Friday, October 12, 2018

The God Virus

I received a print copy of The God Virus from the author for review. Editorial note: I see other reviewers state that they were given a book in exchange for an honest review. I don't recall ever being offered a book in exchange for a dis-honest review. Just wanted to say that since I don't make such declarations anymore.

Author Indigo Voyager (that's what my copy says) has created an excellent story of fantasy, suspense, crime, politics, government, academia and family. This book is just great!

I have seen three different covers for this book. One of which identifies the author as Justin Smith, the person I received the book from. I do like my cover best and I think it may be the first, and the author can call themselves anything they like. You'll see the connection between the story and Indigo Voyager when you read the book.

The story starts with an experimental drug trial and develops into a wild ride as the main characters try to stabilize an out of control situation.

The story deals with the creation of a superhuman hybrid. Of course everyone. good and bad, wants to control them. We see the positive and negative aspects of having such beings in "regular" society. The new humans are just short of indestructible and omnipotent. Fortunately for us the new hybrids are basically good people. I like this format; fantasy that still operates within a realistic format. This makes characters and situations more believable.

The suspense builds as the story progresses. The whole situation grows more and more complex as more people learn about the hybrids. 

The story is well balanced between violence and tenderness, drama and humor, good and bad. The God Virus by Indigo Voyager (that's what my copy says) is a fantastic start to this series. I look forward to reading more. Give this book a look, I think you will like it. Enjoy!


Mike

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Dog That Laid Eggs

The Dog That Laid Eggs: Every Monster Comes From Somewhere by [Maas, Jonathan]

I received a print copy of The Dog That Laid Eggs from author Jonathan Maas some time ago and was finally able to read it.

This book operates on so many levels it is hard to categorize. Most of the message is going to be interpreted by the reader based on their own beliefs. I see messages about social justice, sycophantic followers, self elected arbiters of morality, academic snobbery, xenophobia, marital relations and more. Fortunately for my reading tastes, these messages are well couched in the sometimes downright silly activities of the eclectic collection of eccentric (who knows, they might be rich) characters. Humor is the name of the game here. Anyone trying to keep discussion of The Dog That Laid Eggs on a serious tone will quickly become frustrated. The story is so full of puns, veiled nods to pop culture and downright bizarre action that the reader has to really pay attention so as not to miss any of the fun. The lazy zombies are a real kick. 

I have read several of Mr. Maas' books and enjoyed them all. I can't say The Dog That Laid Eggs is my favorite, but it is still a book that made me laugh out loud often, and think occasionally. Pretty much the order I prefer.

My only complaint: with a character named Jethro Tull, I kept waiting for him to reveal an Aqualung hidden in his barn (people my age will get that).

The Dog That Laid Eggs by Jonathan Mass is seriously entertaining. If you possess a working sense of humor, I think you will like this book. Enjoy!


Mike


Moral Panic

Moral Panic

I received an ecopy of Moral Panic by K.M.Ecke for review.

A futuristic techno thriller, Moral Panic explores the uses and abuses of internet and computer technology. Readers who have even the slightest antipathy for technology and its potential for abuse will find it difficult to identify a real hero in this story. The various factions represented each have the desire to be a force for good but each is also willing to embrace evil, or at least antisocial behavior to achieve their goals.

Operating under the name Social Justice we have outright evil perpetrated on both the innocent and guilty. We have corporate ideals perverted by corrupt politicians (are there any other kind?). Well written with mostly believable characters. The main bad guy may be a bit over the top.

A very scary tale because so much of the story is plausible. The readers reaction will no doubt depend on where they fall on the conspiracy theory continuum. The more they believe such activity possible, the more frightening the story will be.

As a person with a healthy skepticism about relying completely on the benevolence of technological advances, I'll admit Moral Panic by K.M. Ecke scared me pretty well. Enjoy!


Mike

The Undertaker's Revenge - A love Story

The Undertaker's Revenge: ~A Love Story~ (Krakenshire Collection Book 1) by [Davis, A.]

I accepted an ecopy of The Undertaker's Revenge - A love Story by A. Davis for review. 

To begin, make no mistake, this is a very quirky story, bordering on bizarre. But in a completely good and fun way. 

I suppose a reader could muster up some outrage for the evil corporation that is at the root of all of the village of Krakenshire's woes, but that would be missing out on the hilarious goings on of the inhabitants. Townspeople obsessed with the confections produced by the baker, the veterinarian building hybrid animals in his back room and of course, our hero, the undertaker.

Our hero only wants revenge (hence the title) on the evil company he blames for the death of his beloved wife. The problem? Finding help in his goofy village. His minions are twin (but not born at the same time) makeup obsessed zombie assistants. 

The story is told to us by a narrator (my personal favorite character) who speaks directly to us and the undertaker. Very funny and not overdone. 

For a good lighthearted wacky read, check out The Undertaker's Revenge - A love Story  by A. Davis. Enjoy!



Mike

Monday, September 3, 2018

Children of Neptune

Children of Neptune (Volume 1)
I was provided a print copy of Children of Neptune by Makenne Snow.

When I took this book off my to read shelf I only looked at the title. I didn't really look that closely at the cover art. When I started reading, I thought "wait a minute, where's the spaceship?" Then I looked more closely at the cover; oops! Wrong Neptune, my bad.

So, what we have here is part coming of age for a teenage princess (not unexplored territory for sure), a society set up by a god (ditto), and a mystery to solve (do I need to say it?). But in Children of Neptune these familiar story lines are presented in fun and entertaining fashion (bet you thought I was going to bag on it). 

This is a YA book to be sure, but I happen to enjoy well done YA. And yes, Children of Neptune is very well done. The authors (yes it's a team) do a good job of portraying teenage angst, insecurity and even budding romance. Perhaps a bit of an ecological/animal rights vibe, but not at all preachy.  

As in all YA tales, our heroine and her friends are the only ones who can solve the mystery and save the day. But, what impressed me was that they did so without disrespecting their parents or other adults (except one who really deserved it). The adults did not condescend to the kids as well.  It is not an adults versus kids kind of story. I like that.


There are enough twists and turns for mystery lovers, but there is also action and adventure.  Children of Neptune by Makenna Snow was just an all around fun read. Enjoy!


Mike

The Muse

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I was given a print copy of The Muse by Arjay Lewis for review.

I really enjoyed this book! The cover touts the story as "A novel of unrelenting terror" and I do agree. Our author Arjay Lewis tips his hat to Stephen King as the impetus for this story. Okay, he more than "tips his hat", he pretty much bows down to King. But he is giving credit where credit is due. I was concerned Lewis would try to sound like King, but not to worry,  he has his own voice and style.

The Muse is a horror story about writers and their inspiration (The Muse is a much better title than "The Inspiration" right?). The horror aspect of the story starts early and continues to build throughout. Characters are well developed and I was caught up quickly. I found myself thinking "Please don't hurt so and so". Much as I was tempted, I did not peek ahead. I savored the suspense and let the terror mount as I read.

There were several characters who played major parts in this story, and I really liked the way the author kept all these different story lines fresh and active. Short chapters dedicated to each characters points of view keep the story moving at a comfortable pace; not so slow that we get bogged down in minutiae, and not so breakneck that we get fatigued by over stimulation.

The Muse is pretty graphic with sadistic sexual scenes. Fortunately for me, those scenes were short. They were extremely powerful, but over quickly so I didn't have to spend too much time in an uncomfortable place.

If you like horror, suspense, crime, and a bit of fantasy, You are really going to like The Muse by Arjay Lewis. Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Coyote

The Coyote: A Motivational Novel

I was given an e-copy of The Coyote by Steven Georgiou for review.

I've been stewing for several days about how to frame my review. I am somewhat fussy abut what I accept to review, I only accept books I think I will enjoy. I wanted to enjoy this one, it's the mindset I went in with.

So, here's the problem: The Coyote needs a lot of work. The coming of age story of Raki (The Coyote) is a good concept. But the story seems to be trying to talk to several different age groups at the same time. Not an impossible feat, but it didn't work well here. Beginning the book I though "this is a book I would have to read to my grandchildren" (the book was represented to me to be a children's book) because some of the language would be beyond their understanding. At times the vocabulary is more appropriate to a teen audience at best. Okay, not the end of the world.

Next, the story was highly repetitive, repeating backstory on characters way too much, even for young readers, got to be a bit tedious. 

The Coyote offers itself as "motivational". I didn't really see this until the final 10% or so of the story, and I was looking for it.

Of the hundreds of books I have reviewed I have only not finished one, at 40% complete I decided to add this one to that short list. It was just getting too hard to read. I actually put it down for a couple of days and started to read something else. Well, I happened to get a Goodreads notification from a friend whose opinion I greatly respect who "liked" that I was reading The Coyote. So I decided to give it another shot.

Sad to say for me it was a real grind. The climax was very disappointing. The story continuously hinted at the big confrontation to come and it, for me, fell flat. The resolution was just kind of an afterthought. The epilogue did not bring resolution to many of the side stories. It was the most disappointing for me.

What I came away with was the belief that what this book needs is an editor, and proofreaders. An editor could smooth out the rough and clunky spots and temper the redundancy ("ascended up the path"). Proofreaders would catch the mistakes (several) like random words inserted in sentences where they don't belong.

With good editing this could be a fun read. I like that the author wrote a full length book, long enough to really develop the story line. I also like that he didn't necessarily talk down to his audience, although he was guilty of over explaining at times.

I am more than willing (hoping) to find that I was sent an early draft of the story by mistake, It has happened in the past more than once. Easy to happen where computer files are involved. 

I truly hope such is the case here, because as it was presented to me, I can't work up much enthusiasm for this book.


Mike