#Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff #Audiobook #ScienceFiction #YAFiction

There is no love greater than the one held for a well-written book, and I am starting to see now why The Illuminae Files has such a strong international fandom. Snarky, shameless intertextual, deliberately diverse, and the epitome of the high-stakes YA space opera, I can’t recommend this book and this series highly enough.


geminaTitle: Gemina

Series Title: The Illuminae Files

Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Listening Library

Publication Date: October 18, 2016

Genre: YA Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Themes: Space, Survival, Corporatism, Adventure, Love, Family, War

Features: N/A


My Rating: 5/ 5


Synopsis

From Goodreads…

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.


My Review

AAAAAAHHHHH!

Somebody tell me why I waited so long to get back into this series. Seriously! It’s so damned good, particularly the audiobook adaptation. Those voice actors deserve a freaking gold star because they brought this book to life!

At first I was a little sad that this story took a step away from Kady and Ezra, because their sass and dynamic was particularly magnetic, but cue Hanna and Nik and after 3 chapters I was totally sold. I mean you have a bad boy born into a family of crime that actually has a heart of gold, and a spoiled little rich girl who just so happens to be a tactical badass. Put them together with the combined threats of a damaged wormhole, psychedelic slime aliens loose in the station, and a sleeper cell that’s come to take out all remaining witnesses to the Kerenza attack and you have drama and action around every corner. If you hate adrenaline, big reveals, plot twists, and swoon-worthy slow burn romance with more yearning than one brain can reasonably handle, I strongly urge you to stay away.

What I loved most about this book is that it’s clearly written for teens and features teens. They’re old enough to know some shit and be badass, but young enough to still need their parents and question their every move. They grieve like teens, say and do stupid shit like teens, regularly reference pop culture like teens, and have to constantly defend their abilities to condescending adults like teens. Oh, and they enjoy rebelling against authority figures and asserting their newly found identities just let teens. This might be an epic space opera set at a wormhole jump station caught in the crossfire of multiple covering universes but these kids are REAL!

And can I just give a special shoutout to Ella? She might not be one of our main protagonists, but that girls is so damned likeable I legit cried every time she died because of the Gemina field. It was refreshing to see a physically disabled girl play such a strong and integral character. Not only is she a queen spider of the ones and zeros, she is young and vulnerable and incapable of caring for fish. I adored how she wore sarcasm like an armour and always added levity to those heavier moments.

There’s so much more to talk about – like a painfully beautiful traitor, Kady Grant’s father taking Hanna under his wing, the awesome depravity of the BeiTech strike team, and the trials the weave all of these disparate narratives together. But, I don’t like giving out spoilers and I fear that these comments would tread a dangerous line. Just know that every line is action packed perfection, and that you need to read it. Every element in these stories are so carefully wrought and expertly woven together that it’s almost impossible for me to accept that Gemina is a collaboration.

I can’t wait for our two divergent crews of space heroes and heroines to come together in Obsidio and kick some serious BeiTech ass. There will be sass, action, and attitude beyond measure, and I have the feeling that there is nothing in the verse that will stop them from succeeding.


I borrowed this audiobook from my local library as a result of blogger recommendations, all opinions are my own.

 

#Blogtour #Review: Rage and Retribution by Lorraine Mace @rararesources @lomace

Rage and Retribution Full Tour Banner

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the log tour for Lorraine Mace’s latest instalment in the D.I. Sterling series, Rage and Retribution. If you like a healthy dose of thrill as the perfect side to your crime fiction, then turn the lights on and dive right in.


Rage_&_Retribution_FCTitle: Rage and Retribution

Author: Lorraine Mace

Publisher: Accent Press Ltd.

Publication Date: February 13, 2020

Genre: Police Procedural, Crime Fiction, Crime Thriller

Themes: Rape, Torture, Nepotism, Vigilantism, Family Dynamics


My Rating 4.5/ 5


Synopsis

Rage and Retribution

Can two wrongs ever make a right?

A man is found by the side of a canal, comatose and brutally attacked.

It quickly becomes clear that someone is abducting men and subjecting them to horrific acts of torture. After three days they’re released, fighting for their lives and refusing to speak.

A councillor is accused of fraud.

Montague Mason is an upstanding member of the community. That is until he’s publicly accused of stealing the youth centre’s funds – an accusation that threatens to rip through the very heart of the community and expose his best-kept secret. But how far would he go to protect himself?

Two cases. One deadly answer.

As the two cases collide, D.I. Paolo Sterling finds he has more questions than answers. And, when torture escalates to murder, he suddenly finds himself in a race against time to find the killer and put an end to the depravity – once and for all.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1786156857

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1786156857


Review

Rage and Retribution has it all – a likeable and complex DI with a complicated home life, some serious white collar crime involving high-profile members of the community, and and an insanely twisted serial torturer all packed into an expertly entangled story. This is the kind of book that hooks you from the first few pages and won’t let you put it down until the very end, no matter how gritty the story gets.

Be warned though, this book is not for the faint of heart. Mace tackles some dark and potentially triggering content in detail, though I never found it to be gratuitous. There is detail of assault, rape, and torture that may make some uncomfortable. And while those torture scenes made me squirm just a little (okay, a lot), they created a tension and atmosphere that permeated every single page setting the most ominous of moods. I thought that it was really interesting to have male victims feature so prominently throughout, and the entire construct to be thought provoking on so many levels, especially since men rarely report these types of encounters.

Now add in a dynamic team with whom D.I. Stirling has an incredible bond, some serious workplace drama and accusations of nepotism, an ex-wife, and a teenaged daughter and you’ve got a healthy dose of character development and personal drama to balance out the darker elements of the story. And can I just say that the characters are so incredibly well written? Even the characters I hate I love because they are so believable and polarizing. I felt like I could pick out real-life counter parts for each and every character save the killer, but never once felt like I knew how the story was going to play out.

And the best part? While this baby might be part of a series, it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone novel. Details from the past are expertly folded into the narrative in way that feel natural and not at all like info dumps. The writing itself is superb, equal parts descriptive and enthralling, and packed full of an energy that simmers just below the surface until it finally explodes at just the right time. This is the kind of book that continuously rewards the engaged reader, as all the clues are there for the taking as the story progresses, but you have to work to put them together. It’s so damn good!

Stirling and his cases will take you on a gripping, dark, and utterly enthralling journey. I highly recommend not only this book, but the whole dang series. Dive in, collect the clues, and enjoy the ride.


About the Author

Rage and Retribution - Lorraine MaceWhen not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52


Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this tour. All opinions are my own.

Rage and Retribution

 

 

#Blogtour #Giveaway: Empire’s Hostage by Marian L. Thorpe @rararesources @marianlthorpe

Empires Hostage Full Tour Banner

Today I’m offering double feature of promo posts. First up: Empire’s Hostage by Marian L. Thorpe. The second instalment in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy, which delves into a meticulously wrought world strictly divided across gender lines follows our heroine Lena as she travels north of the wall. It’s engaging, it’s imaginative, and best of all, it can be read as a standalone!

Oh, and did I mention that there’s a giveaway? An INTERNATIONAL giveaway? Check out the rules and enter below.


Hostage ebook coverTitle: Empire’s Hostage

Author: Marian L. Thorpe

Publisher: Arboretum Press

Publication Date: July 16, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Themes: Adventure, War, Relationships, Strategy, Consequences


Synopsis

For fifteen months, the Empire and the northern people have been at war, but a truce is finally at hand. As part of this treaty, Lena, now a Guardswoman on the Wall, is asked to stand as a hostage, to go north to live and learn among the people of Linrathe. But not everyone there will welcome her. As Lena learns more of the history of both her land and the north, a new threat emerges, one that will test her loyalty to its limits, and in the end, demand a price she could not have envisioned.

Purchase Link – https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/70c2d124-98f8-11e9-a22b-0fa7c9705e88


Giveaway

Giveaway to Win a Paperback copy of Empire’s Legacy, the complete trilogy (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE –> http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494344/?


About the Author

Empires Hostage Author

Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the alternative world medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/marianlthorpe

https://www.facebook.com/marianlthorpe/

https://marianlthorpe.com/


Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this tour, and for proving a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Empires Hostage

 

 

#Blogtour #Review: A Shape on the Air by Julia Ibbotson @rararesources @JuliaIbbotson #Giveaway

A Shape on the Air Full Tour Banner

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Julia Ibbotson’s latest novel A Shape on the Air. Part slow-burn romance, part time-slipping mystery this baby will transport you back into post Roman Britain and leave you ready to take on the world.



A Shape on the Air cover 18.11.19Title: 
A Shape on the Air

Author: Julia Ibbotson

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Publication Date: July 27, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance

Themes: Time Travel, Romance, Abusive Relationships, Power Dynamics

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4/5


Synopsis

Unlocking a love that lasts for lifetimes – and beyond! When Dr Viv DuLac, a medievalist, slips into 499 AD and into the body of Lady Vivianne, little does she realise that both their lives across the centuries will become intertwined as they fight for their dreams … and their lives. How can the key which Viv bring back with her to the present unlock the love they both crave, and help them through the dangers they both face? And how can they help each other across the centuries, without changing the course of history?

Purchase Links – http://myBook.to/ASOTA


My Review

This book had me at the blurb, because who doesn’t want to time-slip back into 499 AD? Add in a saucy chambermaid, a steamy knight, a deplorable usurper, and a plucky heroine trying to avoid a forced marriage and you’ll find me snuggled up on the couch with tea and chocolates reading. But that’s only half of the story. On the other hand we have sexy, successful Viv who has just gone through a traumatic breakup with an absolute snake of a man, who is trying for a big promotion at work, and is struggling to come to grips with with her parents legacy 20 years after their death. Both worlds intersect in a dramatic dreamland that is fraught with betrayal, buoyed by budding romance, and driven by women on a mission.

I really enjoyed the mirroring of the characters between past and present – Viv and Lady Vivianne, Eleanor and Ellie, Tilly and Matilda, Sir Roland and Rory and so it goes on! This really helped to reinforce the notions of rebirth and history repeating itself which is so integral to the story. But, as all of the characters remain distinctly different from their counterparts, individuality and interest is easily maintained. I loved the magical elements too, as they allowed for a smooth transition between past and present, as well as an interesting bridge between Viv and her long lost parents.

There were a few times I wanted to grab Viv and give her the ‘WHY?!” shake, like why are you just going to let Pete take the flat you paid for? Why are you going to let him walk away with a business that you funded? Haven’t you heard of cohabitation and common law regulations? Woman, you have a PhD, you’re supposed to be smart! Buuuut, then I remember my maximum logic (or not) following my last big breakup, calmed down my fight-em instinct, and was able to settle into enjoying this story for the fun, uplifting read that it was.

Altogether this was fun and engaging read. It’s sweet, uplifting, and filled with real people and reactions (even when it wasn’t the way I wanted people to act). If you like a little magic and time travel with your romance, then don’t pass this one by!


Giveaway

A Shape on the Air RRR GiveawaysGiveaway to Win a Paperback copy of The Old Rectory, book mark, postcard, key ring, handbag fob.  (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK  entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE –> http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494342/?


About the Author

A Shape author photo image 3

Author Bio

Acclaimed, award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana, West Africa) specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a school teacher, then an academic as a senior university lecturer and researcher. As well as medieval time-slip, she has published a number of books, including memoir/history of food (The Old Rectory), children’s medieval fantasy (S.C.A.R.S), a trilogy opening in 1960s Ghana (Drumbeats), and many academic works. Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga and walking in the countryside in England and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time.

Social Media Links 

Website/blog   https://www.juliaibbotsonauthor.com

Facebook          https://www.facebook.com/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

Pinterest           http://www.pinterest.co.uk/juliai1

Twitter              @JuliaIbbotson


Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this tour, and for proving a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

A Shape on the Air

#Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff #Audiobook #ScienceFiction

One of the goals I’ve set myself for 2020 is to catch up on all those series where I read book one and never got around to reading the rest. I know, I know…bad me. But the good news is that I’ve actually been making some headway. Yippee!

Last week I ran a poll to see if all you bookish people would be game for a series review over individual reviews for each book thinking that I might be able to save myself some words, but noooooo. Y’all are a thirsty bunch!

So, get ready for a lot of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kritsoff this month. Here’s my 5* review for the first book in The Illuminae Files series Illuminae. It’s witty, intense, and quite possibly one of the best collaborations I’ve ever had the pleasure of engaging with. If you’re down for a space opera with kick-ass characters and a unique presentation, Illuminae is an absolute must – especially the audiobook!


illuminaeTitle: Illuminae

Series Title: The Illuminae Files

Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Listening Library

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Genre: YA Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Themes: Space, Survival, Corporatism, Adventure, Love, Family, War

Features: N/A


My Rating: 5/ 5


Synopsis

From Goodreads…

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents–including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more–Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


My Review

Honesty time:

When I first tried to engage with Illuminae in print I really struggled. Like, hard. I had this hate on in my mind that Science Fiction was not for me (yet, I kept trying to read it anyways?!) and that as an adult I should be above YA. Obviously, both notions turned out to be absolute bollocks – it just took me a little while to realize it. Fast forward a few years when the audiobook pops up on my library’s recommended listening app and I say to myself ‘Hey Jessica, you were unfair in the past, why not give this another try?’

Best. Decision. Ever.

No, seriously. The audiobook is absolute gold. Read with a full cast of hilariously engaging narrators and packed full of intertextual Easter eggs, Illuminae had me wishing it was serialized as some sort of radio story hour for the whole world to hear. My hour’s drive back and forth to work quickly became the favourite part of my day, and I simply had to sit in the parking lot or my driveway when I got to my destination and wait for each section to end before clicking off. It was that good.

Part intergalactic survival adventure, part break-up/ make-up love story, and 100% teen angst and snark I was enamoured within the first few chapters. I loved the dossier style presentation and it really forced the reader, or in my case listener, to pay attention and piece together all the clues as the story progresses. We have the characters that we know and love like our tech prodigy Kady Grant, the jock turned fighter pilot Ezra Mason, and our gloriously flawed and dysfunctional AI system AIDAN, as well as some unknowns like our mysterious analysts. Each character has a distinct voice not only terms of the voice actor, but also in terms of style and vernacular, which lends itself nicely to an immersive experience. You’ll quickly start wondering just who the Illuminae Group is, what their overall objective is, and just why exactly are they following the trials and tribulations of teen lovers on separate space ships when there is a massive corporate war raging around them.

While I normally lean heavily towards a strong female character as my favourite of the bunch, little AIDAN won this book hands downs. I’ve never once considered what it would be like to enter an artificial intelligence’s conscious and the idea of it was absolutely enthralling, especially as AIDAN moved closer and closer towards atypical behaviour. It becomes both the threat towards, and saviour of the people under its protection and it’s nearly impossible to guess which AIDAN is going to be from one passage to the next. It makes the hard, emotionless decisions that humans are not willing to consider and you will either love of hate it for them. And the thought of a computer falling in love with a hacker {ERROR}? Genius.

I was also particularly drawn to the tension created between those who accepted our teen protagonists as experts on, and potential solutions to, some very big problems and those that saw them as nothing more than kids. This became a particularly thought provoking theme and the story (and series) progresses and really encourages discussion around who has ‘knowledge’, and we should go about acknowledging these skill sets in increasingly complicated and stratified societies.

The only thing I disliked about this book was that when it ended I had to wait 4 days before the second instalment was available for listening. If you like Firefly, space dramas, and a whole lot of snarky humour then I cannot recommend this baby highly enough. And if you don’t jive with the print edition, go audio. I promise you won’t regret it.


I borrowed this audiobook from my local library as a result of read-alike recommendations, all opinions are my own.