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bookblogger (Columbus, OH)

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Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools (The Wardstone Trilogy Book 2)
Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools (The Wardstone Trilogy Book 2)
Price: £5.11

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story keeps getting better, 29 May 2012
Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools is the second book in the Wardstone Trilogy. M.R. Mathias picks up where he left off in The Sword and the Dragon. I am really enjoying this series and can't wait for the third book to be released. This book keeps all the strengths of the first book, but with a lot of the world building out of the way the characters and story are really given room to shine.

Since I don't want to give away any plot spoilers I'll skip the description and just say that if you were on the fence about the first book this is definitely worth checking out and if you enjoyed the The Sword and the Dragon this will be right up your alley.

Review copy provided by the author.


Trial of Tears
Trial of Tears
Price: £2.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Friendship, murder, drugs, love, this book has a whole lot going on, 25 May 2012
This review is from: Trial of Tears (Kindle Edition)
Trial of Tears follows Pete, an ex-undercover narcotic cop who now runs a small time recording studio. While out enjoying himself with some friends at a local club he finds a member of the performing band dead in the bathroom of an OD, bringing his old life rushing back to him.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I have never been to New York myself, but can tell that the city has great meaning for the author. The descriptions of the places and the nightlife are vivid and well done. The characters are really the highlight of the book though. Pete and his best friend Styx are two pretty average guys, which contributes greatly to their appeal. They have a great back and forth with their dialogue, leading to a good amount of humor being thrown into a book that is pretty serious in nature. Most of the bad guys are pretty serious sociopaths who are believable enough to make the thought of them a bit frightening. I know I never want to meet people who would make jokes while lighting a homeless man on fire.

The story flows smoothly and did a wonderful job pulling me into Chris's world. By the end of the book I was taking my copy with me everywhere I went to see how it ended. I checked his webpage and saw that there is a sequel in the works and that is something I will be checking out for sure.

Review copy provided by literary publicist.


Wind-Scarred (The Will of the Elements Book 1)
Wind-Scarred (The Will of the Elements Book 1)
Price: £0.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite series this year, 25 May 2012
I will have to say that Wind-Scarred is the beginning of what has become one of my favorite series this year. Granted only two books have been released at this point, but I've been drawn in by the magnificent characters and the unique story. Ezra Hawkins is a member of the privileged elite, his family legacy has set him up for life and he has the brains to continue to honor their memory.

In the past there was an event that caused humanity to isolate and protect itself from complete destruction. Several generations later they are still living in their safe haven, but Ezra believes that the world is ready for re population. He designs an experiment to get him outside the protective dome that covers the city and sees the planet is in wonderful shape and he even sees some people living peacefully. Upon his return to his domed city he is ready to reveal the truth of the outside world to all the people and expects to be a hero, but his triumphant return changes into something he never saw coming.

When Ezra hooks up with the group that he goes on his adventures with the story really comes alive. The interactions are fantastic and the book is filled with pop-culture references that add a solid layer of humor to the book. The magic system is what really sets the book apart, but since it's not really explained until a bit later I don't want to go into a lot of detail with it. It is based around the major elements and lightning is added as a fifth. Another excellent aspect of this book is the advanced technology. There are some amazingly cool toys that everyone gets to play with and Sky has a strong mathmatical background so there seems to be some solid theory behind some of the stuff. The fact that Ezra is vastly intelligent surrounded by people who are better fighters than him also leads to more creative action sequences than just two people swinging swords or shooting guns. All of these things combine to make a book that has everything it takes to succeed and thrive. Do yourselves a favor and take the time to check this one out if you are a fan of fantasy at all.

Review copy provided by the author.


The Kingdoms of Evil
The Kingdoms of Evil
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A humorous fantasy tale, 23 May 2012
Kingdoms of Evil has a very unique story to it. In simple terms the world is divided into three parts good, neutral, and evil. When a kid attending school on the good side of the world receives a letter telling him he is the newest overlord of evil he figures it's some kind of prank. None of his friends will fess up and things change radically when a chariot that seems to feel pain arrives to take him to his new kingdom.

This book has a great story, but it takes a bit to get to it. Early on when Skree is showing Feerborg the ropes his groveling is a bit long winded for my taste. Later in the book there is enough other stuff going on that it doesn't become a distraction, early on however it really kind of drones for a bit. After getting through the beginning Feerborg's time in the Kingdom of Evil the book really picks up in pace and brings some humor to the mix. Everything in evil is done horribly inefficiently and since he was raised in the Kingdom of Good it bothers Feerborg immensely. While he is trying to survive the seemingly national pastime of assassinating the Emperor his friends begin journey's of their own.

I'm giving this book a solid 4 stars since as I said if you make it through the early stuff you have a real gem of a story. The magic in the Kingdom of Evil is pretty awesome and there are plenty of examples of it to get the reader interested. The systems used by the other peoples are good too, but the Evil was by far the coolest. If you're looking for a fantasy book that takes a look at the evil side of life, this is a great choice. Feerborg isn't a bad guy, he could even be considered a good guy, but being surrounded by evil beings that he is expected to lead gives the story a different feel than most.

Review copy provided by the author.


The Nameless Dwarf Omnibus: Nameless Dwarf Series books 1-3 (Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf)
The Nameless Dwarf Omnibus: Nameless Dwarf Series books 1-3 (Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf)
Price: £3.51

4.0 out of 5 stars Each progressive story draws you in more, 18 May 2012
4.5 stars

The Nameless Dwarf Omnibus contains the first three stories following the dwarf known only as Nameless. If you have read some of Derek's other work than you may be familiar with him as he has been a companion of Shadrak the Unseen and Deacon Shader.

The book starts out with Nameless being a very mysterious figure who has hired a boy from the Night Hawks (a criminal group) to help him find information on where his people have fled to. Nils, his companion, is the son of the leader of the guild out to prove his worth as a man. During the journey they meet up with Silas, a magic user, who is studying the stolen grimoire of the Liche Lord Otto Blightey. At the end of Ant-Man Ilesa joins up with the group as well. She is a woman who seems to have some level of skill with shapeshifting/illusion magic. As the stories progress the characters true natures are revealed as their stories are unraveled. Derek has done a wonderful job keeping the main story on point while gradually revealing the backgrounds of all the people involved.

The book starts out with a lot of information and someone who is unfamiliar with the world Derek has created might struggle a bit at first. As the book progresses everything comes together beautifully and by the end I didn't want to stop reading for any reason. I will also be checking out the next story in the series, The Ebon Staff as soon as possible to see what will happen.

Review copy provided by the author.


Jaguar Sun (The Jaguar Sun Series Book 1)
Jaguar Sun (The Jaguar Sun Series Book 1)
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very cool shapeshifter story, 18 May 2012
The story of Jaguar Sun follows a young woman named Maya. She is a bit socially awkward and very self conscious of the fact, it doesn't help that she has a Hispanic background in New Mexico and speaks no Spanish at all. Luckily for her she still has a few very strong friends. Alyssa and Damian are twins who have been around Maya for a long time and are wonderfully supportive, Matt is her boyfriend and dream guy. When Maya begins to be haunted by a shadowy figure that has been figuring in her dreams lately she thinks she is losing her mind. She goes to see her grandmother who is a Mayan elder for advice. Her grandmother tells her she may be becoming a shifter, and as the story progresses Maya discovers that there is a lot riding on her ability to master her new found abilities.

I really enjoyed the role that shifters had in this book. It is a fairly rare occurrence, but not at all unheard of. They face some negative societal stigmas and some live normal lives without revealing their abilities. Maya's manifestation brings about some internal strife that would be expected in any teenager whose life gets turned upside down. The only aspect of the characters that I didn't really enjoy is the relationship between Matt and Maya. It was a bit too teen romance novely for me. The seemed to be inseparable and distance actually caused them discomfort. There is an explanation for this provided in the book, but it was still a bit overdone for me.

There are many good aspects to appeal to readers highschool and up. The story is well done, the characters are easy to relate to, and there are multiple cultures that are highlighted. The Mayan culture is at the forefront, but there is also a lot of other South American cultures mentioned and Damian is gay and totally comfortable with it. There is a scene where he gets bullied and someone stands up for him and I really liked to see that acceptance displayed in a highschool setting. The variety of shifter is also very cool and the spiritual magic that Maya learns about as the story progresses seems to have very cool applications. This is a story that I plan to follow to the conclusion and I am really looking forward to the second volume.

Review copy provided by the author.


The Shadowed Path (The Archwood Chronicles Book 1)
The Shadowed Path (The Archwood Chronicles Book 1)
Price: £3.14

4.0 out of 5 stars A solid fantasy debut, 15 May 2012
The Shadowed Path takes place in a Roman like world starting out with a gladiatorial scene that unveils the most unique race of the book, the inhumanii. This race specializes in guiding people through the horribly dark forest that separates the Parsian Empire from the rest of the world. The warriors are called waystalkers and they are completely unable to raise their arms against the empire ensuring their continuing slavery.

The story follows a group of merchants travelling through the forest in order to make their fortunes. When their inhumanii guides turn out to be fake the caravan gets attacked and almost wiped out. There are only three survivors who have bonded for life after making it through the trials in the forest.

I really enjoyed the book as the similarity to Roman times has always intrigued me. The characters were well done although towards the end I really didn't like the way that Tyacles started to act. The special armor that the waystalkers used was also a very cool idea that I would like to see some more info on as the series progresses. This is one that I will be following this series for certain.

Review copy provided by the author.


The Great Peace: Or, Get with the Pogrom
The Great Peace: Or, Get with the Pogrom
Price: £3.07

4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story about art., 8 May 2012
When I started to read The Great Peace I'll admit I really wasn't sure what to expect. The first couple of chapters kept me guessing as I started the book, but the more I read the more I was pulled into the story. Rufus Wiggin is a man whose father made enough money that he was comfortably distant from the reality of life. Though when Polo Younger starts to build his power Rufus sees his frivolous lifestyle diminish. His legendary parties begin to fall to the wayside and eventually he runs out of things to amuse himself with. He decides to head to a local tavern and make a grand gesture by taking his own life after a poetic speech, dreaming of his own martyrdom. After his attempt fails on every conceivable level, he lives and no one really cared that he tried to kill himself, he decides to watch the band that is playing their final show ever. The music speaks to him and awakens a desire for life that he had been missing. His first interaction with the band members really doesn't go according to plan, although it does have some decent hilarity for the reader.

As Rufus gets to know the band members he becomes more conscious of the struggle that people who don't have a nearly unlimited bank account are going through. Polo Younger worked his way through the bureaucracy using the apathy of existing members with his extremely deep pockets to start a movement giving him as much if not more power than the city council. He has his own thug squad that patrols the street and make sure that no unlawful art is being produced.

The book has a very dystopian feel reminiscent of 1984 by Orwell. There are also several humorous descriptions used by Rufus to describe Polo. I'll have to say I was surprised how interested in the book I became since it had such an unusual (for me) story. The way the characters were written and the interactions they had were where the appeal came from for me. Rufus was a guy who was evolving through the story, first he just wanted to change and thought a simple thing would do it, but he actually began to see why evolution was required. Satch was also a great character, although he mainly provided a bit of comic relief.

The author has a lot of time invested in various forms of art so there is some insider knowledge when it comes to some of the things discussed in the book. Personally I have no talent in any kind of artistic endeavor so I never would have thought about a lot of the more serious aspects of this book without being exposed to them through reading it. The book does a wonderful job of presenting a rather serious topic without taking itself too seriously. The conflict of freedom of expression vs censorship from those in power is a prevalent theme through the book, although to be honest I'm not sure censorship is actually the best word to describe the situation. This is a great book if you liked 1984 or if you are just looking for a unique story set in a slightly altered America.


The Scene (Dylan Hart Odyssey of the Occult Book 1)
The Scene (Dylan Hart Odyssey of the Occult Book 1)
Price: £2.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical vampire book., 8 May 2012
When I was first contacted by R.M. to review her book, The Scene, I was a bit wary. A vampire novel with some reviews talking about a possible romantic angle? That could go horribly wrong for my taste. Luckily I gave the book a shot and read the sample. This story is nothing like I expected, it would actually be hard to get further from what I thought would happen.

First off the characters, Dylan is a woman who is not what normally appears in books (at least the ones I have read). She is a pretty strong female character that has times of doubt, but manages to do so without becoming whiny and needy. That would have been a signal for me to stop reading that I never received. The self confidence she has seems totally realistic, there are some situations where she is totally in control, but when she is out of her comfort zone she is not afraid to lean on people around her to get the job done. Tatum is Dylan's best friend and sounding board. They are also a comic duo that works pretty well to keep things interesting as the story progresses. Cyrus is the male underwear model that seems to be a little too interested in Dylan for her own comfort and Mike is her over protective, still hasn't let go ex-boyfriend. Out of that cast of characters Mike is the only one that is pretty much what you would expect. He is over protective, jealous, and a bit predictable in his role.

Second the story. Honestly this is a very difficult thing to discuss without giving things away. I'll say that Dylan and Tatum team up to investigate some strange killings that have been happening. The victims, all women, have been found totally drained of blood with their bodies dumped. Dylan is thinking that with the current vampire craze she can write a book based around the events and make a mint so she leans on Mike who is a detective on the case. After an epic fail while attempting to meet someone who can give her some insight to the vampire sub-culture in L.A. she enlists Tatum's aid in finding a good club where she may get some decent info. Enter Cyrus into the story. When the amazingly gorgeous man turns out to be the figure from the underwear billboard near her place Dylan can't believe that he is actually talking to her and for the most part ignoring Tatum. When he offers to get them into an exclusive club that caters to the vampire lifestyle she couldn't have turned him down if she wanted to. That begins a whole lot of strange discoveries and plot twists that had me guessing for the length of the book.

The only real downside I found was there were a few parts towards the middle where the mystery became less fun and more annoying. Again I can't go into details without spoiling anything, but I will say that by the end I was totally involved again and I am 100% going to be looking into the second book when it becomes available.

If you are looking for a book that will keep you guessing with excellent characters and a good amount of humor be sure to check this one out.


The Seven (Fist of Light Series Book 1)
The Seven (Fist of Light Series Book 1)
Price: £2.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A first time author with a lot of potential, 25 April 2012
The Seven follows the life of Caleb Holden, a young man who has spent the last several years living on the streets. When Caleb was 12 years old men broke into his parents house and he followed the established family plan and grabbed some money and ran. He has kept hope alive for 5 years believing that his parents are out somewhere looking for him.

When Caleb gets put into a pretty nice orphanage after getting picked up off the street he decides to stick around for a while. He meets some people that actually have a chance at becoming friends for him. Living on the street for so long has given him some pretty major trust issues so that would be a first. As Caleb is enrolled in the local highschool he starts to learn that everything is not as it seems and trolls and goblins really do exist. Jas is another kid in school who Caleb forms a bond with and sort of walks him through all of the new discoveries he is making.

The negatives to the story are the dialogue being a bit advanced for most highschool kids and especially one who has spent a good portion of his life on the street. The other big issue I found was how much time Caleb spent inside his own head. I don't mean the training exercises he was being taught to do, but he has a very analytical mind and the reader is shown a bit too much of his though processes. There were times when I thought this slowed the book down a bit.

The good aspects were many and made the book a worthwhile read despite my earlier criticisms. The powers that were revealed in the book were well done with the specializations and the applications of them. The Were clans were also an excellent addition to the supernatural cast and they were used in a way that is a bit atypical for shapeshifters. This is a good read from a young other who shows an amazing amount of promise.

Review copy provided by the author.


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