Book Reviews

Review of Vengeance

I’m a huge fan of characters who are emotionally damaged and both main characters in this book have that in spades! Imagine losing someone who was vital to you and hurting so bad you have to remove those memories to go on living? That’s what happened to this ancient battleship AI when he saw a ship crash into a planet, killing the little girl that was going to be his future link. Years later, he meets a lowly engineer and is drawn to her and begins falling for her despite his armor against loving anyone since they all leave him. She has secrets and fears discovery so she pushes him away. She also has terrible childhood scars that block her ability to let anyone in even though she loves the battleship AI. So there’s a nice amount of push and pull in the romance aspect of the story. This leads to some heartbreaking moments and angst. But, also a lot of humor as the AI can sometimes be awkward because while he’s surprisingly human, at times his AI-ness comes out.

There’s also a decent amount of world building for this universe with AI’s, telepaths, and humans forming an interesting governmental hierarchy vs pirates and rogue AI’s who want to change all that. However, most of the story concentrates on space and telepathic battles between the rogue AI pirate force and our protagonists. It doesn’t go too heavy on the battle stuff, so it’s more like space opera with the romantic flavor.

I really, really, really, (repeat a lot more times) enjoyed this story and can’t wait to read more about these telepaths and their ship AI’s. This story reminds me a lot of a cross between Anne McCaffrey’s Ship Who Sang and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.


Review of Third Power

I really enjoyed this story. As others have already mentioned there are a few grammar mistakes but overall the writing was vibrant, descriptive, and varied enough to keep my attention despite the occasional flaws.

I don’t normally read books about ‘human gets snatched from Earth to a magical kingdom to become a great world saving wizard’, but something about the description of this book lured me in and I gave it a chance despite some of the warning reviews about grammar. I read the preview and even though some of the grammar might not be perfect, those first pages lured me in. In fact, I skipped buying a better written book because its intro didn’t capture me like this one did. So my best advice is to read the free preview and judge for yourself.

I’m happy I gave this story a chance. It started off with a traditional boy gets fingered as ‘special’ and gets teleported to another world. However, he’s not so happy about that and wants to go back. Woot! Differing already. He also has a darkness inside which can rear its ugly head when he gets really angry. Yay! Not a Mary Sue! When things start looking dire for those he cares about, he makes the sacrifice to leave his home to be this savior the prophecy says he is even if he doesn’t believe in himself. He’s one of those guys who does whatever it takes to protect others and make others happy which winds up leaving him very unhappy. Some reviewers called him whiny but I thought he felt pretty real, especially since he’s still young. He’s also not all powerful and has to work at learning control and he’s still afraid to face the big bad guy which is good – I like heroes to work at it.

So things go sort of like you’d expect until the wrench is thrown in and maybe he’s not really what he thought he was after all. I loved this aspect. Then other things happen and even though the revolutionaries make the best of plans, the evil dude has better plans that they have to struggle to overcome. So the enemy isn’t totally stupid, though he could have perhaps been a bit more proactive. I felt he should have probably slaughtered the entire world by now. He’s also pure evil so a little bummer about his cartoony nature and why I dinged one star from this story. The ending didn’t happen the way I or our heroes thought it wound happen which was a nice change. Oh, some bits are predictable but others are a surprise.

The world building isn’t too bad with nice scenic descriptions of several places as well as different races – humans, avians and werewolves. There are other races mentioned in the world but they didn’t get involved in this battle. I guess the only flaw here is that the Earth people should have probably felt more out of their element with the different clothes and cultures, though the hero instinctively trying to glance at his watch for the time was a nice touch.

The princess as a love interest made me grind my teeth. I think our hero put up with her way too long and she wasn’t a likeable character having no use in their society other than having people wait on her. I was hoping to see some character development for her, especially after their first confrontation, but no, she remained stuck. Fortunately, the other two female leads were strong and fun to read about. Though I wish we had more from the POV of the female from Earth, especially when she went into the magic forest to find herself.

Overall, the book could use a bit more polish but it stands well enough as is to be entertaining. When it came time for me to put it down, I didn’t want to, so that’s a good sign. I recommend it to anyone looking for a fun fantasy read.


 Review of Nocturnal Magic (book 2)

I really love the mystery of just what the heroine could possibly be – she’s not a normal hellhound. I think we all are dying to know exactly what she forgot and what she is. This story gives us a little more hinting along that mystery, but not a whole lot. So there’s loads left to reveal in the next book.

The heroine is strong and has flaws to overcome which I always like. She picks up things very quickly which adds to the mystery of what she was before she forgot. She also is able to use her surroundings and intelligence to get out of tight spots. A very satisfying heroine to read about.

The hero also has a mysterious past and reasons why he’d like to forget. We get an inkling of one bit of that, but hints also reveal that he’s got a lot more stuff that makes him broken than just his cut off wings. So yep, more for next book (wahoo!). He doesn’t want to be responsible for the heroine and wants to hate her, but you can see the smoldering attraction on both sides as the story progresses and they learn to respect/like each other. That ramps up the tension quite nicely when they are both tossed into the same fight where only one will live.

To add to all that you have some pretty nasty villains, lots of action, some cool side characters, and great world building (an entire civilization on the moon!) Plenty of exciting stuff to keep you up late at night to finish the story.

Fair warning – the ending leaves you craving the next book. It’s not a brutal cliff hanger but dang, I want book 3 now.


Review of Ella Dethroned

I discovered this book from an Instafreebie group giveaway and liked the cover and blurb well enough to get it. I’m so glad I did. I really enjoyed this story. It’s a 90 page prequel to a series that looks to be a blend of fantasy and light science fiction.

In Ella Dethroned, Ella has to flee with her most devoted guard or be killed by the usurper to her throne. Based on a prophecy given to her by an old seer, she must evade capture and give a relic, not of their world, to an old hermit in the next city over. The woods are crawling with the usurper’s searchers, and word gets to the city ahead of their arrival which requires a lot of evading, fighting, and crafty plans to fulfill her task.

It’s pretty much non-stop adventure with some really vivid prose that does a great job of portraying the world with hints of worlds beyond a gate that are also involved in this whole prophecy thing. Very intriguing, and I recommend checking it out.

Review of The Alchemists of Loom

I’m always a sucker for stories that involve two people with mortal hatred having to work together. It makes for some fun interactions as they slowly learn to respect and even (gasp!) like each other. I enjoyed watching the development of the main characters as they progress through the story.

The world was well developed with plenty of imagination to satisfy the fantasy lover in me. The author does a great job of describing different places (at least above ground ones). The underground wasn’t as well defined but fortunately we didn’t spend much time there. The magic and even the technology was given unique twists that made it interesting to read about and there were enough limits that it felt believable. There are imbalances in the fights but not because of overpowered magic.

The grammar and writing style is decent though there were a couple of places where the author was probably trying to get too fancy and I didn’t understand what meaning was trying to be conveyed by the sentence. I did a huh, what double take before shrugging and moving on. It was only in a couple of spots and didn’t impact the enjoyment of the story.

Though the villains tend to be one dimensional, I like that the woman dragon tried to be smart about where to find her enemies, though she fell on the dumb side when confronting them and probably didn’t live up to being bad enough to give you that YAH! rush when she’s overcome.

That leads me to the one major flaw in this otherwise delightful story, which is the ending. The final battle was way too short and anti-climactic to be considered the epic final confrontation. In fact, one of the enemies dies off screen. The battle was too easy and didn’t require the other protagonists to get involved even though the main villain knew what she was up against from a past fight. I found earlier fights to be more fulfilling than this one. Also, after the battle, the story lingers long past when it should have ended and winds up becoming the slow ramp up (with some thumb twiddling) that you expect to see only at the beginning of a book. Then it gets hacked off to form a rather weak cliffhanger.

Despite the flaws, I enjoyed the story and will read the next book. If you enjoy steampunk type worlds then you’ll probably enjoy this one.