Book Review: To Die Again by Sandy Parks

 

Publishing Date: March 2018

Publisher: Kobo

ISBN:9781941787168

Genre: SciFi/Romance

Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher’s Description: Dr. Mona Signoretti has the rare ability to shield her Infinitas life energy from others, making her appear human. She uses that talent by going undercover for a special FBI unit to investigate one of her species suspected of developing a deadly toxin to gain power in the human world. If she fails, not only are humans at risk, but also the mission to save her race from destruction. When her role is discovered and her life-sustaining energy threatened, an all-too-human agent, Grant Thornton, is assigned to keep her alive—not an easy task in a world where enemies refuse to die.

Review: Not a lot of reviews out on this one, but dang they are of the 5 star variety. I don’t know about 5 stars, but lets read on to find out.

The Good- Initially this was really well written (cogent) and the premise is spot on. Alien hottie immortal, seeking evidence of a bio-toxin aimed at killing humanity. Ah, the stage was set for a pretty kick ass novel with a tough and interesting heroine leading the charge.

The Bad- But….sadly no. After a lab disaster aimed at killing Dr. Alien Hottie-Pants, Carey Grant Huge Johnson saves the day and therein after, Mona has her head buried in his lap. Forget that she is a 2,000 year old alien with literally years of experience and wisdom behaving like a hormone addled adolescent.

The Ugly- The dialogue within various scenes lacks not only logical progression but fails at making a cogent argument about what is being considered. Usually when you have two people making assumptions, developing hypothesis and communicating in a iterative way, there is a culmination of rational perspectives that embraces a choice or two. In this novel, all the assumptions are made by asshats that 1) have nothing to do with the story line 2) wander to and fro and then totally abandon the initial premise 3) are extremely juvenile and pedantic in approach to the problem, and 4) spit out some non-related outcome that suddenly moves the story line in the direction intended.

Well, once again I am reminded that just because it says science fiction and has a snazzy cover does not mean that the content is rife with romantically inclined trash. My sincerest wish is that romance writers stay out of the SciFI/Fantasy genres and build a novel like all the others. Set on a dude ranch, strawberry blonde hair, heaving breasts, that bitch mother-in-law, love triangles and a sketchy past that erased all trust…blah, blah, blah.

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Book Review: Antler Jinny and the Raven by Chris Dews

 

Publishing Date: Jine 2018

Publisher: IBPA

ISBN:9781732339309

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.7/5

Publisher’s Description: Set in 65 CE, Antler Jinny and the Raven combines beautifully descriptive narrative and page turning action in a story populated by distinctive, colorful characters. At the book’s center is a young, disabled Celtic girl, Jinny, and the raven princess she is sent to serve as a slave. Both have suffered terrible reversals in their lives and both have overwhelming, irreconcilable reasons to become Queen of the Dragons.

Review: This was a pleasant surprise that kept me interested and sometimes captivated.

The first movement is inspired by Jinny and her love of life and dancing until she loses her leg. As the ancient Fomors arise her village is plunged into despair. The depth of the daily struggle that must be endured is only surpassed when Jinny becomes a slave to the Raven. In this second movement, Jinny begins to accept her awakening to something greater yet is often dragged down by her circumstances and her own lack of self-esteem.

What a great tale for the YA to take heart in, as there are real life lessons to be had. Building self-esteem, being personally accountable, standing for what is right and holding a moral compass and liking yourself for just being you. The Fomors represent all of the manifestations of the mind/ego that trend towards the negative in action. Pride, hatred, fear etc. are showcased in an epic war (which also rages in the psyche).

The only Debbie Downer was the lengthy and suddenly abrupt, and confusing ending. I missed the first in the series but I had no problem getting up to speed. GET THIS!

Book Review: Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

Publishing Date: May 2018

Publisher: Tor

ISBN: 9781250186928

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

Review: This was a really fine read. Great world building coupled with superb characterization. The novella flows really well for a work truncated in nature and builds interest to the point where you cannot put it down. An easy 5 stars if written to length rather than as part of a multi-series.

Book Review: The Relic Hunters by David Leadbeater

Publishing Date: June 2018

Publisher: Amazon

ISBN:9781503902473

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher’s Description: Relic smuggler and expert thief Guy Bodie is a tough man in a dangerous world, loyal only to his elite team of five. But when one of them betrays him, landing Guy in a hellish Mexican prison, he finds himself making a bargain with the most unlikely new ally: the CIA.

Review: Well what to say. In short, this was terrible. Over the top story line, unbelievable events, carried out by A-Team retards is just the icing on this dog turd.

Sooo, the premise is that a group of relic smugglers gets hired by the C.I.- fuckin’ A to take down the Illuminati. Why? They stole a map that will take them to the statue of Zeus and lots of evilly power. MUAHAHAHAHA!!….<cough>. Never mind what a relic hunter is as it is never really explained but just know that they are so good that special forces operators around the world use their escapades as a blueprint for infil/exfil ops.

There is no need to remember what each team member does as it is brought up almost every chapter. Cassidy, hot and brash underground bare knuckle MMA fighter, looking for that one fight that gives her a tough time. Guy Bodie (he’s so handsome) leader of this rag tag group of people that hunt ancient thingies, always calm in a storm and finding answers to predicaments that only a writer can manufacture. Add in a “Planner” whom, well plans and a Geek and Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! Oh, and they all swear undying loyalty to Bodie because he was an orphan that stole stuff, but then felt bad and someone rich raised him and taught him the tricks of the trade…<zzzzzzzzzzzz>.

This was like reading a Dan Brown novel only without the Dan or the Brown giving a fuk about a cogent assembly of story line and believable characters. The situations are absurd as are the fight scenes that are of the “Crash, Boom, Bang!” Batman variety. You might think with so much movement that the characters might develop into something tangible, but sadly no. They are still the same patterned buffoons you were introduced to.

So, get this if you like…..<ouch>, stabbing….<ouch>, your frikin’ eyes for betraying you with a fancy cover and a description that promises high adventure for the ultimate escape.

Book Review: The World Ends Tomorrow by Eliade Moldovan

 

Publishing Date: April 2018

Publisher: Books Go Social

ISBN:9781980737414

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.6/5

Publisher’s Description: Four hundred years into the future, Clara, the Secretary, is faced with a dilemma, mankind is facing extinction and our only hope is alien technology, but it comes at a price.
Fracony, a super-civilization that visited Earth in the past, built models showing that this apocalypse, triggered by human virus experiments, was inevitable.

Review: I picked up and put this down quite a few times. Dithering to either give up or grind through. The only reason I picked it back up was I had no other books in the queue. “Why”, you ask? The start of the novel thrusts you into gang-scape futuristic world that is more of the same post-apocalyptic or near, shtick. The dialogue is halting and reads like robots talking about their ancestral roots as Sybians.

So what grabbed my attention was the sudden shift from the tired and mundane to a continent that embraced measures to stem the tide of environmental destruction with the help of alien technology. The author has this ability to pull you into a visual world through descriptive detail. Where it falls down is the endless robotic-like dialogue that ensues between Clara and her staff. It is like reading a novel written by Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. Great movement then………dulls-ville.

I have to say that I still had a good time reading this novel that could have used a BIG dose of pre-publication editing due to all the grammatical errors throughout. I hope this author refines his skills as he has an inventive take on the future.

Book Review: Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly

Publishing Date: October 2017

Publisher: Kobo

ISBN:9781999816605

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.3/5

Publisher’s Description: Ramya’s time is up. Bracing herself for the gruesome sentence imposed on all Melokais who have served their purpose, she hears instead a shocking prophecy. Is the abrupt appearance of a mysterious, eastern cave creature the prophesied danger? Or is it something darker, more evil? And what of the wolves? Will the ferocious war with their kind oust her from power? Suddenly Ramya must fight threats from all sides to save her mountain realm. But while her back is turned, a conspiracy within her inner circle is festering. Ramya and her female warriors must crush an epic rebellion before it can destroy her and devastate her beloved nation.

Review: A couple of reviewers gave this novel two stars based on their inability to connect with the characters. Contrary asswipes looking for attention among a sea of 4 star reviews or legitimate insights into a publicly praised novel? A little of both in my opinion. The characters were never built with any depth and you are asked to accept a marginal backstory while focusing on quick paced movement. Ramya never is deserving of her rise to Melokai. She was an angry child that learned to be a warrior and was chosen by a stone phrophet. That is not enough to instill a sense of regard by the reader for the main character.

What IS writing genius is Ramya’s life choices during strenuous times that distances herself from her closest allies and subsequently the reader. This sense of betrayal forms the basis of the novel and cries for constant redemption. This redemption is never fulfilled and alienates the reader due to a protagonists non-conforming personality. Ramya just honey badger’s her way through the novel. I found it refreshing as the writer did not attempt to pattern her main character after the hero fantasy mold so often seen.

What I really liked about the novel were the different kingdoms and lifeforms that expanded the world and enhanced the characters through movement. These quests instilled a solid foundation upon which the novel rests through a creative eye. An ambitious amalgamation of human derivatives in the form of blue haired pygmies, walking wolves and hump backed desert residents.

There is much gore and sex to be had so enter at your own risk.  As the novel unfolds the characters do gain in depth through the tribulations endured. A definite read.

Book Review: Rage of Winter by Sam Herrera

 

Publishing Date: April 2018

Publisher: Matador

ISBN:9781788034814

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher’s Description: Kyle Thayer is an ex-soldier with no family and very few friends. His dishonourable discharge has left him few options and he spends his nights dodging knives and fists while working as a doorman at Cielo, a has-been nightclub, and dreaming of something better. These two people have nothing in common and may never have even met if they hadn’t both made a very strange discovery in a cave beneath Thompkins Park: the Rage of Winter, an extremely advanced fighter aircraft unlike anything ever seen before. It is capable of invisibility, crossing oceans in minutes, has mounted guns, missiles, medical supplies, an armoury and can even leave Earth’s orbit.

Review: I am going to attempt to break this down into some sense of cogency in hopes that my brain resets during the process.

In the first movement we get Kyle rescuing a 13 year old rich girl, Mara, and they become fast pals riding around the world in a spaceship. And I mean inseparable buddies. Like he’s her Dad kinda buddy but with this weird pedo vibe thrown in. As the story line kind of develops we find these two defending each other almost violently as “they have been through so much together”. When that was uttered i thought, “Been through what?”. Flying to beaches, Mara teleporting to Borneo and sitting on top of the Statue of Liberty having lunch kind of travails?

In the second movement Mara moves to England and we all get mired in YA teen angst and a plethora of names and people that have no bearing on the story line. This goes on for chapters while emulating Mara’s growth into adulthood. Meanwhile Kyle bangs Mara’s auntie and gets thrown in jail for being a serial killer.

In the third movement, hell is unleashed on Earth as they battle genetically engineered talking dragons and the anti-Christ while hiding out in caves.

To say this novel was confusing is an understatement. This novel needed a HEAVY dose of editing and perhaps a re-write or two. The schizophrenic way in which the novel evolves demands at least some form of logical progression in order for the reader to understand what is going on. Just because you write and understand what you are saying does not mean the reader does. That said, this writer has a lot of creative ideas that need to be harnessed and focused for better effect.