The Jekh Saga

H.E. Trent 

3/5

There is a lot of room for great sorties when we talk about aliens, so alien invasions are among the subjects that would definitely catch my attention in books. 

My mind was totally blown by this story, though. Why, you ask? Because we, humans, are the invaders! That right there was the little detail that had me reading them back to back. 

We are talking about a world that discovered there was life in another planet and immediately sought to make contact, or no nefarious reasons but to learn from each other. And then, they met us. And we, with our overinflated war machinery and shoot first, ask later philosophy, shot them down –literally– and overtook their planet. 

It sounds about right, doesn’t it? 

This is a story full of details. Just how I liked them. H.E. Trent imagined a whole world: Jekh. From the color of their skin and their stature (due to the levels of oxygen and light on their planet) to their social structures and relationships (two-thirds male population is bound to create differences). 

My favorite part of this story is the uprising of the jekhans. This was, basically, a story of a whole species overcoming the oppression of alien invaders, us. For me, that was the absolute best part.  

Awkwardly, most of the story is NOT about this uprising, but about three siblings, the McGarry‘s, and their romantic entanglements with the locals. Full of complications when they’re pushed into a culture where the biological imperative asks for two men/one woman triads. 

“She didn’t like that word, tantrum. (…) tantrums were for children, not grown women who’d made men’s lives moderately more difficult by demanding an iota of respect”.

-Salvo

There are a lot of cultural clashes, challenges to the gender roles and miscommunications. It is a truly interesting story, occasionally interrupted by sexual scenes. Until the end of the third book, Salvo, where the uprising is suddenly successful and we were left totally out of the loop.

While the natives are finally fighting back an retaking their capital from the inside, guerilla style, we are reading about the last of the McGarry siblings, Owen, and his emotional issues. That was really disappointing.

All in all, It’s a very GOOD story, but I’m not really interested in reading the last two books of this series. Once the uprising is over, everything else in the story feels meaningless. 

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The Emerald Lily

by Juliette Cross

3/5Fairy tale princesses and vampires.

I’m a total sucker for the re-telling of old classics, especially when it involves supernatural or magical creatures. This is actually the fourth and last book in a series, but I didn’t know that when I got it. It was only until I finished it that I saw the list of “other books in this series“. I totally agree with the author when she says that this story can be read as a stand-alone.

The Emerald Lily tells the sleeping beauty story, but they are all vampires. hat’s the easiest and most encompassing blurb I can give you, trust me. There’s a sleeping princess, who gets waken by a kiss. There is a power-hungry evil queen. And there is a strong handsome soldier/assassin who is totally my type. Not because of his physical description or his job, but because it is not common to find such a strong and unbothered second to a strong woman.

“You bring me to my knees with the strenght that is inside you. A woman whose external beauty s nothing compared to the powerful godess who resides witin. Ascend your throne? Oh, Mina. You are already a queen”

Usually, the man who saves the princes is the center of the story. I don’t even remember how many time I’ve read a story where the only purpose of a princess is to make the male character into a king. this is not that kind of story. In his one, both main character share in the suffering and in the glory. Both victor and heroes in their own right. That was one of my favorite parts about the whole thing.

Did I enjoy it? Definitely. Who doesn’t love a good epic battle? It was original, action-packed, sexy and I love a good queen coronation. And that ending was totally a surprise. A very GOOD book.

I was so happy with it, that I don’t really feel any urgency to read the previous three stories in this series. Maybe it is because I already know how it ends… Perhaps I will read all of them at some point, but definitely not any time soon.

 

Dying by the Hour

by Kory M. Shrum

3/5
This is the second part of the Jesse Sullivan series, and I’m still fascinated by this idea of a living “zombie” as the main character and essentially “the good guy“.

This one is divided into two parallels points of view, Jesse‘s and Alice‘s. While one is obstinately trying to pretend nothing is happening, nothing is different and no one is trying to kill her. On the other hand, there’s Alice. She’s desperately trying to protect Jesse and helping her to live in denial, by doing whatever is necessary to keep her safe. Even keeping her in the dark while she gets involved in scary and dangerous things.

But, of course, Jesse cannot escape the reality that someone is trying to kill her, or from her growing powers.

We finally got to meet the bad guy and realize that he’s not all bad, but mostly crazy. All through the horrible things he is doing and keeps on doing to Jesse, I kept thinking of all the thing he had endured and how that could have messed him up.

Dying by the Hour is a GOOD book, feels like build-up. I’m hoping Gabriel and his gifts will move things along. it’s starting to get exciting.

Dying for a Living

by Kory M. Shrum

4/5
I don’t even know how I fell into this book. All the sudden I was completely into it. And I don’t even like Zombies!!

01DfaL

This is one of the most original stories I’ve read in quite a while. These are not your average zombies. We are talking about Necronitic Regenerative Disorder (NRD): Necronites!

I’m totally into the adaptation of myth, fantasy and fiction to real life and the existing social structures. That is definitely one of my favorite book genres, and Dying for a Living is precisely that.

This a 7-book series about an NRD-positive girl named Jesse Sullivan, who’s only trying to make a living and staying out of trouble, until someone tries to kill her. As in dead-dead! How rude!

Jesse is a Death Replacement Agent. Basically, her job is to die for other people, like a twisted kind of bodyguard.  it sounds like an awful job and she doesn’t quite enjoy it, but what else can you do when people aren’t very nice to her for something she can’t control.

I think this is as much a book about supernatural powers and characters, as is a comment on institutionalized discrimination. And I always enjoy my fantasy more with a pinch of reality thrown in. What can I say?

JS02It has supernatural creatures, distrusted government agents, crazy friends, a murder mystery, religious fanatics, a bit of family drama and a twisted love tangent. what is not to like?

It really left me hooked, and definitely on the lookout for the other 6 books, starting with Dying by the Hour.

Maze Runner (3)

The Death Cure

by James Dashner

2/5

Definitely a let down.

I am flummoxed. This story had such potential. A disease ravaged world, with an crazy levels of technology… and we spent Goodness knows how long reading about Thomas‘ feelings for Brenda!? Can you say irrelevant?!

I’ve always hated these completely unnecessary romantic entanglements. I feel like the author is trying to hide a lousy story behind a forced and fabricated emotional twist. And, sometimes, that’s not even the case.

I think The Death Cure would have gone down better, with me at least, with a more complicated and complex love-hate-distrust relationship with Theresa, than how it went trying to force this other new and totally untrustworthy female character into it.

Andtalking about superfluous characters, what the heck is up with that Jorge guy. I don’t think James Dashner could have possibly come up with a more cliché character. It is so bad, it’s almost offensive.

At the end, this book had more a feeling of “Let’s flee from the zombies” than even World War Z had. There wasn’t a lot a really liked, but there wasn’t much I actually hated either.

Except for one thing. One thing that pissed me the hell off: Killing your friend out of mercy.

And I’m not saying that it is a horrible idea. That letter, at the beginning, where Newt asks for it, was one of the reasons I kept on reading this book. It’s a totally relevant issue, especially because we’re talking about a long and dehumanizing terminal illness.

I guess this could inspire a very heated debate, and I totally understand those who simply can’t do it but, did we really need a whole chapter of indecision?! He either does it, or he doesn’t. Don’t drag it out!

Would I do it? I couldn’t tell you. I would hope so. What about you?

Would you kill your friend out of mercy?

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book. Nor this series, actually.

Blood Trails

Deadline


2/5It was about a witch. That was what got me to pick it up at first.
This witch wants to be a private investigator. Like Alex Craft? Of course, I had to see these mysteries she would be solving.

Someone stealing something from an impregnable vault? Definitely interesting. Skeptical FBI agent that is possibly seeing a ghost? This could be seriously interesting.

It was, somewhat, but I wasn’t impressed at all. Honestly, it’s NOT SO GOOD: there was a lot of that ”helpless chick at the mercy of more powerful creatures” thing that I hate so much.

For a moment there, I would have advised Shade Renard to forget this PI thing and stick to being a village witch. At least she didn’t suck at that!

I really like this blending of magic and modern tech-filled life. It really gets my imagination flying. I think that’s the only reason why I got through Deadline.

Monster

3/5But my curiosity got the better of me and there I was, starting Monster. I blame that title. Who wouldn’t be curious?

This one was better than the first one. Definitely.

There are werewolves and a murder. Shade does some actual investigative work, even when it becomes obvious that she’s not actually a trained investigator. She’s trying, that’s all it can be said in her behalf.

My favorite magic creature investigator, though, is Peasblossom. And she’s a pixie!

She would make an excellent PI, and possibly even a mind-blowing spy. She’s the best part of the story, no matter what you Bigjobs say about it. She totally stole the show.

To make a long story short: the tiny people make this book GOOD.

The Scorch Trials

by James Dashner

3/5
Definitely, action-packed. At least at the beginning. How can you not get into it when there’s a bunch of kids running for their lives against a post-apocalyptic thunderstorm?

tST

I think that was my favorite part. I was on the edge of my seat to find out who would make it.

But then they get separated and it is just not the same. And then, there are new characters that I don’t feel have any place nor purpose in the story. Especially Jorge, who has a minor participation at the beginning and then just becomes something they are dragging around.

SPOILER ALERT

And don’t get me started with those damned girls from Group B. How is it that no-one even mentioned the injustice! The girls got backpacks, weapons, and specific instructions to get to their destination in tunnels so they could avoid not only the sun but also the city full of crazies!!

And what did the boys get!? Killed! That’s what they got! Such injustice!!

I’ll admit, one of the parts I liked from the previous book, The Maze Runner, was the big twist at the end. All was not good. It was great.

MazeRunner3

It wasn’t a second time around, though.

The unexpected twist does become predictable when you’ve already seen it once.

It did peak my curiosity, though. So, after that cliffhanger, I had to keep going to the next and last part of the story: The Death Cure.

Hopefully, we will finally get satisfying answers

Soul Marked

by C. Gockel

5/5The wonders of the weekend. it all started with a free massage, brunch out and a stop by the bookstore. And, of course, it ended at the coffee shop.

SoulMarked

I picked up this book because the name seemed familiar. Turns out it was recommended to me by one of those random because-you-read apps.  I LOVED IT!

I read a couple of chapters while sitting in a not-so-comfy chair at a quiet coffee place, and I was totally hooked.

There’s magic, but also technology. There is a damsel in distress, that still has time and the will to save a magical immortal. There are a couple of different worlds and societies. That by itself is interesting, but my absolute favorite part of this book is the language and cultural barriers and all the fun that it ensues.

There’s also a bit in there about people’s fear of interracial pairings and prejudice. I thought it was very interesting as something for the two very different main characters to have in common.

There was also a part that I didn’t quite enjoy but thought it fit great into the story, about the exploitation of those some feel are inferior, and their mistreatment. It is both powerful man, both influential and magically gifted, who enjoys manipulating and hurting others.

I think there were quite a lot of social references an critiques (the kinds I enjoy finding) without losing the magical and somewhat romantic feel the story has. I really loved this book, and I truly recommend it.

The Maze Runner

by James Dashner

3/5

I actually feel bad about not being more excited about this book. I was really looking forward to reading it. I was sure it had to be way more exciting and complex than the movie.

It was not.
tMR
This is one of the reasons I dislike watching the movie before reading the book. It just kills all the excitement or surprise that a story could give me.

If you haven’t watched the movie nor read the book, you might want to stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert

Unexpected girl in a box? Yeah, that ‘s Teresa.

The doors won’t close? Well, of course, that’s how the grievers get in.

The make it to the other side of the maze in spite of the ugly things chasing them? Obviously.

Best friend dies? I was thinking about that since he was introduced.

How can I possibly be surprised or shocked? There wasn’t even any extra details or excluded characters to get to know. I was totally not thrilled. This was, however, the first audiobook I’ve gotten totally into in quite a while, though.

THAT I thoroughly enjoyed. The recording I got had even a couple of accents and a different tone for almost each of the characters. I really love the ones where the performer really gets into it and takes you into the story simply with his or her voice. I think that is the only reason I immediately jumped to the next book in this series: The Scorch Trials.

That movie, I didn’t watch. So maybe I can get more excited about the gladers and their new challenges.

The Twenty-sided Sorceress (8)

Dungeon Crawl

By Annie Bellet

4/5For a whole minute there, after finishing Magic to the Bone, I feared that the story would end there and leave the loose ends to my imagination.

Then I remembered there was a book #8.

And while Samir is defeated, he’s not actually dead yet. He’s still wreaking havoc inside Jade’s mind, and something is bound to go wrong with carrying such a formidable foe on your neck.

Then, there’s also that whole owing-an-unknown-favor-to-a-vampire thing. Can he really be trusted? He helped her, true, but it wasn’t free.

Thankfully, Dungeon Crawl addresses all these little loose ends, although not all of them.

We get to see Jade’s recovery after the big confrontation with Samir, and how she hasn’t quite recovered. She’s still having nightmares and paranoid feelings, that you can see reflected in how she designed her house when rebuilding after the fire: Extra exits everywhere.

Of course, is it really paranoia when people ARE after you? She is living with what can be considered former law enforcement. There’s bound to be people trying to kill Alek after god-knows how many years of being a JUSTICE.

Thus, a sniper shooting him in the head.

Does he die? You will have to read the book. But do you honestly think I wouldn’t be raving and tearing things apart if my favorite character in this whole series would’ve died so nonsensically!?

I’m always up for getting more Alek. Extra chapters from his perspective are my absolute favorite. But I DO feel like I’m missing something. There’s this whole thing happening in New Orleans, that I don’t have my detail from and jeeps getting referenced. I need the deeds! Especially if they will answer all questions about the Council of Nine.

All in all, I really really liked this book. It was GREAT! Even with the zombies and other strange undead creatures.

And I’m not even bothered by the fact that this is NOT the end of the story yet. There are, at least, two more books coming out soon. I’m actually excited about it.

Definitely looking forward to reading more about Jade Crow and her band of friends.

Curious Books (4)

Packing for Mars.

The Curious Science of Life in the Void.4/5

Finally! Exactly what I was looking for by reading all these Curious Books: one as interesting and hilarious as Stiff.

p4mars

This book is GREAT. It had me laughing out loud often enough to get me quite a few side-looks. I might have even seemed a bit crazy every now and then. In hindsight, the hospital waiting room might not have been the best place to be reading such a funny book.

It still doesn’t outdo Stiff (that one is still my favorite), but I’ll be talking about poop in space, cube food and the perfect all-women space crew for days.

As always, one of the things that I enjoy the most about Mary Roach‘s books is all the fun and interesting things that I get to learn from them. And not only because she explains them in a hilarious way, but because it all rouses my curiosity.

I couldn’t possibly be satisfied by the summary explanations we got from the Columbia disaster, so I had to look it up. And that took me to the Challenger explosion. And now you can imagine me asking everyone I know if they remember watching or learning the news about either one.

Of course, this books also brought to mind another of my all-time favorites, the Martian. It made me think of all the things that will be necessary if we ever want to realize this collective pipe dream we have of stepping on Mars, of colonizing it.

How many people have already died or suffered injury in our efforts to leave this planet, how many more will die and suffer in our pursuit of the Mars dream? Like the books points out at the end, is it really worth it?

If you’re into space travel stories, this just may make everything more hilariously absurd. Just in case you hadn’t thought about the nitty-gritty details!

PSI-Ops (2&3)

Act of Surrender

Mandy M. Roth

2/5I’m still waiting for the end of the month paycheck in order to get the last book from The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series, and I didn’t really want to get into another book series. Instead, I picked up the other short easy read I discovered the same fateful day I found Justice Calling and tried to follow that story.

Book #2, Act of Surrender, was less than impressive. It was basically the same story than the first one, with a bunch of stuff that repeats over an over again.

I don’t mind all the references to other adventures in previous books or even to the happening in other books from the same universe but in different series. It just makes me want to read all of those books when the author mentions shocking of mysterious adventures from other books.

But I have to roll my eyes when I get the exact same lines, obvious explanations, every two pages. It really annoyed me.

But I endured. I was even looking forward to following up on that cliffhanger at the end. 
And then… I got to the first pages f the next book, where the whole issue was resolved without any clues. Read this other book series message, instead.

That was not nice. Not nice, at all.

Book #3, Act of Submission, is not better at all. Again, all about the girl and how she’s the mate of one of the operatives. There was an interest new twist: Vampires. But then, there were no explanations, no background on the new bad guys. they are just there all the sudden.

And there’s even a new ally! That could have been a good moment for explanation and repeating introduction to this character, even if it was in another book. But no! He’s just there. And had all the answer. NOT SO GOOD.

I even took a peek at the first pages of Book #4, Act of Command. Not interested. At all. I’ll just get back to my new favorite sorceress.

Magic to the Bone

by Annie Bellet

4/5
Bombs, hostages, mercenaries, and magic! How can that not be GREAT!?

I really liked that ending.  I think it was totally appropriate until I realized there’s another book yet to come. What’s up with that?

I wish the had been more Alek, as always. Too much Harper, again. And there wasn’t even a big explosion, even when there were lots of explosives.

And, of course, I could’ve used more magic…

Spoiler Alert

… Isn’t she supposed to be a mythical creature made of pure magic? Or something like it? I was expecting her to wipe the floor with Samir, but I guess that would’ve been too much after their first fight ended up lopsided.

There was a lot of opened questions, though. Like, what happened to the shifters and what0’s gonna happen to the town after they were totally abandoned like that. And the Fae, what’s up with them? Will they try another way to break the seal?

Is that why there’s another book?

And now, Jade Crow is the savior of the whole town of supernaturals!!

Jade Crow for president!!

No. Make it…

Queen Jade Crow!!

The downside of binge reading, though, is that I almost capped my monthly book-budget. It means I’ll have to wait a week before I can get the last book in this series. In the meantime, there’s a couple of books waiting.

It’s just a matter of picking one.

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (7)

3/5

Thicker than Blood

Annie Bellet

thickerThanBlood

Not as awesome as the previous one, I have to say. And I was totally disappointed that we didn’t get more Aleksei. Too much Harper, for my taste. I don’t hate her anymore, true, but she’s still not my favorite person.

Uh! I might see the point of all those Harper excerpts now. I’d still leave at simply GOOD, though.

This whole book feels like a slight detour from the actual story, the one that has me so caught up… but I absolutely loved all the dragon ball references. I totally see it.

And we at least got a glimpse at what is happening with Samir, and Jade‘s friends, otherwise I would be totally annoyed.

Spoiler alert, though…

20ss07Dragon! That word made this book totally worth it. Even if it was only the final chapters. I totally love dragons. And, of course, mystery dad is totally awesome. He hid his heart and guarded it with a monstrous giant snake! How much cooler can he be? He was my absolute favorite part in this book, and that’s even considering Aleksei‘s sister and the know-it-all vampire.

Magic to the Bone. On to book #7 we go!

Our shifter friends are hiding in the forest, trying to stop Mr. Evil-ExBoyfriend from rising some serious bad ancient power and becoming stronger, while our heroine is trying to get her mojo back with the help of her totally unexpected dragon bio-daddy. this ought to be getting super exciting now.

Deep breath. I just had a good night sleep. I’m ready.

Let’s level up!

 

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (6)

Heartache

by Annie Bellet

5/5OMG.

Boss fight, it is right!

This is honestly the most exciting book in this series by far. This is going to be full of spoilers. Beware.

I have been waiting for Samir to finally show his face for five books now, and I don’t think he disappoints. What does disappoint is Jade’s fumbling response. She was supposed to be training for a while now, and had learned a lot of new things from the older witch who she just ate! Why is she acting like a newb?! It’s frustrating!

I understand she not being able to save her friend the first time she managed to use Tess’s magic to do something unique and unexpected, but she’s supposed to be smart! Why not stop to analyze what happened and how can it be used to her advantage? Ok. She got arrested, that could have occupied her mind for a while, but she spends a long while locked in a prison cell… couldn’t she have taken a moment to think about her options?!

And don’t get me started on the complete narrowmindedness of not contemplating for a moment that something besides herself could be at play.

Also, someone put a leash on those friends of hers! Especially Harper. She’s starting to rub me the wrong way. She never stops to think, just changing ahead and getting herself mauled. She, and the twins, totally dismissed Jade’s fears of Samir without stopping to consider there might be a reason to have a healthy level of fear and caution. 

Don’t take my ranting wrong, though. I absolutely loved this book. The bad guy is seriously bad, the love interest is perfectly lovely and not overpowering, the surrounding story is adequately complex and there is more than one character to be into there. It is a fantastic book. I completely LOVED IT!. Seriously looking forward to book #6.

There’s only three left, but this whole series has gone crazy fast. I think I might easily finish it before the month is over.