Monday, December 22, 2008

Bitten to Death by Jennifer Rardin (4/5 stars)

This is the fourth book in the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin. It was pretty much on par with the third book of the series as far as quality goes. I am still enjoying these books but I thought that this book was marginally less great than the other books.

In this book Jaz, Vayl and David return to Vayl's old Vampere Trust. They have an agreement with the leader of the Trust that they hope will lead to the assassination of Edward Samos, the Raptor. Unfortunately when they arrive they find that the Trust has changed leadership and is now in the hands of someone who has a deep connection with Vayl. The new leader has different plans for Vayl and the magic of the Trust seems to be pulling the characters apart from each other. Will Jaz, Vayl, and David survive their stay with the Trust? Will they finally eliminate Edward Samos?

This was a pretty good book. It was action packed and introduced a lot of new magical aspects to the series. Were-creatures join the plotline and we learn a lot more about Vayl's past. All in all it was fast-paced and engaging. Although so far I think it was my least favorite book of the series.

I will restate that this was a really good book but there were some things that bothered me about it. In someways the plot seemed to be rehashing the plot of the third book. Jaz runs around trying to save Vayl from himself again; and Jaz and Vayl's relationship seems to be treading water. I suppose this may be a transitional book, but I thought this book was a bit weak on character development. I am starting to get sick of Jaz's whining that she needs space, when the whole time she is acting the opposite way. I am really hoping that the major flaw in Vayl's character has worked itself out and we don't have to hear Vayl obsessing over his dead sons anymore after this. That was an interesting plot element for a couple books but it is wearing thin and getting old. I also missed that there weren't as many nifty gadgets in this book; there were a few, but Bergman was mostly absent. Also the careening from mission to mission is getting a bit tiresome even for me; does anyone else think maybe Jaz needs a vacation? I don't think the woman hardly ever sleeps. I am beginning to think it would be more exciting to hear about what Jaz does when she's not knee deep in scary terrorists.

This was a good book. I think the next book will probably decide whether or not I keep reading the series. The ending of this book left the next book open to some new plot lines and new ideas; hopefully it will follow through.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (4/5 stars)

Sybil was raised on Eld mountain by her father. Her only company was the animals that her father called to the mountain. After her father died she maintained the animals and studied magic to become an unparalleled sorceress. She spends days upon days trying to call the one creature that she thinks can give her complete freedom, the creature called the Liralen. One day she is interrupted by someone at her gate; Coren wants her to take in and protect a baby named Tam. When Sybil accepts Tam into her mountain home she is drawn into a deadly conflict between two factions. Sybil struggles to remain separate from the world of men, but instead is drawn deep into it as Tam grows to manhood.

This book is a very deliberately paced book. It is beautifully written, in an older style but with lush description and very literature-like language. This is very much a traditional young adult fantasy. To be honest I had trouble getting through the first chapter which details Sybil's lineage and how she comes to live on the mountain; I kept falling asleep. After I got past the first chapter however I found myself intrigued by what would happen to Sybil and Tam as they were drawn further and further into man's conflicts. For such a simple story this book touches on many deep philosophies. It looks at living in isolation, the relationship to your mother and father, revenge, fear, peace, and love. The characters, especially Sybil, go through a tumultuous emotional growth throughout the story. The animals that Sybil "keeps" are delightful and represent aspects of human personalities; such as wisdom, fierceness, grace, direction.

This was a great read for children and adults alike. Despite some violence, it is definitely appropriate for younger children. I am always impressed with the beauty of McKillip's writing. I will say her books always make you think and always end up wandering into some deeper aspects of human philosophy.

Fire Me Up by Katie MacAlister (3/5 stars)

This is the second book in the Aisling Grey Guardian series by Katie MacAlister. I did not think that this book was as good as the first book. I thought that the first book was cute, sexy, funny and had some original ideas. This book was cute, sometimes sexy, rarely funny and rehashed a lot of what we already learned in the first book. These are definitely way into the romance category and just slightly into the paranormal.

Aisling travels to Budapest, Hungary to go the GODTAM convention where she hopes to meet other people like herself (That is magical type folk) and to find a Guardian to mentor her. Unfortunately she bumps into Drake and finds out that he is still obsessed with her performing her duties as his mate; some of these duties happen to be attending meetings of the Dragons' that just happen to be at the hotel she is at. With Drake hovering and her demon, Jim, making snarky comments Aisling is having one heck of a time getting a mentor lined up.

Okay I pretty much know what I am getting into with these books. They are definitely not to be taken seriously, you need to leave all your notions about romantic relationships at the door, remember things won't necessarily make any sense, and remember Aisling is a bit of an airhead. Even going into reading this book with these things in mind I was a bit miffed at this book.

First the positive stuff: This was a cute, fun read. It was a quick read and the plot moved along nicely. There were lots of tastefully done steamy sex scenes. I think it is awesome that Aisling is trying to get training for her position as a Guardian. It bugs me to death when a character decides they would rather tough it out, than do the logical thing and get a little help from a mentor. I liked the introduction of the Silver Dragon, Tiffany the professional Virgin, and some of the new Guardians.

Okay now for the negative stuff. Aisling whines constantly, about pretty much everything. She can't make up her mind about anything; she hates Drake, she wants him, she hates him, etc. Her and Drake get in arguments over things that are very childish. I mean come on Drake is how old? You don't think he learned any communication skills in all that time? Aisling seems to have major ADD in this book and can't ever decide what to do next. I can understand Jim's frustration with her. Despite the fact that Aisling blunders through most of the book somehow she is uber-powerful and manages to right things (just like in the first book). Maybe this is supposed to be part of the humor?

It was an okay book, it was light-hearted and amused me. Just, please don't think about the plot or Aisling's intentions too hard or you will hurt your brain trying to make sense of it. This is a book to read quickly, take at face value, and then it's on to another book. I have the next two books in the series and I will read them because I have them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fallen Host by Lyda Morehouse (4/5 stars)

This is the book that follows Archangel Protocol by Lyda Morehouse. This book could easily be a stand alone book; although it refers to characters and events that happened in Archangel Protocol the main characters in this book are different. I actually liked this book quite a bit better than Archangel Protocol.

The story is told from the viewpoints of three characters: Morningstar the Adversary, Page the Intelligence, and Ema the Inquisitor. Each chapter takes turns rotating through each of the characters. As the book progresses the characters are eventually drawn together.

With rumors of a possible second Messiah being born, as told in Archangel Protocol, the Apocalypse creeps closer and closer. Morningstar is under increasing pressure to find his Antichrist; who he will need the support of the win the coming war. Page is feeling remorseful for turning in his Maker the Mouse and when Morningstar suggests to Page that Page may be the Antichrist Page is confused. Ema is assigned a dubious assignment from the Pope. She is supposed to determine if the two AIs that now function independently of their makers (Page and the Dragon) actually have souls.

I liked this book much better than the last one. The switching between viewpoints was done very well; each chapter was written in a very distinct way that represented the character speaking very well. The suspense in the books builds as the three characters get closer and closer to each other. There was more action in this book than the last one, which was nice. The plot moved along pretty well. There were some parts with Page that got a little boring, but these were brief. The world was detailed and intriguing; I think we got a better feel for it in this book than the last. I loved Morningstar as a character and I though Page's dilemmas as an independent AI were interesting.

The storyline is complex, but seemed to follow through better than the last book. Things are tied up well at the end of the book, but there is still room for the over arcing story to continue in the next book. Once again, this is not a comfortable read. It details what happens when a world is run by religion and this is disturbing to me. My biggest complaint would be that the religious parallels could be more subtle; really the religious context of this book to today's religious beliefs is repeatedly brought up and forced on the reader.

All in all a very interesting and creative read. I am glad that I read this book, even though I didn't like the first one all that much. This book is more a sci-fi/cyber punk and it fits that genre well; it doesn't seem as confused about what it is as the first book was. I look forward to reading the next book, the Messiah Node.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nabi the Prototype by Yeon Joo Kim (5/5 stars)

This was another book that I got because the cover looked cool. This manga contains several short stories revolving around a girl who was born from the sky. Supposedly this is a preview of a manga series that is going to be published with these characters.

The illustrations are top notch and beautiful. The writing itself is very mature for a manga; meaning there is a lot of philosophy, deep thinking, and beautiful writing. The characters are extremely well-developed, especially for a mango. I was amazed at how much you learn about the characters and care about them by the end of the manga. This is more of a drama type of manga, although there are some action scenes, they are limited.

Definitely better than I was expecting. The story is engaging, the illustration beautiful. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the start of the manga series.

Biting the Bullet by Jennifer Rardin (4/5 stars)

This is the 3rd book in the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin. So far there are 4 books in this series, with the 5th scheduled to come out Jan'09. Overall the latest I read is that there are 8 books planned for the series right now. This was another great book.

Team Jaz finds themselves shipped over to the middle east to help Jaz's twin brother, Dave, take out a terrorist called the Wizard. Dave has identified a mole in his Special Ops team and it is up to Jaz, Cassandra, Bergman, and Vayl to figure out who the mole is and assassinate the Wizard. There is lots of awesome fighting, lots of reavers, and some new badies. Jaz and Vayl go through a lot of character development both individually and as a pair. A very fast-paced book, the setting in the Middle East is timely and gives incite into the culture there (as if we don't already know a lot about the culture there).

This was a great book. For the most part I think it was executed excellently. I love the characters, I love how they all have histories and interesting personalities. There were a couple of minor irritation in this book. One was Vayl's obsessiveness with the search for his boys, the second is the number of things that are happening at once and how they prevent the story from flowing as well as it could have. These are minor quibbles and overall it was an excellent read.

I am excited to read the next book, but reluctant to read it because then it means I have to wait until the next book is published for more Jaz. I am trying to decide if I should put off reading the next Jaz Parks book so that I can prolong my Jaz-fix :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison (3/5 stars)

I got this book through the Amazon Vine program; it's an uncorrected proof advance reading copy.

This book is about two sisters Jane and Savannah. When Jane unwittingly steals Savannah's boyfriend well, Savannah gets help from an expected source; her "fair" (not fairy) godmother. Savannah's Godmother didn't do all that well at fairy school, so she is stuck doing an extra credit project; that is granting Savannah three wishes. Except the wishes don't really go how Savannah thinks they are going to.

Let me say loud and clear that if you are a typical, young, teenage girl you will probably love this book. This book is cuter than cute and matches the bubble gum pink hair of the fairy on the front. It's all about boys, popularity, and cloths. Then you throw in some fairy tales and suddenly you have a teeny bopper book with a message.

This is a fun book and a cute book. It is not a surprising book and not a particularly creative book. It was enjoyable to read, but not fantastic. My biggest problem with this book is that I think things got kind of contrived and muddled at the end. I mean all of the sudden Savannah is multiple princesses all at once, even though supposedly her first wishes are done. I thought this was maybe a bit of a stretch and could have been better done by the author.

Other than that, this book delivers exactly what you think it will deliver. Cute, cute, cute, fairy, teenage fun. Personally I wouldn't read another book from this author, but it this is your thing this book is well done.

Another One Bites the Dust by Jennifer Rardin (4/5 stars)

This is the 2nd book in the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin. This series currently has 4 books with a 5th book due out in Jan '09. Don't let the cheesy title and the saucy cover fool you. These aren't chic lit novels and they aren't romance; these are hardcore supernatural spy novels with great action, lots of violence, and oodles of gore.

In this book Jaz and Vayl get an assignment to deal with a Chinese vampire who thinks his current state is just temporary and he is destined to become a dragon. This vampire is a close-associate of Edward Samos (the Raptor). They aren't sure what Lung is planning but they know they need to get information from him about Samos and bring him down. This time there's a full team on the case with Cassandra and Bergman providing magical and technical backup respectively.

So far I am loving these books. They are fun and witty, fast-paced, filled with neat gadgets. The characters have a lot of depth and I am really enjoying the character development so far. Jaz and Vayl are both developing fascinating powers and learning how to use them. There's a lot of sarcasm in these books and funny comebacks. Some of the analogies that Rardin puts into Jaz's mouth have me roaring with laughter. I think it drives my husband nuts that I sit in bed reading this book and am constantly laughing out loud. That't not to say these are light books; there is a lot of dark humor and a lot of life/world threatening situations.

So, I really loved this book. My only problem with it was that I didn't think it was quite as good as the first one. I think maybe it was the setting at the festival that hurt the plot some for me...or maybe it was the lack of cool fast cars. Either way, overall I am really enjoying these books. I am so excited to read the next one.

Stained by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (3/5 stars)

I picked this book up for $1 at a used book store. It looked and sounded interesting. It was an interesting, if somewhat depressing read.

This story follows Jocelyn, who is in high school, as she struggles to deal with her boyfriend Benny's off and on again attitude toward their relationship. Benny's mom is really sick and a new priest that comes into town convinces Benny to make a deal with god. If Benny gives up all the physical aspects of the relationship with Jocelyn then maybe God will help Benny's mom get better.

Jocelyn is an outcast because her mom is divorced and living by herself, and she has very low self-esteem. Jocelyn struggles with the churches rejection of her and her mother, while dealing with the small town pressure to fit in. Now she has Benny constantly making her feel guilty. To add to the mess of emotions Jocelyn still has feelings for her neighbor Gabe, Gabe is in general pretty mean to Jocelyn. Still Gabe and Jocelyn have a history that she can't let go. The chapters alternate between Jocelyn at present (in high school) and scenes from Joceyln's childhood.

All in all this was a sad story. It was a story about religious fanaticism in small towns and how sometimes it's not about being good to people but about avoiding the rage of God. It's about a small town's prejudice against people like Jocelyn's mom and how that reflects in Jocelyn's life. Jocelyn's mom also blames Jocelyn for her father leaving. As such, it is about how someone who has no self-esteem or respect for herself puts up with people abusing and walking all over her.

There is a lot of eluded-to and flat-out abuse in this book. I think the book ends as happily as it could given what it is. It is fairly well-written. I suppose it gives incite into how bad things can get in a small-town setting and how much effect one person has on the state of things in a small town if he has the power of God behind him. The plot line was not especially engaging and the ending was not surprising.

Overall all this book did for me was make me happy that I don't live in the 1970's, happy my parents are not divorced, and happy that I don't live in a small town. It also made me very sad for anyone who has Jocelyn's type of life. Definitely not a book to read to raise your mood. A good read though if you want some incite into small-town religious fanatic lifestyles.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin (5/5 stars)

This is the first book of the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin. So far there are 8 books planned for this series. The fifth one comes out Jan '09 and is called "One More Bite". This was a great book.

Describing this book as James Bond meets the supernatural community is definitely accurate. Jaz Parks works for the CIA. 6 months after she starts reporting to her new boss; the group's top assassin, Vayl, requests that Jaz join him as an assistant. What Jaz and Vayl thinks is a typical, kidnap and question the terrorist, kind of gig gets complicated when they find out that the terrorist in question belongs to an underground organization that is aligning itself with the underbelly of the supernatural community in order to unleash a virus deadly to vampire-kind.

Jaz is an amazing character. She is tough, by uses common sense and recognizes her bounds. She accepts the changes in her life and tends not to whine and agonize over them. She is a get-it-done kind of girl, who loves her gadgets, and her hot cars. There is a lot Jaz has to discover about herself; as a Sensitive she doesn't quite know the bounds of her power. She is working on it though and makes leaps and bounds in discovering what she can do in this book.

Vayl is also awesome. He is tough and has some crazy cool vampiric abilities (he is a wraith for goodness sack!); yet he does make mistakes, and he does have that vulnerable side that a good male character needs. We find out some of Vayl's past in this book, but there is a lot more there to uncover.

The writing is very solid. I like the writing style a lot. It is fast-paced, full of awesome action scenes, and cool ideas. The gadgets that Jaz gets to work with are really neat, her gun Grief, is lots of deadly fun, and I just couldn't put this book down.

I bought books 2-4 used before I had read book 1. Now I am glad that I did. I am excited to read the next couple books. So far I think this is going to be an incredible series. I wanted to give it more like 4.5 stars because I think the second book will tell if this is an outstanding series or just another good series in the long line of good paranormal series that are out there.

In summary, I love Jaz, I love Vayl, I love the writing and I am so excited to read more of it! There wasn't a single thing about this book that I didn't love.

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve (4/5 stars)

I got this book as an uncorrected proof through the Amazon Vine program. This was a really good book. It is a very unique take on the tale of Arthur and his "knights".

This book focuses around the life of Gwyna. When her village is burned down by Arthur and his warband she is pulled aside by Myrddin and asked to aid him in a ruse as the Lady of the Lake after Myrddin sees Gwyna swimming down the river from her village. Myrddin decides to keep Gwyna around after the ruse is accomplished and from there on Gwyna undergoes many transformations first to a boy and then to a handmaiden under her apprenticeship with Myrddin.

This was a very well-written book and a very unqiue retelling of the Arthur tale. I have to say that this is probably the most realistic and believable story of Arthur that I have ever read. I really could see Arthur's life and legend forming as it is described in this book; much more than I could actually believe the ancient tales themselves. Gwyna is a great character with a frankness, honesty, and intelligence that serves her well thoughout her tale.

Overall this is a great book. The only complaint I have about it is that it is listed as a children's book. Realistically this is not the first book on Arthurian legend that I would like to expose a child to. I think this is an excellent read if you are framiliar with the legend and the awe behind it. But, to put it bluntly, this story rips out any of the fantasy or awe of the legend of Arthur. It takes everything magical away from those tales and exposes it as the harsh reality that it more likely was. I personally would not want this to be my son's first experience with the tale of Arthur. I want him to believe in wizards, knights, princesses, and noble heros while he can. When he is older, if he wants to hear another version of this tale, then this would be appropriate. But why steal away the magic of the tale of King Arthur? I mean truthfully, although I liked this story and I know it is fictional, reading it made something magical fade for me. It was just too likely that this was the true story and personally I like to pretend that King Arthur really was the figure pictured in legend.

An excellent book! Definitely makes me want to check out more books by Reeve!

The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones (2/5 stars)

This is the first book in a (so-far) trilogy about Anita, who doesn't know that she is actually a Faerie Princess named Tania. This was an easy and boring read.

Anita gets in a boat accident the day before her sixteenth birthday; when she is at the hospital recovering she grows wings, loses her wings, and then is pulled into the fairy realm.

The best thing this book had going for it was that it was a really quick read. It's a little over 300 pages long, but the print is so big that it would suit a children's book (okay maybe a slight exaggeration). It literally took me 2-3 hours to read. Unfortunately I wish that I hadn't even spent that time on it. I picked this up because it had a pretty cover (shame on me again, for judging a book by its cover) that and I love books about Faerie realms. This was a horrible book.

The character Anita (whose name as a Faerie is cleverly Tania, wow look if you rearrange Anita what do you get!) is supposed to sixteen; unfortunately she has the mentality of a nine year old. She is dumb as a brick and extremely gullible. Right from the beginning I could have told you what was going to happen in this book. There are no surprises, the plot is extremely transparent. I seriously think I wrote better stuff in junior high and so did my classmates. None of the characters have any depth or passion; they seem to be wandering around the book in a daze. Nothing really happens in the book either. Anita/Tania spends most of her time whining about how she wants to back to the Mortal Realm and, when she's not doing that, she is constantly reminding the other characters in the book that she can't remember her past as a Faerie Princess. The scary thing is that the other supporting characters need help remembering that Tania wasn't there for the last 500 years and even when she reminds them, they forget by the next paragraph.

The book is boring, boring, boring. The writing is simplistic and child-like. I am very surprised that this is dubbed a "young adult" book because really it would be more appropriate as a children's book. I know I am ranting here, but I am honestly surprised sometimes at the books that make it through to publication. I am doubly irritated because by buying this book new, I supported this!

Okay I am trying to think of some positive things to say here... The cover is very pretty. The sentence structures in the book were proper, if not really all that flowing. It was readable and there weren't any typos that I saw. You definitely won't strain your vocabulary here. Those are the only thing that pull this book up from one star. I know I am being harsh, but I feel a bit misled here.

Needless to say I will note being reading more books from this author.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister (4/5 stars)

This is the first book in the Aisling Grey, Guardian series by Katie MacAlister. This is the first book I have read by MacAlister. The book ended up being exactly what I though it would be. It is a cute, funny and sexy little book that was a quick read.

Aisling is on a job as a courier delivering a golden dragon statue to someone in Paris. Only thing is when she shows up to make the delivery the recipient is deceased. To make matters more complicated someone else is on the scene with Aisling, his name is Drake and he is convinced that Aisling is a Guardian.

This book is fun little romp. It is more of a romance than most of the paranormals that I read, but it was a quirky little book that I found myself enjoying as I read it. There is some sex in the book but I thought it was tastefully done and not too drawn out. Aisling isn't the normal type of heroine I am drawn to; she is a self admittedly dense and a little bit flighty. Drake is an overpowering male, with about as much sensitivity as a slab of concrete. Still I found these books to be amusing. I also liked the way the magical community was set up in Paris. I find the structure of the dragon culture and the inclusion of dragons as an immortal race to be interesting. The position of Guardian is also interesting and I hope in the next book we find out more about exactly what a Guardian does.

If I had to compare this book to other series I have read I would say that it has a bit more substance and a less flighty heroine than the Queen Betsy series by Davidson but it is more flighty and less substantial than the Sookie Stackhouse series by Harris. Hopefully that will give you an idea of what type of book this is.

I think this series is a bit of a jealous pleasure, it is pure candy, but it hooked me and I enjoyed it all the same. I am excited to read the next book!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (5/5 stars)

When I heard that Gaiman was releasing another book I was very excited and I am happy to say that this book met all of my expectations. Gaiman is such an excellent storyteller.

This book expands on one of the short stories in "M is for Magic" by Neil Gaiman. In that story we meet Bod, a boy who lives in a graveyard. This book tells about how Bod got there and of the adventures he had there. You learn more about the mysterious Jack too! In fact I believe chapter 4 or 5 of The Graveyard Book, is actually an exact reprint of this story.

The story starts with a creepy killer named Jack who kills Bod's whole family (trust me no spoilers here, this happens in the first page); Bod as a small, curious toddler escapes to the graveyard. The book is interesting in that for the first two-thirds of the book each chapter is more of a short-story about Nobody Owens (Bod). Initially there is a large time span between each chapter and in each chapter (short-story) we learn about one of Bod's adventures in the Graveyard. As you get towards the end of the book things happen closer together and the chapters turn into more of what you would consider a standard chapter.

It is fascinating to hear about a boy who is raised in a graveyard by ghosts. Bod develops into and strong and very interesting character, that you can't help but love. Silas, the guardian of the graveyard, is also fascinating. Gaiman, as usual, adds an ironic touch to the story by showing how similar Bod's issues when growing up are with any other childs.

As for being a kids' book; for the most part the book would be okay to read to a young child. The first chapter, where Jack murders Bod's family, I found the be extremely creepy; so I would shy away at reading this chapter to a young child. Many of the other chapters are also scary. If a child under 10 was going to read this book, I would say a parent should read through it first and then you can read it together and skip any inappropriate parts. This book, naturally, deals a ton with death and what it means to be dead.

I absolutely loved this book. I thought the age level was a bit higher than Gaiman's Coraline. People who complain about Gaiman being too morbid, haven't read enough Gaiman. He is like the young adult, fairy tale version of Stepan King...many of his stories are crafted to make you think and feel slightly uncomfortable. This was absolutely a wonderfully crafted story, it's one I am keeping to add to my book collection.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elliot Finnley's Jus' Plain Ole Daisy by Pamela M. Herbert (3/5 stars)

This book is definitely a kid's book. It tells the story of Elliot; who doesn't fit in at school. When Elliot's mother goes missing Elliot is even more an outcast at school. Then Elliot's teacher gives her a special drawing pad and suddenly Elliot finds her self able to travel to another world.

Overall this is a tale with a lesson; everyone is good at something, have confidence in yourself. It is a well-written tale, but nothing spectacular. It is a story that has been told in different variations before.

I think kids would enjoy this story because of it's fantastical nature. It is nice that it is a good fantasy story paired with a positive message. Although the message is pretty darn apparent; there is nothing subtle about its delivery.

I probably won't read anymore of these book if future books are released about Elliot Finnely; but I could see how younger children might really enjoy these types of books.

Archangel Protocol by Lyda Morehouse (3/5 stars)

This is the first book in a series that currently contains 4 books. The books are set in a sort of post apocalyptic United States of America, where everyone has the LINK and America is now a theocracy.

In this book Deidre is an ex-cop who has been excommunicated from her religion because of a crime her cop partner committed. Since government and religion go hand in hand, when she is excommunicated from her religion she has her LINK deactivated and is thrust out of standard human society. The LINK provides access to everything; money, jobs, etc. As someone who is un-LINKed she is forced to eke out a living as an investigator to other unLinked individuals. Another cop Michael saunters into her office and asks her to help show that the miraculous LINK-angles are not actual miracles but a hoax; despite the risk Deidre, is tempted to take the case since Michael offers the one thing for payment that Deidre would give anything to have, he offers to reactivate her LINK. Deidre gets much more than she bargained for.

This book is an interesting blend of post-apocalyptic sci-fi, cyber punk, and paranormal genres. Unforunately for me, although it was an interesting blend, it fell short of fulfilling any of those genres. The world that Morehouse creates, is semi-believable, but feels somewhat contrived. As a more personal paranormal novel; the main character falls short of being believable and comes off as a bit stiff.

I will admit the novel has an interesting premise; although towards the end the mixture of religion and cyber-punk got a bit strange and forced. Also the idea of "the leader of the freeworld" falling into a theocracy is eerily believable and creepy. For the most part this idea of religion taking over everyone's live and religion stunting free-will (woman must where regulation length dresses, birth control is a huge no-no, etc.) makes for an uncomfortable and distrubing read. Sadly though this is a sci-fi topic that has been overdone and has been seen in numerous plots before.

Although I did like the warmer more personal approach to sci-fi that this author took, I still struggled through this book. The book never really grabbed me and pulled me forward; I had to push through it. I would find myself rereading paragraphs just because I lost interest in what I was reading.

Despite all the above cons I have to applaud the author for trying to create a new niche in the sci-fi genre. The world created is also very creative. The main heroine is pretty believable. I own the next two books in the series, so I will probably read them. I hope, though, that they are better than this book. I do think this could turn out to be a great series. Sometimes the initial book has to spend too much time explaining a new world, so maybe that is part of what made this book a bit boring for me.