Category Archives: Action/Adventure

Book Review – “Out of the London Mist” by Lyssa Medana

Review: My favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction, yet I am also a long time lover of gothics, and the rise of steampunk writing is the perfect opportunity to enjoy them all. In “Out of the London Mist”, an even greater, insidious mystery unfolds as John Farnley searches for his brother’s killer, and finds a string of murders all interconnected and which must be solved… or more people surely will die.  He is assisted by others in his search for the Truth, most notably by his sister-in-law Clara, and a known colleague Sylvia Armley.

The effort to create atmospheric, believable settings on the streets and in the townhomes of London past is noticeable from the very first page, and continues throughout. I also particularly liked that the dialogue was well-done, a skill some writers do not seem to understand. You can have extended conversations that provide important clues, move the story along and give insight into your characters personalities, yet still creatively goes beyond, “He said/She said”. I felt Medana did so effectively in the novel, as well as describing action scenes in a way readers could easily visualize them.

I would have enjoyed more backstory on how the new Lord Farnley knew Sylvia, what their previous adventures may have entailed, as well as more information on the nature of Aether, a worldbuilding expansion that could more firmly root readers in how this London was uniquely different than that of our reality’s past. Yet overall, I felt it was a solid, very enjoyable novel that progresses naturally and smoothly, and a bar a couple of personal questions about terminology for non-English characters, I would definitely recommend “Out of the London Mist”. It lends itself well to a sequel or possible series.


Description: “When news of his brother’s murder reached him, aether pilot John Farnley raced back to his old family home.

While he comforts his bereaved sister-in-law, and tries to sort the family business and holdings, he also wonders why his brother, Lord Nicholas Farnley, had ventured into the cramped streets of the East End of London where he had met his violent end. The slums are a deadly place where life was cheap and murderous thugs preyed on the weak and lost.

Now, in the midst of a thick, London fog, something even more monstrous is waiting in the mist-shrouded shadows. Something that has been brought to life by the refugees crowding Bethnal Green and Mile End. Something his brother might have had a hand in creating.

Aided by his friend, the resourceful Miss Sylvia Armley, his own understanding of the aether lines that flow above London, and guided by the erudite advice of Professor Entwistle, John is forced to find his way through the darkest part of London to avenge his brother and stop whatever aether powered monster is lurking there.”

    • Genre: Steampunk
    • Publisher: Three Furies Press, LLC
    • Published on 23 July 2020
    • Available online Amazon, in print Barnes & Nobles
    • Source: Author

 

Author Profile

Lyssa Medana is a 51 year old author living in West Yorkshire, UK. Her works include The Forgotten Village, Digging up the Past, Cats in the Bible, Dinner at Dark and Tales from the White Hart. Lyssa also regularly publishes poems and short stories on her blog, Always Another Chapter.

Lyssa is fascinated by the odd, the quirky and the unusual and enjoys dipping in to old folklore and English social history, which she shamelessly uses for her writing. Her hobbies include knitting, reading and heckling history documentaries.

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Retro Neon Super Life By Brendan Borba

Review: Heavy on description, many were completely imaginable, and vividly so, though like a bright, flashing scene viewed too long: it can be tiring. But considering the synopsis of Retro Neon Super Life, a “boundary testing unreality; a glittery, vibrant cyber-world,” that is exactly what the author might have been trying to convey, and so seemed to have achieved this aim.

You’ll have to suspend disbelief or either immerse yourself fully, accepting of whatever comes, and though a short novel or longer novella at almost 115 pages, initially you’re provided with a lot of information rapidfire. Why and how, a seemingly average, level-headed young man came to be in the situation he was: coming in contact with drugs, people, and ways of living for which he was unprepared and unfamiliar. These things were the bulk of the “rapid download.”

There was some POV tics and lack of punctuation that had me rereading for clarity a few times, and I felt the story could have benefited from clearer breaks in scenes or character flashbacks, but even referencing the issues I felt were in the story: I felt Retro Neon Super Life was a little gem that more people should read and enjoy. I felt the author’s strong vision, could understand the emotions and motivations of April and Jake Avery, the main characters. Minus a few things that could be teaked, it is a stand-out piece, and a cover more suggestive of content might help make it more so.

Description:  “Gritty and mesmerizing, Retro Neon Super Life follows Jake, a straight laced, hard working victim of identity theft and Alice, a young product of the digital age as they traverse the glittery, vibrant cyber-world. But all is not as it seems. Beneath the polished, user friendly surface lurks something much darker. In a world that is not real, it is the question of self that tests all boundaries.”

  • Published: June 13, 2012
    ISBN: 9781476178233
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure
  • Source: Author

Author Profile

Brendan Borba was born in Burnaby, BC, on April 27, 1988. He currently still resides in the metro Vancouver area and writes books about pretty much whatever he feels like. Get in touch with him at brendanborba@hotmail.ca. Blog site http://brendanborba.wordpress.com/the-novels/.

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Sirian Summer by John Bowers

Review: With a strong dash U.S. “Old West” flair, Sirian Summer is the first in the Nick Walker UF Marshal series, which is primarily a scif/fantasy work reminiscent of the “Firefly” universe created by Joss Whedon.

It’s a stylish book, in that I felt it was the author’s intention to have it read like an epic film can flow, with distinct characters and events designed to draw response from reader/viewers so you scarcely notice some of the little awkward writing methods that usually can bother me: the propensity to describe scene after scene, or certain items frequently without enough transitions that made reading easier. That stuttered the narrative for me at times, but overall the action and story were good, the characters vivid, and Nick Walker was a main player that compelled attention and eventually respect.

As a former law enforcement officer myself, I recognized some of the terms and behaviors that added an authentic touch, which I am sure the author will expand in future books, and there are some many possibilities for new story lines. Neatly written and nicely formatted, I have to add this particular publisher always turns out solid products from authors who really have strong stories to share. A great read for scifi/fantasy fans who enjoy a western touch in their adventures.

Description: “When Nick Walker arrives on Sirius 1 to take over the United Federation Marshal’s office at Kline Corners, his first priority is to find out who murdered the man he is replacing, Ron Gates. But Kline Corners is like no place he has ever seen — it looks like an Ancient West cow town, complete with sheriff and saloon.

…moreThe Nick Walker UF Marshal series.

When Nick Walker arrives on Sirius 1 to take over the United Federation Marshal’s office at Kline Corners, his first priority is to find out who murdered the man he is replacing, Ron Gates. But Kline Corners is like no place he has ever seen — it looks like an Ancient West cow town, complete with sheriff and saloon.

But things are not what they seem. Nick soon discovers an epidemic of missing girls, talk of racial oppression, and outright human slavery. If he can get to the bottom of those issues, he may learn who murdered Ron Gates.”

 

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction

That Which Is Human by Bruce C. Davis

Review: There are those books out there that one wonders how they escaped more general notice, but with the e-book market as it is, maybe that’s not so hard a thing to believe. Some genres seem to get more notice than others, though as a long time fan of sci-fi and fantasy, I’m always on the search for capable authors I’ve not read before to supplement writers I always return to. Many fellow fans seem to be the same.

If you enjoy more of the sci-fi sub-genres that gravitate towards the heavily detailed and militaristic, “aliens versus humans versus humans who’d allied themselves with the aliens,” “That Which Is Human”, would certainly be a recommended read. I can appreciate the camaraderie and discipline often associated with armed forces personnel or situations, but it’s not a lifestyle or profession I believe in, admire or like, so for me, that aspect of the story I didn’t care for, and as it was central to the core of it, that was hard to deal with. Just the same, although some phrases or characters seemed a bit like cliqués at times, the writing is sound and there’s clear purpose and planning evident in the whole. Plenty of hard core action for the military sci-fi fan, deep enough emotional content and characterization that others could also be satisfied.

Description: The war with the Rilz is pushing humanity to its limits and Intruder pilot Lt. Alan ‘Mac’ McAllister and his flying partner ‘Ivan’ Ivchenko are in the thick of the fighting. Battling the Lizards is bad enough, but fighting a planet full of rebel humans tests their friendship and Mac’s integrity as a Naval pilot. But the biggest test for Mac is maintaining his own sanity in the face of a creeping dependence on the electronic link that allows him to fly the most advanced combat spacecraft ever devised. When a vicious counter attack by the Rilz places the lives of his ex-wife and her new family in harms way, he must set aside that which is still human within him in a final showdown with mankind’s most implacable enemy.

AKW Books’ “2009 Fiction Novel of the Year”.


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Deadly Heritage by Toni Leland

Review: What I liked most about “Deadly Heritage” was that from the opening paragraph the author achieved a strong narrative which was both knowledgeable and straightforward without being mundane or ordinary even though the introductory topic was what might be a common occurence with horse owners and lovers. There was a no-nonsense, direct tone which I found very refreshing. I felt the author’s belief in their story, characters and direction. There was no ambiguity about what was going on and the likely direction the story was headed. It did take me a number of pages to get used to the style of the writer, which for me was a little abrupt, as I found the descriptions somewhat unusual yet they were outstanding.

The main character was strong yet willing to admit having made mistakes in life. To me, this made her very believable and empathetic. I wanted to know what would happen to her. Her problems became my problems, and I wanted her to succeed in her fight against those intending harm for her and those for which she cared. As a rider myself, I enjoyed the descriptions of the horses, their definite personalities and the love with which they were presented. But even more so, though I personally found the heroine’s actions exasperating at times, the romantic factor was as poignant as anything I’ve ever felt when still caring for a former lover after choosing someone else.

I found that yet again, and I was not surprised, although a self-published title, there was nothing of “second rate” or “unacceptable” (as if to a publishing house) about it. “Deadly Heritage” matched or exceeded the basic standards I’ve observed in the thousands of books I’ve read.

Description: Somebody is stalking horse breeder Kellie Sutton, and the one person who can protect her is the man whose heart she broke 15 years ago.
A series of vicious attacks on Kellie s champion Quarter Horses brings devastation to her ranch and former sweetheart Ed Campbell back into her life, only this time as the new local sheriff.

Mystery surrounds the wounds inflicted on the animals, then a sharp-eyed veterinarian confirms that someone is out to destroy Kellie and everything she loves.

Publication Date: October 13, 2009

Publisher: Toni Leland

Genre: Romantic suspense, Thriller, Equestrian Fiction

Buylink: Smashwords

Source: Author

Author Bio

Toni Leland has been writing for over 25 years. She is the author of five equestrian novels, a paranormal romance, and two juvenile chapter books. Her short stories have appeared in Arabella Romance Magazine, True Story, Bylines Writer’s Calendar, From the Heart anthologies, and Horse Tales for the Soul.

Toni writes weekly articles for international gardening site, Dave’s Garden (http://www.davesgarden.com); as a spokesman for the Ohio State University Master Gardener program in Muskingum County, she produces the monthly newsletter Connections and has written a biweekly newspaper column on gardening; she writes feature articles for Grit magazine (grit.com), Over the Back Fence regional magazine (overthebackfence.com), Country Living, and Romance Writers Report (trade publication for Romance Writers of America).

In her day job as an editor, she assists authors with manuscripts and publishing, as well as scripting and producing educational DVDs about caring for Miniature Horses; she also writes and edits books about this unique height breed (http://www.smallhorse.com).

Visit Toni at http://www.tonileland.com and follow her writing blog at http://manuscriptmusings.blogspot.com

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Contemporary Fiction, Reviews, Romance