Friday, September 30, 2011

Best seller for a day (late) Nearly Departed in Deadwood

This post is for the IBC BSFAD.  Sorry for the delay!

5 stars

Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles tells the story of Violet Parker, a single mother of twins living with her aunt in Deadwood.  Violet is struggling to raise her twin children and get her life on track.  She has a job at a Realtor's office and is in desperate need of sale to keep her job.  While she has that to worry about she learns that the small town of Deadwood may have a serial kidnapper that chooses victims that are very similar to her daughter.  She also meets a couple of men who are looking to buy/sell houses from her and begins to see both of them as potential dating options.

Most of the characters were very well done in this book.  The dirty old man who appoints himself as Violet's protector is great for some comic relief.  The mysterious home buyer adds a good level of intrigue to the story.  The rich man looking to sell his house has money, is handsome, and seems interested in Violet.  Her coworkers add depth to the story as well.  She has her supportive friend and the chauvinistic jerk who ticked me off every time he was involved in anything.

The story telling kept me in the dark as to what was really happening and I changed my mind several times as the story progressed.   If you are interested in mystery/thrillers with a bit of a romantic angle (which I usually am not) this series is something you should definitely check out.

Optical Delusions in Deadwood (print)
Optical Delusions in Deadwood (kindle)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Last Seal by Richard Denning review

4 stars

The Last Seal by Richard Denning is a historical fantasy book set in 1666 around the Great London Fire.  The story follows the struggle of the Praesidum in their quest to keep the Liberati from freeing the demon lord Dantalion.  

The Praesidum consists of Ben, Freya, Tobias, and Gabriel though only Gabriel knows the truth of what is happening.  Ben is a schoolboy whose parents were killed in a fire before explaining his birthright to him.  Freya is a streetwise thief who runs into Ben through chance and gets sucked into an adventure she could never have seen coming, and Tobias is a doctor whose father was killed by the Liberati in what he thinks of as a pointless struggle based on superstition.  

The Liberati consists of Artemis and the men he has tricked into following him.  The most important of those is Matthius, a disillusioned street preacher who believes they are freeing an Angel to clean the city of the taint of sin.  Artemis has had the story of Dantalion passed down to him by his father and wishes to free the powerful demon in order to advance his own status in the new world that will be created.  Everyone else is a tool to help him or an obstacle to be destroyed.

Dantalion is kept trapped by a series of magical seals set by Cornelius Silver, the founder of the Praesidum, that the current members strive to protect.  Artemis however has learned the best way to destroy them is intense fire.  Once all of the original seals are destroyed the last seal will be revealed and Dantalion can be summoned back to Earth.  

The Last Seal is an interesting story and being set with a major historical event adds a bit of realism to the story.  The magic system used by Richard is solid and well explained with a very nice glossary explaining the terms used in the spellcasting.  Artemis served as a fairly standard bad guy whose only concern is his own well being.  The character I most enjoyed was Freya, her streetwise ways and smart mouth really made her an asset to the dialogue of the group.  Gabriel and Tobias were decent characters with good backstories, but I really never identified with them.  Ben was a solid character dealing with the tragedy of his past and discovering more about himself and his family than he ever knew.  He also has to battle his personal demons in order to come to terms with the events that are happening around him.  

Overall the story was enjoyable, though I did find a few parts a little slow.  This is a very good book for people who are looking for younger characters playing large roles and works well for a YA book.  The descriptions of the devastation of a large fire are well done and the way the fire is spread adds a terrible element to the brutality of the event.   

Copy provided by the author for review.


If you are interested in this book be sure to leave a comment with an email address for a chance to win an ecopy of the book!  Drawing will be made Oct 5, 2011.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest blog with Richard Denning author of The Last Seal

The nature of Demons and of Magic in the world of The Last Seal
The Last Seal is a historical fantasy where the real world of 1666 – the world of Pepys, King Charles II and the Great Fire of London is blended with a supernatural world of sorcery and demons.
In The Last Seal, the race of demons exist and are almost indestructible and very ancient creatures who existed on our earth centuries before mankind. Our ancestors fought a war in prehistoric times – a war fought with weapons and with sorcery – and in time banished the demons to the void outside our world.
All races have stories of powerful and terrifying creatures which are said to be immortal and almost invincible. These ‘demons’ in some form or other pervade our folklore, enter our legends and also find their place in our religions. To the Christian church they are fallen angels; once servants of the almighty who fought a war against him but finally lost and were then banished to the underworld where they remain as supernatural, malevolent spirits plotting the downfall of man and the destruction of heaven.
Hindu myths also speak of ‘Asuras’ or demons who are evil spirits forever battling against the divinities. In Islamic legends we read of the Jinn, creatures made of fire just as we men are made of clay. Some Jinn are not evil and many are benevolent but like the fallen angels of Christianity others rejected Allah and like them were banished to dark places from which they can tempt, torment and mislead humanity.
The Babylonians, Persians, Chinese and many others have such fables about demons, deva, daimons or some other name for this type of creature. Is this coincidence or is there perhaps something behind it all? Is there some memory in our oldest traditions of terrifying encounters with creatures beyond our comprehension and certainly beyond our powers? It was these thoughts that led to me having demons as the old enemy of mankind in The Last Seal.
Mankind set themselves to the task of trying to fight against the demons, futile though it might seem with merely flint and spear, fire and rock but try they did and the first great warriors of our race were born. Some though reasoned that only through power could power be defeated and became dedicated to learning all that could be learned of arcane knowledge and sorcery and so in time the first wizards and warlocks came to be.
The wars were ferocious and brutal but through the strength of our arms, the powers of our minds and the resilience of our spirits we defeated the Great Enemy, banishing them to the void beyond the world and were at last free to rule ourselves. The demons though were not content to live an immortal existence in that dark wilderness and through the endless millennia have endeavoured to find a way back. And through these endless millennia there have been those who have strived to help them and gain for themselves – just like their ancestor’s before them – their share of power and glory.
Over the centuries some men tried to bring the demons back and to free them from their captivity – these became the Liberati. Others strives to protect our world from the demons and these were the Praesidium. Their battle raged on through the centuries.
In the 14th Century Blake – a Liberati – managed to free the demon Dantalion. His triumph was short lived as Cornelius – a Praesidium – bound the demon in a tablet and buried the tablet under the city of London. Now, three hundred years later, the Liberati are poised to release Dantalion and a new battle to save the city and the world will ensue. That is the situation at the start of The Last Seal.
Words of Power
“Words can be powerful. They can lead men to fight against extraordinary odds, defy evil, fight for good, defend a King - or defeat one, maybe. Words can make you draw on strengths you never knew you had. Even so, I am talking here of ordinary words spoken by ordinary, if occasionally inspired, men.”
Gabriel sipped from his cup again, but did not take his gaze off Ben. “Then there are others that are more than just a collection of lines and shapes written on a page. Some words seem to be an echo of yet more ancient tongues: angelic, divine or maybe demonic and infernal. These are words that our ancestors heard spoken in the deep past, in times more ancient than you can begin to imagine.”
I agree with Gabriel. Words are powerful and it is something about that concept that wormed its way into my thinking when I developed the idea of how magic works in the Last Seal.  In this excerpt Gabriel describes how to use them:
“Kipofu‒Lumen‒Glimt,” Gabriel had shouted and then had explained how the words usually combined the different components needed to make the power work.
“Firstly, there is always a word that represents the type of effect desired: perhaps to fire a projected bolt of energy, maybe influencing the mind, or altering the physical world. The word focuses the mind on the end result. Secondly, comes a word that summons the force or power that will actually be used to make it happen, such as fire or light, pressure or subtle hypnotic effects. Finally, another word actually triggers the effect, in much the same way that an officer shouting the command, ‘Fire’ to his men will result in them shooting at the enemy. As you learn the words you have to work out what part of the syntax or the grammar they are and then you can combine them to build up different phrases with wide-ranging effects.”
“Like learning a language at school I guess,” Ben had mused.
“Exactly the same really, so then, go ahead and try.”
Benjamin had tried and found that not only could he master it, but the power and force he used were much more than Gabriel had produced. The older man had nodded appreciatively, but then looked anxious. Ben had tried to appear modest, but inside he had felt the raw power build up and channel through him. It was intoxicating. It took away the pain of his parents’ death and replaced it with a giddy, exhilarating sensation. He had to learn more; he must know more.
In The Last Seal Gabriel, Artemas and Ben use Words of Power as weapons with which to fight, a means of defence and a method of summoning a demon. I envisaged that these were once words that the demons spoke in their infernal language and which held power. These same words found their way into our many languages, buried away in a thousand dialects, but both the Liberati and the Praesidium have discovered and combined the words and now they can use these words in their conflict. Here are some of these words, which I used in this book. I have included here the words used and shown the languages they come from as well as a pronunciation guide.
Flash bang: “Kipofu-Lumen-Glimt”
Blind (Swahili Kipofu); Light (Latin Lumen) ; Flash (Norweigian Glimt) 
Bolt of Lightning: “Calamus Aστραπή  Cтрелять”
Arrow (Latin calamus); Lightning (Greek astrapi); Shoot (Russian strelyat)
Rite of freeing Dantalion: “Eleuthero  Libertas Dantalion”
Separate (Eleuthero Greek) Freedom (Liberats Latin) Dantalion (name of the demon)
Cone of Ice: “κώνος , jää , décharge!”
Cone (Greek Konus ) Ice (Finish Yar); discharge (French daysharge)
Dismissing Illusion: “Ostendu, Realität, núhwílum!”
Reveal (Latin ostendu) ; Reality (German realitate) ; Now (Old English newveelum)
Mystical Shield:“Contego,Aeris, Minä!”
Shield (Latin contego), Air (Latin airis), Myself (Finish mineh)
Open doorway to Abyss “Ingang, Vácuo Nepokriven”
Entance (German ingank); Vacuum (Portuguese vaqwo) Open (Serbian nepocriven)
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Running Black by Patrick Todoroff review

4 stars

Running Black by Patrick Todoroff tells the story of a group of mercenaries from the Eshu International security company.  The year is 2059 and corporations pretty much run the world.  They are divided into various geographical zones and have treaties with what governments remain that can actually let them have military control over entire zones.

When Eshu International is contracted to steal the latest breakthrough in a stable nanotechnology implant for human use they know something is off.  The money offered for the job is just to outrageous for a standard job.  It is also way too much money to turn away from.  

The story has a couple of viewpoints that are followed including one of the clone Gibson.  When Gibson is exposed to friends of Eshu International who have left the mercenary lifestyle behind and embraced religion he begins to question his own spiritual existence.  The various team members of Eshu International are also confronted with some pretty huge moral dilemmas involving the technology they have stolen.  

Overall the story was pretty enjoyable.  I did have a few difficulties following some of the higher level tech talk, but nothing impeded the understanding of the story.  The book uses the advanced technology very well to have some pretty intense action sequences, but the characters are still developed nicely allowing you to get more involved in the story.  There is also a Christian theme to the story with the moral dilemmas faced by the mercs as well as the clone trying to figure out his place in the spiritual world.  This book works well for most scifi and cyberpunk fans.  I am very interested to see where Patrick takes the Eshu International guys in the next book. 

Review copy provided by the author.


Also be sure to check out his book trailer:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Flank Hawk by Terry W. Ervin review

5 stars

Flank Hawk by Terry W Ervin was an amazingly unique story.  A lot of the elements that are included in the story are pretty standard fantasy fare with goblins, ogres, zombies, etc, but they way they are combined adds a unique flavor.

The book begins with the cousins Krish and Guzzy on the front lines holding off what was thought to be the annual zombie invasion.  Every year the Necromancer King send some zombies to disrupt the harvest.  In Flank Hawk there are two types of zombies: the soulless which are the stereotypical shambling undead and the souled these zombies can control groups of the soulless as well as speak and somewhat think for themselves.  When more and more zombies keep coming it becomes apparent that this is more than the annual crop disruption and the Necromancer King could very well be gearing up for another long hard war.  The boys get hooked up with Road Toad, an experienced mercenary, after losing a member of their zombie squad.

The battle they are waging becomes a route when the zombies, goblins, and ogres pull out a new and terrifying weapon, Panzers.  Barely managing to escape with their lives Krish and Road Toad become fast friends and Krish begins his life anew as a mercenary.  This choice leads him to meet some of the most important people in the kingdom as well as getting him assigned some very dangerous and exciting tasks.

I loved the blend of traditional fantasy with WWII era technology.  It really put a new spin on the combat aspect of the book to have dragons fighting aerial duels with Stukas while having to avoid machine gun fire from the Panzers on the ground.  Krish and Road Toad were both great characters that I felt very familiar with by the end of the book and honestly I hope to see more of them.  Each chapter begins with a few paragraphs (in italics) that are a bit of a history lesson slowly revealing how the world came to be the way it is currently.  These all come together in a rather surprising way towards the end of the book.

This book is a great read for anyone who is looking for fantasy.  If you love the traditional fantasy stories it can work for you.  If you are getting a bit tired of the standard fantasy formula this has new elements that will suck you right in.  I had trouble putting this book down and very much hope to see more written in this world.

Review copy provided by the author.

If you are a fan of fantasy do yourself a favor and pick up this book.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Knight Moves by John G Hartness review

Knight Moves with Bonus Content (Black Knight Chronicles)
4 stars

Knight Moves by John Hartness is the third full length book in the Black Knight Chronicles.  This book brings the the core characters Jimmy, Greg, Sabrina, and Mike back for another crazy adventure.  This time Jimmy and Greg are called to the scene of a corpse completely drained of blood that has been posed at a construction site.  A body with absolutely no blood can only mean one thing, there is another vampire on their turf.  

This book shows Jimmy and Greg once again that they still have no idea what other paranormal activity is going on in their city.  There is also a bit more background on when the duo of vampires were recently turned and how they reacted to it.  The relationships between the characters are also revealed in a little bit more depth.  Do Sabrina and Jimmy have a chance?  What is the secret that Mike has been keeping from the guys?  

Another strong book in the series I will continue to follow along with the misadventures of the Black Knight Detective Agency.

Knight Moves print
The Christmas Lights
The Chosen
Back in Black Kindle
Back in Black Print
Hard Days Knight Kindle
Hard Days Knight Print

Monday, September 19, 2011

Free Book Monday Heir to the Sun by Jennifer Allis Provost

Today we have a very special giveaway.  Jennifer has donated 3 PRINT copies of her newest release Heir to the Sun.  Please leave a comment with your email address and if you win I will contact you for your address to get the book sent to the winners.  
Amazon blurb:
The Faerie King has entered into a pact with the demon lord, trading his people's freedom for the might to conquer the nine realms. Two unlikely allies are determined to stop him: Asherah, enslaved by demons, and Caol'nir, a warrior sworn to defend the king. When Asherah, stripped of both her memory and her dignity, learns that King Sahlgren is responsible for her captivity, she leads her fellow slaves in a daring escape and burns their prison to the ground. Then she learns that there are many more prisons across Parthalan, and embarks upon a campaign to free every last faerie. In stark contrast to Asherah's struggles, Caol'nir lives the comfortable life of a temple guard. He is sworn to serve and defend the king, as his ancestors have done since time immemorial. Now a priestess has been murdered, and Caol'nir learns that Sahlgren's scheming is to blame. Determined to thwart the king, sacred oath or no, Caol'nir joins Asherah's rebellion. What Caol'nir doesn't know is that Sahlgren has promised the demon lord a woman of rare and singular beauty, a woman who is rumored to be the sun god's daughter. She also happens to be Caol'nir's mate.

Drawing will be closed at midnight October 3rd.  Open to people in the US only.  Winner will be notified within a week.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Guest blog with S.L. Pierce and Maren Kaye authors of The Devil's Game

First we would like to thank Scott for letting us guest blog here today.  Who are we?  We are S.L. Pierce and Maren Kaye, authors of the psychological thriller, The Devil's Game.  We thought it would be interesting to share how this story came to be.

I (S.L.) was sitting as a Starbucks waiting for inspiration when I noticed this couple.  Except they weren't really a couple.  It looked like they were working on a project.  But what I really noticed was how the man was reacting to the woman.  He seemed like he just couldn't get enough of her.  Like he was in love with her.  However, the woman was obviously not in love with him.  She was friendly but seemed to keep her distance.  So I started writing, as I watched them, with the idea that he was her stalker.  Then it occurred to me; what if someone else was watching them?  And that is how the idea started; a stalker stalking a stalker.  I wrote the first chapter and sent it to my dear friend and very talented writer, Maren, and asked her what she thought and what would she do next.  I'll leave it to Maren to answer that.

When I (Maren Kaye) got the first chapter from S.L., I was hooked!  It was such an intriguing idea, a stalker following another stalker.  I had just returned from a trip to Portland, Oregon visiting my 24-year-old daughter.  She was living downtown in a huge old historic building with lots of character.  The building itself had all kinds of strange features, like huge dumbwaiter type shafts that had long since been out of use and secret stair cases that were locked up.  There was also a mysterious building manager that all the tenants loved to gossip about.  Something had happened to his wife.  One day she was there and the next she was gone.

I couldn't help wondering what secrets the building held and what kind of mischief a crazy person could get into if so inspired.  So I wrote the second chapter.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out, I've never written a book as a collaborative project before.  But it turned out to be exactly what I needed.  S.L.'s story telling is fast and furious and it was a blast doing something with as many twists and turns as The Devil's Game has.  It was a lot of fun writing in new ideas and having S.L. take my idea and turn it into something I hadn't even thought of.  It kept us both guessing until the very end, and I'm sure it will do the same for you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Lady of Terras by J.M. Dain review

4 stars

Lady of Terras by J.M. Dain follows the young lady Diana as she grows from a toddler to an early adult.  Diana Vayde has a very solid family even though she is missing her parents.  She lives with her grandfather Merlyn who is as wonderful to her as he can be.  She also has a somewhat mischievous cousin Finn.  The black sheep of the family is Jeremiah, a man who does not respect any way other than his own.  Vayde manor is located pretty far off the beaten track of what could be considered civilization, but very near to a native village of the Minwah.  When Jeremiah does not get the respect he feels he deserves he runs off only to come back later with a deed from the king saying that all the land is now rightfully his and that Diana's parents never had a legal claim to any of it.  

Jeremiah founds his town very close to Vayde Manor and in order for Diana to have any chance at the land the is rightfully hers she has to play by his rules.  This includes all the laws he seems to make up just to insure that her life is unpleasant.  While all of this is going on Diana begins to hear strange things and learn about her true family legacy.  I will not go into any details on anything further other than to say I very much enjoyed learning about her family's true origins.

Overall this book is a good read and the series has a lot of potential.  I thought the story started out a little slowly, but there was a lot of development going on in the beginning that was necessary for the middle and end to make any sense at all.  The characters were well done for the most part.  I did get a bit frustrated with Diana at one point, but Finn, Merlyn, and a few others kept me involved in the story.  The magic system used remains mysterious for a good portion of the book, but when it is revealed it is a unique brand of magic that really makes me want to see what is coming in the second book of the series.  All in all I would say a 3.5 star book that easily rounds up to a 4 for ratings.  I will be keeping an eye out for book 2 in the future.

Review copy provided by author.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Other Side of Life by Jess C Scott review

4 stars

The Other Side of Life (TOSL) by Jess C Scott tells the story about a group of elves that grew tired of their races withdrawal from the world and two human thieves that do not like the direction the world is heading.  When the two groups meet they decide to work together to steal something that could be a key to changing the way both of their peoples look at the world.  

First off I will say that TOSL shows the views of the author very clearly through the story.  Jess does not like the way that a lot of things currently work in the world and you can tell through the book.  That being said the book is not just her preaching her views thinly veiled behind a cyber punk story.  The book is actually a very good read.  It has a lot of different elements that can appeal to a wide variety of people.  There are very cool tech toys, lots of thrilling scenes during the theft, action, intrigue, romance, friendship, loyalty, and redemption.  Even with all of the different themes the book does not get bogged down and keeps a fairly decent pace.  

This is a good read for ages 15 and up with no real loss of appeal to the older audience.  If you enjoy a good spy thriller this book could also be a good one to check out as the theft has some  excellent action sequences.

Copy provided by author for review.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guest blog with Carol Bridgestock author of Deadly Focus

When Bob retired as a Detective Superintendent after 30 years of investigating some of the most serious and heinous crimes in the Northern England in the fourth largest police force in the Country, his thoughts were to turn his hand to something different or simply just relax... but fate had other ideas for him and his wife Carol who also gave 15 years of service as a support worker to the Force in a number of roles and was ultimately a supervisor in the administration department.

Bob was a member of an elite group of Senior Investigators in the West Yorkshire Police Force and was commended over twenty times by High Court judges, Crown Courts and Chief Constables for his investigative work.

‘You’ve probably heard the saying ‘there’s a book in everyone,’ says Carol. ‘Family and friends have for years been telling Bob he should write a book. He has had them doubled up with laughter one minute and in tears the next, with tales he told of his time in the Force and the couple’s new acquaintance on the Isle of Wight, where they retired eight years ago said the same. But whenever anyone said he should write a book, Bob always said no. So you can imagine Carol’s surprise when he enrolled them on to a writing course at the Isle Of Wight College. Now the two combine their 45 years experience of police service to become fully-fledged authors.

‘Undoubtedly the time in the force helped equip me for life’s ups and downs and I’m grateful for that but it has also taught me is that life’s too short so to go for my dream and don’t wait for tomorrow,’ says Bob.

Bob writes the structure of their fictional crime stories and Carol crafts his work, writes the emotional side and draws out the feelings of the man who took charge of 26 murder enquiries, 23 major incidents and over 50 suspicious deaths in his last three years of his service alone, to create the ‘real life’ scenes.  Bob prefers to write fiction as opposed to fact. This way he can bring the stories to a satisfying conclusion and the perpetrators to a fitting end.  He would never write about the factual jobs he dealt with as he believes the victim’s families have suffered enough. ‘The victim’s families are the ones who get the life sentence,’ he says. ‘I wouldn’t want to cause them anymore sadness by raking up the past.’

The investigation into their fictional crime novels are however ‘just as it is’ in real life.’ The reader takes the journey with the detectives through the enquiry from the discovery of ‘the body’ to the ‘Charge.’ Also within the narrative the couple also unleashes the detective’s partner’s frustrations with ‘the job’ which is often the third party to anyone’s marriage if a partner or both live for their work. ‘A friend once told me you should work to live not live to work but that is very difficult when dealing with people’s lives,’ said Bob. ‘It is so important to have your partners support.’

So their new joint career as co-authors took off.
Deadly Focus, the first novel, introduces Yorkshire Detective Inspector Jack Dylan and the clandestine love of his life Jennifer Jones. This is a fast moving story that allows you to travel with Dylan to a series of murders, seeing through his eyes the stark reality of death and its fallout. It allows the reader to feel as he does the highs and lows of an intense murder investigation. The reader through the ‘eyes’ of Jen also gets to know how it feels to be the partner of the ‘man in charge’.
Dylan’s strengths lies with his persistence and experience, but will the pressure have a dire affect on his health? Jen is his ’norm’ a safety net for his turmoil of emotions after the distressing sights he has to endure. Deadly Focus continues to receive 5 star reviews on Amazon, WH Smith etc. In May it was resurrected as the first crime novel in the RC Bridgestock series published by Caffeine Nights Publishers. It is also live on eBooks via Smashwords and Amazon as well as many other e Book outlets.
People often ask the question, ’How do you write together? Does one of you write the odd, the others the even?’
We enjoy working together at last! Our police ‘working life’ often meant spending hours apart. Bob writes the plot and the storyline from start to finish. Carol then takes this first draft and develops the scenes, the story line and importantly the characters. Carol teases out of Bob the true feelings of what it is really like to deal with these gruesome crimes. The novel is then passed back to Bob for the re-write to be checked. Then they both sit down together and go through every word, sentence and chapter to ensure it works. Then and only then is it ready for the publishers to scrutinize the draft.
As we said before, May this year sees the resurrection of the original Deadly Focus and it is also being published this time as an eBook. We have been fortunate to be taken into Caffeine Nights Publishers stable of authors who will also publish book two in the series this year. We have called this book ‘Consequences.’  The third book in the series is ready for scrutiny by the publishers and book four is ready for the re-write stage. Others in the series are also being penned.
As can be seen, the writing is industrious, as well as being addictive and enjoyable. Both Carol and Bob are members of a local writing group called Wight Fair Writers’ Circle that Carol chairs. This group evolved from the college course and we remain a group who also runs competitions to inspire others to write, especially children. All proceeds go to local charities. Bob and Carol also do talks about Bob’s career for schools and colleges as well as other adult groups to raise money for the local hospice which they support. Certainly exciting times and a new career which they never considered when they retired,
To learn more about Carol and Bob and their writing visit their website. A must is also On both these sites you can download the first two chapters of Deadly Focus FREE! Carol & Bob are also on Facebook – Carol Bridgestock and RC Bridgestock and we Twitter – RC Bridgestoc
The support from our readers around the globe is extremely satisfying and spurs us on.

Coming Spring 2012

Check it out in print or Kindle.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Harbinger's of Mortality by Steve Thomas review

Harbingers of Mortality
4 stars

Harbingers of Mortality is the second book in The Histories of Atreus series by Steve Thomas.  The books are however both stand alone stories.  They both take place in Kalharia, but the only character they share is Atreus the King of the Underworld and chronicler of human history.  

This book actually has a bit more background into the world of Kalharia including how Atreus became the King of the Underworld and all about the powers of the sorcerer's.  The story follow Jeshu an assassin who is killing the government representatives of the Gurdur as he sees them as traitors to their people.  His most recent job turns out to be a lure to get him in the city so he can be captured.  He is then offered a job in exchange for establishing the rights of his people.  Although not believing he can trust his captors word he figures out he will have a much easier time escaping on the journey than from the dungeon.  

Accompanying him on the journey will be a Vian Knight, whose armor is almost completely immune to damage, a sorceress, and the strange child of a general who is supposed to learn from Jeshu.  The quest doesn't go how anyone really expected it to with all kinds of strange things happening along the way including the resurgence of an old god.  

This was a pretty good read and I liked it a bit more than An Exercise in Futility as the world is flushed out more.  I really like the fact that Steve uses Atreus to tell his stories as each book he writes can be a stand alone novel told to the King of the Underworld by the people who participated in it.  This book has a lot of action and tons of magic being thrown around.  I will continue to follow Steve's progress in writing about Kalharia and look forward to another volume hopefully soon.  

Review based on an ARC provided by author

Harbingers of Mortality Print
An Exercise in Futility Kindle

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Thousand Hour Club by George O'Har review

The Thousand Hour Club
3.5 stars

The Thousand Hour Club by George O'Har tells the story of Tom Betz. The tale begins in Jersey where Tom goes with a friend to score some pot. A tragic accident occurs that totally changes the course of his life. Since dropping out of college he has just kind of floated through life, but with the Viet Nam war raging he is drafted and decides to enlist in the Air Force. His time in the service takes him around the country and eventually around the world as he learns about life and love.

The story is a good read with an interesting philosophical bent. Tom is a lifelike character who has some basis on George's experiences in the Air Force. There were a few parts that I felt were a little slow, but this book is pretty far outside my usual tastes. I would give this story 3.5 stars.

Book provided for review by author.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Free Book Monday

Today's free book is The Ant-Man of Malfen by D.P. Prior.  This is a limited time free download for Kindle.  Get a taste of his work and follow up with his new series starting with Cadman's Gambit.  Also keep checking back for a chance to win free copies of Cadman's Gambit in print and ebook!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lucifer's Odyssey by Rex Jameson review

It looks like the guest post I had scheduled for today has fallen through so instead I will share the review for a brand new book (released Sept 1) by Rex Jameson.  Enjoy!

4.5 stars

Lucifer's Odyssey by Rex Jameson tells a story with some familiar names in a completely unfamiliar way.  I'll be the first to admit that I never thought I would read a story with Lucifer involved and actually be rooting for him.  

The story begins on Earth where Lucifer and his companions are confronted by Michael and set on a path that takes them to their home the Chaos Pattern.  Upon arriving they learn that terrible things have happened and all of the people blame Lucifer's father who sits upon the throne.  With conflict between the clans being imminent Lucifer must flee to seek help from an old goblin friend in order to ensure his proper place on the throne.  

Rex Jameson does a wonderful job telling this story in a completely unexpected way.  Lucifer is a good character and while I didn't really relate to him much (he is still a bit of a sociopath at times) there are parts where it is easy to sympathize with his problems.  There only real issue I had with the book was the magic system.  Pattern magic is spoken of and used throughout the story, but I never really understood much about it.  One of the things I love about fantasy novels is the unique twists that so many people bring to magic, and I would have liked to understand this one a little bit better.  That really doesn't affect they story however it is more of a personal preference in a book.  


Friday, September 2, 2011

Goodreads Book Club

Just a quick update about the book club.  We have started reading Liberator's Ruin (see side bar) and it is actually very cool to be able to talk to the author as the book progresses.  Today we had a little chat about a technology called lightmass engines that enable some pretty sweet airships to travel.  Enter to win a copy of the book of the month and join us in our talks!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dylan Murphy and The Magic Touch by Brian Glenn

3.5 stars

This month all proceeds from the purchase of Dylan Murphy and the Magic Touch go to helping to save the arts programs at Brian Glenn's son's school.  Please give this some consideration and if the book appeals to you pick it up and support a good cause.

Dylan Murphy and The Magic Touch by Brian Glenn is an interesting story that can be enjoyed at any age.  The basic storyline is somewhat familiar with an evil wizard (Zondor) bent on conquering on the world (Eldora).  The kingdom of Colabra is the biggest holdout left and if he defeats them Eldora will fall to him.  All he has to do is vanquish his old foe and enslave his magic and he will have all the power he needs.  Luckily things don't quite go the way he has planned and the the magic (a sentient wand) escapes and ends up on planet Earth.  

Cue Dylan Murphy, a typical teenager, who is about to inherit powers that no one in our world has ever seen before.  Dylan is taking a holiday ski vacation with his dad when he starts to realize that something about him has changed severely.  When the voice of the wand starts to talk to him he is totally blown away by the possibilities.  What he doesn't realize is that Zondor is still hunting for the magic that Dylan now possesses and will stop at nothing to get it.  One evening at dinner with his dad and his friend Lisa a couple of Zondor's minions show up to take the wand.  They run into some agents from Colabra and there is a magical battle that ends up teleporting everyone to Eldora.  This is where things really start to pick up as far as a resolution to the problem with Zondor.

This book took me a couple of hours to read and for the most part I enjoyed the story.  It reminded me a bit of the Harry Potter series with some of the magical castings.  The second half of the book had a few parts were the flow of the writing was not as smooth as the rest of the book.  I would recommend this book for parents whose kids enjoy a good fantasy tale or as a family read.  It could very easily become something that I read to my daughter as she grows up.  Dylan Murphy and the Magic Touch scores a 3.5 overall score with a 4 being easily attainable with another round of edits.  The second book in the series is due out sometime in the next couple months and it is worth keeping an eye on.  

Copy provided by the author for review.

I have been told that the copy that I reviewed was an older version and edits have been made so it is possible that what I saw has already been fixed.