Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Superhero #ShortStory MY NEW SUPERJOB by @AntonEine

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here https://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading My New Superjob by Anton Eine

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I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I was delighted by what I found. This is a quick, easy read that introduced me to a character I definitely want to know more about.
Yeah, she seems a bit too skilled for certain things, but her deficiencies will make up for I think.
I also enjoy the author’s thoughts on how cities very well could turn to looking at unexpected ways to handle rising crime in the future. Do I think that this particular way is a possibility? No, not really. However with the current MARVEL MCU rolling, who knows who could buy into that crazy and try this stuff themselves.
It’s pretty well written, quick, gets straight to the point, and crafts a good couple of characters. Recommended.
Book description
Did you ever want to be a superhero? The city’s defender against crime, violence, and all forms of sicko nastiness?
When one day she stumbled upon a strange help wanted ad claiming that the city was looking for a superhero, Samantha Washington, a former Ranger commander, was sure it was a joke. And she sent in her resume.
Will the ad turn out to be somebody’s dumb idea of a joke, a practical stunt, a cunning maniac’s clever trap, or… a real opportunity leading to a difficult and dangerous future occupation?
Now that she has let herself be drawn inextricably into the chain of events, Samantha will have to figure it all out on her own. And she’ll have to do it face to face with her own deepest fears.
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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Ya #Fantasy Daughter of Kali: Unholy Alliance by Shiulie Ghosh @hackhound @sheilland

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here https://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading Daughter of Kali: Unholy Alliance by Shiulie Ghosh

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I was asked to read Unholy Alliance after my positive review of the first book Daughter of Kali: Awakening. I would have had it done a few months ago, but it fell into my black hole of an e-mail and I just recently found it again.

Unholy Alliance is a good follow-up to Awakening. It smoothly carries on the story thread left at the end of the first book, while upping the ante as any good sequel should do. I can legit say that I did not expect things to play out at the very end quite the way they did, and now I’m curious to read the third book.

I feel like I was more irritated by the YA elements in this novel than I was in the previous one. However, as this is indeed a YA novel, I’m not going to harp on them. I’ll just say the love triangle was more predominant and the hormones got a bit much at times. In the intended age range, it’s stuff that I’m sure will probably give (most) readers a huge happy.

There are many, many dark times in this book. Scenes of horror upon horror. Ghosh makes the right decision in trying to keep things light with periodic injections of levity. Sometimes she succeeds wildly and I found myself snickering while reading. Other times it came off as trying a bit too hard and I just sighed and kept reading.

I felt like the Harry Potter nods were strong in this one. From the pesky little flying creatures to the colors of the spells to the strongly accented man with a love for a big, dangerous creature, it was hard for me to not see them. To be honest, it took away from my enjoyment of the book a bit, because it made it less of its own thing and more something I was too familiar with. (Were they actually Harry Potter influenced on her end, or just how I see them because I was a big fan of Harry Potter? The world shall never know.)

The action-monger in me was very happy with the sheer amount of ass-kicking that happens in this book. The dialogue wasn’t fantastic, but it was never cringe-worthy either. I am glad the technomagic had more play in this book, but I would love, love, love to see a short story or something from Em’s point of view where she’s completely geeking out and creating, instead of just seeing what it can do and a scene in her mad scientist lab.

As things built to the climax, I was fully invested. The end wrapped up this story arc nicely, but now I need to see how a couple characters are going to manage to work things out. I hope that Ghosh makes the third book into an amazing powerhouse of a third novel and shows readers the potential that we see shining so strongly in the other two books.

Book description

The time of prophecy is near.
Sixteen year old Kaz is now a trained Warrior for the secret society known as the Guild. Just like her mother before her. But her mother is dying, and only demonic power can save her. Going against everything the Guild stands for, Kaz must form an uneasy alliance with a Named One.
She also has a goddess on her case. Kali wants her to fulfil a prophecy – only Kaz isn’t quite sure what that is. Her own power, the bloodthirsty inner voice she calls the other, is getting stronger.
And as if that wasn’t enough, her emotions are torn between Darius, the Warrior in love with her best friend; and Jack, dark, brooding, and a bit irritating.
Kaz finds herself navigating a dangerous path at great cost. The lives of those she loves are in danger, and her only hope of saving them is to solve the mystery of the prophecy even if it destroys her.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Middlegrade Etty Steele Vampire Hunter by Grayson Grave

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here https://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading Etty Steele Vampire Hunter by Grayson Grave

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Etty Steele Vampire Hunter is a simple, easy-to-read fantasy for middle grade children. It’s got an easily recognizable moral that it is relating. The main character is not perfect. The relationship between the parents is atypical. (Oddly enough, both parents are even present in the book for a while!)

Probably the most interesting thing about Etty Steele Vampire Hunter is that Etty has trouble reading. It never goes in depth as to precisely what her problem is, but it’s obvious that she struggles. It’s equally obvious that her parents (well, one of them, really) don’t see it as nearly the problem that it is. This bothered me. Problems with reading are frequently overlooked (though not for the same reasons as in this book) and they never should be. As a parent, the idea of not getting my child the help she needs makes me twitch. As a life-long bookworm, my heart hurts for Etty and what she’s missing out by not being able to read well.

I think it’s great that the author is representing children that have trouble reading. It just makes me sad to think that there are kids out there like Etty who don’t get the help that they need because ‘reading isn’t that important’.

Another thing that keeps it interesting (as an adult) is that Etty is not what grownups would term a ‘good’ kid. We are told early on in the story that she was the type of kid who frequently got into fights. Her behavior stems from her relationships and examples set at home. Again, even though the reasons themselves are different, the fact is there are kids like Etty everywhere, and it just makes me want to strangle parents who don’t actually parent their children. Hopefully the kids who read this that are like Etty can recognize that they have more worth than what they’re taught, and think outside the box their parents have trapped them in.

However, Etty Steele Vampire Hunter was not a satisfying read. The conclusion felt like it was lacking oomph. Instead the way it ends the story sort of fizzles out without any real feeling of resolution. Technically the arc ends, but it just feels weaker than it should have. This takes a lot of the power of the story away from it.

Overall, not a bad book. Just not a great one.

Book description

Etty Steele is a vampire hunter. There’s only one problem – she doesn’t have her hunter powers. No super-strength, no super-speed. Nothing.

When she goes back to school after the summer, she’s surprised to find a new boy has joined her class. Even more surprising – he’s a vampire!

If only there was a way to stake him through the heart without anyone noticing.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #YA #Fantasy Daughter Of Kali by Shiulie Ghosh @hackhound

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here http://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading Daughter Of Kali by Shiulie Ghosh

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I started ‘Daughter of Kali: Awakening‘ the day after I finished the Deep Silence, the 10th book of the Joe Ledger series. For anyone who has followed that series, you know it’s an extremely hard act to come after. I was fully expecting to mildly enjoy this book at best, as I would be fully enveloped in a book hangover. So, imagine my surprise when I almost instantly found myself liking ‘Daughter of Kali’

This is a quick, enjoyable young adult urban fantasy read. It’s got a kick-ass Indian version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as a mum!), a daughter having trouble coming to terms with her heritage, and a secret society. (Who doesn’t love a good secret society? Especially one aimed at stopping evil.) And, for the age-range that this book is aimed at, there’s an appropriate amount of hormones and a bit of a love triangle. 

This does not read like a debut novel. It has a smooth, polished feel to it. The pacing is nice and quick. The dialogue is good. Some of the characters made me laugh out loud. Some made me want to punch them. The fight scenes were fairly generic, but really all you need to know is that people are training and/or kicking evil’s butt, right?

Overall, ‘Daughter of Kali: Awakening’, was a pleasant, engaging read that I breezed through. Shiulie Ghosh did a great job, and I appreciated the diversity that she included in the novel. There was the inclusion of differently-abled, of LGBTQ+,  and of course, the main character – who wasn’t a perky little white girl!

Book description

Kaz Deva just wants to be a normal 15 year old. She has normal problems after all; she never knew her dad, she’s the only Indian girl in school, and the boy she’s crushing on prefers her best friend.

But when her teacher turns into a monster before her very eyes, Kaz is drawn into a world of demons and gods, myth and magic. Nothing is as it seems – her Mum has secret superpowers, and there’s a shadowy organisation hidden on her doorstep.

Kaz discovers she’s part of a long legacy of Warriors dating all the way back to the Hindu goddess Kali. But where does she fit into this ancient battle? What does Kali want from her? And can she control her own awakening powers before it’s too late?

About the author

Shiulie Ghosh is a TV news presenter. She was born in the UK to a Bengali father and English mother, who moved the family to India for several years when she was a toddler, thus instilling in her a life-long love of chicken curry and riding on trains where you can actually hang out of the door.
She grew up to be an award-winning journalist, and over the past twenty years has worked for some of the biggest names in the business including the BBC, ITN and Al Jazeera. She has covered major global stories including the Kosovo War, the Asian Tsunami, the death of Nelson Mandela, and the Arab Spring.
She was the first anchor to go on air for Al Jazeera English when it began broadcasting from Qatar in 2006 – eventually reaching 200 million homes. She lived in the Middle East for nearly ten years, before returning to the cooler climes of south-east England.
She helped to establish the London bureau of the 24-hour international news channel TRT World, which was launched in 2015. She now splits her time between anchoring news bulletins, and moderating conferences for high-profile clients such as the pharmaceutical and finance industries, the UN and the WHO.
In between she tries to squeeze in more writing, and would like to get a second book out before she dies of old age.
Her main interests, apart from being a news junkie, are reading, writing and travelling. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, her daughter, the cat, and some chickens.

Shiulie Ghosh

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #YA / #MG Sleep, Merel, Sleep by Silke Stein

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here http://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading Sleep, Merel, Sleep by Silke Stein

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Sleep, Merel, Sleep puts us in the shoes of a young girl whose life has been disrupted by the bringing home of a very sick sibling. At first, because you as the reader don’t know much about Merel’s life, it’s really easy to dislike the young girl. However, pretty swiftly (it’s a short read) you start to feel some sympathy for her and root for her on her journey to regain her Sleep.

At 108 pages, this is a short book that would make for excellent bedtime reading with your child over a few nights. If they are a self-sufficient reader, I could see it being a good book for them to read independently as they’re unwinding for bed as well. Get the idea of sleep percolating through their overly-active minds. I didn’t get a chance to read much of it with my child, but she was curious and engaged with what she did hear.

I will say that if you have or had an infant in the house with severe respiratory issues, you might want to consider this one carefully. Nothing happens to the baby, but the illness and the sense of helplessness does pervade the book. That can cause some difficult thoughts/memories.

There’s some imagery in here that was actually kind of disturbing once I stopped to think about it. However, nothing inappropriate or scary for younger readers! Just… weird. It’s a fantastical tale that is well-imagined, and contains references to familiar fairy tales. Sleep, Merel, Sleep is similar in appealing weirdness to tales like The BFG

My only problem with the book was that the climax feels very anticlimactic. In fact I had to go back and re-read the section because I thought for sure that I had missed something. On the second read through, I got what had happened, but I still felt like it was missing something.

Overall, Sleep, Merel, Sleep is a nicely-written, well-imagined tale.

Book description

Who wants to be awake forever?

Life has changed for eight-year-old Merel. Since the birth of her sick baby brother, her parents seem to have forgotten she exists. But when she finds a tiny silver violin in her bedroom rug, things take a turn for the worse.

Merel learns that her sleep has abandoned her and that she must embark on a perilous journey to recover it or stay awake forever. Together with her devoted toy sheep Roger, tired Merel sets out in search of Lullaby Grove. Before long, she finds herself haunted by a scary stranger.

Follow Merel into a surreal world. Meet a sleepy king with an obsession for feathers and a transparent old man on a night train going nowhere. Discover why the moonfish cry, why you should never walk across the Great Yawns ― and if poor Merel can escape her pursuer, win back her sleep, and realize what matters most in her life.

About the author

Silke Stein is a graphic designer and the author of ‘Trina Bell’s Humming Summer’ and ‘Sleep, Merel, Sleep’. Silke currently lives at the west coast of Canada, where she combs the shores of the Pacific Ocean and tends to her ever-growing sea glass collection. When she is not at the beach, or writing, or helping her husband playtest his latest board game invention, she designs book covers for fellow authors.

Silke Stein

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #bookreview Team #RBRT #PostApocalypse The Afters by Chrisptopher O’Connell @chrisObehave

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here http://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading The Afters by Christopher O’Connell

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I received The Afters by Christopher O’Connell for review consideration as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. It was the cover of the book that initially drew me too it. I think it made me expect something vaguely comic book-y, without the whole panels thing. And, actually, that was pretty much dead on. The Afters has that quick-moving action and sly-tongued banter that graphic novels have trained me to expect. 

O’Connell did good with The Afters. It’s 234 pages, but feels like its only about 125 or so. The main character, Chuck, is too mouthy for his own good, but he has a heart of gold, and when he suddenly finds himself taking care of a couple of munchkins, he’s surprisingly okay with it. And you buy it. That’s the most important part. He seems very believable. We want to think that, should the worst happen to us – to the world – there’d be a slew of Chucks out there doing the right thing. I didn’t even mind being inside his head, and I normally hate that POV! As for Kalila – she wasn’t my favorite. To be honest, I could have done with most of her parts being much reduced in the novel. Chuck, Big Bertha, and the two little ‘uns were enough for me.

The Afters does one thing different from normal zombie novels that really made me feel creeped out for a few minutes. I won’t go into details because you need to read it yourself, but let’s just say that I’m not sure I could do the apocalypse in The Afters’ world.  Well, maybe if I got to be like one of the kids…. actually, no. Not even then. Not considering some of the baddies that get introduced en masse later in the book. Nope, no thank you. I want a regular zombie apocalypse please. 

This was a quick, easy read, but it would have done much better with a(nother?) round with an editor. There are some scenes that could have been tightened up and it would read much better on the whole. One stands out near the beginning where the dialogue just feels kind of cringe-worthy.

Overall, The Afters was an enjoyable, shut-your-brain off read that demanded little, but entertained a lot. It’s not memorable, but you’re absorbed while you’re reading it. Considering it was a post-apocalyptic zombie fic, which I’m nearly burnt out on, AND the POV is my least favorite, I could have easily hated this book. I didn’t, though, and I think that says a lot for O’Connell’s story-telling ability.

Book description

It’s the end of the world as we know it and Charles Gilbert Billingsworth the VIII feels just fine. Not only is he surviving the zombie apocalypse, he’s enjoying it too. But Charlie’s idyllic life as a daydreaming zombie killer takes a turn when he finds two kids lost in the woods. One of whom is hiding an amazing, powerful secret.

Meanwhile, Kalila Trout is on a quest for revenge. The only survivor of an attack by the warlord known as King George, Kalila’s vengeance is only stopped by his distinct advantage in numbers. When King George kidnaps one of Charlie’s children, Kalila finds an unlikely ally to help her get the closure she needs. But even if Kalila and Charlie manage to make it out alive, a new race of zombie might ruin everything they are fighting for.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery The Coven Murders by @brianohare26

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here http://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading The Coven Murders by Brian O’Hare

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I chose to read The Coven Murders because even though it was a mystery, which is not something I often enjoy anymore, there was the promise of a daemonic element to it that made me curious. Having not read any of Brian O’Hare’s previous works in the past, I had no idea what to expect. However, the positive reviews on Goodreads made me hopeful. The setting of Ireland had a lot to do with my decision as well. For the most part, I’m pleased with what I read.Although, as usual, I’d figured out who the killer was within pages of meeting them. I don’t think that’s a failure on the author’s part as much as it is evidence that I read too much.

The Coven Murders was not exactly the right book for me. It is a much better book for someone who is more religiously inclined (and probably also doesn’t read nearly as much horror as I do.) While I do feel like the elements of the coven, its rituals and beliefs, felt real enough, I had trouble taking them seriously. There were several times during the book, with earnest dialogue between characters, that I found myself giggling and scolding myself with a firm “Yep, yep, you’re definitely going to Hell.” Even though the daemonic element is normally one that scares the bejesus out of me, and there was at least one legitimately creepy scene involving the largest casting out I’ve ever read about, I just could not commit myself to suspending disbelief for the book. Which is kind of stupid because if spiritual evil does exist, its probably most honestly described here than it is any of my climbing-on-the-ceiling horrors that I normally read. 

I feel like I was hampered a bit by not reading the previous two books in the series because I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d known the characters a bit better. As it was, I couldn’t really get the rhythm of some of the relationships that had been long established for a good bit of the book, so it felt a bit off. My chief complaint though, and the only one that’s a true criticism of the book rather than an acknowledgement of my own strangeness, is that it felt like all the ‘bad guys’ were blindingly obvious. A good portion of the first half of the read was spent with me mentally yelling at the characters and wondering how in the world a bunch of police could be that obtuse.  I would have liked for there to have been a bit of, well, mystery involved there.

However, by the end of the book I was eager to see everything resolved. Even though it seemed obvious exactly what was going on, I was still interested enough to finish reading it. The story moves along at a nice clip. The detectives seem like a solid assortment of ‘good guys’ (and gals). The charm of the country (as well as its foibles) was obvious and endearing. I had found a certain affection starting to burgeon for a few of the members of the force. The way the book ended, while not a surprise, still managed to make me feel a pang of sadness for one of the unlucky fellows involved with things.

For someone who doesn’t read much traditional horror, but still wants to give themselves a tingle, The Coven Murders would be worth checking out. It’s a nicely-written mystery that is probably nearly perfect for the target audience. Unfortunately, my heathen self wasn’t the target audience. Still, it was a nice read and I don’t regret picking it up.

Book description

The Coven Murders opens with a horrifying account of a ritual Black Mass with a human sacrifice in an abandoned church. Twenty-one years later, near an old ruined church in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Chief Inspector Sheehan and his team discover the skeleton of a young woman. But what seems initially to be a straightforward case, brings the team into conflict with a powerful Satanist who has plans to offer up to Satan another human sacrifice on the evening of the great Illuminati feast of Lughnasa. Several murders occur, baffling the Inspector until he makes a connection between the modern murders and the twenty-one year old skeleton. The team’s pursuit of the murderer, and their determination to protect a young woman who is targeted by the coven, lead to a horrific climax in a hellish underground crypt where Sheehan and his team, supported by an exorcist and a bishop, attempt to do battle with the coven and a powerful demon of Baphomet, jeopardising not only their lives, but risking the wrath of Satan upon their immortal souls.
An Inspector Sheehan Mystery
by Brian O’Hare

About the author

Brian O’Hare, MA, Ph.D., is a retired assistant director of a large regional college of further and higher education. Married, three children, ten grandchildren, one great grandchild. He plays golf three times a week off a ten handicap and does a lot of voluntary work. Any writing he has previously done was academic…very much restricted to a very specific readership. Several articles in educational journals were followed by a number of book-length reports for the Dept. of Education and the University of Ulster.

Brian O'Hare

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #scifi The Happy Chip by Dennis Meredith @explainresearch

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here http://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading The Happy Chip by Dennis Meredith

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Dennis Meredith is a solid writer who has turned his talent to near-future, on-Earth science fiction instead of reaching for the stars as so many writers do. I have previously read his book Wormholes and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was quite happy to pick up The Happy Chip.

The Happy Chip is an interesting, thought-provoking book simply because you could see something like the Happy Chip getting very popular, very fast. The benefits of it sound fantastic, but when you stop to think about it at all, you see how easily it could go sideways. The love of money and control will always encourage people to do horrible things. Some more so than others.

Luckily, the main character and his wife are willing to do whatever is necessary to put a stop to things in The Happy Chip . Speaking of the pair, I loved Brad and Annie. While the implications of the Happy Chip technology is enough to pique your interest and get you to pay attention, it’s the relationship between the husband and wife that really cemented my interest in the book. I loved how they worked together as a team and trusted each other implicitly. I want more characters like these in books, please!

The pacing of The Happy Chip was perfect. The action was constantly going. The science is not unbelievable at all (which makes it scary). There’s a lot of good things to say about this novel, and I recommend it for fans of near-future science fiction scenarios. However, there are some minor problems. I noticed it in Wormholes, I believe, and I saw it in this book as well. While his beginnings and middles are excellent, the end of the stories are a bit weak, and the dialogue during action-packed times can be a little too dramatic. Not enough to turn me off, by any means, but it is an area that feels like it needs some improvement in.

Overall, this was a good, entertaining read from an author who knows how to spin stories that feel like they could happen just a few months from now. If you like Earth-based and/or near future science fiction at all, you should definitely check out The Happy Chip from Dennis Meredith.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review consideration as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Book description

You feel ecstatic! Until you kill yourself.

The Happy Chip is the latest nanoengineering wonder from the high-flying tech company, NeoHappy, Inc.

Hundreds of millions of people have had the revolutionary chip injected into their bodies to monitor their hormonal happiness and guide them to life choices, from foods to sex partners.

Given the nanochip’s stunning success, struggling science writer Brad Davis is thrilled when he is hired to co-author the biography of its inventor, billionaire tech genius Marty Fallon.

That is, until Davis learns that rogue company scientists are secretly testing horrifying new control chips with “side effects”—suicidal depression, uncontrollable lust, murderous rage, remote-controlled death, and ultimately, global subjugation.

His discovery threatens not only his life, but that of his wife Annie and their children. Only with the help of Russian master hacker Gregor Kalinsky and his gang can they hope to survive the perilous adventure that takes them from Boston to Beijing.

The Happy Chip, an edge-of-your-seat thriller, spins a cautionary tale of unchecked nanotechnology spawning insidious devices that could enslave us. It dramatically portrays how we must control our “nanofuture” before it’s too late.

About the author

Dennis Meredith brings to his novels an expertise in science from his career as a science communicator at some of the country’s leading research universities, including MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Duke and the University of Wisconsin. He has worked with science journalists at all the nation’s major newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV networks and has written well over a thousand news releases and magazine articles on science and engineering over his career.

Dennis Meredith

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #middlegrade Tokoyo, The Samurai’s Daughter by @faithljustice

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here http://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading Tokoyo, The Samurais’ Daughter by Faith L Justice

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Tokoyo, The Samurai’s Daughter is a middle grade fantasy novel inspired by The Tale of the Oki Islands. It is a swift read that flows like the water that has so large of a presence in it. It was an enjoyable story featuring a young woman who has to be extremely brave and save her father.

I loved that Tokoyo, The Samurai’s Daughter was all about Tokoyo. Her abilities and determination were what carried her through. There was no male figures that interceded to provide help to get her through the difficult parts. She did it all herself, with only the caring,  mental support and encouragement of the Ama. Though there has definitely been a surge of girls being front and center on action and adventure tales lately, it’s still not enough. This book was a welcome addition.

Now, I don’t know anything about Japanese culture, but the representation in here felt respectful and real. (The notes in the back indicate that the author has done plenty of research!) There was nothing about it that was included for laughs. Tokoyo, The Samurai’s Daughter will hopefully provide young readers of Japanese descent another role model they can look up to situated in the history of their country.

Overall, the pace of the novel is fantastic, the prose is near perfect, and the story was an engaging one. Faith L. Justice has done a great job with Tokoyo, the Samurai’s Daughter. And Kayla Gilliam provides simple illustrations that spice up the text every few chapters and provide a treat for the eyes.

Book description

An adventurous girl!

Most noble-born girls of Tokoyo’s age learn to sing, paint, and write poetry.

Not Tokoyo.

She’s the daughter of a samurai in fourteenth century Japan, Tokoyo’s father trains her in the martial arts. When he is away, she escapes to the sea where she works with the Ama—a society of women and girls who dive in the deep waters for food and treasure. But disaster strikes her family. Can Tokoyo save her father using the lessons she learned and the skills she mastered to overcome corrupt officials, her own doubts, and a nasty sea demon?

About the author

Faith L. Justice is a science geek and history junkie who writes award-winning novels, short stories, and articles in her historic Brooklyn home. She’s published in venues such as Salon.com, Writer’s Digest, Strange Horizons, The Copperfield Review and Circles in the Hair.

You can read her stories, interviews with famous authors, and sample chapters of her novels at her website . Check out her blog for historical fiction book reviews, interviews with HF authors, “History in the News” roundups and giveaways.

Faith lives with her husband, daughter and the required gaggle of cats. For fun, she likes to dig in the dirt—her garden and various archaeological sites.

Faith L. Justice

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Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT #SciFi #Mystery Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas @OxytocinConnect

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs here http://www.scifiandscary.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Lilyn has been reading Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas

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I could see the world of Chimera Catalyst as Kuchinksas first describes it. Isolated, frenetic, selfish, busy. It’s a future world that feels very near future. There are lots of brand/company names tossed about that most people will recognize now. And the ones she makes up fit right in perfectly. The slang, the body modifications, et cetera, are all very fitting developments. The social media, social identities, and currency are all very apt. Apart from the technology, there is also the way the world has adapted to it’s new state after we hit the tipping point with climate change. In short, even I had a bit of trouble with the story itself, the world she established was one of the most believable near future worlds that I’ve read in a long time.

Susan Kuchinksas has a way with descriptions in Chimera Catalyst. There were several times she definitely drew a snicker from me as I did a double-take on one of her lines. Quips like “She looked like something that should be clinging to a damp tree” were great. At the same time, her descriptions of some of the Arcotypes were fantastic. The one character reminded me of the main aliens from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. She gave just enough detail to fill in the broad strokes while your imagination did the rest. Her descriptions of the clones were disturbing, and almost every time they were on the page I was thinking of the mannequins from Silent Hill.The Parrot was especially neat. It gave a whole new meaning to the word “Birddog” and I was attached to the little booger by the end of the novel.

Chimera Catalyst is a busy book, and a quick read. It comes in at under 200 pages, but there’s a lot of story for such a little book. It starts off simply enough when the Finder gets hired to find a girl. Soon, though, he finds out she’s just not any girl, and from there he gets deeper into a mess he’d rather have not touched. A conspiracy, a mystery, and various power plays all make the Arcotype case a lot more interesting than he thought it would be. 

The Finder is an interesting character. In many ways he’s typical, but he’s also not. Many detectives in these types of books are addicted to something, but The Finder’s addiction to chemicals is different. He’s not drinking himself under the table or anything like that in Chimera Catalyst. His medicinal usage seems to fit with the world around him. You imagine everyone being very blase with how they medicate to sleep and live instead of him being a special case. His ‘voice’ in the story is well-defined. The Finder is a good guy, but he’s definitely not a hard-nose ex-police type. He is also forced to look twice at himself and his actions in regards to one particular thing during the course of this novel, and he’s not happy with what he finds. I appreciated that.

There was one line I really liked in the book, just because it kind of made me sit back and think “Truth”. It’s when The Finder is talking about the Parrot. (It’s in the first few pages.) Specifically, he’s talking about why he made him, and he says: ‘Here’s why I made him: because I could. Because I wanted to.’

That unapologetic shrugging off the creation of a new life form seemed so appropriate to the image of science that so many people have. It’s a sentiment that’s echoed in several books and movies “You did it because you could”, but it’s rarely the creator themselves that admit to it. It’s generally someone else saying it to them. The Finder, however, owns it without any reservations just then. He did it because he could. Because he wanted to. That was all there was to it.

Overall, Chimera Catalyst is a good sci-fi mystery read. The plot was interesting enough, but it was in The Finder and the world where Kuchinskas’ talent really made itself known. This is definitely a great start to a series, and I could see myself picking up at least one more in the series in the future. Especially to find out if anything happens to the Librarian!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via Rosie’s Book Review Team from the author for review consideration.

Book Description

When Finder is hired to locate charismatic, green-haired Miraluna Rose, it seems like an easy job. Crack into corporate databases, brew up some biologics to enhance his thinking, and get the job done with the help of the Parrot, a bird/dog chimera with the finest traits of both species.
The search takes Finder and the Parrot to the sun-broiled streets of Laxangeles, the canals of Seattle and the weirdly mutated vegetation of the Area. It turns out that it’s not a simple missing-person case after all.
Finder discovers that ReMe, a corporation providing medical cloning services, is illegally breeding human/animal chimeras. ReMe is selling these exotically beautiful female creatures, branded as ArcoTypes, as playthings to the wealthy and ruthless.
Miraluna Rose is its finest creation, but she has other ideas. She’s holed up at Refuge, a haven for runaway ArcoTypes, where she’s planning a future of freedom for her sisters.
To help the ArcoTypes fight ReMe, Finder and the Parrot will need the help of a couple of sympathetic AIs, the CEO of the world’s largest advertising company and a posse of highly modded, celebrity-crazed media kids.

About the author

Susan Kuchinskas

As a kid, Susan Kuchinskas spent hours catching toads, watching rabbits and starting ant wars — and reading, reading, reading.
She’s never lost her love for creatures of all kinds. In fifth grade, she discovered the bookmobile’s science fiction section and read nothing else until she got to college.
After the usual writer’s mix of odd jobs – gogo dancer, housepainter, office temp – she happened into journalism. As a technology journalist, she covered the rise and fall of the dotcoms, the move to digital and mobile, and the ascendance of social media.
She’s the author of two previous books, Going Mobile: A Guide to Real-time Mobile Applications that Work (CMP Books 2003), and The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love (New Harbinger 2008).
Her short stories have been published in anthologies and journals including Deep Space Dog Fight and Chicago Literati. This is her first novel.
To exercise the parts of her body and mind that don’t get a workout from writing, Susan is an organic gardener, beekeeper, sculptor and DIY re-modeler. She enjoys uncovering exotic cultures at home and abroad.
She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her mate, Mike, and their socially challenged dog and super-chill cat.

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