Cover of Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves

Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews the first novel by author S.D. Reeves.

Curses of Scale is an unusually somber tale of love, fey magic, and cursed dragons. It follows Calem, a druid who made a bargain with the fey Oberon in an attempt to break the curse on his wife; Niena, an aspiring bard with a head full of dreams; and Marny, an old soldier and grandfather to Niena.

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Cover of Save Our Souls by Leighton Dean

Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews the second novel by author Leighton Dean.

The aptly-named Save Our Souls follows pilot and Captain’s son, Ford, and his family, the crew of the freighter Jian Seng, as they fight to survive in the face of an unholy trinity of catastrophes. The seemingly lifeless ship that barreled into their craft is only the first salvo of a universe that seems intent on eliminating the crew of the Jian Seng in the most unpleasant ways possible.

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 Welcome to the Madhouse: a Medical Space Station Thriller by S.E. Sasaki

Welcome to the Madhouse chronicles the adventures of Dr. Grace Lord as she begins her residency aboard the medical space station Nelson Mandela. Plenty of challenges are in store, from eccentric surgeons to a dangerously manipulative psychiatrist to an alien super-virus, but Dr. Lord is not entirely on her own: she soon finds an unlikely ally in Bud, an android gifted with artificial intelligence.

In fact, Bud is more than just sentient: he feels human emotion. And from the moment he lays optical sensors on the extremely talented, smart, and beautiful Dr. Grace Lord, he falls madly in love with her.

Continue reading “Review: Welcome to the Madhouse”

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 Cover of Darrell B. Nelson's The Genocide Game.

This week on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews The Genocide Game. A megalomaniac billionaire with an automation fetish plots to wipe out ninety-eight percent of the world’s population, and it falls to Stan– pick-up artist guru and self-proclaimed word-nerd– to save the world.

To be more accurate, Stan bumps into Raven, a scientist on the run from her job in the billionaire’s R&D lab, and offers to help her. Pretty soon they’re both on the run from Ferguson’s comically inept goons, racing to reveal the existence of a genetically engineered super-virus before Ferguson can unleash it on the world.

Although it sounds like a cool premise, The Genocide Game has some unfortunately fatal flaws. Let’s start with Stan.

Continue reading “Darrell B. Nelson’s The Genocide Game”

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Akrad's Children cover

The first book in the Akrad’s Legacy series, Akrad’s Children follows siblings Dinnis, who always believed his father would return to save him, and Ista, who embraced the teachings of the cruel sorcerer who held them prisoner. Caught up in their story is Mannok, the siblings’ half-brother, crown prince of Tamra and heir to the throne of Akrad’s enemies.

While I’m not generally a fan of stories about young adults struggling to find their place in the world, this tale is so beautifully written and the characters so adeptly portrayed that I found myself really enjoying their story. I would even go as far as to say that Akrad’s Children is a classic in the making.

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Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews Armand Rosamilia’s Dirty Deeds.

I get paid to erase problems.

Did your extramarital affair produce an unwanted complication? Family problems? Just want to enjoy your midlife crisis by yourself?

That’s where I come in. For a fee I’ll take care of it. A big fee.

Dirty Deeds is a crime novel with a twist– and not the kind you’d expect. The protagonist is an aging hitman with a big secret: he spirits away the children he’s been paid to kill, setting them up with an adoption agency that places them with loving new families. Or at least, so he thinks.

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Welcome to the Holy City at Summer’s End. The border with the Otherworld is razor thin. Shadowfest is coming. Malevolent spirits and monsters roam. Dark forces are plotting to seize power. The past has come back to haunt Brona the Apothecary and Aurelian the Investigator. Revenge can be a double-edged sword, as Morven the Mage once discovered. And Death may be the least of their worries…

In Shadowfest, author D.J. Reid spins a clever murder mystery out of Celtic and Greco-Roman myth and folklore. It’s a delightfully complex tale, with endearingly well-rounded characters, hidden motives, eldritch magic, and mythical creatures galore.

Continue reading “Shadowfest: More Than Meets the Eye”

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In honor of the fact that it’s the holidays and life is supposed to be cheerful, this week’s blog is devoted to my review of S.E. Anderson’s Starstruck.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I had been assured that it was science fiction, and the description compares it to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. On the other hand, the cover looks a bit like the love child of a hard scifi novel and a romance. Suffice to say I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by how the story played out.

Continue reading “Review: S.E. Anderson’s Starstruck”

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This week on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews a book about his home town that gets almost everything wrong. That’s right, it’s Craig Martelle’s Endure: End Times in Alaska!

Endure has garnered a lot of criticism for eschewing the explicit violence, conservative values, and thinly-veiled racism that are common components of the Post-Apocalyptic genre. I have no problem with that. The problem lies in the fact that Martelle hasn’t replaced the those themes with anything of substance. There’s no conflict. There’s never any real sense that Chuck and his family are in jeopardy. Endure is a survival story without the survival.

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Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews Trackers: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Series by Nicholas Sansbury Smith.
Warning: contains spoilers.

As the title suggests, the Trackers series chronicles the struggles of the survivors of an apocalyptic event. That event is the detonation of several high-altitude EMPs over the contiguous United States. The attack is ostensibly retaliation for an ill-conceived mission which liberated the granddaughter of a US Senator from a North Korean prison camp.

Trackers begins with the inciting raid, then cuts to the day of the EMP strike. In regards to the science of the attack and how it might realistically be carried out, Sansbury Smith did his homework. Trackers contains one of the more believable end-of-the-world scenarios I’ve read.

The meat of the story concerns a gruesome murder mystery playing out at the same time as the attack and its aftermath. Compared to the stagnant fare of “the world is screwed and we’re trying to stay alive” that dominates the Post-Apocalyptic genre, this premise comes across as fresh and interesting. The rest of the novel, sadly, is more standard post-apocalyptic fare.

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