Book Review: Avalon

Hello Everyone,

The cover is so intriguing!

Title: Avalon

Author: Mindee Arnette

Series: Book 1

Genre: YA, Science Fiction

Publisher: Harper Collins

Page Count: 400

Goodreads Summary:

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they’re damn good at it. Jeth doesn’t care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he’ll go to get the freedom he’s wanted for so long.

My Thoughts:

This was proclaimed as a For fans of Josh Whedon’s cult classic television show Firefly comes a fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller from author Mindee Arnett, over on Google and I really feel like it is accurate description of the book, however Firefly remains top tier. Worth reading if missing Firefly otherwise unless you really like predictable teen science fiction, I’d give this a hard pass. I love Mindee Arnett’s books, but this just didn’t do it for me.

My Review:

Jeth, Celeste, Lizzy and others on his crew are hired by the ITA to find a missing ship in a place no one goes to anymore because bad things happen there. There’s a mystery surrounding his parents death and their being called traitors. Lots of hijinks ensue, being chased by all sorts of people and near death experiences while also Jeth is intent to buy his parents ship, Avalon, back. It’s all fun and games until the truth comes out.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: Sisters of the Vast Black

Hello Everyone,

Such a lovely sci-fi cover.

Book Title: Sisters of the Vast Black

Book Author: Lina Rather

Series: Book One

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Tom Doherty

Page Count: 150

Date Published: October 2019

~•~•~•~

Goodreads Summary:

The sisters of the Order of Saint Rita captain their living ship into the reaches of space in Lina Rather’s debut novella, Sisters of the Vast Black.

Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations, a living, breathing ship which seems determined to develop a will of its own.

When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care—and that of the galactic diaspora—are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.

My Thoughts:

It took me a bit to actually get into the novella. The pacing was slow, off in a way, and I would have liked more. There is a sequel out now so I’ll happily be finding that at my library hopefully or purchasing both books. The author wrote nuns in space on board a living ship, a kind of slug? It gave me odd vibes of that old sci-fi tv series, Farscape. But with nuns.

There’s a lot of theology and debate in the first part of the book, but then it spirals into action and usual space plots. The little novella took only an hour to read but already I want to reread it and see if I’ve missed anything. Though I liked it, I don’t know how to review this without massive spoilers. So I’ll leave it here and let you all figure out how good it is. Highly recommend for all sci-fi fans.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Physical Book Review: Victories Greater Than Death

Hello Everyone,

I read this book and wound up sadly dnf’ing it! I managed 55% before giving up out of frustration and annoyance. I know it’s a lot of people’s favorite but it just didn’t work for me.

Book Title: Victories Greater Than Death

Book Author: Charlie Jane Anders

Book Genre: SciFi/YA

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Tor Teen

Goodreads Summary:

Outsmart Your Enemies. Outrun the Galaxy.

Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’—she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic—she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.

But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachael, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.

Buckle up your seatbelt for this thrilling sci-fi adventure set against an intergalactic war from international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders.

My Thoughts:

As mentioned, I wound up dnf’ing this book. It felt off. The writing was good, but I didn’t care for any of the characters at all. The pacing felt wrong and there was just an overall “meh” feeling to the story. This was really disappointing in that I so wanted to like this more than I did but…it just wasn’t for me. I may try again one day though I doubt it.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: Iron Widow

Hello All,

Like the design? Made with Canva!

It feels even longer since I wrote a Netgalley review than a regular review. I’m hoping that this turns out well, but if any links aren’t working please let me know in the comments! I would really appreciate it!

Iron Widow is proclaimed as Pacific Rim meets Handmaid’s Tale and from what I read it’s a story about a girl getting vengeance for her murdered Big Sister and getting into a lot of trouble along the way. First in a series written by Xiran Jay Zhao. It’s Chinese history and mecha science fiction for YA readers, from what Penguin Books says. This book blew me away, though it took me a bit before I was hooked and grabbed it left me wanting more.

Book Title: Iron Widow

Book Author: Xiran Jay Zhao

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Series: Book One

Page Count: 400

Goodreads Summary:

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

My Thoughts:

I actually started writing notes at a quarter of the way through the book. It was intense reading (and I had no idea it was 400 pages, it flew by fast!) But I still loved it. I did have my issues with the book, but it thankfully came with trigger warnings listed at the front! (I wish more authors would do this!)

Trigger Warnings: misogyny and femicide, rape mentioned, physical and emotional abuse, suicidal ideation, alcoholism, blood and gore, murder, torture, torture of a child

This is not a book for the faint hearted or those easily offended.

Wu Zitan is a girl fixing to go off to war for her family, as she has no desire to be married. She also doesn’t want to die but it’s common knowledge that girls don’t live long upon serving the men in the army. Wu Zitan is only going so that she can get vengeance for her Big Sister who was killed recently. (Unsure if this is a SPOILER) she succeeds… and falls into worse trouble.

I loved Wu Zitan’s character. She was strong willed despite shit after shit flung at her, and she still triumphed against all odds though that cliffhanger was definitely not what I saw coming. I had suspicions for something else entirely but it’s nice to be surprised. I liked that there wasn’t a love triangle. I won’t say anything because I don’t want too many spoilers. But I’m happy for how the relationship turned out. The books cliffhanger is still frustrating and I need the second book. I can’t begin to rate this highly enough but I believe it’s earned it’s rating!

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of the book. I definitely look forward to the sequel!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: The Colonists Wife

Colonists Wife

Hello friends,

The Colonist’s Wife by Kylie Scott is a science fiction romance. There’s miners, danger, explosions, and even horticulture within this book. There’s plenty of things to go around, in terms of enjoying a good science fiction romp towards an alien planet named Esther (I believe), and in colonization. Mail order brides set in space is always an interesting trope that I like reading, and I found Adam and Louise both likable characters, despite each of them having their own flaws.

The romance was easily one of my favorites as well, and this scifi romance novel soared to the top of my favorites list. I’ve barely read anything by Kylie Scott, but this author has made me sit up and take notice. Sadly, the author doesn’t appear to have a lot in terms of scifi romance just yet, but I hope that will soon change.

This story was well written, fast paced, and with plenty of romance. The setting was intriguing, and I found the characters flaws to be realistic as well as carefully handled. I liked how each character was fleshed out in the story. Louise’s tragic backstory was one I’d read, but in a different set up than what I was familiar with. I liked the side characters, as well as the overall plot. And the flow of the story was smooth, causing me to finish the book in one sitting.

4/5 stars for a new to me author, one that I’m sure that I’ll be enjoying a lot more in the future. I’ll keep a look out for this author, and their other works, as well as recommend them to those on my friends list who adores scifi romance as much as I do. This is a good, standalone scifi romance that I’m sure all of you will thoroughly enjoy.

Until next time,
Pass Me That Book

Arc Review: Salvation Day

Salvation Day

Title: Salvation Day
Author: Kali Wallace
Series: ?
Genre: Science Fiction, Adult Fiction
Page Count: 300
Publisher: Berkeley
Type of Book: Arc, Physical Hardback
Received: Publisher
Review Word Count:
Rated: 5/5
Notes: Highly recommended for fans of The Expanse, Illuminae, and Binti.

This was an awesome, adventurous ride from the very beginning, building into a mystery that you didn’t know where it would end up at, though you kept hoping you would know the answer. The writing is strong, the characters are full of depth and each have their own unique backstories, and everyone’s agenda is complicated…you’ll fall for this world just as easily as I have, especially if you enjoy watching the show The Expanse.

I should warn readers not to get attached to characters. This author must have taken liberties from George RR Martin with how often he talked about death, dying, killing characters, and so on.

The story here was just so well done. The build up suspense was well executed, the hostage scenario at the beginning was tightly woven and you just were eager to see where everything landed at the end of the book.

I sincerely, sincerely hope there’s a sequel. Or more to come from one of my new favorite authors.

5/5 stars for a beautifully written space adventure romp with ghost ships, hostages, mysterious viruses, and loads of character deaths you didn’t see coming. My thanks also to the publisher for sending me a copy, I’ll be putting this with my Expanse collection at once.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Anthology Review: The Eagle Has Landed

The Eagle Has Landed

Title: The Eagle Has Landed
Author: Anthology/Neil Clarke
Series: Standalone
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Skyhorse
Page Count: 600
Type of Book: Kindle Ebook, Arc
Received: Netgalley
Review Word Count: 1000
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: Definite recommendation for SciFi nerds!

This was a fascinating anthology about the moon landings, or people living on the moon and I jumped at the chance to read and review this book. I’ve been reading a lot of short fiction lately, from anthology collections to Tor’s Free Short Story Archive, to random other tidbits I’ve found here and there. My goal is to read one short story a day, perhaps more depending on what mood I’m in, or how impactful the story was and how much it lingers with me. And now that I’ve finished it, rating the stories on my goodreads review, I can say that this was a very well done anthology with several 4 star and 5 star short stories within, including two favorites which I really loved.

My overall two favorite stories were “A Walk in the Sun” by Geoffrey A. Landis and “How We Lost the Moon” by Paul J. MacAuley. Both were excellent, and there were several others that were high on my list of favorites as well. Neil Clarke definitely knows how to put together an anthology of great fiction, and I’m more interested than ever in seeing what other books he’s put together.

This took me two weeks to finish, rather a week and a half but put me in a little slump when I was done. I liked each story that was in here; there was nothing that I outright hated, which was unusual for an anthology for me, as there have been times where a few stories I simply could not stand-this was not the case here. Definitely made for science fiction, with little else in this book, I highly recommend it for scifi nerds like myself who love survival stories, as well as exploratory tales, and races against time.

My overall rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars, though I’ve settled on a 4/5 stars instead of rounding up, due to the slump it put me in as well as the few stories that simply weren’t to my taste. I feel that this will make a great read for those who are studying astronomy, or the moon, or the history of astronauts.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Paperback Book Review: Stardoc

Stardoc

Title: Stardoc
Author: S. L. Viehl
Series: Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction, Adult Fiction
Publisher: Roc Fantasy
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Paperback
Received: Library Loan
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: Trigger warnings for rape between alien/human species, harsh language, various illnesses, illegal cloning, and light suggested emotional abuse towards a child*

Discovered through Goodreads, not a bad find on the recommendations page. I just wish that I’d known it was the start to a series. I’ve got so many series started already that I wasn’t looking to be invested in another one, but I definitely am now. This one was a strangely delightful read, a feel good scifi romp with plenty of action, though with plenty of heavy hitting topics as well…from finding the love of your life to a dangerous contagion that might wipe out an entire planet’s worth of different species all in one go. The adventure was non-stop, and there was plenty of unusual aliens with their own histories and stories to make one really feel as if they were really a part of the story and not just reading it.

*light suggested emotional abuse towards a child is in reference towards the main character’s father being an absolute ass. He genetically engineered, aka cloned, his daughter and never told her. She found out through an anonymous tip that her entire life has not only been a lie but orchestrated by her father. It’s the primary reason for her packing up her belongings, including a cat named Jenner, and high-tailing it to another world that’s considered on the edge of the frontier with poor medical treatment centers, giving her the perfect excuse to being there, for she’s a highly trained medical doctor.

Nevermind the fact that she’s never operated on alien beings, she’d determined to learn and experience as much as she can while she’s there. It’s an entertaining read as she discovers that it’s a lot more to take in than what she originally realized, and her living area is much smaller than what she’s accustomed to as well. With plenty of aliens around, she also has to learn new languages and cultures, as well as figuring out the lay of the land with its laws and customs.

There’s plenty to discover and like within this book, from the characters point of view, to the aliens, to the in-depth descriptions of how to treat an alien woman giving birth to vicious babies that will eat you as soon as your born. There’s lots of action, adventure, and even romance in this book but there’s hefty topics to deal with too.

Overall, I’m giving this a 5/5 stars for a wonderful read, and definitely look forward to reading more of the series to figure out how she finds freedom and free will against that of her egotistical ass of a father.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

New Release Review: Arabella and the Traitor of Mars

Arabella and the Traitor of Mars

Title: Arabella and the Traitor of Mars
Author: David Levine
Series: Book 3
Genre: Science Fiction, Adult Fiction
Publisher: Tom Doherty/Tor
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Hardback, New Release
Received: Library Loan
Rated: 5/5 stars
Review Word Count: 500
Notes: Read for the OWLs prompt “Transfiguration-Sprayed Edges or Red Cover” and since I don’t have any sprayed edges on my books, I went with the red cover. I had so many more options there, but finally settled on a favorite series.

This was a delightful read, just as much as the first two books in the series were. While I love Arabella and her adventures, I felt as though this might be the end of the series what with that happy ending that the author had. If that’s so, then that makes me sad for I’m most definitely not ready for the trilogy/series to end!

This third book of Arabella promises a war of sorts to occur between the Prince of England and Mars. There’s spies, aliens, subterfuge, disagreements of epic proportions, true lovers quarrels that are happily resolved by the end of the book, sarcastic wit, and heroism scattered throughout the book. It’s as much as you would expect from a political yet adventurous set of battles both in space and on two different planets.

Lady Corey is also a favorite, as is Fox, Captain Singh, and many others. All played their parts in the story, and many had larger roles than before. Captain Singh had an enormous role to the point that it made the story vastly more interesting, though I disapproved of his first choice towards the question the Prince posed him he did make the right call in the end after all and his love for Arabella triumphed.

I feel that there can be more information on the Martians, for example, explained in book four. And that Arabella could truly begin learning the depths of the Martians and what all they could truly be capable of. While we caught some hints of that in this book, it was more focused on stopping a war between planets than it was on the Martians history and people.

Yet despite the amount of politics riddled within the pages of this fast-paced adventure story set in space, the story itself never dragged, the characters proved as true in this book as they’d been in the first two, and I remain an ever present fan of this series. 5/5 stars for a splendid read, and the sad news that I have finished a trilogy of great fun and realistic characters that lead adventurous lives.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

New Release Review: Once and Future

Once and Future

Title: Once and Future
Author: Amy Rose Capetta + Cori McCarthy
Series: Book 1
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Hatchett
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Hardback, New Release
Received: Library
Rated: 5/5 stars
Review Word Count: 500
Notes: Read for the “Ancient Runes” category of my O.W.L. Exams/Read-a-Thon, for in Ancient Runes you were meant to read a ‘retelling’.

Slow to start, this built up to a cliffhanger that made me scream as I saw at the end of the book a page that read “The Sword in the Stars Coming 2020”. Noooo. I didn’t want to start another series. And did this list it as a series on Goodreads? Nope. Did it list it at the beginning of the book? Nope. Grr. But I’m heavily invested now, because oh the characters!

The storyline is definitely different from the original, and it’s not just because Arthur got turned into a girl for this plot. There was a f/f romance that I didn’t see coming-two of them. There was a back romance plot of an m/m romance that I also didn’t see coming. There were knights in shining armor, even while in space. There were dragons. There were miracles and heartache and flirting and lots of musical references. Everything from Queen to Katy Perry musical references that made me appreciate the book even more.

At points, it felt like this story dragged in the middle, but then it picked up again with a startling speed that I flipped through to the end faster than anticipated and read the book in one sitting, it was that good. I was invested in the characters, their romances, the betrayals, the deaths, the bad guys and if they were going to be defeated or not. There was so much going on, but it wasn’t a hard book to read and the authors took care not to pander or info-dump the readers with a whole lot of back story which I appreciated. There were brief bits where they explained certain things, but it went well with the story. Even if I already knew the story of Arthur and Merlin, it being one of my favorite classics to read retellings of more so than, say Beauty and the Beast.

This was a breathtaking and beautiful retelling, with its own original twists and storyline that felt fresh and new. With plenty of positive LGBT representation, this book was a lovely read and one that I didn’t expect to be in my top ten favorites list for 2019 this early in the year. There have been several others of those already, and this year is shaping up to be a great year with loads of amazing books, with this being one of them.

I’m definitely going to get the second book to the series. Because that cliffhanger was evil and unexpected and just plainly left me wanting more. My hat is off to the authors for a spectacular job well done on a new version of the tale, and I eagerly anticipate the sequel. 5/5 glorious stars.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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