Tag Archive: science-speculative



Seed to Harvest: The Complete Patternist Series (Patternist, #1-4)Seed to Harvest: The Complete Patternist Series by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have loved other books by Octavia E. Butler, but this set of four books just didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t figure out the characters, who was who. Maybe it was because I had to listen to it on text-to-speech, though I did try to follow with my eyes. Still, I did stay with it. A lot of times if something doesn’t make sense it comes together in the end. But I didn’t find that. I found four different stories about similar things.

But don’t take my word for it. Others have loved these books so maybe it is just me and this time in my life. Heck, toothache from infection, smoky-hot summer, Covid19, and its craziness could have flavored how I took the books in. So maybe I’ll read them again later. I see that many people read these in publication order rather than chronological and get a lot more out of all of this combo. Ms. Butler writes well and keeps the reader interested, even when the story itself doesn’t go in the flow I think it should.

Try it. You might like it!

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This is my second reading of the first book of this box-set Find my first review here.

This reading, I was surprised at how current this dystopian story feels. It was only a year ago that I read the first book. Yet now, this seems so scarily close. The author died in 2009, so it was before all of this. How prescient!

As I mentioned in the previous review, I didn’t know what happened after the end of the first book. The second fills in the holes of what happened with the daughter.

At the same time, I wasn’t happy with how the story goes back and forth in person and times, beginning with that second book. I think it is more noticeable when you listen to your books on text-to-speech. I think my eyes might have noticed subtle changes. But that was such a little thing that it didn’t lower my rating.

I cried at the end of the book. I felt I wanted more. I wanted to be with Lauren and everyone in the story longer. The author was excellent in how she created a religion and gave us the ways it grew. How she drew the reader in to know the main character so profoundly was amazing. Now I want to read all her books! I am a fan!!!!


Light from Other StarsLight from Other Stars by Erika Swyler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now this is what I’m talking about! This was such a good book I didn’t want to sleep. I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next!

Even though the story goes back and forward in time I always knew whose point of view it was and when it was. A lot of books don’t make it very clear for those of us who ‘read’ through text-to-speech.

It starts out with the explosion of the Challenger. The main character was 11. Being an astronaut was her life long dream. I was 37. Like everyone else that year, my heart was broken. So to read of a child who shared my dreams and losses I was caught up, hook, line, sinker and all.

There is so much that happens in the book. I could only keep reading to keep the characters alive in my mind. I’m so sad the book is over. I want more! It was a nice ending and I had tears dripping from missing the book already.

I got the book from NetGalley. I am so glad I did. It was a good description that drew me to that book. It didn’t let me down. In fact, I would love to see a book two of this story. Even though it ended quite satisfactorily.

If you get the chance to read it, do so. I’m sure fellow sci-fi fans will love it!

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Pulse (Pulse Effex #1)Pulse by L.R. Burkard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What if a solar EMP hit and all electronics, even in cars and landline phones stopped working and it was in the middle of one of our coldest winters? Good plot premise.

Three teen girls from the same clique at school can’t get to each other or school. Written in their points of view in their journals, first person. And not too much teen romantic angst.

Sounds like my kind of book.

If it had stayed with the above status I would have loved it.

It was a political anti-everyone that isn’t them propaganda. Gun carrying prolifers–only ours, no one else’s counts. Judgemental as all get out.

I believe the best Christians are humble and caring for others. No matter whether they think or look like me or not. ‘We are all made in the image of God.’ ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ The christians in this book represent a lot of people who pick and choose which verses to preach believing it makes them more holy.

Stepping off my soapbox now. There were plenty of different scenarios in how folks are dealing with this new world. In real life right now, we are going through a very cold snowy winter so a lot is believable.

Hunger is the first and biggest problem in this story as there are no stores or ways to get food. As abhorrent as a lot of the book is, the writing is good and I didn’t throw it across the room because there are all kinds of people in this world and this story is from one kind of view.

Which is why I felt shooting that many people, thinking they were in the right and others who were hungry were wrong… was wrong.

What would I do if I lived through the situation our main characters were in? Is there a way as we prepare for such as this that we try to share our abundance. As we prepare we have to remember that our case of food is kept in our car or home and the catastrophe is an earthquake, volcano, or fire and that case of food is destroyed. When we are prepared but but end up the hungry ones, how would we like to be treated? I have rarely missed a meal. I can’t imagine being that cold, tired, and hungry.

Regardless of politics, I’m glad I read it. I won’t bother with the rest of the series. There are a lot better sci-fi’s to see the post-apocalypse through a more open-minded prep and love.

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Third Life: Taken (Life First, #3)Third Life: Taken by R.J. Crayton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a good ending to a good series. It was good because it offered plenty to think about. When a government can tell a person what they can or can’t do with their bodies, where does it end? Can they make you give up a kidney because it can save someone else? And who is held responsible when something goes wrong? And though there are scientists that can prove or disprove as much in the scientific realm as theologians can do the same with the Holy Books who can we trust?

Let’s say you decided not to give up your kidney. You feel you need it as much as anyone else. Where does your right to live stand in comparison to someone else’s? What if the government decided who should or shouldn’t have babies? Can you see what a sticky-wicket of a world it would be?

In this last book, which makes me sad to say as I will miss these characters, there are a wedding, a kidnapping, and healing while running for one’s life–or that of another. The action picks up and isn’t as slow as book two.

It has been nearly a month since I read this but I feel good reviewing as I feel I remember quite a lot. At least it made a big enough impact for me that I could remember the gist. **SMILE**

Now a quick question for the author: What was the purpose of the hidden room? Did I miss something? Or did I imagine a greater purpose than that given to us? Could there be more in store for us?

Anyway, I highly recommend this series. Sure there is romance but it doesn’t take over the main story and sometimes adds to it.

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Second Life (Life First #2)Second Life by R.J. Crayton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this second book to be slower and not nearly as exciting as the first book. But then how do you compete with emergency skydiving? I tried to be patient realizing we were getting to know other characters better.

Having a disabled person as the main character was a plus. I love it when authors take a chance with something other than perfect people and let us see characters who are different.

Still, the first half of the book took place in two rooms. THAT was boring! Sure we needed to get to know our characters’ thoughts but there had to be another way to do that.

Towards the end, things picked up and felt more like the first book. Knuckle were whitened, nails were bitten. And I was praying that there would be no cliffhanger. And there wasn’t. The book left you in a safe enough place but you knew there was more that needed to be done. Luckily, I had book three lined up and took off with that one!

Something I need to add here is another original idea of these three books is the moral dilemma similar to abortion or capital punishment. What if we were forced to give up our organs to those we match who are dying? This book takes further into what if by being forced we become disabled or otherwise harmed? Who is held responsible? I love books that make you think and this series does do that while presenting well-developed characters and lots of adventure.

Shoot, I just decided that I need to raise this from three to four stars, just due to my own review. I will remember this series long into the future that hopefully doesn’t have the dilemmas presented here.

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Where the Deer DwellWhere the Deer Dwell by Dorothy Gravelle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where is book two? I want more!

This has been the most satisfying read I’ve had in a long time. Unrequited office romance, abduction, then Clan of the Cavebears. Let go of disbelief. Enjoy the ride. There is action and adventure but also Walden contemplation and zen yoga.

I must admit that I am too ADD to sit still for the meditation bits, but I put on the fast text-to-speech and felt more in touch with the main character.

Dorothy Gravelle, I can hardly wait to read more of your work!

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Semper AudaciaSemper Audacia by M. Pax

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A space opera novelette. This was more like it! Though this wasn’t a full size novel or series, I felt satisfied. The depth of character, world-building, plot, action, adventure, all left me feeling like I’d been to outer-space, meet new beings, experienced friendships, saved and lost lives. In fact, this little book crammed more in than many long series I’ve read.

All that said, I found myself lost trying to figure out if this were memory or the present. In the end, it all sorts itself out. Maybe the author wanted that bit of confusion.

I recommend this little prize to my fellow sci-fi friends.

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Semper AudaciaSemper Audacia by M. Pax

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A space opera novelette. This was more like it! Though this wasn’t a full size novel or series, I felt satisfied. The depth of character, world-building, plot, action, adventure, all left me feeling like I’d been to outer-space, meet new beings, experienced friendships, saved and lost lives. In fact, this little book crammed more in than many long series I’ve read.

All that said, I found myself lost trying to figure out if this were memory or the present. In the end, it all sorts itself out. Maybe the author wanted that bit of confusion.

I recommend this little prize to my fellow sci-fi friends.

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