Friday, August 30, 2013

New release feature with giveaway Sky's End by Lesley Young

TORONTO, Ontario – Science fiction has seen a resurgence in recent years with the revival of the Star Trek franchise and the ever-growing popularity of classic literary works like “Ender’s Game.” And now, award-winning writer Lesley Young is propelling the genre into a new direction with her debut novel, “Sky’s End.”

Sky’s End” is the first book in a series that chronicles the futuristic adventures of Cassiel Winters, a spunky cadet on Earth’s new space station 568,000 miles from home who discovers a unique déjà vu-type gift that allows her to travel between dimensions.

Life in space doesn’t come easy for Cassiel at first, but her newfound capability transforms her from an innocent cadet to a force to be reckoned with after an enemy threatens to destroy multiple universes. The battle is bigger than at first expected, and an unsuspected love causes quite the stir in her fight to save the galaxy.

Fueled by the author’s own affection for astrophysics, “Sky’s End” mixes real scientific theories with gripping action, fantasy, romance and self-discovery. The journalist in Young asks the deeper questions to make the characters and story, through fiction, real to life.

With Cassiel telling her story in first-person as it happens – and descriptive phrases like her nickname for the space station, “cylindrical giant floating sausage,” or detailing the out-of-our-worlders’ 20-inchwide biceps – readers are placed smack dab in the middle of this unconventional, taut tale of betrayal, true love and destiny.

Available in paperback and e-book July 15, “Sky’s End” is Young’s first work of fiction. She is a nationally recognized journalist living in Canada. She writes regularly for Reader’s Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living and House and Home Magazine.

A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe’s future at stake.

Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth’s new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one of Command’s top pilots and her only family, who’s been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition’s fierce, and she’s already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once.

Even the station’s most respected officer, Lt. Damian King, probably can’t help Cassiel pass the second time around—so why is he so interested in her progress? If only one of her freaky déjà vu visions would offer an answer instead of mysterious messages like hide.

When Cassiel’s manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all.

Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother—even if it means pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or’ic, the cold-as-steel Thell’eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Guest post with Sandra Brannan author of the Liv Bergen Mystery Series and giveaway!

Today our guest is Sandra Brannan whose book Noah's Rainy Day (fourth book in the Live Bergen Mystery Series) will release early next month.

Thank you for having me back!  Last year I talked a little about my creepy nature so this year, I thought I’d share how much YOU and blogger like Indie Book Blog make a difference in an author’s world.

First, let me say thank you.  Bloggers gave me my start in 2010 and I recall being at my first ever author event as a debut author in NYC at the 2010 BEA Conference.  Talk about sporting the South Dakota gawk!  There more people at the Javitz Center than in my entire home state.  My knees trembled.  Until I landed in the capable hands of the 1st Annual Bloggers Convention.  Such nice folks.  As I worked my way around the room, finding curious looks as I asked names and tried to trace back relations to who I might know back home (guess that’s a South Dakota thing) one skeptical woman looked at me and asked, “Do you even know what a blog is, Sandra?”  And I looked her square in the eye and said, “No ma’am, but my mother is Irish and she taught all of us nine kids how to clog.  Does that count?”  Of course, she laughed and told me she was amused at my honesty.

Naïve isn’t an adjective I’d use to describe myself, having worked most of my career in the mining business and was an engineer for the Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company before that.  But a room full of bloggers, followed by a banquet of librarians, may have been the single scariest moment of my career so far.  I had no clue what I was doing in the book world and found myself sitting next to people who knew everything and everybody.  Amazing, really.

Since 2010, I’ve learned what a blog is, so I can truly say ‘thank you’ Indie Book Blog for everything you do for so many of us newbie authors.  You definitely have the power to lift our sails and you have.  Thanks to you, as a new author, I’ve beaten the odds. The wonderful community of bloggers embraced me, taught me, nurtured me, comforted me, and picked me up, dusted off my back side, and sent me out to face the world of harsh reviews and dwindling sales over and over throughout my young career as an author.

Here’s the proof, when I started in 2010, the probability of success for an author looked like this…

          >  12,000 to 15,000 new books published every month (3,500/week)
          >  Only 2% of writers ever get an agent
          >  Only 7% ever sell more than 2,000 books
          >  Only 1 in 1000 writers ever get published

Now in 2013, the numbers have changed (no surprise that it grows more and more difficult for authors)...

          >  28,000 to 30,000 new books published every month (6,700/week) in the US alone, four times that worldwide
          >  Only 2.5% - 5% of writers ever get an agent
          >  Only 4% ever sell more than 1,000 books
          >  Only 1 in 1000 writers ever get published

Humbly, I can tell you I’ve beaten the odds for each of my three books  (2010 IN THE BELLY OF JONAH, 2011 LOT’S RETURN TO SODOM, and 2012 WIDOW’s MIGHT) in their first year of sales, launching me into the top 4% of published authors for each of my books.  I don’t say this brag or toot my horn because I know this was not me.  It was bloggers like you, Indie Book Blog, who continue to spread the word about new authors like me that allowed me to soar.

Crossing fingers that NOAH’S RAINY DAY, the fourth in the Liv Bergen Mystery Series that releases September 3, 2013 will rise to the challenge.    Thank you, my friends!

 For more info check out these various links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review - The Warrior & The Flower by Camille Picott

Yi, a retired soldier, has lost everything he loves—his wife, his daughter, and his home. He seeks refuge from his heartache by plunging into a secret mission for the World Emperor. The assignment takes him to the doorstep of a brothel, where he witnesses the madam beating a young girl. Drawn by the child’s striking resemblance to his lost daughter, Yi rushes to her defense and negotiates for her purchase—after all, how hard can it be to care for one little girl? But between the child’s inquisitive nature and the dangerous secret she carries, he gets more than he bargained for.

Review by:  Scott
5 stars

The Warrior & The Flower by Camille Picott is the fourth book I've read by this author.  Though there has been some variety in the exact age of the intended audience everything is upper YA or below.  This book is on the higher side of that range with a little bit of adult topics and some violence.

This book starts of with a very important man (Yi) returning home to find that tragedy has struck his family.  A retired soldier that lives his life in the boonies seemingly wasting his Emperor's favor, but in reality he is guarding his kingdoms most valuable asset.  When on a trip to the capital Yi sees a woman chasing a small child around with a broom with the intent to beat her.  He steps in to protect the child and ends up purchasing her from her old master because of how much she reminds him of his daughter.

As a father this book really spoke to me.  Yi is an outstanding man whose loss almost undid him.  When he comes across Tulip and sees his daughter in her he immediately forms a protective bond and is willing to do whatever it takes to see that her life improves.  Tulip's misunderstanding of the situation only serves to strengthen the fatherly bond Yi feels.

I loved everything about this book.  The two main characters were both extremely well written and stayed very true to themselves through the entire book.  I felt a genuine emotional connection with both of them and doesn't always happen when I read a book.  The kylin, cloud shaman, and liquid steel were also some great ideas.  I always had trouble putting this book down when I was reading at work and had stuff to do.  This is a very strong series and I will be eagerly awaiting more.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review - Voracious by Mia Darien

Sometimes, life doesn't begin until after you're dead.

Days stretch out in a series of predictable steps. A to B to C to A. Work. Friends. Life. But for some people, it's not enough. It's not enough for D. Possessed of a ravenous hunger for more, he's at a loss for how to find it.

Until he meets Cielle. She's everything he's looking for: new and exciting.

And a vampire, which he's less crazy about.

But when "new and exciting" Turns him, D is forced into an undead life he never anticipated. Trying to adjust to this new existence is hard enough, but he's about to get more than he ever bargained for.

Will it be enough to sate his hunger?

4 stars

Voracious by Mia Darien is the third book in the Adelheid series.  The great thing about this series is the wide variety of characters.  Instead of focusing on a specific person or few person the series focuses on the town of Adelheid in the years following the passage of Cameron's Law, a bill which gives the preternatural citizens the rights on normal citizens.

This installment features D, a man who feels a strange vacuum in his life.  When he meets a strange woman at the bar he hangs out his life changes forever.  Even after learning that she is a vampire and and probably not the best person for him to be hanging around he can't help himself.  He very much comes to regret that decision after a night with her ends up getting him turned.

Having been a little biased against vampires he has a really rough time starting over.  He goes to the one person that he thinks can help him with his new situation, Sadie Stanton.  She gives him a job as a bodyguard and he gradually becomes more aware of the world that he has joined.

This series continues to evolve as more information is revealed.  The fact that the focus is on a vampire that has just been turned allows Mia to expose how much life differs for the preternatural members of society.  If you enjoyed the first two books in the series than this book will not disappoint and if you are a fan of urban fantasy this is a series to take a look at.

Mia writes characters that are easy to relate to even if they are shifters or undead.  The story in entertaining and informative without having a lot of info dumping slowing things down.  The fact that all of the novels are tied together with the early characters continuing to be involved allows a gradual growth for everyone that should lead to some very well developed personalities.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review - Deal Religion by David Beers

Review by: Daniel

A horrific tale of a man going crazy and once Dead Religion

The Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Mature Content Rating: R (excessive profanity, violence, mature themes, and disturbing sexual scenes)
Who is God to you?  Hocus pocus cloud-dweller?  Miracle worker?   Evil smiter?  Creator of all things? Maybe he is some dude with a long beard (and it's probably white, because if we can agree on anything it would be that God is old)?  Does God even exist?  None of these are questions that I can answer for you, just like the parents of our protagonist (Alex Valdez) in Dead Religion couldn't tell him who God is.

David Beers tells the story of a long dead God coming back to life, a man going insane, and a hotel being blown sky-high while the police pick up the pieces.  Who is responsible for this thrilling ride of destruction and death (other than David Beers, or course)?  Is it Alex Valdez, some long-dead deity, or so much more?

The Good:

Maybe I am crazy, but it intrigues me to live inside the head of crazy people.  (If I was inside their head, I guess that would make me them... thus making me crazy...) Beers does a good job of showing us what makes Alex Valdez tick (or maybe not tick.  Take your pick).  He lives a happy (or not so much) life with his wife who has been with him through some heart-wrenching times, and takes such vows as "til death do us part" seriously. Entering the mind of a crazy person is not necessarily beautiful (though I like to describe many things with that word), but it brings a sense of intrigue and insanity (rightfully so) to this wild ride.

Again, I must say that the imagery is magnificent.  I say "again" not because I have mentioned it in this review, but it is what drew me into the book initially (as it does with many other books I have enjoyed and reviewed here).  Being inside the head of a crazy person might do that to you.  As the reader is exposed to the mares of day and night that David Beers portrays, they speak to more than Alex Valdez and others.  The reader can almost feel what is happening, that sense of dread leaking through the pages.

Along the way, the reader not only gets to see inside Alex's head, but almost every other character in Dead Religion gets a spotlight of their own (including the antagonist).  Every character has a motivation for what the are doing.  The past informs the present and thus the future.  This is, however, not a case of so much POV jumping that the reader is left scratching their head for a lot of the book.  There is a fair amount of back-story integrated into the book, but it is not just thrown at the reader like a storm of drops to be caught in a shot glass.  Back-stories are revealed at appropriate times in the book where they will inform the reader in greater detail about what is happening in the present.  They add some needed flavour like a garnish on top of a meal, or the cherry on your ice cream sundae.

Sometimes a scene will take longer to happen than it would in some other books you might have read, but this is not a detriment.  Quick POV jumping within a scene will inform the reader of what is happening in every character's head as every inch of a blade sinks slowly into some dying man's flesh, or a storm envelopes the sky, one cloud at a time.  Horrific scenes will effect the perpetrator, victim, and onlookers in different ways, but the reader will be able to feel the horror in all its tangible might from within the dark corners of every character's mind(s).

The Bad:

If you are one who is bothered by profanity (especially the "F" word) this is not a book for you.  There is a lot of swearing in Dead Religion, to the point where I thought it was unnecessary.  I realise that there are some people out there that speak between a slew of profanity, using it like the "um" in their sentences, but does every character have to swear so much?  If it added to their character in some way, that would make sense, but almost every character in Dead Religion seems to need profanity like their morning coffee.  Even the characters who apparently "don't swear" or at least "not a lot" use strong profanity (or think it) more than you would find in a lot of books.

I will admit, I was drawn in by the characters at the beginning, but it was a little hard to follow.  For the most part, it works, but there is the odd time where something was happening, and I was not sure whether this was past, present, or future.  The most prominent time this happens is when the back-story of Alex Valdez is being told.  In the middle of a conversation there is a cut to the past (and a lengthy one) just to return to the dialogue as if nothing had happened.  A little bit of re-organization in the first quarter of the book would have enhanced the appeal immensely.  The beginning doesn't flow like a story, but rather a bunch of events that the reader must piece together to makes sense of what is going on.

If the beginning and the end are what defines a good book, Dead Religion missed the mark.  More focus at the beginning would have been nice, and some pre-plot build up/character development would have made the horror to ensue in said character's lives more relateable.  Though the character and plot are good, I never felt like I was the character, instead having that out-of-book experience where I was looking down on the action like a bystander.  The ending is also not as strong as I would have liked.  Don't get me wrong, the book has a definite ending and not much more could have been said to wrap it up, but I was left scratching my head a bit when turning the final page.  A few things about the "dead religion" that the book is named after were poorly explained so that I wasn't totally sure why certain things were (or weren't) happening.  However, nothing major is left hanging, and the book still has a satisfactory conclusion.


Dead Religion is a book that will draw you in with the psychological insanity of a supposed killer, describing his nightmares in such detail that you will almost feel his pain.  After a rocky start, this book will guide you through the mind and lives of many individuals who are all working toward the same thing: sanity.  If you don't mind profanity and some disturbing scenes, and like to see how someone's past can effect their future (and they psyche), this book is for you.

Where you can find it:

Diesel (DRM-free)
Amazon (COM) (CA) (CO.UK) (DRM-free)
Kobo (DRM-free)
Barnes & Nobles (DRM-state unknown)
Sony Reader (DRM-state unknown)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review - Flank Hawk by Terry Ervin audiobook

I have recently joined so I can listen to books on my commute to and from work as well as some time while I am at work.  Since there are some indie authors who have their stuff available on the site I will be doing some audiobook reviews here as well.  First up is Flank Hawk by Terry Ervin, I did a review of the book of this a while ago (here is that review) so this will focus more on the narration and quality of the audio.

I'll use the same categories that Audible does on it's reviews to keep things simple.

Story:  5 stars
Narration: 4 stars
Overall 4.5 stars

This book is narrated by Michael A Slusser.  According to Terry Michael is currently working on getting the second book, Blood Sword, recorded.  I think that is going to be a solid move as Michael seems to be a pretty talented narrator.  Now my experience with these things is still pretty limited.  I've listened to the Dresden Files with James Marsters as a narrator so that is kind of my base line.

I think that one of the biggest challenges for a narrator in a book like this is the voice differentiation.  It can't be easy to modulate your tone enough that the major characters all have a recognizable speech pattern and keep it constant throughout the book.  At first the voice of Flank Hawk didn't sit that well with me, but that was just a bit of disagreement my imagination had with Michael's.  I adapted quickly and was able to enjoy the book thoroughly.

If this book sounds like something you would be interested in or you already have the Kindle edition you can't go wrong picking this up.  In another great reason to support the indie/small pub movement this audio book can be purchased for only $1.99 if you have the ebook already.  If you don't have it it will only set you back 2.99 so for 4.98 you can get both versions and with the new whispersync option you can switch back and forth between the two seamlessly.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review - Kinshield's Redemption by K.C. May with special offer

Dozens have been corrupted by tainted water from the Well of the Damned, including King Gavin Kinshield's beloved wife. He's desperate to reverse the water's effects and restore Feanna to the kind and compassionate woman he married.

And what of his helpless heir growing in her toxic womb? To save his unborn son, Gavin must find a solution before the darkness that's overtaken Feanna also stamps out the tiny spark within her.

Help seems to appear in the unlikely form of the Guardians, two ghostly figures tethered to the crystal that lies deep within the wellspring. Can Gavin trust them... or will their own agenda take the lives of his wife and son--and bring on the utter destruction of the seven realms?

Review by: Scott

4 stars

Kinshield's Redemption by K.C. May is the final chapter in the Kinshield Saga.  As the fourth book in the series it's difficult to say much without giving away things from the earlier books.  I will say that Gavin Kinshield has evolved into a very different man than he was in the first book, with a few comedic lapses back into his less civilized self.

While the taint of the water from the Well of the Damned is the primary focus of the story K.C. still enriches the worlds that Gavin inhabits.  As the Wayfarer he has uses his ability to travel to various realms to get information and help from those who will be able to help him on his quest.  The yellow realm is especially fleshed out in this book and it's interesting how the kho and zhi bent characters differ.  There is also some more history about Gavin's family discovered and the source of the hostility with the Cyprindians is revealed.

K.C. is an immensely talented author and I count myself very fortunate to get to take a look at her books for early review.  If you are a fan of epic fantasy series and haven't taken a look at The Kinshield Saga do yourself a favor and pick up the first book, The Kinshield Legacy (currently FREE!!).

Now on to the special offer:  For today (8/8/13) only you can pick up a copy of Kinshield's Redemption for only .99!!  Get your copy quickly before the introductory offer expires.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review - The Rise of Cridon by Douglas R. Brown

When kings make war, innocent men die. After Rasi's bloody defeat at the hands of King Fice, he awakens imprisoned in the fisher kingdom. Meanwhile, the dark wizard, Tevin the Third, has assumed Epertase's throne. He rules with an iron fist. All he needs to gain ultimate power is Alina's Light. Fearing him, Alina has fled with her son, Cridon, to Torick Island where the banished Teks now live. But the Light has been broken and is calling Cridon back to Epertase and the dark wizard. Tevin must be stopped, and the fate of the kingdom rests within the soul of a child. The end of days has just begun.

Review by:  Scott

5 stars

The Rise of Cridon by Douglas Brown brings the Epertase trilogy to a close.  This is a book that I have been looking forward to for a long time and it did not disappoint.  As it has been close to a year since I read A Kingdom's Fall it took me a while to get reacquainted with the characters.

There is not a whole lot that I can say about the plot without spoiling the events of the first two books so I'll stick with the fact this book has everything you would want from an epic fantasy conclusion.  There are duels, battles, fantastic creatures, amazing characters, and of course a dragon.

The book does contain a plot element that I didn't enjoy involving my favorite character.  Now I'm not sure if that detracts from the enjoyment of the book, or says something about the writing that something bad happening to one of the characters caused me to have an actual emotional response.  The latter is probably a more fair evaluation of the series as a whole even though it did cause a bit less enjoyment for part of the third book.