I am so far behind on writing more pseudo-reviews that it’s scary. These are some of the books I’ll write real pseudo-reviews on later as I attempt to get caught up:
Bless Your Mechanical Heart, edited by Jennifer Brozek: recommended — there is no story in this anthology that I’d give fewer than 3 stars, and some that I’d give 5. I did not expect robot stories to be so moving. (Also, the writing in each and every one of these stories is pretty darn good.)
Burning in the Void, by Andrew Linke: not recommended. The author apparently does not know about using commas to separate a direct address from the rest of the sentence. If the story, characters and setting were really, really interesting, I may have been motivated to overlook this enough to read the whole thing and possibly give it as many as 3/5 stars. However, that didn’t happen.
Crossing the Asymptote, by Lysle Shields III: undecided. The dialogue used to introduce backstory is awkward, but things could improve further into the story. I’m willing to give this novel another try at a later date, because the premise seems interesting and the writing is at least not inept.
Darkness Descending, by P. A. Johnson: undecided. I read about 10% of this before deciding that I was too bored with the plot and characters to continue. On the other hand, the writing is quite good in its technical aspects (yay! someone who knows how to use a goddamn comma!), so this is another one that I intend to give another try at a later date.
A Door into Truth, by J. S. Johnson: undecided. Interesting premise, and the writing is technically good (although a bit long-winded and slow to get to the story), but… something about the main character annoyed me, and I stopped reading after a few chapters.
The Drafted, by Lila Zai: not recommended. I hate the narrating character (he’s a pig), and so I only made it through a single chapter of this before quitting. Also, the author of this story does not use commas to separate a direct address from the rest of the sentence (which should not be that difficult to figure out).
One for All, by H. L. Henrikson: highly recommended. I will be keeping an eye out for the other stories in this series (the cover says A Chronicle of the 13 Colonies), because this one is excellent. Interesting plot, interesting setting, interesting characters… and technically flawless writing.
Othella, by Therin Knite: recommended. I don’t like present-tense narration — I’ve said that before, right? So a novel that I like despite it being written in present tense has gotta be a damn good one. (Yes, it helps that the writing is excellent in technical terms. It is such a joy to read a novel in which there are no ‘speed bumps’ to reading such as missing or misplaced punctuation, inappropriate word choices, or blatant factual errors.) Also, I like the protagonist’s choice of personal firearm. 🙂
The Rebel Trap, by Lance Erlick: recommended. I do have complaints about a few minor details in this book (please stop perpetrating the myth that autism means having genius-level IQ and being really good with computers but being really bad when it comes to using words), but the story was interesting, the characters more complex than I expect from a YA novel, and the author even gave us more backstory for the characters and setting this time. The good writing doesn’t hurt, either — it always makes me happy when an indie author has put the necessary time/effort/money/whatever into making sure their book is polished and readable (because this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should).
The Reset Button, by Jeff Hunt: recommended.
Spikebreaker, by Gareth Lewis: recommended. I admit that what first impressed me about this story is that the author doesn’t confuse telepathy/empathy with telekinesis; you’d be surprised at how many writers (and members of their audiences) think “it’s all the same thing” (because anyone who can sort of pick up on the emotional states of other people can obviously also turn on light bulbs with their mind… *rolls eyes*). So I was inclined to like this story before I’d read very far into it. It’s a near-future police drama sort of story, the kind that could be the seed for a good movie or television series. And the writing is good: commas where they belong and everything.