Friday, 29 January 2010

There's always somethin'

Y'know, the last few days I've been feeling a little under the weather. I think I've got a stomach virus or something because everything I eat makes my gut twist and ache from stabbing pains. Ouch!

I haven't been able to workout properly and feel really weak, too. I hope it's on its way out now...

Anyway.

My daughter's back at school now. It's her second day today but like usual, they won't be put into their proper classes for a few weeks. I think it would be better if they had things pre-organised, but oh well. She's slowly (very slowly) getting back into it. She doesn't like the drama. lol.

That means that I've got a chunk of my days back. With no constant interruptions, I'll finally get a chance to think things through and plan ahead. I've got so many projects--both big & small--that I'd love to tackle during 2010. It's just a matter of fitting everything in. *sigh*

This week I've caught up on some of my review reading. I've crossed two more (excellent) books off the list and will be starting on: LONELY WEREWOLF GIRL today. Love the cover, and the story sounds pretty interesting so far.

Oh yeah, do you remember how I busted-up-slash-broke my pinkie toe last year? Gosh, it was in July sometime. Well, I haven't spoken much about it because I've been wearing shoes for months now. Still, it never really got 100%. Actually, sometimes after I take my shoes off it hurts just a tinge and it's still a little bigger than my other pinkie toe. And for some reason, the nail got all bruised up and yuck. Yesterday it fell off. lol. Looks like I had a new toenail growing underneath. I hope this will be the last of the broken-toe saga.

On that note... have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

THE RUNAWAY by Angela McAllister


Megan, frightened, guilty, and running from everything she’s ever known. When Megan arrives at what she believes to be a deserted mansion, she encounters the mysterious

Marguerite, blind and despised, with only two silent, watchful owls as her companions. Her eyes. Megan and Marguerite come to depend on one another. Theirs is a strange relationship, but the deserted, almost derelict house, they inhabit is the perfect place for hiding secrets.

But Tom, always watching, waiting, biding his time, is determined to bring this fragile world crashing down…

A haunting tale of loss and revenge, of friendship and the power of forgiveness.


As soon as I read the blurb for this book several months ago, I was fascinated. It said so much, yet didn't say anything at all. I think it was a perfect way to grab the reader's attention because the air of mystery certainly got me interested.

Megan is running from her life, the past, and the devastating event that forced her parents to shut down. She lives with the guilt and is constantly haunted by dreams of her brother. When she comes to a derelict house she thinks is empty but finds there's a blind woman living inside--who offers her a place to stay if she'll help her--Megan decides to stay for a while.

The town of Morne is a strange one. Mostly abandoned, it's obviously hiding a terrible secret that no one wants to talk about. Something horrible enough to blind a woman. Marguerite seems like a cold, isolated and lonely woman taking advantage of Megan's situation and kind intentions, but there's so much more to her. She can't see but she has two owls that act as her eyes.

When a boy call Tom is thrown into the mix, Megan finds herself caught between their friendship. Wanting to help Marguerite, as well as wanting to learn to be free with Tom by her side. Though she doesn't know just how much she'll end up caught in the middle.

The Runaway is a lovely, moving, and very lyrical story about three lost souls with their own personal baggage and memories, who manage to find each other when everything and everyone else has failed or shunned them. It's a beautiful tale about a very damaged and guilt-ridden young girl who believes that the death of her brother is all her fault, when in actuality it wasn't. Still, when she'd lived most of her life not being good enough because she was a daughter instead of a son, it's not hard to understand why she'd jump to such a conclusion.

I absolutely devoured this book. I picked it up this morning and just finished it. Although the book's pretty thin, it's beautifully made and the story so deep and haunting that I know it'll stay with me for years to come. This is one of those books that has to be read to totally understand just how good it is. I loved the complexity of each character, the atmosphere of despair, and the imagery of birds.

The Runaway, September 2009, ISBN 978-1-84255-599-6, Orion Children's Books Paperback

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

THE DIGITAL PLAGUE by Jeff Somers


'THIS IS AN ASSASSINATION. NOT YOURS. BUT AN ASSASSINATION NONE THE LESS.'

Avery Cates, criminal 'king' of New York, has climbed his way to the top of a heap of trouble. On his knees in the snow, with a gun to his head, Avery thinks this must finally be it. Instead, he is injected with nanotech and left confused but alive. Then everyone around him starts dying.

With every moment bringing humanity closer to extinction, Cates finds he will be either executioner or saviour of an entire world.


I read the first book in the Avery Cates series, The Electric Church, last month. And as soon as I did, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the second one. Let me just say that it didn't disappoint.

Several years have passed since the first book and Avery is still a criminal. A rich criminal with a bad-ass reputation. He lives in New York with his crew and still wears the title: Avery Cates, cop killer. That's a tag that he'll never shake and sure as hell gets him into a lot of trouble in this installment.

When he's taken by someone and forced to his knees in the snow with a gun pointed at his head, Avery's pretty sure that his life is over. Instead, he's injected with a lethal virus that starts killing everyone around him. Anyone who comes in contact with him becomes infected, so the body count starts right away. With his crew. He's killed a lot of people, but knowing that he's killing everyone who gets close, really affects him. Especially the death of his very young crew member, Glee. Which pretty much haunts him the whole way through.

But that's not the worst of it, he soon finds himself taken from one place to another, but eventually ends up in the custody of SSF. Beaten to a pulp, kept alive only when they figure out that to keep him close means the virus is kept at bay, he's carted around. He winds up in Paris. This is where the location of the person who engineered this virus is supposed to be, but it only makes matters worse. As Avery catches up with some old friends--Kieth, Gatz and Belling--he also encounters those freaky Monks, who are still causing havoc. Betrayal has never been this horrible and unexpected.

I love the unpredictability of this series and that no matter how close to death he gets, he still manages to survive another day. In a world where most people don't get old, that he's well into his thirties seems a miracle. And I don't doubt that more hellish and horrible things await Avery in future installments, especially now that New York has fallen. I totally want to be there for the ride.

The Digital Plague is a fast, action-packed story that packs a punch. It's dark, gritty, violent, and has plenty of attitude. This book will get your heart pumping because things never stop. I also need to mention that I love the writing style. It's a very well-written book that's so vivid, it's almost like watching a movie in your head.

This futuristic-cyberpunk-noir series is a winner!

The Digital Plague, July 2008, ISBN 978-184-149704-4, Orbit Paperback

Saturday, 23 January 2010

ARK by Stephen Baxter


As the waters rose in FLOOD, high in the Colorado mountains the US government was building an ark. Not an ark to ride the waves but an ark that would take a select few hundred people out into space to start a new future for mankind. Sent out into deep space on an epic journey, generations of crew members carry the hope of a new beginning on a new, incredibly distant, planet.

But as the decades pass, knowledge and purpose is lost and division and madness grows. And back on earth life and man, find a new way. This is the epic sequel to the acclaimed FLOOD; a stirring tale of what mankind will do to survive and the perfect introduction for new readers to one of SF's greatest tropes; the generation ship.


After reading Flood a few weeks ago, I couldn't wait to read this one. The epic story that started while the world was flooded by the rising sea levels, continues in this installment. And becomes so much more than just a disaster story.

The book opens in 2041, when Grace Gray is taken to Colorado so that she can take part in Ark One. Here, the astronaut Gordo Alonzo gives her a test--she'll have to solve a murder. Of course, at the time I had no idea who Harry Smith (the murdered man) was. Or Holle, the young woman who's charged with showing Grace around.

So it was awesome when the story jumped back to 2025. Where we meet Patrick Groundwater and his six-year-old daughter, Holle. They're attending a meeting about the very secret Ark projects. And so begins Holle's life as a potential Candidate for Ark One. We follow her and a group of kids who will be trained from a very young age, intended to be part of the crew that'll be sent on a mission to find the projected Eath II.

The idea of using a warp drive and launching a spaceship using nuclear bombs is both fascinating and frightening. Yet, it works. I love how Stephen Baxter blends the human condition and science in a way that keeps you glued to every page.

The actual ship blasting off correctly is about the only thing that goes according to plan on Launch day, because half of the crew that was supposed to be onboard actually weren't. The mission to the stars doesn't start well, as the Candidates leave a very chaotic world behind. This pretty much sets the mood for the rest of the trip.

What follows is an amazing, negative, drab, and very claustrophobic trip in search of a new planet to live in, so it can become humanity's salvation. A journey that slowly disintegrates. It was one thing to plan and imagine how this mission would go, but what actually happens is a slow deterioration of spirits, hopes, and dreams. A bunch of humans packed into a tin can that keeps them all too close. Their offspring only add to the madness. Not to mention the Split--where one group goes back to Earth, another settles in the hostile Earth II, and the final group decide to spend another 30 years in search of a better possible planet, Earth III.

I was also very excited to go back to Earth and catch up with Thandie Jones, while getting a little taste of Ark Two.

Ark is another fantastic, epic, and at often times, grim adventure. It's a race for human survival after our planet has been engulfed by the sea. It's an amazing story of human endurance and corruption, when the hard decisions have to be made for the future. The cast is also amazing. Not just the characters we met in Flood, like Thandie and Grace, but also the strong Holle, manipulative Kelly, insane and complicated Zane, and headstrong Venus who never gives up on the ultimate quest.

I absolutely LOVED this book. And I have to admit... I'm secretly hoping that Stephen Baxter writes another installment in this world. :)

Ark, October 2009, ISBN 978-057-508059-1, Gollancz Paperback

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Thinking out loud...

I've got a lot going on inside my head. Actually, there's been a lot going on in there during the last few days. I've had a few things to think about. A few things that were bugging me.

As a result, I spent most of yesterday just thinking about it and hardly did much of anything. Although I did read the first 41 pages of ARK by Stephen Baxter... which is awesome so far. I can't wait to see where this is going. Looks like FLOOD was an apocalyptic/futuristic story, and this one's going to be post-apocalyptic/Sci-Fi. That's cool with me. :)

Anyway. As I mentioned the other day, plans change. Things pop up out of nowhere and then fade out again. So, that story that I planned to write, I've now decided not to. There's a bit of a story to the reason but I'm not going to go into it. There's no point. I've put that idea aside and will probably never touch it again. But that's okay too. As a writer, this isn't the first time I've shelved a story. Sometimes they can be shelved temporarily and then one day dusted off and fixed, but this won't be one of them. I'm just glad I only wrote 5k of it. :)
So, today I've decided to spend the day updating stuff. I've gone through all of the reviews I've got for FAITHLESS and updated my Word doc, plus passed them on to my publisher. I also happened to find a new one. Check out this very awesome review! Just page down a little and you'll see it. Thanks Colleen, you made me smile.
I'm happy with the small progress I'm making today, so I'm going to go and get some more stuff done. Or some reading. lol. Bye!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A muddle of thoughts

Anyway. How are you all today? We've reached the mid-week mark once again. Yikes, we seem to get here at least once a week, don't we? ;) I don't mind. It means that the weekend with hubby is only a few days away. It also means that in eight days... my daughter goes back to school. She's not too happy about it, but I think it'll be nice to get a little bit of silence back again. lol. It's amazing how much noise and how much talk one child can do. :D

Funny thing is that I'll miss her when she goes back. Strange how things are...

Today, I've decided not to do any new writing. I started to write a new novel on Monday but after losing the thread of it yesterday afternoon and now having to ponder some stuff, I think I won't be tackling it today. I need some time to think. To figure some stuff out. Still, there are a few things that can come off the to-do list. I've already crossed the review below off the list. What a lovely book.

Next up is ARK by Stephen Baxter. I might have received it yesterday, but because it's a 2009 book, I've decided to push it to the top of the pile. After all, one of my January goals is to clear all of my 2009 review books off the list. And this has just become the only 2009 one left. :) Not that it's going to be a big struggle to push myself to read it. I can't wait! I really, REALLY enjoyed FLOOD.

I guess I'll see you tomorrow, then. *waving*

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

THE UNDROWNED CHILD by Michelle Lovric

It’s the beginning of the 20th century; the age of scientific progress. But for Venice the future looks bleak. A conference of scientists assembles to address the problems, among whose delegates are the parents of twelve-year-old Teodora. Within days of her arrival, she is subsumed into the secret life of Venice: a world in which salty-tongued mermaids run subversive printing presses, ghosts good and bad patrol the streets and librarians turn fluidly into cats. A battle against forces determined to destroy the city once and for all quickly ensues. Only Teo, the undrowned child who survived a tragic accident as a baby, can go ‘between the linings’ to subvert evil and restore order.

Wow, the cover for this book is gorgeous. I love the way that it captures the story, too.

When fate intervenes and Teodora (Teo) visits Venice with her parents, she's excited. Her parents happen to be scientists who have been invited to attend an emergency meeting to save the city. Teo knows that she's adopted but she loves her adoptive parents very much. And although she's grown up in Naples, she's always wanted to visit Venice. It's almost as if it's called out to her all of her life and she had no idea why.

As soon as she gets to Venice, strange things start to happen. She starts to notice mermaids just about everywhere, and when she's browsing in an old bookshop one of the books falls off the shelf and hits her head. She gets a concussion bad enough to end up in hospital. But when she wakes up in a cemetery and finds out that her parents think she's missing and no one can see her, she starts to think she might be dead. But she's not, and following the interactive instructions of the book called, The Key to the Secret City, she ends up at the House of the Spirits with Renzo -- a local boy she's befriended. Together they meet a group of brave mermaids who protect the city of Venice and need their help.

Together, Enzo and Teo embark on a quest to stop a madman -- Bajamonte Tiepolo -- from rounding up his evil allies so that he can return from the dead and complete what he failed in the past. He wants to drown and rule Venice. But not if Teo and Enzo have anything to do about it. They're willing to do whatever it takes.

I loved the way mythology and history were mixed together to form a very vivid and dark change to the city streets, right before the eyes of the locals and the tourists. Yet, none of the adults knew what was really going on because they couldn't see it. Teo was a lovely character who was confused and often melancholy, but winds up accepting and even embracing that she's the Undrowned Child, without ever hurting her adoptive parents.

The Undrowned Child is a highly imaginative book. It's also unique. It's a wild, wonderful, and very dangerous adventure that takes you all across Venice in a time before TV, computers, and the internet. It's also the story of a young girl who learns all about where she was born, while finding true friendship and always staying kind-hearted. The amazing mix of bizarre characters that make up this book were also intriguing and add to the magic.

This is a book that will capture the imagination of children and adults. It's definitely a story that I'll encourage my daughter to read in the next few years.

The Undrowned Child, October 2009, ISBN 9781842557020, Orion Children's Books Hardcover

Monday, 18 January 2010

New week, new words

<-- This is the gorgeous cover for the issue of Ethereal Tales that my story, FALLING INTO NIGHTMARE, will be in. You can actually go to the website now and get a little sneeky peak at all of the stories that are in Issue Six. Mine's the tale of a mother trying desperately to get her son back.

Well, the weekend was awesome. And now it's over. :( Five more days to go. lol.

At the moment, I'm reading a really great book called THE UNDROWNED CHILD. It's a lovely and very magical tale that takes place at the beginning of the 20th century. It's set in Venice. I'm enjoying it. Already halfway through, so I should be finished within the next few days. And when I do, that means that my 2009 TBReviewed pile is cleared. Yay!

Well, it's a little nuts, but I've decided to start writing a new story today. I know I said I wouldn't but this is a special project that's popped out of nowhere. I'm really looking forward to starting and would like to write 3,500 words every day (Mon-Fri). Not sure how that'll work out with my daughter home, but it's worth a shot. I don't have a title for the story yet, but I'm aiming for a 70k-word first draft. I might give it the codename title of: H/C. Yeah, that'll do.

Anyway. I better get to it. My daughter's busy watching a movie in her room, so I'm going to use this time wisely. See ya!

Friday, 15 January 2010

THE COLD KISS OF DEATH by Suzanne McLeod


All Genny wants is to live the quiet life and to do her job at Spellcrackers.com but there's her tangled personal life to sort out first. She's being haunted by ghosts who want her help. Her witch neighbours want her evicted. Genny's sort-of-Ex - and now her new boss - can't decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure now he knows all her darkest secrets. And then there's the queue of vampires all wanting her to paint the town red - how long will it be before they stop taking 'no' for an answer and Genny's life becomes even more complicated?

But when one of her human friends is murdered by sidhe magic, Genny is determined to find the killer. Her efforts to find the real murderer lead her to some of the most dangerous and seductive fae - but her search is hindered by the vampires, who have their own political agenda. Then when all the evidence points to Genny - she's the only sidhe fae in London - and she's named the main suspect; it's not long before she's on the run - and not just from the police...

This is the second book in Suzanne McLeod's Spellcrackers series, and I enjoyed it even more than the first. Even though poor Genny goes through a whole lot of hell in this book and gets a bunch of surprises, it's all coming together and I'm getting comfy in her world.

Genevieve Taylor is the only Sidhe fae in London. So when she finds the dead body of a baker she happens to know, and it's obvious that sidhe magic is all over him, she becomes the main suspect. Forced to go on the run, she finds herself thrown from one confusing situation to another, never stopping for air. Just when you think she's going to get a breather, she gets entangled in one vampire situation or another, keeps seeing ghosts, can't shake the witches from making trouble for her, meets people that want her help, and finds herself in the middle of a ploy to take over her body.

It's not easy being Genny, and the action and trouble never lets up as she's been pursued by creatures more dangerous than the police.

The Cold Kiss of Death is a well-written, fast-paced and highly imaginative story set in an alternate and very dangerous version of London. Where it's not safe in the Tube, or wherever trees can speak to each other. Genny's voice takes you on her personal journey in a very intimate way, revealing what's happening at close range, as well as bits and pieces of her past. A past that makes a lot of sense and seems to lead to the vampire, Malik.

There are plenty of interesting characters in this world, but I especially like the kelpie, Tavish, and the satyr, Finn. Even if they both have motivations of their own. And the phouka, Grianne will keep you wondering until the very end. These are the faeries that I like to read about -- dark, dangerous, and with hidden intentions.

The Cold Kiss of Death: Spellcrackers Book 2, September 2009, ISBN 978-057-508429-2, Gollancz Paperback

Today...

I feel wonky. Not 100% and a little restless. It's nothing to worry about. It happens every now and then. It's just one of those things that comes with the territory, and as long as I ride it out, it'll be over soon.

Anyway.

I plan to take some more notes on that new idea I'll be working on next week. Knowing how things go, as soon as I'm ready to start it, edits will probably head my way. lol. :D Still, I'm not going to worry about that for now. I don't mind having a variety of things to tackle.

My to-do list for this week really hasn't had as much crossed off as I was hoping. And it's already Friday. But to be fair to myself, not everything on there was for this week. About half is to be tackled by the end of the month. So that's cool.

Have I mentioned that I'm reading this book now? It's really good. I'm really enjoying it. Actually, I'm enjoying it even more than the first one. It's almost like the more I read about Genny, the more I like her. :)

I'm looking forward to the weekend, what about you? Have a good one!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

PATIENT ZERO by Jonathan Maberry


Police officer Joe Ledger, martial arts expert, ex-army and self-confessed brutal warrior is scared. The man he's just killed is the same man he killed a week ago. He never expected to see the man again, definitely not alive and definitely not as part of the recruitment process for the hyper-secret government agency the Department for Military Sciences. But the DMS are scared too - they have word of a terrorist plot straight from a nightmare - a bid to spread a plague through America - a plague that kills its victims and turns them into zombies.

Time is running out and Joe has shown he has the abilities they need to lead one of their field teams. And so begins a desperate three mission - to contain the zombie outbreaks, to break the terrorist cell responsible and to find the man in their own team who is selling them out to the terrorists.


This is a book that I should've enjoyed a lot more than I did. After all, there are zombies. Usually, that's enough to capture my attention and urge me to keep reading, and enjoy every minute of it. But that didn't happen with this book. Actually, I put it down and went back to it several times. It took me a long time to read because I could only manage to read it in blocks. And even then, found myself skimming a little. :(

Joe Ledger is a cop who finds himself in a strange situation. You see, he's killed the same man twice in one week. This leads him to the Department of Military Sciences (DMS), who want to recruit him to help them with a new terrorist threat. A threat that will unleash a virus, turning people into zombies. Its sounds good, doesn't it? Yet, it didn't click for me.

Maybe it was the military angle. Maybe it's that I didn't quite connect with Joe. Maybe it's that I was expecting it to be more horror than a military-terrorist-plot thriller. Whatever it was, I just didn't enjoy it. But the book's very well-written, in a format that keeps the story flowing with crisp and short chapters, switching from Joe to other characters. And it's action-packed too.

I'm afraid that Patient Zero didn't work for me, which is a shame because I was really excited about reading it.

Patient Zero, April 2009, ISBN 978-057-508691-3, Gollancz Paperback

Monday, 11 January 2010

I CAN SEE YOU by Karen Rose


A killer is targeting the participants of an online role playing game called Shadowland. Each of the victims is be-friended by the killer online. He then stalks them in real life, murdering them in the way that they worst fear.

Eve Wilson, who we previously met in NOTHING TO FEAR, is researching the game as part of her thesis on how self-esteem is affected by violence. Now she must work with Detective Noah Webster to find the murderer before the killings escalate out of all control and Eve herself becomes a target.

This is another author that I've never read before but has definitely captured my attention. I love a good thriller/crime story and this one was fantastic. Seriously, it was gripping and had me turning every page, fearing the worst. I couldn't stop thinking about what was going on.

Eve Wilson has been through hell. She's been kidnapped a few times and even managed to die. Twice. These things have scarred her mentally and emotionally, but also physically. Still, she's come a long way and is now a graduate student and a bartender at Sal's -- a local cop hangout. Which suits her fine, since she's got her eye on Detective Noah Webster. Not that she wants to start anything with him. She feels that she's too damaged for anyone.

When Eve's thesis about how the use of a virtual world improves self-esteem becomes a police homicide investigation, she finds herself in the middle of it. A sadistic and very methodical killer is preying on players from a virtual game called Shadowland. He uses their fears against them and makes the crime scene look like a suicide. And so begins a huge investigation to chase him down. With Eve being the central piece, as she helps the police by breaking several ethical rules, and becomes the killer's target.

I Can See You is one enthralling tale filled with twists, turns, horrific crimes, and a ruthless killer who will do whatever it takes to stay on his course. But that's not all, there's someone else lurking in the shadows, too. It's a fast-paced book that'll keep you interested from start to finish, and won't disappoint either. There's action in every chapter, but when it slows down, it's to focus on the heartbreaking relationship that blossoms between two very damaged souls, Eve and Noah.

This is a book that's got a little of everything. I found Eve and Noah's connection to be touching. And really enjoyed reading about Eve's family. I'd love to read more Karen Rose stories, starting with the one's featuring Eve.

I think this book is fantastic! Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm hooked.

I Can See You, September 2009, ISBN 978-075-534654-7, Headline Fiction Paperback (C)

Friday, 8 January 2010

FLOOD by Stephen Baxter


Next year. Sea levels begin to rise. The change is far more rapid than any climate change predictions; metres a year. Within two years London, only 15 metres above the sea, is drowned. New York follows, the Pope gives his last address from the Vatican, Mecca disappears beneath the waves. Where is all the water coming from? For the tip of Everest to disappear beneath the waters would require the seas to triple their volume. That amount of water is still much less than 1 percent of the earth's volume. And somehow it is being released. The world is drowning. The biblical flood has returned. And the rate of increase is building all the time. Mankind is on the run, heading for high ground. Nuclear submarines prowl through clouds of corpses rising from drowned cities, populations are decimated and finally the dreadful truth is known. Before 50 years have passed there will be nowhere left to run...

I have to admit that this is the first Stephen Baxter book I've read, but I can certainly say that it won't be the last. If I had to sum up this book in one word, I would have to say: epic. Okay, maybe I would use two words: epic and wow. Seriously, this is a thick book packed with a story that spans many, many years. And you know what? Every page mattered, and not once did I get tired of reading, or lose focus.

I was pretty much hooked from the very beginning. Who wouldn't be? As soon as I read the blurb, I knew it was a book I'd be interested in. And I wasn't wrong.

It's 2016. Lily, Gary, Helen, and Piers are four hostages who have been kept in captivity in Spain for five years. Passed around from one group to another and treated worse than animals, they've endured an imprisonment most wouldn't survive. The day they're finally released -- by the owner of AxysCorp, Nathan Lammockson -- and return to England, also happens to be when the flood starts. Out of nowhere, sea levels rise at alarming rates and begin to submerge the coastline of most continents almost instantly. Driving people farther inland, searching for higher ground. Of course, that means that a lot of the world's population suddenly becomes refugees and border patrols are set up everywhere to keep people in, or out.

As the water continues to rise and humans try to find a way to explain or beat the flood, chaos takes over every corner of the world. And countries start to disappear. I was horrified when I read about what happens to Sydney. :(

The story is told in the POV of several characters, to help us keep up with the hostages as they travel all over the world. But I also liked a character called, Thandie Jones. She's the only one who found a tangible reason for this event. Also the only one able to provide some sort of answer that didn't revolve around global warming. But the central character is always Lily. A woman who tries to connect to her younger sister and kids, but somehow always manages to feel closer to her fellow hostage survivors and never loses her ties to Nathan Lammockson. A ruthless man who is very determined to be the saviour of the world and embarks on several ideas he believes will save mankind. Like the Ark 3, which he models after the Queen Mary.

When the hostages were released, they made a promise to keep in touch and look after each other, especially Helen's daughter, who was born during their dark days of captivity. Something that Lily follows to the end, and I think will carry on into the next book.

I totally lost myself in this book. In the catastrophic events that unfold, the nightmarish situations that worsened with every chapter. It was scary, horrific, and depressing... but at the same time, resilient. A very strong story that captured the spirit of humanity in a race for survival, peppered with shaky and complicated relationships. When the ocean rises as fast as it does in this post-apocalyptic world, what can you really do to beat it? I found myself wondering about that often enough, and was horrified to see where it led the survivors.

The global maps at the beginning of each part were also a very cool addition. I liked being able to keep up with the horror of what these subterranean oceans breaking through onto the earth were doing to the planet.

Flood is a truly amazing experience. The descriptions so vivid that I could see everything playing out inside my head. Stephen Baxter does a fine job at blending in lots of scientific facts with the human condition. The science balanced out the human struggle, and vice versa.

This is a truly sad and touching story of a bleak future for a planet that we so often take for granted, and not treat as well as we should. It's a story that'll stay with me for years to come. I can't wait to read the next one, Ark.

Flood, September 2009, ISBN 978-057-508482-7, Gollancz Paperback

Thursday, 7 January 2010

A little iMPACT!

I've mentioned it here before, but I used to be a huge wrestling fan. It all started when I was a kid, and got into WrestleMania. I used to love watching Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, and so many others. It was fun, exciting, and even had some surprises. Sure, it was always scripted but it didn't matter because I loved it.

Fast forward and I lost touch. Well, until I got into WCW. I enjoyed watching the NWO. Nash & Hall were some of my faves. But when WCW spiralled out of control and eventually crashed and burned, I found myself tuning out again. Every now and then, we'd catch a little of WWE, but with the same crap happening all the time, I just couldn't watch for long.

Yet, today, I saw a glimmer of hope. Because an industry that is basically run by one man, can't be any good. We watched TNA iMPACT! and I thought it was great. I hadn't been excited about wrestling for a while. And maybe, just maybe, WWE could have real competition. I hope it does, because then things can finally get interesting.

Anyway, at least I enjoyed this one. :) And I got a kick out of finally seeing women actually... uh, wrestle! I mean, for the longest time, they haven't wrestled at all. It was fun to watch two exciting women matches.

I can't believe it's Thursday already. Only two days left of this week, so I'll just keep on getting little things out of the way. I've caught up on all of my outstanding interviews. Now I only have two guest blog entries to write and one feature. But I've got a little more time with both. So, I'm going to concentrate on getting a shortie finished. I've already revised it, but I need to give it another read before calling it done. ;)

Other than that, I'm going to concentrate on reading. I'm now sitting @ page 351 of FLOOD. Yikes! Lots of horrid things going on in this book. :/ But it's so good!

Bye.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

MAGIC IN THE SHADOWS


Magic is Allison Beckstrom's blessing and curse. As a Hound, she uses her gifts to track down practitioners who abuse their power and stop them from inflicting harm on unsuspecting innocents. Unfortunately, her spells have taken their toll on her, physically marking her and erasing her memories—including those of the man she supposedly loves.

But lost memories aren't the only things preying on Allie’s thoughts. Her late father, the prominent businessman—and sorcerer—Daniel Beckstrom, has somehow channeled himself into her very mind. With the help of The Authority, a secret organization of magic users, she hopes to gain better control over her own abilities—and find a way to deal with her father…

Have I mentioned that I absolutely love the covers for this series? They're awesome. Just as awesome as what's inside. :)

After reading the second book in the series last week, I couldn't leave this one sitting on my TBR pile for long. I couldn't wait to get stuck into the third. And boy, is it awesome. This series is another one of those that reminds me just why I love the UF genre so much. It's got a little of everything in it. And since I've got a total weakness for gargoyles, I loved the introduction of Stone. He's so cute. lol.

Anyway, I won't talk about the story because I posted the blurb above. Besides, if I get started, I won't stop and the post will be riddled with spoilers. :/ I am going to say that I love the amount of growth that Allie goes through in each book. I also love that although she's stubborn and very determined to do things her way, she's still open to compromise and new adventures. Like what she's embarked on with the Authority. Yikes. I know there's going to be some hard times for her there, but with Zay beside her, I think she'll survive.

Though that creepy Dad of hers still bugs me... Now I have to wait until May for the next installment. Can't wait to see the cover, too. This book was awesome. The Allie Beckstrom series is another must-read series, IMO.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Books read in 2009...

THE UNNATURAL INQUIRER: Simon R. Green

LORD OF MISRULE: Rachel Caine

THE DARKEST FIRE: Gena Showalter

DEAD TO ME: Anton Strout

THE DEVIL TO PAY: Michele Hauf

STRAY: Rachel Vincent

ROGUE: Rachel Vincent

PRIDE: Rachel Vincent

SUPERNATURAL ORIGINS: Peter Johnson & Matthew Dow Smith

WONDER WOMAN-Down To Earth: Greg Rucka

NIGHTWALKER: Jocelynn Drake

EDGAR ALLAN POE-The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales of Terror: Richard Corben

KITTY AND THE DEAD MAN'S HAND: Carrie Vaughn

VALIANT-A Modern Tale of Faerie: Holly Black

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES-The Field Guide: Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES-The Seeing Stone: Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES-Lucinda's Secret: Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES-The Ironwood Tree: Holly Black & Holly DiTerlizzi

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES-The Wrath of Mulgarath: Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi

BONE CROSSED: Patricia Briggs

MAGIC BURNS: Ilona Andrews

NIGHT HUNTRESS: Yasmine Galenorn

GRACELING: Kristin Cashore

AT GRAVE'S END: Jeaniene Frost

UNDONE: Rachel Caine

THE FOREST OF HANDS & TEETH: Carrie Ryan

CITY OF BONES: Cassandra Clare

CITY OF ASHES: Cassandra Clare

TATTOO: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

UGLIES: Scott Westerfeld

PRETTIES: Scott Westerfeld

SPECIALS: Scott Westerfeld

GOLDEN: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

RED HANDED: Gena Showalter

BLACKLISTED: Gena Showalter

THE SANDMAN-Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll's House, Dream Country, Season of Mists, Fables & Reflections, Brief Lives, Worlds' End, The Wake, Endless Nights, Game of You: Neil Gaiman

MARKED: P.C. & Kristin Cast

EXTRAS: Scott Westerfeld

THE GOOD NEIGHBORS-Book 1 KIN: Holly Black & Ted Naifeh

THE DEVOURING: Simon Holt

WOLVERINE-ORIGIN: Bill Jemas

THE ADAMANTINE PALACE: Stephen Deas

IN THE SMALL: Michael Hague

BETRAYED: P.C. & Kristin Cast

PEEPS: Scott Westerfeld

FROM DEAD TO WORSE: Charlaine Harris

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: Derek Landy

THE LAST DAYS: Scott Westerfeld

SO YESTERDAY: Scott Westerfeld

THE PEOPLE OF SPARKS: Jeanne DuPrau

DARK PLACES: Gillian Flynn

DEAD AND GONE: Charlaine Harris

TANTALIZE: Cynthia Leitich Smith

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TORC: Simon R Green

CEMETERY DANCE: Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

FEARLESS FOURTEEN: Janet Evanovich

M IS FOR MAGIC: Neil Gaiman

PLUM SPOOKY: Janet Evanovich

LOCKE & KEY-Welcome To Lovecraft: Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

FINGER LICKIN’ FIFTEEN: Janet Evanovich

NIGHT SHIFT: Lilith Saintcrow

FEAR THE WORST: Linwood Barclay

THE HIGHWAYMAN: Michele Hauf

GHOSTGIRL-Rest In Popularity: Tonya Hurley

PRINCIPLES OF ANGELS: Jaine Fenn

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER: Dan Wells

CARPE CORPUS: Rachel Caine

ANGELS & DEMONS: Dan Brown

SHADOWFAE: Erica Hayes

THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX: Mary E Pearson

JASMYN: Alex Bell

GHOSTGIRL-Homecoming: Tonya Hurley

THE SUMMONING: Kelley Armstrong

LAMENT-The Faerie Queen's Deception: Maggie Stiefvater

EVERMORE: Alyson Noel

THE NINTH CIRCLE: Alex Bell

SHARP OBJECTS: Gillian Flynn

OF BEES AND MIST: Erick Setiawan

THE DEAD PATH: Stephen M. Irwin

FIRE: Kristin Cashore

BEAUTY IS: Kim Richards

DAMNATION: Robin Renee Ray

UNWIND: Neal Shusterman

GENESIS: Bernard Beckett

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND: Allegra Goodman

THE DECLARATION: Gemma Malley

AMERICAN GODS: Neil Gaiman

THROUGH VIOLET EYES: Stephen Woodworth

EMBER FURY: Cathy Brett

FEED: MT Anderson

Z FOR ZACHARIAH: Robert C O’Brien

DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER: Jeff Lindsay

DEARLY DEVOTED DEXTER: Jeff Lindsay

HOW I LIVE NOW: Meg Rosoff

DEXTER IN THE DARK: Jeff Lindsay

GRAVE SURPRISE: Charlaine Harris

AN ICE COLD GRAVE: Charlaine Harris

GRAVE SECRET: Charlaine Harris

DEXTER BY DESIGN: Jeff Lindsay

KEEPING IT REAL: Justina Robson

DARKE ACADEMY-Secret Lives: Gabriella Poole

A TOUCH OF DEAD-A Sookie Stackhouse Collection: Charlaine Harris

FLASHFORWARD: Robert J. Sawyer

THE DROWNING CITY: Amanda Downum

WITH RED HANDS: Stephen Woodworth

HATER: David Moody

KITTY RAISES HELL: Carrie Vaughn

FADE OUT: Rachel Caine

I AM SCROOGE-A Zombie Story for Christmas: Adam Roberts

LOVELY BONES: Alice Sebold

LOVE BITES: Lynsay Sands

DEMON MISTRESS: Yasmine Galenorn

THE ELECTRIC CHURCH: Jeff Somers

MAGIC IN THE BLOOD: Devon Monk

SELLING OUT: Justina Robson

CHASING THE DRAGON: Justina Robson

DAEMONS ARE FOREVER: Simon R. Green

THE SPY WHO HAUNTED ME: Simon R. Green

Phew! Looks like I had a pretty busy year of reading. I managed to squeeze in 118 books. Some very awesome books, btw. :)

 
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