Sunday, November 18, 2012

Khe by Alexes Razevich

Title: Khe
Author: Alexes Razevich
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Self (September 5, 2012)
Available: $3.99 at Amazon 
Rating: 5 stars
Rater: Dihanna

From the publisher:
Khe loves her life with her sisters on a farming commune. When she realizes her ability to accelerate crop growth is a death sentence, she makes the wrenching decision to leave the only home she's known.

Fleeing across the wilderness, she makes her way to the city of Chimbalay--in search of the scientists who can save her life.  But Chimbalay has its own dangers.  The Powers are there--the secret rulers who have chosen Khe to be the mother of a monstrous new race.

What I liked: I really enjoyed reading this book.  I loved the main character, and found her courage inspiring.  The way the author draws the characters together, especially the sisters, left me smiling to myself many times. This is, at heart, the story of a woman’s power, and it’s told through not only the main character, but through the sisters, and through the Lumani and Weast (read it to decode!). Bottom line in this book – and in life! - never underestimate the power of  a woman.

What I didn’t like:  Nothing.

In sum: Very well written with a very good story. Read it.

The Queen's Martian Rifles by M.E. Brines

Title: The Queen's Martian Rifles
Author: M.E. Brines
Genre: Sci fi/ Steampunk
Publisher: Self (November 5, 2011)
Available: $2.99 at Barnes and Noble
Rating: 5 stars
Rater: Dihanna

From the publisher:
Does the secret to the origin of Mankind lie within the Great Pyramid of Mars? In this alternate steampunk adventure, the technical genius, Nicola Tesla, invented an anti-gravity coil that made steam-powered spaceships possible in the last decades of the 19th century. But the British empire, and the other western colonial powers have powerful extraterrestrial enemies no one suspects even exist.

What I liked: This was my first steampunk novel, and I was a little reluctant to read it. What I found, however, was a completely original, eclectic story – including travel to Mars! – with a pleasantly twisting plot and characters I really got into. The story moves quickly, and doesn’t take too long to be told.

What I didn’t like:  There is some religious stuff that I could have done without. Doesn’t detract from the story, though.

In sum: This book convinced me that steampunk isn’t a genre to scared of. If you’re considering it, this is a good one to start with.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fatropolis by Tracey L. Thompson

Title: Fatropolis
Author: Tracey L. Thompson
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Publisher: Pearlsong Press (October 20, 2012)
Available: $4.99 at Amazon
Rating: 5+ stars
Rater: Dihanna

From the publisher:
Most of her life Jenny has felt she's not good enough, not attractive enough, because she's fat. Then one day she stumbles through a portal between a world that values thinnes and one that values roundness.
Sometimes falling can wake you up.

What I liked: What is beauty, and why don’t we ask that question more often? Sometimes we have to juxtapose norms to understand how arbitrary they are, and Ms. Thompson has done just that. I flat loved every page of this book because the journey it documents is one we should all take. I think people should learn to accept themselves no matter what size they are, and know all the way through that being fat doesn't diminish their intelligence or make them any less valuable. And besides the message, the writing is great. It’s not just a good read; it flowed very well and kept me captivated.

What I didn’t like:  I didn’t like that the story ended.

In sum: It isn’t often that a book comes along that can touch your soul. Every single high school should require that its students read this, and you should read it, too.

**caveat: one of this site’s reviewers has published books with the same publisher, though that is not the reviewer who wrote this review. This fact in no way influenced the review.

The Color of Greed by Jack Thompson

Title: Color of Greed
Author: Jack Thompson
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Crackerjack Publishing (July 29, 2012)
Available: $4.99 at Amazon
Rating: 5 stars
Rater: Dihanna

From the publisher:
When the young husband of a wealthy heiress is found dead on his yacht floating off the California coastline, his death is ruled an accident and the case is closed. The grieving widow, certain her husband was murdered but getting no help from the police, turns to Raja Williams, a wealthy Oxford-educated private investigator, who has dedicated his resources to help those in need of justice. When Raja arrives in Los Angeles and more bodies begin to pile up, he suspects a coverup that may go as high up as the governor. With the help of his partner Vinny, a highly skilled hacker, Raja must unravel the case before everyone involved, including the two of them, winds up dead. 

What I liked: “Wow” is all I can say. The name of this book fits perfectly - it was a story about greed – greed – greed. I loved the characters. They came alive for me, most especially Raja and Vinny. Their struggles touched me. The story flowed easily – like water - and was so riveting that I was unable to put it down.  I read to escape, and this book was packed full of everything you would expect a mystery to be and then some more.  A great read and look forward to reading more.

What I didn’t like:  Nada.

In sum: I’m keeping this one.

The Rescue Team by Billi Tiner

Title: The Rescue Team
Author: Billi Tiner
Genre: YA/Animal Fiction
Publisher: Self (July 26, 2012)
Available: $2.99 at Amazon
Rating: 5+ stars
Rater: Lauri

From the publisher:
Ellie is shocked and confused when her owners leave her at the animal shelter. Feeling abandoned and unloved, Ellie spends her days staring vacantly through the gate of her pen. Ellie’s life changes when she is finally adopted by a compassionate woman named Anne. Ellie and Anne form an unbreakable bond of love and friendship. A thunderstorm drives Toby, a young frightened kitten, to Anne’s porch. Anne and Ellie immediately welcome him into their family. One night, they hear an emergency broadcast announcement that a little girl is missing in the woods near their home. Anne, Ellie, and Toby join in the search to find her, and an incredible rescue team is formed. The team will be called upon again when a tornado tears through their town. Will they find any survivors?

What I liked: This is a book that should be on every child’s bookshelf. In it, a child can explore some tough and scary situations inside the safe medium of a story, and her parents can be certain the story tells her the right things. In these pages, a couple of abandoned animals find their way to Anne, whose heart is as big as the world. Sometimes things are hard, but this adoptive family learns to stick together, and their love truly saves the day. (And best of all, my son loves this story.)

What I didn’t like:  Not one thing.

In sum: Buy this for your kids - today. It’s a must-have. And if you read my reviews, you know I almost never say that.

Fire, Burn and Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory

Title: Fire, Burn and Cauldron Bubble
Author: HP Mallory
Genre: Vampire Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Self (July 2, 2010)
Available: FREE at Amazon (as of today’s date)
Rating: 5 stars
Rater: Dihanna

From the publisher:
A self-deprecating witch with the unique ability to reanimate the dead.
A dangerously handsome warlock torn between being her boss and her would-be lover.
A six hundred year old English vampire with his own agenda; one that includes an appetite for witches.
The Underworld in a state of chaos.
Let the games begin.
Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend.
Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life!
Word of Jolie’s incredible ability to bring back the dead spreads like wildfire, putting her at the top of the Underworld’s most wanted list. Consequently, she finds herself at the center of a custody battle between a villainous witch, a dangerous but oh-so-sexy vampire, and her warlock boss, Rand.

What I liked: Amazing. Awesome. Could not put it down. Most of all, I loved the relationship between Jolie and Rand!  I love the tension, the almosts, and what felt like genuine affection. There’s a triangle here though, including a vampire named Sinjin, but his interest is more primal, and I could never bring myself to root for him. I loved this book so much that I read the series.  It flowed very nicely and like how the story carried itself without wondering where or why.

What I didn’t like: I can’t think of a thing.

In sum: If you love paranormal romance, this is your next book.

The Last King of Shambhala by Daniel Grant Newton

Title: The Last King of Shambhala
Author: Daniel Grant Newton
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Self (March 6, 2012)
Available: $5.15 at Barnes and Noble
Rating: 5 stars
Rater: Dihanna

From the publisher:

Asgard Kingdom, 10,000 years ago...
Odin is in search of a thief – Idun's apples are missing, and without them the gods are, well, no longer 'godly'.
Europe, 1942...
A gorgeous Russian spy, a British psychic spy wannabe, and an other-worldly mystery man must work together to find and destroy the Nazis' secret 'mind weapon' before it's too late.
Australia, Present Day...
A school kid with an attitude problem and a questionable attendance record, finds himself between two worlds. One moment he's getting into fights at school, the next he is in a strange world with a talking monkey, a Beserker with a much-too-healthy ego, and a strange girl that channels a Moon Demon – sorry, a Moon Djinn.
... Confused? So is Matt Damon, an amnesic man (named after the movie star), found close to death in the Himalaya Mountains by a Nepalese family. Yearning to remember his past, he is given a book that interweaves these three stories, with the promise they will all piece together to reveal his identity.
Embark on a new kind of journey of myth, fantasy, love and... well, peculiarity.

What I liked: Wow! This was so much like The Never Ending Story, and it, too, never ends. And so what else can I say except that I loved it. The characters are loveable, and real, and I just kept turning the pages, long after I should have gone to bed. The story rolls along, pulling you with it. And far too soon it’s over.

What I didn’t like: It was, at times, a little hard to follow, and that did detract from the story.

In sum: An absolute must-read. Must.

The Light Within Me by Carly Fall

Title: The Light Within Me
Author: Carly Fall
Genre: Sci Fi Romance
Publisher: Self (November 1, 2011)
Available: FREE at Amazon (as of today's date)
Rating: 4 stars
Rater: Dihanna

From the publisher:
When Abby and Noah meet, there is an explosive attraction between them that neither can deny . . .
As a shy, awkward, social misfit, Abby has gone her whole life feeling as though she's different from everyone else and she simply doesn't fit in well with society as a whole. She longs to feel a real connection with someone, and she finally does when she meets Noah.
Unbeknownst to Abby, Noah is from another world and his sole purpose is to hunt down the evil of his people that was unleashed on Earth hundreds of years ago. He's certain he isn't going to be able to return to his home, and anger and the need for revenge are his constant companions. His focus has been eradicating the evil and making them pay for taking his life on his world away from him.
Noah tries desperately to fight his attraction to Abby so he can keep his focus on his mission. But when Abby gets dragged into the evil and mayhem from Noah's world, he realizes that maybe with Abby he can find a home here on Earth...if he can save her in time.

What I liked: This author weaves a good story, and does so with skill. Noah, who is 522 years old, comes to Earth to capture the criminal colonists who had escaped from their planet that they had been placed on.  Once there, he meets Abby. She strikes something in him, even though he is not quite familiar with relationships with Earth women. He fights it, of course, but they are just too good together. As the story progresses, they both learn important things about themselves, and about what they need to do. In sum, I do think this was well written. The author cast believable characters, and the story caught me. And I sure would not mind reading more about these characters.

What I didn’t like: Too much sex, and too much graphic sex. I’d like to see less sex and less relationship development reliant on it, and more other plotty stuff in any book, including this one.

In sum: This is a really good story, one for the sci fi - romance fans, but be advised that there is a lot of sex. For the erotica lovers, this is a 5-star book.