Review – The Ancients by Mike Wolff

Click on image to take you to the Mike Wolff – The Ancients Amazon page

FOUR STARS

A coming of age story, but not your typical one. Instead of a moody teenager caught in the angst of life, here we have a young aardvark — yes, and aardvark, and a wonderful one at that. He suffers loss at the hands of a nasty enemy, another animal, the Golden Wombat, the epitome of evil. He goes on a quest, then, to seek out those who can give him the knowledge he needs to get revenge. This quest brings him to many colorful fellow animal characters, all of whom gift him with knowledge, talents, and otherwise equip him mentally and physically – teaching him how to grow up and teaching him how to live. The Aardvark is a fun, likable hero, and believe it or not, him being an animal and all, he’s a character that teenagers and young adults can relate to, look up to, learn from. I liked that about this novel. As others have said, it reminds me and hearkens back to the fables of old, even with a moral of the story woven throughout. I really enjoyed this story. I passed it on to my teenage son, and he’s started reading it on a road trip this weekend. I fully expect him to have devoured it.

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Book Review – Controlled Descent by KM Herkes

Click for Amazon Controlled Descent page

Rating: FIVE STARS

Controlled Descent reminded me of… well, nothing. Why? Because it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before. It’s unique, different, and creates a world that’s based in reality but is unreal. It takes place in a future that is entirely possible… probable even. Humans behave the way we expect them to behave, yet they excel beyond. They survive and thrive even in their darkest moments. You find yourself riveted to the pages, watching as these rich, thick and colorful characters break and bend and bounce back. Each of the characters is intensely drawn, lovingly crafted and they, truly drive the story. It’s not the plot or what is going to happen generally that concerns the reader… the worry, the care lies in what is going to happen to the characters – to Justin, to Parker, Carl, and Allie and Tyler. These characters live in a world that is an uncertain, volatile place; a crumbling political society underlying a technologically and scientifically leaps and bounds advancing one, and it is the conflict between these two spirals that creates much of what the Restoration is all about. It’s a world that a reader can get their boots in and their mind around and live in for a good while.

On a macro/technical level with this book, there were times when I needed to go back a few paragraphs and re-read to understand what was going on, to catch things I missed when the story seemed to take a sharp turn or the dialogue changed lighting quick. The pace moves that quickly, and at times, the reader needs to slow down in order to catch every bit. The writing style is very fluid and very nuanced – the author doesn’t give you every detail, every tidbit of information. While that allows a reader’s own mind to complete the gestalt in a really adventurous, pleasurable way, the reader has to be willing to give it that effort, to become part of that world and observe with their own eyes and deduce with their own mind. If that makes any sense whatsoever. Tl;dr – you cannot be a lazy reader with this book. It forces you to interact, and really… that is a very good thing. This book is a thick, action-packed meaty thriller, not a romance (although there is some romance in it that had me cheering and crying). It’s a steak, not cereal, and it should be savored.

I recommend this highly. Now I’m ready to delve into the rest of the Restoration stories.

New Review of Dry Land on Amazon.com

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 5 stars all the way for me, July 19, 2015
This review is from: Dry Land (Audible Audio Edition)
Exceptional. As I listened to the audiobook version of Dry Land, that was the word that kept coming to mind. I was sucked in from the first paragraph, and my love for the main character grew and grew. Ted, or “Shakespeare,” as he’s affectionately called in this story is humble, hilarious, and a true hero. I’m also listening to Hugh Howey’s Wool right now, and while the stories are vastly different, I found myself thinking Dry Land is most definitely in the same caliber of craft and story as Wool. I recommend this book to fans of scifi, no matter the sub-genre you usually read in.

The level of detail, the characterization, the plot reversals in the story that made me shout out loud “Oh, no you didn’t!”–all of it was exceptionally well done. The way the author wove the themes and symbolism throughout the story and brought them around full circle in the ending scene was a master stroke of genius. I plan to read anything Jenn Seidler has written or will write in the future. I know I’ll be in good writerly hands and be in for one hell of a ride!

The narrator, Ian Sorensen, totally had me guessing whether he is American or British. He switched between multiple voices effortlessly, and he was all around fantastic to listen to. I’ll also look up his other titles. He’s that’s good.

Bottom line: if you like scifi–or even if you don’t usually!–I strongly recommend that you give Dry Land a whirl. Bloody brilliant stuff.

Audiobook Review – “Artemis Rising” by Cheri Lasota

Artemis Rising – click to buy

4 STARS

Utterly atmospheric. A story woven from the golden threads of myth and mastery.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first started listening to Artemis Rising. It’s not normally a book I would have chosen, it being a YA romance, but I’m glad I did. I loved the historical aspect of this. While the story itself was abstract, almost floating above reality in a sense, fantasy and fantastical, the setting did the plot justice. The Azores are exotic and new to most, full of lush landscapes and open seas, the Portuguese language foreign to most ears. The time was right, as well, the late 1800’s when the world blossomed out, as did the world’s women from the ties of oppression – just like Ava in this tale.

Keeping the story ethereal were the intricate threads of the myths – those of Arethusa and Alpheus and Tristan and Isolde. Now, I wondered, how in the hooey is Cheri going to wend these two unrelated and vastly different myths together, but dang it… she did. I wondered, in a way, while listening to this, why Ava/Arethusa allowed herself to be so tied down to the myths? Why, in turn did Tristao? To me, it was the parental influence trickling down into the children themselves… and then when the children came into their own minds and their own lives it made sense. Much of it was more figurative and symbolic than realistic, and that was just fine with me. It was almost as if Artemis Rising was a new myth, a new tale to be told by the firesides and hearths.

I’ve read other reviews that discuss Ava/Arethusa making her choice between Paganism and Christianity, but I honestly don’t think that’s what it was. Her choice is between allowing external forces to control her life and her destiny, and taking her course in her own hands. I loved the use of name choices in this story, and while an abstract thought, the name truly defined each character, and that was a masterful stroke.

I enjoyed listening to this book but I think I may have enjoyed reading it more, and I may just do that. The narrator’s voice, while lilting, fine, and beautiful, almost song-like, was sometimes heavy handed, too high-pitched or strange in intonation, inflection and diction. I had to go back to the text sometimes to figure out what she was saying with certain words such as Marques. Granted, much of that was my lack of familiarity with the Portuguese language, so I take that bit of blame. I think, however, that the narration was right for the story. It was at times like listening to a mother or a beloved teacher reading to me, and given the poetic, beautiful language of this book, I think that makes sense, and it is a good fit.

Bottom line, I was entranced by the story. I was heartbroken, frightened, on the edge of my seat, and I felt all of the anger, fear, irritation and love right along with Arethusa. And I may have fallen a little bit in love with Tristao. 🙂 I would recommend this to a friend, and in fact, I have. I received the audio book for free, but I intend to buy a Kindle copy so I can revisit it whenever I like.

New Review of the Dry Land Audio on Amazon and Audible from Cassandra S.

4.0 out of 5 stars A solid 4 STARS, June 23, 2015
This review is from: Dry Land (Kindle Edition)
*I received this in exchange for an honest review
This type of book was sort of new for me…the Artificial Intelligence/Robotic type of character, but I found that I enjoyed it. Having some of the characters having that type of characteristics, thrown in with regular humans, and trying to find a way of expansion for Earth on the Moon. Now we all know that the Moon is so extremely important to the balance of the oceans, but obviously not all of the characters take this into consideration in this book.
It was an enjoyable book with a new look on things. The narrator did well and had great accents. I would definitely recommend this book to others and give it a solid 4 STARS.