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Sunday, January 15, 2023

REVIEW: Defying Gravity: Mary Goss - Episode 1 (Earth's Secret Alliance), by Tony B Richard, with Lydia Payge

Available on Amazon

In 1947, there’s an alien invasion looming and humankind’s best hope is a brilliant nineteen-year-old woman.

When the A-bomb ended the war, with a power unlike anything humans had ever witnessed, Mary Goss was driven to gain the knowledge to prevent another war from ever beginning. Now the Army has come calling, looking for “a few good men” for a top-secret project. Instead, they find that the best and brightest is Mary.

Much to Mary’s horror, the project reveals an alien invasion. Yet at every turn, her efforts to intervene are thwarted by small-minded engineers who can’t look past her gender and age. She’d dealt with her fair share of discrimination in university, but with the fate of the world on the line, there isn’t time to waste on petty differences.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. You can't often tell what you're really going to get from a self-published title, and one only available digitally.

I like alien, first contact stories. I like very much the idea of a young woman with a PhD proving to the "big boys" that she more than knows her stuff. I liked that it was a quick approachable read, and would easily recommend it as a high interest, low lexile read.

The only thing the author could've done more of is more on the science. That's as important as the growth arc for both Mary and her colleagues. 

I think it's billed as being part of a series, but I don't think series is the right word. It's more of a "universe" as I feel like Mary Goss's story stands alone. I do, however, think having read the earlier "episodes" would improve my grasp of the "universe" the author has built.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Tony B Richard and BookSirens and author/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, January 6, 2023

REVIEW: Anne Boleyn, an Illustrated Life of Henry VIII's Queen, by Roland Hui

'If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you, I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours,' - Henry Rex, forever

Written by King Henry VIII to his sweetheart, the seductive and vivacious Anne Boleyn, his passion for her would be so great that Henry would make Anne his queen, and change the course of English history.

But the woman whom Henry had promised to love for all time would go from palace to prison, charged with heinous crimes. Her life ended on a bloody scaffold in the Tower of London.

Explore the incredible story of Anne Boleyn, the most famous and controversial of Henry VIII's six wives, in this exciting new account of her life told in words and pictures.

One of the most concise and approachable biographies I'v read about Anne Boleyn. It's very well done, obviously well-researched, and well-organized. I enjoyed the information about her early years with her family and how she arrived in the situation she was in. I can't say I've read such a clear telling of the dynamics in her family when she was a child.

The illustrations were all black and white (an ARC/Kindle flaw?), but dispersed in a way that wasn't obtrusive and added to the text. The facts shared were done so carefully and with necessary details rather than flowery language. I was also taken by the handful of times that Hui stated "historians originally thought xyz, but now we understand it to be this way instead" (paraphrased).

Quite well done and not a history tome. This is a readable biography that can be completed in a short time.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Pen & Sword History through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Audiobook Review: Cursed, by Marissa Meyer

Adalheid Castle is in chaos.

Following a shocking turn of events, Serilda finds herself ensnared in a deadly game of make-believe with the Erlking, who is determined to propel her deeper into the castle’s lies. Meanwhile, Serilda is determined to work with Gild to help him solve the mystery of his forgotten name and past.

But soon it becomes clear that the Erlking doesn’t only want to use Serilda to bring back his one true love. He also seeks vengeance against the seven gods who have long trapped the Dark Ones behind the veil. If the Erlking succeeds, it could change the mortal realm forever.

Can Serilda find a way to use her storytelling gifts for good–once and for all? And can Serilda and Gild break the spells that tether their spirits to the castle before the Endless Moon finds them truly cursed?

Follow up to Meyer's 2021 book, Gilded, Cursed is the fairty tale retellling I've waited for (why is there no fabulous collection of Rumpelstiltskin retellings?)

The Alder King's Courts, where the new Queen, Serilda, is living a lie. She is not acquiesing to his demands. She's determine to free herself and all those tied to Adelheid Castle.. But the Eriking has a much more evil agenda. Serilda and Gild's characters grow significantly and their relationship deepens. 

The simultaneously stirring and unnerving story of good versus evil, getting darker as it goes, is full of twists, familiar characters, suprising new ones, and the secrets and deceptions you expect from Meyer's. 

A delicious conclusion to a story that caught me up from the beginning. 

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Audiobook galley from Macmillan Audio through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, November 21, 2022

REVIEW: Z2134, by Sean Platt & David Wright

It’s 2134 in a dystopian America, one century after a series of zombie plagues first infected then obliterated much of the world’s population.

The survivors formed six walled Cities throughout the continent, all under the rule of a totalitarian government that enforces strict control over its populace.

You must obey your government.

You must be a good citizen.

You must be a productive citizen.

You must not break the law.

Or The City Watch will find you and arrest you.

Jonah Lovecraft, a former Watcher, was arrested for the murder of his wife. Like most criminals, he has one chance at freedom ― to participate in The Darwin Games, a televised survival show pitting two players from each city against one another in The Barrens, the uninhabited areas outside the City Walls.

He’ll also have to face another enemy ― the zombies still roaming The Barrens.

As he fights for his freedom against impossible odds, his daughter, Anastasia, stumbles into people who have information about her father ― information that will change her life forever.

While putting her in the crosshairs of her father’s enemies.

Goodness....I don't usually go in for zombie fights, or descriptions of gore. But, this one redeemed itself in the story line. It feels a bit The Hunger Games in the beginning in the fight to the death Darwin Games, but the zombies do provide a twist and opponent issue I wasn't quite expecting.

At the heart is the corruption of their society. Ana is caught up in it, quite unexpectedly, as she's really just learning about it after her mother is murdered, seemingly at her father's hand. Her brother Adam is young and impressionable, and now that he's on his own, being manipulated.

Then there's her father, Jonah. Tricked by the "good guys," then set up and abandoned. Now he's trying against all odds to figure out just where the lies are, and save his family.

What has me bothered, as a reader, is that this is billed as a trilogy. Yet, book one just stops. No mid-way resolution of ANY problems, no particular build up cliffhanger. I read now that the story was originally episodic in Kindle Serial and I feel like it was probably broken up into 3 equal parts, rather than natural and understandable places.

Can't say I'll pick up the next installment, because of the way this one just fell apart for me at the end.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Sterling & Stone through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

George VI and Elizabeth: The Marriage that Saved the Monarchy (By Sally Bedell Smith)

Available for Pre-Order
**Description as provided on NetGalley

A revelatory account of how King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s loving marriage saved the monarchy during World War II, and how they raised their daughter to become Queen Elizabeth II, based on exclusive access to the Royal Archives—from the bestselling author of Elizabeth the Queen and Prince Charles.

Granted special access by Queen Elizabeth II to her parents’ letters and diaries and to the papers of their close friends and family, Sally Bedell Smith brings the love story of this iconic royal couple to vibrant life. This deeply researched and revealing book shows how a loving and devoted marriage helped the King and Queen meet the challenges of World War II, lead a nation, solidify the public’s faith in the monarchy, and raise their daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

When King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936, shattering the crown’s reputation, his younger brother, known as Bertie, assumed his father’s name and became King George VI. Shy, sensitive, and afflicted with a stutter, George VI had never imagined that he would become King. His wife Elizabeth, a pretty, confident, and outgoing woman who became known later in life as “the Queen Mum,” strengthened and advised her husband. With his wife’s support, guidance, and love, George VI was able to overcome his insecurities and become an exceptional leader, navigating the country through World War II, establishing a relationship with Winston Churchill, visiting Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in Washington and in Hyde Park, and inspiring the British people with his courage and compassion during the blitz. Simultaneously, George VI and Elizabeth raised their daughter Princess Elizabeth, who spent her childhood watching and learning from her parents to become the future queen. She fell in love with Prince Philip at thirteen.

I adore a good biography, and honestly, Sally Bedell Smith does not disappoint. Having read other books she'd written, I jumped at this one.

While no one could've predicted their rise to King and Queen Consort, this couple handled everything from family and political drama of the Edward VII's abdication, to World War II and its aftermath. 

I also enjoyed the personal portrait of their relationship, and that with their families. I admired their supportive and obviously warm and loving relationship. Not only with each other but with the other's parents and siblings.

Well-written and researched, this is a wonderful read. It's not written as a stodgy academic piece, but rather the story of a couple that changed the path of the monarchy and led their country well. 

This title is due to be published April 4, 2023, and can be pre-ordered.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Random House Publishing Group through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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This work is licensed by Jennifer Turney under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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