Review: Gizzard Stones by Garth Upshaw

Publisher: Ragnarok

Publishing Date: September 2017

ISBN: 9781945528507

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: Nail didn’t mean to become the first goblin in hundreds of years to escape the Queen’s clutches. Lianne, a young human on the cusp of adulthood, struggles to find her place in a society that sneers at her immigrant forbears. Everyone they care about must rise to the challenges of a new world… a world that comes at a deadly cost.

Review: So what’s inside? Much trampling upon the masses by a power hungry magical Queen. Goblins take much of her focus as they are unwittingly the source of her power.  A mutant human girl begins her journey to change her circumstances, and others, under the Queen’s rule while her father leads the underground resistance of “Believers”.  

Wow, this was really good writing. Dialogue without phrasing fillers is a relief as it allows the story line to breath and take flight. Characters develop deeply with the movement when unencumbered with stilted scene progression and this novel delivers riveting personalities at every level. For a first full length novel I am extremely impressed with the author’s ability to not only construct a solid presentation but to enable a highly creative world.

“So why you no give 5 stars!?”. Not sure what the point of Lianne was, other than to expedite another perspective and divvy up the story line to make it more interesting. And why she is chosen to be a princess and why that matters was a serious plot hole. She later leads the city in rebuilding and administrative efforts and everyone calls her princess. Wha??? Still, I liked her character even though it was misplaced.. GET THIS!


Review: Soul Jar: A Jubal Van Zandt Novel by Eden Hudson

Publisher: Shadow Alley

Publishing Date: July 2017


Genre: Scifi/Fantasy

Rating: 3.9/5

Publishers Description: The best thief in the history of the Revived Earth is on a literal deadline—find a cure for the plague or die—but when the universe drops the ultimate extortion fodder into his lap, what’s Jubal supposed to do, say no? 

Review: Jubal is back and is in fine form once again. Where Bloodslinger was pure genius and Beautiful Corpse  rendered a miserable flop, Soul Jar picks up the pieces and races to the finish line in fine form.  Half of this novel is Jubal on a quest of sorts, to retrieve Nick’s fractured soul and the other half is Carina, mired in a virtual reality game.

I loved the pace and ever evolving characters of this installment and although Carina is gaming in a make believe world, the story is fantastic.  “So why you no give 5 stars!!!”. Too dam short. These novels need to be full length space operas to really expand the world and develop immersive story lines. Also,  Nick keeps getting in deeper shjt, so you can only surmise that Jubal will eventually get to banging Carina. That is just a guess on my part. Hopefully I am pleasantly surprised.  Anyhoo a great recovery with more epic moments in store. GET THIS!!

Review: The Lovers * Dark Is the Sun * Riders of the Purple Wage by Philip José Farmer

Publisher: Open Road

Publishing Date: 1952 (Lovers) 1981 (Dark is the Sun), 1967 (Riders of the Purple Wage)

ISBN: 9781504046060

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.8/5

Publishers Description: From a multiple Hugo winner and Science Fiction Grand Master: Three mind-bending stories featuring future worlds, space travel, and aliensAuthor Philip José Farmer blasts into space, races into the future, and travels back in time in three astoundingly original and thrilling science fiction adventures.

Review: Well, these were some oldies but some goodies in the SciFi novella genre. Farmer’s writing theme is ever present; questioning religion, spirituality, sexuality and his fear of death or the unknown. These early works are no where as good as River World yet the writing development is evident. Get these and be wholly entertained.

Review: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780765392534

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: DNF

Publishers Description: The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Review: About the only thing I liked about this novel was the cover art. Many may find intense dialogue that goes nowhere real fast is their thing, but not so much me. This should have been categorized as LGBTQIALMNOP and not Fantasy. If you want to read something really fun, go to Goodreads and read the reviews for this novel. Wow, the lesbian crowd is sure opinionated, narcissistic and myopic. Someone should remind them that it is FICTION!

Review: The Uploaded by Ferrett Steinmetz

Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: September 2017

ISBN: 9780857667175

Genre: SciFi/Dystopian

Rating: 4.3/5

Publishers Description: In the near future, the elderly have moved online and now live within the computer network. But that doesn’t stop them interfering in the lives of the living, whose sole real purpose now is to maintain the vast servers which support digital Heaven. For one orphan that just isn’t enough – he wants more for himself and his sister than a life slaving away for the dead. It turns out that he’s not the only one who wants to reset the world…

Review: Wow. The first half of this novel embraces an incredible writing talent that created what may become a defining moment in the genre. Too over the top in honors? Yeah, maybe but I am feeling it right now. Perhaps the horniness will pass once I have relieved myself…..with TIME. Geez, sleezy crowd here.  Anyhoo, this was fukin’ good. World building, characterization, movement, storyline etc. Plus, who names their kid Ferrett? How cool is that? 

It is at once witty, funny, thought provoking, plausible in it’s outrageousness, utterly indefatigable, revelatory and a bunch of other positive adjectives, oh and poignant. To be honest this started in a hole: slow, no relevant background, back and forth-ing  dialogue, no context….then BAM! Away we go. At about the kindle 60% mark it slows way down with mewling dialogue then picks up again. You want more storyline details? Read the book cause I aint a spoiler….well I am, but not this time.

Review: The Han Agent by Amy Rogers

Publisher: IBPA

Publishing Date: September 2017

ISBN: 9781940419152

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 1.4/5

Publishers Description: In the 1930s, Japanese scientists committed heinous crimes in their quest for the ultimate biological weapon. The war ended. Their mission did not. Eighty years later, Japanese-American scientist Amika Nakamura won’t let rules stand between her and scientific glory. When the ambitious young virologist defies a ban on the genetic manipulation of influenza, she’s expelled from the university. Desperate to save her career, she accepts a position with a pharmaceutical company in Tokyo. Soon after, a visit to a disputed island entangles her in a high-profile geopolitical struggle between Japan and China.

Review: ‘Nothing new under the Sun here. Move along, move along.”This story line is one of many that have been done over the years. Only this one was not very interesting due to the shallow characterization and weak plot.

Amika is extremely self-centered and narcissistic gurl yet is not so myopic that she fails to notice how hot her rich, handsome and hunky evil billionaire sponsor is. She wants to bang him if only to secure and further her career.  Can you say writing for a movie deal?? Well I can, and as disappointed in Amika as I was, I was more disappointed in the stilted dialogue and not so surprising deus ex moments that littered the pages of this failure. I stopped and started this novel quite a few times but mushed on to the end in hopes of some characterization revival in the form of movement and depth. It just gets worse with evil guy becoming more evil-ish and the storyline more mundane.

I think Harvard is calling and wants their PhD back.

Review: Unfiction by Gean Doucette

Publisher: Orbit

Publishing Date: June 2017

ISBN: 9781546563334

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.6/5

Publishers Description: When Oliver Naughton joins the Tenth Avenues Writers Underground, he figures he’ll finally get some of the wild imaginings out of his head and onto paper. Yet, Oliver’s stories don’t just need to be finished: they insist on it.

Review: This guy can write. I got so pulled into the first story that when it ended abruptly after one chapter, I was literally angry. It was a short story that Oliver was writing as part of his club. I almost dumped the whole novel but decided to push through my disappointment through to the end. While the writing was eminently engaging and the story line clever, it just didn’t pull me in. The characters had depth but the backbone of the story was just not that interesting.  See, Oliver writes stories that become real, but are just fragments of the whole as he has not finished them. Mmmmkay. I know this is pure subjectivity (like most reviews) but dang, infuse this story with some interesting movement. 

Mostly I was bored what with all the dialogue that centered around writing styles and people living it as their reality. I know this has been done before but cannot recall the novel.  A big meh.

Review: Binary System by Eric Brown

Publisher: Solaris

Publishing Date: August 2017

ISBN: 9781781085516

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: After surviving a catastrophic starship blow-out, Delia Kemp finds herself stranded on the inhospitable, ice-bound world of Valinda, populated by the Skelt, a race of hostile aliens who will stop at nothing to obtain Delia’s scientific knowledge. Escaping from the Skelt – assisted by a friendly chimpanzee-like alien and a giant spider-crab – she travels south through a phantasmagorical landscape as the long winter comes to an end and the short, blistering summer approaches.Pursued by the Skelt, she and her companions make a death-defying dash across the planet’s inimical equator to meet up with fellow survivors from the starship, and a final journey to the valley of Mahkanda – where salvation just might be waiting.

Review:  Aliens that converse like humans, Deus ex consistently showing up in dire situations, a planet that makes no sense in its ability to support the myriad forms of life and a main character lacking in depth were just a few of the problems with Binary System. I agree with one reviewers assessment that the alien societies were dichotomously represented as good vs. evil and that those societies lacked the complexities for drawing the reader into a believable world. Delia was a big problem for most of the novel as her inner whiney ruminations with the resident AI was tiresome. I just didn’t care what happened to her character as depth was never built into her.

The huge fall down in this novel was the world’s unsupportive xeno-biology. Nine years of -30 F winters and one year of summer, supports 3 sentient alien species and a plethora of flora and fauna. This planet makes no sense as it has one seasonal shift in 10 years but axial tilt (required for seasonal change) is never mentioned. So basically this world, as written, cannot exist. This ice world is possible but lacks the scientific foundation to make it plausible.  There was not even an attempt to explain how the flora and fauna of this world adapted to temperature extremes other than certain species go underground for 9 years. A great opportunity was lost in creating a believable world.  

While the world building foundation was abysmal with all the plot holes and lack of “alieness”, the writing was technically good.

Review: Legacy Fleet Express by DJ Holmes

Publisher: Kindle

Publishing Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9780984675610

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: Vivian Cross has carved her place as one of the most sought-after assassins in the world, taking on tasks too morally bankrupt for regular IDF agents. Until her CENTCOM handler sells her out, trapping Vivian in a Russian bunker. She’ll do anything to escape–even strike a desperate bargain with President Malakhov. But with Swarm voices murmuring in the back of her head, this might be one gamble she can’t walk away from.

Review: This story takes place in a Russian research and prison bunker for most of the novel with weird swarm infected zombie like humans.  Hottie assassin and legendary killer Vivian Cross kills her way out in order to exact vengeance on the biotch that sold her out.  

There was much grinding and gnashing of teeth combined with seething hatred that was consistent throughout the novel. Vivian carries this internal hate to drive her remorseless killing. Well she was a remorseless killer to begin with but now it’s personal. Not a bad character just a little too over the top. 

The big fall down with the novel was the alternate chapter coverage of political machinations. World President So and So has a body guard that was dishonored, yada, yada, yada. Wow, what a fooking snooze fest of empty blather. Skip one half of this book and enjoy the action.