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Reviews Written by
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada)

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Firstborn: A Tor.Com Original
Firstborn: A Tor.Com Original
Price: £0.39

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best short stories I have ever read., 8 Dec 2014
There are a few hallmarks of great stories, at lease in my opinion. One of the big one's for me is does the story stay with you. I finished this story about a month ago and yet it keep's coming back to me. I have now reread it. My first impressions were 'What an Incredible story!'. And that feeling has only intensified. This is likely the best science fiction short story I have ever read and to be honest probably the second best short story I have every read.

Two brothers who have never really met, Varion the greatest warrior the empire has ever known, and Dennison his younger brother, born while Varion was away at war. Varion who has never know defeat and Dennison who has never known victory.

This was an amazing story that really has stuck with me. I highly recommend it. Great writing, excellent characters and break neck pace. My only regret is that it is a short story. I would love to read longer versions of this story, or more stories with these characters.

Hawk (Vlad)
Hawk (Vlad)
by Steven Brust
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vlad is back and things as usual get messy!, 3 Nov 2014
This review is from: Hawk (Vlad) (Hardcover)
Quick review. Wow! After 14 books and Vlad is still getting better! Stayed up way to late but read it in one sitting, literally could not put it down. Vlad is back and making more waves than ever!

Full review. There were some wonderful elements in this story, specifically Vlad being forced to take a few days to mend and during that time he recalls a few different conversations which separately would not mean much to almost anyone. But as we know Vlad is not anyone. He thinks he has found a way to get right with the organization, to get the monumental price taken off his head. And all he needs to do is borrow a magic lock pick, a device that prevents sleep, an enchanted musical instrument, a magical egg, the help of a few friends and more than a little luck. But as we have watched Vlad grow over the years and the two things he almost always has going for him is good friends and luck.

The majority of this story is set back in Adrilankha with a short visit to Dzur Mountain. As we know because of the Phoenix stones that Vlad wears in an amulet that no eastern magic nor sorcery can be used against him or to detect him. Because of the stones there is a lot of walking. Someone has made the price on Vlad's head personal, and the number of attacks and their brute force is getting increasingly dangerous. While recovering from one of these, Clad has a spark moment and comes up with a plan. Pulling together memories from his grandfather's fencing lessons, drinking sessions with Kiera the their and Daymar. Vlad asks a favor and sets up a base of operations in his old offices with Kragars and the help of many others he just might be able to pull it off again.

This was a wonderfully written novel. With ever novel by Steven Brust I read I appreciate his skill as a writer more. I have been reading his books for over 30 years now and eagerly anticipate each new one and as of yet none have failed to entertain. This one was addictive; I did not sleep in order to stay up reading. It is one of the best of the Vlad books. An amazing book in a great series!

Wee Danny: A Novella
Wee Danny: A Novella
Price: £0.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting character study., 20 Oct 2014
One of the readers of my review blog suggested I give Gerard Brennan a try. The first one I tried was good but not great it was a collection of short stories called Other Stories and Nothing But Time. Reading it I could see where the recommendation came from, it felt kind of like reading Chuck Palahniuk or Irvine Welsh but not quite. This one was much much closer and I see why Brennan is compared to those two.

This is a novella set in the world of Wee Rockets. The main character is Danny Gibson a young tough serving time in a facility for young offenders. Danny is not tall in stature but he is tough as nails and also smart, even if that brain is often turned to destructive tendencies. He is learning how to act in front of his staff, the teachers and even his educational psychologist. But there are some things he just cannot let go. He will not show weakness. And he is vindictive. But something strange happens; Conan Quinlan a new detainee has found a soft spot in Danny's armour. Conan is on the autism spectrum and the teachers do not thing he is in the right facility. Danny sort of takes him under his wing.

This story really surprised me. It was rough and raw like other stories by Brennan I have read, and yet this one over comes that anger and harshness and shows us something else. The story was really well done and immediately upon finishing it I started reading the novel set before it Wee Rockets.

Blood of My Blood (I Hunt Killers)
Blood of My Blood (I Hunt Killers)
by Barry Lyga
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! Incredible book and series., 20 Oct 2014
Of late there have been a number of trilogies that have let me down, they started off amazing and went downhill; each successive book just a bit more disappointing. That was not the case with the Jasper Dent or I Hunt Killers trilogy. With each book I had a greater respect for Lyga's powers as a wordsmith. My first response was 'Wow! An amazing conclusion to the series. With every book I read by Barry Lyga my respect for him as a writer goes up.' And reflecting back after thinking about the book for a few weeks I can honestly say this is one of the best series I have ever read. I average over 100 books a year, and to be honest waiting for the final installment in this series was painful.

As fan's will know book two ended with three simultaneous cliff hangers. Our friends Jazz, Connie and Howie are all in life threatening danger, without a lot of chance of things improving. In fact things are going to get worse, much worse. And Jazz realizes the only way he will ever catch his father is to break the law, lots of laws and maybe even do things he never ever wanted to do.

To go back to my first impressions, wow! One of the greatest things about Lyga's stories is the characters, and the growth of the characters in this story is incredible. The pace of the story and plot twists are at times overwhelming. The story is very very well written. This book was so addictive, I stayed up reading and did not put it down until I was done even though I had to work the next morning.

Blood of my Blood is an amazing story in an excellent series.

The Incrementalists
The Incrementalists
by Steven Brust
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Great concept and excellent exexution, 8 Oct 2014
To begin with I have loved Steven Brust's books since they first started coming out. I have read all of them more than once. But for some reason I never got around to this book, maybe it was because it was co-written by Skyler White, who at the time was unknown by me. Then I read the short story Fireworks in the Rain and before I had even finished the short story I was starting to read this book. Both the short story and the book amazed me. Incredible concept, great execution and wonderful writing!

But first some back story. The incrementalists are a secret society, but there goal is to help stabilize society and improve life for the most part. They want to make the world better, but do so a little bit at a time. But like all organizations, especially one loosely run by committee they do not always agree on how to do that. They have personal memories that go back thousands of years. They can cheat death and share lives, they can pass there essence to a new host and in the passing will either remain dominant or the new host will. Phil is the longest standing personality in the group going back over 2000 years as a primary, he has loved Celeste and they have been together nearly 400 years. Celeste is dead and they must choose a new second for her.

Ren is chosen as Celeste's new host. But things do not go exactly as expected. And soon Phil, Ren and the rest of the leadership team are in Las Vegas to figure things out. Those things get a lot messier before they get better.

The story is written in alternate chapters told by either Ren or Phil. The story is compelling, it is a true page turner. The concept was sublime and the execution excellent. It is a great book and I hope we will get more stories set in this world. I really wish I had read it sooner so give it a try!

Other Stories And Nothing But Time
Other Stories And Nothing But Time
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Almost a Pauahniuk or Welsh, 6 Oct 2014
This is a collection of 5 short stories. As I was reading them I knew almost nothing about the author or his other works. It was just a collection someone I know thought I would like. While reading it I felt like it had a Chuck Palahniuk or Irvine Welsh feel too it but in some ways like it was trying too hard to be that. The stories are good and well written but there was just something missing. The stories in this collection are:

Hard Rock
Nothing But Time

They are set in Northern Ireland and have a gritty edge to them. After finishing this collection I immediately read another is his works Wee Danny a novella it was very well done and seemed to overcome what I found lacking in this collection. If you are a fan of his other works I am sure you will love these stories. If you have yet to sample his writings and are looking for a shorter work, I would suggest Wee Danny. These stories were good enough that I have given another a try and I am really glad I did. And I am already reading a third now. Bouncer was by far the most powerful offering in this collection. It is about a big tough Irish Catholic bouncer trying to figure out how to interact with his gay son. These stories have a mix of sex, drugs, are definitely about some of the seedier aspects of life. They are raw and realistic.

Blood Boy: an I Hunt Killers prequel
Blood Boy: an I Hunt Killers prequel
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Enter Howie's twisted mind for a night., 29 Aug 2014
I will be completely honest with you. I Hunt Killers, the Jasper Dent series is one of my favorite series in years. It is comprised of a trilogy of books, I Hunt Killers, Game and Blood of My Blood, and now 4 short stories of Novella's. They are: Lucky Day, Career Day, Neutral Mask and Blood Boy. This is the last of the short stories to be released.

Blood Boy is told primarily from Howie's perspective and shows some of the ways he tries to deal with his hemophilia. It recounts a Halloween night after Billy Dent is in Jail and about a year before the events in I Hunt Killers. Howie has convinced Jasper (Jazz) and Connie to meet at a Halloween party out of town. He has a number of reasons for this, some of them he is open about and so not so much. So come for a ride inside Howie's mind and spend an evening with the best friend of a the world's most famous serial killer's son.

It is a great little short story, and for fans of the series give some great insight into Howie and his friendship with Jazz. It was a fun read and great prep for the final book in the series.

On a side note, Barry Lyga is donating his profits from this story to the Adam Lynch Award, a scholarship established by the Hemophilia Association of New York. Well done Barry well done.

Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars! (The Weird Zone, 1)
Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars! (The Weird Zone, 1)
Price: £3.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Great series available again., 29 Aug 2014
First I have yet to read anything by Tony Abbott that I did not really enjoy. Second it is great to see his earlier series coming back into print in eBook formats by Open Road Integrated Media. They are bringing back to life three of Tony's series, The Danger Guys, The Weird Zone and Cracked Classics. They have already made 20 of Tony Abbott's out of print books available and I think that is awesome.

This was the second series written by Tony Abbott, and it was originally published in the mid 90's. These books are set in Grover's Mill and it is a town known to be more than a little strange. It focuses around friendship, like many of Tony's series, and our key characters are Liz, Holly, Sean, Jeff and Mike. They consider themselves normal, and most of the residents of the town are Zoners. Even the paper in town, Grover's Mill Gazette, is weird and the headlines need deciphering for example - What was in the paper: "Exports at the Wells Lavatory discoed around stringy spit on the sour face of Mars a few dogs ago." And the translation by Liz was "Experts at the Welles Observatory discovered a strange spot on the surface of Mars a few days ago?". Maybe Grover's Mill is so weird because the town lake is called lake lake. Or maybe it is because it sits in the center of a triangle made up of a secret government UFO testing base, a dinosaur graveyard, and Humongous Horror Movie Studios, where the cheapest, cheesiest, horror movies ever made. This group of friends have nicknamed their town 'the weird zone' and to be honest a day would not be normal there unless if something really weird happened. But this one might be one for the record books.

The day the Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars invaded Grover's Mill. Holly, Liz and Jeff were heading to spend the day at the beach at Lake Lake. When all of a sudden the teenages had their surf boards stolen from under the water, then as the water started boiling and roiling they appeared, each surf board had 5 or 6 figures and they were good surfers, but they were: "horrible and gray. They had bald scalps with stringy wisps of white hair flying back in the breeze and ears that drooped and sagged to their shoulders. And their foreheads bulged. Some had big gaping holes instead of noses!" The wanted brains, nice fresh brains. But Liz and the gang were going to do whatever it took to save Grover's Mill's no matter how weird it is, it is still home.

This book was a great fun read. In many ways it is like the earlier series Danger Guys, or later series Goodballs. It is a good fun read that children will enjoy. It is geared for a younger audience than some of his books, but he writes from 4-16 but as an adult I have enjoyed all of his books to date. I highly recommend this title. And look forward to reading more in the series.

Hacker (Outlaw Chronicles)
Hacker (Outlaw Chronicles)
by Ted Dekker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.47

3.0 out of 5 stars Great until the end, 12 Jun 2014
From the cover to the description of the book I was hooked! The Back cover is: "My name is Nyah and I'm a hacker. I know things most people would never believe. Things that shouldn't exist, but do.

Seventeen year old Nyah Parks is a genius hacker whose world is unraveling. Deeply scarred from a horrific accident that killed her father and brother, and left her mother with irreparable brain damage, Nyah is barely holding the last shreds of her life together.Now, her mother's health is deteriorating quickly and Nyah faces the grim prospect of losing her, too. One last ditch hope exists-an experimental brain surgery that could buy her mother more time. But Nyah must scrape together enough money to pay for it before it's too late.

Desperate and with no other choice, Nyah turns her programming skills to cracking the firewalls of the world's largest corporations. She exposes their weaknesses, and then offers her services to secure their systems from hackers.

But when the most dangerous job of her life backfires and forces her to go on the run, she encounters an impossible reality that shouldn't exist, but does.

A hack unlike any other. A hack that will take her beyond the firewall of the human brain itself. A hack, which may be the only way to save her mother now.

What if there was a way to tap into the unseen reality that surrounds us all? Would you hack in? How far would you go to find the answers to your deepest questions? The answer lies deep beyond the firewall.

Tap in, strap in, and experience the mind-twisting ride with Nyah. What you find waiting on the other side of the firewall might forever change the way you see yourself and the world you live in."

But sometimes things do not go as we expect. I loved the book until the very last chapter. The pace was amazing, great action, excellent story, well written characters. But then at the last chapter, everything get's tied up too nicely and cleanly. Too perfectly it felt like a cheap ending where the author did not know where to go and just tied off all the loose ends as quickly as possible. It really felt like it did not fit with the rest of the book. And that left me very disappointed with it.

In the Afterward it walks about the loose series: "The Outlaw Chronicles consist of Eyes Wide Open, Water Walker, and Hacker. Although related through one common character, Stephen, they can be read in any order. Written in the vein of Ted's thrillers like Thr3e and Blink, these are transformational stories that take the reader on an intense ride full of twists that unravel the deep mystery or reality in ways rarely seen.

To discover the profound origin story of how Stephen came to live out of the law of darkness, read Ted's novel by the same name: Outlaw.

Read The Outlaw Chronicles if you dare-you will surely never see the world in quite the same way again."

And maybe they can be read in any order but reading this one first I am not sure I would risk the others. Overall I was disappointed, no matter how good the story was until that last chapter. This likely would not bother most readers but it bothered me a lot. And I just can't get around it.

Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn
Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn
by Greg Leitich Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully the beginning of a series!, 10 Jun 2014
With each new book published by Greg Leitich Smith I am more impressed with his writing. This book was a great fun story. It was humorous, entertaining and a little silly, but that being said it is a book kids will love. Greg is the author of the Chronal Engine and also the two books set at the Preshtigo School in Chicago: Ninja, Piranhas, and Galileo and Tofu and T. Rex. This book set in Cocoa Beach in South Florida is a mash up of Beach culture, UFO enthusiast, and Space Flight fanatics around the Cape.

Aiden lives and works at his parent’s hotel on the Space Coast, the Mercury Inn. His best friend Louis also works at the hotel and is definitely a UFO enthusiast, who swears he saw a UFO two years ago during the accident in which he lost his leg. The Mercury Inn is known for throwing huge parties during any space launches. And Aiden and Louis have seen a lot of weird stuff working at the hotel but things have just got a whole lot weirder. An actual UFO appears during a scheduled space launch and caused life for all at the inn to get even crazier.

What young reader would not enjoy a story with aliens, UFO’s, government cover-up’s, weird scientists, exuberant media personalities, and a couple of guys just trying to figure out the lengths that friendships can go, especially if one of the new friends ends up being a little less than human. This book is a great entertaining read, humorous, quirky and full of surprises. So give it a try and see where Greg will take your imagination!

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