Well, Not Steal Exactly… by Vivien Jackson – Guest Post

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Today is release day for More Than Stardust.  Congratuations to Vivien Jackson on her new book!  If you missed my review of this great new book, you can find it here.

Today I am please to welcome Ms. Jackson to Whiskey With My Book.  She has decided to confess…

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Guest Post
by Vivien Jackson

Writers don’t just make up stories out of a vacuum. We steal tons of stuff… well, not steal exactly, not like plagiarism because that is BAD AND DON’T DO IT, but more in the way of references to previous work we have found meaningful and influential. For instance, I’m not sure if you it’s possible to write a book about a manufactured post-human – be it cyborg or android or techno-zombie – without having bits of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein pinging around in your brain. That book certainly took up residence in my mind when I was writing More Than Stardust, a science fiction romance about a self-aware nanorobotic artificial intelligence who dreams of having a body and being a real girl. At one point my characters even reference Frankenstein because that book is so deeply hooked into concepts of manufactured persons. I mean, of course characters in such a situation would think about it.

They don’t overtly reference Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, but I echoed a line of hers in a scene where characters are hiking over a glacier. Points to anybody who finds that line.

I also reference, more obliquely, Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human. Like that classic science fiction novel, my book is about post-humans, the “what comes after us” what-of of personhood. Which is where I got the title More Than Stardust from.

There are also homage-type references to all my fandoms, too: Doctor Who and The X-Files and J. R. R. Tolkien and 1980s hair band metal… stuff like that. I wouldn’t be a deep-rooted fangirl if I didn’t throw in those things. When I’m reading a book, I look for the connections between the author and me, things that we might have in common, as evidenced in what the characters say and do. Those things make a character relatable. If the character is only interested in things that I don’t know very well or don’t care to know particularly, I might skip pages. That’s not to say I haven’t read books where I learned something new – those are super fun! – but it’s comfy, to me, to find bits of things I love inside the books I read.


About More Than Stardust

She never wanted to be a god. She only wanted to be a girl.

Chloe, a self-aware, highly illegal nanorobotic artificial intelligence knows a thing or two about wanting. The growing Machine Rebellion wants her to become its god. The technocratic global Consortium wants to cage her, take her apart, and reverse-engineer her. Her family wants to keep her a secret. Her best friend Garrett wants her safe. Chloe is a thing made of wants.

And it’s time the world knew hers.

Available now at
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SY9KR5N
And everywhere else: https://books2read.com/u/mg0qGv

About the Author

Vivien Jackson writes fantastical, futuristic, kissing books. Her debut science fiction romance, Wanted and Wired, was selected as an Amazon Best Book of 2017 and a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist. A devoted fangirl and inveterate gamer, Viv lives in Austin, Texas, with a herd of small, hairy pets. Also a husband. Hang out with her on Twitter @Vivien_Jackson or on the web at VivienJackson.com.

Connect with Vivian at:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vivien_Jackson
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VivienJacksonWriter/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vivien.jackson/
Web: https://www.vivienjackson.com

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Speak No Evil (Aldridge Sisters, #2) by Tanya Anne Crosby – Audiobook Review

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I rarely review audiobooks. I prefer to review e-books, which allow note-taking within the e-book.  I can’t do this with audiobooks. There have been a few I’ve reviewed. These are generally shorter, less time-consuming books.

Speak No Evil is an exception. It is in a genre that I rarely read, contemporary suspense/romance, so it made an impression. I just need to let you know how much I enjoyed this book. So today, something a little different….



About Speak No Evil by Tanya Anne Crosby

If you love a gripping Southern suspense, USA Today bestselling SPEAK NO EVIL is for you. Lifting the veil of secrecy on a grand Southern family in decline. New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby explores the lives of Caroline, Augusta, and Savannah Aldridge, three sisters who share a dark past and an uncertain future…

After the death of their mother, a newspaper heiress, Caroline Aldridge steps up to head the paper. But a killer is making headlines, and Caroline may have unwittingly stepped into the crosshairs. Even as she mends the tattered bonds of sisterhood, a sinister force beyond their control may tear them apart forever…

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Review of Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil is not something I would normally read. I generally stick to SciFi and historical fiction. But I decided to pick up Speak No Evil because a) it is written by an author who’s historical fiction I enjoy and b) it was free (and still is as of when I am writing this.) Then I added on the audiobook for a very reasonable price.

Good decision. Speak No Evil is gothic and creepy. Maybe those are two words for the same thing, but I needed to write both of them. Dark, with a little bit of southern attitude too. Using genre terms, I would say romantic suspense, but all those other words are better descriptors.

First I want to review a bit of the blurb. “Lifting the veil of secrecy on a grand Southern family in decline.” Makes you think the plantation is going to hell. In reality, the Aldridge family has a complex and politically incorrect (former slave owners) history. But rather than decline, the family has evolved and adapted to the times. As for secrets, there are quite a few. That is what makes for a good story right?

Speak No Evil takes place around Charleston and Folly Beach, South Carolina, including the Aldridge’s Oyster Point Plantation. Southern living, including food, hot humid weather, coastal scenery and the area’s history are all part of the atmosphere of the story. Never having been in that part of the country, I soaked up the sights, sounds and sometimes smells of South Carolina just like a tourist.

There are three Aldridge sisters, but oldest sister Caroline is the focus of this book. Caroline broke up with Jack Shaw 10 years ago. Seeing him at her mom’s funeral did not bring back fond memories. Or did it? It soon becomes obvious that neither have forgotten their feelings for one another.

A murder may tear them apart again. As the detective in charge, Jack has a conflict of interest with Caroline who is digging for information to print in the paper. This ongoing conflict keeps them both arguing and making up for most of the book. Relationships are never easy.

The murderer is not identified, but the reader is treated to a third person perspective. This is where the description of creepy comes in. He or she may start having ordinary thoughts, but quickly they turn dark, judgmental and anticipatory. So – creepy. If you read the book, these sections are italicized.

Listening to the audiobook, you can’t hear italics, but you can sense the mood change. Overall, Julie McKay’s narration was well done and eventually led me to purchase the next audiobook in the series. Ms. Mckay’s voice makes me think she is of an age as the sisters Aldrige, so she is a good fit for the books.

You would think the book is about the murder mystery and the family secrets. And it is, but there is so much more. In Speak No Evil, for Caroline, the story is about her choosing who she wants to be, where she wants to be and who she wants in her life. One assumes each sister will get that opportunity in the Aldridge Sisters series, and I am looking forward to Augusta’s and Savannah’s stories.

Near the end of the book, the police investigation results in an arrest, but I have to tell you, I was really skeptical. But I don’t consider this to be a spoiler, because the book blurb for Tell No Lies suggests that the guilty party may still be out there. So, kind of a cliffhanger, but only sort of. No star-deductions from me on this one. Gothic, creepy, dark with southern attitude, Speak No Evil gets 5 stars!

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Links

Add Speak No Evil to your Goodreads shelf:

Purchase Speak No Evil:


 

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Since I am into this series, I will also leave you with blurbs from the 1st and 3rd books (click on cover for purchase link). I’ve already read (listened to) book 3, so now I am anxiously waiting for Savanna’s story.

Leave No Trace: The Final Moments of Florence W. Aldridge (Aldridge Sisters, #1)

Every event in a person’s life is connected. The state of our lives, at any given time, is the sum of everything we have done and everywhere we have been. Our next decision determines, not merely where our lives end, but who we become along the way. How far can one lost woman go to redeem herself by the time the clock stops ticking?

These are the final moments of Florence W. Aldridge…

Note: This is not a short story. It is a vignette, a snippet of time, meant to be used as a companion to SPEAK NO EVIL and Tell NO LIES. This book does not contain spoilers, so it can be read in advance of the books, but it does not stand alone.

Tell No Lies (Aldridge Sisters, #3)

Augusta Aldridge believes in Ian Patterson’s innocence, even after he was arrested for killing two young women. She was with him the night one of the crimes occurred, hidden in the shadows beneath a beachside pier, locked in a wild, unthinking embrace with a man whose dangerous fascination may have fatally lured other victims. Now that another body has been discovered, and a thirteen-year old boy has gone missing, the police suspect a copycat killer, but Augusta is certain they have the wrong man. She’s going to risk her reputation—and her life—to prove Ian’s innocence and save young Cody. But the clock is ticking…

More Than Stardust (Wanted and Wired, #3) by Vivien Jackson – Review

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About More Than Stardust by Vivien Jackson

She never wanted to be a god. She only wanted to be a girl.

Chloe, a self-aware, highly illegal nanorobotic artificial intelligence knows a thing or two about wanting.The growing Machine Rebellion wants her to become its god. The technocratic global Consortium wants to cage her, take her apart, and reverse-engineer her. Her family wants to keep her a secret. Her best friend Garrett wants her safe.

Chloe is a thing made of wants. And it’s time the world knew hers.

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Review of More Than Stardust

Not even a complete chapter into More Than Stardust, and I knew this was going to be one heck of a fun ride!

Readers of the series already know a little about Chloe and Garrett. These two characters have had smaller roles in the first two books, but I just knew they were cool people. After all, they are hanging out with Heron and company, or as Chloe and Garrett tend to think of that gang – their family.

Not related by blood, but by circumstances and actions, this gang has saved the world more than once. This time, Chloe starts the story with a bang by saving the world again, when unknown forces start attacking, well, everywhere. They mistake they made was attacking Chloe’s home.

An early crisis and resolution had me thinking, where is the story going from here? Well, you might as well know, there will be another opportunity to save the world, but along the way, Garrett and Chloe are going to get closer than they ever have. Yes – to what you are thinking….

I love the development of the relationship between Chloe and Garrett. Though they have been best friends for years, there is still so much to learn about each other, each confronting their own doubts and longings. An AI and a human. Can this really work out? So, going into this, I think we all know they are fated to be together. The really interesting part is how it all works.

So much imagination went into figuring out how to get Chloe and Garrett together, I would love to tell you about it, but that would take the fun out of reading. And just when you think the romance has worked out, something happens to spoil the fun.

The fun spoilers are the Consortium. The Consortium has a lot of plans and not only do they want Chloe, but they don’t want the rest of Chloe’s family (alive). Chloe is not going to be happy about that! A self-aware, highly illegal, nanorobotic, artificial intelligence who has Garrett, a pilot with killer techno-gearhead skills, for a friend will be a force for the Consortium to reckon with.

While the story belongs to both Chloe and Garrett, Chloe is the character who gets most of my attention. Chloe’s nanobite technology is both an asset and a liability, which just adds to the depth of the character and helps her to develop more human feelings. At times she is god-like and other times she is so very human.

I feel like this third book is the boldest in the Wanted and Wired series. I refer to Ms. Jackson’s writing style, which can be irreverent, quirky, unconventional, and just plain ungrammatical, reflecting how her characters think and act. I saw this in all three books, but this attitude blooms in More Than Stardust. It brings emotion to the story in a way complete sentences do not.

More Than Stardust can be read as standalone if you have not read the first two books in the series. But, really, I recommend all three, in whatever order you like, for lawless, lively and lovely adventures.

Many thanks to the author who provided a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.

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Links

Add More Than Stardust to your Goodreads shelf:

Pre-Order More Than Stardust (Releases July 9th):


 

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