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review 2018-10-07 20:52
Audio/Book Review of The Servants of the Storm (The Pillars of Reality Book 5) by Jack Campbell
The Servants Of The Storm - Jack Campbell

A Storm that will wreck a world threatens Dematr. Only Mari, one of the Mechanics who control all technology through their Guild, has a chance to stop it. She and Mage Alain have survived numerous attempts to kill them and have gained many more followers, but the Storm of chaos, born of centuries of enslavement, grows ever closer.

 

Mari leads an army now. She and Alain must fight together to bind back the Broken Kingdom and build a force strong enough to defeat the might of the Great Guilds. But the Storm has many Servants who seek to preserve or gain personal power or wealth, or fear the New Day that Mari seeks to bring to the world.

 

And Mari knows that victory will mean nothing if the precious knowledge brought long ago to their world is destroyed. In order to save it, Alain and Mari will have to pierce through the heart of their enemies' power and confront once more a place of ancient nightmare.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the fifth book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

 

Mari is a fantastic character. I liked her immediately when I met her in the first book. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. A Master Mechanic, Mari has faced many threats to her life from the Guild Masters on the world of Dematr and survived. Foreseen by Mages to be 'The Daughter of Jules' and fated to free the world of Dematr from the tyranny of both the Guilds - Mechanics and Mages - and to unite the Mechanics, Mages and Commons against said Guilds, Mari finds herself fighting for their freedom.

 

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot from the start. He was one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status at the age of seventeen. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. I love how this character has grown as the series has progressed. He tries to show more emotion, even though his Guild had virtually beaten it out of him. He hides a dry wit under that emotionless mask.

 

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. MacLeod Andrews once again narrates the story. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflexions and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would listen to more books read by this narrator.

 

The story continues six months from the end of The Pirates of Pacta Servanda and sees Mari and Alain heading a mixed army of Mages, Mechanics and Commons as the action heats up. Mechanic Caylou (not sure of spelling as I listened to the story so have no reference and have spelt it phonetically - it could be Kayloo or another variation) makes another appearance. He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally, who also makes an appearance. I love her constant use of 'Your Daughterness' when speaking to Mari just because it annoys her. Mage Asha also makes another appearance, as does Mage Dov, who is Asha's uncle, and Mechanic Dov (no relation) whose relative had once lived in Marandur. Cien, a princess of Tae, plays a significant role in this story, too. There are a few more characters added, but it would take me too long to mention them all.

 

I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. It has a mix of steampunk and modern day technology, but this is due to the way the Guilds restricted people from creating new things. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. In this story, the characters are gathering together for a showdown with the Great Guilds. They also make a dangerous journey back into the Imperial territory of Marandur to retrieve the mechanical texts left at the University. The action is ramping up further as the storyline reaches towards the climax, and I found myself holding my breath more than once as they faced several tricky challenges. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt utterly emersed in it? It happened to me as I listened to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger, which had me eager to listen to the next story in the series, The Wrath of the Great Guilds, as soon as possible.

 

Jack Campbell has written a fantastic science fiction series. I have added him to my favourite author's list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast-paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

 

Although there is now some mention of scenes of a sexual nature, it’s not shown. I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-01-12 04:07
The Layover by Roe Horvat
The Layover - Roe Horvat

Tho I loved the book, I feel like I am stuck in a loop. One of the MCs is suffering from one illness or another and the other MC falls in love with him while taking care of the sick. This is my fourth or fifth book with the same premise in a row (ok, not in a row but extremely close to each other). I hate to say it, but it took away a little from enjoying the story, and it's not even the author's fault. 

There is a lot of insecurities, self-hatred, tho Ondro doesn't realise it at first, and self-digging (can I say it in English?) ...soul-searching maybe a better word, and coming to terms with the past, the present and the consequences/the future; letting fears go and grabbing the proverbial bull by the nuts horns.

It was at times a scary read, considering that here we are in the 21st century and we still have ugly nasty pockets in this world where hatred is worn proudly and in bright colors for all to see. On the other hand even full acceptance often comes with labels that can be hurtful, not letting us see a person beyond "gay". 

Both characters have suffered. Not all the secondary characters in this book survived, but in the end ... oh, no, that would be a spoiler ;)

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review 2017-08-26 18:48
Accepting the Fall
Accepting the Fall - Meg Harding

This is my first book by this author and it's a good one. It's a nice slow burn as Cole and Zander reunite and get to know each other again after their disastrous first attempt at love as teens. Cole's now a teacher and Zander's a firefighter with a daughter in Cole's class. While there's plenty of focus on their past and current relationship, this doesn't ignore the rest of their lives and I liked having that balance here. I might have found it a little hard to believe they'd still be hung up on each other after 17 years apart, but there was enough time given to them getting reacquainted that it didn't bother me too much.

 

I loved Savannah, and Cole's plethora of pets. Savannah was a realistic five-year old - not sweetly perfect but not out of control disruptive either. She had a lot of issues and I like they were taken seriously, and I really liked seeing Zander overcome his own issues to help  her deal with hers.

 

Aside from the inability to capitalize "Marines" ever, and one very wrong wording choice, there weren't too many editing issues, better than most stories out there today. 

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review 2016-11-29 00:39
Children of Noah (Mahu #9)
Children of Noah (Mahu Series Book 9) - Neil Plakcy

Oh, but this one was fun. It's the most domestic of the books in this series so far, and it's great to see Kimo taking on the dad role when he was so hesitant about having kids in the previous books. He and Mike are great foster dads to Dakota, and while we didn't get much time with the baby twins, what we did get was fun. And for once, it made sense that these two guys wouldn't really know what to do with babies, not having any previous experience. I really enjoyed getting to see more of their day to day lives than we normally get.

 

The mystery here was as well done as in previous books, though religious fanatics and cults are things I don't care to read about, so I didn't really connect with it. This is Kimo and Ray's first assignment with the joint task force with the FBI, and about the only difference so far is they have a wider jurisdiction and get to assign the grunt work to someone else. :D They still have plenty to do here, and they're not quite as out of the action as Kimo's family had hoped. I really loved how supportive Mike was of Kimo. He can be worried and protective without being possessive and smothering, just as Kimo has to be of Mike's job investigating fires.

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review 2016-11-23 03:19
Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigation (Mahu #8)
Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations - Neil Plakcy

This is another volume of short stories, set in the time just before "Mahu Vice" to just after "Natural Predators". The cases are simpler and wrapped up more easily, so we get to see a greater variety of what Kimo and Ray get to do on a day-to-day basis. I thought the cases here were more mundane than in the first collection (with the exception of one that is just icky). I would say that while they're enjoyable enough, they're also easily skippable if you're only interested in the longer novels.

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