Nanoshock

The Nitty-Gritty Details 

Title: Nanoshock
Author: K.C Alexander
Publisher: Angry Robot, Nov. 2017
Blurb: As Riko works to rebuild her shattered cred, following the events of Necrotech, she’s stuck fighting off every jerk looking to raise their standing on the streets. But when a corp with some serious influence ups the stakes, Riko’s going to have to take the fight to them, put this nonsense down for good. Nothing is what it seems when corp politics are in play, and another necro blight right where her answers are buried might very well be the end of the life she didn’t know she’d borrowed.

The Experience
(This review hints at spoilers)

Friends, do I have some thoughts I need to get out about Nanoshock.

This review is coming a little late, considering I hammered out the last, eh, 200 pages or so within 24 hours, right before I was leaving for vacation, so it’s been a few weeks since I experienced all the feels this book caused. That doesn’t mean they’ve become any less potent, thinking about them now.

First, I need to call attention to one thing in particular.

That first line.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you want to know how to write a bloody brilliant first line that causes your readers to go around and show it to everyone in the near vicinity (and then more people later), just so they can be caught off-guard and as floored as you were when you first read it (okay, almost everyone; not showing my boss/parents that line…), then look no further than Nanoshock.

You wanna know what it is, don’t you?

Good. Go read it and find out.

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But what I really want to talk about is that ending. Because I need to process, people. You see, I feel into the classic blunder. I got comfortable. This is after Riko fought so hard for redemption. This is after the major fight, the “boss battle,” if you will; the point in a video game where you’re warned that you won’t be able to complete any side missions if you push further, so your choice better be f-ing solid. Yeah, this is after that, in the bar. I think I was feeling slightly akin to what Riko felt; relief, comfort, acceptance, even if it wasn’t fully there yet. At home. I honestly thought the book would end there and I was totally content with that.

I was completely, totally and utterly blindsided by what happened next.

I won’t actually say what it was, because I don’t want to ruin this book for you, friends. But my jaw dropped and I stilled (I usually rock when I read) and I just set the book down in complete disbelief. As a writer, I was applauding, because of course this is what Alexander would do next. Of bloody course. But as a reader?

Fucking hell no.

How could you?

And honestly, there isn’t a better compliment than I can give than that.

Read on!

PS: Alexander, tell me: is there a book three? Please tell me there is.

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Communication Failure

Warning: watch out for [EXPLETIVE] spoilers (even if they’re minor).

After devouring Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja last year, this was the book that I’ve been waiting to come out, i.e., my most anticipated read of 2017. It felt like it took an eternity to actually come out and even though I get that publishing is a slow business, I was impatient.

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Feels dramatic, I’m sure, but anyone who has ever waited for their next favorite book to come out knows this GIF is perfect.

I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted to see how Captain Rogers was going to handle being acting admiral of The Flagship. I wanted to see how they were going to manage an invading Thelicosan fleet. I wanted to see how many times the Viking could punch him in the face (and see if how, and if, their relationship developed). I wanted to hang out with my favorites again and laugh more than I usually do when escaping from reality in the hands of a paperback. And, let’s be real, here.

I missed Deet.

So, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when November 7th finally rolled around or my gratitude to my public library, who was willing to buy a copy to add to their shelves since money is a bit tight for me (while I’m hoping to get my copy underneath the Christmas tree). I dove back into the hilarity of Captain Rogers’ world, curious if the impatient wait was worth it.

Spoiler: it totally was.

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It had everything I loved about the first book–the characters, the antics, the satire and the guaranteed sore abs from laughter–and then amped it up a little bit, by adding in the POV of the Thelicosans, specifically Grand Marshall Alandra Keffoule, Secretary Vilia Quinn and Commodore Zergan, as they try to deal with the message they accidentally sent to the Meridian’s: “We’re invading.” The solutions they come up with are absurd, hilarious and mathematically fueled, leading to a lot of chuckling and trying to turn the pages faster on my end. I also found myself relating a lot to Quinn as I read and rooting for her to unwind as the book progressed (I wonder if she can teach me how to do that…).

It was really fun to see a different culture living in this space opera, especially a culture that this non-mathematically-minded brain couldn’t fully understand, yet still found their jokes to be funny, anyway. It was fantastic to see Rogers grow as a character, without losing the humor that made me fall in love with him in the first place. It was awesome to discover a few twists and turns I was so not expecting (I see you, Zoo Keeper), not to mention that freakin’ ending.

But, as we all know, the best thing about the book, hands down?

Deet.

Considering I read this book in, what, two, three days, I’m now left in a familiar position as I was before I read this book. I have a greater understanding of what’s going on with Admiral Rogers and his crew and the questions I had before I read Communication Failure have been answered. But now, I have even more questions than I had before and, perhaps, an even greater desire for the last book of the Epic Failure trilogy, Miserable Failure, to come out.

So, back to Azkaban I go.

*commence waiting sequence*

Read on!

Invasive

Warning: if you decide to read this book outside while you’re laying out by the pool and you’re only a third of the way through it and then you glance down and notice ants marching underneath your chair and then suddenly you find yourself only reading the book indoors, you should not feel ashamed.

You also shouldn’t feel ashamed if you accidentally flinch every time a new chapter starts and you just so happen to read those pages a little quicker, just in case those printed ants suddenly have the power to come off the page and then rip pieces of your face off.

But Nicole, they’re just ants. Ants don’t

You obviously haven’t read Invasive by Chuck Wendig.

Yes, they can. 

*ahem*

So, I discovered this book in a sorta roundabout way. I stumbled upon Wendig’s blog, which I immediately fell in love with. There’s hardly a week that goes by when I don’t share one of his posts and wonder how he manages to write directly to me and what I needed to hear. I started following him on Twitter and had the same effect, though I suck at social media, so I didn’t follow that as often. But one day, I remember him writing about anxiety, replying to a comment from a reader who was discussing a book he’d written, called Invasive. This was months ago and I wish I could find the comment exactly, to reference it. But it was enough that I wanted to read that book. I wanted to experience what those other readers were experiencing. Honestly, I wanted some advice on how to navigate and control anxiety and I thought, hell, maybe Invasive can teach me.

Granted, it took months before I made that happen, but a trip to the library and three days later and I can successfully claim that I’ve finally, indeed, read Invasive. 

It wasn’t what I imagined it to be.

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Though I can’t recall the conversation on Twitter precisely that piqued my interest, I assumed that the anxiety the character dealt with–which, in this case, is Hannah Stander–was similar to my own. A naive assumption, because anxiety comes in so many different forms and demons. The kind that Hannah dealt with–one that was ingrained because of her survivalist parents and is brutal enough to cause panic attacks–is a kind I have never experienced and one I’m not super familiar with. But as I kept reading, it’s also the kind I can’t imagine trying to cope with, because it’s intense. It’s difficult.

Yet Hannah did.

That, in and of itself, was inspiring as hell.

Because I was intrigued about how Hannah dealt with and managed her anxiety, I didn’t really know much about the plot before I picked up the book. I had no idea it’d be a murder investigation surrounding genetically modified ants. Yet it was a great break from my traditional epic fantasy and light science fiction niche.

Honestly, I didn’t truly get into the book until the ants started killing people.

Don’t get me wrong: the first third of the book was still great. Hell, I enjoyed this entire book thoroughly and will definitely be taking a look at Wendig’s other series. But once the investigation switched from figuring out the clues and piecing together the culprit(s) to being a battle of survival, told in glorious, gruesome detail, I was hooked. I flew through the last 200ish pages like a fiend (even to the point where, when I had to go to work and only had 20 pages left, I snuck the book back out once I got in my cubicle so I could finish it. Proud to report that I only nearly got caught, because I’m a sneaky sneak thief).

It was also written in such a way that you can’t help but fly through the pages. The shorter chapters, the breaks within the chapters, the short sentences, the well-tuned balance between in-scene description and fast-paced dialogue; all of those elements together, paired with a compelling plot and a fascinating focal point through Hannah, made this book practically impossible not to inhale.

It also, inevitably, inspired both an appreciation and a fear of ants. I also experienced formication at least a dozen times.

Including now.

Dammit.

I highly recommend this book, friends. Just, maybe read it inside in a sealed room while you’re covering head to toe in anti-fungal spray.

Just to be safe.

Read on!

Waiting on Wednesday: Nanoshock

waitingonwednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.

This week’s victim: Nanoshock by K.C. Alexander
Publication Date: November 2nd, 2017 by Angry Robot

As Riko works to rebuild her shattered cred, following the events of Necrotech, she’s stuck fighting off every jerk looking to raise their standing on the streets. But when a corp with some serious influence ups the stakes, Riko’s going to have to take the fight to them, put this nonsense down for good. Nothing is what it seems when corp politics are in play, and another necro blight right where her answers are buried might very well be the end of the life she didn’t know she’d borrowed.

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Nanoshock is a sequel to Necrotech, a book that I reviewed and was positively awed by. It was a book that wasn’t necessarily within my comfort zone (i.e., it dealt with some tech that was a bit over my head, being that I’ve just recently gotten into the science fiction genre, and the main character was completely my opposite in every way, yet I still sympathized with her) yet I still enjoyed the hell out of it. So needless to say, I’m pretty stoked to see what happens in the next installment of Riko’s adventures and who else (foolishly) tries to get in her way. Also, it gets published a day before my birthday, so that’s pretty freakin’ neat.

Can we also just adore that cover for a second? If that doesn’t scream badass motha-fucka coming through, I don’t know what does. And personally, I could use a few more badass women in my life.

Read on!

Waiting On Wednesday: Communication Failure

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.

This week’s victim: Joe Zieja’s Communication Failure
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017 by Saga Press

In this sequel to Mechanical Failure, Captain Rogers, despite his best attempts to do otherwise, has become the acting admiral of the 331st Meridan fleet. His first task: worrying. A lot.

The rival Thelicosan fleet, under the influence of bad intelligence, a forbidden romance, and a communication officer with an eardrum injury, is about to break a two-hundred-year-old nonaggression pact. They have offered a vague, easily misinterpreted message: “We’re invading.” Rogers isn’t sure, but he thinks that’s probably bad.

War is hell, especially when you’ve forgotten how to fight one.

Why am I so excited for this book?

Mostly because I want more hilarious droids back in my life.

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Also, did you actually read that overview quoted above? How can you not be excited about a book that includes (but no doubt is not limited to) “bad intelligence, a forbidden romance, and a communication officer with an eardrum injury”? I’m hoping that forbidden romance includes a certain character who I adored from the first book, Mechanical Failure. I also wouldn’t mind if the entire book was just focused on Deet. Don’t get me wrong, Captain Rogers (or should I say, Admiral Rogers?) is one hilarious character in his own right. But he can’t replace my love for Deet.

Mechanical Failure got me hooked with a fantastic cast of characters, enough laughter that I counted reading that book as my ab workout for the week and with such an ending that I was left desperate for more. I’m still desperate, as the book doesn’t come out for a couple more months, but we are ever closer to returning to such a hilarious and fantastic universe that I wish I never had to leave. So bring on the antics of Communication Failure. I’m most certainly ready for them.

Read on!

PS: That cover? *heart eyes*

Kangaroo Too

Anschutz Command Center
10 minutes after I wished the book wasn’t over

I read Kangaroo Too in two days.

(Well, two and half, technically, but two sounds much more impressive and dramatic, so we’re just going with that.)

There were a lot of factors, I think, that played into why I read this book so quickly and enjoyed it as much as I did. It had all the elements I loved from the first book: the antics, the humor, the characters I’d grown so attached to, sci-fi elements and science that I still don’t fully understand (hello, the pocket) but still love to read about anyway. It also included so many new elements, from every single bloody plot twist that left me absolutely floored to learning more about certain characters’ personal lives (even if extracting that information made pulling teeth look easy), this book expanded everything I loved from Waypoint Kangaroo and took us on a new mission that I enjoyed as thoroughly as I did the last. It most certainly left me eager for the next book.

Because, seriously? How is Kangaroo meant to handle SPOILER?

Those reasons alone are enough to fall in love with this book and fly through it. Yet I have another, more personal reason, as well.

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It was the only thing that, for a few days, kept me from being depressed.

It’s not even that life is that hard, right now. Life is pretty good. Yet sometimes, you just get in that frame of mind where depression slips in anyway, even though at that moment, your life is nothing to complain about and once it ensnares you, it becomes hard to shake. And that’s been my week, this week. I slept in too late. I didn’t work out or do any physical activity whatsoever. Video games just frustrated me. I’d waste hours scrolling through social media when I had so many things on my To-Do list still to complete. Hell, even writing wasn’t enough to pull me out of this sudden slump that I slipped into this week.

Yet, for some reason, reading Kangaroo Too, did.

I can’t pinpoint why or exactly how it did, but after an entire week of being down in the dumps, following Kangaroo as he ventured around the Moon helped me smile when I felt like doing nothing. Kangaroo’s cheesy jokes, Jessica’s glare, Clementine’s sass and every surprise we were offered in the last 100 pages; all of that and more made me feel something when all I continued to feel was either numb or sadness. For a few hours, I was able to escape.

When reading, can you really ask any more than that?

So thank you, Kangaroo. Until our next mission. I can’t wait to see what kind of situation you’re thrown into next.

Read on!

PS: I FIGURED OUT THE PUZZLE AND I HAVE NEVER FELT SO COOL IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. *attempts to calm down, fails and decides to ride a high horse for the rest of the night*

Kangaroo Too

waitingonwednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.

This week’s victim: Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen, the sequel following the hilarious sci-fi thriller, Waypoint Kangaroo, to be published on June 20th, 2017.

If you haven’t read Waypoint, you need to stop reading this post and go read that, instead. Be prepare for sore abs, because the hilarity of Kangaroo and his misadventures is refreshing and pure fun.

I read a lot of long, fantasy epics. A lot of intricate worlds and plots. And there is plenty of humor, don’t get me wrong. I also love those books. But when reading Waypoint, the laughter was as constant as my turning pages and it was so easy to get invested in the whimsical, hilarious characters and situations they found themselves in.

I have the same expectations for Kangaroo Too.

Set in the same world as Waypoint Kangaroo, Curtis C. Chen’s Kangaroo Too is bursting with adrenaline and intrigue in this unique outer space adventure.

On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner―code named “Clementine” ―might have information about who’s behind the sabotage.

Clementine will only deal with Jessica Chu, Kangaroo’s personal physician and a former military doctor once deployed in the asteroid belt. Kangaroo accompanies Jessica as a courier, smuggling Clementine’s payment of solid gold in the pocket universe that only he can use.

What should be a simple infiltration is hindered by the nearly one million tourists celebrating the anniversary of the first Moon landing. And before Kangaroo and Jessica can make contact, Lunar authorities arrest Jessica for the murder of a local worker.

Jessica won’t explain why she met the victim in secret or erased security footage that could exonerate her. To make things worse, a sudden terror attack puts the whole Moon under lockdown. Now Kangaroo alone has to get Clementine to talk, clear Jessica’s name, and stop a crooked scheme which threatens to ruin approximately one million vacations.

But old secrets are buried on the Moon, and digging up the past will make Kangaroo’s future very complicated…

I mean, with a blurb like that, how could I not be stoked? Plus, the fact that it comes out during the summer is absolutely perfect, as that is my slow time during work (though, let’s be honest: even if work was at its busiest, I’d still be devouring this book within the first week of publication).

Read on!