Review: In Plain Sight by HL Stafford


Publisher: Two harbors Press

Publishing Date: December 2014

ISBN: 9781634130943 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publisher Description: Secrets, it seemed, abounded in the family. Eventually, Abbey would learn that her family history included a link to an ancient prophecy and a mystical tribe of people with telepathic power—a power so strong that people she’d never met would be willing to kill to control it.

Review: The writing style just wasn’t my cup o’joe. Needed a good editor as well as beta readers to thresh out some fall downs in the story-line.  Characters were a little flat as well.



Review: Rhode Island Red by Charlotte Carter


Publisher: Open Road Media

Publishing Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9781497691827

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Rating: 2.1/5

Publisher Description: Saxophonist Nanette Hayes, a majestic five-foot-ten-inch Grace Jones lookalike with hot style, lives for the music of her jazz forebears. Self-taught Nan is no Charlie Parker, but she dreams big. She performs regularly—on the sidewalks of New York City. Not exactly the Village Vanguard, but it pays the bills in ways that her master’s degree in French does not. Mostly, Nanette just tries to stay cool in the face of the worst kinds of hardship. Recently, this has taken the form of getting dumped—hard—by her live-in boyfriend, Walter.

Review: Meh…..A little too inner-dialogue heavy for me.



Review: Purenet by HJLawson


Publisher: HJLawson

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9781505665017 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.7/5

Publisher Description: Purenet is one of six wealthy Sanctions, formed by the Emperor and the Untouchables after a devastating world war.Only those born in Purenet have the privilege of living under the dome, protecting their bodies from the sun’s deadly UVA rays. Skylier is desperate to escape her underground confines and save her mother’s life.

Review: The length of this verges on being a novella and is usually a little harder to review and rate due to either scene compression or a vagueness in story line. What suffers in these instances is character development. Most reviewers that did not like this novella said that it lacked depth. That tends to occur when authors plan to serialize their works and rush the movement from book to book.

I found this story and the characters entirely engaging  as the author did a great job developing characters along with the movement, even though the scenes were a bit compressed. If you can accept the work as it was intended, short and to the point, then YA dystopia is rendered more enjoyable than it usually is.  There are some instances that seem out of place like Skylier’s wuv fascinations and “Electric jolts” every time she sees and touches hunky Hayden when in the midst of intense action and charred corpses. Then she later goes on to say that “this is not the time for that” when Hayden and Lowell fight and bicker over her. Then there is the way over done “Mr. Evil Xander”. This character was a little over the top and not believable at all.

I am going to go out on a limb and give this a good rating as  I usually only give good novellas a maximum of 3 stars due to the compressed nature of the story line. Lets hope the successive installments don’t get mired in love triangles and mewling bazi.





Review: Myth and Incarnation by K. Scott Lewis



Publisher: K. Scott Lewis

Publishing Date: October 2014

ISBN: 9781502529534

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.3/5

Publisher Description: The High Wizard sends a disowned paladin into the world to search for the prophesied Champion, the only one who can slay the Black Dragon. The paladin finds three potentials, the unlikely emissaries of the good Archdragons: an expelled student of magic, an exiled witch, and an outcast demon hunter. Together with a turncoat sorceress, they join the crew of the notorious pirate ship Siren’s Call as they chase rumors of the return of dragons and sorcerers.

Review: If any publishers are out there reading this review you seriously need to sign this author to a real deal.  Ok, review time. Fug was this good. When I started this, I thought “Oh shjt, The Hobbit meets Gryffindor meets Liberace with a lengthy preface, lots of places and names blah, blah, blah”. Then the story line starts immediately drawing you in with solid character development that evokes emotive content through great movement.  This is a very long novel and will take even the “flippers” among us, a while to finish.

The three wizards whom are Avatars of dragons are really kind of boring in presentation. The secondary characters steal the show by providing movement coupled with personality that captures your attention. There are some story-line parallels that the author draws from. For instance, the Paladin tosses out the money changers in the Church of the Gods (Jesus referent). Klrain the black dragon is the embodiment of evil who has fallen from grace or the light (Lucifer) and Kaldor represents the Light as he tries to reason with him (Michael the Archangel). There is some Buddhism thrown in with “The here and now” referents, along with the “I AM” and letting go of ego. A real melting pot of ideas bent to story form.  Mr. Tolle would be proud.

A heads up to readers. This was really, really gay. So much so gay that the author has to be gay in order to write it. This should have been in the LGBT genre. Two elves get the hot’s for the Paladin and while he bangs the female elf in a drunken one nighter, he loves the male elf and they hook up, over and over……graphically. The Paladin eventually has a three way with a male succubus and a female darkling in another drunken stupor as part of a plot by the darkling to get pregnant and rule Artalon. 

This novel has it all; Plot twists, humping elves, trolls, dwarves, druids, wizards, sorcerers, shape shifting, dragons, mildly evil selkies, good and bad darklings, sea adventures, love triangles, air adventures, lost cities, dark caverns, volcanos, time travel, revenants and other worlds.  Really mind boggling as to the amount of world building effort that this novel encompasses. Get it, have fun and watch the bed sores.






Review: No Mans World by Pat Kelleher


Publisher: Pat Kelleher

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9781781083130

Genre: SciFi/Fantasy

Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher Description: On November 1st 1916, 900 men of the 13th Battalion of the Pennine Fusiliers vanish without trace from the battlefield only to find themselves on an alien planet. There they must learn to survive in a frightening and hostile environment, forced to rely on dwindling supplies of ammo and rations as the natives of this strange new world begin to take an interest. However, the aliens amongst them are only the first of their worries, as a sinister and arcane threat begins to take hold from within their own ranks! 

Review: A rather mixed bag of reviews with not a lot of pen to paper types. Just stars with no comments. Those that liked it said the author did a good job of researching the  Pennine fusiliers, who were a regiment that was formed in Northern England, Lancashire, at the foot of the Pennine Mountains. Only there is no such thing according to David Icke and others who did similar research into the veracity of the story line. The author makes no claims, really, that the Pennine Fusiliers were real. He just does a good job of grabbing your imagination and twisting it into believability. This installment is all three books combined into one, so hold onto your garters because its a long ride.  Very dialogue heavy, to the point that the movement in the scenes was lost and scattered only to be re-visited again and again. Not a grinding slog fest of spew, as the writing is really good. Just patience warring with instant gratification.

The world building was pretty good yet fell a bit short on the alien descriptors. The floating bladder beasts were not described in detail and like a lot of the alien species, was left up to your imagination. I think in some instances the intensity was lacking because of the lack of descriptors.  As a whole it worked for me, then was lost to me. Soldiers transported to an alien planet doing battle in a hostile environment, check. Jeffries as Mr. Old Black Magic….un-check. Too much going on with regard to the story line. I think the black magic was inappropriate to the SciFi genre and lacked a higher degree of believability.

The good bits were the creative aspects of the world building, the resident alien life forms and the novels premise, sans the black magic. While the writing was excellent it got lost in trenchant dialogue that slowed the pace and movement. The characterization was great due to the copious dialogue yet the movement suffered as a result. 

Review: Of Shadow and Stone by Michelle Muto


Publisher: Skyscape

Publishing Date: February 2015

ISBN: 9781477849392

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: DNF

Publisher Description: Gargoyles were created centuries ago to protect mankind, but something went horribly wrong. Now only the sentinel—a mortal chosen to control the stone beasts—stands between them and their human prey.

Review: Imagine flying to New Zealand from Dallas by way of Anchorage in coach with a baby screaming in the seat behind you. Only this novel was not that interesting. I suffered bouts of trenchant narcolepsy during the first third and finally had an ablative lobotomy. Have you ever yawned so hard that it failed to satisfy and was rendered inert by its own action?




Review: The Last Quarrel by Duncan Lay


Publisher: Momentum

Publishing Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9781760082512 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.8/5

Publisher Description: In the country, fishing boats return with their crews mysteriously vanished, while farms are left empty, their owners gone into the night, meals still on the table. In the cities, children disappear from the streets or even out of their own beds. Fallon is a man who has always dreamed of being a hero. When an empty ship sails into their village, he begins to follow the trail towards the truth behind the evil stalking their land.

Review: This was a novella intended as the first in a five part series. <sigh>.  To the point, this was another good writer with a bad idea. The novel gets mired in dialogue with evil always lurking at the edges. Either shjt or get off the pot as they say. If the intent is to make a story an ongoing series then it tends to stunt the story line and the movement is lost in dialogue or overt scene descriptions. Have the intent to finish a complete work and the novel will reveal itself with depth through movement and subsequent character development. Doing serialized work is more like planning to fail.






Review: The Swift by Alex Banks



Publisher: All Night Reads

Publishing Date: June 2014

ISBN: 9781927847053 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher Description: The night twelve-year-old Pete planned to shoot the winning goal in the championship hockey game was the same night his dad was lost at sea. Now, eight months later, his mom still cries all the time, his beloved grandfather, stricken with Alzheimer’s, can’t even remember him, and they’re about to lose their crappy old house to the bank. To make matters worse, his twin brother Henry blames Pete for all of it. After all, they were a family of fishermen—if Pete had gone to help on the boat instead of to the game, their dad might still be alive.
While searching the attic for stuff they can sell, Pete finds a battle-torn ship-in-a-bottle. When he and Henry show the bottle to their grandpa, the three of them are transported back in time—on board the very ship that’s going down. Battling pirates and the raging sea, the boys must learn to work together to help their grandpa save his past. If they don’t, they won’t have a future to return to. 

Review: A wonderfully written tale of teen angst in the face of a Fathers death at sea and a Grandpa’s failing health. Henry and Pete are unwittingly pulled into their Grandfathers past to face pirates and help the Swift survive.

The writing was superb and the story-line, while not wholly inventive, was enough to transport you to another place and time. Set in and around Nova Scotia and Oak Island you get a feel for the area and the hardships and triumphs that ensue. A great read for any age.  


Review: Castaway Planet by Eric Flint



Publisher: Baen

Publishing Date: February 2015

ISBN: 9781476780276 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.1/5

Publisher Description:Lost in the dark, half a year into their journey to the colony world of Tantalus, Sakura Kimei, her family, and her best friend, the alien “Bemmie” nicknamed Whips, are torn from the safety of their colony ship. In a crippled lifeboat, they had one chance to find a habitable world. But even then, they would find that their apparent salvation was a world of a thousand secrets.

Review: This was a heck of a lot of fun for the first half of the novel. Great movement, some good characterization and despite the too human traits of their alien friend, Whips, awesome alien world building. There are floating continents and a plethora of lethal and amiable alien life.

At about the second half of the novel, the characters begin to fall flat. It started to read like a made for TV movie called “The Brady Bunch-Family Robinson”. There is Sakura, brilliant pilot who has no real experience but she takes them wormhole hopping to a system with a habitable planet. She has all the best ideas and continually sacrifices herself in order to realize her families continued existence. Super Dr.Mom, Laura, that rallies and steadies everyone with measured calm and reason in every dire situation while mending life threatening illnesses with her nanobots. Fug. The oldest sister, Caroline, always reads like a martyr script…”Caroline paler than a ghost, shivering …hand tightened on spear and stepped resolutely into the water wading in with a determined stride….”. Double fug. Melody, the next to the youngest sister is a certified genius, whatever that means. She is sullen, lazy, sometimes caring and always has the answer to everything because she is brilliant. The youngest sister, Hitomi, is a curious little scamp whom is brilliant in her own right. Always getting into trouble, you just can’t stay mad at her when she sniffs and says “I’m sowwy”. The only man is this drone like dweeb, Akira, that takes a backstage to his wife and daughters super egos.

They eventually overcome the planets fierce native fauna and build a pretty posh life there. Because they are all brilliant. The end. But its not the end as the only surviving piece of technology “The Omni” (that is pretty much a portable computer), has updated itself. So someone has arrived in-system. Yay!

This novel went from really good to really bad, really fast. Almost like two different authors wrote separate halves.  




Review: Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea by Adam Roberts



Publisher: St. Martins

Publishing Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9781250057792 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.2/5

Publisher Description:It is 1958 and France’s first nuclear submarine, Plongeur, leaves port for the first of its sea trials. On board, gathered together for the first time, are one of the Navy’s most experienced captains and a tiny skeleton crew of sailors, engineers, and scientists. The Plongeur makes her first dive and goes down, and down and down. Out of control, the submarine plummets to a depth where the pressure will crush her hull, killing everyone on board, and beyond. The pressure builds, the hull protests, the crew prepare for death, the boat reaches the bottom of the sea and finds nothing. Her final dive continues, the pressure begins to relent, but the depth guage is useless. They have gone miles down. Hundreds of miles, thousands, and so it goes on. Onboard the crew succumb to madness, betrayal, religious mania, and murder. Has the Plongeur left the limits of our world and gone elsewhere? 

Review: Meh……Interminably long, almost as if your reading time is the same as the subs drop beneath the ocean. A group of uninteresting men plying their arcane drivel with a sense of elitism, coupled with average writing and…..meh.