elf: Red & blue faces (Face Off)
[personal profile] elf
I took a chance on this a while back, and am very glad I did. I think it was on sale at the time; I have trouble believing I'd pay $3 for a book entirely outside of my normal genre choices. (Yeah, it's not much, but there are plenty of $3 books *in* my genre range that I'm not buying yet.)

From the description at Smashwords: Argus Ward is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who runs a protection agency catering to the rich and famous. His best-kept secret--which he shares with lawyers and doctors and even psychiatrists--is his status as a high-functioning paranoid schizophrenic. One day, with little warning, he turns psychotic for the first time in twenty years. He lands in a secure psychiatric facility, charged with the murder of his most famous client, high tech industry billionaire John Helms, the wealthiest man in America.

Also notes: Best Mystery Novel, Red Adept Annual Indie Awards 2010. Which is why I was willing to try it; I'm intrigued by anything focusing on non-neurotypical characters, and if it won an award, the writing must at least be decent.

I should look into more award-winning books, I think. )
elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
[personal profile] elf
I bought this a few weeks ago, and dragged my feet on reading it, because I knew that (1) I'd love it and (2) then I'd be done, and the author doesn't have any more books for me. (Have read them all. They're all wonderful.)

Description from Smashwords: After escaping murderous bandits, Katherine says, "I jumped from the frying pan to the fire. Soon I’ll be dancing on coals." The thieves were the frying pan. The young Apache who saved her was the fire. The coals? Gaetan. Filled with rage and hate, Gaetan is Katherine's one chance to stay alive. When the struggle to survive forges a bond that turns to love, can he admit it?

Squee inside. )
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: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)
[personal profile] elf
Public ebook reviews by people who aren't members here:

[personal profile] akk: Book recommendation - Encrypted; Encrypted (a science fantasy romance) By Lindsay Buroker; Smashwords, 104014 words, $2.99, 50% free preview.

[personal profile] annathepiper: 2011′s first proper book roundup. Brief recs for:
Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, ed. JoSelle Vanderhooft, $6.99 multiformat
47 Echo, by Shawn Kupfer, 72,800 words, $4.49 at Carina Press (epub, PDF), $3.89 Kindle edition.
... among others which were purchased happily with expectation to enjoy, but no specific recs.

[personal profile] davidmack: Egads! The Dread Remora!; Birth of the Dread Remora by Aaron Rosenberg, $2.99, multiformat.

[personal profile] instantramen: Pale crocodile; Zoo City by Lauren Beukes , 384 pages, £4.49/$5.99 epub, $4.69 Kindle edition.

[personal profile] solarbird: cracksman betty; Raffles books by E. W. Hornung (Gutenberg link); various sizes; free; multiformat.
elf: Quote: She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain (Fond of Books)
[personal profile] elf
Author: Jose Rodriguez
Title: Melanie (Smashwords link)
Genre: Fiction, Drama
Topic: Memory loss, personal identity, race identity

Copyright Status: "This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form."
Content Notes: Contains plot-device amnesia

The description intrigued me enough to download and read this one:
A middle aged and lonely Melanie wakes up with no recollection of her past. Her lack of personal memories forces her to impersonate the old Melanie, a person who she now dislikes and cannot understand. The new Melanie proceeds to fool the world into thinking that nothing has changed while trying to recover her memories but also trying to reinvent herself as a new and improved person.
The book is heavy on introspection and self-identity issues, and those parts were enjoyable, if a bit long. The "adult" rating is justified; there's sex and nudity and crude behavior, but it's not gratuitous or overwhelming, except for the occasional sensory overload when Melanie concentrates on physical sensations because she has no past to connect to. Several times, she realizes she *should* have memories to connect to this-or-that act, but does not.

Not a bad book, just not quite good enough to recommend, unless you really like that kind of thing. )
elf: Life's a die, and then you bitch. (Gamer Geek)
[personal profile] elf
Author: Al Bruno III
Title: The Binder Of Shame Presents: The RPG.net Rants (Link to Smashwords listing)
Genre: Nonfiction, more-or-less. I believe (gods, I hope) there's some exaggeration and/or embellishment going on here.
Topic: RPG Gamers. Specifically, 80's tabletop games with bags of differently-sided dice.
Copyright Status: Effectively CC BY-NC-ND; disclaimer says "This free ebook may be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it."
Content Warnings: this book contains instances of homophobia, sexism, ableism, fatphobia, various other -isms I'm probably blocking out, and outright gross & disgusting behavior. However, the narrator seems like a genuinely nice guy (not a creep who claims to be nice) who is working against all those things.

I recommend skipping the Smashwords version (well, except to drop a note to the author) and downloading the RTF I put at Google Docs instead. I cleaned it up.

It needed fixing, and it was totally worth it. If you did gaming in the 80's, especially if you bounced between systems looking for that perfect one that would allow *everyone* to enjoy every game, you need to read this book.

Bad formatting, bad grammar, bad fonts; could not stop laughing long enough to care. )
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