Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review:: The Sixth Line of Defense by Shiva Winters

The Sixth Line of DefenseThe Sixth Line of Defense by Shiva Winters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Sixth Line of Defense by Shiva Winters

Shiva does it again.

Shiva Winters has a style a draws me right into the character right in the beginning. In this case she sounds like your average troubled teen who has to deal with a lot of intercity thugs at school. Only Shiva (this is also the name of the protagonist) has been bounced from school to school because she has a specific boiling point where she can no longer container herself in the face of adversity. She's proactive and she's tough and she doesn't back down and rarely loses the fight. She's been shifted from one bad school to another because of this.

Shiva is a special case as we soon find out both through her and through her handler Devon who has something in common with Shiva. Both are genetic soldier of a bygone era that were created to win the war and save the day. Except Shiva is from the 6th generation of these soldiers. Devon is from the 3rd gen and gens 4 and 5 were so horrible that the ones that didn't get put down are on ice. That means that everyone expects Shiva from gen 6 to be the worst.

That's pretty much the set-up for this story.

This book also contains a theme common to Shiva Winter's other writing. That theme is that there is a special bond between people that goes beyond friendship, sex, and even sometimes love. It knows no bounds when it happens and it's a profound experience and in some case as with the Salak'patan Series it can be deadly to both parties when on member of the bond dies.

This book also contains a heavy lesbian theme which is introduced fairly soon in the novel. Shiva and Vala meet at a special school (one that Devon has found for Shiva) and they bond and become very close in a short time, since that is the nature of the bond it makes the quick romance become somewhat believable.

Besides the bond itself we find that Vala has some special significance in the plot of the story.

Ultimately because of the failure to integrate the 4s and the 5s into society the military has been reluctant about the 6s and have only tried to integrate a handful of which all have failed except Shiva and as we mentioned Shiva has problems. Part of the plot is that someone wants them to have problems because they want to bury them deep. It eventually comes out that it's all part of a plot that hinges on eliminating the 6s who in part were created in-case the enemy was ever able to compromise the 4s and 5s and turn them against the military.

As the blurb mentions this story is about what it means to be human and that is definitely examined in a number of ways throughout the Narrative.

And that brings us to Shiva's style of writing. Her narrative is rich and sometimes her sentences are long and descriptive. And these are all things I enjoy about her writing. I will caution those who are severe about grammar spelling and general editing that this once again is not the book for you. Of those I took time to mark there are over 30 missing words or double words or things like than instead of then and in some cases ambiguous statements that sound wrong in context which might be more missing words or misspelled.

This is a good SFF for Young Adults and it contains some reasonable lesbian romance.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review::Ill-Timed Entanglements (The Kate Huntington Mystery Series #2 )by Kassandra Lamb

Ill-Timed Entanglements (A Kate Huntington Mystery, #2)Ill-Timed Entanglements by Kassandra Lamb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ill-Timed Entanglements (The Kate Huntington Mystery Series #2 )by Kassandra Lamb

I loved this Kate Huntington mystery. I'm not even certain how I obtained this book. It might have been recommended from reading another mystery. I do like mysteries. I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle and many of Agatha Christie's and Rex Stout's Nero Wolf even Poe's Auguste Dupin. I also enjoy those popular television mysteries such as Columbo, Hart to Hart, Murder She Wrote, Munk, and even Psych. I recall many of these from a time when I'd sit with friends and we'd actively help solve the crime before the intrepid detectives.

It was hard to refrain from trying to solve the mystery so much that within the first 10 percent of the novel I was certain I had the answer. Betty Franklin is an elderly writer who is living in a retirement home and making a modest living off current best sellers when her agent, Sara Burnett calls with the exciting news that her latest book the publisher is picking up was so well received that they want two more and are offering a large advance. But then a woman in Betty's writers group, Doris Blackwell, accuses Betty of stealing her work and putting it into that latest novel and Betty has to call Sara and delay things until the legalities are all covered. Doris ends up murdered and Betty become s the prime suspect.

[spoiler]So I have this all figured out because Sara has a lot on the line here and we know how ruthless agents can be.[not really spoiler]

So that was too easy and Kassandra Lamb proceeds to show me how far off that might be. There are a thousand suspect, well more than a handful and then some.

I've not read the previous book but this book stands well alone and I think I got the gist of some of what happened in the first book, but if you are someone who can't stand having things spoiled and you haven't read the first book you probably should. As for me I'll be looking for the first book because I enjoyed these characters so much and would like to see how well they were 'drawn' in the previous book.

The mystery is the focus and there is more than one murder so plenty to go around with all the suspects. And we thought elderly communities were boring, bingo bazaars. Kate Huntington is a psychotherapist getting ready to return to work after maternity leave. -real spoiler- she is returning after being widowed and becoming a single mother to her daughter Eddie (named after her father).

As the story picks up Kate is enlisted by her friend Bob Franklin to travel to New York with his aunt Betty to iron out the wrinkle. Of course they never make it to New York because Betty is a suspect in a murder case. Within a short time the cast of detectives begin to assemble as the team begins to form with the purpose of quickly laying to rest any doubt of Betty's innocence. And the reader soon finds out that that is not happening soon and the body count is going to start going up.

This book contains some pop references and some are presented in a sort of tongue in cheek humorous fashion. They come close to cliche but mostly pop references. One in particular is to Perry Mason and this book does bring to mind the team of Perry Mason, Paul Drake, and Della Street. Only in this case Della (Kate) is going to have a large part in solving the case. With all these references I was almost not sure when one of the characters calls out "Oh Rob!" and if you don't understand that one then you are too young.

A few times a character makes up his own words and is called on the carpet for it.(Is this a writer-reader-writer group dig? I'm not sure.)

This book has a lot of characters, but they are not that difficult to keep track of.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention there are a few mistakes in the editing of the book nothing glaring just wrong words, I think. And for those who are sensitive to head hopping there were a few times I had to stop and think. In some instances it's limited to two characters ping ponging back and forth and Kassandra does do a lot of character thoughts . I have no problem with two characters and sometimes in romance it almost becomes appropriate but might work better if they were more well defined with pseudo scene breaks. There were times where a scene had the thoughts of at least three characters and those were the ones that might have given me pause. So yes beware of that. Most of the time it was quite smoothly done and had it been confined mostly between Skip and Kate I might not have even noticed. As it is Kassandra handles it quite well overall.

Good Mystery for those who like the who dun its and a healthy dose of romance to go along.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review::The Object: Book One (Object Series) by Winston Emerson

The Object: Book OneThe Object: Book One by Winston Emerson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Object: Book One (Object Series) by Winston Emerson

I really enjoyed this novel although I'm not that attached the the horror mayhem type of stories like this. This draws some similarities to H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, which again is a good novel just not my favorite. This novel takes place in Louisville instead of England and also has some similarities to the novel series The Beginning of the End by Michael Edward.

Winston Emerson creates some strong and believable characters and the writing is similar to that high literary style where the characters are drawn out well with all the flaws and foibles attached. We could have used a better balance of characters to offset the horror that was soon to ensue. There are several characters that stand out as potential for the reader to sympathize with, but a majority are pretty flawed and broken and though there might be opportunities to draw sympathy most of those characters become repulsive. There are a few of the gritty that redeem themselves, but in this type of fiction many of these characters die just as or just before you get to really know them.

There's a sense of plot somewhere in the background but because this has been published in the manner that it has been written within a blog-sphere the plot is mostly hanging rather loosely and this would be best read in its entirety, which at the moment is going to be difficult because not much more has been written and published yet.

I would give this five stars, but there are road-bumps that I couldn't get past. There are two characters that I would chose as the outstanding protagonists and they would be Lillia and Hayden. But those two characters take a dramatic turn in their life that may or may not have changed them entirely into unknown and unknowable characters. Because things are left pretty much hanging as in not explained and these are the two characters a reader might hang onto it becomes a sticky point among several sticky points.

The next sticky point is the mystery about the object. From front to back the reader doesn't get much of an advance in understanding to the tune that it's still not certain whether it has good or bad or indifference in its intent.

The next sticky point is the invasion of the body snatchers nature that the story is taking and the fact that it has the appearance that there is a contest or animosity between the snatched and it's difficult to tell if this is a side effect to the personality of the abducted body or if there are two different types of aliens or if in fact it's some sort of game or field exercise.

Once again as with this type of novel; the many well drawn characters are slowly being killed off as they meet together for some unknown purpose. It would almost seem at this point that most of the deaths are not directly perpetrated by the aliens unless we count in the panic and fear much the same as was caused by the Orson Wells radio broadcast. (Again many similarities here.)

This is a good story for the gritty characterizations and the portrayal of people caught in specific self destructive social structures within the big city. It has a good number of shock factors built into the narrative.

I think it would be best served whole though rather than piecemeal with the cliffhanger. Perhaps as the series plays out all of the mysteries that are brought before the reader will be answered eventually.

Of course the way that it is played out here might well be correct for the Genre it is trying to target.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review::The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker

The Emperor's Edge (The Emperor's Edge #1)The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker

I had this one in my kindle and of course one reason was that it is free. I decided that since I'd delved into steam-punk that I'd take a look see and decide if I should read it. The first thing I noticed was the humor- I'm going out on a limb here because humor is so subjective and at the risk of offending Lindsay Buroker I'm going to say I saw some definite humor in the text and subtext. I kept notes if anyone is interested in what I found so humorous. I kept getting this feeling that Lindsay may have spent a few hours somewhere in the past watching a lot of Rocky and Bullwinkle. This was not a bad thing-at least not for me.

So partway into the story I realized I hadn't done my usual thing, which is to look at the one and two star reviews. As usual many of those go on a bit about how they can't for the life of them fathom why there are so many 4 and 5 star reviews and how they felt cheated and wanted to warn people off. I love a challenge and so I jumped back into the fray and now I'm going to explain why I feel free to give this a 5 star rating.

It must be that like humor some forms of entertainment are also subjective.

Corporal Amaranthe Lokdon is and Enforcer for the Turgonian Empire, she's the only female enforcer so she has a lot to live up to and lot to of resistance to handle. She also has a slacker partner, Corporal Wholt, who has pretty much left her out in the cold having to explain his absence to her superiors. This is particularly distressing to her since her partner is up for a promotion that she clearly thinks she deserves.

When they reach the scene of the crime and she begins to hone her detective skills she is confronted with more disillusionment from her fellow officers when they decide she'd best be suited for cleanup detail. Admittedly though, Amaranthe is her own worst enemy in this respect because she seems to suffer an OCD compulsion to clean and straighten things. This is one of the most humorous aspects of her character and it makes one wonder is this OCD or just social training that keeps kicking in. She even finds she has to stifle the urge to clean in order to ensure she doesn't contaminate the scene of the crime by overt cleanliness.

While foiling a robbery Amaranthe meets the Emperor Sespian Savarsin who may have happened in just to observe her at work, however it is he seems to become enamored with her without her knowledge. It is in part this seeming chance meeting that begins the downward path of Amaranthe from Enforcer to fugitive. But not before she is given the assignment of her career, she's to assassinate the deadly assassin Sicarius and this could be the means to the promotion she's been looking for. The assignment comes from the Emperor's own Commander of the Armies Hollowcrest and during that interview Amaranthe once again falls into the sphere of the Emperor and has a few interesting revelations that will eventually help her better understand why her luck seems to travel south so quickly.

Amaranthe finds herself on the Enforcer's most wanted list and from there she embarks on life of crime with an unlikely array of allies. What's entirely entertaining about her cohorts is that each has their own social standing and quirks that make them only mildly suited for her plan and create an interesting and complex interaction. The Emperors life is in danger and the only people who know are a band of criminals under Amaranthe's direction and a conspiracy of criminals who want to see the Emperor assassinated, the Empire destroyed or at least a puppet empire set up.

Amaranthe's intel has unveiled the existence of some criminals who seem to have an agenda that is economically motivated so her plot is to threaten to disrupt the economy so that she can draw these criminals out into the open to reveal them in time to save the Emperor.

This is really a well crafted story that only errs in that humor is subjective and to some people may run flat or even go above and beyond them and distract from the story. Even so, cutting through all that the astute reader should have no problem seeing the development of the plot and enjoy the development of the characters. This is part of a series of books but has a satisfactory ending that makes it complete within itself.

Now I could be facetious and say this book was so good that I can't understand why it has any bad reviews, but really each to his own. It's often a matter of perception and whether someone dismisses the book for perceived problems and scans through the rest or simply doesn't finish it. I've always said if someone says something won't work or isn't any good they should never be put in charge of any phase of it because they will be out to make sure it doesn't succeed.

That much said: I'll offer my usual warning that this book does contain some errors, not nearly as many as I've seen in others but they are there. Sometimes its words missing spaces between them other times words are missing. Does it look like the author was spelunking into the thesaurus to find words, maybe, but maybe she was just following those ridiculous online 'writers' groups that insist that you should never use the same word twice within a certain distance to each other. Or possibly, since I never found any word that didn't mean what it said within the context, just possibly she chose to use those words with a purpose. Lindsay Buroker does seem to have a slight different style to her writing that shows up enough to stand out sometimes, but it is a good and refreshing style that is refreshing because it's different from the usual cookie cutter writing coming out of some of these online 'writer' forums. Could she use some more editing, couldn't we all, but I didn't find anything that distracted me from enjoying the story or following the well written plot-line. Would I read more?


This is a good story for SFF fans, Mostly fantasy and not for the people who need a lot of solid science. It does qualify for steam-punk as there are enough elements of steam driven technology evident although it is not the main driving force of the story and I'm not so sure about Victorian dress. It has elements of magic, but it is not the only steam-punk I've read that uses elements of magic. It's a good Young Adult Adventure story and even has an element of mystery with well defined characters to drive the story.

Thanks Lindsay for a good entertaining read.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review::The Sixth Discipline by Carmen Webster Buxton

The Sixth Discipline (Haven #1)The Sixth Discipline by Carmen Webster Buxton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Sixth Discipline (Haven) by Carmen Webster Buxton

I really liked this story and found myself immersed from the first page and onward.

The Sixth Discipline is yet one more of those kidnapped novels that seem so popular out there. What makes this one different for me was the way it grabbed my interest from the start and kept it. It was not the intense action and a massive seat of the pants type of hook that every other author seems to think the reader needs. It was more a subtle gentle drawing into the mystery that surrounds the story. It kept me reading it almost straight through.(I did have to stop to sleep and then go to work.)

The story starts with Ran-Del a simple hunter of the Sansoussy people of the Falling Water Clan. Only we quickly find that there is nothing simple about the Sansoussy people. Right away we are acquainted with the Disciplines as Ran-Del uses them to calm himself after being shot with some sort of paralyzing agent. The people who capture him are from the city and seem to know a lot about his people. Once they realize their massive dose has failed to render him unconscious (via the disciplines) they give him something more to make him collapse into darkness.

I found that even though the excitement in most of the scenes seemed a bit muted when compared with many action yarns, Carmen Webster Buxton knows how to tell a good story well; blending mystery and intrigue and romance. Ran-Del's character is interesting and I quite agree with his attitude toward being kidnapped. And though his primary kidnapper seems to have a good self justifiable reason for this crime Baron Stefan Haydon could seriously work on his methods. It could almost be comical when his daughter, Francesca seems to alternately go along almost complacently sometimes and other times is on the verge of rebellion against her father's strange plan. Either way kidnapping is kidnapping and that's really no way to find your daughter a good mate or to make friends.

Partly by plan and part by accident or perhaps part by way of the Psy/Precog nature of the Falling Water Clan Stefan's plans go just a bit south when the tables get turned. His daughter gets a chance to experience this whole thing from the other side and the reader gets to find that the Falling Water Clan is almost as bat crazy as Francesca's father in the form of Ran-Del's Great grandfather a shaman who is a seer who has a vision about Ran-del and Francesca.

Stefan Hayden wants to preserve his family line and fortune and ensure his daughter's safety in a city that is full of rich families that truck in plots and intrigue and his worries will prove to be well founded. His solution is to bring in an outsider (Ran-Del) who has special empathic abilities that will help his daughter survive especially if something happens to Stefan.

Ran-Del's clan is all about family and continuing the family line. But the shaman (his great grandfather) seems to have that handled even if he must give up his family's youngest male in the line, Ran-Del.

So the question becomes can larceny and destiny lead to true love? There is certainly a lot to love about these two potential lovers.

There's a whole lot of interesting world-building as we learn both about the city people and the Sansoussy people along with the estranged couple as they each try to cope within the others world. At some point midst the alternating kidnappings the reluctant couple find themselves being thrust into a sort of arranged deranged engagement.

Carmen Webster Buxton has a style of writing that is easy flowing and if there are any sentence structure problems they somehow got past me as I whipped through the pages. I did find a few problems of missing words, but over all I'd say less than a handful of nitpicks, although for those sensitive to those issues you may see a few.

This is good SFF Young Adult Romance Adventure and though usually the kidnap/love stories make me cringe because of the improbability of seriously falling in love with your kidnapper, this one at least balances the tables on the players and manages to deliver some good character interaction.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review::Astra: Synchronicity by Lisa Eskra

Astra: SynchronicityAstra: Synchronicity by Lisa Eskra

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Astra: Synchronicity By Lisa Eskra

I enjoyed reading this one. It's a bit of a light in most ways though Lisa Eskra took on an ambitious task and approached it from a slightly different angle than I've seen in the past. For a first effort I think she did fairly well, but the most important part is that it gained my interest and kept it throughout the book. There was a slight shock factor when getting to the end and realizing it's the end and wanting to have more story. But this is a trilogy and there will be more. This; at the very least and best is not like those serialized snippets I've too often seen here.(The ones that are 16 to 30 some pages and barely have time to introduce the characters.) This is a full fledged 200 some page book that to my estimation qualifies as a novel and even though some points are left unresolved the reader is left at a place that is in no way less than where some of the John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs novels often left the reader.

Synchronicity takes on the question of psions in a world that hates people with psychic abilities. This is reminiscent of the book Slan by A.E. VanVogt. But Lisa Eskra takes her own slant on the issue.

In the Astra universe Earth has been ruined and is no longer habitable the process that caused this has possibly created a whole new branch in the tree of mankind that have psionic abilities. In a sort of dystopic way, but in this treatment it takes a back seat to the story, the Psion's have to renew their energy by sucking the life out of normals(Mind Rape, which is fatal).(Although they can also suck the life out of each other if it comes to that.) What they suck is the Gamma-mine, a neurotransmitter that regulates the psionic potential. Mankind has left earth and colonized other worlds and have split into three main factions the PAU, AF and UE. None of the faction have any affection for the psions and they each have their different degree of tolerance towards them. In most cases they try in some way to regulate them when they are not trying to kill them.

Magnius Zoleki one of the main protagonists is a psion who has been hiding his abilities. He's even successfully hidden them from his present wife, Lyneea. That wife hates psions because they murdered her parents so it's understandable that when she discovers the secret she files for divorce. This whole scenerio puts Magnius in danger because his secret is likely to come out to the whole of Astra. Magnius has many more secrets including that hes running from the Psion's; in specific the leader Aliane and her consort Zingeri who send an assassin named Tiyuri to capture Magnius.

Amii Martin has amnesia, with a condition described by one character as a fugue state though it might be a specific type with selective amnesia because she has not created a whole new identity and she has clear memories that allow her to function on a high level with many complex tasks. She finds out she is the alleged daughter and assistant of Dr. Xander Adams who is attempting to create a functional android or robot. The Dr. is on the run and being pursued because he has stolen valuable equipment to continue his work. Dr. Xander claims that Amii Martin was struck on the head which is not a consistent factor with fugues so we'll have to wait and see how that works out.

Through some quirk Magnius and Amii are brought together along with the crews of two ships, the Kearsarg and the Schenectady(captained by Lyneea's sister Ardi.) And they are introduced to Nadine Taylor who is a well know psion married to a politician of the AF.

If that's not enough, there has been a first contact situation involving Schenectady and the aliens known as Xurianian's.

Honestly speaking with so much going on; 260 pages was really not enough to do total justice to the story.

This results in a slight disjointedness as we seem to fast-forward through and past some important elements such as the actual point of contact in the first contact. So if I had any nitpicks it would be that there needed to be about a hundred more pages of narrative.

Lastly I can't go without mentioning the grammar errors. Because I try not to include them in the star score I try to be sure to mention them for the picky reader. There are a larger number than normal (for some people zero is normal but for my taste I can abide a handful.) Probably the only one that sticks out in my mind is the recurrence of the word lied where lay belongs, which is almost understandable since lay normally takes an object such as 'lay the book down' and lie does not have the object such as 'I lie down' and the problem comes when the past form of lie is lay and not lied. Anything else in the grammar and sentence structure that created problems were mostly transparent where the lied just stuck out like fingernail on chalkboard.

I think this is a good light read for people who like SFF for young adults with less emphasis on the Science part of the science fiction. There were enough interesting mysteries in this one to make me interested in following up with the rest of the series to see how those resolve.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review::A Desert Called Peace by Tom Kratman

A Desert Called PeaceA Desert Called Peace by Tom Kratman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Desert Called Peace by Tom Kratman. (Cerrera)

I've let this one sit in my kindle for quite a while before I finally decided to read it. Obviously one reason for downloading it was that it's free. It's also long. I enjoyed it and there are a few friends I have to whom I would recommend it because they love these kinds of novels. This is science fiction mostly because it takes place on another planet known as Terra Nova. The bulk of the story could well have taken place on Earth in some strange dystopia or parallel universe.

A Desert Called Peace (ADCP) is similar to Robert Heinlein's Starships Troopers (ST) minus the bug war. Some people might take that poorly, those who don't like ST, I mean it as a sort of complement but mostly just a simple comparison and my own reaction to what ADCP reminded me of. The book is like a recruitment poster and or propaganda campaign much as ST was. I will admit as far as readability ADCP seemed better. But for myself there were large portions of the narrative I could have done without to the tune that I had to watch myself every time I was tempted to scan past those places where the author described the weaponry and munitions and the alternatives and viability of each specific tool of warfare. As I mentioned I have some friends who really eat that stuff up, not so much myself.

The author has the credentials and seems to know his stuff and wants to let the reader know. Once again I'm not a fan of five hundred pages of deadly boot-camp to be followed by 50 pages of real combat. The thing is that the book, although heavy in the description of the armament and gear and the trials and tribulations of training, is about how the main character starting out in a simple life of retirement from service and building to become almost a mirror of his enemies. This aspect reminded me of some of the suspense thrillers (Shibumi by Trevanian) I've read where the secret agent or mercenary is trying to retire and gets thrust back into the game by someone attacking his loved ones.(The single weakness they have.) This story is no different in that respect, because Cerrera,Patrico Hennessey de Cerrera known as Patrick Hennessey and later as the Blue Jinn, loses his wife to the actions of some terrorist whose act almost parallels the twin towers destruction.

(There also is a sub plot in inter-rum chapters that runs parallel describing a past Cerrera who also was drawn into war despite himself)

Cerrera grieves a short time and then decides on revenging his family. One irony built into this story is that to become like his enemy and better understand his enemy he has to understand that the enemy is motivated highly by family, protecting the family and revenging the family. For some reason he doesn't understand that for a long time and he fails to see it even when many of his new found allies have the same value system. Basically he is blind to the fact that right from the start he has had a jump-start at becoming like his enemy. Needless it is this revenge that fuels him that makes him more dangerous than he would be normally. Cerrera is dangerous in his own right because he is a student of war. At the time of the atrocity he is collecting data from former enemies about the final battle, in which he'd conquered them while he was working for the FSC.

Now he will use those contacts to create a school for his army of revenge.

This is where we have a slight questionable wrinkle in the continuum. The story is confusing with a lot of jumping back and forth between timelines because we do need some history and world building to take place. Roughly we're about 450 years in the future and women are still treated mostly the same as they are today and are not allowed into combat. This is the world as Tom Kratman builds it so it stands as is and it's just curious to me that they might have even gone backwards by that point in time. Although to be fair the people who colonized the planet contained enough elements to support that possibility.

At some point along the way the story seems to do an insidious turn on the reader. Perhaps it's amid all the gleaming armor and new toys that are so eloquently placed as distractions. Up to that point Patrico Cerrera is the protagonist we sympathize with, who has just cause to seek his revenge. But he begins to cross the hazy line that pushes back any sympathy or empathy and the remainder of the book seems to have few if any redeeming characters for the reader to latch onto and even those few are minor characters at best.

Perhaps this is planned to show a part of the horror of war or perhaps the Desert Called Peace(ADCP) is more similar to The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslev Hasek(TGSS) than anything else. TGSS is a dark comedy about the first world war. The only real difference between these two is that in TGSS everyone was incompetent whereas in ADCP Cerrera's forces at the least are portrayed as competent. It would seem in ADCP the incompetent might have been removed by attrition where in TGSS it appeared the competent are the ones eliminated by attrition. Also Cerrera's philosophy seemed unique to this book in that he expected every man of any rank to come back from maneuvers with dirty hands and sweaty brow or they'd answer to him .

When we reach the point of real battle the reader is introduced to the law of war concept. Basically the civil code that combatants should follow during war. This is introduced for a dual effect of giving the protagonist back and edge of humanity in trying to abide by these rules and showing how the enemy abuses them and uses them to their advantage. It also shows the supposed cunning intellect of Cerrera as he stays within the law most of the time and continues to hold control of the situation. The LoW that we see are a somewhat abbreviated edition if my feeble attempts to research were entirely fruitful. I'm sure that the author has a much better grasp of the entirety of the law to justify the brevity he has handed the reader. Trying to keep up with it can be quite complex and probably does lend to some bit of variety in interpretation.

I'm not all that certain how torturing prisoners while interrogating them actually falls in all of the laws of war. I take it from the context of the book that it must be frowned upon. The torture is only one of several different elements that show up in the book that might cause some readers to leave their comfort zone. There are atrocities preformed against women and children most often designed to make the bad guys look worse. There is at least one questionable spot, where someone is killing women who have been allowing themselves to be used by the bad guys to be kidnapped to obtain ransom, that might implicate the good guys in murder as a reprisal. But by that time the good guys and the bad guys just aren't that far away from each other.

This is a book I could easily love/hate with so many elements I don't agree with. But with good writing it is often the emotional response that tells me if the piece is good. I don't have to agree with it or like the characters or even feel comfortable with the plot for it to be well written. If it evokes a strong emotion, even if it might not be the emotion that the author expects, it can still stand as a good work.

This is a good book for people who like War stories with lots of descriptive elements about the styles of weapons and combat. Even those enthusiastic about war strategy might find this of interest. The Science Fiction is incidental.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review:: Magnificent Devices (Four book Bundle) by Shelley Adina

Magnificent Devices (4-book Bundle)Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Magnificent Devices 4-book Bundle by Shelley Adina

I initially obtained the first book Lady of Devices free and thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters to the point of not being able to pass up the great bargain of the 4 book bundle. I thought if they were even only half as well done as the first I couldn't go wrong. I set them aside for a bit before getting to them, but when I started I couldn't put the whole group down until I finished.

Lady Claire or Claire Trevelyan daughter of Viscount St. Ives is one of the most remarkable female protagonists to come along. At the age of 17 she has been brought up proper to become a lady who will soon be offering her hand to the most eligible gentleman she can snare. The problem for Lady Claire is that despite all the efforts to cow and mold her into a pleasant perfect petticoat-ed proper lady she has other plans that can't include that gentlemen under her societies present circumstances. She wants to go to college to obtain a degree in engineering so that she can continue to pursue the passion she already has for designing and improving upon the steam driven technology that are emerging into the present era. Of course her goals are simply absurd in her day and age and she has an uphill battle, although the hill looks more like a cliff.

A dreadful event changes her life and perhaps is what catapults her into having to use her wits to survive. Her father fails in a desperate gamble with combustion engines and ruins not only himself but a large number of investors. His subsequent suicide leaves his family trying to scramble up from the ashes to avoid poverty. Despite her mothers protests and preaching Lady Claire manages to free herself from tradition long enough to attempt to find a temporary job that will help her put herself through college. Because everything that Claire proposes to do is against the grain of societies rules she has a hard battle before her.

Early on we discover one of Lady Claire's most prized possessions is her father's steam landau, which she uses to get around the city. It is through the theft of the landau, while she's wandered into an unsavory part of the city, that she begins to really show her mettle. Not knowing what she is facing she attempts to recover her landau from the thieves. This leads to the discovery that the thieves are mostly children. Perhaps it's a bit of that ingrained mother instinct that ultimately leads to Lady Claire taking over the 'gang'. The gang has since passed her landau off to another more dangerous gang and in exchange for Lady Claire teaching them how to make gaseous explosive devices they promise to help her gain back the landau. In the end Lady Claire ends up killing a man (Lightning Jackson) and beginning her life of crime.

Lady Claire continues to search for a job while she rides herd over the gang of youths and spends her free time teaching them mathematics, chemistry, reading, writing, mechanical engineering, various poker hands and all the essentials including bomb building. Her search for a job intersects with an old family friend James Selwyn who has a business colleague Andrew Malvern who is designing a new way to make coal more efficient. James Selwyn immediately comes off as a bit of a stuffy self-involved character who has only one vision of what a woman's place in society is. This is so narrow that it precludes the probability that his efforts will damage his chances of completing the project of creating Hyper-efficient coal. Despite James effort Claire and Andrew must work around James to succeed.

Eventually Lady Claire will find herself torn between the professed affections of these two men.

The second book has a spot that I found to be a point of epiphany for Claire. Claire knows that if she wanted to make many things in her life easier she could Marry James as he keeps insisting he wants her to do. James has gone as far as to manipulate things in his favor despite his seeming distaste for most of what Claire represents. Because of James's cruel and insensitive nature she know that his final goal is to separate her from her life goals and from her new found family of the children she has been sheltering. She has made the children a promise and James intends on forcing her to break that promise and at this point of the book Lady Claire has a moment of clarity where she realizes that her first commitment is to the children, her new family, and that anyone who comes into her life has to be able to accept them. Clearly the children are as important to her as her goal to go to a university and become an engineer. Lady Claire seems to be more than willing and capable of handling the requirements of the average woman while still striving to obtain something that far surpasses every woman.

Lady Claire is the Lady of Devices but more appropriately she is later described as the Lady of Resources which defines her much better. Lady Claire does have a mind and a inclination for devices but she seems less the inventor and more the innovator of other inventions. She surrounds herself with others with valuable skills and has set herself up as a leader of a small army that includes several other ladies of resources. James can't tolerate this and Andrew can only marvel at it all (and they only know the half of it). That does not mean that these two men are weak or less than men. James typifies everything that Lady Claire had to fight and overcome while Andrew is more tolerant and finds himself puzzling over the old paradigm of social order and this new vision that he sees working not only with Lady Claire but in the children she has in her charge. Even Lady Claire struggles with the whole new paradigm when she finds herself stifling the twins more often than not. It is hard to let go and realize that these young girls and all of her children are no longer ordinary.

A majority of the successes of Lady Claire and her charges stems from not weak and inept male characters, but more so from a real existing mental attitude ingrained in the minds of those men. I've met many that exist today that have this same blind spot when trying to judge the capability of some women. It's such a powerful influence that they teach their own wives to live within the same blind spot; helping to affirm and fulfill their own skewed expectation of woman's abilities. James is a strong male character on one side of the blind spot and Andrew is a strong male character on the other side. Andrew's strength only becomes less evident to anyone looking at him from that blind spot, which is going to include a majority of those typical strong male types.

And now for quibbles. Shelley Adina writes well and is a magnificent story teller and as always I tend not to downgrade the work for common errors in the understanding that I have my own problems ferreting out all the straggling errors that hide amongst my own writing. I am not one who thinks that every published manuscript must be totally error free or it becomes invalid. It is insanity for authors to attempt to edit their own work especially when there is proof that even many so called professional editors have left enough errors intact for the author too find, forcing the author to attempt the insane. Errors happen. My present quibble is not addressed directly at Ms. Adina as it is at a number of authors who seem to find the use of a particular somewhat poetic word necessary at least once within their work. I'm referring to that beautiful word susurrus. In this instance it shows up as susurration. I just want to point out that susurrus is spelled S-U-S-U-R-R-U-S note two r's together not two s's. I'm beginning to love/hate this word. It's pronunciation is almost a clear clue to it definition and I am certain that at the very least in literary circles (particularly poetic) it is a well known word. But if I were to include it within my own narrative I would suspect that in my venue it might not be so well known, so I would be extra careful to be sure I was spelling it correctly. Of the last four times I've seen this in someones work it has shown up as sussurus and in this instance as sussuration. Those two words as they are spelled don't exist and anyone looking them up or using the dictionary within kindle is going to be disappointed.

On a side note; had it not been for the few authors who have used and so often misspelled this word I would likely have lived the rest of my life without being acquainted with it.

Make no mistake; I loved this series of books and will be looking into the 5th book soon. I love Ms. Adina's writing style and suspect I will be tempted into reaching out of my genre preferences once again to peruse a few more of her works.

Anyone who loves SteamPunk or even SFF (and is not ultra picky about the science or strict adherence to history) should love these books.

For those who are picky I'd like to point out the disclaimer at the beginning which includes.

[Quote] This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are the author's imagination and are not to be construed as real.[/Quote]

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review:: Yargo by Jacqueline Susann

YargoYargo by Jacqueline Susann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yargo by Jacqueline Susann

Even though some of the science was bit out dated; when considering the time this was written it becomes less so in some respects and stands as an entertaining if perhaps light read that had a lot of potential to go much further than it did in a philosophical sense.

I'm not even sure how I came across this novel but I own a paperback version that was published somewhere in the late 70's and after Jacqueline's death.

At the time I wasn't much of a fan of romance novels and I wasn't sure what this was going to be like so it sat in a box with some other great finds.

The book itself was written in the early to mid 50's and may have been more appropriate for that time although it seems to have some influence from much earlier works. Jacqueline cites Ray Bradbury as an influence though this story reminded me more of the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs and it's interesting to note that Bradbury cited Edgar as one of his many inspirations and early influences.

The story of Yargo itself is interesting though it seems simplistic in many a sense. Janet Cooper is your average woman, educated just enough to find a job where she might find the man who might take her out of the job and give her a happy successful family life. This is about right for the 50's perhaps just a bit off for the 70's and it seems like a good place to measure the signs of the time. Janet does not seem quite as happy as she should be and so she does what any healthy person might do at that moment and tries to recapture the magic of her past and the happiness that comes with childhood. While on her nostalgic trip that turns out to be a bust when the magic of the vacations spot has been blighted by the progress of the times and is now slipped into the mundane, Janet makes a last visit to the beach before she says goodbye to her past and that's when she is abducted by aliens.

Her kidnap is an error; since the aliens are looking to kidnap a noted scientist and contemporary of Albert Einstein. Once they discover their error their own skewed logic demands that they can not return her to her home. Their goal was to convince this great mind of the scientist that nuclear tests were causing unusual activity on our sun and would accelerate its eventual growth to nova and the demise of the solar system. This part of the plot is a bit thin but it works mostly because the story has little much to do with that other than to serve as the means to get Janet in her predicament.(This could have developed differently had Jacqueline decide to show this issue being resolved somehow.)

Yargo is a planet in some far off place and the people of Yargoians appear to be physically perfect and their leader whose name is Yargo looks a lot like Yul Brynner only much taller. The Yargoian people are a race that at best might be compared to Star Trek's Vulcan. They seem to lack passion and emotion and this becomes extremely annoying to Janet. They also have a superior attitude that leads to them telling Janet that they will have to displace her from Earth and that they don't want her on their planet so they will try to pawn her off onto the Martians. (Now that they have Janet they don't feel she has the credentials to convey the important message to Earth and they don't want her telling Earth about them. They apparently feel they could trust the scientist to convey the message without compromising Yargoian secrecy.)

From the description given; the Martians are possibly like lizards and of course Janet would have to be housed underground, that's all contingent of the Martians agreeing to take her at all. Janet's other option is to be isolated on a ship that would have all her needs and would be orbiting some safe place where she would do no one harm. This all seems a bit odd especially coming from a race that seems to set itself in such a superior position. The Martians finally agree to take Janet who would just as soon return home.

On the journey back to the solar system and to Mars they are hijacked by some strange cigar shaped craft that seem to originate from Venus, which Yargo felt was an uninhabitable planet. The Venusian's are large bee like creature who we find out at one time looked more human than insect. The subsequent adventure is a bonding mechanism for Janet and her one Yargoian friend and the push to the real plot of this story.

This book has a lot of potential and even the seeming nonsense of the two races on Mars and Venus are not all that far off for the time when the author was writing this. I'm not sure how the stories potential for growth in Janet managed to get stifled almost as much as Janet's life seemed to be stifled. The picturing of Janet's life and her feeling almost of being trapped and wondering if marriage was going to help or make things worse was a great start and even the emotionless nature of the alien race was not all that far out so it must be that the reason that the final outcome skirts all of the important issues that are raised is partially another sign of the time that this was written in. Janet has set before her a few compelling examples of what life could be like if one could jump out of the paradigm of life on Earth. Though they lack the love and emotions the Yargoian's do seem to have some extra equality among men an women. You would think that Janet would try to put those thoughts to use even if she wants to preserve the loving caring emotional side of life. Perhaps though it is fitting for this story that she might fall short of completely cutting the strings of ingrained cultural influences.

This is a well written entertaining light SFF Romance adventure that might even qualify as good Young Adult Fiction.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review::Beyond (Beyond Series) By Maureen A. Miller

BeyondBeyond by Maureen A. Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beyond (Beyond Series) By Maureen A. Miller

Beyond is an entertaining book and for the most part I thought it was mostly light reading and quite suitable for the young adult market. There were elements that seemed quite familiar throughout the book and if I went into great depth to find them all I'd probably be able to start pointing out tropes that I've seen in recent reading.

The most striking and probably unusual of all connections though was the connection I felt to Jacqueline Susann's Yargo. For those who might not know Yargo is one of Jacqueline Susann's novels that was published after her death. It was written way back in the early or mid 50's at about the time we were seeing such movies as The Day the Earth Stood Still.(the original) The copy I have of this book bears some striking similarity to the cover I have for Beyond. (A woman walking toward a light in the sky.) Both of the female protagonists are being kidnapped by some supposed superior race of space borne bipeds that look strikingly like humans but seem at first look to be almost perfect. They both unwittingly have something that these races need to improve and secure their continued existence. (In Yargo it less of a material thing as it is just the concept that they have given up emotions and the main character is attempting to break their emotionless barrier and bring them back to life.) What Aimee Patterson has is more material but vital to the continued existence of these people and that is probably telling too much and making this a spoiler.

In Yargo the setting is in some far off planet named Yargo with a rule named Yargo who is best described as looking like Yul Brynner only taller. Mars and Venus are inhabited, which was often speculated in much of the science fiction of those times. In Beyond we have mostly far off inhabited world and a large city in space (Horus) type of space ship structure. The aliens that look quite human are much more emotional than in Yargo and they are compassionate and do hope to get Aimee back home but they are on a rotation schedule that will wont bring them back to Earth for another five years. The aliens of the Guardian Ship Horus are on a quest to other planets to scout their flora and some fauna for a cure to a virus that devastated their home world. The aliens are mostly of one race but there is a mysterious outsider (Zak) who is possibly the sole survivor from a world that was destroyed by the evil Korons (Rock or Sandmen).

As was mentioned Aimee has been kidnapped and the nature of the voyage dictates that she cannot return to earth for 5 years although in space at speeds greater than light speed those five years are condensed. Naturally since this is a romance we can guess that soon Aimee and Zak will become close. This book though deals with a lot of the world building and the rules of this world and universe. There are several things that come up about the rotation of the ship compared to the rotation of space itself and the universe that create interesting puzzles. But the core of the story is mostly bound around the characters. There is Salvan who seems to be the major antagonist, he's the one who accidentally kidnapped Aimee. I don't think we are ever clear just what he might have had in mind at first but it's all pretty evil nasty as the story progresses.

We learn of some of the other planets that are visited on the route and we learn of the planet that Zak came from which is on a part of the rotation. And we learn that although the people on Horus are mostly safe from the virus that decimated their world they are not entirely safe and they live in fear it will show up anytime and since it is airborne it will likely move quickly. That means they are in constant fear while hunting for the cure. It is no help that the Korons have space technology and on occasion will attack the Horus and her expedition ships.

If I were to highlight any single deficiency in the story it would be the time line aka relative time in space flight vs time on planets. I had the impression that the five years aboard Horus were more like a year or less for those aboard. Yet Aimee speaks of being 18 at the beginning and 23 at the end which could all be resolved easily by just saying that is relative to the earth 23 while she's more close to 19. The problem is that it seems to be more than that. This could become problematical and would definitely put a damper on space flight if those aboard the ship experience life in a condensed form and aged five year for every one aboard a ship. Even if they lived to be one hundred or two hundred it would still be a drag.

That aside there is a lot of food for thought in the story and I think that those who like their science a bit light and enjoy romance and adventure they should be pretty happy with the Beyond Series and it did prompt me to reread Yargo to refresh my memory.

Anyone who likes Beyond should enjoy Yargo, although Yargo might be a bit difficult to obtain.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review::Lunara:Seth and Chloe by Wyatt Davenport

Seth and Chloe (Lunara Trilogy, #1)Seth and Chloe by Wyatt Davenport

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lunara:Seth and Chloe by Wyatt Davenport

I really enjoyed this story for the depth of the characters. There's the science and it's important but to me it was more a backdrop to develop the characters around rather than an important piece that needed in depth discovery. It sustained itself and seemed quite plausible along with the politics of the planets. In some way the politics outweighs the science. This might be considered more of a Sci-fi political thriller than a Sci-Fi space science trilogy. There are more than three stories in this universe but it is safe to call the first three books a complete trilogy. This is important because I have a friend and fellow reader who once lamented over these series that seem to go on and on with no true resolution of the plot lines while continually adding more unresolved issues and how that caused them to give up on one series after the forth or fifth book when it seemed there might be no end in store and no clear explanation of primary events. I think this is a valid complaint and I see that this trilogy holds well within itself to be satisfactory.

I first purchased the whole trilogy elsewhere and let it sit for quite a while when I was busy doing other things. I'm not sorry I let it lie although I am glad I chose to take this break to start reading it. Politically this story has three main players. Lunara (the colony on moon) has been setup to protect the remnant of Earth 200 years after Earth has nearly been destroyed by asteroid showers. Using the Black Widow network(one million satellite links from mars to earth) Lunara colony and the ship Protector and the smaller Starwings catch and destroy the asteroids. Their initially primary functions is to save the earth but now that they've found valuable ore within these deadly asteroids they've become a mining colony that fractures any asteroid that approaches Earth and they then collect the deposits of Metalor from those fragments all for the Martian government. That government consists of the Zephyria and Aethpis colonies acting as checks and balances on each other and they are the government born out of the Revolutionary war in which the notorious raiders were destroyed.

Chloe and Seth come from a long dead colony that was destroyed by the raiders and they are both traumatized by that destruction and the subsequent hardships they faced before escaping to Lunara where they were adopted by Jan and Ty Falloom, the couple in charge of the the Lunara colony. Everyone on Lunara have escaped Mars for some reason or another and Seth has a dream that some day the Earth will become habitable again while he has no desire to return to Mars.

This story is peopled by a huge cast and it primarily revolves around a handful on Lunara with another handful that are crew aboard the Protector and a handful for each of the two ruling colonies. Eventually we'll get some from the other colonies but the majority in the first book are limited to those four handfuls. Now if someone were to take anything away from Stephen Kings book on writing and his own experience it might be that when the author creates too many interesting characters there is only one sure way to make it all work. This is a spoiler of a reaches a point where you have to start killing a lot of them off.

But not before we find many of them trapped in convoluted personal crisis that draw many of them apart with all the intrigue and betrayal and even self examination. Everyone of the crew of Protector (Seth Smith,Chloe Jones, Parker McCloud, Eamonn Dalton, Gwen Arwell and Gordon Roche) have issues but the worse seem to be with Seth and Gwen. Seth because they are heading to Mars and he hates Mars for many good reasons. Gwen because her father Damon Arwell is a part of the government that everyone aboard the Protector seem to hate.

When they reach Mars they are welcomed with mixed feeling because some unknown force has invaded the Lunara Colony and taken over. At first no one seems to know who it is and everyone is suspicious of everyone including the crew of Protector. As things begin to become less clear and more murky it's evident that there is some political posturing going on among all the powers that be and Lunara might be a bargaining chip. But what this story is ultimately about is the fact that Seth and Chloe have special powers through some supposed mutation and someone has a eugenic goal of creating the master race of humans. Metalor the ore being harvested by Lunara plays a great part in all of this but it's still in the end just another piece of the eugenic puzzle.

While the crew of Protector split into three groups and begin their own search for the truth they don't realize they are cutting themselves off from each other and that each will only have a part of the puzzle at the end. It's this separation that leads to the outcome and proves the undoing of almost everything that led to the founding of the Principles of Man that have governed them since the end of the Revolution.

While everyone drifts in their own direction while fighting their own demons they unravel the tight crew that previously existed and it will take a lot of effort for them to eventually come to the plate and demonstrate their abilities and loyalties that will position everyone where they need to be to carry this into the next book.

This is a good set of books for Science Fiction fans and SFF fans and even those who like the political thrillers. There are plenty of themes to go around and lots of tense situations. This can be a hard to put down read so it might be best to get the books individually rather than in the bundle especially as they are in the E-book. Some people might want to just keep reading and it's pretty long.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review::The Tangled Path of Destiny by Shiva Winters

The Tangled Path of DestinyThe Tangled Path of Destiny by Shiva Winters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Tangled Path of Destiny by Shiva Winters

Wow! What more can I say except wow?

I have to admit that I might be the exception to the rule when it comes to this book. I did not expect or demand this much detail of what is going on with Monorth simply because I'd been enjoying the rest of the story. Also Book 5 will pretty much bring everyone up to date making this book extra bonus material. I would not go so far as to say that I didn't appreciate this book because it's an awesome addition.

Shiva describes this as dark and depressing and that is something I didn't so much notice, maybe a bad reflection on some of the things I've read recently. I would classify it as mostly gray and qualify that it seemed reasonable to assume that Monorth would venture into some gray areas in this story. This is a time travel story with the time traveler bent on letting the past take its course. Monorth is trapped in time but is certain it is not meant for him to change time. That doesn't mean that he wont try to hurry things along when they seem like they will drag out too long. That's how he gets into the gray area. I am not a real fan of bloody battle so this book was good in sparing me from too much of that.

One of the big bonuses in this book is the development of the Jynx character and that alone makes this one worth reading. But despite anything Shiva might say in her blurb at the end; this story is epic and packed with quite a bit of action. I'm not sure how anyone who has enjoyed the other books in this series could be dissatisfied with this book. Of course there are always a few out there that will have to be dealt with.

The actual building of the world through the war time in this story brings me close to a place where I might compare this with The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Keep in mind I read that in late 60's early 70's timeline and never really felt the urge to grab it up and read it again so my memory of the whole thing might be a bit fuzzy. It is still sitting there in all three volumes from a 1965 and 1966 edition that each contain a foldout map in the back that are still there untouched and never looked at. The whole set is on my bookcase waiting for me to read it again.

While Jynx often reminds me of the AI characters that Heinlein created, Monorth reminds me of Heinlein's Lazarus Long in the later years. But Monorth is also an intriguing brooding character that also often reminds me of the Count of Monte Cristo of Alexandre Dumas. When Edmond Dante takes up the fictitious identity of the Count, bent on revenge and any cost and then must face the personal consequences as extracts his own form of justice. Only in this story Monorth is taking on the identity not so much to exact revenge as it is to become more closely tied to the events of consequence during the beginning of the war. It's interesting to watch his internal struggle with several issues and finally having to reach to the depths of his own darkness to help move things along in the direction he'd much prefer not to take things if it weren't for the fact that these things must take place to save the future.

Shiva really shines in this one and I think that it's because it was such a struggle as she posits in the back of both books 5 and 5.5. The idea of being under the gun to write the portions she was trying to suppress within her head seems to have enhanced her usual talents. ( I should probably call them unusual talents.)

Even though I was not one to demand this book I will have to emphatically state that if you read the series and you enjoy all the other books then you must read this one.

This is Shiva at her best in character development and this was actually something that Monorth needed to go through since way back when he lost his first bonded mate.

Great SFF for all fantasy fans and lovers of epic fiction.

Not so much again for those who are totally annoyed by random grammatical problems.

Well worth the trouble for any of those that are brave enough to try.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews