The Denounced by SJ Sherwood

Ned Hunter is to be hanged, he is Denounced and therefore cannot be allowed to live. But things go awry and he finds himself bundled up and moved to a different location where he undergoes training as a leader of 5 others. It is a harsh environment and survival is not guaranteed, as they learn on the first night when one of the other pods is punished for trying to escape.

Determined not to suffer the same fate as the other pod, Ned needs to form his own bonded pod that can win their place at the top of the leader board in order to survive. And then what? No-one knows, but those who are training them. And what is their goal?

Ned needs his wits about him and cannot afford to relax for a moment. Everyone has it in for him.

A fast paced story, full of twists and tricks. Compulsive reading due to its different approach. I enjoyed it as a book aimed at Young Adults.

“I’m wondering if being dead may have been my better option. I’ve no idea where I am and what is going to be expected of me, but if I understand this correctly, I’m now responsible for five other people.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Denounced: Book 1 A Grey Sun

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Official description:
A convicted Denounced. Sentenced to Death. In a future divided into Secular and Non-Secular Quadrants, a crime punishable by death is to cross Quadrants and become a Denounced. When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety Denounced, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold — one that will change the world forever. Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

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End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3) by P R Adams

Stefan is ‘retired’, at least he likes to think so, but readers all know that that is never the case in stories!
Stefan is recruited for a job, but wants to use his own team, to do that he needs to locate and recruit them. Not an easy job, he hasn’t been in touch for a while and doesn’t know where any of them are! And he doesn’t really know what his new employers actually want him to do.
After tracking his team, Stefan needs to persuade them to come on board with him. The money stakes are enormous and this should be their final hurrah before each of them retires. Can Stefan persuade his new employers to stump up the huge pay-out for the team?
PR Adams writes a really good story. This is the final one in the three part cyberpunk series. You definitely want to read all three, starting with ‘Into Twilight (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 1)‘, then through ‘Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2)‘ and then this book ‘End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3)‘.

““Twelve million, and a quarter million per egghead after Marshall. And I want fifty thousand now. This mess has cost me a lot more than it should have.””

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3)

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In espionage, there are only two types of agents: active and dead.

Stefan Mendoza tried to walk away from the business, but the Agency wouldn’t let him. The Metacorporate Initiative has changed the world, and his bitter enemy has thrown in with one of the biggest of the new corporate powers. The race to rebuild the recently destroyed AI has put a premium on elite software architects.

If Mendoza can wrangle the most coveted architect team, he’ll make enough to disappear forever. But can he allow someone to recreate the AI that wants him dead?

Pick up End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3) to see the thrilling conclusion to this cyberpunk trilogy!

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Lightning Blade by D N Erikson

Ruby Callaway is in prison, in a time loop. She keeps re-living the same day, where an FBI agent releases her from prison in order for her to assist with the removal of a Necromancer. But Ruby and the Necromancer are the only ones that know about the time loop and every time she relives the day she has to convince the FBI agent that she is the one who can do this, but that they need to work together.

Despite being in a time loop, Ruby is in a race against time. The longer the time loop exists, the harder it is to break out. So she must find a way before she is stuck forever. She needs to break out of the time loop, in order to break out of her prison.

A really enjoyable story, it grabbed my attention from the opening lines. There were no blocks to the reading and I did find myself reading late into the night because I didn’t want to put it down. On finishing this book I went straight on to reading the short Novella which gave the prequel information on Ruby’s life prior to ending up in prison. I look forward to reading the next story in the series very soon.

“Words from two hundred years past echoed in my mind as the completed form streamed into the data cube. You’re a hunter, Rebecca Callaway. A killer.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Lightning Blade (The Ruby Callaway Trilogy Book 1)

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When the FBI releases supernatural bounty hunter Ruby Callaway after 20 years, the terms are simple: kill the necromancer killing public officials in return for amnesty. But then the necromancer plunges a blade through her heart, and Ruby reawakens at midnight, back in jail. Alive.

Which means one thing: the necromancer has thrust the world into an endless time loop that only he and Ruby can see. And Ruby is the only one capable of stopping him before the world burns. But as she unravels the necromancer’s sinister plan, two questions repeat in Ruby’s mind: Just how dangerous is a vengeful serial killer with nothing but time?

And what if the necromancer isn’t the worst thing lurking in the shadows of this brave new world?

Lightning Blade is the first book in the Ruby Callaway Trilogy, mixing dark, gritty urban fantasy with a sprinkling of futuristic sci-fi & cyberpunk. Not your typical bounty hunter. Not your typical urban fantasy.

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Wyntertide Rotherweird Book II by Andrew Caldecott

To my thinking this book is best read by those who have already read the first book “Rotherweird“, as there are many characters. And those characters have many aliases. It can become confusing, however, there is a list of people at the front of the book to help those who become lost in Rotherweird.

Nonetheless, although I found myself becoming engrossed in the world of Rotherweird, I did find myself thrown back to the present day and place when a character was inexplicable to me, not the author’s fault I anticipate, as I have NOT read “Rotherweird“.

Despite this it is an engaging story and it does even include line drawings from time to time to illustrate the clever writing. And check out the fantastic cover, it is so detailed! I liked the uniqueness of the story and its telling. Set in the past yet modern in style, with crafty machinations and clever intrigue. The only thing that set me back on my reading was, as I said, when I couldn’t grasp who was who in the tale.

I feel mean giving this book a 3, but I did find that the confusion over who was who in the characters was very off-putting and I kept being ‘thrown out of the story’ when that happened. As I was reading on a Kindle it was not so simple to flick to the front of the book to see who was who.

“Isolated by enveloping hills, Rotherweird will be kept from the rest of England but at a price. Here the study of history will be forbidden.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Wyntertide: Rotherweird Book II

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Welcome back to Rotherweird.

The town of Rotherweird has been independent from the rest of England for four hundred years, to protect a deadly secret.

Sir Veronal Slickstone is dead, his bid to exploit that secret consigned to dust, leaving Rotherweird to resume its abnormal normality after the travails of the summer . . . but someone is playing a very long game.

Disturbing omens multiply: a funeral delivers a cryptic warning; an ancient portrait speaks; the Herald disappears – and democracy threatens the uneasy covenant between town and countryside.

Geryon Wynter’s intricate plot, centuries in the making, is on the move.

Everything points to one objective: the resurrection of Rotherweird’s dark Elizabethan past – and to one date: the Winter Solstice.

Wynter is coming . . .

Get Wyntertide: Rotherweird Book II for yourself.

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Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1 by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher

I think this book would be a really good read for all those romantics out there who need to see a damsel rescued. But it isn’t quite a romance, it is science fiction! And it is good futuristic post-apocalyptic science fiction. And I don’t think there were any out and out swear words in there either (well maybe one)!

Eve was the first female child born in fifty years and those that helped her mum and dad ensure that she was born into the world, created a tower for her to grow up in. She gets to see the sun rise above the clouds every morning and beautiful sunsets before she sleeps. She is being educated and trained in ballet and other physical forms. They have thought of everything, there is even a female companion of her own age to keep her company as she grows. She shares her feelings and thoughts with her companion and feels like she is her best friend.

Eve reaches 16 years and then she is scheduled to meet her potential future mate. Three potentials have been selected and meetings have been arranged so that she can chose one for herself. Eve starts to have doubts about the whole process when things don’t quite go as planned. That’s when she meets Bram, one of the team that looks after her. She can’t get him out of her mind, but he isn’t one of the potentials, could he become one?

Bram’s experience is a lot different than Eve’s. He has his own issues to resolve and they take him far away from Eve for a time. He experiences the world created by man, it isn’t that nice a place, not at all.

I did read this rather quickly for me, I had a couple of late night sessions, hence reading it in two days. I enjoyed it, there was variety in the environment and some clever ideas in there. I really like the way a memorial was held for one of the characters and how it gave everyone peace afterwards, it is a good way to remember someone with joy.

It is a good book, give it a go.

“Against all odds, she survived. She was the first girl born in fifty years. They called her Eve. She represented the rebirth of the human race. She was the answer to their prayers. She was all they cared about, their final hope. Eve was the saviour of humanity.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1

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Official description:
***PRE-ORDER EVE OF MAN: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1, THE FIRST BOOK IN A BRAND-NEW TRILOGY, JOINTLY WRITTEN BY BESTSELLING AUTHORS GIOVANNA & TOM FLETCHER***
AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED. THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS. THEY CALLED HER EVE.
All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past. But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate. Until she meets Bram. Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom. But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?
Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1 is the first in an explosive new trilogy by bestselling authors Giovanna & Tom Fletcher.

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Damaged beyond all recognition by Alan Felyk

Anyone who likes American satirical stories about creation and human continuance could potentially appreciate this book.

I found that I was sometimes at a loss with the very American references and had no context in which to place them, and therefore probably did not get the best from the book.

As long as you don’t mind the occasional light curse word or blasphemy word, then the language should not concern you. It didn’t both me and I’m not one to tends to like foul language in a book as a rule, except where it is essential to the plot of course. But then who, and how do you, determine what is essential to the plot?

In general the book was well structured and the tale well told. However, it was not for me, I just didn’t ‘get it’! So as a consequence this is deliberately going to be a short review, so as not to detract from a book that many people will obviously enjoy.

Essentially, Paul is destined to love two women equally and be loved by both in return. And all the while he is visiting God’s library on a mission for God himself, to save mankind from extinction. He does have help, from Maggie (his first love) and Allie (his second), as well as two Neanderthal children, a CEO of a genetic engineering company working alongside the government. Meanwhile he is also an author of subversive books which also means that he is not the most favourite person of the president. But that is overlooked when the countdown to extinction draws ever near.

“Ah, memories. They were all we would ever have and all that we would lose.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Damaged Beyond All Recognition (Infinity’s Trinity Book 1)

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Extending the literary traditions of Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams …
Paul Tomenko is no stranger to the improbable. He became a magazine sweepstakes winner and celebrated counterculture writer by age 19. Now, after reaching for a can of Chef Boy-ar-dee spaghetti and meatballs, he’s traveling to and from God’s library somewhere outside the Universe to prevent the end of eternity.

Because of a DNA flaw, humanity no longer can ascend through the Planes of Existence after they die. They can’t access memories from countless past lives in previous versions of the Universe or acquire new recollections. That means no one will have the needed expertise to replace God when He dies. And, to complicate matters, Paul must enlist the help of his two lovers–Maggie Mae Monahan and Allie Briarsworth–because of their unique abilities. But the trio discovers the preservation of forevermore can turn someone’s soul inside out. Literally. The novel chronicles the life of an ordinary man under extraordinary circumstances. Paul is unwilling to accept a broken Afterlife that provides nothing more than eternal self-awareness. He is also reluctant to choose between Maggie Mae, a brilliant geneticist who has the uncanny ability to “connect the dots,” and Allie, a novelist who inexplicably senses past and future events in the cosmos. The unexpected is to be expected from an unusual cast of supporting characters: Cher the Gatekeeper and Katharine Ross the Librarian, figments patterned after two celebrities for whom Paul has lusted; Gronk and Grita, two “resurrected” six-year-old neo-Neanderthals who are the most intelligent humans on Earth; Tsutomu Yamaguchi, an innovative bioengineer named after a Japanese man who survived nuclear bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and Dr. Peter Lexington Townshend, the head of a genetics laboratory that already has prevented the Russians from stripping politicians in Washington, D.C., of all their memories. Be prepared for a book that examines our metaphysical questions with a mixture of mind-bending possibilities, laughter, and tears.

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Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2) by P R Adams

I like reading PR Adams books and this one was no exception. It is book two of the Stephan Mendoza trilogy (I haven’t read book one – so I cannot compare or comment about the links between the two stories). There are quite a few different characters in Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2), who were obviously in the first and therefore there is history between them. This is covered well by PR Adams, so it doesn’t matter so much if the first story got missed.

Mendoza goes back to his home territory in this book and holes up to recover himself and get upgrades body-parts (the non-human bits anyway). While there he reconnects with people from his past and rekindles past relationships (both bad and good).

There is something going on under the radar in this story and Mendoza has to work through solving this. His ‘contacts’ from his previous escapades join him as he works his way through a maze of on- and off- line situations. Always under pressure and more often than not under some sort of attack.

I found this world engaging, rough edged and different. The characters are well rounded (in the way that they are written at least) and the story drew me along with it. I will certainly be interested in reading more.

“I put the device back to my ear, an ear grafted onto me after my torturers had taken everything from me.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2)

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Wounded. Alone. Wanted for a murder he didn’t commit.

Stefan Mendoza is a broken man. The last thing he cares about now is revenge against the people who betrayed him. All he wants is peace. To hide out, he returns home to a town that seems isolated from the world collapsing around him.

But can he really escape the world of the Agency? Can anyone ever really go home again?

Strap in for Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2), and get started on this unforgettable, fast-paced cyberpunk thriller.

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A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon

“The lantern glowed with a silver and blue prismatic light which, seen through the lens of the kaleidoscope, appeared to be a wheel of knives, ever turning.”

John Henry Nyquist is a private investigator living in Nocturna and working (mostly) in Dayzone. Like most PI’s he has a cash-flow situation to manage and has to take what jobs he can to pay his way.

This latest job involves find a rich girl who has run away from home, her powerful father wants her back.

Somehow the case gets more complicated – the Quicksilver murders start to have an impact on things, and for the life of him, Nyquist can’t quite remember why!

His continual switching across time zones begins to affect him and he starts to think he is becoming to suffer from chronostasis.

Yet he continues on, driven, with his inner clock, tick, tick, ticking, keeping him moving onwards. Exploring Dayzone, the Dusk and Nocturna. Moving closer to his moment.

If anything, this book make me edgy, anxious and from time to time I paused in my reading. It was a complex story, fantastic and ghostly. I enjoyed it, yet as I said, I had to keep pausing and coming back to it. I didn’t settle in to it as I would have liked.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The brilliant, mind-bending return to science fiction by one of its most acclaimed visionaries

Below the neon skies of Dayzone – where the lights never go out, and night has been banished – lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna.

As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.

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Keeper of the Watch by Kristen L. Jackson

“They had been following the boy, Chase Walker, since his birthday, looking for signs of The Coupling. He had not been wearing the watch earlier this evening, so maybe there was still time.”

I liked the story and the characters, they were solid enough. I found the writing style a bit too young for me, I guess when you read below your age, that is bound to happen 🙂

The key character is Chase Walker, his Uncle Charlie died three weeks ago and he’s having trouble adjusting. He also feels like he is being stalked, which is weird as he’s never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Until his Uncle’s house (now his of course) is broken in to, though the police cannot find any evidence of such an event and simply advise him to lock his doors!

His best buddy is Mason Moore, he’s off to University soon. He reminds Chase that he has a football scholarship to look forward to, but Chase knows otherwise.

Later back at the house, Chase is sure that there is an intruder, again. This time there is a girl called Alyx and she tells him that she is there to help him.She wants him to put on the watch. Chase isn’t keen, it’s old and ungainly looking, despite its initial attraction when he first touched it.

The story continues with the introduction of hunters, they seek the watch and the bearer. Chase and Alyx avoid them as best they can. The adventure develops and gets more complicated (and likely to be spoilt if I write it here).

At times I found the writers style got in the way of my reading, realising that it was aimed at teens I was able to tolerate this. I expect that in the subsequent books the writing style will develop and improve, so I look forward to reading the next books (I did say that I enjoyed the story).

If you enjoy such things as ‘Sliders’ (the sci-fi & fantasy tv series), I anticipate that this will be highly suitable reading for you.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Chase Walker is beginning to doubt his own sanity. From the moment he turned eighteen, a strange paranoia has taken over his mind. It all started the moment he discovered his uncle’s old watch…
The watch calls to him. Though it beckons, he resists. His body strains toward it, blood pulsing, heart pounding in a mysterious and primitive need to connect with his uncle’s old beat up watch.
When sexy and mysterious Alyx saves his life, she promises answers. She talks of dimension travel, and wears a magical watch of her own…

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Beyond Burning Sands by P R Adams

The concluding book in an epic trilogy of earth, post “Fire”. Reginald Lee is the leader of Test Bunker 1, set against Jonathan Pryor, his old hero/adversary from before. Before they went into the hibernation program that stole 50 years of their lives. It stole those years and spat them into a world of hot desert sun, strange hybrids and wolf-like creatures.

Now Reggie has to work out what Jonathan is up to! Jonathan woke 5 years before Reggie and has used that time to try and find Reggie’s Bunker and its resources. Jonathan has plans that he keeps to himself.

The humans of Nellis live a quiet and peaceful life. Their only problems are Sharpteeth and Snake! Snake’s plans are to take over their compound and make what is theirs, his own. Somehow Snake controls a band of Sharpteeth and some drones. These make life so difficult for the people of Nellis.

Reggie is central to this story. He isn’t perfect and is completely aware of his failings. He aim is to keep his team alive and find a way for them all to survive. This sentiment expands to the people of Nellis as they take them in and Reggie considers them as part of his extended ‘family’. Snake has other ideas!

This story is of ancient rivalries and the struggle for human survival. That and the ever prevalent tendency for at least one human to have the the ‘god’ fantasy! Believing themselves to be the most important thing of their time.

Quite an engaging read, it kept me reading on. It is a hefty tome (metaphorically speaking for a kindle book) and it kept my interest engaged throughout, so it is a worthy read. But note, you must read the other two books first!

I am very interested to see the film(s) when (if) they are released (hint to author – this would be a great series for the big screen or a box set)!

I am grateful to the author for allowing me to read this before it went to the editor.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
The deadliest hunter is human.
Reggie Lee has survived the nightmarish, genetically engineered horrors of Cro-Magnons and sharpteeth that ruled the ruins of Las Vegas. Now he must face the greatest threat of all: another human.

Snake is a former rival from the world before the cataclysm, and he has declared war on all other humans. To survive, Reggie must find more answers, because fighting Snake will require a strength Reggie might not have. But if he can’t stop Snake, humanity truly is doomed.

Read book three of this horrifying post-apocalyptic series and see if you can go Beyond Burning Sands.

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