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SciFi / Fantasy / Horror

  • One Little Word: A Mary Fisher Novel

    by Thomas Peters

    Rating: 7.75

    In T.A. Peters's enthralling occult historical, cross-dressing Mary Fisher and her wife Abigail, fleeing the unsympathetic law, seek shelter in an isolated Florida church, heart of a community home to both wonder and horror. This winning novel draws its power from the author's skillful prose, mastery of dialect, embrace of the rich diversity of 19th-century America, and the skill with which he weaves together the supernatural with deplorably mundane corruption and brutal exploitation. Peters's grim tale transcends the limitations of genre series and is sure to delight readers.

  • The Grand Attraction: Parts I-IV

    by Enoch K. Enns

    Rating: 7.75

    Enns crafts a complex and well rendered world set in a dimension between realities in this engaging novel. Carls Locke embarks on a frantic quest to save his missing daughter, a journey through a hellish realm full of danger and magic in which he is pursued around every corner by nightmarish creatures. Wonderfully original and featuring a number of compelling characters and settings, Enns's novel is an edge-of-the-seat adventure and a touching story about the lengths a father will go to protect his daughter.

  • Black00

    by Andreea Daia

    Rating: 7.50

    An inventive and exciting techno-thriller, Black00 is sure to appeal to fans of The Maze Runner. Set in a world where transhuman augentation is the norm and a mysterious black death mist called Black00 has reshaped society, Daia's novel follows a tech-savvy everyman heroine named Laton who signs up for lethal research program to raise money to save her kidnapped brother. Black00 delivers an original adventure full of memorable characters that will leave readers eager for the next installment.

  • Darkshine

    by R.D. Vallier

    Rating: 7.50

    In this droll dark fantasy set in a vaguely defined Midwestern locale,housewife Miriam Thatcher—who is newly apprised that she is a fairy changeling who was raised by human beings—faces a dilemma: which of two fairy protectors should she trust as she takes her place in the fairy world. Although the novel’s human characters—notably Miriam’s pursuing husband, Sam, who has no idea of the fantastic possibilities of Miriam’s predicament—are underdeveloped, the author more than makes up for it with a vividly realized pair of supernatural saviors whose belief that each is in the right keeps the reader guessing which of them actually is up until the story’s end.

  • Three Days Breathing

    by Mike Maguire

    Rating: 7.25

    In this intriguing dystopia, pattern architect Corim Colleran is shocked to discover that the world in which he lives is a lie when the murder of his wife exposes the corrupt authorities who have engineered reality to serve their own interests. The author skillfully engages the reader by depicting a meticulously imagined near-future world. Indeed, the society of the novel is developed in such great detail that Corim’s eventual escape from it, though handled credibly, seems a little anticlimactic given all of the build-up.

  • Sins of the Warrior

    by Linda Poitevin

    Rating: 7.25

    With the forces of Hell nearly triumphant, immortal Toronto policewoman Alexandra Jarvis must fend off demonic suitor Seth while helping the Archangel Michael find a new leader for godless Heaven. Poitevin's incredibly imaginative saga offers steadily intensifying action mingled with sly humor. Although her prescription for humanity's problems is preachy and traces no new ground, the interplay of otherworldly and human motives proves engaging. The development of the Jarvis-Michael relationship provides an appealing if predictable ending, and Poitevin twists the reader's Biblical sense of archangelic characters to extract both humor and pathos.  

  • The Birth of Death (Revised with Appendices)

    by Joseph P. Macolino

    Rating: 7.25

    Blending Dashell Hammett's hardboiled narrative style with elements of crime procedural investigation, political intrigue, and revolutionary philosophy into a mysticism-steeped high fantasy setting might seem like an overly busy combination, but The Birth of Death pulls it off with finesse. An investigation into a series of kidnappings puts elvish Royal Ranger Artimus Atyrmirid on the trail of a powerful demon building and army at the outskirts of a hidden village. Snappy writing keeps the action moving, and satisfying doses of lore, bolstered by appendices with maps and a glossary, will keep readers wanting to return to the world of Evorath for more.

  • Fools' Apocalypse

    by Anderson Atlas

    Rating: 7.00

    After inadvertently helping an evil mastermind who triggers a zombie apocalypse, a group of survivors must flee to a distant shelter called Eden. Atlas’s story is the most gripping when he turns away from the common zombie narratives and clichés to concentrate instead on the stories of the “fools” who aided the mastermind, and the dark adventure of their desperate flight from New York City to Eden’s distant sanctuary. Fans of zombie stories and survival tales will find entertainment in this apocalyptic novel.

  • Hammond Flux, Life After Flesh

    by Alan Killip

    Rating: 7.00

    Killip brings the Jekyll-Hyde conflict into the technology age as Hammond Hinkley, needing results at British start-up Lazarus, creates an electronic alter ego by emulating his brain.  The emergence of increasingly inimical Hammond Flux, presented in densely developed prose, offers a powerful dystopian yet parodic vision that the retrospective narration leaves unresolved. Although characterization is subordinate to plot advancement, the imaginativeness of the alternate universe sustains interest throughout. Killip's suggestion that human hubris will be its own undoing is sometimes overwhelmed by the intensity of the good-vs-evil identity clash.

  • Perils of a misplaced time traveler

    by J. M. Russell

    Rating: 7.00

    Russell's imagination kicks into overdrive as time traveler Crystal Milbury's visit to 1972 small-town Indiana goes awry, with her emergence as a dog sparking wacky complications.  With plot development evoking the world of farce, the ensuing chaos provides a delightful read. Supporting characters are defined mostly by their roles in the bizarre mosaic of events, but bratty Lucy Frazier and Crystal's sinister husband, Comstock Scott, deserve mention. The reader who can plow through the almost too-complex twists and turns will find the originality of the central concept diffuses overtones of situation comedy.  

  • Blood Lake

    by R.L. Herron

    Rating: 6.75

    In this engaging horror story primarily set in the mountains of Tennessee, John Burnett is the latest member of his family to confront a Cherokee curse laid upon his bloodline in 1838. As he and the other men of his generation embark upon a fishing trip, they debate morality and religion before succumbing to terrors both mortal and supernatural. Strong prose and well developed characters are the novel's strengths. And while Herron crafts an atmospheric tale, he is frequently preachy about his message, which will distract readers from an otherwise promising tale.


  • In this well-written but uneven collection of short stories, the reader journeys through the minds of disillusioned spouses, a young boy alone in the woods, ex-lovers reunited after years of separation, and more. While it is the nature of short stories to hook the reader quickly and not delve into elaborate plots, a few of these stories seem rushed and end abruptly or are simply puzzling. Other stories offer a clever twist or intriguing perspective, which almost makes up for the unsatisfying endings of other stories. Overall, this collection was a solid read, but many of the tales were lacking in the areas of plot and characterization.

  • Nemo's World: The Substrate Wars 2

    by Jeb Kinnison

    Rating: 6.50

    In this cleverly conceived novel, “gateways” that permit instantaneous travel to anywhere in the universe and replication software that creates an inexhaustible supply of free commodities threaten the current world order. Despite this promising premise, the novel is long on talk and short on incident. Although the book pits a band of rebels hiding out on a planet they’ve named New Earth against governments clinging to the status quo, there is little tension as the rebels’ success at creating the utopia they envision and forcing the old order to succumb seems an almost foregone conclusion. The characters discuss the science behind their technology with great eloquence, but in info dumps that push character development and plot complications to the margins of the story.

  • Girl on a Dolphin

    by Vic Warren

    Rating: 6.25

    In Warren's novel, the world is facing a conflict with a newly-discovered human-like race called “Neptunes” that lives in our oceans -- and war might only be averted with the help of a five-year-old girl named Saffron. The characters, particularly Saffron, are all portrayed energetically, but the book's already sluggish pace slows further due to extended scene-setting and much repetition of information. This has the potential to be an interesting and fun novel, but it is hampered by frequent digressions.

  • An Intellection on the Post Mechanics of Death

    by Gordon McWhorter

    Rating: 6.25

    When an unnamed narrator tries to find out what is waiting for him after his death, he discovers Giana Tolz, a world in which the inhabitants mate only when they find their genetic match and a renegade group believes in preserving its population by immortality instead of procreation. An excess of characters results in their poor development, though a few are distinct and fleshed out. Although the story has a slow start, it picks up the pace once the narrator observes Giana Tolz, focusing on Tulia and Merlaen, a matched couple.

  • Electricity

    by Robert Lovinger

    Rating: 6.00

    Charlie Swift is still trying to figure out his life when he becomes a witness to strange solar activities that may devastate Earth – and tie in with an extraterrestrial mystery.  Lovinger’s characters are often engaging, which is important since some of the book's subplots feel like distractions and much of the real action comes late in the novel. This book is a slow burn climaxing in a beautifully-described bang, but the cliffhanger may leave readers feeling the story is frustratingly unresolved.