Monday, 21 August 2017

June & July in Books

I didn't think I'd find time to write this post, but here I am writing book reviews the night before we leave for our wedding. Am I mad? I'll let you decide.

Here's what I read in June and July:

I've said in the past I'm not a fan of crime-based fiction, but as with Milo James Fowler's Charlie Madison books, I loved Red Planet Blues. Skillfully blend speculative fiction with crime noir and I'm in, and Sawyer does this in heaps. It's not hard to see why he's both a Hugo and Nebula award-winning author. Red Planet Blues is a must-read recommendation from me, especially with the action taking place on Mars.

Moondust was a riveting read, with a strong ecological theme at its heart. Whilst there were a few moments that stretched credibility, this young adult thriller set on the Moon kept me hooked. I'm hoping to read more from this author. 

When I was a teenager, I read a lot of my dad's Clive Cussler books. When Nighthawk hit the shelves where I work, I couldn't say no. Whilst I did enjoy it, there was way too much back history I'd missed by starting a series on book number 14 to truly appreciate it. Still a great read, though.

Find Me was a strange read, but one I feel has been unfairly judged. This young adult novel, set during a pandemic, wasn't always a coherent read and was at times quite odd. But I think many readers have missed the point - it was meant to be weird, odd, and disjointed. You'll either love or hate this book.

Four superb, short dark reads set in Susan Kaye Quinn's Singularity Series. Though these four stories can be read independent from the series, I'd recommend reading The Legacy Human first - it will give you some much-needed context. As always, you can't go wrong with a Quinn story.

I feel torn when it comes to reviewing I Owe You One Galaxy. On the one hand I wanted to punch the air with a resounding yes whilst reading the first half - a sort of young adult Firefly in the making - but on the other hand, it descended into way to much tell and not nearly enough show. Then there were moments that made little or no sense. Having said all of that, there is no doubt Verona has the imagination needed to be a great writer, and there was actually a book by another author on my July reading list that I deleted from my eBook reader after just 20 pages. I Owe You One Galaxy was not that bad.

Genesis Earth was well written and I didn't want it to end. If you like sci-fi and space exploration, it's a good, solid read. Were there a couple of plot points that seemed doubtful? Yes. Did it matter? No. I'm looking forward to more from this author.

Choosing a favourite read among all of the above was tough, but in the end Netherspace won. Set 40 years after aliens first came to Earth, I was fascinated by the book's premise - how does humanity trade with species it cannot understand? Fascinating, thought-provoking, and beautifully written, another must-read recommendation from me.

I ended July with 60% of my Goodreads Reading Challenge completed. Thirty-one books, equaling 8004 pages.

Right. Time to turn off the laptop and get some much-needed sleep. I'll be back in two weeks with a new surname and, hopefully, many happy stories to share.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

IWSG: Pet Peeves, Please!

Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG's purpose is to share and encourage. A place where writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. 

The awesome co-hosts for August's post are Christine RainsDelorah @ Book LoverEllen @ The Cynical SailorYvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner.

Before I answer this month's question, I should talk about my current writing insecurity. Four weeks today, Mr PS and I are getting married! Now we're into August, it's all become very real. Most of my spare time these last few weeks has been taken up with wedding preparation. There seems to be a never-ending list of tasks to complete and I haven't even started with the packing. I jokingly asked Mr PS what we'd do with all the free time after the wedding. He replied Christmas. I wanted to cry. I love him dearly and cannot wait to be Mrs PS, but I also want some normality. A few weeks of nothing but every day life. I'm seriously considering giving everyone a gift card this Christmas, because it would make my life much easier. Is that bad?

Time for this month's IWSG question:

What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Excessive use of swear words. I don't like the use of swear words in fiction, but I do understand that sometimes a well placed swear world can add to a scene. I used the F word once in a story, because the character had to say it. I thought it worked well in the context of the scene. If a book is riddled with them, however, I'll end up putting it down. I don't see the need. The writer should be able to show us how the character is feeling without resorting to excessive profanity. How do you feel about the use of swear words in fiction? What are some of your pet peeves?