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review 2017-04-24 11:43
This is how a short story should be done.
A Piece of Time - Traci Harding

This!

This is how a short story should be done. The story felt whole, the characters real and the conclusion satisfactory yet still ambiguous enough to leave questions.

Tani, our protagonist, made logical choices and decisions, even while dealing with the paranormal phenomenon in the story. It was so nice to see that logical thought pattern.

That the piece also focused on a pocket watch and tied it in so nicely, was an added bonus.

I saw no errors in this piece. An enjoyable read with a great cast of characters.

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review 2017-04-24 11:14
Quite underwhelming...
Green but for a Season: A Captive Prince Short Story (Captive Prince Short Stories Book 1) - C.S. Pacat

So I loved the Captive Prince Trilogy, like really loved it. I was super excited to see there were short stories in the same world being released and bought this one and pre-ordered the second one 3 seconds apart.

BUT

I feel this short story was quite underwhelming.

The writing, as before, was a delightful mix of sweet tender moments, inner turmoil and the big bad world of Vere, but it was rehashing information we already knew from reading the trilogy. Yes, it delves a little deeper into Jord and Aimeric's relationship, but really it left me feeling underwhelmed and a little bored.

I will likely automatically buy anything CS Pacat puts out there, I love the Captive Prince Trilogy so much, but I hope the next few short stories in this end up being better than this one.

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review 2017-02-05 07:11
Aurealis #78
Aurealis #78 - Michael Pryor,J Michael Melican,David Coleman

This edition of Aurealis sees the neo-noir 'Enfolded', from J Michael Melican and the punchy 'Discarded Pieces' from David Coleman making a splash.

I enjoyed both stories, but Enfolded was something extremely unique. I would have liked to learn more about the characters past, which was hinted at, and know what the future held for him. A truly interesting piece that outshone the other piece easily.

Having said that, though, both pieces are well written and formed part of a nice edition, including some advise for self-publishing and promotion as well as a handful of reviews on books.

I really liked the cover art of this edition.

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review 2017-01-31 05:22
A quick and easy read, pick it up today but probably not until you've read the other books in the series first.
Assassin - Tara Moss,Jennifer Vuletic

Makedde Vanderwall's series has come to a close.

A pretty spectacular close too.

Mak is harder, grittier and downright ballsy in this book, she's taking a stand against the big baddies and she's doing it her way.

Considering it has been five years since I read the last Mak book(Siren), I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it all came flooding back to me. Tara weaves little tidbits of information into the story but it doesn't feel like you're being drip fed it. It reads well.

I liked how we got to see Mak grow and change in this book, far more than the other books. And while one of the twists I picked very early on, the way I thought it'd go, was certainly not the way the story went.

I always had a bit of a soft spot for Andy, and this book cemented that for me. He's raw and real, both incredibly strong, yet vulnerable at the same time. Rough around the edges, but sweet and gentle too. He felt very real in this book. More so than Mak and any of the other characters.

Overall, this felt like a strong and fitting end to Mak's tumultuous journey, but it didn't blow my mind so I can't give it 5 stars. It fell just a little shy of amazing.

A quick and easy read, pick it up today but probably not until you've read the other books in the series first.

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review 2017-01-31 05:02
Beautifully conflicting
The Orchid Nursery - Louise Katz

Two words to describe this book: Beautifully conflicting.

The Orchid Nursery contains within its pretty covers, a vicious and unflinching dystopian Australia. One where women have been bred to follow scriptures and beliefs that they should serve men, they should long to be 'Perfected'.

When girls (or girlies as they are called in the book) live under the supervision of an augmented dorm mother in dormitories that bare sexually charged titles and the girls are named after dirt, rocks and wood. Not to mention the horrendous scriptures the girls are led to believe and are brainwashed into not just following, but actively embracing.

For any woman in this day and age, the near-future world that Katz created will rankle and burn as your eyes grate over each word.

But, while the story is a bitter flavored pill to swallow, the writing, oh, my. The writing is superb.

One scene Mica, our pious little narrator, experiences is one of the most chillingly horrific scenes I've read (and I've read some whizz bang horror!) in all my born days. Yet, the way in which it was written drew me in, caressed my inner editor and led her merrily down the garden path. I was so conflicted. I loved it and hated it in the same breath.

Few authors have had this level of impact on me as a reader, and even fewer have been able to get me to check my hatred for open misogyny at the door and swallow my anger.

I should have hated this book for all the hateful crap it spouts (the world, not Katz - let me be clear here!) yet I was drawn in, wanting to understand how a world that decayed and broken could ever have come from anything resembling ours.

What I found, much to my dismay, is that Katz's vision and how they wound up that way, was not completely unbelievable. As much as I wanted to deny it, I can see us making similar mistakes. Taking similar steps into the fiery furnace.

Aside from inflicting extremely conflicting emotions in me, this book provides solid (albeit flawed) characters, it paints a picture of real people, ones filled with good intentions but are forced to make devastating decisions.

It highlights the way in which society can change in one moment, and how we deal with that change may make or break our world.

And it delivers such strong messages about what consequences our decisions have, not just to ourselves, but possibly, those around us too. And of course, it can't be all bleak and darkness, there's a tiny slice of hope and optimism that pokes it's head up too, which rounds out the novel delightfully.

I have never read anything remotely similar to this book, though others are likening it the Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. I am yet to read it, so I can't comment on that.

I don't know if I really love this book or I hate it, but it's a five star read from me because of how much it has made me think about the ideals and themes in this book, and also for the beautifully crafted writing and amazingly complex characters.

One warning, there's quite a lot of swearing, and frequent use for the c-bomb and other synonyms. Not recommended for younger audiences.

**Note: I won a paperback copy of this book through the GoodReads FirstReads competition**

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