Review: The Queen of All That Lives by Laura Thalassa

Reviewed by Jen

I’ll bet no one ever had to tell Laura Thalassa to go big or go home. The end of the last book in this series pushed these characters a full century in the future. The hero has once again inflicted his will on the heroine in ways that devastate her. And as with every other time he’s put his needs before hers, she has no choice but to take it, which has made it harder and harder for me to get on board with the Serenity-Montes love train. (More on that in a moment.)

As the story begins, enemies of the king have kidnapped Serenity from stasis. Not only does she wake up to a hostile situation, it’s how she discovers the depths to which her husband has betrayed her. His men get her back in short order, but once again, the relationship between these two is reset. Any progress they made in the last book regresses back to square one where Serenity hates Montes and has to push it down in order to do what’s best for the greater good. Because the world needs her now more than ever. [Read more…]

Review: The Queen of Traitors by Laura Thalassa

Reviewed by Jen

This book was an awful lot like the first one in the series. For some readers, that is going to be a major plus, but others might find it a little too familiar. Of course, I want a series to maintain its tone and feel from book to book. But with the amnesia Serenity has at the beginning of the story, she ends up following a very very similar emotional journey to the one she had in The Queen of All That Dies.

The amnesia itself does not last all that long, but the fallout takes us, I don’t know, nearly midway through the book. And as she recovers her memories, it’s almost like she is living them again, working through them the same way she did initially. Which means hating her husband, plotting his death, fighting her feelings for him. [Read more…]

Review: The Queen of All That Dies by Laura Thalassa

Reviewed by Jen

Though there were a few things that kept me from loving this book, I thought Laura Thalassa did a fantastic job painting the landscape of this world and drawing me into it. This is set in a post apocalyptic future, the devastation created by the hero. That’s right, the leading man is a bad guy and one the heroine ends up falling for despite her best efforts.

Serenity is a product of a war torn environment. Her mother died when she was a young teenager, the day the first bombs hit. As Serenity grew older, she became a fighter. It was the only way to survive. Her father put her first gun in her hand, knowing she needed to kill or be killed. He was right. [Read more…]

Review: Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

Reviewed by Jen

It’s not often that a cover draws me to a book the way this one did. I read the blurb and I was on the fence. I read some of the reviews and I was really on the fence. But at the end of the day, that cover won me over and here I am, done with reading this book in one sitting. Will it be for everyone? No. But I enjoyed it quite a bit and I can say for sure I will be back to read the next installment when it comes out.

The title and cover tell you a lot. This is a romance centering on Pestilence, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And I can tell you two things: One, Pestilence is not a good guy. He’s not a guy at all, really. He is disease made flesh. His one and only mission is to destroy the human race. So (two) if you can’t wrap your brain around how a woman could fall in love with a merciless killer, this is not the book for you. Obviously, Pestilence learns some human emotions as he falls in love, but this is his journey. For much of the book, he is an unrelenting force, bent on humanity’s destruction.

Still with me? Great. [Read more…]

Review: Oath Forger Book 1 by Nia Mars

Reviewed by Ronelle

After the collapse of everything Earth once was, only a few are left. Ava and Lily Smith are two such survivors, and they make their living—if it can be called that—by scavenging the ravaged surface. As the eldest of the two, Ava does what she has to for survival.

Especially after she’s kidnapped by space pirates.

Her rescue by Federation agents only makes things weirder, because now she’s suddenly been named the Oath Forger and earned the seemingly instant devotion of the five most powerful rulers in the universe. [Read more…]

Review: Dustwalker by Tiffany Roberts

Reviewed by Jen

My sci-fi romance glom continues with new-to-me author Tiffany Roberts. Dustwalker has really great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, and though I didn’t love it the way some other readers did, I can say for the most part, I did like it.

Lara is a human who is barely scraping by in the dust-covered ruins of a post-apocalyptic world. The only person she has ever loved is her sister, Tabitha, who has gone missing, presumably with the “bot” who she’d become involved with. Lara, like so many other humans, hates bots. The only ones she has known were part of the “gearhead” crew who follow Warlord, the machine who runs the shantytown where she lives with an iron fist. Lara thinks all bots are like him. Until she meets Ronin. [Read more…]

Review: Land of the Beautiful Dead by R Lee Smith

Reviewed by Jen

This book absolutely, positively blew me away. It is the third book I’ve read from R Lee Smith and like the other two, it reeled me into its amazingly crafted world, tethered my heart to its characters, and despite its impressive 751 pages, left me so very sad once it was over. It’s one of those books that immerses you so completely in its story that you feel at a loss when you come to the end… not because the ending doesn’t satisfy, but because now you have to start to let it all go.

None of Lee’s books feature conventional heroes. The Last Hour of Gann featured a lizardman; Cottonwood had a roachman for crying out loud. With that as my basis of comparison, I didn’t find Azrael the Undying to be shocking at all. Yeah, he’s made of undead flesh and he can make zombies with varying level of sentience; yes, his features are grotesque and I kind of pictured him like Jason Vorhees in the few scenes of Friday the 13th movies where they strip away his mask. But Smith does such a remarkable job making me see beyond those things, that I positively ached for him to find happiness. [Read more…]

Review: Horde by Ann Aguirre

hordeReviewed by Jen

In a sea of YA series that find it edgy and cool to end miserably, it’s nice to find one that provides an ending that satisfies. If anything, the happy ending may be just a little too perfect, but I’d take than any day over a series that leaves its heroine crazy, alone, or dead. This should go without saying, in my opinion, but clearly not every author subscribes to this conventional wisdom. [Read more…]

Review: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

outpostReviewed by Jen

I’ve got to say, it’s interesting how this book can feel both like a next step and vast departure from book 1 at the same time.  In this stage of the journey for our characters, I still see what made me care about them. They hold on to their core identities as they evolve. Yet their circumstances are so very different, it changes everything. Gone are underground enclaves and mindless Eaters. Instead, we have a small town civilization with very old fashioned ideas and a threat they can’t even fathom. [Read more…]

Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

enclaveReviewed by Jen

I know there are more dystopian or post-apocalyptic YA series out there than you could shake a stick at, but if you haven’t tried this series before, now is the time. It’s dark and gritty, with great worldbuilding and solid character development. It’s engaging and moves quickly. I didn’t want to put it down and devoured it in one sitting.

Our lead character is Deuce, a 15 year-old girl, raised in an underground enclave after some kind of apocalypse. Life expectancy is short. 25 is considered ancient. And rules are inviolate. They exist to keep you alive. If you question them, you die. [Read more…]