Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT HELL HOLES by @DonFiresmith #Paranormal #Fantasy

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith

HELL HOLES by Donald Firesmith

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team

Mostly, I enjoyed this. It’s very much escapist genre fiction, which could have done with a better edit to rectify repetitions and a few lazily constructed sentences, but I did like it. It’s about geological scientist Jack Oswald who goes out to Alaska with his wife and two of his grad students, to investigate the appearance of mysterious holes in the tundra. Also along for the ride is enigmatic journalist Aileen O’Connor.

Once at camp, all hell is let loose as demonic beings appear from the depths of the mysterious craters. Very quickly, the situation grows from horrendous to super-horrendous.

The author has obviously done his geological research, to the extent of the dialogue being a bit on the information-heavy side in the first half of the book, but if the information is interesting I don’t mind, and this was. It cracks on at a great pace thereafter. At first I was a little put off by the sudden change from feasible arctic geological mystery thriller to Harry Potter-like spells and gargoyles the size of lions, but once I got used to it (pretty quickly), it kind of worked. The action was fast, convincing and scary. Do bear in mind that I’m not a great lover of supernatural; I don’t imagine that this will be any sort of problem for those who are used to reading this genre, in fact you’ll probably love it.

The book turned out to be only long novella length, or certainly very short novel, as it suddenly ends at about 80%, with a humdinger of a cliffhanger. The rest of the book is taken up with information about the series, notes about the inspiration for the book, and part of Book Two. Now, I didn’t understand the ‘part of Book Two’ thing AT ALL. Some people don’t like parts of series ending in a cliffhanger. I do, I love it. This cliffhanger was so good that all I wanted to do was find out what happened next, to the extent that I would have gone straight to Amazon and bought the next one if it was available, which is, surely, the purpose of such endings. So why, Mr Firesmith, have you given me a reason not to, by sticking ‘what happened next’ at the back of Book One? Think on!

My other complaint is about the diagrams at the beginning of the book. Placed there, they meant little. If the diagram for Pump Station 2 was placed right at the start of, or in the middle of, the chapter when the group arrive there, it would have given me all the information I needed, instead of me having to imagine it/keep flicking back to the start. The Alaska map could have been better placed, too.

I give this book a thumbs up, despite the criticisms. If you like arctic landscapes and demonic thrills, I suggest you nip over to Amazon and download it immediately.

Book Description

A geologist, his climatologist wife, two graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist travel to one of dozens of huge holes that have mysteriously appeared in the tundra of the North Slope of Alaska. Their mission is to research these strange craters that threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should they open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipelines that feed it. Unfortunately, a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it emerges. Who will survive the demonic invasion to flee south towards the safety of Fairbanks?

About the author

Donald G. Firesmith

A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He’s also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term “distinguished” makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS | Goodreads | Twitter

 

 

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT HELL HOLES by Donald Firesmith @DonFiresmith #SciFi #Paranormal

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs at http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith

28425525

Hell Holes: What Lurks Below (Volume 1) by Donald Firesmith Science,horror, fantasy, paranormal

I received a free ARC copy of the book and I voluntarily decided to review it. I am also sharing this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Hell Holes is an intriguing book and one difficult to classify. Set in Alaska, the prologue already gives us a hint about what is to come, but once we start reading the account written by Professor Jack Oswald, we get taken in by the mystery of the holes, and by the hypotheses suggested, sending us in the direction of science-fiction. The explanations and the possible scenarios are plausibly rendered and the fact that Oswald’s wife, Angie, studies the effect of climate change, add to the interest.

The plot turns soon when the holes prove to be dangerous in more ways than one, and paranormal and fantastic elements become more important as the plot moves on. There are also horror elements, like the monsters and the destruction and killings, and we do get more than a few hair-raising moments.

As often happens with some of these genres, there is a fair amount of exposition, regarding the set-up of the different pump stations and oil fields, and later about the supernatural elements (as one of the characters is revealed to be completely different to what we thought at first sight). As there is a description of the different Hell inhabitants later on after the end of the story, it does feel somewhat repetitive.

The book is also very short, even more than it looks like when we check the pages, as the end comes at around 80% of the book length, and the rest is taken by a summary/description, a cast of hell characters, a brief biography of the author and a longish sample of the next book, that follows (with a slight overlap) from the first one. From the sample, we see that the second book in the series is narrated by Professor Oswald’s wife.

The novel (novella) is plot-driven, and once the chase is on, the book moves quickly and never lets off, and we don’t have much chance to notice that we do not know the characters in detail, and there is plenty of room for development, although one suspects the action will continue taking pride of place in the next novels.

There are series where it doesn’t matter where you start reading (or it might matter, but it’s possible to read any novel and enjoy it in its own right without feeling you’re missing the context). This is not the case here, as although the story seems to be told from different points of view in the different books, it is all the same story. And in case you hate cliff-hangers, the book ends up in a worrying twist/hook. But, fear not, because if you read the sample of the next book at the end, at least that hook is solved.

The book is an easy and quick read and an action-filled one that you’ll imagine as a TV series or a movie with no difficulty. If you’re a stickler for specific genres and strong characters it might not suit you, and you might question some of the details, but if you’re looking for an entertaining read that moves easily between genres, and don’t mind investing in a series, give it a try.

Book Description

A geologist, his climatologist wife, two graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist travel to one of dozens of huge holes that have mysteriously appeared in the tundra of the North Slope of Alaska. Their mission is to research these strange craters that threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should they open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipelines that feed it. Unfortunately, a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it emerges. Who will survive the demonic invasion to flee south towards the safety of Fairbanks?

About the author

Donald G. Firesmith

A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He’s also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term “distinguished” makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS | Goodreads | Twitter

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Karen reviews Bound By Blood by Margo Bond Collins

Today’s review is from team member Karen, she blogs at https://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/

rosie3

Karen chose to read and review Bound By Blood by Margo Bond Collins

23387619

My Opinion

This book introduces you to Dr. Lili Banta, working for the CDC.

With Bound by Blood, Margo Bond Collins has created a thrilling scenario, raising questions like ‘What if viruses and parasites collaborate?’ or ‘Is it the same epidemic as last time?’ Bound by Blood focuses more on the plot than on the characters. You do not get to know the characters in too much detail; this doesn’t keep you from bonding, though. I was drawn into the story – thankfully more like a ghost or I might have been too close for comfort. This is for you if you like the combination of paranormal fantasy and horror in novella length.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Seventh Mark Part 1 by W.J. May

Seventh Mark - Part 1 (The Hidden Secrets Saga)Seventh Mark – Part 1 by W.J. May

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seventh Mark Part 1 is a YA paranormal fantasy set on the west coast of Canada in the town of Port Coquitlam. Rouge Riding has recently moved here with her foster parents and at 17 she’s about to enter her final year of High School. Whilst out jogging at dusk she meets a super hot mysterious guy in a cemetery and can’t stop thinking about him.

The next day Rouge heads to school to pick up her timetable and get her bearings, she bumps into Grace who instantly takes her under her wing befriending Rouge and inviting her to the senior class pre-school party.

A Saturday job at an eclectic bookshop in town has Rouge discovering a very old book which her boss gives her as a gift, but it gets forgotten in the teenage rush of new friends and the party, but when Rouge comes face to face with a fearsome creature in the woods it’s Grace’s mysterious brother Michael who comes to her rescue.

There’s something amiss with Grace and Michael, strange whispering and finishing of thoughts, but Rouge can’t get over a familiar pull and feeling of comfort which she gets from Michael, it’s a shame his adoptive father Caleb seems so cold and dismissive.

Now I really liked this book, I sat and read it in one sitting and was disappointed when it ended. I’m a Twilight fan and I will admit it made me think about that series a couple of times, but in a good way. I think it may be a book to love or hate, I liked the sizzle of romance and I thought Grace a bundle of troublesome fun, It will be interesting to see how the series pans out.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Restless Spirits by Kathy Bryson

Restless SpiritsRestless Spirits by Kathy Bryson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Restless Spirits is a mix of contemporary family drama and fantasy. The book opens with Marliee Harper just about to lose her job after she burnt down her client’s house, a powerful opening scenario. We learn that Marliee is feisty and caring, she’s putting all her money into paying medical bills for her Mum.

Her relationship with her Mother is fun and the constant bickering between them works well. Mary Harper is one step ahead of Marliee and organises a job interview for her. John Smith is setting up a B&B at the old Jennings Place, a house once used as a hospital and rumoured to be haunted. He needs someone to oversee the renovations and to then run it as a manager. Mary and Marliee move in and I enjoyed all ghostly happenings especially with the box of balls. I looked forward to finding answers behind the lights and baseball throws.

The storyline went off in a different twist than the one I was expecting, stepping boldly over into the fantasy side of the tale with a mix of Shakespeare. Marliee once a strict non-believer in ghosts was plunged into a world of fairies, a Leprechaun and other-worldly beings.

There was a large cast of characters in the tale with some unusual and strong names, I remembered them because of their names rather than the mental images I had for them. A bit more reference to characteristics connected to their names may have helped, perhaps Elvis could have hummed songs from his namesake, and Thumbs regularly got his thumbs stuck.

Marliee’s character kept the fun in the tale. This is a stand alone book, there is a previous book where many of the characters and the fantasy world began which I have not read, possibly reading this would have helped me understand the way the storyline twisted from my own interpretation of contemporary to fantasy.

Find a copy here on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s Book Review Challenge – One Way Fare reviewed by Crystin

Today we have a review from Book Review Challenger Crystin. She blogs at http://crystinlgoodwin.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1

Crystin chose to read and review “One Way Fare” by Barb and Hannah Taub

18489308

Here is Crystin’s review;

Title: One Way Fare by Barb Taub and Hannah Taub

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

 

What do you get when you have a demon, a half-angel, an accountant with superpowers, and a rock star? A group destined to save the world, apparently.

When the fate of a magical city that allows those with special gifts to live a normal life is threatened, Gaby, Luic, Thomas, and Leila must find a way to save the city and keep history intact. It may be harder than they thought – the angels aren’t necessarily on their side.

One Way Fare was an enjoyable book – the story was interesting, and I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen. I liked the time travel aspects, and the characters were pretty fun to read, too. I did have a few minor problems, though. Without revealing too much, one of the girls ended up with the wrong guy (in my opinion) – there was almost too much emphasis on quoting things I’m not familiar with (I’ve only seen Princess Bride once, and I have no idea what the Evil Overlord’s Manual is …) – and the pacing of the story was a little off. Granted, I usually pick the wrong guy in love triangles, am perfectly aware that I’m hopelessly ignorant of popular culture, and I often have trouble following pacing (mainly because I read too fast). So do take those complaints with a grain of salt.

That said, I did find the book enjoyable, and I’ll definitely pick up the next one to find out what happens next. After all, there are still siblings missing – and maybe there’s still hope for my favorite character.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com