Review: When the Heavens Fall (preview) by Marc Turner

cover62482-medium

Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date:  May 2015

ISBN: 9780765337122 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5

Publisher Description: A book giving its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages that has kept the powerful relic dormant for centuries. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most formidable servants to seize the artifact at all cost.

Review: If this is a preview, I can’t wait for the novel. Really well written albeit dark in content. This is no fairy tale with a hero battling evil but a novel rife with evil mages, warring factions, intrigue and few gods.

 

 

Advertisements

Review: Cruel Summer by K.R. Conway

cover62644-medium

Publisher: Wicked Whale

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9780987476524 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher Description: Kian O’Reilly is flawless as a killer. Well-practiced in the art of making murder look like an accident, he is selfish, wealthy, and totally arrogant as a soul-stealing immortal. But when he ends up stranded on Cape Cod with a stolen car and a dead drug dealer in the trunk, he thinks his luck couldn’t get any worse.
That is, until Ana Lane shows up.

Review: Why is there not a corvette on the cover? Love, hate?

The first half of this novel was really good. Kian, a soulless killer with a dead drug dealer in the trunk, stumbles into a spit and vinegar mechanic with a heart of gold. What follows is funny repartee’ between the two, with a shape shifting sidekick and some seriousness thrown in. Then it turns into a self-indulgent Nora Roberts spew where “His deep smooth voice seemed to fill the area like rich smoke…..”, and “My stupid heart was vibrating, causing my voice to turn breathless….”. Plus the rippled abs etc. etc. What the fuck happened here? From interesting characters that breath life into every scene to diminished love struck idiots frolicking on a yacht, mooning at each other and constantly deliberating  “This connection they feel for each other”.  So during all this love struck b.s. , Ana or Pix or whatever is dealing with a drunk, abusive Father that reveals her co-dependent tendencies which runs anathema to her personality, but wtf do I know. 

Why didn’t this novel expand interesting characters rather than inverting them into love struck dummys by moving the story line away from their myopic lives? Why not use the drug dealing ring as a launch to develop the characters with movement  or tangentially create a separate expanded story line with MJ’s shape shifting abilities? Or better yet, the head drug guy is an ancient Mortis and has designs on Ana as her psychic abilities hint at some deep uncovered power. Make her an ancient mermaid/selkie for fugs sake. She likes the water enough.

So Ana makes this internal affirmation that she has never loved anyone as much as Kian blah, blah, blah and then abruptly dismisses him from her life when he won’t heal her drunk abusive Father. Even when he explains that by healing him he would not only become a Mortis like Kian but an evil one without control. What does she do with all this love and trust? Slaps him and never sees him again. For one “Oh so giving in nature” she sure behaves like a self-centered narcissist.

Good show, way to ruin good characters and plunge a promising story line with good writing into unbelievable Harlequin. (slowly claps).

Review: The Last Quarrel ep. 4 by Duncan Lay

cover62393-medium

 

Publisher: Momentum

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9781760300159 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher Description: Fallon and Prince Cavan are getting closer to the truth. They are tantalisingly close to discovering who is really behind the evil inside the country. Or is this all a trap and they are merely about to blunder into it? 

Review: Well this is my third trip down the Quarrel alter and this serialized nonsense IS tiring. Bridgit is even more insufferably stricken with ego, slapping emotional wrecks while they clutch their babies. Fallon continues to get dumber along with Prince “oblivious” Cavan.

Again, the scenes are drawn out and filled with dialogue in order to bridge successive novellas. Seriously, I am done reading these. No really, I kid you not. Done. 

Review: AC/DC FAQ by Susan Masino

cover61441-medium

 

 

Publisher: Backbeat

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9781480394506 

Genre: Biog

Rating: 2.0/5

Publisher Description: Featuring 37 chapters, AC/DC FAQ chronicles the personal history of each of the band members, all their albums, tours, and various anecdotes. Rebounding from the tragic loss of their singer Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson and went on to record Back in Black, which is now one of the top five biggest-selling albums in music history.

Review: Kind of a synopsis of the bands coming together from the personal backgrounds up to the band inception. Written anecdotally, almost like the band didn’t proof or verify much of what was written. At one point the name of the band comes up where either there sister got it from the back of her sewing machine while making Angus his outfits and another from someone else getting it off a vacuum cleaner. Either way, if you are doing a biography you should be able to verify the facts that your pre-supposing??

The writing style is flat and often reaches the mundane when the author ascribes herself a personal affinity with band members as the photos attest to. Good biographies are written strictly about the band and authors egos should take a back seat when writing about them. This is really a one star work but gets another just for Angus.

 

 

 

Review: The Broken Sword by Molly Cochran

cover59561-medium

Publisher: TKA

Publishing Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9781942356004 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.4/5

Publisher Description: No matter how far Arthur Blessing runs, he can’t elude destiny. As the reincarnation of legendary King Arthur, he is the rightful protector of the most powerful relics in the world–the Holy Grail and the sword Excalibur. And he is bound to use those tools to keep war and chaos at bay – ushering in a new era of justice, peace, and freedom.

Review: This was a pretty entertaining read. The only portions that slowed the movement down was the unnecessary back story on some of the characters. For example while Merlin’s beginnings through to his life on Mona is relevant, Kate’s life as a love thing for Aubrey is boring and excessive.

Generally, the character development was pretty good due to the copious movement and constant scene shifting. The authors do a good job of involving the reader even when some characters play bit roles. The scenes are vividly described and engaging. The big problem is that every instance and I mean EVERY instance is fraught with Deus Ex Machina. I get that there is the hidden hand of something drawing everyone and everything together in a cumulative effort to thwart evil or “Begin a New Cycle”, but it just gets a little too convenient in every scene in order to expedite the story line. 

This is a pretty long novel, so sit tight and don’t expect too much.

 

 

 

Review: The Darker Carnival by Frank Tuttle

cover61267-medium

 

 

Publisher: Samhain

Publishing Date: February 2015

ISBN: 9781619226395 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher Description: When Dark’s Diverse Delights arrives by night to set up shows and rides that promisefun and excitement for one and all, the outskirts of Rannit begin to look disturbingly likethe nightmares that plague Markhat’s sleep. Mama Hog has sent him a new client, a cattle rancher with a missing daughter. Markhat’s search reveals genuine terrors lurking amidst the carnival’s tawdry sideshows, where Death itself takes the main stage every evening, just past midnight.

Review:  A  fun ride from start to finish. The Darker Carnival edges in and out of the horror genre making it palatable by balancing characters and scenes. You have the twisted, and then Markhat as an engaging and witty character to help ease you into the bizarre. 

So why the 4 stars and not 5? Some characters seemed to drag the story line down yet thankfully did not play an essential role. For instance Gertriss, Marhat’s protégé. Whiney, demanding, petulant and self-centered came to mind each time she was in a scene. At one point she demands to see her half dead friend (love methinks) and when he has sacrificed and chanced all to be with her, she rebuffs him. Sigh.  Darla was another downer but manages to avail herself in tense situations.

This novel embodies everything you may like about fantasy; witches, skeleton men, animated dragons, huge spiders, trolls, werewolves and icky carney clowns. I wish I had known about this author and the Markhat series.

 

Review: A Fistful of Clones by Seaton Kay-Smith

 

 

cover61171-medium

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9781460705179 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher Description: Henry Madison is an apathetic young man with little to no ambition. When he loses his job and his girlfriend in one day, he is destitute and signs up for paid medical testing. The doctor creates clones of Henry and when these clones escape and start causing havoc in Henry’s life, he is hired in secret by the strange doctor and trained to hunt the clones down one by one and kill them.

Review: This was a really well done novel. Great character and story line development and an overall plot that was good to the end. Henry isn’t just apathetic. His self loathing and trenchant self-centeredness were pretty much over the top with regard to how much time was spent on that portion of his personality. If the author had of just backed off a little in that regard and moved more in a direction of self-sufficiency/esteem and emotive discovery then this would have been an easy 5 stars.  It is nice to experience a person moving from deplorable into the Western hero he imagines himself to be. What we get in the end is not Angel Eyes or Blondie in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” but Tuco with a conscience.

The story line might have moved in a direction where the clones ideas and burgeoning personalities were more on display. But when your busy whacking your clones it doesn’t leave a lot of room for chit-chat. There were some fall downs with regard to firearm knowledge. For instance, Henry is using a revolver to hunt his clones and referents the safety being on etc.. Only revolvers don’t have safeties. Despite my shitpicking, I read this in one sitting. GET IT!