Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gems among "Crap"

In yesterday's post, J.A. Konrath talks about the myth of the "Tsunami of Crap" that is supposedly released by indie or self-publishers, and among which readers may have troubles finding valuable books, not only worth their money, but even much more important, worth their time.

While I indeed have been faced with "Crap", I must say that the recent months have given me much more good books than bad ones. Here are my "finds" among the so-called tsunami :

As you'll see, my tastes lead me to action, Fantasy and Science-Fiction, much more than Romance or Literature. As you'll also see, I'm no Great reviewer, and won't give much more than a few lines about each one.

In no particular order in each category, I distinguish 2 categories : Great and Good.

Great: (4-5 stars on my scale)
Riyria Revelations (Michael Sullivan) (bought direct through Ridan) 5$ at Smashwords
A  Fantasy series (5 going to 6 books), with two main characters progressively developed. Adventure, Magic... Fantasy!

Quarter Share (Nathan Lowell) 5$ at Smashwords
Not sure if Nathan Lowell is creating Extraordinary Adventures for Ordinary people or the reverse, but I must say that I find this "Space merchant" series really great. Only the three first volumes are available as ebooks, the rest are available as podcasts.

The Hidden Institute  (Brand Gamblin) 5$ at Smashwords
A YA novel in a Steampunk setting, The Hidden Institute features a young man learning a way to rise above his "Position" in a mystery Institute. The Hidden Institute is written with a light of humor, and a possesses a neat cast of characters,

Flee (J.A. Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson) 3$ at Smashwords
Action, Action, Action ... This book possesses it, and even more. While I have tried and found one or two other Konrath not to my taste, this one got me all. Chases, Spies, Treason ... Would be a great action movie.

Turing Evolved (David Kitson) (Free @Smashwords)
Cyberpunky, in theme if not in necessarily in style, this book mixes action, romance, and some reflection regarding machines and sentience. The current version is full of typos and errors, but is undergoing a large editing pass. If you're easily bothered by bad editing, wait for the next version. If not, go for it now !

The Unfinished Song  (Tara Maya) (Free @Smashwords)
A "Tribal fantasy", The Unfinished Song mixes discovery of a mix of faeric and tribes. At the same time light and dark, mature, and naïve, this book has a really refreshing view of Fantasy.

My Sparkling Misfortune  (Laura Lond) (2$ at Smashwords)
How a "bad guy" wanna-be  is countered by a kind of "djinn", this medieval tale is addressed to Young Adults, but it's cheery humor gave me a great reading time.

A Modern Witch (Deborah Geary) 4$ Smashwords
While I'm not that much into romance and/or chick lit, this book is quite fresh and tender without getting too cheesy/sentimental for me. I'll definitely buy the following books in the series.

The Walk (Lee Goldberg) 3$ @Amazon (available for 3 @ Smashwords)
A man against a natural disaster. A man determined to get home against all odds...
Other books by Lee are now on my reading list for the holidays ...

Good : (equivalent 3-4 stars)
Courtesan (D.A. Boulter) 3$ at Smashwords
Light Sci-Fi Romance. Maybe not enough hurdles for the protagonists to bypass, but still good enough for me.

Peace Warrior ( Steven L. Hawk) 3$ at Smashwords
A military Sci-Fi novel. When a War veteran is revived in an otherwise peaceful civilisation, it means troubles for the  alien slavers.

Switched (Amanda Hocking) 1$ at Smashwords + 3$ for the next episodes
I had to try an Hocking book. Good YA books, although I'm not really in the target readership. This time, I felt a little too old to be really  concerned by the feelings of the hero. Still a good inventive book, which led me to buy the follow-ups. Will probably end my Hocking collection there though.

Dead Dwarves Don't Dance (Derek J. Canyon) 1$ at Smashwords
A Cyberpunky/Fantasy world, quite close to the Shadowrun RPG universe. Action, Treason, Politics... I'm now waiting for Noose's following adventures.

Donovan Creed (John Locke) 1$ at Smashwords
Humor, action, an improbable hit-man, sexy foxy girls... Light read, although I was at some time uncomfortable with the hero's actions. While I enjoyed the first books enough to buy them all, I wouldn't have if they were priced any higher. John Locke's strategy payed big time for me...

Kismet's Kiss (Cate Rowan) 4$ at Smashwords
An "Oriental" romance, Kismet's Kiss seems a reinterpretation of Anna and the King. Smartly written, not too cheesy. I quite enjoyed reading it.

Lovers and Beloveds  (MeiLin Miranda) 5$ at Smashwords
Sexy Medieval Fantasy, Lovers and Beloved features a prince growing into manhood, mixing religion and magic. While many themes and situations approach Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series, the writing style is slightly lower, which let's me wanting. An otherwise good book.

Hard Day's Knight (John Hartness) 1$ at Smashwords
An urban fantasy where two vampires private detectives are pitted against better than themselves. Humor, Witty characters, if you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this book is for you!