Banty Hen Publishing

Publisher info

Banty Hen Publishing is an independent publishing house, based out of Southern California. We specialize in multiple types of fiction. Our flagship authors include Michael Angel, Sugar Lee Ryder, Devlin Church, Dr. Robert Yoho, and J.D. Cutler.

Where to find Banty Hen Publishing online

Where to buy in print

Publisher of

The Deer Prince's Murder: Book Two of 'Fantasy & Forensics'
Series: 'Fantasy & Forensics', 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 77,440. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2014 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
CSI expert Dayna Chrissie put her forensic skills to the test in the magical land of Andeluvia. Her heroism was all that stopped a war between human and centaur. Now, the Fayleene have tasked her friend Liam with protecting them from Sirrahon, an ancient stone dragon! The odds don’t look good. Especially when a new enemy arrives and threatens to engulf everyone in a bloody cycle of vengeance!
Treasure of the Silver Star
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 53,920. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2013 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
“Fast-paced action and sly wit make Angel’s writing irresistible fun.” — Rebecca Moesta, NYT Bestselling co-author of Young Jedi Knights In the far future, fortune hunters and mercenaries clash as the race to the ultimate treasure trove is on!
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,980. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2013 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
In the future, humans share their world with the feline race of the sphinx. D’Artagnan lives a quiet life with his uncle. Until he meets Rissa, a girl sphinx who’s more than a match for his smart-alec ways. But even as the two grapple with their feelings, they stumble across a plot to kidnap a genetically engineered racehorse! Can Rissa and D’Artagnan foil this plan? All bets are off in Sylph.
Gatekeeper and Goddess
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 96,980. Language: English. Published: July 23, 2013 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Bestselling authors Michael Angel and Devlin Church bring you a pair of stories involving death, marriage, and the future of everyone on the planet! Gatekeeper and Goddess contains the short novels published as: I Married the Third Horseman I Am the Vorpal Blade
I Am the Vorpal Blade
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 55,290. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2013 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
A daring experiment catapults Alice Lydell into the distant future of a post-apocalyptic Earth!
Fringe Space Tales - All of Amanda Love's Stories, in One Place
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 144,710. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Welcome to Fringe Space, partner. Keep your blaster handy, 'cause you might need it. Plunge into the rough-and-tumble world of the galaxy’s Fringe. Worlds chock full of Galactic Marshals, ambitious miners, roving preachers, and a full hand’s worth of villains and varmints!
A Planet Torn - Book Three of the Amanda Love Trilogy
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 38,280. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Amanda finds herself in a terrible dilemma as the evil Malco Trent returns, space station IBS5 falls under siege, and Marshal Fallon’s life hangs in the balance. She and her crew must assault the station, no matter the cost. And the kicker? If Amanda succeeds, then Angus promises to tell her the ultimate secret left by Jonathan Love: a plan to make Amanda a veritable goddess to an entire people.
Dogfight - Book Two of the Amanda Love Trilogy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 23,630. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
An old recording from Amanda’s father, Jonathan Love, summons Mawla to immediately return home to the Lupine planet of Canus. What starts out as a rescue turns into an all-out war between two tribes of vicious, bipedal wolves! And in the middle of all of this Amanda must make a terrible choice: decide what she truly believes the cost of condemning one of her beloved friends to death.
Pay To Pray - Book One of the Amanda Love Trilogy
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 29,670. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Con-artist and adventurer Amanda Love travels the star systems of the frontier. She and her crew of loyal misfits take their traveling ‘pay to pray’ Salvation Show out to the lonely, backwater alien planets of Fringe Space. But her latest ‘pay to pray’ con nearly becomes her last, when she’s attacked by mercenaries sent by Malco Trent, a man who runs Mal Corp, the galaxy’s most ruthless company!
I Married the Third Horseman (Paranormal Romance and Divorce)
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 52,540. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Some women, when they want to leave their husbands, get a divorce. But not indie filmmaker Cassie Van Deene. Oh, no. She needed an *exorcism*. When she’s swept off her feet by Mitchel Thantos at the Sundance Film Festival, she agrees to marry him. But that’s when everything in her happy-ever-after ending of a life that Cinderella would have pawned off a glass slipper for goes straight to hell…
The Haute Couture Time Traveller
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 19,200. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Fashion shifts into fast-forward for Beverly Hills designer Sophie Duchamp one fateful summer day. Pourquoi, you ask? It's the day that her four future selves, each carrying a stolen time device, show up in her studio! But will Sophie's destiny - and humanity's future, for that matter - be irrevocably changed by what they tell her?
Blood, Sweat, and Fears
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 91,760. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
18 Stories of Suspense, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction from Michael Angel, bestselling author of 'Centaur of the Crime' and J.D. Cutler, bestselling author of 'Sagebrush & Lace'.
The Wizard, The Warlord, and The Hidden Woman
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 107,340. Language: English. Published: August 10, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
When the Caranthine Empire invades, Muriel, sister to the Melusian wizard, sends a desperate call for help to Leetah the Mage. But Leetah only exists in the mind of writer Jason Summer, who based Leetah on his girlfriend, Sonja. As Jason sets out to help Muriel, strange events draw him into a web of intrigue. And at the heart lies a secret that Sonja has kept ever since she first met Jason.
Love's Origins - A Five-Story Collection
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 57,500. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » General
Five tales of science fiction, set in the wild-west universe of Amanda Love. Plunge into the rough-and-tumble world of the Galactic Marshals to see how the toughest lawman on the Fringe got his start. Watch how a supernatural vision earned Amanda a lifelong friend and loyal alien bodyguard. And witness the terrible betrayal that sets two best friends into a cycle of murder and bloody revenge.
A Shovelful of Stars
Price: $5.25 USD. Words: 43,230. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » General
A strange friendship takes two men to the stars, makes them insanely rich…and turns one against the other in a battle to the death! 'A Shovelful of Stars' follows Malco Trent and Jonathan Love through their struggles, friendship, and the terrible betrayal that sets them against each other for over twenty-five years.
Cantaloupes and Wild Shoshone
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 14,050. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Marshal Michael Fallon rates as the toughest lawman in Fringe Space. But how did he start out? Ten years ago, Michael Fallon got himself conscripted into the Galactic Marshal Corps. He attacks the recruiter, vandalizes Academy property, and makes enemies with the biggest, baddest man in his class. Lucky for him, the Galactic Marshals don't disqualify people on grounds of stupidity.
Blood Heist
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 15,410. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
One ex-con trying to go straight. One vampire who needs his skills. Add a hit on a very special kind of bank. Now stir…and stand back!
Cyber Son
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 14,230. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Technological, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Space frontiersman Jonathan Love is newly married, in need of a new crew, and he's on the run from the hit men hired by his former best friend, Malco Trent. A stop at the wildest space station in Fringe Space brings the eccentric genius Fergus MacKenzie on board as the new ship's engineer. All seems well, until Fergus reveals his plan to carry on the family name after his death...
Love's Labors and Lies
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,660. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Space frontiersmen Jonathan Love and Malco Trent forge a strange friendship that, over five years, takes them to the stars and makes them both insanely rich. And it ultimately puts the two on a collision course over the woman that both men want. Where one will end up on top...and the other will end up *dead*.
Vala Staffwielder
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 13,680. Language: English. Published: June 7, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
A rustling came from the bracken near me. If I hesitated, I would fail my test. I would disgrace my family. That was not the way of a Lupine. I drew my knife. Two feet of serrated steel slid silently from its leather sheath. My ears flattened. From the shadows crept the ebony-furred, low-slung shape of the panthorr. Fearsome eyes gleamed in the dark. My test.
Little Girl Lost
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 15,680. Language: English. Published: May 22, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
13-year old Amanda Love isn't having a normal childhood. Her parents and their entourage travel the spaceways on the galactic frontier, preaching for profit as part of Brother Love's Salvation Show. She wants to join the family tradition...but the journey from innocent little girl to veteran space evangelist is going to have more than a few bumps...
Sagebrush & Lace
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 94,360. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Gay & Lesbian, Fiction » Romance » Western
1876: Time to throw away the corsets and draw down on the Old West. Society calls them Sapphists. Chief Sitting Bull calls them ‘Big Magic’. Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok call them friends. Pinkerton’s detectives want them alive. Clarke Quantrill’s gang of outlaws want them dead. Two runaway women in a man’s world risk their very lives to be together.
Three Acts of Courage - A Three Story Collection
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 22,520. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Three stories of suspense - and unexpected heroism... Meet a down-on-his luck supermarket worker who has to foil a kidnapping all on his own. Tune into back-roads radio station as a pair of down-home country deejays try to stop a murder - while they're still on the air. And follow a California surfer boy on a date with a Texas beauty...while her cousin Billy-Bob literally rides shotgun on them.
Predators and Prey - A Three Story Collection
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,890. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Three stories about predators, and whether their quarry survives... An assassin fights to escape the consequences of his hit, while trapped in the men's restroom in the Vatican. A wildland firefighter must use his mysterious powers to save his crew from a roaring inferno. And a mercenary game hunter tries to collect his final prize - a woman with the most powerful psychic ability ever seen.
Deepest Fears - A Three-Story Collection
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,220. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Mashups
Three tales of people facing their deepest fears... Meet a photographer with a fear of sharks, who's been stranded on a tiny island when the tide starts coming in... Discover the origin of three scars left on man's body: each one left by facing one of the seven deadly sins. And ride along the razor's edge of a deadly highway...while a reckless motorcyclist puts everyone in harm's way.
So a Dragon, a Muse, and an Alien Walk Into a Bar... (A Three Story Collection)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,580. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Three comedic stories from the science fiction & fantasy genres. Find out why no one in the dragon-plagued town of Schnitzengruben is glad to see a professional dragon slayer arrive. Join a gumshoe journalist as he discovers the truth behind the making of the galaxy's best slumgullion chowder. And meet the painful, bruise-covered truth behind Shakespeare's genius: Callidora,the muse of *boxing.
Crisis Points
Price: $5.25 USD. Words: 36,770. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Six suspense stories of people facing off against their ultimate terror… Meet a down-on-his luck supermarket worker who has to foil a kidnapping all on his own. Follow an eco-tourist's frantic efforts to escape a quarantine zone ravaged by a deadly virus. And tune into Texas station KRAP as a pair of down-home country deejays try their best to stop a murder - while they're still on the air.
Strange Powers, Stranger Places
Price: $5.25 USD. Words: 34,190. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Six stories of fantasy and speculative fiction. Visit a world where a wildland firefighter must use his mysterious powers to save his crew from a roaring inferno. Follow a gumshoe journalist as she tracks down a figure who's able to predict the future with terrifying accuracy. And see if a mercenary game hunter can collect his final prize - a woman with the world's most powerful psychic ability.
The One-Day New Body Makeover
Price: Free! Words: 36,840. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2012 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Medicine
Much of what's written about cosmetic surgery in newspapers and magazines, and even in some medical journals, is half-truth, myth, or advertising. The media has distorted public perception with overly negative or sensationalized stories, and medical specialty organizations contribute to the mayhem by promoting warring viewpoints to establish their own market share.
Three Scars - J.D. Cutler and Michael Angel
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 16,780. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Literature » Biographical
Scars can be markers. Markers of various kinds of sins that go before a fall. Let me tell you about three of my markers. Pride left the first mark. Envy the next. Vanity the deepest one. In the process of getting those scars, I’d tasted failure. I’d eaten crow. Between the two, I’d take the crow, which at least tastes like chicken. I can’t say that I mind.
Never Mind the Princess, Save the *Dragon*
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 19,590. Language: English. Published: September 6, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Sir Maximilian isn’t your typical knight. He talks to his horse, he’s been known to burn castles down, and he’s on the run from the mob. So he jumps at the chance to earn the reward for a rescue mission. But it’s not to rescue a damsel from a dragon. This time, he has to rescue a dragon from the Count’s extremely powerful, extremely pissed-off daughter. Who said being a knight was easy?
An Assassin in the Vatican (A Comedic Tale of Suspense)
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 16,670. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Destined to be the greatest short story ever set inside men’s bathroom at the Vatican, ‘Assassin’ follows the world’s most pious (and unlucky) hit man. Paul ‘The Ghost’ Taranto’s mission: assassinate a Cardinal. That part had been much too easy. The hard part? Escaping before the Vatican’s crack Swiss Guard discover his whereabouts, or he’ll be shot on sight.
Shadow on the Sea
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 13,190. Language: English. Published: July 16, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A stranded tourist. A wrecked inflatable boat. A rocky island the size of a parking lot. And the icy gray tide rushes in. An aspiring photographer must confront his deepest fear: the unknown depths of the open sea. And whatever creatures lie beneath.
I Got Some Bad Muse For You
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 19,470. Language: English. Published: July 8, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Many artists wait for inspiration to strike. Few know that it does so with a clenched fist. Broke, drunk, and depressed, the young William Shakespeare has a bad case of writer’s block. The good news? His muse has arrived to inspire him. The bad news? She’s the muse of *boxing*. And she’s going to make Shakespeare the most famous playwright in England, even if it kills him.
The Detective & The Unicorn
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 105,850. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
When a warlock from the magical world of the Morning Land murders Derek Ridder’s friend, the LAPD detective gets a new partner. Her name’s Tavia, and she’s a brash, driven unicorn filly. She identifies the killer as Sir William Teach, the one man she’s sworn to capture or kill. Together, Derek and Tavia must race to uncover Teach's plan to conquer both of their worlds.
Which Way to the Dragon
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 15,460. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Welcome to Schnitzengruben, Bavaria. It’s 635 A.D., on a sunny Tuesday. Schnitzengruben’s a lovely place. It’s got a pretty lake, prettier forest, charming houses, and clean streets. It also has a dragon problem. Lucky for everyone, Rothgar the Dragon Slayer has shown up, ready to help them, for a modest fee. So...why isn't everyone happy to see him?
The Most Wanted Woman
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 9,710. Language: English. Published: June 7, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Diana Cooper had just raised the champagne flute to her lips when the bullet shattered the glassware into crystal shards. She’d been ready for a night out on the town. Not for a man to show up at her Manhattan penthouse with a loaded gun in hand. But he’s not here to rob or kidnap. He’s *collecting* her. And because of her unique psychic power, she’s his most valuable prize.
Slumgullion Sector
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 9,700. Language: English. Published: June 7, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
I’d been sitting at Doyle’s Clam House for an hour, and no one had gotten around to being kidnapped by aliens yet. I had a bowl of what the guide books called the best chowder north of Bodega Bay on one side, and a redhead who’d make Raymond Chandler dive for his thesaurus on the other. No one told me that I'd get to witness something right out of the Star Wars cantina scene that evening.
A Talent for Fire
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 15,250. Language: English. Published: June 7, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Wildland firefighter Clark Donnelly must rely upon his supernatural ability to ‘listen’ to the voice of forest fires to keep his team of sawyers and swampers alive amidst a raging inferno.
Sharpest Tool in the Shed
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 17,000. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Tune into rural Texas’ radio station KRAP (don’t touch that dial, there’s KRAP on it!) as a pair of down-home country DJs try their damnedest to stop a murder…all while they’re still on the air.
Quarantine on the Black Nile
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 18,630. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
Eco-tourist Jonah Brooks stumbles into a nightmare as he’s snared in an East African quarantine zone. Black Nile hemorrhagic virus rampages through the Malindi rain forest like a feral beast. It burns through the human population with a terrifying kill rate; and everyone in the medical group sent to study it lies dead in their camp. It’s not quite the tour package that Jonah signed up for.
My First Date with Jolene, and Her Cousin, Billy-Bob
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 14,980. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Humor, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
College freshman Simon Nance has a problem. He’s a California surfer-dude, starting college in rural Texas. He’s kind-of-sort-of on a date with the girl of his dreams. And his ‘date’ has a chaperone. A six-foot four dude with a shotgun, who’s looking for an excuse to shoot him in the postremo. Let’s see if Simon survives the evening.
A Road Painted in Scarlet
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 14,940. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
The infamous Highway 74 in Southern California can be a death trap of a road. There’s even a store that sells a T-shirt with the logo: I SURVIVED THE ORTEGA HIGHWAY. Let me tell you about someone who never earned that shirt. I didn't murder him. But what happened haunts me to this day. And the kicker? This story's real.
A Most Helpful Text
Price: Free! Words: 16,790. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Journalist Madeline Ferrero's ability to spot patterns in online text leads her on a chase: to find the ‘Helpful Gremlin’ who’s been predicting disasters in the Chicago area without fail for over a decade. The hunt takes an unexpected twist when she starts getting texts from the mysterious Gremlin. But are they thinly veiled threats from someone with the talent to predict the future?
The Pusher's List
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 18,140. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2011 by Banty Hen Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Supermarket worker Colin Webb’s day goes from bad to terrifying when he finds a note scrawled in a child’s hand: Pleze Help Us We R Kidnaped. Colin’s co-workers dismiss the note as a joke. Colin’s boss threatens to fire him if he takes any action. But Colin knows that unless he can figure out who the kidnapper is, any chance of rescuing the victims will vanish without a trace.

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Smashwords book reviews by Banty Hen Publishing

  • Cultivating Love on June 09, 2011

    A taut, chilling tale of love and obsession that starts off seemingly domestic, then takes a dark, pulse-pounding turn. A superb short story that's an excellent introduction to Linn Henderson's work.
  • The Hands of God on June 19, 2011

    A touching, compelling read... Fourteen year-old Pamela Ruka is a veritable innocent, a sweet girl who lives with her grandfather. But not is all as it seems. We find out that Pamela's lost both of her hands in a tragic accident. Her grandfather treats her as little more than a marker for potential insurance money, and locks her in the house each and every day. ...and then we learn out that she has a strange gift for picking out patterns. A gift that allows her to pick out the winning racehorses...and lead to her liberation from her tragically shut-in life. 'The Hands of God' doesn't follow a path that one expects. There's something for everyone - heart-tugging scenes of friendship and family, tension-filled chases, a dash of speculative science, and ultimately, an exploration of God's purpose for all of us.
  • Afterburn on July 04, 2011

    Karen Abrahamson crafts a superb fantasy thriller with a spicy note of romance thrown into the mix. Vallon Drake's one of the Gifted, a woman with the power to 'edit' the world so that buildings, neighborhoods, or entire landscapes can come into - or be erased out - of existence. This gives rise to a fun and entertaining conceit: that the American Geological Survey is in fact the most powerful group in the Homeland Security agency. But Vallon's faith in the agency and her powers are challenged the night that one of her fellow agents - and a recent ex-boyfriend - is murdered. Specifically, murdered by someone with that same awe-inspiring cartographic ability. Afterburn's an original and engrossing take on urban fantasy. It'll keep you reading through the night as Vallon must solve the case...and in the process, put her life and loyalties to the test.
  • Wasted On The Young on July 04, 2011

    David Schibi gives us a winning chiller of a that recalls the darkest episodes of 'The Twilight Zone'. Schibi has a touch for creating memorable characters that nonetheless can make one shiver, as in 'The Harvest' and many of his other tales. Burt's secret to near-immortality is one that turns him into a truly scary predator. But to keep this review spoiler-free, you'll have to give this a read...and don't do it too late at night!
  • The Bee Lady's Amulet on July 04, 2011

    Archaeological dig volunteer Melinda Kaibell is plucked from her own time by the goddess Askar. She's placed in the Bronze Age, during the glorious climax of the Minoan Civilization on Crete. The catch? She's aware of the catastrophic eruption that completely wiped out this civilization, and it's happening in a matter of weeks. Can she deal with her emergence in this ancient time, her near-deification, and a budding romance, all while trying to save Askar's people? Linn Henderson gives us a time-travel fantasy romance that's both mystical and engaging. I don't want to give away too many of the story's many plot twists, but it seems that Melinda's not the only time traveler that Askar's put in harm's way... Highly recommended as an intro to the works of Ms. Henderson or Lilac Moon Books.
  • Drowning on July 04, 2011

    A tale about the explosiveness of secrets, and, ultimately, redemption. Ever have that dark moment at 2am, when all of life's troubles appear to be closing in and there's no escape? Euly Winger, the protagonist at the heart of Susan Wingate's latest novel, inhabits that very moment. Yet, even as troubles with her family and marriage seem to be closing in, she sets out to uncover - and more importantly, *understand* - the dark secret held at her family's heart. At turns lyrical and touching, you'll find this an exercise in emotion and intimacy. Highly recommended.
  • Monkey: An Indian Tale on July 29, 2011

    This is a quirky tale sure to delight, and provide surprising insights. The story follows the strange, amusing journey of Tugli, a man who lives quite contentedly inside of metal box alongside a street in modern-day India. He's plagued by the generosity of an old lady who works at the restaurant down the street, who brings him bags of pungent pickles. To his surprise, the one time he stashes the pickles atop his box (to prevent them from smelling up his tiny abode), they vanish. But things take a turn for the worse when the old lady stops bringing the goods...and the reason for the vanishing gifts - a disgruntled monkey - expresses his extreme displeasure. Without giving too much away, this sends Tugli (whose patience is saintlike!) on a journey across India to find a new source of these specifically spiced pickles. And what he discovers will warm one's heart and teach some valuable lessons as to what's important in life. 'Monkey' perfectly captures the feel of a fable, and is suitable for all ages.
  • Mistress of Molecules on July 29, 2011

    Gerald Weinberg's sci-fi work 'Mistress of Molecules' is, on the surface, a tale about chemicals, eco-terrorism, and interstellar travel. However, it works on another level - one of two people, each seeking freedom of their own. They may start out in different sections of the galaxy, but it's when they come together that things kick into high gear. Libra, a gifted chemist, seeks to liberate the residents of her planet, Precursor, from the pollution-spewing policies that cut lifespan by almost half. Making matters even more dangerous is the nature of her society, which is run by a quasi-religious police state. In another part of the galaxy, the young man Andre is brought up amidst squalor and abuse, in both his own household and in the religious order he's inducted into. Some of the book's more tense and gripping scenes take place where Andre finally rebels, and desperately flees the confines of the monastary-island and stows away aboard a starship. Andre, against all odds, manages to survive and thrive amidst the alien race he encounters, the Zgaarid. But his world is turned upside down yet again as he meets the mysterious and intriguingly alluring Libra on Precursor. Without giving away any more spoilers, let's just say that their road together doesn't run smoothly. But it's wide, deep, and the consequences shape the future of both the humans' world and that of the Zgaarid. A solid, engaging sci-fi read!
  • Jack Dervish, Super Spy on Nov. 20, 2011

    Jack Dervish is, quite possibly, the most interesting kid on the planet. Imagine being one of the children from the family in the 'Spy Kids' franchise...only your parents have mysteriously disappeared! But Jack, being fantastically logical, forward-thinking, and disciplined, reacts by living in his parents’ super-spy lair, learning every super-spy skill, creating fantastical gadgets... ..and realizes that unless he gets out into the world and attends school, he'll be forever alone and isolated. I mean, even Batman needed to get out and visit Gotham, whether as Bruce Wayne or the Caped Crusader, right? Most stories would then take the tried-and-safe route of making the super-intelligent, super-cool spy kid have to face his biggest challenge: blending in with other kids, dealing with his first crush, etc. OK, there's some of that in this. But bigger, badder things await, and Jack comes up against an evil mastermind who, in classic James-Bond-villain fashion, wants to take over the world... ...and that same person may just know what happened to Jack's parents! Fast-paced, fun, and fully engaging, this is a book you have got to read. And I'm already waiting for another!
  • The Culling (Alien Apocalypse Part I) on Nov. 28, 2011

    19-year-old Jet dwells amidst the ruins of a post-alien invasion Earth. When we meet her, she's been discovered on one of her trading runs by a 'culler', an alien ship that kidnaps people and takes them off to god-knows-where. Yes, the post-industrial wasteland and alien kidnappings have been seen before, from James Cameron (Terminator Salvation) to Stephen King (The Gunslinger). However, JCA adds her own noirish spin - one with lots of kinetic action - on the unfolding events, and there's a nifty twist at the end of this selection that makes it more than worth a read. Notice I said 'this selection'. That's because the 'Part 1' in the title itself shows that it's the first part of a serial novel - something more than a few writers are trying out these days. If you don't mind waiting for the final resolution of this 'miniseries' then by all means, check this one out!
  • Music to Die By on Dec. 28, 2011

    Still waters run dark and deep... On the surface, Shanti Hazard has a promising career as the lead singer in the indie band Gorot. A globe-trotting free spirit (raised in Ireland and France, yet settling down in Japan), she and her bandmates are making an all-out attempt to carve out a name on the Japanese rock band circuit. All that's cut short when a man she's known during her troubled childhood appears during one of her shows. One who knows of the horrific secret that she and her brother Alastair tried to bury deep. But not all secrets are *meant* to stay buried. Author Rose Nanashima gives us a cool, noir-esque look into Japan's underground music scene. She's also got a keen eye for detail and a real understanding of punk/grunge rock. Though languidly paced, the plot twists ever tighter as Shanti's nemesis manages to slip inside of her circle of friends. Definitely worth a read if you're into pot-boiler style suspense with an international twist.
  • The Spirit of Harlem on Dec. 31, 2011

    Felicity Savage’s writing works on multiple levels of literary understanding. On the surface, this is an arresting tale of an intervention – an attempt to move a promising young artist off her path towards self-destruction. At the same time, I sense deeper levels of meaning. At some level, a lot of the drama and existential frustration in this story – and in life – revolves around language. More than once, the narrator bumps into these linguistic walls that create walls in the mind that are almost impossible to see before they are hit. Sharp, poignant, and rich with meaning, this is a gem of a short story for those who like intelligent literature with an edge.
  • Maya Papaya on Dec. 31, 2011

    I thoroughly liked the story of Maya Papaya, but this is a tough book to categorize. The best I can come up with is a fruit-salad type mixture (not unlike Maya’s name!) that tosses in The Island of Dr. Moreau, Johnny Quest, Spy Kids, even a dash of Home Alone. Maya’s early life is shrouded in mystery. She lives with her guardian, Mr. Norbert, who instructs her never to show her four-foot long prehensile tail. Even more interestingly, Norbert disappears for short periods of time into the attic, where she’s forbidden. Until the day comes that Mr. Norbert is called away for a few hours...and Maya’s curiosity gets the better of her. Her shocking discovery in the attic leads to her questioning who – and what – she really is. And no sooner does she start trying to figure this than she’s placed on a ship to India in order to... ...well, you’ll just have to read the book, won’t you? Intriguing and fun, with action and mystery that’s perfect for kids or young adults.
  • The Pearl Witch on May 29, 2012

    Tarin Peterson's sex life takes a turn for the surreal when she begins climaxing by shooting blue bolts of energy from her hands. These are serious releases of energy, ones that burn down houses or take down small planes. Before one can suspect a case of universe's worst 'hot flashes', the story shifts from sexual comedy into a story with real stakes. Tarin's one of a very few gifted individuals who can manifest and manipulate sexual energy, and there are those who want to control and use it. The book follows Tarin's attempts to control and utilize her power - for me, it was a highly entertaining variant on what the X-men's Cyclops must have had to go through as a teen - and how she deals with the two main men in the story. One's a hunky sex magician who has her best interests at heart. The other secretly wants to use her power to facilitate an alien invasion! The Pearl Witch is at turns touching and surprisingly erotic. It definitely falls in genre of 'hot romance'. Yes, there's some S&M material in here, but it's handled tastefully and may even serve to introduce the reader to some situations that they find a turn-on. (Rest assured, most 'doms' are not seeking to exploit their 'subs' in order to open a portal between universes.)
  • Earth's Endless Effort on Dec. 17, 2012

    'Neuromancer' with wooden, not circuit boards... Hunted, wounded, and on the run, Daphne DeFreest wakes up within the confines of a most unique healing unit - the embrace of a sentient forest entity that she dubs 'LAFE'. She and the being quickly establish a bond, which allows Daphne to work back in the human world in order to prevent a pipeline project from cutting the forest in half and effectively lobotomizing her new-found friend! At turns touching and thought-provoking, this is a story that the hard-core science fiction community will enjoy. I liken this work to 'Neuromancer' because (spoiler alert, unless you read the Book Description) we learn that there are *other* gestalt entities out there around the globe that will also play a major part in the story. Highly recommended for a fast, intelligent read.
  • Bi-Quinary Rescue on July 30, 2013

    Short, but sweet! This is a short, fast-paced story that is a prime example of how to do what's called a 'bottle' story: that is, a story that focuses on only 2-3 characters, and most importantly is confined to a small, definite space. The narrator is a passenger on a damaged Zgaarid ship, one that's on course to plunge into a sun! The only way to save themselves is to find a single damaged piece of code among millions, making this a needle-in-a-haystack kind of problem. This is complicated by having to deal with some of the most passive-aggressive aliens I've come across in sci-fi (they even have a formal Chastising Voice) who resist the use of logic to reduce the guesswork. In sum: A real find, and a great introduction to the excellent works of Gerald Weinberg.