Book Info: Genre: Space Opera Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of space operas, those who have enjoyed the series so far Trigger Warnings: sexuBook Info: Genre: Space Opera Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of space operas, those who have enjoyed the series so far Trigger Warnings: sexual assault, mental abuse, murder, slavery (sentient species, not just human)
My Thoughts: I want to start right out by saying I did not dislike this book. It was a perfectly readable book, and as part of a series I have enjoyed, I do not regret the time spent reading it. No, it's not that I didn't like the book; the problem is that it just wasn't that engrossing. The first book was hilarious—I laughed my way through it—and the second, while not as funny, was fast-paced and exciting. This book... I'm not sure. There wasn't the humor there was in the first two, and I just didn't feel any tension while reading it.
However, as always, the characters are well-done, and there is plenty of action and even a bit of romance: all the calling cards of a space opera. If you like space operas, and if you have read and enjoyed the first two books in the series, you'll want to see what Dace manages to involve herself with this time.
Random thought: After reading three books in the Fall of the Altairan Empire series, I still have no idea what or where the Altairan Empire is, or what these books have to do with its fall...
Series Information: Poisoned Pawn is the third book in the Fall of the Altairan Empire series. Book 1: Nexus Point, read and reviewed October 2012, review linked here Book 2: Priestess of the Eggstone read and reviewed October 2012, review linked here
Disclosure: I received an ARC copy from JournalStone through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Dace and Jasyn have everything they ever wanted—their own trading ship and freedom.
Their only issue, regulations require a second pilot and the only one available on Viya Station is a little too perfect for Dace's comfort. But his credentials check out and everything seems fine.
Until Dace disappears and Jasyn learns the truth....more
Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Those who enjoy dark urban fantasy Trigger Warnings: violent death, mutilationBook Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Those who enjoy dark urban fantasy Trigger Warnings: violent death, mutilation, sexual assault, use of R-word (teen boy to his autistic brother)
My Thoughts: First of all, my apologies to JournalStone for not managing to have this read and reviewed prior to publication. I tried, and failed. Sorry!
This author really needs to read my blog posts on editing tips, including Department of Redundancy Department and We Gotta Get out of This Habit (links where allowed; otherwise can be found on Now is Gone, my blog, with a search). I literally groaned when I saw that old nemesis of mine, the phrase “rose to his feet.” Also, as nearly as I can tell, the type of autism the author uses does not exist. I have to wonder why he did not use a real form of autism and instead made up a new syndrome?
Jack Sallinen is a real piece of work. I repeatedly hoped for him to die horribly. While Darryl Webber is not the nicest of men, he was at least amusing and somewhat charming most of the time. A lot of the characters fell sort of flat for me, but I did appreciate the fact that Izzy was able to function at a decent level and didn't spend the whole book running in circles and flapping her hands like so many women whose children disappear do in these books.
Usually I really enjoy JournalStone books, but this one just didn't work for me. I didn't dislike it, but... I probably won't read it again. I'm not exactly certain why I didn't click with this book, so if you like dark urban fantasy and are interested in this book, don't let me change your mind. But … this was really a “meh” book for me.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this e-book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Police Chief Elizabeth “Izzy” Morris enjoys keeping the peace in the small town of Kinsey in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But when her seventeen-year-old daughter goes missing after a school dance and the mutilated corpse of the girl’s date is discovered in the nearby woods, Izzy’s police skills are stretched to their limits.
Her only suspect is a stranger, a mysterious black man with no known past. When a second stranger appears, the investigation stalls. People she once trusted turn against her. The local banker’s autistic son begins to know things no one else does.
And now something unspeakable prowls the woods.
Joined by three friends and the man she once considered her enemy, Izzy races to find her daughter—and ends up trapped in the middle of a war between an ancient evil and the man who has stood in its way for nearly two thousand years. ...more
Book Info: Genre: Steampunk mystery, humorous/Wodehouse parody Reading Level: all ages (if able to read it) Recommended for: people who enjoy steampunkBook Info: Genre: Steampunk mystery, humorous/Wodehouse parody Reading Level: all ages (if able to read it) Recommended for: people who enjoy steampunk stories, fans of Wodehouse's Jeeves novels, who like to laugh
My Thoughts: This is the sequel to What Ho, Automaton! (review linked here where formatting allowed), and a parody of the Wodehouse Jeeves books, set in a steampunk version of Victorian England (right after the turn of the 20th century; they are set in 1903).
Again, this was a very funny novella. It was a fast read, and like the first, full of all kinds of wonderful nonsense. The first book featured mostly automata, and only a few Prometheans (creatures sewn together of various parts and reanimated a la Frankenstein); in this book we mostly see Prometheans, with Reeves being the only automaton featured. I'm not certain if there will be any more of these, but if there are I'll be sure to search them out. Dolley has a dry absurdist sense of humor I find very appealing, and I will most likely be picking up more of his books if I am able. I have two more of his books available to me right now, which I plan to read over the weekend, so watch for those reviews coming up.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Guy Fawkes is back and this time it’s a toss up who’s going to be blown up first—Parliament or Reginald Worcester, gentleman consulting detective.
But Guy might not be the only regicide to have been dug up and reanimated. He might be a mere pawn in a plan of diabolical twistiness.
Only a detective with a rare brain—and Reggie’s is amongst the rarest—could possibly solve this ‘five-cocktail problem.’ With the aid of Reeves, his automaton valet, Emmeline, his suffragette fiancée, and Farquharson, a reconstituted dog with an issue with Anglicans, Reggie sets out to save both Queen Victoria and the Empire....more
Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Book Available: October 19, 2012 (just available) in paperback and ebook format Recommended forBook Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Book Available: October 19, 2012 (just available) in paperback and ebook format Recommended for: Fans of dark story with overall redemptive themes, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles, the old gods
My Thoughts: This is a richly atmospheric story. I’ve never heard of this writer before, but he certainly knows how to set a scene to keep the reader flipping those pages – I will definitely be looking to see if he has anything else out there, because I just loved his style. The scenes are lush, descriptive, disturbing – we really get inside the heads of Billy Moon and Jake, while also seeing bits and pieces of the other characters around them. The book deals with themes of ‘be careful what you wish for” and “what you think you want may not actually be what you want”. There is a ghost story weaving through the overall story as well.
I’m not really sure what to say about the book, not without possibly spoiling it. I will say that if you enjoy dark fiction, you’ll love this book. If you feel connected to the old gods, you’ll love this book. It’s not quite horror – the ending is all wrong for that – but it is very dark at times. Highly – HIGHLY – recommended!
Disclosure: I received an ARC ebook edition from Journalstone, via the LibraryThing Early Reviewer’s program, in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Billy Moon would have given his life for rock 'n' roll stardom, but the Devil doesn’t come that cheap.
Goth-rock idol Billy Moon has it all: money, fame, and a different girl in every city. But he also has a secret, one that goes all the way back to the night he almost took his own life. The night Trevor Rail, a shadowy record producer with a flair for the dark and esoteric, agreed to make him a star. . . for a price.
Now Billy has come to Echo Lake Studios to create the record that will make him a legend. A dark masterpiece like only Trevor Rail can fashion. But the woods of Echo Lake have a dark past, a past that might explain the mysterious happenings in the haunted church that serves as Rail’s main studio. As the pressure mounts on Billy to fulfill Rail's vision, it becomes clear that not everyone will survive the project.
It's time the Devil of Echo Lake had his due, and someone will have to pay....more
Book Info: Genre: Dark Supernatural Thriller Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of Bram Stoker's Dracula, those who enjoy supernatural thrillersBook Info: Genre: Dark Supernatural Thriller Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of Bram Stoker's Dracula, those who enjoy supernatural thrillers with a Wild West flavor Trigger Warnings: mauling, murder, violence, shooting
My Thoughts: One part Western (complete with attempted land grab and cattle rustlin'), one part horror novel, one part supernatural thriller, this book is a lot of different thing that nevertheless manage to come together in a complete whole that is wholly satisfying. It continues the story of Professor Van Helsing, after his adventures as related by Bram Stoker, as he attempts to bring the remains of Quincey Morris back to his hometown in Texas, only to become embroiled in mysterious happenings that seem to involve some large predator killing both livestock and people. An afterword by the author hints that this manuscript was discovered in a dusty basement, along with evidence that the story behind Dracula is absolutely true, and that we can look forward to new adventures with Van Helsing. I, for one, can not wait.
Dracula is one of the great loves of my literary life. The first (and one of only three) book to ever give me nightmares, it is one I have read and enjoyed several times. This book is written in the same way, consisting of journal entries, newspaper articles, telegrams and such like to tell the story. While it is a bit more readable for a modern audience, I absolutely loved that it kept to the tradition that Stoker set for his masterpiece. If you enjoyed Dracula, then you absolutely must not miss this story. Same if you enjoy this author's other works. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received an ARC copy of this e-book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: The personal papers of the enigmatic Professor Abraham Van Helsing are collected and presented for the first time by his longtime colleague and defender, Dr. John Seward. Texas, 1891: Following the defeat of Count Dracula, Abraham Van Helsing—suffering from violent recurring fantasies—checks himself into Jack Seward's Purfleet Asylum. Once discharged, he volunteers to return the ashes and personal effects of the late Quincey P. Morris (the American adventurer who died in battle with the nefarious Count) home to the Morris family ranch in Sorefoot, Texas. Van Helsing arrives to find Quincey's brother, Cole Morris, embroiled in an escalating land dispute with a group of neighboring Norwegian ranchers led by the enigmatic Sig Skoll. When cattle and men start turning up slaughtered, the locals suspect a wild animal, but Van Helsing thinks a preternatural culprit is afoot. Is a shapeshifter stalking the Texas plains, or are the phantasms of his previously disordered mind returning? The intrepid professor must decide soon, for the life of Skoll's beautiful new bride may hang in the balance....more
I first read in May 2013. I am re-reading it prior to reading the sequel, The One We Feed.
Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy/Metaphysical Thriller ReI first read in May 2013. I am re-reading it prior to reading the sequel, The One We Feed.
Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy/Metaphysical Thriller Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Anyone to whom it appeals Trigger Warnings: violence, murder, suicide
My Thoughts: This is a very strange—but absolutely amazing—book, full of mysteries and hallucinations. The reader never quite knows if something is really happening or not, which can lead to a bit of confusion at times, but the story is beautifully written, with gorgeous language. In many cases, at least for me, this can make all the difference between loving a book and being so confused I can't finish it. An example of the sort of writing I'm talking about:
“The immense windows that made up the north-facing wall were tinted so that the entire scene had an aura of man beating materials into a sterile kind of submission. A bank of elevators shone behind the security guard's head in a vicious silver beam, but dinged cheerfully. Clones in every kind of suit moved around like ichor in the fat, hardened, corporate arteries, their leather shoes clicking impatiently.”
Described as a metaphysical thriller, I've added “dark urban fantasy” to it, due to the monsters and mayhem that lurk at the edges of the story. Or do they? Again, I was never quite sure what was real, what had really happened, and what was just a dream in the main character's mind.
I spoke to the author of this book shortly after I started it to tell her I was enjoying it, and she wrote back to let me know that there are lots of little clues sprinkled throughout the book, things that will help with understanding the rest of the trilogy as it is released.
This is a trippy little story. It was certainly not what I was expecting from JournalStone, but I absolutely loved it. If you're interested in metaphysics, Buddhism, enlightenment, or just a wonderful story, check out this book. I'm already looking forward to reading it again, when the second book in the trilogy is released. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this e-book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: After a messy divorce and the suicide of her younger sister, Lilith Pierce sets about the responsible task of cleaning up Eva's final mess. She orders the casket, cleans the apartment, but is plagued by a frighteningly prophetic conversation preceding Eva's death. When Lilith begins to investigate the bizarre details of Eva's life, she has no idea the path of personal transformation she has embarked upon. Down the rabbit hole, she dives, into a world of strange powers, koan-spouting immortals, and dangers to humanity only she seems destined to prevent.
"Angels, Demons, villains, vampires . . . they don't stand a chance."
Stephenson's "Snow Crash" meets "Siddhartha" in this fascinating metaphysical thriller from debut author Kristina Meister. "Craving" is a suspenseful tapestry woven through with the golden threads of myth, philosophy, and sarcasm, exploring the nature of love, faith, and how ideas can change the world....more
Book Info: Genre: Space Opera Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of Space Opera, those who enjoyed Nexus Point, those who enjoy romance
DisclosBook Info: Genre: Space Opera Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of Space Opera, those who enjoyed Nexus Point, those who enjoy romance
Disclosure: I received a free ebook ARC through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer’s Program in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: It isn’t Dace’s fault she leaves chaos everywhere she goes.
She didn’t know Belliff, the company who hired her to courier sensitive materials, is a front for the Targon Crime Syndicate. She finds out when she steps into the middle of a Patrol raid on Belliff’s offices. The Patrol and Targon both want her. But that’s nothing. Her copilot has an entire sentient species chasing him for stealing their god. The two of them set off on a desperate chase to get the Eggstone god back to avert war with the Sessimoniss while evading the Patrol and the Targon Syndicate.
But the Eggstone isn’t just any rock. The Patrol isn’t chasing her for the reasons she thinks. And Targon’s days are numbered.
My Thoughts: A fast-paced and entertaining space opera; this book opened with action that continued throughout the book. It was also very funny – the way Dace and Jerimon interacted, while somewhat cliched, was absolutely hilarious. In a more traditional romance novel it would have left me headdesking, but in a space opera it somehow works for me.
I also realized I’ve been using “space opera” wrong by saying the Honor Harrington series is space opera – it is not; it is military science fiction. This is space opera. And a very good example of the sub-genre.
The book read like a sequel and I ended up actually checking to see if there was a previous book to be found. And what do you know, I was right – this book is the 2nd book in a series! The first book is called Nexus Point and I picked it up, because I badly need to know what happened to Dace in it – there are so many tantalizing little hints thrown out in this book that it’s driving me crazy! So, I’ll be reading them out of order, because I was more than a third of the way through before I realized this.
The characterization was wonderful – I really loved Lady Rina, especially. Dace is such a constant source of chaos that I had to laugh – it might be terribly stressful to live her life, that’s for sure! The plot was fast but fun, and it was actually a fairly quick read for an almost-400 page book. Recommended!...more
Book Info: Genre: Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: anyone Trigger Warnings: Fairly graphic representations of sex acts (not a lot, but theyBook Info: Genre: Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: anyone Trigger Warnings: Fairly graphic representations of sex acts (not a lot, but they are there); rape (minor and short scene, fortunately)
My Thoughts: This is another book absolutely filled with lyrical and poetic language; it is very obvious that Vera Nazarian spent a lot of time on these earlier books honing her language skills. Reading them is a sensuous act in and of itself if you enjoy words, like I do.
Nazarian has an odd tendency to describe the color of things and people with botanical terms. I first noticed this in Dreams of the Compass Rose (review here where formatting allowed). Instead of “red” she’ll use “persimmon” or “amaranth”; instead of blue/purple she’ll use “heliotrope”. I noticed at least three separate instances in the first 20 percent of this book in which she described people’s hair as “dandelion” in texture (since this is a world without color, any descriptions of color are theoretical). There is also an underlying message that leads me to believe she is at least sympathetic to PETA.
The essential idea of the book itself requires a substantial suspension of disbelief, in that you must be willing to accept that the world’s colors are affected by an external element and not perceived by each individual, as opposed to reality; for color vision is the result of the physiology of the eye, after all, and I cannot think of any specific thing that could cause the world to lose all color. This idea is actually mentioned in the book, but no real explanation as to why color perception was lost is explained. And, in fact, humans still can perceive color, in the monocolor orbs; but no color exists anywhere else. It’s a real stumper, really.
Ranhé is a most interesting character. Androgynous, skilled in almost everything, ambivalent to the world around her, and somewhat mad. Vorn is another interesting one. Nazarian does a great job overall of creating memorable characters in this book. If I were to list each of them, I would essentially need to list the entire cast, and there are quite a lot of them.
I do want to point out that hidden among all the rest of the story is a beautiful love story. It’s subtle (just the way I like it) but definitely there. Wonderful! Also, wonder of wonder and joyous days, a sequel is planned for this book, called Lady of Monochrome. I have no idea when, but I will be watching for it! Nazarian has some fun things associated with this book, like a quiz to show which Tilirr (Lord of the Rainbow) you serve at veranazarian.com/lorquiz (link where formatting allowed). Mine is Dersenne, Yellow. Find yours! Other info about the series can be found at Nazarian’s series-specific website, linked where formatting is allowed.
Another highly recommended work by Vera Nazarian. If you love a good story that is well told, don’t miss this one!
Disclosure: I received an e-book copy of this text through the LibraryThing Member’s giveaway in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Imagine a world without color, illuminated by a gray sun … An unrequited love... War... mystery... exultation... An epic fantasy of unspeakable wonder...
Lords of Rainbow
Imagine a sudden brilliant flash—an artificial orb ignites, filled with peculiar impossible light...
The nature of this light bears no description. It lingers in dreams, inciting an unrequited love for a goddess.
A corrupt city is shaped like a perfect wheel, and is ruled by a sister and brother, Regent and Regentrix, by perverse desires, and by a secret...
A loyal warrior woman swears to serve a mysterious lord. At the same time, an epic invasion is precipitated by a being of utter darkness, who is the one absolute source of black in a monochrome silver world.
And amid all this, flickers an ancient memory of a phenomenon called Rainbow and of those who had once filled the world with an impossible thing called color...
Book Info: Genre: Spiritual/Religious fiction Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of apocalyptic fiction, esp. relating to traditional religiousBook Info: Genre: Spiritual/Religious fiction Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of apocalyptic fiction, esp. relating to traditional religious thoughts on it
My Thoughts: This was a very strange book. While Yune is Muslim, the book itself seems to embrace all spiritual paths, which I actually appreciated. So often these sorts of things end up promoting one path over all others. Anyway, the synopsis gives a fairly concise description of the story, and there is not much else to say other than that. The characters are just there to move the story along, so there isn't much in the way of character development other than broad strokes, and the story itself is more about the journey than anything else. It sometimes moves years within the course of a paragraph. It was a fairly interesting story, but not a traditional one.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: The Gospel of Damascus is an eschatological novel that weaves sacred traditions to tell the story of eight angels who identify and prepare Yune Bukhari, a Damascene man born to a Christian mother and Muslim father, to be one of the successors to the Disciples of Christ. The preparation process is complex and entails spiritual and sensual experiences which Yune must successfully undergo. Guiding the preparation process are golden scrolls which can only be opened at very specific dates. The story appears to culminate on Christmas Eve 1999 when Yune, along with his co-disciples, believe Christ will return. Yune is shattered when Christ fails to descend on the White Tower east of Damascus. But thirty-three years later, the preparation of Yune is over and he is finally permitted to witness the event he had anticipated for so long. ...more