Category Archives: science fiction

Blog Tour: Indigo Owl by Charline Archbold

 

Indigo Owl by Charlie Archbold

Publisher: Wakefield Press
Publication Date: 1 September 2020
Australian RRP: $24.99

After Earth was destroyed by climate change and overpopulation, private corporations colonised new planets. On one such planet, Galbraith,the fertility of its citizens is tightly controlled. But at what cost?

When Scarlet Bergen leaves her childhood home to be trained at the Arcadia Institute, harnessing her psychic Solitaire talents, it feels like the beginning of her future. But on the Institute steps, her father whispers a life-changing secret about the past. Her mother, a geneticist who disappeared when Scarlet was ten, had enemies …

Scarlet vows to discover the truth about her mother – and is joined in her mission by fellow cadets with their own family secrets and special talents: tech-savvy Rumi, a tenacious truth-hunter, and Dylan, the aloof classmate who can literally read her mind.

Together, they’ll uncover a planet-wide conspiracy … and discover that there’s little the Galbraith Executives won’t do to get what they want.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  dymocks  | A&R  | Wakefield Press

My Blurb (4/5 stars)

Somehow, I have gotten into the habit of not reading the book blurb / description / synopsis before I started reading. I would have read it some time before I decided to get my hands on the book so at one point in time, I wanted to read it, so I’d just jumped in. Therefore, most times I’ve no idea what I got myself in for. And such is the case with Indigo Owl because I didn’t realise that it was set in a different planet and for a while, I was really confused! So that’s the first thing you should know… This book is set on a completely different and very very cold planet called Galbraith.

There are 3 perspectives but Scarlet’s the primary one while Rumi’s & Dylan’s felt like they revolve around her. I guess this is really Scarlet’s story but we do need Rumi’s & Dylan’s help to know what’s happening around Scarlet. This makes me feel that Scarlet is very focused on the one thing (her mother) and so quite blind in her peripheral vision. She could be likeable but I actually prefer Rumi with all her “unbalanced” angle. I must admit though that at the end, they both improved so much! Scarlet could be a good friend but again, I don’t feel that friendship any particularly well with anyone. And I also find the romance a little bit lacklustre.

Indigo Owl was a very easy read with a truly fascinating setting with a sort of low key creepy vibe in the way of The Handmaid’s Tale. With a fast pace and an engaging mystery, it is a captivating read.

Thanks to Wakefield Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Charlie has worked as a primary years educator for many years. She has a Master of Education Degree in Studies of Asia and has spent time teaching in the UK, Australia, and Indonesia. In addition to teaching she has a passion for creative writing. Her new young adult novel is Indigo Owl.

Charlie’s debut young adult novel, Mallee Boys, was the recipient of the 2016 Adelaide Literary Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award and was a 2018 Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour book. Her middle grade manuscript, Red Bottomed Boat, was shortlisted for the 2020 Text Prize.

Find Charlie on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | instagram

Review: Pinkers by Alison Croggon & Daniel Keene

Pinkers (Newport City #2) by Alison Croggon & Daniel Keene

The revolution has begun. But where does it end?

The banns are in lockdown, making it all but impossible for Dez, Bo and their friends to resist the authoritarianism of Newport City. Bo believes that the mysterious power of the water is the key to winning their struggle, but Dez is deeply troubled about his increasing obsession.

Meanwhile up-and-coming soap star Erin Saba is in trouble. In Newport City, there’s nowhere to hide. Especially if you’re Erin Saba…

Published 15 August 2020 |  Publisher: Newport Street Books  |  RRP: AUD$1199 (ebook)

Buy it at: A&R  |  Amazon AU

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

In the first book of Newport City series, Fleshers, we see certain young people rising up against injustices suffered by their people. In this exciting sequel, Pinkers, we read of the immediate aftermath of a particular action followed by escalation of conflicts between the fleshers and pinkers. If you don’t know what these terms mean, I won’t spoil you but direct you to read Fleshers instead 😉

Following the first book, we have alternating perspectives between Dez and Bo (flesher siblings) but we also have additional perspective, Erin Saba (pinker). I thought this last perspective was a very interesting addition as we have, to date, not heard of a pinker’s perspective even as we know not all are bad. As Dez, Bo, their mother and friends are preparing to fight for a chance at a better life, Erin felt her life was not as it should be. As it happened, life turns out to be quite different for Erin when she found herself amongst the fleshers.

Dez has an obsessive personality but a very big & kind heart. Bo has a goal in mind and is focused on getting there. Erin was just hopeless, really, but let’s just say that she learns a LOT by the end. They may all see the world differently but they also all see the potential for it to be better; they are seeking to bridge differences. Pinkers is an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable sequel and as I think that not everything is tidied up yet, I have hope for another instalment.

My thanks to the authors for providing me with an ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Alison Croggon is an award-winning novelist, poet, theatre writer, critic and editor who lives in Melbourne, Australia. She works in many genres and her books and poems have been published to acclaim nationally and internationally. She is arts editor for The Saturday Paper and co-editor of the performance criticism website Witness.

Find Alison on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook  |  twitter

Daniel Keene has written for the theatre since 1979. He has written over 70 plays, both short works and full length.

Find Daniel on:  goodreads  |  website

Blog Tour: Helix by Mary Ting -a Review + Giveaway

Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2) by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 10th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Alliances are forming. The resistance is growing. Everything is about to change.

With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.

But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins—previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix—is growing in every territory.

The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels—if she isn’t killed first.

Add to Goodreads / Purchase

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 2 in the series so while I will steer away from spoilers for this book, there would be spoiler of book 1 (unavoidable if I want to be coherent in this review, sorry!)

I have been aware of this author, Mary Ting, for a while but haven’t really been compelled to pick up her books until now. I guess I was just in the right mood for a dystopian novel with a kick ass heroine or two or maybe hundreds. I expected lots of subterfuge, action, and a bit of romance to spice it up.

Helix, being book 2, picks up right after book 1 or even roughly around the same time. The big difference is that in this book, we have dual perspectives: Rhett’s in addition to Ava’s. It is very logical & useful telling of the story seeing the way the plot developed in this book but it was also so very good to hear Rhett’s voice (mostly anyway – I’ll explain the ‘mostly’ later). We have a much wider worldview in this book and therefore, a number of more complex twists.

What I enjoyed most in this books are the girls and their friendships. Okay, there are some who are just very cold but then I wonder if there’ll be other factors unveiled in subsequent series. Anyway, Ava & her friends are intelligent, independent, and courageous ladies. I really liked the way they care for each other and also, in resolving conflicts (it’s not all violent!).

Even if I was excited to have Rhett’s pov (the books begins with his), I later found that he’s just too needy! Or maybe the better phrasing is that he’s too hung up on Ava. I got rather frustrated with him so I didn’t find his character as well developed as Ava’s. In addition, this does make the novel to be quite heavy handed with the romance. I think because I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy in the romance department (there wasn’t that much romance in book 1), I was finding it really corny. I was actually laughing at a ‘very romantic’ speech and errr… that wasn’t good lol. So, okay, I may be a tad cynical but you yourself may Love it 😉

Helix was a very quick read mostly due to just how action-packed it was. If you love lots of romance with sparks flying off the page, you’d love this sequel to ISAN.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $25 Amazon gift card (ends Sept-22)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry.

Find Mary on:  Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

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Review: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer + a Giveaway

Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they are each other’s worst nightmare.

Nova’s double life is about to get a lot more complicated:

As Insomnia, she is a full-fledged member of the Renegades, a syndicate of powerful and beloved superheroes. She works with Adrian’s patrol unit to protect the weak and maintain order in Gatlon City.

As Nightmare, she is an Anarchist – a member of a group of villains who are determined to destroy the Renegades. Nova wants vengeance against the so-called heroes who once failed her when she needed them most.

But as Nova, her feelings for Adrian are deepening, despite the fact that he is the son of her sworn enemies.

Nova, Adrian, and the rest of their crew are faced with escalating crime in Gatlon City, while covert weapons and conflicting missions have Nova and Adrian questioning not only their beliefs about justice, but also the feelings they have for one another.

The line between good and evil has been blurred, but what’s clear to them both is that too much power could mean the end of their city – and the world – as they know it.

Published 31 November 2018 |  Publisher: Pan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$18.99

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Archenemies begins with a stake out by Renegades Sketch, Monarch, Red Assassin, Smokescreen, and Insomnia. It’s a pretty promising start that we got action right at the beginning. But then, I must confess that even if I found the book pretty easy to read, I don’t much remember what happened in the middle (did anything happen?!). The last 100 pages though near gave me palpitations! Heartpounding, action-packed with lots of near misses though it didn’t quite end with a cliffhanger (thank goodness!)

In Renegades, I really liked the dynamics of the friendship in this Renegades team but it was mostly missing in this book with a bit more pairings happening in this one. A lot of stuff between Adrian & Nova but the rest of the team was mostly missing especially Monarch. We know almost nothing about her, in fact, she seems to be most mysterious out of all of them.

Archenemies is full of anxiety. Adrian with his secrets he’s finding harder and harder to tell whilst Nova with her secrets she’s keeping a tight lid on. There were quite a bit of tip-toeing around which made the read a little bit exciting though it’s always a let down when nothing more happen. I do think that last 100 pages of the book is worth hanging on for so make sure you read to the end!

Thanks to Pan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia, 1 paperback copy of Archenemies is up for grabs! To enter, simple leave a comment with what book you are currently reading and include a random sentence/short paragraph from it. I will draw the winner on the evening of Friday, 30th November.

Please note this giveaway is limited to ANZ residents only.

About the author

Marissa Meyer is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Heartless and The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and twin daughters. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may oay not be a cyborg.

Find Marissa on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram  |  pinterest

Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Published 14 September 2017 |  Publisher: Penguin Australia 

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

I’m in love!! I love this world so much! It’s glittery colourful shiny façade which hid, of course, a darker than dark underworld which they call, ‘Down Under’ lol

Emika Chen has had to learn to fend for herself. Her father died a few years ago and left her a massive debt to pay off. She’s 18 and doing the best she can to stay afloat but she is about to drown. A daring her-last-chance-at-survival glitched and suddenly she found herself transported from her seedy New York shared apartment to bigger-than-her-wildest-dream hotel room. In the end, she found that nothing appear as it seems.

I’m not a gamer myself but hubby is and whilst he’s tried to get me playing, my brain-to-fingers coordination is too poor for me to enjoy gaming. I do understand, however, the attraction of gaming especially virtual reality ones. This is what Warcross is all about… a virtual reality for which almost anyone can access. Everyone can pretend to be anyone else, to look whichever way they like and be whatever they want to be. What’s even better is the Warcross games; an adrenaline rush like no other. Even a wheelchair-bound man in life can have functioning limbs in Warcross and be an international top player.

Warcross is a thoroughly enjoyable novel; fast-paced action-packed brand new world within an old worn one complete with intriguing mystery & villain and melt-your-heart romance. Thankfully, I can reach over for book 2 right now! So, I guess I made a good decision to wait lol

I borrowed this book from the library. Review is my own honest opinion. 

About the author

I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an Art Director at a video game company. Now I shuffle around at home and talk to myself a lot. 🙂

I graduated from the University of Southern California in ’06 and currently live in LA, where I spend my time stuck on the freeways.

Find Marie on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram |  tumblrpinterest

Review: The Barrier by Shankari Chandran

The Barrier by Shankari Chandran

Twenty years ago an Ebola epidemic brought the world to the edge of oblivion.

The West won the war, the East was isolated behind a wall, and a vaccine against Ebola was developed. Peace prevailed.

Now Agent Noah Williams is being sent over the barrier to investigate a rogue scientist who risks releasing another plague. But why would a once-respected academic threaten the enforced vaccination program that ensures humans are no longer an endangered species?

Hunting for answers amid shootouts, espionage and murder, Noah will have to confront a fundamental question:

In the fight for survival, can our humanity survive too?

My Blurb (3 stars)

I do so want to support all Aussie authors and I think that was primarily my reason in picking this book up. The cover is attractive enough and it’s a dystopian thriller so that was enough reasoning for me to read it. I enjoyed most of it but I just didn’t realise that there was a lot of medical / biology factor in this book that just went over my head. I could never make sense of biology at school so this stuff was really beyond me, unfortunately, and took away what could be a truly exciting book.

The prologue was exciting and horrifying all at once. It was a very promising beginning but as this is a whole new post-apocalyptic world, it slowed right down with the required world building. It’s a very scary world when the world as we know it ended due to an epidemic. Certain powers then rose and stayed in control over the whole world (albeit behind the scene) after discovering the cure.

In this new world, religion and/or faith is prohibited and was unknowingly suppressed by the world power. However, there have been some terminal illness which appears to be related to faith. Or is it?

I loved the characterisation; all the broken, flawed, and conflicted characters. I loved this post-apocalyptic world which for me as a Christian (I have faith!) is very scary. While the world is seen to be united in their secular views but there was actually a lot of conflict under the surface. Is it better to have a world without any faith?

The only disappointment I have is really my fault or rather my lack of scientific mind. I just can’t get myself around the science stuff and got really bogged down so I just skimmed quite a bit of the book and found that I probably missed quite a bit of the plot. That ending though… wow, great plot & twist!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Shankari Chandran was raised in Canberra, Australia. She spent a decade in London, working as a lawyer in the social justice field. She eventually returned home to Australia, where she now lives with her husband, four children and their cavoodle puppy.

The Barrier is her second novel. Her first novel, The Song of the Sun Godexplores the recent history of Sri Lanka. She is currently working on her third book, also set there.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | facebook

 

Review: False Hearts by Laura Lam

False Hearts (Pacifica) by Laura Lam

One twin is imprisoned for a terrible crime. The other will do anything to set her free.

One night Tila stumbles home, terrified and covered in blood. She’s arrested for murder, the first by a civilian in decades. The San Francisco police suspect involvement with Zeal, a powerful drug, and offer her twin sister Taema a chilling deal. Taema must assume Tila’s identity and gather information – then if she brings down the drug syndicate, the police may let her sister live. But Taema’s investigation raises ghosts from the twins’ past.

The sisters were raised by a cult, which banned modern medicine. But as conjoined twins, they needed surgery to divide their shared heart – and escaped. Taema discovers Tila was moulded by the cult and that it’s linked to the city’s underground. Once unable to keep secrets, the sisters will discover the true cost of lies.

My Blurb

If you’ve read One by Sarah Crossan and if you’re anything like me, you’d have cried your heart out and wished for a somewhat different ending. Without giving too much away, it could have been like False Hearts though of course, False Hearts is set in a very distant future. There isn’t actually a specific date but technology-wise, they seem to be far ahead of us.

The world setting is fairly similar though differences lie in technology including medicine. So, it was pretty easy to get into. Taema as the main protagonist is also easily likeable and therefore, memorable. Tila, on the other hand, was not quite present in the story for me. She provided only certain perspectives that the readers need to fill in the blanks. Otherwise, we mainly follow Taema.

I felt that this book is quite different from other dystopians though most dystopians I read are YA so maybe that’s one difference. But it also incorporates a cult living in isolation from the world though not without communication. In addition to this, there is bloody murder or is there? Let’s just say that this book has everything that I like in a book and that’s why I’ve really enjoyed it.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Originally from sunny California, Laura Lam now lives in cloudy Scotland. Lam is the author of BBC Radio 2 Book Club section False Hearts, the companion novel Shattered Minds, as well as the award-winning Micah Grey series PantomimeShadowplay, and Masquerade. Her short fiction and essays have also appeared in anthologies such as Nasty WomenSolaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, and more.  She lectures part-time at Napier University in Edinburgh on the Creative Writing MA.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  | pinterest  |  twitter  | facebook  |  instagram  |  tumblr

 

Review: The Silent Invasion by James Bradley

The Silent Invasion (The Change #1) by James Bradley

The Earth is dying.

Plants, animals and humans are being infected by spores from space and becoming part of a vast alien intelligence.

When 16-year-old Callie discovers her little sister Gracie is Changing, she flees with Gracie to the Zone to escape termination by the ruthless officers of quarantine.

What Callie finds in the Zone will alter her forever and send her on a journey to the stars, and beyond.

The first book in an heart-stopping trilogy from award-winning author James Bradley.

My Blurb

There aren’t many post-apocalyptic / dystopian novels set in Australia. I can think of 2 others besides this one and only this one is YA. That is one of the main reason I was interested in this book.

We were told that people disappear. They disappear because they’re sick and will have to be quarantined. Callie’s dad ‘disappeared’ a long time ago but now her little sister, Gracie, seems to be falling sick. Gracie is basically the only family Callie has left and she wasn’t going to let Gracie go just like that despite what everyone says and so began her journey to find sanctuary for them both.

Callie is one amazing character. She was so strong and courageous yet very gentle with Gracie. The landscape was frightening as people are losing hopes and yet, there are still pockets of humanity. I’m still conflicted about the love interest though despite liking Matt and enjoying the romance, I think this story can stand on its own. I think Callie can stand on her own. The ending was tense but I’m surprised that I wasn’t actually surprised with that last word…

Despite being un-surprised, I’d love to get onto the next book as The Silent Invasion was quite an adventure and I’d like some closure too! In the meantime, if you know & liked any other post-apocalyptic / dystopian set in Australia, I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

James Bradley was born in 1967. He is the author of three novels, Wrack, The Deep Field and his most recent, The Resurrectionist; a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus; and the editor of Blur, a collection of stories by young Australian writers. He is a well-respected critic and regularly reviews for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. He lives in Sydney with his partner, novelist Mardi McConnochie.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website |  twitter  

Review: Traveler by L.E. DeLano

Traveler (Traveler #1) by L.E. DeLano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the description, this book has everything I love in it:

Pirates ✓

Alternate worlds ✓

Delectable Book Boyfriend ✓✓✓

Said Delectable Book Boyfriend Comes to Life ✓✓✓✓✓

Totally sold on this book from the get-go!

It’s not a new theory that each time we make a choice, there is a split in reality as another version of us make a different choice and therefore, there are billions, gazillions, un-numbered alternate worlds out there. There are many books written about these too but probably not many of them are as fantastical as these worlds in Traveler. There is a post-apocalyptic world where the situation is so desperate that people are hunting people. There is a world full of everything shiny and sparkly with Glitter Mousse (yum!). There is a steampunk world with corsets and pirates! These are just my favourites out of the numerous alternate universes we were introduced in this book.

I like Jessa with her rather ordinary world turned upside down or is it rather right way up? Like any ordinary teenager, Jessa has her own share of troubles but they were nothing to what’s coming her way. She is being hunted down in every alternate worlds though this time, Finn has come, determined to save this Jessa. We rarely see the other Jessas though as Finn puts it, Jessa is always Jessa whichever world she’s in. We do see however different versions of Jessa’s friends & loved ones including Finn and I must admit to like the pirate Finn more than any other!

Traveler is a fun read; not only do you get dozens of different worlds in the one book but the most important spin was that book boyfriend coming to life (can you just imagine?! btw, who would you pick?!). I was a tad disappointed that Pirate Finn didn’t make that much of an appearance but *coughs* that ending… I absolutely can NOT wait for book 2!

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Review: Fall

fallFall by Scarlett Dawn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: ebook courtesy of author

As I reached the end of this book, I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh maniacally or blow up in a rage. In all seriousness, Ms. Dawn is absolutely devious in stringing her readers along for the ride… I cannot wait for the next instalment of Cold Mark

At first, I found it a little hard to get into but I was experiencing the onset of a cold which made me somewhat slow in understanding. The novella was actually quite fast-paced though you do have to get used to this new world with all its quirkiness and Fall has barely scratched the surface. I am looking forward to a lot more development of this fantastic alien world.

Braita literally kicks ass though due to her upbringing and all (very very innocent). I reckon this is wicked brilliance on Scarlett Dawn’s part, to bring an un-touched to a very physical world. To my horror, the climax of this confrontation has just exploded when the story ended; hence, my confused, dazed, and absolutely disgusted reaction… Fall will continue to haunt me ‘til I get can my hands on Sink.

My thanks to Scarlett Dawn for providing ebook in exchange of honest review

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