Review: Down Pinhole by Glenn Cooper

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Publisher: Lascaux Media

Publishing Date: July 2015

ISBN: 9781515040842

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.4/5

Publisher Description: DOWN – Pinhole is the first book of an explosive new trilogy by international bestselling author, Glenn Cooper. A cross between DANTE’S INFERNO and GAME OF THRONES, DOWN is part historical thriller and part fantasy-adventure, a thought-provoking, page-turning, epic saga that explores the consequences of evil and transports readers to a world unlike any they have ever experienced. 

Review: I almost shjt canned this novel as the beginning read like another author hoping for a movie deal. Like a well worn script, it was formulaic and tired.  BUT, it gets good, really good. After a collider experiment goes wrong, John Camp goes looking for his hot (of course) Scottish physicist babe in hell. Only, in her place is a serial killer that subsequently escapes to rampage.

The author does a great job pulling pieces of our disparate history together to make a thought provoking read. He just doesn’t throw a bunch of famous people at you to make the story line, but rather utilizes  very good movement to develop the characters as they go from kingdom to kingdom in search of Emily. Hell is mostly ruled by cruel historical despots, but you would expect that in hell. I liked that some of the characters are influenced by John and Emily’s presence, enough to grasp what little humanity they have left. It is a poignant iteration that all may seek redemption in spite of their past actions.

The ending is meh. So much so meh that it lost a star. I guess everyone wants to make a series of novels to capitalize. Avoid the authors website as it looks like a Dan Brown alter where you kneel for the privilege to bathe in the waters of brilliance.

 

 

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Review: Heirs of Empire by Evan Currie

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Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: September 2015

ISBN: 9781503946903

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.9/5

Publisher Description: The Scourwind family legacy brought the empire to the height of its power and prosperity and defended it against all enemies. Now one man’s machinations aim to shift the balance of power—with violent and devastating consequences.

Review:  Nice cover art.

Oh boy, we have a super speshul alert! Prince and Princess twinsy Scourdouchewing, Lydia and Brennan. Brennan, that lovable scamp, can fly anything in the air better than the bestest pilot, like in ever. He’s young but can break grown men’s necks if he wants to. See, there’s a trick. Its harder NOT to break their necks than to just kill them. Princess Lydia, or “Lyd” is hotter than a popcorn fart, is “scarily” brilliant and can snap kick your ass to hell in a second. Hate them yet? Oh, you will.

So, one dude named Corian somehow takes a ragtag group of defectors and steals the most secret and devastating attack ship in the world…. Yeahhhh, right. He has lost an eye and a leg so I guess he is now a pirate. Argh?? So then pages and pages of backstory ensue with a lot of command decisions made by super woman, er…..Mira Delsol, one of the Imperial Cadre “…a fighting force unmatched in the empire, lavished with the highest levels of training….and culled from bloodlines that…”. Fug .

What drove this novel into the dirt was not only the smug twins jocularity in the face of danger and the lengthy backstory throughout but the constant phrasing to expedite scene development.  For example. Said: darkly, softly (x 32), tightly, firmly, sarcastically, simply, calmly, amiably, pleasantly, slowly, idly, (to name a few) was so overused that it left scenes flat and under-developed. 

If you could see me I am “Grimacing slightly” while “Growling (x24)”.

 

 

Review: Straight by the Rules by Michelle Scott

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Publisher: Carina

Publishing Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9781474045889

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publisher Description: I’m Lilith Straight, the Devil’s servant. You’d think that it would be straightforward, wouldn’t you? Carry out the Devil’s work, that’s all: wreak havoc and cause carnage on Earth…

Review: “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…Wha?, oh yeah”. This novel tries too hard to be witty, funny, sarcastic and cute yet just can’t seem to pull it off. The characters are one dimensional and rely on patterned roles to entertain. There is nothing unique about them. Ariel, that cute little scamp, likes henna tattoos, Goth-ware and French fries with mayo and Tommy. Lilith, a succubus with a heart of gold who is constantly rolling her eyes, has a list of to-do’s that include destroying Helen and getting out of her contractual obligations. Her hot incubus man-love (whom she has not hooked up with yet after 7 months-odd for a single mother succubus) always has a sparkle, twinkle, smolder or something in his eyes. Fug. 

Everything is about Lilith which leaves the story line more than flat and renders  what could be wonderful world building into boring scene development. While the writing is technically good (I have a Masters!!) the novel lacks in creative world building. The movement is almost non-existent and was never utilized to develop the characters to their full potential.

Read this while being pestered by a 5 year old sociopath. 

 

 

Review: Look both Ways by Carol Perry

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Publisher: Kensington

Publishing Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9781617733734

Genre: Fantasy/Mystery

Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher Description: When Lee Barrett spots the same style oak bureau she once had as a child on the WICH-TV show, Shopping Salem, she rushes to the antiques shop and buys the piece. Just like the beloved bureau she lost in a fire, this one has secret compartments.

Review: Not being a sexist pig when I say: “This is a book for chicks”. It edges upon the Nora Roberts school of writing where every daily detail of life is iterated. I am sure I care, somewhere in an alternate universe, about how my bedroom is decorated and that my frumpy Aunt is making me an English muffin with homemade jam. If I ever need to properly discern the value of flatware and a choice between Franciscan dinnerware or Majolica, I might open this novel as a reference guide. Should I entertain a lady, I will be sure to have Egyptian cotton sheets and soft subtle lighting at the ready. One day, God forbid, I will have a stupid cat that has human mannerisms. Should my sense of anthropomorphic behavior override common sense, I will continue to talk to all of my friends about the need for a cat door with such gravity that anyone within shitting distance will fall over themselves to install it for me. 

“So how does this get two stars?”, you ask. The author chose some restraint in Lee’s infatuation with hunky cop guy. She’s fairly independent yet not very bright when it comes to obvious clues. She wants a simple life but just happens to be well off. Which means she can afford to be simplistic. She has a fiery temperament that matches her hair yet allows people around her to manipulate. 

I guess the only mystery here is how dumbass can find her butt in a dark room. The clues as well as the plot are obvious as are the sinister people and their designs. The infusion of a cat familiar is supposed to lend some validity to Lee’s gifts by making her more speshul. Only she comes off vague, spoiled, temperamental and skittish. 

 

 

Review: Aliens on Holiday by Gillian Bradshaw

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Publisher: Bliss

Publishing Date: January 2016

ISBN: 9781940021195

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.1/5

Publisher Description: Shape-shifting and gender-switching alien Shakespeare/Tiva is an undercover cop who dances to resolve personal conflict. Her unwitting partner is fifteen-year-old Alex Marsh. Together, they try to save other worlds from intergalactic Kiaian outlaws who have come to Earth to get weapons they can’t get anywhere else. 

Review: This had a pretty weak premise. Aliens come to earth to trade Ultimace (a drug) for weapons they can’t get anywhere else. Yet these bad aliens have interstellar space travel, a stun weapon that can kill if used in a constant fashion and a disruptor that can also kill. We are supposed to believe that these bad aliens turned something that was well intentioned into something sinister. How the Galactic police keep bad aliens from making weapons when they can make spaceships is something you just have to accept.

I get that this was built for the middle school crowd in order to wash their brains with the “guns are bad and so are drugs” message with an alien twist. While the premise is shaky, the aliens are rendered very well which includes the environment they live in. The supporting cast which is mostly Alex’s’ family didn’t supply anything to the story line other than being a means to travel in France. The movement failed to deliver any depth to the characters as a whole and we were subsequently left with elaborate fight scenes to fill that particular void.

This novel is in serious need of an editor. For some reason the digital copy excludes every instance where either “Fi” is used or “Fl” in a word. So fight becomes ight and fix becomes x and flagrant becomes agrant etc.

 

Review: Alice In No Mans Land by James Knapp

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Publisher: IBPA

Publishing Date: May 2015

ISBN: 9781511764339

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher Description: When her escape pod falls to earth, crashing in Ypsilanti Bloc, privileged seventeen-year-old Alice Walshe is dashed from the wonderland of wealth and prosperity into a ruined, walled city overrun with militias, gangs, and even cannibals. On top of this horror, her younger brother’s escape pod is missing.

Review: An interesting tale from start to finish thanks to the continual movement that somehow failed to develop the characters, fully. Alice, after having been through so much with her Cement-City protectors didn’t develop as a character due to copious amounts of inner-dialogue that questions the nature of her situation amidst political turmoil. Maya and Basilio are great as they embody the movement while growing in depth as the story line moves to a conclusion.

I have to mention one reviewers position on this novel, as it is at once both hilarious and kind of scary as she has some strange militant convictions about fiction. “…..the lack of affirming language and attitude towards female characters in all corners of the book.”. “…to have the main character be referred to as “skank”, “slut” and other debasing sexual terms……..In a way, this hostility, objecifying and sexism suits and exemplifies the “No-man’s land” tone.”  Huh? It’s fiction lady, get over yourself. It is a fact that when societies crumble and there is nothing but a lawless structure; rape, slavery, looting become the norm. Just look at riots today that become a means to loot and rape under the guise of injustice. Additionally, Alice is called skank and slut by another woman.

Despite the feminazi reviewer attempting to purloin a novels intent with her own brand of flakey liberalism, I liked this novel. There were some hiccups with regard to firearm descriptions like a laser light being called a “scope”. At one point her father throws his drink and it shatters, then in the next scene his drink is splashing out onto the carpet at his feet. In another scene, Alice is being held by a gang member and gets backhanded by the head thuggie, Nino. It subsequently spins her around. How does that happen if she is being held? Anyhoo, get this and have a good time as the world building is good and sets up nicely for a series within the walls of Ypsilanti Bloc.