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Smashwords book reviews by Canary

  • Fate's Mirror on Sep. 01, 2011

    Morris is a hacker virtuoso whose panic attacks make it impossible for him to leave his home. That’s all fine and dandy as far as he’s concerned...right up 'til someone goes and blows up his house. Morris discovers that someone really is out to get him as he tries to figure out what happened, who’s behind it, and whether it has anything to do with his ex’s job in the government–and her sudden and brutal death. Turns out, Fate’s Mirror is science fiction fun on a stick. It’s a Robert Ludlum meets Neuromancer in a future near enough to be recognizable, but far enough that the writing team that is M.H. Mead has its hands full creating a high tech world in all its three-d glory. Once I got past the first few pages (slightly rough, ignore that), it was a fast-paced ride. The authors aren’t afraid to change setting and direction by taking out characters and keeping me guessing. Written in third person limited, we also gain glimpses into the minds of most of the actors, seeing the characters from a delightful range of perspectives. The narrative itself is one part cyberpunk fun, one (small) part romance, and one part myths-meet-virtual-naval-battles. To that effect, the story uses the possibilities of virtual reality to open the doorway to more fantastical world-building (think Tad Williams and his Otherland series). It's a lot of fun. Read it, I say. “Morris Payne just might save the world. If only he can gather the courage to leave his house.”
  • Slippery Souls on March 18, 2012

    This book was delightful, in the full meaning of the word. It takes on a vivid, irreverent style (think Terry Pratchett) and melds it with some dark(ish) fantasy. One moment, Libby is marching out of the grocery store, jug of milk in hand, set on breaking up with her slob of a boyfriend-soon-to-be-ex. The next, she is killed by a hit-and-run. When she wakes up, she’s in a beach house at Sunray Bay, a kind of afterlife, she assumes, since her also-dead-dog Rufus can now talk. But not all is as it seems at the sunny beach town, and it certainly isn’t Heaven. Within an hour of her arrival, Libby finds herself chased by the head of the local monster slayers, helping a rogue ex-operative, and on the top of the Mayor’s Most Wanted list. Libby’s adventures are part humor, part mystery thrill, and part romantic subplot. Author Rachael Dixon takes the oldest fantasy trope in the book (bringing Libby over to a new world and dumping her there to flounder) and gives it her own, delectable spin. All in all, I fell in love with the use of non-linear narrative at the opening, and (of course and absolutely) the writing style. Memorable characters, deft narrative decisions, and a take-no-nonsense protagonist makes for a line of gold stars.