10
5/10
Review: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
2.5 Stars , Reviews / September 9, 2019

Leckie’s previous series had a polarizing effect for her readers. The perspective and narrative was original and unlike anything I had read before. It told the story from the perspective of not just an AI, but a hive-mind AI. There was also a non-genderization element that, for me, really highlighted how hard wired my brain is to want to know gender. It was interesting to me. I think it was very well executed, but unusual enough that while some loved it, others, well, not so much. I personally loved it, I appreciated the risks she took in telling her story. I could understand other reader’s concerns, they just were more positives for me. In The Raven Tower, Leckie again took risks and presented a unique reading experience in terms of narrative style. I assumed that with this book, I would again fall into the set of readers that love it. Unfortunately that was not the case. In this book, readers get the point of view from, of all things, a rock. It turns out the rock is more than just a rock, it is actually a god. But since this god is inhabiting the form of a rock, it is…

Audiobook Review: Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen
2.5 Stars , Reviews / November 3, 2016

DISCLAIMER: I normally write spoiler free reviews. In this case I really wanted to talk about some of the diversity features of Conspiracy of Ravens. There may be spoilers in regard to that aspect of the book. Last year, Wake of Vultures was an unexpected hit for me. I just loved the western vibe, I loved the protagonist. As a bonus, it also featured the girl dressed as boy trope. The protagonist for this series is gender fluid, she is physically female, and in the beginning of the first book, while preferring masculine tasks and roles, was still identifying female. The second book, she has had more time to mature, gain experience and is now identifying as a male stuck in a female body. Unfortunately, Conspiracy of Ravens just did not work as well. I felt the over all pace of the story was slower. In the first book, I loved getting to know and understand Nettie/Rhett, learning about the magic and creatures. I loved reading about Nettie’s fight for survival. I never once felt like the book was slow. And the ending of the first book! It was exciting, and promised so much more story to come. That is…

Audiobook Review: Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
2.5 Stars , Reviews / August 29, 2016

Blood of the Earth is the first in a new series by Faith Hunter. It is a spin-off from her Jane Yellowrock books, which I have not read, and so I confirmed this would be a good entry point before reading. I definitely never felt I was missing information, or was hindered by having not read Jane Yellowrock. That said, I did feel like my reading experience definitely lacked something. This is a hard review to write because while I can’t say I actively disliked much about this book while reading, I also can’t say there was much about it that I did like or enjoy. The trick is figuring out why that is and expand beyond just the general ‘meh’ impression this book left on me. I guess my first roadblock was that I never felt a connection with the main character, Nell, despite feeling like I really *should* like her. Nell has been living by herself on property left to her by her late husband. She has a very unique and special connection with the land around her. Her ownership of this land is a point of contention with the church/cult she grew up in (but has since…

Review: Red Right Hand by Levi Black
2.5 Stars , Reviews / August 18, 2016

Red Right Hand started out strong for me, letting me hope it would live up to my expectations. However, I am going to start this review with a disclaimer that I decided this was not quite my type of book, and while I had high hopes for it, I think that was because I did not have a clear picture of what the book would be like. And some of that is my fault. Charlie, our protagonist comes home to be attacked by some sort of evil/hellish hounds. A mysterious Man in Black comes to her rescue and sets her life on quite a different course. The Man in Black may have saved her, but as Charlie learns more about him, she becomes uncomfortable. She stays with him more because she can’t think of an alternative or a wait out. So, some of the things that did not work for me are probably likely to the Lovecraftian element that was clearly a trait of the book. This is something many people love, but I am not one of them. Also, since I have read very little Lovecraft, I know I missed references and connections to his work. I prefer my horror to be…

Review: Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden
2.5 Stars , Reviews / December 21, 2015

The concept behind Dead Ringers is definitely a bit creepy and as you get further into the book, there are some seriously haunting scenes. The thought of suddenly coming across another person that is so identical to yourself, to the point that even close family can not tell the difference is strange. I will admit at times something about this tested my willing suspension of disbelief, I think because it happened to a number of characters. But really I think the reason I was not as easily swayed had more to do with the number of central characters. Horror books really rely on the readers emotions for them to be fully effective. The best way to get a very emotional reaction from the reader is to get them to really, really care about the characters. There were more perspectives in this than there tend to be with horror (pretty sure there were 4), and while I understand the need, I do feel like it put a little bit of a barrier for the reader to really get attached to any of them just because the pages were split amongst several people which gives the author less time to form that connection with each…

Review: Zer0es by Chuck Wendig
2.5 Stars , Reviews / August 17, 2015

Reviews can be hard to write sometimes. This is definitely one of those times (it is also likely unpopular opinion time). I have a strong regard for Wendig and his other books, so I was really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, there’s no way around it: I was disappointed. I wanted to love or at least really like this book and felt like I hit obstacle after obstacle. Some of my complaints are more minor, but they cumulate to an overall less than positive reaction to the book. I hate writing negative reviews and it turns out I like it even less for an author I have enjoyed in the past. So, if you have not read Wendig before, please don’t let this negative review discourage you from his other books. And I will admit, I may be a minority opinion on this, so I encourage you to read other reviews and see what other readers have to say about it. Getting many perspectives in a book can provide benefit for the reader as we get a wider view of what is going on. But I also think it is something that can go wrong quickly if not done well. I…

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
2.5 Stars , Reviews / July 29, 2014

The premise of this book is quite intriguing. A boy wakes up, no memories of who is, where he came from much less where he is now. Perplexed by the nature of memory loss that allows him to remember mundane details, but not important things, he has to just go on, and figure out a way to live in the bizarre world he has found himself a part of. Sounds cool. Then you learn a bit about the world he lives in, and it sounds promising. But then you read, and nothing just ever seems quite as exciting as you think it should. So what is this world like that he wakes up in? It seems to consist of pretty much just teenage boys. They have broken themselves into group to perform all the tasks that need to be done to keep their society running. Oh, and everyone here suffers from the same type of memory loss he has. They wake up one day in what they call The Glades, and its like their life starts fresh from that moment. I also expected to be more taken by The Maze or the monsters (Grievers) that roam it, but honestly, I…

Unwept by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman
2.5 Stars , Reviews / June 13, 2014

Sometimes I’m in the mood for something different from my normal reads, something outside of the books I know are telling stories I want to hear in a style that I enjoy. Sometimes this results in a huge payoff as I read and enjoy something quite different. So, I will admit this is the mindset I was in when I decided to read Unwept. That, plus the gorgeous cover. The story intrigued me. A girl wakes up with complete amnesia, remembering nothing before a train ride that has brought her to be reunited with her friends and life from before her “accident” (whatever that may have been) that resulted in her memory loss. Imagine suddenly becoming aware of everything and everyone around you with no recognition or familiarity. A part of you has to ask if you should trust these people. That was my hook. The potential for a story that makes you question everything and everyone. What if these are not her friends? What caused her memory loss? What other possibilities exist? Those questions are why I chose this book. There could be some seriously suspenseful creepy things going on, and so I wanted to find out. I did…

The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick
2.5 Stars , Reviews / May 19, 2014

The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick was a different read for me. It is a bit steam punk with some humor thrown in, and a central romance of star crossed lovers. The central premise of the story is interesting. The land has been ravaged by plague, with no one safe or immune from its devastating effects. No one that is, outside of the Walled City. Within these walls they hold the secret to keeping the plague at bay, so the fortunate people within live unmarred and healthy. But of course, that does not mean they live in harmony. Within this oasis from the plague, the people are divided between two households (the Medicis and the Lorraines) to the degree that a brief glimpse at a man’s facial hair will speak of his allegiance, which house he supports. Oh, and of course, this is a Romeo/Juliet love story, so our star-crossed lovers are from the different houses. (Brief confession here, I kept expecting to hear songs from West Side Story break out while reading). Lorenzo (our Romeo) is an apprentice to Galileo, the Medicis most powerful alchemist and inventor. Lorenzo has a brilliant mind and is eager to solve problems and create…