Tag Archive | Science Fiction

New Fantasy Novel by Camilla Monk: Still

Still by Camilla Monk

Science Fiction/Fantasy

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to review it. I decided to review it because it’s pretty kicka$$

Still

Overall Rating: 4 (XOXO)

 

Quick & Dirty summary: Emma is used to people giving up on her, but the one person she hasn’t been able to give up completely doesn’t know she’s about to show up on his doorstep. After arriving in Rome to see her estranged father, Emma winds up bumping into her stepsister unexpectedly. The perfect stepsister her mother loved more than Emma. So, it’s a surprise to Emma herself when she puts herself in jeopardy to keep Lily safe from her creepy boss. Another surprise? The hunky blind bum who keeps showing up at the most awkward times.

I really liked this book. Camilla Monk is a fantastic writer. I’m sucked into her books immediately, which is an important skill when writing a fantasy novel. While Emma is a bit rough around the edges, she is an entirely sympathetic character. I rooted for her the entire time.

This book reminds me a bit of Percy Jackson, but with a kickass female heroine in place of Percy. I really like Faust, and I loved the banter between Emma and Faust. There is no “real” romance. There is attraction, flirtation, and a kind of weird psychotic love between Lily and her boyfriend. But this isn’t the traditional romance where the relationship between hero and heroine drive the plot. Instead, it’s much more about Emma’s scars, her personality quirks, and her innate goodness, despite being a little rude.

I cannot wait for the next book in this series. If you’re worried about this, don’t be because this book does not have a cliffhanger ending the way Spotless does. This novel wraps up pretty cleanly, with the exception that it hints pretty heavily about what the next adventure will be. But the ending is entirely satisfying.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $3.99)

So, this is a bit steep since I have no idea how many books Monk plans on writing in this series. If it’s 3, that’s $12 total for the series, which isn’t too bad. The book is a standalone, so you can read this one without HAVING to buy the other books, so…. Yes, it’s worth buying! BONUS: it’s in the Kindle Unlimited Program, so read it for free.

Something else you might enjoy:

Try Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. It’s a series that takes on all of the traditional myths and puts them together in a fascinating world where evil isn’t necessary a demon. Note: this is a full-fledged adult romance series. There are sexually explicit scenes.

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I, Robot or I, Human?

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Science Fiction

 

Overall Rating: 4

Quick summary: Artificial intelligence has been around for many years at the beginning of Asimov’s book. In a collection of short stories tied together by an overarching theme, this book explores how far humans could go with artificial intelligence.

So I started this book because one of my romance novels refers to it. Dating-ish by Penny Reid is about robots and after reading Dating-ish, I decided I needed to read I,Robot. I was a little leery at the beginning, though, because of the movie. I didn’t see the movie, but I remember liking the trailer, but any book that’s been turned into a movie is immediately suspicious to me. Don’t ask me why, it’s completely illogical.

I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. In fact, I probably would have read it more quickly, had I not been reading a few other romance novels at the same time. But I thought the writing style was engaging and the characters in the novel very well developed.

Since this book is probably more of a “classic literature” title than just “science fiction” I was prepared for it to be more inaccessible. But the language is very accessible, the science is understandable, and the setting in the future very believable.

One of my favorite components of this book is thinking about what makes us human. Asimov makes a compelling argument that humans are very flawed, and perhaps less human than we’d like to admit. By that I mean, in trying to “save” ourselves from imitators (i.e. Artificial Intelligence) we reveal the weaknesses in our humanity. Indeed, by the end of the book, I think it’s difficult to tell which species exhibits the best of humanity—humans or robots.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle$7.99)

You should definitely read this book, but I recommend borrowing it from the library, like I did, or, buying it from a used bookstore, which I also did. Yes, that means I had two copies of the book, but since I had to give the library book back, it was worthwhile.

Something else you might enjoy:

Reading this book reminded me how much I love classic science fiction. If you haven’t read some of the earlier stuff, I highly recommend Ender’s Game. I read it in high school but it convinced me that any book can be amazing, regardless of genre! I have never shied away from any book, since then, simply because of its genre.

The Nightmare Birds, Strange Luck Book 2

Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters

Young Adult

The Nightmare Birds (Book 2)

 I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The first book of the series, Strange Luck, has already been reviewed and you can find it here. While this novel can be read as a standalone, I highly suggest reading it as part of the series.

nightmare-birds

Overall Rating: 4

 

Quick Summary: Daisy Darling’s shop, Strange Luck, attracts all sorts of people and things. When she is tasked with vetting the Theatre of Secrets, she embarks on a journey that no one has returned from… at least no one who has seen the performance. It is said that only those with wild eyes, an impulsive heart and a wandering spirit hunt for the Theatre of Secrets, but that once found it will change your life forever.

Like the first novel in the series, there is a lot of action. There is mystery, suspense, and an estranged mother all to be had. Since it’s a somewhat complicated plot, it is difficult to follow in some places, but I enjoyed the dark and twisty nature of the novel. I was surprised in some places, which I always love in a fantasy novel, both by the characters and the nature of the story.

Amie Irene Winters seems interested in exploring the nature of life itself in this tale. What makes life worth living? What gives us motivation to continue living? And what are our greatest fears? Fear itself plays a very important role in the novel, but then again, so does its opposite, love.

This is not a romance novel, but there is a lot of love in the story. Daisy is a very loving person and it really helps to draw people to her, including me the reader. The love of a daughter to her father, first love, and the love of a mother to her child—it’s all there and I enjoyed it immensely.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

Yes, I enjoyed the second book in this series a lot and found it to be a fun adventure. It is highly entertaining and worth the three dollars. Plus if you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free.

Something else you might enjoy:

You have to read Cat Winters, In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It’s so good! It’s a little bit dark, a little bit of fantasy, with the added benefit of it being a historical novel. You can read my review of the book here.

Sexy Sci-Fi Romance Series

So to apologize for being gone for so long, I’ve started with a monster of a review. It’s actually not very long, but it is a 7 book series with more on the way! If you decide to read this series you’ll at least have A LOT of books to add to your TBR (to be read) list.

Also, I hope you like the new header. The photo credit goes to Linda Ross, a friend of mine who loves to take nature photos. In fact, her car has a bumper sticker that reads “I stop for horticultural oddities.” In any case, I’m glad to be back!


Ice Planet Barbarian Series by Ruby Dixon

Romance/Science Fiction

ice-planet-barbarians

Ice Planet Barbarians (Georgie)

Barbarian Alien (Liz)

Barbarian Lover (Kira)

Barbarian Mine (Harlow)

Barbarian’s Prize (Tiffany)

Barbarian’s Mate (Josie)

Barbarian’s Touch (Lila)

Note: There are two additional books that have been published since I’ve read this series a couple of months ago. I have downloaded them to my Kindle and will update the review as soon as I can!

 

Overall Rating: 3.5 (XXX)

Quick & Dirty summary: For all of the women who wake up on an alien spaceship, their worst nightmares have nothing on the creepy creatures who have stored them all in a cargo hold in unsanitary conditions. To make it worse, their guards have no problems with violence and rape. When their spaceship crashes, the women’s safety is uncertain since it’s bitterly cold outside and they have only a limited supply of food. As the women explore the planet they’ve landed on, they meet the local barbarians, almost all of whom are male and in need of mates. As one by one they fall in love with and mate with these alien barbarians, they realize that their new lives may be better than the ones they’ve left on earth.

After a brief scan of other reviews on Amazon, I should point out that the first book, Ice Planet Barbarians, has rape in it. If that is the kind of thing you’d like to avoid in your romance novels, then please avoid this series. The ice planet barbarians with whom the women fall in love with are not the perpetrators of the rape, but it is a topic that reappears throughout the series, as the women must deal with the ramifications of the violence.

Each of the storylines is relatively unique, which I enjoyed. It is hard for me to conceive of how to make what is essentially the same situation all the women find themselves in, into unique love stories, but Ruby Dixon somehow manages to do this. Partly this is because the women are all substantially different characters. Georgie is perhaps the most sassy and traditional as a romance heroine, but all of the other women have their own quirks and foibles. Likewise, the barbarians are not written as flat characters. They have their own histories and places within their society so each reacts differently to the human women. This makes for great individual stories as well as a fun series to read.

Of the series, I think my favorites are Barbarian Lover, because I like Kira and Aehako, and Barbarian’s Prize because I was caught up in Tiffany’s emotional state. Surprisingly, while I liked the first book, which is traditionally the best book of any series, it wasn’t my favorite. I know Georgie is suppose to be spunky and sassy, but she fell kind of flat for me—same with Liz in the second book. You don’t have to read the books in order, but I highly recommend it. All of the other women show up in each of the books, so it’s nice to follow them as they mate and have children.

Another warning here: if you didn’t notice the sex rating at the top of the review, I am reminding you again here that this is an intensely sexual series. It’s basically erotica and the aliens have similar enough body parts to make the sex familiar, with a few tweaks that make the sex scenes even hotter. However, if you’re not into aliens who don’t look EXACTLY like humans, then you may not enjoy these books. Some reviewers on Amazon thought it was bestiality, which I want to point out it’s not since the two races can procreate which means they are not separate species, but whatever, I can understand feeling that way. So if your imagination doesn’t go in that direction, then you might want to skip this series.

Is it worth buying? ($0.99-$3.99 Kindle)

I really had fun with these books, so yes I think they are worth buying. That being said, I didn’t buy them—I read them all for free with Kindle Unlimited. You could also buy them as an 8 book set, which includes Ice Planet Holiday, a novella chronologically set in the middle of the series, for $25.92. I’m not sure if I’ll read them all again, but I couldn’t wait to read each book and read through the whole series in a matter of days.

Something else you might enjoy:

I haven’t read very many science fiction series with as much romance and sex in them as this one. That being said, one of my favorite science fiction series is the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. This is a classic science fiction series and it has a bit of romance and sex in it. I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it.