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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-24 14:12
Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — May Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 24, 2018. 

 

2017

 

18665033

 

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

 

My review said it all but if it didn’t, check out my love for Loki here!

 

 

38447

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

My review can be found here.

 

 

2015

 

19000898

 

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

 

Find the review here!

 

2013

 

28187

 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

 

The Percy Jackson series remains a favorite. Here’s why

 

2012

 

297929

 

Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy

 

My review of this series is here.

 

 

7945523

 

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

Loved the book.

 

The humor was just my style-the way the Yherajk communicated was a hoot.

 

What I also liked was that even though the MC was a smartass, he wasn’t made out to be a jaded guy or an agent who took advantage of other people to survive.

 

I was expecting a romance between Tom and Michell but Miranda was a far better choice.

 

The book wasn’t too long but just the right length which always wins points with me. Joshua was my favorite character.

 

Loved how the ending/unveiling was handled, as well as how the whole Holocaust movie was dealt with.

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review 2018-04-10 02:17
The Dinosaur Lords
The Dinosaur Lords: A Novel - Victor Milán

According to George R.R. Martin, this book is “like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones.” If that’s really the case and not something Martin pulled out of the air without reading the book, maybe I should take A Song of Ice and Fire off my TBR.

 

Milán’s verbose writing style grated on me. Nearly six hundred pages and I feel like nothing much happened. The big battles I was hoping for were few in number and over in the blink of an eye. There was so much boring, repetitive politicking. I probably should have thrown in the towel early on, but I wanted to give it every chance to do justice to that fantastic premise. But damn, was it ever a struggle. If Jurassic Park moved this slowly, Hammond wouldn’t get around to inviting Grant, Sattler, and Malcom to the island until book two.

 

Meh. All of my favorite characters were dinosaurs. I could take or leave the humans (mostly leave). The best thing about this book is the cover art.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-01 08:59
February 2018 — A Wrap Up

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 1, 2018.

 

 

 

Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill

 

Several things about this book annoyed the heck outta me, including:

I have begun to detest Jamie who is a Mary Sue if there ever was one!

 

Talbot stared at Jamie, admiration on his face. “Bravo”, he said. “There are men and women a lot older than you who fail to understand that. You’re absolutely right…”

 

He is the youngest this and the smartest that while also being the best at everything! Oh, and he actually left his female friends behind because he “couldn’t bear if anything happened to you”. One of them is a vampire with superstrength and other powers. Both of them are members of a covert organization that keeps the supes under check. They are at least as old as Jamie is.

 

The worst part: they let him They understood he was just worried about them. Needlessly worried but Jamie’s just so sweet, y’know? Ugh!

 

There are at least two instances of a character who looked as if about to say something but “then the door rolled shut with a loud thunk.

 

Every development was repeated endlessly. If one character found out about it, they’d tell the others and we’d be there for every conversation!

 

We are almost 65% into the story and a new character who is supposed to be dead shows up. And I am not even talking about the other character who also died in the first book and showed up in this one alive. At least, that guy had the decency to arrive right from the start!

 

We also spend a lot of time learning about people who have nothing to add to the story. Seemed like filler so the book would swell up to 560+ pages.

 

So yeah, bad experience! Read my review of the first book here.

 

 

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

 

During my second visit to Discworld, I discovered the following to be true:

Luggage is my favorite character:

“The Luggage said nothing, but louder this time.” 

And then there is all the Pratchett-ness to love and laugh at:

“It looked like the sort of book described in library catalogues as ‘slightly foxed’, although it would be more honest to admit that it looked as though it had been badgered, wolved and possibly beared as well.” 

 

 

 

 

A big part of that is because he can poke fun at almost anything. Have a look at his disregard for the Asgardian deities:

In fact the Gods were as puzzled by all this as the wizards were, but they were powerless to do anything and in any case were engaged in an eons-old battle with the Ice Giants, who had refused to return the lawnmower.

Also, I finally figured out that I am Twoflower. Evidence:

It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate beauty, he just appreciates it in his own way. I mean, if a poet sees a daffodil he stares at it and writes a long poem about it, but Twoflower wanders off to find a book on botany.

That Rincewind will stay true to his character. Even when he has a chance to be less cowardly, he does the expected…or the unexpected!

A fun book and quickly finished.

 

 

The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán

 

One of the complaints that I had after reading the first book:

Insufficient dino-action. Yeah, that complaint wasn’t reirst bmotely true for this one. Epic dino-battles shook the world like literally!

A quote that stayed with me:

Through the trees on the far heights emerged a colossal silvery-grey shape. Even the Companions gaped: it was a Tirán Rey, a bull Tyrannosaurus rex, most feared of all Aphrodite Terra’s dinosaurs. Even at this range Jaume could see the monster dwarfed Falk’s albino adolescent Snowflake.
“Beautiful,” murmured Rupp. “He must weigh seven tonnes!”
Jaume found a smile inside himself. “You shame us, my friend, finding Beauty where even we find only terror.”

The other complaints, such as the princess being a pain in the butt, remained as they were. In fact, she was even more of a pain in this one. She is improving but her getting her friends killed in every scene can get tiresome!

We finally get to see the Grey Angels in action and it is pretty much horrifying what they can do. I loved every bit of it!

I wanted to rush in to read the next book in the series immediately but found out that the author recently passed away.  Sad sad news but it made me want to save the last book to read later. Because there will be no more Game of Thrones and Jurassic Park hybrids for us!

 

 

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

 

Thursday Next steals people’s hearts and I am no exception. She gets into all sorts of literary trouble but handles it in a no-nonsense way. She is into solving problems and not whining. Next also isn’t afraid to ask for help or doesn’t judge people by their looks, species, gender, or whether they are real or not. I like her; it is likely that you will too!

 

Plus, the humor in this series is decidedly Douglas Adams-ish! Next named her son Friday Next. Has a pet dodo whose son is a hooligan and doesn’t have the decency to go Plock. He goes Plick just to be contrary! This book also had cameos by the Cheshire Cat, Hamlet, and many other literary darlings.

 

 

Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

 

I was reading reviews for this book on GR and people seem to think it was dull, cheesy, and repetitive. I don’t get how it can take them 8 books to realize that! Since I will be reading it anyway, why bitch?

 

 

Endurance by Jay Lake

 

I wonder how I ever got along with the protag from this series — well enough to have completed the first book! She is annoying, reckless, rude, manipulative, and as if that wasn’t enough, she also thinks she is better than everybody else! Should I explain it all away by saying that is how teenagers are? I don’t think I should!

 

There were other issues that made this a difficult read, such as the copious amount of foreshadowing. If only she had known…if only she had done that…and so on! Aptly placed and lightly done foreshadowing is always welcome but this book didn’t have it.

The only part that made me laugh:

though five centuries past this had been the very pinnacle of architectural taste in Copper Downs.
A good education never went to waste. If I did die here, at least I would have the comfort of knowing I’d passed on amid high style.

The only part that stayed with me:

I wondered how it had been for the miners, back in the morning of the world. Had they broken open the crust of the world only to find a population of haunts and legends already awaiting them? Or had they brought their fears with them on first creating the Below?

Some readers might like the endless descriptions of everything that was around the protag at any given time but I didn’t!

So, there. If I do read the next one in the series, I wouldn’t be reviewing it.

 

 

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

 

An okayish installment since I wasn’t too worried about anything bad happening. After the horror stories we were told about Underhill, a visit to the place didn’t have that intensity or scariness.

 

Then there is the Walking Stick. I think the author got that it was turning into a deus ex machina and got rid of it — even if it took her the whole book to do that!

 

And, of course, Mercy didn’t shift. Not even once.

 

The good things about this one:

1. No Stefan. I have no idea why he was even introduced in the series

 

2. Adam finally realized what his pack had been doing to Mercy since like forever. I mean what he did next was the worst thing he could have done but at least, he opened his eyes.

 

3. A Doctor WHO reference!

 

 

4. The scary-ass little not-really-human but not-fae-either kid that the pack had to provide shelter to! He broke my heart by being so broken.

 

I hope the next installment is more exciting!

 

 

Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman

 

 

 

The book refers to a backstory that I read and reviewed before. You will find the review here.

 

 

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

 

Something about this series makes me think not-YA. It could be that the main characters are struggling with darkness and the struggle is real. Whatever it is, while the story failed to wow me — and I could see the major reveal coming from a mile away —, I still liked the book.

 

So, this is what I did in February. What have you been doing?

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review 2017-08-21 02:57
The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan
The Dinosaur Lords: A Novel - Victor Milán

Warning: this book includes on-page rape and detailed descriptions of violence. Many characters die.

In the world of Paradise, humans exist alongside dinosaurs. The tame (or, in some cases, relatively tame) dinosaurs are treated much like our pets and livestock. People breed and train dinosaurs for hunting, riding, and fighting.

When I first heard of this book, it was described as Game of Thrones meets Jurassic Park. There are the dinosaurs plus medieval-ish fantasy politics - as far as tone and overall feel goes, it's more like Game of Thrones than Jurassic Park. The four main players are: Karyl Bogomirskiy, a famed dinosaur knight who is one of the few to ride a Tyrannosaurus rex; Rob Korrigan, a minstrel and dinosaur master (trains and cares for fighting dinosaurs and dinosaur mounts); Jaume, famed dinosaur knight and poet, the Imperial Champion of Emperor Felipe, and the fiance of Princess Melodia; and Melodia, who is eager to do important things but seems doomed to waste away in the palace.

This was mostly focused on politics, and unfortunately that politics bored me. I also had a tendency to lose track of what people were doing and why. For example, for a while there I thought Jaume and his soldiers were marching towards the location where Karyl and Rob were training peasants to fight. But no, they were riding towards a completely different area. They didn’t start going towards Karyl and Rob’s location until late in the book (I’m guessing they’ll meet in Book 2?).

It felt like I was supposed to at least be rooting for Jaume, Karyl, Rob, and Melodia, but for the most part I had trouble caring about them. Jaume’s romantic entanglements were exhausting. He was in a relationship with both one of his fellow knights (or not a knight, but at least part of his group? I can’t remember) and Melodia. The problem was that both Melodia and Pere seemed to want Jaume to love them best. Melodia was happy to share Jaume as long as she was more important to him than Pere, and Pere would likely have preferred his relationship with Jaume to be monogamous. Jaume, for his part, seemed to think everything was fine. It bothered me that Milan never really dealt with or resolved these issues, just...made them go away.

Karyl was cardboard, a fallen legendary character who was clearly destined to become legendary again. Rob thought he was awesome, so readers were supposed to think so too. Oh, and Rob. I seriously disliked him. I think he was supposed to be the “loveable rogue” of the bunch, but the more I read about him the more I wanted the author to ditch him. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why one minor female character slept with him. I thought for sure she was a secret spy or enemy, because I couldn’t understand what could possibly be appealing about him. I disliked just about everything about him except his dinosaur mount. One specific thing about him that bothered me was his habit of mentally trying to guess the gender of androgynous urchins. He mentally described one as “it,” before eventually deciding upon “he.” Hello! “They” exists and can be used as a gender neutral pronoun in English. Also, if a character was female and reasonably pretty, he probably leered at her at least once.

Now for Melodia. For most of the book, she had potential. After a while, “potential” seemed to be all she’d ever have. As the story went on and she continued to do nothing much, her horniness and childishness began to bother me more and more. She was so very horny. But only for Jaume! Except when she was mad at him, then she started to consider other options. And when she was mad at him, she was childish enough to not even read his letters. Never mind that she’d have regretted it for the rest of her life if he had died in battle. But as much as I disliked Meloda, she did not deserve what Milan had happen to her near the end of the book. That particular scene killed any desire I had to try the next book in the series. It felt like it happened more for shock value than anything - incredibly lazy writing on Milan’s part.

The world building was intriguing but vague. At first I thought this was an alternate history, but it turned out to actually be a completely different planet/dimension. Dinosaurs either existed there from the start or were transported there from our world and thrived. Humans and several other animals were transported to the world at a later date. Humans live longer and, if injuries don’t immediately kill them, can heal faster, and disease is almost unheard of. How humans and other beings made it to Paradise is never mentioned.

The best thing about this book was its cover and the black-and-white artwork at the start of each chapter. The story itself had far fewer dinosaurs and cool dinosaur moments than I was expecting - there was one battle I enjoyed and a fascinating bit involving an enormous dragonfly used like a hunting falcon, but that was basically it. Shiraa, Karyl’s mount, had potential but disappeared early on in the book. It’s likely she’ll show up in the next book but, as I said, the horrible and unnecessary scene with Melodia killed my desire to continue on with this series.

All in all, I really wanted to love this and I’m sad to say I didn’t. Even if that scene with Melodia hadn’t existed, this would never have been more than a so-so read. It was surprisingly boring for something that should have been completely awesome.

 

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

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review 2017-08-04 00:00
Hearts of Chaos
Hearts of Chaos - Victor Milán Camacho's Caballeros get sent to look after various resources of their employer following rumours they will be attacked by rogue DCMS units.
Not a lot of mech action in this one, the majority of the book is discussions within the Caballeros and with the natives who don't think they should be there.
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