Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

ImageGenre: Fantasy

Author: Valerie Zambito

My thoughts: Island Shifters should appeal to fantasy fans who enjoy the tried and true good vs. evil story. The book is well-written and has a fascinating world.

The world Zambito created is rich and imaginative. Just when I thought I had things figured out, a new layer to the Island of Massa would be revealed. It was cool when she even worked some of these elements in at the end of the book (I won’t say what they are so this review can remain spoiler free). I really enjoyed the map at the beginning, which added a lot of depth and made me feel like I was taking the journey with these characters. I wish more fantasy authors would do this.

The plot is fast-paced, and there is almost always something interesting going on. The beginning is a bit slow, as it takes until chapter eight for the main action to start. But once you get there, the story is entertaining and hard to put down. There are lots of fight scenes and epic battles, and enough twists and turns to keep you occupied.

I think some of the characters, like Rogan and Airron, could have done with a bit more developing. However, there is plenty of punch that will keep fantasy readers entertained.

The book is currently free, and you wouldn’t go wrong with picking it up.

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Title: Till Undeath Do Us Part

Genre: Zombie/Novella

Author: Anthony Camber

TLDR version: A fast-paced, snappy, gripping zombie novella set in Cambridge, England, with a gay main character (though it can be enjoyed by any audience). It contains two story arcs, one focusing on escape, the other on love. The writing is engaging; Camber is talented.

My thoughts: In the zombie genre you get a lot of the same. As such, I’m always looking for something different.

Till Undeath Do Us Part gave me that and more. This fast-paced novella has a lot of things that set it apart – primarily, the same-sex relationship of the main character, Olly, to his boyfriend, Josh, both Cambridge rowers, and the dual story nature of the novella.

The story starts with action from the get-go, when Olly discovers that his boyfriend Josh’s experiments with pheromones have gone awry, zombifying students. Suddenly, Olly is on a mission to escape – not just the students, but his now undead boyfriend.

The dialogue is snappy, witty, and funny in true British form. Camber is definitely a skilled storyteller and I was sucked in after the first few pages. There are two story arcs that switch intermittently. This would normally annoy me, but Camber pulls it off well.

The main story arc follows Olly and his attempt to escape. The other story is a series of flashbacks that details the development of Olly and Josh’s relationship. The escape story is the more interesting, at first, but the love story picks up about halfway into the novella. At the very end, Camber’s intent becomes clear when past and present fuse to provide an amazing conclusion.

Any fan of zombie literature likes good action scenes – this book definitely has them and will keep you on the edge of your seat. I also liked the descriptions of Cambridge. It’s a place I’ve never been, and it was good to see it through the eyes of someone who lives there. Camber describes the place with familiarity, even giving local nicknames to some of the sites. I got the sense of what life might be like for a Cambridge student.

Till Undeath Do Us Part can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates a good zombie story. It is a quick read, and it offers enough that is different for veterans (and non-veterans) of the zombie genre to be hooked. My only regret is that, for the length, it’s a bit pricey when compared to the competition. That said, I don’t think you’d go wrong spending the money for this well-told story.

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About this book:

Title: Portal Aracne I (Reversion)

Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror

Author: J. Thorn

My thoughts:

This is my first indie book review on this blog, and this is something I hope I can do from time to time (on a once or twice a week basis). There are a lot of hidden gems out there that don’t get discovered. Trust me, there’s a lot that’s bad as well, but sometimes you find something that’s really cheap yet good.

Portal Arcane really is that. I should preface this by saying that this isn’t for everyone.  It has a slower pace, but I still found myself getting sucked in. The beginning is dark and somber, starting in a dark forest with dozens of ropes hanging from trees. We follow Samuel, the amnesiac protagonist, as he goes on a quest to discover who he was – and where he is – and why he’s being hunted.

The writing is clear, and there is always the hint of danger looming – it makes for a very dark, spooky vibe, where the fear is more in the anticipation of danger than the actual danger itself (though that danger is always there, like a cloud).

Portal Arcane  was a short read, or at least it felt that way to me. As you go through the story, Samuel discovers bits of his past through flashbacks, very Lost-like. I am not a fan of flashbacks, as I think they ruin the pacing of a story, but here they worked rather well. The mood is dark, and it’s a bit esoteric – but at the same time, I found myself really getting into this story. For an indie book, the errors were very low – so if that sort of thing annoys you, fear not, grammarians.

My main critique is while the dimensional concept of the book is fascinating, it is never fully explained. Perhaps this is intentional, and perhaps it is answered in a sequel.

I’d recommend it for anyone who’s a fan of gloomy stuff, where the fear is more in the impending doom than the monster in the closet. I never really found Portal Arcane scary, but it also takes a lot to creep me out – this book’s dark flavor comes from its psychological, relentless nature.

Also, the ending – the ending was amazing. Maybe not the perfect tie-up, as it leaves unanswered questions (which may or may not be answered in the sequels), but it does well enough. It’s only $.99, and probably should go for a little more, to be honest, because it’s worth it.

I’m adding some new additions to the blog. I’ve begun what will one day be an illustrious blogroll. I added a couple neat sites. The Indie View in particular is a irreplaceable tool for indie writers who are trying to solicit to blogs, and it’s where I found most of the blogs I solicited in the past week.

I’ve also added three pages, one for each of my books. I hope to add info to all three in time.

I also want to start reviewing indie books. If you’re an indie writer and you write in any of the genres I mention in my newly minted review policy, then you should send me your stuff. I want to do whatever I can to help out…I know it can be tough out there, but hearing responses from bloggers about my own book has encouraged me to want to help others.

Hopefully, my blog can join the pantheon of other way cool blogs as being a place where writers and readers alike can congregate, grow, and learn together. To do this, I’d like to write a couple reviews a week. This could be books solicited to me through my blog, or things in general that catch my eye.

I’ve very excited about this possibility. So if you are an indie writer and you’ve written a book, then send it my way and I’ll see if I can take a look at it. Go to my review policy to know what I’m interested in, and we’ll go from there.

Keep writing!