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review 2017-06-08 17:40
Review: Apex (Nexus Book 3 of 3)
Apex: Nexus Arc Book 3 - Ramez Naam

Apex is the final book in the trilogy that began with Nexus.  It begins at pretty much the same instant that the previous book left off.  I thought it wrapped up the trilogy well, although there was one thing near the end that I wish hadn’t happened.  By the end, the author had addressed all of the many little plot threads and character arcs.  He didn’t necessarily tie everything up into a neat little package, which can sometimes feel unrealistic anyway, but he provided a good idea of where things would go next and left me with a sense of hopefulness.

 

I did have more trouble staying focused while reading this book than I did with the previous one.  The structure is similar, with short chapters that jump around between characters, but not all the plot threads in this book held my interest even though I think they were necessary to the greater story.  I wasn’t bored, really; I just sometimes had to rein my attention back in when we moved away from the characters and storylines that I was more interested in.

 

The trilogy brought up a lot of interesting ideas about what would happen in a world where you could take a drug (of sorts) and have the ability to share thoughts and feelings.  Throughout the course of this trilogy, we see a variety of ways in which it could be used -- both good and bad.  Considering the implications, and whether the good outweighs the bad or vice versa, was one of the most interesting aspects of the trilogy.  There were a few things I was skeptical about but, in general, I could easily picture real people reacting in the various ways that people reacted throughout the trilogy.

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review 2016-03-30 17:03
Book Review - Hellbeast (The ARC Chronicles #3)
Hellbeast (The ARC Chronicles Book 3) - Matthew Harrill

Hellbeast is yet another well written, fast paced, action packed thriller with more demons than anyone would care to encounter in real life, or in their nightmares, come to think of it. You know that saying about facing your demons. Well, you wouldn’t want to be facing the ones in this series, that’s for sure!

I don’t want to say much about the plot, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read books one and two. What I will say is I hope you don’t get travel sick, as this series will take you to Hell and back! The ARC Chronicles is a strong series, so if you like the sound of the blurb, I highly recommend you give this series a go, starting with book one.

The first book in this trilogy, Hellbounce, is still my favourite, but some of that may be due to me not being a fan of series, as I rarely get a repeat of that amazing first experience from book one in a series. I’m the same with TV series too. I’ve lost count of the amount of series I’ve stopped watching after two or three episodes. I’m definitely a standalone novel kind of a girl.

I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and wish him success with this and any future novels.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1392873400
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review 2016-01-05 13:16
Fantasy Review: Chains of the Heretic by Jeff Salyards
Chains of the Heretic: Bloodsounder's Arc Book Three - Jeff Salyards

While I enjoyed Scourge of the Betrayer, the first book of Bloodsounder's Arc, it was Veil of the Deserters that really opened my eyes to what Jeff Salyardswas capable of. Not only did it overcome the dreaded middle-book curse, it actually proved to be one of those rare sequels that completely surpass the first. I came away from it thoroughly satisfied, but also hungry for more.

That brings us to Chains of the Heretic, the third and final book of Bloodsounder's Arc. Where that second volume expanded upon the world and the story of the first, this one rips that world wide open and shoves us headlong into a whole new heap of betrayals. More importantly, where that second book was a textbook example of how you build to a climax,Chains of the Heretic schools the genre on how you successfully deliver it.

Seriously, it is that good.

As much as I'd love to gush about what Salyards did with the larger storyline and the overall mythology, just about anything I could say here would constitute a spoiler. What I will say is that a lot happens in this book, and it all has significant consequences for our band of Jackals. Everything that was set up in the first two books comes to a head here, with all the dangling plot threads getting tied off - even if some of those knots are deliberately ragged and loose. This is not one of those perfectly tidy, happily-ever-after finales, and anybody who was expecting different clearly hasn't been paying attention. Bloodsounder's Arc was never about completing a quest, saving the world, or succeeding on some epic scale. It was always the story of one man, Captain Braylar Killcoin, as seen through the eyes of his company scribe, Arki (Arkamandos).

I'm not sure I've encountered any character the last decade or so who grows and evolves as much as Arki. As character arcs go, his is so steady, so consistent, and so entirely grounded that you don't really appreciate how far he's come until you look back on the saga as a whole. Arki is the epitome of the average man. There are no hidden secrets or revelations behind him, and no cumbersome prophecies or destinies hanging over him. He's just a lowly scribe, trying to fit in, and working hard to be accepted by a band of rugged Syldoon warriors. Don't get me wrong, he has some significant moments in this final chapter - some worth cheering about, and others cringe worthy - but Salyards never tries to break him or to make him more than he was ever mean to be.

As for Braylar, his character arc was always set up to be that of the tragic hero, and he never shies away from what needs to be done. At the end of the day, even if he has some uncomfortable family issues, and even if he does wield a cursed flair, he is just another soldier. He's not out for gold or glory, and he's not looking to claim a throne or save a word. Braylar is there to do his job, and help return his deposed emperor to power. As we discover here, he doesn't necessarily have to like the man or agree with his methods to do the job. His is not a story about ideals, but one of duty. There's a lot in this final chapter than challenges our sense of wrong and right, and much that makes us question whether the end can ever justify the means, but Braylar remains the heroic figure around which the story turns.

Chains of the Heretic takes us beyond the shimmering Godveil (and back); reveals the origins of the cursed Bloodsounder; exposes the roots of Sofjian's loathing for her brother; delves deep into the treacheries of the Syldoon Empire; kills off some characters; damages others; and makes us question every motive. It has its moments of black humor, and even a few fleeting moments of happiness, but by and large it is a dark and tragic tale. The action reaches a crescendo here, with some of the biggest battles (and biggest foes) we've seen yet. Salyards takes us across the world, and even if he leaves us cold and weary amid the carnage, we're still anxious for the next campaign . . . should we be so lucky to return to his world.

Hardcover, 524 pages
Expected publication: February 16th 2016 by Night Shade Books

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration.This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my honest review.
Source: beauty-in-ruins.blogspot.ca/2016/01/fantasy-review-chains-of-heretic-by.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-09-06 17:30
Book Review: The Occasional Diamond Thief By J. A. McLachlan
The Occasional Diamond Thief - J.A. McLachlan

Brief Synopsis: “16-year-old Kia must learn the secret behind the magnificent diamond her father entrusted her with on his deathbed – without letting anyone know she has it.”

 

J. A. McLachlan has created a highly addictive, inspiring, and adventurous Young Adult/ Science fiction story with The Occasional Diamond Thief. The main character, Kia, is smart, stubborn, analytical; free willed, strong and 100% an independently thinking individual whom still exhibits truly the most moving moments of venerability as the result of an a strained relationship with her family, excluding her brother, Etin.

 

Despite all of this, the young, inquisitive minded teen still manages to make friends and gain a few trusted allies across the universe on a semi-technology backwards/basic planet called Malem, whose people openly reject and dis-trust foreigners. While unknowingly developing a truly heart-warming bond with a (unique) Select–Agatha—who fills the maternal absentness in Kia’s life she was not aware she needed.

 

Another thing I appreciated about this book was the fact that it not only revolves around a strong female protagonist of color, but that it equally balances differences in Culture/Languages, Social Standards and Religion with Morality, Identity, and Humanity without losing it’s comedic, adventurous and mystery elements. There are just so many quotable/memorable moments from this book that you can relive over and over again.

 

 

Itohan—his name means ‘mercy’. My father was Itohan Ugiagbe, I want to say to the Malemese hurrying about their business, ignoring me, a foreigner in their midst. He came here and suffered like you. I watched him die all the years of my childhood and I didn’t understand.

 

Every time I pass another death house, empty and boarded-up, I understand a little better my father’s long despair. What would he have been like if he hadn’t come to Malem? I never really knew him. Already his image is fading in my memory. I look around the dirty streets as I walk.

 

They stole him from me, but they might also be able to give a little of him back. If I can find out what happened to him here, I’ll know him in a way I never did. The Malemese diamond must be mixed up in it somehow.

“Tell me,” I whisper to the cold, gray streets. “Tell me who my father was.”

(spoiler show)

Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.

 

It is one of best YA books I have read in a really long time and I wish I could have read a book like this when I was younger. As I followed Kia through this book and read her learn not only more about her a strained father’s past but learn to have more confidence in herself and trust in others, I found that I too was learning with her.

 

Besides the fact that I am sad that the book ended at all, I give this book 4.5 stars because we were not able to see any resolution between Kia and her family when she finally left Malem. (Unless that’ll be in the next book? *crosses fingers*)

 

But at some fundamental human level where the fear of not being understood touches us all, Central Ang ties the human universe together.”Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.

 

As a person who finds comfort in my studies and in moments of solitude when being around my family or friends feels like I am an outsider or a stranger, I recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t belong.

 

If it were not for sleep, eating and work I do not think I would have taken breaks reading this book. It is a true page-turner. I was fortunate enough to win this as a free e-book from Librarything.com, but I’ve purchased a hard copy of this book also to have on my bookshelf forever! Ms. McLachlan, if you see this please, please bring Kia back for another adventure :-) . I will wrap this up with one last quote from the book:

 

“Malem isn’t on the cyber link.”

“God doesn’t need the cyber link.”

I let that one lie. Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.

 

 

Thanks for reading ^__^ (It feels good to be back). Until next time,

Gia.

 

 

 

 

NOTE: You can pick up your own copy of The Occasional Diamond Thief following the links below. Be sure to check out J. A McLachlan’s  Goodreads account & her website too. :-)

 

Purchase your own copy of The Occasional Diamond Thief at EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy Books  OR  Buy The Occasional Diamond Thief at Amazon

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review 2015-06-07 00:00
Waiting for the One Book Review
Waiting for the One - L.A. Fiore

 

L.A. Fiore's Waiting For The One hooked me from page one. Saffron Mills is fun, sarcastic, honest, and a kiss-asses-first, take names second kind of girl; one of the most relatable characters I have come across. Fiore does a great job in keeping Saffron's voice and character consistent from beginning to end without any reestablishing of Saffron's backstory or life before the here and now in the book, which is something I really appreciated.

I give this book 3 swordfishes; I mean stars ;-) (man talk about a running gag ^__^) because of the partial unreliability of Saffron’s first person narration. I often felt as though some scenes between her and Logan were always missing a few details and I found my self flip-flopping for and against their relationship because I doubted his true feelings and thoughts as they were being told to me by Saffron whom could be miss reading things herself.

Another reason is that I would have liked it if the two’s relationship—Saffron & Logan—had taken a bit longer to develop because I found I enjoyed single/solo Saffron way more than coupled/domestic Saffron. She was never more alive or like herself than when she was hanging out with her friends, with Frank, or on her own.

In addition, without giving too much away, my expectations regarding Logan’s shrouded past were lowered when I discovered his affluent connections not only as an artist, but with his family too. This deficiently overused cliché did put a damper in my reading experience. :-/

Moreover, the image or take on Logan’s character and personality came across as generic and often not trust worthy. When Logan finally starts to open up to Saffron I found myself distrusting his story and wanting their relationship to come to an end, even voicing, “It’s not too late, Saffron. You can still find yourself a decent fella before the end of this book.”

Regardless, it is not often I find myself on the same page with the protagonist as they dive into the unknown, face life altering decisions and events, but I did with this book. And I truly believe it was Fiore’s ability of crafting such a strong and independent thinking female protagonist—and the steamy love scenes—that will draw in any reader. One who would enjoy a story about life, love and change all in the festival having small town of Harrington, Maine.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/23733234-waiting-for-the-one?ac=1
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