The first book in the Queen of Spades Trilogy, Awakening, will be available 10th of April 2020 and the pre-order is only 99 cents!
A scifi action with a side of romance, it has all the violence, banter, and tension of great character driven scifi with psychic abilities giving it an edge that keeps the story on its toes.
Ayla is a villain. With a gift that allows her to see when anyone will die, she’s remorseless in her profession as the perfect assassin. When she wakes up in a cryo-tank three thousand years in the future, and no idea how she came to be there, all that matters is survival.
Rescued by Leith and the crew of the Nuria, Ayla discovers a far evolved world of space ships and galactic colonization. But everything comes with a price, and though Ayla is no princess locked in an icy tower, she still has to pay for the rescue she didn’t know she needed.
Given over to Leith, a darkly handsome man who reads Ayla far easier than she’d like, they must work together if Ayla is to repay her debt. As the pair come to learn how dangerous one another are, so too grows a lustful bond that comes with rules of its own. Fighting to learn why she was frozen, Ayla’s dragged into Leith’s past with a criminal organization seeking to take over this sector of the galaxy. In order to survive, Leith will need Ayla’s help, but Ayla doesn’t know if she’s willing to pay what it will cost her…
“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'”
A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.
So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.
How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.
Tom Hazard looks like a normal man in his 40’s but due to a rare and largely unknown medical condition, he is actually more than 400 years old. After surviving his early years in in medieval France and England – where he worked for a brilliant young playwright called William Shakespeare and tragically fell in love – Tom became part of the Albatross Society.
The first condition of the secretive Albatross Society, made up of people like Tom, is that you can’t fall in love. Members are also forbidden from seeing a doctor, required to move location every eight years and must recruit new members for the Albatross Society in between each move.
After living this nomadic life for 400 or so years – which included sailing the seas with Captain Cook and encounters in jazz bars in Paris with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald – Tom just wants to go back to his old home in London and live an ordinary life as a high school history teacher. Being back home and a forbidden romance bring up painful memories of Tom’s past and he has no choice but to decide between the restrictive, and increasingly dangerous Albatross Society or begin his life again in the present.
I loved HOW TO STOP TIME and I’m already looking forward to re-reading it soon! Matt Haig has an insightful way with words and beautifully conveyed the range of emotions that Tom experienced living for centuries. Long enough to watch everybody he loved and care for die, and then to watch humanity make the same mistakes over and over again throughout history.
I loved the way that real-life historical figures featured throughout the novel through Tom’s memories, particularly the way that Shakespeare was portrayed as an eccentric but kind hearted genius with a keen sense of observation.
About the Author
Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit and is translated in over 25 languages. It is being made into a film by Studio Canal and The Guardian called it an ‘instant classic’. His novels for adults include the award-winning The Radleys and The Humans.
He won the TV Book Club ‘book of the series’, and has been shortlisted for a Specsavers National Book Award. The Humans was chosen as a World Book Night title. His children’s novels have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Blue Peter Book of the Year, been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal three times
1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril.
2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future–a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady.
2018: When Odette discovered the body, she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?
A feminist take on time travel and its psychological effects by debut author, Kate Mascarenhas.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL is divided into three main time lines: 1967 where four women invent time travel, 2017 where Ruby learns more about her grandmother’s involvement in the invention of time travel and they receive a mysterious note about a future murder, and 2018 where Odette discovers the body. There are several other time lines and characters that add towards the main mystery: who killed the elderly lady and who was she?
The time travel science in THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL is very unique. Time travel can only occur from 1967 when it was invented by four British women and meeting one’s past or future self has no ill effects. In fact, the slang of the exclusive time travel industry suggests that it is quite normal to engage in some rather kinky practices with past and future selves.
Mascarenhas is a psychologist and her expertise in this field is evident. Instead of focusing on time travel paradoxes and wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff she looks at how time travel would affect people psychologically. This is done through the lens of a murder mystery where we don’t even know who the victim is for more than half of the novel as the murder hasn’t taken place yet. 5 stars!
About the Author
Kate Mascarenhas is a writer.
Born in 1980, she is of mixed heritage (white Irish father, brown British mother) and has family in Ireland and the Republic of Seychelles.
She studied English at Oxford and Applied Psychology at Derby. Her PhD, in literary studies and psychology, was completed at Worcester.
Since 2017 Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Previously she has been an advertising copywriter, bookbinder, and doll’s house maker. She lives in the English midlands with her partner.
Her new novel, The Psychology of Time Travel, is published in the UK by Head of Zeus. It will be available in the US from Crooked Lane in February 2019.
Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger.
With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.
Amelina’s family is very unusual. Her parents seem to be cursed, especially after her father mysteriously disappeared and returned. A girl who used to go to school with Amelina is imprisoned in the mirrors of the family home and the family’s black cat seems to know far more than he should. When Amelina receives and invitation to visit the magical Crystal Cottage she meets a mysterious stranger and discovers the truth about her family.
I loved the main idea and concepts of this story. There are lots a of crystals mixed in with folklore and myths. I found that the book jumped around from one idea to the next a bit too suddenly and it was often difficult to keep up with what was going on. These issues could definitely be cleared up with another round of editing and proofreading.
THE CURSE OF TIME is a great concept for a young adult fantasy novel and a fantastic effort from a debut author. Many thanks to the author for sending me a review copy.
About the Author
I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.
As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.
I have to admit that I am a massive Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Captain Jack Harkness fan, so I was a little bit geeked out to have the opportunity to read John Barrowman’s latest novel written in collaboration with his sister, Carole E. Barrowman.
There were a lot of features that I loved about this novel. First of all, there was a really great mix of diverse characters. Considering that Conjuror’s target audience is mostly teenagers, it made me smile to find a bad ass female Indian policewoman, an African American teenager, and LGBT characters all in the one book like it was no big deal.
Secondly, combining magic, mystery, art, and music into the same book is a pretty interesting concept and not something you come across every day.
I did feel as though I had missed out on some of the general background of the characters, especially the twins, although I have recently discovered that they appear in the Hollow Earth series also, so that’s probably why I felt their stories just jumped right in.
I would recommend Conjuror to fans of YA fantasy. It was an enjoyable and quick read, with some really interesting and diverse characters and concepts. I will definitely be hanging out to read the second installment because I’m dying to find out what happens next!
Sixteen-year-old twins Matt and Em Calder are Animare: they can bring art to life, and travel in time through paintings. They work for Orion—the Animare MI5—protecting the secrecy of their order and investigating crimes committed by their own kind. It’s dangerous work. But when they are sent to Edinburgh to find a teenage boy who can alter reality with his music, they are drawn into something more dangerous still. For this boy, Remy, is the Conjurer’s Son. And he carries something that could change humanity forever.
Title: Conjuror (Orion Chronicles #1)
Author: John and Carole E. Barrowman
Published: April 21st 2016 by Head of Zeus
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)
Broken Sky is the first book of the Broken trilogy, set in a dystopian America that is reminiscent of the 1940s. The book has a very noir feeling to it, the technology, dress and entertainment in this world are true to the 1940s war-time genre, but the world in Broken Sky has a lot of differences. In this world nuclear war has been banned after WWII and disputes between countries are settled by pilots who are known as Peacefighters. America has been split into sections, with the leader of the Central States running his country based on Astrology.
In the Broken Sky world having the wrong star sign can be fatal. Basically, everybody in the Central States has their Astrology charts done and if there is anything in their stars that could mean trouble they are labelled ‘Discordant’ and sent to concentration camps very similar to Nazi Germany. The evil leader of the Central States is looking to increase his power of course. I really enjoyed the comparisons between Discordants and Jews and how well it highlighted the inhumanity of the Holocaust and punishing a group of people simply for the circumstances of their birth.
The main character, Amity, is a Peacefighter for the Western Seaboard which once used to be part of the USA. Amity is a brilliant YA heroine. She’s tough but fair and is one of the best Peacefighters for the Western Seaboard. She has to battle deception, betrayal, and corruption to protect herself and her family.
Broken Sky is also written from the point of view of Kay who is an astrologist in the Central States. She doesn’t believe in Astrology in the slightest but she is skilled at reading people and telling them what they want to hear. During the novel she manages to work her way up to becoming the top Astrologer for the Central States, so we learn a lot about the evilly enigmatic Central States leader through her.
Broken Sky is perfect for all the dystopian lovers out there. There is plenty of action, adventure, deception, romance, and betrayal. The world is just similar enough to 1940s America to be familiar, but the Astrology spin added a refreshing point of difference. I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t much about my own star sign though. Hopefully somebody in the next book is an Aquarian! This is the kind of YA novel that can be enjoyed by all ages, with just the right amount of romance to add to the story. And make sure you’re sitting somewhere you will be able to hold onto your seats for the crazy twist at the end! I can not wait to read the sequel now…
Corrected to add that there is an Aquarian character and just as I suspected they are on the Discordant list!
Welcome to a ‘perfect’ world.
Where war is illegal, where harmony rules.
And where your date of birth marks your destiny.
But nothing is perfect.
And in a world this broken, who can Amity trust?
From the bestselling author of the Angel trilogy comes Broken Sky – an exhilarating epic set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America and first in a new trilogy.
Horrorshow raskazz with lashings of ultraviolence!
A Clockwork Orange is a modern classic. Published in 1962, it depicts a frightening dystopian future where youths hopped up on drugs run riot in the streets and terrorise people in their own homes. Alex, our humble narrator, is one of those youths. Even though it is obvious he knows better, he is determined to continue on his merry way wreaking havoc with his droogs (friends), until they set him up and he is sent to prison. Alex undertakes an unusual and horrifying form of ‘therapy’ which makes him physically unable to perform or even think about acts of violence and is unceremoniously discharged from prison and left to fend for himself.
This novel raises some important questions about the matters of free will and choice. Is it morally ethical to remove a person’s ability to choose their own behaviour? How about when it means they will cease to commit acts of violence against others? Clearly the message this novel conveys is that is unethical to remove a person’s free will. I almost began to feel sorry for Alex when he was first released from prison and was unable to defend himself, but I soon got over that when he went straight back to his old ways as soon as he was able to.
The Final Chapter
My edition does contain the final chapter which is missing from many versions, as well as Stanley Kubrick’s film. I found it to be a bit of let down. I liked the idea of Alex deciding to change his ways, but thought the way he reached his decision was a bit unbelievable. It didn’t gel with anything we’d heard from him previously to just up and decide to be good for no other reason besides he wants a wife and child one day. Of course, I believe anyone can change, but there usually needs to be some kind of motivating event. Like maybe an actual wife and child.
Besides from that, it’s a must read. The made up language,nadsat, can be difficult to get into. I found this nadsat dictionaryvery useful for the first few chapters, but it is quite easy to get into the hang of it.
I forgot to include my David Bowie song to match A Clockwork Orange. Obviously it’s Girl Loves me!
“What we were after was lashings of ultraviolence.”
In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the State tries to reform him – but at what cost?
Social prophecy? Black comedy? A study of free will? A Clockwork Orange is all of these. It is also a dazzling experiment in language, as Burgess creates “nadsat”, the teenage slang of a not-too-distant future.
I’ve decided to post a review of 1984 by George Orwell to kick off my David Bowie top100 books reading challenge because it also happen to be one of my own favourites. I have read this novel many times, most recently in November. I wrote an essay about George Orwell’s Why I Write, blogging, and the collapse of the private and public spheres. It was just as heavy as it sounds, but do have a read of Why a Writeif you haven’t already!
I have no idea how to write this review without including SPOILERS, so please stop reading immediately if you haven’t read 1984 yet.
1984 was the very distant future at the time it was written in 1948…see what he did there? Obviously the world hasn’t turned out exactly the way Orwell imagined, but I often suspect that he wasn’t too far off the mark either.
Point 1: Orwell claimed that technologies such as TV and radio would be used to spy on and control citizens:
Not TV and radio so much, but the Internet obviously has an enormous amount of privacy concerns. Privacy is certainly a different concept now than it was in 1948.
Point 2: The media will be increasingly used to influence public opinion:
I think that’s obviously pretty accurate these days.
Point 3: The world will constantly be at war, but there will be no world wars or use of atomic bombs:
Point 4: Countries will become allies with former enemies and vice versa.
I’ve heard a lot of people complain that 1984 is too slow paced, but I think this was intentional. Living in a dystopian world such as Winston’s would be a grim and dull existence. I know we’re used to a bit more excitement and action these days, but Orwell wrote this novel with one purpose in mind. To deliver a strong political message and voice his concerns about the way he saw the world heading.
Believe it or not, I can see similarities between Orwell and David Bowie. They both wanted to make the world a better place and used art to deliver their messages. Orwell was obviously much more abrasive and in your face than Bowie though!
As the line in Space Oddity goes:
Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.
I see this to mean there are some truly awful and horrific things in this world. Make yourself aware of what’s going on around you, but that is often all we can do. Look for the good and the beautiful anyway.
I consider 1984 to be a must read. I have too many favourite books to have one book I would call my favourite, but 1984 is definitely a contender if I had to choose just one. Please don’t ask me to choose though!
The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of “negative utopia” -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
The year is 2181 and 17 year old Caia is beginning her first job with the Ministry of State 11 which used to be called London. But State 11 is very different to the London that we know today. The citizens live in isolated Citidomes, marriage and sex are outlawed, and people are discouraged from becoming too attached to each other, asking too many questions, or feeling any kind of intense emotion. There is no such thing as religion and children are created by artificial methods. The citizens of State 11 are all striving to reach BodyPerfect status— which is tall, anorexic and androgynous— and anybody who is not considered BodyPerfect is bullied and humiliated. Information, particularly about the world outside, is limited and controlled by the government. Anybody who doesn’t toe the line is labelled as a ‘subversive thinker’ and disappears and couples who do have sex will catch the TJB virus and break out in red marks on their skin.
Through the ‘truth exchange’ and her secret conversations with her subversive new colleague, Mac, Caia slowly begins to piece together the truth about State 11. She also develops her very first crush. When Mac and Caia are sent outside the Citidome on a work mission they are finally able to act on their mutual feelings and decide that they have to hatch a plan to escape and live together in freedom.
The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population now lives within comfortable Citidomes. MindValues advocate acceptance and non-attachment. The BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance, and looks are everything. This first book, Future Perfect, tells the story of Caia, an intelligent and highly educated young woman. In spite of severe governmental and societal strictures, Caia finds herself becoming attracted to her co-worker, Mac, a rebel whose questioning of their so-called utopian society both adds to his allure and encourages her own questioning of the status quo. As Mac introduces her to illegal and subversive information she is drawn into a forbidden, dangerous world, becoming alienated from her other co-workers and resmates, the companions with whom she shares her residence. In a society where every thought and action are controlled, informers are everywhere; whom can she trust? When she and Mac are sent on an outdoor research mission, Caia’s life changes irreversibly. A dark undercurrent runs through this story; the enforcement of conformity through fear, the fostering of distorted and damaging attitudes towards forbidden love, manipulation of appearance and even the definition of beauty, will appeal to both an adult and young adult audience.
Published: Published May 10th 2014 by Routledge (first published January 1st 2011)
Genre: Non-Fiction, Academic
Source: I received a paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Artificial Culture is an examination of the articulation, construction, and representation of the artificial in contemporary popular cultural texts, especially science fiction films and novels. The book argues that today we live in an artificial culture due to the deep and inextricable relationship between people, our bodies, and technology at large. While the artificial is often imagined as outside of the natural order and thus also beyond the realm of humanity, paradoxically, artificial concepts are simultaneously produced and constructed by human ideas and labor. The artificial can thus act as a boundary point against which we as a culture can measure what it means to be human. Science fiction feature films and novels, and other related media, frequently and provocatively deploy ideas of the artificial in ways which the lines between people, our bodies, spaces and culture more broadly blur and, at times, dissolve. Building on the rich foundational work on the figures of the cyborg and posthuman, this book situates the artificial in similar terms, but from a nevertheless distinctly different viewpoint. After examining ideas of the artificial as deployed in film, novels and other digital contexts, this study concludes that we are now part of an artificial culture entailing a matrix which, rather than separating minds and bodies, or humanity and the digital, reinforces the symbiotic connection between identities, bodies, and technologies.
Although Artificial Culture:Identity, Technology, and Bodies explores some rather heavy and complex concepts but it was written very well and raised some really interesting concepts so it didn’t feel like I was reading a dry old textbook at all. Tama Leaver examined several popular science fiction texts such as Avatar, 2001:A Space Odyssey, Terminator, Neuromancer, Marvel’s Spiderman and The Matrix to illustrate the ways in which science fiction popular culture frequently and provocatively deploys ideas of the artificial in ways which the lines between people, our bodies, spaces and culture more broadly blur and, at times, dissolve.
The author argues that technology has become so entrenched in our everyday lives that today we live in an artificial culture due to the deep and inextricable relationship between people, our bodies, and technology at large. It’s an interesting idea to ponder and something I’d like to hear your thoughts on.
I highly recommend Artificial Culture:Identity, Technology, and Bodies to anybody who is interested in digital and contemporary culture. Tama Leaver is a senior lecturer in the department of Internet Studies at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. He researches digital identity, social media, and the changing landscapes of media distribution. You can check out Tama’s recent work on his blog at http://www.tamaleaver.net/
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