martes, 28 de junio de 2011

Review of Vallar by Cindy Borgne

This story tells the tale of a colonized Mars where everyone wants to get back to Earth and feels that the way to do so is amalgamate all the corporate factions into one. It is told through the eyes of Ian Connors, one of a pair of psychics used by a rather dour Admiral Beacon. Expansion through subjugation seems to be the order of the day here, which sets up a back-plot of conflict between the gentle Ian and authority. Oh, and there's a mysterious girl involved as well.

Vallar has all the ingredients of a light Sci-Fi tale, and I would guess this is more of a YA novel in outlook. No great or shocking technology, aliens or unexplainable science.

The downloaded sample, this was one from my Pitch Me! thread too, starts off a little slowly for me, but picks up from Chapter Two onwards, until by the end of the read I was engaged. My nitpick, if any, is that from a personal viewpoint the gentleness of the tale did only that, engage me. There was no grabbing me by the collar and dragging me along, or unexpected twists and hidden challenges leaping out to shock me. Yes, I know, as a reader perhaps I am a little strange.

So, for me THREE out of FIVE - a nice, gentle tale, to while away the hours.

domingo, 26 de junio de 2011

Review of Dead Mech by Jake BIble

This is another story I listened to as an Audiobook. The write-up drew me in with the story line of Mechs, Zombies and Zombies in Mechs. I wasn't sure what a Drabble novel was, and the idea of the book written in 100 word slices kind of raised some questions - as an audiobook it works.

It's set in a post-apocolyptic world, with Mechs created to combat zombies. Then the Mech Pilots become zombies and all hell breaks loose. I liked the way we followed a unit whose task was to use their brains, technology and firepower to rid the world of deaders. Then we had the manic Dead Mechs stuffing food (bodies) directly into their cockpits all the while indiscriminately killing. An out-of-kilter government, nasty human survivors where the strongest took what they wanted and, did I mention zombies?

If you like zombie novels, violence, descriptive gore and an anarchic fun ride, then you'll love this. As an Audiobook, as I said it works, the only detraction being the, in my opinion, overly long introduction and ads at the back - I just wanted the action. However, once it started, then no complaints from me.

I'll be interested to see how this trilogy pans out, as I'm not sure how you maintain this type of ride through three books. Fun to find out though. FOUR out of FIVE from me.

miércoles, 22 de junio de 2011

Review of The Ultimate Choice by Lisa Hinsley

There are moments when you cringe, others where you draw breath and even some where you feel indignant. I went through all of these emotions in the first three chapters.

Cassie and the choices she is forced to make made me feel as though I should be doing something. A TV show where you chose to die and asked questions so the voting public would decide who got your organs...excellent. It is different enough to peek the interest. What is going to happen?

The reader knows that the world created by Lisa is unjust, and cringes at the smarmy host Bob Devine and his leering nature. I would have placed a bet that the show was fixed...and wasn't disappointed (in-drawn breath when the results came in).

Lisa Hinsley draws her characters well, giving Cassie an almost innocence which makes you root for her, even when she has perhaps made bad decisions. Bob Devine is the host with the least and the candidates for organ replacement border on the absurd.

Without a doubt this is worth a read. You won't be disappointed with Cassie's journey and the answers she finds to the ultimate question. FOUR AND A HALF out of FIVE.

domingo, 19 de junio de 2011

Review of Something Evil by Cal Noble

Strangely enough, this was one of the first samples I downloaded from my Pitch Me! Horror Thread on Amazon. Having decided that the response was too great to cheekily ask for copies, I set myself the target of being entertained by the sample download. Entertained and of course engaged enough to take the rest of the book with me on my trip.

Something Evil did not disappoint. From its initial premise of a worried Plantation owner, desperate to protect his land and family from the aftermath of the Amercan Civil War, to on-the-run criminals it certainly drew me in. A pact with any spirit or devil, and Almanish does not let us down here, is always frought with danger. The loss of a daughter is a terrible price to pay, but once down that path there's no turning back. He saves his land, but at what cost?

Moving to the modern day, a runaway criminal and his friend choose the worst plantation in Alabama to hide in. The evil which lurks there promises to keep us on the edge of our seats for the rest of the novel.

An interesting inroduction, with good characters, a nice back story and the promise of real gore and violence, this worked for me. I gave it THREE AND A HALF out of FIVE. The reservation only being on the length of the sample, not on the writer's demonstration of how to write a good horror story. Worth a read.

viernes, 17 de junio de 2011

Review of Trader Tales by Nathan Lowell

It looks like I'm starting with an eBook, and although three of the six-part series is available in print and digital format, I found this through Podiobooks and iTunes. I have to say that this is a great example of what I look for in an Audiobook. The author himself reads the work, which is available FREE via iTunes, and does a good job.

For all of us who enjoyed Heinlein's YA novels, then this is a must. It tells the tale of Ishmael Horatio Wong and his journey through life and adversity. It is a gentle science fiction tale and uses the backdrop of trading the space lanes as a story plot. From losing his mother suddenly, Ishmael finds salvation and the purpose of his life on a Solar Clipper, the SC Lois McKendrick. The title of the first book, Quarter Share, and those subsequent ones, is based on the profit-sharing system the Traders use. As he works his way through the various ranks and challenges life sets him, we see Ishmael grow. With a group of well-drawn characters, including the ships themselves, the listener finds it easy to slip into the world of the Solar Clipper.

I never lost interest, and at the end of every book was already downloading the next. That to me is key in any format. If Nathan Lowell continued Ishmael's adventures beyond these six Audiobooks I would be more than happy to continue with him.

If I have any nitpick, it would be that the second book lost me for a short while. Ishmael's move towards sexual awareness clashed a little with the rest of the series, and I must say came across somewhat awkward. Having said that, it would only drop the rating by half a star. Average rating would be FOUR out of FIVE

I already have his other Audiobook, South Coast, ready to accompany me on my walk tomorrow.

jueves, 16 de junio de 2011

Audiobooks, PodioBooks and Librivox

Another part of my review process will be on Audiobooks. Due to the fact that I have, and still do, travel a lot with my work and enjoy a daily hour walking, I prefer to listen to stories during these activities. I have been amazed with the quality of some works, and shocked with others. The shock part actually comes from how thay are narrated, rather than the wordsmithing within. Some books are better read internally rather spoken out loud.

During this journey through Audibooks, I have purchased expensive versions read by well-known actors and actresses, or free novels narrated by their own authors. I even found the wonderful site where out of copyright novels are read by enthusiastic amateurs. Some of my favourites actually come from there, believe it or not.

So, I will intersperse my eBook reviews with Audiobook reviews too.

Watch this space...

martes, 14 de junio de 2011

Widgets and Gadgets

As I am learning all of the time, I decided to see what different widgets and gadgets may be useful for this blog. This particular one allows direct links to Amazon via their associates program. Not sure whether I will use it, but useful to see how it works.

On seeing the Buy Now box, please don't panic...this novel is still FREE to download on

lunes, 13 de junio de 2011

Review Theory

Here goes. My intention with this blog is not to prove that I can be nastier then anyone else, nor to sugar coat. Nope, I want to try and give honest feedback that both authors and readers can take something from.

So, I have two ways of doing this. I can solicit volunteers and/or I can just pick them myself. In the first instance, I asked for those brave enough to suggest their own work from which I would chose a couple of books to journey on my Kindle with me. All the while I made it plain that a review of a sample of their work would be forthcoming.

Not being an expert and having received a range of reviews personally, I am sensitive to criticism and what might be construed as constructive or not. So, the only caveat I have here is that this is my opinion, based upon whatever criteria I have developed over the years when choosing novels which ring my bell.

I will give a list of those novels which have done this, and in some cases with an attached review.

Please bear with me as I learn exctly how this is going to work...