Zero Bomb by M.T. Hill

**Disclaimer** I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Here is my honest review.**

The near future. Following the death of his daughter Martha, Remi flees the north of England for London. Here he tries to rebuild his life as a cycle courier, delivering subversive documents under the nose of an all-seeing state.

But when a driverless car attempts to run him over, Remi soon discovers that his old life will not let him move on so easily. Someone is leaving coded messages for Remi across the city, and they seem to suggest that Martha is not dead at all.

Unsure what to believe, and increasingly unable to trust his memory, Remi is slowly drawn into the web of a dangerous radical whose ’70s sci-fi novel is now a manifesto for direct action against automation, technology, and England itself.

The deal? Remi can see Martha again – if he joins the cause.

The picture of the near future M.T. Hill paints in Zero Bomb is most certainly a worrying one. Even more troublesome than the automation and technology mentioned in the blurb (above) is the notion that this future laid out in broad strokes could nearly become a reality. It’s absolute brilliance and I loved it.

I did find characterization to be slightly less than I would have liked. Remi, as a father, is fully fleshed out, but I didn’t get to see much of him outside of fatherhood and I think a little bit of that would have gone a long way. Obviously, in a standalone novel, there isn’t time to write every single aspect of a character’s life and personality, but a tad more could have given the story a boost.

The story itself moves quickly, slinging the reader to a whole new world, much to the author’s praise. I sincerely hope M.T. Hill keeps writing great books, perhaps taking a tad more time to work out the main character’s lives before the novel takes place and presenting the relativity to the story in a more articulate way. I look forward to it and I hope M.T. Hill is up for the challenge.

**** Four stars, because it was–characterization aside–a wonderful (read: terrifyingly electric) book. 

You can find M.T. Hill’s novel, Zero Bomb, at Amazon in Kindle and print formats NOW.

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A Demon And His Witch by Eve Langlais

DemonandhiswitchRelease date: June 2012
Genre: Paranormal romance

Burning alive is nothing compared to the heat of his touch.

There are better ways to break up with a girl than having her roasted at the stake as a witch. Is it any wonder Ysabel has trust issues? She got her revenge, though, and it only cost her a slightly tarnished soul.

Working for Lucifer isn’t all bad, until her ex-boyfriend escapes the bowels of Hell and she’s forced to team up with a womanizing demon to fetch the jerk back.

As a minion in Lucifer’s legion, Remy’s seen a lot of things, but nothing can prepare him for the witch with the acerbic tongue – and voluptuous figure. The more she pushes him away, the more determined he becomes to seduce her. However, what’s a poor demon to do when he accidentally falls in love and wants to keep her forever?

Welcome to Hell where you’re screwed if you do and damned if don’t. And just so you know, Lucifer has a special spot reserved for you…

I have had this book resting on my Kindle device forever. I’m glad I dove further into the TBR pile this weekend because I really enjoyed this book and will probably soon gift myself with the rest of the series. There are six books in the Welcome To Hell series and this is the first one.

The main characters are fantastic. Ysabel is a very likable witch. I enjoy her quick reactions. She is certainly not a damsel in distress, though she does find herself in a bit of a hot pickle. Being that A Demon and His Witch is a shorter read, the reader (that’s us!) doesn’t get to see too much into Ysabel’s past, which I thought would have made for an interesting novel in itself, possibly several volumes (lol).

BUT… (Drumroll)

As Ysabel is such a strong, smart character, I find it difficult to believe she didn’t see the betrayal from her lover in the end of her life. I do get that sometimes people only see the good in others, but Ysabel was written sharply–little hidden, speaks her mind…I felt like she would have been more likely to have seen him for what he was eons ago, but had she, this would have been a totally different story.

The hero in this story is an alpha male, in case that matters to any of you. Remy is a half demon, half mortal. In the story, we readers meet his demon mother and learn that his mortal father was accidentally killed by his mother (who says she loved him, but…). We quickly learn that Remy is a take charge sorta guy, he’s toying with the idea that he might settled down to a forever relationship, although it goes completely against his previous dating practices (in which he just sort of meanders from bed to bed, I suppose lol).

The plot of the story is basically strewn right out in the back cover blurb, so I won’t get into too much description of it here and I certainly don’t want to give you any big spoilers because people who do that suck. The gist of it is that Ysabel and Remy are tasked with bringing five escaped damned souls back to hell. These particular souls were people responsible for Ysabel’s death, so obviously it’s personal for her. Remy and Ysabel are quite the match and their constant banter was hilarious.

Four stars! YAY.

A Demon and His Witch by Eve Langlais is available at Amazon.com for Kindle at $2.99 and Paperback at $7.99. 

The Smoke by Simon Ings

The SmokeQuick FYI before we begin this review…

You know when you’re a kid and you’re minding your own business, just sitting down somewhere behaving, and then out of nowhere your older sibling comes along and sideswipes your entire head with a giant, heavy, feather pillow, knocking you into the floor? And before you even knew what happened, they just keep hitting you with the pillow? That’s what this book will do to you if you’re not carefully paying attention. 

Simon Ings’ The Smoke is about love, loss and loneliness in an incomprehensible world. 

Humanity has been split into three different species. Mutual incomprehension has fractured the globe. As humans race to be the first of their kind to reach the stars, another Great War looms.

For you that means returning to Yorkshire and the town of your birth, where factories churn out the parts for gigantic spaceships. You’re done with the pretentions of the capital and its unfathomable architecture. You’re done with the people of the Bund, their easy superiority and unstoppable spread throughout the city of London and beyond. You’re done with Georgy Chernoy and his questionable defeat of death. You’re done with his daughter, Fel, and losing all the time. You’re done with love.

But soon enough you will find yourself in the Smoke again, drawn back to the life you thought you’d left behind.

You’re done with love. But love’s not done with you.

To be completely honest, there is a lot going on in those pages. This novel is not for everyone. However, Simon Ings has clearly grasped and delivered to his readers an unmistakable grief and the loss of any need to go on. Those are emotions I find hard to describe when I’m writing and I know other authors do too. To do this well is commendable, particularly in an alternative history setting.

But, reader beware. It is extremely easy to get completely lost in this book. As a matter of fact, I’ve had it on my night stand a few months and it has taken me a while to put myself into the right head space to read the story and be able to give it the attention it deserves. That does NOT mean I didn’t like it or couldn’t get into it, but alternately that after reading a fair bit I realized I needed to be able to concentrate in order to not get completely lost. Books with later release dates were finished before this one as The Smoke is not a particularly easy read. Not by any measure.

With most difficult tasks, though, I found the reward to be satisfying. Characterization and writing were both wonderful and I enjoyed the plot, too. The story will break your heart if you’re not careful.

For a reader only just beginning to enjoy the science fiction genre, if you’re looking for a novel to get your literary feet wet, maybe try something else until you’re ready. Or maybe buy it read it slowly in order to keep track of what’s really happening within the plot. I most certainly do give my recommendation, though. Well done, Simon Ings.

A Demon In Silver by R.S. Ford

20180619_192455.jpgReleased June 12, 2018
Titan Books

In a world where magic has vanished, rival nations vie for power in a continent devastated by war. When a young farm girl, Livia, demonstrates magical powers for the first time in a century there are many across the land that will kill to obtain her power. The Duke of Gothelm’s tallymen, the blood-soaked Qeltine Brotherhood, and cynical mercenary Josten Cade; all are searching for Livia and the power she wields.

But, Livia finds that guardians can come from the most unlikely places… and that the old gods are returning to a world they abandoned.

I thought this book was incredible. It lacked very little and the premise is captivating. This is the first in a series, if I’ve understood correctly. I certainly hope I manage to get the next book on pre-order so that I don’t have to wait for it. I dislike waiting and this is one story I would like to hang with until the very end.

I don’t want to go into too many details of my thoughts, though. I feel like in doing so I will be giving my blog readers too many spoilers. I can divulge that there are a few surprises that remain surprising, twists that remain twisty, and turns that lead places incredibly fun to imagine.

Four stars.

**********

REVIEWS COMING SOON!

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Review to post 6.21.18
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Review to post 6.20.18

Summer Goals–Books and Otherwise

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Currently reading…

Today has started a little bit slowly, but as it is the last day of school (for my kids), I feel like the pace was perfect. It’s an introduction to a slow summer, the season I look forward to the most. Yes, even more than my favorite season, fall.

I was sweeping floors and doing laundry when it struck me that I have no real plan for summer. Other than choosing books to read, I have no idea what we’re doing. No vacations planned, no real goals set. But, wait one second–there is a million projects around the house I feel we can finish. And, I can probably make most of them fun and interesting.

For a start, I think I know a couple of teenage girls who would do a really good job at re-staining kitchen cabinets and painting a few rooms. And, I have two boys and a nephew or ten who are perfect little weed eaters. I think I’m also going to dive into making my own popsicles this summer. Last summer I bought a mold that makes six pops of whatever you want and I did really well with making my sugar free treats, but I was still buying the kids their own to have. This year, I think we’ll make an effort at freezing about 75% of the frozen treats we eat ourselves. If we make it to 100%, that’s even better.

As far as reading goes, I’m looking into some educational sites for kids. We might even buy a few books (print, that is) online. For myself, I’d like to keep working on my reading schedule and try to finish August and September’s lineup while I read through the books I’ve penciled in. I’m pretty excited about it, really. Summer can be a lot of things, but to us, it’s the season of books, yard stuff, and frozen things. All the frozen things!

 

 

The Rig by Roger Levy

Golden stars rating template isolated on white background.

Release date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Titan Books

*EDITED to note that this book will not be released for Kindle until May 22, 2018. *

Rig 

On a desert planet, two boys meet, sparking a friendship that will change human society forever.

On the windswept world of Bleak, a string of murders lead a writer to a story with unbelievable ramifications.

One man survives the vicious attacks, but is left with a morbid fascination with death; the perfect candidate for the perilous job of working on a rig.

Welcome to the System. Here the concept of a god has been abandoned, and a new faith pervades: AfterLife, a social media platform that allows subscribers a chance at resurrection, based on the votes of other users.

So many Lives, forever interlinked, and one structure at the centre of it all: the rig.

Strange Horizons has called Roger Levy the ‘heir to Philip K. Dick.’ That’s a pretty tall order for an author to live up to, eh? I typically dislike when two authors are compared to each other because I rarely see enough similarities to even recognize that a comparison has been made. Well, as it happens, it’s not far from truth. I found Roger Levy’s writing style to be refreshingly gloomy, blunt, and to the point. I believe the comparison to Philip K. Dick to be right on the money.

The premise of the story is unique and I imagine that’s one reason why Levy has been compared to Philip K. Dick. Roger Levy spins his tale with a handle on the English language unlike most. He creates characters that are both believable and unique, but the ways in which he presents their stories is never lacking any of the elements required for entertainment and thought. If there are any science fiction book clubs looking for a good read this week, I think The Rig is worthy of a mention, but with a warning–You will ask yourself an awful lot of questions when you read this book and some of them may have answers you’re not ready for. But, be that as it may, read it anyway.

Without hitting my blog readers with a ton of spoilers, I will say that I can confidently give my recommendation to The Rig and I look forward to finding more titles from Roger Levy in the future.

KINDLE and PAPERBACK formats are available at Amazon.com.

 

Infinite Stars

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The seductive thrill of uncharted worlds, of distant galaxies… and the unknown threats that lurk in the vastness of the cosmos. From Foundation to Lensman, Star Wars to Guardians of the Galaxy, space opera continues to exert its magnetic pull on us all.
INFINITE STARS
This is the definitive collection of original short stories by many of today’s finest authors, writing brand new adventures set in their most famous series. Herein lie canonical tales of the Honorverse, the Lost Fleet, Dune, Vatta’s War, Ender Wiggin, the Legion of the Damned, the Imperium, and more.
Also included are past masterpieces by authors whose works defined the genre, including a Miles Vorkosigan adventure, a story from the author of the Dragonriders of Pern, and a rare tale co-authored by the screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back.
Nebula and Hugo Award winners, New York Times bestsellers, and Science Fiction Grand Masters—these authors take us to the farthest regions of space.

Every now and then, I enjoy anthologies. If I decide to have an anthology as a part of my book collection (instead of as a Kindle download), it needs to do three things.
1) Entertain me. EVERY story. When reading a print copy of an anthology, I like to be able to read one story and later–sometimes even months later–come back for another. Kindle anthologies are another story. I like to read those straight through. I know. It’s weird.

2) Be a good conversation starter. Because I’m a book person and we’re weird.
and…

3) Have enough lure to bring me back to it time and time again.

I feel like Infinite Stars was fantastic. I normally do not read the print copies of anthologies all at once (see #1), but since this was an ARC for a review, I did. And it took me a while because the book itself is HUGE. Super thick. I won’t get into how many pages because it may be different in the Kindle copies or final copies that went to print. But, it’s seriously humongous. And well worth whatever you may pay for it because the stories are amazingly entertaining.

If you enjoy the space opera genre, you will find at least half of the stories to be wonderful and the other half to be riveting. There is something in there for everyone, though. Not just space opera or science fiction fans. I feel like the anthology would be a really cool book club choice, too.

Obviously, I give Infinite Stars my thumbs up and recommendation to just about anyone.

*****

Also, I’d like to apologize for the review being a wee bit late. The official release was October 17th, yet here I am over a week later… I really only have one excuse. It’s a really large book and I got a little behind and overbooked lol. 

*****

NEXT ON MY REVIEW SCHEDULE:

BologhSomeone To Wed (A Westcott Novel) by Mary Bologh
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Pre-order available at Amazon.com. 

*****
A very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone to Hold.

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . . 

A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .