Category Archives: Science Fiction

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.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemporary, Realistic, Science Fiction

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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemporary, Humor, Science Fiction

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.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction

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

1 Comment

Filed under Historical, Humor, Science Fiction, Steampunk

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

2 Comments

Filed under Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction

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

3 Comments

Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Science Fiction

Quote-tastic Monday: Thirst (Energy Vampires, #1) by Jacquelyn Frank & REVIEW

Thirst (The Energy Vampires #1)
Thirst by Jacquelyn Frank

SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!

 

 

Title: Thirst by Jacquelyn Frank

Series:  The Energy Vampires, #1

Pages:  np (It took me about three hours to read.)

Publisher:  Loveswept

Date:  January 17, 2017
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Summary:

A hidden society of vampires—and the humans they love—are at the heart of this opening novel in a biting, all-original series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightwalkers saga.

Rafe DaSilva is an energy vampire, soaking up nourishment from the sun—and, only when necessary, drawing sweet sustenance from humans who are pure in body and spirit. As the right-hand man to his queen, Rafe is a key player at a historic peace summit in New York City, which will unite the vampire nations against a common threat: the sycophants, who feed on humanity and kill indiscriminately. But Rafe’s fascination with a beautiful blond police detective may put everything at risk.

Detective Renee Holden has never worked a homicide quite like this. The victim has twin puncture wounds on his neck, and the only eyewitness swears she saw a vampire. Now’s definitely not the time to get distracted by a seductive stranger. But the suave, darkly austere, exotically handsome Rafe DaSilva is a hard man to deny, and as Renee falls under his spell, she also falls prey to his enemies. Desperate to protect her, Rafe lifts the veil on a shadow realm she can only visit—a world of intoxicating power, terrifying dangers, and forbidden pleasures.

Review:

Okay, I am combining the review for this book with my regular Quote-tastic Monday post because I cannot bear the idea of having to think about it twice . . . and that should tell you my opinion if the one star does not. I am not sure I have ever given one star to a book and I know I have never given it to a book written by an author I normally like.

My very favorite book by Jacquelyn Frank is Jacob which may have been her first published book. It had an interesting, unique to me, premise of demons in our world and their interactions with humans. AND it was funny. I love funny books.

Thirst is not funny, at all. It also has a unique to me paranormal species: energy vampires. And if that name isn’t bad enough they are referred to as e-vampires. I don’t know why that bothered me so much, but it did. Anyway, they don’t drink blood, they draw energy from their “resources” by biting them on the back of the neck.

Oh yeah, good vampires only feed from good resources. A good resource is someone who lives clean, as in eats healthy, exercises, doesn’t smoke, or do drugs. The reader gets an entire section on organic food just to make it clear how important a clean resource is to a good vampire.

Obviously, bad vampires only eat from the rest of us and it makes them evil.

I can’t even say anymore about that.

As you can tell, I didn’t like the book from the beginning and it never improved. If I hadn’t promised to review it for NetGalley, I would have never finished it. And it got worse. I’ve never had the occasion to use the phrased “jumped the shark,” but now I can.

At the very end, where Rafe is explaining where e-vampires (cringe, cringe) come from, he states that they are actually descendants of aliens whose spaceship was struck by lightning over 500 years ago.

Really? REALLY!!??

Please do not waste your time with this book. Read her Nightwalker series instead. It’s wonderful. This one just isn’t.

Okay, a quote.

Renee, who is a homicide detective, has a chance to infiltrate the bad e-vampires and Rafe thinks it is too dangerous. He has told her that he will not allow it and she reacts as expected . . . badly.

Rafe realized he was going about this all wrong. She was an intelligent woman. He had to appeal to her intellect. And the more he told her what she couldn’t do, the more she would want to do it just to spite him.

Because all intelligent women do things just to spite their lovers. -sigh-

I’m done. So done.

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

View all my reviews

“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

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction

Quote-tastic Monday: Creepy Babies

Sorry I missed last week.  I was at DragonCon in Atlanta and that had priority over everything else.  I will say I got to see Patricia Briggs of Mercy Thompson fame and I caught myself wanting to stay in the room re-reading her books instead of going to panels.  Fortunately, there were a lot of lines to wait in, so I still had time to read.

This week’s quote is from the new Eve Dallas book by J. D. Robb:  Apprentice in Death.  I love Eve and Roarke and it’s hard to believe this is book forty-three.  I don’t know if that includes the novellas she has also released or not, but that is one prolific author.

Anyway, Eve is investigating the murder of an OB/GYN and he has numerous photos in his home of babies he has delivered.  Eve’s reaction is definitely not “Awww.  How sweet.”

Many of the babies — the really fresh ones — struck her as creepy.  They either looked like fish, or really pissed-off alien life-forms.

You know, she has a point.

I finished the book in three days and it only took that long because I had to work.  I cannot wait for retirement!

quote-tastic final with green border28186363

Leave a comment

Filed under Mystery, Science Fiction

Shadows of the Stone Benders (Anlon Cully Chronicles, #1) by K. Patrick Donoghue

Shadows of the Stone Benders (The Anlon Cully Chronicles, #1)Shadows of the Stone Benders by K. Patrick Donoghue
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Title: Shadows of the Stone Benders
Author: K. Patrick Donoghue
Series: Anlon Cully Chronicles, #1
Pages: 316
Publisher: Leaping Leopard Enterprises
Date: May 14, 2016

Summary:

World-renowned scientist Anlon Cully is unexpectedly swept into the thick of a suspense-riddled adventure when his archaeologist uncle, Devlin Wilson, dies under suspicious circumstances.

Prior to his “accidental” fall off a New Hampshire mountain trail, Devlin made the discovery of a lifetime – unearthing undeniable proof that a technologically advanced society thrived on Earth long before archaeologists thought possible!

The key to this shocking evidence lies in a set of mysterious stones forged by a long forgotten race of ancient mariners. Instilled with formidable powers to build, communicate, fight and heal, the stones draw the ruthless attention of villainous thieves hell bent on their acquisition by any means possible…including murder.

Aided by friend Pebbles McCarver and police detective Jennifer Stevens, Anlon follows traces of bewildering clues left by his uncle in a dangerous chase to unravel the stones’ secrets before the killer strikes again and escapes with the priceless artifacts.

Peppered with the thought provoking intrigue of a Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child thriller, Shadows of the Stone Benders leaves readers questioning the technological prowess of modern man and the belief that Neolithic humans were nothing more than unsophisticated cave dwellers.

Review:

This is a hard one to review. I really liked the plot. It was out there, but this is a science fiction novel, so out there is good. There is a romance, but it is definitely a subplot – important, but not critical to the story line.

This is the first book in the series, so I was concerned there might be a cliffhanger ending. I hate cliffhangers, but no, the author does an excellent job of bringing everything together while leaving room for the next book.

So, why did I give it only two stars.

It was the over-the-top dialogue. The personalities of the characters were established and then the author would have them react in this dramatic fashion. Not just once, but throughout the book.

For example, one of the characters, Eleanor/Pebbles, has just figured out something about the black stone. Now, she and Jennifer, a police detective, have just met. Jennifer’s response is “Way to go Eleanor!” shouted Jennifer. She shouted, not stated, not exclaimed, but shouted. It just didn’t fit the personality that had already been established for Jennifer.

Later on, Jennifer has been interviewing a bank president. He is Asian and she is knowledgeable enough to know how to address him properly and respect his culture. However, at the end of the interview, when he has given her some much needed information, she says, “Min-Jun, you da man!”

This is to an older Asian gentleman!

And it goes on. It’s not just Jennifer’s part either. The same thing happens with Pebbles and to a certain extent with Anlon – the male lead.

I couldn’t get past it.

The plot is good. Without the dialogue issues, I would have probably given this book a 3.5 at least. I do know this is a debut novel, so surely the author will get better. I just don’t know that I’m willing to give him another chance.

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

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemporary, Mystery, Science Fiction