12 Dec
“Awakening” by Karen Sandler

“Awakening” by Karen Sandler

  Kayla is a GEN, short for Genetically Engineered Nonhuman.  The GENs were engineered by the higher classes to do manual labor and are basically cyborg slaves.  Kayla has been given the opportunity for a treatment that would dissolve her circuitry and let her pass as a member of a lower caste, but she’s turned it down repeatedly in favor of others who she feels need it more than she does.  Instead, she continues her work in the underground resistance that’s dedicated to helping the GEN.  But then mysterious bombings start occurring throughout the city around warehouses.  Near each of […]

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10 Dec
“Redshirts” by John Scalzi

“Redshirts” by John Scalzi

  You know how in Star Trek and other stereotypical sci-fi shows there always seem to be characters who exist only to die in horrific ways in order to create drama and a sense of danger?  In Redshirts by John Scalzi, a group of newly arrived crewmembers on the Intrepid quickly find that everyone’s really weird about away missions.  This is because someone always dies, although for some reason, a core group of about five officers always survive, even if they sustain injuries along the way.  The redshirts realize that they are redshirts, but instead of calmly accepting their fate, they […]

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08 Dec
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Author Interview with Cassandra Rose Clarke

  Today I am delighted to welcome Cassandra Rose Clarke to my blog for an author interview.  Some of Cassandra’s books include The Mad Scientist’s Daughter and the Assassin’s Curse series.  She is a remarkably talented writer, and if you haven’t read any of her books, you should definitely check them out! You have written both young adult novels (The Assassin’s Curse series) and adult novels (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter).  What kind of challenges do you see in each?  Which is more fun to write? Interestingly enough, I feel like writing YA has more challenges. One of the biggest is […]

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07 Dec
The 2015 Science Fiction Experience & Vintage Sci-fi Month

The 2015 Science Fiction Experience & Vintage Sci-fi Month

“I write about people who do extraordinary things.  It just turned out that it was called science fiction.” -Octavia Butler Science fiction is one of my favorite book genres because it stretches the frontiers of the imagination while being grounded in and influenced by the problems of our own society.  I didn’t read much science fiction until a few years ago, when I participated in the 2012 Science Fiction Experience hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings.  The challenge encouraged me to expand my horizons, and I discovered a love for a genre that I had previously overlooked. I am […]

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05 Dec
Holiday Giveaway: “There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In” by Ludmila Petrushevskaya

Holiday Giveaway: “There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In” by Ludmila Petrushevskaya

Hey everyone!  I am delighted to be hosting a holiday giveaway of the book There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In by Ludmila Petrushevskaya.  I reviewed the book last week and loved it, and I hope that you will too! Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina opens with the quote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  Petrushevskaya explores that theme in this collection of novellas, exploring dysfunctional Soviet families filled with broken relationships and dreams.  Her work was heavily censored for a while because the types of […]

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03 Dec
“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson

“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson

Even when my girls were little, we’d go down there, my grandmother tells us.  And people’d be marching. The marching didn’t just start yesterday. Police with those dogs, scared everybody near to death.  Just once I let my girls march.   Brown Girl Dreaming is an autobiographical memoir in verse about the author’s childhood in the 1960s.  Jacqueline spent time growing up in both the North and the South, and so we get to see some of the cultural differences between the two regions.  This includes her perceptions of the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the […]

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01 Dec
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November 2014: A Month in Review

November was a productive blogging month for me.  I was able to read and review the following books: Looking back at the reading challenges that I signed up for at the beginning of the year, I’ve found that I’ve made considerable progress towards my goals, with the exception of the TBR Challenge, which involved reading books that had been on your TBR pile at the start of the year.  I’ve currently read 8/12 books, and so I’m going to spend the early part of December trying to play catch-up.  I won’t be terribly bummed out if I don’t complete the […]

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28 Nov
“She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror” edited by Tim Lieder

“She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror” edited by Tim Lieder

  She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror is a collection of short horror stories inspired by the Bible.  I spent a lot of quality time with the Bible while growing up (Catholic school will do that), and I’ve always been amazed at how disturbing so many of the actual Bible stories are.  This book takes that to the next level, imagining Biblical takes on vampires, Lovecraftian horrors, and sinister cults. I purchased this collection because I saw that Catherynne Valente had contributed to it, and her story was easily my favorite of the bunch.  The […]

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26 Nov
“There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas About Family” by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

“There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas About Family” by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

  There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In is a new collection of novellas from Russian author Ludmilla Petrushevskaya.  Petrushevskaya’s prose is stark and honest, revealing characters’ thoughts and motivations, especially those not fit for polite society.  She writes about messy relationships and broken homes, breaking the illusion of the model Soviet society and presenting the stories that lie beneath the surface.  She’s not writing a generalization of Russian life, she’s presenting the stories of families that are fucked up and desperate and just can’t hang on any longer, and that type of […]

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24 Nov
“The Jewel” by Amy Ewing

“The Jewel” by Amy Ewing

  The Jewel is a young adult novel set in a world where the privileged social class has become so inbred that they can no longer have their own children.  However, some poor children are born with a genetic mutation that gives them the power to influence an object’s characteristics, including color and growth.  These girls are taken from their families and sent to a training facility where they are prepared to become surrogates for wealthy women in the Jewel, the city’s central district. Violet is one such surrogate.  Although she grew up impoverished, her family life was happy, and […]

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