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.




Review: The Impossible Race by Chad Morris



Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9781609079796

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher Description:Every year the futuristic school, Cragbridge Hall, holds its most popular tournament–the Race: a series of challenges that range throughout the school and require the use of its amazing inventions like its holographic time machine! But this year is different. Rather than a monetary or academic reward, this year’s winner will be the recipient of a carefully guarded school secret: a secret that could prove both powerful and dangerous.

Review: This was really, really, really built for the YA although I have a hard time envisioning my 13 year old niece getting into it.  The characters were fairly one dimensional which is odd as the novel has really good movement. The characters just don’t seem to grow along with the story lines development. The dialogue was average trending to the mundane whenever “Super Funny Hip Flirty Gal” Carol, opened up her big inappropriate yapper in an attempt to provide levity to tense situations. I was cringing every time she inserted her viewpoint which was supposed to be funny but came off as contrived. Just let the situation develop and let the reader make the judgment call. 

I still liked the writing and the creativeness of the situations but the whole thing just tended to drag on.


Review: A New Day in America by Theo Gangi



Publisher: Full Fathom Five

Publishing Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9781633700307 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.2/5

Publisher Description:Former Special Forces operator Nostradamus Greene lost his wife and teenaged sons. Now he struggles to keep his young daughter safe, waging war against desperate scavengers, rabid for any food they can find or steal. With only so much to go around, Nos and Naomi fight and scrap to survive the biological Armageddon. Each day brings new danger to their reinforced door. But when Nos hesitates in killing a pair of raiding brothers, Naomi is attacked and exposed to the virus.

Review: This was a pretty damn good post-apocalyptic novel. Fast pace, good character development and an engaging story line. The only downer for me was the absurdity that paper money is still relevant as an item of exchange for tangible assets. Just didn’t work. I think it was used as a convenience to expedite the story line rather than build the necessary scenes to accommodate barter.

Nos was a great character whom you have to just go with on these incredible forays into bloodshed against overwhelming odds. Just forget the non-reality of it and have some fuggin’ fun once in your life. Naomi was the most interesting characters of all. Knives, pitbulls, attitude, intelligence and did I say hot? She should have a novel of her own. You hearin’ me Theo?




Review: The Burden of Memory by Welcome Cole



Publisher: Caelstone Press

Publishing Date: December 2014

ISBN: 9780989242981 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: DNF

Publisher Description:Volume II of the Blood Caeyl Memories begins where The Pleasure of Memory leaves off. A coalition of witches and warriors, mages and mentalists, soldiers and pirates abandon their mutual suspicions to form a League of Enemies and unite against an otherworldly threat. Driven by forces far older and more powerful than themselves, these natural enemies come together to form an improbable alliance.

Review: Sadly another one that I couldn’t wade through. Story line all over the place coupled with frenetic dialogue. Maybe I do the author a disservice having not read the first installment.  




Review: The Moral Order by Philip Pauley



Publisher: Smith

Publishing Date: September 2014

ISBN: 9781909477223

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publisher Description: Society has been ripped apart by environmental decay and the battle scars of progress. Solar storms, extreme weather, barbaric tribes and outcasts rule the planet. In the 22nd century, no one lasts in the Wilds for long. Shielded from this world, teenager Luca C. Mariner lives a privileged existence in one of the last remaining Megacities. Yet his tranquil life is about to be shattered as Luca and his friends are thrown into the brutal reality of the Wilds when Earth is attacked by a merciless alien alliance.

Review: I just couldn’t get through this. Really jumbled story line coupled with stilted dialogue. Definitely made for the YA crowd.