Book Review: Dark City by Anna Mocikat

Dark City by Anna Mocikat
2nd book in Tales of the Shadow City series
Genres : Fantasy, Science Fiction, Cyberpunk
Publication date : 17th September 2020
Pages : 295

With the help of his human and non-human allies, Colton has accomplished the impossible;
he killed the Overlord of the Dark Ones, crippling their offensive – for now. The battle is won, but the war has just begun.
Three weeks later, the nightmarish creatures from another dimension are back. And they’re
stronger and more vicious than ever.
If that isn’t bad enough, Colton is suffering from a mysterious, life-threatening illness.
To save him, his friends bring him to the enigmatic Academy- a conglomerate of
cyber-enhanced scientists. Here, the shocking truth about Colton’s identity is finally revealed.
Meanwhile, Vincent, a powerful entity disguised as a human soldier, falls for Eurydice, an
ice-cold enforcer for the Dark Ones. He must choose which side he’s on. A momentous
decision that could destroy the world as we know it…
Fast-paced, action-driven, and cinematic, Dark City takes place in the heart of the eternal
war between good and evil, told in a way you’ve never heard before.

Review

I had to admit that Science Fiction isn’t my first to go genre and I haven’t read many sci-fi books but when I kept seeing Dark City cover on Twitter I began to be really curious about it and decided to join Book Tour organized by Booktamins.
And I am so glad this book is absolute masterpiece!

The story presents dystopian Los Angeles after a Glitch. And it’s definitely not easy place to life. There aren’t so many people left there but the world is full of different creatures – and I have to admit, when I found vampires here I was thrilled so much as I’m big fan of them.

The story is full of action and so gripping that I couldn’t put it down till late hour. I just needed to know what will happen next and the book was getting better with every page! I really wish it was longer so I could enjoy it for more time.

There are also a lot of characters here and I enjoyed all of them but if I had to choose my favorite I would go with Bombshell – she’s really something.

And the cliffhanger at the end?! I have so many unanswered questions and I need the next book right now! But in the meantime while waiting for it, I’m so gonna check out other books by Anna Mocikat.

I extremely recommend this book to every science fiction lover. And even if sci-fi books aren’t your first choice, I still recommend it to readers who like dystopian stories. This book is simply amazing, helped me get out of my reading slump.

Many thanks to Booktamins for ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.


Purchase Link
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08D1Z3718/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-City-Tales-Shadow/dp/1684335809

Author Bio
Anna Mocikat is the award-nominated, internationally published author of “Behind Blue
Eyes”, the “Tales of the Shadow City” series and the “MUC” series.
Before becoming a novelist, she graduated from Film School and worked as a screenwriter
and game writer for over a decade.
Anna Mocikat lives in Greenville, South Carolina.

Media Links
Webiste – https://www.annamocikat.com/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8072081.Anna_Mocikat
Twitter – https://twitter.com/anna_mocikat
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/amocikat
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/annamocikat/

Check out other bloggers taking part in this Book Tour!

Book Excerpt: Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith –

Don’t Read the Comments
Eric Smith
On Sale Date: January 28, 2020
9781335016027, 1335016023
Hardcover
$18.99 USD, $23.99 CAD
Ages 13 And Up
368 pages

Summary:
Slay meets Eliza and Her Monsters in Eric Smith’s Don’t Read the Comments, an #ownvoices story in which two teen gamers find their virtual worlds—and blossoming romance—invaded by the real-world issues of trolling and doxing in the gaming community.
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

Book Excerpt

1 Divya

Mom. We’ve been over this. Don’t read the comments,” I say, sighing as my mother stares at me with her fretful deep-set eyes. They’re dark green, just like mine, and stand out against her soft brown skin. Wrinkle lines trail out from the corners like thin tree branches grown over a lifetime of worrying.
I wish I could wash away all of her worries, but I only seem to be causing her more lately.
“I’m just not comfortable with it anymore,” my mom counters. “I appreciate what you’re doing with…you know, your earnings or however that sponsor stuff works, but I can’t stand seeing what they’re saying about you on the Internet.”
“So don’t read the comments!” I exclaim, reaching out and taking her hands in mine. Her palms are weathered, like the pages of the books she moves around at the library, and I can feel the creases in her skin as my fingers run over them. Bundles of multicolored bangles dangle from both of her wrists, clinking about lightly.
“How am I supposed to do that?” she asks, giving my hands a squeeze. “You’re my daughter. And they say such awful things. They don’t even know you. Breaks my heart.”
“What did I just say?” I ask, letting go of her hands, trying to give her my warmest it’s-going-to-be-okay smile. I know she only reads the blogs, the articles covering this and that, so she just sees the replies there, the sprawling comments—and not what people say on social media. Not what the trolls say about her. Because moms are the easiest target for those online monsters.
“Yes, yes, I’m aware of that sign in your room with your slogan regarding comments,” Mom scoffs, shaking her head and getting to her feet. She groans a little as she pushes herself off the tiny sofa, which sinks in too much. Not in the comfortable way a squishy couch might, but in a this-piece-of-furniture-needs-to-be-thrown-away-because-it’s-probably-doing-irreversible-damage-to-my-back-and-internal-organs kind of way. She stretches her back, one hand on her waist, and I make a mental note to check online for furniture sales at Target or Ikea once she heads to work.
“Oof, I must have slept on it wrong,” Mom mutters, turning to look at me. But I know better. She’s saying that for my benefit. The air mattress on her bed frame—in lieu of an actual mattress—isn’t doing her back any favors.
I’d better add a cheap mattress to my list of things to search for later. Anything is better than her sleeping on what our family used to go camping with.
Still, I force myself to nod and say, “Probably.” If Mom knew how easily I saw through this dance of ours, the way we pretend that things are okay while everything is falling apart around us, she’d only worry more.
Maybe she does know. Maybe that’s part of the dance.
I avert my gaze from hers and glance down at my watch. It’s the latest in smartwatch tech from Samsung, a beautiful little thing that connects to my phone and computer, controls the streaming box on our television… Hell, if we could afford smart lights in our apartment, it could handle those, too. It’s nearly 8:00 p.m., which means my Glitch subscribers will be tuning in for my scheduled gaming stream of Reclaim the Sun at any minute. A couple social media notifications start lighting up the edges of the little screen, but it isn’t the unread messages or the time that taunt me.
It’s the date.
The end of June is only a few days away, which means the rent is due. How can my mom stand here and talk about me getting rid of my Glitch channel when it’s bringing in just enough revenue to help cover the rent? To pay for groceries? When the products I’m sent to review or sponsored to wear—and then consequently sell—have been keeping us afloat with at least a little money to walk around with?
“I’m going to start looking for a second job,” Mom says, her tone defeated.
“Wait, what?” I look away from my watch and feel my heartbeat quicken. “But if you do that—”
“I can finish these summer classes another time. Maybe next year—”
“No. No way.” I shake my head and suck air in through my gritted teeth. She’s worked so hard for this. We’ve worked so hard for this. “You only have a few more classes!”
“I can’t let you keep doing this.” She gestures toward my room, where my computer is.
“And I can’t let you work yourself to death for… What? This tiny apartment, while that asshole doesn’t do a damn thing to—”
“Divya. Language,” she scolds, but her tone is undermined by a soft grin peeking in at the corner of her mouth. “He’s still your fath—”
“I’ll do my part,” I say resolutely, stopping her from saying that word. “I can deal with it. I want to. You will not give up going to school. If you do that, he wins. Besides, I’ve…got some gadgets I can sell this month.”
“I just… I don’t want you giving up on your dreams, so I can keep chasing mine. I’m the parent. What does all this say about me?” My mom exhales, and I catch her lip quivering just a little. Then she inhales sharply, burying whatever was about to surface, and I almost smile, as weird as that sounds. It’s just our way, you know?
Take the pain in. Bury it down deep.
“We’re a team.” I reach out and grasp her hands again, and she inhales quickly once more.
It’s in these quiet moments we have together, wrestling with these challenges, that the anger I feel—the rage over this small apartment that’s replaced our home, the overdrafts in our bank accounts, all the time I’ve given up—is replaced with something else.
With how proud I am of her, for starting over the way she has.
“I’m not sure what I did to deserve you.”
Deserve.
I feel my chest cave in a little at the word as I look again at the date on the beautiful display of this watch. I know I need to sell it. I know I do. The couch. That crappy mattress. My dwindling bank account. The upcoming bills.
The required sponsorship agreement to wear this watch in all my videos for a month, in exchange for keeping the watch, would be over in just a few days. I could easily get $500 for it on an auction site or maybe a little less at the used-electronics shop downtown. One means more money, but it also means having my address out there, which is something I avoid like the plague—though having friends like Rebekah mail the gadgets for me has proved a relatively safe way to do it. The other means less money, but the return is immediate, at least. Several of the employees there watch my stream, however, and conversations with them are often pretty awkward.
I’d hoped that maybe, just maybe, I’d get to keep this one thing. Isn’t that something I deserve? Between helping Mom with the rent while she finishes up school and pitching in for groceries and trying to put a little money aside for my own tuition in the fall at the community college… God, I’d at least earned this much, right?
The watch buzzes against my wrist, a pleasant feeling. As a text message flashes across the screen, I feel a pang of wonder and regret over how a display so small can still have a better resolution than the television in our living room.

THE GALAXY WAITS FOR NO ONE,
YOU READY D1V?
—COMMANDER (RE)BEKAH

I smile at the note from my producer-slash-best-friend, then look up as my mom makes her way toward the front door of our apartment, tossing a bag over her shoulder.
“I’ll be back around ten or so,” Mom says, sounding tired. “Just be careful, okay?”
“I always am,” I promise, walking over to give her a hug. It’s sweet, her constant reminders to be careful, to check in, especially since all I generally do while she’s gone is hang out in front of the computer. But I get it. Even the Internet can be a dangerous place. The threats on social media and the emails that I get—all sent by anonymous trolls with untraceable accounts—are proof of that.
Still, as soon as the door closes, I bolt across the living room and into my small bedroom, which is basically just a bed, a tiny dresser, and my workstation. I’ve kept it simple since the move and my parents split.
The only thing that’s far from simple is my gaming rig.
When my Glitch stream hit critical mass at one hundred thousand subscribers about a year and a half ago, a gaming company was kind enough to sponsor my rig. It’s extravagant to the point of being comical, with bright neon-blue lighting pouring out the back of the system and a clear case that shows off the needless LED illumination. Like having shiny lights makes it go any faster. I never got it when dudes at my school put flashy lights on their cars, and I don’t get it any more on a computer.
But it was free, so I’m certainly not going to complain.
I shake the mouse to awaken the sleeping monster, and my widescreen LED monitor flashes to life. It’s one of those screens that bend toward the edges, the curves of the monitor bordering on sexy. I adjust my webcam, which—along with my beaten-up Ikea table that’s not even a desk—is one of the few non-sponsored things in my space. It’s an aging thing, but the resolution is still HD and flawless, so unless a free one is somehow going to drop into my lap—and it probably won’t, because you can’t show off a webcam in a digital stream or a recorded sponsored video when you’re filming with said camera—it’ll do the trick.
I navigate over to Glitch and open my streaming application. Almost immediately, Rebekah’s face pops up in a little window on the edge of my screen. I grin at the sight of her new hairstyle, her usually blond and spiky hair now dyed a brilliant shade of blood orange, a hue as vibrant as her personality. The sides of her head are buzzed, too, and the overall effect is awesome.
Rebekah smiles and waves at me. “You ready to explore the cosmos once more?” she asks, her voice bright in my computer’s speakers. I can hear her keys clicking loudly as she types, her hands making quick work of something on the other side of the screen. I open my mouth to say something, but she jumps in before I can. “Yes, yes, I’ll be on mute once we get in, shut up.”
I laugh and glance at myself in the mirror I’ve got attached to the side of my monitor with a long metal arm—an old bike mirror that I repurposed to make sure my makeup and hair are on point in these videos. Even though the streams are all about the games, there’s nothing wrong with looking a little cute, even if it’s just for myself. I run a finger over one of my eyebrows, smoothing it out, and make a note to tweeze them just a little bit later. I’ve got my mother’s strong brows, black and rebellious. We’re frequently in battle with one another, me armed with my tweezers, my eyebrows wielding their growing-faster-than-weeds genes.
“How much time do we have?” I ask, tilting my head back and forth.
“About five minutes. And you look fine, stop it,” she grumbles. I push the mirror away, the metal arm making a squeaking noise, and I see Rebekah roll her eyes. “You could just use a compact like a normal person, you know.”
“It’s vintage,” I say, leaning in toward my computer mic. “I’m being hip.”
“You. Hip.” She chuckles. “Please save the jokes for the stream. It’s good content.”
I flash her a scowl and load up my social feeds on the desktop, my watch still illuminating with notifications. I decide to leave them unchecked on the actual device and scope them out on the computer instead, so when people are watching, they can see the watch in action. That should score me some extra goodwill with sponsors, and maybe it’ll look like I’m more popular than people think I am.
Because that’s my life. Plenty of social notifications, but zero texts or missed calls.
The feeds are surprisingly calm this evening, a bundle of people posting about how excited they are for my upcoming stream, playing Reclaim the Sun on their own, curious to see what I’m finding… Not bad. There are a few dumpster-fire comments directed at the way I look and some racist remarks by people with no avatars, cowards who won’t show their faces, but nothing out of the usual.
Ah. Lovely. Someone wants me to wear less clothing in this stream. Blocked. A link to someone promoting my upcoming appearance at New York GamesCon, nice. Retweeted. A post suggesting I wear a skimpier top, and someone agreeing. Charming. Blocked and blocked.
Why is it that the people who always leave the grossest, rudest, and occasionally sexist, racist, or religiously intolerant comments never seem to have an avatar connected to their social profiles? Hiding behind a blank profile picture? How brave. How courageous.
And never mind all the messages that I assume are supposed to be flirtatious, but are actually anything but. Real original, saying “hey” and that’s it, then spewing a bunch of foul-mouthed nonsense when they don’t get a response. Hey, anonymous bro, I’m not here to be sexualized by strangers on the Internet. It’s creepy and disgusting. Can’t I just have fun without being objectified?
“Div!” Rebekah shouts, and I jump in my seat a little.
“Yeah, hey, I’m here,” I mumble, looking around for my Bluetooth earpiece, trying to force myself into a better mood.
This is why you don’t read the comments, Divya.

Excerpted from Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith, Copyright © 2020 by Eric Smith. Published by Inkyard Press.

Book Review: The Island by M.A. Bennett

The Island by M.A. Bennett

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Thriller

Publication date: July 25th 2018 by Hotkey

3/5 stars

Link is a fish out of water. Newly arrived from America, he is finding it hard to settle into the venerable and prestigious Osney School. Who knew there could be so many strange traditions to understand? And what kind of school ranks its students by how fast they can run round the school quad – however ancient that quad may be? When Link runs the slowest time in years, he immediately becomes the butt of every school joke. And some students are determined to make his life more miserable than others . . . 

When a school summer trip is offered, Link can think of nothing worse than spending voluntary time with his worst tormentors. But when his parents say he can only leave Osney School – forever – if he goes on the trip, Link decides to endure it for the ultimate prize. But this particular trip will require a very special sort of endurance. The saying goes ‘No man is an island’ – but what if on that island is a group of teenagers, none of whom particularly like each other? When oppressive heat, hunger and thirst start to bite, everyone’s true colours will be revealed. Let the battle commence . . .

My review

The main character, Link, is a victim of bullies in his new high school. This school is pure definition of stereotypes – you can find here jocks, emo girl, etc. It’s like everyone has a strict role and has to follow rules how to behave.

To be honest I did’t really like any characters from this book. Their behavior in school was absurd and I was shocked that teachers allowed it. For me whole this school seems unrealistic, like some completely different dystopian world. And it didn’t get better at the island. Link, who kind of irritated me at the beginning but still I felt sorry for him then, became character who I hated the most. The way he treated others was unbelievable and made me put down book a few times.

I’m not a person who is easily surprised by plot as usually I try to predict all possibilities. Unfortunately this book didn’t manage to shocked me at all as every plot twist was pretty obvious and everytime I could feel that some ‘twist’ is coming I was really disappointed with result.

What I really enjoy in this book were pop culture reference. I just love stuff like this in book and I always check connection between things that are mentioned in books. For example Desert Island Discs – it was the first time for me to her about it but as this radio program is real I manage to find some really interesting things about part of culture I’m interested in.

The Island is really well written and it was easy read. The topic was also interesting but I think it should be approach differently.

Before reading this book I saw that people compare it with Lord of the Flies. And if you really expecting something like this you will probably be disappointed.

Book Review: The Suspects by Katharine Johnson

Shallow Grave meets The Secret History in this quirky psychological thriller.

Bristol, 1988. Five young graduates on the threshold of their careers buy a house together in order to get a foot on the property ladder before prices spiral out of their reach. But it soon becomes the house share from hell.

After their New Year’s Eve party, they discover a body – and it’s clear they’ll be the first suspects. As each of them has a good reason from their past not to trust the police, they come up with a solution – one which forces them into a life of secrets and lies. But can they trust each other?

“The hugely talented Katharine Johnson has, again delivered a tense thriller! This is a compelling novel – up there with Erin Kelly and Sophie Hannah.”
Val Penny, author of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries.

“Gripping and frighteningly realistic. The twists and turns kept me guessing to the very end.”
Jo Fenton, author of The Brotherhood.

MY REVIEW

Can you imagine what could go wrong when five strangers decided to buy together a house? If the only thing that connect you to that people is being journalist trainees, there might be some things that would surprise and irritate you. Dirty dishes, annoying boyfriend who thinks he own that house, noises, high bills etc. But the dead body in the basement shouldn’t be on that list. But after New Year’s Party it is. But who is responsible for that? And what to do with the body?

I’m not sure if I should call Emily, Stuart, Zak, Imogen and Xanthe stupid or brave for buying this house together. They all were in difficult situation and thought that owning house would be a good idea. But all secrets from their past didn’t make it easy.

This book kept me captivated since the first chapter. I just couldn’t out it down until I found out what really happened and if my suspicions were right. I even stayed whole night long reading it.

This is the first book I have read so far written by Katherine Johnson but definitely not last as I’m adding her to my list of authors that I intend to follow.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone who loves psychological thrillers.