Stone and a Hard Place

Stone and a Hard PlaceStone and a Hard Place
(Alistair Stone Chronicles 1)
by: R.L King

(Supernatural/Magic)

305 pages [Nook Book]

Occult Studies professor and mage, Alistair Stone, reluctantly accepts an apprentice and attempts to assist an old lady who senses something sinister in her home. Things don’t go according to plan.

Thanks to the wonderful ebook-hunting-entity known as BookBub, I got the first four books of this series for $.99. The excerpt that I read seemed promising. As it turned out, this book was alright, but also a little disappointing. I’m hoping that perhaps the second book will be better. Fingers crossed.

It starts off well enough. Cool nerds are my favorite, and Alistair fits that description nicely. Also, he’s British. I don’t know why that makes his character more appealing, especially since I can’t hear his charming accent in the dialogue, but it does, just a little.

There are two main problems with this story, lack of depth and a plot based on mistakes. Regarding depth, we know absolutely nothing about Alistair’s background. Even just a hint of something greater would have been nice, something to create a greater arc for the series, like in The Dresden Files books. Regarding plot, I can forgive the apprentice, Ethan’s, stupidity to a certain extent, but Alistair is continually unprepared and often overlooks key elements. I prefer a plot where people make good decisions and things still go wrong, rather than things going wrong because he was too busy to pick up the phone or grill Ethan on his extracurricular activities. There were just so many assumptions on both character’s parts driving the plot.

The magic was well enough thought out, with some rules and such to govern it, but I would like to know more about it. The supernatural “thing” was pretty cool, and its presence built up slowly, which kept it interesting. The ending was a surprise, even if it was a bit abrupt.

I feel like there is potential with this series and I’m not quite ready to give up on it yet, and not just because I want to get my 99 cents worth. Until next time…

Happy Reading!
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Othella {Arcadian Heights 1}

OthellaOthella {Arcadian Heights 1}

By: Therin Knite

knitewrites.com

(Thriller/SciFi)

302 pages (Trade Paperback)

 

“Welcome to Arcadian Heights, where the world’s brightest minds go in…and don’t come out.”

*   *   *

Therin Knite’s books are fast paced and super easy to read, not to mention that the printed versions have such lovely print I didn’t really need my glasses! They make for great breaks in between those super long, epic, fantasy novels. In this case though, I was suffering from a bit of a book hangover from The Wise Man’s Fear, so I had a little trouble adjusting to this one.

Othella is a little bit dark since it takes place at a point in time, frighteningly not far from now, where the world is on the verge of apocalypse. The impending doom creates for a tense and interesting tale, but a more serious one.

There are no heroes in this story. Each of the three main characters’ actions are done for selfish reasons like revenge, fame, or survival. As a result, I didn’t feel for them quite as much as I could have. This is more about watching the chaos unfold and wondering what will happen when everything falls apart. I did like how we got to follow the perspective of the one character who most closely resembled a villain. Watching him do bad things in the name of ensuring a future for the human race, and then watching him live with the consequences was fascinating. There were times I felt bad for him, and then felt that I shouldn’t be feeling bad for him because of the things he’d done. There is the question of who has the moral high ground, how far is too far to go to try and save the human race?

I was a lot more invested in the story by the end. When stories move quickly and are split up across three characters like this, it takes a little time to get to know them well enough. Since this is shaping up to be a trilogy it makes perfect sense. I’ve noticed this pattern before in books that were the first of a series.

This was a solidly good book, and I would certainly recommend it. If I gave Therin’s first book, Echoes five stars, I’d give this one four, but only because I liked the subject matter of Echoes a little bit more. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series. Often, whenever I finish reading one of my favorite books, anything I read afterward seems terrible, whether it is or not. I have to say, this one held up well against a serious book hangover and that’s saying something. Until next time…

Happy Reading!

Solace

SolaceSolace

By: Therin Knite

knitewrites.com

(YA/Time Travel)

317 pages (ebook)

 

Corina resents the father who had the nerve to die, far off in a war torn country, without ever getting the chance to know her, that is, until a mysterious stranger gives her the chance to meet him. Insert time travel superpowers here.

*   *   *

I really think we need more YA books like this. No deadly, yet mysterious, hot guys, no supernatural love triangles, just a girl getting to know her father. Now, I wasn’t really looking to read another young adult novel so soon after the Gemma Doyle disappointment, but I received a free, no-strings-attached, digital copy of Solace from the author, and since I wanted to break in my brand new Nook, I thought I’d give it a read. While I’ve purchased Therin Knite’s other two books Echoes and Othella (which I haven’t quite gotten to yet) I probably wouldn’t have picked up this one on my own, so I’m happy this freebie got me to read it, because it is a wonderful story.

It was surprisingly good, not that I had any reason to think it would be bad judging by how much I liked Echoes, but the premise sounded a little depressing, and being a young adult novel, I thought it might not be what I was looking for. In reality, it was ultimately more uplifting than it was depressing, and while it was certainly emotional, it wasn’t sappy or melodramatic. The characters were fun. I loved their attitudes and frankness. And there was far more action than I expected, making it a very quick read, and never boring or slow.

I only have one complaint.

Generally, I like the author’s use of short sentences to give punch and immediacy to the story. There’s no excessive verbiage to navigate through, just the right amount of description to know what’s going on, which is especially effective in a first-person novel like this one. However, there were quite a few occasions where those sentences seemed incomplete, like fragments. Now, I’m no expert, and maybe that’s just a style issue, but sometimes I just really wanted to string two sentences together with a comma…really badly. I only mention this because I didn’t notice this in Echoes, so I’m not sure why it happened here.

Overall, I really liked this story, and those little writing issues didn’t detract from the enjoyment of it at all. If Terry Brooks can use “wordlessly” ad nauseam, Therin Knite can have potentially fragmented sentences. Until next time…

Happy Reading!

 

Echoes

EchoesEchoes

By: Therin Knite

knitewrites.com

(Scifi/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal)

213 pages

My first ever indie review…yippee!!

Before I get into the story, I’d like to first say that I’m impressed with the whole package. I chose to purchase the paperback version rather than download it (I have this thing about being able to physically hold the things I pay for) and the printed version is wonderfully professional. The cover art is great, and this thing was edited well, better than a few big name publishers I’ve reviewed before. I have come across entire repeated paragraphs in books published the traditional way and I didn’t find a single typo in this. Well done.

This was a fun story, not too serious, but not too light either. It was a lovely balance. It’s difficult for me to nail down the genre which had elements of science fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal, and even felt a bit like a thriller in some places. I liked the mix of elements in this. Government agencies, super powers, deadly dream dragons…yup, that’s just a fun combination.

The characters were all nicely unique and I enjoyed the interactions between them. There was plenty of snark and attitude, but not in an over-the-top kind of way. It was entertaining rather than irritating and it felt genuine rather than being there just for the sake of it. I liked the characters a lot, especially Dynara Chamberlain. Her personality is sprightly but tough and I find her fascinating…not to mention kick-ass.

What was truly wonderful about this book was that I didn’t guess the ending at all. I have what I like to call story brain. I have a tendency to predict things in stories based on all the stories I have already experienced and the stories I’ve been writing in my head for so many years. There weren’t any slow parts with this story either. It didn’t drag on in any way and at 213 pages it was a refreshing read. So many of the books I’m drawn to turn out to be 700+ pages, so when I find something I like that’s short and sweet I’m very happy.  Can’t wait till the sequel!

And I will leave you with this brief quote from the story. I just really liked the description here so I thought I’d jot it down.

“His hands are as steady as rocks, the result of decades of laughing in the face of death until he came to believe it was truly funny.”

Awesome. Until next time…

Happy Reading!