Netgalley Review: The Circus Infinite

Hello Everyone,

Another book I picked because of the cover. I have no shame. 😆

Book Title: The Circus Infinite

Author: Khan Wong

Series: Standalone (?)

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure

Publisher: Angry Robot

Page Count: 400

Trigger warnings: scenes of violence, drug use, torture

Goodreads Summary:

Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon. Here, everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job. When the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes’ head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him, or face vivisection.

With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But when the boss sets the circus up to take the fall for his about-to-get-busted narcotics operation, Jes and his friends decide to bring the mobster down together. And if Jes can also avoid going back to being the prize subject of a scientist who can’t wait to dissect him? Even better.

My Thoughts:

I tried reading this three times. I managed to finish it. I’ve got mixed feelings about this book.

My Review:

Wow. This book is heavy. I had a hard time reading this. It took three tries like I said above. I have no clue how to write this review. On the one hand, awesome ideas. An ace main character that controls gravity and reads people’s minds? So cool!

But there’s also the negatives. This book is dark. And heavy. Please pay attention to triggers when diving into this book!

Let’s start with the world building. This was so cool. Loads of interesting things were in this book. The circus was only a part of it. The planets, the people, and the characters were all fascinating! The whole idea of the book was supremely intriguing and I so wanted to like it.

But there were scenes in this that just felt like it was trying to hard, and seriously stretching believability. I’m aware this is science fiction/fantasy, yet I struggled to connect with a lot of the characters. I didn’t really get the plot, and I just have no clue how to review this book.

Maybe I might need to read the again but I’m giving this a 2.5 stars rounded up to a generous three. It had great elements! It had a lot of promising features! But it just wasn’t to my taste.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Hello Everyone,

Book Title: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Author: Rebecca Connolly

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Page Count: 320

Date Published: April 5th, 2022

Goodreads Summary:

Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia—the one ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.

Shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912, the captain of the Carpathia, Arthur Rostron, wakes to a distress signal from the Titanic, which has struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Though information is scarce, Rostron leaps into action, determined to answer the call for help. But the Carpathia is more than four hours away, and there are more questions than answers: Will his ship hold together if pushed to never-before-tested speeds? What if he also strikes an iceberg? And with the freezing temperatures, will there be any survivors by the time the Carpathia arrives?

Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on Titanic, and she is among the last to receive instruction and help after it hits an iceberg. Despite the chaos of abandoning ship, Kate is able to board a lifeboat, though after seeing the Titanic sink into the abyss and hearing the cries from hundreds of people still in the water, she wonders if any rescue is even possible.

Told in alternating chapters from both Captain Rostron and Kate Connolly.

My Thoughts:

This was quite good, but with heavy religious overtones that rather began to annoy. The first half of the book I was hooked, but by the time the characters are rescued and being taken to New York, there’s a lot of prayer and singing.

My Review:

Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, and those who don’t ought to learn one of the most important events in history. The Titanic taught us that all ships can be sinkable. (And to always double our lifeboats just in case.) That we can plan for every structure to be huge and impossible but the slightest item can damage it in the blink of an eye. The story of the Titanic is one of my favorites in history. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly. Maybe it’s because of the heroism of those reaching the poor people that barely survived the sinking of the Titanic. Maybe it’s because I adore ocean stories and survival stories. Maybe because it was such big news back in the day that it still haunts us all even now. Whatever the case, I read every Titanic book I can get my hands on, along with other sunken ships.

This story is historically accurate in terms of events, down to the timing being listed on every chapter. I appreciated the story for it’s accuracy and I did like the characters that I read. I flipped through the book rapidly and had to sit and think about how this review was going to go. Because while the first half was absolutely brilliant, the second half was nothing but paragraph after paragraph of prayer, hymns, and “thank god we’re alive!”. Of which, yes I’m aware that they likely did all that. But I was hoping for more backstory about the ship that rescued the survivors of the Titanic, not half a book of prayer.

The first half of the book was amazing; strong characters, I felt as though I was right there with them, vivid details, lots of rushing about to safety. The author did a fabulous job in recreating history, she’s a great writer. I was seeing a five star book on the horizon.

Then the characters were rescued by the Captain of the Carpathia. They were pulled up to safety, to warmth, to life again. And that’s where the story swapped from harrowing historical events to prayer. Praying almost every page. Hymns being sung. I flipped through the rest, and that was it. Nothing else but grateful for being alive.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that back then religion was rampant. As it is today. However I was really hoping for more information about the Carpathia. So I’m rating this four stars-reluctantly. After all. I did enjoy it. It just wasn’t what I thought it would be.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: Looking for Laura

Hello Everyone,

Title: Looking For Laura

Author: Ellen Shapiro

Series: Book One

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Indies United Publishing House

Page Count: 400

Book Summary:

Like most private investigators, Tracey Marks is just trying to pay off the mountain of bills that never seem to stop. So when a client hands her $5000 to find his missing wife, she jumps at the opportunity. Although it’s her first missing-persons case, she really does need the money and charges ahead into the investigation.

But things quickly go sideways, and the more answers she gets, the more questions that arise. Everyone seems to be holding back, or even outright lying…and even the missing woman has a sketchy past. As Tracey digs in deeper and deeper, she finds herself drawn into a web of deceit. With warning signs everywhere, will Tracey even live long enough to cash the check?

My Thoughts:

This was a smooth read, quick, simple and easy. Though our main character would beg to differ for it being her first missing persons case, I flew through the pages rapidly, eager to see how Tracy would solve the mystery. I’m pleased to say that I liked this one, with it being written by a woman who was a private eye herself, this was a new favorite, with plenty of mystery, action, and a lot of fun.

As a cozy mystery fan, I felt that this was well handled. I enjoyed the atmospheric writing, and the suspenseful buildup was great too. Tracy was a real, likable character, and I’m happy to add that there’s a sequel called Secrets Can Kill, that I definitely hope to snag. The mystery wrapped up nicely and I have a new favorite author to stalk. Highly recommend for fans of cozy mysteries.

My Rating:

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: A Suffragette in Time

Hello Everyone,

Book Title: A Suffragette in Time

Author: Connie Lacy

Genre: Historical, Romance

Publisher: Wild Falls Publishing

Page Count: ?

Series: Standalone ? (I think it’s part of a series but unsure however it works well as a Standalone.)

Book Summary:

A compelling time travel historical

Thrown back in time to the 1850s, Sarah Burns transforms herself into a suffragette. But traveling the speaking circuit can be risky in a time when men believe a woman’s place is in the home. It can be downright dangerous when she shares the stage with anti-slavery activists whose fiery rhetoric triggers violence.

Her uneasy alliance with an arrogant abolitionist may be heading toward romance, but it’s a bumpy road with perilous obstacles, including slave hunters intent on kidnapping anyone they can sell down south. Living with a family operating a station on the Underground Railroad doesn’t make life any easier.

A Suffragette in Time is a fast-paced time travel story set against the backdrop of one of the most acrimonious periods in American history, as the fight over slavery escalates toward the American Civil War. Danger, romance and one woman’s personal battle to make the world a better place.

My Thoughts:

I read this in two sittings, and only because it got late when I read it. I’m still having a few thoughts and feelings about this book. I had fun reading it, it was entertaining and dropped a couple historical names I didn’t immediately recognize and several I did (Harriet Tubman anyone?). I liked a lot of the references throughout from book titles to historical figures to how clothes were made. It was a good read.

I know this won’t be for everyone. It not only tackles women’s rights but it’s also very heavy on racism. It’s got several scenes that I found a bit far fetched-surprisingly, not the time travel though the way that was handled made me clap to the author as that was a clever idea I’d not seen yet. Very well done! I’m still thinking over this book, and am definitely interested in reading more. I think there’s at least two others linked with this one and the author has other books as well I may give a try. This was rather good, and I’m happy to have received an arc from the publisher on Netgalley. Thank you!

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: The Dead of False Creek

Hello Everyone,

Two Netgalley reviews in a month? Who is this girl and where has she been all this time? 🤔 Anyhoo…

The Dead of False Creek is a twisty murder mystery not quite involving time travel. I say “not quite” because no one actually goes back in time. Instead two people communicate through a journal and that premise intrigued me into requesting the book.

Book Title: The Dead of False Creek

Book Author: Sarah M. Stephen

Book Publisher: ? (I’ve searched on Google and Netgalley but am unsure of the publisher. If you know please let me know!)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Page Count: ?

Goodreads Summary:

He chases crooks. She dusts off maps. With important men vanishing, can one key document prevent death? Vancouver, 1897.

Jack Winston refuses to let his bloodline decide his vocation. Keeping his family connections secret as he joins the Constabulary, the rising detective works hard to make a name for himself on his own merit.

But when he investigates a missing young lawyer, he’s shocked to find his own journal connects him to a woman claiming to be from the future. Vancouver, 2017. Riley Finch adores history.

With life pulling friends and family further away, the archivist throws herself into her new position cataloging police files from the nineteenth century. And her excitement with her research bears thrilling results when she finds a way to contact a policeman from the past.

Despite his well-founded suspicions, Winston still struggles to wring answers out of his list of prime suspects. And as Riley risks her job to unearth useful information, she’s inexplicably drawn to Jack’s great-grandson but forced to keep both men in the dark. Can the pair forge a partnership across decades and solve an impenetrable crime?

The Dead of False Creek is the compelling first book in the Journal Through Time historical mystery series. If you like endearing duos, split narratives, and stunning twists and turns, then you’ll love Sarah M Stephen’s time-bending tale.

My Thoughts:

Set in 1800s Vancouver and present day, this story is told between a male detective and a woman archivist. They begin communicating through the journal, as the male detective searches for missing men. There is a bit of a slow burn romance building and the mystery itself wasn’t what kept me going it was the journal. Unfortunately I will have to wait until summer of 2022 for the next book in the series as it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. I really enjoyed it and I’m eagerly awaiting the rest of the series.

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

May 2021 TBR: An Assortment of Kindle and Physical Reads

A rather delayed TBR post, my apologies, but I’d been pondering how big I want this month’s tbr, considering the last month was a success, despite that I’m still not posting reviews just yet. As is, I’m really in the mood for a lot of books, and I’m really hoping to post reviews after I finish organizing all my posts that are marked as “uncategorized”, which I still got about 400+ to go through. Yay. On a side note, I’m also making new menus, fixing up my website’s aesthetics, and changing things about a bit. Its a slow work in progress, but onwards to the TBR!

PHYSICAL READS

These are the current library books that I have. I do plan to finish and hopefully review these within the next month, Carol Bergs being the biggest on my list above, but I can read her work pretty quick usually, and I always enjoy the worlds she writes. Song of the Beast was a favorite back in 2019, as was a couple other stand-alones though I don’t recall their titles. I should be able to finish all of these by the end of May.

KINDLE READS

And that’s my tbr! I’m most eager to get to Thrown to the Wolves by Charlie Adhara as well as Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s book, Return to the Sorceress. All of these are high on my wishlist, but those two are ones I am definitely going to be reading in the next few days.

What’s your tbr shaping up like? Anything good? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book.

Netgalley Review: On Wilder Seas

On Wilder Seas

On Wilder Seas by Nikki Marmery is a strange yet intriguing retelling of the Golden Hind. I don’t know anything about the original story, and the book itself was strongly written, with realistic characters, and a fascinating history of the ship and the people on it.

In truth, I’m unsure of how to write this review. The story, while well written, didn’t keep my interest after about half way through the book. It felt bogged down by a lot of details that I just wasn’t interested in. The women were strong, but the slavery aspects, as well as the rest of it, did not appeal to me in the slightest. I managed a solid sixty percent of the book before giving up. I wanted to like it more than I did. It had a strong start. It had strong characters, a plot, and plenty of high sea adventure. But there’s a fair bit of thievery, rape, and slavery within the book, and it just wasn’t right for my mood. That’s a ‘me’ problem. Not a story problem.

A lone woman on the high seas, Maria was a strong character one could easily identify with in her determination in terms of surviving the harsh environments with almost nothing to her name. With only a boy for friendship, and a man that employed her, the story was captivating…

I just lost interest in it.

My apologies to the author, and I’m giving this a solid three stars.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Arc Review: The Kingdom of Liars

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell was a fast paced political fantasy with rebellion, a unique magic set up, and plenty of intrigue. Yet though the writing was strong, I didn’t connect with the characters despite finding Michael Kingman an interesting character.

This six hundred page fantasy epic had both magic and guns, explosions and betrayal, and a large cast of characters each with their own unique history. There was a political system and a magic system.

And yet, I found myself struggling by 55% through. No fault to the book, or writing but I could not seem to care overmuch about the characters in general. I may give this book another go in the future but for now, I’m leaving as is.

Rating: 3/5 🌟

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book.

Netgalley Review: Murder at Morrington Hall (Book 1 of a delightful new series!)

Murder at Morrington Hall

Title: Murder at Morrington Hall
Author: Clara McKenna
Series: Book 1
Genre: Mystery, Historical
Publisher: Kensington Books
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 5/5 stars
Review Word Count: 1,000
Notes: My, that was a lovely read!

This was utterly delightful, and exactly the kind of book I’d been hoping for here as of late. A cozy mystery but with plenty of drama, a tiny spark of rebellious romance, and a good old fashioned ‘who-dun-it’ air!

Stella is an excellent female detective, and I loved her personality. While I hated most of the others around her, who are overbearing and downright hateful towards her at times, I did enjoy her steadfastness and intelligence, her wit and her daring throughout the book. She drove the old American cars without caring who saw. She wore trousers beneath skirts, rode horses and cared for them, baked in a kitchen despite the fact it was far beneath her station, was kind to servants and remembered their names and helped them whenever she could…just a basic, all american good lady.

Yet she’s taken aback and furious when she learns that the reason she and her family are visiting in England at a prestigious families house isn’t for the upcoming Derby and her horses, but because of an arranged marriage her father had created between her and Lyndy. She hates to be thought of as nothing more but a prized stallion to be bartered with and traded about. Even worse the implication once she’s done her duty and produced an heir and a spare, then he could just push her aside and find plenty of mistresses to fill his time with, never giving her any time of day unless it was important enough for him to do so.

There’s a fair bit of ‘women aren’t meant to do that’ in this book, which was infuriating to say the least, but Stella remains stubborn and prideful, though the others call her head strong and dangerous. I mean really, just because she bucks tradition, she’s considered to be ‘full of herself’? That’s ridiculous! I understand it was the times back then, but many women and men I very much wish to strangle. Grr…

Stella and Lyndy both talk, and get to know one another as they are now for all intents and purposes, engaged to be married. Stella wishes to speak with the vicar, and so while giving her a tour of the house, the two of them wind up to the library where they find the vicar…quite obviously dead, and in no mood to talk.

There’s an eventual missing horse, missing jewels, a meeting with the King while at the Derby, and more exciting adventures throughout this wonderful first novel. Stella is a true inquisitive lady, determined to figure out who killed the priest that was supposed to be the one to marry her, while Lyndy attempts to figure out who stole the jewels and their families latest and newest horse that was part of the wedding deal from Stella’s father.

(No harm comes to the horse at the end of the book, for those that are worried. It’s returned safe and sound, with not even a scratch on him-bonus points to the author for making sure the animal remains unharmed!)

I really enjoyed this book, and am now adding this author to my favorites list. This was clearly well written and researched, and there was a large cast protrayed so that one could continue to guess and still be surprised by the end of the book. I was half-right in who committed a certain crime, but the author surprised me completely with who was actually the killer, so more bonus points towards her as well. Though I’d paid attention, there were a couple of things I hadn’t considered towards the end of the book, and that was how she’d managed to surprise me, the sly writer.

5/5 stars for a splendid read, and I definitely aim to read more of this series as time goes on. For those that like Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series, you might give this a try. Same kind of style, though not in journal format, it’s still got the adventurous feel and strong female character to enjoy reading throughout.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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