Review: The Morgenstern Project by David Khara

cover60655-medium Publisher: Le French Publishing Date: April 2015 ISBN: 9781939474353  Genre: Mystery/Thriller Rating: 3.1/5 Publisher Description: When you kill a legend, it becomes inspiration, and you can’t kill inspiration. Jeremy Corbin and Jacqueline Walls lead a calm life in a New Jersey suburb, when one day everything changes. Eytan Morgenstern returns to save them, and this improbably team must take on the Consortium, leading them on an epic journey from London to Tel-Aviv, from the Polish forests to Manhattan high-rises, from the shameful past to the threatening future. 

Review: This was a pretty good read. Eytan Morgenstern was a good character. An experimental tool of the Nazis, he eventually escapes and exacts revenge upon those that tortured him.  Jackie and Jeremy are major fails within the story line. Jackie is of course hot (and can take out special forces cyborgs with her martial skills) while Jeremy is the model father with no faults other than being jealous of all the men that want to bang his wife. They drag the movement down while towing around a baby. I can’t seem to recall James Bond burping a baby or jumping from a rooftop with a baby in a sling. They dragged the story down from 4 stars to 3. The novel could use some intense editing due to the plethora of spelling and grammatical errors, but that may be due to the translation from French to English. Still, and entertaining read.    

Review: The Harvesters by Anthony Sparrow

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Publisher: Troubador

Publishing Date: February 2015

ISBN: 9781784628222 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher Description: A race of parasitic alien humanoids have been harvesting the human populace covertly as fodder for centuries, sharing the solar system undetected. Until the year 2137, when their primary food source becomes harder to obtain unobserved…

Review: This started out with “Whaaaaaaaa!!!?”. Aliens that come down and harvest people with freaky techno, fug yeah! And then <Back to the Future>, with endlessly boring dialogue, contrived techno/mining blah and more politico dialogue. The movement is sporadic and fails to entertain as the characters are static most of the time. This was so close to being da shjt. Too bad, really.

 

 

 

Review: The Warlocks Friend: The Crystal Spears by Dean C. Moore

 

 

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Publisher:  Moore

Publishing Date: March 2014

ISBN: 9781500990169 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.0/5

Publisher Description: A hunter who even witches are scared of, a witch who excels at city magic, and a young boy who may be more powerful than the other two if he can just learn to martial his mind are the unlikely accomplices in a trek across time and space.

Review: The cover art is relentlessly bad and will keep you up at night. I requested this novel due to the rave reviews it garnered on Goodreads. Maybe I am some malcontent residing at the fringes of society. Just this big ole hating machine thumping on the insecure and feckless.  Man this novel was all over the fugging place. At once inventive, creative and prosaic coupled with weak scene and character development, scattered progression, grammatical and spelling errors and a lot of “How did I get here?” moments. While the movement was there in spades, it shadowed any sincere character development that may have burgeoned along the way.

We are left with one dimensional characters that seem to have no compassion other than what their immediate needs are (sex, killing beasties, sex etc.). They lack any real morals and could give a shite about those around them. Really bizarre behavior for traveling companions in constant life or death situations.

This novel needs a BIG LOGIC reset button on the cover in order to tone it down so that it makes sense to the reader. Then you would have a really good story line. As it is a long read, if you get halfway through it you mays well finish. Much like watching those newscasters faint on TV. Kind of scary but you laugh at their misfortune.

 

 

 

 

Review: Old Earth by Gary Grossman

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Publisher: Diversion

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9781626816336 

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher Description:In the summer of 1601, Galileo Galilei made a startling discovery in the mountains of Eastern Italy that, if made public, could shatter faith in religion, bring down governments and lead to worldwide turmoil.

Review: For some reason the characters were rendered a little flat for me. Not sure if it was all the hot Phd.’s running around or Dr. Smugly Douchebag aka Quinn McCauley , breaker of hearts, womanizer, throwing arm of a God, Yale professor (not tenured) by way of Harvard, Boston Red Sox draftee, that put me off. Usually the movement is a great vehicle to develop characters, and to be honest, Quinn did develop out of his juvenile narcissistic tendencies. The characters were rendered a little flat due to the uninteresting story line and constant halt in the movement.

So the Mighty Quinn and his hot and filthy rich GF Dr. Katrina Alpert, by way of Cambridge, dig around and find a wall that isn’t a wall and this secret society that wants to protect this “secret” by destroying the entrances to these places all around the world since the 1600’s. Turns out that all the killing to keep these places secret is based on a principle idea that society is not ready for THE TRUTH and if known, would rip it to shreds with billions of lives lost in the process. Um kay.

This reads like a Dan Brown novel went to the methadone clinic and while puking in the gutter had a revelatory recipe that included; Dr. Paleo Super Pants, Dr. Girl Friend, Galileo (Leonardo was busy that day) and the Catholic church (because genuflecting is not exclusive).  While the writing is pretty good, there is nothing that is new. It follows a standard Dan Brown recipe with a kind of twist at the end, that while faintly interesting, does not summon the latent conspiracy theorist that resides within. The premise that some super secret would rip society asunder is, well, weak.  

Read it if you’re riding in coach to Hawaii with a fussy lady in the seat next to you that smells of perfumed talcum powder and baked beans.

 

 

 

Review: Second Activation by the Wearmouths

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Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9781501236853

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.1/5

Publisher Description:In Second Activation, the two brothers escape from Monroe, Michigan, and head for New York to face down Genesis Alliance, a despotic organization that is implementing the chaos to create a new order. Caught in a race against time, confronted with a local team intent on revenge and expecting the imminent arrival of a larger reinforcement, Harry and Jack must avoid existing dangers, gain allies, and stop the Alliance from launching its next Activation.

Review: This is a really good sequel that follows Harry and Jack as they seek to stop GA from being generally dodgy. What I really like about this series is not only the plausibility but the causal results of this disaster. People that survive build their own belief systems based on a lack of outside knowledge and are able to adjust as events unfold.  The turns in this novel are many. Just when you think they have it planned and going in their direction. Bang! Disruptions and a change of plans on the fly.  

A real solid second installment in this series.

 

 

 

Review: Clownfellas by Carlton Mellick

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Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: July 2015

ISBN: 9780804179355 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher Description: For years, the hard-boiled capos of the Bozo family have run all of the funny business in Little Bigtop, from the clown brothels to the illegal comedy trade. But hard times have befallen the Bozos now that Le Mystère, the French clown Mafia, has started moving in and trying to take over the city.

Review: The cover should have Vinnie Blue Nose on it. This is a collection of stories showcasing the Bozo crime family, a collection of clowns genetically altered with “Happy Juice” with various offshoots and genetic varieties. 

Listen very carefully (or read). You need to beg borrow or steal a copy of this novel. It is fugging fantastic. I don’t know where to start. The stories are inventive, the overall plot and concept is brilliant, the character development is superb, the movement is constant and entertaining and develops the characters wonderfully. The clown weapons are at once hilarious and deadly. I fell over laughing when all the clowns shouted in terror that “He knows how to mime!!” and subsequently makes a machine gun out of thin air.

I really liked Bingo Ballbreaker, Pogo and Captain Spotty. Even the French Clown syndicate (Le Mystere) and the sideshow story lines were great developments. This should be a movie. GET IT!

 

 

 

Review: The Bookseller by C. Robert Cales

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Publisher: Scarybob

Publishing Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9780982892619 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.9/5

Publisher Description: Across from Boston Common, nestled into the corner of a cobblestone mall, sits The Bookseller, a bookstore owned by a lovable rare book dealer and his wife, who runs a coffee parlor inside the store. Their happiness is about to be shattered by a violent South American drug cartel with a new, high tech process for smuggling cocaine. 

Review: George and Elizabeth are just perfect. They have the perfect business, they met under perfect circumstances, they have a perfect dog (who understands the English language), their friends are perfect, she’s as beautiful as the day he met her (she has an MBA) and can’t imagine existing without her. She’s rich (but not obnoxious about it), they never have had an argument and Bob feels sorry for the poor masses that don’t have as great a relationship as they do or a sailboat. Sounds like a liberals wet-dream. Then we move onto John Stoner: Rich front man for a mega-developer, general rake and banger of women. Meets a bar floozy who turns out to have the perfect ass, tits, walk, demeanor, personality and voice and falls hopelessly in love (as does she) in a day. He just cant imagine ever leaving her in any capacity as this is the best sex he has ever had. Then there is left foot McGirk the undertaker. Perfect friend to the perfect couple, and Jimmy, the possessed high school jock, perfect friend to floozy and Stoner. Both willing to give their lives for the greater good. Fug me.

The antagonist and all around bad guy is an immortal that lives and dies knowing he will be reborn again with his past life memories and has filled all the vile spots in history. I know that’s not really immortal, more like a Buddhist with Asperger’s syndrome. He is so patently evil that he lives in a castle built from Nazi gold <sigh> and doesn’t evoke repugnancy due to the over the top nature of his evilness.   ” I WILL FILE YOUR SKIN OFF WITH …hmmmm, lets see, two parts water, a 12″ bastard file and crushed rock salt, not the kosher kind……AND FILE YOUR SKIN, MUAHAHAHAHA!!!! oh, and the salt is for the stinging you will feel once the skin is abraded and the water makes it stick to the file, er…..MUAHAHAHAHA!!, oh and YOUR NEXT!!!!”  So you pretty much know by now that the perfect couple shall be ripped asunder by Carlos Evil Immortal Pants, and our timid and trusting douche bags will be born again under a vengeful sun in order to visit hell in a hand basket.  There is no way that evil can win over eternal love, right? I mean fug, George read up on self-defense as a kid and kicked some ass within a week, so its a small step to deal with underworld thuggies, right?

This novel verges on the smug and definitely evokes the same feelings you get when someone smirks at you. As Peter Griffin once said “This novel insists upon itself” (only he was referencing the God Father Part II).  Get this if you want to jump off a cliff with a string of lit firecrackers jammed up your ass.

 

 

Review: Ritual Crime Unit: Disturbed Earth by EE Richardson

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Publisher: Rebellion

Publishing Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9781781083154 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher Description: A suspected ritual murder and a string of puzzling artefact thefts initially seem unconnected, but signs point to something bigger: buried skulls possessed by evil spirits start turning up, and they may only be the beginning. Someone is planning something big, and the consequences if they succeed could be catastrophic.

Review: This had huge problems with scene development. Every scene was coupled to this inner dialogue that becomes this monolithic backstory that may or may not have anything to do with the present circumstances. DCI Pierce is constantly bitching about people being bitches and either internalizes it or talks about it, constantly. BUT, she doesn’t want anything to do with office politics and wishes they would leave her out of it <sigh>.

This writing style is very similar to writers that were born in England. Heavy on the dialogue and inner emotive struggles with other people. This process develops a product that you either love or hate due to the copious dialogue. The scenes either get mired in dialogue, back story or infinite details.  For example, one of Pierce’s underlings hires a necromancer to divine the buried skulls. So rather than stop the idiot because of her misgivings she allows it, meanwhile the inner dialogue of her ferretting mind is churning over how to handle Dawson. When the real event occurs (Necro dude demon possessed) it lacks the impact that it could of had. All the scenes are rendered in similar fashion and are left flat because of it.

Then we have the old shtick in the form of DCI Pierce, and I quote “A hard-nosed career officer in the male-dominated world of British policing“. Hard nosed? More like hard whiner. The heavy dialogue and internal back stories really killed the movement and subsequently killed the character development. The writing is superb, just angled in the wrong direction.

 

 

 

Review: Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey

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Publisher: Scribe

Publishing Date: November 2014

ISBN: 9781940368931 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher Description: In 2153, cancer was cured. In 2189, AIDS. And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a far distant planet called Pearl to begin the next chapter of humanity. Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humanity lives in a utopian colony in which every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence. With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. 

Review: This was a well written novel with really good characterization as Samuel slowly becomes aware of things and processes greater than what exists within the colony. Inhabitants only exist to eat, sleep and play and when troubles in the form of breakdowns begins to plague the colony, Samuel slowly begins to find himself through processing the malfunctions and creating solutions.

The plot was a hard one to get on board with. How is it that a creative and galactic spanning race finally finds a new haven and over time thought processes dwindle to those of cattle as all basic needs are provided for? I guess that’s the big question. Will a utopian state shift creativeness and cunning to a formalized structure of passivity. I don’t think so. As long as the mind and all its manifestations of identity and ego prevail, there will always be the impetus to have more whether taking, creating, finding or going to…..things. All of which are developed from ideas and a sense of self (ego).

Can’t really say too much more as it may give the novel away. Get this. It is superb writing and despite my shjtpicking of the premise, it really is a solid 4 stars.

 

 

 

Review: Half The World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrombie

 

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Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: February 2015

ISBN: 9780804178426 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher Description: New York Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie’s thrilling new series continues in the follow-up to Half a King, which George R. R. Martin hailed as “a fast-paced tale of betrayal and revenge that grabbed me from page 1 and refused to let go.”

Review: Thorn trains to be a warrior at a very young age with Brand, and accidentally kills another trainee during an unfair event. She is sentenced to die and unbeknownst to her, Brand intercedes on her behalf and the Kings minister grants her a reprieve if she takes an oath to serve the minister. She and Brand embark on quest with the minister and a rough crew to find allies that will help defend their kingdom against other realms that threaten their existence. 

One of the best epic world building novels I have read that hints of magic long lost, but doesn’t rely on it to expedite the story line. Thorn is a wonderfully built character who embodies stubbornness, warrior spirit and a hidden longing to be accepted and loved.  The journey (movement) builds the characters and matures Thorn and Brand, who begin to realize that repulsiveness is attractions twin. MEOW!! On the long journey Thorn trains with an old crone to become one the best fighters in the land and eventually……..well I can’t give it away can I?

Get this novel, its a great ride and will keep you up well past your bedtime.