Tournament of Books 2015
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

Customer Comments

nrlymrtl has commented on (250) products.

Black Ships by Jo Graham
Black Ships

nrlymrtl, February 28, 2015

This is the story of Gull, a slave born of a slave. Her mother and many people like her were taken from fallen Troy. Gull was allowed to stay with her mother, working the flax that grew along the irrigation ditches until the day an accident left her crippled. Her mother found her another role in life, that as acolyte at the temple of Pythia, she who speaks for the Lady of the Dead. Gull grows up learning the inner mysteries of the Underworld and prophecy. Her life takes her places she could hardly foresee.

Several years ago, back before I became a book reviewer, I read several Jo Graham novels and loved each and every one of them. Having this book rendered as an audiobook does not diminish my enjoyment of her work one bit. This is a beautiful story full of deities who meddle in human affairs, rulers who may care little for the common folk, and ill luck rained down on those already beaten low. Through all these obstacles, our heroes must endure and over come.

Gull, who becomes Pythia, isn’t just some unthinking priestess that reacts to the whims of her goddess. No, quite often she must apply her own knowledge and thoughts to the situation. And yet this balanced by the hand of the Lady occasionally laying heavily upon her handmaiden. I really enjoy this aspect of the book. These ancient peoples were not separate and free of their deities ��" no! They lived side by side with them, each complimenting the other. However, the writing is clever in that if you don’t have a bend toward the supernatural, you can read all the events and decisions as acts of nature (weather) and/or man-made (hallucinogenic drugs). It is great that the author left it up to the reader’s interpretation.

For those that have studied the fall of Troy and what followed after, there will be touchstones for you to recognize in this book. While my own knowledge is only passing, even I caught a few of these. So often we look at ancient history as rather dry and happening so long ago that it doesn’t touch us personally. This book brings that ancient history alive and puts face and heart to the tale.

Gull’s people are a people without a home. Her wisdom and visions help guide the people as they search for a safe harbor, and later for a more permanent solution. Throughout much of the tale, she gives counsel to Prince Aeneas, the lost prince of Troy. Their travels take them all around the Mediterranean. This allowed our main characters to compare various great cities of the time such as the main cities of Egypt, Byblos, and others.

Gull is far from the only plot-important woman in this story. The author did a good job of realistically portraying women of the time without diminishing their roles in society or in the shaping of history. Also, because Gull’s people are traveling so much, we get a comparison of women’s roles from culture to culture.

This was an excellent book the first time I explored it and it remains an excellent book now. The characters were intriguing and the plot gripping. The ending was very satisfying.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



Faery Swap

nrlymrtl, February 16, 2015

Finn and his sister are new to England, their father recently having moved the family to near Stonehenge. With his mother newly killed in a car accident, his father has been mostly absence, throwing himself into his work. It’s up to Finn to get his sister to and from school and make sure she’s fed. But Finn’s life is about to get a bit tougher, because Faery Prince Zaneyr needs a human body. Zaneyr’s father, king of the Faery realm, has a crazy plan to reunite Earth and Faery. But many worry that will simply kill many humans and potentially destroy both worlds. So Zaneyr plans to flee the Faery realm and take up permanent residence in the human world.

This was a great listen. I quickly became attached to Finn and then his little sister. The story started off pretty light with just a bit of bullying and a still-grieving father. Once Zaneyr takes Finn’s body, he has to figure out what the human world is all about…and that leads to some funny misunderstandings. While Zaneyr struggles with concepts like enforced schooling and gets sucked into handheld games, Finn is struggling to understand the Faery realm as a disembodied spirit. He runs into a few helpful people…..or perhaps they just want to use Finn for their own means. One such is Pix, who wants to keep Finn around to assist him with his poetic aspirations. Pix was a very amusing side character!

And then things get a little more serious as we learn more about the Faery King’s plans and the potential for destroying lives, if not worlds. Zaneyr’s concern comes through loud and clear at this point and you really feel for the (what feels like) impossible situation he finds himself in. We also learn more about Finn’s father and his latest work with physics, which ties directly into the possibility of the two worlds crashing into one another.

There’s a couple times that Zaneyr and Finn face off and they were some of the most intense scenes in the book. I was a bit torn as to who to route for! The mix of humor, fantasy, action, and intensity was perfect. Definitely a worthy read!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes by Henry Herz
Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes

nrlymrtl, February 16, 2015

Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes is a delightful book for young kids (perhaps 3-6 years old) and fun for parents too. It takes several well known nursery rhymes and twists them just a bit to pull in more fantastical creatures and put on the barest touch of sinister or scary. Each rhyme is shot, perhaps 4 or 6 lines, and this makes it easy for young kids to remember and repeat. For older kids or adults, it gives a good base for them to make up the rest of the nursery rhyme, continuing in the same vein of fantastical beasts.

The illustrations in this book really make it a page turner, and a book that kids and parents alike will enjoy returning too. I was often surprised at the detail for a kids rhyming book, as well as the lush colors. The rhymes themselves pull in a bestiary’s worth of mythical creatures. The illustrations help the imagination picture each and every one of these beasties.

All around, it is an excellent kid’s book and I recommend it for the fun the young and the old will both get out of it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



Alpha Trio: The Complete Collection

nrlymrtl, February 16, 2015

Note: This book is composed of three separate, stand-alone short stories: Cats & Dogs, The New Girl, and A Special Taste.

In regards to the collection, each story follows one of three Lupei brothers and a woman. Emillian (Em) and Cat feature in the first book, Andrei (Drei) and Cassandra in the second, and Grigore (Grig) and Kall in the last. The three brothers are wolf shifters of the Alpha Pack and work in a kind of supernatural police force. Their mom is their boss. The boys like to blow off steam at the night club, 5tM, in the VIP section. They tend to run into vampires there and do what werewolves do when they meet a new vampire ��" attempt to kill it. But all that is just back drop for the sex, for this is, indeed, erotica. No doubt about that. Over all, all the parties involved are gorgeous and the sex is hot. Below is a short review of each individual story.

Cats & Dogs

For some reason, Emillian brought a rather silly and immature girl as his date to 5tM. He’s bored with her. Luckily, he notices a scuffle in the back alley and rescues Cat Dennis. His mere presence scared off the foe, so he can get right to the business of charming the slightly scuffed young lady. Vampires are soon on the scene however and Em must whisk her away to his apartment (where she will be perfectly safe…. in his shower) while his brothers fight the evil undead. Sparks build between these two and pretty soon Em is opening up to her a little, and then she spreads her legs and they have a very good time. There’s a mystery surrounding Cat and danger continues to be an issue, but for the moment, she can enjoy nuzzling her new-found shifter lover.

Em gets a background, a job, real thoughts, and real lines. Cat eventually gets a job (though we learn almost nothing about it) and no background. She also doesn’t get insightful lines or thoughts. So, I found her rather vapid. The sex between the two was hot, but since I wasn’t connected to Cat, I couldn’t get into it that much.

The New Girl

Andrei is the biggest, most heavily muscled of the three brothers. He’s also very tall. So it is very rare for anyone to ignore him, especially straight women. But there is this red-headed barkeep (Cassandra) at 5tM that is doing just that and it is extremely aggravating to Drei. I think this is good for him, pushing him to grow his interpersonal skills. So the boys and Cat end up in the back alley again, and once again silly vampires show up and attack. Grigore is injured and needs tending to pronto and, luckily, Cassandra knows just what to do. Of course this freaks the Lupei brothers out, since she is a mere Mundane human and shouldn’t know anything about shifters or vampires. Turns out Cassandra has a special gift and she is whisked away to Alpha Pack headquarters. There, the Big Boss (the Lupei brothers’ mom) decides she needs round the clock protection for a while. Drei offers to keep her entertained….with his manhood.

More bedroom gymnastics ensue and it is super hot! Cassandra has more personality and backstory than Cat, so I was intrigued by both Drei and Cassandra in this story. It made their mating more intimate.

A Special Taste

Grigore is starting to feel like the fifth wheel at the party ��" both his brothers have Mates and are into public displays of affection. Grig is wallowing in his single, unattached stud status one night, drinking way too much. He ends up in the alley behind 5tM and is ambushed by several vampires. Lucky for him, a dark-haired warrior swoops in and rescues him. They have to hide for a bit in a dark sewer where they over hear some nefarious plans by the vampires (and make out a little). Once safe, Kall introduces herself and lists her demands. She has an idea of why the vampires keep returning to 5tM and how to stop them for good. But she is also a highly capable warrior….and something more, and the more could be a threat to the Alpha Pack. She is whisked off to Alpha Pack headquarters where she tells her story and lays out what she knows. Plans are made. The warriors must rest before they act, so Kall and Grig end up sharing a room with bunk beds. However, instead of sleeping, earth-shattering sex occurs instead.

This was my favorite of the three and I think it is because Kall had the most back story of the three ladies. Oh, and she is a badass warrior too. She’s armed and wears practical boots for vampire stomping. Also, the sex scenes were more aggressive as Kall likes telling her man exactly what she wants.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



The Fortress in Orion (Dead Enders) by Mike Resnick
The Fortress in Orion (Dead Enders)

nrlymrtl, February 16, 2015

Nathan Pretorius recently finished a mission that left him missing body parts, which have recently been vat-grown and replaced. While he is still in the hospital, his old friend asks him to take on a near impossible mission. He agrees, provided he gets to pick his own team. Pretorious and his team must replace an alien Traanskei ruler, Michkag, with a clone. This clone Michkag will help steer the Traanskei Coalition towards peace with the Democracy. The chances of survival and success are both quite small.

This was a quick read containing much of the tropes military scifi is known for. It was fast paced and had interesting characters, who were a bit predictable, but never the less easy to connect with. The author doesn’t spend much time developing alien cultures or delving into the history of his heroes. The mission is laid out, the characters set in place, so just sit back and enjoy the ride!

I really liked that Pretorious’s team included not just 1 female, but 3. And there was none of that silly BS about justifying a female specialist or 3 on the mission. Pretorious didn’t blink at the gender of any of his team mates because he was focused on their skills. Tis refreshing in military scifi and receives 2 thumbs up from me.

Felix Ortega is basically the team’s strong man, having been mostly replaced over the years as one mission after another removed this body part or that. In essence, he is a cyborg. Pandora is super good with computers and can tap into nearly any information line or bypass most every security system. Meanwhile, Cersei uses her empathic abilities to weed out the liars. Snake is a contortionist, and tiny. She can fit into places you wouldn’t think of tucking a pet turtle into. Together, their nearly impossible mission is safely and secretly take the cloned Michkag and his teacher to a Traanskei stronghold, a fortress in Orion, and make the swap. Along the way, the pick up Proto, a strange alien with a nebulous past who can project images into another sentient being’s mind.

The set up for this story is really good and I was hooked right away. But as the story moves forward, not a lot happens. There isn’t much conflict. The few hiccups the team comes across, they deal with quickly and quietly. There was so much hype at the beginning of the book about how dangerous this mission was and then so little happens to the team. Quite frankly, I got a little bored with everything going so well.

On the other hand, Resnick has set this story in a big galaxy with plenty of room to grow. While he didn’t delve deep in the Traanskei Coalition (he did have several alien words scattered throughout the book), he set the first building blocks to do so in future installments to the series.

There was one little plot point that niggled at me through out the story. Pretorious is this seasoned secret deadly mission character. It’s not his first time to the rodeo. However, he makes a could of first time commanding a deadly secret mission mistakes. I felt like these were thrown in to move the story forward, but it also made it hard to believe that Pretorious was as seasoned and capable as we were told he was

It’s a fun quick listen (or read) without the need to engage your higher brain. The characters are memorable, if a bit static. The mission was fun. I look forward to seeing what else Resnick can do with this world he has created and this team he has assembled.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



1-5 of 250next
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.