Shovel Ready (Spademan #1) by Adam Sternbergh

 

Shovel Ready (Spademan, #1)

An addictive genre-blend of a thriller: the immersive sci-fi of Ernest Cline; the hard-boiled rhythms of Don Winslow; the fearless bravado of Chuck Palahniuk; and the classic noir of James M. Cain

Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a bombed-out shell of its former self. Now he’s a hitman.

In a New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap into” a sophisticated virtual reality for months at a time and those left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. His clients like that he doesn’t ask questions, that he works quickly, and that he’s handy with a box cutter. He finds that killing people for money is not that different from collecting trash, and the pay is better. His latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist. Finding her is easy, but the job quickly gets complicated: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has an agenda far beyond a simple kill. Now Spademan must navigate the dual levels of his world-the gritty reality and the slick fantasy-to finish the job, to keep his conscience clean, and to stay alive.

Adam Sternbergh has written a dynamite debut: gritty, violent, funny, riveting, tender, and brilliant.

(via Goodreads)

I could take or leave this book. The blurb on the cover promised a white hot ride of a story and it fell far short (for me). I didn’t connect with the main character at all, even when his back story is revealed. I just did not believe he could go from a mild mannered joe to an assassin. And how are people getting his number if he is constantly throwing out sim cards and phones?

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The world of the story is set in New York after a series of bombings. Residents who remain immerse themselves into the ‘limnosphere’, a virtual reality world where they stay for days, months or years. Nurses attend their withering bodies and give them liquids, meds etc.

 nurse GIFThe more money you have, the more decadent your VR bed, and the more security you have on your detail. The tourist meccas are the worst hit and appear to require a Geiger counter to enter, but no one seems to really care if it’s causing them harm.

Our female lead Persephone/Grace, is an evangelist’s daughter who runs away from home, her path crossing with our assassin. I found their connection a little odd, forced somewhat. I don’t know if that was intended, but I felt it an awkward pairing. I also didn’t really understand how everyone is so quick to kill. It was almost as if no one really knew what world they lived in.

This is the first in a series and, although a relatively short book, I’m not going to actively seek out book two. I don’t really know where else you could go with this story.

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2.5/5

 

 

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Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern

28116714Celestine North is Flawed.

Ever since Judge Crevan declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick, the only person she can trust. 

But Celestine has a secret—one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing. 

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.

(via Goodreads)

Perfect is book two in the Flawed series by Cecelia Ahern. Directly following on from book one, Perfect rejoins Celestine on her mission to have her brands removed and sentence overturned. There is not much telling when catching us up on the story, which was good. Despite the events of the first novel, I feel like Celestine is still naïve. She is still relying on others to tell her what to do. And it takes until two thirds of the way through the book before she starts relying on herself.

Celestine’s feelings for Carrick are slightly obsessive. And her feelings for Art interfering in her relationship with Carrick just turned it into a somewhat love triangle, which I loathe. I got tired of her constantly saying Art was a good person, when his actions consistently showed he wasn’t. The last minute turn in his character was too convenient. I think Celestine would have grown more as a character if Art had been a bad guy.

During the book we meet a number of evaders who are in hiding from the Whistle-blowers. I got a ‘Stepford Wives’ vibe from them. The confessions of the flawed, and Carricks’s parent’s admission that they were found flawed because they were anti-vaxxers, I didn’t feel endeared to them or sympathetic. I perceived the author put this in there to make a point about accepting people’s different opinions, but it failed for me. It is a stupid and dangerous thing to even be perceived as supporting.

I felt the end was too neatly wound up. For something so big, it just seemed to end with a wrap up and it was over. With that said, I don’t think there would be enough material for a third book, unless the guild kept going, or there was an uprising. Although, I did like Celestine in the last quarter of the book. I liked that she marched to her own drum and did what her gut told her. It made for a much better character.

3/5

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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The saga that began with breakout bestseller Illuminae continues aboard Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station commander’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station crew one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon, Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

(via Goodreads)

I really enjoyed this book, as much as Illuminae. I think it has a lot to do with the female leads in the stories. Not to say the men aren’t entertaining and relateable, but these books have such a strong female lead that is refreshing compared to some other YA novels I’ve been reading of late (I’m looking at you, Lily from Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares!).

Onto our main Image result for gemina hannah donnellycharacter Hannah Donnelly. The daughter of the Captain, she is thrust into saving her world from infiltrators and a wormhole with it’s own issues. I was very pleased she wasn’t a carbon copy of Kady  Grant (Illuminae). Where Kady was tech-savvy, Hannah has a physicality about her that makes her actions in the book believable.

Her counterpart, Nik Malikov, is an alleged gangster who is always in trouble. But as we expect, there is more to him than meets the eye. Gemina does a good job of unravelling his back story slowly. And I liked the outcome. It wasn’t a cop out, or frustrating.

Kaufman and Kristoff have built an amazing and intricate world for this series. Gemina and Illuminae, though focusing on different characters and ships, do tie in to one another.  And we can’t have a review without mentioning the original text layout, the art work, the dossiers. It makes a very large book a quick read. And it’s always fun to have to turn the book upside down to read the next line 🙂

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I recommend this to lovers of YA and Science Fiction. A well written ‘space opera’ and I am looking forward to Obsidio (what’s going to happen??!!).

4.5/5

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Image result for the young elites book coverI am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

(via Goodreads)

I enjoyed this story. The world building reminded me of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy and Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorn and Roses. Adelina is a survivor of the blood fever that gave her powers yet disfigured her beyond repair. Since she was a small child, her father treated her with cruelty to try and bring forth her powers.

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Adelina is found by a group of powered people named ‘The Young Elites’ who are vying to overthrown the throne and liberate the survivors of the blood fever from being treated as second class citizens. But Adelina feels a darkness inside of her, she feels it growing daily, and wonders if she indeed is the monster they believe her to be.

Adelina’s arc reminds me of the Anakin Skywalker character arc (pre Darth Vader, obviously). It made me wonder if book two will see her becoming really dark. I was so keen to know more at the end of this book, I put a hold on the sequel at my library. I am looking forward to reading it.

If you like Leigh Bardugo or Sarah J Maas, you will like this story. I also recommend it to anyone who likes YA novels.

4/5

The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

What if you 31567282only had 3 minutes to save your own life and the clock is already counting down…

Three minutes.
Nessa, Megan and Anto know that any day now they wake up alone in a horrible land and realise they’ve been Called.

Two minutes.
Like all teenagers they know that they’ll be hunted down and despite all their training only 1 in 10 will survive.

One minute.
And Nessa can’t run, her polio twisted legs mean she’ll never survive her Call will she?

Time’s up.

(via Goodreads)

I purchased this book for my YA Book Club Halloween meeting.

This book’s blurb is intriguing and I was a keen to see what this was all about. So, imagine my disappointment when I began reading and there were smatterings of ‘No one knew this event would haunt them for the rest of their lives’ telling. For the first 50 pages I found the story laborious, two-dimensional and, in parts, predictable.

After about 50 pages I warmed to Nessa a little, and continued on with the story. I found some of the supporting characters fun (Meaghan!) and our villainesque Connor was nasty enough for the reader to champion any pain or death that may come to him. 30292413

I wish Nessa had been more of a leading character in this book. I found her lacking at times. Yes, I know she is differently abled and I know everyone discounts her, and that infuriates her. But what else, Nessa? People are more than the limitations of their body or station/place of birth. And if Nessa were real, I think she’d say that too.

With that said, what’s good about this book is that it’s an easy read and an interesting take on the dystopian genre. The Call left me wanting more. I understand at this time it is a standalone, but I wanted to know more about this world. I wanted to understand more of the conflict and how the world became what it is.

Not terrifying, slightly unsettling (for me). I’d recommend it for those who like YA.

3/5

May Wrap Up & June TBR

I read more than I thought I did in May, especially with a death in the family and a mini-reading slump. My ratings below:

  1. The Girl in 6E by A R Torre star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  2. Dark Moon by C W Holcomb star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  3. The Masterpiecers by Olivia Wildenstein star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  4. Rogue Planet by Steven M Moore star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  6. For Fallon by Soraya Naomi star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  7. Half Bad by Sally Green star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  8. The Yearbook Committe by Sarah Ayoub star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  9. Hidden Monster by Amanda Strong star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  10. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  11. Walking Dead vols 17 – 18 by Robert Kirkman star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  12. Cold Stone and Ivy by Leighton H Dickson star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  13. Flawed by Cecelia Ahern star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592
  14. Red Rising by Pierce Brown star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592star_PNG1592

My June TBR is heavy on! So much to get through this month but I am looking forward to it.

Rogue Planet by Steven M Moore

29767316Hidden away from near-Earth planets in remote spiral arms of the Galaxy are Human worlds that have lost contact with more progressive worlds and reverted to strange and primitive customs and traditions, their leaders using religion, superstition, and imported technologies to rule in tyranny. Survey ships explored and catalogued these planets as suitable for future colonization centuries earlier, but groups with a special interest in ensuring a homogeneous and often despotic society didn’t bother applying for permission to colonize.

Following the ITUIP (Interstellar Trade Union of Independent Planets) Protocol, ships are restricted to observe and maintain a hands-off policy for these rogue planets, even when there is great temptation to intervene. Eden, where a theocracy rules with an iron fist, is such a planet. A group of rebels struggles to end the oppressive regime to forge a new future.

Set in the same universe as the “Chaos Chronicles Trilogy” and the Dr. Carlos stories, this saga, mixing the best of hard sci-fi and swashbuckling fantasy, once again explores the never-ending battle between good and evil so prominent in the author’s works. It’s another surprising and entertaining addition to his already extensive collection of sci-fi, mystery, and thriller tales.

(via Goodreads)

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

An interesting concept let down by a lot of telling and not showing. Moore obviously reads widely and enjoys story-telling. However, there were so many little errors and cliched moments that it brought the story down.

2/5