Question for Authors

There’s a local convention coming up at the end of July. They do a sci-if/fantasy book exchange. I was thinking that if authors were interested in donating a physical copy of their novel, I would enter it in said book exchange. Signed copy, possibly? 

There’s a limit of three, however. The decision would be made by random drawing of those that signed up? 

Of course I’d leave a note with both mine and the authors information asking the reader to provide their thoughts via review and/or social media. 

Anyone interested in contributing? 

Advertisements

Spilt Coffee, by Greg Bauder

5_23_17 Spilt Coffee

stars-3-0._CB192240710_

 

One thing I’ve noticed with this author is that their themes are very obvious. They make common events become almost a tertiary character. Sometimes their causations feel like personality. Plot is directly affected by them–sometimes in simple ways, others unknown until later.

 

Much like Woofed Cookies, this had an interesting story. Dealing with schizoaffective disorder is no easy feat, but Glen and his buddies make the most of it. At least their nurse is hot, right?

 

There’s some editing needed. The writing felt clunky in some areas, both in the narrative and dialogue. The style and use of description seemed to fit the story. Given how short it was, the characters were pretty well done. There some adult content, and that needed a little help. Small action sequences like sex needed a different style of description than what it had.

 

Care’s demonstrated when it came to mental health topics. Character’s didn’t feel portrayed as the typical “crazy person,” as seen on TV. Symptoms were plot devices, but not to make fun of them.

 

It was a little weird in some places, but that fit with the tone of the story. With some extra editing, this could be pretty good all the way around.

 

Buy it here!

 

Discussion Topic: Patreon

Books Reviews Anonymous

So, I’ve been thinking about creating a Patreon so I can devote more time to shaping this blog and website the way I want. Working 50+ hours a week doesn’t leave a whole lot of free time, and there’s so much I want to offer without having to charge authors.

A few ideas I have are: offering audio critques that go a bit more in depth than my actual review. I’ve been toying with the idea of a vlog series where there’s a round table discussion/reactions to an audio reading of a novel. Book exchanges, giveaways, a newsletter, and other discussion prompts are also all on the table. Eventually, I’d like to offer editing services. However, I don’t have nearly the amount of time to do that currently.

What rewards would I offer? Access to the vlogs/critiques (with author permission)? Drawings into book giveaways? Interviews? Social media promotions? I’m thinking…

View original post 48 more words

Discussion Topic: Patreon

So, I’ve been thinking about creating a Patreon so I can devote more time to shaping this blog and website the way I want. Working 50+ hours a week doesn’t leave a whole lot of free time, and there’s so much I want to offer without having to charge authors.

A few ideas I have are: offering audio critques that go a bit more in depth than my actual review. I’ve been toying with the idea of a vlog series where there’s a round table discussion/reactions to an audio reading of a novel. Book exchanges, giveaways, a newsletter, and other discussion prompts are also all on the table. Eventually, I’d like to offer editing services. However, I don’t have nearly the amount of time to do that currently.

What rewards would I offer? Access to the vlogs/critiques (with author permission)? Drawings into book giveaways? Interviews? Social media promotions? I’m thinking the editing service could be a top-tier one. I’m genuinely curious as to all of your thoughts/ideas/opinions.

I’ve been having the time of my life just doing reviews, and I’d really like to build it into a long-term career.

Comment below and let me know what you think!

Pnaramakhia, by Flavio Verna Santonocito

5_22_17 Pnaramakhia

stars-5-0._CB192240867_

Fusion of steampunk and fantasy is neat. Not only does it cater to unique landscapes, but new story devices, as well. Use of magic takes on so many new possibilities. Pnaramakhia utilizes all the above.

 

The author went down to the nitty-gritty and created a whole new landscape from the ground up. Because of that, there’s a lot of information the reader needs. Instead of spelling it all out at once, it’s peppered all throughout the novel. It’ll take a second to adjust to the linguistics of a new culture. It’s like getting dropped into a country you only know some of the language for. The beginning felt a little clunky because of that. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing. There’s still a lot to learn, but it gets much easier.

 

Two siblings are on a mission to kill an ancient beast. There are some…complications along the way. They’re separated, and that’s when the novel branches into the many different storylines.

 

Now, the best part: the entire novel. The story blew me away in ways I can’t even describe. From what I’ve heard about Game of Thrones, this is so much better. There’s so many overlapping story-arcs that all blend seamlessly with one another. Political subterfuge, mystery, the undead…each served to bulk up the main narrative. It’s long, but the way everything is set up, it’s perfect. The author manages to pull the wool over the readers’ eyes for the majority of the novel. The answers to things are never so simple. The sequence of succeeding events wound up crafted in such an exquisite way.

 

The characters were great. Every interaction is a performance to marvel at. The writing style complimented it in all the right ways. It didn’t have the long, drawn-out, fantastical tone of traditional fantasy novels. Still, there was plenty of wonderment to go around, as description doesn’t lack. The environment came to life right along with the characters. A great amount of detail and thought went into constructing this new society, and it shows. The same goes for the characters. Dialogue flows right. It changes tone between characters. Perspective changes are smooth and easy. The list of things I could compare this to for references keeps growing.

 

This was one of the most satisfying novels I’ve read in a while. It was my first foray into steampunk fantasy and it set the bar awful high.

 

This is a must-read.

 

Buy it here!

 

A Merchant in Oria, by David Wiley

5_21_17 Merchant in Oria

stars-5-0._CB192240867_

Poor little Firion. All he wanted to do was establish himself in the markets of Oria. Once he gets there, he winds up embroiled in something of a mystery. And the receiving end of a fist.

 

This was a cute little novella. In such a short amount of time, the author manages to convey enough information that the world doesn’t feel flat. To be perfectly honest, the way it was set up made it read like a side quest in Skyrim. That helped with envisioning the setting. There was some interesting character development to be had. Some of it ended up entangled in the romantic subplot, but that honestly made it better.

 

I liked the steady progression of things. Characters felt alive and well. Description wasn’t exactly lacking, but it wasn’t heavy. It was a weird equilibrium where the reader can fill in the blanks. The writing style changed according to what was happening. It was long and fantastical for exposition. Short and sweet for everything else. Dialogue didn’t feel clunky.

 

A quick and easy fantasy read. It was cute, funny, and tied things up at the end. Characters and story were both engaging. It was a well-written, fairly original storyline.

 

 

Buy it here!

One Decent Thing, by Michael E. Wills

5_20_17 One Decent Thing.jpg

stars-5-0._CB192240867_

 

One Decent Thing, by Michael E. Wills…how do I begin explaining the sense of relief I felt as I started into this book? It was that good.

 

The story itself is set in 1975 England, during a time when terrorist bombings were common, thanks to the IRA. Scottie is a middle-aged alcoholic womanizer that lost the love and respect of his ex-wife. And his daughter. The story begins with him visiting his daughter in college.

 

Scottie has a run in with two IRA members along the beach at night as they crash land on the shore. After a dubious moral choice, Scottie is in possession of very sensitive documents. Now here’s where things start to pick up.

 

The action is well-paced and left me on the edge of my seat. It became a heart-pounding ordeal to follow along Scottie’s mishaps. Will he escape this time? Where does he go from there? Things in the story get intricate the deeper into it the reader gets. Both sides were well thought-out in their pursuits. They complimented nicely. The author presents both the IRA and Scottie as people you could run into anywhere. It makes them both sympathetic. There are brief moments of doubt when it comes to what side you’re cheering for. The ending, and what leads up to it, is something between James Bond and Scooby-Doo. The composition is masterful, and so is the execution.

 

Characterization, for the most part, was spot on. For the most part, they had their own tone and voice. There’s two characters later that I had a hard time telling apart. They had similar personalities. Given their proximity, it took a bit more effort to follow along. Still, their interactions flowed well, as did the dialogue.

 

I did have to brush up on my British slang. There are plenty of context clues to make the reading easier. I still found myself looking up more precise definitions to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. I never felt like I was being jolted out of the story. If anything, it enhanced the experience. And, I learned a few new things. I love it when novels managed to teach me something new.

 

This was quite the thriller to read. Everything from writing style to character development was excellent. The level of detail and intricacy that went into the intrigue aided the tone. If you’re craving a different, heart-pounding adventure, Michael E. Wills has you covered.

 

Buy it here!

The Wolfe Experiment, by R. W. Adams

IMG_1904

 

If you’re looking for an adventure that doesn’t stop, then the Wolfe Experiment is for you.

 

Siblings Tilly and Ethan know they’re different. They’ve got powers no one else has. They made a pact not to tell anyone. Except people know. And that doesn’t bode well for the two youngsters. Given their ages, things do go a bit better than expected. But not by much.

 

The opening is well done. It immediately engages the reader and plants pleasant images in their head. Then it’s all downhill from there. The kids can’t catch a break. Their struggle is an emotional one, but also a mysterious one. Nothing is as it seems as they try to survive and cure themselves. Readers find their hearts breaking the longer things go on.

 

Characterization was fantastic. The kids felt like kids. They acted like kids and reacted like kids should. Both felt very different, and they had their own branching storylines. Minor characters were alive and well, all important to advancing the plot. And oh, boy. The plot was a tightly knit one. It made sense. It progressed well and in a logical manner. My only complaint was that Ethan’s situations got a little repetitive. So, for a while there, things got a little predictable. The situations themselves weren’t, but the actions and resolutions were. In spite of that, I see how they served to further the plot and pull the curtains back on the mystery.

 

The writing style fit the narrative. It was fast-paced, almost constant action. During the brief interludes, exposition and background information wound up presented. The story eased us into getting to know the characters. There was a lot of information to take in, but it never felt overwhelming. Things came full circle by the end. And boy did it end with the biggest, most perfect cliffhanger. It leaves the readers feeling hungry for more. It’s so frustrating, but in a good way. There’s questions that need answers, but it doesn’t leave the story incomplete. In fact, it sets thing up in a beautiful way for a sequel.

 

This was an awesome story from beginning to end. Well-crafted, thought out, and executed. The characters drove the story forward at all times. Not once did things feel convoluted or out of place. It was emotional. While predictable in some areas, it still managed to surprise and entertain. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. There’s got to be a sequel…right?

 

Buy it here!

Whispers in the Alders, by H. A. Callum

5_18_17 Whispers in the Alders

stars-5-0._CB192240867_

Available May 26th, 2017!

I’m having such a crisis trying to figure out where to begin with Whispers in the Alders.

 

It went from 0 to 60 in no time flat.

 

Aubrey Worthington, daughter of a company bigwig, spends life moving from place to place. Until Alder Ferry. There she meets a young boy named Tommy, and initiates an unlikely friendship. Not an easy one, either. And I will tell you right now that it does not go where you think it goes.

 

Okay, tone. Let me start with the narrator’s (Aubrey) voice. In the beginning, it’s full of whimsy. And longing. It’s full of imagery and the like. Because of this, it opens rather slow. That’s okay, though, because once it gets going, it doesn’t stop. The deeper into it you get, the less whimsical it feels. Right along with Aubrey’s character development from teen to adult. Watching her shed the naivety of adulthood is such an emotional process. Even the minor characters took on their own, unique journeys. Through Aubrey’s telling, they come alive. Characterization was different for everyone. They were easy to tell apart, with their own voice.

 

The pacing of the story was great. Not too long or short, but plenty of time to get to know the characters. Enough time to develop an emotional tie with them. Backgrounds and character traits aren’t given immediately upon introduction. We get to know the character in pieces so they’re easier to identify with. We follow along on their journey of self-discovery and identity. The writing style fits well into how the narrative progresses. The author makes excellent use of tension and suspense. Coupled with plenty of twists, this novel has more drama than an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

 

I finished with only one or two questions. Everything else ties up with a nice little bow. With the opportunity for many stereotypes, this novel tends to bypass most. It makes use of the “broken family” trope, but in a way that’s necessary. Even still, it doesn’t feel like the same old story. It ditches the gritty atmosphere for a warmhearted one, despite the events that occur.

 

Whisper in the Alders was nowhere near what I expected. It was so much better. It was worth the emotional distress I went through while reading at work. The farther into I got, the harder it was to put down. A literary representation of #relationshipgoals to the letter.

 

Misfortunes of T-Funk, by Barnaby Hazen

5_17_17 Misfortunes of T-Funk

stars-3-0._CB192240710_

An interesting fact about the Kindle version of this novel. It comes with four audio tracks (linked in the text) that pop up during the narrative. Living in BFE with the world’s worst internet, I couldn’t listen to them during my reading. I do encourage others to try this and see how it affects the mood. It was a very unique reader engagement concept (as well as marketing promotion).

 

The story itself is about Theo and Judah surviving the misfortunes many new bands go through. All the while they’re trying to maintain their education and relationships. Except, once you get sucked into the time-consuming world of music, it’s not that easy.

 

I learned a lot about the music industry reading this novel. I also learned quite a bit about music itself. An excellent level of detail and explanation went into constructing the musical narrative. Grasping the ideas discussed shouldn’t be too difficult for those with a basic understanding of music.

 

Relationship-wise, this novel did a lot right. Both Judah and Theo have differing circumstances, but they’re realistic. They’re healthy (for the most part). They have their fair share of ups and downs and I liked how they got handled.

 

The story itself was good. The writing needs some editing. Breaking up paragraphs and sentences would help keep things from becoming too jumbled. Within the chapters, things bounced around between perspectives, people, and situations. Without breaks. I found myself reading the same page a few times to see where I missed a scene change. Passage of time was also muddled.

 

As a character-driven novel, I liked the style. As the story unfolds we learn more of the intricate details that flesh out their development. I’m not talking about when they were born or what their parents do, but their fears, their hopes. What drives them. What holds them back. Their emotions feel accessible for the readers. It helps them come alive. I wasn’t a fan of the information dump at certain points in the story. It changed things up, however, by utilizing both dialogue and narration to tell. Dialogue did get a little clunky without much action in between. The character interactions remained solid despite.

 

From small nightclubs to Jimi Hendrix’s grave, Misfortunes of T-Funk manages to encompass the raw drive it takes to succeed as a band. The let downs, the frustrations…and, in the end, the ability to rely on other people. With a little polishing, this could slide into the top-10 charts without trying.

 

Buy it here!