I’ve read a few books recently where I haven’t had the energy or inclination to post a full-length review, but wanted to comment on them nevertheless – and mini-reviews are a great way to do that. Without further ado…
Final Protocol – J.C. Daniels
Tip #1: Don’t get on her bad side. Tip #2: There’s no good side.
Her name is Silence. If she was ever known by any other name, she doesn’t remember.
She is a killer. If she was ever anything else, she doesn’t remember.
She has an owner. If she was ever free…well, that she does remember. She was free and then somebody gave her to a madman to pay a debt that wasn’t hers. She’s his toy, his pet…and his trained killer. She kills at his whim or she dies.
She has a target. Her so-called owner…the man who makes her life a living hell. If she could kill anybody in the universe, it would be him. But he holds her life in his hands.
And she has a wish—to find a man she barely remembers. A man she knows she once loved. The man who betrayed her and stole away her freedom.
With one final target between her and the tantalizing promise of freedom, she moves in for the kill. There’s one problem. There’s something strangely familiar about her mark. Something that echoes in the void where love used to live.
I was warned that this book would contain questionable content, but I thought it more of a trigger warning than the kind of love/hate relationship with our MC’s abuser and the casual use of rape.
Then, there’s the fact that this story is really more of a novella, which leaves barely any room for some kind of plot – which in this case is take on new mission from abuser, land on new planet, meet ex-love interest and BOOM MAGICAL HEALING COCK THE END.
I was fairly disappointed, not the least because I really enjoyed the author’s other UF series and found it incredibly entertaining. This is really more of an undeveloped short story that ends super abruptly.
Moab is My Washpot – Stephen Fry
Fry has already given readers a taste of his tumultuous adolescence in his autobiographical first novel, The Liar, and now he reveals the equally tumultuous life that inspired it. Sent to boarding school at the age of seven, he survived beatings, misery, love affairs, carnal violation, expulsion, attempted suicide, criminal conviction and imprisonment to emerge, at the age of eighteen, ready to start over in a world in which he had always felt a stranger. One of very few Cambridge University graduates to have been imprisoned prior to his freshman year, Fry is a brilliantly idiosyncratic character who continues to attract controversy, empathy and real devotion.
I adore Stephen Fry, ever since I discovered the joy that is QI, and mainlined like 8 seasons in 2 weeks. Ahem. Unfortunately for me, at least, his trademark verbosity is better suited to the audio/visual medium than the written word – while he is very expressive, it can get a little much to try and digest.
However, the book still gives great insight into his humungous genius mind, and it was fairly entertaining/shocking to read about his various self-destrutive exploits as a youth and the rather unique nature of his experiences at boarding school.
Pocket Apocalypse – Seanan McGuire
Endangered, adjective: Threatened with extinction or immediate harm.
Australia, noun: A good place to become endangered.
Alexander Price has survived gorgons, basilisks, and his own family—no small feat, considering that his family includes two telepaths, a reanimated corpse, and a colony of talking, pantheistic mice. Still, he’s starting to feel like he’s got the hang of things…at least until his girlfriend, Shelby Tanner, shows up asking pointed questions about werewolves and the state of his passport. From there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Australia, a continent filled with new challenges, new dangers, and yes, rival cryptozoologists who don’t like their “visiting expert” very much.
Australia is a cryptozoologist’s dream, filled with unique species and unique challenges. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with Shelby’s family, who aren’t delighted by the length of her stay in America. And then there are the werewolves to consider: infected killing machines who would like nothing more than to claim the continent as their own. The continent which currently includes Alex.
Survival is hard enough when you’re on familiar ground. Alex Price is very far from home, but there’s one thing he knows for sure: he’s not going down without a fight.
Let it be known that I adore Seanan McGuire’s writing – although I find I love her Toby Daye series more than her Incryptid one. (Seriously, if you love UF, CHECK OUT HER OCTOBER DAYE SERIES.)
Anyway, her writing is richly imaginative – the inside of Seanan’s brain must be a very interesting place – and filled with her trademark banter and humour. That said, I found this one slow to start and hard to get into – I would have rated it lower, but things picked up once we passed halfway and it was an action-packed race to the end.
Body Surfing – Anita Shreve
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing once again, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage.
But when the Edwards’ two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt for herself is threatened. With the subtle wit, lyrical language, and brilliant insight into the human heart that has led her to be called “an author at one with her métier” (Miami Herald), Shreve weaves a novel about marriage, family, and the supreme courage that it takes to love.
Y’all know that I’m going through an Anita Shreve stage at the moment. This was another enjoyable family-drama read, complete with sibling rivalry, displeased mothers, and family secrets. I read it in one session, so it was pretty compelling, although most of the characters have rather unlikeable aspects to their personalities which come to the fore quite prominently.
Eighth Grave After Dark – Darynda Jones
With twelve hellhounds after her, pregnant Charley Davidson takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. But after months of being cooped up there, Charley is ready to pop. Both metaphorically and literally since she is now roughly the size of a beached whale. Fortunately, a new case has captured her attention, one that involves a murder on the very grounds the team has taken shelter upon. A decades-old murder of the newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows is almost enough to pull her out of her doldrums.
Charley’s been forbidden to step foot off the sacred grounds. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders. They have the entire team on edge, especially Reyes. And if Charley didn’t know better, she would swear Reyes is getting sick. He grows hotter with every moment that passes, his heat scorching across her skin every time he’s near, but naturally he swears he’s fine.
While the team searches for clues on the Twelve, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life….
Yay! I finally got to read the next instalment of this delightful series. As a lot of people pointed out, this was more of a transition book, which changes the direction of the series quite substantially. Still, there was plenty of action, and some cute moments, and intriguing revelations – all of which have made the Charley Davidson series such a blast.
However, we’ve had 7 previous books waxing lyrical about Reyes hotness, and now it’s getting a bit much. WE GET IT, WE REALLY DO. Also, Charley’s flippancy in life-and-death situations becomes a tad unrealistic and annoying. Apart from that, I think it’s impressive that we’re on book 8 and the series is still going on pretty strong. Onwards and upwards!
Yowza, with the blurbs included this became quite a long post. Ah, well! Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend.