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review 2019-08-26 22:30
Children of the Sun and Moon: World of Melarandra Book 1
Children of the Sun and Moon (World of Melarandra #1) - P.D. Stewart

Disclosure:  I obtained the Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free on Amazon.  I do not know the author nor have I had any communication with her regarding this book or any other matter.  I am an author of historical romance, contemporary gothic romance, and assorted non-fiction.

 

This is, sadly, one of those books that proves the Josh Olson Protocol.  I read the opening prophecy -- with its confusing punctuation -- and got the immediate sense that here was writing that didn't know what it was supposed to be doing.  Prophecy is one thing.  Mystical is another.  Gibberish is a third.  You can guess which category the opening fell into.

 

Prophecy is supposed to . . . prophesy, in some sort of "when, then" sequence.  "When the Moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars."  The quatrains of Nostradamus are less precise and thus open to wider interpretation.  For example:

 

Near, far the failure of the two great luminaries
Which will occur between April and March.
Oh, what a loss! but two great good-natured ones
By land and sea will relieve all parts.

 

(http://www.sacred-texts.com/nos/cen3eng.htm)

 

Though imprecise, the French seer at least makes some sense.  Two great "luminaries" -- perhaps powers? -- will fail in the springtime (or perhaps any time, if we take the calendar from one April to the next March) and great loss.  Of life? of fortune? of power?  Oh, well, we don't know.  But regardless how great the loss, two great entities of good nature will take care of everything.

 

Even though we don't know exactly what he means or what the prophecy specifically foretells, we understand the meaning of the words, the phrases, the concepts.

 

Author Stewart's prophecy is far less clear even than Nostradamus.

 

“In their sixteenth year, the twins sun and moon

shall be separated by betrayal but shall

be found in the light. Only when the night

is restored will the evil be destroyed.

United they will return the night but it

must be done with the power that is sun

and moon or chaos will overpower all.”

Stewart, P. D.. Children of the Sun and Moon (World of Melarandra Book 1) . Unknown. Kindle Edition.

 

It's just the opening, however, and this sort of thing can be kind of glossed over with the hope that it will make more sense as one reads further into the story.

 

Sadly, the first paragraph of the book was every bit as badly written as the opening prophecy, and possibly even worse.

 

The first sentence is third person present tense.

 

The second sentence is third person past tense.

 

The third sentence is second person past tense. 

 

On top of that, the second sentence doesn't make any sense because the syntax is totally fucked up.  Oh, I know what the author is trying to say, but that's not what she said.

 

Three sentences and I'm quite ready to give up.

 

I pushed through a grand total of two and a half paragraphs, or two full Kindle pages and that was my limit.  All telling, no showing.  Nothing happens.  I don't know what some of the invented words mean. I dislike mixed invented names with common Earthling names. ("Olrond" and "King Jeremy.")

 

If I were an acquiring editor, I wouldn't have got past the opening prophecy.  If I were a writing instructor, the red line of "I gave up here; you failed" would be after the third sentence.  I would not have finished the first paragraph.

 

I could go on, but I'm not getting paid to edit this piece of crap.  No stars.

 

Postscript:  When I went back to my K4PC app to read something else, I accidentally paged forward three or four pages further into this book.  Now I can add bad formatting to the review.

 

The text begins with block paragraphs -- no indent, double space between -- then shifts to no double space (no paragraph marking at all), then some sort of random double spacing.

 

This goes right back to Josh Olson's crucial statement:

 

It rarely takes more than a page to recognize that you’re in the presence of someone who can write, but it only takes a sentence to know you’re dealing with someone who can’t.

 

(By the way, here’s a simple way to find out if you’re a writer. If you disagree with that statement, you’re not a writer. Because, you see, writers are also readers.)

 

 

If a writer doesn't know what a real book -- real, but not necessarily paper, so don't get me wrong on this -- looks like, they won't produce a real book.  The Children of Sun and Moon doesn't read like a real book and it doesn't even look like a real book. 

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review 2019-08-18 06:34
Brief Thoughts: Madam, Will You Talk?
Madam, Will You Talk? - Mary Stewart

Madam, Will You Talk?

by Mary Stewart

 

 

Widowed Charity Selborne had been greatly looking forward to her driving holiday through France with her old friend Louise - long, leisurely days under the hot sun, enjoying the beauty of the parched Provencal landscape.  But when Charity arrived at their hotel in the picturesque French town of Avignon, she had no way of knowing that she was to become the principal player in the last act of a strange and brutal tragedy.  Most of it had already been played.  There had been love--and lust--and revenge and fear and murder.

Very soon her dreams turn into a nightmare, when by befriending a terrified boy and catching the attention of his enigmatic, possibly murderous father, Charity has inadvertently placed herself center stage. She becomes enmeshed in the schemes of a gang of murderers.  And now the killer, with blood enough on his hands, is waiting in the wings.



Well, this isn't my favorite of the Mary Stewart books I've read so far, but I'll give a kudos for the strong start it had, although the book was punctuated by a lot of banal moments, some of which were quite idyllic, but others of which were just a little draggy.

The truth is, I really liked Charity a lot, because she comes off strong and flawed, all at the same time, which is what makes her an interesting character.  More so, I was really, really getting into the book as the danger and the conflict began to pick up.  And even as I started to find the rest of the mystery quite predictable, I still got drawn into the story and the atmosphere.

But then the instalove happened, and I found myself a bit jarred out of the book.  I guess after following Charity's high speed chases, her escaping from Richard, the man she believed to be an evil murderer... I hadn't really expected the sudden turn of events that happened mid-book.  The insta-attraction might have been believable to an extent, but the sudden declarations of love kind of threw me.

The second half of the book then proceeded to spin further out of control, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about the chaotic conclusion to the mystery and the thriller itself.  Everything kind of all happens at once to bring all the tangents to a head, and yet I kind of felt like the ending was a bit unsatisfying.

Nonetheless, this was exciting enough to keep me hooked until the end.

On a side note, was it just me, or was there an extremely unhealthy and unbelievable amount of smoking throughout this book?  Or was it just the time period?


***

 

Booklikes-opoly 2019


Roll #18:
Square: Robot Card | Create a number list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you.

Note:  Used in place of Beach Week 13.  See post for the numbered list.
Page Count:  372
Cash:  $3

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/brief-thoughts-madam-will-you-talk.html
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review 2019-08-12 04:14
Audio Review: Wild Eyes (Barrington Billionaires, #2) by Danielle Stewart (Author), Robin Rowan (Narrator)
Wild Eyes (Barrington Billionaires, #2) - Robin Rowan,Danielle Stewart

 

 

Stewart stepped out of the Barrington world and gave voice to characters that were all her own.  Wild Eyes comes out swinging with a couple of the most frustrating characters I have ever met. Matthew can be as cool as a cucumber, but as ornery as a bull. He's all heart. He just chooses not to spread it around. Jessica is a firecracker who is not afraid to let her feelings show.  Their approach may be different, but beneath their differences resides similarities that could make them perfect for each other.  I loved these characters.  Attraction was a fierce battle that tempts you to lend your emotions to them. Stewart puts her heart on full display and invites readers to take a peek inside.  Having enjoyed the story, I was a tad disappointed in the audible narration. I felt it took away from a captivating romance.

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review 2019-08-08 19:18
Tangle's Game
Tangle's Game - Stewart Hotston

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A techno-thriller with interesting AI-related themes, although in the end, I wasn’t awed by the story.

Set in a somewhat near future where transactions are handled through blockchain-based contracts and people’s quality of life is dependent on their social credit score as well as on their financial credit score, “Tangle’s Game” tells the story of Amanda Back, a successful investment banker who finally got a complete grip back on her life after an ex-boyfriend stole her money and left her betrayed. Flying back to London, and after an invasive search episode at the airport, she comes home only to realise that said boyfriend has involved her in a dangerous game where a mysterious USB stick and the information it contains is key. The only problem? Amanda isn’t a hacker, or a conspiracy theorist, or a whistleblower, and is probably the last person with the proper connections to do something with said information.

The premise really hooked me in, and I quickly wanted to know more about how this would all unfurl: who were the enemies, how would they try to get the info, what was Tangle’s exact part in that, who could be Amanda’s allies… Most of all, I was interested in Tatsu, the little AI contracted to help her decrypt the contents of the USB stick. I always have a soft spot for AIs, and Tatsu was definitely endearing.

By contrast, though, I never really warmed up to the human characters. Mostly they were “unlikeable” as people (Amanda is pretty much self-centered, Tangle is no better and probably somewhere on the sociopathic ladder…), but that in itself is not a deal-breaker for me—they can be the most rotten pieces of crap in the world, I can still find them likeable as characters, provided the execution goes this way. It wasn’t much the case here, in part because these characters as a whole made problematic decision after problematic decision, in a way that made me keep wondering how on Earth they were still alive. (I’ve been a tabletop RPG player for over 20 years. Trust my experience when I say that “’eceiving mysterious information and just hanging about in one’s own flat—where everybody know they can find you—while trying to come up with ideas about what to do” is a sure way of being assaulted at night by men in black or other unsavoury characters.) I was actually glad when one of the bad guys finally called them on their ability to come up with plans that may work in movies, but never in real life. And that was worth for pretty much the whole cast, not only Amanda, who at least I would’ve expected to be the most clueless.

The last 20% picked up, and with Tatsu still involved by that point, that made me want to read until the end at any rate. The ending itself is fairly open, and leaves much unresolved, but in a way, it also makes much sense: things got mired, then exploded, and now the world’s in turmoil… and the fragile situation at the end, teetering between hope and potential catastrophe, fits that pattern.

Conclusion: 2.5 stars. Mostly I didn’t care much about the human characters, and there were a few plot holes that annoyed me, but I did enjoy the part played by the AI, and the way Amanda (and Tangle, too, after all) considered it.

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text 2019-08-07 16:25
Favorite Halloween Bingo Authors
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, Snoopy - Charles M. Schulz
SLEEPY HOLLOW: Rise Headless and Ride (Jason Crane) - Richard Gleaves
Faerie Tale: A Novel of Terror and Fantasy - Raymond E. Feist
A Christmas Tale - Austin Crawley
White Lies - Jeremy Bates
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell
The Moonspinners - Mary Stewart
The Magic Cottage - James Herbert
High Moor - Graeme Reynolds
Dead Sea - Tim Curran

This is kind of repetitive from favourite books of past Bingos but these are some of the authors I either discovered as a result of Halloween Bingo or watch for possible new books for the next Bingo.

 

No doubt I'll be discovering more new ones from trying to fill whatever squares I get. :D

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