What a blast! Hallow Mass is bitingly funny and action-packed. It's a twist on the grrl power urban fantasy genre set in an ultra politically correctWhat a blast! Hallow Mass is bitingly funny and action-packed. It's a twist on the grrl power urban fantasy genre set in an ultra politically correct college. I highly recommend it....more
I was really interested in this concept because I am a bit tired of all the darker themed YA fantasy that is ubiquitous now. Not that I object to it,I was really interested in this concept because I am a bit tired of all the darker themed YA fantasy that is ubiquitous now. Not that I object to it, it just can weigh on me if I overdose on it. I miss the kind of fantasy I grew up on - heroes striving to do goof versus really really evil bad villains.
As soon as I got my review copy I opened it to Sherwood Smith's book. Sherwood is one of my favorite fantasy writers, and I'd never read this one yet. Lhind the Thief is a YA mystery adventure that is the beginning of it's own series. It was originally published in 2013, and if you purchase it separately it would cost $4.99. But in this collection it just costs around 16 cents (I did the math).
I love that on the Kindle (and Fire) this is so organized! The table of contents has each book by author, and each book expands to it's own table of contents. And when you are reading one of the books, the status bar on the bottom acts just like it would in a regular book - if you are halfway through the book, it shows half, even though the book is at the end of the collection. Very nice.
I thought, based on the title, that this would just be one extended rant. It's not. It's actually a colI received a free copy of this book for review.
I thought, based on the title, that this would just be one extended rant. It's not. It's actually a collection of factual and objective arguments.
I was impressed by just how much material this book covered. Divided into areas like Domestic Issues, the Economy, Civil Liberties, Foreign Policy, etc., it lists every decision and action that Obama has made and it's impact. Remember Clash for Clunkers? It's in there. The Gibson Guitar Raid? It's there too. And there are a lot of footnotes sourcing everything (more than a thousand).
As someone with a fondness for history, I really like how this book documents the Obama era.
4.5 Stars - great effort from a first time writer.
This is a good old-fashioned fantasy in a new and unusual setting, which is the Seven Realms. We onl4.5 Stars - great effort from a first time writer.
This is a good old-fashioned fantasy in a new and unusual setting, which is the Seven Realms. We only get to see two of the realms in this book - the Middle Realm where humans live, and Infierno, the realm where the a race of creatures with fire magic called the Igni, live. The two races frequently battle each other.
I call it old fashioned because the hero, Alaric Dell, youngest son of a local Baron near the border of these two realms, is a hero who is good, brave, and a man of faith, in the mold of Galahad. He is investigating raids on villages near the border when he and his men are attacked by a different sort of creature - they look like savage Igni but they have ice magic.
As it turns out, these Frost Fiends are attacking both humans and Igni, so Alaric and an Igni chief together try to convince both sides that they need to ally. There's a lot of distrust, and betrayal, and a lot of battles and death.
I enjoyed this book and look forward to the rest of the series. The scenes of combat and fighting were really well done. I did think the dialogue was a little clunky in some areas though it was not terrible. I wish there was a map. I'd also like a bit more time with the other characters around Alaric. All in all there's a lot of promise in this book that I hope the sequels fulfill.
It is a "clean" read - in fact, there is no romance in this book at all. It is all about adventure and fighting and deciding to do what is right. I also liked that the writer showed how the death of his comrades weighed heavily on the main character and how wound in battle took a toll on the body (even with magical healing). I think younger readers as well as adults can enjoy this book.
Full disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book. I also have a more in-depth review of this and other conservative-leaning books at my blog www.bookhorde.org...more
Underlake is an interesting take on a poor little rich girl story. Katie Welch's mom is a successful career woman who sends Katie to an exclusive privUnderlake is an interesting take on a poor little rich girl story. Katie Welch's mom is a successful career woman who sends Katie to an exclusive private school. Katie gets to hang out with other rich kids, who, like her, have a generous allowance and little supervision. Despite this Katie generally "makes good choices", does well in school, and her mom doesn't worry about her, being too busy working and figuring out her own dating life.
The story starts with an unwelcome disruption in Katie's life - her mom and her are spending all summer, not in a fashionable vacation spot as usual, but in a upstate NY backwoods to renovate a summer cottage they own. Katie's never been there before, since it's usually leased to someone, but the tenant has died and her mom wants it ready to get back on the market. This is very upsetting to Katie, who would rather with her friends. But a lot of things have been upsetting Katie lately, and she's not sure why. So far it all seems to be a typical mainstream YA novel, until they get to the lake, and there's a ghost, and a strangely old-fashioned by cute guy.
This story is somewhere between fantasy and supernatural and spiritual. It's closer to a mythopoeic tale than a coming of age story, though it has elements of the latter. Instead of an obvious fairy tale underpinning though it uses a Faith-based structure.
I liked it a lot and I would recommend it to teens and adults. If I have one complaint it would be that I think the epilogue type ending was superfluous.
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary review copy of this book. I have a longer review of it on my blog - www.bookhorde.org - where I also review many other conservative books....more
I generally don't care for literary fiction, so the odds were stacked against me liking this book. But after the first chapter I have to admit that II generally don't care for literary fiction, so the odds were stacked against me liking this book. But after the first chapter I have to admit that I felt compelled to keep reading. The book reads like two interwoven diaries, one by Michelle, the other by Jason.
Michelle's story is happening in the present, which is a near future scenario for us. She's hiding in some rural family's basement, pregnant, scared, and lonely. Jason's story is told as recollections of the past, which seem near to our present. He's a working class guy who's in love with his buddy's younger sister. He recounts their love story and young marriage.
What makes Jason's story unsettling is how the world around them is changing slowly at first, and then more and more drastically. The government is getting intrusive, controlling. Family members are becoming enemies.
The way the stories are told it's hard to pin down exactly what is being done, we just get the fear and anxiety of the characters. It's very atmospheric, and the way things are kept from the reader makes it feel like a mystery novel.
One of the things I liked is how all the bad stuff happening causes Jason, who starts out as someone who doesn't really think about religion, to start looking for guidance and comfort from God. I thought that was realistic - that someone under pressure would have to turn to something, and in this case it was faith. Michelle, when we meet her, is already religious, and it looks like she has been for a while. In her character's case, I thought the backstory did explain her emotional state as well.
I have to admit that I found the lack of a straight-forward plot frustrating at times. The story often doubles back on itself. Sometimes I just wanted to sit Michelle down and tell her "just the facts, Ma'am." I also have to mention that the book ends on a cliff-hanger. Those complaints are why I knocked a star off of my rating. But again, not my genre, so I might not be completely fair about that.
This is probably not a book I would have thought to read, so I'm glad someone asked me to review it. It's different from my usual reading choices and I did enjoy it on its own terms.
I received a review copy of this book for free. I also have a more in-depth review of it on my blog www.bookhorde.org...more
I always love books by Patricia McKillip but I absolutely adore this one! I don't know much about Arthurian legends but I kind of got that this was aI always love books by Patricia McKillip but I absolutely adore this one! I don't know much about Arthurian legends but I kind of got that this was a retelling as soon as someone mentioned King Arden. After that I was keeping track of the clues and after I finished the book I looked up the Fisher King legend and I am just amazed at how McKillip wove that all so brilliantly into a new story.
That said you don't have to care at all about King Arthur to enjoy this story. That is just one of the many layers that you can enjoy about this novel. Like all McKillip books it puts you into a state of wonder and reflection. It's a great read that I highly recommend.
3.5 stars. Cait is an accountant who gets dumped by her long-time boyfriend, so she quits her job, takes the money she's saved, moves to the middle of3.5 stars. Cait is an accountant who gets dumped by her long-time boyfriend, so she quits her job, takes the money she's saved, moves to the middle of nowhere and says to hell with men, I'm going to follow my childhood dream of becoming a writer. She also brings her horse, that up to this time has been boarding in a stable, to her new home. That's how she ends up at the feed store, where she meets the hunky though slightly older owner Tom, and she gets a huge crush on him.
Tom has three kids and his wife walked out five years ago, so he's very wary about women. But Cait sure is pretty, and she's real nice to his kids who are fascinated by her horse.
I thought it was a pleasant read. Cait can get a bit crazy but she has a sense of humor while Tom can be stubborn and irrational. But they are both likable and their slow and cautious romance works.
There's kissing and sex, but the sex is not shown, so this is a clean romance. I wish the author had done more with the Australian setting - aside from the the word use, I didn't really get as much Aussie flavor as I had hoped. I have a longer review of this at my blog www.bookhorde.org...more
I blame Amy Lynn for a sleep-deprived week night. I guess it was my fault for thinking I could read a few chapters a day, since it's a big fat brick oI blame Amy Lynn for a sleep-deprived week night. I guess it was my fault for thinking I could read a few chapters a day, since it's a big fat brick of a book.
It's just that, as soon as I meet Amy Lynn as a poor kid on a small farm in Alabama, I was captivated. She's precocious, plucky, and extremely loyal. It's a joy to watch her grow up until something truly terrible happens to her as a teen. It's something that shapes her, or maybe stunts her, at any rate it determines the kind of adult she grows into. Under the tutelage of her ex-Special Forces assassin Uncle Jack and his classy lady with a past Carla Jo, she grows into an action hero, small h.
That would be as far as it goes until 9/11 prompts her to enlist and she is sent to Afghanistan. As a woman, she's not supposed to see combat but an unexpected ambush tosses her straight into the enemy's hands. This is the moment she faces the choice - survive ad flee or be a Hero.
Amy Lynn is one of the most engrossing books I have read in a while. I only have two complaints. One is that it has that common first novel syndrome where all the good guys all tend to like each other. The other thing I didn't like is the font that backstory chapters were in (the backstories were great, just the font was hard to read).
This is a really good read and I highly recommend it. Full disclosure - I received this booka s a gift, no review was solicited. I also have a longer review at my blog bookhorde.org ...more