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.

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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.

Review: Echopraxia by Peter Watts

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Publisher: Tor
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9780765328021
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 3.4/5

Publisher Description: Daniel Bruks is a living fossil: a field biologist in a world where biology has turned computational, a cat’s-paw used by terrorists to kill thousands. Taking refuge in the Oregon desert, he’s turned his back on a humanity that shatters into strange new subspecies with every heartbeat. But he awakens one night to find himself at the center of a storm that will turn all of history inside-out.

Review: Cover art needs work.

This was a weird fuggin’ novel. Basically you got some dude in the desert, goes to space with zombies, bicams and vampires (oh my!) and returns to earth…infected with space goo?? In between is this colossal mind-numbing existential rant tucked within a myriad of inexplicable terms. The scene descriptions render nothing for those of us who visualize and the characters are assholes. Perhaps I am getting the story-line wrong, cause who the fuck knows, but I interpreted it as being the sunset of our species, and what better way to introduce this new species than through an un-augmented human (baseline).

The characters wander in this phlegm tainted realm of er…someone’s (cough…author) search for the universal truth (s). I really liked that the characters showcased the bridge between a species that has run it’s course through the vanishing point of the mind and what may come. Daniel felt flawed and inadequate to the task, yet fleetingly had an awareness that the augmented could never experience.

Will tangential perceptions that glide beyond the senses help us to arrive at a Godly state? I doubt it. It might be more than enough to embrace the I AM and revel in the mind as a tool and not the ‘doer’. To be so mired in the process of the mind that awareness is mitigated, is indeed hell.

Want to be frustratingly engaged? Want to follow the dissemination of what it means to ‘be’ through a clouded portal? This weirdo writer started rubbing off on me in so much that I might look forward to future works.

Review: Sky Pirates (Book 3) by Liesel Schwarz

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Publisher: Del Rey
Publishing Date:
ISBN: 9780345541307
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5

Publisher Description: With her husband, Hugh Marsh, missing in the netherworld and presumed dead, Elle Chance loses herself in the task at hand: piloting the airship Water Lily on commissions across the globe. But as it turns out, her beloved is very much alive—the once-powerful warlock reduced to a wraith. When Water Lily is threatened by pirates, Elle will have to channel all her power as the Oracle—the keeper of the barrier between the two Realms—to try to save what she loves most. As the dark forces of Shadow converge around her, Elle must find a way to breach the curse that binds Marsh. But once released, will Marsh return to her—or is their love destined to die so that he can live?

Review: Awesome cover art.

This is the third in the “Chronicles of Light and Shadow” and dang if I didn’t miss the first two. Entertainment factor is high for this installment. Really well done novel. I fuggin stayed up till 3:30 am to finish.

Elle is an asshat of the highest order. She is a myopic, self-centered and temperamental douche bag. But everyone around her knows it and the author’s intention in this regard becomes clear later in the novel (growth and progression etc.). The action is coupled with excellent scene descriptions and characters that jump off the pages.

Minor fall downs were the grammatical errors (uncorrected proof) and some logic fails. In the desert scene with camel, she has 8 bullets left, then later in the scene she counts off rounds fired in quick succession to #9. There are some scenes where you begin to loathe Elle. Her friend has just died of a gunshot wound to the stomach, and while struggling with the hunky Pirate Captain, she starts getting turned on. She promises to kill First Mate Heller and avenge her friends death, but in the end loves him like a bro. At one point it is explained clearly to Elle by Jack, why her wraith husband cannot see or touch her (it would kill her). In the next sentence she thinks “Was he really determined to have nothing to do with her ever again?” This lament goes on and on throughout the course of the novel. Really? It is all about her and her little emotions. So ultimately in exchange for a truce and friendship with hunky Pirate-Man, Logan (LOL), she agrees that they are even for her blowing up his old airship and him killing her friend. Eventually he bangs her in a pool and she gets conflicted about her dead/not-dead husband. And here the love triangle begins which will hopefully desist in the next novel. But probably not as my guess is that she is pregnant with Logan’s’ girl/oracle child, having freshly banged in a fertility pool. If the author does this I will crucify that novel. It will muddle and destroy an excellent story-line with the dreaded love child/love triangle shtick.

If you like excellent writing, great scene and story-line development, fast pace, great action and engaging characters this is the book for you. If jerks like Elle piss you off with their narcissistic behavior and you have a hard time forgiving transgressions, get it anyway as she begins to grow out of it. Or just get it to hear what Hari has to say (controlling the mind is the path to enlightenment).

Review: The Disciple by L. Blankenship

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Publisher: The Cabil
Publishing Date:October 2012
ISBN: 9780966476545
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher Description: A peasant girl like Kate Carpenter could never hope to serve her homeland as much — but her healing magic has earned her a coveted apprenticeship. Now her skills are needed on a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Review: The cover art is comedic. Those are blessing horns on either side of her head. Trendy no? The gal I read about had long hair in a braid.

This was written awhile ago, but the electronic version is now making the rounds. This was a compelling read as the writer is fairly accomplished. One reviewer stated that she didn’t get the story-line in that the plot was non-existent and “ho-hum”. We know at the outset that they’re going to the mountains to broker help from another kingdom in order to fight their current aggressors. Kate is selected under much consternation from the Prince and his guard due to her young age and inexperience. She soon pulls her own weight and proves her worth along the journey.

I liked Kate as a character. Fairly well developed as were Anders and the Prince. The fight scenes were well done and mostly believable. Anders and the Prince are continually vying for Kate’s affections but she has a duty as a physician and has kissed only one boy. The author does a good job not devolving this novel into a sordid love triangle. The story-line is simplistic, yet the destination is interesting in that the culture is female dominant. There is some girl on Kate action while getting drunk but ends rather abruptly.

There were some minor fall downs like: Why does Kate Carpenter have an English name while everyone else has interesting names like Ilya, Parselev and Saint Qadeem? What exactly is “Kir”. Is it the life force of all living beings? And if so, why is it found in water as in the Kir Fount they came across? Is it magic?

All in all an enjoyable read, albeit on the short side.

Review: Trial By Fire by Charles E. Gannon

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Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9781476736648
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher Description: When reluctant interstellar diplomat and intelligence operative Caine Riordan returns from humanity’s first encounter with alien races, sudden war clouds burst. With Earth’s fleet shattered by a sneak attack and its survivors fighting for their lives, Caine must rely upon both his first contact and weaponry skills to contend with the non-humanoid enemy. And when the technologically-superior attackers sweep aside the solar system’s last defenses, and traitorous corporations invite the invaders to land ‘security forces,’ humanity fights back with its best weapons: cunning, inventiveness, and guts.

Review: Cover art evokes images from the SciFi of the 70’s.

This was a very long novel that was a mix of “Aliens Attack!!”, political thriller and Alien cultural encounters. While not trying to sound trite, the novel is based on a few alien species that are considering offering humanity a seat at the multi-alien Accord table. Other alien species attempt to derail this process by manipulating events that ultimately leads to war. Caine and his cohorts are at the leading edge of war, diplomacy and intrigue with the alien consortium.

Caine is speshul. A little too speshul. Every megacorp wants to kill him for his “abilities”. The military loves him because he can think simultaneously with both sides of his brain, then desperately hate him as he does his job in truthful fashion. The chicks love him. Assassins hate him as he foils all their attempts with his Super duper Shotokan karate awareness-fu. Whatever Caine says is suddenly accepted by everyone around him as the truth. So gosh and shucks you just can’t hate a guy that is right all the time. Can you? You can see it coming from the first chapter. Caine is going to save the universe. Elena, Trevor’s sister is really good, but took too much of a back seat in the story-line. Major Hotness, Caines karate-fu instructor, still has this penchant for destruction and a cloaking passion that subsumes as it burns. Whats funny is both women drop everything, including a child and direct orders, to go off in separate “Caine” rescue missions. Oh, Caine you are just so hunky that all the babes you have banged are coming to your rescue.

This is a sweeping galaxy wide space opera played on a minor, albeit, discerning note. Very pointed in its approach to realism where aliens would most likely interact with each other. There is this magic translator that expedites the story-line and a particular alien species that is warlike and visually menacing. While the inter-alien dialogue was great there were too many pages of human dialogue that cluttered the story-line. The novel had moments of great movement where the action helped to uncover hidden facets of the plot.

A well written epic with some crafted holes in the story-line that further promotes a new installment.