Tuesday, January 31, 2006

'Another Worldly Device' by Serdar Yegulalp

TITLE: Another Worldly Device
AUTHOR: Serdar Yegulalp
PRICE: $6.39 (download); $15.39 (printed)
ISBN: None
POINT OF SALE: http://www.lulu.com/content/214406

‘Another Worldly Device’ drops you into the life of a quietly precocious eleven year old girl just as her life undergoes an abrupt change. The opening mystery is: who breaks into Jane’s house and violently abducts her foster parents, and why? As Jane’s story progresses a fascinating group of people fall into her life, mysteries are developed and exposed and an adventure plot is melded seamlessly with a unique coming of age story.

Sometimes I found myself rather surprised at the direction the author took the many possibilities Jane’s story offered, and the opening scene is something of a ‘flash forward’ that the main narrative takes a while to catch up with—but these quirks only add to the book’s unique overall flavor. The only tiny element I found unconvincing where some of the situations the young protagonist was allowed, by various adult characters, to get into.

Serdar Yegulalp’s writing is immensely adept. Jane’s first person narrative is gripping from the very beginning. ‘Another Worldly Device’ is magical realism at its most subtle and convincing, and a prime example of the type of self-published novel I hoped to see when started this review site. This is the kind of book that you finish reading and find yourself staring into space, digesting and rather regretting that it is all over, while still somehow feeling that the characters lives are going on beyond the pages somewhere just out of sight.

RATING: 9/10


Monday, January 30, 2006

Lurkers Speak Up

There's a little button just at the bottom of this message that say 'COMMENT'. Please let us know why you dropped by. Are you the author of a self-published book, or considering becoming one? Are you a reader of self-published books? Just pipe up and say hi, and let us know about your own websites, blogs and books.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

'Salvation' by Simon G. Scott

TITLE: Salvation (Book 1—a God’s Testament)
AUTHOR: Simon G. Scott
PRICE: Book: $7.58, e-book: $1.91
POINT OF SALE: http://www.lulu.com/content/199222

Salvation opens with an epic battle between good and evil gods in a timeless celestial world. The early protagonist of the story is Edmund, an angel who dies defending heaven, but then moves to Balic a god of terror who walks from the battlefield victorious but dissatisfied. The discovery of a new, human world opens up new possibilities.

Simon G. Scott’s prose is smooth and vivid with only very minor errors. While both Edmund and Balic are well-developed characters and I found each scene engaging, the overall narrative constantly changes direction and ends up feeling disjointed especially in the middle chapters. Salvation is filled with characters based on, and presumably depicted as, precursors of human gods from many cultures. However the connection between these characters and their name-sakes seemed under-developed.

‘Salvation’ is not at all difficult to read, but for a short work (less than 20,000 words) it lacks the focus and central narrative needed to truly grab my attention and interest me in reading any sequels (as implied by the ‘Book 1’ subtitle). However the fast moving martial action and intriguing ending suggests that the book may appeal to younger readers.

RATING: 5/10

SEE ALSO: (ratings scaled to /10)
8/10 Lulu


Friday, January 27, 2006

POD Poll: ebooks for teens

A question from Lynne D. McCloskey (NADBooks)

"I would like to know the answer to the question, Do you purchase eBooks for your teenagers, or do they purchase them for themselves? Why or why not? How often? What genres?" (please comment below)

Fiction for teens...(please comment about your answers)

I am a teen who buys ebooks

I am a teen who does not buy ebooks

I buy ebooks for a teen

I do no but ebooks for a teen

not applicable (not a teen or buying for a teen)

View Results

Thursday, January 26, 2006

'Bardic Tales and Sage Advice: an anthology of speculative fiction' edited by Julie Ann Dawson

TITLE: Bardic Tales and Sage Advice: an anthology of speculative fiction
EDITORS: Julie Ann Dawson, Colleen Schonat, Julie Hedge, and Stijn Hommes
PRICE: book $12.99, download $5.74
ISBN: #1-4116-6029-3
POINT OF SALE: http://www.lulu.com/content/152436

It was very difficult to rate this anthology because at its best it is stunning. 'Reflexion' for example, is a narrative poem that tells a fascinating story with flashes of breath-taking imagery. This long poem on is an effortless 10/10. The other poems are more of a mixed bag.

The lead story 'Winter of the Gods' reads very much as a first chapter rather than a complete story, but if this tale should every be developed into novel I would definitely be buying a copy. The author, Elena Clark, plays on the strengths of high fantasy with deep magic and epic conflicts but steers clear of the clich├ęs by using a solid, unique mythos rather than the usual sword and sorcery trappings.

Amongst the other stories 'Through a Data Storm' is a fresh, if heavy handed dystopian tale, 'Netherlands Roulette' shows us an utterly convincing future where crime and violence are suppressed causing a new range of problems, and 'Them' is a wonderful science fiction story with a sly surprise ending.

All of the stories are well worth reading but tend to lack fully developed or resolved plot-lines which can have unsatisfying results. Overall ‘Bardic Tales and Sage Advice’ is a diamond in the rough, and perhaps future editions will more fully exploit the obvious potential for novice voices to use and transform the standard devices of speculative fiction.

RATING: 6.5/10

SEE ALSO: (ratings scaled to /10)
8/10 Amazon
10/10 Lulu
8/10 Gloomwing
9/10 Club Reading


Saturday, January 21, 2006

New Web Archive

Reviews will now also be archived at PODindex -- comments on the design and structure of the website would be very welcome. Currently only one review is posted but I would love to know how things look before the site grows too large to easily change and restructure.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Gold Star Wife by L. K. Campbell

TITLE: Gold Star Wife
AUTHOR: L. K. Campbell
PRICE: book $9.99, download $1.37
ISBN: #1-4116-4965-6
POINT OF SALE: http://www.lulu.com/content/159055

It is a sad fact that many romance writers use history as a sort of unconvincing studio set against which to set their overblown adventures and jarringly modern heroines. I was thrilled to find that, in contrast, L. K. Campbell has written a genuine historical love story--the people, events and plot submerged me in the post WWII period. She has managed to write characters that are part of their times without being inaccessible or unsympathetic to a modern reader.

Janet is a war widow coping with three children; Paul is a bachelor who crossed her path years before. The first chapter of ‘Gold Star Wife’ is a bit daunting as I settled into the period, writing style and cast of characters. However by the middle of the book I found myself feeling almost as if I was reading the memoirs of real people, and I so yearned for Janet and Paul to find happiness with each other.

The obstacles that the characters face in the book are set in the shadow of the immediate post war years but are drawn on a more intimate and engrossing scale. Will Janet’s friends' match making plans bear fruit? Has Paul moved too quickly? How can Janet explain things to her children—the oldest still dealing with his father’s death? At every step love is shown as life’s greatest joy but not an instant solution to all its problems.

Heart warming but never cloying I found this authentic historical love story to be a welcome change from standard historical romances; I would recommend it highly to anyone seeking a romance story that is rewarding and charming but still intelligent and true to life.

RATING: 8/10

SEE ALSO: (ratings scaled to /10)
10/10 Lulu
8/10 Fallen Angel Reviews
10/10 Romance Junkies
10/10 Coffee Time Romance


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Comments enabled

The blog settings have been modfied to allow non-members to post comments. We hope to hear from you. Please feel free to let us know what you would like to see on this blog! Are there particular books you would like to see reviewed, poll questions you would like to see asked? Speak now!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Butcher’s Son by Dorien Grey

TITLE: The Butcher’s Son
AUTHOR: Dorien Grey
PRICE: $14.95
ISBN: 1-879194-86-4
POINT OF SALE: http://www.glbpubs.com/butchchp1.html

Dick Hardesty is introspective and rather unhappy public relations man dropped in the middle of a seriously dangerous situation. Somebody is burning down gay nightclubs and the cops don’t seem interested in doing much about it—even as arson starts to edge towards attempted murder. Dick wends his way through a barrage of clues and a cavalcade of outrageous and evasive characters on the way to a cliffhanger ending that puts his life on a different path (and eight more books about Dick Hardesty ‘P.I.’).

The Butcher’s Son is written skillfully in first person and the plot has enough wild twists and turns to keep anyone’s attention. Dick is an utterly convincing hero whose take on what is going on is wry and always engaging—helping to compensate for a plot that is sometimes wildly implausible and pivots on a surprise twist that seemed pretty obvious from half way through the book.

This book was certainly a page-turner and I look forward to reading the other installments in this series. ‘Gay Mystery’ seems to have become a significant subgenre and readers who enjoy the adventures gay detectives like Mark Manning and Benjamin Justice will probably also appreciate The Butcher’s Son.

RATING: 8/10

SEE ALSO: (ratings scaled to /10)
10/10 Amazon.com


Please let us know about other online ratings of this book, and tell us you own thoughts by using the comments button below.

POD Poll: My Main Reason for Self-Publishing is...

My Main Reason for Self-Publishing is...

To save time
To provide books for associates or a niche market
To keep control of my work
I distrust or dislike traditional publishers
Because I believe traditional publishers will not be interested in my book
Because I was unable to secure a traditional publisher
other (please comment)

View Results

Create your own poll!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Welcome to POD People

POD People is an ongoing project by three enthusiastic readers and one author. We hope to explore the new territory opened up by POD and e-publishing. None of the founding members of POD People are associated in any way with the self-publishing industry.

When submissions are open authors may submit their own self-published books for review to podpeepATgmail.com. We prefer electronic formats but mailing addresses are available upon request.