- See more at: http://myblogrtricks.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-to-show-post-title-before-blog.html#sthash.p9yUfIwF.dpuf

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Giving You More

After all this time, and after a lot of thought, I've finally done it.

I've created a Facebook page for Undiscovered Tomes.

I know, I know... this doesn't seem like a big deal. But it really is. You see, Undiscovered Tomes was created for two reasons:

  • To aid independent authors in getting the recognition that they deserve, and 
  • To guide readers toward great indie ebooks that they may not otherwise see, due to lack of exposure.
Once I've reviewed an author's work, I continue to follow them (usually silently). I love to check back on an author's progress. Has a new ebook been released? Is the author doing well, or is s/he feeling that sense of frustration we writers know all too well?

Once you've earned a spot on this blog, you have my unwavering support. I want you to succeed, wholeheartedly, because I've seen your potential.

I believe in you.

It's because of this belief in a writer that I look for flaws in a work, regardless of how amazing it is, because we writers always have the desire to improve. The moment we lose that drive, our work becomes less appealing to our readers. We all know this.

But there is only so much that can be done on a review blog. The flaws can be pointed out, but that just doesn't feel like enough.

I want to give people more.

A Facebook page allows me to do this. It gives me the ability to share titles that I *haven't* reviewed, due to the guidelines I've set, but that I still recommend. It gives me the opportunity to share links to tips that can aid a writer in proofreading, editing, and marketing. And it also lets me share photos of cats.

Well, ok. Maybe not that last one. Maybe... but if I find a photo of a kitten reading a book, I may not be able to stop myself. I mean, this is the internet.

These are things that don't really fit the format of Undiscovered Tomes, but *do* fit the intent. Give yourself the ability to be a part of that, and 'like' Undiscovered Tomes on Facebook.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Stimulate Your Imagination With Arianna's Awakening!

I apologize for the long wait on this one. Rural internet providers tend to take their time when an issue arises. 


The wait was worth it.

My latest treasure hunt caused me to discover a paranormal romance that was truly enjoyable.

cover design by Phatpuppy Art
Cover Design by Phatpuppy Art

That treasure is called Arianna's Awakening, and it's written by Jennifer & Christopher Martucci - a husband/wife team. At the moment, the link to their page (darkcreationssaga.com) is broken, but I suspect that this is a momentary lapse as they update. I'll update my post, as well, as soon as I see that it's working again.

So what's it about?

As a girl whose mother has uprooted her from one home to the next throughout her life, Arianna Rose has led a far from normal life. When she moves to Herald Falls, though, she finds that her life is even more complex than she ever knew. Arianna exhibits strange powers that scare her, discovers that she's being hunted by a ruthless foe, and is told that she is the Sola, a powerful woman that is needed to defend others like herself from those that seek to destroy them.

Arianna's Awakening was a page-turner, and the dialogue was spectacular. I was able to not only believe that these words were spoken by the individual characters, but I was also able to give them unique voices within my mind.

I love dialogue like that!!!

I found myself wrapped up within the story, internally shouting things like, "No, Arianna... don't do that. You really don't want to do that. (pause as I read the next sentence) Oh, god, you did it!"

And then... I continued to read more, knowing that Arianna was going to go from bad situation to worse. I wanted her to be happy - yearned for her to be happy. And maybe she will be...

In the next book.

Noooo! I can't wait that long!

Ok, that's not true. I can wait that long... mainly because the next one, Arianna Rose: The Gathering, is already out for download.


I really loved this one, and look forward to reading the next, but it wasn't quite a Treasured Tome. It's the closest one yet, though.

The only thing that kept this one from hitting Treasured Tome status was that I didn't feel the need to call everyone I know and harass them to hurry up and read it. This may have been because the passive writing voice slowed it down a little too much.

But it was truly amazing, and well worth a read. You can get it, as well as other Martucci ebooks at the Smashwords, Nook, and Kindle stores.

***Brief note: The cover art has changed since I downloaded this ebook, so don't be surprised when what you see isn't the same as what I show on this review.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Allie's War: Accidental Victory!

On my latest treasure hunt I accidentally discovered a great sci-fi oriented dystopian novella.

I say accidentally, because it was listed as an urban fantasy.


But even though it was a mistaken discovery, it was a good one!

This novella (of roughly 120 pages) was Allie's War: Episode 1, by J.C. Andrijeski.

cover art copyright Greg Jensen and AnneMarie Buhl
Cover art by
Greg Jensen and AnneMarie Buhl

Initially, I was going to leave this one alone and continue my search for something within the fantasy or paranormal genres, but when I saw the page length on my Nook, I elected to read it anyway. It was short, after all. If I didn't like it, no time would be wasted.

Why not, right?

So I sat and read what turned out to be a great break from my normal choices.

So what's it about?

After finding herself holding a bloodstained, broken bottle while police scream for her to drop her weapon, Allie is forced to accept that she attacked the woman that her beau was seeing on the sly, even though she has no memory of the assault. Soon after, she's given a GPS tracking anklet so authorities can monitor her every movement. First offense or not, she's now a violent criminal.

Both of these problems are small compared to what she discovers next: She's not human, and she's being hunted... by different factions within an alien race which has been on this planet for a very long time.

I raced through this one.

Energy was high, and I found myself turning pages at a rapid rate. My eyes even teared up a bit during one scene. Granted, this is only because Andrijeski wrote something that hit me on a very personal level, but that's just it:

It hit me on a personal level!

The characters were all very well written, and believable. I sympathized with each and every one of them. Dialogue was spot-on and specific to each character.

I found myself frustrated by a society that was built and structured upon fear, but understanding where that fear came from, at the same time. I was shown a new view of the planet, as well as the lifeforms that live here.

There were a few problems that caused my to withhold Treasured Tome status, however.

The author gave the reader information at the beginning that was unnecessary, causing the story to slow down. It was only a few words within a couple of sentences, but even so, it detracted from the story's energy.

The other flaw had to do with the switching of tenses. Sometimes that can work, but switches between present and past tense within the exposition here had a jarring effect. Again, though, this is something that can be improved upon with great success.

And in truth, Andrijeski may have already made these changes.

Wait... WHAT?!

The thing is, I found another piece written by J.C. Andrijeski with a nearly identical name: Rook: Allie's War, Book 1. This appears to be the same novella, and may be an updated version, but I can't be 100% certain... I didn't see this title until after I finished with the version I already downloaded.

Getting confused? Don't worry. I am, too.

Regardless, this is an ebook worth reading. Even when including the flaws with tense and with poorly timed information, this story flowed remarkably well, and kept my interest to the end.

And don't forget... I teared up a little!

Allie's War is available on Kindle, Smashwords, and Nook.

**Update 4/30: The confusion I spoke of has been cleared up. Rook: Allie's War, Book 1 is actually episodes 1-4 combined. JC Andrijeski was going through rebranding, and my download happened to occur in the middle of it. Check out her comment below for a more in-depth explanation!

...And now I'm off to download Rook!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Discovering the Legend of Damiano's Disk

My latest hunt was long and harsh.

After partially reading several different ebooks, and preliminarily reviewing a work not yet published (I'll tell you about that one as soon as the author publishes), I finally found the next great work for review.

At last!

This latest discovery was Tales of Aria: The Legend of Damiano's Disk, a fantasy written by Carl Russ, III.

Let's begin with the exceptional cover art.

image copyright Bryan Golden
Cover art by Bryan Golden, whose gallery
I spent way too much time perusing!
What made this cover so spectacular was that I was able to glean not only the general world and focus of the novel, but also a few additional points, due to the chosen art style:

  • This ebook would not stand alone. If the manga styled cover was any indication of what we'd find inside, this work would end with a clear lead into the next installment.
  • The world would break the standard rules of environment, producing a vivid image in the reader's mind that differs from the norm.
I wasn't disappointed. Both of these theories were proven correct.

So what's it about?

The land of Aria was overrun with vicious creatures. It was a sudden occurrence, and no one could explain where these beasts came from, or even how they came to be. Homesteads were overrun, and entire families were destroyed. The King's knights were losing the battle to protect the people from these monstrosities.

But then, seemingly from out of nowhere, the "Knowms" showed up, offering their protection to the cities of Aria... and they succeeded where the knights failed. Most people flocked to the cities, where they'd be safe behind guarded walls, but some stayed behind, where life was grueling and dangerous.

Lucas was one of them. This life became normal for him, and he had no wish to leave his rural home... but then he came upon a dying man, whose last wish was that Lucas deliver an object for him. Lucas accepted, and soon discovered that fulfilling this dying man's wish would change his life forever.

Sounds great, right?

It was.

The story flowed beautifully, and the scenery was vivid. I even had a few Ah ha! moments as I put pieces together, making sense of the various mysteries within.

And true to my cover art theory, Carl Russ III gave me something different

Russ created a realm between the living world and whatever it is that waits for us in the beyond. It was called, quite simply, the In Between. It's a realm lacking in color, though not lacking in beauty, and reminded me of something that could be found in some of the more visually appealing anime films. Color could enter the In Between, but nothing of the In Between held anything beyond what you'd see in a penciled sketch. The sharp contrast between the In Between and the world of Aria was striking. 

My imagination soared.

In this fantasy novel, magic follows specific rules having to do with a person's elemental center. A person is born with an affinity for some degree of fire, ice, light, or shadow, and can receive benefits in accordance with that affinity. There are also levels of mastery involved. This makes it quite easy for readers to imagine themselves in this world, giving themselves their favored form of magic.

Do ya feel lucky, punk? Huh? Do ya?

Yeah... I kinda did that...

You can certainly see why I'm reviewing this one. It sent my imagination free, and gave me a full world to play with.

So why isn't it a Treasured Tome, then?

Well, the characters were fleshed out very well, and it was obvious that a great deal of time and attention was spent on them. I really liked every single one of them.

But I didn't love them. 

I enjoyed traveling Aria with the characters, and I was very eager to find out what would happen to them, but I didn't laugh, I didn't cry, and I didn't become enraged if someone distracted me while on this adventure.

I thought long and hard about that, because it seemed like I should have felt this way. This ebook was brilliantly crafted. After banging my head against the wall a few times, hoping to rattle my brain enough to shake a reason free, I finally found one:

I think it came down to the dialogue. 

Some words spoken by the cast of characters felt clunky and forced, which caused the story to lose some of its emotional impact.

But the novel was still a great one, and status as a Treasured Tome was really only a hair's breadth away. Russ is writing a sequel, and I'm looking forward to it.

Tales of Aria: The Legend of Damiano's Disk is definitely worth reading. 

Unfortunately, it's not available at the Nook store, but you can download it at Smashwords and Kindle! Read it! It really is a fun ebook.

Cover image copyright Bryan Golden

And besides, who doesn't want to imagine themselves flinging magical orbs at nasty beasties?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Failed Treasure Hunt is a Lesson Learned

Some of you remember my excited tweet from a few days ago:

After a long treasure hunt, I've finally found a paranormal novel written by a decidedly elusive author. Will it be a Treasured Tome?

Sadly, the answer was a resounding...


I struggled to read this ebook whose length rivaled that of War and Peace, but after a little over four hundred pages, I knew I had to stop. Actually, I knew I had to stop after I was a little under two hundred pages into it, but I refused to admit it.

This blog is about giving undiscovered indie authors the attention they deserve, right? I'm far from perfect. Who am I to say what's good and what's not?

But then I remembered one sentence from my How I Review tab:
 "You will never see anything on this blog that I would rate with only one or two stars."
This work clearly fell into that category, and this was upsetting. I felt that my time had been wasted. I could have been reading something else. Something better. This was not a work I felt could be posted for others.


I was wrong. No time spent reading is ever wasted. I may have disliked this ebook. I may have wanted to throw my Nook across the room a few times as I struggled to get through this work.

But my time was most definitely not wasted.

Rather, this is a good time to point out a bit of advice we've all heard plenty of times before: Write what you know.

Obviously, if we're writing a paranormal or fantasy novel, we won't have real-world experience with wizards, magical creatures, or the machinations of the gods. We have no vampiric friends, and we've never cast a spell that went horribly wrong. But we do need to understand our characters.

We need to give each of them a purpose, a unique personality, and a goal.

Without this, they become two dimensional and bland. If we don't love them, nobody else will, either. If all we do is pretend to understand our characters, our readers will know it.

Don't pretend. 

People are capable of liking some rather nasty characters. Don't be afraid to create a despicable protagonist. Just be sure that if you do, you know how that character thinks, why that character thinks the way she does, and what caused her to become the person she is today.

Make her real.

And on a more optimistic note...

Any ebook I find that doesn't make it to this page gets deleted from my library out of hope that the next time I find it changes will have been made, and I'll be able to give it another chance. We all make mistakes, and we all deserve a second chance. These are our babies, after all.

A deletion from my library today could be a Treasured Tome tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Contact Form: Discovering the Undiscovered

Look over to your right.

No, not that far right... I mean the right side of your screen. 

See it?

Undiscovered Tomes has a contact form, now!

Do you have an ebook that you'd like reviewed? It's easier to get ahold of me, now. Just fill out the information requested under "Contact me!"

Send me:
  • Your title, 
  • The name you're writing under
  • Genre
  • A brief explanation of your work (the blurb you're using would be great)
  • And the best way for me to get into contact with you.
If I like what I see, I'll get in contact with you and request a copy of your work. Be sure that your ebook meets the basic guidelines, so a review can be posted for everyone to see.

Will your ebook be the next Treasured Tome?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Set Aflame By Tinderspark!

For my first review on this blog, I spent a great deal of time trying to pick out just the right one from the nook shop, since the Nook is my preferred ereader.

After a while, a single cover image jumped out from my nook screen and thwacked me over the head. Hard.

A dark historical fantasy jumped out and hit me over the head. Hard

It was the cover for Tinderspark, by Jonathan Rowe

image via http://booksgosocial.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/the-burning-times-cover.jpg
Cover art was done by Laura LaRoche

I think we can all agree that this qualifies as a very enticing cover. It drew me in, so I read the blurb, which pulled me in even further. My mind made up, I hit the 'download' button and waited to begin my journey back in time to the Thirty Years War, into which Rowe added an extra helping of magic.

So what's it about?

"There is no reward for goodness in this world, nothing but cold steel teeth and scourging fire for all of us - and it's coming for you now!" 

In a single evening, the life of Quality Durrand changes forever. She's kidnapped from her loving family and taken to live deep in the forest with the geists. A series of events unfolds that places her at the center of action, pitting her against fanatic priests and cruel leaders. The daughter of a blacksmith, Quality has a unique talent for working with the black powder used within firearms and explosives. Armed with pistols, she and her geist friends set out to find five men - the five men whose deaths may bring about an end to the persecution of hexen everywhere, and the birth of a new, better world.

The world is gritty, dark, and terrible. Naturally, I loved it. 

Partially, that's because I'm a sucker for good history research, and Rowe really went the extra mile with it. He painted a very accurate picture of the trials and suffering that were rampant during the Thirty Years War, using the locations, dress, transportation, and even technology of the first half of the 17th century. 

His close attention to historical detail paved the way for the magic he breathed into Tinderspark, weaving fact and fiction together, bringing hexen and geists to life. Witches and magical beings become believable, and make their plight our own.

The world that Rowe created is vivid and intense. I saw the trees, I heard the calls of the wildlife. I tasted that disgusting soup. The world I entered was dark, and the intense emotions that washed over me added another dimension to it.

This was very nearly a Treasured Tome

What held me back from giving Tinderspark that distinction? Well, it took me a while to become attached to the characters. I did become attached, of course, but it wasn't love at first sight. In the first couple of chapters, I was more drawn to the world  than I was to the characters that lived in it. I think this would have easily become a Treasured Tome if more effort was placed into character development from the very start.

But like I said, I did become attached. It just took a little longer than I would have liked. This is a relatively minor flaw, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rowe's second book in The Burning Times series, Hexenfire, has the ability to draw me in from the very beginning. 

Yep. I implied exactly what you think I did: I've already downloaded the second one.

You can find Tinderspark on Nook, Kindle, and Smashwords. Read it. 

You won't be sorry. 

     *As an aside for those of you that are gamers, be sure to visit the Tinderspark RPG tab of Jonathan Rowe's author page - he's developing an RPG (pencil and paper, not digital) based on The Burning Times, and as someone who has been an RPG geek since high school, I'd love to sit with a group and try out his system.