Publisher: Grymm and Epic
Publishing Date: September 2014
Publisher Description: In the heart of London lies the Engine Ward, a district forged in coal and steam, where the great Engineering Sects vie for ultimate control of the country. For many, the Ward is a forbidding, desolate place, but for Nicholas Thorne, the Ward is a refuge. He has returned to London under a cloud of shadow to work for his childhood friend, the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Review: This was a really good steampunk alternate reality novel set in the late 19th century England, that combined dragons, flesh eating weirdo’s and a vampire King. The character development was exacting which was woven into a compelling story-line with plenty of movement.
The novel begins near the end, which I am usually not a fan of as it detracts from the story line. In this case it works. The three main characters back story’s are written really well and flows wonderfully into the present. I was surprised that this was written by a woman as the perspectives within the novel are mainly male. I think a writer has truly arrived when they can write in any voice, especially male or female.
While the novel is lengthy, you really will not want it to end. Get this.
Publisher: Open Road
Publishing Date: November 2014 (1994)
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher Description: Meet Robin Hudson. Dumped by her husband, she’s been demoted to third-string reporter at New York’s All News Network. Her downstairs neighbor thinks she’s a hooker. Louise Bryant, her finicky cat, refuses to chow down on anything but stir-fry. Now Robin’s being blackmailed by a late-night caller who knows her childhood nickname and other personal stuff, like whom she gave her virginity to. What could be worse?
Being the prime suspect in the bludgeoning death of her mystery caller—that’s what. In life, he was a PI who had the skinny on everyone. Now, while Robin is undercover investigating a suspicious sperm bank, she must also find the killer and clear her name. In her downtime, she’s amusing herself with her hot new boy toy, who may not be Mr. Right but could be Mr. Close Enough. When someone else is murdered, Robin races to break the story before she makes headlines again—as the next victim.
Review: This made for an entertaining and fast paced read. Robin is a hoot and is quite a bit of fun to follow through the story line. She is at once endearing, acerbic, witty, trampled, sexy, intelligent and scathing. Reading about Robin is second place to wanting to meet her. She is written that well. All the characters in her world are built with a poignant veneer or just enough to know you either loathe or like them.
The mystery was easily figured out by the 35% mark but that shouldn’t be why you’re into the novel. It is like a finely woven tapestry where your eyes never focus on just one strand. Not sure that I would read the series, as even though Robin is fun to follow, maybe more might be too much.
Publisher: Crush Star
Publishing Date: October 2014
Publisher Description: Half-bloods with Thierry’s skill set are given two options. They can join the conclave’s marshal program, or they can pack their bags. Turn down the job offer, and you’ve just shredded your residency pass for the mortal realm and booked yourself a one-way ticket to Faerie.
Review: After Theirry passes her test to become Crime Dog McGruff, she is thrust into a vast array of instances that mean nothing other than to expedite her sniffing and smelling of her partner, Shaw the Incubus. Shaw either smells of earthy patchouli, earthy citrus or bare essence covered in a wet grass . Sounds like a vegetarian restaurant menu. On the bright side, Thierry smells like potential and power to Shaw. Whatever that is. Thierry is also magnetically focused on the rumble of his voice, his hard abs and shivers a lot while biting her lip. If the story line wasn’t trampled to shjt with romance this would have been a good read. Every instance is draped in innuendo or lust with magic and weirdo’s only cast as a byline. Skip this or you risk eating your cat in a manic frenzy.
Publishing Date: January 2015
Publisher Description: Justis Fearsson is a private investigator on the trail of a serial killer in Phoenix, Arizona. Justis is also a weremyste—a person with a wizard’s gifts and the ability to see into the paranormal world. Unfortunately, weremystes also tend to go crazy on the full moon—which is why Justis is no longer a cop. Hard to explain those absences as anything but mental breakdown. But now an old case from his police detective days has come back to haunt him, literally, as a serial killer known as the Blind Angel strikes again.
Review: I am at a loss as to how to rate this. I had a good time reading it but was never enthralled or riveted to the pages. The writing is good but the story line didn’t really leap off the pages. Douche (Justis) is really speshul. You know why? His ghost teacher Namid tells him all the time. “You are more powerful than you think…..BOO!” or some such shjt. This novel also embraces the current cliché’s that writers quickly utilize in hopes of garnering praise from progressive shit wits. Lesbian cop, hottie (liberal) love interest, crazy but lovable Dad and evil sorcerer(s). The story line and plot were pretty good and some of the characters were interesting and believable. The magic is unique coupled with the issues (psychosis) that is part of the gift.
Hopefully the next novels in the series embrace a gut wrenching and gritty story-line that embraces movement over dialogue wallowing. One can only hope that Billie gets eaten by a werebeastie in the next novel and a new love interest rises out of the glop.
Publishing Date: February 2015
Publisher Description: London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire’s chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.
Review: There were a few reasons this novel got the dreaded “DNF” which is worse than a one star rating. First the premise. It is based on Mary Todd Lincoln’s grief stricken demand that Bishop (them?, who?) find or create the mortality cure thereby gaining immortality. Did Mary Todd have some sort of hidden cabalistic power which would grant her powers beyond Lincoln’s death? She says most of this to some young psychic girl, named Clara. Yeaaah.
The writing wasn’t too bad, it just relied on the tried and true repetitive phrasing used to expedite scenes and dialogue without the effort to craft something that flows intelligently. For instance, murmur or murmured was used a total of 71 times, which is excessive when reading a dialogue heavy novel. Other cringe worthy phrasing was: shuddered (12x), growled (23x) and muttered (21x).
Clara is a failed character. She is constantly bewildered and in disbelief at her past, current and future set of circumstances. She reminds me of a steel orb in a pinball machine. Stumbling her way through life with a ‘vacant’ sign around her neck. Some unearthly rematerializing woman pops in now and then and reminds her just how SPESHUL she is. After which we are left with Clara muttering, murmuring questions to herself and growling her denials. This novel would be a good read in the right hands. I just had a hard time with the mountain of dialogue and cheesy phrasing.
Publisher: Dark Quest
Publisher Description: Coming to Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts is a dream come true for thirteen-year-old Rachel Griffin. However, surviving mean girls with magic and first kisses turns out to be more difficult than she had expected. Especially when someone may be trying to kill her new friend.
Review: This was definitely YA. Rachel is going to the prestigious Roanoke School of Sorcery where shjt happens constantly. There were so many players it was hard to keep track of them all. She has a myriad of friends with special powers and all the girls are boy crazy. Painful as the YA story-line was to read, this was mostly enjoyable due to the world building and movement (when the excessive dialogue stopped).
Rachel is a fun character as are Siggy and his dragon. There is some slut shaming and cat fighting which you come to expect from YA novels but everyone seems to get their just deserts in the form of magical retribution. I liked that you never have enough information to adequately determine who/what the evil element is. There are hints and obvious clues but you’re never quite sure.
This might have been better served with less players and juvenile (petty) interactions. Due to the lack of resolution for the ending, the inordinate amount of dialogue makes more sense for a series, as a base of characters is needed to build upon in later installments. Unless the movement picks up in the next novel, I won’t be revisiting Roanoke any time soon.
Publishing Date: October 2014
Publisher Description:A forbidden island. An abandoned fort. A deserted village. A living gargoyle. And a time wormhole that catapults teen Nick Brynner and his companion Eleanor Terrell to prehistoric Africa to pass judgment on mankind. They must find and protect – or condemn – our genetic forebears, a real-life “Adam” and “Eve” to either preserve or reset the future. Nick must choose between wilderness, civilization, love, and humanity.
Review: This started off pretty dam good. Nick trespasses on Goat Island, an abandoned military site, and vanishes only to return to a altered universe. A girl helps him escape this altered time and he is subsequently conscripted into finding Adam and Eve in Africa before an alien entity can destroy humanities parents. This was a really solid story-line coupled with very good writing. The world building spanned the galaxy and wended its way through the African plain, engaged in survival.
Some minor fall downs was the time spent in Africa. Nick and Ellie are trying to survive in a hostile environment while hoping to stumble upon our progenitors. This was a big departure from the initial ScFi themed story line. I was a bit disappointed in that yet some may find the shift engaging. Nick as a character is a tool. Every situation is either this outward sarcasm or inner dialogue that is pure glibness. If you want to be captured within the story-line as seen and experienced through the characters then there is no better way to lose interest than to have the main character make idle responses in EVERY dire circumstance. A well written story with a lame main character that lost this novel an entire rating star.
Publisher: Smith Publicity
Publishing Date: April 2012
Publisher Description: An unknown virus has turned most of the world into flesh eating zombies, and one teenager, Ed Kirk, has contracted it, but it is working through him slowly and he doesn’t know why. He finds his girlfriend, Lisa Jane, and together they fight to get out of their small town and seek help, meeting up with some strangers along the way. Will they be friends or foe? At the same time, they are being pursued by a dark force unknown to them. They must try to find help or a cure before Ed completely turns.
Review: Cool cover art. I liked Ed Kirk and Lisa Jane. They were this blend of post-apoc dynamic duo meets the Blue Lagoon. Ed Kirk is half zombie, meaning that the virus didn’t fully take. There is this fear that as time progresses so does the virus and a cure is tantamount to not just Ed’s survival but humanities. Lisa Jane is his smart, funny, totally hot GF that sticks with him even when he begins to struggle with the effects of the virus. They meet up with some people that are unaffected, including a high school jock that has the hots for Lisa Jane. What follows is some internal strife and much chasing by hoards of zombies.
This novel was engaging when the story didn’t dwell in the past . There were quite a few pages spent on life prior to the zombie outbreak that seemed excessive. Perhaps a little less time down memory lane would have sufficed. The ending was typical for a series….no resolution. The characters were well developed and the story line had good pace when rendered in the now. This was definitely a YA book but I had fun reading it.
Publisher: 47 North
Publishing Date: November 2014
Publisher Description: Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.
Review: Really like the cover art. Hmmm, now lets see how many times Ceony referenced “Emery’s green eyes” or her fluttering , clenching, swirling, dropping, sinking, lurching, cramping, growling, churning, souring, writhing, heaving, drained and turning stomach. Lets not forget her blushing face/chest/arms. WTF happened here? We went from possible redemption in terms of a story line with The Paper Magician to the Nora Roberts School of Writing meets Harlequin in The Glass Magician. This was just plain awful.
Ceony is being chased by two bad men. One of which wants her “secret” to freezing Lira and the other just wants to kill her. She flees with her hunky green eyed man, Emery, to the city where they take up residence in an apartment (Oh how scandalous!) and proceed to flirt, blush and think naughty thoughts. Ceony goes from a one dimensional character to a one dimensional character with a libido. All she sees is Emery with mischief in his green eyes and when he touches her she feels the warmth of his hands and hopes that he doesn’t see her blushing. FUG ME.
This was a fine example of trampling a good idea with romance. Ceony could have been this cool badass magician that learns her craft in the hard knocks department, can take a man or leave him, loves her paper dog more than modesty and can tell the establishment to fug off once in a while. What we got was a semi-feisty nun who runs around cleaning up after men or cooking for them every night or fainting in their arms. Oh lets not forget her stupid braid that is mentioned CONSTANTLY but has nothing to do with anything.
Publisher: 47 North
Publishing Date: September 2014
Publisher Description: Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
Review: Reviewer mostly rated this in the two star region with some rating it far higher than it deserved. This started off as really inventive and maintained that inclination throughout the novel. Magic based on bonding to a material, in this case paper. There were animated paper constructs, flying paper planes to name a few. While the novel started off with good intent with the world of Ceony unfolding, it plummets when the majority of the novel is spent in the chambers of Emery’s heart where Ceony is chased by Lira, known as an Excisioner- a practitioner of black magic whom bonds to flesh.
Ceony never develops as a character worthy of following with any alacrity. It is all about Ceony “and her little dog too!” (Wicked Witch cackling). Usually novels that focus on a main character at the expense of others, tend to be a little effusive and self-centered with regard to how each scene plays out AROUND the main character. Ceony is more of an Alice In Wonderland character. She runs around without a plan making things up as she goes along. I would describe her as stumbling with intent. As she moves through each of the chambers that represent Emery’s goals, dark times, happy times etc., we see her discovering what makes up Emery while revealing Ceony’s emotional content. To be honest there really wasn’t a lot there. She’s scared, angry, bratty and frustrated but the scenes didn’t add a great deal of depth to her.
This novel had an inventive story line, was well written but the main character didn’t quite move me into cheering for her to overcome the predicaments. Lira is wonderfully evil and Emery is fully revealed through the movement of the story line.
Here’s hoping that in the next novel, Ceony is able to use other magic or develops some depth coupled with an interesting personality .