Listen to my Short Story "The Forest Trail"

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Review Podcast

So, I've noticed that my blog has become a bit of a book review website. I started reviewing every book I read quite a while ago and then I post my review here, on Amazon, on Audible if it was an audiobook, and on Goodreads. I often get emails from Amazon telling me that my review helped someone purchase the book. I also get likes on my book reviews on Goodreads. I try just to brush over the things I liked and/or disliked in the book. I don't summarize it because those can be found elsewhere online and I feel like putting that in the review is a waste of time.

The reason most of the posts on my site are book reviews is that I'm working two jobs so I haven't had much time for anything else. I do a lot of my reading via audiobooks while I commute 2 hours a day. So even though I'm busy I still get a lot of reading in. I'm reading more books this year than I ever have and I'm sure it's all thanks to the Goodreads Reading Challenge I discovered at the beginning of the year. I set my goal for 35 books and I've been a few books ahead the whole year. I've read a couple of shorter books but it all evens out because I've also read The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (47.5 hour audiobook, over 1,000 pages in paper) and IT by Stephen King (a whopping 45 hours of audio). So I'm cool with counting novellas and even the occasional short story or novelette. 

Photo by PJ Hudson
Anyway, it seems that I'm doing something right in my reviews, so I thought that eventually I would start to podcast my book reviews. I've already picked out a theme song for the intro and outro and I have a lot of book reviews piled up. I'm working two jobs and around 60 hours a week at the moment so it might be a while before I can get some reviews recorded, but they're usually only a few paragraphs so they'll be short. I bet I'll be able to knock out quite a few reviews in one short recording session, then I'll start releasing one every week until I finally get to the current book I just finished reading. At that point I'll release them as I finish books. I might throw in a little chatty banter after reading my book review too adding any more thoughts about the book or author that come to me, then close it out. 

It will be a nice little repository for people looking to find something to read - especially if they find that their taste matches mine. That will be easy to tell after listening to a few short podcast episodes. So look for Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Review to hit the interwebs in the near future. That's all I've got for now. Thanks for stopping by!

UPDATE 8/1/14

Today I recorded 11 episodes of this new Book Review podcast. I'll drop episode zero sometime this week, and then one a week for the foreseeable future!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Christmas Cave
An Audiobook I Narrated & Produced is live!

I had the pleasure of narrating author David R. Beshear's audiobook The Christmas Cave. You can find it for sale at, in iTunes, and at Amazon. I'm very proud of this audiobook. A lot of what makes it great is of course the writing the author did that creates the story, but I had a blast figuring out all the different character's voices and personalities. There's an old woman, an old man, a few teenagers and two sets of parents. Not a huge cast, but sometimes I was very glad that I had made distinctions between narrating their voices so that the listener can easily tell who is talking. I think the story came out wonderfully in audio and is a really great listen. I'm expecting to get some promo codes soon for the audiobook from audible which will allow me to give copies away to people who will review it. Please send me a line and I'd be happy to send a promo code your way making the audiobook free with your Audible account. Head on over to the audiobook's page on Audible and listen to the sample. I hope it makes you click the buy button. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

IT by Stephen King | Book Review

There was some great stuff in this book. Huge sections that were awesome. There was also a lot of disgusting stuff, and for me it was way too long. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator Steven Weber couldn't have done a better job. He was phenomenal. But even with amazing narration and some fantastic storytelling, the story at 45 hours was just too long. I picked this novel up because I heard it was kind of like King's novella "The Body." That's the one the movie Stand By Me is based on and it's easily one of my all-time favorite stories. While there is a group of kids who even have a clubhouse like in The Body. The story is much different though and even though there are a lot of things I like about it, overall I wish I would have spent 45 hours listening to a different book.

As usual King does a great job building characters you feel like you know. Each character is very different and has their own little traits you come to love. With all the time he took to tell this story he fleshes out a whole gang of kids and their enemies. Not only the characters as kids, but as adults too. The people they became, and then going back and forth between their story as kids unfolding and their story as adults going back to the place they were as kids. It was an epic tale, but it could have been so without being so epically long.

I was ready for it to be over long before it was over. Part of that might be because I don't like the darker books where king writes about child abuse and spousal abuse. I can only read so much of that stuff and this book had a bit too much of it for my liking. I was really cheering for the characters until near the end. When the gross scene describing what they did as kids happens. That's when I almost put the book down. Instead I skipped through it and finished the rest of the story. The end after that wasn't terrible. I liked the way the story closed out. You get to relive some of the fun things you remember from earlier in the book. "High Ho Silver! Away!" is what I'll say to hint at that. So in closing, were their great moments? Yes. Did King knock it out of the park building believable breathing characters? Yes that's what he's best at. But in the end the story was just too long and too dark for my liking. I know many other readers feel differently about this one, even claiming it as their favorite King book. The other book people claim to be King's best book is The Stand. I will have to read that one soon. For now I'm on to reading one of his newer novel's called Mr. Mercedes. I've really liked all of Kings recent books and so far I'm liking this one. IT is not one I'd recommend, but you don't have to take my word for it.

Have you read IT? Did you love it? Hate it? How about any other Stephen King books? Sound off in the comments section and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Scavenger: A Sand Diver Tale by Timothy C. Ward
Book Review

This novelette felt right. It was in the world of Sand, a place I would never want to visit but came to love as I read Hugh Howey's novel Sand. Timothy does a great job of placing you right back in that world and introducing new characters to you. I liked his descriptive prose too. I noticed it right away at the beginning of the book and it set the mood and tone for the rest of the story. For the brief time you get to spend with them you learn a lot about them and he does a good job of fleshing them out. There are some very personal things you learn about the character and before a bunch of action similar to what you loved in Howey's Sand happens you'll know the motivations of the main character well. If you like Sand, and I don't know who wouldn't absolutely love that novel, then you'll like this story too. It's always fun to go back to a place you love from a book and revisit it and Timothy does a great job of bringing us back to that barren wasteland we've all come to love.

The eBook at Amazon for only 99¢!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moon Hooch | New Music That Blew Me Away

If you're not checking out NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts you're missing out on some incredible music and performances. I discovered an awesome band called Alt-J in this Tiny Desk Concert video and really liked what I was hearing because it was just so different from anything I'd heard before. The same goes for the band Moon Hooch. They are incredible. See for yourself:

You can also steam their entire album at their Bandcamp site here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson | Book Review

This is going to be an interesting review. I'll start out with some positives because I'm a positive guy. I just finished the book a couple days ago and I can't wait to read the next book. The way the book wrapped up was awesome and it made me yearning for the next book in The Stormlight Archive series. Everything else I've read by Brandon Sanderson, other than his YA titles, I've loved. He is one of my favorite authors. I love his podcast Writing Excuses. I met him in real life and he was funny, genuine and kind. I'm glad he's young so I'll be reading his books for a lifetime.

Okay all of that said, I gave this book 3/5 stars because the first 75% of it bored me to death. Reading the first two acts of the story was like an uphill climb. When you're reading a 1,000+ page, or 47.5 hours of audio, book - that's a lot of reading of story you don't like. I didn't care about the characters until that last act of the book. It felt like almost every scene was just characters in a room talking. Hardly anything happened. I knew going into this book that it is the first in what is planned as a long series of books so I know he had a lot of stuff to set up - but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. I have many friends who were never bored reading this book and gave it 5 stars and raved about it to me. It bored me to tears and the only reason I kept reading it was that I have loved Sanderson's other work, and that people said it was worth reading.

By the end of it I was totally on board, but until then I was switching to other books and then reading through The Way of Kings when I could stand it.

Okay so now you know why I gave the book 3/5 stars, but let me end with this. The stuff at the end of the story is some of the coolest most epic stuff I have ever read. It was amazing! I loved every minute of it and couldn't wait for more. Now that I've finished the book I'm eagerly waiting for my credit to come in for the month so I can download the next one and start listening. From an article I read I have really high hopes for the second one called Words of Radiance. Plus I'm now invested in what happens to the characters. I can't wait to read book two. I'm anticipating at least a 4/5 star rating for it.

Links to get your copy of the book:

Have you read any of Brandon's books? Love them as much as I do? What about The Way of Kings? What was your reading experience with this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!