Book Review: Blood and Roses by Jordan Petrarca


Publishing Date: June 2017

Publisher: Jordan Petrarca


Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.3/5

Publisher’s Description:Seven organized crime Families, known as the Seven Blessed Families, rule the World of Exodus and its people with the use of their mysterious magical artifacts, called Relics. Relics give powers to the Blessed members of the Families, and they use those powers for corruption and control of everything in Exodus.

Review: Look out everyone, there is a new Sheriff in town that writes spectacular fiction with a bent towards the uncommon in presentation.

I loved this novel. Involved characters combined with an intensely creative story line really brought this novel to life. Lots of visceral blood and guts types action, with some real crass inter-changes you would expect from a world run by gangsters. The relics seems like artificial intelligence that are gifting nanobots, but it is never revealed exactly what they are. Still, real creative implementation for the basis of power.

“So why you no give 5 stars!!?”. Just when you are really digging the offbeat writing style and getting into the guts (lol) of the crime families, a weird interlude of romance with a crappy plastic character rears it’s ugly head. Really fooking unbelievable, I tell yous. Biting/trembling lips and the whole shjtbang almost belly flopped this novel right into 3 star land. But it was brief and hopefully ends here. Get this now!


Book Review: The Secret Lab by A.B. Carolan

Publishing Date: March 2018

Publisher: Carrick


Genre: SciFi/YA


Publisher’s Description: In the future when humans are exploring the home solar system, four kids discover a mutant cat on the International Space Station. In solving the mystery of the cat’s origin, they uncover an old conspiracy.

Review: The only thing that detracted from this novel was the cover. Great characters evolve around a wonderful story line. The YA’s were believable in their hormonal interactions and the sentient cat was hilarious. Too bad this ended so quickly without regard to future installments. Perhaps the cat will make another appearance solving crimes or venturing out to save Orson.

Book Review: 51: The Beginning by Liz Reeder


Publisher: Archway

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9781480853218

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Lindsay Gold has recently been fired from her deputy’s position at a small county sheriff’s department in the Missouri Ozarks. Just as her family has begun to recover, however, two members of the county commission show up at her door. It seems the previous sheriff has quit, and they want her for the job.

Review: Where to start. While Lindsay is a pretty good character, her development was stunted by a story line that never really goes anywhere. Almost like the novel was planned for a series at the get go.  The whole novel revolves around “strange sightings”, fowl smelling beasts with incredible strength and mysterious deaths of known animals. Really? Talk about stringing out a story line. To top it off her husband knows about most of the shjt happening but is super secrety about his job. Again, really?

While all her deputies are quitting because of monsters, we get some real pedantic scenes on top of it. Like the minuscule things that people do in their lives from opening doors to ordering pizza. Additionally, the dialogue exchanges are confusing and the point of view shifts so you don’t really know who is talking. The ending is weird with no resolution and of course Lindsay is going to be speshul.

Book Review: The Darwin Variant by Kenneth Johnson

Publishing Date: June 2018


Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publisher’s Description: When the icy shards of a rogue comet fall to Earth, they bring an unknown virus that accelerates evolution to extremes. Suddenly, infected plants grow stronger, choking out those uninfected. Animals turn aggressive and deadly. The eyes of loved ones go cold, and infected neighbors begin exhibiting signs of brutal domination.

Review: Honestly I did not give this novel a chance because it didn’t give me a chance to like it. It opens with this jumbled narrative of interviews and perceptions of various people as they live through the outbreak. Not my cup of tea. Additionally the whole “alien virus from space” shtick has been over done. Perhaps I will complete it at a later date should reviews pan out.

Book Review: The Grind by Dante Doom


Publisher: Relay Publishing

Publishing Date: February 2018

ISBN: 9781985095052

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.2/5

Publishers Description: In the desolate future city-state of Verre, King Leopold and his lords rule with absolute authority. There’s only one way for oppressed serfs to rise in rank: the MMORPG called ‘The Grind’. Once a year, players in this virtual game can fight for the opportunity to raise their standing by gathering as many points as possible. Peasants can become Nobles, Lords and, with enough skill, sometimes Kings… Savannah “Savvy” deForge is a Grinder—the lowest of the low, who earns a living racking up points for players by “ghosting” them in the game. When a wealthy client named Timon comes calling, she sees him as her ticket out of the classless limbo of Grinder life.

Review: I am not really sure what to think of this novel. It had Fantastic world building both within the game and out.  An improbable story line that fascinates and absorbs your attention.  But average character development that should have enthralled what with the intense movement  it was coupled to.  The main character was a bit flat, myopic, self-centered and dumb. She never learns from the obvious instances happening in real time. Even after an event that should pull her in a certain direction, she is still conflicted or opposes the logical choice. This is called stupidity. It’s not a complex character or one pulled between extremes. You can’t have a self-centered thief with a heart of gold.   And it is the prancing back and forth between those two personas that leave Savannah flatter than a road kill chipmunk.

What is good is some real crazy world building that pulls you into an incredible visualization matrix. I mean, what is not to like about killing crazy monster virus’? The power ups are cool and the trek is epic by design. The fights are continual and take up a fair portion of the novels content. Good or bad, you be the judge. I found it a bit long in the tooth but still palatable.

I would say that this could have been set up better with the outer world and inner world conflicts enhanced to imbue a sense of balance.

Book Review” Magnum Thrax and the Amusement Park of Doom by Gene Bathurst


Publisher: Clickit Press

Publishing Date:December 2014

ISBN: 9781775184119

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.6/5

Publishers Description: When a gigantic cephalopod delivers an unconscious android to the door of Pleasurepit Five, everything changes for Magnum Thrax. As leader of a team of fiesty, combat repurposed sexbots, he’s used to defending The Pit against mutants and legacy ad memes. This time it’s different: the android brings word of an unstoppable, rogue amusement park that is expanding at an exponential rate, threatening to rewrite the world on a subatomic level into sanitized, G-rated blandness.

Review: Words that come to mind in describing this novel are: operatic, fantastical, apocalyptic, ribald and misogynistic. It at once fascinates and appalls by skipping social convention and going straight for the entertainment jugular. The cover art hearkens in the days of Bruce Minney and his pin up style artwork of babes, beaches and Nazis.

What can I say, I loved this novel. It is a brash, in your face “fuck you” to the weird liberal societal norms that are choking the life out of literary freedom. Here’s to Gene Bathurst for taking the risk and Nimit Malavia for bringing back the images of a bygone era.

Book Review: The Secret of the Great Red Spot by Leonardo Ramirez


Publisher: Leonardoverse

Publishing Date: January 2014

ISBN: 9781386696308

Genre: Steampunk/Kids

Rating: 2.7/5

Publishers Description: It is the year 1892 and Ian and Callie Castillo have had to suffer the hardships of a single parent family since their father went missing five years ago. Since then Ian has refused to use the last gift that his father left the wounded boy; a telescope that sits collecting dust in the attic. When Callie decides to peer through its murky lens it activates the device and sends the Castillos to the steam-powered floating cities of Jupiter where they discover the secret behind their father’s disappearance. But can they uncover the secret behind the Red Spot and save the Jovian’s before the Martians launch their attack?

Review: A good novella adventure made for kids. Great movement with limited character development.*  Kids should enjoy this space fairing adventure.

“I can only rate novellas’ a maximum of three stars due the compressed nature of the story line.