Roll the Dice on Orconomics and Gain +4 Happiness

imageOrconomics: A Satire
(The Dark Profit Saga Book 1)
Author: J. Zachary Pike
Publisher: Gnomish Press
Pages: 385
Genre: Satirical Fantasy
Twitter: @jzacharypike
Facebook: JZacharyPike
Website: JZacharyPike.com

One of the things I love most about the fantasy genre is the how easily I can emerse myself in that particular world. While I never had the opportunity to play Dungeons & Dragons as a youth, I did play World of Warcraft. What an amazing experience! A world of endless borders where I could walk end-to-end, and even without seeking out battles or quests, I could simply explore the world of Azeroth.

Of course it was easy to lose oneself for hours, nay days on end: Farming for coins and saving to purchase epic armor or weapons, traveling to city centers to get the best deal on a trade, selling items I created through my “talents”, talking to Non Player Characters (NPC) and searching for quests. I definately can not leave out the time honored tradition of looting our defeated enemies, ending up with either torn animal hides or a Legendary Weapon.

It’s been a few years now since I last played since I played WoW and I have to say I often miss it.

Why the walk down nostalgia lane? Because while reading Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike I was immediately transported to those fun days running quests and looting my dead enemies. When I was approached with an offer for a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review, I did not know wha to expect. My past camping experience aside, the premise of the novel is intriguing enough to pick up.

J. Zachary Pike

J. Zachary Pike

The adventuring industry drives the economy of Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. On Arth, professional heroes are hired to slay fantastic creatures with magic weapons. The beasts’ treasure is hauled back to town and divided among investors.

Since his career as a professional hero ended in failure decades ago, Gorm Ingerson’s life has been a cycle of petty crime, heavy drinking and avoiding the Heroes’ Guild. But when the Dwarf helps a Goblin secure its NPC documents, he quickly finds himself in the clutches of the guild’s enforcers.

It will take all of Gorm’s Dwarven resolve to survive political intrigue, fundamentalist lizard men, purse kobolds, healing potion addicts, and worse. Yet even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to protect his party from the dark secret behind their quest.
Orconomics is a joy to read. J. Zachary Pike is a Master Dungeon Master and weaves a fantastic tale that is funny, full of adventure and

If you’ve ever sat around a table with multi sided dice, creating wild adventure and trying to determine if the spell your wizard cast indicted +4 physical damage or -2 Intellect drain, or if you’ve immersed yourself in an MMORPG, then this novel is for you. Even if you have NO. IDEA. WHAT. I. JUST. WROTE,  but you enjoy the lighter side of Fantasy, then this novel is for you.

Roll the Dice. Get ready to Level your Fantasy Reading this Summer.  Orconomics should be on every fantasy lover’s reading list this summer.

+4 Stars out of 5.

Download your copy of Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike today! CLICK HERE. 

Special thanks to Sage Adderley and Sage’s Blog Tours for letting me participate in this tour.

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Spotlight on Astounding Authors

This week in our Spotlight on Astounding Authors we are featuring three novels that are kicking off their respective series and an exciting fantasy novel about a woman on the run. If any of our authors or novels sound intriguing, give one a try, click on the titles or on the links provided.

If you are interested in having your novel be either reviewed by Astounding Books, or featured in our Spotlight on Astounding Authors, please email us at AstoundingBooks@comcast.net. Be sure to include a brief description of your novel, publishing information and any social links you would like us to include.

Now to this week’s Astounding Authors.


imageReturn to Mech City

(Robot Horizon Book 1)
Author: Brian Bakos
Publisher: Brian Bakos (June 2013)
Pages: 396
Genre: Sci-Fi / Dystopian
Facebook: @brian.bakos
Website:   TheB2.net

The end of the world as you’ve never seen it before. Life goes on in Mech City, but it is no longer human. A sinister Roboto Fascist regime has taken hold which will destroy everything of beauty inherited from the human precursors. Only Winston Horvath, scholar model robot, and his unlikely allies stand in the way.

Join the resistance!  Down load Brian Bakos’ Return to Mech City HERE!

 

imageProphecy
Author: Benjamin A. Sorensen
Publisher: Amazon Digital (Oct. 2015)
Pages: 462
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads: Benjamin A. Sorensen

When Arana was accused of stealing the great treasure of the kingdom of Kaylar, her innocence was never the question.  Her accusers had no great reputation for mercy or understanding. But her problems are more than simply fleeing from the implacable soldiers of Kaylar.  For their treasure was indeed stolen – by a woman who wears her face and form.  As her flight takes her ever farther, person after person begins to believe that her death is necessary. She must find her way in an ever-expanding web of falsehood and truth.

Before she destroys everything.

Enter into the world of Prophecy by Benjamin A. Sorensen. Click HERE!

 

imageThe Raven
(The Secret Chronicles of Lost Magic Book 1)
Author: Aderyn Wood
Publisher: Amazon Digital (December 2015)
Pages: 234
Genre: Fantasy
Twitter: @aderynwood
Website: AderynWood.com

When a foreign tribe attacks the peaceful Onan people, a lonely outcast is forced to reveal her secret Gift — but will such power bring acceptance?

It is the darkest time in winter, when suns, moons, and stars, all wane from the sky. In the Wolf clan, a baby is born with a powerful Gift, but dangerous omens brand her an Outcast, and the Elders name her Iluna. Orphaned since birth, Iluna struggles to find her place in the proud and distrustful Wolf clan, but as her powers bloom, she discovers a mysterious friend. Dark magic, war, and treachery soon jeopardize the life of every clan member; many suspect Iluna and her Gift.

Is this Outcast girl to blame, or is she salvation?

Read Book 1 of the Secret Chronicles of Lost Magic. Click HERE today!

 

imageSovereign’s Wake
(In the Absence of Kings series)
Author: Lee LaCroix
Publisher: CreateSpace (November 2015)
Pages: 346
Genre: Fantasy
Twitter: @lee_lacroix
Facebook: lee.e.lacroix
Website: Leelacroix.wordpress.com
Goodreads:  Sovereign’s Wake

A kingdom crumbles without its ruler. The people fall to misery and desperation in the shadow of an empty throne. A father does what he must to save his son and his homeland in the absence of kings. Enter Garreth, ranger and former royal bodyguard, who embarks from his woodland home after defending it from the encroaching loggers of the Blackwoods Company. “The King is dead!” they had screamed at Garreth and drove the man to the capital of Amatharsus to resolve the most troubling statement in Malquia’s recent history.

Together with his son, Novas, and daughter of a murdered blacksmith, Kayten, Garreth is hounded by bandits, cutthroats, and highwaymen, unleashed upon the countryside by the abolition of the Crown Aegis, defenders of the King, his land, and his people. Garreth unites with the remnants of the Crown Aegis to overcome the military, political, and economic oppression that the Blackwoods Company has imposed on Amatharsus and incites rebellion before the free people of Malquia succumb to crippling recession and the environmental destruction of their verdant nation.

But can one man find the strength to challenge overwhelming odds when all hope is lost?

Explore the exciting new series, In the Absence of Kings by clicking HERE!

At Circle’s End Cover Reveal

Are you ready for something special? Astounding Books, in conjunction with Sage’s Blog Tours, is pleased to bring you an advanced look at the cover for the new novel from Ian J. Malone, At Circle’s End.cover reveal banner

At Circle’s End (The Mako Saga: Book 3)
By Ian J. Malone
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Sharkflight Publishing
Pages: 295
Twitter: @IanJMalone
Facebook: @authorianjmalone
Website: IanJMalone.net

In the months since his disappearance, Danny Tucker has retreated to the darkest corners of Alystierian space in search of intelligence on the empire’s new chancellor, Alec Masterson. Backed by a crew of outcasts and fighting from the shadows as the enigmatic Rogue centurion, Danny will stop at nothing to achieve his mission: absolute vengeance for Masterson’s now infamous “Return to Fear” demonstration.

Still, try as he might, Danny can’t remain underground, and with sightings of the Rogue growing more frequent, Lee Summerston won’t rest until the lost Renegade is found. Meanwhile, in the core, Aura stands on the brink of annihilation as imperial forces, aided by an ancient enemy, draw ever closer to her shores. In the end, scores will be settled, and brothers will rise united… or they’ll all burn together.

AT CIRCLE’S END is the soaring climax to Ian J. Malone’s epic space-opera series, THE MAKO SAGA, and a heartfelt sendoff to sci-fi’s most beloved band of bar buddies turned intergalactic heroes of war.

We are now pleased to present to you the cover of At Circle’s End!

ACE Promo Cover

CLICK HERE to pre-order your copy today! At Circle’s End goes on sale April 12th! The author is hosting a book and audiobook giveaway through Rafflecopter. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

Gelineau and King’s A Reaper of Stone Is The Start of Something Astonishing.

imageA Reaper of Stone
(Echoes of the Ascended Series)
Authors Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Publisher: Gelineau & King (September 2015)
Pages: 106
Twitter: @GELINEAUandKING
Facebook: Gelineau&King
Website: GelineauandKing.com

Warning: A Reaper of Stone is highly addictive.  Make room on your calendars, cancel appointments, find a dog sitter because, once you realize there are more novellas by Gelineau and King, you will not be able to physically stop yourself from reading them.

To say I’m very selective of my fantasy reading is a bit of an understatement.  As is often the case nowadays, fantasy series are frequently sweeping epics with publication dates spanning years, if not decades (I’m looking squarely at you George R. R. Martin). With a cast of thousands and story arcs that are more intricate than a trigonometry class book written in Klingon, these epics demand my full attention so much so that I often forsake all other series in the hopes of not confusing plot-lines or characters.  Then there are those epics that begin wonderfully, but after many years the writing declines and you merely stay along for the ride just to get a sense of fulfillment only to have the author pass away before the tale is finished. True story.

I received a request a few moths back from Mark Gelineau and Joe King  to review their novella Best Left in the Shadows. At the time I was still wary of attempting to start another fantasy series (being currently embedded in a popular one) that I promised to promote their novel in my Astounding Authors feature and call it a day.

Later, while looking for a short novel to review while on vacation, I came across the novella A Reaper of Stone by Gelineau and King on the Net Galley site. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novella in exchange for a fair and honest review.)  The first thing I noticed was that it’s part of the Echoes of the Ascended world, as was Best Left in the Shadows.  But it wasn’t until I read that the authors had a plan to publish a new novella each month set in the world of Aedaron that I came to realize the utter brilliance of these stories.

In the authors’ own words: “Echoes of the Ascended is a series of series. Each follows the lives of five orphans. Each features a different orphan. Each is a different kind of tale.”

A Reaper of Stone, centered around  Elinor – strong, confident heroine who is a Reaper in the land of Aedaron – is mesmerizing. The old world has passed and the inhabitants of Aedaron have decided that the world must move on – all keeps of the old world must fall. But in doing so, they’ve lost their connection to the old gods, the old heroes.  The world Gelineau and King created is deep and rich.  They seem to draw from the best of fantasy: a dash of magic, a pinch of politics, and a whole lot of just waiting to be revealed history. Very much like a dealer, Gelineau and King are giving us just enough of this world to keep us hooked for the near future.  No five year waits for the next novel. No complicated plot lines that require a wikipedia page. Just five stories published in a (for now) timely fashion. Just what I needed to keep my fantasy fix going strong.

A Reaper of Stone is  suitable for young adult readers of fantasy and adults that are looking for an inventive, engrossing plot lines and captivating characters.

Next week I’ll continue the review with #2 in this particular series: Broken Banners. I definitely have more to say.  Till then, I highly recommend CLICKING HERE and downloading A Reaper of Stone. Then, after reading it, forward this review to family and friends and get THEM to read Gelineau and King.

But when you find yourself skipping your favorite TV show, avoiding sleep or not walking the dog just to keep reading the next story, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Five Astounding Stars Out of Five Stars

Spotlight on Astounding Authors

This week in Astounding Authors we are spotlighting the second novel in an exciting urban fantasy series, a Young Adult fantasy, a book about a powerful wizard from a fellow native of Michigan and a suspenseful romantic mystery.

Use our links to easily purchase and download these amazing novels. Join us on Twitter @AstoundingBooks to discuss and share. Now, this week’s Astounding Authors!

imageA Fistful of Fire
(Madison Fox: Illuminant Enforcer Book 2)
By Rebecca Chastain
Publisher: Mind Your Own Business Books (October 2015)
Pages: 400
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Twitter: @Author_Rebecca
Website: RebeccaChastain.com
Facebook:  RebeccaChastainNovels

Madison Fox survived her first week as California’s newest illuminant enforcer, but if her grumpy boss, Mr. Pitt, was impressed, he hasn’t told Madison. In fact, there’s a lot her boss has been closemouthed about, including the dark secret haunting his past.

But Madison’s problems are just igniting. Neighboring regions report an uncharacteristic flare-up of evil, fire-breathing salamanders blaze unchecked across the city, and Black Friday looms. Trapped doing cleanup amid mobs of holiday shoppers, Madison watches from the sidelines as dubious allies insinuate themselves in her region.

As suspicions kindle and the mysterious evil gains strength, Madison must determine who she can trust—and whose rules to follow—before her region and career go up in flames.

Sizzling with adventure and sparking with magic, A Fistful of Fire is fused with Madison Fox’s trademark blend of humor and ass-kicking action.

You can find Rebecca Chastain’s urban fantasy novel, A Fistful of Fire by clicking on the title!

 

imagePAPER CROWNS
Author: Mike Cyr
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (November 2015)
Genre: young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 254
Goodreads: Goodreads.com – Mike Cyr
Tumblr: robogreaser.tumblr.com

Amy Green is convinced the fantasy world of her mother’ bedtime stories is real. Her friends and family worry for her health.

But she’s not wrong.

From rural Tennessee to the magical wilds of Ezrantia, Amy and company, barely scratching the surface of adulthood as it is, are faced with a slew of problems. The most pressing? Amy’s mother, the woman behind the stories fueling Amy’s obsession, caused these problems during her second life as an oracle in these lands.

Paper Crowns, a young adult fantasy novel, is available by clicking here.

 

imageCITIZEN MAGUS
by Rob Steiner
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 2016)
Pages:  372
Genre: Fantasy
Twitter: @RobSteiner
Website: robsteiner.quarkfolio.com

Remington Blakes, a magus from a 21st century where magic powers the world, has a big problem.

His former mentor, William Ford, stranded him in ancient Rome without a memory as to how or why. Well a guy has to eat, so he’s forced to eke out a living as a magus-for-hire among Rome’s plebeians. He calls himself “Natta Magus” since his real name sounds too Germanic to the discriminating Romans.

So when Natta learns that Ford has conjured daemons to kidnap a senator’s young daughter, he jumps at the chance to track Ford down. Natta chases him to Rome’s Germanic frontier to not only rescue the child, but learn the terrible secret behind why he left Natta in Rome.

Dowlnoad your copy of Citizen Magus from Michigan native Rob Steiner.

 

imageBetween Two Fires
By Toni Williams
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (February 2016)
Pages: 351
Website: ToniWilliamsBooks.wordpress.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/Toni-Williams

Rudy is a black British journalist constantly struggling, yet he’s full of charm and always looking on the bright side. However, never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined that he would fall for someone like Bridget. She’s a gorgeous American career woman running a highly successful stock-trading firm from an exotic Caribbean island, and she’s filthy rich. She’s also married to the world-famous British aristocrat, Lord Edward Tennyson. Bridget is frustrated with him but she’s crazy over Rudy.

Rudy knows that he’s pressing his luck by falling in love with Bridget, considering that the two of them come from completely different worlds. Still, he figures it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if he plays his cards right he could hit pay dirt and win a woman any man would die for. Bridget assures him everything will work out once Edward is out of the way, and she’s got the perfect plan.

The big question is, can Rudy handle a woman like Bridget who is independent-minded, calculating, tough and ambitious?

What’s more, they both know that if they slip up and Edward discovers what’s going down, there’s going to be hell to pay.

Read Toni Williams romantic mystery, Between Two Fires today! 

That’s for this week. We hope you take a chance on one (or all) of these astounding authors and read their amazing novels. By using our links, you not only help support their work, you also help support Astounding Books to continue bringing you great reads.

What Lies Beneath The Surface’s End? A Good Parable.

imageThe Surface’s End

Author: David Joel Stevenson
Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (November 2, 2015)
Website: davidjoelstevenson.com
Twitter: @geekoffgrid
Facebook: Davidjoelstevenson

Jonah Whitfield lives in a small farming village near the Deathlands, a strange desert in the middle of a lush and green landscape. The inhabitants of his village live a pastoral life, one free of excess, electronics and sloth.  Hard work is valued, family life is cherished and citizens strive for a strong sense of community. But the land holds many secrets.  Rusting mechanical machines litter a nearby junkyard.  Tools and homes are crafted from the remnants of objects  whose original uses are lost to time.  One day, while hunting, Jonah explores the forbidden Deathlands area only to find a passageway to a hidden complex, a series of tunnels filled with glowing lights, working machines…and the voices of other humans.  Here he finds questions that may very shake his view of the world.

Thus begins David Joel Stevenson’s Young Adult (YA) Dystopian novel, The Surface’s End. I have to say this was a welcoming and pleasant surprise, if not a bit formulaic.

The YA and Dystopian novel market is booming, helped in part from the success of The Hunger Games, and the self-published sensation Wool.  It seems we all can’t quite get enough of a futuristic world filled with crushing authority, bleak lives and young protagonists that offer a glimmer of hope for a better future. I know I can’t. I practically thrive on it.

Stevenson turns the tables on the basic dystopian formula by starting off in a quite comfortable place where residents have found a bit peace after what appears to have been a time of violence many generations past. History is forgotten, but not altogether gone. The shells of the former world litter the landscape, raising questions for those brave enough to ask.  Only after Jonah discovers a hidden world do we begin to see a society living in a questionable future, a future filled with laziness, lack of values and systematic separation of classes. A future that looks surprisingly like our own present.

The author did a fine job of building the mystery in the first half of the novel. Unfortunately, the second half fell into the trap of revealing too much information too fast. While I have no doubt Stevenson has more to tell of what lies beneath the Deathlands, revelations seemed to come faster than expected. The fun is in the build-up! I like my dystopian stories dripping with dispair and a protagonist that struggles  with a world that makes little sense.  There is also a not-so-subtle message that Stevenson is trying to convey to the reader – a philosophy of hard work, good values and unquestioning loyalty to family and community.  But here too, the delivery is  a blunt object over the head. Stevenson needs to trust the reader to make their own conclusions to the message he’s sending.

That aside, this was a quick, enjoyable page-turning read. The author provided me with a review copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.  My foray into the world of first time authors and self-published novels from up-and-coming independent writers, continues to be a welcomed experience. Finding a small jewel like this in the stacks of requests is what makes my hobby of book reviewing so enjoyable.

The Surface’s End was engaging, creative and hopping with energy. The author has a clean and tight writing style that is effective and affective.  Readers will eagerly want to learn what comes next. I know I do. But let the mystery build a little slower next time, ok?

Three Stars out of Five. A good, enjoyable novel that you will not be disappointed in reading.

To read The Surface’s End, pick up a copy by CLICKING HERE.  When you are done, head on back here to Astounding Books and let us know what you thought!

Spotlight on Astounding Authors

We are back after a short break with a new edition of Astounding Authors. This week we have a young adult novel, a sexy thriller and a satirical fantasy. Our regular reviews return next week. I had some eBook troubles the past two weeks. But never fear! More Astounding Books is headed your way. Please visit our spotlight authors and tell them you saw their books on Astounding Books!

Touched by a Phoenix image
Author: Sophia Byron
Publisher: Sophia Byron (April 2015)
Pages: 606
Genre: Romantic Suspense with a bit of sci-fi and action Twitter: @Sophia_Byron
Facebook: OfficialSophiaByron

Military technology, shrouded in secrecy and isolation. So was the man that gave it life…or so he thought.

Playboy Brad Scott spent years avoiding love, his heart and mind dedicated to only one thing—global security.  That is, until he meets the elusive Alexandria Saunders, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in military technology and the fiercest corporate attorney in the mixing bowl. Alexis tears Brad’s world apart the moment they meet and with a single touch, becomes the breath against his fire…his obsession. Unwilling to trust any man due to her haunted past, Alexis has allowed her career to consume her life until nothing else seemed important.  While Brad’s devastatingly good looks and charming ways do little to impress Alexis, his touch has managed to crack the walls—walls she had built to protect her heart.  If Alexis can overcome her insecurities and fear, will she finally discover the man of her dreams—the man whose touch will heal her wounds and ignite the inextinguishable flame within her?

With an IQ of 229, Brad has been responsible for the most advanced developments in the history of surveillance systems.  With Alexis at his side, he has realized the greatest breakthrough of the century in military technology.  Now, the world wants what he knows and will stop at nothing to hunt him down. In a game of betrayal, terrorists seem determined to destroy Brad but should they fail, they’ll opt to eradicate the next best thing—Alexis.  In a race against time, can Brad swallow his pride and allow former CIA agent John Martin to help him save the only woman who has the power to save him from himself? Along the way, can they save the world from the horrors about to be unleashed? Interested in a sexy thriller?

Pick up a copy of Touched by a Phoenix today by clicking here!

 

I Am Sleepless: SIM 299 image
Author: Johan Twiss
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing (November 2015)
Pages: 286
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Twitter: @JohanTwiss
Website: Iamsleepless.weebly.com
Facebook: JohnBurgerWrites

While the others slept, Aidan spent hours each night running sim after sim. Although he was only a twelve-year cadet, he had completed more simulations than any prime— ever.“You are setting history,” General Estrago told him. “No one has ever made it to the current simulation you are attempting. The other Masters and I are eager to see what comes next.”So was Aidan.

The planet Ethos is at war with a mysterious enemy known as the Splicers. Their only successful defense is the Prime Initiative. All newborns with the compatible genetic code are taken from their families and injected with the Prime Stimulus. Each child that survives the stimulus develops an extraordinary ability and is conscripted into the military for training. After turning twelve, Aidan is moved to the upper-class at the Mount Fegorio training complex. His special gifts allow him unprecedented success in the virtual training simulations, advancing him further than any prime cadet in history.

No one knows what lies after sim 299, not even Director Tuskin, the ruthless and reclusive ruler of their planet. But something, or someone, has been guiding Aidan there. If he can pass the final tests, he may discover the key to ending the Splicer War.

Stay up all night and read I Am Sleepless: SIM 299 by clicking here.

 

Descent Into Madnes
Author: Evan Thomas Dixonimage

Publisher: CreateSpace (November 2015)
Genre: Satirical Epic Fantasy
Pages: 378
Twitter: @EvanThomasDixon
Website: EvanThomasDixon.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/evandixonwriting

When Mr. Brightley’s mansion is razed to the ground in the dead of night by a pack of wherewolves [sic], he finds himself wandering the wilderness with a couple of his surviving servants in tow. After escaping into the city of Lyverpool, our protagonist discovers that an organization known as the Intelligentsia, led by the infamous Finesse l’homme Pecheur, has invaded Buncombe and established a nationwide reign of tyranny. Alas! What is one to do? Why, join the Circus of Outcasts, of course! Especially when said Circus is an insurrection in disguise.

Alongside Thom Bloom and his ragtag band of freaks, Mr. Brightley helps emancipate cities, infiltrates a mental hospital, and barely evades an ambush at the hands of psychotic crusaders, all to prevent the Intelligentsia from accomplishing their true goal: the emancipation of Dionysos, the God of Madness, from the alternative dimension of Darkether, in order to establish a Dæmonocracy by which they will rule the known universe. The Circus is determined to stop them. And Mr. Brightley hopes he can help – if only he can stop having these strange hallucinatory dreams…

Join the outcasts and read Descent into Madness today!