Note: This re-read was of a potential 3rd edition omnibus paperback that includes elements of some of the novellas.
My Thoughts: If you have seen my reNote: This re-read was of a potential 3rd edition omnibus paperback that includes elements of some of the novellas.
My Thoughts: If you have seen my reviews, you know I'm a fan of the Pact Arcanum, and of Ahsanuddin's wonderful writing style. The plot in this one is just a wonderfully smooth, beautifully detailed, and engaging as in each of the previous books. It is obvious that the author has put a lot of work into getting this book "just right". I was one of the fortunate ones who was able to see this one develop from an outline to a finished product as a beta reader and editor at an intermediate level (there were some before me and some after me, so I was not the only one to put a red pen to this book), and that was a great experience. If you still haven't experienced the Pact Arcanum, I highly recommend you do so, now that there are four books and a few short stories and novellas out there to feast on - because trust me, once you get started, you'll want to immerse yourself into these books. This is not "Twilight for gay men," but a rich story that is developed perfectly and will appeal to a wide range of readers - fans of vampires, space opera, near-future sci fi, magical reality, and so forth. As always, I highly recommend the Pact Arcanum and hope that you will take the opportunity that a new book in the series gives you to join in the fun.
I really love what Arshad has done with this proposed new edition - the extras put in since the originally developed story add to the richness. I spent a lot of time during the last 20 percent of the book crying, but it was a good thing - bittersweet tears, some out of sorrow, some out of joy. I've mentioned in previous reviews that these characters have become real to me - I would love to know these people. I think it is a real sign of talent for an author to create that kind of devotion in a reader, and I can't praise these books highly enough. If you have not yet experienced the Pact Arcanum, after all my raving about them, what's keeping you? Go, read them!
Disclosure: I edited the original, 1st edition manuscript in late 2011. I have just finished a re-read as a beta-reader of a proposed new edition paperback that includes elements of some of the novellas and a new epilogue. I do not receive any monetary compensation for my opinions about this book.
Synopsis: Secrets and lies are the watchwords of Starlight, the fourth chapter of the gay vampire saga Pact Arcanum. After over thirty thousand years of war, something new walks the Earth, which may be the greatest weapon yet in the war between the races.
Earth, 2142. A century after his father’s death, Antonio Jameson has returned home to pay his respects to a man he never had a chance to know, but has always resented. Captain of the Jumpvessel Singularity, he has spent his entire adult life navigating the void between the stars, blissfully avoiding any part of the fate that the higher powers had decreed for him in the war between the White Wind and the Red. But in a world where immortality is commonplace, death is not always what it seems, and destiny is not so easily cast aside. ...more
I'll be honest - it has been years since I last read this book, but I remember reading it several times. It will appeal more to a young-adult audienceI'll be honest - it has been years since I last read this book, but I remember reading it several times. It will appeal more to a young-adult audience as it is a very typical sword and sorcery fare. I will say these were among the first fantasy novels I read and I enjoyed them at the time; they were instrumental in starting me on a lifetime of reading. When I re-read them when I was older, although I found the story flatter than I did as a youngster, I still had fun with it. This is book 4 of, I believe, a 4 or 5 book series, so don't expect a nice tidy wrap-up....more
Synopsis: Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace abSynopsis: Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes climbed tiers of red roofs and old peaked gables harbouring little lanes of grassy cobbles. It was a fever of the gods, a fanfare of supernal trumpets and a clash of immortal cymbals. Mystery hung about it as clouds about a fabulous unvisited mountain; and as Carter stood breathless and expectant on that balustraded parapet there swept up to him the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things and the maddening need to place again what once had been an awesome and momentous place.
My Thoughts: Although it took me an unforgivably long time to get this whole story read, it was not through lack of interest, I assure you. I have looked at many reviews, and it appears that a lot of readers just didn't "get it" - describing it as a "travelogue" or such. But this... this is a brilliant little piece of dream-world building, and the ultimate aspiration of any lucid dreamer is to create a world as vivid as the world Randolph Carter creates for his own dreams (or at least I aspire to such - I have had dreams from which I have awakened, most reluctantly, while in the process of begging whomever I am with in the dream to hold me there somehow). Others complain of Lovecraft's racism, but ignore the fact that he was just parroting the thoughts of the time. Besides, anyone who venerates cats the way this guy does can't be all bad, right?
I reveled in the lush prose, enjoyed the horrors he creates in this short. I highly recommend Lovecraft to people who, like me, love words....more
Book Info: Genre: Sci-Fi/Military Sci Fi/Space Opera Reading Level: Adult Diversity: multicultural, women as leaders Tense, Person, POV: Past tense, thirBook Info: Genre: Sci-Fi/Military Sci Fi/Space Opera Reading Level: Adult Diversity: multicultural, women as leaders Tense, Person, POV: Past tense, third person, POV varies Recommended for: fans of sci-fi, military or space opera Trigger Warnings: violence, attempted and actual murder, historical mention of rape attempt, drug pushing, dueling Offensive Wording: offensive wording used to label the Medusans; on character calls another “faggot” as an insult
My Thoughts: This is my 3rd time reading this excellent book; I've just never reviewed it before. It is the first book in the Honor Harrington series, of which I believe there are now 14 books, plus several books in spin-off series and anthologies. Needless to say I won't be listing the series information on these reviews, as it would just take up too much time.
Meet Honor Harrington. Her catchphrase is “Let's be about it, people.” She has a wonderful way of inspiring people to follow her example and give their fullest efforts. We meet a lot of great people in this book, people who we will see again, people we will grow to care for... people who David Weber might kill. Be prepared for a body count, this is as much military sci-fi as it is space opera. I found it bittersweet. There is a good bit of humor, however, such as:
McKeon says: “You know Hauptman is going to deny they had anything to do with it [smuggling].”
“Forty-three million in illegal peltries? Of course they will, just as Mondragon's captain insists the space fairies must have brought them,” Honor said ironically.
Or this: “WAGs... That's a technical term we engineers use. It means 'Wild-Assed Guess'.”
If you enjoy sci-fi, whether it be military or space opera, definitely check this out. Also, those who (like me) love the idea of sentient cats (the treecats) will really enjoy meeting Nimitz! I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did!
Disclosure: This book was owned by my husband before we met. I've also acquired an e-book version. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Having made Sonja Hemphill look a fool, she's been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her.
Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.
The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.
Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up To Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system.
But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad....more
Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of urban fantasy, wizards, male protagonists, humor. Trigger Warnings:
My ThougBook Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of urban fantasy, wizards, male protagonists, humor. Trigger Warnings:
My Thoughts: This will be, I believe, the third time I’ve read this book. It’s been a long time since I first discovered the Dresden Files, and I wanted to start from the beginning before finally reading books 13 and 14 for the first time.
It had been so very long since I read these early books that I had forgotten quite a lot about them. I’d forgotten what a huge pain in the butt Morgan is, for instance. But I hadn’t forgotten how much I enjoyed it the first time around, and I certainly enjoyed it again this time. This is the urban fantasy by which I judge all other urban fantasies. This is just way too much fun.
Disclosure: This book is mine, I bought it. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Meet Harry Dresden, who is a wizard in Chicago. The only openly practicing wizard in existence. This is his story....more
Please note: I have finished a 2nd proofread and can honestly say that the changes the author has made to this allow me to add another star to this raPlease note: I have finished a 2nd proofread and can honestly say that the changes the author has made to this allow me to add another star to this rating.
Book Info: Genre: Horror Reading Level: Adult Read: from 5/19-5/20/12
Disclosure: I picked up a free ebook version on Amazon back in January; recently the author contacted me to offer me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Since I already had it, I said I’d be happy to provide feedback.
Synopsis: "There is a somewhere in the middle of nowhere that is everywhere at the same time. In that place, time is a fluid that flows around you, and the very fabric of reality seems to twist and stretch," said the old man with a sly grin on his face. There was a glint in his eye that all talented storytellers have when they are reciting some particularly enticing bit. From the way he spoke, you would wonder if he drank one too many and followed it with the worm. Of course, the fact that this particular conversation happened to be taking place in a retirement home, without an ounce of liquor in sight would, normally, seem to preclude that possibility.
"I've been there once myself. Years and years ago when I was a much younger man. Of course, nowadays I doubt you could find it again. It may be impossible to get there with all this newfangled technology around, Mapping every last inch of the world so that everything has a name to it," he spat out the last words with a disgusted grimace, "Of course, that's the way things have to be. If we didn't explore every last inch of our planet, we would be a dead race. That's the thing, you see. We have to keep moving out farther and farther to stay alive, but we destroy the mystery when we do. Curiosity doesn't always kill the cat. Sometimes . . . sometimes it doesn't kill anyone. Sometimes, it just closes the door and walks away."
My Thoughts: The author tells me the book has been re-edited and provided to Amazon to update; although I downloaded a fresh copy right before reading it, I don’t think I received the re-edited copy, as there are a number of typos and grammatical errors in the text I have. It’s not a problem for me, but please make sure you have the latest edition of this book. Additional note: With the changes made during the editing process, the book is much cleaner and reads much more smoothly. Please ensure you have the latest edition, which will hopefully be released soon.
That said, the synopsis is actually the first two paragraphs of the story. The basic idea is that there are powers that control the world, and you can reach them by the path mentioned by the old man. Most of the story is The Nameless, who controls The Book, trying to understand his power and survive, basically. It’s an interesting idea, and it’s obvious that the writer has some talent and ability, but the story itself needs a great deal of polish. I ran across at least one major plot hole, which I can’t mention or I’ll add a major spoiler to the story here. The characters had a certain level of development, but it ended at the point where their position in the story was set – the interviewer, the old man, the nurse (Melanie), Jack the drunk. Then there was The Nameless and Tabitha. At any rate, it’s not a bad story – it’s highly entertaining while one is reading it – but it doesn’t have that polished finishing touch that needed to turn a good idea into a great story. That said, fans of horror should find it entertaining....more
Please note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher (Sea Lion) in exchange for an honest review, which I did in December, 2011. In SeptembePlease note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher (Sea Lion) in exchange for an honest review, which I did in December, 2011. In September and October 2013 I am editing it for an updated release of the e-book.
4.5 out of 5 stars
My Synopsis: Isaiah Marshall has lived on the streets since he was a child. He had to grow up tough and strong, and now he runs his own gang – the Redrover Gang – consisting of his friends Jeremy, Monty and Pipsqueak. One day, while walking in a part of town they didn’t normally frequent, Isaiah is almost run down by a pretty-boy driving a fancy Ferrari, who announces that they are near Kaliber Academy, which is a place for people who want to learn and grow, and not a place for vagrants like the Redrovers, so they need to just move along. Not being the type of people who take kindly to such attitude, the boys decide to crash the Academy, find the pretty boy, and teach him a lesson. What none of them expected was to be offered the chance to join the school themselves. That’s when everything changes for them, because Isaiah discovers that he is eligible to join a very exclusive club at Kaliber Academy – the Pantheon Club. It is only open to godlings – and Isaiah is the son of Zeus. Isaiah’s life is about to change, forever.
My Thoughts: I was fortunate enough to get a very early look at this manuscript and am very impressed with the ideas that went into creating this book. I think it would be appropriate from tweens on up, providing a lot of life lessons in belonging, acceptance, growing up and taking responsibility for oneself. The characters are each well developed with a solid foundation behind them – reading this first book of the series, one might not catch all the nuances just yet, as there are revelations still to be made, but just be aware that there is a reason for everything in this book. The author has stated that he wants to make people think and react, and I believe that will be something that the potential reader can count on – this book will make you crank up your brainwaves a bit. That said, it’s not at all a difficult book – it has some challenging themes, but the writing style flows nicely and it is easy to follow the plot. I believe this is a book that almost anyone could enjoy and can recommend it. ...more
This book is currently FREE on Amazon if you would like to read it!
Disclosure: I edited this book, but do not receive any remuneration for sales. My hThis book is currently FREE on Amazon if you would like to read it!
Disclosure: I edited this book, but do not receive any remuneration for sales. My having edited the book in no way affects my opinion of the story.
My synopsis: This fast-paced novel, which includes a segment of formerly released novella The Icarus Transformation, centers around a fascinating idea – what if some … entity had, at some point in the past, distributed special documents throughout the world – ones that, when read, gave the reader amazing new knowledge and abilities, that could help them become rich and powerful – or dangerously insane? Jezebel (or Jez), the title character of the book, is a former Vegas showgirl, a former magician’s assistant, and formerly an ambitious go-getter. However, ever since the death of her fiancé Chance at the hands of carjackers, she has sought assiduously to drink herself to death. This night, however, something different is about to happen – this night, men have arrived, seeking to kill her. She is saved by an unlikely hero and catapulted into the adventure of her lifetime when she unknowingly is the first woman to read a page and not only survive, but actually absorb the information and no go insane. Soon she is dodging assassins, recruiting new members to the top-secret group of which she has become a part, and starting plans for a space colony.
My Thoughts: This is one of the books that I had a chance to read very early and it was a page-turner even in rough form. To watch it develop was a truly wonderful thing. Scott’s characters are well-developed and each have a unique voice. The concept he has developed in this story is fresh and exciting. I highly recommend this to fans of speculative science fiction, or anyone who enjoys a good book. It is my understanding that there will be at least one sequel, which I will be eagerly awaiting....more
Please note: This review includes links to a GWAR video and song. If you are not aware of GWAR, they are a horror/comedy heavy metal band. Their musicPlease note: This review includes links to a GWAR video and song. If you are not aware of GWAR, they are a horror/comedy heavy metal band. Their music is often loud and incoherent. Their videos and live shows are violent and often out-right gross. View the video at your own discretion, but don't complain I didn't warn you!
Synopsis: Plagued by insane nightmare visions, Walter Gilman seeks help in Miskatonic University’s infamous library of forbidden books, where, in the pages of Abdul Alhazred’s dreaded Necronomicon , he finds terrible hints that seem to connect his own studies in advanced mathematics with the fantastic legends of elder magic.
This is, I think, among my favorite H.P. Lovecraft short stories. I really like the idea of Brown Jenkins, and the old witch is just creepy as can be. Like most of Lovecraft's stories, this one points out the danger of allowing oneself to learn too much, especially when it comes to exotic mathematics and physics. So, if you are a scientist... BEWARE! You might be opening yourself up to Azathoth!...more
Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of Urban Fantasy Animal Abuse: A number of animals, including a cat and a birdBook Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of Urban Fantasy Animal Abuse: A number of animals, including a cat and a bird, are murdered by a rampaging... something.
My Thoughts: This one is a hard one for me. Don’t take that wrong—I love this series, and I loved this book—but it was a hard one. These books become progressively grimmer, like most urban fantasy series. However, I was literally rolling during the initial scenes with Michael. I had forgotten how intensely comical the interactions often are between Michael and Harry. The scene in the nursery, after they’ve just returned from the Nevernever and are methodically disarming themselves and trying to look harmless for the approaching police kept me cracking up for a long time after I finished reading it.
So, a mixture of the bitter and the sweet, like all Jim Butcher’s stuff. If you have never experienced the Dresden Files, just know this one is a hard one, but important.
Disclosure: I purchased this book for myself, as I have this entire series. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: In all his years of supernatural sleuthing, Harry Dresden has never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone—or something—is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself. ...more
Please note: Originally reviewed in September 2007 (have read it previously a couple times); just copying my review over from Amazon
My Synopsis: In DoPlease note: Originally reviewed in September 2007 (have read it previously a couple times); just copying my review over from Amazon
My Synopsis: In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, we find ourselves alternating between two intertwining plot lines. One involves Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who "retires" escaped androids. The latest model - the Nexus-6 - can only be differentiated from humans through use of a sophisticated psychological testing mechanism that measures empathy levels; empathy being the one thing that androids quite simply lack. The other plot line revolves around J. R. Isadore, a "chickenhead" (that is to say, a man who has mutated enough that he is starting to lose his cognitive abilities, but not so much that he cannot still manage to take care of himself and serve the public in some small way). He works for the Van Ness Pet Hospital, which serves people who own electric animals. However, his day gets off to an uneven start when first he discovers another tenant in his previously empty building, and then he is given a real cat - which subsequently dies on the way in to the hospital before he even realizes it is actually alive.
Comparison and Themes: Similar in theme to The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, this book explores the differences between reality and fantasy by probing the differences between man and machine(sometimes that line is very blurred), electric animal and real animal, and so forth. Always in the background is the constant back and forth of Mercerism vs. Buster Friendly, who always gently (and sometimes not so gently) accuses Mercer as a fraud and fake.
Recommendation: I found the story enjoyable; dense and difficult at times, but the interchange and interplays are always deft and intriguing. This classic bit of surreal sci-fi is not to be missed....more
Synopsis: On an expedition to Antarctica, Professor William Dyer and his colleagues discover the remains of ancient half-vegetable, half-animal life-forms. The extremely early date in the geological strata is surprising because of the highly-evolved features found in these previously unkown life-forms. Through a series of dark revelations, violent episodes, and misunderstandings, the group learns of Earth's secret history and legacy
My Thoughts: This is one of Lovecraft's better-known works, in which little snippets from many of his shorter pieces are used as background to create a more-cohesive whole. A classic of the creeping horror/bizarro genre, and a story not to be missed....more
Disclosure: I edited this book. I do not receive remuneration based upon sales, nor does that fact alter my opinion of this as an excellent book.
SynopDisclosure: I edited this book. I do not receive remuneration based upon sales, nor does that fact alter my opinion of this as an excellent book.
Synopsis: Wrestling with giants, tracking evil spirits, and starting a blood feud with heretic wizards—it’s just another day of searching for truth. An epic sword and sorcery mosaic in the style of A Game of Thrones or the Belgariad.
Tashi the sheriff is one of the last priests of the Traveler. Avoiding the Brotherhood of Executioners, he visits ancient temples in order to close the Doors to Eternity—the places where magic creeps into our world. Something went horribly wrong when the Inner Islands erupted, something only a priest can fix. Following riddles from a dead faith and a stolen sword, his quest ignites brushfires of heresy and civil war, making new enemies with every border he crosses. All roads lead to the legendary City of the Gods.
Seasoned with humor and action, this world has been built from the coins and calendars up. Society, magic, martial arts, and even the gods follow strict codes. All the characters see themselves as the hero, even the villains. Listen and they’ll tell you why.
Tashi's quest concludes in Dreams of the Fallen: the last two temples need to be closed, and each one gets more difficult.
My Thoughts: Intricate but paced to allow the reader to get the information in bite-sized chunks, Doors to Eternity is the beginning to a story that will delight readers who enjoy epic fantasy, quest fantasy, adventure and well-written stories. The characters are colorful and well-developed, and the plot flows clearly from one point to the next. Rhine has created a world to delight readers - definitely check out this new fantasy world, get to know its colorful characters (I loved the smith, myself) and enjoy the ride!...more