Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dahler & Nicholls Fight Crime! (Crime Wins)

The usual disclaimer (Like anyone cares);  I received a print copy of Dahler & Nicholls Fight Crime! (Crime Wins) by Dixie J. Whitted for review.

Dahler & Nicholls Fight Crime! is a comic book, not in the graphic novel format, but rather the compilation of single page single scene comics. The recurring characters, Dahler and Nicholls are police detectives, inept and somewhat goofy detectives to be sure but not in a way that anyone would reasonably take offense to.

I read this book out of my usual sequence because I felt in need of a chuckle. Dahler & Nicholls Fight Crime! provides them. No heavy messages, no social commentary, just humorous peeks into a comic world.

Not much more to say really. You either like comics or you don't. If you do,  Dahler & Nicholls Fight Crime! (Crime Wins) by Dixie J. Whitted will bring a smile. Enjoy!

Mike

A Sickness In Time

I was given a print copy of A Sickness In Time by M.F. Thomas and Nicholas Thurkettle (actually their publicist) for review.

To state right off; I like this book a lot.

A Sickness In Time is one of those books that spans a few genres. Here we have; time travel, technology, and corporate greed as the most prevalent. We also have friendship, loyalty, redemption, parental love and some deep philosophical discussion.

Thomas and Thurkettle do an admirable job of combining these disparate themes into a coherent, readable, and entertaining (most important to me) adventure. The possible consequences of time travel for personal reasons, no matter how philanthropic are explored in depth by two of the central characters. I was at first concerned that these discussions would slow the story or worse, bore me as a reader. They didn't, although I will admit that they were not the high point of the book for me. Though they may well be for more cerebral readers than I.

I think identifying any character as the "main" character would not be correct here. A Sickness In Time reads as more of an ensemble cast, if that makes any sense (I guess you'll have to read it to decide for yourself). I enjoyed the interplay between the cast and the different places they filled in the overall story. We have the duty bound, the anti-social, the establishment, anti-establishment, socially delayed, and the altruistic. That is probably not all but you get the idea.

I did like the pace of the story, it kept my attention, and there were twists and turns enough to keep me from trying to predict the story as I read.

Techie fans, adventure fans, time travel fans, intrigue fans will all find in A Sickness In Time by M.F. Thomas and Nicholas Thurkettle, a highly entertaining read. I encourage any fans of those genres to check this book out. Enjoy!

Mike


Monday, February 13, 2017

Fallback (Planetfall Book II)

I was given an e-copy of Fallback (Planetfall Book II) by author L. E. Howel for review.

You may have noticed my last review was on the first book in this series; Planetfall. Lucky me, I got to read both books back to back. To answer the question that I'm sure is foremost on your mind (why else would you be reading this review?), Fallback is as good as the first book.

The story picks up right where the first book ended and the action continues uninterrupted. Five characters are front and center for this installment. No spoiler here, they leave Earth and return to the colony they were supposed to have started.

What they find on the colonized planet is not what they expect, and therein lies the story. As in the first book, our heroic group does not particularly like each other or get along, but they do their jobs.

If anything, Fallback is even more action packed than Planetfall. Author Howel does not waste time on what would be slow passages in other books. He keeps us engaged the whole time.

Lots of graphic violence, no sex (how could there be, nobody likes anybody else) and more character development than I am used to in an action story.

The negative? There has to be something, right? The bane of my reading existence; the dreaded cliffhanger ending! AAAARRGGH! We have to wait until fall for the next book, but what you gonna do, a 1200 page book might be a bit intimidating, so breaking it into shorter books is probably a good thing.

I enjoyed the heck out of Fallback (Planetfall Book II) by author L. E. Howel, and if you are a fan of action/fantasy/sci-fi, I'm pretty sure you will too. I encourage you to give this series a look. I will try to be patient while waiting for the next book. Enjoy!

Mike

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Planetfall

Author L. E. Howel sent me an e-copy of Planetfall some time ago for review. Due to a computer snafu I just now got to actually read it.

Planetfall had me from the very start. The story hooked me and held me til the end. The action, intrigue, relationships were spellbinding, I loved it.

The story begins in space and returns to Earth. An Earth that has changed into something the space travelers don't recognize. It is a very complex mix of themes and genres. We have space travel (of course) dystopian society, political intrigue, military action, science, pathos, regret and reinvention and even a manner of the quest. A lot to put into one book. Although to be accurate, author Howel has had to continue the story in a sequel, so maybe it was too much for one book. But I digress.

Planetfall plays the tension between characters very well. They are so well developed that they will at times make the reader crazy angry and at other times our hearts break for them. I think this is what I like best about the story. The characters are not two dimensional cartoons that are only good or bad, they move along the continuum of human behavior realistically.

There is action/adventure, graphic violence, interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict, technology, political conflict, mutant(?) vs normal(?) you'll have to make your own choice as to which is which.

As a series, not all the problems are solved in the first installment (and I don't know how many installments are to come), so the ending (non-ending) is not a cliffhanger exactly but does lead into the next book. Fortunately, I was sent both books and have already started the sequel, but that is for another review.

Not much in the way of sex, romance of a sort, a lot of personal introspection, and heroic actions by several characters. Planetfall by L. E. Howel is the complete package. Enjoy!


Mike

Monday, January 23, 2017

Othello Greene: The Story Begins

I was given a print copy of Othello Greene: The Story Begins  by Anthony H. Baltimore SR. for review.

This review is going to be somewhat different, I think, because for me Othello Greene: The Story Begins operates on several different levels, some of which I am not well versed in.

First and foremost the overarching theme of the story is action/adventure. Beyond that, the story also has a strong story line of Islamic belief. It also focuses on young love and Washington DC area black society and culture.

Being a white christian male living in the northwest mountains, it is clear that many of these thematic concepts are not within my particular area of expertise. I did however, in my career work with many black people and they never asked to be called African-American, so there it is. My use of the words 'black people" is not meant with any disrespect. Never the less my purpose for doing reviews is to share my reactions to the books I read. So here goes.

The over all story is great. Not mincing words, it is a strong, action oriented story. Technology, political intrigue, evil-want-to-take-over-the-world bad guys, several heroes (one main one: Othello), innocent victims, torture, sex, romance, all the things a good action story contains. The bad guys are just that; bad guys. Their political, religious or cultural identity is not the issue, they're evil and bent on world domination.

I was concerned when first offered a copy, that Othello Greene: The Story Begins was going to be a veiled propaganda piece for Islam (I don't care to read propaganda for any belief, including my own). Happily, this story is not that. Yes, the author is Muslim and presents Islam positively, but it is in the greater context of the story. Were it propaganda, I think I would have found insults or at least disrespect for Christianity and other religions mixed into the story. Not so.

A major portion of the characters are middle to upper class people located in the DC area. They are predominantly black, with a few white characters here and there. Obviously, as a 60+ year old white guy, I can't speak to authenticity of the culture presented. Again nothing offensive to any culture here. It seemed to me to be a mix of Boyz in the Hood, Leave it to Beaver and The Cosby Show. This is where the young love and much of the romance comes in.

This book is fairly long; 771 pages to be exact. Although no specific mention is made of follow up books, the title pretty much confirms it ...The Story Begins is a pretty good hint.

This book is also...BRUTAL. Very graphic scenes of brutality, well beyond the usual found in action stories. Also, very graphic scenes of sexuality, fortunately for me, consensual. I don't do well with rape or abuse of women.

The biggest negative for me? The usual, typos. Not misspellings but wrong words; form instead of from, where instead of were, for example. Perhaps a consequence of the length of the book, these mistakes became more prevalent as the story progressed. As I have said many times, not the end of the world, but disruptive to the flow of the story.

For a story that fell well outside my personal frame of reference I found Othello Greene: The Story Begins by Anthony H. Baltimore SR. a very engaging, action packed, read. Be prepared to spend some time with it, it is not a quick read. But if you like action, and all the things that go with it, you'll like this book. Enjoy!

Mike




Thursday, January 12, 2017

Melody's Key

Author Dallas Coryell provided me with an e-version of Melody's Key for review.

Melody's Key is your basic romance tale. We have our heroine, Tegan, tragically damaged in a previous relationship able to find true love. Basic premise.

The story is of course in how she is able to find and accept love again.

It is a nice heartwarming tale to be sure. If it were a movie it would be on Hallmark. There are plenty of bumps along the way to a satisfying conclusion (we know they belong together, but when will they see it?).

I don't usually read straight-up romance, it's just not my preferred genre. But I have to admit, Melody's Key is a pretty good story. Youngish love, building sexual tension, emotional healing, humor, tragedy, and even some silliness.

Positives: smart characters, intricate story line, with twists that are not necessarily predictable, good guys and bad guys, love and loyalty.

Negatives: a few unresolved issues. Why was Madison at the concert? How did Dad deal with the big news bomb?

I won't go so far as to say that Melody's Key by Dallas Coryell has made me into an all out romance fan, but I will say it is a good read, and true fans of the genre will find it very entertaining. Enjoy!


Mike

Friday, January 6, 2017

Vincent, Survivor: An Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy Thriller (Vincent Series Book 1)

I was given an e-copy of Vincent, Survivor: An Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy Thriller (Vincent Series Book 1) by O. L. Eggert for review.

Vincent, Survivor... was right up my escapist, apocalyptic alley; a group of average people trying to survive an extinction level event. This extinction level event is very different from the norm. No plague, no evil corporations, not even any zombies (by the accepted definition anyways).  Not really a spoiler; we are under attack by mythical beings.

There are many twists and turns in this story. The question is: Who can you trust when the excrement hits the oscillating appliance? Almost no one it would appear. Our hero, Vincent, is basically a jerk (insert a stronger adjective here if you wish, you won't be wrong) and unlike other such stories, he does not really overcome this negative aspect of his personality throughout the book. I personally did not think it was part of his rough, anti-establishment charm, he was just a jerk.

Vincent, Survivor... author O. L. Eggert keeps the action level high, the story doesn't lag at all. The twists add a touch of mystery for the reader to try and figure out.

The negative you may be asking yourself at this point? The language. The use of F-bombs (or derivatives thereof) do not particularly bother me, the overuse of them does. It just isn't necessary to the story. I'm not saying erase them all, they did set a tone and develop some of the characters, but excessive use doesn't help the flow.

As the full title tells us, Vincent, Survivor... is the first installment in the Vincent Series. It is a good start to a continuing story, and language aside, I am interested in reading more. Who knows? Maybe Vincent will mellow out over successive entries (but I kind of doubt it).

Graphic violence, minimal sex (talk mostly), mythic beings (good and bad), love and loss, and a mostly angry hero make up a very entertaining read. O. L. Eggert has started a good series with Vincent, Survivor: An Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy Thriller. Enjoy!


Mike