Book Review

#Fantasy Worth Reading: A Shudder of Specters #BookReview

If you’re looking for a delicious escape, Shudder of Specters: A Fantasy LitRPG Adventure by Christine Rains is a novel you’ll want to add to your Kindle ASAP.

The story is fun and fast-paced, and it was easy to place myself in the setting. The characters and plot caught my attention from page one and didn’t let go. Eagerly, I returned to this book every night and turned the pages longer than I should have (on a work night).

The premise: A usual game night turns into most players’ fantasy-actually living in the game world.

A fan of the Elder Scrolls, it was easy for me to slip into the world and envision the monsters, the adventure, and the characters. I’ve not read a book in this genre before but now I will look for more.

And great news! I know Christine Rains is about to publish the second book in this series. Awesome for me and my Kindle.

So, yes, I would recommend this book. A lot. Well, if you want to actually enjoy what you’re reading.  You can find it on AMAZON

In every one of their games, the bard dies first.

But this time, she may be the only one who can save them all.

Nora Quinn wants to play a bard like no other seen before, and the newest table-top role-playing game is the perfect chance to show off her skills. Yet when Nora and her friends find themselves in the dark fantasy world of Khthonia, she struggles to be any type of bard at all. There, things aren’t as straightforward as the games she’s used to playing.

If she and her friends want to get back to the real world, then Nora has to lift the curse plaguing Khthonia for over a century. The fate of the realm and their way home rest in Nora’s hands, but will she survive when the bard is always the first to die?

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: Cage of Souls #BookReview

Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky is a richly woven tapestry on a future Earth that resembles an alien planet. Inhabited by monsters and mechs, the residents are surrounded by a planet bent on destroying them.

It starts with the main character on his way to prison. There are only two civilized places: the main city and the prison.  The creatures attacking the boat on the way to the ‘Island’ were horrifying and fatal. They were as alien as if they came from another planet.

This story was thick with lots of atmosphere and character and layers and ideas. Through the terror of the prison, we learn that life outside the prison isn’t any easier. Once the darkness of the Island has steeped into the  psyche, the city is made known. Its inhabitants and culture didn’t seem like freedom either. To me, it seemed like a different type of prison.

In this epic, we’re human to the end with all our flaws. I was constantly searching for what had made our world this way. The characters didn’t know so the reader is left to infer with hints and clues here and there. Which was rather fun.

It’s not a quick read, but it’s a story worth knowing from cover to cover. And if you care to delve into the mirror written in the pages, it’s easy to see our current culture and society. Makes me wonder about the bars of my cage…

The sun is bloated, diseased, dying perhaps. Beneath its baneful light, Shadrapar, last of all cities, harbours fewer than 100,000 human souls. Built on the ruins of countless civilisations, Shadrapar is a museum, a midden, an asylum, a prison on a world that is ever more alien to humanity.

Bearing witness to the desperate struggle for existence between life old and new is Stefan Advani: rebel, outlaw, prisoner, survivor. This is his testament, an account of the journey that took him into the blazing desolation of the western deserts; that transported him east down the river and imprisoned him in the verdant hell of the jungle’s darkest heart; that led him deep into the labyrinths and caverns of the underworld. He will meet with monsters, madman, mutants.

The question is, which one of them will inherit this Earth?

 

 

 

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading: The Midnight Library #BookReview #SciFi #Fantasy

A little bit sci-fi, a little bit fantasy, the Midnight Library by Matt Haig was a thought-provoking read. It starts off dark with the main character, Nora, killing herself.

She has no hope and has nothing worthwhile to live for. Dark as this opening is, it’s easy to identify with. The basic premise is discovering the meaning of a life even when it seems trivial and small and not of much consequence.

After trying to kill herself, she wakes up in a library between life and death. There are myriad books all on the same subject, Nora. She can undo any regret she has and try on any life.

In the end, I thought the message was beautiful, and it made me think better of myself and my life. I definitely think that’s a book worth reading.

I won’t say much more about this book, because it’s beauty is what you discover in the pages. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

 

 

 

The Best #SciFi and #Fantasy Books I read in 2021

These books weren’t published in 2021, but I read them this year, and I enjoyed every word. I read others but if I don’t like a book, I don’t review it.

 

 

  1.  The Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone. What an imaginative, creative, marvelous read. If you’re looking for original space opera, this novel certainly fits. Full Review

 

2.  Binti by Nnedi Okorafor.  I read this Hugo and Nebula winner cover to cover in one sitting. It deserves the awards. Full Review

 

3.  The Salvage Crew by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne. What started as a simple mission to recover ship parts became more and more immersed in problems and complexity. Full Review

 

4.  The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley.  From a realistic start, the story evolves into the more mystical and magical. The town of Bedlam is quite fantastic: glass cliffs; pollen that is bioluminescent; trees that can float on air; and stone statues that move.  Full Review

 

5.  A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. The galaxy it’s set in is awe-inspiring and full of novelty, yet it is also very familiar, which makes it an easy read. Full Review

 

6.  Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz. Most of us love to get lost in the beauty of our daydreams, which is very much like how the magic works in this book. It’s a great adventure with a great dose of self-discovery. Full Review 

 

7.  Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. The plot twists were fun and the action exciting. The character journey was as pivotal as the mystery of finding the witch creating the monsters.  Full Review

 

8.  Tentacles and Teeth by Ariele Sieling. Starts off at a gripping, intense pace and doesn’t let up. Full Review

 

 

 

#Fantasy Worth Reading: Tentacles and Teeth #BookReview

Tentacles and Teeth by Ariele Sieling starts off at a gripping, intense pace and doesn’t let up. Immensely enjoyable, I eagerly kept returning to this novel until I devoured the last page like a hungry Pok.

Something happened to the Earth we know. We don’t find out what, but the mystery made the story richer. The end of the world is ushered in by a plethora of monsters, referred to as gorgs.

There are lots of different kinds, and the surviving people are constantly fighting. Besides squaring off with the deadly monsters, Askari also battles some of the rules set by the elders. She doesn’t agree with them all and doesn’t always follow them.

This gets her punished and sent on a mission alone, a mission that will most likely kill her before she completes it. On her journey, we learn more about her and the changed Earth. She learns why some of the rules are wise, and decides she was right to question others.

This story is not lacking in monsters, action, and suspense. The characters were easy to identify with and root for. They were believable-flawed as well as strong. There were some twists and turns with the monster-action, which made this a fun and delightful read.

Good news! There are more books in this series! I would definitely recommend Teeth and Tentacles.

The apocalypse wasn’t what anyone expected–no rising flood waters, no zombies, no nuclear bombs. Instead, monsters. Their sudden invasion left the world in shatters, and now, decades later, all that’s left of human civilization are a few nomadic bands struggling to survive off the land.

Askari was born to this world, and lives, fights, and survives alongside the community that raised her. But when she breaks one too many of the community’s rules, her punishment is severe: leave.

Armed with her bow and blade, Askari sets off alone, guided only by a map and the promise that if she can find a book hidden in a nearby town, then she can return. But what can one person do alone in such a harsh, violent landscape? How will she survive?

Askari faces a challenge that will force her to learn not only about the world she lives in, but question what she believes about herself.

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: The Salvage Crew #BookReview

The Salvage Crew by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne was an exciting read. What started as a simple mission to recover ship parts became more and more immersed in problems and complexity.

Filled with adventure and the thrill of exploring an alien world, the story’s main character is an AI. He used to be human and is now an overseer. It’s his responsibility to keep the mission on track. He also enjoys writing poetry.

The crew of three humans is deeply flawed, and they have varying reactions to the adversity they face.  Their human-ness makes the story interesting and kept me turning the pages. There was mystery, exploration, discovery, disaster, pain, and evolution.  I liked the grit and flawed nature of the characters and the universe in which they operate. So many themes and ideas in this novel resonated.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. As you’ve probably guessed, I highly recommend adding this book to your library.  I’ll have to see what else this author has to offer as a reading treat.

They thought this was just another salvage job. They thought wrong.

An AI overseer and a human crew arrive on a distant planet to salvage an ancient UN starship. The overseer is unhappy. The crew, well, they’re certainly no A-team. Not even a C-team on the best of days.

And worse? Urmahon Beta, the planet, is at the ass-end of nowhere. Everybody expects this to be a long, ugly, and thankless job.

Then it all goes disastrously wrong. What they thought was an uninhabited backwater turns out to be anything but empty. Megafauna roam the land, a rival crew with some terrifyingly high-powered gear haunts the dig site, and a secret that will change humanity forever is waiting in the darkness.

Stuck on this unmapped, hostile planet, lacking resources, and with tech built by the cheapest bidder, the salvage crew must engineer their way to payday…and beat Urmahon Beta before it kills them all.

 

 

Scroll to Top