Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review: The Rental

The Rental
The Rental by Rebecca Berto

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In disclosure, I'm noting that I was given a free eARC copy of this book by the author, who is a Goodreads friend of mine.

Also in disclosure, I'll state that I don't normally read romance novels, erotic or otherwise. I say this to put my rating in perspective; by putting it out there that this type of story isn't normally "my thing", I can show why my enthusiasm might not be as high as someone that gets off on this stuff, so to speak.

So why am I here? This is the third book I've read by Berto, each one inching a little further away from my personal comfort zone. But I figure Berto can use an honest review outside of her target audience to see just how well her written word crosses over.

It does that. Yes, I'm giving this a middle of the road rating, but it's still one that says I "like" the book. I found myself very intrigued by the story and where it was going. I cared for the characters, and downright adored Vee, the main protagonist. I often found myself on the edge of my chair, wondering what was going to happen next and how they'd push the envelope.

So what's the problem? Well, not a problem so much. I just didn't enjoy this book start to finish as much as I had the previous works I've read from this author. Precise and Being Kalli felt a lot smoother in narrative. I really think that it's the romance factor that makes it jarring for me. As I said, I'm not a reader of the genre.

But that said, there was plenty of payoff in the Holy Shit! moments. And you know, I just had to turn that page...just one more time.

So yes, it's definitely worth a read if the subject matter doesn't bunch your panties too much. But then, if you're reading my reviews, you're probably not too easily offended.

Or I'll be flagged...

Anyway, thanks again for the ARC, Rebecca. "And you, young Skywalker; we shall watch your career with great interest."

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: Rise of Empire

Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4)Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here I continued my audiobook re-read of the first three books of the Riyria Revelations, giving Nyphron Rising another go. It's funny when I look back on my original review from 2009. Funny how anxious I was to continue with the series, and at how I'm sitting here close to five years later writing down my reaction to that very book.

What the hell happened? Well, to make a boring story short, I fell behind when books 4 and 5 came out. Then I found out that Orbit had bought the series and would be re-releasing them even as the sixth book was being finished up. So it was easy enough to wait...

Then I started collecting the new editions from Orbit (while still building the original collection). By the time 2011 was coming to a close, I decided a re-read was in order.

I re-read the first two books but ran out of time before the New Year. I was literally finishing up Avempartha when the ball dropped in Times Square. Why does this matter?

I had put a ban on myself for the entire year of 2012. A ban against re-reads. I had found that I read too many books I had already read in 2011, so I needed to force myself to read new books.

The good news: I did it. I successfully made it through 2012 without re-reading a single book.

The bad news: Nyphron Rising went un-re-read. Since it was fuzzy in my old memory, I couldn't continue with The Emerald Storm.

So then after 2012 was over, it felt too soon to read the first two books again. Then I found out the prequels were coming out! I scooped those up and read them both, loving every page.

So then finally this story comes to a close as in the middle trimester of 2014, I decided it was past time to get back on the series and read it, start to finish. I kept hearing great things about Tim Gerard Reynolds on the audiobook and decided that would be a great way to do my re-read.

Success! I have found him to be the perfect reader for this series, and one of my favorite audio readers to date. As a result, I continued with his narration even after catching up on the re-reads and venturing into the unknown with The Emerald Storm. (See what I did there?)

The Emerald Storm, wow. What a start. Early on I found myself shaking my head as the author seemed to have completed a transition from a Terry Brooks influence to that of a grimdark master. I was WTF??? O_O > What's this, George R.R. Michael J. Sullivan?? Did you really just go there??

And so he did. Man, what had I been missing?

I did get a bit concerned that this would end up being my least favorite of the series though, as the parts on the ship seemed to get long. But I need not have feared, as the story quickly came back together.

And yes, as soon as I finished, I queued up my copy of Heir of Novron. Not waiting five years six months this time, oh no!

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Review: Kitty Rocks the House

Kitty Rocks the House
Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. I'd round up, but I've rated all of the other books in the series at 4-stars, and this one wasn't quite as good as those.

I enjoyed it, but there was just something off this time around. It seems like several subplots sprouted up and never found a way to connect. Still, it was enjoyable to read these, just a little jarring with the shift from one to another. Maybe that was the point - showing how Kitty is getting close to the point of being overwhelmed with everything going on in her life. It just made for a story that wasn't always smooth.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review: Two Tales of Terror

Two Tales of Terror
Two Tales of Terror by Kelly Hashway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was cool! Two stories in just a few pages, and both were great. "The Monster of All Monsters" deals with things that go bump in the night, from the things' perspective. Then "#Zombies" is an account of a zombie apocalypse told through Twitter. Short and sweet, they both combine humor and terror to pack a quick punch.

Free links for Nook or Kindle editions on the author's homepage. It's definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: Theft of Swords

Theft of Swords
Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Re-reading this so I can continue and finish up the Riyria Revelations series. Listening to the audio this time around.

Excellent reading to an already excellent book. Tim Gerard Reynolds really makes the characters come alive, and his narration is spot on. Even though I've read this book a couple of times already, I found myself eagerly looking forward to picking up the earbuds and listening in on Hadrian and Royce.

Here are my original reviews, from 2009:

The Crown Conspiracy

I won't re-hash them too much, but even after repeat readings, my love for these stories does not diminish. The Crown Conspiracy is full of twists and turns, and Avempartha is more of a slow burn, building up to a surprising climax. Together they form an excellent pairing, much like the main characters.

Theft of Swords is a very good title for the 2in1 omnibus too, considering how well it relates to the stories in each book.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart
The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ugh. "The Monotonous Road" isn't just a chapter heading, but could be a blurb for the book.

I give up. Now it's becoming buried in religion. It was boring before it became a religious study.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: Hit Man

Hit Man
Hit Man by Lawrence Block

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cool introduction to a new (to me) series by Lawrence Block. It's about, as the title suggests, a hit man named Keller.

Each chapter is an assignment for Keller, so it's like a series within a single book. This style kept it from ever becoming a bulky read.

Or listen, in this case. I found the audiobook and was pleased to try it out with this method. The actor Robert Forster did the narration and I'd have to say was pretty much perfect for this book. He really fit the style of the writing, and the character of Keller.

I will definitely be picking up more Block, and more in the Keller series in particular.

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