Wednesday

Review: Slave Queen

Slave Queen Slave Queen by H.B. Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Normally, I don't care for two intertwining stories. It's usually makes the story flow all jerky and hard to follow. But this one is rather intriguing. Reader beware, there are zero transitions. Zero flow from one to the other so it is definitely stop/start reading and most of the time jarring. Yet, the stories are compelling. You can't help but turn the pages, and then you think about it all wondering what to do like you are in the story. That hasn't happened to me in a very long time!

Wonderful writing. Superior character development. You can feel the dry heat, smell the dust, hear the harem sounds, and get a glimpse into ancient Turkey. The research is superior as well. All in all this is a very satisfying read.

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Review: A Time of Torment

A Time of Torment A Time of Torment by John Connolly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first Charlie Parker book. I was lost at first, but everything fell into place sort of. After I realized there were so many before, I thought there would be no way to catch up. However, Connolly writes in such a way that draws the reader into the story with finesse and subtly. He compels you to turn the pages; you just can't help yourself. This book does have some foul language, some sexual references, and some deeply graphic violence.

Got this from Netgalley and I'm so glad I did.

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Review: Sewn with Joy

Sewn with Joy Sewn with Joy by Tricia Goyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't know how I missed that this was an Amish story. I don't have anything against Amish romance, but I was just not in the mood for an Amish romance. The trouble I had with this novel wasn't that I wasn't in the mood for it, though. The writing was very good, the story line was intriguing, and faith played an important role throughout the story. But since it was the 3rd book in a series, I had a terrible time trying to catch up. That's the trouble with a series. How does one write it without double tracking and backing up all the time? So.. I was lost. I couldn't do a review justice without all the background from the first 2 books.

Got this from Netgalley.

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Monday

Review: Forsaken Skies

Forsaken Skies Forsaken Skies by D. Nolan Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Sci-Fi! Love it. This offering is along the lines of fantasy more than science, but still is a good offering.

If the author and editor would remove about 200 pages, this would be an excellent offering rather than just good.

I like the idea of getting to know Lanoe and the other characters through their actions and their thoughts, but with no transitions between head hopping, it makes for disjointed and rather jerky prose instead of a smooth flow.

This is a good story, with good writing, and an empathetic outlook for a lonely planet on the edge of nowhere. One thing that is not brought out is the danger to civilized space. The blase' reaction to a planet's invasion is not believable. Especially because of the mining operation on the planet and possible precious ore on another planet in the system. So there are some problems with this novel that do not allow complete satisfaction with the whole.

Each character is well developed, even the minor characters have some depth to them, which is a bit unusual. However, for this book, perhaps there are too many character viewpoints. To move the story along, an author should keep story flow in mind rather than bogging down in way too much backstory. I think that's why this story is too long. Another thing is that the build-up to the climax is way too long. Because the engineer is such a minor character, the whole "romance" thing between her and another character is unnecessary and a story blocker. It's like Clark threw in this "interlude" just to have some sex-spice to the story. We already know this other character is a rat... why over emphasize that?

For some reason, sci-fi and fantasy authors have a tendency to put too much backstory in (myself included) to develop characters. It is a bit overwhelming to readers, and a great deal of work that is unnecessary for authors.

All in all, though, this is a good story. Great space battles that are very easily followed. Complex, but not unfathomable as described, and that is hard for an author to achieve! Intriguing end. Overall it gets 4 stars from me. Especially because I'm hungry for good space operas!

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Tuesday

Bad Writing Habits You Can Break Today!

5 Bad Writing Habits You Can Break Today (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net

Review: The Good Spy Dies Twice

The Good Spy Dies Twice The Good Spy Dies Twice by Mark Hosack
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The main character, whose head the reader is in most of the time, is one of those guys who has bad judgement, a lot of eccentricity, and is very uncomfortable in this story. It seemed to me that he was forced by the author to act in certain ways so the plot could move along. Frankly, I did not care for all the foul language, and I did not get exactly why this girl fell in love with him and married him. When I read that, I was appalled... especially when he's all stressed out about her being late after skiing. When I read that they were supposed to meet someone at a particular time, I completely lost patience with the whole story. This just read like a rush job without a lot of thinking the plot through and without really getting comfortable with the characters. Just my opinion.

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Monday

Review: Forgiving My Daughter's Killer: A True Story of Loss, Faith, and Unexpected Grace

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer: A True Story of Loss, Faith, and Unexpected Grace Forgiving My Daughter's Killer: A True Story of Loss, Faith, and Unexpected Grace by Kate Grosmaire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am deeply touched that this mom was able to tell this story. What amazing courage it must have taken!

I was glad I ordered this book. It gave me a lot of insights into the emotional roller coaster people ride when facing this kind of tragedy. I can't imagine anything worse. I appreciate the candor and courage this story pours all over the reader.

The story is gripping, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. I am not a fan of flashbacks and this book is nothing but flashbacks. First, we're here and then we're there, and it is so exhausting trying to keep up.

Note to editors: Please, please guide your authors to tell their stories with fewer plot ploys and more good story telling. There's no need to go back and forth with no transitions just jerking the reader from one place to the next. Transitions would have made this read a lot more bearable!

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Review: Crossing Into The Mystic

Crossing Into The Mystic Crossing Into The Mystic by D.L. Koontz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book started out pretty good. The dialogue was snappy, and you learned a lot from it. But it's hard to know if Grace really doesn't like her aunt or if it's just some back and forth thing.

It is very unbelievable that a 16-year-old is allowed to go to a different state to stay by herself in an old mansion. I just couldn't swallow that. Grace doesn't talk or act like a teenager. Her thoughts are on the plain of a 20 something.

Although the characters are well-developed, and the small town characters are your usual line up, the author does make the small town come alive. But, what does a 16-year-old know about love anyway? The whole thing just didn't ring believable to me, so 2 out of 5 stars.


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Review: Through Raging Waters

Through Raging Waters Through Raging Waters by Renee Blare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this book, although I seriously recommend you read the first book first. I was a bit clueless in the beginning because I didn't know who was who... and there just isn't much character development in this one. So take your chances.

I realize there is a tendency to groan when a person has read the first book and then has to plow through a rehashing of characters before the story takes off. However, there is a way to write that will make it easier reading for everyone, but that isn't done here.

Characters seem a bit cardboardish at times, but the scenery descriptions are top notch. You are there in the middle of the floods with raging water all around. You feel the cool air, and smell the fireplaces, and you hear the little ding of the bell over the pharmacy door. No question that Blare has a knack for descriptive writing.

She has a tendency to write cryptically. There are some jumps in conversations, and some head hopping without transitions that make for a bit of a "jerky" read rather than a swift story flow which is what Blare is striving for, I'm sure. She's got the talent, for sure. I expect her books to get better and better as her writing skills develop.




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Review: Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter

Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter by Carrie Fancett Pagels
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The story is well written for the most part. However, there are so many places where Pagels lost me, or switched things around. At first Suzanne could understand German, then she had lots of trouble piecing together what Johan and family were saying. Other places, the story had a breakneck flow, and then suddenly bogged down. I sort of like that (in limited quantities) because it gives me time to think about everything. But even so, this was more bogging as in a soap opera rather than a deeply moving romance. While most was well written, this is not actually a historical romance. That would mean there should be some actual, history.

[Insert a wailing whine here.] Why doesn't someone teach writers how to do research before writing novels? Why don't publishing house editors insist on real research from the authors, and why don't publishing houses require editors to have education before they hire these editors? And WHY don't publishing houses have fact checkers???

I was so excited to see this book on my Netgalley shelf. Finally, a great 16th or 17th century historical romance. Nope... it's supposedly taking place in 1742. That's about 75 years after the religious wars and Catholic terrorism against Huguenots happened which began in the early 1500s through the middle of the 1600s, then it became more of a political war. My 8th great grandfather was a Huguenot and immigrated to Virginia from France in 1625. I do not know his story, so I was hoping to glean a bit of history at the same time enjoy a good romance.

Well, the romance was fairly good... the history, not so much. Besides the timing of the novel, there wasn't a whole lot of costume discussion, although there was a lot of powdered wigs in the royal court (which was true in the 1700s (18th century), not the 1600s.

Here's another question. Johan's family were supposed to own a lot of land, but their farm couldn't sustain two families, which is a plot ploy that requires Johan to take Suzanne to America. In places the plot seems forced, not a natural flow where the characters are not well developed. Sometimes Johan's brother is portrayed as an okay fellow, other times he's a dirty, rotten scoundrel. Which is it? Suzanne has a terrible habit of agonizing over some things, and just letting other things flow around her without notice. That was annoying for me.

I have this 2 stars. It has such tremenous potential, but it fell flat for me. I'm not a fan of soap operas, and I think that is probably it. On the other hand, I read this off Netgalley, and publishers have a really bad habit of submitting undedited (I mean really RAW stuff) on there. So take this honest review with a grain of salf.



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Friday

Review: DawnSinger

DawnSinger DawnSinger by Janalyn Voigt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I highly recommend you NOT get the eBook version. I did not know there was a glossary at the end that would explain SO much about things I was clueless about. I wondered the whole way through why didn't the author write in such a way to explain some things. Why were all these creatures named these weird things that had a Celtic ring with no explanation. However, I really liked the way the wingabeasts were explained with nothing more than that the creature whinnied. Ah! Pegasus!

Ah well, the writing was pretty good, and the story line and premise was also good except for the fact that two people fall in love that shouldn't fall in love did. (view spoiler)

Please remember this is the eBook format that is getting the 3 stars. When you read something that doesn't make sense, it is very hard to keep going. When I read the part mentioned in the spoiler alert, I quit reading. For fantasy fans, this would probably be a great read. But the two things worked together for me to spoil my enjoyment. That's just me.

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Review: Spaceport West

Spaceport West Spaceport West by Giles Chanot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it is rather unfair to compare this to Hitchhiker's Guide. It's a different premise as in colonizing Mars, and politics of Earth. Quite different. I love the inserts of the UK's Space Guide; they are quite amusing.

The characters are a bit whacky, and that is what makes this story work. What's scary is the "big reveal" at the end, which is technologically frightening. I don't think we're there, yet, but then doors that open by themselves, men walking on the moon, cell phones, wireless computers, and flat screen TVs were all science fiction at one point in time.

This is a breezy read, and I liked it a lot. But then, I get British humor and love it.

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