Review: Night Watch by Linda Hall

Genre: Mystery

Rating: Yay!

NW eBOOK COVERI don’t think I’ve ever read a mystery on a boat, unless you count binge watching NCIS (I don’t). Which, when you think about it, is an awesome place to have a mystery – the whole suspects all in one place scenario. And this story is so good – both in how it’s written and in the story itself.

When Emily Ridge accepts her first captaincy for a deluxe boat, she never expects to find this much trouble abroad. The daughter of eccentric billionaire Roy Patterson goes overboard and is found dead, and from there, Emily’s life spirals down a path that’s a little too familiar for her, as her husband Jesse was killed a few years prior.

This mystery is great – it weaves the mysterious circumstances around Jesse’s death with the girl’s death, and we quickly find out there is a link between the two. I particularly like how much of the lifestyle shone through, as someone who is a complete boat idiot but enjoys a cruise down the river. Getting a peek into how and why someone would want to be a ‘boat bum’ as Emily calls it was awesome.

There’s quite a bit of intrigue in this story, from oddly suspicious people to overly friendly old acquaintances, and that tied with the on-going events unfolding means this is a great read. Each chapter builds the story further and faster, and I found myself resenting having to put down the story to do mundane, real life things. Who wants to cook dinner when there’s a murderer around?

Ahem.

The only thing that gave me a bit of a pause in the story was one particular character, who had a brief past with Emily and instantly raised my suspicious meters. There were one or two instances with this fellow where I felt like Emily, who normally seems pretty logical and smart, flip flops so suddenly it didn’t really feel realistic, which meant I felt like one of the reactions may have been shoehorned in to make the plot fit. It was odd enough that it stuck out to me in an otherwise quite well-written story.

Given the phenomenal rest of the story, I feel the tiny things can certainly be excused under the guise of human foibles. This book freaking rocked, and I really, REALLY want to read the rest of the series.

Night Watch can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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This Week’s Read: Night Watch by Linda Hall

The first in a new series, Night Watch, is my read for the week!

NW eBOOK COVEREm is a boat captain. She’s not a huge container ship captain who takes goods and containers all over the world, nor does she helm ferries or tugboats (although she could – and maybe in a future book she will.). She’s not in the military or Coast Guard. She’s not a police force boat captain. What she does is deliver boats. She’s someone who gets hired by people to take their boats (usually luxury yachts) from Point A to Point B.

Normally, a fun job. You get to spend time on other people’s fancy boats! But in Em’s life, mystery, murder and mayhem always follow.

After the mysterious death of her husband, Em Ridge decides to go for her Coast Guard captains license. Night Watch is the story of her first captaining job. Having the billionaire’s daughter go overboard on this first job is not a good sign. The sailboat is new, state of the art, her crew on this trip include two close sail­ing friends. But an unknown fourth, who can’t even tie a bow­line, and the unruly owner’s daughter turn the idyllic trip into an adventure not wanted.

Award-winning author Linda Hall has written twenty mystery novels plus many short stories. She has written for MultnomahHall Picture night watch Publishing, WaterBrook Press, Random House, and Harlequin’s Love Inspired line.She’s now on her own as an author/publisher, and loves the freedom and control this brings. Most of her novels have something to do with the sea. When she’s not writing, Linda and her husband Rik enjoy sailing the coast of Maine aboard their 34′ sailboat aptly named – Mystery.
Night Watch can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Review: Gifted by HS Stone

Rating: Maybe

Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen several variations on this theme, but this story, for all of its promise, felt flat. Which is a shame, because I really enjoyed Stone’s other novel, In The Hands of Children. After reading this, I think it probably should have been labelled as middle grade rather than young adult, and a few tweaks would have kept it perfectly in line with this.

Gifted-cover2This young adult fantasy follows twins, Voima and Vennd, who are quite different. Voima is a giftless young woman, while Vennd is gifted with the power of nearly-instant healing (Think Wolverine pre-adamantium skeleton). This story bounces between their POVS and the king’s, who is capturing all Gifted people and making them fight to the death. We don’t really receive a clear explanation why, but power-hungry as he is, it’s self-explanatory.

The twins have a close relationship, and it’s obvious as the story unfolds that they’ll do anything to save each other. The stakes become clear when Vennd is discovered and captured by the king’s men.

This leads on to what made the story flat to me. Rather than experiencing the ensuing drama through Voima (or Vennd), most of her POV is spent reacting to things, rather than the story coming alive. I very much felt, at one point, that she was a character going through a plot rather than a person experiencing a horrifying, life-changing event. Part of it is because of how the scenes play out, with her reacting constantly without significant, real change from beginning to end. Part of what plays into this was constantly being told about her emotional state rather than experiencing it with her.

Having said that, the plot is fun to read through. We watch Gifteds struggle against the king and his sister’s tyranny. We get to experience life as Gifted’s on the run and how they manage to survive in a world which hates them. The cast is lively, and with more space or in future novels, would really shine on their own.

If you enjoy a quick, good read with an adventure fantasy plot, then this book would definitely appeal to you.

Gifted can be purchased at Amazon.

This Week’s Read: Gifted by HS Stone

In a kingdom where the Gifteds are captured and thrown into fights to the death, Voima is fortunate that she is just a Regular. However, her brother, Vendd, isn’t so lucky. Since his Power started manifesting itself, the siblings have lived a life on the run, barely escaping the king’s soldiers. Just as Voima and Vendd have settled into a new home, a fleeing Gifted enters their lives, begging for help Gifted-cover2but bringing soldiers after him. Despite the siblings’ efforts, the soldiers discover Vendd’s Power. Now Voima, an outmatched Regular girl, must find a way to defeat the kingdom’s most dangerous Gifteds in order to save her brother from certain death.

Gifted can be purchased at Amazon.

 

Even before he could read, H.S. Stone wanted to write a book. Fascinated by the stories that seemed to leap from his kindergarten teacher’s books, he went home and wrote his own book, with illustrations and bound by staples. Of course, since he didn’t know how to read or write yet, the book was full of gibberish. Undaunted, H.S. eventually mastered the ABC’s and continued to write throughout his grade school years, adolescence, and into adulthood. Despite earning a degree and working in a field not related to writing, he continued to pursue his writing passion. H.S. Stone’s publications include novels aimed at Young Adult and Middle Grade readers as well as several short stories. He currently lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

 

 

Review: Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davies

Genre: Fantasy Noir

Rating: Yay!

Holy smokes, readers, we’ve got a winner here.

This story follows a minotaur detective named Frank and his trusty side kick. And here is why I got hoomissingfin-SW300ked – the story is from the sidekick’s POV. And his helper? None other than an enchanted blade named Rhys, who, if it wasn’t obvious, is also a self-aware blade. It’s such a fresh, different POV that I was immediately intrigued.

It wasn’t just the POV. The story, which follows the disappearance of a young lady’s body (presumably through someone with necromancer skills), gives us a delicious mix-up of noir-style mystery with action-packed situations and an urban fantasy setting, this book beautifully ties all three into an engaging story.

Snarky Rhys the blade can’t help but add his digs in, proverbial and physical, along the way. We snake through Necromancers and attempted suicides, and up through GAOL and through Hightown, which is suffering all sorts of ills thanks to a murderer on the loose.

I don’t want to give too many details away, as it’s how all the bits tie together that make this story really good. In fact, the only quibble I have is that there were a few times where I wish the noir voice had been let up for the sake of simplicity/clarity. I love reading noir, but there were a few times where the character had to go out of his way to explain something that in theory, he shouldn’t have had to, or I had to reread a few times to make sure I understood exactly what was going on.

These were really minor moments in an otherwise stellar novel. I’d happily read more in this world/series. If you like unique voices, or want a fresh take on noir/urban fantasy, then definitely take this book out for a spin.

Missing, Presumed Undead can be found at the following retailers:

Amazon

Satalyte Publishing

This Week’s Read: Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davies

missingfin-SW300Welcome to the world of Casablantasy, where shining kingdoms are certainly not spread like blue mantles beneath the stars. Instead, the City: where corporate greed meets foul necromancy; the unrelenting advances of Maginology and the subtle menace of the Guilstapo exist beside squalid City breed cut throats and ogres with exaggerated axes.

Here, the legend of Franklin ‘Stubby’ Mynos begins: a be-spectacled minotaur with a mind for Kryptic Krosswords and a stomach for Hurghian coffee. There’s a killer on the loose, which is hardly news in a City crawlin’ with killers; but this killer—The Hightown Hacker—is killing the wrong kinds of people, in the wrong kinds of places. City commerce is suffering. Rich and powerful people are getting scared. The City Watch’s Magicrime Analysis Division (MAD) can’t buy a trick, and the Body Politik Registry wants to pay Frank a stack of Swine to do the deed.

It’s his first big case, the one that would put him on the map, but he’s not interested. He’s more into some dead body swiped from the Embalmers’ Guild and the ever-burgeoning zombie workforce: how they’re recruited and have they got a Union?

Forget what you’ve heard. This is the truth … or, at least, the facts strung together in a meaningful way.

You want the truth? Go see a poet.

Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He is also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. He lives in a ‘leafy’ area of Melbourne, Australia, that resembles City Eastside (a little).

Rogue Hunter Inquest

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: Yay!

Rogue Hunter InquestI snaked this book out from the other girls when it came in because I’ve been longing for a good sci-fi story. Sci-fi generally tends to fall into either the hard sci-fi, which also tend to be longer and slower, and space opera, which is almost always tends to be action adventure. Pew pew lasers!

I’m happy to say that Rogue Hunter Inquest falls into the latter. I love a good, deep book, but it’s been a sunny spring in Australia, and I don’t feel like anything too heavy. I just want a good story – and that is exactly what Inquest gives.

We follow bounty hunter Zyra Zanr on a planet that’s ruled by women and for women only (New Venus, if you’re curious). Any man who steps foot on it will die, without exception. And Zyra, who’s in love with a citizen on the planet, decides to risk a promised happy future with Mikaela because she’s wanted off planet, and no amount of hiding will save her from her debts. Granted, I felt like this was a little flimsy, mostly because I felt like there was a whole backstory here that could have helped me understand her train of thought better, I still could accept her reasoning.

The part I found hard to accept was the rest of her reasoning about why she was saving an all-around scumbag from death. It initially felt like she didn’t have a really logical reason, but as the situation unravelled, I felt it was better explained. I think a bit more headspace with Zyra would’ve cleared this up sooner. Part of this might also be because this is a reboot of a previous series. As a new reader, I don’t have an understanding of this world at all, and just a teensy bit more in terms of headspace would’ve given me a well-rounded story.

Still, this story promises one heady conflict, and it delivers. No one is in a position to full trust anyone else, and the execution is just an excuse to force to hand of – well, I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s say there’s a lot of subversive ploys. With a healthy dose of pew pew, my favourite type of sci-fi.

If you want a quick, fun read, I highly recommend this. The on-going series promises to be fun.

Inquest can be found at the following retailers:

Amazon

B&N.com

Kobo

Google Play

Smashwords

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