Striking Mars by Cidney Swanson

Striking Mars is the fifth book in the SAVING MARS Series by Cidney Swanson.

This book is a chance to catch one’s breath after the ongoing activities in the previous one. Take some time to see how the Marsians were coping with the aftermath of attack from Earth, some time to see how Jessamyn, Paval and company deal with being in hiding (again, still) and what new schemes Terran Chancellor Lucca Brezhnaya has brewing. (You didn’t think she’d given up, did you? Well, no, she has not!)

Back on the moon, Jessamyn and friends struggle to find a way to keep in touch with Mars without calling attention to themselves by anyone on Earth. Oh, and running a campaign against Lucca using covert smear tactics.

How long can they keep it up? What will happen when they are discovered?

You know they will, but by whom and how will they escape?

It’s all in there.

I was glad for the respite, and glad to have a glance at Jessamyn’s family back on Mars.  Not a lot (in comparison) seems to take place at first, but what does moves the plot along. This is not a standstill, just a filler for the action to come in the final book (I hope).

Thanks for the ARC Cidney!

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Frozen by Mary Casanova

Set in the 1920s in northern Minnesota, Frozen incorporates historical fiction with mystery and coming-of-age. Throughout the book are references to the early wilderness preservation movement, prohibition and the suffragette movement. Sadie Rose comes in contact with them all through the people she encounters and befriends. Having lost her voice in a childhood trauma she regains it again after the discovery of some photographs that trigger her memories. As she finds her voice  she also finds herself, with the help of these friends who unconsciously guide her by their own lives. Little by little she pieces together her past and finds the way to begin to build her future. The pacing of the story is slow to begin but proceeds steadily, letting us get to know the story and characters before it tumbles to the ending.

ISSUES: A little more development of the relationships between the characters would make the transition from “just met” to “best friends” a little more believable. Fleshing out the characters would help as well, especially Owen Jensen who comes and goes throughout the book despite being someone of importance to Sadie in the long run.

Thank you to University Of Minnesota Press for letting me review this as an ARC.

first reviewed on Goodreads,  August 20, 2012

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Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

This review is of an uncorrected galley proof from NetGalley.                                                 First posted in Goodreads on June 13, 2013

I loved Code Name Verity so much that I was excited to see that this book was a (sort of) sequel. The subject matter was even more disturbing than Verity (if possible), but all the more so because every part of it Could Have Happened, indeed probably Did Happen to many people. It broke my heart, but the story is presented in such a well written way that I had to keep reading. I can’t wait to have a paper copy to actually re-read and mark up with my thoughts and comments. (I find the Kindle just isn’t what this book-lover prefers, though it does offer the ability to read ARCs, etc!!) I only hope the end section is tightened up a little, it seems to drift a bit after the intensity of the earlier parts.
I think I would read Anything Elizabeth Wein writes because she has a way of bringing the reader right into the story and being a (vicarious) part of it.
I would recommend this to Everyone.

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Viscious Trailer

V.E. Schwab’s new book has a trailer:


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The Last Word (The Spellmans, #6) by Lisa Lutz

** spoiler alert **

I’ve been a solid fan of the Spellman series and was glad that there was a book to wrap up the saga.¹ I was, however, disappointed. Let’s just say that I wasn’t as entertained as I’d hoped.
Isabel, now 35 and now CEO of Spellman Investigations, seems to be loosing it. Everything is going downhill rapidly and throughout the book it just seems to get worse. Isabel’s keen edge has been worn to a fuzzy nub and she just seems overwhelmed. Familiar characters drift in and out, things are happening in the background and Isabel is just skatter-brained. Also, it is clear that the Spellman paranoia doesn’t include the understanding that the FBI might not adhere to the law to gather information. The troubles keep adding up and I kept thinking “Where is the comic relief?” Well, I did stay up until early hours to finish reading as I’ve done with the rest of the series, but when I fell asleep it was with the question, What was that?

¹If the story continues from Rae’s POV, I hope it gets better.

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Mars Burning by Cidney Swanson

Abbreviated review:

The adventure continues in this fourth book of the SAVING MARS series by Cidney Swanson. We pick up right where we left off in Book 3 (Losing Mars) with the Marsian-on-Earth  Jessamyn, along with her diverse comrades, in hiding again. Our Merry Band of Men (and Women) play Cat-and-Mouse with the Terran Chancellor Lucca Brezhnaya (who will do anything to stay in power and to control virtually everything) by moving from one discreet location to another to avoid capture. To do this they don disguises, make deals with a few trustworthy underground cohorts, and beg-borrow-and-steal transport, all while still continuing the attempt to take control of the laser shooting satellites that encircle Mars (the mission given to Jessamyn’s brother Ethan by Mei Lo, the Secretary General of Mars). As they find fewer safe hideaways on Earth, they have to start thinking outside the box and come up with some out-of-this-world ideas.                 At first I thought that the fugitives-on-the-lam storyline might get stale but I willingly followed the escapades to see where they would end up next, and to what means they would manage to escape detection. Each time it seemed just a bit more extreme, and that’s what made me want to continue reading. I never felt that it was forced or unbelievable, just an adventure with potentially fatal mass consequences.                     Cidney Swanson did her research to highlight  the potential difficulties of life on Mars and it’s tentative relationship to Earth.                                                                                           I wrongly assumed that this was the final book in the series. There will be more!

Cidney, thank you for the ARC.

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