On the Horizon – cat zero (Jennifer Rohn)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

cat zero (Jennifer Rohn)

Title: cat zero

Author: Jennifer Rohn

Publisher: Biting Duck Press

Publication Date: January 2, 2018 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1938463662

Source: NetGalley

 

Well me mateys, while this be an enjoyable read, it certainly wasn’t what I was expectin’.  If ye read the blurb, ye get an idea that this is going to be a post-apocalyptic tale about a virus killin’ off both cats and humanity with a scientist racin’ to find a cure as quickly as possible.  This is not the case.  I kept waiting for the human death count to spiral out of control.  The first confirmed human death didn’t even arrive until around the 60% mark and there was never another.  And the solution to the problem was certainly not a real rush.  So if ye be expectin’ that kind of tale then this is not fer ye.

This book was is what the author calls “lab-lit.”  Her amazon page says that it “is a small but growing genre of mainstream fiction about scientists and science as a profession.”  Her website explains more about the ramifications of the term.  Amazon also says that Jennifer Rohn “leads a research lab at University College London in the United Kingdom, studying how bacteria subvert human cells during infection.”  Cool!

So while this book did not end up being what I thought, I still very much enjoyed it for both the science and characters.  I have no scientific background except fer some chemistry classes back in the day and a best mate who is a vet.  This story takes us through a mini-crash course of virology specifically concerning VSN RNA and feline leukemia (FeLV).  I could follow along fairly well.  The science part of the plot involves trying to figure out what the virus is and how it is evolving.  Ye spend the majority of the time in the lab hearing about the day-to-day life, experiments, and politics.  Oh and there is some stuff about epidemiologists and mathematical modeling.  The math stuff did go over me head.

The characterizations were where much of the tension in the book came from.  All of the main characters suffering from mental illness of some kind – autism, phobias, etc.  The scientists were a quirky bunch.  Artemis, the main protagonist, finds herself in complication relationships with the three other male scientists that are working on the problem with her.  There are so many secrets and complicated issues that she is not sure who to trust.  And of course one of those men happens to be both her post-doc and odd love interest.  So add sexual tension in there.  Oh and Aremis is trying to go through a divorce too.  More sexual tension and angst.

I would normally find all these science and relationship elements to be overwhelming but instead I found meself pondering how it would all resolve.  This kept me readin’.  The answers for both the epidemic and relationships where a little underwhelming but nicely wrapped up.  It ended up being a pleasant read.  So if ye like lots of science in detail and crazy people doing crazy things then this read might be for ye.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Biting Duck Press!

Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jennifer Rohn – Author

To buy the novel go to:

cat zero – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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On the Horizon – the girl in the tower (Katherine Arden)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings.  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the bear and the nightingale, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . . . . .

the girl in the tower (Katherine Arden)

Title: the girl in the tower

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Del Ray

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (hardcover/e-book)

ISBN: 978-1101885963

Source: the publisher – Arrrr!

 

The first book, the bear and the nightingale, was one of me top 5 reads of 2017.  So imagine me delight when I was given a copy of this sequel.  Like book one, this installment contains another stunning cover and another beautiful lyrical story that had me besotted.

While book one could be read as standalone, I am so very glad that I got to experience more of Vasya’s adventures.  This book immediately transported me back to medieval Russia.  The difference is that in the first book, ye got to read about a tiny village in the dark Russian countryside.  Now Vasya has fled her childhood home and is trying to figure out what she wants her future to be all while dealing with the realities in the world-at-large.

I continued to love reading about the relationships between Vasya and her siblings.  Time has passed since they all saw one another and all three of them are struggling to deal with the changes that time and growing up have wrought on one another.  While love is there, societal pressure is a force to be reckoned with.  There also continues to be the juxtaposition of Christianity and pagan beliefs that leads to some fascinating events.

The highlights continue to be Solovey, the portrayal of the society of women, the awesome folklore creatures, and the rich character relationships.  I cannot wait to read more about Vasya and the Winter-King, Morozko.  It was a magical thrilling story that transported me to a different time and place.  I want the next book!

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Katherine Arden – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the girl in the tower – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the bear and the nightingale (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)

Shiver me Timbers!

Ahoy there me mateys!  So there have been rough seas lately with the additional trouble of feeling under the weather.  When not fighting fer survival so me and the crew didn’t capsize,  I was shivering in me bunk lamenting me physical state and trying not to keel over.  The storm has subsided a bit so I again be interested in the larger world outside me littl’ patch of ocean.  And so when checkin’ in with me crew in other places of the world, I saw this:

 

It was a sight fer sore eyes and limbs!   There is now sunshine on the horizon and a jaunty feel in me step.  So welcome to me crew ye new scalawags, seadogs, and fellow explorers!

Always remember:

Q: What did the pirate say during the winter storm?

A: Thar she snows!

Hardy har har!

x The Captain

On the Horizon – the dark of the moon (E.S. Bell)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

the dark of the moon (E.S. Bell)

Title: the dark of the moon

Author: E.S. Bell

Publisher: Trillian

Publication Date: Available Now!!! (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1974398508

Source: NetGalley

Arrrrrr mateys!  Ships, magic, islands, assassins, dragon-kind, merfolk, gods, and so much more.  Of course the cover drew me in but the main idea in this book is what tickled me fancy.

A woman named Selena possesses magic in exchange for service to the Two-Faced God.  Ten years prior to this story, Selena used her magic to destroy a naval army.  Only she lost control and killed the hundreds of innocents she was meant to save.  In retribution, the god marked her breast with an icy hole in the shape of a crescent moon.  The wound does not heal and Selena has never been warm since her mistake.  These ten years later, an order has come that may lead to her redemption.  She swore she would never kill again.  But will she if it means she might be warm at last?

So Selena was an excellent character.  I loved following her journey.  She does appear a bit naive at times but I chalked it up to being raised in a temple and the ramifications of that.  Her magic is awesome.  She can summon the sea and heal and such.  But because of her grievous mistake, she is wary of using her own power and it causes extreme internal conflict.  Her wound is creepy and otherworldly.  It is a void that she can put her hand into up to the elbow!  Cool and gross!

The other characters are also extremely fun and multi-faceted.  There is the assassin, Sebastian Vass, who has taken one final job to get out of the business altogether.  Snarky, intelligent, and ruthless.  There is Selena’s companion, Ilior, who is a dragon-like creature and her best friend and self-appointed protector.  Caring, stoic, and faithful.  There are bad folks who have actual reasons for being evil and other folks that I remain ambivalent about in the best ways possible.  Best of all, these characters change and grow as the plot progresses!

The world-building was lovely too.  I loved the island world and its reasons for existing.  I would certainly find adventure sailing in those waters.  Some more dangerous than others.  The religion of the world was very interesting.  The ramifications are only hinted at in this book but what ideas were there were thought-provoking, and to me mind, fun.

The only downsides for me were the somewhat uneven pacing and the romance.  The book is over 500 pages and there was a little too much filler for me taste.  Mostly at the beginning.  That said, the majority of the book kept me avidly flipping pages.  Also I would find meself thinking of the characters when I put the book down and would be excited to pick it up again.  So a minor grumble.

The romance itself was overall fine and it certainly isn’t all perfect rosy goodness all the time.  But I found meself wanting them to get over the angst.  Of course then I got a sex scene that just seemed out of place.  Again minor quibble.  I was glad when the deed was done.

I very much enjoyed the voyage and certainly want to read the next book which I believe comes out in 2018.  Arrrrr!

So lastly . . .

Thank you Trillian!

Side note: I only included part of the blurb because in me mind it be too spoilery.  And I couldn’t find the e-book version on sale.  But being as I read an e-book it’s likely out there somewhere.

Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s Goodreads page go to:

E.S. Bell – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the dark of the moon – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – sea of rust (C. Robert Cargill)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This book has been getting praise from me crew and know I know why. First of all it has the most beautifully evocative cover:

And the story is unusual and compelling.  This is a post-apocalyptic story of what happens when the war between the humans and robots is over and the robots win.  The answer is extremely surprising and fascinating and complicated.

The protagonist, Brittle, is an awesome robot.  She is badass, self-serving, clever, and just plain fun.  She is a scavenger who finds parts that other robots need to survive.  But robot politics are getting in the way of her survival.  Plus there is the other robot that is out to destroy her.

But while it is wonderful to watch the world unfold through Brittle’s eyes and learn the history of the war through Brittle’s memories, it was the world-building that made this one rock.  I adored the types of robots, how they were used, what became of them, what they chose to do with the world when they were in control, etc.  The robot philosophy was interesting.  I also thought it was clever that sometimes Brittle seemed very human in tone and then I would be reminded by another element that she was a robot.  I believe that this was due to the type of model she was.

There aren’t too many details above because I think all of me crew should experience this one for themselves.  Just know that the writing is beautiful and it was time well spent.  I look forward to reading the author’s other work.

Check out me other crew members effusive reviews:

Sarah @ brainfluff – who introduced me to this one!  Thanks matey!

Lynn @ lynn’sbookblog

Mogsy @ thebibliosanctum

Now I normally post the blurb for the book here but I feel that this one gives the whole story away so I am not.

To visit the author’s website go to:

C. Robert Cargill – Author

To buy the book go to:

sea of rust – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – down among the sticks and bones (Seanan McGuire)

Ahoy there me mateys!  When I read the first novella in this series, every heart a doorway, I had no words to do that story justice.  Then I read this one.  Words fail me again, but I will try.  So basically this novella was as stunning as the first.  This second book gives us the story of what went before – a prequel if ye will.  Getting the new perspectives on two characters from the first book changed me perception of book one in an awesome way.  If I had time I would have immediately picked up the first book again to read it with me new insights.  Another time mehaps.  I just utterly adore this series and am so glad me crew recommended it over and over and over again until me noggin finally caught on and listened.  If ye haven’t read the first novella then do yerself a favor and grab it.  Do read them in order.  I also didn’t read the blurb  before reading this one which I highly recommend.  I still included the blurb below, however, so be forewarned.  I want the next book in the series.  Something to look forward to in 2018!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Seanan McGuire – Author

To buy the book go to:

down among the sticks and bones – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

every heart a doorway – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

On the Horizon – artemis (Andy Weir)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

artemis (Andy Weir)

Title: artemis

Author: Andy Weir

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0553448122

Source: NetGalley

Andy Weir’s newest book was a super fun read.  He is a versatile writer in that overall this book has a completely different feel than the martian.  And that’s a good thing.  But the areas that made the martian a success are present here.  Snarky intelligent character.  Check.  Science and physics facts that are accessible for physics hating people.  Check.  World building so good that ye feel ye could step off the spaceship onto the planet, or in this case moon.  Check.

This book was a fast-paced adventure heist that kept me rapidly turning pages until the end.  The main character, Jazz, is super intelligent but lacks common sense.  She continues to make one bad decision after the other.  At 26 she seems destined to be stuck in a low-level job on the margins.  Then an enticing offer comes along that could give her a lot of money and move her into a lifestyle of comfort.  Of course it’s another bad choice and the consequences impact more than just her.  Can she fix it or will the moon as she knows it change for good?

Jazz as a character was the weak point of the book for me in that she is just such a mess.  She does read younger than 26 at times and is so annoying at others.  But she slowly won me over by the end.  I loved that her father is present and a good parent.  Her family is diverse.  She is a Muslim of Saudi Arabian descent.  Actually, the moon is full of people of different backgrounds.  I also loved how the moon is portrayed as dangerous and how the citizens police themselves.  It was both funny and made logical sense.

Overall I thought this was a great book by Mr. Weir and I will certainly be reading whatever he writes next.  If ye have a hankerin’ to visit the moon then I suggest ye pick this one up.  Just be prepared that it’s a crazy time to visit.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Crown Publishing!

The reviews of this one vary widely so check out the thoughts of me crew:

Lynn @ lynn’sbookblog

Ali @ iwuvbooks

Annie @ themisstery – a take on a book outside her comfort zone!

Mogsy @thebibliosanctum

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Andy Weir – Author

To buy the novel go to:

artemis – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List