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The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden ARC {5 Stars}

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden ARC {5 Stars}

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
Published by Harper Voyager on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Genre-bender, Sci-fi
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes—the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:

A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country . . .
An emerging AI uprising . . .
And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.

It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.

5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Prey of Gods from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews {4.5 Stars}

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews {4.5 Stars}

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews (Innkeeper Chronicles #3)
Published by Author on December 20th 2016
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 259 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage. But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn {4 Stars}

Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn {4 Stars}

Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn
Published by Tor Books on January 17th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 288 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

A great new stand-alone science fiction novel from the author of the Kitty Norville series.

Polly Newton has one single-minded dream, to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. Her mother, the director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly's plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth—the one planet Polly has no desire to visit. Ever.

Homesick and cut off from her desired future, Polly cannot seem to fit into the constraints of life on Earth, unlike Charles, who deftly maneuvers around people and sees through their behavior to their true motives. Strange, unexplained, dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up. Charles may be right—there's more going on than would appear, and the stakes are high. With the help of Charles, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.

4 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Martians Abroad from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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The Found and the Lost by Ursula K. Le Guin {2 Stars}

by Ursula K. Le Guin
Published by Saga Press Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Novella, Sci-fi
How I got my copy: Publisher

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Found and the Lost from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

This is going to be a very different review than I normally post because I want to get down my thoughts, but they are scattered and completely due to where my brain is at currently. This is very much a time when my rating is a reflection on my experience only and not any attempt at an objective evaluation of these stories. Basically, I can’t evaluate these stories in a way that I consider fair because they just aren’t working for my reading mood right now.

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A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers {5 Stars}

Becky Chambers has done a superb job in writing this unique, engaging, and entertaining sequel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (spoilers for Angry Planet after this!).  Set in the same rich, multispecies universe, the action picks up just after the end of the previous book and follows the development of Lovelace, the rebooted AI of the Wayfarer, who decides to leave the ship in a highly-illegal simulated body.  Her journey of self-discovery and growth (while trying to avoid detection) is paralleled by that of a young escaped clone, Jane 23, who must rebuild a shuttle in order to flee the planet where she was kept as part of a slave work force.

The struggles of both sentients for self-determination and freedom kept me turning pages even as the philsophy student in me delighted to have found one of those special science fiction series that characterize the best of this genre – raising questions about ethics and the definition of personhood while spinning a good yarn in a detailed, vast, and complex universe.  Brava!!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers {5 Stars}

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #2)
Published by Harper Voyager on October 18, 2016
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 365 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for - and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers' beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Chasing Shadows by K.N. Salustro {3 Stars}

Chasing Shadows by K. N. Salustro is the first in a planet-hopping science fiction series with flying cats, genetically-modified super soldiers, and a whole lot of energy guns! If you are looking for a sci-fi that has some elements not often seen in the genre while staying true to what is so fun about science fiction, this is a book to check out. Also female bounty hunter ;-).

Note: This is an expedited review, meaning I was paid to read the book and the author chose for this review to be published. See my review policy for details.

Chasing Shadows by K.N. Salustro {3 Stars}

Chasing Shadows by K. N. Salustro (The Star Hunters #1)
Published by Author on Feb. 24th, 2014
Genres: Sci-fi
Page Length: 244 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

"Stand and Protect."

These are the words Star Federation soldiers live by as they work to uphold peace across the galaxy. Founded at the start of the Andromedan War, the Star Federation obliterated its opponents and now stands as the guardian of the galaxy. Its power has gone largely unchallenged in the wake of the war, and its officers now busy themselves with minor troubles. Once in a while, however, a powerful force surfaces and demands more attention, be it a drug lord, pirate crew, or a bounty hunter worthy of the Alpha Classification.

Following the assassination of one of the Star Federation's officers, Fleet Commander Lance Ashburn goes on the hunt for the Alpha Class bounty hunter known as the Shadow. One of the best officers the Star Federation has ever seen, Commander Ashburn comes closer than anyone ever has to eliminating the Shadow, but upon meeting her, he discovers that much larger and more dangerous enemies roam the stars. Enemies that even hunters fear.

Determined to do his duty as a Star Federation officer, Commander Ashburn fights for the galaxy, but the price of enduring peace may be one that the Shadow is not willing to pay.

Tethered to her own demons, bounty hunter Lissa aka the Shadow has seen the harsher side of the Star Federation, and her priorities do not include carrying out the agenda of a fleet commander. When her past catches up with her, however, Lissa must either surrender herself, or make a stand. Working with and against Commander Ashburn, Lissa could push the galaxy into war... or save it.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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Calamity: Being an Account of Calamity Jane and Her Gunslinging Green Man by J. D. Jordan {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

Calamity has to be one of the most original books I have ever read.  Taking the western genre and combining it with aliens …. literally big green men …. and a re-telling of the backstory of Calamity Jane makes for a refreshing read.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Calamity from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Calamity: Being an Account of Calamity Jane and Her Gunslinging Green Man by J. D. Jordan {Just Hatched}

Calamity by J. D. Jordan
Published by Heliosphere Books on September 1, 2016
Genres: Adult, Genre-bender, Sci-fi, Weird West
Page Length: 300 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

I’m sure you’ve heard of Calamity Jane, but this is not a novel about Calamity Jane.  At least not the Jane you may have read about. Calamity Jane is part of the legends of the Wild West, but long before she scouted with Custer or “Wild Bill” Hickok, she was a fifteen-year-old girl with a fiery temper.

Violence and tragedy turn young Jane’s world upside down and soon she finds herself riding with an alien gunslinger—the Green Man—through a landscape of revenge and betrayal.

Along the way, she learns how to shoot a six-gun and how to stand on her own, even when surrounded by Lakota warriors, and be respected. From space ships to guns that can shoot the wings off a butterfly a mile away, young Jane realizes that the universe is far bigger than the Wild West and that she can trust no one in it to save her but herself.

When the villainous Grays meddling in the wars between the Indians and the government stand in the way of the Green Man making his way home, Jane finds her desire for revenge may be less than her loyalty for the longrider. And in that realization, she becomes the hero the Wild West has long remembered.

So, forget what you know of how the West was won.  Forget the Indian Wars and Custer’s Last Stand.  Instead, learn the truth of what happened when a young girl met a longrider she called the Green Man . . .

3 Stars

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Reading Without Walls Blog Tour

Blog Tour Banner (1)

Secret Coders: Paths & Portals

Today it’s time for something a little bit different! Many of you know that I’m a graduate student (for one more year!) in computer science and biology. Therefore, when I was approached about joining in the Reading Without Walls blog tour, I couldn’t say no. I’ve been interested in Secret Coders for a while, but had never had the chance to read it. I’m really glad that I finally did, along with a couple more STEM comic books :D. If you have a kid in your life, I highly recommend these three great books!

Paths & Portals 1

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers {5 Stars}

In both history and science-fiction, I have always been drawn to discussions about what the life of an average person would be like.  While the shining knights of both Star Wars and Star Trek catch our eyes, I often wondered what it would be like to be the average Joe or Jane who simply has a routine job on a space ship or space station.  I think that’s why Firefly and Babylon 5 (and yes, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) had such loyal fan bases.  We want to experience vicariously not only the glitter of the space faring elite but also the day-to-day experiences of average Humans doing their jobs alongside alien races far, far from home.

If this sort of book interests you, do yourself a favor and not only get this book but pre-order the sequel that is scheduled for October!!  Trust me, when you finish The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, you’ll be glad you have the next volume reserved.

Note: I received an advanced copy of THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers {5 Stars}

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #1)
Published by Harper Voyager on July 5th 2016 (rerelease)
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 443 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers ARC {4.5 Stars}

Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers is a sci-fi that took me completely and utterly by surprise. I didn’t know much what to expect, but remembered that I thought it sounded good when I read the description. If a matriarchal futuristic society based on Indian cultural roots with a gunrunner turned princess trying to solve a murder mystery, stop a coup, and stay alive sounds good to you as well, don’t miss this! The comparisons on the back of the ARC discuss combining traits of Han Solo, Leia and Rey, and I whole-heartedly agree with that assessment :D.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Behind the Throne from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers ARC {4.5 Stars}

Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers (The Indranan Wars #1)
Published by Orbit on Aug. 2nd, 2016
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Meet Hail: Captain. Gunrunner. Fugitive.

Quick, sarcastic, and lethal, Hailimi Bristol doesn't suffer fools gladly. She has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire. That is, until two Trackers drag her back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir.

But trading her ship for a palace has more dangers than Hail could have anticipated. Caught in a web of plots and assassination attempts, Hail can't do the one thing she did twenty years ago: run away. She'll have to figure out who murdered her sisters if she wants to survive.

A gun smuggler inherits the throne in this Star Wars-style science fiction adventure from debut author K. B. Wagers. Full of action-packed space opera exploits and courtly conspiracy - not to mention an all-out galactic war - Behind the Throne will please fans of James S. A Corey, Becky Chambers and Lois McMaster Bujold, or anyone who wonders what would happen if a rogue like Han Solo were handed the keys to an empire . . .

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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