All posts by ntbadmin

Deadly Blessings

Deadly Blessings
by Julie Hyzy

It’s not often Alex St. James has a story like this fall into her lap, only to have it snatched away again. As news researcher at Midwest Focus Television in Chicago, she’d been set to interview a young Polish immigrant woman, pregnant by a Catholic priest. When the woman is found murdered, and Alex tries to investigate, her boss abruptly reassigns her to a fluff piece, so he can give the hot murder story to the station owner’s nephew. But anyone who knows Alex also knows that like Fate, she’ll find a way. Acting without authority and without assistance, she continues to investigate, making some very powerful people in the Chicago Archdiocese uneasy. Suddenly Alex finds herself in the middle of a plot so sinister and far reaching that the very next thing she might hear are her own Last Rites. Award-winning mystery author Julie Hyzy has also written several award-winning science-fiction short stories. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago.

It’s not that there is anything badly done, it’s just that
… The pacing is too slow
… I can deal with a first-person female protagonist, but all that happens is centered around hairdressers !
… for a crime novel there isn’t much crime or action and after a quarter of the book has gone it’s looking like there won’t be much coming up.

So once again I’m ending a book because of slow pacing and lack of a plot.

Disappointed

Final Season

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1)
N. K. Jemisin


Read as part of the Sword and Laser March pick.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

This book opens with a huge info-dump of a prelude. Then it starts as the main viewpoint character in present tense, second person style. Not normally a prose style I like, but the skills of the author pull it off. Soon, however this would get annoying and pull me out of the story each time it was used.

This is grim-dark fantasy and very grim. It starts with the murder of a child and doesn’t look up. The story is very slow to get started and soon becomes apparent that everything will be stretched out to make this a long fantasy book. One of the main problems I had was that the ‘magic’ employed by the characters was just out of proportion to actual human abilities, apparently people can cause earthquakes !

The lack of any wit in the characters, the slow pacing and weird magic just got boring and I gave up after getting about 25% through.

 

TYE

The original idea for using the name ‘Textyoureyes’ came around 2003 with a design for a CD (shown here). The name became the url for my first web page (2005) and persists in the title banner on this new web site.

TYE

 

 

SM6 SA

SM6 Sonic Architecture
CD Cover, back and inside.
Created from a photograph of the
Commerce Building, University Canterbury
circa April 2005

 

SM6

My Idols

Haley & Crystal

American Idol has finished on Season 15.
Unfortunately the best singer, La’Porsha Renae lost to Trent Harmon.
So I have gone back over my favorite singers and found the albums they released. Which is the best singer and the best album ?

The contestants are:

Caleb Johnson – Testify (2014)

Candice Glover – Music Speaks (2014)

Crystal Bowersox
Farmer’s Daughter (2010)
All that for This (2013)

Haley Reinhart
Listen up (2012)
Better (April 29, 2016)

David Cook
Analog Heart (2006)
David Cook (2008)
This Loud Morning (2011)
Digital Vein (2015)

Siobhan Magnus
Moonbaby (2012)
Old Cape Cod (2013)

Danny Gokey
My Best Days (2010)
Hope in Front of Me (2014)
Christmas is Here (2015)

Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks (2007)
Battlefield (2009)
Right Here, Right Now (2015)

Melinda Doolittle – Coming Back yo You (2009)

Unfortunately some of the powerful voices (Melinda Doolittle, Candice Glover) have been served with albums aimed more at the teen market and poorly produced albums. My favorite singers are Haley Reinhart. and Crystal Bowersox. Haley released a very pop-oriented first album but has gotten better, especially when singing with Jazz bands. She has a new album ‘Better’ coming out in a few weeks. The single sounds like a promising start to the album.
Crystal Bowersox has two albums that are consistently good. So at the moment it’s a tie between Haley Reinhart and Crystal Bowersox.

 

CD6 Universe

 

CD6 – At the Edge of the Universe

Artwork for CD & HTML Interface
Created in photoshop by combining spaceship elements with starfield background.

 

CD6_CD

 

 

CD6_Border

Witched

Dewitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen
Unhitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen #2

by E.L. Sarnoff

After serving time for Snow White’s attempted murder, the Evil Queen is about to get a makeover. Just not the kind she expected. Thinking she’s been sent to a luxurious spa that will enable her to regain her beauty and recapture her title, Fairest of All, Jane Yvel instead finds herself at Faraway, a rehab center that caters to Fairytalelanders addicted to evil.

The first book was purchased on a whim for about $1 at amazon. Both proved to be well written romps through the fantasy-land everyone knows from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty etc. In the first book, I became worried that the plot would grind to a halt as the protagonist appeared to be stuck in a rut for almost half the book. Fortunately she gets out and the story picks up and. Written in first person from the ‘evil’ side of the stories we all know from Grimm/Disney these have a very modern sensibility.

With breathless twists some satire and general silliness these are a fun read.

 

Lexx 3.09 & 3.10

 

Lexx_Logo

 

Lexx 3.09 Garden (2/4/2000)
Kai and Stan search for Xev in a moth and luckily find her stranded, dehydrated, under a city spire. They fly down to the Garden, and meet three women who spend their day tending to stamens and other flower parts. In an atmosphere of serenity, Kai decides he will plant himself and decompose. Stan wants to stay and teach the gardeners how to please him. Xev longs for a man, and wants to go. Excitedly, the gardeners recreate the Lyekka plant using a hallucinogenic dream ritual. They court her to eat them, and she obliges. Stanley tells Xev that it was nice knowing her.

That was one of the most boring episodes ever. Stan’s rather juvenile attempts at mating. Xen just wandering around and everyone ignoring the fact that Lexx needs food. (1/5)

 

Lexx 3.10 Battle (9/4/2000)
The Garden is raided by Prince, and Stan’s love, Lyekka, dies again, with 5 arrows in her back. Xev is kidnapped, and Kai requisitions an attacking balloon. From there, they engage in a battle of wits with Prince and his offsider (who appears as Priest in series 4). After a series of daring moves, both Prince and Priest die. Stan and Kai make it to the Lexx, and begin a search for Xev who is walking through the desert. Prince reincarnates near her, to walk with her, and watch her die in the scorching heat. He’s not part Cluster Lizard, so he dies first. Rated one of the visually spectacular episodes.

This is more exciting. It’s fun with balloons, and defying the laws of physics. (3/5)

 

 

Kim Oh

 

KimOh

Better known as a steampunk originator and author, K.W. Jeter has recently written a series of thrillers.

No easy answers.
No big international spy secret bank accounts.
No superheroes or magic.
Just her wits, guts . . .
And a very large gun.

Kim is a female Korean-Amerinan that gets caught up in the dangerous world of assassins for hire, protection and doing the dirty work for shady characters.

This series of books are fast and fun, despite the subject matter. The best thing about them is the voice of the protagonist, written in first person with wit and and an evil charm.

Great reading, although the last two are not quite as good as the rest.

  1. Real Dangerous Girl
  2. Real Dangerous Job
  3. Real Dangerous People
  4. Real Dangerous Place
  5. Real Dangerous Fun
  6. Real Dangerous Ride
  7. Real Dangerous Plan

 

Charlie Sharp

Charlie Fox series by Zoe Sharp

ZoeSharp

Psychically damaged by a horrendous episode when she was in the British army, an incident that led to estrangement from her parents, Charlie Fox is a biker chick whose conscience restrains her from using her potentially deadly hand-to-hand combat skills.
The first book starts with an endorsement from Lee Child.
Zoe has written of her fondness for Dick Francis and it shows in the first person action and good pacing.
The first few books are set in England and Europe, the later books move to America. At first Charlie is thrown into difficult situations, her army background helps her out. Later she becomes a bodyguard and is involved in a long term relationship.

If you like thrillers, you should enjoy the 10 novels.

The Books:

  1. Killer Instinct
  2. Riot Act
  3. Hard Knocks
  4. First Drop
  5. Road Kill
  6. Second Shot
  7. Third Strike
  8. Fourth Day
  9. Fifth Victim
  10. Die Easy