Archives for category: Goodreads Book Review

Authors’ voices are as varied as Authors, but they tend to bifurcate into two camps: what I’ll call the “lush,” adjective- and adverb-laden, detailed descriptions, explication of characters’ emotions and sensations, five-dollar words; and the “minimalist,” plain-spoken, vernacular, just-the-facts-ma’am, economical action and plot. The reader must deduce characters’ thoughts and feelings.

I confess as a reader I love both styles and, as an author, have gone both ways. In my fin de siècle titles (The Gilded Age, Every Mystery Unexplained, Daughter of the Tao, and Celestial Girl), I found my lush voice. In contemporary, futuristic, science fictional titles (Summer of Love, Shaken, Hummers, and the forthcoming Quester Trilogy), I tend toward a minimalist voice.

Lush is easy to appreciate and understand. Minimalist may be a mystery wrapped in an enigma. You the reader say, “How did the Author create a whole cinematic scene in my head with those few words?”

“They threw me off the hay truck about noon.” So begins Cain’s classic, minimalist, brutal story of a lusty amoral drifter and a scheming sexy wife who conspire to murder her nice husband and make it appear like an accident so she can inherit the husband’s humble little roadside café and she and the drifter can live happily ever after. Written and published in 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, the subtext of every word and scene is desperation: rancor between the haves and have-nots; tension between Mexican immigrant laborers and Southern California Americans; illicit lust between man and woman.

This is a classic Greek tragedy. No good comes to anyone.

My plastic-wrapped, 1947 Pocket Edition tops off at 121 pages so you can see why filmmakers in Hollywood and Europe scrambled to adapt the book to the movies. It’s the length of a screenplay. None of the Hollywood films I’ve seen, though, can capture the violent lust between the drifter and the wife like Cain’s minimalist voice. Spoiler Alert! Here’s their first hot sex scene at page 9:

“I got some cooking to do. I’ll wash up this plate.” I took her in my arms and mashed my mouth up against hers. “Bite me! Bite me!” I bit her. I sunk my teeth into her lips so deep I could feel the blood spurt into my mouth. It was running down her neck when I carried her upstairs.”

CUT! (And he’s not a vampire.)

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

Romantic Suspense! Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

New! Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. Meanwhile, as they begin a hot affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Coming soon! Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, which will include Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, and Book 4: Terminus. The Omnibus Edition will include all three books.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Urban fantasy! The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments. Begin with Book 1: Life’s Journey on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

The Bantam classic, Summer of Love is available in seven affordable installments. Begin at the beginning on Nook, Kindle, or UK Kindle

Suspense! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide, is on Nook, Kindle. and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!

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Harris has a smooth commercial style with touches of wit and romance and the requisite supernatural creatures of urban fantasy. Each book may be read alone; she doesn’t so totally tie in plot points that you’re lost if you don’t start at the first book. Sookie’s voice is charming and her supernatural power as a telepath is interesting, the classic bartender/barista/waitress who seems to know exactly what you’re thinking. Though she holds her own with the supernatural beings and situations she confronts, ultimately a waitress in a small-town pub in the South isn’t all that interesting. Not nearly as explicit or dark as the TV series.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

Romantic Suspense! Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

New! Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. Meanwhile, as they begin a hot affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Coming soon! Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, which will include Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, and Book 4: Terminus. The Omnibus Edition will include all three books.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Urban fantasy! The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments. Begin with Book 1: Life’s Journey on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

The Bantam classic, Summer of Love is available in seven affordable installments. Begin at the beginning on Nook, Kindle, or UK Kindle

Suspense! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide, is on Nook, Kindle. and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!

The author is justifiably lauded for creating a novel unique in probably all of literature: the first-person account of an anatomical androgyne who, at adolescence, discovers she is a he, uses copious amounts of Nair on his face, and is attracted to girls. The portrait is so convincing (he’s “a card-carrying member of the Save the Manatee Society”), I often wondered, “Is this the author, really? Or not?” The first section about the war-torn Greece of his ancestors is the most vividly told, while the teenager’s awakening sexuality is by turns witty, hilarious, and achingly desperate. At times, though, the book feels like a pastiche; in fact several sections were New Yorker stories first, then dropped in. The biggest disappointment for me was the sequence in which our hero/ine goes to San Francisco and works in a strip club. I know exactly where he’s talking about. My husband, Tom Robinson, and I had a working art studio above a belly-dancing club within that same two block radius on the cusp of North Beach where rock stars and movie actors showed up at Enrico’s at three A.M. for drinks and dirty burgers, famed Finocchio’s featured an all-transvestite cabaret, Mafioso with their heaters bulging in their pockets and gold crucifixes at their throats drank at the Matador, and green-Mohawked punks crowded Club Mabuhay. I was looking forward to the author’s take on my old neighborhood, but this section is curiously cardboard and flat. Still, this is a benchmark book in American literature.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

Romantic Suspense! Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

New! Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. Meanwhile, as they begin a hot affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Coming soon! Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, which will include Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, and Book 4: Terminus. The Omnibus Edition will include all three books.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Urban fantasy! The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments. Begin with Book 1: Life’s Journey on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

The Bantam classic, Summer of Love is available in seven affordable installments. Begin at the beginning on Nook, Kindle, or UK Kindle

Suspense! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide, is on Nook, Kindle. and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!

There are some gruesome scenes in this unique high-concept novel but I loved Pi’s desperate musings about life and God while he’s cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger on a small lifeboat. The author captures the boy’s Hindi voice pitch-perfect, and the meditations about zoos and wild animals are fascinating. Small details like the vegetarian Pi’s reluctance even to break a banana stem because it’s like breaking an animal’s neck, and now he must capture fish and snap their necks and eat them raw to survive, make the story feel real. In the end, though, after twists and turns, it’s like a hallucination. But perhaps that’s the point.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

Romantic Suspense! Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

New! Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. Meanwhile, as they begin a hot affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Coming soon! Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, which will include Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, and Book 4: Terminus. The Omnibus Edition will include all three books.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Urban fantasy! The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments. Begin with Book 1: Life’s Journey on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

The Bantam classic, Summer of Love is available in seven affordable installments. Begin at the beginning on Nook, Kindle, or UK Kindle

Suspense! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide, is on Nook, Kindle. and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!

I was almost done with the first draft of THE GARDEN OF ABRACADABRA, my magic college book, when The Magicians hit the bestseller list. Naturally I read the book at once!

Grossman, who reviews books for Time Magazine, is quite a literary stylist. His renditions of hideously difficult entrance exams, magical theory, and the tests and ordeals magic college students must endure are fascinating.

His characters, however, come across as privileged, spoiled Ivy Leaguers, contemptuous of their wealthy parents, with ultimately no purpose for their magic education. Even Fillory, the magical realm they travel to, doesn’t amount to anything. After they graduate, they hold elaborate dinner parties and fall in and out of bed. That’s about it.

By contrast, Abby Teller’s purpose for entering magic college is focused from the start: she must defend herself against ancient enemies of her father. She’s drawn into a murder investigation leading to clues of an ancient war between Humanity and Demonic Realms. And she must solve mysteries of her own troubled past. She’s no trust-funder, she works as the superintendent of The Garden of Abracadabra, a magical apartment building on campus. But if you love all things magic, you’ll find The Magicians a good read and a cut above formulaic urban fantasy.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

Urban fantasy! The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments. Begin with Book 1: Life’s Journey on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

The Bantam classic, Summer of Love is available in seven affordable installments. Begin at the beginning on Nook, Kindle, or UK Kindle

Suspense! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide, is on Nook, Kindle. and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!

GRRM is one of the top ten most highly paid authors in the world. The New York Times has described his writing as “supernatural.” You will start this first tome of A Song of Ice and Fire with backstories of the Royal Houses, complex genealogies, sigils and mottos, and maps. That said, I’ve got two caveats. First, GRRM has a habit of killing off characters before they’ve had a chance to do much. In the very first chapter, we meet Gared in the midst of a dire situation. He’s vividly and sympathetically described: his physical appearance, his backstory, his hopes and fears, his contentious relationship with the knight he serves. Cut to Chapter 2, and Gared is being beheaded. And that’s the end of Gared. I found it jarring. I read a review of Book 3, and, thousands of pages into the series, the reader had the same complaint. So it’s not just me. Second, GRRM has a habit of loving or hating each of his characters regardless of how they serve the plot. That may sound odd, but I can’t think of another author who does this quite like GRRM. The golden-haired princess Sansa, for instance, has a Terrible Thing happen and she’s affected. Then, in her next POV chapter, she thinks and acts as if the Terrible Thing never happened. I was reading, thinking, “But what about the Terrible Thing?” Then GRRM casually mentions it toward the end of her chapter. I didn’t think, “I hate this character,” I thought, “GRRM hates this character so much, he won’t even let her speak for herself.” I found this jarring, too. So there you have it. If you love curling up with kings and queens and court intrigue, you can’t do much better than this.