Friday, 17 January 2014

This Changes Everything, Volume 1 The Spanners Series

Author: Sally Ember
Genre: SciFi 
Book Rating: unfinished 
Personal Rating: 7/10  -- mostly because even though I didn't finish I had this nagging feeling through the whole read that in this book's particular style it's brilliant.  Note to self: must read more books like this during the year.

After reading the blurb for this I was more than excited about reading. After the first three pages.  Way excited about reading it.  After that. Excitement slowly fizzled away into oblivion.  I just couldn't get into this book.  Every page I read felt like I was cramming for an exam tomorrow and if i didn't pay attention I'd fail.  Information overload, brain system: crashed.  The main character, Clara Branon, had a rather intriguing intro in chapter one.  I laughed, my interest was piqued.  Who is she.  What are these visions she has, and these strange holograms in her room.  Real or unreal.  And the sense of wit, for me at least, was genius.  Then after all that my brain was muffled down with a certain lack of flow or connective direction.
Too many acronyms for my brain to physically hold onto.  Groups for this and that and just overwhelming amounts of information.  If you're more into information gathering than story reading this book is for you.  There's lots of perfectly sectioned and detailed accounts of things that happened over the years long before the protagonist even receives her first visit from the alien beings.  Most of this info-giving is in interluded chapters, between the actual chapters.  I think they are prefect.  There isn't anything in theory I can find wrong with them.  Except for one glaring thing.  Well two things.  They bored me and I had no idea what they had to do with moving along the plot.

They felt like research notes for a paper I'm not working on because I'm reading a novel.  I kept reading them thinking, what do these have to do with my protagonist and her mission to bring information about the news of the alien organisation to light.  Is this stuff that she would need to know.  Probably.  But do I need to know it.  Nope.  It was information that, as a reader, just distracted me.  I wanted to find a way to connect these things to the storyline and just couldn't.  Information just so I could know is what it appeared to be.  It got so bad I actually stopped reading the interlude chapters.  

The more I read the more I felt I was either stupid or just missing something.  Every actual chapter, not the interludes, seemed to have some sort of information that just came out of nowhere without any hint or foreshadowing in the previous chapter.  For instance, when the main character mentions her son being chosen for something in the grand scheme of things and how she gave people chapters of this book she was writing.  I was like huh?  As far as I knew she fell asleep thinking of who her earth media contact would be, she had a name and a physical description of said person in her head before hitting sleepy-town, and I was looking forward to her figuring out how she was going to convince this person she wasn't crazy.  How she was going to convince the world she wasn't crazy.  And most importantly how she was going to accomplish this if the aliens only spoke to her.  I was already thinking this was a lost cause which was why I was so intrigued.  I wanted to go along the ride of her becoming this new person.  Needless to say we jumped into the future to find out she's writing a fiction book. Wait that's not entirely accurate, she's written a fiction book has shown it to people, her son is part of a group supporting the, oh I can't even remember.  And she's ever so excited about this plan that is somehow magically already in existence.  From first visit to book already being written, and obviously she's chosen the contact for said book which she is masquerading as fiction but is really truth.  Still no idea how that's going to work (shoulder shrug) but it is a brilliant idea.  And i don't mind reading things in flashback it's fun.  It's just nice to know firstly that I'm in the future, secondly what the plan is, and then go back to mention certain pitfalls or rather entertaining dialogue exchanges.

And being able to see multiple futures, (this comes up a lot in the book.  Simultaneous existence's.) is just fine.  But telling me the lead will have to deal with the loss of never meeting her love for life, and then later on, a good twenty years or so in the future she's asking him to write his account of the alien intervention, again no idea how we got this far into the future when some of the chapters are still clearly working on her present day ESP training.  How, when, and where did the decision get made that this was the future that would happen, if indeed it is happening as the male character muses himself in the book.  Wasn't she moping over their possible nonexistence as a couple only a few chapters back.  Where's the part about how she's so happy that, that future wasn't the one that actually happened out of the multitude of possibilities she saw.  And probably wrote in this book she is writing.

If I could sum this experience up in one sentence it was like playing connect the dots except none of the dots on the page had numbers.  So I was kind of ambling through them hoping that I'd lend on them correctly.  It actually pains me to write this because the premise of the novel was great.  The actual chapters are written well and are rather hilarious.  I love good humor.  But the lack of connectivity just pretty much defeated me.  I think the reality of the situation is I'm clearly not smart enough for this type of writing style.  Something to work on in future reading endeavors.

This book might very well be brilliant.  But as I couldn't finish it I really don't know.  I just know I was screaming to enjoy this book but didn't.  If I could remove the interlude chapters, take a thread and string all the other ones together in one cohesive plot line I would.  Instead I was left with this overwhelming scratching my head feeling.  Just didn't get it.  Again, I have this odd feeling that I'm just not smart enough for this book.  I don't have the intelligence level to make good sense of it.  

So even though I didn't get the greatest experience ever.  If you like very well structured notes, detailed descriptions of almost everything (kind of like how Anne rice can spend five pages describing the veins on a leaf), humor (really good humor I might add), and a slight love interest, this book will not fail to impress you.  In fact I guarantee you will love it if these are the types of things you look for in a book.


Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., 58, is having the first of many home visits from holographic representations of five beings from the Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, over a thirty-year, increasingly Utopian period. Earth is being invited to join, formally, and the December, 2012, visit is the first one allowed to be made public. Making the existence of the MWC public means many Earthers have to adjust our beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and, well, everything we think and are. Clara becomes the liaison for Earth, the Chief Communicator, between Earth and the MWC. This Changes Everything relates the events partly from her point of view, partly from records of meetings of varying groups of the MWC governing bodies, and partly from her Media Contact, Esperanza Enlaces, employing humor, poignancy, a love story, family issues, MWC’s mistakes and blunders, history, politics, paranormalcy and hope.

Author Information:

Sally Ember, Ed.D. is a sci-fi/romance/speculative fiction, YA, New Adult and adult author of The Spanners Series, which starts with Volume I, This Changes Everything, in e-book format by Smashwords and for sale December 19, 2013 at ebook retailers worldwide. Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is coming out in Spring, 2014. Volumes III - X are in various draft stages.

Sally is a published, nonfiction co-author (ACTING OUT: The Workbook, 1996) and a produced playwright (children's theatre, Crystal Dreams; Grading System for adults) who had short stories and articles published and has co-written, edited, and proofread many nonfiction books and worked for some magazines.

Sally was raised Jewish and is a practicing Buddhist meditator. She is also an almost-daily swimmer, a mediocre singer/pianist, avid feminist, dreamer, and devoted mother/ sister/ aunt/ daughter/ cousin/ friend.

In her "other" professional life, Sally has worked as an educator and upper-level, nonprofit manager in colleges, universities and private nonprofits for over thirty-five years in New England (every state), New Mexico and the San Francisco Bay Area (where she now lives). Sally has a BA in Elementary Education, a Master's (M.Ed.) and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.).

Sally credits authors such as as, Doris Lessing of the scifi series, Canopus in Argos: Archives, and Robert Heinlein author of, Stranger in a Strange Land, as some of her inspirations.  And, in case you missed it above, she plays the piano, she sings, and she dreams.  All three things in which I also do which makes her more than awesome.  That alone is worth buying this book.  All piano players are awesome.  It's just simple science.

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