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review 2018-11-05 20:16
XX
XX - Angela Chadwick

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A provoking and interesting read, not so far removed (in fact, not far removed at all) from current political and scientific controversies when it comes to embryo research, LGBTQ+ rights, and rising intolerance.

Juliet and Rosie apply to a newly approved research program that will allow them to conceive a child “ovum to ovum”. The point: having THEIR child, of course, and not needing to rely on a stranger’s sperm. Huge uproar ensues throughout the UK and the rest of the world, led, it seems, not so much by fears for the children thus conceived (although some characters do voice concerns about potential genetic flaws), but by the fear of men being made redundant. Which didn’t surprise me at all, and was, I think, spot on: should such research be developed in our world, I bet that we’d face this very kind of arguments. (It’s like all that rage against abortions, really: so many anti-choicers are all about Saving The Embryos, but you don’t see them holding out helping hands to take care of the unwanted babies once they’re born. Anyway.)

Most of the opposition to the main characters and their unborn baby also comes from sources that don’t surprise me, including a politician who’s riding the wave of Family Values because that will garner votes. It doesn’t help that the incriminated research has been unveiled by a woman, because this adds fuel to the fire, in a “feminist agenda to get rid of men” way. So we can see that from the start, the whole research and its outcome is not going to get only friends.

I did enjoy the characters’ evolution, when faced with certain choices that forced them to question their own values. On top of the obvious scientific, political and social angle, the story also raises valid questions about conceiving vs. adopting, about what it means to want a child, and why one would love (or not) said child.

I had a little trouble to get into the story at first (also because, silly me, I grabbed too many books from the library at the same time, and had to read before they expired, so it’s not just the story’s fault). I think that was because of the somewhat dry narrative style and a repetitive feeling, with Jules (the narrator) doubting her motives, then trying to convince herself that it would pass, rinse and repeat. Things picked up after a while, though, and made this book in general a worthwhile read.

The other thing that I didn’t like here was, well, the negativity. On the one hand, as mentioned previously, it didn’t surprise me, and I would totally expect harsh reactions to such research in reality. On the other hand, it also felt like 99% of the world was against Becca, Scott, Jules, Rosie, and the other people involved in this. And it made me wonder, would there be -no- support at all for something like this? It was like every newspaper, every magazine, every website only had criticism to share, and there was no blogger out there encouraging these women, approving of the research. So, it was “realistic”, but I would’ve have appreciated seeing more support for Jules and Rosie, for lesbian couples trying to have a child, etc. Seeing a story where LGBTQ+ people get nice things, too, and not mostly negative ones. (In contrast, too, when some things went well, they did so all at once, without that many consequences, which felt strange, and lacking a proper middle ground.)

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. A slow beginning, with a pace that fortunately picked up, and a tackling of issues that was both very realistic but a little too pessimistic to my liking, too.

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text 2018-11-03 14:16
Getting sucked into another series
Demonworld - Kyle B. Stiff

 

I'm about 20% in.

 

I haven't quite yet managed to wrap my brain around the entire premise, though it is highly promising.

I rarely read the chapter titles until I get confused,so there's that.  LOL

 

We have seven disparate people (only one woman) who have been dumped into the hinterlands filled with beings (flesh demons) who want humanity exterminated.  

However, apparently they need DNA from the humans. I think.

The dumping appears to be political, but also comes across as who will survive and make it back to save humanity.

 

A little confusing at the moment, and the writing comes across as young, but if this guy matures in his writing he's going to be good.

There are glimpses.

 

 

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review 2018-10-30 08:00
BLOG TOUR Q&A and GIVEAWAY: 'This Cruel Design' by Emily Suvada
This Cruel Design - Emily Suvada

 

It's here! One of my most anticipated books of the year; it's the follow-up to Emily Suvada's immensely successful debut 'This Mortal Coil', and it has one of the most unforgettable covers (another great design thanks to Regina Flath).

 

You MUST read This Mortal Coil before you read This Cruel Design, and I will be (and have been) the first person to shove it into your hands so you'll read it. And this may be categorized as YA, but it has to be some of the smartest science-fiction that I've read in some time, so I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a fast-paced, intelligent dystopian read full of twists all the way through to the end. 

 

Read on, because TODAY, to celebrate the release of This Cruel Design, I have posted the Q&A that I had the chance to have with Emily.

 

 

Thank you, as always, to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, EMILY SUVADA

 

Emily Suvada was born and raised in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. She previously worked as a data scientist, and still spends hours writing algorithms to perform tasks which would only take minutes to complete on her own. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen. She currently lives in Portland, OR, with her husband.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emilysuvada 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emily.suvada/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emilysuvada

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/emilysuvada/

Website: http://www.emilysuvada.com/

 

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

'This Cruel Design' by Emily Suvada

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: October 30, 2018

Genre: Young Adult -- Science Fiction

 

SYNOPSIS:

Cat thought the Hydra epidemic was over, but when new cases pop up, Cat must team up with an enemy to fix the vaccine before the virus spirals out of control in this thrilling sequel to This Mortal Coil, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman says “redefines ‘unputdownable.’”

The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.

When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.

But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.

 

 

 

I'm so thrilled to have been able to give these questions to Emily, as I'm a superfan of hers, so ENJOY!! 

 

Q&A with Kat's Books

 

  1. After the huge success of This Mortal Coil, how does it feel leading up to the release of This Cruel Design? What’s different this time?
     
    First – thank you for such a lovely question! There are a lot of things that feel different when releasing a second book – the biggest being that while it’s still stressful, a lot of the fear and worry that I felt as a debut is gone. I think most of us worry when we don’t know how something is going to feel – and that’s definitely true for debut authors. Debuts aren’t sure if readers will notice their book releasing, or if people will like or hate it, and they don’t yet know how to talk to booksellers or other authors. Once you’ve launched a book, though, you realize that life is going to continue – there will be wonderful things you didn’t expect to happen, and also things you hoped for that didn’t eventuate – but in the end life keeps moving and you need to keep moving as a writer, too. In the lead-up to This Cruel Design the strongest feeling I has is excitement to share this book with the readers who’ve loved This Mortal Coil, and to draw more readers into the series. I can’t wait to hear people’s reactions and get yelled at for all the horrible things I’ve done to my characters :D

     
  2. I’ve been completely fascinated with the fact that you are a data scientist (and an incredibly smart lady), and reading your books it’s obvious when reading them that your background plays a role in your writing these books. 

    Can you explain how writing algorithms turned into writing books, and in this case, writing streams of DNA sequences? 

    I’ve always been both a creative and a methodical thinker. I come from a family of artists, and while I’ve been drawn to math, coding, and data, it’s the creative side of those fields that truly held my interest (and yes, math can be extremely creative and expressive!). Similarly, when it comes to creative fields like writing, drawing, or music, I’ve always taken a methodical approach to them. My writing, for instance, follows strict algorithms and structures which I build spreadsheets to manage. I keep track of tension, arcs, and revelations throughout the book, and all of those elements follow fairly mathematical rules which govern the pace and flow of the story. So even when I’m writing – I’m really doing math! As for the DNA sequences – I’ve always loved codes and puzzles, and I couldn’t stop thinking about a way to hide a message for readers in This Mortal Coil. The DNA-encoded message came about as a fun way to encourage readers to try coding, and to get a poem as a reward!

     
  3. What kind of research did you do into the world of testing vaccines, recoding humanity, and any other medical research? Your books lean heavily on knowing a lot about the body, which is a far cry from all those numbers and a degree in maths. 

    I’ve always read broadly about science and new breakthroughs and discoveries, so I’ve come across a lot of information about the human body, about DNA, and about medicine over the years of randomly googling things, watching movies and reading nonfiction, and keeping up-to-date on science news. The thing is that my brain kind of grabs hold of anything I find interesting, and I tend not to forget those things. I don’t have a photographic memory, but if I came across a cool science factoid when I was 11, you can bet I still remember it clearly. So if you take years of nerdy reading, combine it with a love of sci-fi and a lot of hours googling and browsing things on the internet, and throw in the fact that I remember basically everything I’ve read about DNA and biology, then you’ll end up with an incomplete but fairly broad and imaginative understanding of genetic engineering – which is exactly what you’ll find in my books!

     
  4. Have you run up against preconceived ideas about you and your writing (before someone may have read your books), being a woman writing a novel that is firmly in the science-fiction genre?

    Honestly, not really at this point – at least that I’m aware of. I’ve heard from readers of all genders that they’ve loved the story and the world of This Mortal Coil, and to my knowledge I haven’t really had anyone writing me off because I’m a woman. It’s something I’ve encountered a lot in person throughout my life – people will challenge my credentials and intelligence because I don’t always present as a stereotypical nerd - I wear make-up and I’m very bubbly, which I think clashes with a lot of people’s preconceived ideas of how a ‘smart’ person should look and act. Since publishing This Mortal Coil, I have had a couple of people ask me questions like “So you studied bioengineering?” in a pretty loaded way, as though they expected me to fumble a reply that I didn’t, but when I say “No, I studied theoretical astrophysics – what about you?” we usually move along pretty quickly.

     
  5. 5) Does your writing come from a place of fear that the world is going to turn out this way? Or is this a pure fantasy going on in your head?!

    Haha – it’s really a bit of both. More than anything, I want to outline the nightmarish scenarios that I think we could face if we’re not careful so that today’s young readers, who will be tomorrow’s scientists and leaders, grow up thinking about genetic engineering and development as both a wonderful and terrible thing. That’s something we all understand on a basic level, but it’s fiction’s role to take those instincts and transform them into characters and worlds for us to explore. I want my novels to present readers with realistic situations in which there is no right or wrong answer, and encourage them to form their own opinions about what the best approach to scientific development is.

     
  6. Cat is a really dynamic character; she is so smart, and brave, but she is put to the rest countless times, not just physically, but also in terms of relationships (Lachlan, Cole), so she really develops as a person as we get to know her. Do you have someone who is an inspiration for the character of Cat?

    I think Cat is an amalgam of a lot of personality traits – some are from me, but many are from other people and characters that I admire. A crucial part of Cat is her vulnerability – she is brave and strong, and willing to risk herself for the greater good, but she is also doubtful and flawed, and vulnerable to being tricked and manipulated. I think we’re all afraid of being duped and controlled, and so that vulnerability speaks to a lot of readers. But I hope Cat’s hope and resilience also speaks to readers, as she’s often down, but definitely not out.

     
  7. What’s next for you after This Cruel Design? Have you already got another project on the back burner or written? 

    I’m currently working on the third and final book in the Mortal Coil series! I’m very excited to share this conclusion to the series and to dive into some of the themes and arcs that the novels are based on. There are still a lot of questions left open in This Cruel Design, and a lot of truths left to uncover.

 

 

~ Thank you, Emily!!

(PS. See you in Portland at the PDX Book Festival, AND here in Seattle with Fonda Lee, soon!)

 

GIVEAWAY

 

YOU have the chance of winning one of the 2 prize copies of This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada (USA only) by ENTERING HERE!

 

 

And to ORDER THE BOOK, click on these handy-dandy links:

 

First, ADD to Goodreads

Order on Amazon

Order at Barnes & Noble

Or through Book Depository (International, Free Shipping *they have the UK edition with the cool DNA coil down the side)

 

I'm at the very end of this blog tour, but here is the link for the whole BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE!

 

 

I really hope you pick this one up, as well as This Mortal Coil, if you haven't had the chance to do that yet (you NEED to before you read this installment).

This is an excellent sci-fi series that will leave you breathless, and keep you guessing, and turning those pages deep into the night. I can NOT wait for the next, and final book in the series!

x ~ K

 

 

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/38316465-this-cruel-design?ac=1&from_search=true
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review 2018-10-13 23:57
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
The Scorch Trials - James Dashner

I have mixed feelings about this book. Yes, it was so good, I had to read one chapter after another, but I'm also really confused. I'm not sure I liked it. Does it make any sense? How do I rate it?

I've been thinking about it. I liked the excitement and new characters. The story was well paced and the setting just as spooky or even more than in the first book. But still, I'm confused, and I don't like it - the confusion, and the fact I have to wait a few months until the third book is being translated into Estonian. Because I started it in my mother tongue, I'm going to finish the series in my mother tongue as well. 
I still have my doubts but here and now 4 stars. You can be sure that five minutes from now it would be 3 stars. I am confused :( 

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review 2018-10-10 18:18
Short story prequel novella to the thrilling ‘This Mortal Coil’; available free for a short time
These Precious Scars - Emily Suvada

This is a fantastic short story prequel to ‘This Mortal Coil’, giving a brief look at the five Zarathustra  children who are being kept by Lachlan Agatta for his painful gentech experiments. 

Jun Bei, Cole, Zianna, Anna, and Leoben feel as though, for a moment, that a new life is possible when a visitor from the Cartaxus headquarters, but work in the blackout program doesn’t look good to all of them after seeing a frightful display put on for them.

Within the short novella, we are reminded of the innocence of these kids when Lachlan was doing his work, and get a peek into some of their relationships.

The imagery of the dangerous but beautiful cactus (again, that gorgeous cover art!) is mirrored in Jun Bei/Cat, and is actually pivotal within the short story. 

 

‘This Cruel Design’ has been my most anticipated book of the year, and I’m just starting it now (plus I’m on the blog tour), so this is a great lead-in. Like all of Emily’s work so far, there’s never enough, it’s full of complex imagery within this new world she has built, and I can’t wait to see where her new book takes me.

 

**You can read this free on Riveted Lit until November 30th!! Click HERE

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/42074867-these-precious-scars
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