Archive for January, 2017

The Shifter Romances the Writer by Kristen Painter

January 18, 2017 - 2:51 pm No Comments

The Shifter Romances the Writer
Nocturne Falls Book 6
Author: Kristen Painter
Publisher: Independent
Page count: 364pp
Release date: 24th May 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Realtor Pandora Williams returns in this book as supporting cast member, helping writer Roxy St James (currently going through a divorce) to find the right new home. She has moved to Nocturne Falls, a town where every day is Halloween and Supernaturals roam free. Hidden in plain sight, as it were. Though hiding is something Roxy can relate to. She is desperate to shake off her ex; her “awful, controlling soul-crushing ex.”
Roxy is friends with Delaney Ellingham, now pregnant with Sebastian’s baby. And she is delighted love is working out for them, though can’t help noting the irony that she, a romance writer, has somehow got it wrong. So, better to say she was done with men. She would remain single and get a cat, or a fish.
Of course the house is perfect, especially with its added bonus of a spacious shed/tree house at the back that she can use as a writing room. So, decision made, she takes it.
Elsewhere in the town, deputy and shifter Alex Cruz is being lectured in Spanish by his Mom on the same subject as always! When will he find a good woman and give her grandbabies? For Alex, there’s plenty of time. After all he’s only 59 and shifters live a long time. But Carmen (aka Mom) doesn’t think so. She’s addicted to romance novels and can’t help it that romances dance in her vision. And she just happens to be a fan of Roxy. It’s a pity that for Alex, romance means a soul mate and unless he finds that, he’ll stay alone. It had to be better than little brother Diego though, who’d turned up again looking for somewhere to stay after another relationship breakdown. Three weeks later and little bro still has no job and is getting on Alex’s last nerve.
There are some great characters here and relationship dynamics. Roxy is struggling to escape her ex and set up her new life. But amidst the drama, and the budding romance, is the usual comedy. Painter loves a good pun (Undrea Seely who I’m betting is some sort of mer-creature) runs a fish pet shop called Tanks A Lot. Baddum. Ching.  For me, I found the irony aimed at PNR writers, which Painter partly is, very humorous, but as a writer myself, I got Roxy’s frustrations as well as her joy. And her fears. Deadlines loom, but life gets in the way. Yet writing this stuff is extremely satisfying as well.
This series never gets old. I’m on my sixth book and I find something new in every one.
My only bug bear in this one is the baddie. It came out of the blue and wasn’t the one I’d expected from hints in Howlers. Of course I can’t say any more without spoiling the ending. One other thing, was Alex’s issue with a human as a potential partner. Whatever way you want to look at it, it’s a form of racism or xenophobia, despite Alex’s rationale behind it. Whilst his Mom does pull him to task on this, I don’t feel it was given enough attention. Otherwise, it was a fun read, with a solid character line up and emotional punch. What I particularly like about this series is the multitude of other supporting characters within the Nocturne Falls universe. It bodes well for future books. Great fun.
4/5

Searching for Sullivan by Carissa Ann Lynch

January 17, 2017 - 6:18 pm No Comments

Searching for Sullivan by Carissa Ann Lynch

Published by Limitless Publishing on 17th January 2017

215 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Veronica Von Derbach is a single mom to Sully.  After a disastrous boat ride, Sully goes missing, presumed dead. Veronica having to carry on living her life becomes a parapsychologist, a ghost hunter. The majority of her cases she has disproven the present of a ghost, but when a grainy photo of a ghost at Lake Merlott arrives across her desk, she knows she has to investigate.

Veronica is a very brave woman, after everything she went through, she still got her degree and was renowned in her field. In all her cases, she showed compassion to the clients. When she began investigating at Lake Merlott, she was still professional even though she was scared to find out the truth.

This book was full of suspense and kept my interest from the start. The twists in the book kept me guessing throughout, and I was really surprised with the final twist, it was definitely what I did not expect. It was written with such feeling, you could really feel Veronica’s pain.

As usual Carissa knows how to tell a haunting story and is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. If you want a great story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then buy this book. 1st class

X Marks the Spot: Celebrating 10 Years of NewCon Press edited by Ian Whates

January 16, 2017 - 9:08 pm No Comments

X MARKS THE SPOT: Celebrating 10 Years of NewCon Press edited by Ian Whates. NewCon Press, Cambs, UK. £6.99 (UK), $10.99 (US) paperback. 75 pages. ISBN: 978-1-910935-22-4

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

What does a publishing house do when it has a birthday? It throws a party and publishes a book. NewCon Press began ten years ago, almost by accident. The NewCon convention made a sufficient profit for the organisers to decide to put the money into an anthology. The independent press grew from there. Since then it has hatched a good number of professional looking books which include a plethora of excellent authors within their pages. This book, which was given to all who attended the celebratory party, provides a sample of the excellence NewCon strives for.

‘The Circle Drawer’ by Paul Melhuish is a chilling story containing the elements that make a supernatural story work. It begins quietly with everyday activities. The narrator works for the housing department of the local council. He is the one who has too check out empty properties before they can be relet. For a reason he doesn’t quite understand, he puts an X on each of the letters he finds in a couple of the properties, ones that are unlikely ever to be read. On being called back due to complaints that people had been heard moving around the empty properties, he finds that a circle has been drawn around all of his Xs. Nothing much to worry about so far, but he tests it out and finds that someone is circling his Xs, however inaccessible he makes them. From here, the tension escalates.

X or ten, needs to be a feature of all the fiction here. Rosanne Rabinowitz approaches it in a very different way and ‘Not a Through Tree’ has a surreal element to it. It is the kind of story that is generated by an observed oddity, in this case a sign on a tree. Karen is on holiday in Berkley, a place an old friend she has since lost touch with, told her about. She is exploring the picturesque back streets when she sees the tree in the middle of the road with the sign. She finds it intriguing but has no idea what it means. Neither can she interpret some of the other things she sees on her walk.

‘Recursitopia’ by Adam Roberts is either a logic problem or a fractal sequence. One method of creating the conditions necessary to build a Utopia is to utilise modern technology to develop a virtual model the desired society. As the model doesn’t have the model factored into the set-up, the accuracy of the predictions begins to drift, so a new model has to be created within the first but….

Donna Scott’s poem ‘Life on Mars’ is an observation on the call for people to join a one way trip to Mars. It is a poem that starts well but because of the rhyming structure, it gets little strained towards the end.

The fin al fictional piece is a collaboration of ten authors. Ian Whates set up the scenario of an inspection in a storage facility. The Inspector accidentally, or otherwise, opens all the doors and lets out a batch of spider bots. The caretaker and the inspector have to round them up. This allows each author free rein to explore the contents of a room. Imagination runs wild until Whates pulls the story together at the end. It is a neat way to write a collaborative story without compromising the style or imagination of any of the participants.

The remainder of the book is both an archive and a vote of thanks to all the authors and artists who have contributed to the on-going success of NewCon Press over the past ten years. All are listed. And where their contributions can be found.

Congratulations to NewCon and let’s hope they can continue for another decade.

 

Zombie Theorem: The Culling: book 1 by James Wallace

January 14, 2017 - 5:48 pm No Comments

Zombie Theorem: The Culling book 1 by James Wallace

Published 16th January 2016

233 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Dan worked for Next Level Analytics, all he knew was middle management, his only excitement was getting a seat to himself on the bus. Brian also an employee of Next Level Analytics was ex-military, in line for a promotion.  The East Coast is on lock down from a mysterious flu virus but like viruses it has gotten to San Francisco. At Dan’s place of work only a handful of staff have turned up for work, but when the virus hits the office Dan knows he has to step up to be leader and with Brian’s help try to rescue his work colleagues.

The book is split into 2 parts. The first part is Dan telling Detective Reynolds his story, which brings the story up to date and we then follow Dan, Brian and a SWAT team as they travel to find answers.

The bromance between Dan and Brian was genuine, they worked well as a team and although Brian was used to conflict he understood the turmoil Dan was going through and throughout the book he was there as the supporting friend. When they joined up with the SWAT team they all bonded straight away and it felt like a real family, Dan felt more at home with them then his own family. Even without a military background, they all listened to Dan’s ideas.

This story is full of action and kept me gripped from page 1. The story was well written and you could feel Dan’s pain when he had to kill people he knew and his inner turmoil when he had to handle a gun.  I loved the addition of a child to the “family” and the way she was introduced was intriguing, which I hope is explained more in further books.

Ending on a cliff-hanger, you don’t have to wait to find out what happens to Dan and Brian. A great exciting read

Competition War of The Worlds sequel

January 13, 2017 - 3:10 pm No Comments

Thanks to those generous people @Gollancz we are offering one lucky UK winner a chance to win ~ Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter.

 

READ THIS BLOG – RULES AT THE END

A word from PR Guru @steviefinegan

Hello all,

I’m very excited to tell you about this; The Massacre of Mankind is a brilliant way to start the year. It is written by one of the UK’s best-known and most well-respected SF authors, continuing on from where HG Wells left off with The War of the Worlds. It’s already seen some fantastic reviews in The Times and SFX Magazine, not to mention that the Guardian named it as one of their top books to look out for in 2017?

Stephen will be doing a few events across the country.
· 12:30pm – 1:30pm Thursday 19th Jan, Waterstones Birmingham – Lunchtime signing
· 6:30pm Thursday 19th Jan, Waterstones Nottingham – Evening talk and signing
· 6:30pm Friday 20th Jan, Blackwell’s Edinburgh – Evening talk and signing

If you live close by do come along and meet Stephen, it would be great to see you.
All the best,

Stevie

 

120 years on from THE WAR OF THE WORLDS…
The authorised sequel, written by one of the world’s greatest science fiction authors
THE
MASSACRE
OF
MANKIND

STEPHEN BAXTER

Published by Gollancz
19 January 2017
Hardback £18.99 | eBook £9.99 | Audiobook £19.99

It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.

So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat. He is right. Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war. The Massacre of Mankind has begun.

‘Stephen Baxter is arguably Wells’s current representative on Earth.’’
– BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science

STEPHEN BAXTER is the pre-eminent science fiction writer of his generation. He has co-written with Terry Pratchett and Alastair Reynolds and written sequels to the works of other scifi greats including Arthur C Clarke. Published around the world, he has also won major awards in the UK, US, Germany and Japan. Born in 1957 he has degrees from Cambridge and Southampton. He lives in Northumberland with his wife and is a HG Wells expert.

Stevie Finegan, Press Officer @StevieFinegan

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