fred_mouse: crystal mouse, looking straight out at the viewer (crystal)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
I picked this ebook up from one of the assorted bulk SF/Fantasy 'free ebook' pages, which I *think* took me through to a 'sign up for the author's newsletter to get a free book' site.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book - urban fantasy, set in Karachi, incorporating aspects of Islam and the local supernatural traditions as well as some of the political history of Pakistan. The world building is delightful. The level of detail is possibly obsessive, but useful to me as a foreign reader from a different religious tradition, and gave a really good sense of place. I found the protagonist annoying, but it is a coming of age story for a young man who is the only son of a somewhat wealthy family - it is understandable that he starts as somewhat of a brat. Some of the other characterisation was a bit weak, making it difficult to keep track of some of the secondary characters, and making the villains a little bit bland.

Main complaint is that it ends abruptly, after doing a lot of set up, but without a sense of having resolved anything.

It is listed as a duology, but book 2 is not out.
elf: Red & blue faces (Face Off)
[personal profile] elf
I was given a copy of this to read & review, and while it's been on my mind, it's taken me a long time to get around to it. It occurs to me that that's worth mentioning--months later, I'm still thinking about this book, mulling over scenes in my mind, contemplating how the characters would react in other situations. This one set down roots and sunk in deep.

From the description at Amazon: Three people lie in a prison cell. One is a murderer. Can his companions help him unlock the door to his own mind before his unreasoning rages claim their lives. The Hour before Morning explores a distant future in which the human heart is much the same. The Ash’torians see their conquest of the Outliers as a triumph of civilization. The Outliers see it as servitude. Their resistance takes many forms, from non-violence to terrorism. Yet one thing remains constant: though lives are shattered, compassion endures.

What I liked about it )
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
To quote [personal profile] liv, in response to a request I made for recommendations: Helen S Wright: A matter of oaths, which you can download free from her website has lots of awesome women in space. It does have some romance, but mainly m/m, the women are too busy being awesome to bother with relationships. It's not quite up there with the Vorkosigan saga, but it's a similar type of thing and very readable.

I also just read it and enjoyed it. Sadly she hasn't got anything else published, but I'd recommend this one.
jumpuphigh: Black and white photo of two men about to kiss (Boys)
[personal profile] jumpuphigh
I loved the first two books of this series* so I was really looking forward to this book where everything was supposed to come together. I like Cecilia Tan’s writing style. I am able to really get into her stories. I don’t normally read professional romance/erotica but I got the first book of this series solely to support the author with her awesome pro-fanfic ways and I discovered that I loved her. I am fascinated by her characters and was really ready for more about them.

Unfortunately, this book was a hot mess. I spent a good portion of the book wishing I was a beta, not a reader, so that I could reply with “What? What?!? Huh? What just happened there? OMG, don’t do that!”** This was supposed to be the culmination of Kyle’s four years at Veritas University (the magical counterpart to Harvard), but I felt confused for much of story. The story was choppy and frequently felt like it was missing really important paragraphs/sentences which would have explained things.

One of the things I have loved about Cecilia Tan’s books in the past is the inclusiveness without an obvious “hey, I’m being inclusive here” feel. This book changed all of that. Suddenly, there was this heavy-handed lecturing throughout the book. *facepalm* No. Please, no. I just want a good story. I don’t want some call to social action. This is supposed to be a romantic smut book.

It really disappoints me that I wasn’t able to walk away from this story with a “wow, that was a great ending to the series” feeling. I had really been looking forward to this book. I’d really love a re-mix of it from Timothy Frost’s viewpoint. Actually, I’d love that for book 3 as well. Hmmmm. Actually, now that I’m thinking of it, it would be cool to have all four books remixed from Frost’s viewpoint. No. I’m not going to write them. Stop it, bunnies. Just stop it.

*Book 3 was triggery which wouldn’t have been such a problem for me personally if I hadn’t just experienced Duainfey recently. Unfortunately, I spent the entire book groaning at the plot devices used.

**Yes. That is pretty much how I beta. It takes a special kind of writer to handle my blunt ways.
elf: People magazine: Sexy men in love (Mainstream Slash)
[personal profile] elf
Notturno and its sequel Vigil center around an antique literature appraiser and his vampire lover. The books are hot, well-plotted with terrific characters, and professionally edited & produced. They are, however, solidly in the "gay vampire porn" category, and that's probably not a big draw for everyone. If you like that, these are terrific; if you've been considering dabbling in gay vampire porn, this is a great place to start.

I've loved ZA Maxfield's other ebooks; I was hesitant to try these (this, really; I tried Notturno first and got hooked) because paranormal erotica is outside of my normal reading range. The erotica's fine; I hate reading botched paranormal concepts, and a lot of the genre isn't well-thought-out. These have paranormal/otherwordly politics that unfold slowly because they're running through the filter of the human's perceptions, and he doesn't want to believe any of this is going on at first, and then doesn't want to believe there's any real dangers.

They're both available at Fictionwise from MLR Press:
Notturno )

Vigil )
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