Robert Bevan is someone I’ve been reading for a long time now, getting into his books a few years back and reading them all multiple times. His latest book in the series, Critical Failures V, has left me a little on the fence.
While each book in the series so far has followed the standard formula of problem at start -> solved at end + new cliff-hanger (introduced to keep you wanting the next one), this one meandered along without much urgency and ended without any real satisfaction.
In this one, the expanding cast of unique characters has been split into multiple groups as they set out to find Tim who they believe is trying to abandon them all in the game. The splitting of the party was something I particularly enjoyed as it allowed some lesser characters the chance to shine on their own, giving us a chance to get to know them better.
Mister Bevan does a great job at pulling together all the divergent paths the characters have taken by the end, but this is where it fell down for me. I looked at the progress bar on my Kindle and thought it must have been malfunctioning. It said 99% and I felt that the climax of the book was about to kick into gear, but instead I was left with a cliff-hanger ending without any real feeling of satisfaction.
I would have gladly waited another 6 months or a year or more to have this storyline play out to a more satisfactory conclusion. As it is, it feels like I only read half a book, and for a book that’s close to 100,000 words, it felt kind of short. Read the rest of this entry »
I’d like to share something I nominated over at KindleScout. The book is Victor Boone Will Save Us by David Joel Stevenson, and it had me hooked from the moment I read the sample.
At the time of writing this it has 14 days left in its campaign, so you should check it out before it’s too late. Of course, you could always buy it later on, but if you nominate it and it is successful, you can snag a free copy.
So what’s it about? The blurb:
Robby does the saving, Victor takes credit.
Victor Boone is a handsome jerk who uses incredible powers to fly around in spandex and save his city’s citizens from evil doers – especially the busty ones. But he’s not a superhero.
In truth, an invisible, insecure and overweight Robby Willis has the powers, but he’s so terrified of anyone knowing he exists that he’s not comfortable with a cliché disguise. The two men form a partnership: Robby does the saving and Victor takes the credit.
Problem is, Victor’s been murdered.
From the opening paragraphs of the first chapter you’re in the thick of the action, and by the end of the first chapter the “hero” is dead. No spoilers there since it says as much in the blurb. After which comes the fallout, with Robby dealing with the death of Victor and the potential new love interest in his life who knows more about him than he’d like. Read the rest of this entry »
This one snuck onto my list when I was about to begin reading something entirely different. It popped up in my GoodReads list as an “also read”, and the cover and title intrigued me enough I had to check it out. It looked fun, and I enjoyed the sample so grabbed myself a copy and got stuck into reading it.
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix is a fun tale full of re-imagined versions of your typical fairy-tale happenings such as princesses stuck with evil step-parents (or in this case, step-step-parents), princes turned to frogs, talking dogs, and even an appearance by Snow White and the Seven Dwarves… though not in the way you might expect.
As always, the blurb before we get too much further:
Talking dogs. Mischievous wizards. An evil step-stepfather. Loads and loads of toads. Such is the life of a Frogkisser.
Princess Anya needs to see a wizard about a frog. It’s not her frog, it’s her sister’s. And it’s not a frog, it’s actually a prince. A prince who was once in love with Anya’s sister, but has now been turned into a frog by their evil step-stepfather. And Anya has made a ‘sister promise’ that she will find a way to return Prince Denholm to human form…
So begins an exciting, hilarious, irreverent quest through the Kingdom of Trallonia and out the other side, in a fantastical tale for all ages, full of laughs and danger, surprises and delights, and an immense population of frogs.
My focus this week has been split between first-round editing of my work in progress, the comedic Viking fantasy “The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior”, and reading the superb superhero coming-of-age story “Dreadnought”. More on Dreadnought further down because first up it’s all about me! lol 🙂
So my first round edits basically involve me printing out the entire Word document as well as converting it to spoken word with a text-to-speech program. Then I sit and listen to the mechanical voice reading my story back to me. Any errors or awkwardness I find I correct on the print out. When I’m done with that, I’ll update the Word doc and convert to Kindle for a read through before I send it off to my beta reader.
I’ve also been tweaking my cover art for my work in progress. I had a brainwave late one night earlier this week that the cover I’d settled on was a little too flat and it might look good if it was stacked-paper. So I got to work editing the artwork which resulted (after a few horrendous attempts) in the new cover design shown here.
I had to adjust a few of the colours because once I shrunk it down to thumbnail size I couldn’t read any of the title text. To make the colours more complimentary, I changed the water and the background to green, and I think overall it works. So it’s the one I’ll be publishing with (unless hit by some major inspiration and redesign the whole thing, unlikely).
Below is a quick progression of how the cover art matured over time. The first (lame) attempt was mainly to get the bones of the idea in place (such as the Viking long boat at sea) and then go from there. Read the rest of this entry »
While on my search for a new book to read I came across an oldie but goodie that I’ve read countless times – The Amateurs by John Niven. If I was to make a list of the all-time funniest books I’ve ever read, this’d be very high on the list.
I bought this way back in 2009 (I think?) after reading the blurb and knowing it was for me. This was back when I still bought paperbacks, so I even imported it from the UK because I couldn’t wait for shops in Australia to carry it.
I’m not a golfer, but you don’t have to be to enjoy this story. Yes, the main character is obsessed with it but mainly because how bad he is at it. Until one fateful day he cops a golf ball to the head and his whole life changes. Sort of for the better, but a lot for the worse… Read the rest of this entry »
Another suggestion by Goodreads and another home run. My profile over there is obviously tweaked to perfection because it’s been recommending a lot of winners recently, and Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers by Tom Moran was no exception.
If you were to merge Arthur Dent with Mister Bean and add them to a Sherlock Holmes mystery, you’d get something similar to this book. Walton Cumberfield is a character you can’t help but laugh at and with as he struggles on through his adventure. Read the rest of this entry »
I happened across this short story by Jonathon Burgess after an email from instaFreebie. It’s a fun short story you can read entirely on your lunchbreak (as I did) and is an great introduction (possibly a prologue?) for future novels.
The author lists is as the first in a series called The Blackscale Chronicles, which I’ll be interested in reading once they’re published.
A Matter of Scale is not available (at time of writing) from Amazon, but you can get it for free (well, for the cost of your email address) by signing up to the Author’s mailing list – http://www.brasshorsebooks.com/the-blackscale-chronicle/. Read the rest of this entry »
This was another book that popped up while I was perusing Goodreads for my next read. It suggested Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli as other people had read it after reading other books I was looking at. The simplistic cover drew me in and I had to know more.
I read the sample and the existing reviews and I grabbed a copy straight away. It’s aimed at the young adult market and really (I think) should be required reading for all school kids. Hell, I think most adults could learn something from reading it too.
The story Mister Spinelli weaves is thoroughly engaging and I read it almost in one sitting (other commitments got in the way). Within the 200 pages you can’t help but love the main characters and root for them along the way. Read the rest of this entry »
I was reminded of Backpack by Emily Barr when I saw she had recently released a new book. I bought Backpack many years ago now, a few years after its initial release (I’m thinking 2007?), so with a bit of digging through my cupboards I found the paperback copy and gave it a read.
When I first saw this book, I remember thinking it was chick-lit (based on judging the book by its cover), not something I’d be interested in. But after I’d read the blurb and it talked of backpacking through Asia with a murderer following her, I took the plunge and bought the book.
Once I started reading it I was so glad I did. So while it is categorised on Amazon as “Women’s Fiction”, I feel all sexes would enjoy reading this. Read the rest of this entry »