Source: Purchased

Review: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3) by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Binti #3
Also in this series: Binti (Binti, #1), Home (Binti, #2)
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 208
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor's Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene--though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives--and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don't miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy.

This is the third and final installment of the Binti trilogy. The trilogy definitely needs to be read in order.

I’m of two minds about this trilogy. The world-building is well done. I thoroughly enjoyed Binti’s journey as she left her village and dared to travel through space during the first two novellas. I also enjoyed her return home and watching as she discovered more about her past, her father’s family and herself. There were parts in each that moved slow, but I was invested in discovering what the future had in store for Binti. In this installment, I still enjoyed the world-building and Binti herself. The first 3/4 of the book were wonderfully done. I was totally immersed in Binti’s world and she struggles to deal with loss, love and the possible destruction of everything she holds dear.

This seemed to be a total departure from the earlier books and the overall story-arc. Much of the story itself seemed to go off the rails in the second half. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I spent a lot of time wondering if I missed something.

View Spoiler »

While this isn’t my favorite entry, I really enjoyed the themes Nnedi Okorafor explored throughout the series, the world-building and Binti herself. The girl is a badass. I’m glad I stuck with it. It was very satisfying overall.

3.25 out of 5

Binti

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 16, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Home by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
Home (Binti, #2) by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Binti #2
Also in this series: Binti (Binti, #1), The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3)
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 164
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

In Home, Binti is returning home to Earth after a year away at Oomza University. She snuck away from her village to attend, and dealt with some harsh situations while she was gone. In the process she brokered peace between two warring factions and became an interplanetary hero for uniting two cultures. She befriended an enemy race, the Meduse and grew quite a lot as a person. Okwu, a Muduse who has become Binti’s best friend, is returning home with her. He’s the first of his race to visit Earth since a war between his people and Earth’s happened over one hundred years ago.

The first half of this novella showed us Binti’s life at University, while the second focused on her journey home. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used the world now, or if the story flowed better, but I fell into this one right away. Binti’s journey home was at times heartbreaking and uplifting. Her personal struggles with PTSD, and her determination to act as Liaison, were well told and gave us more insight into her character. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were some dark themes here I think are reflected in our current society. Okorafor deftly handled it all. I was angry and inspired while reading.

Once again, I immediately picked the next installment.

3.75 out of 5

Binti

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Binti by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 90
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

Ames recommended this series to me. It took a bit for me to fall into the story, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Binti is a 16 year old girl who has never been outside her City. She is Himba. Her people have very firm ideas about life and marriage, and follow old customs and rules. Binti was allowed to take the planetary exams and her entire village was thrilled when she scored so high Ooomza University offers to pay for her to attend, including all costs related to her travel to them, but they didn’t expect her to attend. The honor of being asked was enough for them. For Binti, it wasn’t. She wanted to accept her place at the University, even though she knew it would mean never being accepted by her people again. She sneaks away and takes a living ship (think: Large Shrimp-like creature you can ride inside) to the university. Though she’s different from others on the ship, it isn’t long before she settles in, makes friends and even develops a crush on a boy.

But then the ship is attacked by the highly feared Meduse, who were wronged by those at Oomza University and are seeking revenge. Binti is the only survivor. As she struggles to stay alive in an Alien world, she also finds strength in herself and friends in unexpected places.

Binti is an interesting character and I love the premise. The story is short and ends in a cliffhanger, but I expected that based on the length of the story and the fact that it’s the first of a trilogy. It started slow, but once Binti reaches the ship the story really picked up. I loved watching her open up to her fellow classmates, and my heart was bounding during the attack by the Meduse, and what followed. There are some pretty serious plot holes, but I was able to set aside any frustration over that because 1) I was enjoying the story and 2) I tend to be more forgiving of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, as the general rules of life and science don’t always apply.

I immediately started the next story.

3.5 out of 5

Binti

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne Wright

Posted January 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Echoes of Fire (Mercury Pack, #4) by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: Mercury Pack #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 348
Length: 11 hours and 5 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

They may not be made for each other, but animal instincts are impossible to ignore.

Madisyn Drake is a rare breed of cat shifter…a loner, unpredictably wild, and emotionally distant. A recent betrayal has left her ready to sharpen her claws on the next man she sees…until a prowling wolf with steel-gray eyes and a brooding dark edge challenges her distrust. No matter how fully he satisfies her touch-hunger, Madisyn’s not ready to open up again, even if it is oh so gratifying.

Bracken Slater has earned his reputation as an indomitable predator. Once broken by grief and guilt, Brack is feeling alive again, thanks to the heady scent of this independent feline. Convincing her that they’re meant for each other is going to take more than branding Madisyn’s beautiful neck. She’s not interested in joining an unfamiliar pack, much less answering to an alpha. But when threats from both their pasts take shape, their unexpected destiny may be the only thing that can save them.

Echoes of Fire is the fourth book in Suzanne Wright’s Mercury Pack series. It follows Bracken Slater as he finds and courts his mate, Madisyn Drake. Jill Redfield narrated and I really enjoyed her for the most part. She does the voices well and overall I like her voice. I did struggle with two things, however. 1) She spoke in a very forceful way as Bracken, which often made him come off as controlling instead of caring. 2) She did a kind of valley girl, breathy thing during the love scenes that drove me absolutely batshit crazy. Still, I listened to all the books in both the Mercury Pack and Phoenix Pack series’ and she narrates them all, so obviously those things didn’t completely ruin the stories for me.

Throughout the series Bracken was kind of lighthearted and sweet. When his family is murdered right in front of him, including his nephew whom he was holding at the time, it changed him. Now he’s broken and angry, with no outlet for his pain since he wreaked vengeance on those who stole his family from him. When he’s hit by a car and has a moment of openness, he feels the mating connection to Madisyn Drake. They’ve been circling each other for years, rubbing each other the wrong way and denying their mutual attraction. Madisyn is a lone feline shifter who has no desire to join a pack or be stuck mated to a man who doesn’t even like her. But Bracken knows he can’t let her go. She fills something inside him and he knows he’ll never become whole without her.

I really loved how Madisyn was described like Grumpy Cat. She was an angry little cat, but unexpectedly so. She looked so sweet and adorable no one expected her to turn feral and whoop the shit out of everyone. She was the perfect match for Bracken in every way.

My heart broke for Bracken and his struggle to find his footing after his family was murdered. The fact that he was holding his baby nephew when a bullet passed through him and killed his nephew just made it all the worse. His fire and intensity were well contained until then. Now he has a reputation for being ruthless. I liked how well Madisyn balanced him out and how determined he was to put her first, even though he had so many dark parts inside himself.

I don’t really care for the suspense plots in Wright’s novels. The villains are always easy to spot and I often end up scratching my head over some of the decisions the pack makes in their pursuit of them. But the romance and friendships more than make up for any frustrations I feel.

While I enjoyed the entire series, Echoes of fire is hands down my favorite. Bracken and Madisyn made a wonderful couple. His intensity and anger were tempered so well by her inner strength I couldn’t help but love them.

4.5 out of 5

The Mercury Pack

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Natural Witch by K.F. Breene

Posted January 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Natural Witch by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Natural Witch (Magical Mayhem #1) by K.F. Breene
Series: Magical Mayhem #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 25, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 376
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

The explosive new addition to the DDVN World (Fire and Ice Series) by USA Today Bestselling author K.F. Breene!

Something has always been missing from my life. A hole that I could never seem to fill.

When I accidentally turn a coven of witches into nightmares, I find out what that something is.

Magic.

And it turns out, I have a crap load of it.

As a latent power awakens deep inside of me, I’m exposed to one of the most powerful and corrupt organizations in the magical world—the Mages’ Guild.

Barely knowing a spell from a few swear words and luck, I won’t be able to evade them alone.

And that’s when I meet him.

The Rogue Natural. The best and most feared mage in the world.

He’s dangerous, mysterious, and has a vendetta of his own. He is now the only thing between me and magical enslavement.

We first met Penny in the Fire and Ice trilogy when she unwittingly turned a coven of witches into zombies. I do not think you need to read those books before this series.

Penny Bristol has felt her magic her whole life, but she’s never been trained to use it. On a whim, she signs up for a magical retreat where she might learn to harness and control her magic. What she finds is a coven of witches trying to perform a dangerous spell. Before she realizes what she’s doing, Penny joins them and turns them all into zombies. That’s when she meets Reagan and realizes she’s an extremely rare Natural Witch. Now she’s trying to get trained to use her magic, all the while on the run from the Mages Guild, a corrupt organization bent on using her for their own purposes. Oh, and the Rogue Natural, one of the most powerful mages in history has suddenly turned up, and turned her world upside down in the process.

The thing I love best about this series is how aware of her limitations Penny is. She knows she’s untrained and unable to deal with magical baddies, so her first response in every situation is to run and hide. That doesn’t make her a coward, just smart. She doesn’t run and hide, but she wants to. The fact that she stands her ground to protect those she cares about despite her fear really got me. Plus, I love the female relationships in this series. Penny’s best friend is an editor. For fun and to relieve stress, she walks around the neighborhood with Penny, correcting the grammar on yard sale signs. Though Reagan intimidates her, Penny forms a close bond to her.

The romance is light in this book as it spans the trilogy. I liked Emery and Penny together, and enjoyed watching them interact with each other and learn to merge their powers. Though I didn’t love the ending, I admit this was a wonderful story. I couldn’t wait to jump into the next book.

4.25 out of 5

Magical Mayhem

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,