Thursday, May 31, 2018

Aragami Paperback Now Available

Pretty self-explanatory, but yeah. Aragami is now available in paperback. Snag your copy today!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1985892774/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527824522&sr=1-2

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Cool Kickstarter Project -- Steamboat Billy

Do you like Cuphead? Pokemon? Zelda? Well, then, have I got the game for you. It is Steamboat Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan.

The story is that every once every  millennia a leviathan rises up from the ocean and steals the world's colors. It's up to you as a very Cuphead-looking character to explore the land and seas, recruit monsters to help you, and rebuild Star Harbor to bring back the colors.

This game appeals to me because it has Cuphead's art style but it's not a brutally hard run-and-gun affair. Its Pokemon and Zelda aspects make it more in line with what I like to play. 

The game is currently in development by ManaVoid Entertainment. It's a little over halfway to its goal. You can find much more information on the Kickstarter page. I'm a backer at the Captain level at I hope you'll consider supporting this game as well.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1106152318/steamboat-billy-the-curse-of-the-leviathan?ref=user_menu

Saturday, May 26, 2018

James Review -- Freehold: Angeleyes

This week I decided to review Freehold: Angeleyes by Michael Z. Williamson. 

When the story begins Angie Kaneshiro is a veteran of the military forces of the Freehold of Grainne who now works as a temporary crewman on various freighters working her way across human space. But eventually the United Nations declares war and invades Freehold. Kaneshiro makes her way home only to be forced to escape a badly-damaged station, rescuing a young child in the process.
Eventually Kaneshiro encounters the Jack Churchill, a Freehold cruiser, in neutral territory. She reenlists and the vessel soon finds itself in battle against a pair of UN ships after returning to the Grainne system. Kaneshiro realizes that her knowledge of various stations throughout space could be invaluable to Freehold intelligence, but after her CO refuses to allow her to leave because her variety of skills makes her a valuable crew member, Kaneshiro has to go AWOL to reach her destination.

After doing so, she is attached to a team of Blazers, elite Freehold commandos, operating from a requisitioned freighter. The team moves through space gathering intelligence, sabotaging UN facilities, and aiding others in such efforts. But after the unit is betrayed Kaneshiro is captured and tortured for information by UN forces.

The team rescues her and continues its struggle, destroying one UN warship and capturing another, along with being forced to shift to another freighter. But with the UN dragnet closing in, the team is left desperately seeking a way to remain alive, free, and operational long enough to participate in the war’s final operations…

I give this book 8.5 out of 10. While the opening makes it clear that Kaneshiro survives and anyone who reads the series knows the outcome of the war due to this being the third book telling the story of the conflict from different perspectives, the possible fates of the other team members provide a great deal of tension. Also, I like the characters a lot, though there are a couple that I wish we could have learned more about. And there are a wide variety of crises faced by Kaneshiro both before and after she rejoins the military. However having a single point-of-view character is also a weakness in my opinion because there were several points, especially late in the story, where I wished I could see what was happening away from Kaneshiro.  




Friday, May 25, 2018

Sneak Peek: Return of the Nine

Today I'm happy to share a snippet from Return of the Nine, the sixth (and perhaps final) book in the Divine Protector Series. As always, please remember this is very early and may not look perfect.



“What happened?” Gorg asked.

They were currently gathered around a sturdy black conference table in the main hall of Athena’s Crystal Palace which they had rebuilt with a more pleasing aesthetic following her death. Now it had a modern feel with ergonomic furniture, proper windows and up-to-date office equipment lining the walls. And now it was made out of steel instead of gaudy glass.

Minerva sat the phone down. “I don’t know. All I get is this ear-splitting noise."

“We should have the technicians look at it,” Hercules said. He then hollered at a passerby, “Prisoner!”

Unlike everyone else who worked for the interim government, this particular character didn’t do it by choice. A cruel and sadistic person when she worked for the Flawless Few, she had been captured shortly before they were destroyed. Gorg had placed a power-dampening collar on her and put her to work for the new regime. So great were her crimes that she was stripped of everything, even her name. Now she was simply “Prisoner.”

“Yes?” she said, bowing and making an obvious effort to be as meek and inoffensive as possible. They never physically harmed her, but neither did they ever say they wouldn’t. They kept the possibility alive just to keep her obedient.

“Fetch us a technician,” Hercules said.

“Right away, milord!”

She scurried off to do his bidding. Minerva had spent enough time with her over the years to know better than to trust that one. If she ever got the chance, she would turn on them in a heartbeat.
“You sure look happy. What are you thinking about?” Gorg asked his wife.
“Oh, just the time Ev smashed that bitch’s face in,” she replied.
“Violence against women is no laughing matter,” Hercules said while seated across from her.
“She kept us prisoner for years,” Minerva said. “I couldn’t see my family. She tried to kill Ev.”
Herc folded his arms stubbornly. “Not being able to see my family was a blessing.”
Minerva waved a hand dismissively. “Yeah, yeah, your dad was a dick. We get it.” Prisoner returned with Larz, their head technician. “Larz, we lost the signal.”
“It’s not just you,” he said. “It’s moonwide. I can’t reach anyone.”
“I don’t like this,” Herc said.
Minerva shrugged. “Can’t say I’m enjoying it, either.” She turned to Larz. “What’s causing it?”
“I don’t know. Some sort of signal appeared a few minutes ago.”
“Where’s it originating from?” she asked.
She didn’t like the look in his eyes: scared. “It appears to be coming from everywhere. All directions, like it’s surrounding the moon.”
“Hmmm,” she said. “We need to—”
She was cut off by a deafening explosion somewhere nearby, accompanied by a titanic shaking. “What was that?” Gorj said.
They ran outside and were greeted by artificial sunlight coming from the equally fake sky. When Athena ran things here, it was always midnight. A change was in order when the new regime rose.
The Crystal Palace itself was in a barren valley; Since there was no sun, Athena didn’t care if the place looked bleak. They were surrounded by miles of brown dirt and high canyon walls.
At the moment, none of this commanded their attention as much as the sight unfolding ahead. “What the…?” Minerva said. Fire and smoke dominated the horizon beyond the canyon walls. Riding ahead of the destruction was a fleet of dozens of black triangular craft swiftly approaching their location at mach speed.
Within moments the craft were upon them. The things were flying a V formation, raining down deadly green beams which caused explosions wherever they hit. Minerva had been around long enough to recognize psychological warfare; with very few targets in the area, these bastards were raining down destruction to scare them.
“Stand together!” she ordered. The others nodded.
A hole opened in the bottom of one of the craft, and out shot a metal disk. It accelerated towards them, barely missing the assembled gods, and embedded itself in the ground.
Minerva stared at it. There was a dim green light on top of the thing. It quickly grew brighter and emitted a high-pitched whine. Too late, she realized grouping together had been a huge mistake.
The disk exploded in a white light. Minerva flew backwards as if being hit by a haradium wall. She landed on her back and everything went black.
Consciousness returned and she opened her eyes. She didn’t know how much time passed. She managed to turn her head to have a look around. All around her, her fellow gods had been incapacitated and lay in various states. Some were conscious, others not so much. None appeared to be offering much resistance.
She attempted to direct healing energy to her body, only to realize with alarm she had none. Whatever that weapon was, it had stolen her powers. That explained why no one else was fighting back.
Another fleet of craft appeared overhead, these ones circular. They began shooting down beams onto the other gods and scooping them up. Mortal or not, she’d be damned if she wasn’t about to try and help. But, alas, she could barely move.
A child’s cry cut the air. “Help!”
Minerva knew that voice. “Sumi!”
“Mom! Dad! Help!” She was near the Crystal Palace entrance being sucked up into the air, her limbs flailing wildly in an attempt to escape. She wore a red dress with a floral pattern, and her shoulder-length hair was a mess, probably due to tractor beam. She must have come outside, either out of curiosity or to try and help.
With savage effort, Minerva managed to get to her feet which seemed to weigh a literal ton. There was no part of her that wanted to move, but she put everything she had into putting one foot in front of the other. “I’m coming, Sumi!”

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Movie Review -- Deadpool 2

Today we have the sequel to one of the best R-rated comic book movies of all time. Here is Deadpool 2. It comes to us from a different director this time; is that good or bad? Let's find out.

The story begins with Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) living the high life as a wacky mercenary. However, things get dark real quick when tragedy strikes. Heartbroken, he is taken in by the X-Men after an explosive suicide attempt. Soon they have to respond to an out-of-control mutant kid named Russell (Julian Denison). Deadpool tries to diffuse the situation in his own unique style, which unfortunately lands him and Russell in prison. 

As if things couldn't get any worse, the prison soon comes under attack by Cable (Josh Brolin), a mutant from the future who's determined to kill Russell at any cost. Realizing he needs help to protect the kid, Deadpool assembles his own unique team of heroes. I won't bother listing them because aside from Domino (Zazie Beetz), they're completely worthless. The team jumps into action but things manage to get even worse when a certain X-Men heavyweight (whom I won't spoil) gets involved. Nevertheless, Deadpool is determined to save Russell, but hate-filled kid might be too far gone, and is rushing to seal his fate. With many lives on the line, can our heroes and antiheroes save the day?

Deadpool 2 is a fun-filled action romp. It's also got some great humor (including an absolutely insane post-credits bit) that is offset by somber moments. This is definitely a more serious affair than the first film. However, that doesn't mean I don't have complaints. Wade Wilson's team of superheroes had great potential, but are ultimately wasted for a joke. Only Domino proves to be any real help, but her character remains shallow. They tried to add more depth to cab driver Dopinder (Karan Soni), and they... kind of.... succeeded (he's a much bigger psychopath now). Also, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and newcomer Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna) have literally one attack each for this movie. They do very little.

That being said, would I recommend Deadpool 2 for fans of the first one? Yes, I would. It's still a really good movie that puts most of what DC does to shame. It's just not as good as it could have been.


James Review -- Far Cry: Absolution

This week I decided to review Far Cry: Absolution by Urban Waite. 

The story begins with bar owner Mary May Fairgrave attempting to convince the sheriff of Hope County, Montana, where the novel and the Far Cry 5 game that this serves as a prequel to take place, that the recent death of her father in a car crash wasn’t an accident. She believes the crash was arranged by the Church of Eden’s Gate which her father had long opposed. Her brother Drew has joined the church and their father had been on his way to inform Drew of their mother’s death and attempt to convince him to return home when he died. After the sheriff refuses to help, Fairgrave sets out to meet her brother herself, but soon finds herself forced into a wreck by Eden’s Gate forces and on the run.

Hunter and trapper William Boyd is a fringe member of Eden’s Gate who joined the church after his wife and daughter died and rarely attends services. Lonny, his usual contact in the church, approaches him seeking aid in killing a bear that had attacked a ranch recently claimed by the church. Boyd explains why he feels the effort is futile, recounting a story about his military unit’s failed efforts to kill a tiger during the Vietnam War, and Lonny departs planning to attempt to kill the bear on his own.  However, Lonny soon returns, claiming that Mary had been injured in an accident, was lost, and needed to be found and helped. Boyd was friends with the Fairgrave family before joining the church so he agrees to join the search.

But as the pair travel, Boyd finds signs that the church has become cruel and forceful in the years since he has joined it. And when they find Mary, Lonny attempts to shoot her only to be stopped by Boyd, with Lonny falling to his death as he and Boyd struggle. Eventually, Mary is captured by the Church and Boyd sets out to the town of Fall’s End seeking help for a rescue. But during the rescue a secret and a plot darker than either Mary or her rescuers could imagine will be revealed…

I give this book 7 out of 10. I enjoyed the action sequences and a view of Hope County before the game begins was interesting. However, I feel there were a number of flaws. First was the lost opportunity to learn about the beginnings of Eden’s Gate. Rather than getting a detailed history of how the cult started before turning into the force from the game, all we get is Boyd, an early convert thinking about how much things have changed. And many of the characters introduced in the story have little personality and little or no background, with some characters that had vital roles in the tale not even having full names given.  Also, the early parts of the story make strong implications about the events that led to the death of Boyd’s family, only for a twist to throw the implications out. I feel Boyd’s story would have been better if the original implications were correct.





Thursday, May 17, 2018

Incident 27 Giveaway

Now that many of you out there have gotten your hands on God School, I'm hosting an Amazon Giveaway for the second book, Incident 27. It's completely free to enter and you don't have to do anything other than click "Enter." Just head on over to https://www.amazon.com/ga/p/cce863369fe2ec5b#ts-en. Best of luck to you!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Book Review -- Tales From Beyond Tomorrow

A couple of months ago, John Paul Catton asked my acquaintance Nick Ottens for a review of his novel Tales From Beyond Tomorrow, and Nick asked me to do the honors. It took me some time to get around to it, but I’m glad I did. What are you in the mood for? It doesn’t matter because you’ll get it with this release.

Mr. Catton is British, so I'll put this in terms he can understand. This is a blinding book. I was chuffed with it.

In all seriousness, this is a really well-done series of short stories. Each one is almost completely different, so if you didn't know better, you'd swear it was all written by different people. He writes in a variety of different styles, meaning you're sure to find something you like here. My personal favorite is a World War I story that could easily have been taken from Doctor Who. There are also stories about a Mod futurist detective, cutthroat cannibals, a videogame doll house, and so much more. I don’t claim to understand everything on offer here (particularly the videogame doll house), but I don’t have to. If you're a sci-fi fan, you've got to give this a read. I officially classify this a hidden gem; I hadn’t even heard of Mr. Catton until this, but I have a feeling he’s going to become quite well-known. Lord knows he deserves to.


Still not convinced? Then I have three words for you: Stigmata Skin Graft. Now you have to read it to find out just what on earth I’m talking about.


https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Beyond-Tomorrow-Catton-John-ebook/dp/B00O5A1JZQ/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_img_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=M15YEBRGNQYZWGG1EBF4

Sunday, May 13, 2018

James Review -- Star Wars: Battlefront II: Inferno Squad

This week I decided to review Star Wars: Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden. 

The story begins with Iden Versio serving as a TIE Fighter pilot on board the first Death Star. After barely surviving the Battle of Yavin, Versio returns to Coruscant where her father, Imperial Admiral Garrick Versio, assigns her to Inferno Squad, a new elite unit intended to prevent leaks such as that which led to the Death Star’s destruction.

Following a test where each member draws up a plan for their first assignment, the younger Versio is assigned to command the unit. After a few missions hunting down information being used to blackmail Imperial officials and such, Inferno Squad is sent to infiltrate the Dreamers, a remnant group of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. While most of the unit goes undercover, Versio joins the Dreamers as herself seemingly disgraced after pretending to be angered by the destruction of Alderaan. At first the infiltration goes well and the Infernos work to spark conflict between Staven, the leader of the Dreamers, who has no qualms about targeting civilians, and his advisor known only as the Mentor, who wishes to minimize collateral damages. But soon some of the Infernos begin to form friendships with Dreamers. Also, while Inferno Squad has permission to attack Imperial targets as needed to maintain cover, the members must decide how much damage they are willing to inflict on their fellow Imperials, soldiers, officials, and civilians alike, to achieve their goal.

I give this book 8 out of 10. I enjoyed the general idea of the story and the characters but I felt there were a few flaws. I felt that the true identity of the Mentor was made obvious to those familiar with canon Star Wars lore far too early. I also felt that some more disputes between Staven and the Mentor would have been interesting. Also, with space combat included in Battlefront II from the beginning, I expected at least two or three space battles in the book. There was a short one at the very beginning, but none afterwards. In particular, I would have liked to get to see the Corvus, Inferno Squad’s corvette in combat. 





Saturday, May 5, 2018

James Review -- The Lightship Chronicles: Defiant

This week I decided to review The Lightship Chronicles: Defiant by Dave Bara. 

The story begins with Captain Peter Cochrane being present at the death of his father-in-law, Grand Duke Henrik Feilberg, along with his wife Princess Karina and her brother Benn. Before he dies, the Grand Duke reveals that the renegade Prince Arin--who led the attack which severely damaged his homeworld, killed his mother, and inflicted the injuries that eventually killed the grand duke--wasn’t Henrik’s biological son, being the result of artificial insemination done without his mother’s consent. He also asks that Cochrane swear to kill Arin.

The story then shifts to six months later. Peter’s command, the lightship Defiant, is sent to try to reestablish diplomatic relations with the human colony on Sandosa--recently rediscovered after being cut off for centuries due to the civil war that led to the collapse of the old empire. And Cochrane also soon discovers that the diplomatic staff includes his ex-fiance, who has become good friends with his wife, who is a junior officer on the Defiant.  

After discovering that Sandosa’s new government apparently doesn’t contain any descendants of the first wave of colonists, Cochrane decides to investigate one of the planet’s mines and discovers that the descendants of the original colonists are being used as slave labor. With standing orders to liberate any facility using slave labor on sight, Cochrane attacks only to be hit with weaponry far too advanced to be native to Sandosa.

After a Union occupation force arrives, Defiant is assigned to attempt to locate the Lightship Impulse II, commanded by Cochrane’s former lover Dobrina Kierkopf, after contact was lost. Before the mission the Historians of Earth, who supply and control much of the advanced technology used by the Lightships, upgrade many of Defiant’s weapons and unlock her torsion beam, a device capable of destroying anything with a magnetic core, including planets and any human ship or space station. 

After arriving at Drava, the world Impulse II was assigned to investigate, Defiant discovers that the world’s mining colony has used a gravity beam to force Impulse II to crash land before deploying attack robots manufactured in the colony in an attempt to seize the ship. Cochrane personally leads an attack force to assist the Impulse II and after both ships leave the world he uses the torsion beam to destroy Drava, ending the threat posed by the army the colony is building.

I give this book 9 out of 10. There were far fewer clich├ęs that I disliked in this one compared to the first book and I found a lot of the details and the plot, both of the novel and the Historians, interesting. Also I enjoyed the battle sequences in this story a great deal. However, I’m annoyed that the back cover gives some false details in its synopsis of the story. Also, there’s one character from the prior book that I don’t think really benefited the story by appearing in this book, especially since this character is mentioned in the epilogue with an IMO significant change that to me came out of nowhere. But I greatly enjoyed the book and the author is starting another series that is either a sequel or prequel to this one, or perhaps set in an alternate universe of this story and I’m looking forward to it a great deal.



Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Good News Continues

Yesterday I announced God School is now available for free on Nook. Well, after contacting Amazon, I got it to be free on Kindle as well. Rejoice!

https://www.amazon.com/God-School-Divine-Protector-Book-ebook/dp/B00PDU5D5O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525376749&sr=1-1

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

God School now Available on Nook

For the first time ever, God School can be downloaded for your Nook--absolutely free! Just head on over to https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/god-school-scott-kinkade/1123406145?ean=2940162038368. And if you like it, please leave a few kind words for other potential readers.


Visitors