Book Review: Services Rendered by Kevin Anderson


Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Wordfire


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.6/5

Publisher’s Description: Back from the dead, and back on the case! Dan Chambeaux was a human private investigator in the Unnatural Quarter, where all the monsters have gathered in hopes of finding normal lives.

Review: This is a collection of (monster) detective noir short stories starring the unflappable zombie detective, Dan Chabeaux.

A real tongue and cheeky story line which will make you laugh all the same. I liked most of the stories even with some logic fails here and there. Pick it up, you may have a better time than you wished.

Book Review: Glome’s Valley by Peggy Chambers

Publishing Date: November 2011

Publisher: Backlit PR


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Publisher’s Description: When Ethan and his dad to go Heavener, Oklahoma to read an ancient runestone, he is sure he’s going to be bored all summer. But Ethan quickly makes new friends, at least one of them a ghost. What began as a trip to Dullville suddenly becomes a fantastic adventure. There are other creatures living in the valleys near the runestone – energetic fairies, beautiful wood nymphs, and smelly old trolls. Ethan stumbles into the midst of an ancient war, and the only person who can save him is his archaeologist dad and the phone app that summons Thor.

Review: This was written for kiddies, which may explain the lack of reviews. Still, an effort was made to write this novel, so an equal effort will be made in this review. Kinda weird this has only one review in about 7 years since being published. Marketing fail? Publishing hiccups? Bad novel? Well read on to find out!

This was an entertaining read, although the character development was a bit truncated due to the compressed story line. Kids 12 and under will have a good time with this.


Book Review: Wrath of the Gods by Glyn Iliffe


Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Canelo

ISBN: 9781788630283

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Having completed his first trials, Heracles learns that the shocking murder of his children was part of an evil plot, his mind brought to madness by some strange poison. To regain his honour, he must uncover the secret behind this terrible betrayal.

Review: This was an enjoyable read that takes the mythos of Heracles and turns him into an interesting character. Like the ancient Greek and Roman Gods, Heracles was also worshiped as a God, yet in this instance his qualities are all too human with a deep abiding sense of honor.

Where the novel veers from the original myth is minor. Hera drove Heracles mad, not mushrooms.  In this novel his wife Megara is still alive, yet in the mythos he kills her, a daughter and a son (not three sons).

What was really good about this novel was the author’s ability to bring each of Heracles labor’s to life. There is a journey to complete the labor which creates movement and develops the characters and usually a confrontation or some form of resistance from those on which the labors derive. This is the authors creativeness at work where the intricacies of the mythos are developed and a more verdant story line is created.

It will be interesting to see whether Heracles side quests will be in the next installments. Cacus, Prometheus and Alcestis would be interesting in their own right as would finalizing the notion that Heracles sailed with Jason and the Argonauts to find the Golden Fleece.

Book Review: The Hierophant’s Daughter by MF Sullivan


Publishing Date: May 2019

Publisher: Painted Blind

ISBN: 9780996539579

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.6/5

Publisher’s Description: By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind’s inter-generational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.

Spoiler Alert!

Review: Just when you think things are moving along nicely, these staged and unbelievable instances occur. You are left in the void, scratching your head at the fuked up non-sequitur’s that litter the story line. Well technically they are not “non-sequitur’s” but still follow an illogical pathway. Take for instance the hospital scene in Japan where one of Dominia’s enemies has somehow infiltrated into a hospital as a surgeon setting up an elaborate scenario that entails fooling other Doctors, killing everyone in the hospital, changing anesthesia compounds to render Dominia inert while expounding upon his (their) evilly designs (MUAHAHAHA!!!) .

IF, you can swallow all that nonsense and the others that precede and follow this scene, then you got more guts than a male praying mantis. Plot devices can work but usually are utilized as a vehicle that hides a lack of creative scene development.

The other problem this novel has is saying the word….Vampire. Nowhere is it ever mentioned like a booger hanging out of your nose. The Martyrs are of the un-dead, live almost forever, need human blood to survive and will die if in the sun too long. Check, check, check and check….Vampire. Did the author not want to relegate her masterpiece to the common genre via naming conventions? In my world a spade is a spade, so why not call it another fucking vampire novel. Oh, but just not any vampire novel… is a Gay vampire novel. So why no sparkles?

This could have been a brilliant novel. A burgeoning writing talent with some great twists on an old idea. Sadly there were too many plot devices coupled with stuttering scene progression that placed the novel squarely in “douche wagon” mode. Additionally there is A LOT of backstory to wade through. No really, A LOT OF BACKSTORY to wade through. I am not kidding.

I wanted to DNF this novel but was curious about whether the main character would evolve or continue to spiral down into the gay vampire mourning/romance thing.

(Pssst, it’s the latter).

Book Review: Barnabus Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds by C. Noonan


Publishing Date: July 2018

Publisher: C. Noonan


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Everyone’s favorite bumbling detective, Barnabas Tew, is back! He’s as confused as ever but is ready to save the world once more…this time from Ragnarok. It seems that someone has set in motion a string of events that will trigger the ending of the world as we know it, unless Barnabas can discover the culprit and foil the plan before it’s too late. Can he make his way through the Nine Worlds of Viking mythology and outwit the dastardly mastermind behind the plan, or is Ragnarok inevitable?

Review: I think this novel tried too hard to be fantastical, glib and humorous. Barnabas as a character is not believable as he is at once discerning, prideful and stupid. The story line is fairly straight forward in construction as it follows the trail of convenience through an illogical Norse world.  The nine intertwined worlds have their own unique set of characters and perspectives that lends the novel a fairy tale aspect.

So why did I like this? The movement coupled with the descriptive world building puts you right there next to dumb ass. This visual transportation into another world(s) is a great vehicle for immersing yourself.  The supporting characters were built fairly well and were interesting in brief.

The meh’s were too abundant to ignore. Heavy back and forth dialogue that was like an immense wall of shjt to slog through. Coupled with the failed characterization of Barnabas and the contrived English writing style (heavy dialogue and using “whilst” instead of “while”), and the rush to end this novel becomes imminent.

Book Review: In Between the Stars by A.A. Ripley

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: Matador


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher’s Description: What is alien and what is normal? To Inan, she’s just a girl on her homeworld, yet she dreams of travelling to the stars and experiencing all the adventures they promise. Dream is all she can do, as her people’s customs forbid girls to face dangers – especially among the stars. Instead of adventures, they are expected to serve their families as leaders and never take personal risks. But that is about to change as Inan’s life takes a sudden turn.

Review: Do you think that aliens have the same thought processes and emotional trains of thought that humans do? I think that most authors tend to write from the perspective that we are all children of this one universe and that we have evolved much the same intellectually as well as emotionally. At least for brevity’s sake and the ease in writing not too complicated novels. I get that there is a design to connect to a large audience with the story line being the main focus at the expense of the “alieness” of the characters. As an example, take Inan who is basically a young human woman that has been morphed into a lizard like alien being while retaining her humanistic emotional qualities and thought processes.

Did it work? Yeeeeah, kinda. There is plenty of good movement, well done tech without in-depth explanations and great world building. Kind of reminded me of Brian Daley’s work “Hobart Floyt-Alacrity Fitzhugh Adventures”, only with 2 aliens. Inan and the other aliens just never come off as “alien” enough and gift us with patterned responses to all the stimuli.

This is an expected series of which I will probably pursue.