Monday, January 26, 2015

Fabled Kingdom - A Comics-Prose Fairytale Adventure

Fabled Kingdom

Comics-Prose. Somewhere between a graphic novel and a  well illustrated novel, the Comics-Prose genre is a perfect choice if you're looking for something a little different. If you're an avid reader who also enjoys Manga, Anime, Cartoons and Comics (or any of those), this could be an opportunity to satisfy a couple of those hobbies at once. Fabled Kingdom is an adventure filled with fairytale characters and settings. Of course it's not Red Riding Hood - or even a re-worked re-telling - even if it does share many similarities (like grandmothers, a huge wolf, huntsmen and a girl in a red cloak). It's an original adventure that takes place in more than one fairytale setting. The characters are engaging and the artwork is great. I found the comic style to be very appealing and a wonderful compliment to the story telling. I can see it being popular with teenagers, particularly those who take in a fair amount of YA and love an adventure that pulls up all sorts of things from fairy lore.

Fabled Kingdom (Part 1) was a very polished product - professional from start to finish. So I have to admit, I was very surprised to find it on Smashwords as a freebie. The only drawback I encountered was that I couldn't get the epub to work properly. The pages never fully loaded (to the bottom - the ends were always cut off) so I ended up reading the book online. In a way it reminded me of reading some of my favorite sort-of-web-comics (the ones that are a mix of prose, great artwork and comics) - but it was easier to read with the online reader than it is reading post after post on the web. If you download the book, the story looks like it's only six or so pages long - but keep in mind those are very long pages. I do recommend giving it a try, and if you have better success with a downloaded copy I would love it if you'd let me know in the comments.

As a pleasant surprise, I just discovered that the second book - part 2 - is also now available now on Smashwords. The link is here:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Underdead with a Vengeance - Review

Biting into that third book in a series means you have expectations. And sometimes those expectations can be pretty big. Did the author sustain a quality product? Is the story good or did they drop the ball and just stretch it out? Is the writing consistent? The characters? The humour? If you're investing your time and dollars in a series, in my opinion, it better be entertaining.

Well, thrill of thrills, Underdead with a Vengeance met all my expectations. Jo, the middle school science teacher, meat eater and cookie baker extraordinaire, is every bit the witty heroine she was in the first two books. Even one of her friends and her love interest #1(Gavin) shine a little more as Jo creeps a little closer to her undeadness. Yes, Jo does experience a few more... talents in this book.

Not too long and not too short -  it's the perfect distraction. It's easy reading for escapists, but the best part is that this story actually includes stuff happening. It's not just a continuation of the same old thing with fun characters and good dialogue. The story advances. Of course it doesn't advance far enough to actually end the story - which is  great. There's a cliffhanger of sorts at the end. So now it's just a matter of time to wait for book 4.

The only real problem that I have with the book is that my daughter is such a huge fan of the series that she's undoubtably going to steal my tablet. On the bright side, she'll probably devour it in one sitting.

I recommend the series. It's kind of a paranormal/cozy mystery mix. There is a little romance, but not enough to ruin the tone or story. Highly enjoyable and at only $2.99 per book it's well worth it. It's every bit as good as many of the super hyped books I've read from traditional publishers - without the atrocious price tag.

Get the ebook on Smashwords: Underdead with a Vengeance

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year, New Stuff

With the onset of yet another deep freeze, the new year promises an opportunity for new book reviews. Finally. After an almost painful 2014 where so many of the books I read failed to inspire any kind of review, I have nothing but hope for 2015.

I just picked up a copy of Liz Jasper's Underdead with a Vengeance, the third in the Underdead series featuring science teacher Jo Gartner - a not completely undead almost vampire who gets caught up in dangerous and mysterious situations with a side of romantic entanglement. It's a fun series and I look forward to starting the year on a fresh page. Because yes - I really did just download it from Smashwords, it may take me a week or so for the review to get out. Plus I'm currently finishing up Red Rising (Pierce Brown) - also good but I'm not finished so we'll just have to see - so a week is the fastest turn around at the moment. I'm hoping to follow these books up with selection of graphic novel epubs I also downloaded. Unfortunately, this was where I got hung up last year. It can be soooo hard to find a good indie graphic novel in epub format. Then narrow it down to a mystery or thriller... and well... ? But I guess I'll just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.

For the Underdead with a Vengeance synopsis, check it out here: Underdead With A Vengeance

                                Underdead With A Vengeance