TBR – Servant of the Crown by Paul J. Bennet

Gerald Matheson yearns to serve the Baron of Bodmin. Nothing more.
For years he fought in the Northern Wars, until the day he nearly died defending King Andred IV from raiders. Sent to the capital for healing, Gerald quickly discovers that a man without influence is beneath the regard of a wizard, and he is instead sent to serve in the garrison, despite his crippling injury.

Fate intervenes while he is in the slums of the capital, changing the course of his life. Caught up in a failed military action, Gerald becomes the scapegoat of the ensuing massacre. Saved from death by his mentor, he is instead banished from the capital, sent into obscurity at a forgotten Royal Estate.

As he struggles to adapt to his new lot in life Gerald uncovers a secret the king has carefully hidden away from prying eyes. His discovery will have repercussions, changing the fate and future of the entire kingdom.

Follow this unlikely hero in a new fantasy adventure that mixes military battles, mystery, and magic with a dash of humour to create a compelling coming of age story!

“Baron of Bodmin” — I love some good alliteration.

View more on Goodreads. 


TBR – The Automation by Anonymous

The capital-A Automatons of Greco-Roman myth aren’t clockwork. Their design is much more divine. They’re more intricate than robots or androids or anything else mortal humans could invent. Their windup keys are their human Masters. They aren’t mindless; they have infinite storage space. And, because they have more than one form, they’re more versatile and portable than, say, your cell phone—and much more useful too. The only thing these god-forged beings share in common with those lowercase-A automatons is their pre-programmed existence. They have a function—a function their creator put into place—a function that was questionable from the start…

Odys (no, not short for Odysseus, thank you) finds his hermetic lifestyle falling apart after a stranger commits suicide to free his soul-attached Automaton slave. The humanoid Automaton uses Odys’s soul to “reactivate” herself. Odys must learn to accept that the female Automaton is an extension of his body—that they are the same person—and that her creator-god is forging a new purpose for all with Automatons…

The novel calls itself a “Prose Epic,” but is otherwise a purposeful implosion of literary clichés and gimmicks: A Narrator and an Editor (named Gabbler) frame the novel. Gabbler’s pompous commentary (as footnotes) on the nameless Narrator’s story grounds the novel in reality. Gabbler is a stereotypical academic who likes the story only for its so-called “literary” qualities, but otherwise contradicts the Narrator’s claim that the story is true.

THE AUTOMATION is a this-world fantasy that reboots mythical characters and alchemical concepts. Its ideal place would be on the same bookshelf as Wilson’s ALIF THE UNSEEN and Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS—though it wouldn’t mind bookending Homer, Virgil, and Milton, to be specific.

And, yes, “B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler” are really just a pen name.

I’m horny for more footnotes.

View on Goodreads.

You can also read this for free via Smashwords.

TBR – Speaking in Tungs by Karla M. Jay

In this entertaining first novel, set in rural Pennsylvania, a young San Francisco woman searches for her birthparents and from the moment she arrives in the backwoods town of Tungston, she falls under the spell of unforgettable characters, the unexpected-but-real threat of a violent fugitive, and the unexpected-but-real charm of a local fireman—all leading her to discover the true meaning of family.” Speaking in Tungs is too good to be anyone’s first novel….I enjoyed reading this witty novel with its colorful cast of characters, and so will you.” –Firoozeh Dumas, New York Times Bestselling Author

I love punny titles.

Buy it on Amazon.

TBR – Sex Hell by Joe Canzano

When Debbie de La Fontaine tries to spice up her love life by supernaturally tampering with her sex life, she is cursed to spend every future encounter in a magical place called “Sex Hell,” where the sex is ludicrous and amazing but the romance is scarce.

Her only chance for escape is through the stingy clues supplied by an obnoxious demon, and the only way to obtain the clues is by returning to Sex Hell again and again to have outrageous sexcapades with the man she most wants to avoid – or does she?

*This book contains profanity and adult situations*

Sex Hell sounds kind of like real life to me.

Learn more here.

TBR – Pretty Marys All in a Row by Gwendolyn Kiste

You’ll find her on a lonely highway, hitchhiking at midnight. She calls herself Rhee, but everyone else knows her by another name: Resurrection Mary. And when she’s transported home each night to a decrepit mansion on a lane to nowhere, she’s not alone.

In the antique mirror, call her name three times, and Bloody Mary will appear. Outside, wandering through a garden of poisonous flowers is Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, a nursery rhyme come to gruesome life. Downstairs is another jump-rope rhyme—Mary Mack, forever conscripted to build her own coffin. And brooding in the corner with her horse skull is the restless Mari Lwyd.

They are the Marys, the embodiment of urban legend and what goes bump in the night. Every evening, they gather around the table and share nightmares like fine wine, savoring the flavors of those they’ve terrified.

But other than these brief moments together, the Marys are alone, haunting a solitary gloom that knows them better than they know themselves. That’s because they don’t remember who they were before—or even if there was a before. And worst of all, they don’t know how to escape this fate.

That is, until a moment of rage inspires Rhee to leap from the highway—and into the mirror with Bloody Mary. Suddenly, the Marys are learning how to move between their worlds, all while realizing how much stronger they are together.

But just when freedom is within their reach, something in the gloom fights back—something that isn’t ready to let them go. Now with her sisters in danger of slipping into the darkness, Rhee must unravel the mystery of who the Marys were before they were every child’s nightmare. And she’ll have to do it before what’s in the shadows comes to claim her for its own.

This is like an American Gods version of…urban legends?

Read more about it on Goodreads.

TBR – W by John Banks

A 1000-year-old Viking is discovered frozen on the slopes of Mt. Hood, Oregon – three thousand miles further west than any previously known European Viking-Age exploration.

While the world is focused on this remarkable discovery, Josh Kinninger’s world is falling apart. Three personal tragedies have left him bitterly angry and emotionally unmoored. Inspired by the Viking discovery, Josh plans a desperate western journey of his own to wreak a bizarre vengeance on the morally corrupt individuals who have piqued his ire.

Josh, however, isn’t the only Kinninger who tries to run away from his problems – and the problems of his country – by heading west.

By turns comic and tragic, W weaves several stories and styles into a rich literary fabric.

In addition to the story of how that Viking comes to reside in Oregon, there is the story of Josh’s ancestor, Jefferson, who in 1860 embarks on a journey by wagon train along the Oregon Trail to escape the violent strife preceding the Civil War.

And there is the story of Jefferson’s namesake descendant, who, one hundred years later, takes off westward to escape the racism of the Jim Crow South and to make a new life in San Francisco as a jazz musician.

On a related note, I recently visited the Heavener Oklahoma Runestone. 

Read more about this book on Goodreads.

TBR – The Book of Ralph by Christopher Steinsvold

A message appears on the moon. It is legible from Earth, and almost no one knows how it was created. Markus West leads the government’s investigation to find the creator.

The message is simple and familiar. But those three words, written in blazing crimson letters on the lunar surface, will foster the strangest revolution humankind has ever endured and make Markus West wish he was never involved.

The message is ‘Drink Diet Coke.’

When Coca-Cola denies responsibility, global annoyance becomes indignation. And when his investigation confirms Coca-Cola’s innocence, Markus West becomes one of the most hated men on Earth.

Later, five miles above the White House, a cylinder is discovered floating in the night. It is 400 feet tall, 250 feet in diameter, and exactly resembles a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Nearly everyone thinks the cylinder is a promotional stunt gone wrong, just like the lunar advertisement. And this is exactly what the alien in the cylinder wants people to think.

Ralph, an eccentric extraterrestrial who’s been hiding on the moon, needs Markus’s help to personally deliver a dark warning to the White House. Ralph has a big heart, a fetish for Andy Warhol, and a dangerous plan to save the world.

How convenient that Ralph is an eccentric in such an eccentric novel!

Read more on Goodreads. 

TBR -Decresendo by Gerry Brennan

A sumptuous, lyrical novel, Gerry Brennan wanders down avenues of politics and philosophy, love and death, art and culture, reading the graffitti along the way, seeking out dead ends in order to scale walls and emerge in courtyards. The novel of ideas lives on in Decresendo, in language as musical as any sonnet.


I, too, stop and read the graffiti.

Pet Limit; Human Limit

Pet Limit; Human Limit 

They hid Anne Frank in an attic
I keep my third cat from the windows
The cat I found on my way to the car
He stumbled out, as if asking for help
With infected wounds
From his days of fighting
No right ear, no right eye
Scars across his miserable face
Missing teeth when he meowed
But he wasn’t feral
Just unadoptable — older
No wonder he walked up to me
As if he had heard all about me
But if the landlord finds out
Makes me get rid of him
He’s dead like Anne Frank

TBR – Reverence by Joshua Aaron Landers

It is April 2065. The White House is now a mere memento from an age long gone, the Pentagon is now a daunting tower that watches over all, and the people have embraced the security with open arms. Enforcing this new world order is William Marconi, just one of an elite super soldier army of 144, 000. Part man and part machine, it is his sworn duty to annihilate any suspected threat to the new utopia. In a single heartbeat, however, William is faced with an opponent he has never known the likes of. Civilian and soldier alike become victims in a bloodbath that threatens to consume all he knows. In order to win, he’ll have to question his allies, his enemies, and himself.

Check out the series that “paints a picture worthy of the classic military science fiction writers in their hay day” (Thomas Anderson, Literary Titan).

You had me at Marconi:

View on Goodreads.