wishes very hard to return to Oz.

This novella fills in the back story that is touched upon very briefly in Dorothy Must Die.  In it, we find out how Dorothy could go from the naive little farm girl in The Wizard of Oz to the monstrous sorceress in Dorothy Must Die.  It's not an overnight process.  It's a series of small decisions that change her personality little by little.  In fact, the whole novella could be read as a cautionary tale, or fable:  be careful what you wish for.

I was impressed with how well fleshed-out Danielle Paige's Dorothy was, especially considering the shorter length of this story.  She's complex:  even while feeling shame and anger over the upcycled dress gift she still recognizes that she should be grateful to Aunt Em.  She feels intense love and protection for her aunt and uncle, even as they exasperate her over and over again.  This is so true!  Who hasn't felt exasperation at a loved one?

I had read Dorothy Must Die before reading No Place Like Oz, so I was pleasantly surprised to feel compelled to listen.  I thought it'd be a somewhat ok fluff of a story; just something to fill out the story a little bit.  Wrong!  It's a very good story in it's own right.  Even with "knowing the ending," I enjoyed every twist and turn in the plot.  It wasn't overly predictable at all, with a few unexpected elements.

The narration was good, too.  I really liked the reader, Andi Arndt.  She did a fantastic job!

Another excellent aspect to this prequel novella?  I'm doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016, and this will count as half of my "a book and it's prequel" item!  :)