About this Blog

I am a Senior Reviewer for Great Minds Think Aloud Independent Publishing. I specialize in Fantasy, Science, Realistic and Mythology Fiction, but enjoy reading all types of literature. My favorite authors include Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and Devon Monk. I am currently writing my own Fantasy Fiction book hoping to one day join the ranks of published authors. The books I have reviewed can be found on this site. The links to the right will take you to the blogs of my fellow reviewers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rise of Hope - Kaily Hart

Rise of Hope - Kaily Hart

I am not usually into romance novels, but the way Kaily combined the Fantasy Fiction with Romance peaked my interest. Rise of Hope is the first book in the Fabric of Fate series that shows great promise.

The series stars a young girl, Devon, who has been kept prisoner and allowed no physical contact. She was alone and utterly confused about who and what she was. While growing up tattoos started appearing on her body for no apparent reason. She plans her escape and is surprised to be assisted by others tattooed like her. She finds some answers she has needed her entire life, and meets someone she’d never dreamed of.

Devon and her friend Seth go through some serious soul searching and experience tremendous personal growth throughout the story. These main characters and their supporting friends are written superbly with traits that are easily identified and associated with.

I was quickly drawn in from the beginning and captivated for the entire read. I was drawn in by the Fantasy side of the story, an old endangered species of human, supernatural abilities and the like, and when the Romance portion entered the plot it flowed perfectly. The sexual content does get a little explicit but not as to detract from the storyline.

This is the first book of Kaily’s that I have read, but if the rest of them are anything like this I may have to check them out as well. Even if I’m not as interested in her other books as I was in this one, I will definitely be keeping an eye on the release dates for this series so I can continue the trek of these supernaturals to find their fellow beings.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pale - Chris Wooding

Pale is a nicely written short story by Chris Wooding that I would classify as a Sci-Fi book. I would say the book could be read by anyone 4th grade or higher, although I believe it’s intended for high school students.

Pale is a book about a society that has developed technology that can bring people of a certain blood type back from death. Not a catastrophic, dismembering death, but a routine, run-of-the-mill, everyday death resulting from basically anything but dismemberment.

The plot serves as a moral story as it includes prejudice, karma and character realization and growth. Jed, the average “I’m better then you are because you are dead” kid gets placed into the ‘dead’ situation. Life, of lack thereof, quickly changes his outlook on the “Pale” classification of the dead people.

Pales are noticeably different with pale skin, white hair and blue eyes hence the name Pale. They are looked at as a lower class of people and treated as such. The prejudice comes in as they are abused physically, verbally and emotionally because they are different.

Jed, the good boy, becomes a Pale after a fatal accident. He now feels the abuse he used to inflict on others proving that what goes around comes around.

He has several experiences that change his view as he learns the moral of the story (so to speak). This is a good all-around book for younger kids to learn the importance of the fight against prejudice.

This is a quick book that can be read in one short sitting, it may make someone an interesting bedtime story someday.

Bowl of Heaven - Gregory Benford

Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford is a Sci-Fi book that puts a twist on the Dyson Sphere theory. The twist being that instead of a sphere surrounding a star, there is a half-sphere shaped as a bowl. The interesting part of this bowl is that instead of being a permanent structure around a star, the star was modified into a form of propulsion.

This book is the first in a series by Gregory and I think it’s a well thought out plot, if a bit lengthy of a book. There is a lot of detail provided but I don’t feel it hinders the read at all. This is more of a slow story with action packed sequences scattered throughout the pages. There is a bit of mystery in the plot as the team is trapped on an alien world with little contact to the outside, forcing them to fall back on their training to survive.

The character development is not as great as some books I have read, but their quirks and traits are slowly revealed over the course of the 515 page novel. The characters are set into a cryostasis for a few century journey to a distant star hoping to colonize and form a new Earth. During the trip they encounter this strange bowl, and due to circumstances beyond their control, their best option is to land and seek resources.

The timeline is easy enough to follow, no gaps in the sequences or scenes that would confuse the reader. There are a few unanswered plot lines at the end of the first book, but not in the sense of a cliffhanger ending.

The writing has an intellectual feel to it, basically due to the details given on the alien world, inhabitants and local geology. I would say it is one of the more traditional science fiction book styles using an original concept based on an old theory.

With that all being said, I did enjoy the book and look forward to the release of Shipstar, the next volume of the series.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Taking a sabbatical for a few weeks from my reviews…

Will be back around the first week of December…

Happy Reading All…

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Twixt Heaven and Hell - Tristan Gregory

I need to start out by saying this review is different from my other reviews. I have decided to critique the book instead of trying to give you a summary. If this is what you would rather see, let me know. Otherwise I will stick to this format.

I would call this novel a stand-alone epic. Most people consider series such as Wheel of Time and Ice and Fire as Epics, but I chose to use the word Epic in a different way. Some of you may agree, some of you may not. Oh Well. Epic to me is something that will stand the test of time. I know I will always remember\reread the books by Jordan and Martin and I will enjoy every time as if it were my first. The same falls true with Twixt Heaven and Hell. Tristan, unfortunately considers it a “one and done” novel. Personally I would love for him to expand this world (as he may have done in The Wandering Tale, but I have yet to read that) and extend this into a series of “one and done” within the same world with the same characters. Sorry, had to be said…. Here’s the review….

Tristan did an amazing job creating the world in the novel. The magic used by humans is the standard wizard\sorcerer wave of the hand magic, nothing special there, however the magic used with the symbols is ingenious. Excellent idea of engraving the Angelic symbols on to different mediums.

I feel he also did an excellent job with character growth. When we first meet Darius he is a battle hardened wizard; he goes out with his regiment, the Gryphons , and makes amazing advancements for his side in the perpetual war between Heaven and Hell. During the novel Darius starts to see the follies of their ways leading to his ultimate decision near the end of the book. Tristan also portrayed the feelings of pain and loss perfectly. I almost wept with Darius over the loss of a close friend.

The supporting characters are yet another reason I would like to have more from this world. Balkan, Arric and Robert are, I feel, the three biggest supporting characters in the book. Balkan represents the family that Darius could have had, as well as the lab based research that offsets Darius’ more practical field tests. Arric is the essential barrier to Darius’ wishes for autonomy concerning decisions affecting the war. Robert is Darius’ grounding rod on the battle field, 2nd in command and best friend.

The plot is a twist on the ageless battle between good and evil, with Angles and Demons fighting openly and visually in the realm of men. Humans have been recruited by both sides in the holy war and kill each other with the magic granted them by their overseers. Darius is the one who eventually tires of the war’s losses and finds a way to change it forever.

Excellent read\reread\reread… I stick to the term Epic to describe this style of book, type of writing and the feeling it inspires in its readers, not the ‘politically correct’ term for series containing multiple novels. Great job Tristan, keep it up and give us more.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Godling Chronicles - of Gods and Elves (Volume 2)

The Godling Chronicles - Of Gods and Elves (Volume 2) - Brian D. Anderson

If you haven’t read Volume 1, the Sword of Truth, then you may want to read that before you read this review…. Spoilers of Sword of Truth follow….

Yet another 5 star book from an amazing author in what I am sure will soon be a #1 bestselling series.

We join Gewey after his fight with the Half-man Harlondo, and he is in the Spirit world with a man claiming to be his father. In the real world, Geweys body is unconscious and severely injured. Kaylia joins Gewey through the soul bond and together they work to get Gewey’s mind back to his body.

Lord Nal’Thain sends a rescue crew to his homeland of Hazrah to remove his wife and son from danger, but as the crew soon discovers, its too late. Lee’s wife has already been taken to Angrääl by the Dark Knight’s now mobile army, and his son Jacob was imprisoned.

Doing what they can to save Jacob, they find themselves in a web of deceit and lies and Lee is forced to make a fateful decision. Maybell and Malstisos meet up with a band of humans traveling with two elves from the Steppes, but again all is not as it appears and the threat of death soon approaches.

After Gewey and Kaylia’s minds return from the spirit world, they encounter a meeting with the High Lady of Valshara, and Theopolou, and Elven Elder. It is decided that Gewey and Kaylia will accompany Theopolou and his elves back to the Chamber of the Maker with the Book of Souls.

Gewey and Kaylia decide to complete their bonding ritual in front of the Elven Elders in the Chamber of the Maker, but when he is challenged and wins, the real danger sets in as a civil battle erupts between the Elves and the Chamber is attacked; Kaylia is kidnapped by agents of the Dark Knight.

This volume of The Godling Chronicles is packed full of twists and turns. Lord Nal’Thain is confronted with his son’s deceit; halfway across the countryside Malstisos is challenged to a fight to the death by a seeker from the Steppes; Gewey tries to win the Elves to his side of the coming war; the Temple of Valshara is attacked by the Dark Knights agents; Kaylia is being taken to the Dark Knight’s kingdom of Angrääl.

I pray to the Creator that Brian D. Anderson and his son quickly turn out Volume 3 of the Godling Chronicles as I foresee this series becoming an epic tale to rival those of Jordan and Tolkien. The story is an action packed thriller and we haven’t even gotten to the true battles yet, just the side line skirmishes.

The Godling Chronicles - The Sword of Truth

The Godling Chronicles (Book 1) - Brian D. Anderson

The Sword of Truth is the first book of The Godling Chronicles by Brian Anderson. This book has a riveting plot, great character development and beautifully written Fantasy characters.

The story starts out with Gewey Stedding, a boy who was orphaned at the age of 15 when his father passed. Gewey took over the family farm and after some resistance from the community, proved he was man enough to take care of the land. Harvests were impeded by the encroaching darkness that was befalling the land, but Gewey was able to hold his own.

While making the usual delivery into town, Gewey was confronted with a resident claiming to see his dead wife up and walking through the square. After putting the issue to rest as unfounded, the local lord Starfinder presented Gewey with a letter written years ago by his father. After reading it he had a nightmare with two voices trying to convince him what to do next.

Lord Starfinder informed Gewey he was one of the voices, and the other belonged to the Dark Knight, an evil man from a thousand years ago bent on taking over the world with the power from the Sword of Truth. Starfinder convinces Gewey to leave the village and join him on a quest.

During the quest Gewey is hindered with agents of the Dark Knight trying to kidnap him to take him to the Dark Knights land Angrääl, or just to kill him outright. To aid Gewey in staying alive long enough to fulfill the prophesies Lord Starfinder finally convinces Gewey that he is in fact a Godling, the child of two Gods, one being the God of Earth. Gewey starts learning how to access his powers to be able to defend himself.

Gewey is also found by the Order of Amon Dähl, an ancient order sworn to protect the Sword of Truth. Dina, a novice in the Order, helps Gewey escape a kidnap attempt and soon joins the merry band of travelers, convincing them Gewey needs to go to the Temple Valshara, the headquarters of the Order.

This is but a taste of the tale of the Godling. Exciting adventures lie within the pages of this book and promises to enchant the reader with narrowing brushes with death, embarrassing moments of teenage love and thrilling battles between the residents of Earth.