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Review: ‘Gravity’ by Melissa West

Genre: Young Adult / Sci-fi / Romance 
Length: 400 pages (approx.)

This is book 1 in the Taking series. 

I have awarded this book 3 stars.

Summary: In the future, only one rule will matter: Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

Review: I did enjoy reading this book, though it is not without it’s faults.

To begin with, I found this book a little difficult to get into.  There’s quite a lot of information delivered in the prologue that I found hard to get my head around (though that could be because I don’t read much sci-fi). The world that Melissa West has created, however, was so bizarre and intriguing that I had to keep reading. The author does a good job of conveying Ari’s fear of ‘the taking’ (which I would have liked more information about), both in the prologue when she is a child and at the beginning of the book when she is a teenager. Unfortunately, the book felt like it was written in two parts at times, and I wonder if the author should have considered making it into two books. I found myself losing focus during the middle of the book, though the ending is very fast-paced and I was quickly drawn back in.

I really enjoyed the mix between the history of the world, the science of the aliens (known as Ancients) and the action of the plot, and found it fascinating learning about the differences between the humans and the Ancients and the reason behind ‘the taking’. However, there were details that felt a bit unconvincing to me, which did impact on my enjoyment a bit. The technology that is frequently mentioned in the book is never really explained and I found myself guessing what it was or looked like a lot of the time. The reason that the Ancients came to Earth was completely unbelievable to me and felt almost as if the author has included this as an afterthought. The same can be said with the food pill explanation, in my opinion. Also, there was an instance where Ari shocks Gretchen, her best friend, which confused me a little (again, I don’t want to spoil anything) and really wasn’t explained well.

I found the love aspects a little unconvincing, too. I felt that Ari trusted Jackson too quickly and that their relationship started too quickly. After all, they are supposed to be rivals and have been all their lives. Also, Ari never seems to be disgusted that she has fallen for an Ancient, even though she has grown up both fearing and hating them. There is another love story in the book (that I won’t go into as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone) that I felt should have been developed a little further. It felt very sudden and there doesn’t seem to be any clues until nearly the end of the book.

★★★ – An interesting concept. I enjoyed reading this and quickly got sucked into the story, though there were quite a few aspects that were unbelievable or not explained well enough

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Hybrid’ by Vanessa Wester

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Young Adult
Length: 321 pages (approx.)

I have awarded this book 3 stars.

[Hybrid is Book 1 in the Evolution trilogy.]

Summary: Stephen Thorn has no trouble settling in during his first week of university. Having been at boarding school since he was eight years old, why should he? Happy to keep to himself, he is not interested in making friends. However, when he runs into Caitlin – literally – he decides that she is definitely one person than he wants to know. Due to a tragic event, Caitlin takes a break from university and Stephen is left alone. Waiting for Caitlin’s return, Stephen has a chance encounter with a girl named Ingrid that will change his life forever. What does he learn that will have this effect? Read to find out.

Review: It took me a while to get into this book, especially as the prologue felt completely unrelated to begin with (though it became clearer with later events). About half way through I found myself interested to know how the story would pan out and eager to learn more about the world that was being described. For the most part, I enjoyed the world that Vanessa Wester has created, though I have to say that I did find some parts to be unbelievable and over-the-top, and other parts occurred too quickly without enough explanation. For this reason, I have given this book a rating of 3 stars.

I feel that, most of the time, Vanessa Wester did a good job of weaving background information into the plot, though there were also parts that felt a bit clumsy to me. On the whole, the characters were well developed and the dialogue was believable, though I did struggle to believe some of the actions of the characters. Although there were parts that did not work for me, including the twist at the end, all in all I found this to be a promising debut novel and an interesting concept.

★★★ – a promising debut novel and an interesting concept. Unfortunately, I found some parts to be unbelievable and without enough explanation. Character actions were also a little unbelievable at times. 

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon UK (Paperback)
Amazon US (Kindle)
Amazon US (Paperback)

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Review: ‘Awesome Allshorts’ anthology.

Length: 170 pages (approx.)
Genre: Anthology / Short Story / Fiction

Awesome-Allshorts_72I have awarded this collection 3 stars.

Summary: This is a collection of short stories from ‘Awesome Indies’, featuring the works of 21 authors.This collection features stories from different genres and of different lengths.

Review: I didn’t really get on with this collection. Rather than being a collection of short stories, it read more like a collection of excerpts, which annoyed me a little. Not all stories felt like this, though. My favourites were ‘Home Late’, ‘Pearls’ and ‘Smilin’ Mike’. I also found ‘The Old Guy’ and ‘I, Zombie’ to be interesting reads, though they did feel a little like excerpts.

★★★ – A collection of short stories that read more like a collection of excerpts. I did, however, enjoy a few of the stories.

Where to buy: 
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Crossfire’ by Andrea Domanski

Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Paranormal
Length: 280 pages (approx.)

I have awarded this book 3 stars.

Summary: Mirissa Colson hasn’t seen her mum since she walked out on her and her father. So, when her mum sends her a birthday present on her eighteenth birthday, she is, understandably, confused. However, she wasn’t prepared for this present to turn her life upside down. Thrown into a world that most people think exists only in stories, Mirissa quickly has to learn how to defend herself. What is this family secret? Why did her mum leave? Who does she have to fight?

Review: I found this book to be a largely enjoyable read. There was plenty of action and the plot was interesting. I enjoyed reading about the world that Mirissa had been thrown into. I also found Mirissa’s father, Steve, to be a greatly lovable character. However, I felt that the main character, Mirissa, was too accepting of the situations she found herself in. As this book is the first book in the Omega Group series, the story was, for the most part, set up well.  Also, I felt that some things could have been explained better. I did think that the writing flowed nicely, though, so I would recommend this book.

★★★ – an interesting idea that I found largely enjoyable to read. I found the main character to be too accepting of situations and thought some things could have been explained a little more. The writing flowed nicely, so I would still recommend it.

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Friend Request’ by David Wailing

Genre: Sci-fi
Length: 66 pages

I have awarded this short story 3 stars.

Summary: Friend Request is the third instalment in the Auto series, set in the year 2022, and tells the story of Nick Brady. As the title suggests, this story revolves around a friend request that Nick receives. However, this is not an ordinary friend request – this profile of this person claims to be dating Nick’s wife. Imagine the shock when preparing for your anniversary party, you get a piece of information that turns your life upside down!

Review: While I did enjoy this story, and found it just as creepy as the others in the series (how soon before this becomes our world?!), I found myself being too distracted by the description of how each bit of technology works. I understand that the author probably did this so that his work would appeal to everyone, not just the tech-savvy, but I felt that these descriptions took my attention away from the story. I wouldn’t say that this was a bad point, just something that I didn’t like. I would still recommend this story.

Other than that, I enjoyed the story. I was left wondering what the result would be of the chaos that ensued at the party, and whether his wife was really dating someone while married to Nick. The characters were relatable and I found myself really feeling sorry for Nick. The story flowed just as well as previous instalments and was just as well written. It was also engaging and thought-provoking, while being incredibly creepy at the same time! Just how much does technology actually know? Does it have a mind of its own?

★★★ – Engaging, thought-provoking and very creepy! Definitely recommended!

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)