Review: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

May Contain Spoilers


I’m bummed that Touched by an Alien did not work for me.  I thought there was too much telling and not enough doing, and it got annoying after a while.  I hit the 52% mark and decided that this rental was going back to the library.  Even though this book didn’t win me over, I am still interested in the series and I’ll probably give Alien Tango a whirl (sorry for the awful pun!).  I don’t know if all of the set up is what bogged things down, so I need to do a little more research to know for sure.

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Interview with Kelly Jensen, Author of Less Than Perfect and Giveaway!



[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Kelly! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Kelly Jensen] I’m an avid reader, writer and gamer. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Less Than Perfect?

[Kelly Jensen] Briefly: It’s a love story set against a back drop of apocalypse and creepy aliens. Less briefly: Mikayla and Reg would like to find a safe place to see out the end of the world. On a trip to restock their supplies, they are captured by aliens and prepared for the procedure that will make them ‘perfect’. They need to work together in order to escape.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Kelly Jensen] I read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction and I often wonder how I could cope with aliens and/or the end of our world. I also wanted to write about a woman who feels really ordinary, but discovers she can do extraordinary things. I love the idea that anyone can be a hero.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Mikayla?

[Kelly Jensen] Geeky, sweet and determined.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Reg had a theme song, what would it be?

[Kelly Jensen] Superman (It’s Not Easy) by Five for Fighting. This has long been one of my favourite songs and it’s easy to listen to it with Reg in mind. He’s a veteran and there’s a part of him that doesn’t want to be a hero. He just wants to be an ordinary man. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Mikayla is never without.

[Kelly Jensen] Her journal. Mikayla needs to feel organised and her journal helps her keep her thoughts in order.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Reg’s bedroom?

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Graphic Novel Review: Binky Takes Charge by Ashley Spires



Title: Binky Takes Charge

Author: Ashley Spires


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


Binky the space cat has been promoted to lieutenant. He’s now in charge of training the next generation of space cadets. But then he meets the new space kitten — who isn’t a kitten at all! Is someone trying to pull the fur over his eyes? Binky and Captain Gracie need to figure out the new cadet before the next alien attack!


I love Binky!  Somehow I allowed this installment of Binky’s space adventures to languish on my iPad, but I’m glad I finally had a chance to read it.  Binky has been given a promotion, and he’s getting a new cadet to train.  To his dismay, however, he learns that FURST (Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) has morphed into PURST (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) in an effort to diversify its membership.  He’s upset to think that he’s a Space Pet, instead of an esteemed Space Cat.  To add insult to injury, his new trainee isn’t a CAT, but a lesser life form instead.  Gordon is a puppy! What is the world coming to?

This book is hilarious!  Poor Binky is at his wit’s end.  Not only is Gordon clumsy, noisy, and an attention hound (pun intended), Binky starts to think that he’s a double agent.  Why else would the aliens be so interested in Gordon’s waste matter? Why else would he be stealing Binky’s human’s possessions?  Why else would he deactivate the anti-alien device??  Things are looking mighty grim in Binky’s world, but he needs concrete proof before he can go to his superiors.  With Gracie’s help, Binky begins a careful and thorough investigation into the motives and behavior of his new charge, and what he discovers is surprising.

This is such a cute series.  The art is comical yet expressive, and Binky’s adventures are always good for a few laughs.  I enjoyed the introduction of Gordon, and more specifically, I found Binky’s reaction to his new student amusing.  With his superior cat attitude, he is resigned to teaching a not so bright trainee, but he isn’t certain of success.  Once the evidence stacks up and Gordon looks like a double-agent, Binky and Gracie race against the clock to maintain the integrity of their space station and the safety of their humans.   This is great stuff, and now I am convinced that Bumble and Poppy are member of PURST.  They are like ninjas, albeit  occasionally clumsy ninjas, in their efforts to take out aliens.  I have never had dogs so determined to wipe out the insect population in the nearby vicinity, so I wonder – have these guys been through boot camp, possibly with Lieutenant Binky?

Recommended for animals lovers of all ages

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Cover Shot! Midnight City by J Barton Mitchell

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Ever since I read The White Mountains by John Christopher when I was a kid, I have loved alien invasion books.  None of them have been able to stand up to The Tripods series, though.  Perhaps Midnight City by J Barton Mitchell will finally satisfy my craving for an incredible, impossible to put down read with defeated teens attempting to gain freedom from their alien oppressors?

In stores October 2012




In a post-apocalyptic world controlled by alien invaders, two teens and a young girl with mysterious powers embark on a dangerous journey. What they find will change everything…

Earth has been conquered. An extraterrestrial race known as The Assembly has abducted the adult population, leaving the planet’s youth to fend for themselves. In this treacherous landscape, Holt, a bounty hunter, is transporting his prisoner Mira when they discover Zoey, a young girl with powerful abilities who could be the key to stopping The Assembly. As they make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, the trio must contend with freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and perhaps most perilous of all: Holt and Mira’s growing attraction to each other.

Midnight City is the breathtaking first novel in the Conquered Earth series, and a stunning work of imagination from debut author J. Barton Mitchell

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Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout


Title: Obsidian

Author: Jennifer L Armentrout

Publisher: Entangled Publishing



May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something unexpected happens.


Obsidian takes the prize for featuring the biggest douche bag hero in 2011.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, either, because protagonist Katy is more than up to the task of dealing with Daemon and his fits of social cluelessness.  They are like oil and water, no worse, they are like paper and an angry, open flame.  From the moment they first meet, and almost every moment after that, they are verbally sparring, refusing to relent and allow the other to savor even a moment of superiority.  Their first, antagonistic meeting had me shaking my head in disbelief.  How could this surly guy, with hardly a redeeming quality, be the romantic lead in this book?  The dueling nature of the relationship between Katy and Daemon continues even to the end, where, quite satisfyingly, Daemon is given a challenge instead of a declaration of undying love.  I liked that a lot, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book, if only to see if Katy continues to give Daemon the hard time he richly deserves.  If you are looking for a YA paranormal romance where the girl melts into a puddle of brainless goo every time the hero enters the scene, look elsewhere.  This is not that kind of romance.

The constant bickering between Katy and Daemon did occasionally grate on my nerves, but for the most part, I enjoyed their verbal exchanges.  Katy is no pushover, even though she is tempted by Daemon and his stunning good looks.  When he keeps getting into her business and keeps interfering with her friendship with his sister, Katy is taken aback.  She is certain that she hasn’t done anything to warrant his immediate dislike and the barrage of unfriendly behavior that follows them whenever they are together.  Though I did feel bad for Katy, I starting anticipating their exchanges, because I kept wondering what awful things Daemon would say next.  And what rebuttal Katy would throw back at him.  Daemon really did make it a chore to like him, and it was difficult to get to know him, but as his secrets were slowly revealed, I started to cut him some slack.  It wasn’t totally his fault he was a butthead every time he opened his mouth.  Daemon and his people were in a struggle for survival, and he wasn’t about to jeopardize his family just because Katy and her mother moved in next door.  His sister, Dee, was being far too friendly, putting herself at risk, and he was going to put an end to their budding friendship before any bad things happened.  

Too bad for Daemon that Katy wasn’t some shrinking violet.  Instead of running in tears, she gave back just as bad as she got.  Katy demonstrated a bull-headedness that slowly beat back against Daemon’s yet unmatched hardheadedness.  As she fended him off, she slowly uncovered the secrets surrounding him and his friends, and no wonder he kept pushing her away.  He’s a freaking alien!  And he’s waging a deadly war against the enemies of his people, who have been chased away from their home world.  I haven’t read many books with alien heroes* so this was a nice change of pace from vampires/shifters/zombies.  Add to the fact that it really does take a lot of work to like Daemon, despite his drop-dead good looks, and you have a fun, fast-paced read.  I liked Katy, and felt an immediate affinity with her, especially when she obsessed about her book blog.  I bet it’s difficult to keep up with regular updates while battling hostile aliens.

Obsidian is a quick read, and while it did require a solid dose of belief suspension, I enjoyed getting to know both Katy and Daemon.  I only hope that Katy is able to continue to hold her own in the next installment of the series.  The fact that Daemon didn’t completely win the girl over made the book a fun read for me.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

*The first I remember reading is Yargo, by Jacqueline Susann