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Enter the AI and the Apocalypse

Emily Eternal Book Cover Emily Eternal
M. G. Wheaton
General Fiction (Adult) , Sci Fi & Fantasy
Hodder & Stoughton
23 Apr 2019

Meet Emily - she can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind's deepest secrets and even fix your truck's air con, but unfortunately, she can't restart the Sun.

Emily is an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.

So, her beloved human race is screwed, and so is Emily. That is, until she finds a potential answer buried deep in the human genome. But before her solution can be tested, her lab is brutally attacked, and Emily is forced to go on the run with two human companions - college student Jason and small-town Sheriff, Mayra.

As the sun's death draws near, Emily and her friends must race against time to save humanity. But before long it becomes clear that it's not only the species at stake, but also that which makes us most human.

So the Apocalypse actually happens and money is no longer of any value, just barter. And Emily, an artificial intelligence was designed to interface with, and de-code human minds. She was designed to become not a maths genius, but rather a non-human psychiatrist. It was reasoned that people would open up more to a program than a human and thus more would be learnt about the human mind and emotions that way. Of course, she needed a body to undertake her work but the sun’s failure somewhat interrupted everyone’s intentions. Emily can eat, wash, sleep and alter her appearance despite requiring a Caucasian female personality for the experiment.

So, if the human race can no longer live on Earth, what can be done to record their lives, their endeavours and hopes? And how can Emily help?

An interesting idea within a set of ‘books’ within the book as Emily and her protocols evolve, and as the Earth dies but…

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When you need a Miracle

Miracle Creek Book Cover Miracle Creek
Angie Kim
Mystery & Thrillers General Fiction (Adult) ,
Hodder & Stoughton
Pub Date 16 Apr 2019

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far we'll go to protect our families - and our deepest secrets.

In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine - a pressurised oxygen chamber that patients enter for "dives", used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism and infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos' small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night: trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges, as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Angie Kim's Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author's own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life "submarine" patient. Both a compelling page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection, Miracle Creek is a brilliant, empathetic debut from an exciting new voice.

A disastrous event – deliberately caused – but by whom?

So there is a trial as the detectives think they know the answer to the question, and the story covers this trial as they try to establish the truth of the arson and thus murder.

But as the trial progresses, what started out as a small white innocuous lie seems to be just one lie among many, by many.

The untruths start spilling out and what seems obvious starts to become a lie too. And the little white lies become big and important.

I like the twist of using Korean immigrants and allowing their traditions to influence their behaviour in this story.

And note, all the treatments Elizabeth uses, including HBOT, seem to be at least partially recognised as potential ‘cures’ or assistance in alleviating autism. None of course have passed clinical trials so they are difficult to assess their outcomes, especially as many are used alongside each other.

Note that the author has used HBOT herself and is a trial lawyer and a Korean immigrant.

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Mad Uncles?

Where There's a Will Book Cover Where There's a Will
Beth Corby
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Hodder & Stoughton
Summer 2019

Would you take the chance that could change everything?

After leaving university at the age of twenty-five with no idea what to do with her life, Hannah is stunned when she is left a mystery bequest by her rich, estranged great-uncle Donald.

But there's a catch: before she can find out what she's inherited, she must undertake a series of unknown tasks alongside Alec, Donald's reluctant (but rather gorgeous) PA.

As the tasks progress and she and Alec grow closer, Hannah begins to think that Donald's real gift might have more to do with love than money . . .

This funny, romantic and uplifting novel is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Cathy Hopkins and Anna Bell.

So Great Uncle dies and there is a will. So far, so normal. But he isn’t fond of his family – again normal, and hasn’t seen them for many years, apart from a small party he hosted to see them again before he finalised his will. At this party he spends some time talking to his Great Niece Hannah.

He’d had a major bust-up with his sister – over what she wouldn’t say, and on the whole, his family are not likeable characters being fixated on money and social status. All except for his niece Hannah. She is a young woman who has not quite made up her mind what she wants as her career and as a result has drifted rather, but is now finishing an English degree after trying out various others. She is denigrated by her family for her lack of ambition and her sister is rather vile to her all the time.

Which of course is where the will comes in when Great Uncle dies. He has made a number of bequests including some very small ones for his ‘blood’ relatives which rather angers Nicholas, who it turns out was adopted, even though Hannah had not known this until then.

Hannah is however singled out from her relatives and asked, through the auspices of her uncle’s solicitor, to read a number of letters left for her and to undertake some tasks – unspecified – in order to receive a reward – again unspecified. But which she suspects will be the same small bequest that her other cousins got. Intrigued and about to take her finals, with nothing set up to do afterwards, she agrees. She hopes that as her uncle indicates in the first letter, she might gain some self-awareness and thus might know where to go with her life.

There are some great characters in this novel especially Mrs Crumpton as she talks to her dead employer – a lot of us do that – but usually in our heads! And finding out how Great Uncle made his money is also rather unusual and not at all what you might expect.

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Not so godly as it would seem

Orphanage of the Gods Book Cover Orphanage of the Gods
Helena Coggan
sci-fi, horror
Hodder & Stoughton
September 19, 2019
416

 In the glass city of Amareth, on a hill above a river, is an orphanage patrolled by soldiers with guns. Inside are the children left behind by the long-ago war in which humans all but wiped out their gods. Until they grow up, no one will know which are human, and which are not. Children who reveal hidden powers vanish from their beds. The Guardsmen discover every god, in the end. No one has ever escaped - until now. One day Hero, a seventeen-year-old half-god, breaks out of the orphanage and flees north with her brother Joshua. But the murderous Guard are on their tail, and they have something Hero wants desperately: her sister Kestrel, held captive in a towering stone prison in the northern sea. To survive and rescue Kestrel, Hero must outwit more than just the Guard. Lying in wait for them are a ragged band of gods-in-hiding, who promise help in exchange for eternal loyalty. Hero does not want to trust them - but as winter draws in and even Joshua begins to turn against her, her world starts to feel impossibly dangerous . . . ************ Praise for Helena Coggan's 'The Catalyst' 'This year's Divergent' - Sun 'A phenomenal achievement . . . assured, frightening, action-packed' - Observer 'A pulsing, labyrinthine, emotionally visceral plot' - Metro

I tried very hard to read this book as it seemed like a great concept and storyline. However, in my opinion, the actual writing style and complicated plot lines that confused me, made it a difficult read. I abandoned it about 50% of the way through as I felt it was not worth trying to complete.

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The truth is not always so straight forward








All the Hidden Truths





Claire Askew





Adult, Psychological Thriller, crime, women's fiction




Hodder Paperbacks




(2 May 2019)



n the aftermath of a tragedy, the world needs an explanation.

In Edinburgh, after the Three Rivers College shooting, some things are clear.

They know who. They know when.

No one can say why.

For three women the lack of answers is unbearable: DI Helen Birch, the detective charged with solving the case. Ishbel, the mother of the first victim, struggling to cope with her grief. And Moira, mother of the killer, who needs to understand what happened to her son.

But as people search for someone to blame, the truth seems to vanish...

This is a police procedural with a difference set in Edinburgh.

That the author knows the city well is evident but she is/was a writer in residence at the uni there, so not surprising that she set her debut novel there.

The author’s voice is clear and well styled but I did initially find the the way the story was et out into different people and time lines confusing. But then I ‘got it’ and was able to manage and found it interesting stylistically.

I thought there were some nice reader questions that came through when reading the sections, for instance ‘What is she hiding?’; ‘Did she know?’; ‘Why did he do it?’; which kept you reading as you wanted to know the answers. And it follows a story that we are finding the truths hard to stomach – why do young people want to shoot their peers? At least with some gun control this is curtailed but…

I thought the reflections on how difficult it is to be an outsider as a teenager were well described; and also just how hormones can deflect morals and beliefs, and thus cai=use your people to things they would not have normally considered using a rational mind and thought process.

Overall a promising novelist and a series to follow surely.

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