Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lodestone Book One: The Sea of Storms (Mark Whiteway)

Overall: 4.3
  • Plot: 5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4/5
  • Believability: 3/5
Lodestone Book One: The Sea of Storms by Mark Whiteway

Ail-Kar, a white-hole portal from another universe, rains meteoroids onto the surface of the planet Kelanni. But the so-called "lodestones" behave according to different physical laws, transforming Kelanni's society. With the aid of the fearsome Keltar in their flying cloaks, the Kelanni are being put to forced labor to mine the lodestones.

Shann, an orphan with a fiery disposition, witnesses a battle between a Keltar and a stranger bearing a similar flying cloak. She tracks down the stranger, and learns of the technology behind the Keltars' power, joining him on a mission to free the slaves and cut off their supply of lodestones.

Meanwhile Keris, a Keltar, is sent on a mission to track down the rebels. She is attacked by a flying creature and saved by the enigmatic Chandara. At their Great Tree, she learns that a mysterious "Prophet" is out to destroy the Kelanni people. Their only hope is a powerful instrument hidden in the distant past.

Pursued by Keltar, the party will encounter bizarre creatures, ancient technologies and terrifying dangers. Finally, they must seek to cross a massive storm barrier in order to reach the other side of their world, where a world-shaking revelation awaits.
Genre: Fantasy,
Science Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website

In this stunning work of fantasy fiction, we are introduced to a theocratic society and a unique use of the concept of negative matter. In an act of brilliant irony, the Prophet has been using the Kelanni people and money to fund the development of a weapon to annihilate them. One of his top Keltar, an elite soldier, stumbles upon his plan and begins an unwilling journey with four others to save the people she has sworn to protect. With former allies breathing down their necks, they race against the clock to save their people and defeat a false god.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Giveaway: Matchmakers 2.0

Enter to win an e-copy of Matchmakers 2.0, a Novel Nibbles title by Debora Geary. Perfectly portioned for your lunch break of your morning commute!

Book Summary:

Have you ever wondered who really does the matches for those online-dating sites?

Mick - Guppy scientist and victim of her self-inflicted dating adventures.
Miri - Astrology whiz and promoter of steamy sex for the greater good.
Derrick - Data genius and life idiot.

Meet the match team at, the web 2.0 online-dating service with a personal touch.  Can Mick lead her team, find a guy, and finally win Match the Loser?

Additional Links:
Book Review: Matchmakers 2.0
Debora Geary's author website

Contest ends 1 July 2011. The winner will be notified by e-mail.

Entry Form

Extra Entries (+1 each)
I'm on Debora Geary's mailing list

I'm friends with Debora Geary on Facebook

I follow Hide and Read (Google, NetworkedBlogs, RSS, etc.)
I follow @alice_unblocked on Twitter

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Contest: Character Challenge

Calling both readers and writers! In honor of my upcoming blogoversary, I'm hosting a character-based guest post challenge.

The Contest

Have you ever read a book and wanted to be one of the characters? Well here's your chance. Write a guest post using his or her words! Be creative, and most importantly, have fun!

To Enter

      Choose a book (your own or someone else's).
      Choose a character.
      Write a guest post from that character's point of view.
      Send your entry as a Word attachment to alice(at)
      • Please use "Character Contest" in the subject line.
      • Be sure to specify the character/book and any relevant information (eg. Harry Potter before or after he discovered the wizarding world).
**All submissions must be received by 27 July 2011**

The Reward

The top three winners will have their entries posted on this blog at the end of July. They will also be offered the opportunity to write a guest post of their own. All other entrants will be given an honorable mention.

Ready? Set? Write!

Steam Queen by Jack Hessey

Overall: 2.8
  • Plot: 3/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 1.8/5
  • Believability: 2.5/5

Steam Queen by Jack Hessey

Europe is a dangerous, virtually lawless place. Armed bandits prowl the railway lines in their armed Steam Locomotive looking for easy marks, and heavily armed mercenary engines travel from town to town looking for work in a world where every day is a struggle for its civilians.

Erica, an emotionally disturbed girl from England finds herself joining one of these mercenary teams. What follows is a trek across Europe to where two mighty cities, each representing a different way of life, stand on the verge of a war which will shape the way Europe develops.

On one side are the Steam using traditionalists of St Vith, led by the charismatic and cunning General Roosje Cuvelier. On the other, stands the mighty Winterscheid Diesel Empire under the iron fist of the merciless Kaiser Sigmund Eisenburg.

Two vicious armies, treachery from her own allies and the world’s deadliest super-weapon are just a few of the dangers that Erica must face in her journey.
Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website

In Steam Queen, the opening scene introduces us to Erica, an eighteen-year-old with the megalomania and proclivity towards violence of a sociopath. In spite of her self-righteous and self-centered administration of justice, however, she also feels a deep love for her father. This devotion is what lands here with the Steam Queens, a mercenary team that hunts down targets via locomotive. With a new assignment, they find themselves caught between a female general with a disregard for consequences and a kaiser who has an almost fanatical love for diesel engines.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Hi folks. My blog-o-versary is coming up in a month or so, and I need to decide whether or not to renew my domain name. At the moment, I'm contemplating rebranding this blog, since "Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews" is a bit of a mouthful (and rather tedious to type). Since the blog is relatively young, I figured it would be easier to make any changes now rather than later. Thoughts / opinions / advice please!

Also, in case you're wondering, yes I'm still reading Steam Queen. The file I'm reading is a PDF, which is why it's taking a bit longer. (Incidentally, this is why I stopped accepting PDF files for review.) I've also been packing up the apartment and overloading the recycling bin. Just call me a one-woman moving machine!

One more housekeeping detail: the giveaway for The Marlowe Conspiracy, Raven's Heart, and Vestal Virgin ends tonight. Make sure you drop by the giveaway page and enter!

Okie dokie that's about it. It's back to the paper shredder for me. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Matchmakers 2.0 (Debora Geary)

Overall: 4.4    ҉
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4.8/5
  • Believability: 3.8/5
Matchmakers 2.0 (A Novel Nibbles title) by Debora Geary

Mick - guppy scientist and victim of her self-inflicted dating adventures.
Miri - astrology whiz and promoter of steamy sex for the greater good.
Derrick - data genius and life idiot.

Meet the match team at, the web 2.0 online-dating service with a personal touch.

Can Mick lead her team, find a guy, and finally win Match the Loser? Enjoy a little humor, a little romance, and occasional trivia about guppies.

Matchmakers 2.0 is humorous romance with a chick-lit flavor.
Genre: Humor,
Women's Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Other Links:
Novel Nibbles

Debora Geary proves that a good story can be delivered in a small package, or rather, a "novel nibble". In roughly 20,000 words, we follow the antics of Derrick, Miri, and Mick, a quirky group of matchmakers with very different approaches towards the process. This year, Mick finds herself pulled into the fray and discovers what it's like on the client end of Matchmakers 2.0.

Letterbox Look-see (May 2011, Part III)

Hi everyone! Here's the final installment of mailbox items for May. This is the last batch of review copies that I'll be receiving for a while, so I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Be Our Guest!

Good afternoon (evening?) everyone! Today, I had the opportunity to write a guest post for Two Ends of the Pen on books and first impressions. Here's an excerpt:

There is a scene in Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont in which an older woman is dressing up for dinner with complete strangers. As she adds a few finishing touches, she murmurs to herself, “First impressions.” Two simple words that summed up her entire mindset. First impressions are the same reason why we wear suits to job interviews and agonize over first dates. What we often forget, however, is that the concept extends beyond the physical into the realm of silent text. When facial expressions and innate charisma are taken away, we are stripped down to vocabulary and syntax; our only weapons are a message worth sharing and the tools with which to do so.

Click here to see the full post. Be sure to stop over and show Deb some love!

P.S. The giveaway for Raven's Heart, Vestal Virgin, and The Marlowe Conspiracy is still going. All three are some of my favorites since I started this blog, so you definitely want to enter. See the giveaway page for details.


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