Top Ten Tuesday: One to Ten
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, a weekly meme that now resides at That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme first came about because of a love of lists. Who doesn’t love lists? The original creators also wanted their lists to be shared with fellow book lovers and to ask that we in turn share ours with them and connect with other book bloggers. To learn more about participating, stop by their page dedicated to it and dive in!
This week’s topic: Book Titles with Numbers In Them
While today’s theme is “Book Titles with Numbers in Them”, a challenge was issued to come up with one book for each number 1-10, and you know how I am with challenges! As with the A-Z, I wanted to see if I have read at least a book for every number from one to ten. As it turns out, I have – and for most of these, I even have a book I really like.
This novel takes place in the 1980s, following 15-year-old protagonist Nick Hayes and his small group of friends who get together every week for their role-playing sessions of Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, other than the love for the game, the teenagers have very little in common between them. But at the beginning of the book, Nick receives the devastating news that he has terminal cancer, and the consequences and the events following his diagnosis bring them together in solidarity in a way that no one could have possibly imagined. For one thing, shortly after Nick finds out he is dying, he discovers that he is being followed by a stranger, who nonetheless feels familiar to him in a way he can’t explain. This mysterious man, who calls himself Demus, claims to know the future, and that in order to survive the cancer and save his friend – and crush – Mia from grave danger, Nick and his friends must help him with an extremely difficult and extremely top secret mission. All told, One Word Kill was very different from what I am used to from the author, but it is now up there with some of my favorites from him. (Read the full review…)
Set in a more technologically advanced version of our present world, this novel follows six young candidates for a highly competitive British space exploration program to establish a colony on far-flung Terra-Two, a pristine Earth-like planet possessing ideal conditions for life. Having spent years studying at the Dalton Academy for Aerospace Science since they were preteens, our six astronaut hopefuls have trained their hearts out for the opportunity, beating out millions of others across the country. However, with emotions already raw from having to leave their loved ones behind and knowing that they will all be living within the tight confines of a spaceship for the next twenty-three years, life aboard their spaceship Damocles will prove to be a rough process, with homesickness, self-doubt, depression and other personal fears plaguing each of them in turn. It’s probably no surprise that I, being a huge fan of books devoted to telling human stories, absolutely adored this book, and if you enjoy character-oriented tales with interesting relationships dynamics and lots of personal growth, then this is one you can’t afford to miss. (Read the full review…)
Three Laws Lethal is something of a cautionary tale against artificial intelligence, using the concept of autonomous self-driving vehicles as inspiration. That said, I doubt the concept of the AI entity in this story is anything like you’d imagine, as it’s pretty unusual. As well, this is a very human story, focusing on the lives of four friends who bonded over a love of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship while in college. Their dream was to start a taxi service company using a fleet of self-driving cars, and between them, they had the money, brains, and ambition to make it all happen. But then everything changes following a horrific tragedy involving the death of one of their own. For me, the most compelling sci-fi novels are the ones that can entertain me and teach me something new at the same time. This describes all of Walton’s books. love sci-fi novels that are exciting and smart. I also love being surprised. There are twists aplenty in the plot, several that had me gaping in shock. It kept me turning the pages, eager to find out what would happen next. It’s an energetic, non-stop thrill ride from start to finish. (Read the full review…)
This is the story about the Beautiful Dreamer, a cruise ship carrying just under 3000 souls on board for her four-days-fight-nights voyage through the Gulf of Mexico. It’s New Year’s Eve on the final night and everyone’s ready to party and usher in a fresh new start, when the unthinkable happens. The ship suddenly stops dead in the water – no power, no radio, no cellphone signals. The much prayed for rescue never comes, and as the days go by, things get worse – the toilets stop running, food starts spoiling, and all over the ship, reports are coming in about passengers and crew members seeing and hearing some strange, impossible things. Day Four is a horror novel and a real page-turner. I highly recommend it, but with just one caveat: you probably want to avoid the novel if you have a cruise planned in the near future. For most of us, cruise ships mean vacation and relaxation, plenty of fun in the sun. However, beneath the glitzy façade lies the dark truths no one likes to talk about. Read this book, and you may just find out what they are. (Read the full review…)
I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this, but I did continue the next book and the sequel was a lot better. The protagonist of Court of Fives is a girl named Jessamy. She and her three sisters are raised in a household by their Patron father, a low-born baker’s son who nevertheless rose to fame and prestige in the military because of his talents in command, and their Commoner mother, a concubine because it is forbidden for a man of Saroese ancestry to marry a native woman of Efea. Jes’ secret dream is to train for the Fives, an athletic competition that offers a chance for glory, but due to her father’s strict rules, the only way she can compete is in secret. One day, during a public event, Jes meets Kalliarkos, a young Patron prince. From a shared love of the Fives, they strike up an unlikely friendship. But when disaster strikes and a ruthless lord threatens to tear Jessamy’s family apart, Kal’s loyalty to her will be put to the test. (Read the full review...)
A crew of a compromised ship wake up to confusion and murder, with no memory of what came before. The story begins on the Dormire, a generation starship carrying a cargo hold full of sleeping humans to the unspoiled paradise planet of Artemis. Six clones also make up the ship’s crew, all of them reformed criminals who are hoping to scrub their pasts clean and start their lives anew. But the opening scene is one of blood and terror when the six of them suddenly find themselves waking up in their cloning vats, with their minds downloaded into their new bodies—something that only happens if a clone’s previous incarnation has died. Indeed, they discover their old bodies floating around the ship in zero-G, all showing signs of violence, and the cloning bay has been sabotaged so that the clones’ most up-to-date mindmaps cannot be accessed. The implications are clear: one of the six crew members had killed the others including themselves. And because their latest memories were retrieved from back-ups made decades ago from around the time they left earth, no one can remember what happened right before their deaths, so the killer can be any of them. Personally, I love sci-fi stories like these, the ones that engage both the heart and the mind. Beneath the mystery, you’ll find a thought-provoking narrative that’s cleverly presented and also well-crafted. (Read the full review…)
The main setting of the novel is an area of the world called the Scar, a continent that has been torn apart by a brutal war against the Empire and the Revolution since time immemorial. At the center of it all is our protagonist, a feisty mage by the name of Sal the Cacophony. Sal is known throughout these parts as a quick-witted gunslinger who rides a giant bird, carries a thunderous sentient hand cannon, and wields a sword named Jeff. She’s quick at the draw and sharp as a blade, but she also has plenty of issues including a massive chip on her shoulder and a vendetta against the mages who betrayed her. While I had expected a more engaging story and protagonist, I will say that the premise of Seven Blades in Black was unique, with a concept behind the main character that was solid and imaginative. The world-building was also phenomenal. To its credit, I do think that it managed to pull everything together for a great finale, and made me more open-minded to the possibility of checking out the next book. (Read the full review…)
Craving some romance in your sci-fi? With themes like alternate worlds and parapsychology at its core, Echo 8 follows a brilliant young researcher named Tess Caufield in a near-future where doppelgangers have begun appearing mysteriously and randomly from a parallel universe. As far as Tess and her team could tell, these shadowy “Echoes” are from an alternate earth that has been struck by an asteroid, but how these hapless individuals ended up being here, and how to keep them alive on this world after they have teleported are questions scientists are still trying desperately to work out. After finishing Echo 8, I’ve determined that this book is without question heavier on romance. The scientific theory and technology involved in here is sufficiently explained but clearly written in a way so that the reader can enjoy the story without having to look beyond the surface details. Those used to harder sci-fi with a stronger emphasis and comprehensive look at the technical aspects won’t really find it here. On the other hand, if you’re fancying yourself a good romance, then you definitely won’t be disappointed. (Read the full review…)
Taking place in an alternate universe in which science has become a religion and God is seen as the great Experimenter, The Nine involves a magical self-scribing book which lists the nine people whose actions will determine the fate of world. It’s the mother of all experiments, and needless to say, there are various factions who will go to great lengths to affects its outcome. Caught up in this epic struggle is a thirteen-year-old girl named Rowena Downshire, who works as a black market courier in the hopes of one day freeing her mother from debtor’s prison. One day, her employer Ivor tasks her to deliver a mysterious package to the most feared man in the city—a man only known as the Alchemist, who is said to possess dangerous magical abilities. For a novel with so many characters and interlacing plot lines, The Nine is surprisingly well put together and tightly paced. Townsend also balances her storytelling with outstanding character development and layered world-building, with the mythos creation being especially impressive. Tracy Townsend has written a dazzling debut which positively crackles with imagination and enigmatic charm. If you’re looking for a clever and magnificently crafted genre-bending fantasy, I wholeheartedly recommend this superb opening volume to the Thieves of Fate series. (Read the full review…)
Yes, I know I’m cheating a little with ten thousand – but I couldn’t pass up the chance to feature this amazing novel, a lush and spellbinding coming-of-age fantasy about a young woman who finds answers to her past in a mysterious old book that can open pathways to other worlds. Transporting us to the early 1900s, the story follows January Scaller, who was just a little girl when she first discovered the Door. But as with many childhood recollections, soon the memory of that encounter began to fade, until many years later, when a teenage January stumbles upon a strange book that changes her life forever. As you know, I’m a huge fan of “books about books”, and The Ten Thousand Doors of January is in its own way a celebration of that love—not only in the way it reveres knowledge, but also in the way it recognizes reading as a form of escapism. If you love stories about the love of books and reading, you really need to check out this novel—and bonus if you enjoy portal fantasies. But this novel is also about so much more, including a thoughtful and heartfelt exploration of family, growing up, and finding your identify. (Read the full review…)