Science Fiction

Book Review | Hell’s Titties by Robert Bevan and Steve Wetherell

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Whaaaat? A  collaboration between two of my favourite authors – Robert Bevan and Steve Wetherell?


Or more accurately shut up and take my Kindle Unlimited payment in about 8 week’s time. But still, how could I resist. Hell’s Titties, a small town nestled between the “twin peaks” of East and West Tittie in the Appalachian Mountains, is the unwitting town sitting atop an ancient evil.

The Blurb:

Nestled between two peaks in the foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains, a quiet town sits upon an evil as old as the hills themselves.

Bucky Wallace longs to break free and see the world outside of Hell’s Titties, but the town isn’t ready to let him go.

The heroes of the story, Bucky and Floyd are a couple of lifelong slackers living in a trailer where their retirement plans hinge on growing weed and a stash of nudie mags dating back to the 70s. Bucky, slightly more ambitious from Floyd is determined to climb the ranks of Texaco and make something of himself, the reasons why a bit ambiguous. Bucky alludes to it at one point and I don’t think ever fully explained… but maybe it’s just something for future books?

Anyway, in a comical series of events Floyd accidentally and correctly perform an ancient ritual that school kids of the area have been using to get laid for decades to summon a demon.

From out of the toilet bowl crawls a cockroach demon which takes, among other things, a particular liking to the nudie mag that brought it into being. Being out of their league, demon-hunting wise, they recruit a few others into helping them. An ex-girlfriend of Floyd’s (Rainn) who owns the occult book shop, Zelda, a Velma-esque girl who takes an instant liking to Bucky, along with a few others that round out this newly formed Scooby gang.

Actually, if I had to summarise the book in one sentence, it’d be “How Scooby Doo could have been if it were written for adults and had more dirty jokes.

Together armed only with super soakers half-filled with bug spray they hunt the demon to capture it for fame and fortune. Of course, a bumbling troop of slackers and stoners will always stuff things up, and the authors do not disappoint.

I thought the story was very well written for a collaboration. The writing styles were consistent and for the most part I couldn’t tell who had written which parts. A few moments had me thinking “yep, that’s a Bevan bit,” or “that’s a Steve turn of phrase,” but generally it read as if a single author had written it.

I look forward to more of Bucky and Floyd as they hunt down more demons in future books.

TL;DR Version

How Scooby Doo could have been if it were written for adults and had more dirty jokes. Check out the sample on Amazon.

 

Book Review | So Not a Hero by S.J. Delos

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Hmmm, where to start. I grabbed So Not a Hero by SJ Delos because I’m going through a bit of a superhero kick at the moment and the story sounded interesting.

It is, don’t get me wrong. The story and world-building is solid and enjoyable. The main character has a ton of back-story and issues she needs to work through and you begin rooting for her pretty much straight away.

The Blurb:

A reformed villain.
After serving two years in a Federal prison, Karen Hashimoto is out on parole and eager to put her criminal past behind her. No easy task, since she’s also the former supervillain known as Crushette. A chance encounter leads to an unexpected opportunity, and she is recruited as the newest member of the city’s premier team of superheroes: The Good Guys.

A new hero.
Now Karen has new teammates, a new code name, and the daunting responsibility of trying to be the hero everyone thinks she can be. Becoming a champion for Truth and Justice is going to be rough, especially for the ex-girlfriend of the notorious Doctor Maniac. Karen will have to do everything in her powers to keep her past from ruining her future.

It was so much simpler being the bad guy.

Some of the support characters seemed a little cookie-cutter though. The story could have done without a lot of the deep-seated misogyny inherent to many of the male characters. The way the author treats the main characters made me a little uncomfortable. Sure, I get there are arseholes out there that treat people like this, but it came across as a little gratuitous at times.

There are a couple of sex scenes, one at the beginning which establishes Karen hitting rock bottom, and one multi-page effort midway through. About mid-way through the second one I found I just wanted the story to skip ahead.

I’m not averse to reading sex scenes, however this one did drag on a little. Plus, I couldn’t help but think it was maybe a little bit of wish-fulfilment for the author. A thought that occurred to me a few times while reading. A sexy, do-anything superhero who madly wants to make love… I’ll let you make your own mind up.

Will I read the next one? Sure. The story arc got me engaged enough to care about the characters and what happens next. The points I take issue with don’t put me off enough to not want to read the next one.

TL;DR Version

Great story with some hard-to-like characters. I recommend checking out the sample on Amazon first before jumping into the whole novel.

Book Review | The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III

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“Bizarro fiction? What’s that?” I thought to myself when I first heard the term. Of course, I needed to look up this previously unheard of genre, landing on suggestions. Most of them fall into the NSFW category, and I guess this one – The Haunted Vagina – does too, to a degree. Depends on how prudish your IT department is about the word ‘Vagina’.

Most examples I found looked as if they were trying to outdo each other with outlandish book titles. There are certainly some interesting ones out there…

Anyway, after a bit of a crawl through GoodReads I landed on this one that sounded less disturbing than others I’d seen, and sounded funny enough that it might be a good introduction to the genre.

What’s it about? The blurb:

It’s difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead…

Steve is madly in love with his eccentric girlfriend, Stacy. Unfortunately, their sex life has been suffering as of late, because Steve is worried about the odd noises that have been coming from Stacy’s pubic region. She says that her vagina is haunted. She doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal. Steve, on the other hand, completely disagrees.

When a living corpse climbs out of her during an awkward night of sex, Stacy learns that her vagina is actually a doorway to another world. She persuades Steve to climb inside of her to explore this strange new place. But once inside, Steve finds it difficult to return… especially once he meets an oddly attractive woman named Fig, who lives within the lonely haunted world between Stacy’s legs.

So that sets the scene. Stacy’s been hearing strange noises from down below for most of her life. One night after an adult-sized skeleton crawls its way out of her, she talks her boyfriend Steve into a mission to investigate.

Armed with walkie talkies and greased up like a Scotsman in an air duct, he ventures forth and finds Stacy is a doorway to an alternate reality.

It’s a short story, novella I guess at around 100 pages, but Mister Mellick packs quite a lot into those pages. The world he describes his both warped yet made vibrant and interesting by his words, and what happens once Steve gets trapped there kept me reading to the end.

Will I read more bizarre? I’m not saying no at this point, but it was a bit of an eye opener as a genre. I’ll see what GoodReads suggests as “also reads” once I’ve marked it as “Read”.

TL;DR Version

Certainly an eye-opener. An enjoyable short read. Check out the sample at Amazon.

Book Review | The Rules of Supervillainy by CT Phipps

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This was a funny and entertaining book to read. So Gary, our “hero” of the story leads a dull life where he wants nothing more than to be a supervillain. Of course this wish is fulfilled when the magical cloak of the foremost (and newly deceased) hero of the city turns up on his doorstep.

Suddenly he gets everything he wants and becomes Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy. The tautology alone should give you an idea what this book is going to be like.

The Blurb:

Gary Karkofsky is an ordinary guy with an ordinary life living in an extraordinary world. Supervillains, heroes, and monsters are a common part of the world he inhabits. Yet, after the death of his hometown’s resident superhero, he gains the amazing gift of the late champion’s magical cloak. Deciding he prefers to be rich rather than good, Gary embarks on a career as Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy.

But is he evil enough to be a villain in America’s most crime-ridden city?

Gary soon finds himself surrounded by a host of the worst of Falconcrest City’s toughest criminals. Supported by his long-suffering wife, his ex-girlfriend turned professional henchwoman, and a has-been evil mastermind, Gary may end up being not the hero they want but the villain they need.

Read the rest of this entry »

Surprise Sale – USA

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Since yesterday I managed to completely bonehead the start times of the Kindle Countdowns for “Boneyards & Badlands”, the sale has now started for US customers and anyone else buying from Amazon.com. You can pick it up during the next week for only $0.99!

Check it out at Amazon.com

Free eBooks Bonanza!

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For the next few days I’m running a free book promotion with Amazon, which means you can read a selection of six of my ebooks for nothing!

Why? Well, mainly because I’d like to get more people reading what I’ve written, and what better way to do it than to give out a heap of freebies.

From now until about Tuesday next week you’ll be able to grab these six books from Amazon for nothing.

So what are the books? They’re a selection of five of my short stories as well as Boneyards – book 1 of the FTW series. Follow the links below to Amazon.com, and happy reading!

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Hot Tip | Victor Boone Will Save Us

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I’d like to share something I nominated over at KindleScout. The book is Victor Boone Will Save Us by David Joel Stevenson, and it had me hooked from the moment I read the sample.

At the time of writing this it has 14 days left in its campaign, so you should check it out before it’s too late. Of course, you could always buy it later on, but if you nominate it and it is successful, you can snag a free copy.

So what’s it about? The blurb:

Robby does the saving, Victor takes credit.

Victor Boone is a handsome jerk who uses incredible powers to fly around in spandex and save his city’s citizens from evil doers – especially the busty ones. But he’s not a superhero.

In truth, an invisible, insecure and overweight Robby Willis has the powers, but he’s so terrified of anyone knowing he exists that he’s not comfortable with a cliché disguise. The two men form a partnership: Robby does the saving and Victor takes the credit.

Problem is, Victor’s been murdered.

From the opening paragraphs of the first chapter you’re in the thick of the action, and by the end of the first chapter the “hero” is dead. No spoilers there since it says as much in the blurb. After which comes the fallout, with Robby dealing with the death of Victor and the potential new love interest in his life who knows more about him than he’d like. Read the rest of this entry »

Maze Quest – A Text-Adventure Short Story

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A short story this time (just shy of 5,000 words) from a Reddit Writing Prompt. Written as 2nd person (a perspective I rarely read and up to now haven’t written in)… but it suited the “game” theme as many old point-and-click and text-adventure type games would employ this style. It’s written as if they’re scenes in a game.


The Prompt:

[WP] You are the protagonist of a point-and-click game.


The Story: Maze Quest

Standing South of the Mansion

You are standing in the once manicured grounds to the south of a white stately mansion, but what have now overgrown from neglect. The mansion has stood abandoned since the former owner died many years ago and now, as the sole heir to the Stackson family fortune, the mansion and the acres she stands on are now all yours.

As you survey the lands to the west, the legendary hedge maze that has formed part of the scenery for over four-hundred years fills your view. To the east stand the burial grounds with mausoleums and monuments to the long dead.

Knowing that every window and door were padlocked and boarded over to deter thieves, you brought along with a rucksack which contains: Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review | The Big Sleep by Meaghan Gray

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I very nearly passed this one by but now that I’ve finished it I’m glad that I didn’t. I say I almost passed it by because the way the opening chapters are written didn’t appeal to me. The quick chopping and jumping around between dreams was off-putting, but I skipped past them to where the real story starts. The opening is basically prologue and, thinking back on it now, could be dropped all together.

I get that we need to know the origins of what is happening, but I think it could be worked into the story much easier than how this book opens. Not all styles appeal to all people of course, so you might be different, but I found it difficult.

That said, once the real story starts just before the second Big Sleep, the plot takes off at a fast clip and barely slows down. It was this that kept me reading and why ultimately I enjoyed the book, even if I didn’t like the opening.

Mostly set inside the dream world, Ms Gray does an excellent job of keeping believability alive while injecting plenty of fantasy elements that could only be conjured up in a dream. The concept of the Greymen and the world they inhabit and what they do was a new one for me and were one of the things that piqued my curiosity about this novel in the first place.

A nice fat twist towards the end of the novel makes me want to read the next one, so I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the next book in this series.

The only other notes I made while reading this was Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review | Dreadnought by April Daniels

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I’m on a bit of a heroine kick at the moment – FYI – I just made myself triple check the spelling of that to make sure it didn’t come across as something else entirely. Between what I have read and a number of books I plan on reading next there are quite a few female protagonists in my future.

This book – Dreadnought by April Daniels – came through my WordPress feed thanks to Reading Sanctuary, and after reading their review and checking out a sample I was hooked. I grabbed a copy of the full novel that same night. Narrated by our heroine Danny in a close first person perspective, you can’t help but get sucked into her world.

Quick Note About This Review

This is the first time I took notes as I read to help me when it came time write the review. Usually I just wing it and try to remember the salient points, but this is an effort to make the reviews I post better.

First up, the blurb: Read the rest of this entry »