Book Review: LifeGames Corporation
Book Review / August 10, 2017

Title: LifeGames Corporation Author: Michael Smorenburg Genre: Thriller Book procurement: Received from the author for an honest review, and also for Mystery Thriller Week. Synopsis: Da Vinci Code—meets Paranormal Activity—meets The Matrix. Ad-agency boss Catherine Kaplan is a danger junkie. Bold and brave, she’s cornered the juiciest prize in the global arena, a LifeGames Corporation contract. But now it’s time to pay the price—a dare to cross the forbidden line. There’s a deal sweetener of course—give a little… and enjoy some intriguing secrets. The first… Artificial Intelligence runs the LifeGames operation. Key to the success is an automated hypnosis sequence that suppresses each subject’s mind, convincing them that the immersive Virtual Reality crisis they’re about to experience is reality. The training technique has been fabulously profitable, allowing company founder Kenneth Torrington to indulge his every perverse fantasy. Governments, militaries and business are so reliant on LifeGames that it is said to control mankind’s future. Yet, nobody has realized—a door has opened and a character of unfathomable capacity and unknown motives is looking back, pondering the next move. Review: First Thoughts Michael and I have sort of a history after I reviewed his novel The S.K.A at Carnarvon – A Trojan Affair. It was a great novel…

Book Review: Rules of the Game
Book Review / August 7, 2017

Title: Rules of the Game (Engame #3) Author: James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton Genre: YA/Action Book procurement: Bought from my new favourite bookstore Estoril Books. Synopsis: The revolutionary Endgame trilogy concludes in this explosive finale to the series. One key remains—can the Players find it before the end of the world? The strongest are left. One final key remains. The fate of the world is in their hands. The world of Endgame is populated by twelve ancient bloodlines. In each line, a Player trains for a catastrophic event that has not yet happened—until the Calling. Once they were called, the Players set off on a journey in search of three ancient keys that will save not just their line, but the world. Two keys have now been found, and the remaining Players must find the final key—before Endgame brings about the ultimate destruction. Review: First Thoughts You know there was a point where I literally put the book down, put my head between my knees and shouted obscenities at James Frey and Nils Johnson. Honestly. I was angry because they just… ugh. Anyway. The story continues where where Sky Key left off, and the approach of Abbadon – the beginning of the end of the…

Book Review: Sky Key
Book Review / August 7, 2017

Title: Sky Key – An Endgame Novel #2 Author: James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton Genre: YA / Action Book procurement: Bought from my new favourite bookstore Estoril Books. Synopsis: Endgame is here. Earth Key has been found. Two keys—and nine Players—remain. The keys must be found, and only one Player can win. Queens, New York. Aisling Kopp believes the unthinkable: that Endgame can be stopped. But before she can get home to regroup, she is approached by the CIA. They know about Endgame. And they have their own ideas about how it should be Played. Ideas that could change everything. Kingdom of Aksum, Ethiopia. Hilal ibn Isa al-Salt narrowly survived an attack that leaves him horribly disfigured. He now knows something the other Players do not. But the Aksumites have a secret that is unique to their line. A secret that can help redeem humanity—and maybe even be used to help defeat the beings behind Endgame. London, England. Sarah Alopay has found the first key. She is with Jago—and they are winning.But getting Earth Key has come at a great cost to Sarah. The only thing that keeps the demons at bay is Playing. Playing to win. Sky Key—wherever it is, whatever it is—is next….

Book Review: Tales of Wonder
Book Review / July 24, 2017

Title: Tales of Wonder Author: E.M. Swift-Hook, Jessica Holmes, Leo McBride, Matthew Harvey, Rob Edwards, Brent A. Harris, Terri Pray, Jeff Provine, Ricardo Victoria. Genre: Science Fantasy Book procurement: Received from Inklings Press for an honest review. Synopsis: Science Fantasy is the collision of science fiction and fantasy – where the impossible and the improbable come together. This is a universe of spaceships and sorcery, of mechanics and magic, where zeppelins soar through the ether and conjurers stalk dark tunnels with a ball of light in their fist. So cut loose, let slip the mooring ropes on your imagination, and join these nine authors as they set course for the horizon – and beyond. Nine tales of science. Nine tales of fantasy. Nine tales to make you wonder. Review: First Thoughts Ah Inklings Press. Quite literally my favourite publishers right now. The talent they have “harvested” to compile their anthologies is just brilliant and once again I find myself treated to amazing stories. From the first story The Lair of the Thunderlord, right through, I fell more and more in love with this Science Fantasy genre. This intermingling of science fiction and fantasy, where magic and science coalesce with fascinating characters to enrich the stories told. Just…

Book Review: Cold Counsel
Book Review / July 24, 2017

Title: Cold Counsel Author: Chris Sharp Genre: Fantasy Book procurement: Received a copy from Tor.com for Gamecca Magazine Vol 8 Issue 90. Synopsis: In Chris Sharp’s new epic fantasy Cold Counsel, Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans. However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species—save two. Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge. For cold is the counsel of women Review: Got permission from my editor to post the Gamecca book reviews here so there’ll be more regular. The reviews in the magazine have a max 200 word count…

Book Review: The Erden Archives
Book Review / July 19, 2017

Title: The Erden Archives Author: Whisky Wilson Publisher:  BookBaby Book procurement: Received from the author for an honest review. Book on Goodreads. Release Date: Nov 1, 2016. Synopsis: The Erden Archives: A Monthly Short Fiction Series by Whisky Wilson. In a digital world, truth is numeral, and whoever holds the code can break free or enslave. Erden is a world on the brink of cataclysm.  Overpopulated and unenlightened, humanity settled into a comfortable cycle of technological progress at a considerable, hidden expense. Shadow players move people, private militaries, and entire governments in a games of winner-take-all chess.  From behind the scenes, they manipulate information, spinning the truth to ensure their supremacy. The Erden Archives shares the experiences of those who discover the dark, layered depths of truth on Erden.  To see the world below the surface, individuals must decipher the ancient history of Erden.  Hidden in myth, legend and symbolism, truth waits for their discovery on the fringes of knowledge, where technology and magic blend seamlessly. Pursued by secret organizations, these individuals struggle against all odds to discover the truth before it is too late- a truth that humanity is not prepared to receive. Jessica Barnett, a student studying abroad,  finds herself in an impossible situtation.   When…

Book Review: Doctor Sleep
Book Review / July 19, 2017

Title: Doctor Sleep (The Shinning #2) Author: Stephen King Genre: Horror Book procurement: Purchased from Exclusive Books – Greenstone Mall. Synopsis: Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever,The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes…

Book Review: 11.22.63
Book Review / July 19, 2017

Title: 11.22.63 Author: Stephen King Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton Book procurement: Bought at Exclusive Books. Release Date: Jul 5, 2012. Synopsis: Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful. Review: Gee this book was long. 700 (740 if you add author’s notes) pages of time travelling goodness. Well it started off that way…

Tales from Alternate Earths
Book Review / October 27, 2016

Title: Tales From Alternate Earths Author: Jessica Holmes, Terri Pray, Brent A. Harris, Ricardo Victoria, Rob Edwards, Cathbad Maponus, Leo McBride, Daniel M. Bensen, Maria Haskins. Publisher:  Inklings Press Book procurement: Received from publisher because they are an amazing bunch. Release Date: August 19, 2016. Synopsis: Our world could have been so very different… Eight stories take us on a journey into how our world could have been. What if the nukes had flown that day over Cuba? What if Caesar had survived? Imagine the Tunguska meteor with a different outcome. What if there was a true story behind HG Wells’ most famous tale? See the world as it might have been if China discovered the New World first. And what if all of this was never meant to be and dinosaurs ruled the Earth? Authors Jessica Holmes, Daniel M. Bensen, Terri Pray, Rob Edwards, Maria Haskins, Cathbad Maponus, Leo McBride, and collaborators Brent A. Harris and Ricardo Victoria show us the world that might have been – if the butterfly’s wings had fluttered a different way, if the world changed between heartbeats, if a moment of decision saw another choice. This is the fourth anthology from Inklings Press, aiming to provide a platform for…

A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception
Book Review / October 27, 2016

Title: A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception Author: J.D Woodson Publisher:  Royal James Publishing Book procurement: Received from publisher in return for an honest review. Release Date: October 17, 2016. Synopsis: Songstress Shanti’s final performance is no different than any other. Gazing into the mirror, the Songstress laments her faceless curse. To hide her unsightliness, she dons a beautiful mask. She knows she doesn’t belong in the darkness. Her desire is to live in a world of eternal light, to be seen for who she truly is. An enigmatic man who calls himself Avidia beckons Shanti, claiming to know how to conceive the world of light sleeping inside of her, and escape her current world of darkness, Cauraaha. Avidia poses the question that will be the key to her desire, as well as an unresolved pain: “What is your first memory?” Reno, a gentle florist, has his own stigma, a translucent coil of thorns wrapped around his arm, draining him of life at the utterance of the word “Promise”. Hidden away in his heart is the knowledge of a past he doesn’t wish to face, one that connects to Shanti, Avidia, and her curse. A dual narrative of introspection and self-discovery, A Space Between…