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review 2020-06-05 13:45
Winterglass
Winterglass - Benjanun Sriduangkaew

 As her homeland of Sirapirat is being conquered by the Winter Queen and it's people being fed to the ghost kiln, Nuawa is given a tiny shard of glass to swallow by her mother.  Nuawa survives the ghost kiln and is taken in by her Aunt.  Nuawa trains relentlessly to be a fighter and one day avenge her homeland and mother.  Her chance comes with a tournament where the prize is to be trained by General Lussadh, the Queen's right hand.  Nuawa easily qualifies for the tournament and moves forward, gaining favor with General Lussadh who quickly recognizes Nuawa as a glass-bearer. 

 
Winterglass is  an intriguing retelling of The Snow Queen with a science fiction spin.  The writing is beautiful and pulled me into the scenes of the brutal landscape and resilient people. I was immediately fascinated by the world that was created, the mysterious Winter Queen, the ghost kiln and the many different people now living in everlasting winter.  However, I kept feeling that I was missing something of how and why the Winter Queen came to be and why she is so destructive.  Nuawa is a very decisive character.  She has one purpose and knows she will fulfill it no matter what.  This makes her motivations clear, but also a little difficult to get to know.  I really liked the idea of the glass fragments as well as all of the other enchantments in the world, but I really wanted a little more time to get to know about them.  I also give a big kudos for this world being built with gender neutrality and fluidity.  The pronouns for some people are 'ey' as in they and sexual preference is a non-issue.  This is a shorter book and is very action packed.  There is some explanation of the Winter Queen and glass fragments near the end, but not nearly enough.  This is book one of a series, so I will definitely want to check out what happens next.  

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
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review 2020-05-30 23:11
Gives Uhura a chance to shine as a character
The Tears of the Singers (Star Trek, #19) - Melinda M. Snodgrass
When a freighter disappears into an expanding time/space warp in the Taygeta V system, Starfleet sends the USS Enterprise to investigate. With them is Guy Maslin, a brilliant but temperamental composer seconded to the mission to help the crew understand the song of the native Taygetans, who may hold a clue to the problem of the warp. When they arrive, however, they encounter a force of two Klingon vessels commanded by James Kirk's old adversary Kor, who has been dispatched on a mission similar to that of the Enterprise. Forging an uneasy agreement, the two groups work together to solve the mystery of the Taygetans before the rift consumes the system's sun — and possibly the galaxy itself.
 
Years before she became a script editor for Star Trek: The Next Generation and the writer of one of that's show's greatest episodes, Melinda Snodgrass entered the Star Trek franchise with this novel. For a first novel it's a well-developed work, with an interesting plot premised around a strong mystery. In it she makes especially good use of Uhura, one of the underutilized characters from the original series who only got a chance to flourish in the later works of the franchise. At Snodgrass's hands she develops into a strong and capable officer who demonstrates her full value as a ship's crew member. Snodgrass also does justice to the Klingons, who until that point had not always been well served by the novels (that John M. Ford's The Final Reflection was published just four months before Snodgrass's book suggests that hers was among the last Star Trek works not shaped by his influential book). Yet some elements of her story have not aged well; the idea of the Federation authorizing the slaughter of animals for the collectibles they produce doesn't fit well with Roddenberry's vision, while Guy Maslin's behavior seems particularly incongruous in the era of #MeToo. Yet these are relatively minor when set against the strengths of one of the better Star Trek novels form the 1980s Pocket Books era.
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review 2020-05-25 16:22
Review: Red Sands (Warlords Of Atera #1) by Celia Kyle as Erin Tate
Red Sands - Celia Kyle,Erin Tate

 Red Sands
 Warlords Of Atera #1
 Celia Kyle as Erin Tate
 Science Fiction Romance
 July 22, 2019
 eBook
 247
 Kindle Unlimited

 

She’s on the run from a violent past. He solves his problems with a sword.

 

Fleeing a life of abuse, Sheri climbs aboard a mail-order mate spaceship bound for a distant station, but never arrives… Fate intervenes and her trip takes a quick, deadly turn when she crashes on the planet Atera. She’s surrounded by endless sand dunes, dangerous creatures, and alien beings that remind her of Earth lizards. But one particular lizard hardly leaves her thoughts—a sexy, two legged, muscular male bent on protecting and caring for her at all costs.

 

Drazan is a fierce warrior, the strongest Ateran of the Red Sands, he rules his dunes with an iron fist and sharp sword, and is honor bound to face all challengers to his position. During one of these battles something… strange… happens. Fire rains from the skies and a strange black metal box filled with females crashes to the sands. All thoughts of fighting are lost to the allure of these odd humans—especially one deliciously curvy female who stirs his blood. Now he finds himself with dark yearnings, strong need, and a hardness between his legs that he’s never used before.

 

With Sheri consuming his thoughts, Drazan may have forgotten about his last challenge but his opponent’s brother hasn’t. Now he’s determined to see Drazan suffer… even if that means killing Sheri.

 

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

Red Sands is book one in the Warlords Of Atera series by Celia Kyle as Erin Tate.

 

Red Sands is currently on Kindle Unlimited and that is how I picked it up. It’s a nice start to the series.

 

We are introduced to a desert planet with lizard like aliens. There are a few different types of colors for these lizard aliens and each live in different parts of the planet. They all come together during one time of the year to find their mates. During this pilgrimage something falls from the sky. They feel it’s from there goddess.

 

All the human women where on their way to be brides to aliens when something happens to their ship and now they are stranded on this sand planet. The human women are trying to learn and understand this new world and in doing so some find their soul mates.

 

Drazen is without doubt a sweetie at heart. I liked him. They aren’t without technology they just don’t bring it on there pilgrimage into the sacred sand lands.

 

Sheri, I didn’t like her. She struggled with trusting and getting intimate with an alien even thou she signed up to be a bride for another alien race. Contradiction.

 

The romance is a slow build and slow towards the love scenes. The love scenes where successful, even with the physical differences. I’m not sure if I total believed in the romance by the end; because of how against Sheri was of hooking up with an alien.

 

I liked the world building. I also enjoyed meeting the different tribes and learning about the lizard culture. I would have liked more information about their wildlife and flora.

 

We are also treated to a little evil plot in that someone is trying to kill the leader of the Red Lizards.

 

Red Sands was an ok read.

  

Rated: 3 Stars

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 


 

 

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

 

 

Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2020/05/review-red-sands-warlords-of-atera-1-by-celia-kyle-as-erin-tate
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review 2020-05-25 14:19
'Network Effect - Murderbot Diaries #5' by Martha Wells
Network Effect - Martha Wells,Kevin R. Free

Finally, Murderbot gets the full-length novel that it and we deserve. Thank you, Martha Wells. I've loved the other episodes in the Murderbot Diaries but I was a little frustrated at having them drip-fed to me in what seemed to me to be a novel broken into novellas for no good reason.

 

I preordered the audiobook version of 'Network Effect' and dived into it as soon as it arrived in my audiobook queue. After four hours of immersion in Murderbot's world, this was my reaction:

This is a wonderful ride. MurderBot remains its compelling self but being freed from the novella format means that the plot structure is more complicated and the puzzle that needs to be solved has more twists in it.

 

Reading 'Network Effect' is like falling through a cascade of action sequences while working on a big picture to make sense of everything. There's never a dull moment and it took some self-control for me to do anything else today.'

I managed to pace myself and consumed the book over three days rather than one. The mystery continued to become more complex and the actions scenes continued to pile on and they were all fun and very well done but what I liked most about the book was the way in which Murderbot developed.

 

Murderbot isn't, doesn't want to be and can't become, human. Humans are messy and often reckless, shouldn't be trusted with weapons, are inappropriately optimistic for creatures that are both fragile and slow. Nevertheless, Murderbot is attached to its humans pretty much in the way you or I might be attached to our Labradors.

 

So, if Murderbot is going to continue to associate with humans and commit itself to protecting some of them, but isn't, doesn't want to be and can't become human, how does it develop to become more than a SecUnit that's hacked its governor unit so it can spend more time watching TV?

 

Martha Wells' answer to that is inspired.

 

 

Firstly she lets Murderbot itself slowly figure out that that is a question that deserves to be answered. Then she builds a plot that brings Murderbot back into contact with ART, the sarcastic, extremely bright, apparently working on covert missions transport ship that sheltered Murderbot earlier. Except this time Murderbot has to rescue both ART and ART's humans. Seeing the relationship between ART and its humans gives Murderbot a lot to think about. Creating a 2.0 copy of himself, for reasons I won't share here, and using his memories to persuade another SecUnit to hack its own governor unit, again help Murdrbot to reflect on its identity.

 

 

Then the Network Effect kicks in: we have multiple non-human intelligences connected to each other making Murderbot's situation less unique while making his value higher and pushing him to define who he is and what he wants to do next.

(spoiler show)

 

It's beautifully done. I had an exciting ride, a lot of action, good mystery and I got to watch Murderbot grow up.

 

I'll be back for more as soon as it's available.

 

I think the audiobook is quite well done, it even manages not to make Murderbot sound definitively male or female. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

https://soundcloud.com/audiolibrary-a/network-effect-by-martha-wells-audiobook-excerpt
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review 2020-05-23 11:26
'Planetfall' by Emma Newman - Highly Recommended
Planetfall (Planetfall #1) - Emma Newman

A future SF classic with ambitious storytelling, insightful characterisation and a unique premise.

 

I'd been told that 'Planetfall' by Emma Newman was a future SF classic so I wasn't surprised that it was good. I was surprised about what it was good at.

 

I'd expected that a book called 'Planetfall' would be rooted in tales of shiny spacecraft or huge asteroid-sized colony vessels and long discussions on hyperdrives, gravitational rings, weapons systems and strategic and tactical AI units, but it's not really like that.

 

There is a big asteroid-size colony ship, there's lots of plausible advanced tech and there is even an interstellar, interspecies mystery in the tradition of Arthur C Clarke or Isaac Asimov. But, at its heart, this is the story of Ren, a cripplingly anxious woman, struggling with guilt for a past decision not yet fully revealed but which we know involves colluding in a lie at the foundation of the colony, a lie which, twenty years later, is in danger of being exposed.

 

The story, which is told from Ren's point of view, occurring mostly in the present but including some of her dreams and memories, tells of a trip to stars, led by The Pathfinder, to an unexplored planet on which they find a large organic structure that they refer to as 'God's City'.

 

The power of the book comes mostly from the intimate portrayal of Ren's journey, or perhaps her pilgrimage, motivated by love and faith, hindered by self-doubt, broken by a single event and the lies that followed it, crippled by guilt and struggling painfully towards hope.

 

'Planetfall' gives a deeply credible and personal insight into the effect of anxiety and guilt on mental health. It's really not comfortable being behind Ren's eyes. Almost all of her memories are painful: the mother she could never please, the father she left behind, the best friend that she followed to the stars and then lost, her own role in perpetuating a lie for twenty years. If you've ever been in the grip of anxiety or known someone who is, you'll recognise what is happening to Ren. It's heartbreaking to watch her anxiety and her compulsive behaviour, brought on by the lie she's created, lead her to self-imposed isolation and leave her despairing and on the edge of hating herself.

 

Capturing this in any novel is an achievement. Wrapping it in a novel of planetary colonisation that is more a pilgrimage to meet God, is extraordinary. Inserting a seed of betrayal and deception at the heart of everything and revealing it slowly, like a dead body you can smell but can't yet see, is inspired.

 

The ending of the book was very satisfying. It was surprising, filled with action and delivered an outcome that both dealt with the consequences of the lie at the heart of the colony's foundation and revealed the mystery that had called the colonists to the planet. It also continued Ren's journey in a way that provided some hope but which didn't protect her from her own history.

 

I listened to the audiobook version of 'Planetfall' which is narrated by the author. I’m never sure what to expect of authors narrating their own work. Some of them get it very wrong, for example, I can’t listen to Stephen King or John Irving read their stuff. On the other hand, Barbara Kingsolver and  John le Carré capture every nuance. I’m glad to say that I can add to Emma Newman to the list of authors who are good narrators. I’d be happy to listen to her read other people’s work too. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample of her work.

https://soundcloud.com/orionbooks/planetfall-written-and-read-by-emma-newman
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