Review: Pride’s Spell by Matt Wallace

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Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780765390011

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.9/5

Publishers Description: The team at Sin du Jour—New York’s exclusive caterers-to-the-damned—find themselves up against their toughest challenge, yet when they’re lured out west to prepare a feast in the most forbidding place in America: Hollywood, where false gods rule supreme.

Review: A novella a bit longer than average that reads in length like War and Peace

Although the action was fairly constant and consisted of the CRASH-BOOM!! variety, the characters were woefully underdeveloped and relied on cursing or levity in tense situations to build a shallowness to scale. The storyline was barely cogent and seemed to lack logical progression in the midst of an undefinable world. Although I am new to this particular party, I should be able to reason out a story line within the current melee and work out an understanding of preceding novels and how they tie into each other. I was never given enough information to even intuit the disparate threads that make up a whole because I think the “whole” is never defined adequately. While the characters were boring in that you never really care what happens to them (patterned conflict resolutions), there were some fun instances with the Easter Bunny and others.

I suppose this is more of a cult following that I failed to understand with limited rhetoric in hand. 

Review: Argonauts by Kevin Kneupper

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Publisher: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Publishing Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9781530820290

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: Some called her a sorceress, though what she did was science. Medea was a genomancer, a programmer of human genetic code. She could extend someone’s life, turn an ugly duckling into a startling beauty, and cure the most stubborn of diseases. She’d have spent her life helping those who needed it, if only she could have.

Review: A pretty cool story line with a futuristic take on “Jason and the Argonauts”.  In the Greek tale there were 85 crew members of the Argo, whereas in this story there are only Jason, Medea, Idas, Mopsus etc ….and the Gods have been replaced with Artificial Intelligence.

While this was a great take on an ancient mythos, some of the characters really diminished the story line. Take Medea for example. An expert genome manipulator that looks at Jason’s “flashing emerald eyes” and hard abs. She is obviously smitten but we have to wade through her juvenile descriptive tendencies. Additionally there was a lot of backstory to wade through. While Medea is getting tingles in her naughty bits and blushing constantly, Idas is just too way over the top. He has no emotional brakes and it is only his preconceived notions that are most important, especially in crisis situations. Constantly hating someone for an assumed transgression even in the face of innocence did not create the tension desired. It was too overt and was subsequently annoying as it reared its ugly head in every scene. Other modes of excessiveness were the reliance on the “Gods” and sudden insights of clarity. A little too Deus Ex for me. 

Delete dipshjt……er Medea and her love-struck YA persona and you got a great novel.

Review: The Further Adventures of Langdon St. Ives by J. Blaylock

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Publisher: Subterranean

Publishing Date: July 2016

ISBN:9781596067820

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.6/5

Publishers Description: Subterranean Press is proud to present The Further Adventures of Langdon St. Ives, which includes three classic adventures, a new novella and novelette, and more than forty illustrations by J. K. Potter.
Langdon St. Ives, explorer, scientist, naturalist, and family man rarely has a restful day: adventure befalls him and a colorful cast of characters around every seemingly innocent turn.

Review: A heck of a lot of fun as the writing is superb. A few adventures with a sort of Sherlock and Holmes flavor. Really well developed characters tied to plenty of movement.

Review: WolfKing by Sarah Rayne

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Publisher: Venture

Publishing Date: April 2016

ISBN: 9781533010131

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: Following the terror of the Apocalypse, life in the community of Tugaim, Ireland is simple – but controlled. Families eek out their meagre livings from the blasted earth, carefully avoiding the forbidden patches of land that still shine with eerie light… Joanna Grady is happy in this community, and has even met Flynn, whom she loves and hopes to be matched to. They dream of Ancient Ireland, a land of magic, royalty and terrible foes.

Review: An epic in story telling wrapped around some fairly well built characters set in ancient and magical Ireland.

spoiler alert:

Joanna is, initially, a pretty good character to follow. She is headstrong, opinionated and never one to stand around when there is doing to be done. Her Dad gives her away so he can have access to a pig farmers lands, and she is subsequently groped and ejaculated upon which drives her escape back to her only friend Flynn. Once she goes through the time veil, Joanna becomes less like her self and is given to bouts of speaking about her predicaments in the third person. She comes off like an out of breath second grader relating the details of events as they unfold.

Of course Joanna is super speshul and the Wolf King wastes no time banging her then later, raping her. But its ok, cause he is so wolfy and can’t help himself. Joanna is passed around like a joint at a frat party, and soon is getting her nether region licked by an insidious witch. While laying there taking it, Joanna beats her to a pulp with a dildo…..at least I think that’s what it was. Anywaaaay, most of the scenes are rather contrived and lack believability. Especially in that the characters fall for most of the obvious traps which should never have happened in the first place as events unravel. Like how is Joanna able to beat a powerful witch senseless when said witch captures them all and is unable to get hurt when attacked? Dildo power? Still, if you can get into it, the novel was entertaining. With a bit of patience as to the switching points of view (first, third person) you can ferret out the story line and follow it.

Review: Casimir Bridge by Darren Beyer

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Publisher: CreateSpace Independent

Publishing Date: February 2016

ISBN: 9781530164080

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.7/5

Publishers Description: What follows is a heart-pounding, unforgettable ride through the hallowed halls of big government, AIC’s outer space headquarters, and the revelation of a conspiracy that runs so deep, Mandi’s life – and the future of humanity – are put at stake.

Review: The early chapters seemed as if constructed to please a television producers mien. “Oh, Mandi well you came and you gave without taking….but I sent you away….”. The initial development of Mandi is rather patterned and clichéd. Nothing can kill her bubbling optimism in the face of multiple assassination attempts. She just KNOWS TOO MUCH! She comes off rather smug but can behave badly because she is super hot and sexy and intelligent and caring and carefree and popular and tough yet tender…..well you get the picture. 

<spoiler alert>

I have re-written this review three times as I have gone through the novel in order to build a review that is sound, fair and pointed. After the initial few chapters this became a very compelling novel then there were some hiccups that detracted from the whole. Mandi surfaces again as cub reporter that just happens to know how to spacewalk and saves her tender-eyed hunky man, Grae after the stabilization of a derelict ship goes wrong (she came up with the idea). She then goes on to tell a genius neutrino expert how to track the bad guys through space…..by triangulating neutrinos. Really? I mean, fukin’ really? If Mandi is not “getting lost in Grae’s eyes”, she is ordering people around like she knows how to run a spaceship and inserts herself where she has no business being. Oh, and she “presses her lips”, a lot.

On the positive side, the supporting characters were developed with superb rendition and the world building was crazy good. The science fiction has a lot of artistic license yet is rendered so well it becomes considered fact. This could be a great novel and an even better sequel if Mandi disappears into a black hole and pops out the other side to ruin an alternate universes novel.

Review: The Chromosome Game by Christopher Hodder Williams

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Publisher: Venture Press

Publishing Date: April 2016

ISBN:9780947634001

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.0/5

Publishers Description: Has the history of mankind been erased forever? Or has earth been abandoned? Whilst others look on, the terrifying aftermath of mortal life in an alternate dimension plays out and a universal order comes to light… Meanwhile, a preserved vision lies in wait. Carefully selected human DNA conserved in gene banks is the only legacy of a disturbing and volatile experiment.  

Review: Just could not get into this novel. Quite a bit of dialogue that goes nowhere with rather poor character development. I didn’t see what another reviewer saw as being a fast paced novel. It was slower than shjt coming out of a constipated rhino. Most English authors really delve into the prose and dialogue of infinite descriptive spew, and has never attracted any willingness on my part to continue reading through to the end. Just my bias.

Review: Parched by Andrew C. Branham

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Publisher: Ant Press

Publishing Date: April 2016

ISBN: 9781530519248

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publishers Description: The sun has become a ‘red giant’ and the world is hot and parched. In California, James and Lexie Deforio have three goals: to find food and water, to survive another day, and to protect their two children. When their home is abruptly robbed and burned to the ground, the family is forced to embark on a cross-country journey in search of safety and water.

Review: As far as I know with my limited astronomical sense is that once our sun becomes a red giant all life will cease and most likely destroyed as Earth is engulfed. The idea that people are living under a red giant is ridiculous.