Tag Archives: female protagonist

#NewRelease: Darkside Seattle: Mechanic

It’s so pretty. All grease-stained and, hm, that could be dried blood. Maybe.

Mechanic–no relation to Jason Statham–is the third novella in the Darkside Seattle collection. This time, we dive into the barrio side of DeeSeat. Mead First controls the zone, but the Acosta family is its heart and soul.

Isabella Acosta counts as an elder in the barrio because she’s managed to survive to 39. She’s an honest auto mechanic who also chops cars because you do what you have to on the Darkside.

Someone wants to take advantage of her, and the moral flexibility that comes from growing up in DeeSeat. Isabella isn’t going to take that lying down.

Available on Amazon and Kobo, in ebook and print. Its first event will be Miyakocon 3 in Salem, OR.

Book Review: Flash Gold by @GoblinWriter

Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker – 4 stars

Eighteen-year-old Kali McAlister enters her steam-powered “dogless sled” in a race, intending to win the thousand-dollar prize and escape remote Moose Hollow forever. The problem? Fortune seekers and airship pirates are after her for the secret to flash gold, her late father’s alchemical masterpiece.

With her modified rifle and a pocketful of home-made smoke bombs, Kali wouldn’t normally hide from a confrontation, but taking on a whole airship single-handedly is a daunting task. Unfortunately, the other racers won’t assist her–they’re too busy scheming ways to sabotage her unorthodox sled.

When a sword-slinging stranger shows up, wanting to hire on as her protector, she’s sure he has ulterior motives, but he’s the only one interested in helping her. The question is…why?

This short story is an introduction to a steampunk series starring a female lead and her male protector sidekick. I assume there will be romance in the rest of the series, as this story sets the relationship up with that as the obvious outcome. The writing is good, the characters are fun, and the action is entertaining.

The story is so logical it’s predictable, and the flash gold of the title is a fantastical element (literally and figuratively) that seemed a little bit of a stretch to me. Given more story to flesh the concept out, I think it’d be brilliant.

As a setup for more, the story works fine and it was well worth the time I spent reading it. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys Wild West steampunk, and it would probably appeal to fans of Weird West as well, as there are hints of such things to come from the series.

Book Review: Dandelion Iron by Aaron Michael Ritchey

Dandelion Iron (Juniper Wars book 1) by Aaron Michael Ritchey – 3 stars

It is the year 2058.

The Sino-American War has decimated several generations of men, and the Sterility Epidemic has made 90% of the surviving males sterile.

Electricity does not function in five western states. Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana are territories once again. Collectively, they are known as the Juniper.

It is the most dangerous place on Earth.

On a desperate post-apocalyptic cattle drive to save their family ranch, Cavatica Weller and her two gunslinging sisters stumble across a rare boy. Sharlotte wants to send him away, Wren wants to sell him…and Cavatica falls in love with him.

Little do they know that an inhuman army is searching for the boy and will stop at nothing to find him.

Welcome to the world of The Juniper Wars.

In general, this book is fine. It has a strong plot, strong characters, and well thought out dystopia. The airship battles are entertaining, the type of dystopia is clever, and the story is a good, old fashioned adventure.

I…just didn’t like it. The central, core aspect of the setting rests on two main pillars. One is the war in the past, the other is the sterility epidemic among men. As far as the war goes, that part lost me when a nuke hit Yellowstone and didn’t blow up. I know it’s fiction and all, but I couldn’t stop thinking, “Shouldn’t the giant magma chamber under Yellowstone have erupted? Like, a lot?” To be fair, it’s a novel idea for knocking the tech of the entire region back to steam, but it didn’t work for me.

The other part, the sterility epidemic, is fine in itself. The reactions of American culture struck me as difficult to swallow. In the story’s past, this caused a resurgence of prudish Christianity, heavy on the patriarchal strictures on women in the area and sex and marriage. Which is oddly dissonant in a world where women are what’s around to run it. With a grossly gender imbalanced population, society staying strict about marriage being necessary for procreation–even if it’s only on the surface–makes no sense to me. I stumbled with the story chiefly because of this fact. It’s a necessary piece of the story because it informs the relationships between Cavatica and everyone else, but it baffled me.

As a minor quibble, it drove me bananas that the narrative (as opposed to the characters’ speech) includes the use of slangish words like “prolly.” Since it’s written in 1st person, this is more or less understandable, but it bugged me. A lot.

People intrigued by the idea of a steampunk dystopia would probably enjoy this book.

The Fallen 99 cent #sale #fantasy #ebook – 12/9/14

Sometimes, the hashtags just look icky, don’t they? Seriously. Gotta do it. This too: this is the obvious link to buy the book on Amazon.

You have a special reader in your life who likes fantasy, don’t you? For me, that person is myself. We can be difficult to shop for. Do you get them that TARDIS shirt or the Aperture Science scarf? A Lego Millennium Falcon, or maybe a bottle opener shaped like one instead? Captain Kirk’s bathrobe? A Harry Potter wand? A trenchcoat and a fedora? A scale model of Serenity? Plush microbes, creepers, unicorns, or nearly anything else?

The options are a dizzying array of madness to navigate if you have no idea what fandom your fantasy geek goes gaga over, and even if you do. Not only that, but most of the good stuff is expensive. To help, I present the humble book. The Fallen is the first book in the fantasy series The Greatest Sin, and the ebook will be on sale tomorrow, December 9, 2014. There’s not much I can do about the price of the print book, but the ebook will be 99 cents. A buck for a book. You can feel warm and fuzzy about this gift, too! Why? I’d be delighted to tell you.

First, it’s a book. There’s nothing better for a brain than a book, except air, water, and blood. Expand a mind. This book is suitable for fantasy readers age 16+, with some mild violence, a few globs of gore, no swearing, no sex, and a fair amount of sarcasm. It chronicles the life of Chavali, a fortune teller who hates people and loves secrets. It’s also the launch of The Greatest Sin, a series full of secrets, lies, stairs, and spirits. in this volume, you learn who she is, and get to watch while her life is torn apart and mostly put back together again.

Second, it’s cheap. $.99 is a pretty good deal for something that took three people and several months of work to create. If you like your books in print, the paper version is regular price, which is only $8.20 – a pretty low price for a paperback these days. With the paperback, you get a copy of the ebook for free!

Third, although the price is low, by buying this book, you’re supporting two independent authors who have yet to get much notice. It’s a big, wide world out there, with lots of books to choose from.

Finally, complete strangers have said nice things about this book. Here’s a sampling:

“If you like a captivating story that is focused on the lives of a moving characters, you would probably enjoy reading The Fallen. … The novel is an intriguing look at of a complex protagonist and her world. It would leave you anticipating for Chavali’s future journey. If you are in the mood for a fantasy story deeply rooted in the worldview of one character that values her family and traditions, even as she loses them, then this book is for you.” -Fantascize.com

“As every reader knows there are certain books we don’t want to end, and when we finally do close the book, we seem to grieve it. Well, The Greatest Sin, is definitely one of those books. The author did a great job pulling me into the story immediately, and then keeping me there.” – Kim S.

“The other reviewers are right. The Fallen is an excellent fantasy read! As I was reading through it, I could almost picture this Lord of the Rings type of hobbit village meets gypsies. And reading The Fallen was like stepping into this fantasy world of theirs and getting a behind the scenes peek at their lives.” – Carrie January

“The Fallen manages to draw you in from the beginning. Chavali’s world and culture are richly drawn. Chavali’s emotional range and reactions to the events around her flow naturally.” – Tony Breedon of The Bookwyrm’s Lair

“The Fallen, by indie authors Lee French and Erik Kort is one of the better books I’ve read so far this year. Chavali is flat out an awesome character. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to smack her as I read this story. She is feisty and full of passion, stubborn and wrong-headed at times. The Blaukenev clan is unique, joyous and full of life, an enclosed nomadic society that lives in the world and yet outside it at the same time. Their passion for life leaps off the pages.” – Connie J. Jasperson

Find it on Amazon only at a special price of 99 cents for a limited time (one day).