Tag Archives: fantasy

Review of Whispers From Another World (Whitney Powers #1), by Jason Paul Rice

I received a Audible code for a copy of Whispers From Another World (by Jason Paul Rice) from the narrator Tiffany Willams.

Description from Goodreads:
A strong-willed woman. A new cop on the local force. Two lonely souls find each other and embark on a paranormal mystery adventure.

Twelve-year-old Whitney Powers looks at the books on supernatural phenomena in a dark corner of the Granny Larson Library. As she stares, the bookshelf begins to shake and a prism-like flash of light blinds her momentarily.

Whitney goes missing for the next three days. Finally, a local patrolman finds her a few miles from the library. Her explanation of the incident causes her to be ridiculed for the next eighteen years. Despite countless opportunities to leave and end the abuse, she’s stayed in this small town.

Why has she always remained close to the Granny Larson Library, which is supposedly haunted?

What happened during those three days that’s forcing her to stay back and work at the library?

Review:
I really hate doing this. I always feel guilty when I offer to review a book and then have to say bad things about it. I know there are reviewers out there that request a book to do just that. I’m not that person. I go into a book hoping to love it and I’m disappointed when I don’t.

But honestly, this story just does not hang together. The ghosts are extraneous to the plot. Whitney is a random ‘chosen one,’ special for no apparent reason and far, far too perfect. But worst of all is the attempt an being a police procedural. Reasonably, if she didn’t end up dead she’d be in jail for impersonating a police officer and interfering in an active investigation, instead of being given some vague ‘clearance’ and invited to work with the special police. None of it works! At all.

I try not to generalize. But I honestly think some male authors shouldn’t try to write female characters. Whitney is so incredibly unlikable I almost can’t verbalize it. The things she’s supposed to think are important just make her horrible. Her whole life comes down to pettily rubbing ‘her man’ into the face of people who made fun of her. As if having a man makes her complete. I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes, said “gross” out loud or made gagging motions. For real, if I hadn’t accepted this in exchange for a review I wouldn’t have finished it. It’s that bad.

The writing seems mechanically fine, though I had the audio so I can’t be certain. But its the sort that leans heavily on ‘very,’ ‘extremely,’ ‘really’ and far too many adjectives. Tiffany Williams did a fine job with the narration, but the story is an utter flop.

Review of Mission: Improper (London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy #1), by Bec McMaster

I snagged a copy of Bec McMaster‘s Mission: Improper from Amazon.

Description from Goodreads:
Three years ago, London society changed forever, with a revolution placing the widowed Queen firmly on the throne her blue blood husband tried to take from her. Humans, verwulfen and mechs are no longer considered the lesser classes, but not everybody is happy with the new order… 

Entire families have gone missing in the East End. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances. Hunting criminals is what the darkly driven blue blood does best, and though he prefers to work alone, the opportunity is too good to resist. 

The problem? He’s partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting. 

Soon they’re chasing whispered rumours of a secret project gone wrong, and a monster that just might be more dangerous than either of them combined. The only way to find out more is to go undercover among the blue blood elite… But when their hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy, Byrnes and Ingrid must set aside their age-old rivalry if they have any chance at surviving a treacherous plot.

Review:
This was ok, not great for me, but not too bad either. It’s the sort of book that tempts me, but generally disappoints me in the end. It presents a strong-willed, self-reliant woman, one that even takes charge in the bedroom. But then always somehow turns the plotting just so, leaving her waiting passively to be claimed by the man. So close to something I love, just to turn into something that annoys me.

But I still might have enjoyed this a lot, McMaster’s can write well, except for a SERIOUS PET PEEVE. Some authors and/or publishers have this infuriating habit of looking at a running series and, I don’t know, deciding not enough people will but a sixth book in a series. So, they go, “Hey, let’s just make it a spinoff series and then we can call it book 1 and people who haven’t read the previous 5 books will still buy it.” Yay, sounds great. NO.

You see, Mission: Improper is labeled book 1. But it is book 6. Sure, I could follow the plot. But I could definitely feel I was missing a lot. All the characters knew one another. They had and discussed history that I’m fairly sure was the plot of past books in the London Steampunk series. I never felt I got to know the main characters, because they had already met before the start of this book. It’s a continuation of something. While technically this book stands on its own, you feel the lack of past books A LOT. And that’s seriously annoying when you are reading a ‘BOOK 1.’

Review of River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey

I borrowed a copy of Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

Review:
Awesome cover and really interesting plot, with the hippos and all. I liked the alternative history and the characters. I liked the wildly diverse cast and the speech patterns. I thought the writing was clean and easy to read. But I also thought it was all just a little too vague. There were aspects of the plot skimmed over that left me uncertain how or why some things happened. The book is only 170 pages long. There was plenty of room to fill it out more. I’ll be happy to read the sequel though. Because for all its faults,it was just plain fun.