Category Archives: Science Fiction

The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg

The AncestorThe Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: The Ancestor
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Series: n/a
Pages: 348
Publisher: All Due Respect
Date: August 21, 2020

Summary:

A man wakes up in present-day Alaskan wilderness with no idea who he is, nothing on him save an empty journal with the date 1898 and a mirror. He sees another man hunting nearby, astounded that they look exactly alike. After following this other man home, he witnesses a wife and child that brings forth a rush of memories of his own wife and child, except he’s certain they do not exist in modern times-but from his life in the late 1800s. After recalling his name is Wyatt, he worms his way into his doppelganger Travis Barlow’s life. Memories become unearthed the more time he spends, making him believe that he’d been frozen after coming to Alaska during the Gold Rush and that Travis is his great-great grandson. Wyatt is certain gold still exists in the area and finding it with Travis will ingratiate himself to the family, especially with Travis’s wife Callie, once Wyatt falls in love. This turns into a dangerous obsession affecting the Barlows and everyone in their small town, since Wyatt can’t be tamed until he also discovers the meaning of why he was able to be preserved on ice for over a century.

A meditation on love lost and unfulfilled dreams, The Ancestor is a thrilling page-turner in present day Alaska and a historical adventure about the perilous Gold Rush expeditions where prospectors left behind their lives for the promise of hope and a better future. The question remains whether it was all worth the sacrifice….

Review:

This book has two of my reading preferences: time travel (but not really) and an Alaska setting, both present day and historical. This should have been a four or five star review. As it is, I gave it three stars and I feel like I’m being generous. I liked the premise of the story and it is not something I have read before.

So what didn’t I like about the book? It dragged . . . painfully. I normally read a book in two to three days and this one took me weeks. I couldn’t make myself stick with it. My main problem with the book is none of the characters were likeable. I can understand their motivations, but there was no growth, no improvements. Wyatt was selfish and self-centered in his former life and he carried on the same way in his new life. Travis was no better.

I really wish I had not received this book as an early reviewers copy. Once I started it, I felt obligated to finish. It was not worth the time.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Russian Cage (Gunnie Rose; #3) by Charlaine Harris

The Russian Cage (Gunnie Rose #3)The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Russian Cage
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Gunnie Rose, #3
Pages: 304
Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press
Date: February 23, 2021

Summary:

Picking up right where A Longer Fall left off, this thrilling third installment follows Lizbeth Rose as she takes on one of her most dangerous missions yet: rescuing her estranged partner, Prince Eli, from the Holy Russian Empire. Once in San Diego, Lizbeth is going to have to rely upon her sister Felicia, and her growing Grigori powers to navigate her way through this strange new world of royalty and deception in order to get Eli freed from jail where he’s being held for murder.

Russian Cage continues to ramp up the momentum with more of everything Harris’ readers adore her for with romance, intrigue, and a deep dive into the mysterious Holy Russian Empire.

Review:

Gunnie Rose used to have a simple life . . . at least by her standards. She transported and/or protected goods, whether they were living or not. She definitely kept out of the way of politics and magic users. Now, in spite of herself, Lizbeth Rose becomes involved with the politics of the Holy Russian Empire. Since that is where the magic users are trained, that means she is also involved with magic users known as Grigoris.

This is the third book in Harris’ Gunnie Rose series and I think it is the best one so far. The world building is pretty much done and the focus is more on the plot and relationships. I love that Lizbeth is developing a closer relationship with her newly discovered sister Felicia. I am also enjoying finding out some of Felicia’s secrets.

Of course, I would recommend this book to anyone who is already a fan of Charlaine Harris’ other series. Having said that, the plotline is totally different from her other works. I think I have read everything she has written and this series is definitely one of her best.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Future is Yours by Dan Frey

The Future Is YoursThe Future Is Yours by Dan Frey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Future is Yours
Author: Dan Frey
Series: n/a
Pages: 352
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Date: February 9, 2021

Summary:

Two best friends create a computer that can predict the future. But what they can’t predict is how it will tear their friendship—and society—apart.

If you had the chance to look one year into the future, would you?

For Ben Boyce and Adhi Chaudry, the answer is unequivocally yes. And they’re betting everything that you’ll say yes, too. Welcome to The Future: a computer that connects to the internet one year from now, so you can see who you’ll be dating, where you’ll be working, even whether or not you’ll be alive in the year to come. By forming a startup to deliver this revolutionary technology to the world, Ben and Adhi have made their wildest, most impossible dream a reality. Once Silicon Valley outsiders, they’re now its hottest commodity.

The device can predict everything perfectly—from stock market spikes and sports scores to political scandals and corporate takeovers—allowing them to chase down success and fame while staying one step ahead of the competition. But the future their device foretells is not the bright one they imagined.

Ambition. Greed. Jealousy. And, perhaps, an apocalypse. The question is . . . can they stop it?

Told through emails, texts, transcripts, and blog posts, this bleeding-edge tech thriller chronicles the costs of innovation and asks how far you’d go to protect the ones you love—even from themselves.

Review:

One year. How wonderful would it be to know what will happen one year into the future? We would know the results of the presidential election. We would know where the world stands with the COVID-19 crisis. And yes, we would know the winning lottery numbers. Yes, that would be wonderful!

But why can we only see one year into the future? Has something happened? Is it a glitch with the software? Did we cause it?
Quantum physics is used to explain the ability of information to travel from the future. Don’t let that worry you though. There are only a couple of places where the science gets heavy and it does not disturb the flow of the story. I am not a scientist. I know the words/concepts they use, but I do not understand the science. Not understanding did not disturb the flow of the plot at all.

Underneath what is a wonderful science fiction story is a slow building tension. What really does happen in the future and does the “time machine” affect it? Can it, should it, be fixed?

I never saw the ending coming, but I should have. The clues were there. I just didn’t put it together.

This is not just a science fiction novel, but a novel of human relationships. There is jealousy, both professional and personal. There is a fear of the future and how this science can and will influence that future. There are politicians, scientists, and the common man. Everyone is involved!

I generally don’t care for books that are not written in straight prose. This one, however, makes the variety of styles work. The only thing is you have to pay attention to the dates because they jump around and I found that confusing at first.

Would I recommend this book? Definitely, but only to readers who enjoy science fiction. I don’t think this is a book for the general populace. I think that it would only be appreciated by readers who enjoy science whether they truly understand it or not.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Blackout by Marc Elsberg

BlackoutBlackout by Marc Elsberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Blackout
Author: Marc Elsberg
Series: n/a
Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date: June 6, 2017

Summary:

One night, the lights go out across Europe. The electrical grids collapse on an epic scale and unleash a devastating chaos in the total blackout. And unbeknownst to the general population, nuclear reactors are starting to overheat…
When a former hacker and activist who knows a thing or two about infiltrating networks starts investigating the cause of this disaster, he soon becomes a prime suspect. As threats to the United States start to emerge, he goes on the run with a young American reporter based in Paris, racing desperately to turn the lights back on. Because if they stay off, tomorrow may be too late.
Review:

Although I rated this book as a three, it is really a 3-4. My main criticism is the multiple points of view. I finally got them mostly straight, but I had no idea who was who in the first few chapters. I’m not even sure if some of the characters were necessary to the plot. I’m still not sure that I didn’t mix characters up, but it didn’t matter in the end.

I had a hard time getting into the book. I thought it was slow to develop, but since it was for review I stuck with it. I’m glad I did. It turned out to be a really fascinating story and the societal breakdown due to an international power outage was not something I had ever considered. I do have a hard time believing that things got as bad as they did in only a couple of weeks of no electricity. Maybe because I live in an area where power outages happen on a regular basis. Nothing like what happens in the book because I can always go somewhere that power is available, but still. I kept thinking that these people were so unprepared. Apparently, no one had more than a day or so of food in the house.

Now, after sounding so smug, one thing I had not thought about was the need for cash. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank if you can’t access it. I don’t ever keep more than a few dollars on me because I just use plastic. Well, if there is no power, that will not work.

And that’s why this book is almost a four. It made me think. We all know that we should be prepared for emergencies, but I am guilty of just knowing I should and not actually doing anything about it. This book has made me think about how dependent I am on the infrastructure and how I need to better protect myself.
So yes, I definitely recommend this book. After the slow start, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next and who the bad guys were. There was a twist at the end that I did not see coming and it made the book even better. This is definitely a great book if you enjoy suspense and to a certain extent apocalyptic themes.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Quote-tastic Monday: And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor

I have no idea how I first found out about the St. Mary’s Chronicles series, but has become one of my favorite series.  As in, I stop whatever I’m reading when the new book comes out just so I can read about Max.  I always think I like/love them because they are funny and they are . . . hysterically funny at times, but the can also be heartbreaking.  I feel like the characters are members of my family and I hate some of the things that happen.  Regardless, they are still funny and those are the quotes I am going to share today.

First off, Max is trying to get back in shape after a long time in convalescence. She is running around the park at St. Mary’s.

I completed one circuit, chugged back some water and, encouraged to find I was still alive, decided to give it another go.

Actually, that sounds a lot like me, although I wouldn’t have survived even one circuit.

One of the male characters is talking to Max and I can’t tell you which one due to spoilers.

He looked down at me. ‘Surely I can’t be the only person in the world who wants to murder you.’

‘God, no. Sorry to puncture your massive ego, but you’re only one of many. Half the human race is ahead of you.’

This last one is not a funny, but I have had this feeling myself.

‘Max?’

‘I’m sorry. I was thinking about Schrödinger’s Cat.’

Staggeringly, he understood.

I am always astounded when people don’t know about Schrödinger’s Cat.  It’s not that I understand quantum physics.  I don’t!  I do know about the theoretical experiment involving the cat.  After all, it is referenced in literature over and over again.  At least in the literature I read.

And that’s it.  Like always, don’t read these books out of order.  You will not understand, much less appreciate them if you try to do so.

“Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

 

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The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden, #1
Pages: 485
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date: April 24, 2012

Summary:

To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for… again.

Review:

This is my first Julie Kagawa book, but it won’t be my last. I have gotten tired of the entire Young Adult vampire genre and delayed reading this book for years. I thought to myself, been there, done that.

I was so wrong.

Kagawa brings an entirely different plot to the many, many vampire books that have saturated the market. Is there a romance? Yes, but barely and it certainly isn’t the focus of the book. Are there vampires? Yes, of course, but although she has kept many of the standard vampire themes, the world itself is completely different.

No, I’m not going to tell you how. Spoilers are not your friend. You really will have to read it for yourself.

I will share one passage that I got a kick out of. It’s almost a throwaway part, but because I know the traditional vampire tropes, it struck me as funny.

“At one point, I stepped in something soft like mud, and looked up to see the ceiling crawling with what looked like hundreds of winged mice. I didn’t mention this to Zeke as we hurried forward, though for some bizarre reason I felt a strange kinship with the tiny grotesque creatures.”

And no, she can’t turn into a bat and fly away . . . at least not in this book.

I am a high school librarian and I really only read this book so I could discuss it with my students. I never intended to read the sequels. Well, I am now. I have to know what happens to Zeke, Ally, and the rest of the characters. Some of them I want to be sure survive and others I want to make sure DIE!

I am so glad the next two books are already published. I would hate to have to wait to find out.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Filed under Paranormal, Post-apocalyptic, Young Adult

Quote-tastic Monday: Echoes in Death by J. D. Robb

in-deathI don’t read a lot of Nora Roberts, but I love her J. D. Robb “in Death” series.  I have all of the books and there are over forty of them.  They’re futuristic, murder mysteries, and some of the best romance I have read.  Roarke is to die for . . . pun intended . . . and Eve is one of the strongest, most human, female characters I know.

Anyway, the books are just good.  That sounds like faint praise, but really, it’s not.  There’s a reason they’re still going on after forty books and it’s because they’re so good.

Because these are murder mysteries, they are intense.  The dialogue can definitely give the reader a chance to breathe because it lightens things up.  In this excerpt, Roarke is telling Eve about the first wife of one of the victims.  This woman had moved to Australia after the divorce.

Roarke —

” . . . she used to purchase a sheep station in Porongurup — that’s Australia.”

Eve —

“Why do sheep need a station?  Are they catching trains?  Where are they going?  Why do they have to go there?”

Roarke —

“I imagine they find themselves herded onto trains from time to time, but a sheep station’s a ranch.”

Eve —

“They why do they call it a station?”

Roarke —

“Blame the Aussies.  In any case,” he continued before she could take him further into the weeds, . . .

I love Eve’s literal take on things.

Later on, Roarke is trying to get Eve to take a break and she refuses.

“A pick-me-up then.  Milk and cookies.”

“I’m not drinking milk.  Do you know where it comes from?”  The idea made her shudder.

“As does the cheese on the pizza you’re so fond of.”

“Entirely different. . . .”

And her logical illogic.

“Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see quote-tastic final with green borderwhat everyone else is posting about this week.

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Quote-tastic Monday: Dawn’s Early Light

“Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.quote-tastic final with green border

I am still reading The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series and I still love them.  I am on book three now and as I said in my previous post, these are great books because of the story, not the individual lines.  However, that doesn’t mean there are not some great individual lines.  The ones for today’s post exemplify the characters personalities.  And that is what makes these books so fun.  The characters have great personalities.

So without further ado . . . Quote-tastic Monday!

Wellington Books was being entirely too obtuse, a trait Eliza attributed to his gender.

A night out with a colleague, a bar brawl, and a lead. The night with Bill had not been a complete loss.  — Eliza

Around Eliza, the unexpected was rather to be expected.  —Wellington

I love them.  Of course, Wellington and Eliza are falling in love.  They just aren’t ready to admit it, even to themselves, yet.

 

dawns-early-light

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Quote-tastic Monday: One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

quote-tastic final with green border“Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup. Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

Yes, yes, I know.  It’s not Monday.  Let it go people.  I’m on Christmas break.

I have three other books that I should have already reviewed.  I had every intention of reviewing them before I STARTED ANOTHER BOOK.  So what happens?  A new Innkeeper Chronicles title is released.  All of my good intentions went the way of intentions everywhere at this time of year.  In other words, I ignored them.

I used the second book in this series for my Quote-tastic Monday back in November.  I had just discovered the series at that time and, obviously, could not wait for the third book.  It’s an amazing series.  There are aliens (of the outer space variety), vampires, werewolves, and of course, Innkeepers.  What I find funny with this post though is that the two quotes I highlighted to use both deal with Dina’s relationship with her sister Maud.  There are lots of exciting things happening in the book:  alien invaders, interstellar travel, things blowing up, and romance.  But what struck me was the sisters.  So, here goes,

Maud is in the beginning of a relationship with a vampire warrior.  Did I mention the vampires are from another planet too?  Anyway, they are having a difference of opinion and he has done something particularly stupid.

My sister did that narrow thing with her eyes that used to make me run yelling for Mom . . .

And yes, he survives.

Later, Maud and Dina are talking about Christmas presents and Dina wants to know what Maud is getting her.

“I’m not going to tell you and I won’t let you snoop either.  You were always a terrible sneak, Dina.”

“That’s a lie.  I’m an excellent sneak.”

I love it!  The only problem with this series is that there are only three books.  This is definitely one that I could binge read.  I highly recommend them.  As you can tell, I think they are wonderful.

one-fell-sweep

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Quotetastic Monday: Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

“Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup. Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

Sweep in Peace is the second book in a new-to-me series by Ilona Andrews.  The title of the series is Innkeeper Chronicles and if that doesn’t sound very exciting, it’s because you don’t understand about Innkeepers.  They are very powerful, at least while they are in their Inns.  And yes, I capitalized that on purpose.  The Inns are sentient or very close to it.

I read the first two books in the series in less than 48 hours.  Was I supposed to be getting other stuff done?  Of course.  Was I supposed to be reading another book?  Of course.  It didn’t matter.  These books are just so good that I couldn’t resist them.

I am a long time fan of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series and I think these may even be better.  The only problem is that there are only two books published right now.  Book three, One Fell Sweep, is due out December 20th.  It has been serialized on her website, but I would rather wait for the published book just in case there are differences.

It’s hard to state with certainty about the genre of this series.  They are definitely science fiction, but the science appears to be magic in our world.  This is not a quote (simply because I am too lazy to look it up right now), but Dina does mention the fact that advanced technology on one world would appear to be magic on another.

Anyway, a quote since this is supposed to be a Quotetastic Monday post.

There were few universal principles in this world. That most water-based lifeforms drank tea was one. That we

fear what we cannot see was the other.

Need I mention that tea features rather prominently in these books?  And there are a lot of things to fear that are just out of our sight?

quote-tastic final with green bordersweep

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