Monthly Archives: May 2013

Blog Hop Giveaway Winner

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Thank you to everyone who participated in The Ministry Initiative blog hop!  The winner of the $10 Amazon gift card is Anna and she has claimed her prize–congratulations! And thanks to everyone who entered.

The blog hop might be over, but there is still time to fund this amazing Steampunk Fiction and RPG Kickstarter project.  They have over 50% of the funds needed with 15 days left to go.

To find out more or to back this project:  http://bit.ly/ministry-initiative

Summer is Coming–The May Want List

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It’s scorching hot here in NYC…last week I wanted to cry in frustration over the unseasonably cold weather that rained down on us. Yet now we’re sweltering with highs approaching 90 degrees.  Yeah, sure,  climate change must be a myth.  (Insert rolling eyes of sarcasm here)

Still I’d rather be hot and bothered than cold and damp.

So with the warm weather in mind, this want list is all about embracing summer and its fashion.

SandalsDiane Von Furstenberg Kyra Sandals in Peach

Why? Because every girl needs a pair of cute yet comfy sandals for running around the city.

Shift DressChev Republic Coral Pink Chevron Print Dress

This breezy summer shift is my biggest want right now.

Achor EarringsIt will be full-steam ahead with these anchor earrings.  Nautical is a classic summer look.

sunglassesAmaranto by Roberto Cavalli
This summer, I’m on a quest to find my new favorite pair of sunglasses.  If these complement my face, the search will be over.

Hat

Juicy Couture Ombre Straw Hat

I don’t usually wear hats, wide brim or narrow, but I like the idea of this one for roaming NYC before and after a weekend brunch date or for prowling the city streets with adventure in mind.

Photo credits (top to bottom): nordstrom.com, lulus.com, emmastine.com, ebay.compiperlime

The Ministry Initiative Blog Hop and Giveaway

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I’m very excited to be part of The Ministry Initiative Blog Hop!

A little over a year ago, I discovered The Janus Affair by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine and my journey into the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences (MOPO) world began. This first novel had me hooked and eager for more.  Yet it was their second novel, Phoenix Rising, that catapulted Agent Eliza Braun and Archivist Agent Wellington Books  into two of my favorite characters ever.  These books are amazingly fun and well-crafted steampunk adventures.  In addition to the novels, Morris and Ballantine have published an entire host of short stories to keep fans  patient while we wait for the third title in the series, Dawn’s Early Light, to be released in 2014.  If you aren’t already avid readers of Morris and Ballantine, check out The Janus Affair.  You won’t be disappointed.

But what is the Ministry Initiative, anyway?

Galileo Games and Imagine That! Studios have teamed up to bring you an ambitious steampunk project! The Ministry Initiative is a two-part creative endeavor that will not only premiere new fiction from the steampunk world of the Ministry but also present a brand new role playing game from the makers of Bulldogs! and the ENnie Award winning game Shelter in Place. Thrill to the tales in Ministry Protocol anthology, or join in as an Agent in The Ministry Initiative RPG.

Find out more about this endeavor and support the Kickstarter here: http://bit.ly/ministry-initiative

In support for the Ministry Initiative Kickstarter project, I’m offering a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner.

To enter, simply submit a comment related to this post and you’ll be entered in a random drawing for the prize.  Only one entry per person will be counted.  All entries are due by midnight EST on May 29, 2013.  Winner will be notified by May 31, 2013.  Open to US/Canada Participants Only

To continue on the blog hop, visit these sites:

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences J.R. Blackwell Jared Axelrod
PJ Schnyder Leanna Renee Hieber Pete Woodworth
Tee Tate Karina Cooper The Galaxy Express
Tiffany Trent Alex White Delilah S. Dawson
Simply Ali Wicked Little Pixie Books Make Me Happy
MamaKitty Reviews Thats What Im Talking About Kathryn Camisa
Krista Cagg Seleste deLaney Pauline Creeden
The Pen Punks Melissa Pauline Baird Jones
Vivid Muse Robert C Roman Jack Mangan

The Best of All Possible Worlds Book Review

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In a distant future, humans have spread across the universe. Somewhere along the way, several different human races emerged including the Sadiri. The Sadiri are a disciplined race with sophisticated emotional control and reliance on rational thought and behavior (think of the Vulcans from Star Trek). The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord opens when the planet Sadira is destroyed by an unprovoked genocidal attack.  The only Sadiri to survive are those individuals who were off-world at the time.  More women were living on their home world during the destruction, so there is significant gender disparity among the survivors. Of those remaining, some are working to create a new home world, New Sadira, while others find refuge on the plant Cygnus-Beta.  There, the Sadiri attempt to regroup after the massive loss.  These survivors are also hoping to secure appropriate mates from the taSadiri race living on Cygnus-Beta. The taSadiri happen to be the most genetically compatible to the Sadiri because they are actually Sadiri descendents making them the most ideal candidates.

The story is told almost exclusively through the first-person account of civil servant, Grace Delarua, who is tasked with helping one of the Sadiri leaders, Dllenahkh, transition to the Sadiris’ new home on her planet.   She eventually takes part in an assignment to help Dllenahkh and a few others (some officials from her world as well as Sadiri officials) seek possible genetic taSadiri matches. Yet, they are searching for more than just perfect genetic counterparts.  Their primary interest lies with taSadiri societies that have maintained some of the Sadiri belief systems, rituals, and histories so that the Sadiri way of life will not be lost as they repopulate their numbers.

While this novel is categorized as a science fiction, it is basically a romance story set in a futuristic world. Don’t get me wrong, it does have some sci-fi elements like time travel, telepathy, mindships, and alternate universes but except for telepathy, these concepts aren’t described in any great detail. Still, I enjoyed the slow blooming love affair between Dllenahkh and Delarua.  Their affection is clearly based on the mutual respect and caring that is fostered by the combined sharing of each other’s cultures.

Slow-moving at times, the novel does pick up once the love story takes shape. At the heart of this work is how two dissimilar groups establish relationships and gain understanding and acceptance as their races merge into one society. It is the familiar tale of how people come to realize that they have more in common with their neighbors than they originally believed.

However, this work has some issues. The entire planet of Sadira suffered this horrendous genocide and what’s left of its people are strewn across two worlds, New Sadira and Cygnus-Beta.  Obviously, the author’s intent wasn’t to showcase the dark aftermath of genocide but considering half the characters in the book lost their home world, family, and friends less than a year prior, it felt as though it should have been more significant.  At times, even Delarua almost forgets the pain the Sadiri must be suffering…but she is an outsider to this void and emptiness they must be feeling.  Dllenahkh is the obvious choice to address these ideas, however, while Dllenahkh has a minor POV throughout, it is not large enough to gain the deeper insight needed. The author does deviate from the romance angle at times to deal with political and ethical issues but the transitions into these scenes are usually less than smooth and don’t feel central to the story.  Still, I choose to concentrate on the story Lord was telling and reserve my judgment on that score.

The Best of All Possible Worlds is a solid read and enjoyable but it isn’t a novel I’d want read over and over again. Still I recommend it specifically to those individuals who enjoy their science fiction a tad more literary as in the style of Ursula K. Le Guin or those who enjoy romance set in fantastical worlds.

Available from a number of retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.