Wednesday, April 30, 2014
THREADS: The Fabric of the Universe
By Tom Tinney
As the title implies, there are many disconnected threads in this plot. As the story slowly progresses, the stray threads start weaving into a pattern you think you recognize. Then, boom, you realize you’re looking at the design backwards and upside down. Made me step back and go WOW! Okay, didn’t see that coming.
The premise of the plot was original and very well thought out. Tinney also does a great job explaining the background of each society i.e.: Exodus, MetroStellar and the Kutari Panant. If you are a techno-nerd or a hard sci-fi buff, this is the story for you. Every gadget and environment explained in detail. Actually, too much detail for my taste. All that detail really bogs down the pace of the story, especially in the first half of the book. The only techno gadgets I didn’t think was plausible were the body mods that the USS Marshals wore. The pain would be incredible.
Lots of characters in this story, but none of them lost in each other, unless done intentionally. The main characters are Matt & his brother Mark. I also felt for the lost soul of Jon Brooks and the plight of Popilla. And then there is the sadistic and evil pervert. Tinney does have problems with dialogue, too stilted and stuffy. Towards the end, he actually loosens up a bit. And a little more description of emotions would have been helpful too.
The book is 500 plus pages with a lot of back story. Most help with the plot, but the Freedom Fleet and the mini story with Brooklyn’s daughter reciting the rise of the current political system did not help the plot move along. These are some “Darlings” that should have been cut.
The writing style is passive, past tense. The pace of the story would benefit greatly if it was written in more of an aggressive style, present tense. The story would flow better and the readers could get more involved with the action and characters.
Before I got to the end, I hoped there would be a sequel. And there is. Tinny leaves enough unanswered questions for the reader to want to read the next book. What did Berlin Wright have to do with Jon Brook and his brother James? HMMM.
I really did enjoy this story but there were times I started skimming pages because of the overabundance of unnecessary information. And then there were the numerous proofreading errors.
As stated above, if you like hard core sci-fi and techno gadgets, I highly recommend the book, but if you’re only into light sci-fi, maybe not. I would give this book 4 feathers.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
TEENAGE ASSASSIN: Episode 1 - 4 by M.W.Taylor
This story-line is a written in a serial format. Why make the reader pay for snippets of the story-line? Just write a well-written novel with a few sequels if needed.
This is a story of Miss Black who is anything but a normal 17-year old. The book is written in first person, but it must have originally been done in 3rd as I did find a reference in the last episode to ‘herself’ vs ‘myself’. Searching the internet, Amazon and Google I cannot find an author profile, so not sure who this writer is or their sex. Not good from a reader’s prospective. What are you hiding? Or are you just trying to add to your mystique?
Since these are short little snippets, it’s hard to get a full impression of the story-line. Miss Black may be a cold-blooded killer, but she does have a few close relationships that she will do anything for them. As she states, these relationships are her vulnerability, so I’m sure somewhere down the road, one of them will put in jeopardy. Most likely her best friend Rachel, as Rachel’s cop father has uncovered some bad cops. I do like Gram’s character (Mrs. Deerborn who is a widow not a widower) and I find Eddy intriguing. We know he had a bad history too, but who is he really?
As Miss Black only goes after the “bad guys’, we have to root for her in her ongoing assassinations. But now the government is involved. We know they only use people, so what will become of Miss Black?
Having known someone who used to live this type of lifestyle, who is now dead BTW, I find this scenario totally implausible. It takes years of training to prefect this type of trade: hand-to-hand combat, poisoning, explosives. You don’t just learn them overnight. Most of the kind of training is done though military channels while in the armed forces. No way had a teenager taught herself these type of skills without being caught or killed before they were perfected. Sorry, can’t buy it.
Also, when she kills Richard Demario with Emily right there, and they leave the parking garage, she doesn't even think about trace evidence left behind from Emily. She only looks for personal belongings. What about hair fibers for fingerprints?
This book is loaded with proofreading errors and a good editing program would have helped polish and tighten the manuscript. Also wrong word choices as widow is female and widower is a male. And the overstating of the same ideas, a lot of redundancies.
I really didn’t care if I finished the last page or not, because I knew I wasn’t going to buy anymore from this series. If you like this kind of thing, it’s not a bad read, just ignore the poor writing style. I will only give a 3 feather review.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
THE GULLWING ODYSSEY by Antonio Simon, Jr.
Mistaken for an emissary he is not, Marco Gullwing embarks on an adventure that changes his life. But all he wants to do is deliver his message/parcel. He runs across various characters in his travels that want to change him into something he is not, even hisself. This is a fanciful tale of self-discovery.
The story is full of wonderful, colorful, crazy characters and locations. Antonio did a great job bringing each character to life and letting them follow their own paths. Other than Marco, my other favorite characters were Barclay, Dria and Alexis. I loved the repartee between Marco and Barclay and the growing romantic relationship between Dria and Marco.
This story is full of tongue-in-cheek and play-on words. Some of it so subtle I would stop and think, Did the author just do that? And yup, he did. I laughed out loud in quite a few places. Two scenes that really stick with me are the innocent, little hummingbird that suddenly dive-bombs Marco and starts drilling into his nose to get to his brain. Makes me shudder and wipe my nose. Yuck! And the non-violent battle at the palace. Very ingenious. I chuckled a lot over that.
But for all the fun I had with this story, there were parts I didn’t like. He has a problem with redundancy. The same actions and words repeated over and over. Palms up, face furrowed flattening the brow. And as wacky as this story is, the cover could have been more dramatic. Also, for being a published vs indie title, there were too many proofreading errors.
I highly recommend this book for a light fanciful read and I give it my 4 feathers.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
BLACK REDNECK VS SPACE ZOMBIES by Steven Roy
The title of this book has everything to do with a great sci-fi zombie story and just a hint of racism. Jefferson Balladeer ’was adopted by a white redneck family and grew up wanting to be the first Black Redneck. At the age of seventeen, he is told a half truth about his adoption and leaves Picayune, Mississippi in a huff, never looking back, until his adopted brother dies ten years later. Jefferson comes back to handle the affairs and sell off the estate ASAP. He wants nothing to do with his hometown or the people he knew growing up. Unbeknownst to him, an alien life form, called the Devourer, has decided to take up residency on his land. Specifically in his catfish ponds. And so the battle begins.
The plot is pretty straightforward for a hero battling monster story. The chapters are short and listed as quirky title names vs numbers; The Devourer Feeds On Birds. There are some flashback scenes, which Steven Roy clearly states are flashbacks. I’m not sure if Steven did this on purpose, keeping in the theme of a B-rated movie, or he just didn’t know how to segue from one scene to another.
Most of the main characters are very compelling. The ones that stick out in my mind are Jefferson, Mary and Tom, and Gray Man and Old Ed. I thought Daisy’s character could have been enhanced a bit, but the story is from a male perspective. Maybe he doesn’t understand women that well. Oh, and I almost forgot Shorty and of course the Devourer. I thought Steven did a great job in descripting the biology of an alien life form and how the alien grew and reproduced herself.
I enjoyed some of the witty and humorous dialogue. And the story did draw me in and I couldn’t wait to get to the end. But the story is told in a stilted narrative style, telling vs showing, and I know this story would have been so much better if the author had spent just a bit or time with filling in the emotional gaps. I felt like this was a 2nd or 3rd draft and not the polished script. And please, get rid of the over usage of metaphors.
Steven Roy acknowledges that he had an editor, but you couldn’t tell it. There are so many grammar errors, cause and effect errors and past and present errors that get in the way of the reading. Supposedly he corrected some of these errors. I would hate to see what this story looked like before.
Final Analysis: Even though I really like the story and would recommend the book, I can only give 3 feathers. It’s just not fair to other Indie Authors who actually take the time and spend the money to make their books presentable. BTW, awesome cover.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
BENEATH THE WILLOW by Gemma Farroww
This is a short story. Also I think the cover is perfect for the book.
Thomas’ girlfriend of 3 years Keziah is bitten by a vampire. Unable to believe the reality of the situation, he nevertheless makes a promise. One he isn’t sure he can keep.
This is a dark tale of promises made and promises not kept. I love the fact that Gemma tells the story from the partner’s point of view. How do you deal with the changing of your loved one into a monster? When you see the physical manifestations coming on a daily basis? How do you keep from going insane?
As a reader, you can really feel his inner turmoil of whether to believe what she is asking him to do or wondering if she has already changed, but she doesn't realize it yet. His logical and emotional sides battle between themselves. And then there are the dreams. Real or not?
And from Keziah’s point of view, I like the incorporation of a mental midwife to help her with her changeover. What she becomes at the end is quite frightening, but not heartless. Maybe.
Plus, extra kudos to Gemma; no proofreading errors.
I highly recommend this story and give it my 5 feather rating. Great Job!!!
Saturday, April 12, 2014
MAYHEM TAKES A DARE by Jada Ryker
I haven’t read the first book in this series but it’s not essential to understanding this story. The first book would fill in some background, but this story does stand on its own.
The story starts with the murder of one of the members from the Came-A-Lot online dating group. The winding murder investigation leads Marisa and her fellow armature detectives to a pornography ring and the final selfless act from a person Marisa lest expected. There are multiple plots with twists and turns. And the story leaves enough at the end to lead into the next book. What will happen with Parvis and Moira? If you like these types of books, you will love this one.
This story is full of zany, fun characters like Bryce the Royal Bloodhound, and the psychopathic villainess Moira Peters. Was Jada trying to emulate Moriatry in a female form? Even Marisa’s cat has his own quirky personality. Jada did a very good job bringing them to life. The beginning of the story was a little overwhelming with the introduction of so many characters, but they did sort themselves out. And I didn’t figure out who the main villain was until she wanted me to. Good job.
But, there is too much description of every character’s hair: hair bobbing, flipping, curling, bouncing, and gleaming in the bar lights or sunlight. Makes me wonder if the author has a hair fetish. And then there’s the inane, over usage of metaphors. I think she’s trying to be quirky and funny, but every time I came across another metaphor my eyes would roll like a bowling ball down the alley. And her humor reminded me of a stand-up comedian going through his routine and nobody is laughing. Get the picture?
Don’t get me wrong, I love funny, quirky and dry humor. I think she’s trying to emulate Janet Evanovich in the Stephanie Plum books, and she’s missing the mark. There is humor in her storyline, but not with the metaphors.
The storyline takes place in many settings and they all fit but one, the assisted living facility. An ACLF is only for people who need 24 hour supervision. Clara, Althea, Clay and definitely Moira did not belong there. You also have to have a doctor’s order to reside there.
Jada mentions that professional editing and proofreading services were provided by Brian Miller. I hope his services were free as I found too many missing words. Also a good editor would have eliminated all the exclamation points and helped with the redundant words. With a good editorial and proofreading service to help tighten and polish the manuscript, this story would be a gem.
And to point out an issue that has been mentioned on several blogs, readers don’t want to read reviews or about other books the author has written until AFTER the story. Jada mentioned the other books in this series at the beginning and then the end of the story. Come on.
Anyway, for a fun murder mystery, I would recommend this book. I give my 4 goose feathers.
Monday, April 7, 2014
COLONY EARTH by Regina M Joseph
Lil and his guardsmen were sent to primitive Earth to oversee the mining and scientific exploration of the planet for their home world, Alterra. While there, they observe the different tribes and societies living on Earth. The Alterran’s consider the earthlings savages and only a step above animals. Losing contact with Alterra, Lil is forced to realize that they are stranded on Earth. Going against his strict upbringing to one day be ruler, his father Anu, the current leader, and the Supreme Council, he makes plans to adapt to a life on Earth.
The story reminds me of Jean Auel’s CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, but thanks goodness, not all that overly descriptive claptrap. The plot advances along very well, and you can feel Lil’s dilemma over his duty as the next Supreme Leader and trying to save his race. And then Alana’s uncertainty about aligning her people with Lil’s. The author does a very good job of bringing to life Alterra’s culture and how Lil’s clan of En came into power. Makes me see how we’re falling into that same type of trap in real life.
She is also knowledgeable in the effects of solar weather on the planetary core and mantle, causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. I like her reference to Atlantis and how any surviving residents would have been taken in by the more primitive tribes. My only point of contention was that the earthlings seemed to adapt and not question the technology that Lil’s people used. Like Maya picking up the binoculars to look through. How would she know how to look out of them let along how to adjust them? Also, their vocabulary is too far advanced for people living in huts made with animal skins and bones and using bones and stone for knives.
There were a lot of characters introduced throughout the story with some very strange names. I did get confused over the names Yamin, one of the guardsmen, and Yanni, one of Alana’s tribe. The rest of names fell into place with the people they represented.
I enjoyed the writing style and the author left enough questions at the end to want to read the next book. I did find several proofreading errors, like missing words or misspelled words. Also, some of the paragraphs could have been formatted better. Some conversations were not separated by paragraphs.
I really liked the book and would highly recommend. I give this book 4 feathers.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
There are numerous plot twists and it’s definitely a precursor to a sequel. The author mixes fun and playfulness with dark and scary. I enjoyed the water fight between Connor and her younger brother, Reptile Boy. And the time Connor spent with Tony at the amusement park and some of the rides they shared. Then there was the creeping sneaking into Carting House. Unfortunately, there was an inconsistency at the end. When Connor broke her leg, she was still able to run and jump. Prior to that, any injuries she sustained took her at least a day to heal.
It took me awhile to get into Connor’s head, but once I did, I enjoyed her character. Most of the main characters had depth to them, but I most agree with some other reviewers, there were just too many of them introduced at the end and it became mishmash. But I did understand why the villains were there and what they wanted from the teenagers.
The writing needs some work. Parts of the story were written very professionally and other times at an amateurish level. And I’m not just talking about the interaction between the teens, but some of the action scenes and dialogues between the adults. There were also too many proofreading and grammar errors. If not for these factors, I would have given 4 feather. Now it will be 3 feathers. I would recommend this story for a fun, entertaining read.