Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi and Fantasy’

The Bastard Wonderland by Lee Harrison

January 6, 2017 - 10:51 pm No Comments

The Bastard Wonderland by Lee Harrison

Published by Wrecking Ball Press on 27th October 2016

376 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Warboys spent most of his young life working on the ships, getting a chartership, is too much like hard work so he gets by without one until the night their king abdicated and the country was under Martial law. Wanting to unite the whole continent, General Malvy takes over the running of the country and brings in conscription.  Not wanting to fight, Warboys tries to go on the run and with his dad Bill find a flying machine. Unfortunately, they did not get very far and end up getting caught, however this just the start of an epic adventure, an adventure that finds Warboys up against an ancient cult, slave masters and living flying machines.

Warboys was a loveable rogue who at the beginning was only looking out for number one, but as his adventure continues his caring nature starts to come out especially towards Nouzi Aaranya. Spending the time with his dad had a good effect on him and he starts to mature, the father/son relationship at times was comical and they did have a Steptoe and son feel about them. One scene in particular was when they were discussing take-aways and invented fish, chips and mushy peas.

From the 1st word you are transported into a perilous journey, be it marching through a desolate countryside or drinking and fighting at Junkers the scrapyard. This book had it all, action, comedy and adventure, with a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and sci-fi this should please a lot of readers. I was surprised to find out that this was the author’s first novel and this was so well written. The ending was gripping and does give scope for further adventures for Warboys. I for one hope that there will more books for me to read.

Snowed by Maria Alexander

December 26, 2016 - 7:44 am No Comments

Snowed by Maria Alexander

Published by Raw Dog Screaming Press on 2nd November 2016

259 Pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

 

511nz3llvzlCharity is a 16-year-old genius this has caused her to be an outcast at school. What hadn’t helped is she was the founder member of the Sceptics Club due to her non- religious ideas.  Aidan is a homeless boy that Charity’s mom bought home, talking like he has stepped out of a Jane Ayre novel, he will not tell anyone about his family and where he has come from. There is an instant attraction between them but when one of Charity’s bullies turn up dead, Charity and Sceptic club start to investigate and find out more about Aidan and his evil father than they expected. Adding to Charity’s problems is also her drug dealer, regular bad boy brother Charles, who blames everyone else for his wrong decisions.

I took to Charity straight away, even though she was constantly bullied, she stuck to her beliefs and didn’t change herself to fit in. It was a pleasant change to have a girl who was into robotics and science. All her history made her a natural born leader that was admired within her close nit of friends. Aidan character came across as a really sweet and you can understand why Charity’s mom took him in. I enjoyed how he took to modern technology and embraced the simple tasks of learning to ride a bike and to get a part time job. One of my favourite characters was Michael keeping himself to himself, I loved his one liners and I enjoyed how the author developed these characters throughout the book, telling us more about their stories

Even though, throughout the book there were hints of who Aidan’s dad was. The way the author wrote about this Jekyll and Hyde character, I ended up doubting my suspicions as I could not just believe it, so when Aidan’s story came out, it was still a surprise.

This book is tagged as a children’s story, but I would say that this story is great for adults and teenagers alike. I tend not to read books with a Christmas theme, but I am glad I read this. This story has everything for a YA fantasy read, action, with a touch of romance and you get the horror element from Aidan’s brother and sisters. I got so into the story that I could not believe that it ended on a cliff-hanger, but after I read the acknowledgements I was pleased to come across the epilogue which I thought would complete the story. How wrong I was, it just made me yearn for book 2. My first book from this author but will definitely not be the last. A good read Christmas or not

Fight Like a Girl edited by Roz Clarke and Joanne Hall

October 30, 2016 - 11:46 am No Comments

Fight Like a Girl edited by Roz Clarke and Joanne Hall

Authors- Roz Clarke, Kelda Crich, KT Davies, Dolly Garland, KR Green, Joanne Hall, Julia Knight, Kim Larkin-Smith, Juliet McKenna, Lou Morgan, Gale Sebold, Sophie E Tallis, Fran Terminiello, Danie Ware and Nadine West

Published by Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books on 6th March 2016

249 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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This book has a good selection of stories for fantasy and Sci-Fi lovers, each story set in different land or time, but one thing in common, each story had a woman that was not afraid to kick some ass. Every woman had a story to tell whether they were a sword for hire, a mother, a soldier or just fighting to survive, they had to act on their wits and they were there to prove that there is nothing wrong in fighting like a girl.

So not to go on for ever I am going to review the stories that really grabbed my attention.

The Coyote by KR Green: Set in dystopian Brighton, Kai is a young girl with a very good sense of hearing. This talent had helped through many a scrape. A member of the Circlet, Kai, is a highly trained fighter and is on a mission to try and bring peace to the Buddhist community. Throughout, this short story was full of action, with Kai relying on her hearing to get the mission done, this made it an intense read.

Vocho’s Night out by Julia Knight: Vocho and Kacha are brother and sister, working for the guild, they are hired to protect a mysterious cargo. After a failed attempt to steal the cargo, they work together to find the real reason why they were hired. Like most siblings they are in competition with each other to be the best and as both are experienced sword fighters this does get interesting. I found this story to be a fun read, and the ending was comical. This has been a good introduction to the Duellists trilogy which I now want to read.

Fire and Ash by Gaie Sebold: Riven is a soldier who is suffering with PTSD. The last of the Dancers, a renowned troop she lost all her colleagues in one epic battle. Not wanting to go on any more with her life, she prepares to die until a ring changes her mind. Whilst reading this story, I felt really sorry for Riven with everything she went through, but whilst on this journey her character changes to determination, she gets stronger and you are willing her to survive and to learn to live.

A quick mention about the cover, when I saw this I had to smile to myself as when I was little girl I used to have a book of paper dolls to dress up and I wish that my dolls had outfits like these on the cover.

I must be honest: I had not read anything before by these authors and I have kept asking myself why not.  Each story was well written and celebrates women. Now every time I hear you fight like a girl, I will know that it is a compliment as if I or any other girl fights like the girls in these stories then they will be strong, resourceful and not take any nonsense.

A great collection of stories that will keep your interest from the first word

SCHOOLED IN MAGIC by Christopher G. Nuttall

October 19, 2016 - 7:27 pm No Comments

SCHOOLED IN MAGIC by Christopher G. Nuttall.

Twilight Times Books, Tennessee, USA.

£15.50 enlarged paperback, £0.99 kindle. 306 pages. ISBN: 978-1-60619-298-6

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

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Being a self-published author usually means a great deal of personal satisfaction and very little acclaim due to the low numbers that these books usually sell. There are always exceptions to any perceived trends. Christopher G. Nuttall is one of the few who has developed a considerable following. It helps that he is also very, very prolific.

Schooled in Magic is the first in a series that now has ten volumes in its sequence. At the outset this appears to be a book aimed at the teen audience as the main character, Emily, is sixteen although there are times when she appears to be much younger. She feels unloved and unwanted with no prospects. Then, without warning, she is snatched from the street and drawn into an alien world where magic works. Her first problem is to survive as the person who grabbed her, an evil necromancer called Shadye, thinks she is a Child of Destiny and intends to sacrifice her to enhance his power. Fortunately, for the rest of the story, she is rescued in the nick of time by Void, a sorcerer who seems to have her best interests in mind. Void tells Emily that she has magic and sends her to school, on a dragon. This immediately causes a stir and dragons don’t give lifts.

Much of the rest of this novel is about Emily attending magic school, getting into trouble, teaching the school bully to be a nicer person and trying to find out about the world she has ended up in. She also finds that the mediaeval style world that she has ended up in is not as pleasant as all the modern conveniences of home. Except that she is a lot older than Harry Potter, this has a lot in common with the J.K.Rowling series with the lead character having to go to magic classes and encountering lots of weird and wonderful creatures. In fact, as Emily has read the books, Potter is referenced a number of times. This emphasises the similarities rather than distancing her experiences. The plot only really begins to come into its own two thirds of the way through while Emily and a cohort of students studying Combat Magic are away from school on a field training trip and they are ambushed by goblins.

While there are some interesting characters, and Emily has some interesting solutions to the deficiencies of her new home, the reader of the Potter books might find much of it too familiar. Having said that, there will be younger readers for whom these issues will not be a problem and they will see this as just a good adventure in a fantasy world. It does read well and Emily’s naiveté drags even the adult reader along.

There is one thing I will take issue with. Emily feels that she will not be missed at home since she is of the opinion that no-one cares about her. This is totally untrue. Even the most unwanted child will be missed by either parents, friends or acquaintances. There will be a hue and cry in her original world. Even though Emily feels this won’t happen, it should have been pointed out to her at some point, if only to prevent a young reader who feels unloved running away from home with the mistaken idea that they will not be missed.