Review: Faith and Moonlight by Joe King



Publisher: King

Publishing Date: December 2015

ISBN: 9781944015060

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.0/5

Publishers Description: Faith and Moonlight is the first novella of the YA fantasy series of the same name. It is the tale of two orphans who get the chance of a lifetime, told in a fast-paced, 90-minutes. Reviewers compare it to Harry Potter, Divergent, and Ender’s Game. It is recommended for readers who enjoy fantasy, young adult, school stories, magic, and coming of age tales.

Review: This was really quite good. Another Potter-esque school for the talented. Surprised that such an over-used prop for most fantasy YA novels was a success. Too bad it fell into a novella which tends to truncate interest rather than generate a thirst for more.

An easy 4 stars if written to full length (I am guessing).


Review: Rend The Dark by Joe King



Publisher: King

Publishing Date: October 2015


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.2/5

Publishers Description: The great Ruins are gone. The titans. The behemoths. All banished to the Dark and nearly forgotten. But the cunning ones, the patient ones remain. They hide not in the cracks of the earth or in the shadows of the world. But inside us. Wearing our skin. Waiting. Watching. Once haunted by visions of the world beyond, Ferran now wields that power to hunt the very monsters that he once feared. He is not alone. Others bear the same terrible burden. But Hunter or hunted, it makes no difference. Eventually, everything returns to the Dark.

Review: This review includes the next novella in the series, Skinshaper, as both novellas follow the same storyline and are short as heck.  I am not a big fan of novellas due to obvious shortcomings in storyline development. Although truncated, these novellas deliver a good punch. I liked that the movement was constant and the characters grew in parallel. The world building is a bit limited but other novellas promise a slow reveal in that department. The “Ruins” lack a bit of descriptive detail so you have to stretch your own imagination in order to visualize. A good time coupled with a short read kind of makes me want more, but that’s the whole point???


Review: Open Skies by Yolande Kleinn



Publisher:  Less Than Three Press

Publishing Date: March 2016


Genre: SciFi

Rating: meh/5.0

Publishers Description: Partners for seven years, Ilsa and Kai are the best Professional Finders in the business. There’s nothing they can’t track down, no matter how hazardous the path or unfamiliar the star system. Eleazar Dantes isn’t the first client to hire them to locate lost family, but he is the most unpleasant. For double their usual fee, though, Kai and Ilsa will tolerate a lot—even Dantes’ insistence that he tag along on the investigation. A high stakes hunt is no time for distractions. When Kai realizes his true feelings for Ilsa, his timing couldn’t be worse.

Review: Kai is a love struck human that has the hots for his investigative partner, Ilsa, a cold robotic girl that likes her space and no attachments. This was a pretty solid read. Average characters that seemed to develop with the movement, aliens here and there and a mystery girl who disappeared during the wars.

Kai’s (why are all female authors naming their hunky men Kai?) relationship with Ilsa can only develop over successive novels as it really didn’t go anywhere in this one. That’s a good thing, as it didn’t dominate the early stages of the novel. While this was a solid read, it was average in complexity (mystery, alien interaction) and the no-love romance started to take storyline down drivel lane. Reader heartstrings are best pulled when the seeming dissolution of a relationship is rendered bare with the longing that loss creates….by both parties. This didn’t quite fulfill the reunion of kindred spirits but hints at more to come.


Review: Child of Space by EC Tubb and Philip Harbottle



Publisher: Venture Press

Publishing Date: March 2016


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.4/5

Publishers Description: In an underground hall, gouged out of the lunar rock, the scientists at Moonbase One have created a miniature section of Earth. A home away from home for the scientists and workers living on the Lunar planet. Commander Mark Regan watches carefully over his people, maintaining a good rhythm within their new ecosystem. However, when a strange object from outer space shows up on their scans, it threatens to destroy the whole base and their hard won way of life. The object is heading towards the moon on a collision course.

Review: What is truly amazing about this novel is that it took 2 people to write it. The novel is definitely formulaic where you have old Dr. Genius Douchebag, tough commander Regan, Nurse Chapel er…Elna and a hideous threat to their moon station that could have read like any space horror that’s been done. What comes to mind is Star Trek’s, “The Man Trap”, only this alien sucks blood.

Besides the pages and pages of endless dialogue you have characters that are built like idiot douchebags that just couldn’t possibly be smart enough to qualify for a moonbase assignment. Everyone listens to Professor Boardman, even when he is obviously wrong on successive occasions. First he convinces the commander not to blow up the incoming alien artifact because he wants to learn from it. Then they find seeds scattered about the surface of the moon and he wants to cultivate them INSIDE THE STATION. Huh?

Well I guess you have to have a story line at some point but at least make it believable. Like, I dunno maybe the storyline should have gone like this: Incoming alien artifact is blipped but recognized as non-threatening. Before impact it shears in space and seedlings are targeted for the station. Everyone is ok but peeps are sent outside to assess the damage and one of them finds the seeds scattered about. Thinking it is just a geode the peep takes it into his quarters……….

The dialogue halts the movement to the point where your left flipping through chapters to get at some meat cause the bone aint enough. The ending is fooking ridiculous and imparts no wisdom or revelatory insight.


Review: Pieces of Hate by Tim Lebbon



Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date:  March 2016


Genre: Fantasy


Publishers Description: During the Dark Ages, a thing named Temple slaughtered Gabriel’s family. A man with snake eyes charged him to pursue the assassin wherever he may strike next, and destroy him. Gabriel never believed he’d still be following Temple almost a thousand years later. Because Temple may be a demon, the man with snake eyes cursed Gabriel with a life long enough to hunt him down. Now he has picked up Temple’s scent again. The Caribbean sea is awash with pirate blood, and in such turmoil the outcome of any fight is far from certain.

Review:  Gabriel hunts a demon over the centuries that killed his family only it seems that neither can die. Can you say plot hole? The characters are well developed within the limited story line and the world building delivers scenes that impact. Compelling story line and characters made this novella a worthwhile read.


Review: Immurement by Norma Hinkens



Publisher: Dunecadia

Publishing Date: December 2015


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.0/5

Publishers Description: The earth’s core overheats. The sovereign leader vanishes. A young girl is the survivors’ only hope 

Review: Not a lot of thought went into the world building of this novel. In this dystopian future the Earth’s core has overheated and disrupted or torn asunder the surface. Since matter can neither be created or destroyed, how is it that the core gets hotter? If anything, scientists have found that the Earth’s core is cooling 1 deg. C for every million years (thermodynamics). Why not have something realistic like pole shifts or massive earthquakes…a meteorite. In the novel, massive world wide volcanic eruptions would have cooled the Earth and left the atmosphere un-breathable but in this novel the air is clear and big game moved away but to where and as to why, no one knows. If big game moved out why do they see Elk shit, live deer and talk about making stag horn knife handles the next time they kill one?

I lived and worked in the Sawtooth Mountains for 5 years and have never heard of a Mule deer called a Stag in that area let alone in my 25 years as a wildlife biologist. Stag is a European referent for their deer. While some of the descriptions of the flora and fauna were accurate, a lot of it was not. Flash floods during a storm at high altitude in Southern Idaho does…not….happen, maybe in this dried out future it does, but who’s to say.

Derry (or staggy) is supposed to be growing into a leader but ends up being rescued by everybody because she’s so speshul. She’s not strong, resourceful and unrepentant but rather clingy, whiney, vindictive and myopic. EVERYTHING revolves around her little wants, needs and desires. Her brother in trouble? Bam, she’s on it with total concern and focus until Jakob (her tunnel buddy) is captured then Owen is dumped like a dirty shirt. She gives up easily when captured and mewls around like a lost kitten. The Rogue gang reads like the characters from Mad Max. Piercings, tattoos, badass names like Blade, Diesel, Rummy etc. and ruthless behavior that is unrelenting….not believable.

There was quite a bit of phrasing to expedite scene development. Derriere is either “shivering (x23)” down her “spine (x15)” or “Flushed, flush, flushing (x13)” to the beating of her “Pulse (x19)”. The dog growls a lot (x13) of the low and deep sort. The fight scenes lacked logical progression and at one point Ben&Derry pulls the charging handle of her M16, twice in the same scene. I don’t know about you but bullets pop out when you do that.

The definition for “Immurement” is ‘to imprison, build walls or…entomb in a wall’. Other than a cool title, I don’t see the relevance of the title to anything that occurs in the novel. Sure, the survivors are hunted but still have their freedom to move around in the open. Great storyline, poor execution.


Review: Titanborn by Rhett C. Bruno




Publisher: Hydra

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780399594793

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publishers Description: Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as a collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he’s told, takes what he’s earned, and leaves the questions to someone else—especially when it comes to the affairs of off-worlders.

Review: While the characterization was fairly good, the novel suffered constant halting movement due to the sudden lengthy backstories. One minute you’re intensely focused on the action, and like a door slamming in you’re face, backstory in the form of a flashback comes out of nowhere and you have to ride out the boredom. It was not a good vehicle for furthering expectations but rather derails the reading process.  Mainly because the subject matter is not relevant to the just abandoned current story line.

A big miss here IMO for what could have been a pretty good novel if it had existed more in the “Now”. 


Review: Burt Holmes, P.I. by A.M. Roelke





Publisher: AM Roelke

Publishing Date: January 2016

ISBN: 9781523666867

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: Burt Holmes used to be a cop on Perseus space station, a place known for its docks and jails. Now he’s a private eye who knows his own flaws all too well … and has gaps in his memory. Burt was kicked off the force for killing someone, though he can’t remember it. Nowadays he usually handles divorce cases. 

Review: A SciFi noir novel more on the cynicism side with a dose of moral ambiguity and fatalism thrown in. Burt Holmes P.I. has a checkered past, a damsel in distress and a few mysteries that make up one big conspiracy.

This novel had really great character development and a SciFi storyline you can get real comfortable with. The world building could have expanded beyond Perseus but did not diminish the novel in any significant way. The crazies are many and the pychos pointedly evil. A good ride that needs to continue.


Review: Pull by Anne Riley



Publisher: Spencer Hill

Publishing Date: February 2016


Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publishers Description: Rosie Clayton witnesses a mugging on her first night in London – and then the scene rewinds itself. She finds herself standing in the same place again, with the mugging happening just like before, except this time a stranger steps in and stops it. There’s no way the same incident can have two outcomes. Rosie thinks she is losing her mind, until just a few days later, the stranger saves her.

Review:  If you go to the authors website, there is some blathering about whom to cast as characters for the novel “Pull”. My vote for an actor to play Rosie would be Jeff Goldblum, as he is the most boring actor I can think of. He might even be able to pull off the “swishing of hair” thing. Who would play Albert? I think a banana slug. Slow, slimey, fixed perspective.

Nothing much happens in this novel except a lot of daily life-living dialogue. “I went to the store with my passive aggressive brother…..wah, my boyfriend dumped me….I have powers from my dead grandpa…..wah….me, me, me.” The characters never develop with the movement because there is none. Everyone pitters around talking, talking, talking, talking. The events are brief and leave you with more questions that you don’t care to have answers to.  Rosie is a huffy, whiney, myopic narcissist that fails to capture your sympathy or plight. Her brother is not believable with his constant negative behavior and subsequent antics.

Alas I did not finish this book, and had I finished, my bleeding eyes and fixed stare into oblivion would render me inert and without purpose.


Review: Famine Book One of The Apocalyptics by Monica Enderle Pierce



Publisher: Stalking

Publishing Date: March 2014

ISBN: 9780985976132

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.7/5

Publishers Description: It’s 1895—the cusp of the Victorian and Edwardian eras—and Bartholomew Pelletier is a gentleman and a warrior. For fifteen centuries he’s endured the depraved appetite of Famine—one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—as she’s consumed his strength and sought to unite with her fellow Horsemen. But now Bartholomew’s chance to imprison her has appeared…in the form of his young ward Matilde. 

Review: This started out pretty good. Fast pace, good movement and character development with the yawning back in time to reflect on an immortals life. Then it stalls in order to build Matilde’s character from feisty irascible guttersnipe into a feisty, irascible woman. Kind of a My Fair Lady story with murderous cadavers and their hot host, Famine.  As we languish in Seattle while Matilde grows up (learning to fight, play piano etc.) nothing much happens other than a cruel drunk meeting a just end and “murders” of crows everywhere.

The writing is very accomplished yet the creative side suffered a bit with the downtime.  The ending is not an ending, only a promise of more relentless dialogue and period history frippery.