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Glory - Book One
Glory - Book One
Price: £2.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly believable, 1 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Glory - Book One (Kindle Edition)
"Glory 1" is book one of a five book series. I see that number two is now out on the market.

We enter the world of "Glory" at the beginning of the Apocalypse. Let me tell you, Jackson was a surprise. He is the first person we meet who seems to be affected by what is striking people.

Begin Quote from prologue:
"Are you all right?" he asked.

By now, the words meant nothing to Jackson. He could only hear sounds coming out of the old man's mouth. He didn't know what they meant. The concept of language had left him moments ago.

He didn't respond.

"Are you all right?" the man asked again. Slower this time.

Jackson continued to look at the old man, but still didn't say anything.

He looked down at the fingers touching him. He could make out the white hair on the knuckles. Grabbed him. Squeezed him. He didn't know why this old man was touching him, but he did know that he didn't like it. He felt anger well up inside of him.

He looked up again at the old man. The old man was smiling his skewed smile, trying to make light of the situation and find out what was wrong. To Jackson, his face caused his anger to turn to rage.

The old man. Smiling. Looking. Staring.

Jackson roared.

Then he took his knife, grasped it tightly and stabbed it into the old man's throat. The old man's eyes opened wide with surprise. He tried to grab at the knife as Jackson pulled it away. Blood spurted from the wound and covered the table.
End Quote from prologue

It's bizarre. People seem to turn in the space of a few minutes. All comprehension of the meaning of words or other people's actions seems to evaporate. Anger is the prevailing emotion they are left with. Without thought of pain, hunger or consequence they just attack. In that sense they are like zombies. Otherwise they are totally different. Alien infection or some kind of engineered disease were my first thoughts.

The prologue is tense. The whole novel is intense. McMananon writes incredibly well drawing the reader into his world and keeping us there.

What we get after the prologue is easy to imagine. A total collapse of society as we know it occurs. Those who are left "normal" discover they have to stick with each other. But sticking with some of the survivors might not be such a good option. Some of them are almost worse than the diseased in that they have "all of their faculties intact". Good people remain good and not so good people remain pretty awful.

There is some explicit violence in "Glory". Sexual violence is part of that violence. Thankfully, we also encounter samaritans. All of these actions were believable. The shock, anger, helplessness, courage, violence, friendship. All of them were perfectly believable. This is probably what would happen in this world if something like McManamon's version of Apocalypse happened.

Would I recommend "Glory" to young adults. NO. "Glory" is just too dark. On the other hand, kids these days see a lot of violence and sex that I never did back when the dinosaurs lived. Maybe it is good for them to encounter it. I know the feelings portrayed by the sexual abuse victims were pretty much the way real life abuse victims experience them.

We were left with a cliff-hanger or maybe we were already falling off it. Shame on McMananon for sending us to the edge. "Glory 1" is an excellent first novel and I very much encourage you to read it.


by Ian Beck
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Could this actually happen?, 28 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Pastworld (Paperback)
"Pastworld" is a Young Adult dystopian, steam-punkish and semi-violent look at what could happen when the future is so bored with itself it seeks relief in pretending to travel to the past. "Pastworld" is the creation of such a future.

Not all participants know that it is all pretense. Eve is one such character. One of our main mysteries in "Pastworld" is the reason for Eve's short memory. Why does she only remember events from the past two years? Why is she being kept hidden in "Pastworld"? Why does her protector/jailer/friend Jack get killed while keeping her from public attention? These are all questions that are answered.

Eve is 17 years old. I'm trying to remember what it was like to be 17 and decide if Eve is a proper representative of a Victorian 17-year-old young woman with an apparent memory loss. I have a couple of biographies to lean on (not the memory loss part). Girls of a certain class were pretty sheltered back in the day. They were not allowed to go anywhere without a chaperone. Accepted interests beyond home and family were nature. Education was so, so. They were taught how to read, some maths, etiquette, embroidery, housekeeping and painting. I guess with that as a guide, Eve was kind of representative for that group.

When Jack gets more and more eccentric after a mysterious person comes sniffing after Eve, Eve runs for her life. Quite stereotypically she decides that the circus must be the place to go. And she does - Jago's Acclaimed Pandemonium Show.

In Buckland Corp. Comm. Center Sgt Charles Catchpole becomes aware that something is afoot in "Pastworld". A murderer has returned (the Phantom), one who leaves his victims dismembered and sometimes headless. One can certainly see how this would keep his minions in line and whet the appetite of the Scotland Yard.

Much of what we see in Ian Beck's novel seems probable. 2048 is in 35 years and quite a bit could happen in that time. We already have plenty of theme parks around the world. Making a city into one might not be the stretch I would like to think it is.


Angela of Troy
Angela of Troy
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nobody's perfect, 28 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Angela of Troy (Kindle Edition)
"Angela of Troy" is the story of an Amazon, necromancer and daughter of Cassandra of Troy and the god Apollo. Her job is to police the supernatural community and make sure that no unnecessary murders are committed.

A rogue werewolf has been on a killing spree and Angela is sent to stop him. To find out who the next victim is supposed to be she turns to a demon. Demons aren't really Angela's idea of fun - more like a necessary evil.

What she discovers is that the man she has been sent to hunt, Benjamin McConnell, is out to kill all who were associated with the man who cursed him. I can understand wanting to do that. McConnell has his own protection. If another tries to harm him that damage will be inflicted on the one trying to hurt him. Angela's superiors must have known of this ability, yet they still sent her off to destroy McConnell.

All in all an interesting short story with a strange set of characters.


The Twelfth Tablet
The Twelfth Tablet
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars One does not mess with gods, 28 Sept. 2013
Greed is such a wonderful thing. It is as if some people think that if it sounds too good to be true, then it must be true. "The Twelfth Tablet" is the tale of a man who fell for such a scheme. As sometimes happens his falling led to murder and mayhem.

Upon closing the museum one evening Paul Mitchell meets a couple who make him an offer he cannot refuse. Ari and Valerie wish to see the museum's Aphrodite statue in return for donating a large sum of money "to the museum". Paul finds himself unable to say no to anything they ask. He tries but there is something strange about their touch that fills him with powerlessness and an eagerness to please.

Once he has said yes once, saying yes to their next request is less of a hurdle. Ari and Valerie want to know where they can find the Orphic Tablet and Paul leads them to it.

Paul is the perfect example of how we are all potentially able of deeds we thought impossible. I find Harper's description of Mitchell's self-destructive road believable. Tom has a tight pace and tension galore. We get plenty of action and fighting.

Excellent short story.


Eternal Knight (The Orb Book 1)
Eternal Knight (The Orb Book 1)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy and adventure, 28 Sept. 2013
Matt Heppe has a couple of places you can reach him. One is his blog and the other is on facebook.

Hadde and the rest of her village, Long Meadow, live within the area of "The Wasting". The Wasting is a mysterious condition that seems to afflict all life - plants and animals. For some reason the world is wasting away, leaving the land barren. While out hunting one day Hadde and her two companions discover an impending raid upon their village. They manage to send warning and thwart the invaders. One of the invaders has silver eyes that fade to black upon death.

Hadde struggles with the village's decision to slaughter their horses for food, and she goes hunting in hopes of finding food. A stag turns up that she follows. Hadde is led to a spot in the forest where the Wasting has somehow not taken hold. In this living space Hadde finds a gold pendant that bears the symbol of the goddess Helna.

All this sends Hedda to Salador for help for her village, whether it be temporal or magical. Along she brings Belor and their horses. Tragedy and adventure awaits.

Life is filled with difficult choices and tragedy. Pain seems to be part and parcel of life. Hedda is about to experience a lot of pain. Some of that pain is due to choices she makes while some of the pain is due to the choices of others. How she deals with death, violence, betrayal, friendship and love shows the kind of person she is. Like all of us Hedda is neither good nor bad but a combination of both. Finding her place in the world and discovering who and what she is creates dangers for her but also opportunities and growth.

I liked Hedda. She seemed so normal in an epic fantasy sort of way.

"Eternal Knight" seems to be targeted at anyone from young adult age and up.


Draw One in the Dark (Shifter Book 1)
Draw One in the Dark (Shifter Book 1)
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Homeless and shapeshifter, 28 Sept. 2013
"Draw One in the Dark" made me think about what it must be like to be a foster-kid and a homeless kid in the US. I haven't been a foster-kid anywhere. Nor have I worked with foster-children and am therefore unqualified to speak about its reality. But I have wondered what it must be like. That and being homeless. I've read books and articles about both but that doesn't show me the way the minds of people who have been in the foster-system and living on the street work. How would this affect a person's ability to deal with situations? Let's say you throw in being a shape-shifter on top of that. And on top of that you aren't really sure if you are a shape-shifter or if you are just having psychotic episodes that leave you covered in blood every once in a while.

This is the point that Kyrie Smith and Tom Ormson are both at when "Draw One in the Dark" begins. Some months after meeting each other they both receive revelations about their nature and are thrown together into one dangerous situation after the other. This means that life becomes even more chaotic for the two of them but they soldier on as best they can.

That tells me something about resilience. For regular people soldiering on can be difficult enough but for kids with an atypical background soldiering on must be even more of a struggle.

To my way of thinking "Draw One in the Dark" is partly about resilience and partly about bravery. It is also about messed up people making messed up decisions and living with the consequences of those. Trying to make amends as best we can is one of life's major lessons. What has been done can never be fixed, but maybe/hopefully some of the pain we inflict can be lessened.

"Draw One in the Dark" is an easy to read young adult urban fantasy novel that is of pretty average quality. But it spoke to me and helped me clear up a couple of things in my head. Oh, and I really liked the cover art (roar, my name is dragon).


The Corpse King (Tales of Eisengoth Book 1)
The Corpse King (Tales of Eisengoth Book 1)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Gory and fun, 28 Sept. 2013
"The Corpse King" is our introduction to the trilogy "Elegy". We are in a land of sorcery, swords and adventure with arbiters running around trying to keep some kind of order and clean manna (magic) whenever it sends out bad vibes. In "The Corpse King" we have a dark fantasy in the way of zombies, death-manna and insanity.

Apprentice D'Arden Tal and Master Havox Khaine are two of these manna-cleaners. If you take a look at Kellen's website you will see that for some reason the world Eisengoth is the one sending off bad manna vibes. How do you fight a world? With a world gone insane you are bound to live in a dark place. In fact, I find that the cover reflects the mood of this world gone mad.

It might be a good thing if you like zombie books. This description illustrates why:

"D'Arden caught a glimpse of the old man, wizened head perched atop a naked, colorless, emaciated form that was slowly shambling toward him. The belly was swollen to the bursting point, dragging entrails across the wooden floor. Maggots writhed everywhere, covering the body nearly from neck to foot as they feasted."

As you see, not something for the faint-hearted. Well written though. Nice and gory.

Have fun. I did.


The Necessity of Man - Science Fiction Mystery Short Story
The Necessity of Man - Science Fiction Mystery Short Story
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Frightening look at the year 2055, 28 Sept. 2013
Gender seems to be the main theme of "The Necessity of Man". "The Necessity of Man" is utterly believable. I cannot count the times men have used women's nature as a reason for men to rule. Women are supposed to be nurturing and caring by nature. But guys, you could not be more wrong. We are just as self-serving as you are. Lupo shows how things could turn out in a gripping and frightening manner. My goodness, that man is courageous and can he ever write.

The whole idea of how the women at MedTronCorp handle lay-offs and their need for biological products is fascinating. Getting rid of useful men has been a gradual process and does not seem to bother men much. Perhaps that has to do with the spa. There is plenty of sex, zombie games and the availability of everything one might wish. Being offered to stay for an indeterminate length of time in such a pleasant place is a dream come true. But you know, if something seems to be too good to be true it usually is.

I loved "The Necessity of Man".

"The Necessity of Man" has an "anti-copyright" from the author because:

"We believe that copying is a form of flattery and do not abide by the copyright laws. Those laws serve to restrict the flow of ideas, which no one can really own. Please share freely and frequently. (Copyright page of "The Necessity of Man")"


Collected: A Coveted Novella
Collected: A Coveted Novella
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice story about a werewolf with OCD, 28 Sept. 2013
"This story takes place seven months before "Coveted" begins."

These are our introductory words to the story of "Collected". "Collected" is one of those easy-to-read fantasy tales with a twist. Our protagonist has OCD:

"For a split-second, I was tempted to discard my shoes and track them on foot. That's what any werewolf would do. But I didn't operate that way, nor would I even entertain that idea, no matter how much I wanted that box. The very idea of ruining my pantyhose was enough to make me get in my car."

Imagine being a werewolf with OCD. What a pain. Here part of you wants to let loose and run in the forest but another part holds you back because you might get dirty. Dirty means ages in the bathtub trying to scrub all the filth off. What an impossible position to be in when you are looking for a thief who happened to run into the forest.

Natalya's other oddity is her collection obsession. My guess is all collectors are a bit insane. I know I am when it comes to books. Whenever I buy a new one I feel kind of guilty. Whether I can afford it or not doesn't matter because I know that I could go to the library to get something or try Kindle free. After all, I don't need another book. So that part of me understands Natalie completely. I don't know that I would agree to a dangerous mission to get ordered books back. I'm not quite that far gone. But Natalie is. What a bummer.

These oddities are what make Natalya an interesting character. That and the fact that she is so matter of fact about them. Kind of nice to have an author write about a condition as complex as OCD. Kudos to Madison for that. Shawntelle Madison writes well and has managed to create a werewolf with character. Good for her.


Wolf Hunting
Wolf Hunting
by Jane Lindskold
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Dealing with the consequences of our actions, 3 Sept. 2013
Once again my son and I read about Firekeeper together and once again we were richer for it. I believe this is the only advantage to having a child with a serious case of dyslexia. In spite of his age we get to sit side by side enjoying a story that takes us a to place out of time and away from our world. Both of us have Firekeeper and Blind Seer as our favorite characters. Part of that is due to the kind of fatalism on their part that comes from having to fight for survival since childhood. I believe it also comes from the love that Firekeeper and Blind Seer have for each other.

Another thing that makes the pair my favorite is that they follow their hearts no matter where that might take them. If they feel something is the right thing to do, then they will do it. As they become acquainted with the Meddler they find themselves struggling to discern between what is the influence of the Meddler and what they truly feel is right.

I guess I kind of understand the Meddler's motives. He is a self-righteous git who takes no responsibility for the consequences of his actions but is convinced that his intentions were all that mattered. The Meddler himself considers Firekeeper a natural born meddler, but the main difference between him and Firekeeper is Firekeeper's willingness to bear the responsibility for the consequences of whatever actions she might have taken (without putting on a self-righteous mien).

Poor Derian. He is back in Liglim as an ambassador's assistant and still heart-sore from his short but intense relationship with Rahniseeta in "Wolf Captured". My heart warms at the strength of his character. He has had Firekeeper's back many times during the past five years and will need to rise to the occasion once again. Derian, Firekeeper and Blind Seer are naturals for the quest that is inspired by the Meddler. Along come Truth, the jaguar, and Harjeedian.

Harjeedian is the guy that kidnapped Derian, Firekeeper and Blind Seer in "Wolf Captured" He is the human diplomat for the Liglim on the journey. Truth is a divining jaguar who has gone in an out of insanity. In spite of having a shaky hold on reality Truth needs to come along. So does Plik, Bitter, Lovable and Eshinarvash (the wise horse). A strange troupe for sure, but one that represents most of the groups that the gang know of.

Lovable is as her name states Lovable and in love with shiny things. At first she might come across as your regular ditzy "blonde", and she is that too. But she is most of all bright and loving. We get to see just how close she and Bitter are in "Wolf Hunting" when the couple meets up with an incredibly dangerous hunter. Firekeeper and Blindseer love the couple's wit and courage and deviousness. The two end up being essential to saving Truth and also essential to the well-being of the group that ends up chasing after one of Meddler's meddlings.

Lindskold's portrayal of Plik, the maimalodalum that ends up going with the gang to find the twins, must be somewhat close to what a combination of human and racoon would be. He looks so innocent, but like all innocent-looking raccoons, Plik has another more violent side. As he is maimalodalum that means that there is quite a bit of human in him and we get to see this fairly well. Derian's first reaction upon seeing Plik is - well I'm sure you can guess. But as time passes Derian sees Plik more and more as the individual that he is rather than the oddity that maimalodali are.

Eshinarvash, the wise horse, first appeared in "Wolf Captured". He has chosen to come along as a horse herder and also as a companion to the others. Derian and he develop a close relationship that will come in handy as the story follows the path of Lindskold's imagination.

These are the main characters of "Wolf Hunting". As you see some of them are more unusual than others. But that is the nature of Wise Beasts/Royal Beasts and nutty spirits. I hope you find as much enjoyment with this tale as my son and I did.


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