J.A. Marlow

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Smashwords book reviews by J.A. Marlow

  • Nexus Point on Feb. 27, 2011

    Captain Dace is doing just what she dreamed of: pilot of her own trading vessel. Then things go wrong. Very very wrong, resulting in her becoming trapped on a primitive human world without a ship, without a way off the rock, and people out to kill her or dispose of her in any fashion they can.   While her first concern is preserving her own skin she also comes to realize that she landed in something big. The conspiracies swirling around the inconsequential world might impact the entire Empire.   I would classify this as a science fiction adventure, with perhaps a dash of space opera. Although it does have elements of romance, the romance is only a subplot.   The good:   The setting was interesting and well described. So is the various technology used through-out the story. The touches of humor spread through the story were a welcome relief from all the conflict (including the running joke about the vid star).   The novel is very fast paced. The action and tension goes directly from one situation to the next, making it a hard book to put down. This is definitely not a book you want to start late at night, or it might make you late for work the next day. In my mind this is a very good thing!   The story is filled with interesting characters, some of whom I wished had more time spent on them. The main character of Dace is a fun fully-realized spunky heroine who is proactive in many scenes instead of reactive. I appreciate that in a main character.   While there is violence, I appreciated that it wasn't over the top with huge amounts of blood and gore. The author described just enough to put the reader in the middle of the action without grossing them out. Nicely done.   The bad:   While there were a few minor things that bothered me like repeated thoughts that I started skipping and Dace getting captured more times than a person ought and still survive.  There were two big story problems that stuck with me after finishing the novel:   There were several elements and characters that were built up during the story that in the end really didn't matter. This was frustrating to me, as it left me with several unanswered questions. I also realized after I ended the book that I didn't know the ultimate fate of several characters that were important through the course of the book. I'm hoping some of this might be cleared up in the sequel, but still felt it should have been dealt with a little more at the end of this novel.   There was a change of allegiance at the end that didn't make sense to me and appeared to come out of nowhere. It bothers me enough that I'm going to go back and re-read part of it to see if I possibly misunderstood a portion.   In the end I enjoyed the character of Dace and look forward to following more adventures when the sequel is released (possibly in 2011). Hopefully this will also include a continuance of a nice romance. I'm also curious if we'll see more of Dadilan. If you are looking for a fun science fiction adventure, give this book a try. It was an enjoyable ride, and hope it is one the author can repeat in her next book.
  • The Rescue on April 16, 2011

    Nicely written science fiction short story that quickly gets to the action of the story. The story turned a little too much to the horror for my liking, but I know that a some SF readers like that. Good formatting, and I didn't spot any typos while reading (which is always great!). The cover didn't come through in the file at the full size, but that is a really small quibble.
  • The Aremac Project on Aug. 10, 2011

    Not many books take an invention from the start to the working-prototype finish. This is one such book. A new invention, the intimate affects on the lives of the inventors, the conspiring political scene, both in the US and the world, and more. I enjoyed the ride, with it all coming together in a great action sequence. I thought the story had a nice balance between the science and the effects on the lives of the main characters. It didn't delve into dry scientific terms and explanations, but instead kept my interest to keep reading to learn more. I also liked the changing relationship between the two main characters, in a development in their affection to each other from something more clinical to something more emotional-based. This was the first book of a series, and I'm looking forward to reading the others.
  • NaNo for the New and the Insane on Sep. 09, 2011

    I love this book! It helped me win my very first Nano in 2007 with practical steps for success. Gifford is now offering it as an easily accessed ebook for a variety of ebook readers (yay!) and has also been newly edited and revised! Not only is the information good for Nano, but also for writing first drafts outside of Nano. A must-have!
  • Friend Ship on Nov. 07, 2013

    First thing's first: Do not drink anything while reading! Your ereader, smartphone, tablet, or computer will regret it. :P With that out of the way, on to the review. Goodness, where to start... The story involves a hero trying to hero-like things. The problem? His spaceship happens to have the most advance AI known to man... Let's just say that the universal law of Unintended Consequences hits big time, and in a unique and hilarious way that could only come out of Batt's warped humorous imagination! I love reading science fiction and it's hard to find any that are truly funny and well written. I think we have a new humorous rising star in science fiction. At least, I hope so. I really want him to write more in the genre! I let my mother read it, someone who doesn't read a lot of science fiction. She sent a private note to the author consisting of this: "I really loved it, I think you're nuts, and please don't ever change!" Yeah, I think that pretty much covers! P.S. I'm not kidding about the liquid warning!