Discussion:
Books read in May
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Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2016-05-29 05:34:06 UTC
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I am going to try to restrain myself to a few sentences this
time since these are not reviews.

I think there were a few more books that I'm missing..

_Star Nomad_ by Lindsay Buroker
Buroker does "Star Wars", and pretty well.

_In Shining Armor_ (Pax Arcana 4) by Elliot James
John Charming's goddaughter is kidnaped
to disrupt the tenuous Templar/Werewolf alliance.
Good interplay on Charming's deepening relationship
with his Valkyrie girlfriend, but the plot machinations
seem overcomplex (despite lampshading of same).

_Bare Bones_ (The Templar 3) by Debra Dunbar
Another Templar story. Here, Baltimore's only
Templar has to solve a mystery involving skinned
corpses while dealing with her evolving feelings
towards her vampire "friend" and trying to communicate
with the spirit of her dead bestie. Aria is a bit
irritatingly slow here in realizing she is dealing
with beings that can wear a slain human's skin.

_The Fowl Proposal_ by Lindsay Buroker
A series of free scenes originally posted to Buroker's
website dealing with the events leading up to the
marriage of Zirkander and Sardelle. Nice little
character touches involving Zirkander and various
series supporting cast, but no major events.

_Liberty_ (Flash Gold 5) by Lindsay Buroker
This belated series closer ties up most of the
loose ends in this Steampunk adventure, but lacks
a certain zip as if Buroker felt duty bound to end
things, but was impatient to move on to her next
project.

_Burned_ (Alex Verus 7) by Benedict Jaka
Somewhat reminiscent of Harry Dresden and his
"Doom of Damocles", Divination mage Alex Verus finds
himself arbitrarily scheduled for execution, along
with his closest associates unless he can sway enough
council members to his side to tip the vote. This
book brings home starkly that Verus's refusal to
join a team or be a team is not sustainable and
major events ensure his life will never be the same
again. Never the most comfortable "people person"
he also seems rather oblivious to the fact
that he is falling in love.

_Rider of the Crown_ by Melissa McShane
Imogen is a princess of the horse nomads whose range abuts
an enemy state of the kingdom of Tremontane. Given in
spiritual marriage to an uncouth and treacherous headman of
said state (whose name I cannot bring to mind), she eventually
sees no choice but to flee and act as her mother's ambassador
in forming an alliance with Tremontane, all the while
gradually falling in love with its king. This entry in the
Tremontane family saga impressed me less than the first one
I read, _Servant of the Crown_ which was a sprightly
Regency-ish romance. Interestingly, in this entry, something
so far unspecified (but probably fatal) has happened to the
prince/love interest from the first book.

_Angel Stakes_ (Bite Back 5) by Mark Henwick
Along with the gradually accelerating (and so far
unsanctioned) Emergence, Amber is dealing with the
after affects of her instability (being new to vampirism
and lycantrhopy and having to run critical missions with
no mentor support will do that..), the ongoing political
fallout of events in the Athenate (vampire) world and
continuing to grow her own "House". If that weren't
enough, a piece of her past which she had long suppressed
has surfaced and must be dealt with now, or more young
women will go through the ordeal she faced.

I don't know. I confess that this book, while not bad,
felt to me like Henwick losing himself to a cause he
felt passionately about. I get that "human trafficking == bad",
but the villains we got were so over the top (huge slave auctions
on US soil with lots of high rollers in attendance) that it
was hard suspend disbelief.

_Knocking On Demon's Door_ by Cathryn Fox
A half demon and plucky policewoman must
take out a snuff porno ring being run out
of an upscale ski resort. I would say this was
more erotica than a real urban fantasy. Or maybe
you could say hot romance, since all the sex was
between the two principals..
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Brian M. Scott
2016-05-29 16:12:39 UTC
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On 29 May 2016 05:34:06 GMT, "Ted Nolan <tednolan>"
<***@loft.tnolan.com> wrote
in<news:***@mid.individual.net> in
rec.arts.sf.written:

[...]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
_In Shining Armor_ (Pax Arcana 4) by Elliot James
John Charming's goddaughter is kidnaped
to disrupt the tenuous Templar/Werewolf alliance.
Good interplay on Charming's deepening relationship
with his Valkyrie girlfriend, but the plot machinations
seem overcomplex (despite lampshading of same).
It’s a solid series; not quite top of the line, but one
that I’m happy to keep following.

[...]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
_Rider of the Crown_ by Melissa McShane
Imogen is a princess of the horse nomads whose range abuts
an enemy state of the kingdom of Tremontane. Given in
spiritual marriage to an uncouth and treacherous headman of
said state (whose name I cannot bring to mind),
State: Ruskald. Headman: Hrovald.

[...]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
_Angel Stakes_ (Bite Back 5) by Mark Henwick
Along with the gradually accelerating (and so far
unsanctioned) Emergence, Amber is dealing with the
after affects of her instability (being new to vampirism
and lycantrhopy and having to run critical missions with
no mentor support will do that..), the ongoing political
fallout of events in the Athenate (vampire) world and
continuing to grow her own "House". If that weren't
enough, a piece of her past which she had long suppressed
has surfaced and must be dealt with now, or more young
women will go through the ordeal she faced.
I don't know. I confess that this book, while not bad,
felt to me like Henwick losing himself to a cause he
felt passionately about. I get that "human trafficking == bad",
but the villains we got were so over the top (huge slave auctions
on US soil with lots of high rollers in attendance) that it
was hard suspend disbelief.
Still one of the best indie series out there. I liked this
book more than its predecessor, though that has more to do
with me than with the merits of the books: there are kinds
of events that I just don’t enjoy reading about. I don’t
have any trouble suspending disbelief. I don’t believe
that it’s actually happening in that form, but the problem
is real, and I can easily imagine it having reached this
level in the world of the novels: that world is a bit
uglier than ours even in the parts that overlap.

[...]

Brian
--
It was the neap tide, when the baga venture out of their
holes to root for sandtatties. The waves whispered
rhythmically over the packed sand: haggisss, haggisss,
haggisss.
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2016-05-29 16:27:57 UTC
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Post by Brian M. Scott
On 29 May 2016 05:34:06 GMT, "Ted Nolan <tednolan>"
[...]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
_In Shining Armor_ (Pax Arcana 4) by Elliot James
John Charming's goddaughter is kidnaped
to disrupt the tenuous Templar/Werewolf alliance.
Good interplay on Charming's deepening relationship
with his Valkyrie girlfriend, but the plot machinations
seem overcomplex (despite lampshading of same).
It's a solid series; not quite top of the line, but one
that I'm happy to keep following.
Yes, me too.
Post by Brian M. Scott
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
_Rider of the Crown_ by Melissa McShane
Imogen is a princess of the horse nomads whose range abuts
an enemy state of the kingdom of Tremontane. Given in
spiritual marriage to an uncouth and treacherous headman of
said state (whose name I cannot bring to mind),
State: Ruskald. Headman: Hrovald.
I knew it was something Rus-ish, but it just wouldn't come to me.
Post by Brian M. Scott
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
_Angel Stakes_ (Bite Back 5) by Mark Henwick
Along with the gradually accelerating (and so far
unsanctioned) Emergence, Amber is dealing with the
after affects of her instability (being new to vampirism
and lycantrhopy and having to run critical missions with
no mentor support will do that..), the ongoing political
fallout of events in the Athenate (vampire) world and
continuing to grow her own "House". If that weren't
enough, a piece of her past which she had long suppressed
has surfaced and must be dealt with now, or more young
women will go through the ordeal she faced.
I don't know. I confess that this book, while not bad,
felt to me like Henwick losing himself to a cause he
felt passionately about. I get that "human trafficking == bad",
but the villains we got were so over the top (huge slave auctions
on US soil with lots of high rollers in attendance) that it
was hard suspend disbelief.
Still one of the best indie series out there. I liked this
book more than its predecessor, though that has more to do
with me than with the merits of the books: there are kinds
of events that I just don't enjoy reading about. I don't
have any trouble suspending disbelief. I don't believe
that it's actually happening in that form, but the problem
is real, and I can easily imagine it having reached this
level in the world of the novels: that world is a bit
uglier than ours even in the parts that overlap.
That's an interesting point and yes, it's still a very good series.
If I were to be consistent, I would have problems with the goings-on
of the Red Court in South America in the Dresden series, which I did not.
Hmm.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Anthony Nance
2016-06-02 12:38:14 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
I am going to try to restrain myself to a few sentences this
time since these are not reviews.
...
...
...
_Burned_ (Alex Verus 7) by Benedict Jaka
Somewhat reminiscent of Harry Dresden and his
"Doom of Damocles", Divination mage Alex Verus finds
himself arbitrarily scheduled for execution, along
with his closest associates unless he can sway enough
council members to his side to tip the vote. This
book brings home starkly that Verus's refusal to
join a team or be a team is not sustainable and
major events ensure his life will never be the same
again. Never the most comfortable "people person"
he also seems rather oblivious to the fact
that he is falling in love.
I forgot this was out (so, thanks!), and I picked it up when
I found myself at the local B&N the next day. I finished it
last night.

It's good, typical Jacka/Verus, but I am really really annoyed
at how it ended[1] - so much so that I might just borrow the next
one from the library and skim through it to see if Jacka just
keeps pulling the rug out from under Verus every chance he gets.

It has become too much like watching Charlie Brown trying to kick
Lucy's football.

Tony
[1] Both at the content/result, and at how it was manipulated
to be that way. Not saying it was incomptent or implausible,
just that the ending was repetitiously predictably aggravating.
Lynn McGuire
2016-06-02 17:53:23 UTC
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Post by Anthony Nance
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
I am going to try to restrain myself to a few sentences this
time since these are not reviews.
...
...
...
_Burned_ (Alex Verus 7) by Benedict Jaka
Somewhat reminiscent of Harry Dresden and his
"Doom of Damocles", Divination mage Alex Verus finds
himself arbitrarily scheduled for execution, along
with his closest associates unless he can sway enough
council members to his side to tip the vote. This
book brings home starkly that Verus's refusal to
join a team or be a team is not sustainable and
major events ensure his life will never be the same
again. Never the most comfortable "people person"
he also seems rather oblivious to the fact
that he is falling in love.
I forgot this was out (so, thanks!), and I picked it up when
I found myself at the local B&N the next day. I finished it
last night.
It's good, typical Jacka/Verus, but I am really really annoyed
at how it ended[1] - so much so that I might just borrow the next
one from the library and skim through it to see if Jacka just
keeps pulling the rug out from under Verus every chance he gets.
It has become too much like watching Charlie Brown trying to kick
Lucy's football.
Tony
[1] Both at the content/result, and at how it was manipulated
to be that way. Not saying it was incomptent or implausible,
just that the ending was repetitiously predictably aggravating.
Lois McMaster Bujold (The Vorksigan Series) once said in a interview, "What else can I do to the little git?". I am sure that she
has left few topics unventured.

Lynn
John F. Eldredge
2016-06-05 02:21:24 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
I am going to try to restrain myself to a few sentences this time
since these are not reviews.
...
...
...
_Burned_ (Alex Verus 7) by Benedict Jaka
Somewhat reminiscent of Harry Dresden and his "Doom of
Damocles", Divination mage Alex Verus finds himself
arbitrarily scheduled for execution, along with his closest
associates unless he can sway enough council members to his
side to tip the vote. This book brings home starkly that
Verus's refusal to join a team or be a team is not sustainable
and major events ensure his life will never be the same again.
Never the most comfortable "people person" he also seems
rather oblivious to the fact that he is falling in love.
I forgot this was out (so, thanks!), and I picked it up when I found
myself at the local B&N the next day. I finished it last night.
It's good, typical Jacka/Verus, but I am really really annoyed at how
it ended[1] - so much so that I might just borrow the next one from the
library and skim through it to see if Jacka just keeps pulling the rug
out from under Verus every chance he gets.
It has become too much like watching Charlie Brown trying to kick
Lucy's football.
Tony [1] Both at the content/result, and at how it was manipulated
to be that way. Not saying it was incomptent or implausible, just
that the ending was repetitiously predictably aggravating.
Lois McMaster Bujold (The Vorksigan Series) once said in a interview,
"What else can I do to the little git?". I am sure that she has left
few topics unventured.
Lynn
That is probably one of the reasons that the latest Vorkosigan book
focused on Cordelia.
Lynn McGuire
2016-06-04 00:19:54 UTC
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Post by Anthony Nance
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
I am going to try to restrain myself to a few sentences this
time since these are not reviews.
...
...
...
_Burned_ (Alex Verus 7) by Benedict Jaka
Somewhat reminiscent of Harry Dresden and his
"Doom of Damocles", Divination mage Alex Verus finds
himself arbitrarily scheduled for execution, along
with his closest associates unless he can sway enough
council members to his side to tip the vote. This
book brings home starkly that Verus's refusal to
join a team or be a team is not sustainable and
major events ensure his life will never be the same
again. Never the most comfortable "people person"
he also seems rather oblivious to the fact
that he is falling in love.
I forgot this was out (so, thanks!), and I picked it up when
I found myself at the local B&N the next day. I finished it
last night.
It's good, typical Jacka/Verus, but I am really really annoyed
at how it ended[1] - so much so that I might just borrow the next
one from the library and skim through it to see if Jacka just
keeps pulling the rug out from under Verus every chance he gets.
Are you talking about the 8th book in the series? If so, I am fairly sure that it has not been released yet.
http://www.amazon.com/Burned-Verus-Novel-Benedict-Jacka/dp/0425275760/

My library does not carry many paperbacks in the stacks.

Lynn
Ahasuerus
2018-07-28 21:49:43 UTC
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On Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 1:34:09 AM UTC-4, Ted Nolan <tednolan> wrote:
[snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
_Angel Stakes_ (Bite Back 5) by Mark Henwick
[snip]

I keep forgetting to write something about this series.
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
I don't know. I confess that this book, while not bad,
felt to me like Henwick losing himself to a cause he
felt passionately about. I get that "human trafficking == bad",
but the villains we got were so over the top (huge slave auctions
on US soil with lots of high rollers in attendance) that it
was hard suspend disbelief.
My WSOD definitely struggled as the series progressed. I could sort-of
accept that ancient definitely-not-vampires could behave the way they
did in the series. After all, I don't know many ancient vampires.
However, his military officers, FBI agents, etc did a lot of violence
to my WSOD.

Later on, as the scope of undercover paranormal activity expanded both
geographically and in terms of the number of people involved, the WSOD
launched a formal complain and went on strike. I wonder if the books
might work better as historical fantasy set during a period when it was
easier to hide large scale paranormal shenanigans.

Perhaps more importantly, the series didn't follow the more rational,
"Unknown"-eque, path which I originally hoped it would follow. There
was more emphasis on feelings, intuition, hints, visions, Mary Sue-eque
"the fate of the world depends on me" and so on rather than on rational
analysis of the newly discovered abilities.

Finally, the books seemed to be increasingly designed to appeal to
"New Adult" readers: a very capable protagonist who is also
constrained by existing lines of authority and is constantly in
trouble with her superiors. Her most frequent thought seemed to be
"Oh, crap, I am in trouble again!" It may be a reasonable approximation
of some New Adult readers' self-image, but it's not something that I
particularly want to read about.

In any event, when I finished book 4, I hoped that the protagonist had
finally resolved her issues. Unfortunately, the first few chapters of
book 5 seemed to suggest otherwise, so I put it on indefinite hold.

At some point I may give his recent non-Athanate book a try to see
if he does something different with that universe.
Magewolf
2018-07-29 13:43:39 UTC
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Post by Ahasuerus
[snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
_Angel Stakes_ (Bite Back 5) by Mark Henwick
[snip]
I keep forgetting to write something about this series.
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
I don't know. I confess that this book, while not bad,
felt to me like Henwick losing himself to a cause he
felt passionately about. I get that "human trafficking == bad",
but the villains we got were so over the top (huge slave auctions
on US soil with lots of high rollers in attendance) that it
was hard suspend disbelief.
My WSOD definitely struggled as the series progressed. I could sort-of
accept that ancient definitely-not-vampires could behave the way they
did in the series. After all, I don't know many ancient vampires.
However, his military officers, FBI agents, etc did a lot of violence
to my WSOD.
Later on, as the scope of undercover paranormal activity expanded both
geographically and in terms of the number of people involved, the WSOD
launched a formal complain and went on strike. I wonder if the books
might work better as historical fantasy set during a period when it was
easier to hide large scale paranormal shenanigans.
Perhaps more importantly, the series didn't follow the more rational,
"Unknown"-eque, path which I originally hoped it would follow. There
was more emphasis on feelings, intuition, hints, visions, Mary Sue-eque
"the fate of the world depends on me" and so on rather than on rational
analysis of the newly discovered abilities.
Finally, the books seemed to be increasingly designed to appeal to
"New Adult" readers: a very capable protagonist who is also
constrained by existing lines of authority and is constantly in
trouble with her superiors. Her most frequent thought seemed to be
"Oh, crap, I am in trouble again!" It may be a reasonable approximation
of some New Adult readers' self-image, but it's not something that I
particularly want to read about.
In any event, when I finished book 4, I hoped that the protagonist had
finally resolved her issues. Unfortunately, the first few chapters of
book 5 seemed to suggest otherwise, so I put it on indefinite hold.
At some point I may give his recent non-Athanate book a try to see
if he does something different with that universe.
I read the first two of those, I think. The military and government
agent parts read as if they were written by someone who had never
actually seen anyone with those jobs and certainly never spoken to them.
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