Review: Storm Season by Nessa L. Warin

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Rating: 2. 5 stars

Storm Season coverStorm season is coming and ranch owner Jasper Borland and the rest of the townspeople of Brightam’s Ford are preparing their farms, shops and homes for the months during the wet season when they will be inside, safe from the destructive weather of the season.  With rain that can strip off a man’s skin and hail that demolishes buildings, most people even have safe rooms that they can escape to if necessary.

During one of the precursor storms that lead into the wet season, Jasper finds a young man, Tobias Thatcher, wounded and scrounging for shelter near his barn.  Tobias is amazed to see Jasper talk to him and when he touches Jasper’s lips, Tobias’ thoughts fill Jasper’s mind.  Tobias is a telepath from a race of telepaths.  He has never seen someone talk before.  Jasper takes in Tobias to give him shelter and bind his wounds.  Much later Jasper learns that Tobias’ sister has been kidnapped and he is trying to find her.  When the same people come for Tobias, Jasper agrees to help Tobias in his quest to recover his sister.  But the dark forces find them first, and both men must flee Jasper’s home to avoid capture.  With the storms coming and every move they make being watched, can Jasper and Tobias find his sister before its too late for all of them?

Well, let’s just make this short, shall we?  Nothing about this book works.  I  usually try to find some redeeming feature or positive aspect of the story to report on but really there’s nothing here to grab onto.  Starting with her world building, nothing makes any sense.  We are given very little information about the planet they are on or the civilizations scattered across the continent.  Apparently, the majority of the time (11 months or less depending upon the paragraph), the climate is mild, but  for one (or several months again, all facts here are very “fluid”), the climate turns killer and all flee inside, locking themselves away until the season is over.  Apparently the weather is worse towards the coast so many move inland (towards the river/sea?), a wild territory I think.  Goods are moved by ships which is just darn confusing because where do all those huge ships go during storm season?  Apparently, they have cars, trucks and trains but on a very “non tech” level.  Again, what?  Its as though the author can’t decide if this is Little House on the Prairie time or space colonists without a clue.  Phones, letters but the technology they would accompany those things are missing.   Just bits and pieces cobbled together that never come close to any cohesive history.

The characters are much the same although I have to admit I have not had a character that I could classify as dumb as a box of rocks before.  That would be Jasper.  Where to start?  Jasper never questions anything.   A person shows up who is a telepath, a heretofore unknown creature, who can project his thoughts and feelings onto him and what is Jasper’s response.  Nothing, just invites him in without question.  No really, Jasper doesn’t ask him any questions.  No “hey man I can hear your thoughts, that’s cool,” no freaking out, nada.  Then the man’s dog shows up who is over the top smart.  Questions? Nope.  Crazy man with green and black facial tats,  Matrix like overcoats, and jewels embedded in their hands, they have guns, things that scream bad men. Questions? Nope. So of course, he opens the door.  Jasper has one layer and its total absence of any interesting features let alone common sense makes him one dull boy.

Tobias comes close to Jasper.  Yes, he is a telepath, just not a smart one.  It’s a case of  dumb and dumber go to an alternative universe or whatever.  Tobias has one conversation over and over.  Condensed it amounts to :  “Someone is coming.  They are here.  Run.”  Repeat often.  He also sets off town riots (cue the pitchforks and torches), and  is adamant that they have to find his sister.  When he gets hurt , Tobias still says he will set out to find her (although he can’t walk), so you assume she has just been recently kidnapped, correct?  Uh, no, that event occurred over a year prior but he is just now in a panic?  And don’t get me started on characters that are given large roles than disappear forever or the fact that these people write letters, have phones, cars and such but no one knows of the group of telepaths that live over the rise and visa versa? Big things don’t add up, little things don’t add up.  Nothing makes any sense and after a while, you stop trying or caring about any of it.

And then there are the unintentional howlers you find throughout the story.  The book is just past the halfway point and it looks like the boys are going to have sex, (their attraction to one another comes out of nowhere).  Now at one point, Tobias pushed his feelings onto Jasper who wasn’t happy about it.  Now as they head to bed, this conversation occurs:

 Tobias: “It’s too hard to stop, too hard to keep it from happening, and if I lose that concentration, I don’t know that I’ll get it back. I know I won’t get it back if I have to try again and again and again”

Jasper: “huff. “I need to know that you’re not going to make me feel things.”

Wait, what? Isn’t that the perfect time to “feel things”?  *head desk*

Plus the cliched scenes are endless.  Kryee, Tobias’ dog is hunting him and here is the passage:

“What is it, girl?” Jasper asked, crouching to scratch behind the dog’s ears. He was allowed to for only a moment before she barked again and repeated her earlier antics. Carla sauntered up, her hands stuffed into her jacket. “I think she wants you to follow her.” It was a brilliant idea.

Thata girl, scifi Lassie, we get it.  Timmy’s in the well. Now disappear from the narrative.

I could continue quoting but really, what’s the point?  I could pick any passage in the story and you would be able to see the lack of originality, problems with continuity, shallow characterizations and poor dialog that abounds in Storm Season.  This is the first book I have read from Nessa L. Warin so I have no idea if this is typical of her writing or something out of the norm for her.  I sincerely hope it is the latter.  At any rate, I read this so you didn’t have to.  Give it the pass it deserves.

Cover: Two generic guys in generic winter wear.  Problems with this book are everywhere, including the cover.

Missing Spring, Rejuvenation, and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Sigh.  The Vernal Equinox has come and gone, the calendar proclaims its spring without refute for all who look at it but the weather will not cooperate!  One day of nice weather is quickly followed by a week of sullen skies, cold winds, and the threat of snow or sleet.  And while we have been truly lucky here in the DC metropolitan area in that all the snow and ice have gone around us, others like my daughter in Gainesville received over a foot of the white stuff.

To add insult to injury, I just received my first order of plants from a catalog nursery and each morning as I get my coffee, I see them lined up on the windowsill looking out over the gardens where they will live if this weather ever changes.  I swear I can hear them sigh along with me as we gaze over ground as hard as concrete and a bird bath filled with ice crusted water.

All the squirrels and birds wait for me to fill the feeders each day as they are emptying them as quick as I top them off.  I am sure they too are wondering if the weather will ever turn clement.   Red-tailed Hawks along with their smaller cousin, the Red-shouldered Hawks are wheeling over head in their aerial courtship displays. The black capped chickadees are inspecting the nesting boxes in the backyard so I know that soon the weather will change for the better and this cold, glum seasonal waiting room will be just a memory.  But at the moment, it just feels as though we are stuck in a pattern that refuses to let us go.

Sometimes that happens in life, whether we recognize it at the time or not.  What does it take for us to see that we are stuck in a rut? When does routine translate into a holding pattern?  I am not sure of the answer, only that  sometimes, if you are lucky, a change happens to bring about a seasonal changeover in a person’s life and you feel renewed once more.  Old hobbies are picked back up, or new interests in life are discovered. Much like the small green sprouts I see trying diligently trying to emerge from the ground in my gardens, your outlook on life changes and things take on a bright, new patina. Other aspects of your life that previously seemed dull and uninteresting are rewarded with a double take as they too reveal a different side of themselves.

I love spring and the changing seasons.  It doesn’t matter whether it is the spring slowly occurring outside my window or the one happening deep inside.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate winter too for one is necessary for the other to be truly glorious and appreciated.  The plants have needed their rest, some seeds requiring the cold in order to germinate in the spring, and a winter chill will keep some insect populations under control.  A cold winter’s night can make the moon and stars glow with a beauty found only during the winter months.  But oh, how wonderful the first warm, moisture laden air of spring!  It smells of rejuvenation, of new life, and I can’t wait to throw open my window and feel its breath on my face again.

It’s coming and soon.  I just need to be patient, along with my plants on the windowsill.  Sometimes, that is the hardest thing to do.

Here is the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, March 25:          Covet Thy Neighbor by L.A. Witt

Tuesday, March 26:          Storm Season by Nessa L. Warin

Wed., March 27:               Creature Feature by Poppy Dennison, Mary  Calmes

Thursday, March 28:       Diversion by Eden Winters

Friday, March 29:             The Mayfield Speakeasy by LA Witt

Saturday, March 30:        Collusion by Eden Winters