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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mailbox Monday & What I'm Reading

If it's Monday, then it must be time for Mailbox Monday, a weekly meme that provides a virtual gathering place for bloggers (and readers) to share the books that came their way over the past week. Originally hosted by Marcia, of To Be Continued..., it has since become something of a book tour, with a new host each month. This month's host is Gina @ Book Dragon’s Lair!

Here are the books that found a home on my shelves over the last week:

Influx by Daniel Suarez
Dutton Adult (February 20, 2014)
Received via Edelweiss

What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?

The New York Times bestselling author of Daemon--"the cyberthriller against which all others will be measured" -Publishers Weekly) --imagines a world in which decades of technological advances have been suppressed in an effort to prevent disruptive change.

Are smart phones really humanity's most significant innovation since the moon landings? Or can something else explain why the bold visions of the 20th century--fusion power, genetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, cures for common disease, extended human life, and a host of other world-changing advances--have remained beyond our grasp? Why has the high-tech future that seemed imminent in the 1960's failed to arrive?

Perhaps it did arrive...but only for a select few.

Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: a device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics--the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring. This Bureau of Technology Control uses the advanced technologies they have harvested over the decades to fulfill their mission.

They are living in our future.

Presented with the opportunity to join the BTC and improve his own technology in secret, Grady balks, and is instead thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison built to hold rebellious geniuses like himself. With so many great intellects confined together, can Grady and his fellow prisoners conceive of a way to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age?

And when they do, is it possible to defeat an enemy that wields a technological advantage half a century in the making?


Lost Beneath the Ice: The Story of HMS Investigator by Andrew Cohen
Dundurn (December 10, 2013)
Received via Netgalley

When Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s, the British Admiralty launched the largest rescue mission in its history. Among the search vessels was HMS Investigator, which left England in 1850 under the command of Captain Robert McClure. While the ambitious McClure never found Franklin, he and his crew did discover the fabled Northwest Passage.

Like Franklin's ships, though, Investigator disappeared in the most remote, bleak and unknown place on Earth. For three winters, its 66 souls were trapped in the unforgiving ice of Mercy Bay. They suffered cold, darkness, starvation, scurvy, boredom, depression and madness. When they were rescued in 1853, Investigator was abandoned.

For more than a century and a half, the ship's fate remained a mystery. Had it been crushed by the ice or swept out to sea? In 2010, Parks Canada sent a team of archaeologists to Mercy Bay to find out. It was a formidable challenge, demanding expertise and patience. There, off the shores of Aulavik National Park, they found Investigator.

Lost Beneath the Ice is a tale of endurance, daring, deceit, courage, and irony. It is a story about a tempestuous crew, their mercurial captain, cynical surgeon and kind-hearted missionary. In the end, McClure found fame but lost his ship, some of his crew and much of his honour. Written with elegance and authority, illustrated with archival imagery and startling underwater photographs of Investigator and its artifacts, this is a sensational story of discovery and intrigue in Canada's Arctic.


Time Pimp by Garrett Cook 
Eraserhead Press (October 1, 2013)
Received via the Publisher

"One part Doctor Who, one part Hustler Magazine, and the most fun you'll have reading cosmic smut." 
- Jeff Burk, author of Shatnerquake

"A wonderfully ridiculous book . . . delivers imagination balanced by genuinely caring and adept writing." 
- Kris Saknussemm, author of The Humble Assessment

The Time Pimp has been saving the galaxy by getting history's most important figures laid. From Caligula to Teddy Roosevelt, the Time Pimp has rolled up to the scene in his interstellar purple Cadillac and got them some ass. But a new power threatens the future of the Time Pimp - The Morality Front, a prudish force hell-bent on imposing its values on the galaxy. With the aid of the Death Pimp they will stop at nothing to end Free Love across time and space.

But the Time Pimp ain't taking no shit from these jive-ass turkeys!


Galactic Energies by Luca Rossi
Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (September 2, 2013)
Free Amazon Download

The artificial intelligences of DataCom are trying to save the planet… by exterminating the human race. Aurelia finds her perfect man: a robot. The space explorer Captain Arcot sacrifices his life for an impossible conquest, the heart of Vril the vampire queen. A shape-shifting mutant ignites the erotic desires of the galactic police officer who's been tracking her down. Alessio fights against corruption in a universe of his own creation. An innocent man is forced to submit to the domination of a ruthless prison director. A king who's forgotten his own past wanders through a magical dimension where he discovers his own history. Two souls separated after one abandons the other meet again in another life. In an exciting virtual reality game, the hunter of the fearsome black widow becomes her prey.



Jurassic Flight by Mr Martyn Ellington
CreateSpace  (Oct 4, 2013)
Free Amazon Download


When a Dinosaur fossil is unearthed in the Badlands of America the last thing Susan Lavey expected to see as the cause of death was the tail section of an airliner. Now together with Bruce Ackland a chief air crash investigator they must find out why and how this could have happened and what became of the passengers on board. William Relford was flying to yet another meeting, but this time it was to hand in his notice, he had worked in sales for as long as he liked to remember and now was the time for a change. But destiny has a way of changing things in ways we can’t imagine, and when two times collide, one man’s fight for survival will become another man’s fight for the truth. For the passengers and crew of flight 993 they were about to enter into a nightmare world, and for them, would be no theme park.


The Age of Ice: A Novel by J. M. Sidorova
Scribner (July 23, 2013)

The Empress Anna Ioannovna has issued her latest eccentric order: construct a palace out of ice blocks. Inside its walls her slaves build a wedding chamber, a canopy bed on a dais, heavy drapes cascading to the floor—all made of ice. Sealed inside are a disgraced nobleman and a deformed female jester. On the empress’s command—for her entertainment—these two are to be married, the relationship consummated inside this frozen prison. In the morning, guards enter to find them half-dead. Nine months later, two boys are born.

Surrounded by servants and animals, Prince Alexander Velitzyn and his twin brother, Andrei, have an idyllic childhood on the family’s large country estate. But as they approach manhood, stark differences coalesce. Andrei is daring and ambitious; Alexander is tentative and adrift. One frigid winter night on the road between St. Petersburg and Moscow, as he flees his army post, Alexander comes to a horrifying revelation: his body is immune to cold.

J. M. Sidorova’s boldly original and genrebending novel takes readers from the grisly fields of the Napoleonic Wars to the blazing heat of Afghanistan, from the outer reaches of Siberia to the cacophonous streets of nineteenth-century Paris. The adventures of its protagonist, Prince Alexander Velitzyn—on a lifelong quest for the truth behind his strange physiology—will span three continents and two centuries and bring him into contact with an incredible range of real historical figures, from Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, to the licentious Russian empress Elizaveta and Arctic explorer Joseph Billings.


As for what we're reading, the team has reviews coming up over the next 2 weeks for:


What's topping your shelves this week?

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