Review: Ocean Gods, Roman Blades


Ocean Gods, Roman Blades by Andrew Knighton

Ancient history meets epic fantasy in an action packed novella of war, magic and one man’s struggle to find himself.

Varus is the fiercest soldier in the Roman legion, and the most undisciplined. Fighting Thracian pirates on the high seas, he faces attacks not just from spears and arrows, but from divine magic. With the enemy closing in, Varus faces a desperate battle for survival, made worse by his own divided instincts. Will Roman blades be strong enough to survive against ocean gods?

Purchase Link:

Ocean Gods, Roman Blades on Goodreads


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

Rating: 4 stars

Ocean Gods, Roman Blades is a historical fantasy novella depicting the life and battles of the legionnaire Varus. Unlike many of his comrades, Varus has a bloodlust that enables him to kill many of his enemies, but also causes him to make mistakes that could one day cost him not just his own life but the lives of his fellow warriors as well. As well as telling the story of his squad’s battle against the Thracian pirates, this novella shows how Varus grows as a warrior and a person.

I really enjoyed this action-packed tale. Clearly the author has taken a great deal of time in his research to ensure as much historical accuracy as possible. Varus’s character developed nicely as the story progressed and the style and quality of the writing was such that you feel quickly immersed in the middle of the action. My only feeling was perhaps the ending occurred a little too abruptly. It is left open for a sequel though which I would look forward to reading.

Review: The Lost


The Lost (Zombie Ocean #2) by Michael John Grist

7 billion zombies. 1 little girl.

When the zombie apocalypse claims America, only 1 in 10 million survive.
Anna is one of them. She’s 5 years old. She likes banana milkshakes and Alice in Wonderland. She’s alone in a world full of danger that she cannot understand.

Will she survive?

‘Alice in Wonderland’ meets the zombie apocalypse like you’ve never seen it before, packed with gore, twists and the delightfully surreal.

Purchase Link:

The Lost on Goodreads


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

Rating: 5 stars

The Lost is Book Two of Michael John Grist’s Zombie Ocean series and takes the bold step of telling the apocalypse through the eyes of a child.

Anna is only five years old when the apocalypse strikes. Left alone when her father is infected, she follows the cairns that Amo has left in search of him and the other survivors, whilst also determined that one day she will be reunited with her father.

I must admit when I started reading I was sceptical about how this novel was going to work with such a young protagonist and I am pleased to say I was blown away by this excellent read. Grist cleverly likened a lot of Anna’s experiences to the character Alice from Alice in Wonderland and the innocence of her young years was captured perfectly. Anna is a very determined and headstrong heroine, traits that were clear when she was a child and leading to her teenage years. This and her enduring love and wish to be reunited with her father makes her a very well-developed and likeable lead.

On her journey Anna discovers more about the zombies which adds to the overall series and she comes together with many of the other characters and forges her own relationships with them.

This is a fantastic read and I can’t wait to read the third book in the series.

Grandad’s Shop


Quite a few years ago my Grandad used to own the newsagent ‘Rapsons’ in a street in Chichester, West Sussex called ‘The Hornet’. It has changed hands and uses a few times now since he owned it and up until recently it used to be an Art Gallery. The newest owners are in the process of renovating it. Whilst doing so they uncovered the original 1890s shop sign that had been preserved underneath various newer signs that had been added over the years.

My Dad enjoys researching local history and he uncovered some history about the original shop and its owner.

Continue reading

Review: A Stalled Ox


A Stalled Ox by Dean Moses

An isolated religious cult has reportedly been consuming meat while the rest of the planet has been forced to live a life without it. Presuming this sect has resorted to cannibalism, two agents from an organization known simply as The Agency are dispatched to investigate. Will they find evidence of humans eating one another? Or is something even stranger taking place?

“In the tradition of Serling and Bradbury, A Stalled Ox is a gruesome, yet beautiful story that wraps a complex morality tale in an engaging and fast-paced horror story with a touch of espionage. Crafting a world where no one is truly innocent, Moses invites the reader to follow Agent Howard Harrington as he discovers what true evil is.”

Purchase Link:

A Stalled Ox on Goodreads


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

Rating: 4 stars

A Stalled Ox is a short novella set in the future where a disease known as Farmers Folly has killed off all livestock, forcing humans to become vegetarians. However, the Government hears word of a secluded cult eating meat and, concerned that they are resorting to cannibalisation, it sends two agents from The Agency to investigate.

I enjoyed reading this short, futuristic story. It touches on quite a few different elements; human nature, religion and the impact that genetic modifications can have on species. There are some quite graphic descriptions in places so it’s not a story for the squeamish! I do feel that perhaps it would have benefited from being slightly longer to develop the main characters more but overall it’s a great read.

Review: The Last


The Last (Zombie Ocean #1) by Michael John Grist

When the zombie apocalypse hits America, not a soul is left alive.
Except Amo. He’s a comic book artist. He’s a video game world builder. He’s just a regular guy living in New York city, with only his wits, creativity and basic decency to guide him.
He’s alone against 7 billion zombies.
Will he survive?

‘Robinson Crusoe’ meets the zombie apocalypse like you’ve never seen it before, packed with adventure, gore and a mind-blowing twist.

Purchase Link:

The Last on Goodreads


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

Rating: 4 stars

Amo builds video games and is a comic book artist who lives in New York City. When he wakes up one morning he finds himself alone in a post-apocalyptic world where all other humans have become zombies. Alone Amo fights for survival whilst searching for anyone else who might have been spared.

The Last is a bold and original zombie apocalypse thriller which is told almost completely from one person’s point of view.  Amo is a very likeable and well-developed protagonist with a wicked sense of humour, which is great for comic relief in his dark and gory journey through zombie-ravaged New York. The writing flows well and there is plenty of action as well as time taken to develop this unusual take on zombies and their origins. I felt there was a couple of moments of lag where perhaps the pace could have picked up a little, but overall I really enjoyed reading The Last and am looking forward to reading book 2 in this unique series.

Review: Furnace


Furnace by Joseph Williams

On a routine escort mission to a human colony, Lieutenant Michael Chalmers is pulled out of hyper-sleep a month early. The RSA Rockne Hummel is well off course and—as the ship’s navigator—it’s up to him to figure out why. It’s supposed to be a simple fix, but when he attempts to identify their position in the known universe, nothing registers on his scans. Nothing at all. The vessel has catapulted beyond the reach of starlight by at least a hundred trillion light-years. Then a planetary-mass object materializes behind them. It’s burning brightly even without a star to heat it. Hundreds of damaged ships are locked in its orbit, but before the scanners go offline, the crew discovers there are no life-signs aboard any of them. As system failures sweep through the Hummel, neither Chalmers nor the pilot can prevent the vessel from crashing into the surface near a mysterious ancient city. And that’s where the real nightmare begins.

Purchase Link:

Furnace of Goodreads


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

Rating: 4 stars

When the ship RSA Rockne Hummel goes dramatically off-course, navigator Lieutenant Michael Chalmers is woken early from hyper-sleep to figure out why. Lost at the edge of space, they crash into the planet Furnace. And that’s where the horrors truly begin.

Furnace is told completely from Chalmers’ perspective as he fights for survival on a planet inhabited by demons. Whilst stranded on the planet’s surface the ship’s captain orders that Chalmers accompanies other crew members on a reconnaissance mission which goes terribly wrong. Knowing that there is no hope of rescue, Chalmers’ only chance of survival is to travel through an ancient demon city to reach his ship before it departs.

Furnace is a blend of science fiction, horror and a fast-paced thriller that never falters and keeps the reader gripped from the first page to the last. The main character is well-developed and his internal dialogue brings some dark humour to the situations that he finds himself in. I really enjoyed reading Furnace. The concept is very clever and unique, and the author successfully manages to bring together three genres in one great read.

Review: The Express


The Express by R.K Howard

Are you ready for one hell of a bumpy ride?

A man’s daily commute becomes a hellish nightmare in this harrowing account of a bus crash that transforms a fateful ending into a painful beginning.

Based on an age-old premise with a fresh narrative that visits the undesirable side of life after death.

Purchase Link:

The Express on Goodreads


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

Rating: 5 stars

There is an art to the short story and R.K Howard’s tale of an ordinary man’s every day commute turning into his last has successfully mastered this. Many authors try to pack too much into a small word count and either the flow of the story or the characterisation suffers as a result. This certainly isn’t the case here.

The Express is a quick read that breathes fresh life into the ‘what happens when we die’ question that all of us ask ourselves at some point in our lives. The protagonist discovers the truth when the bus that he is travelling on is involved in a fatal collision.

There is no getting away from the dark subject matter, but R.K Howard has successfully blended sarcastic humour to add some degree of relief. And nicknaming regular fellow commuters is something that we all do in real life!

A fantastic, quick read!