Thursday, July 28, 2011

Updates and More: Muscle Memory 2. Beast Within 2. Never Never Stories. Seeded. Monster Hunter Alpha. Ghost Story.

It's been a long time since last I updated with interesting upcoming titles, so, here's a new update.

Steve Lowe's continues the story to his Bizarro Novella Muscle Memory published earlier this year by Eraserhead Press, with a free four part serial which he has been posting to his blog, called Muscle Memory 2: More Memory, More Muscle. For those of you who have read Muscle Memory and enjoyed it as much as I did, you can jump on over to Steve's site HERE and read the first few serials and catch up.

The continuing story includes many of the same characters from Muscle Memory, as well as a whole new can of worms.

On the short story front, Graveside Tales, publisher of such novels as The Wide Game by Michael West and Huffer by Michael Hultquist, have released their newest anthology. Beast Within 2: Predator & Prey includes such talented and amazing authors as: JG Faherty, Joshua Reynolds, Richard Farnsworth and Michael West.

Here's the synopsis: Predator and prey. Hunter and hunted. These aren't your usual shapeshifter stories. These are the stories of bears, tigers, spiders, birds and more. Werewolves in steampunk England. Werespiders in Japan. Werepelicans in Louisiana. Wereferrets in New York. This is an anthology that shifts the normal perceptions of who is the predator and who is the prey. Come take a walk on the wild side with the most unusual of guides and enjoy Beast Within 2.

It's out now and ready for you to purchase. Take your pick: Barnes and Noble,, or

Also soon to see print in trade-paperback sometime in August, is author Jason Sanford's new collection of stories called Never Never Stories. Out now in e-book, Never Never Stories is published through Spotlight Publishing.

Here's a list of the ten stories that will see print:

  • The Ships Like Clouds, Risen by Their Rains
  • When Thorns Are The Tips of Trees
  • Here We Are, Falling Through Shadows
  • Rumspringa
  • Millisent Ka Plays in Realtime
  • Memoria
  • Peacemaker, Peacemaker, Little Bo Peep
  • Into the Depths of Illuminated Seas
  • A Twenty-First Century Fairy Love Story
  • The Never Never Wizard of Apalachicola
For more information, check out Jason Sanford's website for details on signed and numbered editions of Never Never Stories for cheap. And if the whole signed and numbered edition thing isn't for you, have no fear, you can still order it through these fine retailers: Barnes and Noble,, and your local Indy bookstore.

Look for a review for this title in the near future.

One of my favorite books from last year was Brine by Adrienne Jones. I'm happy to announce that Adrienne currently has another novel expected to release sometime next month. Seeded is Jones' newest novel from Mundania Press. Here's the synopsis for Seeded: 

Callum Doherty picks up a trinket from an odd jewelry dealer at a hippie music festival, "a good luck charm" the man tells him. But days after clasping the pendant around his neck, he discovers it can't be removed. After visiting every locksmith and jeweler in the city with no success, he reluctantly accepts he's stuck with the thing.

But when an overwhelming burst of success transforms him into a wealthy superstar overnight, he wonders what other sudden life changes are linked to the pendant -- like the terrifying shapeshifters he spies following him through the city slinking around his property, and watching him while he sleeps.

You can currently pick up Seeded for the kindle, HERE.

Look for a review for this title in the near future, as well.

It's been almost a year, and fans are still clamoring for more of Owen Pitt and the Monster Hunter International crew. Well, faithful and loyal readers, have no fear: Monster Hunter Alpha just hit bookshelves. Which means that you shouldn't be reading this right now. Instead, you should be comfortably situated with your very own copy of Monster Hunt Alpha with your favorite drink and snack. For those of you who still aren't convinced, here's the synopsis from the back of the book:

Pitt never met a monster he couldn't shoot -- Except one. Earl Harbinger may be the leader of Monster Hunter International, but he's also got a secret. Nearly a century ago, Earl was cursed to be a werewolf. When Earl receives word that one of his oldest foes, a legendarily vicious werewolf that worked for the KGB, has mysteriously appeared in the remote woods of Michigan, he decides to take care of some unfinished business.

But Another force is working to bring about the creation of a whole new species of werewolf. When darkness falls, the final hunt begins, and the only thing standing in their way is a handful of locals, a lot of firepower, and Earl Harbinger's stubborn refusal to roll over and play dead.

And if that doesn't convince you that Monster Hunter International is a book you should be reading right now, then you should be slapped. You can find copies HERE and HERE.

A full review for Monster Hunter Alpha will be posted very shortly. Look for it soon.

And finally, last but not least, is a title that geeks and nerds the world over have been waiting to get their grubby little hands on since they put down the last Harry Dresden novel. Ghost Story, after having been pushed back another several months, has finally seen the light of day. For those who don't know what it's about, here's the synopsis for it:

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unkown assassin.

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has no body, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spireits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends -- and his own soul -- Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

And there you go, folks. Not a lot to go off of, but enough to satiate your craving just a little longer...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hard Spell Book Review

Title: Hard Spell
Author: Justin Gustainis
Publisher: Angry Robot
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780857661159

We humans are not alone. In an alternate timeline, the reader is informed that Supernaturals, or "Supes" walk among us. Since the end WWII Supes have been given the same rights as humans, whether they be goblins, werewolves, vampires, witches, ghouls, or trolls. Throw in the element of a supernatural, the knowledge and experience it would take to solve a murder involving a werewolf or vampire, and you get The Supernatural Crimes Investigations Unit.

Scranton, Pennsylvania: a hotbed for all things that go bump in the night. It's also Detective Sergeant Stanley Markowski's beat. As a member of The Supernatural Crimes Investigations Unit, or the "Supe Squad," it's up to Markowski and his partner to solve any crimes or murders involving supernaturals.

What starts as a typical night for Markowski and his partner Renfer, turns into something far worse than either of them could have ever imagined. When the two arrive on scene they realize that the victim was a Vampire. But unlike most vampires, and most cases, the victim in question has three very unfamiliar symbols carved into his body. It's these three symbols that send Markowski and Renfer racing to stop a very, very bad thing from happening.

Gustainis doesn't mess around. Within the first thirty pages of Hard Spell Gustainis does three things incredibly well: he introduces you to the main character of the novel, explains the highlights of the Supernatural's history, and the slang and terminology the reader will need to understand what's going in the book. Although there isn't too much slang used, Gustainis still makes the reader aware.

On a whim I decided to review this book. And I'm damn glad I did. In less than nine hours, and one sitting, I had devoured Hard Spell from cover to cover, including the ten page excerpt for Evil Dark, the next book in the series. To say that I loved it was an understatement.

Admittidly at first, I had my reservations about Hard Spell. After reading the synopsis on the back cover I was afraid that it would read like every episode of CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, or every other CSI knock-off on television today, just with a bit fangs thrown in for good measure. I'm very happy to report that I was wrong. 

Dead wrong.

From page one Hard Spell builds momentum, and keeps going all the way to the end. 

Hard Spell is a rip-roaring, hard hitting mystery, crime wrapped in creepy old dudes, Witchfinders, hybrid magic users, meth-head goblins and a slew of Supes that would put the average Boogie Monster to shame. Witty dialogue, interesting characters, and a universe quite different from any I've read in the Urban Fantasy genre in a long time, makes Hard Spell one hell of a book. That's why I'm giving Hard Spell 9.0 out of 10 TARDISes.

If you like reading about things that go bump in the night, and are tired of the typical werewolf or vampire trope, then I would highly picking up a copy of Hard Spell.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Embedded Book Review

Title: Embedded
Author: Dan Abnett
Publisher: Angry Robot
Pages: 350
ISBN: 9780857660916

Embedded is Abnett’s first science fiction novel outside of the Warhammer 40,000 series. I must say, I’m very, very pleased with Embedded. The beginning is a bit confusing as Abnett uses a different lingo, one that you could expect to see 300 years post Cold War. With the setting being very imitative, we find characters drinking “-effect” beers and sitting on “-effect” furniture, synthesized to imitate the real thing. New habitable planets are numbered and then named after they are colonized becoming a part of the "United Status”, and we find our story taking conflict with planet 86.

Our main character, a journalist named Lex Falk, is the best as what he does. Major Gillard even says “I can see why you came so highly recommended. Probing questions. Incisive. Agile mind. I like it.” One thing I loved about Embedded is that I felt like I was actually Falk. Drawn into the character, I became comfortable with my surroundings, my friends, and my job as a reporter. Then, unexpectedly, Abnett upsets the story line by Falk making a split-second decision to take the chance of a lifetime and “link” up with a soldier named Nestor Bloom, a 26 year old first class private in the SOMD. Before long, Lex finds himself chipped into a soldier on the front line behind Bloom’s eyes.

The action scenes come alive in Embedded with a descriptive approach and you can almost smell the scenery. The soldiers have high-tech weapons and gear and vehicles similar to ones we use today, but much more efficient and effective. One piece of gear in particular which you can see on the cover is an arm stabilizing apparatus on the left arm of the soldier, the Limb Assist Exo Frame, or LEAF, used to support a soldier’s arm in extensive combat situations. The soldiers have a color targeting heads-up-display which highlights and distinguishes between non-threats and threats. It’s futuristic equipment like these that push Embedded further into the future and add to the “science” in “science fiction”.

I had to read Embedded slowly, just around 2 to 4 chapters at a sitting. It was a lot to digest and, at times, became so much that I had to reread a few parts as I would find myself sometimes asking who or what was that? I had only read 2 other books of Abnett’s and never would have classified myself as a “fan boy”. Now that I’ve read Embedded, however, I’m begging for more! The end to Embedded (no spoilers ahead) left me feeling a little let down, as there were questions still unanswered. Does this leave room for a sequel? I don’t know. Would I read it if there was? Of course!

I give Dan Abnett’s Embedded a 9 out of 10 Mechs. With a gripping story line, intrepid characters, and crisp settings, it’s a bold book gripping you till the end. My only complaint is the slow beginning, but it works with Embedded, just something I’d not prefer. I would confidently suggest this book, and I plan to visit Abnett’s other works very soon.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Book Review

Title: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780446563086

Seth Grahame-Smith takes on history and myth in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, an epistolary-style alternate history novel bringing to light what most dismiss as a conspiracy theory. The introduction begins with Smith in disbelief of what has been delivered to him. A strange man has left in Smith’s possession 10 leather-bound books, the secret diaries of Abraham Lincoln. In these, Smith discovers that Lincoln was more than he had shown to the world. A life hidden in secrecy and masked with wars and laws. Smith is asked to write a book about the diaries, and in the process, his life is left in shambles.

Smith takes Lincoln’s timeline and tells us the story we never knew and conspiracy theorists have been telling us since Lincoln’s death. We begin in Abe’s childhood and progress into the hunter lifestyle that we would have never imagined. For example, eleven year old Lincoln is told that vampires are real, and that his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, was murdered by a vampire. The following year, Abe seeks vengeance and kills the vampire, his mother’s murderer, with a wooden stake. This marks the beginning of the Abraham’s secret life as a vampire hunter.

Smith takes us to many locations and battles in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, meeting new allies such as Edgar Allen Poe, and even more enemies along the way. Smith captures our imagination with Lincoln’s relationships and new found purpose in life.

He also does a wonderful job of taking everything we know about history and Abraham Lincoln and turning it on itself, destroying what we know, or believe, as truth. Every rumor and myth about “Honest Abe” gets twisted to embellish the horror premise. What about Lincoln's beard? Legends say he grew it because Grace Bedell wrote that: “women love whiskers." But in this alternate timeline, the beard was groomed to hide the scar from Lincoln's vampire-fighting life.

Smith also writes that Lincoln’s role in history as an abolitionist takes root in a much different way than we’ve been told. Lincoln and a friend travel to New Orleans to sell goods and happen to witness a slave auction. They then follow the slaves and their owner back to the owner’s plantation. There, Lincoln discovers that the buyer is a vampire, buying the slaves as food as we would buy groceries today.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter has a fair portion of detailed action scenes. I could see the human like forms of vampires in my mind snarling as Lincoln was fighting for his life and for vengeance. Relationships and tensions follow a rollercoaster pattern and at times leave you questioning who to trust and who to kill.

I give Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter 7 out of 10 Mechs and would recommend this to anyone who has yet to read this style or genre of literature. There’s no doubt Smith can tell us a story, even if it’s one we think we know the ending to…

:: Phil::

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sci-Fi Guys³

Today, I'm happy to announce a new addition to the Sci-Fi Guys crew. In order to produce more reviews for all you lovely readers, and to get all those delicious books in your hands, I've asked my good friend Philip Maultbay to join the Sci-Fi Guys crew as a regular reviewer.

Don't worry, though, author RJ Sullivan will still do his guest book reviewing as much as possible. By adding Phil, however, it'll help to lessen the reading weight load of all parties (hopefully).

So, without any further ado, I'll leave it to Phil to introduce himself:

Hey Fellow readers! I'm Phil and I'm 21 years old, married, and a soon to be father to a baby boy. I grew up all over the world since my father was in the army, but I now have settled down with my wife of 2 years and am starting a family. I love creativity through music, art and Literature. I can listen to and enjoy any type of music, and I have a broad specturm of favorite artists (Rodney can testify to that statement). I do a good amount of drawing, mainly anime/manga style in my free time and play the guitar. As far as reading goes, I'll give anything a chance. My favorite genres include thriller, alternate history, steampunk, and mystery. I can't say I have a favorite author, but if I had to choose it would have to be Dean Koontz. I'm new to reviewing so I'll try my best to not let my high school career make them into book reports. I love feedback and learning new things, so feel free to shoo tme any suggestions or questions!

Look for Phil's first reviews in the coming week!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Asylum Book Review

Title: Asylum
Author: Mark Allan Gunnells
Publisher: Zombie Feed Press
Pages: 80
ISBN: 9780984553563

Asylum is the newest novella from Mark Allan Gunnells. The story is centered around a group of survivors waiting out a zombie apocalypse in a gay nightclub.

When Curtis is dragged to his first gay nightclub by his close friend Jimmy, he's expecting a night of drinking, dancing and sex, but it'll get worse before the morning comes. It all starts in the parking lot of nightclub Asylum, when Curtis's best friend starts going down on a fellow clubber, and zombies start attacking their car. Retreating into the nightclub, readers are almost immediately introduced to the rest of the survivors including the expected characters, as well as some others: a Vietnam vet bartender, an ostentatious gay couple, a DJ, a male stripper and a drag queen. Are they survivors, or are they zombie food?

Gunnells does a marvelous job with creating characters that could easily carry a three hundred page novel instead of a mere eighty pages. Breathing life into them, Gunnells invokes an immediate understanding in the reader that the majority of the warm bodies in Asylum are zombie munching goodness, which makes the horror more real after reading and creating a bond with the characters. These aren't just stick figures, they've actually got meat on their bones, and it shows in the end.

And all the while Gunnells is making you care for the characters, he's taking the Romero-esque zombies and using them effectively, unlike so many half-written, throw away zombie novels that seem to have littered the shelves of every major bookstore across the country.

Regardless of your sexual orientation this is one hell of a scary novella, because when it comes down to it, death isn't prejudice; it'll take what it can get. And neither should the reader. If sexual preference is the only thing keeping you from picking up Asylum, then your missing out. A damn good story is a damn good story.

And this is a damn good story. That's why I'm giving Asylum 8 out of 10 TARDISes.

With Asylum Gunnells succeeded in drawing me in almost from page one, asking for more regardless of it's page count, and leaving a gap to be filled. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll be picking up more of Gunnells other works in the future. He's definitely a talent to look for in the future.