Book Review: Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach

Gerald

I’m thrilled to announce the release of Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach by Carl Hackman!

Summary:

In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking an entire inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald.

Looking for promotion of an inch or two, Gerald attempts to create a village landmark using his superior wizarding skills. But the spell he bought – from a guy who knows a guy – is a tad more powerful than he anticipates. The resulting earthquake breaks off a chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison.

A red-faced Gerald is banished from his village and, to complete his shame, is demoted another inch; two more and he’s likely to become a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s questionable acquisition of a certain golden amulet could be the answer to his problems. But when Vabalaz discovers it may also be the key to creating his elite wizard realm, Gerald is elevated to evil wizard’s enemy number one.

Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the damage to Wyverndawn and thwarting Vabalaz’s plans. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might well be his last.

My Review:

A fantastic mix of quirky and serious, Gerald is a fun character with a lot of heart. Hackman’s premiere delivers a surprisingly powerful feel good story you won’t want to put down.

You won’t want to miss this amazing story. Get it now!

Advertisements

Return of the Saboteur Review Tour

Readers! My publisher has an INSANE promotion for Actuator 2: Return of the Saboteur. If you haven’t read the other books in the series, they will give you all 3 in any digital format, just for reviewing! That’s $15 and a whole lot of book love. 🙂

It’s how you know I love you. Sign up here, please:

https://docs.google.com/a/curiosityquills.com/forms/d/19RJU5F28PrwLTLczrTR83y8GvjceKjEZ1GfhgPBOWQY/viewform

Actuator 2 Facebook Cover

Review: The Summer the World Ended

SummerTheWorldEnded

As far as Riley McCullough is concerned, her best friend getting ‘dragged’ off to Puerto Vallarta for the first two weeks of summer vacation was the end of the world―at least until the bombs fell.

Life in suburban New Jersey with her mother has been comfortable, not to mention boring, to an introverted fourteen year old. As if her friend’s surprise trip wasn’t bad enough, her expectations for the ‘best summer ever’ disintegrate when she gets sent across the country to stay with a father she hasn’t seen in six years. Adjusting to a tiny, desert town where everyone stares at them like they don’t belong proves difficult, and leaves her feeling more isolated than ever. To make matters worse, her secretive father won’t tell the truth about why he left―or what he’s hiding.

Her luck takes an unexpected turn for the better when she meets a boy who shares her interest in video games and contempt for small town boredom. In him, she finds a kindred spirit who might just make the middle of nowhere tolerable.

Happiness is short lived; fleeing nuclear Armageddon, she takes shelter with her dad in an underground bunker he’d spent years preparing. After fourteen days without sun, Riley must overcome the sorrow of losing everything to save the one person she cares about most.

Review: You already know I’m a lifetime fan of Matthew Cox‘s cyberpunk, of course. This YA is a bit of a change, though. It has the apocalyptic feel, but spends the time with his main character and digs deep. It’s an emotional ride, and I highly recommend it. I can’t say much the synopsis didn’t, because I’d hate to give any spoilers. This almost borders on horror, and I highly recommend it!

Get it on Amazon!

More reviews on Goodreads.

Author Bio: Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

Book Review: Five Out of the Dark

Five

Five teenagers who’ve recently discovered they have magical powers and are living in the Seattle underground feel it’s their responsibility to protect unsuspecting humans from otherworldly foes.

Things are going well until Johnathan, their unofficial leader and the boy sixteen year old Paige is in love with, is bitten by a changeling – the venomous saliva causing him to metamorphose into a ravening beast with each full moon.

Paige vows that, no matter the cost, she will find a way to cure Johnathan of the evil that has embedded itself in his soul. But Johnathan’s monthly transformation and daily personality roller coaster aren’t the only problems they have to deal with.

The Five are also gearing up to face their toughest and most dangerous enemy yet—a powerful and ruthless Warlock who will go to any means, including high school, to build his Dark Army.

My Review: This book is like Harry Potter in the Seattle underground, so automatically cool. It’s full of teenage angst and romance, but against a backdrop of werewolves and demons. The magic system is enigmatic and intriguing. The characters are fun, especially the main girl who is tough and strong willed. Anderson doesn’t pull the punches, leading to a shocking and powerful climax.

About the Author: Holli Anderson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing–which has nothing to do with writing, except maybe by adding some pretty descriptive injury and vomit scenes to her books. She discovered her joy of writing during a very trying period in her life when escaping into make-believe saved her. She enjoys reading any book she gets her hands on, but has a particular love for anything fantasy.

Along with her husband, Steve, and their four sons, she lives in Grantsville, Utah–the same small town in which she grew up.

I’ve been to a lot of conventions and other events with Holli. She is more than a fun person, I consider her a friend. We not only share a publisher, we are both Space Balrogs. Although I’ve known and shared tables with her for years, the only excuse I can offer for waiting so long to read this book is that I usually avoid series until they are all the way finished so that I don’t have to wait out long cliff hangers. This book justified my position. Luckily, book two is out and I can get that now. Also, I get to beta read book three before it’s out, so envy me. If you love Urban Fantasy, you won’t regret reading this book.

Book Review: Bieber’s Finger

Bieber's Finger An intergalactic pop idol dies in a tragic murder. But one of his most devoted fans isn’t ready to say goodbye. Twana Burch, super-fan, waits outside a concert venue for a glimpse of Bieber, the object of her obsession. Her whole world changes when his limo explodes. In the blast, she catches a souvenir, his finger. In the midst of recent controversy surrounding illegal cloning, Twana concocts a plan to resurrect her pop idol and rescue his career by booking him at the biggest concert event in the known universe: The Pan-Galactic Prom Show. Meanwhile… The warrior crew of a dying race of alien creatures sets out into space in a search for help to rescue their war-tattered planet. Their tools: entertainment and propaganda. Their target: The Pan-Galactic Prom Show.

My Review: This book is hilarious! The two stories progress to a climax until you can’t stop until you reach the end. A master of suspense and humor, this book has everything from familial love to genocidal war. It packages deep and touching humanity in media hype and snickers. A cross between Spinal Tap and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I had to get book 2 before I finished book 1, because I couldn’t wait! It’s a good thing they are both out, or I would have been angry.

As a second note, I listened to this as an audiobook. The author is an amazing reader! His voicing talent is exceptional. I honestly don’t know why he isn’t making his whole living reading audiobooks. It is among the best audiobook presentations I’ve ever heard.

About the Author: Craig Nybo lives with his beautiful wife and kids in Kaysville, UT. He works as a creative director for mediaRif.com, a digital agency. Craig writes novels, short fiction, and screenplays. As a musician, he has released several records with friends under the band names, Rustmonster and The Big Sky Country Boys. Craig also records solo work. He has released three records under his own name, Zombie Sing-a-long, and a sequel album, Zombie Sing-a-long: Whistler and the Children (Parts 1 & 2).

As a filmmaker, Craig has written and directed many short films. He also writes and directs many commercials and industrial videos as part of his profession. Aside from writing, Craig enjoys playing in the Rocky Mountains, rock climbing and canyoneering.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Craig Nybo on panels, in games, in bands, and on writing projects. He’s one of the most professional musicians and artists I’ve ever met. Women want him and I want to be him! That’s not an exaggeration. His creative studio is flippin’ amazing! If you’ve never had the chance to read Nybo’s work, Bieber’s Finger is a great book to start with.

Review: Altar of Reality by Mara Valdarran

AoR

Sixteen year-old Madeline has struggled with epilepsy for most of her adolescent life, leaving her something of a social pariah. Things go from bad to worse when she wakes up from her first grand mal seizure in an extremely unfamiliar world but surrounded but familiar faces. Her hometown is in ruins, the aftermath of a Cold War turned hot.

Thomas, the boy that stomped on her heart a year ago, and his brother Brandon have been hiding her away since the explosion that killed her parents. The Lord Commander, now running the southern territories, believes Madeline died with them and the brothers need to keep it that way. The biggest problem? The explosion happened when she was twelve.

Madeline isn’t sure what to believe. The brothers insist her memories must be of a dream life she created while in her coma. But when she returns to the reality she knows, they insist this war-torn world must be the dream. She doesn’t know if she’s truly caught in the middle of a brewing rebellion or teetering on the brink of insanity. As she finds herself flipping between the two lives, her heart becomes torn between two versions of the same boy and the lines between her realities begin to blur.

My Review: I loved this book. With the recent push of fantasy and urban fantasy in YA, I think there is a stark lack of good YA sci-fi. This book fixes it. With a compelling protagonist that is yanked back and forth between two different dimensions, it kept me fascinated as the plot raced between two polar ends.

Check out Altar of Reality by the amazing Mara Valdarran!

Review: City of the Saints by D. J. Butler

untitled

1859; war looms over the United States. Intelligence agents converge on the Kingdom of Deseret in the Rocky Mountains. Sam Clemens, leading the U.S. Army’s expedition aboard his amphibious steam-truck the Jim Smiley, has a mission: to ensure that the Kingdom, with its air-ships and rumored phlogiston guns, brain children of the Madman Orson Pratt, enters on the side of the United States and peace. He races against Captain Richard Burton for Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria, and Edgar Allan Poe, secret agent of the clandestine southern leadership, who travels in disguise as an exhibitor of Egyptian antiquities. Against them all are arrayed the counterintelligence agents of the Kingdom, Roxie Snow and the Deseret Marshal Orrin Porter Rockwell. But why are Deseret’s Danite militiamen hunting Rockwell? And why does the Madman seem to be playing his own game?

My Review:

City of the Saints is the only Mormon Steampunk series I’ve ever heard of. It’s four e-books, or one giant paperback omnibus. The characters are fun and compelling. The plot is an intricate pretzel of politics. Best of all, it’s crammed from beginning to end with neo-Victorian machines, which I love. A true Steampunk tale, it has both fantasy and retro-sci-fi in an inextricable braid. I highly recommend it to anybody who is willing to mix whimsy with Utah history and many new shades of color to beloved historical figures. If you can handle Eliza R. Snow as an assassin, then you will not be able to tear yourself away from this incredible, “scientific romance.”

As a side note, Dave Butler is one of my favorite people in the literary world. He’s part of the Space Balrogs crew, and I get endless interest and laughter from every conversation. This book, along with his other works, was recently picked up by Wordfire Press. Soon, the first edition covers will be collector’s items. Trust me, you’ll wish you got in on it early!

Get the Paperback Ominibus
or get E-book #1: Liahona.

Check out Dave’s Website, too.