John H. Carroll

Biography

John H. Carroll was the youngest of seven children and was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1970 where he was kept in a dresser drawer with the clean socks. Luckily, he wasn’t kept with the dirty socks or else he might have grown up to become slightly warped.
As a child, John spent most of his time wandering through the Mojave Desert in an attempt to avoid people. He would stare at the sky, imagining what it would be like to explore different worlds. One of his favorite memories is watching his dad build the fuselage of Evel Kneivel’s skycycle in their garage. One of his least favorite moments was watching that skycycle fall into the Snake River. (Not his dad’s fault and he has documentation to prove it, so nyah)
As a teenager, John spent most of his time driving wherever he could in an attempt to avoid people. He would stare at the road, imagining what it would be like to explore different worlds. He was the captain of the chess team, lettered in golf and band while in high school, and wasn’t beaten up anywhere near as much as one might imagine.
As an adult, John spends most of his time staring at a computer screen in an attempt to avoid people. He stares at the monitor for hours, imagining what it would be like to explore different worlds. Occasionally, he looks around to see what’s happening on planet Earth. Quite frankly, it frightens him. He’s just going to do his best to write as many books as he can before aliens disintegrate humanity for being so irritating.
Emo bunny minions surround John at most times. He is their imaginary friend and they look to him for guidance. At one point, they took over the world. No one noticed because they left everything exactly as it was. They gave the world back after a week because it was depressing.
The Ryallon Series is his most popular endeavor into the field of writing. His Stories for Demented Children have lightened the hearts of many strange children and adults. He writes in the evenings and weekends whenever possible.

Where to find John H. Carroll online


Where to buy in print


Books

Sidetracked
Series: Wyvern Series, Book 4 · Ryallon, Book 10. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 106,320. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Constant, dreary rain dampens Pelya’s spirits as she rides Honey through the war torn Kingdom of Paruth. Of greater worry are her new friends Verna, Calren and an energetic wyvern by the name of Nervy. In the past, she has led friends to sorrow and death. She has every reason to believe she will bring these idealistic new adventurers to their deaths too.
Cloudswept
Series: Wyvern Series, Book 3 · Ryallon, Book 9. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 116,570. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
After banishment from Dralin and expulsion from the Blue Wyverns, Pelya Jornin is now an agent of the Cloudswept Bank charged with recovering valuables. The job allows her to travel the world while keeping her skills sharp. She seeks answers to events in her past that sent her life spinning. More than anything, she worries about the fate of those who would attempt to be her friends.
Liquid
Series: Wyvern Series, Book 2 · Ryallon, Book 8. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 123,220. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
Book 2 of the Wyvern Trilogy Pelya Jornin and Tina Medini are agents of the Blue Wyverns Mercenaries. Their commander sends them to investigate rumors of the Rojuun, mysterious denizens of the underworld. The desperate mission through the kingdom of Swelth takes them into the beautiful and perilous depths of Ryallon where danger awaits them at every turn.
Wings of Fantasy
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 466,130. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00)
Wings of Fantasy is a compilation of books written by four of the Indie World’s brightest upcoming fantasy authors. Let your imagination soar as you read extraordinary stories of dragons and other fantastic creatures of myth and magic by John H. Carroll, M.A. Nilles, Stephen L. Nowland, and E.M. Sinclair
A Collection of Stories for Demented Children, Volume 2
Series: Collection of Stories for Demented Children, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,120. Language: American English. Published: November 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
Five odd stories for children combined into one collection. Follow the tales of anti-heroes through misadventures and mishaps. Nanoworms, zombies, a panda, a phairyphant, and Steampunk animals share their adventures across the pages.
Pow the Panda, The Case of the Rainbow Dragon
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 10. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,430. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
(5.00)
In the fantastically roaring year of 1925, business is good for a hard-working private eye in Chinatown. Pow the Panda sits in his office, waiting for trouble to come through the door. When trouble does show up, a girl named Opal, a gorilla, a bear, a bed and bunch of bad puns join it. Pow is left with the Case ofthe Rainbow Dragon. Caution, this story has puns. It may also contain nuts.
Steampunk Roo
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 9. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,290. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
(5.00)
It is a little known fact that Steampunk animals roam the wild Outback of Australia. Outside of Steampunk City are vast stretches of arid lands. Horrible news has come that someone is destroying water stops that keep the Steampunk animals running. It’s up to Steampunk Roo to bring a stop to the terrible destruction!
Liselle
Series: Crazed Series, Book 1 · Ryallon, Book 11. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 104,010. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
Liselle has spent the last few years living the life of adventure she always wanted. Yet she struggles with the suffering she has seen along the way. As her powers grow, the question of who she really is, or what she really is becomes a greater mystery. Join Liselle, Vevin and their new friends as they try to discover the meaning of life, and perhaps find a little treasure along the way.
The Storage Room in the Grey Void
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,770. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
(5.00)
Video games bring entertainment and excitement to the lives of those who play them. But what of those characters created for those games? Perhaps they are a bit more real than we might think. Perhaps they have feelings and desires, much as we who play the games do. And what of the characters who don’t get included in the game? This is the story of one such character.
Zachary Zombie and the Wicked Worm
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 8. Price: Free! Words: 2,720. Language: English. Published: June 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(4.67)
Zachary Zombie has been sent by Gert the Wicked Witch to find the magical Dagger of Gik from the ruins of an old wizard’s mansion. He is accompanied by Al, Gus, and Carl, three fellow zombies. Will they discover the lost Dagger of Gik? What dangers await the rotting zombies? Who will lose the most body parts? And who, what, or where in the world is Gik?
Wyvern
Series: Wyvern Series, Book 1 · Ryallon, Book 7. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 110,870. Language: English. Published: April 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
Book 1 of the Wyvern Trilogy Pelya Jornin rides away from Dralin. Nightmares travel with her, haunting the lonely roads that threaten to drive her mad. The dangers within her own mind outweigh the perils of traveling alone. It is Pelya’s intention to join the Blue Wyverns. However, things are not as they should be. Will Pelya’s mind conquer battles that cannot be fought with a sword?
Naughty Nanoworms
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 7. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,050. Language: American English. Published: March 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
Life on the streets is generally peaceful for Albert, but the streets are not without their hazards. While avoiding one type of trouble, Albert walks his way into even worse trouble. Will he keep his shopping cart? Will Meezer the cat come up with a plan to destroy the world? Can a shopping cart and a skateboard ever get along? The seventh entry in the Stories for Demented Children Series.
Phairyphant
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 6. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,400. Language: American English. Published: March 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
Mystical phairyphants have existed since the days of wooly mammoths and mastodons. Phairydust allows them to fly on powerful, gossamer wings while they use their trunks to sniff the air for opportunities to make the world a better place for elephants. This is the story of Elly, one such phairyphant.
Pelya
Series: Dralin Trilogy, Book 3 · Ryallon, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 109,950. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.60)
Book 3 of the Dralin Trilogy: Sir Imbra has told Pelya that he would one day need her help. Will Pelya’s sword arm be enough to battle a power beyond anything she’s seen? Will Ebudae’s power overcome the might of potent magic? In a city filled with despair, can the hopes and efforts of such talented individuals win the day?
Rain Glade
Series: Ryallon, Book 12. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,000. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.33)
In an insignificant village lives a simple peasant girl by the name of Rain. She wonders what the future holds for her, or if the future even cares about her fate. Jacob is a young man conscripted into Lord Greffen’s militia. He discovers Rain injured one day and seeks to aid her. The world of Ryallon holds many places filled with magic and mystery. How will one such glade change their lives?
Ebudae
Series: Dralin Trilogy, Book 2 · Ryallon, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 116,050. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.00)
Book 2 of the Dralin Trilogy: On Ebudae Pallon’s sixteenth birthday, she and her best friend Pelya are allowed into the city without escort. They visit the wonders of Carnival and make new friends. However, life in the city of Dralin is never simple . . . or safe. The Dralin Trilogy is a dark, swords-and-sorcery fantasy series following the lives of a few unusual individuals.
Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,440. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.83)
The Sugar Plum Fairies are tired of dancing for nothing. To make matters worse, the North Pole is freezing, they have to wear skimpy outfits and their poor little legs get worn out quickly. When the Elvin Labor Union was formed, the poor little fairies were left out of any sort of fair bargaining agreement. The time has come for all of that to change.
A Collection of Stories for Demented Children
Series: Collection of Stories for Demented Children, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,980. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays, Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
Five odd stories for children combined into one collection. Follow the tales of anti-heroes through misadventures and mishaps. Emo bunnies, zombies, rainbows, an unholy cow and sugar plum fairies share adventure across the pages. These stories are not for the sane of heart.
Dralin
Series: Dralin Trilogy, Book 1 · Ryallon, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 90,010. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.60)
Many cities know the touch of evil and despair, but none are as bleak as Dralin. A young woman flees her past, making Dralin her destination. A young Guardsman with his own dark history hopes to make a difference in a city without hope. Is sorrow their only destiny, or can love redeem them? Two young girls raised in this city learn life's hard lessons early. Will they be defeated by its evil?
Unholy Cow
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,960. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.75)
Everyone keeps talking about holy cows, but nobody wants to discuss the evil, unholy cows. They creep through nighttime pastures, looking for the next opportunity to make the world a worse place to live. Opal’s parents think Halloween is evil and that candy is bad for little children. They have never let her go trick or treating. Runyx the Unholy Cow is about to change that.
Drippy the Peg Legged Rainbow
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 4,220. Language: English. Published: September 20, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
Rainbows have existed throughout the universe since shortly after its inception. Born from light and moisture, they have expanded along with galaxies and other cosmic goo. Many are ancient, being nearly as old as the universe itself. Others are young, only born moments ago. This is the story of one rainbow, neither ancient nor young . . .
Alien Coffee
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,720. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
Jillian keeps trying to drink her coffee, only to find the cup empty. However, she is NOT the one drinking it. It frustrates her more and more with each passing day until she finally discovers exactly what has been happening. Aliens, coffee, emo bunnies, snails, teenagers and a Colombian drug lord all take part in this humorous sci-fi romp. It’s hard to tell which is the worst.
Kethril
Series: Willden Trilogy, Book 3 · Ryallon, Book 6. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 114,340. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
Book 3 of the Willden Trilogy: The companions have a plan to return Princess Anilyia to the Kingdom of Mayncal. As with most of their plans, events happen in an entirely different way. The others begin to learn more about Tathan of the Shadows and his murky past. That past presents barriers to accomplishing their goals and they must overcome them.
Zachary Zombie and the Lost Boy
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,450. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
Zachary Zombie is searching for newts in the forest. He finds a lost boy instead. When the boy asks nicely for help getting to his home in the village, Zachary agrees. Things are bound to go wrong when a magical stag, a pretty woman at the edge of a cliff, a party in the cemetery and villagers with torches and pitchforks are mixed with a craving for brainsss.
Anilyia
Series: Willden Trilogy, Book 2 · Ryallon, Book 5. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 94,580. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.25)
Book 2 of the Willden Trilogy begins the adventure shortly after the events of book one. Tathan and his companions meet danger with a healthy dose of humor and irreverence during their adventure. Tales of a kidnapped princess are spreading like quick-fire and the world may go poof if something isn’t done.
Dont Ever Change
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,280. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.70)
High school: a time of memories, good and bad. Students get together to sign each other’s yearbooks. “Don’t Ever Change” is a common phrase. What would happen if one of those students never did change? How would that student feel about it? Would it make them happy, sad or psychotic? How would you feel if you had never changed from that young teenager in high school?
The Emo Bunny That Should
Series: Stories for Demented Children, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 3,480. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays
(4.80)
Emo the Bunny was a sad bunny. He preferred gloomy days, walks over a cliff and misery of any sort. One day he saw something very unusual. Normally he'd take a nap and try to forget about it, but for some reason he took an interest. Then things happened. Emo the Bunny hated it when things happened. With beautiful illustrations by Arlene Rose.
Test Pilot
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,990. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.00)
Gregg Johnson was a test pilot in the Skull Squadron where death was the only retirement benefit. XOXO-13 was the designation for an experimental spaceship Gregg named Hugs and Kisses. When a tiny thing goes wrong in space, it becomes a very large thing. As usual, it had flaws, but would they be fatal?
Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend
Price: Free! Words: 6,000. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.29)
Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend is a stand alone short story. Joshua is a manager at FishBurgers who walks home alone every evening. One night, he comes across an unusual blue-haired woman sitting on a bench. He's thrown for a loop when she tells him where she's from, but he doesn't mind. Sometimes love can be a little quirky, sometimes it can be a lot quirky.
Rojuun
Series: Willden Trilogy, Book 1 · Ryallon, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 92,000. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.91)
Book 1 of The Willden Trilogy: Rumors are spreading about a new race called Rojuun. They appeared from the depths of the mountains eight hundred years ago with the intention of taking over the world. Tathan of the Shadows has been charged with learning more about them. However, he must learn more about his very unusual companions before he can succeed.

John H. Carroll's tag cloud

John H. Carroll's favorite authors on Smashwords

Ben Kramer
Latest book: Scars of Devotion. Published February 24, 2015. (4.50 from 2 reviews)
David Dalglish
Latest book: The Prison of Angels. Published December 4, 2012.

Smashwords book reviews by John H. Carroll

  • The Descent on Dec. 22, 2010

    I liked this and had a fun time reading it. The words flowed smoothly for the most part and made it easy to read. It's about a man with his mind in the clouds. The perfect story for any dreamer. I found myself wondering what was seen in that cloud. Perhaps the writer's imagination?
  • The Book of Deacon on Feb. 27, 2012

    As an avid reader of fantasy, sometimes it's hard to try someone new rather than re-reading books I love, but I'm so glad I opened this book. It didn't take long to get involved in Myranda's fate. I found myself nervewracked by what could happen next and had a hard time putting the book down. The characters Myranda meets are fascinating and easy to like. I feel so bad for Deacon though and hope things work out for him. My only two critisms are the lack of chapters, which makes finding my place hard if I swipe up or down on my Kindle instead of sideways, and a few instances of head jumping between characters. These are not enough to truly detract from the story though. :) I've picked up the next two and am halfway through the second. I can't wait to get back to it. :)
  • The Great Convergence on March 05, 2012

    An excellent sequel and I can't wait to get to the third. I don't like that the baddies seem invincible and hope that the good guys start to have some successes! Like the first book, the head hopping is a bit disconcerting where the viewpoint switches from one character to the next between paragraphs, but I'm getting used to it.
  • The Battle of Verril on July 18, 2012
    (no rating)
    The third book is the best and wraps the trilogy up nicely. Myranda comes into her own and shines. I like strong heroines. Myranda holds true to her beliefs throughout all and inspires everyone else. The build up to the ending is finely crafted. It does get frustrating when the heroes keep walking into the exact same traps over and over. I felt like smacking them in the back of the head. But it's also nice to see villains that are every bit as nasty as they're supposed to be. By the end, I wanted them all destroyed. My favorite characters are Ivy, Myn and Deacon. Lain is a bit too sullen for me and Ether is incredibly foolish for someone who's supposed to have been watching the world since it came into existence. My absolute favorite is Myranda though. She's lived a tough life and remains strong and resolute throughout all three stories. Strong leading women are my favorite. :)
  • Nature Abhors a Vacuum on Aug. 16, 2012

    Have you ever read one of those books where you're instantly interested in the main character? Yeah. This is it. It starts with a prologue of an incident in the Aiden Wainwright's youth. Chapter 1 begins with him as an adult who has been defined by that incident. The city they're in has been shut down and someone has to get through for supplies. A number of characters join him along the way. Each one of these people have their own personality and are given the time to develop to the point where the reader is invested in what happens to each and every one. My favorite is the cleric, Nellise. (I have a thing for beautiful clerics, but . . . ) Actually, my biggest complaint about these books is that Nellise's life is going to suck. I'm certain it will end badly. *sigh* The dialogue has humor scattered throughout, the battle scenes are vivid and intense, and the characters make you like or hate them. For the first time in a long while, I found myself staying up late, not wanting to put the book down. I truly recommend this to anyone who likes high fantasy. At over 200,000 words, it's a tale of epic proportions that reads fast.
  • Call of the Herald - Young Adult Epic Fantasy on July 11, 2013

    As an avid reader of fantasy, sometimes it's hard to try someone new rather than re-reading books I love, but I'm so glad I opened this book. The first character you meet, Catrin, is a strong female lead. It doesn't take long to get to know who she is. Other key characters are introduced quickly and fleshed out without taking the reader out of the story. In fact, it didn't take long for me to get into the story to the point where I didn't want to put it down. Catrin is a seemingly normal young woman, but the reader soon learns that there's more to her than she or anyone else realizes. Times are changing (as they tend to do) in the world of Godsland and dire consequences have been prophesied. Unknown powers find her and she has no idea what to do with them. Add to that the threat of invasion and people hunting her and you have one stressed out young woman. ;) The people who surround Catrin are interesting and well developed. They don't cater to her, but treat her as a real person, which is nice to find. The adventure and danger are exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat, ready for more. My biggest complaint about this story was reaching the end and having to wait for the next book to load. ;)
  • Inherited Danger on July 11, 2013

    An excellent sequel. New details and suspense begin to unfold. New characters are added that are even more likeable. One of the things I like most about fantasy is that the authors always tend to was philosophical. Catrin explores her senses and how they relate to the world and other life around her. The concept of powers beyond the mortals and how they relate to supreme being/s really comes through. There is more adventure and danger at every step of the way. The world is on the brink of destruction (as most usually are) but it's possibly the mechanizations of mankind that are a greater threat than any supernatural hazard. Once again, I'm left wanting to start the next book instantly. :) These books are truly difficult to put down.
  • Dragon Ore on Oct. 09, 2013

    Lots of action in this culmination to the trilogy. I enjoyed the interactions between the characters. There are strong relationships and friendships throughout. I've always been a big fan of character driven stories. I like to get to know the individuals and love/hate them. Catrin and her friends are definitely likable. The villain doesn't quite become the archenemy that I expected. There's not enough of his motivation and personality that comes through. He seems more of a politician gone power hungry who never delivers on implied evildoer promise in the end. The other enemies throughout present frequent challenges, with the greatest enemy being nature and power I believe. The peril to Catrin and friends delivers constant suspense, which makes it difficult to put the book down. Some of the events that happen around Catrin's home while she's gone are a bit confusing and it takes a bit of concentration to keep up with the myriad of details. The world created is filled with sweeping vistas and exotic lands that are exciting for the reader to visit. The ending comes to a satisfying conclusion for this story, but is left open for the next series and a future that promises great adventure. Overall, this is an excellent fantasy series. The characters and plot are original. I definitely recommend giving it a read.
  • Ruins of Legend on Dec. 21, 2013

    Lots of adventure in this one. The adventures split into two and the author does an excellent job of making you want to know what's happening in one thread while he switches to another. As a result, you have to read quickly to get back to it! Then you want to get back to the other thread. One of the author's strengths is in making the characters seem real. Aiden is a jack of all trades sort of character who the reader wants to succeed. Pacian is a definite anti-hero, but the reader wants him to do the dirty work and enjoys it when he does. The supporting characters all have distinct and enjoyable personalities. Quests lead them in separate directions in an attempt to find an artifact to save the kingdom. The locations they travel to are easy to imagine without being over-described. Enemies and other characters they meet along the way are just as colorful and diverse as the primary characters. Surprising events lead to an unexpected conclusion to this story and more questions to be answered in the next. The characters must find new resolve against despair and danger. It sets up the next one excellently. As with the other books, the dialogue has humor scattered throughout, the battle scenes are vivid and intense. If you enjoy rousing, epic adventures, this is an excellent series for you.
  • Legacies of Fire & Steel on Dec. 21, 2013

    "Legacies of Fire and Steel" is the culmination of the events in the first three books. The world is on the brink of destruction from an indomitable enemy that has no human emotion or mercy for fate of others. Aiden and Pacian are back together, along with newcomers while others have left, some in tragic circumstances. New characters fill the vacancies nicely along with the core. A few from books past also make appearances. Dark happenings have had difficult effects on the characters. Past events weigh heavily on some members while others have become stronger in spite of them. The author weaves the different threads of each individual with a deftness that Fate would envy. Moral dilemmas and the quandaries of what is right and what is wrong are considered and argued by the characters. This is one of my favorite things to do as a writer. I like having characters discuss issues and their feelings about it, even argue about it. It's an excellent way at looking at problems. I've learned a great deal from writing such things, and throughout my life by reading such things. I find a good book to be one that makes you a little smarter just by reading it. These conflicts could very well doom the mission and the very fate of the world. Various entities our heroes meet along the way have their own agendas and goals to follow that prevent the quest from carrying on. Then of course there are dragons, sandstorms, barbarians, armies, giant bad guys without weaknesses, priests, criminals and countless others who would like to interfere with the saving of the world. Do they save the world? Hmmmm . . . With Stephen's books you never know . . .
  • Upon the Fulcrum of War on Nov. 20, 2014

    As it says in the description, this story picks up two years after the 4th book ends. It is the beginning of a new series in a way, though staring many of the same characters. Aiden, the main character in all the books is wiser, yet troubled. He's been working as a pawn . . . errr politician . . . errr baron, running the fortress he helped rescue. The moment word comes that someone needs help, he blows that popsicle stand and gets back to adventuring as is only proper. Danger, betrayal, a conspiracy or three, more danger, surprise old friends, new dangerous frenemies, yet more danger, dragons, elves, dwarves and . . . did I mention danger? face our group. The characters in the story have evolved even more and the interpersonal relationships show an intriguing complexity. Mr. Nowland weaves the moral conflict of what good and evil truly are as he puts the characters in quandaries that would drive a normal person to madness. The characters do the best they can to survive, all the while keeping how they truly feel about the author to themselves. The battles are intense as always and there's no telling who will make it and who won't. It feels as though the reader is there beside the characters, worrying for their safety. Even more powerful spells light up the battlefield, taking the imagination to new heights. As far as criticism, I would have liked to see a new major character thrown in the mix with the adventurers. I think it could have given everyone a new dynamic to work off of. Toward the end there was one person that was part of a twist I didn't see coming. I believe that character will be more prominent in the next book and I look forward to it. This book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving the reader desperate to get their hands on the next one. I'm going to be very interested to see how it turns out. As with all of Mr. Nowland's books, the dialogue has humor scattered throughout, the battle scenes are vivid and intense. If you enjoy rousing, epic adventures, this is an excellent series for you.
  • The Akashic Throne on March 09, 2015

    This is the final book in the Aielund Saga, one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. I don't get a lot of time to read much anymore because I spend most of my free time writing, but I still love reading books. Actually, it's working to support my needy family and sleeping that really interfere. Epic. That is the best word to describe the book and the series. Our heroic adventurers have already saved the world, but in the way of worlds, it refuses to stay saved. Worlds are very inconsiderate that way. Aiden, the main character in all the books has become a bit scaly and draconic in appearance in nature. He's no longer a pawn of kings. He's now graduated to become a pawn of a wizard. This is important because he wants to get married at some point and needs practice to be a pawn to his wife. ;) He's matured a great deal throughout his journeys though and is not quite so foolish as he has been in the past. There is a constant internal struggle within him that parallels the external struggle the group faces. Throughout the saga, women have played an equal importance in the story. This has matured into women who just as confident and empowered as the men, and in some instances, they have their stuff together more than the men do. Criosa is more than just your typical pretty princess. She is clever and takes her position as a leader seriously. Nellise has exuded confidence and leadership throughout the saga, and if not for Aiden, I think she would have been the leader of the band of misfits. Syana is my favorite in this story. The strides she makes in understanding herself and those around her is one of the most extraordinary journeys I've read. Terinus the wizard is an excellent addition to the story. He is complex and fascinating. It's difficult to tell what his true nature is going to be though. Terinus becomes the driving force of this book. As always, the battles are intense. It's always a question as to who, if anyone will survive each encounter. The group gets cool new toys to play with, one of the fun aspects of fantasy. There are new people for the characters to interact with along the way and new dynamics for the characters' personalities. Mr. Nowland does an excellent job of wrapping up most the details in this book. There are a couple of characters that just disappeared, but I have reason to believe they may show up in future series. We shall see! The ending is very intense. Non-stop action for the last few chapters. I won't tell you what happens, but I will let you know that it's not entirely fair. In my current mood, that fits perfectly because life hasn't been too fair to me lately. With my attitude right now, if I had had control of the ending I probably would have taken out the world. Mr. Nowland's ending is good and right. :) As with all of Mr. Nowland's books, the dialogue has humor scattered throughout, the battle scenes are vivid and intense. If you enjoy rousing, epic adventures, this is an excellent series for you.
  • In The Wake Of War on Feb. 28, 2016

    In the Wake of War is a fast read that draws you in immediately. The scenes blend into each other and it's easy to forget to stop to sleep. (My wife made me.) It has action, adventure and an excellent plot, but the key with this book is the characters. They each have distinct personalities that make you like or hate them. Or in Madelyn's case, flip both ways depending on her behavior. My favorite character is Jaz. I've always had a soft spot for the tinkerer/artificer characters. The story begins with Aislin. As with all of the author's characters, you instantly become invested in her fate. She's a 12yr, almost 13yr old girl who's seen far too much war and is pushed into a traumatizing situation again. This time, she's determined to fight for her freedom and the freedom of those she cares about. It's unusual to see a girl as the main character in fantasy and it's a refreshing change. In addition, the party that travels with her is made up of men and women. The author allows the women to be strong, but not lose their femininity, which is an issue with many writers. The women occasionally need saving, but no more than the men. If anything, the men need more saving than the women. The group of characters play well off each other, with conflicts interspersed by witty banter. Events send them off to try to save the day, or many days as the case may be. The story draws you into the scenes with spooky caves and awesome vistas. The danger keeps the reader on the edge of the seat and always worried about the fate of the party. Stephen Nowland's technique has improved over the course of each story and this one is highly refined. With most Indie Authors, you have to watch for spelling and grammar issues. Not so with these books. They are a professional quality and well edited. There are no wasted words or scenes. Everything advances the story in a way that you stop hearing the author's voice. All in all, this was an excellent adventure to read and I can't wait for the next one to come out.
  • Soul Bonds: Book 1 Circles of Light series on May 28, 2016

    This is the first book in the Circles of Light Series. It is epic fantasy safe for young adults, though there is mild fantasy violence. If you're looking for books to keep your interest for lots of reading that may keep you up well past your bedtime, you've found it here. Tika is a young slave girl with a mysterious past. After escaping from her slavery to almost certain death, she discovers the fascinating world of dragons. Those dragons are the best part of the story. I could tell the author spent a lot of time daydreaming about them and what their existence would be like. The story begins immediately with Tika's discovery of those dragons. She forms a bond (thus the title name) with one and her life intertwines with the species from that point on. You learn about the dragons and about Tika for a chapter or two, giving you the foundation for the rest of the story. While Tika is the main character, the story that follows is largely about the dragons. They have personalities as big as they are. The characters of the dragons are distinct. It's easy to fall in love with some and dislike others with a passion. Not surprisingly, they aren't all happy about having a human among them, a fact that becomes pivotal in the events that follow. Once much of the dragon's story is presented, the plot switches back to Tika, who may be more than just a runaway slave girl. Tika is a strong and courageous woman without being a Mary Sue. She's capable and talented, but inexperienced. There are other strong women in the story whose conversations move the plot forward, rather than focusing on relationships and the such. Basically, the author avoids the pitfalls that plague so many other strong female leads. Upon reaching a new destination midway through the book, the rest of the world begins opening up. The reader gets to meet some of the other races in the world. It's a fascinating world too with exotic geographies and civilizations that are touched upon without bogging down into mind-numbing world-building. The villain and some of the evil races are quite easy to dislike. The villain's personality is well developed and multifaceted rather than being one-dimensional. There's also a good deal of mystery as to his past. The ending closes the book well with excitement and suspense. It leads one to want the next story. The one negative I found was that it was difficult to keep track of the names on occasion as a few of them sound similar. But that was resolved as the personalities developed. Each character is very much their own and their voices are distinct from each other. One of the things I liked is the mystery involved with every character, who they are and why they are that way. The author teases the reader with hints, but never fully reveals what the past may hold. There are stories to develop through the rest of the series. E.M. Sinclair's writing is daydreamy (yes, that's a word). You can see the fascination she has in exploring her world with her characters. The book is professional quality and well edited. I highly recommend for all ages.
  • The Fortress of Gold on Aug. 27, 2017

    The Ballard Chronicles follow the events of the Aielund Saga. However, it is not necessary to read those in order to properly enjoy this series. It calls to the actions and deeds of the Saga as backstory and fills in only what you need to know to understand events in this one. This is safe for young adults, with mild fantasy violence Aislin Ballard is one of my favorite characters in any of the thousands of books I've read. She's strong for a 13yr old girl, but not unrealistically so. There is exceptional depth of character with the optimism and vulnerability of a young woman. I think the author nailed the struggle of her youth in an adventuring party perfectly. One of the things I liked about this book is how Stephen Nowland highlighted the resiliency and determination of human spirit even in the worst of times. One of the author's strengths, which I've noted in previous reviews is that he allows the women to be strong, but not lose their femininity. The women occasionally need saving, but no more than the men. If anything, the men need more saving than the women. Once character I'd really like to see more of Jaz. She's an awesome character, my favorite in this series I think, but it felt like her personality wasn't allowed to blossom and show through quite as much in this book. She did a lot of things, but it seemed largely in the background. Everyone else in the group shone, especially Madelyn. I love the steampunk feel of the Kurhain civilization, especially with the muttonchops and mustaches. Major Maximilian Strauss is a superb character who brings a new dimension to the story. Switching back and forth between him and Aislin was a perfect touch. It was hard to root for him when his country was the one causing so much trouble for Aislin's group! I can't wait to see where this group goes. The hints Stephen Nowland put forward for future books are maddening. I want to know what happened to ***! I'm glad *** is back with ***. I know the Blue Man is going to come back, but will he bring his group with him?. I'm really worried for ***. With most Indie Authors, you have to watch for spelling and grammar issues. Not so with these books. They are a professional quality and well edited. There are no wasted words or scenes. Everything advances the story in a way that you stop hearing the author's voice. Book 3 is due out soon and I'll review it shortly thereafter!
  • Upon the Ashes of Empire on Sep. 10, 2017

    Easily the best book Stephen L. Nowland has written to this point. The story draws you in and takes you for the ride without letting go. The dangers and situations the characters get into are intense and frightening and you're never quite sure if everyone's going to make it. With each book, Aislin Ballard matures into a more dynamic character and young woman. She exemplifies determination and optimism not often found. She continues to excel in this book, however other characters are allowed a chance to shine through. Jaz's history is filled in when they visit her country. You learn much more about her including the reason she was in Aislin's country to begin with. She plays a pivotal role in the plot. Her wizardry is fun to watch as she explores new things, but her accidental roguish qualities is my favorite aspect. My favorite character in this book though is Max. His intelligence and determination to succeed no matter the odds gets the reader's adrenaline going. His conversations with Madelyn made me chuckle while I admired the wit between the two. Max and Madelyn made each other better and more interesting. In fact, I actually found myself looking forward more to their chapters than even Aislin's. Even Osric has a new villain friend to play with who works with him to create an object that could lead to greater destruction than even he may realize. I do think the author could have dawdled on these two a bit longer to let us enjoy their despicableness, but I'm sure the heroes didn't mind not having to listen to any more of their crap. While this book stands out on its own, the history of the countries come into play with surprising references that tie to the prior Aielund Saga bringing greater depth and understanding of the world. They lay the setting for potential future series and get me excited for what may come. With most Indie Authors, you have to watch for spelling and grammar issues. Not so with these books. They are a professional quality and well edited. There are no wasted words or scenes. Everything advances the story in a way that you stop hearing the author's voice. The Ballard Chronicles follow the events of the Aielund Saga. However, it is not necessary to read those in order to properly enjoy this series. It calls to the actions and deeds of the Saga as backstory and fills in only what you need to know to understand events in this one. This is safe for young adults, with mild fantasy violence. I highly recommend both the Ballard Chronicles and the Aielund Saga as excellent examples of epic fantasy.
  • Scars of Devotion on Sep. 11, 2017

    I decided to give this book a try and I'm glad I did. It is an excellent and enjoyable fantasy with characters that were likable and believable. The pace of the story kept me reading all the way through the end. Being the first book he has published, the writing was a little raw, as were my first books. However, it wasn't to the degree where it interfered with the story. The main character, Penelope, begins as a spoiled and somewhat irritating young woman, but after surviving a tragic situation becomes fascinating. The author succeeds in avoiding the Mary Sue treatment that some authors fall into (including, perhaps, myself). The development of her character is intriguing. It shows depth in the darkness she faces and the effects everything had on her. I found myself rooting for her to find happiness. The supporting cast is just as interesting as Penelope. Mr. Kramer develops each character a little at a time rather than trying to rush them all together. While there are dwarves and gnomes and typical fantasy elements, they're given their own characteristics rather than being cliche. Well written dialogue adds to each and their personalities are distinct. The world is presented to the reader in the beginning, but not in so much depth that it feels like an exercise in world building rather than the telling of a story. As time goes on, details are filled in. Mr. Kramer does it in such a way that I began to wonder what it would have been like to live in the world in previous times, which is when I realize I'm deep into the story. The battles are intense and I genuinely felt fear for the survival of the characters. Magic and weapons of fantasy were realistic while fantasy creatures such as wyverns and dragons amplified the danger. I'm very much looking forward to future books from Mr. Kramer. This is safe for young adults, with mild fantasy violence.