Tag Archives: the Machinations series

Sunday Post – 16th October

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

Again, this has been a far less frenetic week. I finally completed the line edit on Netted and sent it off. 100_5156Yay! Fingers crossed that it meets with approval… Fitstep and pilates classes are going very well – I’m 100_5166delighted to find I continue to be able to do exercises which a year ago, I couldn’t get near. Himself and I went for a lovely walk last Sunday and were inspired to repeat this during the week, while still enjoying the amazing weather. These pics were taken last Tuesday morning during a wonderful walk along the beach.

On Thursday, Mhairi came over again and spent the day. During the evening we attended the West Sussex Writers monthly talk, given this time around by the awesome Ben Galley who came to tell us all bengalleyabout self-publishing. He took us for a brisk gallop through how to get hold of effective editors, demystified the process of buying and using ISBNs, gave top tips on how to get the best out of a cover artist – along with a slew of facts and figures on the advantages of going the indie route. As he has successfully published two fiction series, a how-to book, a graphic novel and four children’s books, as well as running a consultancy on self publishing, he was very well placed to answer all the questions asked about the subject. It was one of the most informative talks we’ve ever had at West Sussex Writers. To round it off, Caron Garrod – one of my students – read out her winning entry in the WSW Novel Opening Competition judged by Jane Lythell. It was a marvellous evening.

This week-end I’m grannying again as the children are once more with us – it great to be able to see them on a regular basis, so we get a chance to catch up on how they are getting on at school. As well as keeping tabs on their latest hobbies and enthusiasms – it all seems to change so much at their age…

This week I have read:
Counterpart – Book 2 of the Machinations series by Hayley Stone
Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought backcounterpart to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good. But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.
This gripping apocalyptic adventure has produced the most interesting, nuanced examination of what it means to be a clone that I’ve read in a long, long time.

 

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden
knightsoftheborroweddarkDenizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well, normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life—orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought. . . On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that almost growls with power. And on the journey Denizen discovers there are things out there that by rights should only exist in storybooks – except they’re all too real.
I really enjoyed this gripping children’s book, where the knights are skilled in magic and sword fighting, but traumatised and battle-weary and thirteen-year-old Denizen is suitably chippy. And we are never allowed to forget that violence and revenge exact a very high price…

 

So Many Boots So Little Time – Book 3 of The MidAdventures of Miss Lilly by Kalan Chapman Lloyd
Small-town lawyer Lilly Atkins has calmed down. She’s doing yoga, her hair is relatively tame, and she somanybootshasn’t shot anyone in a while. But with bad boy Cash Stetson out of rehab, former FBI agent-turned-attorney Spencer Locke dogging her steps, and a ghost from her past who just won’t go away, her trigger finger is starting to itch.
This offering is a real change of pace and genre for me – something I felt I needed. The emphasis on clothes and looks was slightly exasperating and I hadn’t appreciated just how much of the plot was devoted to Lilly’s love life. That said, it was a charming, light-hearted read that put a smile on my face.

 

Penric’s Demon – a World of the Five Gods novella by Lois McMaster Bujold
penricsdemonOn his way to his betrothal, young Lord Penric comes upon a riding accident with an elderly lady on the ground, her maidservant and guardsmen distraught. As he approaches to help, he discovers that the lady is a Temple divine, servant to the five gods of this world. Her avowed god is The Bastard, “master of all disasters out of season”, and with her dying breath she bequeaths her mysterious powers to Penric. From that moment on, Penric’s life is irreversibly changed, and his life is in danger from those who envy or fear him.
I’m a massive fan of this author’s writing – and this is a treat. I loved this one – classic Bujold. And the best news of all – there’s another novella in this series which is on my TBR list waiting for me to get to it…

 

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 9th October

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2016 – September Roundup

Teaser Tuesday – featuring So Many Boots, So Little Time by Kalan Chapman Lloyd

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Counterpart – Book 2 of the Machinations series by Hayley Stone

Favourite Time Travelling Novels – Part 1

Friday Faceoff – There was once a princess who lived in the highest tower… featuring Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Review of Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Five Interesting Facts about Samuel Pepys https://interestingliterature.com/2016/10/14/five-fascinating-facts-about-samuel-pepys/ Those marvellous folks at Interesting Literature came up with yet another fascinating article.

Reading in Bed https://randombookmuses.com/2016/10/14/musing-reading-in-bed/
An ongoing problem in my life…

Writers, Please Eat a Snickers and Chill the Hell OUT – Sincerely Writers https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/writers-please-eat-a-snickers-and-chill-the-hell-out-sincerely-readers/ Kristen Lamb calls time on the unpleasant, ranting behaviour on social media

Keeping Children Safe With Technology – https://wandaluthman.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/keeping-children-safe-with-technology/ Wanda Luthman warns of a new, worrying development that can cause havoc in the wrong hands – Burn Note

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook Counterpart – Book 2 of the Machinations series by Hayley Stone

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I read and reviewed the first book, Machinations, earlier this year. While there were issues with the worldbuilding, what made it stand out was Stone’s powerful, effective evocation of a cloned character. Would she sustain this fascinating character in the sequel?

Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought backcounterpart to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good. But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.

The start of Machinations was one of the high spots of the book – that wrenching death scene right at the beginning of the story pitched us straight into the action and this book kicks off with similar action-packed drama. Could you fully appreciate it if you hadn’t read the first book? Yes, I think Stone’s writing and pacing is such that you could pick this one up and wouldn’t flounder too much, though in an ideal world you would read the first book before tackling this one.

While I enjoyed the first book, I did have difficulty envisaging exactly what the machines looked like. As a great deal of the action in Counterpart takes place in an underground citadel, which is very well depicted, this isn’t such a problem in this slice of the adventure, where we also get more information about how the machines operate, anyhow. And at no point does this book suffer from the classic second book slump – it grabs us at the start and the action doesn’t let up until the end. I reached the final page with a jolt of dismay, as we are left with something of a cliffhanger, although most of main plotlines running through the second book are brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

What Stone achieves magnificently throughout both books is to give us a ringside seat as a character struggles to come to terms with being a clone. This is a staple of science fiction and the normal way of dealing with it, is for the character to be a tad disorientated and grumpy about the whole business in the first couple of chapters, then snap into action, appreciating what this new body can do… Stone’s enjoyable, sympathetic character finds being a clone defines her as she struggles to get those closest to her to initially accept her. She also still has problems, due to not fully recollecting her former life. And once she hits her stride as humanity’s icon – the reason why she was cloned in the first place – there are several plot developments that have her on the back foot, again. I like her bravura, her constant patter of jokes, often at entirely inappropriate times. I like her hot-headed inclination to go plunging right into the middle of trouble.

Any grizzles? No – I found her relationship with Camus far more compelling and believable in this story. I read waaay into the early morning to discover what would happen next and am now eagerly looking forward to the next instalment.

I received a free arc of Counterpart from the publisher via Netgalley, which has not affected the content of my unbiased review.
9/10

Teaser Tuesday – 12th July, 2016

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Teaser

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.
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:
Machinations – Book 1 of the Machinations series by Hayley Stone
47%: This is how the memory looks in my head, but there’s no way of knowing whether it’s accurate; I machinationscould be filling in the blanks with what makes sense to me, what I’d like the past to look like, warm and friendly. I’ve begun to wonder how much I recall is actually real, and how much is stuff I’ve made up, cushioning the loss in my head.

BLURB: The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself. Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

This book starts with a bang as Rhona dies – and doesn’t let up. The writing is strong, the characterisation layered and sophisticated, making Rhona a great protagonist. I was expecting an exciting adrenaline-filled tale of adventure and action – and have found something more profound and satisfying. Fingers crossed the ending of this first book in a very promising series manages to deliver.