New Release: Dust & Lightning (2020)

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I’m so, so happy to share my new novella with everyone! In this story you shall find: space shenanigans, a grumpy cat and a grumpier MC, friendship and banter, no romance, lots of adventure, and one dastardly group determined to ruin everyone’s day.

Synopsis: In the near future, humans have gone beyond simple space travel. By the year 4054, multiple solar systems are inhabited, and taking a spaceship is as commonplace as taking an aeroplane.

Unfortunately, not everything about the future is so advanced. The central planets, led by Earth, have risen high at the expense of cheap labour on distant worlds. Dissent is widespread and arrests are common. Sometimes prisoners are released; sometimes they disappear without a trace, sent to labour camps in other solar systems.

When Ames Emerys receives a letter telling him that his brother Callum has died en route to the remote planet of Kilnin, he takes the first ship he can off Earth, desperate for answers. But the secrets Ames uncovers prove far more dangerous than he could have imagined.

And trouble isn’t far behind.

Goodreads | Amazon

Top Books of 2019

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The Lessons by Naomi Alderman | 5/5 | LGBT, Fiction

‘A man made of smoke.’

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham | 5/5 | Nonfiction

‘If we survive until the morning, we’ll live forever.’

The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee | 5/5 | LGBT, Fantasy, Dystopian

‘He didn’t plan anything. There was nothing to plan – he didn’t have contingencies, no connections in clandestine places who knew how to make a man disappear. All he had was impulse and the flash-fire certainty that yes, yes, this was the right thing to do.’

The City Always Wins by Omar Robert Hamilton | 5/5 | Nonfiction

‘We are surrounded by the conversations we didn’t have.’

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle | 5/5 | LGBT, Magical Realism

‘Maybe it’s more about firsts. Maybe every first is a loss.’

If We Could Go Back (Camassia Cove #6) by Cara Dee | 4/5 | LGBT

‘Everything was black-and-white until you grew up and saw gray everywhere. There were millions of rights and wrongs in our lives, and blame could be placed with all of us.’

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M. Kruse | 5/5 | Nonfiction, US History, Politics, Religion

‘In 1954, Congress followed Eisenhower’s lead, adding the phrase “under God” to the previously secular Pledge of Allegiance. A similar phrase, “In God We Trust,” was added to a postage stamp for the first time in 1954 and then to paper money the next year; in 1956, it became the nation’s first official motto. During the Eisenhower era Americans were told, time and time again, that the nation not only should be a Christian nation but also that it had always been one. They soon came to believe that the United States of America was “one nation under God.” And they’ve believed it ever since.’

The Monsters We Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick | 5/5 | Gothic Fantasy

‘Yet every writer worth a good-god damn knows this too, for it is graven into each of us: no one cares for beauty. Not in fiction. Not on its own, not pure, untroubled beauty; not in fiction. It’s what we crave in the real world, of course; beauty, and you know I mean that in its broadest sense: the sense of kindness and wisdom and peace and joy: all the things in the world that are beautiful, and all the things we crave in real life, but which are not sufficient to count, on their own, for anything in the world of stories.’

Notes on Nationalism by George Orwell | 5/5 | Political Essays

‘The point is that as soon as fear, hatred, jealousy and power worship are involved, the sense of reality becomes unhinged. And, as I have pointed out already, the sense of right and wrong becomes unhinged also.’

We Will Not Be Strangers: Korean War Letters between a M.A.S.H Surgeon and His Wife
by Dorothy G. Horwitz (Editor) & Mel Horwitz | 5/5 | Nonfiction, Military History, Letters, Korean War

‘Men killing, destroying, sitting in cold and mud and filth. Do they really hate each other? I doubt it.’

Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages #1) by Lily Morton | 4.5/5 | LGBT Romance

‘Tradition comes from something being so brilliant and such a good memory, that you try to recreate it every time that you can.’

Deal Maker (Mixed Messages #2) by Lily Morton | 4.5/5 | LGBT Romance, Comedy

‘Thank you for enquiring whether I do my own stunts. The simple answer is no. They tell me jumping a puddle is safe, but what would they know? I could slip and damage my face, and then where would the world be?’

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow | 5/5 | Nonfiction, Politics, Feminism

‘In the end, the courage of women can’t be stamped out.’

Horatio by T.J. Klune | 4/5 | LGBT Romance, Short Story | **freely available at the author’s site**

‘“What happened to free will?”

He snorted inelegantly. “Who knows? It’s one of the great secrets of the universe. Maybe it was fate, maybe it was destiny, or maybe it was nothing at all and we’re just two people in the middle of cosmic nonsense clinging to each other because we can.”’

The one I am currently reading looks like it will make a top list, too, so I’m adding it below. It’s giving me serious Firefly vibes so far which is always a good thing!

Adrift by Rob Boffard | Science Fiction, Outer Space

‘He really, really doesn’t want to die. Not by freezing, not by suffocating, not by anything, not ever. If he dies now, he’ll never fly a ship, never go to flight school […] He’ll never be able to help Mom and Dad stay together, and he’ll never get to tell Mal that he’s a giant dick for filming him while he was in trouble.’

There were so many good books this year! And my TBR pile remains taller than myself. 😉

Show Review: Lost in Space (2018)

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I absolutely love Lost in Space. It’s a remake of a television show that was a remake of a book that was written in the 1800s. AND NOW IT’S IN SPACE.

The series follows the Robinson family, whose spaceship has just crashed onto an alien planet. A planet that’s kind of, you know, going through some changes of the *cough* seismic and volcanic nature. So there’s a lot of weather problems facing this family atop everything else. The everything else being: finding their way back into space, figuring out who attacked them and if their attackers have followed them to the planet, coming across an alien life form who decides to be the boy’s best friend, encountering a Super Suspicious Person Who Is Most Definitely Not a Lying Liar Who Lies, and more problems besides. For a deserted planet there is DRAMA.

The backstory of why they left Earth and where they plan on going with the other ships is also really interesting. There are plenty of flashbacks to before they crashed on the planet, so you see a futuristic Earth that is quite depressing. But each episode layers in more details that really increase the mystery.

The cinematography deserves an honourable mention as it is absolutely amazing. It’s space porn, basically. I honestly just love the scenery. It’s beautiful. Totally immersive. The robot is also done supremely well and you get the FEELS for a robot man whose only expressions come from a swirling red light in his mask. Most of all, though, the family is the best part.

There’s John, Maureen, Judy, Penny and Will. There’s an undercurrent of tension between the family that is slowly explained over the episodes and will definitely tug at your heart. But dynamics aside, they’re all skilled and you’re never stuck grinding your teeth wishing they possessed common sense. This hearty crew are all well trained.

Maureen and John have a complicated marriage that was almost over before they went into space, and as a result there’s a good deal of head-butting, but there’s no way you’re not rooting for them by the end. Then there’s Judy, the eldest sibling, who is a young doctor (like, really young, I was kind of confused by that at first); Penny, the middle child, is a kind-hearted, hilarious mechanic and every scene she’s in is perfect; and then there’s young Will, who bonds with the robot, and is adorable and so sweet.

My least favourite part was the villain. She just wrecked my head. Like, OH MY GOD, PLEASE GO AWAY. Not just evil, but ANNOYING. The actress did a great job, but holy crap did I want to scream into a pillow every time the character did anything. She can join Umbridge as most annoying and in need of slaps.

But the annoyingness of the villain was offset by the side characters. Other than the main fam, there are other survivors they find along the way, some you love, some that bring complications. The most notable is Don West, who certainly wins the award for space comedian. I mean:

terrible things outsidethis is a comma

Overall the show is nonstop action and adventure, and utterly good fun. The ending of season one was a total cliff-hanger and I’m so excited for season two this month. I need more of this precious family and their robot sidekick in my life!

Recommended to anyone who likes outer space, family adventures, beautiful cinematography and comedy/drama with their science fiction.

 

**gifs not mine, did not make 🙂