The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker #SciFi #Netgalley

about the book winter

34409176

Title: The Dreamers

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Expected Publication January 15, 2019 by Random House

Science-Fiction

In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned.

Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?”

My review Winter

“At first, they blame the air.
It’s an old idea, a poison in the ether, a danger carried in by the wind. A strange haze is seen drifting through town on that first night, the night the trouble begins. It arrives like weather, or like smoke, some say later, but no one can locate any fire. Some blame the drought, which has been bleeding away the lake for years, and browning the air with dust.”

The Dreamers is a stunning third person narrative that takes place near Los Angeles, in a fictional town called Santa Lora, California. Mei’s roommate, Kara, falls asleep, then over a few days her breath and heart rate slow, until she dies. After a few students fall into the deep sleep, their dorm is put under quarantine. The illness slips through the cracks and spreads throughout the town. As hundreds of people fall asleep and began to dream, we meet many people affected by the mysterious illness, who are trying their best not to infect the ones they love.

“This is how the sickness travels best: through all the same channels as do fondness and friendship and love.”

I was hooked after the first paragraph. The characters are extremely well-written. They feel like people I could know in real life. The connection to characters, pacing, mystery, description, and writing style work together to create a fantastic work of fiction.

The ending felt abrupt, and left me with unanswered questions.

The Dreamers is a memorable and entertaining read that I recommend to readers who enjoy character-driven, thought-provoking Sci-Fi novels with an open ending.

Setting: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Message: 4/5
Overall: 3.9

Star, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, Rating

 

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

Professional Reader

about the author winter.png

Karen Thompson Walker is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Age of Miracles, which has been translated into twenty-seven languages and named one of the best books of the year by People, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Financial Times, among others. Born and raised in San Diego, Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. She lives with her husband, the novelist Casey Walker, and their two daughters in Portland. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Oregon.” http://karenthompsonwalker.com/bios/karen-thompson-walker

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The Psychology of Time Travel #BookReview #Mystery #TimeTravel #CrookedLaneBooks

Perfect for fans of Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures comes The Psychology of Time Travel, a mind-bending, time-travel debut.”

about the book xmas

41035725

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: The Psychology of Time Travel

Author: Kate Mascarenhas

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Date of Publication: February 2019

Genre: Mystery/Sci-Fi/Romance

Page Count: 336

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41035725-the-psychology-of-time-travel

https://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Time-Travel-Novel/dp/1683319443

My Review Xmas.png

In Cumbria, England, 1967, Barbara, Margaret, Lucille, and Grace invent time travel without thinking of how it would alter their lives and the world.  The Psychology of Time Travel is an exciting female-driven, murder mystery.

Fifty years after inventing time travel, Barbara receives a notice of a death that will happen on January 6th, 2018. Her granddaughter Ruby agrees to help her grandmother make amends with Margaret in order to gain access to the time travel machines. On January 6th, 2018 Odette, an archaeology student volunteering at a toy museum, finds a dead body that the police aren’t able to identify. Odette becomes overwhelmed by the mysterious death and decides she’ll feel better if she can figure out who the dead woman is. After a strange visit from a younger Grace, Ruby is convinced it is her grandmother Barbara who will die.

The narrative tackles a lot of issues like friendship, marriage, betrayal, bullying, sexuality, loss, aging, and mortality.

The characters have distinct personalities, desires, fears, strengths and flaws. My favorite characters are Grace and Ruby.

The Psychology of Time Travel is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. Unique, creative, it questions how time travel would impact mental health, relationships, business, history, and language.

The first time I started reading the novel I felt incredibly lost a third of the way in. I went back to the beginning and took notes on the times mentioned at the beginning of each chapter and names of characters (there are a lot) and that helped wrap my mind around the story so I could enjoy myself. The plot feels a little messy at times, but that’s to be expected when characters are traveling through time (and even interacting with themselves).

If you liked The 7½ Lives of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton or Dark Matter by Blake Crouch then I think you’ll enjoy The Psychology of Time Travel. Some of the concepts are wild, yet when you think about it, they make a lot of sense. Complex, interesting and unique! I recommend this to readers 14-years-old+.

Trigger warnings: self cutting, blood, mental health, addiction, eating disorder

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Overall: 3.6/5 rounded up to 4 on Goodreads

Thank you to Sarah at Crooked Lane Books for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author Xmas

Kate Mascarenhas is a writer.

Born in 1980, she is of mixed heritage (white Irish father, brown British mother) and has family in Ireland and the Republic of Seychelles.

She studied English at Oxford and Applied Psychology at Derby. Her PhD, in literary studies and psychology, was completed at Worcester.

Since 2017 Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Previously she has been an advertising copywriter, bookbinder, and doll’s house maker. She lives in the English midlands with her partner.

Her new novel, The Psychology of Time Travel, will be published by Head of Zeus in August 2018.”

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17673611.Kate_Mascarenhas

http://www.katemascarenhas.co.uk/

http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/

Get Smitten Xmas

 

 

 

Supernova (Amulet #8)…Review

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Title: Supernova (Amulet #8)

Author: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Scholastic/Graphix

Date of Publication: September 25, 2018

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Graphic Novel

Page Count: 224

For Goodreads Synopsis click here

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/C1swfOV_6zw

Last week my son bought Supernova at his school’s Scholastic book fair. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so excited to buy a new book. He’s read each book of the Amulet series at least ten times.

It’s been ten years since the first Amulet book, The Stonekeeper, was released and this newest release, Supernova, is an epic journey into space and a new planet called Typhon. This story has a fast-moving plot with reveals and surprises. There is a big focus on self-acceptance, personal growth, fear, courage, family, and changing tradition.

The artwork is breathtaking. I love the use of colour to portray emotion. The Amulet series is something you can read over, and over, and each time see something new.

The story is fantastic. I love the emotional development the main character Emily experiences.

If you haven’t read the Amulet series, it’s time to pick it up! It’s a very popular series, so it’s easy to find. There’s only one book left to be released! Eeeee! No release date listed on Goodreads yet. These books would make a great Christmas gift for any reader in your life.

About the author

Kazu Kibuishi (born 1978) is an American graphic novel author and illustrator. He is best known for being the creator and editor of the comic anthology Flight and for creating the webcomic Copper. He has also written (drawn) the Amulet series. The webcomic artist and noted critic Scott McCloud has said that some of Kazu Kibuishi’s work is so beautifully drawn that “it hurts my hands when I look at it”.

https://www.boltcityproductions.com/

May Wrap Up [2018] #reading

I read 6 books in March:
2 Young Adult (Fantasy, Contemporary Romance)
2 Adult (Anthology/Fantasy, Mystery Crime Thriller)
2 Middle Grade (Fantasy Graphic Novels)

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I follow the Goodreads rating suggestions:
🌟= did not like it
🌟🌟= it was ok
🌟🌟🌟= liked it
🌟🌟🌟🌟= really liked it
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟= it was amazing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Title: Our Dark Duet

Author: Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Date Published: June 2017

Page Count: 510

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟 Our Dark Duet By Victoria Schwab #BookReview

 

 

 

32905900

Title: Some Of The Best From Tor.com

Author: Various

Publisher: Tor.com

Date Published: January 2017

Page Count: 667

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟  Some Of The Best From Tor.com 2016 #BookReview #Free #KOBO

 

 

 

36632316

Title: Find You In The Dark

Author: Nathan Ripley

Publisher: Text Publishing

Date Published: April 2018

Page Count: 352

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟  New Thriller by Canadian Author #Findyouinthedark #Netgalley

 

 

 

10537195

Title: The Last Council (Amulet #4)

Author: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Graphix

Date Published: September 2011

Page Count: 219

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10537195-the-last-council

 

 

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Title: From Twinkle With Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Date Published: May 2018

Page Count: 336

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟 New Teen Contemporary Romance #BookReview #Netgalley #FromTwinkleWithLove

 

 

13436384

 

Title: Prince of the Elves (Amulet #5)

Author: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Graphix

Date Published: September 2012

Page Count: 203

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2400981523?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Some Of The Best From Tor.com 2016 #BookReview #Free #KOBO

📓 Some Of The Best From Tor.com is a collection of 25 stories, each with a beautifully illustrated cover, published in 2016. I stumbled upon this free KOBO ebook while searching for a book by Caighlan Smith, who has a short story in this anthology. Keep scrolling to see my rating for each story (P.S. quite a few were a 5 star read for me!)  📚 😌

32905900

 

Title: Some Of The Best From Tor.com 2016

Author: Anthology

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror

Publisher: Tor.com

Date published: January 2017

Page Count: 667

 

 

 

My Review

 

“Clover” By Charlie Jane Anders 🌟🌟

“The Art of Space Travel” By Nina Allan 🌟🌟🌟

“The Destroyer” By Tara Isabella Burton 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“Traumphysik” By Monica Byrne 🌟

“The High Lonesome Frontier” By Rebecca Campbell 🌟🌟

“Lullaby for a Lost World” By Aliette De Bodard 🌟🌟

“A Dead DJinn in Cairo” By P. DJeli Clark 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

“Breaking Water” By Indrapramit Das 🌟🌟🌟

“Autobiography Of A Traitor And A Half-Savage” By Alix E. Harrow 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

“The City Born Great” By N.K. Jemisin 🌟🌟

“Everything That Isn’t Winter” By Margaret Killjoy 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“The Weight Of Memories” By Cixin Liu 🌟

“The Maiden Thief” By Melissa Marr 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“The Caretakers” By David Nickle 🌟

“Your Orisons May Be Recorded” By Laurie Penny 🌟🌟🌟

“Meat + Drink” By Daniel Polansky 🌟

“The Three Lives Of Sonata James” By Lettie Prell 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“The Great Detective” By Delia Sherman 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“Finnegan’s Field” By Angela Slatter 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

“The Weather” By Caighlan Smith 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

“Terminal” By Lavie Tidhar 🌟🌟🌟

“Her Scales Shine Like Music” By Rajnar Vajra 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“La Beauté Sans Vertu” By Genevieve Valentine 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“That Game We Played During The War” By Carrie Vaughn 🌟🌟🌟

“A Fist Of Permutations In Lightning and Wildflowers” By Alyssa Wong 🌟🌟

Places to get this book:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780765391957

https://www.amazon.com/Some-Best-Tor-com-2016-Original-ebook/dp/B01MS8EZ9X

https://www.tor.com/2017/01/10/free-ebook-giveaway-of-some-of-the-best-of-tor-com-2016-edition/

https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/some-of-the-best-from-tor-com-2016

Book Review ~ Gemina (Illuminae Files #2)

📓 Gemina, the second book of the Illuminae Files series, is a Young Adult Sci-Fi thriller set in the future that takes place in space. If you haven’t read the first book, be warned –  this review is full of spoilers. 📚 😌 Both books are a compilation of emails, instant messages, security camera footage, pictures, and “regular” narrative.

Gemina

 

Title: Gemina

Author: Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Thriller

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date published: October 2016

Page Count: 659

 

 

synopsis

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 Illuminae continues 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

Survivors of the Kerenza attack on January 29th, 2575 fled aboard the Hypatia, Copernicus, and Alexander. Pursued by the Lincoln, a Beitech Industries spaceship, Hypatia is the only remaining ship. Reaching the Heimdall Jump Station is their only hope to escape and let the rest of the universe know what Beitech has done. According to a comment Jay Kristoff made on Goodreads, Gemina begins 5 minutes after Illuminae ends, 15 days prior to Hypatia’s estimated arrival at the Heimdall Jump Station (home to over 10,000 people).

Mikhail Malikov is the leader of the House of Knives. Living on the Heimdall, he and his nephew, Niklas, inject worm-like creatures into living cow’s brains to create an addictive drug called “dust”. Nik is Hanna Donnelly’s drug dealer. She is the Heimdall‘s commander’s daughter, and is dating the incredibly handsome Jackson Merrick. A highly trained crew hired by Beitech attack the Heimdall, planning to use the jump station to reach Hypatia, destroy all people and evidence of the Kerenza attack.

In a strange turn of events, Hanna and Nik find themselves having to work together to try to save Heimdall and Hypatia.

Hanna is a lot like Kady, the main character from Illuminae. I love reading about smart, bad-ass women like Hanna and Kady. Nik is the bad boy that you’d love to date, Merrick is the guy you introduce to Dad. As you’ve probably guessed Hanna and Nik end up crushing on each other. The slow-burn/romantic triangle is slightly annoying at times, but I was able to put it aside thanks to the relatively fast-moving plot. My FAVORITE character is Nik’s cousin Ella, a genius 15-year-old hacker.

Gemina is a fast-paced, action filled page turning thriller that made me laugh.

I didn’t like that we don’t read about the character’s from Illuminae until the 55% mark. Even though the mixed-media delivery of this novel does make this a fast read for a book with over 600 pages, there is a lot that could have been cut. Even though they are strong, female leads, Hanna and Kady feel like the same character. The way they talk in the emails and instant messages felt like it could be the same person. I also had a hard time believing 18 year olds could outsmart well-trained adult agents.

I rate this one a strong 3.5 stars. Illuminae Files had better characters, Gemina had a better plot, I’m hoping the third book Obsidio will give me both. I would not recommend the e-book version, it just doesn’t work very well with the book format.

In case you’re interested, here’s my review for Illuminae Files.

Book Review: Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

All of my reviews are always SPOILER FREE 🙂

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

Children of Daedala

 

Title: Children of Daedala (Children of Icarus #2)

Author: Caighlan Smith

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopian

Publisher: Capstone http://www.capstonepub.com/library/

Date published: Expected Publication April 2018

Page Count: 336

 

 

synopsis

Sequel to Children of Icarus.

Six months alone in the labyrinth has made her strong. But the search for the exit means gambling on an old ‘friend’ and going against everything she’s been taught to survive. You know the labyrinth will have yet more horrors lurking in its depths. You’ve learned few people can be trusted. But freedom is tantalizingly close. Are you ready to take the risk?” (Goodreads) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36049722-children-of-daedala

My Review

I haven’t read the first book in this series. I searched for the e-book high and low, but couldn’t find it. I didn’t want to shell out $20 for the first book at Chapters without knowing if I would like it. My local library did not have a copy, there was no ebook available on Amazon.ca or KOBO. If the publisher or author somehow see this review – please consider making the first book more readily available. I ALMOST didn’t read Children of Daedala because I didn’t read Children of Icarus. Now that I have read the book, and know that I LOVED it, I will go purchase the first book.

When I reached the final page of the Children of Daedala e-book, I discovered the author was born and raised in the same province as me, and is attending the same University that I did! I had no idea Caighlan Smith was from Newfoundland, but now that I do, I will most certainly purchase and read everything she writes. Be assured, my opinion of this book was formed well before I knew the author was a fellow Newfoundlander. As I was reading, I kept raving to my husband about how much I was enjoying the story, characters, and monsters.

Children of Daedala, inspired by Greek mythology (Icarus and Daedalus), takes place in a labyrinth filled with deadly creatures. The story begins six months after our female main character was kicked out of Fates and entered the soul-crushing maze. She has not given us her birth name, but we know she has been called Clara, and Fey Bell, by other Icaari. Fey’s mentor, the Executioner, has died, and she’s been surviving on her own. Within this giant labyrinth there are other groups of Icaari: Kleos, a group of male Icaari led by Gammon; and Harmonia, a group of female Icaari, led by Polina.

While hunting, she comes across a group of Icaari from Fates. Members of this group have treated her badly in the past. She tackles Ryan and holds him hostage. She wants to trade him for another Fates member named Addie. They make an agreement to meet for the exchange. Fey arrives hours early, without Ryan, to spy on them when they arrive. Collin comes with a few others, but no Addie. She overhears them say they were never going to do the trade, and Collin made the deal so he could try to capture Fey.

Fey returns to her secret underground base where she left Ryan bound and drugged. As she opens the door he knocks her down. After a struggle, Fey manages to get his arms and legs bound. She confesses that she wanted Addie to decipher a journal she found. Ryan says he knows some Ancient Daedalic and thinks he can decipher it. They make a pact to help each other escape the labyrinth. The war between Harmonia, Kleos, and Fates complicates Ryan and Fey’s plan to decipher the map and escape the labyrinth.

Can we talk about the cover? WOW! Isn’t it fantastic? I absolutely love it. The story is told from Fey Bell’s first person perspective, which effectively leaves the reader out of the loop. Fey Bell is a badass female protagonist who has become hard, calculating, cunning, and extremely skilled thanks to her training from the Executioner and Fey’s time alone in the labyrinth. There are a lot of characters introduced early on in the story from both the Kleos and Harmonia groups. Ryan is one of my favorite characters, but my absolutely most favorite is the Mud Maid. The short chapters and suspenseful writing worked together to create a thrilling page-turning story. I will warn you – you may end up staying well past your bedtime wanting to read “just one more”. The ending is a cliffhanger that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

There are only a couple of small things that hindered me from giving Children of Daedala 5 Stars. I don’t like Elle at all. I found her terribly annoying, and I couldn’t care less if she was kidnapped or killed. Which is problematic because I think I was supposed to care about her. I would have loved a map at the beginning of the book to help visualize the labyrinth. Some of the dialogue was a little clunky and didn’t feel authentic.

Children of Daedala is a dark tale filled with conflict that reminds me of Lord of the FliesThe Maze Runner, and The Hunger Games, all rolled into one.

Children of Icarus (Book One) Amazon.ca

Children of Daedala (Book Two) Amazon.ca

About the author.jpg

As a child, Caighlan Smith loved to build and navigate pillow mazes. An adoration of Greek mythology soon followed. Canadian born and raised, Smith studied English Literature and Classics at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her first novel was published when she was nineteen.

https://www.caighlansmith.com/

Renegades by Marissa Meyer – Spoiler Free Book Review!

RenegadesRenegades (Renegades #1)

Published November 2017
552 pages
YA Sci-Fi Fantasy
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The author of The Lunar Chronicles has brought a brand new story about superheroes, villains, freedom, and power. The story takes place in Gatlon City – which reminded me of Batman’s city, Gotham. This world has prodigies – people with superpowers. The general public was not supportive of prodigies. Like many superhero stories, the prodigies are feared, unaccepted, and were hunted until Ace Anarchy decided that needed to change. He put together a group of prodigies, called the Anarchists, who tore the city apart. They destroyed government and law enforcement, thinking they were giving people freedom. The Age of Anarchy lasted for 20 years. Different gangs of prodigies were formed, and began fighting for control. In response, a band of superheroes called the Renegades formed, and worked together to stop the Anarchists.
Nova is a six-year-old girl, living with her mom, dad, and baby sister Evie in a small apartment. Nova has a gift, she can put people to sleep with one touch. Her father is also a prodigy who can “pull threads of energy out of the air” and sculpt objects with this energy. As Nova was watching her father making something new, she asked him what he was making. One evening, Nova’s family are killed by a man working for a villain gang. She managed to survive by putting the assailant to sleep. Nova’s father always told her that if anything bad happened the Renegades would come to save them. They let her down. Her Uncle Alec – also known as, Ace Anarchy, found her, raised her, and trained her to become Nightmare.
Ten years later, it’s the 9th anniversary of the The Day of Triumph, when the Renegades took on the Anarchists and won. To celebrate this day the city holds a Renegade Parade. Nightmare and her team of villains plan an attack at the parade to take out the Council, founding members of the Renegades. While at the parade Nova meets Adrian, also known as Sketch. He is also a prodigy, who can make his drawings come to life.
In the first couple of chapters there is a lot of action and we are introduced to a bunch of characters. Ingrid – The Detonator, Phobia, Honey – Queen Bee, Winston – The Puppeteer, Leroy – Cyanide, and Nova – Nightmare, are Anarchists. The Council are Hugh Everhart (Captain Chromium), Simon Westwood (The Dread Waren), Tamaya (Thunderbird), Evander (Blacklight), and Kasumi (Tsunami). At this parade we also meet more Renegades: Magpie, Red Assassin, Smokescreen, and the Sentinel. See what I mean? Way too many names! It would have been a lot better to have just their superhero/villain name, then introduce their real personas later on.
One cannot be brave who has no fear.
Because Nova wears a mask and a hood when she is Nightmare, the Renegades don’t know who she really is or what she looks like. She decides to compete at the Renegade Trials so she can become a Renegade and spy on them from the inside.
One of the most interesting Renegades is a boy named Max who lives in a glass room at Renegade Headquarters. There are so many questions I have about Max and I hope the next book gives me more about his story.
I also enjoyed the same-sex relationship between Captain Chromium and The Dread Waren, who adopted Adrian (Sketch) after his mother was killed. Adrian is convinced Nightmare knows who murdered his mother. He creates a secret alter-ego, the Sentinel, in an attempt to find Nightmare and hopefully get answers he’s been wanting for many years.
Even though there are info-dumps, and the first 100 pages are kind of confusing, I REALLY enjoyed this book and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. There are a lot of questions to be answered, and I’m extremely interested to see what becomes of these characters. I am also hoping that we meet more villains because we met a bunch of Renegades, but not very many villains. The story is a little longer than it needs to be. The middle part slows down quite a bit, and there is a lot that could have been cut. BUT! It’s a fun read and I LOVED it!
During the last 10 pages my jaw dropped further with each page. I did NOT see that coming and I LOVE it when an author can blindsided me like that. If you’re a fan of The Lunar Chronicles you’re gonna like Renegades. Highly recommend this one!

The End We Start From {spoiler-free book review}

the end we start fromThe End We Start From

Published May 2017 by Picador
Ebook 160 pages
Science Fiction, Dystopian

Goodreads Blurb:
In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.

This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

My Thoughts

The End We Start From is a short novel that feels like a poem. This is a survival story about climate change, mothers, babies, loss, and love. The main character’s thoughts are honest and authentic. Most of the story is about baby Z growing up.

I didn’t enjoy the sparse prose, however, I do think it was done in order to simplify the story, much like the main character’s life has been simplified to bare essentials. It felt like I was reading someone’s notes for their intended story. There is no dialogue, but plenty of awkward sentences that didn’t make much sense to me. All of the characters are referred to by only the first letter of their name, which made me feel unattached to them. I simply wanted more.

The End We Start From is great for anyone looking for a quick read.

About The Author

Megan Hunter.jpg

Megan Hunter

Megan Hunter was born in Manchester in 1984, and now lives in Cambridge with her young family. She has a BA in English Literature from Sussex University, and an MPhil in English Literature: Criticism and Culture from Jesus College, Cambridge. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and she was a finalist for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award with her short story ‘Selfing’.”

 

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower Book 3) By Stephen King #SpoilerFree #BookReview

The Waste Lands The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3)

By Stephen King, Illustrated By Ned Dameron

Published by Plume January 1992 (first published August 1991)

ISBN 0452267404

422 pages

 

The Waste Lands is an epic fantasy horror science fiction story with bad-ass gunslingers and sociopathic bad guys brought to you by Stephen King. King begins The Waste Lands novel with an “argument”, providing a quick summary of the first two books, along with some intriguing insights. The story then picks up “some months” after the ending of The Drawing of the Three, over 60 miles from the Western Sea in Mid-World. Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger, has drawn two companions into his world, Eddie and Susannah Dean, who have agreed to help him find the Dark Tower. Eddie was once the Prisoner. Susannah, the Lady of the Shadows, was once Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker. While Roland is training Susannah how to shoot she confesses that she knows there has been something wrong with him since the conflict on the beach. He claims that there is nothing wrong. While they are talking, Eddie is leaning against a tree whittling away at a piece of wood when they all hear an enormous crash in the woods.

Mir, parasite-infested, largest and oldest creature in the Great West Woods charges toward Eddie, who manages to scramble up the highest tree nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Roland’s shoulders Susannah successfully shoots the spinning rusty radar-dish on Mir’s head, which “kills” him. Roland tells them this enormous bear is one of the twelve Guardians. It is 2,000-3,000 years old and its real name is Shardik. The Great Old Ones created the twelve cyborg Guardians to stand watch at the twelve portals. The Thirteenth Portal, which rules all the worlds, is found at the Dark Tower. Roland explains that if they can find the portal Shardik was protecting they would be able to follow a straight line to the Dark Tower. As they journey to the portal Roland is slowly going more insane. He finally tells them the tale of his journey through the desert, under the mountains, and how he sacrificed Jake in order to catch up with the Man in Black. Roland has two memories of what happened at the Waystation – one where he met Jake, and one where he didn’t. Time travel is a bitch ain’t it? Roland throws the Man in Black’s jaw bone into the fire and Eddie watches it change and become a key. Eddie is convinced that he has to remember the exact shape of the key. After finding Shardik’s portal Roland, Eddie, and Susannah begin their journey traveling along one of the magnetic-type Beams which help to bind and hold this world together. Eddie is overwhelmed by an urge to cut a piece of tree next to them. He has no idea why, but he believes he is meant to carve this piece of wood, replicating the key he saw in the fire.

We then flip to Jake’s perspective. It’s May 31st, 1977. We get to learn more about Jake’s childhood, family, and school. Jake thinks he’s going mad. He hears voices in his head who insist Jake was hit and killed by a car on May 9. During the last ten days Jake has become fascinated by doors. He’s going about his days, attempting to pretend that he’s okay.

While in class he glances at the title of the final paper he has no memory writing, “My Understanding of Truth”. He continues searching for the door that will take him back to Roland’s world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Understanding of Truth

The gunslinger is the truth.
Roland is the truth.
The Prisoner is the truth.
The Lady of Shadows is the truth.
The Prisoner and the Lady are married. That is the truth.
The way station is the truth.
The Speaking Demon is the truth.

Roland let me die. That is the truth.
I still love him.
That is the truth.

When is a door not a door? When it’s a jar, and that is the truth.
Blaine is the truth.
Blaine is the truth.

You have to watch Blaine all the time, Blaine is a pain, and that is the truth.
I’m pretty sure that Blaine is dangerous, and that is the truth.

I want to go back and that is the truth.
I have to go back and that is the truth.

Choo-choo, and that is the truth.


 

It took me a long time to read The Waste Lands, but that was not because I wasn’t enjoying it. It’s definitely the most exciting book in the Dark Tower series so far. My favorite character is Oy, a billy-bumbler that Roland and his crew meet during their journey. Oy has black and gray striped fur and gold-ringed eyes. He’s intelligent and can mimic what he hears. I mean, it’s the perfect pet! I really want a billy-bumbler for Christmas. Maybe I could dye my cat’s fur to make him look like one.

King has an amazing ability to create characters who are unbelievable and yet they feel completely real. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll just say Roland’s crew meet some pretty interesting characters: a Demon, a group of old folks at the river crossing, Gasher, the Tick-Tock Man, and Blaine the Mono Rail. There are many beautiful illustrations throughout the book,  but they aren’t located in the right spots during the story. I don’t know why this bothered me so much, but it did. The pace was extremely slow in between extremely intense moments. I find the romance between Eddie and Susannah slightly annoying at times and feel like it could have been left out. Maybe there IS a reason for their relationship, I guess I’ll find out as I keep reading the series. There are a lot of unanswered plot points in the first three books, and I’m really needing answers for at least a few. FYI – The Waste Lands ends on a BIG cliff hanger. It took King six years to publish the next book and I’m extremely grateful that I don’t have to wait six years before reading Wizard and Glass.

I recommend this one to anyone 16 years and older (sex, violence, swearing) who likes to leave their troubles behind and enter fantastical worlds, perhaps via Blaine the talking train 😉