Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Shadows and the Innocence: Vol.2 The SomnAgent Erik Nelson
Genre: Fantasy/New Adult
Book Rating: 6
Personal Rating: 6

Lets start off by saying I do think this Author is a good writer.  Great even.  But I had a lot of issues with this book.  Most of them stemming from my one major issue with the first book which by the way I enjoyed far more than this book.  It was a tough decision deciding whether I thought it was indeed a writing error or just a personal issue so I went ahead with my opinion on the first book and rolled with technical error.  It's a shame because I rather like this author but this time i couldn't give it a 'but this just made up for my issue' comment to save the day.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Suicide In Tiny Incriments
Author: Riya Anne Polcastro
Genre: Comedy/Suspense
Book Rating:6
Personal Rating:5

There wasn't anything drastically wrong about this novel accept that there wasn't anything alarmingly right about it.  It just kinda molded from page to page.  I wanted to like it but ultimately I just wanted everybody to die so I could be done with it all.  It's a tragic Comedy that felt more tragic in the annoying sense than the brilliantly crafted word genius variety.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Crossfire: Book One The Omega Group
Author: Andrea Domanski
Genre: Urban Fantasy/YA
Book Rating: 8
Personal Rating: 9

This was a fun read.  Hell it was more than fun.  Just a delight really.  Good plot.  Nice characters.  In fact I'm usually big on tearing characters to shreds.  But I rather liked most of these.  The subs and the mains.  Interesting powers and a host of really quirky senses of humor.  This book just made sense.

The main, Mirissa.  She was fun.  Made sense.  stayed true to character.  And basically didn't do anything accept what she should have done.  Perfect.  There was that one thing where she was almost ready to argue with her mom in the midst of battle.  Very done and cliche the inappropriate timing of the depressed youth asking why did you leave me.  But that was short lived and it went on well after that thankfully.  The only other fault was the whole "come alone" ploy at the end.  Sigh.  Why does everyone do this. And more importantly why does every character submit to this demand.  Once it would be nice to see a plan b.  All in all her journey from who she thought she was to who she really was was perfect from start to finish.  She handled her secret in stride.  Had her ups and downs but it all made sense.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Author: J. Simon
Genre: Fantasy
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 7.5

Firstly this book was brilliant.  The idea was great.  The plot made a good amount of sense, and it was just fun to read.  For the most part.  A story that quite literealy lives in the world of word weaving, double entendres, and meaning what you say while saying something entirely different.  I know it sounds a bit confusing but it was very cleverly done.  Still I just couldn't quite get into it entirely.

There are a host of good characters.  The theif and seller of information Candle-of-Truth Hameen.  Not worth his weight in gold.  Sheyk Sindba, otherwise known as grandfather who has an odly incredible neck of talking himself into trouble.  One of my favorite characters.  Then the Widow Essaffah who spins tales so mighty she could sell you dirt and make you believe it's one of her delightfully yummy cakes, by far my favorite character.  Aris the hero of the story, who unfortunately is not my favorite.  Sar Efrem who keeps his many daughters locked in his palace.  Then the daughter to be reconed with Eyla.  Basically this tale was not short of entertaining characters.  I just couldn't whole heartedly ride along this premis.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Man From 3015

Author: Luke Hill
Genre: SciFi/Action/Suspense/Thriller
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 9

What to say about this book.  I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed reading this novel. The action was great.  Use of familiar things like the MIB seemed in place instead of overused and cliched.  And the main characters were well developed stayed in character and came out at a different place than expect from where they started.  And it's real.  As in people die.  I won't tell you who but in the real world everyone does not always live.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Designed: The Intoxicated Books Book Three
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Author: Alicia Renee Kline
Genre: Chick-lit, Romance, Humor
Book Rating: 9
Personal Rating: 9.5

The third installment of the intoxicated series was my favorite.  It may not have been the funniest of the three, or even the steamiest, but the plot was executed the best.  It had far less of those little intentional drama points in chick lit fair that stretch the limits of real life drama.  Basically no matter how outrages a situation got in this novel, it actually made good logical sense.

Why not start of with my favorite character, Gracie.  She is just mind-blowingly hilarious.  Says the types of things you expect a best friend to say.  Just cold hard unfiltered math that makes you want to strangle her and love her all at the same time.  The parts she gets in this book were my faves.  She gets the best dialogue and thankfully there’s more of her in this book.  And if she doesn’t end up with who I think she should be with in the next book I swear I will never read another one of these novels…. Okay that’s a lie but she better get the man I want her to have.

Blake.  I was worried about her big secret, and yaay to me for being right.  The reason I was worried though was because I was afraid I’d feel the same way I did about it as I did Lauren’s bad decision at the end of book one.  No need to fear when you couple age, emotions and the need to grow your own independence it’s perfectly justifiable that she did what she did, when she did.  My only problem was that she held on to it for so long.  Really, keeping someone mad at you for something you know you did when you were a stupid young teen is ridiculous.  Almost a decade.  Who pretends to be mad at someone for that long, someone who is madly in love with them, for something they don’t even know happened?  No one knows accept Blake.  Lauren was right and Blake needed to suck it up and talk about it.  But gladly her friends sorted that nonsense out for her.

Okay Mathew and Lauren’s wedding.  Nothing like a good solid romance, to balance out the turmoil that was Blake and Chris.  And they even have a surprise.  Man, love is in the air and it’s infectious.  Well to everyone but the self induced brooding Blake.  Not much to say there except their two characters were handled very well in this book and the wedding was… well you’ll have to read it.

Chris.  Well he pulled through after being such a jerk towards Lauren.  You cant hate someone who loves a woman for ten years especially when she goes out of her way to loathe the very ground you walk on.  The balance with him and Blake was handled well.  When they avoided eachother it didn’t reach annoying over dramatic heights.  When they had to stare at eachother, the mutual fake loathing was just enough to bare without screaming ‘get over it already’, and the suspense of them being in the wedding together and either completely screwing it up or maybe finally getting back together was delightfully held on edge right up until the point of collision.  Brilliant.

The pacing.  I was going to hate on the flash back style of the beginning.  It was like ‘we already know about this’ and blah blah blah.  I could piece together what went down back in the day with the two arrests of Mathew and jail time and so on, on my own.  But firstly, right when I was about to be like ‘enough’ they were over.  Perfect timing.  And secondly even though some of the information I still think was repetitive.  The other stuff was very good character building in showing where Mathew has come from, showing how the sibling bond grew so strong when it was fairly nonexistent in the beginning.  It shows the events that molded her into the powerful single independent woman she is.  The type of life she lived with the parents neither she or Mathew claim.  And it shows this love with Chris she had and just how strong it was.  Basically all the things needed to firmly place us in the we care for everyone frame of mind was there, and in just the right dose to not be annoyed and scream get on with the story.  Another job well done.

Okay that bit of pacing aside the rest went well too.  When all the big reveals and such happened I looked at my page count.  Nothing seemed to drag, and always happened at a point where I was “hmmm this much pages left.  Not a bad place to put this then.”  And I like that feeling.  It means things are happening fast enough and there is the right amount of book left to develop what is happening with out overdoing it or rushing it.  Much better placement then in the first two.  So overall the book had good flow.  That is until after the secret.

Revealing it once yes.  Confusion over eachoters reactions to that first conversation, okay.  But kind of like how I felt in the first two books, the ending was filled with too much of the same conversation.  The same fears, the same I didn’t want to cause, and I wish you would’ve told me cause, and so on and so forth.  There were lots of thought processes linked to the big reveal that were brilliant, because they were attached but by way of dealing with something else.  Those I loved and of course are the type of spoilers even I can’t reveal.  The other stuff that seemed solely about the big reveal always seemed to be the same convo just worded differently.  Just too much of it and again it seemed to pull me out of a rather excellent novel.  Thankfully this only lasted for a while. It was at the beginning of the third act so there was still some book to go once this was all done.

So did I love this book?  Yes.  It was great in the sense that I can’t really think of any of those annoying things that happen in chick lit that happened in this book.  In fact everytime one did happen it played out in rather entertaining ways that were completely not the way they would’ve if the author went garden-variety chick lit fashion.  This book was funny, romantic, intense, just a joy to read.  But I like this entire series so maybe my opinion is flawed.  And yes I’m a man who loves chick lit.  Nothing beats sexual humor.  It’s the realest humor you can find and everyone uses it when chilling with their friends at the bar hashing stories about their lives past, present and future and also while cruising the people at the bar. 

If you’re looking for a fun read with a little bit of drama, a dash of romance and splashed with funny one liners, you can’t go wrong here.  This is definitely a good glass of wine screw the world I’m reading today kind of novel.  A pic me up on those well needed days when life is screaming it’s annoying realness at you.  This will help you relax and wind down, and block out the real world with something much more rewarding.  And there’s another book coming.  I can’t wait to read it.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Click on cover

Author: Dean Carnby
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Action/Suspense
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 7

I might have to make this a catch phrase but again I’ll have to say this book had all the makings of awesome except it didn’t quite hit the mark.  It started of with an action sequence that was cool, but left me feeling sorta like “huh?”.  Then the set up was filled with all this information that I just couldn’t wrap my head around.  Nothing was ever really fully explained either by exposition or by character dialogue.  Too much was given in a “this is how it is and roll with it” kind of way which left my hand swimming in a sea of rules I was just expected to go along for the ride with and not care they were not explained.  This was pretty much where my mind floated for about 40% of this book.

Tiago and the Masterless
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Author:  Charles Barouch
Genre: SciFi
Book Rating: 8.5
Personal Rating: 9

This book was a very enjoyable read.  The characters were fun, and I never felt for a moment that it was dragging along.  There was even some really nice humor interspersed in here.  All in all this was an almost perfect book. 

Fighitng the Impossible
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Author: Selina Bodur
Genre: Romance
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 7

This was an interesting read.  There isn’t too much bad that I can say about it.  Neither is there too many good things I can say about it.  It was a rather average tale, light reading.  It was good enough for me to not be bored to tears yet on the other hand didn’t quite have enough umph for me to be shooting through the roof about it’s awesomeness.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Artificial Gods: Book Three of The NIght's Dream Series
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Author: Thomm Quackenbush
Genre: Urban Scifi, NA
Book Rating: 10
Personal Rating: 8.3

Okay.  There is only one thing I can say about this novel.  That I absolutely loved it.  Couldn’t put it down.  Even the annoying parts of the book were curtailed by good reasons for having them in there.  This book kept me in that I can’t wait to get to the end, on the edge of my seat, tapping the screen for next page on my kindle, anxiety mode.  Which of course is what any good book should do.  So lets get to the break down.

Danse Macabre: Book Two of the Night's Dream Series
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Author: Thomm Quackenbush
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Fiction
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 6.5

The book read much like the first installment.  All the makings of awesome without actually getting there.  The plot seemed to be going somewhere and then sorta plateaued.  Just like the first novel.  One new character seemed to just fall out of the sky only to create tension.  I honestly just sort of meandered my way through knowing there would be no real clues along the way, and all the answers and the conclusion would be dumped on me at the end.  Much like the first installment.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

We Shadows: Book 1 of the NIght's Dream Series
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Author: Thomm Quackenbush
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/Paranomal Fiction
Book Rating: 7
Personal rating:7

There is so much in me screaming to say  ‘man I loved this book’ but I just can’t.  It had more than a heaping handful of the makings of a perfect 11 out of ten but it just didn’t come together right.  Kind of like eating a pie that has all the right ingredients of excellence yet somehow still tastes like an average pie though it really shouldn’t.  That’s kind of how I felt reading this book.  Like it was teetering on the edge of going somewhere but plateaued somewhere in the first quarter of the book and stayed on going somewhere right up till the end and then leaped into somewhere with me thinking, there’s still way to many unanswered questions here even if this is the first in a series.

The heroine, Shane, seems like your typical girl.  Nothing too special or unspecial.  Just normal.  She’s madly in love with Elliott.  And that’s about it.  I couldn’t really get into her.  She’s supposed to be oh so depressed about losing him but really just seems to pine for him in an obsessive way instead of genuinely missing him.  And crying over him.  And not making friends with people because she’s just lost without him.  There wasn’t enough there.  Then there was her best friend in collage. Roslyn.  The sultry Wiccan.  She was entertaining, dated a wannabe vampire boyfriend and that was about it for her too.  Her depth kind of stayed in that realm of I’m a which who likes sex, boys who think they are vamps and Shane is my Besty.

The supposed villain, honestly I wasn’t sure if he was indeed bad or evil.  Okay that’s not entirely true, I was sure Gideon was the bad guy, but there was no real evidence.  As far as I knew Girl could’ve been the bad one.  Again I just sort of knew she wasn’t. To a degree anyway.  But the book seemed to be more about this game Gideon and Girl had going on and ultimately Shane who is the main character spent most of the book ignoring their advice and trying to figure out how to bring her dead ex back to life. 

Gideon, well he was fun to read but ultimately didn’t have nearly enough info on him to connect like with Shane and Roselyn.  There isn’t much I can do as a reader without the why.  Keep secrets by all means but there has to be some sort of why or end goal we are going for.  Nothing he did seemed to lend itself to helping her get out of the limbo between dead and alive.  He just barked orders out at her, and trained Shane somehow to just get beat up.  As far as I can tell she learned no self defense and was just as helpless at the beginning of the book as she was the end.

Roselyn.  More of the same.  I would’ve liked to get into more of her as a wiccan, more into her as an artist, more into what drove her as a person.  But none of these things got to deep.  In fact when Shane got stuck in limbo and Roselyn was the only one who could see her I got a bit excited.  Oh there must be something special about her.  And nope.  The only thing special about her is that she could still see Shane.  Nothing more to report.

Virgil and his friends.  The three of them think Shane has come to the college to get them.  As far as I know she didn’t believe in the supernatural or spells.  She was quite neutral about it all.  Anyone with half a brain who did their research would have known.  Following her around going to places her ex had been before he met her and assuming she’s performing some counter magic of some kind was the biggest leap I’ve seen in a while.  After highschool kids go to college.  She did well enough to get in on a full scholarship so she earned her way in.  Just like any normal student.  Unless she was flying on magic carpets and summoning demons assuming she was out to get you, especially since she doesn’t even know who you are is ridiculous. 

And girl.  Maybe I’m losing my mind here but she was the only thing in this novel that made absolute sense.  She could adjust memories, play with time a bit.  Make you remember or forget things.  She was trapped in the school by some unknown magic force, and even with the power over memories she had no idea who she was and was trying to remember.  And most importantly she was not insane.  Everything she said made sense yet no one understood her.  One point she constantly made was in order for Shane to get her life back she had to do the things she would’ve normally done.  She had to act like she was alive even though no one could see her or she would eventually cease to exist for real.  It was obvious even with her kooky misplaced dialogue that that was the point.  It was far from difficult to decipher. And it made both Roselyn and Shane look a bit stupid that they couldn’t get it. 

Then there was the speech she gave Shane when asked who she was.  In a nut shell she said why does where I come from matter.  If she was an alien, an AI, or a ladybug, what mattered is that she was here now to help Shane get back into the human realm and that was what she should focus on.  In the midst of this spiel she draw as an example what if she was Australian.  Shane after the speech was over said “your from Australia”.  I wanted to scream.  How could you miss the point that she’s trying to tell you stop focusing on her origins and focus on you getting your real life back.  Shane’s amazing ability to miss the points of what both Girl, bar far my favorite character, and Gideon, entertaining if flat and annoying, tried to tell her.  Her job was to listen and focus on being a real girl again.  Instead she persisted in trying to find ways to bring Elliot back to life.

And the other thing about this novel was three incidents, one of a man who gets turned into a merchant of death, another about a boy who gets his sins permanently tatted on his body and another about Elliot’s Ex girlfriend Ashley.  All three of this got a few pages maybe a whole chapter for the Ashley and tattoo man because they shared the chapter.  These things, though very very cool, did nothing to propel Shane’s story.  In fact I’m still mulling over why even bother with it at all.  Especially the Ashley and Tattoo guy bit.  It was fun to read but it didn’t come back as a real plot point.  Just added pages.  Just something else cool for the author to throw into the novel.

And lastly I was put of quite a bit by the emphasis on virgins.  Who cares if the girls or the boys where each others first.  Just enough with the virgins and virgin sacrifice and more importantly the need to mention it enough times for me not to forget it.  I also read part two and this virgin thing was more annoying over there.  Also I’m not down for how the women are so helpless.  They are the heroes and are more than ill equipped to live in a world of demons and other supernatural things.  In fact if they got into a fight with a human I doubt they would win.  It’s like they are damsels in distress and their male counterparts are even weaker than they are.  Even though it never happened the book read like one of those novels where a man was going to swoop in and save the day at some point.

I guess that was my problem.  Shane pretty much ended up being your typical ‘I just want to be Shane’ even after being thrown into a world that only she can keep the balance of at the moment and she just doesn’t care.  Let evil destroy everyone I just want to be a normal girl.  Ugh.  Why do they always do this.  For once it would be refreshing for someone to want to be normal but still understand they can’t be.  Denial causes problems and turning a blind eye when things go wrong, which I know they will in book two, is just selfish.    Girl even flat out tells her she will never be just Shane again, so Does Gideon before the end.  Yet she’s still harping over a normal life. 

I felt the same about Gideon.  He kept trying to force her to embrace some role that only he seemed to know about, and I could not figure out because there were no real clues laid out.  Just floating in space knowing this was going to be one of those no clue type of books where all is revealed in the last ten pages to hopefully make you feel awesome about knowing nothing the whole book.  And naturally ten pages is far from enough to tie up the ends that should end in this book so they clearly got pushed into book two.

Roselyn.  I had hope for her when she teamed up with the wimpy Virgil, he had the same level of manliness as her boyfriend, zero.  And was to psychologically connected to his roommate in a creepy yeah you’re gay even though you say you aren’t kind of way.  But she didn’t really learn much.  They found this book that I’m still totally clueless about but everyone seemed to want (oh and I read the second book still no clue what the fuss is about this book) she was somehow drawn to hunt down items throughout the campus, but once she had them I don’t remember her handing them over to anyone.  I just assumed I’d missed it or girl wiped her memory of such things when she took them from her.  Who knows.  She basically came out at the end the same woman she was in the beginning.  Just like Shane.

Then there was Girl.  There are way way WAY too many awesome tings I can say about her.  She was by far the most developed driven and deep character in the whole book.  And the only one who came out different at the end.  The only one whose happy I felt and whose sadness I felt and anger I believed instead of was annoyed by like Shane.  Shane always came off as a whiny child who refused to follow orders because she was smarter than everyone and had to do it her way.  Girl had a purpose to save Shane, and to remember who she was which was why she was so vague about giving her name.  She didn’t know and you could relate to the crisis of not knowing who you were and hating the person, Gideon I assume, who trapped and stole that from her.  And in the end when she supposedly wasn’t insane anymore, her ability to make sense out of everything stayed true to the last page.  And even then when Shane asked what she was up to and accused her of keeping secrets, Girl once again had to remind her that she had her own journey to follow.  She wasn’t the Shane she was before, and what Girl herself was up to was immaterial to Shane’s journey.  It just baffles me how many times she tells Shane this and she never gets it.  Even in the end.  Girl was the best thing all up and over in this book as far as the characters and good character development was concerned.  She was just brilliant. In Sea of main characters that floated, she swam.

And another good paragraph, this book was cool.  Demons, and wraths, and all sorts of other names for things that I still don’t know what they are without a dictionary, were everywhere.  The concept of being here, but not here and having to act like you are here in order to be fully here again was a good one.  There were enough funny bits of very clever dialogue to almost drown the annoying stuff.  A love interest that ended only because Shane is just stupid was a nice section as well.  The dialogue during Shane’s training was always interesting though for someone so smart she always failed to see the obvious inner meaning in Gideon’s words.  This book just seemed like with a little more action, more character development and a lot less wining on Shane and the men in the novels part, this book would’ve been better than awesome.  In fact, though I think it’s not that great, I would bet my life this book is cool enough, and imaginative enough to get a serious following.  It has just the right dose of all the good stuff for people who just want light entertaining reading to enjoy.  And there are a lot of those people out there.

So would I recommend this book.  Yes.  Is it for me, no.  Do I even think it's good, not really.  But I’d be lying if I said this book didn’t read like the type of book that would become amazingly popular and leave people like me thinking it was okay but not that awesome.  This book is that kind of novel.  It was just confusing and none of  the plot points seemed to drive it anywhere.  They just came at me like additional factoids lost on the breeze.  It would probably be the type of book made into a movie and be better, kind of how I feel about LOTR.  The concept is brilliant, people will love it, but it was a tedious read, that’s how I feel about both.  This book is more than worth the read just because, stereotypical virgin stuff and I wanna be normal girl stuff aside, it was quite satisfying in an imaginative I do want to see more of how this authors brain ticks kind of way.  I may not give it five stars but I don’t think this book needs them the story is catchy enough to succeed regardless of my not so good opinion of it.  Hell I wrote four word document pages so clearly it made an impression on me.  And that’s what any good book should do.   I just wish the changing of tense was more fluid, and the new strange book wasn't introduced at all if it wasn't going to be developed, and, well if it just had a clear more defined direction.  Other than that as a first in a series it read more like a laying of the ground work to be tied up in book two than an actual stand alone grand opening.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Rosi's Time: Rosi's Doors Book 2
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Author Links

Author: Edward Eaton
Genre: Fantasy/YA
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 7

Where to start.  Well let’s start off by saying I had high hopes for this book.  In fact very high hopes.  I liked the first one enough to want to read the second part and was rather excited to get part two in the mail.  That being said, without checking, I think I’m giving it the same rating as the first.  I just couldn’t get into this book for some reason. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Magnus: Rising Sun--Book One
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Author: Robert Allen Johnson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Rating: 10
Personal rating: 8

This review was rather interesting.  I actually was thinking it wouldn't be a good one but was uncomfortable with that decision.  So I read three more books as I'm trying to clear out my submissions and not until book four was done did it come to me.  This book is good.  Actually I'll go so far as to say it's very good.  I enjoyed reading it a lot and was quite happy once my brain finally sorted out it's issue.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Maze
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Author: Randall Brooks
Genre: Satire/Horror/Humor
Book Rating: 5
Author Rating: 2

I honestly have no idea where to begin writing this review.  I didn’t laugh enough for it to be funny, nor did I find the gore gory enough to be grossed out or so over the top that I laughed at it.  And as far as poking fun at most genres as satires do, I just didn’t get it.  Even the erotica elements fell flat.  This short story just didn’t do it for me.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Division Zero Book One

Genre: Scifi/Action/fantasy
Book Rating: 10
Personal Rating: 10

I love mysteries.  I love humor.  I love action.  I love scifi.  And… I love this book.  It was just fun to read.  The characters had depth, nothing flat in these pages.  They all had very different personalities.  Even the minor characters were interesting.  The plot moved along quite well.  I do a lot of skimming when I read books, for two reasons, one I just don’t have that gift of stretching a plot out for pages so I skim over what I can’t write, secondly, that stuff I can’t write I usually have no interested in reading (which is probably why I can’t write it.  Yeah I suck—but enough about me).  Even a perfect ten does not escape my skim speed read technique.  This book has the distinction of my least amount of page scanning for the year.  That is how much I loved this book.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Everlands Chronicles: The Truth
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Author: A. J. Bell
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Book Rating: 8.3
Personal Rating: 7.5

This book is brilliant.  Right from the very first pages you’re sucked into the world and brought into the precarious situation of the main character.  Even without actually knowing just what it is.  A sense of mystery and intrigue are laid out rather well.  I did enjoy reading this book, but on the other hand I didn’t.  It was a masterful work of fiction but it had some flaws nothing worthy of diminishing its awesomeness.  And speaking of awesomeness lets get into the good stuff.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

A Basement

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Author:  David Podlipny
Genre: Poetry/short story/Fiction
Book Rating: 6.5
Personal Rating: 6.5

Where to begin here.  Lets just say that this read like it had somewhere to go but was being intentionally illusive of the prize.  There seemed to be a point floating somewhere amongst the short stories and poems, probably about death and the banality of life, but it was deliberately covered up in some sort of overexerted agenda.  Almost as if the book was written with a pen that said ‘if you’re not smart enough to understand me, you’re an idiot.  And I can’t be bothered to explain it to you.’ That’s pretty much how I felt reading this.  Like it was intentionally designed to be ambiguous but rather than coming off as 'brilliantly aloof', it read more like it was just 'aloof' and floating in 'nowhere' while trying to say 'I’m going somewhere' and that I the reader was just too dumb to figure it out.  Lets start with the short stories.

Terran Psychosis
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Author Websites

Author: Christopher D. Votey
Genre: Scifi/humor
Book Rating: 7.7
Personal Rating: 7.5

I started of thinking ‘oh this is different.’  I knew this was a short book and the first of a series so I also expected it to be fast, direct and to the point.  You have to be to pack a punch in under 200/100 pages.  Just think Narnia or any of the Robert Dahl books.  That being said I ultimately ended up being let down.  It seemed like it was going somewhere and ended like it was still going somewhere.  It didn’t end in a way that said ‘this is done but the story isn’t over’.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The City Center

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Author—Simone Pond
Genre—Young Adult/SciFi/Post Apocalyptic 
Book Rating—10
Personal Rating—9

What can I say about this book other than it was awesome.  It flowed perfectly.  Didn’t take too long to really get going, and the lead characters and villain had great development.  The story follows it’s lead, Ava, a teen who just doesn’t feel she fits in even though everyone thinks she more than fits in.  She doesn’t trust the system but can’t do much about it.  She was created, not birthed, into a world were reading is banded. Where all forms of technology outside of the city mainframe, like tablets, phones and the like, are banned.  No information outside that of which the city creator, Chief Morray, allows is legal.  In a world where one person controls all forms of technology, Ava finds herself doubting the authenticity of the information.

Each character is very well defined.  Chief Morray has a repulsion to the human condition so he pumps mood alteraters into the city-dome and the food to repress emotions.  He also has a problem with aging so all city dwellers, including the ten governing people of the city, retire to Ret-Hav at age 36.  A supposed tropical paradise.  The truth of that is also up in the air.  What makes this intriguing is that Morray is human himself, or is he.  There’s a certain sense of intrigue and mystery laid down at the very beginning of this novel that holds up right until the end.

Even though you know what going to happen.  Girl trapped inside an enclosed city.  Girl doesn’t follow rules.  Girl has emotions even though she was engineered just like the rest of the people in the city, there are no more real births anymore.  It’s obvious she’s going to rebel against the rule and save the day.  Yet knowing this is what is going to happen does nothing to take away from the craft of the novel.  You want to travel with her like a good Colombo movie.  You already know who the killer is, but the good part is the ‘why’.  The how.  And the why and the how in this book is crafted to pure genius.

Following Ava as she learns her true role and uncovers dark secrets that have been held for over 200 years you feel for her.  Through her emotions and awareness you begin to feel for the other people in the book.  The more you like her, the more you hate the villain.  And once you do learn the secret you realise just how serious it is for the day to be saved.

Another good thing about this novel is how it holds the cards.  You’re not immediately certain of how the world is run.  The rules and hurdles Ava face come in tiny spurts and once the foundation is laid the book just kicks into high gear as all parties are racing to come out on top of the plot.  War and double cross, and lots and lots of relaxamist (hope I spelled that correctly).  Something I really wish I could get my hands on.  It kinda made me think of that spray in ‘Muppets go to space’ that miss piggy sprayed on stubborn people to get her way; accept it was way way better.  And the beautifiers.  If only I could just press a button and have a team of people tailor me a suit out of thin air and then give my skin a magical sheen.  All in an hour or two.  From fugly to amazing in no time.

There was a lot to take away from this novel besides the perfectly crafted plot.  But one thing this book does is it doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of an 18 ear old.  Never once did she do anything that made me think hmm, that’s ridiculous (and if so it was perfectly within character).  It also doesn’t have the villain do things that don’t make sense.  He was calculating yet flawed, but determined in his goal to perfect the human race and never understood why he couldn’t eradicate some basic human traits.  I didn’t have to wreck my brain to understand when a real person was there verses a hologram.  This book just made sense.

But the book didn’t just have two characters, Joseph, the very handsome rugged unkempt outsider was a great character too.  He was Ava’s key to outside the city.  Outside the city is a world that we are comfortable with.  Regular emotions, real trees, beaches, weather that actually changes.  And it’s always nice for a characters senses to be shocked with a reality that turns their own upside down.  And Joseph was very calculated in what he revealed to Ava.  He didn’t just overload her with information.  And some things he figured she would find out in time.  And Ava reacted accordingly to his choice in giving her information, as in she acted like she was 18 and not a over hyped angst 13yearold because she just happens to be in young adult fiction.  

The difference between the real world, and the city dome world were balanced out very well.  What I liked the most about it, is that it wasn’t the run down destroyed rich versus poor thing tat pops up so much these days.  The people outside the city, which I suspected from the first chapter, are living perfectly normal well rounded lives.  This fact again brings up the question, ‘what is this big secret’ if the horrible outsiders are okay why so much effort to keep city dwellers inside the dome?

Also the fact that people do tend to use their brains is helpful--Joseph, Ava, and Morray.  The sever lack of people getting themselves into situations just to create plot drama was great.  All tight spots for all characters seemed natural and without that forced ‘I must create drama for my teen fiction’ plot devices for my book.  

The beginning did seem a bit too slow for me, but not enough to deter me.  And I did have a bit of an issue with the ending.  It just seemed a little too in my face for me.  After over a century or two of no real births and no real marriages and incubated babies, for someone to just up and be married and pregnant seemed a bit of a stretch.  She only just learned to read about seven months prior.  After 18 years of a set culture it was a little bit too fast for me.  Conditioning doesn’t usually break in a week or two.  I could understand her getting excited about sex for the first time.  But that’s mainly because even in todays world its fun, and scary, and exciting, and a whole lot of things.  But Marriage is so much bigger than that.  Kind of like how the difference between ‘god’ and ‘the creator Morray’ was not explained to Ava.  It’s complicated.  And as far as I can tell no one in the city had parents so the idea of parenthood is already difficult enough let alone adding marriage to the mix.  I would’ve rather waited for these types of things to be explained to a culture that has not experienced them for centuries in a next book than for it to just be taken for granted as acceptable.  But then again I could be all wrong.  

Also, the villain did only one thing that made me almost be like, you idiot.  When he initialised his chase for Joseph and Ava he took the innocent until proven guilty route.  Thankfully this barely lasted a page.  If he was stupid enough to keep up this face for a chapter this may not have got a ten out of me.  And what made it work was that he knew no matter how far away she got, he was able to get to her so time was not an issue.  And all information she learned could be wiped so as not to contaminate the city dwellers upon her capture.  So even though it was a stupid decision.  He was well aware, in theory, that it would do no harm to take the time to see if she was guilty.  Regardless of if that fact were obvious enough for an embryo to figure out.

I could gush about this book forever, it’s my second perfect ten on my review blog, but this is already long enough.  If you’ve ever wondered what a world without sex, with controlled and limited emotion, and relaxamist spray that can take you straight from raging beast to Zen in a millisecond, and if that world actually would indeed be better, then this book is for you.  And the fact that it’s very well written is only a bonus.  But I would be a very, very bad reviewer if I didn’t mention this particular piece of information.  When planning an escape, always remember to wear your shoes.


The City Center is a fast-paced science fiction adventure that will appeal to young adults and seasoned readers. During the man-made apocalypse in the 21st century, a group of elites killed off a majority of the population. Only two groups of survivors remained - those selected to reside inside the utopian Los Angeles City Center and the rebels, relegated to live on the Outside. Centuries later, Ava Rhodes escapes the City Center and goes on a journey to seek the truth about her supposed utopian home, sending the City Center’s leader, Chief Morray, into an obsessive pursuit for his property.

Side note:

I have it on good authority that Simone Pond is obsessed with boston terriers.  Dogs rule.  A very good reason to purchase this book.  Other than it's awesome.