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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

An excellent urban fantasy.  An orphan with her own Fagin becomes enmeshed with the magical families that control her town, Cloudburst Falls.   I haven't read any Estep for over five years.  I enjoyed her first books and was one of her early reviewers although I am sure she has no recollection of  that.  She has become quite successful and exceeded any need to directly address small time bloggers such as myself.   I was privileged enough to be offered this book at no charge for an honest review.  



Superficially this is just another action adventure in the urban fantasy genre. There is plenty of action and adventure but the underlying loyalty and honor are what make Jennifer Estep’s books stand out. Her characters aren’t two dimensional. She provides depth and background. The emotions and character of the cast are what made this book appeal to me.

Ms. Estep writes compelling, flawed protagonists.   Lila Merriweather, the main protagonist, is an excellent case in point.  Self centered, moody, prickly and difficult to like due to enormous over compensation for her internal pain.   Regardless of her behavior she is highly likeable and I say that again, likeable.  I repeat that likeability due to the negative comment I received from an anonymous reader who felt that likeability should have no bearing on whether you enjoy a book or not.   Au contraire I say, au contraire!   Likeability enhances investment and investing in a story dramatically increases my enjoyment of said story. 

Lila's interaction with the powerful Families that control her town and her relationship with Devon provide both the plot tension and romantic target to fuel the pace of the book.

I highly recommend this book!

Web Site: http://www.jenniferestep.com/
This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Footsteps in the Sky by Greg Keyes



Somewhere down the road mankind has fouled his own nest and is planting celestial colonies as a heritage escape.  The discovery of planets that take a minimal amount of terraforming is a major boon.  One planet is seeded with a Hopi Indian culture. 

The Hopi mythology is alluded to in this book with out a great deal of background.   The Hopi are assured that if they promote the development on a stable ecology that the planet will be theirs.   Due to the historic obfustication of the Reed, the Earth governing body, the Hopi are skeptical that they will be allowed to keep the planet. 

Distrust of governing bodies as well as bad behavior by said governing bodies is the common thread throughout the book.   The arrival of aliens who appear to have had first claim on the planet provides one leg of the tension of the plot.   Their arrival precipitates the Reed into expected proprietary behavior.

The interplay between SandGreyGirl, her mother, the aliens, the competing local government bodies and the Reed representatives generate the action and adventure.

I recommend the book.

Again I am shocked that a writer doesn't have his own web site.
Web: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Keyes

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Spotlight on Yorath the Wolf by Cherry Wilder



Once upon a very long time ago, trilogies weren't necessarily one narrative in three installments. Cherry Wilder, never one to worry about whether she was conforming to convention, wrote the Hylor trilogy the way she wanted, never mind the way most trilogies were written in the 1980s, and for that matter, today. So Yorath the Wolf, while taking place in the same universe, the same land of Hylor, is completely independent of the characters of A Princess of the Chameln. 

Yorath is born with a deformity that marks him for death. The court physician takes him to a distant forest where he thrives, unaware of his birthright and the dark prophecy that looms over him. But as he grows to manhood, Yorath can’t avoid being drawn into the violent conflict that plagues the land. Even as Yorath wields the power of a kingmaker, the ways of the court are as much anathema to him as the brutality of war. If he is ever to escape the violence and machinations he so despises, he must confront his heritage or lose the land he has come to love and the peace he cherishes.

Yorath's story is very different from the story of Aidris, the princess of Chameln. He is, I admit, a prince. But without giving away the whole story, I'll just say that he's born to trouble, rises above it, and then . . . things go in an unexpected direction--at least it was a direction I didn't expect.

The First Book in the series, A Princess of the Chameln by Cherry Wilder ($5.99, ISBN 978-1-5040-2697-0) was published as an e-book for the first time, on November 17, 2015 by Mashup Press, distributed by Open Road Integrated Media on all major etailers’ web sites. It was available as a print on demand trade paperback a month later. The sequels Yorath the Wolf and The Summer’s King, which together with A Princess of the Chameln comprise the Rulers of Hylor trilogy, will be published at three month intervals.

Cherry Wilder died in 2003, but her great works live on, and we’re all thrilled to be able to bring these books to a new generation of fantasy readers. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Storm From the Shadows by David Weber


I just read my review of Rising Thunder and sadly I am going to cut and paste and use some of the same words here.   I loved the initial Honor Harrington books.   She plays a bit part in this chapter of the continuing saga of Manticore.   Haven and Manticore, Mesa and the Solarian League are all back.    Rear Admiral Michele Henke is the main character in this book.  It provides a different, not much different, perspective on the Mesa Manticore conflict.


This book repeats the characterization of the entrenched bureaucratic morass of the Solarian League.  This book also has the Manticore leaders finally realizing or at least suspecting that they are being manipulated by Mesa

This book is a disappointment in that it is extremely repetitive.   The same events are repeated with a minor perspective change and it brings new meaning to Weber's wordiness.

There are passages that evoke the same emotions of loyalty, honor and courage that use to symbolize Weber's work.  Sadly they are few and far between.   It became a tedious read.  

I do not recommend the book.  



This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Happy Valentines Day!

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pawn's Gambit by Timothy Zahn


 
Zahn frequently poses questions on social issues.  This book of short stories, almost novelettes,  has some stories that make you think.   Cascade Point or The Giftie Gie may have been my favorites of the book.

Giftie Gie points out the disabilities or differences are often used to discriminate when the differences are often self imposed.  I really enjoyed the interplay between Neil and Heather.   The Final Report on the Lifeline Experiment gave some thought to the ramifications of abortion.   Cascade Point made one think about dimensionality. 

Overall Zahn satisfied as he always does.

I recommend it.    

I'm always shocked when I find an author without a website, particularly a scifi author, however I could not find one for Zahn.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimothyZahn


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

BLOOD OF INNOCENTS by Mitchell Hogan--NOW on sale

BLOOD OF INNOCENTS by Mitchell Hogan
Book Two of the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence
On-Sale: 2/2/2016 | ISBN: 9780062407252
BLOOD OF INNOCENTS by Mitchell Hogan  my review

A novice sorcerer may hold the key to saving his world—or be the instrument of its destruction—in this second book in The Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing saga of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.
Anasoma, jewel of the Mahruse Empire, has fallen.

As orphaned, monk-raised Caldan and his companions flee the city, leaving behind their hopes for a new beginning, horrors from the time of the Shattering begin to close in.

With Miranda’s mind broken by forbidden sorcery, Caldan does the unthinkable to save her: he breaks the most sacrosanct laws of the Protectors. But when the emperor’s warlocks arrive to capture him, Caldan realizes that his burgeoning powers may be more of a curse than a blessing, and the enemies assailing the empire may be rivaled by more sinister forces within.

And soon, the blood of innocents may be on Caldan’s own hands.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan was given The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases filled with fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.

His first attempt at writing fantasy was an abysmal failure and abandoned after only one page. But ideas for characters and scenes continued to come to him and he kept detailed notes of his thoughts, on the off chance that one day he might have time to write a novel. For ten years he put off his dream of writing until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew he would regret not having tried to write the novel percolating inside his head for the rest of his life. Mitchell quit his job and lived off dwindling savings, and the support of his fiancĂ©, until he finished the first draft of A Crucible of SoulsA Crucible of Souls won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

He now writes full time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author. Mitchell lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and daughter, Isabelle.


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Born Lucid: Book 1 of the Born Lucid Series by Christopher C. Evans


This book had an Indiana Jones flavor leavened with some John Ringo type of violence.   Ancient alien technology clashes with corrupt capitalism and a potential invasion for the plot of the book.

Lucidus, formerly known as Chris, is a Greenpeace type of advocate who while working on an expose' becomes exposed to an invasive alien technology.   This tech changes his life and automatically enrolls him in the ranks of enhanced enforcers of a shadowy, greed ridden world wide conspiracy.

Evans jumps back and forth from a current guerrilla style of life to the development of the warrior who becomes Lucidus.   Evans postulates all manner of evil to be laid at the feet of egomaniacs who dominated the world through power and money.  It is a thought provoking book.

I recommend it.    

I'm always shocked when I find an author without a website, particularly a scifi author, however I could not find one for Christopher C. Evans

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005243797015


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.