Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

by Rita Stradling

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.

Rated: ★★★
Publisher: Kindle Press
Publication: May 23, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Sci-fi, Romance
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Even though I’ve been burned in the past by fairytale retellings, I had to give Ensnared by Rita Stradling a chance. I mean, look at that cover! Though now there are two covers, the delightful one I used for this post, but also a sleek blue one, both are fitting and intriguing. Beauty and the Beast with a twist and in the future. That’s what it was marketed as, and that’s what I got. Straight, simple, to the point.

Set in a future full of advanced AI, Alainn is forced to go undercover as a robot ordered by reclusive millionaire Lorccan to keep her father from prison. Though she doesn’t want to, and it definitely wasn’t her plan, she goes along with it. Things proceed exactly as you think it would considering it’s a retelling. What makes it really stand out is the use of AI. It’s truly unsettling and definitely makes you think twice about giving Siri or Alexa access to everything.

This was well-paced, the romance was soft and easy (there is sex so keep that in mind if you’re picking this up). Characters were developed just enough to make you want to continue the story, and the world building enough to sustain the plot. I’m sure if the book were longer, or made into a series, there would be some serious snags, but as is, Ensnared by Rita Stradling is a truly enjoyable sci-fi rendition of Beauty and the Beast that I thoroughly adored.

Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

 The Arrival of Missives
by Aliya Whiteley

The Arrival of Missives is a genre-defying story of fate, free-will and the choices we make in life. In the aftermath of the Great War, Shirley Fearn dreams of challenging the conventions of rural England, where life is as predictable as the changing of the seasons.

The scarred veteran Mr. Tiller, left disfigured by an impossible accident on the battlefields of France, brings with him a message: part prophecy, part warning. Will it prevent her mastering her own destiny?

As the village prepares for the annual May Day celebrations, where a new queen will be crowned and the future will be reborn again, Shirley must choose: change or renewal?

Publisher: Unsung Stories
Publication: May 9, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, Time-Travel
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
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Rated: ★★★

The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

In The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley, the author continues to stun me with her expert wordcraft. Transitioning from the previous short work of New Weird fiction, The Beauty, Ms. Whiteley easily feels at home in the historical/science fiction genre. It was a solid short story, which I thoroughly enjoyed, however, I could not give it higher stars since I did end up feeling a little cheated towards the end. Perhaps it is because Ms. Whiteley is such a great author, I wanted more out of The Arrival of Missives. Literally, more — I wanted the story to continue.

I went into Missives not knowing what to expect. I thought, at first, that it was perhaps going to be a bit Pride and Prejudice-y, which had me confused since that would be remarkably different from Ms. Whiteley’s work in the past. We have our protagonist Shirley, completely smitten with a battle-scarred professor returned from war, a professor who seems to have his own agenda, and a local boy every assumes will marry Shirley. Seems pretty simple. And then, BAM! Professor goes topless and we discover the truth. What truth? Won’t talk about it here because I don’t want to spoil it, but look for a spoiler vlog about it Saturday!

The turn it took at the end, with the professor, really threw me for a loop. I guess, in the end, I felt a lot like Shirley did. Angry, confused, and determined to do something (which obviously I could not as a mere reader). The writing was infallible, pacing was great, character development (for such a short story) was fantastic. My complaint was simply that it ended too soon! I wanted to know more, to follow Shirley on her mission/adventure! But seriously, if you’re looking for a short, kinda weird kinda sci-fi story to pick up, give The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley a look.

Quotes & Excerpts

First I must go to Taunton and earn my teaching certificate, and I will cram all life into those years so that I can settle with ease when I am married and I return to the village. I would hate to have regrets. Bitterness in a teacher can spoil a pupil, I think.

They must all leave their mark somehow upon this place, even if only their letters remain.

Perhaps all old people look upon the young with envious eyes, and give their orders to reach beyond their natural time and steal from ours.

My newfound joy in saying things that upset others surprises me. I suppose it is my only source of power. If I must obey, then I will do it with no good grace.

But, of course, nature is not beautiful. It is not meant to form a pattern woven to perfection. I think of the battles I see every day around me: spider and flies, foxes and rabbits. The land and the sea, the night and the day, the old and the young. I think of how it was under the bridge, with Daniel, when we pitched our bodies against each other in an age-old struggle in which we were born to fight. It was not beautiful, but it was glorious. And there was never meant to be a victor.
That is the truth of our Earth.

About the Author

Aliya Whiteley was born in Devon in 1974, and currently lives in Sussex with her husband, daughter and dog. She writes novels, short stories and non-fiction and has been published in places such as The GuardianInterzoneMcSweeney’s Internet TendencyBlack StaticStrange Horizons, and anthologies such as Fox Spirit’s European Monsters and Lonely Planet’s Better than Fiction I and II. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice, and won the Drabblecast People’s Choice Award in 2007.

Her recent novella for Unsung Stories, The Beauty, was shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson Award and a Sabotage Award, and appeared on the Honors List for the James Tiptree Jr Award. She blogs at: aliyawhiteley.wordpress.com  and she tweets most days as @AliyaWhiteley.

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur


Seventeen-year-old Genesis Lee has never forgotten anything. As one of the Mementi–a small group of genetically enhanced humans–Gena remembers everything with the help of her Link bracelets, which preserve memories perfectly. But Links can be stolen, and six people have already lost their lives to a memory thief, including Gena’s best friend.

Anyone could be next. That’s why Gena is less than pleased to meet a strange but charming boy named Kalan who claims not only that they have met before, but that Gena knows who the thief is.

The problem is, Gena doesn’t remember Kalan, she doesn’t remember seeing the thief, and she doesn’t know why she’s forgetting things–or how much else she might forget. As growing tensions between Mementi and ordinary humans drive the city of Havendale into chaos, Gena and Kalan team up to search for the thief. And as Gena loses more memories, they realize they have to solve the mystery fast…because Gena’s life is unhappening around her.

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee
Shallee McArthur
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication: Nov 2014
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, YA
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
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Rated: ★★½

Review: The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur

A world where every single memory is recorded and kept in crystal clear recollections. Not just what happened, but how it felt. Then, the ability to pass memories and feelings down after your death. This is the world Genesis Lee lives in. For Genesis, aka Gena, her entire world holds a strong sense of certainty. That is, until she and her best friend are both victims of a memory thief.

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur is such an interesting read! It’s a truly refreshing book with a unique sci-fi/dystopian concept that you rarely find in the overly saturated YA market that seems to spend most of its time focusing on love triangles and romantic leads; and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that if you want romance in your YA. It just becomes tiring when it moves to the forefront of what is expected out of a YA novel.

Our main protagonist is Genesis “Gena” Lee, an Asian-American teenager. She is part of the elite group called Mementi who remember everything thanks to physical beads/links they wear at all times. They came about after years of cerebral experimentation that did have severe consequences on those that survived the initial procedures. Now, years later, this small group of elite humans have their own closed off community, while the Populace, non-Mementi humans, look at them with anger and suspicion.

Still, teenagers being teenagers, Gena and her BFF Cora find themselves at a mixed population party when suddenly an attack! Someone is going around stealing Mementi memories. Part of Cora’s memories are stolen and Gena is sympathetic, horrified that someone could do that, not realising that she too has lost a memory, even though all of her “links” are present. Enter, the “love interest” Kalan, a Populace boy Gena ran into the night Cora had her memories stolen. Unable to remember Kalan, Gena is forced to rely on his faulty memories to track down the thief as she slowly starts losing more and more memories. Is there romance? Minimal in my estimation. The focus of the story remains on Gena at all times, through the search for the memory thief and her relationship with her family.

One thing Ms. McArthur does extremely well is portray the sense of anxiety, anger, and confusion present in all of the victims of memory loss. Their memories are gone, but the emotions behind those memories still remain. It is reminiscent of what happens to Alzheimer’s victims. Ms. McArthur also does a fantastic job of creating a well fleshed character in Gena, a strong female protagonist that shows women can be smart AND girly, that can like a boy without having to be dumbed down.

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur is a great YA dystopian read with an awesome female protagonist and an incredibly interesting plot with a twist to the ending you don’t see coming, but accept.

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The Book of Strange New Things

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber


It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC.   His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling.  Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.

Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable.  While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival.  Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.

The Book of Strange New Things
Michel Faber
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication: October 2014
Genre: Metaphysical, Science Fiction
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
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Rated: ★★★