Wednesday, November 25, 2015

REVIEW: Jupiter Justice

Title: Jupiter Justice
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Price: $2.99 (ebook) / $11.74 (paperback)
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
ISBN: 978-1516972548
Point of Sale: Amazon  
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

Full disclosure – I am a member of the author’s writing group and read partial drafts of Jupiter Justice before it came out.  Having said that, I paid full price for my copy and really enjoyed reading it.  It’s a great near-future romp.

Set in a plausible mid-future Solar System, Jupiter Justice is the story of Rico Schroeder.  Thanks to fusion power, the Solar System is open for business, but fusion power is slow – or at least slower than humans would like.  Rico is part of one international team working on his generation’s X-Prize, developing a working anti-matter space drive.  It’s a very high-stakes endeavor, not just for the prize money but for political and economic control of the Solar System.

The stakes are high enough that people are getting killed over the competition.  Rico has to make an abrupt transition from his test-pilot job back to his previous profession – cop – and figure out who done it.  That’s if Rico can stay alive long enough, as his investigation puts him immediately in the murderer’s cross-hairs.

Don writes in a brisk and clear style, and he’s done a lot of research getting his facts right.  There’s a bit of romance thrown in, as Rico rekindles an old flame, and plenty of action.  I found the story well-written and enjoyable.  I think you will too.


Friday, November 13, 2015

The Indie Writers Support Website

Cold Coffee Café Press has been sharing the information that The Indie Writers Support Website ( webmaster 'Judd Miller', allegedly has the legal name of Korede Abayomi.

Abayomi and is reported to be subject of a current arrest warrant. He is also the owner of highly questionable publisher ParaDon Books.

As such any authors who have shared credit card information with The Indie Writers Support Website may wish to take precautions, and possibly rethink maintaining author pages on this site.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

REVIEW: Void Contract

Title: Void Contract: Gigaparsec Book 1      
Author: Scott Rhine  
Genre: space opera
Price: $2.99 (ebook) $8.99 (trade paperback)
Publisher: Amazon Digital Servces
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

Void Contract is the story of Max Culp, human medic and assassin.  In the fairly far future, humanity has developed faster-than-light ships, made contact with various alien races and in true human fashion fought a war with one race.  Humanity won that war, although the alien race defeated in said war still exists.  Oh, and there’s an over-race, the Magi, running around, who bestow technology on other races as they see fit.

In this very interesting world, Max, a !Kung tribesman descended from a group resettled from a dying Earth, is trying to make a living.  Max does so by killing sentient beings.  In the first chapter, he’s doing so to repay a debt to the aliens who protected his people.  Then, via a circuitous set of events, Max finds himself responsible for a “Goat” (Satyr-like alien) named Reuben, and forced to kill people to save Rueben.  This is where things get interesting.

Frankly, I like these kind of books.  Who wouldn’t want to travel the stars, cracking wise with various alien races?  Personally, even if they are shooting at me (and I’m highly allergic to bullets) I’d be glad to sign up.  Having said that, I’m a sucker for these kind of stories.  It’s hard to do them wrong.

Fortunately, Scott Rhine understands what makes this fun, and he delivers.  There’s the right amount of war-weariness, wise-cracking and do-or-die in his story.  There’s also a nice refreshing bit of sex, and not one but two mysterious aliens of difference species.  This is space opera, not science fiction, so the science is of the “I push this and X happens” variety, but in this genre that’s frequently considered a feature, not a bug.  Overall, a nice romp through a world that I’d like to visit, warts and all.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

REVIEW: An Heir to Thorns and Steel

Title: An  Heir to Thorns and Steel
Author: MCA Hogarth
Genre: Fantasy
Price: $2.99 (ebook)
ISBN 978-0989263146
Point of Sale: Amazon 
Reviewed by: Psyche

MCA Hogarth has a refreshingly idiosyncratic take on fantasy and this book is no exception. Morgan Locke is a university student in a fantasy realm that feels broadly Victorian but with radical difference in areas like the role of religion and the degree to which magic and mythological races turn out to be real.

Locke has suffered a debilitating  lifelong illness that is getting even worse.  Some bizarre guests arrive to spin a wild tale that he is a prince from a distant land.  This leads the hapless Locke through a serious of adventures where he acquires both allies and enemies and the stakes get very high indeed.

While this is the first part of a trilogy and I enjoyed it, I feel strangely unmotivated to read the later parts.  If you are embarking on a Hogarth book for the first time my recommendation would be to start with the more nuanced Mindhealers sci fi series or the almost-a-classic-already Spots the Space Marine.


Friday, August 14, 2015

A Question of Book Reviewing Ethics: What Say You?

POD People requests that authors interested in having a book reviewed send a query email, not a copy of the book. This is not something we do just to make authors' lives more difficult.  This site has more than one reviewer so if the the query piques a reviewer's interest the book needs to be sent directly to the interested reviewer.  Sending an e-book to our main address just maximizes the chance of it being lost, spam-blocked, or otherwise going astray. Of course people do it anyway. No biggie.

In recent weeks, however, several authors have gone one step further and sent us a Kindle gift certificate for the book they want reviewed.  These queries are not forwarded to our reviewers.  I had hoped that if they were not accepted the author might get their money back (because even when sent by the author, these gift certificates are not free).

Images_of_Money / Foter / CC BY
 However, Amazon Customer Service have informed me:

" gift cards don't have expiration dates. You can use your gift card whenever it's most convenient for you. Though the seller will not be credited back, once gift card is applied in your account, it will be saved as an available gift card balance in your Amazon account."

So if the author is simply throwing the money away, is there any reason I should not just take the transferable gift certificate and run?  I would not do it just because it feels wrong, but whether I don't claim the gift certificate, or claim it and spend it on a box of pumpkin spice-flavored peeps instead, the author is out the same amount of money. So should it really matter to them?

In any case, then I came across this thread.  Based on what these Kindle users describe my advice to any author that sent a kindle gift certificate to the podpeep email account is to contact Amazon and ask for a refund.  That is the only way you will recoup your pointless expenditure.

TL;DR version: do not send us Kindle gift cards of books you want reviewed.