‘Horizon’: Did Not Finish

horizonHorizon by Tabitha Lord
Wise Ink Creative Publishing: December 1, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Review source: Free from publisher

False start (did not finish): page 60
No suitcases

I don’t often review books I don’t finish, because I feel like I can’t give the book a proper chance when I have only started it. After all, what am I missing at the end? That said, I put this one down with strong feelings of disappointment and frustration.

When it began, Horizon was a story about a lone woman with telepathic and empathic abilities who saves a man from dying on the ship he’s just crashed into her planet. Before page 60, it became a story about the last few years of her life, revealed through mind-melds between her and her crash-landed patient. Her memories reveal that her parents were killed in an accident, her city was razed and her people massacred in a genocidal attack against her people, the survivors were kidnapped, and she was raped.  (more…)

The Paper Masque: Flimsy and Unconvincing

paper masqueThe Paper Masque by Jessica Dall
5 Prince Publishing: December 4th, 2014 (Romance)*

False Start 
No suitcases

The Paper Masque takes place in a world very like the early 20th century in England, except that the structure of the monarchy is very different, and history has been slightly altered. In this world, Elsie Wembley is a privileged, spoiled, but compassionate princess. Her days consist of social appearances and public relations responsibilities, while her nights are filled with glamorous and decadent parties, and a number of bed partners.

As a character, I did not find her at all compelling or sympathetic. Most of the first part of the story is actually taken up with descriptions of her nightly escapades, which felt meaningless – in the sense that they meant nothing to her, and in the sense that they had little to no affect on the plot. They just seemed to take away from the plot. The experiences don’t change her in any way, none of her partners seemed to be fully characterized or have a strong role to play, and the “suitable” one who proposes seems to be nothing more than a foil for unsuitable Laurence. (more…)

Resistance is Futile Lacks Depth, Has Unique Heroine


Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan

Orbit: May 28th, 2015 (Romantic Science Fiction)*

vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3 The view was nice, but the food was bad (meh)

This book’s premise intrigued me. I don’t often come across books whose protagonists are female redheaded genius mathematicians.

The set-up involves a mysterious, too-good-to-be-true fellowship position. When Connie finally arrives at her new office, however, she discovers that she is not the only bright mathematician to get the job. Which is shrouded in secrecy. As she and her coworkers work to solve the problem they’ve been given, they also poke their noses into the mystery about what problem itself. What are these numbers they’ve been given, and what do they mean? What could be so important and so desperately secret at the same time? (more…)

“Carousel Seas” – In Which the Pace Matches Maine Life

carouselseasCarousel Seas by Sharon Lee
Baen: January 6, 2015 (Fantasy)*

The view was nice, but the food was bad vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

Over the course of this trilogy, I have felt less and less satisfied with the details of life in a small Maine town, working a carousel at an amusement park, and getting along with all the natives, in human and other forms. This is not the fault of the story, of the details themselves, but belongs more to the pacing of the novel. This month, I appear to be looking for more fast-paced books with more action in them, and less description. The plot moves along so slowly that it doesn’t grab my attention. A note here: the pacing adds another dimension to the setting, since it reflects a slower pace of life. The language, too, is very “Maine,” and I think these added features really do help to bring the setting to life.


a problematic romance in The Fire Seer

22553346The Fire Seer by Amy Raby
Amy Raby: August 25th, 2014 (Fantasy Romance)*

False start (could not finish)**

The first thing that struck me about this book is: short riding pants?? I’m not much of a horseback rider, but that just seems scratchily uncomfortable.

My feelings hardly changed throughout the portion that I did read (I did not finish). Some phrasing was awkward, as in the instance of “five fingers,” which seemed a bit repetitive, since “fingers” implies all of them, does it not? Usually numbered fingers equal fewer than five. “Indignance” is not a word. [pause for double-check] Okay, apparently it is, but it’s archaic, and “indignation” would make more sense to more readers, I think. But those were the little things.

The really big deals I could not get over, the things that made me decide not to finish this book, are: the main character Taya, and the relationship between the Taya and the “hero,” Mandir.


The Witches of Echo Park (Unfinished)

witchesofechopark The Witches of Echo Park, by Amber Benson.
Published January 6th, 2015 by Berkley Publishing (Urban Fantasy)*

My rating: vintagesuitcase3

Per my 2015 reading resolution, I read 100 pages of this book – but by the time I got there, the action still had not really started, I felt nothing for any of the characters, and the world and magic rules didn’t make much sense. By the end of the first chapter following page 100, I had reason to finish this book. Flashbacks and descriptive passages, along with unlikeable characters and inconsistent characterizations, left me with a feeling of relief when I finally put it down.

Lyse, an orphan raised by her great aunt Eleonora, returns to LA when she discovers Eleonora has cancer – and only months to live. Eleonora is glad to have Lyse back, mostly because Lyse is needed to take over the coven that Eleonora leads. There are witches in Echo Park (you guessed that, right?) and Eleonora is the Head Witch. There is some Great Evil preparing to descend on the world, and Lyse is Our Only Hope to defeat it. Trouble is, she doesn’t know magic exists. Or, more specifically, that her great-aunt is a witch.


“The Time Roads” that lead nowhere

Time Roads - Dominick Saponaro

The Time Roads by Beth Bernovich
Tor Books: October 14th, 2014 (Steampunk / Science Fiction)*

My rating: False start – did not finish (1/5)

Éire is one of the most powerful empires in the world. The Anglian Dependencies are a dusty backwater filled with resentful colonial subjects, Europe is a disjointed mess, and many look to Éire for stability and peace. In a series of braided stories, Beth Bernobich has created a tale about the brilliant Éireann scientists who have already bent the laws of nature for Man’s benefit. And who now are striving to conquer the nature of time.

I included the published synopsis instead of writing my own because of the biggest problem I had with this book – I couldn’t figure out what was going on. How does time travel actually work? What happened to the mathematician that supposedly discovered time travel? Who are the other mathematicians who figured it out? Which timeline is it, really? The disparate plot arcs and storylines feel like the “time fractures” that the mathematicians in the know describe. Chapters jump from one narrator to another, and possibly one from one timeline to another. First, we follow the crown princess of Éire, who, as a young girl, watches a fascinating scientist prove that time travel is possible. Then, the princess has become queen, and there’s some unrest and conspiracy plotting. The next narrator is a young student at the local university who is kind of going crazy over esoteric mathematical problems. After that, suddenly the Queen’s servant – Constabulary investigator, royal adviser, and spy, is in Vienna hunting traitors. Fractured and disconnected, I couldn’t figure out which timeline was which, because it’s never explained. From each of the characters we get a feeling of déjà vu or missing time, but never any explanation of how that fits into the whole timeframe(s). (more…)