Book Review: Housetrap by R.J. Hore

 

Publisher: Burst

Publishing Date: December 2012

ISBN:9781927454725

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.4/5

Publishers Description: In a world ruled by committees of wizards and packed with every creature imaginable, in the sleazy backstreets of Central City you can always count on Randolph C. Aloysius to solve your problems. That is, assuming his trusty Girl Friday, Bertha, can track him down.

Review: A fantasy detective novella with a fair amount of wit to keep you interested. The authors universe could do with a bit of expansion to build some depth into the characters and showcase his writing talent. Deceptively good world building brought this novel to the fore. Sadly, I can only rate novellas a max of three stars based on their compressed nature.

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Book Review: The Secret of the Great Red Spot by Leonardo Ramirez

 

Publisher: Leonardoverse

Publishing Date: January 2014

ISBN: 9781386696308

Genre: Steampunk/Kids

Rating: 2.7/5

Publishers Description: It is the year 1892 and Ian and Callie Castillo have had to suffer the hardships of a single parent family since their father went missing five years ago. Since then Ian has refused to use the last gift that his father left the wounded boy; a telescope that sits collecting dust in the attic. When Callie decides to peer through its murky lens it activates the device and sends the Castillos to the steam-powered floating cities of Jupiter where they discover the secret behind their father’s disappearance. But can they uncover the secret behind the Red Spot and save the Jovian’s before the Martians launch their attack?

Review: A good novella adventure made for kids. Great movement with limited character development.*  Kids should enjoy this space fairing adventure.

“I can only rate novellas’ a maximum of three stars due the compressed nature of the story line.

Book Review: The Alaskan Chronicles. The Provider by John Hunt

Publisher: Lodestone

Publishing Date: June 2018

ISBN:9781785356896

Genre: YA/ Post Apoc

Rating: 2.0/5

Publishers Description: The year is 2020 and President Trump has just announced that the world is bracing itself for the effects of a huge solar storm. 17-year-old Jim Richards is a gawky, unimpressive teenager in Anchorage, Alaska. As chaos descends and society breaks down into anarchy and violence, his family team up with others to leave the city and take their chances in the Alaskan wilderness. They can no longer flick a switch to get what they want, no mobile or internet, in fact no communication at all with the wider world, how will it play out?

Review: This was intended for the YA crowd…not sure why as it has some valuable insights that exceed millennial cognition. In short, this is a post apocalyptic novel set in the wilds of Alaska where a survivor recounts his life from an aged perspective.

While I am a fool for all things post-apoc, this novel drew me in despite some minor factual fails. For instance it is mentioned “there is something magical about willing a small hunk of brass into a bulls-eye”. Jim is referencing shooting and the hunk mentioned should have been lead even with a copper jacket.  Another firearm fall down is when they hear three shots, in quick succession and Bob says “Pistols,….sounds like Berettas, army issue..” Really? So Bob, can tell the make of a firearm just by listening to the sound when it fires? Well that is just impossible. Period. Perhaps you can tell the caliber in some instances but that is rare.

In the event that there is a huge C.M.E. (coronal mass ejection) that knocks out the electrical grid, then cars would also be affected by the electromagnetic pulse except for cars from about the sixties on back. Then why is there a miles long exodus of jam packed traffic on the highway? The author expounds on the country of India continuing on as usual as they don’t have much electrical power. India would be crushed like other countries as it has a big reliance on transported goods .

The bush craft felt patterned and not realistic. More like it was researched then converted into a story line. The main characters are built well (Bob and Jim) with Jessie, Bess and Mary rendered a bit thin. What I really did not like was the beginning of the story told by Jim as an old man. It gives the novel away in such a manner as to relegate the main story line outcome as a known instance. Kind of like opening one present on Christmas eve rather than  all of them on Christmas day. This delivery continues throughout the novel and becomes tiresome in approach. The ending is really weird and does not fit in any believable scenario.

Despite my shjtpicking, the author has a deft hand at weaving an interesting tale. Jim is likable, honest, positive and hardworking in his approach to life. Qualities that immure and defy death while enhancing survival. I am not sure if I will continue on this series based on the weirdo ending and the constant political burps that litter the pages.

Book Review: School For Psychics by K.C. Archer

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publishing Date:

ISBN:9781501159336

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 1.3/5

Publishers Description: When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

Review: I really liked the beginning of this novel. Grunge gambling, Teddy. Cruising the strip in search of a score. Banished from college for gambling, Teddy is trying to pay off a large debt when she is pulled out of the fire by some clandestine operatives. And then it goes to shit.  What was once a gutter waif with some skillz, turns into….wait for it………Super Speshul Psychic Gurl!!!! YAY!  Not only is she super hot and sexy, she can telekinithipath yur ass. Oh, and she can also astrally project herself into your MIND and see that you used to masturbate to Farrah Fawcett’s poster.

I guess the biggest question I have is why ruin a perfectly good character with patterned YA romance? There is the sordid love tribangle, a group of psychic rascals called the “misfits” and an evil government operation from which asshat was spawned.

It really feels like I have given the same review to different authors multiple times. I just can’t seem to winnow out the chaff based on the publisher’s descriptions. They are pretty good at hiding the intended audience by listing this as “Adult”.  I can’t wait for Book 2 in this series. LOL.

Book Review: Frostgrave: Second Chances by Mathew Ward

Publisher: Osprey

Publishing Date: November 2017

ISBN:9781472824646

Genre: Fantasy

Rating:2.8/5

Publishers Description: Time is running out for Yelen and Mirika Semova. Although the sisters have a gained a reputation for success among the explorers of the Frozen City, their lives are haunted by a curse that hangs over Yelen. The more she uses her magic, the closer the demon Azzanar comes to claiming her, body and soul. When the sisters recover a strange artifact, dark truths are revealed, old alliances are broken, and the sisters are separated. Each sister is faced with terrible choices. Who will they turn to for help, and what price will they pay to get it?

Review: I am a bit confused, but that should be no surprise. This started out pretty good but was quickly mired down by travel filler and internal dialogue between Yelen and her demon. While the story line was compelling enough to continue, the main characters stifled every event with trenchant myopia. “Wahhh, me, me, me. I have a demon in my head”……etc. etc.. Well while Yelen is dealing with some rather life threatening issues like a DEMON IN HER HEAD, Mirika is also possessed by an ancient fuckwit.  So in between possessions there is quite a bit of to-ing and-fro-ing across the frozen reaches which takes up a lot of of the novel.

What was really well done were the supporting characters. Kain, Ras, and the whole gang were superbly rendered. When parts of the gang were sacrificed to further the novels intent, there was a pang of loss and a fear that the sisters would get more page time. IMO, main characters should share the level of intent with the supporting characters. This builds everyone in consummate fashion and leaves space for development. When characters are over the top in approach, you don’t care what happens to them. Like wishing the sisters would get swallowed by a sperm whale.

The ending is not an ending so gird yur loins for the next installment.