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review 2019-01-15 13:56
Book Blitz: Flygirl by R.D. Kardon with Giveaway

Flygirl
R.D. Kardon
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: January 3rd 2019
Genres: Adult Fiction

 

It’s 1997. Women stand beside men in combat and fly fighter jets. Pilot Tris Miles is not content with her job as a First Officer for tiny Clear Sky Airlines. She wants to be a Captain—the only way she knows to prove her worth as a pilot and atone for a deadly mistake.

 

To further her career, Tris accepts a prestigious job with Tetrix, Inc. But her dream of becoming pilot-in-command twists into a nightmare.

 

As the company’s first woman pilot, she encounters resistance, marginalization and harassment on a daily basis. Fortunately Tris has one thing her co-workers can’t deny—skill.

 

When Tris finds herself in a crippled airplane thousands of miles from home she must prove she can lead. With her career on the line, can Tris earn the respect she’s been craving? And if this is the end, can she find the strength to forgive herself?

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

 

EXCERPT

 

TRIS LOST ALL visibility as the airplane pierced a thick slab of fog. She slid her focus from the miasma outside the cockpit window to the flight instruments in front of her. They were her eyesight now. She trusted them. They told the truth.

 

She scanned the gauges and smiled. Tris heard their silent language; woman and machine entwined in the exceptional conversation of flight.

 

“Clear Sky Two-Five-One, cleared for the approach,” the Columbus, Ohio approach controller announced over a scratchy connection. Tris nodded to Captain Danny Terry, sitting two feet away in the left seat. His jaw clenched as he worked the radios on their last flight of the day.

 

“Gear down,” Tris commanded.

 

The landing gear groaned and clicked as they lowered into position. Locked on final approach, the turboprop glided toward the runway, a concrete slab somewhere below them. Its twin engines spun in sync on the airplane’s wings. Tris monitored every bump and twitch of the plane. She answered each with a tap of the controls.

 

Tris nudged the yoke to bank the airplane left, the plastic coated steering column cool beneath her hands. She thought of all the ways pilots measure movement: degrees of heading, feet of altitude, ticks of the clock. Always counting up, down, until the next critical moment. As Clear Sky 251 slid toward the ground, Tris counted down.

 

Then she saw the flash. Just for a second, an amber warning light flickered.

 

“Danny, check the gauges. We had a caution.”

 

“Five hundred,” the airplane’s synthesized altitude alert announced. Tris checked the altimeter. So close to the ground and they still had zero visibility through the late-summer glare.

 

“I don’t know,” Danny said as he scanned the gauges. “Wait. It’s the oil pressure on number one. The needle’s going crazy. It could be nothing, just a blip.”

 

Or the number one engine could be about to fail.

 

“Ok.” She’d need full power on both engines to climb if they couldn’t land—and she might not have it.

 

“Nothing in sight.” Danny squirmed forward in his seat to catch the first glimpse of runway lights. His breath grew more labored with every foot of altitude they lost. He wouldn’t see the runway until the very last second, if at all—right when Tris would decide to land the plane or thrust it back up into the soup.

 

“Roger.” Tris stayed focused and in control. As seconds passed, the plane slid lower, lower, in a stable descent. The only sounds were the whir of spinning dials, the click of needles, the white noise of flight. Tris eyed the altimeter, her hands soft but firm on the power levers.

 

Danny’s hand twitched behind hers; a backup. He strained to see the runway. Decision time loomed a few feet away.

 

The caution light blinked again. Tris had to keep her eyes on the navigation gauges. The closer the airplane got to the ground, the more sensitive those indicators became. If she strayed off course, even a little, she’d lose all guidance and have to climb, or else there was no telling where they’d hit the ground.

 

She felt Danny’s hands move closer to the controls, protecting them in case she faltered.

 

She didn’t. Tris saw the runway, dead ahead.

 

“I’ve got it,” Danny said quickly as he keyed the mike. “Columbus Tower, Clear Sky Two-Five-One, runway in sight.”

 

“Roger, Clear Sky Two-Five-One, Runway Two-Four, cleared to land, wind two-five-zero at three knots.”

 

“Landing,” Tris said. She looked outside, blinked to focus, and kept the plane moving straight along the runway centerline, edging toward the earth. The altimeter registered field elevation just as the plane’s rear wheels softly touched the ground.

 

Author Bio

 

Robin "R.D." Kardon had a twelve-year flying career as a corporate and airline pilot. She holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and three Captain qualifications. Her travels took her all over the world in every type of airplane from small single-engine Cessnas to the Boeing 737. Robin earned her B.A. in Journalism and Sociology from NYU and J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law. A native New Yorker, Robin now lives in San Diego, California with her beloved rescue pets.

 

"Flygirl," a work of fiction inspired by her own aviation experience, is her first novel.

 

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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review 2018-12-28 16:38
Game Slaves by Gard Skinner
Game Slaves - Gard Skinner

My copy of this is an ARC that I picked up at a conference four years ago. Yes, it took me this long to finally read it. Because it's an ARC, I won't be quoting from it.

Phoenix and his team spend their work days fighting battle after battle. Each time they die, they're regenerated. That's because they aren't people - they're the NPC enemies that human gamers try to defeat. The only difference between one day and the next is what game they're in. When Dakota, a new member, is added to Phoenix's team, things gradually start to fall apart.

Dakota won't stop asking questions. She has what she thinks are memories of a life prior to being in the game. Doesn't that mean she, and all of them, are really human? Doesn't that mean there's a life she could get back to? Phoenix tries to ignore her and concentrate on being the biggest, baddest opponent gamers have ever fought against, but then things start happening that even he can't explain away.

I went into this thinking it'd work reasonably well for me. I like "stuck in a video game" stories, and this seemed somewhat in the same vein. Unfortunately, I disliked Phoenix, who I assume was written to primarily appeal to male gamers. His idea of a good life was battles, good weapons, and Mi, his only female teammate prior to Dakota's arrival, tucked under his arm when she wasn't pulling off an impressive number of headshots. Although Dakota annoyed him, he gave her living quarters closer to his because he thought she was hot...which was weird since he acknowledged that all women in his game world were hot.

I spent a good chunk of the book thinking Dakota would have made a better POV character, but I doubt that would have made me like this book any better. She annoyed me almost as much as she annoyed Phoenix. But at least she was less passive than Phoenix, who was aware that things were going on around him that he knew nothing about but who did nothing to learn more about those things.

For a book that contained cannibals and a Mad Max-style dystopian wasteland, this was surprisingly boring. The pacing was really bad, and none of the characters felt like actual people. Part of the latter could have been due to Phoenix's POV. Mi, for example, came across as his token girlfriend. Why were the two of them together? She seemed more inclined to question things than him, and there were hints that she had thoughts and emotions he hadn't even tried to find out about. And yet the two of them stayed together. The only explanation I could think of was that Phoenix was team leader, and as team leader he was required to have a girlfriend. Which was...depressing.

The book's ending was garbage, a last-ditch effort to mess with readers. The result was hugely unsatisfying. Phoenix's shock and horror didn't exactly do much for my opinion of his intelligence, either. The ending he'd been about to have was filled with great big gaping plot holes (not to mention a stunning display of selfishness and wastefulness, but that's a whole other issue). It shouldn't have required dragging him over and rubbing his nose in them for him to see them.

Extras:

I don't know if these made it into the final book, but the ARC came with a few illustrations and stats for Phoenix and his teammates.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-12-06 17:51
‘The Liar’s Room’ fell flat for me; intriguing premise but set in just one room and animal abuse that I couldn’t get past
The Liar's Room - Simon Lelic

The concept of this book is intriguing: two people are ’stuck’ inside a room until the truth comes out. It reads much like the basis for the plot of the horror movie series ’Saw’ or how it would be to be stuck in a nightmarish panic room.

But in the case of ’The Liar’s Room,’ a dangerous client is keeping a therapist in her office, forcing the truth to come out about her dead son, and has let her know that he is holding her daughter hostage somewhere until she divulges everything.

 

It is extremely rare for me to give up on a book for content, style, pace, just about anything. But I'm afraid to say that this one has broken my streak of finishing books because I do believe I should give them a chance right through until the end. But someone mentioned recently to stop reading a book if you're truly not enjoying it, and I got to a point in this one where I honestly was not enjoying it anymore.

 

What absolutely did it for me was abuse to an animal (a cat) and this followed a fair amount of obscene language that I felt was over the top and ’reaching’ just a bit. I'm not a prude, or naïve by any means, and I'm not scared away by much (I actually read a lot of horror writing), but it felt like this was used as a plot device for shock value and didn't serve enough as part of the storyline. Additionally, the detail, since it was being explained as something being looked back on, was unnecessary and the situation that this happened within was feeling like a continued stretch to me.

I was already having trouble staying with the story going from the therapist office (a static location) to lengthy descriptions of what happened in the past. It wasn't holding my interest how I hoped it would.

 

I hate that I couldn't continue with this but once I got to that point in the book, I had that nasty image in my head and it wouldn't disappear. I can handle just about any horror movie, all the blood and guts, I'm not afraid of heights, needles, snakes, nothing. But don't give me animal abuse.

 

I absolutely want to read Simon Lelic’s other books though; I have several on my TBR list. I'm actually a big fan of psychological thrillers.

This one, however, was not for me.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/37961294-the-liar-s-room
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text 2018-10-07 22:17
Possible Halloween Bingo read
The Sandman's Eyes - Patricia Windsor

I'm doing this massive work project to add subject headings to records that don't have any, concentrating on our children's and young adult stuff (1,315 to go!), since the most knowledgeable staff member in that area is planning on retiring in a year.

 

As a result, I keep stumbling across things that look interesting. This might become one of my Halloween Bingo reads - a book about an 17 or 18-year-old who was sent to a mental institution ("school for disturbed juveniles"?) after a girl's murder. It sounds like most of his small town believes he committed the murder, and only his grandfather believes him when he says he witnessed it.

 

The 1985 Kirkus review for this says the ending is melodramatic, but I feel like a lot of 1980s and 1990s YA thrillers and mysteries had at least a little melodrama. Look at Killing Mr. Griffin (okay, it was published in 1978), which ended with a maniacal villain attempting to burn the heroine alive in her own home. And, like, all of Christopher Pike's earlier works. (Now I kind of wish I had another Christopher Pike book on hand. I don't know that an ILL request would get me one fast enough to read it before the end of Halloween Bingo, though.)

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review 2018-08-23 17:00
'Lies' is an addictive read, one with a family man as the lead character, a much-needed different perspective in this saturated genre
Lies - T.M. Logan

This was a hard one to put down, I'll be honest, even if I didn't rush to pick it up because of it being yet another psychological thriller in my hands. Immediately though, the story of Joe Lynch, English teacher, and devoted father and husband, drew me in very quickly.

 

Joe's drive home one evening with his 4-year old son William, takes a nasty turn and sets the whole book's plot in motion, when he sees his wife's car pulling into a hotel parking lot. It seems his wife Mel is meeting with another man and hiding behind a web of lies, and soon enough, Joe is pulled into a game of 'cat-and-mouse' with this man that is set to destroy everything he knows and loves.

 

From the very beginning this is an addictive read, with the action and twists never letting up from page one until the book ends, something that is vital for a successful psychological thriller. Since this is such a saturated genre (hence my earlier comment, not that I'm actually really complaining about so many thrillers), it's necessary to bring something fresh to the table.

 

Debut author T.M. Logan does several things to make this book different from the 'rest of the pack'. Perhaps drawing from what he knows best, Logan gives us a male lead over the stereotypical and usual neurotic and crazed young single female. Not only is our protagonist a family man he's deeply committed to nurturing his preschooler, is deeply aware of his environment, but he has a 'humble' teaching job and lets his wife take the job lead in the household, not minding that his wife is pursuing her career ambitions. Joe is the one who is the parenting heavyweight, and it really made a change to see this, and also write his character in a way that didn't seem contrived. 

A few other things that I appreciated: not having yet another thriller with alternating perspectives or voices (this has been done to death lately), especially since I'd like to focus on one unreliable narrator at a time. Writing one voice at a time is often the best way to dig into the mind of a character and this is where 'Lies' is successful'; Logan really gets us into the mind of Joe so well that it's hard to get out of it. No wonder his character gets so little sleep (like myself).

Technology, like computers and cell phones, plays a vital role in this novel, and the way it's used is done so cleverly that, like all books written in this day and age, makes it especially current, and since these things permeate all our lives, there's no wonder they're good fodder for literary weaponry. They certainly leaves us feeling vulnerable and with a sense of constant uncertainty.

My biggest complaint about the book is the relationship Joe has with his wife, Mel, and her character, but since Joe finds he is surrounded by lies (surprise!), and nobody can be relied upon, it's hard to like many people in his life.
I can't give too much more away about anything but Logan weaves all the lies and twists fantastically throughout this novel, and the ending really is a turn that the reader won't expect at all. I'm mostly curious to hear what other people think about it, but I can't talk about it, because I'm spoiler-free girl! You'll have to read it yourself to see what I mean!
Super clever read by another new author. Hope there's more from T.M. Logan.

*Thank you to St. Martin's Press for my early copy of this book for review.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/37638234-lies
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