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.

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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.

 

Book Review: Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Publishing Date: February 2019

Publisher: Jolly Fish, North Star

ISBN:9781631632877

Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk

Rating: 4.2/5

Publisher’s Description: Thirteen-year-old Lily Harman always dreamed of adventure. A strong-willed girl, Lily felt trapped in a life of Victorian stuffiness at her prim boarding school. But after her father-a famous inventor-disappears on a routine zeppelin flight, Lily’s life gets turned upside down. Now cared for by her guardian, the heartless Madame Verdigris, Lily is quite certain that she’s being watched. Mysterious, silver-eyed men are lurking in the shadows, just waiting for their chance to strike. But what could they possibly want from her?

Review: This had a hard time, initially, getting up to speed. We get a little mired in a “Matilda” like story where Lily is at boarding school with a mean head mistress while her Father suddenly goes missing. I can see where some reviewers lacked the patience to see it through or it affected their perception of the book entire. If you can get through the first 3rd of the novel, you will strike gold and become engaged in a steampunkian adventure.

Like most novels, once the movement begins in earnest, so evolve the characters. Lily is an engaging character from the start and Robert adds a complimentary perspective to the story line. Anna is a great addition and comes at the right time to move events to critical mass.

This YA novel has a bit of something for everyone. For me the writing was engaging enough to stay tuned and I am glad I did. I look forward to the further adventures of Lily and Robert in “MoonLocket“.

Book Review: Shadow of the Excile by Mitchell Hogan

 

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: 49 North

ISBN:9781503903227

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Outcast and exiled, the demon Tarrik Nal-Valim has long been forgotten by the world of humans. At least, so he thinks. But when he is summoned as a last resort by a desperate sorcerer, it seems as though his past has caught up with him. The sorcerer is Serenity “Ren” Branwen, the daughter of Tarrik’s former master—and friend. Though she seems cold, driven, and ruthless, Tarrik can tell that Ren has her back against a wall, and he is compelled by ferocious powers to obey her.

Review: So……this….was…really….good. This parsing of verbiage hopefully drives home that point. Tarrik is called and bound by a sorceress, to help protect her while she pursues a hidden quest of her own. This constant movement creates an interesting and varied world and even more interesting characters. The magic is very involved and intricate in approach and varies from person to person.  The only downer is the oft repeated “Hiding shadow blade” reasoning among others. There is no need to re-iterate instances. We are accomplished readers not idiots.

I was holding my breath, hoping beyond hope that the two main characters in this novel would NOT devolve into a romance. And thankfully Tarrik just wants to find ways to break the sorcerers enslavement in order to kill her. Yeah baby! Who knows, maybe down the road something love-buds, at which point I will shjt-can the novel. So enjoy it while it lasts and get it while it’s hot!

Book Review: Rogue Dungeon by Eden Hudson and J. Hunter

 

Publishing Date: July 2018

Publisher: Shadow Alley

ASIN: B07FKYZFYD

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.6

Publisher’s Description: Roark von Graf—hedge mage and lesser noble of Traisbin—is one of only a handful of Freedom fighters left, and he knows the Resistance’s days are numbered. Unless they do something drastic…But when a daring plan to unseat the Tyrant King goes awry, Roark finds himself on the run through an inter-dimensional portal, which strands him in a very unexpected location: an ultra-immersive fantasy video game called Hearthworld. He can’t log out, his magic is on the fritz, and worst of all, he’s not even human.

Review: Ok, this was really good in that there was great movement set in a real interesting world. The entertainment value is really high and I am already begging the author(s) to send me the next in the series.

So why does it work so well? I think the authors really complimented each other. Take Eden Hudson’s wild and creative imagination (that sometimes gets a little carried away) and add Hunter’s restraint and cogent process and you get novel gold. Just too fun to put down. GET THIS!

Book Review: Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland by Michael Eging

Publishing Date:  July 2017

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

ISBN: 9781532020209

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.8

Publisher’s Description: As the Frank kingdom prepares for war, Roland, young heir to the Breton March, has been relegated to guard duty until a foreign emissary entrusts him with vital word of a new threat to the kingdom. Now Roland must embark on a risky journey to save all he loves from swift destruction.

Review: This novel is at once compelling, ridiculous, entertaining and maudlin. Let’s look at the ridiculous.

Roland is written as an animation hero straight out of Disney, only more visceral in presentation. He is stalwart, honest/truthful to a fault, abhors evil, and men flock to him for leadership in battle. He only has one true love and puts others before himself…in all things. It’s like Dudley Dooright made a night deposit at the Disney sperm bank, and out popped Roland. Of course where would Roland be without a sidekick? He gets one on the field of battle by defeating a giant sized Norseman who then swears undying loyalty to him. Of course the Dane is loud and boisterous while hefting a mighty battle ax (yawn). So the tropes are many, as are the fat-rendered cliche’s and every instance where events become near impossible and most dire…..there is Roland to save the day.

Meanwhile Snidely Whiplash……er, uh….Giselon is conspiring to kill the King and take the throne. Giselon also has a sidekick named Muttley, er……an evil Priest (is there any other kind?) who flitters about the edges of the story line sneering his way into your heart.

So, what did I think of it all? I fukin’ loved it. I know, kick me in the balls and throw away my reviewer badge, but dang this was good.  While Roland dashes to the rescue of those less fortunate or able, AND against superior odds, you cannot but help root for the guy. What’s not to like about blonde locks flying, sword cut cutting and slashing it’s way through the evil that conspires to rid the godly anointed Frank King from this earth?

So throw away your inhibitions and righteous indignation in favor of some literary mastication that may seek a purge on the rolling decks of clarity.  Ok, that didn’t make much sense but neither did this novel.