I received this book from Wunderkind PR in exchange for an honest review.

“‘Permission to speak of doom, Captain?’

Permission denied,” (Rambo).

Retired former Admiral in the Grand Military of the Hive Mind Niko Larson has set up a restaurant on the edge of the known universe with her former unit. They work hard to keep The Last Chance up and running, and with a critic coming and the promise of a Nikkelin Orb the restaurant could finally be seeing the pay-off to all the work they’ve put in. But when disaster strikes, Niko and her crew find themselves on a sentient ship who believes it has been stolen. With a suspicious ship, a mysterious package, and a sadistic pirate from Niko’s past she and the crew will have to work their hardest to get out of this mess. Continue reading

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

“‘We can’t spend our lives wishing…If we are small, then so are our wishes,'” (Angstman 108).

Out Front the Following Sea follows sixteen-year-old Ruth Miner, a headstrong young woman who reads and speaks of things a woman in 1698 shouldn’t know about. Orphaned at a young age when her parents died in a fire, Ruth was blamed for the incident and has been marked a witch by her town who treat her with much hostility. When things take a turn for the worst, Ruth flees her town and boards the Primrose where her childhood friend Owen Townsend is first mate and knows of her innocence. But with his proud French ancestry Owen may not be the best ally for Ruth and finds a new town for her to stay safely in until he returns for her. But Ruth’s life is full of adversity, from Quakers and highwaymen, Pequot Indians and soldiers Ruth must find a way to keep herself safe and away from the gallows. Continue reading

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

‘It’s not fair to blame us for their cruelty. It’s inherent in their design. We had no hand in that,” (Amouzegar 97).

The Hubris of an Empty Hand follows a cast of interconnected characters who unknowingly receive divine gifts from the gods. The gifts are all different, a weight that humans can’t understand and which the gods are eager to get back. These eight stories of the humans who now possess these gifts and the gods searching for them intertwine and connect in unexpected ways offers an interesting look at theology and what divides mortals from the divine. Continue reading

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve never read a collection of flash fiction before. In general I enjoy flash fiction, I love seeing how much authors can pack into a story in as few words and pages as possible and I think Fliss did an amazing job of it. The stories in The Predatory Animal Ball are so descriptive that it’s easy for reader’s to put themselves into the story, to see the things she’s describing and to feel the emotions she’s conveying. Many of the stories follow with themes of grief, loss, and sadness and Fliss does an excellent job with but it does cause some of the stories to be very repetitive. And while I enjoyed the titular story in the collection I don’t know if it fit as the title of this collection, it’s an excellent title don’t get me wrong but I feel like there were other stories in Fliss’ collection that better fit the theme of the book. Overall, The Predatory Animal Ball is an excellent collection filled with heavy emotions and characters desperately trying to find a way out of their hardships, I really enjoyed these stories and would love to see Fliss write a longer work.

Since a lot of these stories were so short, it was difficult to write more in-depth reviews for each of the stories without giving them all away. But still, you can read my thoughts on each of the stories below: Continue reading

“Everything that happens in this book is true, by which I mean that it all really happened, the poison and the poems, the deadly cactus and the hypnotic musician, the chicken and the egg and the fatal finale, a phrase which here means there is death at the end of the story,” (Snicket 2).

After having his usual breakfast, acclaimed author Lemony Snicket has been anonymously informed by a note under his door which reads, “You had poison for breakfast.” So Snicket goes on a journey to figure out how he could be poisoned from a breakfast he prepared himself, having conversations about books, eggs, movies, swimming, and more. Continue reading

“I was made for him,” (Valente 5).

Sophia lives a perfect life in Arcadia Gardens. She has the perfect husband who she was made for, something she can so easily feel in her bones. But her husband has an important job and is away from her so often, she misses him so much. But he is perfect, everything is perfect. Except for the hair brush in the drawer and the lock of hair beside it that isn’t hers, the locked basement she isn’t allowed to go into because it isn’t finished yet but soon, soon it will be finished. And her perfectly lovely neighbours won’t answer her questions. But everything is perfect, and Sophia is happy. Right? Continue reading

CW: suicide, derogatory epithets, sports rape, peer pressure, strong language, racism, xenophobia, social injustice, war trauma, disability, toxic masculinity. 

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

Wow does River Weather ever pack a punch! This collection of short stories is set in Northern Virginia set mostly in the late 90s, ranging in stories that are dark and difficult to stomach at times. Overall the collection is about boys and men, characters who are victims of the toxic masculinity that infects and affects them all, their stories filled to the brim with a lot of difficult topics and themes (just look at that content warning above). It’s gritty and sad, filled with characters you won’t necessarily like but will feel for. A fantastic collection, I look forward to what more MacKenzie has to write! 

You can read my thoughts on each of the stories below: Continue reading

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

Can one short story make or break a book? If the book in question is What If We Were Somewhere Else then my answer would be yes, the guilty story being “The Human,” but we’ll get to that later. But if I’m being honest it wasn’t just “The Human” that got me (though it was my breaking point), very few of the stories in Fox’s collection wowed me. There were a few stories I really enjoyed but honestly this book was forgettable and difficult to finish.

What If We Were Somewhere Else follows seven co-workers at an office who are laid off, showing their lives, their families, what got them to the office and what happens when they’re unemployed. The stories circles with these characters, none of whom are particularly interesting and many of whom frankly suck. That isn’t usually an issue for me when reading, I understand the need for unlikeable protagonists but a whole collection of them can be a bit much. The book has a high rating and favourable reviews elsewhere so I recognize I’m in the minority for this one, I just didn’t get it and it clearly wasn’t meant for me.

You can read my thoughts on each of the short stories below: Continue reading

CW: Sexual assault.

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

“Love…was sometimes a decision you made, a promise to yourself to see only the best in a person, in spite of what else might be lurking,” (Schweighardt 46).

Estela Hopper, the illegitimate child of Jack Hopper, has been studying opera by an esteemed instructor in her home of Manaus, Brazil for most of her life. When she is offered a chance to work at the Metropolitan Opera in New York her instructor urges her to go, even though she will be working in the sewing room, and to convince the managers that a mixed-race immigrant has what it takes to be a great performer. She leaves Brazil with her cousin Jojo and they both experience the challenges and beauty that New York has to offer. But as they settle into their lives truths are revealed  and things change for Jojo and Estela, leading them into vastly different areas and paths. They deal with their own difficulties as they each continue hoping for success in a city so far from their home. Continue reading

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

“I loved watching the mist dissipate to reveal the world more with every sunrise. I loved seeing the sky and the river shift from black to gold. I loved the sight of the assai palms, standing along the river bank like Narcissus, falling in love with their own reflections. I loved the squirrel monkeys chattering in the trees, the parrots screaming overhead, the pink river dolphins, the settlements here and there with boats tied to the trees and small houses up on stilts,” (Schweighardt 200).

Jack Hopper is back in Hoboken, New Jersey after his traumatic stint with death after trying his hand at rubber tapping in South America. Nursed back to health by his childhood friend Nora Sweeney their relationship shifts and changes as new struggles form around them. From the beginnings of World War I, the Spanish Flu, and the secrets Jack keeps close to his heart that he can’t bear to make public. Jack and Nora end up in the rainforests of South America, offering a glimpse into Jack’s past and closure for both of them that has been years coming. Continue reading