Posts by Rebecca Bryant

Hey, my name's Rebecca. I am recent college grad who blogs in my off time. According to my friends, I also take far too many pictures and sing Disney songs just a little too often. but hey, whatever makes life interesting.

Review Rendezvous: 7/21/18


Futura by Jordan Phillips
Book stats:
Genre(s): Novella, science fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 90
Publish date: January 2nd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

FuturaBy the year 2050, Paris is a stark contrast from other large cities, which had long ago morphed into ultramodern metropolises, where every new building was practically a city within a city. Even in France, humans cannot escape the fact that the Invisibles have taken over. Some come in the form of microscopic chips that are embedded practically everywhere, while others are more visible because they power robots. Humans were suddenly underutilized, and they would be forever.

Past futurists had cried that this would be disorienting and depressing, but it turned out to be quite liberating. Human qualities—good and bad—are tolerated because they are authentic, and not artificially created. To err is to be human, and these days, to be human is to be beautiful.

Futura follows a single American woman named Ruby as she figures out how to thrive in a dramatically different cultural landscape. This utopian novella pushes back on the cynical views many hold today. Instead, author Jordan Phillips has imagined a bright future for the entire human race.

Honestly, it was so nice reading a futuristic book that takes on utopian themes instead of dystopian. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good dystopian, but there are just so. many. books. It’s the popular genre currently, which also leads to an unfortunate saturation of the genre.

But, this little novella was short and sweet. The world building here is very vivid and creative. There was no shortage of beautiful imagery and description. That I believe is the novel’s strength, and if we were to experience a different character’s input and story within this world, I feel like it would have a better chance at sustaining a novel.

One of the downsides to such a short novel is that there was not much time to connect with the characters. in a world as vivid and complex as this one, the premise would really fit better in a full length novel where one has the space to dissect and get involved with the lives of the primary characters. Then there’s the fact that the main character makes a few certainly questionable decisions. I really did enjoy the world, just not as much the actual view of Ruby’s life.

There is a bit of a discussion to truly be had about the premise. Would human life really be life if computers were the ones running our world and not us? Sure, the automation and modernization helps, but can computers be trusted to make crucial, life and death type of decisions? I’m not a blogger dedicated to philosophical questions though, so I’ll leave you to ponder that on your own 🙂

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 7/14/18


Valley of Time by Jeremy D. Holden
Book stats:
Genre(s): Science fiction, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 262
Publish date: November 5th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

ValleyMal Thomas only escaped with his life through a mixture of good fortune and divine intervention, after he and his eclectic team of cynical mad men and women were charged with promoting the alleged second coming of the Messiah, by Alfredo Baptiste, the world’s most powerful industrialist.

Having subsequently become famous as a best-selling author—as well as an unlikely spiritual leader—after having written and promoted a book about those experiences, Mal is now approached by another enigmatic billionaire with an equally incredible proposition.

Huw Hudson, the man often described as a modern-day Howard Hughes, wants to position his company, Space Rider, as the leader in commercial space tourism. He tries to enlist Mal and his team to help promote it, with one extraordinary twist: Hudson has evidence of an alleged UFO encounter, which he thinks could damage his business plans, and he asks Mal to investigate and manage the breaking news story.

Mal discovers a deeper purpose at work, as he crisscrosses Brazil, Miami, London, and Dubai in furtherance of Hudson’s audacious ambition, while being forced to keep an unbelievable secret from the FBI and even his closest friends. In confronting his deepest fears, Mal takes us on a journey that challenges the very core of our beliefs about space and time. 

This is the second book in a series, so fair warning there may be spoilers for plot points of the first book. Unlike my last review, you’ll probably need to read the first book to get a good back story for this one. There was quite a few references to past events and things that you would miss if you jumped in with this book first. Also, this book is currently free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, so definitely go check it out.

This one had quite an interesting premise, and part of the draw for me is that I work with marketing as a blogger and influencer on social media. The idea of such a huge story being plausible was a little farfetched (I mean, how many supposed UFOs have there been recording sightings of?), but nevertheless I continued. The beginning was a bit rough, but the action did finally pick up a few chapters in.

While this does begin fairly similar to the first book, it quickly divorces from that narrative. I did like the fact that this is told in first person narrative. It’s much easier to get into a character’s head this way, and there is another layer of plot development that factors in with mysteries because you are limited to only what the protagonist experiences rather than being an omniscient observer.

There are quite a few pop culture reference which were entertaining, and there is definitely a lot of jargon included. Honestly, the way most of it was phrased however was not as bad as it could have been, and I was able to understand pretty easily.

For people interested in sci-fi and conspiracy theories, you’d likely enjoy this novel.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 7/7/18


An Eye for an Eye by Caroline Fardig
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller, suspense
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 322
Publish date: January 23rd, 2018
Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble – Book Depository

EyeEllie Matthews is tired of her fifteen minutes of fame. After consulting on a high-profile murder case a few months ago, she wants nothing more than to fade back into obscurity and resume her life as a mild-mannered college professor. But when a family friend goes missing, Ellie finds herself thrust back into the grisly world of crime scene investigation.

It isn’t long before Ellie’s young friend is found murdered and her death is tied to a previously unsolved case. Based on the cryptic poems left on the victims, the department soon realizes that the killer’s vendetta is against them.

It takes all Ellie has to push her personal feelings aside and partner with Detective Nick Baxter one more time. The duo must stop at nothing to catch a vengeful serial killer before it’s too late.

Potential spoiler warning. This is the second book in the “Ellie Matthews” series. Things discussed in this review may spoil plot lines in the first novel.

I haven’t read a non-young adult book in quite a while it feels like, so it was interesting to take a crack at this one. Technically speaking I fall into the target audience for the semi-new genre “new adult”, which encompasses high school grads through their early adult life. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy an actual adult mystery every once in a while. I confess to being used to YA, but the break is quite nice.

Ellie clearly wants nothing but to get back to her regular life in this particular book. She was convinced to assist on a previous case, dragging her criminologist skills out of the attic, but has a strong desire to leave that in the past and just be the professor she has become. Unfortunately, her friend is taken and later murdered, which forces Ellie back into the case.

I sensed some very Sherlock-esque skills in the detective work, and I do quite like mysteries so I enjoyed this one. Having a strong female character in the lead of a crime novel was a nice twist, reminds me of books like Riley Sager’s Final Girls. Technically speaking you could read this book as some kind of stand alone, but reading the first book before this one helps flesh out the characters and their past interactions so much more.

This book can get fairly grisly, and there are religious symbolisms involved, so have that in mind before you proceed. There’s also a fair amount of criminology terms, but honestly I didn’t find them too distracting or difficult to process. It definitely help build the world and give it a good grounding in reality.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/30/18


Top Choice by Sophie McAloon
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young Adult, dystopian, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 330
Publish date: April 16th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository

TCAs a future leader of the female-led regime her grandmother fought hard to establish, Alice Kearns is no stranger to pressure. Being the best in a society where women are expected to be high-achieving is the only option her powerful mother has ever accepted for her, and now that Ali’s a senior in high school, the pressure to succeed is greater than ever. But fortunately, as of her eighteenth birthday, Ali has a place to blow off steam: she’s finally allowed into the Choice Clubs.

Filled with an enticing mix of music, drinks and gorgeous guys, the Choice Clubs were founded to ensure that smart girls wouldn’t get distracted in their real lives by anything as trivial as a shallow crush or a pretty face. Choice guys are fun, flirty, and the perfect eye candy, but Ali would never dream of actually falling for one—until she meets Tag.

Tag McPhail is Top Choice. With his mischievous grin and chiseled abs, he is exactly the kind of boy that Ali’s mother believes needs to be kept contained. But after he kisses Ali at the Choice Club, she suddenly sees him everywhere—and she’s surprised to learn that there’s more to him than his perfect looks. Tag is sweeter, smarter, and funnier than Ali ever expected… and, she soon discovers, he’s also dangerous. Because Tag leads a double life: when he’s not working at the clubs, he’s leading a rebel group trying to overturn the girl power society that the women in Ali’s family have worked so hard to put in place.

Getting closer to Tag upends everything Ali thought she knew. But will she betray everything she was raised to protect for a guy she’s not even sure she can trust?

In the current setting of politics and shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, this book was quite the interesting shift in perspective. Too often we see dystopians where female characters are put down and treated improperly, but what if it was the other way around? There is plenty of objectifying of not just women but men as well, so what if it was all combined in a future society?

That premise alone is what drew me to this book. The writing style was well done and easy to follow. I enjoyed the descriptions of setting and character, and McAloon seems to be able to get into her character’s heads well. She did well with fitting her character’s attitudes and personalities to the society they’ve grown up in, instead of taking characters that existed in today’s society and tried to fit them with a future government.

There were plenty of surprises to keep me on my toes which I highly enjoyed. There’s always a rebel group going against power in futuristic settings, and this one is no different. But the fact that the main love interest has a double life just brings depth to his character instead of him being the typical ‘cute boy’ stereotype that the others like him seem to fall into.

Overall, great work. Would definitely read this one again.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:

HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/23/18


Ignition by William Hawk
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 240
Publish date: August 15th, 2014
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository

IOn his sixteenth birthday, William Hawk awakes like any other morning – a teenage boy focused on girls, cars, and food. But, before he can even finish eating, William’s Change Agent III status activates, and his responsibility to save Earth from evil begins.

Just months before, on her sixteenth birthday, Grace’s Change Agent III status reveals an appalling truth: her malevolent twin brother is the Dark Master reincarnated. After years of being brutalized by her brother and deemed crazed by her family, Grace finally encounters the opportunity to free herself from her brother’s terror and help William save her planet.

While seven of the ten worlds within the universe have defeated evil, none have combated the Dark Master directly. With the help of family, Native Americans, and friends from Earth and beyond, William must discern his new, pre-bio memories and conquer his pre-bio mistakes to deliver Earth toward the freedom of final ignition.

First of all, love the cover. It might have to go on one of my all-time favorite covers list! Honestly when I got it, the premise was so interesting and I loved the cover so much, I knew it had to be good. Yes, yes, I admit to judging by the cover. Shame on me haha.

Anyways, on to the actual content.

There’s pretty much no easing in to this story, action starts on the first page. Granted, it doesn’t pick up to harrowing levels until a bit later, but you don’t have to worry about a slow start. You can see the conflict of William thinking he’s insane but also knowing that something is different and important.

One thing that I thought was a bit interesting was how easily his family seemed to accept things, even if they were skeptical. I mean, if your kid started claiming he’d been seeing visions and other weird stuff, you’d probably think that they may have taken something to give them a reaction.

The themes of this book are very deep, which is unique for a young adult book. Yes, many books and series have general overarching themes, but this one made you think and if you thought too much, your brain could hurt. It will certainly be interesting to see how the next book follows up the first!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!