Posted in book review, fiction, FYI

Book Review: The Seeing Place

Book cover for The Seeing Place by Aziza Eden WalkerBook Review: The Seeing Place
Author:
Aziza Eden Walker
Genre:
Adult Romance
Format:
novel

I won this eBook in a contest.

In brief:

The Seeing Place is a truly satisfying South African romance. Boy from the township meets savvy older woman with some issues and a secret she thinks will hold him back. Best of all, this modern romance is true to its setting and its people. All in all, Aziza Eden Walker gives us a quick read packing all you’d want from a modern romance, including some great supporting characters and dialogue.

The Whole story:

Thuli Poni, producer and casting director, in dire need of transport and a cool drink, stumbles into a cafe. Sparks fly with handsome Andile, the waiter, who is intrigued by her as much as she is by him. He agrees to whisk Thuli to her meeting. And though both think they’ll never run into each other again, naturally they do–that very evening at the auditions to Thuli’s newest project.
A romance develops, but soon runs into difficulties as they realise just how different their worlds and financial situations are.
Andile may be a prince, but does Thuli need a king? Whether they manage the realities of their whirlwind romance remains the million rand question.

What I loved about this story:

Thuli is so, so sassy. You can’t help but root for her. And Andile is so, so sweet! You can’t help but root for him. The setting, Cape Town—both sides of tracks–is strong and charming but realistic. I particularly loved Walker’s description of Table Mountain in the evening, having once seen the sight myself, which made this story more real for me.

I also liked that the problems facing Thuli and Andile are so relatable and, in my opinion, relatively unexplored in this genre at present (2017). In particular, the complications to a relationship when the woman earns more than her man. Added to this is the age/lifestyle differences faced by Thuli and Andile and the unspoken boundaries individuals need to navigate (even within themselves) in order to move their relationship through to the next level.

What I thought could be better:

I would have liked to have gotten to know more about Thuli by the end of the story. Though we begin with her, and soon switch to Andile’s POV regularly, towards the second half of the story, we have mostly Andile’s POV. While this maintained Thuli’s mystery to Andile, I would have liked to have been in on the secret, too.

I also thought the eBook format could be better. Breaks seem to be missing from some paragraphs or scenes so that the change in POV sometimes confused me. A simple scene break would have been very welcome then.

So what did I learn from this whole experience?

I learned it’s been too long since I last visited Cape Town!
I also learned I probably know more about certain South African soapies than I should 😀
But mostly I learned a little bit more about the behind-the-scenes of a professional theatre production and about the lives of actors/drama students when they aren’t on stage.

Rating: 5/5

I Recommend to: fans of How Stella Got Her Groove Back’, lovers of soapies, readers looking for a good, honest romance.

Posted in book review

Book Review: Monkeyboy by S Shane Thomas

Title: Monkeyboy
Author: S Shane Thomas
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: novel
Series: LARC1 Anki Legacies

I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book which I voluntarily read and reviewed.

In brief:

Monkeyboy is the first in the LARC1 series which is written for tweens and young adults. Despite not reading much YA at present, I found this adventure a fun read. With the usual adult characters relegated to the background, it was interesting to see the kids explore Nibiru and deal with the Anki technology with rather more insight than expected. As usual, Thomas’ universe and humour drew me in. Read my review on Thomas’ Distant Origins here.

The Whole story:

Han was born a regular Liberty monkey on Nibiru. Swallowing an Anki stone has turned him into a boy with some amazing powers and a keen interest in the martial arts. But there’s much he doesn’t remember about his life before becoming the adoptive son of Pringar, the Anki mayor of the LARC1 colony. When his strange origins catch up with him, it’s up to Han and his equally gifted best friends Wisp, Cray and Sita to save Nibiru and the solar system from a tyranny.

What I loved about this story:

In Monkeyboy, the kids are kids with universal attitudes and behavior, though very mature at times. Their reactions are familiar if you’ve been around earthlings of the same age. The plot themes are relevant to both young and adult readers. Thomas manages to capture the enthusiasm, energy and creativity of adolescents who are beginning to grapple with the larger implications and consequences of actions from and around them. I think most kids would love to be a part of this gang of four. I know I would have at that age!

What I thought could be better:

There are times when things get a little too heavy for me during the fight scenes and some of the themes are a little on the dark side. So, for the younger sensitive readers (and parents) you might want to discuss some scenes with them, especially those with the Rakshasa.

So what did I learn from this whole experience?

Yep, I’m definitely a fan of Thomas’ Anki Legacies! I got to learn a little bit more about martial arts too. And was reminded once again that some of our greatest philosophies can come out of the mouths of children.

Rating: 5/5

I Recommend to: Kids and adults tiring of the DC world and seeking something new, Kung-Fu Panda fans and Naruto fans.

Posted in book review, fiction, FYI

Book Review: Distant Origins — LARC1: Not so distant Archeology, Mythology and Colonization

Book Review: Distant Origins
Author: S Shane Thomas
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: novel

I received a review copy.

In brief:

S Shane Thomas introduces us to the main themes, technologies and characters of his LARC universe in this action-packed and, at times, too fast-paced story. Distant Origins, the first book of the LARC1 series, begins with a human colony and ends with multi-species co-existing and planning for the future. For the most part, I was once again left in awe at Thomas’ imagination, plot twists and his weaving of ancient history, deities, and historic figures into a whirlwind of action.

 

The Whole story:

xdistantoriginscover-jpg-pagespeed-ic-qxvu0qam45LARC1 is the first human colony to leave Earth in the near future, utilising technology gained from the spaceship Atlantis. Two suitable planets are discovered for colonisation: Haran, home to the Pneuma feudal civilisation, and Nibiru which is apparently free of sentient life. The colony settles on Niburu after an abortive contact attempt with the king of Haran, taking two Pneuma children with them.

On Nibiru, the colonists soon discover remains of advanced technology proving the gifted descendants of Pneuma, and that the Anki had built the Atlantis and influenced human history significantly. As the colony settles in, other species abducted by the Anki are found, and technological breakthroughs advance the colonies resources at an astonishing rate. At the same time, the relics of the Anki’s security system are activated, so threatening the existence of humans in that solar system.

Our heroes and heroines find themselved fighting not just for civilization and higher values, but for their lives and loves too.

What I loved about this story:

I was never bored with this action-packed story. The main characters’ open-mindedness and acceptance of all species and cultures (along with their teamwork) was a mental and emotional balm after going through my social media feeds. The technology (especially the LARC1 colony ship with its design and the way it was adapted to serve the colony even on landfall) really intrigued me.

Having read A Palaeolithic Fable first, it was great to get to know more about Bobby, Nabu and the origins of the shugarra. Having Pringar, a non-human narrator, also worked well for me.

What I thought could be better:

While Distant Origins is a fun read, there was much that I thought could be better. I was disappointed that some plot threads were dealt with so quickly and contained the odd inconsistency. I wanted the story to slow down at times so I could digest all the new developments and characters. I honestly wanted this book to be longer, or a series, so I could enjoy the developing plot points and characters more.

And on a technical note, I’d prefer having Pringar’s POV differentiated from others, at least visually.

So what did I learn from this whole experience?

I learned that I’m seriously into the LARC universe and Thomas’ stories now. I was reminded of some mythology I’d forgotten. And that I might actually enjoy reading epic sci-fi again.

Rating: 4/5

I Recommend to: lovers of ‘80s/90’s Saturday morning sci-fi and manga, quest-addicted gamers, classic sci-fi and fantasy readers