Book Review: The Shape of Rain by Michael B. Koep

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: Will Dreamly

ISBN: 9780997623420

Genre: SciFi? Fantasy?

Rating: DNF

Publisher’s Description: Discredited mythology professor Astrid Finnley believes gods and immortals once battled for a place in creation. When she is summoned to a secret archaeological dig site in Northern Idaho to translate an ancient script, she uncovers an unthinkable nightmare: a woman buried alive for over a thousand years. Meanwhile, titular psychologist Loche Newirth – the author of prophetic writings that are changing the course of history – is in mortal (and perhaps immortal) danger. With his former mentor attempting to torture, command and control him, Newirth must face a new threat. He discovers that his son is also a target. To right all that has seemed to go so wrong, he chooses a path that ultimately takes him back to a time when a venomous army of gods lay siege to the City of Immortals.

Review: As evidenced by the amount of time I put into crafting review templates so you, the reader, can have a cogent if not biased opinion on novels you are considering. I do not DNF novels lightly. I consider many aspects of this choice, boredom being right up there with writing inability.

In fairness I will attempt once more down the road a bit to read this in it’s entirety. For now, no thanks.

Book Review: Daisy’s Gambit (The Clockwork Chimera #3) by Scott Baron

Publishing Date:

Publisher: Curiouser Publishing

ISBN: B07HFLP581

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.3

Publisher’s Description: With a rag-tag team of scrappy survivors, Daisy reluctantly set out on what was her most difficult and audacious effort yet. But if she somehow succeeded, she might just save not only her own world, but others’ worlds as well.

Review: This picks up where Daisy left off, being an asshat. Maybe we just accept that Daisy will never change from being a self-centered arse and enjoy the story.

So that’s what I did. And, amazingly, the Sun broke over the mountains and I was splashed with color and warmth. The supporting caste in this rendition really pushes this novel to greater heights. Joshua, Freya, Craaxiit and even the deranged AI’s round out some pretty well developed characters. Daisy/Sarah/Biggusdickus….not so much.

Thankfully, Biggus, is in a coma for most of the novel so cheers all around and I am buying. Yay! Sarah you just can never get away from as she is adjunct to Daisy’s consciousness and plies the dialogue with patterned responses. So just when you think this stoopid romance is done for, Biggusdickus suddenly wakes up with his twinkle and smirky wink still intact and Daisy loves him more because his AI unit is burnt out, so that means he’s a real human she can hump without having sybian thoughts.

The ending promises some interesting adventures with Freya but then we find ourselves suddenly back where we started. Fug. Still a good time was had reading this as the movement is non-stop.

Book Review: Pushing Daisy (The Clockwork Chimera #2) by Scott Baron

Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Curiouser Publishing

ASIN: B07HFMX94J

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher’s Description: With an even more dangerous turn of events throwing her in harm’s way, Daisy’s original plight was now dwarfed by the new issues at hand. Issues involving not only her crewmates and herself, but threats on a global level. Earth was in jeopardy, and much as she hated to admit it, Daisy, it seemed, was its best hope.

Review: I received this novel and #3 in the series from the author because I am so kewl and speshul. But don’t think for a moment that bribes will change the outcome of my reviews. Influence, maybe, but never bowing low to ply the tainted area that Kirkus licks so well. So let us get on with it!

Daisy. In the first novel she was a total asshat. In this installment she is asshat 2.0 which elevates her to butthead.  I just don’t see how a character gets more myopic and self-centered as they move through a story line. Let’s see…..she hates cyborgs, loves Artificial Intelligence, hates augmented humans, loves augmented humans, hates aliens, and loves aliens all within this revolving door of her mind in which sits her besty Sarah. Now Sarah provides levity and logical processes to Dimwits irrational tendencies while turning up Daisy’s ability to see and sense danger…blah, blah, blah.  What Sarah really does is provide a constant internal monologue that helps to explain and develop the story line while providing an iterative backboard for Daisy to develop as a viable character. And boy does that shjt get old. You know what? I really thought that Sarah was going to get transferred out of Daisy’s pea brain and into her own body or an AI cradle. Nope. But let me tell you something, this…. cannot-happen-soon-enough.

So where does that leave us? Despite every crisis suddenly being about her (Daisy) and her sudden move from reluctant bystander to Uber leader, I kind of liked that Daisy had extreme juvenile tendencies and this consistent disbelief in her extraordinary abilities. She is self-centered to the point of keeping vital information from her cohorts because, according to her,she needed “space” or some shjt. This myopic narcissistic view of the world plagues me with the author’s intent. Is he looking for a movie deal? Waiting to reveal the true nature of Daisy what with all that stored data in her head? Or is it the simple compounding of an error from which there is no returning?

So as I wind down I can’t help but think what impetus drives me to return to this series. Is it a car accident type curiosity or something closer to “I hope this character grows the fuk up and jumps on board with a great story, thereby making it better”.

 

Book Review: Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan

 

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: Del Rey

ISBN: 9780345493125

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher’s Description: On a Mars where ruthless corporate interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex–professional enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that’s made him a human killing machine. But he’s had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home—which is just what he’s offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator. It’s a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil . . . until it isn’t.

Review: I did not want this novel to end. It is that good. I wanted to savor every page and end it short to make it last. The imagery and poignant delivery transports you to a futuristic detective tale with all the subtle rawness in tow. It is funny, gritty, bloody and lusty seen through the eyes of a man that is aware enough of his actions to feel regret but driven to carry through based on his genetic development.

The Meh: Oh my fuk, who thought of that cover art? I think Veil should have been referred to as a “Heeb” rather than a “Hib”. More street worthy for martian slang, methinks.

The Good: The world building is spectacular but you would not think so with all the whiney reviews complaining that the author throws you into a world with idioms and techno-terms without explanation. Wah fukin’ wah. Welcome to unbridled old school SciFi you sniveling arse warblers. Dive into a world without explanation and you might find a transport into realities unknown. Indeed, wherever the story line takes you, it is full of expansive and detailed visuals that lends a septic air to the malady inherent in Mars populace.

The Better: The story line crackles with taut buttock like energy in the form of base instincts going off like a pyrotechnic orgasm. Yep, there are peeps that thought the book was pornography, and let me tell you it is confined to short stints with some graphic detail. These interactions usually have hilarious interchanges and outcomes. More funny than porno. There are many interests at play from the various groups that plague Mars that the story line becomes more of a mystery in which to discern along with Hakan Veil.

The Best: Hakan Veil is a character that I would read over and over without tiring. He is at once complex in thought, and base in action. He feels regret and makes choices devoid of painful outcomes but can carry out brutal retribution if threatened or paid. If he has a job to do, watch out. He embraces the internal solitude reflected in the masses yet shifts to higher ground in order to enact a hidden sense of humanity despite his debased environment. As he rides this line of moral ambiguity you can’t help but love him no matter the choices he makes.

Anyhoo, if you like SciFi techno-noir set in a well rendered Martian landscape, get this!

Book Review: First Lessons by Lina J. Potter

 

Publishing Date: April 2018

Publisher: Lithunter

ISBN: 9781980565512

Genre: SciFi/Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher’s Description: A brilliant Medical school graduate Aliya, a sporty and active girl, dies suddenly in a car crash… only to find herself reborn in a completely different body, in the middle of a dilapidated castle during Medieval times. While confused and dismayed, Aliya realizes she has been given another chance at life — so she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work on restoring her new castle and her new life.

Review: This story line has been done before….a lot. I remember reading an old scifi novel where an engineer ended up in Poland prior to WWII and reshaped that countries destiny. Since then, there have been many a spin-off of the parallel world/time travel variety. So what sets this novel apart from the rest that have gone before? Read on!

The rendering of the period is just what you would expect. Dirty, muddy, stinky and gross. Hygiene was considered unholy and the author captures this slice of life to perfection. Rotten teeth round out the players in this medieval tale. Women are considered beneath consideration unless born to nobility, and even then, lack the pro-active ability that men share.

Reviews were up and down on this novel with “Jumpy narrative” and “Incomplete story” leading the charge. I agree that the story line sometimes shifted a bit and I didn’t have a problem with the serialized aspect as the novel was lengthy enough.  What kind of sucked was the drawn out story line in places where it did not need to be. For instance ruminating over and over what you need to do in repetitive fashion and belaboring scenes until they are beaten to death, makes for more filler than actual story.

Despite some much needed editing, I liked this novel as the author crafts a main character that you constantly pull for. There are many collisions in Aliya’s future with not only her husband but the nobility at large. This dark cloud persists in driving the reader to root for her successes before the ax falls.

Get it and see where it goes if so inclined to serialized content.

Book Review: Daisy’s Run by Scott Baron

 

Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Curiouser Publishing

ISBN: 9781945996184

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.6/5

Publisher’s Description: It had been one hell of a way to start the day––being rudely snapped from a deep cryo-sleep, and in the middle of a ship-wide crisis to boot––but Daisy was pleased to note that the ship had not decompressed, the crew hadn’t been blasted into space, and, most importantly, they hadn’t simply blown up. At least not yet. So, they had that going for them, but being stuck on a damaged ship in the inky depths of space as it limped toward Earth was not exactly the relaxing trip home she’d imagined.

Review:

The Good: This was a pretty dam good scifi novel. Think of an updated “2001: A Space Odyssey” that moves into a “Star Wars” Lea meme with a strange dystopian Earth ending.

Daisy is hotter than a half fuked fox in a February forest fire and has this latent genius developing within, due to her abuse of mental downloads (or is it?). Her development is not a coincidence as the ship she is troubleshooting continues to glitch as does the resident AI. Without giving too much away, Daisy continues to develop as a real solid character as the movement intensifies. The story line takes many surprising turns and is really what drives the novel in interesting directions.

The Meh: Daisy and hunky guy Biggus Dickus lust affair gets a little long winded and over-used. No surprise that I am not a fan of romance due to it’s ability to detract from the characters and story line if not executed with perfection. In this case, it got a little too sloppy with the graphic rendering. Additionally, Daisy’s constant disbelief about her abilities wore pretty thin after awhile. “Like, wow gee, I had no idea I could make an EMP bomb while running from cyborgs and knitting stockings at the same time!”

Conclusion: As much as Daisy was a great character, she could be a total asshat as well. Would I get the next in the series? Fuk yeah, as I loves the space operatic.

Book Review: The Iron Codex by David Mack

Publishing Date: January 2019

Publisher: Dark Arts

ISBN: 9780765383211

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Publisher’s Description: 1954: Cade Martin, hero of the Midnight Front during the war, has been going rogue without warning or explanation, and his mysterious absences are making his MI-6 handlers suspicious. In the United States, Briet Segfrunsdóttir serves as the master karcist of the Pentagon’s top-secret magickal warfare program. And In South America, Anja Kernova hunts fugitive Nazi sorcerers with the help of a powerful magickal tome known as the Iron Codex.

In an ever-more dangerous world, a chance encounter sparks an international race to find Anja and steal the Iron Codex. The Vatican, Russians, Jewish Kabbalists, and shadowy players working all angles covet the Codex for the power it promises whoever wields it.

Review: I don’t know what took me so long to read this. I think I was enjoying this read a little too much, hence the dribbling reads late at night. Guilty pleasure or a solid novel to soar from great heights? Read on!

What I liked about this novel was the grounded entertainment value. It has this Captain America World War II vibe meshed with the improbability of magik that is also grounded in frailty. That is to say that no one is invincible whether they wield a gun or anchor demons and angels.  The characters all have personality flaws and life choice baggage that helps build depth without detracting from the whole.

There is constant movement interleaved with different journeys involving different characters. These characters seem to coalesce and expand as the story line shifts to add resonance to the overall plot.  Very intelligent writing.

There is a love interest that is rebuffed (Yay!) and then re-kindled (boo!) which dropped this novel into average-ville. Anja is also speshul but denies her heritage and takes a discerning look at everyone’s intentions with regard to her role in Armageddon.  A refreshing character that remakes the “reluctant hero” meme. I kept pulling for Briet and I still don’t know why. Perhaps the cold exterior, when melted by loss, helped imbue her with a deeper sense of humanity. I loved that Cade is a druggy, alcoholic wizard with a boner for Anja. He just kinda lays his emotions out there for all the world to see, and gives no fuks in the process. There is the gay sidekick trope, because authors these days have to cover all their bases.

I had high hopes for this novel, and elevated this novel to stardom before it slid into romance and artificially rendered characters. It still had some great moments.

Book Review: Freezing Point by Grace Hamilton

Publishing Date: September 2018

Publisher: Relay

ISBN: 9781726446136

Genre: Post Apoc

Rating: 1.9/5

Publisher’s Description: In the dawn of a new Ice Age, families everywhere are taking to the road to escape the frigid landscape—but you can’t outrun the cold. No one could have predicted the terrifying impact of human interference in the Arctic. Shifts in the Earth’s crust have led to catastrophe and now the North Pole is located in the mid-Atlantic, making much of the eastern United States an unlivable polar hellscape.

Review: This novel was so filled with tropes that the cup overfloweth with patterned passages in hopes of a movie deal. The movie preview might read like: “The stalwart wife who was raised under the tutelage of a prepper master is as tough as nails, can shoot better than an expert, is a naturally gifted tracker, is hotter than a popcorn fart and likes a good spanking.  Nathan: the husband who is just too good for his own underpants, reticent to leave a life of established mediocrity for the big city, can’t help but help the stranded and dispossessed. When not being obstinate and over-reactive, he likes to tousle little wheezy’s hair “ An asthmatic son rounds out this familial trio of asshats because insurmountable odds are just not enough. You gotta have wheezy there for false poignancy. Don’t forget the dog/human that barks and whines like Lassie during all the pivotal scenes.

This author and I would not get along in a post-apoc world. She would most likely shoot me on site (because I am a male and naturally want to rape everything) or accidentally shoot herself because she knows dick-all about firearms. It is strange how all her books follow this rapey gang/ Road Warrior trope and her ideas of realistic situations constantly collide with entertainment rhetoric. Her novels follow a pattern of canned “Made for Movie” material that is relentless in it’s bombardment of the senses.

There are a few firearm fails which are pretty standard from this author. For instance, the “line of bullet holes of which the frequency of the holes suggests they were spray from an automatic weapon.” So you can now tell that bullet holes in a car are from an automatic weapon versus a semi-auto or single shot? In another scene, “Blackhair” (a 7-1 evilly gang member) fires his AK-47 hitting their Dodge auto wrecker, which seems to now deflect bullets rather than absorb holes like most sheet metal. What is not consistent is the use of the AK-47. Why would everyone have one when the importation of a fully automatic weapon has been illegal for decades? Conversions (as the most likely culprit) are never discussed. Oh, and in case you missed it, 7-1 signifies seven rape victim…..er, women to one humongous.

So they run into a group of Amish, are taken in, and wouldn’t you know? Fukin’ Cyndi grew up around the Amish and through her Father, adopted the Amish way of life, thereby enhancing her prepping skills. Fug me with a hammer. So when all hope is lost, Nathan rises from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix to save a little street urchin/pedo victim/junkie daughter/gang mistress from NY (who now talks with a southern accent) while finding redemption in the form of a dead elk which are not found anywhere near the Midwest or Detroit for that matter. They are definitely not referred to as 16 pointers. That is a Midwest idiom.

So as I beat my head against a table, I wonder if there is some momma bear in the woods somewhere looking after her little wheezy’s while canning catfish and getting spanked by a sonorous male drone with a rubber ball in his mouth.

Book Review: Green Jay and Crow by DJ Daniels

Publishing Date: December 2018

Publisher: Rebellion

ISBN: 9781781086445

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.3/5

Publisher’s Description: In the half-forgotten borough of Barlewin, in the shadow of the High Track, where neon lights fall on broken cobbles, you do what you must. To survive. To make it another day. For Eva, a 3D-printed copy of another woman, the fight is for her very existence. She was meant to be disposable. She should have disintegrated days ago…and she hasn’t. Now the powers that be want to know why.

Review:

The Good: Intriguing style of writing where events that are wholly strange, are accepted norm by the characters. The  aliens are fairly alien and the chemical robots are a great addition to an infinitely boring story line.

The Bad: To say this was a long, hard , slog across pages and pages of more or less the same situations is selling it short. The story moves in a spiral ouroboros where events fail to culminate in a noteworthy direction. This makes for characterization that is fairly one dimensional and flat. The characters reflect this flatness with situational responses that are internalized and unemotional. Their behavior is almost stunted to the point of being automatons. Perhaps this was the author’s attempt at world building through characterization.

The Ugly: Oh my fuk this was boring. Lop off a third of this novel and get to the fuking point. What does it mean to be human……Blah, blah, blah, I am green humant plant, blah, blah, blah, everybody wants me….blah. It is too bad, really, that information was intentionally dribbled to the main characters (and the reader) in order to create a salable novel. Slow reveals does not a story line make.

If you have a lot of time to burn and nothing to read, don’t read this.

Book Review: Stealing Life by Antony Johnston

Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Rebellion

ISBN: 9781781085202

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.7/5

Publisher’s Description: Nicco Salarum is a thief, and a good one. In the rough-and-tumble city of Azbatha, where every street hustler has an enchantment in his back pocket, Nicco prides himself on using his skills—and the best technology money can buy—to get him into the houses and boardrooms of the wealthy. But Nicco’s last job went sour, leaving him in debt to a powerful gang boss, and deep in trouble. When a foreign wizard offers him a vast sum for a visiting diplomat’s trinket, he leaps at the opportunity.

Review: Nicco. Ah, Nicco. What a character. A thief with a heart of gold that seems to get tossed in the shjt by his own good intentions. Needing money to pay off a mob boss, he takes a job from a wizard to steal a magicked medallion.  From there it is a wild ride of fast action and daring escapes.

This was a quirky blend of SciFi and Fantasy that usually ends up in a tangled mass of contradictions. Yet, the author pulls off this blending of genres with a deft hand and critical eye on the overt. That is to say, the story line is not overwhelmed with magic bashing into an alien world. This supportive role moves the story line in interesting directions while building characterization. There is a taste of steampunk in there as well for those so inclined, and the world building supports the readers visual landscape.

Get it and have some fun.