Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Cleansing by Danielle Tara Evans


         For this review I've chosen a book that's not quite out yet, but I'm very excited to have had an opportunity to read and review it in advance. I've read another story by this author and I'm really excited to see her evolution since her first published book, Escalators.

          The Cleansing begins in the United States in the near future, and takes place a few years after natural disasters decimated the country and left the majority of the population dead. The nation is now predominantly occupied by citizens born in another country, and natural-born citizens are now looked on with prejudice and in some cases disdain and hatred.

          This dystopian society is now centrally focused on preventing any further pollution, which contributed to the natural disasters that shook the foundations of the world itself. This also means the natural-born citizens are looked at like they are variable "enemies of the planet" and the sole reason for the devastating disasters.

          The story follows husband and wife John and Annie; two average Americans trying to be just that. John, the ex-soldier, had a distrusting attitude towards the government, while Annie tends to take things in stride and make the best of things as they are. These differing attitudes greatly affects the opening of the story as they're ripped out of their homes and forced to a "reeducation" center for natural-born American citizens.

         As they exit their homes John is quickly arrested for resisting and carrying a firearm, and Annie finds herself without him. The distrust in the government is apparent in all the citizens as Annie floats between speaking with neighbors, and family members as their individual experiences are recanted.

          The story begins to unfold more as the classes finish up and the true nature of things are revealed, in a way that you can't predict. At first glance it seems as though Evans is going with a cliché dystopian world that is leaning towards genocide, but things develop in a way you don't expect.

          There is an even bigger twist when John and Annie are given news they had waited on for as long as they'd been married, and even longer for Annie. This news forces a new set of rules as they try and begin new lives, with the help of a certain underground group that is less fighting back and more or less protecting their own natural-born American brothers and sisters.

          The story is one that is ever changing throughout, and constantly evolves within itself. It does, however, have one underlying central theme that it references in several different parts of the story from the beginning to the end. The way John and Annie rely and fall back on each other seems to say "love can conquer and hold you up through anything".

          Throughout this story there are many positive notes that make it shine, though narrowing them down was a bit difficult:

  • You can really feel how Evans put herself into Annie. The emotion that comes from her can really be felt as the story progresses.
  • The story flows well and moves from one intense scene to the next, but it still maintains a strong developing story throughout.
  • The characters themselves feel real and down to earth, but at the same time their emotions seem larger than life.
          It was even harder to pick out cons for this story, and in reality I could only come up with one that wasn't just knit picking:

  • The story begins with a big action sequence full of soldiers, guns and a small amount of violence, yet it feels like it moves a bit slow. This only lasts for the first few pages, and though it seems to develop a little slowly its the only part that comes off that way.
         In the end The Cleansing by Danielle Tara Evans is a great thriller that is smooth, full of action, and even more importantly full of emotion. I'm looking forward to the finished product that will be released soon, and I will post a follow-up once it is released.

Overall I'm going to give The Cleansing a solid 8/10 based on:

9/10 for readability- The story flows very well throughout, and the chapter transitions are very smooth.

8/10 for story- I love the combination of dystopian and romance in an adult story. The 'Native American' spin in a wonderfully modern way that alone makes this worth the read.

8/10 for characters- I've already mentioned how big a fan of the character Annie due to the emotional connection you get from her. The other characters are also all very well done and each one is very distinct from one another.

9/10 for emotional connection- Besides the emotional feeling you get from the characters, the story itself keeps you vested in it. Whether its the determination in the 'underground group', the desperation of the Americans, or the hatred and malice from the soldiers, the story is full of emotion and that alone keeps you vested throughout the story.

I have to give a big thank you to Danielle for giving me an opportunity to read and review her story. As I said earlier I will be posting a follow-up review once her story is complete and published (which I'm told will be soon).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Seedbearing Prince


          There are a multitude of authors out there that balance both careers and writing, in addition to many other responsibilities. But the author of the book for my Sunday review, The Seedbearing Prince, actually took a setback such as the loss of a professional job and turned it into success in writing.

          Davaun Sanders was an architect with a small design firm that fell victim to the 2008 housing market collapse. Instead of seeking out another firm immediately, he did what many of us wish we would have and began writing full-time. Sanders also writes poems and even performs spoken word poetry. This combination of an architects eye and poets soul turned into a debut novel that showcases both those attributes.

          The story begins with a farm boy named Dayn on a planet known as Shard. Dayn isn't like others, a fact that is evident by his constant dreaming of 'coursing' through the 'torrent', which is a sport that none on his planet have competed in for over 200 years. Sanders does a wonderful job early on in making you feel the young man's plight as he hides his practicing from his parents, and even goes as far as to risk his life coursing in a huge chasm known as the dreadfall.

          Things on Shard quickly turn sour as Dayn has an accident while practicing in the dreadfall. He runs across a group of men that fit a description of the ones you meet in the prologue, and in a moment following a huge explosion that temporarily eliminates the planet's gravity he quickly becomes the most important man in the World Belt.

          After the incident, along with a strange glowing stone he finds, Dayn's parents force him to leave his home and his journey truly begins. Accompanied by a pair of men hailing from The Ring, which is a massive spacestation that was constructed to protect the various worlds along the world belt, Dayn is tasked to travel from world to world and bring awareness of the men and their plot to destroy everything and everyone in the world belt.

          Sanders' architectural eye comes through in the worlds he reveals during this adventure. From the sandy world of Aran with its never ending, mazelike structures called splits that people huddle in during the sweltering heat; to the snow covered mountains of the world Suralose, to the worlds built upon nothing but massive floating asteroids. Each structure, including the worlds themselves, are built in your mind as their intricacies are described in vivid detail.

          Its not just the architecture that sets this story apart from the droves of fantasy novels created by amateur writers. The fact that Sanders is a poetry writer comes out in the dialogues, both internal and external, that occur. Whether Dayn is speaking to a dear friend, a harsh instructor, or even a group of cute girls that he wants to "steal a kiss from', you can feel the emotion.

         Throughout the story, as with any I read, I try to pick out the best parts or 'pros' it contains. This one gave me fits trying to isolate a few that would make others want to pick it up as much as I enjoyed reading it:
  • The fight scenes are very well done. Sanders choreography is spot on. Each blow is felt, each movement is purposeful with no wasted word.
  • The story itself is new and doesn't feel like something I've read a dozen times.
  • The characters and the worlds are so vivid you feel as though you're part of each conversation. Each planet you visit inside the World Belt seems new and its people have their own personalities that make them unique.
          Even more difficult than finding a few pros between the multitudes of things I enjoyed in this story, cons were even more difficult to isolate. After reading through several parts a second time I've decided, though I almost hate to admit it, that I can't find a thing that could be labeled as a true con in this story.

          In the end The Seedbearing Prince by Davaun Sanders was more than just a pleasant read for me. It truly gave me something new, and something that kept me turning the pages throughout the entire book. I highly recommend any fan of the fantasy genre picks this up, and even if you're not a fan the action and thrills makes it a good choice for anybody that's a fan of good literature.

Overall I'm giving The Seedbearing Prince a 9/10 based on:

9/10 for readability- The story flows well and keeps you turning the page throughout.

9/10 for story- The story of a young boy tasked with carrying an artifact that has the potential to save the world may sound familiar, but I can tell you that there is nothing familiar in this. Everything from the characters to the worlds themselves, to the journey feels fresh and new.

9/10 for characters- The characters created by Sanders are so fresh and so full of depth you find yourself connecting to even the most lowly ancillary character with a single word stated. Each time you leave a world you find yourself wondering what had happened to that shop keeper you met for just one moment.

9/10 for visualization- The "X-factor" for this story, for me, is the visualization. The way Sanders, by either his architectural background, or the poetic influences, helps you visualize the worlds inside the world belt is truly remarkable. Each world, its people, and the evil void walkers all have a uniqueness to them and Sanders brings that out in a wonderful way.

          A big thank you to Sanders for contacting me about his book. It was more than a pleasure to be introduced to such a strong story, and for a debut novel it speaks volumes of what to expect from this author. I definitely suggest adding this story to your e-reader, or even picking up the hard copy on Amazon.

If you would like to check out The Seedbearing Prince you can find it here.

This was the first part of a saga being created by Sanders, he is currently in works of completing part 2.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sarah's Spaceship Adventure


          It’s a rare thing that I step outside of my comfort zone, but that’s exactly what I did this week with Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure by Stan Morris. I’ve read sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, dystopian adventures, satires, and hundreds of combinations of others; I have not, however, ever read a space love story. Not just a space love story but one with a mix of action and adventure that keeps it interesting.

          Morris starts his tale with a literal slap to the face that sets the tones for meeting 18 year old Sarah Talmaiz on a date with a rich young man on a space yacht. The young man turns violent in his attempt to bed the girl and there’s a bit of ‘cosmic justice’ as their ship is disabled. This is where we first meet Pall Swiftcar that rescues Sarah in an incredibly unconventional way that forces them both into an official union that marks them as ‘married’.

          This ‘marriage’ becomes the focal point of many things as the story goes and more of the Hoop’s, the area where those that live in space dwell, rules and laws. It also becomes a huge internal debate for both characters, where one wants nothing more than to get home to her family, while the other, being 15, feels he is bound to his union.

          Besides the ‘I love you, I don’t love you’ tug of war both characters battle with internally, externally their promise to each other is tested against just about everything you could imagine would be thrown at a space trader during an intergalactic voyage. Morris really runs the gambit with space pirates, cops and lawyers from Sarah’s home planet of Marl, angry trading partners, ship damage, and more as they travel from ‘rock to rock’.

          The story develops nicely and really lends itself to Morris’ creativity. There are so many new ideas and thoughts that I haven’t seen in every sci-fi book. In particular, and I won’t give away what, are the ideas that come about with what’s important to a society. Some societies in reality value money and vanity, while others just try to survive. Some of us need the luxuries in life while others are just worried about the necessities; Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure does a good job, that’s on par with many professional’s novels, making you ask a question. In particular for this story the question is “What’s important to you and what would you do if you were thrown into a place where what you deemed important wasn’t important?”

         Though this story does have a few glaring cons, there are more than enough pros to balance it out:
  • Morris creates a new universe that I’ve never seen before. Besides the differences in the name of what would be considered Earth, everything from the space ship to each different space port brings a new backdrop and new adventure in itself.
  • The main two characters truly develop a bond, and you can see it form and grow from mistrust to something more as the story progresses.

  • The action, though there are only a few true action sequences, is spot on. The fights, some of which are in zero-gravity, are well choreographed and thought out.

There are some  cons, though they don't take away from the story:
  • At the beginning of the book Morris tells you about misspellings, and I don’t typically critique grammar but that gave me a sour taste from the beginning. (On a side note I didn’t pick up on any more than one truly misspelled word, and the grammar wasn’t bad at all)

  • The story starts off a little slow and lumbering. After the first big ‘action’ sequence it takes a step back. The attempt at setting the mood for a distraught Sarah and a young, naïve Pall is there but it falls just slightly short of what it was intended. (This does pick back up and the lull only lasts a chapter or so)
  • The ancillary characters, and if you’ve read my other reviews you know I’m a stickler for this, tend to speak the same way. What I mean by that is many of them, not all but the bulk, seem to have the same voice.

          In the end Morris’ Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure gets a little bit of a mixed review from me. On one hand you have an entirely new, creative story that impresses me and shows the author’s imagination and willingness to ‘go there’; on the other hand the way the story flows is a bit choppy and there are times when even a ----------- break In between paragraphs would give it a much needed separation between the times that characters are acting when they’re not present with one another.

Overall I’m going to give Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure a 7/10 based on:

6/10 for readability- This shouldn’t be confused with how good the story is, this is the way the story flows alone. It does flow well, but there are several instances where the characters finish an interaction, leave each other and are doing to separate things but yet aren’t broken up so there is a difficulty in realizing who is talking until you finish the sentence and see who is speaking.

9/10 for story- Morris did a wonderful job creating something new and interesting. The world of Mackenzie’s Rock is one that holds endless possibilities and can continue into many creations for the author.

7/10 for characters- The two main characters are fantastic and truly feel like they’re their age, though the 15 year old Pall is worlds ahead from a maturity standpoint in a good way. Many of the main ancillary characters are the same way, wonderful creations that share their own voices. As I stated earlier many of the others seem to share one voice and speak too much like one another.

8/10 for span- The X-factor for this story really is the amount of distance and growth it spans throughout. The story moves millions of miles, and it feels like it. You can feel the story grow and become stronger as the characters experiences grow and they become stronger.

A big thank you to Stan Morris for reaching out to me with Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure, it’s a strong story and I enjoyed reading it. The thing I enjoy most about it is that I found an author that I’m going to be following from now on. As I stated in the last part of my review the story grew stronger and stronger, I’m sure Morris is going to be an author to read, just like Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure is a great story to read.

If you’d like to check out Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure for yourself click here.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Punishment of the Gods by Jake Yaniak

           I've always been one to enjoy a good story, even when I was younger I thoroughly enjoyed books. My first, true, love were the epic fantasy stories that riddled shelves and told stories of lands that only existed in the minds of the author and reader. Nobody else knew what it was like to scale Mount Doom with a hobbit, nobody else knew what it was like to travel within the mines under the spine of the world mountains with Drizzt Do'urden and company, nobody but me and the authors.

          For that reason I was delighted when author Jake Yaniak approached me via Goodreads in regards to a review for his story The Punishment of the Gods, though I did feel a bit of trepidation as well quite honestly; as I stated earlier I was a fantasy enthusiast and worried that I wouldn't be able to give a fair review when compared to the authors I considered 'the greats', well still consider.

          The Punishment of the Gods begins with a short forward from the Narrator, who in this case is also the author of this epic story. This is a technique that many writers, not just in the fantasy genre, attempt but not may can fully pull off due to the changing of verb tenses throughout. The positive note on this is that Yaniak really paid attention to this fact, which is a feet in my opinion when the massive word count of nearly 300,000 is considered, and this attention to detail sells the impression that the reader is being told this epic tale, or tales, while sitting around the fire.

          The book itself is broken into 5 separate parts, The Narrator refers to them as 5 'books' and they are rightly called that by their length alone. The first three of these books don't seem to merge much, but just as the events in the Lord of the Rings franchise seemed insignificant on their own, they all converge in the final two books in the most wonderful of ways.

          As I mentioned the word count in this book is astronomical, if you check out Yaniak's about the author page on Good Reads you'll see what I mean by this, and it shows his devotion to his genre. Throughout the book you don't find a lot of repeating of ideas, and instead there is a flow about it that keeps you moving forward the entire time. There is a bit of a snag in the amount of detail sometimes, as if Yaniak is trying a little too hard to put you in the story, though this is easily offset in the detail during the battle scenes and other interactions that put you more into the center of the action rather than just skimming through a poorly choreographed fight scene.

          Another part of this attention to detail, and this is one I can't stress enough how other authors in this genre should take note of Yaniak, that truly sets this story above others in its class is the detail the characters are given. Each character, in particular the main characters but even most of the ancillary ones, are described in such detail that you can't help but fall in love with them.

          There are a ton of pros in this book, not just due to the length, and its hard to list the ones that I feel are 'most important' for this story. Here are the three that I feel highlight Yaniak's ability and the true successes of The Punishment of the Gods:

  • The attention to detail is simply amazing for somebody who is a new author, let alone a new author that wrote a nearly 300,000 word manuscript. For those of us that have even dipped a big toe into the pole of writing can respect that. From the tallest mountain on this world, to the most crowded battlefield and even a 'spirit world' you find yourself truly visualizing the places you're taken to.

  • Yaniak maintains a consistent language throughout. I mean two things by this; the first being that the novel was written from the point of view of The Narrator and there is little to no deterrence from that, and the tense is maintained. I also mean the way the Narrator speaks, and by that I mean the language and the way The Narrator speaks. It feels like one person rather than the frequent changes is a character's 'personality' that is often accompanied when a character has a stronger voice than others.

  • The final 'pro' I feel deserves mention is the way Yaniak writes in his characters. This really goes hand in hand with his attention to detail, but at the same time it really is a huge selling point in itself. While many times in the fantasy genre writers take a species thought up by another, change the name and describe it just a little differently to give it an ere of creativity. The characters in The Punishment of the Gods really do feel different, I'm especially a fan of the way the goblin characters are depicted. I don't want to give too much away but think less 'little green man' and more of the idea of the goblins personalities as they're depicted in other tales.

          Though the 'pros' are abundant and I could write my own feature-length story using them, I must say the cons are not so readily available. Its always possible to knit-pick the subtleties in any story that you don't care for, and if you look they're always found. I was able to come up with really only a single 'con' that wouldn't result from me knit picking small details of the story.

  • The length sort of becomes a double-edged sword. On a positive note it showcases, as I said before, Yaniak's ability to hold an audience's attention, but on the downside is it just seems a bit long for a single work.

          In the end Yaniak's The Punishment of the Gods is a creative, fresh edition to a genre that many times tends to get lost in the same story retold in different ways. Though the length can be a little daunting, and a turn off for some, but the way the story flows and the authors writing keeps you vested throughout.

Overall I'm going to give The Punishment of the Gods an 8/10 based on:

  • 7/10 for readability- I'm giving this a 7 simply due to the length and the length alone. This is more of a personal preference but I almost feel as though the story would have been better broken up into 5 actually separate books in a series other than 5 books in one.

  • 9/10 for story- Yaniak delivers a solid, fresh story that feels both new and familiar at the same time. Each book tells its own story and each of those stories becomes on epic tale that truly shows the authors dedication to his craft and his drive to create something new.

  • 8/10 for characters- Each character in this book has his/her own personality, which is sometimes a problem with newer authors; especially when you consider the amount of characters over the span of the story. Each one, in particular the main ones, is described in such a way that you have no trouble forming a picture of them in your mind.

  • 9/10 for passion- The writer's passion truly comes out in this book. While I know that this is an odd X-factor to choose, and that most of us that have a story to tell do so with passion and conviction. There aren't a lot of us that can truly put that passion onto paper and have it come out. You truly can feel that this is Yaniak's baby and for me that gives it an X-factor that not a lot of people are able to obtain, even with years of published works under their belt.

          I want to send a big thank you to Jake Yaniak for approaching me with the opportunity to read and review his book. Overall I found it to be a great, original, read that was both daunting  but enjoyable. I definitely recommend picking it up. Don't plan on getting through it in one sitting, but I can promise its a great introduction into an author that will continue honing his craft and creating new and interesting characters and stories.

If you would like to check out The Punishment of the Gods you can find it on Amazon here. (There's currently a $0.99 price tag on it for the kindle version.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mike Wells' Passion, Power & Sin: Book 1


       For my second review I responded to author Mike Wells’ post from twitter with a free download of book 1 in his three part series Passion, Power & Sin. Since I’d never heard of Wells’ work before I assumed he was a fellow Indie author, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. While Wells may have published this book on Smashwords like many unpublished authors, his work speaks against any semblance of an amateur that comes sometimes with self-published authors. Instead you get well-polished, seasoned writing that speaks of someone with the skill and eye that is needed to excel in the industry.

          Now I’m sure by now you can pretty much guess that I’m a fan of Wells' work, though this first book in the Passion, Power & Sin series is my first experience with him. I had considered putting this on hold until I read the whole series and reviewing it all at once, but with Wells being much more seasoned I’m sure that anybody who takes my advice and picks up the first part will go right for the whole series.

          The story begins on a super yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea with Ricardo Maya. A playboy of sorts that has made millions by just allowing people to break the law, his introduction seems short and you’re left wondering just who this man is, but it becomes apparent early on that this reclusive man that sits on top of the world will play a big role in later parts of the series.

          After the prologue we’re dipped straight into the main story, and we meet the main character of this story, Heather Bancroft. Wells does well painting a picture of her personality from the get-go and you see her as any one of the droves of people who go to New York to try and make it big in business, particularly the PR game, and end up biting off more than they can chew financially. You can really feel her struggle, and her bitterness from being thrown under two ‘yes men’ as bosses and having all her work go unnoticed by those who matter in the business.

          Things get worse for Heather when troubles from her home find her, and she becomes entangled in doing anything to save her mother from the coming storm that is about to descend onto her childhood home.

          As things get worse for Heather, Wells again succeeds in making you truly feel the desperation and hopelessness the character experiences and you can’t help keep turning the page hoping the solution will be found on the next turn.

          As things seem to grow continually darker two different things begin to happen for Heather. On one hand she gets an email from a ‘friend in need’ which gives her an opportunity to end her struggling financial woes, as long as she’s willing to trust; on the other hand she is courted by a handsome young playboy who just so happens to be heir to one of the largest real estate firms in New York.

          The stage slowly becomes set and Wells builds the tension, and the secrets, keeping you wondering just what/who you would trust in if you thought you could save someone you loved.

          Finding a pro/con for this story was rough, and I mean that. Many new authors make mistakes with clichés, or they have trouble setting the stage in the readers mind. In this case I had to pick out my favorite pros to list:
  •   The characters Wells creates are simply wonderful. From entry level, stress filled environment of a busy office at the lowest level, to the elite of the elite you can feel the differences in the class by the way they talk and react in situations. You feel like you know each character, and that relationship only builds.

  • This sort of goes right along with my first pro but the settings you’re taken to are so vivid, but yet explained so simply that your mind has no trouble picturing both the beauty of a New York skyline, to a seedy Yakuza casino.

  • The last ‘pro’ I’m going to list is the way that Wells keeps you reading on. Though the ‘action’ is relatively low, you can’t help but turn the page. I’m typically a person who sticks to reading action packed thrillers that involve shooting, punching and sometimes aliens but Wells proved to me that those things aren’t always needed for a great story (I have to say I read this in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down).

          Finding a true con in this story is sort of like, and yes I’m going with a huge cliché, finding a needle in a haystack…and then finding out there was no needle at all. Obviously somebody else may be able to but I am at a true loss.

          In the end Wells’ Passion, Power & Sin Book 1 was more than a pleasant read for me and it deserves the awards it has received, and is still likely to receive. Everything about the story from the characters to the overall story is written as I mentioned earlier, just like a seasoned author. The length is a little short, but that’s more of a complaint on my part since I want to read more.

Overall I’m going to give Passion, Power & Sin Book 1 a 9/10 based on:

  • 10/10 for readability- the story starts off on a pace that draws you in, and doesn’t let you go. Each chapter smoothly transitions from one to the other.

  • 9/10 for story- Wells delivers a strong, original story that I can’t find any similarities between. Each idea seems new and original; even the ‘down on her luck girl meeting a millionaire’ that seemed like for a second to be just like a feel good story has been changed in a wonderful way.

  • 9/10 for characters- I stated this earlier but each character has such a strong individual personality, well besides the drones that are Heather’s direct reports but they’re so wonderfully reminiscent of Tweedledum and Tweedledee that it made me smile. (I don’t mean that they act the same, when you read it you’ll see what I mean). Each character is relatable and you will find at least one person you know that will remind you of one of these characters.

  • 9/10 for buildup- The buildup is what seems to be this stories X-factor. While there are no shootings, car chases, or fight scenes that many associate with ‘thrillers’, Wells does a marvelous job of building you up throughout and I found myself entangled the whole time.

          I have to thank Mike Wells for allowing me the honor of reviewing Passion, Power & Sin and I look forward to filling my shelves, or ereader as it may be, with the whole series. I definitely suggest picking up this story, especially if you’re not familiar with his other work and you’re looking for a new author.

If you would like to check out this story, Wells is offering if for free here.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

John Ainsworth's Emerald

               For my first review I’ve chosen a story from Indie Author John Ainsworth, in particular his book Emerald.

                The story follows childhood friends Danny, Patrick and Sarah in their journey through life. From growing up in the slums of Liverpool, England during the 70’s, to war-torn North Ireland and run ins with the violent IRA. As their lives and friendships become ripped apart amid tragedy; the only thing holding them together is a childhood promise, which even they may not be able to keep.

                Ainsworth tells his story well and in a way that makes you ask question after question, but with very well thought out flashbacks he manages to tell two stories in one. On one side you have events taking place in Liverpool that builds you up.  Each chapter questions get answered and the way the story moves between the world of the children in Liverpool to adults in England and Ireland is wonderful and it flows very well.

                A big plus for me, and this may not be important for some people, is that the more followed of the three characters is a member of the British army, of which Ainsworth has served in himself. This character is the most relatable of the three, and you can see that the writer’s personality comes through in him.

                The story is more than a tale of vengeance. It truly makes you dive deep into your own personal psyche and wonder how far you would go if you were in Patrick’s shoes. Would you scour the earth and kill the one that took your love away, or would you forgive and try to forget Could you move on if you were the one reason your sister was dead? Or would it move you to kill?

                There are several pros in this story, a fact that I am genuinely happy about since this is my first review and I get to kick it off with a bang:
  •         Each chapter that begins with a flashback you find yourself wondering how it will tie in with the events of the characters’ adult lives.

  •  Each fight scene, and there are several, keeps you turning the page for the next blow as you wonder who will come out on top.

  •  The story is one of those that I couldn’t put down, and it kept me interested throughout.

  In addition to the positives there are, as always, some negatives that come with it. I do caution that the positives far outweigh the negatives:
  • While the story’s pace throughout is good, the first two chapters began a little slow and the flashbacks started off a bit confusing.

  • The three childhood friends/main characters were very relatable and I found myself vested in them, unfortunately a few of the ancillary characters had personalities that you knew were big but yet they didn’t quite come off that way.      

In the end Ainsworth’s Emerald is more than worth the read, as long as you like a fast paced story that moves far but remains smooth in its transitions. The story is compelling, the characters likable, and the journey is great for a weekend read (or if it catches you the way it did me a day’s read).  

Overall Emerald by John Ainsworth scores a solid 7/10 for me based on:

7/10 for readability- though the story starts out a little slow, it quickly picks up and redeems itself in a wonderful way.

9/10 for story- throughout the story I tried to find something I could compare it to, or something it shared similarities to. Some people may say it just seems like a tail of vengeance cut and dry, but the way Ainsworth spins it that’s far from the mark on this one.

6/10 for characters- as I stated earlier the main characters are wonderful, but there are quite a few ‘extras’ that didn’t hit the mark. All characters involved contributed to the story in some way, but I found myself asking who and what when they came in with strong dialogue and were gone the next paragraph.

7/10 for thrills/action- this last category is the ‘wild’ card of the bunch. Each story has its own selling point, and for me in this story it’s the action sequences and the overall ‘thriller’ component. The action sequences were great, and fight scenes well-choreographed. Unfortunately a few of them were over so quick it didn’t feel like they were done justice, but these were the minority. As for the overall ‘thriller’ component I found myself thoroughly interested and on the edge of my seat as the ending built up, and prepared to be surprised because you will be fooled into thinking you know what’s coming, but you don’t.

I’m very happy, and thankful, John Ainsworth allowed me to do a review of Emerald. I really enjoyed the story and I suggest picking it up for your next ‘guilty pleasure’ session. The 3.99 price tag on Amazon’s Kindle store is more than worth it.

If you'd like to check out Emerald for yourself click here.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my review, as I said in the first post please feel free to comment on anything. I'm still trying to figure out my 'niche' as a reviewer so any comments on the overall format would be more than appreciated.





Thursday, August 8, 2013

First post: up and running

Thank you first off for taking the time to check out my reviews. Each week I will be taking a book by an indie or self published author and doing an indepth review. These reviews are not paid reviews, and as such will not always be glaring and wonderful. I do get permission from each author I review, just as a curtesy.

These obviously serve multiple purposes, for me I get the wonderful expereince of reading new and exciting stories that could miss the mainstream. The authors get a free, open and honest review of their work, of course this can be counter productive but before I even get started posting reviews I'll admit that I can be wrong and just because I don't enjoy something somebody else will enjoy it. Lastly I will be rating the books on a ?/10 scale at the end of my review for all around readability and whether or not I would recommend the specific book (just because a book gets a 2/10 it may have enough saving graces to be worth the read as we all know).

As of now I'm going to stick to a once a week posting until I get more into the swing of things, then I'll probably move to a more bi-weekly pace.

I do work solo and I read the story in its entierty, not just based on the first few chapters.

Lastly if you have a story/book that you would like me to do a review on, all I ask is you contact me via email and post me a link to your story. I'm trying to stick to Indie authors who don't get a lot of publicity but I will be more than honored to do one for you, if time allows. I don't take money for reviews, and currently I'm doing ebook reviews only. If you have a paper/hard cover only book let me know and I'm sure I can work with you.

I want to thank you again for taking the time out to read my reviews and feel free to comment on any of my posts, especially if you've read a particular story that I've reviewed and disagree/agree with me.