Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mira grant responds!

The following is the e-mail response I got from Newsflesh trilogy author Mira Grant. You may remember the letter I wrote her on December 21st praising her work at smashing stereotypes. This is her response, arrived today in my e-mail.

Dear Martina;

Thank you so much. This is exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And you're right about Maggie and Buffy. It comes up a bit more in book three, but again, it's just "this is what was, this is where we are now," not some huge dramatic brick to the head.

You really made my day.

All the best,

I feel happy and appreciated right now.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Abduction (Book 5 of 150)

I've never read a Robin Cook book before. In fact I've been warned away from him by a friend of mine who knows I have serious issues with the medical industrial complex. Therefore, I downloaded Abduction with the knowledge that might trouble me and also the knowledge that I was empowered to turn it off if I were so inclined.

Imagine my surprise, when what was being read aloud to me was, in fact, a fantasy story of this ocean mining crew and what happens when they get sucked into what is perceived as paradise to most people, especially most heterosexual male people, and yes I mean that the way it sounded.

But all this free love and passivism has a price. When it meant you couldn't go home again? What if it meant the end of family structures as you understood them? What if it meant tolerating things that you were not sure should be tolerated, such as a weird combination of slaves made out of a combining of Neanderthal and machine that still reproduces?

What would you say? What would you do? How far would you go? And what would your hosts do when you stopped playing nice.

I read this book an 8 out 10. It makes you think. It disturbs you. But not as badly as I was expecting. As I am at the end of every good book, I find myself wondering what happened next. I see more Robin Cook in my future.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Eagle Heist ( Book 4 of 150)

I like a good mystery every once in a while, even if I'm not the biggest fan of the genre. So I optimistically read The Eagle Heist by Raymond Austin, only to discover that it was one of those books that made this largely unpublished writer angry. If Austin can get a publishing deal why can't I?

The plot involves a diamond heist and 3 unsolved murders. As no one can figure out what happened, one of the victims mother’s hires a private investigator to help get things on the right foot again. Ex-cop Sloan is who is recommended.

The only good joke in the book, which I thought wasn’t sure if it wanted to be a mystery or a book about the relationship status of a widower, is that the main character looks like Wilford Brimley. The first time this joke was made it was funny. The eighth and after was just old.

If I were writing or editing this book, I would have truncated the first 6 chapters. It made almost no sense. I had no clue about the ending and I’m usually pretty good at solving it. But there were no clues to even grasp.

I ordered the second book in the series, only because I hope it gets better. It can’t get much worse. I rate this book a 2 out of 10. I hope this is the worst book I read in 2012.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Freedom's Landing (book 3 of 150)

As many books by men as I've been reading in the early goings on of this 2012 reading challenge, it was a nice change to read Anne McCaffrey's Freedom's Landing, which had a female protagonist who wasn't at all pathetic or damsel in distress oriented. I'm going to order the next four books in the series.

One of the reasons I like science fiction, and have since I was a kid, is that women are not always pathetic as is true in so much popular fiction. Kristen Bjornsen, Kris to everyone, starts off as a typical American college student forced into the situation of becoming an escaped slave when Earth is taken over by the Catteni and she is transported to another planet, with no idea what happened to the people she loved.

But, like me, whatever situations may due to Kris, she can stop being a good Samaritan. In fact, she gets herself recaptured by helping a Catteni, who she had first thinks is another escaped slave, escape from his country men's vengeance. Then she ends up on a spaceship to a supposedly uninhabited world that turns out to be not so uninhabited, along with the Catteni she rescued.

They, and the rest of their shipmates, must learn to get along and deal with the trials and tribulations of interspecies communication, self-government, and post slave mentality. The fact that McCaffrey just doesn't gloss over these details in pursuit of a great adventure story is what makes in my somewhat sexist opinion, but as a writer I feel like it has some merits, the difference clear between the way men and the way women tell stories. Women, in my opinion, want to delve into the relationships, the details, the mess… Men not so much!

I rate the story and eight out of 10 and must say that I liked the ending very much and I'm off to download the next book now. That should tell you how eager I am to continue this series.

Storm Front (Book 2 of 150)

Storm Front is the first book in the Dresden Files Series. Harry Dresden is a freelance wizard and consultant. He is in trouble with the White Council, the wizarding governing body and a physic freelancer (although he is not really physic, I think) with the Chicago PD.This is not Harry Potter. This book is not a juvenile novel. Please don’t let people who are under 13 read it. But I loved the story, the battles, and even the sensuality (for the most part). Also at times it was grotesque and just a bit much.As much as I complained about how Stuff to Die For ended quickly. This book had about 45 minutes of a too long, explicit ending. If you a grownup who still likes wizards, I recommend this series. If this Harry was born before the child Harry, I’d wonder if that’s were J.K got the name. Since the opposite is true, I must wonder the same about Jim Butcher. I can’t be the only one who noticed the too famous literary wizards have the same name.I like the story and rate it an 8.5 out of 10. Really looking forward to the rest of the series!

Stuff to Die For (book 1 of 150)

Stuff to Die For isn’t the sort of book I usually read. It's author is male. It's two main characters are male and it has nothing to do with social change. But it was available in the audio book library, so I read it.

And to my surprise found Skip and James so endearing I ordered the rest of the series. Skip Moore and James Lessor have been best friends since third grade. James is more of the leader and Skip more of the follower. Always following one get-rich-quick scheme with another is how they end up owning a moving truck and moving some cheating husband’s belongings out of his wife's house. What they didn't expect was to find a finger (yes, an actual human finger) amid the belongings. Furthermore they didn't expect this unexpected finger to belong to someone they knew. But, it did (or at least so they thought).

So began this adventure. It's complete with torture, terrorism, and international intrigue. All very male , very not me, novel plots. But as I said, James and Skip grew on me. In the next book I hope these frequently ne'er-do-well best friends grow up a little and become the men I know they can be. After all they're only 24 in this book.

I rate this book a 7/10. The ending didn't make much sense and came, in my opinion, way too quickly. However, the narrator's voice was charming and you really got to care about the characters. A good read during the flu or on the beach. Not something that makes you think a lot.