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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and Entertaining
So, who here is a perfect snob about not reviewing self-published authors? (**blushes**waves hand**). Yeah, that's me. And guess what? Jess C. Scott's The Other Side of Life schooled me right into the bad kids' corner.

Scott isn't just a decent writer; she's good, as in G-O-O-D. This Other Side of Life isn't just interesting; it's enterprising. You'd...
Published on March 7, 2011 by Linds

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm...
Creative and stylish in theory, but lacking in execution, it has been the hardest book to review thus far, and I'll tell you about why.

First of all, the bad.

There are a number of mistakes (okay, you can call them creative license, I still call them mistakes) the author has made here that made the book hard for me to read. For starters, the POV is...
Published on November 23, 2011 by Maria T. Violante


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and Entertaining, March 7, 2011
This review is from: The Other Side of Life (Book #1 / Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy) (Paperback)
So, who here is a perfect snob about not reviewing self-published authors? (**blushes**waves hand**). Yeah, that's me. And guess what? Jess C. Scott's The Other Side of Life schooled me right into the bad kids' corner.

Scott isn't just a decent writer; she's good, as in G-O-O-D. This Other Side of Life isn't just interesting; it's enterprising. You'd think so many different elements - sci-fi, classic fantasy, romance and something of n hero quest (with a twist) - could become jumbled and be too much at once. There's even a hint of a dystopian setting here. Somehow, Scott makes all the distinctions flow together. I didn't have to try to make the mixing work together - the writing makes it seem perfectly natural and the story flows. That's saying a lot when reading about a tall, hot elf walking around in 2035 with a Bond-worthy, high-tech doofatchee on his wrist:

"Nin looked up and around the abandoned stone church, in quiet solace and admiration.

There was something distinctly unique about the building - it felt safe.

He waved a hand in front of the hidden camera situated in a crack in the stone wall, watching the small screen on his N-Gage wrist device. The screen showed the scene at the church - empty - with no sign of him, or his moving hand. Debug: successful, he noted.

An old battered wooden cross hung on the wall, and there were a few pews strewn about the interior. The air was cold. The silence, overpowering."

-The Other Side of Life, page 1

Scott has a great way of weaving unfamiliar elements through familiar settings, and I think is one of the reasons why everything works well together. I think for fans of urban fantasy, this particularly works well.

Then there are the characters themselves. I've introduced you to Nin: he's the leader of his crew which consists of his cousin and good friend. However, as he is self-renounced elven prince, you might think that's a demotion. You'd be wrong. It's a deliberate choice of his to eschew a privileged lifestyle an opt for a much less boring one filled with authenticity and purpose. Together, the elves are working on retrieving an important elven artifact which they hope will solve a major problem that both elf-kind and humankind face (although humans don't know it). To help them, they develop their own technology that helps them find this artifact and to keep their presence in the human world as secret as possible. Hence, the 'cyperpunk' descriptive - they've turned their back on traditional elven wisdom and live in harmony with nature and technology, but not slave to it, as humans seem to be.

Enter Anya and Leticia., the thieving (human) duo. A chance encounter introduces the duo to the elven trio (during a robbery, no less). Anya and Leticia are both 18 year-old college students, but don't come from backgrounds that can afford the expense of education. Hence, they are thieves for hire (can I tell you how much I love that girls are the sneaky 'bad' guys here? Love it when the ladies tease the law on their own intitiative. . . teehee). Despite initial misgivings, the elves hire them to help retrieve the artifact. The elves are stunned at their decision. Traditional elven wisdom states that humans are dangerous and to be avoided. A lovely attraction develops between Nin and Anya. . . the romance mostly feels natural at times and is a sweet and understated part of the book, but occasionally borders on corny. However, Nin and Anya seem to know this themselves and do some self-chastising when it happens.

Those are the bare bones of the story, but I have t tell you, this isn't merely an exciting let's-find-it sci-fi/fantasy adventure (although it's that, too). This is a thoughtful, well-done narrative that incorporates discussion on social distinctions and consequences, environmental irresponsibility, and discussion on how we as a society live our lives. Just when you fear the narrative is going to shift from relevant commentary into pulpit rant, it pulls back and refocuses on the excitement and romance. That's something I really want to praise Scott for: no one element of the story ever overwhelms the other - there was a very nice balance that made everything flow in and out of each part.

Is this book perfect? Nope. There are a few issues here and there. I did notice that Scott is comma happy, and they aren't always needed. There are also some redundant adjectives and descriptions - these are little, nitpicky things that I noted here and there (former journalist - my inner editor comes sneaking out). Nin is in danger of getting too gushy with his elven love poetry at times, but then it's funny because he mocks himself for it. However, it is a testament to how interesting I found the story that theses things did not truly bother me. I adored the first half the book, and enjoyed the second half. I occasionally would get confused during the 'covert ops' scenes, and by that I mean I wasn't always sure if I was picturing what was going on correctly. That being said, I stand in admiration of Scott - she has accomplished a great story as a one-man band. When you think that an author with a major house has both an agent, editor, as well as a marketing and design team for guidance, I think it says a lot for Scott that she's put together a solid story with good characters and interesting plot by herself and on her own terms. I adored the ending. You might be crushed, but I appreciate that Scott stuck by the sad consequences of a selfless choice instead of conjuring up a last minute miracle. Nope, not telling you what happened, but it definitely has me looking forward to book two.

I found the title intriguing, and I really loved how well it tied into so many different aspects of the story. The Other Side of Life relates to everything from having a worldview different from the one you are raised with, to knowing what it's like walking in someone else's shoes, to knowing what literally happens when our consciousness passes from this one existence to another. This book is an entertaining, enlightening and engaging read. In particular, if you liked The Unidentified by Rae Mariz, Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder and are anticipating Memento Nora by Angie Smibert, I think you'll enjoy this one, too. I know I did.

"In your wanderings and dealings, neglect not - the Other Side of Life.'"
-2nd Poem, pg. 41, The Other Side of Life
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncertain, Different, May 11, 2012
I love books that offer you an escape from the real world, where you can breathe, laugh and cry with the characters.

This book offered that most of the time, but here and there you got tangled in unnecessary commas and hard to read sentences. You'll catch yourself reading back a few sentences to make sure you understand what is happening.

Where the genre is concerned, this is my first time reading "cyberpunk" so maybe my issues with the pacing came from lack of knowledge of the genre.

The story offers drama, love and fantasy. You want to keep reading just so you can successfully relate to Nin and his predicament. As the book title suggests, the author successfully provides with a world on "the other side of life".

Overall assessment:
Story: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Editing: 3.5/5
Formatting: 4/5
Pacing: 3.5/5
Offensive content?: Minimal(PG)

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author through Orangeberry Book Tours. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obligated to write a positive one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm..., November 23, 2011
Creative and stylish in theory, but lacking in execution, it has been the hardest book to review thus far, and I'll tell you about why.

First of all, the bad.

There are a number of mistakes (okay, you can call them creative license, I still call them mistakes) the author has made here that made the book hard for me to read. For starters, the POV is all over the place, jumping from character to character, and then into an omniscient state. We're never fully in one person's head for long enough to really understand any of the characters, and in sections where multiple people are together and talking, it can actually be hard to know who said what until you're three or four lines down the passage. I found myself having to constantly go back and reread things and kind of "force" myself into the narrative, especially in the first 25%. This is the opposite of what you want, i.e., a book well written enough that grammar and technique are playing in the shadows while you fall into the story! Additionally, and more minor, Scott throws in a bunch of extra commas, meaning that I'm pausing mentally when I shouldn't be.

Another thing I had a major issue with was character motivation. While Scott *does* give us insight into why her characters do the things they do, I find the explanation to be thin, hard to believe, and lacking - both for minor actions, like "Why do Anya and Nin initially each other," all the way to major things, like, "Why is Anya risking her neck to help Nin in the first place?" I would have really liked it if the thought processes that led up to the actions were better explained - either through memories, pieces of backstory, or a more detailed description of feelings." I also (and this one may just be my fault) didn't really understand how the rules of this new universe worked, especially in how characters suddenly "knew" incredibly complicated and important pieces of knowledge. Like, how does Julius understand that he can choose between his own welfare and Leticia's without anybody telling him or giving him a clear sign? Did he sense it from the "tree's" force? If so, that needed to be better explain. This was a pattern I found repeating itself throughout the course of the novel; I just kept saying - How did they know that?

The final complaint that I had with this book is that at times, it felt like a diatribe with a novel pasted on top of it. I understand that cyberpunk is all about being against commercialism, the machine, and the danger of misusing technology, but there were entire, oddly timed passages, that espoused these viewpoints without really weaving them into the story. It was frustrating; while writing with a meaning is important, it should always (in my opinion) fall second to the flow and development of the narrative itself.

Oh, and minor point. The Mayans were the first with Cocoa as in "chocolate", coca leaves as the forerunner to cocaine were actually an Incan/Quechua device.

The Good:

Wow, that felt mean. Unfortunately, it also felt honest. Luckily, there are also quite a few good things to say about this work that will help pull the punch.

For starters, it's pretty imaginative, and it has many of the elements we all look for with a good story. There's a plucky heroine, a dreamy hero, a loyal sidekick, and an evil but redeemable villain (revealed only after a nice plot twist!) Nobody is invulnerable and everybody is quite human.

There are also passages where the author manages to stay in just one POV for long enough to create some real human meaning; my favorite is where the main character is giving her mom an, um, package at the mother's place of employment. The mother's concern and unspoken thoughts were both real and touching, and it was a definite point of light in the work.

And the author should be applauded for weaving her beliefs and a deeper message into her work, even if the execution isn't always perfect. She's definitely attempted something that we don't see everyday, both stylistically and in her intended message, and she gets full points for bravery in that regard.

Finally, there is a lot of creativity in both her descriptions of the near future and in some of the things we see in the Elven domains. I was pretty excited at both the presentation of Nin's homeland and in the unique method of transport that was discussed, although I felt like these things should have been developed an explained further.

Final Score: 3.2 stars. An interesting read that misses the mark of greatness, but an excellent start for this author. I look forward to see how she might handle these issues in the future.

Reviewed for Maria Violante's Review Site: [...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take The Journey!, January 31, 2011
This book is marketed as cyberpunk but, for those drawn to more traditional reads, don't let that label scare you off. Within these pages, we're treated to fantasy, suspense, mystery and romance. The characters, both elven and human, are vivid, feel real and immediately drew me right in to the story. They made me care, which ensured that I would follow them wherever they led me.

The plot is intricate and incredibly well crafted. At the same time, it is not so complicated that a reader would have difficulty keeping up with the details. So much is right within this story, from the three-dimensional characters to the subtle (and maybe not so subtle) messages about our current society. My only complaint is that I have to wait for book 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elves, technology, romance, suspense, a crime caper -- plenty to enjoy!, January 28, 2011
The Other Side of Life by Jess C. Scott is a genre-bending short novel. (I got it at Smashwords; that's why I don't show a guaranteed purchase here.) Nin, Tavia, and Dresan, the elven trio, are after an ancient parchment. A chance encounter with two girl thieves, Anya and Leticia, gives Nin the great idea to break the secrecy with which the elves are hidden and trust a few humans with the skills they need. Anya is smart, spunky, and competent; Nin is confident, wry, and genuinely good at heart. Will they be able to trust each other? And where does Leticia's rich boyfriend Julius come into the picture?

Jess C. Scott has advertised The Other Side of Life as being about cyberpunk elves, and there are indeed Tolkienesque elves as central characters, equipped with advanced technology to manipulate security systems, steal memory, and travel at amazing speeds (that's magic, too). They live in a marginalized underworld (both physical and metaphorical) called the Velvet Underground. They operate on the fringes of human life, as elves sometimes disguise themselves as humans while keeping their culture secret. More than just a cyberpunk story, however, this novel is also an intense romance that invites you to think about motifs like soul mates and self-sacrifice for love. It is also about life, death, and afterlife. Oh, and it's a technically detailed crime thriller. And it deals with the relationship between human technology and the natural world. And it contains some social commentary about pharmaceuticals and human materialism. There is plenty to think about, and with two more books to come in the series, I expect these themes to be developed extensively, and others besides.

Jess is an author of multiple books who has earned an established and growing readership. She writes passionately and delivers what she promises. This novel has a fast pace, takes its storyline seriously, is loaded with suspense and evokes genuine emotion in its love story. I think you will like her book. Open the cover and say to Nin and Anya, Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo: "A star shines on the hour of our meeting." The adventure is about to begin.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Cyberpunk Fantasy..., January 26, 2012
I must preface my review by stating that I am a sixty-six year old man whose preferred genres are detective mysteries and non-fiction. Having said that, I can state categorically that I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Side of Life by Jess C. Scott.
At a time well in the future, two young girls, Anya, and her friend, Leticia, encounter a trio of elves who enlist their help in recovering an artifact and returning it to its rightful owners. In the process, Anya gets more than she bargained for when she develops a love interest in the leader of the trio, an engaging character named Nin.
I really enjoyed the way Miss Scott designed not only an elven world, but also a new language to go along with it. There are touches of "cyberpunk" and even some "Goth" along the way that combine to give the book a delightful, futuristic feel so popular with today's young people. While the story itself is very futuristic and imaginative, the characters and their relationships are so well drawn as to be totally credible.
I think this book will appeal especially to fans of science fiction and fantasy--particularly those young people with clearly defined senses of self, who yearn for a world that is heavy on acceptance for both offbeat and non-mainstream lifestyles.
The Other Side of Life is a well thought out, beautifully crafted fantasy novel with a great plot and fully-drawn characters that are alive and engaging. It's a book that will leave readers begging for more from this very talented writer. Congratulations, Jess, on a job well done.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cyberpunk, thriller, suspense, romance this book has it all, August 16, 2011
By 
The Other Side of Life (TOSL) by Jess C Scott tells the story about a group of elves that grew tired of their races withdrawal from the world and two human thieves that do not like the direction the world is heading. When the two groups meet they decide to work together to steal something that could be a key to changing the way both of their peoples look at the world.

First off I will say that TOSL shows the views of the author very clearly through the story. Jess does not like the way that a lot of things currently work in the world and you can tell through the book. That being said the book is not just her preaching her views thinly veiled behind a cyber punk story. The book is actually a very good read. It has a lot of different elements that can appeal to a wide variety of people. There are very cool tech toys, lots of thrilling scenes during the theft, action, intrigue, romance, friendship, loyalty, and redemption. Even with all of the different themes the book does not get bogged down and keeps a fairly decent pace.

This is a good read for ages 15 and up with no real loss of appeal to the older audience. If you enjoy a good spy thriller this book could also be a good one to check out as the theft has some excellent action sequences.

Copy provided by author for review.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, August 10, 2011
I read the description of this book and thought, "Cyberpunk elves? That sounds pretty cool." I was not disappointed. The Other Side of Life is a fun, action-packed, sweet story. Anya and Leticia are two human good-hearted thieves that run into Nin and his elven crew. The whole gang teams up for a big heist. One thing leads to another and they just may save the world while they're at it.

This book has it all - good writing, lots of action, romance, elves, and even a mad scientist! I highly recommend it to anybody who likes a good fantasy story, or just a good story period. I can't wait for the next installment!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, August 3, 2011
Another fantastic, fun and thought-provoking read from Jess C. Scott. She's combined several elements seemlessly in one book - fantasy, social commentary, romance, technology, astrology and action/adventure. Jess has a wild imagination and her writing is clean. Even though I'm not the most tech-savvy or science-minded person, all of those components in the story were easy for me to understand. I recommend everyone take a look at The Other Side of Life and I look foward to book two, The Darkside of Life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A technology based fantasy world, perfect reading for fantasy lovers and teens especially., June 30, 2011
In the future life is powered by machines and corporations. It's not how hard you work, but how much you have and how beautiful you are that makes the world take notice. In an attempt to tip the scales Anya and her best friend Leticia ban together to steal back items and return them to their rightful owners. Of course, with an incentive for themselves, but the life is more rewarding than the alternative. When they're approached by the impossible, an Elven trio, with the job of a lifetime against a mega-corporation that has ruined many it takes only moments to make the decision to help, but is it the right decision? And in the end who's heart will be on the line, Anya's or her new love Nin?

So, first things first. I'm not a huge fan of self-publishing. I'll just get that out there. You may be surprised, because next month I'll be featuring some self-published titles. A lot of the reason I generally don't care for them is the lack of editing and overall poor story development. Well, I have to honestly say I was pleasantly surprised by The Other Side of Life. Not only was it extremely well edited, but the plot was more well written than some house published books I've read. Truly, this was an incredible fantasy novel and a series I'm hoping Jess C. Scott keeps up with, because she's obviously extremely talented.

Much of the story actually reminded me of a blend of popular dystopian novels set in a futuristic "Blade Runner" style setting, which was incredibly cool. What was different though was the introduction of the fantasy element through Tolkien-style elves. Going into it I honestly had no idea what to expect with the "cyberpunk" genre attached to it, but it made for something I'd never experienced on a whole which was fantastic. It wasn't as if there were elves romping around constantly or elaborate descriptions like typical fantasy books, but a complete blending of the two with superb editing to make enjoyable for younger readers especially. A fantasy novel with technology, something I've never read before, but truly enjoyed.

As for the characters, I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of them actually. Nin was probably my favorite, most likely because he was an elf and had a unique way of interacting with Anya in particular. What I liked especially was how Scott explained Anya and Nin's romance, which developed rather quickly over just a days time. Normally I would have rolled my eyes at such an immediate attraction, but she wrote it in such a way that it seemed natural because of the magic surrounding the elves. In addition, each of the supporting characters, from Tavia to Leticia were also likable and well written.

Fantasy readers who love technology will not want to miss The Other Side of Life by Jess C. Scott. Blending the world of the elves with an almost dystopian type setting in the human world creates a unique story that has rarely been written so well. With characters you quickly connect with and an incredibly fast moving storyline this is a book that readers will devour and be left waiting for the next in the series. Join Anya and Nin on a journey into the impossible and be prepared to be shocked by how stunning this new series truly is.

Originally reviewed & copyrighted on my site, There's A Book.
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The Other Side of Life (Book #1 / Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy)
The Other Side of Life (Book #1 / Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy) by Jess C Scott (Paperback - January 9, 2011)
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