The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine by Frank L. Cole #Bookreview

Title: The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine | Author: Frank L. Cole | Publisher: Delacorte Press | Pub. Date: 2017-8-8 | Pages: 320 | ISBN13: 9780399552823 | Genre: Kids Sci-Fi / Mystery | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received from the publisher for review consideration.


The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine

An adventure novel about four lucky kids and a mysterious, but thrilling ride for fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Jurassic Park!

CastleCorp and the famous Castleton brothers are unveiling the World’s Greatest Adventure Machine! The roller coaster is an experience like no other, and four lucky kids have won the chance to be the first to ride it.
There’s Trevor, whose latest stunt got him in trouble at school again. There’s Devin, whose father is pushing him to be the next Internet sensation. Nika’s wealthy grandfather isn’t too pleased about her participation. And Cameron, he’ll be the first to tell you, is a certified genius.
The whole world is watching. But as the kids set off on their journey, they begin to realize that there is perhaps more to their fellow contest winners than meets the eye. And the Adventure Machine? It might just have a mind of its own.
Join the contestants on their wild ride if you dare. Your adventure starts now!

Book cover for The World's Greatest Adventure Machine

The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine Review

A world-wide contest with only a few lucky winners that get to explore something no one has been inside before. An epic ride / adventure gone horribly wrong. There are definitely recognizable  (and enjoyable) elements in The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine. The blurb had it right when it said for fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factor and Jurassic Park. I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it to kids who liked those books and/or movies. 

The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine is an enjoyable, fast-paced middle-grade read. Right from the beginning, as the main characters are getting introduced you know something is up. A mystery was being set up very competently for young readers. It was great fun to try to figure out exactly who the bad guys were going to be. And I have to admit that there was a bit of a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting! It was nice to be surprised!

I liked the elements of ‘otherness’ that the characters had. There was a bit of diversity in both gender, race, and culture. Each kid had something that set them apart from their peers. I enjoyed how Frank L. Cole also made it clear that each of the things that set the kids apart could be strengths, but definitely came with their own set of weaknesses as well. They kids weren’t super-heroes, but they were definitely unique. With that being said, I felt like the only kids that were ‘believable’ were Trevor and Nika. Devin and Cameron just felt a bit off. Well, Devin honestly was just a bit of a jerk so I didn’t care for him. Cameron was the one who was ‘off’.

The adults were not really present for most of the novel, as is to be expected in a middle-grade novel. However, when the parents were in scene, it was very clear that most readers were going to find ‘their’ parent in someone. There was the controlling parent, the nervous Nelly, the constantly exasperated, and bewildered but well-meaning. The other adults were there to play a part, but fairly forgettable overall. The focus of this story is, after all, on The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine.

The language is accessible, even the kid’s differences are explained in ways that younger readers can easily grasp. The tension definitely builds up quickly once The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine hits its stride. While there is an element of that might be a little ‘scary’ at a couple of points, there aren’t any unsavory or offensive visuals. It’s perfectly suited for it’s intended age range. There was very little I didn’t care for, and most of that could have been solved simply by switching two of the things that make some of the characters unique around.

Overall, The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine is a solid middle-grade read. It’s definitely an adventure and a mystery. And yes, I have to say, it really does sound like the greatest ride type thing ever! I personally would love to experience it! Maybe one of these days it’ll actually become a reality. One can hope? Ah well, in the absence of reality, I guess we’ll just have to read about it!

 

All These Worlds by Dennis E. Taylor (Bobiverse #3) #BookReview

Title: All These Worlds | Series: Bobiverse #3 | Author: Dennis E. Taylor | Publisher: Worldbuilder’s Press | Pub. Date: 2017-8-8 | Pages: 260 | ASIN: B0736185ZL | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited


All These Worlds (Bobiverse #3)

Being a sentient spaceship really should be more fun. But after spreading out through space for almost a century, Bob and his clones just can’t stay out of trouble.

They’ve created enough colonies so humanity shouldn’t go extinct. But political squabbles have a bad habit of dying hard, and the Brazilian probes are still trying to take out the competition. And the Bobs have picked a fight with an older, more powerful species with a large appetite and a short temper.

Still stinging from getting their collective butts kicked in their first encounter with the Others, the Bobs now face the prospect of a decisive final battle to defend Earth and its colonies. But the Bobs are less disciplined than a herd of cats, and some of the younger copies are more concerned with their own local problems than defeating the Others.

Yet salvation may come from an unlikely source. A couple of eighth-generation Bobs have found something out in deep space. All it will take to save the Earth and perhaps all of humanity is for them to get it to Sol — unless the Others arrive first.

Book cover for all these worlds

All These Worlds Review

 

All These Worlds is the final entry in the Bobiverse trilogy. We’ve watched Bob from his final day as a living, breathing human to his final desperate battle to save humanity. It has been interesting watching the evolution of the character from the beginning of book one to the end of book three. One of the things that struck me (and made me appreciate the series more) was how much I came to care for the Bobs. Original Bob felt very young adult male in the beginning of the first book.  So we weren’t just watching the divergence of personality in the clones, we were also watching Bob mature and come to terms with the fact that he was now basically immortal and everyone else…wasn’t.

Just maturing as a normal human being is hard enough. Can you imagine having to deal with the fact that everyone you ever knew was dead, you were now effectively immortal, and oh, by the way, you have to save humanity which is down to a mere 15 million people on top of that? Good baby Cthulhu, it’s a wonder things didn’t get darker than they did! I did miss the humor in the second and third books, though. The humor was a huge part of what attracted me to We Are Legion, the first book in the Bobiverse series, to begin with.

Still, the Bob(s) was/were generally likable, no matter which cohort he/they were from. (That sentence sucked. I’m sorry.) I will say I don’t think there was quite as much diversity as I would have expected from Bob-1 to the final generations of Bobs. (I halfway expected an evil Bob to pop up, but at the same time, I’m glad the author didn’t go in that direction. Would have been a bit cliché.)

Dennis E. Taylor sticks the landing with All These Worlds. I was a bit doubtful in the beginning, but towards the end I was cheering the Bobs on. He sticks with pretty much the same characters that we saw in book two, which was great. If there had been too many more Bobs introduced, I’d have run screaming.  And, whereas For We Are Many felt very frantic/jumpy, All These Worlds felt much more deliberate and well-paced. Taylor starts bringing the threads together in ways that make sense. He tidies up some of the less lovable situations from the second book as well. There are a few happy endings in the book, and a few sad ones too.

There is also a lot of action in All These Worlds, which made me happy. There is no denying that this book is all about battles (on both personal and humanity saving levels). One sequence in particular came out of left field and had me cheering for the Bobs. I knew two of them were up to something but I hadn’t quite clued in to what it was. I was already tense from what had just happened, so the ace up their sleeve bowled me over quite easily.

All These Worlds is a great conclusion to the trilogy. The Bobiverse series is entertaining sci-fi that doesn’t hold back. While it’s not one of the best sci-fi series out there, it’s thought-provoking and imaginative. Not quite floof or epic space opera, Dennis E. Taylor’s series is a bit hard to classify, but it’s worth checking out. Especially if you can experience them via Ray Porter’s magical narration.

 

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie #BookReview

Title: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street | Author: Lindsay Currie | Publisher: Aladdin | Pub. Date: 2017-10-10 | Pages: 304 | ISBN13: 9781481477048 | Genre: Kids Mystery Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5


The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. A secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!  – Goodreads

Book cover for The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street Review

This was a solid kids supernatural horror mystery. There were several times reading it when I was surprised at how menacing the tone of the ghost seemed to be. For a kids’ book, it actually did get fairly creepy a few times. (Though that could be because there is a ventriloquist doll in it. Aren’t they creepy naturally?)

The main character, Tessa, was a well-written young girl. She seemed real and easy to relate to in The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street. The other kids that get introduced are similarly likable, although we definitely never really get to know them. The parents, on the other hand…. I’m too much of a helicopter parent apparently, because I just could not believe any parents in this day and age would tell their kids to ‘go explore’ alone in a new city without even a cellphone on them. I know that they were supposed to be free spirited and easy going, but I just couldn’t like them. No matter how nice they seemed in The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street. (It was obvious they loved their kids, though.)

The pacing of The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street was good. Things started happening almost immediately. Tension kept ratcheting up. The dialogue was similarly well done. I loved some of the incidents that happened in the book. The thing with the painting was especially creepy. The scene in the graveyard had me a bit on edge, I’ll admit! The author is very good at creating great atmosphere.  And she does a great job, too, at laying out all the threads in an interesting manner. I found myself puzzling over some of the clues right along with Tessa.

Now, although nothing bad really happens in this book, I would tell parents to be careful. Its very well written, and gets resolved nicely, but it has scenes that could give some more impressionable kids nightmares. (Like that ventriloquist dummy!) So, just be sure your kids aren’t easy to scare before letting them pick up the book.  (Or at least don’t let them read The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street at bedtime.)

Overall, I really liked The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street. Lindsay Currie knows how to write and this was enjoyable from start to finish. I might be checking out more books from her in the future!

Curse of the Black Eyed Kids by Corey J. Popp #Bookreview

Title: Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids | Author: Corey J. Popp | Pub. Date: 2017-7-31 | Pages: 298 | ISBN13: 9781545259320 | Genre: Young Adult Horror | Language: English | Triggers: An arachnophobic scene | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration


Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids

Fifteen-year-old Abby doesn’t believe in ghost stories, but even she has heard the infamous schoolyard legend of the black-eyed kids. Born from a sensational Mount Herod murder mystery, the legend says beware the ringing of the doorbell in the middle of the night and the sudden appearance of two school-aged children pleading to be let in.

Abby and her younger brother live an unconventional yet dull life with their grandmother, but when it’s their doorbell which rings next, their lives are turned upside down as the torment begins. Forced to come to grips with a new reality if she wants to save the lives of those she loves, Abby must enlist the aid of a mysterious young man known only as the cemetery boy to untangle a dark curse dating back 4,000 years.

Book cover for Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids

Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids Review

Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids suffers from a bit of tried-too-hard-itis. That’s the best way I can think to describe it. I feel like the author got caught up by the idea that good writers need to phrase things very eloquently and infuse great meaning into them. The main female character is supposed to be fifteen years old, and I just can’t buy it. The prose is too adult, and at times too lofty, to sell the character. The little brother, Jeremy, is a bit more believable, but conversely he seems too young. (Although I will say that does seem to have an unstated explanation.) So, given those are the two primary characters, it proved difficult to lose myself in the book at times. I did like the grandma, though.

Popp’s talent is still present, and the basics of the story he tells in Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids are good. He builds suspense very well with the introduction of the black-eyed kids. The action in the book moves along swiftly. At the end of the book he reveals that certain elements are mostly if not completely fictional, and I was surprised because I thought there would end up being a bit more truth to them! I also like the fact that he seems to be creating his own ‘Derry’, and I wish it was something I saw more horror writers do. I don’t necessarily want to read sequels, but I wouldn’t mind more books set in an established ‘world’ without being directly related.

Until the kids actually start talking, I was rather creeped out by them. Unfortunately, the very first time the black-eyed kids talked, I ended up giggling. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the reaction I was meant to have. My reaction to the kids thereafter varied between giggles and discontent. Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids falls prey to some of the cliches in horror that can make it boring. For example: of course the kids speak in a ‘deep’ voice (they’re creepier when they sound like normal kids!). There’s also this established talk of ‘the rules’. I think it was supposed to build up the scare factor in some way, or maybe make the protagonists feel a certain way, but… No. Instead, the overly formal speech combined with the repetition just made me sigh. Again, it just felt like the author was trying too hard.

I wanted to love Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids. Corey J. Popp’s first work, Beneath Claire’s House, was fantastic and I adored it. But I don’t feel nearly the same affection for this book. I’m going to put a large part of this down to the fact that it is his sophomore work, and many authors state how hard it is to do the sophomore novel. The second novel always seems to have a set of problems specific to it.

For beginning horror readers, Curse of the Black-Eyed Kids is a solid lite introduction to the genre. All of the traditional elements (of clean horror, at least) are present. The story premise is a creepy one. There’s a good amount of tension. The very definition of clean horror means you aren’t going to be besieged by sex, cursing, and/or drugs. It’s worth checking out.

Retrograde by Peter Cawdron #Bookreview

Title: Retrograde | Author: Peter Cawdron | Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  | Pub. Date: 2017-9-12 | Pages: 256 | ISBN13: 9781328834553 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the publisher for review consideration


Retrograde

Mankind has long dreamed of reaching out to live on other planets, and with the establishment of the Mars Endeavour colony, that dream has become reality. The fledgling colony consists of 120 scientists, astronauts, medical staff, and engineers. Buried deep underground, they’re protected from the harsh radiation that sterilizes the surface of the planet. The colony is prepared for every eventuality except one—what happens when disaster strikes Earth?

Book cover for Retrograde

Retrograde Review

Peter Cawdron’s Retrograde immediately grabbed my attention and kept it. It made me want to finish it. (That’s rare lately.) I read Retrograde over the course of a few hours. It’s well-written, fast-paced, and while not entirely unique still completely interesting. (I can only think of one or two movies that I would liken this too.) The dialogue was believable. The connectedness something I wanted to root for. And the way it was written kept me feeling as isolated as the astronauts actually were.

Retrograde takes a left turn at Albuquerque that leaves the reader scratching their head for a bit. It’s interesting, and ultimately I really liked it, but there were definitely a few minutes of “Wait, what?” involved. The way Peter Cawdron handles it is not how one usually sees the subject approached. That handling (It wasn’t better or worse, just different) is probably a big part of why the happenings threw me off my game for a bit.

There are some sensitive subjects addressed in Retrograde, but they are deftly handled. The disaster on Earth is horrifying, but very little time is spent describing what happens. The action on Mars can get a bit bloody at times, but it’s nothing overly graphic. Death does happen, but the author does not linger on it. In short, even though this has some horrific elements to it, I would not call Retrograde a sci-fi horror novel. More of an exploration of the darker parts of science fiction. 

A quick read with a nice twist and an ending that will leave you thinking, Retrograde isn’t your normal science fiction disaster book. Peter Cawdron does a good job of hooking the reader, and keeping them thinking about the book after the last page has been turned. Some of the questions asked are almost as old as science fiction themselves, and yet we still haven’t found satisfactory answers to them. Perhaps we never will.

Well done on Peter Cawdron’s part. Retrograde is a solid stand-alone novel. Can’t wait to read more from him.

2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide #Bookreview

Title: 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide | Series/Anthology: Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide #3 | Editors: Corie and Shawn Weaver | Publisher: Dreaming Robot Press | Pub. Date: 2016-12-6 | ASIN: B01N06H1E1 | Genre: Middle Grade Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited


2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

Do you love new planets, spaceships, and adventure?

You’ll love this collection of science fiction stories, because it’s stuffed full of amazing futuristic excitement!

Zip through the stars in spaceships while exploring uncharted universes in these amazing adventures for girls, boys and robots of all ages!

Get it now, and blast off today!

2017 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide

2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Review

The 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is a solid collection of entertaining science fiction and fantasy stories for middle graders. Actually, it’s a good one for all ages. The stories were all well-chosen. While they vary in length, none are so long that the reader’s attention will start to wonder. The overall theme really seems to be that young women can be brave, bold, crafty heroes, given how often that type of character pops up. There is also a few stories where someone who is different abled is featured. (Not as many as I’d like, but a few.) There are also a couple of stories that deal with grief from loss of a loved one, or the anxiety that comes from being afraid you are going to lose someone.

There weren’t many in the book that I rated at five stars, most of them were fours. I really loved In the Middle Gray by Valerie Hunter. It’s about a tinker team of brother and sister, and how family supports each other. It just felt special. Magical. After the Fall by Mike Baretta was a gorgeous, touching tale of a girl using science to create something to remember her mother by. My final highly rated one was Leaves, Trees, and Other Scary Things by Leandra Wallace. This was about a world where whenever there’s a certain amount of greenery, the ‘forest dwellers’ can take over and attack. It’s a side note, though, to the friendship that develops between an old mechanic and a young girl he ropes into helping.

My favorite line from the whole book – and one I think that will impact some children- is:

“But sometimes things aren’t as black and white as we’d like them to be. Maybe we just have to get used to living in the middle gray.” – In the Middle Gray by Valerie Hunter

 

The three stories that had different abled characters were Blaze of Glory Shoes by Brandon Crilly, Builders for the Future by Salena Casha, and The Biting Sands by Doug C. Souza.  My favorite of these three were Blaze of Glory Shoes. I liked how the blind boy plays an active part in saving their lives even though even his best friend basically assumes him to be a liability most of the time.

Those with a bit of a naughty streak in them will find a few stories in here that they’ll relate to. The Robot Did It by Nancy Cress, and I Will Not by R.W.W. Greene being the primary examples. Especially I Will Not. It’s also the shortest entry in the book, I believe.

The rest of the stories were mostly entertaining, but fairly unremarkable. Though I do have to mention that Terror on Terra 5 by Maggie Allen has the best examples of a truly alien world in the book. I so wanted to know more! There were only two that I didn’t particularly care for. One because it was a re-telling of Baba Yaga that just didn’t appeal, and the other, about three cities, just felt like it was an awkward fit.

There’s a reference to animal copulation (from a dog’s point of view) that made me splutter. It wasn’t graphic and was just a one liner, but I was not expecting to find it in this book. With the dog getting laid aside, Man’s Best Friend by Bruce Golden deals with death, and is a bit sad but it’s a good read.

Overall, the 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is a good read for anyone who enjoys their sci-fi in bite-sized pieces. The anthology is well put together and flows very smoothly. Their ending story is a nearly perfect choice. I’ll definitely be looking for more editions of the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide in the future.

The Killbug Eulogies by Will Madden #Bookreview

Title: The Killbug Eulogies | Author: Will Madden | Publisher: Square Straw Press | Pub. Date: 2017-6-12 | Pages: 300 | ASIN: B06XKVCNX8 | Genre: Science Fiction Comedy | Language: English | Triggers: Uh…approach with caution | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy from the author for review consideration.


The Killbug Eulogies

Disemboweled by the razor scythes of a six-foot mantis, lobotomized by hungry larvae, or roasted on an exoskeletal skewer: these are only a few of the disgusting ways to die in humanity’s hopeless war against giant space insects. Deployed on a brutal bug planet without a chaplain, a depleted infantry unit has entrusted its eulogy duties to the soldier standing closest at time of death. Somehow this rotten privilege keeps falling to Pvt. Timothy Archon.

Archon’s speeches explore the strange obsessions the men have developed since the war began–from archiving killbug death psalms to trying to seduce the enemy. Did these manias somehow redeem them, or only bring them quicker to their messy ends?

But more importantly: Why does Archon keep having such terrible luck?

The Killbug Eulogies

The Killbug Eulogies Review

I went back and forth how to review this on my site. While I might include GIFs on Goodreads, I rarely do it on Sci-Fi & Scary. Mostly because I don’t want to slow page-loading down. However, sometimes there comes a long a book where GIFs are just so appropriate you can’t find it in yourself to change anything. Such is the case for my review of The Killbug Eulogies. So, here you go… Enjoy!

You know how sometimes you read a book, and you really like it, but at the same time you’re vaguely ashamed of yourself for liking it? Like you think “I should have outgrown this part of me by now, right?”

But, you did really like it. You even highlighted your favorite lines (of which there were many). And even though you were definitely at least vaguely disgusted by some of it, you were also like:

That was me reading The Killbug Eulogies.

I randomly kind of exploded into laughter so much that my daughter went from saying “What’s so funny, Mommy?” to “Are you reading that Adult book again?” At which I would sheepishly admit that I was, and silence would reign until it was ruined by my laughing. Again.

Now, it wasn’t all fun and piles of bugsh*t. There was at least one eulogy near the end that I definitely skimmed. And then the author does this really weird twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting. And I don’t know what to think of it.

It definitely left me wondering. And I kind of really need to know if what was intuited was truth or crazy. It was a slightly more than WTF ending that left me feeling vaguely unsettled about a book that I was already vaguely unsettled about. (Well, about the liking it so much part.)

Overall, The Killbug Eulogies is definitely a funny read, but it is a crude one. Like… if Starship Troopers was Rifftraxed by a gaggle of potty-mouthed comedians speaking as one. Approach with caution, laugh with possible mild embarrassment, and hide the book from your children!

I loved it!

Gods of H.P. Lovecraft Review

Title: The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft | Editor: Aaron J. FrenchPublisher: JournalStone | Pub Date: 2015-12-11 | Pages: 450 |  ISBN13: 9781942712565 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased


The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft

The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft: a brand new anthology that collects the twelve principal deities of the Lovecraftian Mythos and sets them loose within its pages. Featuring the biggest names in horror and dark fantasy, including many NY Times bestsellers, full of original fiction and artwork, and individual commentary on each of the deities by Donald Tyson.

About the book: Lovecraft’s bestiary of gods has had a major influence on the horror scene from the time these sacred names were first evoked. Cthulhu, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, Yog-Sothoth—this pantheon of the horrific calls to mind the very worst of cosmic nightmares and the very darkest signs of human nature. The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft brings together twelve all-new Mythos tales from:

Cthulhu (Adam Nevill) – Yog-Sothoth (Martha Wells) – Azathoth (Laird Barron) – Nyarlathotep (Bentley Little) – Shub-Niggurath (David Liss) – Tsathoggua (Brett Talley) – The Mi-Go (Christopher Golden & James A. Moore) – Night-gaunts (Jonathan Maberry) – Elder Things (Joe Lansdale) – Great Race (Rachel Caine) – Yig (Douglas Wynne) – The Deep Ones (Seanan McGuire)

The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft Review

I finished The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft. I finally finished it. Y’all, I’ve been reading this book since June 5th, and I finally finished it. Good gods. Mind you, it wasn’t because it was so horrible I had to drudge my way through it. I actually ranged between mildly entertained to outright fascinated for a good 75 percent of the stories. I just, apparently, have a major issue tackling a thick anthology. So, yes, I’m very, very proud of myself right now. But…that’s beside the point. Lets get to the nitty-gritty.

There were twelve stories in this anthology, with accompanying information on the deities at the end. The stories were separated by artwork that ranged from bizarre and breathtaking to vaguely ridiculous. I’d loved to have framed prints of each of them. Out of the twelve stories, none of them received lower than a three star individual rating. 

My favorite stories in The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft were: Call the Name by Adam Neville, Dream a Little Dream of Me by Jonathan Maberry, In the Mad Mountains by Joe R. Lansdale, and A Dying of the Light by Rachel Caine. Neville’s work fascinated me, Maberry’s made me laugh, Lansdale’s satiated my desire to watch the world burn, and Caine’s work left me thoughtful. My least favorite was Rattled by Douglas Wynne. I had trouble getting into it, and though he is a competent story-teller, I just felt very ‘meh’ about it in the end.

As a whole, The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft was fascinating. I love the premise, and definitely feel like I have a better understanding of Lovecraft’s mythos than I did before. Some of his creations are outright terrifying. Others are just really strange. Aaron J. French did a decent job of arranging the stories. The tension and expectations in the latter stories flowed smoothly from step to step.  Donald Tyson’s commentary on the deities was a bit too dry. Whereas I devoured most of the stories, I had to concentrate to pay attention to what he was telling me. And that sucked, because I wanted to be fascinated by the information he was relaying as well.

Overall, there really isn’t anything to criticize about The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft. I don’t think any of the stories were badly written, they just didn’t necessarily all suit my taste. I don’t know how the anthology measures up to the various works that have came before it because this is the first collection I’ve read. And, truthfully, it’ll probably be the last. I’ve found out from reading The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft that I definitely want to read more Lovecraft-inspired fiction. I just don’t want to read another anthology of Lovecraft-inspired fiction.

Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy: Disco Fever by Doug Savage #bookreview

Title: Disco Fever | Series: Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy #2 | Author: Doug Savage | Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing | Pub. Date: 2017-24-10 | ISBN13: 9781449486877 | Pages: 144 | Genre: Kids Sci-Fi, Graphic Novel | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration.


Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy: Disco Fever

Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy face a familiar foe, a terrifying new enemy, and the frightening possibility that lasers can’t solve everything in their biggest and most dangerous adventure yet.

An accident (involving a pine cone, a fish, and a truck delivering disco supplies) triggers a series of events that leads to the ultimate confrontation between Laser Moose and his nemesis Cyborgupine. And it’s a fight that Laser Moose can’t win with lasers. Especially when faced with a malevolent new enemy: a cute little chickadee.

Book cover for Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy Disco Fever

Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy: Disco Fever Review

Disco Fever was listed under the middle-grade and children’s fictions section on Netgalley. I think it would be a fun read for kids, but some of the concepts are a bit outdated and might go over their heads. (Ie: Going to the disco.) The drawings are comic-strippy and very appropriate for a wide age range. There are, of course, a few valuable lessons in Disco Fever. A moose without lasers is still an awesome moose. Mirrors are evil. Appearances can be deceptive. Friends support each other.

The story flows easily. The strips are easy to understand. The action is ridiculous. The dialogue will make you chuckle. One can’t help but snicker at the ridiculousness of your basic ‘superhero must find his strength again’ put into moose and rabbit drawings.

It seems like every time I read a ridiculous line in a book, the universe sets out to send me a book that will top it. In this case, I think it’ll be quite a while before I find a line worse than:

“I don’t know if I can defeat cyborgupine and his disco suit.”

Seriously. Cyborgupine. Disco suit. (And yes, the drawings of these two things are everything you could ever dream of to accompany it.)

Also, at the end, there’s a bonus section that talks about the importance of dancing and will teach you to do a little dance if you follow it carefully. (I read it, I did not attempt it.)

Overall, while I don’t think I would have picked the book up under normal circumstances, Disco Fever was an enjoyable read. I am kind of curious to read the first book to see how everything got started. If you’re thinking about picking up this book for your kids, you may want to pre-read it yourself because mileage may seriously vary.

Ghosts by Nicholas Sansbury Smith (Hell Divers #2) Review

Title: Ghosts | Series: Hell Divers II | Author: Nicholas Sansbury Smith | Publisher: Blackstone Audio | Pub. Date: 2017-7-18 | Pages: 288 / 8 hrs 13 min | ASIN: B01I5ZZDQW | Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the publisher for review consideration


Hell Divers II: Ghosts

Ten years ago, Hell Diver Xavier “X” Rodriguez fell to Earth. Those he left behind went on without him aboard the airship he once called home.

Michael Everheart — the boy once known as Tin — has grown into a man and the commander of Hell Diver Raptor Team. While Michael dives to help keep the Hive in the air, Captain Leon Jordan rules with an iron fist at the helm of the ship. But unrest stirs under his strict leadership as a prophecy of hope sweeps the lower decks.

When a mysterious distress signal calls the Hell Divers to the surface, Michael and his loyal team begin to uncover long-buried truths and the secrets Captain Jordan will do anything to keep. They dive so humanity survives… but will they survive the ultimate betrayal?
Book cover for Ghosts Helldivers 2

Hell Divers II: Ghosts Review

I have mixed feelings about Ghosts. On one hand, I liked the action and loved hating on the new Captain. On the other hand, there was hardly mention of the one character from the first book that I really liked, most of the story focused around minor characters from it that I didn’t particularly care about, and the crazy got old pretty fast. I spent most of my time waiting for the author to get back around to the characters I wanted to hear about, and that just didn’t happen. However, I will say the POV choice regarding the Captain, given the issues involved, was a good one.

The Hell Divers series is an interesting one. I love the concept that Nicholas Sansbury Smith created these novels from. A post-apocalyptic Earth is nothing new. But generally humans have migrated to the stars, or they’re wandering the earth in small patches. A world where the last remaining humans are floating above the earth in giant airships? Yes, I like this! I want to read more!

Ghosts is a book filled with emotions that run the gamut from obsession to vengeance. The first book left us with a sense of hope for humanity. This one not so much. I suppose there is something to be said from the introduction at the end of the book, but the situation still feels very bleak. Readers can only hope that the author delivers a pulse-pounding return to hope and victory in the final book.

R.C. Bray does a good job narrating Ghosts. While Bray’s vocal range isn’t very wide, his voice is a pleasant rasp to listen to, and he is able to communicate emotions (particularly sarcasm) clearly.  His delivery is well-paced and nicely suited to the science fiction and horror genres.

Overall, Ghosts was a well-written book but it didn’t particularly satisfy me. It, like so many other middle-of-the-trilogy books, suffers just a bit because of it’s role. I have no doubt that Nicholas Sansbury Smith is going to pull something epic in the final book, though, that will make up for the bridge that Ghosts is.  And I can’t wait.