Ecowitch

Biography

I am a happy smiley person with a great family and great mates and an insatiable appetite for talking so if ya wanna natter im ur gal

Im an ecologist (glorified tree hugger) working for a consultancy based in Cardiff (so yes I've sold my soul to the Devil hehe). I love the fact that my job gets me out and about, wandering around the Welsh countryside looking for wildlife (yes I'm a geek).

Where to find Ecowitch online


Books

This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Ecowitch

  • Bublos on July 21, 2010

    The opening sequence of this book begins with the tragic death of an old man and the clearance of his flat under slightly suspicious circumstances, revolving around a particular book that was in the man's possession. This seemly innocent item quickly becomes the centre of a web of intrigue, myth and death as two groups of men seek to obtain this book and the secrets it holds, for reasons that gradually become clear as the story progresses. Young has created a set of characters that will resonate with everyone, no matter who you are. There is the loveable rogue in Joe, a mis-directed young man, there are the classic good and bad guys and of the course the unexpected helpers that arrive at just the right time. And there is the hint of a great power/treasure/knowledge that is desired by all. Even though this is only a short read, it is absolutely packed with action, fear, joy, relief, faith, terror and a few angels and demons just for good measure. I don't want to say too much but you really must give this a go.
  • We Don’t Plummet Out of the Sky Anymore on Jan. 14, 2011

    An entertaining tough-in-cheek story set in the future where instead of the automobile it is the aeromobile that dominates. Despite this huge leap the same old issues arise with looks being more important than safety. The story follows Stan, a statistics office worker who starts off wanting the nice shiny top of the range Shearwater as he trawls through all the small print, caveats and legal loopholes.
  • The Sunflower That Roared on Jan. 18, 2011

    An beautiful little tale about Sarah and her sunflower, Seed, as they endeavour to pull her mother away from the phone and paying attention to Sarah and Seed. Nicely illustrated in a similar style to Quentin Blake with a highly amsuing twist as Sarah grows up.
  • A Thousand Lies: Lies Every Good American Must Believe on Jan. 18, 2011

    The description of this book includes the phrase 'It is guaranteed to offend everyone' and it does just that. This book lists the many lies that are told to the American people day in day out, they are contradictory, cynical and deceitful and show how naive Ameria as a country can be (assuming that its people actually believe any or all of these). Although this book provides none of the background, evidence or ancedotes to back up any of the items listed, that is not its point. To me this book was written in an attempt to get the American people thinking about and questioning what they see and hear on a daily basis and it certainly does that. My biggest issue with it though is that it does encourage or provide help to any reader in how to get behind the lies, which to me the book biggest downfall.
  • The Day of the Dead on Jan. 18, 2011

    Pretty good short story following Tomas, the vampire from chance's Cassandra Palmer series, as he hunts down his old master Alejandro on the South American Day on the Dead. In doing so he meets up with Sarah and co, an ecclectic group of 'outside contractors' who are on the hunt for Sarah's brother, Jason. Not a bad read with a good mix of action and magic and enough backstory to each of the characters for the reader to follow the story well enough. A good taster to the Plamer series.
  • Walpurgis Night on Jan. 19, 2011

    A rip-roaring rampage through the streets of Sheffield following Verlaine, the last vampire on earth, as he leaves a bloody legacy that few will ever forget. Whittaker's writing is vivid and graphic in all aspects and while some may consider it a little over-the-top it suits Verlaine's character perfectly as he chooses Walpurgis Night to take his leave from the world, on his terms and at a time of his choosing. This may be a short story but Whittaker crams a lot into it with a mix of in depth and fleeting characters. A gritty vampire story that certainly leaves its mark. Not for the faint-hearted.
  • Death Ray Butterfly on Feb. 08, 2011

    A superbly quirky little book, written very much with tongue in cheek humour following the reminisces of a retired detective in the future (or maybe just in some parallel universe). The writing is a little disjointed but that adds to the feel of being told the story by the lead character, Stanley Mole, as he remembers his career making cases. Although the story could've ended up being very complex and completely confusing with the various parallel universes, situations and characters it's actually very easy to follow, largely due to Mole's own explanations of events. This is definitely a love it or hate it type of book, and I love it.
  • Freak City on April 11, 2011

    An unconventional story following Argus, a solitary and reclusive character, as he tries to unravel the clues handed to him one morning as he boards the bus. With the help of his few friends and housemates he gradually pieces together the message enclosed within the plain white box, leading him to more than just the answer to the mystery. The only flaw is that the ending feels a little rushed, leaving the reader wanting to know more both about the reasons behind the box but more importantly about Argus and how the events throughout the story have changed his perceptions, both of himself and of others, which is hinted at throughout. Otherwise a pretty good read that keeps you hooked and wanting to know more until and beyond the end.
  • The Legend of Darkness and Light on June 10, 2011

    This is an exciting, fast paced adventure story following Jayden Pearce as he becomes entangled in the hunt first for the legendary Darkness stone, then on to find the matching gem, it's treasure and a lost alien race. Set on another world, it incorporates science fiction, fantasy, adventure and treasure in a tale that has you gripped to the end. The characters all have hidden depths, some expected some not, that add many twists and turns to the story.
  • Graves on June 10, 2011

    Set in a small town on a small island, this story tells the tale of a small community that is terrorised by something/someone unknown through the eyes...moreSet in a small town on a small island, this story tells the tale of a small community that is terrorised by something/someone unknown through the eyes of Greg Micheals. It begins with a gravestone being left outside his neighbours house, seemingly as a practical joke but events quickly escalate to bloody murder and the gravestone disappears...only to turn up outside somebody else's home and so the cycle begins. Cawthorne builds the tension and fear within the community and the reader simultaneously and the climax is gripping, terrifying and disturbing (I'm going to be checking for a gravestone outside my house for weeks now!). A superb short story that could easily be developed into a full length novel without losing any of its effect
  • Nippon 2357: A Utopian Ecological Tale on June 10, 2011

    An interesting tale that combines ecological disaster, the fall of capitalist society and the subsequent utopian society with time travel. Set in Japan (and the country formerly known as Japan) it follows Thomas Redburn as he tries to gets to grips with the new society that is based on generosity, sharing and everuone playing their part while balancing the remaining discriminations and capitalist ways of life he still holds on to. Very well written, inventive and imaginative Shishin provides an alternative world view based on ecological and social balance based on the civilisations of old, before money, greed and selfishness took over society. A very good read that makes you think without you even realising it.
  • Jailbreak on June 10, 2011

    Although this is only a short story it packs a hell of a punch. The story starts as the zombies come out to play with a rapid exchange between two officers over the radio, one rushing to get back to the station the other not quite able to believe what she is hearing. The story is fast paced and rapidly goes from bad to worse to hell as the four survivers try to stay that way and escape before they join the zombie ranks
  • Animals on June 10, 2011

    A short end of the world tale hints at a zombie style apocolypse where the animals of the world have morphed into humanoid creatures, reminiscent of Neanderthal man, forcing people from the cities to army bases. The story follows Dania and her now protector Blaton as they adapt to this new life along with everyone else on the base, while Dania somehow manages to attract the animals to her, bringing them out of the surrounding forests to the electrified fences of the base. The story ends with two subtle yet huge twists to the tale that leaves you wanting to know more. Overall a good short story but one that could have benefited from a bit more detail
  • A Walk in the Woods: A Horror Short Story on June 16, 2011

    A new twist on the traditional Red Riding Hood story with a surprising ending. This is quite an entertaining quick read with simple and flowing prose that keeps the story moving well. The only downside is that I would have liked it to be a bit longer with a bit more background and detail, other than that this is a fantastic little story.
  • Were on July 07, 2011

    A darkly humourous and horrific tale that tells of Ryan and Carrie as they try to defend their home and their lives against a rapidly spreading Were virus that begins with a simple tick. Very inventive and original, this is a great little read that will have you looking with suspicion at all the creatures around you, both big and small.
  • Mini-Collection on July 08, 2011

    An entertaining mix of three stories that takes real life traits and exagerates them into humourous yet darkly sinister stories that indirectly question real decisions and morals. My favourite was definitely Sponsored By... especially given recent debates about allowing brands into schools. This story follows an army maneuvre that is not quite what it seems with heavy and obvious sponsorship and an enemy that are fighting to keep themselves out of prison. Highly amusing and entertaining, a thoroughly tongue in cheek read.
  • 20 Days in the Darkness: 20 Flash Fiction Stories on July 10, 2011

    Entertaining and thoroughly disturbing, this is a collection of tales that, although short, pack a little punch. Some were certainly better than others with Accident, Lineage, Leniency and Heavy Thoughts were among my favourites, sending chills down my spine as I finished them. And I must say I thoroughly enjoyed Bloody Rejuvenation which gave a new twist to the Bathory story. Definitely worth a go for a spot of five mintue chills.
  • Savage on July 12, 2011

    This is a superb short story that following Rob Peters, an author who is trying to find his mojo in the Georgian mountains, as he settles into a remote cabin to write. On his way there he accidentally runs over and kills a dog. As the dog has no collar or tags he buries him near his rented cabin but as his stay lengthens strange and mysterious happens begin to occur. The question is was the dog alive when he buried him or is there something more sinister out there lurking in the woods, waiting for him to leave the safety of his cabin? Timmons manages to build the tension to an incredible level despite the short-ness of the story (although this probably was helped by the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere when reading this) with a climax that is both shocking and creative that leaves the reader in shock.
  • Surviving the Fog on July 12, 2011

    I was strangely taken by this book, despite it appearing like (and me kind of expecting) a post-apocolyptic/end of the world story when it really isn't. This follows the fortunes of a group of young teens as they try to survive following the appearance of a strange and deadly fog that has covered much of the planet (it can't go above a certain altitude) that has resulted in the 'disappearance' of the adults that run the camp. Ultimately this is a story of survival and of how, given the right leadership and tools, even the youngest can survive the most extreme situations. The writing was descriptive and engaging and created the right mix of tension, fear, hope and optimism to give credence to the work and the possibility that kids really could do this. But some of the more difficult situations and how they're resolved didn't quite sit right given what we know about the kids present. They not at a survival training or outdoor activity camp, it is in fact a sexual abstenance and education camp so the fact that every kid/teen present is able to use spears, bow and arrow, hunt etc to some extent does at times seems a little streched at times (especially when taking on 'bad men'). However this does not detract from the story too much as Morris' writing makes it somehow okay, acceptable and strangely believable.
  • The Magic Laptop Ride (Reprise, stevesevilempire Blog, Remix.) 3rd edition. on July 15, 2011

    This is an ecclectic collection of stories and articles covering everything from futuristic science fiction to contemporary writing on warfare and the use of words. The writing is imaginative and accessible and in cases really makes you take a step back and think. Some of the stories are graphic and don't hold any punches while others are subtle and well thoughtout. Certainly worth a read and (as the author admits) a very good enticement to read more of the author's work.
  • Valhalla Unleashed on July 21, 2011

    This is a superb little story that certainly stands out from the usual Zombie fare. It tells of the discovery of a Viking Longboat within a UK coal mine whose passengers are not quite as dead as you’d expect. Brilliantly and vividly written with excellent descriptions and surprising depth to the characters (well the ones that are living anyway) given the length of the story. I particularly enjoyed that additional journal extracts at the end that hint at the outcome of the discovery. A definite must read for all Zombie fans, can’t wait to read more by this author
  • Broken Rule: A short story on July 21, 2011

    This a short yet rather unique tale that tells of two couples who find themselves stalked by an evil they do not understand when they stumble across a small house with a sign stating Evil Cannot Enter. Quickly they seek refuge within its walls but it seems that evil does not heed the sign and tries its best to get at its prey. Well written with a certain undercurrent to the characters that hints at something more than what we are seeing, making you question whether evil has really been left outside.
  • When I Woke Up I Knew I was Dead: A Short Story on July 21, 2011

    Set in a time when Death no longer stalks the Earth we follow Sean as he wakes up one day to find himself deceased. As he tries to go about his normal routine, he finds that he is not alone in his predicament and seeks the help of a classmate in an effort to convince others that he is in fact dead, with somewhat disastrous results. A rather tongue in cheek look at life and death and the power of society in changing the way people think, act and feel.
  • The Bottom Feeders and Other Stories on Aug. 27, 2011

    These stories are so subtle and well written that it takes a moment or two for the little differences to really show themselves, building the tension and horror of the story so much better than the more usual approach of in your face horror. Each tale starts with an apparantly normalo situation, be it friends fishing at the side of a pond, a tramatised soldier returning from Iraq or a new species of beetle found in the forests of America. But as events progress the true horror of each situation comes to light, often with fatal consequences. Polson has a talent for writing realistic situation with characters that you can recognise in those you know (and yourself for that matter) that pull you in and keep you there until the end. The dark undercurrent of these stories will change the way you look at the world, you have been warned (but go for it anyway)
  • How Gods Bleed on Nov. 21, 2011

    This is an original and unique werewolf story that follows Cada Varl and six Helluvian warriors as they trek into the depths of the Werewolf kingdom to destroy the Werewolf race once and for all. It is an entertaining and original read but I found the story got a little lost in the rather over the top epic battles that constantly cropped up. The mythology and worlds that Porteous has created are superb in themselves and the characters are really well written with the balance between their warrior and human sides written superbly. However this skill is over-whelmed by the numerous battles that are fought and the sheer time and detail that these are given. Personally I would have prefered a bit more tension and anticipation rather than a battle every other chapter. Overall though a fairly enjoyable read and if you like epic action, you'll love this.
  • Are These Eyeballs on Jan. 07, 2012

    These are two very different stories that show two different sides to the author and his ability to send chills down the reader's spine. The first tale tells of a Halloween story that terrifies adults and children alike. The second story tells of one man's journey back to his childhood and the moment he loses his first love and a small piece of his sanity. Both tells are well written and pack a punch despite their length.
  • The Fart on Feb. 28, 2012

    This may be a short story but my god it is funny, the descriptions of the 'event' and its aftermath are superb (in fact they're so good you can almost taste it). Yes it is a little crude but with a title like that what do you expect. Very funny and a great pick me up for a dull day!
  • The Navigator (Awash In Starlight) on March 05, 2012

    A superbly dark, funny and entertaining romp through the universe with the last survivor of a viral epidemic as our guide and an un-named virus as our narrator. This story begins with the Munich Virus, which wipes out every known population of humanity across the universe, leaving Kego, our schizophrenic nine year old navigator, to fend for himself and return to Earth with the Frozen, those who were lucky enough to be in stasis when the virus struck. We follow Kego on his journey through the cosmos as he stears the Solstice back to Earth to re-establish the human race. Narrated by an unknown and un-named virus of indefinate age, wisdom and sarcasm who gives his somewhat unusual yet strangely enlightening views on Kego's, and utlimately humanity's, journey, as obstacles are met, faced and hurdled, this is more than just a story. It is a romp through the history of mankind as viewed by one who has not been subject to 'civilised' influences and has gained his knowledge through The History itself and by another who was there as an outsider looking in. Somehow this book manages to cover every subject from religion to politics, using life, death, peace, war, love, hate and humanity as its stepping stones, without burying the story or bombarding the reader with endless details. Instead Merrick has created a post apocalyptic science fiction tale set in a future that seems possible even today, that will make you both laugh and cry, feel compassion for each and every character at some point while hating them in the next and leaving you wanting more when you reach the end
  • BETRAYER: THE RISE OF AZGHARÁTH on March 14, 2012

    This is a great little introduction to the Mathion series and tells the origins of the Kanins and of the path Azgharath took to war against his family and the White Wolves. This novella shows Azgharath's mindset in setting out on his quest and whets the appetite for the Mathion series.
  • Harvest Moon on April 03, 2012

    This is a great little collection of horror shorts that will send chills up and down your spine. There's a little something for everyone in this collection from ghosts, demons and evil spirits to psychotic killers, murder and cannibalism. My personal favourite was Take Backs where Mother Nature takes her revenge on the human race and takes back what is rightfully hers.
  • Ask on April 04, 2012

    A short yet strangely chilling tale following two siblings as one endeavours to try and find the answer to what is beyond the grave with the unwilling help of the other. Not a bad little read but lacking in real detail which reduces the impact of the story itself.
  • House of Justice: A Horror Short Story on April 10, 2012

    This is a chilling tale that tells of the Justice Family and their Halloween celebrations that entertain the entire neighbour with a (un)lucky few being allowed to help with the exhibits. A tale that would be superb as a little novella or maybe even a full length novel this short story is an absolutely chilling tease.
  • That Speical Place: A Short Story on April 11, 2012

    A short tale that tells the story of Shane Halpert, a man suffering from cancer with little hope of survival until he rediscovers the Special Place of his childhood. Here he has all the time in the world while his body rests in the real world, his mind gets to work. This is a very human tale that pays homage to the imaginations of our childhoods and how they are lost as we grow older, much to our own disadvantage, and how we can rekindle these imaginations, if only we would try.
  • A Murder of Crows on April 11, 2012

    This is a pretty good little story that tells of Norman Crowfoot, a writer who is struggling to get past a bit of writer's block and takes a road trip to try and rekindle his creative ability. In doing so he unleashes something more and finds that his stories are no longer just words. Not a bad little story with a good ending but it does leave a lot unexplained, which on one hand is part of the story's appeal but on the other it does niggle a little, still enjoyable though.
  • Not Quite Normal - Free Edition on April 22, 2012

    A collection of mixed tales from the purely creepy through to the utterly disturbing. Each of the tales are unique and well written and will appeal to readers of horror, fantasy and sci-fi. Definitely worth a try.
  • Tales of the Absurdid on April 22, 2012

    This is quite an amusing collection of tales that takes the ordinary and gives it a little twist. Quite satirical and very dry witted this is certainly worth a try if you enjoy a bit of modern world mocking. And to think this is the author's first work...
  • Inside the Skull of David Priest on April 22, 2012

    I've put this under humour as I found David Priest's take on those customers that enter his bar rather amusing, providing quite a different take on the social life of the modern world. While there were some moments that I found a tad annoying and utterly shameful, it all worked well together and seemed surprisingly realistic. Worth a read but not for those who are easily offended!
  • Extinction Event on May 11, 2012

    This is a fantastic and thought-provoking story that really makes you think and take stock of the modern world. The basis of the story is that a Russion biochemist has created a strain of plague that is extremely virulent and air-bourne and able to change so the body can't fight it. To make matters worse it is stolen before a vaccine can be developed. The disease is then sold to a very extreme animal rights group whose leader is hell bent on making the world pay, more for his own hardships rather than any real concern over the impact of humanity on the planet. In releasing the super-plague he brings about the almost utter collapse of civilisation around the world as scientists race to find a cure before mankind goes the way of the dinosaurs. The book is written superbly with descriptive and vivid prose that brings to mind the many apocolyptic stories I've read in the past, with the images of bodies left to rot in the streets and an eery quiet descending on normally noise driven cities. The characters are also really well written with just some moments that are a little out of place and slightly awkward but this doesn't detract from the story much at all. Either side of the main story Weber takes the reader back 60+ million years ago to the time of the dinosaurs and proposes an alternative to the traditional meteor driven extinction theory that places disease as the main culprit in their demise. And I must say this theory works and does have some support in the scientific community. Most important of all he presents it as he does his main story with vivid and descriptive prose that tells complicated science in an easy, accessible and enjoyable way (and best of all it's told through the eyes of the dinosaurs themselves). This is a great book and a fantastic read, well worth giving a go.
  • The Old Lady on Oct. 24, 2012

    This is quick little read that is packed with tension, suspense and horror combining the best elements of horror together into one epically small tale. It just goes to show you really shouldn't make assumptions about people.
  • Deer Lake: A Novel on Jan. 13, 2013

    This is a great story that gives a whole new twist to the mythological lake creature/surviving dinosaur story with an alternative view set around Deer Lake in Quebec. Farant blends mystery and mythology with science, conspiracy and greed with some superb story telling and excellent characters. The only downside to this novel for me was Benning who I found a little too larger than life but this didn't really detract from the enjoyment of the story and the ultimate finale where everything becomes clear with many a mystery solved and a small town put on the map. A great story that is well worth a read...just maybe not on your next lake holiday!
  • Demon Hunter: Saga on Feb. 11, 2013

    This book pulls together all three novels of the Demon Hunter series in one volume producing a terrific read that is thoroughly engrossing from start to finish. We start with a young Costa Calabrese as he discovers he is more than his slave roots suggest and finds himself following in the footsteps of his father. The story continues with Costa training at Ravenwood, learning the skills and discovering the knowledge he needs to continue on his quest, making one or two friends (and the odd enemy) in the process. The final installment finds Costa finally accepting who and what he is, making peace with his past, enjoying the present and looking forward to the future. All three installments are superbly written with good descriptive prose that brings Costa's world to life. However I did find the characters a little bit of a let down with the three main characters of Costa, Talisa and Paralay playing fairly predictable roles. I would have for Vespia to give each of them a little something different or unexpected rather than following the same route that other fantasy writers have done before her. While this didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the story it did leave me feeling a little flat as I figured out what was going to happen long before it did, which took away the element of surprise from the story. Overall though this is a good addition to the fantasy genre, just nothing ground-breaking.
  • Journals of the Damned on Feb. 14, 2013

    Given the plethora of zombie literature that outs at the moment this is a surprisingly unique look at the genre told through the eyes of the a 17 year old high school student and a 30 year old taxi driver who come together in extraordinary circumstances in the aisle of the local Walmart. The book opens with a letter submitted with the journals to the records department that remains in the years after the events described in the journals, explaining that she is the daughter of one of the journal's authors and that they detail the apocalyptic events from their earlier days to the years following. The first journal is written by a 17 year high school girl who takes an interest in the little news items that aren't given much credence until they escalate beyond control. It is these early days that give this book its unique aspect as Zukow has obviously done a lot of research and considered how such events could really come about and the most likely origins and locations of such causes. It follows her as she deals with the lose of her family and friends and civilisation as a whole. The second journal is begun in hindsight then maintained by a 30 year old taxi driver as he deals with the psychological side of life post-apocalypse. The writing is superb with distinct changes in tone and word use between all three authors, giving a more realistic impression that the works were written by three different people, at distinctly different times and psychological states. My only critique would be that some of the events are a little cliched but this is partly due to the amount of zombie literature I've read (pretty much covering every aspect of such things) and partly because there is only so much one can do with the undead. However this is a superb read and I look forward to reading more in this series and by this author.
  • the Disappearance of Jonathan Bloom on June 21, 2013

    Okay this has taken a bit of time to read but that's largely because other things kept cropping up preventing me getting really stuck into the story. But had I been able to this would've been finished within the matter of a day or two, the story is that gripping. It begins quite slowely with a group of tourists heading out into the heartlands of south east Africa, each to forget their own worries and troubles. Little do they know that one in the midst is not who he says and will not remain the helpful friendly gentleman they all believe him to be, leading to a fight for survival in more ways than one. This book has two stories in one as we follow the group in their battle to survive the trials and tribulations of the savnnah intertwined with the story of Mr Bloom himself and his numerous indiscretions and misdemeanors. The writing is gripping and descriptive and brings the hot savannah plains to life and as the story continues you find yourself cheering on our survivors and wishing for bad things for a certain Mr Bloom. A great read that keeps you engrossed until the very end.
  • It's Dark Inside (collection of short stories) on July 30, 2013

    This is a really enthralling collection of stories that are all very different yet capture the essence of human terror superbly. The first story is called the Lighthouse and is told through the eyes of a young girl left in a isolated lighthouse by her parents and her struggle to survive without them. The second story, Snap, tells of one photographer's quest to document the dying moments of the last of a species and shows the horrors and sense of loss associated with such moments (this was my favourite, especially given current trends). The third story is told through the observations of a ghostly painting and shows how quickly life can change from good to bad. The last three tales, Out of Order, The Promise and Inside, all play on the reader's imagination filling in what is not seen/heard/read allowing the reader's own fears to drive the story and create an even greater sense of dread. Overall this is a superb collection that shows that you don't need to go over the top with graphic details to get a reaction and send shivers down the spine of the reader.
  • Infected Connection on Sep. 30, 2014

    Infected Connection is a fast paced sci-fi thriller/horror that brings to life the worse nightmare of many (if not all) technology and gadget fans...your phone is not safe. The story begins innocently enough with a new smartphone being recalled due to technical issues but it quickly becomes apparant to technician Simon Parfitt that things are not quite as straight forward as they seem. In fact the problem with the phones combines the stress of technology breaking down (face it, we all stress out when our phones don't work...) with his worse fear and greatest phobia...spiders! And so begins Simon's quest to get the message out to Government and the public in the face of an enemy that can control the very information sources we rely on for our daily dose of news, gossip and procrastination. This story may be a little quiet to start with Simon being a softly spoken technician, uncertain of himself, what he has found and what to do about it but don't let this fool you, it will pull you in and drag you along staring at your phone with suspicion the entire way (which makes reading on it difficult I can tell you!) and by the end you will find yourself cheering for Simon and his phobia...and Invisible Max (loved I.M!!!). Yes the characters do fit nicely into the sterotypes of socially awkward technician, sexy secretary and homeless man with a shady scary a*se past but why the fix something if it isn't broke (and lets face it, everyone loves the familiarity of a sterotype)? There is something in each of the characters that the reader can relate to and as such this makes them and the story more real and thus more believable (again you will not trust your phone...at least for a while). Straker has also broken up the out and out action with plenty for the geeks (and inner geeks...admit it, you have one) running through the more technical aspects allowing the characters (and the reader) to catch up with the whys and wherefors adding an extra depth and dimension to the story that could so easily have been just another sci-fi thriller. And then of course there is Simon's phobia, which as a spider lover I just found hysterical (cruel of me, I know), and which added a level of humour, along with Max's superb one-liners (did I mention that I loved Max?!), that the dark side of your funny bone will love. Just read it people!!!
  • The Wolves of Solomon (Wolves of Solomon Book One) on Oct. 24, 2014

    This is a brilliant amalgamation of historical fact, a ton of fiction, werewolves, revenge, conspiracy and good ol' action adventure very much in the theme of Three Musketeers and similar stories. Blackhurst combines the traditional stories that surround the Templar Knights with a good dose of werewolf lore and the usual romance, damsel in distress and saving world order that such historical tales require in a fairly seamless and fast paced story. We find ourselves following a number of the characters as they set out to save themselves and others, protect the Templar Order or to wreak havoc across the known world and destroy the Order getting revenge on their enemnies in the process. Each of the characters is well founded and develops over the course of the story, including interesting bits of back story and previous encounters. The only issue really is with some of the writing as there is a good amount of additional unnecessary wordage used which makes the book more cumbersome than it needs to be. But as the story is such a good one it doesn't suffer too much because of this. I did have some issue with how Catherine was portrayed as she couldn't seem to decide between being the damsel in distress or being a hard ass (personally she should've stuck with the latter, she obviously has the balls to do it so do it!), but this is very much a personal preference. Overall a pretty damn good read.
  • Mathion: Book One of the Legacy of the Wolven Trilogy on Nov. 18, 2014

    This is very much the traditional epic fantasy tale with clear good and bad sides and characters set in a breath-taking world of its own dramatic contrasts. While the story follows the traditional path with our hero finding a valuable power at a young age and not being able to use it to its full potential until battling evil in his young adult years, it is refreshing to have a story that the author has put so much thought, effort and research into. Shanley has created a world and cast of characters that has the potential to offer hundreds of stories to its readers. And yes while this first novel has a lot of background and history, this is vital for adding context to what will come (of which the finale to this one gives away very little). Shanley's is a superb writer and this is one series that has certainly re-awakened my faith in the fantasy writer (particularly given current trends...). Can't wait to revisit Mavonduri in the future!
  • Blackroot on Nov. 18, 2014

    This is an entertaining story that follows Renath as he tries to identify and capture the Blackroot Murderer, whom he is convinced is a woman despite his colleagues and superiors believing otherwise. As he uncovers more about the murderer and their past he finds himself caught between his work and his emotions as he finds they share experiences that have had lasting influences on how they live and the decisions they make. A good read that keeps you engrossed from the outset, more so as you find out more about the murderer's past and the reasons behind their behaviour and murderous tendencies. The characters were well written and on the whole fairly believable although the complete change in Renath's opinions and views as he identifies the killer was a little extreme and would benefit from a little more detail and angst as he battles to balance his work and personal self. Otherwise a good read.