Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Three - Review

Title:  Three
Author:  Jay Posey
Series: Legends of the Duskwalker #1

Synopsis:  "The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.
     "His name is Three, a travelling gun for hire in a dying world.  He has no allegiances, no family, no ties.
     "Against his better judgment, he accepts the mantle of protector to a sick woman on the run, and her young son.  Together they set out across the plains in search of a mythic oasis, attempting to survive the forces that pursue them, and the creatures of the dark.
     "In these dark times, a hero may yet arise."

Review:  I love post-apocalyptic stories.  A world that's our world but not our world at the same time is fascinating.  Three now ranks right up there as one of my favorite post-apocalyptic novels.  We are never told exactly what ended civilization, but the remaining survivors live in fear of the Weir.  The weir are like electronic zombies.  Are they robots?  Are they people turned into robots? Are they Borg?  Are they Cybermen?  We aren't sure, but they are scary as hell. 
     The main character Three grudgingly takes responsibility for Cass and her son Wren who are on the run from a group of criminals almost as scary as the Weir.  We learn some mysterious truths about Wren and Cass as they run from their past.  Three is a fast-paced novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and I loved it.  The world building and character development are wonderful.  I only wish that we had been told what caused the apocalypse that caused this amazing world.  I recommend running right out and buying Three by Jay Posey.

Publisher:   Angry Robot

If you like this book you may want to read:

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett (read BookGirlR's review here)

Seven Forges  by James A. Moore

The Buried Life by Carrie Patel (read BookGirlR's review here)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lamp Black, Wolf Grey: Review

Title:  Lamp Black, Wolf Grey
Author:  Paula Brackston

Synopsis:  "Artist Laura Matthews finds her new home in the Welsh mountains to be a place so charged with tales and legends that she is able to lift the gossamer-fine veil that separates her own world from that of myth fable.
     "She and her husband, Dan, have given up their city life and moved to Blaencwm, an ancient longhouse high in the hills.  Here she hopes that the wild beauty will inspire her to produce her best art and give her the baby they have longed for.  But this high valley is also home to others, such as Rhys -- the charismatic loner who pursues Laura with fervor -- and Anwen, the wise old woman from the neighboring farm who seems to know so much but talks in riddles.  And then there is Merlin."

Review:   This was my first novel by Paula Brackston.  I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I'm a big fan of magical realism in literature though, so I figured I would give it a shot.  I was expecting Lamp Black, Wolf Grey to be  a quirky romantic story set in a modern world where magic just happens to be real.  It's not that.  Lamp Black, Wolf Grey is a strange, emotional, combination of historical and modern novel. 
     It's not a heavy read.  I was able to read the entire thing in just over 3 hours.  I didn't get very emotionally involved in the story or with the characters; but I was entertained.  There are actually two stories being told in Lamp Black, Wolf Grey.  Laura's story is set in the present and Megan's story is set in the past.  I actually didn't like the strange combination.  I would have preferred it if the novel had either all been set in the present or all in the past.  The combination of both caused neither storyline to ever be fully fleshed out and thus I felt that the novel was lacking.  Thus said, if you are looking for a quick read, I say go ahead and read Lamp Black, Wolf Grey; you will be entertained.

Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books

If you like this book you may want to read:

The Book of Speculation: A Novel by Erika Swyler

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (Read BookGirlR's review here)

When Life Gets In The Way

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and not a whole lot of reviewing.  Therefore, I have declared November "Catch-up Month".  Expect a lot of extra reviews over the next few weeks.  I'm also pushing my Editing and Marketing Services for Writers hard from now on.  My dream is to be able to make enough that I can quit my retail job and make a living working from home.

In other news, SuperSteve and I purchased our tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Fandango crashed, which I found hilariously funny.  But we were still able to get our tickets for IMAX 3D opening night.  Because of my love for all things Star Wars I have declared December "Star Wars Month" during which I will be reviewing many Star Wars novels.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Readalong - Novels of the Change 1.2

Cover art by: Johnathan Barkat Photoshop Credit: Stephen Fischer


     Well, we've done it. We have made through to the end of Island in the Sea of Time. That means we are now 1/15th of the way through our Novels of the Change reread/ readalong. This week the whole project began to feel a bit overwhelming. But I enjoy the novels and am looking forward to having reread them all in order and so we will take it just one book at a time. Today we are discussing chapters 16-end of Island in the Sea of Time  (If you missed the discussion of chapters 1-15 you can find it here). 

     This section of the novel went by a whole lot faster than the previous 15 chapters. It was mostly fighting and battles. Walker is making me mad, with the way that he is using the natives to get his own revenge. Although I thoroughly enjoy the fact that Captain Alston outsmarted him and now has him on the run.

     I enjoyed getting to see Marion meet Swindapa's family and people. I feel bad for the hard decision that Swindapa is forced to make. Should she stay with her family, or with the woman that she loves? Poor Swindapa is forced to make this agonizing choice. In her culture families stay together forever and there is no personal space, no individual homes, they are always together. In Marion's culture Swindapa is lonely because she is far away from her family and she isn't used to being alone. I'm the opposite of Swindapa, and I enjoy copious amounts of alone time. I would be terribly uncomfortable and overwhelmed in her culture so I can understand how uncomfortable and overwhelmed she is by living in a place so foreign.

     In this section of Island of the Sea of Change we don't get to see as much of the planning or just life on the island of Nantucket. We see a bit, barter with the Indians from the mainland and some law making. But I enjoy imagining how regular people would survive an event like this; and so I hope that in the next novel, Against the Tide of Years, we get to see a bit more of everyday life on the island.

Discussion Questions: (If you are reading along and want to join the discussion feel free to answer these questions, or pose your own questions in the comments)

Now that we have reached the end of the first novel in the readalong how do you feel? Are you overwhelmed by length of the series or are you excited?

What was your favorite part of Island in the Sea of Time? Why?

As we move ahead into the next novel in the series, Against the Tide of Years, what are you hoping to see more of? What are you hoping we see less of? Any other thoughts?

**Join us later this week for BookGirlR's initial impressions of Against the Tide of Years, and remember for more regular updates on BookGirlR's reading progress follow us on twitter @bookgirlr .**

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Readalong - Novels of the Change 1.1

Cover art by: Jonathan Barkat; Photoshop credit: Stephen Fischer

Well, it's the end of week 1 of our Novels of the Change reread/ readalong (If you missed the original announcement this is what we will be doing: Introduction to Readalong.  This is our first discussion post; we will be discussing chapters 1-15 of Island in the Sea of Time.

     I love visiting historical places.  I like the feel of a place that has been steeped in time.  The opening pages of Island in the Sea of Time, when the island of Nantucket is described, gave me that same feeling.    "The collapse of the whaling industry during the Civil War era had frozen Nantucket in time, down to the huge American elms along Main Street and the cobblestone alleys"..."a place where Longfellow and  Whittier would have felt at home and Melville would have taken a few minutes to notice the differences" (9 & 10), the description really gave me a feel for the feeling of history that must permeate the island.  I feel that this is probably the perfect setting for an island that is thrown back in time, way far back in time to 1250BC. because they have the museums, and antique shops,  and the old, well-insulated houses.
     It would be scary to be suddenly relocated to another time.  I know that probably sounds like an understatement, but I rewrote that sentence several times and that's the only way it sounds right.  Simply put, it would be scary.  I would be scared! I empathize with the people in the novel who turn to the church to tell them what to do.  I would be looking for someone to give me direction too.  Part of what is so scary is the overwhelming sense of responsibility.  They are more advanced than all the other people that they are coming in contact with.  How far is too far?  How much is too much?  Should they share technology?  Should they avoid contact with the natives and try not to disrupt how things develop?  All the moral issues of time travel come into play the minute they step foot off of the island of Nantucket. 
     After Walker's group of dissenters steals their ships and leaves the island all of those decisions are taken away from the group left on Nantucket.  Now they have to prepare to defend themselves against an inevitable attack from their own people.  So far I have found the encounter with the Jaguar People to be the most brutal part of Island in the Sea of Time.  I was on the edge of my seat and had to read it fast.  There was cannibalism, murder, rape, bestiality... It made me feel a little sick it was all so brutal.  At the end of chapter 15 we are left with the knowledge that a deadly disease has been introduced into the native population.  What result that will have we aren't sure, but it won't be good.
    One thing that has always impressed me with S.M. Stirling's novels are his strong female characters.  The scientist who discovers that they have been thrown back in time during The Event is a woman, Doreen Rosenthal.  Captain Marian Alston of the Coast Guard ship Eagle, which was thrown back in time with the island of Nantucket is an awesome strong character and I love the fact that she is a lesbian and her relationship with Swindapa  of the Earth Folk, who is also a wonderful strong character.  All of the later novels in The Novels of the Change are also full of strong, well represented female characters.  Thank you Mr. Stirling, I truly appreciate the accurate representation of women in your novels. 

Discussion Questions: (If you are reading along and want to join the discussion feel free to answer these questions, or pose your own questions in the comments)

Since this is our first discussion post if you are planning to read along with BookGirlR please introduce yourself in the comments and tell us if this is your first time reading The Novels of the Change or if you are rereading.

BookGirlR thinks the island of Nantucket is a pretty good place to be if you have to be thrown back in time.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Why?  Can you think of another place that would be as good or better?

Would you be scared to be thrown back in time?  What would your greatest struggle be?

*** I found that the reading progressed much faster than I had thought it would.  I had assumed that I would be reading about half of a novel per week (because I am also still reading my other novels for review), but I actually read about two-thirds of Island in the Sea of Time this week.  Maybe it's because I'm rereading the novels, having read them before I am able to read them a bit faster this time?  Or maybe it's because I had some insomnia problems this week and spent some extra time reading in bed in the middle of the night.  Whatever the reason, we will be discussing chapters 16-end next Sunday.***

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep - Review

Title:  Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep
Edited by: Paula Guran

Synopsis:  "The sea is full of mysteries and rivers shelter the unknown.  Dating back to ancient Assyria, folkloric tales of mermaids, sirens, rulsalki, nymphs, selkies, and other seafolk are found in many cultures, including those of Europe, Africa, the Near East and Asia.  Dangerous or benevolent, seductive or sinister -- modern masters of fantasy continue to create new legends of these creatures that enchant and entertain us more than ever.  Gathered here are some of the finest of these stories.  Immerse yourself in this wonderful -- and sometimes wicked -- watery world!"

Review:  I'm not really a fan of short stories.  I generally enjoy a longer, more in depth story.  Which is why I usually stick to novels.  However this collection is about mermaids, and that fascinates me; and it has stories by a lot of well known (and many of my favorite) authors.  Here's a list of the stories contained in Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep:

Elizabeth Bear - "Swell"
Samuel R. Delany - "Driftglass"
Neil Gaiman - "The Sea Changes"
Delia Sherman - "Miss Carstairs and the Merman"
Margo Lanagan - "Sea-Hearts"
Christopher Barzak - "The Drowned Mermaid"
Genevieve Valentine - "Abyssus Abyssum Invocat"
Seanan McGuire - "Each to Each"
Sarah Monette - "Somewhere Beneath Those Waves Was Her Home"
Peter S. Beagle - "Salt Wine"
Caitlin R. Kiernan - "The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean"
Amanda Downum - "Flotsam"
Cat Rambo - "The Mermaids Singing Each to Each"
Chris Howard - "The Mermaid Game"
Gene Wolfe - "The Nebraskan and the Nereid"
Angela Slatter - "A Good Husband"
A. C. Wise - "Letters to a Body on the Cusp of Drowning"
Jane Yolen - "The Corridors of the Sea"
Lisa L. Hannett - "Forever, Miss Tapekwa County"
Catherynne M. Valente - "Urchins, While Swimming"
Tanith Lee - "Margritte's Secret Agent"

     My favorites were: "Swell", "Miss Carstairs and the Merman"; "Each to Each"; "Salt Wine"; and "Forever, Miss Tapekwa County".  However, there weren't any of the stories that I disliked.  The writing is all very well done, and all of the stories are unique.  I recommend Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep for  fans of mermaids, fantasy, science fiction and other speculative fiction; even if you normally shy away from short stories, like me. 

Publisher:  Prime Books

If you like this book you may want to read:

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

Human For a Day edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Jennifer Brozek

Steampunk edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Buried Life - Review

Title: The Buried Life
Author: Carrie Patel
Series: Recoletta #1

Synopsis:  "The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies.  When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation -- Recoletta's top-secret historical research facility.
     "When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, les they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them."

Review:  I found the whole premise of The Buried Life fascinating.  A city buried underground?  Wow, yes please.  Although I found myself getting confused about locations and what was where and what do things look like?  I would have enjoyed more description of the city and buildings.  The Buried Life reads more like a detective mystery than a steampunk novel.  If you like mysteries and steampunk, then great.  You should love The Buried Life!  But if you aren't overly fond of mysteries I suggest perhaps skipping this one.
     I personally love mysteries; and I love steampunk.  So I loved The Buried Life.  I enjoyed learning about Patel's world and the culture of this underground city.  I honestly could not figure out the "whodunnit" and had no idea who was the murderer until the characters figured it out at the end.  For me that's a huge plus as I can normally figure it out pretty quickly.  I purchased the sequel, Cities and Thrones, the same day I bought The Buried Life; and I look forward to reading it.

Publisher:  Angry Robot
If you like this book you may want to read:

The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter by Rod Duncan

Depth by Lev AC Rosen (read BookGirlR's review here)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Readalong - Introduction - Novels of the Change

     Have you ever read a series that just sticks with you and makes you want to read it over and over and over again?  Is there a series that you can't stop thinking about, even when you are finished and reading other things?  For me that series is the Novels of the Change by S. M. Stirling.  I picked up a copy of Dies the Fire in my favorite used book store (TheBook Centre) about 7 years ago.  I've been hooked on the whole series ever since. 

     With the newest novel in this series coming out in less than a month (The Desert and the Blade, check it out here)  I have been wanting to reread the entire series.  So, BookGirl's BookNook is going to be doing a reread of the Novels of the Change.  I will be starting with the Nantucket Series and then moving on to the longer Emberverse Series.  I will be working these discussions in around my other posts, and still be posting other reviews in between, so with a couple of discussion posts per book you can probably expect  3 or 4 discussions of the Novels of the Change per month.

Here is the lengthy list of novels in the series, listed (in my opinion) in proper reading order:

Nantucket Series:

Island in the Sea of Time
Against the Tide of Years
On the Oceans of Eternity

The Emberverse Series:

Dies the Fire
The Protector's War
A Meeting at Corvallis
The Sunrise Lands
The Scourge of God
The Sword of the Lady
The High King of Montival
The Tears of the Sun
Lord of Mountains
The Given Sacrifice
The Golden Princess
The Desert and the Blade
Prince of Outcasts*

     That's 15 novels (*edit 7/17 due to the new novel coming out in September we are now reading 16 novels).  If you don't want to miss any of the discussions be sure to follow BookGirl's BookNook.  If you want to read along, so you can participate in discussion, and would like to be updated on my reading progress more often follow me on Twitter (@bookgirlr) where I'll be posting my progress.

Happy Reading!

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