Book Review: The Author Mindset


Author
Ask any dedicated author and they will tell you that coming up with the idea for a story is probably the easiest part of the writing process. Sitting down and writing the book is certainly time consuming, while editing and rewriting is probably the hardest part of the process. One thing most of us fail to think about is the selling. How do we market our books? How do we get our name known by the masses?
The Author Mindset, by Falcon Storm, takes a look at what it means to be an author and offers advice on the writing process and the steps to take once the story is set to paper. I listened to the Audio Book version of the book and checked it against an e-copy, but this review will include my input on the audio version as well as the content.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Author Mindset”

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Book Review: Alt.Histroy 101


Book Review

What if? It is a simple question. What if I hadn’t gone to work this morning? Would I still have gotten in a car wreck in the afternoon? What if I had taken Mary to prom instead of Nancy? Would I still be a teenage father? What if?

Alt.History 101 asks, “What if?” on a much larger scale, considering the implications of small changes on a world scale. The collection of short stories is a fun, and often terrifying, glimpse at what might have been if the events of the past had changed. Each author is talented in their own right, but as a collective this work takes, “What if?” to a whole new level.

THE GOOD

The story telling collected in this book is incredible. Personally I am unfamiliar with most of the authors, but there is one I have read and reviewed before (Pavarti K. Tyler), but I think that is a situation I plan on remedying soon. Each story was well done with varying degrees of the fantastic. The personal perspective of the stories is part of what makes them so enjoyable. The dialogue and action feels real and makes the mind bending alternate histories feel like they are possible.

THE BAD

There is very little to complain about in this book or in the individual stories. A few of the stories are less straight forward in what caused the change in history, and without reading the synopses in the front of the book, the reader is left to guess what event might have caused the change. The history tackled is primarily Euro-centric, but this is a minor thing. A more global telling would be welcome, but the history is less familiar to English speakers than the history approached here.

THE TAKEAWAY

This is an excellent piece of speculative fiction. Any fan of the genre would do well to buy this anthology and read it as soon as possible. Since the intent is for this to be the first book in a series, I look forward to the next offering.

 

Book Review: Song of Secrets


Shifting was weird.

Transformation always felt like being hit in the forehead so suddenly that her consciousness fell backwards out of her body.

There was a dizzying minute while she got her bearings. She’d learned not to move during that time. Theo thought the shift ought to make a vibration like a bell being struck, but without sound. It didn’t, but the tingle of ionization, like the sensation and smell that preceded lightning, followed her through from whatever magic space her body travelled. That was that: Theo was human again.

She blinked, feeling overwhelmingly thirsty and itchy. She rubbed her face with her hands and then brushed her palms over her shoulders and down her arms, already chilly. Clothing didn’t change with her body, so she was bare as the day she was born.

Above, in the house, an alarm clanged.

Oh shit! Motion triggered? She should’ve known better. She’d been in houses where the alarm wouldn’t register the cat but would pick up a human.

Cold adrenaline shot through her blood and she grinned. Time to grab and run.

Against one wall was a long walking stick with a cloth wrap on a peg. She grabbed the stick and swung it at the nearest cases, shattering the glass. Taking the cloth wrap, she doubled it up and made a pouch of it, then walked carefully amid the shattered cases, trying to avoid the broken glass and grab what she could.

The door swung open and the older man stared at her in shock. Theo returned the favor because his pupils were no longer a cloudy gray but red and slit like a cat’s.

Wait, what?

What was he? A demon?

He opened his mouth and said a few words in a language Theo didn’t recognize. Magic?

If magic was going down, the time to book it was long passed.

Theo darted across the room, shouldered him out of the way, and sprinted up the stairs.

Over the last few days, she’d cased the place well so she knew her exit: through the garden to the place where broken bricks made the wall easy to scale. It was early spring and the ground felt spongy under Theo’s bare feet. The cool air brought goose pimples to her skin. She had tiny wave of guilt as her feet trampled the newly planted garden, but that feeling evaporated when she saw how quickly the old man moved. She figured he’d be spry and fit, but something about his movements were… unnatural. Theo didn’t have the luxury to really examine him, but it was almost as if, instead of a natural run, the old guy leaped forward in too-long bounds, almost like an animal, but even then, unnaturally so as it was more jerky than graceful.

Shit. That was creepy.

Theo made for the wall as fast as she could. The bricks were rough on her hands and feet, but she’d done this sort of thing enough—even in the dead of winter—that she had hard callouses for palms and soles.

Yep, demon or magic of some kind.

Unknown (2015-03-11T05:00:00+00:00). Song of Secrets-eBook (Kindle Locations 88-116). Level Up Press. Kindle Edition.

Booke Review

Everyone has their problems, but when those problems are multiplied by the sudden revelation that magic is real, the three young women and the young man brought to a special school where their particular talents will be explored and enhanced, they find out their not alone in their misery and that they may just need each other if they’re going to survive the challenges ahead. A cabal of humans who want to dissect those they do not understand is hunting them while they are forced to come to grips with their own tragedies and the reality of their new existence.

THE GOOD

The characters in this book are fabulous. Their flaws and talents are doled out with a pace that does not overwhelm the reader, but makes the characters feel so very human and familiar despite their supernatural gifts. The tension between them, both sexual and emotional, is perfect and enhances the story without becoming a dramatic focus that takes away from the adventure. The villains are despicable and the supporting characters are unique without overwhelming the story. The pace and telling of the story is well done and does not come off as herky-jerky despite the constant changes in point of view. The sex scenes are erotic without being erotica. There is a definite sense of the passion without taking it down a road where titillation is the end result.

THE BAD

There’s not much to complain about with this book. I wish it were a little longer, but it is obviously the first book in a series and I suppose it would be too much to ask for a complete resolution of issues in the introductory novel.

THE TAKEAWAY

This is a very good book. If you like urban fantasy or paranormal romance novels then you should definitely enjoy this book. I would definitely recommend giving it a read, but be warned, you’ll be stuck waiting for the sequel and that seems almost cruel.

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

Welcome to another exciting publishing house spotlight tour from Novel Publicity. Join us as two new titles from Rachel Calish–we’re calling them the Calish Couple—tour the blogosphere in a way that just can’t be ignored. And, hey, we’ve got prizes!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either a $50 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of Song of Secrets by Tate Hallaway and Rachel Calish, or an autographed copy of its tour mate, The Demon Gabriella by Rachel Calish. Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Calish Couple tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: Sing a song of secrets …
A shape-shifter with a penchant for breaking and entering …
A homeless boy struggling with hallucinations that could turn out to be all too real …
A monster in need of a rescue …
And a mathematical genius with a real demon of a mother …
Fate draws Theo, Gabe, Erin and Kitty to a place they jokingly call “The School for Wayward Demons.” There they learn that sinister forces threaten to invate the city of San Francisco and plot to overthrow the powers that be. Now they must choose whom to trust: the witches, the demon, or the Shaitans. Or each other.Get Song of Secrets through Amazon.

About the authors: Tate Hallaway leads a double life. By day, she’s Lyda Morehouse, a mild-mannered science fiction author of the Shamus and Philip K. Dick award-winning AngeLINK series. By night, she’s the bestselling para- normal romance and urban fantasy writer, Tate Hallaway. She’s written and published over a dozen novels (five as Lyda and nine as Tate), and together her two identities have over a decade of professional publishing experience.
Connect with Tate on her website, Twitter,or GoodReads..
Rachel Calish lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota because it’s so cold you just have to sit inside and write novels. She obtained her Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree by writing stories about sexy demons. A fan of games of all kinds, you can find her playing anything from the lat- est video game releases to Checkers with half the pieces missing. Under the name Rachel Gold, she writes LBGTQ Young Adult fiction.
Connect with Rachel on her website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads..

Learn more about Song of Secrets‘s tour mate HERE.

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Book Review – Logos


BOOK REVIEW – LOGOS

Book Review

It is easy to forget that the stories written in the bible involved people outside of the main characters and their families. Real people living their lives in a time of great change were deeply effected by the coming of Jesus and the occupation of Palestine by the Romans. The priests, tradesmen, nobles and their families had to survive in a time of upheaval and chaos as the Jews tried to rise up from centuries of domination under the hands of the Persian and Romans. John Neeleman’s debut novel, Logos, is a story about the Jewish nobles of the time, the decisions they made, and the results.

THE GOOD

This is a highly detailed read filled with so many specifics about the setting that it immerses the reader into the world of first century Palestine and Jerusalem. The buildings, the politics, the dress, all come alive while reading this book. The characters and the events leap off of the page and paint a picture that is easy to lose oneself in. I am not an expert on this period, but I know enough to be impressed.  While the setting is important, I want to make sure that you understand that the characters and story are not overshadowed by the details, but rather they are enhanced by it to the point of making them seem even more real in the reader’s mind’s eye.

THE BAD

If there is a problem in this book it is in the dialogue. When they speak, the characters lose their identities. If the attributions were removed it would be hard to identify which character was saying what. There are times when the pace comes to a crawl in order for the author to explain some point or describe some aspect of the setting. While the detail is appreciated, it can slam the brakes on the pacing.

THE TAKEAWAY

Overall I enjoyed this book. I thought it offered an interesting glimpse into a period of time that is often glossed over in the history books and brings a sense of humanity to a period that had an impact on history that we still feel the repercussions of today. I would definitely recommend picking up this book, but with the caveat that due to some of the religious contexts within the book, there are people who will take offense. Relax and enjoy the story for what it is, a piece of fiction rooted in historical reality, and you will come out the other end the better for having read it.

 

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of LOGOS! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official LOGOS tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: While novels and cinema have repeatedly sought after the historical Jesus, until now none have explored what may be a more tantalizing mystery—the Christian story’s anonymous creator. Logos is a literary bildungsroman about the man who will become the anonymous author of the original Gospel, set amid the kaleidoscopic mingling of ancient cultures. Logos is a gripping tale of adventure, a moving love story, and a novel of ideas. None of this should be regarded as out of place or incompatible in a novel about Christianity’s origin. Dissent, anarchism, and revolution—and incipient Christianity was no less these things than the Bolshevik, the French or the American revolutions—inevitably have involved ideas, adventure, and romance.

In A.D. 66, Jacob is an educated and privileged Greco-Roman Jew, a Temple priest in Jerusalem, and a leader of Israel’s rebellion against Rome. When Roman soldiers murder his parents and his beloved sister disappears in a pogrom led by the Roman procurator, personal tragedy impels Jacob to seek blood and vengeance. The rebellion he helps to foment leads to more tragedy, personal and ultimately cosmic: his wife and son perish in the Romans’ siege of Jerusalem, and the Roman army destroys Jerusalem and the Temple, and finally extinguishes Israel at Masada. Jacob is expelled from his homeland, and he wanders by land and sea, bereft of all, until he arrives in Rome. He is still rebellious, and in Rome he joins other dissidents, but now plotting ironic vengeance, not by arms, but by the power of an idea.

Paul of Tarsus, Josephus, the keepers of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and even Yeshua, the historical Jesus himself, play a role in Jacob’s tumultuous and mysterious fortunes. But it is the women who have loved him who help him to appreciate violence’s dire cycle.Get LOGOS through Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: John Neeleman spends his days working as a trial lawyer in tall buildings in downtown Seattle. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children. He also represents death row inmates pro bono in Louisiana and Texas. As a novelist, his editorial model is historical fiction in a largely realistic mode, though there are hallucinatory passages that reflect Neeleman’s concern with philosophical and spiritual matters, in part a residue of his religious upbringing. He was raised as a seventh generation Mormon, and rebelled, but never outgrew his interest in metaphysical concerns.
Connect with John on his publisher’s website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads..

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Book Review – The Sword and the Flame: The Lightwalker


The whispering sound of its voice resounded in Fleir’s ears. To listen to the words felt like a handful of razor claws were slicing through her mind. Steeling herself, she held back the pain to glare at the intruder. “You said you didn’t come here to fight. Then why are you here?”

The Dark Fey’s gaze turned toward Nyanna then back to Fleir. “To complete my part of a bargain. Nothing more and nothing you need to be concerned about.”

It took a moment for Fleir to understand the meaning behind the Dark Fey’s words. When she did, her eyes widened as a terrifying thought occurred to her. “You’ll not have her to feast on!”

The Dark Fey laughed so hard his darkened, wrinkled flesh looked ready to tear and fall off his body. “I cannot devour a child of Fey no more than you can, sister. But others wish to have her and I will fulfill my obligation.”

“Who?” Fleir struggled to find a way to trick the Dark Fey standing before her, but all she could think of to do was protect her daughter.

The Dark Fey remained still for a moment as he studied them. The emotions his Fey sister had for the child cascaded from her in powerful waves capable of drowningany not strong enough to rise above them. The more he looked at them, the more he remembered life with his sister before he was taken from the world of light. Such a thought was rare, but it carried a powerful spell he could never refuse. So with that, he decided to warn his Fey sister of the perils in their future. “Act quickly, Sister. The time for Darkness is near and we shall not be spared from his vengeance if we fail to move.”

Fleir’s face twisted in a confused scowl. She knew Dark Fey couldn’t be trusted, but there was something different about the being. There was something behind the cold, dark eyes she didn’t expect to see. “Whose vengeance? What Darkness?” She knew it had to be powerful to concern a Dark Fey and she tried to hide her growing fear. Why hadn’t she sensed anything?

“Solaria.”

Bialois, CP (2014-11-22). The Sword and the Flame: The Lightwalker (pp. 325-327). CP Bialois. Kindle Edition.

book Reviews C. P. Bialois

A few years have passed since the events of The Sword and the Flame: The Purging, and the group of friends responsible for saving the world have moved on. New tasks and realities replaced the lives of adventure left behind, but time moves ever forward and whispers of a new threat rattle those that know to be afraid. The Gods are maneuvering their chosen pawns about the playing field and the question is whether or not they will be in time to face an ancient darkness bent on returning to the world of Pyrain. Continue reading “Book Review – The Sword and the Flame: The Lightwalker”

Cover Reveal: The Winter Creek Hunter


Not too long ago I wrote a review for C. P. Bialois’s The Winter Creek Beast and now I am proud to present the cover for the latest book in the series, The Winter Creek Hunter. If you haven’t read the first one I know you’ll want to check it out because it is an affordable little read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I look forward to reading this book and giving you my review.

When a bounty hunter arrives looking for the Beast armed with silver bullets, Jay faces the proposition that he could be in the crosshairs as another, deadlier creature rises from the curse of the past.

The Winter Creek Hunter Cover Reveal Cover Art By R.J. Keith[/caption]

About the author: Where do I begin? Well first I guess it’s only fair to say that CP Bialois isn’t my real name. It’s a collaboration I made out of the three greatest pets anyone could ever want. My real name is Ed and I’m just an average person that has found a way to do what he loves.

CP author pic

For as long back as I can remember I loved to pretend. Whether it was with my Transformers, GI Joe, or He-Man toys I loved to create intricate plots and have them fight it out. As a fan of horror, science fiction, action, and comedy I dare say my taste in movies are well rounded. Some of my favorites were Star Wars, Star Trek, martial arts, and anything with Schwarzenegger in them.

I’d write my own stories about the characters I saw in the theaters or TV or I’d just daydream about what I’d see myself as the hero of course. You can’t have a daydream without beating the bad guys, getting the girl, etc. It’s just not right to envision yourself as a flunky or sidekick.

As far as books I loved Sherlock Holmes, Treasure Island, Dracula, and the normal assortment. My early love was the Star Trek novels, I’d read them or the Hardy Boys relentlessly. For a time I could tell you the plot of over a hundred books not to mention comics.

I have to come clean and say that I learned to read because of comic books. I was bored, make that extremely bored when we started to read in school. Reading “the cat fell down” really didn’t interest me. My dad, who continues to astound me with his insight to this day, figured comics would work. With that in mind he went to the newstand in town and bought issues of Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Tales From the Crypt, and Spider-man. He patiently read through them with me until I picked it up. Whether it was him or the comics I learned to read in about two weeks and for a while few were as good as I was. For years after that whenever we’d go out he’d always spring for a couple of comic books for me.

While it wasn’t exactly the perfect beginning everything I’ve ever read or have seen has influenced me in some way and now is the time I’d like to share some of the ideas I’ve had over the years with all of you. I hope you enjoy my stories, they’re always fun to write and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

 

Book Review

Book Review – Fire and Dust


Book Review

War is an ugly business. There is conflict from the top to the bottom, between enemies and allies alike, and it is hard to survive the matter. But survival comes in many forms. For some it is enough to live, to see the other end of the war with breath in your lungs. For others it is not enough to live, but to maintain one’s integrity and honor. War breaks men down, brings out their best and worst qualities as time goes on, and in the end it changes everyone it touches.

Fire and Dust is the second book of The Fire Trilogy by Christopher Datta, and it focuses in on members of the Confederate Army at the Battle of Chickamauga and the Siege of Chattanooga. The infighting amongst the generals and the hardships of the soldiers and their families are described in exquisite detail as the author tells his story. This is not a simple story of soldiers and generals, it is the telling of a turning point in the war and it brings to life the people involved, whether they were on the front lines or maintaining a home far from the action.

THE GOOD

The characters in this book are the driving force and the author does an excellent job making even the minor characters stand out as individuals. The accents feel genuine and the dialog straight out of the time period. It is easy to forget in reading this book that the events occurred one-hundred and fifty years ago, not yesterday. The various locations are wonderfully described and when the fighting happens the words pull you along at the breakneck pace of combat.  It is hard to find better writing than this.

THE BAD

It is hard to find fault with this novel on any level, so I won’t bother trying. This book is the real deal.

THE TAKEAWAY

As someone who thoroughly enjoys the American Civil War, I found this book thoroughly enjoyable and found myself reaching into my collection of books to check on some of the events presented, and I was never left wanting. The writing is superb and the storytelling is amazing. This is a story that has its hard moments and I found myself talking out loud while reading. The story is tragic and beautiful, and I would not hesitate a moment to recommend this book to anyone.