Book Review: Brew (Salem’s Revenge) (Volume 1) by David Estes

Brew_cover promo contest

Brew (Salem’s Revenge) (Volume 1) by David Estes

A YA Fantasy/Paranormal Novel published by Amazon Digital Services (10/01/2014)

 

Summary:

“Let me teach you how to fight witches,” (Kindle Location 655).
What if the Salem Witch Trials actually did capture and kill witches? What if, many many years later more witches were discovered and hunted and killed? What if the witches banded together to wipe out all of humanity? Cue Salem’s Revenge and David Estes’ series about witches. Brew begins with Rhett Carter, your slightly off average black football playing book lover with a soft spot for others and a penchant to avoid violence. Add in his best friend who’s gay, Xavier and Beth the girl Rhett loves. When their world falls apart at the beginning of the Revenge, Rhett will do anything to find his two best friends, even learn to hunt and kill witches from his neighbor.

 

Keywords:

Witches, Warlocks, Wizards, Paranormal, World Domination, Power Struggle, End of Humanity, Death, Violence, Evil, Hero, Challengers, Revenge, Hunting, Killing, Grudges

 

My Review:

I don’t read books about witches. I stopped reading books about wizards when I was in high school but I had confidence in David Estes that he could write a book that I would love. I was right. Estes has a knack for building a story that anyone would love, even if the parts aren’t normally what you want to read. Witches. Sure. Wizards. Certainly. The main part of the story is the main character’s journey, how Rhett Carter exists and survives in this world of chaos and paranormal. His story is written well and his relationships with his friends, so briefly shown in the beginning, and the developing relationships between Rhett and Laney and Rhett and his new dog Hex are what brings the reader into the story and makes the story alive.

The first book in the Salem’s Revenge series sets up the main characters and the goal: to save themselves and humanity in the fight between witch gangs to end humans. Brew, the first in the series has an awesome end of the book battle that answers and raises questions to be answered with the continuation and conclusion of the series.

This book is told from Rhett’s point of view, but the reader gets a real good feel for Laney and many of the other characters. I loved all of the characters and felt that their strengths and their weakness brought them to life.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 10/01/2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

David Estes’s Website

Twitter

World Con is Here! And We are at World Con!

So cool of FreeValley and NIWA to be at Worldcon. Look at all those lovely books!

FreeValley Publishing

It’s exciting to have World Con, aka Sasquan, nearby in Spokane, WA this year! There’s a great co-operative indie author book booth at Con, so be sure and check out the titles available from talented up and coming writers. FVP author Jeffrey Cook will be there to meet you.

Some of our FVP authors have books at the booth. Here are photos of the display taken and sent to us by a couple of our supporters…

Rachel's books - photo by Casondra Brewster Rachel’s books – photo by Casondra Brewster

David's books - photo by Thomas Alexander David’s books – photo by Thomas Alexander

Vicky's, Kennedy's, and some of Jeffrey's books - photo by Casondra Brewster Vicky’s, Kennedy’s, and some of Jeffrey’s books – photo by Casondra Brewster

Broad Table View - photo Casondra Brewster Broad Table View – photo Casondra Brewster

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Book Review: Unicorn Battle Squad by Kirsten Alene

unicorn

Unicorn Battle Squad by Kirsten Alene

A Bizarr0 Fiction/Fantasy novel published 10/1/12 by Eraserhead Press

 

Summary:

There is a world where horses can be transformed into Unicorns and where an ordinary boy can be transformed into a Unicorn Rider. Carl is only a boy when his father disappears, leaving in his stead a scrawny horse named Yury. Together Yury and Carl must ready themselves for a war that threatens City 21, their home. Carl turns from lowly clerk to fledgling Unicorn Rider, battling through initiation tests, the Theklanian army, and his feelings for one important Theklanian Princess.

 

Keywords:

Unicorn Riders, Bizarro Fiction, Battle, Other-worldly, A Boy and His Horse, Adventure, Capture, Escape

My Review:

At the first mention of ‘unicorns,’ I expected a fantasy tale full of magical creatures and wondrous realms but Kirsten Alene, the author of Unicorn Battle Squad, has a different take on what is meant by that word. Alene’s imagination is one that is not fastened down by fantasy literature stereotypes and she is able to create a world full of uniquely defined characteristics. Unicorns are not quite a magical creature but are the steeds of the Riders. Unicorns are horses that have been modified and outfitted for war, hence the battle-ready horn usually identified with a unicorn.

In what might have been a dystopian novel, Kirsten Alene instead focusses the book on something different, Unicorn Riders. Thank you for breaking from the end of the world, life-is-awful typical dystopian novels nowadays to give us something unique, while still giving us that bleak and sad world we seem to crave. The ironic view of the world, such as the kidnapper’s request, not for as much money as possible, but just to pay the bills created during the kidnapping, made me laugh.

Alene’s world is so familiar and yet so different. She only shows us a small portion, through the story of Carl and Yury, which is entirely aggravating because I never cared about Carl. Carl was only the instrument in which the author could spout wonderful phrases of prose. These descriptions were so beautiful and some of the dialogue so captivating, such as on page 55, ‘“Being a Unicorn Rider is about fighting in adverse circumstances, impaired by impossible handicaps, working in the most dire, hopeless conditions, overcoming the absurd unfairness of odds!”’ However, all these descriptions eventually piled upon themselves until they overshadowed any sort of plot in the novel. I found myself skimming hurriedly over the words in order to find the meaning of the story and to look for growth in the characters. I was left wanting. Alene does not dish out a beautiful or clever plot like she can dish out the beautiful and thought-provoking descriptions. Carl, the main character, has very little personality and does not win any favors with the reader. I have more sympathy and more in common with Yury, the horse turned Unicorn..

At times, even the descriptions would bore me with their redundancy and she overly-repeated the phrase ‘roared with laughter’ as if neither the characters nor the author had any other imaginative response to Carl and his actions.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoyed the irony of the world in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, the random intense imaginations of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll or any of the other Eraserhead Press Bizarro Fiction novels.

 

This novel was published by Eraserhead Press on 10/1/12 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 3

 

Links for more information:

On the web: http://kirstenalene.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419714.Kirsten_Alene

Miscellaneous Mondays: Fablet/Phablet

As an author, poet and geocacher in the process of searching for a device that does everything I want it to do is difficult.

I want a device:

  • I can check my emails and that new emails will “push” or automatically download to the device and notify me of their existence
  • I can run netflix/Amazon Instant Video
  • I can update my websites/blogs/Author Platform (wordpress, google+, facebook, Amazon Author Central)
  • I can do writing (good keyboard/keyboard enabled)
  • I can read books!
  • 10+ hour battery life

So basically I want a phone/tablet/e-reader all in one

Also: It would be awesome if I could hook it up to an external monitor…

 

According to PC Encyclopedia, a phablet is: “A smartphone with a 5″ to 6″ screen. With a display larger than traditional smartphones, a phablet offers a better visual experience for viewing Web pages but can be bulky in an small shirt or pants pocket.”

I think 5″ to 6″ might be too small for use and too big for a pocket.

Here’s a cool comparison website I found:  http://tablets-review.toptenreviews.com/

What do you use and why? Do you use it as an author, reader, employee, researcher, etc? Can your device do it all?