#RRSciFiMonth Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Fall of Io (Io Series) by Wesley Chu

ScifiMonth

I’m combining today’s Can’t Wait Wednesday with Sci-fi month, an event being hosted by One More and  Dear Geek Place (check out the #RRSciFiMonth hashtag to keep uptodate)

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Can’t Wait Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Fall of Io (Io Series) by Wesley Chu

The Fall of.jpgThe superb aliens-in-your-head SF sequel to the wildly popular The Rise of Io, by the author of The Lives of Tao series

When Ella Patel’s mind was invaded by the Quasing alien, Io, she was dragged into the raging Prophus versus Genjix war. Despite her reservations, and Io’s incompetence, the Prophus were determined to train her as an agent. It didn’t go well. Expelled after just two years, Ella happily returned to con artistry, and bank robberies. But the Quasing war isn’t done with them yet. The Genjix’s plan to contact their homeworld has reached a critical stage, threatening all life on Earth. To complete the project they need Io’s knowledge – and he’s in Ella’s head – so now they’re both being hunted, again.

Due for publication January 2019

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‘Got all nice things’.

tttTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is :

Bookish Items I’d Like to Own

  1. A lot more bookshelves – perhaps even magic ones that automatically organise my books.  I really don’t know why this can’t be a thing.  There are some great minds out there – they need to address this issue.  Really, is it asking too much?
  2. Not bookish because it can be used for other things – but a time machine or time turner – because, more time people.  More time.  Or cloning – cloning could work in the same way.  If I had ten of ‘me’ reading my current TBR who knows I could finish all my books in about 12 months/24 months – which means I could buy more bright and shiny new books without an ounce of guilt. Not that the guilt ever stopped me but….. stop looking at me like that.
  3. My own private reading room with THE most comfortable chair EVER.  Some sort of automatic drinks and snack machine and a wine cellar combined – omg, that is such a good idea.
  4. An amazing reading lamp – I know, I should have one of these but I don’t.  I just tend to make do – money is for spending on books after all.
  5. A t-shirt where I can be totally rude but people think I’m just being funny – like ‘yes, I’m reading a book, it’s really good and therefore I don’t want to stop to speak to you, goodbye’ – was that too rude???  I just hate the fact that people think because you’re reading you’re not engaged!
  6. A magic book voucher that never runs out of credit – that does sound quite a bit awesome after all.
  7. A huge amount of money – ‘why is this book related you’re thinking?’ because then I could just chill, read, blog and buy books until my little heart’s content.
  8. A magical kindle that never runs out of charge, knows automatically which parts of a book I want to note or highlight and why and basically writes the basic outline of my reviews.  What?  You know you want this too.  Joking – I love writing reviews (obviously) – I just sometimes wish that when I have a real ‘lightbulb’ moment about a book it was saved somewhere automatically because otherwise I sometimes forget.  *hangs head in shame*
  9. Automatic approval by all the publishers for all the books – plus fame and world renown for my brilliant reviews.  LOLOLOL
  10. Cheese and wine – whoops, wrong list.
  11. My own library – that automatically restocks with the books I have on my mind.  None of the books I want to take out of the library are ever on loan and the loan period just happens to coincide with when I finish the book.

I had one too many – this is what happens when you ask about bookish things!

 

The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

Posted On 13 November 2018

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Okay, Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier is one of my all time favourite reads.  I’ve read it many times and to be honest I like quite a number of her other books as well.  She has a magical ability with words, one that will charm and transport you and some of her stories are just so good.  Anyway, I’m not here to review those am I?  I just wanted to point out that the original story is special to me and so any sort of retelling has big boots to fill in fact I freely admit that I almost go into a book like this with negative emotions – kind of along the lines ‘how very dare you tamper with such a firm favourite’.

With that in mind, and although this is a retelling of sorts – it’s not the same as the original.  This is a more modern version and it has a different slant.  To be honest I enjoyed reading this for different reasons.  I liked all the references to the original, especially the way they’ve been tweaked, I thought the writing was really good and I just enjoyed the story, it’s easy to get along with and fast paced.  Rebecca this isn’t.  Then again does it need to be?  Here we have a similar story, similar characters and a unique new twist told with a modern voice and to be fair, whilst I may love the classics they’re not everyone’s cup of tea so I have to say bravo to Lisa Gabriele not only for taking me back down a storyline, albeit different, that I love, but for bringing it into the present era very successfully and maybe capturing a whole new audience.

In terms of the story.  The start is chillingly familiar, even the opening lines, though tweaked slightly, are enough to give you the chills “Last night Rebekah tried to murder me again.”  We follow a similar whirlwind romance between a gauche young woman and a sophisticated older man.   The unnamed woman has no family and lives something of a withdrawn lifestyle, beholden to the woman who employs her.  Max Winter lost his wife in a tragic accident, he resides in an impressive mansion reached only by a causeway.  Like the original Max he’s somewhat reflective or melancholy, unapproachable if you will, unlike the original this Max has a teenage daughter – Dani.  And there begins the start of the differences.  Dani is an out of control teenager.  Beautiful and a little bit caustic she does tend to make life difficult for those around her and so when she decides to help out with Max and his young bride’s future wedding arrangements then you better believe that things could go very wrong indeed.

My constant refrain with reviews at the moment seems to be ‘I don’t want to give away spoilers’ and even I’m getting bored of myself.  But, at the same time The Winters is another book that I don’t want to spoil so I’m not going to elaborate further on the plot but will keep this fairly short and sweet.  Other than to say I didn’t see the twist at the end – it will be interesting to see what Rebecca fans make of it – I have to say it took me completely by surprise but not in a bad way.

I had a good time reading this.  I loved the references to the original work, I really enjoyed the modern approach with the use of social media and the way Dani appears to be something of a bully who is able to smoothly manipulate Max’s young inexperienced wife.  I like that this newer tale tries to give the main character a little bit more agency – although not too much, after all, her gullibility and fear of not being accepted are what really help the plot in both stories.  And, I thought the ending was great for more reasons than one.

In terms of criticisms – the ending felt a little rushed.  Otherwise I don’t have anything else to throw into the pot.

Here we have a book with many similarities that I think is worth reading both for itself and also to see the new twists.  It’s not a retelling so much as a reimagined version and I think it brings a really good story to a whole new audience and that’s something that I have to applaud.  I’d like to think that there might be a few curious minds out there that will go and check out the original just on the strength of this book and with that in mind it makes a great conversation piece just observing the differences in opinion.

Okay, in conclusion, this might not be Rebecca but it’s a very easy to read and quite gripping tale and one that I think will hold quite a lot of appeal. I thought the author’s style was persuasive and runs a fine line between trying to maintain some of the original innocence whilst including more modern themes.

You’ll have to forgive me for saying that I prefer the original duMaurier story but I really do appreciate this author’s modern version of that classic and I hope this succeeds both on it’s own and also as a highlight and a means of inspiring others to read the original.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey

Posted On 12 November 2018

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Woman wearing a red hoodie by a river

Woman wearing a red hoodie by a river

Someone Like Me is such a difficult book to review.  I don’t want to give away spoilers or ruin the read for others and whilst that might sound like a bunch of excuses I mean it most sincerely.  It would be like somebody telling you the ending to The Sixth Sense and completely spoiling the final reveal, you know that feeling, where you finish something and then you have to start casting back asking questions, looking for missed breadcrumbs or clues – that’s what this book makes you do.  I mean, in fairness, this isn’t so much a final reveal as a bunch of reveals – but still, the sentiment remains the same.  Check out the blurb for the book and the cover even – they’re a pair of sneaky suckers aren’t they?  They’re giving nothing away and neither am I.  I think the biggest clue that we have here is in the title – and I realise I’m being evasive and the title could mean a number of things but there is a clue in there – of course it’s easy for me to say that now, all superior like, with the benefit of having read the book, but that’s all I’ve got.  Read the book. Go on.  Do it.

MR Carey is such a great author.  I love that his books are never what you expect or more to the point they’re all so completely different that you actually don’t even know what to expect in the first place.  It would be difficult to ever put this author in any particular category.  I like that in my favourite authors – pigeon-hole immunity.  Mr Carey has that in spades.  Obviously it helps that his writing is excellent too but picking up one of his books is almost unnerving because you just don’t know what it’s going to be about and the sense of anticipation is quite delicious.

What I can say is I loved this.  It made for compulsive reading and I read it in two days which for a book that sits at just over 500 pages is some going.  I mean this wasn’t just compulsive, it was nail bitingly good.  All the cliches – name them – I couldn’t put it down, I read into the early hours, I was on the edge of my seat.  Yes, yes, yes.  All of those things and then some.

So, what can I safely tell you.

Well, the book follows two main characters.  Two characters with two things in common.  Firstly, they’ve both suffered traumatic events.  Secondly, they both share the same therapist.

Liz is a divorced mother of two.  Her ex husband is manipulative and controlling and he used to use Liz as his own personal punch bag.  She’s a likable character, her neighbours and colleagues rally around her and her two children adore her.  She can come across as a little bit weak but to be honest the gradual spiral into domestic violence that her relationship eventually took would be enough to wear anyone down.  Starting with mental abuse and eventually becoming physical it took a lot for Liz to finally walk away and in fact she really took the step to protect her children, not herself.

Fran is a teenage girl.  When she was a little girl she was abducted by a man named Picota and was missing for a couple of days before the police found her.  Her abductor is now held in a state facility after being deemed mentally unstable.  Fran still suffers a great deal from the attack experiencing nightmares and hallucinations.  She has an imaginary friend named Jinx, a protector and cartoon character from an old favourite show about knights and codes of honour.  I think everyone is going to love Jinx.  Trust me on this one.

There are a number of other significant characters.  Liz’s ex husband Marc for example, the children, Fran’s father, the therapist and what really worked for me is how well the dynamics are between them all.  They’re believable characters.  They’re relatable.  They’re imperfect.  They have typical lives, some of the time quite bland but they’re basically getting on with living – it’s almost like you’re reading about the normal lives of normal people but before you get too comfortable (aka just as you’re getting comfortable) Carey pops in a little seed of something different and before you know it it’s grown into something else that’s totally unexpected and chilling and you have to read more, you have to know what’s going to happen next, things have gone to hell in a handcart in fairly short order and you really didn’t see it coming – and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Send help.  And who is this other character who I shall not mention?

I’m not really sure what else I can tell you.  This is partly mystery, partly thriller, partly magical realism.  It’s subtle and unusual.  The writing is excellent, the pacing is good and the ending is tense.  I wouldn’t say the concept is totally unique, I’ve read or watched similar things but to be honest this one takes the idea in it’s own direction and one that I didn’t foresee.

I think if you’re expecting a straight up, no nonsense, no para-normal elements type of read then this might not be for you – although, I would say, cast aside any pre-determined notions and give it a shot anyway.  It’s a really great story and it defied my attempts at second guessing what was going on.  I  started out thinking maybe this was a look at mental health issues, I had a moment of maybe thinking it’s a ‘what if/Sliding Doors’ type of story but I eventually realised that whilst both of those have a part in the story they’re not the complete picture.

I’m sorry if this isn’t helpful.  All I can hope that you take from this review is that I thoroughly loved reading this and I hope you will too.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap Up : 11th November 2018

Posted On 11 November 2018

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Howdy everyone.  Hope you’ve all been having a good week.  My plans have kind of gone out the window in many ways but it really doesn’t matter does it?  Plans are like rules – made for breaking? I’ve read four books this week, which sounds like a lot of reading but in fact I did start two of these books the previous week so I was just finishing things I’d already started – although I now need to do some more catching up with reviews of course.  I’ve had some very good reading.  I went off plan a little although I did read three of the books on my list so I’m not going to beat myself up.  I loved the second Heartstone book – it was great.  An Easy Death was very easy going and what I’ve come to expect from Charlaine Harris and Shadow of the Fox was a great Japanese inspired fantasy quest.  MR Carey’s Someone Like Me – I couldn’t resist picking it up and it was compelling indeed.  So, my books this past week:

  1. An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
  2. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
  3. Dragonshadow (Heartstone #2) by Elle Katharine White
  4. Someone Like Me by MR Carey

Next week’s reads:

  1. Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
  2. Songwoman by Ilka Tampke

Upcoming reviews:

  1. Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  2. Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace
  3. Noir by Christopher Moore
  4. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  5. The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
  6. In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
  7. The Winters by Lisa Gabriele
  8. An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
  9. Dragonshadow (Heartstone #2) by Elle Katharine White
  10. Someone Like Me by MR Carey

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

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