Thursday, 23 June 2016

Book Review - Paradise by Jason K Lewis

I was a bit disappointed with this book, in part because it's actually a short story and not a longer piece that I'd expected from the blurb. Which will teach me not to check the number of pages first. Not that I don't enjoy short stories, and indeed, I was quickly drawn into the world portrayed.

It's very well written, and the seemingly sedate entry with the family waiting in line to be sent to Paradise really drew me in. It worked well to get to know the family and also establish the circumstances of this near future world. There's definitely something sinister at play, this becomes apparent through the characters beyond the family, but also with a lovely throw away line from the mother.

All too quickly the story ended, which was a big shame as I'd enjoyed the build-up so far, and then encountered my biggest problem with the story - it just ends. No matter how short the story there should be a conclusion. There isn't one here, it reads like the opening chapters of a longer book, which apparently is in the works, but not available yet.

As the opening of a longer story it works well, so much so that I'm looking forward to it, but as a stand alone short story it is sadly lacking.


How much would you give for a ticket to Paradise? How much would you give for the chance to start anew, without the stresses and strains of modern life?
John Carlton and his family just won the trip of a lifetime and they can't wait to get started in the brave new world that awaits them.
Simon Swanson wishes he had a ticket. He dreams of walking on fine coral beaches with the sun burning overhead, but for now he watches, happy that some, at least, have the hope of a good life.
Michael Judd is going to save the world and he won't let anything stop him.
Five lives intertwine in a tale of hope, redemption and salvation on the journey to Paradise.

Praise for Jason K. Lewis...

"...leaves you on the edge of a thread, dangling, really wanting more..."

"...Lewis has a knack for quickly developing characters through their behaviours...complexities are expressed with power and subtlety..."

Click here to buy Paradise from Amazon


Currently Reading - Wasteland Gods by Jonathan Woodrow



After the brutal murder of his son is broadcast over the internet, Billy Kingston becomes consumed with alcoholism and thoughts of revenge.

But his outlook changes when a divine being named Dr. Verity offers Billy the chance to not only find the man responsible for his pain but to remove him from this world before he can commit the murder.

When the deal with Verity takes a wrong turn, Billy moves to the small, remote town of Benton Lake and the chance of a new life. Only Dr. Verity isn’t through with him yet. Not by a long shot...

Click here to buy Wasteland Gods from Amazon

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Book Review - Circus of Horrors by Carole Gill

I found this book a bit of a mixed bag. It starts well with a trio of cannibal clowns, but loses it's way a bit. The scene is set well with a failing troupe of circus performers who have the fortune to meet a charismatic man who turns their fortunes around. Quite naturally things are not what they seem and this man interferes in their lives in a dramatic fashion. It's here that the book needed more work. This character should have felt more sinister than it did, and indeed to an extent this issues covers the whole story.

The elements are certainly there, and there are some intense horror moments, but they are an exception. These tended to be more limited to the more physical shock horror, but the story cried out for something more insidious. I feel that it needed more of an undercurrent to make the shocking moments a bit more fitting.

There's an interesting array of characters, but apart from a few exceptions they lacked depth, and some more development with them would have helped strengthen the plot. In some ways the number on offer fights against some of the more personal conflicts at play.

The biggest issues for me were the reveals. First you learn the secrets of two of the main characters, and they come out of the blue and make a big claims. To be honest they felt a little forced, and would have enjoyed greater impact as acts in themselves, rather than trying to force them to certain historical events.

Beyond this was the end reveal, and a change in circumstances. Again it felt too much, and wasn't really needed. With some more development the circus itself had all the horror the story needed, and the ramp up at the end could have been something more meaningful. That being said I did enjoy the choice at the end, although it didn't really fit with the characters behaviour throughout the book.

It's true that I had issues with the story, but the writing was solid, and it's a fast paced read. It has some bizarre moments, and I did enjoy it overall. Worth a look if you're searching for something a bit different. I should warn you that it's not for the squamish!



WARNING: THIS IS A DISTURBING TALE! IT IS FOR FANS OF BIZARRE, ADULT HORROR. THERE IS GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, STRONG, LANGUAGE AND SEXUAL SCENES *************
What exactly is wrong with this circus? There are demonic, flesh-eating clowns, murderous midgets, there is a fat lady with some peculiar tastes (to put it mildly) and there is an old man with one hell of a secret. Old Pa keeps a trunk with some very special souvenirs. When a stranger joins up who has second sight (among other talents) the old man's son gets nervous.
There are a lot of very strange beings not to mention a succubus or two and some beings from hell.

Click here to buy Circus of Horrors from Amazon


Currently Reading - Paradise by Jason K Lewis


How much would you give for a ticket to Paradise? How much would you give for the chance to start anew, without the stresses and strains of modern life?
John Carlton and his family just won the trip of a lifetime and they can't wait to get started in the brave new world that awaits them.
Simon Swanson wishes he had a ticket. He dreams of walking on fine coral beaches with the sun burning overhead, but for now he watches, happy that some, at least, have the hope of a good life.
Michael Judd is going to save the world and he won't let anything stop him.
Five lives intertwine in a tale of hope, redemption and salvation on the journey to Paradise.

Praise for Jason K. Lewis...

"...leaves you on the edge of a thread, dangling, really wanting more..."

"...Lewis has a knack for quickly developing characters through their behaviours...complexities are expressed with power and subtlety..."

Click here to buy Paradise from Amazon

Monday, 20 June 2016

Book Review - War Factory by Neal Asher

There aren't many authors whose latest releases push their way to the front of my TBR list, but Neal Asher is one of them. He's one of my favourite contemporary science fiction authors, and I'm always eager to read his latest offering. The main reason for this isn't just the craft of his writing (good as it is), but the strength of his world building. The Polity universe is an interesting, and diverse place. There is a wealth of technological wonders there, but also a balance.

Although the balance isn't so obvious with some of the characters, especially with the rogue AI Penny Royal who manipulates circumstances, AI, human and Prador alike to its on ends. It is there though, resting upon the fine edge which events waver.

I didn't like one aspect to the technology - I'm not a big fan of time travel in stories. The handling in this book is different to the approaches I've seen before, and used in a novel fashion.

The story continues straight from the first book, with Penny Royal seemingly plotting to address problems for the Prador and the Polity that he created. These all centre around the War Factory, and it's this character that I found most fascinating. Even more so because its never dealt with directly in the story, you learn aboiut it through the memories and actions of the central characters. The AIs in the universe often seem like god-like beings with staggering intelligence. They have their flaws though, and that makes the story compelling.

The cast of characters continue from the first, and so continue to evolve due to their own actions and from Penny Royal's machinations. We get to meet the Prador King, and that is another of the author's strengths. He provides a convincing realism to the aliens in his story, in particular with their biology. Their motivations aren't quite so distinct, although maybe that says something about the universality of life's desires.

Another new character, that appears is a forensic AI, and here we have a glimpse of what Penny Royal will face in the next book. I can't wait!




Thorvald Spear, resurrected from his death over a hundred years earlier, continues to hunt Penny Royal, the rogue AI and dangerous war criminal on the run from Polity forces. Beyond the Graveyard, a lawless and deadly area in deep space, Spear follows the trail of several enemy Prador, the crab-like alien species with a violent history of conflict with humanity.

Click here to buy War Factory from Amazon



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