The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

Posted On 24 August 2017

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the punchPeople, it’s a woohoo moment.  This book was amazing.  I loved it.  Simply loved it.  I’m not entirely sure how to review it because it’s a tricky little sucker but I’ll give it a shot, in fact I’ll stick to the principles of KISS as established in the book – ‘keep it simple, stupid’ (shouldn’t be too difficult for me).  That being said I hope that you forgive me if this review is a jumbled mess and believe me when I say that’s not a reflection on the book itself.

As the book starts we make the acquaintance of Joel Byram.  Joel is a bit of a smooth operator who basically helps AIs to become a bit more ‘human’ by talking to them, telling them jokes, teaching them innuendo, etc.  Joel’s wife was recruited into a high powered job about 12 months prior and since then their relationship has taken a bit of a backseat, which is why its really important that Joel isn’t late for his anniversary drinks with his wife.  Of course Joel loses track of time and so to salvage the situation decides to blow a days pay and use teleportation in order to save a little time and a fight with his missus.  This is when we the readers take our first glimpse of teleportation which is now widely used as a time saving device.  There may not be poverty or global warming in the year 2147 but money still talks and people still have a crazy desire to rush around like headless chickens.  Think of the teleportation devices created by Seth Brundle in the film The Fly – then take these teleportal devices and place them all over the world and in doing so create the fastest form of travel available.  People can zoom around from A to B without sight or sound (or fear) of a Brundlefly!   Of course, you can never please all the people all the time and so there is a constant running battle between a religious sect out to save peoples’ souls and the large corporation (known as International Transportation or IT) that run the transportation devices.  Joel, is of course, blissfully unaware of any such rancour until the day that he tries to transport to a second honeymoon in Costa Rice and instead finds himself with his own double and a missing wife.

That is it.  I can’t say anything more about the plot because you have to discover things as the good author intended and I sure as hell am not going to be the one to spoil the surprise because it’s so bloody good!  Literally, I love this book – in case you missed that bit earlier.

So, the world building is excellent, there are all sorts of innovative ideas that fill the pages, some of them that flow naturally during the course of the story and others relegated to footnotes.  Yes, I realise that footnotes can be a bit tedious, particularly when you’re reading on electronic devices, but to be honest these are really well done and frankly I think essential to the story.  I’m sure you could skip them although I didn’t personally do so and I thought they brought a lot to the table not to mention were witty and interesting – plus, if I can understand all the jargon (aka sci fi mumbo jumbo) then I’m sure anyone can.

On top of this Joel is a very engaging character.  He narrates the story well and suffers from the gamut of emotions that we, the readers, also experience along with him.   He’s an absolute massive 1980’s geek enjoying the music, films and all sorts of other bits and pieces from the era and, whilst this might go over the heads of some readers it really hit the spot for me – I just loved it – right down to the chapter headings.  And, to be honest, even if you miss some (or all for that matter) of the references I can’t imagine that it would have any impact on the story whatsoever – it’s just like an added bonus if you pick some of them up.

What I really loved about this though is it just brought to mind some of the 80s and 90s  sci fi movies – if you think about Terminator, The Fly, Total Recall, Blade Runner – okay, this isn’t the same as any of those but for some reason it brings them all to mind in this mashed up sense of nostalgia inside my brain and creates a riot of fun and an amazing wow factor.  In fact, who am I kidding, the wow factor is the real hook here – a unique tale that twists and turns and writhes and wriggles amongst the secrets and lies.  It’s brilliant.

What more do you want – get out of here and go read it.  I know I’ve not given much away here, I don’t want to give away spoilers but what I can do is gush and I hope I’ve done enough of that to encourage you to make this your next read.

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

Waiting on Wednesday : The Stone in the Skull (Lotus Kingdoms #1) by Elizabeth Bear

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Stone in the Skull (Lotus Kingdoms #1) by Elizabeth Bear

stone.jpgThe Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.

The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.

Due October 2017 so not too much longer to wait.

School’s out forever

Posted On 22 August 2017

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Every Tuesday over at  The Broke and Bookish we all get to look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  This week’s topic is:

Back To School Freebie

The following are all books I recall reading in my early teens – I became a little bit obsessed with the classics at the time so they made up a lot of my reading:

  1. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier – this remains one of my favourite books.  I love this and also Jamaica Inn which I read around the same time.
  2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I was completely sucked into this book, I could barely put it down – the romance just swept me away.
  3. Lord of the Rings by Tolkien – this book is amazing, I reread it fairly recently and still love it.
  4. Pride and Prejudice – which definitely set me off on a Jane Austen splurge of reading.
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.  I haven’t read much of Dickens but I do really like this one.
  6. Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – another favourite, and short story with a good message.  I had a romantic whimsy as a teenager that made me want to read this every Christmas.
  7. The Hobbit by Tolkien – I didn’t enjoy this book at the time, it was a school reading and being forced to stand up and read, or equally listening to the painfully embarrassing reading of others rather killed the story off at the time.
  8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding – this is a book that I feel I should reread.  I can’t remember really well what my feelings were at the time.  I liked it of course and found it shocking.  It would be interesting to see how I felt about it now.
  9. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham – I really enjoyed this book and have actually reread it a few years ago.
  10. I’ve left this blank for you to tell me one of your well remembered school age reads.

Weekly Wrap Up : 20/8/17

Posted On 20 August 2017

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August is slowly diminishing, the summer is rolling onwards apace. This has been a busy month for me on a personal level and my reading has slowed somewhat – I’m not experiencing a slump in books more that I just have so many things occupying my time.  Still, I have read a couple of books and I now need to write a few reviews up.

Hope you all had a good week.  Here are my books:

  1. The Curious Affair of the Witch of Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle
  2. The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

I’m still reading Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey, this is for a readalong that I’m behind for but hoping to catch up soon.  I’m also still listening to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and loving it.

Next week I’m hoping to read:

  1. Swarm and Steel by Michael R Fletcher
  2. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
  3. The Turn by Kim Harrison

My cover compare this week is for a book that I’m really looking forward to – very much:

I love the first cover – the colours, the fairytale feel, the tower, everything, but then the second cover is gorgeous too – it reminds me of a beautiful tapestry topped with Christmas icing.  I can’t choose.  What’s your favourite?

How was your week? What you currently reading?

‘Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon.’

Posted On 18 August 2017

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Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork (A cover which features food)

This book cover is the only one that I could come up with this week!

My favourite this week:

I’ve had to go with the obvious one this week:


Which is your favourite?

Next week – Insect

Future themes:

25th August 2017 – If I be waspish, best beware my sting (A cover which features an insect)

1st September 2017 – Being born in a stable does not make one a horse (A cover which features a horse)

8th September 2017 – That great condenser of moral chaos, The City (A cover which features a city)

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