Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review - Ring of Destiny by Eric Quinn Knowles

The Magi are coming.

Strange things happen in the small town of Reynald. Jared and his father come to Reynald looking for a fresh start, but when a vampire cheerleader draws Jared into her plot to find the Ring of Destiny, he is forced to join a pair of supernatural detectives in order to save his family. But the Magi want the ring for themselves and when they come to town, Reynald will never be the same.





4 stars

Ring of Destiny is a story about the small town of Reynald and the craziness that seems to occur there.  Jared is a new kid in town and after an accident in his last town takes away his ability to excel at sports he isn't really sure where he fits in the social standing.  He is an ex-jock that can't play any sports and feels a bit self conscious about walking with a limp.  This keeps him kind of on the outside of everything preventing him from really forming any good friendships.  There is one other boy at the school who is even further outside the social spectrum than he himself though so Jared decides to approach him.

Jared soon learns that there is a lot of stuff going on in Reynald that can't be found elsewhere.  There is a cult that protects the legacy of the town founder and seems strangely adamant that the rumors of him possessing supernatural artifacts are false.  There is also a new girl in town who seems to be able to charm everyone she comes into contact with into doing whatever she wants.

I really enjoyed this story and I'm looking forward to more in the series.  The characters are interesting and for the most part likable.  There is a bit of mystery surrounding a good portion of them, but facts are slowly revealed as this story progresses and I imagine that trend will continue.  At the end of the story there were still some things I was left wondering about, but I was totally happy with what had been revealed.  I also enjoyed the paranormal aspect without an overwhelming romance aspect.  There is a bit of relationship drama involved in the story though it doesn't take it over.  I know the next book is in progress and I'm looking forward to it.

Check out the book on Amazon or go to the author's webpage for more info.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New video game news - Bioshock Infinite

There is exciting news in the world of video games (at least for me) as there is only one more week until the release of the latest in the Bioshock series.  These are FPS games that have a creepy plot line and lots of interesting imagery.  The first two games have taken place in an underwater city called Rapture, made to be a Utopian society that turned horribly wrong.  They are some fantastic games that even my wife enjoys watching me play.  This newest chapter, BioShock Infinite,  seems to be taking a turn in a new direction and I can't wait to see what is going to happen with it.  There are also some benefits to getting the game preordered, mostly consisting of some in game items and money right off the bat.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Review - Klondaeg The Monster Hunter by Steve Thomas

Klondaeg is a simple Dwarf with a simple plan: rid the world of monsters. When he was a boy, his parents were killed by unidentified monsters, and he swore revenge against all of them. Armed with a talking battle axe with two personalities, Klondaeg travels the countryside, slaying everything from tiny werewolves to gold-devouring demons. He negates prophecies, disproves history, and even comes face to face with Acerbus, the god of darkness himself. But will he ever find the thing that killed his parents?



4.5 stars

Klondaeg The Monster Hunter takes place in the same universe that Steve Thomas created in his short story Smite Me, Oh Dark One.  He continues to use this particular realm to tell stories of humorous fantasy.  Klongaeg is a dwarf whose obsession is killing monsters.  With a sentient ax that has two distinct personalities, one for each face, he is pretty constantly engaged in amusing banter.

This is not a book for someone who is looking for a serious dark fantasy, it is fantastic for people who want a series of light reads.  Klondaeg is a straightforward character whose goal is to destroy all monsters in hopes of getting revenge on the one that killed his parents.  As he travels he meets up with all kinds of people that help him along the way.  They are generally interesting characters that expose a new facet of Klondaeg's character.

As I really enjoyed Smite Me this book was right up my alley and from my understanding there is another collection being written right now.  I'm very much looking forward to seeing what other adventures are in store for Klondaeg and his crew.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Review and Giveaway - The Nameless Dwarf by D.P. Prior

The dwarves have gone! Thousands have been slaughtered in the blood-drenched streets of their ravine city by a demonic axe in the hands of one of their own. The survivors have fled beyond the mountains, heading into a realm haunted by the nightmares of a twisted god. When Nils Fargin, son of an underworld boss, is hired to find them, he travels with his client to seek the advice of a lowlife mage. With what he learns, he should have asked for more money. The trail leads them to the domain of the terrifying Ant-Man, who is rumored to eat the flesh of anyone refusing to pay his toll. And as if that wasn’t enough, it turns out Nils’s client is none other than the Nameless Dwarf, better known to his kind as the Ravine Butcher. The Nameless Dwarf is an epic tale of remorse and redemption that pits a whiskerless thief, a guilt-driven assassin, a consumptive wizard, and an amnesiac dwarf against the worst imaginings of a craven mind. But the companions bring troubles of their own, not least of which is an ancient grimoire that leads them inexorably towards a forest of tar and an evil that threatens the existence of an entire race. The last hope of the dwarves comes from the unlikeliest of sources: a mythical city beneath the waves, an axe from the age of heroes, and the Nameless Dwarf, in whose veins flows the blood of legends. The Nameless Dwarf: The Complete Chronicles contains all five books of the Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf: The Ant-Man of Malfen The Axe of the Dwarf Lords The Scout and the Serpent The Ebon Staff Bane of the Liche Lord


4.5 stars

The Nameless Dwarf: The Complete Chronicles is the Omnibus collection of all five books in the series.  I was lucky enough to get reviewer copies of all of them as they came out and was very excited to see that he decided to release a single volume collection with some epic cover art.

This is especially a great series to read if you are familiar with the Shader series by D.P.  There are some shared characters and back story that really enriched the other books for me.

If you are a fan of action packed epic fantasy this is a great collection for you to pick up.



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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review - Air Keep (Farworld #3) by J. Scott Savage

The adventure continues…

It’s been six months since Marcus and Kyja obtained the help of the land and water elementals. But before they can get help from the mysterious air elementals they have to figure out how to open a box with no key.

Together, Marcus and Kyja travel into the Is, the Was, the Will Be, and the Never Was as they try to open the box, save their city, free Land Keep and Water Keep from water and land elementals who have joined the Dark Circle. Marcus still has to find a way to change the future, and save Kyja’s life, but there’s a catch; any changes they make in the Abyss of Time may destroy the doorway, trapping them forever…

Even with his physical disability, Marcus is able to accomplish great things. It is a story of determination and friendship, and of having the courage to make those hard decisions.


4 stars

Air Keep is the third book in the Farworld series by J. Scott Savage.  In the book we continue to see Marcus and Kyja trying to gain elemental allies so they can open a drift.  Opening the drift will allow Marcus to come fully into Faworld instead of leaving a portion of himself lost in the area of shadowy grey that serves as the in between.

This story deals with a little bit of a rift forming between Marcus and Kyja and I've never been a huge fan of that particular plot point in the books I read.  Still a good book and worthy continuation of the series, it just won't be my favorite out of the series (Land Keep has that distinction for now).

The tension in this book has really been ramped up.  The first two books had allusions to the fate of both worlds being in the balance, but here you are really shown some of the cataclysmic events that could happen if Marcus and Kyja fail.  The Air Elementals were also an intriguing addition to the cast.  I don't want to spoil anything for the reader so I won't go into any detail, suffice to say there is a bit of humor involved that I think could really appeal to younger readers.

Overall, this book is a great setup for what I believe is the planned conclusion with the next book.  There is still a little bit of new info being learned about the established characters and a few smaller players get bigger roles.  The scale of conflict is significantly increased with much larger consequences for the actions the characters pursue.  One of the greatest strengths of this series has been the story.  Often when reading a series I will find a book in the middle that is used almost entirely to set up the earthshaking conclusion.  It always makes me eager to see what will happen in the conclusion, but leaves me a bit disappointed in the book I had just read.  Farworld does not do that.  All of the books have independent stories with their own resolutions contained, though they still manage to form a cohesive and constantly growing story arc.  It is a pleasure to find a series that maintains a high standard of excitement throughout.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review - Air by Shauna Granger

It was a rough start to the school year for Shayna and her friends, Jodi and Steven, but thankfully summer break is near. Trying to sort out her feelings for the new guy in town, Shayna agrees to let Jensen join her on a group date with her friends. While out they end up at a local coffee house where their classmate, social outcast Jeremy McCormick, is humiliated by his baseball star brother. When Jeremy runs away from the jeering crowd, Shayna and Jodi hear the unmistakable sound of a thousand wings chasing after him, but no one else seems to hear them. These are not like any air elementals that Shayna or Jodi have ever encountered before and they fear Jeremy has gotten himself tangled up in something too dangerous for him to handle. But when Shayna tries to help Jeremy control his magical abilities she realizes it might be the biggest mistake of her life. 

4 stars

Air by Shauna Granger is the second book in her Elemental series.  First off I really enjoy how she is doing the series.  It's not the first time I have seen a series named like this, but what Shauna is doing inside the books really sets her apart.

The same crew from Earth is back with the addition of Jensen as a love interest for Shayna.  It's also great to see Steven back as himself confident and comfortable in who he is.  This time the group finds themselves trying to help out a young man who is a major outcast and has fallen under the influence of some extremely devious and dangerous air elementals.

As this is the second book in the series I will do my usual and keep things fairly short to try to avoid spoilers about this book as well as the first in the series.  Suffice to say that if you enjoy a modern take on magic and urban fantasy with some romance this is a great series for you to check out.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review - Epic Fantasy 0.9b by WIll Weisser


The Decay is coming, and Ian, a fifteen-year-old from the Northwestern Forests of the Region, must flee his home village or be melted into noxious brown goo. With the help of an eccentric mage and an annoyingly cheerful orphan, he escapes to the Capital, fending off quadrupedal orcs, superintelligent vultures, and some of the Region’s less desirable human residents. But when he encounters a mysterious stranger who reveals that the Region may not be what it appears, he must decide whether to stay faithful to his friends, or abandon them and seek the truth.

Not your typical fantasy or science fiction book, EPIC FANTASY 0.9b is a genre-bending trip through a strange and surprising realm, blending action, adventure, drama and humor into a fast-paced, unforgettable story.

A novella of 35,000 words. Includes world map.

4 stars

Epic Fantasy 0.9b by Will Weisser is a fun story about a boy named Ian.  He has always been a bit different, asking questions that no one else really thinks about.  That has led him to be an outcast in his village and having a rather eccentric father hasn't really helped him in that regard.  When The Decay wipes out his village he sets out with Giesling, the local mage, to get help at the capital.  Along the way he meets up with Pip, another young man from his village, and Simon who seems to have knowledge that no one really should.

I really enjoyed the unique twist to this book.  I had it figured out fairly early on (almost anyway I was off on a minor detail) but that didn't take away any of the enjoyment for the story.  Ian and Pip are a bit mature for their ages, though the world that they live in and the things they have been through could probably explain that easy enough.

The book has a solid flow and I read it in a couple of sittings through the course of a day.  I really looked forward to getting back to reading it when I had to take a break as I was curious to see what Will was going to do with the unique twist he put on what seemed to be a very standard fantasy tale.

If you are a fan of the fantasy genre and are looking for something a bit outside of the box this is a great book to check out.  I'll be interested to see if Ian and Pip continue to have adventure or if this will turn out to be a one and done story world.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review - The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris

Abby and Derick have been accepted to the most prestigious secondary school in the world Cragbridge Hall. Due to the inventions of their grandfather, Oscar Cragbridge, they will be able to experience history in 3D, use their minds to literally project visual interpretations of classic literature, and become animal avatars for zoology. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, Abby and Derick must follow clues Oscar left for them that will reveal a dangerous secret. Along the way, they discover there is much more to one of their grandfather s inventions than anyone has ever dreamed. Saving their family will take all of Derick s mind and Abby s heart as they come face to face with a crazed scientist who desperately seeks to change the past. If they fail, the world past and future will never be the same. This book is a page-turning, time-travel adventure that teaches powerful lessons about choice and consequence, believing you can do hard things, and valuing your history.


4.5 stars

The Inventor's Secret is the first book in a new series of YA books by Chad Morris.  It deals with one of the most difficult things to deal with in writing, time travel.

Cragbridge Hall is the premier education facility in the world.  There is technology that most people can only dream of and it is open to only the most exceptional students.  When the grandchildren of Oscar Cragbridge, the man who is behind most of the technology at school, are accepted life starts to get crazy.  Derek is truly an exceptional young man who has been leaps and bounds ahead of his peers for pretty much his whole life, while Abby seems to be a pretty normal teen.  She doesn't understand why she has been accepted and life gets a little tough for her when her classmates find out that her grandfather may have gotten her in.

The time travel comes from the object that makes Cragbridge Hall so far ahead of everywhere else, The Bridge.  The Bridge allows the class to watch as history actually happens, to be an observer without having any affect on what is happening.  When Oscar goes missing his grandchildren are pulled into a situation that they never expected to face.

Derek, Abby, Carol, and Rafa are all great characters.  As you read the book you are drawn into to a place where you don't know who you can trust.  Abby and Derek were told by their grandfather to not trust anyone, but they can't do it all by themselves so they have to go on a limb and trust some of their fellow students and teachers.

I knocked this book out in two days not wanting to stop reading until I was finished.  The plot has an excellent pace with enough twists to keep you off balance until the end.  The only issue that I had with the book was a time travel paradox kind of thing.  I can't give any details without exposing major spoilers so I won't say more than that.  I will say that even with that little time travel hiccup this is one of the best YA books I have read in a while.  I will be reading this one to my daughter as soon as she is old enough to appreciate it and I can't wait to see what happens with the rest of the characters.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review - The Last Superhero by Stephen Altrogge

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE GODFATHER MET THE INCREDIBLES?

The Wagners are a superhero family dynasty who have always protected the city of Coreopolis. The grandpa, John Utticus Wagner, is revered in the superhero community. He’s consistently invited to speak at superhero symposiums, has dined with the President, and has a sterling reputation as a model superhero. Every young superhero wants to be like John Utticus Wagner.

Unfortunately, John’s son, Orville Wagner, is not the man his father is. He’s a terrible klutz who always manages to create disasters, like derailing subway trains and accidentally injuring innocent bystanders. Orville is mocked in the superhero community, and the family’s once sterling reputation is tarnished. They no longer are seen as the protectors of Coreopolis. They are the laughingstock of the city.

When a new super villian starts terrorizing Coreopolis, it’s up to John, Orville, and Orville’s son, John II, to stop the villain and restore the family’s honor. The question is, can an old man, a klutz, and boy stop a maniacal super villain?

4 stars

The Last Superhero by Stephen Altrogge is a very quick read, I knocked out most of it in a cardio session, about a multi-generational superhero family.  It looks at the burdens of being a superhero a little differently such as the trouble that a teenage boy has to have in order to keep his super strength under control while still living a somewhat normal life.  There is also a whole new level of pressure when your grandfather is one of the most famous heroes to ever live and your dad... let's just say isn't.

There is a strong message of family unity in this book with a scene that contains a moderate amount of violence making it great for young teens and up.  I'm personally well past the minimum of that mark and still enjoyed the story quite a bit.  The good guys are well done and have some fairly amusing personalities the bad guy is a bit stereotypical, but I mean that in a good way.  He fits the story perfectly.

The end wraps up well with the hint that there could be more to come.  I personally would enjoy seeing the Wagner family together again.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ad spaces available on the Indie Book Blog!!!

I am now starting a program with selling some limited ad space here on the Indie Book Blog.  I've done a few months of testing with a couple authors and they have reacted positively so here is the info.  

There will be two top banner spots available per month at $25
There will be a bottom banner spot available at $15
All banner sizes are 728x90

I will also be doing two sidebar ad spaces at the cost of $8 per.  Sizing on those will be 180x160 for a reference that is the size on the Indie Book Club logo in the top right corner.

All spots are first come first serve based upon payment received.  All payments will be accepted in the form of Amazon gift cards (weird I know, but Paypal and I aren't friendly ATM).  For more info or to reserve your spot please contact me at ads.indiebookblog@gmail.com


I'm also throwing around some ideas for a featured author of the month that will potentially include a banner as well as a post each week of the month highlighting you and your work.  Keep checking back for more info on that program.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

New release news for Lindsay Buroker

All Sergeant Evrial Yara wanted was to protect the young emperor from those plotting to kill him. Joining forces with a group of notorious outlaws wasn’t part of the plan, especially not when one of them is determined to charm her out of her uniform at every turn. Working with the criminals might have been worth it if their efforts had saved the emperor, but it seems he’s not the rightful heir to the throne.... Evrial may have thrown away her career for nothing.

To make matters worse, fate isn’t going to give her time to calmly decide what to do next. While she’s traveling back to the capital with Amaranthe Lokdon and the rest of the outlaws, Evrial uncovers artifacts that have been smuggled aboard their steamboat. They’re deadly enough to threaten the entire city, perhaps the entire empire. Oh, and they could kill everybody on board the boat too. These scenarios just weren’t discussed in the Enforcer Academy.

This 56,000-word novella takes place between Books 5 and 6 in the Emperor’s Edge series.

Buy this book at Amazon now.

Just for the record I read this novella through the day yesterday and if you are a fan of the series at all you will enjoy this as well.

Professor Tikaya Komitopis knew that bringing Admiral Rias Starcrest home to meet her family wouldn’t be easy, not when he led the fleet that decimated her nation during the war. She isn’t surprised when people believe she’s been brainwashed, that Rias is still loyal to the empire, and that he has nefarious plans for her homeland. She is, however, surprised when Rias’s designs to build a submarine lead them to stumble across an ancient secret shrouded in mystery, time, and lies.

If revealed, this secret could mean devastation for Tikaya’s entire nation. It could also mean choosing between her people... and the man she loves.

Decrypted is the sequel to Encrypted and is loosely tied in with the author's "Emperor's Edge" series.

Buy a copy at Amazon now.

Encypted was a bit of a surprise to me as it's billed as a bit of a romance, but it kept the high levels of action and humor that one would expect from a Buroker book.  It also features an introduction of a young Sicarius and an explanation as to where he got the special knife that he carries.

As usual please use the Amazon links or cover pictures to help support the blog through the affiliate links.  Thank you.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Review - Land Keep (Farworld #2)

Four mythical Elementals— Water, Land, Air, and Fire— have the power to save two worlds, Earth and Farworld, from a common enemy: the Dark Circle. In book one, Water Keep, a portal has been opened between the two worlds, allowing Marcus, from Earth, and Kyja, from Farworld, to combine their unique gifts and begin their epic quest to find the Elementals.

In book two, Land Keep, Marcus and Kyja travel with Cascade, a Water Elemental, toward Land Keep, the home of the powerful and wise Land Elementals. However, their journey may end before it even begins. Land Keep is empty, deserted for at least a thousand years, and the rumor is that the creatures who once controlled all land magic are extinct. Marcus and Kyja's only hope seems to lie in finding the Augur Well, a legendary Oracle protected by subtle traps and mind-bending trials. To succeed in their quest, Marcus and Kyja must also avoid the Keepers of the Balance, an order dedicated to redistributing magic to the rich and powerful. And they must travel far underground, where Cascade is unable to follow and where they will be unable to leap to the safety of Earth.

As the Dark Circle closes around them, Marcus and Kyja are faced with the temptation of what they desire most. Sacrifices must be made, and not everyone will survive unscathed.

5 stars

Land Keep is the second book in the Farworld series by J. Scott Savage.  Marcus and Kyja are continuing their quest to gather the elementals together in order to save their worlds.  Only when they have all four will they be able to open a drift and come fully into the other worlds.

As the title suggests this book details their quest to reach the Land Elementals.  I thought this book had picked up the pace a little bit since most of the characters have already been introduced.  Another effect of this was that I felt that I knew that characters on a deeper level.  Reading a sequential book should always leave you with a better view inside the characters head and this book was no exception.

This book had a few scenes that were fantastically done.  I can't really go into major details without adding a lot of spoilers, but I will say that the part where they emerge from Land Keep was awesome.  It played out in my head like watching a tense climatic scene in a movie.  I'm glad that I have the third book on hand so I can continue to see what is going to happen in the struggle for Farworld.



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