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Posts tagged “Science Fiction

Loop by Karen Akins: Frodo’s Review



Summary From GoodreadsLoop

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.


I received an eBook copy of Loop from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a fascination for everything involving time travel, whether it is in the form of a book such as with the MG/YA Pendragon series, in a tv show like Forever or Doctor Who, or a movie like Back to the Future. It doesn’t seem to matter what medium it is in, if it involves time travel even at a small level I’m going to at least be interested and willing to give it a try; that’s where Loop by Karen Akins comes in. I heard about Loop from the publisher who was looking for people to do reviews for its blog tour, and while I did not participate in that, I did request it because I was curious to see if this would be a good example of time travel, and a way of quenching my thirst for it.

Time Travel Back to the Future

The result? A bit of a mixed bag. I found the beginning of the book to be a struggle to get through, adjusting to Akins using fake curse words in place of regular ones (something I know bugs some people and in this case was a mild irritant to myself), and getting accustomed to the jargon used to describe the process of time travel itself, and everything that goes on with it.

Fake Swear Words Battlestar Gallactica

Unfortunately, even when I had immersed myself in the world, it never felt like something I could wrap my brain around, especially concerning the bits and pieces of explanations we get for how the world functions in the 23rd century. This isn’t due to lack of experience with various reasoning given in other examples of future worlds, but that Akins doesn’t do a very good job at describing it in a clear way.

Part of the issue here, and something that is the case across the board with this book (technical babble aside), is that it seems like the reader is intentionally led in circles in order to give the story a kind of mystery. In reality, all that occurred was that I was increasingly frustrated at the contradictions that started to arise, the dense main character that took forever to realize what was right in front of her face (where the reader could put the pieces together chapters before), and being left to wonder if (from a technical aspect) this world even made sense at all.

Going Around in Circles

Every time a technical bit was brought up it was almost immediately discarded and a vague response given instead. My head hurts just trying to put those last few paragraphs together to try and explain what wasn’t explained in the book, but suffice it to say that there are problems in the world building in Loop.

Then there are the characters. Bree (the MC) is dense as I mentioned before, but is also inconsistent. At times she seems lost and unsure, as well as just plain slow, and often can’t figure out what is happening around her, even when it’s pretty clear. Other times Bree plays a Sherlock-esque figure, picking up clues and hatching schemes (even if they aren’t always brilliant ones), all the while complaining about the same issues repeatedly. She had a pretty rough past, but despite that I was never able to pity her after the first couple of chapters because she is so abrasive and whiny.

Finn, the love interest, grasps things often before Bree does despite being from the 21st century, but otherwise is just an overprotective lug, and one that happens to be quite attractive seemingly just for gushing at random intervals from Bree. The supporting cast outside of them are even more cliche, from the standard BFF Mimi who is only there to be overly devoted to Bree, to one of the “villains” that is confused and used, and that eventually goes a tad nuts but still garners pity for whatever reason. Just…no.


The part of Loop that pulls you in, however, is the past-to-future experiences, at least if you love time travel like I do. Unfortunately, while some of those aspects are pulled off well, such as with various cultural references in the 21st and 23rd centuries, much of the future elements are not well done at all. The world Bree lives in is barely discussed, the book focuses way too much on a couple modes of transportation instead of the time travel part, and the cliched joke of instant meals was used a couple times and wasn’t really funny. There is always a lot to work with in time travel books because you have such a wide range of times and locations to choose from, but that wasn’t showcased in Loop at all. The world in the 23rd century was simply bland.

Bland World

The writing and conversations that took place were decent, but it wasn’t enough to grab me, especially with the previously mentioned issues involved. A few solid jokes were made, and the sheer awkwardness of various situations were enjoyable, but there wasn’t enough chemistry between the main characters to enjoy those scenes fully. Having the inevitable future of the timeline Bree and Finn were on, something that was told almost immediately in the story, made it so there were hardly any surprises or suspense.

Overall, while the idea of time travel was present, and some of the issues with it (even if many are obvious) were addressed, I couldn’t enjoy Loop like I had hoped to. It isn’t a bad book, it just doesn’t excel in any category. Time travel wasn’t exciting in Loop, it was just a way of circumventing plot issues, something it didn’t do all that well anyway. The ending of the book only serves to try and confuse the reader even more, and too many issues remain unresolved, even for a book in a series. Thanks as always for reading.

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Official Blog Tour Review of Exo by Steven Gould + Giveaway!



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I really enjoyed Exo, getting to dive back into science fiction was a blast! A big thank you to Jean Book Nerd Tours, Steven Gould, and Tor for giving me an ARC to enjoy, and for letting me be a part of this fabulous blog tour! My stop on the tour is a review and spotlight of the book, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post for your chance to win a copy of Exo for yourself! ^.^



Cent can teleport. So can her parents, but they are the only people in the world who can. This is not as great as you might think it would be — sure, you can go shopping in Japan and then have tea in London, but it’s hard to keep a secret like that. And there are people, dangerous people, who work for governments and have guns, who want to make you do just this one thing for them. And when you’re a teenage girl things get even more complicated. High school. Boys. Global climate change, refugees, and genocide. Orbital mechanics.

But Cent isn’t easily daunted, and neither are Davy and Millie, her parents. She’s going to make some changes in the world.



STEVEN GOULD is the author of Jumper, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, and Jumper: Griffin’s Story, as well as many short stories. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. Gould lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon, and their two daughters.



My Review

Exo is the book you give to a true science fiction fan just to see their eyes light up. Much of the science fiction that is out there today, at least from what I have encountered, has dramatically decreased the amount of actual science involved, and this is especially true in young adult. It has almost reached the point where sci-fi has turned into fantasy, scary I know. However, Exo is a throwback to a previous era of science fiction writing, glorifying the science that is involved instead of hiding it.

Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut? It’s a common dream for many young children, although with the deterioration of the space program a bit less so in recent times, but if you want to know just about everything involved in that process then Exo is for you. It doesn’t use the typical launch missions, spacecraft, or the like because of Cent’s powers, but there is more than enough realistic space jargon to excite your inner geek.

What makes Exo so great, though, is that it doesn’t overdo the technical aspects, or focus on just that side of the book. There is something in it for everyone! If you like some teen angst you’ll get a decent helping here, or if you prefer some daring rescues or dangerous escapes you can have your cake and eat it too! Also, if you are looking for some more of those cool teleportation displays from the previous books that’s included and even amplified to new levels!

I’ve come to really enjoy the series, especially with Cent (the main character) leading the way. She’s incredibly smart, quick witted, but not full of herself in the slightest, something that must be incredibly difficult when you can teleport all over the world with ease. Cent is also relatable, from her relationship issues (both with friends and her love life) to her squabbles with her parents for more freedom. She’s caring, but refuses to bend to anyone’s will (and I mean anyone!), and has plenty of badass in her when she needs it. Overall, Cent is just a fabulous MC, and a solid role model for YA readers, or any aged readers for that matter. She’ll inspire you.

There aren’t any real criticisms I have when it comes to Exo. The supporting cast is great and you still get the POV of her parents at times, so don’t worry if you miss the voices from the earlier Jumper books. Travelling to new areas in the world isn’t as much of a focus, mostly because SPACE!, but Gould managed to make it so I didn’t miss it, and that’s pretty difficult to do. I’d recommend Exo to any science fiction fan, regardless of age, but for teens and college-age this would be perfect. Thanks as always for reading, and good luck with the giveaway below!

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The Mirrored Shard by Caitlin Kittredge: Frodo’s Review

The Mirrored Shard

Summary From Goodreads

Aoife Grayson must face death to win back Dean—the love who was ripped from the Iron Lands of the living when he was shot in the arctic north. But getting to the Deadlands is something that Aoife can’t do on her own. And if she can find a way there, Tremaine would surely never allow it. He has sworn to keep her in the Thorn Lands, the fairie home of her mother, Nerissa. But Aoife is determined to find her way out. And she has no trouble if that means she has to kill Tremain and his queen to do it.


I received an ARC of The Mirrored Shard from the awesome people over at ARCycling in exchange for an honest review.

The Mirrored Shard is a book that drove me crazy. I like the worlds that Kittredge created, each with beings that, while they had different goals, were all twisted in some way. The different beings are reflections of people today, divided, but all of us equally flawed, no one exempt. The dimensional travel was something I really enjoyed and it was what got me to read this book to begin with. The worlds are depicted in such detail and are so vivid that I felt what it would be like to experience each one and that was amazing. The Iron Lands are reminiscent of the Iron Age with their world consumed by the mechanical, but with a futuristic twist to it, a nod to science fiction books set in futuristic settings. The Thorn Lands are pure magic, but because of that there is just as much twisted as there is good in it, it is greed and raw desire of humans transformed into and embodied by the fae. The Deadlands are our worse fears, an industrial version of the biblical Hell, and more twisted evil all rolled into one place. These worlds were a lot of fun to explore.

Now here is the but you were waiting for. I enjoyed exploring those worlds and everything between, but the whole time I wished I could be taking that journey with anyone BUT Aofie. Seriously, any side character will do, can we get a swap? No? I thought as much. She’s whiny, she keeps saying, or we are at least constantly told, that she is strong, that she refuses to show weakness. Despite that supposed version of the main character what I kept seeing was Dean. I miss Dean. I love Dean. I’ll die if I can’t save Dean. You know what it reminded me of? New Moon where Bella is running in the forest after Edward leaves her calling out his name repeatedly like a lunatic. It is one of the most irritating scenes I can remember in a film and Aofie did the same thing with Dean. Too much of the book was hearing her cry, whine, scream, and lose her shit over this guy. Ugh.

I do love the baddies in this book though, and there were plenty of them. Tremaine in the Thorn Lands reminds me of a stuck up rich kid type character, thinking they run the place and that people should do whatever they want, and mostly just acting like a jerk. I won’t spoil it, but the Deadlands has another big bad guy that makes Tremaine seem cute and cuddly by comparison, and he’s off his rocker which is awesome. The Iron Lands bad guys, the Brotherhood, are pretty tame because compared to a bunch of magical beings it is hard to see a mafia-style set of guys as all that scary. Oh and the Old Ones make a few appearances and those magical and mystical ancient beings certainly are not in a good mood. Overall just a great job by Kittredge on giving the reader a bunch of evil people to detest. I think I enjoyed them more than I should have because I didn’t mind Aofie having to go through some crap, at least give her reasons to whine as much as she does.

The writing is pretty solid in the book, with the only complaint that some of the terminology is pretty simplistic and cliche. Outside of that minor issue I think Kittredge has a good style and if her goal was to make us dislike the MC, though I don’t think it was, a congratulations are in order. My last note is on the ending. The Mirrored Shard is the final book in the trilogy and in the end you are faced with a bunch of awesomeness about to go down, a cool climactic battle approaching, the fate of potentially all the worlds at stake and…the book ends. That’s it. There seems to be another book worth of stuff that could go down, but it is not to be. So that kind of sucks. Overall this is a good, but not great book for me. If you can get past the MC being a whiner the worlds, writing, and plot are well worth it. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #151/200

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Mini Review Monday: Nemesis (Endure #2) for the Nemesis Blog Tour

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Nemesis Blog Tour

Summary From GoodreadsNemesis

Tech genius Daniel Brewer isn’t the only one with a romantic history. Already weighed down with the impossible problem of the Maven Initiative’s plans for world domination and disaster, Dr. Lydia Ashley is finding it more and more difficult to keep things in balance. With an old flame reappearing and the schemes of a vindictive new rival thrown into the mix, her hopes for a life with Daniel may be on the brink of annihilation.

When Lydia’s past is brought to light, one big secret could destroy everything.


It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I’m thrilled to be part of the Nemesis Blog Tour, a big thank you to the author for having me! I was lucky enough to be part of the Maven Blog Tour as well and I had really been looking forward to jumping right into book 2, Nemesis, and now I get to share it’s awesomeness with you wonderful people! ^.^

Nemesis picks up right where Maven left off. There’s a mystery to solve of what the Maven Initiative’s plan is and how to stop them, a sweet romance that’ll make you melt, and plenty of science-y goodness. There are plenty of new twists, multiple potential love triangles, and even a few naughty bits if that tickles your fancy. 😉

My personal favorite part of Nemesis is how easily Huchton incorporates the scientific/sci-fi elements into the story. There’s new exciting tools to use, gene splicing, and all of it is seamlessly integrated into the romance and mystery. While much of Nemesis focuses on the love triangle and some more mixed signals, a continuation of Maven’s theme, I didn’t feel it detracted from the plot. Huchton keeps you guessing with the mystery in a whodunnit atmosphere and every time I thought I had the bad guy pegged I was proven wrong, which while it was rather humbling was refreshing too.  Oh and some of the reveals in this book are craaazy! My expression for much of the book > O_O

I really enjoyed Nemesis, it has a little bit of everything in it and because of that could be a great read for just about anyone. There are some mature scenes so just be aware of that going in, but I liked those too. Huchton’s style really shone in Nemesis and between that and it being the first sci-fi book I’ve read, probably since Maven, it provided a great change of pace and had me loving every minute. I definitely recommend checking it out, along with Maven if you haven’t read book 1 in the series yet, as a fun and often hilarious read. If you want to check out the rest of the tour click here and thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #135/200

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Cover Reveal: Nemesis by S. A. Huchton

Cover Reveal: Nemesis (The Endure Series – Book 2)


TitleNemesis (The Endure series, book 2)
Author: S. A. Huchton
Genre: Science Fiction Romance (New Adult)
Release date: August 26th, 2013

Tech genius Daniel Brewer isn’t the only one with a romantic history. Already weighed down with the impossible problem of the Maven Initiative’s plans for world domination and disaster, Dr. Lydia Ashley is finding it more and more difficult to keep things in balance. With an old flame reappearing and the schemes of a vindictive new rival thrown into the mix, her hopes for a life with Daniel may be on the brink of annihilation.  

When Lydia’s past is brought to light, one big secret could destroy everything.
Starla Huchton
Website               Facebook               Twitter

Author Bio:

Starla Huchton released her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread, as a full cast podcast production beginning in August 2009. Her first foray went on to become a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. Since her debut, Starla’s voice has appeared in other podcasts including The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, The Drabblecast, and Erotica a la Carte. She is also a voice talent for Darkfire Productions, and narrates several of their projects, including The Emperor’s Edge series, This Path We Share, and others. Her writing has appeared in the Erotica a la Carte podcast, a short story for The Gearheart (earning her a third Parsec nomination), and an episode of the Tales from the Archives podcast (the companion to Tee Morris and Philippa Balantine’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series), which garnered her a second finalist badge from the 2012 Parsec Awards. Her second novel, a Steampunk adventure entitled Master of Myth, was the first place winner in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of The Sandy Writing Contest held annually by the Crested Butte Writers Conference. Maven was her third completed novel and the first in a planned series of four, being released under the name S. A. Huchton. Nemesis is the second in the Endure series.

After completing her degree in Graphic Arts, Starla opened up shop as a freelance graphic designer focusing on creating beautiful book covers for independent authors and publishers. She currently lives in Virginia where she trains her three Minions and military husband.

Review: Maven (Endure #1) for the Maven Blog Tour

Maven Blog Tour

Maven Banner

Summary From GoodreadsMaven Cover

How far would you go for love?

Since losing her parents at 14, young prodigy Dr. Lydia Ashley has focused on one thing: an appointment on the Deep Water Research Command Endure. Now 21, she’s about to realize that dream, but nothing is how she imagined it would be. Her transitional sponsor forgets her, her new lab is in complete chaos, and, as if that weren’t enough, she’s about to discover something so horrific it could potentially destroy all life on the planet.

Daniel Brewer, a noted playboy and genius in his own right, may be exactly what she needs… Or he may make everything worse.

Has she finally found a puzzle she can’t solve?


Maven was one the quickest and easiest reads I’ve had in quite some time. The characters were engaging, especially the main character Lydia. She has a sharp sense of humor, she’s absolutely brilliant and refuses to take anyone’s crap. Who doesn’t love a kick butt heroine? She does it with her brain power not her feminine wiles or having to resort to physicality, a refreshing change of pace. Her relative innocence when it came to certain things, most notably relationships, was done very well by Huchton and where others might fail at this and end up with either an irritating character or worse one that lacks believability, with Lydia it was both believable and endearing. She was just a great MC overall.

I did like Daniel as well, and if it weren’t for a huge change of character right in the beginning of the book I think I would have enjoyed him just as much as I did with Lydia. While I understand the reasoning behind his massive personality switch, it was still frustrating as a reader to be introduced to a character and have him do a 180 after just a couple chapters. Regardless, the resulting character (post switch) is a strong one. He’s very sweet and devoted to Lydia (though not overly so) and his sense of humor is nearly as sharp as hers. He’s a bit of a goofball which is great as a counterbalance to Lydia’s more serious attitude. You can have fun with Daniel, I just wish that bit in the beginning wasn’t necessary, oh well.

The romance is a bit of a tough one for me. I enjoyed their journey as they slowly worked their way toward loving each other and the romance itself was great. They had great chemistry, the two POVs helped to give depth to both their individual ends of the relationship as well as giving a stronger foundation for it as a whole. Brilliant characters, cute romance, not insta-love, so what’s the problem you ask? There was sex everywhere. This book is labeled New Adult, so I’m not saying don’t include some steamy goodness, but there were quite a few scenes, ok, a lot. Don’t get me wrong, Huchton does a fantastic job with them, the writing is great and I enjoyed them, however I’m not entirely sure the amount was necessary. Sure, make it obvious they are doing that here and there, but doing the entire descriptive scene that many times just felt like overkill. This is a Science Fiction Romance, yes, and maybe I just prefer my sci-fi, even the romantic ones, to be a bit lighter on the naughty goodness, but just a warning. Moving on.

The plot. Oh hai there science, let me give you a big flying-tackle-hug! Seriously though, the detail Huchton uses to describe the work being done and the awesomeness that is marine biochemistry (major nerd moment here I know) was thrilling. The science involved with all the different experiments as well as the great descriptions of the lab gave me major nerd chills. Oh and dolphins! There are dolphins! I think I’m rambling a bit here, ok…back on track now. The scientific elements as well as the mix of technological ones (from Daniel’s side of things) were just fabulous and created a very rich storyline and helped to counter the…romantic entanglements  I mentioned earlier. There is just the right amount of action thrown in to keep the reader entertained and I couldn’t get enough.

Unfortunately, there is a “but” to the positive vibes I’ve unleashed upon you. All of this, the romance, the results of the investigations that go on, and even who the bad guy turns out to be was very predictable. The classic “I can’t stand him, well he’s alright and he is really attractive even if he bothers me sometimes, alright I like him but can I trust him, I love him” progression was pretty clear from the onset. There was an obvious hint dropped about one of the characters that, especially for sci-fi readers who love the details and pay attention to the slightest suggestions, tips the reader off that this guy is shady. Is that guy a bad guy? You bet! Even the discoveries made and the investigations that followed were easy to guess. HOWEVER. That didn’t stop me from enjoying every last bit. I DID like Maven, I AM excited for the next book, I’m just hoping for something to shock me, surprise me, give me a twist I don’t expect! You can have a fantastic story, but if in the next one there aren’t a few twists involved (and I don’t mean intertwining bodies) it will be a tad disappointing. Huchton is a fantastic writer, I hope her imaginations run wild in the next piece.

So! Final thoughts. Did I enjoy the book? Yes. Was the blending of science and technology fascinating? Absolutely. Were there a few too many intimate scenes and dropped hints regarding the plot? Yes on both accounts. Do I recommend it? Heck ya! Sci-fi readers this book has plenty you’ll enjoy. Romance lovers will adore the coupling of Lydia and Daniel. Those with a passion for passion (I couldn’t help myself) will get a thrill out of some very well executed and steamy scenes. Get this book, it’s a fast read and there is something in it for everyone. Thanks for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #100/200

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Review: Forge by T.K. Anthony


Summary From Goodreads

Warned by a Seeing…
The high king of the Scotian Realm expects the arrival of an enemy, a race of psychic predators bent on galactic conquest. The Realm’s one hope is alliance with the neighboring star domains in defense of a shared colony, Forge.

Caught in Fate’s grim weaving…
Mindblind, amnesic, Tazhret lives out his drug-induced visions of servitude on Forge. He wants to believe the beautiful woman with the nut-brown hair who whispers reassurances to his harrowed heart: “You have a name.” But is she even real? Or just one bright thread in his dark dreams?

An unexpected hope…
Tazhret’s destiny leads him to freedom and the woman he yearns for —and to a desperate struggle against the enemy.

Tazhret can save Forge, and the clan of his beloved. But only at the cost of all he has hoped for: his name, his freedom, and his love
for the woman with the nut-brown hair…


I received a copy of Forge from the author T.K. Anthony in exchange for an honest review.

Forge is old-school science fiction in a time when it seems that everyone is trying to reinvent the sci-fi wheel. In that sense it is refreshing and definitely will take you back to whatever sci-fi you read as a kid or teenager (if you are one now this doesn’t quite apply to you but you get the point).

Anthony immerses the reader into this universe from the beginning. While this approach can be a bit jarring at first, especially as you try and keep up with the dialogue and learn the language (which is how it felt for me anyhow), Forge is a fascinating world that is worth the effort.

However, the one major point of contention I have with this style choice, and something that is present throughout the piece, is the overwhelming descriptions. Oh sure, creating a realistic universe is never easy and when there are so many things different from our own world it can be necessary to use a tad more explanations than say in a contemporary. The problem here is multifold, when you bombard the reader with that much information, especially with very few pauses between, it can cause them to have a disconnect from the story and where it is going since their mind is so busy trying to accurately portray the immense descriptions in their head. Furthermore, this style tends to lead to less action, and while in Forge there is a good amount it does make even the best scenes seem laden with extra words, that perhaps if they were simplified, not all the time but just on occasion, they would in fact be more intense. Finally on this point is the matter of allowing the reader to make some things up for themselves, allow them to infer here or create there, with nothing left up to the imagination it can become slightly monotonous.

While those issues are present in Forge I think the characters make up for a lot of it. Anthony jumps between a few main characters and gives us insight into their points of view which gives them more depth, and where in other books this causes confusion or frustration because it can take time to get used to a character’s “voice” here it works very well. I particularly enjoyed Nica and her father, Col, which had excellent senses of humor and an instant likability about them though I can’t explain why exactly… (aren’t I just awesome at this reviewing thing? >.<)

There is romance in this book which shouldn’t come as any surprise based on what is said in the summary. No love triangle, huzzah! The kinda weird connection between them that doesn’t make any sense until quite a bit into the book is a little cop-outish but it did (mostly) keep insta-love out of the equation which is a tradeoff I’ll take. They have a very heartwarming bond and though the outcome is pretty obvious right away there was enough potential conflict with their relationship to make it interesting.

The positives for Forge, the characters, the action scenes and the romance definitely outweigh the sometimes overwhelming descriptions and overall I did enjoy it. Forge is book 1 in the Thrall Web series and I do look forward to reading the next book! I would recommend it to fans of old-school sci-fi who are used to this style of book. Thanks as always for reading!

Mount TBR Challenge #58/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #58/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #92/200

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Day 84: Oddities by Larry Kollar

Day 84

Summary From Goodreads

An odd little anthology of flash fiction and short stories, for those who love fantasy and science fiction.


Today was the release day of Oddities by the always amazing and entertaining Larry Kollar so I thought it only fitting that I review it today! You can get it from Amazon here for only 99 cents! Oddities is separated into two halves, the first made up of fantasy stories, the latter science fiction, both with one entertaining story after another. As usual with anthologies I will do a list, this time of my five favorites with a little about them and why I enjoyed the stories. So without further ado, my top 5, in reverse order of course:

5. Siren in Training – It’s exactly what the title would suggest, a short story about a young girl that happens to be a siren. She just finds this out at fourteen and after finally accepting of her new powers puts them to use. These powers do have some limitations and some…side effects on her life that are a nice twist on the usual siren story. A funny little story, quite enjoyable.

4. The Seventh Sage – A story that shows nothing is as it might seem. Great warriors can become great scholars if the path they choose dictates they must. The message seems to be that the greatest rewards are those that you are not even searching for, but find naturally. A more deep-thinking story, but enjoyable.

3. Bait – Another sci-fi story as well as being yet another humorous entry, Bait is about a world where humans live but are under the power of aliens, apparently which like to fish. While the aliens have a different objective, the humans believe they do so to capture them. However, the only currency remaining is obtained by risking this capture. The ending is the selling point for Bait and definitely made me chuckle as it was a pretty good comparison for how humans often assume they know what the other people are thinking when the reality is quite different. If we take Bait as words of wisdom it would be to work on communicating more clearly with other cultures and thus bring us closer together.

2. Spark – One of the science fiction stories, Spark is another one that causes some deeper thinking. In this case the story examines our dependence on technology as well as the virtual reality that so many of us lose ourselves in. It asks us what we might lose in exchange for the way we are spending our lives and whether we are willing to pay the price. Will we risk losing our spark? I loved this one, it brings up quite the quandary.

1. Asmus and the Dragon – Filled with both subtle humor (the name of a certain land Asmus, the main character, traveled to was rather funny in a punny way) as well as the downright hilarious (two words: allergic. dragon.) this story was fabulous. Though one of the shorter ones it had me laughing throughout and my only wish is that it had been longer. Besides, who can resist a good dragon story?

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #84/365

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Review: Full-Throttle Space Tales #6 – Space Battles

Review: Space Battles

I was sent a print copy of Space Battles, #6 in the Full-Throttle Space Tales series, in exchange for an honest review courtesy of Flying Pen Press and David Rozansky.

Space Battles is a collection of 17 different short stories centered on, you guessed it, space battles. They each have their own unique way of displaying a battle and include anything from one-on-one gun fights, to dogfights between single ships, to even full scale assaults on battle cruisers. Space Battles has a good mix of female and male characters, and generally speaking the women kick even more tail than their male counterparts, a refreshing thing to see especially in this genre. In Space Battles you will find mixtures of humor, a wide variety of sub-genres such as Space Opera and Military Science Fiction, as well as all the action you can handle and more. You will find sentient spacecrafts and Amish space truckers, that’s right I said Amish which are shown in a way you could never imagine! There is a little something in Space Battles for everyone.

This was really fun for me because it was the first book I’ve ever received from a publisher in exchange for review so needless to say when it arrived I was excited to delve into it! The book was even better than advertised! The character depth was excellent despite the fact that the average length was about 15 pages or so, quite an achievement when you consider that they have to pack these short stories with as much action as you can handle as well. You have some stories that will make you laugh such as The Thirteens by Gene Mederos where a particular incident involving slippers had me in a fit of giggles. Others will make you appreciate those in the military as admirals valiantly fight to save their ship, and their way of life such as in Like So Much Refuse by Simon C. Larter. Some examine the will to live and the will to die such as in Never Look Back by Grace Bridges. I was hardly able to set the book down as each new story sent adrenaline into my system.

If you enjoy anything in the realm of science fiction this is a book I highly recommend you go out and get. The writing is excellent and if battles themselves are your thing, regardless of genre, than this book will suit your fancy just fine as well. Honestly if you just want some quick reads that are done very well Space Battles is a good choice. The characters do not suffer for the short length of the stories, even in Bait and Switch by Jaleta Clegg which is a mere eight pages! Obviously if you have read this far you can tell I thoroughly enjoyed Space Battles. I really don’t have any complaints which is rare if you’ve read a couple of my last reviews. 🙂 Thank you for reading and go check out Space Battles!

Four Smiling Frodos w Background