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Book Review: The Prodigal’s Foole by RB Wood (relaunch of book)

April 24, 2012 Leave a comment

My good friend R.B. Wood has relaunched his urban fantasy thriller The Prodigal’s Foole after getting his rights back from his former publisher, and he’s completely redone the cover to something that’s flat-out fantastic. I’m reposting my book review from a few months back, along with a high-res shot of the new cover.

Friends, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy for a measly $2.99 for Kindle (less than the “tall” latte I bought yesterday at Target – seriously, a book for less than that swill?) The story is even more flat-out fantastic than the new cover – one of my favorite reads of 2011. It’s currently available for Kindle and paperback (Mr. Wood chose the KDP Select route, but I won’t hold that against him…too much)

Don’t think about it. Just buy it. Or I’ll find you…

Click for full size

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ORIGINAL REVIEW: 

Demons and magic, shotguns and explosions.

That’s how I described The Prodigal’s Foole by R.B. Wood to my 11 year old son who asked me what the book was about. His attention span is short (what 11 year old’s isn’t?) so I had to summarize, and there’s so much more. Hence, a book review.

First of all, I have to say the opening of the book might very well be my favorite of any I’ve ever read:

“The old lady next to me in the window seat died somewhere over the Atlantic. I know because she told me.”

How’s that grab you? It certainly grabbed me, and never let me go.

This was my first real dip into urban fantasy, and I have to say I loved every minute of it. Wood weaves a complex story with excellent characters, believable magic (is that an oxymoron?), and humor into a hard-to-put-down novel. And when I found out that this was his first work, I was even more impressed. The writing style, the sentence structure, the plot consistency, the nice use of flashbacks, the editing, all are truly top notch.

Symon Bryson is a reluctant magic practitioner called back into action by old friends to combat a growing menace from Hell, and to help find a missing friend. He has to face not only this new danger, but his own dark past as well. The Catholic Church plays a large role in the story, and is not bashed (a la Dan Brown) nor praised (a la, uh, not sure…televangelists?), but portrayed in a modern, realistic way that fits well into the overall story.

The characters are fleshed out very nicely, and the team dynamic is excellent. And can I say Symon Bryson is one of my new favorite characters in any book? His wisecracking, inner emotions, and pop culture references kept me entertained throughout. Wood even pokes fun at some of the more ‘fantastic’ fantasies out there (one line I remember is when a character suddenly morphs into an animal, a person in the room says, “Where do her clothes go when she changes?”).

And here’s the bottom line. Like most readers (I think), I “see” the story as I read it, and in some cases they remind me of other stories or movies. And even though there are no vampires (thank goodness) in The Prodigal’s Foole, I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie Blade with Wesley Snipes. The characters, the modern setting, the demons, the weapons, the action, all mixed together like one of my favorite movies of all time – which meant I truly loved this book.

And the best part? It sets up very nicely for more stories in the series. I’m looking forward to more from Mr. Wood. The Prodigal’s Foole was definitely one of the best novels I’ve read this year…and he’s got me peeking into the Urban Fantasy genre now.

Review: The Prodigal’s Foole by RB Wood

October 27, 2011 1 comment

REVIEW: 

Demons and magic, shotguns and explosions.

That’s how I described The Prodigal’s Foole by R.B. Wood to my 11 year old son who asked me what the book was about. His attention span is short (what 11 year old’s isn’t?) so I had to summarize, and there’s so much more. Hence, a book review.

First of all, I have to say the opening of the book might very well be my favorite of any I’ve ever read:

“The old lady next to me in the window seat died somewhere over the Atlantic. I know because she told me.”

How’s that grab you? It certainly grabbed me, and never let me go.

This was my first real dip into urban fantasy, and I have to say I loved every minute of it. Wood weaves a complex story with excellent characters, believable magic (is that an oxymoron?), and humor into a hard-to-put-down novel. And when I found out that this was his first work, I was even more impressed. The writing style, the sentence structure, the plot consistency, the nice use of flashbacks, the editing, all are truly top notch.

Symon Bryson is a reluctant magic practitioner called back into action by old friends to combat a growing menace from Hell, and to help find a missing friend. He has to face not only this new danger, but his own dark past as well. The Catholic Church plays a large role in the story, and is not bashed (a la Dan Brown) nor praised (a la, uh, not sure…televangelists?), but portrayed in a modern, realistic way that fits well into the overall story.

The characters are fleshed out very nicely, and the team dynamic is excellent. And can I say Symon Bryson is one of my new favorite characters in any book? His wisecracking, inner emotions, and pop culture references kept me entertained throughout. Wood even pokes fun at some of the more ‘fantastic’ fantasies out there (one line I remember is when a character suddenly morphs into an animal, a person in the room says, “Where do her clothes go when she changes?”).

And here’s the bottom line. Like most readers (I think), I “see” the story as I read it, and in some cases they remind me of other stories or movies. And even though there are no vampires (thank goodness) in The Prodigal’s Foole, I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie Blade with Wesley Snipes. The characters, the modern setting, the demons, the weapons, the action, all mixed together like one of my favorite movies of all time – which meant I truly loved this book.

And the best part? It sets up very nicely for more stories in the series. I’m looking forward to more from Mr. Wood. The Prodigal’s Foole was definitely one of the best novels I’ve read this year…and he’s got me peeking into the Urban Fantasy genre now.

Find The Prodigal’s Foole here:

Amazon (Kindle) • Amazon (paperback)Smashwords (multi-formats)

Review of The King Whisperers by Dr. Kerwin Swint

April 21, 2011 5 comments

A few weeks back, I was privileged enough to twitterview* Dr. Kerwin Swint, author of The King Whisperers.

*Twitterview – what a cool word, huh? Even cooler concept. Following along with a Twitter hashtag (#emlyn) and creating a real-time, online dialogue, audience members from around the world can peek in, see Q&A, and even throw in a question or two. I had a blast in March doing several!

Going into it, before taking a look at his work and the overview of his book, I had read that he was a professor of politics at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. So…thinking back to a poli-sci course I had in college, with possibly the most droll and monotone professor I had in my four (well, four and a half) years there, I was hesitant. Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea…how interesting could a professor of politics be, and would anyone care enough to ask questions?

Just a few minutes into the twitterview, I found Dr. Swint incredibly engaging, personable, knowledgeable, and really down-to-earth. At the end of the standard questions, audience members jumped in with some great questions, and Dr. Swint had some equally top notch answers. After it was over, I had to (a) rethink my bias towards poli-sci professors, and (b) make it a point to get a copy of The King Whisperers. The first was easy, since I’m not sure how many more professors I’ll run into in the future, but the second took a couple of weeks. Once I received it, I dove into it, and my goodness, it turned out to be a truly fascinating book.

Before I give a little summary of the book itself, I thought I’d pull out some of the most interesting Q&A’s from the twitterview:

  • Q: What do you write?
  • A: Mostly politics and history: The King Whisperers tells the stories of some of the greatest power brokers and manipulators in history.
  • Q: Who were the most fascinating ‘evil geniuses’ you found when researching the book?
  • A: My favorites are the really bad guys, the young Stalin, Hitler’s right hand, but also today’s power brokers like Cheney and Rove.
  • Q: There are so many “whisperers” for every leader nowadays. does this, and pollsters especially, diminish the power of the electorate?
  • A: The messages get clouded up with partisanship and ideology, which is too bad.
  • Q: When it comes to writing political, historical fiction, how soon is “too soon” when covering an event?
  • A: Great question, cause over time the details and interpretation can change, can’t they. Usually it takes 5 or 10 years for context.
  • Q: Sooo…. how is Obama doing?
  • A: Toughest job in the world. would probably be reelected today, but who knows about 2012!

As for the book itself, I found it to be an incredible peek behind the scenes of some of the most famous and most powerful leaders in history. Machiavelli, Che Guevara, Rasputin, and dozens more, all arranged by “type”  – whether they be Fixers, Schemers, Kingmakers, Empire Builders, Rebels, or Silver Tongued Devils.

This non-fiction book never read like a history text, which could be how it appears from the cover, book jacket, and overall theme. It was very well-written, done in layman’s terms, easy to read, and actually hard to put down. The fact that this figures existed, and the stories are so fascinating, makes it an excellent read.

I’ve never been a history reader, but I can absolutely recommend The King Whisperers just from the standpoint of a reader in general. Take a peek at Dr. Swint’s site, as well as some really interesting trailers below.

REVIEW:

Tour Notes:

Please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official King Whisperers blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

The next word for the book give-away is HELPING. Learn more about the give-away and enter to win 1 of 3 copies on the official King Whisperers blog tour page. The other 2 copies are being given-away courtesy of the GoodReads author program, go here to enter. And don’t forget to stop by the Q&A with Kerwin Swint Group to discuss the King Whisperers (including questions from the official book club guide), the author, and his previous works.

Book Trailers for the King Whisperers:

Review of The Chosen: Book One of the Portals of Destiny, by Shay Fabbro

April 3, 2011 1 comment

REVIEW:

 

Mekans…even the name sounds foreboding. Machine intelligence, stripping the resources of planet after planet, making their way across the galaxy, leaving burned out husks in their wake. The only hope for the survival of countless species are The Chosen, small groups of four different species who are watched over and trained by Guardians from the planet Gentra. The Gentran prophecy says The Chosen hold the key to defeating the Mekans, but when one Chosen is killed, the prophecy may be in jeopardy. This is the epic science fiction/fantasy story Shay Fabbro has begun to weave with Book One of the Portals of Destiny.

Fabbro paints a vivid picture of five distinct worlds, and pulls it off with no trouble, something many world builders have issues with in just one. There is a wide range of characters, many of which are delved deeply into, enough so that the reader can identify with several at once. Fabbro makes it easy to follow each, as the races are significantly different enough not to get confused. A reptilian warrior race, a clone race, a magical race, and of course, humans – albeit post-apocalyptic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, from start to finish. The detail in the worlds, the depth of characters, the grandiose far-reaching plot are all done in an easy-to-follow format and style. At certain points I do feel it gets a bit deep into description, but knowing this is the first part of a series, and knowing the full story will not wrap up by the final page, it all makes perfect sense.

I felt the mix of science fiction (clones, weaponry) and fantasy (magic, transformations) was very well done. The overall crafting of the story reminded me a bit of The Empire Strikes Back, mixing the science fiction scenes with the Jedi training fantasy aspect.

The only negatives I encountered, and completely my personal opinion, would be a little bit of point of view confusion, but only very rarely; and (possible spoiler alert) I felt the key killing of the Chosen happened a little too late in the story (I kept waiting for it to happen, as the ‘book jacket blurb’ emphasizes it). But absolutely nothing that detracts from the overall story, which was well edited…much more so than most independent authors’ works I’ve read before.

I’m very much looking forward to Book Two, which I understand is just around the corner, as Fabbro has put together the beginnings of an epic story arc with very interesting characters. And it’s just starting!

For more about Shay Fabbro and her writing, and where to buy the book, visit TheChosenBook.com