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

Advertisements

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)

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

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

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – jade city (Fonda Lee)

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

jade city (Fonda Lee)

Title: jade city

Author: Fonda Lee

Publisher: Orbit Books

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

ISBN: 978-0316440868

Source: NetGalley

 

Ken Lui recommended this book and when I read the description I just knew I had to read it.  His awesome blurb:

“Stylish and action-packed, full of ambitious families and guilt-ridden loves, Jade City is an epic drama reminiscent of the best classic Hong Kong gangster films but takes place in a fantasy metropolis so gritty and well-imagined that you’ll forget you’re reading a book.”

Me thoughts: awesome ideas.  awesome characters. made it to 50%.  bored.  never forgot I was reading a book.  sigh.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Orbit Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.
Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Fonda Lee – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

jade city – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – weaver’s lament (Emma Newman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings.  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, brother’s ruin, 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 . . . . . .

weaver’s lament (Emma Newman)

Title: weaver’s lament

Author: Emma Newman

Publisher: Macmillian-Tor/Forge

Publication Date: October 17, 2017 (paperback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0765394118

Source: NetGalley

It was excellent fun to get back to this next installment of Charlotte Gunn’s story,  and it was another quick read.  Charlotte is asked by her brother, Ben, to visit in Manchester where he is currently studying and working in a mill.  But it’s not just a friendly family visit.  Someone is sabotaging the mill and Ben needs Charlotte’s help.  Of course, Charlotte agrees because she is awesome and goes undercover to solve the case.

The mill was an interesting setting and I loved some of the new characters that were introduced.  I enjoyed the mechanics of how the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts’s magic helps run and use the mill.  I love Charlotte and Hopkins.  Charlotte continues to struggle with her magic and the potential for going “Wild.”

I personally would have preferred more character development and less naivete from Charlotte.  I don’t really like the developing love-triangle even though there was no question that it was going to happen from the very beginning.  I would have loved more details and explanations of how the magic worked.  That said, I was satisfied with how the novella ended and am interested in the tantalizing hints of what may happen next.

I certainly will be reading all the other books in this series and now consider Emma Newman an auto-buy author.  Both her sci-fi and fantasy are great.  So if ye haven’t read any of her books, hoist those sails and get moving!

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!

Netgalley has this to say about the novel:

Charlotte’s magical adventures continue in Weaver’s Lament, the sequel to Emma Newman’s Brother’s Ruin.

Charlotte is learning to control her emerging magical prowess under the secret tutelage of Magus Hopkins. Her first covert mission takes her to a textile mill where the disgruntled workers are apparently in revolt.

But it isn’t the workers causing the trouble. The real culprits are far more extranormal in nature.

And they have a grudge to settle.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Emma Newman – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

weaver’s lament – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

brother’s ruin (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)

planetfall – book one (Sailing to the Stars)

after atlas – book two (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

On the Horizon – gray wolf island (Tracey Neithercott)

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

gray wolf island (Tracey Neithercott)

Title: gray wolf island

Author: Tracey Neithercott

Publisher: Random House Children’s / Knopf Books for Young Readers

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

ISBN: 978-1524715304

Source: NetGalley

 

The stunning cover is what originally drew me in:

 

Then the first line of the blurb was “for fans of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.”  I loved that book so the comparison drew me in further.  Then I discovered it is about five teens who go on a treasure hunt on the mysterious Gray Wolf Island.  Treasure!  Adventure!  Islands!  Maps!  Magical realism!  Arrrrrrr!

I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint.  The magical realism in this novel was a lot more subtle than in ava lavender and I loved it. The opening chapter is one of the best set-ups for a story I have read in a very long time.  I was immediately sucked into the story and entranced.  The main character, Ruby, loses her twin sister Sadie.  Ruby was Sadie’s shadow and is lost without her sister.  But before she died, Sadie made Ruby promise to complete one unfinished quest – to find the treasure.

One of the greatest choices of the book was that Ruby is the reluctant treasure hunter.  Her sister was her treasure and now is gone.  Ruby has survivor’s guilt and feels strangled by her promise.  But she eventually feels compelled to see it through.  Unfortunately this means that she has to have assistance and Ruby is not a people person.  One “helpful” teen brings friends and Ruby finds she needs them all.  Each teen also has a secret and the island demands the truth in exchange for survival.

I absolutely fell in love with the characters.  All five teens were uniquely drawn and interesting.  Also the many adults in the novel also had distinct personalities and actually cared about the teens.  Refreshing.  While I love a treasure hunt, the friendships portrayed in the novel become the true focus.  I cannot even adequately explain the love I feel for these teens and how absolutely delightful it was to watch them grow and interact with each other.

The mythos of the island were captivating and rich in detail.  The treasure hunt details were well wrought and suspenseful.  The only problem I had was with a sideline story about Cooper.  It tied in well and is seemingly explained but I think I missed a crucial detail and so am a bit confused. Small detail though.  Maybe one of me crew can explain it to me one day.

Bottom line – fabulous read so check it out.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House Children’s and Knopf Books for Young Readers!

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Tracey Neithercott – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

gray wolf island – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List