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Review: Dating In The Apocalypse – Sarah “The One” by Christopher John Carter

***

3/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

This review is going to be short and a little sweet.

Overall, this book was some fluffy fun. I personally wasn’t glued to the page, but the antics of the main character had me chuckle a couple times.

The concept overall is a funny and unique one. There’s a nice lightness to the story that’s rare to find in this genre.

The author has a strong wit, and his dialogue is sharp and naturally flowing.

The story just wasn’t my kind of story. It was too comedic. I had some fun with it, but I feel like I’ll forget the majority of the plot after a few days.

This doesn’t mean it’s a bad book – far from it. It’s great for people who want something easy to read, something that is almost like a guilty pleasure. Heck, this kind of book tends to fly off shelves!

That’s all I have to say, anyway.

Review: Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang

****

4/5 Stars

Ah, I just love historical fiction. Digging into a culture and time so far from my own is intoxicating. Cheng’s novel is no different.

Her simple map through such a tumultuous time in China was a treat to read. Her frank approach to the prejudice and disgust Eurasian people experienced was well done and explorative. I felt deeply for the ‘zazhong’ characters, most notably the protagonist, whenever they were given lackluster and sometimes abusive treatment simply because they weren’t born fully Asian or fully European.

Cheng’s keen build of the character Fox was beautiful. It made me think wistfully of bounding through fields and rolling hills, forests and prairies, unfettered by human shackles. The concept and mythology of the Fox spirit was new to me, and I loved learning about it through this novel.

Jialing was a firm protagonist who wasn’t given a easy go. First abandoned by her mother, then turned into a bond servant, and then awakened to the horrors of class and race distinction while dealing with the pain of puberty, Jialing traverses her difficult story with poise.

Overall, this was a lovely read that I’m glad I found in a random bookshop.

Review: Sutton by J.R Moehringer

****

4/5 Stars

This book didn’t keep me completely hooked the whole time, but it was still a decent foray into the gritty backbone of New York and other bits of America.

Based on true events and loosely put together by snippets of known fact, I was fairly intrigued by Willie “The Actor” and his life.

The tumultuous events that take place are heart breaking, staggering, and astonishing. I was entertained the whole read, just not wholly engrossed, and I believe it’s because this vein of historical fiction isn’t really my kind of read.

However, the development of this monumental bank robber was well established by Moehringer. The author’s clipped tone throughout the narrative is one that describes without any bull. He’s too the point and very easy to believe.

Overall, a nice read.

Review: Repentance by Andrew Lam

*****

5/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Historical fiction is slowly gaining ground as my favorite genre to read. It’s such a complex genre no matter the era, and this novel is no exception.

Lam wrote a beautiful, heart wrenching story about World War II Japanese Americans. His clever twists through time and his expertise with dangling juuust the right amount of information really pulled me through the book. I learned a lot more about the war, and about a group of soldiers whose bravery saved so many.

Even the love stories throughout the book were well crafted. There were moments that they teetered towards feeling stale, but as a whole they were dynamic and bluntly realistic.

Lam’s narrative is commanding and clearly well-informed. He did his research and he portrayed everything thoroughly, from character mind sets to the interiors of homes, both things that shift according to cultural traditions.

The emotions that grow and develop through the story are the true protagonists. Readers are led through bitter distrust, confusion, betrayal, shame, and ultimately, regained confidence and love. Lam does a superb job developing each character’s changing points of view.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction that touches on World War II and the astonishing bravery of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, be sure to give this book a read. A solid 5 stars from me.

Review: Door To Altharia by Martyn McGrath

***

3/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

I’m going to keep this review short and sweet, as it best reflects this story.

McGrath has a clear narrative voice that greatly supports his book. It’s a perfect book for young readers, and carries that magical essence that classics such as Narnia by C.S Lewis and Into The Land Of Unicorns by Bruce Coville have.

However, it felt like it was a bit shallow and a bit too cheesy for me. I found myself wanting more from the story, and I believe that’s only because it’s a bit too young for my taste (the only children’s novels I can happily get through are the ones that made up my childhood and are deeply imbued in nostalgia).

Overall, a lovely start to a young fantasy series. It wasn’t difficult to read, and it’s world was just what it needed to be: magical.

Review: The Tiger And The Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

****

4/5 Stars

This review is a tad late because I needed time to process this book.

Which is a good thing, for the most part. I needed a moment to digest the depth of Tchaikovsky’s world, to allow my mind to rest after delving so deeply into spiritual concepts. The read was enjoyable, though a tad heavy.

I trudged through the first half of the story. It was interesting, yet dense and slow. I enjoyed learning about the world and its people, and I appreciated the desperation of the protagonist. However, there were plenty of sections that felt long winded and unnecessary. The author repeated himself quite a bit, on purpose, yet it did nothing for me. That’s the only reason why I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 – the narrative was bogged down and made some of the read tiring.

Moving on from that, though, this book is a gem. The last half was fast paced, rich, and kept me hooked page after page. The battle scenes were breath taking – I LOVE how Tchaikovsky blends the different fight styles, and how he describes the shape shifters seamlessly Stepping (changing shape) during each battle. Flashes of human and animal brutality in each fight was wicked.

Though it took some time overall, I grew very attached to the characters. They live in such a hard, merciless world. The strength of each character is immense, and the author does a solid job developing them.

I have a weak spot for shape shifters, and overall, this story is one of my favorites.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

Review: Gust of Wind by R.G. Bisig

**

2.4 /5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Unfortunately, this novel wasn’t what I was hoping. When I first read that it was a take on mutants, I was quite excited. I love X-Men.

Sadly…there wasn’t a whole lot of originality in this story. Plus, the writing itself is in dire need of a thorough edit. So many sentences were jumbled or didn’t make sense. Punctuation was well done, but grammar and structure? Quite poor.

I really dislike giving such a low review, but I have to stay honest. There’s definitely heart in the author’s narrative – you can tell they really enjoy telling their story. Yet it didn’t work out for me.

The best thing about the book is the front cover. Mystical, urban, and elegant all rolled into one. I wish the writing followed through.

My advice to the author? Really dig into your edits next time, and try and spin more original content into a story so heavily inspired by something else. There’s nothing wrong with writing your own version of an idea – just really make it your own when you do so.