Posts Tagged ‘review’

Review of These Convergent Stars by Janine Southard

18712119.jpgI bought a copy of These Convergent Stars from the author, Janine A. Southard at a local science fiction convention and I’m very glad I did. Janine Southard created a fast-paced romantic-comedy about Maya, a first contact specialist and the problems she incurs as she observes a new species and their culture.

Southard created an interesting setup and well developed characters especially the protagonist, a genetically-modified shapeshifting cat person, created to sniff out biologically compatible species. In the book, she discovers another group of cat people.

Southard has a fun way to turn a phrase especially in dialogue. One of the first idioms is “Green grass and cool water” when referring to a planet.

I recommend it if you are looking for a fun and fast read that mixes cat people in space, mistaken identity, a first contact situation and romance.

Why I did not enjoy Jupiter Ascending…but you might…

MV5BMTQyNzk2MjA2NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjEwNzk3MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_While most people this weekend are talking about 50 shades, thankfully that’s not in my genre, so I’m explaining why Jupiter Ascending was not for me.

Mila Kunis stars as Jupiter Jones, a Russian immigrant and a maid in Chicago who gets targeted by a ruthless family. Her life takes an unexpected turn when the genetically enhanced mercenary Channing Tatum comes looking for her. If you love pretty imagery, a fun science-fiction story with no science, you might love this film. The spaceships and buildings are gorgeous.

I watched it with my husband and my neighbor. We are all science fiction fans. Dennis and I didn’t enjoy it, while our neighbor did.

It was a beautiful movie, mixing science fiction with fantasy elements very reminiscent of Dune. For Dennis and me, there was serious storytelling flaws. I can’t suspend disbelief when magic boots save the day.

Before someone claims they weren’t magic, allow me to explain with this quote from the film.

Jupiter Jones: Are those flying boots? 

Caine: They harness the force of gravity, redirecting it into differential equation slips so you can surf. 

Jupiter Jones: Yeah, I heard “gravity” and “surf”. 

Caine: Up is hard, Down is easy. 

Jupiter Jones: Thank you, wow!

Wow is right. Because they still worked when there wasn’t gravity around. And when Caine hands were tied, he was able to burn through his bonds. Why would we assume that gravity = heat?

The film has the same issues with genetic modifications which is a major plot point which I won’t go into since I don’t want to give spoilers. Since it basically boils down to magic with the only explanation that we couldn’t understand due to our technological infancy, I rolled my eyes.

In fact, I rolled my eyes several times through the 127 minutes.

 

Other Systems Making Connections Blog Tour

Other Systems will be shown on all these awesome blogs this week May 19th – May 25th. Check out every blog for your chance to win some great prizes! US/CANADA – signed 8×10 Act break prints from Act 3; INTERNATIONAL – eBooks plus 5 space wallpapers! Other Systems Cover

May 19th: 1st stop:
Michael Sci Fan – Interview

2nd stop:
Evening eBook – Review 

May 20th:
Beanie Brain Reader – Review

May 21st:

Giovanni Valentino – Interview

May 22nd

Judith Leger – Promo

 

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US/Canada Readers: Want to win this print? Check out each stop on the blog tour!

May 24th

A Readers Review – Promo 

May 25th:
Making Connections Blog – Interview

Review: Zachary Bonelli’s Voyage Embarkation

The Blurb:

At the age of twelve, Kal sprang from the starting block into the pool, his teammates cheering him on. He felt the rush of the air, the crash of the water, but he never finished the heat. He awoke two years later on a world that was Earth, but also not Earth, and discovered that he could never return home. After four years of exile, he can finally escape into the metaxia, the unspace between universes, and realize his dream of exploring alternate realities. Supremely advanced cultures and natural wonders of immeasurable beauty await him. However, there exist also worlds mired in social decay, and those filled with dangerous, exotic forms of life. Armed only with defensive nanotechnology and a computer pad, Kal travels from one alternate Earth to another. Navigating the infinity of possibilities, he embarks on a new kind of voyage, a voyage along the catastrophe of notions.

My Review

Voyage is a thought-provoking science fiction novel. With playfully energetic and intelligent writing, Bonelli proves young adult science fiction can be full of adventure yet, still serious and thoughtful. He builds intricate societies each with their own environment, government, and philosophical values as the protagonist Kal visits multiple Earths through the metaxia.

Bonelli’s style is easy to read. He puts his technical data in the plot in an easy to understand way without bogging down the story with extraneous details.

Readers should know that by design this novel is episodic. It is was originally released as episodes which have now been bound together. There is a story that weaves its way through the novel, but it is secondary to the worlds which Kal and his brother Tria are exploring.

Voyage Embarkation is a brilliant debut novel.

Finally: I love the beautiful illustrations by Aubry K. Andersen.

Review: The Winter (Isaac the Fortunate, #1)

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 The Winter (Isaac the Fortunate, #1)
by A. Ka (Author, Illustrator)

I loved this book. A.Ka’s prose is spectacular. She creates a setting in medieval Spain is rich and full of life and death. Both the idea and the created reality (in the book) of the plague known as the Delirium is truly terrifying.

The time-travel is treated with intelligence and has a few hints about what is coming further in the series.

The characters are deep and well written. Isaac who is the narrator and Beltran the protagonist are sympathetic in different ways, but I don’t want to give away too much. As this is the first book in a six-part series, there are plenty of mysteries to unfold as of yet. I can’t wait for the rest.

PS A. Ka also did the cover and illustrations and they are absolutely gorgeous.

Review for Michael Cargill’s Saying Goodbye to Warsaw

test7-aLike any girl who is loved by her family, Abigail Nussbaum loves to chase butterflies, enjoys lying on her back looking for shapes in the clouds, and happily teaches young children to make daisy chains.

In the eyes of certain people, however, Abigail has committed a heinous crime. The year is 1940; the place is Poland; Abigail happens to be Jewish.

Along with half a million other Jews, Abigail and her family are evicted from their home and forced to live in the bombed out ruins of Warsaw, the Polish capital.

Although a handful decide to fight back, is the uprising strong enough to save Abigail’s spirit?

My Review:

If anyone remembers Saying Goodbye to Warsaw is not the first of Michael Cargill’s books that I reviewed. Last year, I also reviewed Underneath which I also enjoyed thoroughly.

Though Cargill is known for changing genres, his work generally follows unique and memorable characters and Saying Goodbye to Warsaw does not disappoint.

Cargill made this horrible moment in history come alive as the three three major characters–Abigail who starts the book at nine and turns ten, her older over-protective brother Leo and their mother try to hold on to some semblance of life and their own humanity as they try not to starve in the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw. Leo is particularly a standout character. His toughness and seemingly endless knowledge (to his little sister) are good foils for Abigail’s naivety and sweetness.

This is a very fast-paced read in a beautiful literary style. Without spoilers, it made me cry. It would make a robot cry. I loved this book!

Note: I received a free review copy from the author in return for a review.

My review policy is as follows: I only publicly review books I like. This review is my opinion. I don’t care if you disagree with me.  When I read, I want the story to come alive by that I mean it makes me care about the characters and brings me to that world.  A book which does that gets a good review.
Otherwise, I will email the author and tell them I’m not an appropriate reader for their book. I read science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, and anything that catches my fancy.  Generally I purchase the books I am reviewing, but occasionally I get review copies. If I get a review copy, I will say so.

Review of the Caseworker’s Memoirs by Dan Thompson

So the next book on my summer reading list is: The Caseworker’s Memoirs

The Caseworker’s Memoirs is a fascinating novella which reads as seven short stories about phobias tied together by a retired counsellor, Malcolm, grieving the loss of his beloved wife, Mary.

It’s written in a bit of an experimental style and though it starts a little slow with Malcolm’s idealized descriptions of Mary, it is a very quick read and I quickly became engrossed with the seven people’s fear which consumed their lives. At least for a few if the characters, Grace, Mark & Neil, I wanted to know even more, what happened next! (which even thought I can’t know, this is a good sign)

Dan Thompson has a eloquent style of character description that I found interesting–especially because those suffering the phobias were of different classes and I felt all the character’s were written well.

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Other Systems Virtual Book Tour!

Other Systems_small_Skyscraper

Here is the first part of the schedule for the Other Systems Virtual Book Tour.  I hope you check out some of these great blogs.

http://caughtinasnyderwebb.blogspot.com/  PROMO STOP MAY 21st

http://candaceknoebel.wordpress.com/ INTERVIEW with Candace Knoebel MAY 24th

http://www.rosebuz.com/  GUEST POST: Writing about Technology in Science Fiction Novels  May 25th

http://booksandtales.blogspot.co.uk/ INTERVIEW July 10th

http://frankieblooding.wordpress.com/  REVIEW July 19th

 

 

PS Though not part of the official tour. YA Bookstop is having a monthlong Dystopian Novel Month so  http://yabookstop.wordpress.com/ GUEST POST: Creating and Researching Technologies in a Dystopian Setting  June 15th

 

 

48Fourteen Scavenger Hunt Featured Book: Change of Pace

48Fourteen Scavenger Hunt!!!!

Hop between each author’s blog/website and collect the highlighted clues.Then go to the link above and enter the raffle.

 The book which I am featuring on my blog today is Change of Pace by Sofia Essen.

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I read this book back in April of 2012 when it was first released. Here is my original review:

Essen’s debut novel is a wonderfully light beach read. The synopsis begins: “What do you do when you get dumped, fired, and turn thirty in a single unfortunate week?…”

While the beginning moved a bit slow with relaxing shopping trips and drinking wine, this worked well as it mimicked the life that Essen was describing on Crete compared to Anna’s previous life in New York. The novel is written in first person, so the reader won’t always know what is going on with other characters and why, but Anna is an interesting narrator and it adds to the fun of watching her learn about Crete, her family and herself.

If you want a book that is upbeat and an enjoyable read, this is the book for you.
Now, I would also like to add that I have sometimes thought of Essen’s descriptions of life on Crete and the relationships between the characters over the past nine months. Though it is a wonderfully light book, the images stick with you.

 ****

 COP2

Synopsis:

What do you do when you get dumped, fired, and turn thirty in a single unfortunate week?

You book the last available ticket on the next plane to Greece. Or at least that’s what the normally unadventurous Anna Cox does in a moment of uncharacteristic spontaneity. When she panics as she belatedly realizes that not booking a hotel room in a country she knows nothing about might not have been the best or smartest idea, the charming and easy on the eyes Englishman in the seat next to her comes to her rescue – he takes her to the rural island village in Crete that he calls home.

As Anna settles into village life, she learns that change, even the unwanted and unexpected kind, can be a good thing. She begins to see that there is always more to any story or person than meets the eye, including herself. In Crete, where time moves differently and days float and blend into one another, Anna finds the courage to discover who she really is, open up to strangers, and to fall in love without holding back even though she might get hurt.

Praise for Sofia Essen and Change of Pace:

“Sofia Essen’s vivid descriptions of Crete, its culture, cuisine, and people, transported me there and made me feel like I was on a free holiday.” ~ Lady Jayne’s Reading Den

 

“The writing was simply brilliant, especially during the first half of the book…It was sarcastic, witty and emotional when need be.” ~ Fani, Goodreads

 

“The writer’s brilliant use of irony as a structural element of the plot ushers in an aura of unpredictability…”~ Malcolm Livera, Amazon

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“This is a wonderful story of love, change, letting go, and taking a leap of faith.” ~ Eva’s Sanctuary

cop3About the Author:

Sofia Essen has spent twenty years as an expatriate. She is presently on an indefinitely extended vacation on a Greek island. Living in a place that is as inspiring as it is perplexing is what made her pickup a pen and write Change of Pace. Her other interests include long walks with her Yorkshire Terrier.

Connect with Sofia:

Blog: http://diversereader.wordpress.com/

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5819497.Sofia_Essen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DiverseReader

48fourteen: http://www.48fourteen.com/users/sofia-essen

Where to buy Change of Pace:

48fourteen: http://www.48fourteen.com/catalog/change-pace

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Change-of-Pace-ebook/dp/B007UKXE06/

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Change-of-Pace-ebook/dp/B007UKXE06/

Excerpt from Change of Pace:

Tiny nudges my leg with his nose impatiently. He wants his walk, and he wants it now. I put his collar on him and we head out. Instead of turning right outside the gates, I turn left on impulse and begin to trek up the steep hill behind the village. Half an hour later, I stop and look down at the village. I spot the bed and breakfast—it looks like a dollhouse from up here. As my eyes rove over Drapanias, my mind stops spinning at last. When I ask myself the same questions that I’ve been asking myself for days, I finally have some answers.

Why am I still on this island? I’m still here because I’ve fallen in love with the village below me and its inhabitants. Should I go home? They say home is where the heart is. So I’m going to trek back down the hill to the village. I don’t have everything figured out yet. But knowing where I want to be is a start. I want to stay in Drapanias for as long as I can, which means I’m definitely going to start looking for a job. And even though Daisy is right about me craving consistency in a relationship, at the moment, I crave Alex more.

Feeling both mentally and physically refreshed, I practically skip downhill. I jog up Villa Drapanias’ driveway behind Tiny who is in a hurry to get his breakfast, which Jane should have ready and waiting for him by now. I unclip Tiny’s leash from his collar and he zooms toward the main house while I continue to my guesthouse. When I open the door and step inside, I’m greeted by a sight that evaporates every remaining ounce of angst I’ve harbored over the past few days – Alex standing in the middle of room, wearing nothing but a threadbare towel around his waist.

Our eyes meet across the room. Without a word, he comes toward me and suddenly I’m forgetting everything but the feeling of his arms around me and his lips on mine. His touch ignites a fire in me and a hunger for him that makes me dizzy. When he lifts me up and carries me to the bed, I feel like I’ve been drugged. Alex is the drug, and I want more. And knowing he wants me just as much as I want him when we’re together like this is a powerful high.

Readers can win a copy of seven books featured, and two runners up will get a book of their choice! Check out the rest of the great books and blogs at the 48Fourteen Scavenger Hunt!!!!

 

Reading Rampage #2: Review of Trang and Trust by Mary Sisson

I loved these books. I am reviewing them together so I don’t screw up and give everyone spoilers.

Trang starts with Wouter Hoopen the general manager of the Titan Station trying to get funding and worried about his future promotion potential. Then everything changes when a hole in space opens and on the other side is an alien station.  Sisson has a true gift to write humor in her narration.

Phillipe Trang the first human representative  is a wonderful character, but my favorite character is Shanti one of his body guards from the Special Forces. Sission excels at characterization through dialogue and I love how Phillipe and Shanti’s relationship evolves through the books.

All of her characters and alien races have distinct traits which make them unique, yet there is enough familiarity to get a solid picture in the reader’s mind. Her descriptions are so well blended into the narrative, I never feel the information dumping problem of some science fiction.

Now in Trust, the book starts a few weeks after the end of the first novel. Sisson focuses more on the Cyclopes and Magic Man which is nice because as the reader it gives us more time to know them better. And we see Trang evolve as a character, which I personally love.

Terrific Books–if you are a science fiction fan, check them out! 

I’m really excited to see where the series goes. I would just like to warn readers the novels deal with some adult themes and  have harsh language.

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