Ensnared – Rita Stradling

ensnared

Who doesn’t love fairytale remakes? Not this girl! One of my favorite Disney stories is Beauty and the Beast, so you can imagine my excitement when I found an alternative version of this in science fiction form.

This story has all my feels. A romance story between a broken and disfigured man and a loving and damaged heroine. I couldn’t put it down, often growing irritated with people who continued to interrupt my story dwelling.

My only wish is that the buildup lasted longer. Don’t get me wrong, the buildup was sufficient for the story. I just love buildup and could read entire stories where the buildup is the entirety of the tale.

The characters were likable and compelling to follow. The robots were real characters in their own right with their lovable cuddle-bug personalities  or their villainous ways.

I was ensnared by the story and I think romance loving, science fiction geeks like me, will enjoy it as well. If you’re a sucker for the emo boys, then this will hit the spot.

The book is not published yet, but I recommend you check it out on Goodreads, or if you are a blogger/reviewer check it out on Netgalley.com.

Synopsis: Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

 

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*I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Three Dead Men & Happy Dark Year – Calvin Demmer (Short Stories)

3355660433551313Recently, another set of short stories by Demmer graced my desk. What I find most interesting about Demmer is the variation in his little stories. Each time I receive a new one, I find they become more original and intriguing than the last.

Happy Dark Year was my favorite of this set. Demmer enjoys creating unfavorable male characters and watching them burn. I have to say I enjoy when these characters get what I feel is coming to them. A surprising twist to this tail. A fantastical, dark story that shows the power of a woman scorned. Definitely, worth the read. A creepy story to send you off to bed.

Three Dead Men ventures back to a Japanese world, a place Demmer has an inclination to revisit. But aside from the people being Japanese, the threat itself is non-Japanese.  Instead, Egyptian seems to be on the menu. This was less enjoyable for me, just because I didn’t really feel the fear. Nevertheless, it was still an original creation, just needed more emotion.

You can find these stories on Amazon in Kindle format.

Synopsis:

Happy Dark Year – Cody Wheeler wants to enjoy New Year’s Eve. He wants to catch up with friends he hasn’t seen since going off to college. But his girlfriend, Kendall, is back to throwing fits and nagging him, ruining his break at home. He decides she needs to be taught a lesson. Nothing serious, just a little reminder that she should act her age. Cody, however, gets carried away and doesn’t foresee the horror that awaits him at her favorite spot by the lake.

Three Dead Men – When college student Maiko Hayashi goes to pick her uncle up for Christmas Eve dinner, she isn’t expecting a silent house with no lights on, and she definitely isn’t expecting the terrifying scenario she’s about to walk into.

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORIES

9815686Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. He has had over thirty stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe.

CONNECT WITH CALVIN

Website

Goodreads

 
 
 

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Pleasure Model – Christopher Rowley (Netherworld #1)

6851246I had never heard of Heavy Metal Pulp genre until a couple weeks ago. While stumbling around my boyfriend’s book horde, I found this strange novel scattered among the shelves. My excitement increased as I realized it came with pictures!

A short, fast paced story with sex being a main character, but equally partnered with an intriguing detective story that will leave you in suspense.

The pictures were a fun addition and I have to say I enjoyed the story. Rook, the good cop and our hero has a soft spot for the ladies, but he plays a respectable man who respects even the robotic species. He’s a good guy that is easy to like, especially when all his chips are down. This is a fun and sexy crime novel that will be sure to entertain those who enjoy the science fiction side of life. However, my only warning is this story is meant for a more mature audience. The pictures and details in the story are not meant for children.

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle format for $7.99 and in paperback for $17.99.

P.S. This story is likely to offend some. The women are heavily sexualized. A perfect story for an adolescent boy with raging hormones.

Synopsis: Presenting Heavy Metal Pulp, a new line of novels combining noir fiction with fantastic art featuring the themes, story lines, and graphic styles of Heavy Metal magazine.

In Pleasure Model, the first book in the Netherworld trilogy, down-and out police detective Rook gets a big break when he’s assigned to a bizarre and vicious murder case. The clues are colder than the corpse and the case looks like it’ll remain unsolved—until an eyewitness is discovered. But the witness is a Pleasure Model, an illegal gene-grown human. Plesur’s only purpose is to provide satisfaction to her owner—in any way. When the murderer targets Plesur in order to eliminate the one witness, Rook takes her into hiding to protect her. Thus begins a descent into the dark world of exotic pleasure mods and their illicit buyers and manufacturers. Rook frantically looks for clues, struggling to stay one stop ahead of those looking to kill them both. But is Rook falling under Plesur’s spell….?

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Choice of Robots – Video Game Review

robotsAn entirely text based game, written by a doctor of computer science Kevin Gold, PhD, that will remind you of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books, where every decision you make dramatically affects the outcome. Though in reality, it is really more of a novel than a game. I played through the first time in roughly 5 hours one day and I truly enjoyed myself. It has tons of replay value, if you want to explore every potential path. I personally, only had interest to play twice through. There were some story-lines I was not interested in exploring.

However, for those 5 hours, this was a fun experience. Every now and then it’s nice to play something that is not made to feel like a cinematic movie.

If you like decision based games or books, this story will be a fun afternoon.

You can learn more at the Steam store.

Check out Choice of Games LLC to learn more.

Synopsis: The robots you design will change the world! Will you show them the true meaning of love, or conquer Alaska with your robot army?

Choice of Robots is an epic 300,000-word interactive sci-fi novel by Kevin Gold, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Play out thirty years of your life as a brilliant robot maker, from graduate school near the present day to a future in which your robots have changed everything. Depending on your choices, your robots may be independent or obedient, clumsy or graceful, empathic or cold…and you yourself may live to an old age happily married or alone with only robots to comfort you.

Play as male or female, gay or straight, with nine characters to romance, four alternate climax chapters, and over seventy achievements to unlock.

• Build a unique robot character–you choose everything from its shape to what it calls you
• Instigate or prevent a robotic uprising
• Teach your robots to love humanity, or disdain it
• Build an artificial intelligence suitable to take control of the world’s governments
• Start a war against the United States, and win
• Marry a human or an advanced robot, and start a family 

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King’s Quest – Video Game Review

headerA whimsical and entertaining point & click adventure, where choices you make change the course of your journey. This was a thoroughly well crafted game. For people who enjoy puzzles, this 5 chapter episodic journey will keep your mind active and sharp, especially in chapter 4.

I truly enjoyed the game, until chapter 4. It was puzzle after repetitive puzzle and I just wanted the game to end. The story was fun though, especially the first 3 chapters and I enjoyed the ride throughout that section.

For puzzle lovers who love lighthearted games then this game will be enjoyable. If you like point & click, but prefer light puzzling, you will enjoy this game up until chapter 4. I found YouTube walkthrough cheating was what got me through in the end (when I stopped caring and just wanted it to end).

Regardless, the story was cute and I enjoyed making decisions.

It is available on most major platforms including XBOX One/360, PS4/3, and PC.

Check out the developer website Sierra and learn more about the game.

Reviews located on Steam.

Synopsis: King’s Quest is a collection of five different chapter releases, each focusing on an untold tale in Graham’s past. In each chapter, an aging King Graham reflects on his life of adventure with his granddaughter, Gwendolyn, while players are transported back to influence first-hand the decisions and events that shaped a kingdom. Embark on an extraordinary journey across the world of Daventry.

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Pale Hearts – Emily Eckart – Short Stories

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Short stories are great for when the night is late and you need a quick read. Eckart’s stories have kept me company this past month as the lights were dimmed and the Sandman set in.

Eckart has been published in several major publications, including Potomac Review and Nature. This encouraged my decision when I agreed to read this collection. I have to say that I was glad to have said yes. Her writing is on a different level than the everyday story. It is deeper and more thoughtful. With each ending you are left pondering the events and what they mean. A poetic writer, she captures the darkness of reality. These are not happy tales, they are real tales with consequences that are not always pretty.

I enjoyed this collection, though a bit dark for my overall tastes. I would have preferred an uplifting tale thrown in once in a while to balance the others. But I only complain because I read to escape reality, not bathe in it. And Eckart keeps it real. A gifted writer like Eckart deserves to be heard and her collection will leave you wanting more.

You can find the stories on Amazon in Kindle for $2.99 and in paperback for $14.99.

Synopsis: What happens when a safety app isn’t enough to protect a child? Is there really such a thing as a Grechtzoar? What really is the nature of happiness? How do we quantify it? These questions and more are answered in the pages of breakout author Emily Eckart’s “Pale Hearts,” a collection of short stories. Emily’s writing has something for everyone, and her heartfelt stories leave the reader with a sense of longing for a place and time they may never have known.

THE GIRL BEHIND THE STORIES

6832463Emily Eckart studied music at Harvard University.  Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Nature, Potomac Review, New World Writing, and elsewhere. Besides writing, she is interested in classical music and environmental conservation. She is currently at work on her first novel.

CONNECT WITH EMILY

Website

Goodreads

 

 

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Tales from the Borderlands – A Telltale Game Series (Video Game Review)

tales-from-the-borderlands-logoI’m obsessed. This was by far one of the best games I have ever played. The level of character development and the level of feelings this game evoked was just mind-blowing. Telltale outdid themselves with this story. Every choice I made felt like a life or death decision.

I’ve been really into point and click games, especially those that have a huge story driven focus. Telltale is the master of these types of games and this is by far the best one I have played. It has injected me with the drive to play the original Borderlands game by developer Gearbox Software and publisher 2K Games, which is something I have been hemming and hawing about for some time.

If you like heavy story emphasis, decision making play style, and a science fiction/dystopian atmosphere this is the game for you.

So damn good!

Synopsis: Tales from the Borderlands is a five part episodic game series from the creators of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series. Set on the unforgiving world of Pandora after the events seen in Borderlands 2, this is a story full of Borderlands’ trademark humor, following two adventurers on their quest for greatness.

You’ll play as Rhys, a Hyperion ‘suit’ with dreams of being the next Handsome Jack, and Fiona, a Pandoran con artist looking to score her biggest ever swindle. Thrown together as unwilling partners in an adventure to recover cash they both think is theirs, their journey will take you on a wild ride where gangsters, bandit lords, and Vault Hunters are just some of the obstacles you’ll encounter, in this new take on the award-winning universe created by Gearbox Software.

• Play as Rhys, on a mission to make Hyperion his
• Play as Fiona, on a mission to make the money hers (all of it)
• Explore Pandora as never before: familiar and new locations brought to life as more than mere cannon fodder
• Your choices matter, changing the story around you, and making the tale yours

Check it out on Steam for $24.99 (currently). Steam prices fluctuate with frequent sales. Also, it is available for the PS4 $16.41, PS3 $9.99, XBOX One $12.39/360 $9.99, PC $12.97.

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Quirky Book Sirens – Bitches of Everafter – Episode 10

In this episode of the Quirky Book Sirens: At the Book Shelf edition, we discuss and review The Bitches of Everafter by Barbra Annino. Don’t mind our winter hats, we were just being cozy for our winter episode!

Special Guest: Jayme Beddingfield

The Bitches of Everafter (Everafter Trilogy #1) – Barbra Annino

 

QUIRKY BOOK SIRENS:

AT THE BOOKSHELF EDITION REVIEW

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Sheilah’s Review:

If you love Disney and the sweetness of it, then turn back now, because theses bitches ain’t gonna give you any toothaches.

This was such fun to read! Disney princesses re-imagined in a good girl gone bad girl kind of way. Fairytales with a definite alcoholic twist. Snow White is the lead protagonist, in which she finds herself a convicted felon serving time in a halfway house run by a gambling, hoarding granny. I loved the new versions of Snow White, Belle, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Aurora, as they portrayed stronger, fiercer and cleverer versions of their former selves. They were real and rugged, not the storybook goody-two-shoes.

I have no qualms or buts to say about this story. It was thoroughly entertaining and I personally recommend it to any fantasy, fairytale lovers out their looking for a curve ball. Looking for a giggle? Then you found the right book.

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Katrina’s Review:

I’m a sucker for a fairy tale twist, and I’d been eyeing this for some time when we decided to feature The Bitches of Ever After on the Quirky Book Sirens: At the Book Shelf edition. The focus of the novel follows Snow White and her fellow princesses, who have forgotten they were ever princesses to begin with and are now living in a halfway house. Instead, the lot of them are tough, cat-fighting, foul-mouthed girls who have been given a bad lot in life. They act not unlike someone might who had truly been through the tribulations these girls had been through might act in real life, as Sheilah pointed out during our show.

Though the story follows the girls, there are other characters from fairytales that also make appearances, some with more vital roles. Little Red Riding Hood’s role is quite different than anything I’ve experienced before. Meanwhile, the end of the book, while ending on something of a cliff hanger, sets it up for some other characters of lore to make waves in the sequel in new and different ways. Fortunately, I just found out the second book is now available!: The Bitches of Enchantment. The Bitches of Ever After is fun, light reading for anyone who enjoys unique fairy tale twists and mystery.

Check out the Quirky Book Sirens to hear us discuss The Bitches of Ever After with our guest Jayme Beddingfield, writer and host of the Too Many Words podcast.

Katrina’s Owl Rating: 
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Synopsis: From the author of the #1 bestselling book, OPAL FIRE, comes a brand new spellbinding trilogy inspired by the characters of fairy tales.

These are not the mild-mannered maidens of your childhood. These are fallen princesses and fierce women with no recollection of who they are, where they came from, or how they arrived in a mysterious town called Everafter. All they know is that they’ve been sentenced to a stretch in a half-way house by a malicious judge with an ax to grind. They’ve been stripped of their freedom, their kingdoms, and their true loves. Now, they have nothing left to lose.

Snow White is the newest parolee to arrive at Granny’s House for Girls. It isn’t long before she learns that her housemates harbor secrets, and that the mansion itself is a meandering enigma. She stumbles upon forbidden doorways, ghostly passages, and walls that seem to breathe. Determined to find out what’s really happening inside those old walls, Snow embarks on a dangerous discovery mission. Not everyone is thrilled about her nosing around. In fact, there are some who would kill to keep the secrets that the house-and its occupants-hold.

THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK:

2894399Barbra Annino is the author of the enchanting and popular Stacy Justice mystery series. Sin City Goddess is the first title in her exciting Secret Goddess series, and her newest fantasy trilogy is set in fairytale land. Originally from Chicago, she shares her home with her husband and their Great Danes, all of whom contribute to her books in unique ways.

 

CONNECT WITH BARBRA

Goodreads
Website

Thanks Sinning – (Short Story) – Calvin Demmer

33053682Here lies another creepy tale, told by the voracious writer, Demmer. This was an original tale with a startling outcome. I can’t say I knew where this was going — I mean, I did, kind of — because Demmer doesn’t exactly write happy endings, but I was surprised at the ending all the same. Some of Demmer’s stories are stronger than others when it comes to originality. I would say this tale was one of his stronger creations I have read — so far.

It’s a short, gooey, unpredictable tale that will be sure to tickle the monster lover that lies inside you.

Check it out on Amazon in Kindle format for 99 cents.

 

Synopsis: DeShawn Williams wanted a break from the responsibilities of home. Thanksgiving Day presented him with the opportunity to do things differently. What started off as a day of fun and adventure, would soon take a strange turn.

 

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORY

9815686Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. He has had over thirty stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe.

CONNECT WITH CALVIN

Website

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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