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review 2017-08-15 19:46
Imago / Octavia Butler
Imago - Octavia E. Butler

In the third book of her Xenogenesis series, Octavia Butler gives us the alien’s perspective.  It makes the Oankali marginally less creepy, but only a tiny bit.  Butler excels at creating truly alien life forms, with wildly different forms of reproduction.

 

The Oankali having stinging cells and tentacles, giving them some resemblance to jellyfish (Cniderians) in our world, but they are upright walking, hand-and-arm-possessing, intelligent life forms.  And, it turns out, they have a three stage metamorphosis like Earth’s insects do.  This installment follows that mysterious third sex, the Ooloi, as one of Lilith’s children matures sexually into the adult form (hence the title, Imago).

 

In the first book, the Oankali have rescued the small remainder of humanity from a disaster of their own creation and have begun combining the two species.  That’s what the Ooankali do and they consider it their payment for their rescue services, but that’s not what it looks like or feels like to humans.  Lilith gradually becomes convinced that she won’t be allowed to live as human and reluctantly gets involved with the aliens, although it is against her true wishes.

 

In the second book, we follow Lilith’s construct child, Akin, who actually has five parents and who understands the relationship between the two species better than either the humans or the Oankali.  He sees the basic incompatibility between the two species but also how they can also become compatible.  Seemingly a paradox, which Akin reveals as a prejudice of the Oankali against humanity—we’ve always known that humans are prejudiced against the aliens.

 

This third installment reveals just how much the Oankali need and long for relationships with humans.  To this point, they have seemed very unemotional, almost clinical, in their desire to revitalize their own DNA through incorporation of the human genome.  Jodahs, who is metamorphosing into one of the mysterious Ooloi, shows us the depth of feeling, the intense sexual need, and indeed the pain of separation that we have been missing so far in the story.

 

Despite gaining understanding, the whole sexual system of the Oankali feels deeply creepy.  The human male and female in the sexual constellation experience repulsion when they touch one another directly, but when joined by an Ooloi, experience intense sexual pleasure.  Pheromones by the Ooloi make the situation addictive—being apart from one’s group becomes torment.

 

Butler is skillful in her refusal to “pick a side.”  She provides logical reasons for the aliens’ behaviour and points out both the logical and totally illogical responses of humanity.  She explores co-operation, coercion, limited choice, and unequal power without making it obvious which species she favours.

 

In some ways, this series makes me think of Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End, in that humanity is being absorbed into a genetic continuum, but likely won’t survive on its own ever again.  Do we mourn the loss or celebrate what survives?

 

Book 260 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2017-08-15 14:52
Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (2015) by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel - V. E. Schwab

I have a fascination on the many worlds concepts both in theoretical physics and in fictional worlds. With the goal of reading recently released paperback books (I just usually buy used books released years ago), I picked up A Darker Shade of Magic. I wanted to know how the concept of parallel worlds used in a fantasy setting. Previously, I just read fantasy stories that only have two worlds, the mundane and the magical. Now I get to read four worlds in one.

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first of a trilogy written by V.E. Schwab. This is my first book from her. This book was first released in 2015.

This is the story of Kell, one of the few remaining Antari. They are magicians that can traverse in between worlds. There are four worlds with one thing in common, all have a city that is named London. These Londons are designated by color, Gray, Red, White, and Black. Kell is from Red London. Here he grew up with the royal family but not a part of it. He consider Prince Rhy his brother. Officially, Kell is the ambassador to the White and Gray London. (Traveling to the Black London is forbidden.) Unofficially, he is a smuggler for items only found in other Londons. One day he came across with a dangerous artifact that in the wrong hand can be used to destroy the walls separating the London. He cross paths with Lila the pickpocket from Gray London and together they set things the right way.

Kell is the best written character. Other characters, including the antagonists, not as much. I liked how the differences of the Londons were written. I, as the reader, can easy tell which London is which. The plot lines are tied in the end. I can end reading now or pick up the next books.

I recommend this book for those who like to mix and match their genres. I haven’t read the blurbs of the next books but I will pick them up but not anytime soon.

 

Next in Shades of Magic series:

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review 2017-08-14 17:33
Vigilante Justice – Sinful Deeds by Kristine Mason @KristineMason7
Sinful Deeds: Book 1 Sinful C.O.R.E. - Kristine Mason

Kristine Mason has outdone herself in this thriller about four women who can’t get over their past and band together to create their own form of justice.

 

BUT…how far is too far?

 

 

Amazon US l Amazon UK l iBooks | Kobo | Google | Nook 

Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

WHOA! Right out of the gate the horror begins and I feel for Lena, the terror she must feel as she crouches, hidden in her parents closet, praying the police will arrive.

OH NO! Please tell me it isn’t so. Kristine, WTF are you doing to me?

 

Now….we are into present day…

 

Vigilante justice. I know we can’t have everyone running out killing willy nilly in the name of justice, but DAMMIT, sometimes scum needs to be cleaned off the face of the earth.

 

Four women whose lives had been forever changed by tragedy, haunted by their past, unable to move on…found their answer….Retribution. The characters could be you or I, pushed beyond our limits.

 

When Poppy was dealing with Melissa at the PTA meeting, I loved it. Melissa was totally oblivious to Poppy’s true thoughts. LOL

“A badass PTA mom with a vendetta.”

 

A farmer with a bone to pick. A waitress serving justice. The characters are flawed with issues and secrets. Makes for some fantastic reading and my emotions are all over the place as I worry about what will happen to them in the end.

 

I see some ‘rocky’ times ahead for Jagger and Kenna. Jagger is a cop, working the Homicide Unit and Kenna is called in from CORE to help.  Both have issues with intimacy and relationships, but Kenna’s secret may be a bit bigger.  I do have a problem with Jag and his choice of the Ohio Buckeyes. Wolverines don’t care for nuts. LOL

 

The sexual tension, and playful teasing has been clean and light…so far, but I think all bets are off on Date #3. I do believe it will turn into a smoldering, sizzling hot romance.

 

I know they all have to ‘come together’ and I wonder at the ending. I am super curious to see how Kristine will handle Jag and Kenna as the story takes a drastic turn. I am worried because I love happy ever after, but how can it be possible? With CORE involved, anything is possible, isn’t it? CORE is a living, growing organism, making room for new characters through each story.

 

 Man oh man, Kristine how much longer you gonna drag me through the fire…I can’t believe where are you are taking this, but it sure tells me why vigilantism is a big NO!

 

Kristine definitely captured the meaning of romantic suspense. I love her ability to write humor and love into murder and monsters of the human kind. She can take something I know is coming, and twist and turn it to an even more grisly and jawdropping end, yet invoke a smile or two along the way. My expectations for her work is of the highest levels and she continually surpasses them.

 

I was right about my thoughts from the very beginning. I’m in your head Kristine. LOL

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Sinful Deeds by Kristine Mason.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/vigilante-justice-sinful-deeds-by-kristine-mason-kristinemason7
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review 2017-08-14 12:48
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Blue Blood (Series of Blood #3) by Emma Hamm
Blue Blood (Series of Blood) (Volume 3) - Emma E Hamm
Blue Blood is the third book in the Series of Blood, and this time it is Jasper's story. We reunite with him after the battle that took place at the end of Red Blood (Lyra's story), and he is locked in an iron cage. This doesn't sit with well with our 6ft plus hero, and he is determined not to show any fear to his captors. Kudos to him, because I would have! He finds out that he is caged next to a lovely young woman called Ella, who houses a Unicorn. Ella helps him every way she can, but she can do nothing when Malachi shows up with a job for Jasper to do. You know things won't go according to Jasper's plan, but he has to try. He ends up rescuing Mercy, although he is not sure what sort of rescue it is when she simply gets transferred from one cage to another. Along their adventure, you meet a multitude of amazing characters that will tug at your heart strings and provide some lighthearted moments that are needed in contrast to the torment that Mercy is going through. No one ever said love was easy, but this is ridiculous!
 
I would say that this is definitely the darkest book so far, and it is certainly a HFN ending. I don't even know if Jasper will get his HEA, given the circumstances! I won't say anything else, as I don't want to spoil it, but I really can't wait to see where this story is going to go! With cameos from previous characters, plus meeting the new ones, there is plenty going on. Plus Pitch makes his usual appearance (still love this dude!) and helps in his own inimitable way.
 
With plenty of action and a storyline darker than the previous books, this was the complete page-turner. Both Jasper and Mercy are amazing characters, fully rounded and intriguing. There were no editing or grammatical errors that disrupted my reading flow, the pace was smooth, the story excellent. All in all, I have no hesitation in highly recommending this book, and the series.
 
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

 

@EmmaHammAuthor, #Urban, #Fantasy, #Romance, 5 out of 5 (exceptional)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/merissa-reviews/bluebloodseriesofblood3byemmahamm
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review 2017-08-14 04:00
[REVIEW] What Did You Eat Yesterday? #2 by Fumi Yoshinaga
What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 2[WHAT DID YOU EAT YESTERDAY V02][Paperback] - FumiYoshinaga

This manga series is my perfect place to hide from the world. I buy a volume whenever I feel I deserve a treat or accomplished a big thing.

 

I loved the recipes in this volume and would like to try a few of them. In this case, I was introduced to Nikujaga (肉じゃが) and I want to have this dish ASAP. It sounds like the ultimate comfort dish for the coming fall nights.

 

I also enjoyed learning more about how Shiro and Kenji met and how they came to live together.

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