"Wreck of the Nebula Dream" is billed as "the Titanic disaster in space" and, honestly, it does a pretty goodYes, the cover, I know. Never mind that.
"Wreck of the Nebula Dream" is billed as "the Titanic disaster in space" and, honestly, it does a pretty good job of being that.
It's also billed as being a sci-fi romance, and I thought it did a not-as-good job of being that. Let me explain...
Our story begins with Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson grabbing a ride home on the Nebula Dream, a newly-commissioned luxury liner that's about to go on its maiden voyage and which is aiming to beat the galaxy's current speed record. Across a crowded shuttle cabin, he catches a glimpse of businesswoman Mara Lyrae, and is smitten.
Nothing much comes of it for awhile, though. We follow Nick as he tries to divert himself with the supposedly state-of-the-art appointments of the Nebula Dream and instead finds himself noticing all the places where the corporate builders apparently cut corners.
The pace of the story picks up as the Nebula Dream's engines falter, the ship hits a field of asteroids, and disaster encompasses the entire ship. Nick springs into action, trying to save everyone he can, and from there on out ... well, actually, from there on out, it reads like your basic action movie.
And I liked that! I really did. It really felt like I was reading something like Lethal Weapon crossed with The Fifth Element (maybe not quite so well-produced), and I was entertained throughout the rest of the adventure.
It didn't feel like much of a romance, though. I mean, there was a romantic subplot, but that subplot felt like a pencil-sketch, whereas the action plot felt like it was painted in competent watercolors.
What I liked and what I didn't... I appreciated how our hero, Nick, just couldn't help himself when it came to saving every person possible. I was puzzled when a religious/mystical (maybe? or maybe it was just aliens?) thread became plot-important in the last quarter of the book. I appreciated that even though there was violence, the author didn't seem to revel in it: she portrayed it matter-of-factly, as obstacles our heroes had to overcome, and didn't seem interested (as some thriller writers are) in making her readers wallow in depravity. And I enjoyed the setting a lot: the space-faring luxury-liner felt real and intriguing. I wished the romance felt a little more real. I wish I had been pulled in a little sooner (the first few chapters felt a bit vague and wander-y).
In all: I enjoyed it for what it was. I read most of it down the long, long stretch of the 5 interstate, and it was the perfect diversion for that boring drive. It, again, really truly reminded me of an action movie. It's that kind of uncomplicated*, fun, whizzbang ride.
Content warning for some vulgar language, for violence (though, as I said, it's not excessive or gratuitous), and for one attempted rape scene (again, not gratuitous).
*I know this might sound like like condescension, but I don't mean it that way at all: writing something that's uncomplicated fun for the reader is hard work for the writer, and my hat's off to Ms. Scott for doing it....more
I almost feel like you could pitch this book as "Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory tries to find the algorithm for marriage".
The Rosie Project I almost feel like you could pitch this book as "Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory tries to find the algorithm for marriage".
The Rosie Project is the story of Don Tillman, a professor of genetics - and, I'm pretty sure, a man with Asperger's that doesn't know he has Asperger's - trying to find the perfect mate (because he's convinced that a wife will add to his ultimate flourishing).
But he's sidetracked by a new acquaintance, Rosie, and her search to find her biological father.
Rosie, of course, is nothing like Don's picture of the perfect mate, so he immediately dismisses her as a romantic possibility. She's just a friend, who needs his expertise. Right? Right . . . .
And from there, this story is off and running! I enjoyed this book. It's a nice little romantic comedy. It's narrated by Don, and a lot of the humor comes from the difference between what he thinks his going on, and what you (as the reader) can discern is actually going on.
It also has a lot of heart. I'm pretty sure I said, "Aww!" out loud at least once when reading this book.
Perfect? No. I got annoyed at the characters a time or two, and (as I'm pretty sure most of the readers of this blog subscribe to traditional Christian morality), I should give a heads-up that this is definitely not a Christian book. There's nothing graphic in here, but there's enough objectionable content in here that I'd not recommend this one to a teenager.
However, if you like romantic comedies, this one's got it all: humor, character growth, and a really sweet love story. I really enjoyed it. :)...more
I'm so happy I discovered Beth Vogt! I enjoyed her first novel, "Wish You Were Here", and I think I enjoyed this one even more. She just gets better.I'm so happy I discovered Beth Vogt! I enjoyed her first novel, "Wish You Were Here", and I think I enjoyed this one even more. She just gets better. You know, there are times for reading about hard topics, challenging topics . . . but there are also times when you just want to read something sweet and thoughtful, engaging and fun.
That's this book. This romance follows Dr. Kendall Haynes, a pediatric allergy specialist in Colorado Springs, through her encounters with military pilot Griffin Walker. I liked that the protagonists were older than most of the couples I read about in romances, with pasts that added a unique flavor to their current interactions. And I love romances that include a strong sense of place, and "Catch a Falling Star" really made me want to go visit Colorado Springs again sometime.
Anyway, I don't want to say much more, because the fun of this book is experiencing the everyday events of their lives alongside the characters. But every time I sat down to read another chapter or two of this book, I enjoyed myself. If you're a romance lover looking for a pleasant weekend read, I think you'll enjoy it too....more
This book is a fantasy. That's clear from the outset - as soon as you hear the name "Brighton Kingdom" and realize that the plot revolves around a smaThis book is a fantasy. That's clear from the outset - as soon as you hear the name "Brighton Kingdom" and realize that the plot revolves around a small, imaginary European kingdom, you know it's a fantasy.
Thing is, it was exactly the sort of fantasy I was in the mood for.
"Once Upon a Prince" was fun and light and sweet. The good humor made it fun, the fairy tale elements made it light, but the best part was the romance, which was very sweet indeed.
My favorite sorts of romances are the ones where the hero and heroine are pretty much gone for each other from the get-go and all of the energy of the plot comes out of them trying to figure out what in the world to do next.
This was that kind of romance. I totally bought the instant attraction and affection between Nathaniel and Susanna - it felt very natural and true-to-life. Watching them figure out what to do with the fact - how to deal with their insta-crushes in a mature manner, especially as it became clear that it went deeper than a crush - was a treat.
The setting might be fantastical, but I think the reason I really enjoyed this book is that the relationship rang true. Given that emotional core, I could totally accept the setting as the lovely, yummy icing on the cake it was meant to be.
There were a few elements that pulled me out of the story every once in awhile - a character who didn't quite ring as true as the main couple, a theological point I'd quibble with - but seriously, those places were few and far between, and I enjoyed just about every page. I read this when I was feeling particularly stressed out, and it was as relaxing as a good meal and a hot shower. If this is what you're in the mood for, it's going to be exactly what you were in the mood for. Pure bliss. Lovely....more
That said, there's a lot to enjoy here anyway, especially the exquisitely foppish Francis, who turns out to be muchThis is not Georgette Heyer's best.
That said, there's a lot to enjoy here anyway, especially the exquisitely foppish Francis, who turns out to be much more than the overdrawn dandy he first appears - but NOT, let us be clear, the hero of the piece! (Any fellow Bujold fans out there think he might be a pattern plate for Byerly Vorrutyer?)
The actual hero, Carlyon, and his heroine, Elinor, aren't very exciting, but they're both lovely anyway, and exactly the sort of people you'd be happy to know in real life. And Carlyon and his two brothers compose one of the best-drawn and affectionate FAMILIES Heyer's ever brought to life.
What doesn't work? Sadly, it's the plot. More mystery than romance, the hidden-papers plot drags and drags and draaaaaags. I came for the romance, and there just wasn't that much.
Still, for Heyer fans, there's still a lot to love: clever dialogue to laugh at, a pleasant household to warm the heart, and a bit of cloak-and-dagger work to chill the blood....more
Well, my high hopes for this novel were happily answered!
My attention was caught by the high concept premise of "Wish You Were Here" - a bride desertWell, my high hopes for this novel were happily answered!
My attention was caught by the high concept premise of "Wish You Were Here" - a bride deserting her groom at the altar - but Beth Vogt kept my attention by telling an interesting story about what happens *after* her heroine's impulsive escape.
Vogt doesn't spare her heroine any of the squirmy moments bound to follow such a public disaster, but even when she was under pressure, I enjoyed spending time with Allison Denman. She spends the first half of the novel trying to figure out why she did what she did - she's sure it was the right thing to do, but it takes her time to read the state of her own heart, and I liked the realism of that. The second half of the novel she's busy falling in love with the hero, and, well, I'm a romance fan, so I enjoyed that part too.
I also liked how there was a lot more to the story than just the love story. The hero and heroine have family, friends, and jobs. They have pasts that affect their present, and the Colorado setting is almost its own character.
I don't want to spoil anything, but I also appreciate how a couple of difficult subjects - self-harm and pornography - came up in the plot, but never took it over. You hardly ever see things like that in books unless they're a main plot point, but in this story, things like that came up the way they often do in real life: tangentially. I don't know that I've ever seen that done before, and it added to the realism of the story for me.
I enjoyed this story so much that I hate to mention any complaints. I only have two, and they're mild. First, the ditched fiancé didn't quite ring true to me. But that might just be because he was a man who was almost entirely lacking empathy - or maybe he was just profoundly emotionally stupid? Anyway, I either didn't like him or didn't believe in him, and I can't quite figure out which it was. Secondly, the number of injuries that occurred in the plot stretched my credulity - but only a bit. And having a lot of incident in a novel is so very forgiveable, because it means that the story is the opposite of dull.
That's it: this story was the opposite of dull. It was dramatic without being sad, it was sweet without being saccharine - it was just *fun*. Recommended, and I'm really looking forward to the next one....more
The reason I read this book is that it was described to me as "a YA/sci-fi version of Jane Austen's Persuasion". And I? Love both Jane Austen and scieThe reason I read this book is that it was described to me as "a YA/sci-fi version of Jane Austen's Persuasion". And I? Love both Jane Austen and science fiction.
"For Darkness Shows the Stars" didn't disappoint me.
Now, to be clear, I read this on vacation, when I was disposed to like everything I read just because I was so happy. (Being up in the Sierra Nevada will do that to me.) But I don't think I was too prejudiced.
Peterfreund did a good job of lifting the main interpersonal plot points of "Persuasion" and transporting them into a new world, all of her own building. (Though, I think I recognize New Zealand as the geographical basis for the post-apocalyptic landscape?) I did think it was a little odd that, even with the new belief system she develops for the denizens of her new world, that there is little trace of Christianity or any other major world religions post-disaster. I think beliefs are more persistent than that, so my credulity was strained at that point.
But I enjoyed reading about how she envisioned society re-stratifying itself after a disaster, and the way those who weren't satisfied with the new order subtly rebelled. And the way she named her characters was so fun. :)
My one last quibble was that I felt a bit cheated on the world-building. It's not that the world-building wasn't good - it was; in fact, it was fascinating. But I'm used to sci-fi or fantasy books where the authors explain it all by the end, and at the end of this book, the nature of the apocalypse was left unexplained.
That might be realistic - how often in real life to we get complete explanations for world events? - but as a reader, it left me unsatisfied.
However, two mitigating factors: 1) The romantic thread came full circle, and I found it satisfying. 2) Apparently, there's a sequel.
So, I'm hopeful that more of the nature of the apocalypse that caused the situation will be explained in the sequel. It's on my reading list, and I'm looking forward to getting it....more
The thing that surprised me most about this book was what a fast read it was.
I've known the basic plot points of "Persuasion" for awhile now (my firsThe thing that surprised me most about this book was what a fast read it was.
I've known the basic plot points of "Persuasion" for awhile now (my first introduction to the story was a truly horrible dramatization of it, watched about two decades ago), but it's only recently I had the urge to pick it up.
It was wonderful. I gobbled the story up, and it was easy to do so because this is such a lovely, light, compact little story. And I don't mean "little" in any slighting way. It's small and perfect, the way miniature models are small and perfect.
Our heroine was persuaded, years before the start of the story, to reject the man who loves her. Her friends explained that he's not good enough for her, and even compelled our kind-hearted heroine to believe that saying "no" to him is the kindest thing she can do . . . for *him*.
She spends years regretting this.
Near the beginning of our story, the hero comes back into her social circle, and the whole first 9/10ths of the book is spent exploring the simple question, "is it too late for us to be happy together?"
If you know romances at all, you'll know the answer, but Austen gets us there masterfully, introducing us to some of her best satirical characters along the way (the heroine's father and sisters! *shudder*). "Persuasion" doesn't have the yawningly slow pace of "Emma" (don't kill me, I still love it!) nor the giddy society whirl of "Pride and Prejudice", but it has a lovely heroine, a compelling question to answer, and a very well-earned happy ending....more
Being a terrible person, I always flip through new books before I read them, risking spoilers and disappointment. But when I got Naomi Rawling's new bBeing a terrible person, I always flip through new books before I read them, risking spoilers and disappointment. But when I got Naomi Rawling's new book, "Sanctuary for a Lady", the first thing I stumbled across was this exchange:
"Why do you keep trying to kiss me?" "I'm not trying to kiss you. I'm . . ." What? Trying not to kiss her?
That made me laugh out loud and go back to the beginning of the book in order to start the story, hopeful for good things.
And I wasn't disappointed: the story is full of incident and romance, bouncing nicely back and forth between the peril of the plot and the sweetness of the love story. It's set in one of the more exciting times of history - i.e., one of those times that's fun to read about but that you really wouldn't want to have to live through - and despite the dangers of the time period, it made me want to go and visit northern France, to see if it's still as pretty as this book makes it sound. The descriptions of the countryside in this story are lush and inviting, and the aristocrat-fleeing-the-Terror plot reminded me of the life and times of the Scarlet Pimpernel....more
Here is my theory - and if anyone besides me has noticed this, I haven't read about it, so it's just begging for a English term paper to be written onHere is my theory - and if anyone besides me has noticed this, I haven't read about it, so it's just begging for a English term paper to be written on it - I think that Lois McMaster Bujold's novella The Borders of Infinity is (among other things) a riff on Dante's Inferno.
Why? (Here there be spoilers. For both works.)
1. The Borders of Infinity opens with Miles Vorkosigan thinking, "How could I have died and gone to hell without noticing the transition?" Hell. Yes. That one word is part of my evidence. But, folks, it's the paragraph, and it sets the tone for the rest of the story. Miles is in Hell.
2. The prison camp is circular. So is Dante's Hell.
3. There are circles within the circles (see the women's section of the camp).
4. Miles has a literary (okay, at least literature-obsessed) guide. Yes, I am saying that Suegar=Virgil.
4a. You could argue that Oliver=Suegar. Okay, go ahead: convince me.
5. There is even someone running in circles. Yes, I know that sounds more like the Purgatorio than the Inferno, but, you know, it's still Dante.
6. BEATRICE LEADS HIM UP. Yes, I'm shouting. Yes, that's my biggest piece of evidence. (Term paper folks still with me? Okay, here's your paper topic: why does the Virgil figure go up in Bujold's version, while the Beatrice figure falls? Aaaa. Yes. Hmm.)
6a. If Beatrice is Beatrice, does that make Cordelia the Virgin Mary? C'mon, you can't argue that that's pretty much Cordelia's place in the Vorkosigan cosmology.
7. Just try to count the references to damnation (all the things the prisoners have done with and to each other), redemption, and sin. Just try.
8. What's the theme? The harrowing of hell. Yes it is. (Term paper people: is Miles a Christ figure? What does that mean for his relationship with his mother? Make sure you use the pond incident from Komarr in your answer. Also, reference his fourteen-shuttle-groups-for-the-fourteen-apostles statement.)
9. The saints (i.e., the Dendarii observers, Elena and Elli) are watching and listening to Dante's (Miles') prayers. (Term paper people: is this evidence against the thesis put forth in point 8?)
10. Suegar's scripture is from Pilgrim's Progress, about when the pilgrims finally make it to Heaven. HA! "HA!", I say.
Hee, hee, hee. Okay, that was so much fun.
What do you think? Did I make my point? More importantly, did I miss anything?...more
The first fifteen pages or so of this book made me think it was a comedy of manners, but then it shifted into something between a ghost story and a psThe first fifteen pages or so of this book made me think it was a comedy of manners, but then it shifted into something between a ghost story and a psychological thriller - or what I would call a psychological thriller if the propriety of the Eastern seaboard upper-class white fifties culture in which it takes place didn't keep it from ever becoming anything quite so severe.
To be honest, I felt too much culture shock (I feel weird calling it that, but I think that's what it was) reading this to feel like I can really say how good it was. It was certainly well-written - well-written enough that I want to read another by this author. But I kept wanting to yell at the characters that THAT'S NOT HOW YOU DEAL WITH CRAZY PEOPLE (seriously: you don't go and spend the weekend at the house of an abusive father who thinks you should marry him to heal him from his heartbreak over the death of his neighbor's wife) and that desire to yell at the characters did, I think, interfere with my ability to just sit back and enjoy the book.
But great characterization (I couldn't have been so frustrated with the characters' actions if they hadn't seemed so real) and some of the best-turned phrases I've read in a long time. It does make me want to read more by Elswyth Thane - if only to find out whether or not they're all about crazy people or whether she ever did write the comedy of manners I was hoping for when I started....more