Archive for October, 2018

Affliction Z: Patient Zero (Post-Apocalyptic Survival Thriller) by LT Ryan

October 30, 2018 - 10:26 pm No Comments

Affliction Z: Patient Zero (Post-Apocalyptic Survival Thriller) by LT Ryan
Published 21st December 2013
167 pages

I download a lot of books and whilst searching through my kindle, I realised I had not read a zombie story in a while.
Pararescueman Sean Ryder is on a mission, dropped off with his colleague Jules Hoover, they and SEAL Team 8 are sent on a mission to Southern Nigeria. To rescue or recover 3rd Ranger Battalion, Bravo Company. But how did highly trained soldiers go missing.
Whilst Sean is not as highly trained as the SEALs he was a good at what he did and even when he did not know the full facts he went in without asking questions. Good friends with Turk, he was admired for his hard work and commitment.
From page 1 as Sean jumps out of the plan you are thrown into the action, following him as he goes on the mission. The action is non-stop and is a page turner as the situation goes from bad to worse. Whilst this is a zombie read, they are not your typical zombies. It was a pleasant change to read about zombies that did not just shuffle around moaning.
As usual with zombies there are not always survivors, it has an added twist which although finishes on a cliff hanger, will draw you into reading book 2

Family Reunion (Charon Family Adventure Book 1) by Rod Pennington

October 29, 2018 - 9:19 pm No Comments

Family Reunion (Charon Family Adventure Book 1) by Rod Pennington
Published by ePulpPress.com on 8th February 2014
169 pages

What does an ex-CIA agent do when he gets sacked, he opens an exclusive security company. Hired by governments to do their dirty work, he was respected by everyone, well that was until he met his children.
Michael Charon was good at what he did, although like most spies came across as cocky. He met his match with Olivia, who had bottled all her resentment for him and let him have it with both barrels. Following them as they go on their 1st mission, was just like a family outing. A dad with their stroppy teens. Whilst Olivia and Seth were twins they were completely opposites, but due to their background were very close.
Whilst Michael and family are the main characters, some of my favourite scenes involved some of the minor characters. Master Rōshi reminded me of a stoned-out Mister Miyagi and some of the comments towards Michael were hysterical.
As you follow them from the start of the investigation, you get drawn into much more than who killed the love of his life. There are twists through out and you could imagine this been made into a TV series. Whilst this is tagged Dark Comedy, I don’t think it is that dark, however the comedy moments will have you laughing. Thanks usually to Olivia’s smart mouth. This was a fast-paced thriller and with only 169 pages a quick read. Further books are out in the series, so you carry on with the happy family.

Hark the Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

October 27, 2018 - 3:52 pm No Comments

Hark the Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden
Published by Pisces Books on 30th Oct. 2018
384 pages

Before we know it, the Christmas season will be upon us, and what would be nicer than sitting curled up with a book showcasing 18 stories spreading the Christmas cheer or should that be fear
If I reviewed every story, my review would go out on for ever, so here are a some of stories that I really liked.
Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith: Travelling is a stressful situation. Having a new born baby in tow is double the stress. This story follows a couple as they take their baby on a Christmas getaway to Barcelona. As you read the story you could feel the cracks beginning to show with their happy family. There is a feel of tension in the story as you expect something to happen at any time. The addition of the presents takes the situation from bad to worse. A good twist at the end.
The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R Lansdale. Strange goings on in a hotel, gives a chance for the MC to find out more about the mystery girl who kissed him at a Christmas party many years before. Even though you know that something bad happened at the hotel, the investigation of the owner and the haunting of the room gave it a whodunnit feel to the story. Swapping timelines was smooth and made this story a quick read.
Yankee Swap by John M McIlveen. First off, I had not got a clue what Yankee Swap was so had to google it. This story had a fatal twist to the game and a Saw feel to it. Non-stop drama with an ending that I never saw coming.
The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough. Life was hard being a chimney sweep boy, its harder when the house you are working at is haunted by a ghost. The descriptive writing made you feel that you were watching a movie. This had everything you need in a ghost story. Love, revenge and haunting ending.
Whilst I had heard of some of the authors, this was a good introduction to the others and I will be sure to look out for other work by them. As Horror comes in different shapes and form, do not expect every story to scare you, but buy this book and pick your own favourite story.

In a Right State by Ben Ellis

October 22, 2018 - 9:21 pm No Comments

In a Right State by Ben Ellis
Published 29th June 2014
363 pages

2066 and the big corporations rule the country. Everyone’s data is analysed, and food is genetically modified. However certain residents are not happy, whether they are growing natural vegetables or having tech that will confuse satellites, they do what it takes to rebel against society.
The story opens with a body parts being auctioned to the highest bidders and you start to wonder what sort of world these people live in. Duncan an ex employer of Pharmara was not happy with how the country was going and in his own way rebelled by growing all-natural produce. Amy an employer of Pharmara, analysed data, good at her job but soon became disillusioned with the work. Whilst she did not know Duncan she knew his wife, they were thrown together when Duncan became a Person of Interest. On the run they end up at Shaded Vale, run by The Colonel, it was utopia compared to Wigthorn, living without being spied on and run by the filthy rich. The Colonel has a plan to shake up the country but need the help of Duncan, Amy and his daughter Poppy,
Amy and Duncan were as different as chalk and cheese. Amy lived by facts and patterns and was very tech savvy. Duncan at lot older, still missed the good old days. He shut himself away and only lived for his plants. Poppy was a strange girl living in her parent’s shadow, she reminded me of Violet from the Incredibles, very shy but very astute.
From the moment Duncan is in trouble you are taken on a cat and mouse adventure. The use of technology played a big part in the story and showed just how easy it was to abuse the system. The further I got into the book I did start to wonder who exactly the “good” guys as personal gain was a big issue. One character I despised straight away was Estelle, Poppy’s mom who was the biggest bitch I have read about in a while.
This was a fast-paced book as you follow the chase, but it was not all serious, there were a few comedy moments one in particular being the spray that changed your DNA, imagine a satellite seeing 3 sheep getting into a car and driving away. Whilst this is a fictional story there were parts that are realistic, and it does get you thinking what technology is in use today with our data being shared. If you enjoy dystopian with a technology twist, then this is a read for you. I hope that there is more to come and as I am interested in what happened next

AGES OF ESCAFELD edited by Mathew Presley. Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

October 21, 2018 - 9:57 pm No Comments

AGES OF ESCAFELD edited by Mathew Presley. Sheffield Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers Group, Sheffield, UK. £6.99 paperback. 249 pages. ISBN: 978-781545-004883
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

There are writers who respond well in a workshop situation, who can rise to a challenge whatever the circumstances, so setting a task of writing an anthology in a day could have been a good idea. Unfortunately, there are very few writers that can produce a finished, polished product at one sitting. As a way of stimulating ideas and getting people actually writing, a day like the one that produced this book is a praiseworthy idea.
The participants in the day were given a framework within which to base their stories. The history of the mythical world of Escafeld is divided into four sections – the Age of Dreams is high fantasy with elves and dragons, the Age of Hammers is basically steampunk, the Age of Spirits roughly equates to urban fantasy with vampires and werewolves and the Age of Infinity is SF. Thus any writer should be able to find an area in which they felt comfortable.
The end result, however, doesn’t live up to the promise. There are two principal reasons for this. The first is very basic. Producing a book to celebrate an occasion or event is laudable but whoever is involved in the production, especially in these days of self-publishing, really needs to see how the international publishing houses do it. They have a format for a purpose – to give the reader information and the authors’ legal protection. This book lacks fundamentals such as title page and more importantly, copyright page. None of the authors have their by-lines on the contents list, a serious issue if you are trying to locate the story of a friend. The internal layout of the stories themselves uses the format favoured by report and letter writers. It is not the way books are laid out. Finally, proof reading needs to be done more carefully.
The other main issue is the stories themselves. All of them read as though they have been handed in at the end of the day and no further work done on them. All of them need polishing. Some participants contributed more than one story. While the scenario may well have generated several ideas, I feel that the extra time should have been spent in improving the story as editing is part of the skill set a writer needs.
Some of these stories have the potential to be very good if they were expanded, and one, ‘Engine-rat Adventure’s by M. Presley has the ingredients necessary to make a good steampunk novel.
While the exercise is worthwhile in stimulating ideas and generating the germ of a story, a lot of work is needed on the part of the authors and editors to make this a book that will have the respect of readers.