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Thursday, June 28, 2012

This is a music video I made. The song is a poem from my upcoming book Legends Lost Galdin, which will be released in the summer of 2013. It will be up on iTunes and Amazon for purchase, within a week or two. Hope you enjoy it.

Get involved with the Legends Lost Trilogy:


Tesnayr (July 15, 2012)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)  2 stars
Insurgent by Veronica Roth picks up right where Divergent left off.  It starts off at a good pace, but started to drag in the middle a bit for me, but picked up again at the end.  

I found Tris to be a weaker character in the second book. She spends much of her time being afraid to hold a weapon or even defend herself when she is attacked because she is still upset at killing WIll.  Halfway through the book I wanted to slap her and tell her to get over it already.  The entire book is her going from one emotional crisis to the next. One moment Tris if for their world of factions and then she's against it.  She stupidly goes off and risks her life thinking it will save others, but there is no logic to any of her actions.  

The relationship between her and Tobias is rocky throughout the entire book. Now this may be a natural progression in their relationship as they move on from being hormonal, lovesick puppies. But after awhile I got tired of reading the scenes where they are together. Tobias constantly tells Tris to not be reckless; she promises to be careful, but then stupidly goes off and does something. And the constant lying between the two annoys me. He lets his daddy issues get in the way of anything Tris says. Then, Tobias stupidly goes off with his mother; a woman who abandoned him when he was a boy.  If Ms. Roth wants to build their relationship she is going to have to build a real one; one where they stop keeping secrets .

Of course, many of the characters seemed weaker in this book and Caleb's betrayal was no surprise. I saw it coming in the first book. 

Secrets abound in Insurgent.  Besides Tris and Tobias not being truthful, Marcus has a huge secret which goes beyond trying to be important. Tris is the only one who sees Marcus' knowledge as important. But, Tobias ignores her sentiments, another annoying factor.  
Jeanine has some secret knowledge about how to control the factions.  The secret knowledge could have just been told to her instead of making her and the reader wait until the end to find out what it is. Though an interesting twist at the end, it didn't surprise me.  It will be interesting to see how she ends it all in the third book.

And where was the world building? There wasn't much in Divergent, but the book was so fast paced that I didn't care. I figured that maybe there would be more information about how Tris' world came into being as she tries to learn the secret that Marcus has and stop Jeanine. 

SPOILER-SPOILER-SPOILER-SPOILER:  Jeanine dies at the end. I'm not sure how the story will continue with the villain dead at the end of the second book.

This book could have been better. It was nothing but a 500 page emotional rolloer coaster in Tris' head. It definitely suffers from second book syndrome. Most trilogies have this problem: the first book is great, the second one lags, and the third picks up the pace for an ok ending.

I do think the Ms. Roth needs to work a bit to help her writing mature. It still reads like someone fresh out of high school.  Many of her sentences begin and end in the same way.  They are the same length and lack variation.  I know she's young and managed to get a publishing contract, but that doesn't make anyone a great writer. I am starting to wonder if the books got hyped up before they ever had a chance to be turned into something great.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Distant Star follows the adventures of Declan Hale, an exile from a place where people can travel to other worlds, and he is stuck on earth, a place with no magic.  It begins with an assassin trying to kill him and later Declan runs into his own dying self. This sets him off on a mission to prevent his death and figure out who is trying to kill him.

From the get go, the reader will find himself immediately engrossed in the story. I love the way it begins and it keeps the pace with its contemporary style. And I found the ending interesting. Even though I kind of saw it coming, it was written in a way that made it seem unique.

My only complaint was that there were a couple of places where the story got repetitive and therefore dragged.  But that is a minor complaint.  For the most part, I was glued to this book. The next book comes out in 2013 and I'm sure I'll be reading it when it does.

This book is available on Amazon an Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Witch Island or Killing Me With Kindness

Witch Island is a different type of Dystopian novel in its setting and style of writing, but it still encompasses much of what we have come to love about the genre. The story begins with a shipwreck and three survivors (Simon, Jack, and Mary) washing up on an uncharted island.
Jack is a sailor and used to hard work and self-reliance.
Simon is an intellectual convinced of his own importance, his unique kindness, and is big on class separation.
Mary is an aristocrat used to having everything done for her, but not by choice. No one ever asks her what she wants and just assumes she is delicate and incapable of providing for herself.   
Jack helps the others by gather food, making a fire and building shelter. He then tries to teach Simon how to do the same, but Simon’s pride shuts out everything Jack says. Eventually, Simon is able to teach himself how to survive on the island, and chocks it up to his superior intellect that enabled him to do it; even though it was really by following Jack’s advice that he succeeded.
Jack wants to teach Mary how to fish, but Simon is opposed to her learning how to do anything because she is a delicate creature. Eventually they prosper, but Simon becomes convinced that Jack is not doing enough to contribute to their three person community. Simon spends a lot of time wrapped in his thoughts of self-importance and thinks he knows how they should all live: each to their own ability; those with more talents contribute more; those with less contribute less, but all receive equal results.  Unable to convince Jack to live this way, Simon chases Jack out of the camp. Then Simon convinces himself that Jack is being selfish by living on his own, away from them, so Simon attacks Jack one night and severely beats him and steals his stuff. This causes Jack to move to the other end of the island where he isn’t seen again until the end of the book.
 A year goes by with Simon providing for Mary and not allowing her to learn how to do the simplest and most important of tasks: making a fire and fishing. He dies of some disease and manages to scribble an elaborate epitaph commemorating his intellect and saving everyone. This leaves Mary destitute and helpless. She goes through a period of madness at losing her only friend. When she comes back to reality, Mary realizes the Simon was no friend at all because he never taught her how to survive. Without him she cannot make a fire or catch fish to eat. Eventually, she wanders the island and stumbles upon Jack, who is dying from disease. Completely alone, it doesn’t take long for Mary to die as well, but before she does, she leaves a note under Simon’s epitaph explaining how Simon’s tyranny led to their deaths.
A ship finally shows up and they find her lying by Simon’s grave. Even though they were able to make out Mary’s words on Simon’s epitaph, they chose to bury her, marking her as Simon’s beloved and praising Simon’s sacrifice.
This book reminded me of Brave New World and Animal Farm in its themes and writing style.  It is mostly all narrative, which is very different from most modern novels.  However, the book does display some interesting themes. Simon is the typical intellect who think he is better than everyone else and therefore should be making all the decisions. In his efforts to force others to live as he thinks they should, he condemns them all to death.  And despite his obvious failures, he thinks of himself as a success even when he dies. Jack is the typical self-reliant man that is governed by common sense. Mary, is the unfortunate victim, who realizes the truth way too late.  Also, the sailors embody humanity’s willingness to believe a lie than the truth.
For the most part I liked the story.  Though there were parts that were repetitive and the writing style took some getting used to.  Simon’s selfishness ticked me off. Mary’s inability to stand up for herself when Simon kept treating her like a child wore on me. The ending explains why she doesn’t, but still, you’d think a girl would get some gumption after surviving a shipwreck.  The ending ticked me off, even though I saw it coming.  True to most Dystopian novels, it is not a happy ending. The decent characters dies and the truth with them. But I had hoped that maybe Mary would have been rescued so that she could tell the world the truth about Simon.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Over the Curb

Over the Curb by Bo Barber
3 stars 

This book is an interesting read and the author's writing style makes it easy to get through. This story focuses on a car dealership, that sells cars that are worth less than junk. On top of that, a dead body that is found in the trunk of one of their cars. I loved the fact that it is politically incorrect. The author uses a fair amount of racial slurs and cussing, but not in a negative way. However, if you are sensitive to such things, then this book is not for you. Many of the characters are flat out crazy and weird. All of which adds to their uniqueness.

Overall, I liked the book, but there were a couple things that disappointed me: 1. There is no main character. This book is a montage of different characters who are all given equal treatment. Though it's nice to have a bunch of characters, I had no idea who the hero/protagonist of the story was. 2. The synopsis made it sound like a mystery/thriller, but it isn't that. In short, this seemed more like a day in the life of car salesmen.

I did however, like some of the tangents the author posed. For instance, there is one part where he discusses a woman who tried to BBQ a pig in her kitchen sink and burned down the building. Then there was the bit about a guy who tried to make tuna salad for his wife, but instead of grabbing the pouch of tuna, he ended up with a pouch of cat food. Those bits added some good humor. I also liked the bit at the end that sums up where each person ended up after the murder was solved.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

World of Ryyah: Birth of the Half Elves

Spoiler Alert
   2 stars
I was excited to get this book and had been wanting to read it ever since I first came across it on Barnes and Noble. Unfortunately, it was not as good as I had hoped. The story line is interesting and I liked the whole human and elf getting married despite the animosity between the two races. This, of course, leads to the birth of the half elves.

The story begins with Donovan and his friends being rescued by the elf Alayna. She takes them to her home and convinces the king to allow her to train them as Elven Rangers. Fast forward 10 years later and the Princes Brandela is set to choose her 100 handmaidens and fulfill her duty as the king’s daughter. Brandela gets kidnapped by the barbarian Garock and Donovan sets off to rescue her and avenge Alayna’s death. He does rescue her and then they spend the next nine months making their way back to the Elves’ home. While traveling, Brandela ends up bonding, which is marriage in the elven world, with Donovan. Brandela does make it back home after killing Garock and losing her husband. Her father, furious at her marrying a human, banishes her, her handmaidens, and the other human Rangers that were rescued by Alayna.

The story did not flow well. It’s only real saving grace was the fact that it read quickly. It started off well with Alayna saving the children and adopting them. And it maintained an interesting pace up until Brandela is rescued by Donovan. After that, it started to read like a romance novel. They suddenly fall in love, which seemed a bit quick for me as there was no time spent building their relationship. All of that came after they got married.

I found the battle scenes to be too quick. They would have just begun and then it over. While on the flip side, the author spent chapters going over Brandela’s and Donovan’s personal feelings towards each other. And much of that was repetitive and made the story drag. Then there were times that I got a bit lost as every few pages that author would write that a month, or several weeks, had gone by. Most of that wasn’t necessary. Also, the constant flipping in point of view got tedious. One minute you are seeing things from Brandela’s point of view, then suddenly it’s in Donovans. Then, whoosh, now we’re in Garock’s head before being thrust back into Brandela’s. In one page the author scanned through four or five character’s perspectives. What a whirlwind!

There were portions that I liked, though they were mostly the action sequences. I was sorry to see Alayna die. She, by far, was my favorite character even if she was short-lived in the story. Donovan’s death was too quick the way it was written. I was sorry that he died, but he should have had a better send off. And of course, I wanted to kick the elf king’s butt for being such a jerk.

If you like fantasy, give this one a try. Maybe you’ll like it better than I did. This is the first book in a series. Though I might read the second book, it is not a priority for me at this point.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Shadowland         ‘I have lived more years than I can remember, probably more than the sum of all your years combined. Kings have called me friend and brigands have sworn to burn the flesh from my bones even if they have to search all seven halls of the Shadowland to find me.’

On the night of midwinter’s eve, a storyteller takes his listeners back to the Dark ages and a tale from his youth.

Deserted by its Roman masters, Britain has been invaded by the Saxons at the invitation of Vortigern, traitorous leader of the Britons. Now, as the tribes unite to reclaim their land, one man must rise to lead them and become their true and only king.

Available on Amazon and
I have just finished reading the book Divergent by Veronica Roth.  I ran into many who loved the book so I downloaded it on my Nook and gave it a try.  Three days later, I have reached the end.

The story is set in a futuristic Chicago where everyone is divided into factions.  The main character, Beatrice who changes her name to Tris, leaves her faction for another and soon discovers that something is terribly wrong with her society.  As she matures from a 16 year old mindset into one with a broader view of the world, she learns about a plot to overthrow the factions and set up a totalitarian like regime, as though its wasn't oppressive enough before.

I found the book enjoyable and hard to put down and for the most part enjoyed it.  Some of the characters I wanted to beat up and others I cried for.  What I like is in this setting, Roth, explores what happens when we divide ourselves into certain groups and put those groups before anything else. She also demonstrates how some things that start out for good, get corrupted. FOr instance, the Dauntless group are supposed to be brave. But while going through initiation, Tris learns that they have a warped sense of the word and are really nothing but bullies.

My only complaint about the book is that the writing style got a bit choppy in areas where all the sentences started the same and ended the same. However, this is a trap every writer falls in to sometimes.  I did not let it keep me from enjoying the story.  I plan to read Insurgent to continue the story of Tris as she enters a new world.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On July 15, 2012 my latest book, Legends Lost Tesnayr, will be released. It is the second book in the Legends Lost trilogy, published under the pen name of Nova Rose. 

This is a prequel to the first book: Legends Lost Amborese, which is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

A giveaway for a first release, signed copy is posted on Goodreads. Go here to enter:

Book Description:

1,000 years before the birth of Amborese is a far greater story. The legend of Tesnayr.

Before the lands of Tesnayr existed, there were five distinct kingdoms. Each proud and constantly at war with one another. But all that changed...

A stranger washes upon the shores of Sym'Dul, beaten and barely alive; the only survivor of a devastating war in a land far across the sea. Nursed back to health, Tesnayr makes a new life for himself and begins to think that his past is behind him.

Then the orcs arrive led by Galbrok. They quickly ravage the land. Faced with a terrible choice, Tesnayr forms his own army to stop them and quickly draws the attention of each of the five kings.

Yet, Tesnayr's past refuses to release him. Can he unite the five kingdoms before Galbrok annihilates them? Can a lone man from across the sea achieve what all believe to be impossible?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This review was posted on Amazon, but due to a series of threats from the author, I was forced to take it down.  However, I have it posted here because I believe potential buyers deserve an honest review, instead of only the 5 star reviews that are on the product page.  I also do not like being forced to remove a review because an author cannot handle a negative critique.  I posted this same review on Goodreads and Barnes and Noble.  As far as I know, Barnes and Noble does not allow you to delete reviews.

My self serving book is not your typical book, in that it's not chronological. This is just a collection of one man's Facebook statuses and notes.

Unlike most books, fiction or nonfiction, you do not need to read this one from beginning to end This is one of the things I liked about the book. In fact, you can start reading the end and work your way backwards. Or you can begin in the middle.

This is a short book and can easily be read in a couple hours. And if you want mindless reading, this is perfect. Since is is just a collection of a person's Facebook posts, there is no critical thinking involved.

I would only recommend this book to people who want a good way to waste two hours without having to tax the brain. But this wasn't the best collection of quotes. Though some parts of it were funny and made me laugh out loud, I was hoping for something more witty. After a while, this just became the disgruntled grumblings of one man. 

A word of advice, there are a lot of thing in here that are downright offensive or crude. If you are sensitive to such things, do not read this book. You'll just ruin your day. 

I do not recommend this book.
Welcome to Books and Legends.  On this blog  I will write mostly my personal reviews on books by other Independent Authors. 

Also, this is a great place for my fans to stay up to date about my upcoming publications.