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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review: UNRELIABLE HISTORIES by. ROB GREGSON



REVIEW: UNRELIABLE HISTORIES by Rob Gregson

If you like your fantasies high-church and solemn, look elsewhere; but if you're into tongue-in-cheek subtle hilarity tucked into the pages of "medieval"-type epic fantasy, stop right here, and read Rob Gregson's UNRELIABLE HISTORIES. Some of his characters are just--well, not really smart enough to be on stage; thank goodness for the intellect and character of Myrah! But what comes away with me from this story is the single funniest apocalyptic scene I have ever read--unforgettable! If you think "The End of The World As We Know It" can't possibly be humorous, get this book and read to the end. I'm still chuckling.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: PRICE ON THEIR HEADS by Jeff Posey




REVIEW:  PRICE ON THEIR HEADS

What an exciting, engrossing, thriller! I want to read it again! I'm not sure whether the moral encased here should be:  "The Past is never really over" or "Never go public with whatever you know." Professor Jackie Key discovers both these lessons to be true, when his still-unpublished macroeconomics treatise is leaked and incites the Ultra-Wealthy to want him fired, expelled, arrested, even terminated;  and the long-lot covert spy."wet-worker" older brother, not above a bit of assassination himself, reappears to rescue Jackie and his journalist-lover.



Review: CHERNOBYL'S WILD KINGDOM



REVIEW:  CHERNOBYL'S WILD KINGDOM:      LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE by Rebecca L. Johnson

This is a deeply-researched, detailed, science-grounded account of the Exclusion Zone at and surrounding Chernobyl, site of the tremendous nuclear accident on April 26, 1986. At once simultaneously terrifying and encouraging, the author recounts the findings of courageous science researchers who have consistently studied the Zone, and its inexplicable "return" of life. This reminded me also if those scientists who research "extremophiles," the life forms surviving and thriving at extreme.environmental temperatures and conditions:  volcanoes, deserts, the bottom of oceans, etc.  Surely these species at Chernobyl must be in the same category, as they consume radioactive foodstuffs, yet prosper. I highly recommend this well-illustrated and important book, for middle grades on through adult readers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: THE KENNEDY IMPERATIVE by Leon Berger. THE KENNEDY TRILOGY BOOK 1. RELEASE





REVIEW:  THE KENNEDY IMPERATIVE by Leon Berger

Leon Berger's THE KENNEDY IMPERATIVE, Book 1  of THE KENNEDY TRILOGY, brings to vivid life an essential historical era more than 5 decades in the past. I lived through this time as a child, so it is doubly exciting to.peruse this novel.  Antihero Philip Marsden, a fluent speaker of Russian and kind of a career wild card, is imported by his employer, the CIA, to.Berlin. to liaise with the military commandant. A few years earlier, during the McCarthy Hysteria, he would have been under suspicion, for his Russian mother. Not.o my Russian, but quite possibly  double agent, as well.

Review: THE TONE POET by Mark Richert





Music thrums the Universe's chords. I've read postulations that Music and Mathematics, so closely are they twinned, are the paired foundations of the Universe. Music is often considered Celestial; are the Angels not believed to strum harps? So, too, do "Near-Death" experiences seem to be accompanied by Music, in addition to white or golden light. Certainly this was true for the child Cameron Blake, near to death in a vehicular crash; he heard Music, and it returned with his soul, reprising itself within elusive nightmares. Yet Music can be turned to discord and chaos: witness the Nazis' utilization of Wagner. Witness, too, the Reverend Alfred Kalek, who in company with his beloved wife reconstituted a nearly destroyed church building; who found her dead inside that church, and tried to commit suicide. But when an alert neighbor rescued him, the good Reverend recovered life, remembering Music, and considered it an act of God. But the first performance of the music in that church, literally birthed something occult and unspeakable.

Review: BUSINESS MAKES STRANGE BEDFELLOWS by E. E. Ottoman. RELEASE




A delightful, antiquarian, occult, sexy LGBTQ tale sure to gratify readers who wish H. P. Lovecraft could have spent more time writing on the Queer slant of horror literaure. Seriously, E. E. Ottoman is a delight, and certainly knows zie way around the tentacular. So relax and ready yourself for a ride through Old New York,  where Science unites with Necromancy, the City is overrun by.a rampaging Cthulhuian nightmare, and vampires pass through lust on the way to True Love.

New Release: THE TREE OF WATER by ELIZABETH HAYDON


Book 4 of THE LOST JOURNALS OF VEN POLYPHEME releases today from Macmillan Tor. Read its description, and watch this space for my Review on November 17, during the Tour.


Description

The epic voyages continue in The Tree of Water, the fourth adventure in bestselling author Elizabeth Haydon’s acclaimed fantasy series for young readers, The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme.

As Royal Reporter of the land of Serendair, it is the duty of young Charles Magnus "Ven" Polypheme to travel the world and seek out magic hiding in plain sight. But Ven needs to escape the clutches of the nefarious Thief Queen, ruler of the Gated City, whose minions are hunting for him. His friend, the merrow Amariel, has the perfect solution to his dilemma: Ven and Char will join her to explore the world beneath the sea.

As they journey through the sea, Ven finds himself surrounded by wonders greater than he could have ever imagined. But the beauty of the ocean is more than matched by the dangers lurking within its depths, and Ven and his friends soon realize that in order to save thousands of innocent lives, they may have to sacrifice their own. For everything in the ocean needs to eat…

“A delightful epic fantasy that will attract a readership both older and younger than the target audience.” —Booklist (starred review) on The Floating Island

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: THE FALLEN by Dale Bailey




Review

Where has author  Dale Bailey been all my life?  I had barely started THE FALLEN when I paused to purchase HOUSE OF BONES and SLEEPING POLICEMEN, two more of his books, just so I don't run short.  THE FALLEN is set in really-small-town, coal-mining West Virginia:  beautifully scenic, quiet, and surprisingly peaceful. Well, no mining in decades (yay!) and very, very little crime ever, except in rare, intermittent, cycles--then Life gets ugly. One such cycle sees the death of Reverend Quincy Sleep, whose wife died of cancer during the prior weird cycle. Son Henry Sleep can't feature his father as a suicide, and when he begins to stir up the recent past, he also finds himself 're-acquiring long repressed childhood memories.

Review: GET HAPPY by Mary Amato



REVIEW:  GET HAPPY by Mary Amato

Genetics or kinship of the mind, spirit, and emotions--which delivers the foundation of a stronger bond?  Like the Nature vs. Nurture controversy, perhaps the answer is different according to individual.
Turning 17, Minerva discovers that instead of the ukelele she requested, instead she is.tuned to the truth about her parentage:  father is not the deadbeat absent runaway, but a renowned marine biologist at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium; and he hasn't been avoiding her. Her mother had lied all these years.

Review: THE WOLF IN WINTER by John Connolly. Release Day




REVIEW:  THE WOLF IN WINTER by JOHN CONNOLLY

Only a very few authors can suspend disbelief seamlessly as John Connolly does:  China Mieville, Paul Cornell, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Fowler, among my favorites. Each conceives a reality in which the "Other," the Supernatural, is explicitly as "real" as say, the chair across the room, the window, your office mate. Mr. Connolly here extends the venue of his in-a-category-by-himself private investigator and tragic hero, Charlie Parker (himself legendary and nearly mythological, and about to become even more so during the course of this book)  northwards from Scarborough and Portland, Maine, to a small town, an entity itself, named Prosperous--a community founded by religious dissenters escaping oppression in 17th century England. So goes the known history of this town, a locale which has almost consistently lived according to its name. But great prosperity and security come only at an enormous.price.

Meanwhile Charlie and his closest friends, Louis and Angel, intensify the hunt for the ideology-driven serial murderer known by.the appellation of The Collector; and as Charlie is drawn into the investigation of Prosperous, there will be murders, and rocks turned over, and history unveiled; and for Charlie Parker, there will be unheralded danger.

REVIEW: AN HOUR IN THE DARKNESS by Michael Bailey



REVIEW:  AN HOUR IN THE DARKNESS by Michael Bailey

AN HOUR IN THE DARKNESS is told in first-person narrative by Franklin, an individual who either has a tenuous grasp on reality but a strong imagination; or the capacity to "see beyond." (Rather like the clinical rendition of schizophrenia, isn't it?) Franklin prefers the second option; but since this is purely first-person narrative--how does the reader really know?

Review: THE ELEMENTALISTS by C, Sharp



I'm so thankful this totally cool, delightful, and winningly readable novel is the entry point in a series: The Tipping Point Prophecy. If it is indeed the End of The World As We Know It--well, most of us just weren't expecting dragons--but.that's as it is. I haven't been this excited over a YA since DESTRUCTION  by Sharon  Bayliss, and REMEMBERING KAYLEE COOPER by Christopher French. All 25-star books.

Review: THE KILLER NEXT DOOR by Alex Marwood Release Day



REVIEW:  THE KILLER NEXT DOOR by Alex Marwood

I reviewed a digital ARC provided by the publisher via Penguin FirstRead. Immediately I was riveted, and did not stop till the end. Alex Marwood takes us inside the mind of a serial murderer (I hesitate to say "inside the soul") and this time it is not the garden-variety charismatic sociopath who charms his way through life, but an individual who is a misfit to society. 

Not just that character, but three individuals each "on the run," a landlord with personality disorders, and one normal aging lady add to the true delights of this wonderful novel.

Review: MR. KATZ IS A ZOMBIE (GOTHALSBURG GHOST SQUAD#1) by M. C. LESH Release Day




REVIEW:  MR. KATZ IS A ZOMBIE (GOETHALSBURG GHOST SQUAD #1)

A delightfully intriguing and mysterious tale for middle-grade readers, involving a smart 12-year-old who sees and communicates with ghosts; his bumbling not-so-smart buddy, and that boy's younger twin brothers. J.D.'s parents hunt ghosts, he sees them, and buddy Rodney and the twins Randy and silent Ricky just cause trouble--this time, ZOMBIE Trouble.

Review: THE CARNAGE ACCOUNT by BEN LIEBERMAN. RELEASE DAY



REVIEW:  THE CARNAGE ACCOUNT

First of all, I LOVED this book. Loved it and going to reread it. Why is that so strange? If asked a few days ago if I'd like reading about Wall Street, One-Percenters, and hedge funds? Simple answer: not. Well, that was before Ben Lieberman came along; or rather, prior to my discovery of him (thank you, NETGALLEY!!) I had scarcely finished the first chapter when I flew off to Amazon to purchase his earlier novel, ODD JOBS.  Now, that's a compliment!

Rory Cage is some kind of protagonist:  Wall Street Young Turk, hedge fun whiz kid, and stone killer. What's to love? Actually--quite a bit. I.found myself really admiring this guy, cold-hearted, cold-blooded Narcissistic, greed-driven creature that he is. What he holds in common with humanity is physiology only. But I admire him. The other characters are finely-tuned character studies, too; the Rapunzelish aloof isolation of Dawn;  antihero military physician Clay Harbor, former unwitting bad-boy turned SEAL, combination healer and experienced killer; and Jared Knight, Dawn's father and the real love of her life.

Review: THE DARKEST SIDE OF SATURN by Tony Taylor

REVIEW:  THE DARKEST SIDE OF SATURN  by Tony Taylor

A very deep, literary, extensive novel--science fiction, science, metaphysics, religion, spirituality. The focus is the Big Questions unassuming Hero Harris Mitchel has asked of the Universe since his epiphany at age 10:  "Where are we? Where are we going?" Harris is somewhat of a number, but more likely that celestial navigator Harris is on track, while the Universe simply stumbles around him, thus tripping him up.

THE DARKEST SIDE OF SATURN is not a quick read, but  it is both intriguing and thought-provoking, and well worth reading.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Two by PERRIN BRIAR



REVIEW: KEEPING MUM by Perry Briar

What a delightful introductory episode! A talented actor who keeps missing out on the Breakthrough Part, and his nearly pathetic, self-destructive sister, in need of only 8 simple days to access their parent's trust fund. Seems so easy--except Dear Mum has just kicked off, eight days before the trust's seventh anniversary, and so, eight days before the trust us legally in their hands. Oh me, oh my, what's a debtor to do?

I found this story uproarious, and I'm eager to see how Peter and Kate deal with "keeping Mum alive," at least officially.





REVIEW: SQUARE-WELCOME HOME by Perrin Briar

A very in-depth character study and sociological microcosm analysis in a fast-paced and scary episode. After four ugly prison years Tony 's going straight--and better than just straight, he's got big plans to help his Gypsy community: literacy, education, learning trade skills. But crime boss Stivie thinks not: he 'll put Tony to work in a new scam, and that way Tony can pay off his missing brother's debt to the crime czar


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: HORRORSTOR bynGrady Hendrix


The most delightful horrific, spooky, haunting and haunted story--I can't praise it enough! Multiple layers of spookiness, genuine human interaction and integrity against a backdrop of corporate greed, marketing jargon, and retail insanity. Plucky heroine Amy often misunderstands, economically travels in circles instead of reaching the brass ring, and is socially inept; but by golly, her moral fibre is bedrock!

Come visit Cleveland's most haunted Ikea knock-off, and hopefully you may live to tell of your experiences. Or not.

I reviewed a digital ARC provided via Edelweiss Reviewers, but I definitely will purchase this book.





Review: THE WHISPERS by Lisa Unger. RELEASE DAY

THE WHISPERS is the first in a trio of short stories set in author Lisa Unger's fictional community, The Hollows. I predict all fans of the paranormal are going to love this. Neatly plotted, this story is best, to me, for its wonderful character studies. Eloise Montgomery lives the life that's perfect for her; until a sudden, avoidable, vehicular accident claims her husband and older daughter. After six weeks in a coma, Eloise awakens to mourning, single parenthood--and troubling psychic visions.

Review: THE LAST MILE by Tim Waggoner. RELEASE DAY




REVIEW:  THE LAST MILE by Tim Waggoner

A lovely new vision of TEOTWAWKI (The End of The World As We Know It),  THE LAST MILE is tautly written, excited, creative, imaginatively detailed. Graphic, gory and deliciously horrible, this story brings new twists to the tropes "Eye in the Sky," and "Cherchez last Femme."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: THE RED MAGICIAN by Lisa Goldstein. RELEASE DAY



REVIEW:  THE RED MAGICIAN by Lisa Goldstein

A heartwrenching tale of the long reach of the Holocaust, told from the perspective of an adolescent girl in a small community not quite Polish or Czech or Hungarian, a town whose rabbi curses the school and instructors for teaching Hebrew, the Holy Tongue.  Kicsi dreams of far-flung locales with exotic names and equally exotic cultures; and as the Nazi madness affects a continent, the magical transient Voros appears.

Review: THE VINES by CHRISTOPHER RICE. RELEASE DAY



REVIEW:  THE VINES by Christopher Rice

I was tremendously eager to read THE VINES, as Christopher Rice' s earlier book, THE HEAVENS RISE, had left such an endearing and enduring impression on me. My anticipation was fully justified;  THE VINES is every bit as incredibly Supernaturally edifying, and educating, as its predecessor. I felt I walked the paths the characters trod, both in the present day and in the bloody mid-19th century. With them, I marveled in awe and wriggled in fright at.the various momentous Supernatural occurrences. And I roiled in anger at the many crimes of the recent past and present, as well as the inhuman 19th century treatment of the slaves. I closed the book, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually satiated.

Review: 11 HARROWHOUSE by Gerald Browne. RELEASE DAY



REVIEW:  11 HARROWHOUSE by Gerald Browne

I surprised myself at how very much I enjoyed reading this book, from the very first page right through to  the end. Usually I ignore books with romantic overtones---and the core of this is an obsessive, doomed, love affair--yet I found 11 HARROWHOUSE enormously engaging, a real thriller.

KNIFE FIGHT AND OTHER STORIES by David Nickle. RELEASE DAY



REVIEW: KNIFE FIGHT AND OTHER STRUGGLES by David Nickle

A 13-entry collection of the literary and subtly horrific, stories in which you may find yourself stepping  back and re-reading passages:  "Did I really just read that?" all the while rethinking your view of reality.

OPERATION CHIMERA by Matthew Cox and Tony Healey Tour: Excerpt


 

Operation Chimera, by Matthew Cox and Tony Healey

 

Genre: science-fiction, action-adventure

 

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

 

Date of Publication: October 20, 2014.

 

Cover Artist: Ricky Gunawan (http://ricky-gunawan.daportfolio.com/)

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22590305-operation-chimera

 

Description:

 

Generations of war with the savage Draxx have left humanity desperate for a way to gain the upper hand.

 

A chance to turn the tide in their favor is all legendary Captain Nicholas Driscoll needs to hear to lead an expedition behind enemy lines to the Chimera Nebula - a region of space so unstable it remains largely uncharted.

 

Lieutenant Michael Summers sees an opportunity to matter, a chance to let future generations exist in a universe without constant war. He and other brave young cadets join the Manhattan for its first dangerous mission - to penetrate the Chimera Nebula and discover what it is the Draxxare doing in there.

 

But first the ship and her crew will be tested by enemies both outside and within…

 

--

 


 

About Matthew Cox:

 

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

 

Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.

Find Matthew Cox Online:

Website (http://www.matthewcoxbooks.com/wordpress/) | Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/MatthewSCoxAuthor) Twitter(https://twitter.com/mscox_fiction) Goodreads(https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7712730.Matthew_S_Cox)

--


About Tony Healey:

Tony Healey is a best-selling independent author. Born in 1985, he has lived his entire life in the city of Brighton, UK.

In 2011, he found his fiction published alongside Harlan Ellison and Alan Dean Foster. A year later, his sci-fi serial FAR FROM HOME became a best-selling sensation, followed by similarly successful sequels. Since then he has collaborated with authors Bernard Schaffer, Matthew Cox and William Vitka on various projects. He has also had work published by Curiosity Quills Press. He is married and has three daughters.

For the latest on Tony's various projects, visit his site www.tonyhealey.com

Find Tony Healey Online:

Website (http://tonyhealey.com/) | Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/fringescientist?fref=ts) Twitter(https://twitter.com/FringeScientist) | Goodreads




Chapter 1

Hope, dreams, and regret hung thick in the air, mixed with the antiseptic scent of new membranes in the atmosphere scrubbers. Lieutenant Michael Summers, duffel slung over his left shoulder, trudged along the steel-blue corridors of Horizon Station. All around him, the air vibrated with the din of activity and near-tangible presence of people. Small children, too young to comprehend where their older siblings were going, darted among a crowd visible through the doors at the end of the hallway.

A few others walked in the same direction, clad in the same white uniform of a newly minted officer. In two years of Academy, they never had managed to give him one that fit. At least this time―when he was taking a trip he might not return from―they finally got his size right.

Two Milsec soldiers snapped to attention and saluted as he reached the door they flanked. Arc plasma rifles clicked against pale grey armor-covered legs. Michael returned their salute as he passed out of a narrow, inclined hallway and into wide-open concourse. Ordinarily, shuttle departure platforms were off-limits to civilians; given the nature of the day, however, command had given a pass to immediate family. Captain Driscoll, the officer in command of his new assignment, had personally approved it. That order alone had earned him much respect among a crew he had not yet seen face-to-face. Even his name evoked a sense of mythical awe; some of the stories that filtered through the Academy about him seemed like the sort of thing that got wilder with each retelling.

On Michael’s left, a row of stairways led up to where sixteen shuttles perched just inside atmospheric retention fields. Four inches of energy separated the air in here from the vacuum-darkness of space, and made the front ends of the loaf-shaped craft glow azure. Large view panels and a sloped, flat front end made the shuttles look like oversized minivans, only on struts and pads rather than wheels. Plain white, their only adornments were the large TDF logo on the side near the rear and the various red and yellow arrows painted here and there to indicate important panels and “no step” locations. Michael spent a moment observing flight crews scurrying about to prep the shuttles: silver hoses loaded electrogel, tech carts connected to the avionics systems ran diagnostics, and shuttle pilots worked through their preflight checklists. The chemical reek from the e-gel whipped by on a frigid breeze; the air chilled by the vacuum outside the atmo-fields created a strong gust that clung low to the deck. Michael gave the hoses a wary glance and sped up. E-gel went from semi-liquid to pure energy in the power cores of ships too small for dedicated reactors, but it also had violent tendencies when exposed to air. If something went wrong, he did not want to be anywhere nearby.

Toward the station-side wall, several columns ringed with comm terminals bore the brunt of the crowd. Individuals whose families could not make the trip in person crowded around them, while closer to the departure shuttles a mass of sobbing mothers tried without success to change the minds of their sons and daughters.

As if it was that easy. Michael chuckled to himself.

He turned on his heel and joined the shortest line. His mom would not be able to get here all the way from the colony on Bophor; her arrival at the graduation ceremony last week had been an unexpected surprise.

The minutes ticked by. Two small boys ran circles around his line, oblivious to the emotion in the air and content to publicize their boredom by running around and screaming. One despondent person at a time, the line moved; with each departing individual, he inched closer. The last man in front of him had it out with his pregnant wife―she did not approve of his volunteering for service on the Manhattan. When all the guilt she flung at him failed to erase his signed contract, she hung up in a huff. The man sighed, let his head bonk into the terminal, and took a deep breath. He turned; from his blue coveralls, he appeared to be one of the flight support crew.

At the sight of Michael, he snapped a quick salute. “Morning, sir.”

“Airman,” said Michael with a nod.

They pivoted to slide past each other. Michael wondered why a man with a baby on the way would have volunteered for such a risky deployment. Those questions were not his business, but he gave the crewman a confident nod and a pat on the arm.

“For what it’s worth, we’ll all do everything possible to make sure you get home to her.”

“Thank you, sir.” The airman smiled through his nerves and saluted.

Except for the shimmering green logo of the Trans-Gal system, the otherwise dark screen caught a weak reflection of Michael’s head. Shaved on the sides, his flat top lived up to its name. The idea he was now out of Academy and could let it grow a little brought a half-smile, though his dreadlock days were long gone. He swiped at the terminal, brushing the star-map to the side with several passes of his hand until the pale cream-colored dot where his mother lived came into view.

Planet Bophor zoomed in to fill the entire screen after he tapped it. The surface moved in a slow spin to the left, threads of cottony clouds drifted in the opposite direction to the planet’s rotation. At the bottom, a black rectangle appeared with a faint green line through the center.


Michael cleared his throat and addressed the screen. “Initiate outbound. Colony TZ-B11. Khana Marie Summers.”

FURTHERMORE