I spent the past couple of days reading instead of writing, and wrote reviews of the books I read. Without further ado, here they are, in the order published. The titles have links to Amazon product pages, and I hope you might interested in them. If you don't have a Kindle, or don't like Amazon, leave a note in the comments, and I'll get you a suitable link (if one exists). You may leave any other comments as well.
by John Hartness
Loved the story! I fell for Cindy and her... talent? training? occupation, I guess. Mr.
Hartness developed a much more complex and interesting story than I was
expecting. I read the first few hundred words on John's blog way back
when, and pestered him every chance I had after that to finish it and
get it out. I was so intrigued.
However, while the story is
excellent, and the characters I like a lot - so much so that I'm hoping
he continues to document Cindy's trials and tribulations - I was
disappointed in the mechanics. In the Kindle edition, the editing needs
work, enough that it took me out of the story one star's worth, and I
hope John can correct it in a new edition. In fairness, in my brief
exposure to John's work, this was unexpected.
I still recommend
Headshot because of the characters, the multi-threaded story lines, the
surprises and the detail. It's an excellent work that deserves somewhat
Lunara: Seth and Chloe
by Wyatt Davenport
I was of two minds about Lunara: Seth and Chloe. Mr. Davenport has created a pretty good opening
to his series, I think, now that I've finished it. However, the
beginning is so slow (to me) that I almost moved on to the next story on
my Kindle to avoid giving it one or no stars.
persevered. Once we got to some action, the story began to work for me. I
liked the characters (most of them) and the plot had sufficient twists
However. There's always a however, isn't there?
Stylistically, there are some problems. I don't take stars off for these
kinds of things, as others may not agree or be bothered by them. But
the dialogue is stilted and takes me out of the story. Davenport
declines to use contractions. Partly due to this and partly due to word
choice and construction, both the dialogue and the narration seem much
more formal than seems appropriate, especially in the more 'tender'
Other reviewers have pointed failings they believe exist;
read them and heed them. Take heart from the good reviews. There were a
few homonym confusions, but my biggest complaint on the Kindle
formatting end was the lack of a table of contents.
It's an intriguing story and a good beginning to the series, especially if the writing loosens up a little.
by Jess Sturman-Coombs
Poker Face has the ingredients: a strong female protagonist (I'd like to
work with Ruby!); well-drawn supporting characters, both helpful and...
not-so-helpful; an active and engaging plot; descriptions that made me
feel the settings. The ingredients are stirred, blended, smoothed a
little, and as a result, Poker Face is a confection, a delight!
all that, you say, why only four stars? There aren't enough grammar or
formatting errors to drop a star. So... I'm American, and while I'm
pretty well read in British fiction, and have had several friends and
acquaintances who live in England (I know what a kerb is, and an estate,
for example), there are British colloquialisms aplenty. Not a surprise,
from a British author, and normally I'd overlook it. However, Ms
Sturman-Coombs left me in the lurch several times. Having to look in my
British dictionary (and not always finding an answer) took me right out
of the story, and it is a story I didn't want to be taken out of.
me hasten to add that this complaint does not extend to dialogue, where
whatever fits the character and the situation works. In narration,
however, I'd like one of Ms Sturman-Coombs readers or editors to come
from a less British speaking background and perhaps raise the less
widely known phrases as possible things to reword.
(and it mayn't apply if you're more widely read than I in contemporary
British fiction - or conversation, maybe), this is a wonderful story
that I'm happy to recommend to YA readers and adults alike. There's no
talking down here: we see realistic, uncomfortable situations, and
intelligent, uncontrived (by the author, that is) reactions and
solutions. I'm anxiously awaiting the next offering.
Four Stars (Five on Amazon UK, where I expect my issues with British colloquialisms have little weight.)
Sandy Morrison and the Pack of Pussies
by Zoe Whitten
(Think Mrs. Slocum's pussy...)
In Sandy Morrison and the Pack of Pussies, Zoe Whitten has given us an
intriguing story about fantastical people... err, beings. Her characters
are lively and full blooded (all but one, anyway), her descriptions are
excellent and the story has as many twists as... as the Tail of the
Dragon (a wonderful 12 mile stretch of US route 129 in North Carolina).
Ms Whitten drew from a long list of inspirations to craft a story that
opens taking readers one direction; leading us out into the weeds, so to
speak, before a sharp turn and a new vista, completely different but
still well connected, lies right there!
There are a few typos and
grammatical errors, not enough to worry over even if, like me, you're
obsessed with them. Ms Whitten asks for comments on the story; here are
three: Find a thesaurus and look up "huff." Replace every instance in
the story save one with one of the alternatives. Really. At the point in
the story it happens, I was so disappointed in Sandy at the water
tower. I did get over it and then, of course I remembered, "She does not
get eaten by the sharks at this time." Still... And the ultimate fight
scene, I thought it went by too quickly. There was a big build-up, then
it was over. Might just be me.
Obviously, even the slow beginning
hasn't diminished my enjoyment of Sandy Morrison. While sensuality is
present (as it must be, given the characters), it isn't ever in your
face. Sandy holds her character throughout, and the changes others go
through are all believable, making the story enjoyable. The events of
the story, while fantastical on their face, all fit into the plot Ms
Whitten has woven.
I am comfortable recommending Sandy Morrison
and the Pack of Pussies to anyone looking for a stimulating read. Next
story, Ms Whitten?