Monday, April 26, 2021

Rachel Aukes: Bounty Hunter - Lone Gunfighter of the Wastelands

In the first of a series Rachel Aukes takes readers to a lawless place that is mainly controlled by the Bounty Hunters:

The world is in the Shits. The revolution was supposed to make everything better, but from what Joe can tell nothing has really changed, other than a lot of people died and now he works as a Bounty Hunter. When some brother named Sloan want to make the Wasteland's their own territory there are more than a few Hunter Guilds that want nothing to do with it. But the Sloan brothers refuse to take no for an answer. When they come after the company that Joe works for they're about to learn why he earned the named Havoc in the revolution. Joe hates nothing more than a bully so the Sloan brother better watch out, or they are going to find out why you never corner a Bounty Hunter

This book is a really fun read and for those who love sci-fi and western mash up they are sure to enjoy this book. I recently started watching the Mandalorian (I know I’m late to that party) but this book reminded me of that series just no space travel. Even the cover of the book has some Mandalrian flare to it. It has great action/fight scenes that play out in very dramatic fashion, especially if a character named T-Rex is there. He has some creative ideas on how to piss the other guys off, and I really enjoyed every second of those events. It also has quite a bit of heart to it, that I was not expecting from this book.

Joe is a great character, he is loyal to a fault, has some pretty high morals but also a badass to go along with it. Trust me you want Joe to be on your side in a fight. He is resourceful, thinks a few steps ahead but also on the fly. I appreciate that Aukes let Joe get hurt and that he was not invincible and had to compensate when this happened. I really like Joe's loyalty to a fallen soldier from one of the past revolutions and his need to take care of that man's family and also to his employ Reuben even though he could make more money or not have people shooting at him every two seconds if he were to betray him.

The main issue I have with this book is that the World wasn’t fully developed. There were constant reference as to what happened before the world got this way and which side Joe fought for, that I just felt like there was a book before this one. I know there was a revolution, maybe even two to get to the world that Joe is living in now, but even the current world is really undefined. I know they are in the wasteland, but why is is called that? Is there other cities or civilizations outside of the wastelands or is that all that is left after the War(s). This is the area that the book lacks the most, I actually checked to see if there was a book before this one just to make sure it was me and not the book that was off on this point.

I enjoyed this book as it was a fun ride from beginning to end especially if you like cowboy sci-fi action. I look forward to checking out the next book in this series and hope that the world is a little better defined.

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Kate Quinn: The Rose Code

Kate Quinn returns to WWII, but this time it is the story of the women who helped with the code breaking against the Nazi's, only to discover a Spy in their midst:

1940s England and England has been preparing to fight a war with Nazi Germany. What Germany does not know if that England has intercepted and eventually decoded the Enigma machines. It is this ability that brings three very different women to the secret base of Bletchley Park, where the mission of those there is to intercept, decode and translate the messages from the Axis powers. What they begin to realize is that their own lives and those they love are in the messages that go through Bethcley Park and they must do everything in their power to keep them safe. But there is a trader at Bletchly Park that has seen to it that the one woman who could discover them is put away in an insane asylum. Now those who no longer trust each other must work together to figure out who.

I do not read a lot of Historical Fiction novels, but I have found when I do, I reach for Quinn when I am look for one. As I started writing this review I discovered that I never wrote on for The Alice Network last year (and I highly recommend that one too), and this one follows a similar format but I really liked that all the women are in both time frames in this book. This book really has everything in it and will make you feel a wide range of emotions. There is love, heartbreak, anger, deceit, friendship, mystery and of course betrayal. I actually loved the mystery aspect of this book and had me questioning everyone at Bletchley Park and the women as well, if one of them was the traitor and I am happy to say I did not figure it out (which does not happen very often).

I found both periods interesting and appreciated that the after the war periods were shorter until the latter parts of the book as this really sets all three women up as full fledged character. I enjoyed Osla, Mab and Beth's and that Quinn did not recopy each of the women. Yes, they do have some similarities in their overall stories, but not so close that I was not interested in them. However, I will say that the book was starting to feel a bit long by the 80% mark of the book. I got to the point where it was alright enough about the women’s lives and love lives and let’s find the traitor, get Beth and put some sort of plan into action to figure out who it is.

The most AMAZING part of this book is that the women that Quinn features in this book are real and I had no idea until the book was finished. I mean of course Prince Phillip (May he Rest In Peace) but I had no idea that the women featured were real as well. It made me want to look these woman up and know more about their lives, and see which aspects that that Quinn put in the book were true, especially that ending. All I can say is that these woman are extremely amazing and what they were able to accomplish at this time in history is truly special and amazing.

I feel like Quinn can weave an almost perfect story of intrigue, mystery, love story and all with strong female characters. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to those who like Historical Fiction and to those who want to read something outside of their usual genres. I look forward to reading other books by Quinn.


Normally I recommend books similar to this one, but I do not read enough Historical Fiction to do that. As stated above The Alice Network by Quinn is also a great read.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Adrienne Young: Fable

Adrienne Young takes the readers to the ways of the traders life, who live and dies by the ways of the sea:

Fable has spent the past 4 years of her life stranded on an island, forced to do what she can to survive, in order to make enough coin to buy passage home. Fable is the daughter of the most respected and feared trader. He is also the man who left her on the island and told her that if she could make her own way home, he would respect her and that she was more cut out for the life among the traders than he believed. But her father has rivals and enemies a plenty all of whom would like to get their hands on Fable for her unique gift with stones. Fable has to figure out who she can trust and use all her instincts in order to be able to survive this world. When she meets a trader names West and his small crew, she hopes that he is someone she can trust, but everyone has their own secrets.

This book had the was one of the host raved about YA novels last year and while I do read some YA novels I am fairly selective in those that I do read. This one had so many great reviews associated with it that I decided to give it a try, plus I haven't read a pirate based book, since....ahem, I read romance novels many many years ago (full on bodice ripping on the cover type, lol).

This book can basically be summed up as fun, easy read, with a strong female character that takes places on the high seas. The writing is good and the plot is easy to follow, flows well but there are no real big surprises throughout (except the end). Mainly the plot is a little simple and not a lot happens in the book. The beginning was really strong with Fable struggling to live and get off the island, things happen in the middle and then around the last 20-30% things really pick up again. In between that there is just a lot of sailing and going to other islands, that's about it. I will say that I was surprised with a few darker moments in the book that elevated the book in my opinion.

There are times where I thought that the secondary characters seemed more interesting than Fable. I mean Fable has a strong start with being stranded on the island to fend for herself and her power is pretty interesting (and I hope it is explored further in the next book), but she seems to fizzle out once she leaves the island, kind of like a fish out of water thing who does not have the ability to follow orders and lacks common sense a few times

This book was a good, easy read and I think that any YA reader will be happy with the plot and story as it unfolds. As an adult reading this book it felt a little simple and I wasn't completely sold on the romance in the story, I wish they would have taken a longer period for it to develop. As well I just felt like it took too long for the plot to unfold, the middle portion of the book doesn't add a lot of substance to the book. However, with a cliffhanger like Young leaves at the end of this book, I know I will be checking out to next book.

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Monday, April 5, 2021

Courtney Summers: The Project

Courtney Summers brings readers into the world of The Unity Project and one woman's mission to find her sister:

Lo feels like she has been alone most of her life. After her parents died in a car accident, her sister Bea abandoned her to go be part of the Unity Project which Lo is 100% sure is a cult. Lo has spent those years after her sister disappeared trying to contact her, just even to talk, have some sense of family, but she has never heard from Bea. When a prospect presents itself for Lo to see the inner workings of the Unity Project Lo knows she cannot pass up this chance to reunite with her sister and finally have the family that she has dreamed of. However, it's hard to reunite with someone who does not want to be found and as Lo delves deeper into the Unity Project and gets to know the leader Les even more she has more and more questions, and she can only hope that one of the answers will lead her to Bea.

This is the second book that I have read by Summers and I enjoyed that this book is completely different from Sadie. I think that the cult idea/aspect that is not written about as much in modern fiction so I very much enjoyed that Summers was going for something that not a lot of people are reading about these days. However, I did find that the book was quite slow until the last 20% of the book where things really started to pick up. I also found a few events predictable and at times the time shift was confusing.

I would not put this in the horror genre as the book is being advertised as, I would say more of a psychological mystery not even a thriller as I never felt the chills or suspense that I expect from that genre. Really what you are reading towards in the book is the whether the Unity Project is good or not. I think that is where Summers excels in this book is having you question if the Unity Project is a cult but also whether they have done anything wrong or not. One thing you can be sure of is that The Unity project seem to be there when someone is in their moment of Need, very cultish I guess?

I really enjoyed the two POV within this book however, the time frame does jump around and it not linear in Bea's POV at all. There are year gaps sometimes that go back and fourth when it is her POV and this was confusing at times. Thankfully Lo's POV was pretty steady, I think if both jumped around like that, you would lose readers really quick. With the dual POV you do get to see how similar the sisters really are, even though they did not grow up together. What I find really interesting about Lo is even though she did not grow up within The Unity Project, how naive she is about simple things in the world, from her workplace to how a car works to even what a cult is at times. There were times when I really questioned Lo's thought process as it could not all be chalked up to age.

I think where Bea ends up is really predictable, I was able to see it coming after we learn about Bea from Lo's POV, even before people start telling her that Bea does not want anything to do with Lo. I will say I did not see that ending coming, but at the same time seemed like a bit of a cop-out. I mean what actually happened there?

This was a good read as I liked the cult aspect, it was well written and I really enjoyed how the story was told, but it wasn't quite what I thought it would be and lack the overall suspense I wanted from this book. I think that her novel Sadie was better and for me personally Sadie had me on the edge of my seat throughout, as we need to find out what happened to her. I look forward to seeing what Summers comes out with next. One thing is for sure, she has a great ability for storytelling and as far as I can tell is keeping it formula free.

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