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Review: City of Glass (Mortal Instruments): 3

City of Glass book review

Introduction

The end of the trilogy, a trilogy that started out a bit meh, but really found its feet. The third installment, City of Glass, rounds off the story in a satisfying way, answering questions, but not all of them.

There is certainly enough mystery left over to entice readers over into the next books, but I appreciate the author giving readers an off ramp if they decide to take it.

City of Glass picks up straight after City of Ashes, and dives straight into the story. It’s fast paced and there’s a lot going on, So, how did I like it?

What I liked

I mentioned in my review of City of Ashes that it improved on the first book in pretty much every way, and the same can be said again about City of Glass. The story feels more crucial to the Shadowhunter world, and people actually seem to be taking note of what’s going on, finally!

This time, all the characters felt more fleshed out. It’s been a peeve of mine that most of the characters have just felt sidelined, but in the third installment most of them got a good amount of page time, even Valentine became a little more than just a boring villain.

We finally get to see the world of the Shadowhunters, and as I mentioned, there seems like people finally have some urgency. The great thing is, that even with everything going on, the story never really moves away from our main cast. I liked the fact that we got to focus on them, and what they were doing.

The pace definitely picked up and the story really flowed, and as mentioned above, it answers enough questions and leaves a few lingering to entice you over into what comes next!

What I disliked

There was little that I disliked this time, but one thing that annoyed me was Simons arc. It seemed like it had been tossed in there to create some tension and give him a reason to bridge the gap between himself and the main group of Shadowhunters, but nothing was really done with it. His story seemed high stakes to start with, and then it’s put on hold and nothing happens with it.

Sebastian. His character is just annoying, and it seemed like another attempt at throwing in a love triangle for the sake of it. He didn’t work, his story was predictable. Speaking of predictable, the grand reveal. We all saw it coming right? Right?

Finally, and probably my biggest complaint about this whole trilogy, is Valentine. He’s the big bad, but he doesn’t really do much. He shows up every so often, delivers some emotionless lines, then everyone reflects on how upset they are by their past and links to him. As a villain he is simply a plot device and nothing else. He gains a little more depth in this final book, but not enough to make me care if he wins or not.

Audible Narration

We’ve got the same narrator who took over book two, and yet again the performance is great. The delivery of the characters works, it’s easy to follow who is speaking, and the whole thing just flows so nicely.

Production value was really good and I didn’t notice any weird sound errors or anything like that. Definitely worth checking this book out on audio if you can!

Speaking of, if you haven’t already then you can grab a free trial of Audible. Worth seeing if listening to books works for you or not.

Conclusion

By the time I got to the end of this book I found myself craving more. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and considering how rough the start to the trilogy was, that really shows how good the improvement was.

By the time I reached the end I even felt the story tugging at my heart strings. I was cheering on the characters and hoping that things turned out great for them. I’m not normally that invested, but somehow this won me over.

I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you get the chance.

Grab it on Audible

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Review: Altered Carbon – Audible

Altered Carbon audible book review

Introduction

Altered Carbon is the first in a trilogy by Richard K. Morgan that follows Takeshi Lev Kovacs as he sets out to solve a murder/suicide. With it being set in the future there are plenty of sci-fi themes and some really powerful questions put to the reader regarding humanity and technology.

So, how was it?

Liked

This is one of those things that people will either love or hate. Internal monologue, there’s a lot of it. In my opinion it suits the whole theme of the book. There’s a lot for a person to understand and the constant internal struggle of adapting to the ideas this futuristic world brings are brilliantly highlighted through this.

For some, this will make things seem a little long winded as a lot of the time it doesn’t advance the story, but I absolutely loved the reflection on the world. There are a lot of themes and topics that could have been skipped by, but this perspective was constantly there and I loved it.

I loved the story and at first I was worried that the Netflix show was based entirely off the book, scene for scene, but they quickly pull apart. The book feels a lot more satisfying in it’s conclusion and definitely feels like it has much better villains.

Throughout I was constantly guessing what was going to happen next, and I thoroughly enjoyed Kovacs point of view throughout.

Disliked

One of my only complaints was that some of the supporting characters felt pretty poor. They were there, and the interactions between Kovac and them was always entertaining, but a lot of them got very little page time.

Also, there were a few scenes that I felt could have benefited from being a little more fleshed out, but it might have upset the pacing.

Audible

The performance was solid throughout and the narrator did a really good job capturing the different characters. The voices were different enough to help me distinguish who was speaking at any time which really added to the depth.

It was a little slow in places, but the narrator did a fantastic job bringing even these portions to life.

Conclusion

If you’re a sci-fi fan then this is a must read. It can be a little slow at times, but the themes throughout are really powerful and the story is great. I absolutely loved reading this book and can’t wait to check out the second in the trilogy.

A worthwhile read and I’d definitely recommend it!

To catch my book reviews on video make sure you subscribe to the below playlist. Hope you enjoy!

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Review: Alien 3 Audible Exclusive

alien 3 audible book review

Introduction

Alien 3 is an Audible adaptation of William Gibsons unmade script for the film, featuring Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen. The whole thing is voice acted with plenty of sound effects that really add to the atmosphere.

It recently came out and I’ve been meaning to get around to listening, and now I have, I think it’s time for my review.

Liked

The performances in this book are fantastic. Just like other Audible performances, this does not disappoint when it comes to quality. The actors are brilliant and really help to bring the story to life.

There’s also a lot of nostalgia attached to this with two of the original actors returning to voice the characters from Alien. This was a nice touch and they both sound fantastic.

There were some new ideas here and we got to explore a little more about the universe that the trilogy takes place in. I enjoyed the idea of there being another faction of space and tensions between these two forces. A lot of the ideas aren’t massively fleshed out, but they’re fun when they crop up.

Disliked

To be honest there was quite a lot to dislike about this. As spot on as the performances were, things just didn’t work that well.

Unlike other Audible editions of the Alien franchise, this one didn’t leave me with a full mental image of what things looked like. The hybrid for example, what is it? What’s it look like?

The way these performances are done leave little time for description, but after a very descriptive monologue from Bishop we could done with that again after the first hybrid. Maybe a run down of what it’s like vs a Xenomorph? It just felt a bit lacking which is disappointing.

Also, what was going on with the guy from weapons division? It’s like they decided they need the classic bad guy from Wetland Yutani, but his motives for his actions were unclear. Was he trying to trap everyone and keep the Aliens alive until the colonists got there? Was he trying to stop it escaping? I’ve no idea.

Too short! This isn’t always a bad thing as these performances are excellent quality, but when the pacing is off like it is here, it leads to a very cramped ending. There’s a lot of build up that plays on nostalgia and then everything goes made in the last half hour. Nothing really happens apart from what seems to be setting up for another story to follow.

Infection? So we have Aliens that are like zombies? I really didn’t like this direction, and they did precious little with the idea. It just kind of happened and never got explored like most of the new ideas in this performance.

Conclusion

Honestly it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this which is wrong, I really did have a good time listening, it’s just that Audible has had some amazing Alien franchise performances that outstrip this by a mile.

I got to the end and felt this is just an introduction to a whole new story that is going to follow, but this was purely set up. That’s not a bad thing, but compared to other stories that really built their characters and the places they were in, it just doesn’t live up.

If you’ve got a few hours to spare and enjoy Alien, then it’s worth giving a go. The performances are fantastic and it’s an OK story that leans heavily on nostalgia. I had a good time listening, you’ll just need to have lower expectations and not hope that this truly makes amends for Alien 3. Maybe it’s just a cursed title?

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Review: The Last Wish (The Witcher)

Being a fan of The Witcher game series I decided to give the stories, written by Andrzej Sapkowski, a try, and I can say right from the start that I wasn’t dissapointed. The book contains a series of short stories, following our main character, Geralt of Rivia. There’s a main story in the background, that gradually unfolds, but this is really focused on the short stories, and they are all entertaining.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Witcher series, it follows Geralt who is a Witcher, a monster slayer who travels the country slaying bizzarre and interesting creatures. Witchers are taken from a young age and mutated, giving them supernatural abilities which aid them in their job.

If you’ve played the games, then you’ll be used to Geralt’s personality, and this is one thing that absolutely shines throughout the book. There were moments that had me laughing out loud, and other moments where I really found myself feeling sorry for our protagonist. Throughout the short stories I found Geralt becoming more and more likable, to the point of rocketing to one of my top favorite characters from any book!

He’s no longer disillusioned with grand ideas of being a hero and that theme is captured fantastically well throughout.

If there’s one blemish on this otherwise fantastic read, it’s that the writing occasionally feels a little odd. I’m not sure if it’s just the style, or the fact that this is a translation, but I couldn’t help but find myself having to re-read parts, correcting them in my head as I read. It’s not a huge issue as it doesn’t crop up much, but there are a few niggling little abnormalities that crop up.

After reading this I can say with absolute certainty that I’ll be checking out the next book. I didn’t really expect much, but I can certainly see where the games get their fantastic story telling moments from. If you’re a fan of The Witcher series, or just fantasy books in general, this is definitely worth giving a go. I absolutely loved it from start to finish!

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Second Chance Available Today

Morning all! Well today is the launch day for my short story Second Chance. It was originally a nanowrimo project that I’ve worked on and takes a different path to my normal writing, focusing on a supernatural romance genre. The blurb is below and if you like the sound of it then give it a read.

After her near death experience, Hannah’s life will never be the same. She is the only one who can see James, the man who saved her from certain death with his own life. 

Unsure if she is losing her mind, Hannah sets out with James to discover the truth, seeking to understand why he hasn’t moved on. However, something is coming for him, or so they think. 

In what soon becomes a race against time, Hannah finds herself desperately searching for a way to help James, reluctantly falling for him with each passing day, even though she knows it can never be… 

Grab it at:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MX7O3L0

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MX7O3L0

Second Chance Banner.001

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The Remaining: Aftermath Review

Book Title: The Remaining: Aftermath

Author: D. J. Molles

Introduction

After reading the first book in the series I was pretty much hooked, desperately needing to crack on with the next book. As soon as I finished with the first, I downloaded Aftermath onto my Kindle and got reading, enjoying the changes that have been made in the second book.

Style

The style is very similar to the first book, descriptive and following the point of view of our main character, Captain Lee Harden. What I really enjoyed about the second book is that it covers a wider group of characters and really begins to flesh out the world while keeping the suspense and fantastic story telling alive from the first.

Characters

I briefly touched on this above, but there are a lot more characters in the second book, rather than having a singular focus on just one and a few extras. I felt that this really helped to develop the story with the addition of some interesting secondary characters. In the second book we now have a villain, a whole new group of survivors and a fantastic post apocalyptic world for them to explore.

The one thing that I did find disappointing about some of the characters was that there were some clear ‘going to die’ ones, the same as you get in a horror movie, their only purpose is being hollow and getting eaten by the monsters. They are few and far between, but when they show up they remain true to their genre.

Plot

So the last book ends with Captain Lee Harden discovering Camp Ryder and the next has him setting off on a journey with a small group to prove he can be trusted. Th plot is simple but effective, developing as the characters set off on their journey. What I really enjoyed is that Captain Lee Harden is now exploring an established area of survivors, figuring things out as he goes. The introduction of our villain, Milo, also really helps to mix things up a bit.

Conclusion

All in all this is a good book. I enjoyed it, not as much as the first, but still more than most novels of this genre. If you’ve read the first, then you wont be disappointed by what Aftermath has to offer, so check it out and see for yourself!

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Free eBook on Amazon Day 2

Well it’s the second day of my free promotion running on Amazon and so far things are going well. Seems to be plenty of people out there who like the look of my book.

Yesterday I almost made it into the top 1000 on Amazon which is a nice start. Today I’m hoping to break into that top 1000, so please share this post and let’s sky rocket the book up there 🙂


Thanks for your help, and if you haven’t picked up a free copy yet, then get downloading.

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A Thousand Hearts Sale Weekend

Good evening all. Since it’s bank holiday here in the UK I thought I’d kick off a little sale until Monday evening. Grab yourselves a bargain, with A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, retailing on Amazon at a only 77p! For those outside of the UK the sale extends to you guys as-well! There’s no better time to buy, so pick up a copy this weekend.

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A Thousand Hearts Competition

With a recent little push from Amazon, A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, has begun climbing in sales once again. So I decided to support Amazon’s efforts by running a promotion/competition myself. The more shares, and visibility we can get the better!

For anyone who shares or helps spread the word your name will be entered into a prize draw. The winner in the UK will receive a signed copy of my book, A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, and the winner outside of the UK will win a free copy in eBook format.

I’ll be running this campaign over the weekend, drawing it to a close and announcing the winners on Monday 19th. So to be in with a chance to win, just share, reblog or repost this message and let’s get as much interaction as possible.

Thank you so far to everyone who has supported my first book launch, this weekend I’m really driving to get the book into the top sellers league!

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JOPR68G
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JOPR68G
Paperback – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebirth-1-A-Thousand-Hearts/dp/1497411483/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400138623&sr=8-1&keywords=shaun+dowdall

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Rebirth – Where to buy

So my first novel has been out for a little while and it is beginning to hit new store shelves, both virtual and physical so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of where you can pick up my book!

eBook Format

Amazon USUK
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords
Apple iBooks
Google Play

Paperback

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

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Amazon TV Fire

The new Amazon TV Fire is an intriguing bit of kit. It’s a set top box, but a pretty powerful one, one that represents Amazons first step into gaming.

Alongside the TV Fire, Amazon also announced a controller to go along side their device, and also a new in house games development studio. They’ve had some top talent from within the gaming industry joining their team and this could spell the start of something very interesting.

For me it’s not the media capabilities that interest me, but the fact that a large brand such as Amazon has put their money behind a product that will act as a mini Android gaming console. The media stuff has been done before, and in fairness so has the gaming, but with the resources Amazon have available this could be the beginning of something very interesting.