Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jaguar --by Bill Ransom

Science Fiction/Fantasy

300 pages / 532 KB
5 Stars

I bought, and read, Jaguar many years ago, probably around 1990 when it first came out. I loved it, lost it, but never forgot it. So, I recently bought another copy, and read it again for the first time.

While I did not forget the book, or the basic premise, I did forget a lot of the story, and enjoyed reading it again. Mr. Ransom is also a poet of some renown, and the poetry he so loves, come through in his prose. There were times when I stopped, and savored a sentence just for the feel of it in my mouth as I read it aloud.

Great literature? Probably not, but a heckuva good read! Mr. Ransom is a great teller of stories.

There are four main characters with a couple of pretty important supporting characters. The four main ones are children who have been abused in one form or another during their lives, a boy and girl on this side of the veil, and a boy and girl on the other.

They meet through dreams, become friends, and together, fight the Jaguar, who would destroy them all. The fight is, literally, a fight to the death—and a fight to save their worlds and their sanity.

The topics of dreaming, of abuse, of parallel worlds are come to play.

I enjoyed this book the first time I read it and if possible, I enjoyed it even more this second time through. Heartily recommend Jaguar for a good read.

On the Prowl --by Patricia Briggs, et al

Fiction / Urban Fantasy
341 pages
3 Stars

To be honest, I'm not sure how to rate this book. It is a collection of short stories by four different authors, and I think each story is an introduction to another collection by the same author. Two 5 stars plus two 1 stars averages out to 3. It brings two authors down, and builds two up, but I'm not sure what else to do.

I loved two, and couldn't finish two. One I couldn't finish, I did jump to the end to read the last couple of pages, and was glad I hadn't spent my time on it.

I enjoyed the worlds of the two I loved, although I thought Ms. Briggs's was by far the best developed.

I'm not sure these are true short stories. At the average length, I'd call them novellas. All I can say is, caveat emptor.

Fair Game (Book #3, Alpha Omega series) --by Patricia Briggs

Fiction / Urban Fantasy

304 pages
5 Stars

The more I know of Ms. Briggs werewolves, the more convinced I am I rather like them. Well, most of them.

Ms. Briggs does a marvelous job of world building in her books, her characters are believable, and how the humans react to the were, the fae, etc. is also believable.

This exciting book takes place in Boston, and Anna, the Omega mate to Charles, the Alpha and son/enforcer of the Marrock is coming into her own. She trusts Charles, and she learns to use her Omega and pack magic. Anna, like a 'real' person, may never totally trust after all the abuse she's been through, but she works at it, and receives a great deal of support from Charles, and even her father in law, Bran, the Marrock.

There are some cross-over comments and plot lines between this book and River Marked ( a Mercy Thompson book) that might be a bit of a spoiler. I'm not sure, as I read River Marked before I read this one, and enjoyed the references.

This time Charles and Anna are helping the FBI find a serial killer, who turns out to be much older than originally thought. I read it in one sitting. Too much fun to put down.

Hinting Ground (Book #2 Alpha Omega) by Patricia Briggs

Fiction / Urban Fantasy
304 pages
5 Star

This is the second in the series. The Alpha and Omega series is about werewolves, but is not part of the Mercy Thompson books, though some of the characters cross over from one series to the other.

The primary characters in this series are Charles Cornick, Alpha, the son and enforcer of the chief American werewolves and his new mate, Anna Latham, Omega. Turned werewolf against her will, never taught what to expect, and abused by her pack, she remains somewhat suspicious of Charles.

This book takes place in Seattle, when the head werewolves from the world are gathered at a conclave to discuss their 'coming out.' Murder and mayhem happens, as only Ms. Briggs and her various packs of werewolves, can make it happen.

A fun read. Especially if you like Seattle and werewolves. I happen to like both. A knowledge of Seattle is not necessary to enjoy the book, any more than being on first name basis with a werewolf is necessary (but it helps).

Grab a glass of your favorite libation, find a comfy hammock, and settle back to enjoy a great story.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hearts Akilter --by Catherine McLean

Now available from your favorite bookseller

Fiction / Fantasy / Romance 

75 pages / 235 KB
5 Stars

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

I have read several of Ms. McLean's books, all of which are fantasy and romance. I do not read romance, and yet, I jumped at the opportunity to read Hearts Akilter. She does not write the usual romance (think Harlequin), hers are fun, light hearted, and just a little, well, off kilter.

This story takes place on Kifel Space Station, and the main characters are Henry, a medical robot having a heart attack (I know, robots don't have hearts, but still…), Marlee, his human friend and confidante who is a maintenance tech, and Deacon Black an expert bomb builder and defuser.

Henry can do things he shouldn't be able to do, like remove his chest plates. He does this so Marlee can see what's wrong since he doesn't have a heart, or nerves, so why is he sure he's having a heart attack? As Spock would say, "it isn't logical." Imagine her surprise when she discovers he's not having a heart attack but a bomb has been placed in him, where his heart would be if he had one, and one of the wires isn't properly connected, and it's shorting out now and then. She knows nothing about bombs, but puts in a temporary fix while trying to figure out who put the bomb there, and why, and how to get rid of it before Henry explodes.

Enter Deacon Black, on Kifel to teach a class to the bomb squad—and avoid an assassin. Marlee hijacks him to help with Henry, and they neutralize the bomb, and tell Henry to go about his business until they can figure out who put it there—and why. Both suspects are high ranking individuals with impeccable records.

Is it possible to have a romance with a man, a woman, and a robot? Well, yes. Yes it is, and Ms. McLean carries it off beautifully, with the right amount of suspense, and a lot of humor. A most enjoyable read.

No robots were damaged in the writing of this review.

To participate in the Release Day Celebration go here:  http://www.catherineemclean.com/giveaway.html