Down the TBR Hole #9

Today, I am continuing to clear Goodreads of unwanted books (so obviously, I can just fill it up again!) For anyone who hasn’t come across the tag before (in which case, where have you been?), here is a refresher on what this entails:-

This meme was started by Lia @ Lost in a Story. Here is how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here are the next ten books on the TBR up for review:-

 

1 & 2   Worldwaker and Hometaker by Dean Wilson

Goodreads – Worldwaker

Every victory is its own defeat. General Rommond’s efforts to amass technological superiority over the enemy has resulted in the creation of a weapon that could destroy everything, and a faction just mad enough to use it.

The Armageddon Brigade has awoken from its deep slumber, and it seeks to wake the world with it. Attracting the brightest, and most unstable, of minds, this splinter group of the Resistance has become the greatest thorn in Rommond’s side.

The Resistance and the Regime must unite to defeat a foe that answers to neither of them. Yet their deep divisions and long-held suspicions threaten to end the Great Iron War once and for all—by ending everything.

Goodreads – Hometaker

The Resistance races against time to complete the missile-launcher known as the Hometaker, capable of opening a gateway to the land the Regime came from, and exposing the Iron Emperor for all the evils he has done.

Everything rests on the secrecy of the mission, but from day one tongues are wagging. The atmosphere is like dynamite. An overheard word could light the fuse. With no time left on the clock, General Rommond is forced to make an audacious plan: finish the construction of the Hometaker on the move, driving straight towards the enemy, who have assembled in unimaginable force.

The Great Iron War is coming to an end. It’s all or nothing—their world or ours.

I started this series this year and whilst I enjoyed the first few books, it has lost its appeal for me. I think the foundation plot is excellent, but in trying to up-the-ante the books become so farfetched and at the same time manage to be repetitive, the series loses its sparkle. I mean, who starts a war and has a spare blimp tucked up their sleeve, you know, just in case the giant submarine just happens to be sabotaged and run out of air?

Oh, you DO?! It’s just me then…

Verdict: Go

 

3  The Thief Taker – C S Quinn

The Thief Taker

Goodreads – The Thief Taker

The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…

When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.

Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.

In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.

Doesn’t this just sound so dark and delicious?! I am a huge champion of historical fiction, in case any of you are unaware, so this is right up my street. I had half forgotten I added this to the list. Now I’ve seen it again, I’ll have to add it to the actual reading list I am working from… and probably near the top!

Verdict: Keep!!

 

4  The Feedback Loop – Harmon Cooper

The Feedback Loop.jpg

Goodreads – The Feedback Loop

Stuck in a virtual dreamworld called The Loop, a man named Quantum Hughes struggles to free himself from a glitch that forces him to live the same day on repeat. His life changes when a mysterious letter arrives one morning from a woman named Frances Euphoria, the first human player he has made contact with in a very long time. Once Frances appears, members of a murder guild known as the Reapers begin surfacing in The Loop, hoping to capture Quantum or worse — kill him. To further complicate matters, The Loop itself is doing everything it can to stop Quantum from finding the hidden logout point by turning everything in the virtual dreamworld against him.

With time running out, will Quantum break free from his digital coma before he’s captured or killed by the Reapers? Who is Frances Euphoria, and what does she actually know about how long Quantum has been trapped?

Technology meets Groundhog Day.  I like it. I’m trying to read a little more in the science-fiction branch, and at less than 200 pages, I think I can manage this no problem!

Verdict: Keep

 

5  Red Sister – Mark Lawrence

Red Sister

Goodreads – Red Sister

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

I loved the Broken Empire series. On that and faith alone, I decided to get a copy of this book, in the hope it will be just as good as his other books. I’m sure it will!

Verdict: Keep

 

6  Blue Skies – Matthew Mather

Blue Skies

Goodreads – Blue Skies

Olympia is a high-powered New York advertising executive with perhaps the chance of a lifetime when she lands the biggest account of her life – the new Cognix synthetic reality promotion. The stress, however, is killing her, and she desperately needs relief from the distraction of everything and everyone around her…

All of the Atopia stories begin at the same moment in time so that you can start by reading any of them, and then read the others in any order you choose to slowly reveal the mystery and terrifying danger that connects them all. Atopia is a near future world without borders that balances on the brink of post-humanism and eco-Armageddon.

I must have added this on a whim because I genuinely don’t even remember looking at this before. I have a lot of great books on the list so I’ll put this aside for now.

Verdict: Go

 

7  The Keeper of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

The Keeper of Lost Things

Goodreads – The Keeper of Lost Things

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer-Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is a heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook.

I can’t help but think that this sounds like a lovely read. To my mind, it’s the kind of book I expect you would want to read to wind down. It doesn’t sound like it will be heavy reading (and trust me, I read my fair share of those) but that makes a refreshing change once in a while.

Verdict: Keep

 

8  King Arthur’s Rise: The Forgotten Emperor Omnibus – Paul Bannister

King Arthur' Rise

Goodreads – King Arthur’s Rise

Paul Bannister’s epic Forgotten Emperor series tells of the legendary rise of the British Emperor. Books 1-3 are now available in this special omnibus edition.

ARTHUR BRITANNICUS

Carausius’ father was a respected warrior chief, a leader of men. But just a boy, Carausius witnesses his violent death.

As the boy grows into a man and then a soldier, he dedicates himself to the cause of Rome.

As a centurion in the Empire’s mighty Army, he earns the respect of his men. But, just like his father before him, he is surrounded by enemies.

Will Carausius emerge victorious and earn the greatest title of all. Or will he meet an early, violent death, as his father did before him…?

ARTHUR IMPERATOR

The Roman fleet has been defeated and the threat of invasion removed.

Arthur Britannicus has taken the throne as Imperator – Emperor of Britain.

However, as the threat from Rome retreats, the intimidation from Saxon warlords intensifies.

Arthur must draw his sword and muster his forces again if he is to keep his island under British rule…

ARTHUR INVICTUS

Britain has lost its battle with Rome and the city lies in ruins.

But the Romans, under threat in their homeland from barbarian invaders, have retreated.

Arthur Imperator must reunite the fractured British tribes to lead them back to victory – and reclaim the kingdom.

Can Arthur persuade Rome’s enemies to join him and create a strong enough force to take down Gaul?

Or will Maximian’s might once again prove too strong for the British people…?

The verdict I have come to has actually surprised me. As stated above, I love historical fiction, but I think I am going to take these off the list for now and maybe come back to them later on. It isn’t one of the periods of history I find myself drawn to, but maybe is something to explore in the future?

Verdict: Go

 

9  Hild – Nicola Griffith

Hild

Goodreads – Hild

Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief.

Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable—until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.

Hild is a young woman at the heart of the violence, subtlety, and mysticism of the early medieval age—all of it brilliantly and accurately evoked by Nicola Griffith’s luminous prose. Recalling such feats of historical fiction as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, Hild brings a beautiful, brutal world—and one of its most fascinating, pivotal figures, the girl who would become St. Hilda of Whitby—to vivid, absorbing life.

This is the kind of historical fiction that I like, (as well as the Victorian period). There’s actually a lot of historical fiction on this list at the moment, I notice.

Verdict: Keep

 

10  Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer

Goodreads – Strange the Dreamer

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

I currently have the hardback of this sat on my bookshelf, and since getting a copy I have heard wonderful things about it. I can’t wait to dive into this either!!

Verdict: Keep

 

Have you read any of the books on my list or are they on your list too? Have I made any mistakes? Any comments are much appreciated!!

Rebecca mono

Blog Tour: Roll the Dice – Wayne Avrashow

Hi everybody!!

Today I am delighted to be taking part in another blog tour, courtesy of Fiery Seas Publishing. Take a peek at the Book Trailer here!

Roll the Dice.jpg

 

Roll the Dice bWayne Avrashow

Fiery Seas Publishing

November 28, 2017   

Political Thriller

 

Amazon    Kobo    iTunes    Barnes & Noble

 

 

Roll the Dice was published on November 28th, so I think I can speak for all book bloggers in congratulating Wayne for all his hard work. You can breathe a sigh of relief because it has all paid off!

Just how hard is it to get that first draft manuscript into a published novel? I was given the opportunity to ask the author about his experience…

Divider mono

“Both processes: writing a novel and retaining a publisher were time-consuming, circuitous, thrilling roller-coaster rides with uncertain twists and turns.  I landed on terra firma and delighted to share the emotions of those rides.  I overcame the obstacles and now revel in the ultimate victory for an aspiring author—my novel Roll the Dice will be published November 28 by Fiery Seas Publishing.

My novel’s main protagonist is Tyler Sloan, a rock star who exits the stage to campaign for the United States Senate.  Sloan has a complicated and difficult relationship with his father Mike, who was a nationally famous politician. The novel has plot lines with intrigue, corruption and sexual tension between Sloan and his young, attractive media advisor Bree Baker.  A quick plug—the novel is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and in selected bookstores.

The first novels I remember reading were Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.  I love that genre, but the “write what you know” cliché is accurate.  I have no knowledge of that world; or the nuances of crimes and police work that Michael Connelly skillfully explores in many of his novels.  I do not hold the passion to create a fictional world such as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. 

I have been an attorney for more than two decades and volunteered in my first political campaign when I was 17.  Before I graduated college, I was the campaign manager for a successful Los Angeles City Council campaign.  I managed another victorious campaign and served on the staffs of those two Council members, including as Chief of Staff. I later served on two government commissions and in other roles in politics and government.

As an attorney, I draft legal documents, but needed guidance to write fiction.  It is not a skill set taught in law school.  I attended UCLA Extension courses on fiction writing.  I would encourage any aspiring author to attend classes, review online material, read books or view YouTube videos of a host of tutors, my choice is best-selling author Michael Levin, who skillfully explains the writing process.

The most important recommendation is to simply keep writing.  The goal is to write daily.  Just keep going.  I jotted down notes of interesting phrases, observations, and people I met. Exaggerate, combine, twist, mold and mangle these qualities for your novel.

Writing the book consumed years of my life.  I never suffered from “writer’s block,” but my legal practice is a time-consumptive occupation.   I rewrote Roll the Dice many times; it was an illusion when I thought the work was completed.

When I thought the novel was completed, I entered the manuscript in online book contests.  I survived the initial cuts in Amazon’s CreateSpace contest, but did not proceed as far as I hoped.  With my confidence muted, I did some research.

I went online and to the bookstore to acquire ideas on fine-tuning a novel.  I rewrote it, tightened it, reduced a character or two, combined or eliminated scenes and once again, thought I was ready.  The novel was completed.  It was done.

My first real success was when the manuscript was named one of the year’s best unpublished manuscripts in a Kirkus Reviews contest.  The novel was completed. Now it was done.

I had a fortuitous meeting with a friend, a former executive at two major studios.  I described the plot and main characters and asked for his input.  He suggested one substantial change; that the deceased father of my protagonist Tyler Sloan be alive and become a major character.  This one change added significant conflicts throughout the book.  I rewrote it again.  Once again, I was now certain the novel was done.

I sought out a literary agent.   Cue the drumroll— the Rejection Process began.  I reminded myself that the best-selling authors of our time were rejected.  John Grisham was rejected by 16 publishers and J.K. Rowling nearly matched it with 15 rejections.  The Beatles were rejected numerous times.  One Decca Records executive passed, and informed their manager Brian Epstein, that “guitar groups are on their way out.” Good call.

I only needed one agent and braced myself for the expected deluge of rejections. I was not disappointed.  One rejection was humorous.  An agent took some time to write on my query letter which was on my legal stationary, that he would, “never represent an attorney as an author.”  No profanity, but his comments were laced with insults as to the honesty of my profession.   That agent was likely to be pleased to reject: Grisham, David Baldacci, Scott Turow, Meg Gardiner, Linda Fairstein and countless other attorney-authors.   You have to smile.

More than one agent expressed an interest and I retained New York-based, Linda Langton of the Langton Literary Agency. Linda is perfect; supportive, smart and patient.  I was once again certain the novel was complete.

Linda was pleased, but believed the manuscript needed an editor to be commercially viable.  After the editor’s comments, I once again rewrote Roll the Dice.  One bit of advice to all aspiring authors; accept the input of a skilled professional.  I gladly accepted Linda’s advice and the editor greatly enhanced the manuscript.  With her guidance, the manuscript was transformed into a finished work.  The novel was now ready to be published.

I was very fortunate to have a skilled literary agent who located Fiery Seas Publishing to publish my first novel.  I have enjoyed a varied career in politics and law; however, the satisfaction of a publisher believing in my work ranks among my most satisfying career achievements.

I admit that even holding the book in my hand, there are times when I would revise certain sentences or phrases.   However, the novel is now complete.”

Divider mono

Wayne Avrashow

About the Author:

Wayne Avrashow was the campaign manager for two successful Los Angeles City Council campaigns and a Deputy/Chief of Staff to those two elected City Council members. He served as a senior advisor for a successful city-wide referendum in the City of Los Angeles, co-authored ballot arguments on Los Angeles County-wide measures, served as Chairman for a Los Angeles County ballot measure, and was a Los Angeles government Commissioner for nearly twenty years. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Yaroslavsky Institute, a public policy institute founded by long time Southern California elected official, and now UCLA professor, Zev Yaroslavsky.

His background in politics, government, business, and law provides unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns.

Wayne is a practicing attorney who specializes in government advocacy, real estate, and business law. Formerly, he was an officer in two real estate development firms.  As a lawyer-lobbyist, he has represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at his law school and taught at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He has also authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers, legal, business, and real estate publications.  In addition, he is the author of a self-published book for the legal community, Success at Mediation—10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys.

Reading List: December 2017

Guys… I hate to break it to you, but IT’S DECEMBER!!! How did that happen so fast?!

This year seems to have gone quickly for me – well, the second half at least. This year didn’t get off to the best of starts. On the plus side, it was the foundation of finding a hobby in blogging so I cannot complain too much! You have to take every positive you can get!

Never have I managed to read so many books in one year, and I’m proud I’ve stuck to my challenge. I have five books left to finish my 60 book challenge (after finishing The Black Prism, it’ll be four), and I’m confident I can do it!

I was hoping to be a little closer to my target. I have ended November still reading The Black Prism by Brent Weeks and I am yet to touch F.ormerly by Dane Cobain, which is the last book on November’s list. I’ve had a bit of a slow month I guess, which isn’t a problem… but I’ll be carrying this book forward as a result.

 

Remember For Me – Diana Tarant Schmidt

Remember For Me

Remember For Me – Goodreads

Clara Eros thought her life was ending with Alzheimer’s. She was mistaken. A war between good and evil has raged for as long as humanity has existed, and the balance of power between its forces has always remained equal. But that longstanding balance has begun to shift, and the survival of mankind may be at risk. What is the source of this duality, and how do the proponents of light and darkness use humans to further their cause? When Clara Eros awakens with no memory, her questions are fundamental: who is she; and why is she here? The answer she receives is predetermined and singular: she has been recruited to fight a battle against the reign of darkness. But is Clara just a pawn in a much larger game? Once her transformation is complete, Clara finds herself, in body and mind, as a younger, stronger version of the person she can no longer remember, and now she must search for the common thread hidden within malevolence and turn the tide in a war where humanity is succumbing to chaos and brutality. Will she be strong enough to bring humanity back into the light?

I was grateful to be approached by Diana with a request to read this book. Whilst having an element of fiction, it touches on a sensitive topic of Alzheimer’s, but I’m glad it is being brought to the forefront of discussion. I am looking forward to seeing how the theme is portrayed, and who knows, maybe I’ll get an idea of what my gran experienced in the last few years of her life.

 

Seeker – David Noë and Laura Loolaid

Seeker

Seeker – Goodreads

Jewel Harper, a junior specialist in a successful bounty-hunter group, returns from a routine mission only to find a new contract already prepared – a private contract to rescue a brother she didn’t know she had. The mission takes Jewel to a few different homeworlds — and into some trouble. She will learn that pretty much everybody knows more about her family than she does.


This is a stand-alone story set in the ChaosNova universe. Humans have spread to new homeworlds in a “goldilocks cluster” somewhere in the Galaxy, where the many homeworlds harbour several dominant civilizations as well as various local cultures, ancient and new. This story-verse, borne of forum-based roleplay and collaboration between several authors, holds many more characters and adventures, with varying degrees of connection to the central arc. Some of those stories are being written now, many are yet to be told.

I was excited to be approached with a request to read this book, too. I love the concept of how the ChaosNova universe was created and how it is written collaboratively – it is what makes it unique. It has also been some time since I have picked up any books in the science fiction genre, so I am really looking forward to picking this up!

 

F.ormerly – Dane Cobain

Former.ly

Former.ly – Goodreads

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences.

But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.

So I was supposed to read this last month and unfortunately didn’t get around to it. This is a book I have downloaded via Netgalley, and it drew my attention as it features a kind of modern technology that is potentially relevant to today’s society.

I have mixed feelings about social media. Obviously, when used correctly and safely it is a useful tool to keep in touch with friends and relatives. By very nature, bloggers use the Internet and social media in order to get books and their opinions out there. There are people that abuse this technology, sadly. I’ll outright admit that I am against the idea of social media use featured in the book. I’m curious to see if my feelings are justified or not.

 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity – Goodreads

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

This just sounds like it is going to be fantastic – and whilst I don’t like to focus on this when I opt to read a book, I couldn’t help but notice that it has a high rating on Goodreads! Anyone who follows my blog will know I have a lot of interest in history and historical fiction, so this should be right up my street.

 

Rewired – S R Johannes

ReWired

ReWired – Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.

It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.

With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWired delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWired is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.

Between reading this Seeker and F.ormerly this month, there is definitely a “technology” theme going on, but I think I’ll enjoy it! I tend to read more Fantasy than anything so it will make a refreshing change. As I have already voiced, I have a bit of mistrust on the use of social media (for privacy reasons) so I’m sure I’ll take something away from this read!

Divider mono

If I manage to read all these by the end of the month, it means I’ll have completed my reading challenge and I’ll have read one extra book too! I didn’t want to be too optimistic and try to read six because:-

  1. That hasn’t worked the last two months
  2. IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!

So, now my reading list is sorted… it’s time to panic about Christmas presents…

Chao!!

Jack Sparrow Run.gif

Rebecca mono

Blog Tour: Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio

Hi everybody!!

Today I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in a blog tour, arranged by Fiery Seas Publishing. As a part of the tour, I am glad to provide you with an excerpt from Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio, which has just been published this month!

Fiskur

 

Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio

November 7th, 2017

Fantasy

The Gemeta Stone Book 2

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

 

 

 

 

 

With his family’s talisman in his possession, Kristan Gemeta is ready to face the Wichelord Daazna – but he has no inkling of the scope of Daazna’s power, nor the depths of his hatred.

With the recovery of his family’s protective talisman, Kristan Gemeta has found hope, courage – and perhaps even the first stirrings of love.  With the aid of Heather Demitt, her band of rebels, a shipload of Northern brigands and the legendary Kentavron, he readies himself to face the Wichelord Daazna.  But neither he nor his comrades realize the strength of Daazna’s power and hatred.  The Wichelord’s first blow comes from a direction Kristan least expects, with horrific, lasting consequences.

 


FISKUR EXCERPT #4

 From Chapter 17

 

Kristan swung. It was an efficient sideways blow that severed the boy’s head and sent it flying. For a breath or two the boy’s body stayed upright, twitching and spurting blood, then fell back. Kristan stood over him. His knees buckled for an instant, but then he recovered. He stooped and carefully wiped his sword on the boy’s blanket, then straightened up and looked at his friends. “That’s all,” he said, and sheathed his sword.

Melissa’s hands went to her mouth. Nigel made a sound of revulsion and averted his eyes.  “Astéria mou –” Torrin started to say.

Kristan’s face twisted into a snarl. “Do you object? Should I have let him go, so he could tell Daazna where to find us?”

“He was just a boy –” Melissa whimpered.

“You chose to come with me. All of you. No one forced you. No one ordered you.”

Olaf put out one hand, as if to pat him on the shoulder. “Now, Fiskur –”

Kristan threw up his own hand to ward of Olaf’s touch. “Don’t touch me. I’m sick of being mollycoddled; sick of being challenged. I will do what I must. If any of you don’t like it, then you can go your own way, do you hear me?”

He wheeled and strode off. Silenced by his outburst, they followed him back to their horses, tethered some distance away. They mounted up and continued north through the night, wordless and miserable.

As the sun rose, the woods around them grew unpleasantly still. Heather was sticky with sweat but left her hood on and her sleeves rolled down against the biting flies that swarmed around them. Near noon they paused to eat and rest, but no one had much appetite, and the flies and heat made sleeping impossible.

“How much further?” Torrin asked as they broke camp again.

“A day and a half…maybe two,” Kristan murmured thickly. He dragged himself into Malvo’s saddle. “We lost time when we doubled back.”

Sun and shadow…shadow and sun…

As they journeyed on, Heather closed her eyes against the flickering light. The muffled clop of hooves, the creak of saddles and the jingling of tack blended into a monotonous drone; half asleep, she thought of O Tópos, its vineyards and sun-warmed clusters of grapes, orchards full of meaty, succulent cherries and crisp sweet melons on the vine. She thought of walking barefoot on the cool green grass of the promenade; she remembered Kristan’s hand stroking her hair.  How long ago it seems, she thought, a lifetime ago. We were children, we were pure. Daazna took that from all of us. We’ll never be that innocent again. 

Tears stung behind her closed lids. One squeezed free and rolled down her left cheek, and as it did, she felt a breath of cool air along its track. She opened her eyes. Daylight was fading. A gust of wind rattled the leaves overhead. Beyond them the sky was thick with scudding greenish clouds.

“Storm,” Olaf said. “You can smell it coming in from the west.”

“How soon?” Torrin asked over his shoulder.

A spat of rain landed on Heather’s hand, another on her face.

“Right now,” Olaf said.


 

I hope you all enjoyed that little snippet of the book! If you would like further details of the book, the links are provided below!

Buy Links:   Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Kobo  ~  iBooks

About the Author:Donna Migliaccio

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

Social Media:   Website      Facebook       Twitter      Pinterest

 

 

Save

Author Interview – David Meredith

Hi everyone!!

Yesterday I shared with you all my review of Aaru, written by David Meredith. Today, I am pleased to be bringing you an interview with the author about the book:-

Divider mono

First and foremost, please tell us a little about yourself

I’m a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. I received both my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. I also recently received my Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, I spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but I currently live with my wife and three children in the Nashville Area where I continue to write and teach English.

 

What inspired you to create Aaru?

A lot of my own personal questions about faith, life, and death actually. Aaru is first and foremost an entertaining and emotional YA/NA SyFy/Fantasy novel. It is at its core a story about the love of two sisters, and how they struggle to cope as the paradigms of what they’ve always been taught is true and good is challenged and shifted in a monumental way. However, Aaru also explores a number of what I think are fundamentally human questions: What happens when religion and faith conflict with technology and science? Is there a way to reconcile the two? What constitutes a human being or human soul? What would happen to religion and faith if the fear of death was removed from society? How would that change the way individuals choose to live their lives? In a world where people in power can essentially choose who is and is not saved, how should that determination be made? Who should be saved? Is the act of choosing winners and losers, judging who is righteous and worthy vs. who is not in and of itself even moral at all? I suspected that the answers would be a lot messier and more complicated than the utopian realization of John Lennon’s Imagine lyrics and lead to a great deal of conflict as people try to hash it all out. In the end, Aaru doesn’t really answer any of these questions, nor is it intended to, but it does speculate on what the answers of different people from different circumstances and indeed society at large might be. What I want people to get out of Aaru is an intensely emotional experience that stimulates some productive introspection even as they enjoy it as a compelling story about the fierce love of two sisters that transcends even death.

 

Given the issues brought up in the book, do you think a system like Aaru would be a benefit or a hindrance to society?

That is the question, isn’t it? And I don’t think it really gets answered – At least not in the first book. This is to a certain extent intentional. By not tacking out a particular attitude about whether Aaru is the savior of mankind or its destroyer, I try to invite the reader to think a little more deeply about the idea and make their own determination.

 

What has been the most difficult part of publishing the book?

The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day mostly. But seriously, promotion takes A LOT of time. I would much rather be working on volume two than hunting book review blogs and sending out hundreds of book review requests, but it has to be done if you ever want anyone to read your work. The trick I think, is striking a balance among creating new material, promotion, and the hundreds of other things that also have to get done for work and family.

 

What other books have you written? Can you tell us a bit about them?

I have one other book currently available on Amazon: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Queen-Snow-White/dp/0991031113/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510891939&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=the+refctions+of+queen+snow+white

I also have a mostly finished series I hope to start releasing soon based upon Japanese myth and legend called The Sankei Chronicles:

On the happiest day of the year, Taro’s world ends. His people and his family are slaughtered. His lands are brutally laid to waste by merciless, imperial forces. Taro is certain that neither he nor the ghosts of his lost loved ones can rest until he has visited the same devastation tenfold upon the heads of the vile collaborators. Consumed with grief for the fallen and guilt at his own survival, he gathers his scattered people and solemnly vows bloody revenge on the allies of the Tenshuu in the neighboring barony.

At the same time, young Naomi, cherished daughter of the doting Lord of Numanodai, is blissfully unaware of the chaotic world spinning out of control all around her. She fervently studies the arts of dance, music, and poetry as she dreams of being accepted into the distant imperial court. However, when disaster visits her very doorstep and she loses everything that she holds dear, Naomi must learn what it truly means to be a woman and a ruler. She must come to grips with her own gnawing grief and paralyzing doubt if she is to have any chance of saving her beaten and bedraggled people from Taro’s unreasoning fury.

In the process, both she and her pursuer discover a magical world of vengeful akuma demons, fierce kitsune fox-people, droll tanuki badger-folk, and the mysterious, arcane power of the ikioi. Taro and Naomi must decide whether to use this power for healing or destruction, revenge or redemption. They must choose whether to react to their pain and loss with wrath or with love. In the end, both must come to understand that the only thing that really makes them different is the choices they make and what they are willing to sacrifice in attaining that which they desire.

Finally, of course, I’m about 95,000 words into the Aaru sequal – Aaru: Halls of Hel. I hope to release it some time in 2018.

Divider mono

Thank you to David for his time! If you haven’t checked out my review of the book and would like to do so, you can find it here!

Rebecca mono

Down the TBR Hole #8

Today I am working further towards clearing out my Goodreads of unwanted books (so obviously, I can just fill it up again!) Here is a refresher on what this tag entails:-

This meme was started by Lia @ Lost in a Story to clear out my reading list of unwanted books. Here is how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Once again, I am looking at the next ten books on the TBR:-

Divider mono

 

1  Coalescent – Stephen Baxter

Coalescent

Goodreads

When his father dies suddenly, George Poole stumbles onto a family secret: He has a twin sister he never knew existed, who was raised by an enigmatic cult called the Order.

The Order is a hive – a human hive with a dominant queen–that has prospered below the streets of Rome for almost two millennia.

After Poole enters the Order’s vast underground city and meets the disturbing inhabitants, he uncovers evidence that they have embarked on a divergent evolutionary path.

These genetically superior humans are equipped with the tools necessary to render modern Homo sapiens as extinct as the Neanderthals. And now they are preparing to leave their underground realm.

I have actually started this book. It is the only book remotely anywhere near my bedside table. I haven’t picked it up in months though if I’m entirely honest. Given that my dad loaned me the series (when they were moving, so they had less stuff to bring up), I should probably get a wriggle on. They moved a year ago…

Verdict: Keep

 

2  The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

The Bands of Mourning

Goodreads

With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

This is certainly a keeper! I need to get on and read the earlier books of this second trilogy.

Verdict: Keep

 

3  Age of Myth – Michael J Sullivan

Age of Myth

Goodreads

Age of Myth inaugurates an original five-book series.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever.

Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

I knew when I looked at this the name was familiar. I recently opted to remove another of Mishael’s books from the TBR… being Theft of Swords. Though I opted not to read this other book, Age of Myth looks to be classic fantasy so it’s right up my street!

Verdict: Keep

 

4  The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Heather O’Neill

The Lonely Hearts Hotel

Goodreads

With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with the power of legend. An unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to thwart one’s origins. It might also take true love.

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. Before long, their talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing clown routines, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

Separated as teenagers, sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both descend into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes after years of searching and desperate poverty the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to make them come true. Soon, Rose, Pierrot and their troupe of clowns and chorus girls have hit New York, commanding the stage as well as the alleys, and neither the theater nor the underworld will ever look the same.

With her musical language and extravagantly realized world, Heather O’Neill enchants us with a novel so magical there is no escaping its spell.

I’m going to be absolutely honest and admit that I’ve changed my mind on this one. Whilst I am sure its historical nature would appeal to me, I am not sure about the rest.

Verdict: Go

 

5  Gilded Cage – Vic James

Gilded Cage

Goodreads

In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.

Have a quick ten years. . . .

I think I added this as I understand there is a lot of politics involved, which I enjoy.

One thing I know I don’t like is a book is set in a parallel reality in the same time period that we are currently in. This has put me off reading this if I’m honest.

Verdict Go

 

6  Dune – Frank Herbert

Dune

Goodreads

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

I received a copy of this book from my work colleagues for my birthday so I will definitely be reading this!

Verdict: Keep

 

7  The Whitefire Crossing – Courtney Schafer

The Whitefire Crossing

Goodreads

Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He’s in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it’s easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel – where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark – into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.

But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal. Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution – and he’ll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.

Yet Kiran isn’t the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other – or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel.

I like the idea of this but I am not sure it is something I want to read just now. Given that I am trying to clear out the list, I am going to take this off the list. Maybe I’ll re-add it at a later date?

Verdict: Go

 

8  Rhanna – Christine Marion Fraser

Rhanna

Goodreads

On a bitter winter night in 1923, Fergus McKenzie loses his beloved wife in childbirth. Overcome by grief, he shuns the doctor, convinced he could have done more to save her. He also refuses to take notice of his daughter, Shona, until years later, when she falls in love with the doctor’s son.

I added this book as a starting point as my mum loves these books. Having taken a look though, I really don’t think they are my cup of tea. Don’t hate me, Mum!!

Verdict: Go

 

9  A Darker Shade of Magic – V E Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic

Goodreads

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Having said I don’t really like parallel universes, I wouldn’t normally have added this book to the TBR. It is only because of the amount of hype around this author in the blogosphere that I am going to give it a try. Hopefully, with the presence of magic, this doesn’t feel like the setting is too realistic.

Verdict: Keep

 

10  The Women’s Room – Marilyn French

The Womens Room

Goodreads

The bestselling feminist novel that awakened both women and men, The Women’s Room follows the transformation of Mira Ward and her circle as the women’s movement begins to have an impact on their lives. A biting social commentary on an emotional world gone silently haywire, The Women’s Room is a modern classic that offers piercing insight into the social norms accepted so blindly and revered so completely. Marilyn French questions those accepted norms and poignantly portrays the hopeful believers looking for new truths.

I added this book having read “Fear of Flying” by Erica Jong at the beginning of this year. To be upfront… yes, this is described as a feminist book. Do I classify myself as a feminist? No. That doesn’t mean I cannot educate myself on the subject though. I think feminism is massively misunderstood in terms of whether it represents the empowerment of women or fighting for equality.

Verdict: Keep

 

Divider mono

Have you reviewed your TBR pile lately? I’d love to hear from you!

Rebecca mono

Author Interview: Zach Baynes

Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Zach Baynes. He very kindly approached me with a request to review his book, My Life As Steve Keller, in exchange for a free copy. You too could get your hands on a copy – tune in to tomorrow’s review for details!!

My Life as Steve Keller

Goodreads

Ahead of my review of his book,  Zach took the time to answer a few questions about what inspired him to write about the life of Steve, a man finding his place in an ever-changing and advancing world:-

Divider mono

First and foremost, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you for having me Rebecca, appreciate the offer and taking the time to have a conversation with me.

I studied Political Science for 5 years, founded a think-tank with some colleagues and had some fun with that for a few years. I then started working with technology and that’s where I am now. I work in Digital Transformation, working with companies to assess the state of their IT Infrastructure, or Digitization maturity level, and how they can improve it to gain competitive advantages.

I love reading books, in almost any genres, although for the past years I focused a lot more on non-fiction books. In particular, non-fiction novels – books that have a storytelling side to them. Besides that, I’m passionate about geopolitics, I like to stay on top of what is happening in the world. This also helps when building stories that are grounded in reality, driven by a chronic curiosity about anything. I love travelling, getting in touch with other cultures and people.

 

Just who is Steve Keller, and what inspired you to write about his life?

The book is written from his perspective, so I had to imagine how his life would be, while taking into account my own experiences. I guess it makes him an alter ego of sorts. But in many ways Steve Keller is a placeholder.

He lives his life in very similar ways to most of the people in the Western world. The book focuses on his view on the world and his relationships with the people around him. I love stories with morally gray areas, I’m not a big fan of clear cut storytelling with a hero and anti-hero. I feel that the reader should decide for himself if some questions are worth asking and if the answers that comes along are important. I don’t think it’s up to the writer to tell the reader what to think. Steve sometimes is morally ambiguous because he is supposed to be a normal person, most importantly, he reflects and doubts his own actions. The infamous “What if?” that keeps people awake at night.

 

Steve travels to a number of countries throughout the book, including HK, Paris, Argentina. Are Steve’s experiences linked to your own? If so, how?

Many of those locations are places I enjoyed in the past. I wanted the scenes to have a unique identity of their own and giving them a different setting helps with that.

Sometimes they add a lot in terms of world building; sometimes they tie pieces of Steve’s stories together. They aren’t different for the sake of being different. They are part of the scenes, they either build the dialogue or they bring into focus some other topics that might have felt random without a specific setting. As a literary device, it shaped the future into a coherent timeline, while providing the reader with a positive escape from some of the world building elements that might be overwhelming.

The locations change in each chapter because I like travelling and exploring new places. It was also a chance to imagine how those places might be different in the future – it was too irresistible of an opportunity.

I am a generally a visual person, I enjoy colors, art, nature and looking at things. Writing a specific location made it easier to imagine how certain elements of technology and climate change will blend together.

 

One of the intriguing things about the book is the time frame. Did you have any particular purpose in setting a larger portion of this book in the future?

I think when looking at the past century, each generation had its own self-induced paranoia about particular topics – most of them shaped by world events that people in those decades felt were tremendously impactful on them.

Our generation has its own challenges that shape the dialogue for this particular period. Climate change, with all the perils it might have; employment and its relation to automation; robotics and so on. We have CEOs telling us they will let go of 20%, 30% or even 50% of their employees in the next decade or so. And last, but not least, our relationship with the environment, which at times feels very impersonal. Specifically to ecosystems — animals and plants that are in a fragile state with each year.

I always enjoyed books or movies that have an element of time within them – how it impacts the relationships between people, how people change, the missed encounters, how people adapt to different stress factors in their life and so on.

I wanted to imagine what a person today would look like in 2025. Then in 2030 and 2040. We know how the world would look like, more or less. We have projections on how the weather will change, what cities will be impacted. We know when elephants will become extinct in the wild based on analysis of changes in their numbers; we know when the ice caps will melt. We know that we will be out of a job in 15 years. Soon we’ll have driverless cars, maybe robots walking around.

But what will my life be in that scenario? I would still have the same family around me, the same friends. Hopefully I will be able to fulfill my dreams, my dreams will surely change over time, but will I be happy? What challenges will I face on a personal level, while at the same time trying to cope with the ever changing nature of the world around me.

This feeling of inevitability, time marches forward kind of vibe, and everything that comes with it makes it in a way a character in itself. Time doesn’t care about the characters in the book, about the drama they go through, about what keeps them awake at night.

This quote always stayed with me while writing the book: “It’s funny how day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” I think the book has a similar feel to it.

 

What is the most important thing you would like a reader to take away from reading “My Life as Steve Keller”?

I think the book is a neutral journey into the future, a “what if” introspection and invitation for the reader to feel free to think about whatever he/she wants. It offers the possibility of drawing whichever conclusion fits the reader’s values, without forcing any explanation or justification onto them. Reading a book is a personal journey. So are our impressions of the story. I wanted the book to be exactly like this.

 

Having spoken with you I know that you continue to write. What can we expect the next book; can you give us any hints?

I have more ideas than I have time to write them. But given that I’m a pretty methodical person usually, I have a pipeline of books and plan to get with them one at a time.

The next book I plan to write is The Mermaid from Bastille. It is about an unexpected duo that stumble upon an industry-wide cover up in the fishing business. I want it to be a bit tongue in cheek, it’s a mystery book, and like any other of the kind, the pacing, characters and setting are sometimes more important than the actual mystery itself.

I also enjoy reading about the environment, it wasn’t until recently that I found out there isn’t any wild salmon left in Europe, only farmed. Then I wondered – what else did we lose? The world that I know is now is much different to even my parents’ generation. So I read some books around the topic, about how people are working to revolutionize cuisine in the Old Continent, farm to table kind of stuff. They experiment with cheese, with free-range animals, self-sufficient fish farms and so on. I feel the topic can be dry, but I also know it is extremely important.

Who wants to wake up one day and all you can find on the shelves of a supermarket is powder? I still care about having healthy, fresh ingredients available. So the book is a mystery book, but the overall theme is – there’s a lot more to this industry than we know, a lot of amazing things happening and it’s good if we take a break sometime and entertain the thought of having everything on our plate coming from sustainable, waste free, healthy sources. It will be a humorous and exciting read, while at a same time having a serious undertone about a pretty interesting topic.

Divider mono

Thank you to Zach for taking the time to talk to us about his book!

If you’re interested in my view of the book, please check out my review, being posted tomorrow. As I mentioned above, there will be a chance to get your hands on a copy… so stay tuned for the details and maybe you could be a winner!

Rebecca mono