Review: Sorcerers of Nightwing by Geoffry Huntington

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Ravenscliff Series #1
ISBN: 9781626810730
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publishing Date: June 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.4/5 stars

Publishers Description: Devon is sent to live at Ravenscliff, a dark seaside mansion where secrets abound and the dead just won’t stay that way. He learns that he is a sorcerer of the Order of the Nightwing, a three-thousand-year-old tradition of mysticism and magic — the roots of which run deep at Ravenscliff. In a house of mysteries, he’ll have to decide quickly who is friend and who is foe, because Ravenscliff’s worst nightmare — the Madman — is coming back, and he’s bringing Hell with him.(

Review: According to Goodreads, Geoffrey Huntington is pseudonym for William J. Mann, whom writes biographies of actresses and has several published novels about gay and lesbian culture (?). Not sure this matters, only in that he has a talent in a lot of genre areas.

Mann is able to weave this consistent sense of malaise and unsettled emotions throughout the novel that it begins to capture your attention in ways unexpected. I found myself consistently reading this novel throughout the weekend, and asking myself, “why I am I doing this?” Sure there is good story and character development, with great scene descriptions which add to the overall effect, but why is there a continual draw into the foreboding?
Well, he just has a great sense of timing. Your cruising along, excited for the characters, then BANG, something wicked this way comes. That sense of timing is a consistent theme, and it draws you into the novel. His friends are well developed and diverse personalities that enhance Devon’s character.

There are only a couple of drawbacks. One is that after each encounter, Devon is not really freaked out or asking the right questions. Another is the obvious need for basic discernment in tense situations that go unheeded, ignored or not acted upon. The author sometimes uses deferment due to the ongoing action to halt any investigation. So if suspense, horror and magic is your gig, then pick this up and be not disappointed.

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Follow the White Rabbit by Kellie Sheridan

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Publisher: Patchwork Press
Publishing Date: May 2013
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN:
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Publishers’ Description: For centuries, Wonderland thrived as the domain of beautiful bedlam and unapologetic madness. It was a place like no other. All it took was one girl slipping in through the cracks of the universe to start chaos spiraling toward order. In the 150 years since Alice’s visit, the realm has become tainted—almost normal. Rabbits in waistcoats and playing card minions are little more than creatures of myth, and Wonderland is literally falling to pieces.

For Gwen, Rose, and Lucky, Wonderland is home, and yet they know little of its former glory. When the Alice prophecy resurfaces, they’ll have one chance to use Wonderland’s own legends to bring a little mayhem back into their reality. For she who controls Alice controls the fate of Wonderland.

Too be fair, I didn’t really get through this novella to the end as I was bored out of my mind. Alice in Wonderland redux, part dieu-thousand. This may be a case of the author being in love with their own creative ideas, and in this case, not really creative at all. Just a re-spin of the wheel. Jumps around a bit with no decisiveness. White Queen to Alice Pawn, check. Girl on bridge, car into water…check. This sucks, check-mate.

Redeye by M. Shean

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Publishing Date: April 2013
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Rating: 4.7

Two years have passed since Agent Thomas Walken and Bobbi January found themselves at the heart of a conspiracy of unimaginable greed and cruelty. The Genefex Corporation remains shrouded in mystery, and Bobbi faces a life of unanswered questions and mounting disillusionment to look forward to. But when she receives a mysterious message from one of Walken’s former comrades, she is drawn back onto the trail. Now, Bobbi will find herself newly equipped to discover the truth – about Walken, about Genefex and the Yathi race – and the key to unlocking those secrets rests in the hands of a cyborg terrorist known only as Redeye.

This was a fantastic novel. Right from the start your drawn to the main character, Bobbi. Her remorse, anger and attitude come off the pages in waves. Good imaginative area descriptions, feels like your there with her. A gutsy chick you would like to know. Cover art is clean and edgy with a visual of the characters that you can carry into the novel. The Yathi are appropriately creepy but the ferals’ that eat body parts got my zombie heart pounding.

The tech development of the future is understandable, which IMHO, is a hallmark of really good Science Fiction. You are left with the idea that alot of the tech is plausible, in that it could arise from the present. Really liked the alternate city and its feral inhabitants. This writer needs more exposure as his works are hard to find.

Looking forward to the third novel in this series.

The White Mountain by Ernie Lindsey

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Publisher: E. Lindsey
Publishing Date: May 2013
Genre: Mystery Thrillers
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
ISBN: 9781483963587

Publisher’s Description: Private investigator Mary Walker has less than forty-eight hours to save her brother-in-law, a former Marine Corps sniper involved in an underground, deadly game of killers hunting killers. A game controlled by a rich, powerful family. A game with a secretive history dating back to the Civil War. Ten million dollars to the victor; death to the losers. With time running out, Mary must find a way to keep Randall alive, or help him win, while chasing down leads and uncovering lies that connect to the unlikeliest of places…the White House.

This is a fairly good read and would have been great except for some errors. The writer talks about a Springfield sub-9mm that “enables the shooter to fire off an accurate and reliable second round, in the event the first was off-target.” Hmmm, so the pistol “enables” the shooter to be better than he or she is, just by it’s inherent function? So if your a bad first shot, your second shot SHOULD be better, just because of the gun? I would think a good shooter would know he was off on the first shot and track his front sight and subsequently trigger prep again to hit what he sees, depending on the distance. Basic shooting fundamentals (grip, stance, front site control etc.) is way more determinate in accuracy (I prefer precision) than a crap sub-compact pistol.
Again, prior to this the writer states, “the rifle provided smooth, efficient recoil and a scope that all but guaranteed incredible accuracy”.
Recoil is what it is, it is how you manage the recoil and the basic fundamentals that is more determinate than a scope. Even more determinate in the rifles accuracy is the barrel and how the chamber is cut and married to the action. Then comes the pillaring and bedding of the barreled action into the stock. A button push feed stock rifle barrel and a crap remi action really do not compete with other private vendor components. This should have been addressed as the White Mountain was/is a trained sniper.
There is some more malarkey on Billy’s shooting stance and White Mountain’s fight scenes (with him being tak kwon do/jujitz master) that will continue to grind on me, but I will save the reader from that.
Still, this writer is good, if not for the technical missteps and a kind of Grande finale ending that has been done over and over. With just a few good creative insights and mixed plot ending(s) this writer would be at the top. Definitely push it more, Ernie.

Clean Slate Complex by M. Thomason

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Publisher: Megan Thomason
Publishing Date: April 2013
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 4.0/5 stars
ISBN: 9781301811939

Meet The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Worldwide non-profit and do-gooder organization. Their motto: Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Life(TM). Reality: hidden behind every kind act is a dark agenda designed to gain control and force societal and moral extremes. Currently, the SCI’s pushing Project Liberate, a program to woo the poor and downtrodden into their Clean Slate Complexes–where “everything is provided” from jobs to food, shelter, clothing, and education. Unfortunately, as with all things that sound too good to be true, there’s a catch…

Publishers Description: Meet Alexa Knight. Feisty, tough and currently homeless in Los Angeles, Alexa agrees to help the SCI in return for medical care for her sick mother. When she starts to suspect there’s more to the SCI than meets the eye will she believe Adam–the boy who saved her life and the SCI’s biggest champion, or Joshua–the attractive enigma who sings about conspiracy theories and pretends to be someone he’s not?

Review: This is a good Novella (71 pages) and that is my main gripe. Just write the damn novel but don’t lead us on with short stories. This is usually a publishers’ ploy to get you to buy into an infinite series but in this case I don’t think so. This is just a compacted informational treat that you just want more of, because it is so yummy.
Good shjt. My only other gripe is the chapter prefaces with some famous quotes. Seems like a writers’ worst fault to be so self-indulgent. “I know famous quotes that have really nothing to do with this chapter, but I am going to let you know how enlightened I am”. She should have kept to her well scripted and compact story and left out the poop icing. I would have rated higher but for the length.

Discourse in Steel by Paul Kemp

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Publisher: Angry Robot
Publishing Date: June 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.2/5 stars
ISBN: 9780857662545

Publishers’ Description: Egil and Nix have retired, as they always said they would. No, really – they have! No more sword and hammer-play for them!
But when two recent acquaintances come calling for help, our hapless heroes find themselves up against the might of the entire Thieves Guild.
And when kidnapping the leader of the most powerful guild in the land seems like the best course of action, you know you’re in over your head…

This novel was a fun mindless romp through an alternate reality. Great characters, good magic, interesting venues and hot babes thrown in for good measure. The pace of the novel evokes a constant variety of mini-adventures culminating in the grand adventure/conclusion. Egil and Nix are definitely the Abbott and Costello of the fantasy world. There is some filler dialogue that kind of detracts from the novel, but in no way diminishes the overall content. Looking forward to the next.

iD by Madelline Ashby

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Publishing Date: June 2013
Publisher: Angry Robot
Genre: SciFi
ISBN 9780857663122
Rating: 2.0/5 stars

Publishers’ Description: THE SECOND MACHINE DYNASTY
Javier is a self-replicating humanoid on a journey of redemption.
Javier’s quest takes him from Amy’s island, where his actions have devastating consequences for his friend, toward Mecha where he will find either salvation… or death.

Noooooooooo!!!!! The attack of the Robo……erm, self-replicating….er…..gynoid…..um. Confused? I was.
This writer has skill, but it was wasted on really poor character development….oh that’s right, do robots have characters to develop? I am really ambivalent about the subject matter and the writing style on this one. Again another writer with stilted content and leaps of logic ( Logic, I know, right?) and the curse of impaling you with inner-dialogue. Avoid this one, as it is no “Foundation Series” unless you need to pass the time with a difficult bowel movement.