Remix is an awesome read. A contemporary suspense romance, it kept me turning the pages to find out what was next. There weren't really any plot twistRemix is an awesome read. A contemporary suspense romance, it kept me turning the pages to find out what was next. There weren't really any plot twists - the bad guys were pretty identifiable as the bad guys from the beginning. Even still, though, the story was compelling and exciting enough to keep me solidly entertained. Ms. Revellian is going on my Favorite Authors list and I'll definitely get any future works of hers. ...more
A Dance of Cloaks is the fourth book I've read by David Dalglish. While I liked his other books a lot, I felt with them that there was something missiA Dance of Cloaks is the fourth book I've read by David Dalglish. While I liked his other books a lot, I felt with them that there was something missing to make them 5-star books. That's not the case with A Dance of Cloaks. In this book, he's come into his own and A Dance of Cloaks is an exciting read. I've always said that Dalglish writes some of the best fight scenes I've ever read, and that doesn't change in this book. Added to the mix is plenty of intrigue and a large cast of characters, including some old favorites. The theme of redemption is still laced throughout the book.
If you've read and liked Dalglish's Half-Orc series, you've really got to read this - you'll learn a good bit about the politics of the world and also find out how Haern got his start as well as the Eschatons. A Dance of Cloaks stands fully on its own, though -- don't worry if you haven't read Dalglish's other books; you don't need to in order to dive right in. If you enjoy fantasy, I can't recommend this book enough....more
This series is really just improving more and more the farther into it that I read. Overall the book was deftly written and the characters continued tThis series is really just improving more and more the farther into it that I read. Overall the book was deftly written and the characters continued to be fleshed out. I flew through this book and cannot wait for the next one. If you're a lover of fantasy, you can't go wrong with this series. Excellent read! ...more
The second book in the Half-Orc series is another success. Continuing the story of the half-orc brothers Tun, in this installment they find friends anThe second book in the Half-Orc series is another success. Continuing the story of the half-orc brothers Tun, in this installment they find friends and family of sorts. This book is somewhat of a dark fantasy but I found myself actively hoping for redemption for both brothers. While Hurruq seems to embrace salvation, I still hope that Qurrah finds it, as well.
As for the fantasy aspect of the book, it's a fairly generic fantasy world. I don't mean this in a bad way, just that it reminded me heavily of the old days of Dungeons & Dragons games, staying up until the wee hours with friends. There's a level of comforting familiarity with the world, which leaves you free to follow the brothers' journey. ...more
This was my first "indie" book and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. The Weight of Blood is well written, the story engaging. Following tThis was my first "indie" book and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. The Weight of Blood is well written, the story engaging. Following the story of two half-orc brothers, it's an interesting tale. The fighting scenes were some of the best written I've seen. Characterization could have been a bit better, but it was still good. I enjoyed this story so much I immediately bought books 2 & 3 and also A Dance of Cloaks. I think this series is going to be one of the "greats" in the Fantasy genre. ...more
Portal is a great story. The characters are detailed and well-defined, and there were plenty of plot twists and turns. The formatting was beautifullyPortal is a great story. The characters are detailed and well-defined, and there were plenty of plot twists and turns. The formatting was beautifully done and the book was very readable. I did feel there were a few paradoxes - but in fairness those may be explained and made clear in the sequels.
The main stumbling block, for me, was the dialog. It was horribly stilted, in some places almost painful. It didn't read the way real people talk. Here are a couple of examples from a scene at the hospital: "We're Arizona Darley's parents. She has just been admitted?" "They are taking her up to X-ray in a moment. I'll take you to her." "She is being taken up to x-ray now. She said that she's absolutely fine, but I guess they want to make sure. She is right there on the gurney." "Nothing broken, she is fine and can head home."
Additionally, the author switches from first person to third person, sometimes following Arizona, the daughter, and at other times following her mother, Olivia. I was actually okay with that - it let me be privy to details that I wouldn't have known about had she stayed with Arizona throughout the novel. One last quibble: the kids are supposed to be American, but they use "Briticisms" - "car parks", "bagsies", hockey "kits" (rather than the American "parking lot", "dibs" and "uniform") to name a few. It's a bit jarring.
I'd love to get the next book in the series as I'd really like to know what happens next, but truthfully I don't think I can get past the stiffness of the prose and dialog so I'll probably pass on Equilibrium....more
There are a few paranormal romance series that I follow - Dark-Hunters, Dirk & Steele, Meljean Brook's Guardian, Nalini Singh's Psi-Changeling, toThere are a few paranormal romance series that I follow - Dark-Hunters, Dirk & Steele, Meljean Brook's Guardian, Nalini Singh's Psi-Changeling, to name a few. I think I just added another to my list. The world of Space Junque is futuristic in a very realistic way, but there are some paranormal aspects to it so I'd definitely put it in the paranormal romance category. The Hero, Jake, and Heroine, Char, are very likable and engaging. Their romance, though it happens quickly, is very believable. Rigel does a deft job of giving you a great romance while also doing her world-building and laying the foundation for the series.
Based on Space Junque, I can't wait for Bleeder. If you like paranormal romance, try this book - the only thing you might regret is having another series to follow ;-) ...more
Not What She Seems is a very deftly woven suspense romance. Victorine Lieske does a great job of drawing you in and keeping you guessing. The plot twiNot What She Seems is a very deftly woven suspense romance. Victorine Lieske does a great job of drawing you in and keeping you guessing. The plot twists were all fantastic and kept me guessing and the final reveal totally took me by surprise. The only two areas where I would "ding" the book: 1) There were a couple of places where the dialog was stiff. Overall, the dialog was great, but a couple of lines were overly formal. 2) The ending was a bit anti-climactic. Right when you got the big reveal and found out who the bad guy was... BAM! It was all over but the Happily Ever After.
Regardless, it was still a great read, and I'll definitely read the author's future work....more
Set in the Roaring '20s, OUT OF TIME by Monique Martin is a roaring good read! With a backdrop of gangsters, speakeasies, and Prohibition, the romanceSet in the Roaring '20s, OUT OF TIME by Monique Martin is a roaring good read! With a backdrop of gangsters, speakeasies, and Prohibition, the romance that develops in this romantic urban fantasy is nothing short of gripping.
Simon Cross is a professor of Occult Studies at a California university. He and his graduate assistant, Elizabeth West, have an easy working relationship, despite the attraction they both feel for one another. One evening, Elizabeth brings some graded papers over to Simon's home to drop them off, and while she's there they manage to activate a pocket watch that had belonged to Simon's grandfather. Neither of them realizes that the watch is, in fact, a time travel device and the next thing they know, they're in an alley in the 1920's.
I absolutely love the characters in this story. Simon and Elizabeth are both wonderful. Simon has the quintessential acidic British wit-dry and full of snark. I laughed out loud at several of his caustic comments. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is a perfect foil for him. She's very diplomatic and often smoothes the feathers that Simon ruffles. At the same time, she's no push-over and doesn't hesitate to stand up to Simon or anyone else. She's a perfect mix of sweet and tough.
The supporting cast is equally engaging. There's the tough but lovable Charlie Blue who befriends them, and then the villainous King Kashian. All of the characters are painted deftly and contribute to the overall story.
Almost another character in its own right is the setting. The Roaring '20s is presented in all the glory of the time period, but also accurately. I wouldn't have minded seeing a bit more of the "Flapper" culture, such as what we see in The Great Gatsby, but we're still treated to a look at some of the cultural icons of the day. One of my favorite scenes is when Simon and Elizabeth go on an outing to Coney Island. Ms. Martin describes it so well that I could picture perfectly the rides, the games, the food vendors and it allowed me to share some of the joy and wonder that Simon and Elizabeth had as they explored.
The only problem I had with Out of Time is that it dragged a bit in the middle. The beginning was full of adventure and our fearless couple trying to survive being transplanted out of the blue into a different time, but the mid-chapters just seemed to be building... and building... and building. Eventually, the story reached the boiling point and everything took off again, but there was a bit of plodding.
Also of note was while one of the characters IS a vampire, I would in no way classify this as a vampire story. In fact, I think the story would have been almost exactly the same had that character been mortal and that raised the question of "Why make him a vampire?" I can only assume that it's to introduce the idea that paranormal creatures do exist in this world setting.
That aside (and truthfully, they're both VERY small quibbles), OUT OF TIME is a fantastic read. Elizabeth and Simon and so great together, you can't help but pull for them through the entire book. A perfect mix of romance and urban fantasy, you won't regret spending time with Monique Martin in OUT OF TIME.
Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews....more
I love this book, the whole series, in fact. A bit of a guilty pleasure, I admit, but I can't get enough of it. I really hope she does Midnight Sun soI love this book, the whole series, in fact. A bit of a guilty pleasure, I admit, but I can't get enough of it. I really hope she does Midnight Sun soon....more
This is such a hard book to talk about. Cory and Kathie will know exactly what I mean. But usually when you talk about books you discuss the setting (This is such a hard book to talk about. Cory and Kathie will know exactly what I mean. But usually when you talk about books you discuss the setting (especially in fantasy), the characters, the plot. With all of the Vlad Taltos books, though, you open your mouth to say something and you find that you have to stop. Two reasons:
1) The world-building in these books is so intricate and detailed that it's insane. It's also done so very subtly that you never feel like you're in the midst of an info-dump. But everything's important. EVERYTHING. Maybe not so much in this book, but seven books from now, you will think to yourself, "Son of a bitch! So THAT'S what that meant!" But if you say something meaningful to someone who has not read the books, you'll likely confuse yourself, them, and end up not doing the concept justice AT ALL. 2) The plot is so intricately woven that you can't say much about much or you end up spoiling things. And the payoff with the plot is just... breathtaking. Brust twists and turns and builds like a mammoth corkscrew roller-coaster. And trust me, you will want to HURT anyone who spoils these books for you.
So, okay, something about the books, something about the books... I know! Firstly, they're fairly short. About 235 pages, they're quick reads. Brust doesn't go in for flowery language and lush descriptions (but he gives you enough that you don't feel lost). That's a good thing, in my opinion. They're paced well. Chapters are usually pretty short so the books are great if you're trying to squeeze reading in while waiting on a prescription or similar. I will say, though... there is a point in every Vlad novel that I call the point of no return. Usually it's the last two to three chapters, the last fifty pages. You will stay up until dawn if you hit the sweet spot late at night. You just will.
The books are also laced with humor, but here's a quick example. Vlad is talking about his friend Morollan, a sorcerer of some skill, who happens to have a floating castle. Apparently before a catastrophic failure of magic, floating castles were all the rage. But then the magic did fail. Just poof. Just like that. So Vlad cracks wise about how since then nobody has really done the castle-in-the-air bit, but you can still find the wreckage from them dotted all around the countryside. Vlad himself is also a wise-ass (see my status updates for some examples). You pretty much have a grin on your face the whole way through.
Quick synopsis that I CAN share--Vlad is an assassin, he's got a good-sized territory in a criminal organization. While he's not the biggest boss, he's no slouch. Watching him try to puzzle out a mystery and also set up his target is pure joy. The supporting cast is filled with other strong characters from his wife to his assistant, all the way down to his smart-assed familiar, a miniature dragon. But what's refreshing to me? Vlad doesn't really care about saving the world. He wants to make money and protect his friends. If you're NOT a friend (or someone he feels responsible for)--Vlad's a cold-hearted SOB. Just sayin'.
If you like fantasy, give these books a try. I don't think you'll regret it. Couple of caveats: The series is still live (next book is due out in 2014), but the first book, Jhereg, is about thirty years old. It's out of print as a single title and no eBook is available until you get to book 8. The first 7 books are available in omnibuses (1-3, 4-5, 6-7) for about $15 for each omni. Somewhat inconvenient, but it's surmountable.
The next issue: chronological order vs. publishing order. The publishing order is not the order in which events take place, but do not fall prey to the misconception that you should read them in chronological order. Remember all that world-building? Remember that they're short? That means Brust doesn't spend a lot of time doing remedial world-building. If you read the books out of order, you probably won't be hopelessly lost, but still... don't do it. Make it easy on yourself and stick to the published order. Brust is one of those authors whom I trust implicitly--he has a plan. All will make sense before it's done :-)
I think that's most everything. Oh--while the series is ongoing and things are somewhat unresolved, each book is a standalone. There aren't really any cliffhangers that leave you thinking WTF. There are mentions such as, "Oh, there was this one time... but that's a different story." And it is, and he'll get to it at some point, but the story he's telling now will be finished, I promise.
Final summation: Steven Brust's books, especially the Vlad Taltos series, are like this awesome restaurant downtown that nobody really knows about. I'm not really sure how that happened, but go ahead and give them a try. I promise you'll become a regular :-) ...more