Review: Welfy Q. Deederhoth: Meat Purveyor, World Savior by Eric Laster

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Publisher: Opsimath
Publishing Date: May 2014
ISBN: 9780692210314
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 3.8/5

Publisher Description: Orphan, product of the foster care system, Welfy is a homeless runaway struggling to survive, uncertainly navigating the streets of New York City with his only friend Harlan Mills. Soon after he finds work at Gramercy Deli, he stumbles into an alternate universe where he’s believed to be “The One in a dirty apron” prophesied to lead the Brundeedle race out of Woe Time.

Review: I like the cover art.

Welfy is an orphan whom seemingly stumbles upon a gateway into another universe. There he meets a group of rebel freedom fighters that think he is the answer to a long foretold prophecy. What follows is a fairly robust novel involving his friend and his newfound allies in their fight against the Ceparids. The story line is fun and the plot, uncomplicated. The characters are fairly straight forward and the movement is constant.

The is an engaging novel, built for the young at heart. Anyone at any age can enjoy this lighthearted romp through the multi-verse. I look forward to any subsequent novels in the Welfy multi-verse.

Review: Steel and Song by Ani Bolton

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Publisher: Ani Bolton
Publishing Date:
ISBN: 0000000000410
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.9/5

Publisher Description: Airwitch Tova Vanaskaya’s choices are few: use her magic to fly an elite aircraft in the Grand Duchy’s army or be shipped to the trenches. But invoking too much magic can kill the wielder, and her Cossack captain has a hell-bent-for-leather streak that pushes her to the brink. It’s a good thing she’s not afraid to push back.

Review: Really? Tora the airwitch on the cover with frickin’ makeup? How about the constantly dirty airwitch we read about?

This was a surprisingly well written and entertaining novel. The characters, even the bit players, were so well developed that you were drawn into this alternate world with little effort. Tora makes an immediate impression with some of her Sami culture woven into the fabric of her life, then is suddenly ripped from all she loves.

What begins from there is an epic odyssey across the skies of Russia and beyond. You are constantly rooting for Tora to overcome all the obstacle’s, from a-holes that constantly insert themselves into her life to her air magic that threatens to kill if not used judiciously. Tora discovers that she is more than just an airwitch and soon finds love in all the wrong places. I liked seeing Tora grow into a more dominant role from her humble beginnings.

This is a pure indie author. If any publishers are reading this review, you should really consider making this author a deal (Angry Robot). I have read a lot of big publishing house authors in the last year that in no way stack up to this authors’ talent. And no, I do not know the author. If the author doesn’t drag down the next novel with the WUV scenes, this should be a great series.

Review: Alice through Blood-Stained Glass by Dan Adams

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Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9781460703991
Genre: Scifi
Rating: 3.1/5

Publisher Description: A fun, horror-style zombie retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

Alice is minding her younger sister when the Zombie apocalypse hits. She has to find safety but is thwarted at every turn – by a strange man, by two stoners. The world has gone made and she doesn’t know who to trust.

Review: Cover art needs a big re-do. Make a cartoon with Alice in Wonderland in a hottie zombie killer getup for fugs sake. Who the fug is that on the cover?

This was a pretty clever take on Alice in Wonderland (on crack). Ali gets caught in the zombie outbreak, loses her sister and fends for herself while meeting a myriad of characters on her way to Sanctuary and the Queen of Hearts.

In order to have fun with this novel you really have to suspend your disbelief…constantly. Otherwise “You’re gonna have a bad time.” Now why would I rate this, around the 3 star mark? Lots and lots of movement, coupled with an engaging and un-believable character with scenes that stretch not only believability but physics as well. This novel had so many fails with Ali the highschooler; where one minute she is watching her little sister by the lake and a few hours later she is an expert with pistols, knives and CQB fighting.

Ali (unfairly IMHO) blames Mr. Waistcoat for the death of her little sister. Mr. Waistcoat initially saves Ali by telling her that the zombies are coming. They follow him to an escape area (another save). He picks up her little sister so they both don’t get caught by the zombies (another save) and subsequently runs into a zombie that picks her sister off thereby saving both Ali and Mr. Waistcoat. He then pulls Ali away from her sister so she doesn’t get infected (another save). Sounds like Ali is an ungrateful little biotch.

You really have to forget that this novel barely mirrors reality. Where teenagers become martial experts in a matter of days; where well assembled and operational enclaves spring up out of nowhere; where mushrooms enable you to see in the dark and move faster than the eye can see: where Ali knows instinctively who is a professional soldier and who is not; where Ali can draw her pistol super fast and never misses, even while running; where the presence of a pistol and a machine gun denotes survival by their own merits; where soldiers force bound women to suck their protrusions; where Ali can break grown men’s necks while straddling them; and where Ali can take down an entire enclave while killing most everyone in the process.

This was definitely a guilty pleasure novel. The kind of novel you keep trying to hate for all its obvious flaws but end up riveted to the story-line. If you like Resident Evil get this, but not if zombies coupled with un-realistic characters and situations put you off.

Review: The Birthday Problem by Caren Gussoff

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Publisher: Pink Narc. Press
Publishing Date: July 2014
ISBN: 9781939056061
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher Description: In the year 2060, the next plague has arrived. MaGo bots, the nanotechnology used for everything from fighting the common cold to radical life extension, have begun to malfunction, latching onto the brain’s acetylcholine receptors to cause a permanent state of delirium. The effects are devastating. The Birthday Problem follows four Seattle survivors and how their lives irrevocably intersect.

Review: Really good cover art. Just wow.

Ah, dystopia where is thy sting? This was a maudlin rush through a fragment in time where civilization is in ruins after medical nanobots turn people into schizophrenic wanderers. There are multiple story-lines within the bounds of the novel, yet there really is no definitive plot. Which, I guess, is the point.

This is set in Seattle and surrounding areas where I grew up. The author does not rely on developing the surrounding scenes, as I suppose everyone must know what those areas look like. The real focus is creating the instances that led up to a particular characters’ situation and the inner processes that develop from those experiences. A myriad of lives conjoin, separate and intersect in clever reveals as the novel moves back and forth through time. The author has to make the characters likeable or vulnerable in order to generate a sympathetic appeal, otherwise the individual story-lines become fragmented vignettes within a downward spiraling event. Hope is fleeting where Rumi discovers what might be a cure. Mostly, people are either affected or not, and the ones that aren’t are able to move on to lives that are perhaps far more limiting than previously accustomed.

Personally I wasn’t really drawn to any of the characters. Chaaya is mostly concerned with herself. Greystone doesn’t generate an interest simply because he is bereft of personality. Didi is really kind of gross with 30+ cats running around her house. Rumi’s character should have been expanded upon. You kind of wander within the mind of Sasha, so that’s a bust. Book was the only character that drew you in to his mental processes and their outward manifestations.

There are no Mule Deer in coastal WA, until you get to the Rockies. All the deer depicted should have been coastal Black Tail deer. The whole novel might have been better served with a culminating event to drive the movement in new directions. I liked that it took place in Seattle, as no better shjthole is deserving, and Elma, Ocean Shores, Aberdeen.. all the places that I have formative despairing memories of. Still the writer has a mean talent and creative aplomb. For that she gets another star.

Review: The Freezer by Timothy S. Johnston

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Publisher: Carina
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9781426898853
Genre: Scifi
Rating: 4.2/5

Publisher Description: CCF homicide investigator Kyle Tanner and his girlfriend are on their way to Pluto, en route to a new life together. Just one little death to check out in the asteroid belt first. But when you’re as tangled up in conspiracy as Tanner is, a few hours on a case can change your life. Or end it.

Review: Cover art is cool.

This was a solid, entertaining read. There are multiple characters of interest but not too many that it bogs the story-line down. This is the future where nanobots extend life and repair damage. They are also used to kill in various ways by the dreaded CCF that controls just about everything. Kyle is a CCF investigator who gets manipulated into a plot by the dissidents that are working against the CCF. Kyle’s hottie wife is killed (who saved him from a life of loneliness x10) by the dissidents in order to lure him to Europa.

Only fall downs were when Kyle plays “Colombo” or Sherlock Holmes to a captive audience explaining why he is so smart and figured everything out. He thereby divulges investigative and proprietary information. Kyle tells himself on a regular interval that “He is not stupid!”. Also all the Ph.D.’s are awed by Kyle’s deductive reasoning skills to the point where they exclaim “incredible”. Yawn. Nothing like characters tooting someone else’s horn.

The action was really good and fairly believable. I liked the nanobot tech and the alien Europa environment. I hope that this series continues so that Kyle may expound and involve himself more in the dissidents struggle against the CCF. Will make for an interesting series if it gets there.

Review: Fortunes of the Imperium by Jodi Lynn Nye

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Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: September 2014
ISBN: 9781476736723
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher Description: Lieutenant Lord Thomas Kinago sets out from the Imperium homeworld for the Autocracy of the Uctu, a galactic region with a geckolike overlord known, eponymously, as the Autocrat. Thomas is ostensibly on a pleasure cruise with his cousin Jil to enjoy the pleasures of the Gecko culture. (Jil is herself fleeing a spot of trouble in the Central Worlds after she rebuffed the unwanted amorous interest of a local crime boss)

In fact, Thomas is on a mission for the mysterious Mr. Frank, the head of the secret service, to discover how prohibited goods, including a small fighter ship, are being smuggled into the Autocracy. His crew’s overt assignment is to find out why legitimate shippers are being detained at checkpoints, sometimes for months, without explanation. As usual, Thomas’s reputation for sudden enthusiasm and goodhearted mayhem precede him. It is all his trusted aid Parsons can do to keep his leader on course.

Thomas’s newest interest is superstitions, and he is driving everyone to distraction by telling fortunes, and even inventing a new method or two. Yet while the Autocrat, a new and fairly young Uctu female, finds Thomas a curious diplomat, she also rather likes him—much to Parsons’s relief. It seems Thomas needs free passage within the Uctu home system before he can investigate the illegal contraband trade. What’s more, the smuggling ring is quite determined to cancel Thomas’s visit before he can cancel them. As usual, it’s up to Parsons to find a way to lead his hapless master to victory—or at least keep him from getting himself killed by a very determined enemy.

Review: Cover art looks like a covey of virgin larpers staging re-enactment.

Wow, the publisher’s sure went to great lengths to describe this novel. There is a reason for this. Confusing novel is confusing. It is all over the frickin’ place. Which is not a bad thing , as you can usually figure it out as you ride along. You just have to be liking the story-line and the characters in order to do so. Which this novel doesn’t do. The characters seemed to be forced into complexity but come out one dimensional. The story-line is fairly weak. Smuggling prohibited goods…blah, blah, swashbuckling dude, blah,…..legitimate shippers ….telling fortunes, hot captain chicks…blah.

This was space operatic trash with pages of filler dialogue. Really tough to get through a novel that bashes you over the head with its smugness and ancillary dialogue.

Review: The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson

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Publisher: Tor
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9780765336941
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 1.6/5

Publisher Description: In the twenty-second century, a future in which mortaline wire controls the weather on the settled planets and entire refugee camps drowse in drug-induced slumber, no one—alive or dead, human or alien—is quite what they seem. When terrorists manage to crash Coral, the moon, into its home planet of Ribon, forcing evacuation, it’s up to Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos, contract detectives for the Network Intelligence Organization, to solve a case of interplanetary consequences.

Review: Cover art is well done.

This was a DNF. This was boring as heck due to the endless dialogue. Even the aliens engage in this perpetual dialogue-ing. The aliens are not believable as to be rendered human-like in function and alien in form.

Good idea with just too much dialogue to get through to make this attempt to finish mildly interesting.

Review: White Rabbit by K. A. Laity

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Publisher: Fox Spirit
Publishing Date: April 2014
ISBN: 9781909348493
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3.1/5

Publisher Description: Disgraced former police detective James Draygo has sunk as low as his habit allows, working as a fake psychic despite his very real talents. When a media mogul’s trashy trophy wife gets gunned down at his tapping table he has to decide whether he can straighten up long enough to save his own skin. He may not have a choice with Essex’s loudest ghost bawling in his ear about cults, conspiracies and cut-rate drugs. Oblivion sounds better all the time…

Review: Cover art is meh.

This was more of a fantasy novel with a mystery backbone. Although the dialogue was lengthy, the exchanges between characters was entertaining. The plot doesn’t really go anywhere definitive. There is a culmination of sorts, but the bulk of the novel exists in the ruminative mind of James Draygo.
To quote Peter Griffin, the novel insists upon itself.

There wasn’t a lot of action that you could sink your teeth into, other than flailing ghosts and some thuggery. There was a mild love interest that was more whimsical than overt. Still a somewhat entertaining novel that would do well for a read on a plane.

Review: Exidon- The New Captain by DA Workman

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Publisher: Smith Publicity
Publishing Date: June 2014
ISBN: 9781483529974
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher Description: When the world around you seems to be full of people that don’t understand or appreciate who you are, including your own family, what’s a girl to do? Fly away in her very own spaceship to another planet, of course!

Review: Cover art is good but wasn’t Sally’s ship black?

Honestly I did not finish this novel and here’s why. Sally is 14 and starting high school. She is cute, flat chested, smart and believes in aliens and ufo’s. Good start eh? A good portion of the novel involves these strange behavioral events. And I mean they are constant. For instance, Sally is sitting in class and a boy reaches over with a ruler and starts lifting a girls breast with it. In another, her newly found boyfriend criticizes her body, suggests changes, shows her pictures of naked women and people having sex and makes her give him head. Meanwhile she is being stalked by other boys and physically/sexually assaulted. While all this is going on, she behaves like it is a normal process and is constantly afraid if she does something her boyfriend doesn’t like, then he will dump her. Huh?

You get the impression at the beginning of the novel that Sally is a dreamer but a smart girl with a backbone. She states repeatedly that why would her friend Jill want a boyfriend especially when her Dad beat her Mom up. So at least she is capably aware of bad situations yet continues to be this piece of meat for whomever. But no, she starts living with Nick, her fiancé’, who hits her in the face for talking back.

Samantha goes through hypnosis, finds out Grey’s are abducting her and others. She iterates that they doing rectal and urinary exams. Eventually Sally (now Nazoor) finds ship and friend Tarcon. She comes back to Earth to find Nick (who was going to kill her with scissors) and…Blah, blah blah. Not once do we find Sally/Nazoor growing into an independent space fairing goddess but continuing her co-dependent ways.

Review: Patton’s Spaceship by John Barnes

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Publisher: Open Road
Publishing Date: July 2014
ISBN: 9781453262597
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 3.8/5

Publisher Description: Mark Strang became a bodyguard and private investigator when terrorists killed his family; now he spends his days protecting Pittsburgh’s helpless and abused. But while on a mission to save the life of a ten-year-old girl, Strang is inexplicably cast into an alternate reality, transported to a different time on another Earth, where America was defeated in the Second World War and now suffers under the brutal yoke of Nazi oppression.

Review: Really weak cover art.

This was a lot of fun to read. The characters were interesting. Strang is fairly one dimensional, but needs to be in order to purvey a multiple universe jumping bad ass.

There were some fall downs in this novel. So in his new universe where they can replace/regrow eyes and hamburgered limbs with nano-bots, why hasn’t Strang brought that technology to his sister that lost her legs and one arm in a bombing by the “Closers”?. At the beginning it is made evident that Strang is not a shooter and/or is new to it. And I quote “I’d never fired a shot at anything but a paper target…since I was a kid”. Then about a third of the way through he states that he has won “contests” with the 1911 pistol. In one scene at “ten or more deaths” of the bad guys there is no reloading or mention of extra magazines. Since the 1911 pistol holds 7+1 rounds of ammo there is no way, other than having extended magazines, to take out 10 or more bad guys without reloading.

The premise of traveling to multiple parallel universes has a big appeal to readers. The author does a great job of constructing plausible scenarios in other timelines while creating engaging characters to inhabit them. I am looking forward to this series as long as the old love interest shtick doesn’t raise it’s ugly head. The hero and his stolen love never plays well as it relegates the story-line process to a diminutive. This story, if it keeps creatively expanding, could be a very solid series.