Book Review: A Keeper’s Tale by JA Andrews.

A Keeper's Tale: The Story of Tomkin and the DragonA Keeper’s Tale: The Story of Tomkin and the Dragon by J.A. Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Review – A Keeper’s Tale by JA Andrews
A Keeper’s Tale by JA Andrews is the tale of a boy living in the shadow of his older brother, a girl running away from her past and a dragon seeking revenge.

The Bad Stuff: There were one or two places in this story where the description had been dumped in a block of information. This could have been worked into the story better and revealed over a few pages, rather than clumped together in one piece. There were also one or two spots later in the story where the actions became a little stunted. I.e. He did this, then he did that, sort of thing, but it was very limited and other than that, there wasn’t really anything I didn’t like.

The Good Stuff: This book was a freebie for signing up to JA Andrews blog and I was very pleasantly surprized by it. Other than the couple of points noted above, it was well written. In fact, there were parts in the beginning section that I really loved because they were so well written. The story is definitely geared towards YA and fits well into this genre. It is quite clever done in my opinion and includes some great dialogue. The metaphors and similes are original and the characters are likeable.

Overall this is a quick, fun read. I really enjoyed it and therefore I’m going to give this one a dragon roaring 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

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Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Visit the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for updates, special offers, etc…

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Book Review – The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson.

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Review – The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson continues the Mistborn saga as Vin, Elend and the rest of the crew try to unite the Empire and save their crumbling world.

The Bad Stuff: I really can’t think of anything that stood out to me. There were one or two spots where I questioned if a character had learned some of the information they knew, but I didn’t want to go back/read over to find out. I just wanted to keep moving forward with the story. I trust that Sanderson would have covered this and that I had not registered these snippets of information as I was reading.

The Good Stuff: I loved this book as much as the first two. It progresses the story of all our favourite characters – Vin, Elend, Sazed, Tensoon, Spook, and more, as well as introducing some new characters we start to care for. The magic system continues to expand as the story reveals more of its hidden secrets and I feel that Sanderson has found a good balance of giving new readers what they need to know while not repeating too much of what existing readers have already learned. Sanderson has done a great job holding back story details that are drip fed to us over the series, and this last book reveals the last of those secrets, bringing us to a full understanding of the world and why things are the way they are.

Overall this is a great resolution to this fantasy series and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I’m going to give this one an earth moving, pewter filled 5 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

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Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Visit the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for updates, special offers, etc…

Celebrating Christmas in Oz.

Hello Readers,

My Christmas day was spent at the beach, in the sunny 36 degree heat of the Queensland, Gold Coast. I thought I would share a couple of pictures of the beach, as you may well see it during the commonwealth games if you watch the beach volleyball. These pictures were taken just outside the surf club, where I had dinner and a few beers on Christmas eve. Christmas morning was spent having breakfast with friends and family before we popped back down to the beach for a hour or so to relax. Then we all had some Christmas lunch together. An enjoyable way to spend the day.

How did you spend your Christmas?

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Visit the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for updates, special offers, etc…

Merry Christmas to All.

Picture by Matthias Ripp

Picture by Matthias Ripp

Hello readers,

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all my fans out there. Thank you all for supporting me this year by reading my stories, following my blog, sharing my posts, writing reviews, and everything else. All these things help me as an author. I truly hope you have a wonderful time with your family, friends and/or loved ones. I wish you all the best for the New Year and hope to get some new stories out to you all in 2018.

For those of you who will be alone over Christmas, you have my heartfelt wishes and I’m sure there are some amazing times awaiting you in the new year.

The future is full of secrets that only come to light as time goes on.
The past allows us to look back on where we have come from.
The present is the place between that moves us forwards.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Visit the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for updates, special offers, etc…

Book Review – The Crimson Guild by Allan Walsh.

The Crimson Guild (The Blood Rage Series)
The Crimson Guild by Allan Walsh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Review – The Crimson Guild by Allan Walsh (Author Review)

Here is a little blurb, just for this review. The Crimson Guild by Allan Walsh is a fantasy novella about Conall O’Lorcan, a boy with magical abilities, who is forced to leave his village after he loses control. In the outside world, Conall must hide his abilities. After living rough on the streets, he finds refuge in a guild of thieves, but the threat of his secrets always looms over him.

The Bad Stuff: There are parts of the story that are glossed over; some scenes could have been developed to show more of the characters hardship, creating a stronger bond between the reader and the protagonist. The Crimson Guild was originally part of a novel I wrote called ‘Blood Rage’. I split the novel after receiving feedback that there were three distinct stories in the book that would stand alone. As an author, sometimes you can spend your whole life reworking and editing your books and never release them. I fear that if I had decided to go for three novels, I may well have put this series into a drawer and left it there. After all the time and effort I had already invested into ‘Blood Rage’ I really just wanted to release it and move on. So, I tweaked this section of ‘Blood Rage’ into a stand-alone novella and The Crimson Guild was born. I believe it could have been better, but only if I could have shifted my mindset at the time, and I really needed to move on to something new.

The Good Stuff: I think this works well as a stand-alone novella and I really enjoyed writing the banter between the characters. I tried not to saturate the book with description. Personally I think too much description slows the reading and holds a story back, so I have tried to give enough to solidify the world in the readers mind, but not so much that the reader gets bored and closes the book.

Overall this fantasy novella is a quick, fun read. I believe the characters are likeable and, where required, appropriately dislikeable. Some readers may be disappointed that it is only a short story and I’ve glanced over some of the details that could have made this a great novel. Who knows, maybe I will expand it into a novel in the future. As a novella that stands alone and is also part of a bigger story in the ‘Blood Rage’ series, I would have given this 3.5 Golden Bookmarks, but as Goodreads doesn’t do anything in halves, for me, this one just sneaks in and steals 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

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Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Visit the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for updates, special offers, etc…

What are my Favourite reads of 2017?

Hello Readers,

Books are wonderful things aren’t they? As a reader they can take you on a journey to new worlds, meeting new people, experiencing new things. They can bring back feelings or memories you had forgotten about. They can offer an escape from the real world or plunge you deeper into the realities that exist in peoples lives. As an author they can increase your creativity. They can teach you how to be a better writer by showing you what works and what does not. They can make you feel the emotions you strive to stir within your own readers and give you tips on how to achieve these reactions.

This year I set myself a reading challenge to read 26 books. So far I have completed 23, but I am almost 70% through another and I still have time to achieve my goal. I must admit, I cheated a little by reading some Manga and a few short stories, but it all counts in my mind. Anyway, here is the pick of my favourites:

 

The Final Empire by Brandon SandersonThe Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.

I really enjoyed The Final Empire, book one in the Mistborn series, and its original magic system. The characters are well defined and the story is interesting. If you haven’t read it, give it a go, it is definitely worth the time.

 

The Well of Ascension by Brandon SandersonThe Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson.

This is the next episode in the Mistborn series and it does a great job of building on the first story. It gives you more insights into the story questions and things that happened in book one. The magic system also gets a little deeper, though I felt Sanderson went over a lot of old ground to bring readers that missed book one, up to speed on the use of magic. Still, the book was a good read and is worthy of investing your time in.

 

Red Country by Joe AbercrombieRed Country by Joe Abercrombie.

If you follow my reviews, you will already know that I love Joe Abercrombie’s books. He has got to be my favourite author to date and while I enjoyed this book, it is my least favourite of his works. Red Country has a real ‘Cowboy and Indian’ Western feel to it and it was not what I expected, nor what I was looking for. It still had the same gritty feel that I love about his work and some old favourite characters, but I felt somewhat removed from the story because of the setting. Still a good book in my opinion and if you like Abercrombie’s style, you will like this one.

Mortal Engines by Philip ReeveMortal Engines by Philip Reeve.

This is an old YA dystopia/steampunk novella with some original ideas. The characterisation is done well and it is an enjoyable read, though a little predictable in places. I believe that Peter Jackson is currently directing the movie adaptation for the big screen and that is something I am looking forward to seeing.

So there you have it, my favourite reads of 2017. What are the best picks from your 2017 reading list?

 

So You Want To Sample My Writing, Do You? Well, here is a taste of ‘Making Magic’

Making Magic posterized 3d render

*Please note that the 3D render of the cover is not to scale, this is a short story of approx. 32 pages. 

Hello Readers,

Your next sample of my writing in an excerpt from ‘Making Magic’, a short fantasy/horror story with a touch of humour. This story takes a look at Alcus, a wannabe writer as he attends his first critique session. But not everything is as it seems.  I hope you enjoy reading this spellbinding fantasy/horror.

Making Magic by Allan Walsh

Alcus stared at a note pinned to the notice board. The corners were furled, itching to roll shut, but the words sparkled, as if calling to him.

‘Do you create your own worlds? Bring characters to life? Create magic you want to be seen? If the answer is yes, this may be the group for you.’

This could be it. The writers’ group I’ve been looking for. But what if they don’t like my work? What if they laugh at me? I can’t spend my whole life wondering. I’ve got to grow a spine, face my fears and get it done.

He grabbed his note pad from his pocket and scribbled the address inside.

The days passed, Alcus counting them down, the way he used to at Christmas when he was a kid. That same feeling of excitement fluttering in his stomach just like it used to. When there were no more days to count, he found his way to the address in his note book. He looked down at the writing on the page.

Room 1
The Old Library,
21 Orion Way,
Forest Hill.

Then peered up at the building before him. Lichen crusted rocks loomed up above the entrance, as if their weight smothered and squeezed the tiny door into the wall. Alcus felt goosebumps creep up his neck.

This is silly, I shouldn’t be here… But If I don’t go in, how am I going to know if my work is any good?

He grabbed the iron ring on the door, tugged it open and ducked inside. The doorway opened up into a large entrance hall. Alcus strode past a wooden sign pointing to a room with an iron-studded door at the end of the hall. He paced back and forth outside the door, stopped and rubbed at his chin.

Just go in Al, try it out. If you make a fool of yourself, just don’t come back, he reasoned.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Enter the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for info on updates, special offers, etc…

Reviews and Self-evaluation – Level Head or Big Head?

 

picture-by-shannon-hauser

Picture by Shannon Hauser

 

Hello Readers,

I’ve seen a few posts lately where an author have asked other authors if they should review their own work. I’ve even responded to a few of these posts with comments giving my own opinion. I read somewhere that you should like your own blog posts, because if you do not have confidence in yourself, why should anyone else? By liking your own work you are letting people know that you trust yourself.

Personally, I don’t see any harm in liking/rating/reviewing your own work – just as long as you’re giving an honest opinion. There is no point is saying something is awesome, when you know it is not. I think this is a sure way to lose the trust of your readers. Rather than saying I love my work, I tend to give a bit of a synopsis when I ‘review’ my own stories, and I rate them at the level I feel they deserve. I know some of my work could be better and in these cases I do not give a 5 star review. In fact, I have never given myself a 5 star review and I doubt I will ever be that satisfied with my own work; there is always room for improvement.

Preference is subjective, so it stands to reason that some people will like things that others do not. And truly, the world would be a boring place if everyone liked the same things all the time. I enjoy my stories and I don’t see any reason I should not rate them accordingly. After all, I wouldn’t publish them if I didn’t believe they were worthy to put out in the world. But, I am interested in knowing your thoughts on the matter. I certainly do not want to turn my readers off.

So, as a reader, does it put you off an author when they have rated their own work? Does it bother you at all? Do you like it and take an interest in the authors thoughts about their own stories? Just how do you feel about it?

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Visit the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for updates, special offers, etc…

So You Want To Sample My Writing, Do You? Well, here is a taste of ‘Easy Prey’

Easy Prey 3d render

*Please note that the 3D render of the cover is not to scale, this is a short story of approx. 28 pages. 

Hello Readers,

For the next sample of my work, I give you an excerpt from ‘Easy Prey’, a short horror story about a dead beat looking for trouble. If he keeps on looking, he may just find what he is after. I hope you enjoy this splash of horror.

Easy Prey by Allan Walsh

Deb climbed the cellar stairs and glared across the main room of Shaw’s Bar at the guy hunched over the jukebox.

Mack.

She’d been trying to avoid him all night, just like every other woman in the place.

He dropped a coin into the Wurlitzer, pressed a few buttons and sat back at the bar, swigging his beer. ‘Free Bird’ bloomed out from the jukebox, filling the smoky air with its sullen tone. The top corner of the latest band poster drooped from the weatherboard wall, as if the music weighed heavy on the paper.

“All done?” Judd asked, handing Deb a bar cloth.

“Yep. Next time I’ll show you how to change the barrel,” she said, wiping her hands on the cloth. “It isn’t hard, you’ll pick it up quick enough.”

“I hope so.” Judd flicked his head towards Mack. “Who’s that? One of the regulars?”

“He’s a regular alright. I wish he wasn’t though. He gives me the creeps. Look at him, sitting there with a week’s worth of stubble, greasy hair and backyard tats all up his arms.”

“You shouldn’t judge him on appearances. Maybe he’s not a bad guy,” Judd said.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Enter the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for info on updates, special offers, etc…

“Storytelling is…”

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

– Robert McKee