Hiatus for education

My deepest apologies, but I am suspending my reviews for all books not submitted through Awesome Indies in order to embark into a new endeavor – technical writing. I will continue to work on my current list and I will announce future opening of my reviews on this blog.

Starley’s Rust by J.B. Dutton

Starley’s Rust

by J.B. Dutton

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy


Kari has just lost her mother to trans-dimensional beings called the Embodied, some of whom planned to use Mom to prove that humanity could be symmetrical and therefore worthy to be spared from annihilation. The human world still has no idea any of that exists, and while they consider Kari an orphan, she is convinced that her mother is not dead. But how can Kari get her mom back? Noon, an Embodied and a friend, is gone and Cruz, her human boyfriend, just wants to go back to regular life, wants her to “get past it”. But a poster for an art show leads Kari to a magnetic and fascinating artist named Starley who has a fantastic connection to the Embodied. Should she trust the quirky Englishman? Can Starley help Kari find her mother, or will he just use her for his own plans?

This second book of the trilogy is definitely a second book. Situations become weirder, but Kari doesn’t save the world yet. It has been a while since I read the first book, so I felt a little disoriented at first. JB summarizes the previous action well, but not so much that it interferes with the story.

I enjoyed the plucky, persevering nature of Kari. She is a character that shows a lot of loyalty and careful thought about those around her. She also stays true to herself. I felt like she became a little more crass in this second book, and I didn’t love it. The cute exclamations from book 1 turned into full-on swearing sometimes, and while it makes her seem more hardcore, it also makes her somewhat less likable for me. I also felt like her repeated requests to Starley to explain what he said made her seem less intelligent. I had to remind myself that she probably had trouble with his accent, which distracted me from what they said.

New creatures and more information about the Embodied added a lot of interest to this second book. I liked discovering the answers to the mysteries. Starley and his interesting back story gave the plot some sparkle. The sudden, spontaneous changes of scenery provide a jet-setting element to the story, complete with some famous landmarks. Cilic’s strange and ominous activities add some creepiness and foreboding to the plans of the unsuspecting heroes.

Unfortunately, some editing issues got in the way of the star rating for this book. I wanted to give it more, because the story was fun, whimsical, and owned the strangeness of the situations with a lot of flair. I look forward to reading the final book in the trilogy!


Buy on Amazon

Breaking free!

As a change of pace for my review site, I am shaking things up. This winter and spring is busy for me with non-reading activities. I know! It’s a crime! I have not much time for reading and reviewing. But summer is coming!!!

My shake-up plan for summer starts now: Except for special-date books or already-reading books, I will now begin choosing from my (enormous) list based on the titles and synopses that interest me most. (No, it’s not fair to those authors who have been waiting so long. Sorry!) I want to blast through this mountain and get some reading done. I need me some books!

I’ll craft a special post on my author site for each book explaining why I think have the best synopses and why, and I will read as many as I can as quickly as I can.

Ready, set, read!

Treason by S.M. Boyce


Book Two of The Grimoire Trilogy

Genre: Fantasy, Epic

Kara the Vagabond is still trying to bring peace to the land of Ourea. The Yakona rulers, the Bloods are not making it easy, fighting at every turn and backstabbing for all they’re worth. Kara and Braeden both must face their identity, the parts they know and the parts they don’t. They must overcome their faults and the faults of others to grasp at peace. Even Kara’s mentor gets in on the bickering. Death threatens, beckons, and sometimes has a good point. Can they overcome the pettiness of the Bloods and understandable excuses to bail on the backstabbing jerks? Will they survive the murderous Carden and all the other nasties out to kill, torture, maim, and destroy? Will they be able to overcome their  own fears and admit that they love each other?

The second book in the Grimoire Trilogy is just as fascinating as the first. (I felt a little disappointed that there are only three. I loved the explorations of the hidden parts of the self, the ones we hide from ourselves and the ones we discover to our dismay. The theme of “the monster within” was given so many great twists and turns! I loved the guilt and the fears of the characters. Their motives were true-to-life and full of errors just like all of us poor dummies. The hunger for love, revenge, justice, truth, and salvation almost had a flavor.

As in the first, there were a few of the same hidden errors, but I didn’t stop long enough to note them because I wanted to hear what happened next.

Once again, S.M. brought a personal narrative into an epic tale again and again, making me care about, hate, love, and want to smack all manner of imaginary creatures as if I knew them. Her world is so well thought-out and rich that I could completely immerse myself in it.

Amazon: USA | UK | Germany |  France | Spain | Italy

Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Buy the Paperback

Lichgates by S.M. Boyce


Book One of the Grimoire Trilogy

by S.M. Boyce

Genre: Fantasy, Epic

Kara has wandered into another world and her life will never be the same. She wanted a hike in an area she had never seen before, and boy did she get her wish! Ourea is a world parallel to ours, hidden, and accessible by portals called Lichgates. What Kara finds on the other side of the Lichgate transforms her into The Vagabond and sets her on a course to unite the stubborn, divided Yakona races and bring peace to Ourea once again. Threatening everyone is the evil Carden and his terrifying Stelian race. Joined by a mysterious and alluring man named Braeden, she explores this new land and learns what it is to be The Vagabond.

S.M. Boyce has created a lush world of fascinating creatures and high drama. Politics, age-old vendettas, secret kingdoms, and mysterious creatures are just some of the fascinating world. This book, the beginning of the series, is really rather epic.

Kara struggles in a very real way with the guilt and grief of losing those close to her. Her grief and guilt shape her and inhibit her. I loved the scenes where she relived her painful memories, not because I’m a sadist or anything, but because they were so well-written and truthful.

I did see one or two errors in the editing, but it really didn’t detract from the story at all. I just wanted to hear what was going to happen next.

The world of Ourea is so full of variety and completeness that it’s kind of hard to believe that somebody created it and that it isn’t real. S.M’s characters are vivid and believable. No one is perfect. All have their flaws and hang-ups, including Kara. I just really loved this book and can’t wait to get to the next one!

Buy on Amazon US |UK Germany |  France Spain | Italy

Buy the Paperback

The End of the World Sucks by Sharon Trembley

The End of the World Sucks

by Sharon Trembley

Genre: Fantasy

Vanna is a young, intelligent woman hard at work surviving the zombie apocalypse. By hard at work, I mean washing laundry. What? Stuck in the makeshift washroom at a local college/makeshift fortress, Vanna relies on the guys with guns to protect her from the walking dead. Unfortunately that means she has to wash their dirty clothes obey their lazy, critical mamma. The two families with the most votes in the group, the Cornfields and the Russos, are not in agreement about who should get what, when. Neither are concerned about fairness. Waiting for hunky Marines to helicopter in and save her isn’t getting Vanna very far. The peace is fraying and the greed is growing among the holdouts. When Thanos the vampire arrives, things just get more complicated.

I was fascinated by this book. I loved the main character and her critical but fair point of view and her deep desire for peace and understanding despite all the awful circumstances she encounters. I wanted to see her escape the bad guys and get to safety.

Thanos was both intriguing and repelling. I kind of wanted him to find what he wanted among the humans because he was such a great contrast. He looked like a teen and had the young guy perverted side, but he was an ancient vampire. He liked Vanna and respected the other humans and wanted to help them…or did he?

The Prologue with its foul old man language was a bit of a turnoff, but the rest of the book was filled with realistic, complicated problems and much less swearing.  Sharon thought about every challenge that would face a group of random strangers united in battle against walking death, and she didn’t always choose the most obvious solution. Greed, sadism, nepotism, theft, rape, murder, and blood drinking all have a place in the truly sucky end of the world. Sharon paints them well through Vanna’s honest perspective.

It sounds like this was just the first book of more of Vanna’s adventures. If it is, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the next one.

Buy on Amazon