Tag: science fiction

Book Review: Eternity’s Echoes – Evan Hirson

Hi everybody!!

Today I am pleased to be sharing my review of Eternity’s Echoes with you! I’m going to go ahead and get the boring part out of the way, so then we can begin in earnest!

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

Eternity's Echoes

Goodreads – Eternity’s Echoes

Aaron was a promising software designer with an upcoming company. He shared a quaint house on the outskirts of town with his best friends; another young man and two girls. They’d known each other since school, and lived together peacefully for years with few problems.

Travis the newcomer however had a dark way about him, and all of Aaron’s attempts to get along with him had failed.

But just as the household began to settle down again, a strange device with a peculiar attitude entered their lives.

Would it fulfil all of their dreams, or instead become a curse?

 

I was on a science-fiction high from reading Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio, before diving into Eternity’s Echoes.

Science-fiction is probably the genre I pick up the least often (aside from those I don’t touch at all, obviously…) because I don’t consider myself “technically” minded and thus inadequate to read it. Start talking to me about a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff,  or the physics behind it and you will see my eyes simply glaze over.

*Extra points to anyone who knows who I am quoting there*

I think science-fiction can be perceived as falling in either one of two ballparks – the first is that of complex ideas, detailed explanations and the requirement of some kind of quantum physics degree just to keep your head above water. Perhaps I perceive this because I definitely put myself into the second category; a reader that loves the general idea of time/space travel and advanced technology explored in many science-fiction novels, but really doesn’t want to know the ins-and-outs of how it works, why it works or which century it may or may not come from in the future.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to which side of the fence you are on… we are all different after all. So how does this have any bearing when it comes to Eternity’s Echoes?

The book certainly started off with the simple idea of time travel, how some events cannot and should not be altered else the fabric of time will unravel. Gradually, further ideas are introduced as to what is possible in time travel, and what problems or limitations there may be in using it. It all seems reasonably straight forward – a science noob like me can get their head around that. In that sense, the book is approachable for a wide audience.

After I received the review request and I looked into the book, I was pleased about the inclusion of a character who suffers with anxiety to such an extent that she remains housebound – sometimes even refusing to come out of her room. It is so rare to have a character like this in books. These are completely normal and real issues that normally get no fanfare or spotlight. This, however, was Kim’s only defining feature. Indeed, I feel all of the characters have so much more scope for development. In their current incarnation they serve the purpose of representing different types of people, but they are very difficult to relate or invest with otherwise.

I found the day to day “lifestyles” of the teenagers impeded on the progress of the plot. Considering three of the five teens weren’t even working/studying, or even have any kind of fixed schedule, I felt that more could have happened. As a result of a couple of different schedules, the narrative had to jump around considerably to allow these group “events”. Personally, I felt that this didn’t really sit well, considering the idea of the book is that the manipulation of time was at the fingertips of the protagonists.

That being said, the plot and it’s twists and turns did pull it together later in the text. The story became more sophisticated and my overall rating of the book was brought up as a result of this. This has raised the question within me as to whom the target audience is, because I feel the delivery of the narrative may be better suited to a younger audience, whilst the plot fits an older demographic in terms of complexity.

But these are just my musings. Overall it was a refreshing read to add to my collection, and it has encouraged me to pick up science fiction more often. I hope to see further development of the characters and the plot in the sequel.
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 13th May 2018

It’s Sunday again! It barely feels like the weekend has even started, and already we are over half way through.
Weekends are just not long enough.
This week I opened up a little about myself in my review of the audiobook An Almond for A Parrot by Wray Delaney. This normally isn’t the sort of book I would pick up, however the historical setting and inclusion of magic swayed me to see what it was all about. Whilst I enjoyed the book – I won’t deny it made me feel a little awkward. You can catch the full details in my review.
 

Books Read


 
I finally finished Empire of Silence this week, and boy… was it worth the wait! I’ve been reading this book for a few weeks now, and it’s really made me think I ought to pick up science-fiction books more often. I want to thank Gollancz once again for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to it’s release in July and I cannot wait to share a full review.
Sticking with the science-fiction theme, I have also read Eternity’s Echoes at the request of the author. A quick thank you here for providing me with an ecopy of the book. It’s a tale that explores the concept of time travel and potential consequences it may have if misused. I’ll be publishing a review shortly, so keep an eye out for that.
I also furthered my audiobook progress this week! So far I am loving the narrative of Nevernight. Not only is the story interesting, I love Mia as a character. The narrative itself is written in a clear manner, with an underlying tone of sarcastic wit that I relate to entirely; the narrator does an excellent job in encapsulating this. I can’t wait to listen to the story further!
 

Books Discovered


My first book buy of the week was Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell. I love his Saxon stories series, (aka The Last Kingdom to those that only watch it on TV), and I also love everything about the stage and theatre. Picking up this book was a no-brainer for me once I saw it!
I actually received a copy of Blackwing to read and review from Gollancz a couple of weeks ago(?!)… ish. Anyway. I hadn’t added it to my blog before because I like to post to social media to thank the publisher first, which I was rather late in doing.
I have this amazing ability to be as un-photogenic as possible, and if I’m not convinced I like a picture… I won’t share it. Thank the lord for photo editing… because I still wasn’t all that great when I finally took that photo. Thanks to some cropping and a cheeky filter, I published the photo on InstagramTwitter and you were spared the sight of my hideous sunburn. It rather matched my lipstick. No joke. I am Casper the ghost in corporeal form.
 

Coming Up…

Almost a month after I read the book, I’ll be posting my review of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I really enjoyed this book, even though the topic is less than cheery. If anyone is yet to read it, I highly recommend it. As for the film… I don’t think I could watch it. I’m weak.
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 6th May 2018

Morning all!! I hope you are all having a pleasant day.
May is officially here and with that comes a new reading list for the month. If anyone is interested to see which books I’ll be reading this month, you can head on over and find my reading list here.
The “first” book of the month is a carry over from April, since it had taken me some time to read. I don’t think I can be blamed though, as this book reaches over 800 pages long. I passed the 700 mark last night, so I am on the final stretch to finishing it. I didn’t publish a review this week, as is my custom, because I am slowly catching up with myself. Instead, I published what I expected to be an unpopular post – Five Reasons I Don’t Rate Netgalley. It’s a post part of me has been itching to write for weeks… and, as it turns out, the post has had a better reception than I thought!
 

Books Read


Reading time has been focussed on Empire of Silence once again this week.
It doesn’t feel like I am giving you a particular update, as I was in the same boat last week. What I can say is that since last week I have read a further 300-and-something pages, so I am near the end of the book. I anticipate I’ll be finishing it in the next day or two.
I also started listening to Nevernight by Jay Kristoff whilst getting ready for work in the morning on Wednesday. This is something I like to do if the news is particularly dreary, or if Piers Morgan is quite frankly getting on my nerves. Let’s face it, before the first coffee of the day… this is quite a likely eventuality, yes?
This is a lengthier audiobook and I don’t always listen to them in the morning, so this will probably take me a few weeks to get through. I love audible. I wasn’t sure I would get on with audiobooks, but I have taken to them well.
 

Books Discovered

Nevernight
Much as I’ve said above, I downloaded this from Audible this week with my monthly credit. It is, however, the only book I have purchased or vowed to read this week.
It’s odd that this section is so bare, knowing what I’m like!
 

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

 

Coming Up…

I’m going back to my usual schedule and I’ll be posting a review on Wednesday. This week, I will be reviewing an audiobook I listened to a short while ago…. An Almond for A Parrot by Sally Garner, writing under the pseudonym Wray Delaney.
Have you read any of these books? What are you reading this month?
Rebecca mono
 

Reading List: May 2018

It’s May.
There – I said it. As much as we all wish for Summer and the warmer climes associated with it (somewhere… far, far away from here perhaps), I just have to ask the question… where has the beginning of this year gone?
We are fast approaching the fairer months of the year (allegedly). Here at home, you can always tell when the preparations begin for the prestigious road races that take place here… patching up near-pristine roads etc. Meanwhile, other roads not on the course are sorely neglected to the point in which they have more craters than the moon.
Ahem. Not that I’m bitter or anything… and that is not what this post is about! Today, I am publishing my reading list for the month of May… so let’s get stuck in!
 

Empire of Silence

Empire of Silence GR

Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.
It was not his war.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

Normally, I don’t include books that I end up carrying over from the previous month. Finishing these books should maybe take a day or two, so I usually chastise myself for frittering away time and struggle on to cram those extra pages in to another, normal month of reading.
I don’t think it’s fair to do this to myself this month, on account of having over three hundred pages of this mammoth book left! As much as I love reading, I don’t have a death wish. I know my limit and I am unlikely to finish this in the next day or so.
 

Eternity’s Echoes

Eternity's Echoes.jpg

Aaron was a promising software designer with an upcoming company. He shared a quaint house on the outskirts of town with his best friends; another young man and two girls.
They’d known each other since school, and lived together peacefully for years with few problems.
Travis the newcomer however had a dark way about him, and all of Aaron’s attempts to get along with him had failed.
But just as the household began to settle down again, a strange device with a peculiar attitude entered their lives.
Would it fulfill all of their dreams, or instead become a curse?

Judging by the synopsis, reading this book comes at a perfect time.
I was kindly approached by the author with an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Whilst I enjoy science-fiction, I would say that out of all the genres I take the time to read, it is the one I pick up the least frequently. I worry that the technical knowledge (I distinctly lack) will intimidate me away from enjoying the narrative, but nine times out of ten this isn’t the case at all. It’s almost a bit of an irrational fear.
That being said, I have really enjoyed the Sci-fi books I have picked up in the last year, so I’ll be proud to add this to my collection!
 

Diana Christmas

Diana Christmas

In 1959, Diana Christmas – the beautiful, vivacious redhead – was a major star in Britain. It was her moment. She was on the cusp of making it big in Hollywood. Then, she simply walked away from the limelight. Vanished from an industry that adored her.
Twenty years later, Michael, a young film journalist, arrives at her suburban home and discovers the still vibrant and alluring Diana. Between her sheets, he hears for the first time the reason for her disappearance – a tale of coercion, shame and blackmail.
To his shock, he learns that those who destroyed her career and ruined her life still have their claws in her.
Totally smitten, he promises to help her. But Michael soon finds that the past doesn’t let go easily…
Diana Christmas – A new thriller of desire and betrayal from F.R. Jameson.

My third read of the month is also a review request, so a huge thanks to the author for a free electronic copy of this book to review.
The historical setting and promise of a tale portraying the less-than-glamorous side of fame is what attracted me to this book. If anything in the news over the last few months can be believed, then it would suggest that fame definitely comes with a price and abuse of power. Having not read the book thus far, I can’t truly compare the narrative to the stories we have heard ongoing… but there is enough of a correlation to have piqued my interest.
 

The Toymakers

The Toymakers.jpg

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!
It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.
For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

I was delighted to have been accepted for this read from Netgalley. This is the first book I have actually been accepted for on the site, and it’s about time I read it. Who doesn’t love a tale of childlike magic in the midst of war to lighten your spirits?
 

The Irrationalist

The Irrationalist

An historical murder mystery based on real events.
Who would want to murder the world’s most famous philosopher?
Turns out: nearly everyone.
In 1649, Descartes was invited by the Queen of Sweden to become her Court Philosopher. Though he was the world’s leading philosopher, his life had by this point fallen apart. He was 53, penniless, living in exile in Amsterdam, alone. With much trepidation but not much choice, he arrived in Stockholm in mid-October.
Shortly thereafter he was dead.
Pneumonia, they said. But who could believe that? There were just too many persons of interest who wanted to see Descartes dead, and for too many reasons. That so many of these persons were in Stockholm—thanks to the Gala the Queen was throwing to celebrate the end of the terrible Thirty Years’ War—made the official story all the less plausible. Death by poisoning was the unofficial word on the cobblestone.
Enter Adrien Baillet. A likeable misfit with a mysterious backstory, he arrives just as the French Ambassador desperately needs an impartial Frenchman to prove that Descartes died of natural causes—lest the “murder” in Lutheran Sweden of France’s great Catholic philosopher trigger colicky French boy-King Louis XIV to reignite that awful War. Baillet hesitatingly agrees to investigate Descartes’s death, knowing that if—or when—he screws up, he could be personally responsible for the War’s Thirty-First Year.
But solving the mystery of Descartes’s death (Baillet soon learns) requires first solving the mystery of Descartes’s life, with all its dangerous secrets … None of it is easy, as nearly everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted. Nor does it help that he must do it all under the menacing gaze of Carolus Zolindius, the terrifying Swedish Chancellor with the strangely intimidating limp.
But Baillet somehow perseveres, surprising everyone as he figures it all out—all the way to the explosive end.

The synopsis for this book is incredibly long, but I think the first line sums up the book, and just why it is right up my street. An historical murder based on real-life events.
I have been provided with an e-copy of The Irrationalist by Open Books at my request, and I really can’t wait to get stuck in! I love historical fiction, I love political intrigue… and I love a good old whodunit. Check, check, and check.
So guys, those are my reads for this month! What are you reading?
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 22nd April 2018

Hi everybody! I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, whatever it is you are doing.
Without looking at any of the stats or details, I have a gut feeling that I didn’t make much progress with my reading this week. Things just got in the way, and when I did have time I didn’t feel all that inclined to read. It’s a real shame, because I am reading some great books at the moment!
It’s not you, fantastic pieces of literature, it’s me…
Rather than reflect on what I haven’t done this week, let’s take a look at what I have done instead! On Wednesday I posted my review of Ekata: Fall of Darkness by Dominique Law, which admittedly, was less than complimentary of my experience reading the book. I had some nice feedback from that review actually – it’s hard to write reviews about things you don’t like for fear of crossing the line, but so far the review has been well received. In one day it received as many likes as other posts have over time.
The following day I posted Top 5 Quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld… so far! I’ve read a number of books from the collection now, so it was a lovely way to re-cap through some of the older books. Picking favourites out turned out to be a lot harder than I expected!
 

Books Read (or procrastinated over…)


 
I made a bit more progress with The Seventh Scroll this week, but I find it’s a book I cannot binge read. Some parts are great and others can be on the slow side, which results in me picking the book up and putting it down again a lot. It’s also quite a lengthy one at just over 600 pages, so I don’t think I should beat myself up too much. I’m now just over a quarter of the way through the book. Truthfully, I hope the story picks up a bit soon. It’s not that I am not enjoying it, it’s the flow and consistency that isn’t there for me at the moment.
Knowing that there were times I wanted a break from The Seventh Scroll, I started reading Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio. I have taken to reading a chapter or two before going to bed at the very least, and I spent an hour or so reading yesterday. I’m currently 16% through the book; whilst that doesn’t sound much, that equates to 128 pages. This is also a mammoth book!
The one piece of good news is that I finished listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris this week. I found myself so immersed in the story that until I got to the author’s note at the end, and the brief chapter written by the MC’s son, I had forgotten this is based on two real people’s experience of the camp! It’s a harrowing thought, the reminder that people were forced to live this way and suffer the way they did.

Books Discovered

A Brief History of Time.jpg
This isn’t usually the type of book I would attempt to read; whilst I like science-fiction, I’m not actually all that clued-up on the science. After his recent death, I decided that I had to at least try to read this book! All I have heard is positive things about his genius and wit, so I’ve finally added it to the list.
 

Coming Up…

Scheduling this week is going to be a little bit different! Normally I bring you a review on a Wednesday, but instead I am taking part in a Blog Tour for The Ghost of Glendale by Natalie Kleinman. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to review this book as part of the tour, but instead I’ll be bringing you the details so you can see for yourself what it is all about!
I will post my usual review on Thursday, and this week I am reviewing my first read of the month, Soul Music by Terry Pratchett.
I hope to see you around!
Rebecca mono

Reading List: April 2018

Appropriately, April showers is really living up to its name as I write this post today. Winter still has it’s clutches on us though, unsurprisingly! It’s sleeting, as well as raining.
Nice. A day to stay in and read, methinks! What a better day to write about my reading list for April?
I dedicated last month’s reading list to ARC’s (with the exception of my slip up reading Strange The Dreamer). That was because this month I wanted to mix it up again this time. In amongst the requests I have, I have a list longer than my arm of traditionally published books I want to read as well. This month is dedicated to those!
As I had a slip in March, I am allowing myself one exception, as I’ll explain below. So let’s jump right in!
 

Soul Music

Soul Music
Goodreads – Soul Music

Other children get given xylophones. Susan just had to ask her grandfather to take his vest off.
Yes. There’s a Death in the family.
It’s hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and wields a scythe – especially when you have to take over the family business, and everyone mistakes you for the Tooth Fairy.
And especially when you have to face the new and addictive music that has entered Discworld.
It’s lawless. It changes people.
It’s called Music With Rocks In.
It’s got a beat and you can dance to it, but…
It’s alive.
And it won’t fade away.

It feels like ages since I read any of Terry Pratchett’s books. I love the satire of them and how they all are loosely based within the same universe. This particular book is in the Death series of books, which is my second favourite storyline after the Witches.
It’s been seven months since I read the last Pratchett book. This one is long overdue!!
 

Seventh Scroll

The Seventh Scroll
Goodreads – The Seventh Scroll

For 4,000 years, the lavish crypt of the Pharaoh Mamose has never been found…until the Seventh Scroll, a cryptic message written by he slave Taita, gives beautiful Egyptologist Royan Al Simma a tantalizing clue to its location.
But this is a treasure cache others would kill to possess. Only one step ahead of assassins, Royan runs for her life and into the arms of the only man she can trust, Sir Nicholas Quenton-Harper–a daring man who will stake his fortune and his life to join her hunt for the king’s tomb. Together, they will embark on a breathtaking journey to the most exotic locale on earth, where the greatest mystery of ancient Egypt, a chilling danger and an explosive passion are waiting.
Steeped in ancient mystery, drama and action, The Seventh Scroll is a masterpiece from Wilbur Smith, a storyteller at the height of his powers.

It has also been a while since I started this series! I started it on the recommendation of a colleague, and whilst the main character and narrator from the first book REALLY got on my nerves, I enjoyed the book overall. I am assured this is the best book of the series and it is set thousands of years later.
I can’t wait!
 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Goodreads – The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas

Berlin 1942
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

I am a complete wuss, so I think I am going to cry reading this.
It is a book I have really wanted to read for AGES, but never really had the courage to try. I know what I am like. I think I am going to struggle with it, but ultimately love it at the same time. I’m going to try and borrow this one from my library (it’ll be my first borrowed book in years!) but I suspect I’ll be buying my own copy for my bookshelves later.
 

Empire of Silence

Empire of Silence
Goodreads – Empire of Silence

Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.
It was not his war.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

Remember my exception to the rule? This technically is an ARC, but instead of reading ARC’s I have been requested to review, this is an ARC I requested from the publisher! I’m still shocked my request was accepted!
 

Children of Blood & Bone

Children of Blood & Bone
Goodreads – Children of Blood & Bone

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

By the time I have caught up with current reads, popular books tend to have come and gone. I have seen this book again and again on social media and I love the synopsis! So, I am reading it now. Not in a years time, or two, when all the buzz has died down. Now. Because I can!
 
So those are my April reads!! Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are you reading this month?
Rebecca mono

Cover Reveal: Breachers – Anthony Thomas

Hi everyone!!
Today I am pleased to be taking part in the cover reveal for Breachers by Anthony Thomas! I think the book sounds amazing and I feel more than sure I’ll jump at the opportunity to read it once it’s published in September this year!
For now though, here is the opportunity to take a sneak peek at the cover and find out a little more about the book:-
Breachers
 
Breachers
By Anthony Thomas
Fiery Seas Publishing
Science Fiction
September 18, 2018
 

Jason Conners is the last person you’d expect to run into a burning building, unless of course there was something inside worth stealing. Call him what you want: criminal, thief, asshole, but hero? Absolutely not. Jason’s questionable behavior and disturbing antics can only be attributed to one secret.
He can change the future, but with great power comes great responsibility? Hell no. His ability makes him the best thief in the city, and nothing is off-limits. Until Jason’s carefree attitude gains the attention of the Rogues, and the government.
The Rogues want him to stop catastrophic events from taking place, and the government has their own agenda. When the hunt begins, Jason is caught in the crosshairs and learns that breaching is not as limitless as he thought.
Can this anti-hero give up a life of easy money and become the savior the Rogues need, or will it cost him everything—even his immortality?

 
Doesn’t that look fantastic?! I had read the book synopsis prior to the cover reveal on the publisher’s website and was interested at that point, but I know that seeing that on a bookstore shelf would definitely catch my attention!
What do you think? Is this a book that would catch your eye? Want to find out a little bit more?
 
Anthony Thomas
About the Author:
Anthony Thomas settled in the city of sin, though part of him will always remain in the small farming town in Northern California. When he’s not hunched over a keyboard, Anthony enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and two dogs.
Social Media:
Website http://www.anthonythomasbooks.com/
Twitter  https://twitter.com/anthonythomasAU
 
 

Review: Seeker – David Noe and Laura Loolaid

Hi everyone! I’m back again today to post my second review in a row, which is most unusual for me! Given that we are all going to be slowing down a bit for the festive season, I wanted to publish this and relieve the authors of their long wait.

I was very kindly asked by David and Laura to review Seeker back in October, and I am very grateful for their patience as they have waited over two months for this review. Thank you both for bearing with me on this – turns out when I advertise I am taking requests I practically get my hand chewed off!

Seeker
Goodreads – Seeker

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.

 

My Thoughts…

The first thing I immediately fell in love with when I was approached with the book was that it was written via collaboration, and it’s beginnings are unique. Having been a part of science-fiction-themed forums previously, David decided to create his own forum to write in. As more people joined, including Laura, some of these stories began to take shape.

If you are interested in learning more about the way in which the Universe was created, I will be sharing a video with you tomorrow in which both Laura and David discuss this, among other things.

In the meantime, I want to share with you my thoughts about the book! (That is what I am here for, after all)…
Seeker is based in an entirely fictional universe we discoever through the eyes of Jewel, aka Seeker Valkyrie. Jewel puts me in mind of that person at work that is always there when you arrive, and you can guarantee that they will be the last to leave the office at the end of the day. You know the one – EVERY office has one. Who knows, they may even have a sleeping bag…

All joking aside, Jewel is a workaholic, taking on and completing missions one after the other and barely pausing for breath. Her shuttle is basic and utilitarian – not a place of comfort, but that suits her needs just fine. Her usual routine changes when she is approached with a private contract: to rescue a brother she didn’t even know she had!

Private contracts are always trouble, or so Overseer Raptor warns her. Ignoring his advice, she sets out in search of her brother across the Universe – but she isn’t the only one seeking him out. Wraith – her competitor, is trying to get him first… but for whom is he working? Jewel ends up negotiating herself out of some sticky situations. Having grown up sheltered from her family’s past, she slowly uncovers more information and pieces together the truth. Just what kind of trouble did her brother get into to be imprisoned?

Well, I’m not spoiling it for you here – so you’ll have to go and find out for yourself! Aha!!

I enjoy reading science-fiction, and whilst it is one of the genres I make an effort to dip into, it is one I read less of. That being the case, I am far less clued up on terminology than the authors, for example. Despite my lesser experience, for want of a phrase, I wasn’t at all intimidated by the language employed to describe the advanced technology used. Whilst it is specific in describing what is happening, I didn’t find the language too technical. It avoids alienating the reader and therefore striking up an effective balance to communicate the story.

When dabbling in genres like fantasy and science-fiction, there is far more flexibility with the rules that govern what is happening within the created dimensions. This can be liberating as it allows for greater flexibility as the imagination can run wild, however, it could also become problematic. Even though you have the ability to bend the rules, the plot line concerned still needs to be credible for the reader. There have to be valid reasons for the rules to be bent. For example, extensive space travel is a large part of Jewel’s quest in finding her brother – so far, in fact, it would take millions of years to travel there. As we all know the average span of a human life, one question that could then be raised is how Jewel could survive such a trip? For that, we have the solution of the stasis pods she has in her shuttle. I don’t think too much detail is required (actually – you could get bogged down if there is too much), but the explanation is there as to how she makes it to the other side and more importantly, it’s believable. It’s also a convenient way of glossing over what would end up being a long and rather dull trip in a computerised tin can.

I found Jewel really easy to get along with as a character. Who doesn’t love a bit of sassy, kick-ass action? It also helps that Jewel knows as little about her past as we do. Discovering what happened to her family during her childhood is a journey we take with her, and there is definitely scope for the story to progress further should the authors decide to. Not only that, the flexibity in creating a Universe is that other, separate stories can be written with similar themes to other books. That way, new characters and story arcs can be introduced. I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and I think there is plenty of opportunity for the ChaosNova universe to adopt a similar model for their stories, should they wish to try that.

I hope to see further books in the future, because I think this has a lot of potential for success. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I hope other readers love it as much as I do. Once again, thank you to Laura and David for hanging in there and also for the extra material they have produced.

I will post a link to this tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Rebecca mono

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

Review: Extracted – R R Haywood

Further to my Sunday Summary post, today I am reviewing Extracted by R R Haywood!



GoodReads – Extracted

In 2061, a young scientist invents a time machine to fix a tragedy in his past. But his good intentions turn catastrophic when an early test reveals something unexpected: the end of the world.

A desperate plan is formed. Recruit three heroes, ordinary humans capable of extraordinary things, and change the future.

Safa Patel is an elite police officer, on duty when Downing Street comes under terrorist attack. As armed men storm through the breach, she dispatches them all.

‘Mad’ Harry Madden is a legend of the Second World War. Not only did he complete an impossible mission—to plant charges on a heavily defended submarine base—but he also escaped with his life.

Ben Ryder is just an insurance investigator. But as a young man he witnessed a gang assaulting a woman and her child. He went to their rescue, and killed all five.

Can these three heroes, extracted from their timelines at the point of death, save the world?

 

In 2061 the time machine is created. During testing it is discovered if time is allowed to follow its course, the world will end in 2111.

In order to save the world three of the best human beings ever to have existed are extracted from the point of their death; Mad Harry Madden is rescued from his mission during the Second World War in 1943, Ben Calshott is extracted during an attack on the London Underground in 2015 and Safa Patel is retrieved whilst defending the Prime Minister in 2020.

It was refreshing to read a completely different genre for a change. I think the last time I read a true science fiction book was when I read War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. That also happens to be the first book I downloaded on my first Kindle, ever. To my mind time travel is a subject that can get very complicated very quickly, and thankfully, so far this book was not difficult to follow. Equally there were elements of this book that I found disappointing, which I will go further into below.

I prefer books written in third person by default, but I found the perspectives between the three characters switched sporadically. I understand that during times of action you want the narration to be punchy and have impact, and of course all three characters will have their own perspective of what is going on, but I feel more structure could have been applied so that the point of view of the text didn’t change so frequently and unexpectedly.

I also found the book lacked the amount of progress I was expecting from it. In essence, our three heroes are tasked with locating the point in time at which the end of the world was made inevitable and have to change it. If you don’t mind me saying, this is a pretty big task. To my mind this first book spent too much time focusing on the personal developments of the characters following their extraction and as a consequence the plot was underdeveloped.

That isn’t to say I won’t be continuing to read the trilogy. What has been written is perfectly readable, if not the finest piece of literature I have ever read. This series has a lot of potential and now I have invested into the characters so much, I want to see how they achieve this seemingly impossible task.

What I will say of R R Haywood’s writing is that the time travel element is explained well. I always knew who was where and when, and even when there are a couple of overlaps I was clear as to who is where and what their purpose is at that time. As I mentioned before, it is a subject that can get very confusing very quickly, but I felt this was handled very well.