Lenni Reviews: “Orbit” by Leigh Hellman

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Committed troublemaker Ciaan Gennet runs afoul of the law one too many times and ends up sentenced to probation at a spaceship port facility. He blonde hair makes her a target for bullies so she hopes to keep her head down and serve her time without incident. But when a captain with obviously suspicious cargo docks his ship, Ciaan gets caught up in a multiplanet conspiracy that puts her life in great danger.

Perhaps a little slow going until Ciaan ends up on the spacecraft but it’s still interesting. Great characters, awesome worldbuilding, and a great spin on some dystopian concepts. We have a smart woman of color as our main lead and I love reading about a motley crew of space rebels. Very cool book. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Sea of Rust” by C. Robert Cargill

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Humanity is gone. Robots are also going extinct. Two remaining AIs are readying to go to war to claim the remaining freebots to add to their collective consciousness. While out scavaging for parts, former caregiver bot, Brittle, gets swept up in an insane gamble to save the last freebots on Earth.

If you like movies like 9, this is the book for you. The plots are similar in that the machines win a war against humans and the world is in ruins; minus any definitive heroes. Every character is flawed and out for myself, making this book ooze the very essence of a bleak, dystopian world. And I loved the adventure.

One nitpick I would have is the robots are almost too human but reading about a bunch of bland, personality drained dolls bashing up against one another would be boring. So, I’m all for it. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Treason of Truths” by Ada Harper

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Empress Sabine is invited on a diplomatic mission with some other leaders to a place called The Vault; a technological marvel self sustained by nanotechnology and an archive of an unfathomable amount of human knowledge. But what seems to be an olive branch quickly becomes a deathtrap and Sabine’s former bodyguard, Lyre, must face the secrets she’s been keeping not only from her queen but the woman she loves.

Although I didn’t read the first book, A Conspiracy of Whispers, this story stands well on it’s own. The world building gives the story weight and doesn’t get bogged down in the previous book’s events while still making them understood in relevance to what happens in this book. The action is well paced and tense, making this a fun page turner.

This also doesn’t disappoint in the romance department. Even without too many explicit love scenes, Sabine and Lyre’s relationship is touching and sweet and it’s great to see a lesbian relationship with women of color. As a romance and a science fiction novel, it succeeds on nearly every level except for a lack of development with the main villain and the societal mess behind his motivations, which I won’t spoil. I felt he needed more time to get to know all the details. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Matters of the Heart” by Alli Reshi

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is suggested for mature readers.

Dimitri is an alien working as an investigator for crimes regarding other extraterrestrial beings. When a case comes across his desk about corpses being found with burn marks over their hearts, he must put aside his feelings for his newly reconnected friend Devin; who is in the hospital after being shot trying to assassinate the president.

I enjoyed this but this is another mystery with romance that left me wanting to know more about the mystery because it was wrapped up too fast and with too much simplicity. They don’t so much work out and chase down the serial killer as the killer (er… spoilers, I guess?) just shows up ready to be captured. It ruins any tension on the mystery side of a romance/mystery. The character of Devin is compelling enough on his own where he may have made a better antihero or redeemed villain. Feels like a missed opportunity. I’d give it a 3… Maybe closer to a 4 but not quite.

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Lenni Reviews: “Escape from Altera” by Steven Gordon

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review

League pilot Idaho Took is captured by the Slurian Union. Thought to be a spy, he is sentenced to a death camp on the frozen planet of Altera. Barely surviving the deadly cold, sadistic guards, desperate prisoners and crippling starvation, Idaho battles for the hope of escaping the inescapable. The entire cast of misfits in this book work off one another really well, whether friend or foe and even the briefest of encounters is told with the same detail as longer attachments.

It’s easy to empathize with the cold, hunger, and brutality the prisoners must endure and it is horrifying and heartbreaking to see what people are willing to do to survive. Despite being set in a space opera setting, this is a harrowing and tense depiction of life in a forced labor camp. It’s merciless but a page turner as Idaho is a resourceful and interesting character to follow. The title implies further adventures with him and if they’re as good as this one, I’d like to read them.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Matter of Oaths” by Helen S. Wright

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is suggested for mature readers

In this reprint of a 1988 novel, Commander Rallya of the patrol ship Bhattya takes on a new officer; an oath breaker named Rafe. Not only is Rallya gambling by taking on an oath breaker, Rafe has also undergone a memory wipe as punishment. All Rafe wants is to do his job and perhaps earn the grudging respect of his new crewmembers but the deep secrets hidden in Rafe’s memories begin to flutter to the surface, secrets which may plunge the kingdoms into war.

This is an awesome space opera with odd politics that can get bogged down in its own details at times – both in the technical aspects and in the political. However, when the action is front and center; this book is a sharp, intelligent science fiction offering that is a nearly perfect book. It is truly a hidden gem that explores LGBT and people of color in science fiction and even has a retirement age captain! I’m sorry I didn’t come across this sooner. 4.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Thousand Year Beach” by Tobi Hirotaka – Translated by Matt Treyvaud

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and it suggested for mature readers.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

When mysterious spiders attack their small beach town, the remaining surviving AI’s must battle to save what little that remains.

If I were to sum this up, I would describe this as if the minds behind Black Mirror re-wrote the ending to Wreck it Ralph.  The book has you thinking about the nature of what an AI really is and what they are forced to do at the hands of human users.

The characters may be just in-game characters, but they have all the personality and depth, I got sucked into the world right away. I had so much fun reading this and I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes original cyberpunk stories. The action starts right up and doesn’t let up very often; making this book hard to put down. Beautifully written and tense, this was a great read. 4 out of 5.

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Press Release: “The Thousand Year Beach”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

VIZ MEDIA’S HAIKASORU SCIENCE FICTION IMPRINT RELEASES TOBI HIROTAKA’S THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH 

 

An Idyllic World Inhabited By A.I. Beings Faces Extinction From Malevolent Invaders

San Francisco, CA, May 22, 2018 – VIZ Media’s Haikasoru science fiction imprint delivers a new literary release with the publication of THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH on June 19th.

THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH, by TOBI Hirotaka, will be released in print with an MSRP of $16.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN. An eBook edition will also debut on June 19th for the Amazon Kindle, and in Apple’s iBooks Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, the Kobo eBooks Store, and the Google Play Store.

Designed to imitate a harbor town in southern Europe, the Realm of Summer is just one of the zones within the virtual resort known as the Costa del Número. It has been more than a thousand years since human guests stopped coming to the Realm, leaving the AIs alone in their endless summer. But now all that has come to a sudden end, as an army of mysterious Spiders begin reducing the town to nothing. As night falls, the few remaining AIs prepare for their final, hopeless battle… War between the virtual and the real begins in book one of the Angel of the Ruins series.

“THE THOUSAND YEAR beach presents an idyllic virtual world, still running long after having been abandoned by humans, that suddenly finds itself invaded by an impossible force,” says Nick Mamatas, Editor. “Renowned among SF fans and critics, we invite readers to discover TOBI Hirotaka’s first full-length novel this summer.”

Author TOBI Hirotaka was born in 1960 and won the Sanseido SF Story Contest while still a student at Shimane University. From 1983 to 1992 he actively contributed short stories to Japan’sSF Magazine. After a hiatus of ten years, he returned in 2002 with his first full-length novel, THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH, which took Second Prize in SF Magazine‘s Best SF of 2002. In 2004, Kaleidoscape, his collection of revised and new works, took top honors in that year’s Best SF awards in the magazine, as well as the 2005 Japan SF Award. One of the stories from the collection, “Shapesphere,” also won the 2005 Seiun Award for Best Japanese Short Story of the Year. In 2010, “Autogenic Dreaming: Interview with the Columns of Clouds” earned TOBI his second Seiun Award for Best Japanese Short Story. The work also appeared in English in The Future Is Japanese anthology (published by VIZ Media). He won his third Seiun Award for “Sea Fingers” in 2015, which appeared in English in Saiensu Fikushon 2016.

For more information on THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH and the Haikasoru imprint, please visit Haikasoru.com.

For more information on other titles available from VIZ Media, please visit viz.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Established in 1986, VIZ Media is the premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing. Along with its popular digital magazine WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, DRAGON BALL, SAILOR MOON, and POKÉMON, VIZ Media offers an extensive library of titles and original content in a wide variety of book and video formats, as well as through official licensed merchandise. Owned by three of Japan’s largest publishing and entertainment companies, Shogakukan Inc., Shueisha Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is dedicated to bringing the best titles for English-speaking audiences worldwide.

Learn more about VIZ Media and its properties at viz.com.

 

Lenni Reviews: “Broken Mirror” by Cody Sisco

 

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

After the death of his grandfather, Victor is convinced he was murdered. But nobody believes him due to his diagnosis of mirror resonance syndrome, which causes blackouts, nightmares, hallucinations, and a lack of control over strong emotions. Determined to discover the truth, Victor no longer knows who to trust as not only his condition worsens but a dangerous conspiracy involving a possible cure and a plot to lock up any broken mirror whether they’re a threat or not.

This is a great cyberpunk thriller. Set in a dystopian, 1990’s, you get this futuristic feel and the stakes make it tense but there are moments that drag as the next twist is set up. I really felt for Victor and I think you’ll find yourself rooting for him the entire book, as I did. The world around him is built perfectly within the narrative making the entire story engrossing and engaging. An awesome novel worth checking out. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Escape Velocity” Jason M. Hough

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

After the destruction of their ships, Captains Skyler Luiken and Gloria Tsandi with their crews are stranded within enemy compounds, scattered and separated with no escape and surrounded by the Scipio; having survived a huge attack, and now must find a way to find their comrades, defeat an armada, and get out alive.

Despite the flurry of characters, this is an interesting space opera with some high handed concepts that feel bigger than they really are. Other than my personal curiosity about the previous books in this series, this one stands alone just fine. It’s enjoyable, the characters and writing kept me interested but not enough to get truly lost in it and I found myself easily distracted instead of engaged. It comes in, does its thing, then it leaves fulfilling its task. Not bad, though. 3 out of 5.

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