Review: School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino

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Publisher: MuseitUp

Publishing Date: May 2014

ISBN:9781771276832

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.8/5

 

Publishers Description: Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail. 

 Review: This had a unique storyline, what with a world where Deaths are taught to transport souls to the hereafter. Yet if followed a Harry Potter formulaic theme where young adults are thrust into a dark mystery and the villain is seemingly benign but expected in his machinations. Like Harry Potter’s Quidditch, Deaths play a unique game with scythes called “Boskery”. The amount of time playing and explaining Boskery hints at the authors novel-to-movie aspirations. I liked Suzie’s character and she developed well with the movement as did Frank. This world has room to expand and encompass a better storyline that is void of “Potterisms”. 

 

 

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Review: Soulless by Jacinta Maree

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Publisher: Inked Rabbit

Publishing Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780994383907

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.3/5

 

Publishers Description: Nadia Richards lives in a world plagued by reincarnation, a system of recycling souls where all past memories, personalities and traumatic events are relived daily in disjointed sequences. Trapped within their own warped realities, not even the richest and most powerful are saved from their own minds unraveling. Madness is the new human nature, and civilizations are crumpling beneath themselves trying to outrun it.

 Review: The cover art is really good. This started off so malignantly dystopian that I couldn’t put it down. People killing for places in line, dead bodies in the streets and robotic enforcers shocking the shjt out of malcontents.

Nadia is soon captured due to her unique qualities and liberated by a feral terrorist. What follows is a not too believable (and constant) scrape with death at the hands of raiders and the constant death threat of a terrorist whom Nadia hates but soon is swimming in his “earth brown eyes”. Fug.  Nadia is either starving, shot, stabbed or barely conciouse for most of the novel. The lucid moments she does have is spent ruminating on her predicament.

Although Nadia’s plight is not believable, the world building and character development are exacting and fantastic. If the novel resists being trended into a YA mewling love splatter, then I look forward to this series and a more believable interaction between Nadia and her world.

 

Review: Waking Up Dead by Emma Shortt

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Publisher: Entangled

Publishing Date: October 2013

ISBN:9781622660346

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Publishers Description: Jackson Hart is a survivor. It’s been two years since the virus first hit the country, and she watched almost everyone she loves die…or turn into zombies with a ferocious and insatiable appetite for flesh. Her instincts and her machete keep her alive, even if she’s forgotten almost everything she knows about living.

Review: If you can look past the cover long enough to read a few pages you might get hooked on this novel. The movement is really good what with constantly running from, fighting and killing of zombies. The good thing is that the characters have depth that follows the movement. The romance fits the story line as you might expect if a zombie apocalypse occurred. Really well done.

 

Review: The Bloody Quarrel: The Arbalester Trilogy 2 by Duncan Lay

 

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Publisher: Momentum

Publishing Date: February 2016

ISBN: 9781760301644

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.6/5

Publishers Description: Fooled by the treacherous King Aidan, Fallon has shot down the one man he trusted to save his beloved nation of Gaelland. And yet, when the King could grind Fallon underfoot, he draws the simple farmer and fighter closer, making a hero of him.

Review: I had a great time reading this novel, the latest in the Arbelester triology by Duncan Lay. Fallon makes for a great reluctant hero as he wends his way through palace intrigue with a malignant evil that seeks to annihilate humankind.

The world building sweeps you up along with a directed story line with the characters developing along with the movement.  For me Bridgit, Fallon’s wife, was/is a little too good to be true and suffers from self-inflicted righteousness. She plans and leads a slave revolt, stands up to slave masters, beats the crap out of ruffians more than twice her size and cares for all the little slave children while being pregnant. While not believable, the setting in the Kottermani desert is fantastic. Duchess Dina is a great character that builds her innocence into an orchestrated bid for the throne and complete control of Berry by manipulating events and those around her. Fallon’s supporting cast is a great group of individuals that stand out with their disparate personalities.

There were some grammatical hiccups and the dreaded “said softly” used 47 times to expedite the dialogue and scene progression but very minor in the overall scheme. Get this if you enjoy a long read with events transpiring quickly under a veil of intrigue.

Review: Sidekick Returns by A. Wallace

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Publisher: Escape Publishing

Publishing Date: December 2015

ISBN:9780857992888

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.9/5

 Publishers Description: Fresh off thwarting the crime of the century, Bremy St. James is back and more determined than ever to fight by the side of the city’s top superhero, Dark Ryder. There’s just one problem: Dark Ryder’s disappeared.

 Review: Cover needs a redo. 

 Brianna, Bri, Bremy, Brem, Bre (as our heroine is known) used to be speshul and chose to leave her gilded life for sleeping next to a toilet seat.

See, she hates her evil dad and his money so now works for evil pimps and jolly Russian Mafioso’s. Good trade? Ummm…..no.  Believable? Never. Not when you have sharks in tanks with descending victims, a super human twin sister and runaway crystal floats orchestrated solely to play games with an errant disloyal daughter. Does it have to be believable? Not really. In this case there was just too much going on that was abnormal coupled with pages and pages of dialogue about Ms. Speshul. After awhile you just start flipping pages to get to the meat.  There is some witticisms and the writing is pretty good it just got a little too cutesy with the “I’m a poor little rich gurl who threw it all away to fight crime” shtick.  Additionally there were numerous grammatical errors throughout.

 

Review: Disclosure by Dr Graham Clingbine

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Publisher: Troubador

Publishing Date:

ISBN: 9781784625900

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.0/5

 

Publishers Description: Disclosure traces the life of Kevin Powell from the age of eight when he is living with his mum Sylvie. He undergoes a number of strange experiences that his young mind cannot interpret and that he assumes are a normal part of growing up. As a teenager, Kevin supports his mum when she falls ill and requires surgery to remove a mysterious object of unknown origin and function.

Review: This was extremely tedious to read. It follows the English (UK) style of writing: kill the storyline with unrelated dialogue and happenstance in order to fulfill a backstory requirement. In the beginning we go from a door handle turning in a boys room to page after page of backstory in the form of limited third person narrative. The storyline never unfolds into anything revelatory about aliens/abductions/implants than what we already know. Its about the boring life of a boy with some portals, memory gaps, implants and aliens thrown in with endless narrative dialogue.

 

Review: The Wonk Decelerator by John Joseph Doody

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Publisher: eTreasures

Publishing Date: September 2013

ISBN:9781937809645

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.6/5

 Publishers Description: When Guild commander and crack pilot, Thad Cochran boards the shuttle destined for the casinos of Timmerus, finding a way back to Earth is not on his radar. He wants the five-percent finder’s fee the Guild is offering for a black box held by the lizard-like Yazz. Thad has a dream: With the loot he will get for stealing the Wonk Decelerator, he can buy a ranch on Beta Prime.

 Review: This was a fun and quick read. Sure it lacked some descriptive details on aliens and the world building was not fully embraced but the movement and character development were really good. The storyline is fun and Thad’s girlfriend is kickass.