Listen to my latest short story "The Forest Trail"

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Monday, August 8, 2016

The Kingdom of Oceana by Mitchell Charles | Book Review

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I really enjoyed this book. It was so cool for so many reasons and a really fun story as well. First off the book takes place in ancient Hawaii. You get to met a couple of princes. Ailani and his brother Nahoa. They are constantly at odds with each other. They were very much their own awesome fleshed out characters. I loved the protagonist Ailani and loved to hate his jerk brother Nahoa. From the Amazon Page description these brothers: " trespass on a forbidden burial ground and uncover an ancient tiki mask, they unleash a thousand-year-old curse that threatens to destroy their tropical paradise." 

It's a wild adventure from there. You get to meet tons of awesome characters. Some of them are animals a select few characters can speak to with magic. Some of them are powerful magicians. Others are nice village people and love interests. All of them were interesting and added to the story in great ways.

I really liked the way the king of the main island described, the father of the brother's , was written. It was cool to see the way he led his people compared to the way another king led his people with avarice. There was always a lot at stake for the characters and their kingdoms and that tension just got raised more and more as the story progressed.

The magic in this YA Hawaiian fantasy story was really cool. There was light magic, and shadow magic, and another kind that was used while trying to balance the two. The way it worked was really intriguing and fun to read about. There were magical items that helped the characters too and their origins and powers were really entertaining to discover.

There were a lot of really intense action scenes in this book too. I would have been scared out of my mind if I had to attempt what the characters do in this book. They made for great really exciting scenes. There were many great fight scenes and also a lot of fun adventure scenes where the characters were in danger from the land, the sea, or the creatures around them.

There were also a few really cool scenes describing surfing, rock climbing, and sailing that I really enjoyed. The author does a great job describing the cool things the characters do and the beautiful and scary places they do them. I highly recommend this book for old dudes like me and I think pre-teen and teen readers would really love this one too.

Get the book at Amazon (Affiliate Link):
The Kingdom of Oceana (Volume 1)

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 46
The Firm by John Grisham

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In this 46th episode, I review Jon Grisham's "The Firm." It's the first book I've read by him and I usually like to start with an author's first novel. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't think this book was amazing but I was very impressed with the writing and I like the book a lot. The characters were great, and so was "The Firm" itself as a character. Listen to hear more.

Buy the Book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
The Firm: A Novel

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Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

The Firm (Affiliate Link)
Written by John Grisham
Narrated by Scott Brick

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Kings or Pawns by J. J. Sherwood | Book Review

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This was a fantastic fantasy story. The author is very talented. The writing was beautiful and powerful. Many intimate details about the character, the weather, the landscape or structures around them were rendered with gorgeous detail. Unlike some other epic fantasy I have read, however, I was never bored while reading Kings or Pawns. Even though the story moves at a slow pace at times it was always interesting and never dull. 

The story also has a lot of amazing fight scenes. There is combat between a few people and there are massive wars and you get to experience both. This book has really cool magic and awesome ancient mysteries. The world that the characters live in is old with a massive history to it but the author manages to pull this off authentically without boring you with a bunch of info dumps. This long and somewhat complicated epic fantasy story was written so well that it was an easy read. Very high praise.

I wish all epic fantasy was like this, then I would enjoy the whole book more instead of having to wade through boring stuff to get to the good awesome epic stuff. I really enjoyed the quiet moments in this book because they were done so well. All of the extra details the author provides you with make you feel like you are really immersed in the world of the book. 

Without spoiling anything I'll end by saying that the direction the author chose to take in the third act of the story was bold. I can't figure out how to say more without spoiling anything but I'll just say that I respect the author for the brave choices they made while writing this story. 

The only gripe I have with this book is that the author uses the phrase that the characters' "brows knit" like 1 million times. It got old fast. But other than that this book was fantastic and I'm still giving it five stars. 

There is a lot to love about this awesome epic fantasy story about elves living in a rich well rendered world full of history, magic, action, and deeper relationships between characters. If you like epic fantasy you should really give this one a try.

Check out this RaffleCopter giveaway for Kings or Pawns below! Good July 25th through September 10!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author's Bio:

J.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. KINGS OR PAWNS is J.J.’s widely anticipated debut novel, and is the first book of The Kings quartet. The series is set in the high fantasy world of Aersadore, home to hundreds of characters who all clamor for J.J.’s attention. To learn more about the trials and tribulations of General Jikun and King Hairem, visit J.J. Sherwood will be at the tenth Fandom Fest Comic Con in Louisville, Kentucky this coming August 7th-9th.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Revisions and Comics

It's been quiet around here. No book reviews for a while until the one I just posted before this post of my buddy Tim's awesome new book. That's because I've been using my reading time to finish and revise my new book.

The last chapter is about 75% written but the last scene needs to be written after I revise a previous chapter. The protagonist's best friend leaves the book too early so I need to go back and write him back in only to leave later in the book. The changing of these events will change the last scene in the book which mirrors the first scene in the book of these two characters talking about the mystery of the missing snowmen.

So I'll be looking for beta readers soon to read the next draft after I've gone through and made it as good as I can make it. If you would like to be a beta reader just drop me a line on social media or send me an email. All that info can be found in the upper right-hand section of this website.

Also I have some very exciting news! I'm working on a comic! A buddy of mine named Zzenya is an amazing artist. I've posted his first shot at our comic down below but if you want to see more of his work check out his Deviantart page.

He's been reading and drawing comics for years but hasn't had much published. I love his art and I've always wanted to work with him so I finally came up with a comic for him to draw. I'm writing it, he's drawing it, and I'll be doing the lettering and publishing. First, it will just be free on the web and will stay there but eventually when we have enough material I'd like to also make it into a physical comic book or graphic novel. Each comic will be a one page one off at first with me attempting to be funny and my buddy Zzenya getting to draw awesome little monsters. The comic is going to be called Invisible Monsters and I'll be sure to tell you all about it when the first page gets published. Just to whet your appetites here is a work in progress of the first panel:

Pretty sweet right?! I'm so excited to publish the first page. Thanks for stopping by!

Scavenger: A.I.: (Sand Divers, Book 2) by Timothy C. Ward
Book Review

This book was kind of like the show 24 in that the plot moves at a breakneck pace during a very short period of time. It felt like the story was always moving and though there were some scenes where you got to slow down and take a breather most of the book felt like action scenes. There were a lot of really cool ones too. My favorite was probably an under the sand knife fight. Yes, you heard me right, and it was amazing! Super tense. I cringed and felt excited and claustrophobic all in that same scene. 

Getting to see where Rush and Star were in this next installment was great too. Their relationship has changed a lot from the first book and there are a whole bunch of new issues brought up between them. I enjoyed watching them work through their struggles throughout the story.

The technology in this book was crazy! And the ways the author had the characters use it was very imaginative and just fricking cool! A few time I remember thinking something like "they just did what with that crazy technology?!"

This was a great sequel. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

Get the book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
Scavenger: A.I.: (Sand Divers, Book Two)

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