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WOSFF: Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy

What is Science Fiction and Fantasy?

I thought that this was pretty self explanatory. After talking with a friend, I realized that it may not be. So I thought that I would take the time to discuss what I considered to be science fiction and fantasy. Even with these two parent categories, there are a lot of sub-genres that fall under them.

Science Fiction:  I consider science fiction to be anything that is science related. Specifically, anything to do with the hard sciences biology, chemistry, physics, and anything that has to do with space and such.

Fantasy: This is really the category that causes such confusion. I consider fantasy to be anything that deals with things that are not realistic, depending on the intent. I include stories that include werewolves, vampires, ghosts and other magical beings as long as the intent is not to scare the reader. The supernatural and paranormal beings are usually found in Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance.

I am not an expert about the definitions of science and fantasy, so if its not as specific as you would like, I apologize. These are just the broad definitions that I use when categorizing works.  Some works bleed between genres and that’s okay, as long as the main story falls into one of these two categories, the reviews will be posted on this blog.

Always Shine

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Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi 

The Gilded Wolves #1

January 15, 2019 – Wednesday Books

388 pgs. – Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Source: Off My Bookshelf, Netgalley

3 Stars ***

I was given a digital copy, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

For the Goodreads Summary, click here.

This is a book that stands on the shoulders of the author’s  previous books. Meaning, that I gave this book more time to grab me because of the previous experience that I have had with this author.

This is a heist story, and the crew is after something that will possibly destroy the world. I say possibly because no one is quite sure what the Babel fragments are or what they can do.  And I have to say that this is my first heist story, at least as far as I can remember.  And if I was reliant on just that to grab my interest, then I would have been even more disappointed.  What made this book so good for me, the reason that I kept coming back to it, was the characters and how they interacted with each other. Until the end.

Honestly.  I am not really sure what to say or even how I feel. I liked it. But how much did I like it? I know that I started reading it in the background of reading something else. I always made sure to stop at a part that left me wanting more. But, in the end I plowed through it so that I could finish it. There are so many questions that I have, so many unresolved feelings that I can’t just gush about it. But also there wasn’t really anything wrong with it.

Though this book was held together by the characters, there wasn’t one that I particularly liked or that stood out to me.  I liked how they worked together and for a group that had apparently been together for  a while, it seemed as if they were really just getting to know each other in this book. I do think that this is a great start to a series and I am interested in continuing it.

I was originally going to rate this as 4 stars, the writing was fine and in the end, I did enjoy the story. But since I am unsettled with my thoughts, I bumped it down to 3 stars. I think this is one that I am going to reread and see if anything changes.

Always Shine!

Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning 

(Sea Witch #1)

July 31, 2018 – Katherine Tegen

368 pgs.- Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Source: Off My Bookshelf, Edelweiss

Format: Audio

3 stars ***

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

This is supposed to be the origin story for the sea witch from the tale of the Little Mermaid. And it is that. This story blends the original fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson and the Disney version. It was an attempt to go behind the veil and show us that sea witch was not always evil
I really want to like this story a lot more than I did. Don’t get me wrong, it was a decent read. But there was a lot of things missing, and some things just didn’t sit well with me.
In this story, the sea witch is the hero, and we see how she came to be. But, she was also kind of dumb, naive or in serious denial. I am not exactly sure which, a part of me believes that she is all three. If I had to pin point a particular point in the story that I had to throw a flag in and call a foul, it would be the ball when Iker suddenly turns on Evie, on the sole word of Annemette- someone he never fully trusted to begin with. It is little things like this, where there isn’t a context that added up and took away from the story. I am not sure of the purpose of the story. Yes, we leave knowing how the Sea Witch came to be, but not why she turned evil, how she became the villain in Ariel’s story. I also felt that this was supposed to be the beginning of dark tale, but it never took the risk and went there. There were the shadows, as the truth of Annemette and her plans and knowledge. But it never got dark enough. Even in the end with the epilogue, the opportunity to twist it with the dark overtones of the story that we know was never taken.
As it stands, it was a pretty standard YA fantasy with a little romance and betrayal thrown in. This is worth checking out, I just would read it without the heavy expectation of being familiar with the source material.

 

Always Shine!

 

 

Review: Children’s Fantasy: Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead 

May 1, 2018 – Feiwel & Friends

208 pgs – Fiction, Childrens,  Fantasy

Source: Netgalley

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opininon. 

If you want to read what this book is about, you can read the Goodreads summary here.

10 year old Livy is returning to her grandmother’s house in Australia in an attempt to help her remember and as a way to help her adjust to the birth of her new baby sister.  When she gets there she does start to remember her previous visit from 5 years ago, thanks to the creature she finds in her closet named Bob.  Though she doesn’t remember Bob completely and is not sure what he is, Bob remembers her.

This was a very cute story, mixed with adventure, folk tale and friendship. While I think that this book is labeled middle grade, I think it would be more appropriate for upper elementary.  I don’t have many complaints, just one-but it is a glaring one.  Livy’s memory loss is not completely explained. We know that she returns to help her memory, but we don’t know how much of her memory is gone. While a part of it is explained due to Bob, all of it isn’t.

Other than that, this is a great story about friendship and family.  I can’t wait to share this with my kids.

 

Always Shine!

 

Now Available!

DragonShadow by Elle Katherine White

Heartstone #2

November 20, 2018 – Harper Voyager

400 pgs. – Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Here is the Goodreads summary:

The author of Heartstone once again infuses elements of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic in this addictive fantasy that brings back sparring lovers Aliza and Alastair: fierce warriors who match wits, charm, and swords as they fight an epic war to save their world.

The Battle of North Fields is over—or so Aliza Bentaine, now a Daired, fervently wants to believe. But rumors are spreading of an unseen monster ravaging the isolated Castle Selwyn on the northern border of the kingdom. When she and Alastair are summoned from their honeymoon by the mysterious Lord Selwyn, they must travel with their dragon Akarra through the Tekari-infested Old Wilds of Arle to answer his call.

And they are not alone on this treacherous journey. Shadowing the dragonriders is an ancient evil, a harbinger of a dark danger of which the Worm was only a foretaste. And soon Aliza realizes the terrible truth: the real war is only beginning.

In truth, I had planned on having read this and posting a full review by now. But life got in the way. And I guess as is normal for me, I am falling behind in my review reading. I do plan on catching up as quickly as possible. And as soon as I do I will be posting my full review of this!

I will say that if you  have not had the opportunity to pick up Heartstone, the first book in this series, than I wouldn’t put it off much longer. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I ended up liking that novel so much more than I thought that I would. And I am sure that the same will be true of DragonShadow. 

Always Shine!

Guess What is out This Week?!

#HeroFail by Lexie Dunne

Superheroes Anonymous #4

November 27, 2018 – Harper Voyager

384 pgs. – Adult, Fantasy,

Here is the Goodreads Goodreads Summary:

She’s been in trouble before, but Gail Godwin has really stepped in it now.

Once a favorite plaything of supervillains everywhere, the former Hostage Girl has settled into interning for the world’s most famous superhero: the Raptor. Sure, fetching coffee comes with a side of fighting crime and night patrol hours are horrible, but that’s fine. Gail likes her boss, she likes her job, and things with her boyfriend couldn’t be better.

So of course disaster strikes the first time she dons the armor. One ill-timed photo later, she’s trending on every platform (and not in a good way), the Raptor is out of commission, and thousands are in danger. And when two of the worst supervillains in history battle for Top Evildoer of All Time, Gail’s stuck in the spotlight without a mentor or a plan. It’s up to her to uncover old secrets, fight the bad guys, and save the world (again).

Provided she doesn’t fall flat on her ass in the process.

This is a series that I plan to start very soon. I have 3 of the books for review, so I will do a series review. I have been excited for this series for a long time, and I’m only sad that it has taken me this long to get to it!

Always Shine!

 

Review: Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

Bruja Born  by Zoraida Cordova

Brooklyn Brujas #2

June 5, 2018 – Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, series,

336 pgs. – Sourcebooks Fire

Source: Publisher, Netgalley

I was given a digital copy of this, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

If you want to read the summary, click here.

I chose to listen to this on audio, as that was the way that I consumed the first book, Labyrinth Lost. I enjoyed this audio as well, though I liked the narrator of the Labyrinth Lost, only because of the accent. While it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the first book, I recommend it simply because it will help you understand Lula’s feelings a lot better. In Labyrinth Lost, the focus is on the middle sister Alex and her discovering her powers. This focuses on Lula, the older sister. She is still healing from the events of the first book and getting used to having her dad around.  Though she is not back to herself, she is still able to find a bit of happiness with Maks, her boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her.  Then they are in a bus accident where she is the only survivor. After she learns that Maks is in a coma, though no one believes that he will survive it, she asks the high council to heal him. They refuse. Heartbroken and unable to let him, Lula takes matter and magic into her own hands. Roping her sisters into helping her, Lula attempts to heal Maks herself.  But magic, always comes with a price.

I wasn’t sure what I would think of this book, or what to expect from it. I knew that I would enjoy Cordova’s writing, but sometimes the second book in a series suffers. This was not the case with Bruja Born. It was just as engaging, more was revealed about the characters and what was happening with the family. It was nice to be back with these sisters, who were healing even if it wasn’t as fast as they would have liked. And believe it or not the stakes were even higher this time. Which means that the cost was even higher.

Lula and her sisters learn more about the Deos, their magic and each other. Though it may seem like a lot to ask of their family, their family is there for them in all of the important ways. And the ending…. oh man that ending.

You have zombies, a city under attack, the goddess of death trapped. But the sisters learn more about their magic, their family and the supernatural world around them. Lula learns the cost of her mistake (As Alex did and tried to prevent her from following her footsteps.)

It didn’t take me long to finish this story, as I found even more reasons and ways to listen to the audiobook. Unfortunately, now I am left waiting for the third book. If you have read Labyrinth Lost, you will enjoy this one. If you are new to Cordova’s writing, I would say that this series is a great place to start!

Always Shine!

About the Author: (Image and Bio from author’s website.)

Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova is the award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series and The Vicious Deep trilogy. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel.

Twitter: @zlikeinzorro

Facebook: zcordovabooks

Review: Shades of Wicked by Jeanine Frost

Shades of the Wicked by Jeanine Frost

Night Rebel #1

October 30, 2018 – Avon Books

384 pg. – Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Fiction

Source: Publisher

5 Stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

If you want to read the summary, click here.

 

If you want to read the Goodreads Summary, click here.

This is the first book in Frost’s Night Rebel series. If you are a long time fan than you know that Night Rebel is a spin off of her Night Huntress series. The main characters for this series is none other than the bad-boy hottie master vampire, Ian and the law guardian with a myriad of secrets Veritas.  Though they are on opposite sides of the law Veritas and Ian team up to take down Dagon, a powerful demon that has tortured them both and has laid claim to Ian’s soul.

In truth, this is my first novel by Frost. While she has been on my radar for a while, I hadn’t had the chance to read anything until I was sent a copy of this book for review. And I am glad I received a copy. I don’t know if this is the best place to start with Frost, but I know you won’t be disappointed.

Having no background knowledge, this was my first time meeting Ian and Veritas. While in the beginning it seems that Ian is world class jerk, it was also obvious that there was more to him than meets the eye. It was also obvious that Veritas had some secrets. This was a little more than your average urban fantasy/paranormal read.  What sets it apart, is not the plot but the characters and creatures that fill this book. The characters and their banter really make this book sing. While I have seen vampires mixed with other creatures before with a variety of powers, I had not seen a half-vampire/half -celestial being/merchant of death/unknown before.

Ian and Veritas were opposites but not the opposites attract sort or the opposites who can never work together sort, They complemented each other in the subtle ways. While this was the first book in this series, it was packed full of goodness.  The bonds of family, the betrayal of those in power, a budding friendship that blossoms beautifully. All of it is in here. With the added bonus of kick ass fighting and passionate and destructive sexy times. I loved every minute of it. It was an incredible ride and I want more.

I am only saddened that I will have to wait a whole year for the next book, Wicked Promises (due out summer 2019). But the upside, I can now check out Frost’s backlist in the meantime.

Always Shine!

Review: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor 

Binti #2

January 31, 2017 -Tor.com

176 pg. – Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Afrofuturism

Source: #offmybookshelf, Netgalley, Publisher

Purpose: Review

4 stars

I was given a copy of this, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

If you want to read the summary, click here.

This is actually my second time reading this, but I’m not complaining. I did receive a review copy and I read it. I forgot to post my review. But since I planned to re-read it when I read the trilogy as a whole, I decided to do a review when the reading was fresh.

If you have not read the first novella, go read it. I will not talk about spoilers, but you should know that this takes place a year after the first one.

Binti is at the university and she feels guilty for leaving her family and her people. She keeps thinking that she is now unclean and then decides to go back home, to go on her pilgrimmage as a way of cleansing herself and making her more like her people. But, again, things do not go according to plan. Instead, she learns more about her father’s family and where she comes from.  She must take one more step that will bring her closer to her father’s people. They are considered desert people and looked down on. But if she takes this step, it will further divide her from her family. And based on the reaction that her family had once she returned home, it is not certain that her familial relationships can survive another division.

But this journey that Binti takes, opens her eyes to her people and herself. It allows her to begin to see all that she is to become. While she is at the uni to learn, and she is further along as a master harmonizer  then her own further,her skills are continuously being tested.

The ending is a cliffhanger, so my suggestion is to have The Night Masquerade ready to when you pick this one up.

I really enjoyed being back in this world. While I will be sad that the trilogy is over, I can’t wait to see what happens in the final installment.

Always Shine!

Neglected Favorite Author Review: The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson

The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson

April 17, 2012 -Margaret K. McElderry Books

256 pgs. – Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Afrofuturism

Source:#offmybookshelf

4.5 stars

If you want to read the Goodreads Summary, click here.

Scotch is a junior in high school, and for the most part she is dealing with the normal teenage stuff. She had broken up with her boyfriend, Tafari, but only she knows why. Her brother has gotten out of jail, and she is still angry with her parents (a white Jamaican father and black Canadian mother) for sending them there. She is on the dance team with her best friend, Gloria, who she is currently not speaking with. But she is also dealing with some strange things. She has black sticky stuff growing on her arm and it’s spreading. No one can tell her what it is, how to stop or why it has happened to her. She is also seeing these headless horseman things flying around. While a few students have been taken away from school from bouts of mental breakdowns, she is hoping that she is not next. On the night that her brother, Rich, takes her to a bar so she can support him on Spoken Word Open Mic night, everything changes.  A bubble of light appears, Rich touches it and disappears. Then the world spins into what is called The Chaos.

Things that were never meant to be real suddenly appear. The stuff that makes up people’s nightmares  begin to walk the streets of Toronto. Never mind the huge volcano that appears out of nowhere. Chaos is a great description for what happens in the book, but not in a bad way. In fact, it was very easy to empathize with Scotch. Her fear of things is almost palpable. Hopkinson does a amazing job of sliding in the known and the unknown, of blurring the lines of reality and a character’s fragile mental state. Yes, a part of me thought that what was going on was too crazy to really be happening. Though Scotch never voiced it, it was just a likely that she was stressing herself to the point of a mental breakdown. I guess, it was also easier for me to think this than it was to accept that it really happened. So many questions come from that. There is also commentary about racial ignorance, which in my opinion is a lot more damaging than racism. Racial ignorance comes from people who make completely innocent comments and have trouble what’s wrong with it.

He stopped a confused frown on his face, “Well, yeah, if you wanted to. But you don’t have to be black or white. You’re like a child of the world!”

While I liked Scotch as a character, a lot, she had her own issues to deal with.  She’s selfish and while she is the first to jump on someone’s case about race, she has her own issues with sexuality. While her second best Friend, Ben, is gay she is irrationally upset when she finds Gloria kissing a girl.

“Oh God, I don’t want to know myself this well.” “Yeah, don’t people go blind that way?”

What I love about the writing  is that the commentary about race, colorism, sexuality and disabilities mostly happens with the way that people in the book are treated. It is not highlighted and sometimes there’s not even a conversation about what has happened.  But the beautiful things is that even when the world around us goes crazy there are people that will stand up to help.  Scotch learns a lot about who she is, but she’s also had her eyes open to the people around her and is able to see them for who they are. She is still growing, but now she has the strength to stand on her own two feet.

My one complaint,  is the smoothness of the ending. Things are still a little off after the Chaos. But it’s like bubble receding back into itself. Leaving questions about where it came from and if it will return. Did this happen because of Scotch, or was this just her experience with it? I need to know!

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