October 20, 2014

Two Minute Review- Breed by KT Davies


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

 

I really enjoyed this book. I like that the main character is an ‘other’. He is half human and half Warspawn. It’s interesting that he comments on humans like he has no kinship. That isn’t something you see too often on books, and it was well done by the author.

The worldbuilding is excellent. It feels like we are dropped into a fully realized setting. There is so much to learn and see. The history of the world bears exploration.

Even though the main twist appears inevitable, I quite enjoyed the trip to get there. I liked that the main character spent as much time getting beat up as fighting or wisecracking. I look forward to further adventures in this world.

October 4, 2014

Two Minute Review: Emlyn and the Gremlin and the Mean Old Cat

I just read Emlyn and the Gremlin and the Mean Old Cat
Let me start out by saying I read a LOT of childrens books. I have two young ones at home and we have story time each evening.

This story is great. Self-contained yet with room for expansion. Turning the gremlin story on its side and making her a sympathetic character was a good touch. My kids love books that rhyme. I found the language fun and accessible.

The art is…wow. The colors on the pages with text were vibrant and interesting, and the pictures of Emlyn and the animals was cute.

I can honestly say I’ll be reading this with my children for some time to come.

 

I received a review copy from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

June 12, 2012

What Should I Write Next?

This could be a marvelous disaster. I have 4 book outlines ready to go. I can't seem to really get churning on them. So I'm going to put the 'back cover copy' here. Take a look, and let me know what you'd like to read. Once I see whats up, I'll likely take the top two and post a scene, then we revote.

Choice #1
 Adam Archer #2 ‘A Hard Place’

When Adam Archer receives a call that his sister-in-law is missing, he is hesitant to get involved. They hadn’t spoken since he revealed his new, demonic self to her. He is obviously the last person she ever wants to see again. After a cursory look leads to some dark magic, Adam reluctantly agrees to find her.

Next, a mysterious package arrives for Adam, he must continue his search while fighting in a mob war he helped to start.


Choice #2
Girl P.I.

 Ekaterina Godov is a magnificent failure. She gave up her job as a Private Detective when a case went bad. She swore off detective work and climbed into a bottle.

After a few hard years, Kat is finally starting to clean herself up when an old flame appears, looking for help.

Kat must decide if she wants to put her sobriety, and life on the line to find a young girl missing in a big city.

Choice #3
Cybermancer

Rory Daniels was always good with computers. Hi progressed from hobbyist, to Script Kiddie, to Hacker by his 20th birthday. When his new girlfriend challenges him to do something special ‘just for her’, Rory ends up hacking into a military site that doesn’t even officially exist.

After the hack goes bad, Rory finds himself not only on the run from the government, but from another group that was planting something bad in there. Something that could end the net itself.

All that seems minor when Rory starts to think the computers themselves are talking to him.

Choice #4
SUPERHERO as of yet untitled

Homeless people are disappearing from all over the eastern seaboard. No one knows what is happening to them. Sal Hendricks finds out first hand when the men come to his camp and take him.

Sal wakes in a facility. He loses track of time as experiment after experiment are done on him and the others. Eventually, most of the others are gone and only a handful remain.

A beautiful woman with red skin breaks the survivors out. Sal flees into the night, but is left with more questions than answers.

When strange things start happening around him, Sal must understand what happened to him before his captors find him.

May 18, 2012

2 Minute Review - 'The Price' by Joseph Garraty

I am on a hot streak recently when it comes to books. I've been poring through Amazon and BN looking for something to suit my tastes. I liked the cover for this book, and was not disappointed by this book.

In The Price, we follow a young guy names Jimmy. Jimmy live in a rough section of Boston. When Jimmy comes to his family's butcher shop, some thugs are messing with his parents.

Jimmy is 'helped' by another group of mobsters, and there starts his decline. Benedict, Jimmy's new mentor, teaches him how to use his ability to work magic to aid the Mafia. As the title suggests, magic has a price.

4 out of 5 *

What I liked: The magic and character development were good. the plot itself was a page turner.

What I didn't like: The last few scenes felt rushed. They had a nice kinetic feel to it, but I felt they could have been expanded to draw out the tension.

Who is it for: Dark urban fantasy fans who like a nice occult thriller with a load of violence.

Who isn't it for: Squeamish folk, Erotic Fantasy fans, Russian Mobsters.

May 10, 2012

Two Minute Review - 'No Hero' by Jonathan Wood

Boy, I loved this book. I have always been a fan of Cthulhu Mythos type stories. My recent writing and reading of other urban fantasy has only increased this love. So when I read the blurb on this book, I knew I had to try it.

The book begins with an ordinary London detective tracking a killer. When he happens upon something otherworldly, he is recruited into a secret government agency. The story takes off from there.

Mr. Wood does a great job in adding characters and supernatural happenings. The story never feels slow except for a clunky, but necessary, chunk where the main character is introduced to the rest of the agency.

Even after the obligatory world saving, things are left open for further books, for which I'll be eagerly waiting.

WHO IT'S FOR? People who like fast paced urban fantasy mixed with some lovecraftian themes.

WHO ISN'T IT FOR? Epic fantasy fans, lovers of Byzantine plots, marmosets.

***** five stars.

October 7, 2011

Top 10 Heroes that Influence my Writing





To recap: I am reading for the 20th time Alex Sokoloff’s awesome writing book. In the tome, one makes lists of Works, Heroes, Villains and Endings that you love and that reflect your work. My Works list is HERE. Now onto Heroes.



1. Batman

I love Batman. He is my favorite comic book character. He is a brooding, angry man. He protects others from criminals in Gotham City. I like the tortured aspect of Batman’s persona. No matter what he does, it won’t bring back his murdered parents.

2. Corwin of Amber

If you haven’t read Roger Zelazny’s Amber series, do so now. Corwin is a prince of a mythical realm at the center of reality. The king disappears and a war of succession starts. Corwin is at one point or another shot, blinded, imprisoned and treated poorly. He never gives up though.

3. John McClane

The Die Hard hero. Shoeless, outgunned and bleeding, John McClane battles terrorists in a locked down skyscraper.

4. Harry Dresden

Jim Butcher’s wizard hero. Harry is a regular guy with some powers and lots of powerful enemies. His wit and determination are a great read and a believable character.

5. Sturm Brightblade

Ah, Dragonlance my first love. Sturm was a squire of a failed knighthood. His honor and courage stayed with me all these years. Someday, I’ll write an epic fantasy, and a character like Sturm will be in it.

6. Jack Burton

Jack is a truck driver. Not particularly skilled in any sort of martial arts, he still kicks a fair amount of ass. Great one liners and laughing in the face of death. Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite movies.

7. The Crow (Eric Draven)

If there is one character that throws direct influence on my heroes, it’s Eric Draven. The Crow movie is Goth Revenge Perfection. Eric hunts a gang down ad extracts glorious revenge upon them.

8. Joe Pitt

Joe is a Vampire who does some detective work on the side. Joe isn’t a nice guy. I like that. I was kinda locked into the ‘How do you write a novel where the lead isn’t a good guy?’ Charlie Huston and Joe Pitt cured me of that.

9. Philip Marlowe

The great hardboiled detective. I found a bunch of Marlowe radio serials when I was doing a lot of commuting. I put them on my mp3 player and basked in the glory.

10. Edmund Dantes

The Count of Monte Cristo himself. I love a good revenge story. This is the best one ever.



So again we look at what we have. All the gents are powerful in their own way, but not overwhelmingly so. The have one thing in common. They. Never. Stop. Coming.

That’s it. No matter what you do to them or what happens, the keep coming. I hate books and movies where the lead isn’t touched until the very end. C’mon! People suck, they need to get bloody and filthy on their quest, or it isn’t worth it.

Villains are next.

September 23, 2011

Awesome Review for 'Love the Sinner '

I love those crazy Doulbeshot Reviews ladies

Top 10 Stories That Influence My Writing.

Alexandra Sokoloff wrote a great book about writing. Its called Screenwriting Tricks for Authors. I recommend it. One of the things she does is have you list some favorites, to see where your head is at. You list Heroes, Villains, endings and books/films similar to what you are writing. I’ve read it a few times and think it’s a great way to clarify what you are looking at.



I’m going to run through all of these here on the blog, and let you, the home audience, play along. Now, my favorites may not be your favorites. They may not be the best, but they are what I like. I am also including comics to movies books and TV. They are a viable medium and one I read.



So without further ado, and in no particular order. My 10 favorite books/movies/comics

1. Empire Strikes Back.

Simply one of my favorite movies. The original Star Wars ended on a high note. The Rebels were a real force and the future was bright. Noper. The Empire still had a load of resources and were pissed off. I love that it shows the good guys on the run and getting pounded. You know they will win eventually, but for this one movie they were screwed.

2. Braveheart

For a long time, this was my favorite movie. I used to get loaded, put it on and pass out. Over the top violence, revenge and a nipple are featured. This movie has what I like to call ‘Mistake number one’ The point where the bad guys do something so bad, you know they have to pay. I may do a whole post on ‘M#1’.

3. Big Trouble in Little China

One of the best one-liner movies ever. It shows black humor in the face of incredible odds. It also shows Kurt Russell as a regular truck driver mixed up in some bad stuff. He’s not a martial artist like everyone else, but he isn’t afraid. This shows me the values of the everyman in relating to stories. Also, Egg Shen should have his own movie. He is that awesome.

4. The Matrix

Sequels were complete crap. Yet this one movie approaches perfection in my eyes. A geek (YAY) is shown that everything is false, and there is a whole world out there. He is then given power inside a computer to bust stuff up. I’m in. Fighting powerful Agents against impossible odds.

5. LOTR: The Two Towers

Let the Horn of Helm Hammerhand Sound once more in the Deep… What more is there to say? At the climax of the movie, the Rohirrim and some of the Fellowship are trapped in a fortress. The Orc army is outside, tearing the place down. The know they are dead, but they need to buy time, so the women and children can escape. So they mount a suicidal charge. However, at the same moment Gandalf arrives with the rest of the army. If you don’t get chills when that Rohirrim army charges down the hill, you are dead inside.

6. The Eye of the World

The first book of the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of time series. Before everything got bloated, this was one hell of a series. The first volume is a self-contained story of a young man who is forced to flee his home with strangers. He is pursued by monster out of children’s stories. Excellent.

7. The Crow

Cult classic and Brandon Lee’s final film. It’s a great goth revenge movie. I think it’s the only one in the list where the hero isn’t against great odds. For most of the movie, he is just delivering swift and angry justice.

8. Fool Moon

The second book in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, and my favorite. We are still learning about the character, but it has more story than backstory. There is a fabulous scene with a werewolf in the police station that is pretty awesome.

9. Shadow over Innsmouth

H. P. Lovecraft was a crazy SOB. His stories are really out there. You need to read a lot of them. This story tells of a mans trip through New England. He decides to stop at a crappy run down town with a bad reputation. It ends badly.

10. Batman Year One

It’s hard to pick a comic. I love Batman. I'm a Bat-geek. If I had to pick one story, it would be this one. Frank Miller tells of the early days of Batman. Again, I’m a big fan of training montages. There is a lot of ‘Holy Crap’.

Honorable mention:

• Last Man Standing

• Rio Bravo

• Batman Begins

• Pale Rider

Upon first glance, I see a few things. First, I like training sequences and the beginnings of series. Also, I Love Love Love the outnumbered hero fighting against the odds. I really get the whole “Rage against the dying of the light” thing. Looking at the list, it’s no wonder that my first book is a revenge tale of a demon hunting a more powerful demon through Scranton PA. Revenge is a beautiful story.

It seems like I would be well served to continue the sex, violence and demons in my second book. Next time: Heroes.

September 15, 2011

Hi, I'm Ed, and I'm a geek.

Geek


Nerd

Weirdo

Oddball

Guilty as charged.

So what?

There is no shame in it. It’s ok. Do you love Star Wars? Fantasy Books? Computers? Astronomy? You do? Awesome! Are you happy? That’s all that matters.

It took me a long time to come to terms with my Geekdom. I used to hide my comics from my friends. I played endless sports and never let my sports friends to happen upon my roleplaying friends.

Why?

Well, I’ll tell you why. I was a poor fat kid from the projects in coal country. I was picked on for just about everything. My hair, my clothes, my address. Everything. Why pin the target on myself? Stupid decision on my part. People will judge no matter what. So why be miserable in the process?

When I played sports, I gained a modicum of acceptance. I fooled myself into thinking it was real, that I was real. It wasn’t. I gave up reading for a few years. I was miserable.

When I hit my 20’s, I decided, FINALLY, that I didn’t give a rip about what other people thought. I picked up my books, rpg’s and comics. It was totally refreshing. Once I became me again, I met my wife. I don’t think I was comfortable enough before to really commit. I got a job (computers) and wrote a book (fantasy). I now have some kids, a house and an eye high stack of geek cred. I am a happy geek. I do, however still love football (go Raiders), but it's like #9 on my passions list. I think I'd actually rather play the xbox version to watching a game.

Embrace your geek. If you like playing video games, do it. Like fantasy books? You can borrow some from me. Heck, do you enjoy discussing the minutiae of crocheting pullovers for dogs? Guess what, you are a geek too, and that’s OK.

Don’t let fear of what others say keep you from doing what you love. If you lose your path, hit the internet. Rumor has it there are some geeky folks thereabouts.

September 2, 2011

My 2 Minute Review: JLA #1 (Spoilers)

Like I said in my last post, I am pretty excited about the DC Relaunch. The first book came out this week. JLA #1.


I am going to give it 4 out of 5 stars. It was a fun, fast paced adventure. Was it perfect? Nope. I mean Batman barely hit anyone at all. The story itself perhaps suffers from the books being short. I could have gone for a double sized #1. The teaming of Batman and Green Lantern happened too fast for my liking, but it’s forgivable.

I like that Hal Jordan has an ego problem. He was a test pilot and now has nearly limitless power. It probably does something to a fella.

Batman is Batman. He doesn’t say much, but when GL starts cocking off, Bats is able to deflate him a bit. It works.

The Superman reveal is ok as well. I’m not a Supes fan, but I do like his new costume. It’s retro-futurish. Like what the Man of Tomorrow would wear in the late 50’s.

I opted for the digital and paper combo pack. No offense to my paper-sniffing brethren, but the digital edition knocks it out of the park. It looks splendid on my iPad. I find in my advancing age, I notice the art more if it is presented one panel at a time. The only jab is that some of the dialogue was different between editions. That was fixed by an important update last night.

Whoever did the digital conversion did a great job. The panel advancement is handled in an almost cinematic way. I liked the effect.

I will give little reviews of the rest of my pull list as it comes out.



My current list:

Batman

Detective

Batgirl

Batwoman

JLA

JLA Dark

Action Comics (for now)