Deadeye: Entertaining, but not too innovative

Deadeye by William C. Dietz

Deadeye
is a new novel, the first in THE MUTANT FILES series by William C. Dietz. After reading some of Dietz’s LEGION OF THE DAMNED books I was more than curious about what his work in a different genre would be like. Deadeye feels like a post-apocalyptic zombie novel mixed with a police investigation novel: everyone is still some version of human and the hero is a police detective.

Cassandra Lee is a detective working in a special division of the Los Angeles police department. She is the child of a cop and comes with all the trappings of a typical heroine. Basically, she’s deadly, ultra-intelligent and very, very good at what she does. She is honestly nothing new, but Dietz writes her well enough that re... Read More

Half a King: A new series for Abercrombie

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

What happens when you are born crippled in a medieval world? What if your physical impairment is sufficient to leave you always at a disadvantage to others? How do you survive? In Half a King, the first book of Joe Abercrombie’s SHATTERED SEA series, those questions are answered in exciting and realistic ways.

Yarvi is a Prince of the ruling family of Gettland, one of the nations that surround the Shattered Sea. He has found his niche studying to become a Minister, a quasi-monk adviser to the ruler. His brilliant mind makes up for the half-formed arm and hand that he was born with. As the son of King Uthrik and with a strong, physically capable older brother, Yarvi won’t need to rely on the traditional sources of martial prowess to survive.

When King Uthrik is killed and his heir with him, Yarvi is thrust into the unwelcom... Read More

To Honor You Call Us: Surprisingly good military science fiction

To Honor You Call Us by H. Paul Honsinger

The term “military science fiction” has, at times, been misused. The military part of the science fiction gets lost, and in essence you have something that loosely approximates combat in the future. To Honor You Call Us, book one of H. Paul Honsinger’s MAN OF WAR series, is not cut from that cloth and it was almost shockingly good.

Max Robichaux is a young Union Space Navy Lieutenant with a history. He’s made mistakes in the past, both in terms of his military career and some extracurricular activities. The great thing about Max is that he is not afraid to fight and take chances. The bad thing about Max is that he is willing to take chances.

The human race is engaged in a war with an alien species known as the Krag, a zealot race determined to exterminate us because of an insult to their faith. The war has raged for many yea... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Stop Pissing on the Floor; the Challenge of the Second Book

Welcome to Brian Staveley, who's on a blog tour for his second book, The Providence of Fire which I am greatly enjoying at this very moment. It's outstanding! (I loved the first book, too.) Fittingly, he's here to talk about the challenge of writing a sequel to a successful debut, and to ask you about sequels that you've enjoyed. One commenter will win a copy of both The Emperor's Blades and The Providence of Fire. You don't want to miss these books!

Stop Pissing on the Floor; the Challenge of the Second Book 
by Brian Staveley

When I was teaching high school, I had a good friend, also a teacher, who used to say, “The first day of school is great; even if you just come in and piss on the floor, the class will b... Read More

Andromeda’s Fall: Begins a LEGION OF THE DAMNED prequel trilogy

Andromeda's Fall by William C. Dietz

Andromeda's Fall is the start of a new prequel trilogy related to William C. Dietz’s LEGION OF THE DAMNED and it’s a fine place for someone to enter this good military science fiction series.

Catherine Carletto is Empire nobility. Her family is incredibly powerful and wealthy and Catherine is on a sort of debutante tour after finishing college. She's pretty, she's rich and so everyone on the planets she visits wants to meet her. In the midst of a social event she is attacked by a Synth, a sort of highly advanced robot. Cat manages to evade the Synth, but in the process many people are killed and she gets wounded as well. Fortunately for Cat, her family and education have not left her without skills to survive.

After running for her life through a strange city, Cat realizes that serious resources have been set to exterminate her. The ... Read More

Vacant: My least favorite book in my current favorite urban fantasy series

Vacant by Alex Hughes

Vacant is the fourth book in Alex Hughes’ MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS. I absolutely loved the first three books, Clean, Sharp, and Marked (read my reviews) and this has been my favorite series for the past couple of years. Marked was my favorite book of 2013. However, I didn’t like Vacant as well and I hope (and expect) that this is just a minor setback in the series.

The most compelling element of the MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS series for me is all about the main character, Adam, and his fight with addiction. It is visceral and written so well that I can almost feel Adam’s pain as he craves something he knows will destroy him.

Adam ... Read More

Heritage of Cyador: Follows the pattern

Heritage of Cyador by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Heritage of Cyador is the eighteenth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s SAGA OF RECLUCE and is the immediate sequel to Cyador's Heirs. It continues the story of Lerial, the second son of the Duke of Cigoerne. This is a typical Modesitt novel, which means it follows the pattern of having different political parties wrangling back and forth with each other until a hero is forced to use his magical skills in some unique and unexpected way to save the day. It's formulaic to be sure, but if you happen to like this pattern, you will enjoy the story.

The continent of Hamor is comprised of competing nation-states. The different rulers are often misled into equating their own ego and lust for power with what is best for their nation. The result is a constant state of at least minor warfare with countries probing each other back and forth l... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Gratitude, by Alex Hughes

Today we're participating in a blog tour and scavenger hunt to promote Alex Hughes'  new novel Vacant, book four in her MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS series. This is my current favorite urban fantasy series. There are two chances to be a winner (you can try for both):

1. We're giving away an ebook copy of any of the novels -- your choice. Just comment below to enter the giveaway.

2. In the following post, you'll find the next clue in a "CLUE-like" scavenger hunt. To win, you have to solve a whodunit mystery. You can find the rules and information you need for that here at Alex's blog. The winner of the scavenger hunt gets a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble, a signed copy of Marked, ... Read More

Drawn Blades: Solid fifth book

Drawn Blades by Kelly McCullough

Drawn Blades is the fifth book in Kelly McCullough’s FALLEN BLADE series. This review will contain spoilers for the previous books.

Aral Kingslayer has finally emerged from his mental paralysis after the death of his Goddess, Namara. It has taken eight years, a lot of alcohol and the death of some friends for Aral to reach this point. With a new-found set of ideals, Aral is ready to start making a difference.

Siri Mythkiller was the First Blade of the order of Namara before its fall. Her talents in the arts of the assassin were top shelf, but her ability in magic had taken her to pinnacles others could match. After she is assigned the task to kill a powerful quasi God who has been imprisoned for many years, she finds herself gradually being possessed more and more by The Smoldering Flame. When Siri reaches out from distant Sylvani to ask f... Read More

Full Fathom Five: Gladstone’s world is new and wildly different

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

With each book in THE CRAFT SEQUENCE series I feel more and more out of joint, but intrigued at the same time. Max Gladstone continues to play with concepts like gods and souls in ways that feel very familiar and completely alien all at once. Throw in a lot of reverse gender and religious stereotypes and the world this series depicts is something new and wildly different.

Kai is a priestess working for the ruling order/corporation on the island of Kavekana. The whole feel of the island is very Polynesian for me, but Gladstone doesn’t really say it. I felt like I was in a major city on a Hawaiian island with a huge volcano looming over the city, not threatening, but a very real presence and reminder of the power it contains.

The original Gods/Godesses of Kavekana left the island long ago to fight in the wars of gods and deathless kings. Gods died in those wars and ... Read More

Tainted Blood: Fortitude is getting soft

Tainted Blood by M.L. Brennan

Book three of M.L. Brennan’s GENERATION V series and Fortitude Scott is starting to annoy me. Why? Because Fort’s progressive, do-gooder attitudes are eventually going to get a lot of people killed if he keeps siding with groups other than his family.

After the big conflict with the Elves (Ad-Hene) that led to Prudence, his older sister, trying to force his final transition to becoming a full vampire, Fortitude has been taking on more and more responsibility within the family business. It's truly like a mafia family, but instead of managing drugs, prostitution and robbery, they are controlling other supernatural races who live with permission in Fort's mother's territory. The challenge for Fortitude is that he seems to have taken in the brain-washing of socially progressive Ivy League graduates who want to pretend that everyone is actually nice and that bad things only happen when... Read More

Imperfect Sword: A wonderful action-packed installment

Imperfect Sword by Jack Campbell

After the last book in Jack Campbell’s THE LOST STARS series, I was really almost dreading Imperfect Sword. I felt like Campbell had lost touch with the meaning of Military Science Fiction and was wandering in the land of Science Fiction Romance. Well, fortunately I have been rebuked; with Imperfect Sword, Campbell delivers a wonderful action-packed installment and restores my belief in him as an author who knows when to blow something up with a plasma cannon or take someone down with a sharp knife in the dark. 

General Drakon and President Iceni have been up to their necks in intrigue since they broke with the Syndicate Worlds. Through a very, very fortunate series of interactions with Admiral Jack Geary, the hero of the LOST FLEET series, they have avoided being destroyed by the Enig... Read More

Janissaries: My expectations were too high

Janissaries by Chris Kennedy

I stumbled on Janissaries, the first book in Chris Kennedy's THEOGONY series, as a recommendation by Amazon after some other books that I have purchased. The description is kind of up my alley because I like the idea of the Earth fighting to preserve itself from an alien race. So, I dropped a couple of bucks and picked up this self-published story. It gets good reviews at Amazon.

Chris Kennedy has a story that he wants to tell about how the history of the earth is tied into different alien races having impacted us and left traces of them. The problem is that it was incredibly heavy-handed. Instead of having humans gradually piece together that there are other races living amongst us, Navy Lieutenant Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs (yes, Calvin & Hobbs) is contacted by aliens. Three technologically advanced extraterrestrials contact “Calvin,” ... Read More

Perilous Shield: Worth the effort if you’re a fan

Perilous Shield by Jack Campbell

The planet of Midway has seen some pretty intense activity since the fall of the Syndicate worlds after their fleets were defeated by Admiral Jack Geary, the legendary Black Jack. Former COEs Gwen Iceni and Artur Drakon now have control of the political machine that was in place under the Syndicate and are crafting something new. They also control the local fleet, have rooted out most of the Syndicate internal spies (known as Snakes) and have successfully worked with the Alliance as they have transited the Midway star system twice. It’s been a busy time for two former CEOs who had been relegated to backwater duty because they were not quite the same as their peers.

Perilous Shield focuses on a couple of key elements and some of those things are so repetitively discussed that it becomes boring. After Tarnished Knight, the first book in this Read More

Appalachian Overthrow: It’s about Ahn-Kha

Appalachian Overthrow by E.E. Knight

Appalachian Overthrow the tenth novel in E.E. Knight’s VAMPIRE EARTH series, is about Ahn-Kha. not David Valentine. I wanted to get that out upfront because if you have been following this series for a long time, which I have, then reading this book is interesting because of who it’s about and not because of the way it advances the storyline.

Ahn-Kha is a grog. That’s like saying that he’s an amphibian or a mammal because the diversity between the different species is enormous. As a “Golden One,” he is highly intelligent, very wise and has the physical dimensions of a Star Wars Wookie. Basically he’s huge, strong and super smart. Humans are lucky that the Kurians didn’t do a good job of linking his race to their war or we would have been in even worse trouble.

After David and Ahn-Kha are separated during a raid,... Read More

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