Monthly Archives: May 2018

Review of Of Treasons Born (The Treasons Cycle #1), by J.L. Doty

I picked up a copy of J.L. Doty‘s Of Treasons Born from the book exchange shelf at a local cafe.

Description from Goodreads:
As a lifer in the Imperial Navy fighting in a war that has lasted for generations, York Ballin’s only hope for an honorable discharge is the grave. But what events led up to his reluctant enlistment? What spawned York’s almost fanatic loyalty to his friends–and his doubts regarding the imperial uniform he once wore with such pride?

York rarely recalls his childhood, which began with a mystery and ended at age eleven when he was given a harsh choice: Join the navy or face certain death on a prison asteroid. The navy has its own code of justice, but a youngster with curiosity and grit is able to rise in the ranks . . . if he’s given a fair shot.

A few rigorous years later, as a newly commissioned ensign, York is assigned to the hunter-killer ship The Fourth Horseman. But when an unexpected foe kills his superior officer and leaves the crew stranded in enemy territory, the young ensign must do whatever he can to save the ship–even if it means he’ll be court-martialed for treason.

This started off fairly well, with an 11-year-old sentenced to life on a mining asteroid for a crime he was coerced into participating in. Thus starts York’s lifetime of being strong-armed into things.

The book progressed well for a while, as we watch York find his feet in the adult world. But then, about halfway through, the whole pace and tone of the book changed. Suddenly, where we’d followed the day-to-day minutia of York’s life, whole months and then years passed in mere sentences. “The next year he X, Y and Z,” for example. Until the book ends at one seemingly random point. Yeah, there’d been a little bit of an upswing in action and down-shifting in pace, so we followed one actual event for a while, but no questions were answered. No conclusions come to. The book doesn’t culminate into anything.

I’m curious enough to want to know the mystery of York’s birth and why he was being singled out. But I’m annoyed to have to read more for ANY answers. Come one, throw readers a little bone to keep us reading! The fact that nothing was even addressed (York doesn’t know there is a mystery), let alone answered, left this particular book feeling anchoress and random.

Review of The Slave, by Anand Dilvar

I won a copy of The Slave, by Anand Dilvar, through Goodreads.

Trapped in a vegetative state, following a terrible accident that has paralyzed his whole body, the narrator is unable to communicate with those around him. Cut off from family and friends so begins an inner conversation with his spiritual guide, a conversation which takes him on a journey of self-realization, bringing him eventually to a new state of consciousness, and an understanding of his deepest self.

Written with an engaging simplicity, this is a truly profound book which can change your life. In fact to use the authors own words, it is designed to shake, shudder and wake us up. It is a book that has nothing to do with success, social recognition, with the accumulation of goods; but everything to do with joy, love and peace.

Sooooo, I read The Slave and I rolled my eyes so hard I think I saw the back of my skull. Why do people keep publishing books telling others to accept reality and take responsibility for their own actions and emotions, while pretending this is some new ground-breaking idea? I’m pretty sure Lao Tzu said it in the 6th century (BCE). And it probably wasn’t even a new idea when he decided to write it down!

The writing is stiff and there are several inconsistencies. For example, the unnamed protagonist was a John Doe at the hospital. But he was injured in a car accident at a party with people he knew. Surely someone could ID him to the paramedics. And his spirit guide was supposed to be part of himself and not know anything he didn’t. But he could prompt enlightenment and teach lessons John Doe didn’t know.

It was also vague on details. A hospital staff said the character was in “some sort of rigamortis.” A doctor claimed his “heart stopped,” instead of saying cardiac arrest or asystole. The girlfriend said she moved in with her aunt who lived “quite far from here,” etc.

All in all, I found the whole thing sappy and unoriginal. It’s been done better before.

Review of Take a Chance on Me (Mirabelle Harbor, #1), by Marilyn Brant

I won a copy of Marilyn Brant‘s Take a Chance on Me through Goodreads.

Chance Michaelsen, the youngest member of the family (by two minutes) and the quietest (by far), is a dedicated twenty-eight-year-old personal trainer at the local gym. While he might not say much, Chance has made it clear that he’s not a fan of toxic people, unhealthy habits, or sharing too many of his emotions. With anybody.

Enter Antonia “Nia” Pappayiannis—the prettiest member of the loudest and most overly demonstrative family in town. They’re also the owners of The Gala, a Greek restaurant and bakery known for its decadent pastries and located just a few steps from Chance’s gym. He considers their entire family business to be the enemy of good health, but he can’t quite shake his attraction to Nia, who doesn’t seem nearly as impressed with him or his sculpted physique as most of the women around Mirabelle Harbor.

Unfortunately, between her doctor’s orders and the interfering ways of Chance’s crazy-making ex-girlfriend, who just happens to be one of Nia’s long-time friends, Chance gets assigned to be Nia’s fitness coach for the month. Pure torture. And if his ex weren’t already causing enough problems, he also has to deal with Nia’s current boyfriend—some hotshot Chicago CEO who talks big but, in Chance’s opinion, is as fake as a Styrofoam barbell.

The road to romance is going to be a rocky one, and though Nia has her doubts about moving forward, Chance has a well-developed competitive streak and might just be willing to give it a shot…if he can convince her to do the same.

Wow, so this is probably a matter of taste and there isn’t anything actually wrong with this book, but it was 100% not my thing. I suspect readers were supposed to see Chance and Mia’s attraction as love at first sight. But I read the whole thing as a woman who is bored with her rich, polite boyfriend, meets her hot personal trainer, cheats on her boyfriend with him and (since sex = love) she and the trainer declare their ever lasting love for one another. (And she’s not wholly to blame. He pursued her knowing she had a boyfriend…because of his competitive streak. Gross.) Nothing in that appeals to me and there was no developing of a relation ship between the two of them! I think more of the book was dedicated to Mia and the boyfriend she dumps than her and Chance.

The writing and editing was fine, though the dialogue was stiff. But if this is Marilyn Brant’s idea of ROMANCE, I’m out. I don’t have any desire to read another.