Sunday, December 31, 2017


I was given an ecopy of Destiny by Elyon Zarall for review.

Destiny is an interesting mix of steamy romance (very steamy), action/adventure, and, get this: Angels.

We don't have the usual Angels warring on the etheric plane, their business takes place here on earth. That's as close to a spoiler as you'll get out of me. You'll have to read the book to see how the angels fit in, and which angels (yeah, you'll probably know them).

Our heroine is as usual a kick-ass female more than capable of taking care of herself. Getting to be a quite popular theme these days, but so far I don't have any problem with it. Jade (the ass-kicker) is portrayed as a likable character even in her bad-assery.

There are also bad guys, human and angelic. Mafiosi, military, and family. As I said; an interesting mix. One I have not encountered before.

Although I enjoyed the book a lot, there are a couple of glaring problems. First, and hopefully this is merely that I was sent an earlier draft of the book, but there were way too many mistakes and typos. This really plays havoc with the flow of the story. So I will hope that this has been addressed already.

Second, and for me far more disappointing, the book ends in a (drum roll please) CLIFFHANGER! You know how I feel about those. I didn't have any info that this was the start of a series, and my copy is over 600 pages long (short pages due to formatting, but 600 still). As I was nearing the end of the book I started telling myself "this isn't going to end with this book" and I was right. I don't know how many more may be in the works, but I am hooked.

Characters, at least Jade, are well developed. Others will need a bit more as the story continues. This isn't a negative for Destiny as the development of other main character's motivations are part of the ongoing story. So I am not overly concerned at this point.

Those of you reading this on a site where stars are used for rating may be curious why I gave four stars when I have been a bit more critical in this review. Well, stars are arbitrary, which is why I don't use them on my blog, and as I said earlier; I am counting on my copy being an earlier draft and am willing to overlook it for now. I obviously can't (won't) overlook the ending, I hate cliffhangers!

Destiny by Elyon Zarall is well worth your time and I do recommend it. Enjoy!


Jubilee Year

I was fortunate to win a print copy of Jubilee Year by Gerard O'Neill.

Jubilee Year is touted as a "techno-thriller" on Amazon, but personally I tend to agree more with the blurb on the back of the book calling it a "dystopian SF" start to the Erelong Trilogy. Pigeon-holing aside, Jubilee Year is a good story that held my interest throughout.

Set in Australia, there are quite a few things going on here. We have a secretive government about to be unmasked, an outer-space story line which promises to be very intriguing as the series progresses, of course a romance and family dysfunction.

I enjoyed each of the story lines as they developed, but I have to say that my biggest complaint is: the story read choppy to me. It doesn't do a great job of blending the various stories or letting the reader know when the story has shifted. Fairly minor and able to be overlooked because of the strength of the over all story. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention it.

As the first entry of a trilogy, Jubilee Year from author Gerard O'Neill, does a good job of introducing our main characters and setting up what is sure to be a riveting story. I know I am looking forward to reading how this one turns out. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Hell's Detective

I won a print copy of Hell's Detective by Michael Logan in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Hell's Detective is a seriously funny book. That is if you are a fan of dark humor. I am just such a reader. The story of Kat Murphy, recently deceased (read suicide) private investigator is set in Lost Angeles, an apparent subdivision of Hell. She is hired to retrieve a stolen item for the Chief Administrator.

There are so many twists on the real world that make this read like a plausible place. Our heroine(?) Kat learns how to use the system to her advantage. Herein lies the dark humor. Since I don't do spoilers, you'll just have to read for yourself. Suffice to say she comes up with some extremely out of the box methods of sleuthing.

Hell's Detective does leave the door open for continuation. The story is fully resolved here, but lends itself to a sequel. My plea to author Michael Logan: Please, please, PLEASE, give us more. This world is just too good to leave.

There is sex, violence, drugs, gangs, basically any vice you can imagine (it's Hell what else would you expect?). But there is also love, honor, and loyalty. Plenty of scheming, dirty dealing and back stabbing mystery to keep the reader hooked. If you are a reader who is concerned about reading books that glorify Hell, demons and evil, fear not, Hell's Detective does not. We know the inhabitants of Lost Angeles belong there and are getting precisely what they deserve. So read it guilt free.

Hell's Detective by Michael Logan is as I said, a seriously funny read, I recommend it. Give this one a look, I doubt you'll be sorry. Enjoy!


Monday, December 11, 2017

Perfect Little Angel

I requested an ecopy of Perfect Little Angel from author Rebecca McNutt and she graciously gave me one.

This is the second work I have read by Ms. McNutt and find her to be an excellent story teller. Perfect Little Angel is identified as a "Christmas" story, but I disagree with categorizing it as such. It may be a semantic difference but for me an important one. The story is set at Christmas but is not really dealing with Christmas themes. Meaning basically that Perfect Little Angel is a good read at any time of year and should not be pigeonholed as a story to be read only during the Christmas season.

The author deals with some heavy cosmic questions here; fate, destiny, karma (though not specifically stated), and duty. Ms. McNutt takes the reader on a surreal ride with predominantly the mother of the Perfect Little Angel and a very scary visitor.

Perfect Little Angel is very short, but packs a lot of story into relatively few pages (an apparent trademark of this author), no fluff, no fill, just riveting story with twists worthy of The Twilight Zone.

If it takes calling Perfect Little Angel a Christmas story to entice you to read it, so be it, but I will say don't think of it only in that context. It is an awesome story any time of year. Check out Rebecca McNutt and Perfect Little Angel. Enjoy!


This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine

Thanks to author Mark Rounds for providing an ecopy of This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine. 

This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine is the third entry of the Plague Years series. Trilogies seem to be de rigeuer these days and I was operating under the belief (erroneous it appears) that this was going to be the conclusion of the story. Reading with this preconception I kept waiting for the turn that would signal that conclusion. WRONG! Fortunately the story does not end here. I for one am glad because the story is so broad and complex, to end this soon would leave a lot unsaid. So it appears that we will get more. I have to say though, I haven't any official confirmation.

The story is one of a plague creating zombies who naturally wreak havoc on the general populace. This third installment focuses more than others on specifically the military response and its' attempts to re-establish control.

One of the better aspects of this chapter in the series for me is how similar both groups of combatants are. Without giving spoilers, both sides have power struggles within their hierarchies. Within the ebb and flow of the conflict we see the range of human emotions, positive and negative, altruistic and self-serving.

A lot more action oriented that the earlier books with a little less focus on relationships and general survival. It is more military action and strategies employed by both sides of the conflict. Mark Rounds does a great job of keeping the suspense level high without feeling the story is dragging. I enjoyed This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine every bit as much as I did the first two books. The story is evolving in such a way as to keep me interested in what comes next. It's just a drag that we will have to wait for it.

If you have not read the first two books in the Plague Years series you need to, This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine by Mark Rounds, is not a stand alone by any stretch, but the whole is very much worth reading, and I recommend it. Enjoy!


Saturday, December 2, 2017


Author Ayo Ajumobi provided an ecopy of Raindrops for review.

I have very mixed emotions about how to approach my review of Raindrops. Fortunately, here on my blog I do not use a star system, but other sites want such a rating. When I post this review on those sites I will try to bypass stars. Either way I go will be less than representative of my reaction to this book.

"Reaction" is the most appropriate word I can use here: I had a visceral reaction to Raindrops.

First, the positive reaction. The story started out as a nice idyllic setting involving a forest world. Ayo Ajumobi does a wonderful job of painting the verbal picture. The characters are well presented. The story line hooks the reader. Very well written.

Now the other reaction. A little back story; the description of Raindrops on Amazon presents a story of nature, wildlife and the arrival of humans. Fair enough. The Goodreads description starts out with the sentence..."Guilt can be a good thing...". That is the crux of my reaction, Raindrops paints humans as basically an evil that is destroying the harmony of the planet. Now, I am not an environmentalist, but I do believe in living responsibly as it pertains to nature. But I do not give credence to the idea that an anthropomorphic tree has equal moral standing to a human. I do live in a house made mostly of wood, I have sat around a campfire burning wood for the sheer enjoyment of the moment. Guess what, I don't feel the least bit guilty!

Raindrops, in the end hit me as just another attempt to make the reader feel guilty for existing. I am a man, I am white, and I am a human. As I recall I was not consulted or given a choice as to whether this was what I wanted. I am quite tired of people pointing the finger of accusation at anybody based on criteria they had no say in. Had the author been interested in presenting a story that could help the situation perhaps he could have included ways for that to happen in his book. As it is all he provided was another example of finger pointing.

"Guilt can be a good thing...", not this time. Raindrops by Ayo Ajumobi is a well written book even if I find the premise faulty, but I can't recommend it.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fun & Games

I received an ecopy of Fun & Games from author David Michael Slater.

Fun & Games starts out as a slice of one man's family, or in this case, one boy's. We have an evil genius sister, a hot sister who knows how to put her looks to use, a writer father trying to not be Jewish, a mother trying to preserve Jewish tradition, holocaust survivor grandparents, and of course our hero Jon, trying and often failing, to keep up with it all.

His group of friends are the usual mix of teenage boys fixated on girls and marathon games of D&D. Jon is forever being bullied, coerced and manipulated by one or both of his sisters. He is one of those people who try to go with the flow, a very difficult task in this particular family.

Mixed in with typical adolescent male hormone fueled goofiness are sometimes heartbreaking and life altering events. Family secrets abound and as Jon matures (at least chronologically), he is forced to deal with them. For the most part Fun & Games is a comedy, and a hilarious one at that. But the end leans more to the serious end of the spectrum.

It does evoke a bit of a nostalgic feeling: the stupid teenage tricks, the determination to lose that pesky virginity ( I didn't lose mine, I know right where I left it) and the rocky transition from adolescent to adult.

Fun & Games can be viewed as a coming of age tale but it's more the antics of the family that puts the "fun" in dysfunctional. David Michael Slater has written a fun and funny story that fans of American Graffiti style entertainment should like. Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Covens of Elmeeria

I won a print copy of The Covens of Elmeeria by Miguel Lopez de Leon in a Goodreads giveaway.

The Covens of Elmeeria is a nice, short, middle grade (in my opinion) story set in a medieval type world of kingdoms replete with kings, queens, princes and princesses and the always accompanying political machinations.

The characters are straight forward for the most part and not particularly complex. But then again, this is a book directed towards a younger audience where too much complexity may be a negative. The Covens of Elmeeria was fun for what it was intended to be; a short, fairy tale kind of story with a likable heroine who has to think for herself to save the day.

As you know I don't get into "message" books, but it doesn't take much to see that the author is encouraging readers to think for themselves and face up to problems. Okay, enough of the soapbox.

It is refreshing for me to read a book where the young person is not the only one with a brain. Parents are for the most part good and their child is neither spoiled nor disrespectful.

Is The Covens of Elmeeria by Miguel Lopez de Leon fantasy on a par with Lord of the Rings? No, but it is not claiming to be. It is a story that I wouldn't have a problem with my grandchildren reading. Enjoy!


Monday, November 27, 2017

The Elixir: A Bud Hutchins Urban Fantasy (Bud Hutchins Thriller Book 2)

JB Michaels sent me a print copy of The Elixer, the second Bud Hutchins Urban Fantasy. He did not ask for a review, but hey, it's what I do.

The Elixer is an excellent follow up to The Order of St. Michael. While the first book has a lot of background on our hero, it is not necessarily necessary to have read it first (but you really should). Our heroes get caught up in another paranormal life and death adventure.

The action takes place in and around Chicago where Bud is responsible for more damage than a Bruce Willis movie. We have several plot lines, not all of which are resolved by the end of the book. Which means there must be another book in the works (YAY!). We have all the trappings for a good paranormal story; zombies, werewolves, ghost bad guys, ghost good guys, robots, and monks to name a few.

The Elixer is a bit more mature than the previous book (mostly language wise, that Bud is developing such a mouth). The action is great, Bud is still an enigma; is he a jerk?... a poorly socialized genius? ...or just plain clueless. Whatever he is, he is still a lot of fun to follow. He is loyal to his friends and dedicated to his scientific pursuits.

Although predominantly a YA/middle grade book, I find myself enjoying this series a lot. So is my wife. When the book arrived, she snatched it up to read before I could get to it.

The Elixir: A Bud Hutchins Urban Fantasy (Bud Hutchins Thriller Book 2) (whew, that's a lot of title) by JB Michaels continues the series admirably and keeps us wanting more. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Tales of His Words. Cruel Angels Pass-by, Disgusting Angel Smile

Author Keishi Ando provided ecopies of three of his short stories. As they are stand alone stories and not part of a larger anthology I will review them separately.

Tales of His Words is a paranormal romance set outside an ancient castle in (I believe) Japan (Keishi Ando is Japanese after all). A young woman attending cooking classes enters into a romantic liaison with a man  she meets while siting outside the local castle. As the relationship progresses we get glimpses into the girls mind and her at times ambivalence and even anger towards her suitor. The conclusion is an interesting twist.

Cruel Angels Pass-by is a rather bizarre story of a victim of terrible abuse at the hands of society. This abuse seems to be the accepted behavior of the local inhabitants. Then our main character meets an angel. This may seem like a spoiler, but I guarantee I haven't told you anything that would spoil the story. You need to read it for yourself to find out what I mean.

Disgusting Angel Smile is the tale of what we might refer to as an urchin, a child on the edges of society who has connected to her favorite toy an angel and a devil. They bear witness to the child's bleak existence, but don't seem to get too involved. Again we have a somewhat strange ending.

Although not presented as connected, these three stories represent a very bleak outlook on life. For sure a very dark tone. This is not inconsistent with the authors biography, which I leave for you to read. They definitely have a different flavor from what many readers are accustomed to. Part of this is no doubt due to English not being the authors first language. I don't know if the stories have been translated from Japanese or written directly in English by the Japanese author. Enjoy!


Spine Chillers: Book One: Hair Raising Tales

I received an ecopy of Spine Chillers by Q. L. Pearce. Although I'm not sure who provided it, my ereader identifies another author of similar books, but the file itself identifies Pearce as the author. Looking at the goodreads page for Q.L. Pearce does show the book to be hers.

As the title says; book one. I haven't seen how many more are projected.

Spine Chillers is a fun set of short stories aimed at middle grade readers but are enjoyable for older readers as well. The stories are in the mode of a Goosebumps or, for older readers, a Twilight Zone feel. Great stories to curl up with on a dark and dreary day, or to share with younger readers. The stories are sufficiently spooky to keep mature readers hooked while short enough to fit younger attention spans. Enjoy!


The Itching Scars

Author Mohy Omar provided me with an ecopy of The Itching Scars.

The Itching Scars is a triad of thematically joined short stories. Focused on the darker aspects of humanity, the stories delve into life. death. and morality. It is also the first in a series The Scars. I don't know how many books are planned.

The stories are graphic in nature, both psychologically and physically. We get graphic depictions of sexuality, murder, and torture as well as existential suffering and longing. Quite a package.

Psychological types (like I used to be) could spend hours discussing the nuances of these stories. They would make excellent fodder for a class in psychological literature. The stories are actually quite deep. I was particularly impressed with the authors treatment of death. Although all three stories are excellent, this first was for me the most moving.

For a deeper look into what it means to be human, I recommend The Itching Scars by Mohy Omar. Enjoy!


Bittersweet Symphony

I requested a copy of Bittersweet Symphony from author Rebecca McNutt and she generously provided one.

Bittersweet Symphony is the first example of this authors writing that I have read. I was somewhat concerned because Miss McNutt is considerably younger than me and I wondered if her book would be aimed at my age group. I quickly realized my fears were completely unfounded. Bittersweet Symphony is a story that speaks to anyone who has experienced life at all.

Our author has packed an incredibly rich story in a fairly short framework. The only reason I had to spread my reading over an extended period of time is that (as usual) my ereader ran low on battery power before I could finish (I hate when that happens). The characters are so well developed and engaging (though not necessarily likable) that they could easily inhabit future stories.

How the reader will categorize Bittersweet Symphony will depend more upon the reader, I think, than the story itself. More so than many books I have read, this story lends itself to interpretation influenced by the readers own outlook on life. It is dark, twisted horror, maladjusted human interaction, and yet, redemptive. When you read it you'll see what I mean.

Bittersweet Symphony is, in the beginning at least, a dark and foreboding horror story fueled by the greed of several participants. And spooky it is. A bit reminiscent of Poltergeist. We also see demonstrated some of the darker aspects of human behavior. The characters are at turns, callous, unfeeling, and downright mean spirited. It is easy to dismiss them as poor examples of basic humanity. But as the story unfolds and we see them develop more fully this opinion may change for some.

I really enjoyed Bittersweet Symphony and when I finished, I found myself amazed at how much story was packed into 134 pages. Rebcca McNutt, young though she may be, is a talented storyteller. Enjoy!


Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Little Night Magic

I won a print copy of A Little Night Magic by Angie Fox in a Goodreads Giveaway.

A Little Night Magic is the second book from Angie Fox that I have had the good fortune to read.
Here we have a collection of short stories involving characters from two different series written by Ms. Fox.

We start with Verity and Frankie of the Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries. Two light, funny and heartwarming tales which bring to mind Ghost Whisperer, only leaning more to the humorous side.

Next, we have Amie and Dante from the Accidental Demon Slayer series and a great story set in New Orleans voodoo. Still a funny, while suspenseful, read.

Finally, three stories starring Lizzie and the Biker Witches, characters I met in The Accidental Demon Slayer. Biker Witches who are also senior citizens are hilarious, and frustrating (at least for Lizzie).

Angie Fox has a talent for presenting us with leading ladies who don't appear to have to be more macho than the men they are around. I like this approach, they are women, not weepy girls or out to prove their superiority. They laugh, joke, and have sexual thoughts at inopportune times (kind of like men do, okay, like I do). I guess what I am getting at here is that we get fun stories without a heavy dose of social commentary, and I like that. I like my reading to be fun and so far the two books I have read by this author have been that; great fun.

A Little Night Magic is a sampler platter of MS. Fox's story telling ability and does its job of enticing readers to want to read more of her work. It has for me anyway. I recommend A Little Night Magic as an introduction to Angie Fox's work, or for fans, a visit with characters you have come to know and love. Either way; Enjoy!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

From Ice to Ashes (Titanborn Universe, #2)

Author Rhett C. Bruno was kind enough to provide me with an e-copy of From Ice to Ashes book #2 in the Titanborn Series.

From Ice to Ashes continues the story from Titanborn, the first book in the series. And an excellent continuation of the story it is. Although a sci-fi space fantasy, the story unfolds like a good mystery, little bits of information scattered throughout keeping readers hooked and guessing.

Characters, often not particularly sympathetic, are well developed and multidimensional. We have basic human emotions; love, hate, and bigotry wrapped up in a story of rebellion and oppression. All the makings of a book that will keep readers enthralled from beginning to end. I am stepping out on a rather stout limb in thinking that a third book (fourth if you consider the prequel, which I have not read) will be forthcoming. I don't have any verified information of that, but the story does lend itself to continuation. Not a cliffhanger ending (YAY!), but one which definitely leads to my expectation.

As I said; a story of rebellion, so we have all the best ingredients. We have the Titanborn being oppressed by the Earthers both socially and economically, as well as medically. We have love and romance, honor and deception, hate and violence, and a healthy dose of political intrigue. We have sex, consensual and non, vengeance, retribution and unexpected twists. We have players who don't know they are players and others who don't really want to be.

From Ice to Ashes is a character driven story rather than a techno story. This appeals to me as I don't enjoy stories that rely on the technology of space life. I like the human aspects with space being just where the story is set.

As with any story focused on human emotions and relationships, things are seldom plain and simple. We have conflicting motivations and dynamics. Sometimes even within the same relationship. Author Rhett C. Bruno has given readers a vivid portrayal of an alien world fraught with very human problems. From Ice to Ashes is a great world to get caught up in. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Wizard's Dark Dominion

Author Lee H. Haywood gave me a print copy of A Wizard's Dark Dominion. The first entry in The God's and Kings Chronicles series.

 A Wizard's Dark Dominion is fantasy at its best.  Okay, I'm done (you know better than that). Seriously, this book hooked me immediately. I finished it last night just before going out to dinner. I kept looking at the clock because had the person I was going to dinner with arrived early, I was wondering how they were going to like waiting while I finished. Fortunately I did finish about five minutes before they arrived.

As the title shows, this is a book about magic (duh! ... I'm just getting started, okay?) Our main character, Demetry, is clearly teetering on the fence of good vs evil. We are not really sure which way he will finally go. I found myself rooting for him to make the right choice, but he didn't always. The other characters are portrayed just as morally ambiguous. For me, this makes for a first rate story. I like not being able to pigeon-hole characters. That leads to predictability and less enjoyment. A Wizard's Dark Dominion keeps us readers on our literary toes, so to speak.

As the first book in the trilogy, A Wizard's Dark Dominion sets the stage well for the next books. Thank yous to Mr. Haywood for not using the ever despised cliffhanger ending. The ending keeps us hooked without leaving us up in the air (aka: hanging).

So, we have lots of magical action (stealing a line from Arlo Guthrie; ...blood, guts and gore, and dead burnt bodies...) no romance, magical and mythical creatures, political intrigue and a tantalizing tease of big things to come. The other two books in the series are already available so readers are able to continue the story uninterrupted. You can't beat that.

Epic fantasy readers definitely will find a lot to like in A Wizard's Dark Dominion by Lee H. Haywood. Enjoy!


Monday, November 13, 2017

It's Me, Hannah

I recently had the pleasure of meeting author Carleen Bunde at a local craft fair. After talking with her for a while, I purchased (yes purchased) her book It's Me, Hannah. 

It's Me, Hannah is the story of a young girl growing up in North Dakota from the 40's til present. Our main character, Hannah is a bit of a rarity in literature these days; a nice, respectful, basically good, farm girl. We get a slice of a bygone era in America. We follow Hannah as she copes with loss of loved ones, but thankfully, does not use this as an excuse to embrace a wild lifestyle. She is basically a happy well adjusted child coming into adulthood.

The best thing about It's Me, Hannah is that it is not full of dysfunctional characters (there may be one). But we still have an engaging, well written story, told in snippets, almost like memoirs. Perhaps at times the reader may wonder what ever became of some story or another, and this may be the drawback to the book. At times we read of some event or other but we don't get the final outcome. Minor, but I felt it a couple of times.

A sideline, one of the things that interested me about Ms. Bunde was that her family had at one time lived in the same small town, Fox Lake, Wisconsin, as my family. I don't know if it was during the same time-frame, but it was a nice little connection.

It's Me, Hannah  is a wonderful change of pace for those who tend to read more action oriented works that often tend to be on the darker side (that would be me). It tapped into a nostalgia for simpler slower paced times, though I am not old enough to have lived in the 40's, I do remember simpler times.

If you are in the mood for a clean, fun, at times funny, at times heartbreaking read, It's Me, Hannah  will satisfy that craving admirably. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

City Of Gods Hellenica

I won a print copy of City Of Gods Hellenica by Jon Maas (Jonathan Maas on Goodreads) in a Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway.

This book is outstanding! Probably don't need to say anything beyond that: but what fun would that be?

City Of Gods Hellenica is the story of ancient gods behaving poorly; petty and selfish. An academy is created to bring stability to the world. In true YA fashion, the proposed saviors are kids. The godlings (my word not Mr. Maas's) don't seem to get along much better than their adult counterparts. The four main characters are about as diverse as can be. As City Of Gods Hellenica is the beginning of a series we do see these disparate characters starting to meld into a somewhat cohesive unit.

We have plenty of action, violence, political intrigue, young love (or at least infatuation), horror, honor and youthful idealism. Author Jon Maas does a good job of painting a mental picture of the sometimes disturbing atmosphere of the academy. Particularly the more disgusting parts of the local environment.

The development of the characters is progressing nicely, complete with flaws and prejudices. There is suspense and intrigue. The true motivations of several peripheral characters has yet to be revealed. I'm looking forward to reading more of this series; good YA fantasy that does not talk down to its younger audience. I actually hesitate to use the term "YA" in reference to City Of Gods Hellenica. It is simply just very good fantasy that appeals to pretty much any age group of fantasy readers (like me).

I'm finding it very difficult to identify any negatives for City Of Gods Hellenica, so, I guess I'll stop trying now. Jon Mass has given us a fantastic fantasy read in City Of Gods Hellenica (fantastic fantasy, see what i'm doing there? Okay, sorry). Fantasy readers should find this book very enjoyable. So as I always say, Enjoy!

Oh, before I go, one tongue-in-cheek complaint: How on earth do you pronounce "Saoirse"? I think I hurt my mouth trying.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Angels and Avalon

Author Catherine Milos was kind enough to send me an e-version of Angels and Avalon after I failed to win the goodreads giveaway for it.

Angels and Avalon was, for me a bit of a departure from what I usually read. The focus was on mostly good characters; God and Goddess, Angels, and a very good human. Of course Lucifer is also present so not all is wonderful.

The premise: Avalon is a paradise created by Goddess, hidden from the view of other divine beings who would destroy it.

I enjoyed the idyllic setting of Avalon (not Arthur's Avalon) but as is always the case, the paradise is invaded (I guess the book would have become boring otherwise). The Elysian Fields are a myth after all.

We have angels behaving as badly as humans, ... or angels, who knows? We have love, envy, violence, hate, kindness, tenderness and abuse.

Angels and Avalon spans several lifetimes and got a bit confusing towards the end because of this. Not horribly so, and it is an integral part of the story so it can be forgiven by the reader.

The activities of the characters in Angels and Avalon may give pause to more fundamental Christians (Goddess?), but my advice to them would be: It's fiction.Further as a Christian the story does not offend me in the slightest. Lucifer is Lucifer, so it is no spoiler what he is about.

Angels and Avalon is at its core a heartwarming tale of love (see? not my usual fare). But is not saccharin sweet or cloying. A good balance. Author Catharine Milos has given us a nice, clean, often gentle story, yet there are plenty of moments of evil and horror to keep the story balanced. I think if you give Angels and Avalon a look you will find it a pleasing read, Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Humanity's Hope

I won a print copy of Humanity's Hope By Greg P. Farrell in a Goodreads firstreads giveaway.

Humanity's Hope grabbed me immediately and kept me hooked til the end. A good apocalyptic story. It is set actually in the post-apocalypse but refers generously to the pre-time keeping a running account of both.

We have zombies and other unpleasant creatures (which would be a spoiler to share here), survivalists, political machinations and the ultimate fight for control. I particularly enjoyed the creation of Camp H. I really get into the nitty-gritty of building survival camps, as well as the relationships of the survivors. What others may see as the mundane aspects of a post-apocalyptic story is what really grabs me.

Author Greg P. Farrell expands the zombie lexicon by differentiating between slower and faster zombies. so, thanks for that. Plenty of moderately gory action, no sex. We have a world gone mad, full of interesting characters with well developed motivations. All in all, an excellent representation of the genre.

I do hope I was given an uncorrected proof because there were a lot of typos to contend with and hopefully they have been corrected.

Purely personal preference: Toward the end of the book the story went into a turn that while surprising, took me to a place I don't usually go (again, it would be too much of a spoiler to tell here) but does not pose any problem for most readers. Again "personal preference", and does not diminish the quality of the story at all. In fact I would guess that many or even most readers will find it adds positively to the book.

Humanity's Hope is the first installment of the Humanity's Hope series (I don't know how many are planned). Readers of post-apocalyptic stories in general, and zombie-apocalypse stories in particular should have a great time with Humanity's Hope by Greg P. Farrell. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Stranger In The Woods

I won a copy of The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway.

I don't usually read and review non-fiction works, but The Stranger in the Woods caught my eye as a survival oriented book. I did enjoy the book. It is well written, informative, and allows the reader to make their own value judgments.

The Stranger in the Woods is the story of Christopher Knight (no not Peter Brady of the Brady Bunch) aka the Hermit who lived off the grid for almost thirty years in the woods of Maine.

Author Michael Finkel was able to earn the trust of this recluse who really just wanted to be left alone. Mr. Knight survived by stealing from neighboring summer cabins.

The author goes into some exploration of the psychological aspect of Knight's behavior presenting various suppositions of what, if any, psychological disorder may be at work here. Again, no authoritative diagnosis is given (the book would have lost all credibility with me if it had).

The Stranger in the Woods does give an interesting peek into human behavior, not only from the subject, but also from his many victims. It shows that in this case, as it is often with many situations, there are no simple answers, no one size fits all explanation. Which leads me to a bit of self revelation here.

I am a retired psychotherapist. Although I never dealt with this particular situation, I did regularly deal with complex human situations. This is why I don't normally read such works. Basically my response is: Been there, done that. I don't share this to diminish The Stranger in the Woods, it is a well written and fair presentation of the situation. For me personally, the story made me sad, the emotions this man had to deal with throughout his life are heartbreaking. Setting aside for a moment the illegality of his acts, he was actually dealing with his personal needs pretty well. But of course, we can't set aside the illegal acts.

So, taking into account personal and professional biases, The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel is an excellent book which can be enjoyed on several levels of complexity; ranging from simple survival adventure to deep issues involving mental health and the human behavior spectrum. I do recommend it to readers who want to explore such themes. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On The Edge Of The Chasm

On The Edge Of The Chasm by Amy Joy was a new experience for me as a reviewer.

First, the disclaimer: I know Amy Joy, we attend the same church. I can't say that I know her well or that we are "close friends" but we do know each other. Also "Amy Joy" is her first name. Since I didn't ask for permission to post her last name, and her by-line says only Amy Joy, that is the name I will use here.

When I found out she was going to publish her book (actually a series of books) I offered to proofread it. I didn't set out to read On The Edge Of The Chasm with the intent of reviewing. After a very short time I though to myself: "This is a really good book".

Followers of my reviews know I don't often review non-fiction works. It's just not my thing. But Amy Joy's writing style is so easy to get caught up in I didn't have my usual reaction to non-fiction.

On to the book. On The Edge Of The Chasm is to me an attempt to build a bridge between science and religion. I say "to me" because I have not discussed such things with the author. So all such pronouncements as to genre, theme or message, are mine and mine alone. Presented mostly as a memoir, Amy Joy does a beautiful job of moving from instructive information to entertaining storytelling.

The story blends her academic career in the hard sciences of geology, paleontology, mathematics and history with her Christian understanding and faith. The most refreshing aspect of her writing is that she goes to some effort to assure the reader that she is not presenting herself as the final authority in this sometimes contentious debate. She does not attack anyone's belief. She does offer questions and viewpoints which encourage the reader to consider what they believe.

Amy Joy gives us a peek into her personal history, at times heartbreaking, while at others funny and heartwarming. Another theme of the book speaks strongly to me; deal with what is going on rather than crying over what should be.

Although On The Edge Of The Chasm does fit into the "Christian" genre, it also fits into "Science" "Coming of Age" "Memoirs", and a smooth blend it is. Were I not a Christian reading this book, I don't think I would view it as a propaganda piece, the authors Christianity is just another piece of the story. It stays firmly in the realm of "this is how it is".

On The Edge Of The Chasm is the first in a series of five books (I really hope she lets me read the rest), and is due for release in November of this year. I asked Amy Joy's permission to post my review here because that was not the original purpose in reading the book (she said okay).

I recommend On The Edge Of The Chasm by Amy Joy, for those willing to examine how science and religion can not only coexist but actually enhance each other. Enjoy!


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Carmine: The Rise Of The Warrior Queen

Carmine: The Rise Of The Warrior Queen by Alan Janney is apparently connected to The Outlaw series by Mr. Janney. This is the first book I have read from this author.

Carmine definitely makes me want to read more of Mr. Janney's work. It satisfies my craving for good apocalyptic stories. Our heroine, the aforementioned Carmine, is a genetically altered female attempting to bring order to a new kingdom in the wake of ongoing societal collapse (no spoiler; this is from the cover).

Most of the main characters are in their late teens or early twenties (made me feel a bit old), so I'm guessing this is the target audience. But unlike other books aimed at that demographic, Carmine does not necessarily make folks my age the bad guys, okay by me (big of me, huh?).

Great action. The main characters are by turns; sympathetic, frustrating, humorous, endearing, frightening, aggravating, but always well developed. although the violence is at times quite graphic, it is well balanced with moments of humor and levity. We also get romance; budding, unrequited, sometimes coerced and artificially enhanced. Not much in the way of sex, but plenty of sexual tension. 

The only glaring mistake? Using the word "eluded" instead of "alluded" in a reference to Of Mice And Men.

At the end of the book Mr. Janney makes the generous offer of a free copy of Book one of The Outlaw series. Think I'm gonna go for it, Alan Janney appears to be a new author on my horizon (I can almost here some of you saying "about time!"). Carmine: The Rise Of The Warrior Queen is seriously worth your time. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Policewoman (Redux)

Hi Everybody, I wanted to let everyone know that Author Justin W.M. Roberts fabulous book The Policewoman is available on Amazon and through a Goodreads Giveaway at I encourage everyone who reads this to check out this book. You won't be disappointed. As I said in my review, The Policewoman has found a place in my personal top 5 books, and I wanted to help promote this book. I'm posting info about Mr. Roberts and the already award winning The Policewoman .  I took the liberty of asking Mr. Roberts some questions  that occurred to me. I've posted them here following his personal info. This is my first attempt at such an undertaking, so apologies for anything I might have missed.

                                                                      Justin W.M. Roberts

Justin W.M. Roberts was born in London, son of a British Army General, and grew up in Hong Kong, Germany, and England. After graduating from Hull university with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Psychology, he continued traveling and living Europe, Africa, and Asia.

He currently lives in Indonesia where he is an analyst of political affairs and an active promoter of secular humanism.

Authors of military thrillers are welcome to PM him for book reviews.   

2017 Gold Medal Winner of Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest (Fiction-Military genre)

Interview Questions
What inspired you to write The Policewoman?
I love action heroines, but I couldn’t find one that I really like. I then decided to write my own book.

How long did it take to write?
2 years.

How long have you been writing, and what started you on this path?
The Policewoman is my first book. I’ve always wanted to be a full-time writer and this what I do ever since I retired from teaching.

Do you follow a strict outline, or does the story evolve as you write?
The story evolved on its own. The antagonists were initially Serbian organ black marketers, but then I changed them to Irish drug smugglers. 

The Policewoman is such a powerful story; do you realize how high you have set the bar for yourself in writing the sequel?
Yes. In fact, I’m trying to make the sequel to be just as good as The Policewoman, but I’m struggling.

Do you expect to continue the storyline beyond a second book?
There will be a third book and possibly a fourth.

Re: The mechanics of your writing, do you set specific times to write, amount of words/pages during a session?
No, I just write when I have the time.

Since I asked you this question privately, I know your answer but I wanted to ask it again here because I think non-writers, like me, will find it quite interesting. When you write does the progress of the story ever surprise you, or take you in a direction you didn’t anticipate?
Yes, it does. I may write about someone doing something, but then that person winds up doing something else. It’s as if the character has its own personality.

Given the competitiveness of the publishing world in general, how do you feel about the response to The Policewoman so far?
The response has been very positive. The Goodreads average rating is now up to 4.33 with more than 150 reviews.

As I wrote in my review of The Policewoman, I challenge the reader to not be emotionally affected by the story.  As its creator, was it as much of an emotional roller coaster for you?
If you read the Goodreads reviews of The Policewoman, a lot of readers wrote that some parts of the book made them cry. Here’s my favourite comment “Not many books make me cry but this one managed it twice so when I’d finished it I had to watch cute animal videos to calm myself down!”
I love books that could evoke a lot of emotion. I couldn’t find one, so I wrote my own. I’m not a sensitive person, but some parts of the story made me cry when I wrote them.  

I know you are now involved in promoting Policewoman, but did you, or will you, take time to decompress after The Policewoman?
Not until Hollywood makes it into a movie.

These are the questions that occurred to my feeble brain, is there anything you think readers need to know about The Policewoman that I missed?

The Policewoman won the 2017 Gold Medal from Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest (Fiction – Military genre).  I have entered it into two other book award contests. Wish me luck!
I was given an e-version of The Policewoman for review by author Justin W.M. Roberts.

The Policewoman has joined my personal list of favorite books, in fact I would place it in my top five. It's that good.

First off let's get the genre out of the way. The Policewoman is at its heart an action/adventure/romance. It is also a crime story, a special ops primer, and a real culture lesson for some of us.

The Policewoman is no boiler plate, formulaic, predictable good guys versus bad guys story. Our hero and heroine are not invincible superheroes but they are nobody to mess with. There is a lot of information here detailing how special ops teams function. This did make the story take a bit longer to develop than the reader may be used to. But it is definitely worth it, it enhances the story as the action and suspense build.

The Policewoman is a very intense story and will grab the reader viscerally, much more emotionally engaging than most other books in the genre. I dare you to not get emotionally hooked, I dare you! But there are moments of levity and downright humor to help lighten the vibe from time to time. This balance is integral to the story, keeping it from being one note and oppressive.

Basically the story is Indonesia, England and Ireland are fighting a drug cartel. No "measured responses" no diplomatic interference. Just no holds barred all out war.

The story is set between Indonesia and Great Britain, so there were a lot of cultural references that were new to me and added flavor to the story.

Great action scenes, graphic violence, not as graphic sex, love both romantic and filial, bureaucratic roadblocks, honor, duty, service and patriotism.

I just found out from the author that a sequel is forthcoming. Once you have read the book you will be as surprised and intrigued as I.

I loved this book. If you like your action/adventure to be more in depth and realistic, The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts (if you look him up on line, be sure to include the W.M. or you'll get the wrong author) will satisfy for sure. Though his bio does not give any such info, The Policewoman reads to me as written by some one with more than a passing knowledge of the field of special ops. I highly recommend this book! Enjoy!

Mike here again, many thanks to Justin W. M. Roberts for taking the time to answer my questions. Personally, I think that as good as The Policewoman is, his chances for winning The Independent Publisher Book Awards are very good.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Little Heaven

I won a print copy of Little Heaven  by Nick Cutter in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway.

Little Heaven is, no doubt about it a HORROR story. There are of course, other themes explored within its pages, but understand, if you read this book, it will be scary.

While I usually don't compare authors styles, it is very difficult to not compare Nick Cutter's style to that of Stephen King.  Little Heaven builds in suspense and horror slowly. I felt like I was just going along in the story and then realized; I'm in the middle of something eerie and terrible. Kind of like an  "uh-oh now I'm in trouble" feeling. The terror slowly creeps up on you in this story.

Author Nick Cutter takes no prisoners, leaving no fear button un-pushed. The horrifying action is right there in your face. Graphic language, gory depictions of absolute terror. Cutter does an outstanding job of instilling fear, dread and horror in the reader.

The characters in Little Heaven are well developed, flaws and all. Some may see the story as bad guys vs worse guys. Some may see it as a story of redemption. Some may see it as a story of karmic balance. Compelling arguments can be made for any of these viewpoints. I leave that to the reader. Personally, I see it as all of the above.

I will admit to have a few bad dreams during my time in Little Heaven, Chalk that up to perhaps my habit of reading in bed until my eyes cross and I can't stay awake any longer. But that doesn't happen often, which I think speaks to how well written the story is.

Horror fans, Little Heaven by Nick Cutter is well worth your time. Enjoy (or tremble)!


Monday, September 25, 2017

River Rising

Author John Heldt provided an e-copy of River Rising, the first book in his new series: Carson Chronicles for review.

I will start by saying I have been anticipating the release of River Rising since John Heldt announced it. I have read and enjoyed both his previous series; Northwest Passage and American Journey. I expected his new series would be as entertaining. No fears there, it is great!

Mr. Heldt has changed the approach to his story ever so slightly in River Rising but not to worry, he continues to give us a fascinating and engaging story that grabbed me right from the start and never let up. There were times that I felt my heart beating so hard I it surprised me. The change to which I refer is just a little bit more edge than his previous works. The characters, to me, seem to be less concerned with their effect on history and more invested in fully enjoying and acclimating to the time they find themselves in.

Set for the most part in Johnstown, PA., the characters dive into 1888 head first and make their individual marks. There is still romance (why do time travelers always get the hot girls and guys?), heart pounding suspense (literally), humor, even violence (don't worry, not particularly graphic), hinted at sex, wild west action and history. This time the time travelers do not know the local history; the Johnstown Flood (you may have heard about it, bad news). Part of the suspense of the story because it does not openly warn us but we know it's coming. I loved it, the impending sense of doom that only the reader feels.

Mr. Heldt describes Carson Chronicles as a family saga, so I assume (I know, you and me) we will get to follow these characters through several adventures. I look forward to spending more time with this family as they are brought to life more richly as the saga unfolds. I don't know how many books are projected for the series, but my thought is: Bring em on!

John Heldt continues to give his readers quality story lines, engaging writing, and characters most readers (ok, me) would love to spend time with. Thanks to John Heldt, River Rising allows the reader (ok, me) the opportunity to do just that. I highly recommend River Rising. Enjoy!


Lillith: The Adventures of Xanthus Book 3

Lillith: The Adventures of Xanthus Book 3 is the final book given to me in e-format for review.

Lillith is apparently not the end of the series as the book ends as somewhat of a cliffhanger leading to another installment. The first three installments are all that were supplied to me.

At less than 50 pages this entry is by far the shortest of the three.

With all respect to Francis Mills (the author), Lillith is just a fail for me. I couldn't wait to finish it. The only reason I did is because it is so short. For me the story is unnecessary. As I said, this is not (apparently) the end of the story, but for me it is.

Again, respect to Francis Mills for putting it out there and I respect the effort, but I promised an honest review. Don't give up on writing, you do show imagination.


Eden's Twilight (Deathlands #86)

I recently indulged my need for post-apocalyptic escapism reading Eden's Twilight by James Axler (the house name for any author of a Deathlands story).

Eden's Twilight returns to the theme that hooked me on Deathlands in the first place; straight forward survival-ism. No far-fetched sci-fi techno-action. I enjoyed the down and dirty feel of the story.

The basic plot; our intrepid companions align with a group who would normally be competitors, if not outright enemies. They wind up unlikely and somewhat unwilling allies against an even larger threat. They face more realistic threats (at least for this genre), giving me the escapism I enjoy so much.

The only glaring mistake is when Jak is placed in two different geographic places at the same time (OOPS!).

Eden's Twilight (Deathlands #86, #85 on Amazon) great literature? No. A comment on social morality? Maybe, if you stretch far enough. A place to exercise and indulge escapist fantasies? Bingo!

So the Deathlands series remains my not-so-secret little literary vice. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Prophecy (The Adventures of Xanthus Book 2)

I was given an e-copy of The Prophecy by Francis Mills for review.

As even the most casual reader of my reviews easily understands, I try to be positive in my reviews while maintaining my credibility and honesty. The series The Adventures of Xanthus is testing my resolve to stay positive.

The story focuses on the prophesy involving the child of Xanthus (a white warrior) and Ivana (a black witch), white and black here not relating to race or color but good and evil. Those who tend to make things racial wherever possible may interpret the book in a racial context, I don't.

The positive: we still have a good versus evil fantasy here. It is still a light read and, it is a quick read that you won't have to set aside a lot of time for.

The negative: The Prophecy seems to be trying to be an adult oriented fantasy. Not a bad goal at all. Unfortunately, it reads more like the cheap porn books I hid under my mattress as a teenager. The story is just there to fill space between sexual encounters. The dialogue is stilted and at times just ridiculous.

Either the sex is gratuitous and unnecessary to the story, or the story is gratuitous and unnecessary to the sex. I'll leave that to you to decide.

As a continuation of the first book, The Prophecy falls short of the mark. It is not a bad read, but be forewarned that it will probably not satisfy the requirements of the  die hard fantasy reader. And though I am not an authority on the genre, I will venture that it falls short in the erotica genre as well.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Rarity from the Hollow intro to the author

Rarity from the Hollow is a book written by Robert Eggleton.

Below you will see an introduction to Mr. Eggleton, pictures of medals the book has won, an excerpt from the book, excerpts from reviews and various links to the author and purchase sites.

I strongly support the aim of this book and what Mr. Eggleton is doing. With my career history I choose not to read books based on or in the mental health world. I know they are important, but after 19 years I choose to read for escapism.

That does not in any way diminish my support for this endeavor and I hope you will give Mr. Eggleton's work a look.


About the author:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from1982 through 1997. Today, he is a retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment.

Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment:

Excerpt from Chapter 10, “One Moment, Please”

Scene Prologue: In this scene, Lacy Dawn stands up to her abusive father for the first time. Dwayne is a disabled Gulf War Vet who suffers from PTSD, night terrors and anger outbursts. Her mother, Jenny, is downtrodden and weak-willed. Lacy Dawn has just returned home from the android’s spaceship. At this point, her powers were evident but not fully matured. She had been negotiating extraterrestrial assistance to cure her parents of their mental disorders, but rushed home after sensing an emergency there…:  

…Three minutes later, Lacy Dawn stood on the back porch. She was keen to hear a whisper. The yells could be heard half-way Roundabend. She peeked through the kitchen window.  Her mother was on the floor with her back propped against the gasoline can that hid her GED study guide.  Jenny’s nose bled. 
            “WHAT THE HELL ………GIVES YOU THE RIGHT ………………TO THINK ……….…………….that you can THROW AWAY …something that is MINE?” her father screamed.
            Jenny adjusted her position. So did Lacy Dawn to get a better view through the window.
            “Where’s my SWITCH?”  Dwayne left the kitchen. 
            Lacy Dawn felt for her knife. 
            I hope Mommy runs for it.
            Jenny moved the gasoline can to cover a corner of her study guide that stuck up. Dwayne had put the can in the kitchen two winters ago after he cut firewood.  At the time, snow on the path to the shed had been deep. Jenny didn't complain about the can in the kitchen because it turned into her best place to hide her GED book. It was convenient and the mice stayed away because of the smell. When her GED book was hid behind the refrigerator, it lost a corner to the nibbles. She repositioned her bra so that everything was contained.
            If it's okay with him, I'll take it right here with my arms over my face. God, I wish I’d worn long pants today. If he finds that book he might kill me. Maybe that'd be better.  I can’t handle anymore anyway. Welfare would take Lacy Dawn and put her in a group home. She’d have friends and stuff to do and decent clothes. That’s more than she’s got now. Who am I kidding? I’ll never get my GED or learn to drive. I’d be better off dead. She'd be better off. I ain’t no kind of decent mom anyway
            Jenny pulled out her GED study guide. Lacy Dawn burst into the kitchen and, at the same time, Dwayne appeared in the opposite doorway from the living room. Lacy Dawn and Dwayne stood face to face.
            “She didn’t throw away those magazines, Dwayne. I burnt them all!” Lacy Dawn looked him in the eyes. 
            I’ve never called him Dwayne before.    
            “Well, here’s my switch, little girl, and you can kiss your white ass goodbye because it’s gonna be red in a minute.”
            “I told Grandma that you had pictures of naked little girls my age kissing old men like you.”
            “Well, your grandma’s dead and gone now and it don’t make no difference.”
            Dwayne grinned at Jenny and resumed eye contact with Lacy Dawn. Jenny did not move. The GED study guide was in the open. Lacy Dawn straightened her posture. 
            “Not that grandma -- the other one -- your mom. I tore out a page and showed her. She said the Devil must’ve made you have those pictures with naked girls way too young for you to look at. She told me to burn them to help save your soul before it was too late and you ended up in Hell.”
            Dwayne raised the switch to waist level. Lacy Dawn took a step forward. 
            “I was sick of them being in the trunk under my bed anyway. I did what Grandma told me to and now they're gone.”
            “That was my Playboy collection from high school. I bought them when I used to work at the Amoco station before I joined the Army.”
            Dwayne lowered the switch and leaned against the door frame. Jenny sat up straighter and slid her GED study guide back behind the gas can. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.    
            He's starting to lose it. Where’s my new butcher knife?
            Dwayne looked to the side and muttered something that she did not understand. He raised the switch and then lowered it.   
            “But, Mom knew I had them when I was in high school and never said nothing. Hell, those girls were older than me back then. I bet they’re all wrinkled now -- with tits pointing straight to the ground, false teeth, and fat asses.” 
            Dwayne muttered again. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact. 
            I must have hit a nerve. He always mutters when he's thinking too hard.  
            “Anyway, you’re both still getting switched even if Mom told you to do it. But, I won’t make it too bad. She wouldn’t like it.”
            He paused.  The point of the switch lowered to the floor.
            Damn.  I can't think of a new name
            "Tammy, bammy, bo mammy…" Dwayne sang. (Dwayne named all of the switched that he used on Lacy Dawn and Jenny to discipline them.)
            “If you even touch me or Mommy with that thing, I’ll tell everybody about Tom’s garden. (Tom is a neighbor who grows marijuana.) I’ll tell Grandma, the mailman, my teacher after school starts, and the food stamp woman when she comes next week for our home visit. I’ll tell Tom that I’m gonna tell the men working on the road at the top of the hill. I’ll tell all your friends when they come by after the harvest. And, I’ll call that judge who put you in jail for a day for drunk driving if Grandpa will let me use the phone. I swear I’ll tell everybody.”
            “Oh shit," Dwayne said.
            I knew this day would come -- ever since she brought me those DARE to Keep Kids off Drugs stickers to cover up the rust holes on my truck….
            “Lacy Dawn, drugs are bad. I don’t take drugs and hope you never will either.”
            “Cut the crap, Dwayne. This ain't about drugs. The only thing this is about is if you even think about switching me or Mommy, that garden has had it -- period.”
            “But smoking pot is not the same as taking drugs,” he let go of the switch. Thirty seconds later, Lacy Dawn picked it up and hung it in its proper place on her parents’ bedroom wall.
            “I love you, Daddy,” she said on the way back to the kitchen.
            Dwayne went out the back door and walked to his pick-up. The truck door slammed. It started, gravel crushed, and the muffler rumbled. He floored it up the hollow road.
            Things will be forever different
            Lacy Dawn sat down on a kitchen chair, did her deep breathing exercise, smelled an underarm and said, "Yuck."
            Things will be forever the same unless DotCom can help me change them. (DotCom is the name of the android, a recurring pun in the story.)
            Jenny got off the floor, sat on the other chair, scooted it closer beside her daughter, put an arm around her, and kissed the side of Lacy Dawn's head.
            The muffler rumbled to nonexistence.
            “Asshole,” they screamed out the open kitchen window at the exact same time without cue.
            “He used to be a good man,” Jenny giggled and hugged…. (This phrase is an intergenerational familial saying that Lacy Dawn turned into a chant and used to magically elevate above the ground, and to travel back and forth between her home and the spaceship without getting her tennis shoes muddy.)                                                        
                                                                 Excerpts of Two Book Reviews – Gold Medal Awards

Awesome Indies:
“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.

Readers’ Favorite:

“…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity From the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved… Robert Eggleton is a brilliant writer whose work is better read on several levels. I appreciated this story on all of them.”


Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”
    Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. "…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy." -- Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” --Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” -- The Baryon Review

"…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s 'Animal Farm.' I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list." -- Marcha’s Two-Cents Worth 

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