The Magpie’s Daughter, by Fiona Skye

Today I’ll be reviewing The Magpie’s Daughter, by Fiona Skye. The book is set in the same universe as her Revelations series, and has some character and event overlap with it.  Here’s the cover and blurb:

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When Aeryn Walker receives a mysterious package for her sixteenth birthday, she has no idea that what’s hidden inside will catapult her into a dangerous adventure, full of magic and faeries, where she will uncover the secret of her father’s true identity

 

 

 

 

 

 

TL;DR Review

Character and Dialogue 17 points
Setting and Description 20 points
Plot and Creativity 18 points
Technical Ability 20 points
Cover and Blurb 19 points
   
Overall 94 points
  • Very believable, relatable characters who sound like real people.
  • Excellent description with vivid imagery.
  • Fast-paced, interesting story with a familiar plot but unique characters
  • Excellent technical ability
  • Beautiful cover that directly relates to the story and a tight, interesting blurb

Keep Reading for the long review.

Continue reading “The Magpie’s Daughter, by Fiona Skye”

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Child of Clay, By Fiona Skye

Today I’ll be reviewing Child of Clay, by Fiona Skye. This is the first book in her series “Those Who Are Awake”.  Here’s the cover and blurb:

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Abandoned at birth on the steps of a Catholic orphanage, Jerrilyn Seton spent most of her childhood learning about the saints and angels, serving Jesus, and suffering the sisters’ tough discipline, until they, too, abandoned her. Despite this, she still relies on her faith to help her with her work as a ghost hunter. But not once has she ever received an answer to her prayers.

Until now.

Now Jerrilyn hears whispers in the dark, a strange voice that hints at hidden knowledge about her origins and the fate of the world. How are they connected? What will she sacrifice to become one of Those Who Are Awake?

 

TL;DR Review

Character and Dialogue 19 points
Setting and Description 20 points
Plot and Creativity 18 points
Technical Ability 20 points
Cover and Blurb 18 points
   
Overall 95 points
  • Very believable, relatable characters who sound like real people.
  • Excellent description with vivid imagery.
  • Exciting and fast-paced, definitely a bit of a twist I didn’t see coming.
  • Near-perfect technical ability, very nicely done.
  • Great cover, blurb starts out slow but picks up interest quickly.

Keep reading for the detailed review.

Continue reading “Child of Clay, By Fiona Skye”

Under Dark Sky Law, by Tamara Boyens

Today, I’ll be reviewing Under Dark Sky Law, by Tamara Boyens. Here is the cover and blurb:

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Xero knows what she wants: absolute rule over Southern Arizona, a cure for the superbug that’s killing her best friend, and a decent bar of soap. Some are easier to get than others. At least, that’s what she thought. To save her friend, she needs antibiotics. Not just any antibiotics: Ketacillin. The dreaded Zaps are dissolving Trina’s lungs, and only the rare medication can save her. No problem: Xero is an expert smuggler. You want it, she ships it. As the ruler of the Tucson Exiles, she works as a double agent, hustling supplies for the government and pumping the desert full of designer drugs on the sly.

With whispers of a full revolution echoing through the desert, Xero questions her uneasy alliances with a shady Phoenix psychiatrist and a roving cyborg mercenary. Especially when Yuma goes kaboom, and her Ketacillin is destroyed along with it. Catastrophe looms, and she finds herself stuck in a complicated web spun from her biggest demons: money, germs, and drugs. As she’s sucked deeper into a net of convoluted schemes to dig up some Ketacillin, she would do anything for a simple hot shower. Who do you have to kill to get some soap? The body count climbs as Xero struggles to protect her friends and stay clean in a very dirty world.

TL;DR Review

Character and Dialogue 18 points
Setting and Description 19 points
Plot and Creativity 17 points
Technical Ability 20 points
Cover and Blurb 17 points
   
Overall 91 points
  • A very interesting, if not truly likeable main character.
  • Just enough detail about character appearance. Very good description of settings and events. Bloody, brutal action scenes.
  • Surprisingly convoluted plot that kept me guessing, despite a few jarring scene cuts.
  • Near-perfect technical ability, very nicely done.
  • Cover is well done, but doesn’t entirely fit the story. Blurb is interesting, but too long and gives away too much information.

Keep reading for the long review.

Continue reading “Under Dark Sky Law, by Tamara Boyens”

The Joy Thief, by A.M. Rycroft

Today, I’ll be reviewing The Joy Thief, by A.M. Rycroft. This is the third book in her Cathell series, but chronologically it follows directly from the first book, Into The Darkness (which I reviewed here), so it isn’t necessary to read the second book to understand what is going on. Here’s the cover and blurb:

Joy Thief

It’s hunting Eben’s children.

Aeryn Ravane and the young thief Theo Weldon barely survived The Harbinger’s reign of terror. They travel north to escape from their dark memories, but darkness enters their lives again in the city of Eben. A malevolent force is feeding on the minds of children. It’s not long before it finds Theo.

Aeryn’s desperate search for answers leads her to a dark legend about an insatiable creature that no one believes is real. But is it truly just a myth? Aeryn races to find out the truth before Theo’s nightmares swallow her forever.

 

TL;DR Review

Character and Dialogue 18 points
Setting and Description 19 points
Plot and Creativity 13 points
Technical Ability 20 points
Cover and Blurb 17 points
   
Overall 87 points
  • Much more likeable main character this time around.
  • Not much detail about character appearance, but very good description of settings and events, as well as fast-paced action sequences.
  • Not the most original plot, and definite predictability issues
  • Near-perfect technical ability, very nicely done.
  • Cover is well done, but doesn’t entirely fit the story. Blurb has a nice hook and draws the reader in without extraneous details.

Keep reading for the detailed review below.

Continue reading “The Joy Thief, by A.M. Rycroft”

Into the Darkness, by A.M. Rycroft

Today I’ll be reviewing Into the Darkness, by A.M. Rycroft. This is the first book in her Cathell series.  Here’s the cover and blurb:

Into The Darkness Book Review

Sell-sword Aeryn Ravane didn’t set out to end the world.

Aeryn shut everyone out when her father died. A whisper in the dark pulls her back, promising an end to her torment if she captures the legendary sword sealed within the Black Caverns. Ending the curse that guards it,however, means unlocking the secrets of the past, some of which should stay buried.

Her quest turns into a fight for survival when she comes face-to-face with an ancient evil. She rescues a young thief pulled into the horrors and darkness spreading across Cathell. Keeping them alive and saving their world will take every bit of Aeryn’s strength and wit. Will it be enough?


TL;DR Review

Character and Dialogue 16 points
Setting and Description 18 points
Plot and Creativity 15 points
Technical Ability 17 points
Cover and Blurb 17 points
Overall 83 points
  • Main character is kind of wooden for most of the book, but opens up as the story goes on; secondary characters are excellent.
  • Not much detail about character appearance, but very good description of settings and events, as well as fast-paced action sequences.
  • Easy to follow plot, with an excellent climax. Some characters introduced later than they should have been. No romantic plotline, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  • Good grammar and spelling, not many mistakes. Story pacing works well. Point of view changes are abrupt and sometimes seem unnecessary.
  • Cover fits the story and draws the reader’s eye. Blurb has a nice hook and draws the reader in without extraneous details.

Continue reading “Into the Darkness, by A.M. Rycroft”

Welcome to Read or Die!

Starting a book review blog seems like a logical extension of a love of reading, but the idea never really occurred to me until very recently. I do enjoy telling people about books I’ve read, giving them recommendations on what to read, and that sort of thing, so starting this blog will open a larger community in which to do so.

Since I do a vast amount of reading, I have a fair amount of experience with book reviews, and one of the things that I noticed in going through various book review sites is that self-published and small press published works don’t get a lot of love. In fact, quite a few reviewers flat out refuse to pick up a non-traditionally published novel. I don’t agree with that attitude. I’ve read a lot of indie work in recent years and come across some really good books. Yes, of course there are bad books to be found–there always are, no matter where it’s published. Why limit yourself?

I’m hoping that by giving some attention to the often-overlooked self-published and small press published books I will not only help people to find more good books to read, but also help these authors get some more notice.

If you take a look at my Review Policy page, you might think that the way I’ll be going about my reviews seems a little unusual. My hope is that this style of reviews will a) be something fresh and interesting, and b) give the authors of the books something constructive and helpful to look at. Give it a try, maybe you’ll like it. If you think it’s stupid and terrible, that’s okay, too.

-Read or Die!