Seeking my Mr. or Mrs. Slave…ahem, Guest Bloggers

I am opening up my space to folks who would like to reach an audience of several hundred unique visitors per month, and have a passion for books. It’s very simple: You reach out to me, and tell me what you want to write about. If I like it, the post is yours for an available post day, which is typically Monday or Thursday.

If you are an author, and you want a review or a interview (author or character), you may message me. Unless I previously agreed to an interview or book review before September 1, I am seeking only children’s literature, or books written by kids. Books can have pictures, but they must be mostly text and targeted at an audience for 8+. Also, you must be 14 years old to request any review or interview. Otherwise, I need a parent’s permission first.

You are not required to offer me a reciprocated post, but if you do, I am more likely to take you up. So go ahead and send away- welcome to Bradan’s World!

bonus if you got the reference in the title. Post it here and let’s see who gets it first!

Book Review: Percy Jackson, the All American-Greek God-kid

The Last Olympian " Signed "

For my first book review at the rebranded site Bradan’s World, I want to focus on a hyper popular book which already has so many purchases I doubt Rick Riordan gives a darn if I steer a few more his way. But here is a review for his last book, The Last Olympian.

Where I got it from: I picked up the copy from an indie thrift store, and they just had the last book in the series. I guess I got there before the other fan finished book four.

Scoring: As you know, I give 0, 1, or 2 points for plot, style, editing, book cover, and intangibles. Book Cover replaces belivability, which is hard to be precise about. Instead, I’ll put that towards intangibles. Every review has some spoilers, so read at your own risk.

Plot: You may need to pick up books 1-4 to figure out everything that happened, but Rick’s writing is good enough that I got the plot without needing to go back. At this point, Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, is trying to figure out a way to stop Kronos, Lord of Time, from destroying Olympus where the Gods are. Apparently Greek Gods looove Manhattan and so this is where Mount Olympus is, along with the last half of the novel. After a losing battle with Kronos, who is using the body of Luke Castellan to do his bidding, Percy goes to camp Half-Blood to regroup. He and his friends eventually go to Manhattan where a dark battle is brewing. It’s up to Percy and his outmanned friends to stop a very powerful army, led by Kronos, at the feet of Olympus.

I will judge this book as a standalone, and I can see why it hit the bestseller’s list. It’s really good, the plot makes sense, even if the ending is not quite as dramatic as I would like. 2/2

Style: This is where Rick’s writing stands out from every other kid’s book I’ve seen. It’s really funny. The entire thing is a comedy, but he does a great job at making the dramatic scenes dramatic when he needs to. At times his serious parts were weak because of all the jokes, but no complaints with his writing. 2/2

Editing: I am generally lenient with minor spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors. If you are an indie author or small publisher, I give a lot of leeway. For a traditionally published dude? Not so much. I found a few typos and punctuation errors. Not enough to ruin the story, but come on, Disney. 1.5/2

Book Cover: I loved the cover of the reprint edition, which is the one I have. So much so, I wanted to find John Rocco (Riordan’s cover artists) and ask how much he charged to do a book cover for a comparable novel. 2/2

Intangibles: This is the “emotional” pitch of the book or other factors. Familiar readers know that if you make me cry or feel something in my stomach, you will hit the bestseller’s list. I want to lock that in as a fact.

This book needed to be a little darker towards the end. While the plot and the romantic angle did work, it just came up short. Much as I hate giving halfsies, I have to. 1.5/2

Overall: 9/10 Only a little too much out-of-place humor and a few typos missed by editors from a big publisher kept this from being a solid 10/10. But this book is really, really good. It’s unique (enough), creative, and fun. I can get why kids love it, and I’m sure a fairly high number of adults loved the book and the series too. Good job Rick.

Be one of over 35 million and buy a copy of his book:

At Amazon

at B&N

Book Review: Impulse

Happy Independence Day weekend for all you Americans!

If you missed my author interview with Iffix Santaph over his debut novella, Impulse, check it out here.

As promised, here is my review of the novel, which I received in exchange for an interview and review. Like last time, I’ve divided into five categories, and each was worth 0, 1, or 2 points. Scored on a scale 0-10.

Plot (semi-spoiler alert): The reader is introduced to the Gwalf, human-like creatures who live in the city of Trounador. Jendra is the main character and heroine of the novel. She and her friend Leon discover a human body which is unconscious at the start of the novel, and they want to find a way to find out where the human is from. Together with Leon’s cousin Toby, they search for a way to help the alien.

To do this they must dodge obstacles, like the Je’ rax. We soon learn a Je’ rax is NOT a dinosaur, but a scorpion-like creature with huge pincers. Jendra is caught by one, but Toby manages to make its head explode. Kids will love that line.

Along with Toby and Leo, her “just friends” friend (spoiler!) They run into the Lizan and have to be ready for the their attack, which is set up nicely for book 2.

The intended audience is “middle grade”, but I felt like this was more a YA (teen) novel than middle grade. Some of the dialogue was okay, but at times it was confusing. The author sometimes didn’t explain things well, like when he mentions the squig (half squirrell, half pig), brings it up several times, then never fully explains what it is or why it’s relevant to the story. The plot itself is not the most straightforward, and in the writing style space below you’ll see why. It’s unfair to give this a 0 or 1, so I’m going half. 0.5/2

Writing style: If you read my last review, you know I am not a huge fan of multiple points of view, and this book had even more than the last book. Whereas John was good at separating POV’s by scene, Iffix did not do as good a job with this. We got in to too many character’s heads, sometimes on the same page, and it made the story hard to follow. For adults, this isn’t a huge deal, but 11-14 year olds, the intended audience, will simply be unable to keep up. Honestly, this was a tough read, and I am an adult. 0/2

Editing: The editing was really well done. I didn’t spot any missed proofreading marks, or they were so few in number it didn’t bother me. The page layout was great. This was by far the best part of the book; effort was clearly put into this. 2/2

“Believability”: This varies from genre to genre, but the point is, can I believe what’s going on? I honestly struggled with this. The book is fantasy, so nothing was “unbelievable”, but I think there could have been a better job selling its concepts.

For example, the author talks about aliens such as the Lizan, who are clearly distinct from the Gwalf, but for some reason different species all speak the same language and the same way; the same was true with the humans. I was trying hard to figure out exactly where I was, Earth, or somewhere else.  The plot itself is fairly believable; if you were trapped in a city surrounded by caves and waterfalls, wouldn’t you want to escape and explore the rest of the world?  1/2

Emotion: This is another made up section, where I give my emotional feel for the book. I have a saying: If you, the author, can make me cry, you will write a book as successful as Twilight. I’m not joking; emotions besides hot and cold are not easy for me. This section can be for any emotion, though.

I just cannot say I was moved enough to become emotionally attached. It wasn’t that the book was bad, only that it was not spectacular. Again, a 0 is unfair, but it really was not quite a 1. 0.5/2

Overall grade: 4/10.  

I don’t like giving mediocre grades, especially since I do talk to Iffix online and he’s a genuinely sincere guy and very proud to be an indie author. The book is not terrible; the book was well-edited and his vision for Troundador City is exciting, with the caves and waterfalls. It reminded me of Pokemon, moving around in caves with mysterious creatures lurking about. The Gwalf are a society worth exploring in further. I just wish he had done so, and eliminated the too-often multiple POV’s between characters. Even if he wants us to know what’s going to happen, it’s often better if the reader does not. Hopefully the next books in the series will let the reader get to know Jendra and Trounador City further.

I will add this though: Check out his website and look at his Impulse Gallery, where he obtained artwork from DeviantArt artists. It’s really good. if only he had made his story a graphic novel…

You can also find his book at Amazon or visit his website iffixysantaph.com

Book Review: Skeleton Run

Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there, including my own. 🙂 I will be with him today, at a pancake house with family.

If you missed my author interview with John DeBoer over his debut novel, Skeleton Run, check it out here.

As promised, here is my review of the novel, which I received from John’s publisher, Red Adept Publishing. For convenience, I’ve divided into five categories, and each was worth 0, 1, or 2 points. Scored on a scale 0-10.

Plot (semi-spoiler alert): The plot centers on four friends: Doctor Jim Dawson, Alan Granger, Bob Kretchman, and Tom Webster. An accident occurs where someone dies and the friends harbor guilt about the death. They later discover the baby of the deceased survived, and is engaged to a woman who later learns the truth. This will affect the plot at some level.

Enter Wendell Logan, billionaire casino magnate. He is frustrated by previous failures to get politicians to “buy” into his vision, which means his money, your vote. After years of failure (who knew George W. Bush wasn’t a team player?) he finally finds Alan, who left his Philadelphia law job and is now Governor of Pennsylvania. The goal? Get Alan re-elected in 2018 (PA’s next cycle), and then have him run for President in 2020, where he will agree to be Logan’s vassal in exchange for money. To help, Logan gets rid of Alan’s only real challenger.

Dr. Dawson, who is the main character, tries to keep his friends together as relationships fall apart. Alan is turning from them, focusing on his political ambition more than anything else. Logan, who wants to make sure no one threaten’s Alan’s chances of winning, begins eliminating characters. Soon only Dawson is left to face Logan’s minions. It will be up to the Doctor to find a way to keep himself, and his family, alive.

If you like political thrillers, this one is a sound, if not epic, page turner. Even when the plot was somewhat expected (too many Points Of View), I still found myself finishing chapters quickly to see what happens next. 2/2

Writing style: It was okay, not noteworthy. However, I am not a huge fan of multiple points of view, and this book had a couple too many. The main character was the Doctor, whose POV was first person, but more than half the book It made what should have been a fanatically thrilling ending a little more obvious because we, the readers, knew what was coming in the Doctor’s house when he went back. He also had a lot more narration in places than I normally like, which slowed down the flow, especially in the middle. 1/2

Editing: The editing was really well done. I didn’t spot any missed proofreading marks, or they were so few in number it didn’t bother me. Luckily for the author, and for future authors whose books I read, I’m a little more tolerant on proofreading errors than most. 2/2

“Believability”: This is a category I invented right now. This varies from genre to genre, but the point is, can I believe what’s going on? In John’s novel, I would say yes, I believed what I read. It is not implausible to think that a billionaire casino magnate might want to influence a particular race, and since I understand for book purposes, only focus on one race. Was it a little weird that Alan Granger’s opponent was as controllable as an RC car? Yea. Did ot seem at times like John used a POV for some characters who really shouldn’t have had them? Yea. But four friends, one accidental manslaughter, and a politician desperate for power are completely believable. 1/2

Emotion: This is another made up section, where I give my emotional feel for the book. I have a saying: If you, the author, can make me cry, you will write a book as successful as Twilight. I’m not joking; emotions besides hot and cold are not easy for me. This section can be for any emotion, though.

John’s book moved well and while I would have liked to see stronger emotional language in a few places, I think he captured the feel well. No, I did not cry. But I noticed that I rarely put my Kindle down once I started to read, and I was finishing chapters. That’s a great sign. 2/2

Final grade: 8/10. This is a solid book, not a blow-me-away, but one worth reading. The editing is excellent, the writing is not bad, and the plot is comparable to most bestselling thriller novels, if not exceptional. Even when you know what’s coming, John has a good way of keeping you interested. Will not top the bestseller’s lists, but this is a book worth reading if you’re into political thrillers.

Visit the Red Adept Publishing website for more information.