Monday, July 16, 2018

Book: In the House of Five Dragons by Erica Lundquist

In the House of Five DragonsIn the House of Five Dragons by Erica Lindquist

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first quarter of this book absolutely crawled for me, and I considered more than once just giving up. In the end I'm glad I didn't.

This is more fantasy than scifi in case that's important to you.

Things I loved:
the twin worlds concept, and the fact that what is matter of fact in one world is magic in the other; the understated romance over the last three-quarters of the book; character growth for multiple characters; a couple of twists I wasn't expecting; the way the girl learned to understand what Rikard was saying, and used that knowledge to help him appear less "mad" during public appearances; who the Crest turned out to be; the odd mishmash of modern and medieval sensibilities; Rikard's journey to make his society honorable again, the way nothing was easy for Rikard, especially when I expected it to be; the action sequences.

Things I didn't love:
the first quarter of the book; the weird ways names changed depending on whether one was talking about a place, a nation, or a person from that nation; the ending (not that it was a bad ending, just that I wanted a bit more about the main characters and how their lives had changed rather than about the son) - I understood it was written that way to create a bookend feeling with the opening, but though it was a perfectly good sequence, it didn't tell me what I wanted to know about how the part of the story I cared about ended; the unveiling of the Crest's identity; that we only got to know two characters from Alterra.

When I read some of the stuff in the last few pages of the book, it became clearer to me why the first quarter of the book was so boring to me: it was setting up a roleplaying universe. For some people all that information would be fascinating. For me, it was as boring as D&D is in person. Yes. I'd rather play solitaire in the dark with actual cards.

And on a personal note, I was predisposed to dislike the son, named Gaius, because that character on BSG is far from my favorite. James Callis is a superb actor, and it's a testament to his acting that I dislike Gaius Baltar so thoroughly. Some names are just ruined forever, though. lol

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Book: Never Be Alone by Paige Dearth

Never Be Alone Never Be Alone by Paige Dearth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of Joon via Netgalley for the purposes of providing an unbiased review.

The book ends on a note of hope. That is the single best thing I can tell you.

Joon is full of triggers. If you are at all squeamish about the rough side of life, my sincere advice is to be sure you have support in place for when this book gets tough. And it does get tough. There were several times I seriously thought about stopping and moving on to another book, but Joon is a compelling character. It was impossible to give up on her because despite all odds, she never gave up on herself.

She kept living, kept loving, kept trusting, and is a shining beacon for people who feel overwhelmed by the neverending bad stuff in their lives.

If you are the kind of person who reads stories like this to remind you where you came from and how hard you worked to get where you are, I can guarantee Joon will do that for you. If you are the kind of person who reads stories like this to help you renew your heart and your compassion, Joon'll do that for you, too.

This book is not for everyone, but if you choose to read it, I believe you'll come out the other end enlightened to some degree. Paige Dearth has a way with words, and doesn't mince them. She'll be an author I return to when I need another reminder of how good life is right now, and how much worse it used to be.

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Book: Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd

Dead Girl Running Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley for the purposes of providing an unbiased review.

Y'all, I don't give five stars easily, but this one deserves it.

I got introduced to all new characters I can care about. Kateri Kwinault had a cameo. The mystery about Kellen's past was equally as compelling to me as the whodunit threaded throughout the book. I wanted to know, and I was not disappointed!

There was a subtle and low-key romantic undercurrent, which I cannot describe any better for fear of spoiling you.

Best of all, the book was chock full of women being awesome!

Go. Read. I think you'll be glad you did.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Book: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

After Anna After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley for the purposes of providing an unbiased review.

While I did not like this book overall, there were things I did like. Caleb was an awesome kid and he rises to the occasion toward the end of the book. Wreck-It Ralph is a phenomenal name for a cat. The long-term relationship between Maggie and Kathy spans the gamut of emotion, and is a wonderful example of friendship.

Though the craptastic formatting was irritating, and I'm mentioning it, it's not included in my reasons for disliking After Anna.

The first chapter was good. I was certainly hooked enough to continue reading. The next chapter belonged to Maggie and the goddess of exclamation points, and I wasn't even to the bottom of that page before I was rolling my eyes and wanting to tape Maggie's mouth shut.

There was an instance or two early on of infodumping on the courthouse's appearance, which may be of interest to some, but I was reading, "blah, blah, blah" instead. Plenty of awkward phrasing throughout, and so many misused and improperly punctuated words - the proofreader needs to be tossed overboard.

I didn't enjoy the split reverse timeline method of storytelling. It can be done well and ratchet up the suspense, but here it was just annoying. I was at 80% before the plot became interesting again.

There was a glaring mistake in the final rescue scene, and it took me entirely too long to get back into the story for the last few pages.

I was disappointed in the epilogue: too much time was skipped over, and I felt like the characters didn't deserve the endings they got. In particular, too much was glossed over in the family's recovery for the end to be believable to me.

I can't recommend this book unless you are a hardcore Scottoline fan who must read every book.

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In addition to the above, there are some triggery scenes in he last quarter of the book. If you have triggers involving children or sex, please ask so I can help you decide if this book is for you.