The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack

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The Fire Islands Passes 2500 Sales

Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 28, 2020 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This week, I sold my 2500th copy of The Fire Islands. Needless to say I am absolutely thrilled to reach this mile stone. It doesn't seem that long ago that I put the book up for pre-order in November 2017. Now the 11th book in the series is set for release in August and a prequel novel, The Jungles of Ekángá, will come out on October 1. Thank you to everyone who has tried the series, if you haven't taken a look yet, at just 99 cents, The Fire Islands is a great place to start.

 

Here's the blurb:

Lesser Tribune Marcus Venandus, Legion officer exemplar, was exiled to the disease-ridden hell hole known as the Fire Islands as punishment for the failed political machinations of his father. While the days of the powerful witchdoctor kings throwing skeletal armies against the shields of the legion have faded into history, all is not right at the edge of the world. Unrest is boiling once again as long dead darkness seeps back into the islands. With the legion more concerned with its personal rivalries than with its duty, it will fall to Marcus and his small, highly disciplined, command to put the horrors of the past back in their graves and literally save Aquila from a fate worse than death.

 

Review: The Corpse Whisperer by H. R. Boldwood

Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 19, 2020 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The Corpse Whisperer by H. R. Boldwood

This is not your typical zombie novel. While it’s still possible that the end of the world is coming, the people inhabiting Cincinnati haven’t figured that out yet. Instead of a zombie apocalypse, the world of the Corpse Whisperer has police forces, legal systems and a medical establishment that has learned to cope with the facts that the dead don’t always stay in their graves and a handful of special individuals like Allie Nighthawk have the power to raise them.

 

Boldwood takes this premise and runs with it, creating a whole world that is built around the existence of the dead walking mostly on the fringes of society. Zombies and the virus that creates them are studied by scientists. Not all zombies become instant biters and not all bitten people become zombies. There’s even a new medicine that can hold a person back from turning once bitten. The legal system has evolved to incorporate this new reality as gifted people like heroine, Allie Nighthawk, are often needed to raise the dead to ask them important questions like—did you see who murdered you? The rules are pretty well understood by the professionals. The problem that confronts the heroes in this book is that the rules are suddenly changing. People are turning without being bitten and people without the traditional genetic markers are turning too. Perhaps that cliched apocalypse really is about to overrun the world.

 

In the middle of this unfolding crisis, is Allie Nighthawk. Studying Nighthawk would make any psychologist’s day. She has this amazing power but her ethics keep her from getting rich with it because she actually cares about people and the world around her. Yet those same people don’t seem to like her very much and she has become brash and difficult as a defense against constant rejection and ill treatment. Yet, when push comes to shove, she still stands in the thick of things, loyal to the core and determined to keep the undead from hurting people.

 

Nighthawk works as a consultant to the Cincinnati Police Department, and they don’t like her much either—even as they keep needing her skills to help with their investigations and generally keep the citizens of their fine city from being killed. Allie’s police detective partner enjoys giving her as hard a time as she gives him, but he has a major personality defect—he’s hard in lust with a news reporter named Jade Chen who keeps her ratings high by loudly criticizing Nighthawk every time a zombie rears its head in the city. And they’re rearing their heads a lot these days, and exhibiting new behaviors that scare the fecal matter out of anyone with enough knowledge to understand what’s happening.

 

As if all of that wasn’t complicated enough, Nighthawk has been assigned to help protect Leo, a mob accountant who has decided to squeal on his superiors in front of a grand jury. Those superiors, quite understandably, want to prevent him from doing this, but are they the only ones trying to kill him? Oh, and there’s one more thing about Leo which explains Nighthawk’s involvement with him. He’s been bitten and only a new drug is keeping him from turning right away. His tolerance for the medicine is growing, however, so it’s only a matter of time before he starts biting other people with the rest of the zombies.

 

Leo is the character that best shows Boldwood’s brilliance as an author. He starts out brash and unlikeable, but the longer he appears on the pages, the stronger you will root for him to beat the zombie thing. That’s not easy to do, and he’s not the only character that Boldwood tricks you into liking.

 

So, if you like great characters, non-stop action, a couple of solid mysteries, a smattering of genuine surprises, and your zombies without the cliched apocalypse, you should really give the Corpse Whisperer a try.

 

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

 

If you liked this review, you can find more at www.gilbertstack.com/reviews.

 

Review: Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 18, 2020 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

Richard Dee gives you two stories in one in this intriguing novel that mixes an excellent sf tale with a contemporary psychological drama. Rick dreams when he goes to sleep—that sounds pretty ordinary until you realize he’s dreaming another man’s life in extraordinary detail. That man happens to live six hundred years in the future on another planet and beginning to end of the novel, you’ll never be certain if that future is real or not—because the evidence clearly points both ways.

 

What is clear is that Rick’s jealous wife can’t handle her husband’s dreams and invents a wild fantasy that they are proof that he is being unfaithful to her. She’s a complex and highly manipulative woman who happily takes their marriage off the deep end and as she does, so does Rick’s life on that strange planet six hundred years in the future.

 

But are the two sets of events connected? And if they are, can Rick save both the women he loves on both planets. I think this one will continue to trouble you after you finish reading it.

 

I received this book free from Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest review.

 

If you liked this review, you can find more at www.gilbertstack.com/reviews.

 

Review: The Dark Field by J.R. Mabry and Mickey Asteriou

Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 16, 2020 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

The Dark Field by J. R. Mabry and Mickey Asteriou

In the first book in this series, the reader watches as a combination of incredible stupidity and self-centered immaturity and greed release a planet devouring dark god into the universe again. In this sequel, matters go from bad to worse as kings seek to conceal their own roles in creating the apocalyptic tragedy by turning on their best hopes to stop the destroyer. If only their short-sighted idiocy wasn’t so believable.

 

If the first book establishes the problem of the series, this one puts the pieces in place to best the threat. Our mixed bag of heroes is in place and they know what they have to do—if not how they are going to accomplish it. And here I think the authors have out done themselves because to stop the villain from destroying the universe, the heroes will have to destroy civilization as they know it.

 

Talk about the devil and the deep blue sea—even the good guys are likely to try and stop the heroes during book 3.

 

If you liked this review, you can find more at www.gilbertstack.com/reviews.

 

Review: Tusk and Blade by Lavelle Jackson

Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 15, 2020 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Tusk and Blade by Lavelle Jackson

At first glance, Tusk and Blade is the story of Logan Sharpe, a man who attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge but ended up being rescued only to face the rest of his life as a quadriplegic. What the story really is, however, is the tale of Necro Redhammer, an orc chaos butcher in the game, Exodus Online. Necro’s tale is a pretty standard LitRPG adventure story wherein he learns the rules of the game, gains a bunch of levels, and kicks NPC butt. There are a few interesting twists. The orc society is an incredibly cruel one with very little by way of acts of compassion. That means that Logan is actually playing an “evil” character whose powers are enhanced by him personally feeling pain. He doesn’t come off nearly as evil as the actual bad guys, but Necro is by no means nice and the player seems to thrive on killing NPCs in the most brutal ways possible.

 

The more interesting storyline revolves around how Logan got into the game, but unfortunately it is dropped completely early on and never resurfaces. Facing a life as a quadriplegic, Logan becomes more suicidal than ever, but is totally unable to act on his despair. Enter a corporation with U.S. government military sponsorship that has secretly developed a totally realistic virtual reality system. They approach Logan and offer him a new life in their fantasy VR world. The catch? Logan will be uploaded into the system permanently and can’t return to his physical body. Naturally, this doesn’t seem like any kind of drawback to Logan considering his paralysis, so he consents without any understanding of why this arrangement might benefit the corporation and the U.S. government—and much to my disappointment, we never get even the slightest hint as to what those benefits would be. Once Logan enters the game there is no connection whatsoever to this initial, utterly fascinating, storyline.

 

This raises a tough question—why take the time to develop these extreme circumstances if they were to have no impact on the story? I didn’t have to have the complete answer in this first novel of the series, but it was a major disappointment that the “real world storyline” was completely dropped once Logan entered the game. It makes me wonder if the author even plans to continue it in the sequels—and if he doesn’t, Exodus Online will prove to be a very ordinary LitRPG.

 

I received this book free from Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review: Henry Gallant and the Warrior

Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 7, 2020 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Henry Gallant and the Warrior by H. Peter Alesso

For book three of the Henry Gallant saga, H. Peter Alesso turned to submarines for his inspiration. Lieutenant Gallant is given command of the Warrior, a ship with brand new stealth technology. Its mission is to penetrate into Titan controlled space and penetrate its communications to secure critical intelligence for the human fleet. The mission is even more vital than it might at first appear because humans are losing the war. They’ve just lost control of Jupiter and they fear that the aliens will soon be moving on Mars.

 

This is a great storyline with all the sorts of trouble you would expect to find in a classic submarine thriller. There is even an ingenious problem in which an alien ship appears to be tracking the Warrior despite its cloaking device that I found particularly exciting. In addition, Gallant has to deal with the problems of his first command and frankly I thought the whole vibe worked very well.

 

However, the real crux of the story for me revolved around the growing tension between Gallant and an intelligence liaison. Their disagreements over strategy and the limits of their respective authorities and responsibilities added tremendously to the tension—especially Gallant’s fears that her concerns were driven not by data and facts, but by her prejudice that he is not a genetically modified human and therefore couldn’t be trusted with the big decisions. The normal versus genetically enhanced human storyline is a great way to deal with so many prejudices of today in the context of a great science fiction story.

 

I received this book free from Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest review.

 

Top 10,000 Reviewer!!!

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 31, 2020 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

I am very happy to announce that after years of pouring my heart and soul into my book reviews, I have finally broken into the top 10,000 reviewers at Amazon with rank 9,598. I don't think I get a cool banner for this. (They save that for top 1000.) But thank you very much to anyone who has read my reviews and a double measure of thanks to anyone who has clicked the "helpful" button after reading one of my reviews. 

If you're interested in reading them all in one place, you can find them on my website at https://www.gilbertstack.com/reviews

Review: Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully by Eddie Robson

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 24, 2020 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully by Eddie Robson

The small village of Cresdon Green has disappeared and nobody has noticed. That’s because the alien Geonin have invaded, erected a forcefield around the village, and caused the rest of the United Kingdom to forget them. With such amazing technology, you would expect the aliens to quickly get on to conquering the rest of the planet, but the quiet life of an English village so perplexes them they never quite get about to the task of expanding their area of control.

 

This fully dramatized audiobook feels like what would happen if you crossed Fawlty Towers with an alien invasion. Each episode is frankly ridiculous but there in lies the humor of the series as the aliens confront such peculiarly English institutions as A-level exams and cricket, and some more general problems like making a Facebook page. If you enjoy laughing, you’ll probably like this book.

 

Legionnaire Books 10 and 11 Available for Pre-Order at 25% Off

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 23, 2020 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

The long feared war with Diamonte has begun! 

Despite the heroic efforts of Marcus and his legionnaries in the north, Diamonte has begun its invasion before the legion could return to defend Amatista. Now you can order the first two volumes of the war against Amatista for 25% off if you purchase them before publication date, June 4 for Calidus' Stand and August 6 for Fog of War.

Review: Somewhere to Run to by Mike Adams

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 18, 2020 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Book 22: Somewhere to Run to by Mike Adams

The noose is tightening around New Hope as the aliens prepare for a massive all-out assault to finish what they think is the last human settlement on the planet, but the rangers defending this outpost know that all they have to do is hold out until earth can send reinforcements with heavy weapons to rescue them. So the stakes are high in the twenty-second installment in this action-packed incredibly well thought out series as both sides are reaching that all or nothing moment when victory and survival will mean exactly the same thing.

 

One of the great thrills of this series is watching the desperate humans find new and clever ways to employ the very limited material they have to fight the war, and this time Adams comes up with a tactic I had wondered about several books earlier in the series. It’s definitely clever and promises to buy the colonists a couple of more days—if it doesn’t blow up in their faces and hasten their doom.

 

Finally, Adams returns to the Jacks, fifty teenaged girls from New Hope Academy who were stranded out in the wilderness at the beginning of the war. We’ve watched them train to fight and survive, grow into a competent military unit, battle wildlife and aliens with growing confidence, and rescue something like eight times their number of adult rangers and civilians captured (or in danger of being captured) by the aliens. In the latter half of this book they take on yet another amazing challenge, finally positioning themselves (I think) to be the decisive element in the coming battle for New Hope. Maybe next book we’ll see if I’m as smart as I think I am. I can’t wait to read it.

 


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