Reading Radar – City of Masks by Ashley Capes

This week’s edition of Reading Radar features a book I got through an Amazon promotion.

City of Masks by Ashley Capes

51q8tuxl6nlThis epic fantasy starts with the former mercenary, Notch, in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He escapes from prison and meets the future Protector of the Monarchy, Sofia Falco. Sofia, however, has her own problems. She becomes the first female Protector in a hundred years when her brother is proclaimed dead at sea. The person she is supposed to protect, the prince and heir to the throne, makes it clear he does not want her services. She discovers that her noble House is under threat from enemies within as a war begins to brew in the world beyond her kingdom.

I found the world-building in the opening chapters very well-written, and I have to applaud the author for following three very different POV characters. These three character threads seem rather disjointed at first, but I could tell from the beginning that the threads intersect later on. I appreciate the author’s fairly crisp narrative, and I found the characters to be very fascinating. I look forward to reading the rest of the story, and I think you will too.

 

 

That’s it for now. I should get back to reading – and writing, of course!

 

 


Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

Reading Radar – The Walls are Closing In

This week’s very topical story comes from the crowdfunding site Inkshares, and is a project I have supported!

The Walls are Closing In by Jacqui Castle

This books tells of a future in which a certain president’s dream of a big wall is taken to extremes. The story takes place in 2090, after walls have been built around both the northern and southern borders of mainland USA. The country has become a secluded Orwellian nightmare state in which History, Geography, and cultural expression are repressed. The story focuses on Patricia Evans and Rex Moreno, both assigned by the Natural Resources Division to search for ever-dwindling resources outside the major cities. Instead, they find a cache of unedited books from before The Seclusion, and it is up to Patricia to decide how far she’ll go to spread the truth.

I found the preview pages quick-paced and easy to read, and the timely premise is also a big selling point for this book. I also admire the promotional extras created for this, including a good video trailer, a map, and pictures of models to show what the main characters look like. It’s not hard to see how Castle is generating a lot of interest in her work-in-progress, and her work is very effective – as I’m writing this, the book stands at 238 out of the 250 pre-orders need for a basic treatment on Inkshares. Definitely worth a look!

 

I’m off to read more for next week’s feature!

 


 

Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

 

 

Reading Radar – New Meggido Rising

This week’s story comes from suggestions and review opportunities available at the Online Book Club. I read New Meggido Rising fairly quickly – it’s a short book, and it was written mostly as a setup for the Apostates series.

New Meggido Rising, by Lars Teeny

As I mentioned above, New Megiddo Rising is a prequel novel intended to set up the characters and events of the Apostates series. The story begins in an alternate version of 19th century Mexico. The Governor of Coahuila y Tejas visits a settlement headed by the preacher Brigham Wainwright. The preacher lies to the governor, assuring him that he will contact the American government and discourage illegal settlers from entering Mexican territory. He later reveals to his captain that his real plan is to overthrow the Mexican government. The story jumps ahead to the future, where people have neural implants and live in a dystopian America called New Megiddo. The main characters are: Ayane Inoguchi, who lives in a church-run orphanage; Prescott, a Prelate of the church of New Megiddo; Kate Schrubb, daughter of the President, who is next in line for the office; Inquisitor Rodrigo of the Law of Virtue Enforcement; and Evan, an “apostate” teen living in the slums of Los Angeles.

The narrative switches between these characters, building up their backstories as the stage is set for Book #1, The Apostates. As the story jumps to each new character, it seems that the reader is expected to know each one already. Character development is rushed, as each character is pushed along to the place and time they are seen in Book 1, The Apostates. This swift narrative leaves the plot a little lacking in cohesion. It is a bit difficult to develop an appreciation for the larger story as the narrative jumped between characters, despite the incredible worldbuilding and intriguing uses of technology. Even so, I thought the novel sets up an intriguing dystopia, with plenty of nice nods to Orwellian and cyperpunk tropes.

 

I’m off to read more for next week’s feature!

 


 

Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

 

 

Reading Radar – To Live and Die in Avalon

Once again, I’m paring down Reading Radar – but that’s because I have some new content in the works!

Reading Radar will now feature one independently-published or crowdfunded work per week. This reduction is to help give me time for new writing exercises that are scheduled to go up on this site starting in March.

This week’s work is from one of my favorite book crowdfunding sites, Inkshares.

 

To Live and Die in Avalon, by Jason Chestnut

 

to_live_and_die_in_avalon_coverHalf 60’s spy novel, half classic sci-fi serial, To Live and Die in Avalon looks like a really fun read. Right from the start of the sample chapters, I really enjoyed the campiness and the smart use of tropes from two classic genres.

The story follows Penny Thorne, a secret agent on her final mission – to find and rescue Dr. Baxter, a scientist who was cryogenically frozen in 1969. She finds herself pursued by a relentless military force as she unravels the mysteries behind Dr. Baxter and Avalon, humanity’s home among the stars.

This project looks very promising, and I bet it’ll reach its funding goals quickly when it goes live.

 

I’m off to read more sample chapters, and to find another work for next week’s feature!

 


 

Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

 

 

Reading Radar – “The In-Betweener” and a book called “The Nobel Prize”

Both of the books on this week’s Reading Radar come from free Amazon promotions. As always, I try to find books that are independently produced, or that are not from big league publishers.

The In-Betweeners, by Ann Christy

51a3wfrh7zlA zombie novel? Wait, don’t turn away! I actually like this one. It’s about a woman who’s left alone and in hiding from what is left of the world after a new technology has caused an apocalypse. She must survive through loneliness and guilt as she finds food and other necessities. All around her are the “Deaders” and “In-betweeners” (those not quite dead and not quite alive).

So far, I’m finding this book very exciting. The story drew me in with detailed settings and worldbuilding, plus it’s easy to identify with the main character, Emily, as she struggles to find other survivors like her. Definitely worth a look.

 

The Nobel Prize, by Mois Benarroch

51q3ugxk02lThis book was linked to me by a friend during a special promotion. I love the concept of this book right away. A writer discovers that one of the members of his writing group is in a mental institution. The writer finds out that his friend is becoming a different character each day, acting as if he is within his own books. The translation of this novel is a bit awkward in places, but so far I’ve been able to follow pretty well. I’m finding it pretty funny – I appreciate the satire of writers and their craft.

 

That’s all for now!

 


 

Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

 

 

Reading Radar – Kingdom of Dreams and Soul Siphon

Welcome, readers, to my picks for this week!

Reading Radar tends to focus on self-published and crowdfunded projects, especially by authors who have not had huge exposure in the market. This week, I look at two more works I want to read – and I think you should check them out too!

InksharesKingdom of Dreams by Kevin O’Coffey

kod_b_w_mini

This one has pictures – by the author, no less! If I could draw, I’d be doing something very similar to what O’Coffey is doing with Kingdom of Dreams. The byline gives it a nice, weird feel right from the start: “Nightmares that eradicate bullies, possessed vacuum cleaners that bestow binding quests of kingdoms torn asunder. Adolescents have many normal problems–these are not.”

O’Coffey is adding illustrations in with the text, turning this into a mix of graphic novel and standard novel. The pictures I’ve seen so far only add to the surreal, creepy, but perhaps not-too-serious vibe suggested by the byline.

The story is about Jimmy Reve, a boy who just wants his bullies to go away. One day, the bullies start to disappear, one by one, and Jimmy realizes his problems are much worse than he thought. He is introduced to the Kingdom of Dreams, and has to find a way to fix the damage he has caused – or he will disappear next.

This work is currently seeking backers. I usually toss in $10 to one Inkshares book each month, and I think this will be my choice for December. Check it out – I think this project deserves a proper chance.

Website Visitor – Soul Siphon by James Harrington

51xhfpzh4wl

This book appeared on my radar thanks to a visitor to my website! I tracked down a like for a previous post, and found that James Harrington’s latest book is Soul Siphon, and that it came out last April on Amazon. So I decided to give the preview a read.

This book has a cool premise – good enough to keep me interested through the free preview. The story follows Corban, a man who was possessed by a demon and who died as a result. He is brought back to life by a mysterious figure and joins others who have been mysteriously resurrected. From the looks of it, these once-dead characters have mystical powers based on how they died. It seems they have been recruited into fighting evil beings – but honestly, it’s a bit hard to tell where this story is going from the preview.

The writing is a bit clunky, with a lot of tell where there could be show. Entire paragraphs are written in the past perfect tense, describing backstory without allowing the reader to experience the events. The prose could use tightening – a lot of sentences could be shorter and simpler. The worldbuilding and detail seem interesting enough to merit a full read, however, so I’ll give it a shot.

That’s it for Reading Radar this week. What are you reading?


Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

Reading Radar – Fae Child and Enemy of an Enemy

It’s that time of week again!

I’ve looked around the internet and decided on some new reads to get me through the week. Here are my choices for November 27 – December 3.

Inkshares – Fae Child by Jane-Holly Meissner

 

fae child

The author of this book sent out an update this week – Fae Child stands 89 orders out of the minimum 250 it needs for a basic publishing deal from Inkhares. The book follows Abbie is she is pulled into the world of Fae from her Oregon home. Meanwhile, a changeling double of Abbie appears back in the real world – a double that looks and acts almost like the real Abbie. I’ve read over the sample chapters, and I just love Meissner’s imaginative details in her descriptive prose. The dialogue is fairly crisp, and I can see great potential for this story in the YA fantasy market. I wish Meissner all the best in her campaign, and I’m certain this book is a good investment and well worth a read.

 

Amazon Promotion – The Enemy of an Enemy by Vincent Trigili

Oh, free books, how can I resist? I found about The Enemy of an Enemy by promotional email – at time of writing, the book is still free on Amazon Kindle. I thought I’d just click the big yellow button and scroll through the first chapter, because hey, why not? Here’s the thing – I’m still reading. It starts off as sci-fi, with the main character, Vydor, as the captain of a ship sent to investigate a secret research colony. Fantasy elements work into the story as magical forces are introduced into the plot, making the story a mash-up of genres. Unfortunately, I’m finding the writing style a bit clunky – the narrative doesn’t use contractions at all, for starters, and there are other quirks with the grammar that suggest the writer is coming at this English story from another language. I like the idea. though, and apparently there are several more books in the series. Worth a look, I think.

 

That’s all for this week’s edition. What are you reading now?

 


 

Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip