Mia Darien is an indie author of speculative fiction, and a New England Yankee transplanted into Alabama clay. No matter her geography, she continues to stubbornly and rebelliously live the life of her choosing along with her family and pets. She doesn't miss the snow.
This member has not published any books.
Outside (Outside Series #1)
on Sep. 10, 2011
I found this an engaging and intriguing read. I couldn't entirely "connect" with Riley, but I think that's the trouble with being an adult reading a teenage protagonist but I thought that Shalini Boland did a good job writing her.
The alternating tenses took some adjustment, but their uses were entirely understandable and I really liked how the two wound together at the end. Any other "issues" I was having with this book were mostly rectified by the conclusion.
Over all, it had a sort of meandering feel to it, but it worked for me. And the set-up and atmosphere, the inside versus outside, seemed very realistic. Over all, I enjoyed the book and would recommend to anyone who likes the genre.
Zombie Tales: Primrose Court Apt. 205
on Sep. 22, 2011
I enjoyed this story for its psychological view and was intrigued by the character. The author has a good grasp for a Voice for the character. My only issue with it, which I can't really call an "issue" was that it didn't really feel like a story set in another world but a straight out introduction to that world. It didn't have a stand-alone story feel to it and the zombies' appearance at the end felt like a sort of afterthought to the rest of it. I realize, however, that this is part of a larger story world, so I didn't mind it that much and I'm interested to read more in this series/world.
Ancient Echoes Book One of the Elese Saga
on Sep. 25, 2011
I will admit that I actually found the story very slow to get into, but I definitely was caught up later on (maybe about half way through) and then propelled more quickly to the end. I think perhaps my struggle was that it can be hard to "connect" with adolescent Main Characters, but I thought that the author did well to convey the age/situation in the Voice believably and I think I will be continuing to follow the tale.
Don of the Living Dead
on Sep. 26, 2011
I read this book after reading the three Primrose Court short stories and I wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed those stories, although I kind of wish they had been more connected to this story other than just sharing the world but both those three and this one were very good.
The main character I found to be very realistic and I liked the ending. My only real complaint is that it could have used a more thorough editing. It jumped tenses several times and had several noticeable spelling/word use/grammatical mistakes that were enough to draw me out of the story at times. And certain pop culture references will not be lasting, but I can understand their use.
On the whole, however, this was an engaging and gripping read that I would recommend to any friends who like zombie fiction, and can handle the grossness that is common to the genre. I'd give it a shout out that fans of the movie 'Shaun of the Dead' will find a treat in this. Unless they are looking for lunatic Brits. It doesn't have any of those.
on Oct. 20, 2011
I rarely give any review five stars, but this one called for it. I can't really find anything wrong with it. It was the right length for the story it was telling and fleshed the characters out succinctly. The author has interesting word choices that really work for the tale. This one was intense and a little heart-breaking. Good job, Mister Crowder. I will definitely be checking out more of your work.
The Questionable Tales: A Steampunk Quintet
on Jan. 24, 2012
This isn't an easy set of stories for my to rate, I find. I found that I liked the ideas, the cores of the stories, but found their execution - in setting, in dramatic tension, and in their morals - to be done with too heavy a hand for my taste. Too many sections that were clearly "info dumps" and things over-stated. I like a little more subtlety.
But they were not incompetently written, and done with more finesse, the basic stories are good ideas, though the final story's point, it's moral, was so expansive, that being confined to so short a length felt almost like an injustice to its meaning.
on Jan. 24, 2012
That was fantastic. I don't give 5 Stars very often, but this deserved it.
The steampunk elements blended seamlessly into integral parts of the plot and character. Kali was wonderful and Cedar was just the kind of hero I like. The plot was a fun, fast-paced racing romp and adventure.
For anyone who wants to write a smart, sassy tough chick and anyone who wants to write a sympathetic Alpha hero, with wonderful interaction, this is how it's done!
Hidden - a dark romance (Marchwood Vampire Series #1)
on Feb. 08, 2012
This book is very hard for my to rate, mainly because these places won't let my give half stars. I would give this 3.5, I think. As it is, I'll go with three for "liked it" because I can't quite say that I "really liked it."
The pacing of this book felt very weird to me. It didn't feel consistently paced, and it wasn't until after the first hundred pages that I really got into it.
There were elements of the story that I liked. The dual story lines working towards a merging point was good. Madison was scrappy and I really liked Alexandre, as he was in the latter portion of the story. I think part of why I couldn't fully connect with the characters is a fault of mine. I didn't understand teenagers when I was one and I struggle with it now, so teen protagonists are hard for me.
I would have liked more show and less tell on the actual "falling in love" part of their relationship, but once I got over that, I did feel it. I liked a lot of their exchanges and the Alexandre versus the modern world was very well done.
But, I just keep coming back to the pacing. It felt slow, slow and then burst of action and then slow, skimming events, jumping around, then suddenly lots of stuff and tension and drama and... end. I think it would have suited my tastes, and my ever so humble opinion, if the plot and story telling had been more streamlined.
That being said, it was a competently told story and fairly written. It's not a bad story or book at all, and there were things I really liked. There were just elements that weren't quite to my reading tastes.
on Feb. 18, 2012
When I read the description of this story, I immediately liked the idea. I liked the dark fantasy, the "post apocalypse" feel of it (though that's not precisely the case), and the idea of the intertwining perspectives of the after effects of a single terrible event.
The book didn't disappoint. I liked it. It could have done with a bit more editing in terms of the Tense, as some Present Tense stories shifted in and out of Past Tense at points and that got distracting. A couple stories also had this odd... removed feeling in the narrator, when it should've been more immediate for the topic and Voice.
Otherwise, though, I really don't have any complaints. The author has a very interesting concept and shows it over the course of a span of time, showing it in a multi-faceted way that makes for some interesting reading. I just wish some of the stories had been longer, so we could see more!
on March 03, 2012
Okay, a strange thing happened to me while I was reading this book. I thought it was supposed to be... heavier. Darker. And it wasn't, and it threw me. In retrospect and in rereading the description, I have no conceivable idea why I thought it would be. My only excuse is that I just finished reading an anthology of dark, gritty fantasy and was still stuck in the wrong world.
Anyway, about halfway through, I was unable to tell if I liked this story or not but then it started reminding me of a Xanth novel. I smacked myself upside the head and realized this was a... lighter fantasy than I had expected it to be. (I've been a Xanth lover since I was eleven, so this is a good comparison.)
Once I got that through my head, this book got a lot more fun. The fact that Steve and Sarah read more like teenagers to me than their purported ages wasn't a problem any more. The casualness of the writing became quirky, like characters that actually say "omigod!" in dialog, or "cool!" being in the exposition. I'm usually a dictator about Point of View and not a fan of Omiscent unless it's Austen or Dickens, but it kind of worked for me here.
My only two... complaints about this book were that I would have liked a slightly heavier (more realistic) treatment of serious matters, like when Steve fends off some bad guys and drives them to their deaths. That didn't seem to affect him at all. Even though they were bad guys, and he didn't technically kill them, the way it rolled off him to no effect did bother me. Similar "deeper events" were treated as lightly and I did struggle with that.
Secondly, my inner consistency meter didn't understand sending Steve and Sarah off for the key instead of staying with Mikal. Being who they were, it didn't make a lot of sense to me. I would have liked to have had more of a reason for them to make the journey themselves before they left, rather than seeing it later on when they got there. (If there was a reason and I missed it, then my bad but I don't recall one.) There were other little similar things, but in the breezy spirit of the story, I got over it easy.
Otherwise... the fire stuff was cool, I liked Rhenyon (I think I spelled that right), and the key 'surprise' at the end was funny. It was a fun, breezy kind of fantastical read. I give it a 4 and will, once I catch up with the rest of my reading list, get to Bakkian II and future Bakkian tales!
on March 27, 2012
This book was really good. My housework got done late today, because of this book.
It wasn't quite perfect. There was some world building and politic details that played big parts in the finale scenes that I thought should have been foreshadowed earlier. And despite the professional editor, there was quite a few edits missed. The beginning wandered a little bit, for my tastes.
Oh, and I am not happy with the author about one of Thamus' actions. (You'll know it when you read it.) *shakes menacing finger*
...and YET. The narrator, the characters, the world, the plot were all engaging and active enough that I didn't care about the "defects" and was glued to my ereader. I really liked all of it. I found some of the characters complex and some straightforward, yet only as I wished. (Characters I wanted to be straightforward were, and characters I didn't mind being twisty were.)
The world was quite fascinating. I really liked what the author did with the Prologue and Epilogue set-up, although I didn't "get it" until the Epilogue.
And I had to laugh, my apologies to the author, at the Glossary. It was useful, though still missed a couple titles I wanted better explanations for, but there was one part that looked like something Branning meant to go back to and fix before publishing and didn't. Namely, the wrong name of a father's character beside the son's name with a ? beside it. The name with ? was the name of one of the gods, but the father was correctly named in his own listing.
Don't worry, I've done it myself. Still, having been there, I did have to giggle.
Anyways. Despite my minor issues with some of it that might have meant a 4 or 4.5 otherwise, any book that holds on to my attention the way this one did once I was about a third of the way in deserves a 5. This author has another novel, which is awesomely free, that I totally just grabbed and will read soon.
Wizard of Ends
on Oct. 10, 2014
This story is a little tough to write a review for, or at least figure out a proper rating.
Here’s my initial and overall thought: this story would have been REALLY AWESOME…if it had been about twice as long. Now, anyone who reads my Author Ego’s books knows that I don’t write long books and I like quick resolutions, so I’m generally the last reviewer to come down on someone about this, but I can’t avoid it here.
The story starts off in the action from the first page, but then lots and lots of things happens very close together in a short span of pages. It’s just all so much and so fast. We don’t get as much time as I’d like for the characterization that really makes a story epic, but the basics were all there. Lashlor was a good character (even if he was obnoxiously passive at times) and the others were good too.
The king and queen come across as rather rash and naive, but the rashness could just be because of how fast the story goes.
But…it’s well written, the basics of good characters and good plot and fun setting and magic are all there. But it’s just way too much too fast, and would benefit from being notably longer, and yet…despite that, I did enjoy it a lot. So…I guess better too fast than too slow. I’m going to give this 4 Fireballs, because I did like it. If it had been longer and still as gripping, it would’ve gotten a 5.