Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I am editing books now, so no longer reviewing them

I have become a paid editor of books, so I feel it is a conflict of interest for me to continue reviewing books. I apologize to those who were looking forward to more of my reviews. I will leave up the reviews I have already posted, though. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: "Heirs of Mars," by Joseph Robert Lewis

Joseph Robert Lewis merges paranormal romance with classic science fiction in "Heirs of Mars." His main character Asher's paranormal ability is grafting a living person's memories onto a lifelike android body. Nevermind that Asher uses science to do this; the results are paranormal. The government has decided the dying Mars colony cannot survive without saving the memories of their doctors and scientists this way, but that doesn't mean the flesh and blood citizens of Mars will accept these androids. Quite the contrary, they fear and reject these machines that have the feelings and memories of people.

Danger comes from another side, too. In movie terms, "Heirs of Mars" is like "The 6th Day" combined with "Blade Runner to meet "Terminator 2." The mechanism that puts living people's memories onto androids is like in "The 6th Day." These androids are no more welcome in society than those in "Blade Runner." The danger from another side resembles Sky Net from "Terminator II." Like the Terminator series and Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot,"  "Heirs of Mars" begs the question: What if human memories can be grafted onto computers and then computers themselves become sentient? Would this be paradise or hell? Before you laugh, the human memories being grafted onto computers part is closer to reality than you might think.

The love story (yes, there is one and it rocks!) is like no other. It starts out bittersweet and has many unexpected twists and turns. I don't want to tell more than that. I don't want to spoil the love story.

What I have just told you should help you keep all the characters straight as you read this gripping story. The point of view keeps shifting. Many comments at Amazon say this is annoying, but I was fascinated to read the story from all the different points of view, including those of the minions of this story's version of Sky Net. Some comments say the story moves too quickly, without enough setting information or scene description. I disagree. I think this is a plus rather than a minus. Everything is through the eyes of characters in the story. This helps us understand the characters better.

Ray Bradbury died recently, so I cannot ask him to back me up on this, but I think he would love this Mars story. That is saying a lot! I read "The Martian Chronicles" in the 1970s, when I was a teen. "Heirs of Mars" is as good, or dare I say it, even better.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: "Awake: A Fairy Tale," by Jessica Grey

Reading "Awake: A Fairytale," by Jessica Grey is as much fun as playing pretend with friends was, back when I was a little girl. This book is wonderful! I read it months ago, and I still can see vivid pictures in my mind of all the beautiful magical things Jessica describes as they happen. There are jeweled crowns, magical flowery gardens, and even fairy tale castles. But it all happens within a modern day story line about Alexandra Martin's summer internship at a gem and mineral museum -- and two handsome men!

This is a very original and unique story. The closest I can get to describing it with movies is "Night at the Museum" meets "Enchanted." You have modern day characters interacting with fantasy characters -- and being effected by the magic in the fantasy characters' fairy tales.

Lex, Becca, Luke, and all the characters in this book seem like real people to me. I loved being along on their adventure with them. They kept me grounded enough in reality so that as this story gradually waded deeper and deeper into fantasy, I went right in and enjoyed every minute of it. The romance is a big part of the story, and it pans out in an unexpected and delightful way. I don't want to spoil the romance, so that is all I want to say about it, but you will not be disappointed if romance is what you seek!

I don't want to say much at all about the plot, because it is so full of delightful surprises! Let me just assure you this is a well-plotted story with many whimsical twists and turns -- and delightful, lovable characters! There are villains, too, and they are the type you love to hate. There is suspense, action, adventure, and even comedy. This book is the good stuff.

The story sample you can read at Amazon hints at it, but doesn't go into the paranormal romance element of the story yet. It is there in heaps, believe me!

If you loved fairy tales when you were a kid -- like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and especially Sleeping Beauty -- and now you are older and ready for a more complex novel with modern day characters and settings, you will love this novel. It says it is part of a trilogy, but it is a complete story on its own. There are no annoying cliff hangers. The other two novels in the series are not out yet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: "Farsighted," by Emlyn Chand

I really love Emlyn Chand's book, "Farsighted." It's so different from most of the books I have read. There is a sequel out now, too. Even though Emlyn is female, she writes from Alex Kosmitoras's point of view convincingly as a guy.

The guy's point of view is different enough to be fun -- but wait, Alex is also blind. Emlyn Chand does a great job showing us what it might be like to not only be blind, and a guy, but to also have visions of things that come to pass. Get it? Far sighted, like seeing things in the future.

The story even gets better! Enter Simmi, a mysterious new girl from India. Alex knows whenever Simmi is around because the air smells like coconuts. I use a Kirkland hair conditioner from Costco that smells like coconuts, and I am reminded of Simmi every time I use it.

It is fun just imagining myself hanging out at school with Alex and Simmi as Alex bumbles through his day and begins to fall in love with Simmi. She amazes Alex by actually taking an interest in him and hanging out with him. Their other friend, Shapri, is fun to hang out with, too -- she stands up to the school bully! There is a surprising amount of action in this book, but it is rated G.

Alex's home life is engrossing, too. He is almost a man. He wants to be independent, but his mom always wants to baby him. I guess any mom with a blind son probably would baby him. Talk about an extra hard time breaking free and becoming your own person.

But those visions Alex has that come to pass -- they spell doom for Simmi. Over and over again, Alex "sees" Simmi die a violent death. How can he stop this from happening? Alex has to figure out how to use his visions in time to save Simmi's life.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: "Pyxis," by K.C. Neal

I can't get over how sweet the novel "Pyxis" by K.C. Neal is. The love story between Corinne Finley and Mason Flint starts out in the bittersweet stage when you think you have lost an old friend because of a romance you think has failed between you. If you can imagine this, their love story only gets sweeter as the novel progresses -- always staying with the G rating.

I love the way Corinne discovers her hidden talents through baking, of all things! This is very original and fresh. I love how her talents work, too, and how they involve her friends and family in an original way that is as sweet as the rest of this novel. Even her grandma, great aunt, and elderly neighbor are involved. I love how danger works its way into Corinne's life through the very relationships she cherishes most. I could not put this book down the first time I read it, and I have read it twice since I got it this year!

Corinne is a little snarky, in addition to being sweet. I like her. I enjoyed her snide comments about Sophie, the popular girl in school. I love how she points out that her brother gets to stay out past midnight, but there is a double standard when it comes to Corinne because she is a girl. I like that she works at her parents' coffee house after school, too. I worked during my high school years, but at KFC. I only wish I would have worked at a coffee house, which is much cooler. Yet Corinne only sees that it is her parents' shop.

I love the sweet small-town feel of this G-rated paranormal romance novel, too. All the teens hang out at "The Cove" together, so there is a school-type feeling about their lives even outside of school. That is very different from how my school years were, in Southern California where no one even knows their neighbor's name, let alone all the people they go to high school with.

I'm excited that a sequel to Pyxis is coming out soon. It promises to be a sweet series where I can pretend to live in this small town where everyone has known each other all their lives and only Corinne and her friends and older relatives know about the monsters who lurk near "The Cove."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review: "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side," by Beth Fantaskey

Yes, "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side," by Beth Fantaskey, is another vampire book. But, it has elements of "The Princess Diaries" in addition to elements of "Twilight." I'm blogging about this book, so it is rated G. (Whew!) It is also a great story! It's very funny in parts, and also sends good body-image and decision-making messages to women. I loved this book and was sad to be done reading it.

Lucius Vladescu starts out as an Edwardeque stalker. After all, he and Jessica Packwood have been destined from birth to marry each other and fulfill their two families' pact. He treats Jessica like the princess she is, while making it very clear he intends to marry her and take her away from her suburban life.

However, Jessica has only just now found out she is a princess, let alone a vampire princess who is especially ready for a vampire's bite to change her. She has to get used to this idea. She also likes another man, an ordinary "peasant," the way Lucius sees it.

Lucius is smart enough to realize that coming on strong isn't getting him the girl. He changes tactics and plays "hard to get" and "get her jealous." And then, just as Jessica starts to fall for Lucius, he falls for Jessica, too -- and decides that she is better off without him...  Yes, this part is very similar to Twilight.

The Vladescus are a real family of real vampires, though. They are actually dangerous and conniving, completely different from the altruistic Cullens. Lucius is entirely right, in thinking that Jessica is better off without him and his family. Little does he know he has entirely underestimated the power of love.

I found Lucius every bit as luscious as Edward Cullen -- without all of Bella's gushing about his beauty every two pages. Jessica is a fun character who is easy to like. Her parents are even weirder than Bella Swan's mother, though. Be warned. They are downright hippies.