Waiting on Wednesday: Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is :  Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis:

game-ofEthan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

Due out February 28th 2017 so not a long wait for this one.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers, readalong week 1

closed-and-commonYesterday was the first post for our readalong of A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.  Sorry I’m a bit late with this posting but I’ve been a bit laid low with a bad cold:

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1: Friday 2nd December – Start of Part 1 up to Page 94 (“…yellow, silver, white…”), hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Friday 9th December – Page 95 (Jane, Age 10 “Jane was still tired…”) to End of Part 1, hosted by imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Week 3: Friday 16th December – all of Part 2, hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Friday 23rd December – Part 3 to End, hosted by Mogsy at The BiblioSanctum

 

To the Q&A with the customary spoiler warning!  Be warned folks, spoilers will be lurking.

1. So this story picks up more or less where The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet left off, but rather than having an ensemble cast on an adventure, it seems this story is much more intimately focused on Lovelace (later named Sidra) and ‘Jane 23’. What’s your initial response to this shift in the narrative style between books? Is it one you appreciate or do you think you’ll miss the ensemble aspect (assuming you’ve read Small Angry Planet)?

I’m enjoying this style very much to be honest.  Both of the characters are easy to read about and the difference in style for both works really well.  We have the flashbacks to Jane 23 which for me is making for a fascinating story and then we are experiencing Sidra’s reactions to her new body which are also really interesting to read about.  Very intriguing way to write the story.

2. Sidra’s first experiences of living confined to a body mean that readers get to see her new home, and her new world, through the eyes of someone who’s never experienced it in such a way before. What aspects of Sidra’s first days ‘on the ground’ on Coriol stand out to you, and why?

I think this is a great idea.  It allows the author to share lots of new things with us because we’re experiencing all these new things at the same time as Sidra.  It allows for information to be given in a way that isn’t resorting to huge info dumps or great chunks of dialogue that come off as unnatural.  I love the way Sidra’s tale is told in a detached way.  Like she talks about herself as though her body is just a ship or housing.  In terms of her first days on Coriol I think what stood out for me the most was the way Sidra experiences anxiety if she can’t really see things properly.  The way she jumps when somebody approaches her from behind (because she can’t see them beforehand).  The whole idea of getting used to being much more restricted is interesting to observe and really well done.

3. The POV switches regularly between Sidra in the present and Jane 23, a clone raised in some form of slave labour with many others of her kind, when she was a 10-year old girl. What do you make of Jane and her upbringing at this point, and where do you think her story might be going from here? Does her story interest you as much as Sidra’s (or vice versa)?

I find the Jane 23 story really intriguing to be honest and if forced to choose I’d say that aspect is the most interesting to me so far.  The way all these girls are being kept and used as slave labour.  It’s really awful and I’m curious to see whether anything happens to the camp after ‘Jane’ finally makes her getaway.  Clearly these girls are all clones and the camp has an ‘illegal’ type feel – to me anyway.  It puts me in mind a little of Cloud Atlas which also has a theme concerning the use of clones as little more than slaves and with no real rights or worth in society.  And the ‘mothers’ scary, brrr.  Faceless AI who can move fast.  I hate to think what ending Jane 64 met with.

4. In general, what’s stood out the most to you about these chapters so far, and why? Has anything raised questions or curiosity, or particularly turned you off? Discuss your favourite bits!

I think what stands out to me most so far is the difference in storytelling style between this and the first book.  And not only in terms of following the two main pov narratives.  Looking back at LWtaSAP the crew and their adventures had a really, almost warm and cosy glow or atmosphere, there was all the banter and the light hearted camaraderie between them all and even if some of the characters didn’t get along it had an almost homelike family feel.  Here we’re reading along with Sidra who is coming to terms with a whole new way of ‘being’ and also reading the back story of Jane.  Both are quite lonely and sad feeling.  Not in a way that puts me off or makes the reading dour, as I said above, I’m finding this quite fascinating at the moment – even though I have no idea at this point where the story is going in terms of plot – I’m just enjoying the more up close and personal feel to it all.

Favourite bits – I enjoyed Sidra’s first experience of a party, reading about her first introduction to alcohol and the images that come along with the experience. In terms of Jane – I really like the part that we just reached where having escaped whatever those monsters were that were chasing her, she finds herself on board some sort of capsule with an AI, and the AI decides to drop the numbers from her name – it’s a small thing but really quite touching!

Favourite quote:

‘And seriously, anybody working in a job that doesn’t let you take a nap when you need to should get a new job.  Present company excluded of course.  This!! (apparently I need to look for a new job – no naps in my current employ!)

Waiting on Wednesday: Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele #RRSciFiMonth

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele.  It simply must be fated for me to read this book (of course true scientific minds don’t believe in fate).  But, ignoring the logical and moving swiftly on, I just read a lovely review of a short story by this author over on Space and Sorcery and so decided to go and check out his other works and boom!  I found this – serendipity eh!

avengersIt was an age of miracles. It was an era of wonder. It was a time of troubles. It was all these things and more . . . except there were no heroes.

Naturally, one had to be created.

Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret since the murder of Curt’s parents.

Curt’s innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There’s only one way to uncover the evil mastermind—Curt must become Captain Future.

With the permission of the Edmond Hamilton estate, Allen Steele revives the exciting adventures of Captain Future.

Expected publication: April 2017 by Tor Books

scifimonth2016

Sci Fi Month organised by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow is a fun event that celebrates all things sci fi and runs for the whole of November.  Check it out and come and join the fun and discussion.  You know you want to 😀

Random thoughts on my Kindle…

So, a few weeks ago I was bought a Kindle.  I’ve always resisted the temptation because frankly I’m a total booky type person.  However, people have conspired against me, as they will and do, in some sort of grim determination to bring me into the electronic age and having previously been a bit outspoken against e-books I thought it only fair that I revisit my thoughts now that I’m actually using one and can speak from a little experience as oppose to a lot of prejudice.

Before I continue I must state emphatically that I will not be abandoning books!  Phew.  Had to just get that out there.  But, I will also be including a few electronic ones now.

On the plus side

– OMG there are a lot of books out there that are much cheaper on the kindle – this is a definite bonus when you read a lot.  Okay, there are some that are more expensive and I do struggle to understand why that is but, in the main, they seem to be cheaper.  (on the downside to this I will admit that you can become a little bit entranced in looking through the ebooks to the extent you find you haven’t done any reading at all for quite some time!)

– no need for book marks or bent pages – the Kindle just opens your book up to where you left off, even if you have more than one book on the go, no more losing your page.  No more watching as your book slides off the arm of the chair where you (thought you had) carefully placed it, bashes to the floor and loses your place!

– free samples – how many of those have I now got waiting to be read.  This is a definite bonus.  I know you can’t always tell from the first few chapters if you’re going to like a book or not you can at least get to check out a flavour of the book and also the author’s style – lets face it this isn’t really possible with paperbacks!

– Dictionary – okay, I’m not a total dunce but every now and again you read a book and there’s a word in there that you don’t know.  So, do you make a note, rush home and whip your dictionary out.  No, you don’t.  You read on and hope that the use of the word in the sentence has given you the correct feel for the meaning.  No need for that with the Kindle.  Okay, having said that, I haven’t used that facility – but, I could if I wanted!!

– plus, you can bookmark things really easily – so no need to make any notes or remember page numbers to come back and look at later – a definite plus.  although I do like my little notebook I must admit.

On the down side:

– does a book ever run out of power.  I think not!  How annoying is that, and, yes thank you, I realise it’s my own fault if I don’t keep the Kindle properly charged but you have to concede the point that this is not a problem you ever suffer with a book!  So, when I want to read something on the way to work and open the Kindle and then it just powers down – a little bit disappointing which brings me to the second down side

– because I’m not the best at keeping things charged, and because this means I may wind up in the situation of not having a book to enjoy over lunch, etc, then I now carry a book as back up.  Which rather defeats one of the main arguments for a kindle, i.e. lighter to carry in your bag, no more lugging around heavy tomes, because now I’m carrying a book and a Kindle (doh!).

– also, and this may seem lame – but its yet another gadget!  And, gadgets appeal to people with light fingers.  As much as I love books I don’t imagine anyone stealing one – but this is just something else that might attract unwanted attention.  I’m just saying!

– book covers – I think this is one of the biggest downside.  You download a book (oh, and that’s another bonus – it’s there straight away) but there’s no cover.  I like book covers.  I’m sorry but I do.  In fact I’m not sorry.  I’m not going to apologise for liking covers.  It’s a whole industry going on right there and I can’t help wondering what sort of bad effects this will have on all the illustrators, designers, etc.

– plus, just read a Christmas Carol – no illustrations.  The book I picked did have illustrations but the book I downloaded didn’t.  Okay, I don’t need pictures but that’s not the point.

So, that’s my experience so far.  Even Stevens.  Like and Don’t like.  I’m like Smeagol.  I loves it and I hates it precious.  So, for now, the jury is out, but I’m keeping an open mind and continuing with my experiment.