Tag Archives: Picador

Review & Giveaway: The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot 
By Benjamin Johncock
(Picador USA, Hardcover, 9781250066640, July 7, 2015, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Amid the excitement of space exploration, one couple is forced to deal with a horrible tragedy and the aftermath that it leaves behind.

The Rest of It:

The story centers around Jim Harrison and his wife Grace. Jim is an Air Force test pilot in Muroc, California on a base which later becomes Edwards Air Force Base. He’s a member of the New Nine, which is the first group to fly manned missions to space. As you can imagine, this is a very exciting time for them all.

Grace is not your typical Air Force wife. She worries, but she seems to know deep down, that things will turn out okay. But things are not okay. Jim and Grace suffer a terrible tragedy and it’s threatening to tear them apart. Grace desperately needs Jim during this time, but Jim chooses to bury himself in work.  How can you help another person when your own grief is too heavy to bear?

I really liked this novel. The excitement of space exploration is what grabbed my attention initially, but this couple’s situation really stayed with me. Not to mention the casual mentions of real-life astronaut Jim Lovell and larger-than-life Pancho Barnes. Barnes, who seriously steals the show in this one, could be the subject of her own book. She runs a bar, flies an airplane and basically knows everyone and better yet, seems to know exactly what everyone needs.

This knack of hers comes in handy more than once.

This was a smooth read for me. Even without the use of quotation marks, the writing and dialogue flowed effortlessly. Yes, there might have been a little confusion on my part when more than one character had the same name (two Jims, two Graces) but I quickly figured out who was who.

Overall, I really enjoyed this debut from Benjamin Johncock and I would absolutely read his work again. Check out his website here.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy, check out the details below.


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

This giveaway is for one copy of The Last Pilot and is open to the US and Canada. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the publisher. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on Sunday, July 26, 2015 (pacific). I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! (giveaway has closed!)


Source
: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
By Robin Sloan
(Picador, Paperback, 9781250037756, September 2013, 304pp.)

The Short of It:

At the intersection of high-tech gadgetry and old school methods, you’ll find Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

The Rest of It:

This is one of those rare instances where I went into a book without knowing a thing about it. I mean, I knew nothing. I figured from the title that it would be about a bookstore and it is, but we are not talking dusty bookshelves filled with the classics. This bookstore operates 24-hours a day, is run by a quirky little man named Mr. Penumbra and things gets interesting when the new guy working the graveyard shift, Clay Jannon, discovers that along with regular books, they lend out special books that happen to be written in a secret code.

Clay’s web designer background leads him to delve deeper into the store’s database and when he meets Kat Potente, a data visualization specialist for Google, the two attempt to decipher the code and figure out the puzzle. To complicate matters, Clay and Kat realize that they are not the only ones trying to decipher the text, a secret society called the Unbroken Spine is also attempting to solve the mystery and then Mr. Penumbra goes missing leaving Clay and Kat to wonder what this is all about.

This story is a wondrous mix of old verses new. Tech-lovers will be dazzled by the Google references, the high-end book scanners and the time spent at Google headquarters, Kat’s place of employment. Others will be fascinated by the Unbroken Spine and their rigorous research methods. Or, you might find yourself somewhere in the middle. Either way, Sloan tells a good story. There’s a lot of action and just enough nerdy goodness to wrap your brain around. There’s also quite a bit of humor which I tend to appreciate in a novel when it’s handled well, as it is here.

There are definitely two types of people in this novel, the types who cannot live without technology and the types who cannot live with it, but I hazard to guess that Sloan falls somewhere in the middle because neither side is really played-up to be better than the other. That can be argued if you take the epilogue into account, where everything is summed up nicely and tied with a bow but I was okay with it.

This is a really fun read. There’s something for everyone but don’t expect it to be a traditional bookstore story because it is definitely not that.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.