Book Review: Titus Fogg by Aaron Piper

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: BooksGoSocial


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Titus Fogg hates magic, and with good reason. Born into a murderous family of cruel and powerful casters in modern Massachusetts, magic has contributed to every bad thing that has happened to him since birth. After finally managing to banish the most likely evil (but definitely dirty-minded) entity called Shade from his body to the sidelines as his shadow, Titus has the chance to have a normal, magic free, high school life.

Review: Definitely a YA fantasy novel with all the teen angst and burgeoning crushes you could hope for.  Thankfully the author used a bit of restraint in those arenas and focused mainly on the greater mystery.

The world of Arkham is an expansive and creative place as are the various evil beasties that inhabit….it. Titus’ evil shadow is really quite funny but may be a little too over-the-top for some readers. All said, I had a good time reading this despite the Teen narcissism.

Book Review: Civil War: Rogue Dungeon #2 by J.A. Hunter and E. Hudson


Publishing Date:  November 2018

Publisher: Shadow Alley Press

ASIN:  B07K56G2T9

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Roark von Graf—former noble and hedge-mage, current mid-level mob in a MMORPG—has his sights set on taking down the tyrannical Dungeon Lord. But the reigning Troll despot is nearly as devious as Roark, and his followers are much higher level.
With forever-death on the line, civil war breaks out in the Citadel, pitting Roark’s new regime against Azibek’s horde of loyalists. To survive, Roark will have to outfox the Dungeon Lord, forge new, dirtier weapons and shady alliances, and above all, Evolve …

Review: It is tough to do a follow up in a series where the first one was really good. You gotta have your shjt mapped out in order to keep the story line interesting and the characters developing at a good pace. Did this dynamic writing duo succeed in delivering a grande follow up? Read on!

Someone at work asked me why my eyes are so red and I said “Really?”. That is what I say to people I don’t want to engage with but in the back of my mind, I am thinking “Fuk, stayed up till 3 am reading again.”. So yeah, you could say that I love this series so much that I am sacrificing health via sleep for enjoyment.

Roark is taking over and changing the game as everyone knows it, so stay tuned for the next in the series while catching up on your sleep.

Book Review: Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy by Joshua S. Levy


Publishing Date: March 2019

Publisher: Lerner


Genre: SciFi/YA

Rating: 3.0/5

Publisher’s Description: PSS 118 is just your typical school—except that it’s a rickety old spaceship orbiting Jupiter. When the school is mysteriously attacked, thirteen-year-old Jack receives a cryptic message from his father (the school’s recently-fired-for-tinkering-with-the-ship science teacher). Amidst the chaos, Jack discovers that his dad has built humanity’s first light-speed engine—and given Jack control of it. To save the ship, Jack catapults it hundreds of light-years away and right into the clutches of the first aliens humans have ever seen. School hasn’t just gotten out: it’s gone clear across the galaxy. And now it’s up to Jack and his friends to get everyone home.

Review: A fun read with the usual teen angst/heroes surrounded by a Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy kind of vibe. You will not get any resolution with this novel as it is poised for a series.

Book Review: The Beast of Nightfall Lodge by SA Sidor

Publishing Date: February 2019

Publisher: Angry Robot


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.6/5

Publisher’s Description: When Egyptologist Rom Hardy receives a strange letter from his old friend, the bounty-hunting sniper Rex McTroy, he finds himself drawn into a chilling mystery. In the mountains of New Mexico, a bloodthirsty creature is on the loose, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. Now, a wealthy big game hunter has offered a staggering reward for its capture, and Rom’s patron – the headstrong and brilliant Evangeline Waterston – has signed the team up for the challenge. Awaiting them are blizzards, cold-blooded trappers, remorseless hunters, a mad doctor, wild animals and a monster so fearsome and terrifying, it must be a legend come to life.

Review: I am really, really tired because I stayed up so late reading this grand tale of supernatural adventure. This is the most fun I have had in a long time. This novel has everything in it that I love. Great characters, an involved mystery and expansive world building.

I really liked the movement that was coupled to this constant shifting of scenes that focuses your attention. Each scene is crafted to involve the reader with vivid details and the story line never loses an edge because of it. Besides a few head scratchers where you have to suspend your disbelief, this was a really well done adventure. Strangely, the cover art depicts a beast with moose horns when in the novel they were Elk horns

If you like a novel set in the great industrial revolution with proper manners colliding with outllaws, all wrapped in a mysterious fantasy, then the table is set.

Book Review: Enceladus Mission by Brandon Q. Morris



Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: Hard Science Fiction

ISBN: 9783947283293

Genre: SciFI

Rating: 4.2/5

Publisher’s Description: In the year 2031, a robot probe detects traces of biological activity on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. This sensational discovery shows that there is indeed evidence of extraterrestrial life. Fifteen years later, a hurriedly built spacecraft sets out on the long journey to the ringed planet and its moon.

Review: Reviewers on the down side of this novel said there was too much info-dumping or too much hard science. Well la-ti-da. Hard science fiction is what built the genre. Remember Ringworld? It is really a waste of time to consider reviews that lack an awareness of the principal aspects that founded their current interest.  If it is not romance slathered scifi or concepts that verge on Fantasy without explanation, then millennial readers quickly lose interest. Yeah, thinking is just soooo hard.

Even if hard Sci-fi is not your cuppa joe, there is some really good character development and world building to ease the headache in your brain. Most of the novel is viewed through the eyes of Martin. Martin is a bit socially inept and lacks a certain depth in the compassion department. He grows emotionally through the rigors of a long journey and that is a testament to the writer’s skill.

I am really looking forward to the next installment if only to see what happens to Marchenko.


Book Reviews: Hell Divers IV by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Blackstone

ISBN: 9781538557105

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.7/5

Publisher’s Description: Sea Wolf sets out to search for the Metal Islands. Leading the expedition is legendary Hell Diver Xavier Rodriguez. After enduring for a decade on the poisoned surface, his survival skills will be put to the test on the dangerous open seas.

Review: If you have a hard time suspending your disbelief in lieu of a factual story line….forget reading this series. But….if you like a Doc Savage-esque modern rendition of over-the-top action and unbelievable scenarios then hop on board the Silly Train.

X (Xavier Rodriguez) is a manly mans-man with manly mannerisms steeped in vitriol. He has a penchant for revenge laced violence while sacrificing self in order to save the ones he loves….. or kinda likes.  He is constantly wounded yet battles through the pain to overcome all manner of beasties including teeth clacking cannibals.

So while I was picking the corn out my shjt I noticed a few firearm fails and the impossibility of new species born of the nuclear holocaust after only 200 years. Godzilla could not be reached for comment  so grain of salt and all that.

Giving this novel a good review rating is like admitting you like disco music. But dammit, whats not to like about giant mutant octopi, armored hog/wolves, crazed laser shooting robots and man-sized predacious vultures?

Book Review: Ruin by Karl Radle

Publishing Date: September 2018

Publisher: Karl Radle

ISBN: 9781540225549

Genre: SciFi/Horror

Rating: 3.6/5

Publisher’s Description: Kano, a human soul placed in an artificial body, is surrounded by fools. Unable to comprehend her brilliance, they insist on dragging her into their nonsense as she wanders the absurd, violent world. Plagued by memories that belonged to a very different her, she leaves a wave of spontaneous havoc in her wake.

Review: Self-published, really?  Somebody get this author a publishing deal!

I am not a fan of the horror genre, i.e. ghouls, the undead, necromancers blah, blah, blah. That said, this novel has many of that genres descriptors but none of the base fantasy. See the beasties, wierdos and mechs are rooted in SCIENCE! Yes, beautiful science that is but a reflection of God’s countenance.

“So why you no give 5 star!?”. Welll…….at about the 75% mark, it started to get really dialogue heavy, and not in a good way. When every interaction is explained in authorial ‘asides”, then the story line tends to drag a bit with long winded diatribe. The ending is abrupt and does not suit an audience that is left bereft of satisfaction in all its glorious finality.

This is a quirky novel that initially pulled you in with a sense of mystery coupled with great movement. You hang in there knowing questions will be answered, like why is Kano such a megalomaniacal asshat who treats everyone around her like mere flies to be swatted. She definitely is either off her rocker, or this novel follows an un-dead Avenger comic story line. So which is it?

I would give this a shot in hopes that Kano begins a long quest on her own to get,…… you-know-what.


Book Review: Jack Jetstark’s Intergalactic Freakshow by Jennifer Lee Rossman

Publishing Date: December 2018

Publisher: World Weaver

ISBN: 9781732254633

Genre: Scifi

Rating: 2.2/5

Publisher’s Description: Jack Jetstark travels the universe to seek out the descendants of superpowered freaks created long ago by VesCorp scientists. The vibrations encoded in a particular song transform the members of Jack’s crew into a firebreather and an angel, a wildman and telepathic conjoined triplets, so they hide the truth of who they really are with the theatrics of a carnival.

Review: This was sometimes compelling, consistently erratic and disappointing in delivery.

This needed a heavy dose of editing to winnow out the wandering chaff, create a cogent story line and imbue a semblance of logical progression where/when needed. Not that you can’t follow the story line as it is not very complex, it just leaves you to fill in the gaps or accept that things have changed without explanation. Not incredibly intrusive but just enough to leave you scratching your head. Take for instance Jack’s sudden turn at being a revolutionary leader making grandiose speeches when moments ago he was a carnival ring leader. Or that his revolutionary love just can’t stop loving power more, but is self-aware enough to know it but does nothing about it. Just begs someone else to kill her. Huh?

The idea of varying genetic constructs that exist in the Universe is truly compelling. These abilities are showcased in full yet lack a sense of poignancy as they are left drifting among base emotions on a back drop of patterned hero noir. Yes, ol’ Jack is a reluctant hero with shades of moral ambiguity, alienated from society and a generally poor outlook. But boy does he rise from the ashes of self-pity only to find regret, betrayal and recrimination. Ho hum.

At the end of the day I could not decide if this was SciFi or Fantasy. The SciFi aspect was not rendered in enough detail to make you say “Wow, this Universe is plausible.”? There is just a high level of reader acceptance built in. “Hey, don’t go asking questions….just have some fun.” Yeah who cares if a whole city can float, or that fuel? is used for inter-galactic travel or that moons have habitable atmospheres or that people can teleport if so genetically inclined. Right?

For a first novel this is pretty good and shows some creative talent. Someone just needed to have a honest conversation with this author about why this novel needs some in-depth editing to make a salable and cogent read.  The turning point that took this novel into average-ville is when Jack takes on a demeanor that really doesn’t fit well or match what we know about the man. These shifts in story line from purveying freaks to grungy locals for a dime, to Dudley Doorite, just seemed a bit too easy of an out. What Jack and his cohorts lacked was depth and sadly, I just didn’t care what happened to them.