Saturday, November 30, 2013

REVIEW: Terminated by Rachel Caine

Terminated (Revivalist, #3) Terminated by Rachel Caine
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

CAUTION: spoilers, rant

The first book was kind of good and really promising. The second book — not so good, because it was too angsty for my taste. The third book (this book) was better. Less on the angst (and Bryn’s internal whining), more of a thriller with Bryn literally taking names and kicking ass. She still whined some but this time she got the message that it is not who, or rather what, you are that makes you a monster, it is what you do that does. About damn time.

+ What I Didn’t Like: a lot

Unfortunately, book 3’s better wasn’t good enough. To see that this book is the final book of the series saddens me. The series had so much potential, but never fully realized it. In book 1 through 2, the story danced around the ethical issues. I accepted this because I thought the issues were going to be dished out in pieces throughout the series. This was back when I was ignorant of the fact that the series was only a trilogy. In book 3, the story completely sidestepped it by paint brushing the entire zombie technology as evil and something that should have never been invented. The book did so much wrong there.

1) Talk about anti-science. Seriously, talk about it. The characters never once thought, “hey, maybe this technology could be modified not to make people zombies but instead to enhance their natural healing abilities (within constraints, without them dead first, of course).” But oh no, the zombie technology is absolutely evil is what the book went for. The technology must be destroyed. Never mind the facts it’s the evil people who use the thing for evil and that there were equally destructive AND MORE destructive inventions in existence.

2) It’s lazy writing, considering that the story is a what-if. This story was about what if death could be cured with a drug. Evidently, that was just a flimsy setting for a mediocre thriller fiction. Largely flash and little substance.


3) And the ending. It sucked! Seriously, a kill switch? Seriously? There’s a blatant deus ex machina if I ever see one. The characters actually thought the kill switch would be the end of things. The fuck it isn’t. They never once thought people might figure out a way around the kill switch of a hack as people usually do because there’s no such thing as an unhackable hack. They never thought that other bad guys might accept the kill switch thing as an acceptable risk, kidnap a bunch of innocent people, and turn them into disposable mind-controlled zombie super soldiers to inflict the maximum damage before the enemy realizes they’re zombies and activate the kill switch... assuming they have the high technology on hand. Hell, they never even thought that invention could still be used as a biological weapon and be modified to make it more contagious, e.g. infect people by air or drinking water. Just because there is a cure for something does not make that something any less dangerous, smallpox for example. Come on! It’s weaponology 101.

Beside the ethical issues, book 3 also skimped out on the Evil Corporation, Massive Conspiracy, and Global Domination plot. The reader never got to learn the entire extent of it. For a story where the world was at stake, it was absurdly provincial. In other words, the story told the reader the world is at stake but what was happening felt more on the scale of a national level rather than a global one. I hardly doubt Americans were the only players in the game, but in the series that was all who the reader sees. If there was any mention of international stuff, it was in the abstract and distance. The farthest and most foreign place the characters ever went in the story was Alaska. Honestly.

Other things I hated was how some Bryn’s allies turned out not to be trustworthy to say the least. After all they have been through together, it made me mad how easily the team could break. Granted, they all pulled through in the end but I felt the side road drama was unnecessary and the time could have been much better spent on world building and plot depth building.

Another thing I didn’t like was how practically all the villains were 100% evil. They were either psychopaths or people just blindly following orders. The black and white-ness of things felt juvenile.

The deaths at the end felt overly dramatic and contrived because obviously the kill switch had to come with a high price. Oh please. Spare me the tragic tough choice. The kill switch could have easily come with no price at all with the way the book made up the science stuff.

The ending was abrupt. I was shortchanged of an epilogue. The series ended with a belief that the loose ends were wrapped up, and they were. But it was in a way that could easily be unwrapped with another book if the author decided to continue the series.

+ What I Liked: a little

The only things I liked beside Bryn’s kicking ass was how the romance between Patrick and Bryn continued without angst and stupid issues. I was thankful that at the very least the series allowed the two to survive at the end together.


I rate Terminated and the entire series 2-stars for it was okay. I don’t recommend this series. It promised a basketful of things it never delivered. I recommend the White Trash Zombie series, a MUCH better zombie series.

Goodreads | Amazon

Thursday, November 28, 2013

REVIEW: Whitetail Rock by Anne Tenino

Whitetail Rock (Whitetail Rock, #1) Whitetail Rock by Anne Tenino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Smutty and free. The book appealed to every one of my romance kinks, and the romance was interracial to boot (not something I commonly come across). This book would have been rated higher than 3 stars, but it wasn’t for two big reasons.

First reason: the main character

Nik wasn’t likable as I wanted him to be. I get his issues. I get his anger. But I couldn’t excuse him taking his anger out on undeserving Jurgen. Jurgen had been nothing but nice to Nik. Meanwhile, Nik was rude and selfish to Jurgen. Nik acted as if he was only the person in the whole world who had issues. Bitch, please. Get some perspective. The guy has a loving family, caring friends, and a decent job. I wished one of the characters would have told Nik to get the stick out of his ass and thrown a glass of cold water in his face for good measure.

I didn’t like how Jurgen was the only one of the two to face his issues (Jurgen has a fear of commitment). I was a little baffled at what Jurgen saw in Nik to love because I couldn’t see it. Love is blind, I guess.

Second reason: the ending

The ending was abrupt. The climax occurred at the last minute, and then it was over as quickly as it started. WTF? Where’s my falling action, and that’s not a proper dénouement.

Other reasons

I didn’t take off any points for these reasons but I thought it was weird how Nik was home with his family for a visit yet the reader really never got to meet his family. I didn’t mind that most of the sex scenes were fade-to-black; I did mind that a non-fade to black sex scene took place at Nik’s office at the university during business hours. Ew, the couple should have some respect for other people and found an isolated place to fuck.

What I Did Like

This quote:
“Sam. I've got news for you. Not every childhood trauma can be healed by finding the right penis." [said Nik]

Sam looked devastated. He opened and closed his mouth, eyes wide, then suddenly slumped back against the railing, unable to support himself anymore. "You mean," his voice was barely a whisper. "All those romance novels lied?”
LOL. Hey, a person can dream, can’t they? It was nice to see Nik could be humorous sometimes... in a blue moon. Anyway.

I also liked the college setting, particularly how Nik shared his frustration of being a TA to the reader. He sounded exactly like one of my college instructors.


I rate Whitetail Rock 3-stars for I like it. It could have been better book. It needed a few more rounds of editing. But as it is, the story was good and definitely hooked me into book 2.

Goodreads | Read it for free

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

REVIEW: Light by Nathan Burgoine

Light Light by Nathan Burgoine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was fun! It’s the second time in a row I used that word in a review, and it’s the second time in a row it’s for a book from a publisher (Bold Strokes Books) I have poor luck with! I want to say “used to have poor luck with” here but let’s not jinx it.

+ the hero

The hero was both a big negative and a big positive. Kieran was a big negative because he acted recklessly a handful of times, and I had half a mind to label him TSTL. He deliberately put himself in danger with little preparation. For example, one does not walk brazenly into a cult on their turf to snoop and then expect to quietly walk back out after one is finished snooping. Keiran did this not once, but twice. Both times, no disguise.

Second to Kieran’s poor sense of danger was his poor sense of discretion. The guy revealed his super-self too easily to other characters after so many years of hiding it ever since he promised his mother on her death bed to keep it a secret as a child. He was very fortunate those characters were genuinely good guys and trustworthy.

Kieran was a big positive because he took the time and effort to practice his superpowers and test the limit of what he could do. Not only that, he beseeched advice from Miracle Woman, an experienced superhero. It was one of those few times where Kieran acted perfectly sensibly. I didn’t expect it; half of it was because Kieran could be so frivolous sometimes and half of it was because super-people in superhero fictions, the many that I have read, rarely explore and practice their power.

I loved how proactive Kieran was. Kieran knew full well that to protect people, he would have to do more than simply just be there to stop whatever disaster there may be. Through online research and old-school snooping, he chased the villains. He searched for their weakness. He used his superpower ingeniously. He also warned the appropriate people.

In short, the guy was a character of contradictions. Sometime he could be so stupid, sometime he could be so smart. I actively liked and disliked him.

+ the other characters

As for the other characters, specifically the good guys, I liked all of them. I liked Karen, Kieran’s pushy female best friend, and Callum, Kieran’s overprotective older brother. I loved the fact that Kieran came from a nice religious Irish family, and that there was none of this disowning-because-gay crap.

Easter, Kieran’s cat, was so adorable and one of the nicest fictional cats I ever met. Hell, I think Easter is the only nice fictional cat I ever met. His cuteness rivaled Pilot’s, Sebastien’s pet dog. I loved how in the story all dogs helplessly love super-people.

+ the villains

I don’t care for books where the villains are homophobes because it touches too much of reality for me to be comfortable with. I don’t like being reminded while I’m reading for fun that there are bigots. I already get that from reading the news on a daily basis, thank you very much. Thus, I was very grateful that the book treated the homophobic villains like common criminals and not like something special the reader must explore in-depth and get close to face-to-face. They were bad guys who were going to hurt people, and that was all the reader needed to know.

+ the romance

Free spirit twink meets benevolent bear. The chemistry between Kieran and Sebastien was ooh la la. They matched so perfectly, and kind of kinky! The two needed to make out more. I took off zero point for this, but it would have been nice if there were smut instead fade-to-black. Just saying.

I also liked the small plotline of a romance between Karen and Callum, Kieran’s best friend and brother, respectively. It’s nice when minor characters are allowed to find their own happiness.

+ the ending

The ending was a bit cheesy. I didn’t think it was necessary how Kieran suddenly decided to officially play superhero, the operative word being “play.” I thought Kieran should have given more thought, some serious heavy-heavy thought, about what it would mean to be a superhero as a person would when they take on a dangerous job, like a police officer or a firefighter.

That said, the ending was very gratifying, if excessive on the saccharine. The bigots got their due, and the good guys got their festival. The book was a mood booster.


I rate Light 3-stars for I liked it. The book was fun, amusing, and lighthearted, considering who the villains were and the themes that were presented. I really liked how there was a direct connection between acceptance of LGBT people and acceptance of super-people, and that it all comes down to acceptance, period. While the ending was completely resolved, it would be marvelous if Light have a sequel.

Goodreads | Amazon