The rest of the short reviews from 2015

I’ve finally finished all my reviews for 2015 with these last six shorts. Three of these are short stories, one is a book of short stories and the other two are novels. I have two science fiction, three fantasies and one contemporary fiction. These are very short snippets of reviews…lol. At least I have a post about them which makes me happy!

“Earth and Fire” & Earth 2788 by Janet Edwards

  • Earth and Fire” is a prequel novella. It’s a story about Jarra when she learns to fly a plane (takes place before the trilogy Ms. Edwards wrote). I enjoyed the glimpse into Jarra’s life before the books began. Grade: B
  • Earth 2788–Eight prequel short stories about some of the characters in the trilogy who come from the colony worlds. I really enjoyed reading about how these characters ended up in the class with Jarra. Grade: B

Chasing Christmas Past: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story” by Melanie Karsak

  • Another short story–this one very short (only 30 pages)–but I thought it was a fun story that gave me a flavor for what the series is about. I haven’t read anything else by this author, but this science fiction steampunk has fun characters in an interesting alternate world. Grade: B

Magic Stars” by Ilona Andrews

  • A short story set in the Kate Daniels world about Derek (a shifter wolf) and Julie (Curran and Kate’s ward) both of whom we’ve seen grow up while reading the Kate Daniels books. Both are very likable characters so it’s fun to read a story about them. I loved this! Since this is listed as Grey Wolf #1 (and Kate Daniels #8.5) I’m hoping there are more stories about Derek and as well as Julie. Grade: A-

Radiance by Grace Draven (Wraith Kings #1)

  • I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected. It’s a fantasy romance and was a lot of fun to read. The characters are enjoyable and the story is good. I recommend it! Grade: B+

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.

  • This book made me cry. I have to admit I didn’t like it very well. I had trouble finishing it. I don’t like sad books. I can find enough to cry about in real life.
  • I listened to the audiobook and thought the narrator was great, but I thought the book was one sad scene after another. And I felt my emotions were manipulated some of the time. Grade: C+

Have you read any of these books? What’s your opinion?

2015 Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge
  • New Author Challenge
  • TBR Pile Challenge

Earth Flight by Janet Edwards

Earth-Flight-by-Janet-Edwards-UK-Cover
UK Cover

Earth Flight by Janet Edwards
Series: Earth Girl #3
Genre: Science Fiction
Setting: Earth and various areas in space
Published by Harper Voyager UK, 2014
Purchased UK edition, paper book, (from Book Depository)
390 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: It’s time to risk it all! The thrilling conclusion to Janet Edward’s sensational debut YA sci-fi trilogy.

Earth-Flight-Janet-Edwards-US-cover
Earth Flight–U.S. cover

Jarra never wanted to be a celebrity. All she ever wanted was to gain some respect for the people left on Earth: the unlucky few whose immune system prevents them from portalling to other planets.

Except now she’s the most famous Earth girl in the universe – but not everyone in the universe is happy about it, nor the fact that she has found love with a norm. Jarra’s actions have repercussions that spread further than she ever could have imagined, and political unrest threatens to tear apart the delicate balance of peace between humanity’s worlds.

On top of everything, the first alien artefact ever discovered appears to be waiting for Jarra to reveal its secrets. But to do so, she must somehow find a way to leave Earth – or else the alien artefact will be lost forever. Is there a way for Jarra to travel to another planet? Or is her destiny only to look to the stars – but never to reach them?

“I promise I won’t fight your battles for you again, but I’d like to fight your battles beside you. There’s a big difference.”

I grinned with relief. “Fighting battles together is fine.”

He grinned back at me. “You’re still a nardle for not taking your meds though.”

Cheers

  • I love this series! The book have been such fun to read. I’m sorry to see the trilogy end, but this is a good ending to it. And I’m glad there are some novellas and short stories to look forward to.
  • I continue to love the slang used in the books–amaz, grazzed, zan, nardle, frizz, blizz. We even get some information about some of the slang–“Nowadays, only historians like me knew the origin of the word blizz, and that you usually said pure blizz because impure blizz killed its users.”
  • We learn a little more about Playdon in this book and I like that since he’s one of my favorite characters in the books.
  • There’s a lot of action and adventure as the rest of the humans who aren’t handicapped and left Earth generations ago have to come to terms with their feelings about the “handicapped” (aka Apes, Neanderthals, throwbacks) left on Earth. And many don’t want to.
  • Jarra becomes a target when she shows that just because the people on Earth can’t leave the planet doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent.
  • Some of those people don’t want Jarra to be a symbol for the “normality” of Earth humans. They would rather forget the people of Earth exist.
  • Because she has a relationship with Fian, he’s also a target for those who hate Earthlings even though he’s a “norm.” They both have to have a bodyguard. They dislike the necessity and loss of privacy, but realize they must put up with it.
  • There’s also lots of action because of the alien artifact found on Earth at the end of the last book. The military is busy searching for the home world of the aliens. Jarra and Fian are left out of that because of the humans who want no part of the handicapped.
  • Political unrest between sectors of the human worlds threatens to tear apart a fragile peace.
  • Even though this is the end of the trilogy the end of the book shows there could be future books in this world. I hope so.

Jeers

  • I miss the archaeology that set the first two books apart from other science fiction. There was a little, but I would have liked more.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This week–on September 8–the U.S. edition of this book came out. I had already bought the book from the Book Depository last January. I bought it because I felt I couldn’t wait to read it. And then I didn’t read it until last week . . . a little earlier than I would have been able to read it if I had waited–but only a little! This was my first time using the Book Depository. The price wasn’t bad and they ship worldwide for free!
  • I love these books and there’s a prequel e-book of short stories out–Earth 2788. Also a prequel novella–“Earth and Fire.” It sounds like these stories would work for either new readers to the series or anyone who has finished the series. From a newsletter Janet Edwards sent out I found out she has more novellas planned. Yay. And I hope more novels, too.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Janet Edwards grew up in prosaic England, but also shared the lives of amazing people in fantastic worlds. She explored the past, the future, the paranormal, the alternate Earths, and the worlds beyond the fields we know or hidden in the shadows of our own reality. Her guides were books, some written by authors still famous and others by authors already forgotten. Those authors have hundreds of individual names, but they have one title in common. They were all Expert Dreamers.
  • Her website has free stories and she also offers a newsletter letting her readers know about upcoming stories and books.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog

Review: Earth Star by Janet Edwards

earth-star

 

Earth Star
by Janet Edwards
Series: Earth Girl, Book 2
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Published by Harper Voyager, 2013
E-book, Purchased
374 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: 18-year-old Jarra has a lot to prove. After being awarded one of the military’s highest honours for her role in a daring rescue attempt, Jarra finds herself – and her Ape status – in the spotlight. Jarra is one of the unlucky few born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Derided as an ‘ape’ – a ‘throwback’ – by the rest of the universe, Jarra is on a mission to prove that Earth Girls are just as good as anyone else.

Except now the planet she loves is under threat by what could be humanity’s first ever alien contact. Jarra’s bravery – and specialist knowledge – will once again be at the centre of the maelstrom, but will the rest of the universe consider Earth worth fighting for?

Being afraid of an impact suit seemed such a small thing, but it could systematically wreck my life. I wasn’t going to let that happen. I had three days before I needed to wear an impact suit again. Three days to force myself past my fear and into the suit that had tried to murder me. I could do that. I had to do that. It was the only way.

and

“…Every school teaches the basic logic and objectives of the Alien Contact programme. I remind everyone of Premise One. Conflict should be avoided if possible, since attacking an alien race of inferior technology is unnecessary, while attacking one of superior technology could result in the extinction of the human race.”

Cheers

  • Another action packed book.
  • Jarra is such a likeable character. She’s brave, strong, independent, full of integrity. She figures out what needs to be done and does it.
  • I love the slang–“…if you were grazzed…” “…totally zan!” “…an amaz thought”
  • There’s some romance in the book, but that isn’t the focus. (Which is a positive for me!)
  • Even though (or for some people maybe because) Jarra did heroic acts in the first book there are still lots of people who don’t want to associate with an “Ape” (the derogatory name for Earthlings.)

Jeers

  • We don’t find out a lot about the aliens during this book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I mentioned in my review of Earth Girl that the third book in this series is coming out in August 2014. Unfortunately, that date is for publication in England and a few other places other than the United States! I haven’t heard the publish date for the U.S. 😦
  • I want to read book 3 soon! I hope we will soon learn the release date for the U.S.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • The Book Bingo Challenge.

Review: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Earth Girl
Earth Girl

 

Earth Girl
by Janet Edwards
Series: Earth Girl, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Published by Harper Voyager, 2012
E-book, Purchased
358 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: A sensational YA science fiction debut from an exciting new British author. Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove to the norms that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

The twentieth century is the one they summarize as war, war and bore.

and

This wasn’t just about what the norms thought of apes, it was also about how I thought about myself, and . . .

Cheers

  • The book takes place on the Earth over 700 years in the future. I can’t think of any science fiction books I’ve read with a setting that far in the future.
  • Janet Edwards creates such an interesting world. This is a great debut book!
  • The book deals with discrimination. Humans who’ve left Earth call those left on Earth “Handicapped” if they’re polite; if not, they’re called “Apes.” They’re often considered sub-human by off-worlders. Earthlings use “Norms” (polite) or “Exos” (impolite) for the people who leave Earth.
  • Jarra grows and changes throughout the book. She begins with a lot of anger toward her real parents and off-world people. What happens to her in the course of the book changes her world view.
  • The concept of an underpopulated Earth is interesting. Most everyone who could leave Earth leaves during “Exodus” and the cities fall into disrepair. Jarra loves pre-history–the history before most everyone left Earth. Much of the book takes place on an archaeology dig in New York City.
  • The archaeology in this book is fascinating. The author does a good job describing the dangers as well as Jarra’s obsession with the history of the cities and mankind.
  • Jarra is funny and irreverent. She’s serious about pre-history and the dig sites. She’s outwardly very self-confident, but inwardly often unsure of herself. She manages to pass herself off as a normal child of military parents so well even fools her professor.
  • Lots of action! I read the book quickly since so much is going on.
  • The class of norms Jarra joins is full of interesting students. I enjoy learning about them and the sectors of Space inhabited by humans. Each sector–Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Gamma, Kappa–has developed with different customs.

Jeers

  • I don’t understand the one in a thousand with an immune system that can’t survive anywhere except Earth. However, I’m willing to take this on faith and not worry too much since I like the book so much.

Thoughts

  • I first heard about Earth Girl from a review of the second book (Earth Star) at Anya’s blog On Starships & Dragon Wings. It’s one of the best I’ve read all year! I’ve already read the second book–Earth Star–and want the third book now. The concluding book in the trilogy Earth Flight  comes out in August 2014.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

I’m participating in the following reading challenges for this book:

  • The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
  • The Book Bingo Challenge.