Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Word Exchange

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
Publication date: April 8, 2014 by Doubleday
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Description from Goodreads:

A fiendishly clever dystopian novel for the digital age, The Word Exchange is a fresh, stylized and decidedly original debut about the dangers of technology and the power of the printed word.     In the not so distant future, the forecasted "death of print" has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers and magazines are a thing of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication, but have become so intuitive as to hail us cabs before we leave our offices, order take out at the first growl of a hungry stomach, and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called The Word Exchange.
     Anana Johnson works with her father Doug at the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), where Doug is hard at work on the final edition that will ever be printed. Doug is a staunchly anti-Meme, anti-tech intellectual who fondly remembers the days when people used email (everything now is text or video-conference) to communicate--or even actually spoke to one antoher for that matter. One evening, Doug disappears from the NADEL offices leaving a single writen clue: ALICE. It's a code word he and Anana devised to signal if one of them ever fell into harm's way. And thus begins Anana's journey down the proverbial rabbit hole. . .
     Joined by Bart, her bookish NADEL colleague (who is secretly in love with her), Anana's search for Doug will take her into dark basement incinerator rooms, underground passages of the Mercantile Library, secret meetings of the anonymous "Diachronic Society," the boardrooms of the evil online retailing site Synchronic, and ultimately to the hallowed halls of the Oxford English Dictionary--the spiritual home of the written word. As Ana pieces togehter what is going on, and Bart gets sicker and sicker with the strange "Word flu" that has spread worldwide causing people to speak in gibberish, Alena Graedon crafts a fresh, cautionary tale that is at once a technological thriller, and a throughtful meditation on the price of technology and the unforeseen, though very real, dangers of the digital age.


My Take:

The premise of The Word Exchange intrigued very much, so I had to give it a go. As a reluctant, but eventual ebook reader, I still love physical books and am continually drawn to them. The ideas about the dangers of digital books, magazines, etc. are always exciting and enticing for me. 

I was drawn into the story from the first page of the book. I love words and the author's love of words is obvious from the beginning. I loved the table of contents - the three sections to the book are: Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis; each chapter within those sections are labeled as a letter to the alphabet and the chapter begins like a dictionary entry. What self-respecting book geek wouldn't love that?

I love the quirky characters, Anana (also Alice), Bart (for Bartleby, of course), Doug, Phineas -- the one character I didn't like was Max, the ex-boyfriend and all-around jerk. 

I thought the book was a great romp from the start. I loved the way the 'word flu' crept into the characters' conversations and writing. It was fun to see a "word" and know it wasn't really a word, but the speaker was sure that it was. There are many references to Alice in Wonder and Through the Looking-glass - which I loved, of course.

While the book is great fun from start to finish, there are also cautionary notes throughout. I found that many of them fed into my own concerns while still remaining hopeful about our future and respectful and loving towards the written word in whatever format. 

This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys word, books, reading, dictionaries in particular and a good story. 

















Monday, May 19, 2014

Fallout blog tour and review

Fallout by Sadie Jones
Publication date: April 29, 2014 by Harper
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review
Synopsis:
Luke Kanowski is a young playwright— intense, magnetic, and eager for life. He escapes a disastrous upbringing in the northeast and, arriving in London, meets Paul Driscoll, an aspiring producer, and the beautiful, fiery Leigh Radley, the woman Paul loves.
The three set up a radical theater company, living and working together; a romantic connection forged in candlelit rehearsal rooms during power cuts and smoky late-night parties in Chelsea’s run-down flats. The gritty rebellion of pub theater is fighting for its place against a West End dominated by racy revue shows and the giants of twentieth-century drama.
Nina Jacobs is a fragile actress, bullied by her mother and in thrall to a controlling producer. When Luke meets Nina, he recognizes a soul in danger—but how much must he risk to save her?
Everything he has fought for—loyalty, friendship, art—is drawn into the heat of their collision. As Luke ricochets between honesty and deceit, the promise of the future and his own painful past, the fallout threatens to be immense.

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My Take:
Fallout really intrigued me. This is the first book by Sadie Jones that I have read, so I had no idea what to expect. I found her depiction of 1970's London and the Theater scene to be very well written and I felt that I was able to get a very good mental picture of the people, the buildings, the life. 

The characters are interesting because they seem true, gritty, flawed, and many of them are wounded. Luke Kanowski, the young, brilliant writer, is the best developed and is sympathetic despite his emotional ineptitude. He is able to write real people into his plays, but he is barely able to deal with actual people. 

His friends, Paul and Leigh, are the other two people in their little relationship triangle. The friendship shared by the three is complicated and difficult. The other main character is Nina, a fragile and emotionally wounded actress that Luke immediately feels a connection with and also a strong desire to rescue her. 

While this could easily be described as a romance, it is not a sappy, fluffy romance at all. It is starker and very complicated. As is often the case in life, people make bad decisions for all the wrong reasons and don't seem to realize that they are hurting themselves and others. I found the progression of the story to be worthy of my attention and I really wanted to see how these characters evolved and learned from their actions. I found myself hoping that Luke, in particular, would learn from his mistakes and from the mistakes by others. It was definitely a worthwhile read and I would recommend it.




Sadie JonesAbout Sadie Jones

Sadie Jones is the author of The Outcast, a winner of the Costa First Novel Award in Great Britain and a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction; the novel Small Wars; and the bestselling novel The Uninvited Guests. She lives in London.

Sadie’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 29th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, April 30th: missris
Thursday, May 1st: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!
Monday, May 5th: Books on the Table
Tuesday, May 6th: Olduvai Reads
Wednesday, May 7th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, May 8th: Read Lately
Monday, May 12th: five borough book review
Tuesday, May 13th: Chaotic Compendium
Wednesday, May 14th: Bibliotica
Thursday, May 15th: The Road to Here
Monday, May 19th: A Book Geek
Friday, May 23rd: Books √† la Mode
Monday, May 26th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, May 29th: Giraffe Days

Friday, May 30th: Books and Movies



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Immortality Blog Tour and Review

Immortality by Kevin Bohacz
Publication date:
Description:

Without warning, something has gone terribly awry. In the remote and unnoticed places of the world, small pockets of death begin occurring. As the initially isolated extinctions spread, the world’s eyes focus on this unimaginable horror and chaos. Out of the ecological imbalance, something new and extraordinary is evolving and surviving to fill the voids left by these extinctions. Evolution is operating in ways no one could have expected and environmental damage may be the catalyst. Once discovered, this knowledge changes everything.
Praise for Immortality:

Kirkus: “There is enough power in the premise to leave readers reeling. A novel that will surprise fans of science-fiction and doomsday scenarios...”

Publisher’s Weekly STARRED review: “Bohacz’s vision of a humanity that faces the need to evolve profoundly or face certain destruction is as timely as today’s news and as chilling a doomsday scenario as any ecological catastrophe can suggest...”

Sci-Fi Reader 4 Star review by S.J. Higbee: “This book manages to do what all the best sci-fi does—provide a thought-provoking, alternative viewpoint on the business of existence. I recommend you give it a go...”



My Take:
I don't know if I can explain just how much I enjoyed this book. Quite literally, from the very first page of Immortality I was hooked. At first it was simply wanting to find out what exactly was going on. Why the unexplained, sudden deaths? How bizarre and horrifying. Then, I was captivated by the main characters and their lives and how they managed to survive these events.

Mark Freedman, Nobel Prize winning molecular biologist, studies COBIC-3.7 and has many theories about this bacteria, but has no idea just how important it is. Mark's story line is quite interesting and very informative for the reader - especially from the scientific perspective.

Dr. Kathy Morrison works at the CDC and is called in to work on an answer to the unexplained deaths. She and Mark work together but have different ideas and reactions to the revelations they find. 

There is also an army general, a police officer and a former gang member that the reader follows through the story. I found the different kinds of people, different backgrounds, different reactions to the events to be very compelling.

Not only was the actual plot riveting, but the questions asked and examined regarding environmental issues, military response, governmental response and responsibility and maybe most interesting, the way various groups of people react to the crisis were so well done and thought provoking.  

I love a good apocalyptic story and Immortality certainly lived up to my expectations. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Ghost of the Gods.


About the Author

I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.
His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.
Visit Kevin’s website at www.kbohacz.com.


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Immortality Tour Page




Friday, May 2, 2014

1066: What Fates Impose Book Blast

Please join G.K. Holloway on he tours the blogosphere for 1066: What Fates Impose, from April 14 - May 2. 1066 What Fates Impose1066 What Fates ImposePublication Date: March 4, 2013 Matador Publishing King?William then utters the following words to the room: ‘I appoint no one as my heir to the Crown of England, but leave it to the disposal of the Eternal Creator, whose I am and who orders all things. For I did not attain that high honour by hereditary right, but wrested it from the perjured King Harold in a desperate bloody battle.’ England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own.?There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland. Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold. Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

Buy the Book

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About the Author

GK HollowayI have been interested in history since I was a boy, which I suppose explains why, when I came across a degree course in History and Politics at Coventry University that looked tailor made for me, I applied right away. In my first year at Coventry I lived in the halls of residence within a stone’s throw of the Leofric Hotel. In the opposite direction, just a short walk from my halls, is the bell tower that houses a clock, which when its bell chimes the hour, produces a half size model of naked Lady Godiva riding a horse for the titillation of tourists. Above her, Peeping Tom leans out of a window for a better view. In all of the three years I was there, it never once occurred to me that I would one day write a book featuring Earl Leofric and his famous wife, as key players. After graduating I spent a year in Canada before I returned to England to train as a Careers Officer in Bristol. Later, I lived and worked in Gloucestershire as a Careers Officer and then in Adult Education as an Education Guidance worker. After I met my wife, I moved back to Bristol to live and I worked at Bath Spa University as a Student Welfare Officer for a number of years. It was about this time I read a biography about King Harold II which fascinated me so much I read more and more about the man and the times. I found the whole pre-conquest period of England so interesting I couldn’t understand why no one had written a novel about it. So, I decided to write one myself. Now, after many years of study and time spent over a hot keyboard, I have finally produced thatnovel. 1066: What Fates Impose is the result of all that study and hard work and is the first book I’ve written. I am now working on a sequel.

Virtual Tour and Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 14
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, April 15
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, April 16
Review at Svetlana's Reviews and Views
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read
Thursday, April 17
Book Blast at Closed the Cover
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry
Friday, April 18
Book Blast at Time 2 Read
Book Blast at The Bookworm
Monday, April 21
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Griperang's Bookmarks
Tuesday, April 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, April 23
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Interview at The Maiden's Court
Thursday, April 24
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Reading the Ages
Friday, April 25
Review at Impressions in Ink
Book Blast at Ink Sugar Blog
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Monday, April 28
Review at Kinx's Book Nook
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, April 29
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Book Blast at Historical Readings and Reviews
Wednesday, April 30
Review at Historical Tapestry
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Thursday, May 1
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Friday, May 2
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at Layered Pages

Giveaway

To win a copy of 1066: What Fates Impose please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 3rd and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway  photo 14564486-c3f3-4ae9-a8d4-fec84ea8cc6e.png