Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Silver Ships - Review

Title: The Silver Ships
Author: S. H. Jucha
Series:  Silver Ships #1

Synopsis:  "An explorer-tug captain, Alex Racine detects a damaged alien craft drifting into the system.  Recognizing a once in a lifetime opportunity to make first contact, Alex pulls off a daring maneuver to latch on to the derelict.
     "Alex discovers the ship was attacked by an unknown craft, the first of its kind ever encountered.  The mysterious silver ship's attack was both instant and deadly.
     "What enfolds is a story of the descendants of two Earth colony ships, with very different histories, meeting 700 years after their founding and uniting to defend humanity from the silver ships."

Review:  I would like to start out by saying that I absolutely loved The Silver Ships.  In my opinion this is one of the best books of the year.  The characters are well developed; the back story is thought out well and scarily realistic; and the story sucked me in and refused to let go.  I stayed up almost all night because once I started reading The Silver Ships I could not stop.  Even the ending was perfect, providing closure but leaving the story wide open for a sequel (and the sequel, Libre, is also available now).  I was pleasantly surprised by the Méridiens and the New Terrans and the depth of their culture.  I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy of the sequel soon, and will be purchasing the entire series in paperback for my personal collection. 

**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review via NetGalley.**

Publisher:  S.M. Jucha

If you like this book you may want to read:

The Species Imperative Series by Julie E. Czerneda

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (read BookGirlR's review here)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Depth - Review

Title:  Depth
Author:  Lev AC Rosen

Synopsis:  "When the polar ice caps melted, America's East Coast became an underwater graveyard -- except for New York City.  Today, a million people make their home among the skyscrapers poking through the ocean waves.   A million people who like to live by their own rules -- including Simone Pierce, one of the best private investigators in the city.
     "It starts out as a routine surveillance job: cheating husband, attractive blonde.  Something feels off, though, and when the husband turns up floating in the water with a hole in him, the cops like Simone for the murder.  If she can just find the blonde, she'll clear her name, but instead she stumbles onto a strange network of power brokers and art collectors, all looking for a treasure that can't possibly exist.  As she struggles to find the murderer, Simone is only sure of one thing: she can't trust anybody, not even herself, because the city she grew up in might have more secrets than even she knows."

Review:  As frequently happens for me, it was the cover that first caught my attention; then I read the description and decided that I had to read this novel.  I'm so very glad that I did.  I loved Depth.  This novel is the perfect mix of dystopian/ post apocalyptic fiction and mystery/noir.  I liked the characters.  Simone, Caroline and Danny are people I would like to meet and get to know. 
     The world is well developed and fascinating.  Depth takes place after the polar ice caps have melted, in a New York City that is mostly underwater.  People live on boats or in the above water sections of skyscrapers.  A mainland United States and other countries are hinted at and vague information is given; leaving me wondering what the rest of this world is like.  I hope that Rosen writes more novels set in this world, I would like to read more about the people of this NYC and learn more about the rest of Rosen's post-apocalyptic world. 

Publisher:  Reagan Arts

If you like this book you may want to read:

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson  (read BookGirlR's review here)

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (BookGirlR's review coming soon)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday = Catch up/ Reading/ "Me" Day

Sunday is my favorite day of the week.  I try really hard not to schedule plans on Sundays.  It's my "me day".  I sleep in (which usually means 9am at the latest).  I eat whatever I want all day.  I stay in my pajama's, and I don't leave the apartment.  I spend most of the day reading, writing blog posts and planning out the rest of my week.  Plus there's always a lot of coffee and junk food. 

SuperSteve facilitates my "me day" by running out to the store(s) so I don't have to change out of my pajamas.  Best hubby ever!  (Yes, that's me.  I'm not wearing makeup; I haven't combed my hair in 24 hours; and I'm wearing my pajamas.  And I don't care!)

Day Shift - Review

Title: Day Shift
Author:  Charlaine Harris
Series:  Midnight Texas #2

Synopsis:  "There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves.  Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma.  She is seeing the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she's beautiful and dangerous.
     "Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day.  To make matters worse, one of Manfred's regular -- and very wealthy -- clients dies during a reading.
     "Manfred returns for Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press.  He looks to the mysterious Olivia for help; somehow he knows that she can get things back to normal.  As normal as things get in Midnight..."

Review:  I loved Day Shift just as much as I did Midnight Crossroad (read that review here).  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time wondering what was going to happen next.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the mysterious residents of Midnight, Texas.  A hotel opens in town.  Secrets about Joe and Chuy are hinted at, and finally revealed.  Manfred and Olivia are forced to learn more about each other and spend a lot of time together and help each other out of some tight spots.  And the reverend has a surprise visitor.  This installment of the new series is just as riveting as the first; and I read it in a single day.  Don't miss out!  Go get Day Shift now!

Publisher: Ace Books

If you like this book you may want to read:

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend

Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez (Read BookGirlR's review here)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Uprooted - Review

Title:  Uprooted
Author:   Naomi Novik

Synopsis: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Review:  I loved Uprooted.  It’s going on my top 10 list, although I don’t know who to boot from the list.  Maybe it will be my top 11 list now?  Although not really a Beauty and the Beast story Uprooted reminded me of Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter.  I think it’s the writing style.  Uprooted is full of rich, meaningful details and strong characters that you come to care about.  The story evolves in unexpected ways.
     At first I thought that Uprooted was going to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it starts out as if it is.  But very quickly it becomes much more as Agneiszka discovers her power, and shoulders the responsibility for the survival of the Kingdom.  If you enjoy fantasy I am confident that you will enjoy Uprooted.  Do yourself a favor and start it today.

Publisher: Del Rey

If you like this book you may want to read:

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Fold - Review

Title:  The Fold
Author: Peter Clines

                 “IT’S PERFECTLY SAFE. 

“The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.  

“That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step. 

“The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe. 

“Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.  

“As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.” 

Review:  The Fold was great for approximately the first 70% of the novel.  The story zipped along and I was really into it.  I loved the main character, Mike, and understood his wish to be normal.  I was on the edge of my seat and excited to see how this was going to turn out.  Then, at 69% (I read on a Kindle so it shows me the percent read) something strange happened (not strange good; strange bad).  Up until this point the story, although written in third person, had been following Mike.  We had little glimpses inside his head and knew what he knew and what he thought.  All of a sudden we are following Sasha.  It was weird and it threw me out of the story.  “Wait… This is a story about a man named Mike, why are we suddenly reading about Sasha?”  And then it head hops several more times before the end of the novel.  If you are going to head hop, which I seriously dislike 98% of the time because it isn’t well done, you need to set that precedent early on.  To start jumping around in the last third of your novel, in my opinion, is unprofessional and shows that you rushed through it, or did not plan properly.  The last third of the novel could have used better editing overall.  The characters repeat themselves.  Other reviewers complained about the use of the ‘f’ word, which I do not have a problem with.  But there is a lot of redundancy in the dialog, and in the narration, as if Clines is beating us over the head to make sure we understand where he is going with the story.  Which is another example of the end of the novel being rushed.
     I enjoyed The Fold, and I do recommend it for lovers of weird fiction.  However, be aware that the writing is not of a professional level before going in, and then you won’t be disappointed when you reach the final third of the novel.

**I received a free copy of this novel, in exchange for my honest review, via NetGalley.**

Publisher: Crown

If you like this book you may want to read:

Coldbrook by Tim Lebbon (read BookGirlR’s review here)

Directive 51 by John Barnes

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Karen Memory - Review

Title: Karen Memory
Author:  Elizabeth Bear

Synopsis:  “Set in the late nineteenth century – in a city a lot like what we now call Seattle Underground – when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront.  Karen is a young woman on her own, making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello.  Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house – a resourceful group – and the poor and the powerful of the town.
     “Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap – a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
     “Hard on the heels of that horrifying discovery comes a lawman who has been chasing this killer for months.  Marshal Bass Reeves is closing in on his man, and he’s not about to reject any help he can get, even if it comes from a girl who works in the Hôtel Mon Cheri.”

Review:  I have yet to meet a novel by Elizabeth Bear that I didn’t like.  That goes for Karen Memory as well.  This novel sucked me in and would not let me go.  I mean, just look at the first line: “You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway”.  Told in the first person, Karen Memory allows us to see inside the head of Karen Memery, which is fascinating.  As readers we get to see coarse, outspoken Karen evolve into a steampunk hero, wielding her sewing machine.  One of my favorite things about the novels by Elizabeth Bear is the depth of her characters.  Now that I’ve read a novel about Karen Memery I want a novel about Miss. Francine, Karen’s transgender friend.  I want a friend like Miss. Francine, any takers?
     I love the characters.  I love the story.  I love this book and I love Elizabeth Bear.  Go buy Karen Memory or find it at your local library, you won’t regret it!

Publisher:   TOR Books

If you like this book you may want to read:

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan