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.


Review: Mud by E. J. Wenstrom



Publisher: City Owl

Publishing Date: march 2016


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: Trapped by his Maker’s command to protect a mysterious box, Adem is forced to kill anyone who tries to steal it. When a young boy chances upon Adem’s temple, he resists temptation, intriguing the golem. As the boy and his sister convince Adem to leave the refuge of his temple, the group lands in a web of trouble.

Review: Contrary to the publishers description, Adem is not convinced to leave the temple but rather is concerned for the boy and his sister while observing their lives. 

Adem is a Golem, a being made from matter (Mud) by magic to do the bidding of its maker. Adem whiles away the centuries in seclusion at the fringes of society, fearing when he might have to kill again when compelled.

When I started reading this, the internal dialogue of Adem was decidedly female. So having settled that, I was surprised to find that later in the novel, Adem was male. The patterned responses and emotive directives to others that “he” cares about it is really quite feminine.

This novel was almost entirely internal dialogue. While I am known to detest novels that ride that certain pony, in this case it works. Adem is lonely and secluded with only his thoughts as company so it stands to reason that he processes everything internally without outside direction or experience. This almost infant quality of relating to humans or understanding their needs becomes apparent when he leaves the comfort of the Temple and begins a quest to bring a lost soul back from the underworld.  I wasn’t a big fan of the story line shift from Adem protecting the box to the underworld trek to claim a lost soul. But the story line has to go somewhere and that movement continues to develop Adem as a character. The supporting characters seemed to lack depth as there was not a lot of time invested in their development.  There is never a real clear understanding of why there were Realm Wars and what is gained by having one. Additionally who would care and why?

Mud is a pretty dam good first novel but lacks some refinement in character development and phrasing overuse (growled being prominent). The latter half of the novel got mired in internal dialogue so much that it detracted from the story line and the movement suffered as a consequence. kind of like trying to kick start a dead motorcycle that was running perfectly a few minutes before.

Mud is a rather myopic and egocentric journey of one character and his quest for a soul of his own that to me, he already has.


Review: Sanacion III by Mary Louise Davie



Publisher: Brighton

Publishing Date: March 2015


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.0/5

Publishers Description: Admiral Steve Jensenn and his crew are back on their deep space vessel, Sanación, laying communications satellites that will keep them connected to their friends on the planet Sana. With thirty-four thousand civilians aboard, they also are seeking a new home, a planet that will give them refuge. They’ve even brought along one of the natives of Sana, a Cicada named Rufus. Life is good onboard Sanación for Steve and his little family-his wife, Lenora, and their adopted daughter, Lucy. But things are about to change. Shocking and unexpected news about Lenora’s health rocks their world. And a secret Steve has been hiding on the ship is finally revealed. Then, what should have been a routine mission to replenish their stores of a much-needed substance called deuterium… …turns into a deadly conflict with an enemy army. The ensuing battle brings about losses they never could have predicted… …with a devastating result that could change the future of Steve’s family and those aboard the ship-forever.

Review: “…..and then one time at Band Camp…”. Wow, quite the description there. Don’t really need to read the book or post spoiler alerts with that forward.

Do I, as a professional reader really want to read about the daily life details and petty interactions of people on a huge spaceship placing satellite arrays here and there in space? Do I care that Steve and Lenora are in love and chit-chat between themselves and smugly discuss their boring lives with others whom most likely could care less. I don’t. 

This novel tried too hard to garner the details of mundane lives that tear at the bounds of narcissism. I mean every iterative detail is beaten into submission before you can move on with the story line. As a consequence this just dragged on and on for me and I was unable to finish.  I know, not real professional but difficult at best  to stay interested in reams of emotive dialogue. 


Review: The Courier by Gerald Brandt



Publisher: Berkley

Publishing Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780756411398

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.2/5

Publishers Description: Kris Ballard is a motorcycle courier.  A nobody.  Level 2 trash in a multi-level city that stretches from San Francisco to the Mexican border—a land where corporations make all the rules.  A runaway since the age of fourteen, Kris struggled to set up her life, barely scraping by, working hard to make it without anyone’s help. 

Review: This was boring with a capital ‘B’. Good writing, poor character development, stunted movement and page after page of internal dialogue. The storyline just didn’t pull me in I think in part to the lack of descriptive detail. What does a multi-level city look like that spans the breadth of California? The only thing I could visualize is one huge multi-level parking garage which is well, boring. At regular intervals Kris reminds us that she needs a new back tire as the threads are showing through. Then all of a sudden she is griping about her knobby tires not providing good grip when cornering on pavement. Its the little things. 

Even outlandish SciFi can be believable as it transports you to an alternate reality with purposeful world building that is revealed through concise movement. Sorry to say this had none of that and left me wondering what this could have been with some minor tweaking. Great idea, poor execution.


Review: Sword of Deaths by Christopher Mannino



Publisher: MuseItUp

Publishing Date: August 2015

ISBN: 9781771277389 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.1/5

Publishers Description: Susan Sarnio made a choice, and will spend the rest of her life as the only female Death. Last year she was bullied and ostracized. Now, to her complete bewilderment, four Deaths vie for her affection.

Review: Wow, Susan went from a scrappy first year student fighting for her life to Super Speshully Susan with magical bracelets and an ancient lineal connection. She has 4 boyz fighting over her while she seeks to find the answers to a mythical Death sword and magical bracelet.  How Susan is able to prance around, with long flowy black hair and a beautiful smile and not have 2 million boyz interested would be a neat trick. Heck, you could dress her in a burlap sack and shave her head and the boner-tension would still be high. Can you say “Plot Fail”? Susan ends up aging 4 years in 2 minutes and, you guessed it, has big tits and a curvy ass. Really?

Anyhoo, we revisit Quidditch….er…..Boskery: a game invented by douche bags where you hit each other with scythes and go numb with pain. The end. Really, the amount of time spent on Boskery will send you into a narcoleptic fit ending with your head bouncing off the table. While the first novel was really good, I am beginning to think that was just a lucky one off. In this installment the constant love interest crap and iterative dialogue about how speshul and smart Susan is, will drive you fugging insane. “Oops! I cut myself, Oww!. My bloody finger touched the stone and now a hidden room is revealed with a magical bracelet. What a coincidence that we were just talking about that bracelet……” Sigh.

New to this story line is the poor little black kid named….Tom. Good choice of names there. We get the usual blacks are good, whites are evil story and Susan blushing about, well, everything. I get that this is made for the YA crowd, but can’t it at least be palatable? Really, if I had a hard copy of this novel I would box it and ship it to Amsterdam because only the truly stoned could have a good time with this.