Review: Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davies

Genre: Fantasy Noir

Rating: Yay!

Holy smokes, readers, we’ve got a winner here.

This story follows a minotaur detective named Frank and his trusty side kick. And here is why I got hoomissingfin-SW300ked – the story is from the sidekick’s POV. And his helper? None other than an enchanted blade named Rhys, who, if it wasn’t obvious, is also a self-aware blade. It’s such a fresh, different POV that I was immediately intrigued.

It wasn’t just the POV. The story, which follows the disappearance of a young lady’s body (presumably through someone with necromancer skills), gives us a delicious mix-up of noir-style mystery with action-packed situations and an urban fantasy setting, this book beautifully ties all three into an engaging story.

Snarky Rhys the blade can’t help but add his digs in, proverbial and physical, along the way. We snake through Necromancers and attempted suicides, and up through GAOL and through Hightown, which is suffering all sorts of ills thanks to a murderer on the loose.

I don’t want to give too many details away, as it’s how all the bits tie together that make this story really good. In fact, the only quibble I have is that there were a few times where I wish the noir voice had been let up for the sake of simplicity/clarity. I love reading noir, but there were a few times where the character had to go out of his way to explain something that in theory, he shouldn’t have had to, or I had to reread a few times to make sure I understood exactly what was going on.

These were really minor moments in an otherwise stellar novel. I’d happily read more in this world/series. If you like unique voices, or want a fresh take on noir/urban fantasy, then definitely take this book out for a spin.

Missing, Presumed Undead can be found at the following retailers:

Amazon

Satalyte Publishing

Author Interview: Michaela Debelius , Author of Perpetual

Michaela DebeliusMichaela Debelius graciously took time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about her novel. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Take it away, Michaela!

1) Oh, Mercy. A lonely woman who doesn’t realize she wants to be not lonely, I suspect. She can be quite difficult to put up with for many of the characters. Would you say those barriers are faked as a way to try and push people away? How genuine is her gruffness?

Mercy’s abrasiveness is the byproduct of too much life. As she tells the reader, people weren’t meant to live forever, and living forever produces jadedness. Not only has she spent centuries watching humans exploit one another, she’s realized that corrupt humans make even more despicable immortals. As the story develops, the reader gets deeper insight into why she’s distrustful, especially of immortals. So yes, Mercy’s gruffness is genuine, but so is her compassion, as demonstrated in her obvious concern for animals.

2) I love the contrast of Mercy and Adam. Adam is such a good guy that it’s easy to see why Mercy is fond of him. Is there a dark side to him at all? Through Mercy’s eyes he seems so pure.

I’m so glad you liked them! Comments like that totally make an author’s day, just so you know! =)

Adam himself tells Mercy her opinion of him is skewed, though much of that is actually his own humility speaking. Adam is truly the definition of a good guy. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s incapable of making mistakes. After all, he is human!

3) Where did the ideas of everlasting immortality in different forms come from? For that matter, where perpetual_1800_2400_borderdo they originate from? Do we get to find out their origin story?

The idea for Perpetual was formed around Mercy. It started from a night of watching too much 5 o’clocknews wherein I found myself wondering, “Who would want to live forever?” From there Mercy was born. She’s everything everyone feels at some point in their life, only she can’t escape the negativity because she can’t escape life itself. She’s done a good job of boxing herself in, leaving her with only the brutalities of the world and none of the beauty.

As far as the different traits, that concept just sort of grew from my own preference of not wanting the immortals to be vampires. Their origin? That’s still to be determined. Mercy herself doesn’t know that answer, but I imagine she will eventually become curious.

4) There’s a lot of history wound up into these people. Was there any part in particular that was especially fun to learn about?

I loved exploring the 1930’s jargon! It’s a time period my husband and I find intriguing in general, so delving into the slang was a lot of fun. I actually purchased a book specifically for wartime colloquialisms to give Nick more substance. He’s entertaining, even for me. Somewhere in my subconscious his twisted sense of humor hides, reserved only for his character.

5) Any further plans for Mercy in future books?

Absolutely! I’m currently finishing my first series, The Noel Casey Series¸ which follows an Army scientist on her newest assignment set in a military base that is harboring far more than secret government experiments. The first two books of the four book series are currently available, and I’m actively writing book three. Following the completion, I’ll be getting right back into Mercy’s world. I must admitted, I’m eager to travel alongside those characters once again.

Michaela Debelius is an indie author whose novels include elements of science fiction, romance, and horror. Originally from New England, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and two furry children.

Links:

If you liked this interview and the sound of Perpetual, then you’re in luck. To coincide with review week, Perpetual will be free on Amazon November 6-8th. Definitely a steal.

Review: Perpetual

Genre: Fantasy with some horror elements
Rating: Yay!
Mercy Green died in the 1820’s. And then she came back to life, with explanation as to why or how, with only one surety – she cannot die. Her blood is pumping, and she has to eat and sleep, but nothing kills her.
perpetual_1800_2400_borderThere are many takes on immortality, but the interesting twist with this one is that 1) there are different types of immortality, and 2) each set type comes with its own rules. Mercy is odd in that she eats and sleeps. The other types don’t.
And so, after successfully keeping under the radar and living the quiet life for over two hundred years, her life is exposed as she tries to do a good favor for her friend, Adam, whose paintings were stolen by a vindictive girlfriend. And it just keeps going downhill from there.
Written in first person, I really enjoyed getting to know this woman who, for all of her years, was still quite young in other ways. Jaded and brusque, Mercy at the same time has a deep sense of fairness that leaves you wanting her to get some of that fairness in return.
At the same time, for someone whose primary way to slip by unnoticed is to not engage and blend it, I did find her constant use of flowery language jarring at times. Not all of the time, but little spots where it made a real difference in the words used. I would have liked to have seen a smidge more blending. Most of her hang-ups that are part of her are endearing or interesting to watch otherwise.
There are quite a few great twists in the plot that kept me reading. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say poor Mercy gets a rather harsh reality check about her understanding of other immortals and her own creator. She’s forced to confront her own society that she’s never been part of, and given the stories she tells, no one can blame her.
Getting to watch Adam and Mercy’s relationship unfold, and the undeniable attraction between them was more natural and refreshing as compared ot most of the hocked up super bad boy types often seen in fantasy books. Kudos to the author for giving us a realistic nice guy.
Overall, this book is a great debut novel, and one that I’d highly recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy with some light romance.

Links:

Amazon
Smashwords
What a bonus!  To coincide with review week, Perpetual will be free on Amazon November 6-8th. Definitely a steal.

This Week’s Read: Perpetual

“Some people say they don’t care. I actually mean it.”

Mercy Green didn’t become this way overnight. Centuries of monotonous life have left her jaded and detached. Humans weren’t meant to live forever. But then again, she isn’t human. Adam is though, and his purity baffles her. How can he remain unpolluted in a world tarnished by corruption? It doesn’t matter. Her time in Birchwood Creek is coming to an end and she must prepare to relocate. That is, until she inexplicably wakes up in a pool of her own blood. The answer seems simple enough: leave immediately. But when an attempt is made on Adam’s life, a failed murder she inadvertently caused, she feels obligated to stay and protect him.

perpetual_1800_2400_border

 

But then she’s attacked again.

And Adam begins to ask questions.

Victim to an unseen stalker, Mercy’s forced to seek help from Nick, an immortal teenager whose sudden appearance suspiciously coincides with her plunge into chaos. With her structured life unraveling and revelation of her immortality looming, Mercy must accept the truth: she’s being hunted. But why?

…And she thought immortality was boring.

 

 

Links:

Amazon
Smashwords
What a bonus!  To coincide with review week, Perpetual will be free on Amazon November 6-8th. Definitely a steal.

Review: Hera, Queen of Gods

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: Yay!

HERA, QUEEN OF GODSSo to be upfront, I’m not a huge young adult fan. Given the glut of YA that’ve popped out in recent years and the rather unimpressive writing that goes along with them, I tread carefully with YA.

Hera, Queen of Gods follows Hera as she leads a handful of the Olympic gods on Earth as they run after the Fates. Bound in mortal form and with only one power each, the gods must battle against their inner politics, the problems of Olympus, and the forces of darkness as they try to recover one of the most powerful beings around.

The entire story is rife with Greek mythology and its inner workings, and although some of the more intricate details are explained, anyone who isn’t familiar with the pantheon and the more popular parts of Greek mythology should bone up before reading this. It’s not for the Greek-ignorant. While I can understand not wanting to break into the incredibly lengthy and rich past for every character, a few more details here and there would have greatly helped for people who aren’t well-versed in the mythos.

Having said that, Hera is a strong, sympathetic character. As the goddess who’s constantly cheated on and given unhappy circumstances in her personal and professional life (Corralling those gods would be a majorly sucky job, let’s be honest), it’s easy to see how she’s developed the strength of character in adversity, and why she makes some choices. It’s also understandable why the first sign of positive male attention leaves her in a strange, difficult situation. Yes, there’s romantic elements. No, they’re not graphic. They’re quite sweet, so no need for parental concern about sex.

Because of the accelerating timeframe and rapid developments in the plot, the action turnaround is fast and furious. There are some points in the novel that have so many quick switcharounds that I would have appreciated some breathing space to really get into Hera’s head and feel more of her. For a book that has the first person POV, there’s not very much in the way of internal monologue. She feels a bit set apart from the reader, and I Think the book would have been better off as third person for that reason. If we’d had more time and space with her, it would have really used first person to full effect.

Still, this in no way ruins the story, which in and of itself, is fantastic. The mystery of who took the Fates and who the heck is this Justin guy who keeps helping keeps you in suspense throughout. There are consequences for the characters—gods who die and mortals who perish. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and it’s bloody glorious.

Hera, Queen of Gods can be found at:

Amazon

Goodreads

Website: http://www.td-thomas.com

 

Review: Cargon, Honour & Privilege

Genre: YA Dystopian/Fantasy

Rating: YAY!

This book surprised me, in an awesome way, it kept me reading. The first page wasn’t really a grabber, but I allowed myself to reach for the end of Chapter 1 (like a sample). Gould drew me and kept dragging until the pages flew. I say pages flew because I finished this in less than 24 hours, when an Indies Book does that I stand up and take notice. Now to the content.

The players: Eve and Adam (ironic, I think not). There’s an underlying theme Gould is building, and she does it in a way that you may or may not notice right off the bat. The book spends most of the time in Eve’s POV, she’s a teenager from the servant class. Expressing an aptitude for knowledge and learning, the leader of her nation, The High One, provides her with an opportunity to learn more about the country, the practices of the Elite, and a chance to become more than just a Server. Adam is The Second, in line to rule once The High One passes. He encounters Eve and becomes enamored by her intelligence, her beauty, and desire to exceed her original stations.

I like both main characters. They’re not perfect, but intent on becoming valuable in their own way. Both Eve and Adam grow a bunch during this story, but Gould leaves room for plenty more to come. I found myself rooting for them and their goals, and easily dedicated to their welfare. Both are likable without being a couple of ‘Mary Sue’s’.

What plays out is a great start to a much larger story, but you get a little romance, budding friendships, technological advancement, philosophical discussions, and a great way of learning about an entire world without being info dumped on. Gould does an amazing job of weaving the knowledge about her fantasy world through Eve’s growth and experiences. Cargon is essentially a game that’s used by members of the Elite (upper class) to determine things like marriage, land, status, jobs, etc. How Eve uses Cargon to her advantage? You have to read the book.

What I also liked: Character growth, development of the plot into several sustainable arcs, a strong female character who still has some flaws and weakness, and a nice romance triangle that keeps you guessing.

What I didn’t like: No resolutions. This book is really part 1 of a bigger story, and that sucks. Also, you’ll finish with lots of questions, a few more than what you started with. A man named Louis, who plays the role of villain well. Yet, at the end of the book he showed a different side of him leaving me to wonder.

This is definitely worth a read if you like fantasy and enjoy visiting new worlds or just enjoy a good story of a girl experiencing a Cinderella fairy tale and determined to exceed all expectations.

Purchase a copy of Cargon: Honor and Privilege at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords 

Print Version

Author Interview: Freebooter’s Chris Turner

We’re happy to have Chris Turner here to talk more about Freebooter and his fantasy series.

1. Baus is definitely the king of anti-hero’s, what were your inspirations for writing the character?

While reading a lot of different fantasy, I noted it was always those characters who were off the wall that got under my skin, i.e. the ones with mischievous natures and a grey area built up around them.  The more these qualities they had, the more they fascinated me…The concept of the anti-hero is a dangerous area for any author to explore, especially in any longer work.  Over the years I’ve had a healthy inspiration of Jack Vance, Alexander Dumas and Fritz Leiber as well as Andy Kaufman in the comedy arena…

2. I really liked the character of Valere, are there any plans for his story in the future? 

Yes.  Other readers have expressed that they too liked Valere.  He develops in Book II, Freebooter as a character rich in experience and stability.  He ends up being a major player in this series, actually as a foil to Baus.  There exists a bond between him and Baus, the main character, that is sometimes very intense, yet always supportive, even though the two are really rogues.  Both are comrades in exile—Valere is the older and somewhat veteran vagabond outlaw of the party, who many times serves as the seasoned voice that stops Baus from completely going off into deep water. Like other characters in the story, the twain’s past history is less important than their ongoing deeds and the situations they get themselves embroiled in.

3. What research did you do for this book and did you find the world building difficult or easy? 

I have always been a fan of medieval fantasy.  As a result, I’ve soaked up a lot of old world facts and figures, similarly no small amount of historical fiction. I researched a lot of old ships for Book II—caravels, windjammers and whatnot, tales of pirates, finding out what weapons they used, how they fought, what was important to them, and how hellish it was to be on those majestic ships sailing for weeks on end, with the law close on their heels.  Oddly enough, a lot of the magical powers that come into play by Book III were derived from descriptions of yogic ‘siddhis’, though more as a dark parody, best evidenced by Aurimag the magician.

The ‘outlaw’ archetype has always intrigued me too.  Robin Hood, as a classic example, is almost ‘too good’ a character for where I wanted to take ‘Rogues’.  I wanted a character that was really unpredictable, one who really had no scruples, who also could get away with almost anything and be completely a joker at times, not assessing or caring about the heap of trouble he stirred up.  This was the glue I needed to keep the reader guessing at every step…

As for world-building, I will be the first to admit that it is no easy pastime.  Everything has to be visualized in minute detail.  The setting has to be consistent to the reader, while at the same time integrating with the story and the characters.  The process is so engrossing, that even while working day by day for a lot of years, I must admit that it didn’t really feel like work. I could dwell in those worlds.  I could see the story unfold in greater detail week by week, visualize every seaside cliff, every wild island, gleaming palace, colourful market, prison cell, game and trick played, sea-battle and skirmish, strife and conquest, rivalry and grievance, and weirdly ironic situation.  After throwing in a backdrop of bizarre dialogue, I felt the package complete.  It was a lot of fun (minus the editing!..)

4. As a fantasy writer what is your biggest goal when composing your novels?

To be somewhat original.  This is very challenging in today’s world of wall to wall fantasy numbering in the tens of thousands of titles.  Writing a story that has a lasting impression and is entertaining is a close second.  There may be a lot of readers who will have a double-take reading ‘Rogues’, simply because the style is unorthodox and revolves around an uncharacteristic flamboyance of language, but that is the price to be paid, in my opinion, for a certain flavour of originality.  And after having said this, I would not have done it any another way.

5. Finally, how many books about Baus and his adventures are available and can we expect more? 

Rogues of Bindar is a trilogy consisting of the books: Wolfshead, Freebooter and Redeemer.  The saga is complete by Book III.  An omnibus version exists.  Yes, there is scope for more continuing adventures of Baus, which I hope to write in the future…However, that is a major undertaking and will require more than a few years of planning.

Author Bio:

Visual artist, meditator, writer of fantasy, adventure and SF.

Chris’s books include: The Relic Retriever, The Rogues of Bindar series, Future Destinies, Fantastic Realms and Denibus Ar.

Chris is also a prolific painter, with nearly a thousand oil art works to his name. He has also been involved in extensive studio recording, guitar and keyboard. After graduating from University of Waterloo in Computer Science in the ‘90s he backpacked and biked throughout Europe and Asia before teaching computer programming courses in Ottawa, Canada. Visit Chris at his website

Get a copy of Freebooter at:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Kobo

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