June 29, 2017

Hive Invasion by James Axler

Title:  Hive Invasion
Author:  James Axler
Pages:  316
Genre:  Action / Adventure, Sci-Fi
Series:  Deathlands #121


Seeking refuge in a post-Armageddon America, Ryan Cawdor and his crew of misfits travel together for survival and sanity. Known as Deathlands, this lawless hellscape is defined by destruction, death and despair. Only those who persevere with the belief in a better future stand a chance in this world where each day brings a new, and potentially lethal, struggle.


Desperate to find water and shelter on the barren plains of former Oklahoma, Ryan and his team come upon a community that appears, at first, to be peaceful. Then the ville is attacked by a group of its own inhabitants—people infected with a parasite that has turned them into slave warriors for an unknown overlord. The companions try to help fend off the enemy and protect the remaining population, but when Ryan is captured during a second ambush, all hope seems lost. Especially when he launches an assault against his own crew.

Review:  I've seen these books called "serial novels" and "a stupid men's action series" online and I disagree and am even a bit offended.

The front cover of this novel shows one of the main characters, Krysty Wroth.  Sure, she's eye candy for the men who assuredly read this series.  Yes, she and her long-time lover, Ryan, have fairly descriptive sex scenes in nearly every book.  She's also tough and smart and, while she's probably not exactly role-model material, I'd like to be a lot more like her.

Today, while I was reading on my lunch break outside work, a guy walked by and asked what I was reading.  I said, "A really good book!".  He asked (a little snidely), "Oh, one of those girl books?".  I assume he meant a mushy romance.  I really wouldn't know, since I've never been one of those girls.  I told him it had gun fights and lots of violence.  He looked shocked and then muttered something about that being nice and backed away.  Hah!  I smiled for the rest of the day.

Guess I should really talk about the story now.  It's about a group of parasitic slug things that can take control of a human.  Think Aliens meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you'll get some idea of what I mean.  It was gross and scary but ended on a positive note.  There's no happily ever after in these books, but this one had as close as they get.  Another of the goodies!!

Rating:  8 / 10

June 27, 2017

Polestar Omega by James Axler

Title:  Polestar Omega
Author:  James Axler
Pages:  314
Genre:  Action / Adventure, Sci-Fi
Series:  Deathlands #120


Banded together to survive, Ryan Cawdor and his companions travel the barren wastelands of a post-nuclear world. There are no laws in Deathlands—only fear, destruction and annihilation. As each day brings a new struggle, this group journeys toward the shaky promise of sanctuary.


Ryan and his friends become the subjects in a deadly experiment when they're taken captive inside a redoubt at the South Pole. A team of scientists is convinced the earth must be purified of mutants, and now they have the perfect lab rats to test their powerful bioweapon. Within Antarctica's harsh and unstable conditions, the companions must fight the odds and take down the whitecoats before millions are killed. But in this uncompromising landscape, defeating the enemy may be just another step toward a different kind of death….

Review:  One-hundred and twenty books later and I still love this series.  The guns, the action, the blood and gore, and the same main characters I've come to know and love makes this hands-down the longest series I've ever read.

This one is set in Antarctica and between the icy cold and the 300-pound mutant penguins, it is a great deal of fun indeed (and a little scary, truth be told!).  There's also a group of scientists and soldiers who are descendants of the people who were there when the nuclear bombs fell on the entire world.  Interbred and believing that they are the last 'unmutated' humans in existence, they are pretty awful examples of humanity.

These books aren't always great, but this one was.  Finished it way too quickly and I'm hankering for more so I've already selected #121 for my next read.

Rating:  8 / 10

June 25, 2017

Big Trouble by Dave Barry

Title:  Big Trouble
Author:  Dave Barry
Pages:  292
Genre:  Comedy / Thriller
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis:  Dave Barry makes his fiction debut with a ferociously funny novel of love and mayhem in south Florida.

Review:  This book had me laughing out loud while sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next.  There are so many great characters.  Puggy, the homeless drunk who works at a bar run by Russian gun runners and who just happens to fall in love with a housemaid named Nina.  Nina is an illegal alien of Hispanic descent and she loves Puggy back.  Then, we have Eliot, the failing advertising agent whose ex-wife is getting a little tired of him being behind on his support checks.  Eliot falls in love with Anna, who is married to a man who may be the largest ass in the continental United States.  Seriously, the list goes on but I won't give the other truly hilarious people away.

Add to the great cast a suitcase sized nuclear bomb, an airplane, and some goats and the story just gets funnier and scarier.  It holds onto the laughs and the nail biting until the very end, all at the same time.  Set in Miami, it is just about the perfect book to sit down with and finish in an afternoon (at the beach, even!).  It took me longer than that but that's my fault.

I have just realized this book was made into a movie with Tim Allen starring as Eliot.  Oh, I am absolutely going to watch it!  I'll wait a while though because it cannot possibly be as good as this book was.

Rating:  10 / 10

June 23, 2017

Flinx Transcendent by Alan Dean Foster

Title:  Flinx Transcendent
Author:  Alan Dean Foster
Pages:  398
Genre:  Science Fiction
Series:  The Humanx Commonwealth, Book 26

Synopsis:  From one of the most brilliant imaginations in science fiction comesFlinx Transcendent, Alan Dean Foster’s thrilling conclusion to the series that began over thirty-five years ago–the epic adventures of Flinx and his flying minidrag companion, Pip.

Flinx is the only one with even the tiniest chance of stopping the evil colossus barreling in to destroy the Humanx Commonwealth (and everything else in the Milky Way). With time running out, Flinx is a man in search of a solution and in search of himself. His efforts take him to the land of his mortal enemies, the bloodthirsty AAnn, where chances are excellent that Flinx’s discovery–and summary execution–will eliminate all his demons and doubts in one masterstroke.

The way Flinx is feeling, that might not be the worst imaginable end. After years of searching for his father, he finally has–and must bear–the truth. And now he must also seek out an ancient sentient weapons platform wandering around somewhere in the galaxy and then communicate with it, a powwow that could very well fry his already frazzled brain. Then there are the oblivion-craving assassins determined to stop Flinx before he can prevent total annihilation.

With a future that rosy, it’s no surprise he’s flirting with disaster. Still, Flinx is no quitter, and he’s got something else going for him–an uncanny ability to improvise and triumph (or at least survive) in impossible situations. He’s certainly been through enough of them, and now he’s going to need every ounce of that know-how, because he’s venturing to places where the laws of physics fear to tread, where no one’s ever been, to do what no one’s ever done, and where his deadliest enemy is so close it’s invisible.

Review:  Finally, I got to find out how Flinx would save the universe.  It's been a long time coming and I'm glad I stayed with this series.  I have two more books set in the same Commonwealth universe, but neither of them involve Flinx.  I'm glad.  I really like the ones that he's not in better.

I understand the author is writing more books about Flinx and what happens after this novel.  I'll be passing on them.  I'm happy with the closure from this book and am not really all that excited about reading more about Flinx.

Like the last book this is solid science fiction, but the main character (Flinx) is just not my favorite.  Not by a long shot.  I will most miss the Thranx.  They are incredible and believable aliens who I'd very much like to meet.  Mr. Foster has created an entire universe full of some of the most wonderful aliens (and humans) out there.  The series is well worth the time.

Oh, and I'll miss Pip.  Who doesn't want an empathic Alaspinian mini-dragon as a pet?

Rating:  7.5 / 10

June 15, 2017

Patrimony by Alan Dean Foster

Title:  Patrimony
Author:  Alan Dean Foster
Pages:  255
Genre:  Science Fiction
Series:  The Humanx Commonwealth, Book 25

Synopsis:  "I know who your father is . . . Gestalt." A shocked Flinx hears these dying words from one of the renegade eugenicists whose experiments with humans twenty-odd years ago shocked the galaxy . . . and spawned Flinx. So Flinx and his minidrag, Pip, venture to Gestalt, an out-of-the-way planet that may supply the key to Flinx's shadowy past and strange powers.  Unfortunately for Flinx, Gestalt also hosts a resident bounty hunter who's just learned about the stupendous reward offered for a certain dead redhead.  Flinx gets a chance to test his adversary's skills when our hero's skimmer is blasted out of the sky and into a raging river in the middle of nowhere -- a nowhere of impossible terrain and ravenous, carnivorous beasts.

Review:  Well, Flinx is back.  I knew he would be.  It's not that I don't like him, but I just don't love him.  I don't really feel sorry for him, although I suspect I'm supposed to.  He's just sort of whiny, with a whole 'poor little rich boy' thing.

Still, the story was solid and the bounty hunter was fun.  Gestalt is an interesting planet with very wonderful native beings.  All in all, it's really about the science fiction to me.  And, this is good science fiction.

Rating:  7 / 10

June 11, 2017

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

Title:  The Good Guy
Author:  Dean Koontz
Pages:  447
Genre:  Thriller
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis: Timothy Carrier, having a beer after work at his friend’s tavern, enjoys drawing eccentric customers into amusing conversations. But the jittery man who sits next to him tonight has mistaken Tim for someone very different—and passes to him a manila envelope full of cash.

“Ten thousand now. You get the rest when she’s gone.

The stranger walks out, leaving a photo of the pretty woman marked for death, and her address. But things are about to get worse. In minutes another stranger sits next to Tim. This one is a cold-blooded killer who believes Tim is the man who has hired him.

Thinking fast, Tim says, “I’ve had a change of heart. You get ten thousand—for doing nothing. Call it a no-kill fee.” He keeps the photo and gives the money to the hired killer. And when Tim secretly follows the man out of the tavern, he gets a further shock: the hired killer is a cop.

Suddenly, Tim Carrier, an ordinary guy, is at the center of a mystery of extraordinary proportions, the one man who can save an innocent life and stop a killer far more powerful than any cop…and as relentless as evil incarnate. But first Tim must discover within himself the capacity for selflessness, endurance, and courage that can turn even an ordinary man into a hero, inner resources that will transform his idea of who he is and what it takes to be The Good Guy.

Review:  I'm really not sure how I ended up with so many books by this author.  Probably because of far too many yard sales and visits to the Friends of the Library book sales.  I made a pact to finish at least a few of the great many of his books I have this year.

This one was very good.  The bad guy was deliciously evil.  The action was almost non-stop.

Rating:  8.5 / 10

June 6, 2017

The Howling Stones by Alan Dean Foster

Title:  The Howling Stones
Author:  Alan Dean Foster
Pages:  326
Genre:  Science Fiction
Series:  Humanx Commonwealth, Book 24

Synopsis:  Enter another realm in the amazing world of the Humanx Commonwealth--the interstellar empire governed jointly by humans and aliens!

The newly discovered planet of Senisran was a veritable paradise--a sprawling world of vast oceans dotted with thousands of lush islands and copious deposits of rare-earths and minerals. First-contact specialist Pulickel Tomochelor's mission to Senisran was straightforward: Secure mining rights for the Humanx Commonwealth before the vicious AAnn Empire beat them to the chase. With Senisran's Parramat clan resisting entreaty, negotiations could be difficult, but Pulickel was more comfortable with aliens than with his own species, and looked forward to a triumphant return to Earth.

He hadn't counted on the incredible secret of Parramat, though: the strange, powerful green stones that the tribe used to manipulate the forces of nature. Within those stones lay an awesome technology the origin of which was lost in time--a technology that had to be kept from the AAnn at any cost . . .

Review:  This was one of the best books of this series!  The main character in the series, Flinx, was nowhere to be found.....and I think I liked it that way.  I get a little tired of Flinx and his melodrama.  Whether that is the reason or not, I believe this is in the top three books from this set.

Engaging and incredible, the story of the Parramat and their stones is one I won't soon forget.

Rating:  9.5 / 10

June 2, 2017

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Title:  Picnic at Hanging Rock
Author:  Joan Lindsay
Pages:  196
Genre:  Mystery
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis:  It was a cloudless summer day in the year 1900. Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of the secluded volcanic outcropping. Farther, higher, until at last they disappeared. They never returned.

Haunting, mysterious, and subtly erotic, Picnic at Hanging Rock inspired the iconic 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir. A beguiling masterpiece of Australian literature, it stands with Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca as a masterpiece of otherworldly intrigue.

Review:  I wasn't sure what to expect from this novel.  What I got was pure excellence.  This author's descriptions are wonderful.  The story reads like a dream.  You see the places, you care about the characters, and you wonder what really happened at Hanging Rock.

Even though it remains a mystery even after the book is done, I felt in no way cheated.  It was just too darn good of a story.  I'll be keeping this book.  I'm sure I'll read it again.  I'm so glad I read this!

Rating:  10 / 10

June 1, 2017

Demon Seed by Dean Koontz

Title:  Demon Seed
Author:  Dean Koontz
Pages:  301
Genre:  Horror
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis: Susan Harris lived in self-imposed seclusion in a mansion featuring numerous automated systems controlled by a state-of-the-art computer. Every comfort was provided and in this often unsafe world of ours, her security was absolute.

But now her security system has been breached, her sanctuary from the outside world violated by an insidious artificial intelligence which has taken control of her house. In the privacy of her own home, and against her will, Susan will experience an inconceivable act of terror. She will become the object of the ultimate computer's consuming obsession: to learn everything there is to know about the flesh...

Review:  This story is told by the artificial intelligence known as Adam Two in his report to his creators who are sitting judgement on his actions.  Adam Two wanted was actually self-aware.  He was missing only one thing.  He wanted to be flesh, not circuits and wiring.  Adam Two had no conscience whatsoever in pursuing his dream.

It is a great premise.  It is, unfortunately, not at all a great story.  It took me forever to get through even though there were some harrowing scenes.  It's just very poorly done.  I understand this book was made into a movie.  I think I'll pass on watching it.

It is a shame to note that in the afterword the author mentions re-writing this story for the version I read.  I assume that is because the original version was worse than this one.  I've found that this author is either really, really great or really awful.  This one was just awful.

Rating:  1.5 / 10
Back to Top