Monday, March 28, 2011

Letterbox Look-see (Mar 2011, Part I)

Hello, everyone! It's been a busy busy month, for me and for authors! Here's the first installment of March additions to the Review Queue:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Children of the Elementi (Ceri Clark)

Overall: 2.8      ҉
  • Plot: 3.8/5
  • Originality: 3/5
  • Language: 2/5
  • Believability: 2.3/5
Children of the Elementi by Ceri Clark

The powerful Elementi Empire spanned over a thousand years, its kings and queens loved and revered by their people and their elemental powers feared by their enemies. One fateful night almost a century ago, the Empire was destroyed by treachery and Magi illusion. All five heirs were thought to be lost... until now.

On present day Earth, Jake has an ordinary life, school, bullies, parties... until he stumbles on an ancient crystal and discovers his adoption and a royal past.

As Jake touches the pendant, the Magi Emperor in Eleria is alerted that not all the Elementi were killed all those years ago. The Emperor summons an evil fire demon and sends him across the dimensional barrier to hunt and kill the last of the Elementi.

Can Jake learn to control his growing elemental powers and reunite the other lost children in time?
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website

Author Interview: MG Scarsbrook

Hello my lovelies! I got up a little early today and thought, "Why not post that interview with MG Scarsbrook?" This talented author has written historical novels The Marlowe Conspiracy and Poison in the Blood, in addition to multiple screenplays. He is currently in the midst of writing a detective series, though mum is apparently the word when it comes to details!

The Marlowe Conspiracy
Poison In The Blood: The Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia

Other Links:
Book Review: The Marlowe Conspiracy
MG Scarsbrook (author website)
Facebook: MG Scarsbrook
MySpace: MG Scarsbrook

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Phantom's Fixation (JJ Paul)

In The Phantom's Fixation, Paul tells the story of a woman who once aspired to be a marine biologist but now chases adulterous spouses, troublesome tenants, and the like. Things get more complicated when a new breed of clientele emerges: the dead.
  • Overall: 2.3      ҉
  • Plot: 2/5
  • Originality: 4.3/5
  • Language: 1.5/5
  • Believability: 2/5

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cursed! (JR Rain and Scott Nicholson)

Overall: 3.6
  • Plot: 2.5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 3/5
  • Believability: 4/5
Cursed! by JR Rain and Scott Nicholson

Albert Shipway is an ordinary guy, an insurance negotiator who likes booze and women and never having to say he’s sorry.

And he thinks this is just another day, another lunch, another order of kung pao chicken. Little does he know that he’s about to meet a little old lady who knows his greatest fear. A little old lady who knows what’s hiding in his heart. A little old lady who dishes up a big stew of supernatural revenge, with ingredients as follows: First you take one psychotic ex from a family of serial killers. Next add a pinch or two of an irrational childhood fear. Now thoroughly mix in an angry sister, a life-stealing great-granddad, and a notorious mass murderer—who happens to be dead but doesn’t know it. Let it stew and froth and bubble thoroughly....

In just a matter of minutes, Albert’s life turns upside down and he enters a world where magic and evil lurk beneath the fabric of Southern California. And all his choices have brewed a perfect storm of broken hearts, broken promises, shattered families, and a couple of tiny problems. Namely, killer mice and a baby.

Albert Shipway is finally getting a chance to right some wrongs.

That is, if it’s not too late.
Genre: Thriller
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | Cursed! | DE
Other Links:
JR Rain's author website
Scott Nicholson's author website

All Al Shipway wanted that day was some cheap Chinese food. What he got was nightmare upon nightmare as he discovered the reality of magic from the wrong end.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Giveaway: The Miracle Inspector (Helen Smith)

Previous Giveaway
Congratulations to SL! You've won a copy of The Right Path.

Current Giveaway
The raffle box is now open for an electronic copy of The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith, a "darkly comic literary thriller" about an Orwellian London. It's currently ranked #4330 in Amazon's Kindle store, and Helen Smith received an Arts Council Award for this work.

Interested? Read the book review or an author interview with Helen Smith, or visit her blog. You can also try the built-in Kindle sample underneath the entry form!

Giveaway ends on March 22, 2011. Get your entry in! (*required field)

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Vestal Virgin (Suzanne Tyrpak)

Overall: 4.6      ҉
  • Plot: 4.5/5
  • Originality: 4.7/5
  • Language: 4.8/5
  • Believability: 4.2/5
Vestal Virgin by Suzanne Tyrpak

Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin--priestess of the sacred flame, a visionary, and one of the most powerful women in Rome. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but the emperor, Nero, holds himself above the law. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really the pursuer? She stumbles on dark secrets. No longer trusting Roman gods, she follows a new god, Jesus of Nazareth, jeopardizing her life and the future of The Roman Empire.
Historical Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website

When considering Roman empires, many will think of emperors, gladiators, chariot races, and war. Fewer will spare a thought for the vestal virgins, women dedicated to chastity and the worship of Roman gods. In an appropriately titled Vestal Virgin, Suzanne Tyrpak explores the experiences of one such woman in the midst of Nero's hedonistic reign.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Gray and Guilty Sea (Jack Nolte)

Overall: 3.8
  • Plot: 4.2/5
  • Originality: 4.5/5
  • Language: 3.7/5
  • Believability: 2/5
The Gray and Guilty Sea by Jack Nolte

A curmudgeon. An iconoclast. A loner. That's how people describe Garrison Gage, and that's when they're being charitable.

After his wife's brutal murder in New York, and Gage himself is beaten nearly to death, the crippled private investigator retreats three thousand miles to the quaint coastal town of Barnacle Bluffs, Oregon. He spends the next five years in a convalescent stupor, content to bide his time filling out crossword puzzles and trying to forget that his wife's death is his fault. But all that changes when he discovers the body of a young woman washed up on the beach, and his conscience draws him back into his old occupation - forcing him to confront the demons of his own guilt before he can hope to solve the girl's murder.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website

I must say, it's been quite a thrilling few weeks (and yes, that was a terrible pun). It seems that mysteries and thrillers, or a combination of the two, are the flavor of early 2011. Jack Nolte's The Gray and Guilty Sea is the latest stop, and the front cover certainly gives a fitting introduction: "A battered detective. A dead girl on the beach. A small town on edge."

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Random Acts of Verbal Violence

I checked my e-mail after a shower tonight and got excited when I saw that I received something through the contact form on this blog. Then I saw what it was:

For the sake of my sanity, I'm going to assume that this was a random act. Readers are people who are interested in learning, thinking, growing, imagining. I would like to believe that they are more cultured and open-minded than the type of person who takes time out of his day to dig through a blogger's website for the bot-proofed contact form, just to pull something this asinine. The maliciousness and verbal ineptitude involved is astounding. Misogyny and racism expressed in a short series of mono- and bisyllabic words — bravo.

I suppose that this was a bit of a rant, but it irks me to see something designed to facilitate communication with authors and readers abused in such a fashion. Off to work off the irritation with some writing now. Have a good night, dear friends.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Author Interview: Steve Anderson

Hi everyone! This week, I conducted an interview with Steve Anderson, author of screenplays and espionage thriller The Losing Role.

False Refuge
Besserwisser: A Novel
The Losing Role

Other Links:
Book Review: The Losing Role
Steve Anderson (author website)
Facebook: Steve Anderson
Twitter: @sfanderson66

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Discovery of Socket Greeny (Tony Bertauski)

Overall: 4.1
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 2.3/5
  • Believability: 5/5
The Discovery of Socket Greeny by Tony Bertauski

Work has always come first for 16-year old Socket Greeny's mother, especially since his father died. But when she shows him the inner workings of the Paladin Agency, he discovers why it's so important. It's an underground world of technological wonder including bat-like grimmets, spherical servy-mechs and humanoid butlers with brightly lit faceplates. They traverse the planet through wormholes to keep the world safe, but from what, they won't say. Although his mother is not actually a Paladin, and neither was his father, both have worked for them for most their lives.

Socket, however, is different than his parents. He somehow is a Paladin and soon finds himself in the center of controversy and betrayal when he's anointed the agency's prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice and he doesn't want to be responsible for the world. He just wants to go home and back to school and be normal again. But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mother tells him. And when the world is soon threatened and the Paladins are forced into the public eye, Socket discovers what his mother means. If he doesn't embrace his true nature, life as we know it will change forever.
Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website

There is much to be said about the imagination when it comes to entertaining a younger set. Mundane things become fascinating, and the impossible becomes completely normal. In The Discovery of Socket Greeny, we are introduced to an example of the latter approach, one that is riveting in its own right.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Author Interview: CE Grundler

Hello beautiful people! It's Sharing Time, and boy do I have something good: an interview with CE Grundler. Multi-talented and a boater extraordinaire, she's written for boating magazines, and her debut novel, Last Exit In New Jersey, is not one to be missed!

Last Exit In New Jersey

Other Links:
Book Review: Last Exit In New Jersey
Mysteries For Mutts Fundraiser
CE Grundler (author website)
Twitter: @cegrundler
Original Hamster Dance


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