Tag: Science Fiction (page 1 of 32)

BOOK REVIEW – The Vanishing Spark of Dusk by Sara Baysinger

BOOK REVIEW – The Vanishing Spark of Dusk by Sara BaysingerThe Vanishing Spark of Dusk by Sara Baysinger
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Stand up.

When Lark is stolen from Earth to be a slave on the planet Tavdora, she’s determined to find her way back home to her family, no matter the cost. Placed in the household of a notorious slave trader, Lark quickly learns her best assets are her eyes and ears. And if she’s brave enough, her voice.

Be heard.

Kalen is the Tavdorian son of a slave trader and in line to inherit his father’s business. But his growing feelings for Lark, the new house slave who dares to speak of freedom, compel him to reveal his new plan for the slave ships returning to Earth—escape. Together, they just might spark a change that flares across the universe.

Fight back.

Review:

The beginning of The Vanishing Spark of Dust was magnificent.  It contained a heroine who I knew would come out of her shell, an alien who was forbidden but oh so addicting and a world that was beyond fascinating yet terrifying at the same time.  I was completely glued to the pages and thought that I had found my next favorite book.  But at 10% into the book, everything changed for me.  There were two triggers that adversely affected me.  And they made me take a huge step back emotionally, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to connect to the characters again. I tried again and again to feel what I did for Lark, our heroine, and Kalen, our alien, yet it never happened.

My eyes start to burn. My chest heaves. And I break. Shatter. Fall to my knees. And I don’t know if these are teardrops or water dripping down my face, but I don’t care because I’m broken. So broken.

So two of my triggers are cruelty or death to animals and children.  And this sadly had both of those.  In the first instance, we don’t get to know what happens to the dog that follows Lark around.  Something happened during Lark’s kidnapping, and I was left reeling.  There’s no closure or answers to what happened to her little dog.  I thought that possibly down the road we would find out, but by that last page we are still just as clueless.  And while that really bothered me, the next thing that happened upset me even more.  In the second instance, a child gets killed point-blank.  And it’s not just some random child, but one that I became attached to.  It was extremely hard to read, and it was difficult each time Lark rehashed or thought about what happened.  I truly wish those scenes didn’t affect me so strongly, or that I didn’t have these triggers, but unfortunately it is what it is.

Kalen said never to mention freedom again, but that doesn’t mean I can’t fight for it. And I will. I’ll fight for it—I’ll risk my life for it. Because a life as a slave isn’t life at all.

So after those two events, which were pretty close to one another, I struggled big time.  I couldn’t find my way back to connecting to Lark or Kalen who has serious book boyfriend potential.  Sigh.  I read till the very end because I thought that something would grab me and pull me back in.  But all I could feel was indifference.  So while this book didn’t work out for me,  some of my book friends may truly enjoy this story.  And just know that while the book ended at a great stopping place, the door was definitely left open for a future book.  So here’s hoping that if you give this book a shot, you’ll end up enjoying this story much more than I did.

*ARC kindly provided by Entangled Teen via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

BOOK REVIEW – Undone (Unknown #3) by Wendy Higgins

BOOK REVIEW – Undone (Unknown #3) by Wendy HigginsUndone (Unknown #3)
by Wendy Higgins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins, brings you the gripping, sensual conclusion to her apocalyptic trilogy.

Amber Tate never dreamed their heart-wrenching escape from the enemy’s attack would lead them to the most beautiful place she’s ever seen, marred by one ugly fact; it’s under enemy control. Like everywhere else in the world, Elmendorf military base in Alaska has been captured, and it’s time to take it back—all of it—one base, one city at a time. After losing so much, Amber clings to the only precious person she has left, and vows to sacrifice everything to help save the Earth.

Remy Haines is a lover, not a fighter, so when she finds herself in enemy territory, expected to feign allegiance while gathering intel for the rebel cause, she’s never been more out of her element. Tensions only increase when her feelings for Jacob “Tater” Tate won’t go away, and the enemy’s leader takes an interest in her. She’s torn between what her heart wants, and what she knows she should do. As for what her body needs…well, it’s always had a mind of its own.

Review:

*Spoilers for Unknown #1 & Unrest #2 but the first paragraph is safe to read. *

Undone was a stunning conclusion that had me on the edge of my seat!  I kept hoping that all of those that I loved would get their happily ever after, even though the odds were stacked against them.  And in this final book, there was a completely different element that didn’t appear in the previous two books.  We alternated views between Amber and her best friend Remy.  And let me tell you, while I loved Remy, I couldn’t believe that I became just as obsessed with her.  I loved that they each added a different view of what was happening in the world.  It made this story that much more emotional and I felt as though the stakes were even higher.  

A lump filled my throat as Rylen pulled me aside and pressed his forehead to mine. We didn’t kiss. No hugs either. We just stood there, foreheads touching, eyes closed, breathing each other in, letting the urgency of our hope rise up and twirl between us, spinning until it was a powerful cyclone of unspoken words, holding us together.
Be safe.
Stay alert.
I love you more than life.
Don’t you dare die.
– Amber & Rylen

But before I can talk about anything else, I have to say that I absolutely loved Amber and Rylen together!!  Thank goodness they finally took that step and found some happiness in the bleak world that surrounded them.  And now that we got to see all sides of Rylen, I fell even harder for him.  He was so passionate, in control and sooooooo sexy.  The scenes of them together, in Undone and Unrest, was scorching hot!  But underneath it all, I loved that their relationship was based on the most beautiful friendship.  Their love truly encompassed it all!  So of course I was scared any time they weren’t together or when they went on missions together.  My heart was in my throat hoping that they would stay safe and alive!

As scared as I was, we had so much to live for. We had to win. – Amber

This book had a ton of action that had me flipping through the pages as fast as I could.  But at the same time, there was also some slower, heartfelt moments.  It all meshed together so perfectly and made the pace feel just right.  While there were moments of horror and sadness, I easily found strength in Amber and Rylen’s love for one another and the friendships that surrounded them.  But I wish I could have said the same for Remy.  While my heart hurt for Amber and Remy in different ways, I was beyond terrified with the hell Remy found herself in.

He’s the enemy.
But he wasn’t looking at me like an enemy. – Remy

Remy had been captured at the end of Unrest, and was taken to the aliens compound in Nevada with Tater and Linette.  They found themselves prisoners, well more like slaves.  Not only were they worked to the bone, but the aliens flipped their world upside down.  Family units no longer existed.  Touching no longer existed.  And if anyone wanted to rebel in any way, then they would either die or have the worm *shudders*.  It felt as though I was constantly holding my breath, frightened with what was going to happen next to Remy, Tater and Linette.  But there was one element I never even considered, since I didn’t read the synopsis.  And that was Remy’s interaction with the enemy’s leader.  

I feared him. I took comfort from him. I was disgusted by him. I admired him. I pitied him. I was drawn to him. – Remy

We witnessed Remy interact with those monsters.  And while the majority of them were easy to lump into the enemy category, they weren’t all like that.  I hated seeing those shades of humanity in the few aliens we become close with, because then I felt guilty wishing for their annihilation.  And that’s exactly how Remy felt too.  But then it got taken up a level when Remy started to feel something towards their leader.  I felt as though my emotions were being torn in different directions and that my brain was a convoluted mess.  Especially when I thought about Tater, ugh.

My vision swam with tears, and the loudest sobs in history rose from my soul. I fell forward, begging myself to calm down, but finding it utterly impossible. – Amber

But before I wrap up my thoughts, I have to say that I did have three issues with this book.  The first was that there was a scene that was a mesh of two scenes from Independence Day.  I’ve seen that movie probably a hundred times, so it stuck out very clearly in my mind.  The second issue was that there was a discrepancy between book two and three View Spoiler ».  And my third issue was that the epilogue left me desperately wanting to know so much more.  Yes we got a fabulous closure, but there were so many questions hanging in the air for me like View Spoiler ».  So while these three issues made me remove a half a star, this series is still going down as one of my favorite dystopian series ever.  Don’t let this paragraph deter you, I just wanted to give a heads up.

“They’ve tried to break us.” Rylen released my hands and brought his fingers to my neck, weaving them through and down my hair. “They wanted to break us apart.”
“And they failed,” I said.

So a huge yes, I definitely recommend this book to dystopian and Wendy Higgins fans!  It was full of action, love, friendship, and heart stopping moments.  Plus it had the most amazing book boyfriend ever.  You have to meet Rylen!  He was fierce, protective, loyal, seductive and definitely sexy!  I’m so glad I read this trilogy and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some day down the road we’ll get a peak at this world and characters again.  I already miss them!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Unknown #1
Reviews:

Jen

Unrest #2
Reviews:
Jen

Undone #3
Reviews:
Jen

BOOK REVIEW – Unrest (Unknown #2) by Wendy Higgins

BOOK REVIEW – Unrest (Unknown #2) by Wendy HigginsUnrest (Unknown #2)
by Wendy Higgins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Being on the run in the desert means food and sanctuary are hard to come by, but Amber Tate and her crew are not about to give up. Not after having the things they love brutally ripped from them by an unknown enemy who sent their world into the apocalypse.

Survival takes precedence, but once safe shelter is found, their guards fall and the emotions they’ve been holding in are finally released. Anger, insecurities...lust. In their tight quarters, Amber, Rylen, Tater, and Remy can't escape it. The past must be faced, and passions run even stronger in the darkest of times.

In the midst of unrest, their worlds are rocked again when they discover the truth about the war that’s ruined their lives. They thought finding out the enemy's identity would give them the edge; instead it’s revealed terrifying dangers they never thought possible.

Review:

*Spoilers for Unknown #1, but the first paragraph is safe to read. *

We were too trusting in our nature, as humans, we let them take control despite our reservations. I had ignored my instincts.
Never again.

Unrest was action packed, heart stopping and filled to the brim with emotion!  I absolutely loved the second book in this trilogy.  And just like the first, sadness and fear permeated throughout parts of the story.  It was something that felt impossible to shake off or ignore at times.  Especially when there were so many obstacles in their way.  But don’t worry, there’s tons of light too.  Friendships, love and laughter were splashed across the pages.  It all felt so heartwarming and beautifully real.  Unrest definitely had it all and I can’t wait to read the final book in this trilogy!

Fear of the unknown threatened to make me cry out, but I strangled it back down. We had to move forward.
We had to survive and fight.

Unrest started off right where Unknown ended, and we found ourselves surrounded with heartache.  Without a true moment to grieve those that they had lost, they were on a mission to travel to safety.  And to get there, they had to embark on a terrifying journey.  With not enough gas, and food supplies dangerously low, they had a lot against then.  And if that wasn’t enough, there was a stillness and fear that seemed to roll off of the desolate areas they drove through.  Every single minute of the day, their safety was on the line, and I was terrified for them.

We sat there, quiet under the gray winter sky of the desert. It made me wonder how many others were out there like us. Lost. Grieving. Looking for survivors.

The ten of them – Amber, Rylen, Remy, Tater, Devin, Sean, Texas Harry, Matt, and NY Josh – became so close.  They created a new family unit and I loved how everyone had each other’s backs.  They cared so strongly for one another and the bond they created seemed unbreakable because of all of the horrors they faced together.  But I was beyond nervous and had fear in my heart.  Not only because of what they were all up against.  But because I was super attached to all of them.  And I saw how well that worked out for me becoming attached to Amber’s family *sobs*.

My heart thumped rapidly, mixing with the white noise in my mind. Rylen and I were on the cusp of something. Something there would be no coming back from. Things between us would change today, for better or worse.

There were two relationships I loved the most though.  First, I loved that we got to see the full scope of Amber and Remy’s relationship, she’s Amber’s bff btw.  They told each other their fears and confessed some of their most intimate secrets.  Their friendship wasn’t always perfect, but it always felt real.  And they loved each other just as strongly as any real sisters would.  And secondly, of course I have to mention Amber and Rylen.  While they still seemed to be dancing around the possibility of something more, I just have to say something happened in this book that had me screaming….I won’t tell you if it was a happy scream or one of anguish and pain, but my gosh it was huge.  I’m definitely talking about it in my review of the final book.  

They’d ripped everything, everything, from me. I wouldn’t let terror and loss kill my spirit, not while there was still breath in my lungs and blood pumping through my heart.
I pressed my hand against the window and stared out at the dark night as one hot tear slid down my cheek, and I made a promise to my family. Remy. Rylen.
“I won’t let it be for nothing.”

There so much about the plot that I can’t really talk about, but we did learn more about the War.  And the facts surrounding it chilled me to the core.  You see, it was creepy, horrifying and fascinating all rolled together.  And it made me feel even more overwhelmed with all that they were up against.  But thankfully hope, friendship, determination and love flooded the pages.  And I loved every single moment of this page turner!

PS There’s a tease remark that had me laughing so hard I was crying.  Twice.  Oh my gosh, it was so great lol!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Unknown #1
Reviews:

Jen

Unrest #2
Reviews:
Jen

Undone #3
Reviews:
Jen

BOOK REVIEW – Unknown (Unknown #1) by Wendy Higgins

BOOK REVIEW – Unknown (Unknown #1) by Wendy HigginsUnknown (Unknown #1)
by Wendy Higgins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

Review:

Unknown was intense, gritty, emotional and a book I can’t recommend enough.  It’s unlike any other dystopian that I’ve read because we actually got to witness the demise of the world.  And I had no clue the depths my heart would ache watching this tale unfold.  But there was hope in those final pages, and it was definitely a heart stopping journey to get there!  I absolutely loved Unknown and I can’t wait to start the next book!

When it rains, it pours. And floods. And washes away adolescent dreams.

Unknown started with us witnessing an organization planing to wipe the majority of world’s population off the map.  But in the next chapter we transitioned and met Amber Tate.  And we spent the next 25% of the book growing up with her.  She jumped back to when she was six years old and first met Rylen Fite, who was their neighbor, and became her older brother’s best friend.  And we watched them grow up together, with jumps of time that were seamlessly done.  Their past wasn’t always easy, and sadness, love, mortification, tender moments, heartache and joy filled the pages.  I found myself with tears in my eyes, butterflies in my belly and I even curled into a ball at one moment.  It was all so emotional.  Besides Rylen and Amber, her brother Tate, her parents, grandparents and even her best friend Remy were integral parts to this story.  I knew them all so well and I loved every single one of them.

I opened my eyes and looked into his solemn eyes. A painful crack split my heart. Why did I have to love him so much? Would it always hurt like this?

But one of the many things we discovered watching Amber grow up was how she fell for Rylen.  Amber loved Rylen with her whole heart and soul.  And it was heartbreaking that he saw her as not only a best friend, but as his little “sister”.  And if that wasn’t hard enough, a huge wrench got thrown in between them when they were older.  I felt betrayed and broken, just like Amber.  I kept trying to figure out a way around it.  But make no mistake, regardless of what happened, I absolutely loved Amber and Rylen.  Nothing could sway me from being obsessed with the both of them.  I got so caught up in their lives that before I knew it the whole world came crashing down around them.  I was not prepared for the horror that unfolded.  

My face fell against his shoulder and I bawled against his neck. “Oh, my God . . .” My hands tightened, fisting his shirt in my palms, holding him like a lifeline as my mind threatened to shatter into unfixable pieces.
He never said a word. Just ran.

You know the scariest part?  It all felt so real.  And I could easily see all of this death and destruction happening now.  The rest of the book was watching in horror as the apocalypse unraveled.  And each page I turned there was something else that happened that would give me goosebumps, or take my breath away, or make me pause because it was too terrifying.  And just when I thought we got a break from it, I was taken to an entirely different level of pain.  Especially towards the end.  My heart broke for Amber.  So be prepared for an action packed, heart breaking journey.

Because this was life. Laughter, love, friendships. We had a way of life to protect. We weren’t perfect by any means, but we were good. And we sure as hell weren’t giving it up without a fight.

Do you ever read a book and just want everyone you know to pick it up?  Unknown is that book for me.  So if you’re a fan of dystopian, check this one out.  Just keep in mind that the first 25% of the story you’re growing up and becoming embedded into their family and lives.  And if you’re a fan of Wendy Higgins, Unknown is very gritty compared to her other books.  And the romance, well there isn’t any romance per se, but there was a lot of hope for it in the future.  Maybe.  Possibly.  We’ll see.  So join me in my obsession with this series, I desperately need lots of people to talk to about this book!!

We weren’t alone. As long as we had each other, there was hope.

PS My guess is that Bahntan is View Spoiler »

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Unknown #1
Reviews:

Jen

Unrest #2
Reviews:
Jen

Undone #3
Reviews:
Jen

BOOK REVIEW – Shattered Stars (Broken Skies #3) by Theresa Kay

BOOK REVIEW – Shattered Stars (Broken Skies #3) by Theresa KayShattered Stars (Broken Skies #3)
by Theresa Kay
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Unexpected allies. Unexpected betrayals. Unexpected abilities.

The last thing Jax Mitchell ever wanted was to be a weapon. Her abilities are unpredictable at best, but with her twin lost, there's no one else with enough power to take on Jastren and his mental manipulations. She doesn't have to do it alone, though. Not only can she rely on the unwavering support of Lir, Rym, and her human friends, she also ends up with help from a surprising source.

Meanwhile, her twin brother Jace--his body controlled by Jastren, and the shattered pieces of his mind locked inside--has become a monster. The struggle to hold on to what's left of his humanity has left him weak and more confused than ever before. Every thought, every impulse, and every memory has the potential to destroy him--and everyone else around him.

The futures of both the humans and the E'rikon are on the line, but as ulterior motives and political machinations are revealed, it becomes clear that the betrayals aren't restricted to only one species. Can Jax and Lir get everyone to work together in time to prevent the two species from destroying each other? Can Jace find some measure of redemption for all he has done? And will Jax be able to harness her powers... without losing herself in the process?

Review:

*Spoilers for Broken Skies #1 & Fractured Suns #2 (but the 1st paragraph is safe to read)*

Shattered Stars was a brilliant and emotional conclusion to the Broken Skies trilogy!  It was action packed, emotionally gutting and I found myself on the edge of my seat desperately needing to know what was going to happen next.  I can’t recommend this series enough!  If you haven’t started this trilogy yet, definitely go grab the first book while it’s free here.  I thought the best way to review the final book was to list some of the reasons why this series became an instant favorite of mine.  And they are –

✮ A realistic heroine that continually grows

A few months ago I had one friend: Jace. Somehow along this strange journey, I’ve picked up a whole group of friends. Some of them have even become like family. A lump forms in my throat. I was so irritated with Jace for suggesting I needed to get out more, that I needed to try more… Who knew it’d be his kidnapping that precipitated my ability to overcome my fears? – Jax

Jax has come such a long way from being the girl who stumbled over her words and and had many panic attacks in Broken Skies.  I loved watching her progression throughout this trilogy as she grew into such a strong, confident woman!  But the best part was how much faith she found in herself.  She put herself in situations to help others, she protected her friends, and the lengths she went to learn her powers was impressive!  Jax is definitely one of my favorite heroines!

 ✮✮✮

✮ A swoon worthy book boyfriend –  

His eyes sparkle, and everything he’s feeling washes over me. Desire. Lust. Nervousness. But, most of all, the warmth and light of love. He leans down and puts all of those emotions into a kiss.

From the first moment I met Lir, that charming, sarcastic alien quickly won my heart.  He pulled me in with his words and actions, and I loved seeing how sweet and thoughtful he could be to Jax.  And even though he made mistakes, it made me love him that much more.  I was completely infatuated with Lir, can you tell?  Plus in each book we got to see certain moments that showed how strong his love was towards Jax.  The things he did, ohhhh it was breathtaking.

✮✮✮

✮ A power couple –

He lifts my chin with two fingers and smiles softly. “Thank you.”
“For what?”
“For pulling me out of there. For wanting to protect me”— a kiss to my forehead—“for being you,”— to the tip of my nose—“for being mine.” His lips brush against mine, softly at first, then harder as he pulls me into his lap and I turn around to frame his hips with my legs. – Jax and Lir

Jax and Lir are now a force to be reckoned with.  While they each have their own strengths, together they seemed unstoppable.  And their faith in one another, along with the sacrifices they made was such a beautiful thing to watch.

✮✮✮

✮ So many other characters to love –

I stammer. “You know that. I mean, I couldn’t even link with you out there in the courtyard. How exactly do you expect me to learn to fly this thing when I haven’t even mastered the basics?”
Rym laughs. “The basics? Mind-to-mind communication isn’t exactly basic.”
“Still, you want to risk everyone’s lives by letting me try to lift us up into the air and transport us hundreds of miles?”
“Why not? What better motivator is there than a life-or-death situation?” His expression is perfectly serious for a moment, then a snorting laugh escapes his mouth. – Jax and Rym

Flint, Rym, Jace, Peter, Emily, Stu, Ethan, and so many more became so important to me while I was reading this trilogy.  They each stood out, had their own voice and I loved how unique each of their personalities were.  I appreciated that  each of them played such an important part to this series.  And I loved even more how they helped weave the story together.  I dare you to try and not get attached to them too!

✮✮✮

✮ I was on the edge of my seat –

The color leeches from Daniel’s face, and my smile only grows. He takes a step back, the gun in his hand forgotten. His bravado is gone. Every single drop. And this is going to be so much fun. – Jax

There were so many moments I was beyond nervous for what was going to happen next.  It wasn’t just because there were so many characters I loved and I was terrified that they would die (oh gosh and some of them do die *sobs*), but it was because there was so much up in the air.  There were so many different variables and motives that it was hard to tell at times what would happen next.  Which made this series so much fun to devour figuring out all of the clues!  But at the same time, there were countless ways for them all to fail.  And it definitely seemed like failure would be so much easier than success at times.  So this book and series was a huge page turner for me.  I couldn’t get enough of it.

✮✮✮

✮ Additional POVs –

I’m unpredictable. I’m dangerous. I’m absolutely in-fucking-sane. And I’m not going to get better. – Jace

In the first book, it was just Jax’s POV.  Then in the second, we got to alternate between Jax and Lir.  And that made me love Lir even more.  But in this final book, we get to be in Jax and Jace’s head, Jace is her brother if you need a refresher.  And to start off, I wasn’t sure how to feel about that.  Yes I was gaining more knowledge about what was going on, but her brother’s a little crazy ya know.  But as the story progressed, I started to realize that the knowledge we were gaining from Jace came at a huge price.  You see, I connected with him and his chapters gutted me to the core.  He was so broken and the pain and suffering he was going through was more horrific than I ever could have imagined.  The farther I got into this book, it felt as though I couldn’t escape Jace’s chapters without tears in my eyes.  His pain was so intense and raw.  But it was more than worth it because I never once thought the words Jace and redemption would ever be in the same sentence.  But wow, I was proven so wrong.  I loved having his POV added to the final book.

✮✮✮

The Broken Skies Trilogy was filled with peril, heartbreak, action, lies, betrayal, love and I was definitely glued to the pages.  I can only hope that all of my friends pick up this trilogy!  It’s emotionally breathtaking and a must read!

***ARC was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review***

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iTunes (click on title) & Book Depository (click on book #)
Broken Skies theresa kay
Broken Skies #1
Reviews:

Jen
fractured suns theresa kay
Fractured Suns #2
Reviews:

Jen

Shattered Stars #3
Reviews:
Jen

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