Sunday, June 26, 2016

Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow

Title: Trailer Park Fae, Author: Lilith Saintcrow  Trailer Park Fae has a great cover and a great title. That was part of what attracted me to this book. That and the blurbs on on the back by Patricia Briggs, author of the Mercy Thompson series which I love, and Chuck Wendig. With a title like Trailer Park Fae, I expected fantasy and fun. I got fantasy, not that much fun, and lots of confusion.

Normally I wold write a little something about the plot but honestly I'm not quite sure what happened in this book. The big hurdle was my lack of knowledge about the world of the fae. There wasn't much world building in the story and it felt like the reader was expected to be well versed in fae mythology. I am not. I'm still not sure who half the characters were or why there were battling one another.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

Title: Sabotaged (Alaskan Courage Series #5), Author: Dani Pettrey  Sabotaged is the fifth and final book in Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series. Like the other entries in the series, it is a mixture of romance and suspense with a heavy dose of Christianity. The couple at the center of this entry in the series are Kirra Jacobs and Reef McKenna.

Kirra and Reef have known each other since childhood but were never exactly friends. She was a “goody-two-shoes” and apparently rather bossy while Reef was the resident bad boy. Plus, Reef once dated Kirra’s cousin Meg. Now they’re both working search-and-rescue for the Iditarod race. When Kirra’s uncle Frank, a competitor in the race, goes missing Kirra is determined to go looking for him. Reef is determined not to let her go alone. Reef and Kirra quickly discover why Frank has veered off course. His daughter Meg has been kidnapped and the kidnappers are threatening to hurt her unless Frank does what they want. Kirra and Reef must find Meg in order to convince Frank not to do whatever it is the kidnappers are demanding.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as the other books in the series. As noted earlier, Sabotaged could best be described as Christian fiction with elements of suspense and romance. As to the suspense element, this definitely wasn’t an edge of your seat kind of book. The main twist was evident a mile away. Still it was good enough to keep me reading. And as to the Christian element, it was heavy handed and overly simplistic, but I expected that having read the first four books in the series. This isn’t a book I would give to someone who is questioning their faith as it is not inspiring in that way. That being said, it is refreshing to read about characters who have a faith system.

The romance is where the story really fell apart for me. It happened too quickly and didn’t ring true. Sure Reef and Kirra knew each other as kids but they didn’t have much a relationship then, certainly not a romantic one and it didn’t seem like much of a friendship either. Now this a romance so of course they were going to end up together but the whole novel takes place over the course of a week so for them to be madly in love by the end just didn’t feel real on any level.

What I really wanted from Sabotaged and didn't get was more about the Iditarod. What largely drew me to this series in the first place was the Alaskan setting. Strangely there wasn’t much about the race in the book beyond the fact that it exists. Nor for that matter, was there much Alaska at all here. I just didn’t get a strong sense of place the way I have with some of the earlier books in the series. In contrast, I recall Submerged having a good sense of life in a small Alaskan time. I have never lived in Alaska so I don’t know if was true-to-life but at least it read like a tangible place. Here the Iditarod and Alaska served mostly as a plot devices which is a shame.

In sum, Sabotaged was definitely not my favorite but I enjoyed the Alaskan Courage series overall.

Monday, June 6, 2016

My First Manga: Dimension W by Yuji Iwahara

Title: Dimension W, Vol. 1, Author: Yuji Iwahara  I only began reading comics and graphic novels in earnest a few years ago. The launch of the DC New 52 is what initially pulled me into the world of comics. Eventually I branched out beyond DC and superheroes, but the manga section of the bookstore remained off limits. One of the reasons it took me so long to get into comics is because I didn't know where to start. With its right-to-left format, manga was even more intimidating and confusing. But with a little help from the website Panels and the beginning of a new cartoon series, I decided it was finally time to give manga a try.

I first came across Dimension W in anime form and really liked it. A post on taught me about the relationship between anime and manga, namely that anime cartoons are adapted from manga. I wondered if that meant Dimension W had a textual counterpart and finding that it did, decided it was time to read my first manga.

Dimension W takes place in the year of 2072. The world's energy problems have been solved with the invention of coils. The power behind coils comes from Dimension W, a recently discovered fourth dimension beyond X, Y, and Z. (I have to admit it took seeing a drawing of a Cartesian coordinate system with its X, Y, and Z axis before I fully grasped the concept of a fourth W dimension.) Kyouma Mabuchi makes a living as a Collector, retrieving illegal coils that can be dangerous. While on his latest retrieval job he comes across Mira, a very human-like robot. Their meeting starts them on a journey to learning some of the secrets behind coils, their inventor, and much more.

A little bit of mystery and heap of science fiction made Dimension W a really fun read. The characters are funny and complex, especially Kyouma who clings to old technology while making a living chasing down old versions of new technology, and Mira who seems to feel human emotions even though she's more steel than flesh. I already knew the story from having watched the anime but reading it was still great. The only thing I wish was different were the black-and white drawings. There were a few color pages and they popped off the page. I wish the whole book was in color. Overall I'd say my first attempt at manga was pretty successful.