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The Dragon Hunter and the Mage (Wounds in the Sky Book 1)
The Dragon Hunter and the Mage (Wounds in the Sky Book 1)
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An action packed Young Adult, fantasy adventure... 4 1/2 Stara, April 25, 2016
"The Dragon Hunter and the Mage" is the first book in the 'Wounds in the Sky' series by V. R. Cardozo. This Kindle e-book was approximately 497 pages in length and sold for $3.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author provided me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General Theme (minor spoilers)

Two boys, Prince Fadan and his step-brother Aric live in the King's palace in Augusta. They are good friends, but the King, (Fadan's father; Aric's Step-father), is a paranoid despot that tolerates no dissent. In fact several factions within the realm are contemplating rebellion and the two boys are soon to be faced with a decision as to where to place their allegiance, despite their obvious royal lineage.

Some thoughts on "The Dragon Hunter and the Mage"...

1.) an interesting and intriguing tale.

2.a) a story that is both action based and character driven with maybe the accent on action.
2.b) and with action in mind, many encounters on a scale both large and small.

3.) a terrific colored map giving the reader a sense of direction, distance and topography.

4.) an ending that completes this tale but sets up for future books in this series.

5.) cover art... a stunning image that hints at the tale within.

My only niggling concern would be the repetitive use of some wording. Maybe, just maybe a ploy that an author can get away with in a Young Adult work. (Loss of 1/2 Star)

Impressions

This is a work specifically geared to a Young Adult (YA) audience. Filled with lots of action that borders on the incredulous and features deeds that frequently require a measure of youthful abandon and reckless daring-do. While I feel that most seekers of Adult orientated fantasy adventure might find this a bit over the top, it will be a thrilling ride to those of the appropriate age classification.

As a YA work... 4 1/2 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


The Collectors: Karma Police Book Three
The Collectors: Karma Police Book Three
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Collectors"... another terrific installment of the Karma Police... 5 Stars, April 12, 2016
The Collectors: Karma Police is Book Three is this Kindle series by authors Sean Platt and David W Wright.
This Kindle e-book was approximately 96 printed pages and sold for $2.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the authors provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General Theme (minor spoilers)
Our yet unidentified hero(ine) once again lands in a situation where he/she is able to manipulate a situation going south and restore some measure of justice or sanity. In addition, he/she is being hunted... and more aggressively with each passing installment. This then is the tale surrounding the Caldwell family.

Some thoughts on "The Collectors"...

1.) well written... as always with tales from Platt and Wright, prose that is a pleasure to read.

2.) a tale with a near perfect sense of pace and timing; and a spot-on drama vs action ratio.

3.) lots of strange and intriguing facts are brought to light in this short work. A little more is revealed with each episode.

4.) the hunters (The Collectors) seem to playing a more prominent role in each ensuing installment.

Impressions:
An ending that tweaks our curiosity for next season's continuation.
A novel with a darker and more sinister edge, but overall, a terrific series.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


GREEN SNOT AND BOOGERS: Cartoon Collection Number 1
GREEN SNOT AND BOOGERS: Cartoon Collection Number 1
Price: $0.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Green Snot and Boogers... misses the mark... 2 1/2 Stars, April 12, 2016
"GREEN SNOT AND BOOGERS" is the first in a series of Cartoon Collections by author/illustrator Darrin Mason.
This Kindle e-book contains 21 cartoons and sold for $0.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Impressions:

Let me first say that I, of all readers, probably appreciate a weird and warped sense of humor (especially Darrin's) as much as anyone, maybe even more that most. However this small endeavor of 21 cartoons lack a certain something... let me see - it has grossness, crudeness and lockness, but little else.
Not sure what happened here, BUT the bottom line is that these offerings were, simply put, not particularly funny. I got a smile from maybe five or six of them; a couple I didn't understand, and the rest were... well - meh!

Feel guilty, writing this decidedly negative review. I loved Darrin's previous offerings in his 'Wicked Witch' tales and the ever entertaining, 'Zac the Zombie', BUT if you want honesty, I gotta tell it like it is.

As it is...2 1/2 Stars

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Rise of the Archmage (Deathsworn Arc Book 4)
Rise of the Archmage (Deathsworn Arc Book 4)
Price: $4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Rise of the Archmage"... the Pros and Cons... 2 1/2 Stars., April 11, 2016
"Rise of the Archmage" is the 4th book in the 'Deathsworn Arc' series by author Martyn Stanley.
This Kindle e-book was approximately 229 printed pages and sold for $4.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Some thoughts on "Rise of the Archmage"... (Spoiler-ish material to follow)

The tale continues to follow our ragtag groups of adventurers... Brael, Saul, Votrex, Elden, Korhan and Vistni, as they strive to rescue a condemned girl from a dungeon in Cormaroth.

Some thoughts on "Rise of the Archmage"...

The Pros:
1.) what's gone on before... there is a brief recounting of the previous books. A great feature to allow readers to refresh their memories when there is a lot of time between books... wish more authors would do this.

2.) map... a decent map of the realm. Allowing the reader to get a sense of distance, direction and topography.

Cons:
1.) some questionable writing and sentence structuring left me wondering if there was an editor.

2.) religion... the discussion regarding the existence (or not) of God(s) was frequent and repetitious. It seemed a predominant theme in this book. It became very tiresome, very quickly.

3.) realism... after saving the girls, Lindie and Kaya, from execution, our band of heroes allow them to head off, alone, to Briem... a journey of 4 days and through a land filled with bandits, evil people and a force seeking their recapture. Does this sound remotely responsible or believable?

4.) conversations... many dialogues seemed dull and forced.

5.) some events/battles seemed to go on and on. e.g. the ordeal of Vexis and the battle between Korhan and Tubol.

Impressions:

I had the distinct feeling this tale seemed rushed; that the author simply pieced together a bunch of ideas, hoping to blend them together into a credible story. Overall I think that this technique failed. This novel did have a few good sections, reminiscent of previous books, but it turned out to be a medieval tale that was a mishmash of Sword and Sorcery, a quasi sci-fi event, a smattering of Young Adult (YA) and some decidedly adult moments that somehow just didn't fit well together... they just didn't work. I ended up skimming many areas of this book.

The theme and attitude of this book that may have some appeal to the YA audience, however readers of more serious, Adult oriented FA tales would struggle with this work... as I did.

Without a doubt, the weakest of the 4 books to date.

As it is... 2 1/2 Stars

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Snowfall on Mars
Snowfall on Mars
Price: $0.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Snowfall on Mars"... the Pros and Cons... 3 1/2 Stars, April 1, 2016
This review is from: Snowfall on Mars (Kindle Edition)
"Snowfall on Mars" is a space adventure/thriller by author Branden Frankel. This Kindle e-book was approximately 367 printed pages and sold for $4.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General Theme (minor spoilers)

Set in the future, space exploration and colonization of the near planets (in this case Mars) has begun. A Terraforming process was started to convert Mars' inhospitable atmosphere into breathable air.
However, everything comes to an abrupt halt when a nuclear holocaust (call The End, by the citizens of Mars) destroys Earth, terminating any and all types of communication, and effectively leaving the colonists stranded and on their own. Authority and civility are maintained only a short time before things turn into anarchy .
This then is David Adler's story of how one mans deals with some new and disturbing developments in a rapidly decaying Martian civilization.

Some thoughts on " Snowfall on Mars"...

1.) well written and edited... I encountered only a couple spelling errors

2.) told with a polished and professional style that I've seldom encountered. Storytelling that seemed to fit with the comfort of an old glove. Covering many points, but never rushed or too dragged out.

3.) characters... the main character, David Adler, is well developed; others maybe less so... but enough to justify their position in the story and their relationship to our main hero.

4.) flashbacks... many chapters begin with a flashback of sorts, giving the reader some important info on how things used to be, and how those things compare to present circumstances. Useful in getting to appreciated the devastating changes that have taken place of the last 20 years.

5.) cover art... somehow a fitting image for this tale. The uniform starkness reflecting the atmosphere and mood of this unique tale.

The Cons:
1.) credibility and believability... e g. our hero often did things by himself that were dangerous and as a result ended up in trouble on several occasions. In addition, there was a episode in an air vent that seemed to me, very unlikely.

2.) I felt there were several plot holes in this story, that with a little thought or tinkering could have being avoided, yet with almost no change to the overall story.

Impressions:
I really liked author Frankel's writing style and his approach to telling this tale. However the 'Cons' above were just frequent enough to drop this tale down a notch or two. And that's really too bad, because this story was intriguing and the storytelling so accomplished, but these 'soft spots' really took away from what could have been a space/thriller masterpiece.

A good novel that could have been great... it was so close.

As it is... 3 1/2 Stars

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Icarus (Interstellar Cargo Book 1)
Icarus (Interstellar Cargo Book 1)
Price: $3.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Icarus"... a space opera: a terrific tale, well told... 5 Stars, April 1, 2016
"Icarus: Interstellar Cargo" is the first book in a Sci-Fi series by author Matt Verish.
This Kindle e-book was approximately 258 printed pages and sold for $0.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author provided me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Some thoughts on "Icarus"...

1.) Well written and edited, containing prose that was both easy read and understand.

2.) action packed with lots of encounters.

3.) presented a story with a diverse array of different characters... none more intriguing than our hero, the resourceful and capable, Captain Cole Musgrave.

4.) cover art... a great image for this space age tale.

Impressions:
I've read nearly all of Matt Verish's (and Stef's ;) ) fantasy adventure books previously, but this was the first Sci-Fi (space) offering of his that I've had the pleasure of perusing.
However when I began, I was rather taken aback by the style of story being told here, and in truth, I almost bailed on this tale early on. Somehow I'd geared my mind to expect a serious, tense and exciting tale. And while it remained tense and exciting the demeanor turned out to be more fitting a space opera... an action packed, over-the-top tale of mayhem and chaos.
Once I 'adjusted' to the nature of the tale, I thoroughly enjoyed it as was sorry to see it come to an end.

Overall, a great read with more (hopefully) to come.

As it is... 5 Stars

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


High Fantasy: (Book Three) (Sci-Fi Series) (The Feedback Loop 3)
High Fantasy: (Book Three) (Sci-Fi Series) (The Feedback Loop 3)
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "High Fantasy"... third and best book so far in the series... 5 Stars., March 25, 2016
"High Fantasy" is the third book in the Sci-Fi Series 'The Feedback Loop' by author Harmon Cooper. This Kindle e-book was approximately 264 printed pages and sold for $1.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Some thoughts on "High Fantasy"...

1.) well written.

2.) an exciting action-based sci-Fi adventure

3.) humor... many chuckles and several laugh out loud moments for this reader.

Impressions:

I think this 3rd book was the best in the series so far. Based on our hero, Quantum Hughes, being inserted into a turned based, RPG (role playing game) fantasy world. It has a plethora of creatures and weapons and of course with any RPG, leveling up... THE main adrenalin surge for any player that loved RPGs. Getting those new weapons and skills was a rush akin to great sex... no, even better ;)

Being a gamer since way back, I can attest to the thrill associated with playing a well devised RPG, especially my favorite, turn based, if it was done well. I kept thinking while reading how I wished some of my video RPGs were as well done and as exciting as this was.

Our hero, Quantum Hughes, must be an extension of author Harmon Cooper's traits and psyche. Manic personality comes to mind when thinking about the underlying speed of thought process that our hero displays in this little gem.

Loved this book. I look forward to the next installment.

As it is... 5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Seneo 1.3L Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifiers for Bedroom
Seneo 1.3L Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifiers for Bedroom

5.0 out of 5 stars The "Seneo Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier"... a great humidifier for a small room... 5 Stars, March 25, 2016
A review of the "Seneo Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier for Bedroom"
This device is available from StarTop (fulfilled by Amazon) and was priced at $29.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free device for the purpose of writing an honest review.

Specs:
Capacity... 1.3L
Mist Volume Control... Yes
Mist Capacity... 350 ml/hr
Noise... < 40Db
Low-Water Shut Off... Yes

Some thoughts on the "Seneo Ultrasonic Humidifier/Aromatherpy Diffuser"...

1.) arrived securely and professionally packaged... (See photos)

2.) an attractive pear shaped unit with a directional nozzle on top.

3.) has an off/on adjustable mist control knob that allows you to send out a trickle of mist or pour out abundant amounts of mist. (See photo)

4.) the reservoir can hold up to 1.3L of water and produce a maximum of 350ml of mist/hour. It will run approx. 5 hour at maximum output.

5.) has an optional LED light switch... This allows you to have 7 soft, pastel-colored lights shown sequentially... great for a kids bedroom. Alternatively, the lights can be turned off is so desired.

6.) ultra quiet. Really there was no sound at all except the occasional tinkling of water within the water reservoir.

Impressions:
THE best mist generator I've ever used; and we've had a few as our place is very dry in winter. This unit will definitely help raise the humidity in our condo.

Simple to use. Fill it with water and turn it on... Immediately pours out the mist in accordance with your mist volume setting.

As it is... 5 Stars

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson

P.S.
Addendum April 03, 2016
I liked this Seneo mist producing unit so much, I went out and bought another one on my own.
Comment Comment | Permalink


Fierce Winds Rising (Tales of the Ersellian Winds Book 1)
Fierce Winds Rising (Tales of the Ersellian Winds Book 1)
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Fierce Winds Rising"... a terrific beginning to a medieval fantasy adventure... 4 - 4 1/2 Stars, March 22, 2016
"Fierce Winds Rising (Tales of the Ersellian Winds)" is the first book in a medieval fantasy adventure series by author Richard Dinoso. This Kindle e-book was approximately 450 printed pages and sold for $3.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General Theme (minor spoilers)
Fierce winds fan the smoldering embers of war in the continent of Ersellis. A politically advantageous marriage puts together two nations who have been itching for retribution from war past waged and lost. Thus begins the clandestine tale of those who will speak for war and those who will strive for peace.

Some thought on "Fierce Wind Rising"...

1.) generally well written and edited. Prose that was easy to read and understand.

2.) map(s)... two good maps. One a global map of Ersellis showing borders of countries and providing a general sense of direction, distance and topography. The second map is nearly the same as the first but has important cities, towns and forts marked.

3.) Characters... it took a while to get into significant character development, (see Cons) but it was worth the wait.

4.a) travel.... a tale with lots of travel, treks and several clandestine expeditions. It would be hard to conceive of this story without a map(s) as they were essential for following this adventure.
4.b) some groups' travel was documented in detail, while others had the group start out and the next encounter with them was at their destination. I found this technique to be not only time saving but probably quite a realistic occurrence... some trips are eventful while others are not.

5.) encounters... battles both large and small. Frequently tense, bloody and gory but to a one, well done.

Some niggling Cons:

1.) early on I felt all characters seemed to have the same personality and demeanor. This changed (for the better) as the story progresses as most players seemed to develop their own traits giving them each a bit of unique identity .

2.) been hungry or starved seemed a predominant condition for many characters in this book.

3.) swearing... not excessive by any stretch of the imagination, but when used seemed just a bit out of place and contrived. Some books gravitate to swearing as dictated by the characters; some need it, some don't... this was a 'don't'.

4.) some (not all) surroundings, rooms and settings for events etc. seemed a bit excessive in their descriptions. This was not a common finding, but occurred just infrequently enough to be noticeable (to me).

5.) with so many different groups, each with their own assignment, I found that I started to get a tad confused after a while ;)

Impressions:
This tale grew on me as I got deeper into the tale and I began to become more familiar with the characters.
I look forward to reading more of this intriguing story.

As it is... 4 to 4 1/2 Stars

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Ravenstone: The Complete Saga
Ravenstone: The Complete Saga
Price: $4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars "Ravenstone: The Complete Saga"... epic fantasy adventure... close to perfection., March 20, 2016
Ravenstone: The Complete Saga Kindle Edition
by M.S. Verish (Author)
This Kindle e-book was approximately 699 printed pages and sold for $4.95 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: the author(s) provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This omnibus includes the two full length novels
1.) Legend of the Ravenstone and
2.) Curse of the Ravenstone
plus a short story...
3.) The Hawk's Shadow: A Tale from Secramore

General Theme (minor spoilers)
This is an epic fantasy tale that follows a diverse group of adventurers in their attempt to find and then destroy an evil artifact called the Ravenstone.

What follows is my Amazon reviews of both novels.

First...

"Legend of the Ravenstone"

General Theme (minor spoilers)

A lost and long forgotten magical artifact (the Ravenstone) unexpectedly resurfaces... and unfortunately its turned up in the wrong hands.
It's left then to a rag-tag band of misfits, organized by an eccentric Wizard (William), to try to retrieve this powerful relic before the present owners can use it to further their nefarious plans to dominate the world.
This then is the account of Hawkwing, Arcturus, Kariayla and Jinx the thief and their intriguing adventure.

Some thoughts on "Legend of Ravenstone"...

1.) well written and edited. Prose that was easy to read and understand.

2.) character development... extremely well done, bringing to life a diverse a group of individuals as your ever likely to find in a fantasy adventure. (see impressions below)

3.) a sense of pace and timing that I felt was spot on. No draggy areas and no sense that there were areas of 'fill' to give the book length.

4.) some intense meetings and confrontations.

5.) maps... two maps to give readers a sense of distance, direction and topography. And on the Kindle App reader, these maps were enlargeable to gain more detail.

6.) a 'Glossary and Pronunciation' was found at the back of the book... a great reference for readers that want to learn more of the people and places found within the realm of Secramore.

Impressions:
I was impressed with the changes made to this newest version of the Ravenstone saga.
I'd previously read both books in this series and felt the original cast suffered from rather poorly thought out and incomplete character development; e.g. Jinx the thief, was annoyingly immature in the original novels, lending many distinct Young Adult (YA) attributes to original book(s).
However in this new version, while the premise of the plot and story line remains essentially unchanged, the overall story-telling skills of the authors has improved. This is now an intriguing novel of diverse, well developed characters on an important mission in the fantasy world of Secramore.

Second...

"Curse of the Ravenstone"

General Theme (minor spoilers)
Our group of heroes, Hawkwing, Arcturus, Kariayla, Jinx and Collin (The Demon) continue their mission to recover and hopefully destroy the cursed artifact that is the Ravenstone. We begin this book by finding that the members of the group have become separated, leading to a series of encounters that threaten their ultimate goal... this then is the final account of their dangerous quest.

Some thoughts on "Curse if the Ravenstone"...

1.) well written and edited. Prose that was easy to read and understand.

2.a) a tale built around a nice balance between action and character development.

3.) the use of italics to express inner thoughts was particularly well done in this novel. This technique, of course, has been used a countless number of times by a multitude of authors, but none more effectively than here.

4.) map(s)... there was a world map of Secramore plus one main map detailing where this story unfolds. Great for those readers (like me) who really appreciate a story that provides us with sense of distance, direction and topography.

5.) cover art... a stunning image. How could you not want to read a book with a cover as intriguing as this!

My only niggling, and albeit very personal concern for this book, would be with one of the two pieces of info found in the Epilogue. A somewhat vague reference to one character... and if it refers to whom I think it does, then the authors used a technique associated with Young Adults (YA) novels... miraculous saves from a seemingly impossible situation. YA, admittedly my most loathed of all the writing genres ;)

Impressions:

A book finely proportioned between the activities normally associated with any geographically diverse quest-type tale, and the inner-most, personal thoughts of our heroes... thoughts filled with insecurities and anguish that are part of self doubt. Being an avid fantasy adventure reader I lean a shade toward a tale filled with encounters and battles, BUT here, the authors' skill with the written word and story-telling proficiency kept me throughly entertained to the end.

SPOILER-ISH MATERIAL to follow...

However, I could not consider this review complete without discussing a subject that increasingly irritated me as I proceeded through this novel. That being the character, Jinx the thief.
A character with a preponderance for failure that could only rival the futility of Wile E. Coyote's doomed endeavors in trying to capture the road runner. I cannot recall of a single instance in this book where this character ever said the right thing or proceeded on a course of action that actually turned out to be the correct thing to do. And to make matters worse he realizes his failures and his incompetence... continually berating himself (when not rationalizing-out his shortcomings), but then proceeds to go out and makes the same poor choices yet again.
I got to hate this character for his ineptitude... he would be the first character to succumb in any murder mystery, and although this story is not in that genre, I must admit to gleefully wishing for his demise. THERE I'VE SAID IT! Feeling much better, thank you very much.

My rant (immediately above) not withstanding, this was a fabulously told tale with great characters; well with one exception ;)

Impressions of the omnibus...
A fabulous, epic, fantasy adventure (other than my personal hang-up with Jinx the thief).

As it is... 4 3/4 to 5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


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