Monthly Archives: March 2014

Book Review: Home World

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Title:  Home World

Author: Bonnie Milani

Publisher: Promotary Press

Genre: Science Fiction (Space opera)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Okay I’m going to be up front about this–the author is in my writing  critique group. So I’ve been watching this novel unfold over the last two years or so. I received a free copy with her final edits to read and review.

This is a rather madcap, zany adventure. There’s a lot of political drama, a little romance, and some of the best realized Hawaiin pidgin-speak that I’ve ever found in writing. Bonnie’s characters are all very distinct and fleshed out, and I think her characters are what makes the book work. You feel for every person in the book, even the bad guy. (one of those “Love to hate ’em”). Even though I hoped for a somewhat different ending, I think Ms. Milani did a good job in following through with where the story needed to go.

I loved Keiko in particular. This could be a story just about her, and I’d be happy. The book in general is about political machinations to keep the home world–planet Earth–safe from the designs of many other planets and governments. There are illicit drug deals, threats of war, an assassin after Earth’s ruling family heir, and a bratty woman’s designs to control everything that takes place in psyberspace. There’s also a very interesting dog-species, which Ms. Milani takes pains to flesh out and make real.

I had some trouble following the action now and then, particularly when inside the Net. There are terms and descriptions that took me a while to figure out, like the major domos and how the net ‘spiders’ work, creeping around apparently inside people’s heads. But the characters keep things coherent, and move the story along. I found this an enjoyable read. My advice to readers is to just hold on, and set aside your expectations. There’s probably going to be a detour from what you thought was happening.

Just hang on for the ride.

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Been sick, so here’s a cat picture.

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Yikes, I’ve been sick most this week with a stomach bug. NOT fun.  Worse, because of this my writing has ground to a halt. I swear however, that with a little rest, I’ll be back at the keyboard by Monday.

More reviews have come in for Journey To Landaran which is good (along with some sales) but the reviews have been ambivalent at best, averaging three and a half stars. (Ouch. While not horrible, does this make me just an ‘average’ writer? Or maybe my review requests have been going to the wrong type of reader. This is more likely, actually. Only time will tell.)

I guess the good news is that only one reviewer had any issues with my actual writing itself, and since that one is a self-published writer of suspense/thriller, I  have to take that with a grain of salt. More often it seems that the book disturbs readers. This can be a good thing or bad, depending on your viewpoint. Yes, I took some pretty big risks with the age of the protagonists and the issues they must cope with. This is not a comfortable read, but I’ll stand by the story I wanted to tell.

Meanwhile, I did get a very nice review from Midwest Book Reviews, which will be going out to booksellers in their April newsletter, as well as in their May newsletter for juvenile fiction. So that was exciting!  They were great to work with, so I totally recommend Midwest Reviews for all indie authors:  http://midwestbookreview.com/ . I’ll post a link once it’s published onto their website with the April MBR Bookwatch.

Book Review: City of Ashes

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Book: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Claire

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: YA Paranormal

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

So I was less than impressed by the first book of the Mortal Instruments series, but I found the world engaging enough to carry on with Book Two. This book was better written than the first, but I still find it rather like Taco Bell fast food–tastes great and fills that need for something cheap and yummy, but you feel bad about having had it about an hour later.

There are still things I don’t like, particularly the overdone love triangles. Alex loves Jace who loves Clara who loves him back but she can’t because he’s supposedly her brother but then there’s also Simon who loves her . . . but wait, Alex is dating Magnus . . . I felt like I needed a flowchart to keep track of everyone’s love lives.

If you can get beyond the melodrama, however, I still like the world and the general ideas of these Shadowhunters and Downworlders. I think there’s a general overabundance of vampires and werewolves in YA books these days, but since the main focus is on demons, I’m okay with that. I liked how Claire expands on the special talents of both Clara and Jace. I still like the concept of Marks, though I felt fuzzy on which ones were permanent or not.  And yes, I like Jace, perhaps because he’s such an unlikable, emotionally-stunted ass.

So I would call this an enjoyable romp. Don’t expect great literature, but if you like angst and melodrama with your paranormal urban fantasy, this book has plenty of good things in it. I think my favorite parts were the scenes between evil guy Valentine and bad boy Jace. There were also a few moments between Simon and Maya that were cute.

Book Review: Time Bound

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Title: Time Bound

Author: Rysa Walker

Publisher: Skyscape (Amazon)

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I selected this book because it won the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and I wanted to see what kind of book it takes to win a competition like that. The blurb immediately caught my eye–I enjoy time travel novels, particularly if they involve some  deep research into the time period, which this one does. Add that and just a little hint of steam punk, and I was hooked.

It’s a pretty typical YA setup–young college-aged girl has a special ability, and just as she finds out about it, the world goes kablooey. Only this time the special ability is that she can access a futuristic time traveling apparatus, and the kablooey is that the timeline shifts around her just as she learns time travel is possible. Suddenly she has no mother, her dad doesn’t know her, and if she removes the protective apparatus, she’ll vanish like she never was.  Of course you have to add in not just one, but two romantic interests as well–first a mysterious young man who pops in to save her life, kisses her, then pops back out again, and the other a friend who helps her through the trauma of trying to regain her existence. I found that particular piece of the book a bit cliché, but I was willing to overlook it for the other elements.

It’s a great setup. What makes this book work in particular is the attention to detail of the past where Kate must travel to save her history–the Chicago World Faire of 1893, in particular learning about suffragettes for the woman’s vote. I also liked the creepy pseudo-religion that her nemesis has been setting up throughout history, taking over things a piece at a time.

The action played out well, the pacing worked, and there was great tension. I look forward to seeing more from this new writer.

Finishing up the tour: Interview and Review

 

blog tour bannerIt’s the final day of the blog tour for my YA fantasy novel Journey To Landaran. I haven’t been online in the last day and a half thanks to a cold–boo–but I’ve been very happy with the reviews and interviews and all the help from Reading Addiction Blog Tours. Get over there for a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card!

Here’s the latest review on A Life Through Books: http://authoreverleigh.blogspot.com/2014/03/blog-tour-journey-to-landaran.html

And a fun interview (with strawberry ice cream): http://momwithakindle.blogspot.com/2014/03/virtual-book-tour-interview-giveaway.html

Enjoy!

Blog tour continues–review!

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In celebration of the blog tour, I’ve decided to discount Journey to Landaran for the rest of the week–now only $2.99!  And check out this wonderful review on Loving the Language of Literacy here: http://lovingthelanguageofliteracy.blogspot.com/2014/03/blog-tourgiveawayreview-journey-to.html . This review gives you a pretty good recap of what happens in the book.

And I loved this review by D’eBook Sharing on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2S8HFQ7EKTM86/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00IO7IXSC&nodeID=133140011&store=digital-text

And here’s another one from indie author E.M. Havens:http://www.emhavenswrites.blogspot.com/2014/03/ems-review-journey-to-landaran-by-judy.html

” Overall this was an extremely fulfilling read, that was intense both in action and emotion that any fantasy reader will enjoy.”

Last, you can find an interview with me here on Jeanz Book Read Review  blog: http://jeanzbookreadnreview.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/blog-tour-journey-to-landaran-spirit_10.html

Enjoy!

Blog tour continues: Interview over at E. M. Havens

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And the blog tour continues!  E.M. Havens, author of the Fate War Alliance, a steampunk romance, is one of the members of my critique group, and we’ve helped each other on projects. Our interview is actually kind of “live”–rather than sending me a list of questions, we messaged each other back and forth throughout the day.

Check it out!

http://www.emhavenswrites.blogspot.com/2014/03/review-and-interview-journey-to.html