Posts Tagged ‘Publisher- Orbit’

Netgalley November: Week Two Round Up

netgalleynovember3Personal Target: To read and review eight net galley titles and improve my approved/feedback rating

Number of books read this week: 3

Running total of books read: 5

Netgalley Approved-Feedback: 54.7%

Currently Reading: Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Feedback: My Approved-Feedback percentage would have been much higher but I was approved for four new books this week.I know, I know! but I was posting my feedback and I just happened to look at the the newly available and most popular titles and they were just too good to pass up!

On the positive side the fact that I am being approved for titles after a bit of a drought shows how much this challenge has already helped!

If I manage to complete my original target, before the end of the month, I will go on to read from this list of recently approved titles:

The Edge Of Always (The Edge Of Never 2 )by J.A. Redmerski
Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton
Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge
Unleashing Mr Darcy by Teri Wilson

As usual click on the TBR title to be taken to the appropriate Goodreads page.

Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
time after timeCalling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn’t. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.
It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work…until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn’t want?
Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us’s Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.

Time After Time is the sequel to the excellent Time Between Us. The first book was told from Anna’s first person perspective as she meets the mysterious Bennett in 1995 and uncovers his secrets. In Time After Time we are gifted with Bennett’s perspective as he navigates and attempts to reconcile the two halves of his life in contemporary San Francisco and 90’s Chicago.

While Time After Time is a time travel book (my third this month!)it had a very contemporary feel. Bennett’s gift is the tool the author uses to allow the unlikely couple to meet and to develop the tension within their relationship, however I felt that this fantasy element was much less important compared to the couples individual character developments over the duology. Both Anna and Bennett struggle with issues related to identity, self belief and faith in their relationship. For Anna the lesson was about being true to her ambitions and not being defined by her relationships.

When we met Bennett in Time Between Us is was already very familiar with his extraordinary gift and how he could use it to enhance the lives of the people he loves. Over the course of the two books he explores the impact that seemly small actions can have on people’s lives and he develops a confidence in his instincts and opinions but with an added maturity and humility.

Verdict: A sweet romantic read I can envision myself returning to time and time again

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The Hydrogen Sonata

Iain M Banks

The Scavenger species are circling.
It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilisation.
An ancient people, organised on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years ago and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilisations: they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex experience.
Amid preparations, though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossant appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted – dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossant must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what happened all that time ago.
It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilisation are likely to prove its most perilous.

The Hydrogen Sonata is the latest novel in Banks’ long running Culture series, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. It centres on the preparations of the Gzilt civilisation to Sublime, leaving their physical experience behind them and attaining a new ethereal existence. However, there is a secret that could change the minds of the Gzilt people and the few that know it go to extreme lengths to keep it to themselves.

Most of the Culture novels are concerned with the Culture’s hyper-intelligent, benevolent Minds influencing the development of less advanced civilisations, nudging them onwards, mediating in conflicts and examining the moral and ethical dilemmas that arise from this philosophy (an earlier book notes that Earth was left alone as a “control group”!). The Hydrogen Sonata is unusual in that the Gzilt are just as advanced as the Culture – having been involved in the Culture’s formation, so rather than influencing their development, the Culture get involved simply to satisfy their own curiosity about the secret.

Most of the main characters are self-aware Culture ships, each one run by a Mind (with a capital “M” – mere biological beings such as humans only have minds). The novels which focus on the ships tend to be the funniest and this is no exception. This novel continues the tendency of the ships choosing humorous and whimsical names for themselves, including the Caconym (literally meaning “The wrong name”) and Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies of Veracity. The passages where the ships are bickering and gossiping with each other had me chortling away.

The humorous tone continues as the early chapters explain that The Hydrogen Sonata is a piece of music written centuries earlier for an instrument that was yet to be invented. By the time the novel takes place, the instrument has finally been invented, but due to its immense complexity, the Gzilt woman Vyr Cossant has had two extra arms implanted in order to attempt to play it, much to the annoyance of her passive-aggressive and over-protective mother.

The novel’s title serves a dual purpose of course, as it is symbolic of the Subliming process itself. The more serious parts of the book feature some adept, and seemingly effortless writing by Banks as he explains the lofty concepts and processes within the book, using that same talent with some inventive and highly impressive action set pieces.

The only point where the book fails is in the ending – an unfortunately common complaint with Banks’ work. The final chapters feel quite emotionally flat and rather predictable. It’s certainly a shame after the huge bombshell dropped in the very final sentence of Surface Detail, the previous Culture novel.

Verdict: Effortlessly combining lofty SF concepts with humorous prose and adrenalin fuelled set pieces. It’s only a shame the ending is a bit of a non-event.

Reviewed by Keith

Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: October 2012
Format: Hardback
Pages: 517
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Keith
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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