Book Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

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Read between: 5th-14th November
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 384
Published: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books
Synopsis: Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Rating: Related image

Review: Ten people, all with one goal, to get to Eden and have their families made richer than beyond belief. It’s a bit like The Hunger Games in space, but with less death, and a far bigger prize.

The main character, Emmett, wants to get to Edene so that his mother can afford treatment for her cancer. So his father doesn’t have to do dead beat jobs. To him, that’s more important than anything and I felt this really built his character. He’s a down to Earth kind of guy, but he also has a temper, which gives him the fighting spirit needed to keep going.

Having an ARC of this book, I went into the story blind, all I knew is that it was sci-fi. It ended up being so much more than that and I loved it. I loved following the characters on Genesis 11- even though they were competing against each other- they were all individual characters and I wanted them all to get to Eden.

There were moments of grief, as well as romantic moments that demonstrated the harsh reality that they wouldn’t see their families for a long time. Not until their mission on Eden is complete.

I’m glad I knew nothing about the story before I read it, because I would have made assumptions about the plot before I’d even read the book.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book! I’m very interested in the next one when it comes out because the change of setting and character group will differ from those of this book.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced sci-fi read, pick this book up. I’d definitely recommend it!

5/5 stars! A great read!

Thanks for reading.
~Katie

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Book Review: The Beasts of Karlstad by David J H Smith.

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Previously read by the same author: The Titanic’s Mummy.

Read between: 26th October- 5th November
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 311
Published: June 18th, 2016
Publisher: Paige Croft Publishing
Synopsis: Professor Charles Montacute, his daughter Jazmine and Captain Richard Mallory, with the help of Yuri Romanovsky, travel to Karlstad in Austria-Hungary in search of their missing friend and to investigate the rumours of strange Yeti-type creatures that are said to live there.

However, when they arrive, it is soon clear that there is much more to this provincial town than meets the eye.

From the strange way the local’s dress, to the advanced devices and technology they use, it is clear that Karlstad is a town that is secretly run on cogs, gears and steam.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review:

This is the second book by David that I’ve read- and even though the author is a friend of mine, I was not asked to review this book. As I bought it with my own money, all the thoughts in this review are my own.

This book sees the return of the characters Professor and Jazmine Montecute, and Richard Mallory, who we first met in The Titanic’s Mummy. This time however, they are joined by a new character, Yuri, a Russian who joins the gang on their search for a missing friend.

Just like the Titanic’s Mummy, there is a supernatural element to the story. Yetis. Big furry white yetis that living amongst the people of Karlstad and providing them with technology way beyond their means.

I loved that element of the story, with the steampunk feel to it. Our characters live in the 20th century, the story is set in 1913, just before the start of the first World War, so its understandable they were bemused by the inventions the locals had; goggles, guns and even a selfie stick!

Although, about that last one, according to one of the creatures “don’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t catch on…”
If only he knew!

I always like the fact the author uses actual historical events to set the scene- in this case, the death of Emily Davison at the Epsom Derby. You know where you are in history- and this really helped the to get a better picture and understanding of the story.

Overall the novel is a very fun read. The mystery and the adventure didn’t clash, but fitted together rather well, although Yuri’s clumsiness made me laugh because he always seemed to get himself in some kind of trouble.

It’s a great story, and uses a very creative mix of tropes. I’d recommend it if you like historical fiction, mystery or supernatural reads. I wonder what happened to the painter A.Hitler though……

4/5 stars!
I really liked it!

Thanks for reading
~Katie

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Book Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

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Read between: 21st-26th October
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 384
Published: November 11th 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Synopsis: Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.
Rating: 9dbae-4-52bstars

Review: Heiress Lilac LaRoux and soldier Tarver Merendsen are unlikely to interact in normal circumstances due to their classes, but when the spaceliner Icarus crashes on an abandoned planet, they must rely on each other to survive.

For a sci-fi book, the mention of terraforming and space travel really helped me to visualise another world and a futuristic setting, which was good because it reads like a survival story. Not that that was a problem! I really liked the book.

The characters were also really well written- both have intricate and emotional backstories that makes them who they are. They’re emotional themselves and that may be the reason that the romance happens pretty quickly. Especially from Tarver’s view. There’s more than one occasion where he describes Lilac as beautiful.

It’s cute.

They’re total opposites but together they just work- I mean, you’d have to in their situation.

There were definitely moments that made me feel sorry for them, especially towards the end of the book. However, the ending gets a little bit confusing- I was hurt, and then I was confused, thankfully, the more I read on, the questions I had were answered. Still left me a little miffed though!

However, the story flows well through the dual perspectives- which also heped to see what they thought of each other- but sometimes I found their actions to be a little predictable. This made me like them more though! It made them just that little bit more human.

It’s a survival story with a space twist and it was just what I expected it to be! The world building helped to imagine a barren world- the last place anyone would want to visit. I would definitely recommend it. It’s clever and well written, and who doesn’t love a bit of sci-fi?

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Read between: 14th- 20th October
Format: ebook
Published: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and the author for letting me read this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Five students end up in detention- then one of them dies. Tragic accident or deliberate? Whatever happened, the other four become murder suspects and their lives change dramatically.

To make it worse, the boy who died, Simon, was going to post incriminating gossip about all four of them on his app, gossip that could effect their personal lives. It gives them motive, so- did one of them actually do it or is it all a misunderstanding of an accident?

The author is really good at building suspense from the moment Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper become persons of interest in Simon’s death. Obviously, they all had secrets they wanted to hide, and Simon knew about them. It would make a lot of sense that one of them could have done it.

However, the more I read, the more I found it difficult to pin it onto one of them, even if Nate did have a criminal record. It would point towards one of them, and then the plot would change direction and I’d be unsure again!

There are lots of twists in the story, especially the reveal that one of the characters is gay- but it’s used negatively, seen as something scandalous and used against him. I like that the author decided to include LGBTQ+ representation, but she could have done it a little better I feel. There is also representation of depression that could be seen as negative representation so take this book with a pinch of salt if you decide to read it.

The representation of depression is very important to the story however.

When it came to the outcome of the story, even though the author did use it as Simon’s way to entertain people after he’d gone, the idea of his depression didn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, I admit that I didn’t see the ending coming.

At first it didn’t make any sense, but when I thought about it, it was actually really obvious.

It was a good book, and I did enjoy it, despite the slightly controversial and problematic scenes.

3/5 stars.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Thread of Hope by Jeff Selby

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Read between: 30th September- 7th October
Format: ebook
Genre: Mystery
Published: December 30th, 2011
Synopsis: If someone took your child, how soon would you stop looking for her? If someone accused your best friend of a terrible crime, when would you stop defending him?

Seven years after Joe Tyler’s daughter Elizabeth was abducted, he hasn’t stopped looking for answers, and he hasn’t forgotten the friend who stood by him as he lost his wife, his home, and his career in his search. Now he’s been brought back to San Diego by the news that this friend has been arrested for beating up a teenage girl—a girl not much older than Elizabeth would be now.
Joe is convinced Chuck Winslow is innocent, but Chuck is in a coma and can’t explain what happened. And the more Joe hears about what Chuck’s been up to in the years he’s been gone, the less Joe recognizes his old friend. To find out the truth, he will have to face his ex-wife, his former bosses, and a hometown full of wealth, lies, and illicit privilege. When Chuck’s accuser goes missing, Joe must decide where his loyalties truly lie.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: I got this book for free in an email from the author, so thanks Jeff!

Joe Tyler hasn’t been to Conorado since his daughter, Elizabeth, went missing- but now he’s back to help his friend. He wants to find out who beat Chuck up- and if the rumours that he beat up a teenage girl are true- because that’s not the Chuck he knows!

I enjoyed this novel- Joe trying to solve the case whilst haunted by the past really gave him character. Although, I admit that the scene where he punched a teenage boy hard in the face wasn’t exactly his beast quality- you don’t really want to advocate violence in an abuse case- but it was for a good reason.

There’s secrets and lies amongst the teens of Conorado and Joe finds himself stuck in the middle of it all. There are some consequences and surprises- for me as a reader, and for Joe!

It’s very well written- and although it started off show as the story progressed it got better and I got more involved in the story. I liked how we got Joe’s backstory too- I understood how he felt.

Another great element that I liked about the novel is that I didn’t predict the outcome which is good writing 🙂

I’m very interested in reading the sequel- I want to know if Joe is going to find his daughter!

3/5 stars.
There were some problematic scenes but it’s a good read!

Thanks for reading.
~Katie

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Book Review: Breakthrough by Michael C. Grumley

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Read between: 21st-29th September
Format: ebook
Published: 6th March, 2013
Synopsis: ONE OF THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN HUMAN HISTORY.
A SECRET THAT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE FOUND.
AND A CRISIS THAT CANNOT BE STOPPED.

Deep in the Caribbean Sea, a nuclear submarine is forced to suddenly abort its mission under mysterious circumstances. Strange facts begin to emerge that lead naval investigator, John Clay, to a small group of marine biologists who are quietly on the verge of making history.

With the help of a powerful computer system, Alison Shaw and her team are preparing to translate the first two-way conversation with the planet’s second smartest species. But the team discovers much more from their dolphins than they ever expected when a secret object is revealed on the ocean floor. One that was never supposed to be found.

Alison was sure she would never trust the military again. However, when an unknown group immediately becomes interested in her work, Alison realizes John Clay may be the only person she can trust. Together they must piece together a dangerous puzzle, and the most frightening piece, is the trembling in Antarctica.

To make matters worse, someone from the inside is trying to stop them. Now time is running out…and our understanding of the world is about to change forever.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: The concept of this book is great- the main premise follows a bunch of aquarium works using technology to enable them to communicate with Dirk and Sally- the aquariums resident dolphins! That had to be my favourite part because I love dolphins and it really goes to show how intelligent they are!

I love the fact they had their own vocabulary.

Strange things start to happen- a Navy submarine suddenly veers off course- and then another one mysteriously disappears. On top of that, there’s an Earthquake in Antarctica, and what is with the strange glowing ring on the bottom of the ocean floor?

Is it an experiment? A military thing? Or something extra terrestrial?

As I said, it’s a very interesting concept to mix science, nature, extraterrestrial and naval genres all together but it works and its done extremely well!

The dolphins are a big part of the novel- they’re used on naval mission and there were moments when during these missions I was left in so much suspense and had to keep reading- I really didn’t want anything bad to happen to Dirk or Sally!

I just loved the dolphins so much ❤

However, I’m not sure if the way the Navy was written is satirical or not but there were times when I got really angry about how selfish they were with their decision making! Despite that, I did grow to like a couple of the characters who worked for the Navy, because in the end they weren’t as bad as some of their colleagues. They had morals.

There was so much going on, spread across different scenarios but it wasn’t overwhelming. It’s a great piece of sci-fi and I definitely enjoyed it. It’s the first in a series so who knows if I’ll continue?

3/5 stars!
Well worth the read!

Thanks for reading
~Katie
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Book Review: The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

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Previously read by the same author:
The Queen’s Fool.
The Virgin’s Lover.
The Other Queen.
The Lady of the Rivers.
The White Queen
The Red Queen
The Kingmaker’s Daughter

Read between: 15th- 21st September
Format: Paperback
Published: 27th February, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.

But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York.

Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.
Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: Elizabeth of York is the eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, who fell in love with her uncle, but after he is killed at Bosworth, she marries the victor, Henry Tudor- now King Henry VII of England.

Elizabeth is wife of the king, queen in all but name, living under the watchful eye of her mother in law, Margaret Beaufort. She’s of York- married into the House of Lancaster, but still, she is seen as the enemy. Her husband doesn’t trust her, even though she has produced the first Tudor heir.

Why? All the mistrust is because a pretender is claiming to be her missing brother, Prince Richard (of the Princes in the Tower), and is asserting his right to the throne as the rightful King of England- and people actually believe him.

She gets caught up in war, betrayal, and loss- when her one advisor, her mother, passes away- but her life reflects that of her mother, because Elizabeth Woodville experienced much the same thing when she was Queen of England.

Unfortunatley, Elizabeth is on the wrong side in her husband’s eyes. Can she regain his trust?

I definitely enjoyed Elizabeth’s story and I could see some parallels between this novel and ‘The White Queen’. However, I did feel that Elizabeth was overshadowed quite a lot in her own story by Margaret and Henry- so in some places I felt sorry for her.

It was a good way to end the series (yes I know there are more books now) as it come full circle, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, and ending with her daughter. It also leads nicely into the Tudor series- as Elizabeth York was Henry VIII’s mother.

3/5 stars!
I really enjoyed it 🙂

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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