No author is an island …

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

I finished reading a book on marketing that, while good, worthwhile, and filled with lots of ideas and information (much of which I already use) to get your book out there and selling, it fell short, in my estimation.

Yes, it discussed the importance of building a fan base and giving fans what they want, and it also suggested one way of developing your career as being to call on others more experienced in your field and essentially “use” them and their influence to get ahead (something I didn’t particularly agree with).

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But where the book fell short was in not once mentioning the importance of “promoting the writing and books of other authors” or in working with other authors to create a community in which all can thrive. Authors who read and follow the advice in this book will come out looking like lone wolves grasping after sales alone…

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Disconnected #bookreview @nick_m_lloyd

  • Title: Disconnected
  • Author: Nick M. Lloyd
  • Print Length: 465
  • Publication Date: March 27, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

This was definitely an interesting book. It wasn’t what I expected by any means. Asha Kharjal is a political advisor who knows how to rewire people’s subconscious and he’ll stop at nothing to so. He’s not the villain in the book. Asha attempts to do good with his skills, but like any decent story, he falls into hot water.

This is a very technical story, much like the writings of Michael Crichton. Since I don’t have a technical mind, I couldn’t grasp a good deal of it. There wasn’t a lot of explanation for the technical terms so it would throw me off. I did reading about enjoy skein space. It kind of reminds me of Assassin’s Creed’s animus. Skein space is where Asha and his “students” enter to connect to another person’s core and tap whatever message they want in order to sway the subjects to do what was needed. I would have enjoyed the skein space even more if the author had included in the beginning of the book what each color meant, whether black is for love or hate and so on. It is briefly mentioned, however, it wouldn’t have been easy to find the page to remind ourselves what exactly the colors meant.

Since it wasn’t always easy for me to grasp the technicality of the book, I focused more on the characters. They were written extremely well and with, for the most part, enough personality to fly right out of the pages. Polly seemed to have bounced around wildly and could have been toned down just a bit. I enjoyed the conflict with Sarah and Marcus, but Marcus’ mother (Polly) made me care less about Sarah and Marcus’ past relationship. Polly was too intrusive where they were concerned. It took me away from the actual plot.

The world building was great. Anytime they found themselves in the Congo, I felt I was right there with them. I could hear the sounds, see the sights. I think it was my favorite part of the story. And the Congo pieces were only subplots.

For the most part, Disconnected is a slow read. It’s only because of the technical pieces of the story, but it starts running when you’re about a quarter of a way through. The danger that danced around in the earlier pages is dialed up.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

About the Author
Nick Lloyd

Nick Lloyd is an independent author, living in London.

He loves writing stories with moral uncertainty, where a reader could take the side of one (or more) protagonists in conflict.

http://www.nickmlloyd.com

His first novel – Emergence – received very strong feedback on its debut in October 2014.

“thought-provoking science fiction thriller encompassing a variety of philosophical and moral dilemmas” – SF Signal Interview (Feb 2015) http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/02/

Emergence (***** Amazon 5 Stars *****)

Earth is being scrutinised by an alien civilisation who maintain their dominance across the galaxy through manipulation of probability. Among the aliens, whole religions have sprung up related to interpretation of this apparent control of ‘luck’. On Earth, a single human starts the transformation to allow them a measure of control themselves…

Broken Wizard #bookreview

  • Title: Broken Wizard
  • Author: Jeff Bardwell
  • Print Length: 438
  • Publisher: Twigboat Press
  • Publication Date: April 6, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis

The wizard purge is in full swing. Sorcery is illegal in the modern, steam-powered Iron Empire. The Magistrate’s Black Guards hunt the uncivilized mages using mechanized armor and mysterious, clockwork weapons. The guards deliver their prisoners to the Butcher, Captain Vice. All wizards are tortured and executed as traitors to the state . . . with one exception.

That exception is Devin, an outbreak mage, and ex-artificer, a prince of machinery. The Magistrate exiles the youth over Vice’s protests to the wild kingdom of wizards and dragons. Devin only knows gears and springs, but his savage magic offers salvation if he can tame it. The exile must learn to harness his dangerous, new powers before the Butcher tracks him down to finish the job.

Follow Devin’s quest in Book One* of The Artifice Mage Saga. Join the fantasy steampunk brawl of metal vs. magic where sorcery is bloody, science is greasy, and nobody’s hands are clean.

My Review

When I first began this book, there were so many run-on sentences, I had a hard time reading the first few chapters. However, I happened to notice on Amazon, that author Jeff Bardwell uploaded a newer version than the one I originally had. So, I downloaded that version, and once I began to reread the first few pages, I could tell a major difference in writing.

I have to say that the story line itself held promise, but seemed to drag. The main character, Devin, is exiled in the beginning and he soon realizes that he’s a mage. He goes on a quest in search of someone who can teach him how to control his magic. There wasn’t a lot of action as I had hoped. Most of the storytelling seemed to be based on the characters’ thoughts which put me off. The paragraphs were also so lengthy. I found myself rereading several times to grasp what was happening, which took me longer than normal to finish.

I loved the imagery, though. When reading a fantasy story, I need to be able to picture the background. The world was built beautifully and had great word choices. However, I wasn’t too crazy about the poetic in the dialogue. It was too flowery than it needed to be when the book appeared to be full of darkness and evil. I get that the purpose was to fit the early times the story was set in. However, it just didn’t work for me.

Jeffrey Bardwell definitely had a great idea of a story full of mages and sorcery. Despite the hard editing done (and yes, I definitely could see the wonderful changes he had made), I rate this a three star. I didn’t hate the book but I didn’t love it either. I believe breaking up a few of the longer paragraphs, cleaning up the characters’ speech and adding a few action scenes here and there would have made a world of difference. It was a good effort. With more time, I believe this author could bring out more four or five stars to his writings. He has a good imagination.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Severed Empire: Wizard’s Rise Book 1 #bookreview

  • Title: Severed Empire: Wizard’s Rise Book 1
  • Author: Philip Tomasso
  • Print Length: 434
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: February 12, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Mykal, a farm boy from Gray Ashland, along with a few of his comrades are on a quest to save the Old Empire from the Mountain King, whose ambition is to become the next Emperor. If they fail, a terrible darkness will steal the light from their realm forever.

Wizard’s Rise by author Philip Tomasso was a decent beginning to a series. It did what it was supposed to do and introduced us to the characters we should know. When I began reading, it took quite a bit of turning the pages for me to get involved. There were a few actions scenes in the beginning that I enjoyed, other than that, I felt it dragging. However, later on, as it progressed, I became more eager to see what would happen next. I felt the plot grow, along with Mykal, our hero.

The dialogue didn’t always bode well with me. I felt that it was trying too hard to be humorous and it just didn’t seem to fit, although the humor was cutesy. I think it may have been due to who said certain phrases.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy the read the more I went on. The layout of the world was described extremely well. The characters could have had more depth but they still grew as they should have. By the end, it was a great beginning to Philip Tomasso’s fantasy series.  Although any age of fantasy readers may enjoy Wizard’s Rise, I feel it would fit much better for young adults rather than adults. If you’re expecting and prefer a dark fantasy with a lot of grit, like I did, then prepare for more of a lighter read. I do look forward to the next installment.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Biography

Phillip Tomasso

Tomasso is an award winning, Amazon Best Selling author of over 20 novels and novellas.

Prolific, he has published novels for young readers, suspense enthusiasts, legal thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, and most recently focusing more and more on horror, fantasy, and books for young adults (YA).

He and his oldest son (also named Phillip Tomasso), co-authored YOUNG BLOOD, released in February 2015.

Tomasso works full time as a Fire/EMS Dispatcher for 911, Tomasso dedicates his time to continually working on new writing projects, and his three children.

Be sure to visit his website: http://www.philliptomasso.com

Follow him on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/P_Tomasso

PRESERVATION: Winner, 1st Place Best Book 2014 (The Bookie Monster)

ADVERSE IMPACT: Winner, 1st Place Bloody Dagger Award (All About Murder – 2004)

JOHNNY BLADE: Winner, 1st Place Bloody Dagger Award (All About Murder – 2003)

If you are looking for books with Wizards, Magic, Dragons, Pirates, Private Eyes, Detectives, Suspense, Action, Dinosaurs, or Zombies . . . be sure to check out Phillip Tomasso.

Mercer Street #bookreview @johnheldt

  • Title: Mercer Street
  • Author: John A. Heldt
  • Print Length: 431
  • Publication Date: October 21, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, audiobook
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance

Mercer Street is the second book of John A, Heldt’s American Journey five-part series. Like the rest of the books, it’s not required to be read in order. I started off with the third novel, Class of ’69. I quickly became a fan of Heldt’s writing and couldn’t wait for more. I was glad this one didn’t disappoint.

Now that I’ve read all five, in this second book, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities with the other novels, such as repetition in the dialogue between characters, which made me begin skimming. Although it’s the second book in the series, it’s the fifth one I’ve read, and reading some of the dialogue became tedious. That said, I don’t plan on subtracting any points from the book because I truly enjoyed the story that was weaved together.

Professor Geoffrey Bell and his wife, Jeanette are the only characters that remain in each of the books. I like them, particularly Geoffrey. They aren’t present much, which is a shame but understandable. They are the keepers of a time traveling tunnel built by Bell’s distant relative, Percival Bell. Every so often, they choose people as a guinea pig of sorts to travel to certain parts of the past using this tunnel. The way the return is by use of a magnificent crystal.

In Mercer Street, Susan Peterson travels with her mother, Elizabeth, and daughter, Amanda, to the year 1938, to Princeton, New Jersey. There, the trio gets swept up in love, honor, and heartbreak as they embark on a journey of a lifetime.

As usual, the story line is intriguing and fun to read. Heldt does an amazing job with his research to make this story believable. Of course, with any story messing with events of the past, anything can happen. I’m sure if you had the opportunity to walk into yesteryear, you’d be tempted to make the most of it. You’d want to make new friends with amazing people, even fall in love….after all, the heart wants what the heart wants. And just like any story messing with events of the past, even the smallest change may have major consequences that could impact the current times.

I won’t say whether it did or didn’t in this book. That’s the fun part of turning the pages until you’ve reached the end. Mercer Street is a light, clean read, one that you can’t put down.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Biography

John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

The Frihet Rebellion #bookreview

  • Title: The Frihet Rebellion
  • Author: Neil Davies
  • Print Length: 224
  • Publication Date: March 21, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Wow! This was an amazing read. It’s hard to write up a brief summary of what this book is about because there was so much going on. It opens with bodies falling, bullets flying and it doesn’t stop there. I’ve read a lot of science fiction novels and I have to say this is one of my favorites. So much blood was shed during the course of this book as the world of Frihet rebelled against Earth. Earth’s only chance for victory is the alien ship Spearhead, run by Joniskyredread, a Sklalen, who we refer to simply as Jon, and his human friend, Bryant Johnson.

There are a lot of characters throughout this book and they all seem to pop out from the pages. There are obvious evil ones, good ones and the ones we don’t know whether or not we can trust. No matter which side they’re on, the characters are to be remembered. In reference to Jon, though, I sometimes had a hard time keeping in mind that he was an alien. We’re reminded of his gray skin now and again; however, being referred to as Jon throughout most of the book just made him seem human.

The writing was tight and well done. I almost heard the war going on within the safety of my own home. My biggest issue was the POV. I noticed it especially toward the ending that we’re in one character’s POV and suddenly we know what the other is thinking or feeling. I don’t think it happened too often earlier on but it’s possible I overlooked it because I was too engrossed in the tale. It’s also possible it was meant to be that way in order to help the speedy pace. Either way, I prefer to focus on one person’s mind. Additionally, what really gnawed at me were the use of characters’ thoughts. I like it when authors italicize the thinking so it’s kept separate from the narration. This author didn’t do that. There were a lot of times when it’s a lone sentence in a paragraph, making it first person. After that one sentence, the narration would continue a new paragraph in its usual third person, until a short paragraph later, it’s back with a lone sentence in the first. It just struck me as awkward. But still, I rate this book as amazing. I feel any science fiction fan or any war lovers would enjoy this book. It’s a thrill ride you need to buckle up for.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Neil Davies

Born in 1959 and getting older by the hour, Neil Davies writes Horror and Science Fiction. When not writing books, he likes to write and record music with his son, as The 1850 Project, and paint. His favourite authors are, in no particular order, Richard Laymon, Steve Gerlach, Arthur C Clarke, Frank Herbert, H Rider Haggard, Guy N Smith, H G Wells, Bram Stoker, Dennis Wheatley, Connie Willis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Graham Masterton, Sax Rohmer… with more being added all the time. His favourite musicians include Nightwish, Nils Lofgren, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Cat Stevens, Jimi Hendrix, My Chemical Romance, King Crimson, Yes, Spock’s Beard, Gentle Giant and lots more. In art he admires the cover work of Chris Foss and Bruce Pennington, and maintains a healthy dislike of modern and abstract art. He’s still writing and refuses to stop however much people ask him to. Expect more published works soon.

*For more book reviews, click here.*

A Taste For Love #bookreview

  • Title: A Taste For Love
  • Author: Cathy Padilla
  • Print Length: 344
  • Publisher: Clean Reads
  • Publication Date: April 18, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Romance

Sarah is a young, strong-willed woman who is nothing if not loyal to her family and friend. She’d been hurt in the past, which resulted in her fear of falling in love, so she vows to avoid it. When she meets Luke Patterson, it’s an instant affection. They connect on a level which surprises her and she finds herself at ease whenever he’s around. While she’s struggling with unwanted feelings for Luke, she finds herself blackmailed by another man into an engagement to save her family’s honor and their land. Luke, on the other hand, has his own secret to protect. While he works to save the woman he loves from sacrificing everything, he tries to help her overcome her fear of love.

A Taste of Love is an excellent, fun to read on the beach novel by Cathy Padilla. The story was well-written and the scenes were clean, meaning there were no erotica or bad language, which was good.

Throughout most of the book, I was hoping to find more of a fault to Luke. He seemed a little too perfect; however, I still liked the character and wished there were men just like him. Sarah, though set in her ways, bounced around whether or not she should trust Luke. After her past dealings with love, it’s understandable. However, at times, I just wanted to tell her to take a deep breath and calm herself. A few parts in the story, character-wise, I didn’t care much for. One time Sarah wanted a friend to find out what the statute of limitations to murder was. Maybe it’s just me as a mystery writer/fanatic but I thought it was a crazy thing to ask. There were a few other brief scenes such as that that struck out as weird. Thankfully they didn’t stay in my mind as I continued to read.

My biggest issue in the story was the point of view changes. However, I later found out after reading the novel that it was meant to be in the omniscient point of view. There was a scene when it’s mainly Sarah’s POV and she’s talking on the phone with her Aunt Laura, we know that Laura winks at her sister, although Sarah obviously can’t see her. I normally prefer to know what’s inside one person’s head during a particular scene because at times ended up confusing me. However, I ultimately decided to overlook POV changes because I enjoyed the story.

While I did figure out some of the plot points, there were one or two which shocked me toward the end. I would certainly enjoy reading more romance from this author. I believe she has the ability to go from being good to great. It’s one of those sweet novels where you turn the pages and realized you’ve spent hours reading when it only feels like a few minutes.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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The Gate Guardian’s Daughter (The Gate Trilogy – Prequel) @ktmunson #bookreview

  • Title: The Gate Guardian’s Daughter (The Gate Trilogy – Prequel)
  • Author: KT Munson
  • Print Length: 28
  • Publication Date: May 20, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction

The Gate Guardian’s Daughter is the prequel to KT Munson’s upcoming dark fantasy series, which will be released in July 2017. With only 28 pages, it’s a very quick read. I happily read it in one sitting during a break at work. OK, so I was a little late getting off work. I enjoyed the story that much.

Elizabeth is only ten years old, aching to become a normal child. But she can’t be normal when her adoptive father, Matheal, is insisting she remain nearby. The reason being is that Elizabeth is special. Matheal knows that one day her true nature will be unleashed.

This is yet another story I’ve enjoyed reading by KT Munson. It’s to the point but does well in giving us the general background of Elizabeth and her family, while providing us with just enough surprise to make us want more. It was a very well-written intro to The Gate series, and I, for one, can’t wait until the first one is released.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Biography

K.T. Munson

K.T. Munson is a freelance author. First published at 5 years old in the young writers conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com that is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.

Murder Without Pity #Bookreview

  • Title: Murder Without Pity
  • Author: Steve Haberman
  • File Size: 623KB
  • Print Length: 319
  • Publication Date: May 5, 2012
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime

Murder Without Pity is a slow-moving suspense, told in a way that makes you want to turn the pages and keep going. If I had the chance to read it in one night, then I probably would have. It wasn’t even the mystery portion of this novel that I enjoyed so much, although I enjoyed trying to solve the crime before reaching the ending. While I had a few suspects in mind, I feel that there could have been a little more foreshadowing or red herrings to help solve the mystery. As a mystery author myself, I certainly understand how hard it is to throw in red herrings without giving the plot away. There were, however, enough twists to keep me yearning for more.

This story was much more than just solving the strange murder of a man. The investigator, Stanislas Cassel, spends a good amount of his time interacting with the people of France, hoping they either won’t judge him or they just don’t know that he’s the grandson of a French propagandist for the Nazis during their WWII operation. This part of his family’s past mortifies him, so Cassel attempts to avoid anything political and hopes no one will recognize him. Of course, we all know that’s not always possible. And as Cassel continues his investigation, he finds himself in the midst of a larger wickedness beyond the small crimes he prefers to investigate.

This wasn’t a book where you can easily skim a few words here and there…let’s face it, we all tend to do that, whether we mean to do so or not. If you’re focusing on solving the mystery, then it’s possible something would be missing between the lines on the pages. Even reading carefully, I’m sure I missed a thing or two. And if you’re only along for the ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery that’s portrayed, then skipping around will force you to miss out. I’ve never been to France, and as someone who would like to one of these days, I felt I had a good idea of what Paris was like during the time this story takes place. The writing splayed across my mind as though I was watching a movie. It was so beautifully descriptive, whether it was about the thick fog smothering the city or Cassel’s thoughts.

I would most certainly enjoy reading more from this author.

Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars

Biography

Steve Haberman

A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. “Murder Without Pity,” a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. “The Killing Ploy” (with heavy overtones of “fake news” before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, “Darkness and Blood,” the sequel to “The Killing Ploy,” and “Winston Churchill’s Renegade Spy” also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.

 

*For more book reviews, click here.*

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