on Jan. 02, 2013
I have to admit being taken by this book almost as much because, as despite, its lack of polish. The jagged edges suit the devil-may-care spirit of the narrative. Reminiscent of an era when breaking rules in the pursuit of greatness was not only tolerated, but celebrated. This is old-school science fiction—not the modern hedonistic pablum that masquerades as the genre today.
It's a rollicking yarn of intrigue and suspense sometimes held together duct tape, but well worth the read. The science requires a healthy suspension of disbelief, but the concepts are compelling enough to keep interest. I love the pioneering spirit of the book. Highly recommend the read!
on May 02, 2015
Many authors have wonderful ideas; some have great voices; others have insight that pulls readers into new worlds. Rarely does a new author put it all together.
Sharon Cramer does just that with The Execution. An errant priest confronts himself in the visage of a hardened murderer who just happens to be his twin. With the complex reunion occurring the night before his execution, both brothers explore the depths of loyalty, betrayal, love, depravity, murder and forgiveness. The depth of characterization is a nice break from the constant shallow adventure stories that flood the market today. Still, The Execution has enough adventure to keep interest without resorting to gratuitous sex or violence, though it remains an adult novel.
As a former editor, I am always heartened by a new well-written book. Congratulations; it was good to read your story before you are snatched up by a major house.
The Phoenix Conspiracy
on Nov. 21, 2018
A great read for classic science fiction readers. Sanders falls into a small class of writers who can straddle the divide between adventure and science fiction without devolving to fantasy. It’s not hard science, but it’s not hard to suspend disbelief as Calvin gets deeper into a conspiracy that threatens the universe.
His characters are well-developed and the mysteries are engrossing. I found myself at the end far before I wanted to leave. I’m glad I found this after more books are already waiting.
You can’t go wrong spending time aboard the Nighthawk with Calvin and his crew. A fast-paced space opera that delivers adventure and intrigue without compromise.
on Jan. 04, 2019
I just finished Kill Process, and it was one of the best novels I’ve read on Smashwords. The blend of psycho-drama and hard sci-fi was a nice break from the regurgitated horror and fantasy tropes.
As an IT worker and a person who has worked with many victims of violence, the story held together well, and the details riveted my attention. I also enjoyed Angie’s growth and the upward trajectory of the story—a satisfying break from the dearth of dystopian narratives that have floooded the market in the recent past.
Combining all this with a vision of an internet freed from corporate and government influence made me wish it wasn’t just fiction. I’m ready to crowd source Tapestry-let’s get the campaign started!
on Jan. 12, 2019
Straybeck is a good read. If you enjoy the dystopian genre, you will enjoy Ryan’s travails. While the novel doesn’t break new ground, it’s a solid story with plenty of adventure. I look forward to seeing some of the subplots fleshed out in further books.
I hope to read more from Michael soon. Good luck on the new dog!
The Bright Black Sea
on Jan. 12, 2019
I read both books in the Lost Star series and enjoyed them equally. Few writers have the capacity to flesh out their characters as well this author. Wil’s misadventures are entertaining to a fault, and his would-be assassin provides the perfect foil. The vast milieu of settings and well-formed societies added a depth that overcame my general disinclination toward the fantastical.
Personally, I found little to quibble about regarding the vivid descriptions, and disagree vehemently with (some) reviewers as far as vocabulary. While some inexpert writers wield a thesaurus with all the grace of a bludgeon, multisyllabic fluency in competent hands can transform boiled beef into boeuf bourguignon!
With a rare uplifting point of view, a raft of entertaining characters, plenty of speculative technological and environmental wonders, the Lost Star series is a thoroughly enjoyable read and a terrific escape from the mundane. Five stars and fine work!
Season Of The Harvest (Harvest Trilogy, Book 1)
on Jan. 14, 2019
Season of the Harvest grabs you quick and keeps the adrenaline pumping. It’s a fun read for some quick escapism. Some of the science and plot strain credulity; but overall, it’s well-written and worth your time.
Though this is the beginning of a series, the first book is a self-contained story, and I appreciate that a lot. Too many writers string out resolutions over the entire series, and it’s nice to have major plot elements concluded in one novel.
The Shadow Priest
on Feb. 03, 2019
The Shadow Priest is a great title, and I found the premise intriguing. The author’s expertise in field operations and his ability to expose the moral ambiguity and Byzantine political maneuvering that infests our federal agencies lends an air of authority to the plot.
That said, the intermittent hackneyed dialogue was distracting at best. One more prep-school versus the hick chat would have cost another star. The antagonists appeared to have come from Flat World, and their stereotypes from the latest PC-Approved FBI training manual. The ultimate villain gained some depth and balanced the narrative a bit.
Overall, I found The Shadow Priest worth a read, but it won’t be joining my favorites.
Lady Collendon's Cook
on Feb. 09, 2019
Lady Collendon’s Cook transports the reader, not to a simpler time, but a time of consequence. The characters and plot weave through prewar, post Victorian Britain in an engaging manner without resorting to the current predilection toward morality plays and predetermined viewpoints.
Mrs. Green plays well as the not-so-ordinary everyman (or woman as it may be) and the intrepid Mr. Kearns keeps life interesting for all. The Nazis play second fiddle to the craven British aristocrats as villains in a manner that reminds a new generation that many in the UK (and the US, for that matter) were more than sympathetic towards the resurgent Germany.
With a believable cast, and a nostalgic air, Mrs. Collendon’s Cook provides an engaging, if somewhat ahistorical, look at a period that is quickly fading from memory.