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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tight Within the Grasp of Insignia

I told myself I'd never review an anthology.

There are too many authors involved. How do you review the works of so many people, and still ensure that they all get the attention they deserve?

But then I found an anthology on Scrbd that I wanted to read. I figured I'd just read a story or two every now and then, while continuing on with the ebooks I intended to review.

But then I kept reading.

And reading.

After a while, I decided to change my mind. I'd review an anthology.

image via http://insigniaseries.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/insigniavol1-cover-7a.jpg
Artwork by Peter Serkov

Insignia, Volume 1: Japanese Fantasy Stories is a collection of short stories by Aislinn Batstone, Heather Jensen, Holly Kench, Chris Ward, Joyce Chng, Chris White, and Kelly Matsuura (who is also the editor and cover designer).

The Insignia series supports the need for diversity in literature, and each story is written by authors that have a passion for Japanese culture. The anthology is broken into two parts: YA and General Adult.

So what's it about?

Part I:
Ancient promises broken, resulting in pain and sorrow. A girl near the end of her life, guided by a spirit wolf on a quest to destroy a monster. A girl oppressed by a calculating beast whose true form only she can see. Friends separated by cruel circumstances, yet bound together through magic and love.
Part 2:
Death, persecution, and crime draw a father and son together. A man returns from war a shell of the person he once was, and brings a powerful gift back with him. A man discovers a bathhouse set apart from the brightly lit, constantly moving city life, and discovers it's more than it appears to be. A man watches his soulmate from the other side, yearning to bring her across the threshold to be with him forever.

Wow, right?!

I really loved this anthology. As in any collection of stories, I liked some better than others, as is to be expected. In most anthologies, there seems to be one story that I consider vastly inferior to the others. In this one, however, I did not have that reaction. I liked every single one, and could easily read them all a second time.

Of course, I do have my favorite. 

I found The Bakeneko to be particularly gripping. Read that one right before bed. The menace within The Bakeneko is particularly strong when you begin the story in the same way the protagonist did: wrapped within your blankets.

The stories within Insignia, Volume 1 were rich and engaging, and each author's voice was so unique that I had no problem switching from one to the next: I easily slid from one author's world into another.

I highly recommend this one.

You can download a copy of Insignia, Volume 1 from the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, as well as from Scribd.





Monday, May 26, 2014

Tur: A Romance of Asgardian Proportions!

How do you feel about a little Asgardian excitement?

Prophesy,
Battles,
And a bit of romance for good measure.

Because that's what I have for you today! And no, I'm not reviewing a new Marvel screenplay... although I'm perfectly happy with the idea of placing a few choice actors into the characters' roles.

Rather, I'd like to introduce you to a fantasy romance novella that takes place predominantly in Asgard, written by someone that actually speaks Norwegian!

Meow!

image via http://www.starlahuchton.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/TUR-Ebook-04-04-14.jpg
Cover art by Rebecca K. Sterling

Tur is a novella written by S.T. Bende, and a prequel to The Elsker Saga.

So what's it about?

Inga holds a respectable position within Asgard. She's Odin's chief fight choreographer, which is of extreme importance. Just one problem: She hates it. Inga wants to be out on the battlefields as a warrior - not stuck in an administrative position. As if that's not enough, duties in Asgard have lately been cutting into her time with her husband, Gunnar, one of the hottest fighters in all of Asgard. Further, dark elves have suddenly invaded, and their main target is Ull, Inga's best friend and a member of the royal line. Inga is faced with losing everything she holds dear.

Tur was a lot shorter than I thought it was going to be, due to the addition of a sneak peak of the first full novel in the saga. I was sad to see that it ended so soon (It was only around 10,000 words), but even though it was so short, the pages were packed with action.

And romance, of course.

The banter within the pages was a special treat. Dialogue was always amusing and believable - even when it occurred in the midst of battle. While most authors shy away from lighthearted speech when swords are waving and arrows are flying, Bende dives in and lets loose.

The result was quite pleasing for someone like me that minored in theatre in college: Dialogue was no longer than absolutely necessary, and could easily flow if read aloud. Every word was precisely chosen for full effect.

I did have one problem that dealt with dialogue, but it was a minor one: When Inga said "Jeg elsker deg" to her husband, I was at a loss as to the meaning. After looking it up I discovered that it means "I love you," and it completely fit the situation at hand... there were even context clues, but I would have appreciated even stronger ones.

That's just me, though. I've never been good at taking hints. Lousy, actually. 

The romance within Tur was quite steamy, and at the same time aided in character development. It brought out Inga's spirited nature, as well as the frustration she had due to never seeming to get a moment to relax and enjoy herself... or should I say 'enjoy her husband,' instead?

If you're looking for a short and exciting romance to finish off this Memorial Day weekend, I'd recommend Tur. You won't be disappointed.

Tur is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.



Friday, May 23, 2014

The Enjoyment of Being Alone with the Girl in the Box

I kinda, sorta broke a rule... accidentally.

See, I found a boxed set of 3 books that only had 6 reviews at the Nook store. This fits the guidelines, so... "Yay, me!"

Unfortunately, upon completion of book one, I discovered that the stand-alone (not-in-the-box) novel had over 120 reviews. Further research showed that the second book had 54 of them. This is well outside my guidelines.

Oops. Can we pretend I didn't see that?

No?

Well, drat. My bad. The good news, though, is that this boxed set is well worth reading.

What set is that, you ask?

image via http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o288/kek19/covers/GirlinBox_1-3_small_zps9ff624e2.jpg
Cover photo taken by Anna Omelchenko

The Girl in the Box is an urban fantasy series written by Robert J. Crane. Since I refuse to give spoilers, however, I've elected to only review book 1: Alone, with a few words dealing with book 2 (no spoilers).

So what's it about?

17 year old Sienna has lived her entire life apart from society, her only human contact being her mother. The windows of her home are all draped shut, and she has never left. Her only contact with humanity is the occasional hour of television allowed to her. One day, her mother doesn't return home. A week later she hears people in the house, which is in direct opposition to mom's rule #1: Nobody else is ever allowed into the house. In fear, Sienna fights back against the intruders and races out the front door, breaking rule #2: Never leave the house. For the first time, she has a glimpse of the outside world, and nothing will ever be the same, again.

In this book, Crane has created a rich world filled with secret organizations that keep an eye on Metas, people with extraordinary abilities that go beyond the normal human range, and Sienna is one of them.

So is her missing mother.

Crane does a spectacular job of filling a reader's mind with questions. Who and what is Sienna? Why is she so important? Who can she trust? And why in the world did her mother always demand that she remain fully clothed - with gloves - even when she slept???

Fortunately, Crane was kind enough to answer a few of these questions within Alone.

And!

He left us hanging, unable to answer the others, making the reader anxious to read book 2: Untouched.

In the beginning, I felt that Sienna was very much like Rogue of the X-Men. The similarities were strong.

However, while the world of The Girl in the Box feels rather X-Men-esque, I wouldn't brush it aside as an attempt to remake the Marvel world in the author's own image. Rather, I see it as an entirely different world with rich characters.

See, even though I originally felt it was too much like the world of X-Men, I continued reading, and the story really took hold of me. I laughed, I cried, and I was able to place myself within the world Crane created, actively taking part in the drama.

(I gave myself heightened senses and the ability to heal others, along with slightly enhanced strength. 
Because... who wouldn't want those abilities?)


Alone was a thrilling book that I'd recommend to anyone that enjoys a good superhero based read. I got through it fairly quickly, and continued on into book 2. I didn't want to leave Crane's world.

However, I would recommend taking a break between books 1 and 2, because the second book begins with a great deal of exposition that explains what happened in Alone. This is not a complaint - it's highly necessary, and the exposition is very well written.

Enjoyable.

Unfortunately, going directly into the pages of book 2 after reading book 1 caused me to skip through a lot of that narration, since my head was already happily floating through the world of the story.

So pace yourself if you get the box set. You don't want to simply skim through the narrative. It's full of personality, and deserves to be read in entirety.

The Girl in The Box Series (Books 1-3) is available in the Nook, Kindle and Smashwords stores.

If you prefer, Alone (The first book) can also be individually downloaded via Nook Kindle and Smashwords.

At the moment, the box set and the first book are both FREE, but I don't know how long that offer will last.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dazzled By The Last Dance

Fast paced Action.
Swordplay.
Humongous beasties from the dark beyond.

That's what I was in the mood for this time. I also wanted a strong female protagonist. Not just any strong female would do, of course, but one that was focused, disciplined, and tough... with some wit thrown in for good measure.

I wanted Sarah Connor mixed with Buffy Summers. Odd combo, I know, but whoever said desires make any sense?

Well, I didn't get Buffy. Actually, I didn't get Sarah Connor, either. But what I did get was someone that made my blood sing for more.

I got Emiko.

Who's Emiko, you ask?
image via https://dwtr67e3ikfml.cloudfront.net/bookCovers/14c17593fdbdfc96c419f060873c0091434032b5-thumb

 She's that awesome woman on the cover of The Last Dance: A Sepia Blue Short, written by Orlando Sanchez. This is basically a prequel to his Sepia Blue series.

So what's it about?

The Unholy, creatures of the darkness, have been imprisoned within Central Park for over a hundred years. Wards placed around the park keep the Unholy from breaking out into the the rest of the world, and elite warriors known as Hunters have the duty of protecting us from them. But the wards are weakening, and the unholy have escaped. Emiko, a Level One Hunter, prepares for the toughest battle she's ever faced in an effort to keep the weakened wards from breaking in entirety, knowing this would allow the Unholy the freedom to wreak havoc on human society.

This short story is only around 35 pages in length, but it's one of the best teasers for a series that I've seen in a while.

Sanchez places the reader into Emiko's shoes from the very beginning, giving us a glimpse into her soul. He tells us very little, choosing instead to make Emiko's words and actions speak for her.

And they do it well.

Emiko was focused on her goal, she was smart, and she fought with incredible discipline... but she was also compassionate.

She was somebody that I could admire.

While the first couple of pages were a little slower than I would have liked for a short story, the rest of this work more than made up for that. Its fast paced action and its ability to pull me in made me want Emiko to prevail against the Unholy at all costs.

Sanchez made me want more.

Thankfully, The Last Dance isn't the end. Rather, it's the story of an important event set before the Sepia Blue series, which focuses on Emiko's daughter, Sepia.

And I really hope to find that Sepia is as awesome as her mother when I read the first full novel in the series!

While not available on Smashwords, The Last Dance can be found on Kindle and Nook, as well as Scribd.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

An Amazing Experience at 'The Pit Stop'

Anyone up for a short story?

...because I found a good one. I originally found this author sometime before Christmas, but ended up not reading the work I had downloaded. This occasionally happens, because my reading moods change fairly quickly. I'll download a high fantasy, for instance, then decide that what I really want is a scifi story with emphasis on starships.

I know, I know...

Bad Rebecca! Don't do that!

The good news, though, is that in this case I came back to the writer after I saw another author tweet about her.

::hint, hint:: Tweet about authors that fit my review guidelines. You may end up giving them some extra exposure.

What did I find, you ask?

via http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UOj1lmJz5S0/UKxjauSgmKI/AAAAAAAAC7I/nyTjkbXVSGg/s320/The+Pit+Stop+Cover.jpg
Cover by Jeff Boyce


I was fortunate to rediscover Carmen DeSousa. Her paranormal short story, The Pit Stop was spectacular!

While DeSousa has more than enough reviews on Amazon, I discovered that on Nook the number of reviews for The Pit Stop was surprisingly low. Fortunately, that meant she still fit the review guidelines, using my either/or clause.

So what's it about?

Officer Gino Canale and his wife make a pit stop for gas that causes Gino's memory of his grandparents' peaceful deaths to the resurface after twenty years. His nerves on edge, Gino's gut tells him that their deaths may not have been as simple as they appeared.

"This Stop Could be Life or Death"

DeSousa's extremely short story took less than an hour to read, which was fortunate, because I didn't want to stop. The story builds at a suspenseful pace, holding the reader in a tight grip throughout.

Even more exciting to me was the way that this story was written. This story was originally only 500 words long. Friends and family wanted her to lengthen it, and so she did...

She brought in her readers, and invited them to make suggestions on how the work would continue.

Pretty awesome, right?

Over time, that 500 word drabble was transformed into a stunning short story of nearly 10,000 words.

Furthermore, DeSousa impressed me with her ability to produce a realistic male protagonist. Oftentimes, I find that protagonists that aren't the same as the author are somewhat two-dimensional. This isn't always the case, of course, but it's very common - even among well established, high profile authors.

Carmen DeSousa, however, produced an overwhelmingly believable male in the field of law enforcement, rather than the 'stereotypical cop.' That is a huge accomplishment. Having been surrounded by family and friends in law enforcement for the majority of my life, I find this ability of hers to be quite rare.

The Pit Stop can be found on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Magnificent Pilgrimage of Angels

Such a unique perspective!

I have another epic fantasy for you, today. This one conveys awe striking images that are both beautiful and grotesque. The descriptions within this story were masterfully arranged in a manner that made them seem more musical than narrative.

image via http://a.wattpad.com/cover/7947382-256-k642242.jpg


The title is Pilgrimage of Angels, and it's written by Raymond Sardella and J.D. Rice.

So what's it about?

Long before the human race came to be, God's first creations, the Titans, waged a war against Him. They were banished into oblivion... but they never gave up their desire to shape the Earth according to their own selfish wishes. As the Titans renew their war on their creator, God breathes life into a new race of beings: the angels. The newborn angels awaken with a need to travel toward the light, knowing it must be protected at all costs.

See? I told you it was epic!

Normally, I find myself put off by Christian literature. Even when the story is good, I feel like the author is lecturing me, banging me over the head with their personal mission to instill their faith into my oh-so-unworthy soul.

That didn't happen here.

Rather, I found myself swept up into a great pilgrimage of innocent, yet driven and passionate, beings that were only beginning to learn who they were, what their purpose was, and even why they were born in the first place.

I was overwhelmed by the scale of the charge they were given, and crushed by the level of devastation and pain that they suffered. Though the angels felt a great love for the Earth they were born upon, their need to complete their pilgrimage was even more intense, and they pushed themselves to the limit throughout the journey, and suffered great losses.

Pilgrimage of Angels flowed very smoothly, and the narration painted vivid and awe-inspiring images. I could see, hear, and smell everything, as though I was standing on the sidelines, watching the Angels as they pushed on through all adversity.

Unfortunately, I was a spectator, rather than a participant.

For whatever reason, I didn't feel a personal stake in this journey, and because of that, I didn't award Treasured Tome status.

However!

I believe that I'm probably in the minority on this one. This may simply be a case in which the style is very different from what I prefer. Pilgrimage of Angels is truly an amazing work, and is well worth reading. It kept my interest from the first page until the last. Even though I didn't award Treasured Tome status to this one, I think many people would disagree.

Pilgrimage of Angels is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

***Quick note: It's also available on Scribd, which is where I got it from.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fascinated with Fierce Winds and Fiery Dragons!

Holy everlasting buckets of gumdrops, Batman!

Ok... maybe Robin never actually said that. It was totally me... but it sure tells you just how overwhelmed I was with the sheer awesomeness of this most recent ebook, don't you think?

Have you ever protected a dragon from a bunch of fuzzy, beaked creatures looking for lunch?
I Have.
Have you ever transported into a strange new world when you should have been sleeping in bed?
I did.
How about rescuing a princess from a tower?
I did that, too.

And I did it all while reading Fierce Winds and Fiery Dragons, the first installment of the Dusky Hollows series, written by Nan Sweet.

via https://dwtr67e3ikfml.cloudfront.net/bookCovers/6f6217856b3d3816db63f9b592d95d0c5c7028cd-thumb

I elected to read Fierce Winds and Fiery Dragons because I wanted an ebook that was reasonably short, but not too short. This was an obvious choice, since it was just over 40,000 words.

The author has billed it as a children's chapter book, ages 9-12, and that's a great fit for it, I think. In all honesty, however, I think this is enjoyable for anyone that enjoys a good, high-paced, urban fantasy (modern world, infused with magic).

Short and sweet. Just what I was looking for.

Oh, and... did I mention?

Treasured Tome Status achieved!

It achieved Treasured Tome Status!

Yep. It's that good. I couldn't put it down, read past my bedtime, and woke up late because of it.

So what's it about?

Ivy and Carrie love their fifth grade class, even if their teacher, Mrs. Huffity, does tend to say and do some pretty strange things. One day, Mrs. Huffity asks the class for volunteers to care for an egg. Taking care of the egg for one night means being able to ignore a single class assignment free of penalty, which is every student's fondest dream. Ivy, though, has had nightmares about this egg, and so she refuses to have anything to do with this easy way out of an assignment. At one point, though, Ivy takes the egg home with her, knowing that the egg will be in danger if she doesn't. After this choice is made, however, Ivy discovers that keeping the egg safe means placing herself - and Carrie - in danger.

Have I caught your interest, yet?

Then let me put it to you this way:

The last time I was this excited over an indie author's work, I ended up buying every last ebook that the author had on the market. I still follow her closely today, even though I'm paying much more for each new book that comes out now that she's made it to print. 

That author is Amanda Hocking. 

Nan Sweet's writing is very different, of course, and Fierce Winds and Fiery Dragons isn't quite as well polished. She should probably find a good proofreader to catch the accidental homophones that occasionally find their way into an otherwise exceptional work (hear instead of here, for example).

Strangely, those mistaken word entries didn't bother me as much as they normally would. Perhaps this is because her command of storytelling is so engrossing that I'm able to simply pass them off as "oopsies" that occurred because her brain was thinking so far ahead that her fingers couldn't catch up.

Regardless, that's the only flaw that I found in this ebook.

Fierce Winds and Fiery Dragons was so well written and so mesmerizing that I was upset when the author was cruel enough to let the book end. I wanted 
More, More, More!!!

Not only that, but I wanted to race to my neighbor's house, wake her up by banging on her door, and beg her to download this for her daughter... who will have the reading skill necessary to enjoy it sometime before this calendar year is over.

Thankfully, I was able to refrain... barely.

But I do plan on bringing it to the neighbor's attention later, because...

Wow.

Download it. Give it to a fantasy loving child. Read it yourself before you do. Then read the sample for the next one in the series, as well... and go ahead and buy that installment, too. I did.

Fierce Winds and Fiery Dragons can be found on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords




Friday, May 9, 2014

Discovery of a Brilliant Work Concealed in the Shadows!

I'm adding works from small publishing companies to the list of Tomes to seek for review.

This does not mean that they'll be considered for Treasured Tome status. I reserve that distinction for authors that fit the indie description.

What does that mean, exactly?

If an author happens to publish under their own company name, they still fit the indie author description. If their manuscript was sent out to a company they weren't previously affiliated with, however, they no longer fit into my view of an indie author, and will not be considered for Treasured Tome status.

That being said, we've got an ebook that could have been a Treasured Tome on our hands. This one is set in the not-so-distant future: the 2030s.

image via http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DTMNUI6ZaVI/UYmho31vrHI/AAAAAAAAAuY/2rHEJ5DrDSM/s1600/Concealed+In+The+Shadows+eBook+2-1.jpg
Cover art by Marya Heiman 
Concealed in the Shadows is written by Gabrielle Arrowsmith. This one isn't actually an indie book, as you've already figured out. Rather, Concealed in the Shadows is published by a very small publishing company known as Clean Teen Publishing, which means I kind of bent my original rules a bit. How'd that happen, you ask? 

Well...

It was an accident, I swear!

I didn't actually realize my mistake until I finished this ebook, and I just couldn't pass up reviewing it. You needed to hear about it. It's a book well worth reading, and since Clean Teen Publishing is a very small company, I figured it would be okay to bend the rules a little...

...and then I decided to re-write them.

I did this partially because I like the idea of small publishing companies being highlighted on the web, rather than the big publishing houses, but also because I really wanted you to hear about Concealed in the Shadows. Like I said, it's well worth the read.

So what's it about?

For some time now, Sydney Harter has been crossing the electrical barriers that surround Miles County, training herself to elude the authorities if the need ever arises. She's prepared to do anything to ensure her little sister Evvie's safety. On her eighteenth birthday, Sydney goes to court to legally request full guardianship of her sister. The request is granted, and Sydney at last seems to have the ability to protect Evvie from the dangers of Miles. But as she goes on a run across the barrier the following morning, Sydney is thrust into a strange new world. Her one thought? To protect her sister at all costs.

This ebook felt like a warning about what could happen in the future if we continue to live in our social media driven world without paying heed to what's happening all around us.

Of course, that could simply be because I'm a strong supporter of the Internet Defense League (Cat signal!), and believe we need to be careful to watch just what our government is doing at all times - regardless of political affiliation. So I could simply be drawing on my personal beliefs...

Which means the author made it personal!

Arrowsmith made me laugh, and she made me tear up... twice. I got angry at the characters, then forgave them. I longed to make them understand each other, and wanted to throttle them whenever they made dumb choices - especially the irrational choices that I would have made under the same circumstances.

The characters weren't just believable. They felt real. If I chose to read this aloud, I'd be able to do it smoothly and with proper inflection. Dialogue was perfect. I assume this has to do with Arrowsmith's experience with community/school acting - of which she has plenty. She understands the importance of vocalizing the dialogue she writes.

What about the flaws?

Honestly, there were very few. There were some clunky and mixed up sentences that caused me a bit of confusion, especially in the first four pages. There were also a few typos and incorrect word usages that caused me to raise my eyebrows a few times.

But that was it. 

Don't let those first few pages stop you from reading. Concealed in the Shadows kept my interest throughout. I didn't want to stop reading, and even lost a bit of sleep because I couldn't put it down. 

You can pick up Concealed in the Shadows on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.







Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Flight of the Vessel: A High Fantasy

The quest for a second Treasured Tome has begun!

I read another fantasy this time. Unlike the last, there was nothing comedic about it. Rather, this was a high fantasy set during a war of epic proportions.

Sorcery and swordsmanship, 
Royalty and rogues, 
The forces of light and darkness.

It was all there.

image via http://indiehousebooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/81YGzn83G-L._SL1500_.jpg
Cover Art by Nick Deligaris

The work I speak of is Flight of the Vessel by Robert Clifton Storey, Jr. It's the first part of his Vision Dream Series.

So what's it about?

Kingdoms throughout the world fall after a brutal invasion by the armies of the mysterious sorcerer known as Shutharja. The princess of Palzintine, Angelterra, is forced to flee with a small group of loyal subjects when her parents are lost in battle. Taking up the mantle of the Regency, she leads what remains of her fractured kingdom while banding together with other leaders in an attempt to mount a strong defense against the enemy. At the same time, however, Angelterra must wrestle with her newfound abilities as a magic user, as well as focus on a quest given to her by the Spirit of the Heavenly Father during a vision dream.

The storyline was a great one, having all the necessary components of an epic, high fantasy: a fight between good and evil that has an impact on the world as a whole, large-scale battles, magical creatures, clear boundaries between dark and light magic, and dialogue that has an archaic touch to it.

Storey is clearly a highly intelligent person that has an exceptional eye for detail. 

I found myself learning quite a bit as I read through Flight of the Vessel. He has a spectacular talent for getting non-tacticians like myself to understand a complex and far-reaching battle plan. I saw soldiers maneuver into position, and I was able to actively see how and why something would work or fail.

This is not an easy task.

Trust me. My comprehension of military strategy is kind of similar to... well...

"...and then the fourth regiment blah blah pink ponies blah blah blah. Got that?" "?!"


Have you ever tried to explain long division to your dog? That's a pretty good comparison to how well I tend to understand battleground tactics.

Storey, however, gave me the ability to grasp these concepts, and he didn't even have to reward me with a yummy treat. I even enjoyed reading about them!

Score!!!

Flight of the vessel did not, however, earn Treasured Tome status, which may seem surprising. It had all of the makings of a Treasured Tome, and it could very easily become one.

But there was one flaw that I couldn't let go of. While everything that Storey wrote was valid, and while everything he wrote was in line with the theme of the novel, his descriptions were a bit longer than necessary.

I know, I know... big deal, right? 

The problem, though, was that the narrative considerably slowed down the story, and in some cases, the use of the passive voice and adjectives managed to not just slow the energy, but stop it altogether.

Storey is at his best when he writes about battle: the energy is high, the descriptions are clear and concise, and the heat of the battle comes alive. This, no doubt, is due to his military background. He's confident in his tactical knowledge, and this confidence gives him the ability to explain the techniques in a manner that allows anyone to understand them, and even live them.

Flight of the Vessel can be found at the Kindle and Nook stores (currently not available on Smashwords).


Friday, May 2, 2014

A Quest of Undoing Reveals a Treasured Tome!

You read that post title correctly...

I found my first Treasured Tome!!!

Treasured Tome Status Achieved


The funny thing is that I had ignored this book twice in my searches, before finally giving it a go. I was a bit nervous about reading and reviewing a comedic fantasy. Generally, I find them not so much funny as, well, sad.

Let's face it. 

Humor is tough. All writing is tough, of course, but humorous writing has a few thorns and other stabby things that make it that much more painful to produce. 

Most people don't have the talent and skill to pull off a full length comedic novel of any genre. It can be done, of course, but it's extremely difficult. You have to have the right timing and you have to have humorous content that a broad range of people can relate to. Most of the time it falls flat.

Kind of like my jaw, which fell flat.

On the ground.

When I discovered this really was funny!

http://puttycad.blogspot.com/
Cover art by Ric Lumb


John P. Logsdon and Christopher P. Young, the authors of A Quest of Undoing: A Tale From the Land of Ononokin, have that talent and skill. 

So what's it about?

Whizzfiddle has a slight problem. His vengeful ex-apprentice has accused him of never completing a wizarding contract to the letter. The 650 year old wizard has been given 30 days to do so, or lose his Wizarding Guild status... this means he'd actually have to work for a living. He heads to Gilly's pub, where he awaits the perfect quest, and finally finds it in an odd group of men that have been subjected to a transfiguration spell. Whizzfiddle heads off with them to complete a quest of undoing, while trying to keep the group under control and fending off his ex-apprentice's attempts to keep him from succeeding.

Good basis for a humorous work of fantasy? I think so, too.

The timing was excellent, and I never got tired of the puns or the broad humor. There were a few running jokes, and in this ebook they held up very well to the test of time. They never got old.

The characters were all unique individuals with their own backstories and personalities. I found myself sharing their aspirations, and taking part in their victories, as well as their failures. I never before imagined having anything in common with a smelly, rock-throwing giant... it was a new experience.

This story was fun.

Not just a little fun, understand, but holy-crap-I-finally-found-a-comedic-fantasy-that-I-actually-liked-so-I'm-going-to-dance-around-the-house-until-I'm-placed-in-a-straight-jacket fun. 

The kind of story that makes you want to read the next. Right now.

It did have some flaws, of course. All books do. In this one, a comma was forgotten between the words me and too somewhere in the last third of the book.

Seriously. The editing was so flawless that that's the only proofreading flaw I discovered. That's better than most novels that come through big publishing houses.

Ok, ok...

There was one flaw that did get to me. The elf felt overwhelmingly neglected. It seemed as though the authors were afraid of digging too deeply into his story. Perhaps this was due to a fear of losing readers, since the elf was not your standard neutral character? 

I hope not, because we need more diversity in literature, and I was happy to see that one of the dominant characters in A Quest of Undoing was gay. I just wish the authors hadn't shied away from him as much as they did.

Even with that, however, I found A Quest of Undoing to be a great example of comedic fantasy. The story flowed, the characters were likeable, and it made me laugh. I'll definitely read the next book in the series. 

Treasured Tome Status Achieved


And I should also point out that the Acknowledgements section was far more entertaining than any other I have ever read. I loved it!

Whoever thought they'd hear someone say something like that?!

A Quest of Undoing can be found on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

And one last thing: Read the comments at the beginning of the book! Trust me. You'll see why.

Now that I've found my first Treasured Tome, I'm jazzed up and ready to seek out the next one.
Will it be yours?