Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: The Policewoman

The Policewoman The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Well, then. Just when I thought I was getting an interesting and detailed insight into a possible coalition of international police and military units working together against a drug cartel, a very human story took root and hooked me right in.

The was some info-dumping, particularly early on. There was a lot of detail and a lot, I mean a lot, of acronyms. But these things were done well, in that at just the moment when I wanted to know what something was or what an acronym stood for, there it was. I didn't have to go look it up, so that was convenient.

But then out of nowhere I realized I was attached to these characters and cared what happened to them. By the ending, I was swiping my e-reader as quickly as I could scan the page with my eyes. And wow....these action sequences are pretty amazing...

All said, I won't say much. I'm being intentionally vague on dropping plot points, as I wouldn't want to give anything away. There's plenty of unexpected here, let's say. But I will say that Roberts can spin a tale and get the reader to really feel for his characters...

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review: Martians Abroad

Martians Abroad Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an eARC of this novel from the publisher though NetGalley.

I love Carrie Vaughn’s books, and I jumped at the opportunity to read this book early. As with her Kitty Norville stories, Vaughn gives us a first-person narrative with a very comfortable and conversational tone. You can’t help but love her protagonists, in this case a teenage Martian girl named Polly Newton.

Polly learns that she’s been chosen to attend the Galileo Academy on Earth, and she’s not too happy about it. She’s perfectly content at her home of Colony One, on Mars. She’s going with her twin brother Charles, and that only makes it worse because he’s so agreeable to the proposition.
This really felt like a YA take on The Expanse, that great series by Vaughn’s friend(s) James S.A. Corey. It doesn’t have the gritty feel of that other universe, but it does seem to have a similar society and political structure. That’s certainly not a complaint, but I do wonder if there was any influence here.

My only real criticism of the book is that it ended rather abruptly. Not cliffhangery abrupt, as it had a satisfying ending, but I do feel it could have been fleshed out a little more and maybe expanded by 50 pages or so without losing anything. I did get the feeling that we’ll be seeing a series here eventually, and if so I’ll definitely be checking in on Polly Newton again.

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 by John Tiffany
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up because I found it to be such a page-turner down because it just isn't up to the same quality as the first couple of HP books.

I do feel strange with this book lined up on my shelves with 4 stars, right along with the first few HP books. Those were superior to this in every way, but I try to rate each book on its own rather than in comparison to other books in its series. Still, I might tweak it down to 3 eventually-edit: done!. What I probably should do is re-read the main series and tweak them up.

There really isn't much to say about this that hasn't been said already. I did enjoy the hell out of it. I flew through the Acts and really enjoyed the experience. No, it wasn't perfect. It was flawed in many ways. But on pure enjoyment alone, I had to give it thumbs up.

I'd really like to see the play and see how it comes across live.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review: Age of Myth

Age of Myth Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was provided an ebook copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley

But then I bought a first edition hardcover too :)

Well, that took me a long time to finish, didn't it? You'd think that reflects on the book, right? Except, not this time. I had my reasons.

First, this was a re-read. Yes, though it was a new book I started, it was my second pass through this particular story. As stated in my initial review of the novel I was selected to be a beta reader nearly two years ago. This time through, I was intentionally going at a slower, more leisurely pace. I didn't have to stop after every chapter and submit a survey, and I didn't have to read it with a critical eye. I got to savor and enjoy...

And then, since I was so leisurely about it, other stuff got jumped ahead in priority. I had school and work deadlines, and other reading commitments. That was okay. In between, I still had this book to savor.

One of those commitments turned out to be another beta read, for the sequel, Age of Swords, reviewed here. Well, I wasn't done with this one yet, but had a limited time to read the new beta version of book 2. What do I do? Set this aside and jump in with all fours.

So now I got back to it, having to rewind the events in my mind to get me back to where I left off. And now I've finished it again.

And...I loved it as much (or more) than the first time. There has not been a lot changed to the final product. It just felt cleaned up a lot from the edits. Such a joy to read this story, and interesting with my knowledge of book 2 for that matter.

Another thing this shows is that this book stands the test of revisiting. So many books don't seem as great the second time through. And others are just as fine on subsequent readings. This one, thankfully, is one of the latter....

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Review: The Christmas Spirit: A Short Story

The Christmas Spirit: A Short Story The Christmas Spirit: A Short Story by Brian James Freeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now, that was different and unexpected. Some good Christmasy stuff to read on this Christmas Eve. And then..well yea, I won't spoil the eggnog. It's definitely worth a few minutes.

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Review: The Fireman

The Fireman The Fireman by Joe Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I've read all of Joe Hill's books (other than some rare stories and some of the comics), and of course when The Fireman came out I had to get a copy immediately. It did take me a few months to get to it. I didn't know what it was about, except that it had something to do with a fireman. But I trust Joe Hill and he hasn't let me down yet.

So right away we were seeing that something was very wrong. The apocalypse was nigh, as we learned pretty early on that some dreaded disease was sweeping across America and Canada. Something called Dragonscale, which caused scaly marks to form on the skin. Sometimes they would smoke, and the victims would quite frequently burst into spontaneous infernos.

The pacing of this book is a comfortable, slow burn. It's really easy to sink in and become attached to the characters and their situations. It reminds me in several places of Stephen King's The Stand, though focused on a smaller group of point of view characters. I often suspected that these similarities were intentional as homage to King's book (and other works), as well as to other apocalyptic themed authors and stories.

I've found that it's very difficult to write a review for a book like this, one that packs so much heat in just over 700 pages. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so it's hard to go into the story that much. I will say that I love the main character, Harper, as she adapts to the changes in her life and the world she's forced to survive in. That being said, her story and that of the supporting characters, is highly recommended. As the winter sinks in, it might even help warm things up for a bit...

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Review: We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was exactly what I needed as I finished up a full time slate of college courses. It's a smart sci-fi story in that the science is very well thought out, but at the same time it is accessible to the non-scientific. Great humor abounds, and there are many geeky pop-culture references that kept me smiling.

I would definitely recommend this to fans of The Martian. Though the actual story is pretty different, the protagonist and his first person narrative brought back memories of that book. That, and the humor-geek smartass personality.

And what's more, I heartily recommend the audiobook version, narrated by Ray Porter. He brings Bob and all the other Bobs characters to life perfectly.

Lots of fun, and I'm anxiously awaiting more books from the author.

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