RaveThe Nerd Daily... first and foremost a riveting sci-fi thriller that starts off with a slow-burn mystery that develops into an increasingly exciting and frantic race against time. I came into this expecting the entertainment of a locked room mystery in space with all the scope for horror that remote claustrophobic setting entails and the author provided that in spades! There are a number of genuinely chilling, spooky moments that will unnerve readers and leave their hearts pounding frantically while turning the pages ... But the story also offers a nuanced, thought-provoking contemplation of timely issues we face in today’s society with racism and intolerance, with exploitation of workers lacking in sufficient rights and with governments that fail to properly regulate corporations but are instead swayed into protecting business interests rather than human interests ... The reader’s enjoyment factor will have a lot to do with how you feel about Hester. While there are important secondary characters such as a past fling, a by-the-book inspector and snooty lawyer, Dead Space is largely a one-woman show and succeeds based on the strength of Hester’s characterisation...Her predicament is monstrously unfair so it’s easy to sympathise with her right from the start, and her acerbic manner and snarky inner monologue is entertaining to read. The author has a physics background and applies this to provide convincing world-building without overdoing the technobabble, and Hester reliably breaks down any complicated concepts in a droll, matter-of-fact way to help us keep up ... A casually diverse read that centers on LGBT+ characters without making queerness the source of drama, Dead Space offers a suspenseful, tightly plotted sci-fi horror experience sure to please fans of the genre and ensure that new readers will be left wanting more.
C M Waggoner
RaveThe Nerd Daily... colourful, whimsically inventive ... The author adopts a unique writing style to match Delly’s crass street cadence and tendency to mash together words making up non-existent terms like ‘considerationary’ or ‘productivication’ which may be off-putting to some readers at first, but I quickly acclimatised and found it made the reading experience much more immersive ... The romance between Delly and Winn is too adorable for words and a definite highlight of the story ... It’s perhaps a bit unbelievable that Winn is so invested in Delly as she is from early in the book, but their courtship is so sweet and endearing that it’s easy to be swept away in how charming the pair are together. I thoroughly enjoyed how low-maintenance this romantic relationship was with any potential angle for contrived drama being smoothed away and the main focus simply on how good the ladies were for each other ... Whether or not the main characters win over the reader will be a major factor in how successful the plot is at drawing them in ... The ladies spend so much time preparing their ingredients for their master plan, which feels rather tangential to their ultimate goal and appears a lot higher on the cost side of the cost-benefit analysis, only for it to result in the shortest, least satisfying pay-off that many readers will find woefully anticlimactic after all that planning and waiting and preparation ... The strength of characterisation and interpersonal dynamics between the varied female characters is what carries this novel, and readers who are invested in the quirky, feisty ladies will be more forgiving of a slow-moving plot as it’s so entertaining to spend time with this unlikely assembly of misfits ... An outrageously original and marvellously diverting feminist fantasy romp with standout characters and a delightful sapphic romance.
RaveThe Nerd Daily... a fun and frothy queer rom-com with a nod to Pride & Prejudice ... hat’s where the fake dating trope comes in! This is a popular trope which is fantastic when done right, and it’s used to full advantage here with the author avoiding the common pitfalls by steering clear of any gross power dynamics and making sure that both characters are on the same page about consenting to PDAs ... Both main characters have distinct voices and personalities, and this is most clearly expressed in their text message exchanges ... well-written side characters who provide greater insight into our heroines as well as standing on their own as believable and realistic three-dimensional human beings. These ladies may not be the star of the story, but they add a great deal of humour and heart ... There aren’t any real surprises or plot twists here as romance readers know how the story will end, but it’s the journey that matters and watching the romance develop between Darcy and Elle is an utter joy. It’s sweet and delightful to see them grow closer and start viewing each other’s previously annoying mannerisms as endearing quirks instead. Ah, the power of love! ... While your mileage may vary on this, the chief weakness of this story for me was the motivation for Darcy and Elle to embark on the fake relationship in the first place ... Overall, this is a charming opposites-attract sapphic romance with loveable main characters who are easy to invest in. It’s a bumpy road to true love, but what a fun ride watching Darcy and Elle gravitate towards each other and succumb to the inevitable! A quick, enjoyable read that is highly recommended to romance lovers.
RaveThe Nerd DailyT Kingfisher is a master when it comes to creating characters that endear themselves immediately to the reader and feel like life-long friends just one chapter in, and The Hollow Places is no exception. This book only has two major characters, but they’re given an impressive level of development to the point where they feel like they could step off the page, fully formed. Some readers may find the plot slow-going at the start, but Kara is such a charming and entertaining narrator that spending time in her head as she adjusts to living at the museum feels rewarding ... At times I find that the heroes in various books feel interchangeable and they fail to make an impression, but this author is blessed with an incredible imagination and morbid sense of humour that results in the creation of unique and unforgettable characters ... The foes which target our heroes are genuinely horrifying, but hardcore genre fans may be left wanting as the real impact of the story is felt in the awful anxiety and build-up of apprehension while in the other realm as opposed to copious amounts of blood and gore in direct encounters with these beings. After reading two horror novels by this author, a common element has emerged in her brand of horror which involves eerie and chilling otherworldly scenarios leavened by bursts of humour to cut through the tension. It makes her books fantastic for those who want to be scared, but also need some relief instead of grim unrelenting terror. I say this as a compliment, these stories are like the comfort food of the horror genre, the kind of books where you don’t ever have to worry that a terrible fate will befall the hero’s cat or dog ... witty, irreverent and completely entertaining ... If you like the sound of a suspenseful horror story with a creepy atmosphere narrated by a snarky heroine, do yourself a favour and pick this up once it’s released! With thrills, chills and constant laughs, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.