Book Review: The Great Locomotive Chase, 1862 (The Symbiont Time Travel Adventures Series, Book 4)


Publishing Date: April 2018

Publisher: ePublishing Works!

ISBN: 9781947833180

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publisher’s Description: As the General, a legendary steam engine from the American Civil War, disappears into the distance, Petra and Kipp join a small group of determined men in pursuit as The Great Locomotive Chase begins. Petra and Kipp are reluctantly pressed into service as mentors for a new pair of travelers, Peter and Elani. The young duo shares the talents of their advisers in that they are telepaths who can form a bond that enables time travel. But they are, after all, very inexperienced. It falls to Petra and Kipp to train them in the way of their species. To the average human, Petra appears to be a young woman while Kipp masks his true identity in the guise of her canine companion. But they are, in reality, highly skilled investigators in pursuit of past mysteries

Review: This was one of the most boring novels I have read in a long time. It is not only boring, but repetitively so. Yeah we get it, you and your dog are completely bonded and have this connection like no other…blah, blah, blah. Every chapter or scene is this smug rendition of dog on gurl  connectedness. WE GET IT, YOU BOTH ARE SPESHUL!. Additionally, the first part of this novel goes nowhere. Cleaning yards, going to a hospital, dirty dishes etc. Jeez, really? I get that in everyday life, I don’t need to read about it.

I am sure the novel picks up somewhere but I don’t give a frick. DNF.

Book Review: ISAN by Mary Ting


Publishing Date: May 2018

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

ISBN: 9781944109560

Genre: SciFi/YA

Rating: 1.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council. Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

Review: I think I need to adjust my level of discernment in order to avoid this current deluge of YA/SciFi that keeps invading the publishing space.

Anywaaay, this was another rundown on the ol’ speshul gurl/sniffing musky men with a lot of “clenching jaws” to round it out. Every girl that is part of the assassins squad  has the hots for Rhett, Russ or Mitch. Of course all three guys want to bang 17 year old special gurl, Ava. The idea that indigent teenagers are recruited into a secret assassins group, is ridiculous but hey that’s showbiz.

Book Review: Halo Bound by Eden Hudson


Publishing Date: February 2014

Publisher: The River Pirate Alliance


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.6/5

Publishers Description: The holy champion chosen to save the world is enslaved to a sadistic fallen angel and losing the battle for his sanity. The guy chosen to save the holy champion is his binge-drinking redneck brotherMeet the Whitney boys: Colt—a mentally unstable holy soldier with a rapidly deteriorating hold on reality. Tough—a smart-mouthed honky-tonk hero trying to drown his problems in music, women, and good times.

Review: You never know what you are going to get with this author. Stunted exchanges limping along a wilted story line or fleeting brilliance that dazzles in creative splendor. Take for instance the Jubal Van Zandt series. The first novel was really good and imparted this dry wit that was clever at every turn.  Then this slow slide into a boring character that was no longer funny whom began to reek of disappointment and patterned motives.

In Halo Bound, this novel starts off with a bang and never stops the roller coaster ride of creative inventiveness coupled with sublime world building and grand characterization.  At times, this novel wallowed in the morass that is YA, but was rendered palatable by scenes that shifted away from the usual romance tropes and into varied individual character development with chapters covering their points of view. Really brilliant writing.

So here is to Eden and a spectacular start to a series with two others rounding it out. I have not read them yet but hopefully Eden will send me the free links once my nose leaves her butt.

Book Review: The Imposter by Daniel Norrish

Publishing Date: January 2018

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

ISBN: 9781386163442

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 3.8/5

Publisher’s DescriptionHe’s taking them all, one by one, and their criminal industries of drugs, prostitution, money laundering, kidnap and armed robbery are collapsing in spectacular, immediate implosions.
This vigilante collects the cash and the final words of Australia’s most deviant criminals, and his identity is as mysterious as the way in which he hunts his victims. They cannot hide, and there is only one possible explanation for the vigilante’s omnipotence; he must be one of them. The murderer must be an imposter in their illegal organisation, and his final act in this rampage is certain to bring the whole gang to its knees.

Review: This was a fascinating read except for the fall down on who the Imposter was. I like the shifting points of view from chapter to chapter and the overall concept was executed very well. I had a great time reading this.

Spoiler Alert!!!

So, how does a hooker/junky become the imposter? Well, guess she had help from the “Cleaner” but it is never elaborated on whether he is doing the heavy lifting or if the barmaid/hooker/junky/lesbian is. Kind of a weak way to hide who the imposter is without giving any clarifications at the end.

Book Review: Outliers by Kate L. Mary


Publishing Date: March 2018

Publisher: Kate L. Mary


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.7/5

Publisher’s Description: In the dusty ruins of the world, three groups exist: the Sovereign, the Fortis, and the Outliers. Within their walled city, exclusive access to the only remaining technology gives the Sovereign an advantage that seems impossible to beat. In exchange for meager scraps and free reign outside the walls, they use the brawn of the Fortis to their advantage while the Outliers struggle to survive. Living on land that has not healed from the poison of the past, and surrounded by dangers too numerous to count, the Outliers have adapted – but to the Sovereign and the Fortis, they are nothing.

Review: This author in the afterword sounds like a nice person. Giving thanks to people whom she borrowed ideas from, editors, family etc. etc. But sadly, reviews are not based on the quality of the human writing it, but on the creation.

To me there was a gaping plot hole that the author tried to fill with some pitter patter nonsense. Why, when people on the outside of the city (Outliers) are obviously surviving in communities, that they feel the need to go into the city to work when their lives are always in forfeit? Getting a pittance in rations is worth being raped or beheaded especially when our hero’s husband brings game home every day and Indra eventually does the same? The idea that Indra needs to work for ruthless sovereigns to get some medicine for mum is ridiculous when there are people that know how to get into and out of the city undetected.

The author stated that she wanted to write about Robin Hood, when obviously this was patterned after Hunger Games. We see a lot of writers trying to capitalize on that franchise lately and this is no different. Ruthless overlords, check. Female reluctant and stalwart hero, great with a bow that takes down game and people, check. A plan to take down the overlords, check. Dual love interests, check. A person on the other side willing to risk their life for the hero, check. A main antagonist much like President Snow, check.

I still liked the overall movement and the basic story line, especially when Indra starts hunting Fortis soldiers. But, this action gets off the pot quickly and soon descends into her considerations for returning to the city based on weak justifications. I think this author has a lot of potential, so lets hope it shows up in the next installment.

Book Review: Startoucher by C.J. Odle


Publishing Date: February 2018

Publisher: Startoucher


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.8/5

Publisher’s Description: After 3.8 billion years, the alien creators of life on Earth return to evaluate the results of their experiment. One species is found to be an extreme danger to itself and others – Humanity. Evidence for the continuation of the species hangs by a thread.

Review: This started out kinda ho-hum. The characters are followed around their daily lives and subsequently never reach any sort of depth.  Jake is not very interesting what with being a karate super lawyer and that an alluring artist suddenly is emotionally attached to him after one date. Sarah cries and paints pictures of him, wondering where he is and questions herself about his disappearance.  Yech. But never fear, Jake has the hot’s for her too, and quite possibly is his choice for a breeding animal should humanity be found wanting.

So as this novel skips over the building of characters that skitter about an over done story line (aliens judging humans/Close Encounters of the Third Kind), we find ourselves in the midst of a tribunal run by higher beings that behave polemically. Kinda weird that this ongoing condemnation did not take on a more “elevated” form of discernment that reflected the wisdom of beings billions of years old.

What is really weird, is that I liked the writing style and found myself enjoying the flow of the written word. This was put together in a way that lends itself to being heard, even though the content (characters, story line, plot) was not as polished. The aliens and their tech was a creative representation of what we expect with some interesting turns added. I still enjoyed myself and that speaks volumes.

Book Review: Blood and Roses by Jordan Petrarca


Publishing Date: June 2017

Publisher: Jordan Petrarca


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.3/5

Publisher’s Description:Seven organized crime Families, known as the Seven Blessed Families, rule the World of Exodus and its people with the use of their mysterious magical artifacts, called Relics. Relics give powers to the Blessed members of the Families, and they use those powers for corruption and control of everything in Exodus.

Review: Look out everyone, there is a new Sheriff in town that writes spectacular fiction with a bent towards the uncommon in presentation.

I loved this novel. Involved characters combined with an intensely creative story line really brought this novel to life. Lots of visceral blood and guts types action, with some real crass inter-changes you would expect from a world run by gangsters. The relics seems like artificial intelligence that are gifting nanobots, but it is never revealed exactly what they are. Still, real creative implementation for the basis of power.

“So why you no give 5 stars!!?”. Just when you are really digging the offbeat writing style and getting into the guts (lol) of the crime families, a weird interlude of romance with a crappy plastic character rears it’s ugly head. Really fooking unbelievable, I tell yous. Biting/trembling lips and the whole shjtbang almost belly flopped this novel right into 3 star land. But it was brief and hopefully ends here. There were a few firearm fall downs as well. In one scene Zasso keeps firing his empty semi-auto pistol to the sound of “click, click, clik.”. Except that a single action semi-auto will not cycle the trigger on an empty chamber. In another scene Vego pulls out a pair of semi-auto pistols where the barrels are black. The barrels on a semi-auto pistol are covered with the slide, so you will only see them partially when the slide is pulled back.

Despite my shjtpicking this was a great read. Get this now!

Book Review: The Secret Lab by A.B. Carolan

Publishing Date: March 2018

Publisher: Carrick


Genre: SciFi/YA


Publisher’s Description: In the future when humans are exploring the home solar system, four kids discover a mutant cat on the International Space Station. In solving the mystery of the cat’s origin, they uncover an old conspiracy.

Review: The only thing that detracted from this novel was the cover. Great characters evolve around a wonderful story line. The YA’s were believable in their hormonal interactions and the sentient cat was hilarious. Too bad this ended so quickly without regard to future installments. Perhaps the cat will make another appearance solving crimes or venturing out to save Orson.

Book Review: The Omega Project book 2 by Angus MacM. Hodgson


Publishing Date: February 2018

Publisher: Dog Ear

ISBN: 9781457562259

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 1.5/5

Publisher’s Description: This book starts off with Jon reminiscing about one of his early CAG missions in Afghanistan hunting for Taliban controlled caves. Later during a lull in operations he is invited to go hunting on the surface with the Chiricahua Apache. After the hunt one of the Chiricahua medicine men has a vision of the future that reveals a new enemy. An invasion from Mexico by a coalition of Mexican and Chinese forces. Jon has a little time to prepare for this threat while at the same time eliminating another threat that started in Book 1.

Review: Not sure what to make of this novel. The stilted dialogue between the characters that is overlaid with backstory and their personal histories came off a bit contrived. There was no flow to the exchanges and everyone in Omega 11 is either an expert commando do-gooder/jujitsu master, or a hot looking female sharp shooter/Olympic gold medalist x2/sword expert. The delivery is a bit smug with every event showcasing how great they, and their Indian neighbors are. If you have read any of John Ringo’s books, this follows the same pattern. The whole “Klavia The Superdog” shtick wore a bit thin especially when the narrative switches to her perspective. Anthropomorphism really has no place in literature except SciFi/Fantasy.

A few instances where you really needed to suspend your disbelief is the inaccurate portrayal of “The Hunt”. In about a day they kill 42 wolves that are attacking their small party. Wolf behavior is thrown out the door on this one as is the idea of hunting “vicious” coyotes with spears. Of course Becca kills a 170 lb. cougar with a spear and shoots freehand a lame deer at 740 plus yards with iron sites. She uses a .308 round that is special because the bullet and load is different and custom made by Westley Richards. The round “looks different” than a regular .308. Huh? A custom load is a well developed process of matching your gun to bullet type/weight, powder type/weight and most importantly, distance from the lands for seating depth. Not to mention all the prep that goes into case selection, sizing (neck or case), fire sizing to chamber, trimming/chamfer, truing- out of round necks, truing primer pockets and flash holes, weighing each bullet for consistency and proper crimp. To say that a round is custom because it looks different is not sufficient. Additionally, Westley Richards does not make custom loads for clients.

The idea that John and his MWD-k9 and Becca are accepted into the Chiricahua nation as warriors is pretty funny. In case you missed the last 150 or so years, natives don’t really like us. How do I know? I have worked on Indian reservations for 25 years an am a First Nations decendant. Sure I have a lot of friends, but generally, Tribal Council’s are careful to exclude non-tribal employees/members from ANY tribal events and you will not lead from the front on any policy issue. Also the idea that there is a traditional tribal gathering being acted out in ancient Indian escape tunnels where elders have visions which the military takes seriously, is ridiculous. The whole special warrior knife thing where “warriors have to kill anyone that touches their knife”, is bullshjt.

This novel never gets off the pot. The war that you waited for, never comes and each day is an endless hashing of “topside” conditions. I will say that the guessed at political perspectives might be pretty close in a real situation based on the current state of anarchy that resides around the world. The characters are fun to follow in that the movement flows at a good clip WHEN MOVEMENT OCCURS.  The writing style grows on you and only wastes your time with verbose military verbiage if you’re not into it. There were way too many firearm, Indian and wildlife fails, but was balanced out with some good action and interpersonal interactions.

The novel was cogent but I would say that the author either lost his voice or never developed one to enhance the characterization. Every character was patterned: like watching a B-grade military movie where characters exchange patterned dialogue. I will not be visiting the next in the series unless the author pays me.

Book Review: Chasm Walkers by Raquel Byrnes

Publishing Date: March 2018

Publisher: Pelican Group

ISBN: 9781611169416

Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk

Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher’s Description: Charlotte Blackburn—Legend, traitor, the Order’s worst nightmare —she escaped the torturous experiments by the villainous Viceroy Arecibo, but is forever changed. Now, she battles to retain her humanity as she fights to survive among the wild sky settlers of Outer City. But an old threat emerges and Charlotte must choose between revenge and redemption.

Review: Ah, where to start. Lets begin with the scene development. I think this author is a good writer, she just needs to find her voice rather than using established tropes. And when I say tropes, the author just doesn’t use one or two, she uses many to build her characters.

For example, Charlotte and Ashton are placed in scenes that you swear, came straight out of a Princess Bride movie. Ashton with his CHISELED JAW, flashing eyes and stalwart self-deprecation in times of heated stress, always professing his undying love for Buttercup…….er, Asshat. He is great with a sword (if you know what I mean <wink, wink>), and always shows up just in time. Of course he almost dies just like the dread Pirate Roberts. Charlotte is an idiot that runs around with a trembling lip because she bites it so much. She is petulant when the scene doesn’t demand it, so she comes off like a spoiled brat. She wants to save all the poor little puppies of the world and will not listen to reason as she pursues her goal as savior. She takes in “steadying breaths” and “muffles her yelps”, while biting her cheek so hard she tastes blood. She is at once a fainting speshul violet that turns into a disease ridden zombie slayer at the drop of her hat, that sits on her ass.  And that is just the tip of the Doucheberg.

So where would our story be without the villain(s), “Dun, dun, dun…..”. Viceroy Arecibo is a combination of Snidely Whiplash, Dr. Evil, Hannibal Lechter and The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He is so evilly evil-ish, that the mad cackles emanating from his chapped lips (he licks them a lot) send chills or drips of sweat, up or down Asshat’s neck or spine. He goes from a political savant to a savage killer, spilling guts without an ounce of remorse. Of course where would our villain be without his counterpart….an evil princess. And we know she is evil because she has red/ruby lips and smirks in an evil way.

So, as I conclude this review, I am often reminded that a good technical writer does not always guarantee a good novel. The author’s voice got lost in patterned cliché’s and determined outcomes where she relied on scenes well established in the romance genre to grind out a story line. There is no creative development in the characters and the only interesting thing about this novel is the premise, where a disease becomes an asset in a world of sky ships and dumb asses.