Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The latest draft of "A New Threat" has been sent off to the publisher!

More details as soon as I know them...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Review: Freeheads

Book Review: Freeheads

Freeheads is the final book in the sci-fi series: "Dark Trench" by Kerry Knietz.

From the "back of the book":

"Having escaped the storms of Betelgeuse and the schemes of Jannah's inhabitants, Sandfly and HardCandy make their way back to Earth. They have a message to deliver. A society to free. And A~A3 is with them. Their mission is simple, and just. What could possibly go wrong?
Unexpectedly, DarkTrench drops into normal space. He is malfunctioning, wounded, and the only people who can fix him are still hundreds of light years away. Sand and Hard scramble for a solution while catastrophe hurtles blindly toward them.
They reach Earth to find a different world, an unexpected domain. One they can no longer connect with.
They are stranded, hopelessly separated beneath a wasteland of death and a planet of rules. Debuggers amidst a cloistered community.
Ultimately, Sandfly is alone, and Earth's freedom relies on him and his newfound faith. But does his mission even matter anymore?
He's a misfit, and a throwback. A symbol for all that's evil.
Perhaps he's the last freehead?"

Lots of characters from book one return here. ;)

Freeheads picks up right where The Superlative Stream left off. There are a lot of surprises in this book, but looking back to the first two books, all of them were foreshadowed, and the plot twists all dove-tail nicely into the rest of the series.

The writing is at it's best in this book. Characterization is great, and the balance of inner thoughts and external action is just right. I don't want to to give away how it ends, but the ending is great. Freeheads is my favorite in the series.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review: The Superlative Stream

Book Review: The Superlative Stream

The Superlative Stream is the second book book by Kerry Nietz in the Dark Trench sci-fi series.

From the "back of the book":

"He crossed the stars to follow a song...
So where's the singer?
Sandfly is free of the rules and free of Earth, but now there's a new mystery to solve.
With his female companion, HardCandy, and a secret ship named DarkTrench, he travels across time and space to find the source and meaning of the transmission that changed his life.
When they arrive in the Betelgeuse system, they discover something the former crew did not--a planet. On it lives a civilization of humanoids that are technologically advanced, peaceful, and mystifying. Is their meeting an occurrence the Scriptures predicted? HardCandy thinks so. Sandfly is not so sure.
But what he most wants to know is why is he seeing things no one else can.
And where is the song that brought them here--or its singer? Where is the Superlative Stream?"

Sandfly, Hard Candy, and Dark Trench are back from book one. New characters are some of the aliens that go by "Ham", "Shem", and "Japeth" (there are actually lots of the aliens, but these are the main ones we interact with.)

This book is a lot more "literary" than the first, by which I mean there's a lot more inner dialogue, more character struggles than just external plotting.
Not that there isn't a plot, there is, and it's quite intriguing and immersive, it just takes a while to get to it. Most of the first half of the book is Sandfly wondering where the Superlative Stream they came to find is, and him growing in faith and stuff.

Still, it's a solid middle of the series book. Like most middle books, I'd recommend getting this and the next one (Freeheads) and reading them back-to-back, but the book still stands on it's own well enough--a refreshing change in modern series fiction.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Review: Storm Chase

Today's book review is Storm Chase, a new young-adult urban fantasy by K.M. Carroll.

From the "back of the book":

"Carda is the Strider of Chronos. But figuring out what that means may cost him his life.

Struggling through high school in Phoenix, Arizona was hard enough, but now Carda's hands are burning with magical fire and lightning. Worse, they affect time and space. Now all kinds of people want Carda dead, from a killer angel to the head of the extra-world Council.

Fortunately he has allies—his twin sister Michelle manipulates gravity with dance. His rival Indal is secretly a time mage—until Carda accidentally turns him into a werewolf. There's Ben, a black time-traveling lizard. And Xironi, a gorgeous catgirl with a growing crush on Carda.

Together they face the most horrifying enemy of all—an inept mage with far too much power. This power unleashes a chaotic subspace storm that consumes worlds—and Earth is next on the menu."

This is the authors first book, and, I understand, the first in a series that will follow both Carda and his predecessors adventures.

The plot is fairly straight forward, it's a fun ride the whole way through. It's fairly fast-paced, but from the back of the book copy you'd expect that... and I'd worry if the hero diddled around when the fate of the world is at stake...
Oh, and this book actually has an ending, too!

I love every character here. Carda's a ton of fun and is snarky throughout the book. I actually like this, as the other reaction (and the one chosen by most authors) to dealing with both strange, new powers; a new set of responsibilities; and people trying to kill him is mopieness. The other think I like about him, is he trusts and relys on friends and family, instead of pushing them away.

Xironi is a lot of fun too. She's brave, strong, helpful, friendly, and a cat-girl. What more could a guy want? ;)

The bad guy almost feels one-dimensional, but that's mostly 'cause there's kinda three, yet kinda one. The real bag guy is Inferna (basically a demon), but she's controlling the other two bad guys, Ryane and Demetrius. Demetrius has a little more depth, but Ryane is your stero-typical bully who's messing with stuff that's way over his head...

I've had the pleasure of reading several different drafts of this before the final version (I didn't get paid for any of them, and I don't have any financial ties to the book) and the story and characters still sucked me in. I like that in a book.

If I had to sum this book up by comparing it to something, I'd say it's Spiderman's wit with something akin to X-Men's powers. I eagerly await the next book, and highly recommend it you.