Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes - Not Exactly Bad

The Palace Job
The Palace Job
by Patrick Weekes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.97

3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad ExactlyNovember 19, 2013

This review is from: The Palace Job (Paperback)

Book Description

 October 8, 2013
Loch is seeking revenge. It would help if she wasn’t in jail.
The plan: to steal a priceless elven manuscript that once belonged to her family, but now is in the hands of the most powerful man in the Republic. To do so Loch—former soldier, former prisoner, current fugitive—must assemble a crack team of magical misfits that includes a cynical illusionist, a shapeshifting unicorn, a repentant death priestess, a talking magical warhammer, and a lad with seemingly no skills to help her break into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire and the vault that holds her family’s treasure—all while eluding the unrelenting pursuit of Justicar Pyvic, whose only mission is to see the law upheld.
What could possibly go wrong?
The Palace Job is a funny, action-packed, high-fantasy heist caper in the tradition of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series, from debut author Patrick Weekes.

This really was not a bad fantasy book, although at times it read more like a comic book. It was quite interesting and in places even exciting. But it had its down moments. There are so many secondary characters, tertiary characters and more that you sometimes feel as if you need a score card to keep everyone straight. And you never know when you can simply dismiss a character, because sooner or later they almost all, show back up in the book.

There is descent world-building, but at times the author confuses his world with our world and that can oull you out of the story. This is a magical world, not a place for computers. Yet in one memorable sentence, you get to see the character having his mind (or body) brought 'back on line'. I don't mind when fantasy writers mix the two worlds, but it should be consistent.

The bias/prejudice and political talk started getting a little tedious once the points had been made.

This novel could have done with some judicious cutting - it was quite long for what it ultimately ended up as.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Parasite by Mira Grant - Slow, Tiresome

Parasite (Parasitology)

Parasite (Parasitology)
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $8.59

2.0 out of 5 stars Zombies? Nah, Just Big Business!, November 18, 2013

Book Description

October 29, 2013

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite -- a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system -- even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives . . . and will do anything to get them.

I feel one of the most important things a horror or sci/fi author needs to do is to have the ability to get their readers to suspend disbelief. Another important thing to be able to do, is to write sympathetic and likable characters. with Parasite I was unable to do either. I could not suspend my disbelief nor could I sympathize, empathize or even like most of the secondary characters, let alone Sal and Nathan the protagonists.

The idea pushing the story could have been an interesting one, had it not been done to death already. It was slow moving and tiresome in a 'been there, done that' sort of way. I ended up not caring one bit what happened to anyone.

To now that this appears to be a trilogy with this particular edition ending on a cliff-hanger, does not endear it to me.

What it did make me look at is how people are sterilizing themselves to the point that kids don't even get to play in the dirt much anymore!

I will not be reading the next books in the series/trilogy. *ARC Supplied by Publisher*

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith)
The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $6.64

4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars Classic and Elegant Quinn NovelNovember 5, 2013

Book Description

 October 29, 2013
From Julia Quinn, the New York Times bestselling author of steamy historical romances, comes the third seductive installment of the Smythe-Smith Quartet, The Sum of All Kisses.
Sarah Pleinsworth can’t forgive Hugh Prentice for the duel he fought three years ago that nearly destroyed her family, sent her cousin fleeing, and left Hugh himself with a badly injured leg. That’s fine with Hugh, who can’t tolerate Sarah’s dramatic ways. But when the two are forced to spend a week together, they find that unexpected kisses, and mutual passion, may have the power to change both of their minds.
Written with Julia Quinn’s trademark style, The Sum of All Kisses is a witty and lighthearted Regency romance.

This was a detail-oriented book with a slight mystery woven in. Ms Quinn certainly paid attention to her characters. They are multi-layered and realistic for their time-period.

It was fun visiting so many old friends, abut I have to say that the interactions with Sarah's sister's was not the fun and comic relief that it was most likely intended to be.

The humor (and all Ms Quinn's books are of a humorous bent) came with watching the protagonists Sarah and Hugh going from absolutely hating each other and forced to make nice...to having a relationship develop almost without their noticing, but oh so obvious for the reader. I loved being in on the secret if you know what I mean

This was an absolute "trademark" book for Ms Quinn, but not in a trite or hackneyed way. It is wonderful to be able to count on an author and know, book to book, that you are going to love what you read.*ARC Supplied by Publisher*

Monday, November 4, 2013

Christmas at Caldwell Ranch

Christmas at Cardwell Ranch (Harlequin Intrigue)
Christmas at Cardwell Ranch (Harlequin Intrigue)
Price: $3.14

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good But Slightly Flawed ReadNovember 4, 2013
Book Description
 November 1, 2013AT CARDWELL RANCH, THE HOLIDAYS CAN BE BRUTAL…It had been years since Tanner "Tag" Cardwell's boots touched Montana soil. This Christmas he was determined to change that. Until a run-in with local Lily McCabe revealed dark secrets from his past and deep trouble for his future.Cowboys came and went in these parts. But Tag Cardwell caught Lily off guard in more ways than one when the two became entwined in a murder mystery. What was it about Tag? The dreamy eyes… The rugged physique… The protection she felt in his strong arms…But before they could lose themselves in each other they had to trace a killer. Or risk finding a crime scene under the Christmas tree.

Although I can't say that this is the Christmasiest novel I have ever read, it sure was one of the most absorbing and entertaining.

Tag Cardwell has been away from Montana for most of his life. He decides to go back and spend one more Christmas with his dad...maybe get to know his father a little better, do some Christmasy things, ski, etc - what he doesn't expect to do is to find himself embroiled in a murder for hire plot centering around what seems like everyone in this town!

Tag also doesn't expect to fall for a math 'nerd' - yet he does and she (Lily McCabe) does to. It was a little speedier than I would have liked but the novel only spans a few days.

The story is a strong one, the suspense and mystery are just perfect. However the characters themselves and the dialogue are a little overly dramatic...not too bad, just enough to make this a sometimes uncomfortable read

The sex is only one scene and is delicately written.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nice Cover But...

Wyoming Bold
Wyoming Bold
Price: $5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Cover But...November 3, 2013

Book Description

 November 1, 2013
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author DIANA PALMER is back with a thrilling new story featuring the Kirk brothers of Wyoming 
Former border agent Dalton Kirk thought his life was over—literally—when a gang of smugglers left him for dead. Defying all odds, he survives his ordeal and returns to his Wyoming ranch ready to dedicate his future to a more peaceful home on the range. Until lovely Merissa Baker knocks on his door. 
Merissa is well aware of her reputation as the local eccentric—she knows things before they happen—and she's had a vision that Dalton is in danger. Even though her beliefs clash with Dalton's cowboy logic, she's determined to save the handsome rancher she's secretly loved forever. 
Visions? It's all ridiculous to Dalton…until things start happening that prove Merissa right. And now Dalton is not the only target—so is Merissa. Can Dalton be bold enough to trust the unknown? Is this Wyoming man ready to love?

This review is from: Wyoming Bold (Kindle Edition)
I miss the days when a western romance meant cowboys...bare-chested cowboys on horses, with a rifle! And I'm not talking historical romances either! Now western romances are mostly all about very rich men with the resources of an army career behind them. Nary a horse, a cow or a bare-chested cowboy to be seen!

Diana Palmer is a new author to me and I see she has many followers. This made me confident that I would enjoy this read. I also thought that this would be a book in this series that I could just jump into since most authors do a pretty good job of catching a new reader up to snuff, but I had a lot of trouble with this book. There is really no back-story and there are so many secondary and tertiary characters all with shadowy past that I couldn't seem to keep everyone straight and that detracted from my enjoyment of this novel.

This should have been a great read. The synopsis made it sound like it would be unique and fresh, but the story had so many flaws that I quickly became disenchanted with it and had a difficult time finishing this book.

This was a very sweet and very non-sexual story, more action driven than anything else. The idea of Merissa being somewhat psychic, coming to warn a man she is so obviously frightened of, and then falling for him while all hell is breaking loose, was interesting. However, I felt that the writing was a little clumsy and the story, while certainly interesting to a point -left me wondering just how this could have been considered a romance. The romance took such a back seat to the mystery that I don't think it should be considered a romance. If it wasn't for the obvious way that we were going to get a HEA, it would have just been mystery/suspense. There wasn't even a lot of action since most of the book was spent simply discussing over and over what was going on and what might happen in the near future and what all the men had happen to them in the past.

The author may not have researched things to well either since I did catch at least one glaring error on the protocol of firearms and airlines. But, no biggy right? What was a problem was how these so-called espionage experts had been played the fool time after time. Even a `civilian like me could see what was going to come next and I have no army training or police training what-so-ever!

On a side note we end with this little gem ----------->SPOILERISH<------------------- br="">Apparently the politician who was setting this all up is named Matt Helm...an interesting choice of names is it not?*ARC Supplied by Publisher*

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Nantucket Christmas: A Novel
A Nantucket Christmas: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $7.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Unlikable Characters - Trite and Over-WrittenNovember 2, 2013

Book Description

 October 29, 2013
Known for her heartwarming observations of family life, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer showcases her beloved Nantucket’s snowy off-season in this emotionally gratifying and utterly entertaining story. Holidays on this Massachusetts island are nothing short of magical, and the season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home is already full of enticing scents of pine, baking spices, and homemade pie. But the warm, festive mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arm’s length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s holiday preparations. Nicole, however, is not about to let anyone or anything tarnish her first Christmas with her new husband. Nancy Thayer’s wonderful tale reminds us that this is the season of miracles. Before the gifts are unwrapped, surprise visitors appear, and holiday joy comes to all, both naughty and nice.

A Nantucket Christmas: A Novel

I was looking forward to reading this novel. It was short so it would have been a quick read during the busiest time of the year and it was about my favorite time of the year too.

However, instead of the good, heartwarming story I expected I got instead a collection of dislikable characters and a dull and uneven story that had very little to d with family values and more to do with pure malice.

This story was told using everyone's point of view, even a stray dog.

Even Maddox a 3-year-old going on 40 was impossible to warm up to. The fact that this child was only 3 and his thought were that of an adult just sort of freaked me out a bit. Even the dog Snix was annoying, whinny and hard to like.

Maddox's mother Kennedy was a pure conniving *itch that was maneuvering to get her father who had remarried for love, back with her uber beautiful and cold as ice mother Katya. The machinations this poor pathetic soul used to do this was just cruel.

This was not the type of story I wanted to read to get into the holiday spirit. The fact that this short book ended on a `high' note (childbirth on Christmas Eve during a snowstorm, while the 3 year old has run away) was just hackneyed.

Nicole-the stepmother was a character we should have been able to like, but she was too much the martyr to even warm up too.

The men in this novel are clueless wimps.

None of these character exhibited the least little bit of common sense. Who in their right mind allows a 3 year old to play outside in the winter alone? I don't care what Nantucket is like or how safe it is supposed to be.And that is just one of my complaints.

This was a very fast read, chaste and unromantic, although touted as a romance - it is said that the author is (quoting from book description) "Known for her heartwarming observations of family life.", but with this novel I really have to wonder just what kinds of families is it that she is observing for her books. Read at your own risk! *ARC supplied by publisher*