Book One in The Trilogy of Shadows was interesting. The authors take on vampires was one I'm not used to seeing. Unfortunately, this also meant that iBook One in The Trilogy of Shadows was interesting. The authors take on vampires was one I'm not used to seeing. Unfortunately, this also meant that it was something I didn't immediately understand. I spent the first half of the book trying to figure out why Cameo wasn't being a vampire since she'd been turned into one. I mean why didn't she defend herself?? Turns out, she wasn't. She's an imorotal "Thrall" of a vampire. This means she received just enough vampiric blood to make her undead but not enough to make her a vamp. Instead she was referred to as more like a Zombie and under the compulsion of her maker.
Super cool huh? This idea of dead but not dead, immortal but not a vamp, human but inhuman... I just wish I understood it better. I mean, why did she eat? Did she poop? She's dead so no digestive system... There was also the issue of "Shadow People" who she seems to be able to give tasks. I think the author has a great imagination but was trying a little too hard to keep some things in her vest pocket. Instead of making me want to read more, it frustrated me because I didn't understand.
Overall, this was an interesting and unique story, set in a world which allowed for some fabulous characterization and plot twists. If you like historical vampire pieces this one is well written and intricately conceived. Personally, it didn't spark my fire, so while I enjoyed Book One, I won't be reading Two or Three....more
Review: Take the knife is a companion story to Ms. Linsey’s novel Botanicaust (read my review here) in the best way possible. It reads like a fascinatReview: Take the knife is a companion story to Ms. Linsey’s novel Botanicaust (read my review here) in the best way possible. It reads like a fascinating and fully developed world even in the short format of Taking the Knife, but if you’ve read Botanicaust, you’ll get so much more out of it, from who Ana really is, what her “Spirit Healing” is and how she came to be captured in the first place. I’m going to keep this review short because to say much more is going to give too much away. But if you’re looking for a story to make you think, question your morals and sense of right and wrong, and introduce a world as outlandish as it is possible, than you should read Taking the Knife. And once you read it (FOR FREE TODAY!) then you’ll want to go buy Botanicaust, because it’s even better....more
Disclaimer: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nDisclaimer: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Review: Dear Mr. Williams,
You don’t know me, but there are some things I’d like to tell you before I review your book. You see, reading VINE was like kismet, it was as if you’d written this book just for me, as if you’d reached into my past, my internal story, and decided you’d sing directly to my muse. If you can’t tell, your writing has touched me deeply.
You see, my training is in theatre. Not just theatre, but classical theatre. I studied the Greeks extensively, wrote my thesis on Euripides and even worked as the dramaturg for a retelling of the Bacchus using Odessa Indian Dance. (For those of you not in the know about what these words mean, you can take the leap of faith I’m a big nerd.) I also did extensive research into post-modern playwriting and found all kinds of inspiration from retellings of cannon classics such as Jocasta (a retelling of the Oedipus story from his mother’s POV)
So not only have I lived in the world you write about, I’ve studied the exact premise you use to tell your story, and I feel pretty confident in saying what you’ve created is nigh onto perfection.
For those reading this who haven’t had the pleasure of reading VINE, you should know that this is not a conventional story. The structure is neither that of a novel nor that of a play. However, Williams uses the technique implemented by Greek Classics: each chapter is from a different point of view. This includes the main characters, the allegory perspective of secondary characters, but most importantly the use of narration via a chorus. The chorus is made up of the muses, a Greek personification of inspiration. Each sister has a specific personality and perspective, and through them, you are told a story that weaves in and out of reality.
It sounds a little heady at first, but once you get into the groove of the story, it flows seamlessly. Williams’ insight into the world of ageing off off Broadway theatre is accurately depressing as is his ability to capture the inner life of Manhattan.
While I don’t think VINE is a book that will appeal to everyone, mostly because of it’s literary and academic nature, I do think it’s a piece that should be read. In fact, I’m going to send my copy to my college mentor, I think she’ll get quite a kick out of it.
Thank you Mr. Williams for writing a piece that both repulsed and seduced me, for bringing the classic style I love so much relevant to the modern world.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this ebook via Full Moon Bites Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. No promise of a positive review wasDisclaimer: I received a free copy of this ebook via Full Moon Bites Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. No promise of a positive review was made.
Review: The Vampire’s Hope has a super cool premise and an awesome cast of characters. From the first sentence you are pulled into the miserable lot that is Ellie Smith’s life. She’s smart, street savvy and an excellent judge of character. What she isn’t though, at least by Chapter Two, is alive.
Full of mythology, history and an epic battle for humanity, Winters’ has written a unique and really engaging version of the vampire mythos. Unfortunately, she did it in a short. Because of this the reader is left wanting. I would adore to see this fleshed out into a full novella or novel. I was quite impressed with the vivid world the author’s imagination brought to life, but there were a few issues in how it was presented.
First of all, the writing could have used some tightening up. Way to many “that”s and such for a final product. And little things like you can’t “thrust” something out, you can only thrust in. However, this would be easily corrected with a quick re-edit. And really, wasn’t enough of an issue to bother me in and of itself. Primarily, I was left wanting because the time wasn’t taken to fully develop the characters or the plot. I won’t go in depth into my specific concerns because really, there’s nothing that couldn’t be fixed simply by expanding on what is already here. What I mean to say here is, I WANT MORE. This book is great, the idea original and exciting. This shouldn’t be a short.
Ian, Master Liam, the Keres, the historical connections, Elpis’ name and origin, the ancient religious allegories, these were all completely fascinating. I wanted to know more. This is to Ms. Winters’ credit, no doubt. It was such a great premise, I’d really like to read more of her work and see what she can create if given the space to let her imagination breathe. I see my issues with The Vampire’s Hope not as a failure on the author’s part but a success. This is clearly an author with a tremendous amount of talent and the makings of a really amazing and fantastic story that I would love to read. I hope she revisits this story and expands it into the amazing story it can be....more
Disclaimer: I received an eBook copy of Choices as a part of Innovative Blog Tour‘s Promotion for CHOICES. No promise of a positive review was made.
ReDisclaimer: I received an eBook copy of Choices as a part of Innovative Blog Tour‘s Promotion for CHOICES. No promise of a positive review was made.
Review: CHOICES has proven to be a difficult book to review. Despite a number of serious issues with the book, I found myself unable to turn away, addicted to reading more and ultimately looking forward to the next instalment in the series. Because of that alone I would say CHOICES is a success. The erotica is well written and exciting, full of exotic locations, enticing situations and ultimately a lot of fun.
However, the issues I had are numerous though and it wouldn’t be fair not to mention them. For one, the book is in desperate need of an editor. The first line of the novel has a serious grammatical error, turning me off from the get go – (I wrote this after reading the ebook, I just received the paperback and this particular error is fixed, giving me hope for the rest of the book. Hopefully the ebook will be updated soon with the corrected copy). If this wasn’t a blog tour I would have turned away and never looked back right then. There’s no excuse for that. There are a number of missing words, unclosed quotes, a general overuse of adjectives and incorrect parts of speech and pronouns making it a frustrating read. In addition, the writing is extremely passive and full of stale narrative, especially in the first half. The attempt to create background and a world leave the reader cold and without much action or investment in the situation.
However, at about half way through, CHOICES really picks up. When the author gets into the relationship between Anna and Adam, there’s no doubt of her skill. The sex is hot, the scenes descriptive and the pace thrilling. With proper story doctoring the rest of the story could easily be brought up to the same standard as those scenes, making the whole book head and shoulders better.
For example: “He sounded more than a little drunk as he splashed wine into their glasses” could be fixed to “He slurred his words, hand unsteady as he tipped the bottle of wine to splash into their glasses.”
At $4.95, the price point is far to high for a book in need of this level of work. However, it is a fun and engaging read once you get into it. I give CHOICES a solid 3 stars....more
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from the author at Book Expo America 2012. No promise of a review was made and certainly no promise of a positDisclaimer: I received a copy of this from the author at Book Expo America 2012. No promise of a review was made and certainly no promise of a positive review.
Review: The premise of Breed is phenomenal. It's basically exactly what I've been dying for someone to write. Genetic manipulation taken to it's most extreme and the terrifying effects this can have on one's humanity. I was full of high hopes when I started. Between a slug by Steven King and the author's track record (National Book Award Finalist) it should have been amazing. Plus, the cover is gorgeously creepy in it's simplicity.
Unfortunately, Breed doesn't live up to it's potential. Written in 3rd person omniscient, Breed is difficult to engage with. The writing is often bloated and self referential, giving the reader the feeling of being talked down to. Novak (pen name for Scott Spencer) takes great pleasure in both condemning the upper class lifestyle of the NY Elite while simultaneously writing in the wink-wink nudge-nudge style of someone who likes to remind you they are on the inside.
The best sections of Breed are written in 3rd person close POV (which the whole book should have been. This would have removed the authorial voice which is the primary problem with the writing). Cynthia, Amile and Michael are by far the most engaging characters (both plot wise and due to writing style) but are the least attended to plot lines. Instead we are hounded (hehe) with descriptions of how hairy the parents are and chasing. It was kind of like reading a Jon Woo film script, where there is always one too many car chase scenes.
Breed isn't a bad book, it's primary issue is that it's a phenomenal book buried under layers and layers of monotonous repetition. I couldn't get the idea of Breed out of my head. It is truly horrific and possible, which is always the scariest element in a good horror tome. My frustration over the book is because of this, because it could be so good. It could be insightful and intelligent and deeply disturbing. Instead, it spends a lot of time making sure you think it's insightful and intelligent.
Overall, you should check Breed out, if only because of the places it will take your imagination. Novak is truly inspired in his originality and concept. Rarely is something so unique conceived, especially in the horror genre. Make sure to take your daily dose of salt though, and don't get too invested, otherwise you'll end up as annoyed as I am. I mean, I still don't know what happens at the end! All I can hope for is that there will be a second book in the world of Breed which is actually take the time to explain all of the hanging questions....more
Review: Yes, you read that right, another Silver Book! I was a little sceptical of this one because it's a flashbDisclaimer: I purchased this book.
Review: Yes, you read that right, another Silver Book! I was a little sceptical of this one because it's a flashback and I was worried there'd be too much childhood saccharin for my tastes, but I should have trusted in Keira, she hasn't steered me wrong yet and this one is no different. Entropy is short. Too short really. That's my only complaint. I would have preferred it be tucked into another book, but it wouldn't have fit into The Lost and The Damned and from what I can see from the next book, that one is way too long to have been expanded to encompass this one. So in the end, it was probably the right more to make it a stand alone and it wouldn't have been appropriate to make it longer.
Entropy may be about a 5 year old, but it's in no way a kids book. As usual Telford delivers a gritty look at the post apocalyptic life of the Hunter Division inside the Sentinel District. Ella (Silver) just lost the man she thought was her father. But sorrow is something she can't feel about it, having always been closer to her guardian - Papa-G. Soon he'll become just Papa and will become the standard she judges not only all other men by but herself as well.
This book is more of an aside, an insight into the upbringing and family that has created Silver, as well as a very real look at what it's like to grow up in a world where death is equated with glory and survival is always just one wrong move away from death. I thoroughly enjoyed this little piece. It's an excellent addition to the series and a fun, engaging read.
I've already purchased book four A New Age Dawns and I'm way too fan girl excited for words. Yep, SILVER is definitely my new favorite series....more
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of THE LOST AND THE DAMNED in exchange for an honest review. I love these books so much I will be purchasing my own
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of THE LOST AND THE DAMNED in exchange for an honest review. I love these books so much I will be purchasing my own copies from now on.
Review: Holy Love of Zeus, if I thought the first book was good I had NO IDEA what I was in for with the second book. Fast paced, action packed and rife with violence, SILVER: THE LOST AND THE DAMNED absolutely delivers. It’s hard to review books in a series because I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m going to try. I want you all to know how completely epically awesome this book is.
Ella ‘SILVER’ Cross has come a long way since we saw her in ACHERON. It’s six years later and she’s harder, older, but I’d hesitate to say more mature. Her work as an enforcer and life in the Fringe District has taken its toll on her body and soul. But still she survives. She always does, and that will never change. At least I hope not.
THE LOST AND THE DAMNED is split into two books, so I’ll review it as such. To start there’s The Lost:.Picture
Silver and her violet eyed companion Alice are still living in their beat up Fringe Safehouse, an old rotting out Theatre. They two women are now engaged in a sexual relationship. While not love, the bonds that tie them are deep and stem from need, affection and loyalty. However, when Silver is offered the chance to return to her life inside the Sentinel District Walls, she jumps at it, even if it means leaving Alice behind.
In this part, we are reintroduced to Silver’s original Hunter Squad from the beginning of Book One. Jax, Oz, Alex, Red and Silver are a brutal and effective team of Hunters who aren’t above bending any law that gets in their way. The group dynamics are fascinating and characterization consistent and engaging. The highlight, not surprisingly, is the reunion of Alex and Silver, lovers for twenty years, Alex has believed Silver dead for the past six.
The Lost weaves conspiracy, political intrigues, romance, morality and Science Fiction together to create not only an exciting new plot but the set up for new characters I think we’re going to see for a long time. As always, the visceral descriptions and no-holds-barred style of Telford’s writing impresses. This is a book you can’t look away from, as much as you may want to, but woven through this grisly tapestry is a morality tale about what it means to be human that you can’t help but fall into.
The Damned is part Two of the book, and I can see why Telford linked them instead of making separate books. The two stories wouldn’t be complete without each other. The Damned picks up right where The Lost ended, but the tone of the second book is very different. Redemption feels possible and for the first time in the series the reader (and Silver) are allowed a glimmer of hope. But a new virus is killing off Humans and other creatures as it rampages through the Chimera population and no one is safe. Food is scarce, but is the virus contagious from contact with the Chimera?
Drawn deeper into the politics and status play of The Sentinel District Silver is forced to weigh loyalties and morality in every decision she makes. Is vengeance enough for her any more? After all she’s suffered, is Silver capable of seeing through the cloud of her own issues and pain to do the right thing?
THE LOST AND THE DAMNED is a rare achievement. It’s a thoughtful and deep book, but a fun fast read. It doesn’t suffer at all from the usual second instalment lull and is as good, if not better than it’s predecessor. Headhopping remains an issue, but since reading the first book I have learned that Telford is a British Ex-Pat. By European conventions, the head hopping is not only justified but perfectly executed. Third person omniscient is looked down on in the US market, but it is neither a distraction nor an error.
I haven’t been this into a series since Twilight, and ya’ll know what that means! But this time, I have a real, grown-up book that lets me sink my teeth into a fully developed world....more
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a part of Tam Linsey’s book tour with Orangeberry Book Tours. No promise of a positive review was made.
RDisclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a part of Tam Linsey’s book tour with Orangeberry Book Tours. No promise of a positive review was made.
Review: Everything about this book made me want to read it. From the cover to the description to the epically awesome concept. And I wasn’t disappointed!
This is a book with genetic manipulation and Amish set in a post apocalyptic world? Oh and the 9th word is CANNIBAL. It’s like it was written with me in mind. The main character, Tula, is an idealist. She believes that the genetic conversion she went which made her one of the “Haldanian Protectorate” is the only way for humanity to survive in a world where the UV rays are intense and food is scare. The Haldanians are one of 3 groups of people known to her. The others are cannibals (yep, exactly what you think) and the Fosselites, a group of people who through their own genetic manipulation have found a way for cells to replenish, making them essentially immortal. However, far from her home there is another group called the Old Order who have keep the pastoral ways and religious beliefs of a time long past alive by avoiding contact with any outsiders.
Levi, a member of the Old Order, is driven to leave his home in order to find a cure for his son and a number of others suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. When Levi is captured and taken to the Haldanian Protectorate for possible conversion, Tula’s memories of a childhood long forgotten re-emerge and make her question the ethics of forced conversion and the Haldanian’s policy of euthinization for those who refuse.
Botanicaust manages to cover issues of medical ethics, cross culture communication, religion and what it really means to be human, all while telling a phenomenally interesting and entertaining story. As Tula learns more about the world outside of the Haldanian Protectorate, we are taken on a journey where nothing is quite as it seems.
Linsey does an impressive job of illustrating the difficulties of communication barriers when language and culture are so different they seem insurmountable. Even at the most stressful of times though, the humanity of the individuals we meet shines bright.
In addition to the story of Tula and Levi, Botanicaust also introduces us to the character of Vitus. Although he is easily painted as the bad guy, he is an excellent representation of the kind of Nationalistic and Selfish mentality which keeps people, even today, from reaching out, across their comfort zone and finding peace. Vitus’ motivations are simple, he wants to live, he believes that natural born Haldanians are better than converts and he wants the prestige and recognition he feels he deserves. He a symbol of racism and classism, and with his entitlement comes the worst aspects of human nature.
The intricacy of the medical explanations and detail to which Ms. Linsey explains the science involved makes the concept of green people, pulling nourishment from the sunlight through their skin completely believable. I’m not a science person, but I know enough to know that while this may not be technically possible, Botanicaust makes it plausible enough to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride. She manages to do the same in representing the religious beliefs of the Old Order without ever looking like she is either proselytizing or condescending their beliefs.
An absolutely impressive work, Botanicaust is just the kind of thing I love. It’s deep in concepts, takes broad strokes without simplifying and steeped in larger picture issues. All the while, Botanicaust is an entertaining and at times quite romantic story. Highly recommended. ...more
Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of Flesh from Novel Publicity as a part of Khanh Ha’s blog tour. No promise of a positive review was made.Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of Flesh from Novel Publicity as a part of Khanh Ha’s blog tour. No promise of a positive review was made.
Review:At the beginning of Flesh, we are introduced to Tài, a young boy whose father has been beheaded as punishment for crimes against a neighboring village. Tài’s young life is steeped in blood and disappointment. His father was only killed due to another in his tribe turning against him. The execution itself is performed by his Great-Uncle. Not long after this, he loses his brother to small pox and is himself very close to death.
This monstrous start to life as a young man continues through his life. Blood and danger seem to follow him everywhere. Woven within the story of his life are mysterious women and dangerous men who shape Tài into the person he ultimately becomes.
While I didn’t love Flesh, it was a refreshingly original story. Set in 20th Century Vietnam, the reader is asked to step outside of their own culture and morality and understand what it means to survive. Tài is a relateable and likeable character, as is Xiaoli, Lin Gao, and Xoan – mostly anyway.
While the writing in certain passages was exquisitely beautiful, it did not hold up for the length of the entire book. Ha clearly has a great poetic talent, as seen in the chapter where Tài is running through the woods suffering from the fever of Small Pox. Tragically, it was paired next to some very unfortunate phrasing. Sometimes, the quality of the writing would pull me out of the story and make it difficult to become re-engaged with the characters. I also found it difficult to orient myself in space from chapter to chapter, unclear about how much time had passed from scene to scene. The end result is that Flesh was a very disjointed read.
My biggest complaint, however, is the fact that while the book is written in first person, there are sections told in 3rd. I think the intention is for the narrator to be telling the reader a story, but the effect was that I was thoroughly confused. Also, there was quite a bit of head hopping, and since this clearly wasn’t written in 3rd person Omniscient, I found it difficult to get through.
Both of these issues could be rectified with another round of quality editing. I didn’t notice grammer or spelling issues so it was clearly edited, but the content could use some refining and the story overall a better structure to hang on. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Far East or South East Asia, specifically Vietnam during this time period. It’s a unique story and Ha has a unique and talented voice....more