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Silk & Serif

Silk & Serif a book blog developed by Debbie. We are dedicated to reviews, the book community and all things "bookish"! The main focus of the blog being Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance and YA novels.

Currently reading

The Worst of Times: How Life on Earth Survived Eighty Million Years of Extinction
Paul B. Wignall
The Bourbon Kings
J.R. Ward
Smoke on the Water (Sisters of the Craft)
Lori Handeland
Seveneves
Neal Stephenson
Wallbanger
Alice Clayton
The Last Archangel
Michael D. Young
The Maze Runner
James Dashner
Invaded
Melissa Landers
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Siddhartha Mukherjee
Never Cry Wolf : Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves
Farley Mowat

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TAG

TAG - Shari J. Ryan Received via NetGalley and Booktrope Editions in exchange for an completely unbiased review.

Also posted on Silk & Serif

TAG is the story of two people who find love in the most obscure circumstances. Its a little different from your average New Adult Romance and that’s why this one stands out so resolutely.

Tango, an ex-marine superman, has accepted a job to babysit a kid with a bad attitude in an equally bad situation. He has just as many secrets as the man who hired him to keep watch over his daughter and just as many reasons to keep them to himself. The girl is nothing like Tango expected and slowly he breaks down her walls protecting her from the world. He realizes too late that while he’s been bringing down her walls she’s been doing the same to him. He’s in over his head on this one.

Know everyone. Trust no one.

Cali has seen enough death, bloodshed and fear to last her a lifetime. Its not her fault her life continues to be not her own and her CIA father has such powerful enemies. Shes unable to stay in one place for long and her sole purpose for continuing on is revenge on all those who hurt her sister. Cali’s life is turned upside down when sexy, smart mouthed Tango becomes her body guard. He’s frustrating because he makes her want something she hasn’t wanted since before when she made a mistake in trusting the wrong person.

Her dark cobalt eyes are large and appear silver from the reflecting street lights, which illuminates her fear even more. Her chest heaves in and out. In and out, faster and faster, fighting with the last breaths she will take. Time has stopped around us. The world is out-of-focus, and it’s just her and me—the little girl kneeling next to me at our dollhouse, the little girl sitting at the other side of our tea party table, the young woman whose shoulder has gathered so many of my fallen tears. The loss of her will make my life meaningless once gone. I will always protect you, I want to say. But it’s too late.

TAG is a story about more than love and survival. The struggle to trust when it’s been broken by all those who should have been trustworthy is at the core of this novel. Cali has been betrayed by her parents and watched her sister be betrayed by others. Tango has been betrayed in other ways and has betrayed his family. The two imperfect characters are perfect for one another.

Why did I love this book? Tango and Cali are different people who find one another amidst a soap opera situation. The characters are unaware of the broader picture, but together they uncover the secrets that have destroyed Cali’s life. We learn about a Marine who gave up everything including his own identity to protect his country, but instead of feeling righteous he struggles with the question: was it worth it? Was Tango only a pawn in a larger game? Did he murder insurgents or protect his country? This was so very refreshing and inspiring for someone who has very complicated feelings about the military. A man who went into the military to protect his country, but returns someone who feels too much was asked of him.

TAG is a standalone novel about a daughter of a man who’s life work has been the CIA. He has powerful enemies and his family becomes the target, but who is really after Cali? Is it the CIA’s enemies or something even darker than Cali can imagine? TAG is not your run of the mill novel. Cali isn’t a super agent and TAG isn’t an “alpha male” character. They are average people with average problems thrown into a larger than life situation.

My only complaint? The ending was rushed and tied up far too quickly. It felt like perhaps the author’s deadline was approaching and she had to push the final few chapters into half the time. Even so, TAG is still a must read for the Summer of 2015!

This story will interest those who enjoy coverups, black bagged operations, romance, soap operas and stories about characters as flawed as the bad guys.

Heat of the Moment (Sisters of the Craft)

Heat of the Moment (Sisters of the Craft) - Lori Handeland Received via NetGalley from St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

Also posted on Silk & Serif


Heat of the Moment is the second installment of the Sisters of the Craft series.

Owen, a recently gravely injured soldier from Afghanistan, returns home to face his past and the increasing likelihood he may never be healthy enough for active duty. He struggles with returning to a town where he was little more than a trouble maker. It doesn't help he will see the girl he abandoned once he went away for training.

Becca never expected to see Owen again. She tries to forget what happened between them and moved on with her life as best she can. A chance meeting brings all those memories to the forefront and reminders of history long buried arise.

The ex lovers come together just in time for the bad guys to find Becca and attempt her life. They know who she is, what she is and wish he dead. Life long secrets will be revealed, betrayal will cut deep and lives will be ruined. Can Owen and Becca set aside their past to keep her safe, or will she succumb to the fate Raye was able to escape from?


That scent of lemons overshadowed the scent of death, and Owen breathed in, out and in again. From the moment he’d met her, she’d cleansed him, healed him, elevated him. He’d become so much more while he’d been with her. He’d become so much more because of her. She had loved him. She had saved him. He’d always wanted to tell her that, but he’d never been quite sure how. What he saw in her gaze made Owen tighten his fingers—to push her away, or pull her closer. He never knew, because she leaned over—so quick he had time to do nothing but say her name. A whisper. A plea. A prayer. And then she was kissing him; he was kissing her. The years fell away. It was their first kiss. Their last. That first one had been tentative—soft, a little afraid, yet so full of hope. The last had been shocked, a little tearful and full of despair. This one tasted of both. How strange. What did she hope for? What did she fear? Why did she despair?



I enjoyed Heat of the Moment because much like In The Air Tonight the paranormal and witchcraft elements were light threaded throughout the story. We see characters return and the larger picture becomes more clear. There are huge plot developments that I can't really get into without spoilers - but it's really exciting!

Unfortunately, I didn't like any of the characters except for the dog Reggie. Slode! I didn't understand Owen because he was very committed to being a solider. I feel like readers with a military background or pro-military stance would click more with his character. I didn't even believe in Owen's reasons for joining the military were legitimate.

I also disliked Becca. I didn't really make any emotional links with her because she was so different. I personally couldn't find a common thread to work with. Her reactions to some of the huge revelations about her past bothered me. She's a very selfish character, but to Handeland's credit a completely different character from Raye.

Handeland weaves a beautiful story but unfortunately for me this wasn't a winner. I felt empathy during Owen and Becca's father's discussion and I felt concern for Reggie's health.

I felt this book was filler to introduce sister number two and set up meet if sister three. I couldn't enjoy the characters, but the story was just as well written as book one. The massive development at the end of the book has made book three look like one that will have tons of action. The end is nigh and I am so excited!

This book will appeal to readers who enjoy paranormal, romance, books involving witches and stories about finding lost familial connections.

Moonkind

Moonkind - Bruce Merchant Received via NetGalley from Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

Also posted on Silk & Serif

Merchant weaves a world where in the face of dire circumstances a handful of humanity devises a plan to save us all. The creation of clones who can carry on humanity, a man made branch of human evolution. We learn about the world through Thompson, an astronaut who is ensnared on the Moon while Earth quietly passes on from the Ebola Q-Strain virus. Thompson tasked with finishing up the educational program for the young clones and his voice is often heard as a final "human expert" throughout the book on various issues such as money, sexuality and religion. The coming of age of the clones reveals their final meaning for creation - to venture down to Earth and restart civilization.

Moonkind could have been a portentous book on the final days of humanity, the struggles of those who could not be with those they loved and the emotional turmoil of a failing world - but it fell short. I'm not saying Moonkind isn't a fantastic read. In fact, the opposite is true. It has everything the perfect science fiction novel requires: outer space and future time frame, plausible technology we currently do not have, a change in political or social structures and androids. Moonkind's tone reads like Finches of Mars as an intellectual exercise, but definitely maintains coherence. It utilizes the classical writing structure based on events and facts rather than emotional turmoil. The science was correct and it was brilliantly written. The story was logical and articulate, but the emotional and "human empathy" quotient was missing. As a reader, I find a large part of my experience is through the emotional journeys of the characters and the empathy I feel for them. I didn't feel any of this. The only real response I had emotionally to this book was my hatred for Davontine and my dark delight when karma finally caught up with her.

The author weaves a largely academic or conceptual narrative that will definitely appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction that harks the original atmosphere of literature, apocalyptic and post apocalyptic novels and books that make you think rather than feel.

I will be reading more of Merchant in the future in hopes of seeing new ideas and tales told by what could be a new best selling science fiction author with some publicity.

Female Circumcision and Clitoridectomy in the United States: A History of a Medical Treatment

Female Circumcision and Clitoridectomy in the United States: A History of a Medical Treatment - Sarah B. Rodriguez Received via NetGalley from the University of Rochester Press in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

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Female Circumcision provokes imagery in many of women and children from far off countries who are abused and forced into situations we find offensive to our feminist principles. Clitoridectomy sounds like something from a horror movie starring the female genitalia. Unfortunately, as this book shows its readers, this is not the case for female circumcision. The act of circumcision of females and clitoridectomy has a long history in the United States that spans from female sexual oppression, perceived cure of ailments that are caused by irritation of the clitoris and even finally the desire women have to obtain the perfect body no matter the cost (even genital perfection).

Rodriguez writes a largely academic publication of the history of the female genital surgeries over centuries in an attempt to highlight that the practices in the United States are embedded in the historical practices of its people and was not an abnormality as previously believed. Rodriguez states: "without the historical context, the search for difference is superficial and thus meaningless. The question, then, should not be what are the differences, but rather, as I have explored in this book, how are they apart of America's own cultural and medical history?"

The sometimes dry narrative highlights not only the role of clioridectomy throughout history, but also accidentally illuminates the changing social acceptance of the female orgasm types, female roles in society and the evolution of modern day depiction of love as a partnership filled with respect and mutual reception of sexual pleasure.

This book is a lovely read for anyone interested in the change in social understanding of the female body, sexuality and male/female relationships. Although not entirely feminist this book could be useful for many students of feminist thought in terms of changing ideals of female roles in the sexual relationship. The author states, the only complete book on female circumcision and it is entirely believable with even the most obscure information presented along side the most mundane. A book largely written for the academic audience and not the lay person; this isn't something picked up for a light and fun read, but worth the effort as it is a treasure trove of well researched information.

Rodriguez Americanizes the far off and exotic with historical information which proves our own cultural behaviors can be just as strange and "savage". We are not so different.

Chaos and Moonlight (Order of the Nines Book 1)

Chaos and Moonlight (Order of the Nines Book 1) - A.D. Marrow Received via NetGalley from the University of Rochester Press in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

Also posted on Silk&Serif
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Taris is an ancient vampire who inherits the duty of curing his people of infertility. They cannot create or birth new children because human and vampires have evolved away from one another. No longer are they able to mix blood to create immortals, only death follows.

Taris finds Sarah while she is interviewing on a talk show regarding her new technology heralded as a miracle treatment for transplant recipients. Taris is not the only one who has heard of Sarah Bridgeman and it becomes a epic race to save Sarah. The easy part is convincing her to help the vampire race because Taris has unwanted desires regarding the tough doctor. Can Taris keep his objectivity long enough to save his people? Can Taris and Sarah create the cure before the evil-doers catch up?


"Every year, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children across the nation depend on organ donations to survive. From kidney failure to liver cancer, and many diseases in between, families pray for the day when their loved ones will be the lucky recipient of a donor organ, because with those organs comes the chance to live again. But that opportunity comes at a heavy price. Transplant recipients face a lifetime of antirejection medications to keep their bodies from rebelling against the very thing giving them a second chance. Young women are unable to have children because of the plethora of medicines coursing through their bodies on a daily basis. But what if, through the miracle of modern science, daily rejection medication regimens were a thing of the past? What if there was a simple shot that allowed recipients’ bodies to accept the donated organ indefinitely?"


I can't say that Chaos and Moonlight is another Black Dagger Brotherhood, but there are plenty of elements (read: vamp communal living arrangements, patriarchal structure, extreme biological reactions to mates) and its got the black leather.

Taris is a bad ass who knows his way around a weapon and also can hold his own with diplomatic issues. He retires from the life he loves to protect and lead the people he loves. One part daredevil, one part saint.

Sarah is intelligent and strong willed. She knows her worth and doesn't take flack from a blond bimbo talk show host. A simple public mistake costs her everything, but brings danger and intrigue to her door. After a few moments of floundering in a new world, she picks herself right back up. Sarah is the ultimate tough girl with a dark past.

Even with all these elements and strong characters, this book just didn't do it for me in the romance department. I haven't felt okay with the black leather element since high school and I'm far too experienced with mommy-and-daddys-who-didn't-love-me to feel a kinship with most unloved characters. Also, why do all vampires in romance novels have long hair? It just doesn't do anything good for me in terms of picturing an attractive lead character: unkempt, out of style (man bun anyone?) and scruffy. Ew. And the insta-love was painful for someone who likes romance with a bit of suspense.

All in all C&M was your typical AD Marrow read: gritty, pushes the envelope and is fantastic after a bad day with a cold glass of wine. The book melts away within a few hours and engrosses you in the lives of its characters. Chaos and Moonlight was worth the read. I enjoyed the science and the incredible story weaving. AD Marrow would write a mean action-suspense novel and if she ever writes one I will definitely read it. Hint, hint Marrow!

This book would appeal to readers who enjoy action, bad guys who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, black leather, paranormal romance, and a dash of medical jargon for good times.

The Corridor (The Corridor Series, Book 1)

The Corridor (The Corridor Series, Book 1) - A.N. Willis Received via NetGalley from Alloy Entertainment in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

Also posted on Silk & Serif

Stel Alaster is a special girl. Stel can open portals to parallel universes. She develops these unprecedented abilities after a strange incident at the Corridor; a strange doorway to another world called second-Earth. Her abilities send her on a journey which spirals into an adventure of loss, revelation and love. The science doesn't lie and the science says multidimensional travel is impossible, so how can the Corridor exist? All of Stel's loved ones are endangered when the Corridor starts to fail and no one can stop it. Could Stel hold all the answers to maintaining the Corridor from her travels to other universes? Could she stop the world devastating Pulse that destroyed second-Earth?

I thoroughly enjoyed The Corridor. The story was extraordinary, with a plot that kept you guessing until the end. You weren't even aware of who Stel's true nemeses or allies on first-Earth were until the end. We learned about secrets set in motion long before the Corridor opened and the new evils sprouting even while Stel is learning about her new-found powers.

I spotted barcode tattoos on a few other Mods, too, now that I knew what to look for. They all had long sleeves, but the black lines stood out on some of their wrists. “I’m wondering why they’re doing all this,” Ty said. “Nobody’s out here except us and those Guards. What’s this even for?” Lissa shook her head. “No clue.” Suddenly, she gasped, pointing. One of the Mods had lunged at aGuard, grabbing for the Guard’s rifle. Dr. Krantz rushed forward, stabbing at a remote control he was holding in his hand. The Mod stumbled back and collapsed onto the ground, clutching his forearm, his scream piercing the night. “What are they doing to him?” I asked, unable to hide the tremor in my voice. Lissa’s hand tightened around my elbow. “I don’t know. But I think we should get out of here.” My ears were still ringing from that Mod’s screaming. He’d sounded as if he was in agony, holding his arm exactly where the barcode on Dr. Krantz’s arm had been. And Dr. Krantz—a Mod himself—had been the one pushing the button.


The emotional connection with the characters is tenuous, which would be my only complaint for the entire book. I didn't much care for the characters. I wasn't finding myself feeling camaraderie with any of the characters even when they experience some serious, life altering events. I'm not certain if this is because while reading this book I had a nasty flu or the writing. Although, near the ending we start to see Stel develop some real reactions that give me hope book two (Thirteen) will be stronger in this aspect.
I told myself to take a step back, but somehow I ended up closer instead. “I don’t know, though . . .” he said. “Sometimes I think maybe friends isn’t the right word.” The sky lit up with blue and my hands flew up to cover my breasts. Cohl was a few feet in front of me, his black hair sticking against his forehead, his skin glistening with droplets that ran along his arms and down the middle of his chest past his navel until they met the surface of the water. Then the sky went dark again. His voice was lower, the laughter gone. “I think we both want a lot more than that.” “I . . .” I meant to say something sarcastic—to defuse this moment before we did something we couldn’t undo—but my head was as cloudy as the sky over our heads. “We should go . . . Ana . . .” “Yeah, those lights. You’re right. We should.” Neither of us moved. Then Cohl waded toward me and stopped just inches away, standing over me.


I cannot wait to see the next book in this series to reconnect with Ana, Cohl, Lissa and Stel all over again. How will the four reconnect? What horrors will Stel face in order to save her world?

This book will appeal to readers who enjoy novels about parallel universes, light science, mutants, special powers, Young Adult Romance and New Adult.

Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash

Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash - Elizabeth Abbott I received this book as a First Reads via Goodreads in exchange for a complete unbiased review.

This started off as a heartwarming memoir of life of a woman and the dogs she lost. The author explained how as a child she wished for dog, but her parents wouldn't allow it. Once an adult Abbott had plenty of dogs, some more special that others, and she explored the life as a dog owner/parent (which ever you prefer). It is because of this memoir style beginning I give this book a three star: the writing is phenomenal, the stories tug the heart strings and the dogs come to life on the page. How many of us have had dogs that have impressed upon our hearts for the rest of our lives because of their bravery, uncompromising love and loyalty?

Unfortunately the book doesn't continue in that direction. I have had extremely negative experiences with rescue organizations in the area that Abbott describes. When I was younger and my then long term partner and I wanted to get our first family dog. The rescues pointed out insulting things such as: lower than desired income, not married, living in an apartment, me being a full-time student. Many passages in this book lit me with fury: the children of the possible adopters who were horrified when the dog had diarrhea on the deck (they're children!), the distaste for a lower income man who could not afford to retrieve both of his dogs from the pound and chose only one, and the glorification of all rescue efforts. The world is much more complex than this short book realizes.

Rescues are a wonderful idea, filled with people who love animals to attempt to find them a home with a suitable family. Unfortunately, my own experiences have made me bitter to the rescues in my area which in turn made reading this book less enjoyable. The dogs my now ex-boyfriend purchased because we were considered unsuitable for pet ownership are beautiful, lively Border-Aussies who are loved and spoiled by their one owner. My dogs are my children, my family, regardless of whether I am married, have high income or how angry they make me (because they do!).

However, regardless of the content regarding rescues, the memoir of a woman who went from her first dog to finding meaning in life by helping other creatures is one that I enjoyed. I thank Elizabeth for sharing her own personal stories of her dogs, immortalizing them as I wish I could do for my own. I also enjoyed learning about the Serbian street dogs and the efforts in their own home countries.

This is a book that will appeal to dog lovers, rescue believers, memoir enthusiasts, those who just like a good cry (Tommy! What a sad story!) and those of us who like pretty pictures to put names to the human and furry faces featured in the stories.

Deal With The Devil

Deal With The Devil - Cynthia Eden I received this ARC in exchange for a completely unbiased review.

Originally on Silk & Serif

Deal With The Devil is your typical Paranormal Romance with a few twists. We see an new race of beings called the Fey, but not the Fey we see in typical romance novels. The Fey are not loving, sweet creatures but rather a culture who struggles with deeply “evil” urges linked to anger, vengeance and lust. The novel doesn’t just stop at recreating literature’s views of Fey, but also ties in genetic research to create cross-breeds: vampire and werewolf mixes that acquire all of the strengths, but none of the weaknesses of the species. So cool!

Deal With The Devil is a novel about friendship, secrets and the eventual revelations such secrets almost always culminate in. Ella is a strong, fierce individual who travels the world for life times searching for her mate. Her shame and pain are hidden behind a veil of strength and confidence. Ella wants nothing more than to love and be loved.

Eric is a man with his own secrets deeply buried beneath iron clad control. He is the director of the PARA Unit, an organization that he has given his life to in order to police creatures that ordinaries cannot fathom. The encounter with a mysterious Ella begins to crack his carefully developed facade. It is only a matter of time before long buried secrets are exposed to the light and miseries are revisited.

Deal With The Devil is the fourth novel of the Purgatory series, yet reads like a stand alone novel. The reader misses the enriched history of each character when they plunge into the story so late, but they can still appreciate the struggles of Ella and Eric.

This is novel is your traditional paranormal romance at it’s heart – completely immersed in the lore and tales of vampires and werewolves. A person would loves romance novels, things that go bump in the night, action and adventure will enjoy Deal With The Devil.

In the Air Tonight

In the Air Tonight - Lori Handeland Received via NetGalley from St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

Also posted on Silk & Serif

I don't even know where to start. I have a long history as a teenager with an interest in occult literature, folklore and YA Novels. I at one time adored witch books because it was a world where magic was real and dreary, mundane world could melt away to give birth to one where anything was possible. In The Air Tonight surprisingly transported me to a world where magic existed on a smaller, more realistic scale. The main characters were people I could identify with regardless the fact that we live in completely different worlds. I work in a boring office or a fast food joint on the daily, I am in no way a cop or a kindergarten teacher. I am a chunky white girl who has absolutely no Haitian ancestry or adoration for children (seriously, put me in a small room with kids for an hour and bad things happen), yet the characters were ones I could relate to like old friends.

I want to include here that I adored the fact that the main character did not have parents. She didn't complain, victimize herself or place blame on others. She said "so I was abandoned and unwanted, but that doesn't make me worthless". She moved on with her life: bad ass!

Obviously, as a romance book, there were sex scenes. I was a bit leery of sex scenes concerning magic. Would it be like A Discovery of Witches where her powers go amok? Or would it get over the top like The Trouble Maker Next Door? Would I be skipping up to fifty pages of sex in this book to get back the story line? Nope! The scenes were tasteful, realistic and to the minimum. Once the main character and the hero get together it doesn't take over the book, and we still have concentration on the mysterious killer who marks his victims with a brand.

The crime mystery portion of the book is fantastic as well. I don't want to spoil it for readers, but it includes an ancient order and prejudices. Handeland keeps most of the huge breakthroughs until midway or near the end of the book with breadcrumbs for the readers to lead themselves to the killer. I love a romance with a bit of real mystery writing.

Finally, I want to include that although this is a book about a woman who finds her heritage as a witch, there is only sprinkles of "witchery" throughout. Refreshing! Bobby and Raye must figure out who is killing witches the old-fashioned way. No need for crazy spells, incantations or telekinesis! Raye also must hide her ability to see ghosts from Bobby, who has his own dark past with psychics.

This book will appeal to readers who enjoy paranormal romance, witch or occult novels, fun novels and simple mystery novels. Well worth the read if you want something paranormal without too much saturation.

Finches of Mars

Finches of Mars - Brian W. Aldiss Received via NetGalley from the Open Road Media in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

Also posted on Silk & Serif

Finches of Mars is the work of science fictions most eminent authors. I researched Aldiss upon completion of this book and learned that most of his books require analysis and intellectual musings. The concept of all the Universities in the world sending people to Mars to colonize only to discover child birth nearly impossible. Children are the future of any colonization effort, so how will they survive? Obviously, the effects of countless still births is an under explored concept. Unfortunately, perhaps Aldiss should have turned his eye to a different topic for his final book.

Aldiss weaves a story that is at times incoherent and often feels like two books set into one. The author spends plenty of time on plenty of issues such as theology, philosophy and sociology but falls short in connecting all these ideas into a steady stream throughout the book. Although Aldiss compares the colonizers of Tharsis to the Galapagos Finches from Darwin's Origin of Species the ending does very little to sustain this collation.

However, the book's messages are extremely relevant to today's concerns regarding global warming, over population and religious strife. The tacit writing style was thought provoking. However, the overall story line was weak because there was only a rarely revisited concept linking all these character's experiences together: Darwinism. The ending was abrupt and tried to link Darwinism to the Tharsis colony, but failed miserably. I didn't hate this book, it just lacked a common thread to link all the random character experiences together.

My suggestion would be read this book when you want something to inspire thoughtfulness, but aren't particularly picky about the story arch being a common thread. This book would appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction, literary analysis, deep sociological issues, philosophy or Aldiss' earlier work.

Farewell Brian W Aldiss from the realm of science fiction, you will be missed!

David Hooper 1

David Hooper 1 - John   Birmingham Received via NetGalley from the Del Ray team (Random House Publishing Group UK) in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

Dave is your average, middle aged, balding, hard working man. He loves hookers, his booze and his blow. Okay, maybe he isn't average. He has his issues, but he's not a bad guy. Really. He's just had some down luck the last few years, but he's going to fix it once he gets his next big paycheck. The IRS? He'll pay them back! The child support payment? It's coming along! Just a few more days!

Even his coworkers adore him:
Dave, as she never tired of pointing out, was an exemplar - she used the actual work, too, having read it in one of those undreadable werewolf romances she immersed herself in between flights - Dave was an exemplar extra-freaking-ordinaire of why a woman like her, a woman of independent means and good breeding hips, had to be careful. Men who weren't to be found in the blessed state of being other women's husbands were generally deserving of their wretched and benighted state by way of being..
"...unmarriageable a-holes."
"What?" croaked Dave, who'd drifted off into a hangover haze for just a moment.
"Completely unmarriageable a-holes, Dave. Such as yourself. World is full of them, I said. All trying to get at my good breeding hips and my 401(k)."

Did I mention his coworkers were just as classy?

Our hero may not be cookie cutter, but he certainly does the job when creatures steal on to his oil rig with intent to kill. After dispatching the ring leader, waking up in a hospital where soldiers await to whisk him off on a not-vacation..Dave continues to be the "exemplar" of a man who can't quite get his life together - even when he's in the middle of an incredible adventure.

My favourite part of this book is how it doesn't take itself seriously. The humor, wit and sarcasm make a story that would be sickeningly routine and dull into something fun for long time fantasy readers. Brimingham brings the action as well, developing a warrior race - the horde.


Scaroth brought FoeSunder up and flowed into a killing stance. The point of the blade glinted high above Dave’s head before rushing down with terrible speed.
Dave dropped down to his right knee with Lucille above his head, blocking the first blow, half expecting Scaroth’s blade to slice straight through the wooden handle. But the enchanted hardwood held, the blow landing with a giant clang. Holding the Hunn’s blade, he pushed up with his right hand, using the maul’s head to drive the blade off to his left. Coiled tightly, Dave’s legs launched him into Scaroth’s midsection, knocking the BattleMaster off his feet. He rolled over the snapping fangs and hot froth to land on his feet a couple of yards away.
They circled each other one step at a time, shieldwise. Helicopters, hammering overhead, focused their searchlights on the action, driving the remnants of the Horde away from the two combatants.
“I will feast on you this day,” Scaroth said, lunging toward Dave. “The little champion’s blood will make a fine aperitif before I feed on your nestlings.”
“They have aperitifs in Monsterland? Man, you guys have changed. It used to be all about the skulls full of bloodwine.”

To be fair, much of the novel feels like a movie with the action sequences, the girl and the snappy dialogue which could be really annoying if you aren't in the mood. Dave vs the Monsters fills a niche that is very poorly furnished. Brimingham is Pratchett but less alternate reality and more United States of America.
So, if there's something strange in your neighbourhood who are you going to call? Probably not Dave, but he will be there anyway.

This book would appeal to readers who enjoy action/adventure, paranormal, fantasy and a hero who isn't your average hero. High risk of humour, frightening monsters and lippy dialogue. For those who need less serious in their reads.

Manwhore

Manwhore - Katy Evans My decision to purchase was based on Manwhore on the the reviews I read on a few blogs and the cover (cover judging: guilty). I honestly couldn't remember what series Katy had written, but I was convinced I'd read a title by her before with negative results. Goodreads informs me I haven't actually read anything of hers. Fortunately, I read the novel regardless of the fact that I had misguided negative feelings for Katy Evans and loved Manwhore.


"Ruthless, they say. A complete manwhore, they say. And so ambitious he’d put Midas to shame. Oh yeah. They say Saint won’t rest until he owns the world."



Rachel is a journalist who loves her job. The magazine she works for is floundering and her boss comes up with the story that could save their dwindling numbers. Rachel is tasked with getting close to ultra rich, unobtainable playboy Malcolm Saint and learn what makes him tick. She's up for the job, but along the way she begins to question if Malcolm is everything the tabloids make him seem or is he more?

Malcolm Saint has done many things. He's player, manwhore and party boy but he's also a shrewd business man with deep secrets. The secrets no one else knows because Malcolm keeps everyone at an arms length. Its when he meets Rachel that he begins to want more than just nameless flings and inappropriate antics..he wants more from Rachel and he doesn't take no for an answer.

"I'd say people respond to me on four levels and four levels only; they want to pray to me, be me, do me or kill me."



Manwhore is an upscale Fifty Shades of Grey without the BDSM. The rich playboy who falls for one of the commoners is a tale that has been recycled over and over in many different incarnations. Manwhore is another one of these stories. Its How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days, but in book form. Considering my love for this movie its no surprise Manwhore was a hit.

The slow build up of the relationship between Malcolm and Rachel was fantastic. Often in romance the trend towards instalove has become the norm, but Katy develops a long, satisfying courtship between the characters that pretty much made this book. Malcolm decides he wants Rachel, but Rachel doesn't want to be another notch in his belt. The fact that Rachel has a moral struggle with her assignment from the beginning is also refreshing: no gold diggers here!

The point of reading romance is to connect with the characters and become invested in their relationship, not just the erotica masquerading as romance that seems abundant. Katy Evan appears to be a master of developing real characters who you first learn to love before you love them as a couple. Manwhore is a slow burn that leaves a reader satisfied and yearning for more on Rachel and Malcolm's story. I cannot wait for the Manwhore +1 release date of July 7th 2015!

This book will appeal to readers of romance specifically the bad boy with too much money falling for a regular girl variety, lovers of contemporary romance, readers who like their romance with fantastic support characters and novels with characters who under go great personal development.

Unforgiven: A Soulkeepers Novel (The Soulkeepers Book 3)

Unforgiven: A Soulkeepers Novel (The Soulkeepers Book 3) - Lori  Adams Received via NetGalley from the Flirt team (Random House Publishing Group/Loveswept) in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

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Mrs Adams does it again in the third and final installment of the SoulKeepers series. Sophia is finally a Spirit Walker after so many ordeals, but when her soul, in the form of Ka, is taken to hell by obsessive Dante Sophia must risk it all to rescue it. She can’t let her angelic boyfriend (Michael) know her secrets: Ka, her recent history with Dante or the possibility she could lose her soul forever.

Michael, on the other hand, has to find the demon spy hiding in their midst while wrestling with being the newest and youngest recruit for the Halos. Michael must hide the ever impossible relationship he has with Sophia or he could lose everything including his beautiful wings.

I loved the first two SoulKeeper novels and enjoyed the dramatics behind the forbidden romance. Learning of Sophia’s destiny to become a Spirit Walker was unexpected and her training seemed grueling. Although I never understood Sophia’s choice to create Ka it fortunately enabled us to learn more about Hell and Dante’s sad history. Ka’s experiences in Hell allow us to learn about ancient Italy, Sophia’s past lives and Dante’s role in making Sophia who she is in her current incarnation. Adams reveals why Sophia is so special and powerful while leading us to the dramatic conclusion of the SoulKeepers trilogy.

The book moves slowly, working up its pace until the very end. It took me a very long time to work through the first half of the book, yet absolutely no time to finish once Sophia got herself into action. The full brunt of the prophecy comes to the forefront near the end of the book, giving us a new vision for heaven, and extends Adams’ world building. Heaven is full of bigots and are not perfect, but Sophia and Michael can change that. This book was a dooozy in world building, changes and growth for all of the main characters as they come to grips with the revelations from this book. And the revelations are stunning..once you get there.

It will be interesting to see the next series set in the SoulKeeper universe because Adams has totally set us up for more!

I recommended this book for previous readers of the SoulKeepers series, people who love fantasy, angel fiction, romance and new adult romance with a dash of the paranormal. I would say this is worth the read and a fantastic end for Sophia St James and the Patronus family.

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction - Beth J. Shapiro I received this book via NetGalley from in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

I want to start noting that I generally dislike the maltreatment of animals and cruelty enacted in laboratories, so this could not be an unbiased review.

How to Clone a Mammoth is about cloning and the various problems concerned with the technologies used to clone cells. Shapiro explains these problems in the most base way, only touching on much of the scientific jargon that would confuse the average reader. She also explains that cloning would not return a perfect specimen from the Ice Age as popular belief has led us to imagine. Instead, the creatures developed from cloning would be mammoth-like. These species would act to revive ecosystems by filling in the gaps where interactions between species has gone dormant due to the extinction of one or more animal.

Unfortunately, while the conservation of failing ecosystems is a valiant effort, Shapiro goes further by stating that we shouldn’t restrict this technology to de-extintion. In fact. she offers cloning technologies as a method to alter endangered species who lack diversity or cannot adapt to climate change quickly enough. The desire to play with the biology of struggling species is a cold, analytical leap in Shapiro’s logic. It describes the chilling future of this technologies and the lack of morality found in those wielding it.

On top of the desire to alter live species, Shapiro theorizes that if new species are created to fill ecological niches there may come a day when our creations may do more damage than good to the ecosystem we are trying to maintain. The shocking conclusion is that we should eradicate the species if it starts to harm the ecosystem only further destroyed Shapiro’s work. The death of living creatures should never be something brazenly thrown around. Although Shapiro highlights that there would have to be careful consideration this matter, and perhaps even a council should be drawn up to purpose such mass slaughters.

Shapiro covers back breeding as one method for bringing back the mammoth and outlines the struggle for recreating the auroch, they are creating new technologies to slip “scissors” into a nucleus to snip out the genetic code they don’t want, and plan to use “glue” to paste the new genetic code geneticists have created to make sure the new genetic code is fused. The techniques covered in this book are both cutting edge and leading back to the selective breeding practices to rebirth various animals: the Dodo, the auroch and Passenger Pigeon.

I also learned how an egg is made inside a chicken, chickens cannot be cloned, ancient DNA is much trickier than we can imagine, and Asian Elephants just might be the closest relative to the mammoth.

Although I abhor Shapiro’s ethical arguments I enjoyed her work. How to Clone a Mammoth was extremely educational for the average reader over a broad range of topics and it attempts to conquer very delicate moral issues. Although sometimes repetitive with ideas, this book is well worth a look for people who know very little about cloning and biology.

Undertow

Undertow - Michael Buckley Received via NetGalley from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

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Girl meets boy, boy is a creature from the deep blue sea. Lyric Walker is your average thirteen year old who lives in Coney Island until one day the world stops being average. In three years the world has been transformed, and our question of what lurks in the deep blue sea are answered. A group of humanoid creatures that call themselves Alphas have appeared on the shore line without any warning. What do the Alphas want, why are they here? Lyric is blackmailed into forming a tentative friendship with an Alpha boy: one who could be her undoing.

Fathom is part of a beta program enforced by a government he doesn't understand or respect. He is forced to live on the shore line like an animal, and is now going to high school with the inferior human children. He faces xenophobia, racism, hate and the power of a single human girl who dares to stand up to him. Can they overcome their differences to become friends or possibly more? Will the secrets that the Alphas are hiding break any peace they have developed with the humans?

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There's a far greater enemy on the horizon, but the only way to win this battle is if humans and Alphas can put aside their differences..
Lyric and Fathom are forced together when the government sets up a new experimental program at local high school. The integration program is meant to indoctrinate young Alphas into the human world, but inevitably it is faced with hate groups, fearful parents, media speculation and a particularly fanatical governor. The school becomes the epicenter of hate, fear and violence fostered from a confrontation between soldiers and the Alphas three years before. The spark for change has been lit and the reader is taken along for the ride.
The Alphas are not sexy, they are not Hollywood material, and they certainly aren't like us. Their society is built on honor and tough love - something that would be necessary if you lived in a turbulent sea infested with creatures that would eat you without a second thought. The Alphas look like sea creatures and have a strange culture fraught with violence. If we were to stumble upon an humanoid race from the sea, we probably wouldn't find them attractive in the standard sense which is why I thoroughly enjoyed Undertow. Alphas are covered in spikes, scales, gills and barnacles. The skin ranges from bronzed to almost transparent with softness we are familiar with to slimy.
Undertow is a thinly veiled look at racism - highlighting the hodgepodge that is Coney Island cultural residents and underlining the depths of human conviction that different is not always welcome. It was fascinating to delve into a world where a new race of humanoids is regulated by the military and feared by the populace purely on the basis of origins and appearance. A young reader learns that although on the outside we look different; the insides are still very much alike.
Lyric was a selfish and often whined when it wasn’t appropriate. She repeatedly complained she was new to the Alpha world, giving off the aura that she wasn’t fully aware of the dangers she faced. Her lack of responsibility for not telling her best friend her secret was selfish, but made her character fit within the context of a teenager in a bad situation. My only reason for not making this a 5 star review is that the word “sick” was overused in the first few sentences, and Lyric repeatedly disrespects Arcades relationship with Fathom.
It will be interesting to see how Arcade and Lyric patch things up in book two, and how some of the larger struggles the characters have faced are rectified. The reader is in for a lot of twists, turns and deviations from the expected which makes this book incredibly hard to put down.
This book would appeal to readers who enjoy young adult romance, paranormal, mystery, action and anyone looking for a break from the ever popular vampire/werewolf/angel fad that has overtake YA Literature these days.