Review: One Night in Sixes by Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson


Publisher: Rebellion
Publishing Date: July 2014
ISBN: 9781781082386
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 1.4/5

Publisher Description: The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day. Still, Appaloosa Elim has heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.

Review: Wow, kudos to the author for giving herself a nickname. I would “nick” myself a name like, “Otter”, or “Ace”. Maybe even “Riff”. Cover art is, ho-hum. Perhaps the dull color palette is to blame.

I could not get through this novel, or rather, it received a DNF. To be honest, I don’t think I have the patience to get through a work that is largely unexplained happenstance, alien/futuristic colloquialisms/terms, inner dialogue and names of things/creatures that requires a glossary (which this had). I figure if you can’t adequately explain or utilize an inventive terminology within the bounds of the novel, then it comes off contrived.

Perhaps someone out there in critic-land will be more patient with this work than I was, giving it the credit it may deserve.

Review: Islands of Rage and Hope by John Ringo


Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9781476736624
Genre: I think SciFi
Rating: 0.5/5

Publisher Description: With the world consumed by a devastating plague that drives humans violently insane, what was once a band of desperate survivors bobbing on a dark Atlantic ocean has now become Wolf Squadron, the only hope for the salvation of the human race. Banding together with what remains of the U.S. Navy, Wolf Squadron, and its leader Steve Smith, not only plans to survive—he plans to retake the mainland from the infected, starting with North America.

Review: Cool cover art.

I just can’t seem to get over the hump on this series. There are two huge glaring, non-believable holes in the story-line. Faith and Hope. Faith, a 13 year old marine platoon leader that is this legendary zombie killer that garners the respect of the entire military and will faith-fully follow her into hell and back. Her sister is a 15 year old ensign in the Navy and commands a ship of her own. Are you fugging kidding me? Really? I don’t even know where to start as I have a hard time suspending my dis-belief in order to read this crap.

The author did a better job on the firearm portion this go around but still misses the mark, imho, on a few things. How does a 13 year old girl wear a 100+ pound ruck, abseil down to a rooftop from a helicopter? Also, why is she still using a crappy Saiga? And if she is taking on hundreds of zombies, why would she take a Saiga? The weight and space that shotgun shells take up would prohibit her taking the multiple weapons and ammo that she did. We hear the same old crap about the 5.56 Barbie gun, when accuracy is really the issue. The author makes good use of a head shooter in the building that begins to make sense, finally.

There is one passage that was reminiscent of the trapped marines all agreeing that they would go insane if they didn’t get to rotational rape… have sex with the lone marine female in the group (whom got pregnant) that tends to resonate in vile fashion. See two kids are rescued that were on a lifeboat. They find out that the 12 year old girl is extremely pregnant. Only the two claim that they never had sex. They examine the girl and find that her hymen is intact. When questioning the 17 year old kid, they find that he had nocturnal emissions. So according to Mr. Science Marine guy when a female likes a certain male her labia expands and when added with the high salt content of the water in the life boat mixing with the kids semen (super sperm) it somehow managed to facilitate an immaculate conception. Fug. Not only is this a stupid unnecessary interlude, but Mr. Marine Science suggests that since she is pregnant anyway that they need to start having sex at least once per day in order to thin the vaginal walls for easeing child birth. What this has to do with killing zombies finding a vaccine and securing areas for normals I have no fucking idea.

Despite obvious story-line fails, as mentioned, the dialogue was extremely heavy and jumped around to the point where you didn’t know where the shjt you were in the story until a few pages later. “Oh, I see where we are. We are no longer on a ship, but at Gitmo”.

I have shot in high level shooting competitions with 10-18 year olds and I can tell you, that at 13, kids just do not have the strength, speed, experience, agility, endurance to pull off anything resembling what the author purports in his anti-heroine, Faith. And that’s just the physical side of things. Faith also has the intellect and presence to command a marine platoon and the adult gift of internalizing bloodshed and a broken humanity on an epic scale? Fug this book.

Review: Blood In Snow by Robert Evert


Publisher: Diversion
Publishing Date: July 2014
ISBN: 9781626813571
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.9/5

Publisher Description: Having committed treason by claiming the Highlands for his own kingdom, Edmund—the one-eyed, stuttering former librarian—decides to stop running and make his final stand. Along with his best friend, Pond Scum, and his manic dog, Becky, he must fight off goblins, magic users, and King Lionel’s entire army in order to protect what he loves. However, his deadliest adversary is the approaching winter, and neither Edmund nor his men have the supplies they need to survive.

Review: Cover art is faintly compelling….again I say “Who is the person in the red cloak?”.

This novel sucked for a couple of reasons. This is the end of a great series from a little known author from a little known publishing company and I have to resist reading this in one night as to prolong the experience.

This author just gets better and better. The story-line has consistent development novel to novel, the character development matures along with our hero and new character introductions are interesting and add flavor to the plot. The plot is superb. As the reader you never lose sight of the end-game and the author uses this to draw the reader into his world. The scene descriptions are so well done that you feel like you are standing there in the bitter cold, stamping your feet, smelling pine and watching Becky play in the snow.

I liked that our flawed hero, Edmund, is still overcoming his self-esteem issues and struggles with his desires in the face of loneliness yet refuses to foul the air with bitterness. Edmund is all too human with self-recriminations, depression, hope and an indefatigable will to overcome. He continues to take the high road, even when “lower” choices could further his own personal advancement. Good life lessons for the reader in our diminished culture.

So, Edmund is the elected Governor of Rood that eschews nobility and their rule. Edmund is organizing the townsfolk to face the cruel winter and an even crueler King (Lionel). Edmund hopes that Rood can one day be free of Nobile rule and serve as a haven for magic users. In order for Rood to win it’s independence, Edmund must take King Lionel into the goblin inhabited mountains so that he may fight gloriously.

The character development was really good. King Lionel of Erin Mas was just frickin’ hilarious. It almost read as a Monty Python skit. He can’t seem to listen to those around him save for his own myopic reasoning. He just wants a good fight some shagging and his minstrels to record his valiant adventures.

It is hard to write a critical review when there is nothing to criticize. My disappointment comes with the death of some characters I have become used to and will miss their contribution to the story-line. Other than that, I recommend that you get this series and enjoy it.

Review: Beverly Hills Demon Slayer by Angie fox


Publisher: Season
Publishing Date: July 2014
ISBN: 9781939661197
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 1.5/5.0

Publisher Description: Demon slayer Lizzie Brown isn’t exactly a diamonds and champagne type of girl. But when an ancient cult becomes the “in” thing in Beverly Hills, she realizes there’s more to it than youth potions, parties, and priceless Egyptian artifacts. There’s a demon involved…and Lizzie’s not on the guest list.

Review: Cover art catches the eye and you can never miss with a cute dog.

This got really high reviews so maybe it is a girl thing. I just didn’t get it. Tongue and cheek comedy at a constant churn and a cutsey talking dog named Pirate got really old. Hot bod Dimitri/Griffon husband casting stern glances at everyone with Lizzie constantly on the horn dog. There is also a dragon in the backyard and some demon spawn in the garage. Yay!

Each scene is stretched out for-fuggin’-ever. And the dialogue that entwines itself within is tedious and mundane. Especially with her estranged Dad, the fallen Angel. Gonna have to give this a skip.

Review: Unexpected Alliances by MR LaScola


Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Publishing Date: June 20014
ISBN: 9781626528086
Genre: ?
Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher Description: When Marion Britton spots an unidentified faraway object, no one could predict how it would be the United League of Planets’ biggest challenge yet…

Dr. Marion Britton sat at her computer station on the exploration ship, the Star Gazer, staring at a black dot silhouetted against a star going super nova. She was transfixed by the object when Onreen, the Gleesosian captain of the ship and her best friend, walked up and asked, “What are you looking at?”

Review: This was initially science fiction until we got to the dragons that can talk part. Talk about mashing two genres together.

Earth has become this liberal wet dream, where dependency on fossil fuels is becoming a thing of the past, all weapons are banned and the fucking United Nations has morphed into the New World Government, where there are no borders but evil Hench Muslims are hiding weapons deeeeeeeep below the surface of the Earth and yada yada yada. Really? All because the Gleesosians (LOL!) brought some new technology to Earth. Hmmm. Sounds farfetched. But no, wait! There are talking dragons that have lived on Earth for (I am assuming) millennia but were persecuted and now some live on Gleesos and the white ones are speshul and they live for, like……millennia and one time at band camp….

The dialogue is endless and all the characters behave like they all love each other. Even during a crisis there is this smug back slapping and smirking camaraderie. There is this group of 3,000 ships that the LEAGUE OF SUPERHEROES er……um….UNITED LEAGUE OF PLANETS (ULP), has found, and by gum they could be invaders or more likely…..refugees! Fug. The funniest part of this shjt encounter with “Aliens” is that they are human, speak an understandable dialect (ENGLISH), have Earth names yet are from the planet Utron. This was a laughable mixture of shjtty dialogue, a non-sensical story-line and fugging talking dragons that want their own planet. zzzzzzz, wha?

Review: The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis



Publisher: Bellebooks
Publishing Date: June 2014
ISBN: 9781611944570
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher Description: Lucy Trenton’s ability to sense majick is one of her most dangerous secrets. But only one. A blackmailer knows the other.
Suddenly, Lucy is caught in a treasonous plot to destroy the crown, and she’s trapped in the tentacles of a desperate, destructive majick. Her only hope is ship captain Marten Thorpe, who—by every account—cannot be trusted. With time running out, Lucy must find a way to win a dangerous game or lose everything she holds dear.

Review: Whats with the sudden deluge of chicks wearing red cloaks? Looks like Monica Lewinsky hiding behind some curtains. The cover below is a little better. This is a re-release, originally published in 2007.

I am surprised. I liked this novel….a lot. Preconceptions promote bias, so my bad.
Lucy is kind of a dumbass dockside customs inspector, descended from Royalty. She flits around getting hot and bothered by men she just met, then somehow falls victim to a blackmailer that somehow knows she collects magical ciphers (which is against the law…sort of).

Sound like crap? It wasn’t. This novel exceeded my low expectations by a very wide margin. Lucy turns out to be an interesting character as do her friends Marten, Sarah, and Keros. The story-line is a twisted plot that seeks to culminate in the over-throw and eventual control of the Kingdom by the Jutra, an almost alien species residing on the same planet. While I am still not sure why Lucy was essential to the overthrow of the kingdom as only her seals are stolen, she enables the main story-line to unfold through her eyes, and eventually becomes integral to the plot.

The minor fall downs were that the beginning of the novel fails to grab the reader, but thankfully that is short lived. The Bramble/Blood Oak Island sequence is too short and doesn’t capture the importance of the event.

While the sylveth majick is still a mystery, this may soon be remedied by further installments. Lucy is a tough woman, with a sharp tongue and curves enough for any man. She captures your imagination and the author does a great job with scene development so visualization is a breeze. Get it!

Review: Black Ice (Midgard #2) by Susan Krinard


Publisher: Tor
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9780765332097
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher Description: Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie known as Mist one of the only survivors.

Review: The cover art is strangely compelling. Oh right, I am a dude. If I was a bald septuagenarian art critic, I would say it needed a redo. Longer hair, big breast plate (hehe) and knee high leather boots.

Confusing book is confusing. Initially there are so many character names/roles thrown out there that you just don’t have the energy to track that shjt. But that was my bad, as I didn’t read the first book in the series. If I had, there would be no review on this work as I never would have read it.

There is endless pages of dialogue that blanket any action or story-line. The characters are slim in development and are purveyed to the point where you don’t give a shjt what happens to them. Mist’s epithets range from “Odin’s balls” to “Loki’s piss”. Inventive to be sure. There were some honest moments of clarity where Mist finally sheds her tired and overworked goddess persona to galavant around the town with Dainn, (casting spells, finding Loki magic etc.) a hotty elf-man/boy with “deep indigo eyes”. People were murmuring here and there approximately 17 times throughout the novel. Not too bad considering the massive amounts of dialogue. There is some weirdness involved where a boy named Danny is the offspring of Loki and Dainn that seemed more like a story-line afterthought.

This was a confused, boring, messed up attempt at depicting Norse mythology. I think my Norse ancestors would be as insulted as I.

Review: Journal of the Plague Year An Omnibus of Post-Apocalyptic Tales


Publisher: Rebellion
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9781781082461
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher Description: WHEN THE WORLD ENDED…
The Cull swept the world in the early years of the twenty-first century, killing billions and ending civilization as we know it. Only a fortunate few, blessed with the right blood, were spared. But in times of need, heroes rise. Leaders, soldiers, rebels – even children – take a stand, to hold back the tide of savagery and set a light in the darkness.
Journal of the Plague Year offers three new tales from across the world of The Afterblight Chronicles, from the International Space Station to the wilds of the Australian Outback and beyond.

Review: Good cover art in an Arthur C. kind of way.

This is a compilation of the three stories set during a world wide pandemic (The Cull). Definitely not dystopian.

Book one is set on a space station where they watch the world crumble from above, and ultimately have to deal with someone on station murdering other astronauts. This was a compelling story, as the characters lives are laid bare along with their emotions. A good solid read. Rating: 3.0/5

Book two follows the life of a murdering psychopath as he moves through the lives and instances of other people and their surviving groups. I thought the premise was good yet the scenes and general story-line verged on fantasy writing. Dead Kelley is made out to be some kind of killing super-hero, where all life or death scenarios, no matter how impossible, he survives. This rated about 2.2/5.

Book three begins by following two scientists fleeing a religious cult (The Order) bent on eradicating anything they deem unholy. Emil has been branded an atheist (which he is) and is set to hang until Katy Lewkowitz manages to rescue him. After a lengthy chase, The Order catches them yet are subsequently saved by, what seems at first, another cult with a slightly different agenda. While the story line and characters were engaging, some of the fight scenes were not realistic. Katy (a biochemist) faces off against a group of the cults warriors, and pretty much gets the best of them until knocked in the head from behind. During a particular scene, she rushes a couple of bad guys. Both of them seem to lack the ability to draw a firearm, or when they do, to get their gloved fingers into firing position. Really? You are post-apoc Joe-badass, and you can’t draw and shoot a firearm. Well, Katy grabs the barrel and the guy shoots his own face, and she burns and bruises her hand in the process. Searing your hand on the barrel of a firing shotgun doesn’t happen btw. There are other not too credible scenes where Katy fights off 3 assassins with a little knife, while they have guns but don’t seem to use them. Ultimately the Abbot should have tossed Emil to The Order in hopes of a temporary respite from hostilities as Emil was an argumentative, thankless turd. Still a good story-line overall. Rating” 2.3/5.

Overall average: 2.5/5

Review: Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein


Publisher: Belle Books
Publishing Date: June 2014
ISBN: 9781611944884
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher Description: My name is Anna Strong. I’m a woman caught between two worlds—my past as a bounty hunter, my present as a vampire. I do my best to hold on to what makes me human—my family, my job, my lover. But the pull of the undead is a siren song that’s becoming impossible to resist . . .

Review: There are a couple of covers that pretty much replicate a theme….Jaguar, Hot Chick with floating hair and a gun. Publishers Keepin’ er real…..

This was not too bad. I liked Ms. Strong’s character but the other characters were thinly built. Her ripply muscled boyfriend Max was a real downer as were her parents. Her shape shifting new lover was a vast improvement only because he was, well, a frickin panther. (Note to author, Panthers can swim.)
The story line, while thin, had good moments of interest when the seedier side of being a vamp was revealed. When Strong has to travel to the underbelly of Mexico to feed was a great reveal yet ends rather abruptly.
Strip most of the internal dialogue and needless descriptive elements and this work is an easy 4 stars.

Review: A Message to Deliver by Jeremiah Peters


Publisher: Chalfont
Publishing Date: June 2014
ISBN: 9781938708503
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Publisher Description: Melissa is on a mission from God. With no memories of her life on Earth, she is immersed in a foreign world, far different from her home in the paradise of Heaven. As Melissa struggles to discover the intended recipient of God’s message, she simply tells everyone she meets the good news of God’s love.

Review: The cover selection crew should be fired for this one. It evokes nothing….emotion, interest…nothing.

After being bludgeoned by Michael Vorhis’ and/or his sycophants after I made a less than glowing review on Archangel and another reviewers personal attack due to a hyper inflated sense of identity (and an armored heart), I almost quit reviewing for awhile. Yet, this novel seemed to drive away the doldrums and instill a newfound sense of forgiveness.

This novel entertains the idea that events, instances and perceptions are created by our minds and that blame can never be boldly placed at the feet of someone else, despite the circumstances. The story-line weaves about the rationale whereby the justification process allows our egos to promulgate righteousness in the guise of deposing the “other” in order to shore up our sense of self. The enmity we find in others is only by our own design. Kind of a feel good moment where you can never be wrong. A limited version of this existence is mirrored in the rampant narcissism we find today. To gauge anyone’s sense of self-importance just listen to how many times they say “actually”, as it usually precedes a rebuttal to what once was a normal conversation. Melissa carries a very simple message from God that addresses the act of forgiveness and what it truly means. “God Loves you, and I forgive you”. That was the message Melissa was sent to deliver, only she changes the last part to …”and God forgives you”.

When Melissa lent forgiveness, which for us is usually an internalized process, she recognized that people are mostly unaware, that their minds/ego are the driver and that they “know not what they do”. As she forgives certain trespasses, she has diminished her mind/ego and allowed for spiritual expansion. Only, she came from heaven self-realized and slowly begins to discern that humans are infinitely fallible and wholly fragile at the same time. Her friend Todd, whom she believes she was sent here to deliver the “message” to, is easily manipulated by a demon that masquerades as a caring co-worker, consistently manipulating events to garner negative net results. Melissa’s Angel, Jonathan has an unrevealed mission yet watches over Melissa while she adjusts to Earth.

This had a simple message, simple story line and great characters. Sometimes the simplest message is just what we need to gain clarity.