Review: Looking for Dei


David A. Willson’s Looking For Dei is a wonderful new YA novel.  It is listed under YA Fantasy and Urban Fantasy… I’m not sure that it quite fits either of those molds. It also isn’t quite an apocalyptic dystopia, but there are minor elements of all those genres, making modern teen readers feel right at home with the themes.

The story follows a few different POVs but mainly focuses on Nara and Mykel; Nara has a mysterious heritage and Mykel, her friend can empathize with her because of a birth defect. Looking for Dei evoked the same kinds of feeling that I get when watching the televised Shanara Chronicles. For the most part it’s good, but it’s also sometimes soooo YA slanted. But like I said: good. The story also evokes some themes of Madeleine L’Engle that I enjoy (themes of good vs evil and some very positive tropes that border on allegory in many respects.) Continue reading Review: Looking for Dei


Review: The Silver Horn Echoes-A Song of Roland


I was sent a copy of The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland for review. It is historical fiction but comes off in such a way that it crosses over into the appeal for the fantasy crowd—it invokes kind of the feeling that Game of Thrones fans would have when watching Vikings. As a fan of both shows I enjoyed the story of Roland and it had similar intrigue to the later seasons of Vikings with the kingdoms of the region vying for dominance during the Dark Ages (even though the central figures are the characters rather than the countries).

The story is well researched and flows seamlessly—although the action never bogs down in history lessons. The action comes quick and regular during the campaigns and you never quite feel safe as the reader. Continue reading Review: The Silver Horn Echoes-A Song of Roland

Review: The Secret of the Aurora Hotel


It’s time for another Ultimate Ending book review. Having read others in their series, The Secret of the Aurora Hotel by McAleese and Kristoph is by far my favorite.

As with their others in the series these books have a few more puzzle elements versus traditional Choose Your Own Adventure titles.

The Aurora Hotel is a haunted hotel your uncle Gus purchased; you and your two cousins try solve its mystery and lift the curse that started long ago. It’s got this great Shining feel to it that immerses you, although in a juvenile and age appropriate manner… but what’s as much fun as exploring a crazy, haunted house. (Some of my favorite table top games include those like Mansions of Madness.) Continue reading Review: The Secret of the Aurora Hotel

Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Cult of Cthulhu


James Boswell’s Sherlock Holmes and the Cult of Cthulhu is an intriguing book. The time periods, and in many respects, the writing styles, of Doyle and Lovecraft seem an obvious intersection for a writer seeking to dovetail them together.

Fair warning, I haven’t read any of Doyle’s Holmes titles in almost two decades. Perhaps it was the theme, but I read the story with an inner monologue in a British accent, kind of like how memes with a photo of Morgan Freeman make you read the text in his voice. Continue reading Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Cult of Cthulhu

Review: Cursed–the Hunter Inside


Cursed: the Hunter Inside (Part 1), is the next book that you’ve got to get! As the father of teenage author I took special interest when sixteen year old Casey Millette queried my blog for a review. I thought I might have to reach in order to find nice things to say, but dang, this girl can write.

It opens with a phenomenal hook and the action keeps driving forward from there. In checking out her publisher, I also see that Parliament House  (an IBPA member) is no slouch, either. They demand top- notch stories, and this is one of them. Millette writes with a tightness and descriptive ability typically only found in writers with several books under their belt; she does a great job of resisting waxing passive and falling into “tell” vs “show.” This is a story you won’t regret picking up and from a voice that is guaranteed to be a fresh one in the industry. Continue reading Review: Cursed–the Hunter Inside

Review: Neogenesis


I got an ARC of Neogenesis from a contact over at Baen Books who was looking for reviews. It is written by the husband and wife duo Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

The book falls somewhere on the Space Opera spectrum with some leanings into hard SF. I enjoyed the book, although it took me a little bit to get into it. Partly that is because the SF universe that they write in is so expansive that some of what they were writing about may have taken me a little extra time to wade in and understand. The first moment that I really connected was late in the first chapter when Ren Zel resisted the temptations of the addiction he knew he’d eventually succumb to—and that’s what space opera is all about: internal character struggle.

The universe is big (even if this particular book deals mostly with the backwater planet of Surebleak. Of course, planets like Tatooine are the perfect sorts of places to do acts and take refuge away from prying eyes. Continue reading Review: Neogenesis

Review: Songweaver


DW Johnson’s story of Xenkur continues to expand with Songweaver. It is book 1 in the Iron League Books.

I’m no stranger to her universe. Her writing has gotten tighter, for sure. For those uninitiated to Xenkur it is a world very similar to Pathfinder’s world of Golarian (a D&D world).

Johnson has learned a few things and the cover and layout are much improved from the first installment. I also appreciated her story… not everybody pulls off a strong bard character in universes full of rogues, warriors, barbarians, and wizards. Continue reading Review: Songweaver

Review: Westward Tally Ho!


I recently read Milo James Fowler’s Westward, Tally Ho! (well, listened on audiobook, actually.) It has its bright moments. The story is about an English kid who follows his father who was a world adventurer. As his first big act as a young adult he travels to America alongside his butler (who was just sacked) and helps him locate his missing daughter while navigating the Wild West.

It’s an interesting premise and has more than a little humor (some of which I think probably translates better in the written version.) All in all, it rather feels like a western adventure between Alfred and a young, naïve Bruce Wayne, and that has a certain kind of charm.

There is a distinct lack of new westerns in writing (mainly because the audiences are rather tired of the genre, and so the mix of unique elements such as spec fic or alternate POVs like a British perspective.) If you’re looking for a new taste of the old west, or if you’re used to reading YA and want to get a taste of sixguns and satire, this would be good book to pick up.

I got this book to review for Inside the Inkwell reviews for free in exchange for my opinion.

Review: The Eye of the World


I have found a new December tradition. After collecting most of the books in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series I decided to finally begin reading them this winter. I was pretty blown away and hooked from the start. The book evoked the same feels that I had as a young kid reading Tolkien for the first time.

Why did I ever wait? Probably because there are so many books in the series (and I was never very clear on where to begin, exactly, since they weren’t listed with a sequential numbering system until later). Also, they are crazy long. Eye of the World, the first book, is 700 pages long and it’s not anywhere near the longest of them. Continue reading Review: The Eye of the World

Review: Bimbos of the Death Sun


I picked up Bimbos of the Death Sun at the advice of an online group that knew I was getting ready to write a crime-comedy about two cops undercover at a comic-con who have to stop a hitman from killing Wil Wheaton. The book was a geed read to see what had gone before. Of course, this book came out in the 1980s; in fact, my inside cover flap showed it was the old TSR copy, even. That hearkened me back to my own wonder years. Continue reading Review: Bimbos of the Death Sun