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review 2018-03-16 20:23
Review: The Unsound Theory
The Unsound Theory - Emilia Zeeland

As you may have noticed, it has been a very slow year for me reading wise. Who knew having an infant and toddler to take care of full time would leave me little "me" time. The chronic sleep deprivation hasn't helped things either, but the plus side is that the few books I have managed to get to this year have been amazing. This one is no exception.


In true YA fashion, Yalena has a cryptic past that leads her on a journey to find both her origins and herself. This being the first book in the series, there is a lot of informative information and character introductions but it's a great lead in to what is sure to be a fantastic series. Yalena is an interesting character who surprised me a bit as she found her own voice in a sea of overachievers.


I really enjoyed the world building elements that Zeeland includes. Brief history lessons that you attend with Yalena and her classmates make this space world more and more interesting. Of course, what's a good novel without some romantic interests and competitive drama to keep things interesting. STAR Academy is a college level specialty school by invitation only. It is an elite group of students expected to become the next best thing in their respective fields, no pressure there.


I highly recommend this book to science fiction fans, especially those who enjoy young adult as well. Space is the next frontier and there is so much to learn from the next generation of explorations. The Unsound Theory has a little bit of everything in it and I can't wait for the next installment of this series!

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review 2018-03-15 23:00
Zero Limit....
Zero Limit - Jeremy Brown

“Let me ask you. How do you think the situation looks?” (Alex) 

        “I’ll let you decide once I show you all the data,” Sara said. “But if I were you, I’d consider relocating.”

“To where, exactly?” (Alex) 

         “Start by leaving the planet and work your way out from there." (Sara)


That was one of the funnier dialogues from Zero Limit, well I thought it was funny. When I read it, it cracked me up! I could not stop laughing. : ) 


On to the review...


Zero Limit is about a a Moon-born woman named Caitlin Taggart that ended up  separated from her daughter when politicians on Earth restricted anyone born on the Moon to return back to Earth. She ends up obtaining a job on the Moon, leading a ragtag crew of miners while she's biding her time waiting for either a favorable legal outcome or a lift in the travel ban. Just when she's lost almost all hope in seeing her daughter again, a mining company big-wig, offers her a guaranteed return trip to Earth if her and her crew will complete one job for him- one very illegal and dangerous job. With no other options left and a "how hard can this be for the best miners on the moon" attitude, Caitlin and her crew accept the offer -- and not one, but many things, go very, very wrong...



Sounds good huh? It is, but when you first start reading the book, if you're like me, you'll find the story a little bit dull because there's quite a bit of 'telling' instead of 'showing.' As the story progresses and the action increases, I got further absorbed into the plot but the excitement level does fluctuate back in forth until they start "the job," then it increases a few notches. If you like space related stories and a strong-willed heroine, I would definitely give the story a try. The second half of the book, more then makes up for the slow start.


*I received this ARC from Goodreads FirstReads in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

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review 2018-03-06 14:58
The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix
The Space Between Words - Michele Phoenix

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy. During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution. 

Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand. Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?




American tourist Jessica is recovering in a Paris hospital in November of 2015, the day after the Paris attacks.


"Did a lot of people die?" I asked. I had to know.


The nurse nodded, and I saw tears in her eyes too. "Many," she said. Then she took a deep breath and added, "But many survived." She patted my hand where it still gripped her wrist. "I know you are americaine, but you are French now too."



Trying to heal from the injuries she sustained as an attendee of the death metal concert, Jessica is encouraged by friend Patrick to return to their apartment in town to continue her recovery. As time passes and she begins to show signs of physical strength returning, she feels compelled to return to the States, but Patrick thinks it would be good for her, mentally, to go on with their trip as planned. He stays insistent through her many refusals until he eventually wears her down and she agrees to his idea. 


There was a muddiness to mature adult friendships -- the expectation that they would lead to something more. That they should. And after that night, with our relationship more clearly defined, we'd moved forward more freely, autonomous and intertwined, an unusual duo bound by similar passions and complementary interests. Patrick and I knew what connected us was rare. It didn't matter anymore how others wanted to define it. 


One stop on their journey takes them to a little out of the way antiques shop where Jessica comes across what turns out to be an old sewing box, a box she later discovers dates back to the 17th century. Inside a hidden compartment, Jessica finds the journal of one Adeline Baillard, whose writings explain her fight to escape the Huguenot Persecution. Their crime: being Protestant in a Catholic nation.


There are only a few scant entries to Adeline's journal, giving the impression that she was hurriedly writing an account of her experiences in secret during the time of the persecution. A driving need to know how Adeline's story ended gives Jessica something to focus on other than her PTSD induced nightmares / hallucinations. The process of going on a hunt for the truth also gradually brings Adeline around to a modicum of healing in regards to her own traumatic experiences & memories. 


I'll just get this upfront right now -- this will likely be a tough read for PTSD sufferers. Chapter 17 is especially intense. Being a sufferer myself, I can tell you a number of passages in this book had my nerves on edge or me suddenly in a puddle of tears reading of Jessica's (fictional) account of the attacks. Also, imagining the fear someone in Adeline's position had to live with on a daily basis... this novel was one whopping emotional drain! But in a good way! 


"I want to believe that there's a force for good in this world and that the force won't let the bad have the final word. It doesn't explain or undo the darkness, but... I think somehow it covers it with light." 


~~ Grant


Note for sensitive readers: Within the excerpts of Adeline's journal, there are some brief scenes of brutality depicted, as Adeline writes of the torture endured by those who refused to convert to Catholicism. There are also some gruesome scenes illustrated during Jessica's descriptions of the shootings that occurred at the concert venue. 


Some of my favorite bits: 1) OMG, I ADORED Nelly, the tour guide at Canterbury Cathedral! Her wit and grandmotherly sweetness!  Also neat that in her author notes at the end, Michelle Phoenix reveals that the details of the adventure to the church that Jessica and Grant go on is based on a trip Phoenix herself took to the same church. 2) I found myself moved by little Connor and his visions of "shiny ninjas" (you'll understand this once you read the book).


The one knock I would give this story is the "common misconception" conversation about Grant and Mona. Just found it annoying that all these little things going on between them gave the impression that they were a couple and then they casually explain they're brother and sister, but people often get it confused. Well, dang. Introduce yourself as siblings at the start and we won't have a bunch of confused readers later! But Iater on I kinda saw why Phoenix might have written it this way... we need the brother available for confused feelings / possible romantic tension between him and Jessica! But still, annoying. 


I'd definitely recommend this one over Phoenix's Of Stillness And Storm. I found the plot here much more complex, entertaining and emotionally moving. I'm strongly anticipating her future works! 


Enduring with courage, resisting with wisdom, persisting in faith... 


FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

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review 2018-03-04 23:07
Workmanlike writing, fascinating life.
Endurance: My Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery - Scott Kelly

I have found Scott Kelly a lot more engaging in interviews than he was in this book, which could get a little plodding at times, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. It's certainly the most detailed and emotionally-open description of the long-duration missions on the International Space Station. (Alternating chapters were about his childhood, military career, and other NASA missions both as a space shuttle pilot and on the ISS.)


Unlike Mike Massimino, I would never describe Kelly as the happiest man in space. Even though he talked a lot about what he liked about his work and why, a lot of the book focused on the difficulty, deprivation, and tedium that comes with spending months and months away from life on earth, often with just two other people. NASA deliberately ran that man through the wringer to see what happened, and it doesn't seem to have been an entirely enjoyable experience, either physically or psychologically. The crap this man willingly put himself through through to further the science behind space exploration is flat out heroic.


I'm making it sound like this book was a drag, and it wasn't entirely. It was on a certain level good to read a book that wasn't 100% WOW SPACE! Kelly was more willing to criticise NASA and Roscosmos when he felt like they're letting the astronauts and cosmonauts down, which was a nice change, and felt more honest. He did seem to have liked his work, (most of) his co-workers, and being in space on a general level (when the toilet and the CO2 scrubbers were both working). He also seemed to be naturally a little more of an Eeyore than either Hadfield or Massimino, I think part of that being his military background, and part of it being a general outlook on life.


I would totally recommend this if you're looking for what's going on with the space program in the past few years, but if you're looking for something more fun, and frankly better written, I'd point to Massimino or Hadfield.

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review 2018-03-01 19:55
Could Not Get Into Narrative Style-DNF at 50 Percent
Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie

I have been getting yelled at to read this book for years. I tried, really, but I just could not get into this. I finally decided to throw in the white towel and call it a DNF.


I was told that the book gets better, but I am not in the mood to suffer through trying to get to better. At 50 percent my major issues were that the world-building was not working for me, I could not get into the characters, and the writing was causing me keep mumbling to myself "what?!" and not in a good way.


I think the fact that the book is told through two separate POV/timelines is what through me off the most. I started having flashbacks to "The Girl Before" and am going to just beg authors to stop doing this mess. It's a gimmick that most often does not play out very well unless the two people have really distinct separate voices. For me the of Breq was not doing enough for me to care one way or the other. 


The writing was hard to get past for me:


"I turned to look at her, to study her face. She was taller than most Nilters, but fat and pale as any of them."

What the hell is a Nilters. Why does this book keep introducing things and act like I should already know what it is?


"She out-bulked me, but I was taller, and I was also considerably stronger than I looked. She didn’t realize what she was playing with. She was probably male, to judge from the angular mazelike patterns quilting her shirt."


"She’d taken kef, I guessed. Most people will tell you that kef suppresses emotion, which it does, but that’s not all it does. There was a time when I could have explained exactly what kef does, and how, but I’m not what I once was. As far as I knew, people took kef so they could stop feeling something. Or because they believed that, emotions out of the way, supreme rationality would result, utter logic, true enlightenment. But it doesn’t work that way."


I swear most of this book reminds me of the time my friends and I went drinking in the woods and were having huge thoughts about space, stars, and aliens. And of course I was sober the next day and realized we were all talking out of our ass.


The flow was awful. It took me forever it felt like to just get up to 10 pages. I had to keep re-reading so much of the paragraphs before I would end up with 10 different questions when I would finish one sentence. 


There are two other books in this series, and obviously based on this review I am not going to go forward with reading them.  

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