Review – Nolander

A couple people asked me what the other book I read on my plane flight was. It was Nolander by Becca Mills. It is a book I wouldn’t normally read, but I’m glad I did. The book is, very loosely, about a girl named Beth who finds out she’s special, which is pretty typical for an Urban fantasy, but that’s where the similarities end. It is the first book in the Emanations series. You can get it for free on Amazon here. The Author’s webpage is here.nolander

 Amateur photographer Beth Ryder is in trouble. She’s taking pictures of things she can’t see, things that aren’t human. Beth has her own dreams, but people like her don’t get to go free. She’s seized by a dangerous organization dedicated to keeping Earth’s shadow world — and its frightening inhabitants — a secret. Forced into otherworldly politics and uncertain whom to trust, Beth must come to terms with a radically altered future — one in which her own humanity seems to be draining away.  

The Good:

The writing quality for this book is off the charts. It’s so well written that I felt smarter by just having read it.

Beth is a good character, just the right mixture of weakness and strength. The bad guys were strong and overwhelming as well as charming. I got a real sense of fear from the supporting cast. Even the ones who barely talked seemed to have loads of backstory, but somehow, the book isn’t bogged down by it.

The fantasy worlds Beth travels to in Nolander are remarkably well done and incredibly creative to boot.

The Bad:

The book is long. A lot longer than I’d normally read. I tend to shy away from anything over three hundred pages. Still, the book kept me wanting to know more.

I’d also have liked to see Beth level up a little more, be a little more in control of her power by the end. I felt myself wanting the author to just get on with it.

The Ugly:

There were these weird chapters told from Beth’s perspective about another character that really threw me out of the book. Unfortunately, the book starts with one. I enjoyed the scenes, but I had to view them as almost a separate entity.

Keep in mind this is a first person book, and while there may be some way Beth learns of these events, it wasn’t made clear why she was able to tell this story during this book. Every time I got to one, I felt myself wanting to skip it, despite them being very well written. I didn’t because the character, Ghosteater, portrayed within them is remarkably likeable.

Overall:

I really enjoyed the book despite it being long (for me). I’m definitely going to read book 2 and am excited to see what happens to Beth. It’s definitely not your traditional urban fantasy because there’s not enough punching or kissing, but if you’re looking for a romp through an imaginative world with compelling characters, Nolander by Becca Mills is the place to be.

Time, Scope, and Fury

I got the first round of revision back from my editor on Hardboiled, the fifth Lillim book, Friday night and managed to send it back for line editing Sunday night. I got an email this morning from her saying that, basically, my genre (comicbook/videogame action) is right on the cusp of taking off or something. I guess she has a lot of writers from other genres (romance) trying to write what I do.

I don’t really get that, but hey, I guess she’d know.

Anyway, during the course of the email I sort of was laying out my plans which are more like a comic book event. Basically, I’m going to spin off a web of books that kind of all go together. If I pull it off, you should be fine just reading any of the series, but hopefully, I can pull you into the other ones. At least, that’s the goal.

I want to do something like this:

Lillim: 5 and 6 (maybe 7)

Thes: 1-3 (Under Wraps series)

Mal: 1-3 (Revelations series)

Thes’ wife: 1 (oh is that a spoiler mwa ha)

I sort of stole the idea from comic books. See they do these big “events” every year or two where suddenly the story is spread across all their lines. It sort of breaks those books out. So even though you don’t read Iron Man or the New Avengers, you go buy Iron Man 867 and New Avengers 53 because they tie into an event that started in Spider-Man 712 and X-men 465.

I want a reader who is interested in “the event” to be able to grab Lillim 5 after Thes or Mal and be okay, even if they haven’t read the first four. I think this happens now if my beta reader is right. Of course, ideally, a reader would read the first 4 Lillim books, but those aren’t part of the event.

The only problem is it takes me about a month to write a book and about a week to edit it. Lillim five is just about done, thankfully, and I’m about halfway done writing Under Wraps. I want to finish it this week so I can start Abby 2, even though I sort of cheated and wrote the first chapter already. (I also wrote the first chapter of a Lillim Prequel and of Thes’ wife #1)

I’ve come to the conclusion I do not have enough time to do this, especially if I want to write Abby 2 and 3 before Christmas. I want either Abby 3 or Mal 3 to come out in December. The other will be in November. The problem is that I’m looking at nine more books to finish my event, which is crazy because that will be something like half a million words. That’s not counting the Abby books.

Anyway, I’m just going to have to figure out how to write faster. I’m going to try and push from my 2-3k words a day to 5kish. If I can do that, then I will be able to bang out a book in fifteen days or so. Of course I could slow down, but books in my head don’t sell unfortunately.

Also, I’ve got some really cool ideas for the first Gamer Girl book. I think this one’s going to be good. I’m going to try and finish the outline this week for that. I want to lead off the year with Gamer Girl, but I need to close down some of these series first. Thankfully, Thes, Abby, and Mal are designed as trilogies. That may change, but well, shrug.

I also got a really interesting review for Alone in the Dark, my short story. Basically, I infuriated the reader, but in a good way.

I finally have a cover for the Caleb Missions. I’m going to try and put them up in the next week or two. I’d like to get two or three more written, and I only have two. Sigh.

Review – Incorruptible

I was recently on a plane flight to Florida to take the tyke to Disneyworld and had the opportunity to read the third book in the Push Chronicles, Incorruptible.

I have to say, this was easily my favorite book in the series. You can really tell Garner stepped up his game in this one. It didn’t feel like a day in the life of a super hero, which it easily could have. You can buy it on Amazon here. The Author’s webpage is here.

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Irene Roman a.k.a Indomitable and the heroes of Atlanta have lost. Now with Irene languishing in prison with no hope of escape, Atlanta has become the personal fiefdom of a man losing control of himself and his extremist Pushed vigilantes with only the people of the city to suffer. When a mysterious force gives Irene a chance to regain her freedom, she is forced to embrace new allies and recover old ones in an attempt to free her hometown. All roads lead towards a final confrontation, one that will decided the fate of a city as well as the ultimate fate of the Pushed in the world. Condemnation or acceptance, villainy or heroism, life or death, the time to decide is coming rapidly!

 

The Good:

The writing quality is so much better in this book that it’s hard to believe the same author wrote the first book. I mean he obviously has because the humor and action sequences are still there.

This book brought back everything I loved about Indomitable (Book 1). The crazy super heroes with crazier powers, the life and death situations, everything.

I also especially like the new “natural” he was one of my more liked characters.

The Bad:

The plot was a bit muddled in this book. I still loved it, but I often found myself wanting the author to get to the point and stop muddling around. I also never quite understand the mental leaps Irene makes. I mean I get why she did, but I’m often left with “of all things you decide to do that?”

The book also suffered a bit from the Dragon Ball Z effect where people started getting so strong that it was hard to think a “normal” person could deal with the situations. (That might be kind of the point though.)

The Ugly:

I didn’t like the idea that normal could become naturals and naturals could become pushed. I felt it sort of cheapened the brand, so to speak. It was sort of like if you eat your cheerios and drink your orange juice (or in Irene’s case eat your Vicodin and drink your vodka?) you too could become a pushed.

I felt like it cheapened Irene as well, since it was kind of her thing.

I also didn’t like Ian in the book. I wish he’d been deleted from the book entirely.

Overall:

If it was me knowing what I know now would I still have read the books? I’d definitely read the book. I’d still read the series, but I’d probably read book one, skip to the last 2 chapters of book 2, and read book 3. Then wait patiently for the next one.

Review – Indefatigable

Another free book, another review. This isn’t going to be a thing, I promise. Also, I just got the review art for the Lillim Callina box set. It contains volumes 1-3 and is for those of you who don’t like to buy individual things. Because why would you?

Okay, let’s start out with the obvious. Indefatigable is a way less cool word than Indomitable, at least to me, in my infinite opinion ness. It is also the second book in the Push Chronicles. You can buy it on Amazon here. The Author’s webpage is here.

Three months after the Whiteout spawned superheroes and villains, Irene Roman, a.k.a Indomitable, is near her limit fighting to protect the normal people. Now, what began as a simple kidnapping investigation catalyzes overnight into the worst threat the city of Atlanta has had to face. Will this finally be Irene’s breaking point or will she prove to be indefatigable?

The good:

You can really tell the author “leveled” up his writing in between Indefatigable and Indomitable. The writing is much tighter, and well, crisper. Imagine biting into a really crisp apple after eating that one that has been sitting at the bottom of your lunch box for a week. It’s like that.

I also have to say, I enjoyed the new hero, Argent Archer, a lot. He was probably my favorite character in the book by a huge margin.

I like how Irene, the main character, suffers with the idea of taking a ton of pain killers. It made me think of how Batman must go home after getting his ass handed to him and swallow a handful of Vicodin.

The ending, and by which I mean the last 2 chapters of the book, are simply outstanding. It almost made me want to throw the book at the author through my phone because I was like “that’s it?” I need the next one, like right now…

The Bad:

The book suffers from being “just another day in the life of” book. Imagine you’re a super hero, you fight bad guys. That’s what you do, and therefore, it comes as no surprise that’s what Irene and her merry band of adventurers do in this book. I felt like I missed the sense of coolness coming from the first book.

I also really didn’t enjoy the vampires as villains. I feel like in a world where you have an essentially infinite amount of cool bad guys, that it was a cop out. I want to see Irene battling people with cool powers, and figuring out how to beat them. Everyone kills vampires. Don’t be everyone when you have infinite possibilities.

That was the other issue; there were no really cool super battles in this one. No awesome powered villains. I want awesome powers, and adamantium claws! The first book did a really good job with that, but this one… not so much.

The Ugly:

Seriously? The “main” vampire was one of the worst things about the book. I get the idea, I get it, really. But I didn’t like it. I “barely” liked Ian as a bad guy. I felt like both main villains were people the author really wanted to use as villains… and they just weren’t up to snuff.

Spoilers after this line:

If Ian had a super thing like he did to bend reality, why didn’t he just lock Epic in the phantom zone. For serious? Also, if Epic knows that Ian has to be in the area… why doesn’t he just LEVEL the next square mile or something, clearly it was something he thought about doing… Or you know, throw the vamp into the goddamn sun… No one uses the sun enough… and now I’m rambling.

Spoilers end:

The Verdict:

I gave this one four (4) stars solely because of the last two chapters. Before that it was a three star book. It didn’t have the passion of the first book, the sense of wonder, but the writing quality is WAY better.

Review – Indomitable

I’ve decided to do another book review. Why? Because I wanted to read the book based on the blurb and offered to do it in exchange for a free book. The book in question is Indomitable, and it is the first in a series called The Push Chronicles. It is written by J.B. Garner. His webpage is here. A link to the book on Amazon is here.

Okay, first off, I have to say Indomitable is, by far, one of the coolest words in the English language. After reading the title, I wanted to read this book. Then I saw the cover. It’s friggen awesome! I have to say, the cover made me want to read the book. All that said, I’m going to try not to spoil the story for you, but tread lightly.

Irene Roman never wanted to be a hero, but when a strange betrayal literally changes all of reality, she may not have a choice. Now the Earth is filled with superhumans, both good and evil, and Irene is one of the only people on the planet who knows why and may be the only person in the world who can set things right. What price will Irene pay to be the hero she never wanted to be?

The good:

Indomitable has an interesting idea to start off the whole “people with superpowers” thing. I found the idea immediately plausible, and well, highly entertaining. It was a clever way to introduce info dump and suspension of belief idea into the plot one teaspoon at a time.

I liked the whole explanation as to why Irene (the main character) could be all “I am Batman” and take on Epic (Superman/Green Lantern) or any other superhero even though she had no discernible super powers.

I really enjoyed the various characters J.B. came up with and the struggle between good and evil.

Most of the action scenes are well written, and the whole do or die nature of the conflicts combined with Irene’s concern over innocents made me smile. You never think about the normal guy when super heroes collide.

The Bad:

Indomitable suffers from not having been line edited. There was a point when I gave up counting typos very early on in the manuscript. Several of the sentences are completely bogged down by excessive prose. I found myself dreading each sentence until about halfway through the book.

The Ugly:

This is a good book. Unfortunately, the beginning of the book is so bogged down in excessive writing  that I nearly put it down several times. Once I got about 25% of the way into the book, I was hooked, but honestly, I wouldn’t normally give a book that long. The author could stand to cut down on excessive prose.

Also, even though the main character is a female named Irene, I almost couldn’t tell what her gender was. In fact, the only reason I clearly identified her as female (other than her name) was because the main antagonist was her boyfriend and was clearly male.

Verdict:

Three (3) stars.

To be fair, unless you’re writing Fault in our Stars you’re not getting 5 stars from me. I’d say this was a solid 4 star book… if it wasn’t for the editing. I knocked off a star for editing. So this book gets three stars. I sincerely hope the author finds the money for line editing because it will vastly improve the quality of his book.

All that said, I’d totally read the next one.

 

Fault in Our Stars

My wife and I did quite a bit of driving over the holidays, and during this time, decided to listen to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I was just blown away by this book, which is probably why it is super popular. It also made me sad because I don’t think I can write anything like this… ever. It’s just not my style.

Still, it’s full of this weird gallows humor that touches even the most horrific aspects of the book.

There were several times during the listening of the audiobook where I felt like I was running out of feels, or needed a break. This book is intense.

I didn’t really set out to write a review or anything, I just wanted to say that you, and by you, I mean the proverbial “you all” should go read this book.

It’s also surprisingly less sad than you’d expect from a book about people with terminal cancer.

Rise of the Fallen

I’m excited.

There’s this book I read back in 2012 called My Soul to Keep, by Sean Hayden, and if you haven’t read it, well you should. It is awesome.

In a nutshell, it is about a high schooler named Connor. He makes a deal with a demon to… well… become a demon. Connor is then thrust into the world of demonry except his demon powers are super wonky. Hijinks ensue. It’s hilarious.

You can buy it on amazon here. Anyway, my only problem with the book is that it ends in the middle. There were several threads (like what’s the deal with the swords of the deceiver, man) and they didn’t all get, you know, tied up. The book begged for a sequel. BEGGED!

So, periodically for the last couple years, I’ve looked him up to see if he released a sequel. Guess who released a sequel a couple months ago? Sean Hayden. His new book is called Your Soul to Take, and I just bought it on kindle, which is crazy if you think about that I’ve only bought like 6 books ever on my kindle. This is a big deal for me, and I’m super excited to run home and start reading it… like right now.

You can buy the sequel here, by the way, and you should because I’m sure it is awesome.

Anyway, I’m going to go read now. >.>

Another Review

I got another review. I’m excited because it was 5 stars, even if it was a little short.

You can view it here, if you like

Moving on, I’d like to share some review stats, just for funsies.

Amount of “reviewers” contacted for a review: 46

Amount of “reviewers” who accepted: 17

Reviews received: 2

 

Basically, in my experiment of me, for every book reviewer I asked, approximately 1/3 accepted. Of that 10% returned a review. Now to be fair, several of these reviewers promised to have a review by the end of the year. So I expect that number to jump a little bit. *fingers crossed*

On an unrelated note, Hatter is coming along nicely. It is still hard to believe I have to send it to the editor on the 20th. It’s basically a month out from being available for purchase. That’s a scary thought. It’s a little weird that by Christmas, I’ll have two Lillim books available.

I mean, it’s not like weird, weird, but it is still a little strange to be like I wrote a book, and not only that, there’s a sequel.

Speaking of sequels, I’m up to 11.5k words on Pursuit. Which is good (because hey that’s a lot) and bad (because I was there on Thursday). I haven’t written a word since. I was on a roll, but I have so much editing to do for Hatter, that I haven’t really had a chance to work on it much.

Also, if Shattered was written listening to Nickelback, then Pursuit is being written listening to Hollywood Undead.

Give Away

My first print copy arrived in the mail on Friday, and in honor of that, I have decided to list a Good Reads Give Away for one autographed (why not) copy of Kill It With Magic. You can enter Here. It’s free to enter as long as you have a good reads account, which is also free.

I also just got my first negative review on Amazon, and boy do I feel like a real writer, now. I was a little surprised when I received a notification about a new review in my dashboard. I went to check it out and was flabbergasted… someone doesn’t like my book? My book? Do you know how many puppies spontaneously combust when you don’t like my book?

I mean, this totally just murdered like 45 puppies. Bam, just gone. Nothing left but empty collars and fur. In all seriousness, I only read the review like six times before I totally moved on and didn’t write a blog post about it or anything. I mean, I’m bound to not make everyone happy.

Anyway, one of my crit partners sent me a new version of her final chapter a few days ago, and I’d sent it back with some comments. We chatted about it back and forth a bit through email and she said she was having a hard time with the dialog. That’s when an idea popped into my head, yesterday.

I sat down and wrote a little two page “ending” for her book. I know, I know, I shouldn’t write all over people’s stuff, but she asked me for help! I’m helping in my way. So, I just sent her my scene for her ending, and she can totally ignore it if she wants. I mean, the guy who wrote it has a one star review on Amazon, what does he know?

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