Category Archives: book reviews

A 5 star review of Vengeance of a Slave

As you might know from my previous posts, Vengeance of a Slave was released on Boxing Day. I have already received a 5 star review.

It has reached the following positions on Amazon.com: #6182 in Action & Adventure Fiction #1481 in British & Irish Historical Literature #6419 in Adventure Stories & Action

Here is the review by Randall Krzak.

Vengeance of a Slave by V.M. Sang is a riveting story set during the period when Rome controlled Britannia. Follow the trials and tribulations of Adelbhert after he and his sister are taken by the Romans from their mother. They eventually end up as slaves in what is modern-day London. Adelbhert performs a nightly ritual to remind himself of the suffering he and his sister have endured, beginning with the crucifixion of their father. He vows to escape and punish those who have wronged him.

V.M. has created a moving story which will keep you turning the pages to find out how Adelbhert and his sister handle their new life. Experience their sorrow, anguish, and finally hope as they adapt to their changing situation. This is the first novel I’ve red of V.M.’s and it certainly won’t be the last! Well done and highly recommended!

And here’s another one I received when I had self-published it, before Next Chapter agreed to publish it under their Legionary imprint.

Review by Ashok.

Vengeance of a Slave (A family through the Ages) by V.M. Sang is about the horrifying experience of siblings Adelbhert and his sister Avelina, his sister, who witness Roman soldiers crucify their father and other men from their village. These small children are snatched from their mother by the Romans to be sold as slaves. Bought by a rich merchant, they are taken to a distant island Brittania where they are treated as pets. When they grow bigger, plans are made to sell them as house slave and courtesan.
Adelbehrt’s experiences have embittered him and he dreams and plans to extract revenge from the Romans, and he plans to escape with his sister. How they escape, the dangers they face, the stratagems they use to stay hidden, the helpful and cruel people they encounter, their adventures… These make up the remaining plot.

A great narration of a novel idea with good word pictures which drew me into that period, I found the overall narration and language to be gripping. But for some errors I found, I would have said it is five star material.

These typos have now been sorted, of course,

And it has also received another 5 stars without a review attached!

Review of Write it Right by Mary Deal *****

Mary Deal has produced a book that every aspiring author, and even those with experience, should read.


She deals with every aspect of writing, from the beginning, when the book is just the germ of an idea, to the end, when the book is published and the dreaded marketing begins.


If you have no other book on writing, this should be the one you buy. It should be required reading for every author.

The book is easy to read, with no complicated explanations. She talks about the importance of editing and getting your manuscript the best it can be. She mentions how you can improve your plot, and how important characters are in getting the poblic to read and enjoy. Then she goes into the best ways of formatting your book for publishing, and the importance of the cover art.


There is little or nothing she doesn’t cover in this amazing book. If you are a writer, or an aspiring one, buy this book now.

I give it 5 stars.

A Review of Two Heads, Two Spikes by Jason Paul Rice

Overview.

My first impression of this book is that the author thought ‘I can write something like that’, when he read, or saw, GeorgeR.R.Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, on TV as A Game of Thrones.
The book is wide-ranging and has a vast cast. Sadly, though Jason Paul Rice is not GeorgeR.R.Martin.
Here are some similarities.
 There are many warring families.
 Mr Rice is not averse to killing his characters.
 There is a ‘good’ family, the Colberts, just as Mr Martin has a ‘good’ family in the Starks.
 The Colberts’ have a son who has a handicap, but is very clever. The Starks have a clever son who is handicapped.

Plot.

The plot is complex, and parts don’t seem to fit in easily. I admit that I did not manage to finish the book for reasons I will come to later. Perhaps it all fits together later on. I did manage to plough through two thirds of it.

Characters.

On the whole, the characters seemed a bit flat. Either good or bad. There is little that helps us see what got them to be as unpleasant as they are.
One of the most difficult things I found was the naming of the characters. The members of the ruling family of Donegal (and why use the name of a province of Ireland in a fantasy setting?) all have names beginning with Alli-. For example, there is Alli-Stanley, the king, and Alli-ster, his son. We meet Alli-Steven. And it’s not only the men, but also the royal women.
One of the golden rules of writing fiction, and I try to obey it in my own writing, is to name your characters in such a way that they are not easily confused. Even to not having the same initial letter.

Writing.
I have to admit that part of the reason I gave up on this book is the writing. It is poor, to say the least. It is a self-published book, and I got the impression that Mr Rice wrote the book and then when he wrote The End, he set about publishing it.
There appears to have been little or no editing. Typos abound, and wrongly used words, too. He gives one character gold armour! not a good idea for something to protect. Gold is a soft, easily malleable metal. Research needs to be done on things like that. There are other little things of a similar nature, too.
One of the things that is very confusing is that Mr Rice does not seem to know that, in writing dialogue, you start a new paragraph for each new speaker. He has two speakers in the same paragraph and this makes for a confusing read. This alone would have made me give up.
These things would have been sorted if the author had employed an editor, or even beta readers. He could also have joined an on-line critique group or found a group of writers near him.

The book is the first of a series, but I won’t be reading the rest.

I give this book 2 stars **

Review of Silent Payback , by Jaye Marie.

A serial killer roams the streets of Brighton, hunting for his next victim.
When the case lands on detective David Mallory’s desk, will his personal demon prevent him from bringing this vicious monster to justice?
As the body count rises, Mallory finds himself sinking under the weight of his heavy secret – one that could jeopardise his job and his reputation.
With the pressure building, can the troubled detective reconcile his issues and solve the case before more women die?

Overview.
This is an excellent story that kept me reading, wanting to know what happens next.

Plot.
The plot deals with two detectives trying to solve a series of murders in Brighton, England. But this is not all. Both David and Anna have their own individual problems to solve, and what these are remain a mystery until around half-way through the book. From then on, we follow them in their attempts to resolve both their individual personal problems and find the murderer.
The plot moves at a good pace, keeping the reader’s interest throughout.

Characters.
The main characters of David and Anna are drawn well. They are likeable, but with believable flaws. They develop nicely throughout the book.

Writing.
Sadly, this is where the book falls down. There are numerous editing errors in the text. Although this sometimes makes me not want to finish a book, the story here is strong enough that my desire to know what happens overcame my irritation at the mistakes. There are also a few plot holes. As a result of this, I have only given it 4 stars.

Review of Off Centre in the Attic by Mary Deal

 

I gave this book 5 stars on Amazon.

 

This is a book of short stories and flash fiction. The tales vary in length some of which are only a sentence or two,

The common thing about them is that they are all about some quirky character or event. Some of the characters you would love to meet, and others not so much.

A few of the stories I thought could be worked into complete novels. They left the reader thinking about what happened to the people in the tale. Others are complete in themselves.

I particularly liked the characters in the trailer home. That one could be made into a novel. Then there is the one about the goats. What did happen to them?

Some of the stories are sad and some happy, but all are fascinating reading. Mary Deal is an excellent judge of character, and has obviously spent much time watching people and learning from her observations.

The writing is good. Just a couple of places where she uses ‘lay’ instead of ‘lie’, but this is not enough to detract from the rest of the writing. She builds the characters well and the reader empathises with them.

A good read. As a book of short stories, it can be read in bits, or one after the other. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in people, and in quirky tales.

Review of Relissarium Wars, Part 1 by Andrew C. Broderick

 

I’ve just finished reading Book 1 of The Relissarium Wars and found it an excellent read.

It is, in fact, more of a novella than a book, but it is the first part of a series, and so is probably simply an introduction.

The characters are introduced in this book, along with the main storyline, which will, I presume, continue through the other books to come.


Theo is a farmer on the moon of Reliss, but is persuaded by his brother to pick up a package for him on his regular trip to the market. Little does Theo realise that this simple favour will land him into something much bigger and more dangerous than he thought. He is in over his head, but has to take part in a rebellion as there is no way out for him to get back home. Especially as his moon home has been annihilated, and so, with a price on his head, he has no choice but to help the Carbonari.

The book is well written. I was delighted not to come across typos and grammatical errors! There is plenty of action and the characters are believable, if not much development, but this may come in later books. This is after all a very short book taking place in a very short time. Hardly enough time for anyone’s character to develop.

I would recommend this book to any scifi fan and fans of action adventure.

A Review of Dangerous Alliance by Randall Krzak

I have just finished reading the book below. Thoroughly enjoyable. Read my review below.

 

Dangerous Alliance by Randall Krzak
Dangerous Alliance
by

Randall Krzak (Goodreads Author)

The story is set in present day North Korea, Somalia and London. It tells of how an alliance is made between North Korea and Somali pirates. Of course, everyone cheats everyone else, and to add to the intrigue, the Somali pirates kidnap an important personage who is working in a refugee camp.
An undercover group, working for MI6 (or is it 5, I forget) is sent to both rescue the prisoner and to capture the pirates.
Of course, there is the North Korean ambassador, being forced, under threat, to bring about the trade between his country and the pirates.
Randall Krzak is an accomplished writer, and tells the story with authority. He brings the places and characters to life. His prose is excellent.
There is a twist at the end, when some of the relationships of the people are brought to light.
The story is full of action, and keeps you turning the page.
An brilliant read. I have no problem with giving it 5 stars.
Please feel free to leave a comment.

A Review of The North Star by Killian Carter

thenorthstar

The version I read of this book had loads of errors. Spelling, grammar, syntax, you name it. I therefore was intending to give it a low rating because of it. However, I have been assured that it was published in error, and a new version has been released. As I haven’t seen this version, I cannot give the book the full 5 stars, but have only deleted one.

Synopsis
Clio is a cadet on a starship carrying secret ‘super-troops’ called Aegis to a laboratory Colony 115. Commander Grimshaw is in command of this operation .

When the starship sights a strange ship never before seen, and it attacks, they crash-land on Colony 115 only to find an invasion by strange creatures going on.

The crew has been scattered all over the planet, and they need to come together to leave. But Clio is the only pilot left alive. They must fight these aliens in order to get to the starship in the laboratories.

Characters.
The characters are believable. They all have their good and bad points. Clio has a violent temper, but also a softer side which is shown by her care for a sentient creature she befriends.

Commander Grimshaw has his anxieties, too. He must do what he can to ensure they leave the planet to tell the rest of the galaxy of these aliens.

Then there’s Randai. He’s a dropout on Sentinel. It is obvious he was once more than he is now, but he has drowned himself in drugs and alcohol, as well as getting involved with criminals.

I thought the characterisation very good.

Plot.
An excellent and original plot. It is exciting and moves rapidly.
The jumps from one character to another were done well. Making you want to continue reading to find out what happened to the ones you’ve just left.

Writing.
Aside from the errors, the writing moved the plot along, and kept you reading. The author set the various scenes well, and the reader can imagine the places and visualise the characters.

Summary,
I have deducted one star, due to the fact that I’ve not seen the latest version of this book, otherwise it would have got a resounding 5 stars. It kept me on the edge of my seat while reading, and I am looking forward to reading book 2.

Please leave a comment in the comments box.

Review of Neil Gaiman’s retelling of the Norse Myths

Thor’s hammer symbol

 

I enjoyed this retelling of the Norse Myths. The tales were easy to read, and I got a picture of what these gods were actually like. Thor, strong, but not very bright. Odin, wise and thoughtful. Loki, mischievous, clever, sneaky and enjoying chaos.

I would have liked to learn more about Freya and Frey, her brother, as well as Frigg, who was portrayed as Odin’s wife, although, I understand that some authorities think she and Freya are one and the same since their stories are similar.

There was little about them or any of the other female gods. nevertheless, it was an enjoyable read, and I would say it’s an introduction to the Norse Myths rather than a definitive book.

Looking for reviewers

Vengeancecover
Is anyone willing to do a review of Vengeance of a Slave in return for a free copy of the book? Please let me know if you would do this. I can send you a file in any format you wish.
There will be no obligation to review the book, but if you do, please say in your review it was a free copy. Amazon gets a bit sniffy sometimes.
Let me know if you would do this and what format you would like by emailing me at vivienne.sang@gmail.com
If you are unsure about what to write in a review, I did a post about it on Nove 20th Follow this link here.
Thanks.
Here’s a bit about it.
Adelbhert is only six years old when he is forced to watch his father and other men from his village being crucified in revenge for an attack on the Roman city of Modiglianum.
Then he and his little sister are taken as slaves. They are sold to a merchant who takes them to the distant and mysterious island of Britannia. Here he is treated like a pet until he grows up and is no longer a pretty child.
His experiences make him hate the Romans and he resolves to escape one day and have revenge. but his hatred is eating away at his soul.
Will he get the chance to escape, and if so, can he remain free? And how can one ;young man take on the might of the Roman Army and win?