BOOKS FROM THE BACKLOG

This meme created by Carole at Random Life in Books is a way to think back over what you’ve read and give an “oldie but goodie” a second look.

This sci fi novel, written by a friend has everything–action, great characters who undergo change and development, and love. It deals with the issue of what it means to be human. Here is my original review of it:

Who Is the Human? Sam, Fred, Dylax: A Review of a Sci-Fi Novel

Gary Pegoda’s novel begins with a question posed on the title page: “If computers were human in every way, would it be human? How would you know?” In this day of messing around with IA, it is a question to be considered. The first character we meet is Sam, “I am Sam, the Star Bright Machine…” a computer activated in 2020 who is, in its/his own words, “intelligent,” and “conscious” although he/it is a quantum computer in reality. The second character we meet is Fred, who is escaping from Sam, in a series of fast-paced, action-filled escapes and near-escapes as Fred tries to decide whether he, Fred, is a human or a figment of Sam’s creation and imagination. When Dylax, who speaks strangely and is a bit hard to follow until one gets used to her disjointed, out-of-syntax speech, comes on the scene, she is the love-match for Fred, and the sex is out-of-this-world (pun intended).

Although the story is puzzling at times (I believe that is the author’s intention), the twists and turns keep readers turning the pages to see what happens next.  Oftentimes it is another beating, another capture, another operation to implant or take out implants on poor Fred.

Fortunately, the novel has a very satisfying ending, leaving it open for a sequel, which I hope the author will write.  I for one will follow these fascinating characters and their lives/existences.

If you like sci fi with a touch of philosophy, you’ll love this one.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS (And Others)

Just as Saturday mornings on TV in the 50s and 60s was dedicated to kids, Saturday mornings on this blog are dedicated to them.
Book 1 of the Wallace Family Series finds Meg a gawky twelve year old and Charles Wallace a 6 year old prodigy.
Book two finds Charles Wallace about Meg’s age in the previous book.
Book three finds Meg married (to Calvin) and expecting their first child and Charles Wallace a teenager.

For years, I thought this was it, The Wallace Family trilogy. I read A Wrinkle in Time to my sixth graders every year during the 80s as I discovered it with them. Later, I read A Wind in the Door and reread it recently. I do not think I ever read A Swiftly Tilting Planet until now, as I began my Madeline L’Engle “project”–to read as much by and about her as I could. The first thing I assigned myself was to read this trilogy, only to discover that the characters in these three books were in two other books as well.

Time travel appeared in the first book (My students and I were all enthralled by the theory of the tesseract.), and the book became a classic. It made L’Engle the well-known writer and household name she is today. L’Engle’s granddaughters ended their biography of her with the publication of Wrinkle, establishing her as a writer and as they point out, L’Engle published her own autobiography, A Circle of Quiet, soon after.

Book two, Wind, deals with gene therapy and DNA particles, which was years ahead of its time.

Book three, Tilting Planet, also deals with time travel, but more of a regression into past lives, a “going within” and the concept of changing things for the better. All of this reflected L’Engle’s interest in and experimentation with past lives.

I have read these three and am as enchanted with the rereading as I was with them upon first reading. I highly recommend this series to readers of all ages.

MANTIVORE DREAMS by S.J. Higbee: A Review

Mantivore Dreams by blogging friend S.J. Higbee is an exciting novel aimed at YA target readers. This far from YA reader, LOL, enjoyed it immensely.

If the cover is intriguing, wait until you begin to read!

After having read the Sunblind trilogy by this friend, my appetite was whetted for more, and this new series, The Arcadian Chronicles really delivers.

Kyrilla, a teenage heroine lives in a Cinderella world, a slave to her hateful mother and her disabled uncle. Her inner Mantivore, Vrox, often directs her thoughts and actions as she lives out her miserable live on a strange planet.

The book is full of young love and young like, as well as family secrets and mysteries that affect Kyrilla and the entire planet. Higbee’s writing style is engaging, and her word choices are original and spot-on. Reading this book was a pleasure, even though sci fi, specifically space operas and life on other planets is a tad distant from my standard reading tastes. This book, however, is extremely readable as any good novel, full of plot twists and turns and strong on character development, things I specifically enjoy.

I fully intend to read the other books in the series and know I will enjoy what I have come to expect from this author–a darned good read!

TUESDAY TEASER

This fun meme, begun by The Purple Booker, which I found on Brainfluff, some time ago asks that the reader find a sentence or two at random from something they are reading now and copy those lines, accompanied by the title of the book and the author’s name. The object of this little “game” is to tease other readers to add your book to their TBR lists.

Mine today is from Beth Revis’s Across the Universe:

A young woman and her parents are being cyro frozen for travel to Mars. The father has insisted she wait and watch both parents go through the process first, so she can decide whether she wants to go through with it or not. Just as she is being frozen, she has these thoughts, “But if I’m ice, how am I conscious? I was supposed to be asleep. I was supposed to forget about Jason and life on Earth for three hundred and one years. People have been cyro frozen before me, and none of them were conscious. If the mind is frozen, how can it be awake or aware”?

I am anxious to read further to see if she will be mindful through three hundred years of physical “sleep,” or if things will be different when she awakens if she does sleep.  The book jacket hints that someone has tried to murder her while she slept, but who? and why? Would she have enough consciousness (judging from her speech above) to know who that person was? This book promises a great deal of adventure and an excellent mystery.

TUESDAY TEASER

Tuesday Teaser is a “bookish meme,” first started by The Purple Booker. Many of my blogging friends now post their own, and we all enjoy reading each other’s posts. What, you don’t blog? Easy solution: Post your Tuesday Teaser in the respond box below, being sure to give the book title and author. Who knows? Maybe someone will be teased into reading your book, or even comment, telling you they’d read the same book you did. No spoilers, please, just type in a couple of sentences or a short paragraph where you are currently reading or some “special part” that might tempt the PWR readers.

Tuesday Teaser for October 23, 2018 from Raising Lazarus by Aiden J. Reid:

“Molly Walker looked around the room, watching the warm embraces between parents and children, husbands and wives. Others were less jovial occasions, handshakes of progress updates between suited lawyers and their customers. The inmates wore drawn, frustrated expressions, emotions bubbling beneath the surface, finding an outlet on the hard seat edges which bent under their force.”

The incarcerated man Molly is about to meet and interview for a graduate school thesis paper will rock her world and perhaps the entire world itself, for his name is Lazarus, and he claimes to be over 2,000 years old.

FIRST LINE FRIDAYS

This fun meme, which I discovered on Carla Loves to Read, an excellent blog, and hosted by Hoarding Books, asks that we copy the first line(s) of what we are reading.

Mine for Friday, August 31st, is from The Broken Earth series, a trilogy which My Better Half and I are taking turns reading aloud to each other.  We finished The Fifth Season,the first book as our summer reading project and are beginning the second book, The Obelisk Gate. N.K. Jemisin is the author of the trilogy.

The first lines of The Obelisk Gate:

“Hmm. No, I’m telling this wrong.

After all, a person is herself, and others.”

I can hardly wait for some down time during the Labor Day Holiday this weekend to cover a chapter or two.

If you would like to participate, (it doesn’t have to be on Friday), post First Lines on your blog. No blog? No problem. Enter your first line(s) in the comments box below this post.

 

DYING FOR SPACE: A REVIEW

As soon as I finished the first book in the “Sunblind Series,” Running Out Of Space, by S.H. Higbee (of Brainfluff blog), I ordered the sequel, Dying for Space. I was so enamored of the main character, “Lizzie”, now matured through loss, revelation and responsibility into “Liz”, illegitimate  daughter of the overbearing General Norman that I couldn’t wait for more of her adventures and misadventures .

Dealing with lingering loss, duplicity, and betrayal, Liz gains a following and popularity that her love/hate-relationship father covets. Many twists and turns fascinate the reader who reads way beyond bedtime. As in the first book, lots of action and crisis moments occur. The book is a fast-paced, attention-keeping read that can be summed up as a “darned good read.” I believe the series is intended to be a trilogy, and am eagerly awaiting the third book centered on a character I have grown to admire and want to read more about.

 

Sunday (Evening) Post

Instead of going through what I’ve finished, what I’m continuing to read, and what I’ve begun, I want to give a summary of the January challenge I gave myself– to read six books before February first in an attempt to get a few books off my TBR list/shelf.

Here are the six books that led to a successful meeting of the challenge:

  1. The Whole Cat and Caboodle, a cozy mystery by Sofie Ryan that was due back at the local library. It is the first in Ryan’s “Second Chance” series featuring Sarah Grayson, who owns a second-hand shop (Named Second Chance) in a small town.  I chose the book because of the cat on the cover. (Of course there is a cat, this is a cozy mystery!) Sarah hangs out with her grandmother’s friends (Think The Golden Girls…) and one is found with her current beaux (of dubious reputation), his head lying on her shoulder, “deadder” then the proverbial doornail. Is her Grandma’s friend guilty of murder?  That’s what these funny, endearing “girls” are determined to find out.  Sarah’s reaction is not to get involved, but she can’t help herself, and she meets two prospective love interests (to be further developed as the series progresses) as she becomes entangled in the mystery.  The book is a fun “escape read” and provided just what I needed as I geared up for a new semester.
  2. Running Out of Space by S.J. Higbee, a sci fi thriller, adventure-story for YA and for those of us older readers who still feel like young adults. This book was reviewed Saturday on https://powerfulwomenreaders.wordpress.com
  3. The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore, also a library loan (chose it because the title “sounded familiar” and it was large print.)  It will be reviewed on PWR soon.
  4. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, a book club “assignment” recently reviewed here on PWR.
  5. Morningstar, A book about Growing Up with Books by Ann Head, which will be reviewed soon on PWR. I chose it because of one of Deb Nance’s Readerbuzz posts featuring “Books about Books.”
  6. Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Life in the Stacks, written by librarian, Annie Spence, which contains hilarious and sometimes pensive letters and break-up notes to various books in her reading life as she culls them from the library shelves. Kirkus Review writes, “…begs to be read with a pencil in hand.” So true! It writes, “Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way.” Warning: This clever, slim little book will expand your TBR list!

There it is–my successful completion of the January attempt to return books checked out over the holidays to the library, read the selection for two book clubs (They both chose Hillbilly Elegy.), and start in on TBR’s I already own. PWR readers may see an overlap of books because I took on “The Alphabet Challenge” another blogger was continuing shortly after I began my own January-Six-Book challenge, and read accordingly.  More on that challenge in another post.

CRYSTAL CLEAR, A novelette by Aiden Reid: A Review

Aiden Reid, author of Pathfinder and Sigil, both fascinating novels, has written a long short story or a short novel which is another story about the hero of Pathfinders. In the story, Stephen finds a crystal that has special powers that turn his life around and change him from a slacker/loser to a very successful person.  How this is all accomplished, where the crystal came from, and what happens to the mysterious crystal is the focus to this attention-grabbing, interest-sustaining narrative.  It is sci-fi at its best with bits of philosophy and life-lessons tossed in for good measure.  It is a quick read, but one you won’t want to miss!

THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY: A Review

This 2016 publication by Genevieve Cogman is a fantasy novel, the first in a series. It has been called, “… a stunning work of art that has me absolutely begging for more…” by The Fantasy Book Reviewer. I have to agree that it left me begging for more, and I have already ordered the second book which came out in September.  I cared about the characters and would certainly like to continue following them and their adventures/misadventures.

Irene, one of the protagonists, is the daughter of Librarians and a “professional spy for the mysterious Library”, which is an organization that collects important works of fiction from all the different realities. 

Kai is Irene’s assistant, and the mystery as to his secret/identity left me reeling as I read.

The two are assigned to an “alternate London,” whose world is “chaos infected”–meaning the laws of nature are bent by “supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic.” Irene and Kai are sent to retrieve a special book, but when arrive, they discover it has already been stolen.  Mystery upon mystery and calamity upon calamity occur, including mechanical, giant alligators and the sticky business (literally) of a massive silverfish invasion which starts underfoot and climbs the walls and anything (including Irene and Kai) that gets in its way.

Beset by “sinister secret societies,” the pair learns more about their alternate world, the motivation and politics behind their mission, and each other.

This is a perfect opportunity to get in at the ground floor of an exciting, spectacular series.