Review: The Girl Without Magic by Megan O’Russell


3/5 Stars

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

Megan’s vision of a paradise with subtle, piercing teeth is a lovely one. The idea of a Siren who’s power is seemingly limitless is, though not groundbreaking, interesting enough.

But this book as a whole is missing something.

The protagonist, Maggie, was hard for me to like. Although she came from a difficult battle before falling into the Siren’s Realm, she continuously acted like a coward. I didn’t understand why she immediately hated Bertrand, and the speed in which she fell for Tammond was not romantic to me. To put it bluntly – Miss Trent annoyed me.

The maze lake was intriguing. But the author’s limited descriptions didn’t paint the picture thoroughly. This continues throughout the book – the descriptions are repetitive and lackluster.

The climax felt too easy. I had no true connection to any of the characters, and the big bad fell like a rotten tree who was going to fall in the next big windstorm anyway.

There are a smattering of editing errors as well. Missing punctuation, incomplete sentences, jarring sentences that need some reworking. While I don’t normally point these out (I just did a second edition of my first novel, and my goodness. Some of the things I missed…), but the fact that this book was released through a press makes me feel the need to bring them out to light. Editor! Do another read through!

Overall, the concepts were neat. The settings were refreshing. The author does a lot of telling rather than showing, but perhaps that’s just her style and it’s worked for her so far. The driving force that kept me reading was the mysterious Bertrand. I do want to know more about him. Could we get rid of Maggie and read about Bertrand’s solo adventures, please?


New Year, New Reviews

Well, the holidays are over! Welcome 2019.

I’m woefully behind on my reading because 1) I got really ill, and 2) the holiday season was CHAOTIC.

I’ll be back to reviewing shortly, please be patient! My list of books to-read is massive. Not to mention I reeeally need to finish editing my second novel…

Review: The Last Feast by Zeb Haradon


3.5/4 Stars

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

This was a fairly gripping read, albeit dark. There is no true hope in its pages, which means it was a bit exhausting for me.

The author’s sharp intellect was very obvious throughout the whole book. While he is not gifted with describing (I found the more illustrative scenes to be clunky), his take on human interaction, primal needs, and philosophical thought was incredible. I think he would have the ability to write a keen stream of consciousness story.

Now, those are the reasons why I gave the book a solid 3.5 rating. I didn’t give it more because I found myself unsure of the soundness of some things (I won’t go into too much detail for fear of spoilers), and because there are a handful of grammar errors and continuity problems. Dot became Alice, Alice became Dot in some scenes. Sloppy editing.

Still, this read had me interested until the end. Though it was depressing and quite…mature (lots of sex and gore), I was intrigued until the last page.

Review: The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine


5/5 Stars

If I were to dabble in writing children’s literature, there are two authors I would want to research extensively, simply because their work is astounding to me. One is Dianne Wynne Jones, the other is Gail Carson Levine.

Levine’s work has always left an impression on me. I first read The Two Princesses of Bamarre when I was very young. I don’t remember my exact age. But this story held me spell bound and is one of the inspirations behind my own writing.

Reading it again, at 25 years old, nothing has changed. Addie is still a lovely protagonist who is very dynamic and who grows considerably throughout a fairly short book.

The lore behind the world is rich and wonderfully seductive. While the poetry is far from astounding, it does its job well. It paints an epic picture of the warrior Drault and the kind of world Bamarre is.

Levine’s voice is poignant and not too in your face. She describes things simply and beautifully. Her delicate way of dealing with young death and young love is rare to find. I feel lucky to have always had her work in my life.

Of course, this review is likely very biased because of my childhood reading habits. But it’s still a very honest review.

Review: Neuromorphs by Dennis Meredith


3/5 Stars

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

I’m not well versed in science fiction, so perhaps that affected my enjoyment of Meredith’s novel. I’d like to say that first, just so readers who live and breathe this genre will still give this story a chance.

Okay. The plot itself was a mixture of I-Robot, Humans, and Westworld. Even the video game Detroit: Become Human came to mind. However, Meredith’s take on developing robots seemed a bit immature to me. The story came off as flatly dramatic – I simply wasn’t sold on how things progressed. The first rule in fiction is to convince the reader that what is happening in the book, no matter how unrealistic, is possible. I was not convinced. Why did the characters do so many of the things that they did?

Meredith’s narrative is simple. Logical. Which fits the genre, yes, but I was unimpressed with the use of exclamation marks and almost childish descriptions. However, saying that, when a scene turned gory or centered around technology, Meredith’s writing improved drastically. He just needs to polish his dialogue and casual description to mirror the strength of the bloody and factual scenes.

To continue being blunt…I did not care for the characters. If I had to choose a favourite, it was Patrick, but barely so.

The saving grace of this book is Meredith’s technology and his play on human/android natures. Hence the 3 star rating instead of 2.

I can see Meredith becoming an impressive author with more polish. He has quite the scope for technological vision.

Review: The Thief’s Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna


4/5 Stars

I’m going to make one point clear – McKenna’s writing style made it hard for me to get immersed in this book. Her jumbled descriptions and fondness for run on sentences almost made me put the book down and not finish it.

But then, somehow, her world building and dynamic characters still pulled themselves out of her dense narrative and hooked me in.

Livak is an interesting chaotic (lawful?) protagonist. Her way of viewing the world is something that very few female heroines in the fantasy genre have. While she was rough around the edges, blunt, and far from lady-like, there was still a genuinity to her, and a feminine softness that liked to hide behind her calloused exterior. There are plenty heroines in modern stories who are not damsels in distress – but Livak is a whole other breed of independent.

I did want more from the other characters, but I suspect that McKenna explores them in the other books in this series.

The kinship that grows between the characters was something I really appreciated. It was a very real growth, one supplemented with an instinct for survival and a solid pack mentality. It was probably my favourite part of the book.

The world was well fleshed out, and deeply embedded in the story. Although I found myself skipping the historic pieces of narrative plugged in throughout the book.

Overall, an enjoyable fantasy story.

Review: Eubeltic Descent by Nadine C. Keels


4/5 Stars

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

This novel charmed me. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first began to read it, as it takes place after the author’s previous works, but it won me over in just a few pages.

Though it is slower, and doesn’t boast any heart pounding action, it is most definitely a lovely burn of self discovery and sweet romance. Keels touches on many intriguing things, most prominently how a mute individual speaks with their hands and expression. Reading her descriptions of sign language was beguiling. Writing conversation in a story always relies heavily on body language, but when the protagonist doesn’t have a spoken voice of her own, such a thing takes on a whole new meaning. And Nadine C. Keels mastered it.

My critiques are small. I would have liked more of a description of Daun, as I found picturing him a little difficult. As I got to know his character, though, I painted my own idea of him.

The romance was light and lovely. Watching it build was a treat, and I commend the author for her smooth telling of Abigaiya and Daun’s relationship.

Overall, a sweet, emotional read. I still don’t have much of a feel of the Eubeltic Realm, but I’m going to assume that the author’s other books delve right into it.