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.

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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

ISBN:9780995156647

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: 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: Contact by Doug Dandridge

Publishing Date: June 2019

Publisher: IBPA

ASIN: B07QMY9JR1

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publisher’s Description: Montana is a newly independent colony, home to both colonizing humans and the Xakalar, who are native to the planet. When deposits of an extremely rare mineral are discovered on the Montana, everyone’s eyes focus on the small colony…and everyone wants a piece of the planet.

Review: That cover art is in need of a makeover. Wow.

This started off really good. Alien invasions, tactical space wars, good solid made up science and characters with some promising beginnings. It starts turning to shjt when douche….er, Matt Chin first meets his sister Maggie, at the space port. Of course she is frikin’ hotter than a hydrogen fart and proceeds to get accosted by off-world space marines with LEERING faces veiling malicious intent. So these drunkards, out of the blue, hit on a “babe” in a busy space port, which….gets ol’ Matty Doucheb….er Chin and his alien buddy all riled up. See, the problem I got with this, is what might be the beginning of a patterned bullshjt story line we see time and time again. Right away we can guess the outcome of the entire novel as there is nothing surprising or inventive.

Well the aliens have attacked (giving nothing away here) and the resident alien chief whatever, gives a grand speech that is so corny that it rides the fringes of racially demeaning the Native American Indian. And I quote…, “This is Zhontalis, chief of the Western Canyonlands Xakalar Tribe. This is a message for my people, Let us lead you to shelter in the mountains……etc.”. This goes on for a bit and really doesn’t fit the story line in two ways. They are currently being bombed (no time for big speeches) and aliens talking like Hollywood Indians is not only insulting but is very non-alien. Did this author grow up virtue signaling or was it acquired later in life? So of course Matty dumb-dumb is anointed Captain hero while Maggie swishes her red tresses and blinks those perfect almond eyes because her Dad is Chinese and their Mom is tall. Right.

So what once had great designs on the imagination, prevails in stamping any entertainment value right out of your dirty scrabbling little fingers, you mewling grovelers.

Book Review: Starship Repo by Patrick S. Tomlinson

 

Publishing Date: May 2019

Publisher: Tor/Forge

ISBN: 9781250302717

Genre: SciFI

Rating: 4.7/5

Publisher’s Description: Firstname Lastname is a no one with nowhere to go. With a name that is the result of an unfortunate clerical error and destined to be one of the only humans on an alien space station. That is until she sneaks aboard a ship and joins up with a crew of repomen (they are definitely not pirates). Now she’s traveling the galaxy “recovering” ships. What could go wrong?

Review: One of the main elements in a novel that I look for is character development. Story lines and logical progression come in second-ish. There are many ways to develop characters as to win over the reader. Mainly the movement is inspired enough to engage these personas with time molding the differences.

One douchebag reviewer stated that, “tThe “light episodic humor” just did nothing for me. The allusions current events seemed inappropriate and references to current cultural icons such as ‘Star Wars’ have no place in a novel set 4 centuries in the future. The humor just seemed silly and forced.”.  So ignore the grammatical/spelling errors for now from said 4-year old reviewer and lets focus on the finer points. IMO, if the novel expands a creative world to develop their burgeoning characters, then the humor is almost tertiary to the outcome; being entertained and captivated by the various personalities.  To arbitrarily say a novel is not worth the paper it’s printed on because the humor is silly, dismisses the most important aspects contained and relegates the entirety to a dismissive state (poopy bottom).  I may be wrong, but I do not remember any “allusions” to Star Wars, but I may have missed it.

That purged, I found the novel highly entertaining. The aliens are numerous and the author builds them into a believable state. They are all gifted with relevant personalities that pair well with their counterpart species to create a cogent civilization (good world building). First is an impeccably built character as are her surrounding adopted familial’s. Even brief appearances of aliens are gifted with enough personality to enhance the scenes and build the story line.

I really would like to see this become a series to my own myopic ends…….continuing high-level entertainment.

Book Review: Sio by C.A. Blocke

 

Publishing Date: April 2019

Publisher: Ninestar

ISBN: 9781950412488

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publisher’s Description: James Marks and his crew of scav trash operate their ship, SIO, on a mission to obtain a mysterious piece of new tech. It changes everything and leaves him stranded somewhere he doesn’t recognize with a cute, if not a bit annoying, tech scientist. James doesn’t know, when he first meets Michael, but his life is about to change in a very surprising way.

Review: Not too many reviews out there to gauge whether or not my opinion is consistent with what others are finding. As time time goes on, I am guessing this will reside in average-land. Here’s why.

Pretty dam good writing marred by inexplicable insertions of filler romance crap. It is not that romance can sometimes build characters and enhance the story line, but driven to excess can almost always confuse the story line while diminishing the characters. Love born in a few days is what pushes this novel to stall interest while relieving the reader of a cogent and logical plot.

The supporting cast is never adequately developed as the there is no room to do so. What you get is hastily built personas that are over-the-top in order to compensate for their lack of depth. James Marks lacks depth as a main character, as he is driven by greed and libido, which leaves no room for giving two shits about him. Michael is a mewling, whimpering, addled douche bag that just happens to be a genius when the crew needs it the most. These plot devices a scattered throughout the novel where no effort is expended to enhance the novel with intricate and compelling scenes.

If I were given two choices: 1) Read this to completion or, 2) blow myself out the nearest airlock, I would be pressed in choosing.