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review 2017-09-14 13:26
It might be more to your tastes than mine...
Worlds Within Worlds - Tahlia Newland

This is another example of fantastic writing from Tahlia, the prose was spot on, crisp and taught where it needed to be, and soft and flowing as needed too. 

The characters were an interesting mix, starting with slightly quirkly Prunella (Ella) Smith, who Tahlia assures readers is not her (although between you and me, I couldn't help but see Tahlia's face when I brought up Ella's face in my mind). My favourites by a long shot were Merlin the cat and James. James is the sole reason this book gets shelved on my 'a-lil-sexy' shelf.

This story consists of several threads and weaves them together to form a strong, eloquent book. However, the overall message certainly sat in the spiritual realm, which is where it loses me and my interest. I can't say I get the buddhist belief system and this was far too engrained in the story for my liking. 

I did enjoy Kelee's story that threaded throughout the tale, including the communication between Kelee and Ella. This was compounded by the fact that I have read some of Tahlia's Diamond Peak series; I was glad to get some background information on some of the characters I'd already met. 

Where this story came into its own was the interestingly complex look at badly behaving authors and their war on honest reviewers. Having been on the receiving end of some minor indie author angst for my own honest reviews, I found the whole story a bit too explosive. This being said, I have heard of some pretty crazy reactions from people for constructive, yet negative reviews, so Tahlia's fictional account isn't completely outside the realm of possible. 

I can't say this was my favourite of Tahlia's books, but it was an enjoyable, interesting mix that kept the pages turning. If you're interested in metaphysical and magical-realism books, give this one a try, it might be more to your tastes than mine.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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review 2017-09-14 12:49
A very young Young Adult or kids fantasy
The Mansion's Twins (At the Crossworlds Book 1) - Rose Channing

You know that feeling of uncertainty, the mixed emotions and the flat feeling of lack of excitement?

uncertain face

Well, that's how I feel about this book. It has a lot going for it - a unique and twisting landscape and world for its characters (of which there were many), magic and mayhem in equal amounts as well as an unusual plot. 

What didn't work for me was the level the story was pitched at. We have so many young adult books about magic that this felt like it didn't fit, even for all it's unique qualities. This felt too juvenile to be considered Young Adult and felt more squarely pitched at children, not just those who enjoy the young adult genre. 

description

A few things I noticed:

31% - Anyone who grows to(o) close to them will breath(e) in the magic...
32% - "Shouldn't you (delete massive space) two be out...
52% - "There's a trapdoor her(e),"

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**

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review 2017-09-14 12:30
I only wish we were given more...
The Nameless One - Kathryn Meyer Griffith

The Nameless One is a short horror story set in Egypt. It follows husband and wife, Laura and Julian Bennet, who are Egyptologists looking for an elusive tomb. 

The book blurb leaves little left to explore when you actually read the book, but given its length, that's not entirely unexpected. 

The pace felt a little fast, some of the richness of Egypt missing because of this and the writing style. There wasn't a lot of time given to building up the world around Laura and Julian, which I felt was quite a shame.

If given a bit more sensory information, this story could have been very creepy and horrific.

This is marketed as an erotic horror, but the erotic content is very light on and no great detail was given. The opportunity for exploring the erotic nature of the idea in this book was missed almost entirely, which was a shame.

Overall, this read well, if a little clipped, had a reasonable plot and had the beginnings of a good story with likeable characters. I only wish we were given more.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

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review 2017-09-14 11:48
An eye-opening read, albeit a little overwritten in parts.
Fractured Angel - Ken Williams,Rania Meng,Quentin Whitfield

Fractured angel is a fictionalised, but realistic look at homelessness and the mental illness that goes hand in hand for a lot of the homeless.

It is obvious that Ken has spent many years working with the mentally ill and homeless of Santa Barbara to be able to produce the rough, raw and gut-wrenching characters that pop up throughout Fractured Angel.

The various homeless, alcoholics, drug addicted and mentally ill characters were full of real, human characteristics and felt very real to read. This was probably the highlight of the book, the way the reader is given a glimpse of these people as real people, and not just a number or one of the faceless masses shuffling around the streets.

I quite liked the main male character, Kerry, that I'm sure was a fictionalised version of Ken, he too felt real. A war-torn, tired and battered veteran.

I didn't much like the female lead, Lynne. Her naivety was a little too much, and her emotional baggage a little too heavy to feel real. That's not to say she didn't have redeeming scenes, but she just didn't gel for me.

This book does not glorify or colour what it's like to be a homeless person in the US, it simply allows for the reader to see past all the preconceived notions one might have about them and allows for a connection to be formed.

An eye-opening read, albeit a little overwritten in parts.

The book could do with another pass over by an editor, there were a few small issues throughout, that I didn't take note of, that would help tighten the overall professional feel of the book. 

One thing I did note:

6% - ...Lynne rushed passed (past) the assemblage...

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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review 2017-09-13 11:44
The characters felt stilted and unnatural.
One Hundred Days - Mark Morey

One Hundred Days is a partially fictionalised account of how Australians were part of winning World War One.

While I found the story to be intriguing and providing some new concepts and ideas about how the Australians were involved with the war, the writing lends itself to a war strategy book, more than a fictional story. 

The characters felt stilted and unnatural. Less like characters and more like people represented by a number of pieces of factual information. For example, each person is introduced by their name, then their physical attributes rattled off in a list-like manner. Hair, eye colour, height and weight (especially when it came to the soldiers). And all the women had meaty/fleshy arses - which annoyed me too.

It was obvious to me, from the writing style that Mark has spent a lot of time working in the IT field, the way sentences were structured and the story flowed, was like a simplified and basic version of something far more complex. Like an IT person trying to write an 'IT for dummies' version of some complex IT issue. This is how the story of One Hundred Days felt. All facts, little emotion, simply written - almost in bullet point (pun not intended). 

This withdrew me, as a reader, from this story. It presented the tale in a clinical and unemotional way, which meant that I felt nothing for the characters. There were points in this story that should have come across as harrowing and highly emotionally charged, but alas, I felt little for the characters and had no emotional connection. 

The writing style aside, this book needs a serious edit. There were a large number of easily fixable issues (a lot listed below), but the one thing that annoyed me the most, was the overuse of the word 'and' to link two otherwise separate ideas together. This was done a lot in dialogue, but it also happened in the other text too. This was most annoying because it made the writing feel strange. People just don't talk like that.

An example from 9% through:
They reached the steps of Flinders Street Station and Alec kissed Dorothy's cheek. "Goodbye sweetheart and thank you for coming out with me."
"Goodbye sweetheart," she said. "Thank you for the evening and I really enjoyed being with you."
Alec stood at the base of the steps and watched until Dorothy disappeared out of sight. It was truly wonderful to have her as part of his life, and maybe one day they could marry. Alec was sure that would happen, and then he would be the luckiest man in the world.

Overall, this was an interesting look at how Australia played its role in WW1, but with little emotional connection with the characters and fundamentally flawed writing, I just can't give this any more than 2 stars. With a good edit, this could be a good addition to war history books, but as it is, it needs a lot of work.

The things I noticed:
9% - ...the war will be over before your (you're twenty-one.
- Then he was then free to go. (Excessive overwriting including dialogue with excessive use of 'and' instead of shorter sentences.
19% - After a week of fine of (delete of) weather....
24% - behind the (delete the) Billy still holding the...
25% - and he was (too) embarrassed (to) recount...
- Repetition of parade ground training came to some use.
30% - ...identifiable (by) their untidy clothing, Random lines and paragraphs from here are bolded text.
32% - ...you seem to be over (t)he worst...
34% - ...eyed the pile (in) his locker...
44% - ...that was bad lack(luck) for Charlie...
46% - ...Martin wondered (what) he was going to do...
68% - The(y) picked him up...
71% - ...cripples/. (Remove /)
81% - the text is italicised for a number of pages when Simone and Martin talk of their histories.
- ...I lived there for four yea(r)s...
89% - I didn't understand." He said in French. (")I really speak English." 
91%- ...the front net(not) yet tested...

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**

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