Uninvited Quests

Uninvited Quests  by  Lex Wilson  description:

She’s a half-human paladin on an apology tour for a (formerly?) evil god. He’s supposed to be someone else’s squire.

It’s up to them to save the kingdom. But first…

Another sidequest?

Lucan and Manrel have a mission to slay the Dragonqueen and prevent worldwide doom. But when the hero-less squire and his oddball companion hear rumors of a legendary sword, they decide they can handle two missions. It doesn’t take long for them to realize the dungeon holding the weapon is teeming with goblins, ooze monsters, and other terrifying creatures…

Just when everything seems lost, Lucan and Manrel stumble upon not a blade–but a powerful paladin. Sure, she’s sworn fealty to an evil god, but she may be their only hope to survive their quests. Can Lucan and Manrel convince the unstable warrior to join their side and save the world?

Uninvited Quests  3 STARS

This was a humorous and completely nonsensical book. I’d almost say young readers but there are a few things that might would be questionable for such. The best part is the play on words, from the meanings to the spellings, it’s all well done. The actual plot itself though is a bit meandering, and rather slow moving in its way. The long internal monologues were fun but they did slow things down. However each of the characters are unique, and bring their own twist to the story. The way Brae talks about Skurok, the god she’s supposed to be a follower for and trying to spread the news that he isn’t quite as evil anymore, is the best part. In the end though it was a bit hard to get through. I enjoyed it when I was reading it, but it wasn’t the sort of book that I was jumping to see what happens next.

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Monster Hunter International

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia description:

Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer.

It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.

Business is good… Welcome to Monster Hunter International.

BOOK 1: Monster Hunter International  4 STARS

This was an exciting book to say the least. It had a good mix of monsters they went up against, though the main ones were vampires. But even they were written with some interesting twists so that even the experienced hunters within the story got surprised at times. The characters altogether were a great bunch, to a degree they’re a lot alike to be drawn to this kind of work, but they each had their own backgrounds and personalities that helped thoroughly develop the book. However, the best part to me was the Old Man in Owen’s head. He was a spunky old guy that made life interesting for Owen, but truly gave more intensity to the story with his own past experiences and fear that drives him to try and prepare Owen for what’s to come. Honestly, my only complaint about this book is Correia’s need to describe every gun they come across in great detail, and every character in this book is loaded down with guns. That’s a lot of wasted space on gun descriptions.

Vorpal Blade

BOOK 1: Into the Looking Glass  by  John Ringo

Vorpal Blade   description:

The sequel to Into the Looking Glass. William Weaver, PhD. and SEAL Chief Adams are back and Bill got himself a ship! The former SSBN Nebraska has been converted, using mostly garage mechanics and baling wire, into a warp ship ready to go “out there.” But as everyone knows, the people who really are going to bear the brunt are the poor Security guys, Force Recon Marines who are kept in the dark and fed manure all day. That is until they land on an alien planet, get partially wiped out and then load back up again. Ranging in topics from the best gun to kill armored space monsters to particle physics to cosmology to health and beauty tips, Vorpal Blade is a return to the “good old days” of SF when the science problems were intractable and the beasts were ugly. The monkeys are out in the space lanes and ready to rock. As soon as they get another roll of duct tape.

BOOK 2: Vorpal Blade   5 STARS

I loved that this shows how the world has evolved since humans have encountered aliens. More so, that it wasn’t some endless panic, but an easy acceptance. They’d destroyed the evil ones, and the good ones, Adars, are accepted into society. Especially considering how the Adar’s technology has greatly advanced life on Earth. However, the main story is the spaceship they’ve built with said technology meshed with good ol’ human rigging, and them going into space to find what else may be out there. Ringo does a great job with making these people normal in the most bizarre environments. They’re marines that you might meet on any base, and yet now they’re among the stars meeting new aliens and fighting new battles. The best part was the pranks they play, and the way they deal with any who don’t quite get along with the others is pretty humorous. It is a great sequel that in no way lags, and keeps the adventurous, exciting, new feel that made the first one so great, because this isn’t rehashing the same old thing even as they are still hunting down Dreen. But that is just a small part of the greater story line. If you liked the first one you definitely need to check out the second.

The Warlord of Mars

BOOK 1: A Princess of Mars  by  Edgar Rice Burroughs

BOOK 2: The Gods of Mars

The Warlord of Mars   description:

John Carter risks everything to rescue his wife, Princess Dejah Thoris, from the clutches of his evil adversaries, but he is always just one step behind! His battles cover the face of the red planet, as his quest carries him ultimately to the mysterious northern pole. Will this civilization, submerged in ice, prove fatal to our hero? This is the third of eleven in the popular ‘Martian’ series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

BOOK 3: The Warlord of Mars  4 STARS

In a way, this completes the journey that began in the first book. He’s still searching for his wife, and now her father and grandfather. I love that we have gotten to see all of Mars, and the different races, and what their lives are like. What makes these books so great is that John Carter, is just himself. He’s the greatest swordsman of 2 worlds, he can defeat any foe, and has taken on armies. But he knows he’s not much beyond a fighting man. He has his smarts in coming up with rescue plans, but he’s not exactly made out to be the smartest man there ever was. He tends to just be lucky, and often shows himself as being a bit ditzy. Like not understanding why Dejah Thoris doesn’t recognize him when he’s in disguise, while at the same time completely accepting that no one else around her recognizes him either. He’s a fighting man, and he does whatever it takes to save the woman he loves, but he’s also someone who takes others advise, and seeks help from those willing to give it. It really makes him out to be more realistic than you expect, and a hero that you can’t help but root for time and again as he fights for all that is good and right in the world, and thus completely changes this world he’s fallen into forever.

The Orphan and the Thief

The Orphan and the Thief  by  M. L. LeGette  description:

A middle-grade adventure that will keep you and your kids spellbound.

Toad thought it’d be easy to steal from Mr. Edward P. Owl. Unfortunately for Toad, he isn’t the best of thieves. Caught in the act, he’s in more trouble than ever before. Now to save his hide, Toad must track down five rare potion ingredients for Mr. Owl. Or else.

All Melena Snead wants is her family back, but after the Miggens Street Fire, that isn’t very likely. Orphaned and miserable, forced to work in an apothecary, she’s determined to find Milo, her missing brother. No matter what.

When Melena finds Toad ransacking her apothecary, Toad gets a nasty shock: apothecaries don’t carry Mr. Owl’s ingredients. Luckily, Melena’s willing to help, for a price.

With Melena’s pet Spit-Fire dragon and Toad’s enchanted talking beer mug, they embark on a fantastical journey, traveling the country in search of the potion ingredients. But can they gather all of them in time, what with monsters, pirates, and axe-wielding thieves? And if they do, is there an even greater danger waiting for them at the end?

The Orphan and the Thief   4 STARS

Talk about a jolly good adventure. I loved that while this is a good clean young readers book, LeGette doesn’t shy away from how evil some people can be. The threat Owl presents isn’t some silliness to be laughed off, but a real villain that would strike fear into any other supposed bad guy, such as the Ramblers. But Owl is just the beginning, the real story is the growth that Toad goes through. He goes from being a boy that just wants to impress the Ramblers on what a good thief he is, to being a guy that wants to be someone that Melena can rely on, because she’s the first real friend he’s ever had. The same goes for her, she gets to discover the world and how to be strong in her own way. And it is an amazing world, full of magic, dragons, and pirates. Each ingredient they go for is a new adventure filled with monsters and endless discoveries. Now all I can ask for is more. I want to know where Joe really came from, what’s Izzie’s back story, what is the rest of this incredible world like? A wonderful story altogether.

Crystal Kingdom

BOOK 1: Frostfire  by  Amanda Hocking

BOOK 2: Ice Kissed

Crystal Kingdom   description:

The kingdom she loves has turned against her. Can she save it before it’s too late?

Bryn Aven—unjustly charged with murder and treason—is on the run. The one person who can help is her greatest enemy, the gorgeous and enigmatic Konstantin Black. Konstantin is her only ally against those who have taken over her kingdom and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. But can she trust him?

As Bryn fights to clear her name, the Kanin rulers’ darkest secrets are coming to light…and now the entire troll world is on the brink of war. Will it tear Bryn from Ridley Dresden, the only guy she’s ever loved? And can she join forces with Finn Holms and the Trylle kingdom? Nothing is as it seems, but one thing is certain: an epic battle is under way—and when it’s over, nothing will ever be the same…

BOOK 3: Crystal Kingdom  4 STARS

Hocking definitely knows how to end a trilogy. I was very excited when we got to see the other tribes more. It’s the first time really going to the Omte tribe, and they’re definitely a different sort, but I was happy getting to see the Trylle and Vittra more, and knowing how the characters we came to know in the Trylle series are doing now. There was a fair amount of surprises, and it was interesting to see how they came to really knowing the truth of the plots that had been against the Kanin kingdom this whole time. The only thing that bothered me was Bryn. She’s intelligent and well trained in defending herself, and has now gone through so much, but obviously she was never really a soldier so I get her not exactly having been used to dealing with the things that were coming about in having to bring down Mina. Yet, even as no one would want war, and no one would want to hurt people who are simply being manipulated, I also think Bryn was just a bit too naive about a lot of things. As well as being very reactive, constantly trying to go on what would’ve amounted to suicide missions, which repeatedly led to Konstantine having to talk her down. That part got a bit old at times, but the rest of it was really well done. The war and dealing with those just trying to serve their kingdom, and those that are simply dealing with greed, and sadly the innocents who are caught in the crossfire. She didn’t wash over the bad side, and it made for a heart wrenching but realistic and worthy ending to the story.

Steven Drake has been INTERVIEWED!!!

  1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook? 

My name is Steven Drake. I have a free blog, aspiesteve.wordpress.com where I post short articles on whatever catches my interest. I don’t post as much as I used to since I spend most of my time on my book series, but I enjoy a change of pace now and then. I do not have a Facebook Page but my book series has one. It’s not very popular yet, but I hope that changes eventually. www.facebook.com/TheDemonsBlade. No twitter. With my writing style, there’s not much worthwhile I can say in fewer than 140 characters.

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing. 

I work for a small business that sells remanufactured printer cartridges, essential oils, microroast coffee, and a few other wildly unrelated things. My employers have several business ventures and I run their computers, help with spreadsheets, make deliveries, basically whatever needs doing. They tolerate my eccentric nature and have inspired me with their entrepreneurial spirit.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published. 

I actually started with my blog, which started as mostly something for my friends and family to read. I wrote a couple of short stories which I got a lot of positive feedback on and decided to try writing a fantasy novel. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing. I’ve now written the first four installments, so I’m still early in my writing career. I’m always eager for any feedback that will help me improve as a writer.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc. 

J.R.R. Tolkien is easily the single greatest influence on my writing. That’s a pretty standard answer among fantasy authors I imagine. I must have read those a half dozen times as a teen.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I’m working on Book 5 of the Demon’s Blade saga. Hope to release that sometime in 2018. I’ve always got a couple possible blog entries bouncing around in my head. When those will ripen, I couldn’t say. Beyond the Demon’s Blade saga, I have the concept idea for a YA series, but that one will be a while away.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I do some outlining, but it’s all in my head. I don’t write it down or anything. I know more or less how I want the story to go

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I think the strongest aspect of my writing is my characters. I really take a lot of care as I write to put myself in the mind of each character. When I’m going through doing revisions, I’m constantly asking myself whether the characters thoughts, words, and actions are the best reflection of the person I consider them to be. In my mind, they’re all real people, and I care about them. I also have watched a lot of movies, television, video games, and anime that are centered on combat, whether it’s in space with lasers and giant mechs or in some medieval fantasy setting with demons, monsters, swords, and magic. I’ve seen so many different kinds of fights between characters with so many different abilities, I’m usually able to make my battles and action scenes more interesting than clanging swords and throwing fireballs.

My greatest weakness is probably my inexperience and lack of formal education in the arts. I’m sure anyone who’s an experienced professional writer could point out some amateurish mistakes I’m making. I hope eventually some of them will leave reviews or contact me so I can improve my style. I’m sure my grammar isn’t always perfect and my sentence structure could improve a lot. Hopefully that will come with time and practice.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share? 

I’m woefully awful at marketing. I suffer from a few disorders, most notably Asperger’s, that make socialization tiring and difficult. I don’t do it very much or very well. I’m terrible at any form of social networking and largely clueless when it comes to forming relationships with actual flesh and blood human beings. So marketing is a challenge, and usually comes down to budget. There’s very little I’m comfortable or skilled enough to do on my own, so I pay for advertising when I can. I hired a publicity firm for the release of Fallen Star, and it’s produced some good marketing opportunities. If I can afford it in the future, I’ll do more.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Ha, I feel like I should be the one asking. Really, I don’t have enough experience myself to give any advice. I’ve still got a long way to go.

 

Seahaven: an Underwater Fantasy Adventure

Seahaven  by  Raymond Cain   description:

He’s reckless, impulsive, and barely eighteen, but Flynn Arcturus is the best damn pilot on the ocean floor. In his short lifetime, he’s dealt with angry sea dragons and seductive mermaids, but nothing could have prepared him for the death of his parents.

Flynn’s parents aren’t the first to die under mysterious circumstances. Many residents of Seahaven, the domed underwater city where he lives, are getting killed by seemingly random acts of misfortune. When he investigates, he discovers an ancient threat, imprisoned for centuries, once again endangers Seahaven.

Equipped with superb piloting skills and an extraordinary ship built by his genius brother, Flynn may be the only one who can save Seahaven. But when he discovers what he’s up against, he realizes he’s out of his depth.

BOOK 1: Seahaven  3 STARS

I’m not sure I should even give it 3 STARS, but the writing was well done and the idea was an interesting one. An underwater city that apparently has no idea about the world above, though evidence of wrecked ships and other bits show that it’s obviously taking place in our world. It seems they’ve lost a lot of their history and perhaps that’s why they don’t know how they ended up where they are. It’s an interesting mix of magic and advanced technology that allow them to live and function in their city, and yet oddly they’re not allowed to go beyond what is deemed the Safe Zone. From the beginning you get this hint at mystery and things that Flynn is trying to understand. Flynn being the main character is the focus of the story even though it’s in 3rd person. However, while he starts out as a hero type, saving a whale from bullies hurting it, and even feeling sorry for a mermaid who he believes may have gotten hurt while he was chasing it trying to get answers about his family, he quickly goes down hill. Yes he gets bullied, but he also does a lot to antagonize the bullies himself. More so, he can be just as cruel. He basically attempts to murder a water golem because it suits his own needs. And at first it may seem like water golems are nothing but magic used to make water beings to carry out undesirable tasks, it becomes obvious they’re more than that. Any being that can refuse to do what a person asks, and fight them off while trying to protect themselves, and screams (albeit silently) in pain is clearly not just some mindless drone but something that if killed should count as murder. Even though clearly none of the people there seem to care too much for them. Worse still, was the mention of stuffed merfolk on display, and those are definitely beings on the level with humans, and while any stuffed creature is creepy, that is downright traumatizing to think of. Plus while at first it seems he wants to go to what equates to a military academy to honor his parents, the thoughtful and loving act gets destroyed by his further adding that he really just wants to go to college in order to get a ring that’ll allow him into bars because he really wants to be able to get drunk like the guys he sees in them. So much of what started out to be a decent hero character becomes as unlikeable as everyone else in this book. He isn’t even set up to be a good anti-hero. So much of this book reads like a fun adventure for young readers, but then there’s parts that seem out of place and a bit too mature for such. Altogether, while it wasn’t horrible, it definitely had its issues that makes it hard to really care about what happens next.

The Last Days of Lady Cordelia

The Last Days of Lady Cordelia  by  Kyle Robert Schultz  description:

Lady Cordelia Beaumont is dying.

That’s what her mysterious nurse tells her, at least. Even worse, her magic powers have abandoned her, her friends are missing, and her whole world has completely changed. Everyone around her is insisting that magic and fairy tales aren’t real. Even the name of her city is different. She’s not in Talesend any more—she’s in a place called London.

Cordelia is determined to return to her own reality, but dark forces are working against her. An old friend may be able to help—but he doesn’t remember who she is.

Who are the Neverwolves? What is the secret of the Shadow Parallel? And how can Cordelia use magic to escape from a world where magic doesn’t exist?

BOOK 1: The Last Days of Lady Cordelia   4 STARS

Honestly this shouldn’t really be considered a series all on its’ own. It’s really just part of the regular Beaumont and Beasley series, like maybe BOOK 2.5, because it seems to pick up where The Tomb of the Sea Witch left off. Although it is taking place in a sort of other world, it wouldn’t really make sense without reading the other 2 books. However, it is a rather short story, but an interesting one that does promise a more intricate plot later on. I really loved the idea of the Neverwolves, and how this isn’t just some throwaway short story that can be easily done without. It’s a really good tale, and one that didn’t need to be a full book, but definitely makes me want more. The only thing is that it did need better editing. There were typos that could’ve been easily fixed with another read through. Regardless, worth the read and can’t wait for the next one.

Lauren’s Barbarian

While this is a spin-off series of The Ice Planet Barbarians, it’s still rather tied to the series and I disagree that it can stand alone. At the very least you should read the first book of IPB.

Lauren’s Barbarian  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

A lush, tropical island on an icy planet makes no sense.

Then again, not much makes sense anymore after waking up and finding myself not in bed but on a strange world populated by aliens. Since that moment, I’ve learned that nothing is normal anymore and I’ve got to roll with the punches. I can handle this, though. I’m strong and capable.

So… washed up on a tropical island? Got it handled.
Separated from the others in my group? Handled.
Stranded alone with a brutal but delicious alien man that can’t speak English but has great…ahem…body language? Yup, handled.

Add in the fact that my cootie – a symbiont I need to survive – has chosen my big, hulking alien friend as my fated mate? Let’s just say that the situation isn’t the only thing that’s going to be handled.

But it isn’t long before I learn that the tropical island paradise is a death trap and we’re all in grave danger, aliens and humans alike. To survive this, I’ll need my tempting guy to give me a hand with the situation…good thing he’s got four of them.

BOOK 1: Lauren’s Barbarian   4 STARS

This book starts when they’re finally letting the captives out of the pods, and how they all reacted, and what exactly happened while Taushen and Brooke were away. First off, I’m so glad we finally discovered the secret of the island Josey saw way out at sea. It also does tie into events that happened earlier in the IPB series, and so it was nice that even as it’s breaking off into a rather new story line, it’s still staying consistent with the previous books of this world. Though at first I was a little miffed that we finally find the 4 armed natives that was hinted at previously in the carvings of Croatoan, and it turns out they also are blue with tails and horns, and also calling themselves Sakh. But honestly it was rather clever of Dixon to think about the different species mixing together, and who knows how other Sakh ended up on the island, but it’s not really that far-fetched. Once I realized that it made me like it all the more. And again we’re dealing with a human and alien overcoming a language barrier, and having to work together to save the tribe. It was developed nicely, and of course it sets up for so many more stories with the new Icehome tribe, and learning how they’re going to come together and survive this new world they’ve all suddenly been tossed on. Lauren is likeable and practical. She’s a little unsure of resonance at first but she doesn’t put up a big fight with it, which was nice to be able to have someone just happy to have a man that’s completely devoted to them. The set up of the island and the tribes was interesting, and of course leaves me wondering about the mysterious 4th tribe that no one meets. But altogether it was a fun addition to the series whether Dixon wants to call in the same series or not.