Torchship Pilot (Torchship #2) ★★★☆☆

torchshippilot (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Torchship Pilot
Series: Torchship #2
Author: Karl Gallagher
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 346
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

War has broken out between the Fusion and the Disconnect. The Fusion is convinced that AI is a threat to all humanity and the only way to stop it is with a united humanity, under their control. So while humanity should be fighting off the continued probes by the AI of the Sol System, instead they’re fighting each other.

The Diskers end up with a radio weapon that shuts down all computer based activity. They got this from the treasure trove that Michie helped recover in the previous book. They also got a lot of history. Said history showed that the AI Betrayal wasn’t an actual betrayal but just a carrying out of orders by spiteful humanity. Turns out is was more of an overload/crash/accident than an intelligent take over.

With their new weapon the Diskers defeat a Fuzie fleet, reveal the secret history and find out that the AI’s are just running whatever their last command was. Michie makes contact with an AI on a former Fuzie world and communications between AI and Humanity has begun.

 

My Thoughts:

So, these aren’t AI in the “I am self-aware and want to destroy you” Skynet kind of way. They’re just suped up computer programs. Big whoop de doo. I was rather disappointed at that. And then to have the salt added to the wound that they’re just big cuddlies carrying out their programs and they don’t actually mean to be mean to anyone? Boo hoo hoooooo!

This gets the romance tag because Michie and her husband are always having quickies. After they get up in the morning but before going on duty. Before that meaning in 15 minutes. After dinner. And on and on and on. It was reading about 2 newly-weds who acted like they’d been virgins before getting married. Except Michie was a whore to steal information, so that doesn’t hold up. She also giggles a lot. And her husband just thinks “I love her. I’m going to make this marriage work” as an excuse to let behavior by Michie slide. Beta male all the way.

And this got 3 stars from me? Yep. The rest of the book was pretty good. Several of the characters from the first book either die or move on. Sadly, no one really moves in to take their place and it becomes the Michie and Husband show. I complain about them but I do think that the author does a better job of focusing on the story when he only has 2 main characters to interact with instead of a whole crew.

I am planning on reading the final book but have no intention of reading more by the author if he has even written anything else.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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The Changeling Sea ★★★★☆

changelingsea (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Changeling Sea
Series: ———-
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 142
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Peri’s father went to sea in his rowboat and only his boat returned. Her mother has retreated inside herself and Peri is angry at life itself. She leaves her mother’s house and lives in a shack by the sea where an old woman taught her the fine art of hexing. Peri creates as many hexes as she can think of and one day throws them all into the sea and hexes the sea for stealing her father.

The King of the Island and his son Kir come into their summer residence and Peri meets Kir one night on the beach. He confesses that he has found out he is a changeling and part sea creature. He desires to go to the sea but can’t find the way. Peri is interested against her will. Then a monstrous sea creature is seen with a golden chain around its neck. The villagers hire a magician, Lyo, to tame the sea monster and take the golden chain for them. Lyo gets Peri to help him and accidentally turns the golden chain into a rain of periwinkle flowers. Nobody is very happy with Lyo, who disappears.

The next night Peri is at her shack when she sees the sea monster approaching the shore. It comes onto the shore and turns into a young man, very like Kir in appearance but golden where Kir is dark. This young man can only repeat words he has heard and so Peri begins to teach him words. But each night before the sun rises this golden prince returns to the sea and his monstrous form. Peri is bewildered and Lyo reveals himself to her. They figure out that the golden boy is the prince by the King’s dead wife who was taken by the Queen of the Sea, who was the lover of the King. She substituted her own son, Kir. Now each son is yearning to return to their native element but neither can figure out how.

Peri, with help from Lyo, solves the mystery. Her hex worked and it was so powerful that it hexed the whole sea. Peri unhexes the sea and that allows them to commune with the Sea Queen and Kir can return to the sea while the golden prince can return to the land. Peri realizes how powerful she is and Lyo says he’ll stick around to help her out.

 

My Thoughts:

Very enjoyable, very short and one of the most “romance’y” of McKillip’s books. While not Harlequin Romance or even most Paranormal Romance level, this was on the edge of what I’d be willing to read. That is about the only caveat I have for this book.

The shortness of this book really struck me this time. I started it one evening during the week and I was done the next night. It was kind of nice actually. I felt like I had gotten a small personal pan pizza instead of some huge buffet. Just enough to get a good taste but not enough to satiate or make you sick of it. Gluttony of words by authors is as much a sin, as far as I’m concerned, as is actual gluttony.

This lacked something, a richness I guess, that I’m used to in McKillip’s writing and that is why I’m only giving it 4 stars. Still, that is a Star upgrade from 2007. If you like McKillip’s other books, you’ll like this. Whether you’ll like it more, less or the same as her other books will depend on your personal tastes.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

To Trade the Stars (Trade Pact #3) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF#1%

totradethestars (custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: To Trade the Stars
Series: Trade Pact #3
Author: Julie Czerneda
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: DNF @ 1%
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

“…leaving me cold along one side until I snuggled under the portion of sheet warmed by his body.”

 

My Thoughts:

This is not SF. This is now a woman’s romance novel with spaceships. I don’t want to read crap like this, thank you very much.

What a frelling let down, especially considering how much I enjoyed the first book. But this is exactly why I tend to stay away from women writers. They’re always dragging in stuff like that that has zero interest to me. They are more than welcome to write it but don’t fracking expect me to read it or to put up with it when I do make the mistake of stumbling across it.

★☆☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Ties of Power (Trade Pact #2) ★★★☆☆

tiesofpower (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Ties of Power
Series: Trade Pact #2
Author: Julie Czerneda
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 499
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Sira and Jason Morgan are living safe from the Clan. Jason has been growing in power under Sira’s tutelage. Things start to go sideways though when Sira’s cousin, now also exiled, shows up on their doorstep. It would appear that there is another splinter group of the Clan opposed to the Council but who want Jason just as dead and Sira under their control. The Council itself hasn’t stopped playing games either.

This leads to Sira being abducted and her reproductive organs stolen. Morgan rescues her and then she compels him to go after those who did this to her. Meanwhile, she gets sidetracked into attending a ceremony on an alien world where the aliens apparently know about the M’hir, the energy space the Clan uses. Sira learns that the M’hir is a whole other ecosystem and not some creation of the Clan.

Kidnappings, murders and mystery abound. Everyone comes together and Sira deals with those who have crossed her. Her own father tries to murder Morgan in an attempt to kill her but thanks to Sira’s training Morgan not only survives but fights back. This allows Sira, as the most powerful of the Clan, to wipe her father from existence.

The Clan is invited into the Trade Pact and the Council has voted to join. Cooperation, good cheer and hope are everywhere. And Sira has her naughty bits back so she and Morgan can consummate their Joining.

 

My Thoughts:

Yeah, not nearly so enthralling as the first book. Way, way, way further down the romance road.

Most of my problem stemmed from the fact that if Jason and Sira had taken a straight line from point A to point B, they could have solved their problems with power and force and violence. Instead, because of “feelingz”, they continually get hurt and so can’t fully use their power together. This leads to an elliptical storyline where they keep going in circles while edging extremely slowly to that mythical point B.

A bloody ship with some big guns and a fully healthy Sira with her powers could have wiped her father and co-conspirators from the face of the universe in about 1 month. But my goodness, where would the “feelingz” be then? There would have been at least half the collateral damage if Jason Morgan had been a bloody man and just killed the people who were threatening him and his wife. Running away and wishing that things will get better don’t solve problems.

This crossed the line from the kind of romance that I do like into the kind that I really don’t like.

Up until the very end, Sira just gets hammered and reacts, every single time. It frustrated me because I could see how easy it would have been for the Morgan’s to have planned differently and have everything turn out better. The story was interesting and everything we learn is cool but it came at the cost of Jason Morgan acting like a pussy and Sira a fainting maid instead of the extremely powerful and talented powerhouses they are.

Czerneda is now on probation and depending on how the next book turns out will decide if I continue with her or not.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

A Thousand Words for Stranger (Trade Pact #1) ★★★★☆

thousandwordsforstranger (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Thousand Words for Stranger
Series: Trade Pact #1, Clan Chronicles #4
Author: Julie Czerneda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 464
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A young woman comes to consciousness without her memory but with something inside insisting she get to the spaceport and get off whatever world she is on. After several mishaps, kidnapping by slavers being one, she gets on board Jason Morgan’s ship and signs on as a crew. Without her memory, Jason chooses the name Sira Morgan for her.

What Sira doesn’t know is that The Clan, a race of humanoids with telepathic powers, has contacted and contracted Jason to bring Sira to a particular destination. Morgan has had dealings with the Clan before and even though fully human has some small telepathic power himself. Due to his previous dealings, Morgan doesn’t feel it is safe to deliver Sira to anyone, so he keeps an eye on her and reveals what little he knows to Sira.

Sira is captured by a rogue Clan member who wants to marry her, mind wipe her and then impregnate her so his offspring will have her ultrapowerful Clan power. Morgan rescues her and brings Sira’s sister and guardian into the picture. They deliver Sira to the Clan Elders and Sira’s father reveals that everything was all according to Sira’s own plan and that Sira Morgan will die when Sira di Sarc regains her memory. Sira Morgan has fallen in love with Jason and he with her. He comes up with a plan to rescue her but Sira recovers her memories and realizes everything, even her own plans, were a ruse by her father to brainwipe her and use her like an auction piece to gain power for his own House.

Somehow Sira and Morgan escape without alerting any of the Clan that Sira has recovered her memory but not reverted back to Sira di Sarc. She and Morgan are now on the run and just one mis-step away from disaster and annihilation.

 

My Thoughts:

For some time I was on a real kick with the Liaden Universe books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I had to stop reading them due to some of the moral content but I enjoyed them as they scratched that Jane Austen in Space itch that I had but didn’t know I had until I read those books. This book had that exact same vibe. So much so that I went and did a little investigating, thinking that maybe Czerneda had got the idea from the other duo. Turns out this book came out the year BEFORE any of the Liaden books came out (as far as I can tell).

So to set the stage, this IS a romance book. However, unlike that horrible, horrible woman Lindsay Buroker, this is definitely more Austinesque in the romance. It is NOT about beating hearts, or smoldering glances, or tight pants or revealing of various body parts. Nor is it like a Janette Oak book that is nothing but feelings dumped like a hogshead of maple syrup all over the reader. In other words, this is romance that I, the manliest man I happen to know, like. Considering that someone once asked me if it was true that I beat Chuck Norris at Arm Wrestling, I think I’m pretty bleeping manly!

There were times I was a bit frustrated with Sira’s memory loss and how she reacted but that was strictly because I had more information than she did. It’s always easier to tell somebody what to do when you have more information than them. The other thing that left me a bit confuzzled was just WHAT the Clan actually is. It is never spelled out and little hints are given here and there about their history. Knowing, or not, doesn’t affect the story as far as I can tell, just one of those things that I as a reader “want”.

When I started this I was not sure what I was going to get. Thankfully, the book and I hit it off right from the start and I enjoyed my time reading this. Looking forward to the rest of the trilogy. There is a prequel trilogy, the Clan Chronicles but since they were published AFTER this Trade Pact trilogy I plan on reading everything in publication order.

So remember, Telepathic Jane Austen, In Space and you should be good to go!

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) ★★★☆½

beastlybonesThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Beastly Bones
Series: Jackaby #2
Author: William Ritter
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 305
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Jackaby solves a case of a shapeshifting creature and when that creature’s owner is killed, ostensibly by a vampire, Jackaby and Abigal Rook are on it. When another victim turns up in Gads Valley, where Charlie Cane is now living and with the promise of dinosaur bones, both of our main characters are anxious to be off.

Once in Gads Valley, along with 2 competing archeologists and a strong willed journalist, Jackaby reveals that the bones belong to a dragon, not a dinosaur and there appears to be a live dragon as well. Carnage and mayhem ensue as the dragon, really a shapeshifter from the litter that Jackaby solved right at the beginning of the book, runs rampant. It violently explodes when Abigal throws a lit torch down its throat.

Jackaby and Abigal realize everything has been a distraction to keep them from the mastermind of it all. Abigal kisses Charlie at the train station and once back in New Fiddleham, both protagonists come to the conclusion that the death of their ghost Jenny is tied to everything. Solve her case and the mastermind of supernatural evil will be revealed.

 

My Thoughts:

A cracking fun read. Everything was a slow build up and I have to admit, I did not see the whole changling thing coming at all. That completely surprised me, in a good way.

Jenny the ghost does some poltergeist’y stuff near the beginning so I did know that her story was going to be important and sure enough, by the end of the book, her case is going to be the case that reveals who this supernatural meddler is.

The 2 archeologists and the journalist, along with a hunter who is a friend of Jackaby all provide nice background noise and are pretty much perfect side characters who are good for one book. Charlie and Abigal and their whole romance thing played a bigger part in this book, but more for various characters to tell Abigal what she should do or feel and for Abigal to finally decide on her own. Very modern young lady * eye roll * It was laid on a little thick, but considering this is YA bordering on middle grade, that is kind of to be expected.

Abigal is a great narrator and I’m glad the author didn’t try to change things from the first book and make somebody else do that. She’s feisty and smart and yet at the same time can be very human with being clumsy or not understanding something blindingly obvious to everyone else.

In many ways these remind me of Patricia Wrede’s Frontier Magic trilogy. The tone is very similar and while Abigal is a little bit older than Eff, Eff had to grow up fast while Abigal had the protection of money. But after this second Jackaby book, I suspect if you like one, you’ll like the other. I sure know I do.

And I have to end this review talking about the cover. I’ve included a large version if you click the pix by the info block. I’m not sure if it is the colors or the simplicity of it or what, but this is just as gorgeous as the first book.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Sky-liners (Sacketts #11) ★★★☆½

skyliners (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Sky-liners
Series: Sacketts #11
Author: Louis L’Amour
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 208
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Flagan and his brother Galloway Sackett have returned from their adventures in The Sackett Brand and they’ve paid off their father’s debts. Now they’ve got to start all over and earn their own stake. In some no account little town they face down a gang of roughs who are intent on causing trouble for an Irish gypsy and his granddaughter. Said gypsy convinces them to take the granddaughter, Judith, to her father out west. They also take some of the finest horseflesh they’ve ever seen to help as breeding stock for Judith’s father. Well, the roughs, led by a man named Black Fletchen, don’t take kindly to this. Especially considering that Black was all set to marry Judith and take those horses for himself.

Flagan and Galloway and Judith all headout West, expecting trouble and they find it. Fletchen kills the gypsy, goes full on outlaw by rustling a herd of cattle, killing the owners son and begins hunting the Sackett brothers. When Flagan and company do reach Judith’s father, it is only to find that Black has already taken over the ranch and the father is being held captive.

Flagan and Galloway have hooked up with the cowboys whose herd was stolen, so when they plan on facing down the Fletchens, they’re not alone. However, Black sets a clever trap and gets Flagan, Galloway and Judith pretty much trapped on a mountain side. There is a big showdown ranging across the mountains in a thunderstorm. Fletchen gets his, Flagan gets shot and ends up being taken care of by Judith.

The book ends with it looking like Flagan and Judith will be getting married and Flagan taking on the ranch to help her father.

 

My Thoughts:

Heck, L’Amour has a pattern that he writes from. It works. So don’t expect anything new in any of these books and you’re all set.

For all that every single main character in each Sackett book complains about how they aren’t handsome like “Relative X” and don’t know how to talk to women, these Sackett boys sure don’t seem to have any problems picking themselves up some wives. Of course, it usually takes getting shot in some desperate battle in the worst of weather, after having ridden, walked and generally existed for 100’s of miles in even worse conditions. But still.

I like this book a lot better than the previous one. I think that comes down to having new characters. Since L’Amour writes more “archetypes” than actual characters, after a while any particular character begins to show their weakness as a growing, evolving person. The easiest way to deal with that is to constantly switch to new characters and new circumstances. That might come across as a criticism, but that is only if you are looking for deep characterization in your western. L’Amour made no bones that he was a storyteller. The characters come second. It is a way of telling a story that isn’t nearly as popular nowadays as it used to be. I think a lot of it has to do with culture shift more than anything.

The other thing I noticed is the weight of the pistols. I think it was in this book that it is mentioned that the character’s pistol weighed over 2 pounds. If not in this book, then definitely in another. Anyway, that is HEAVY! My little Sig P938, loaded with 7 rounds, weighs in at around 17ounces (16 oz to a lb for you furrenners!). So add some bullets to those old guns and you’re talking close to 3lbs. I can’t imagine doing a fast draw with something that big and heavy. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a gunslinger, hahahahaa.

Bookstooge Sackett I am not.

★★★☆½

bookstooge (Custom)