Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Blackwing (Raven's Mark #1)

I won a print copy of Blackwing (Raven's Mark #1) by Ed McDonald in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Blackwing (Raven's Mark #1) is the first book in the Raven's Mark series (kind of obvious from the title eh?). This book was right up my reading alley; post-apocalyptic dystopian hard-core kill 'em all, let God sort them out, action.

Our hero, Ryhalt Galharrow is for sure a great action hero. Besides taking cursing to a completely new plane, his twisted morality and unswerving dedication to duty (whoever is paying him), we see a one note character slowly revealed as a more complex individual than even he would probably like to admit.

Surrounding himself with the lowest scum his society has to offer he (of course) becomes the last best hope for humanity. He is irreverent, angry, arrogant, devious, vicious, loyal and absolutely deadly.

Blackwing is hilarious in an anti-societal vein. Galharrow sees the stupidity of those whose tune he dances to. I particularly enjoyed that he often voiced the sarcastic comments that I was thinking while reading. The argument can be made that it is a story of redemption. I think that is being overly generous. He is who he is, and is good with that.

Lots (I mean LOTS) of language, sexual references, graphic violence. Hard to tell if the "good" deities are all that good. But, the best thing I can say; In my opinion, Blackwing (Raven's Mark #1) by Ed McDonald is a great escapist, no apologies, politically incorrect, fun read. Enjoy!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Science and Wonders II: The Light, the Heat

Author Amy Joy gave me an e-copy of Science and Wonders II: The Light, the Heat for review.

I have read and reviewed the first book in the series; On the Edge of the Chasm. This follow up is every bit as good. We get to hear more about Amy Joy's adventures and misadventures as she makes her way through the college experience.

Amy Joy does still strive to bridge the chasm between science and religion in this second book, but I will say however, that The Light, the Heat does lean a bit more towards the Christian side of her story. I don't say this as a negative, or in any way an admonishment, merely an observation.

We get even more insight into the thoughts and feelings of this unique person as she shares her life with us. It is at times, tragic, uplifting, terrifying, and hilarious. Kind of like life for real.  We see an indomitable will, and a strong reliance on faith.

What I like most about Amy Joy's work is her unapologetic telling of her story. She is an unabashedly devout follower of Jesus Christ and her writing demonstrates this. Although strong in its message of her faith, it is not a "you better believe too" kind of book, not a beat you over the head until you submit book. It's more of a "this is how it works for me" book. I am not a fan of writing that tries to guilt me into accepting the author's viewpoint. Thankfully Amy Joy apparently feels the same.

I enjoyed Science and Wonders II: The Light, the Heat immensely, and if you are interested in seeing where science and religion can peacefully coexist, I think you will too. Enjoy


Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Step-Spinsters

Author Madina Papadopoulos provided an e-copy of The Step-Spinsters for review.

The Step-Spinsters is the continuing story of Cinderella and her step-mother and step-sisters (hence, step-spinsters). In this entertaining, fairly quick read we have characters who are all flawed to some degree. I was particularly pleased to find out Cinderella's real name (no, I'm not going to tell).

The story is comical, tragic, mysterious and redemptive as any fairy-tale should be. I found myself rooting both for and against each character at different times. Reading this story with the original (I know there are probably hundreds of versions), or maybe the Disney version in mind, will mess with your mind a bit. In a fun way. A peek into medieval French custom.

I enjoyed The Step-Spinsters by Madina Papadopoulos. If you like the story after ever after, I think you will like this one too. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Darkened Demigod: Weapon of War

I won a print copy of Darkened Demigod: Weapon of War by Dr. Shawn Phillips in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Author Dr. Shawn Phillips has created his own genre with this book: fant2sci. A blend of fantasy and science fiction. As the first example of this genre that I have read (I don't know if there even are any others) I have to say he blends the two masterfully here.

Set in the future, far future, this post apocalyptic story recounts the creation and activities of a human created demigod. That is a great story in itself. Techno-geeks will find much here to nerd out over, whilst fantasy fanatics (like me) will dive into the fantasy quest aspects of the story. Our hero (anti-hero?) is a grumpy demigod who is carrying a boatload of anger. The story begins with his imprisonment in a subterranean cell chained to the walls.

The crux of the story is this demigod (there are more than one)(mini-spoiler) is responsible for the global apocalypse and by a twist of the authors creative abilities, he now is the hope of the remaining human population.

Our author is able to speak (or more correctly write) at many levels at once. He easily transitions from discussion on quantum physics to references as mundane as "Where's Waldo?" and all points in between.

Darkened Demigod is as full of twists and turns as any mystery you can name (even though it is not a mystery, that would be a fant2scistery). While reading, it often seemed that I was nearing the end of the story, but would notice that I had a fair amount of book left and then, Bang!, the story would gallop off in another direction. The quest would be recharged and continued. All in all a very exciting read that kept me engaged throughout and finished leaving me well satisfied. A great epilogue.

I found myself considering philosophically oriented questions (I usually hate when that happens). This story lends itself to discussions of philosophy, spirituality, the human condition, good vs evil and such. Though you won't catch me in such a discussion (my days of waxing philosophic are well past me), those who indulge in such esoteric activities will find much here to fuel many a discussion.

No sex, no romance, a fair amount of violence, some graphic most not. Lots of great action, dry humor and of course, fantasy and technology. Darkened Demigod; Weapon Of War by Dr. Shawn Phillips; a great read. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Deficit of Diligence: Make No Assumptions (Mike Stanhope Mysteries Book 2)

I received an ecopy of Deficit of Diligence: Make No Assumptions, second in the Mike Stanhope Mysteries series from author Peter Rowlands for review.

Having read the first book in this series; Alternative Outcome and giving it highest marks, I fully expected to enjoy Deficit of Diligence as well. I have to say I enjoyed this one even more. Mike Stanhope, not a sleuth, but a writer, gets himself into so many tight spots he should maybe reconsider his profession. But where would the fun be in that. He has to juggle a budding relationship while people are trying to kill him.

This time out our hero gets caught up in corporate deviousness while at the same time trying to find out why he inherited the estate of a woman he has never met. I have to admit (somewhat smugly) that I figured this part out before he did. Maybe I'm getting better at reading mysteries. But then again I only figured out a very small part of that story line and not all the details so, maybe not.

The story is a bit more action oriented than the first, Stanhope takes even more of a beating but appears to keep his stiff British upper lip throughout. Author Rowlands does a wonderful job of keeping our hero complex, yet believable and human, amid all the turmoil he has to deal with.

Again, Mr. Rowlands gives us a tight tale full of twists, turns and surprises that kept me hooked. The story never lagged, keeping me reading until I couldn't keep my eyes focused.

What I find interesting is the authors ability to set a story in a rather mundane setting; business logistics, and keep it exciting. Stanhope is no hard-boiled detective, but he is a lot of fun to follow.

Action, mystery, romance, intrigue and logistics. What more could a reader want? I highly recommend Deficit of Diligence by Peter Rowlands. Enjoy!