Monday, March 2, 2015

The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher

Genre:  Adult Science Fiction Horror
Spider Wars Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Adam Christopher's website):
Back in the day, Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland had led the Fleet into battle against an implacable machine intelligence capable of devouring entire worlds. But after saving a planet, and getting a bum robot knee in the process, he finds himself relegated to one of the most remote backwaters in Fleetspace to oversee the decommissioning of a semi-deserted space station well past its use-by date.

But all is not well aboard the U-Star Coast City. The station’s reclusive Commandant is nowhere to be seen, leaving Cleveland to deal with a hostile crew on his own. Persistent malfunctions plague the station’s systems while interference from a toxic purple star makes even ordinary communications problematic. Alien shadows and whispers seem to haunt the lonely corridors and airlocks, fraying the nerves of everyone aboard.

Isolated and friendless, Cleveland reaches out to the universe via an old-fashioned subspace radio, only to tune into a strange, enigmatic signal: a woman’s voice that seems to echo across a thousand light-years of space. But is the transmission just a random bit of static from the past—or a warning of an undying menace beyond mortal comprehension?

Somewhere in the near future, the human race is colonizing space.  Not only that, but travel to different galaxies is the norm.  Ida is about to retire from the Fleet, and his last job is to help decommission a space station that orbits a strange star.  This star turns everything purple and has enough radiation to kill people if they aren't protected against it.  As it interferes with the space station's signals, we find the skeleton crew is affected by the star's strange light and the shadows it casts.

Ida has just arrived to the space station as a captain, but no one believes he deserves the ranking he has.  Saving a planet and destroying a spider (a mechanical living-thing that's only objective is to destroy life by eating planets) isn't easily believed.  Especially if there's no record of it within the Fleet.  But as people begin to go missing and Ida's psychiatrist encourages him to get a hobby, Ida finds himself having reason to be afraid of the dark.  And as he recommissions a radio that can listen to wavelengths from subspace (an illegal yet eerie wavelength), he finds himself talking to someone who died over a thousand years ago.  Can he figure out what's going on before the dark consumes him?

To put it simply: this a ghost story set in space.  Honestly, I picked this up because I like the new Star Trek movies (give me a break, I was never a Trekkie in my early years).  But when I realized I had this whole geeky side of me, I figured why not give a pure science fiction piece a try?  And surprisingly, I enjoyed it.  I liked how, even in space, everyone's still afraid of the dark.  And this story works to tie in every character's past and explain why they're a part of the old space station's demolition.  It was nicely done.

This one is a recommendation to space nerds.  And I say that lovingly because I happen to be a space nerd.  Oh, and you have to be open to ghost stories...

Thanks goes to Tor for providing me a review copy.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

manda-rae's Haul

Stacking the Shelves consists of books we received in the last week, hosted by Tynga's reviews.

My birthday was this past week!!  I took some much needed time off from work and kind of lounged around.  Did a lot of reading, went to a winery, went to a brewery, and all that fun stuff.  It was really nice...

For Review:


  • The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • My husband, who told me he'd never buy me a book again, bought me this for my birthday.  And I devoured it quickly and am sad to see the series end.

manda-rae's Past Two Weeks


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Captive by Aimee Carter

Genre:  YA Dystopian
The Blackcoat Rebellion, Book 2

Note:  This is the second book in a series.  Reading anything below can spoil plots from the first book a little bit.

Description (taken from Aimee Carter's website ):
For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in - but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

Kitty has agreed to continue living as Lila Hart, the voice of the rebellion.  She will help Knox, her pretend fiance, destroy the ranking system that exists in this society.  But she's having difficulty trusting Knox, and he is fed up with her questioning him at every turn.  So when a fatal error occurs, Kitty finds herself in the spotlight playing the Hart game again.

As this story starts off with a bang, Kitty finds herself betrayed and sent to Elsewhere.  Elsewhere is the place where all of the criminals and unwanted people go.  But instead of the Hunt that she experienced when she was first Masked, she finds herself in a warped society.  A place where rats and snitches always have the upper hand.  But even in the worst part of society, the rebellion lives and Kitty finds herself reluctantly helping them.  Can she survive Elsewhere and the Blackcoat Rebellion, or will she lose everything she holds dear, including her life?

Honestly, this book starts out super strong.  And it just keeps going.  Yes, there are some very predictive spots.  But the dynamic between Kitty and Knox...  And Benjy.  I love this trio, and how hard they work at rebelling society.  I was pretty much hooked with the first, and now I'm definitely attached to the series and waiting for the third.

This is a fun dystopic read that I recommend to anyone who finds the plot interesting.  I don't think it will disappoint...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Seraphina Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Rachel Hartman's website):
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In a world of dragons and people, the peace has been bought with a treaty.  A treaty between a kingdom of men and a dragon who speaks for all of dragonkind.  And while this treaty is built on shaky ground, it's meant to become stronger as time goes along and both sides stop killing each other.  But with time, we find resentments and grudges don't disappear completely.  And there are those who would rather destroy the other side than look at them as fellow comrades.

Seraphina is the daughter of a lawyer, and she has received a job at court as the assistant to the music master.  She has her teacher, Orma - a dragon, to thank for honing in on her musical talent.  As she learns to navigate the court life, she finds herself the center of attention at a royal funeral.  All she's ever wanted to do is a have a life outside of her father's home and the limelight.  But as tensions with the dragons escalate, she finds she is well-equipped to help both sides find some sort of peace.  But can she do it before her secret destroys the trust she's gained?

This book is beautifully crafted in a world of dragons and people.  Dragons, who have intelligence beyond what any human could fathom and humans, who have emotions that give life color (something that dragons can't understand).  It's well built, and we have a protagonist who's trying to live life.  And with each decisions she makes, she grows a little and finds she has powers beyond the average person.  And these powers or traits make her special.  But she has to figure that out for herself.  Honestly, it's a wonderful coming-of-age story.  I just struggled with the middle-school feel and honest-to-goodness 'good' this book has (I can't figure out how to describe it - this book makes you happy).

Will I read the second one?  Of course I will.  And I'm going to recommend this one to any tween out there or person struggling with their identity.  I feel like this book helps you overcome your own negative feelings of yourself by seeing the beauty of the protagonist.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Plague of Angels by John Patrick Kennedy

Genre:  Adult Angels
The Descended Series, Book 1

Description (taken from John Patrick Kennedy's website):
Nyx is Queen of Hell and ruler of the Angels who were banished there – the Descended.

And when the rest of the Angels are called home, Nyx finds herself stuck on the Earth with the Son of God. To her surprise, she learns that he is no happier than she. God's son thought he was sent down to judge humanity. Instead, he becomes a sacrifice for a cause he does not believe in – their redemption.

After his mortal body dies, the Son of God makes Nyx an offer: a new paradise on Earth if she will help him destroy humanity.

With two of her fellow Angels by her side, Nyx launches a thousand-year campaign of violence, sex, betrayal and intrigue to bring down God's people and have them worship her instead. From the back streets of Jerusalem to the palaces of Rome, from the temples of Egypt to the Pope's bedchamber, Nyx and her companions work to destroy the worshippers of God.

But not all is as it seems. And the Son of God has bigger plans than any of them imagine...

Everyone knows the story that divided time.  In fact, there are religions based on this powerful being from our history.  But we've yet to hear the story from an angel's perspective.  When Nyx' timeline clashes with Tribunal, the Son of God, Nyx has a new reason to live.  With his help, she will destroy everything God holds dear in order to make a new paradise.  But will she be queen of this new paradise?

After meeting Tribunal, Nyx falls in love with everything he believes in (which happens to not be anything he stands for).  She becomes one of his followers until his crucifixion.  But he vows to Nyx that he will come back and when he does, he will destroy God for His favoritism over humanity.  We, the humans, are like annoying little ants in the grand scheme of things.  So he uses Nyx to rage war on earth against his followers (or God's followers).  And as time goes on and it looks like paradise is beyond the horizon, Tribunal gives Nyx one last task.  Anything and everything is possible with Tribunal's help, and Nyx will raise hell on earth to get what she wants.

Wow.  This book.  Just wow.  I have to say right from the get-go that if you can't separate this fictional story from an infamous story that may or may not have something to do with your religion, then this book is not for you.  This is like what watching Game of Thrones is like but in words instead  of film (yes, I haven't read the books yet).  There's a lot of adult themes weaved throughout the history we see in this story.  But what makes this book glorious is it wraps the angel's stories around major people in our history and events that made our world the way it's become.  But I think what drug me down was how long it took to get through a thousand years (I felt a little overwhelmed).  But once we got to the part where Nyx meets Tribunal again, things started heating up again.  And while I thought the ending was totally clichĂ© and open-ended, I was still pent-up enough with emotion to want more story.

I am definitely going to say that this book is for a select group of people who don't take offense easily.  And it's not going to be the easiest thing to take in, but you're still going to enjoy this messed-up ride.

Thanks goes to John Patrick Kennedy for providing me a review copy.
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