Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Aaron, I mean Bach.

Forturne's Pawn
by Rachel Bach

November 2013

cover - How can you not love this cover.  there's a space suit helmet, an intense face in there, and all those code and symbols running across her visor.... all her feeds.  Yep.  Intense.

I just love a good SciFi novel, especially when there are gadgets and implants, wetware, soft ware, etc., along with a good strong intense female lead.  I'm not crazy about the almost out of control temper on this particular woman, but she's not my best friend or family member, so it's all just part of a good story.  Except in the place where I'm rolling my eyes because she's a little quick to lash out with her temper, when she's supposed to be a highly trained soldier....but - it's all story line.  To be fair, I do find my self rolling my eyes at many random things lately - maybe I'm just cranky.  ;)

In this book, Deviana - aka Devi -  has signed on to a ship that is well known as an illfated ship to be on.  She signs on to it, because she's too impatient to rise up the ranks and be noticed for an elite position in an elite kings' guard position.  This position just about backfires on her.

She ends up almost dying a few times, has some adventures and falls for this cook who seems to be more than your average cook.  In fact, everyone on this ship is  a little more than appears.

I enjoyed the characters - except for the stereotypical almost sexist co-mercenary who has signed on at the same time.  I would hope that by the time any civilization gets into space, and terraforms many planets that the usual male looking down on female coworkers would have been on the down swing; what with evolution, the fact that there are many females in the armies, etc.  I would hate to think that we could possibly go thousands of years and still be dealing with males pulling the whole cock of the roost thing.   But - then Devi wouldn't have been able to show off her macho state of being, her toughness, and her armor.  (Wink)

Aside from that, I enjoyed the story along with the strange characters on the ship.  I like the universe and other beings that Bach as written into the story.  The backgrounds of each race are interesting - you have to read to appreciate....

Even the Doctor of the ship is of a being that are usually known to humans as a warring race, and Devi almost shoots the navigator before they are introduced.  The doctor in fact, is one of my favorite characters.

There are some fun plot twists in this novel - one of three so far. (novels, not plot twists).  There is a romance that is nipped almost before it starts, unrequited love, friendships where Devi never expected to find friendships, mysterious crew and captain, a ship raid or three that they barely survive, and some freaky deaky stuff that goes on.  

I am looking forward to reading the next in the series - and according to some of the other reviews, book three is even more intense than the first two.  wow.

Rachel Bach also writes as Rachel Aaron (The Spirit Thief)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Books!!!!! specifically, The Shifting Price of Prey

I have not been the best of bloggers lately - not even close.  a year ago, two years ago, I would have been on top of new book releases - especially from my favorite writers - and this time, I'm completely surprised when I find the book I've been waiting for already out on the shelves...

On of my favorite writers - Suzanne McLeod has recently released her fourth Genny Taylor novel - The Shifting Price of Prey.
From the first time I read her very first book (The Sweet Scent of Blood), long before it came out in the States, I was excited about this series, and the characters within.  My interest hasn't changed - just my energy.

I've always tried to announce her novels BEFORE they are released in the United States, but this time.... it snuck up on me.  I have to admit here, that I have already read this one - I was lucky enough to get an e-copy a while ago, and I can safely say, this one is just as interesting as the first three novels.  I've enjoyed all of the series.  

When The Sweet Scent of Blood first came out in the UK, there weren't many books that combined the fae with vampires and witches, but McLeod did an amazing job of pulling a new blend out of the morass of urban fantasy novels. Her main character is also a blend - vampire and fae (you find this out in the first novel, so it's not really a spoiler unless you haven't read ANY of her novels)
If you haven't read any of them yet....  why the hell not?
they've been out for a while, 
get crackin'!

Fun series, with just the right amount of heat, snark, mystery and suspense.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Remember my reviews of Lucy A. Snyder's books?  I liked them and yet the books drove me crazy.....  Well, apparently, she's been continuing to write;  I've missed her last book (maybe more than one), even though I'm open to reading more from her. 
     The two books I read and reviewed

            And the book I haven't yet read, yet love the name and title  

 And with her newest project, she's going Kickstarter...
That's right - Kickstarter.

Well - I couldn't resist.  I pledged $30.  I would have went for more, but I can't afford anymore, and to be frank....I kind of like the return on the $30 pledge.  If you're not familiar with kickstarter, it's a place for artists, writers, entrepenuers to ask for support (monetary of course) and in return you are offered a token of appreciation.  It can be a signed piece of work, a book, an e-copy, a postcard, a wave and "see ya sucker", whatever.  Point is, you're promised something, and you invest a little bit of money.  I invested in a calender project last year and was able to get an autographed picture of Gregory Maguire (of Witch fame) - which I used as a christmas present for my daughter - who loves his writing.   

I would like to think that I would pledge money just for art's sake, but lets face it - getting a gift in return just makes it that much easier to help out.  And when it's a lot of people investing, the pledge amounts are kept in the reasonable range where real, average people can participate.  That's a win for me. :)

And take a look at the cover - I like that the green eye is still green and glowing......

ANY way there are 11 more days of the fundraising (investor gathering?), so if you want to donate anything from $1, $2, $3 to $75 or $100.... and increments in between ($20, $30, $40, etc) get on over to Kickstarter and take a look around.  Click on the cover above (Devils' Field - I really hope they're referring to more than one devil) or on the word Kickstarter way above that should be in bright green font to get directly to Snyder's page.

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's Monday, and it's been a long time....

Since I participated in a Monday meme.  Hell, it's been a long time since I was able to actually finish reading a novel - or even sit down to read.

I've been working a fulltime 40 hour a week job as well as trying to hang onto my parttime work at a school as a library tech and lunch supervisor.  It's not easy - and on the weekends I found myself either working to cover a shift or simply dozing the weekend away.  And we're still struggling to make ends meet - such is life though.  At least we're still eating! ;)

Hosted by Sheila of Book Journey It's Monday is the place to go to see what everyone has been reading and to find new reads to add to that TBR mountain you know you have... 
I don't have a lot to report.  Since the first of the year, I've only finished five books.  Happily, I've enjoyed each of the books I finished immensely.

Finished in January 

Wrong Ways Down 


backseat saints by Joshilyn Jackson

You just can't go wrong with a Stacia Kane Downsider book - and this one (for those of you who know the Downside world) is written from Terrible's pov, with cameo appearances of Chess.

Joshilyn Jackson's backseat saints was a surprise find from the strangest place - a discount food store that happened to have a few books.  This is a very hard hitting story about a woman and her abusive marriage.

Finished in February

Chill by


Goodnight Tweetheart

With these two authors, you also get very quality reading material.  Both of them have been writing for years, and each of them have a talent for good story telling.  I think Bear is quite genious a multiple storylines and blending lengends, myth and science fiction.

and finally - the book I've finished in March

Night Owls

I wasn't sure I was going to like it, and in fact, I ended up enjoying even more than just liking.  It was quite a good book, with some fun characters.  A vampire turned bookstore proprietor, her renfield/smartassed manager; a young girl who has been hunting monsters with her now dead guardian, a shy nerdy bookstore employee and this evil book....oh - and there is a couple of succubi who are more into each other than men.  It all blends into a hell of a first book.

Now - what I've been currently reading:

One of the contributors to Happily Ever Afterlife is J.A. Campbell - the J.A. Campbell of The Clanless series and Sabaska's Tale.

Of course, Campbell's was the first story I read in the anthology (The Baron and the Firebird), I have read a couple others and so far all the stories are pretty good.  Fun anthology.

Now - isn't this one of the creepiest covers you'll ever see?  I think it's hella creepy.  chills.

Edited by Mhairi Simpson - Tales of Eve is an anthology that has another one of my favorite writer's work.
Mother Know's Best by Suzanne McLeod.

I usually read anthologies a story here, a story there, now and then....

The novel I'm currently reading I started Sunday and ACTUALLY got halfway through during the day - a day of napping and reading.  This has not been my norm recently, to be able to get through so much of one book in one day.
The Human Division (as you can plainly see by the picture)
by John Scalzi - another one of his highly entertaining books full of intrigue, plotting, governments, spies, spaceships and green soldiers..

That's that.  For now.  Not sure when the next post will be, if I'll be able to finish this book soon (hoping for next week) or when I'll end up being able to finish another novel.  
I have a few books lined up that I've recently some of my auto buy writers.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


So ---  I get overwhelmed with life, and then become inundated trying to manage two jobs and find time to sleep - and then get totally forgotten on the internet - not that I was a hugely popular blogger with a high volume of readers...

Still, it's a little humbling to see just how easy it is to fall back into obscurity.

Hell of it is, I probably won't be able to blog on a contiual or regular basis.   I haven't even been able to read very much.
not reading very much is a very weird thing for me.  I used to read at least four books a week, and then it went down to two a week, then on a week.... and now I'm lucky if I finish a book a month.

But I'm still trying to follow my favorite writers - I still want to support  by reviewing - it's just going to be less frequent.  
And hopefully someone will see a post and be tempted to buy a book.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

backseat saints by Joshilyn Jackson

Back Seat Saints
Joshilyn Jackson

May 2011

cover - look at that cover....woman in the front seat, dog with her....  they're going somewhere....

I was browsing this weird new store one day...not even thinking about books, when I saw an endcap of books - all for $3 or less. On one hand, I was glad to see a book I could buy for $3.00 but once I began reading I was sad for the author that her books are on an endcap in some strange dollar store.  And yet  -  if they hadn't been, I would not have found it, read it and then wanted to buy more of her books.  Which I do.  I would love to find more of her novels and read them since Joshilyn Jackson writes a hell of a story.

backseat saints is the story of a young woman, raised in a dysfunctional family, with a mother who ran away seemingly abandoning her, who ends up in an abusive relationship.

backseat saints is the story of the roll this young woman plays in her abusive marriage and how she finally accepts the fact that if she stays, she's going to end up dead.

backseat saints is the story of how she finally changes her life and how family cares for each other, even though it might not be in the best way.  It's about forgiveness and hate.

It's a very hard hitting book.  Very striking.  I recommend it, it's very good reading, even though some parts may by hard to read.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chill by Elizabeth Bear - review

Elizabeth Bear
Jacob's Ladder #2

****** six out of six stars

cover  - See, here's the thing.  These characters are supposed to be very pale - as evidenced on this cover.  But not shown on this cover, is that they are also pretty blue tinged....  however, this IS this representation of a colony of symbiont colonies....a type of nanobyte, if you will, that aids in keeping the bodies fresh, fighting disease and injury - even too much emotions.   Science Fiction - gotta love it.  :)

If you haven't read Dust, then Chill isn't going to make much sense.  It's still doable, but it's better to read Dust first.  The second in a trilogy - Jacob's Ladder trilogy, Chill takes off right where Dust ended.  The aftermath of a great battle...  but you need back ground.  Too  bad you're not going to get a lot of back ground -- you really need to read the book to get the most out that you can. See, I'm not sure I got everything out of the book that I could.  But here's a start...

The generation ship - Jacob's Ladder, has been recently saved from hundreds of years of orbiting a dying star.  Using a dangerous combination of events, the newest captain has managed to begin a journey to find a planet for the inhabitants of this ship to colonize.  this is something that was planned long ago, though the plans to colonize seem to have been delayed.  The original ship dwellers are mostly all gone - there are some who have been around for a few hundred years, but even they don't know all there is to know of the beginnings of the flight; they don't know the complete story to how the ship ended up stranded and orbiting in a dying system for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, though the ship is now traveling, it's also continuing to fail at an even faster rate.

The inhabitants: this is where I believe the SciFi merges with some fantasy elements - whether the author planned this or not, it's how I see it.  There are some strong SciFi elements; bio-engineering, computer programs merging with humans; computer programs turned into artificial intelligence turned into "angels"; elite family members with special gifts such as wings, the ability to sense things and converse telepathically with the AI.  The background of this book is rich with details of all types.

The support staff of the ship are divided according to the systems they work in - here is where I show how much I don't remember terms, so I'll just describe.  The engineering section is one family, the kitchen/life sustenance is another.  there is life support, and the ruling class - the Conn's who are not the nicest people in the world.  And the ship itself - it's vast.  Vast enough to contain seasons, fields and holdings resembling fiefdoms of yesteryear.  I cannot do this book and all the details justice.

So, I skip to the storyline.  In Dust (Jacob's Ladder #1), we meet Perceval, Rien, Mallory, Gavin, Tristen and Benedict - among a few others.  In Chill, Perceval is now Captain of the ship.  Two of the enemy angels have warred - with one clear winner.  Each ship system had its own Angel, and one Angel was ambitious enough to take over and absorb the other angels, trying to effect a change that would save the ship.  Because of this, Perceval's new found love - Rien, is now part of the computer system/angel.  Perceval is angry, and trying to adjust.

And even though the war is "over" it's not really over.  The ship is losing valuable resources almost faster than damaged areas can be fixed.  Tristen (one of the uncles) and Benedict (one of the other uncles) have gone on separate and parallel quests to find out what's going on, and to try to fix the problems.   Unfortunately one of the Aunts - Arianne, seemingly captured, has escaped and has some plan she's been putting into action.   Mallory - a necromancer who looks like a man and a woman, but who claims to be a woman - is helping.  Mallory has the memories of hundreds, if not thousands of previously living people in his ....memory banks.  His sidekick is a metal bird, called Gavin who seems to have the memories of one of the other Aunts.  This aunt was a sorceress - (you see where I get the fantasy along with the SciFi?)

It sounds confusing as hell, but when you're reading it, you just fall into the story, and the details unfold as you read along.  The details as well as the rich surroundings, and the fantastical mix of science and fantasy, computer programs and magic.  It's a hell of a mix, ending in a hell of a story.  

Another merging of factions is the female vs male, hetero vs homo sexual - only it really isn't a versus type of thing, it's more of a mixture.  Sexuality, and even male/female presence is more of an afterthought, or even better - a blending of ideals.  For example, as an exalt (the elite members of the family) one can choose to be sexual or asexual.  Perceval had chosen to be asexual until she fell in love with Rien, and even then though she really wanted to marry this woman, she wasn't concerned with a sex life, more of a merging and spending a life with her loved one.  Mallory - not quite male or female, is with either sex.  It's as if an ideal future for the sexes was being described here - a world where people are allowed to love as they will, with no judgement or spotlight.  The sexual preferences just ... Are.

Good story, with the promise of more with the third of the series - Grail.  I enjoyed the dialogue, the inner thoughts and the lush descriptions of everything from the ship's different sections to the animals and fauna within the ship, and all the different people.  It all combines into one hell of a story.

   Books one and three of 
    Jacob's Ladder trilogy

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wrong Ways Down - first read of 2014

I haven't been participating in memes lately, haven't even stayed on top of reviews....  Barely been reading.
But I did manage to finish a book recently.
I also almost finished another....

So, the first book read in 2014 is Stacia Kane's Wrong Ways Down.  It's supposed to be novella, but it's about as long as other books I've read.  In fact, it's way longer than some of ...well, I won't go there.  Let's just say that you get more for your book buying dollar from Stacia Kane than you do a certain writer who has been writing a steadily deteriorating series for years......(oh, man - I went there.)

Anyway - Wrong Ways Down is set in the world of Chess Putnam - from the Downside series.  It's told from the point of view of Terrible, from before they two get together.  It's good.  There are a few cameo appearance of Chess, and a whole lot of insight to Terrible and his love of his job - or at least why he loves violence so much.  (sometimes, I admit, I like the thought of violence....but I haven't hit anyone in a long time....being the mature adult that I am now)

The prostitutes that work for Terrible's boss are suddenly being attacked, and at the same time one of the men who are supposed to be on watch has been murdered.  Terrible is upset about the women being abused, and he's out for vengeance, along with trying to figure out what's going on.   I enjoyed the story, it was just as good as the regular series novels.

If you enjoy the Downside series (Unholy Ghosts and co.) then you're going to enjoy Wrong Ways Down.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Burn Zone by James Decker - Review

The Burn Zone
James Decker
Feb 2013

cover - YES.  here is a cover that actually represents the main character - a girl, a tough girl who is obviously ready for a fight...

Well.  Sometimes I read a book and I don't enjoy it, don't finish it and then don't review it.  Other times, I read a book and enjoy the hell out of it but for some (lazy) reason, I put off writing the review because.....I don't why.  Who knows what's going on in my head?  I don't.  This time, I read The Burn Zone, loved it, put off reviewing it and then when I FINALLY decide to review, I find out that not only is this guy a "debut" author of The Burn Zone, he's also an author of a trilogy of books under the name of James Knapp.  I don't pretend to understand all the reasons for using different names, but in this case it doesn't matter to me, especially when I haven't read anything under either of the names.  How many of you have steered away from reading a certain genre (coughromancecough - coughbodicerippercough) only to pick up an interesting looking URBAN fantasy book and then read it, find it vaguely disturbingly romance like (or totally like a romance) novel, and THEN find out that - yes - the reason said book reads like a romance is because the author has been writing romance for 500 YEARS, making it a bit hard to write a book that doesn't read like a romance with paranormal elements.  And then there's the whole OOh, I'm not soandso author, oh no, and other fans go on the attack, how dare you even ask, etc, and then a year or so later it turns out it WAS  a certain author, for some reason keeping it completely SECRET....ahhhh I digress (and possibly sound a little disturbed er bitter) let's just get back to THIS book. 

So, as I was sayin', James Knapp, James Decker - same guy, not a secret, no rabid fans ready to attack me (I hope) - either way, this James guy can write a hell of a good story.

First of all, let me remind y'all, it's been almost a year since I read The Burn Zone.  And when I finished it, it kept echoing in my mind.  That's a pretty good book.  Now let's see if I can remember enough to write a coherent review.

Set in the future, and in Asia, life has become...hard to live.   Most of the masses are living hand to mouth, eating some kind of nutrient cake made of some kind of insect byproduct (gross, right?).  One of the reasons people are so poor and food challenged, is that a huge spaceship landed in a section of a city, instantly killing millions of people - and one of the results is a treaty between the nation and the spaceship occupants to divert a percentage of food to the aliens as well as provide women surrogates for their young.  It's complicated, and much more to the story, but the Haan (the aliens) are supposed to be fragile.

One of the women taking part in the incubation/foster - Sam Shao has started life out in difficult circumstances.  Seems there are these meat providers who aren't particular about what kind of meat they provide - she was saved at the last minute by a cop, who later adopted her.  When the story starts, she's been living with him for a while, he's away on a trip, and she's just coming home and is taking care of her haan baby.  He barely comes home when their apartment is raided, cops are there to arrest her father.  Since she's been enhanced to sense the haan infant needs, she also is able to sense things about one of the cops - and it seems like this cop is actually a not so fragile Haan.

She escapes the raid, and is on the run for pretty much the rest of the book.  One of her goals is to find her father, who has disappeared into the depths of ....where ever prisoners end up when they're so expedient.  There's a conspiracy afoot.

Besides the main plot, Decker has weaved a pretty rich atmosphere - future gadgets, like motorcycles that can fly, space travel, air travel, computer whizzes, one who is a friend to Sam, a crowded city full of people who cannot be trusted and danger at every turn.  Sam has to stay clear of meat slavers and from the police who seem to be able to find her wherever she goes.  Despite seemingly hopeless odds, Sam begins to make a little headway into the mystery of why her father - a respected cop - is being accused of treason and where he ends up.  She takes a huge risk attempting to rescue her father and finds way more than she ever dreamed.  There's much more to the conspiracy than she suspected.

Everything about this story works - the setting, the aliens, the creepy people, the disgusting black market human meat thing, the dialog,'s all packaged in a hell of a novel.    The cover notes that it's part of the Burn Zone series, so I am hoping to read more of this story.  A very enjoyable and at times disturbing read.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron - review

Man Made Boy
by Jon Skovron
Y/A, fantasy

cover - in the story, Boy has stitching on hands or wrists, among other places.  So though the bolts give you a good idea of what kind of 'monster' Boy is, I would have thought some stitching would be a good addition.  Even so, the cover is fun, with the bolts, the nod to computer motherboard chips and the little heart shaped piece in his hand.

Man Made Boy was a fun book.  In keeping with my new policy of reading a Y/A book on a more regular basis (i.e., not only the books my fav author writes), I happily opened up this novel to read.  And though it took me longer to read than it should have (I shared the book, leaving it at a location where another person and I could read it in turns) I enjoyed reading this story.  

Imagine that Frankenstien's Monster, and the Bride of Frankenstein got together and had a a son.  What would they do to keep said son safe?  Live underground?

Literally - they live underground, within a community of a variety of monsters, most of whom never see daylight or go out in public among the humans.  But to keep money coming in, they put on a show - a kind of broadway  or oldstyle variety show, the main attraction is Medusa, who can freeze one with a mere look, paralyze people with fear and other feelings....  This is where Boy's dad comes in.  He disconnects from his emotions and handles Medusa.  But that is a small part of this story.

Boy gets a chance to go out side with the leader of their community, and enjoys it more than he thought he would.  His life hasn't been too great anyway at the commune - his parents and him are at the bottom of the small society, ridiculed by the other monsters, who are themselves afraid of oing out and living among humans.  (there's a moral in there, somewhere)  

Boy also has a crush on one of the Trowes (think lithe troll with panther like moves...)...  Anyway - long review made short...

Boy leaves the compound, gets a job and starts blending in.  Only there's this computer code he's been working on that has come back to haunt him, and his crush shows up, things to to hell, Boy ends up on the run....

And there's some pretty good lessons in the book, not even disguised - straight up lessons - Boy even says so himself.  Which is good - nothing like trying to trick a teen into learning something. 

I found the book mostly enjoyable.
Boy's voice didn't really sound much like a teen, which could be either because the writer isn't a teen or that Boy isn't your average teen.

There are many cameos of just about any mythical monster you can name, as well as pop culture monster.
It was a fun read.