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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-17 07:36
War Robot-Manning Persons, Fighting Dukes, and Bioengineered Religious Soldiers — A Review of The Warriors Anthology Edited by G. R. R. Martin
Warriors - George R. R. Martin (Editor), Gardner Dozois (Editor)

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on January 17, 2018.

 

 

The King of Norway by Cecelia Holland

 

3 Stars

A Viking adventure with all the gore and blood that you could ask for. If only I could have been made to care for the characters…

 

Forever Bound by Joe Haldeman

 

3 Stars

Soldiers learning to maneuver robots in the war have to do as part of a hive mind. Pretty soon, real life cannot compare with the virtual one that they lead with the other members of the hive.

 

The Triumph by Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb

 

 

4 Stars

A retelling of the myth of Marcus Atilius Regulus, a Roman Consul. In the story, he is tortured by Carthaginians before his death. Everything in the story is actually setting up the reader for the way he dies.

 

Clean Slate by Lawrence Block

 

3 Stars

An abused child grows up into a sociopath. You can guess what happens next!

 

And Ministers of Grace by Tad Williams

 

3 Stars

It isn’t that bioengineered soldiers haven’t been done before. Here though the author makes it all about religion.

 

Soldierin’ by Joe R. Lansdale

 

4 Stars

A black man joins the army in the eradication of Native Americans. The story remains localized and makes no claims about the big picture.

 

Dirae by Peter S. Beagle

 

3 Stars

A coma patient becomes an avenging spirit with a special soft place in her heart for kids.

 

The Custom of the Army by Diana Gabaldon

 

4 Stars

I have been wondering if I would like Gabaldon’s writing and I wonder no more. This story is based on a skirmish between the French and English soldiers on Canadian soil.

 

Seven Years from Home by Naomi Novik

 

4 Stars

Nature and “people” come together in this story to save the land. I liked this one because plants featured in it.

 

The Eagle and the Rabbit by Steven Saylor

 

3 Stars

POVs change as we see Carthage fall and a Roman general plays mind games with the Carthaginians he will be selling off to slavery.

 

The Pit by James Clemens/James Rollins

 

4 Stars

Canine gladiators and sibling love made this story one of my faves!

 

Out of the Dark by David Weber

 

4 Stars

An alien race tries to take over the planet and humans band together to stop that from happening. They also have help from the unlikeliest of sources.

 

 

The Girls from Avenger by Carrie Vaughn

 

3 Stars

Women have faced discrimination whenever they have dared to step into a profession. Flying planes during a war isn’t any different.

 

Ancient Ways by S. M. Stirling

 

 

4 Stars

A mercenary is hired to rescue a princess who didn’t really need to be rescued. The princess was a pleasant surprise.

 

Ninieslando by Howard Waldrop

 

3 Stars

A utopian dream to unite the world while a war goes on outside. Didn’t take too long for it to unravel.

 

Recidivist by Gardner Dozois

 

4 Stars

AIs rule the world. Humans don’t stand a chance against them yet they won’t give up fighting back or remembering how life used to be.

 

 

My Name is Legion by David Morrell

 

3 Stars

Sometimes, the enemy on the other side of the border is your friend. In this story, soldiers who trained together are forced to fight against each other when France daren’t go against Germany.

 

Defenders of the Frontier by Robert Silverberg

 

3 Stars

Soldiers have been manning an entry point into their empire for years now. No reinforcements have arrived for some time. The absence of enemies starts to make them think. Does the empire they have been defending even exist anymore?

 

The Scroll by David Ball

 

3 Stars

A bully of an emperor keeps an architect alive just to torture him. The ending was a letdown.

 

The Mystery Knight: A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin

 

3 Stars

A tale of Egg, the squire who isn’t a squire, and the knight he serves.

 

I’d say, you won’t be missing much if you didn’t read this anthology. But that’s just me…

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review 2018-01-09 04:13
good book and characters
Until Tomorrow - Abbie Williams

Patricia/Tish knew she had past lives and at least one of the she had already been with Case but his name was Cole. Tish had seen Cash at her older sister’s - Camille’s wedding when she was eighteen. and had been a bridesmaid. Case had told Tish he loved her but she hadn’t listened. Tish was a lawyer and worked for Al Home. Tish had given up a law career in Chicago and moved to Jalesville. Tish lived in a trailer with Case. They had several animals in their barn. Tish woke from a nightmare, and noticed the barn was on fire which held their animals. Case went out to save the animals but passed out after freeing the animals and Tish hadn’t listened to Cash and went to the barn found Cash passed out and the barn caving in from the fire and she dragged Cash outside and she saved Cash’s life. Tish had burned her lungs and Cash was in a coma. Tish’s father has been a lawyer for twenty years. Then Tish told her dad sub company was buying up an inoperative power plant and its surrounding land. But Tish’s dad found it odd Ron hadn’t told him when Tish had went to Jalesville specifically  to counteract Capital Overland’s activities. Tish had stumbled onto Redd company was part of Ron’s holding. Her dad didn’t want to believe Ron Turnbull  had ulterior motives  concerning Tish’s presence in Jalesville. Also that Ron might have taken advantage of her.  Ron Turnbull was dangerous. Tish wondered if Ron hadn’t had the fire started to warn Tish. Case was Marshall’s best friend and he spent night’s in Case’s room with Tish. Marshall had claimed Ruthann was his a long time ago. But Ruth always had the same boyfriend -Liam although this time she felt a certain pull to Marshall that she doesn’t understand. Tish’s family had come from Minnesota when she herself was in her hospital bed and stayed with her while Case was still in the hospital to give her strength and support for all she was going through with her own  burnt lungs and Case.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the pace and the plot. It was a good read. It was sometimes hard to keep the connections all together correctly from both the past and the present. But I enjoyed the danger, intrigue,tension, and suspense. I liked the way the author does her descriptions in such a way that you can actually picture things in your mind. But I did hate the ending as it was a cliffhanger and as I have said many times in my reviews I hate cliffhangers. But I did feel this was still worth reading. And I recommend.

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review 2018-01-09 02:37
ARC Review: An Unlocked Mind by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams
An Unlocked Mind (Secrets Book 2) - K.C. Wells,Parker Williams

This 2nd book in the spin-off series deals with Rob Daniels, Alex's brother, who had a hand in Alex and Leo almost not having a happy ever after, and whose actions, to some extent, caused Alex to remove himself from his judgmental family.

Rob is such a lost boy. He blames himself for Alex's leaving, and yet he's determined to prove that Alex has it all wrong - BDSM is not love. Therefore, Rob goes to Secrets to once again prove that point, sneering and judging everyone he sees in the club. Rob has issues. Massive issues.

Then he meets a brick wall named Vic Prentiss, a Dom who used to be a member at the club prior to it becoming Secrets and who might be looking for a new sub. Vic takes one look at Rob and realizes that the young man has built up massive walls and locked away his heart. He offers the young man a night on the couch, with a promise not to touch him but take him to the train station in the morning. After some fussing and insults, Rob agrees. 

Rob returns to his shitty job and his shitty apartment in Manchester, only to blow money on a train ticket back to London to show up at Vic's house, time and again. And slowly, oh so slowly, Rob starts to open up. 

This story really tugged on my heart strings. Rob is so lost, so lonely, and so scared. He's afraid of his mother, and he's regretful of the events he set in motion that resulted in Alex leaving and hating Rob for what he did. He wants nothing more than a chance to make things right with his brother, but is afraid to take that first step, and too stubborn to entertain the possibility that Alex found exactly what he needed in Leo, and that their relationship is built on love, even if there's kinky stuff going on. He doesn't understand how anyone could want to be "smacked around", as if BDSM only consists of whippings, and he doesn't understand why anyone would choose to submit to the will of another. He doesn't understand that the sub holds all the power in a BDSM relationship, and that everything stops with a safe word. He doesn't understand the draw, and the release, and the trust that has to be established. He doesn't understand much at all.

And then Vic starts to show him. And Rob opens his eyes, and I cried. Because once Rob lets go, once Rob tears down those walls - the lost boy grows up and becomes a man. Rob finally lets go of pretending to be straight, lets go of lashing out whenever someone suggests he might be gay, lets go of the guilt and the anger and the pain. I cried and cried. As Rob unshackles himself from his past, as Rob reaches out and claims a bit of happiness, as Rob finds what he's been seeking, in Vic's arms, in his brother's embrace, in his father's support - Rob becomes a man. And I cried.

I adored Vic. He was so patient, so careful, and so intent on finding the key to unlock what Rob kept hidden in his mind, so strong and calm to soothe away the pain and grief and to make Rob see that love and trust are at the root of true BDSM relationships. 

And Rob, the lost boy, becomes a man.

With gorgeous writing and a ton of emotion, this was a fitting continuation of the brilliant collaboration between these two authors. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its authors. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2018-01-09 02:12
ARC Review: Before You Break by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams
Before You Break - Parker Williams,K.C. Wells

I'm ridiculously overdue with this review - my apologies to the authors. 

This book is the first in the series called Secrets, which is a spin-off from Collars & Cuffs, which I loved. At the end of book 8 of C&C, Eli and Jarod (from book 7) have decided to move to London to purchase and revamp an existing BDSM club, which they rename Secrets. 

I was excited to see Eli and Jarod again, and how the authors would set this new series apart from their first one. 

Wayne and Ellis are both members of London's Specialist Firearms unit and best friends. In recent months, Wayne has noticed Ellis behaving erratically, angering quickly, and being generally sleep-deprived. So far, Wayne has covered for Ellis and prevented any fuck-ups, but he realizes that this cannot go on. Thus, Wayne, a member of the club Eli and Jarod bought, invites Ellis to the Grand Reopening, in hopes that Ellis will see what goes on in Wayne's world for himself, and perhaps be more agreeable to a proposition Wayne has for him.

As I expected, Ellis has a freak-out. 

I had a difficult time understanding how Wayne thought that his straight best friend would be amenable to what Wayne was proposing, and that he thought this would be best for Ellis. At no time had Ellis ever given Wayne any kind of indication that he was a) not straight, and b) interested at all in the lifestyle. That whole situation felt forced to me early on, even if Ellis eventually agrees. I also was a little exasperated with Wayne's constant BDSM lectures, even though they made sense within the plot, since Ellis has zero experience in the lifestyle and possibly some preconceived false notions. 

The angst in this book comes mainly from Ellis and the messy relationships he has with his family, primarily his sister. It was clear to me that she was emotionally manipulating Ellis at all times, and that he bent over backwards to keep her happy. For someone in such a high stress job, I was wondering if there weren't psychological evaluations required at certain intervals, and whether an experienced therapist wouldn't have figured out that Ellis was at breaking point. Not even Wayne, his supposed best friend, really had any idea what Ellis was dealing with.

Once Wayne and Ellis set off on their BDSM journey though, I could see the relationship flourish, and there were many emotionally charged moments between them as Ellis learns more about Wayne's proclivities, and opens himself to being not so straight after all. These emotional moments are what keeps me coming back to these authors - they really have a knack for writing hardcore explicit kink with hardcore emotional impact. 

The ending was well done, even though there are some edge-of-your-seat moments that had me with my heart in my throat. Still, all's well that ends well, and this was a good start to this new series. I can't wait to see what else they have in store. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its authors. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2018-01-02 21:36
The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
The Wicked City - Beatriz Williams

In all fairness I should probably start this review with the fact I've never read any of Beatriz Williams' previous books, so I don't have any standing knowledge of her writing or characters. So it actually surprised me when I picked up this book and started enjoying it as a standalone, only to slowly fall further and further out of sorts with what was actually going on. I feel like I should warn any potential readers that although this is technically a standalone first book, there are references to Williams' other books here too. I had a friend who has read more of her works than I have explain them to me, and then everything made more sense after that. So, if you're lost, you might want to do a little digging. Just a PSA.

Now, on to The Wicked City. This is a dual narration book, alternating between the POVs of Ella Hawthorne in 1998 and Gin (Geneva) Kelly in 1924. I have to say, I was a little disappointed that Ella didn't get more of the limelight here. I actually enjoyed her story immensely, and felt like she got cut out more than she should have. Struggling to make her way in a world where she was once so happy, and now all alone, I so felt for her. While Gin's story was wonderful, and intriguing, the focus on her didn't create strong ties between these two women's stories. It felt more like Ella was just a filler story to connect Gin's story to present day events. There's a "ghost story" of sorts that works hard to make this connection, but I'm still not convinced. Add in the fact that the ending is wide open to make way for another book, and there are tons of loose threads floating out there, and you'll see why I was on the fence about that.

I can definitely say that Gin's story is well done though. Down to the vernacular, you can feel the vibe and grit of the 1920's. From speakeasies, to bootleggers, to prohibition era agents, it all draws you in to Gin's day to day life in Manhattan. I loved how easily Williams showed Gin's deep love for this Manhattan, despite its less than desirable aspects, and how realistic her life felt on the page. Despite not always feeling like her story tied into Ella's, I can't say that I didn't enjoy seeing life through Gin's eyes. Her story was wild and unpredictable, much like her character, and I appreciated that. In fact, had this been a story that only focused on her, I probably would have happily rated it much higher. It was the stretches of tying this back to other stories, and to other characters, that kept giving me issues.

Truth be told, I'll probably seek out more of Beatriz Williams' books, if for no other reason than I really enjoyed her writing style. I would also like to fill in some of the questions I have for myself, and give some of her other characters a chance. I still feel like it should be noted somewhere though that this book is a little difficult to read as a newbie to Williams' work. If you're willing to enjoy the story without fully understanding every little reference and nuance, you'll be fine. If you're nitpicky, like I am, you might have an issue. I'd say this is worth a read, as long as you know what you're in for! 1920's Manhattan is a fascinating place to take a literary trip to!

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