Month of Reads – June

It’s that time of the month again (no – not that time) when I go through some of the books I’ve read and give them a mini-review.  There’s so many talented authors and great books, but so little time to read their works!  But I endeavour to do my best.  Here’s my reads for June!

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)  Life as we knew it Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre – YA, Apocalyptic Sci-fi

Plot – Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Review – This book is the first in a series, and is written in journal form as it states above.  I thought it might take me a while to get used to the diary format, but it did not hinder me whatsoever.  I thought this was a very clever, well thought out and researched piece.

After the moon is hit by a meteor and knocked off kilter, all sorts of horrors face the planet.  The MC – Miranda, describes these events and how her family – her  mother and two brothers attempt to survive. Each wave of horror that arrives; tidal waves, earthquakes, eruptions and climate change – all happen because of the influence the moon has on our rock.  The most devastating change follows after volcanos erupt, blanketing the sky in an ash that brings on a long winter.  It kills all crops – leaving the surviving populations trying to live and scavenge through starvation and illness.

It’s a coming of age story, but in no way would anyone want to be shaped and matured by such devastation.  I couldn’t put it down. Great book.

Rating – undiminished by volcanic ash, a bright 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Space Games   Space GamesDean Lombardo

Genre – Sci-fi

Plot – Say hello to Robin and Joe—contestants in 2034’s “Space Games,” a high-stakes reality TV show from Hollywood producer Sheldon J. Zimmer that is set aboard next-generation space station, ISS 2. The winner takes home a multimillion-dollar jackpot and a chance at stardom, while the loser faces the ultimate in public humiliation. Only former NASA astronaut Vince, acting as the station’s commander and the games’ sole referee, can separate sexy spitfire and martial artist, Robin Miller, from her brutal opponent, “Big Joe” O’Donnell, as the pair compete inside the cramped zero-g environs. Watched by millions of people back on Earth, the reality show rapidly degenerates into a deadly spectacle.

Space Games is a compelling story and a biting satire about reality television: those who make and participate in it – and those who watch it.

Review – Space Games lives up to the hype.  It is a brutal free for all, a fast paced, violent and yet a satirical look at human nature and the nature of reality television gone too far.  The two main protagonists, feisty Robin and tough Joe, go head to head in an ultimate battle of the sexes show, which quickly descends into chaos.  Morality blurs and hard hitting questions start being asked: how far should one go for television?  For fame/infamy? Money? To prove a point?

The funny thing is, Robin and Joe don’t really ask these questions.  They’re more interested is getting one up on each other.  But as a reader, you do.  The MC’s aren’t the most loveable characters, redeeming qualities are thin on the ground, but that, I think, might be part of the fun of Space Games.  It’s keeps you wondering what God-awful thing they are going to do to each other next…  And the ballsy ending – it is as brutal in its ending as it is in its beginning.  Very well written, entertaining, and asks a few uncomfortable questions about our sometimes voyeuristic natures.  Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Rating – 4.5 ass kicking stars out of 5

Slated (Slated, #1)  SlatedTeri Terry

Genre – YA, Sci fi

Plot – Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance – as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Review – Slating is a process of memory erasing, a thing you quickly realise the MS, Kyla has suffered.  Generally, it is done for people with criminal type back grounds, but as the novel goes on, you discover that occasionally an overly traumatic might see someone volunteer for the process.  After being Slated, the person must wear a watch-like device, called a levo, which monitors mood levels.

Kyla returns to the ‘normal’ world, a future UK living under the thumb of a stringent government and with fears of rebels/terrorists and bombings.  Moving in with a new family, Kyla tries to build the pieces of her life, realising quickly that she is unusual for a Slated person, because she will ask questions and endeavours to discover more about the world and herself and who she was in the past.  It quickly becomes apparent that if you speak out at all, you will soon be taken away – it is something constantly on the periphery and it created an air of paranoia in the book.

Really enjoyed this book, thought it cleverly plotted, strongly written with good characterisations.  Original and different and will definitely read the next book in the series.

Rating – 3.5 unique stars out of 5

Branded (Fall of Angels #1)  BrandedKeary Taylor

Genre – Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance

Plot – Jessica had the nightmares for as long as she can remember.  Nightmares of being judged by people who have died, of being branded by the angels.  Her friends and family think she’s crazy because of it all.  Yet she carries the mark of the condemned, seared into the back of her neck, and hides it and herself away from the world.

But when two men she can’t ignore enter her life everything changes, including the nightmares.  The two of them couldn’t be more different.  She will do anything to be with one of them.  Even tell him the truth about angels, why she never sleeps, and the scar on the back of her neck.  But one of the two has set events into motion that will pull her toward her own judgment and turn her into the object of her greatest fear.

Review – I thought the premise an interesting one when I read it.  Having to sit and be judged for dead people and to suffer a branding, to be exalted or condemned – it all sounded like a read great.  There’s even some good atmosphere in this book and overall it is an enjoyable enough read.

However…

There’s something not quite right about this for me.  I don’t know if it is the fact the romantic lead is all too perfect and stilted, if the relationship progresses supernaturally fast, or that it was a little too predictable – you could see the bad guy coming a mile off and I felt the vast potential and idea of this book kinda fell flat.  It’s so frustrating to feel that way when you finish a book. (Sigh)

Rating – An anticlimactic 3 out of 5 stars.

Magic of Thieves (Legends of Dimmingwood, #1)  Magic of ThievesC. Greenwood

Genre – YA, Fantasy

Plot – In a province where magic is forbidden and its possessors are murdered by the cruel Praetor, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival. Concealment. In the shadow of Dimmingwood, she finds temporary protection with a band of forest brigands led by the infamous outlaw Rideon the Red Hand.

But as Ilan matures, learns the skills of survival, and struggles to master the inherent magic of her dying race, danger is always close behind. When old enemies reappear and new friendships lead to betrayal, will her discovery of an enchanted bow prove to be Ilan’s final salvation or her ultimate downfall?

Review – After losing her parents and on her way to the safety of her own people, Ilan finds herself caught up with a troupe of thieves living in the Dimmingwood.  Lead by ruthless Rideon the Red Hand, Ilan grows from girl into young woman.  She learns all her best lessons from the thieves, some kind, some not.  It is a coming of age story and at times, Ilan can be brutish, ignorant and mean, especially to peaceful Terrac, who is meant to be her friend.

I enjoyed the fact Ilan wasn’t completely likeable and her growth of character is well handled, but hard learned.  My only real gripe with this is that it ended all too quickly! There’s good characterisation, plenty of action and a Robin Hood type of magic to this book.  Looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Rating – 3.5/4 thieving stars out of 5

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4 responses to “Month of Reads – June

  1. I picked up Slated in the bookstore today, but didn’t end up getting it. After reading your review, I’m glad. : ) Thanks.

    • All I can say is its my POV and another persons view could be completely different. But if it helped you make up your mind about anything, or made you interested, I’m glad to have inadvertently helped! 🙂

  2. I really like the sound of the first book, Life as we knew it, I’ll look out for it. You know, I asked the question a few weeks ago if anyone had noticed how many YA novels with a romantic/fantasy storyline have a title that is just a past participle. You have two of them. I’ve noticed so many using that particular formula for a title that I never even bother to read the blurb. The number of ‘Broken’, ‘Twisted’, ‘Haunted’, ‘Lost’ type title is incredible.

    • There’s so many of them with titles like that. I guess to some degree it is eye catching and interesting, but it doesn’t guarantee the same beneath the cover! And in relation to Life as we knew it, I was so close to giving it 5 stars. It’s a book I’ve thought of since and my respect for it has grown considerably. Very well researched and believable, but gripping at the same time. I hope you enjoy it!

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