Posts Tagged ‘Reviews by Dan Smyth’

trifectaOkay, so you guys totally had to know that another one of these was coming your direction. It’s been way too long since we’ve been able to pontificate on yet another reason why there is so much crap out there in the self-published world. Or, at least, stories that feel like crap when you read them. Because, let’s be honest, the overwhelmingly large majority of story ideas out there could turn into absolutely amazing novels–heck, entire series for that matter–if they were only dropped into the head of a great author instead of an ignorant noob. That’s why it’s uber important, in our vaulted opinions, that everyone understand a few key concepts when starting out: because everyone starts out as a noob. Yes, even we at EBR were once citizens of noobdom. And yet, no one ever picks up their three-thousand dollar Facebook machine (MacBook) for the first time, says to themselves, “Self? You’re about to sit down and write an amazing novel,” and is then able to sit down and actually deliver. A lot of them make particular mistakes, and it doesn’t take long for readers like us to become painfully aware of what’s holding those stories back from making a reader’s day. So grab your notebooks, sit your own butt in a chair, and get ready for yet another round of goodness from your Friendly Neighborhood Elitists.
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Over Your Dead Body

Posted: February 9, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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oydb_ebrI have a confession to make. Is there a booth around here somewhere? No? Dang. Okay, so here it is: I sometimes end up relying on EBR to let me know about upcoming books by authors that I love. I know. It’s horrible. Please don’t throw tomatoes though. I’m allergic. I’m having a difficult time even approaching the possibility that I might have missed the release of a John Cleaver book. But, WHAM!, up comes our Best-Of post, and I find John Cleaver book six sitting on the list of our own “2017’s Most Anticipated”. What happened to five? I wasn’t exactly okay with that situation. So, I bought it, read it, and now I get to review it. Because apparently the review fairy is being kind this year and left me a blank space on her dance card. And also, somehow, no one else got to it before me. Praise.
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tl_ebrEndings are always tough when it comes to book series. For readers, for authors, and quite usually for the characters as well. They’re the showdown, the climax of everything written thus far, the point where we as readers have to say goodbye. For many, the ending is the part of the book, or series, that will determine whether you like or hate it, despite everything that has led you as a reader to the point. I’m more in the camp of “joy in the journey” than “how-does-it-end”. So, a great read that has a decent ending gets higher marks than a ho-hum read with a brilliant ending. It’s really nice though when I don’t have to make that distinction; when I get to read something that was a great series, had a great last book, and a great ending.
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Babylon’s Ashes

Posted: January 12, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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ba-ebrIf you haven’t at least heard about this series by now, it’s likely that you’re not a fan of science fiction. If you’re looking to be a fan, this is a great series to start with as it is, in my not-so-humble opinion, one of the best Science Fiction series being written today. The writing duo of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck have been doing a bang up job of it, and this book has FINALLY arrived. I include the emphasis here only because it feels like I’ve been waiting for this book for so long, and nothing to do with the book being delayed. The authors have been doing a great job of keeping these books coming on a regular schedule, and I can do nothing but applaud the work they’ve done so far. That being said, it did feel like a long time since book five, and I know that has to be because of the zinger of a hit the story took, when the Free Navy finally brought their war from out of the shadows.
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Red Right Hand

Posted: December 15, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like
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ebr_rrhFor the last few weeks I’ve been binge listening to the new Metallica album after finishing my last audio book. In amongst the new brilliance from this, one of my favorite bands, is a song called Dream No More that’s all about Cthulhu awakening from the deeps in which he resides. So, when I got this next book in the mail and checked out the Acknowledgements page that included a shout out to Lovecraft and the necessity of his Mythos to this book, it felt like I was already on board, strapped into my seat, and yanking on the whistle chain. Just couldn’t wait to grab it and go, go, go.
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bea_ebrI’ve been hearing about this book for a long time from a few friends of mine, and so it has been on my TBR list for a while now, but I have to admit it wasn’t ranked very high. And then, lo and behold, I get notification that they’ve made an audio book out of the thing and I’m getting a free copy in the mail for my listening pleasure as long as I’ll post an honest review of it afterward and then pass the copy on to my local library. As my father always says, “Such a deal!” Once I got the thing though, I found I was in for a bit more than I’d expected, for the copy of the audiobook I received was 44 CDs long. Guess I hadn’t realized just how long the book was (despite the fact that I have a paperback copy sitting on my shelves at home). And the recording wasn’t just an “audio book”. It’s “dramatized”, which I haven’t seen a lot of in the past. The recording included the talent of 65 voice actors performing almost 200 individual characters and included more than 150,000 different sound effects. Pretty impressive, eh?
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The Doll Collection

Posted: November 17, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like
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tdc_ebrDolls can be creepy. We’ve been telling horror stories about dolls for ages. Usually, it’s only through the darkened glass of adulthood though that these constructions of plastic, wood, cloth, and porcelain become anything more than the facimilies of infantile life they represent. That’s why evil dolls and the innocent youngsters that tote them around so often find themsleves brought together. Occasionally though, a story, or a doll, comes along that lacks these boundaries. Just ask my toddler-aged niece about the sunken-eyed “Scary Doll” that haunts the hallways of my own house. These are the kinds of stories that I expected going into this collection, based solely on the very creepy front cover of the book. And there were definitely some of those that I found within.
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