Blog Tour: Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang(Translated by Ken Liu)

Hi everyone! Today I’ll be talking a little bit about Vagabonds, Hao Jingfang’s debut futuristic novel for my stop in the VAGABONDS blog tour by Midas PR. This has been translated by Ken Liu and has been published by Head of Zeus in hardback on 14 April 2020.

Continue reading “Blog Tour: Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang(Translated by Ken Liu)”

ARC Review: The Burning Shadow, written by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Burning Shadow, written by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publication date: October 8th, 2019 
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 649
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Buy:Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the world of the Lux with The Burning Shadow, the steamy, shocking second installment of the Origin series that will leave readers reeling.

When Evelyn Dasher crossed paths with Luc, she was thrown headfirst into the world of the Lux―only to discover that she was already far more involved in their world than she ever suspected.
Because the Luxen aren’t the only ones with a hidden past. There’s a gap in Evie’s memory, lost months of her life and a lingering sense that something happened, something she can’t remember and nobody is willing to tell her. She needs to find out the truth about who she is―and who she was. But every answer she finds only brings up more questions.
Her search for the truth brings her ever closer to Luc, the Origin at the center of it all. He’s powerful, arrogant, inhumanly beautiful, extremely dangerous…and possibly in love with her. But even as Evie falls for him, she can’t help but wonder if his attraction is to her, or to the memory of a girl who no longer exists.
And all the while, a new threat looms: reports of a flu-like, fatal virus that the government insists is being spread by Luxen. A horrifying illness that changes whoever it touches, spreading panic across a country already at its breaking point.

– My Thoughts –

Today I’m going to be reviewing The Burning Shadow which is the sequel to The Darkest Star which is a spin-off of the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Obviously, there are going to be minor spoilers here so you know the drill…

*wonders*.. how did The Darkest Star end?

In The Burning Shadow, Evie is seen struggling with being Evelyn Dasher..she’s trying to figure out if Luc actually likes her or if he liked the previous her, the one who was Nadia. *I totally feel you girl* I mean She quite recently found out that her mom is an alien and that she is not “exactly” Evie..and that her best friend is an alien too. Also, her mom and Luc are never ever going to be Bffs foreva..so yeah, things are not looking so peachy in Evieland.

However, there’s no fear to be had when you’ve got ultra alien a.k.a. the origin Luc as your boyfriend. He does his best to recreate his and “Nadia”‘s old memories so that Evie can start to remember. Meanwhile in school, a classmate of Evie’s goes full psycho on everyone and had to be taken out in front of them. Rumours start to spread that the Luxen are the cause of this virus and tensions are on the rise.

This is quite a big book, not as big as The Priory of the Orange Tree or Les Miserables, but big nonetheless. This book covered a lot of things like the rising racism against the Luxen, Deadalus causing trouble yet again, reintroduction of old characters like Damon and Katy, and so many things ohmygod the twist that in the end, your jaw will drop as you close the book.

In the beginning, I was getting a lot of Damon and Katy vibes from Luc and Evie but as the story progressed, that feeling kinda ebbed away. As always, I got no complains about the amount of cheese and swoon I got from this book. I also got NO complaints about the action scenes *and there were a lot of them*. My only complaints would be why were we robbed of Luc’s POV? Why?

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you’ve read and loved book one of the Origin series. If you haven’t yet started reading it yet then, “Do you not like Luc? The Origin Luc?” Well, okay! So, I obviously cannot wait for book three to get in my hands and destroy me. My body will be ready!!!

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

– About the Author –

Jennifer

Slightly unofficial bio

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia and she’s one of my favourite authors. A writer of two of my favourite “like to remain shirtless” guys a.k.a Damon(lux series) and Seth(TItan series)..and also of many fantasy, paranormal, YA and romance novels and novellas…

For more about the author, visit her website and her Goodreads page, or follow her on Twitter.

Thank you for reading! Have you read The Darkest Star? or, any book she’s written? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Not an Artificial Intelligence, but an Artificial Consciousness | Review: Emily Eternal by M.G. Wheaton

Blog Tour | Shadow & Flame(Rime Chronicles #2) by Mindee Arnett

Emily Eternal by M.G. Wheaton Publication Date: 7th May, 2019 Paperback: 292 pages   Genre: Science fiction, Adult Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Meet Emily – she can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind’s deepest secrets and even fix your truck’s air con, but unfortunately, she can’t restart the Sun.

She’s an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.

So, her beloved human race is screwed, and so is Emily. That is, until she finds a potential answer buried deep in the human genome. But before her solution can be tested, her lab is brutally attacked, and Emily is forced to go on the run with two human companions – college student Jason and small-town Sheriff, Mayra.

As the sun’s death draws near, Emily and her friends must race against time to save humanity. But before long it becomes clear that it’s not only the species at stake, but also that which makes us most human. 

Should You read Emily Eternal?

“It’s dark, way too dark for the middle of the day. And that’s not where the sky’s supposed to be.”

Emily Eternal tells us the story about Emily, an A.C.(Artificial Consciousness) who has to save the world from the sun which has begun to die. Well, not “die” exactly…but

“..it made a sudden and explosive phase shift from a yellow giant to a red giant. “

This can happen actually, in reality, and I read about in this school and it freaked me out. Basically, when the Sun starts to “die” out, it will send out radiation and solar flares which will affect the electricity which basically runs everything on this earth. From water supply to hospitals, everything will be affected without electricity. There will be no stopping of any disease. earth will literally go back to the dark ages and humanity just might perish. However, what’s the point of Emily?

Emily was built as the last hope of humanity and that’s why she’s not an A.I. but an A.C., as close to a superhuman. In Emily’s words,

My creator-Nathan- designed me to interface with and decode human minds. This is more about learning through emotional and environmental response and less overtly about math-based decision making. Hence AC, rather than AI.

Throughout the pages, we see how similar Emily is to a human. She has hopes, bitterness, dreams, doubts, crushes. All this sense of normalcy is brought to a grinding halt when the president of the US and some other scientists visit the lab and ask Emily to do something unthinkable, but necessary to save humans. After much debate and thinking on her part, Emily decides the help and therein lies another difference between an AI and an AC. An A.I. would immediately agree to the proposition, no matter how maddening it was. No sooner than Emily starts to work than the lab is attacked and Emily watches, helplessly, as her creator along with all her scientists is killed. The lab is a pile of rubble and Emily is all alone except she isn’t. Jason Hatta, her crush and one of the volunteers in the project that Emily was working on, had confiscated an interface chip with which he can see and maintain contact with Emily. Now, Emily has some enormous tasks ahead of her: Save mankind, Help Jason and sheriff Mayra from getting killed and in turn saving herself, fight against the corporation that orchestrated the attack and also fights her sister?

The book is short, about 290 pages, but it took me longer to finish than I normally would’ve and that’s not a bad thing, either. Of course, there were some scientific jargons I had to skim through but I enjoyed the story told through Emily’s perspective. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Emily and her “humanity”. An AC crushing on a human is not new for me but this was sweet and I rooted for them throughout the book. Emily understands consent and acknowledges moments where she crossed a line. Her program is only five years old, and despite having the appearance and maturity of someone in their thirties, Emily is still very innocent. It’s quite sweet watching her hold firm to her morals because her creator did – and then because she’s decided it’s the right thing to do. I loved Jason and Mayra as well. They try to understand her instead of ridiculing her or dismissing her.

Overall, I highly recommend this sci-fi novel for its unique characters, clever plot line, the philosophical and moral questions it brings up, its pace, its twists and turns which eventually led us to a fulfilling conclusion.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT:

About the Author:

Born in Texas, M.G. Wheaton worked in a computer factory before getting his start as a writer for such movie magazines as Total Film, Fangoria, Shivers, SFX and several others. After leaving journalism, Wheaton worked as a writer for video games, comic books, and movies, including writing scripts for New Line, Sony, Universal, Miramax, HBO, A&E, Syfy, Legende, Disney Channel, and others while working with filmmakers such as Sam Raimi, Michael Bay, Steven Soderbergh, George Tillman, Gavin O’Connor, Janusz Kaminski, and Clark Johnson. 

Connect: Website | Twitter

A journey into the wonderful yet terrifying world of the unknown | ARC Review: Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

What do you think? Have you read Emily Eternal? Did my review manage to convince you to read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Are you willing to loan your womb for a few months? | Review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Blog Tour | Shadow & Flame(Rime Chronicles #2) by Mindee Arnett

Blog Tour | Shadow & Flame(Rime Chronicles #2) by Mindee Arnett

About the Book: Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing   Publication Date: 7th May, 2019   Paperback: 326 Pages    Genre: Science fiction, Dystopia 
Goodreads   Buy:Book Depository | Wordery 

SYNOPSIS

Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages–and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money–more than you’ve ever dreamed of–to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery–or worse.

Should You read The Farm by Joanne Ramos?

“You should not raise them to be too tender, like little lambs. Small lambs, soft lambs—they make the best meat; they are always devoured.”

In Joanne Ramos’ The Farm, we see women give up everything in their lives including their children, a relationship or a relative, to become surrogates for wealthy clients. They spend nine months in a gorgeous locale, The Farm, cared and pampered throughout their stay. They are paid monthly and receive a hefty bonus after successful delivery. Sounds like a place where dreams come true, for evryone? Well, you’re wrong. 

The story begins with Jane who’s looking for her cousin Ate in a hospital. Ate is a nurse- a baby nurse- to be specific and her age prevents her from earning a living as a baby nurse. Ate suggests Jane replace her because she needs the money as she’s a single mother who’s struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, she’s forced to leave because of an unfortunate incident at her job as a baby nurse. Soon, Jane finds hope in the promise of The Farm and leaves her baby in the care of her cousin, Ate. Again, what could go wrong? As it’ll turn out, a lot.

Next, we are introduced to Mae and then Reagan. Mae is the woman who designed the surrogacy program. Through Mae’s introduction, we get to know a bit about how the idea for the Farm came about and Mae’s latest client acquisition, a Chinese millionaire called Madame Deng, whose investment will bring millions to The Farm. Then, we meet Reagan, another potential host who unlike most other hosts is rich with an ivy league college degree.

Reagan laughs, surprising herself. It isn’t funny, but it is. It’s all completely ridiculous: three pregnant women carrying other people’s babies talking about second-trimester sex pangs and trying to guess which one of them harbours a billionaire’s fetus.

Let’s come back to Jane again. As Jane is selected as a host in the Farm, Jane becomes pregnant through artificial insemination. Jane follows the rules but soon trouble ensues when she is befriended by another host Lisa. After yet another unfortunate incident, Lisa is spared because of her clients but Jane is punished as Mae informs her that her daughter’s upcoming visit will be canceled. As Jane meets more Filipina hosts, she encounters someone who knows her cousin Ate and that shouldn’t have been a big deal ..but Jane discovers other things that lead to other troubles at The Farm. Now, why is Jane such a big deal in The Farm? What’s going on with Ate? Why has she and Reagan been allowed to meet their “real” clients yet?

Because in America you only have to know how to make money. Money buys everything else.” 

As you can probably guess from my explanation, Jane maybe presents the most throughout the entire story but there are multiple POVs. We hear from Ate, Mae, and Reagan. It’s not at all confusing but manages to give us a clear picture of The Farm, its purpose, and its implications. It did remind me a bit of The Handmaid’s Tale but it was unique on its own. Surrogacy isn’t new but in this story, it is like a currency..the hosts’ bodies(the surrogates) are commodities and they’re in a place where their every move is watched. There are lots of places where you’ll say “What the F*ck” without any hesitation. For example, Mae states that some clients look specifically for black or Asian hosts(even better if they’ve high IQ or are highly educated) while others will look for white and of course, an ivy league educated as if their wombs will magically transfer those qualities to the clients’ baby. There are also ethical issues at play here; for example, when a clients baby is genetically tested and found to have Trisomy-21(the gene for Down’s Syndrome), Mae and the head doctor discusses abortion and ways to protect the company…when the company’s policy to use their best efforts to ensure the wellbeing of the unborn child.

I read the second half of the book in one sitting and I was hooked into the plot which was getting terrifying with every chapter but the ending was a bit unexpected. I hoped to be shocked, gasp in horror..but no, I didn’t.

Overall, I highly recommend The Farm because it tackles important themes like racial inequality, immigration, motherhood, and freedom among other things. It is sharp, witty(at times) and controversial; all of which made this a wonderful debut and I can’t wait to read more of Joanne Ramos’ works.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT: 

About the Author: You can find Joanne Ramos here
A journey into the wonderful yet terrifying world of the unknown | ARC Review: Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

What do you think? Will you ever be able to do what Jane, Reagan and other hosts did? Would you like to work in someplace similar to The Farm? If you plan to read The Farm by Joanne Ramos, then let me know in the comments below! As usual, if you have read it already, then let me know your thoughts below. 

Going back in time to save a life | Book Review: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

A journey into the wonderful yet terrifying world of the unknown | ARC Review: Dark Shores by Danielle Jensen

ARC Review: Dark Shores by Danielle Jensen

About the Book: Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books  Publication Date: 4th April, 2019  Paperback: 457 Pages  Genre: YA Contemporary
Goodreads  Buy:Book Depository | Wordery

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.

He almost made varsity.

He almost got the girl . . . 

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.

But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.

 

 

Should You read Opposite of Always?

“Don’t be afraid. Take chances. And when those don’t work out, take more.”

Opposite of Always was the last book I read last month and it was quite an interesting read especially as a YA contemporary. Let me tell you why..

The book’s about Jack who meets a girl called Kate at a party. Sparks fly and no sooner than their relationship takes its course, than it ends as Kate dies. Jack, on hearing this news, rushes to the hospital only to slip on the stairs and fall towards his death. However, Jack really isn’t “dead”. Jack, instead finds himself back at the party where he met Kate. Jack is also surprised that he remembers his life predating his “death” but Kate doesn’t. See, this is where he assumes that he’s alive because he has been given a second chance with Kate..perhaps, even to save her life this time. This second chance turns to a third, fourth and a fifth one.

Now, wait a minute.. how does Kate die? 

Kate has sickle cell anaemia which is a genetically inherited disease and there’s no cure for it. Sure, there are treatments like bone marrow transplants but they’re expensive and Kate’s parents couldn’t afford it. Jack, learning of her disease tries to save money for her treatment and this leads to dire consequences every time. Does Kate and Jack live happily ever after? Well, you’ve to read it for yourself..

I loved the premise of time travel and this is the first time I’ve read it in YA contemporary. Time travel is an extremely tricky topic because if you’re not too careful, you’ll open up multiple alternative timelines. It is difficult to explain but if you’ve watched Avengers Endgame, then you might know what I’m talking about. However, it worked here because of the charcters and the dialogue. The repetitive time loops were a bit annoying but don’t let that stop you from picking up this book. Jack is a funny, cheesy and a very relatable character. His character development is marvellous to watch. You could see him battling with his decisions to save Kate as that meant damning his relationship with his friends or family.

“You don’t strike me as a person who’d let anything dictate her plans, the world included.”

Overall, I highly recommend this book because of it’s unique premise, interesting characters, amazing banter that’ll make you laugh and cry. Personally, I think this will make a great movie rather than a great book but..I will reiterate that you should definitely pick up this book.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT: 

Author: Connect with Author Justin A. Reynolds here.

A journey into the wonderful yet terrifying world of the unknown | ARC Review: Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

What do you think? Will you read Opposite of Always? If you have read it already, then let me know if you liked it or not.