Basic Plot: Despite being in recovery from a nasty injury, Mercy is called with the rest of her unit of Valkyries to investigate a prison colony thatBasic Plot: Despite being in recovery from a nasty injury, Mercy is called with the rest of her unit of Valkyries to investigate a prison colony that sent out a distress signal.
My inner Amazon warrior is pleased by the idea of a deliberately all-female battle unit of space-marine type warriors. My inner feminist would be more pleased if it weren't run by a man, but since he is not the focus of the story, the feminist is only grumbling, and she's pretty easy to ignore when she gets like that, particularly when the rest of the story is so well crafted. The characters are all competent professionals and are treated as such, equals in battle and ferocious soldiers who take no names and kick lots of butt. The characters are characters. They happen to be women and not a big deal is made if that, which is pretty awesome in my book.
As for the plot- it's pretty straightforward, and while there weren't a whole lot of real surprises there, the action still felt tense. The writing is extremely solid- vivid and gritty in imagery. Despite not knowing anything about these characters beyond a few details, nothing about the universe they live in beyond a similar few details, the author still manages to instill a sense of the familiar through classic sci fi tropes and clear characterization.
Cross continues to please, and I look forward to his next release....more
Basic Plot: Shimmer and Shine help Leah find a pirate treasure.
I'm relatively certain that the words on this page told a story that had meaning, but dBasic Plot: Shimmer and Shine help Leah find a pirate treasure.
I'm relatively certain that the words on this page told a story that had meaning, but darned if I can remember anything beyond a pirate ship and the traditional finding of treasure. I do also remember that the genies make their usual mistakes because Leah is incapable of wording her wishes intelligently. Things turn out well in spite of mistakes and there is a happy ending as always.
This book is obviously very forgettable, but it isn't awful. The one redeeming quality of the whole Shimmer and Shine franchise remains that it teaches kids that making mistakes is ok and things can still turn out great even if mistakes cause roadblocks along the way....more
I loved the first one this author did as a little boy got ready for bed, comparing himBasic Plot: A little boy gets ready for his day.
SO. MUCH. CUTE!
I loved the first one this author did as a little boy got ready for bed, comparing him to Batman. I love Superman even more, and this book showing a little boy getting ready for his day in parallel with Superman was just adorable. I particularly loved that it was a little boy of color, because I think that superheroes should be accessible to all people. It did create a very strange juxtaposition, though, with all the white people in the Superman panels. It would have been even better if there had been more diversity on the Superman side....more
Basic Plot: Mickey and crew have a race. Shenanigans ensue.
There are lessons here about persevering and sportsmanship that are valuable. It also has mBasic Plot: Mickey and crew have a race. Shenanigans ensue.
There are lessons here about persevering and sportsmanship that are valuable. It also has more dialogue and content than a typical TV-to-book adaptation, making the lessons actually apparent through the text. The art for this book was also surprisingly good. For an adaptation, this one was pretty good....more
Basic Pot: Ace drives in the race of his life, with love and glory on the line.
This story had a Mad Max vibe to it that can't be ignored. Cars racingBasic Pot: Ace drives in the race of his life, with love and glory on the line.
This story had a Mad Max vibe to it that can't be ignored. Cars racing while loaded with weaponry and defense systems, and death a very real possibility if one's skills and wits aren't completely in the game. The story was sexy, and if you're a motorhead of any sort, it is even more so because of the machines described in the book. Even the characters' amorous moments are described in terms of vehicles and their workings. Cross's writing is always full of wonderful imagery, so the wordsmithing of this story is high caliber. Even though it's a death race with a few sexy bits to spice things up, the reader can feel like their mind is still getting a light workout in.
Unfortunately, I'm not a gearhead. If I were, I have a feeling that this book would have been one of my favorite things ever. There was also the issue of the fact that until the race is over, we have no idea as to why Ace is driving in a race that could cause his death, which takes away from the impact of everything. The female lead has more personality than the male lead, even though he is the obvious focus of the story.
Overall, the story was enjoyable, but not exactly my style....more
Basic Plot: George and Allie decide to enter a boxcar race.
Meh. There was some exploration in the book, but not nearly the level of curiosity and discBasic Plot: George and Allie decide to enter a boxcar race.
Meh. There was some exploration in the book, but not nearly the level of curiosity and discovery that one gets from a *good* Curious George book. It was based on one of the cartoon episodes, so my hopes weren't high to begin with, but sometimes these books can give a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, this one was merely tolerable....more
Basic Plot: When Rarity's gemstone shipment gets canceled, Spike and Fluttershy investigate and take care of the problem.
The art for this book was absBasic Plot: When Rarity's gemstone shipment gets canceled, Spike and Fluttershy investigate and take care of the problem.
The art for this book was absolutely stunning. It really struck me as I was reading it to my son. The story was also solid, and consistent with the TV show's ongoing theme that kindness, friendship, and love can defeat any problem. I think the world needs a little more of that idea nowadays. The book even offered a bit of opportunity for some voice work, as there was actually some dialogue in it! It was a fun, short read....more
Basic Plot: Elizabeth Bennett must help save her sisters from dishonor and spinsterdom, herself from the suit of Mr. Collins, and England from the zomBasic Plot: Elizabeth Bennett must help save her sisters from dishonor and spinsterdom, herself from the suit of Mr. Collins, and England from the zombie hordes.
In short, this book was a hoot. I found myself smiling often at the absurdity of the plot, and at how strangely well the zombie element fit into the original narrative. The real trick to appreciating this book, though, is that you really have to have read the original. I don't think it would be funny to someone who isn't at least somewhat familiar with Regency romances, especially Austin's. You also have to have a bit of a warped sense of humor, which I thankfully have in abundance.
Take the traditional tale of the Bennett sisters and their attempts to navigate the romantic waters of Jane Austin's England. Now, add a zombie horde and train those sisters in Kung Fu. Seriously, what's not to like in all of this? The fact that much of the book is actually the original Austin text makes this pricelessly humorous. Maybe it's just me...
I don't know what kind of re-read value this book will have, and I'm not entirely sure I want to attempt any of the others in this vein (though Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters may need a go), but this book was a lot of fun to read....more
Basic Plot: Cocheta is called upon to go on a quest to save her people, who she left long ago.
This was a bittersweet tale of love and loss. The romantBasic Plot: Cocheta is called upon to go on a quest to save her people, who she left long ago.
This was a bittersweet tale of love and loss. The romantic part of the story is the sweet- as the two women love each other very clearly and deeply. The bitter part is seeing what was happening to the Native Americans at the time (the Western expansion) and knowing the result, even if in this story the natives largely survived. Cocheta being forced to leave her peaceful life for battle was also part of the bitter of the story, as she clearly didn't want to go.
Overall, the characters were simply but clearly drawn. The pacing was steady. Those who like the romantic element get a healthy dose of that, those who like action get a taste of that, and those who like the history/time period get a very good sense of that. It's a solid story....more
Basic Plot: Who do you call when there's a demon possession to take care of? The Little Sisters of the Holy Vessel, that's who.
This short tale is onlyBasic Plot: Who do you call when there's a demon possession to take care of? The Little Sisters of the Holy Vessel, that's who.
This short tale is only $1 on the Amazon Kindle store, and worth a read. It takes place in an alternate past where the Catholic Church actively hunts down the demon possessed. The Little Sisters have a *polite cough* different way of containing demons than traditional exorcists, though, so this story is for the more mature reader. Cross writes about the sensitive matters contained herein with care and respect, which is something I can definitely appreciate. I like the different take on the idea of demon slaying, too.
Trigger warning: sexual abuse/rape is dealt with in the tale....more
Basic Plot: Carlos Delacruz was killed and brought partially back to life, and now he works for the New York Council of the Dead, helping them keep thBasic Plot: Carlos Delacruz was killed and brought partially back to life, and now he works for the New York Council of the Dead, helping them keep the restless dead in line. When an unusual assignment runs him into someone just like him, though, a plot to open the world of the dead changes his entire existence.
Truth be told, I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. It had all of the elements I typically like in a book- a dab of romance, a sense of humor, lots of interesting things happening, characters who have real personality- and yet... somehow I had trouble getting into it. I liked the diversity of the book. Characters were a NYC cultural mix, even the ghosts, which was nice to read. So much of urban fantasy is so thoroughly white that this book is truly unique. There are all these things I like about the book, and yet I still had trouble talking myself into finishing it. I really can't even put a finger on why.
I think I will read the next book in the series, if nothing else to see if I can identify what is going on with this author. Meanwhile, I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a step outside of the usual UF fare....more
Basic Plot: The animals of Manor farm revolt and create their own Animalist utopia.
This book was a mind-blower. The version I read was actually a textBasic Plot: The animals of Manor farm revolt and create their own Animalist utopia.
This book was a mind-blower. The version I read was actually a textbook version of Animal Farm, and included a few other readings at the end of the book that relate in one way or another to the larger novel, so I'll try to address a good amount of that in this review.
Animal Farm was written at the beginning of the Cold War, post WWII, and before Stalin had even actually died. Most of us know George Orwell as the writer of 1984, one of the most famous dystopian novels of all time. This book shows another, more pointed criticism. The story is short, only about 100 pages long, but that doesn't take away from its impact. I liked the way Orwell used animals' natural proclivities to place them into the society created by the animals at animal farm. The cat never can be relied on for anything, the dogs are guards, the horses work hard, the donkey is stubborn and contrary, the sheep follow, and the intelligent pigs rule all. Each character or group represents a different element of the Communist revolution in Russia, leading to the formation of the USSR. It is easy to see at the beginning why the animals want things to change. It's also easy to see why the proposed plan for the new Animal Farm was so attractive to all. However, it's also plainly obvious from moment one that the pigs have no intention of not taking advantage of their situation as the smartest on the farm, the leaders of the movement. The lies they spread, changing history, making the animals question their own memories- gaslighting them into thinking things had always been a certain way. It resonates today. The novel remains a powerful cautionary tale, even though the USSR has risen and fallen. Will it rise again?
The supplemental materials in this textbook included a brief history of the rise and fall of the USSR, beneficial to those who don't know the details or who may need a quick refresher. There was some poetry and a few stories. Harrison Bergeron is a story I've read before- where the American government undertakes to make everyone completely, truly equal in the worst possible way. It's a potent piece of literature. There was a potent Animal Fable in the book about a pet shop and what would happen if the animals all got out. The Birds by Daphne du Maurier also is included in the book. It's the only one that doesn't actually seem to fit. It's more of a simple horror piece, having nothing really to do with any societal criticism that I could identify.
In the current political climate of the USA, it's easy to see why old-school dystopian novels are hitting the top of best-seller lists. I would recommend this as one to add to the list....more