#NetGalley #BookReview for #TheHouseofStyx by Derek Kunsken

My review for House of Styx by Derek Kunsken, 5/5 stars.

The idea of humans colonizing Venus is an intriguing one, and the author has done a fantastic job in imagining just how arduous it would be.

The story follows the D’Aquillon family, relegated to living below the clouds, eking out a living by using trawlers to harvest materials from the atmosphere, which they sell on the black market. The family lives in a harsh environment, and has suffered tragic losses, and each has a burden to bear.

There are some incredible scenes that are wonderfully described – you can feel the claustrophobia of the bathyscaphe as it descends to the planet’s surface amid the rising temperatures and increasing pressure; the exhilaration of flying in a winged suit high above the clouds, when Pascal sees the sun for the first time; the pain and fear as acid rain drips through a torn suit, where every second counts.

The story builds up, layer by layer, and you soon find yourself invested in the characters and their fates. Broken and flawed, struggling to find their way however they can, I loved the character development throughout the book.

A great start to a the series, I look forward to reading the next book. Highly recommend.

#BookReview for Grubane by Karl Drinkwater

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My review for Grubane by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

This is another great addition to the Solace series. Each novella gives us more background to the universe Drinkwater has created, building up to the two main novels.

In Grubane, he has interwoven the story with tactics used in chess, in a clever, intriguing way. It gives us an insight into Grubane’s mind, and leads the story along to its gripping conclusion.

The interaction between the AI and Major Grubane is intelligent, witty, and at times almost childlike, as the AI questions its almost human-like feelings. I loved these two characters – neither is as sterile or emotionless as they seem at the beginning.

A great read, as ever, from Drinkwater. I highly recommend the whole series!

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#BookReview for Helene (Lost Tales of Solace Book 1) by Karl Drinkwater

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My review for Helene (Lost Tales of Solace Book 1) by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Having read the two full-length novels, I was looking forward to this novella from the series. And it didn’t disappoint!

It takes us back to the beginning, when Clarissa was an emergent AI who still had to learn much about life – especially how to tell a joke! The interaction between Helene and the AI is just as amusing, descriptive, and wonderful as it is in the other two books, this is Drinkwater at his best!

I love the universe that has been created here, and how each book reveals a little more. I can’t wait for the next instalment! I highly recommend the whole series.

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#BookReview of Chasing Solace by Karl Drinkwater

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My review for Chasing Solace by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I’ve been dying to read this book ever since I knew Karl Drinkwater was writing the sequel to Lost Solace, so when he asked if I’d like a review copy, I jumped at the chance! You can read my review for Lost Solace here.

This book surpassed all my expectations – Opal is back, feistier than ever, the AI has evolved into a sentient being called Athene, and it’s non-stop action for two-thirds of the book as Opal continues her search for her sister.

The tension begins on the first page, and carries on all the way through almost to the end. There’s a new lost ship, and it’s even scarier than the first one, with a nightmarish layout of an abandoned abattoir inhabited by creatures only Drinkwater’s mind could come up with! I couldn’t put the book down, I had to find out what happened next as Opal makes her way through the spaceship, trailed by…well, you’ll have to read it to find out!

I love how the author gives his AI personality and characteristics that you can relate to – even the AI in Opal’s spacesuit grows on you, leading to a heart-wrenching scene at the end. While Athene fights her own battle with another AI, where the author gives free rein to his imagination.

There are some incredible scenes in this book, some that will keep you on the edge of your seat, others that will take your breath away with the intricate detail and beauty of the narrative. Another great read from Karl Drinkwater that I highly recommend!

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#BookReview for Zoo by Phil Price

My review for Zoo by Phil Price, 4/5 stars.

I read an ARC of this book and really enjoyed it. A group of villagers is suddenly abducted by aliens, only to find out they’re to be an exhibit in an intergalactic zoo. But the villagers also find themselves in the middle of a war, with terrible consequences for everyone.

The story is told from both the aliens’ and the humans’ points of view – and no matter how much you want to dislike the aliens, you end up sympathising with them. I found myself liking them more than some of the humans!

The author has given a lot of thought to both the aliens and their worlds, and how the humans react to their abduction. The story keeps you hooked all the way through, right to the end. A great read for lovers of sci-fi!

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The Missing Yesterdays (The Adventures of Tremain and Christopher #1) by Terry Marchion

My review for The Missing Yesterdays by Terry Marchion, 4/5 stars.

This is a fun book for older children, with elements of Dr Who, Star Trek, and time-travelling adventures. Christopher’s Uncle Tremain is the classical ‘mad scientist’ type, mislaying his sandwiches while being able to invent all sorts of incredible machines. When Christopher goes to visit him one day, things start to go wrong when one of his uncle’s machines starts to malfunction.

Their relationship reminds me of Marty and Doc in Back to the Future – Christopher is the insecure high-school kid who tends to keep his scatter-brained uncle in line when his brilliant ideas overstep the mark, gradually finding his confidence as the adventure progresses.

The story picks up pace in the second half, with great characters who have to race against time to stop their past being erased. Kids will love trying to guess what’s happening before all is revealed towards the end.

An easy-to-read book with a story that is resolved at the end without a cliff hanger, but with the hint of the next adventure. I look forward to reading the next in the series.

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Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater

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My review for Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars.
For more information about the Pink Quill Book Pick badge, click here.

This is another horror writer who has branched out into different genre, and yet again I was bowled over by this book. I’m a self-confessed Star Trek/Doctor Who geek, with a bit of Alien thrown in as well, which is probably why I loved it so much!

Lost Solace has an action-packed story line that doesn’t let you pause for breath, a flawed, female protagonist who you can’t help liking, and a ship AI that seems almost human. For most of the book, these two are the only characters as the story plays out in real time, but their interactions and dialogue are so cleverly written that you don’t even notice.

Even though we don’t know anything about Opal at the beginning, her strong character, sense of humour, and moral judgement shine through immediately. We join the story as Opal, having hacked the onboard AI and given it the name and voice of Clarissa, an unknown person who we learn about at the end, is about to go aboard the Lost Ship in search of…something. But things don’t seem right on the ship, and Opal has the feeling she is not alone.

The tension throughout the book is unrelenting, and keeps you turning the pages. I have read several of Karl’s horror stories, and he is definitely the master of keeping you on the edge of  your seat! The ending leaves a few unresolved questions, which I hope will be answered in the next book! Well written and well edited, with a beautiful cover as well, I highly recommend this book.

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