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review 2020-01-17 03:58
Hunter tries SF with Predictably Entertaining Results
Junkyard Cats - Faith Hunter,Khristine Hvam

Faith Hunter dips her toe into SF with this Audible Original, and leaves quite an impression. The distinctive Hutner-flair is there, with science-y stuff replacing the magic stuff. It works pretty well.


Shining Smith is a veteran, of a handful of things, really. This takes place in the near-future, following a World War and another one (called the Final War in an act of aspirational nomenclature, I assume). She lives in/runs a scrapyard left to her by her father with a few cats and another vet recovering from trauma.


Shining deals on both sides of the law through intermediaries—no one knows her or who she is beyond those. It's a perfectly safe environment.


Not a nice one, not a fulfilling one, but a safe one. And in her world, that's asking a lot.


Until one day, one of her intermediaries shows up at her scrapyard dead. And then a very strong suspect for killing him shows up. And things get worse from there.


The action scenes are cool—filled with all the kinds of things that the best SF action scenes are filled with. The future-tech is cool, completely foreign to reality, yet it seems like the kind of thing that would emerge from our current tech.


I liked Shining, we don't get to know her much. She's such the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, that it's hard to get a real handle on her—but we get enough to root for her and want to know her better. Her compatriots are intriguing—as well-rounded as characters can get in this limited space where everyone is lying to each other about who and what they are.


There were a couple of SF-brand/tech names (like The Tyrell Corporation or tricorder) that I really couldn't understand what Hvam was saying. Against the spirit of an "Audible Original," but I'd like to read this so I could get a handle on those things. Which isn't saying that Hvam didn't do a great job—as per usual, her narration is top-notch.


My only complaint (outside of the tech words I couldn't decipher), is the brevity, we get the good story, but we don't get any depth—it's like it's designed to make you want more. Hey, wait a second . . .


A fun action-packed story that'll whet your appetite for more. This is a glimpse into a cool world and I love what Hunter has created here. Yeah, I'm only going with 3 Stars for this. There's a lot of potential in this world and with these characters—if Hunter returns to this? I can easily see this becoming a favorite series. It's fine as a stand-alone, and it doesn't demand a series/sequel but I think to really appreciate everything she set-up here, we need a little more. I'm not sure that makes sense, but...it's what I can do.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/01/16/junkyard-cats-by-faith-hunter-khristine-hvam-hunter-tries-sf-with-predictably-entertaining-results
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review 2020-01-06 12:25
"Junkyard Cats" by Faith Hunter - a high impact novella that I hope is the start of a new series.
Junkyard Cats - Faith Hunter,Khristine Hvam

"Junkyard Cats" is a new departure for Faith Hunter. She's freed herself from the super-nat saturated universe that both the Jane Yellowrock and the Soulwood series take place in; moved from Urban Fantasy to Science Fiction and broken with the tradition of bringing out the print version first and gone straight (and only) to audiobook.


I think all these changes are good.


It seemed to me that I could taste the energy and excitement freeing herself from the complex world she built and populated in thirteen Jane Yellowrock novels and four Soulwood novels (with a fifth being published this summer) gave to Faith Hunter. This novella crackles with energy and is stuffed with ideas.


Faith Hunter has embraced Science Fiction in a way that makes it her own. There's the same level of weapon's lust that was a constant in the Jane Yellowrock series but THESE weapons are truly scary. Set a few decades in the future and with the intervention of scavenged alien tech to speed things along, Faith Hunter has imagined AI Hive-Mind directed Nano-technology-enabled weaponry that is both plausible and innovative. Then she's rolled in biker culture with the Motorcycle Clubs becoming a line of defence against the invading machines sent by the Chinese. Finally, she's come up with a kick-ass heroine, this time one trying to live a quiet life, who is no longer quite human (nothing supernatural - think tech mutation) and a pride of junkyard cats with enhanced sentience and the ability to share what they're seeing with each other.


So: great weapons, biker culture, more than human female fighter and spookily smart cats. What more could I want? How about two or three major threats, a pressure cooker deadline, dizzyingly rapid and complex worldbuilding, a full-on assault and a huge body-count. Yep, I got all of those too.


The icing on the cake was the decision to go straight to audible. Normally, I have to wait a while after the publication of a Faith Hunter book before I can have Khristine Hvam's narration bring it alive for me. This time, I was able to start the book the day that it was published.


I enjoyed "Junkyard Cats", consuming it in two days and finishing it with a "Wow, that was good* feeling that was rapidly followed by, "When do I get more?"


I would have prefered it if this had been a full-length novel (the audiobook is five hours long (so about 140 -150 pages). I enjoyed the intensity of the novella but I'd have appreciated a little time to breathe and to get to know the characters a bit more. There were also a couple of clumsy I'm-being-briefed-on-the-war-by-my-computer bits of info-dumping that might have been avoided with a little more space BUT these are minor things. This is a remarkable, action-driven, near-future Science Fiction story and I want more of it.



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review 2020-01-06 03:33
BR Kingsolver: Shadow Hunter
Shadow Hunter - BR Kingsolver

In The first in a new series BR Kingsolver shows what happens when a trained assassin leaves the Illuminati:

Erin was sold to the Illuminati by her parents when her magic developed and how strong it was. So began her life of learning to be a Spy, Assassin and Thief. She is told that she is helping people and that the Illuminati are guiding the world for the better place. What she learns when she is tasked with eliminating a rival secret group and stealing an artifact is the opposite; The Illuminati are only about their own power and gain. She had been lied to for most of her life. She has been working for the dark not the light. This causes her to take drastic measure and somehow she ends up miles away on the run working as a bartender at Rosie O'Grady's Bar and Grill. Erin just wants the quiet life but trouble seems to follow wherever she goes.

This was the first book that I have heard of by Kingsolver and I wonder why I have not heard of her before, as this book was really fun to read, had interesting characters and I was wanting more of Erin and Rosie's Bar at the end of the book. I actually found it a nice replacement for Kate Daniel's Ilona Andrew series (So far, but we are only one book in) as there are some definite similarities between the two main characters (I still love Kate more though, lol). I really felt like the beginning was a bit rushed with Erin's training and being part of the Illuminati. As this is what has defined her for so many years it would have been nice to have a  bit more background than just the beginning few pages and snippets throughout the book. It also seems odd at times that with all her training that they did not do more cultural integration into a new environment as there are times in the book where she feels lost/naive in what should be familiar situations/events but she can mix any drink Sam asks her about, seem a bit of a clash in her characterization. 

What is really interesting in how Kingsolver decided to do with Erin (aside from her school powers) is as much as she tries to hide, she does not do it very well, where did all the spy training go? There are times when she almost flaunts her powers and abilities, so of course people are going to be suspicious of her and her possible connection to not only the Vampire deaths but also possibly being a hunter as well. However, by not really hiding her powers Erin shows who she really is and her need to help and protect those around her even if she has only known them for a short amount of time.

There is a nice sense of magical community and all your favourites are there, witches, werewolves, mages, Fae etc but there are some that I was not familiar with as well. It seems like Kingsolver has done some research on different entities from different cultures. But the world building is nothing special but I do not mind that as I was able to immerse myself into the story right away.

This is great start to a new series (though there are some flaws in Erin's characterization i think and the world building is lacking) and I look forward to learning more about Erin, this world and her history with the Illuminati. I am also going to check out some of the other series that she has written as well. Really happy I discovered her book. 


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review 2020-01-01 00:45
Anita Blake #23
Jason (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) - Laurell K. Hamilton

Look, this was trash. But I was prepared for that. Since this book is packaged as erotica it doesn't bother me that there's really no plot to speak of. I do wish there were better character moments, but hey. At least this novella was what was advertised. It gets a bonus star for centering around characters I actually like (mostly).

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review 2019-12-23 08:15
Hunter (Hunting Her #1) by: Eden Summers
Hunter (Hunting Her #1) - Eden Summers




Hunter and prey are playing a dangerous game. Summers turns unpredictable into a spicy obsession. HUNTER proves to be a heartstopping, mindbending thrill ride. Romance takes a backseat to seduction . A woman with a score to settle and a stranger with some dark secrets of his own, make for an addictive combination. Suspense takes a dark turn and invites the curious along for the ride. HUNTER teases its way into the brain while stirring up other senses along the way.


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