Saturday, February 15, 2014

Review::Luminescence (Luminescence Trilogy) by J.L. Weil

Luminescence (Luminescence, #1)Luminescence by J.L. Weil

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Luminescence (Luminescence Trilogy) by J.L. Weil

First of all this book is a bit out of my genre it seems to be a paranormal romance. Well, on the other hand I seem to end up reading more of these than I used to. I liked this book. I'm not sure yet that I loved it. But we're close.

I usually give a caveat at some point for grammar and spelling problems but I'm also not sure yet because from what I could tell we have mostly style issues with this one. There were a few words that I had to look up because of usage but they really did work in at least one of the definitions given. They were just not words you normally see written in that way. The sentence structure was a bit odd at times and tended to slow things down. Again that's a style decision so those are in an area where you might make note but it's not necessarily going to greatly affect the overall story.

Brianna is far from an ordinary teenager and that's what the reader takes away right away. In the sleepy town of Holly Ridge, North Carolina-somewhere near the coast-she's doing her best to be normal. She lives with her aunt Clara and has two good friends in Austin who is gay and Tori who's family is rich and who is spoiled. And she has your token enemy Rianne who is the one who catapults her into a fit that leads to her meeting Gavin and Gavin's family who are destined to change her world. To be honest her world was never what she thought so Gavin and family have little to do with that, but he becomes her protector and that's what's important.

The story moves the reader slowly dancing around the plot for the first half and almost get's the reader to the point of saying-'just get to the point.' Even the romance seems to wind slowly up as it moves along. Finally near half way we start to see things take a turn as we discover that there be witches in Holly Ridge.

Brianna's character is well defined, but I would have liked to have seen more of Gavin's character other than to be the constant protector at one point. Also the romance seems at one point to hit an unlikely speed bump when Brianna seems unsure that Gavin loves her although as a reader I had no doubts and I was mostly seeing what she was seeing, so again not sure about the likelihood of her not figuring it out. Although there is some small bit of her character that might account for the thickness at that point.

This did have some good climatic points and leaves the reader with a number of unanswered questions because it is a trilogy.

Great fun for a YA Paranormal Romance Fan

Probably one of the better publication from the Nevermore presses.(I have not read them all.)

J.L. Dobias

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Review::The Hunters Daughter (a C-Shapes novel) By matthew fish

The Hunter's Daughter - A C-Shapes NovelThe Hunter's Daughter - A C-Shapes Novel by Matthew Fish

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Hunters Daughter (a C-Shapes novel) By Matthew fish

Having read C-Shapes I wasn't sure what to expect from a novel taken from the other side. I certainly was not prepared for the intense thriller that this turned out to be. I've had authors pull me out of my comfort zone now and then but to do that twice in one novel at such strategic points was quite a risk to take. I almost threw the whole thing away about three quarters of the way through the book. And even though I'm not necessarily please about the way the novel ends, I'm happy I finished it and was able to get the whole experience.

As with other novels I will allow this caveat for those who don't like the grammar errors and spelling glitches. This book has 13 that I found and I usually don't find them all. I'd feel bad about not finding them all but editors these days seem to have a problem finding them all.

This is a gritty story of a teenage-young woman who is brought up to become a killer because time and circumstances require it. In the C-shape world a virus has cause a large number of he population to be affected and eventually it leads to an aggro condition that leaves people dead in their wake and so hunters are employed to take out the monsters.

But as with the first novel not everything is as it seems but as it is it's bad enough. Chloe Bartlow has a brother, Aaron, who is infected. Her mother was but she went aggro and her father had to kill her and Chloe had to witness this. She lives in fear of the day that he will have to kill her brother Aaron, but worse than that she fears some day she may have to do it herself.

Her father has given her rigorous training in survival far beyond what is necessary to be a hunter and when the C-Shapes people decide to have her father train people in their main facility they promote her to a full fledged Hunter. Her life changes dramatically and she must learn to become a cold blooded killer. She tries to resist throughout the entire story.

Once again things are not as they seem and Matthew Fish hits the reader right in the gut a couple of time as he tells a twisted tale.

If you look for well defined happy endings this might not be the place. If you like those thought provoking novels with some kick then this will set you to thinking.

I enjoyed this novel along with hating it sometimes; and getting a bit irate with the author other times. The end packs a real punch and it makes this a book well worth reading.

J.L. Dobias

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review::Perigee by Elizabeth Bent

PerigeePerigee by Elizabeth Bent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perigee by Elizabeth Bent

This is one of those books that defies a few conventions and creates an entertaining read that keeps the reader glued to their seat until the end.

The story starts with Madame Avesta Brunner-Tsu doing a (network) search on Dr. Meridian Woodbury.

It then jumps to Meridian having memories of better times with her husband David who has now passed away. She is in Mescon colony of the planet Ception maintaining the colony's water supply and monitoring for contaminants; basically doing work that any number of other people could do. She's almost doing janitorial work and it's her own hands on approach that almost gets her into trouble.

Meridian is still in mourning for David and despite the efforts of her co-worker Armillaria she is not ready to check out her newest neighbor, Dagan. But when her other co-worker Cern decides to drag his feet with a 'plug' in the system Meridian goes to the source of the problem to remove an unusual pink foam-like ball. This ball happens to be laced with an aphrodisiac which eventually leads to Meridian having her first encounter with Dagan just before he rushes her to the hospital.

Someone is trying to spice up life for the colony by inserting the aphrodisiac into the water supply and Meridian appoints herself to find out who. This person is going to become annoyed with her interference and set out to have her eliminated. Those two parts of the story are going to continually intersect within the whole plot that revolves around Meridian and Dugan as they form a tenuous relationship with each other.

This story seems to be written in some form of 3rd person point of view possibly going for omnipotent. At the begining it annoyed me because it has the reader bouncing in and out of the heads of Meridian and Dugan. It's handy for the love scene and the underlying pins of the entire relationship and it's easy to tell whose head you are in. It's just that the switch back and forth is so often with hardly a warning that it becomes tiring.

The story itself reaches a point of maximum interest about half way through that finally distracts the reader from the back and forth emotional breakdown.

As has been mentioned by others, Avesta is a rather unique character in this story. She's not the central character but she has some qualities that make her a strong and independent female protagonist within the story.

One other problem with the Point of View is that no matter how close it brings us to the character's it still has the effect of keeping us distant. I'd love to be able to better relate to Meridian, but there just isn't the proper type of opportunity.

Also the circumstance and the twists in the plot and Meridians own knowledge of the worst of it made it difficult to sympathize with her predicament. It might be that was what Elizabeth Bent was going for in way she portrayed things.

This is a great mystery suspense thriller with some bits of humor. It's located in a universe that makes it great for SFF fans although maybe more for those less interested in pure science content. It also has some content that is mature adult.

J.L. Dobias

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review:: Light Raid by Connie Willis & Cynthia Felice

Light RaidLight Raid by Connie Willis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Light Raid by Connie Willis Cynthia Felice

I really liked this book and would have given it a 5 star except that I was disappointed that the e-book taken from the Ace original has some major glitches in the punctuation and a couple of obvious spelling errors. I try to be lenient toward self published and perhaps its being a bit mean spirited to pick on the traditionally published authors but I do expect more from them.

The story is excellent with really good world building and some great characters. There were a lot of surprises in the plot and I really did get into the character of Ariadne. I was a bit disappointed in the supporting character Joss but his role is much like the role Carey Grant played in the movie Charade so it's a bit of play acting which might contribute to his character coming off rather weak.

At the age of 16 Ariadne thinks that her world will open up to her and she'll be treated as an adult, instead she gets shipped off with some orphans to make her safe from the Laser wars that are beginning.

The world she lives in is a bit strange. There seems to be a section known as Quebec and one called the Western States and then the Commonwealth. I admit to having gotten confused about how the all are sectioned out. The Commonwealth and the Western States have allied to combat incursions of the Quebec who seem to have laser satellites in the sky and are conducting laser raids on select communities trying to influence the mobility of air flight and ground transportation to disrupt trade alliances. Food seems scarce and Ariadne and her parents have been working at their corporation Hydra Corp in Denver Springs trying to keep the land usable.

Hydra Corp is also being used by the Commonwealth to devise a strain of Hydra Virus that can be used in combat against Quebec.

Victoria is a neutral province and is where Ariadne has been sent; where instead of working on Hydra virus's she's changing diapers and taking care of orphans for the benevolent Mrs. Ponsonby, a retired former employee of Hydra Corp.

When correspondences from her father stop and her mother's correspondences seem strangely different Ariadne begins to worry. She now is 17 and is of age to take responsibility for herself and when a friend of her mother's shows up to visit she becomes more suspicious and runs off to get back home. It turns out that there is a lot more than just her safety that accounts for why she was sent away.

Finding her mother imprisoned and her father reduced to a worthless drunk she's left to her own device trying to unravel the mystery around her. Not knowing if she can trust The Commonwealth's representative His Royal Highness, Miles Essex or Essex's equerry Joss Liddell who keep insisting that her mother is only being questioned and not yet charged with treason.

When they release her mother things get even stranger as she has to decide if blood really is thicker than water. Not only is Ariadne in danger but soon the orphans she helped take care of will be in danger because of her own carelessness.

This again is quite a good story but I have the usual caveat that I put in, which is that there are a handful of grammar problems. Something weird either went wrong with formatting the kindle edition or there are serious problems. several time there are commas that are followed by a period and then more text and a comma and it makes no sense. A couple of time there are words that are obviously spelled wrong although one time it might just be that the wrong word was used because its just a matter of including or excluding an extra consonant.

This is a great novel for SFF fans unless you are overly picky about grammar problems then maybe the hard edition would be better if it's available. You can't tell from the samples because they are all samples of the kindle edition and the error is right there in the sample on the first page of chapter one.

I will definitely read more from Cynthia Felice and I'm already a fan of Connie Willis.

J.L. Dobias

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review::The Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. Dawson

The Mysterious Madam Morpho (Blud, #1.5)The Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. Dawson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. Dawson

I can't remember who pointed me in the direction of Delilah S. Dawson. It could well have been someone on twiter. Regardless I have someone to thank and I've no idea who you are so here it is a big Thanks. There are a lot-LOT-of authors out in the field these days but there are few true story tellers. Of those Story Tellers I count Delilah Dawson as on of the best I've encountered in a while.

This short novel or novella if you must was more than I've gotten from many recent full novels. Delilah has a way of starting you out with the most masterfully crafted characters that drive you right into the story without fully comprehending how she does it.

Madam Morpho (Imogene) shows up at the door of Criminy Stain and Letitia(Tish) The owner of the Caravan and his wife the glancer. Imogene is almost written in the appearance of a Mary Poppins but with the magic of the Caravan and the colorful people within the story reads like a mix of Something Wicked this Way Comes and the Circus of Dr. Lao. Toss in the whole concept of a world over run by blood sucking creatures the Blud and you have an intriguing tale and that's not even mentioning the clock work master Mysterious Mr. Murdoch.

Madam Morpho has an act but she lost her stage and when she demonstrates that she has some very rare live butterflies that can preform Criminy is impressed but not certain if she'll fit and only because his wife takes Madam's hand and reads her does he decide to take the risk. It never is directly mentioned what Letitia whispers to Criminy to make him so certain that Madam needs to be in the Caravan but there are enough clues to suggest that she may have read that Madam was someones soulmate.

The story is rich with language that wraps the small mystery into the plot and creates something that I wanted to feast on just to take in all the wonderful prose. And when I looked at the sample for the first and second books of the series I could see that this is all part of the wonderful voice that Delilah has.

This is a great read for Romance and Paranormal and SteamPunk fiction lovers not just for the strange world she has built or even the people she's filled it with, but for that the language and her voice are pure gold; in my book.

I definitely need to pick up the rest of this series.

J.L. Dobias

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Review::Of Sun and Moon (Midnight Guardian Series,Book1) by Bryna Butler

Of Sun & Moon (Midnight Guardian, #1)Of Sun & Moon by Bryna Butler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of Sun and Moon (Midnight Guardian Series,Book1) by Bryna Butler

I'm not sure how much I can express that I loved this novel. It's a bit out of my usual genre, but it grabbed my interest right from the start. Keira Ryan and Colby Hayes have been friends for life. So this seems to start our like one of those romance novels where the reader gets the sense right away that though they each are pursuing someone else they are meant for each other. But this is more than a romance novel; it's a fractured fairytale.(Guardian story.)

Keira has a secret she's kept even from Colby all these years. As a reader we get the sense of this early on, but the big reveal doesn't come till much later. The first third of the novel is spent mostly trying to convince us that they have an otherwise normal teen life going here. Were about to find out how untrue that is.

While Keira pursues William and Colby pursues Brooke we slowly get the sense that Keira is having some conflicting feelings. Of course right away Keira has other issues such as her explosive reaction to people teaching myths that she feels are inaccurate at best. This stems from the fact that she's secretly a tooth fairy-guardian. There are also some mysterious disappearances which will later factor into the whole story. All the while Keira is training with Nana, the woman who has raised her in place of her parents. Keira calls it piano lessens but it's far from that.

There is one thing that is almost annoying about the novel and that's the almost too easy shifting of Point of View. Mostly it's between Keira and Colby, but they often seem like conjoined twins so it actually works for them. There is at least one case where it happens within the same paragraph so I'm pretty sure there are some people I know who will have a problem with this one. Let that stand as a warning to you who know who you are.

The plot gets rather twisted and convoluted at times and surprises abound and I'm pretty sure there will be more surprises as the series moves onward. The characters are well rounded and as I mentioned the only distraction I had was the hopping back and forth between Colby and Keira almost a bit too leisurely, but for my tastes it works just fine because I could always keep track of whose head I was in.

Because of the withheld information in the first half of the novel some things do not make sense until everything unfolds at the end, which I thought worked out nicely.

This is a well written with a great plot and excellent characters good for lovers of YA Romance and Paranormal Fans.

The Tooth Fairy-guardian- as you've never seen him or her.

J.L. Dobias

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Review::The Death of Miss Mind Shift (Emerald City Nights) by Jayme Beddingfield

The Death of Miss Mind ShiftThe Death of Miss Mind Shift by Jayme Beddingfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Death of Miss Mind Shift (Emerald City Nights) by Jayme Beddingfield

I loved this story almost as much as the previous. There are a few issues I took, but a lot of that is personal and should be taken with grain of salt. What I really enjoyed was the complexity of the character of Ruby aka Miss Mind Shift.

In the previous book Jayme took us through the mundane life of Ruby to introduce us to someone who had been seduced into the criminal way of life. Using her powers to rob and in some case murder. She was beginning to have doubts about that way of life but Madison her now arch foe was her best friend and almost like a mother to her. It was Madison's stepping over the line from petty theft that led to the rift between the two. This led to the death of what few other friends Ruby had left and even the death of someone less involved with her secret life , Charley.

We open this story where the last one left off Ruby is now living in the city with Darcy and Brody and Charley's cat Drizzt. They fight crime while Ruby is waiting for Madison to rear her head again and Ruby is also waiting to die. Jayme takes us on the journey through depression, despair and self-doubt that rivals the mundane of the last novel. It does go on for quite a while but it is handled so well it adds to the depth of the character. Unfortunately it also detracts from getting anywhere close or near the other characters. It's always a hard balance and I think the reader who complains about the depression hanging on too long may be just concerned that the other characters were left as shallow shadows too often.

Along with the depths of despair Ruby has a severe Alcohol, tobacco and pot abuse thing happening. Every-time things get to her she starts into those three and rolls through them all with her family of friends doing nothing better than help it along. To be fair the pot smoking could be considered medicinal because every time Ruby uses her powers she weakens her entire body threatening to bring herself to the brink of death. And it's little help that she has visions of her death all the time and like a junkie she can't quit crime fighting to save herself.

Brody and Darcy are trying to get her to cut back or quit and they say they can handle it all, but things escalate and Madison is back and they need Ruby. Ruby is intent on killing Madison and this further drives her to continue.

The book takes an odd turn toward zombie Apocalypse fiction for a majority of the story adding an element of danger and gore. There was at least one spot that Jayme took me out of my comfort zone. Doing so is not bad, we all need that push out of the comfort zone now and then.

As with last time and with my ongoing efforts to warn those people who have issues with grammar there are over a handful of problems. Mostly missing words, which would work okay in dialogue but not so much in narrative where they were. There were some style issues and a few oddly worded sentences.This one stumped me::
My chest constricts in my chest; my throat falls dry.

Beddingfield, Jayme (2013-12-02). The Death of Miss Mind Shift (Emerald City Nights) (Kindle Locations 2629-2630). Sky Portal Publishing. Kindle Edition. ::/Quote Maybe it was supposed to be my heart constricts in my chest- I'm not sure.

This novel seems to target Young Adults but I would recommend Mature Young Adult for a serious number of reasons. This is great SFF for those who like it light but be aware that the characterization is a bit heavy. Those who like complex characters should give this a look for Ruby's character. Also lovers of Zombie Apocalypse should appreciate the novel. There's some seriously good writing in here although the HeMan reference could have been left out.

One great characterization that unfortunately eclipses the other characters.

I'll be looking for the next installment Jayme.

J.L. Dobias

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review::Ashes of Victory ( Honor Harrington Book 9) by David Weber

Ashes of Victory (Honor Harrington, #9)Ashes of Victory by David Weber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ashes of Victory ( Honor Harrington Book 9) by David Weber

I enjoyed this novel for what it is and what it is is a large deviation from the normal. This novel is the heaviest tense political thriller to date of the Honor Harrington series. This means that those who love the battles and strategy might be put off. Those don't start till somewhere near the 300th page. That's better than half way through the story. For me that meant that this ended up being a book I kept picking up and putting down depending on how much I could endure of the long political details or in some cases the lengthy explanation of the details of training for use of the new LACs and the Harrington series of ships.

Honor Harrington is sidelined by her injuries from Echos of Honor and In Enemy Hands. While she's mending she spends first some time at her Steadholder estate and then time at her new estate when Manticor's Queen Elizabeth III elevates her to Duchess. This conveniently takes care of all potential problems of the heirs that have taken her place while everyone thought she was dead. To move the story along the Manitoran Navy promotes her to Admiral and assigns her temporarily to Saganami Island Naval Academy to teach. For those waiting for her to go back to battle a forewarning that she see's little action and is in fact being cultivated for a more politically active position.

The People's Republic of Haven is still undergoing dramatic changes as the political landscape is littered with bodies. No one trusts anyone. And there are some devious plans going on that only a few know pertaining to espionage in Manticoran space. This thread is rapidly moving into a demonstration of how they manage to bungle the war efforts.

Admiral White Haven (Hamish Alexander) is rapidly moving toward a special offensive operation which ties in neatly with the training that Honor is putting the students of Suganami through.

On the Grayson political front there is still a conflict with Benjamin Mayhew and the Steadholder Keys and some intrigue that will put Honor and Benjamin and the Queen of Manticor in grave danger.

There are battles, but by the time that they occur David has demonstrated the superiority of the new technology of Manticor and the battles are almost a sure win to further demoralize the People's Republic of Haven.

There are a lot of surprises and suspense but mostly in the way of a suspense thriller with espionage and politics. And this book seems to serve mostly as bridge between Echos of Honor and War of Honor.

One special function of this novel is to fully introduce the sapience of the treecats to a select number of characters.

This novel is great for people who love the SFF Military and Political Suspense novels with the emphasis on Political. I really felt the lopsidedness of the battles made it less of a military thriller.

My favorite quote from this novel is from Peoples Republic of Haven's Commander Shannon Foraker.


You will definitely have to read this to know why this is such a singularly popular quote.

J.L. Dobias

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