No Man Left Behind, by R. G. Miller

A killer is stalking Vietnam vets and murdering them in the most horrific manner. Toni and Isis, NYPD detectives try to slog their way through rats, subways, and a crazed killer that will stop at nothing until they’re all dead.

Once you get past the awkward opening, the plot catches the readers’ attention and keeps them there through the remaining rough patches. The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that the main characters were a lesbian couple. They were done well, and things like the sexuality spectrum were frequently talked about and used as inner conflict in a tasteful manner. Now, given the fact that the setting is NYC, there should, by default, be a certain level of racially diversity. The author made extra sure to accomplish that, no questions asked. As far as characters went, I really liked them all. They were done well, they meshed well, and they all served appropriate roles for either plot progression or conflict.

There’s definitely opportunity for editing. There’s some real awkward dialogue that doesn’t fit with the flow of things. Scene progression and change got choppy sometimes, which made them jarring. While I liked the ending, I still had many, many questions about things that were brought up or happened earlier in the story that didn’t get tied up. They felt forgotten and lost. There was a whole lot of info dumping that went on, especially at the beginning while the author was trying to establish the characters. It was a lot to be thrown at once.

For its flaws I still enjoyed the story. I think this could really shine with some extra editing. I adored Toni and Isis, their relationship, and would love to see what other stories they have to tell.

Advertisements

First Charge, by Amanda Steel


Meredith’s life is anything but ordinary. She’s a Protector. She protects people. People who are destined to do great things in life that need protecting against other people that want to kill them. All in the name of the “greater good.”

 
First Charge takes the morally gray area of right and wrong and runs with it. Both factions believe that their mission is the right one, and so are at war with each other. As a character, Meredith doesn’t care. She is, of course, the one that doesn’t buy into any of it, and herein we have the remaining conflict. Quite a few industry-standard tropes involved in the narrative.

 
The writing style didn’t bring a whole lot of imagery to the table. It was very to-the-point, full of telling the reader what was going on. Because of that, the reading felt jerky. Words, sentences, and paragraphs didn’t flow into each other as well as they should have. There’s definitely some polishing and work needed on the technical side of the novel. The story and plot felt solid all the way around. Characters didn’t feel all that three-dimensional.

 
While a lot of young adult stereotypes ran rampant through the story, the fact that the author chose a LGBT main character was refreshing. And, while her character depth needed some fine-tuning, she reflected good qualities that younger people could look up to.

 
First Charge had good points and bad points, much like any novel. It’s not a bad read.
Buy it here!

Adam, by Shari Sakurai

5_27_17 Adam.jpg

4 stars

Set in the future where the rich can buy the traits they want for their kids, Adam is one such person. He’s a rebellious kid, and because of that, he’s always in trouble. Right when he thinks he’s got his life back on track, it keeps knocking him down. Maintaining relationships doesn’t seem to be Adam’s strong suit.

 

The opening had me convinced that Adam was going to be another “bad boy loner” type character. I expected quite a few common tropes to make their way into the writing. That didn’t happen. At least, not in the ways I expected. The author set things up to where situations explain quite a bit of Adam’s personality. The difference is that the author didn’t go overboard with it. He was dark and brooding, that’s for sure. Except Adam was never portrayed as an abusive person. Adam was far from flawless. He wasn’t riddled with flaws, either. The author managed to set up a nice balance with his character.

 

Many of the minor characters had plenty of detail with them. Their character development is as obvious as Adam’s, which was nice. There were some spots where dialogue and exposition were a little clunky. Otherwise, things flowed well. A bit of editing needed here and there, but it won’t knock you out of the story. The writing style suited the narrative. Things paced well, and because of that the story unfolded in a smooth, logical way. The narrative itself had a distinct young adult tone to it, and I’m not sure why.

 

It’s a companion novel to larger series. However, the author takes meticulous care to make sure that the novel can stand alone. As a reader that hasn’t experienced the other series, I never felt lost. The world, people, and situations get summed up in quick ways. The author did their best to make sure they sprinkled all of that throughout the narrative.

 

There were a few areas where tropes that plague LGBT fiction became apparent. While utilized, the author does so in a way that’s enjoyable. Things that happen do, in fact, directly affect the plot. They served a purpose–not added in because ‘why not?’ I liked that.

 

Adam was a nice read. Enjoyable characters that managed to bend stereotypes and an interesting narrative. A companion novel that doesn’t require the reader to know the rest of the series first. I would almost go as far to say it feels like a prequel. It will definitely serve to pique the readers’ interest in the rest of the series!

 

Buy it here!