Review of Finding His Feet, by Sandra Bard

I borrowed Sandra Bard‘s Finding His Feet from Hoopla, through my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Kaden Pace, a soldier injured while on a mission, hides the extent of his damage by wearing his high-tech armor, desperate to prove his worth to his administrators and make himself useful in order to hold on to his independence. But during a simple assignment to escort two cadets across the country to retrieve the armor of a dead warrior, things start to fall apart.

They meet Shun, a young man with a secret, who steals the armor they were supposed to recover. Chasing Shun brings them to an abandoned town, where they encounter even more trouble. Stranded in the deserted city, Kaden finds himself relying more and more on Shun, the person he’d come to capture, while fighting off an invasion from the neighboring country.

But even when he returns to camp, Kaden’s problems are not over. Now he has to find a way to save Shun, whom he’s growing to care for, and keep his team alive as they make one last-ditch attempt to get back the armor Shun stole. Armor that is now in enemy hands, on an island in the middle of the sea, at Ground Zero where it all began. 

That was, oh man, you guys…I just didn’t think it was very good. It’s got a cool cover and the writing itself flowed fine (save a few telling-heavy passages), but there was just nothing about the story I found believable. An endless war that never really materialized. 15-year-old soldiers being sent out on missions. Soldiers who were unprofessional at every turn. Distrusted civilians being included in missions. Confidential information shared left, right and centre. A ‘romance’ that came out of nowhere. A totally predictable ‘twist’ at the end that was wholly unsupported. Questionable treatment and attitude towards amputees and disabilities. The male partner of the main character being presented as fulfilling the traditional wifely position. Hand-wavey science. A cliched happy ending. It wasn’t a bad book. But it sure didn’t work for me.

Review of Coulrophobia & Fata Morgana, by Jacob M. Appel

I won a signed copy of Coulrophobia & Fata Morganaby Jacob M. Appel, through LIbraryThing.

Description from Goodreads:
In his ninth book and fifth collection of stories, Jacob M. Appel introduces readers to a a diplomats wife who attempts to seduce her chimney sweep through Norwegian lessons, a minister whose dead wife is romantically involved with Greta Garbo and a landlord menaced by a rent-delinquent mime.

This is a collection of short stories and I’m on record several times as stating that I’m not a big fan of short stories, because I rarely find them satisfying. But if I’m going to read them I prefer to get my hands on a collection like this one. It gives me more of a feeling for the author than a mere 20 page snippet alone. And I liked Appel’s writing. I found the stories thoughtful and meaningful, which in a lot of circumstances is my biggest complaint about shorts. I don’t feel the accomplish anything by their end. Not here, I ended this book happy to have read it and each story in it.

A man recently told me I don’t review short stories properly, inferring that I’m reading them incorrectly. And I suppose if you expect me to be able and/or willing to go on at length about this being an example of the X type of story or the Y narrative format, I’d have to reluctantly swallow my allegation of mansplaining and concede the point. But I rather read and review shorts based on the simple maxim that I must enjoy them, regardless or how or why. I enjoyed Appel’s stories. It doesn’t matter to me why. That is enough. I easily recommend this book to those looking for a collection of easily digestible short stories.

Review of Dog Days, by T.A. Moore

I borrowed Dog Days, by T. A. Moore from Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:
The world ends not with a bang, but with a downpour. Tornadoes spin through the heart of London, New York cooks in a heat wave that melts tarmac, and Russia freezes under an ever-thickening layer of permafrost. People rally at first—organizing aid drops and evacuating populations—but the weather is only getting worse. 

In Durham, mild-mannered academic Danny Fennick has battened down to sit out the storm. He grew up in the Scottish Highlands, so he’s seen harsh winters before. Besides, he has an advantage. He’s a werewolf. Or, to be precise, a weredog. Less impressive, but still useful. 

Except the other werewolves don’t believe this is any ordinary winter, and they’re coming down over the Wall to mark their new territory. Including Danny’s ex, Jack–the Crown Prince Pup of the Numitor’s pack–and the prince’s brother, who wants to kill him. 

A wolf winter isn’t white. It’s red as blood.

Eh, it was cute in its own way, I guess. I liked Danny a lot, but I never warmed up to Jack. He was arrogant and rude, start to finish. And yes, I get that as a wolf he didn’t have the same human sentiments or mores, but I never liked him. And disliking one of the main characters is hard on a book.

The writing was fine, but it all felt a little pointless. There is a whole apocalyptic set up and quite a lot of time is dedicated to it, but ultimately it’s all backdrop to a minor battle that doesn’t really effect anything in the long run. Maybe this is the first in a series, it might make more sense then. But as it stands now, I finished it feeling pretty meh about the whole thing. I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t overly impressed either.