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2 June 2014

This changes my family and my life forever (The Spanners Vol II)
Sally Ember
Bantam Press
Publication Date
01 April 2014

(from Goodreads)

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., 58, the Chief Communicator / liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, has 6 nieces (ages 2 – 24), 6 nephews (ages 2 months – 39), and one adult son (38) five years APC (After Public Contact). Clara’s son, Zephyr, and her nieces and nephews discuss Transition, the period immediately after Earth is invited to join the MWC, and the many changes occurring in these first five years. Narrated partially by Moran Ackerman, Chief of the Psi-Warriors and top Earther among the OverSeers covert and Special Operations (OSOps) division (and one of Clara's nephews), Moran provides more details about the Fragmenters, Trenchers, Psi-Warriors, Psi-Defiers, and OverSeers' Excellent Skills Program psi training. "This Changes My Family and My Life Forever" is filled with stories about Clara’s family, Moran's involvement in the OverSeers, Zephyr and his cousins' points of view on the Transition. Learn more about Clara’s early life and her involvement as the Chief Communicator and what Earth’s Transition is like for them, their families and friends. Does Clara's love for Epifanio Dang prevail in any multiverse timelines?

My review

Clara Ackerman Branon is back, and earths transition continues.

I actually read Vol I and Vol II back to back, so for me it was like I'm reading one continuous book. I think though that one would need to read Vol I really to fully understand what is going to happen. 

In this volume, we get introduced more to Clara's family (they are a large family!) who all get interviewed about how they experienced it all (when the news first broke, what changed for them, any difficulties, what are they planning for the future). One of the main narrator is Clara's nephew Moran, a Rabbi before transition, who will now become the Chief in the fight against those who resist and fight the transition. There is also more info about Clara, snippets about her life from young woman to past transition. We learn about her jobs, relationships with both man and woman and in communes, what does she listen to, read etc. Though I'm still confused about her relationship with her lover / not lover Epifanio - but hey, more volumes are to come. 

One thing I like very much about the Spanners Series is the message that we can all live together in peace, learn from each other, be there for each other. All differences (religious, racial, gender, and even between species and inhabitants of other planets) are overcome. I mean, how cool would that be to be able to communicate with animals - and not in a jokey, Eddie Murphy Dr Dolittle kind of way, but accept them and their needs / interests as equal to humans. And those people who resist change (yes, there will always be those, even if it is clear that the change is for the better) will not be eliminated, but gently persuaded to recognise at what is best for them. 

Another thing I really like is the cover artwork and I hope the author doesn't change the cover art throughout the series, that would be a shame. It's pretty  and imaginative. Once you have read the first few chapters and read about the first encounter with 'The Band', have a look at the cover again and you will go 'ahhhh'.

 I very much enjoyed this series and the somewhat unusual structure of the book with interviews and different narrators. It is blurring the lines between fiction and non-fiction. One of the great plus for me was that abbreviations or foreign language used (one of the main characters is Hispanic) are always explained in brackets straight away. Because of the non-fiction style, it does not halt the flow of the story at all, but is in fact very helpful. On the minus side, as there are several of Clara's relatives are interviewed, it can sometimes be a bit 'samey' at some stage. But the writing is easy to read, so it is not a big deal and I found myself skipping over a few pages. 

A satisfying continuation from Volume I - let's see what's coming up in the next volume. 

I received this book from the author in return for an honest review. 
About the author: 
(from Goodreads

Sally Ember, Ed.D., has been passionate about writing since she was nine years old. She’s won prizes for her poetry, stories, songs and plays. She began meditation in her teens. Now, Sally delights fans of paranormal and romance by blurring the lines between fact and fiction in a multiverse of multiple timelines, often including exciting elements of utopian science fiction and Buddhism. Born Jewish on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, Sally's life has been infused with change. Currently, she lives alone and meditates, writes, swims, reads and plays piano in northern California.

The Spanners Series is getting great reviews for Volume I, This Changes Everything.Excerpts, reviews, interviews and more on Volume II in TSS ,This Changes My Family and My Life Forever,in pre-orders @$1.99 through 6/8 and releases 6/9/14 @$3.99, and the 8 others are in progress. 
Her Boards on Pinterest share a LOT more about her writing process, the series and her
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.).(less)