Free Fiction Friday #245

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Science Fiction & Fantasy!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Book Review: Breeder

review-breederTitle: Breeder

Author: Honni Van Rijswijk

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Will Meadows is a seemingly average fifteen-year-old Westie, who lives and works in Zone F, the run-down outermost ring of the Corporation. In the future state of the Corp, a person’s value comes down to productivity: the right actions win units, the wrong ones lose them. If Will is unlucky and goes into unit debt, there’s only one place to go: the Rator. But for Zone F Breeders, things are much worse–they’re born into debt and can only accrue units through reproduction.

Every day in Zone F is a struggle, especially for Will who is fighting against time for access to an illegal medical drug, Crystal 8. Under the cover of night, Will travels to the Gray Zone, where life is less regulated and drugs–and people–are exchanged for gold. There, Will meets Rob, a corrupt member of the Corporation running a Breeder smuggling operation. Will also meets Alex, another teen whom he quickly recognizes as a Breeder in disguise.

Suddenly, Will has an illicit job and money, access to Crystal, and a real friend. As the pair grows closer, Alex shares her secret: she is part of the Response, an uprising to overthrow the Corporation. Caught up in the new friendship, Will and Alex become careless as the two covertly travel into Zone B for a day of adventure. Nothing goes as planned and Will’s greatest fear is realized. Will his true identity be revealed?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’m going to be honest… I found it extremely difficult to get through this book. In fact, I dropped it at 56% in. The book had an interesting concept and some well-thought-out world-building that I enjoyed, but that’s about where my praise ends.

The opening narrative was stilted and a bit confusing. There was lots of back-telling, poor grammar, a break in the 4th wall that seemed unintentional, and worse, the book was written in present tense… which is just… the worst. I disliked the narrative voice and because the writing was so disjointed and choppy, it was hard to like the characters, let alone empathize with them.

It felt like I was reading a book from the point of view of an alien, pretending to be a human, who had never actually met a human. It was… off and choppy. I didn’t feel engaged or sucked into the story, and I figured out the big “reveal” about the main character before the first three chapters were up.

There are going to be readers out there that appreciate this book for the world-building and the plot – because those things were really well done…. But I appreciate the narrative flow of a book, the atmosphere, and the human struggle – and this book just absolutely butchered those.

Free Fiction Friday #241

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Free Fiction Friday #237

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Science Fiction & Fantasy!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Free Fiction Friday #233

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Free Fiction Friday #229

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Science Fiction & Fantasy!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Book Review: The Other Me

review-cover-the other meTitle: The Other Me

Author: Sarah Zachrich Jeng

Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction

Rating: 4 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

On her twenty-ninth birthday, Chicago artist Kelly steps through a door at a gallery opening and emerges in her Michigan hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She’s got twelve years of the wrong memories in her head and she’s married to Eric, a man she barely knew in high school.

Racing to get back to her old life, Kelly’s search leads only to more questions. In this life, she loves Eric and wants to trust him, but everything she discovers about him–including a connection to a mysterious tech startup–tells her she shouldn’t. And strange things keep happening. The tattoos she had when she was an artist briefly reappear on her skin, she remembers fights with Eric that he says never happened, and her relationships with loved ones both new and familiar seem to change without warning.

But the closer Kelly gets to putting the pieces together, the more her reality seems to shift. And if she can’t figure out what happened on her birthday, the next change could cost her everything…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Talk about a journey. The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng wasn’t exactly what I envisioned when I picked it up. I remembered looking at the genre and expecting it to fall into a very specific box, but as I read, I discovered the story to be so much more than that. The plot unwound slowly, bit by bit as the main character, Kelly, navigated this new, familiar, but… off world she found herself in, and I was totally engrossed in her journey.

The characters, for the most part, had a real depth to them – they were complicated people and they weren’t perfect by any sense of the word. There was always a sense of unease underlying everything they did – making you wonder if they knew what was going on. The story was masterfully crafted in this way.

The only real drawback to the story for me was that the main character’s voice often made her seem detached. Sometimes I found it even hard to like her because she didn’t quite feel human. She used a lot of thesaurus-words that didn’t fit her art-student background, and it kept reminding me that it was an author writing this story, not necessarily a character telling it.

All that aside, if you enjoy thriller books with time-travel, science fiction, or alternate reality spin to them, I’d recommend you pick this up. Despite how I felt about the main character, the book was well written and I thoroughly enjoyed the complexities of the plot.

Free Fiction Friday #225

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is:  Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Book Review: Knight in Paper Armor

review-cover-knight in paper armorTitle: Knight in Paper Armor

Author: Nicholas Conley

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I wanted to like Knight in Paper Armor by Nicholas Conley. The synopsis was interesting, the cover was beautiful, I liked the genre, and the world-building was interesting… but I put the back down around chapter twenty-one.

Where this book lacked for me, was the writing itself. It was mediocre at best. The children characters didn’t talk like children. The Young Adult characters didn’t talk like Young Adults. There was an elaborate world and past history to the story, but at least as far as I got into the book, none of it was explained or tied into the plot in any way. Throughout the story I got this feeling that the worldbuilding and setting were arbitrary – you could have taken the characters and their histories and put it directly into a contemporary setting, and it would have made zero difference to the book. The connection between Billy and Natalia seemed tenuous and forced.

So much of the beginning of the book was filling in the backstory for the characters that I kept wondering when the story was going to actually begin. By the time I quit, at 21 chapters in, nothing significant had happened to drive the plot forward. I take that back… one thing happened. Natalia was thrown in the trunk of a car – but even that couldn’t keep me reading. I grew bored and tired of slogging through detail that didn’t matter.

There will be readers out there that enjoy this book far more than me, but in my opinion, the writing was lackluster. It didn’t feel like a well-refined and polished book. It didn’t suck me in, I didn’t care about the characters, and I didn’t feel any sort of draw that would keep me reading.

Book Review: Hers, Unleashed

reviewcover-hers unleashedTitle: Hers, Unleashed [Hers 3]

Author: Anna Adler

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Silenian security guard Kaitlyn Bennett has won the proverbial lottery. A male hybrid matching all her fantasies has chosen her from thousands of other women. For three months, he will be her personal sex toy—a dream come true made possible by the planet’s new legislation.

Roth is in desperate need of a hideout, and becoming a sex pet on Silenia is the perfect way to disappear. All he has to do is entertain his beautiful human Mistress until his enemies give up the search—and be paid for the pleasure. What could go wrong?

As it turns out, a lot. The Traditionalists on Silenia have had enough of the new order, and Kaitlyn and Roth end up fighting side-by-side against the rising crime. Roth discovers he enjoys his new role, almost as much as he enjoys being the object of Kaitlyn’s desires…

But as Roth’s time on Silenia comes to an end he has to decide which he wants more: his money or the woman of his dreams. And when disaster strikes, is the bond between Kaitlyn and Roth strong enough to save Silenia, or will his secret be the end of them all…?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I always feel conflicted after reading Anna Adler’s work, and Hers, Unleashed was no exception. The whole infrastructure of treating sentient beings as pets doesn’t sit well with me even though they are being treated well. The similarities to slavery and the potential for abuse leaves me feeling skeeved out.

I do understand, however, that for some, this sort of thing is tied into a submissive/dominant fetishism and power dynamic fantasies, and I can respect that. Because this is erotic fiction and not real life, I am willing to look past it and try to enjoy the story for what it is.

I like that the overwhelmingly unethical practices of the world were changed for this installment of the series. It was nice to see change being enacted.

Despite the afore-mentioned misgivings, the book was well-written. It flowed well and I didn’t run into any major typos or grammatical errors. The characters were interesting, and the sexual-tension between Roth and Kaitlyn was searing. Overall, I enjoyed the book… but I will caution that it isn’t going to appeal to every reader. It’s hard to get past the pet system, but if you can, it’s a fun read.