Book Reviews: Axiom – The Last Hope by Rachel Marie Pearcy

I highly recommend this book. My review below contains spoilers, but if you like lesbians in space then this is the book for you. Pearcy is an excellent writer and her characters are fantastic. 

***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR AXIOM: THE LAST HOPE***

It’s been a while since I read a story so compelling I didn’t want to put it down.

Pearcy creates a dystopian world full of fear. A world where biological warfare and a war-ravaged Earth forced everyone to flee to the moon under a tyrannical regime.

Ella and Carly are incredible and interesting characters and the friends they make along that way that both accept them and abhor them make this book so complex and wonderful.

Every twist and turn brought new insight into the characters and Pearcy fleshes them out really well.

I will say there were a few times where I felt like Pearcy fell into some issues with stereotypes. Mainly when Ella and Carly speak ill of STEM subjects like math and science while their male counterparts excel at them.

And again, when Paige is made out to be a shrill mean girl with no redemption arc. I understand that Paige was a strong candidate for that arc while her counterpart and husband, Phillip, was easier to redeem just in time to save everyone in the end. However, those are the small nitpicky things I have to say.

The relationship between the two main characters is heartwarming and fantastically written. Pearcy is a compelling own voices author of lesbian romance, not to mention she truly captures the fear of abandonment and judgment people in the LGBT community can feel when outing themselves to their peers.

Carly is exceptionally well-written and Ella is an excellent narrator.

I am a little sad Ella never gets to see her parents again even once everyone is settled in their new roles, but the ending was so sweet and amazing I’m willing to overlook that little tidbit.

I can’t help but think her dad would have made an excellent grandfather, though.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a truly compelling coming of age story that takes place on the moon.

More about Axiom: The Last Hope

Finally, all parts of the Axiom Series come together in one book.

Generations ago, the human species was driven to the brink of extinction, forcing those who remained to flee to the city of Axiom; a utopian paradise where all your decisions are made for you. The house you live in, your occupation, and even your marriage arrangement are all regulated by the Assembly, leaving the pressures of free will far behind you.

As Annabella Bower enters her last year of schooling, and the final step to adulthood, she’s blissfully unaware of the horrors her perfect city hides, but all that’s about to change. A spark between ‘Ella’ and her new dorm-mate Carly turns her world upside down and opens her eyes to the harsh reality around them.

Suddenly she can see students are dying, there’s a rebel group rising outside the school walls, and if anyone discovers her relationship with Carly, the consequences are dire. With graduation quickly approaching, Ella will have to make the hardest decision of her life- either continue to follow the laws of Axiom or give up everything for love.

Get your copy of Axiom on Amazon

Book Reviews: Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

Most of you know that Scott Westerfeld is my favorite author. I post about him constantly on my social media and tweet at him and I’ve even been retweeted by him. Twice. 

So it should come as no surprise that I devoured his new book.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about a new series set in the Uglies universe. I thought the original trilogy was okay. I wasn’t even really a huge fan of Extras. I hardly even remember reading it save for the bits about Tally and a few of the more outrageous body mods.

On page one, I was apprehensive. Then I realized, without even noticing I’d somehow read 50 pages. Then another 50. And another 50 until it was suddenly 5am and I forgot to sleep. 

I was so interested in Rafi and Frey and their story and their sisterhood that I literally forgot to sleep. I’m a grown adult. I have a JOB. I had family in town from 3,000 miles away. But I literally couldn’t put this book down. 

The romance was great too. Scott Westerfeld is to date the only author who can get me to read and enjoy straight romance. This man is magic. But in all truthfulness, the way Scott gets me to read these kinds of things is by never once making the relationship or romance the sole plot of the story. 

Romance can be a bit nausea-making for me. Especially where purple prose is concerned, but Scott has a way of toning all of that down and focusing on his characters and making them so undeniably real you start to feel connected to them. 

This was a great read. It brought me back to 13 years ago when I read the first Uglies novel. When I became so connected to Tally’s story and her world that I devoured every book Scott Westerfeld has ever written. Frey and Rafi are so compelling as characters that it leaves me wanting more. 

Their story sparked something in me. I cannot wait to read more of this series and to see what else Scott Westerfeld has up his sleeve. 

More about Impostors

Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But Frey’s very existence is a secret.

Frey is Rafi’s twin sister and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must.

When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor as poised and charming as her sister. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As the deal starts to crumble, Frey must decide if she can trust him with the truth . . . and if she can risk becoming her own person.

With Impostors, master storyteller Scott Westerfeld returns with a new series set in the world of his mega-bestselling Uglies a world full of twist and turns, rebellion and intrigue, where any wrong step could be Frey’s last.

Buy it here on Amazon

Book Reviews: Corin by Ava Burkhart

The writing needs a lot of work, but for a debut short story, this was fairly good. I couldn’t really get a grasp on the characters or the world they lived in, so honestly, from my viewpoint, it could have been longer. I’m not a huge fan of vampires, but I do like supporting lesbian romance. However, I think the romance between Corin and Lindsay moved very quickly. I know there’s a lot of joking in lesbian culture about how lesbian relationships move very fast, but I find it hard to believe that Lindsay would have chosen Corin over her mother after hardly knowing her for a few weeks.

There were a lot of things I felt were detrimental to the story. There isn’t enough description or time to grow to like the characters. Magical realms need time to be set up, there’s a lot of world building required to write these kinds of stories. Also, the way the book was designed left a lot to be desired. You shouldn’t have both a paragraph indentation and a double space between every paragraph. It looks bad.

All in all, I did enjoy the story. There’s nothing like a heartwarming lesbian story about two unlikely people falling in love, but I hope in the future Burkhart will continue to grow and persevere to make their writing better. I know from experience how hard it can be to publish something on your own without an editor, cover designer, or someone to format your book.

You’ve made incredible strides, Ava. I wish you all the best and may your stories become even better moving forward. I’ll be watching and keeping up with your work. One LGBT author to another, we need all the support we can get. 

More about Corin

The daughter of a vampire hunter falls in love with the same vampire her mother is hunting. Lindsay and Corin are soon forced to pretend to be dating to keep her mother off their trail.
A pulpy, cheesy novella about useless lesbians in love. 

READ IT NOW ON AMAZON

Book Review: The Unfortunate Expiration of David S. Sparks by William F. Aicher

From start to finish, this book is a complete science fiction masterpiece. I was hooked right away. Science fiction is one of my all-time favorite genres and William Aicher knows exactly what he’s doing. 

He creates a world where David S. Sparks is dropped, with no memories, into a very dangerous place. He meets what is essentially a terrorist, who befriends him and takes him on a long journey through some really interesting places (as you can see I’m trying not to spoil anything). 

There is a lot of things that are super creepy and somewhat gross that happen to David on his journey, but they make the story so much better. There’s all this action and adventure and mishaps in this world David knows nothing about.

There’s a huge reveal about ¾ of the way through that I never saw coming. And, to be honest, I have a really easy time guessing plot points. The fact that William Aicher managed to keep me in the dark until he was ready for me to know that information is incredible. I actually had to stop reading for a few days to recover. 

The prose and overall writing structure of David Sparks flows so smoothly from one idea and one chapter to the next. The writing is incredible and so professional. This has got to be in my top 5 favorite books I’ve read this year. 

Great job, William, I look forward to reading more from you.

MORE ON DAVID SPARKS AND WHERE TO BUY

Who is David S. Sparks? Where is David S. Sparks? When is David S. Sparks?

In the aftermath of The Chemical Wars, nature has reclaimed humanity’s infrastructure. This world, lush with life – yet dangerously uninhabitable for mankind – houses the remaining population who ekes out an existence in quarantined cities anchored off the mainland.

David S. Sparks awakens into the chaos of this future world, unsure of his place in a reality wildly different from his fragmented memories. As the desire to retake the planet swells, so too does the question of how. Will the same mistakes be repeated? Can technology beat nature, or is it time for another approach? And what is David Sparks’ role in it all?

Dive into a wild, mind-bending journey as one man chases the ultimate question of self, discovering the truly elusive nature of reality. 

Buy DAVID SPARKS on AMAZON.

Top 10 Books I Read in 2018

These are in no particular order, haha. Just 10 books I read this year that I really, REALLY liked. (LGBT Titles are marked because y’all know I’m tryinna sell those the most).

Love From the Barricade by Ashley Jean Granillo

This book was incredible. It took me a few chapters to really get into it, but once I was there I couldn’t put it down. I’ve become very close with Ashley Jean after purchasing and reading Love From the Barricade and I am excited to say she has more in store for next year!

Genre: Romance, Slice of Life

Bravo. This book made me laugh, cry, and just THINK about the kind of life I’ve lead. There are so many quotable moments from this book like Aijae’s words have stuck with me. She’s an incredible character and I’m so glad I’ve had the privilege of knowing her. 

from my official review of Love From the Barricade

The Last Fire Mage by C.M. Lanning

**This title is not available for purchase ATM. I beta’d the release for Lanning prior to it being under contract. It is now under contract with (currently unknown) and will be available in 2020**

Genre: Paranormal, Urban fantasy

Lanning is an excellent storyteller, his writing style, while sometimes a bit crude provides a no-holds-barred look into the lives of Fay and Connor Rosa after the disappearance of their mother. 

from my official review of The Last Fire Mage

Lovely, Dark, & Deep by Justina Chen

This one came as a surprise to me. However, considering I met the author and the woman the book is based on at a panel in Pleasanton, CA I basically fell in love with this book immediately. Justina Chen is a treasure.

Genre: Slice of Life, YA

The way Viola fought her illness, in the beginning, was so real for me. How she didn’t want her life to change, but it just kept changing. It kept getting worse until she fell into letting other people choose things for her, something she was deathly afraid of when her story started.

from my official review of Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

Anyone who knows me is not surprised to see this book make my list. Considering I have read everything this man has ever written and he’s the reason I became an author in the first place.

Genre: Science Fiction, YA

On page one, I was apprehensive. Then I realized, without even noticing I’d somehow read 50 pages. Then another 50. And another 50 until it was suddenly 5am and I forgot to sleep. 

I was so interested in Rafi and Frey and their story and their sisterhood that I literally forgot to sleep. I’m a grown adult. I have a JOB. I had family in town from 3,000 miles away. But I literally couldn’t put this book down. 

from my official review of Impostors

Deadline by Stephanie Ahn

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE. One of my absolute favorites, tbh. Stephanie Ahn is an Urban Fantasy genius. She’s incredible and a force to be reckoned with. It takes a lot for me to be reduced to a rabid fangirl after one read, but Ahn really does it for me.

Genre: Urban fantasy, Paranormal

This book is so impossibly good. I love Harry and Luce and Miri and AUGH THIS IS SO GOOD. I’m so glad I found this. I’m so sorry I’m not being super eloquent but oh my god this book was so exciting. I loved the demons and everything. I just have so many feelings about how great this book is. Thank you for writing it.

my official review of Deadline

A Closed and Common Orbit Becky Chambers

THIS IS AN LGBT TRANS/GENDER QUEER TITLE. Oh man, this one took me by surprise. I loved the first book in the series, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. It was an incredible LGBT Read with an f/f and poly romance.

The second one continues with the LGBT representation. It is a truly incredible book.

Genre: Science fiction, slice of life

I absolutely adored the first book in this series and the second was also incredible. The story it tells about Lovey’s journey to accept herself and what it was like for Pepper to grow up as a discarded clone was heartbreaking and incredible. 

from my review of A Closed and Common Orbit

Soul Echo: Discovery by Lisa Stapleton

Lisa Stapleton is an incredible author and one of my best friends. Soul Echo: Discovery is a FANTASTIC read. It even features LGBT elements, but I wouldn’t call it a full-blown LGBT novel.

Genre: Science fiction, romance

I just wanted to sing my praises for Bonnie and Camilla. Even though I didn’t really like Camilla that much, or well, I should say I couldn’t relate to her.

However, I feel like Bonnie and Cam could DEF relate to each other. And I ship them now.

from my official review of Soul Echo: Discovery

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE! It wouldn’t be a top 10 list from me without Malinda Lo on it. Other than Scott Westerfeld, she has to be my favorite traditionally published author. And she is definitely my favorite traditional LGBT author.

Genre: Thriller, YA

Malinda Lo does an excellent job of capturing what its like to be a creative teen. She is also incredible at writing thrillers. Every step of the way, her story has dark and unexpected twists and turns. I would definitely recommend this book! And I have. I absolutely love all of Lo’s work. She’s an incredible LGBT writer.

My official review of A Line in the Dark

Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

THIS IS AN LGBT M/M TITLE! I suggest this book to any of my friends who even slightly like m/m as well as great Urban Fantasy. A really great read, truly.

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year. I recommend it to every single person I know who even vaguely likes M/M. This was actually a huge inspiration for my Marjorie Diaz series and holy cow this book is incredible.

The prose and characterization are insanely good. The story kept me guessing and kept me entertained from the beginning to the end. Incredible novel. Truely incredible.

My official review of Wonders of the Invisible World

Axiom: The Last Hope by Rachel Marie Pearcy

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE. Tbh this is how I want all of my science fiction books to be from now on. This book was fantastic.

Genre: Science fiction, Romance

It’s been awhile since I read a story so compelling I didn’t want to put it down.

Pearcy creates a dystopian world full of fear. A world where biological warfare and a war-ravaged Earth forced everyone to flee to the moon under a tyrannical regime.

from my review of Axiom: The Last Hope

Book Review: Distant Memories by J.L. Keathley

At first glance, Distant Memories seems a little strange. It isn’t your typical impeccably edited novel, but instead J.L Keathley chooses to work outside of the novel standard and write a book with mistakes. This, is a style choice and an incredible one at that.

The story follows Jade, a teenager who lives in Texarkana, Arkansas. She’s your typical, All-American teen who lives with her friendly and wonderful grandmother and has the best of best friends. The book is told from her point of view and very much reads like a teenager’s diary. 

In the beginning, the book is slow, but once it comes time for Jade’s 16th birthday, everything changes very quickly. Jade undergoes an incredible transformation from her human self into something so much more. Her world becomes bigger and brighter and a lot more confusing.

She loses people, she finds people, and she becomes an adult in such a short amount of time. That’s where things get even weirder. J.L Keathley writes this story wonderfully, every single part of it written like a diary entry from Jade’s point of view as she slowly discovers who she really is and what her place is in the world. 

The numerous twists and turns and big reveals had me reeling for the entire book. There is still so much to learn and know about Jade and her new shadow realm family. 

This book is incredible and always left me guessing. The big reveal at the end ALONE was enough to make me shout “WHAT THE HECK!!” angrily at the sky. 

Well done, J.L I cannot wait for the second book, Impossible Decisions, when it is released in 2019. 

You can purchase Distant Memories on Amazon.