Al W Moe
Al W. Moe was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and introduced to the casinos of Nevada at the age of eleven. At the time he had never seen such an amazing array of sights, sounds, and exciting games. Little has change since that first introduction.
Moe is the author of Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling" and "The Roots of Reno." He has written for Gambling Times/Poker Player, Pokernews.com and Casino and Gaming Chips Magazine. His love for casinos and the history of gambling are only exceeded by the thrill he gets learning new casino games and his desire to teach new players how to get the most for their money at the casino.
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Smashwords book reviews by Al W Moe
- The Royal Dragoneers
on Dec. 10, 2011
M.R. Mathias's “The Royal Dragoneers,” thrusts the reader immediately into a world of dragons, myths, mystery, and confusion. There is no gentle buildup or back-story to the times or the characters thrown together in the first chapter, just a full-gallop ride back to the days of kingdoms, magic, and dragons. Readers will find a unique, fast-paced, and substantial story; more than enough to whet their appetite and leave them hungry for more.
Mathias weaves a world where sixteen-year-old Jenka longs to follow in his dead-father’s footsteps as a King’s Ranger, a noble and respected position. However, Jenka learns that the much-feared dragons of the land are as tame and docile as the lions of Aesop’s Fables when granted a kindness. His revelation runs counter to the King’s beliefs and puts Jenka and his soon-to-be fellow warriors at odds with the Royal Order.
The steady fantasy narrative builds an expanding background of wild animals, trolls, the magical druida Zah, and enough battles to carry the readers’ interest from start to finish. Mathias has his own enjoyable, distinctive style and can be forgiven for occasionally forgetting to let the reader make their own discoveries instead of pointing them out in a manner such as, “Jenka looked down and saw that his bow was broken.”
Overall, the narrative is lively, the plot structure runs true and consistently throughout the book and the story is fun and far-reaching. Fantasy readers will enjoy this new land Mathias presents and will look forward to the next edition of the trilogy.
- Cold Hearted Son of a Witch
on Dec. 23, 2011
M. R. Mathias has certainly got a way with a story twist as he picks up the action in “The Dragoneers Part II:” Cold Hearted Son of a Witch. The second in a trilogy, this work allows Mathias to slow from the first installment’s break-neck speed and allows the reader to really come to grips with the world surrounding them: Dragons, witches, sorcerers, kings, battles, and magic.
Dragonners II also takes the reader to a new level of understanding of the characters, especially young Jenka who grows to manhood while learning Zah’s power as a sorcerer and as a woman. Motivations are somewhat limited to survival and conquest, but character development continues to grow.
In this land of trolls and danger, Jenka’s dragon, Jade, plays a larger part in the evolution of the characters and the direction of the story. Eventually, the impending Saraxian Confliction brings the reader to a new light: these travelers are true Dragoneers, and Mathias molds as real a fantasy land as possible into his exciting, fast-paced saga, the saga of the Dragoneers.
“Cold Hearted Son of a Witch” also brings Mathias’ humor into this high-fantasy mix. While a bit heavy-handed, it brings fun to the surface and allows the characters to grow into well-rounded features of the story. The pacing is good, slightly slowed from “The Royal Dragoneers,” and the author’s own enjoyable, distinctive style still shines.
- The Confliction
on Dec. 27, 2011
Better Buckle up for this Ride!
The Confliction, M.R. Mathias’ last entry to his trilogy of Dragoneers spreads across the pages and engulfs the reader with Sarax, who ravage settlements and disappear into the night, dragons who communicate with their Dragoneers, witches, ogres, crazed kings, and more conflict that could ever be expected in one novel.
To keep up with the story I suggest you read the first two installments of the trilogy first to get a hold of the story and the main characters, Jenka, Rikky and Zah. Once you have a chance to grasp their desires and obligations, the elements of “The Confliction” will ring true.
Mathias’s characters are well-developed by this time and the book travels from conflict to conflict. Occasionally the author tells the action instead of letting the reader glean the action from the character’s movements and speech, but this failing is minor and most readers will hardly notice the intrusion of the author’s voice in the narration.
M.R. Mathias continues a deep but convoluted story with almost too much action and too many characters joining the fray. Readers are engaged to a heightened degree and forced to absorb all that transpires to reach the exciting conclusion with full understanding.
However, the wait is indeed the fun – the journey pure and rich, and the ending an expectation realized but still mourned when no more pages remain. Enjoy!
- The Sword and the Dragon (The Wardstone Trilogy One)
on Jan. 04, 2012
The Sword and the Dragon is high fantasy, a 600-page behemoth sporting a background teeming with characters and enough strange forest creatures to spook any readers’ dreams. The reading is easy (sometimes too direct) and moves from scene to scene with record energy and fun, but can shift with little warning.
Readers need to keep the score in mind and I occasionally had trouble picking up the flow after putting the book down for the evening. A map of the Mainland Kingdoms is available online via a link at the book’s start.
As with any long novel, the reader must invest time and effort to understand the course of the story, the bond Gerard and his brother share, and why only Gerard should use the magic ring. The writing is descriptive and direct if not occasionally stilted and clunky.
During a death-defying climb on a treacherous rock escarpment our hero wipes his hands of dirt, grime and hawk droppings. The quest is explained directly and loses tension as the words are forced out staccato-like: he did, it was, etc. The reader is cheated of a chance to learn the story through nuances like heat, light, and smell. The hawk dropping could have been a pungent and acrid smell experienced by Gerard instead of just a single word thrust at the reader.
If you like Fantasy and are ready for a character (and battle) driven story that takes you to a world of dragons, wizards, giants and dwarfs, this book will keep you reading for hours. Overall this is a nicely written story with some interesting twists, plenty of straightforward battles, and it allows the reader a chance to be immersed in a fantasy land created by a fertile mind that sports heroes you’ll enjoy cheering for.
- Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools (The Wardstone Trilogy Book Two)
on Jan. 04, 2012
Kings, Queens, Hearts and Fools: The Wardstone Trilogy Book Two
“King’s” begins with slightly different pacing from the first part of this trilogy, “The Sword and the Dragon”. However, the characters roar back into form and consume the reader with images first created in the fertile mind of author M.R. Mathias.
For Fantasy enthusiasts there is plenty here in the way of ogres, magicians, dragons, and obviously Kings, Queens and fools, but there is a very real and fun story that comes with the 420 pages.
Lord Gregory dominates the start of the book, recovering from his wounds, but soon Hyden, Mikahl and soon Pael join the forefront and the story moves forward. The writing is direct and straightforward and given time, most of the characters are more than fleshed-out and their own personal motivations become clear.
A map of the Mainland Kingdoms is available online so readers can put themselves in the correct context of the great battle scenes Mathias creates. He has an amazing imagination and conveys much of this into the narrative. Pacing is slower than the first book, which allows the reader time to digest what arrives page after page.
Mathias possesses a wonderful imagination and the stamina to put-forth meaty chunks of fantasy. Soon, I am sure, his style and writing with catch-up with his imagination to produce a truly epic masterpiece. In the meantime, King’s is a fun read for the Fantasy enthusiast to sink their teeth into.