Reviews on everything I read or watch from the world of the imaginative and the fantastic.

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September 24, 2015

We Three Kings by Don Callaway

"Frank, you were born, you grew up, you went to the Academy, you became a pilot, and you brought us in for a beautiful landing. You did all that, and you weren’t a god."

We Three Kings by Don Callaway

This is the kind of classic exploration sci-fi that has a special place in my heart. Captain Adam Pons has an unexpected, sort of crash landing on an uncharted planet with his small survey ship and a crew of only himself, his pilot Frank and his science officer Lonnie "Coop" Cooper. Each of the crew have varying levels of hope for rescue, and what they each want to do on this new planet comes into opposition. While it's an old-school first contact story, the characters are front and center and even as their relationships fray with each disagreement, Adam, Frank and Coop each compete for lovability. We Three Kings is a page turner you won't be able to put down until you find out how it all turns out for the crew of the Swallow.

Check out the debut science fiction novel by Don Callaway on Amazon.

September 8, 2015

Alchemy of the Afterlife by Linda Kinnamon

"It wouldn’t be heaven if we had to leave the people we love."

Alchemy of the Afterlife by Linda Kinnamon

Those we love never truly leave us. It's a truth we all accept, but it can be so easy to forget. Alchemy of the Afterlife is a reminder of that, and there's some healing magic between these pages. It's also a collection of stories about the end of life, the final moments that bring families together and heal old wounds, and about what brings peace to someone about to cross over. All it takes is knowing that the family they're leaving behind will be okay. It's also about the lengths hospice nurses, or as Linda puts it, "medically educated friends," go to to bring comfort and dignity to their patients. It's a tearjerker, and there are some parts that are hard to read. But peace can always be made with the past, especially when you have the love of someone rooting for you from the other side.

Here is the plot synopsis of Alchemy of the Afterlife:

"'As the body gets weaker, the spirit gets stronger,' Linda Kinnamon repeatedly tells her patients. Being a hospice nurse she spends her days caring for and visiting the terminally ill. But in the pre-dawn hours, as her patients near death, they occasionally pay her a visit instead. 
Whether it’s perfume drifting through a room or a touch on the shoulder, the strength of spirit displayed at the end of life is as unique as the individual. Alchemy of the Afterlife is a memoir of life AFTER death based on Linda’s childhood as an orphan combined with her adult experiences as a hospice nurse."

Check out the debut memoir from Linda Kinnamon on Amazon.

May 6, 2015

How To Survive A Minor Alien Invasion by C. A. Watson

"In one day those two women lost their jobs, discovered a dead body, got grilled by the police and heard about the most incompetent alien invasion ever"

Part sci-fi, part murder mystery, How To Survive A Minor Alien Invasion is full immersion into a who-done-it and a first contact novel with a complex, detailed intergalactic world. Lenore Graston is a smart, likable and relatable would-be sleuth who finds the body of coworker Margaret Whipply and has to get to the bottom of why it happened — more than that, when she deduces that aliens are involved, she literally won't sleep until she can be sure justice — intergalactic justice — will be served. The story behind Margaret's untimely death goes way beyond the murder of one woman, even beyond all of humanity and Earth; it's a big conspiracy that echoes throughout the entire galaxy.

Check out the debut science fiction novel by C. A. Watson on Amazon.

April 17, 2015

Call To Battle: The Final Scrapyard Ship Book is Here

"Welcome to the final, heart-pounding episode of the Scrapyard Ship series books. It’s all about to end in one climactic crescendo.

The story continues, with Captain Jason Reynolds, and his team: Billy, Rizzo, and the rhino-warrior, Traveler. They must attempt to rescue Ricket and Gaddy, still held captive aboard the impregnable Dreathlor prison barge. Only then, can Jason return to The Lilly, his highly advanced Caldurian vessel … where it all began.

With the approach of an enormous fighting force on the horizon, it’s the last call to battle. Will the decimated Allied worlds reunite one more time? Will Ot-Mul get his vengeance, by taking those most dear to Jason — Mollie, Boomer, Nan and Dira — and using them to rip Jason’s world, his very existence, apart?"

With Call to Battle, it's win or lose for Captain Jason Reynolds and the Allied Forces defending Earth and the galaxy from Ot-Mul's Drac-Vin forces. The Craing on Halimar may have revolutionized and turned away from their previous path of conquest, but Ot-Mul still controls hundreds of thousands of warships in space, and he's not done waging war and seeking to annihilate all other planetary systems in the galaxy. The Great Space initiative is on hold while he deals with the small problem of Captain Reynolds and The Lillly, but they're just flies on his backside. You're going to have to read and find out if Jason can hatch a plan genius enough to take on a warlord with a fleet exponentially greater than his own.

Check out Call To Battle and the rest of the Scrapyard Ship series on Amazon.

March 27, 2015

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Promised Me Season Five of Game of Thrones Will Be the Best Season Yet

In my books to tell you anything about the season five premiere episode of Game of Thrones "The Wars to Come" other than the fact that it exists and it airs April 12th would be a spoiler, but I attended the event in San Francisco on Monday and I can tell you a little bit about that, and who was there, and who I saw, and the titillating details you no doubt came here for because you can't wait another second for 9 p.m. on April 12th to come.
The premiere was held at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House Monday March 23, apparently to ignite buzz with the social media/tech community in the city, and the crowd was largely made up of random Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Apple etc. employees and their plus ones. Plenty of series actors attended and I was able to catch a glimpse of them — not enough maneuverability or proximity for a selfie but at least I was just feet from Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), HODOR! (Kristian Nairn), Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), what I'm pretty sure was Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon), and the father of the mother of dragons himself Mr. George R. R. Martin!
Also in attendance were Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). I caught a peek of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) but I didn't get any pictures of them (frowny face). You can see below though that Nathalie was a stunning show-stealer (Nikolaj wasn't too bad to look at either).

HBO CEO Richard Plepler thanked George R. R. Martin and introduced David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, calling all three creators “geniuses and gentlemen” and stating that the words genius and gentlemen don’t go together as often as you might think. Then David Benioff and D.B. Weiss let us in on the strategy they deliver to the network for every season of Game of Thrones: that each season be better than the next. That’s a really high bar that they continually set for themselves, but you can take it as a promise that Game of Thrones season five is going to be the best season yet (would David Benioff and D. B. Weiss lie to you? Didn’t think so.)

Below are the pictures I managed to snap; they're pretty bad, but have a click through the gallery to see how close I was to Arya, Bronn, Hodor, Stannis, Petyr, Lancel and King R. R. Martin!

Excited for season five? Me too! Check back for my review of the Game of Thrones season five premiere April 12th. In the meantime, if you beg me for spoilers in my comments section ... it probably won't hurt (but no promises!)