The Nanobots and Other Stories is a collection of ten short science fiction stories for children. I loved the way Mowe used local legends and culturesThe Nanobots and Other Stories is a collection of ten short science fiction stories for children. I loved the way Mowe used local legends and cultures in the composition of her stories even whilst making it so futuristic!
Each story is followed by a brief write up on the science behind that story.
Fun AND educational. Sounds like a good deal :D...more
A Malaysian Restaurant in London tells the story of three friends: Kenny, who opens a restaurant in London with his two brothers, Trevor, his Irish frA Malaysian Restaurant in London tells the story of three friends: Kenny, who opens a restaurant in London with his two brothers, Trevor, his Irish friend who worked with them as a waiter, and Faizah, the junior chef who whips up a mysterious Malay dish that changes their lives. It's hard to define how Malaysian this book is - it's there in the undercurrents, with the use of local superstitions and local supernatural beings - but because the book is set in London, then Seville, and then only in Malaysia, it feels very much more international as well. I suppose this is a good thing.
I picked up this book for two reasons: I was at the book launch and I am trying to increase my quota of Malaysian books. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it.
(and this is joining the list of reviews I need to expand on but probably will forget to)...more
First things first: I received this a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Callan Blair is fairly sure that this next foster assigFirst things first: I received this a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Callan Blair is fairly sure that this next foster assignment will be like all the rest - she'd be in and out pretty quickly. Except this time, she's sent to school at Graystone Academy with her two new brothers and somehow plunges into a real magical world that had only ever existed in her dreams. Worse, whilst she's still coming to terms with the fact that two of her new schoolmates are soldiers and contenders for the throne in this strange new world, she's confronted with the fact that everything she knows of her late parents has been a lie. Mostly of omission. Struggling with that betrayal, staying in this world may be the only chance she has of ever finding out who they really were.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book. On a general feel, it was kind of so-so-ish in the beginning (meh, boarding school story, what?) but by the time I hit midway, I didn't really want to stop reading. It's fairly short though; well, middling in length (less than 3 hours). Then again, it's book 1 of a series so I suppose it can't go on for too long or we'll never get to the other books.
Writing wise, it's not exactly stellar, but it's quite solid for a debut. Gerrick tends to use shorter, choppier dialogue which wasn't exactly ideal for me. I don't know what I was expecting, but I'd have figured longer, more formal dialogue for princely types. Then again, they're teens. There were a few confusing bits - especially with the dream sequences and the red vs black - but nothing too major.
The Watcher's Keep has everything it takes to be a really good epic fantasy novel. A pair of twins thrown into the world to seek their destiny and theThe Watcher's Keep has everything it takes to be a really good epic fantasy novel. A pair of twins thrown into the world to seek their destiny and the future; an evil Wizard-God, his dragon and his henchmen bent on ruling the world opposed by the Guardians, consisting of a Wizard, a woodsman and an assortment of motley characters; dwarves who are emerging into the world of men again, reluctantly; elves who are caught between helping and hindering; and a Prophecy that no one really understands.
I was hoping to like it, despite being a little disappointed with the prequel novella (Prophecy's Queen: An Epic Fantasy) because not everyone can do novellas well. Still, it didn't quite meet my expectations. It felt clunky in places, with a lot of info dumps which could probably have been smoothed over with a better editor. In some places, I was a little confused over the timeline as it seemed as if something happened in a chapter prior, and then we headed off to see what was happening with another character, and it wasn't entirely clear if we'd gone back to cover the same few days or we'd moved on sequentially.
There was an overall choppiness to it; the writing was disjointed, rather like some of my first drafts which I never got round to fixing. I'm not writing this series off yet, I think, but I do wish he'd polish it up a bit more first. ...more
I picked this up for free on Amazon, attracted by the fact that 1) it was epic fantasy and 2) the author is currently residing in my hometown!
ProphecI picked this up for free on Amazon, attracted by the fact that 1) it was epic fantasy and 2) the author is currently residing in my hometown!
Prophecy's Queen is a quick read (1 hour based on my kindle) that sets the background for Timothy Bond's Triadine Saga. But that's not telling you anything that you can't already tell from the title of this book. Haha.
There are shades of Eddings in Prophecy's Queen - a prophecy of two paths, one good and one evil, and a promised child (or two, in this case) who is destined to guide the good path in the ultimate destruction of evil; a sorceress who gives up much to aid that path, and who must ultimately give more; the need to hide the children until the time is right; the necessary sacrifices of many to guide and direct the path in oblique ways, without upsetting the balance. Then again, many of these in their various forms, are time-honoured traditions in epic fantasy classics.
This is going to be one of those rare reviews which will have a split star rating between Amazon and Goodreads. I like it enough to give it an okay, but not enough to really state "I like it". (Isn't Goodreads owned by Amazon now? Can't they just synchronise their rating system?) Also, in terms of my personal rating on my blog, it falls towards a 2 than a 3.
Why is that? First of all, as I took all that time to say earlier - nothing much new in this one. I understand that it's a prequel, and a novella, so there isn't much time or place to really expand much. But everything that it's setting up for in the coming saga sounds like it's going to be very generic good vs evil, prophecy-fulfilment type fantasy, with elves vs humans vs dwarves or whatever other race until the wizards and sorcerers and whoever else is trying to guide the prophecy manage to get them to work together to defeat the evil sorcerer.
Secondly, this isn't quite Bond's "debut novel" (The Watcher's Keep was published in 2014 and The Dragon Rises earlier in 2015), but in some ways, it feels like it is. Prophecy's Queen starts very abruptly, dragging you into the middle of some unknown quarrel, and then tumbles you about in an overwhelming plethora of "telling" all the while refusing to actually explain anything. Until the very end of the novella, much is said about "the prophecy" and several interpretations of various parts of it are forwarded, but what the prophecy actually says itself is never revealed. [Okay I correct myself - a miniscule part of it was inserted.]
To be fair, I do have this to say - it appears Bond has put a lot of thought into his world building and the history of his world. It may not come across very well in Bond's writing - there is a clunkiness to the way he "disseminates" his information - but it is there in the background. Reading Prophecy's Queen doesn't raise questions of "Why did this happen? It doesn't make sense," but more of "why did I need to know this now?" For example, the chapter on Banderfin and the Dwarvish society as well as the tiella birds served no obvious purpose in this story that I could tell. It felt like a story thread that was forgotten halfway and doesn't resolve. Maybe it would make better sense if I had already read The Triadine Saga.
I guess the error Bond made with this prequel is to try to fit too much unnecessary information to get his readers up to speed instead of following a simple and linear storyline that would pull them in to wanting to know....more
At 19, Lady Auriella is the Watcher of England and she's beginning to feel like a miserable failure. The newly-crowned King Edward doesn't believe inAt 19, Lady Auriella is the Watcher of England and she's beginning to feel like a miserable failure. The newly-crowned King Edward doesn't believe in the Shadows and publicly mocks her position whilst trying to find her a suitable husband. Her world falls further apart when she's sent to assassinate the King of Scotland.
Her journey is fraught with danger - not just from the Shadow Legions and ghosts from the past, but from the strange Watchers she meets on the road and the one handsome Scottish Watcher who keeps trying to steal her heart and her hand.
Hidden Fire is a fascinating read - for younger readers. Personally, I felt that it lacked a little bit of polish and refinement which would have made it a better story. As it was some of the plot "twists" were pretty much predictable. It makes light reading for older teens and adults who are trying to be young.
I received a copy of this e-book from Eden Literary in exchange for an honest review....more
What if all that you have ever been taught as good and right, the light that you've been taught to appreciate turns out to be the hand of darkness thaWhat if all that you have ever been taught as good and right, the light that you've been taught to appreciate turns out to be the hand of darkness that has been holding you down?
When Nathaniel Rush of Little Pond discovers that the vicars of the Light have things to hide - things that may change his understanding of the world - he has to decide if he should run away from this knowledge, fitting back into the normalcy of life he has always known, or if he should pursue it, like in his dreams of being a knight and hero. Along for the adventure is Orah Weber, the girl he would give up his freedom for, and Thomas Bradford, the doubter, the one already broken by the Light. They must find the hidden keep, preserved for centuries by the keepers, so that the truth and knowledge of the past ages and civilizations won't be lost to the world.
Litwack's writing is fresh, and Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas come to life in your imagination as you flip (or click) the pages of this book. That's not to say that the other characters are not well fleshed out as well - they are. You feel for the painful history between Nathaniel's father and Orah's mother, and at times you are even drawn to understand the arch vicar, who seeks the keep for reasons of his own.
The Children of Darkness was originally published as There Comes a Prophet, and has been re-edited, expanded, and re-released with a new publisher in line with its rebranding as book one of the dystopian trilogy, The Seekers. Because I'm not exactly one who remembers minute details of a book I read 2 years ago, I can't tell you exactly what has changed during my re-read - but I would say that the pace has slowed a little, with snippets of Orah's thoughts coming to the fore, pushing her forward as a stronger driver of the story than before.
I received this ebook copy for review as part of a Novel Publicity tour....more
I don't know if it's fair to rate a book that I have a story in, but well, I guess I'm rating all the stories in the book other than mine. =) Anyway,I don't know if it's fair to rate a book that I have a story in, but well, I guess I'm rating all the stories in the book other than mine. =) Anyway, as much as I was hoping that I would fall desperately in love with Cyberpunk: Malaysia, I didn't. I liked it well enough. It's pretty decent. But it's not gripping. But as far as debut Malaysian Sci-Fi goes, it's a good offering. So that's 3.5 stars from me!
There is a quote (I think) which says something about writers reflecting the state of their country through their stories. I think Cyberpunk: Malaysia does that. In imagining the near future, the writers in this anthology give vent to their worries about religion and religious control, the greed of our politicians, the growing racial divide, the growing economic divide, the burgeoning anger of the populace, the treatment of foreign workers and the polarizing effect of knowledge or the lack thereof.
So I finally got round to reading this after it had been sitting in my kindle for a long while (probably a few years). It has some pretty good stuff, sSo I finally got round to reading this after it had been sitting in my kindle for a long while (probably a few years). It has some pretty good stuff, some of which is now outdated (this book was published in 2012), but leaving those aside, it's good material for people who have no experience whatsoever with Twitter and/or social media. I've been using Twitter for a while, so it's more of just reminders, I guess. ...more
I thought that Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern was a really good read. Then, I got distracted by other books, as I usually am. So when I finally got roundI thought that Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern was a really good read. Then, I got distracted by other books, as I usually am. So when I finally got round to picking up this book (the sequel), I went back and re-read my review of the first book to kind of brush up my memory. I probably didn't need to. Tay-Song is a master fisher(wo)man who reels you in so effortlessly, that like a fish on a hook you just go with the flow!
The Icer Queen Stasia of Iskalon finds herself stranded alone in a strange, endless cave, with her enemy, Fire King Dynat of Chraun, as her only companion. She doesn't trust Dynat, but she's not sure if she can trust the foreign Khell tribes who offer them grudging assistance due to their own ancient prophecies. There's so much about this land that she needs to learn in order to survive - and there's so much more that she needs to learn about the history of her own race and her own kingdom in order to be able to figure out how to ensure their continued survival.
Whilst firmly established in the mythical world of QaiMaj, revelling in the magic of T'Jas, this book (and the series so far) touches on several real-world issues as well: race, wealth and privilege, and culture. Tay-Song explores very thoroughly the race relations between Iskaloners, Chraunians and Humans, and how these relations are affected also by the individual cultures of each society. It also looks at privilege, and how sometimes the poor are supposedly given choices and opportunities to work their way up in society, but because they do not have the resources so readily available to those who are already have at least some form of privilege, these opportunities are really a Catch-22.
The interludes that messed me up a little in book 1 start to make sense now as the story starts to pull together so much more. Tay-Song still uses these slightly-disjointed interludes between major sections of the story, but it's not as awkward now as the many different threads in this book starts to get pulled together.
I'll just end this review by saying that I really loved the book and can't wait for book 3! Because, you know, I really want to know how this story ends. :)
* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review...more
I'm straddling the fence with this one. On one hand, it was a pretty well-written story. On the other, it was one of those stories where I couldn't quI'm straddling the fence with this one. On one hand, it was a pretty well-written story. On the other, it was one of those stories where I couldn't quite see or agree with the main protagonist's point of view.
Louise Palmer annoyed me no end with her baseless superstitions and her selfish desire to destroy her marriage just because she can't sit down and have a calm, mature discussion with her husband, Clay. Clay is no better either, always assuming that Louise is in full agreement with him, or will be, once she has time to "think about it."
The ending with it's crazy 180 degree swing is no better either.
I guess this could be a manual on how *not* to have a happy marriage. And how to be perfectly miserable for no valid reason whatsoever other than because you're so stuck in the past that you can't accept that things change over time. ...more