Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Book Review: Implant (J. Grace Pennington)

When Gordon Harding is given the chance to be rid of his cancer, he doesn’t think there’s much to lose. It is still a very new program, but what could it hurt?

While he’s in the lobby of the pristine medical facility where this new implant program is searching for its first patient, Gordon is sucked forward in time, where the program is fully developed. And now, not only can it heal cancer, but every other disease too. Every person on the planet has had the chip implanted, but the action has come with resistance. Gordon finds himself in the company of rebels, and he’s been chosen to put an end to the implants and the control they give the leaders of the program.

Implant takes place within just a few days. Gordon has a limited amount of time to help the rebels, but he is unsure of himself. He’s just been thrust into the future, and he has little idea of what’s going on and why, only that these people need his help, or they will die. The story seems a little slow in some places, but it could give Gordon time to develop and build courage. When Gordon is pulled forward in time things get confusing, but they are slowly explained.

Gordon himself, though, seemed a little different. I’m not sure what it was about him that seemed off with me, though. He seemed to take his being pulled forward in time rather well, with few questions, but this may have been due to the intimidating presence of the character Doc. His development is nice, coming to full bloom near the climax and making the story more intense. He wasn’t my favorite protagonist, but he is a nice guy. I liked his and Doc’s relationship. Doc never babied him, and that probably helped him develop into who he became.

Doc is a great character. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, and the way his allegiances seem so shaky it keeps readers wondering about him. He’s gruff and often speaks roughly, but he can be gentle. There is firmness behind it, too, but this combination of gruff and gentle made him endearing. He doesn’t hold Gordon’s hand as Gordon grows and learns about this world he’s been thrust into, but treats him like a man who is fully capable of the things Doc assigns to him.

The plot twists in the book perhaps could have been foreshadowed more. I was still surprised by them, but it would have been interesting for at least one of the twists to have some more foreshadowing. Most of the plot twists were very interesting, and it made the book better when I better understood the why behind them. But the worldbuilding was well done. It had similar elements to Grace’s Firmament series, with the medical terms, and it was interesting to explore future earth and the gadgets being used.

Violence/gore: People are shot, and some have their Implants detonated, which makes their heart rupture (and there's a lot of blood sometimes).

Profanity: Only referenced.

Sexual content: None.

Other: Doc smokes a lot, and also seems to drink liquor.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Beautiful People Linkup: Kedmir

Images found via Pinterest, except the above banner.

Today for Cait and Sky's Beautiful People Linkup, I want to introduce to you all one of my characters from my untitled high fantasy novel. :D Kedmir Annor is the third oldest in a family of 8 brothers. He's a sweetheart, and he's curious about the inner workings of just about anything. A friend of mine has a female character which she didn't need anymore, so with a bit of work we found a way to put her character into my fantasy world, and so now she and Kedmir are a couple post-book (we have planned out much of their life, and their children).

What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based him off?
I don't know if anything really inspired him. I created him and his brothers ages ago, and he just arrived with the rest. I don't think I based him off of anyone either (I'm so exciting, I know), but like a lot of my characters, he has a little bit of me in him. He always needs to be doing something with his hands. Just fiddling and creating with little scraps of leather or metal will keep him content happy.

Describe his daily routine.
It really depends on what kind of work he finds. He does odd jobs and errands to help provide a source of income for his family, and pitches in during harvest time. He probably enjoys working at the leather shop best. Then he can take the unneeded scraps home for his own tinkering.

If he joined your local high school, what clique would he fit into?
I'm not sure what cliques are at my local high school (being a homeschooler), but he might fit in with the "nerd" clique. Or just a group that's into engineering or tinkering with anything. Anything he can do or experiment with with his hands, he's all over it.

Write a list of things he merely tolerates. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in his life…
The imperial soldiers in town, reed hearts (he doesn't like eating those), his family being looked upon with suspicion (just barely tolerating that), and (depending on his mood) his aunt. For the most part I think he a pretty easy-going guy.
How does he react in awkward silences?
I think he kind of lets it be, if there are more people involved than just himself and someone else. If it's just him and one other person, he may comment on the weather, or just keep silent. It might depend on the situation.

Can he swim? If so, how did he learn?
Yes he can, and very well. Kedmir learned almost as soon as he could walk. Way back when he and his brothers and parents lived by the ocean, his father taught most of them how to swim very early on. His father would take him into the shallows of the ocean and teach him.

What is one major event that helped shape who he are?
Probably the death of his parents. It was tragic, and it thrust him into a large role of responsibility at a young age, and required that he raise his younger brothers.The death of his parents also led to his and his brothers' living for a short time with the half-elves, and the prince of the half-elves probably helped to reinforce what Shepherd's parents taught him.

What things does he value most in life?
His family, first and foremost. His brothers are everything to him. They've been through a lot together since their parents died, and he had been about nine, which left him and his two oldest brothers (at ages twelve and ten) in charge of raising the other five. He also values honest work, and honor in combat and behavior. He is a gentleman. :3

Does he believe in giving other people second chances? Does he have any trust issues?
I think he does, yes. He might be reluctant, but he knows it's what his father would probably do. To some extent he may be careful about whom he trusts, but he does have moments where he is quick to trust. He's hasty in nature, and that could probably carry over to trusting people quickly, if he is left to himself. For example, when the character of my friend arrived in Kedmir's world, he was very quick to trust her. Circumstances unfolded that made the others suspicious of her, but Kedmir was the first to trust her. :3

Your character is having a rough day…what things does he do to make him happy again? Is there anyone he talks/interacts with to get in a better mood?
Tinkering with scrap leather and/or metal, I think. It distracts his mind, and it helps relieve stress. He might talk to one of his two older brothers, as well, if there was something he needed to get off his chest. But if he went to talk to anyone, most likely he would turn to his younger brother (the one born after him). They're really close, those two, and Kedmir would probably go to him to talk.

So that's Kedmir! What do you all think of him? :D Would any of your characters get along with him?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Book Review: Storming (K.M. Weiland)

Hitch Hitchcock is a man of the sky. With his shining red airplane, he feels free.

But when he follows a traveling airplane circus for their big barnstorming competition to his old hometown, people start falling from the sky. When a strange young woman named Jael falls from seemingly nowhere in front of his airborne Jenny, Hitch’s life is turned upside down with sky pirates and a mysterious pendant. On top of that, Hitch is forced to face the consequences of skipping town eight years ago. The town’s shady sheriff comes after Hitch, and Hitch’s family is none too pleased to see Hitch back either. Hitch must try to get Jael back home, and maybe, hopefully, make things right with the family he left behind.

Storming takes readers on a whirlwind of excitement and suspense in the space of a little over a week, but it’s still long enough to pack each minute of each day with something new. That was something I found interesting about the book. Each time I thought the book would be wrapping up, I would see the percentage meter on my Kindle and realize it was only 50% or 75% through and I was left thinking “ohhh there’s more what happens next?” It was a good feeling, and I was excited to see what happened next that made sure the characters didn’t get to wind down too much.

The main character, Hitch, is amazing. He develops well, and he’s so down-to-earth that he seems easy to get attached to. He seems hardened sometimes when his past comes up, but he still feels it deeply. It still hurts. Because of his moments of weakness in between his cocky grin and swagger, readers can feel his pain as deeply as he does (a confrontation with his brother gave me a lot of feels). Hitch is brave, too, and he’s willing to give of himself to help others when it comes down to it. He’s a strong protagonist with a big heart.

Walter, the second of the two POVs in Storming, is adorable. He doesn’t speak (not that he can’t, it’s that he won’t), but he has found ways to communicate just as easily, and it makes him endearing as he uses facial expressions and motions to communicate. He’s eight years old and he has as big a heart as Hitch does, but he is unsure of himself. He longs to fly, so he befriends Jael and Hitch quickly. Walter’s character develops nicely over the course of the book, and his relationship with Hitch and Jael was really sweet.

And Jael. She’s a fiery character that’s the start of turning Hitch’s life upside down, but she helps him straighten it out too. She’s stubborn, but she is also gentle when she offers advice. Since she comes from the mysterious Schturming, her English isn’t the best, but she is quick to learn. I enjoyed reading her dialogue, written to portray her accent. It reads a little slower maybe than the dialogue of the others, and it adds flavor to her character, pronouncing her accent and making her more foreign and mysterious to Hitch and to readers.

The villains of the story were well done too. I think I liked the airship pirate Zlo more than Sheriff Campbell, because the strange newness of the airship’s “world” fascinated me. But I like too how the villains have their own agendas. Zlo was an excellent villain, not afraid to do whatever he needed in order to get what he wants. The other characters in the book were lovely and quirky in their own ways, and they gives reasons to smile and feels during the story, adding color and life to the town and Hitch’s own life.

I found the worldbuilding behind Schturming fascinating too, how in one sense it seems so otherworldly, but then when readers learn more about it, it seems to kind of connect more with this world. It still retains the foreign feel to it, with its own little culture and abilities, which made it interesting to learn about.

Violence: People are dropped to their deaths from the sky. Characters brawl with each other. Airplanes crash and some pilots are killed. One character falls to their death and another is electrocuted.

Profanity: Only referenced.

Sexual content: Hitch is accused of manhandling Jael in the tomato patch. Hitch and Jael share a couple kisses.

Other: Bootlegging and other referenced shady business.