Writer of (mostly) speculative fiction, and mother to three beautiful girls.
Where to find J.C Hart online
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Smashwords book reviews by J.C Hart
on Jan. 13, 2011
I can honestly say that Silver Thaw is a really good read. I think it took me a couple of pages to get into it, but then I was hooked. It's a delicious fantasy, with a great setting and really vivid characters. I was drawn into the story and powered through it in one day, staying up late to get to the end and see how it all resolved.
The story is told in four parts, marking the four seasons of the year, and the progression of the tale, with four different characters taking the 'lead' in each part. It's a clever way to write a story, and with each part building on the world and plot line, the pressure builds right until the end. I liked a lot of the characters in this novella - even though many of them are in no ways perfect - and appreciated the tropes she employed in her story, and the way she let those unfold.
This is Amy's first release - she has a novel coming out next month - but even so, it is substantially better than a lot of the indie published stuff I've read in the last few years. I wouldn't say the novella was perfect, but it was a refreshing read and made me hopeful for the rest of this challenge - who knows what else I might come across? I'm definitely planning on getting a copy of her novel, Ravenmarked, when she releases it. I have a feeling she's going to do well for herself in the indie world, and I wish her the best of luck.
Heirs of Mars
on Feb. 13, 2011
I've had this novel sitting on my computer for awhile now, had been saving it for this challenge and also for when I got my Kindle. For some reason, it didn't show up when I transfered it initially, but once it was there, I launched right into it and devoured it in a couple of days! Here is the blurb from Amazon:
The dream that was Mars has become a nightmare for the children born there.
Asher Radescu was the last human to come to Mars, but he didn't find the romance and adventure he craved. Instead, he lives in a truck delivering supplies to frontier habs and secretly builds neural clones to keep civilization from collapsing. When an android bounty hunter discovers that Asher is one of the people responsible for the dangerous cloning technology, the entire population of Mars is threatened with annihilation. With the help of underground cloners, resurrected colonists, android defectors, and one gorgeous racing celebrity, Asher must end the first war on Mars before the violence consumes them all.
Doesn't that sound fun?? Well, it IS. I think the world building for this book is fabulous - I can really picture life on Mars as Lewis has imagined it. I love that the characters aren't inherently good or evil; they have pasts, they have made mistakes, they are all just people.
There are humans, clones, and androids. All sentient, all intelligent beings - but what makes someone a person? Where is the line? I love this question and stories which bring it up, and I enjoyed how Lewis dealt with it in his book. In the same way that his characters are all a little grimy, so are the distinctions between the three beings in the book.
There is a lot of action in this book including car chases and fights, lots to get you pumping, and people die. I love it when an author doesn't shy away from killing of characters when the story line calls for it. It makes perfect sense in the world Lewis has created and I appreciate that a lot.
This is a great read. Fast, and gritty, and engaging and just plain fun (in a violent kind of way). I gave it 5 stars on goodreads, as I believe in rating up when you'd give half a star. It definitely fell somewhere between 'it was really good' (4 stars) and 'it was amazing' (5 stars) for me.
on June 11, 2011
The first thing that I noticed about this book, and really appreciated, was the strong Australian voice of the character. It’s been awhile since I have read anything that is set, even just initially, in a country other than America or an American copy. So it was refreshing, and enjoyable to see an Australian author making the most of their country of origin.
Jessica very quickly gets uprooted, and the reader gets to experience a whole new world through her eyes. She is thrown into the middle of things she struggles to understand and Jansen does a stellar job of getting the reader caught up in this.
I have to say that this is the first book I’ve read in awhile that has aliens who actually seem alien. Sci-fi in general is peppered with species and races which are all too human – and I can understand that, on some levels. Writers want to make sure that the readers can relate to the characters in their book – but aliens should be different to us. Jessica gets to explore this, to learn more about these alien creatures, and herself in the process. Jansen has done a fantastic job of creating a world that is alien, and yet still approachable for the reader.
The story line is evenly paced and while we try, along with Jessica, to grasp at all the strands, Jansen brings it all together with verve. Jessica manages to stay true to herself, while also letting the barriers slide so that she can interact with those around her. There is a lot of action, and excitement, and I loved watching the development of Jessica throughout, as she begins to open up to others and connect with the world around her, which also means she gets to grips with her strange talent and mysterious history.
If I had one gripe, it would be with the way the romantic subplots were tied up. Where Jessica felt like a strong character who always followed her own mind in the rest of the novel, she seemed less in charge when it came to love, and the resolution felt more like her accepting the hand that life had dealt her, rather than a choice about what she really wanted. That said, it was clear throughout the novel that Jessica was something of a novice when it came to relationships of any kind, so perhaps her actions are fitting.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novel. It was refreshing and vibrant. I love the cultures and characters that Jansen has created; it felt like there was a lot of depth to them, a richness which helped bring the story to life. I’d recommend this book to just about anyone, but in particular to writers who want a great example of how to create rich cultures/worlds, without drowning the reader in too much information. I’ll be checking out Patty’s next release, as I am sure that will be a good one too!
on Sep. 10, 2011
Reading this novel was like coming home. It sent me back in time to my teens when I devoured the books of Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings, and other weavers of fantasy. It reminded me why I love pure fantasy – not urban, not paranormal, not contemporary, or any other of those new fandangled concoctions. Sure, they are great if thats what you like, and I do like them when the stories are well told and not more of the same old. There just seems to be an overwhelming number of those books, and far less good, old school fantasy these days.
This novel is well written, with many threads beautifully intertwined. There are so many different story lines, all of which converge masterfully, leaving the reader set up for the next book in the series. The various characters are so real, and present, that I found myself believing what they believed – some of it which was at odds with the other characters, to the point that I wasn’t sure who I could trust to be on the right side of the battle. Sounds a little odd, doesn’t it? But it’s fantastic! It isn’t until close to the end of book one that more snippets of truth come to light and we begin to see the full spectrum of the world that Davis has created.
I can’t say enough good things about the world building. There are many elements at play and they are familiar enough to make the story accessible, but also unique enough to set it apart from other fantasy novels of this type.
This is not Amy’s first release, but it is the first novel she has published. She’s in the middle of writing the sequel, and I for one cannot wait for it to come out. Actually, I can, because I know it’s going to be well worth it. This is one self published author who knows how important it is to get the novel right before releasing it, and I have every faith that the second installment will be just as good as the first, if not better.
I think this one would have to be a 4.5 stars from me. If you haven’t braved the sometimes murky waters of self published novels yet, this would be a great place to start. She takes her craft seriously, and it shows.