Flight of the Spark by Evelyn Puerto

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Duty. Desire. Destiny.

What I Loved:

Well, this book gave me a book hangover, and I loved that! I got really connected to the characters and by the end, I was like…

“WAIT! It can’t be over!”

My Synopsis:

Flight of the Spark introduces us to Iskra. She lives in a small village with a long list of rules to keep everyone safe.
📜 No cooking in your own home.
📜 Don’t question the leaders.
📜 Don’t go near a Risker encampment. (They are bad and dangerous!)
📜 Volunteer day is mandatory.
📜 Marry the person we feel is best for you.

The list goes on and on. Iskra is happy in her life. She would like a mother that was more loving and less concerned about her reputation with the neighbors, but overall, she’s comfortable and safe.

Iskra and her friend, Tavda, are traveling to a nearby village, and Iskra is so excited about her first trip outside her city’s walls. She misses the caravan home, and panicking over how much trouble she will be in, she hitches a ride with a lone traveler. As they catch up to the caravan, they find bandits have attacked the traveling group. Iskra runs for her life as the bandits chase her, and she is saved by two men.

This experience starts a series of events that lead Iskra to question all the “truths” she has been told about her life and the world around her. She travels with the two men to a Risker camp and finds nothing the way she was told it would be. Now she wonders at all the secrets and lies her leaders have told her and she begins to dig for the truth. What she finds is a romance with a forbidden lover, friends who become enemies, and a destiny that cannot be avoided.

How I Felt:

Flight of the Spark had a wonderful story that really drew me in. I was interested in the beginning as the world unfolded, but by the time Iskra was attacked by bandits, I was engrossed. I thought that Evelyn Puerto did a great job building the world of this story. Fantasy novels must have good world-building or I feel completely lost, so I was so happy at the details provided by Puerto.

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Immunity by Alexandra Killworth

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Immunity was such an emotional story with characters that drew me in completely. I found this book a bit more difficult to read than I had originally thought it would be. The topic of a virus that wipes out humanity hits quite close to home in today’s COVID-19 environment. It was, however, a very well-written book that I truly enjoyed.

The story introduces the reader to Charlie, a teenage girl who has been living on her own for three years. All alone. Three years ago a virus wiped out every other human being on the planet. Even wildlife seems to have been depleted. Charlie, the sole survivor, seems to be immune to the disease. She is ravaged by the emotional damage of watching everyone around her die, however.

She’s set up a little home in a shed and has her daily routines that keep her busy. Then, one day, Laiton appears, and it seems that the world has two survivors now, not just one. Laiton has a secret though that could shatter Charlie’s world all over again.

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The Companions by Katie M. Flynn

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. I liked the story that was being told and loved where I thought the book was going to go.

How I Felt:

Overall, I found this book to be a bit of a let-down. The story started strong, and I was really invested. It sort of stumbled and never found its footing again about 30-40% in.

A Companion is the mental awareness of a human that has been placed into a robotic casing. These casings range from low-end R2-D2-like robots all the way up to human-looking companions. People lease companions for friendship, to keep family members with them when they near death, and a variety of other reasons.

The number of characters was overwhelming. The beginning started with a companion, Lilac, and a young girl quarantined in a home. The companion is sharing her life’s story with the girl, and I was really interested in where the plot was headed. Then, we meet a young employee at a nursing home, then a young girl on the street, then an actor/companion, and the list just keeps going. It became a confusing list of characters that I couldn’t connect with and didn’t care about.

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Steel Rose by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I loved the world in Steel Rose. It’s this wonderfully interesting Dystopian place that has influences of steam-punk, mythology, super-powers, and present-day. It felt like I had been dropped into a mixing bowl of old and new, real and imagined. I loved it!

The characters are really interesting and exciting. I found myself rooting for the villain, which is new for me. I wanted the romance to work out for Viktor and Rose, even with all of Viktor’s ideals and flaws. Their chemistry was really fabulous. I would have liked to see a little more build-up to their romance, as it felt just a bit rushed. It was, however, a great and steamy romance that was a lot of fun to read about. I would love to see a second book about them, but it looks like book 2 moves on to a new set of characters. I’m looking forward to reading this new story as well!

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Testaments was everything I hoped it would be! I loved the three perspectives that this story was told through. It propelled the book forward and gave insight into different things that were happening. The three characters that were narrating had different experiences and thoughts, and I enjoyed all three.

How I Felt:

Hyped books come with a lot of expectation. I put off reading this one for quite a while. I was extremely worried I wouldn’t like it and would be utterly disappointed. The beginning of this book was a bit slow as the scene was set and characters were introduced. It picked up a few chapters in though, and didn’t slow back down at all!

The characters were surprising. I didn’t expect Aunt Lydia to make an appearance in this book, but I’m so glad she did. Her portions provided SO much backstory. She gave me all the answers to questions I had after reading The Handmaid’s Tale! She was rigid and strict, but she has another side that was surprising and extremely interesting.

Continue reading “The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – Book Review”

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I loved:

The world the author created. Each new event had my jaw dropping at how much the world changed during Offred’s lifetime.

How I felt:

Years ago I stumbled across this book at Goodwill and thought the cover looked interesting, and like I always do, I bought the book without knowing anything about it. It turned out to be right up my alley. I’m always a sucker for a dystopian / speculative fiction story and The Handmaid’s Tale is definitely that!

At the beginning of the book, I was so confused. The flashbacks were not from that long ago, and I couldn’t quite grasp how things had gone so terribly wrong so quickly for society. As the book progressed, I began to understand some of the events and changes that were put in place to cripple people from being able to get away from this regime.

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Cynetic Wolf by Matt Ward

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Cynetic Wolf was such a fast-paced story! It felt like from page one, I was immersed in this world and in the middle of the story. If you are looking for something that immediately grabs your attention and doesn’t let go, this is the book!

How I Felt:

First of all, can we just talk about this fabulous cover? I love all of the elements of the story that are built into this artwork! It’s seriously a cover that I keep looking at again and again because it is filled with amazing things to see!

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Resuming Eden by M. Brown- Dystopian Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Resuming Eden had SUCH an interesting world! I was truly fascinated with the concept of this story. There were so many intricate details that showed how well the author thought through the world before writing.

How I Felt:

The Characters: While there are a variety of characters in this story, there are three that I felt impacted me in some way.

Aahana is the main character. My feelings towards her were a bit all over the place. At times, I found her cold and calculating, but then I would forgive her for these faults because of her struggles and the events in her history. I couldn’t quite connect her dismissal of Matt as a suitable boyfriend. As pieces of information were given throughout the story, I would understand her better, but overall, I do think she was a bit too harsh on Matt. Her character overall though was the reason this story was so intoxicating. I WANTED to see her fall for Matt. I wanted to see her find the path to Truth, Honor, Trust, and Faith. I appreciated her fierce determination to keep her family safe. I found her to be a complex and interesting character.

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Sting by Cindy R. Wilson – Excerpt

They call me the Scorpion because they don’t know who I really am. All they know is that someone is stealing from people with excess to help people with nothing survive another day.

But then a trusted friend reveals who I am―“just” Tessa, “just” a girl―and sends me straight into the arms of the law. All those people I helped…couldn’t help me when I needed it.

Continue reading “Sting by Cindy R. Wilson – Excerpt”

A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the dystopian world that Rebecca Crunden created. Her idea of the world came alive in A Touch of Death through her descriptions. I felt completely immersed in the the setting of this!

How I Felt:

A Touch of Death was a good book and I did enjoy it. The story was interesting and I wanted to keep reading. There were just a few things that pulled me out of the book. I didn’t appreciate the continued bickering between Nate and Kitty. I just felt it was too much and should have been pulled back. I also felt that there were some areas of the book that could have been edited down as they started to feel too long-winded. There were a lot of lists to get through and I could have done with just a few less of those.

The characters were interesting. I enjoyed the growth and change that Kitty goes through. She felt a bit spoiled and unaware of the world around her. I liked how she began to see things in the real light of day as the book progressed.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read with a good story. There is clearly a set up to a second book, and I believe it will be a good series!

To Read or Not To Read:

If you enjoy dystopian novels with that sci-fi element built in, A Touch of Death this is a good read for you!

Where To Find This Book:

A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden is available at these sites:

Years and years into the future, the last remaining pieces of humanity live in the Kingdom of Cutta. Divided into two sections, this Kingdom has a place for the wealthy and elite, and also a place for everyone else.

After Nate is saved from the hangman’s noose, he disappears from Cutta for two years. Catherine has never forgiven Nate for what he did though. When Nate returns, a poor choice leaves the two of them on the run and outside the Kingdom walls.

  • A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden
  • Book Series: The Outlands Pentalogy (Book 1)
  • Page Count: 303 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • February 24, 2017 (1st Edition)

I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

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Retaliation by Haley Cavanagh – Excerpt

Retaliation by Haley Cavanagh

  • Genre: YA / Dystopian / Sci-fi / Romance
  • Page Count: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published
  • Pub Date: December 15, 2019

Sakota saved Astraeus and her friends from certain death, but in doing so, she gained the attention of the Oreck, who will stop at nothing to destroy everything in their path. With their ship severely damaged, Sakota and her crew land on a nearby planet and seek sanctuary while they make repairs to return home. But nothing on this perfect planet is as it appears, and Sakota soon learns they’ve traded one danger for another. Hunted and targeted, will Sakota be able to carry out her mission, or will everyone she cares about be destroyed?

“No .”

Sakota bolted up in bed in the middle of the night.

Her dreams of blood and fear were monopolized with pointed teeth, cartilaginous faces, long, double-jointed arms and legs, and cruel, black alien eyes. The Oreck. They haunted her, perpetual alien God-ghosts with their eerie, electromagnetic glow beneath papery, gray skin.

Beside her, Astraeus slept, his arm flopped over the groove in the bed where she’d lain as he held her. He stirred, frowning. Was he having a nightmare too? She reached her hand out and searched with her emotions, as she’d learned to do.

He tossed, fitful, in the clutches of a nightmare to do with Upsilon’s destruction. She couldn’t remember what her nightmare had been about, but it had ended violently. Peace, she sent silently. Tranquility . Calm . Rest .

Astraeus sighed in his sleep, relaxed, and rolled over. She feathered hair out of his face. His existence had blown her away, and it still did. Astraeus’s genetic code far outstripped her own. He had defense mechanisms in place to protect him from climate extremities that she could never even dream of having. But more so, for the first time in her life, she’d fallen in love. It went against her pragmatic nature, but his comforting presence anchored her amid the wreckage.

She scrubbed her face with her hand in the darkness and swung her legs over the side of the levitating bed, careful of the bed’s height when she stood.

Humans were either a lot shorter than most of the visiting interplanetary delegates, or for some strange reason, they liked their beds high.

Her limbs ached, fatigue from the action of the last several days. She suspected healing from microgravity had something to do with it too, but she’d been through the wringer. The way she walked, the weight of her lips when she spoke, her arm and leg muscles seemed heavier and more visceral, like someone had injected them with a heavy drug. Ridiculous, of course. She was in the best shape of her life.

In the center of the room, she stretched and did some yoga until the tightness lessened. She rotated her neck. In a day or two, the slight dizziness and disoriented inertia would subside. As a physician, she knew the symptoms. She’d be fine. But telling a patient about them versus experiencing them were two different things.

She padded barefoot out onto the balcony, drew a silver cup from the shelves, and dipped it into the fountain. Distant light illuminated the Chuleron buildings along the skyline in the distance. She brought the brim of the cup to her lips and drank. Cool and refreshing, much cleaner than the sterilized water she’d had back on Earth. Tastier too. Earth water had to be purified at least five times before it could be considered healthy enough for consumption. Bacterial pathogens ran rampant in food and the polluted streams and springs back home, so sterilizing was essential. The delightful coolness soothed her throat.

She twisted her hair and pulled it over her right shoulder, taking in the strange, tantalizing city. Did her suspicions about this place come from her subconscious, because of the death and violence she’d experienced? Or was Hisoka right and something seemed off?

Haley Cavanagh is a military veteran, wife, and mother. She is an alumna of Columbia College, a musical theater nut, and she loves to dive into any book that crosses her path. Haley resides with her family in the United States and enjoys spending time with her husband and children when she’s not writing. She loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media.

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The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I LOVED this book. I’m already thinking about when I can read it again. The dystopian world that Kim Liggett creates in this book is fascinating! I was completely drawn into the story and the universe. The “Grace Year” location was so well built, I could see everything. I was right there with them through the whole experience.

How I Felt:

It’s been a while since a book so completely grabbed me from the beginning and held me through the whole thing. There were times were I just couldn’t read fast enough. I wanted to figure out all the little questions and the odd things happening. I was invested. I’m really, really hoping there will be a sequel…I would grab it in a second.

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