The Iron Gods

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. This is an intriguing fantasy novella crafted by an author obviously full of passion for the genre. It’s rough around its edges and reads like an early draft in places, but there is something here. We’re thrust into a fantasy world tempered with science fiction elements. Although nothing in this book struck me as being daringly original or unique, it carries a certain charm that helps get the ball over the net in so many places. The journey feels rushed. Character exploration is fleeting. We head-hop between characters endlessly, and while there is great care undertaken to consider a larger fantasy world at play here, we are merely flung from one stage to the next. The villain is passable, the writing ranges from striking to tepid, and then back again. Yet despite its shortcomings, there is talent here that will only bloom with the right practice, care and attention. Action is plentiful, and the dialogue shines in places. There are some twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. As for presentation, the cover is well illustrated, but needs color to capture the eyes of buyers. There were a handful of typos, but they did not ruin my reading. This snack should satisfy the appetite of fantasy fans between their main-course tomes. This is just one opinion. Don’t forget to leave your own rating below! The Iron Gods 6.5 Total Score Users Score - (0 votes) Leave your rating Pros * Full of passion* Rough stone that needs polishing Cons * Pacing needs work* Suffers from head hopping Story Characters Writing Presentation Story...

Pieces of Revenge

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. Pieces of Revenge is the first book in the Titanium series, written by Valia Lind. It’s a young adult mystery with traces of romance. It’s also unnecessarily long and suffers as a result. For the ground covered, there’s no reason for the book to be as bloated as it is; the author spends far too long in her main character’s head, mulling over the same issues, and it begins to grate. Anastasia, or ‘Tasia’ as she’s often called, juggles her thirst for revenge with her romantic feelings for a boy. She’s been molded by vengeance, and she carries herself as a Jason Bourne type figure, quickly able to evaluate any given situation and threat. I’m not sure that I was exactly sold on her deftness; sure, we see her disarming and brutalizing thugs, surviving breakneck car chases, but because of the reliance on her internal struggle between honoring her family, and succumbing to the charms of a young man, the credibility of her fortitude crumbles. An editor would help here to trim the excess, and get us moving swiftly from point A to B. The writing style is decent, but lacks sparkle. And that’s down to the material. It’s an interesting premise, but nothing much else stands out. Neither the plot nor the characters. The romance feels rushed and unearned. That may be partly because I didn’t care much for the characters. And that’s even more telling for Tasia, whose family are wiped away before the novel begins. While such an action urges this reader to emphatize with the character, it does...

The Patriots of Mars

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. Jeff Faria’s sweeping space opera is bursting at the seams with living and breathing characters, crackling dialogue, exciting technology, and a plausible, daring futuristic setting. The strength of the work lies in its relentless world building, with every nook and cranny carefully considered. From the corporate higher tiers, to the dark underbelly. From the polished bot slaves to the wayward teenagers forging their destinies in the dirt. It’s clear that the author has patiently developed the finer points of this universe, right down to the tiniest grain of martian sand. The story begins with Josh, a gifted teenager struggling to find his place in this universe. However, the tale quickly branches off to incorporate world founders, antagonists and movers and shakers. As a result of the sheer scope, the story feels a little unfocused in the beginning stages, but it finds ground again when we’re thrust back into Josh’s world. We learn early on of Josh’s difficult upbringing and understand his struggle to find meaning and purpose in a chaotic world. Yet amid such a great ocean of characters, Josh can often become lost in the waves, so it’s always good to find him again. This reader would have enjoyed more time spent with this important character, and a chance to get closer inside his head. Faria is a talented writer; the book is packed full of memorable quotes, and his dialogue sparkles with believability and intensity. At times, the pace slows as Faria handles the unenviable task of juggling world building and plot building. I can’t help feeling that the book could...

Bring Your Own Baker

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. This is the second book in the Death by Cupcake series (Disclaimer: This is the only book in the series that I’ve read). Bring Your Own Baker follows the exploits of Anna, a baker who becomes embroiled in a murder investigation. I liked the concept, but dare I say it, the ingredients amounted to a flat product. It doesn’t help much that I found little in Anna to like. Sure, she’s pink-haired, with a pixie-like petite body, but beyond the surface level, she comes across as brattish and irrationally stubborn. When one of her old acquaintances is brutally murdered, she takes it upon herself to track down the mystery assailant. Despite resistance from her law enforcement friend, Anna stalks blindly into danger again and again. To complicate matters, there’s a romance thrown in here between Anna and a dangerous bad boy type character. Sadly, for me, there was no spark to find. Other than raw lust, there’s not much going on between these two. The author didn’t make me believe it. I felt that the chapter headings were clever, and some of the dialogue was snappy. However, dialogue exchanges were often bogged down by the character explaining her thought processes to the reader. This book makes for light digesting, but I would have preferred that the author scale back on all of the icing and sugar, and give us something with some real depth in its base. I think the author definitely has it in her. The writing style was pleasant to read with few typographical errors. Bring Your Own Baker...

Till The Rivers All Run Dry

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. A captivating historical fiction set in 1941, before America’s involvement in World War II. Ricky Parker, thirteen-years-old, travels with his parents to Venezuela; his father has been sent to help in the search for precious oil to fuel the war in Europe. But in the South American heat, just north of the equator, Ricky and his family are thrown into a melting pot of cultures, with the threat of disgruntled natives on one side, and, perhaps more unnerving for some of the Americans, German workers and families living in close proximity on the other side of the camp. This serves to create a tentative feeling around the site and a sense of foreboding that keeps the drama ticking along. But Ricky wants for nothing more than to sink into his comic books, or to swing his bat on the baseball field. The war, oil, his father’s engineering brain – none of these things concern him. To complicate matters, he falls for a young German girl, Hannah, and begins to understand a broader picture, of both love and life. They grow closer, knowing that one day, due to the growing animosity between their two governments, they will be forced to part. But when someone turns up dead in the camp, fingers start pointing, people become anxious and things begin to escalate. With time ticking down until America will be hurtled into the war, it’s only a matter of time until matters implode inside the camp. This is a well-written work that bottles the fear and tension of that era while serving up a...

Miss Landon & Aubranael

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. A fantasy romance with vivid color, an earthly realism and the sparkle of magic, but it could not hold this reviewer’s attention. But don’t get me wrong, this is a well crafted book and will find a happy home with many readers, but for one reason it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. While the language is pleasant, and the grammar exceptionally delivered, the writing feels overbearing at times. When making a point, the author often takes the scenic route. As a result, the book feels overly long, especially for such a simple, although entertaining, tale. Often I found myself hurrying the author along, because I felt several steps ahead, and eager for the pleasant prose to cease waffling on, and just bring me from point A to point B. The story is well crafted. Miss Landon has been unlucky in love, but when she travels to the faraway land of Aylfenhame, she encounters Aubranael, a disfigured man who dares to try win her heart. With a helping of magic, he dons the guise of a handsome and well-to-do gentleman and enters Miss Landon’s world of England and seeks to woo her. But will she discover the truth before the spell wears off? Characters are memorable, and the dialogue is rich and breathes life across the pages, however, for this reader, the author remained far too long inside her characters’ heads, processing thought constructs over multiple pages, when simple action would suffice. Perhaps the upright, well mannered, overly patient writing style is equally to blame. Genre lovers will find a lot to enjoy here;...