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review 2018-06-14 23:25
SCARDOWN by ELIZABETH BEAR
Scardown - Elizabeth Bear

I'll start with complaints. 
1. If your book is written in English, if you use another language in same book make sure you have the English translation. I've seen this done before in many book I've read. It's irritating if you don't have access to the internet to translate sometimes whole paragraphs of dialogue.
2. When the POV changes, maybe list in the paragraph title whose POV it is or maybe "Casey thought. . ." so we have an idea who is talking. One chapter took me over 1-1/2 pages to figure out whose POV it was.

I loved the ending. The one man, two women (not lesbian) thing - I just couldn't imagine it working so smoothly. Overall, a good book/series.

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review 2018-06-13 16:12
Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
Ocean Light - Nalini Singh

After taking a fatal bullet to the chest, Bowen Adrian Knight wakes up deep under the ocean, with a mechanical heart in his chest and a still ticking bomb in his brain. The chip he's had implanted to ward off Psy telepathic attacks is still malfunctioning and still threatening to blow up his brain when it finally gives.

But a BlackSea scientist has maybe found a solution. It still gives him only a five percent chance of survival, but even that is better that instant oblivion. Especially once Bowen lays eyes on the scientist's cousin and resident chef, Kaia Luna. She might hate his guts, but he's persistent, and he can be patient—he's not security chief for nothing...



This was the first Nalini Singh book I had to sleep on, before writing a review about. And I still don't really know what sort of rating it should get, so I'm going with the middle ground. There were so many things right about it (the first half) and so many things not exactly right (second half of it).

Let me start with the good—I loved Bo. I might've been ambivalent toward him when he first appeared, but NS certainly did him a solid with his story. He's no Hawke or Kaleb, but he's a worthy competitor with Max the only other human hero in this series.
He shone in his story, his past and his issues making him a well-rounded character, and his protective streak, his compassion and his emotions making him a worthy hero.

The heroine, Kaia, unfortunately, didn't really make an impact. I sort of liked her, but I never really warmed up to her, and the second half of the story, with her phobia and her idiotic reasoning for not telling Bo about it, and her even more idiotic reasoning of using said phobia to push him away (after she was the one who made things beyond complicated in the first place), ruined her character for me, and ruined every chance she had of getting a pass as a Bowen-worthy heroine.
I just wanted to smack her about the head...Several times.
And that final reversal of her issues felt more like a cop-out than anything else. A pretty little bow to tie it all nicely.

I liked the initial drama of the "impossible" romance, not in the star-crossed-lovers sense, but in the one-of-them-is-dying sense. I loved the intensity, the desperation behind Bowen's wooing of Kaia, despite his knowledge of just how little time he has.
Yet that intensity kept deteriorating the more the story progressed, until it vanished completely as the plot turned into something akin to a soap opera with obstacle upon obstacle thrown into the path of maybe Bowen having a chance after all; and that final race against the clock pushed it a little too far over the edge of melodramatic for my taste.
Unlike its predecessor, where we trembled after that breakup, wondering just how it might all work out in the end (even though we knew it would, this one failed to provide that anxiety...It was like the book was holding our hand telling us it would all be fine while promising heartbreak.

As for the suspense, I liked it. I wasn't crazy about it, but it provided the much needed balance to the supposed tearjerker of the romance. I liked the twists and turns, the guessing game, the red-herring and the surprising reveals (especially that last "villain" proved to be a doozy. Good job.
Yet the ending to it all (so far) came so abruptly, cutting the flow of the story completely off, instead of slowly cruising to a stop.
It felt like a few parts were missing, making the reading experience even more jarring than it already was.

Having read all the above it might look like I didn't really care about the story. I did. The first half was very good, it's the second half that's the problem for me.

But I liked (most of) the characters—especially the secondary cast (Kaia's turtle grandmother was a hoot), and the cameos (Mercy, Hawke, and Kaleb) made my heart sing.
And the ending made me look forward to the future.

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review 2018-06-07 14:34
Review: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
Ocean Light - Nalini Singh

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Ocean Light is pure delight! Life under the sea has not been this much fun since The Little Mermaid. Every time Nalini Singh invites readers into a new part of the Psy-Changeling world, I fall in love all over again.

Bowen Knight – the champion and effective leader of the Human Alliance – is living on borrowed time. The chip implanted in his brain to stop Psy attacks on his mind is failing and will more than likely take his brain down with it. His only shot at survival comes when he is taken to a clinic on Ryūjin, a BlackSea installation deep under the sea. Bo was an intriguing secondary character in the Psy-Changeling series and I’m thrilled that I finally got to read his story. Bo is incredibly smart, deeply caring, and protective. He also carries scars from his past that have made him all-too-aware of human vulnerability to psychic assault. His determination to protect humanity and put them on equal footing with Psy and Changelings may cost him his life, but Bo is the kind of man who will always put himself in the line of danger to protect others from harm. For so many years Bo’s focus has been on learning to defend himself and others, leaving no time for fun. That’s why I found myself smiling over and over as Bo found the playful, fun side of himself with Kaia.

Humans have long been positioned as the weakest race, but Kaia Luna knows that they can be just as deadly. The BlackSea Changelings’ history is filled with harm done to them by humans and Kaia herself has experienced trauma at human hands. Upon first meeting Bo, she’s suspicious of him, but her cousin needs her assistance treating the far-too-attractive male. Kaia’s wariness doesn’t last long and I loved watching her open up to Bo. Kaia is an absolutely wonderful heroine. She’s a chef who shows her love through food and her warm, caring nature simply sprung off the page. She’s the kind of heroine you wish were real just so you could be friends with her (and not just because she makes fantastic cookies). She and Bo are a perfect fit and their romance made me smile and sigh. The proverbial ticking time bomb in Bo’s head isn’t the only obstacle they face. Bo’s a creature of land and Kaia of the sea; finding a happy medium given their lives, obligations, and deep-seated fears isn’t easy. I was rooting for them every step of the way because I liked them both so much.

Ocean Light takes readers deep into the heart of BlackSea territory and I couldn’t be happier. What I wouldn’t give to live on the Ryūjin installation with its friendly, unique characters and fascinating feats of engineering. BlackSea is different from many of the Changeling groups we’ve seen so far not only because of the variety of species, but because they’re spread out across the world. It made for a different dynamic that was fascinating and fun to see. How often would you expect to see a conversation with a whale or shark or a fight with a walrus, all in human form? Every character Ms. Singh introduces us to is intriguing and when you add in a plotline involving the missing members of BlackSea, it’s easy to see why I didn’t want Ocean Light to end.

Romance, action, and a bright, vivid world all make Ocean Light a captivating read. I read Kaia and Bo’s book late into the night until I couldn’t possibly keep my eyes open any longer, only to finish it as soon as I woke up the next morning. Ms. Singh’s writing continues to be incredibly addictive her characters never fail to grab my heart. I loved Ocean Light and I hope to see more of BlackSea soon!


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/06/review-ocean-light-by-nalini-singh.html
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review 2018-05-21 02:36
THE END HAS COME by JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS
The End Has Come (The Apocalypse Triptych) (Volume 3) - Jamie Ford,Hugh Howey,Seanan McGuire,John Joseph Adams,Ken Liu,Scott Sigler,Ben H. Winters,Elizabeth Bear,Carrie Vaughn,Jonathan Maberry

Anthology. I'm going to read each author's work in this triptych. Starting with Volume 1, then Volume 2 and lastly Volume 3. I'm hoping that each story will give an extension of the beginning story. 

3.79 stars average


1. Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn. Fantastic story. Dystopian investigator finds out what's happening in a small village. Love it. 5 stars

2. Like All Beautiful Places by Megan Arkenberg. I may have read this author before. I remember a story of a melting landscape and a sea with no waves. I thought at the time, it's the moon that makes the waves not air. This book is very similar. 2-1/2 stars.

3. Dancing with a Stranger in the Land of Nod by Will McIntosh. Families trying to figure out what their new normal is. 4 stars.

4. The Seventh Day of Deer Camp by Scott Sigler. A man does whatever it takes to save innocents. Really good story. 5 stars

5. Prototype by Sarah Langan. Through evolution, human's have turned into pets/experiments. A really sad story. 4 stars

6. Acts of Creation by Chris Avellone. What is going on? Is it real, a computer, what? 2 stars

7. Resistance by Seanan McGuire. How can the victim keep being told that she's to blame? She didn't (view spoiler). It just didn't make sense. And the ending didn't make sense either. 2 stars

8. Wandering Star by Leife Shallcross. A quilt shows that in the end a family stays together. Sweet story. 4 stars

9. Heaven Come Down by Ben H. Winters. After everyone has died and everything is destroyed and then rebuilt, she learns the truth. 3 stars.

10. Agent Neutralized by David Wellington. 10 years later, he can finally do something semi-good. 5 stars

11. Goodnight Earth by Annie Bellet. I don't understand why this story has this title because the others made sense, this not so much. Much, much, much later the world has changed and not for the good. 3 stars.

12. Carriers by Tananarive Due. Decades later, after being used and abused, a survivor finds some happiness. Loved it! 5 stars.

13. In the Valley of the Shadow of the Promised Land by Robin Wasserman. Now everyone has aged and the leader has told a story to justify everything he's done thinking he'll be able to write the ending the way he wants. I really enjoyed all three stories. 4 stars. 

14. The Uncertainty Machine by Jamie Ford. A 3rd survivor doesn't know if he's going to be rescued or forgotten. Okay story. 3 stars.

15. Margin of Survival by Elizabeth Bear. A woman and her sister try to survive not only the first apocalypse but the many afterwards. Sad story. 4 stars

16. Jingo and the Hammerman by Jonathan Maberry. With the new normal, people are just doing their job striking down zombies that accumulate and a coincidence happens. I don't understand Moose's tears at the end, I would think it would be more laughter than anything. Much better than the other two stories. 4 stars.

17. The Last Movie Ever Made by Charlie Jane Anders. The teenagers are older now and the world has changed but not completely. When they find themselves trapped in their hometown, they use a movie to escape but the outcome isn't exactly what they wanted. Really good story. 4 stars

18. The Gray Sunrise by Jake Kerr. The asteroid hits with a father and son trying to escape. Another great story. 5 stars.

19. The Gods Have Not Died in Vain by Ken Liu. After the near destruction of the world, an inventor has found a solution that might save Earth. I really enjoyed these three stories. 4 stars.

20. In the Woods by Hugh Howey. SPOILER[So these idiots extract revenge 500 years later on a lone woman who had nothing to do with what happened (hide spoiler)] How stupid could they be!? The story was good but the revenge was ridiculous. I don't think anyone with half a brain would have done this. So 3 stars for the storytelling but not the ending.

21. Blessings by Nancy Kress. Many years after the 2nd story, the world seems to have changed for the better, but not perfect. Another good story. 4 stars

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review 2018-05-21 02:29
THE END IS NIGH by JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS
The End is Nigh - Hugh Howey,John Joseph Adams

Anthology. I'm going to reach each author's work in this triptych. Starting with Volume 1, then Volume 2 and lastly Volume 3. I'm hoping that each story will give an extension of the beginning story. 

3.89 stars average. Most of these stories were 4 or 5 stars. I would definitely recommend this book.


1. The Balm and the Wound by Robin Wasserman. A con-man is right and his unknown young son ends up being just what his cult needed. Loved this story, which I didn't think I would because I thought it would ridicule religion but nope. It ends with may he was right all along. But we'll see. I'm so glad I can keep the story going. 5 stars

2. Heaven is a Place on Planet X by Desirina Boskovich. Aliens came and said everybody will be vaporized and moved to another planet but you MUST go on as usual or you'll be misted (kind of vaporized but not to another planet) by the chosen enforcers. Good story, it was sad which people were chosen to be misted. 4 stars.

3. Break! Break! Break! by Charlies Jane Anders. A teenager and his friends make movies a la Harold Lloyd while he runs from bullies and his brother prepares to join the Army all in the middle of a "conflict". Good story. 4 stars. 

4. The Gods Will Not Be Chained by Ken Liu. A push for a kind of immortality isn't going as planned. Another really good story. 4 stars

5. Wedding Day by Jake Kerr. An asteroid is going to hit North America and some of the other countries are accepting refugees. There's a lottery to see who gets to go. Sad/sweet story. 5 stars.

6. Removal Order by Tananarive Due. A deadly flu has evacuated a city leaving a granddaughter caring for her dying grandmother. Great story. 5 stars.

7. System Reset by Tobias S. Buckell. A techo nut sets off an EMP so that the world will be reset with him and his kind as the leaders. The people that try to stop him have another idea. Really good story. 4 stars.

8. This Unkempt World is Falling to Pieces by Jamie Ford. A party, a false alarm, then the read thing. Sad ending. Good story. 4 stars

9. BRING HER TO ME by Ben H. Winters. An already dystopian world with a power and a final solution. I really liked this story.5 stars.

10. In the Air by Hugh Howey. A Wool prequel about a man who has three choices and hopes he picked the best one. 4 stars.

11. Goodnight Moon by Annie Bellet. A group of scientists prepares for the worst. Really sad story. 4 stars.

12. Dancing with Death in the Land of Nod by Will McIntosh. Neighbors try to help others with a paralyzing disease. Super sad ending. 4 stars.

13. Houses Without Air by Megan Arkenberg. Somehow the world is running out of oxygen - smog, volcano? And one roommate works on a computer game and the other works on a diorama. I was still confused by the end of the story. 2-1/2 stars

14. The Fifth Day of Deer Camp by Scott Sigler. A group of friends on their annual hunting trip find out Earth has been invaded. Good story. 3-1/2 stars

15. Enjoy the Moment by Jack McDevitt. A physicist discovers an anomaly which will eventually change everything on Earth. 4 stars.

16. Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through by Nancy Kress. A mom tries to raise two very different daughters. 4 stars

17. Spores by Seanan McGuire. A practical joke goes wrong. I would have been beyond furious and would come at them for blood. The reaction seemed pretty tame to me. 2-1/2 stars

18. She's Got a Ticket to Ride by Jonathan Maberry. A man tries to save a girl from a cult and find out she doesn't need saving. For a short story, it's kind of weird to complain about it being too long in parts. When the protagonist goes on, and on, and on about kids going bad and then does the same about planets to the point where I start being bored at page 1-1/2, something is wrong. Maybe it's me but 2 stars for this story. 

19. Agent Unknown by David Wellington. A 20 year incubation time has expired. 4 stars.

20. Enlightenment by Matthew Mather. Okay, that was weird & gross. 2 stars

21. Shooting the Apocalypse by Paolo Bacigalupi. A photographer and a reporter discover a story that could kill millions. 4 stars

22. Love Perverts by Sarah Langan. Horrible parents have a miracle kind son who will sacrifice everything for his family. Wonderfully sad story. 5 stars

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