Betrayed (Lake Of Sins, #4)

Title: Betrayed (Lake Of Sins, #4)

Author: L.S. O’Dea

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Speculative Fiction | Thriller

Length: 513 pages | locations

Source: Author

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.25/5

Premise:

As the war between the Allied Classes and Almightys progress, Trinity tries to assert her place in the process, though Hugh keeps pushing her way, while struggling with her feelings for Jethro and Hugh.
In the meantime, Jethro’s changes escalate and he is in love with the wild. He has trouble reigning his instincts, both to fight and to mate. Especially when all he wants is Trinity.

Review:

I have to admit that I enjoyed this book less than the others because there was quite an emphasis on romance. There was plenty of tension and I felt for Trinity and how so many misunderstandings would keep happening, all because of something she couldn’t control. However, after a while I just wanted something more.

Still, I enjoyed the book quite a lot. The struggle between classes, the discoveries Hugh makes and each character’s personal struggles really make me want to know what happens next.

Please don’t be discouraged as I am sure that the things that turned me off are the ones that will attract quite a big audience.

As usual this book read really fast, I enjoyed knowing new parts of the world and I cannot wait for the next instalment!

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jul 5th to July 10th, 2017
GR Review

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Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

Title: Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

Author: L.S. O’Dea

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Speculative Fiction | Thriller

Length: 565 pages | 7940 locations

Source: Author

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

Book 3 of the Lake of Sins takes place four years after the events of the previous one. While High Hugh Truent was in prison for claiming that all classes were genetically similar, the world outside changed radically. A war is looming… and the allied classes need Hugh.

Review:

When I first looked up the book details I thought whoa, 565 pages, that is going to take me a while. But it went by so fast! I never imagined I would finish in just three days.

I cannot say this enough, L.S. O’Dea is such a talented writer. The pace is relentless but that does not mean that the world and character development is not satisfying, on the contrary. There is a lot going on but it is quite easy to follow and it only made me want to know what happened next.

It’s a YA book, not my favourite genre, so there will always be things I don’t particularly like as the characters end up sounding too dramatic for my taste. Trinity ticked me off a few times but I enjoy to see her keep growing.

There were quite a few repetitions – a lot of disgusted looks, for instance, and the way Hugh kept correcting mother to Sarah and father to General Truent when he found out the truth just felt forced and overdone, just like the excessive compliments on both Trinity and Hugh. I feel that their actions say enough, we don’t need to be told several that Trinity is brave and honest, even through the voice of another character, or that Hugh really doesn’t want more deaths on his conscience.

All in all I had a really good time reading this. Some parts made me laugh out loud, which earned me quite a few puzzled looks on the bus ride home, while others had me biting my nails. Some scenes were just so tense that I figuratively stood on my toes.

I can honestly say this is amongst the best YA reads I have stumbled upon and encourage you to pick up these books. This series has all the ingredients to become an epic.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 25th to Jan 28th, 2017
GR Review

Ozarium (Transitional Delusions #2)

Title: Ozarium (Transitional Delusions #2)

Author: Brick Marlin

Genres: Horror | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Thriller

Length: 281 pages | 5511 locations

Source: Author

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

After the Shift, a new world arises from the ashes.
However, new changes are about to arrive and they won’t be pleasant. Two boys strive to make the difference.

Review:

I have just finished reading Ozarium and I have to admit it is a difficult one for me to review.

There is no question that once again Brick Marlin succeeded in creating a very twisted world with new concepts or reformed ones that will chill you to the bone. However, I had a few issues with the book.

First of all, being part of a series, I had hoped to see more of a connection to the first book. Instead I only got the first chapter and a couple of references at the very end. While that can be a good thing because it means the book can be read as a standalone, I really wanted to know how exactly one world morphed to the other. For instance, if all the adults had been killed and the children turned to rats, where did the new population come from? When Slader explains Overcast he says there were survivors but where? I recall the first book ending with only Martha standing up. How far does this event reach? Also, why were there suddenly now two suns?

Secondly, I have to admit I was lost with all the characters and the names for what had took place before – Overcast, Ozarium, Shift, The Reckoning, Whethersphere (not sure if that’s spelled right) or the role of the four gods. To this point I do not really grasp all the concepts, particularly the last ones. I got that after the Shift there was Overcast, and then Slader turned the colony into Ozarium but no clue about the other ones. That is my bad though, I don’t remember much from the first book and I should not have expected this one to explain it all over again. Also, most likely the others will be further developed in the next books of the series, so I suppose I am just impatient!

However, my main two issues were the pace and the writing.

For a long time I felt I was being info-dumped. For almost the entire first half of the book, we are introduced to an array of characters and commercials that help us understand the dramatic changes the world has suffered. While they served to get me used to all the craziness going on, nothing seemed to be actually developing, and I did crave for some action.
Then Jonas wins the lottery and things start to get interesting, although there is a lot that did not make sense to me, not only in what happened but in how characters reacted to it.

Regarding the writing, that was really my main problem. I don’t mean the language. Actually, Marlin was able to create a very interesting dialect, with influences from several decades, I believe, and a whole lot of imagination. However, I did feel that, for example, when the two main child characters were speaking, they did not sound their age. I get that the slang and stuff was different but in some situations the words they used made them sound much more mature than what would sound natural for their age. I had that feeling of unnatural speech with just about all characters and instead of finding it creepy and going with the story I have to admit I felt uninterested.

Just a couple of very small examples, there were others that could bring my point across better but sadly I did not make notes: “Would you rather be in pain with a sun burn when both suns go down?”. We had already been told there were now two suns (though no explanation as to why), so why not say ‘when the suns go down’?
Or “Don’t get grumpy because I took you away from drinking (…) laced with that drug called goose(…) or (…)as one of those zombie creatures called schizos!. Saying things are ‘called’ something makes me feel the characters and myself are somehow out of the narrative, that these things they are talking about are not intricate to the world but something apart.
I think that this one I managed to save best explains what I am trying to convey, this feeling of disconnection and unrelatable speech: Fred snorted. “Oh, you just don’t know, Wilbur. Guess we all learn from our mistakes in life.” “You’re right. I’m not perfect either, so don’t be too hard on yourself.” “Okay.”

On the other hand, while things got a whole lot more exciting towards the last third of the book, one other thing stood out that I had noticed before: at times the narrative was overpowered by dialogues where while they were taking place everything else seemed to pause. For instance, on a couple of occasions, a few characters are in very tricky situations and instead of trying to get out of them they just seem to stand there catching up and only when they are done to they go ‘ok, let’s try and get out of this’. I was like… So the bad guys just wait for them to talk things through? I don’t get it. Instead of ‘x character searches y part of place they are trapped in’ or something, we’d just get snorts and grins and stuff. There wasn’t that feeling of urgency that would fully have gripped my attention.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed what I read because the fact is Brick Marlin created a pretty darn awesome world with this book. Some things are truly shocking and I wonder how anyone could come up with it. Appliances having Tourette Syndrome is just about the most innocent example I can give without spoiling the read for you but trust me, there is a lot here that I found pretty macabre and twisted. Some concepts were not entirely new but the way the author meshed them together made for a truly horrific vision of a post-apocalyptic world, where the values have completely shifted. And there are so many interesting developments. It’s just that I wish there was a better pace to the story, the writing had enveloped me more and hopefully a clearer connection to the first book, since this is a series.
Also, it needs major editing services. There are redundancies such as rectified the world right or also lived down in this corridor as well, several repetitions of the exact same expressions to explain something, wrong verb tenses like “Where was he?” she spoke aloud. and sequences where things played out differently before than they are told later. Even the Epilogue is called Prologue, for some reason.

I still recommend it, but not for everyone. This is something that I believe will only really appeal to fans of truly dark, macabre stuff and who do not mind not being able to connect to characters.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Oct 1st to Oct 9th, 2016
GR Review

Dead Petals-An Apocalypse

Title: Dead Petals-An Apocalypse

Author: Eric Ortlund

Genres: Horror | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic

Length: 362 pages | 4807 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 2.25/5

Premise:

Death has arrived. The undead are everywhere but they are not zombies – they are something entirely new.
A group of people tries to make sense of this new world and find their place in it.

Review:

I was not a fan of Dead Petals. My first impression was that the prose was stilted. I didn’t like that, for instance, every character seemed to throw out a poetic phrase every now and then (I was particularly thrown off by Archer/Jack’s written assignment).
Also, the narrative style seemed much too broken. A character would say something, either stop or be interrupted, and then that line of thought never got picked up again.
The same happened with events along the story. Something would happen, then something else, then a whole lot of nothing, then a whole lot of nothing for a different character and boy was it dull and bleak.

Some descriptions are beautiful in a very creepy way but the repetitiveness and nothingness took out the beauty and enjoyment, for me. I was not able to relate to any of the characters even though they were addressed in detail, and therefore could not connect with them or care about what happened to them.
There was quite a bit of stereotyping as well, which didn’t help. Selene’s character for instance profoundly annoyed me, particularly during the first third of the novel.

I get that this book isn’t supposed to be any of that. It certainly is like nothing I have ever read before. The world created here is unique and I am not oblivious to that. After 33%, revelations are made that explain why everyone seems to be either high or hallucinating or dreaming. However, the fact is I trudged through the book. I was mesmerised, granted, but still bored to a point because it all seemed like a waste of time and the villain was just plain ridiculous.
The ending was as bleak as the narrative and I finished the book feeling empty.

I think that if you can handle the prose you could enjoy this book quite a lot. As for me, I can say I was shocked and freaked out but not very entertained.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jun 06 to Jun 11, 2016
GR Review

Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1)

Title: Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1)

Author: Theresa Kay

Genres: Adventure | Dystopia | Post-apocalyptic | Romance | Science Fiction

Length: 276 pages | 3823 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

Jax is not going to be Promised to any man. She has a plan. She is going to escape with her brother Jace.
Just when she is about to break the news to him, Jace gets kidnapped by alien fiends. Now Jax has got to do everything in her power to get him back and, for that, she will count on the help of an unlikely ally. In the process, she will learn things about herself she never dreamed of.

Review:

My first impression of this novel was not positive at all. Within the first few lines I asked myself what I had gotten myself into and that feeling increased as I read the first couple of paragraphs/chapters.
I immediately disliked the main character because she struck me as intensely immature. Demanding people to call her by her nickname, the rants, the tantrums, good grief…
Then there was all the flushing and the letting out of breaths she didn’t know she was holding and the stopping what she was about to do because she hadn’t realized what she was doing, etc, etc.

An awkward love triangle forms almost immediately and although its development was out of the ordinary it still felt clichée.
As I was reading, I guessed I was supposed to be moved by the relationship between Jasmine aka Jax and her brother, but the fact is I felt he was just a prop to make the plot advance. Jax was supposed to go on a trip with a mysterious, beautiful looking alien, so let’s make the purpose of said trip saving Jax’s brother, shall we? For the preparation and the journey itself, Jax will feel maddeningly drawn to the alien, but obviously constantly denies her feelings because he is an alien and just so damn rude and obnoxious. Or is he? No… No, he isn’t. She is, though.

As the story develops, Jax remains annoying though there is some growth. For the most part though, her mood switches between hot anger and icy fear – expressions, or variations thereof, which were repeated to exhaustion throughout the book.
Some revelations surprised me, others not at all. The book didn’t get exciting for me up to the last 15 or 20%.
However, the fact is the writing does not give pause for break. It is a fast paced book and although a lot was left unexplained (Why are children, both human and alien, sick? Why was Lir on the clearing? Why did his kitu stop working? Why didn’t the other aliens wait for him before returning to the city? And so much more) or did not make sense (example: if the aliens’ blood was green, why did they blush red and their infected wounds were red instead of dark green?), the fact is I was not bored I got through it pretty quickly.

I realize I am not the right audience for this book and that what I found annoying others may find exciting. Therefore, I recommend it to teens/young adults who enjoy sci-fi and romance; I believe they will find it very entertaining and difficult to put down.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jun 03 to Jun 05, 2016
GR Review

The Gospel at Work

Title: The Gospel at Work

Author: Sebastian Traeger, Greg Gilbert

Genres: Religion

Length: 160 pages | 2931 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

Do we face our jobs as God intended? This book explores how our work fits into God’s plans and how we can worship Him while performing it.

Review:

Well, I felt it was time for something new, so I picked this one up, which had been sitting on my Netgalley shelf for well over a year.

The book puts things in perspective: do we idolize our work? Or, on the other hand, do we take it for granted and do as little as possible, giving in to idleness?

Can work be used to praise God? How?

I have to tell you, at times it didn’t feel like this book was only 160 pages long. That is most likely due to the fact I am not used to read non-fiction. However, I also did find it a bit repetitive at times – particularly the verse that kept being quoted over and ove again – and I had a difficult time adjusting to the Americanized Christian language.
I also wish I could have seen more of Greg’s experience; as far as I could tell, only Seb gave specific examples.

However, the fact is this book addresses several points in our relationship with work, what it means and how we should handle it, that people can relate to and does so in an unpretentious manner. It relates the statements to the scripture and in the end of each chapter there are a few questions that each individual can use to deepen the knowledge they’ve just acquire and do an introspection of their relationship with work.

I do believe any Christian should read it. It might just be what you need not only to help you deal with work but to actually find a new, wonderful meaning to it. Or if you don’t find the experience fully gratifying like me tou will still take something from it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from May 25 to Jun 03, 2016
GR Review

Alien Child

Title: Alien Child

Author: Pamela Sargent

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 246 pages | locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1.75/5

Premise:

Nita has grown up as the only member of her human species in the Institute, aided by her guardian from a different species and even a different world. As she grows up, Nita has all sorts of questions, but is denied access to the answers because her guardian says it is not yet time for them.
As Nita grows and learns of her past, she slowly realizes her future may very well imply the future of the entire mankind.

Review:

The beginning of this book is praise from a bunch of folks. I actually bothered to read it all, not only because I was curious about what they thought of this novel but also because it had praise from other books by her. She was defined as writing unique sci-fi, no one has ever done anything like her, she is a master at characterization and so on and so forth. Talk about setting high expectations. I hope I have learned my lesson.

So here I am, beginning the book per se, and immediately I have an issue. The first line is Nita’s earliest memory was of the day she had nearly drowned in the pool. She was toddling down the wide, lighted hall of her home, but her short legs could not keep pace with her guardian’s long strides. So what do I think? This kid is small, a toddler. And yet, when her guardian engages her later on, she has the speech of a much older child. And this is the issue I have with most books who have children as a main character – few succeed in making them sound as children.

Her guardian has trouble with English and, even though we later learn she has an AI at her service, it just did not justify why Nita seemed so developed from the beginning.

Several things felt like they were thrown out there for the reader to take for granted. Like Nita saying she always knew her guardians came from a spaceship. How did she always know? Did Llita tell her that story? Did the AI?

Not everything was bad. Some descriptions were very beautiful and the idea of Llipel and Llare’s people was intriguing and mysterious.

I did try to go along with the story but I kept thinking “wait, why didn’t she do this? Why didn’t she go there?” or just felt that some things were entirely too convenient. I just didn’t buy it and kept trudging on. I figured hey, it’s only 246 pages, how long can it take? Well, if felt like ages.

Even the ending was anti-climatic. The dialogues were stretched on for miles and miles and the entire idea was so repetitive. I almost yelled OK, I get it, mankind is bad, they are afraid to become like that, I get it already, can we move on??

I just could not take the novel seriously. I believe that had I read it at a younger age I would not have had nearly as many issues as I had. As it is, I cannot recommend it and definitely feel the praise was overdone.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Mar 11 to Mar 22, 2015
GR Review