Tag Archives: Moonchild

The Top 10 Cheap Reads of 2016

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          Happy New Year’s everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying the last day of 2016! In case you need some help getting started on your 2017 reading list, here are the top ten books I had the pleasure of reviewing this year. Since the books cover such a broad range of genres and styles, I figured it would be better to list them alphabetically by the authors’ last name. If a title catches your eye, be sure to click on it to read the full review. Let’s check them out!

1. Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

rarity           An android crashes outside a rural Appalachian town and offers to cure young Lacey Dawn’s family. In exchange, Lacy Dawn must save the universe.

          Between the zany characters, outlandish scenarios, and heart-breaking believable tragedy, “Rarity” stands out as one of the most memorable and unique books I’ve ever read. I’ve been informed that Mr. Eggleton has revised certain aspects of the book, so the version you read might be a bit different than the one I reviewed, but I promise it’s still well worth your time. Please note the content warning on the review.

 

2. Twiceborn by Marina Finlayson

51IKBSPYMHL          Kate O’Connor does her best to continue living after the death of her only son, but when she winds up in a battle for the dragon crown, her efforts to live a normal life gets put on the back burner.

          “Twiceborn” blends the action, magic, and adventure of YA fantasy and the personal struggle of more adult-centered fiction. The resulting story is an exciting journey that you won’t be quick to forget or put down. I personally enjoyed the wide array of folkloric creatures that prowl the pages. It’s rare that an author includes so many diverse beings without the book feeling crowded, by Finlayson does a great job.

 

3. Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

51xlqnu7xml         Cameron never imagined that time travel was possible, until a college professor shows him that it is, giving Cameron the opportunity to save the love of his life.

          John A. Heldt is such a treasure. I’m not usually a fan of romance, but he’s easily one of the best authors I’ve discovered this year. “Indiana Belle” really showcases his strengths, making it my favorite novel of his that I’ve read so far. He brings the past to life with pinpoint accuracy and vibrate scenery, his characters are charming and memorable, and the stories are impossible to pull away from. If you love romance and/or history, “Indiana Belle” is a must read.

 

4. This Crazy Infection by Kaylim

51dudwx5ydl-_sy346_        Interstellar playgirl Myrha is just looking to get away a while. A cooky host, weird campers, a hot android, and flesh-eating zombies weren’t part of her promised vacation package, but that’s what she got.

          I love this novella so much. When ever I’m feeling down, I always come back to it. The writing is great, the story is hilarious, and the characters are a lot of fun. It also includes a great gay protagonist, which I feel is rare when looking for cheap self-published works. So, if you’re a fan of works like “Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy,” or are looking for more LGBT+ representation I highly recommend checking this one out.

 

5. Heart of Earth by Mark Laporta

511litsn4ml          After selling top-secret information to intergalactic warlords, Ixdahan Daherek is exiled to Earth and doomed to live as a human teenager. Just as he’s getting used to humanity’s strange customs and walking on two legs, his mistakes come back to bite him.

          This is another one that I absolutely love. Between watching Daherek adjust to Earth and his efforts to save the world, this book is a lot of fun. Laporta knows how to craft a story that’s equal parts hilarity, adventure, and heart. I can’t wait to see more of Daherek in the coming years with the continuation of his series.

 

6. Let There be Linda by Rich Leder

LetThereBeLinda      Life gets hard for brothers Mike and Dan when their mother dies suddenly. A girl claiming to breathe the dead back to life seems like the answer to their problem, but dealing with the colorful cast of characters that come with her, including a comedian cop, a coked-up dentist, and a reanimated poodle, just might be too high of a price.

       Rich Leder is easily on of the best authors I discovered this year. His books are zany, hilarious, creative and human in surprisingly equal measure. “Let There be Linda” showcases that all perfectly and I can’t wait to have the time to read it again. If you like darker humor or are looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, Leder is definitely your guy, whether you decide to go with “Let There be Linda” or one of his many other works.

 

7. Moonchild by Kate L. Mary

519zBDCvYyL          All Scarlett wants to do is survive, but when her best friend is kidnapped, she has to put her own safety and that of her friends aside. When she enlists a band of airship pirates for help, including the dashing Asher Kimura, her years of solitude and single-minded survival begin to fall away.

          I don’t even know where to start with this book since there’s so much to like. The story is captivating, the world building incredible, and the characters are a lot of fun, especially Asher. I also love that it has enough action and adventure for any YA fantasy fan, but it’s mature enough to capture New Adult readers as well. It’s a unique and enjoyable read and I highly recommend it to fans of either genre.

 

8. Twice Upon a Time edited by Joshua Allen Mercier

61wy8hnhlzl          Fairy tales often have dark roots and fables can sometimes end in tragedy. These roads and many more, most which are as dark as they captivating, are explored at great length in this collection of short stories by writers both experienced and new.

          I love folklore and fairy tales. The hold so much possibility depending on who decides to reinterpret them and which angles they decide to explore. “Twice Upon a Time” does a brilliant job collecting stories that breath life into timeless tales and new ones that could one day be timeless. It’s a great read for those who love darker fantasy and/or shorter fiction.

 

9. Pilgrimage by Carl Purcell

51xzcodflgl          Roland and Griffith are probably the most unlikely companions in Australia. One is a young optimistic man claiming to be a sorcerer and the other is a washed up loner who wants to drink his days away in peace. When they start making magical enemies, however, they’ll have to worth together to survive their road trip to Salem.

        Between it’s complex characters, simple yet fun plot, and exciting blend of magic and adventure, “Pilgrimage” is definitely one of the most memorable books I’ve read this year. It blends elements of fantasy with believable real-world dilemmas to create a unique read for any adult who grew up reading magical adventures.

 

10. Mutation by Nerys Wheatley

Mutaion          Just as the world is recovering from the horrors of the zombie virus, a new strand threatens to bring humanity back to a halt. It’s up to Alex, a virus survivor, to put an end to it before it spreads beyond his city.

          You might be burnt out on zombies by now, but trust me, “Mutation” is worth shaking off the zombie-frenzy fatigue and checking out.  The writing is superb, the story is exciting, and the characters are thoroughly enjoyable. Even the ones off their rockers. Even if you’re not a fan of zombies, “Mutation” is such a fun ride even if you’re a fantasy/sci-fi fan in the least.

 

  So, there they are, folks. I hope you found a title or two to take with you into the New Year. I know I already have a few.

  Thank you everyone who found this little blog and gave it a chance. I’ve learned a lot since April and can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store, both in terms of books and this blog itself. Happy New Year!

Moonchild-Kate L. Mary

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Moonchild-Kate L. Mary

Plot: 4/5       Characters: 4/5       Writing: 5/5       Entertainment: 5/5       World Building: 5/5

With its captivating setting, riveting plot, and heart-pounding action, “Moonchild” is a much needed breath of fresh air in the world of YA fantasy. I’d say the same in the context of New Adult fantasy as well since the novel teeters between the two, which works to its benefit. Whichever age bracket you want to put it is, mature YA or NA, “Moonchild” is an original, creative, and exciting read whether you’re familiar with the world of steampunk or not.

Scarlett Moon lives on the streets of a world where computers are a sin and airship rule the skies. Those in control are controlled in turn by corruption. Those who go against them are sent to the coal mines to pay for their crimes. When her best friend, Rory, meets such a fate, Scarlett’s life begins to crumble. Even after she and the rest of her friends are rescued by a band of coal-smuggling pirates, Scarlett finds it hard to fix the invisible walls she has built to protect herself. Among the pirates is the dashing Asher Kimura, who only makes Scarlett’s efforts all the more difficult. When she discovers that there might be a way to save Rory, Scarlett will have to put her friend’s life before her own, even if it means leaving herself vulnerable to Asher’s charm and affection.

There’s so much great stuff in this book that it’s hard to know where to begin.

For starters, the setting is a lot of fun. It blends steampunk and the post-apocalyptic genres together seamlessly and brings something new to both categories, which is refreshing seeing as the post-apocalyptic side has been sufficiently milked. The world that Scarlett inhibits is so vast and vivid that it lends itself to a lot of future stories and creative set ups. The characters that inhibit this world are fantastic as well. While not the most memorable, they all offer something important in every scene they’re in. If they’re not moving the story forward, they’re offering insight about the world around them, providing foils to other characters, or helping to build conflict. They each have a job and they execute it perfectly.

I liked Asher in particular.  It takes about two paragraphs to figure out that he’s going to be Scarlett’s love interest, but Mary does a wonderful job making him just as believable and likeable as Scarlett. If anything, he’s more believable and likeable than Scarlett, but I’ll talk about her soon enough. I especially like the way Mary uses Asher to explore some mature themes that you wouldn’t expect from a book like this. That little detail gives “Moonchild” a depth that transcends its genre and intended age group (even if that detail is still a little fuzzy).

The main conflict ensnared me from start and I was thankful for the route it took. In the first few chapters, I was worried that “Moonchild” was going to be another “Hunger Games”/“Divergent” clone, but despite its small scale in comparison to the rest of this new world, it proved to be exciting, captivating, and emotionally gripping, much to my surprise. That is due in no small part to the magnificent writing. Both the narration and the dialogue do a great job introducing the reader to both the world and the characters. Despite the newness of it all, nothing feels like exposition. Everything feels like natural storytelling. The entirebook flows like a bullet train heading for a destination you can’t wait to reach, even if the scenery outside is immensely enjoyable.

Despite all of “Moonchild’s” strengths, its protagonist, Scarlett, was rather disappointing. To be fair, she really shines in the action scenes. She’s a headstrong force to be reckoned with and has no trouble getting her hands dirty. In the quiet moments, however, she begins to fall apart. She suffers from that “strong female character” syndrome where “strong and confident” is confused for “emotionless and cold.” Normally I’d shrug it off, but she’s so incredibly bad at it that she started to get on my nerves. She spouts Queen Elsa-esque rhetoric of “Conceal, don’t feel,” but she never seems to follow it. She’s constantly letting her negative feelings color how she sees people and situations and ends up making bad choices because of them. If she were fifteen or sixteen, I might have just made a footnote about the discrepancy, but she’s nineteen. If she’s going to give into emotionally-driven recklessness, Mary should have just called it than rather than hide it behind the need for a “strong female character.” It would have made Scarlett a bit more mature and likeable.

Thankfully, Scarlett is only one piece of an otherwise expertly crafted novel and I won’t deny that she could mature over the course of future novels (which I would love to read, just so you know, Kate L. Mary).

As a whole, “Moonchild” is brilliant. The world is fascinating and vibrant, the characters are enjoyable, the conflict will have you desperate to see the end, and the brilliantly written first-person narrative is worth taking a look at in and of itself. If you’re a long-time fan of steampunk, post-apocalypses, mature YA and NA, or even if you’re new to all of it, I highly suggest you pick up “Moonchild” and get swept away on an air ship. I’m sure it’ll be an adventure.

 

Originally posted on tabbyafae.com on August 20, 2016