Book Review – The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue.

Hough on Dialogue: A Fiction Writer's GuideHough on Dialogue: A Fiction Writer’s Guide by John Hough Jr.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book Review – The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue by John Hough, Jr.
The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue by John Hough, Jr. as the title suggests, is a non-fiction guide to writing dialogue.

The Cover: The cover and title clearly represent the non-fiction genre.

The Bad Stuff: To be brutally honest, this book did not inspire me to keep reading. I skimmed most of it because it didn’t hold my interest. I thought a lot of the examples were dated and while I understand the author’s use of them to demonstrate his point, I found the book a tad boring.

The Good Stuff: While this book failed to get my mind racing with interest, the content is valid and may very well help some authors to improve their writing of dialogue. As a personal preference though, this book was not for me.

Overall, I didn’t find this book much use. I do acknowledge that there is merit to the content though, and because of that I’m giving this book a yawning 2 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.

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Book Review – Story Fix by Larry Brooks

Story Fix: Transform Your Novel from Broken to BrilliantStory Fix: Transform Your Novel from Broken to Brilliant by Larry Brooks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Review – Story Fix by Larry Brooks
Story Fix by Larry Brooks is a non-fiction writing guide to help you wrangle your novels into shape, therefore making them publishable.

The Cover: The cover is a fit with non-fiction, but it is the title (and subtitle) that clearly define what this book is about.

The Bad Stuff: I had to think hard to come up with something to say here. For me, and I would say this is purely personal preference, I think there were one or two analogies too many. While they made valid points, I would have found this a better read without some of them, as I could have gotten to the juicy parts faster.

The Good Stuff: I loved this book. For a writers guide covering structure, story shortcomings and the pitfalls that writers can fall into, this is one of the best I have read. It has solid advice and puts the writing process into a perspective that makes perfect sense. This book tells you what you need to know to be a successful writer. I have been writing for some years now, but nobody has ever sat down and explained things to me quite like this. I have pieced parts of this together over the years from many different sources and still fell short of the level of detail provided here. Great work Larry, you have produced an excellent resource for writers.

Overall, I wish I had found this book when I started out writing. It provides great insights into how you should present your work, how to find problems in your manuscript and how to fix them. I would recommend this to all writers, whatever your level of experience. I’m giving this one a page turning 5 out of 5 golden bookmarks (with a little smiley face stamp on the side).

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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.

Book Review – Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker

Smashwords Book Marketing GuideSmashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Review – Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker
Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker is a non-fiction that covers off of marketing techniques.

The Cover: The cover is basic but professional and clearly fits the non-fiction title.

The Bad Stuff: This is an obvious Smashwords promotional tool and the tips provided really shouldn’t be anything new to the average author who has been publishing for a while.

The Good Stuff: The book is well produced and all the basic marketing tips are here in one place (along with a few things that some authors may not know or have considered). This would certainly be a very useful resource for a new writer and will help them set themselves up as an author, giving them the best shot at making their writing a successful business.

Overall, this is more a marketing tool for Smashwords and I really don’t have an issue with that. In my opinion this book does not contain much in the way of new information for a writer that has been self-publishing for a while (though I appreciate there are differing levels of experience out there). It is however a treasure trove of good ideas and advice for the novice. For this reason I’m giving this one a profile lifting 3 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.

Book Review – Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes

Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle (Book of Never, #0)Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Review – Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes

Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes is a short fantasy story about a thief with bad blood (hmmm… why does that sound familiar to me). We follow the story of Never as he steals he way towards a cure.

The Cover: Okay, I’m adding a new section for cover design in my reviews as I feel they need to be spoken about. I love the cover on this book and probably would not have bothered to pick this title up if not the beautiful artwork. It screams fantasy to me, provoking a mood of gritty action and danger. Just my kind of book.

The Bad Stuff: The name of our protagonist threw me off. Every time I read his name I was confused by the actual meaning of the word, expecting a sentence to form somewhat differently. The writing style didn’t grip me and pull me in either, I found it a bit passive.

The Good Stuff: I must say that once I got over the character’s name and the writing style, I actually enjoyed this story and the world building that was developed over this short story. It is certainly a fantasy set in a world I enjoy to read. The characters were also quite well rounded for a short story. The storyline isn’t bad at all, but as with any new author you read, it may take a few pages to get into the swing of things. I’d say give it a chance and see what you think, I found it free on amazon and if the end matter in the book is up to date, you can get the following book free if you sign up to My Capes Newsletter.

Overall the story was interesting and well-paced, I wasn’t fully invested in the characters, but feel if I were given a little more time with them, I would form a stronger bond. If you are looking for something quick to read with a fantasy setting, I’d say give it a go. I’m giving this one a shadow hugging 3 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

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.

Book Review – Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Review – Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson is a YA fantasy novel about a boy called Alcatraz, given up by his parents at an early age, only to be shifted from one home to the next because of his talent for breaking things. But there is more to this boy than meets the eye and the librarians’ know it.

The Bad Stuff: I’m sorry, but I have to say it. This book was riddled with typos, missing letters, word double ups, etc… and could do with a thorough edit. But honestly, I can’t say anything else bad against this book.

The Good Stuff: I really enjoyed this book. No I mean it, I really enjoyed this book. Even with all the typos. They just didn’t bother me because I was enjoying it so much. It is witty and fun from the very beginning. It even has some good tips for budding writers as Alcatraz tells his story through a first person POV – And the most surprising thing of all, is that I hate first person POV. The way Sanderson handled this was pure style.

Overall this book is creative, well-paced, light hearted and fun. If you are looking for something a little quirky that will make you smile, I strongly recommend it. I’m giving this one a gadget breaking 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.

Book Review – The Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel by Tom Monteleone

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a NovelThe Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel by Thomas F. Monteleone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Review – The Complete Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel by Tom Monteleone
The Complete Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel by Tom Monteleone runs through the basics of what it takes to write a novel, including writing techniques, marketing and publishing tips and much more.

The Bad Stuff: Firstly, let me say that the version I read was the 2004 edition and there is a revised version of this book that was produced in 2010. So, it is no surprize that some of the content seemed dated to me. I have not seen the 2010 edition, so I am not sure if the issues I found have been updated at all. I would suggest they have, as the problems were really around genre, publishing and marketing section of the book and these areas have changed dramatically since 2004. However, I’d still suggest that a lot more has changed since 2010 and it is probably due for another revision.

The Good Stuff: This book is full of good advice on writing and will open the eyes of the naïve novice coming in thinking it will be an easy way to make a fast buck. The techniques and advice given on writing and managing your time still apply today.

Overall this book is for the beginner. It may provide some new tips to the intermediate writer, but the value of the information within will diminish with the more experience you have. Isn’t that the case with all non-fiction though? This book is well worth the money if you are just starting out and because of this, I’m giving it a flourishing 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.

Book Review – Blood Rage by Allan Walsh

Blood Rage (#3)Blood Rage by Allan Walsh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Review – Blood Rage by Allan Walsh (Author Review)

Blood Rage by Allan Walsh is a fantasy novel about a thief, Conall O’Lorcan, who begrudgingly takes on a job that seems too good to be true. It is… and everything starts to go wrong. His world spirals into chaos as a power hungry Baron plots to take over the realm. With so much more than just his reputation at stake, Conall is determined to set things right.

The Bad Stuff: Blood Rage was the first story I ever wrote. Some parts of this novel were very easy for me; action scenes conjured themselves up in my mind and just seemed to flow onto the paper. But other parts I struggled with. Tough parts I did not want to write and spent hours slogging through, trying to piece the scenes together. As I was new to writing, the result was terrible, but blinded by ignorance, I thought it was fantastic! Fortunately, when I was researching how to publish, I took on advice to get my work critiqued and have it professionally edited. I joined a writers’ group and spent the next year reworking the story, then sent it to an editor I met through the group. These were some of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The crux of it is that I did not plan this novel when I wrote it, I did not consider the story arc or the character arcs, writing styles, etc… these things came after in the re-writing. Therefore you may find this story a little rough around the edges.

The Good Stuff: I have mentioned above that I spent a long while gaining critiques and rewriting Blood Rage. Then after my editor went through it, I rewrote it some more. In the end this has become one of those stories where, as the author, there are some parts I’ll read and think ‘did I really write that?’ It blows me away when I get that feeling from my own writing and makes me feel like I am doing what I should be doing – not for me, but for my readers. I’m not saying that I’m the next Joe Abercombie or Brandon Sanderson, I’m saying that sometimes I surprise myself. I just hope I can surprise my readers in the same way and give you stories you really enjoy. Blood Rage has action and tension, an array of creatures – some not commonly seen in the fantasy genre, and others that are more familiar. It has underlying Celtic and pagan themes that I think give the story an originality of its own. And it turned out better than I could have expected, I hope you too enjoy ‘Blood Rage’.

Overall this fantasy is fast paced and action packed. I may be a little biased, but I like this story and it gets a solid blood rushing 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks from me.

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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.

A Year in Review(s) – Thanks to my Readers.

Hello Readers,

After doing my wrap up of what I achieved in 2017, I got to thinking more about my year in review. This sparked an idea. Why don’t I do a post on “a year in reviews” and thank my readers for taking the time to not only read my books, but for posting a much appreciated review. Here’s what I came up with, some snippets from the reviews that have been posted over 2017 and a personal thank you from myself. I hope you enjoy the read.

Comments on The Crimson Guild (Blood Rage Series) – Fantasy Novella:

“A wonderful bit of escapism and fun to this little read.”
– William B

Thank you to William B, Amazon customer, for your wonderful review.

The banter between characters was a highlight of this story; they are quick witted and hot headed street urchins.”
–  Melanie Hill

Thank you Melanie Hill, Goodreads member and fellow author, for your kind review.

“I really enjoyed this book. Great characters and an interesting storyline”
–  John

Thank you John, Amazon customer, for reading and reviewing my book.

“Wow! I didn’t really know what to expect from this book but it turned out to be an absolute delight to read.”
–  Rachael

Thank you Rachael, Goodreads member, for your lovely comments.

“I hadn’t really been in the mood for fantasy lately, until I read this.”
–  Michelle

Thank you Michelle, Goodreads member, for your kind review.

Comments on Blood Rage (Blood Rage Series) – Fantasy Novel:

“The introduction of new characters was done in such a way that you thought you already knew them.”
– William B

Thank you William B, Amazon customer, for going on to read the next book in the Blood Rage Series and sharing your kind thoughts.

“Been a while since I’ve read a good fantasy book and this hit the spot.”
– Aaron C

Thank you Aaron C, Amazon customer, for reading my story and leaving a review.

“Enjoyed this book. Loved the characters of Conall and Erin. Good setting.”
–  Ashleigh

Thank you Ashleigh, I’m so glad you enjoyed the read.

Comments on Easy Prey – A Short Horror Story:

“The characters were interesting especially Judd. It felt like he was the creepy one.” 
–  Talitha Gelah

Thanks Talitha Gelah, Amazon customer, for taking a chance on my writing and leaving a review.

“This was an interesting read!”
– Michelle

Thanks Michelle, Goodreads member, for your review.

“Thank you for the good story. I gave it 4 stars. I am hoping for a more extended version of this. It was interesting you know.”
– T.G.

Thank you T.G, Goodreads member, I really appreciate your review.

Comments on Darkness In Shadows – A Short Sci-Fi/Horror:

“Short, but plenty to slake your appetite.”
– Kirstie

Thank you Kirstie, Goodreads member and fellow author, for taking the time to read and review my short story.

Comments on Low Life – A Short Horror:

“… this story had a good creep factor to it,”
– Joyce

Thank you Joyce, Goodreads member, for reading and reviewing my short story.

Once again, thank you all, your reviews help me as an author. They provide ‘social proof’ to other readers, proof that may just persuade someone else to pick up one of my books and give me a go. Without readers, writing just wouldn’t be as much fun. You give authors like me a reason to keep writing! I look forward to writing more stories for you all through 2018.

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.

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…

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…