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Parley with an Author – S.J. Higbee

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Parley with an Author – S.J. Higbee

The Cap has a chat with me about my writing and some nautical stuff as well…

Captain's Quarters

Ahoy there me mateys!  Well, all ye scalawags should be familiar with Matey Sarah’s blog and wonderful book reviews.  But some of ye may not be aware that she also be a writer.  (What be wrong with ye wretches?)  This week I reviewed her Sunblinded trilogy and enjoyed it.  So what better way to celebrate then giving ye knaves a parley with this author.  Arrrr!  So without further ado . . .

  • How did ye find this Captain and what made ye choose to send a parley communiqué?

To my great shame – I can’t recall when we first started chatting back and forth about books, but I do know why I started regularly visiting. The Cap’s quirky take on the whole business of reviewing books absolutely charmed me and under that quirkiness lies a sharp, perceptive take on a lot of books I also enjoy reading. What’s not to…

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3 Bells – breathing space (S.J. Higbee) Book 3 – It’s Sci-Fi Month!

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3 Bells – breathing space (S.J. Higbee) Book 3 – It’s Sci-Fi Month!

The Cap’s review on the final book on my Sunblinded Trilogy, BREATHING SPACE…

Captain's Quarters

Ahoy me mateys!  Grab your grog!  Here be book 3 of the eighth installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase featuring the crew’s very own Matey Sarah.  While I try to post no spoilers, ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

breathing space (S.J. Higbee)

Well, all ye scalawags should be familiar with Matey Sarah’s blog and wonderful book reviews.  But some of ye may not be aware that she also be a writer.  (What be wrong with ye wretches?)  When the first book was published years ago in 2017, I bought me a copy.  And then bought the next two in the trilogy as each was released.  But shame on me, I didn’t read them right away.  So with this Sci-Fi Month celebration, I thought I would finally give Matey’s Sarah’s work the time it deserves in return for all those sparkly treasures…

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3 Bells – dying for space (S.J. Higbee) Book 2 – It’s Sci-Fi Month!

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3 Bells – dying for space (S.J. Higbee) Book 2 – It’s Sci-Fi Month!

The Cap reviews DYING FOR SPACE, book 2 of The Sunblinded Trilogy. I LOVE that he wants to punch General Norman in the face:))

Captain's Quarters

Ahoy me mateys!  Grab your grog!  Here be book 2 of the eighth installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase featuring the crew’s very own Matey Sarah.  While I try to post no spoilers, ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

dying for space (S.J. Higbee)

Well, all ye scalawags should be familiar with Matey Sarah’s blog and wonderful book reviews.  But some of ye may not be aware that she also be a writer.  (What be wrong with ye wretches?)  When the first book was published years ago in 2017, I bought me a copy.  And then bought the next two in the trilogy as each was released.  But shame on me, I didn’t read them right away.  So with this Sci-Fi Month celebration, I thought I would finally give Matey’s Sarah’s work the time it deserves in return for all those sparkly…

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Review of LIBRARY book Shadow Captain – Book 2 of the Revenger series by Alastair Reynolds #Brainfluffbookreview #ShadowCaptainbookreview #SciFiMonth2019

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I’d read and enjoyed the dark, gothic Revenger – see my review – so was delighted when I spotted this one on the library shelf. I am linking this review to Sci Fi Month 2019.

BLURB: Adrana and Fura Ness have finally been reunited, but both have changed beyond recognition. Once desperate for adventure, now Adrana is haunted by her enslavement on the feared pirate Bosa Sennen’s ship. And rumors of Bosa Sennen’s hidden cache of treasure have ensnared her sister, Fura, into single-minded obsession. Neither is safe; because the galaxy wants Bosa Sennen dead and they don’t care if she’s already been killed. They’ll happily take whoever is flying her ship.

The lovely thing about spaceship thrillers is that you don’t have to make up complicated reasons why people don’t just wander off for a relaxing walk, or pop out to the shops – everyone is stuck. No one can leave. It gives a lovely claustrophobic sense of desperation when things are going wrong. Like… you’re not sure if you can trust your own sister, anymore. Or maybe several crew members are cracking under the strain. Or maybe – just maybe, you are being shadowed by another ship intent on exacting revenge upon the crazed manwoman who had formerly captained your vessel…

Ditto when you get to port. Again, no one can get very far away. Especially if said port is a space station that has seen far, far better days and is on the brink of financial ruin before it fell into the hands of the wrong sort of people. Another twist of tension-filled mayhem. Bring to it, Reynold’s gift for dark, brooding prose, complicated characters who don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves and I found this one equally unputdownable. It doesn’t have quite the violence level of the first book, which was brutal in parts, but that simmering threat had me on my toes all the same. As well as the knowledge that Reynolds is quite capable of killing off really nice characters that I liked a lot.

The pages more or less turned themselves as I read far into the night to discover what would happen next. And I was pleased to see that the current story arc was satisfactorily wrapped up, while leaving a couple of major plotpoints dangling, ready for the next slice of the adventure.

Highly recommended for those who like their space opera on the darker side…
9/10

3 Bells – running out of space (S.J. Higbee) Book 1 – It’s Sci-Fi Month!

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3 Bells – running out of space (S.J. Higbee) Book 1 – It’s Sci-Fi Month!

The Cap at Captain’s Quarters has just released this review of RUNNING OUT OF SPACE…

Captain's Quarters

Ahoy me mateys!  Grab your grog!  Here be book 1 of the eighth installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase featuring the crew’s very own Matey Sarah!  Arrrr!!!

running out of space (S.J. Higbee)

Well, all ye scalawags should be familiar with Matey Sarah’s blog and wonderful book reviews.  But some of ye may not be aware that she also be a writer.  (What be wrong with ye wretches?)  When the first book was published years ago in 2017, I bought me a copy.  And then bought the next two in the trilogy as each was released.  But shame on me, I didn’t read them right away.  So with this Sci-Fi Month celebration, I thought I would finally give Matey’s Sarah’s work the time it deserves in return for all those sparkly treasures she be constantly adding to me ports for plunder list.

This novel follows Lizzy Wright whose dream…

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Teaser Tuesday – 16th April, 2019 #Brainfluffbookblog #TeaserTuesday

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is my choice of the day:
Atlas Alone – Book 4 of the Planetfall series by Emma Newman

35% Nothing has changed in the bedroom. His body is still there, which jars me. In zero-gore games it would have faded out by now. I study his face, wondering if I knew him a long time ago and have forgotten him, but he seems just as much a stranger. Surely there is a statement in that fact? In a game populated purely by people I have known – or even just seen regularly – in my life on Earth, the fact that he is the only exception feels important.

BLURB: Six months after she left Earth, Dee is struggling to manage her rage toward the people who ordered the nuclear strike that destroyed the world. She’s trying to find those responsible, and to understand why the ship is keeping everyone divided into small groups, but she’s not getting very far alone.

A dedicated gamer, she throws herself into mersives to escape and is approached by a designer who asks her to play test his new game. It isn’t like any game she’s played before. Then a character she kills in the climax of the game turns out to bear a striking resemblance to a man who dies suddenly in the real world at exactly the same time…

This is a fabulous series – After Atlas was my outstanding read of 2017 – so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to read an arc copy of this one. Many, many thanks to Lynn of Lynn’s Book Blog for talking me through how to negotiate the Netgalley thicket to make this possible😊. So far, I’m loving this one – though I have no idea where it’s going…

Review of PAPERBACK How To Steal a Dragon’s Sword – Book 9 of the How To Train A Dragon series by Cressida Cowell #Brainfluffbookreview #HowToStealaDragon’sSword

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I’ve had a bit of a gap since I treated myself to the next in the series – partly because my young grandson is busy reading books all about footballers instead of dragons these days. But those of you who have visited before, know of my love for these fabulous books – see my review of How To Twist a Dragon’s Tale here.

Viking Berk heir, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III and his dragon, Toothless are target of dragon rebellion — filled with the meanest Razor-wings, Tonguetwisters, and Vampire Ghouldeaths. Only a King can save them, a champion with all of the King’s Lost Things. Hiccup will have to outwit a witch, fight his arch-enemy, and beat back an army of bloodthirsty dragons with just one sword.

There is still a madcap quality about some of the adventures besetting Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, but also a certain melancholy, given that the tales of derring-do are being told by a much older and sadder Hiccup rather than the skinny, desperate boy struggling to stay alive against mountainous odds. That doesn’t stop the characters from pinging off the page and this story – like all the others – take off in all sorts of unexpected directions. Though there is a dreadful inevitability about the terrible war between humans and dragons that seems to be on the brink of breaking out.

It was still fun to read about the crafty witch Excellinor and her wicked plans to overthrow the Vikings and have her son crowned as King of the Wilderwest – and Hiccup’s attempts to prevent her from doing so. As well as satisfyingly wicked antagonists, Hiccup is also hampered by a lantern-jawed hero in the shape of Flashburn, the greatest swordsman of his time. And while Fishlegs, his asthmatic friend, is mostly loyal, he isn’t all that much use in a fight, while his other staunch companion, Camicazi, is an adrenaline junkie incapable of keeping a secret.

Cowell’s plotting is brilliant at keeping the pace up, so that restless small boys who would rather be kicking a football around instead of sitting still and listening to a story, nonetheless pay attention, because said story is THAT good. So if you have any small boys or girls in your life who are in need of a gripping series, then this is the one for you. If they’ve wandered off to play football, then this is still the one for you – because once you’ve started reading this one, you won’t want to put it down until you’ve discovered what happens to the likes of Toothless, Hiccup, Fishlegs and Excellinor.
10/10

Sunday Post – 2nd December, 2018 #Brainfluffbookblog #SundayPost

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This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

I’ve been AWOL for a while, mostly because I’ve been battling with my health. It’s boring and depressing dealing with it, but I certainly don’t feel inclined to share the misery around – hence my absence. Hopefully, I’m on the road to recovery – fingers crossed.

On a much happier note, I’ve been loving Sci Fi Month and used my lolling around in bed to catch up on a number of entertaining, enjoyable science fiction adventures which took me as far away from my everyday life as I could possibly get. Yippee! Thank you to Lisa and her trusty team for running this event and Rina for dreaming the whole thing up in the first place – I’m here to tell you that during a very grotty month otherwise, it’s been a lifesaver.

Last week I read:
The Expert System’s Brother by Adrian Tchaikovsky
After an unfortunate accident, Handry is forced to wander a world he doesn’t understand, searching for meaning. He soon discovers that the life he thought he knew is far stranger than he could even possibly imagine. Can an unlikely saviour provide the answers to the questions he barely comprehends?
This novella is a cracking read – Tchaikovsky doesn’t disappoint in this dystopian colony adventure. While the story didn’t deliver lots of surprises, I have found myself thinking a lot about the issues he raises – and isn’t that the mark of a good read?

 

Terms of Enlistment – Book 1 of the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos
The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to two thousand calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. But as he starts a career of supposed privilege, he soon learns that the good food and decent health care come at a steep price…and that the settled galaxy holds far greater dangers than military bureaucrats or the gangs that rule the slums.
This is a really gripping read with one of the best battle scenes I’ve ever read. I’ll definitely be getting hold of the next book in this series. No wonder I keep encountering this author in the best-selling rankings… PLUS I also read Lucky Thirteen – a short story set in the same world, also very highly recommended.

 

The High Ground – Book 1 of the Imperials series by Melinda M. Snodgrass
Emperor’s daughter Mercedes is the first woman ever admitted to the High Ground, the elite training academy of the Solar League’s Star Command, and she must graduate if she is to have any hope of taking the throne. Her classmate Tracy has more modest goals — to rise to the rank of captain, and win fame and honor. But a civil war is coming and the political machinations of those who yearn for power threaten the young cadets. In a time of intrigue and alien invasion, they will be tested as they never thought possible.
I’m always a sucker for college/school-based adventures and I found this one highly readable and engrossing. The contrast between the two main characters gives a real sense of the social structure, with one out of her depth because she is suddenly confronted with the possibility of being the next ruler. While the other has been taken out of his low-class background and is enduring the misery of being a scholarship student.

 

Murder in the Dark – Book 6 of the Ishmael Jones series by Simon R. Green
Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny have been despatched to assist a group of scientists who are investigating a mysterious black hole which has appeared on a Somerset hillside. Could it really be a doorway to another dimension, an opening into another world? When one of the scientists disappears into the hole — with fatal consequences — Ishmael must prove whether it was an accident — or murder. But with no clues, no witnesses and no apparent motive, he has little to go on. Is there an alien predator at large, or is an all-too-human killer responsible? Only one thing is certain: if Ishmael does not uncover the truth in time, more deaths will follow…
Despite the grim look of the covers, I promise you that this isn’t horror on any level. It’s a paranormal, murder mystery series with its tongue firmly in its cheek. I really enjoy the snarky humour and sheer outrageous implausibility of the murders and this one cheered me up no end while I was just beginning to recover from my boring illness.

My posts last week:

#Sci Fi Month Review of Star Nomad – Book 1 of the Fallen Empire series by Lindsey Buroker

#Sci Fi Month Review of The Scent of Metal – Book 1 of the Space Argonauts series by Sabrina Chase

#Sci Fi Month Review of Into the Dark – Book 1 of the Alexis Carew series by J.A. Sutherland

#Sci Fi Month Review of Terms of Enlistment – Book 1 of the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos

#Sci Fi Month – The Ones That Got Away

Apologies for not having any interesting items to pass on – I simply haven’t been sufficiently present to retweet and comment on other folks’ blogs. In the meantime, many thanks for taking the time to comment, like and visit my blog – have a great week.

Friday Faceoff – A wolf doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep… #Brainfluffbookblog

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This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the subject this week featuring on any of our covers is a WOLF. I’ve selected Wolf Brother – Book 1 of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver.

 

This edition was produced by HarperTrophy in February 2006. The font and pawprint for the O is eye-catching and attractive, but my big problem with this cover is that it simply hasn’t been designed for the digital era and is far too dark. The figures don’t stand out sufficiently and in thumbnail, they simply disappear. Given it is for young readers, I’m not sure why this is such a gloomy offering.

 

Published in May 2005 by Orion Children’s Books, this cover is far more effective in thumbnail. The line drawing of the boy and the wolf glows out of the terracotta cover and once again, I love the uneven font. Personally, I would have appreciated just a bit more going on – it’s very stark for children, who are generally used to covers with far more detail.

 

This edition, published by Orion in 2011 is beautiful. I love the colour of the cover and the way the light has been handled. The howling wolf is fabulous, while the figure of Torak, backlit by the rising sun gives a sense of his vulnerability. Once again, the font is effective and quirky. This is my favourite cover.

 

This German edition, produced by cbj in January 2014 is another strong contender. I love the depiction of the ferocious bear demon in the sky, while Torak and the wolf are running together in the foreground. If I have a niggle, it’s that the figure of the boy is just a bit wooden and doesn’t have the emotion of the previous image. I also think the title font should have been edged or embossed to make it stand out more from the detailing.

 

This French edition, published in April 2005 by Hachette has plenty going on. It is also beautifully drawn. I love the face of this wolf and the hunched figure of Torak on the rock ledge. The title font has also been produced with care and skill – it looks really effective, even against all the artwork. But… I think there is a tad too much going on. What do you think? Do you agree with me?