It's a time of change on the Lois McKendrick. Sarah Krugg joins the crew, and Ishmael Wang moves to Environmental. After getting accustomed to life aboard a solar clipper, Ishmael must learn a whole new set of skills, face his own fears and doubts, and try to balance love and loss in the depths of space. Both Ishmael and Sarah must learn to live by the mantra "trust Lois".
This is this is one of those series you gush about and reread over and over. It will suck you in to the point where you find yourself saying *credits smedits, where's the buy button.*
Ishmael is 18 years old in book one, and an orphan. He has no choice but to grow up fast -- and because of that hardship -- he becomes the kind of steady, intelligent young man any parent would be proud of. By the time he reaches adulthood in the series, you're thrilled to have watched him mature. (I'm on *Captain's Share* right now, and I'm completely captivated by it.) I am in awe of what Nathan Lowell wrote, and how Jeffrey Kafer has brought it to life.
This is a true literary treasure for all ages to enjoy.
Each book in the series presents new challenges, new environments and new friends and enemies. The pace, nuance and plot is so well done I feel that Lowell must have written it all down before publishing any of it, but that would just be crazy, right?
The books are like one big blank canvas that's gradually filled in as you read them, so that in the end, you have the entire picture of the life of one (fictional) Officer on a Space Vessel. When things go wrong, and they do, it's as if you're there, sweating it out, praying they avoid disaster. It's so beautifully written it's impossible -- like a fascinating magic trick.
Ismael's kindness, ingenuity, sense of responsibility, and compassion for his fellow spacefarers, is at the center of the story, and I feel safe just knowing he's present and accounted for. Frankly, he's such an amazing role model that the books belong in schools for all children to read -- like Dickens or Twain. I want to go back in time and give them to my son to read.
***A Quick Note About Sex: Lowell doesn't embarrass himself, the characters or his readers, by trying his hand at explicit scenes. While he lets us know that Ish is a hotty, (and the girls all come to the yard), Mr. Lowell handles these moments with a fine sense of sweetness and respect. Romantic moments are read and said with the same quiet respect as everything else Ish does, and then we all move on. Which isn't to say that Lowell isn't effective or romantic at what he writes -- he is -- but he doesn't belabor the point, or make the books inappropriate for kid's.
Most of all, I'm grateful that he makes it possible for younger people to enjoy the series, too. I learned to love books at a young age and it's a love I've carried with me all my life. We need more series like this -- to grab the imaginations of younger people, and to remind us oldsters why we love to read.
And the narration is simply brilliant, which brings me to . . .
***A Note about my review of Book One: I think my reaction to *Quarter Share* was that I liked it but nothing happens -- and I thought Jeffrey Kafer made Ishmael sound too old. That impression quickly dissipated in the subsequent books. Jeffrey Kafer's take on this character is so mesmerizing, that i regret saying what I did. In fact, Kafer's tone makes the series come alive, t and I offer him a sincere apology -- and dinner in Cookie's mess hall -- if we ever happen to meet.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all ages (14 and up), and anyone who likes a good yarn. Ismael Wong is a fine role model of kindness, compassion and civility, for us all.
*** Just One More Thing About Sex: There is a very lovely scene of Ishmael with an insecure older woman that isn't at all physical, but is by far the sexiest thing I think I've ever read. It's so moving and genuine and full of respect that I wonder what else Mr. Lowell has up his sleeve.
I know I'll happily read whatever he decides to write next.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The half-mad Prince Boleso has been slain by a noblewoman he had intended to defile. It falls to Lord Ingrey kin Wilfcliff to transport the prince to his burial place and to bring the accused killer, Lady Ijada, to judgment. The road he travels with his burden and his prisoner is fraught with danger. But in the midst of political chaos, magic has the fiercer hold on Ingrey's destiny, and Ijada herself may turn out to be the only one he dares trust.
What I love about this book is the way it opens up this world. We get a primer on the mythos of the series' religion, which is woven through all of the books -- and we also learn a bit about how the government is run, laying a foundation for the stories to come.
The Hallowed Hunt begins with a gruesome murder and a funeral procession to bring the body of a murdered prince to the capital city. But just when we settle in thinking it's a murder mystery, albeit with an unlikely murderess, it turns into something else!
Finding out *who done it* gets dangerously complicated by betrayal, demon possession, wolf lords, horse lords, ghosts, and a *tame* ice bear on a rampage -- and ends with a haunted battlefield full of grandeur and pathos that's as close to Shakespearean as you can get in a fantasy novel.
Oh, and our hero and heroine are both God Touched, and in love, so there's that, too.
The romance is satisfying, and the ending is, too. I don't know why some people find it slow -- it's a mystery, and the good ones always have a slow burn, so naturally Bujold takes her time and allows her characters time to unravel the clues and find the culprit.
It's a grand ride, especially with wonderful secondary characters who bring sparkle to the proceedings, and the MCs grapple with their new, god-like abilities.
The reader, Marguerite Gavin does a great job, and in fact I think this is one of her best performances. Yes, she hesitates here and there, and loses her way in some sentences, but the instances were minor and didn't impact my enjoyment in the least.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, to everyone!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.
Some people collect ceramic figurines or salt & pepper shakers -- I collect anything written by Brandon Sanderson.
No spoilers: I went into this one without knowing anything about it -- and I LOVED it -- so my lips are sealed.
Just know that this is a fantastic story that reads like a full length novel, despite being only 4 hours long. But you won't notice the length -- the book is so rich and detailed, and satisfying, that I found it far more entertaining and engaging than some of the 20 hour plus fantasy novels I usually seek out. It's spare and brilliant and complete, the kind of prose that wins awards. I'm very impressed.
Just goes to show that you don't need to write long tales to create an amazing world -- you just have to be Brandon Sanderson.
The reader, Angela Lin, is new to me, and she was well worthy of this book. Can't wait to hear more from her.
HIghly Recommended: This was so good that I'm now reading Warbreaker, a book I've been saving for a rainy day. It's also pure genius, and with a premise so wild I can't wait to see where it goes.
(Thank you Brandon! I really needed that!)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Being shunned by society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As "Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective", aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she has had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she is not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office. Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte's dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous.
If you like the idea of a brilliant young (Victorian) woman who doesn't let society dictate her path in life, this series is for you!
Sherry Thomas has written some really good HRs, and I own many of them, but with this series, she elevates her writing to a whole new level of WOW! In the character of Charlotte Holmes, she gives insight into the Victorian era through the eyes of a young woman who bucks all convention, not because she is a rebel, but because there is simply no place for an intellect like hers in a patriarchal society.
Despite Charlotte's determination to live life on her own terms, whatever the cost, she still has to negotiate her way around the laws of a country that counts a woman as mere chattel. I knew I was hooked when I found those limitations infuriating, but realized that Charlotte did not. She simply ignores them when she can, and works around any constrictions -- almost as if they don't exist -- when she can't. I thought we invented female empowerment in the modern era, but Thomas has invented a character that uses her power as if she knows it's all going to change someday anyway, so why not be the change she want's to see in the world, today? Amazing!
The supporting cast is suitably brilliant, and the villains are as creepily evil as one would wish, providing Charlotte with lots of puzzles to solve. The mysteries are layered and just complex enough to allow the romance to sizzle in the background.
This series is an auto-buy for me, and I don't have many of those.
Kate Reading is, of course, perfect and brilliant, and worthy of this series. She deserves an Emmy for her acting skills!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: To anyone and everyone. (Note: This will be a TV series someday.)
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
Afterlife...just some gothic nightclub where gossip is fuelled by the presence of a rich and unearthly, handsome family or afterlife...the strange place where time seems to stand still and guests feel the presence of something more powerful held within the confines of the VIP. Keira is new to this small, cold town and is running from a past that seems to feast on her darkest memories. She finds living with her sister away from English soil to be just the ticket to the new life she is trying desperately to find.
I don't know if this book is good or bad, because I couldn't get past the narration. The reader sounds too juvenile for the subject matter, and it doesn't help that all of the characters are badly rendered, especially the female MC who sounds WAY too young to be serving cocktails in a bar, much less sleeping with an adult male.
Rebecca Rainsford, the 13 year old (sounding) narrator, can't do American accents, or commanding male voices, or differentiate between multiple characters. (I never got to a *steamy* scene, but I'm pretty sure her baby voice would have made it cringe-worthy.)
What really strikes me though, is this is Hudson's magnum opus -- 8 books long and counting! And the books are BIG books, up to 30 hours each! So why would an author so inspired and motivated by her story that she writes that much -- not take the time to choose an adult sounding narrator (who can also do American accents), to perform it?
To make it more confounding, Hudson or her publisher, clearly chose the wrong narrator for book 1, and then compounded the error by keeping that narrator for all 191 hours of narration. (That has to be some kind of record.)
Recommended? Nope, unless you plan read it for yourself.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
When his latest mission has an unexpected outcome, Adam finds himself free of his explosive control collar and honor bound to protect a mysterious woman. Now he is on an alien planet, and they are both being hunted by the most powerful mega corporation in the solar system. Their only escape lays at the helm of an experimental starship hidden beyond countless layers of military security.
God I wish this book was worthy of the cover art, which is awesome, but the premise, though promising, quickly fell apart due to a paper thin plot and cartoonish one dimensional characters. It was more of a personal dare to finish it, than it was even remotely entertaining. Who gives high ratings to a badly written book about flat wooden characters who are nothing more than their appearance descriptions, mutant abilities, and a shared willingness to kill a lot of people to get what they want?
Apparently, a lot of people -- and I really can't figure out why.
A collar-controlled mutant marine were-tiger meets a captive, and captivating, vampire woman, and together they go on a killing spree -- which might have been cool if the author had given us more than just a character outline for the MCs. (We do know that they've both been held against their will, tortured for years, and, he at least -- a former self-sacrificing good guy -- was repeatedly forced to kill.) Now that they are free, and instead of seeking revenge on their capturers, they become space traveling good guy killers. Of course, all the killing is justified because they ONLY kill bad guys, (i.e., a bad guy is anyone who gets in their way).
And weirdly, they do all of this killing because they want to HELP people and do GOOD.
Oh, sure they do. Picking the pockets of the dead only makes sense, since they no longer need the money! (I seriously question the author's moral compass.)
The MCs prime motivation -- to help people -- is so curiously in opposition to their actions that it kept me reading longer than I might have. But it quickly became clear that the author was just moving his characters around like paper dolls, (or Army dolls, like GI Joe), through scene after bloody scene showing all the 'cool' ways for the two mutants to kill people off. Seriously, it reads like a violent comic book without pictures.
It's absurdly silly, but NOT in that &quot;Hey, this is hilarious!&quot; way, but in that &quot;Hey, my brother wrote this, give it a read, (just don't tell him what you really think)&quot; way.
And yet the ratings are so high! (Especially on Amazon.)
He (Adam) calls her &quot;The Woman,&quot; long after he knows her name is Eve. It's strangely formal, but we never know why he does it. She frequently talks in these weird all-knowing pronouncements that are meant to be mysterious and wise, but come across as oddly vacuous and disjointed. They eventually find a third member of the group, a hacker, and together they all manage to (easily) sneak into a highly fortified evil corporation's airfield to steal a one of a kind experimental space ship, while leaving a bloody trail behind them.
Of course, they only steal the super duper ship because they need it in order to go out into the universe and . . . (wait for it) . . . help people! (Did it escape the author's notice that they were killing an awful lot of people just so they could go out and help OTHER people? Where is the logic in that?)
If you want a book that reads like a video game or comic book, with cardboard characters and lots of fire arms and killing, and zero motivational logic, or decent plot -- then this one's for you!
It definitely ISN'T for me! (Returned for a refund.)
Narrator: Eric Bryan Moore does a pretty good job with this book, however, he needs to work on his pronunciation of a couple of words. Didn't (which turns up in the text about a million times), is pronounced as 'did nt' or 'did tent' -- it's very distracting and should never be used for a drinking game due to the potential for severe alcohol poisoning.
He also says 'cell' instead of 'sale,' which confused me. Otherwise, he's not bad at all.
Recommended? Are you kidding?
6 of 11 people found this review helpful
My name is Alice Long, and I've always known I was different. When I was little I used to climb up to the highest branches of the housetree at night, and watch the starships docking at the orbital stations high above. Forty meters off the ground, watching ships 30,000 kilometers overhead, with senses that could pick out radar pings and comm chatter as easily as the ships themselves. It all seemed perfectly natural at the time.
Alice Long is a 13 year old orphan living on a planet that is strictly against human augmentation. And since Alice has been showing signs of being special, the women running the orphanage want to crack open her skull to find out if she's really human or not.
If not, they'll remove whatever hardware they find, whether or not doing so will kill her.
Alice may be young, but she's not dumb, and with the help of her unique skill set, she decides it's time to make a run for it. Besides, they don't eat meat, and Alice is a predator.
She travels on foot to the nearest spaceport and tries to get hired on a ship bound for space, but she's too young and untrained for most jobs. Fortunately, she makes a friend and gets a job as a cabin girl on a mercenary ship. Bye bye vegetarian diet, hello space!
The whole book moves at a steadily increasing rate of intensity but never loses it's sense of wonder and humor. As Alice develops more and more enhancements, she becomes a more integrated part of the crew, often handlng crisis single handedly. There are times when it becomes obvious that something is about to happen where they'll come in handy, but in such a jolly, joyful way that it made the book more fun. (Brown gave this character all of my deepest secret fantasy abilities that I would want for my female Rambo avatar! Woot!)
Alice grows up quickly, too, when properly nourished, and by the end of the book she's around 16. Looks like she'll continue to grow up with each book in the series. She discovers boys, and kissing, but her unique origins make any relationships problematic.
The long action scene at the end was mind boggling it was so packed! The word that came to mind was kaleidoscopic because so much was happening all at once. It was written with all the subtly -- and information -- of a weapons magazine for mercenaries from the future -- a magazine that lists all the cool stuff you'd ever need or want for a fire fight in space! And it left me wondering how much of those descriptions are actually feasible -- provided you don't live in a human body, that is! Brown appears to have a pretty deep grasp of weaponry and science, but what do I know. I just enjoyed his writing immensely.
The side characters are real, fully fleshed out and just as interesting as Alice. Brown has created a world I'd love to live in, and I'm completely amazed at his talent and originality. Not since Stephen W. Bennett's Koban series has a author so completely won my admiration.
About 3/4th's of the way through the book, I went looking for Brown's website, Facebook page, Amazon page -- just to make sure that, (1) the author was working on a second book, (he is) and 2) to find out if this was book was really written by a guy! He's so good at writing strong women (that aren't bitchy), that I really couldn't tell.
Go Alice, go!
Narrator: Mare Trevathan does a great job, (though at times she struggles a bit with the male characters (at least one sounded much too old), and an inconsistent French accent. But she's definitely got the goods, and will only get better, so I hope she continues with the series. I will be watching for other books read by her beyond this series. She IS the perfect Alice.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: E. William Brown is an author to watch. He's freaking amazing, and this is a great book. If you like sci fi about genetic enhancements, human hardware mods, andro-morphs, and 12 level sentient AIs -- do not miss this one! (Mild sexual situations are discussed, but nothing is explicit, so probably fine for older teens.
Note: Lots of 'people' die, but this is not a gory book and the violence is generally directed at robots. No bad language that I recall.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Anomaly examines the prospect of an alien intelligence discovering life on Earth. The technological gulf between humanity and the alien species is measured in terms of millions of years. The only way to communicate is using science, but not everyone is so patient. Humanity's first contact with an alien intelligence is far more radical than anyone has ever dared imagine. With a technological gap of millions of years, mankind is barely able to recognize the arrival of an alien space craft outside the gates of the United Nations in New York.
From page one of Anomaly, I was hooked. I was hooked by it's mind bending weirdness, and it's main character, and the idea that a middle grade science teacher might have something to offer to the best scientists in the country. In fact, it's a bit of a love letter to a certain kind of teacher, one that I approve of heartily.
I especially enjoyed how caring Mr. Teller was in wanting to make science fun and informative for his students. I wish I'd had a teacher like him, and I'd love to read another book featuring him.
This would be a great book for a sci fi discussion group because I still can't stop thinking about the characters Peter Cawdron created, or why he went the way he did with the ending. And I'd really like to talk about it with other people who've read it, too.
But each reader will have to decide for themselves how they feel about the ending of this book -- as indicated by the reviews -- because in a way, the ending is a kind of a litmus test that will bring up some of your own baggage. Enjoy!
I look forward to listening to another one of Cawdron's books; I only wonder if they'll all be this fun!
P. J. Ochlan did a great job reading. His male and female voices were excellent, and his secondary characters could be distinguished easily. Nice job, P.J.!
Highly recommended: For people who like first contact sci fi and want to support an author who has created one of the most interesting main characters I've seen: A super smart middle grade science teacher who uses his wits to teach his kids, and some adults, about science by thinking outside the box.
We could stand to have a lot more of that in the world right about now.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
When Jamie Flipkens signed on as a pilot and engineer for a small medical research company, she never expected to end up on a mercenary ship full of hulking soldiers who want to make her their latest conquest. The captain has been good to her - it doesn't hurt that he's her boss' new beau - but she's on the verge of quitting when a strange man shows up at her shuttle door.
I'm loving this series, but THIS book is one long buildup to a too-long deflowering scene staring terrified teens. We get every sigh and whimper, every body position, every single thing spelled out in detail, in the most unsexy sex scene I've listened to this year.
My eyes, my eyes!!! They've come unmoored and are now rolling freely in their sockets!
Lionsdrake has so far kept her sex scenes sexy by NOT going into too much detail, but here she let's her stumbling freak flag fly, and it's a mess.
(Lindsey/Ruby, please don't try this again without the guidance of a professional.)
The plot starts out intriguing: A hardened assassin wounded by a painful past, who falls for the young, inexperienced shuttle pilot who ran away from home with her virginity in tact. Romance novels use this silly trope all the time, and it has been done well, just not this time.
This book should have hinged on the relationship between this couple being believable, but nothing about the entire plot of the book feels well thought out. There's too much going on. It's all kitchen sink and no dinner! Had he been allowed to have a sense of humor, it might have worked. But all the earnestness -- in that particular character, with his history? -- it's exhausting.
I can usually count on Lindsey Buroker/Ruby Lionsdrake for a good time. I'm a fan. However, I'm close to finishing this one, and it's making me dizzy. Too much drama, too scattered, and the whole cast of characters don't act like themselves. I don't know what the hell is going on!
I only hope it doesn't mean the rest of the series is going downhill.
It also doesn't help that Jill Redfield, who tends to read with a cutting edge of snark in her voice, makes believing the pairing of these two *innocent* characters impossible. Each line of the book is delivered heavily larded with sarcasm. Usually, it fits the story. Here -- not so much. It was hard enough to get through the sex scene as written (and I skipped over a lot of it), without that superior tone of judgement being used to describe what should have been an emotionally stirring, climactic moment.
Perhaps another narrator could have read this romance with the tenderness and sincerity required to sell it -- but clearly, Redfield only has one gear, and sincerity isn't it.
(Please note that Redfield's snark usually works great for this series, just not for these particular characters.)
Lower-case *r* recommended: But only if you have already purchased it, or have nothing else to read and are already hooked on the series. Otherwise, skip ahead and pray Ruby finds her way back home.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
MacKayla Lane's life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she's your perfectly ordinary 21st-century woman. Or so she thinks...until something extraordinary happens.
Geez. I was pretty underwhelmed by this series when I first listened to it about 5 years ago -- but now? This is in first person, and since it's the narrator's caricature of a pre-Civil War southern accent -- for the main character -- the books just make me cringe. (I can't stand it, and I'm a Yankee.)
If you ARE from the south, you'll hate it.
(Isn't there a Looney Tunes character that sounds like this? *I say, I say . . . * Rochester somebody?)
NOT Recommended: I do recommend that if you HAVE to read this dated series, read the first three books on Kindle and escape the bad narration. (I've heard the new narrators do a better job with the next few, which I own, but I never thought the story was worth listening to after the first three, so who knows.)
Personally, I would not buy this series today. There are much better books out there now.
And while I'm here -- why can't Audible address the *quotation mark problem?* How hard of a fix could it be? It's pretty hard to review books without QUOTING THEM!
Have a nice day!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful