Review: A Painted Goddess by Victor Gischler

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Publisher: Amazon/47 North

Publishing Date: January 2016

ISBN: 9781503954762

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.6/5

Publishers Description: When the gods go to war, who will stand against their divine fury? In the thrilling conclusion to the A Fire Beneath the Skin trilogy, the enchanted kingdom of Helva faces a nightmarish future of endless bloodshed, and Rina Veraiin—a young warrior-duchess armed with mysterious, magical tattoos—must use her fantastic powers to save her home from eternal war.

Review: I had a good time reading this novel. Great characters and scene development. The world building continues with mini-quests by the Lady Wizard, Brasley, Tosh and more cool tattoos. Alem, as usual, is banging all the hot chicks in a sordid love triangle. Why they are drawn to a stable boy is never revealed and will constantly leave you confused.

This was definitely not as good as the first but better than the second. Each mini-adventure the characters undertook was rather abrupt and not as epic as the first novel.  The revelations come too quick to be believable yet were riveting all the same.  There was a death of an important character that left a vacuum when they departed.  Too bad really, as this character could have enhanced this series if it were revisited. The ending is a bit “meh” yet it leaves room for another novel (I hope). Overall a fun read that kept me awake every night.

 

Review: The Tattooed Duchess by Victor Gischler

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Publisher: Amazon/ 47 North

Publishing Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9781503948228

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Publishers Description: In the second installment of the A Fire Beneath the Skin trilogy, Rina Veraiin has youth, beauty, and strength. She is a born warrior, able to outride any man, deal death with her fierce blade, and command awesome and mysterious forces granted to her by a set of magical tattoos. Now as the newly minted duchess of Klaar, Rina confronts a menace that threatens her world in a divine conflict that will push her newfound abilities to their limits.

Review: Nice cover. This, the second installment of the Fire Beneath the Skin series, continues the saga of Rina and her cohorts. New to the series is Talbun, a hot centuries old wizard, whom walks around naked. The usual characters are in evidence as well; Brasley, Alem , Tosh and Maurizan. 

This was a short novella that seemed like an interim before the finale with The Painted Goddess. Quite a few grammatical errors but still, a very good read.

 

Review: Ink Mage by Victor Gischler

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Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: April 2014

ISBN: 9781477849309

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.6/5

Publishers Description: No enemy has ever made it across the Long Bridge or penetrated the city’s mighty walls. Even when a powerful invading army shows up at the gates, the duke and his daughter, Rina Veraiin, are certain that it poses little threat. But they are cruelly betrayed from within and, in a horrific spasm of violence, the city is brought to its knees. With the help of her bodyguard, Kork, the battle-trained young Rina narrowly escapes the slaughter and makes her way to the lair of an ancient sorcerer—the Ink Mage—who gifts her with a strange, beautiful set of magical tattoos.

Review: Cover art is spectacular. Wow, I could not put this down. I stayed up way to late to finish but was glad of it. The world building is epic and the character, and I mean every character, is well developed. The movement never stops and the intricacy of the story line draws you in deeply. There were so many storylines and venues that you thought could never work, but it all comes together and serves to keep you entertained with those differences.

Rina is a great main character. You will constantly cheer for her, as she is tough yet vulnerable and the odds are always after her to fail. After her Father is betrayed and she flees for her life, she is led to a wizard in the cold mountains and so begins the saga. GET IT!!

 

Review: Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel Jose Older

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Publisher: Roc

Publishing Date: January 2016

ISBN:9780425275993

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

Publishers Description: Carlos Delacruz straddles the line between the living and the not-so alive. As an
agent for the Council of the Dead, he eliminates New York’s ghostlier problems. This time it’s a string of gruesome paranormal accidents in Brooklyn’s Von King Park that has already taken the lives of several locals—and is bound to take more. 

Review: This writer must have a problem with old people as every referent to the aged has malignant commentary.  Not that I really care, just seemed odd. He also seems to be hung up on skin color because you just cant get away from the “white skin bad/ brown skin good ” shtick that plagues this book.  Racist? Maybe. He sure brushes at the edge of racial poignancy veiled as cultural diversity.  But he makes it ok with a white manly lesbian masquerading as a competent assassin.

“So why you give 2.5 stars!?” Despite the racial bias the story line was interesting up to a point. The characters developed nicely with the movement yet some of the scenes and chapters lacked logical progression. Chapters didn’t flow very well into the next in some instances and it didn’t help that the character perspectives changed with each new chapter.  The ending just didn’t fit with the overall theme. The fight scene was even more contrived and it seemed like it was a rush to an ending. Overall, ‘meh’.

 

 

Review: Oasis by Dima Zales

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Publisher: Mozaika

Publishing Date: January 2016

ISBN:9781631420757

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.1/5

Publishers Description: My name is Theo, and I’m a resident of Oasis, the last habitable area on Earth. It’s meant to be a paradise, a place where we are all content. Vulgarity, violence, insanity, and other ills are but a distant memory, and even death no longer plagues us. 

 Review: Cover art: Bieber is falling……….. Wow, this was really good. Great character development, storyline, world building…the whole enchilada. Some minor issues with scene descriptions that were not accurate or believable but otherwise a very entertaining read. Some reviewers did not like all the cussing. There really was not that much cursing and could not be construed as offensive unless you are a shjtwit.  Curious to see what happens next. GET IT!

Review: Dream Bender by Ronald Kidd

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Publisher: Albert Whitman

Publishing Date: March 2016

ISBN:9780807517253

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.4/5

Publishers Description: Everyone in the City is assigned a job by the choosers–keeper, catcher, computer. Callie Crawford is a computer. She works with numbers: putting them together, taking them apart. Her work is important, but sometimes she wants more. Jeremy Finn is a dreambender. His job is to adjust people’s dreams. He and others like him quietly remove thoughts of music and art to keep the people in the City from becoming too focused on themselves and their own feelings rather than on the world. They need to keep the world safe from another Warming.

Review: Oh wow, that cover art is really horrific. 

I am really trying to become a kinder and gentler critic due to the fact that I am not a writer and have not put myself out their on the public stage to be scrutinized. I know I would take any criticisms as an assault on my fragile identity and attack with equal severity.

But I do know entertainment value when a novel conjoins all the things that make up an interesting story: Character development that grows with the movement, scene progression, world building etc. etc.  This novel had none of those things and quite frankly was one of the most boring novels I have ever read. It was like wading through a sea of molasses while a cloud of mosquitoes feasts upon your buttocks.  Forget the liberal “global warming” message that not only insults your intelligence but continues on throughout the novel like its an accepted fact. This novel lost me early with insipid dialogue and halting movement.

 

 

Review: The Borrowed Souls (Soul Collector #1) by Paul Kohler

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Publisher: Global

Publishing Date: December 2015

ISBN:9781940740140

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

Publishers Description: The afterlife is not at all what Jack Duffy had expected. A failed suicide attempt launches him into a world that continually tests his ability to forgive and forget. With each new soul that he’s entrusted to collect, he learns more about himself and his horrific decisions in life. 

 Review:   I really should like this writer’s novels. Good story lines, strong character development, solid writing……So where does it fall down for me? The novel just drags on and on, with “poor me” dialogue thrown in consistently throughout. I get that Jack lost his wife and that he took a less than noble path as a consequence but to rehash this over and over and over really diminishes the storyline and halts the movement.  Also the idea that your wife is your still your soul mate when she has repeatedly had sex with other men in your own bed is ridiculous.

I still found this entertaining, and I am sure others will find that soul collecting combines the nuances of real life and the unknown into palatable entertainment.