Here are some reviews that I’ve received!
I’ve yet to come across a book that I have not liked, so I encourage everyone to check these stories out!
In Wilder Lands (The Fall of Eldvar)
5.0 out of 5 stars by Jim Galford
An epic fantasy that I’ll read over and over! – Jan. 8th, 2012
In Wilder Lands marks the second anthropomorphic fantasy story I’ve read and I must say, I’m quickly becoming a fan of these types of adventures! I have to give kudos where it’s deserved. The author has created a wonderful, realistic world populated with humans, dwarves, elves, and a variety of “wildlings”, creatures that are humanoid but with traits of various animals. The wildlings aren’t looked upon with too much favor, as they are constantly being caught, sold into slavery, kept on leashes, etc. Foxes, wolves, and deer are just a few of the many species represented in this story.
Anyway, this story focuses on Estin, a free wildling that is struggling to figure out just how he fits into his world. He hasn’t come across many of his kind, so when he encounters a fox wildling, he becomes enamored with her and chooses to become part of her pack. What follows are epic battles, chases, emotional struggles, and the constant threat of legions of undead warriors obliterating everything he holds dear on his world.
There was so many intricate details skillfully woven into Gilford’s world, and his characters, that I had to read the book again just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. And, in fact, I had, but that’s due to my eagerness to keep reading to see what would happen next! I truly enjoyed the interactions between Estin and Feanne. I really loved Plinth, the dwarf, and his constant insults, and even more so I loved how this angry, belligerant dwarf did a complete turnaround and become a loyal member and friend to the pack.
I tip my hat to the author as he has created a fantastic world where clearly a lot of time and energy were spent on crafting realistic battles, quirky mannerisms of the various wildlings, appearances, fur color, etc. If you think you’re a fan of fantasy adventure stories, you have to give this one a try! I also encourage fans to drop the author a line and encourage him to continue the story with a sequel.
Scourge of an Agnostic God
5.0 out of 5 stars by Michael Juge
This is what happens when we depend upon technology too much! – Nov. 26th, 2011
Scourge of an Agnostic God is a post-apocalyptic story that interestingly enough doesn’t involve any sort of a nuclear war. Granted, I’ve only read a few of these types of stories, but it’s always about some catastrophe happening and always involves nuclear weapons. This one does not.
I won’t give anything away by revealing what caused the breakdown in our civilization other than to use the author’s term of “The Shift”. This even happens and we are instantly sent back to the stone age. No electricity. No communication. No more grocery stores to supply you with food or medicine.
The story centers around a man named Chris. To me, Chris came off as being suicidal, non-confrontational, and an overall wimp. Honestly, I didn’t care for Chris at all at the beginning of the story. Too whiny, too wussy (sp??), and totally willing to leave his wife and their unborn child alone in the world (provided he did go through with his original plan). That to me instantly pushes the wrong buttons. I can’t even being to imagine doing that to my own wife.
So now I’m annoyed, and actually entertained the idea of putting the book down. Permanently. But then I started to wonder what would happen next. Bingo. Had me hooked. So I picked it back up and was delighted to see Chris work through his inner demons and develop into a useful member of their community.
Mr. Juge created characters that were amazingly realistic. The source of the Shift was (in my mind’s eye) totally plausible. The battles with the various gangs hellbent on raiding their supplies, pillaging the land, etc., were well executed.
There was only very minor issues that I found with the book, namely a few typos and a couple of instances of fragmented sentences run together. Altogether, a very well-thought out book that I will gladly leave on my iPad to be read again at a later date!
One last note, I absolutely loved the final tie-in to the events of 9/11. I haven’t enjoyed a book like this since I read Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank back when I was in high school. I recently found out that a sequel exists. I’m off to pick up my copy! Great job, Mr. Juge!
5.0 out of 5 stars by Shirley Elmokaden
This poor kid just can’t cut a break! – Nov. 1st, 2011
I love browsing books in the Kindle store, and I absolutely LOVE that “Download a sample” bit. I’ve been known to download samples left and right, so at times I could have up to 20 samples on my iPad waiting to catch my attention or else get deleted. “Body Trapped” was a sample I downloaded a couple of weeks ago. Let’s just say I read the sample last night and here I am writing up a review.
The writing was good, the descriptions were good, the overall feel of the story was good. It seems like a bad dream. You’re involved in a horrible accident and wake up in another person’s body. How do you convince others that you aren’t who they think you are without getting yourself a one-way ticket straight to the funny-farm?
Lee and Gary are the two boys involved in the accident. Lee took the full brunt of the injuries and was placed in a coma. However, he awoke in Gary’s body while Gary must be in Lee’s own body. His own parents are forced to sit by the bedside of their son who they’re told won’t wake back up while Gary’s body, with Lee in it, awakens and is eventually sent home with Gary’s family. Lee and Gary’s families couldn’t be more different from one another. Noboy likes him, including his (Gary’s) sister. His mother is an alcoholic. All of his (Gary’s) friends do drugs, smoke, etc. He (Lee), on the other hand, is a good student, kept good grades, and got along well with his parents.
I really enjoyed this story. It was shorter than most I read, but that’s probably a good thing or else I’d probably be still reading it. The author did an admirable job in describing how Lee was experiencing life in Gary’s body, how lonely and desperate he was to return to his own. I read this whole book, sample included, in one sitting. Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll do the same! Well worth the money!
Can Lee make it back to his own body so he can rejoin his own family? Will Gary’s family ever realize that their son didn’t come home with them after the accident? Gonna have to read it to find out!
Guild of the Blue Dragon
5.0 out of 5 stars by Christopher Fulbright
Ancient dragons, mystical portals, and a quest to save his dying mother. – Oct. 25th, 2011
I’m not usually a fan of books with young kids as the main protagonists of the story. However, and this is what got me, Mr. Fulbright, the cover caught my eye. Dragons! I’ve always loved dragons! Having several of my book-buying criteria met, I read the description. A boy is trying to save his dying mother and must find and enlist the help of an ancient blue dragon in another dimension.
The price was very reasonable, so I figured, why not? I purchased the book and loaded it on my iPad. Let me just say that I’m very glad I did!
Kody and Angel are two teenagers that are caught up in a quest to try and locate the one thing that will save Kody’s dying mother: the blue dragon. This dragon has allegedly been around since the time of the bibilical floods and was one of two dragons allowed on the ark. Now, I’m not a religious person, and was (briefly) nervous that this story would have some seriously religious undertones to it. Nope. It made some references, but that’s about it. Now, back to the story. This blue dragon is considered to be a good dragon. However, due to all the needy & greedy people out there who have learned that the dragon can cure just about anything, the drgaon went into hiding.
Also, where you have good dragons you naturally have bad dragons. The black dragon has been trying to find the blue one also since the time of the flood. Apparently he was denied a boarding pass and he’s a wee bit bitter about it. So the black dragon survived the floods and wants a little revenge.
I enjoyed this book. It kept me entertained. I found myself swearing when certain parts transpired in the book (see what happens? I get too involved!), and even found myself laughing out loud several times.
Now for the critique. I could have easily given this book five stars, but there were a few things that prevented me from doing so. I thought there was an excessive use of analogies. I don’t mind a few comparisons from time to time but it seemed like there were more than normal here. Also, there were quite a few fragmented sentences. I can let some slide, as I have been known to use ‘em as well in my own books, but again, I thought there were a few more than necessary. The lsat bit I wanted to mention was that I… ***spoiler alert!!***
…was that I got to the part where Kody and Angel were underground in the aquarium on their way to find the portal to get to Rymworld (sp?), and all of a sudden they were in the river. They got on the gatekeeper’s back and started swimming away and they managed to get into a river. I wasn’t sure how that managed to happen. Yes, some zoos & aquariums are right on the water (used to work in one – maybe that’s why I had a problem with it?), so it’s possible to border a body of water, but there would be grates and the like separating the critters from the outside from those on the inside. That’s my own observation.
All in all, though, I truly enjoyed the book and will gladly keep this one on my iPad as I plan on reading it again in the future. Great job, Mr. Fulbright! I hope you come out with another installment soon!
5.0 out of 5 stars by B. Justin Shier
What’s this? A story with a vampire in it that I absolutely loved! – Oct. 10th, 2011
I can’t really expand on too much more that hasn’t already been covered. What we have here is a really well written urban fantasy novel that introduces us to young Dieter Resnick. He’s a young man that has the gift of “Sight”, namely he can see auras on other people and as such, can “see” when bad things are about to happen.
Without giving anything away, when a new facet of his ability manifests in a terrifying way, Dieter is accepted into a small, very private university that caters to people like him. I instantly thought of the Harry Potter series, where there’s this school for gifted, or magical, people. However, that’s where the similarities end. The kids, teachers, and the interactions amongst them are way more realistic to me. I can easily see the popular kids giving the unpopular ones a hard time, etc.
Along the way he meets an attractive vampiress named Rei, who unbeknownst to him is his protector. Let’s just say she’s good at her job.
The fight scenes were a tad too realistic for my tastes, but I have to tip my hat to Mr. Shier. He has crafted an excellent book that had hooked me from the moment I started reading it. Dieter’s running narrative throughout the story were absolutely hysterical!!
I read this book as it was chosen as one of the book on the month selections for the Indie Book Club on Goodreads. Awesome selection! Can’t wait for the next installment!
Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End
5.0 out of 5 stars by Tim Greaton
There’s nothing wrong being a little different! – Sep. 18th, 2011
Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End, is a wonderful fantasy story set in the modern world. The main character, Zachary, is a teenager that unforunately gets picked on a lot. Might be due to his hair being green. In their single-parent household, Zachary’s world is turned upside down after an injury forces he and his father to seek help from a very unscrupulous doctor several states away. Why not just go to a local hospital? Why indeed! I don’t believe in spoilers, not for reviews, but needless to say Zachary doesn’t understand why his father adamantly refuses to go to a normal hospital.
After the incident, Zachary is forced to live with an eccentric nutjob who treats him like her own personal slave, forcing him to clean up after her, mind her store, etc. Along the way he and the sickly boy from next door become friends and together they try to piece together what Zachary should do next.
With the help of a guardian alligator (no, seriously!), Zachary and his new friends must take on legions of deadly adversaries they never even knew existed, match wits with a tyrant hell bent on destroying him, and try to ascertain who he really is, as nothing he’s learned about his family makes any sense at all.
I really enjoyed this story. It was well written, the characters are well developed, and the scenes described in vivid detail. I think this story is perfect for young adults, as it is suitable for most age ranges, but especially for the YA crowd. There really wasn’t any swearing, and the battle scenes were described in perfect detail without getting too gory. Quite honestly, the grossest part was traveling via the Nostrils. Yep, inside a nose. LOL Gross. Perfect for kids!
The critiques I have with this story are minor. I feel like a few things weren’t properly addressed. For all I know, this could have been done intentionally. Again, without giving too much away, I would have liked to see more explanations as why Zachary had such a fixation with plants. He was told to stay away from plants, yet he had quite a collection he refused to part with. He broke an arm at one point, and it took a long while to heal, then later he broke an ankle, I believe, and it healed in less than an hour. Maybe because of his malady?
At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and am eagerly looking forward to seeing what the next book in the series holds! Good job, Mr. Greaton!
4.0 out of 5 stars by P.J. Johns
She’ll do anything to get her kingdom back! – Sep. 8th, 2011
Liberator’s Ruin essentially tells the story of a small kingdom that had been invaded by a larger neighbor and overthrown. The royal family was ruthlessly murdered. One daughter, however, managed to escape and has dedicated herself to eradicating the foreign invaders from her home country. All she cares about is whatever will help her win her cause.
I really liked this story. I loved how well thought-out this book was, from start to finish. This small country had been conquered by a much larger, much more powerful one. The lone surviving member from the royal family leads a pack of insurgents. It’s a constant struggle for Princess Julianna, or Anna as she calls herself now, to stay alive, to continue to hammer at the invaders where it hurts the most. I loved how the author painted a gritty, realistic populace who aren’t too terribly concerned that their monarchs had been dethroned, and they are just as happy, if not more so, with this new government as opposed to the old one.
Mr. Johns’ book follows several different storylines, whether we are accompanying Anna on a raid, or are with the dashing captain Nathaniel as he’s rescuing damsels in distress, or are with the High Inquisitor as he plots how to destroy the insurgents once and for all. I love any fantasy story that creates its own technology and does an adequate job explaining how it works, what the components are, etc. This story is no exception. I won’t give too much away only to say that I can’t wait for commercial availability of the lightmass engines!!!
I found a few critiques that bothered me with this story. There were quite a few fragmented sentences used throughout the book. I came across typos, which I could easily overlook. I found that some of the speech quotation marks were missing, making it difficult to follow some of the dialog. Difficult, but not impossible. But one of the oddest things I found was that sometimes there was a completely different word in place that shouldn’t be there, almost as if the spellchecker suggested the wrong word. That tripped me up a few times, but still, in the overall scheme of things, it didn’t do that much to detract from the story. The one character that bothered me the most was Anna. I was beginning to think that I was the only one who was thinking she was flat-out cold hearted, not at all how a princess should act. Yes, she’s been through hell, and yes, she just wants to rid her kingdom of the invaders. However, I though her cold demeanor was a bit too cold at times. But, that’s how the author wrote the character. Wait ’til you get to the end.
I feel that with another coat of polish on this story, I could very easily give it 5 out of 5 stars. As it is, I still plan on reading it again! Good job Mr. Johns!
Hunted (Flash Gold Chronicles)
5.0 out of 5 stars by Lindsay Buroker
Another gem from a master of American Steampunk! – Aug. 25th, 2011
I had heard that the author was going to write another story in this series. That said, I would encourage purchasers of this novella to also purchase and read Flash Gold first as it will help the reader understand more about the two main characters.
This story picks up a few months after the events of Flash Gold. Kali and Cedar are in a new town and have set up a shop for cliens who might be in need of their unique services. When Kali’s ex comes calling with a lucrative business proposition, she reluctantly agrees to his proposal, but only because Cedar has learned his arch-enemy is also in town and this business proposal would put him in an excellent position to try and take him out.
I love this series. Plain and simple. I love how its set in the old gold rush days in Alaska. The author blends futuristic technology in with everyday life wonderfully. I especially love how Kali and Cedar are constantly finding themselves in harrowing situations and they always find a way to get out of it, whether using his skills as a bounty hunter or her proficient knowledge of engineering and physics.
If you haven’t heard about this series, go buy Flash Gold, and then buy this one. You won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait for the next chapter in this series!!
4.0 out of 5 stars by Doranna Durgin
A classic sword & sorcery adventure! – Aug. 10th, 2011
This story follows Kelyn, brave warrior of the Keturans as she attempts to find her father, the “Wolverine”, and somehow break the curse of clumsiness that has been cast upon her. In order to accomplish this quest, she must leave the rugged mountains where she and her people live and venture to the Outlands and begin her search for her father, whom she’s never met.
If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery stories, then you’ll truly enjoy this book. Kelyn’s character reminds me of Xena, from the old tv series. She’s an excellent warrior who prefers solitude over civilization, yet her quest forces her to venture into several large cities where she experiences first hand the harsh reality that not everyone can be trusted. She is befriended by a group of Traders (reminds me of gypsies) and travels with them to continue her search.
I’m not the sort of person who’ll give away spoilers, so I won’t say what happens next, but I will say that it’s definitely worth checking out.
A few things… I know one of the major plot points was the curse of clumsiness that has befallen Kelyn, and it was mentioned several times, but not really in that much detail. I would have liked to have seen a little more explanation into the curse, why it was cast upon her, etc. I would have also liked to have seen a little more explanation on how the “Needle” was created, how it was used, how it was used to track them, etc.
All in all, a very satisfying story of high adventure. I very easily lost myself in it for a day. Good job, Ms. Durgin!
5.0 out of 5 stars by Lindsay Buroker
One of the best sequels I’ve ever read! – July 30th, 2011
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m really loving steampunk stories!
This book picks up several months after the events of Emperor’s Edge. Amaranthe’s team are still getting to know each other, and everyone (except Amaranthe) are still deathly afraid of Sicarius.
The author does a tremendous job of creating unique personalities for her characters. I laughed many times as Amaranthe tried to get Sicarius to suppress his “assassinly” qualities. The fight scenes were well described, the machinery was completely believable, and the world Buroker created was very easy to picture.
I eagerly, and I do mean eagerly, look forward to the next in the series! Great job! Two thumbs (way the hell) up!!
The Emperor’s Edge
5.0 out of 5 stars by Lindsay Buroker
A really good way to lose a day! – July 23rd, 2011
A friend of mine, Scott, suggested this book to me, so I decided to take him up on it.
It’s very well written, colorfully descriptive, and has very believable characters.
This story follows a female enforcer, Amaranthe. Without giving out spoilers, she’s tasked with seducing and elimintating the kingdom’s deadliest assassin, Sicarius. However, when she’s framed for a crime and thrown in prison, she escapes captivity and joins forces with the assassin and several others to try and save the emperor’s life.
The writing was smooth, the action flowed beautifully, and the scenes were wonderfully described in detail. The dialogue had me laughing out loud several times. I did enjoy Amaranthe’s dilemma in having an assassin as an accomplish as they clearly do not see eye to eye on a great many things.
I do see that the second book has been released by this author. I’ll be picking this up this weekened and can be certain that’ll I’ll gladly lose another day immersed in these worlds.
Great job, Ms. Buroker!
Legacy (The Resonance Tetrology)
5.0 out of 5 stars by Hugo Jackson
An unusual fantasy story which leaves the reader wanting more! – July 17th, 2011
I received a copy of this novel from the author who simply wanted an unbiased opinion on his work. A free fantasy story? Who was I to pass that up! I will honestly say that I saw the cover and instantly thought to myself, hmmm, a book with humanoid animals. Not sure about this…
Luckily, I settled back to read this on my iPad and was very, and I do mean VERY, pleasantly surprised. Well defined characters interacting with one another on a world that must (IMO) have taken some time plan out that methodically. It was a world rich with history and culture, with a wide variety of sentient beings. As a first novel, Jackson does an impeccable job with imagery and descriptive narrative, immersing the reader so deep in the world he created that it doesn’t let go until you’ve read the last page.
This world has ‘resonators’, those who have the ability to manipulate the energies from certain crystals and use them to either help or hinder others. Naturally there’s good and bad resonators. This story follows the daughter of the Xayall emperor, and the friends who stand by to help and protect her. I won’t give away spoilers, by the way. After suffering a major traumatic event, Faria tries to find her father, who she believes is in danger. Hot on her tail, however, is an evil faction bent on tracking down an ancient city to restore it to the power it once wielded. The bad guys somehow believe that Faria is the key to unlocking this power. And to top it all off, if this lost city happens to ‘reawaken’, then the rest of the world is in serious trouble. Therefore the epic battle between good and evil begins.
The fight/action scenes were very well written, the emotions the characters were feeling were very believable, and the story flowed along very nicely. The only critiques I could find were very minor. I was simply curious how with a world populated by sentient animal beings could have domesticated dinos as their “oxen”, so to speak. I was also unsure at times when a new character/species was introduced, if it was humanoid in appearance or more animal-like in appearance. Other reviewers mentioned pacing problems, but I really didn’t notice. Maybe I was too swept up in the story?
Overall, a very well written story that kept me entertained from start to finish. This just goes to show why I really enjoy indie fantasy stories. Every once in a while you stumble across an amazing gem, and this is one of those. Good job, Mr. Jackson!
On Dark Shores: The Lady
4.0 out of 5 stars by JA Clement
A dark, gripping novella – July 16th, 2011
Without realizing it, I’m discovering myself a fan of novellas. Short stories with wonderfully created worlds and disctinct characters that are very easily imagineable. On Dark Shores is such a novella.
This story is set in a grimy little town where it is ruled mercilessly by the moneylender, Copeland. He and his bodyguard, Blakely, keep the villagers cowering with fear, extorting money and doling out beatings on a daily basis. There are two sisters, and one has been forced to become a thief, being a distant relative to Copeland himself. When the older sister realizes she’ll be unable to protect the younger any longer, she determines it is time to try and escape from the clutches of her cousin.
There’s clearly more going on with the townfolk than they let on. The bodyguard, Blakely, used to be a boxer, and has the power to eliminate the moneylender’s grip over the town, but instead chooses to hide his emotions in booze and drugs. There’s the barkeep, Mickel, who was formerly a medic, I think, and is forced to resume his old profession as the town doctor is afraid to cross Copeland.
I won’t go into any other details here lest I inadvertently give away a spoiler. Let me just say, instead, that I enjoyed the story. The writing was smooth and flawless in execution. I had no problems imagining I was skulking around in the dark streets of Scarlock. This isn’t a story for the faint of heart. There’s gruesome scenes of torture and murder and of unspeakable acts of cruelty. On the plus side, the scenes are so well written that you’re glued to the pages waiting to see what happens next, much like you would do if you saw an train wreck: you know you should look away, but you find yourself transfixed to the scene. Like that.
There were a few critiques that I could find. Again, without giving anything away, the skeleton scene. I’m not sure where that came from, but I was confused about why it was there. I think I see where the author was going with it, but just thought it was odd and not really fitting with the rest of the story. I feel as though the story was cut off abruptly, but I’ll take that as a good sign, as I’m clearly intersted in learning what happens next, when Karma will finally catch up to those who need it, and what the fate of the older sister is.
Ms. Clement, nicely done! I’ll definitely pick up the next in the series when it’s released!
Escape 2 Earth 2012
3.0 out of 5 stars by Lawrence Johnson, sr.
The end of the world is coming… – July 3rd, 2011
I’m a huge fan of disaster movies. Independence Day, Deep Impact, Armageddon, and 2012 (naturally!). So when I came across this book, I will say the cover caught me, and the title intrigued me. My first disaster book! I eagerly loaded this onto my iPad and settled back to read.
I liked the premise of the story. We (humans) were warned 8 years in advance that the end was coming. No way to avoid it, had to accept it. Fortunately, a group of nice aliens came to the rescue with a way to evacuate the people of Earth to another planet. I thought the story was original. I enjoyed how well thought out it was, how comprehensive it was.
Whereas this book had a good story, there were many, and I do mean MANY, typos, grammatical errors, fragmented sentences, and so on. Ordinarily I can let some typos go. Even some fragmented sentences, provided it contributes to the story, can be overlooked. Plain and simple, this story had formatting issues. Quotes in the wrong place, text in different sizes, indents in the wrong place, and even some words consistently used that were incorrect. For example, I kept seeing references to people being “clam”. I’m pretty sure they meant “calm”. Sentences were run together, and oftentimes appeared to be copied and pasted together so that the flow of the story was interrupted and I had to jump back to the previous page to determine what was trying to be conveyed.
If it wasn’t for the grammatical errors, I could have easily given this story 4 stars, even 4.5 stars. With the help of an editor, proofreader, another set of eyes, etc., this story could easily be one that I’d read over and over again.
5.0 out of 5 stars by Deborah Prestwood
Not everyone is as paranoid as they appear! – July 1st, 2011
Everyone that I know falls into this category… either great aunt Mildred, or maybe your quirky uncle Charlie is as nutty as a fruitcake. But what if… What if they weren’t?
Strange Loops was a fun story to read, with enough humor to have me laughing out loud several times. It follows Henry and his mother, who insist They (with a capital T) are after them, will find them, will take them, etc. Naturally I scoffed. Ok, old people are paranoid, but then again, Henry wasn’t old. Just weird. Then there’s this monkey with the most unfortunate name ever. Was he really there? Was he just a figment of Henry’s imagination?
Alien abductions. As soon as I realized that’s what this story was about, I started chuckling. Everyone has heard stories, shaking their head sympathetically. This story, however, hooked me from the start and I quite literally didn’t put the book down until I finished. My Saturday passed quite comfortably with me reading this on my iPad.
Aliens obsessed with peanuts also made me laugh. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, so I won’t go into detail, but if you read this (and I encourage you to!), make sure you don’t have any drinks around your e-reader device lest you spew it all over. All in all, I delightful quirky tale that must be read to be believed.
5.0 out of 5 stars by J.H. Sked
There’s a detective agency I’d hire in a heartbeat! – July 1st, 2011
Once again I’m being forced to open myself to the possibilities of expanding my tastes when it comes to certain genres of books. I’ve always told myself that I’m not a fan of werewolves, but thanks to this author, I read her first work, Wolfsong, and was very surprised to learn that I enjoyed reading a story that featured werewolves. When I learned Sked had come out with a collection of short stories, and the first had a vampire in it, I had to see if she could keep me interested. After all, the description of Basement Blues included the line, “and her laundry equipment is trying to kill her all over again”. Who was I to pass that type of intro up?
The first story involves what I hope will be regular series about this detective agency that is so unique that I am not even going to try to describe the characters. Trust me, if I say anything it’ll give spoilers, and I refuse to do that. I was genuinely disappointed when I reached the end of that story. And yes, there was a vampire as an employee. There, that’s all I’m going to say about it.
The second and third stories are classified as horror stories and involve characters that have been traumatized in the past. While definitely not a fan of horror stories, once again I was drawn into the pages and kept wondering what was going to happen next. The stories are short, so to say anything else would definitely give plot details away, so I’ll just say that these stories are definitely worth checking out.
Great job again, Janet! If you develop that first story into a regular series, you’ll definitely have to let me know!
Through the Flames (The Sword of Kirakath, Book 1)
5.0 out of 5 stars by Ryne Billings
When nothing else but revenge matters! – June 26th, 2011
Through the Flames is a book that deals with revenge, plain and simple. Caleb, the protagonist of this story, has his world turned upside down when everyone in his small village is brutally massacred, and that unfortunately includes his family. Just before his father succumbs to his injuries, he tells his son of a magical sword that he has hidden in their demolished house which in turn will lead him to someone that can point him in the direction of the Sword of Kirakath, an item he’ll need if he wishes to succeed in avenging the loss of his village.
Aiding Caleb in his quest is Katie, a young girl he rescued from a group of slavers along the way. This girl can see full well that Caleb is rushing off to confront those responsible for the massacre without any real knowledge of what to do when he gets there. She can see that without help, Caleb is unlikely to return from his quest, and since she owes him a debt for saving her from the slavers, she agrees to accompany him.
Revenge stories typically don’t hold my attention too well, as you can typically see how the story will play out well in advance. However, this story caught and held my attention from the start. It was very easy to see the protagonist’s point of view: he’s lost everything he loves. His grief is real. Revenge is the only thing that matters to him. He doesn’t expect to live past his quest. He won’t even think about what his future holds.
I would like to have seen more about why Kirakath was decimated. What was the motivation for the group that was responsible? I would have also liked to have known more about the force that ran through him (5 times). Don’t want to give away any spoilers. I also can’t help but feel that Caleb’s mentor and his friend will play a role in the upcoming sequel. There are several references to them, so I’m hoping the author is laying the groundwork for bringing them back.
Also, I would also like to point out that I loved the epilogue. Nifty way to get the reader to go: “Didn’t see that coming!” Can’t wait to see what happens in book 2!
4.0 out of 5 stars by Kathryn Nicol
Why do you have an apple pooping donkey in your bathroom? – June 23rd, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
Believe it or not, that line is a direct quote from this story, Nik’s Knacks. I discovered this delightful story about a week ago and instantly bought it once I read the description. It sounded like something different, I thought. Boy, was I ever right!
This story has everything any fan of fantasy would love, and many things that practically every fantasy lover (including this one) would never dream existed. The story follows a bizarre group of people that are tied to this quirky convenience store that has this odd habit of darting around to various places wherever its needed. Need five pounds of newt feet? How about a bolt of fluorescent green lace? This store is for you. Abigail runs the store with Max, who really defies description. Also along for the ride is Bern, a textbook schizophrenic who happens to be afraid of butterflies. And vegetables. Also present is a young man named Chris, who is constantly drawn to the store, and the ghost of an IRS agent who while he was alive, tried to figure out the taxes for the shop.
Whether the shop is jetting off to distant parts of the world to satisfy the needs of some peculiar customer, or appearing at a corner in some foreign world, the shop’s tenants learn to coexist with each other and learn that while they may be the most bizarre group of friends that happens to exist, they really do depend on one another.
This story had me laughing out loud from the moment I picked it up and started to read. The writer does a great job of infusing the story with sarcastic charm, while simultaneously conveying a unique sense of perspective from the various characters. In order to enjoy this story, the future reader should understand that this is an atypical fantasy story. There were many times I kept thinking about the world of Alice in Wonderland, and how everything in there didn’t make sense. As with this story, many things didn’t make sense, and I just went with it. I think it added to the ambience of the story, to tell the truth. There was frequent use of fragmented sentences, and many times the verbs were in the incorrect tense with the rest of the sentence, but it didn’t impede the overall story. The number of inconsistencies did increase near the end, and while sometimes it was distracting, I found the story was so refreshingly different that I didn’t mind at all. Had there not been as many minor little mistakes, I would have easily given this 5 stars.
I wish I had an imagination like this. Good job, Ms. Nicol!
The Knowledge of Time: Second Civilisation
4.0 out of 5 stars
Bet you’ve never seen a library like this! – June 15th, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
What do you get when you have a library that has millions and millions of books, a location which shifts about through time and space, and a dedicated staff of several thousand to catalog, sort, and protect the vast collection of books? One might think it’d be considered the ultimate treasure. However, to a group of people living in a futuristic society where every aspect of their lives are controlled, from spouses to careers, the threat of knowledge is untolerable, and therefore must be destroyed.
The Knowledge of Time: Second Civilisation is a story about a utopian society three thousand years in the future and their attempts to eradicate the one known threat to their way of life. Trying to save the Library is Gracie and her friend, Ruan. Together, they must find a way to reach the Library first before a team of mercenary “Beasts” manages to find the hidden Library and destroy it in its entirety.
I enjoyed this story. It was shorter than most that I read, as evidenced by the fact I finished it quickly. I typically only read when I have time, but this story kept me enthralled. I literally couldn’t put it down and was disappointed when I reached the end. I enjoyed reading about a futuristic society reminiscent of the city of San Angeles in Demolition Man. Wow, I watch way too many movies. Ok, back to the book. There were a few things that I found puzzling and troublesome. I wasn’t too sure if the city was called “Civilisation” or it was just a term. I didn’t know if it was a proper noun or not. Also, I did enjoy the description of the beasts, but was confused about their height. At first, it is mentioned they are seven meters in height, making them over 20 feet tall. Then a while later the height is referenced again, this time at seven feet, and not meters. I also would have liked to have had more detail on what happened to Gracie in the caves and how she suddenly knew what to do, how she could heal, etc. I won’t give away anything else.
Overall, a very enjoyable book that had my attention from the moment I picked it up until I finally put it down. To any fantasy lovers out there, give this one a chance. You won’t be disappointed!
Hemlock and the Wizard Tower
4.0 out of 5 stars
Whoever said infiltrating a Wizard Tower was easy? – June 14th, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
Hemlock and the Wizard Tower follows the exploits of a talented thief living on a magic-laden world controlled by the all powerful Wizard Guild. Sneaking into the heart of their operation, the Wizard Tower, Hemlock attempts to learn why the magic that normally would help her sister has recently been failing. Blaming the wizards (wizards be damned!), she uses all her extraordinary skills to infiltrate the Tower, something no one has ever been successful in accomplishing. With the aid of her mentor, a renegade wizard, and even a mechanical golem, Hemlock is swept up in the battle to break the Wizard Guild’s regulation of everyday magic.
I truly enjoyed this story. Character development was good. I liked how Hemlock went from rooftop vigilante to a very believable heroine whom people looked up to. I liked the author’s use of italics to portray flashbacks. What I really enjoyed, though, was how everything flowed so smoothly. The inner circles of the Wizard Guild, the different sections of the city, the outlying lands, etc. One critique I had was about the main antagonist, Falignus. There were times when I wasn’t sure if he was truly evil, or if he had underlying motives causing him to behave as he did. Fortunately, it didn’t distract from the story in the slightest. I was hoping for more history about Merit, but maybe in a sequel?
Speaking of sequels, I thought I saw somewhere that the author was working on a second book. I sure hope so! To anyone out there that loves fantasy, this is a fantastic book! Be sure to check it out!
Wolfsong (Tales from the Crescent)
4.0 out of 5 stars
For fans (and non-fans!) of werewolf stories! – June 6th, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
Wolfsong (Tales from the Crescent) takes place on a world populated by a variety of species, dealing mainly with hawks, humans, and werewolves. The reader follows the exploits of one squad of hawks. After suffering a tragedy at the hands of a renegade werewolf, the squad swears to hunt the rogue down with the help of another werewolf.
I have never been a fan of werewolf stories, nor do I actively pursue looking for them, but I won a copy of this ebook on a blogger’s website and decided to give it a try. At times I found myself backtracking a bit as I wasn’t sure if I missed an introduction of a character. There was a time when I wasn’t sure who was who, and what they were supposed to be doing, but you know what? That’s on me, I’m sure. I was a bit distracted. It’s a testament to the world Sked created. I was completely caught up in the story, yearning for the hawks to exact a little retribution, meaning I couldn’t wait for the rogue werewolf to get his comeuppance. I would have loved to learn more about the origins of the Hawks and how they came to become the peacekeepers of the Crescent. I’m really hoping the author will go into more detail in the second book, about the history of the species, as she did some an awesome job of creating a highly detailed world I could easily visualize.
If you like reading about alternate worlds where other creatures exist, you need to give this one a try! Take it from someone that doesn’t like werewolves, you’ll like this story!
Great job, J.H. Sked! I’m looking forward to the next story in this series!
Door to Canellin (Gatehouse)
5.0 out of 5.0 Stars
Escape to Canellin for a spell! – May 5th, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
The Door to Canellin (Gatehouse) follows the story of young Wes, who is a typical teenager struggling to fit in to society, and is met with resistance everywhere he looks. While exploring behind his grandparent’s house, he discovers a mysterious house in an area of the woods that had previously been vacant. The house is a Gateway, with doors/portals leading off to many different worlds. The person in charge sends Wes to Canellin to deal with an evil dragon.
Hot on his heals, though, is Ryan, Wes’s father. Investigating the disappearance of his son, he tracks him to the dilapidated house and is sent after his son, only his arrival is two months after his son’s arrival. In that time, the son has already learned he possesses some skill with magic, and with the help of a loyal friend, has started out on his quest.
I really enjoyed this story, as I’m particularly fond of books that deal with the discovery of portals which lead to magical lands. You’ll find an evil dragon (as illustrated by the awesome cover for the book!), its loyal dragonmen, and epic battles. I was drawn to the conflict that existed in the beginning of the book between Wes and his father. Right away the reader can see that Ryan cares tremendously for his son, and is willing to follow Wes anywhere in order to make sure he’s safe. Wes, in turn, learns that a father’s love is unconditional, and together, the two of them forge a new relationship that includes trust and respect.
To anyone out there that enjoys a good fantasy story, give this one a try. You’ll not be disappointed. Eric, I truly enjoyed your story and can’t wait for the next one to come out! You’ll have to let me know when it’s ready! Good job!
5.0 out of 5.0 Stars
This is what a sequel is all about! – April 11, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
Picking right up where Demon Gates (Nexus Wars Saga) left off, Ashar’an Rising (Nexus Wars Saga) continues to follow the adventures of Valdieron as he attempts to fight the invasion of demons into his world. This story also focuses on other characters besides Valdieron, but those you have been introduced to in the first book.
Using the power of the pendant he was given by his mother, Valdieron also continues his studies to become a master swordsman and also starts to learn how to use magic.
The author does a fantastic job weaving multiple storylines together to create a well developed tale in a world brought vividly and masterfully to life. Descriptive settings, colorful characters, and well executed battle scenes leave you on your toes and wanting more! I found myself eagerly turning page after page, wondering what was going to happen next!
Robert, I eagerly await the release of the next in this series. Good job once more!
5.0 out of 5.0 Stars
Best dark fantasy story I’ve ever read! – March 27, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
Demon Gates is a story about a meek young son of a horse breeder who is suddenly thrust into a series of events that could easily shape the future of the world he lives in.
The premise is the evil demons that once have ravaged the world have been locked away into the Void. Ancient Loremasters managed to lock them in their prison, with formidable seals preventing the Portals from becoming active. However, the seals are failing, and the demons have once again entered into the world to wreak havoc.
Not being a big fan of darker fantasy, or demons for that matter , I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself swept away in a story which was very expertly told, deftly weaving several storylines together with a skill that I truly envy. The author has created an extensive world with believable characters, nasty creatures, and picturesque locales.
For once, I don’t have to wait a bit for the next book in the series to be released. I know book two, Ashar’an Rising, has been released. I’ve already purchased it, and it’s now sitting on my iPod, ready to go!
This book is a tremendous read, at a very reasonable price. I encourage everyone who loves fantasy to give it a try! Robert, you’re a helluva writer!
Treasures of Carmelidrium
4.0 out of 5.0 Stars
A Medieval Love Story – March 21, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
This story follows Michelle (Missie, as she likes to be called), a talented flutist that is close to graduating college. A freak occurence transports her into an alternate medieval world populated with unicorns, symberveen (nasty little buggars with a vicious psychic attack), and even giant eagles.
Missie learns she has been brought to the kingdom of Gil-lael in order to play her role in a local legend. She is shocked to discover that the simple act of playing her flute has the ability to heal the kingdom. Added to that, prince Healden has become enamored with her and seeks to make her his bride.
Naturally, where you have the good guys, you get the bad guys. And this guy is as bad as they come. He controls the symberveen, and wants to overthrow Gil-lael and rule all. But, and there’s always a ‘but’, the one person that stands in his way is the talented flutist from the other world. Her music has the power to destroy him and therefore the threat must be neutralized.
The author does a tremendous job with the details. She describes the castles, the grounds, even the action scenes with such vivid imagery that it was no trouble at all to paint the mental picture as it was described to me. You get to see the burgeoning romance between the prince and Missie strengthen and grow. And, you are privvy to her struggles as she tries to decide where her heart lies.
As soon as the story started, it swept you right in and, if you’re like me, were unable to put the book (or iPod!) down! I spent a fantastic Sunday reading this book and encourage others to do so as well!
Great job, N.R. Williams!
An Oak of Hope
5.0 out of 5 stars
Weelfs, Trolls, and Orcs. Oh my! – March 15, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ) This review is from: An Oak of Hope (Brandeis of Aura) (Kindle Edition)
When a young girl is given a magical golden dagger by two weelfs (going to have to read the book to find out what a weelf is!), her life is forever changed as it is revealed she is the Chosen One of legend.
With her friends by her side, including a Red Orc, Brandeis is shocked to discover the long lost Golden Temple of Ata. Fearing many of the creatures that call Aura home will want to plunder the treasures of the temple, the clansmen of the forest hastily join forces to protect the Chosen One so that she may fulfill her destiny, namely to restore the one true magic to its rightful place in the land. Naturally, there are those who oppose the Legend and will do whatever it takes to bring about its downfall.
I really enjoyed this book. So much descriptive detail of the underground scenes! The carnage of the ancient dwarven battles. The thrill of the hunt with Brandeis and her friends. The sense of wonder as Brandeis learns about who she is and the role she is to play in the lives of her family, friends, and those around her.
I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good fantasy. If you like reading about the timeless battles of good vs evil, then definitely give this a try! Be forewarned, though. Huge chunks of time will disappear in the blink of an eye!
The last thing I’ll say, and it’ll probably make many laugh, is done so at my expense. I read this book on my Kindle app on my iPod Touch. I get to the end, and as I slide my finger to the left to progress to the next page, the page stays put. Annoyed, I slid my finger again. Again, nothing happened. After the fourth or fifth time, it dawned on me that I had hit the end, when I was eagerly looking for more.
Children of the Elementi
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting fantasy story with a healthy dose of sci-fi thrown in!, March 1, 2011
By Jaymikal (Lk Havasu City, AZ)
It’s difficult enough to just be a teenager anymore, but what if you’re told that you are a king/queen from another world?
This fantasy/sci-fi story follows the quest to overthrow the evil Magi and restore the Elementi to power by reuniting the children of the Elementi, teenagers who have control over the elements: fire, air, water, earth, and in this book, spirit.
Most of the kids are residents of our world, hidden here when they were very young. Some were still living on Eleria, oblivious of their heritage. When the one of the kids determines the other heirs are coming of age and starting to tap into their powers, she takes it upon herself to search them out. One by one they are found and drawn together to complete their destiny.
I liked this book, and would recommend it to anyone that likes a good fantasy story with a lot of sci-fi thrown in. However, I would make a recommendation to future readers. Dedicate some time to read this. Try not to put it down too much. Speaking from experience, I would pick this book up, read a chapter or two, then put it down later, and not come back to it for a day or two. Then, when I started to read it again, I found that I had to backtrack quite a bit so that I could follow along again. The longer I read at one outing, the easier it was.
I found it a little odd that kids that were raised as normal teenagers could accept and master their new powers that fast. I would have liked to see more detail as how the Matrix worked and how the new heirs were able to interact with it that easily. One explanation could be, maybe, that more time had elapsed than I thought.
Either way, I always appreciate a good book where I can easily picture the scene in my head, which I was able to do. I’ve been reading so many fantasy stories that it was nice to see some sci-fi thrown in. Makes me realize how much I love this genre.
Good job, Ceri!
Jaben’s Rift – Amazon.com
I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about reading another indie fantasy book, especially after having just written one myself. But I must admit that this author did a tremendous job. Almost got my tail in hot water as I started to scowl at my wife at being interrupted.
This story is about a kid taking a vacation with his family in Scotland. Jason goes exploring, finds the ruins of a house and discovers himself instantly transported to the world of Teleria, where he may or may not play a part in deciding the outcome of this foreign world.
Is he part of this prophecy? Does some unknown power lie hidden within him? Can he stay alive long enough to battle the hordes of strange crossbreeds? (For the record, the Manarachs sounds particularly nasty – described in enough detail warrant a wide berth if encountered!)
Bickering supreme beings, manipulative psychos, nasty henchmen, and invisible warriors. What more could any sci-fi/fantasy fan want? I eagerly look forward to book 2!