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Review

Dive Smack

Dive Smack

DIVE SMACK , Demetra Brodsky’s debut YA novel, is a fast-paced mystery that conveys both the exhilaration and exhaustion of teen life with a supernatural twist. In diving parlance, a ‘dive smack’ occurs when a diver mis-judges their entry and hits the water painfully instead of smoothly. It also describes the situation of Theo Mackey, who’s the captain of the dive team and has a good shot at a scholarship to Stanford–if he can keep the rest of his life from spiraling out of control.
When Theo is assigned a family history project at school he freaks out. Theo has a good reason though–hewas playing with matches the night his house burned down, killing his mother. He blames himself her death as well as his father’s, which followed three years later. So when Theo is assigned a family history project at school he…freaks out. The bad news is that the only way Theo can find out about his family history is by asking his alcoholic grandfather, or his Uncle Phil, […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

Mystic Dragon

Posted: October 4, 2018 by mtbikemom in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Jason Denzel, Fantasy
Mystic Dragon

I love traditional heroic fantasy. My best friend’s family took me camping in Big Sur, CA, long ago and we read THE LORD OF THE RINGS for the very first time together. Unforgettable, of course. So it was with bated breath and a slightly elevated heart rate that I opened Jason Denzel’s sophomore effort MYSTIC DRAGON. But first…

Tor created a lovely booklet-sized prologue to the entire Mystic series called THE NAMELESS SAINT and I was fortunate to obtain a copy. It is a nearly perfect essay-length gem and the stunning cover art continues to impress. Unfortunately, these are only available at MYSTIC DRAGON book signings. (I bet Jason might send you a signed copy if you ask nicely.)
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Review

Season of Storms

Season of Storms

Some series have a definite end while others linger on, bringing joy to their long-time readers and fans. For me, and those who enjoy the seminal series, THE WITCHER, SEASON OF STORMS is both a return to Andrzej Sapkowski’s original 1980s short stories, and at the same time, it is a eulogy for the series, in a certain sense.

SEASON OF STORMS is set, for hardcore fans, after the events of THE LAST WISH, with Geralt broken up with Yennefer (in a long series of makeups and breakups in their legendary relationship…) but before the contract that made him truly famous throughout the world of THE WITCHER.
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Review

Medusa Uploaded

Medusa Uploaded

Real politics, the actual grind and wear of backdoor committees, debates, and miles-long legislation is a snore. Unless you enjoy reading obscure case law or an inane housing clause that forbids people from living in a “den of iniquity,” you’re likely not going to enjoy any political fiction.

Luckily for you, and me, I enjoy reading such dry-as-wall-paint material.
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Review

The Unholy Consult

Posted: November 30, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: R. Scott Bakker, Epic Fantasy
The Unholy Consult

Less than an hour before I sat down to write this review, I pulled my youngest daughter’s loose front tooth from her mouth and thought what an amazingly apt comparison I might make between that act and this effort. Writing this review is a concept that I’ve done no small amount of pondering upon.

If you’ve had the pleasure of reading my previous reviews on the books in this series, you’ll know I’ve not been much of a fan. And yet, they also contain within them some of the most amazing “fantastical stuff” (highly technical term) that I’ve read in literally any other fantasy book/series. So, much like my moments-earlier tooth extraction, I’ve decided to pull the painful review that I might otherwise have written, and instead put together a review that addresses everything I’ve been thinking about this book. Taking it, holding it aloft, and examining it from every angle, so to speak, now that it will no longer be paining me.

Granted, such a review is going to be considerably longer than my regular fare, so I feel as if I need to give a small qualifier to all you readers. If you’re up for a bit more of my blabbering blatherskyte than usual, by all means sally forth and tally ho. I’ll begin in short measure. If, however, you’re just looking for the Cliff’s Notes version, well, here you are: TL;DR Nearly identical in every aspect to the previous books in the series. If you liked them, you’ll like this one. If you didn’t, you won’t.
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Review

Fionn: Defence of Ráth Bládhma

Fionn: Defence of Ráth Bládhma

Bodhmhall’s little settlement is in trouble. Established three years ago after being expelled from her clan, the settlement of Ráth Bládhma is home to a handful of misfits, simply trying to live a quiet, fulfilling life in the wilds of Ireland. But one fateful day, Bodhmall’s pregnant sister-in-law Muirne stumbles into their settlement with news of the old clan’s demise–and she carries what could be its heir. Will the competing clan come looking for her?

When Bodhmhall’s partner Liath Luachra comes across tracks in the forest, she discovers a war band in search of something…or someone. As she tracks them down to learn their number and purpose, she finds that they’re aided by a Tainted One–what happens when a druid turns to darker forces–and suddenly their plight becomes much more fraught.

***WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS*** Usually I don’t give away the story, but I feel the need to explain myself.
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Review

Battlefield Earth

Posted: December 1, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: L. Ron Hubbard, Science Fiction
Battlefield Earth

I’ve been hearing about this book for a long time from a few friends of mine, and so it has been on my TBR list for a while now, but I have to admit it wasn’t ranked very high. And then, lo and behold, I get notification that they’ve made an audio book out of the thing and I’m getting a free copy in the mail for my listening pleasure as long as I’ll post an honest review of it afterward and then pass the copy on to my local library. As my father always says, “Such a deal!” Once I got the thing though, I found I was in for a bit more than I’d expected, for the copy of the audiobook I received was 44 CDs long. Guess I hadn’t realized just how long the book was (despite the fact that I have a paperback copy sitting on my shelves at home). And the recording wasn’t just an “audio book”. It’s “dramatized”, which I haven’t seen a lot of in the past. The recording included the talent of 65 voice actors performing almost 200 individual characters and included more than 150,000 different sound effects. Pretty impressive, eh?
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Review

The Great Ordeal

Posted: October 6, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: R. Scott Bakker, Epic Fantasy
The Great Ordeal

There’s this unfortunate but sometimes entirely true analogy I’ve heard about how particular kids can be a kind of birth control for their parents. If the kid is especially difficult or energetic, they’ll entirely remove the desire of the parents to have another one anytime soon. Despite this, it is also true that time is the great eraser of memory, and after long enough even the trauma of those months and years can fade away and parents will find themselves diving back into the shark pond of parenthood once again. I found myself in a very similar state of mind, and yet completely cognizant of the decision that I was making, when I picked this book up. After all, I had been less than satisfied with the previous book in the series, but still I found myself wanting to read this next one. Thus, it came as no real surprise to me that it had been something like five years since THE WHITE-LUCK had been released, and I was able to uncheck the mental box that was pleading insanity and instead was able to chalk it up to good old memory loss given the ravages of time. And yet, once I got into the book, I found much of my same feelings about the previous book rushing back in to fill the supposed void of time. So much for memory loss.
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Review

Romancing the Null

Romancing the Null

Let’s call this whole series my summer guilty pleasure. Maybe it will be yours for the fall season. Guilt and surprised delight were some of the many emotions I migrated through while reading most of The Outlier Prophesies, but for more than the first half of ROMANCING THE NULL, I’d say impatience was the primary. If I had not felt obligated to give it a go, per the contest, I think I would have abandoned this urban fantasy/romance/crime novel long before the two-thirds point, but that’s when things started to get interesting. By the end, I was hooked… though I dreaded what was to come in the follow-ups. I needn’t have worried.
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Review

Roses and Rot

Roses and Rot

Imogen is a writer who dreams of some day becoming a famous author. To that end she has applied to the exclusive Melete, a New Hampshire artist retreat where she–and other aspiring artists of various talents–would have access to famous artists as mentors. Also accepted is Imogen’s younger sister Marin, whose talent in ballet has people predicting a successful professional career.

The sisters had a difficult upbringing. With a father out of the picture early on, their mother raised them with a tyrannical fist. For her own sanity, Imogen signed up for boarding school and left home–including her sister to deal with their crazy mother alone. When they arrive at Melete together, the sister’s relationship seems normal on the outside, but like Melete, not everything is as it appears.

For the first couple of chapters I didn’t like ROSES AND ROT, Kat Howard’s debut novel. The setting is trendy and pretentious (‘it’s all about the art!’). The sisters’ baggage felt overwrought. The foreshadowing seemed cliché. I was sure I knew where the story was heading.

But I forged onward and was rewarded with a story I didn’t expect.
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