Tag Archive | Fantasy

Review of The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

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About The Girl With All the Gifts

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

My Review

No doubt Melanie is special, I discovered this as the story unraveled. This was an incredibly addicting read in so many ways. Melanie captures your heart, she is extremely well written. All the characters worm their way into your sphere leaving you in a state of limbo where you are backed into a corner to either protect or overrun them despite your attachment, no other plausible choice given.

Somewhat intricate plot exploring love, loss, identity, blended with fantasy, science fiction, yet it’s almost a sub-genre of its own, more than a few major notable moments I will never forget. Lots leaving you bristling, uncomfortable, maybe even a tad but traumatized.

This read pulls you in, definitely not in my normal reading spectrum. An out of the box reading experience leaving me enthralled, providing escapism to another world I never thought I would venture into, despite the insanity I enjoyed my time immensely.

An incredibly well crafted read, a sub-genre I am unfamiliar with but this tomb will never be forgotten, forever etched in my mind. Quite a reading experience.

About M.R. Carey7177350

Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel’s X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

Also writes as Mike Carey

Published June 19th 2014 by Orbit (first published January 14th 2014)

Review: The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce

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About The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit

David, a college student, takes a summer job at a run-down family resort in a dying English resort town. This is against the wishes of his family because it was at this resort that David’s biological father disappeared fifteen years earlier–but something undeniable has called David there.

Something different is happening in this town. David is haunted by eerie visions of a mysterious man carrying a rope, walking hand-in-hand with a small child, and the resort is under siege by a plague of ladybugs. When David gets embroiled in a fiercely torrid love triangle, the stakes turn more and more menacing, and through it all, David feels as though he is getting closer to the secrets of his own past.

My Review

I enjoyed the period depicted. I was also fond of David, he’s nondescript yet fascinating. He’s invisible but visible. His plainness is what I find appealing, apparently others in the narrative as well. His vulnerability and innocence endearing. Other characters were memorable in their motley way.

The narrative skims the 1970’s, Britain’s dying seaside resort business, the recession, the hottest summer, and the National Front which is grand, however, the minimal length prevents from delving into further, as is you are merely given a gloss over, nothing to dig your teeth into or make a substantial impression in the plot.

The paranormal aspects, the imaginative along with nightmares were well done, perfect amount without becoming a distraction or commanding. Loose ends coming together in the end.

The length is the handicap, more elaboration would have been welcomed in order to explain the neglected areas in a better fashion as it stands it feels rushed and untidy.

Offbeat coming of age story running the gamete of love, high and lows, fear, family secrets.

About Graham Joyce25027

Graham Joyce (22 October 1954 – 9 September 2014) was an English writer of speculative fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for both his novels and short stories.

After receiving a B.Ed. from Bishop Lonsdale College in 1977 and a M.A. from the University of Leicester in 1980. Joyce worked as a youth officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs until 1988. He subsequently quit his position and moved to the Greek islands of Lesbos and Crete to write his first novel, Dreamside. After selling Dreamside to Pan Books in 1991, Joyce moved back to England to pursue a career as a full-time writer.

Graham Joyce resided in Leicester with his wife, Suzanne Johnsen, and their two children, Joseph and Ella. He taught Creative Writing to graduate students at Nottingham Trent University from 1996 until his death, and was made a Reader in Creative Writing.

Joyce died on 9 September 2014. He had been diagnosed with lymphoma in 2013.

Published August 5th 2014 by Doubleday

 

Review: The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

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About The Word Exchange

A dystopian novel for the digital age, The Word Exchange offers an inventive, suspenseful, and decidedly original vision of the dangers of technology and of the enduring power of the printed word.

My Review

This book served as a reminder of how much we rely on technology. Look around, you rarely see a person without a cellphone, MP3 player at least etc clutched in their hand. Imagine a day without our beloved electronic devices, jeez we’d actually have to interact face to face like they did in the dinosaur days. Interesting premise leaving you thinking.

The layout was clever, each chapter is a letter from the alphabet. The perspectives are from Anana and Bart leaving you with plenty to digest. I was intrigued by the story and couldn’t wait to see where each chapter would lead.

I enjoyed the story, however, it started out slow, dragged a bit eventually picking up. It could be shorter and a few unnecessary areas less detailed allowing for a quicker pace engaging the reader earlier and maintaining captivation. The excessive footnotes drove me crazy, very distracting, ignoring them completely. Overkill. Not a fan.

In the end I craved tangible items containing words, MORE physical books, actual letters, a phone book, encyclopedia, dictionary. Imagine a world without printed words? Halting and terrifying. Straightaway I’m rethinking my technological dependence, great job on Graedon’s part.

About Alena Graedon7177780

Alena Graedon was born in Durham, North Carolina, and is a graduate of Carolina Friends School, Brown University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She has worked at Columbia, Knopf, and the PEN American Centre.

The Word Exchange, her first novel, was completed with the help of fellowships at several artist colonies, including MacDowell, Ucross and Yaddo.

Translated into eight languages, it was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and a Kirkus Best Fiction Book of 2014.

Her non-fiction has been published in The New York Times Book Review, The Believer magazine and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Review & Giveaway: The Fall of Icarus by N. R. Bates

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•Release date: March 31, 2015 at NR Bates Publishing
•65 pages
•ISBN: 978-0-9931905-8-2 (print)

Three interconnected short-stories set in Paris explore the issue of choice, survival and transformation. In the first story, a young man on his first business trip is waylaid by an aberrant elevator. In the pivotal tale, a young scientist re-imagines the Greek myth of Icarus and his fall to earth. In the final story, a young woman who cannot recall her own name relates the fantastical tale of a girl who can fly.

The Elevator –
“I am so ignorant – in so many ways,” I whispered towards the painting in front of me. I leaned forward and cupped my face in my hands as my elbows rested on my knees, and I let out a deep sigh.”

Truly a collection of short stories I didn’t want to end. I reread the trio several times, each instance conjuring up vivid imagery, my imagination fully engaged – the hallmark of outstanding writing.

The Fall of Icarus –
“I am Icarus redux. I am a survivor, after all.”

Three stellar short stories interrelated, connecting at the conclusion. At first you are blind to the relation, as you progress you grasp the linkage. Three dimensional characters, elegant and evoking writing with such lush descriptions you find yourself drowning in stunning prose. A collection resonating, lingering in your thoughts.

The Girl –
“I paused for a few moments to gather myself and glance at my companions. ‘It is a strange story – a dream, perhaps, and one that transcends belief. I will recall the tale as if she is me and I am her.”

Purchase Links

Amazon | Amazon UK

ABOUT THE AUTHORfall-of-icarus-nicholas-bates

NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors. He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences.

Connect with N.R. Bates Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Giveaway

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
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Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
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[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
5 participants will each win a digital copy of this book

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS AND AN EXCERPT

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The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson w/ Giveaway

The-Bookseller• Print Length: 352 pages
• Publisher: Harper (March 3, 2015)

A mesmerizingly powerful debut novel about the ways in which past choices can irrevocably define the present—and the bittersweet confrontation of what might have been.

Not really sure what to make of this book. It left me scratching my head and digging for answers as to what I read.

I’m confident I understand the direction Swanson was going, for me, it failed in execution. Needless to say my reading journey was severely stunted.

Swanson undoubtedly stepped out of the box. She demonstrated her originality while clearly setting herself apart. I have mixed feelings regarding Kitty/Katharyn, she has good intentions yet she contradicts these intentions in many ways.

This has to be the most boring book I have ever read. I kept with it hoping the excitement would unleash but it was a futile exercise. I stifled my yawns and made it through to the end feeling as if I could have used my valuable time otherwise. I wasn’t a fan of the way autism was approached, yes the narrative is set in the 1960’s contributing to the ignorance (fingers crossed) but it still made me very uncomfortable. I’m also not a huge fan of ‘what if?’ which of course is the premise of this book. The narrative was leaning towards ‘tell’ as opposed to ‘show’ and it made for one grueling ride. The ending was predictable adding to my frustration.

After reading this book, spending time with Kitty/Katharyn it’s official I love my life even more than I did prior to cracking this book open. This book is proof one should participate in life rather than being a spectator.

Goodreads

Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

About Cynthia SwansonCynthia-Swanson
Cynthia Swanson is a writer and a designer of the midcentury modern style. She has published short fiction in 13th Moon, Kalliope, Sojourner, and other periodicals; her story in 13th Moon was a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and three children. The Bookseller is her first novel.

Find out more about Cynthia at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Giveaway
To enter to win a copy of The Bookseller please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 4/16/15
ENTRY-FORM

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Cynthia Swanson’s The Bookseller be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 6 May. Thank you TLC!

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The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

imageThe enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Masterpiece

The Enchanted undoubtedly one of the most exquisitely written pieces of literature I have ever read on a sensitive and heartbreaking subject matter – Death Row.

“I hear them, the fallen priest and the lady. Their footsteps sound like the soft hush of rain over the stone floors. They have been talking, low and soft, their voices sliding like a river current that stops outside my cell. When I hear them talk, I think of rain and water and crystal-clear rivers, and when I hear them pause, it is like a cascade of water over falls.”

Inside a nightmare, encapsulated in ugliness there is a universe of beauty, The ‘lady’ builds evidence in order to release the inmates from death row (a death penalty investigator). York is an inmate on death row – he evokes compassion and revolsion. An array of varying emotions are felt towards the ‘lady,’ the fallen priest and other inmates as their stories are intricately weaved into the narrative.

A million questions entered my mind as I read this novel. Questions I may never truly know the answers to. Questions I will revisit often repeatedly asking myself over and over. There is so much to this story than the beautifully printed prose, so much.

The narrative is told through the eyes of a death row inmate suffering constant confinement, who envisions a magical kingdom of his hideous surroundings. A recluse who loses himself in the crackling stained pages of books, refusing to speak, it may be the pen is his voice. The narrative is dramatic, details expressed in a dense manner, the reader understands the surroundings with crystal clear clarity.

“The most wonderful enchanted things happen here the most enchanted things you can imagine. I want to tell you while I still have time, before they close the black curtain and I take my final bow.”

On a personal level this story has touched me, my life has been impacted by both criminal and victim, a reason as to why my heart bleeds as I read this extreme and nagging narrative. Needless to say the emotions evoked are endless, the questions I hold unlimited.

A profoundly expressive story of humanity unlike any other. Where there is crudeness there is refinement, where there is hate there is love.

Denfeld crafted a otherworldly memorable and beautiful haunting story. Absolutely unforgettable. From the first page you will be mesmerized by prose and content. A must read!

Published March 4th 2014 by Harper (first published March 1st 2014)
Pages 256
ISBN13: 9780062323330
Reviewer: Melinda

Recommendation: 5/5

Animal Farm by George Orwell


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Animal Farm
George Orwell

Reviewer: Kevin
Recommendation: 5/5

 From goodreads
‘It is the history of a revolution that went wrong – and of the excellent excuses that were forthcoming at every step for the perversion of the original doctrine,’ wrote Orwell for the first edition of Animal Farm in 1945. Orwell wrote the novel at the end of 1943, but it almost remained unpublished. Its savage attack on Stalin, at that time Britain’s ally, led to the book being refused by publisher after publisher. Orwell’s simple, tragic fable, telling what happens when the animals drive out Mr Jones and attempt to run the farm themselves, has since become a world famous classic.

My thoughts

“ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL. BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”

You’ll see how tyrants could change slogans as they wished, in “Four is good, two is bad” changing to “Four is good, two is better”. Obviously, four means animals (four legs) and two, human being. Socialism accepts capitalism and vice versa, glorifying each other in the end, playing cards, drinking beer and whisky, arguing and getting angry at one another on trivial issues as we see towards the end. No literature would have served better for the purpose as this satirical work of Orwell, apt during his time, but still holds good in our days too.! Wonderful work, a must read.