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review 2019-01-07 17:26
"Shards Of Honour - Vorkosigan Saga #1" by Lois McMaster Bujold - Wonderful
Shards of Honour - Lois McMaster Bujold
 

"Shards Of Honour" is Science Fiction at its best, using the conflict between two cultures and the attraction between two strong, independent, action-oriented leaders both to tell an exciting tale and to spark insights into the nature of power, honour, personal courage, leadership and personal and institutional evil.

 

"Shards Of Honour" doesn't have a particularly strong plot. The story is linear and mostly unsurprising. On the surface, this seems to be a love-on-the-battlefield meets culture clash between a hierarchical male-dominated militaristic culture and a less obviously hierarchical, more sexually egalitarian, science and commerce based culture. If it had been a "Star Trek" episode it would have been cheesy but fun.

 

Two things lift "Shards of Honour" beyond level of cheesy romantic space romp and make it into science fiction that continues to be relevant and challenging.

 

The first is that the two characters at the heart of the story are richly drawn. They both decline to be what others expect them to be. They both struggle to define and do the honourable thing. They both succeed in being both lionised and rejected by their home cultures and neither of them defaults to the simplest understanding of an individual or the circumstances that drive their behaviour.

 

Cordelia Naismith is calm, courageous, resourceful, leans heavily on humour to keep threats at a manageable distance and driven almost entirely by her values and her curiosity.

 

Aral Vorkosigan is a born strategist, prone to both anger and violence but who seeks to control both in the name of honour. He serves loyally but not uncritically and he leads because he cannot help it.

 

The second is the depth of political and moral thought in the novel. "Shards Of Honour" was published in 1986 but the political commentary is perhaps even more relevant now than it was in those, in retrospect, optimistic times.

 

The need for personal honour is shown by its lack in a sadistic senior officer who uses his power over women prisoners to break them for his pleasure using rape and torture. After an up close and very personal encounter with this man, Cordelia describes him as "the ultimate in evil".

 

I agreed with her but Aral, the strategist, the man who commands fleets of warships sees a greater evil. He describes the sadistic rapist as:

"...just a little villain. An old-fashioned craftsman making crimes one-off. The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green-silk rooms who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust or anger or desire or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present, they are real."

In this time of Brexit, we need reminders that the now is real and the future just an imagined thing we ask others to sacrifice themselves to protect.

 

In this time of Trump, this quote resonated with me:

"A Caligula or a Yuri Vorbarra can rule a long time while the best men hesitate to do what is necessary to stop him and the worst ones take advantage."

In another lesson that seems more relevant than ever today, we are shown how we create false but appealing narratives to feed our own desires. At one point, her own people hail Cordelia as a hero and attribute actions and attributes to her that she knows to be false. I was fascinated by the explanation of Cordelia's inability to get the truth across. Again it seems relevant to today's politics. Cordelia, being carried on the shoulders of an excited crowd says:

"It's not true. Stop this."

 

It was like trying to turn back the tide with a teacup. The story had too much innate appeal to the battered prisoners, too much wish-fulfilment come to life. They took it in like balm for their wounded spirits and made it their own vicarious revenge. The story was passed around elaborated, built up, sea changed, until within twenty-four hours it was as rich and unkillable as legend. After a few days, she gave up trying. The truth was too complicated and ambiguous to appeal to them..."


To my mild embarrassment, as someone who has been an avid reader of Science fiction for nearly fifty years, I failed to notice Lois McMaster Bujold until 2017 when a number of people recommended her to me and her "Vorkosigan Saga" won a Hugo for Best Series.

 

I bought "Shards of Honour", the first book in the series, and then let it sit on my TBR pile for seventeen months. I've only picked up now because I set myself a"Thirty Firsts TBR Challenge". Now that I've finally read it, I'm kicking myself for my inattention.

 

Lois McMaster Bujold is now on my "read everything she's ever written" list. I'll start with the rest of the Vorkosigan Saga and go from there.

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text 2019-01-05 11:00
Book Tour & Giveaway with Guest Post! The Prospero Chronicles by Fiona J.R. Titchenell!

 

 

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/

 


Welcome Readers! I glad you could join us, so let’s give a great big welcome to Fiona J.R. Tithenell who’s here today to tell us about The Prospero Chronicles and to give us some insight into what she edited out of the newest release – Stitches! Enjoy and don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOKS

 

 

Splinters
The Prospero Chronicles Book 1
by Fiona J.R. Titchenell & Matt Carter
Genre: YA Horror, SciFi

 

Under normal circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other. He’s an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal; she’s a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small Northern California town of Prospero, with its rich history of cryptid sightings, miracles, and mysterious disappearances, has no normal circumstances to offer.

 

When Ben’s missing childhood friend, Haley Perkins, stumbles out of Prospero’s surrounding woods and right into her own funeral, Ben and Mina are forced to work together to uncover what happened to her. Different as they are, their unlikely friendship may be the only thing that can save the town, and possibly the world, from its insidious invaders.


“A snapping, crackling, popping homage to classic horror.” —Kirkus Reviews.

“Whip-smart dialogue... genuinely terrifying Splinters, the descriptions of which will have fans of monster films utterly enthralled... A promising series opener, this will satisfy those readers who like their scary stories to be as clever as they are chilling." —KQG, the Bulletin of The Center for Children's Books.

 

“The stakes are high. The action is intense." —Washington Independent Review of Books.

 

**********

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34202787-splinters

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/splinters-the-prospero-chronicles-book-1-by-fiona-j-r-titchenell-and-matt-carter

 

Riffle - https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1031668

 

GBooks - https://books.google.com/books?id=r5HbDgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=fiona+J.R.+Titchenell+Splinters&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWju_-kczfAhUICawKHRSBBaYQ6AEIKjAA

 


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 


Shards
The Prospero Chronicles Book 2

 

When autumn descends on Prospero, California, Ben hopes the normality of the new school year may offer a reprieve from the town’s paranormal horrors. Mina knows all too well that there are no reprieves and no normality to be had in Prospero, but even she can’t prepare for what the coming year holds.

 

On top of the vivid hallucinations that have plagued Mina since the attack on the Warehouse, and the brewing Splinter civil war that threatens all of humanity, inside the walls of Prospero High, Ben, Mina, and their expanding Network face a vicious campaign to destroy their friendship, and a mysterious assassin picking off human rebels – an assassin with powers like no Splinter they’ve fought before.

 

Ben and Mina’s one hope rests with a mysterious old man hiding in the woods outside of town; a living legend who may be able to teach them how to fight this dangerous new breed of Splinter. That is, assuming he doesn’t kill the pair of them himself.


“Titchenell and Carter hold nothing back in this solid sequel that thrills and expands on its predecessor. Aided by swift writing, relatable characters and unexpected scares, Shards is a chill-inducing delight.” —David Powers King, co-author of Woven.

 

“Maintaining the same level of popcorn-munching fun, Titchenell and Carter are taking The Prospero Chronicles in a promising direction.” —Joe Dell'Erb, Washington Independent Review of Books.


**********

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34202828-shards

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/shards-by-fiona-j-r-titchenell-and-matt-carter

 

Riffle - https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1031669

 

GBooks - https://books.google.com/books?id=ZZHbDgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=fiona+J.R.+Titchenell+Splinters&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWju_-kczfAhUICawKHRSBBaYQ6AEIMTAB

 

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Slivers
The Prospero Chronicles Book 3


Ben

Growing up is hard, and growing up in Prospero is even harder, but I think we manage. I mean, yeah, my friends and I spend more of our time fighting a race of shapeshifting aliens than we do hanging out, but we have our fun. We go to parties, help each other with our classes, maybe even fall in love… 

 

I’ve no illusions that we live ordinary lives, but they’re our lives, and I’m going to make sure we make the most of them whether the Splinters want us to or not.

 

Mina

The truce is temporary. We will not humor the Splinters forever. It's only until the Slivers can be stopped, until the army of Shards being planted among our classmates can be disassembled, until we get our hands on the thing I'd almost given up believing in.

 

The humanity test.

For the chance to know, once and for all, who can be trusted, some dealings with monsters must be excusable. Inevitable. Just like this feeling between Ben and me.

 

And that has to be temporary too.


**********

 


Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34202866-slivers

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/slivers-by-fiona-j-r-titchenell

 

Riffle - https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1031670

 

GBooks - https://books.google.com/books?id=ipHbDgAAQBAJ&pg=PT1&dq=fiona+J.R.+Titchenell+Splinters&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWju_-kczfAhUICawKHRSBBaYQ6AEIODAC

 


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 


Stitches
The Prospero Chronicles Book 4
by Fiona J.R. Titchenell

 

This is Prospero’s darkest hour. The few remaining humans trapped within the quarantine zone are all but defenseless against the multiplying forces of the Sliver Queen, Locusta. With Ben missing, Aldo among the enemy ranks, and more steel plates than bones left in her body, Mina’s passing the hours drowning in morphine and throwing heavy objects at her guards. 

 

Stripped of her weapons, her gadgets, and the Network itself, she has just one card left, hidden somewhere under her oft-sutured skin. It might be powerful enough to complete her life’s work once and for all… or to reach the one person who could make her life into more than a means to an end. But playing it will cost everything she has, or everything she believes in.

 

The final chronicle of Prospero waits in these pages.


**********

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42648857-stitches

 

Riffle - https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1031671

 

GBooks - https://books.google.com/books?id=0aF2DwAAQBAJ&pg=PT2&dq=fiona+J.R.+Titchenell+Splinters&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWju_-kczfAhUICawKHRSBBaYQ6AEISzAF

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

AVAILABLE in print or ebook

 

 

~Splinters~
**ebook only 99 cents!!**

 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Splinters-Prospero-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B06XS6GS3M

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/splinters/id1203794781

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/splinters-f-j-r-titchenell/1120684596

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Matt_Carter_Splinters?id=r5HbDgAAQBAJ

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/splinters-16

 

Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/701694

 


**********


~Shards~

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XTJMJPX

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shards/id1204969454

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shards-f-j-r-titchenell/1121794901

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=ZZHbDgAAQBAJ

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/shards-22

 

Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/702706

 

 

**********

 

~Slivers~

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072336BCM

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/slivers/id1204972231

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/slivers-fjr-titchenell/1125775358

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Matt_Carter_Slivers?id=ipHbDgAAQBAJ

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/slivers-1

 

Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/702709

 


**********

 

 

~Stitches~


Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K7JRHKY

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/stitches/id1441378706

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stitches-fiona-jr-titchenell/1129822462

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Fiona_J_R_Titchenell_Stitches?id=0aF2DwAAQBAJ

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stitches-17

 

Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/905216

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Welcome Fiona! I am glad you could join us today to tell readers about The Prospero Chronicles. Are you ready to share what you edited out of the final chronicle?

 

 

**********

 

What did you edit out of this book?

 

Stitches probably had the biggest transformation from inception to final draft of any project I’ve ever worked on. I mean, it was originally going to be two books with two authors, so yeah, the cutting room floor got pretty crowded.

 

Maybe I should start at the beginning. My husband-slash-coauthor and I originally plotted out The Prospero Chronicles as a five part series. We signed it with a small publisher who only offered a contract for the first three books, with an option for more at their discretion. Determined but inexperienced authors that we were at the time, we decided we’d face that hurdle when we came to it and proceeded to write the first three books exactly as we’d planned them, with a massive cliffhanger at the end of the third.

 

Well, it turned out not to matter whether the publisher would have wanted books four and five after all, because we split with them shortly before the planned release of book three. The veritable soap opera that led up to the schism could fill more than a few blog posts, full of fishy accounting, name-calling, blame-shifting, unanswered emails, and broken promises, but long story short, the series went dormant for a long time while the rights to the characters were in limbo.

We moved on to other projects. Landed other contracts. Various exciting things happened.

Eventually, our superhero of an agent won back the rights and gave us the go-ahead to republish and finish the series independently. We created our own editions of Splinters and Shards and published the already-written Slivers, but then we had to talk about the finishing part.

 

We tried. We refined our outlines. We tried again. Matt’s heart just wasn’t in it. He’d grown apart from the characters, become attached to new ones in other worlds, and the publishing battle had left a sour taste in his mouth.

 

I, on the other hand, couldn’t let it go. Not the way we’d left it.

We agreed to condense the two planned books into one goliath of a book that would still have been quicker to finish, and Matt tried once more. He tried because he knew what it meant to me, but as any writer knows, if you can’t get excited about your own story, you’ll never excite anyone else with it. All the good intentions in the world couldn’t reignite that spark.

 

So we agreed that I would do it alone. That meant another replotting, to trim the ending down further and gear it more toward my solo strengths.

Things that got pruned in the course of all that include but are not limited to:

Almost an entire book’s worth of Mina and her father globetrotting in search of the Splinters’ weakness.

 

A whole lot of a freshly traumatized Ben trying to figure out how to run a resistance in an occupied town without her.

 

Half a book with the perspective divided three ways instead of two, following a third character’s efforts to stay undercover among the villains.

 

A quest to kill a hive of weaponized parasites.

A mercenary who could turn people to stone.

Two deaths scenes for characters who ended up surviving.
An ending for a character who ended up dying instead.

 

Ultimately, I think the result was a much tighter, punchier finale than we would have had otherwise, but there were some threads that didn’t end up going quite where they were expected to. I actually got as far as approving the cover art for Stitches, found myself staring at this beautifully creepy image of what was supposed to be the big bad of the whole series, and realized that her part of the story had been almost completely sidelined.

 

That meant another round of heavy reworking, to give her more time on the scene instead of just behind it, and a closer relationship with the heroes. The trouble was, we’d already set her up to be so dangerous that it was seriously difficult to put her in a room with anyone and justify how they would walk away alive. Matt was still consulting and editing for the series, so I went to him and said, “I need a power loader scene.”

 

Because when in doubt, invoke the glory of Sigourney Weaver.

What we came up with didn’t look much like a power loader scene, but it was exactly what was needed to give the final confrontation the proper significance, and it became one of the stranger action scenes in a series full of gooey shapeshifter battles, so I’m really excited to share it.


********

 

Wow! That is fascinating! What do you think, readers?

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

$20 Amazon, An ebook copy of Some Side Effects May Occur by Fiona J.R. Titchenell


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/the-prospero-chronicles-book-tour-and-giveaway

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

F.J.R. TITCHENELL is an author of young adult, sci-fi, and horror fiction, including Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of). She graduated from Cal State University Los Angeles with a B. A. in English in 2009 at the age of twenty. She currently lives in San Gabriel, California, with her husband, coauthor, and amazing partner in all things, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.



Blog - https://fjrtitchenell.weebly.com/

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FjrTitchenell

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/FJR_Titchenell

 

Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/FJRTitchenell

 

Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/FionaJRTitchenellAndMattCarter

 

Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4384865.F_J_R_Titchenell

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


https://www.silverdaggertours.com/

 

 

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review 2018-11-17 23:27
Mary Sue's derivative adventure
Time Shards - Dana Fredsti,David Fitzgerald

I came across this book while perusing the shelves at my local library. It was the title that caught my attention; the word "time" on any book shelved in the science fiction section will always attract my interest. After giving it a quick scan, I decided to give it a try.

 

Two hours later, I find myself wondering what better use I might have made of that time.

 

To be fair, Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald's book isn't the worst book that I've ever read. It is, however, incredibly derivative, tossing together elements from two or three different (and better) sci-fi novels and rushing the reader through with nonstop action in the hope that if the pacing is fast enough said reader won't ask too many questions. Given the dual authors, this is probably the first book I have ever read with a Mary Sue and a Gary Stu in it, the latter of which isn't well disguised by the clumsy red herring thrown into the narrative. The whole thing ends up feeling like a treatment for a movie made for the SyFy channel, with every plot point hitting its sadly predictable beat. The closer I got to the end, the more I found myself thinking, "Please don't be the first book in a series. Please don't be the first book in a series. please don't be the first book in a series."

Then I got to the end and, sure enough, it's the first book in a series.

 

Oh, well, at least it proved a quick read.

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review 2018-10-23 21:55
Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh
Shards of Hope (Psy/Changeling) - Nalini Singh

Really good. It's one of the longest if not the longest psy-changeling novel but I still wanted more. The way the Arrows started to build their society was so fascinating and I liked how all these different groups were trying to work together. There were old characters and amazing new ones and while some of the old villains were still lurking around they had a terrifying new foe, who wasn't picky while choosing its targets.
This is definitely my favourite paranormal series.

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review 2017-10-17 07:46
OK fourth and final part of the series
Shards of a Broken Crown - Raymond E. Feist

Having read the first three books in this series, it only seemed appropriate to finish it. Like the previous volume, this novel is basically a lot of battles as a new foe takes on the forces of the Kingdom. The war takes place in a number of locations and involves all the main characters, focussing mainly on Jimmy and Dash, who both acquire new and exciting roles by the end of the book.

I could have done with more non-fighting plot but this book is OK as it stands.

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