Listen to my latest short story "The Forest Trail"

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray | Book Review

Lost Star was a fantastic book. I love how much emotion was in it. That should be obvious because it's a Young Adult novel Romeo and Juliet space adventure but this book surprised me with how much awesome strong emotions it had in it. The characters go through a lot it I really felt what they were feeling as I read this book. It was amazing.

I loved how the intimate story of the two main characters weaved through huge story moments in the original STAR WARS trilogy, even doing things that you see the effects of in Episode VII The Force Awakens. You get to see big parts of Episodes IV, V, and VI through different perspectives and that was really fun. Some of the huge story events that happen in those movies have enormous effects on the characters both emotionally and on their careers. I loved getting to experience a great new story with awesome new characters I had come to love that also intersected with a story I've known and loved for years. Sometimes this book goes into more detail than the original trilogy explaining the thinking and reasoning behind why things happened the way they did and I can't help but think the next time I watch the original trilogy it will be enriched from my reading of this book and that is so rad!

The first time Ciena Ree met Darth Vader the way she described him made him seem so creepy and powerful and it was really fun to see the iconic character through her eyes. It gave me more respect for Darth Vader in a weird way and made him seem scarier and more powerful even though I know him well. That was cool.

The story starts on the small backwater planet of Jelucan and Gray did an amazing job with the world building there. It felt so lived in with its own rich history and the two societies who didn't get along with the newer Second Wavers and the older natives called the Valley Kindred. From these two very different cultures two friends meet and their story grows from there.

I loved the character growth of the two main characters Thane Kyrell the aristocratic second waver, and Ciena Ree the rural villager. They become so much more as they rise in power and position through the ranks of the Empire and more. Their story was really touching, thrilling, and fun to read. You get to see them go from backwater kids with huge dreams to important people in the universe right there at the heart of many of the major conflicts. The way I got to experience these kids grow up was really special and made for a really enjoyable reading experience.

The last act of the book was amazing. There was so much built up emotion and so much intense action that it made for one heck of a story climax. It was fantastic. I can't recommend this book enough for STAR WARS fans.

This Long Vigil by Rhett C. Bruno | Book Review

This was a really touching short story. I loved it! The world building was excellent too. You have a dude who is living with the ships computer on a generational spaceship traveling for years and years to reach some new place to colonize. The main character Orion is the only human awake. He gets to help the ship maintain stuff while walking past hundreds of sleeping humans encased behind protective barriers he'll never be able to cross. His only interaction for his whole life is with the ship wide artificial intelligence called Dan. He likes Dan. He respects Dan, but when Orion's time is nearly up he just can't face going back to sleep for eternity in one of those hibernation chambers, so he picks the person to replace him and does something drastic.

The story is very well written and started off with me being a very interested reader wanting to find out what Orion's life is like. You get to see how his life has been always inside of a ship. His life has been happy, but he longs for more. The author Rhett C. Bruno did a great job building the world, describing the sites and sounds of the ship and space beyond it.

This story was done really well. I loved it. It's a quick easy read but very touching and deep for such a short story. The ending was beautiful. It was also exciting. Great story.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut | Book Review

My first thought upon reading Vonnegut was that he writes amazing details. Details that paint his scenes on the canvas of my mind in brilliant sharp clarity. Each carefully crafted sentence a brushstroke adding light, shadow, and color to his characters crashing through their various environments. Sadly those brilliant scenes were smeared into banality before the end of the novel for me. Look around though, it seems I'm the only one who thought this book was okay but not great.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book:

This one is describing the main character walking through a war-zone in his civilian clothes with no helmet or weapon - dirty and red faced.
"He looked like a filthy flamingo."
I've never heard a dog's bark described this way and I think it's brilliant but then I'm a sucker for similes and alliteration:
"That dog had a voice like a big bronze gong."
All that said, I liked this book but by the end of it I was glad it was over. I had grown bored of it. I didn't really care for the way it jumped randomly from one snippet of Billy Pilgrim's life to another. It was really weird. Definitely interesting and I've never read anything like it before, but this is one book I'm glad I've finished because I didn't want to keep reading it.

From the reviews I've glanced over on Amazon, Goodreads, and YouTube I'm in the minority and this book is pretty much loved by all, but it was kind of just okay to me. Props to Vonnegut for doing what he did in this book and the great writing in it, but this book didn't hold my attention until the end. Maybe that's my fault, what can I say? Comment and disagree with me and tell me why I'm wrong :) I will try reading other Vonnegut books though, because he's a great writer, but next time I want a more cohesive story instead of a weird fiction / non-fiction melting pot of scenes.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Review - Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Guest Post by Maria Jane



For decades, the undoubtable influence of Star Wars has reigned true in all aspects of the science fiction genre and community. From the first viewing of the original film in May 1977, through the subsequent five films that span the decades in between and the many spin-offs in cartoons, graphic novels, and literary materials, fans have been hooked. And now, nearly 40 years later, we are once again enamored with the latest installment in the juggernaut, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.   
  
This new film is set approximately 30 years after the events in The Return of the Jedi and centers on the search for the missing and last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, and the race between who can find him first: the Resistance lead by General Leia Organa or the First Order, whose commander Kylo Ren is a mysterious and emotional new villain. The light side has its own array of new characters as well, with former stormtrooper Finn and desert scavenger Rey. However, both of these characters’ backgrounds still remain a mystery, although there is much speculation about their origins from fans all over the world. We are also treated to familiar faces Chewbacca and Han Solo throughout the journey as well as new face and best pilot in the galaxy, Poe Dameron and his best droid friend, BB-8.  


The Force Awakens is a successful blending of the old and the new, with familiar allusions to the older films and cheesy sweeping scene transitions in addition to these new and already lovable characters and subtle, simple humor. In many ways, this film could also be interpreted as a reboot of the original series, with a whole new story. It seems the torch has been successfully passed to the next generation of both characters and fans, proving that the relinquishing of creative control by original creator George Lucas was a wise move indeed.   
  
In this latest project within the Star Wars universe, producer and director J.J. Abrams also helped write portions of the screenplay and chose to take the franchise somewhat back to its practical effects roots. Listening to critics and fans alike in their displeasure with the amount of CGI used in the prequel series, Abrams and company successfully mixed CGI in when necessary but relied on practical makeup and effects whenever possible.

The team once again turned to composer John Williams, whose mile-long and very impressive resume includes the musical scores for the three movies in the original series, including the now iconic opening Star Wars theme music. At the age of 83 and with a career spanning nearly 60 years in the business, his legacy will likely live on long after his demise, although here’s hoping we won’t have to play witness to that event any time soon.   
  
Without going into too many details, this latest Star Wars film validated some of the predictions of fans leading into it, particularly in the area of familial ties. However, it also left some questions unanswered, presumably to explore further in the next two films expected to be made in this newly planned trilogy. While we wait for these further answers, many will likely indulge in viewing this newest film several more times, and we can also catch many of the spin offs, including Star Wars: Droid Tales and Star Wars Rebels through Disney XD and DirecTV. In the meantime, it seems the Star Wars universe is alive and thriving, with many more years of life in it yet. 





This awesome article was written by Maria Jane. Click on the label Maria Jane below to find more articles on this website written by her. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant
Book Review

There is a lot of great info in here. I love how the informal tone of the book sets you at ease as if you're listening to a friend give you advice from the other chair in the room. Even though there's a ton of info in here it was entertaining and fun to read because of the great authorial voice. Reading about the authors' journeys and successes was inspirational too. I'm glad I finally picked this one up, and I guess I should get an email list for my author website.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 35
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett


Download the .mp3

In this 35th episode I review my favorite epic fantasy novel The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett. It has three fantastic main characters, an amazingly realized fantasy world that was the reason I first became intrigued in the world, and some super scary bad guys. In short it was awesome! I never grew bored reading this massive tome.

Buy the Book on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Warded-Man-Demon-Cycle/dp/0345518705

Visit the Author's Website:
http://www.petervbrett.com/

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Visit my website: www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Support the show AND get a free audiobook!
http://www.audibletrial.com/DansBookReviews

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by Peter V. Brett
Narrated by Pete Bradbury

This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews for a free trial membership.


Audible Free Trial Details


Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Dimensional Abscesses Now Available in Paperback!



I'm so excited! You can purchase a paperback copy of Dimensional Abscesses for only $9.99 on Amazon! It contains my 6,000 word short story The Realm of Fire which I'm very proud of. This would make a great gift for loved ones! Tell everyone! :) Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Neil Gaiman reads A Christmas Carol

Every year in December around Christmas time I read, or more likely listen to, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I have 3 different versions of the audiobook I cycle through. They're all great. This below however is very special. I stumbled on it in an email newsletter I get from Tor publishing. Neil Gaiman isn't just a great writer, he's also a great narrator. Listen to him read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. A real treat. His narration of the story begins at 11:55 if you want to skip the cool intro stuff. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Recap of STAR WARS episodes I - VI

I don't know about you, but I'm REALLY EXCITED about STAR WARS Episode VII The Force Awakens coming out! I have my tickets to see it on the night of the 18th and I can't wait! I've seen all 6 of the movies leading up to this film many times and I've even seen all of them again this year but if you're like me you wouldn't mind a quick recap just to be fully prepared to sit down and see it in all it's glory. So here we go, the six films leading up to The Force Awakens recapped for us by awesome YouTuber Eclectic Method in just 3 minutes:


Monday, December 14, 2015

BATMAN!



Our Elf on the Shelf has been hanging with some pretty cool characters.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White | Book Review

I was surprised by how well written this book was. I shouldn't be as White is the other half of the famous writing book The Elements of Style, but it still struck me just how good the writing is in this book. The prose was clear and perfectly organized. The story moves well and has a great flow, and you could say there are many pieces of poetry sprinkled in because of how beautiful the writing is at times. Look for example at this beautiful line of Charlotte speaking to Wilber at the fair the night before he may become a prize pig:

When the first light comes into the sky and the sparrow stirs and the cows rattle their chains, when the rooster crows and the stars fade, when early cars whisper along the highway, you look up here and I'll show you something.

It's descriptive and wonderful. I knew and loved this story from watching the animated movie dozens of times as a kid but had never read the book. I started reading it because I wanted a good book to read to my young kids. They love this book, especially my oldest who is 7. He never wants me to stop and will sit and listen for long periods of time. If you're reading this book it's really fun to do different voices for the different characters and animals. Like the rat Templeton, or the crazy goose who repeats syllables all the time. It's a very fun book to read to your kids that will last many reading sessions as it's a nice lengthy chapter book for kids.

For a children's story this book does a tremendous job of touching on some big themes and subjects. The main one of course is death. Wilbur is a pig and all spring pigs become bacon and sausage. This story happens because the spider Charlotte attempts to save Wilber's life. 

The characters in this story are richly rendered. From Fern's rambunctious brother Avery always stirring up trouble and toting around some poor frog to the loving kind Fern who saves the pig Wilbur's life in the first chapter.

Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. A small one to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly.

I don't want to put spoilers into this review but lets just say for such a fun delightful little book where animals talk this story tackles death in a beautiful way and the subject comes up again and again and not just for the pig character Wilbur. This was a gorgeous story beautifully written and I'm very glad I read it and am reading it to my kids. I haven't finished reading it to them yet but I wanted to finish it before the year was over because I'm trying to see how many books I can read this year. This little book easily stands as one of the best books I read this year. Though this slim volume was written for kids, it touched my heart and even brought tears to my eyes twice. It truly is a treasure and a masterpiece.

Have you read this classic? What do you think? Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Broken Magic by Justin R Macumber | Book Review

Another fantastic novel from Justin R. Macumber. I loved the first book in this series, and this one delivered again. Great story, great characters, and two awesome magic systems that clash to make for one awesome story with great action scenes.

The way Justin described the two different kinds of magic, the way they felt when the characters drew them in, and how it affected them was brilliant. I also love how he described the magic hurting characters to use it and how it drained them. It took a lot out of the characters to use magic in this book and that made it seem so much more real and awesome. Yes the characters can do some amazing things with magic but they suffer for it and having that as part of the story enhanced it so much for me. He made abstract fantastical things feel real and alive in the story.

There was a part in the story where there's a magic wielding character in the post-apocalyptic world and they had never seen electricity. That character comes encounters a city with all the street lights up and running. To them the technology was like magic. It was really fun seeing that character interact with the world that would be somewhat familiar to me but had become the stuff of magic to them. Great storytelling and world building.

The imagery described in the fight scenes from magic being used was amazing. Justin did a fantastic job of describing what was happening. I could see the scenes clearly in my mind and they were so cool. I remember stopping just to imagine the moment that was happening in the scene for a few seconds longer just to enjoy it before I moved on. He has a great way of balancing description with action so the scenes move but are described in a way you can picture clearly in your mind.


In the last act of the story Justin utilized all of the characters well. There were a lot of characters and he made all of them important. Even the more minor characters had a major role to play in the final battle and it was awesome to see the battle through all of the different character viewpoints. Another thing I loved about Justin using so many characters in his novel was the dialogue. It always gave each character more depth and personality. The dialogue was also often witty and very funny. I've said this in other reviews before but when an author can make me laugh in a time of intense action where it looks like the characters are doomed I am pretty impressed and it makes reading the story that much more fun and enjoyable.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Video Sample of Me Narrating an Audiobook



While the video quality leaves much to be desired here check out me narrating a sliver from an audiobook and a bit of my process. At 1:35 the audio switches microphones and you can hear the difference between my iPhone 6+ internal microphone and my Audio‑Technica AT2020 cardioid condenser microphone. Maybe next time I'll figure out a better lighting situation than just the light of my laptop :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I'm Writing Chapter Books

I really want to finish the novels I've started but I just don't seem to have the time most nights. Meanwhile I really want to get more fiction out there for sale and write enough of it to make a print book. I can't make my short stories into paperbacks except as a collection which I do plan on doing, but I have this burning desire to get books out there. I've been trying to think of short stories I could write that would each be their own story but like episodes in a longer series. I've also been trying to think of books to write that my seven year old could read because he's getting into reading and I'm really excited about that. Luckily for me these books are the same length as most of my longer short stories which I can write in a few sessions and get feedback and rewrites and reviews on in a decent amount of time. So that's where my focus is going - chapter books.

With my limited time to write and edit, it's hard for me to write novels. It takes a while to get my head around such long complicated stories. There's a lot of planning involved, and once it's done there are several revisions and rewrites to be done. At my rate it will take me ages to get a finished novel completed and ready for sale. It's still something I'm passionate about and want to work on, maybe on weekends or when I have decent chunks of time, but in the mean time I'd like to get more fiction out there and short stories seem to be hard to sell.

So I'm going to write a series of chapter books about a kid who solves mysteries. I'll be shooting for a word count of 3000 - 15,000 words. This is the length of chapter books written for kids ages 6 to 11. My oldest is 7 but has no problem reading Diary of a Sixth Grade Ninja which claims to be for kids ages 9 - 12. So I'm going to write a ton of chapter books. Honestly I enjoy reading these kinds of books myself and from the little I got down last night I really enjoy writing them too. 

I started a book like this about a kid detective years ago and even wrote several thousand words of that story but it never had much traction for me. This one I can already tell could turn into many chapter books about different mysteries and I'm really excited about it. So I'm still going to chip away on my longer novels when I can but for now I'm going to focus my little blocks of time I have on writing chapter books. Getting them written. Rewritten. Revised. Getting feedback from beta readers. Polishing them. Getting them edited, and getting them published!

The other fun thing is that I'm an artist and I love doing illustrations and these chapter books have lots of illustrations so it will be fun making those and putting them in the books too. Check out the cover I whipped up and a sample of what I wrote last night below. I did not do this illustration but will do the interior ones. This is one I found that is in the Public Domain so it's free to use for commercial purposes. Thanks for stopping by!



The Case of the Magical Snowman A Barnabas Thackeray Mystery

My name is Barnabas Thackeray and this is the case of the magical snowman. It all started with my friend Jeff's sighting of a mysterious snowman in his yard one night. He told me about it the next day at lunch.
"I was getting out of bed to use the bathroom when I saw it outside my window. It wasn't moving or anything like that, but I don't know how it got there. I didn't make it and my brother was  gone all afternoon so it wasn't him either."
"What about your father?" I asked
"Who are you Darth Vader? My father? Why do you always talk funny man?"
"I don't talk funny, I speak correctly. Now answer the question."
"Come on Barns, you really think my dad would just be out building a snowman at night? Grownups don't do stuff like that dude. Besides it was too good."
"When you say too good, what precisely do you mean?"
"I've made lots of snowmen before, but I could never make one this good. All of his parts were like perfectly round, and the coal pieces that he had for eyes were cut down at angles on top to make him look..."
"Make him look what?"
"Well evil. Like he had a huge evil grin."
"And how did you see all of this from your bedroom window?"
"I got my binoculars out. I swear I thought he was going to turn his head and look at me when I checked him out. It gave me the creeps. After that I closed my curtains, went pee, and went straight back to bed."
"And you said it was gone in the morning?"
"Yeah well most of it. First thing I did of course when I woke up was look out the window again, but he wasn't there. But I could see something in the snow."
"Really?"
"Yeah so I ran out in my pajamas to the spot where the snowman had been and there was a hat."
"What kind of hat?"
"It was the hat he was wearing. One of those old school hats."
"Like a top hat? Think Frosty the Snowman."
"Yeah like that. It's black with a red stripe around it's bottom, same color as the scarf he was wearing. Are you going to finish your mashed potatoes?"
"These are something of an entirely different composition than potato. They're all yours."
"Thanks!"
He grabbed my lunch tray and scooped my mound of fake potato onto his.
"So you kept it then?"
"Kept what?" he said around my so called potatoes.
"The hat."
"Oh yeah. I stuck it under my bed."
"Did it feel smooth?"
"I don't know man I just grabbed it and hid it! Why?"
"Legend has it that silk hats can make snowmen come to life."



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

First World War by Ken Pelham | Book Review

This was an interesting story in The Prometheus Saga. The Prometheus character was discovering who he was. Instead of knowing his purpose he just knew he was drawn to humans and had instincts to study them but keep itself safe when found in dangerous situations. He also hears voices in times of trouble telling him what to do to save his body from death.

There are different tribes of people in this story. The author did an awesome job of describing them. I could picture them as I read their description. They war against each other and The Prometheus observes it all.

There was a lot of war and brutal violence in this story. Much of it is described in detail and that makes me recommend this story as one that's not for the faint of heart. It's not a horror story but there are realistic horrors of war in it so be ready to read some brutal action scenes full of detailed violence. It fit with the time period and place this story took place in and didn't come off as something to shock the reader but know it's in there. If you have a weak stomach this one may not be for you. If The Walking Dead is something you don't have trouble watching, you'll be fine.

In this story The Prometheus character used his knowledge of his immortal body to convince others of magic taking place when he could heal from mortal wounds. That was a cool concept because as a reader of the other Prometheus Saga stories I knew about his abilities but had not seen them used in this way. Usually he/she hides the ability from humans. So that was cool.

There's a love story in this violent story. It was fun seeing it develop even in this short of a story and what lengths the characters had to go to in order to be together in the warring society. It was a little like Romeo and Juliet but in a weird cool historical fiction / science fiction kind of way. This was a very interesting story and not like one I've ever read before. I'm glad I picked it up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 34
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Download the .mp3

In this 34th episode I review one of the great American novels The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love the writing imagery and symbolism in this book. Have a listen to hear why this is easily one of my favorite classics.

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Visit my website: www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Support the show AND get a free audiobook!
http://www.audibletrial.com/DansBookReviews

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Narrated by Jake Gyllenhal

This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews for a free trial membership.


Audible Free Trial Details


Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Heart Thief by S. Lee Benedict | Book Review

Dang was this book good! There are so many reasons I loved this book! The writing was fantastic. It had a great flow and was very fun and easy to read but could also be fantastically descriptive at times sketching out what was going on in the story. The author was really good at changing his tone and diction when the third person point of view changed to a different viewpoint character. Even though it was in third person that had a very distinct flavor and great words that only went with certain characters. You really felt like you were getting the story from the distinct point of view every time and it really gave you a way to dive deeper into the creepy world of Rhapp's Barren.

The main character Ezra was awesome. He is discovering some huge things about himself in this book while he and his parents deal with some powerful grief. He's an artist too, and being an artist myself it was really fun to read about him carrying around a sketchbook and showing people drawings of architecture he had done. Later in the story his drawing leads to some very dark creepy truths but you'll have to read the book to find out about those. Also he meets a pretty special girl in the story and seeing their friendship develop and grow among all the crazy supernatural stuff that's going on was grounding and wonderful in this novel. I really liked her personality and her dialog added a lot of fun and humor to the story. There were so many themes touched on in this book too. Family, friendship, loss, even bullying. This is a very well written well rounded story with a lot to offer. I can't wait to read the second one.

Touching more on the characters, there were so many great ones! I loved the police officers and the break their scenes gave to the growing crazy supernatural stuff Ezra keeps discovering. The more police procedural scenes were fun to read and really well done. I loved the two cop partners and how different they were from each other. Even though they were more minor characters in the overall story they were fleshed out really well and I liked them and cared about them. Then there is the family of freaks Ezra meets who have many secrets that you'll have fun discovering if you read this book. I call them freaks but they are like friends to me know having read the book. They all have different... abilities I'll say because I don't want to spoil anything in the story - and their story was really cool to uncover as I read through the book. I can't finish mentioning the great characters without saying how cool the bad guys were. A very powerful evil magician and his two terrifying accomplices. A little tiny wooden dummy man who doesn't let his size stop him from being someone you wouldn't want to meet and a huge ghastly hulk of a man who can literally rip your heart out of your chest with his bare hands.

I loved the dark supernatural thriller and the police procedural elements in this book. It was cool to delve into the deep dark world of magic and monsters and then switch to the view of that same world through the skeptical and organized view of the policeman trying to pick up the pieces after these supernatural monsters had committed gruesome crimes.


This book had some pretty amazing action scenes. Guns, swords, magical energy, plants coming to life and snatching characters up - there were a lot of very intense action scenes in this book that were very exciting and very well done. All of them grew the characters, taught them things about themselves, and ramped up the tension in the book.

I read this book by listening to the audiobook and the narrator R.C. Quartermaine was spot on for this one. First his narration. He has a great deep voice that really tells the story well. His voice makes the story very interesting to listen to. I could listen to him read fiction for hours - well that's what I did for this book. Then when he does the character voices he adds another layer of awesome to the listening experience. Some of these characters were monsters, some of them were people of different nationalities like Irish and German, some were policemen, teachers, parents, and teenagers. He nailed the different tones for the different age groups and kinds of characters. He did really great monster voices that were very different sounding from the rest of the characters but not corny or over the top. They were actually pretty scary sounding which was awesome. And the different accents he used for the many German and one Irish character were great. Very well done. I particularly like his voice for a nerdy guy who worked at the history museum. The audiobook is a real treat to listen to and was very well done. R.C. Quartermaine is a talent I plan on listening to again.

The ending was very satisfying. It wrapped everything up well but still left a huge danger that the characters are going to have to deal with at some point in the future, but the ones who survive to the end of the book are left in a great place. I love it when a book can make me laugh even at its darkest most intense parts and this book did that for me at the end. Some of the things Ezra said and the ways he reacted to what was going on were priceless and had me rooting for him and laughing really hard. It was awesome and put a smile on my face.

Wow. Fantastic book. I'm looking forward to more from this author. He is talented and tells a great dark fun creepy funny awesome story. 5 stars all the way. Loved this book.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 33
The Martian by Andy Weir


Download the .mp3

In this 33rd episode I review The Martian by Andy Weir. It was amazing! I don't read much in the hard science fiction genre but this book won me over right away and now I'd consider it an instant Science Fiction classic. Listen to hear why I loved it so much. The audiobook and movie are great too!

Buy the book on Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Martian-Novel-Andy-Weir-ebook/dp/B00EMXBDMA

Check out the authors Andy Weir's website:
http://www.andyweirauthor.com/

For more from me visit http://www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


Visit my website: www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Support the show AND get a free audiobook!
http://www.audibletrial.com/DansBookReviews

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by Andy Weir
Narrated by R. C. Bray

This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews for a free trial membership.


Audible Free Trial Details


Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Solarversia by Toby Downton | Book Review

If you like reading near future science fiction books, you'll love this one. It's full of cool ideas about artificial intelligence, the future of video game technology, and a whole lot more. If you enjoyed one of my favorite books, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, there's a great chance you'll have a blast reading this book too.

The main character and her friends join Solarversia, a yearlong game that promises fame and riches to the person who wins at the end. I loved the places described in this virtual gaming world and how the characters interacted with it. A lot of time their real world problems got in the way of their in game quests - things like homework and studying. I loved the vehicles the characters got to use in the game world and the exotic locations they got to visit. Some of the locations had cool things like places where the gravity was altered so you could walk upside down. Stuff like that made this a fun read to experience the stuff happening with the characters.

I'm not going to spoil anything in this review but I have to mention another part of the stort that was very interesting. One of the characters dies but lives on as a virtual avatar who can be virtually visited be the living. So they live on in a way with ones and zeroes and act as they would in real life. The introduction of this into the grieving process of the real life lost was very interesting. It made me think about how weird and un-natural it would be. This is just one example that made you think about how weird it would be to live in this future world with technology we can only imagine right now. Another example is that one of the characters buys a breakfast cereal put out by the game company and if they're wearing their special glasses they can see little creatures come off the cereal box and interact with real objects on her table as she eats. Man my kids are distracted enough as it is while they eat, but it was fun to imagine what this experience would be like. Lots of things like this made this book fun for a nerd like me to read.

Besides all the crazy quests and adventures the characters have in the game world, there are some pretty sinister bad guys in the real world called The Holy Order who are trying to bring about the destruction of the game and create... okay sorry I don't want to put spoilers in here so you'll have to read the book to find out what they're up to. But part of that is forcing cybernetic limbs on people who already had perfectly good working ones. Yep... slice. The one thing in this book I didn't care for was the sometimes gruesome description of people dying or getting... altered. I don't have the stomach for much of that stuff and the book seems like a Young Adult novel because of the ages of the characters and then this gory stuff... it grossed me out but even though I love Stephen King novels I’m kind of a weenie  Other than that this was a really fun story and I'm glad I read it.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Free Halloween Stories


Happy Halloween! I have a couple of Halloween short stories so I thought I would share links to them on this week of Halloween. I also just made a Halloween eBook with 8 thrilling stories in it. You can find that HERE. If you like eBooks or audiobooks I've got you covered. Below are two of the stories in this new eBook that are specifically Halloween stories. They're available below in eBooks and Audiobook formats, but you can find those and others in the eBook pictured to the right and linked above. Also all my stories are available in audio if you find more in the eBook you'd like to listen to. Thanks for stopping by!




Welcome to episode 14 of Short Stories of Dan Dan The Art Man! This episode is a narrated short story for Halloween about a new kid in town discovering just how real the local ghost story is when he's dared to climb up an old creepy tower that sits behind a mansion. Have a listen and I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!



Download the .mp3

Attributions:
Music used: "Tempting Fate" and "Beginning" by Audionautix.com.
Sound effects used were all Public Domain and came from Freesound.org




Now available in eBook formats here:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/489419








The House Sitter 


Download the .mp3


When Tammy is house sitting, she get creeped out. She keeps hearing and seeing things in the dark corners of the mansion she is alone in. Then, she hears and sees something and this time it's not her imagination.

Now available for FREE in all eBook formats at Smashwords.com.

Bed Music Attribution:
http://www.freesound.org/people/thanvannispen/sounds/30274/

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 32
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Download the .mp3

In this 32nd episode I review Ready Player One by Ernest Cline! This is the funnest book I've ever read! Video games! 80's Pop Culture! Amazing adventures in a virtual reality! What more could you want as a geeky reader? Listen to hear why I loved this one.

Buy the book on Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/Ready-Player-One-A-Novel/dp/0307887448

Check out the authors Ernest Cline's website:

Get Nathan Lowell's new book In Ashes Born:
http://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Seekers-Golden-Solar-Clipper-ebook/dp/B0160RR194

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/



Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by Ernest Cline
Narrated by Wil Wheaton


This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews for a free trial membership.


Audible Free Trial Details


Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Merlin and the Pendragons by Chris A Moody | Book Review

This was a fun little twist on a classic tale with a splash of Sci-Fi. It flowed pretty well and before I knew it I was done reading it. I liked some of the details about the characters, especially the first time the main character Merlin is described.

Merlin is a Chronos agent. Their job is to go back in history to see if things really happened how the history books say they did without making history themselves. Merlin gets to go back in time to see if King Arthur was a real guy so you get to go on an adventure through time with Merlin and visit Camelot. It was fun going with the character back and forth in time and seeing how he dealt with unexpected problems that came up. A fun little read.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 31
Sense Memory by Brion J. Humphrey


Download the .mp3

In this 31st episode I review the amazing novel and free audiobook Sense Memory by Brion J. Humphrey. It was a 5/5 star book for me. Listen to hear why I loved this awesome twisted crime/psychological/supernatural thriller.

Buy the book on Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/Sense-Memory-Benjamin-Cady-Novel/dp/1482796066/

Get the audiobook for free here:
http://podiobooks.com/title/sense-memory/

Check out the authors Brion J. Humphrey's website:
http://sensememory.net/

Podcast Promo plated at the end for:
http://therearviewpodcast.com/

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/



Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by Michael Kramer

This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews for a free trial membership.


Audible Free Trial Details


Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Merlin and the Pendragons | The Story Behind a Book Cover


I had the pleasure of creating the book cover for Merlin and the Pendragons by podcaster and author Chris Moody. We started with a castle as all fantasy stories do right? He had a certian nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace in mind called the Neuschwanstein Castle located on a hill over the village of Hohenschwangau near F├╝ssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. So I went digging and found a great picture of it on Pixelbay that was in the Public Domain which means we could legally use it for commercial purposes.


I left the color of the photo alone and found a medieval fantasy looking font. I also tried seeing what the cover would look like without the medallion. It looked alright but left something to be desired. Chris thought so to. It wasn't there yet.

Then I went and looked at book covers of the other stories in The Chronos Files for style inspiration. The medallion you see above the author name I constructed from scratch in Adobe Photoshop. I grabbed the teal color from one of the other Chronos Files books and then worked on giving it a kind of glowing effect. I added bevels to the metal parts and kept adding layers until all the parts were there. Then I made a new layer in photoshop and splashed a teal to white gradient from bottom to top on it and changed the layer style to Hue to give the whole image that bright teal look. I also added a teal gradient on the top of the image which faded into zero opacity to brighten up the sky and make the title text stand out more and which also made it clearer and easier to read. I also found a new font that looked similar to the fonts used on some of the other Chronos Files stories. Then it was almost done.

Chris mentioned that Amazon would be putting on the Kindle Worlds square logo in the bottom left which might require some things to be moved around. So I copied that off of another cover and temporarily put it on our cover. It showed me right away that Chris's author name needed to be moved to the right and that the medallion needed to be smaller and moved up and to the right. Both would have been partially covered by the square Kindle Worlds logo. Then it was done!

This was a really fun cover to work on and I gave Chris a killer price. I'd love to do the same for you if you find yourself in need of a book cover for your story. Check out my hire me page for prices. You'll find that they're incredibly reasonable if not the cheapest around. I've been on Chris's cool author interview podcast called PodioMedia Chat a couple times so he got a really steep discount as my way of giving back to the podcast community. If you see my prices and still have trouble coming up with some change I've also been known to trade for covers. Shoot me a line and I'm sure we can work out a deal. I'm always in need of people to read my stories and give me feedback and edits! As always, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Top 5 Dystopian Films
Guest Post by Maria Jane


Dystopian fiction is bigger than ever, and while not all films in the genre are critically lauded or well received by audiences, some manage to stand above the rest with tremendous stories of how society will turn out when the end of the world comes around. Here is a list of some of the best dystopian films in recent years. 

The Hunger Games (2012) 

Based on the trilogy of bestselling young adult novels by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games helped usher in the new era of post-apocalyptic popularity. Leading this list is the story of a young woman who offers herself for a match to the death in order to save her younger sister. Living in a totalitarian world where children are forced to kill each other for entertainment, the heroine Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself wanting only to survive and return to her family. But through her quest to be the last person standing, she becomes a symbol for a rebellion long brewing against the government.  

Snowpiercer (2013) 

In the future dystopian world of Snowpiercer, all of humanity that remains is living on a giant train, constantly circling the globe. Those people that live near the front of the train are wealthy, well fed, and sure of their superiority. Those in the back of the train are the complete opposite – abused, starved, kept in filthy conditions like animals, and constantly under threat of being killed. When Captain America himself, Chris Evans rises up to lead rebels from the back of the train to overtake the front, all hell breaks loose. The ending of this dystopian film is even more bleak than most films on this list, with little hope that humanity can survive what they have done to themselves. 

The Maze Runner (2014) 

The Maze Runner centers on all male teenagers dropped into a seemingly impossible to solve labyrinth, where monsters and machines are out to kill them and survival is a thing not to take lightly. Little is explained about the overall post-apocalyptic world the characters inhabit, though it is obvious that there’s more than meets the eye and the answer to a better future may lie in the survivors of the maze itself. The story is action-packed and ends in such a way that viewers want to see the next installment in the series, if only to have their questions about the premise answered. Although the second film in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials, strayed away from the plot of the book, it still made for an engaging and action-packed feature. 

The Giver (2014) 

Based on the novel by Lois LowryThe Giver showcases a (seemingly) much more peaceful world than those in the other movies on this list. In this world, all emotions have been removed from the populace so that everyone can live in peace and harmony, with no more war or conflict. However, each individual is given a specific use in this society, and if they cannot fulfill that use they are removed from their community altogether. While less centered on action and fighting than some other dystopian stories, The Giver does present a lot of important questions about what it is to be human and to feel emotions, and what a world would be like if that part of humanity was stripped away.  

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 

One of the biggest, best movies of 2015 was also the latest installment in a franchise that began back in 1979. Mad Max: Fury Road was everything a great, action-packed, post-apocalyptic film should be. It was set in a barren wasteland of a world, run by diseased warlords using water, fuel, and ammunition as leverage against the rest of the populace. One reason the Mad Max series continues to resonate is the feeling that something like this could easily happen in our own, real world, if our reliance on fossil fuels isn’t supplanted by use of renewable resources - for instance, Enmax energy has reported that we may have as few as 54 years worth of oil reserves left, and scarcity has historically led to warfare. The world of Fury Road is obviously a man’s world, run by men and defended by men. However, in this chapter of the Mad Max saga it is not Max that takes center stage in the story. Instead it is Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, who seeks a better life for herself and a truckload of enslaved concubines. Women are the warriors as well as the victims in this dystopian tale.  


While all dystopian stories have a central theme of explaining how the world moves on after an apocalypse-level event, the good ones also work to take their stories in unique, memorable, and surprising ways. And they seek to explain not only why we might be so fascinated with what would happen in a post-apocalypse situation, but why it is so important to work now to make sure those kinds of situations never take place.  






This awesome article was written by Maria Jane. Click on the label Maria Jane below to find more articles on this website written by her.