J.L. Dobias was born, grew up, and now makes his home in Michigan. He has been employed as the head of the Electronics Drafting and Documentation department of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at MSU. Presently he works at Instrumented Sensor Technology as Engineering and Customer Support. His father introduce him and his brothers to science fiction at a very early age. Having enjoyed 50 year of reading science fiction he has spent several years enjoying writing in the same genre. CRIPPLE-MODE: HOT ELECTRIC is the first of a planned series.
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- Once Upon Another World
on July 06, 2012
Shiva Winters Once Upon Another World
The title and the cover almost had me thinking 'fairy tale'.
Once I dove in feet first it was more like Zelazny's Amber series and Farmers Tier series rolled together and given a special Shiva Winters touch. Raven Sinclar is a powerful character well matched by his counterpart LeShana, who is not only lovely but also as powerful and kick-ass as Raven.
Suffice it to say, I loved this book, and there is only one reason I give it 4 stars instead of five. There are so many errors in spelling, grammar, and questionable usage of some words and missing words- sometimes extra words that just don't belong there. I can live with some of this in dialogue- no one speaks perfectly all the time. But it leaks heavily into the narrative portion and that gets me to believing that maybe those characters don't really speak that way either. This book is offered free, but as a representative of self publishing it could have used a bit of polish. (Another couple of pairs of eyes.)A number of people I know might toss this book down after the first 50 pages and that's their loss.
One thing I disagree with other people about is that an editor could have pared it down some. I'm not a fan of muting the authors voice. An edit will help the spelling grammar and other but the author's work should stand unless the author decides some portions might not be necessary or should be reworked. I did not see anything that just jumped out at me and said I don't belong here.
As it stands Once Upon Another World is a well packed novel with a fairly tight plot that has plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing. It also demonstrates some skill in world making that Shiva should be proud of. She has a writing style that I was comfortable with, though I'll need to read more of her work to see if the style changes as she becomes more polished.
If this book ever goes to paper print copy I would suggest a strong look at some editing and a signed copy for me.
Bravo! For an awesome first novel.
J.L. Dobias Author of Cripple-Mode: Hot Electric
- Of Forgotten Days and Lost Worlds
on July 11, 2012
hiva Winters - Of Forgotten Days and Lost World - continues to weave the magic of the Salak'Patan series.
The story picks up after the life changing and somewhat life shattering first book with Monorth out in the field trying to continue the work of rebuilding the Salak'Patan. As his reward he is subjected to backstabbing and treachery until he has no choice but to retire from that, which he has been so driven to complete.
So begins the wandering through the halls and out to the very Rim of the Empire. His ever strange sometimes dysfunctional family growing around him and their support for him also growing. Out on the Rim his destiny brings him to Phoenix or Nix as he calls himself. And I was almost fooled into thinking this was going to be another man with ultra intelligent cat stories of which many abound.
In a way it is. But the rich detail of the story- often confuse as Purple Prose- yet in fact it is Purple Patch. And for those who don't know- there is a difference. Purple prose detracts and takes from the story. Purple Patch enhances it with its poetic beauty. The consistent depth of the characters that walk through this story - though sometimes it seems they can do no wrong - are all painted with their own quirks that give this story it excitement and adventure and romance.
I've already warned those who are distracted by the occasional misspellings and grammatical errors so this time I'm going to rate the book on what it did for me.
It gave me a pleasant exciting good read filled with a patchwork of poetic beautiful worlds, characters and ideas. Getting us ready for the next great book.
I won't recommend this for everyone- but, then some of you are going to miss some really good stuff.
Keep them coming Shiva.
- At the Gates of the Worlds' Rim
on Aug. 03, 2012
At the Gates of the World's Rim by Shiva Winters.
What I like about Shiva is that not only is there no end to her imaginings but each book gets much better. This is not one of those series where the second book is less than the first and the third is having trouble getting up to par. No. She makes each one better than the previous and they read quite well so that you might shuffle them up while reading and not get too confused.
This installment begins to add to the already large dynamic family of Monorth. He and his sister now share a daughter through her partner. This is no ordinary young girl, its Monorth's offspring after all. We'll be seeing a lot more of her.
Monorth's name basis relationship with the gods is growing as the gods seem to be drawn into his life as though he's some sort of spiritual lightning rod. Nix and Monorth are getting into the serious business of visiting and mapping out the gates to all the worlds beyond the rim.
Monorth is still an outcast from the Salak'Patan so he's playing it all close to the vest but he's collecting such a vast library of knowledge that it's becoming evident that he shouldn't keep it to himself. He is going to have a tough time trusting others to handle it all .
Nix and his fire cats are beginning to also grow their family and as they start expanding out into more preserves he and Monorth soon discover there are other being such as the fire cats who seem to represent each of the godly elements. Monorth also seem to be collecting a number of the 7 legendary swords of the gods.
It's all leading up to a major turn of events.
If you like Science Fiction, Fantasy, steam-punk, furry stories, Sword and sorcery, and even a few fire breathing dragons. (to say nothing of the cats). These novels are for you and it would be a shame to let a few spelling errors spoil the best read of the year.
J.L. Dobias author of Cripple-Mode: Hot Electric
- The Foretelling: Quest of the Auras
on March 07, 2013
The Foretelling by Jessica Acosta
I acquired this e-book free from amazon and I can emphatically say that it was a delightful surprised wrapped in the fresh voice of a new talent.
Let me first warn that this book is best enjoyed on a kindle or in a kindle for PC app and not quite so friendly in the Chrome-book app that they have for it. I was test driving the chrome at the time and endured the jagged right margin with no indents and no spaces between paragraphs and there was often some confusion about where paragraphs ended. I checked later on my other two appliances and found it to be an affectation of the poorly written kindle program for the chrome. Let me also say that this should in no way reflect poorly on the author- in fact- it says a lot that I couldn't put this book down even with those problems on the chrome.
This is a sort of coming of age story. Jamie and her brother Brandon have recently left home and are trying to find their nitch in life. Brandon has his band and his band buddies, Jamie is not so fortunate as she only has the band by association. She's well organized but not yet focused on what she wants to do. So she helps out where she can with all the guys in the band and she is falling for one of them. Kyle is someone that she and her brother have known for a long time and she's becoming certain that she'd be comfortable with more than that as long as it doesn't mess with current friendships.
This story is a lot more than that though.
It's a story of changes and coming to understand ones own potential. It's a story of love, heart break, betrayal and growth. It's also a story of strange creatures and mystery.
It starts out a bit slow, but that won't put you off. It's a slowly peculating mystery where Jessica keeps the reader wondering just what's happening.
Brandon and Jamie start the story on a camping trip in the desert that goes just a bit awry when they wander into a deep cave where they both are injured and attacked by an unseen and deadly creature. Strange things begin to happen to them and it's only at about one third the way into the story that we discover a bit of what is going on. Trust me you won't want to put it down at least until you find out what that is.
Then when you do, you'll have to finish it because things get really interesting.
One of the amazing things about The Foretelling is how well the characters are portrayed. Not only did I easily identify with Jamie and Brandon and immediately feel a connection, but even some of the less likeable characters are still endearing enough to care about.
The story is a well woven and nicely paced tale that takes you from beginning to end and leaves you wanting to pick up the next book as soon as possible to find out what is going to happen.
Anyone who likes Anne McCaffery's Dragon stories will love this tale. I love mostly science fiction but the explanation and detail along with great narrative style were enough to keep me happy throughout.
I really can't express how much I love the world you're building here Jessica.
- Shadow of the Sun
on May 05, 2013
Shadow of the Sun(Book One of the Timeless Series) by Laura Kreitzer
Let me say that I loved-hated this book at the very beginning. As I got past that I could hardly put it down.
For some reason the whole beginning sort of read like a paranormal Dragnet episode. Dialogue mostly devoid of emotions. It went on for about the first 15% of the book. It was at about chapter seven that things finally took off. ( I was either growing used to the character- some explanations were now forthcoming that explained her- or it was just time to take that left turn into the supper highway of who Gabriella Noelle Moretti really is.
Gabriella of course is adopted which puts her into a common situation these days in fiction. She's also lost memory of her early years in life. At least the first five- which didn't seem too remarkable to me since I don't remember much of my first five years. But Gabriella is a rather gifted young lady who started college classes at age 12. Needless-to say-this is a fair explanation for why she might be just a bit different from many other people. Her intellect capacity is high but she's rather immature and has always been misplaced from her age group so that she's always the fish out of water wherever she's been. So, though she copes well enough to do well in her studies and that has lead to being the authority in Supernatural Specialist, she would agree that it hasn't helped her to develop much of an endearing personality.
The story opens with Gabriella being rather snarky to her equally snarky assistant, Sally. Apparently Gabriella's immature character has not learned the value of having an assistant to the point that she mostly takes advantage of Sally while giving her annoying things to do. Although the sense is that she does this to Sally a lot-as if Sally deserves it-at the moment it is in part that Gabriella has too much on her mind and has not had enough sleep. At age 19 Gabriella had fallen into this job with the paranormal as supernatural specialist for the Zelco Corp. She now is 25 but with perhaps the social skills of a 15 year old. And the reason she took this job seems to be somewhat suspect.
Her adoptive sister,Jenna, sums it up. Gabriella is hoping this job will help her find her parents.And, solve the mystery of why they left her when she was so young. Of course Jenna thinks Gabriella is nuts and that her job was not going to help her do any of the things she hopes.
Up until this day its been a pretty mundane job, with occasional moments of excitement when the FBI shows up and drags away what little they do find that is inexplicable. This time she's received three corpses from a dig in Italy, which don't seem to match what she should have been sent. The corpses were supposed to be hundreds of years old or more; where they looked to be newly dead within days and they don't match the photo of what she was sent.
This has spooked her and one would start to get the feeling she wasn't cut out for this job. She next receives a package with a box that contains two items that look like relics but turn out to be keys. When she starts to open the box she's attacked by a dark entity with fiery eyes, who warns her not to awaken the angels.
The FBI show up to take this away and they make an unusual offer- they want Gabriella to go with them. One agent, Jeff, acts a bit strange about Gabriella touching the evidence, while a second agent, Karen, comes to Gabriella's defense. Eventually Karen reveals to Gabriella that these three corpses are the bodies of angels. Karen is also an angel-Gabriella's Guardian.
On the trip to Washington DC with the corps and Sally and the FBI; the pilots inexplicably take the plane into a storm where there's a lightning strike upon the craft and it crashes. This should have killed everyone but the Angels have wakened-We later discover it is because Gabriella was in danger that they awakened.
The angels in this story are not your typical christian angels. They are not particularly even remotely related to the fallen angels. They are more like the Hollywood-ized angels made from humans who were once mortal and now can bleed golden blood and cry golden tears. They do fight beings of darkness who seem to be of the shadow of the sun.
In a nutshell it turns out that Gabriella is the Darkness Illuminator- the fulfillment of a prophesy; and that these angels are here to guard her.
This sounds like more than enough to drive the plot of this story but there is much more which is both exciting and a bit daunting. Yes there are spelling errors and some grammar points, though mostly points of rule and not of law so, those are minor. I think that it's this extra more stuff that causes many people to become confused and it took me a while to sort out a few problems.
One entire plot point is about the prophesy and how it has been altered by someone to hide the truth.
Another plot point is that these angels-who are somewhat magical- have the capability of having their memories tampered with through magic and that has happened to a large degree.
So, whenever a character spouts on about the prophesy it is unreliable information. The problem with this is that as this unfolds it often seems like we are getting redundant information and that the consistency of the story is all messed up. In fact, the consistency is okay and the reason for the redundancy is to highlight the discrepancies in various character's understanding of past events and the prophesy. This shifting plot line is a difficult and dangerous task to put to some reader's minds.
There are elements of massive confusion when Gabriella starts having dreams created by someone else memories and those memories include the death of angels who are walking around.
It might even become annoying to some people that certain characters can be killed and come back.
There is more to the story though and some of these speed bumps are smoothed out while some go unexplained. Thankfully there are more books and hopefully that means those things will be explained later.
Not so thankfully this appears to be one of those series that goes on for quite a while and it takes a great amount of talent to extend a readers interest beyond a trilogy. So, we'll have to read some more to find out how well Laura does with that.
Carefully peeking ahead I've been unable to ascertain that there will be resolution of all major plot points in the next two books.
I'm a fan of series, but I can see that Laura had a lot to say in this book and that there may be a lot more coming, which may indicate that it may take all of those volumes of books to get all plot points resolved.
This is a great story for lovers of Paranormal Romance and Apocryphal Angels (not to be confused with a pocketful of angels).