A D Green’s Fantasy Newsletter June 2022

Hello everyone, it’s been a while and I hope this finds you well. I could almost copy and paste the opening of my last newsletter because it is as relevant an excuse now as it was back then….but that would be highly unprofessional of me!

So what has been happening?

Writing has been slower than I would like but is picking up momentum again thankfully. I am literally down to the last few chapters on Book Three Darkness Resides, tying up some story arcs among other things. I am pleased with how it is going but as ever it will need to go through the editorial wringer once I am done and then out to my beta readers. It might be a year later than I anticipated or expected but I hope to have the book released this year.

By the way, I have one or two spots open still for beta readers for book 3. Take a look at the homepage of my website http://adgreenauthor.com for more information.  

Check out my website for updates to maps, book news, reviews and other stuff.

Kindle Countdown Deal until 20th– 27th June

Books 1 & 2 of the Morhudrim Cycle are in a Kindle Deal for the UK and US markets. Pick up Rivers Run Red and Darkness Resides for only 0.99 each. Tell your friends.

For those outside those markets, I am deeply sorry – Amazon restricts my Kindle Countdown Deals to just those two markets. If I do a free promo sometime (unlikely in the near future cause I like coffee and free stuff doesn’t buy me a cup!) I will let you all know.

Book Reviews

I will not belabour this too much since you will have already received my blogged reviews in your email. However, here is a recap of books I have read, some of which I have yet to post reviews on.

I have had a bit of a splurge on Fantasy LitRPG the last few months but I have about hit the ceiling on that genre for now. Too much chocolate and I need to come done! It all started very promisingly with the ‘He Who Fight’s Monsters’ series which I very much enjoyed. My subsequent dabble though in this sub-genre has been rather more hit and miss.

In my upcoming reads, I hope to include a classic SciFi and move into some more traditional fantasy and science fiction.

Books I have read since March

Everlong by R Raeta (5/5) Paranormal Romance. Reviewed 24th April

The Condom and Other Stories by Peter Chika (4/5) Short story collection. Reviewed 29th May

He Who Fights With Monsters Book One by Shirtaloon (5/5) A LitRPG. Reviewed 6th May

He Who Fights With Monsters Book Two to Five by Shirtaloon (5/5) A LitRPG. Not reviewed and I don’t plan on it since if book one’s review said it all and if that didn’t sway you then nothing else will.

The Plainswalker by M A Rothman (3/5) Another LitRPG reviewed 10th June.

The Primal Hunter by Zogarth (3.5 maybe 4) is a massive LitRPG rated over 3000 times on Amazon for 4.6/5 average rating. I did not rank it so highly. It seemed very Hollywood blockbuster, action ramping up more and more but I felt it was very trope and the characters were rather caricatured and two-dimensional. It was a long read as well and between the action there were pages of exposition on alchemy and what skills to chose from that frankly just dragged. I found myself skipping through pages and pages of the stuff. My review is to follow in the coming weeks.

Barrow King: The Realms Book 1 by C M Carney (4) another LitRPG – Yeah, yeah, okay I know – another LitRPG but this is it… for a while. I am moving on for a bit after this. My review is to follow in the coming weeks.

Until The Next One

Rather an impressive number of books to have read (for me). I have taken to reading more on a night rather than netflix’ing and hanging out on my computer. It’s good to change things up and I have had a lot of fun reading these past months.

For anyone interested my daily writing regimen (when I am not working for a living) is usually review editing for 30-60 minutes of my current chapter then writing for 3 hours. On an evening I might do a bit on Facebook and Twitter for my books but not as much as I use to because it gets little traction, I alos have a bunch of Amazon ads to manage. I would like to do more hours of the former but I have real-life commitments (family/dog you know real things as opposed to imaginary!) but I am grateful I get as much time as I do.

Well with all the crazy stuff going on in the world. The war in Ukraine, the rising cost of living, inflation, interest rates rising, China flexing its economic and territorial muscle oh and I just heard the Auckland Blues lost in the final of the Super Rugby Championship to the Crusaders I recommend you all read a book. Not necessarily mine, but just something that can transport you away from all these troubles – just for a little while.

Until the next one. Stay safe and keep well

A D Green

The Plainswalker by M A Rothman

3/5 Stars, An Inter-Dimensional Fantasy that didn’t quite work for me

This book is described as an epic fantasy LitRPG and so I had high hopes after my recent experience reading ‘He Who Fights With Monsters’ that it would tick those same boxes. Well, it ticked some but not many for me.

I could not see what was epic about this fantasy. Epic to me means in scope and breadth of characters and story, something I think that is hard to pull off when told from the point of view of a single protagonist. It bugs me actually when authors describe their books as epic fantasy, presumably because the word epic appears on Amazon’s search engine like a keyword. Tsk tsk. It does not impress me. Okay, petty rant out of the way onto the book.

The story starts with a reasonable (fantasy/sci-fi) premise whereby our protagonist, Peabo Smith ex-special forces, signs on to a secret government experimental program to project a consciousness through to a different dimension/multiverse and back again.  Of course, it goes horribly wrong and Peabo finds himself in a magical new world, in the body of a Plainswalker, legendary beings that foment great change and are rarely seen in the world. So far so good.

Unfortunately it never really happened for me after that. The characters felt a little two-dimensional. The fight scenes did not grip my imagination and there was little to no jeopardy. The scenes moved along at a great pace, but too much so. I never felt invested in any of the locations or the people that inhabited them. It all just felt a little rushed and convenient and, dare I say it, tropy.

This is the first in a series and yet I didn’t feel any build-up. Peabo kind of kicks butt from the off. The villains, many of whom were ancient and powerful, were underwhelming. There is no lead-up to them, no imagery of who they are or what they can do. They don’t even put up that much of a fight. Almost all of the battles were anti-climactic for me and I never felt Peabo was ever at risk. Then the book ends. Maybe I’ve been spoilt from recent reads, but for an ‘epic’ fantasy this seemed a whirlwind of action then it was over.  

It’s not all bad, the story held promise and the writing is reasonable, M A Rothman can write but it seemed like a mass-produced pulp story churned out rather than a deep and considered fantasy. I am pleased I read this on Kindleunlimited rather than pay the ebook price. For the content and what was delivered, I would have been disappointed.  

I realise this review may appear harsh but I have tried to be balanced and fair. Maybe it is a compatibility issue and this story just did not suit what I was looking for. Judging by number of reviews and the story’s high average rating many people loved this book, unfortunately I was not one of them.

The Condom and Other Stories by Peter Chika

4/5 Stars. An accomplished collection of short stories.

I enjoyed this book of short stories. It is a vignette of life stories from an African perspective that I found thoroughly engaging and fascinating.

I have always told myself I am not much of a fan of short stories but I realise it is more anthologies. The various writing styles in anthologies I find a bit of a lottery. Like a packet of Revell’s, there are some good and some bad but always a coffee in the bag somewhere to be avoided. With this offering from Peter Chika I did not have that worry, I knew from the first story I was in safe hands.  

The writing is accomplished and each tale distinctive and unique. The dialogue and self-reflection of some of the characters I found brilliantly entertaining. There are some great twists as well in many of the stories but also a few that were a bit abrupt. Also, some of the tales I thought were grim rather than humourous and one was an uncomfortable read, at least at the end. That is not a bad thing per se, it is great to be challenged and have to see or think about things through a different prism and that was certainly the case for me. However, someone looking for a light-hearted read will probably find this offering a little darker than they were expecting. 

Overall, an entertaining and thought-provoking read (at least to my sensibilities) and I recommend taking a look inside. The first story is a great showcase with a twist I didn’t see coming and it gives an excellent taster of what else is to come. If you like it you will love this book.

He Who Fights With Monsters: A LitRPG by Shirtaloon

5/5 Stars – If you like to start your books with a naked Aussie then you’re in for a treat.

A friend of a friend sent me a piece posted by some geezer called Shirtaloon (aka Travis Deverell) on how he became a successful writer and I was fascinated by it and found it very interesting. How Shirtaloon serialised his series on Royal Road, built up a following and then on Patreon and finally to Amazon. It also intrigued me, however, because at the end of the day the story has got to deliver. It has to be good right? So I thought I’d take a look.

LitRPG. It says it there on the title. A fantasy with RPG gaming elements. I’d not delved into this subgenre all that much but I kind of knew what to expect. So I downloaded it and those expectations got blown out of the water. What a fantastic read. It was so much fun and surprisingly nuanced. Jason Asano our protagonist was a bit of a nobody and it is fair to say he doesn’t get off to the best of starts when he wakes up naked in a hedge maze with no idea how he got there or what to do. From that narrow beginning, we are introduced to an eclectic cast of characters all of whom are layered and different as we follow Jason’s adventures and his deliciously dark powers which change and grow throughout the story.

This book has adventure, dark arts, kickass skills and a protagonist with an attitude that doesn’t always get things right. There are plenty of political intrigues as well and plenty of twists and turns along the way. Jason Asano is a very polarizing character and interesting in that he is an outworlder and sees things through an Aussie bloke, no-frills, eyes kind of way. He is unique, alone and very much trying to understand not just his new world but his place in it.

I can see how this book suited serialisation. The chapters are not overlong and at the end of most, you just have to start the next to see what the heck is going to happen. It is very engaging in that respect and as a result, this book has dominated my evenings instead of the computer (my own writing, damn you Shirtaloon), Netflix’ing et al. It’s like eating chocolate. You say to yourself, I’ll just have 2 squares then find yourself sneaking another. It is like that with this.

The quality of the storytelling and world-building I found first-rate. That said, I never felt Jason Asano was ever really in danger, I mean he was, pretty much most chapters, but I mean I always knew he would muddle his way through somehow and this only reinforced itself as the story continued only with increasing confidence. Then, just when I was starting to think it was all getting a bit safe near the end, I got that dread sense of doom that not everything is going to work out alright and I actually had to stop and take stock at one point and collect myself.

Overall a thoroughly decadent and supremely enjoyable read. If you like the sound of all this then I suggest you give it ago. I’m so pleased I did and am moving on to the next book.

Everlong by R. Raeta

5/5 Stars – A captivating and wondrously told story I almost didn’t read.

The benefit of being in the #Indiebookclub is that I get to read stories that are outside of my usual fare.  That was very much the case with Everlong, a paranormal romance. I can still hear myself now, lamenting at my computer screen, ‘oh common guys, really?’

‘Yes, really.’

Paranormal romance = vampires I told myself, I know this formula. Heaving breasts, chiselled jaws, forbidden love and maybe a dash of piercing eyes. I’ve seen Twilight, okay I haven’t but I have seen bits of it and well I would like to apologize to R. Raeta, because actually, after grudgingly reading the first page I thought…this is different. This is not the recipe I expected. It just goes to show you should not judge every book by its genre!

First off, the entire book (apart from a couple of line errors) was beautifully written. Each sentence I felt was perfectly weighted and in many places lyrical, poetic even. Classy, that is the word I’m looking for. It is told in a narrative, first-person point of view that is, I think, really difficult to pull off and unusual, at least to me, and yet it just flowed. The pacing was spot on.

I don’t want to get sappy, but to call it a love story would be a disservice because it is so much more than that, yet love is at the heart of it. The story is Lily’s and it starts with stars and words to tales she writes but can never finish.  It is immediately captivating. Why does she sit on the same bench every night, writing story beginnings that have no ending and nobody will ever read? She is alone, broken and slowly fading away with time… until Sam takes a seat next to her.

Honestly, don’t tell anyone, but I think this just might be my favourite book of the year!

‘Fire’s Heart’ book three of The FireNight Prophecies by Darren Boeck

4.5/5 Stars – An Engrossing YA Fantasy Read

This book follows on from ‘Gifts of Fire and Ice’ and ‘Essence of Life’. I will not give any synopsis since I do not want to give any spoilers to those that have not yet read the first 2 books. Being a YA fantasy book I have reviewed it as such. It is not difficult for me to assume my 13-year-old self. I only have to think back to David Eddings and the books I was reading in those days to achieve that state.

The story, as you might have guessed, continues from where book two left off and the characters and narrative quickly flow and propel the reader on. The writing style is now familiar, in particular the way the characters speak and interact. We learn a lot more in this story about the different factions, religions and world-building, which in general, is starting to feel fully fleshed out. There are multiple cultures with different belief systems and world views but which are all inter-connected in some way. It’s pretty good I have to say.

There are some great characters in this series and in this book they continue to grow and develop, their relationships changing, getting deeper and stronger as they learn to rely on one another. The two sides, good and evil are ever-increasingly defined and you know the players on both sides. I have to say, it looks grim for our heroes at times, the action fierce but there is hope. Like all good tales, the path to victory looks treacherous and narrow but you know…those crazy kids might just do it. I will have to read the fourth and final book to find out.

If you like YA fantasy with a cool magic system, multiple cultures clashing and that is that bit different from the ilk then you should give this series a try.

A.D. Green’s Fantasy Newsletter March 2022

It has been a while since my last newsletter. Christmas in fact and this one is a little different than my previous efforts. I haven’t forgotten you in that time, far from it but work phoned and I had to do some. I have also been beavering away (and still do) on the final chapters of Darkness Resides. It is a little chunkier than Books 1 & 2 (Not by design but it is where the story goes and it is done when it is done).

So what is happening….

Kindle Countdown Deal until 30 March 2022

Books 1 & 2 of the Morhudrim Cycle are in a Kindle Deal for the UK and US markets. Pick up Rivers Run Red and Darkness Resides for only 0.99 each. Tell your friends.

For those outside those markets I am deeply sorry – Amazon restrict my Kindle Countdown Deals to just those two markets. If I do a free promo sometime (unlikely in the near future cause I like coffee and free stuff doesn’t buy me a cup!) I will let you all know.

Rivers Run Red – Book One of The Morhudrim Cycle. Available in the US and UK for only 0.99

It’s where the adventure all started. If you’ve read it and enjoyed it then spread the word. Your support as ever means everything to me. Well not everything, I mean everything is a lot and I would not trade my first born or give you my house but in a purely emotional, extravagant kind of way it means much.

Shadows Fall – Book Two of The Morhudrim Cycle. Available in the US and UK for only 0.99

The adventure continues. Okay, I admit it was looking a tad grim at the end of book one for pretty much everyone concerned but I’m sure things will turn to sunshine and flowers in the second book, won’t it?? Although the prologue and first two chapters might paint a different picture. Still, as the song goes ‘Things can only get better’

In Other News

Yep, I got covid. Dodged it for 2 years then one family gathering and it has rinsed through my nearest and dearest like a wild-fire. For me it feels like a cold. Congested, blocked nose, cough, woolly head and a general lack of energy….well more so than my usual lack.

Book 3 Darkness Resides I am just bringing the final chapters together. Then I will need to go back and add one or two. Then (cheer) a read through and tweak before off to the editor and I get to look at cover design and starting book four Chaos Reigns (Did I mention there are five books planned? The last is titled The Light That Was Lost – pretty cool huh!)

Anyway that’s it for this short newsletter. You will have received any reviews I have posted but if you want to know the latest info about my books then please check out my website – I sometimes update it! I will be adding new/updated maps as well soonish.

That’s it. Take care everyone, have a happy Easter for those that celebrate it. Let’s hope in my next newsletter the world is not so crazy and our Ukraine brothers and sisters know peace once more.

Nature’s Wrath (A Prelude of Light Book 2) by Morten W Simonsen

4.5/5 Stars. A realistic, gritty, adult fantasy that packs a punch

I read and enjoyed ‘Fire Within’ Book 1 of a Prelude of Light. It was a grimy, realistically gritty fantasy and I enjoyed the writing style and the storytelling very much. I did at times struggle with investing in the characters in book one, the story was sufficiently muddied and dirtied (purposely) that I wasn’t sure who I should like or not, so I was interested to see how book two progressed both the story and character arcs.

Well, I am happy to report that in his second offering, Morten W Simonsen more than met the challenge. Book Two gave me everything I was yearning for in book one. An enlarged world outside of the city of Whitegarde, characters that suddenly I was engaged in. Each jump to a character arc I looked forward to, just to see where the story was taking me. The cast was narrowed to three main protagonists which I think helped in this regard.

The story itself was evocative and intrigued from the opening scene. I will give no spoilers but it sunk its hook into me and what happened slowly manifested in all its glory later in the story. In book one we got a taste of an Olso, the werewolf’esc monsters that are threatening humanity and what they were capable of but that was just one and a friendly(ish) one at that. Book Two you get to see them en masse and they are so skilful written that I got a real sense of their menace and power.

Also, about 72% in (according to kindle) I got served another massive hook I didn’t know I was craving. A supernatural twist, a hint of godly interference, a sniff of other powers at play. I lapped it up.

If I was to be critical and this is a review so I will, there were some grammatical errors, not many but another run through by the author would clean things up I’m sure and then this would be a solid 5 stars for me.  Also, whilst there was a twist in the tale I wasn’t expecting, the final chapter was a little flat, I was hoping for one more….maybe with some blood in it or gore…..

That said, a book is always about the tale it tells, the journey it takes you on and this one ticked both of those things for me. I will definitely be reading book 3 when it is out. I need to know more, I need to know what happens and if you like hard-edged fantasy that doesn’t pull its punches then you do too.

Branches: A Novel of Other Timelines by Adam Peter Johnson

3/5 stars A Multiverse, alternate reality with a pill.

Phew, okay here goes. I picked this up as part of our Indie Book Club monthly read. I like dystopian fiction and the premise of the book intrigued me.

This is the story of a man who is struggling with headaches and finds out that they are a result of him being in the wrong multiverse. He has been drifting for months through hundreds, maybe thousands of an infinite number of multiverses each subtly different but the change so gradual, so close to his own he never really noticed.

By taking a pill each day for a week he can drift back to his ‘own’ multiverse and be where he is meant to be. The thing is he is not sure if that will be better or worse than where he is now – or if indeed there might be a multiverse more appealing than his own. A world where things are more positive and his life better. Maybe it could end up a whole lot worse?

Okay, admit it, that does sound intriguing right? The trouble is I found it a struggle to read and DNF’d it at about 60% in. Now it is unusual that I would review a book I DNF’d but since it is part of my Indie Book Club review I feel I needed to make an exception.

It is a shame the book did not gel for me because it is well written. APJ can write that is for sure. It is told in an over the shoulder kind of first-person narrative. I enjoyed the structure and the language of it, it was just that I found the story dragged. It did not hold my attention and I think that is because I just did not care for the main character. I couldn’t even tell you his name or recall if it is mentioned at all.

The MC is intelligent but is like Joe Mundane. In other words boring. He has an overriding obsession against ‘Him’ Him being Donald Trump and the different multiverses we get to experience him in, from a police state-like oligarch to deposed president. I found it was like a stuck record only every time I unstuck the record it played the same song in a different bar. I didn’t much care for it and found the whole thing one long, never-ending crisis of monotony.

I felt more affinity for Meredith his wife and his young son. His dead mother taught him the values of standing up and choosing aside, of being morally present, yet he displays none of those traits in my view.

Now before I get all doom and gloomy you must remember. This is just how I feel. I don’t like Oreo biscuits but my wife loves them. That is the same as any book. There will be those a story appeals to and those that it does not. So I would urge anyone to make up their own mind. The writing is professional and well constructed so this book may well appeal to you and I would urge you if the premise sounds like your kind of ‘Oreo’ that you to ‘Take a Look Inside’ and decide for yourself.

Pieces of Eight (The Guardian Of Empire City) by Peter Hartog

5 Stars – Dystopian detective story with future tech, magic and paranormal(ish)

This is Peter Hartog’s second novel in the Guardian of Empire City series and takes place several month’s after the climactic end of book one, Bloodlines which I have read, reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, it was my read of 2021.

I guess in musical terms, this is the tricky second album and I was excited to rip into book two and see what new mystery and case file lay in store for Tom ‘Doc’ Holliday and co and whether it could live up to the story delivered in book one.

Yes, is the short answer.

There was a little bit of recap referencing in the opening chapter or two which I didn’t need but once the formalities were over and the case started it grabbed from the off and didn’t relinquish its fast pace until the final page. There is no idling in this book.

I have to say, I was impressed by the narrative. The main characters are all unique and well established, the character dialogue flows seamlessly and each voice is so recognisably distinct. The plot was intricately structured and was a delight reading as its many layers unfolded. The action is full-on and steeped in jeopardy with a sense that no one, especially Doc was safe.

The setting too is expanded upon and I got a real feeling for this immense city and its surroundings the further in the story went. As I referenced in my review of book one, it is reminiscent of Megacity One/Bladerunner and who in their right mind wouldn’t love that imagery!

I like that all of the protagonists are flawed in one way or another yet somehow just seem to fit together to make a whole. A real odd-bunch that just seems to work. As well there are some new characters introduced which could potentially play a wider part in the next book. I guess it is a watch this space to find that out.

There is an underlying ‘bad guy/gal’ carried over from book one and a new villain of the peace revealed but I will say no more. I would say that some of the antagonists were stereotypical and not as deeply threatening as book one but conversely, the final scene shenanigans were if anything more fraught and dangerous….I will say no more since I do not want to give any spoilers.

The production is extremely polished for an Indie author – indeed, I looked at the front to check if it had been through a traditional publishing house it was that good. I did pick up a few grammar issues but I could count these on one hand and actually, is far less than many published authors that I have read. If you have read this far into my review and think this book sounds interesting, then do yourself a favour and pick up a copy. Peter Hartog is fast becoming one of my favourite future-world genre authors of all time.

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