Book Review: Mind Games by A.B. Carolan


Publishing Date: May 2019

Publisher: Carrick

ISBN: 9781772421088

Genre: SciFI

Rating: 1.8/5

Publisher’s Description: Della Dos Toros is a young girl with psi powers living in the Dark Domes of the planet Sanctuary. Her adopted father doesn’t let her use those powers, but she must do so to find his killer.

Review: I guess teens could get into this, but it is a stretch to think so.

The foreshadowing is rampant as are the deus ex events that conspire to render a simplistic story line. Add in a huge dose of super speshully Della with “enormous budding PSI powers on top” and the recipe is set.

Not much to say here what with a novella length feature.

Book Review: The Osiris Contingency by Virginia Soenksen

Publishing Date: April 2019

Publisher: Sunbury Press

ISBN: 9781620061756

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.2/5

Publisher’s Description: Liane, an Agent gone rogue and on the run from her former masters. Having barely survived the last attack by the Agency and still grappling with the truths she learned about the Titan Strain, Liane vows to destroy those who turned her into an inhuman killer. But that means outsmarting and outrunning Damian, her former Handler, who wants his Agent back at any cost. Liane isn’t the only one fighting against the Agency, however, and soon she is drawn into a secret war brewing between assassins and mods.

Review: Well, this wasn’t terrible but……it did lack depth on a few fronts that rendered the novel passable.

The most limiting factor of this installment was the lack of character development. I know the author tried to build a little humanity into Liane with quirky smiles and a budding love interest but failed to pull off anything believable. There is something about maintaining a sterile persona when you’re an agency built killer as it gives the reader something to hope for and gains the character some personal separation for the acts that must ensue.  If the hints at humanity are brief and well placed you gain so much more depth than say, turning a killer into a love-sick strumpet.

Secondly, the story line is not new as the author would lead you to believe. There is nothing new under the sun here and added to what is fairly pedantic writing is the synthesis of every made-for-movie espionage novel. Just adding in “mods” or serums does not a creative novel make.

The ending is what you expect for a series to continue along in the same vein. I think this author needs to take an innate talent and risk herself on the creative side in order to realize the depth hoped for.

Book Review: The Korpes File by J.I. Rogers

Publishing Date: March 2017

Publisher: Books Go Social


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.7/4

Publisher’s Description: As if being born Diasporan wasn’t enough, Technician Nash Korpes had the bad luck to resemble his Tyran ancestors almost identically in both form, and manner. These traits, though highly prized by the special projects division at the shadowy Korlune Military Research and Development, mark him as a specter from their warlike past. With only his intellect holding his sanity in place, he wages a private war against the entire socioeconomic status quo and begins to uncover the truth that threatens them all.”

Review: Although written awhile ago, there is very little existing written reviews out there. The author only gives her work 4 stars which is an odd thing to do as self-deprecation may not further interest in others willing to gamble.

The world building is only lacking in visual expression. There is not enough information to create  a  panoramic view. Domes/cities etc. have no relational aspect to other domes as well as the space in which they occupy. I assumed everything that occurred in the novel was taking place on one planet and had to go to the authors website to verify via map. The natural environment is hostile enough to force the populace into domes which does not explain pre-technological development on the planet. Again, I assume that the inhabitants colonized the planet as there is no adaptation to the elements.

The scenes were a bit jumpy at times. You go from a well paced story line into another arena without explanation (lead in) and are left catching up.

Nash is a bit dense for a tech genius and that enables the story line to exist in all it’s phases. The corporate hammer is pervasive and well written which makes up for some character fails.  I think the author sells herself short with this work as it is at once intriguing and captivating.  My only suggestion is that this in need of some intense editing to expand the visual context of this world and tighten up the story line so the scenes mesh better.  A lot of talent here.

Book Review: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig


Publishing Date: July 2019

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9780399182105

Genre: SciFi/Dystopian

Rating: 1.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

Review: This was quite the grande attempt at combining “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and “Andromeda Strain”. Throw in a splash of zombie like symptoms and voila! Seems like there is a plethora of pandemic/apoc novels floating around these days….some good, mostly bad.  I think this novel fell into the ‘bad’ category although it shouldn’t have.

  1.  Writing for the masses. This novel tried to appeal to the movie goer that enjoys dramatic dialogue interspersed with over-the-top violence by the government or conveniently placed tropes in the form of militia or white extremists.
  2. Political soapbox. Throughout the novel it becomes very obvious where the author’s perspectives lie with regard to the current tapestry of political ennui. Every bad group or person is this amalgamation of WHITE people, and the author goes to great lengths to generalize about the inhabitants in certain towns and their racial perspectives based solely on their geographical placement.
  3. Been there done that. Like I mentioned before, this story line has oft been abused in a myriad of ways. There is nothing new, creative or inventive about this work. If you enjoy traipsing along for a long walk to nowhere, then be selectively bored.

The author did his research and that comes to the fore but does not in any way add to the story line. Clinical processes and facts are a real downer and lack the potential to capture the reader via symptomatic expressions. Cut the zombie walk down by at least half and curb the political finger pointing and you might have a winner here. Oh and write for the reader not the Hollywood studio executive.

Book Review: Three Remain by R. A. Andrade


Publishing Date: September 2019

Publisher: IBPA

ISBN: 9780990325444

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.7/5

Publisher’s Description: After witnessing a meteor explode in the sky above his home the night before, Glen awakes to a loss of all communications and power. On route to a work assignment before dawn, Sara’s car veers into a roadside tree. Crawling from the vehicle to the ground, her last memory is the fragrance of dirt and Queen Anne’s Lace. Thirteen-year-old Traci opens her eyes to complete blackness. A wave of fear brings a shudder as she recalls falling asleep in the movie theater. Immediately groping for her phone, she wonders why her parents hadn’t picked her up.

Review: This started out pretty good, in a “The Truman Show” kind of way.  All the characters seem to mesh fairly well in spite of their disparate and unfathomed backgrounds. Traci is a young teen that despises her parents (blah, blah, trope, trope) with Sunshine leading the charge as decisive and brilliant in an understated but feisty way. Early on in the novel, it gets a little uncomfortable when Glen begins to constantly kiss little Traci on the forehead/top of head/cheek. Repeatedly. Like this is somehow supposed to endear the reader to some perceived daddy/caring connection between them.  Only it comes off contrived and creepy as hell.

I wanted to burn this novel what with this hastily formed unit that becomes this moral guidepost on the road to salvation (escape). Despite the familial perfection, I enjoyed the story line, even as it creeps towards “Westworld” and certain shows in the original Star Trek series (‘The Man Trap’, ‘Catspaw’, ‘The Gamersters of Triskelion’, etc.). Additionally there are some firearm fails, namely where they get the semi-automatic shotguns from the sexbots, er, androids and proceed to pump and “rack” shells into their chambers. Not possible or needed with a loaded semi-auto unless you want to eject live rounds.

I wasn’t enthralled with certain aspects of the novel but I had a good time and that’s talented writing right there.



Book Review: The Heart of the Circle by Keren Landsman


Publishing Date: August 2019

Publisher: Angry Robot

ISBN: 9780857668110

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher’s Description: Throughout human history there have always been sorcerers, once idolised and now exploited for their powers. In Israel, the Sons of Simeon, a group of religious extremists, persecute sorcerers while the government turns a blind eye. After a march for equal rights ends in brutal murder, empath, moodifier and reluctant waiter Reed becomes the next target. While his sorcerous and normie friends seek out his future killers,

Review: Cover art by Illuminati.

Wow this was dumb. Think, “Gay soap opera myopically internalized with feeeeeelings”. Heck, there are no Warlocks, Warlocking around with magic and strife filled  exchanges with moments of ennui.  Just moody gay guys manipulating feeeeelings.

Reed is a whiney, love-addled warbiotch who goes on all these “marches” to protest something that is never adequately defined. My guess is to get equal sorcerer (read in gay) rights?? I am not sure and neither will you be. They get attacked by another group that are labeled “religious extremists” because what would the point be unless you have Christianity as a convenient door mat.

I think the story line is a thinly veiled progressive message that seems to be running on automatic these days. The idea that everyone is bad if they are not on board with progressive rhetoric is absurd and dangerous. End times perhaps??

In this particular instance I reject the message as I do the messenger.

Book Review: The Girl in Red by Christina Henry


Publishing Date: June 2019

Publisher: Berkley


Genre: Post Apoc

Rating: 0.95/5

Publisher’s Description: It’s not safe for anyone  alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

Review: This should have been titled, “Stumpy Red Riding Fail” or “A Post Pandemic Virtue Signalling Guide”.  The novel pretty much starts with the “Guns are bad” shtick. And I quote, “Red despised holding the gun….despised everything about it, hated how cold and hateful it felt in her hand.” Project much? I don’t know, it is hard for me to place a self-governing perspective on an inanimate object, but there you are.

The race baiting is off the charts and at one point I was thinking, “Just shut the fuk up already”. And I quote, “Red had that indeterminate mixed-race look that made white people nervous….”. Really?  I don’t feel nervous around “mixed race” people. I thought they were just, people. I am mixed race, I don’t feel different towards anyone or assume that white people will turn on us all when the shjt hits the fan. Maybe since I don’t look mixed race I can blend in with all the evil WHITE rapey men. Well this racist author drags white people through the mud and elevates other non-white races in her little book of hate for most of the novel.  And here I thought segregationists were dead.

Moving on, I found that the geographical certainty that you find in most post-apocalyptic novels was absent. This usually lends a sense of validity to the novel while giving the reader some visual context to go with the story line. What the author did was make it vague enough to expedite the novel without any grounding in fact. Easier to write that way.

And then there is the constant blather about Red’s amputee status, stump soreness and prosthetic. On and on and on. The author doesn’t even know enough to determine the exact name for Red’s particular condition (Transtibial amputee). The author seems like she wanted to paint Red as this smart (3.8 GPA), mixed race (Dad white, Mom Black- both University Professors) can-do survivor gal with all the odds stacked against her. She not only is an amputee trekking across the wilderness but constantly avoids all the people who want to rape her, because where would the story line go without the want of constantly raping?

Lastly, what is fairly obvious is that the author knows fuk all about survival. The questions are many with regard to uncovered aspects of Red’s overland trek. The depths are never plumbed and help, in the form of available food, is readily available as are the gifts of convenient cabins and homes appearing out of the woods, stocked with food and water.  Throw in an amiable old prepper and, presto!  What is also entirely unbelievable is her ability to take out grown WHITE men that have BAD guns or BIG knives with her little hatchet because she was taught a self-defense class in community college.

I liked when Red kept moving forward through the countryside as it helped ground her dipshjt personality (whiney and argumentative know-it-all). Then she suddenly kills three gun toting bad WHITE men with her little hatchet and back in the shjtter we go.

If you love your grandma, skip this.

Book Review: Age of Legend by M.J. Sullivan


Publishing Date: July 2019

Publisher: Grim Oak


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Each culture has its own myths and legends, but only one is shared, and it is feared by all. With Age of MythAge of Swords, and Age of War, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan riveted readers with a tale of unlikely heroes locked in a desperate battle to save mankind. After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland, but no farther.

Review: It is interesting, at least to me, how all of the reviews that are 3 stars or less have no written content. Takes me back to the time I was a Beta reader for team Sullivan; when if you are more than honest about the content, you are summarily dismissed. As a lot of effort and time goes into Beta reading any expectations about receiving summary novels in the series are quickly quashed by the lack. Self-centered doesn’t quite describe that behavior but I suck too with having any expectations.

The first in this series was a dismal failure what with Persephone, well, being Persephone and the publisher did not approve any subsequent novels up until this one. Too bad, as this was very good. Not Riryria good but still compelling.  What this author excels at is developing characters over the course of a fast paced story line and even the newly introduced are woven into the mix and imbued with deep character. Very deft writing for sure.

I had a good time reading this despite my personal failures at forgiveness, and this might have received the full 5-star accolade, but there are gaps from the previous novels that needs filling. Perhaps once satisfied, then I can revisit this review with the alacrity it deserves.

Book Review: The Return of King Lillian by Suzie Plakson


Publishing Date: July 2019

Publisher: Pilmsthistle

ISBN: 9780988499317

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publisher’s Description: When Lillian, the one and only heir to the throne, is cast out of her kingdom by malevolent forces, she accidentally wanders into the Forest of Forgetfulness, where she is rescued by wolves and raised by an eccentric old wise woman. When she comes of age, she is called by Destiny to return Home. The trouble is, when she steps out of the Forest, she has no memory of who she is or from whence she hails. Undaunted, Lillian sets off into the unknown, determined to discover her long lost self and to reclaim her stolen birthright.


Me: “This really was written for adults and not 5-8 year old children?”.

Publisher: “Yep”.

Me: “Really? No way”.

Publisher: “Yah, way. Here take a gander at more of our insights into this novel. This allegorical saga celebrates the healing power of art and music, the wisdom of animals, and the majesty of nature. It’s a tale for people who take the road less traveled. People who love fantasy, mythology, metaphysics, and comedy in unexpected places. People who are artists, humanists, feminists, seekers, wanderers, wonderers, misfits and bibliophiles. “.

Yeaaah……I did not get that memo where this fairy tale had any allegorical legs. If you use a story line or character to deliver a broader message about real world issues but your core logic is flawed/mired in an incoherent melange of babbling rhetoric that flits from topic to topic like a bee on acid, then ‘address unknown’ or ‘message undelivered’.

This was like being read a Disney tale by Shirley Temple (pouty baby voice) at a novels length. Try listening to say, someone speaking to you in a pirate accent for a while.   It is at once tedious, irritating and insulting. What was somewhat confusing was Lillian’s constant shifting from cogent English (internal dialogue) to cockney (external). This back and forth-ing of accents compounded the issues along with the lengthy contrived vacuousness.

This novel was not without it’s funny moments (The Judge, Poppy peeing in the well) but they were few. Some stories along her journey were really inventive and quite creative but are minimal in presentation and brief in instance. None of the characters ever develop as they are not supposed to in a fairy tale, especially Lillian whom grows into a woman overnight but retains the perspective of Princess Giselle from Enchanted.

At about the 70% Kindle mark, the novel picks up and resides comfortably in the adult consciousness then dips back into Dumbville towards the end. If you like Disney archetypes, are prone to talking with your mouth full and fart in mixed company, then this is for you.