Thursday, February 26, 2015

No Way Home by Various Authors

24635638I received [No Way Home] from author [Harry Manners] in exchange for a honest review. This collection of short stories with the theme of being stranded, in one way or another, was a thought provoking read.

[To Sing of Chaos and Eternal Night] by [Lucas Bale] took me a few days to get past the beginning. The concept of a soldier who has lost all being and is just thought sent to robotic bodies and told to fight the enemy was interesting. As I stated, unfortunately, it was a slow start but the ending was worth the read.

[XE, or People Are Strange] by [S. Elliot Brandis]gave a new meaning to getting away from it all. The main character, Bradley, volunteers to be put in a shuttle to find a new habitable plant. His mission is one way and he is to send a signal back to Earth if it is a safe place. Apparently, though, he is not the first, or only, person on the new planet. I really liked the twist in this story.

[Grist] by [J.S. Collyer] is a futuristic view where one entity has taken control and all others are forced to work for them, often underground. Wyatt was not born into this so he remembers fresh air and sun. He wants to escape and be free again. Just daring to think this way can be deadly and he must know who to trust. The question this story had me asking was what is life worth?

[Merely A Madness] by [S.W. Fairbrother] was one I was really excited to see in this collection because I had read [The Secret Dead] and loved it. [Merely A Madness] did not disappoint in anyway. Earth has become a hostile place but most people have escaped off planet. Hannah loves old earth and Mullen sets up a holiday because he aims to please. This would be like current day people going to a wild west ranch, real but not too real. Things go horribly wrong and Mullen must make a hard choice. This story was one of my favorites by far.

[Revolver] by [Michael Patrick Hicks] was the most overtly political and also one of the most enjoyable. The concept of reality TV and politics preying on the unfortunates is so scary because it is not far from our current reality. I really loved the statement made in this one.

[The Happy Place] by [Harry Manners] was a story of a dream gone horribly wrong. Michael has always dreamed of going to the stars and with his wife this dream becomes a reality as he is chosen to colonize Mars. Years later he realizes his dream may be a nightmare as he begins to lose everything he loves. The only thing that keeps him going is 'the Happy Place', a virtual reality of his memories from Earth, but keeping this secret from those he loves may cost him even more. This is the third work I have read from [Harry Manners] and I love how he handles loneliness and making hard decisions. His characters are always deeper than they first appear.

[Renata] by [Nadine Matheson] is a futuristic spy story wrapped in a mob hit with political intrigue. Yes, I enjoyed this one as well. Kaoru is an assassin who gets his assignments from his brother. His latest target is in the past. This is the assignment that may just kill him.

[Cold Witness] by [A.S. Sinclair] was a mental thriller. John Marshall is sent to check out an abandoned military complex that he is told little about. When he arrives there he hears rumors of strange things involving the final project at the base. Upon arrival he begins hallucinating and his memories begin to meld with others. The question of what is reality is constant throughout.

All the stories were well written and enjoyable. I also liked how each author wrote an "Afterword" that explained a little of how they came up with the concept they did. I recommend this to any fan of futuristic and science fiction.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Five Suns of Treason (Five Suns Saga Book 1) by Jim Heskett

23964363In [Five Suns of Treason (Five Suns Saga Book 1)] [Jim Heskett] writes a series of vignettes about different people before and after a major disaster. I was able to infer that someone betrayed the government in a power grab before the world ended or did that power grab cause the world's chaos?

The characters range from politicians to criminals(same don't you think?) [Heskett] could have done more development of the characters since I feel this would be a very character driven plot. I like how he has each as their own story but there is a minor thread connecting them.

Another thing that would have helped is more background into what the event was supposed to be. I was left with a lot of questions and wish this was a longer book. I guess I just have to read more of his stories to find out.

Ravenous(Ancestors Book 1) by Heidi Loney

18044440[Heidi Loney] has written an exciting ride in [Ravenous]. The idea of student's being sent to a 'fat farm' is very much like something Orwell would come up with. The fact that they keep disappearing makes for an interesting twist.

I loved the use of the First Nation's and that they were the people to survive. The message that if you respect the land the land will take care of you and the same goes for people. The pace was good throughout the book and I am looking forward to reading [Ancestors] the second book. I want to continue this journey.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tethered Twins by Mike Essex

18272531In a world where everyone has a twin that can feel and experience the same things if you could figure out how to control that connection you could have power. That is the world that [Mike Essex] creates in [Tethered Twins].

Twenty-one years ago an event happened that caused billions of deaths worldwide. Now England is divided into the 'haves' and 'have nots' but they all have the common thread of being tethered. Emmie experienced the torture, and death, of her twin Will. By all accounts she should be dead but instead she is about to become a pawn, and possibly savior, in the battle to control the world.

I enjoyed this story. It fit into the dystopian genre with a different twist. I am hoping to get to read the second installment [Tethered Souls].

Blue Rhapsody by Grace McDermott

24878676As a fan of the [Require Cookie] books I was excited to read [Blue Rhapsody]. [Grace McDermott] tells the back story of Raz and how he came to the agency. Once again we see what a good guy Ryan is with his kind actions that end up helping the agency. 

Raz is a person who would be defined in "normal" society as mentally ill but he fits right in at the agency. One of the reasons I love these books is they were written for the true misfits and gives a different view of what really is normal.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hollow Blood (Sleepy Hollow Horror's #1) by Austin Dragon

24675183I was given this book in exchange for a honest review and it was amazing. I will read almost anything but my wheelhouse is science fiction and history, this book was both. 

Everyone knows the legend of Sleepy Hollow but the Headless Horseman had been scarce for ten years. His last victim, Ichabod Crane. A stranger shows up questioning the story and believing this was a cover for foul play. He may get more than he bargained for.

[Austin Dragon] does a wonderful job being true to the original story while writing [Hollow Blood] and asking the "what if"? The superstitions of the era led to many stories but few as well known as the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The idea that there may have been more to it is a great twist.

I have read some of [Dragon's] futuristic science fiction and it was nice to see an author with versatility. I have enjoyed all the books of have read by him but so far [Hollow Blood] is my favorite.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

And They Lived: A Short Story Anthology by Sabrina Zbasnik

First of all make sure you read the copyright warning in the beginning of the book or else the chipmunks may get you.


This anthology of short stories was a very good(and quick)read. [Sabrina Zbasnik] has created a dark and twisted view in [And They Lived] of some of our favorite fairy tells. I love it! I hate when female characters are weak.

She starts out with "Before Midnight" which has El Cinder as a hired killer. Her mark is Prince Charming. Yes, she does leave a glass slipper behind.

Next is "The Fifth Horseman" which is a poetic view of the horesmen and their forgotten brother.

"Hollow" was about selling your soul in vengeance and what it may cost.

"Darkness Shall Not Be Breached" was a creepy story involving spiders. (You are warned.)

"The Tower" was a very dark twist on Rapunzel.You don't want her to let her hair down, trust me.

"Destiny" was not as dark as the others but did emphasize how we can't change fate but it may not always be what we perceive.

"The Flower Garden" was a morality tale about vanity.

"Insomnia" showed even in death sometimes sleep alludes us. (I just say Ambien.)

Finally, "Red" goes back to the secret agent idea of El Cinder but with Red. Red must save Grandmother form Wolf but sometimes the lines between good and bad are not always so clear.

[Zbasnik] has a wonderful writing style that is lacking in much modern works. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this anthology.

Johnny Graphic and the Attack of the Zombies by D.R. Martin

18492079[D.R. Martin] does an excellent job continuing the adventures of young boy photographer, Johnny Graphic and his friends. I [Johnny Graphic and the Attack of the Zombies] Johnny, Mel, Nina, and Dame Honoria continue the battle against Percy. This time Percy has created an army of zombies.

The classic style of the writing reminds me of Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew mysteries. It is a great throw back with a modern twist. I really enjoyed the style and the characters. The new characters that [Martin] added fit very well into the plot and enhanced the story line. I really recommend this book and feel it would be great in a classroom.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Metal Flesh (The After Eden Series: Tek-Fall, Episode I) by Austin Dragon

Metal Flesh (After Eden: Tek-Fall, Episode I)[Metal Flesh (The After Eden Series: Tek-Fall, Episode I] by [Austin Dragon] was an interesting view of the future. Sprocket is an atheist who's father was killed by a mysterious hit man. The world is dominated by tek. He is trying to find the only person who can help him, Goth Lila. Will he be able to handle what he finds out?

The characters were very good. I also likes how the story was broken up not only in chapters but time and place within the chapters. The story did seem to jump around a little but perhaps because I have not read the other books by [Dragon] yet. I plan to do just that.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Red Equinox by Douglas Wynne

23603906[Red Equinox] by [Douglas Wynne] was about how humans can become pawns of the gods even unwittingly. Also that not all gods are good. Part adventure and part mystery this book has a lot to offer various audiences.

Becca is a photographer and urban explorer. She was raised by her slightly eccentric grandmother who studied the occult. Some of this knowledge was unwittingly passed to Becca as the book starts with her grandmother's funeral.

Brooks is a detective for an unknown government agency that investigates the weird (think X-Files). He and Becca are bound to cross paths as a madman from a cult plans to unleash destruction on Boston, the Hub.

These are the two main driving protagonists in the book. The were developed well but I found I wanted to know more about them. Deeper personalities because they both were hiding things and fighting their own demons.

The plot got a little wordy at times but the descriptions gave me that visual I enjoy in a good book. Any book that makes me "see" what is going on is a good one. I hope the next one will flow just a little better but other than that nothing should change.