Transparency: I received this e-book as an ARC from the author for review purposes.
After surviving one murder attempt by her ex-boyfriend, Cherry is rTransparency: I received this e-book as an ARC from the author for review purposes.
After surviving one murder attempt by her ex-boyfriend, Cherry is rescued from a second attempt by a pack of wolves and is hiding out in a house in the woods. Then the real fun begins in this paranormal romance - reverse harem - wolf-shifter tale by independent author A. J. Mullican. I gave the book four stars. “Pact with the Pack” is the first book in the Bargains Struck series, and it’s a great story. I’m just leaving room for growth. What I liked: The story is told from Cherry’s first person POV. It didn’t take long for me to get used to this. Cherry is tough and strong, but through her narration, we get to see her self-doubts, concerns, and fears. We also get her thoughts on each of her rescuers. This results in Cherry being a well developed character. A lot of the action takes place off-screen, but we get a good idea of what happened after the fact. And honestly, I wasn’t reading it for action scenes, although the action scenes we do get are pretty good. Cherry’s rescuers, the Hunter men, are also well developed. Each of their personalities is expressed through their wolf’s position in the pack. Cherry’s presence in the house seems to loosen the control each brother has of their wolf, which leads to them showing more of their personalities than they intend to Cherry. There is plenty of sex in the book, all from Cherry’s point of view. I know, why else would you read the book? The point of view is refreshing for me, a male reader who usually doesn’t stray far from science fiction and fantasy. Throughout the course of a couple of days, Cherry finds herself alone (usually) with each of the brothers. Each scene is as different as each of the brothers. And each scene is HOT. In closing, get this book. There’s plenty of steamy sex, and a good story linking it all together. Then follow A.J. Mullican and keep an eye out for the next book in the Bargains Struck series....more
Word on the street says “Chasing Danger: The Case Files of Theron Chase,” is the cat’s pajamas. A real pocket full of firecrackers of a read. It was a Word on the street says “Chasing Danger: The Case Files of Theron Chase,” is the cat’s pajamas. A real pocket full of firecrackers of a read. It was a slow day. I was cooling my heels at my desk, looking for an excuse to spend the evening reading. Outside my window, it was shift change in the city. Day shift was going home to their everyday lives and the night crew was coming in to take over. It was time to lock up and go nose around, maybe drum up a little business. My Kindle buzzed. Seems I had a delivery. I clicked open and there it was. Sleek looking cover, the type that makes a man want to open the book and read it. A lot of women, too. But, what’s this? Fantasy Noir? You gotta be kidding me. White isn’t kidding, and “Chasing Danger” is no joke. From the very first line, you feel the scene turn black-and-white. It doesn’t last long, for White doesn’t waste time showing that Calasia isn’t your typical gumshoe story town. There’s magic in those alleyways. A collection of four stories that are probably best read in order. At the very least, “The Full Moon Affair” should be read first. A good story, but it also introduces Theron Chase, the supporting cast, and the city of Calasia. Theron Chase is a straight shooter whose reputation precedes him wherever he goes. Even the bad guys respect him. He likes Scotch, always a plus in my book, and he’s non-magical. In fact, magic has a tendency to malfunction when he’s around. This is an excellent choice by White. The focus on his detective skills helps balance the fantasy aspects of the stories, keeping the Noir in Fantasy Noir. There is a decent sized supporting cast, and none of them are throw-aways. They all have a part to play in each case, and White makes good use of them all. Full disclosure, I received my copy for review purposes, but I would purchase a print copy for myself and gift giving....more
This is what happens when bad people get superpowers.
Victor Vale and Eli Cardale were friends and roommates back in college. Together, they discoveredThis is what happens when bad people get superpowers.
Victor Vale and Eli Cardale were friends and roommates back in college. Together, they discovered how to grant themselves superpowers.
Eli thinks Extra Ordinaries (EOs), the term used for super powered individuals in Eli's thesis and the news media of the day, are wrong. He starts to hunt down other EOs to kill them. Victor is out to stop Eli because he finally wants to see Eli fall. In Victor's mind, if Eli is the hero, he must be the villain. “I can live with that,” Victor thinks. Victor is fueled by pride and jealousy and the idea that he's “no ******* sidekick.” Others, both regular and Extra Ordinary, are dragged into the battle, leading to a conclusion that is complex, exciting, and pretty darn entertaining.
I gave this book five stars. It's a fresh take on the superhero idea, at least to me, and Schwab's use of flashbacks and time lines is masterful. One piece of advice given to those trying to be writers is never use flashbacks. Another piece of advice is rules are meant to be broken if you understand the rule enough to break it correctly. Schwab doesn't break the flashback rule, she vaporizes it, as if nuclear vision is her own superpower. The story is happening, and there are jumps to show why the story is happening, how different characters meet, and events leading up to now, with no confusion about why something is happening. I imagine the story could have been told in a linear fashion, and still been good, but it would have lost a lot in the areas of pacing and suspense.
There are multiple POVs, which I enjoyed. The main POV is Victor, with a lot of Eli thrown in, but others are used to add flavor and fill in pieces of the puzzle. There is never any confusion about whose head we are in.
Victor Vale is possibly one of my favorite characters I've read in a long time. Eli is bad and delusional, but Victor is worse. He's self-centered and manipulative, but I like him. He accepted his role as villain, and he reveled in it. As other characters get drawn into the feud, they become worse in varying degrees, although some do try to redeem themselves. As another character, Mitch - who is almost angelic compared to others - observes, “There are no good men in this game.”
Do yourself a favor and read “Vicious.” It's a good story, a good science fiction story (I think) and an education in story craft.
Oh! One more thing I almost forgot to mention. There's a bit of an Easter egg. At one point, Eli mentions that he used to try to explain himself to the EO he was about to execute. Yes, he used to monologue. I think this is a nod to Schwab's “Warm Up,” a short story detailing events that led to Eli giving up on his monologuing ways. (From my understanding, “Warm Up” is now included in a repackaging of “Vicious.”)...more
I enjoyed reading “Ceres 2525.” There is lots of action; I can easily see this book become a movie. The chapters go back and forth between Ceres TarsiI enjoyed reading “Ceres 2525.” There is lots of action; I can easily see this book become a movie. The chapters go back and forth between Ceres Tarsis’ current adventure of being kidnapped by pirates, and events from his life that lead up to his being kidnapped. I believe Nelson handled this well, using chapters detailing Ceres’ past to foreshadow what’s coming up in the next present chapter. The transitions are seamless, leading the reader along and aiding the flow of the story. Nelson incorporates stunning visuals into both past and present areas of the story. A spacewalk during a salvage mission with Ceres’ uncle from his youth gives the reader the feeling of being there. Ceres also has a clever method of breaking into a space station hidden in an asteroid that must be seen, er, read, to be believed. Nelson’s characters can communicate to each other through networks and implants called MTR’s. This allows characters to carry on several conversations at once. While this can be potentially confusing to the reader, Nelson uses the device to create and embellish many scenes throughout the story. I also enjoyed the way Nelson used Ceres’ Christianity as part of his character development. Ceres reflects on his life and his faith in a manner that shows growth and change, or at least the desire to change, without becoming “preachy” to the reader. If that’s not all, there is Ceres budding romance with Serenity. Serenity is the reason I want to see this book become a movie, just to see which actress gets picked to play her. I keep thinking of Maureen O’Hara from “The Quiet Man.” So, why four stars? I thought the story went on a little long after the climax. There is a good hook for further adventures with Ceres, so, it’s not “bad,” just long. My opinion, your mileage may vary. In short, “Ceres 2525” is a good read with a climax that will have you on the edge of your seat and salivating for “Ceres 2526.” ...more
I must admit, this is the first romance I have ever read, apocalyptic paranormal or otherwise. Part of Ms. Corwin's stated mission is to make romance I must admit, this is the first romance I have ever read, apocalyptic paranormal or otherwise. Part of Ms. Corwin's stated mission is to make romance accessible to everyone, so, I thought I would take her up on her offer. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but, there were a couple of parts with which I had difficulty. In the beginning, I had trouble keeping track of the Horsemen and their Earthly names. Fortunately, the story starts with a "scorecard" of who is who that I could easily double check for identities. To be fair, that could be chalked up to reader skill level. I also thought Scarlet let Tyr completely back into her life too quickly. Granted, Tyr is smooth, but he doesn't talk his way back into Scarlet's arms; rather, he plays up Scarlet's strengths. I just found the reunion to be fast. Corwin includes plenty of characters that will send you back to the Mythology you learned in high school. She made some interesting choices from a variety of mythos, and they all seemed to play together well. I especially enjoyed the playful nature of Scarlet and Tyr's relationship once the reunion was out of the way. Inside the bedroom and out, eating, sparring, talking, flirting, having sex, whatever, they both saw it as a game, and each did their best to win. They are a fun couple to watch. The ending had me wanting more of Scarlet and Tyr, and fortunately, "On a Red Horse" is book one a series....more
A main character you won't soon forget. The series title, "Dumpstermancer," alone was enough to make me want to read this e-book. I half expected a comA main character you won't soon forget. The series title, "Dumpstermancer," alone was enough to make me want to read this e-book. I half expected a comedy, but wasn't sure. I was intrigued, to say the least. In a world where you can have a gourmet meal kit delivered, corporate magic seems like the next logical step. Mistakes happen, and the Glamour spell from Thoth is not exempt. Eli is an engaging character. I'm not sure if I like him, but I definitely won't forget him anytime soon. A homeless ex-con who was wrongly imprisoned, Eli is brave and has a good heart, but, he is so darn stubborn, I found myself often frustrated with him. And I wasn't alone. Frustration with Eli's stubbornness often extends to his allies. Sunny, who runs a homeless shelter, has a heart of gold and the patience of a saint, but, even she reaches her breaking point when it comes to Eli's nature. I identified most with Kenrith and the Rhett's, fey rodents and Eli's would be protectors. On several occasions, the Rhett's were ready to turn on Eli, and as the reader, I couldn't say I blamed them. Don't get me wrong: Eli is a good character. He's just so well written, parts of his personality that tick off other characters tend to overflow to the reader. I think that is quite an accomplishment. Michael J. Allen wrote the book in first person, and I think he did an excellent job. I would have liked more details about the different magics. Too many details about the hows and whys, though, may have come off as an info dump and broke the immersion. I prefer a good story and being left with my own mysteries to solve. The use of magic is very smooth and drives the story. In short, "Discarded" is a very good read, and I am keeping an eye out for the sequel. Full disclosure, I received this book as an Advance Review Copy. ...more
A Good Workout for the Brain I'm glad I read "The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks." It's good to be reminded that Science Fiction encompaA Good Workout for the Brain I'm glad I read "The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks." It's good to be reminded that Science Fiction encompasses sciences beyond space exploration. David S. Sparks is a puzzle of a character. This could have been confusing, but the writing takes you along for the ride with David. The pacing keeps the story moving as the pieces fall in place. The reader may find themselves questioning what is going on, or, what is going to happen next, but never confused to the point of being completely lost. The world building of future Earth is logical. The setting reminded me of a series that ran on The History Channel called "Life After People." The reader can tell Earth has changed in a manner that could possibly happen without being smacked over the head by the extremes of a future that is too bright or too dark. A Goldilocks setting that becomes another character. In short, "The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks" is an enjoyable read that is engaging on many levels. ...more
The title reminded me of one of my favorite 80s movies, “The Highlander,” and the feel of the novel did not disappoint. Weiland weaves tale of “The GiThe title reminded me of one of my favorite 80s movies, “The Highlander,” and the feel of the novel did not disappoint. Weiland weaves tale of “The Gifted” Chris Redston’s adventure in Chicago, and in the dreamland of Lael. Both settings are brought to life, and both settings have skin in the game, but Lael is just “so much better.”
The trio of The Gifted, The Searcher, and The Keeper provide a set of relationships that constantly change, affecting each other as well as the splendid supporting cast around them.
Make sure you have plenty of time set aside for when the Battle of Lael starts, because you won't be able to stop reading....more
After reading other books about writing, I thought. outlining is the way to go. The trouble was, outlining seemed as daunting as the writing iA Relief
After reading other books about writing, I thought. outlining is the way to go. The trouble was, outlining seemed as daunting as the writing itself. Ms. Weiland breaks outlining down into manageable chunks I can easily wrap around my brain. Thank you!...more