Tag: 4 stars

Audiobook Review: Strange Love by Ann Aguirre

Strange Love
Series: Galactic Love #1
Author: Ann Aguirre

Narrator: Sarah Puckett
Published: January 20, 2020
Audiobook: 8 hours 40 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: January 11-18, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Audiobook Description:

He’s awkward. He’s adorable. He’s alien as hell:
Zylar of Kith Balak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he’ll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This ‘human being’ is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.

She’s frazzled. She’s fierce. She’s from St. Louis:
Beryl Bowman’s mother always said she’d never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn’t know what the hell’s going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.

They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.

Jessica’s Review:

Please note that this book is out of my typical genre: I listened to it because it was free on Audible and it was also my friend Beccie’s top read of 2023.

And it was good. Our ‘couple’ is Beryl who is human and Zylar who is an insect-like alien. Beryl is accidentally taken from Earth along with her dog Snaps. They both find themselves in a competition for a mate, and this is Zylar’[s last time he can compete. It’s like a Hunger Games type competition, where yes, contestants can and do die. Both of our main characters are likeable, damaged, and actually sweet together.  They both support each other and keep their communication open.  They could be just about a perfect match despite being different species.

They learn to see past each other’s ‘strange’ looks. Zylar is very alien, and like an insect. Since they are from different planets, how do they communicate? No, Zylar doesn’t speak English: There is a mechanical translator that helps with that. And through this we get to see Snaps talk! He was such a riot and it never actually got old throughout the book. He is just like how you would think a dog would be! This translator is far from perfect and doesn’t get the meaning of every word correct  (ie: the vernacular that Beryl uses.)

And yes there is alien sex and I could have done without the details! Give me fade to black anytime! But you can also see through these scenes how both Beryl and Zylar learn about each other and teach each other techniques.

The narrator is Sarah Puckett and she did a fabulous job with her narration! She brought all of these characters to life.

Overall, I enjoyed this one, but won’t continue with the series. I gave it four stars, which is good! If you are a romance reader like my friend Beccie is, you might love it as she did.  Another one of my friends, Suleika read it and loved it as well. But she also read romance! Give Strange Love a try and see what you think!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels
Author: Janice Hallett

Published: January 23, 2024
Kindle: 416 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  December 30, 2023 – January 27, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Everyone knows the story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl into believing her baby was the anti-Christ. When the girl came to her senses and called the police, the Angels committed suicide and mother and baby disappeared.

Now, true crime author Amanda Bailey is looking to revive her career by writing a book on the case. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen; finding them will be the scoop of the year. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and also on the baby’s trail.

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realize that the truth about the Angels is much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined, and in pursuit of the story they risk becoming part of it.

Jessica’s Review:

This is my first book by Hallett and I am impressed!  The format is unique with the reader: First, you (the reader) are in possession of a key that goes to a safety deposit box that has many documents. Then you have a choice: Put everything back and throw the key away or take everything to the police.  These documents are composed of newspaper articles, transcribed phone calls/meetings, WhatsApp messages, emails, and more. 

Through these documents you go on a journey with Amanda Bailey. She is a True Crime author hoping to revive her career by writing a book about an infamous case: The Alperton Angels.  It was a small cult that killed themselves and involved a teenage mother who thought her infant is the Anti-Christ. It turns out that Amanda is not the only one planning on writing a book on this case, she has competition.  And they communicate.

This multi-layered mystery where the details must be paid attention to while reading. There are many twists and turns that occur and keep going all the way to the truth and the shocking ending! I found myself tuned into the story even more as I progressed in my reading. As I read, I felt like I really got to know Amanda through this journey. I absolutely adored Ellie Cooper, the transcriber, who gave her opinions throughout the journey as she transcribed. She was hilarious, and a comic relief was needed for this novel.

I read an arc, so I know formatting was changed around for the finished book, but I would definitely like to see how the finished product turned out.  Many thanks to the publisher Atria Books for granting me a copy. I enjoyed this one!

 Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: Prey by Sarah Davis

Prey
Author: Sarah Davis

Published: October 31, 2023
Paperback: 268 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  December 11-27, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

The fall waterfowl migration has brought something deadly to a small North Dakota town.

Dr. Emily Hayes, a veterinarian and single mom, is the first to submit a sample of mutated Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza—coined H5N1 2.0 or Mad Crow—a highly infectious disease that awakens violent aggression in birds and causes human infection.

Just as the community is about to be overcome by this Hitchcockian nightmare, handsome face from Emily’s past arrives—Dr. Jack Connor. He hopes he can help trace the source of the infection.

As the zoonotic infection spreads, unleashing unimaginable violence and turning birds into lethal creatures, Emily and Jack must overcome their differences and face the secrets that have kept them apart if they are to find a way out of this deadly biological nightmare.

Please be advised with these trigger warnings: Violence, animal death, human death, outbreak/ COVID 19.

Jessica’s Review:

Sarah Davis is a veterinarian, and she writes what she knows! (With some creative licensing).  With Prey, Davis takes a crossover of bird flu and swine flu to create mad crow. We do have references to the COVID-19 pandemic happening in the past, and let’s face it: A medical thriller written in present times of course COVID-19 was going to be mentioned.  It’s a part of our past, present, and will always be around.

I am a big fan of the 1995 movie Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, Cuba Gooding Jr and Rene Russo, so I was excited to get a chance to read this novel! And Prey takes off full steam ahead from the beginning! We get very aggressive bird attacks against humans. The description is very vivid, so reader discretion would be advised. 

The reader also gets multiple povs with short chapters, so this novel makes for some good and quick reading! For the romance readers, there is a little bit of a second chance romance added in to the mix, so there isn’t just deaths and killer birds! 

In case you didn’t know a group of crows is called a murder, and Prey brings on a new meaning to this term!  There were a few times as I was reading this book that I would be on the road and would pass a grouping of crows that might or might not fly off, which kind of freaked me out: But how could I not be while reading this book! Especially with one particular attack that happens early on!

 I did like the ending, we have an ending but not! With a virus that may always be the case. Prey has a little bit of just about everything to it: Action, terror, horror, killer bird, romance, secrets, hope, and a little bit of supernatural.  It should have something for most readers!

I really do like the cover to Prey: It is simple but also not! It achieves what it needs to do and catches my attention!  This is one I would definitely pick up in the bookstore to see what it is about.

It was surprising to know that Davis has never seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds! She mentions that in her author notes. I wonder if that is still the case now?   

Many thanks to Sarah Davis for sending me a paperback copy to read and review! I enjoyed it and I hope more people read it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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