Review: Like A Boss by Adam Rakunas



Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780857664822

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: In this breathless and hilarious followup to Philip K Dick Award-nominated Windswept, former labor organiser Padma’s worst nightmare comes true: she gets yanked out of early retirement. After buying her favourite rum distillery and settling down, she thought she’d heard the last of her arch nemesis, Evanrute Saarien. But Saarien, fresh out of prison for his misdeeds in Windswept, has just fabricated a new religion, positioning himself as its holy leader. He’s telling his congregation to go on strike, to fight the system. And unfortunately, they’re listening to him.

Review: Is that Padma Longstockings wielding a wrench? Again, the cover art blows.

This chick rocks what with her determined mien coupled with a deep and hidden vulnerability that lashes out with intent and variety. She is at once horny, feisty, reflective and scared shitless. She overcomes her shortcomings to do what she thinks is right and never wavers from her goals even in the face of chronic self-doubt.  She gets help from old Windswept rum when friends are in short supply and her psychosis comes a knockin’. As you move with her through life, you will find yourself rooting for her in hopes that she somehow is elevated to just rewards. 

**Spoiler Alert**

“So why you no give 5 stars!!” At about the 60% mark, Padma turns into this self-made martyr whom traipses around performing acts of self-sacrifice and rallying the masses to better their situation in the face of demagoguery. It really pushed the story line into the donkey-dirt and halted the movement. When other characters tend to echo the obvious with understated adulation and compliments, then you know this is headed into the pisser. Padma declines to recognize that she is so great, so it must be ok…right? Nah, it just turns the story line into a smug rendition of an oft used liberal script.

At times this was an adroit romp through a maze of politics and real world manipulations. Padma is front and center yet fails to capture the essence that left us thrilled in her first adventure. Although there is an attempt to explain the series of events that culminate in a disastrous state, the reasoning is flawed and doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. The logical path is to follow the money which would lead to the big three, but what we are left with is a  personal vendetta and acrimonious behavior. Anywaaaay, still entertaining.  

Review: Sixteen Sunsets by Mark Gardner


Publisher: Article 94

Publishing Date: February 2016


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.6/5

Publishers Description: Kristof led a simple life with a simple problem: Terminal cancer. The problem is, his life isn’t simple anymore. He’s just discovered he has superpowers, and only has sixteen sunsets left to live. So what will he do with his remaining time? 

Review: There were a lot of good elements to this story. Kristof is a great character but his wife’s antics don’t make much sense. She’s worried sick about him one moment or holding his hand in concern then can’t wait to divorce him. She thinks he’s a gross pig then can’t wait to bang him on the couch.  Conflicted?  Nah, she just doesn’t read as conflicted as the real source of her angst is never revealed. Did he cheat on her? Does she love someone else? Does she want something different in life? Dunno, and you won’t either. Anne is one great character to follow. Her backstory was revealed in elegant simplicity and she captures the movement and builds a better character each time she is revealed. Stunning work. Most of the supporting cast are built very well and enhanced the overall appeal of the novel.

Initially the storyline is easy to follow but trends towards the confusing as logical story line progression is thrown out the door. In this case it works, as it adds a bit of the unknown to the story line which is appropriate to the characterization. The repetitive nature of the scenes which involve Peter is there to drive home a point and any  alternative would not do it justice in describing obsessive behavior. The novel is rife with coincidences where you have to work real hard to suspend your disbelief. To be fair the story line is a bit compressed with fast paced movement so you have to get there in a hurry.

An entertaining read from a new and talented author that leaves room for successive novels.

Review: Assassin Queen by Anna Kashina



Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: June 2016


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publishers Description: Defeated by the Majat forces, Nimos and the other Kaddim Brothers retreat to their secret fortress in the southern mountains. Nimos knows that the Majat’s victory is only temporary: during the flight, he managed to place a mark on Kara, one of the top-ranked Diamond Majat. His mind magic would now allow him to use this mark to confer her fighting skill to the Kaddim warriors and turn her loyalties to their side.

Review: In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Kara is extra super speshul. Not only can she kick anyone’s ass and yearn for that man-stink that smells like a pine forest but go from kaddim possessed doucheling to QUEEN ALJIHARA!!  See, she has a mark on her neck that just happens to signify she is royalty and…. and she got captured by the usurping queenie and she looks like the twin of her assassinated mom queenie and she was stolen at birth and raised by the assassins guild and…. and one time at band camp.

Besides the stilted prose, wounded story line and juvenile situations our phrasing friends are back to expedite the scenes. “Shiver”, “shivered” and “shivering” down backs and spines (20x) and bodies was used 40x. Blushed, blushed and blushing – 34x and “chilled”, “chill” or “chilling” 18x. There is still this remnant love triangle but Prince d-bag is ok with it now that he got laid in a tent with a gurl. Mai/Kai (cause all the YA novels use Kai as the man hunk) is always looking stern or his eyes go soft or they turn to steel or his manly chiseled chest/crotch has Kara’s head buried in it.  I could go on but refuse to keep thinking about this book

Review: Dr. Doa by Simon R. Green



Publisher: Berkley

Publishing Date: June 2016


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.1/5

Publishers Description: The name is Drood, Eddie Drood, also known as Shaman Bond. My family has been safeguarding humanity for generations, facing the hidden horrors of the world so you can sleep at night and remain oblivious to the existence of the monstrous nightmares that walk and stalk among us. 

Review: A romp through a world unlike any other. Griffons, animated attack scarecrows made from the hosts of defeated enemies, flying aircraft carriers with alien technology, magic hot chicks and caged Angels are just a few of the extreme additives in this novel.  A little too over-the-top for me and many scenes morphed into trips down memory lane in order to fulfill some backstory requirement. These shifts into the past halted the movement and stunted the character development. 2 meh’s.

Review: Down and Out in Purgatory by Tim Powers



Publisher: Subterranean Press

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9781596067813

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3 meh’s

Publishers Description: What do you do if the man you’ve vowed to kill dies before you can kill him?
In college, Tom Holbrook worshipped Shasta DiMaio from afar, but she married the arrogant John Atwater—and Atwater eventually murdered her. All that’s left for Tom is revenge. He has devoted the rest of his life to finding Atwater and killing him—but when he finally finds him, Atwater is in a bag in the Los Angeles County morgue.

Review: The cover art is good because of boob, but doesn’t tie into the story.

This was a very short read and thrusts you right into the meat of the story line from the get-go. There is no build up to the characters in terms of a lengthy backstory. Just a truncated look at three people pasts with a heavy dose of emotion to give the relationship substance.  Only you find yourself stretching pretty deep to find any empathy.

***Spoiler Alert***

The idea that some guy would willingly let someone blow his head off to find and punish a college friend in the afterlife, is fookin’ ridiculous. Not only is it many years later but the relevance to maintaining a story line is weak at best.  The writing is really good though and keeps you hanging in there as it flows nicely. Buy/Don’t buy…meh.

Review: Hatter Madigan: Ghosts in the Hatbox by Frank Beddor



Publisher:  Letter Better Publishing

Publishing Date: April 2016

ISBN: 9780991272921

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.2/5

Publishers Description: Combat training! Secret society initiations! Self-serving rivals! Welcome to Wonderland’s prestigious Millinery Academy: where those born to protect the queendom train to become spies, assassins, and bodyguards. With all that to contend with, not to mention following in his popular older brother’s footsteps, just getting through Imagination Class seems impossible already.

Review: Quite a few online reviews on this already so I won’t take up too much of your time. Pretty entertaining read. Good character development and a story line with plenty of pace. The world building is a bit confusing  as the descriptors lack a bit in explanatory detail but otherwise a great imaginative read.

If you like Harry Potter on acid with a dash of Darth Vader, this books for you.


Review: The Siege by Mark Alpert



Publisher: Sourecebooks Fire

Publishing Date: July 2016


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.5/5

Publishers Description: Adam gave up everything for a new chance at life. Now with a cutting-edge digital mind, he is smarter, faster, better than a normal teen. Except Adam is anything but invincible. He’s indebted to the government program that gave him this ability—and freedom comes at a price. 

Review: I had mixed feelings about this novel. The upside was an interesting story line with characters developing tech while residing in constructs of their own design. The downside was the love triangle(s), teen angst and CRASH! BOOM! BANG! fight scenes that went overly long. Throughout this hormonal menagerie no one mentions computer circuit susceptibility to EMP strikes, nor are they utilized in weaponry. I had expected something closer to Asimov’s world but this pales in comparison. However, a good TV series this would make.


Review: Caly’s Island by Dick Herman



Publisher: Venture

Publishing Date: March 2016


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: Six skilled retirees are meeting up for a sailing trip, a break from their action-packed former lives. These aging giants, calling themselves the ‘freakin’ old guys’ are hard-working leaders in their respective fields and have a menagerie of skills to show for it. 

Review: This was pretty smug from the get-go. Six, 70+ year olds that just happen to have AMAZING SKILLS! One has a dark past (CIA hint hint) and chases down a juvenile thug because……..HE WAS A GOLD MEDALIST RUNNER IN THE SENIOR OLYMPICS. Not only does he chase down the thief but roughs him up as he is such a badass. “Riiiiight” ……(Dr. Evil face). Another sailing douche is a super lawyer that bangs the thief’s hot stepmom cause old guys get boners too?? ….still?? Anyway, there is a super Federal Judge that mediates everything and an accountant on the run from the mafia but has a hot Ukraine assassin protecting him, yada, yada, yada, fog bank time warp……Islands with mystical beings from lore, some more old guy boners and lots of lessons for the punk kid. Yup, they take him with them and turn……him…..into……a……..MAN! These old farts can do anything!

Well without boring you more than I was, the characters were developed poorly. Meaning they were set up as super old guys and were unable to grow with the movement. The movement is not bad but is constantly sabotaged by righteous and indignant behavior. This needed a good dose of hard-boiled noire and less personalities clouding the story line.


Review: Apocalypse Orphan by Tim Allen



Publisher: Spectrum

Publishing Date: March 2016


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.0/5

Publishers Description: Commander Orlando Iron Wolf is aboard the International Space Station when a blinking light on his computer console alerts him to a fast moving comet headed for a collision with planet Earth. With no way to stop the impending doomsday, the world descends into panic and anarchy. Massive transport ships are built to colonize the moon, and evacuation of a chosen few begins. Wolf awakens 50,000 years later to a wildly different earth.

Review: This started out pretty cool. An Astronaut whom gets trapped in the coma of a world ending comet and wakes to a strange new world 50k years later (with a full and long beard but Native Americans don’t grow them). His decent and subsequent survey of a new Earth is initially very good as is his preliminary interaction with the natives. Then you really have to suspend your disbelief as the story line turns into a maelstrom of self-indulgent happenstance that is smattered with characters that have no place in SciFi but rather in a Knights of the Roundtable story.

What is going on with that cover? Is that Catwoman?

While there were many things wrong with the story line, Chief Iron Wolf is the worst. So, somehow in the comet with strange radiation and solid methane-something, he becomes SUPERMAN! So later (after much breaking of necks and bashing of brains) someone on the planet finds his particular kryptonite. Fug.  Not only can’t he be hurt (sort of), but every, and I mean EVERY woman loves him and wants his doodle inside her. Forget that he hasn’t gotten laid in 50k years as he is saving himself for an artificial intelligence that just loves him so much that her circuits get hot. Really? He is constantly jumping in cold water to, I assume, relieve the constant boner tension and kill giant pre-historic crocodile like thingies with his hands.

As he joins an honorable King in his fight against the evil ruffians it never occurs to anyone that he has a fully armed spaceship that could save his cohorts from death. But no, only when Iron Douche is in trouble does his AI girlfriend (who is a freaking hot fully interacting hologram) and their ship come to his rescue.  The fight scenes are fucking ridiculous especially the group of……you guessed it, Amazonian type women that fight and fornicate with equal abandon and intensity. Oh, no men allowed, except for Iron Penis as they all want to bang him.  Anyway, they constantly do backflips and handstands while wielding a whip to effective result in battle. Ridiculousness reaches new heights when a Nanna warrior named Nala (really that’s what they are called) fights her daughter for fun. See, her daughter just learned that her mom is a long lost queen from the warrior clam, er….clan and now she is one of the best little warriors after a few months of training and beats everyone with her whip and moves like the wind and can do fuckin’ backflips. Queenie To Be (who moves just like an Olympic gymnast) ends the little upstarts hopes by slowly disrobing her with her whip so she only has leather panties on. Oh and she undoes her tied up hair with the whip to cover her bare breasts. (Bashing head against wall). Weirdness reaches new heights as the Amazonian hidden princess/queen hottie Nala has been rejected in public by her flatlander husband and the only way to restore her honor (without killing herself) is for Super Iron Man Eagle Shaft to publicly have sex with her, with his AI hottie girlfriends blessing of course. Nothing is consummated so we are left hanging……er, erecting?

Abrupt ending is to be had so gird your loins for a punishing sequel.


Review: The Gordite Witch – Book 1 by Max W. Miller



Publisher: Ironshield

Publishing Date: July 2012


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Publishers Description: Earth’s survival lies in the hands of the Dylanians. A young Sadie Mae Stevens must weed through the mystery of her toxic blood and what it has to do with her mother’s death. Sadie recognizes she is different for a reason, no other girl she knew hunted and chained Pigwaller monsters.

Review: Cover doesn’t jibe with the storyline. Sadie has dark skin with red hair. 

This was a fairly short read and consisted of Sadie Mae mostly battling bad thingies. The major fail with the story line is that she has all these amazing powers yet stands passive while she is sold by her father to a group that performs cruel medical testing on their subjects. While there, she meets her teen peers whom also have awesome powers. They have been there a while so it makes even less sense. Adjacent to this testing facility are the good guys that are super speshully smart and nice that know about the sale of gifted children to this facility yet do nothing to alert the authorities. 

In brief this was well written. Meaning the writing is technically good yet the story line suffers from creative confusion and often tries to do more than is needed. This was built for the very YA crowd and is thankfully not riddled with dialogue crutches like “She shuddered, Said softly etc.”. For that we will add a star.