Posts Tagged Independent

IndieBooks Review – Eomix Galaxy Books: Illusion

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Eomix Galaxy Books: Illusion by Christa Yelich-Koth

There’s been a debate among authors and readers of independent books for quite a while in regards to the etiquette surrounding a book series. As more and more authors choose the independent route over traditional publishing, there seems to be a mindset that you can’t be successful unless you’re writing a book series. One of the major points of contention is how to end the initial book in a series. Some say that if it’s a series, then we should know that everything may not wrap up properly; others will say a first book in a series should stand on its own. If you look at some of the more successful book series, such as Harry Potter or The Dark Tower, the answer tends to be the latter — the first book in the series may have an overarching goal that isn’t necessarily reached, but the book itself has a complete story. Only in the later books do the stories start to intermingle and become less structured, but by then, we’re already heavily invested. A lot of times, having a first book in a series that doesn’t have a complete story makes it feel as if the author opted to divide their story in two because they feel it was easier to sell two 300-page books as opposed to one 600-page book.

I’m not sure what Christa Yelich-Koth’s process was as she wrote Eomix Galaxy Books: Illusion, but even before you begin reading, you already know this is only the first book of at least two, so either it was planned that way or it was split for the sake of, in my opinion, an arbitrary word count. Either way is fine, so long as there is a complete story arc that doesn’t make the novel feel incomplete. Sadly, Illusion feels more like a movie studio splitting a novel into two parts simply to extend a series past it’s expiration date. Christa slowly and expertly leads her story on a path to a specific destination, but then pulls the rug out from under us by providing no closure without spending more money on the next book.

Illusion follows Daith Tocc, a normal girl living a quiet life until she’s abducted and has her memory completely erased by Trey Xiven, commander of the space vessel, Horizon. It’s quickly learned that Trey believes Daith to be the daughter of his former commanding officer, Jacin Jaxx, a very powerful being in the universe, and is hoping to use Daith as a weapon to secure peace in the Eomix Galaxy. To do so, he recruits his brother, Dru, to run several tests on her in order to find out if she truly is what he thinks, and whether she harbors the same power her father did.

The reason I felt there wasn’t any closure is because there aren’t any full character arcs. As Daith goes through her trials and discovers a few breakthroughs in her powers, nothing actually happens to solidify a change in her or any of the other characters. In other words, she learns how to tap into her skills, but with the exception of a few smaller moments and revelations, she doesn’t ever have a chance to utilize them the way I hoped she would (or in the way she eventually will in the next book).

That aside, the book does have some intriguing concepts and a few interesting characters. Both Daith and Dru are extremely likeable; together, they have some of the best parts of the book. Whenever Christa stepped away from them to focus on Trey, I wanted to get back to Dru and Daith and their budding relationship. For whatever the reason, Trey never really connected with me. I’m not sure if it was because of the character, how he was written, or because most of his focus was on the life of Jacin Jaxx, most of which fell a little flat for me. I was much more interested in Daith and how she was going to handle her newfound gifts than I was in learning the history of Jacin Jaxx and how he handled his powers.

Which brings up another interesting topic in the structure of the story itself. In the first chapter, we’re introduced to Daith before she gets her mind wiped, which is all well and good, but with a story like this, a lot of the intrigue comes with not knowing who she was before her memory was erased. By this I mean, the urgency of Daith’s predicament isn’t as strong as it could have been. Had we, the reader, woken up with Daith on the ship without knowing anything about her or her past, and were able to learn everything right alongside her, we would have been able to connect with her more than we already do, heightening an air of mystery that is non-existent since we already know why everything is happening.

Don’t get me wrong, the majority of Illusion is well-written (there are some moments that feel a little stale and dialogue that gets a little stunted), and Daith’s storyline kept me interested, I just wish we would have seen a better, more developed arc that led Daith to examine her powers beyond the mere accident or test that fill the majority of the book.

My Grade: B+

Christa Yelich-Koth is an award-winning author and graphic novelist, and co-founder and head of submissions for Buzz & Roar Publishing. Born in Milwaukee, Christa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, which helps her when writing creatures and worlds in her science fiction. She writes because “I love creating something that pulls me out of my own world and lets me, for a little while, get lost inside someone or someplace else.”

Check out all of Christa’s social media platforms:

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If you are an independent author and would like your book reviewed, let me know in the comments section with a link to where I can purchase the book. If I find it intriguing, and it’s something I think I’d like, I will purchase a copy and add it to my reading list. I will be doing one independent book review per month, so not all requests will be accepted.

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IndieBook Review: First Words: Final Lesson

First Words

First Word: Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn

While I was reading Shakyra Dunn’s novelette, First Words: Final Lesson, I had no idea it was a prequel to a much larger world that has yet to be written. There is a small note in the book’s description that it sets the stage for a larger event, but it’s not as clear as it could be, so until I got to the very end and was given a taste of the actual first book in the forthcoming series (titled “The Final Lesson”), I was under the impression this was just the first book in a new series, when in actuality all it’s meant to do is showcase a few key pieces of information that should help in your enjoyment of the actual first book. With that said, the following review is on my initial read while under the impression that it was a complete novel that as opposed to a simple compendium setting up what’s to come. Read Full Review

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IndieBook Review – Gemini Gambit

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Gemini Gambit — A Novel by D. Scott Johnson

I’m a sci-fi geek. I can admit that. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved the idea of aliens and other worlds, futuristic technology and time travel. I believe it’s because they tend to explore the human condition while having the liberty to traverse strange new worlds and are provided the freedom to turn everything upside down on a whim without being branded impossible. That’s because science fiction  is inherently unrealistic — until it isn’t. The best sci-fi writers have a tendency to predict the future, the best of which have already innovated new technology before its time. Others have seen the future, or created technology and got it wrong, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less worthwhile. It’s a way to study the what-if of human nature, to explore the tendencies of mankind and provide a unique opinion on what might happen if we continue down the road we all travel at any given point in time. And for me, it’s one of the greatest roads a man can travel to free his imagination. Read Full Review

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IndieBook Review – Watership

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Watership — A Novel by Jenna Whittaker

“Show don’t tell.”

It’s one of the first things fiction authors learn. It essentially means to set every scene with emotion, details and physical action rather than bluntly telling the reader what happened. For example, if a major battle happens, it’s always more satisfying to revel in all of the gory details than to simply say, “Both sides fought an epic war and side A became the victor.” Readers hunger to be part of the action, as if they are standing right alongside each of the characters. They can’t live every moment if they feel like an outside bystander being told the events of a story secondhand. A reader’s investment relies heavily on details, and when their attention wanes, that’s when a book tends to be replaced with another before “The End” is reached.

Author Jenna Whittaker falls into this trap quite often in her novel, Watership. Though I did sluggishly make it to the final page, it was extremely hard to invest any interest in what was happening. Read Full Review

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IndieBook Review – Where Have All the Elves Gone?

One of the old adages for a majority of literary and creative writing “gurus” is to write what you know. This can take on different meanings with different people, but to me it means write for your passion; it means write for yourself first and the public later. By doing so you’re able to imbue your characters with the love, the pain and the life experiences that you’ve personally had, which in turn allows them to live and breathe through you while having the freedom to add the wild ideas you’ve always wished to explore as a scintillating garnish. Christian Warren Freed, author of Where Have All the Elves Gone? gives this wise-old adage an interesting spin by not only giving his characters backstories that may correspond in certain ways with his own, but creatively compounds the idea by turning the life we know into something far from what we think it to be. Read Full Review

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IndieBook Review – Indiot

Indiot is the follow-up to Ana Spoke’s debut novel, Shizzle, Inc., chronicling the hijinks of Isabella Maxwell, a naive blond who wants nothing more than to change (or help) the world, getting herself into extraordinary circumstances along the way. In Shizzle, Inc., this trouble came upon her mostly by accident, as the world seemed to open opportunities she’d then exploit for her own means, messaging the truth and more often than not, putting her foot in her mouth. In Indiot, the tables turn a bit, as Isabella (or Isa, for short) begins to take hold of the reigns of her own destiny. She still gets into plenty of trouble, but instead of unbelievable circumstances pushing her into various comedic predicaments, her conscious decisions now tend to lead her into trouble — a switch that gives her narrative more reliability than in Shizzle, Inc. It doesn’t feel as if Isa is lying as much about what’s happening, making her adventures more authentic and enjoyable. At the same time, her character seems to grow too much too fast, as if the lessons she learned in Shizzle Inc. have taken root, but have matured faster than an alien baby in a science-fiction movie. Read Full Review

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IndieBook Review – 30 Days Stream of Consciousness: A Haunting

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30 Days Stream of Consciousness: A Haunting — A novel by L.E. Moebius

Stream of consciousness is a writing technique wherein you write what you’re thinking at one specific time without going back to change or edit anything. It’s mostly used as a tool to get a writer back into the groove of writing whenever they’re trapped in an existential quandary or have a bout of writer’s block. Unless a character in a book is having a stream of consciousness moment, generally an exercise like this isn’t usually published for mass consumption. But L.E. Moebius has taken this tool and used it to her advantage. From what I know, every day for thirty days, Moebius wrote one chapter without pause, without double checking aspects from other chapters or going back to fuss over anything she wrote. Whatever came to her mind in however much time it took is what the chapter became. In her second attempt at this format, 30 Days Stream of Consciousness: A Haunting, Moebius intelligently crafts a fast, creative, but somewhat generic story of a haunted house and its unwitting occupant. Read Full Review

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The Spirit Of… Now Available

Spirit Of - Front Cover2In history, truth is often lost to the ravishes of time. The biases of each new generation distort facts to best suit their personal agendas. No more evident is this than in the most well-known book of all time: the Bible. But in an attempt to locate the lost city of Atlantis, Matthew Stevens and his team of archaeologists uncover the truth behind the Genesis of the Word. Are you ready to find out what the world doesn’t want you to know?

The Spirit Of… is an exciting adventure that dares to question what we know with a journey through self-discovery, love and friendship. Available in trade paperback, Kindle, Nook and iBooks, The Spirit Of… will leave you breathless.

Read the prologue (or a larger sample) and join the adventure of a lifetime.

Amen Dello Keli.

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If you have a book that’s just been released, one that’s on the verge of being released, or a current WIP, I’d love to hear about it! List the title (if it has one), a logline, a brief summary, the first sentence of the book and a link to where we can read or purchase it.

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The Spirit Of… Scavenger Hunt

Win an iPad mini!

That’s right. In preparation for the release of my newest novel, The Spirit Of…, I have put together an online scavenger hunt for all of my current and future fans, the winner of which will win a brand new iPad mini. All you have to do is find, answer or complete as many of the tasks as you can, earning points along the way. Some of the tasks are simple, while others will demand that you do a little more digging.

Three prizes are up for grabs:
The Grand prize – iPad mini.
2nd place – $75 gift Amazon gift card
3rd place – a signed collection of all of my books (If you already purchased the print editions, the winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card per book they already have). Let’s Play

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Meet Kara Reisen & Thomas Demeut – The Spirit Of…

The final two members on Matthew Stevens’s team are similar in many ways: they both joined about the same time, they both have a history in hunting ancient artifacts that may have some connection to the Bible, and their pasts are haunted with pain and regret. They also became real fast friends. In fact, when I first met them, I could swear they were a couple. Hey, they’re both pushing forty and have no significant others to speak of. It was an honest mistake. But they’re good sports. They could laugh at it.

Let’s break it down for you. Learn more about Kara Reisen and Thomas Demeut

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