Review: Angelbound by Christina Bauer

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Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC.
Publishing Date: November 2013
ISBN:9780989405003
Genre:Fantasy
Rating: 4.85/5.0

Publisher Description: Eighteen year old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet.

Review: This was a great teen angst/daemon novel set in Purgatory, where the Quasi-demons reside under the fateful rule of ghouls that are aligned with the King of Hell. Our heroine, Myla and her friend Cissy make for a dynamic duo that is both funny and poignant. Cissy is the best of friends, until her envy side rears it’s ugly head and Myla is only interested in invoking her wrath in the purgatory arena to take out truly evil souls that have chosen trial by combat.

The author creates some great interactions in descriptive settings and has a splendid imagination with regard to the various daemons and angels in her world. There are arachnid daemons, Queen of Angels, King of Hell, Ghouls that can open portals, Gelatinous daemons and a high school with quasi demons (human and daemon) that sport different tails. Myla is an expert at killing demons of every kind imaginable. She is tough and tender with a great sense of witty self-deprecation that allows for the reader to genuinely care what happens to her. the cover art is really good. Myla in a dragon suit,…kewl.

Wow, I loved this novel. The novels concept and subsequent story-line is fantastic. The scene development really transports you to a different alternate reality. Although primarily written for the Teen/YA crowd, adults should really take a look at a wonderful talent in the fantasy genre. Much like my fave new writer, AJ Salem, I plan on adding Ms. Bauer to that list.

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Review: The Devil Dances by K.H. Koehler

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Publisher:Curiosity Quills Press
Publishing Date: November 2013
ISBN:9781620073384
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.8/5.0

Publishers Description: My name is Nicholas Englebrecht and I’m the heir to hell. I’m the Angel-breaker. I’m the goddamn son of the fucking devil and you should know that if you piss me off, things are going to go very bad for you…

Nick Englebrecht is lured to a strange, isolated Amish colony by the mysterious death of a nameless young man. It’s supposed to be a simple enough investigation. Find the kid’s family. Find out what happened to him. But when you’re the devil’s kid, with angels and demons gunning for you at every turn, things have a habit of turning bad fast. Before Nick knows it, he’s up to his ass in bodies, femme fatales, and ancient, bloodthirsty gods with a taste for human flesh.

Review: This is the second novel in the series, showcasing our anti-hero, Nick, the son of Satan. The cover art has this colorful comic vibe to it. I really think this is a great cover. Will draw in a wide variety of readers.

Basically without giving the novel away, Nick heads out to Amish country with his GF, Vivian, whom is also a daemon. From their they tussle with locals and an ancient god. Not to mention a host of angels. I frickin’ loved this novel. It was funny, witty, had a great story-line and fantastic character development. Even the minor bit players were very well developed.

There were some minor points where the novel fell down. Like, how does Nick go from super bad-ass one moment, to getting the crap beat out of him by a farm-hand, then back to destroying Angels, then getting his ass handed to him by a Satyr. Just a bit inconsistent for the Prince of Lies. The hetero sex while evident was not really well developed, unlike Nick’s gay interactions. The author placed WAY too much focus on the homo-erotic, IMHO.

The ending sets up an epic finale, where may haps ( and I ‘am guessing) Nick gets his well deserved picket fence.
GET THIS NOVEL! You will enjoy yourself for hours.

Review: The Dream Thieves (2) by Maggie Stiefvater

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Publisher:Scholastic
Publishing Date: September 2013
ISBN: 9780545424943
Genre: Fantasy/YA
Rating: 3.1/5.0

Publisher Description: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after….

Review: I would really recommend reading the first in this series prior to reading this as a stand alone. The author makes no attempt to catch any new readers up to speed. I have always appreciated that type of approach as it lessens the filler bullshjt and is less likely to cheapen the novel. Being on the receiving end of this approach kind of sucks, especially when there are words that the author has developed that relate directly to the story-line. Cabeswater, Greywarren and other things? Locations? Events?

The writing style is a love it or hate it type. The story-line progresses through fits of personal interactions and back to the main story-line. Once you think you’re progressing, the author drops everything and your re-living an event in the first novel, but the author provides no background for the reader. Again, a good reason to read the first novel. There is also a lot of personal history between the characters that leaves you scratching your head at why these people react a certain way to others in seemingly benign situations. There are constant story-line shifts that run the gamut of finding a certain something or someone, to deciphering material objects garnered from the dream-world, then back into intense teen angst.

There are thoughts and actions that you, the reader, are privy to but make no sense. We are usually in the heads of various characters emotions as they live them out, but in the end we are no closer to understanding them (or caring for them) as there is no emotive justification. The author does not generate enough interest in any of the characters because their development is more EMO and black. The process is more like scratching the surface to see what bleeds rather than looking for the heart.

I really liked the cover art. Ronan with multi- Chainsaw ravens. Real cool.

This novel generally got really good reviews, from people with an un-requited lust for imaginary Raven punks. I really liked the author’s writing style, but still stand firmly rooted to the ideal that if a novel in a series can’t stand alone, then it fails the reader. Now before all you Emo/Stiefvater sycophants go ape-shjt, I DID like this novel. It had a few problems with the jumbled story-line, one dimensional characters and failure as a stand-alone BUT the author has brilliant prose that is almost hypnotic. Theres your bone to gnaw on while I run away.

Review: Ragnarok by Brian James

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Publisher: Smith
Publishers Date: November 2013
ISBN: 9781462694280
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Description: The Viking gods have been banished from Asgard by Odin. Today they make the best of life on Earth. Thor is a professional athlete, Freya a prostitute, and Loki sells cheap products on QVC. Lurking in the background of their lives is a prophecy; one that declares that their time is at an end. Ragnarok is about to throw the gods into a state of civil war and the one who controls the hammer of Thor may be able to change the arc of destiny.

Review: This is an epic commentary on todays American pop culture. The author pokes fun at anything from Bill O’reilly, and Oprah to Area 51. It is a hilarious romp through pop culture coupled with an epic tale of Norse Mythology and their Gods.

There were some fall downs within the novel that were minor like pistols with 40 mm ammo, which is impossible. I think the author meant 40 caliber. Also, you will wonder why the God Freya with all her abilities, chooses to become a prostitute when she obviously hates it. Wouldn’t it have been easier to shack up with one rich dude? Would not have been as interesting but the Freya story-line was not real believable. The cover is really bad. It is like the publisher pulled a cover from an un-related novel and stuck it on. Looks like a bunch of birds at a lava feeder. None of what is depicted relates to the story.

The author takes a mythos-story and turns it on it’s ear. Odin is a dick whom trades his children like cattle. Thor is a whoring drunk whom hates Odin for trading his wife, Sif to a demon whom rapes her. Thor’s brother stabs him in the back as does Sif. Odin tries to kill Thor, repeatedly. Idun, the goddess of longevity is summarily killed without a second thought. The only true relationship in the whole novel is Freya and Thor, and even that is a pretty loose relationship throughout the whole novel up until the end.

Get this novel if you enjoy glib and witty commentary that pummels popular culture at every turn. The story-line is funny and interesting with solid character development that both enhances and sets up the commentary.

Review: Blood Moon by Geoff huntington

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Publisher: Diversion
Publishing Date: October 2013
ISBN:9781626810754
Genre: Fantasy/YA
Rating: 4.3/5.0

Publishers Description: The mystery of the Tower at Ravenscliff is at last revealed, in the long awaited continuation of The Ravenscliff Series. A returning threat roams the halls of Ravenscliff Manor, the mad sorceress Clarissa, but she is only one of many problems facing Devon March. His budding relationship with Cecily takes a hit when he discovers she might be his (gulp!) sister, while his pal Marcus is mysteriously linked with the savage, gorilla-like beast that turns up in Misery Point on nights of the full moon.

Review: This is the third in the Ravenscliff series, featuring our intrepid, hormonal sorcerer, Devon. We finally see why Marcus has a pentagram floating in front of his face and Cecily’s mom’s secrets revealed to all.

The author lets you walk beside some real inductive reasoning retards, where anyone with half a brain could put two and two together and get the desired outcome. Devon still thinks Cecily could be his sister, even though the evidence and her mom say otherwise. It is patently obvious who the werewolf and Clarissa are, but Mr. Dumbshit kid-scorcerer can’t find his butt with two hands. I really don’t think this style of writing adds to the suspense. In fact, I think it detracts. If you want to be suspenseful, make the clues hard to discern and cleverly disguised, not out in plane site, where you, the reader, are left waiting for the imbecilic characters to catch up.

For instance, a werewolf is terrorizing the town and Devon’s friend Marcus has had this pentagram floating on his face for quite awhile. During a full moon Marcus disappears (repeatedly) his parents are acting hysterical and wont let anyone see him, and when they do he is all scratched up and bloody. Hmmmmm. Oh, and when Cecilys best friend decides to walk with Marcus to a rendezvous, she is attacked by a werewolf, but Marcus is no where to be found. Hmmmmmm. And all Devon can come up with is “Marcus, I think you are somehow tied to the werewolf”. No shit Sherlock. Even after the werewolf ghost visits Devon and draws a freakin’ pentagram in front of his face and turns into a ghost werewolf. Another weird event is when Devon is in the past and only briefly thinks about seeing his father, but then dismisses it as not being relevant to the task of saving his friend of less than one year, Marcus. Huh? So, the author builds a MAJOR portion of Devon’s character around his dad, and laments about his loss and involvement in the Nightwing for two prior novels AND has no inclination to go see him. Wow. Talk about falling down on the story-line.

I really shouldn’t like the cover, but it’s good in a kitchy way. The only problem is that the birds are not ravens nor are they mammalian bats. The ratio of body mass to wing length is more like a seagulls. (Hey, it’s the finer points).

Despite the wonders of being young and stupid in a gratingly acerbic way, this was a really good novel. Not as good as the first, but definitely better than the second. Again we have a good story-line and great character development. The scene development really makes the novel what it is. The author really describes his surroundings while continuing the story in parallel. Draws you into the depths of the story. Hopefully the resurrected desire of the readership will avail the author to continue the series to finality.

Review: Mars Inc. by Ben Bova

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Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: December 2013
ISBN:9781451639346
Genre: Scifi
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Publishers Description: How do you get to the Red Planet? Not via a benighted government program trapped in red tape and bound by budget constrictions, that’s for sure. No, what it will take is a helping of adventure, science, corporate powerplays, a generous dollop of seduction—both in and out of the boardroom—and money, money, money!

Review: First off, the cover art is really sad. Poor showing for the Scifi genre with Bova’s name attached. A behemoth ship being built above Earth or hovering over Mars would have been much better. Instead we have a suit in a boardroom with a picture of the Mars landing. Weeeee!!!!

This was a pretty fun read. Thrasher is just great throughout the novel. Well developed in a shallow skirt chasing sort of way. The billionaires were presented as forming a set of very eclectic personalities, but we never saw the development of these personalities which would have made for a very interesting novel. Instead we follow Thrasher around the world on his forays to unite the world in his quest to realize a Mars landing with a live crew. Throw in some hot chicks here and there, either as virtual eye candy or for Thrashers pleasure and we start to get one-dimensional.

There have been some really good scifi novels that embraced the visual antics of sex, kind of like being there too. Bova intimates that sex is occurring without the descriptors. Like, you just have to take his word that it happened. If your going to spend a fair amount of time describing women that Thrasher interacts with or goes to bed with, then go all the way with the scene development. It will not cheapen the novel. If Thrasher has a mild love interest and is not as focused on women, then play it thin on the scenes.

This novel is in the Scifi genre but I would say that it is fiction. There is no culmination with the actual landing of Mars. There are no aliens, bacteria, ancient structures or hidden water caches underground. It is an entertaining novel about the fiscal/political construct to achieve Mars. It is fun and insightful with good writing but not awe inspiring.

Review: Selfish Beings by JL Morris

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Publisher: Carina
Publishing Date: November 2013
ISBN: 9781472054814
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.6/5.0

Publisher Description: Unless, like Kaarl, you are a demon and your home is Hell…literally!
While the rest of Hell enjoys cruel games, Kaarl is looking for a new challenge. So he makes a deal with the devil himself: time in the Mortal Realm in return for human souls…
The Mortal Realm offers a taste of freedom he could never experience in Hell and Kaarl jumps at the chance to fulfill his dream. But gathering human souls comes with a cost and as more and more souls lose their way, Kaarl realises that he is creating Hell on his beloved Earth.
Now to save the Mortal Realm, Kaarl’s going to have to switch sides…

Review: This was a great read. Very entertaining. Kaarl plays a demons youngest son whom, gifted with an understanding of the mortal realm is conscripted by Satan to bring more souls to perdition. What made this novel so entertaining was the variety of biblical characters and their innate personalities. I thought Gabriel was really well developed, and offers comedic relief in the form of destruction. The twins were also very well done. They will have you laughing in no time with their sarcastic wit.

The story-line took a bit of a different turn at about the half-way mark. I expected the realm of heaven and paradise to be something that you could not quite grasp the meaning of. This would have been a direct polar opposite to perdition. Instead the author continues the “humanistic theme” into the hosts of heaven and makes them all too real and susceptible to base emotions. At first I didn’t like it but as the novel wore on It was really a good choice for the entertainment value it creates.

The cover art is really bad. It looks like a jelly fish with a Christmas hat. This is a well crafted novel with really good pace that involves the reader from the start. I can see this continuing in a series, in hopes that by wanting, it will become.