Author Archives: Sadie

Review of The Grim Assistant, by Jodi Hutchins

I picked up a copy of Jodi HutchinsThe Grim Assistant from the publisher (Nine Star Press).

Description from Goodreads:

Postal carrier and amateur surfer, Samantha Diaz, lives an uncomplicated life. Well, other than helping her sister with childcare, crushing on her unavailable customer, Lauren Brennan, and catching as many waves as possible before hurricane season begins. Suffice to say, she isn’t looking for much more, but when Lauren invites her to a monthly game night at her house, Sam happily agrees.

When Sam sets out on an early morning surf, the last thing she expects to do is die, but a sudden thunderstorm thrashes offshore, creating a riptide that steals Sam’s life. She awakens to a snarky woman named Margo speaking cryptic nonsense. Not only does she claim to be one of the many Grim Reapers, or Grims, in the world, Margo makes Sam an offer: she’ll bring Sam back from the dead, as long as she becomes Margo’s temporary assistant. Sam accepts but soon realizes the deal was too good to be true, and the consequences she faces may be worse than the death she dodged.

Review:

I think the best way to describe my relationship with this book is to admit that I checked my progress at the end of EVERY chapter. I was literally counting down until the end. The reason is that I was BORED. This book seemed focused on all the wrong places, the pacing was inconsistent, as was Lauren’s character. It’s predictable, repetitive, and written largely in tell (instead of show), so I didn’t feel connected to anyone.

Review of The Kinsmen Universe, by Ilona Andrews

I borrowed a copy of Ilona AndrewsThe Kinsman Universe through Hoopla. I didn’t realize immediately that it was short stories/novellas. Or rather, I think I did in the past and that’s why I hadn’t read it. But I didn’t when I borrowed it the other day. I just thought, “Oh, an Ilona Andrews I haven’t read yet!” For a woman who keeps saying I don’t particularly enjoy short stories, I somehow have read three collections in a row. This one was only three stories though. So, I’ve only written a brief review to cover it.

Description from Goodreads:

Family is everything. Talent is power. And revenge is sweet.

In a distant, future world Kinsmen-small powerful groups of genetically and technologically advanced families-control vast financial empires. They are their own country, their own rulers, and their only limits are other Kinsmen. The struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport: in business, on the battlefield…and sometimes in the bedroom.

Review:

These were ok, but not up to the standard of many of Andrews’ other (longer) works. Silent Blade made me angry. I’m not particularly forgiving of heroes that substantively harm the heroine, even by accident. I thought Silver Shark the best—most developed—but A Mere Formality, as silly and ridiculous as it is was my favorite.

Review of The Road to Woop Woop, and Other Stories, by Eugen Bacon

I received a copy of Eugen Bacon‘s The Road to Woop Woop, and Other Stories from the publisher.

Description from Goodreads:

The Road to Woop Woop is a lush collection of literary speculative stories that lauds the untraditional, the extraordinary, the strange, the peculiar, the unusual that exist within and on the borders of normalcy. These tales refuse to be easily categorized, and that’s a good thing: they are dirges that cross genres in astounding ways.

Over 20 provocative tales, with seven original to this collection, and previous works, including: “A Pining,” shortlisted, Bridport Prize; “A Case of Seeing,” honorable mention, Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award; “Mahuika,” highly commended, Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) National Literary Awards; “Swimming with Daddy,” shortlisted, Alan Marshall Short Story Prize.

Review:

Whenever I review short stories I often preface it with the fact that short form isn’t really my jam. I read it on occasion for various reasons, but it isn’t my first love. I tell people this so that they can take it into account when deciding how much credence to give my particular review.

Having said all that, I think Bacon’s stories were interesting and the writing was lyrical. I thought the collection thought-provoking and emotionally charged. There were times I wasn’t entirely certain what was happening or if I’d wholly grokked the underlying meaning of the piece, but I enjoyed most of them.