Sunday, 18 November 2018

Chuckles Retro Reads: Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs (Future Shock #1)


What do you do when the future is too late, and the present is counting down to an inevitable moment?

Elena Martinez has street smarts, the ability for perfect recall, and a deadline: if she doesn’t find a job before she turns eighteen, she’ll be homeless. But then she gets an unexpected offer from Aether Corporation, the powerful Los Angeles tech giant. Along with four other recruits—Adam, Chris, Trent, and Zoe—Elena is being sent on a secret mission to bring back data from the future. All they have to do is get Aether the information they need, and the five of them will be set for life. It’s an offer Elena can’t refuse.

But something goes wrong when the time travelers arrive in the future. And they are forced to break the only rule they were given—not to look into their own fates. Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future—and a murder—from happening. But changing the timeline has deadly consequences too. Who can Elena trust as she fights to save her life?

The first book in an unforgettable series about rewriting your destiny in the city of dreams.


My Review:  
Elena is two months from being ejected by the foster care system and still cannot find a job. Help comes when a tech company offers her the chance to take part in their tests for more money than she could have hoped for. Despite her suspicions Elena feels she has little choice but to agree. She is teamed with Chris, Adam, Trent and Zoe, each with different skills for the task ahead. They are being sent ten years into the future for 24 hours to gather information on technology and come back. The scientists are confident that the employees of the company ten years in the future will be there to meet them. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot. They arrive in the future to discover that the tech company is gone, the building deserted so there is nobody there to guide them. As they start to explore the local area, it becomes clear that they are thirty years into the future and don't recognise any of the technology being used in everyday life, which makes them stand out in the wrong way. As instructed, they start to note what they can to take back, through Zoe's drawing skills and with the use of Elena's memory. It is when they try to buy something that they discover that all citizens are entered in a database and if you aren't on it, you can't buy...but why is only Adam in it? Why are the other four not there? It is then that they decide to break the golden rule not to look up information about their future selves...

I grew tired of YA fiction several years ago because of the tropes and the same tired plots. I liked the idea of this one so I risked giving it a try and I really enjoyed it. Part of what made this book was the characters. I liked Elena as the MC as she wants to find a better future for herself and help her foster sister too. She is struggling to get anyone to give her a chance at a job and the offer from the company just seems to be the answer to her prayers. I had sympathy for her and liked the way she stood up for Adam when she first meets him. She is also the smart one who is questioning the situation, and is disturbed to discover that they are not the first attempt to go into the future. I grew to like the group dynamic. I wasn't sure I was going to like Trent and Chris when they were fighting with Adam but as soon as they got to the future and started working together, I grew to like them all.


Things start to get interesting when the group start wondering about why Adam is the only one in the database. It is decided that they should try to find Zoe's sister who might still live in the city and see what she can tell them about her. This leads to a very tense visit to the library to find out more about their future selves and past events. I very much enjoyed this twist in the story and what we find out there starts off a chain reaction of events that is fast paced and entertaining. I don't want to go into any more detail but I will hint at getting help from a couple of future selves which is fascinating. I liked the idea that there was an event in the past that Elena wanted to change but was at a loss as to how she would be able to do it.

It wasn't a complicated story despite the time travel and science elements. It was a story about finding out your future and trying to change it in the space of a few hours. It was tense and dramatic and I kept wondering how they could change things. Also the way it ends sets things up for all kinds of sequels. Time travel fascinates me and if it is done well, it can be quite exciting. This was a book that did it well and I'm interested to see what happens next so I'm going to grab book 2 as soon as I can. I recommend this to those interested in time travel and trying to change your destiny. There is also some romance in it but it does fit the story nicely, and the book is well paced throughout.


Re-read November 2018.
4 stars.

Around The Blogs With Chuckles


We all enjoy snooping and lurking on other people's blogs right? Why not share those entertaining things you found with other readers and bloggers too! Welcome to Around the Blogs with Chuckles, where I take time out to show you some of my favourite blog posts from the previous seven days and link you up so you can check them out. 

This week! 

1) Book Review-We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
Mogsy's review!
https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/11/12/book-review-we-sold-our-souls-by-grady-hendrix/ 

2) Book Recs
Verushka shares a few books.
https://editingeverything.com/blog/2018/11/12/5books-book-recs-and-daredevil/ 

3) Book Review-Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor 
Elle looks at a bit of weird.
http://elleinked.blogspot.com/2018/11/book-review-welcome-to-night-vale-by.html 

4) Book Review-We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
Barb's review!
http://bookertsfarm.blogspot.com/2018/11/beware-cost-of-fame.html 

5) Book Review-Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Mogsy looks at a YA SF.
https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/11/17/rrscifimonth-ya-weekend-audio-skyward-by-brandon-sanderson/

6) Book Review-Rabid Heart by Jeremy Wagner
Bark goes zombie! Well, not literally!
http://barksbooknonsense.blogspot.com/2018/11/review-rabid-heart.html 

7) Book Review-The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Greg looks at clones and their rights.
http://gregsbookhaven.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-similars.html 

8) Book Review-City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender
Annemieke looks at New Adult Fantasy.
https://adancewithbooks.wordpress.com/2018/11/15/city-of-broken-magic/ 

9) Book Review-An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris 
Mogsy looks at western alternate world fantasy.
https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/11/15/book-review-an-easy-death-by-charlaine-harris/ 

10) Book Review-The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston 
Karen goes paranormal mystery.
http://www.fwiwreviews.net/2018/11/review-lying-woods-by-ashley-elston.html#.W-1WdOKnzcs 

11) Book Review-Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Erica goes vampire!
https://www.ericarobynreads.com/2018/11/book-review-certain-dark-things.html 

12) Why I Comment
Sam discusses the reason to spread some love!
http://weliveandbreathebooks.blogspot.com/2018/11/discussion-why-i-comment.html 

13) Book Review-Gutter Medicine by Roger Huder
Carole looks at a memoir of a firefighter paramedic.
https://carolesrandomlife.blogspot.com/2018/11/audiobook-review-gutter-medicine-by.html 

14) Why Should You Comment? 
Roberta shares her thoughts!
http://offbeat-ya.blogspot.com/2018/11/tell-me-something-tuesday-why-should-you-comment.html 

15) Policy Change 
Bark gets shafted by Amazon. Please read this.
http://barksbooknonsense.blogspot.com/2018/11/Policy-change-amazon.html 

16) What is Biopunk? 
Annemieke looks at cyberpunk and biopunk.
https://adancewithbooks.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/what-is-biopunk/ 

17) Book Review-Vengeful by VE Schwab (Villians #2) 
AJ looks at a SF sequel.
http://ajsterkel.blogspot.com/2018/11/review-vengeful-by-ve-schwab.html 

Chuckles Cover Love #101-Mazarkis Williams


If there is one thing that makes a great book even better, it is when it has a cover that we love! The cover design is what catches the eye as we browse through a bookstore shelf or check out the Amazon or Goodreads recommendations. The right cover makes me look closer at a book, to read the blurb and maybe make a purchase. A poor cover might mean I never look at the blurb at all.

NB: I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus, or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account.   

This Week! 

I really love that cover for book three!






















Saturday, 17 November 2018

Book Review: Jurassic Florida by Hunter Shea


FLORIDA. IT’S WHERE YOU GO TO DIE.
Welcome to Polo Springs, a sleepy little town on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s a great place to live—if you don’t mind the hurricanes. Or the flooding. Or the unusual wildlife . . .

IGUANAS. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE.
Maybe it’s the weather. But the whole town is overrun with the little green bastards this year. They’re causing a lot of damage. They’re eating everything in sight. And they’re just the babies . . .

HUMANS. THEY’RE WHAT’S FOR DINNER.
The mayor wants to address the iguana problem. But when Hurricane Ramona slams the coast, the town has a bigger problem on their hands. Bigger iguanas. Bigger than a double-wide. Unleashed by the storm, this razor-toothed horde of prehistoric predators rises up from the depths—and descends on the town like retirees at an early bird special. Except humans are on the menu. And it’s all you can eat . . .


My Review:
Anyone who has followed my blog during the last year or so will know that I'm a huge fun of both Hunter Shea and creature feature books. I love anything dinosaur and giant iguanas are pretty close to it, so I really expected to love this book. Now don't get me wrong, I liked it but I didn't love it as I expected to.

The plot was certainly interesting enough. An environmental group has for some stupid reason blown up an oil rig, killing workers and polluting the sea which destroys the ecosystem. At the same time, lizards and iguanas are completely over-running a Florida town to the disgust of locals and visitors alike. The beasties are everywhere and growing in both size and number as a hurricane is headed in their direction. It is when the giant iguanas start breaking out of the ground and going on a killing rampage that the town finally finds out what scary is.

I liked the giant iguanas who were running around the town like mad T Rex's, flattening houses, destroying cars and eating people, while the smaller ones go around in swarms like the compys, attacking whatever they can find. It's not safe to stay indoors as your house might crush you or a giant iguana might pluck you out of it to use as a buffet snack. It isn't safe to try and get in your car and leave because these big monsters are destroying cardrs at will and the hurricane is cutting off the escape route. There is certainly plenty of death and disaster in this book so I had no issues at all with the actual plot for the book.

I think it was the characters and their stories that I partly had an issue with. There were some that were interesting enough like newly engaged Cheryl and Nicole who had to flee their house when the vegetable garden was destroyed by lizards. I liked them both as characters and certainly was interested in what happened to them. Sam was my favourite character. He was the somewhat prepared person, ready for the hurricane and ready to help his friends and neighbours when they were in need. He just wasn't ready for iguanas but hey, who would be? I liked these people but I had issues with others. I found Ann particularly annoying. She was a somewhat ditzy 18 year old who somehow had got elected Mayor and seemed to have little clue how to look after the interests of the town. She is getting endless calls about the lizards but only manages to get one caught in her hair, fall over and break her ankle. 

Then there is Frank who is sleeping rough in the town, obsessing over how Tony was recently fed to an alligator. To be honest, the bits and pieces of his story interested me as much as Ann did. I didn't greatly care why Tony was a gator snack or what Frank was running from. I just didn't find him interesting as an MC as I wasn't caring much about a mobster in hiding from other mobsters. I'd rather we had spent more time with Sam. Likewise Don, Barbara and their son Gary who recently lost his spleen after a bike accident. There was a lot about how they were going to sue because he was injured by a paving stone out of place. I wasn't really caring one way or the other about them but it did puzzle me why they waited so long to try and get out of town with a child and a hurricane! I felt most of the characters were pretty forgetable and I wasn't bothered about most of them.

There was just something lacking in this. When everyone was on the streets fleeing the monsters, I expected to find that really exciting but for me it all lacked a bit of cohesion. OK people do panic in circumstances like that but nobody seemed to have a clear idea of what to do so they end up running away then running back towards the monsters and getting eaten. That just felt a bit pointless to me and too many stupid decisions got frustrating rather than entertaining. Why was nobody heading to the shelter before the iguana attack began? Why was the town not evacuated before the hurricane? Why did they elect Ann??? Even the writing itself wasn't quite as riveting as his other books so overall I felt this was one of the lesser Shea books I've read.

Overall a decent enough read to pass the time but I wouldn't rush to read it again if I'm being honest. When I was rating this I was on the border of 2.5 or 3 stars and I'm still struggling a bit to decide. I went with 3 because it was better than Fury of the Orcas!

Read June 2018.
3 stars. 

Friday, 16 November 2018

Chuckles Weekend Roundup


Welcome to my feature Chuckles Weekend Roundup where I will be looking at what books I've received, anything interesting I've done or bought or watched and other random stuff. I'll be taking a look back at what happened in my blogging world too, sort of like The Sunday Post that some of you do! 

Please note that I'll be visiting your STS/SP as normal, but I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus, or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow DISQUS to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I am the only one who does that on my social media! I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account. Sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me because I deleted my account with them but I will persevere as it only happens the odd time!
****************
It's that time again, it's the weekend roundup. I've spent a fair bit of time thinking how to better organise my online and offline time (see Chuckles Chuntering for details) and I'm giving it a try this weekend to see if I can finally start churning out the book reviews again. What is it about them that I find so hard to write! Anyway, we'll see how it goes. I did manage to finally get some reading done this week and I finished two books which is better than expected considering the tired slump I've been in since October. Early days yet but maybe the worst is behind me-I hope! I've been a bit distracted by political events in the UK and TV in general but I look forward to being back on track next week!
 
Nothing much stops me from the buying or downloading of books and I have some to share. Over the next couple of days I'll be receiving a gift of more books from that kind booky friend of my neighbour so I can share a few with you today and the rest I hope next week. Their clearout is my gain! I'm also browsing the Black Friday deals which started today but it might be next week before I can share anything with you.
 
DOWNLOADS
 
  
 
PAPERBACKS
 
 

GIFTED!
 

 
 
 
Chuckles Blogging World
It had been a week of upheaval and I'm doing ok with keeping up with comments and blog visits. I haven't had time for anything other than the pre-written regular posts I had ready but I hope that next week I'll have a few more things to share with you including book reviews and a couple of SciFi posts!
 
Posts This Week 
 
Chuckles Cover Love
 
Around The Blogs With Chuckles
 
Top Ten Tuesday

Can't Wait Wednesday

Books From The Backlog

Chuckles Chuntering

Scifi Month Update 2

Currently Reading/Up Next
I'm hoping I'm back on track with the reading again, having finished The Survivors and Exit Strategy. I think this is probably what I'll be targeting next. I want to try Illuminae and then reread and properly review The Penal Colony. At the moment the plan is to
 
 

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Books From The Backlog-Black Sun's Daughter


Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf.  You might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks. Go to Carole's blog and add your blog post link in to join in the fun! Hosted by Carole at https://carolesrandomlife.blogspot.co.uk/

This seems like a fun feature and I have been planning to take part since Carole launched this so at last, here we go! I have a TON of unread books to choose from in various genres and I'm looking forward to sharing some of them with everybody. 


Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers -- and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.
Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means -- magical or mundane -- so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life. 

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions -- Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities -- Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast -- or break them completely....

I read and greatly enjoyed the first book in the series back in 2010 I think but never continued with the series, which is now complete. I plan on reading the whole series next year so this will be reread at that time.  

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday-Jane Seymour


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at http://www.wishfulendings.com/ to spotlight and discuss books we're excited about but haven't read, which may not even be released yet. 

NB: I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus, or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account. 


THE WOMAN HAUNTED BY THE FATE OF HER PREDECESSOR.

Eleven days after the death of Anne Boleyn, Jane is dressing for her wedding to the King.

She has witnessed at first hand how courtly play can quickly turn to danger and knows she must bear a son . . . or face ruin.

This new queen must therefore step out from the shadows cast by Katherine and Anne - in doing so, can she expose a gentler side to the brutal King?


I've been waiting for this for ages but the paperback version finally comes out at the start of January 2019. Having loved the Anne Boleyn novel, I can't wait to grab this one!

SciFi Month Update 2


For the first time ever, Chuckles Book Cave is going to be joining in with Scifi month hosted by https://onemore.org/ and https://deargeekplace.com/ , which runs the whole month of November. There will be blog posts, Twitter posts and even a giveaway and I'm pretty excited at taking part this year and reading some SF books and watching SF films hopefully.

Here are most of the unread SF books I have on my shelf and I hope to get to as many as I can. No specific target in mind, just reading fun! A few are rereads so I can refresh my memory as to what happened but most are new to me.
 
***Update 2. I only just started reading again last night so no new books read in this second week. But I've decided that I'm going to continue reading these guys into December as well to get most if not all done!***
 
1) Martha Wells-Exit Strategy (currently reading)
2) Amie Kaufman-Illuminae
3) Anne McCaffrey-Dinosaur Planet (read 2.5 star)
4) Anne McCaffrey-The Survivors (read 2 star)
5) Christopher Brookmeyer-Bedlam (DNF) 1 star
6) Ernest Cline-Armada
7) Jeff VanderMeer-Annihilation 
8) Elizabeth Briggs-Future Shock
9) Elizabeth Briggs-Future Threat
10) Elizabeth Briggs-Future Lost
11) Joelle Charbonneau-The Testing
12) Joelle Charbonneau-Independent Study
13) Joelle Charbonneau-Graduation Day
14) Becky Chambers-The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
15) Nicholas Sansbury Smith-Hell Divers
16) Jules Verne-Journey to the Center of the Earth
17) Andy Weir-The Martian
18) PK Hawkins-Recon Marines
19) Richard Herley-The Penal Colony
20) Kenneth C Johnson-V 
21) Mur Lafferty-Six Wakes
22) Marie Lu-Warcross 

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Chuckles Chuntering


The picture is accurate-I have felt like a zombie monkey these last few week with a few depressive mood swings in the last ten days. But a few good nights of sleep, a bit of planning around my blogging, reading and TV habits and going into hibernation for the winter has left me feeling positive about things and ready to get back into normality, whatever that is for me!

Having pondered why I am so behind on everything and feeling so rushed, it comes down plainly to time management and my lack of it. I thought about cutting back on blogs I follow but I don't see that saving a few minutes here and there will give much benefit. I have no intention of stopping blogging anytime soon so it becomes a matter of organising my day better. I don't work so I'm at home every day and there is no real excuse to get so far behind on everything when we're not doing work around the house. Other people manage to blog and write novels while working full time and raising a family so I can do much better! It just needs a little more motivation and effort!

It doesn't take long to put up pre-written blog posts and catch up with overnight comments each morning so I'll do that first. Next I plan to fit in an hour of reading every day. Then I'll finish the morning with blog visits. Afternoons, split between house chores and non blogging stuff on the computer for fun and other stuff that needs to be done. Weekend mornings I'm going to *try* and get these book reviews pre-written in advance so I can share at least two a week minimum and with any luck start building up a stock of them to save on the computer which also reduces the backlog needing written from books I read as far back as June! The lack of book reviews has bothered me as there isn't much point to my book blog without reviews! Hopefully you should see them reappearing from this week.


As it is Scifi month, I'm finally going to get back to reading. There is no way I'm going to get all the chosen books on my list this month but the plan is to keep reading them in December and hope to get them all looked at by the end of the year, along with some thrillers I've got planned for December. That should clear some space on my bookshelves. Next year I've already decided that I need to get more of my non fiction, politics, Tudors and apocalypse books looked at as well as finding a few more SF and fantasy. I still of course intend to read my beloved horror books as well and I've been neglecting my zombies a bit! I just want the book reviews a bit more varied each week/month, right through the year. I'm already working on a plan! 

I'm also already planning all the less enjoyable tasks that need doing like evaluating every Goodreads rating and changing them if required, copying the reviews to Amazon, sorting the Goodreads shelves (ugh!), getting mini reviews done for books I read in 2011 and have no notes for (mega ugh!) and other time consuming things I'm not motivated to do!

So how are things going with you guys!

Top Ten Tuesday-Booky and TV Merchandise

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/

NB: I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus, or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account. 

I'm just going to share 10 of my previous booky and TV merchandise buys!

1) Game of Thrones bag! 


2) Harry Potter Pin Badge set


3) Jurassic Park T Rex model

4) Buffy and Angel action figures (I have 100 of them!)


5) Doctor Who-Eleven Doctors set



6) Game of Thrones T Shirts ( I have about 10)






7) Fellowship of the Ring action figures


8) Scarface bobblehead

9) Godfather hoodie

10) Jon Snow sweatshirt