Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review - Relic Tech by Terry W. Ervin II

The Silicate War has been over for fifteen years, and the tension among the dominant galactic races is growing. Many fear that the Umblegarri, the ancient alien race that ushered humanity into the interstellar galactic community during the Silicate War, have been targeted for conquest by the Crax and their allies.

It’s no longer speculation. The invasion is underway and Kra finds himself strapped to a hospital bed, critically injured and surrounded by hostile corporate lawyers, high ranking military and intelligence officials, ambitious members of the criminal justice apparatus, and an Umbelgarri diplomat. All are demanding answers or their pound of flesh.

Krakista Keesay, a Class 4 Security Specialist, doesn’t have the answers they demand. Why did he sabotage a top secret research facility? What was he doing on a quarantined planet? Why did he set up the civil transport Kalavar for destruction? Is that all? Not even close.

Kra turns to his only option: Allow his brain to be hooked up to an experimental device so that he might prove his innocence.

Or lose his mind.

Reivew by: Scott

5 stars

Relic Tech by Terry W. Ervin II is a fantastic book.  He uses a similar style to his First Civilization novels, with the beginning of each chapter having a small amount of italicized text that explains a bit about the world.  These short bursts of info reveal relevant background in small doses keeping the story moving since there are no awkward info dumps.  The technology used ranges from some weapons that we have today to much much greater levels.  There are also alien devices that shame anything humanity has managed to come up with.

Specialist Keesay, or Kra, starts off critically injured with no memory of what happened to him and is immediately brought up on charges that would scare anyone.  In order to spite the lawyer who is supposed to be his representative, but doesn't seem to be doing much to help, he volunteers himself for a memory probe.  The device is able to enter his brain and pull his memories out on video so everyone can see what actually happened even if he himself can't seem to recall them.  The only issue is there is a good chance it will turn him into a vegetable.

This establishes a bit of a mystery feel to the book right off the bat.  That is further supported by the fact that Keesay and his escort are attacked while trying to get to the transport to take him to his appointment.

Kra was a great character who I grew to like through the book.  Being a relic tech gets him looked down on quite a bit, but he just uses that to his advantage when people underestimate him.  He is a smart guy who is extremely combat capable and a bit lucky as well.  He makes himself some fine friends and some terrible enemies and those characters each have distinct personalities to love or hate as well.

The book has a very fast pace with enough action to keep you wanting to turn the page and enough character development to care about the people who are fighting.  As I said earlier there are several secondary characters that you will come to care enough about that you don't want to see them die when the aliens are attacking.

If you have read and enjoyed any of Terry's other books this should be a no brainer for you.  If you love the scifi/space opera genres than this book is worth the price for sure, even if you don't read them very often this is a great book to test the waters.  I highly recommend picking up a copy of this and look forward to the next book in the series.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Reivew - Doctor Lovebeads by Gary Reilly

In Doctor Lovebeads, the fifth in novelist Gary Reilly's Asphalt Warrior series, Murph must go undercover to accomplish his mission. He lets his hair go untamed, dresses in muslin and sandals and arrives on the scene in a beat-up VW van called the Cosmic Wonderbus and Mobile Mercantile.

Murph tries to pass himself off as an old love child in his confrontation with Brother Chakra. As the good Brother might say, It's a mind-blowing trip.

Review by: Scott

5 stars

Doctor Lovebeads is the fifth book in the Asphalt Warrior series by Gary Reilly.  Once again after doing a good deed and getting himself too involved in the lives of those around him Murph is called back to the station to talk to the police.  This time a couple of young ladies that Murph took to a concert, for free, are missing.  After tracking them down to a farm on the outskirts of town Murph must disguise himself as a flower child to get past the gate and try to find the young ladies that have caused him all this trouble.

This particular version of Murph is probably the most comedic yet.  Listening to his thoughts as he tries to fit in to a community that he would avoid if he could provides some hilarious moments.  As I already stated this is the fifth book in the series.  Murph is an established character and his personality hasn't really changed, there is just a bit more of him revealed.

If you are a fan of the series you'll continue to enjoy it through this book.  If you've never heard of the series pick up one of the books and give it a shot.  You're in for an enjoyable read.

Review - Home for the Holidays by Gary Reilly

Taxi driver, Brendan Murphy, abandons his cab and the mean streets of Denver for his hometown, his dear ol' Maw, and an Irish Catholic clan the size of County Cork. It's Christmastime in Wichita.

The fourth book in the Asphalt Warrior series has Murph reluctantly re-establishing relationships with his brother and sisters while trying to save an old friend from making a soul-killing mistake: seeking a socially acceptable job.

It will take all of his persuasive powers to rescue Jimmy Callahan from The Suits. That, and maybe a Christmas miracle.

Review by: Scott

4.5 stars

Home for the Holidays is the fourth book in the Asphalt Warrior series by Gary Reilly.  I love spending time inside the head of Murph.  The way that he looks at life is fantastic and at time hilarious.  The other books in this series work pretty well as standalone stories (I still haven't read the first one) I think reading one or more of the others would let you appreciate this book more.  The essence of Murph is his philosophy about life that he realizes through his taxi driving, and he doesn't spend much time doing that in this one.

The fact that he isn't in his taxi as much does make this excellent for fans of the series though as it reveals a lot more about Murph's past.  The stories of the things he and his brother did as kids are pretty awesome and the way that his mother still manages to manipulate him, even though he knows that's exactly what she is doing are a lot of fun.

With or without his cab Murph is still Murph though.  He manages to get himself wrangled into driving someone that he went to highschool with home, despite having not seen him since highschool.  To the surprise of no one familiar with the series that leads Murph to getting much more involved in someone's life than he is especially comfortable with, but feeling that he must do his best to help out his fellow man.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review - The Pearl Savage by Tamara Rose Blodgett

Seventeen-year old princess, Clara Williamson, lives an old-fashioned existence in a biosphere of the future.

When her sadistic mother, Queen Ada, betroths her to an abusive prince of a neighboring sphere, Clara determines to escape Outside where savages roam free.

Clara escapes tyranny only to discover the savages are not the only people who survived the cataclysmic events of one hundred forty years prior.

Once Outside, Clara finds herself trapped, unable to return to the abusive life of the sphere while facing certain danger Outside.

Can Clara find love and freedom with the peril that threatens to consume her?

Review by:  Scott

4 stars

The Pearl Savage by Tamara Rose Blodgett takes place in a world that has seen better days.  The advanced societies were protected from whatever even wrecked the air of the world by living inside of high tech biospheres.  Although everything in them seems to be run on steam so it's a forward/backward kind of thing.

Princess Clara is the primary character of the book and her life isn't what you would think for a princess.  Her father died a few years ago and since then her mother (who has never cared for her) now openly despises her.  In her mind Clara is something to sell off as a wife to a neighboring kingdom so she can stay wasted off of the wine they produce.  Luckily for Clara she is a sincerely good person and has some pretty incredible friends to help her deal with her horrible mother.  After meeting her husband-to-be and finding out what her life could be become she is left with no choice but to escape into the possibly tainted outside world.  It is well known that there are savages that still exist outside the domes, but they are the creatures of nighttime horror stories told to keep children in line.  The reality of the savages are they are a simple people who are in trouble.  They would like to communicate with the people inside the domes to try to get help, but aren't sure that it will do any good.

I became of fan of Tamara's writing while reading her Death Speaks series.  To be perfectly honest I was a little iffy on this one as it gets advertised a bit as a romance and that is a slippery slope for me.  I will have to say however that just like the romantic elements in her other series it is not overwhelming.  There is a stronger romantic theme in this book than I normally enjoy, but it is done well and there is plenty of character development and action to keep me attention focused on the book.

The book has a wonderfully unique setting inside the domes.  Completely contained and totally self reliant biospheres powered by steam populated by a Victorian Era society.  That scored some pretty big points with me as I love the idea behind steampunk and this book has a bit of that feel to it.  This is a great book for highschool plus readers, as it has a bit of graphic content, and anyone who enjoys post apocalyptic stories and romances.

Review copy provided by the author.