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Review – The Weird Girls December 12, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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the-weird-girls

Title: The Weird Girls

Author: Cecy Robson

Publisher: Signet

Publication Date: December 4, 2012

ASIN: B008EXNZZM

Available at: Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they’re products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird…

The Wird sisters are different from every race on earth—human and supernatural. When human society is no longer an option for them, they move in among the resident vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region. Could this be the true home they’ve longed for? Um, not quite. After the sisters accidentally strip a witch of her powers in a bar brawl, they soon realize the mistake will cost them. Because to take on a witch means to take on her coven. And losing the battle isn’t an option.

Review:

Celia and her sisters tangle with the local witch’s coven and it’s up to Celia to protect her sisters. She takes on the head of the coven in one on one match. Over the next few days she’ll have to face a series of challenges. Never knowing what will arise, Celia will have to stay on her toes to survive.

This novella starts off with a bang and keeps on going. It’s a thrill ride that has just enough energy in it to keep you going. The witch that Celia takes on is a royal you-know-what. Cecy portrays her so perfectly. I wanted to smack her myself.

I loved that this was about Latina heroines. It’s so rare that authors write about anyone other then those of Caucasian descent. I love what it adds to the story and I wish more authors would write about heroines like Celia and her sisters.

I really loved Celia. She was protective of her sisters without being motherly. She was fierce without being masculine. She was strong without losing her vulnerability. I loved her to pieces. I loved that she was a weretiger! Something other then a wolf! The difference was slight but it was just enough to make it noticeable.

If there were weaknesses in the story it was that I felt like the background on the curse could have been developed more. After all it made the Wird girls who they were. I felt like it was a vital piece of who they were and would have provided a lot of more to the sisters characters.

Other then that, this was a strong prequel to a series and I’m truly looking forward to the first book in the series. (Sealed with a Curse comes out on December 31st.)

4 Stars_Star Rating System

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Review – The Custom of the Army August 15, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Historical Fiction.
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Title: The Custom of the Army

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Publisher: Random House Digital, Inc

Publication Date: May 21, 2012

ASIN: B007WKEM0A

Available at: Amazon  Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

London, 1759. After a high society electric-eel party leads to a duel that ends badly, Lord John Grey feels the need to lie low for a while. Conveniently, before starting his new commission in His Majesty’s army, Lord John receives an urgent summons. An old friend from the military, Charlie Carruthers, is facing court-martial in Canada, and has called upon Lord John to serve as his character witness. Grey voyages to the New World—a land rife with savages (many of them on his own side) and cleft by war—where he soon finds that he must defend not only his friend’s life but his own.

Review:

The world of 1759 comes alive under Gabaldon’s pen. Between London’s electric eel parties and Canada’s frontier, everything is vividly portrayed. I was completely immersed in this world from the time I started reading.

The military’s procedures is extremely detailed as well. Not so much that it becomes tedious but enough so that you get a very good idea as to how things work. I was surprised at how simple the proceeding were for a court-martial back then.

John Grey has a strict sense of honor which is what sent him to Canada in the first place. His triumphs were intelligent and well-planned.  Reading of his adventures were exciting and thrilling.  He keeps to his honor even in the face of corruption. Grey is an intensely likable character.

This was a great novella that did end rather abruptly. You can forgive that when you balance all the other great qualities the book holds. It was a very satisfying read on the whole.

Review – By Darkness Revealed July 22, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: By Darkness Revealed

Author: Kevin O. McLaughlin

Series: Blackwell Magic

Publisher: Role of the Hero Publishing

Publish Date: August 6, 2011

ASIN: B005G8L3X4

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

Ryan Blackwell has fled to a military school in Vermont after a rift with his family, not caring if his sorcery is never to be used again. Only he finds out that the school is situated upon a major nexus of leylines. Soon he’s embroiled in a situation where he’ll need all his wits and magic about him.

Review:

I have to admit I was surprised with this book. When I started reading it, I forgot what it was about. Therefore I had no preconceived of notions of what it should have been about. I was really surprised at how good it was instead.

Blackwell is a freshman at a strict military school. He’s trying to escape his family and their sorcery. He’s just trying to keep his nose out of trouble when he finds himself in situations where he has to use his magic. I was able to completely immerse myself in the story of how he worked his way out of danger time and time again. I lost myself as he flung himself out of harm’s way here and there.

Ryan is smart and yet he’s humble. Yet he’s still confident. He’s resourceful and he’s creative. I loved spending time with him. I wouldn’t have minded him for a kid brother. There isn’t  a romantic interest in the story but I didn’t mind that.

I loved how quickly the book moved along. I was never bored. It was never dull. Yet there was always enough detail to keep you completely informed. The book never felt abbreviated or shortened. It was a complete story for a novella. There wasn’t even a teaser for the next book, which I liked. I enjoyed this book so much I really did want to keep on reading more of Ryan and his exploits anyway.

Review – The Devil is a Gentleman July 19, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Novellas, Urban Fantasy.
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4 comments

Title: The Devil is a Gentleman

Author: J.L. Murray

Series: Niki Slobodian

Publisher: Hellzapoppin Press

Publication Date: May 25, 2012

ASIN: B0086D3PM8

Available at: Amazon

Summary:

When hated Congressman Frank Bradley shows up on Nikki Slobodian’s doorstep, Nikki knows he’s nothing but trouble and she’s not wrong. He’s ingested angel blood. Not only does Nikki have to shoot the Congressman to keep him from killing her, now she has to find the angel who’s blood is being distributed by one of the most secret and powerful organizations in the world. In the process she’ll learn more then she’ll ever want to about her boss Sam and she’ll find out that maybe her father wasn’t as power hungry as she thought.

Review:

I was really excited when I saw the second Nikki Slobodian had come out. I started this book a little nervously, wondering if it could possibly be as good as the first book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It was, possibly even better then the first book.

The book starts off with a punch when Frank Bradley shows up at Nikki’s apartment hopped up on angel blood. The action doesn’t stop there as she goes on a mission to hunt down the angel who provided Bradley with the blood.

As the action unfolds, more mysteries are uncovered about Sam among other things. There were several things going on at the same time. None of them were too confusing. They just made things even more exciting.

Nikki’s character solidified as the book unfolded. Her character seemed to harden and coalesce as the book progressed making her larger then life. Bobby Gage, her partner was also further developed. More details about his life were revealed.

The more I learned about Sam, the more astonished I became. I totally didn’t see it coming. No spoilers, but it was a great surprise. Looking back, there were enough clues to who he was, I was just so absorbed in the story I just didn’t bother putting them together.

For a 200 pages book, there’s a lot packed inside of it. At the same time, I did wish it were longer just because I wished I could spend even more time with Nikki and co.

Review – Molly’s Soap Parlor May 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Steampunk.
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Title: Molly’s Soap Parlor

Author: Stacey James

Genre: Steampunk

Publisher: Stacey James

Publish Date: March 18, 2012

Available at: Amazon

From Amazon:

Steam and soap powder rule in 1895 Whiskey Falls!

Spunky twenty one year old tinkering laundress, Molly Watkins, can clean more than just sap and coal stains out of overalls; she can clean house with anyone that sets an unwelcomed foot on her new establishment- Molly’s Soap Parlor. That would include scoundrels, thugs, and pirates.

But Molly has no time for twittering- not even with a handsome wilderness scout named Arrow. His elusive ways annoy her, yet together they create a chemistry that Molly cannot account for.

Meanwhile, Molly’s latest contraptions land her in a world of hurt. Gadgets, torpedoes and a modified Henry rifle quickly become a feisty laundress’ best friend in Whiskey Falls in the winter time.

Having narrowly escaped the foothills of North Dakota without her dog sled team, Molly made her way east to Whiskey Falls in order to enter her new contraption, a cycle fly rod, in an annual ice fishing derby. The rod is only one of Molly’s latest inventions. But not everyone is rooting for the independent Molly Watkins…

It turns out there is more than just soap brewing in Molly’s peculiar steam-powered laundry contraption.

Review:

For an 83 page novella, this story packs a lot of punch.  A lot happens in a short amount of time. It’s fun and fast-paced. The characters are lively and colorful. The contraptions are intriguing and are an integral part of the story.

The romance is sweet and heart-warming if somewhat predictable. Arrow was also a bit predictable and formulaic. Molly’s responses were just as predictable. I still enjoyed them though.

I thought it was strange for Molly to respond to Arrow with a “no worries”. There were other spots of dialogue I had a hard time getting a feel for.

I thought it was rather corny that her soap powder was so sought after. If you put aside that fact, it was an entertaining read. While I’m not quite certain this quite fits in the Steampunk genre as it takes place in the Wild West and this certainly is no literary gem, I”ll still look for the next in the series.

Review – Molly's Soap Parlor May 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Steampunk.
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2 comments

Title: Molly’s Soap Parlor

Author: Stacey James

Genre: Steampunk

Publisher: Stacey James

Publish Date: March 18, 2012

Available at: Amazon

From Amazon:

Steam and soap powder rule in 1895 Whiskey Falls!

Spunky twenty one year old tinkering laundress, Molly Watkins, can clean more than just sap and coal stains out of overalls; she can clean house with anyone that sets an unwelcomed foot on her new establishment- Molly’s Soap Parlor. That would include scoundrels, thugs, and pirates.

But Molly has no time for twittering- not even with a handsome wilderness scout named Arrow. His elusive ways annoy her, yet together they create a chemistry that Molly cannot account for.

Meanwhile, Molly’s latest contraptions land her in a world of hurt. Gadgets, torpedoes and a modified Henry rifle quickly become a feisty laundress’ best friend in Whiskey Falls in the winter time.

Having narrowly escaped the foothills of North Dakota without her dog sled team, Molly made her way east to Whiskey Falls in order to enter her new contraption, a cycle fly rod, in an annual ice fishing derby. The rod is only one of Molly’s latest inventions. But not everyone is rooting for the independent Molly Watkins…

It turns out there is more than just soap brewing in Molly’s peculiar steam-powered laundry contraption.

Review:

For an 83 page novella, this story packs a lot of punch.  A lot happens in a short amount of time. It’s fun and fast-paced. The characters are lively and colorful. The contraptions are intriguing and are an integral part of the story.

The romance is sweet and heart-warming if somewhat predictable. Arrow was also a bit predictable and formulaic. Molly’s responses were just as predictable. I still enjoyed them though.

I thought it was strange for Molly to respond to Arrow with a “no worries”. There were other spots of dialogue I had a hard time getting a feel for.

I thought it was rather corny that her soap powder was so sought after. If you put aside that fact, it was an entertaining read. While I’m not quite certain this quite fits in the Steampunk genre as it takes place in the Wild West and this certainly is no literary gem, I”ll still look for the next in the series.

Review – Orphan’s Gold May 13, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Sci-Fi.
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2 comments

TitleOrphan’s Gold

Author: David Loeff

Genre: Sci-Fi

Publisher:  David Loeff

Available at:  Amazon

 I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Orphan’s Gold is about young Virgil who sets out to the Colorado gold mines in search of his father. Once there he finds out that his father has died when the mine collapsed. Virgil is determined to find out for himself whether or not his father is really dead. He  breaks through the tunnel only to find a strange room. Once he emerges the world is a different place. His adventures take him to such places where wooly mammoths exist and ambulances scream through the night. He finds out he has the power to save humanity.

While I did enjoy this novella, I thought it lacked depth. Virgil never fully developed into a 3D character for me. He never became anyone other then a “kid with a good-nature”. Sure, he had adventures and he had relationships but his emotions never fully came to play. However I did admire him for his strength and resilience when they came to play in the situations he faced.

Argoura, the love interest of Virgil, was the most interesting character for me. She had the most depth out of everyone involved including Virgil. She had a range of emotions I couldn’t quite decipher in any of the other characters.

As far as the time traveling machine goes, I had a hard time believing it went undiscovered so long. However once I let my issues go, I managed to enjoy the story.

Review – Orphan's Gold May 13, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Sci-Fi.
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2 comments

TitleOrphan’s Gold

Author: David Loeff

Genre: Sci-Fi

Publisher:  David Loeff

Available at:  Amazon

 I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Orphan’s Gold is about young Virgil who sets out to the Colorado gold mines in search of his father. Once there he finds out that his father has died when the mine collapsed. Virgil is determined to find out for himself whether or not his father is really dead. He  breaks through the tunnel only to find a strange room. Once he emerges the world is a different place. His adventures take him to such places where wooly mammoths exist and ambulances scream through the night. He finds out he has the power to save humanity.

While I did enjoy this novella, I thought it lacked depth. Virgil never fully developed into a 3D character for me. He never became anyone other then a “kid with a good-nature”. Sure, he had adventures and he had relationships but his emotions never fully came to play. However I did admire him for his strength and resilience when they came to play in the situations he faced.

Argoura, the love interest of Virgil, was the most interesting character for me. She had the most depth out of everyone involved including Virgil. She had a range of emotions I couldn’t quite decipher in any of the other characters.

As far as the time traveling machine goes, I had a hard time believing it went undiscovered so long. However once I let my issues go, I managed to enjoy the story.

Review – Hotel Iris March 9, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Foreign.
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Hotel Iris

by Yoko Ogawa

(also available in paperback and NOOK)

Hotel Iris is a small hotel on an resort island in Japan owned by a Mother and a 17-year-old daughter named Mari. Mari strikes up an affair with “the translator”, a middle-aged man. This novella is about their forbidden and sometimes violent love.

Mari’s mother is very controlling and I thought that this affair was also about Mari’s way of rebelling. Mari’s father also died at a very young age, so you can’t help but feel that maybe she has “daddy issues”.

Either way, the tale is a good one. It’s sultry and tantalizing, as well as poignant and sweet.

I liked the way Mari never refers to her lover by name. She constantly refers to him as “the translator”. In this way she’s constantly distancing herself from him, despite the love affair they’re engaged in and the feelings she professes she has for him.

Despite the fact this story was about a love affair, it didn’t completely center on their sex life. In fact it played a somewhat minor role. It’s there but only in context as the basis of their relationship.

The book surprised me in that I enjoyed it a lot more then I thought I would. I’m not a fan of romance of any genre but Ogawa did a masteful job of relaying her message in as tasteful a manner as possible.

Review – The Fall of the Haunted City February 23, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Fantasy.
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The Fall of the Haunted City

by A. D. Bloom

Molly must learn to rule the Haunted City. Instead the people fear and hate her. The Hales are on the way to attack. Molly desperately tries to save the Haunted City; along with Juan Chang, leader of the Populist Rebellion, Teddy-Da, a witch-altered vorpal clawed bear, and some vengeful noble Waltons.

While this was a more plot-driven novella, I enjoyed this second installment a lot more then I did the first one. The different characters introduced made it a lot more interesting despite the fact they weren’t very well fleshed out.

I liked the imaginative plot devices used throughout the book. Some were a continuation from the first book that I liked but took more notice of this time around. Some were introduced in the second book. I especially liked the eight-foot tall nobles!

I’m looking forward to reading the third installment. I do wish these weren’t novellas though, I’d rather they were full-length novels.