Review: Bobby Ether And The Academy by R Scott Boyer


Publisher: CreateSpace
Publishing Date: September 2013
ISBN: 9781482084821
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.9/5

Publisher Description: Join Bobby and his best friend Jinx as they avoid school bullies, a suspected assassin, and meta-human henchmen alike to unravel the many mysteries of the Academy – the ancient and enigmatic monastery in Tibet where kids with extraordinary potential are sent to study. But is the Academy truly what it claims to be?

Review: Covert art is way lame. Is this a coloring book or “See Jane Run”?

Bobby is gullible. To wit he is a negative foul mouthed little turd. But who can blame him. His parents were killed and he has been kidnapped to a Tibetan castle to develop his latent powers to utilize the energies that surround us. Hence the last name Ether.

As the story begins Bobby is whisked away by the beautiful Cassandra whom tells him half-truths and outright omissions as to why these creeps are chasing them. Bobby subsequently escapes and runs right into the creeps who take him away while he watches his parents in a car accident. Once at this school with other children, Bobby makes some friends, some enemies and begins to realize his potential. The strange thin about Bobby is that he believes all the bad people that surround him until it is patently obvious that what he once thought were bad people (Cassandra), are only trying to help him. During his tenure at the academy, Chief Benson Eagle Heart (BAHAHAHA!) shadows and protects him. But dumb Bobby thinks he is an assassin even when Chief Mighty Soaring Eagle fights off an attacking bear. Fug me.

This was well written and the characters fairly entertaining. It just seemed to fall a little flat. Perhaps the character attachment was lacking due to Bobby’s negative whining for much of the novel. The Only characters that played well throughout the novel were Master Jong and Jinx. Master Jong exhibits compassion even in the face of evil and stands resolute to do that which embodies Truth. Jinx is fun as he plays the super smart kid that is self-deprecating at the same time.

The next novel would really have to embody a formative plot coupled with a fast pace in order to build any sense of the characters as viable. The stop and go action of this novel and the ruminative inner dialogue of Bobby really slowed the whole ride down. One major glitch was Bobby’s apparent self-healing and bracing of the bookcase collapse. Why was his evident power only displayed once or twice?

Still, this gets close to 3 stars as it was an engaging read.

Review: Inspector Hobbes and the Gold Diggers by Wilkie Martin


Publisher: The Witcherley Book Company
Publishing Date: September 2014
ISBN: 9780957635180
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5

Publisher Description: Receiving unwanted attention after foiling an armed robbery, the unhuman Inspector Hobbes takes a long-overdue camping holiday, with Andy, his accident-prone friend, and Dregs, the delinquent dog. In the bleak and dangerous Blacker Mountains, Andy stumbles across something shocking, before falling for an attractive widow, while Hobbes wonders why an old gold mine has reopened.

Review: Pretty lame cover art.

Once again I was transported into another world where the characters are interesting and build in tandem with the story line. This author has become one of my favorites as he uses his characters to showcase a dry wit in tense situations. No one character leaves the story unscathed by this rapier like wit.

We finally get an idea as to what Inspector Hobbes truly is while riding along in search of stolen gold and the mystery of the Blacker Mountains. Although the plot is easily figured out early in the novel, most of your interest is in Andy. Why Andy? Well you can’t help but pull for the bungler especially when a cute damsel is in play.

Have fun with this one and hope that the author writes another.

Review: The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton


Publisher: DelRey
Publishing Date: October 2014
ISBN: 9780345547194
Genre: SciFi
Rating: DNF

The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel—self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void. Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void, where the laws of physics are subtly different and mental powers indistinguishable from magic are commonplace.

Review: Kewl cover.

This started out really good. Aliens chewing eating people, frantic escapes to the planet, body doubles of both the good and bad kind then PFFFT. Nada. Total scene frenetic story-line shift that was neither compelling or interesting. The process of getting through this novel quickly became a chore to the point it gets my lowest rating with no rating.


Review: Shadow Boxer (Alterations #2) by Jen Greyson


Publisher: Alexander Cole
Publishing Date:
ISBN: 9780615958255
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.3/5

Publisher Description: Fatigued from her latest mission where sleep was fleeting, time traveler, Evy Rivera will see no reprieve. Urgently, she must again travel back to ancient Rome. With one mentor kidnapped and the other threatening to eliminate scientists from the past, Evy must prioritize with the utmost care. But the next girl on the list is one she knows–and daughter of the man who trained her and stole her heart. Evy must push aside her heart-wrenching desire to reconnect with Constantine to focus on her task.

Review: I really like the cover but once again I am a dude.
This was a fairly solid story-line. I am a sucker for time travel as you never know what perspective the author brings to the past. The failings with the novel was the character development. Evy is just plain boring. She is especially boring when her and Constantine get together to spar, talk or hump. The humping scenes, coupled with the dialogue just seem to go on forever and have nothing to do with the overall plot. It is like some relational segue into the past that attempts (and fails) to render the characters in a more personable light. Only it comes off tedious and you start skipping pages to get back to the main story-line/plot. The Tesla sequence was really good and would have been better if maintained without the Papi/Mami worry or the “I am so concerned about my family but am humping Constantine right now…”

This would have been a great novel if the author had limited her romantic femme’ fatale’ interactions with Constantine and focused on Arcing and rendering historical instances. She can get her kicks whenever she wants but who wants to hear her continuous inner ruminative thought process on the whole relationship? I don’t.

Review: Black widow by Jennifer Estep


Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: November 2014
ISBN: 9781476774541
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 1.5/5

Publisher Description: Lethal, sexy, and always ready to protect her friends, Gin Blanco (a.k.a. the Spider) takes on the mysterious M.M. Monroe in book twelve.

Review: Love the cover only in that I am a dude.

Gin Blanco is a hard driving elemental assassin (with a heart of gold) whom kills people that piss her off. She’s hot, sexy and makes ravenous love to her man, Owen. She can, in a heart beat, knock the brains out of an assassin’s head with a frying pan and calmly drag the corpse into a freezer and serve you food 5 minutes later.

This read like the “Adult’s Guide to Juvenile Behavior”. Every encounter that Gin has with her enemies is this endless stilted and juvenile dialogue. The character exchanges fit this weird formula of 1) overt/covert antagonism 2) Grinding of teeth, clenching of fists and icy stares 3) dialogue that intimates veiled innocence and finally 4) direct threats with some righteous retribution. The metaphors are really lame and usually involve the words “cold” and “Ice”. The overuse of words to expedite scene development are many. “Murmured” and “Growled” were used a total of 34 times. The fight scenes don’t take you to any place that is believable and not because the emphasis is the use of magic. There seems to be a creative limit on the use of magic in fight scenes that renders the interaction to the mundane. Maybe because all the fight scenes are coupled with this weird dialogue of “HAHA I am stronger than you!”….”I will make you pay for your evilness!” “How are you still alive after I poured every ounce of magic into destroying you!!” I AM MELTING!! WHAT A WORLD WHAT A WORLD!!

It is beyond comprehension that readers give this an average of 4 stars. This doesn’t even fall into the category of “Have fun and don’t take it too seriously” as the writing is just plain bad. Besides all the female haughtiness (spinning on heels, flashing of teeth, mouth smirks and smug looks) you have a main character that imbues everything you can’t stand in a character. She murders people but has many close friends. In any situation she is ready to kill and will talk to you about it for 20 pages and let you know why you made this terrible mistake. She’s really hot and her enemies are even hotter so there is no great loss in ridding humanity of an evil hottie. She plays the reluctant hero shtick where all she ever wanted was to be left alone but ends up the big over-boss. Fug. Everyone runs around insulting each other and generally behaving like petulant little children where they have tantrums and red faces of rage.

This was a tedious experience I hope to not experience again.

Review: A Call to Duty by David Weber, Timothy Zahn


Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: October 2014
ISBN: 9781476736846
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher Description: Growing up, Travis Uriah Long yearned for order and discipline in his life . . . the two things his neglectful mother couldn’t or wouldn’t provide. So when Travis enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Navy, he thought he’d finally found the structure he’d always wanted so desperately. But life in the RMN isn’t exactly what he expected. Boot camp is rough and frustrating; his first ship assignment lax and disorderly; and with the Star Kingdom of Manticore still recovering from a devastating plague, the Navy is possibly on the edge of budgetary extinction.

Review: The cover art would be really good if I was high. Looks like a gay superman…”UP, UP, AND…Oh my gosh this outfit is to die for!!”

This was a surprisingly fun read. It has a self-deprecating anti-hero with the lowest of self-esteem whom is constantly riddled with doubt. He ends up exerting control over his life with a hyper-sense of protocol that lands him in some shjt. This had a little more militaristic operational dialogue than I expected. For once the writing is really good and coupled with the increased dialogue makes for more palatable reading. Initially you think Travis is going to be “THE” story yet there are multiple character story lines occurring throughout.

Travis was a good character but your left waiting for him to rise from the ashes of obscurity and save the day. He does save the day, kind of, yet is rewarded in an offhand way. Perhaps the next novel in the series will see him rise to great heights.

I will be interested in seeing where these authors take the next installment. It could be great or nose dive with excessive dialogue.

Review: Astrum Divinus by John D. Christopher


Publisher: John Dobija
Publishing Date: August 20, 2014
ISBN: 9781925029406
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher Description: All his life, Dr. Peter Northcott has been plagued by disturbing dreams: apocalyptic scenes of angels and demons, and visions of fire and blood. As a historian and scholar, he discounts these to concentrate on his academic life in Rome. He is approaching his thirty-third birthday when a mysterious priest makes contact.

Review: Really bad cover art. A cabin in the woods….

I had a hard time fighting through the first few chapters due to the extended self-indulgent situational banter. The British upper crust approach to life wears thin and you develop no concern for the main character when he has “dream visions” of demons etc. When a person can avail themselves of familial advantages it’s hard as a reader to feel any sympathy. “Wahhhh, baby had a bad dream…righty oh, time to go to Rome or drive around in Daddy’s Morgan”. So Asshat, er…..Peter is finally introduced to some weird people that may help explain his even weirder dreams and this innate ability to influence people with mere words strung together into sentences which may create a paragraph or two.

This novel hints at wanting to be a movie. The character development is sacrificed for the story-line and subsequent plot. Novels that are designed with the reader in mind, couple character development with the movement of the story-line so there is a better sense of what the character is made of. This creates depth and empathy. In this novel the characters seem removed from the story-line, until they are suddenly thrust into a culmination of uncontrollable events. Here the event takes over and we are still left not really caring what happens to Mr. Penny Loafers. When Peter is finally elevated as an Archangel he is not in any real jeopardy as he cannot be harmed by Satan (according to Azrael).

This is a much used Dan Brown shtick where Super Dr. Phd. uncovers historical remnants of secret sects with dodgy types running around trying kill Mr. Smart Pants. Why not make the guy, hmmm, a plumber in Basingstoke. Rough around the edges yet with a deep respect for life. You know, hidden sensitivity. Now let him discover that he has a mum he never knew about and away we go. This novel was very dialogue heavy and the towards the end this dialogue got more and more stilted. Almost like the action (movement) just couldn’t kiss the characters.

Although I didn’t like the characters, I liked the writing and the scene descriptions. But that’s about it.

Review: Dukkha Unloaded by Loren W. Christensen


Publisher: YMAA
Publishing Date: June 2014
ISBN: 9781594392832
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 1.7/5

Publisher Description: Detective Sam Reeves is barely seated in a cab when he learns that during his two-week trip in Southeast Asia, hate crimes have rocked his city of Portland, including one very brutal lynching. As the crimes continue, thousands of fearful protestors march the streets, clashing with police and demanding more be done to put an end to the escalating violence!

Review: Nice cover art, although the caliber bullets don’t look like they belong to that gun.

Honestly, I had a hard time finishing this novel due to the lengthy dialogue that took up more than 2/3 of the novel. Blah, blah, blah race this, hate crime that and poor bully stories. All tendered to generate some kind of emotional angst and self-righteous indignation in the reader. Only it doesn’t. Rather than draw you into the characters and story-line, you’re left with a tired rendition of hate that has been overplayed. This constant pummeling of the race card, which is myriad in this novel, doesn’t move you as it should. It is a blame based conflagration with no real sentiment other than vengeful pride.

I get that in order to sell books you have to put yourself out there. The “I am a martial artist so I know” is anathema to the art. This is, IMHO, is an Americanized perspective on martial arts which is largely ego driven. There are a lot of writers out there that preface their work with being an expert martial artist much to their detriment. My advice is to just write.

The writing is good yet the characters are thinly developed and lack depth. The story-line is just tired and suffers from over-abuse. Characters really come to life when movement (action) is coupled with character discovery. The stresses of the action reveals the character under pressure and subsequently the reader is immersed. Pure dialogue doesn’t evoke or pull emotions from the reader. Pure dialogue leaves the reader flat.

Review: Shadow Memories by Nicholas Erik


Publisher: Tinderboxed Press
Publishing Date: September 2014
ISBN: 9781940708331
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher Description: Kurt Desmond and Cassie Atwood are private investigators in the ramshackle town of Seaside Heights. It isn’t quite the California pictured on the brochures, but the pair manage to eek out a living chasing down stray dogs, errant husbands and other small game. Life is peaceful, if boring – until a strange man comes to town, asking the pair if they can track down an ancient cave drawing. With an offer of forty grand dangling in front of them, Kurt and Cassie take the job.

Review: That cover art is just awful. Some kind of 35mm moiré’ nightmare.

This novel was a really fun read. Full of acerbic wit, comedic sarcasm and engaging characters. Kurt has this funny take on life that is constantly at the forefront of every scene. His glib internalizations ride shotgun to his outer expressions. This novel had great movement and an engaging story-line.

This work was a mystery/thriller until aliens were introduced. Cassie, Kurt’s live in GF is a tough gal with a lot of secrets, including banging rich millionaires. She is one of the guardians, a group working for the aliens and against the machinations of “The Singularity”. The ending is really just the beginning of this story and I can’t wait for the continuance.

A short read for sure, but turn the pages slowly so you can savor it.

Review: Silvern by Christina Farley


Publisher: Skyscape
Publishing Date: September 2014
ISBN: 9781477820353
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher Description: Jae Hwa Lee is ready to forget about immortals and move on with her life. Until the god of darkness, Kud, sends an assassin to kill her. She escapes with the knowledge that Kud is seeking the lost White Tiger Orb, and joins the Guardians of Shinshi to seek out the orb before Kud can find it. But Kud is a stronger and more devious god than Jae ever imagined. Jae is soon painfully reminded that by making an enemy of Kud, she has placed her closest friends in danger, and must decide how much she can bear to sacrifice to defeat one of the most powerful immortals in all of Korea.

Review: Cover art is trippin’.

This was made for the YA crowd, so I will attempt to keep that in mind during this review. Jae Hwa Lee is a whiner. There is no easier way to put it. She whines and cries about everything. If she is not indignant about people making choices for her, or her boyfriend being too clingy, then she is whining or crying. She cries constantly about her aunt and whines about being too sore or having no energy. She is always falling into the arms of her protector, the Prince of Douche Baggery..Marc. Marc is a constantly worried and clingy boyfriend whom will drive you bat shit crazy in about 20 pages. But, Jae always sees the “TWINKLE IN HIS GREEN EYES” or the beating of his heart through his muscular chest. Fug.

So we have three sixteen year olds, battling super evil, looking for a creation Orb and generally saving the world from destruction. Yeeeeah. Of course our little band of intrepid hormones experience near death at the hands of bad thingies, but Jae’s kung Fu is better than yours, so suck it. There is burgeoning WUV triangle, but Jae quickly gets over it because Marc is so hunky and attentive and the other dude is pure evil. Do you hear my inner scream?

This is a really long novel that you literally have to have Triathlete type endurance to get through to the finish. And the ending is just another interlude to the next in this series. NO RESOLUTION FOR YOU!