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review 2017-07-20 18:38
I don't know, you guys
Jumping Barrel (Cyborg Sizzle Book 7) - Cynthia Sax

This is the kind of thing that I both love and hate.  Like some of this was eye rolling worthy, and some of it was like, 'alright, i got ya, I like it.'   I disliked it as much as I liked, and I did so equally.   Not like I liked half, but so much more than the rest.   So two and a half stars, I guess. 

 

The world building wasn't good enough for this to be a stand alone, and even some of that made me raise my eyebrow.   Like the whole cybernetics allowing them to really only breed with one female.   How do they know?   How does Barrel know when the only thing he does is talk to her and see her over a screen?  I'd assume the whole breeding thing would be genetics, and as a cyborg, he might be able to scan her in some way - but over a screen?

 

I do have a thing for how much Barrel loves Nola.   (But some of the names.   Like Barrel?   Why?)

 

"His Nola would breed with him, would eventually grow to love him."

 

The 'breed with her then she'll slowly fall in love with him' makes no sense.  Keep in mind, the cyborgs in this tend to use breeding instead of fucking or sexing her up.   Or whatever you want to call it.  

 

I mean, if she doesn't like fucking you the first time, will she really agree to do it over and over again until she loves you?

 

Shouldn't you try to win her over before you fuck her?

 

"A huge knife was rucked in the waistband of his ass covering."

 

I'm not quite sure if that should read as pocked in the back of his jeans, or if he has a special piece of clothing called an 'ass covering.'

 

"A leather strap slipped between her lips, muffling her question.   The male had gagged her."

 

First of all, I wanted to bash something when they called each other the male and the female.   Just why?

 

Secondly, he's gong to fuck her, then she'll 'eventually' fall in love with her, but first he'll start off with a non-consensual gagging.   I was like 'OH SHIT WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN HERE?????'

 

Nothing like what I was thinking, but yeah, I don't care if he says it's a precaution or not, the fact that he doesn't want me screaming doesn't equal love.   It equals a good, hard kick in the balls. 

 

"She's been on her own since she had four solar cycles."

 

I'm not sure if 'solar cycles' is years or not?

 

"He tasted like metal and male..."

 

Keep going, please!

 

"...her rapidly expanding hair."

 

 

"Barrel slid his shaft along her folds, breeding without entry."

 

...

 

That just sounds wrong.  I mean, I know what he's doing, but breeding might not be the word you want there. 

 

"She was hot, slick, snug, her inner walls hugging his tip, her purely female fragrance surrounding him."

I find this ridiculously not hot.   Am I the only one?

 

"He licked every droplet within reach, tasting salt and aroused female."

 

...

 

Show, don't tell.   Aroused female gives me nothing.   Is that in her sweat, so not her other bodily fluids?   Because other than that, how would you tell what aroused female tastes like?   This is part of the lazy world building, though.   Really, a microcosm of that. 

 

"...her curves absorbing the race of his breeding, a buffer of softness, of caring."

 

The next time someone tells me I've gotten fat, or look pregnant, I'm going to gently chide them with 'that's just a bugger of softness, of caring.'

 

"His essence made contact with her flesh and she screamed, her form convulsing under his, her pussy squeezing his shaft harder."

 

Man, I almost laughed out loud so many times, but then I"d have to explain why and I didn't want to read this thing aloud. 

 

So, yeah, not a great book - at all. 

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text 2017-07-19 19:27
re-read to clear my head
Hammered - Elizabeth Bear

damn i forgot how much i liked this one.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-19 03:13
Ubik by Philip K Dick (audiobook)
Ubik - Philip K. Dick,Luke Daniels

Narrator: Luke Daniels

 

Mild spoilers.

 

This book was mad. This is an alternate futuristic vision of 1992 where psychics of various kinds are counteracted by people with counter-talents. The main character, Joe Chip, goes off on a contract with various others from the firm he works for. When disaster strikes (as it is wont to do), they return to Earth to find it strangely changed and weird messages from their boss appearing in the oddest places(e.g. graffiti on a wall, inside cigarette packages). It quickly devolves into each of the survivors being hunted down by a strange illness or force. It’s kind of hard to explain without going into a whole lot of spoilers, but I can probably get away with saying that technology and objects start turning into older versions of themselves and this throws everyone for a loop.

 

I think my favourite part was how in this version of 1992, doors refuse to open for you unless you tip them a nickel. Joe Chip spent some time arguing with his own door because he was broke.

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review 2017-07-17 23:30
Visual novel review - This, My Soul

 

This, My Soul is a free sci-fi visual novel. The first time I saw it, it was listed as “in development.” I was cautiously excited - it looked slick and the android main character interested me, but there was no guarantee it’d ever be completed. I prefer to play finished products rather than demos.

Thankfully, this is now out of “in development” limbo. I’ve played it through three or four times since downloading it, and my final verdict is...meh. It has some really nice and ambitious aspects, but it doesn’t entirely follow through with all of them, and the android-human romance could have been better.

Backing up a bit, the story: You play as a woman who is the sole survivor of a spaceship accident of some sort. The game allows you to choose the woman’s name - if I remember right, the default is “Kyndle.” Kyndle was rescued by a laborer-class android named Silas, who put her in cryogenic sleep. Because the cryogenic pod is old, Kyndle can’t stay asleep for the entire trip back to civilization, but she also can’t stay awake for the full trip. The plan is for her to be awake at the beginning and then go back to sleep near the end.

In the meantime, Silas helps Kyndle get her strength and full range of movement back, and makes sure she regains some of the weight she lost. At times, Kyndle can’t even move without Silas’s help.

Players have several ways they can approach the game: they can be suspicious of Silas and resistant to the idea of being attracted to an android; they can be friendly towards Silas and more than a little attracted; they can be openly flirtatious; or they can be some combination of all three. There are three possible endings, which the developer/author called the Normal end, Friendship end, and Romance end. However, those aren’t really the best way to describe them.

The “normal” end is the one where Kyndle doesn’t really give a crap about Silas and his fate. The “friendship” end is bittersweet - I’d like to think that everything works out for the best, but it isn’t guaranteed. There can be a strong thread of romance leading up to this ending, depending on the options you choose, so it’s not strictly a “friendship” end. The “romance” end definitely ends with Silas and Kyndle together and is probably the best ending for Silas overall, but I still had some issues with it. It doesn’t require that you hit all of the story’s “romantic” scenes, and it presents readers with a happy ending but doesn’t bother to explain how Kyndle and Silas are supposed to achieve that happy ending in the long term.

There were some things I really liked about this visual novel. First, it made an effort at adjusting to reader choices. Early on in the story, readers could decide which job Kyndle had, out of five possible choices. Later conversation options then adjusted to these choices. If Kyndle was a medical officer, then she knew a bit more about cryogenic sleep. If she was a mechanical engineer, she understood a bit more about the ship’s functions. This was kind of nice, but it wasn’t carried out as thoroughly as it could have been. For example, I got really annoyed when medical officer Kyndle became outraged at Silas feeding her high calorie meals in order to increase her weight. I forget her exact words, but it amounted to “women don’t like to gain weight, why didn’t you ask me first.” But as a medical officer she should have understood that her time in cryogenic sleep had left her underweight and that she’d have to gain that weight back before going back to sleep.

This is technically a fairly short visual novel, but its numerous decision points and choices made it feel longer. The sheer number of decisions overwhelmed me at first, but I came to like them more during subsequent playthroughs. The “skip” button definitely helped - as in many visual novels, you could set it to skip text you’d seen before.

That said, I haven’t played through all the possible story choices yet, and I doubt I ever will. I tried, I really did, but some of them really didn’t appeal to me. Like I said earlier on in this review, you could opt to play this game several ways. I preferred being neither hostile/suspicious nor very flirty. The flirty options sometimes made me uncomfortable because Silas seemed so taken aback. In one instance, he even went as far as to remind Kyndle that he was a laborer-class android and not built for anything sexual. To me, his response came across as discomfort, and I really wanted Kyndle to just back off. I had similar problems forcing myself to choose the hostile/suspicious options all the way through.

It was weird how the game was so adaptable in some ways (different wording at certain points depending on the job Kyndle had) and yet so rigid in other ways. For example, during one of my playthroughs I tried to made Kyndle as suspicious as possible. I found myself unable to carry this through all the way to the end, so she became friendlier later in the game. Considering how she had behaved towards Silas up to that point, I’d have expected him to respond coldly or neutrally to almost anything she said, but that wasn’t the case.

There were times when it felt like the romance aspects were being laid on too thick. The worst was probably the massage scene (which I later figured out was skippable without any noticeable effect on the ending). How did a laborer-class android even learn to give a proper massage? I’d have expected medical officer Kyndle to have some questions about that, but nope. I did like the scene in the control room (navigation room?), though.

Art-wise, this was a mixed bag. The sprites looked great, but the CG art was nowhere near as slick and pretty. I wish the person who had done the sprite art had also done the CG art. Also, the music, while appropriate to the setting, wasn’t very memorable.

All in all, this wasn’t bad, but it didn’t work for me nearly as well as I’d hoped it would. Too many points in Kyndle and Silas’s romance made me uncomfortable, and even the happiest of the three endings left me feeling worried that society and/or the corporation that created Silas would tear them apart.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-07-17 12:32
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Taken by the Storm (Beyond Ontariese #1) by Cyndi Friberg
Taken by the Storm (Ontarian Chronicles, # 1) - Cyndi Friberg
This story blends Paranormal Romance with Sci-Fi and does a pretty good job. Tal, our hero, takes the shifter part of paranormal to a whole new level. There is time travel involved in this as well so make sure you don't skip anything as you could get lost!

One of the things that I found quite puzzling, is although Charlotte has a "social alliance" with Tal, I couldn't find the part where they actually say "I love you". It's mentioned that she does and he does but usually there is a big scene where they declare their undying love but if it was in this book, I missed it.

I also missed the part where someone died. I was reading, he was there doing his bad stuff. Next thing I know, the others are getting rid of his remains. I don't like it when a book jumps like that or when you are presumed to know something. Call me pedantic, but I like to read about an event so just assume that I know what's happened.

On the whole, this was an enjoyable read with a good twist on the paranormal sci-fi genre. I do want to read the next in the series but I will wait for a while.
 
* Verified Purchase ~ January 2013 *
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

 

@Cyndi_Friberg, #Archive_Review, #Paranormal, #Science_Fiction, #Romance, 4 out of 5 (very good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/merissa-reviews/takenbythestormbeyondontariese1bycyndifriberg
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