Rating system

*****

Excellent

**** 

Very good. usually something fresh unique or quirky about these books

***+ 1/2

A good book.  Well written and I enjoyed it.  I would call this my Dick Francis rating.  The plot may be formulaic but it's always a page turner    

***

Read the whole thing.  This is often a some what generous rating.  If I get through the flight or the car trip I'm  happy.

** + 1/2

A book with this rating means that I did read the whole thing but there is some significant flaw in  the book.  That means it's ok to pick it up in the airport under emergency circumstances   but  not  to buy in a bookstore.  

** 

Skimmed it for the few good parts I could find. Definitely only purchase under true emergency situations.

*

Hurled the book across the room and wrote nasty comments at the amazon.com review site. A pure waste of money (buy magazines instead)

 

the Artifact by Gregory Benford **

I really only had one word for this book and it was uninteresting.  I found that I reached a point part way through the book where I simply couldn't bring myself to turn another page and what was even more discouraging was that I found I couldn't find enough interesting parts later in the book to even say I skimmed it.  I admit that in general Benford's writing doesn't whoa me. John read the whole thing and said it was ok which would raise the rating to a 2 and a half.

 

Legacies by F. Paul Wilson ***

We were on vacation in Mexico; I read the whole thing and it wasn't bad but I was left with the persistent feeling that it should have been oh so much better.  I'm not really sure why it was shelved with the sci-fi (the plot has a futuristic element but that's not uncommon is mysteries these days) because it read like a mystery.  

Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson ****

I didn't realize that this was book 2 of a three part series.  I assume the author is generally an acquired taste but to my absolute amazement I was riveted to the book.  The story had one very weak transition but I was willing to forgive it since I understood intellectually what was suppose to happen even though the plot seemed to do a hard shift at one point.

I'm anxious to read the others

 

 

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs ***1/2

Synopsis: Mercy agrees to help the vampires with a little problem that quickly turns into a very big problem for everyone in the tri-cities area.

Not as good as her first but still extremely well written.  The books are a little short so she's limited on the complexity of her plot but her characters are strong and well crafted.  Given the number of people writing about weres and vampires this is still refreshingly original

 

  Edge of Danger by Cherry Adair ***
  Edge of Fear by Cherry Adair ***
  Edge of Darkness by Cherry Adair **

Luckily I didn't read Edge of Darkness first -- it's only barely just readable.  Cardboard characters and not enough there to draw you into the series.  The basic idea of a special antiterrorist unit comprised of people with special (read magical) abilities could have been interesting but she saddled the entire series with a three different love stories and a curse and the whole thing starts to fall over with its own weight.  Edge of Fear works the best as a romance.  Edge of Danger works the best as a paranormal and as I said Edge of Darkness doesn't work at all (the hero can only read the heroine's mind when they are "tripping the light fantastic".)  To pull off something that hokey takes more story telling skills than Ms. Adair seems to have.  I bought them for a trip to Boston and they got me through the flight but only just barely.

 

Cast in Shadow – Michelle Sagara. *****

Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-ridden streets of Nightshade running for her life.  Something was hunting and killing the children and the strange marking that had appeared on her skin told her she could be next.  Now the killings have begun again but this time she’s not a defenseless child, she’s an adult and a member of the Hawks.  This time when she goes back to Nightshade things will be different because she’ll stop the killings or die trying.

What a terrific read.  I simply couldn’t put the book down.  This is a much simpler, more direct story than the sun sword books.  It is told in the first person and lacks some of the rich characterization she’s famous for, but I kept reminding myself that this is a harlequin book.  From my perspective I was delighted that it that it was as complex as it was.  The ending is a little abrupt but again most of her books are 150k words so she didn’t have much room to maneuver.  The next book is due out in August.  If it keeps the same pace as the first then the series will be a winner.

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