Book Review: Newdawn Roamers

Title: Newdawn Roamers
Author: Dominique Luchart
Genre: Sci-fi, YA
Year Published: 2020

Date finished: May 3, 2021

Newdawn Roamers by Dominique Luchart is a young adult science fiction novel about an advanced future earth with artificial intelligence. An intelligent entity was located making its way toward earth and scientists think it could be an invasion. They created a team called the Roamers to travel back in time to locate scientists who could possibly help them stop this invasion.

There are multiple main characters but eventually the story focuses in on the girl named Tesh. Her relationship with one of the Roamer takes a backseat until near the end when it leads into a love triangle. Also, the chapters are broken down by time periods and characters, so if you don’t pay attention, you can easily get confused.

I liked the advanced technology, especially the AI. There’s a lot of information to take in which I thought really helped create the world they lived in. I’m glad I came upon this book because it was a hidden gem.

Who should read this book: Anyone who’s into future worlds, advanced technology, time travel, and YA triangle. This book hits all those spots perfectly. In fact, I think it reads a little closer to new adult, but the YA vibe is very much there.

April 2021 Playlist

Missing early 2K EDM (electronic dance music) so I’m listening a bunch of them. “Ecstasy” by ATB is one of my all time favorites. It was released in 2004 but I think I got hooked on the song a year or two later. This remixed version is what I’ve been listening to.

“Close to You” by Tiesto. This song was released in 2001 but I heard it maybe eight years ago. Don’t know how I missed this one ’cause I was listening to his other stuff.

“Reach Me” by First State. Love this beat. There’s no singing, just smooth trance-like music. There’s an undertone of sadness to it which is what I think makes this music so beautiful. Released in 2007.

“On and On” by Ilona Europa. This one was my oldest daughter’s favorite. It’s also one of my favorites. It was released in 2006.

“Stereo Love” by Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina. Not my favorite but husband loves this song. It was released in 2009.

Book Review: Exile

Title: Exile
Author: Martin Owton
Genre: Fantasy
Year Published: 2019

Date finished: April 20, 2021

Exile by Martin Owton is a fantasy novel about a man named Aron who was exiled from his home and ends up being asked to protect an earl’s son. Things seem to go smoothly until a brawl ensues and suddenly nothing is going as planned.

This was a good read. I enjoyed the world building. It felt dark and dreary and medieval. No one could be trusted which I felt really made this story exciting. The main character was likeable. He came across almost perfect until danger hit and then his faults appeared. I thought that was well done. Some of the other characters were also nicely developed.

This is one of those stories where the pacing is consistent, and the actions aren’t so overly exciting all the time. There are exciting and action-packed scenes that are thrown in at the right time to create that tension and rush, but it’s kept to a minimal. I found that nicely done.

The only thing that bothered me, and it might not be an issue for you, was that I received an ebook copy from the author and for some reason the spacing was off. At times, the book was double-spaced, and other times, it was single-spaced. I also found a lot of grammatical errors. Often, if there are between one and three, I’ll let it go because that’s not enough to need to mention, but when there’s about six plus, it can get annoying. Normally, when I come across this many errors, I won’t continue reading, but the errors were found later in the story and I’d already invested time into the characters. This was so unfortunate because it impeded a smooth read. Other than that, the story itself was excellent.

Who should read this book: Anyone who enjoys a good story with a hero and magic. It’s rare to find a simple fantasy these days without too much gore or too much romance and whatnot. I find that sometimes stories get too complex or there are too many subplots, and the end doesn’t really tie everything together. This book is your clean-cut, simple fantasy with a touch of grimdark magic, and with an ending that leaves you satisfied.

Book Review: The Looking Glass

Title: The Looking Glass      
Author: H.L. Sudler
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Year Published: March 2021

Date finished: April 14, 2021

This was a quick and short read. It’s a story about love and coming to terms with a friendship. I really enjoyed it. Wasn’t expecting to read something like this but I liked the characters and the way the story ended. It’s a well written story.

Since it’s a really short read and I don’t want to give anything away, let’s just say, the author did an excellent job with the surprise.

Who should read this book: As mentioned, it’s a short story, so it’s worth a read. It’s an eye opener and may challenge you to really see life from a different perspective.

Note: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, but the opinion is purely my own.

Tom Yum Soup

I once tried a home hot pot and loved it so much that I decided to just make it over stove top. My favorite was the Tom Yum. I buy the paste and add some lime leaves, galanga slices (if I don’t have it fresh/frozen, I use the powder), lemon grass, whatever veggies I have on hand, and beef or chicken stock. Instead of vermicelli noodles, I use udon. I’ve tried it with rice noodles as well but I prefer the udon. As far as veggies goes, I often make it with broccoli and green beans. I also like it with shredded cabbage and/or bok choy but husband doesn’t like either so I don’t tend to use them unless it’s only me eating it.

I’ve made seafood versions with shrimp, crab meat, and tilapia. In this version, I used sea bass. I’ve also tried it with thin slices of red meat and that wasn’t bad. My my favorite is just with tilapia.

I love this soup because it’s easy and quick to make, and it tastes great, especially on cold wintry days.

Book Review: The Phantom of Faerie Mountain

Title: The Phantom of Faerie Mountain
Author: E.M. McIntyre
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Middle-grade
Year Published: 2015

Date finished: April 9, 2021

The Phantom of Faerie Mountain, by E.M. McIntyre is a young adult/middle-grade fantasy story about a fourteen-year-old girl named Abby who finds herself in a world of magic and mystery.

This was a really fun read! Abby is a curious girl with a big heart. She’s not afraid of danger and will do whatever it takes to find out the truth. She also learns some secrets about her own family and herself.

This is a great story for young readers. It would also be a great bed-time story to read to the little ones. The dangers, the friendships, the talking dog, etc. all play an important role in Abby’s journey. I really liked Rory’s character. I loved his accent.  

Who should read this: Everyone. It’s the kind of book that takes you away from reality and into a fun magical world. There’s no gore or deadly violence so all can enjoy it.

FF XV: Kingsglaive

I’m late to the game but I’m so glad I came! I watched Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV and loved it. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This was something husband and I watched because we ran out of Netflix movies to watch. I know about the Final Fantasy games but have never played a game. I’ve watched music compilations of past stories and enjoyed them. I’ll have to share them in a future post, but for now, I’m gushing over this one.

The whole CGI animated movie was fabulously done. I also watched a clip on how the movie was made and enjoyed that too. My favorite character is of course the protagonist, Nyx Ulric. He was asked by the king to protect Princess Lunafreya. The relationship between them was slightly hot. I got the feeling that Nyx liked her but had to hold back. She also liked him too but because of duty, she held back too. That’s just my take. The fight scenes were beyond words. They were so beautifully orchestrated.

Here are two compilation I loved by youtubers. The first one is of Nyx and Lunafreya and the second one is mostly Nyx but with more of his fighting. The music set to these compilations fit the feels perfectly.

Book Review: Jonathan’s Vows

Title: Jonathan’s Vows
Author: Mark Lages
Genre: Literary fiction
Year Published: 2021

Date finished: March 30, 2021

Jonathan’s Vows by Mark Lages is a literary fiction novel about a young man who is about to get married and is writing his vows. In the process he reflects on his life. The story begins with the wedding and leads to the honeymoon, to buying his first house, to having his first child, and so on. There is sort of a chronological order to this story yet includes stories that are out of order. And, it’s written like a memoir yet includes a second person point-of-view: his wife. This is uniquely done.

I loved this book! The style is very different from anything I’ve read. Lages took something so simple and created this beautiful story about a man’s journey through life—through ups and downs. In the end, you’re left feeling like life is okay. If you’re ever too hard on yourself, read this book. It will make you see yourself in a much kinder way. It put a smile on my face. I laughed at times and sympathized other times. It’s wonderfully written.

Who should read this book: Everyone. It’s a book that we can all learn from. There are no lessons to teach and there are no end goals. It’s a simple story about one man’s life, yet there is so much to get out of.

Book Review: Gideon the Ninth

Title: Gideon the Ninth
Author: Tamsyn Muir
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Grimdark
Year Published: 2019

Date finished: March 25, 2021

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is a dark fantasy about a sort of princess, known as the Reverend Daughter, and her guard/soldier/protector. They were invited to an event where the game was about who wins and who dies. The soldier, Gideon, initially had no interest in being a part of this. She had her own plans to escape the House, but the Reverend Daughter found a way to keep her from leaving. The event was super brutal and extremely gory.

A couple of things I really enjoyed about this book:

  1. The writing is beautiful. The prose is very unique and left me completely amazed.
  2. The relationship between Gideon and the Reverend Daughter was superb. It starts out with both women detesting each other. One would not give in to the other. With the Reverend Daughter having most of the control, she was able to force Gideon to do as she says. The two eventually began to understand each other and eventually got on good terms. I thought this was nicely done.

One thing I want to point out is that the style of writing can be difficult to understand. I found myself looking up quite a few words. The story style reminds me of Dune by Frank Herbert. It’s a very complex storyline with layers and a lot of characters to remember. The world was fascinating. It’s got swords, magic, skeletons, trains, futuristic things.

I really enjoyed this book. I believe the relationship leaned toward LGBT, but it wasn’t in-your-face. I didn’t get that impression at all. It was subtle. You knew, but it wasn’t forced.

Who should read this: All lovers of fantasy, magic, future worlds, and horror and gore. The worldbuilding is extravagant. It’s a really amazing book.

March 2021 Playlist

With all that’s been going on in our world, I’ve found myself visiting an old song by Hillsong United that seemed to have helped ease the anxiety. My father-in-law was also admitted to the hospital a few days ago and underwent a triple heart bypass. His situation reminded me of my own dad’s heart surgery five/six years ago. My dad passed away last August from a brain hemorrhage, but I still find myself talking about him like he’s alive. There are days when I’ve accepted that he’s passed, but they are rare. I will get over this. The photo above was taken at a Hillsong concert in 2019 I went with my husband and sisters.

“Nothing Like Your Love” by Hillsong United

Other favorites this month:

“Aura” by Matias Puumala

“Against the Odds” by Matias Puumala

“Smell of Desire” by Enigma

This was a strange mix of music. You could say the same for the movies/tv shows I watched this month:

  1. Colony (dystopian apocalyptic)
  2. WandaVision (sci-fi/fantasy)
  3. The Truman Show (90’s dark drama movie…watched it twice!)
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog movie (sci-fi)
  5. Bridgerton (historical romance)