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Review: In Light of the Blood Giant by A. D. Fosse

Review: In Light of the Blood Giant by A. D. Fosse published on No Comments on Review: In Light of the Blood Giant by A. D. Fosse

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About the Book

In Light of the Blood Giant
By A. D. Fosse
Genre: Animal Fantasy; Science Fiction; Dystopian; Apocalyptic
Superluminal Press
Publication Date: November 13, 2015

A. D. Fosse delivers a darkly different futurist fantasy. Offbeat, subversive, and richly grotesque. The apocalypse just got weird…

Long after the death of humankind came the Hive. Then rose the Blood Giant bringing chaos and the end. Now the Earth is done and all that remains are the discontinued: those the Hive deemed unworthy of evacuation.

Dusk is addled and abandoned. His only concern now is deciding how best to die. The only thing he knows for certain: he aint gonna be sober when extinction finally takes him. Yet hope hides in the strangest of places. And soon Dusk finds himself responsible for more than simply his own destiny.

Great. Another thing to love and lose.

Review

This is an odd one. I mean that in a good way. Mostly.

After humans abandon the earth completely, escaping the impending expansion of the sun from a yellow dwarf into a red giant, shuttling off into space to find a way to live, the swarm of rats came up, out of the depths of the earth and started their own civilization. Then, even the rats, evolved and intelligent and now with useful stomach pouches, realize that the earth isn’t habitable for much longer, and most of them–the ones who are pure or worthy, anyway–leave the earth as well.

This is where the tale begins–with a drug-fiend rat named Dusk, left behind by his betters to die. One of the strengths of Fosse’s tale is that his lead character is not human. This allows for some dark events–for example, a lead human character whose first “onscreen” acts are shooting drugs and eating some infants wouldn’t be likable. For a rat, we’re left remembering that rats aren’t people. They have their own societal norms, acceptable practices, and biological drives. Dusk isn’t especially likable to begin with, even aside from the drug dependency and the “ratricide.” But after his drug-aided consumption of several young rats and subsequent loss of consciousness, he awakens to discover that one of the tiny-tails is still alive. Having been abandoned to the earth’s destruction, Dusk doesn’t see much reason to try to save the infant. But he does feel that the little rodent deserves a better death. His feelings alter and change, we eventually see more of his past, and we see a different future than he imagined. The protagonist isn’t static by any means.

In some ways, this book is a bit like The Road meets The Rats of NIMH as told by a British version of a beat-generation author–William S. Burroughs, maybe. We meet some other interesting characters along the way: a sociopath called only “the Snowy,” a pure white rat who hasn’t dropped his job from before the establishment left; Astral, a black rat who is in dire straits when we meet her; some mysterious rats wearing masks, other rats that shave their heads and have a bone to pick. The setting seems to be (if I parsed it correctly) continental Europe and England, each owning about half of the book.

This book is non-traditional in every sense of the word. We even shift to several other third-person semi-limited points of view toward the end of the book, leaving Dusk behind for a brief time when the action is thickest.

On the critical side, this book could use another run of edits. There are several missed spelling errors, some areas that need clarification, and some metaphors that don’t fit the time, setting, or characters . Another set of eyes could bring this book from a flawed mid-draft of an intriguing concept to a hell of a book. I’d love to see the book get a deep combing through by a professional editor. In the meantime, I worry that this is a clever work that might be passed over by readers who don’t want to work so hard to get to the dark (but hopeful) story and characters underneath.

 

About the Author

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A. D. Fosse is a physicist and science communicator from the East Midlands of England. His brain is rarely elevated more than five feet and eight inches from terra firma, though his thoughts are wafting somewhere in the clouds.

He is younger than some and older than others.

His first novel In Light of the Blood Giant, continues to be elusive to read whilst driving.

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Review: Soulless by Jacinta Maree

Review: Soulless by Jacinta Maree published on No Comments on Review: Soulless by Jacinta Maree

Soulless cover

Review

In the past, I’ve been asked how I’ve picked the books that I’ve done reviews on. In the past, I would’ve usually given a snarky and smartass remark. But, not this time. I feel like I’ve grown over the years and in doing so, it has changed my attitudes to others and how they feel when I say things to them. So I sat back and thought long and hard about it and then I considered the answer for a moment and it reminded me of how this review came to fruition. I first started reading a different title, by a different author…It’s ok, I’m not going to mention the author’s name I’m a better person than that. But as I was saying, I was reading a different book, and believe me when I say that it hurts when I can’t get through a book. So, after trying twice to get through it, I sighed and put it aside. I then moped around my home, wondering what to read and review next.

Then it hit me, why not check my email. It’s helped in the past, and so I did. As I stared into the vast abyss of what is my inbox, that’s where I saw it. Stuck between the email of my order from Barnes and Noble and my last Hot Topic announcement…(don’t ask) I saw it: the notice that would allow me to make up for my past attempt at a review. The aforementioned email was from a newsletter that sends me notices of new books, be it free or offers of books with a small fee. In the past I’ve found their choices to be very well rounded. And, that’s where I saw it the latest from author Jacinta Maree from Melbourne Australia, a book titled Soulless: The Immortal Gene Trilogy Book One.

I was drawn by its cover but that’s not what made me buy it, it was on sale people and there is nothing I love more than a book sale. Even a bad book that is on sale, but this is not the case. So, I decided to give it a shot and said to myself it’s only a dollar. Wow, was that dollar worth it. I have to admit that I have not read a story with such an imaginative and original plot line than this story. Jacinta knows how to draw you in with her rich characters and very good story telling. I don’t do much on the spoiler aspect so you can make the decision for yourself. But, I’ll say this: it’s worth it, from the first page to the last page. I have to say that not many people catch or should I say grab my attention like Jacinta Maree. And in the sense of page turning, this one has it, and even though I’ve only finished the book a bit ago, the characters stayed with me in my memory.

This book is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. As this book caught my attention, I’m sure you’ll get caught up in it as well. With it’s rich characters and well-written prose, I myself am looking forward to seeing what else she has in store for us when she puts out the rest of the this very well-written trilogy.

Soulless is available from Inked Rabbit Press on 10/1/2015 via Amazon HERE.

About the Book

soulless
Welcome to Soulless.

We are the generation that laughs at death.

Reincarnation; what was once considered a gift of immortality has become an eternity of nightmares.

Nadia Richards lives in a world plagued by reincarnation, a system of recycling souls where all past memories, personalities and traumatic events are relived daily in disjointed sequences. Trapped within their own warped realities, not even the richest and most powerful are saved from their own minds unraveling. Madness is the new human nature, and civilizations are crumpling beneath themselves trying to outrun it.

Within a society that ignores death, Nadia appears to be the one exception to the reincarnation trap. Born without any reincarnated memories and with printless eyes, the hot tempered 19 year old quickly becomes the ultimate prize to all those wishing to end the vicious cycle, or for some, to ensure they could evade death forever.

Readers discretion: Adult language, violence and some adult scenes. For mature audiences only.

About the Author

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Born in Melbourne Australia, Jacinta Maree considers herself a chocoholic with an obsession with dragons, video gaming and Japan. She writes a variety of genres including YA paranormal, steampunk, horror, new adult, dystopian and fantasy. Winner of 2014 Horror of the year and bestselling author, Jacinta writes to bring enjoyment to others while fulfilling her own need to explore the weird and the impossible.

Author Links

Site: http://jacintamaree.wix.com/jacintamaree
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jacinta.maree.10
Deviant art: http://jacintamaree.deviantart.com/
Twitter: jacintamaree6.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6448929.Jacinta_Maree

Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway

Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway published on 2 Comments on Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway

David Monette has written our guest post this week. More about him and his latest work at the bottom of this post. Also, a giveaway of his books. YES!

The Eternal Undead Banner 851 x 315

Which seven stock characters would you keep around you in order to survive a zombie apocalypse?

Now that is an interesting question. As the author of the zombie trilogy, In the Time of the Dead, I’ve had to answer a ton of zombie-related questions, and I can truly say that I’ve never had such a query put to me.

Thanks, Galleywampus scribes, for your originality!

Seal Patrol 72dpiSo… my first thought when I read both the question and then the list of examples I was shown was: how can I pick from this massive assortment of characters? I mean, there was everything from the Reluctant Hero (a person who doesn’t seek adventure or the opportunity to do good, and often doubts his or her abilities to rise to heroism. However, circumstances result in the character’s becoming a true hero) to the Girl Next Door (an average girl with wholesome conduct). Then I thought, “Wait a minute. Go through this slowly, look at it seriously. Who out of that list would you want around you if something like a zombie apocalypse were to occur?”

With that in mind, I looked through the list again. And here is what I found…

Crow and Hand BW72dpi1.- The first one I would choose would be the Absent-Minded Professor character (a scientific genius). The reason I would choose such an individual would be because I think it’s smart to have really smart people around me, even absent-minded ones, and even in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and especially when no one else can think of a way to make that flamethrower you really, really need.

2.- Keeping that in mind, I then thought, “Yeah, I’m going to need another smart guy around to keep a lid on the absent-mindedness of that first guy.” So that is why my next choice was a regular Professor, a “non-scientific genius” person, a doctor who is pretty smart and can remember that the flame thrower doesn’t need to be strapped to the user with a complicated array of belts and harnesses that serve no purpose other than look impressive, and who can also do something useful like slap a splint on my broken arm.

3.- Now, having a couple of pretty smart guys around me is great, but I’m really going to need someone, maybe a lot of someones, who can really kick butt. That leads me to my next four selections, starting with the Action Hero (a film hero protagonist with unrealistic resistance and fighting capabilities). Because who can’t use a guy like that to carry the flamethrower into battle with the zombies?

4.- That selection would be followed closely by a Conanesque character (a character inspired by Conan the Barbarian) and…

5.- the Super Soldier! (a soldier who operates beyond human limits or abilities) both of whom would, you know, charge into the fight at the side or in front of the Action Hero, doing action hero-ey type things… wait… aren’t those the same thing? Doesn’t matter. I choose all of them.

6.- And next, just to keep them in line, I would choose the Elderly Martial Arts Master who would look upon my broken arm with pity and hang back to protect me while the two fighter types charge in with the flamethrower and assorted blades and/or guns.

7.- Finally, I would chose the Hardboiled Detective (a gruff, tough and streetwise detective) because he would know the best place to hole-up and rest after we burnt through that nasty mess of zombies so that my poor arm could heal.

Sasha Climbing Wall 72dpiWhat an awesome crew, huh? The only thing to figure out would be why the heck such an impressive array of characters would want a bloke like me around, what with my broken arm and all. Oh, yeah! They’d need someone around to witness their antics and tell the story!

Whew.

That was fun! If you want to pick your own 7 Stock Characters, head to this list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_stock_characters It’s where I got the titles and the descriptions for mine.
Enjoy!

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About the Book

Eternal-Undead-cover 72dpiSmaller

They thought they had escaped.

The battle for Washington DC is behind them, and the last remnants of the human race have fled from their undead enemies to a remote Caribbean island where they try to salvage what is left of humanity. But even here, the zombies have come. Led by the architect of the holocaust, an invading army wreaks havoc trying to acquire the one thing that can stop them, and the one thing a small contingent of soldiers knows they must never get.

Join with Sasha, Terrance, Virgil, and the little girl, Max, in an all or nothing gamble as they fight down the road to either salvation or horrible defeat in the thrilling conclusion of this series.

About the Author

authorpicDavid Monette was born and raised in the cold rural hinterlands of upstate New York. As a typical kid in a typical community, life for him was pretty… typical. He liked to draw creatures and contraptions but as the second born of four sons, such ability was merely a convenient way of standing out from the crowd. As he inexpertly stumbled through high school, his talent for capturing the images in his head onto paper was noticed and encouraged by both teachers and family members.

Without any other idea of what to do with himself after graduation, besides a vague idea of doing something art oriented, he decided to attend Mohawk Valley Community College where he received his associate’s degree in Advertising Design and Production. Acting on excellent advice from his teachers at this institution, he went on to Syracuse University where he learned a great deal about art and eventually wound up with a bachelor’s degree in Illustration.

With a disturbingly large amount of student debt and a decent portfolio, he learned what it was to be a starving artist. Namely, he found that artists don’t starve; they simply pick up an endless series of part time work to pay the rent while continuing to plug away at their true passion. This was essentially what he did until he received his first illustration job and from that point on, he didn’t look back. As an illustrator, his highly detailed fantasy and science fiction work has appeared in many books, magazines, board games, and collectible card games for such varied publishers as Dell Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, and Atlas Games. Initially, he had completed these diverse projects utilizing oil and acrylic paints as well as pen and inks.

As digital technology continued to improve, however, he decided it was time to tackle the arduous task of mastering the computer and eventually figured out a way to adapt his style to a digital format. With this knowledge and experience, he went back to school and received his master’s degree in Illustration from the University of Hartford. While there, his instructors reviewed his written work and had strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path.

And hence, an author was born.

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1 prize containing all 3 ebooks of the trilogy

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Review: Fires of Man by Dan Levinson

Review: Fires of Man by Dan Levinson published on No Comments on Review: Fires of Man by Dan Levinson

Fires of Man cover

About This Book

Supposedly the war between Calchis and Orion ended decades ago. But upon reporting to an isolated Orion army base for basic training, Private Stockton Finn learns the war still rages; only the weapons have changed, and Finn has been selected to become one of them.

Across the border, Calchan farm boy Aaron Waverly learns how determined his country is to win the war when he is abducted by a sinister government operative known as Agent. Trapped and learning to use deadly powers he’s never before imagined, Aaron struggles to reconcile his ephemeral faith with his harsh new reality.

As the two nations hurtle toward a resurgence of open hostilities, Finn and Aaron, Agent, and two Orion officers and former lovers—Nyne Allen and Kay Barrett—must prepare themselves for the inevitable clash. Meanwhile, Calchan archaeologist Dr. Faith Santia unearths a massive lost temple in the frozen tundra far to the north, which hints that the brewing conflict may only be the first of their worries…

Excerpt

1.
AGENT
He ran toward the edge of the cliff.

The sun beat down upon him as his limbs pumped. Earth crunched beneath his feet, and a breeze blew across his black-stubbled scalp. His breathing was calm, meticulously measured.

When the ground slipped away, he felt only anticipation.

Plummeting, the man inhaled. Power flooded into him, thrilling, delicious. He reached out with that power, warping reality with an energy born from the depths of his being. Suddenly . . .

He winked out of existence . . .

And then reappeared at the base of the cliff.

Ahead lay a farmstead, suffused in noontime light. Past its assorted buildings—barns and silos, stables and chicken coops—a field of wheat swayed like the hair of some sleeping giant.

It would burn soon.

Through his years of service, he’d been called many things: “raven”; “hellhound”; “black-hearted bastard.” There was but one epithet that mattered—the one he’d earned with blood, and devotion.

He was “Agent.”

A man with no name. A man who owed his nation everything.

Just then, he spotted his quarry—a teenage farmhand named Aaron Waverly. The boy had power—strong power, according to the readings.

Agent dashed toward the farm; dry winds kicked dirt and debris over his steel-toed boots. The expanse of greenery blurred past. He moved swift as a shooting star, his power saturating him with speed and strength.

When Waverly turned, and saw, it was too late.

Agent teleported behind Waverly, and struck once, at the base of the farmhand’s skull. The young man swooned, and Agent caught him, slung him over his shoulder.

“Stop!”

A frown split the crags of Agent’s face.

Before him stood a girl, no more than sixteen, a pitchfork clutched in her fingers. She was a pretty thing, her blonde tresses tied back in a ponytail, her face darkened by hours in the field. She was an innocent. Agent did not relish the thought of ending her. “Run,” he said.

“I’ll scream.” Her eyes flitted to the silenced pistol at his side. She hesitated.

He laid a hand on the gun. “Run,” he repeated.

She ran.

He drew his weapon and shot her in the back of the head.

She pitched forward, hit the ground, dead. Blood spread in a widening pool around her. Waverly groaned, eyelids flickering. Agent holstered the gun and looked at the girl. Killing civilians was distasteful, but she had seen him. He’d had no choice.

Now, time to go.

Agent stepped toward the nearby barn, and pressed his palm against the red-painted planks. He sent his power into it, and a ripple spread through the wood, like a pebble striking the surface of a pond. Furrows of heat fanned out from his fingertips, crackling furiously.

He turned away and teleported to safety.

Back atop the cliff, he paused to watch his handiwork.

Review

Fires of Man is a difficult book to review. There were some elements that I really enjoyed, and there were a few that puzzled me enough to leave me frustrated and unhappy. I’ll get into all of that.

There are shades of X-Men here: look, it’s like this. The youth develop powers, and these powers are often dangerous, right? These young people, in this case, are called Psionics. The protagonist (of these chapters) is Finn. He’s a younger sibling of several rough-and-tumble brothers. The Psionics are discovered by people in a satellite who sit around all day looking for bursts of power, and then people are sent to grab the newly special kids and, well…they need to learn how to control these powers, obviously. Anyone can see that. They need a nurturing environment in order to learn how to use these baffling but amazing abilities (shooting laser-like flames from their hands, super-speed, super-strength, shields, that sort of thing). And then these young people can become useful members of society, much less dangerous to themselves and others than they were before they took their own talents in hand. In a sane world, it makes some sort of sense.

Unfortunately, these young people don’t get a nurturing environment. They get conscripted by the military and trained with some tough love. There’s no Professor X here to make sure they are given a balanced and mentally healthy education. These kids are essentially trained like the lovable losers in the Vince Vaughn movie “Dodgeball.” They get shot with tennis balls and are told to throw up a shield. If they can block three balls, they get to take the day off. Most of them don’t get to take the day off. They are put into tight quarters with a bunch of other burgeoning tweens and teens, and expected to behave. Of course, you then have some issues with bullying, because every high school has ’em. Also, if you wash out, you’ll probably end up dead. Psionics are not allowed to return to civilian life. Good luck!

The basic concept there is intriguing. I like it. I enjoy Levinson’s skill in the written word. There are some really interesting things in this part of the book. I’ve read a few strong YA and NA titles lately, like Jenna Lincoln’s The Protector Project and Jacinta Maree’s Soulless. The basics of this portion fit in well there. I have some quibbles about some of the character traits–I don’t like the trope of the nerd who can’t help but stare at a girl, or the violent outburst that is rewarded by the pretty girl because she has low self-esteem and has never had someone stand up for her before. Yeah, there are people like this, and the characters are meant to be flawed, I’m sure. But I worry–and I’m a worrier, so I see that this is an issue for me that won’t be for some others–that this trope slips a little into the girl-as-reward thing. I probably dwelt too much upon it, but sometimes it happens. But moving beyond my own highly-responsive empathic abilities, this would make quite the YA series.

One oddity for me, though, is the book’s intended audience. If the whole book was about Finn and the Psionic teens, I’d say this is a YA book. Even Aaron, the kidnapped teen from the excerpt, could make his way into that book. There are some liberal F-bombs and some brutal, bloody passages dribbled about like chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream. But YA is a broad realm of reading tastes, and books with “adult” language and violence are certainly viable in that market.

But then we also follow a few adults around–a noble Orion military officer and his tough-as-nails former flame, for example. Teens read about adults. These adults have very adult concerns. Relationship drama and fancy dinners, passive-aggressive arguments and things unsaid. I enjoyed these stories, too. I have a soft spot for the noble military officers in a lot of works (I am currently thinking of Django Wexler’s Marcus in The Thousand Names particularly,) so Nyne was one character I found myself excited to explore. One scene that really gripped me involved Nyne as he left a club and encountered a young man who had overdosed. Nyne’s emotions in this scene are powerful, and his reactions are realistic for his character. But it almost feels like a different book taking place in the same world at the same time–the adult ballast to the unstable teens. Though the adults are at least as unstable as the teens.

We follow a lot of other characters, third-person limited, over-the-shoulder style. We have those I’ve already mentioned: the noble commanding officer of the military and his tough-as-nails former flame, and Finn. We also have an archaeologist, a brutal Calchan called Agent–the man who shoots a girl in the back in the excerpt, he’s a bad (but complex) dude–and a boy, Aaron, who is kidnapped (this occurs in the excerpt above) and forced into a Calchan military unit.

This is a book about people first. Yes, it does feature a war between nations, and war and battles dominate the second half, but this isn’t about the nations or about war. The characters are individual from one another, and there is a lot to like about them. They grow and change. They aren’t perfect, and that’s good. The villains are deeply disturbed. Good people do bad things for the wrong reasons, and bad people do good things for the right reasons. Complexity abounds.

I am left with a lot of questions. The book ends with a lot unsaid, but another book is on the way. We’ll find out more. And there is enough going on, enough of the iceberg beneath the sea, that further books are absolutely supported. The world building is deep.

For some, this book will push all the buttons and move along in all the right ways. It wasn’t quite that book for me. I am glad I read it. I find myself curious enough about where the stories will twist in the next installment to consider moving forward with the series.

The book is currently available at Amazon as well as your favorite book retailer.

About the Author

51tHGgkCExL._UX250_Dan Levinson is a NY-based writer of speculative fiction. Trained as an actor at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts, he also writes for the stage and screen. He grew up immersing himself in fantastical worlds, and now creates them. In addition to the Psionic Earth series, he is also the author of the upcoming YA fantasy novel The Ace of Kings, first book of The Conjurer’s Cycle.
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