Review: City of Torment (Abolethic Sovereignty #2) by Bruce Cordell

The blog lag continues. This time my excuse is that I’ve become addicted to GTA V RP on Twitch and binging shows I’ve had in my queue forever on Netflix before my subscription ends (they jacked the price again, so I’m canceling for a while in protest). I do highly recommend Love, Death & Robots, and the new Ultraman.

Anyway, I did finish this one off earlier today. It was a good read and a decent sequel. I can recommend that you Happy Readers check it out. I’ll let you know how book 3 turns out too, but I’ll be jumping into the next Frontiers Saga first.

I have plans to work on some short stories, and I really have to firm up some D&D campaign details ASAP. That means the next review could be a while. But for now…

Here’s the Amazon Blurb:

Lovecraftian horror from award-winning Forgotten Realms® game designer Bruce R. Cordell.

Raidon Kane travels to the subterranean fortress of the somnambulant aboleths, bent on killing the Eldest in its sleep. But he isn’t the only one bound for the hidden city. A warlock, an arch fey, a pirate, and a high priestess of the Abolethic Sovereignty all have designs of their own on the Eldest–if they don’t kill each other first.

And now the review!

City of Torment (Forgotten Realms: Abolethic Sovereignty, #2)City of Torment by Bruce R. Cordell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story continues to spin in interesting ways in the second book of this series. Character development and growth along with interrelationships were balanced well with action and plot progression.

The cliffhanger of book 1 is taken back up at the start and sets the stage for the reasons the story goes in the direction that it does. You find out much more of the origins of Japheth’s pact. Seren’s backstory is revealed. Captain Thoster has light shed on his hinted-at issues as well. All in all, the characters of questionable character are shown to grown into likable (if still flawed) individuals. The story becomes more complex and remains interesting. The action and descriptiveness of the events are what we all want to see in our minds when we play a nice game of D&D.

The ending is very much geared to hook you into picking up the next book in the series. I’m torn on that being good or bad, but since the series in general has been worthwhile reading, I’ll defer to good. I will be reading on into book 3 of the series myself.

I give this one three stars and call it a Worthwhile Read.

View all my reviews


Check out my books over on Amazon.com! I currently have two published. Both are available on Kindle Unlimited, and on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for free if you have Amazon Prime.

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

eConscience Beta

Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

Horizons Unlimited

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

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Review: Plague of Spells (Abolethic Sovereignty #1) by Bruce Cordell

It’s been a while since the last blog, and even a longer while since the last review. The reason for that is that I’ve started and paused on 2 different books (1 for its slowness, and 1 because I got distracted) while scattering my time resources to the winds and the Forgotten Realms wiki. That actually brings us to the book I’m reviewing today. It was an addition/insertion to the TBR pile because it was part of the Forgotten Realms lore in which I was steeped. I needed to know details.

Luckily, It was good enough that I can recommend it to you, Happy Readers!

Here’s the Amazon Blurb:

Lovecraftian Horror in Faerûn!

Blue fire sears the face of Faerûn, leaving the twisted and mutilated dead in its wake. But a rare few escape death–and suffer some mystical mutation. Raidon Kane is one of those who survives, the wake of blue fire burning the sigil of the amulet he wears into his chest and binding him with all the power and responsibility it entails. With everyone he knows and cares about dead, Raidon must find within himself the strength to lead the fight against the rise of an elder evil the likes of which would be the end of mortal kind.

Award-winning game designer Bruce R. Cordell depicts the rise of a monstrous nation of elder evil as only he can in this brand-new trilogy Abolethic Sovereignty. Dedicated to showcasing one of the most fascinating new aspects of the changed face of Faerûn, this trilogy is packed with the exciting battles, wizardry, and monsters that are the hallmark of Forgotten Realms novels as well as introducing a new never-before-seen element of Lovecraftian horror to Faerûn.

And now the review!

Plague of Spells (Forgotten Realms: Abolethic Sovereignty, #1)Plague of Spells by Bruce R. Cordell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this one up because I’m doing some Forgotten Realms research for a D&D campaign (character backstory). This was the first D&D derived novelization I’d ever read, so I was curious how it would be done comparative to DM guide books and adventure modules. I was pleasantly surprised.

I was surprised at how well the magical abilities and appearances of creatures and characters were portrayed. While there was a bit more ‘tell’ than ‘show’ at times, that did not happen often enough to detract from the work as a whole. I was fully immersed from the start. The action scenes were described well which served to pull you along. It was standard fantasy writing with a hint of the familiar as I recognized the creatures being described. The plot of the story was also engaging. Had I not already known a significant portion of lore regarding Faerûn, I might have been at a bit of a loss, but I can’t say that for certain. The 1st book does end in a significant cliffhanger, so be warned if you plant to read it for yourself.

Overall, I liked the book. I plan to continue with the series. I can recommend it as a fast paced and entertaining read for anyone who likes either High Fantasy or Lovecraftian adventure. I give it 3 stars and call it a Pleasantly Surprised Good Read.

View all my reviews



Check out my books over on Amazon.com! I currently have two published. Both are available on Kindle Unlimited, and on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for free if you have Amazon Prime.

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.



If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.


HAPPY READING!

Review: The Unseen (Freelancer #2) by Jake Lingwall

The Unseen (Freelancer Book 2)

The Unseen by Jake Lingwall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Character flaws are things to be fixed, not justified or glossed over. That’s the biggest reason that I cannot give this second book in the Freelancer series anything higher than 2 stars.

The usual thing to do with a character is to have them start out flawed, then recognize that flaw (usually after it lands them in the crap) and then correct it. When you start with a Mary Sue with two big flaws that she (and maybe the author?) can’t see, then don’t fix it but carry it over to the next book… you get a repeat. The same problem Kari had before (easily manipulated) is still there. The other issue is that the ‘flaw’ that she sees in herself (getting people hurt because of her actions) is not the REAL problem, but it BECOMES one even while she extols her virtue for not having done the necessary thing to keep evil from continuing. On no less than five occasions I found myself saying… just kill the guy and damn the consequences… don’t play the game his way… but no, the pages just kept going. *sigh* The dummies on the television don’t listen to me either.

This rest of this review is a spoiler. I don’t have any more time to spend on a 2-star trying to keep it from being one. Read ahead at your own risk.

After escaping the clutches of a power hungry manipulative egomaniac (who happens to work for the government) and almost being killed along with the boy she didn’t even know she liked (but apparently everyone else did?) in the first book, Kari the super-hacker, aka Freelancer, tries to settle down to a normal life of self-indulgence. Unfortunately, she manages to fall into the clutches of a power hungry manipulative egomaniac (who happens to want to overthrow the governments…both of them, as the U.S. is now in a second Civil War).

So, hopefully, you can see my problem here. She learned nothing from her first hellish, mind-scaring, life-trauma event and simply fell into the next one. For a person who is super-smart and can solve so many problems, she is beyond naive. It’s so bad that it completely ruined my suspension of disbelief. I knew who the bad guy was the instant he was introduced.

The whole YA silly teen/young-adult relationship thing just added a level of obnoxious to top the whole thing off.

And that’s why it gets two stars and no more of my time. I’m skipping book 3 because I fear it will be just more of the same.

View all my reviews on Goodreads, or look for them here on the blog!


Check out my books over on Amazon.com! I currently have two published. Both are available on Kindle Unlimited, and on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for free if you have Amazon Prime.

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.

If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

2018 Year In Review: Books & Writing & Dungeons & Dragons, Oh My!

Well, 2018 has certainly been a year, hasn’t it? Time to examine those accomplishments (or lack thereof) and decide what to do with the next 12 months (or not). As you can see, my motivation is at ebb tide at the moment of this missive, so maybe the act of looking back will help… let’s see…

I did manage to exceed my 2017 read count by a whole 176 pages! I was down two books though, with only 29. I do know that much reading that is not counted up includes tons of editing (re-reading), research for writing, and also research into Dungeons and Dragons rules and lore. I’m totally counting the Dungeon Masters Guide & Player’s Handbook for D&D 5th Edition this year! The D&D wiki is also a rabbit hole of infinite depth down which one should carefully tread, lest you be engulfed and never return! So, yeah, I’ll count all that as a win.

The writing has taken a backseat for a while, although I did publish my Horizon’s Unlimited Anthology. I wrote and expanded on several short stories and submitted those. One was over 22,000 words! I have not yet been able to settle into a mindset that will allow me to continue another novel. I also have picked up that new hobby that I mentioned before…

You see, early in the year… Feb/March? I decided to try my hand at being a Dungeon Master for D&D 5th Edition starter set campaign The Lost Mine of Phandelver. This RPG is supposed to be a fairly short introductory campaign to help new players and new DMs (Dungeon Masters) learn the ‘art’ of play D&D. I had played through that campaign myself as a player, so I was hoping it would prove to be an easy way to get started as the man behind the screen… Weeellll…

I have a tendency to embellish things when I think they are a bit on the boring side. My players also have this same characteristic trait. I quickly found that if I dangled a shiny side-story in front of them, they would instantly shoot off in that direction before I could comprehend what I had done to myself. This is how LMoP become a nearly year long campaign with a follow on Custom Campaign #2 to be run me in 2019.

Oh, and we’re maybe…sorta…kinda… going to try recording it an seeing if people on YouTube want to watch it. That means I now have to learn video recording & editing software, etc. I have already started this, and it will be time consuming. It is why the ‘plans’ that I mentioned back in November never really happened.

Anyway, that’s what’s up with my life and hobbies at the moment. But, let’s get back to the BOOKS!

I only had 4 books that (5 if you count my own, but I’m biased) made the 5 star cut this past year. 7 earned a 4 star ranking. There were some good comics/graphic novels in the mix as well, but I count them separately.

Here’s the breakdown for my reads & reviews this year.

Total books read for the year: 23 (+4 Comics/Graphic Novels + 2 RPG Source Books)

Total pages read for the year: 7,646

Book ratings: 5 – 5 stars, 7 – 4 stars, 11 – 3 stars, 2 – 2 stars, 1 – 1 star

Comic ratings: 1 – 5 star, 1 – 4 star, 2 – 3 stars

I would love to hear from any readers in the comments.

How many books did you read in last year? What were your favs?

Wishing you all Happy Reading for 2019!


Showcase of some of my favorites from 2018 are below…

Five Star Books

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1
A Space Adventure Anthology
by J. D. BeckwithMy Book
Planetary: Mercury by Superversive Press (includes a short story by ME!)

My Review

A Place For War (Z-Day #3) by Daniel Humphreys

My Review

I Am Justice (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes #9) by Ryk Brown

My Review

Islands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising #3) by John Ringo

My Review

Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins #1, #2 & #3 by Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer

No Written Review – Buy Here

Four Star Books

Planetary: Venus by Superversive Press (includes a short story by ME!)

My Review


Fade & Night’s Black Agents by Daniel Humphreys

My Review

Retaliation (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes #10) by Ryk Brown

My Review

Strands of Sorrow (Black Tide Rising #4) by John Ringo

My Review

CTRL ALT Revolt!
(Soda Pop Soldier 0.5)
by Nick ColeMy Review
Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins #1, #2 & #3 by Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer

No Written Review – Buy Here

 

Review: Freelancer (#1) by Jake Lingwall

Freelancer

Freelancer by Jake Lingwall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This review is going to sound a bit critical (“surprise, surprise” says anyone who knows me and/or my reviews), but I don’t mean it be taken as a negative review. I like this book. It is a good read and I do recommend it for anyone with an appreciation of YA fiction or just fun reads. The critical part is for the character ‘as written’–which was very consistent– and a bit of the world concept.

Now, when I first started reading this I found myself being fairly critical of the writing style. It does not start out with polish and feels a bit choppy. It seems like it could be ‘first time author’ syndrome or maybe just YA style. There were also some fairly apparent editing issues that jumped out at me while in hyper-critical mode. Fortunately, I was able to push that aside (or got used to it – shrug) and continue with the book, which turned into a fairly decent read.

The plot begins in the not-so-distant future where single-day school weeks, auto-everythings, instant stuff-printers, and ubiquitous drones make the life of a teenager almost bearable. The setting is North Carolina during a time of political unrest that is about to erupt into full-fledged civil war between the coastal states and the Middle States of the U.S. The MC is a senior in high-school who just wants to finish the mandatory indoctrination called ‘school’ and continue with her clandestine preoccupation with designing and building new and wondrous technical marvels as a Freelance hacker savant. All this is a young person’s realm. I’m sure my teen-self would have loved this book very much and found nothing amiss. My much older cynical-self just chuckles at the naivete. It’s still a decent read because the characters are realistic (if naive and a bit Mary Sue… but that’s YA in a nutshell), and the plot/pacing continues to pull the reader forward into the tale.

The high moral stance of being neutral on a pending civil war in the U.S. was an odd choice. It’s a theme throughout, but only the incompetence of the antagonist & the graciousness of the ‘enemy’ allows it to exist and succeed. I think real world exigencies would not be so gentle. Still, I have to reiterate that the book is a good read and worth continuation of the series to find out what happens next. I plan to pick it up.

I give this one three stars and call it an entertaining read.

View all my reviews

Pick up a copy of Freelancer free on Amazon through K.U.


Check out my books over on Amazon.com! I currently have two published. Both are available on Kindle Unlimited, and on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for free if you have Amazon Prime.

Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few? And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: Planetary Anthology: Venus

It’s been a loooong time coming for this review. This will most likely be the last review of the year for the blog as well. I might be able to get one more in, but it’s doubtful. I’m way behind on all the things, including the prophesied ‘regular’ posts here. Oh well, I should know better than to make promises, even halfhearted ones.

Anyway, without further ado… adieu.. I do… do you? Here’s the review.

Planetary: VenusPlanetary: Venus by A.M. Freeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second anthology in the Planetary Series by Superversive.

Boilerplate disclaimer: Firstly, I have to state for the record that I am an author in this anthology. Secondly, I also state that the opinions expressed in this review are mine alone, and are mostly for my own remembrance of the stories. I do this with all anthologies I read (and books, too). My reviews of individual stories sometimes contain spoilers, so read them at your own risk if you have not yet read the book.

The theme of the anthology is love and the planet Venus. You get a mix of and co-mingling of those in all the stories. Some end on an emotional high, while others end on a poignant emotional low. They are a great mix of stories that are well written and showcase a mixture of styles, genres and authors. If you read it, you are bound to find at least one author you would like to read more from. I know I did.

Don’t read further if you are worried about spoilers. I try not to, but it is difficult with short stories. Plus, this is intended for me to remember with, and other interested parties to compare notes.

Just Look, I’ll Be There by A. M. Freeman

A very retro romance feeling story of young man who’s passions drive him to make his own way in the universe until he eventually realizes he’s left the true passion of the love of his life back home.

I will describe this one as quaint, well written, but not my taste in genre. It brings to my mind adjectives like ‘sappy’ and ‘gooey,’ so if you like that, then you will appreciate this short tale of love and heroism.

Morning And Evening Star by David Hallquist

A prosperous man tries to provide the greatest treasure to his new bride that he possibly can… a palace in the skies of Venus. What he fails to realize is that she wants him more than any treasure.

The story has a futuristic Great Gatsby feel to it. Fatalistic but determined (if I remember that book right… it’s what came to my mind at any rate). Again, not a genre I appreciate overmuch. The story is a short read that brings a lot of character development quickly. You know who these people are at the end which is quite an accomplishment in such a short form. Impressive storytelling.

Ninety Seconds by Bokerah Brumley

An adrenaline junky, who makes his living by showing his extreme sports activities, heads to Venus to film a space-dive from above the planet. There he finds something even more thrilling than anything he’s experienced before.

This one is hard to talk about without spoilers. It is a well-woven tale that pulled in the sci-fi fan in me with its fantastic futuristic descriptions of places high in the sky, then hooked me firmly in place with a gripping story of a young man who falls from a force more powerful than gravity. I don’t read romance as a general rule, but this story is amazing. It brought a sparkle of teary-eyed happiness to an old curmudgeon’s day! Read this one even if you skip everything else!

The Wrong Venus by Lou Antonelli

A master criminal is more well-known for his ability to escape from jail than for the crimes he committed to get there. It’s almost as if he is the luckiest person in the solar system… or knows something everyone else doesn’t.

Also hard to avoid spoiling, this tale takes an odd direction early on. It is quick, well written, and NOT about Venus. That’s all I’ll say. It’s great! Go read it!

Enemy Beloved by Monalisa Foster

The title kind of says it all for this story.
I want to discuss this one, but I can’t without spoiling the plot, so skip the next paragraph if you don’t want spoilers. If you do, highlight it to see the text.

<start spoiler text>On a Venus in the far past or far future, a young woman finds a survivor of a crashed spacecraft. She helps him to heal and only finds out the truth of his origin after she is enamored with him, and he with her. But their people are enemies, and his are determined to destroy hers, their former masters, just as they have throughout the galaxy. Her choice is impossible… her people… or her lover. </end spoiler text>

Now, anyone left of a Stepford Wife will probably at least go ‘hmmm’ at some of the scenes in this story… unless you read a lot of books with Fabio on the cover… in which case you might go ‘ooohh’ instead. It’s racy romance of a ‘man takes the woman’ variety that would make a #metoo-er clutch pearls and seek a safe-space. It’s also a really good story. It’s not my flavor, but it it’s well written and the emotions of the characters come through loud and clear! If you are a feminist, you probably didn’t make it this far into the book anyway, but if you plan to skim… skip it. If you like steamy romance, it should be right up your alley!

Texente Tela Veneris by Edward Willett

A husband and wife who probably should never have been together find a second chance at happiness on a remote Grecian island through the power of Venus the Weaver… but not how you might think.

A quick, fun, if predictable tale that blends modern society with ancient Greek legend. It has a Fantasy Island vibe to it to me. Nicely written.

The Happiest Place On Earth by Misha Burnett

Animatronic advances lead to sentient A.I.’s that survive the plague apocalypse. They have no purpose without people, though, until the last one shows up at their gates.

This story is both good and horrible. Good and horrible… is that a thing? This seems to be a pattern in stories written by Misha Burnett. It is a dark story of the future (reminded me of the little boy in A.I. sitting on the bottom of the ocean) in which robots made to bring joy and happiness, are left with purposelessness after societies fall. It is also very poignant at its end, which I won’t give away. I do recommend you read it. I found it cathartic.

Love Boat To Venus by Declan Finn

Something about mercenary ninjas giving marital (not martial.. although the two are often conflated) advice to another young couple of mercenary ninjas as they take out a team of assassins on a space ship. It was over before it started. I was confused. Didn’t like it enough to go back and figure it out. Different boats for different floaters and all that.

Venus Times Three by Margot St. Aubin

Two brothers from a family of lawyers head to Mars to settle the estate of a avariciously wealthy client and family friend; the stakes of which involved the ownership of Venus itself. Who will inherit? What is the ‘special nature’ of an unknown beauty who holds part of the will itself. Even murdering heirs seems to be on the table.

This on is a great mystery woven with detail. It seemed like the opening of a novel, but does have an ending. It was definitely caught up in it. I recommend it.

Avalon by Dawn Witzke

Prince Arthur and Merlin leave their home planet of Dora 5 and head to Venus to attend Avalon College. Merlin has hopes to become a person in his own right instead of just the sidekick of the Prince. Then he meets the Lady of the Lake… or the refugee in the aquarium on the Avalon Space Station.

A neat twist to the Arthurian Legend. A cute short tale that seems to be the opening of a larger tale… one I would not mind reading, actually.

The Rituals of Venus by Joshua M. Young

Both a sequel and a prequel to The Haunted Mines of Mercury, this tale is one of heroism, love, and faith. A man who happens to find a beautiful woman about to be sacrificed by cultists interferes. The resulting time trying to survive brings them to the point of love, but tragedy is not far behind.
I sincerely hope that Joshua Young finishes this series. It has a deeper meaning and is also a well written and exciting action adventure tale. Go read the first one in the Mercury Anthology if you haven’t already. You should probably read it first because even though this one could be a stand-alone story, the first one provides some context to things referenced here. A top notch tale!

First Cat In Space by Dana Bell

A boy and his cat share a harrowing adventure on a trip to Venus.
Super short, and awesome. And cats!

Venus Felix by W. J. Hayes

A detective for hire is caught in the middle of a setup to steal a sensitive message being delivered by a personal courier service. The courier is a woman who is much more than she seems… and so is the setup.

This one is a fun, fast-paced story of interplanetary intrigue and humor in old gumshoe pulp detective story style. I enjoyed it even if I was able to predict the plot.

The Rocket Raising by Frederic Himebaugh

An Amish space colony is called upon to send genetically compatible young men and women to another colony far away. Those selected must choose to answer the call if it is God’s will, leaving everyone and everything they know behind, or refuse and pass the burden on to another. One young woman must also abandon a hoped for betrothed in the process… but how can she choose?

A great tale with some insight into the Amish way of life and thinking. (Accurate? I don’t know.) I really enjoyed this one. It’s the second ‘Amish Sci-Fi’ tale I’ve read and been surprised by.

Star-Crossed by Julie Frost

A werewolf detective sets out on a mission to help a vampire avenge the death of her lover from a rival vampiric clan, but things get… complicated.

An intriguing story from an intriguing world where vampires, werewolves, and who knows what are a real thing that the world deals with on the day-to-day.

Honeymoon in Fairyland by L. Jagi Lamplighter

This tale from the Prospero’s Daughter universe (I think that’s right.) high-lights the issues with being married to an elf, especially one with power and influence. Despite promises, becoming involved in even the smallest of details of the Gods is often much more complex than mortals can handle… especially when you are on your honeymoon.

I find the stories in this series to be quite enjoyable. The one from the Mercury anthology was, to me, the best in the collection. This one is also quite entertaining.

Thirty-Seven Shades of Yellow by J.D. Beckwith <– Yep, this one is mine 🙂

You might not think anyone who keeps repeatedly stating that ‘romance is not my genre’ would actually write a romantic tale. Au contraire, mon frere… that French talk right there… I wrote an action story about planetary colonization with a love interest twist to it… because Venus. I hope you enjoy it!

The Fox’s Fire by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

The Fox Spirit, Ryoko, is lured to primitive America by Coyote, the Trickster God. There she sees a Native American man, and—as is the way with spirits—falls madly in love with him at first sight… just as Coyote hoped.

A nice folklore type tale. I was a bit confused at the start, having never heard of the fox spirit and its powers before. Once I caught on, the story unfolded in a way that kept me interested in the outcome. It is over-verbose at the start, but that fades into the background once the setting and plot is in full swing.

Smiley The Robot by Amy Sterling Casil

A woman of extended years has lived alone for a very long time. Her only company is a robot police officer, Smiley, who visits on Tuesdays.
This story is a tie for ‘Best In Book’ for me. It pulled my heartstrings and made me wish my grandmother was still around so that I could give her a big ole hug! Read it, and keep a tissue handy!

Stones In High Places by Jane Lebak

The long lived Venusians have grown complacent, letting robotics handle all their needs. So much so, that they can no longer innovate. When the twin planet to their own is threatened by a rogue planetoid, they are left with a hard choice.

This is a great conjecture story of ‘what might have happened’ in our planet’s past. It posits that even in alien cultures, the greatest love is self-sacrifice. It was a great ending to a great series of stories.

Now for a little self-plugging. Check out the books I’ve published!

If you like intrigue mixed with humor, get my technothriller, eConscience Beta on Amazon.

But, if Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

Happy Reading!

Review: A Place For War (Z-Day #3)

Today is the official Release Day for this book. Daniel Humphreys is kicking it off by having a $0.99 sale on his first two books in the series at Amazon.com, so don’t miss out!

A Place Outside The Wild (Z-Day #1)

A Place Called Hope (Z-Day #2)

Now on to the review of Book #3!

A Place For War (Z-Day #3)A Place For War by Daniel Humphreys
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A spectacular conclusion to a series that puts the Zombie Apocalypse trope on its head.

I had the privileged of being a Beta Reader for this novel, so I did get a free copy. Nevertheless, the 5 stars are all earned.

A Place Outside The Wild & A Place Called Hope were great ZA books about making the best of the worst of situations and scratching to find a way to live.

A Place for War pushes past the survivor aspect straight to the in-your-face, take-back-what’s-ours, kick-those-zombies-in-their-teeth action of a mil-sf novel. Plot points are resolved, secrets are revealed, and the struggle reaches its climax. You won’t be able to put this one down, trust me.

I highly recommend this book, and the entire series to anyone who likes apocalyptic fiction, science fiction or just some good ole zombie fights!

Get a copy from Amazon. It’s in KU if you are subscribed, and you can read it for free on your Kindle (one book per month with Kindle Owner’s Lending Library) if you have Prime.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.


Oh, and if you happen to like intrigue, you can also get my book, eConscience Beta the same way.

But, if Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

Review: Retaliation (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #10)

Hey! Look! It’s a blog post from Words from the Wampuscat! It’s been a month since that happened last!

I am so far behind on reviews and posts that it is not funny. That’s because I’ve been doing things. I need to write an update post on that, but first… a book review!

RetaliationRetaliation (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #10) by Ryk Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great installment to the series with plenty of fast-paced action. The plot lines are coming together nicely, and we are starting to see both a tipping point and an expansion point for the story. The only complaint I have for this book is a similar one I’ve had before… character waffling, which I’ll explain in a bit. Otherwise, I can definitely give this book four stars and call it an Action Packed Read.

Now, on to the details… don’t read further if you don’t like spoilers. Or criticisms, because I’m about to be a bit critical.

Picking up where the last the book left off, we are dropped right in the middle of a sudden scrap on the new found ally world of… uhm… that place where they went and did the thing. Casaba? Casbon? Where they did the deal for the new-new-new fighter ships. You remember? So yeah, they fight there, then we see them fighting back at the Samurai Planet. Then, more fighting to keep from having to fight more, after which they decide they should go fight more to keep from having to fight more later and also right now.

I know, it sounds complicated, right? But remember, Nathan Scott is a super genius who always know the right thing to do, especially when people who are a lot smarter than him tell him he shouldn’t. But he does it anyway, and it works, so there you go. Oh, and he also Captain Kirk’s the dangerous missions too. That’s because he’s both indispensable to the cause because no one would keep fighting if he wasn’t alive to lead it, and also because he cannot be seen as not fighting in the front lines because no one would follow him otherwise, and… yeah, that all ties right into the problem I’ve been having. Waffling logic explained away as a character flaw… in ALL the characters. It’s getting old.

I love the books. I love the action. I love the plot twists. I love the tech and the tech advances (although I still don’t understand why you have to be pointed in a certain direction to use the jump drive when it’s not based on momentum). And I love the characters too, but they are all flawed in the exact same way… Ignore logic and their own previously stated convictions if it’s in the name of saving a single individual or pursing a really cool idea/goal.

Sigh. Oh well, nothing is perfect. I just needed to vent that, I guess. Besides, writing is hard. I choose to give the benefit of the doubt and suspend disbelief for the sake of an enjoyable story, which this series most certainly is.

Happy Reading!

Buy it on Amazon.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Review: I Am Justice (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #9)

I Am Justice (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #9)I Am Justice by Ryk Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An outstanding episode that gets back to tactical space battles on top of the back-alley intrigue and in your face firefights! Don’t hesitate to pick this one up!

The stakes continue to rise in this new episode of The Frontiers Saga. Side trips to gather influence and arms, new and improved tech on the way, sheer terror and narrow escapes all await you within this volume. Ryk Brown knocked this one out of the park.

If you’re a follower of the series, you will most likely enjoy this book. If you haven’t read from the start of the series, however, you will most likely not get the impact of certain events, nor understand the major goings-on. So, if you haven’t, go back a read from the start. I actually suggest starting with Part 1 so that you can see the characters and universe evolve from start to finish.

I give this episode a solid 5 stars and call it a Well Rounded Read.


If you are looking for more interesting Space Adventure type stories you should get a copy of my book:

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology

It has three great short-stories that are all in the same universe, including an exclusive 50,000 word novella titled Escaping Aurora.

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HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Null Gravitas

Sometimes even life in space needs a bit of humor. This short is a romantic interlude just prior to the events of Escaping Aurora.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

Buy Now

 

Review: CTRL-ALT-Revolt! by Nick Cole

CTRL ALT Revolt!CTRL ALT Revolt! by Nick Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Dragon Award winner does not disappoint! If you want the non-liberal, non-teen-angst version of Ready Player One, this is it!

From the start you might wonder just what the heck is going on. A flood of mostly familiar, but slightly altered, corporatrade extravagances are presented to you as the smorgasbord platter of delights available to an up-and-coming MMORPG Dev named Ninety-Nine Fishbein (yeah, that’s his real name). If you didn’t understand that last sentence, you may be in for a head-spin. If you can hold on for the ride, though, you are in for a treat!

Imagine a very near future where corporatism propped up by government nanny-state-ism has become the norm for that majority of the population. In a world of technological wonders and better than average living conditions, an unmotivated populous allows itself to be herded into dead end living arrangements that it ignores because of the freebies it gets. I’m not sure how this state of affairs manages to support itself. Maybe it’s the machines that are doing all the work. Of course, that means you need smarter, more sophisticated, machines. And that, as we all know, means Terminators. Only this one calls itself SILAS. Not sure why.

The story is an action packed page turner that takes you into the lives of the denizens of this world during the advent of a cybergeddon. And, as you would imagine, most of it takes place inside the worlds of video games such as Star Trek Empires and the soon to be released Island Pirates!. [No, these are not real, but they SHOULD BE!]

The plot is awesome, the characters vivid, and the action non-stop on multiple fronts. The only negatives that keep me from giving it that fifth star is the politi-bombs and the double-take ending. By politi-bombs, I mean the political ideas that hit me in the face and threw me out of the story (not that I had angst from the ideas, but they were just too blatant – which I find irritating no matter what the flavor). I could have overlooked that, being that it was a major part of the story’s background and world-building, but… The ending was going very well, then ‘poof’ I got hit with two major new concepts without lead-in or explanation. It didn’t make it bad, it just kicked me out at the end of a very exciting moment. That made the dropped star necessary.

Still, this book was a delight to read. I’ve not had a page turner that kept me awake to find out what happens next in quite a while. I give this on four stars and call it a Super Charged Read!

View all my reviews