Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Reviews: The Cascade Annihilator

Sunday Reviews Week 8

The Cascade Annihilator

Chris James has once again created an exciting sci-fi adventure in his follow-up to The Dimension Researcher.  The story picks up shortly after the Dimension Researcher ends with Lucas Hunter back in action with The Second Internet Cafe, travelling to alternate realities and researching how the world could have been if certain events from the past had played out differently.  The only problem is that his old "pal" Dietrich is starting appear once again.  This time, however, Dietrich claims to have a device that threatens Lucas's home reality/universe.

In the meantime, the threat that Dietrich poses has the rest of the world wanting the Second Internet Cafe shut down for good.

Part of the story focuses on Lucas as he tries to save the world from Dietrich's threat.  We are also treated to a set of new characters who are struggling to keep the Second Internet Cafe.  This is all going on with the looming threat of a military strike on Europe for their activities with dimension research.

Chris James further proves his talent for writing a complex yet entertaining story with great characters and unique ideas. I love the alternate realities James creates, and his strong grasp on history helps make those realities come to life realistically.  One of my favorite new characters is Paula, a woman with an amazing ability(I don't want to give it away here.)

The Cascade Annihilator starts with a bang(almost literally) and doesn't let up until the last page and still leaves you wanting more.  If you haven't read The Dimension Researcher, you may want to start there, but both are incredible books with unique concepts and thought-provoking plots.  Well done, Mr. James!


The Cascade Annihilator is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Find out more about Chris James at:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Preview: Chapter 3 of The Dragon Gem 2nd ed

Here's Chapter 3 of The Dragon Gem 2nd ed.  This, along with the 2nd ed. Chapter 2 used to be one chapter.  I'm wanting to split up/pare down some of the longer chapters to keep things flowing a bit more smoothly.  Enjoy!

TDG Chap 3

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Reviews: Twisted Souls

Sunday Reviews Week 7

 Twisted Souls

Twisted Souls is an amazing supernatural/suspense/mystery by N. Lee Parish that reeled me in from the beginning and didn't want to let go.

The story starts with a man named Adam on his way to meet his brother and sister to settle up on how to take care of their recently deceased mother's estate.  However, on the way to meet them, Adam finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings on a road he's been down many times before.  Thinking himself lost, Adam pulls down a road leading to a town called Appelton. Appelton, as the book's blurb states, is "A town that Adam would soon discover he couldn't leave.  Ever." 

Now, I don't want to give away any of the brilliantly crafted plot, so I'm going to have to just leave it at that and just say that the trip into Appelton is definitely worth your time.  The atmosphere of Twisted Souls draws you in and traps you in much the same way that Appelton does to Adam.  The town is full of intriguing characters, each a little spooky in their own right.  The town itself is its own character, full of mystery, charm, and good old fashioned creepiness. 

Honestly, at first I thought I knew exactly where Twisted Souls was going, only to have the rug pulled from under me a half dozen times or so.  The mystery builds, layer upon layer, leaving you wondering what is real and what isn't.  Are the townsfolk of Appelton benevolent or sinister?  Why was Adam drawn to Appelton?  Will he ever escape, or is his fate tied in with the mysterious town?

N. Lee Parish has really created a unique story with Twisted Souls, one full of interesting characters and unexpected plot twists.  This is a fairly short novel, and given you won't want to put it down, you'll find yourself at the end before you know it, wishing you could have spent a little more time in Appelton. 


Twisted Souls can be purchased at Amazon.

Find out more about N. Lee Parish at:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday Preview: Chapter 2 of The Forgotten King

Okay, so this has turned into a Saturday preview.   Stupid stomach bug kept me from doing anything last night.  Anyways, here's Chapter 2 of The Forgotten King: Book Two of Korin's Journal!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Reviews: Double Review (Storm of Arranon Books One and Two)

Sunday Reviews Week 6

Dual Review:
Storm of Arranon
Fire and Ice

Storm of Arranon follows Erynn, a military student on the planet of Korin and the daughter of one of Korin's most famous generals. Her entire life, she has been forced to hide a major secret about her past as well as her mysterious powers that she herself does not even understand. When treachery rears its head in the political powers on Korin, she suddenly finds herself swept into a war in which Korin, and its sister planet of Arranon, are threatened by annihilation. Revelations about Erynn's life comes to light and she soon learns that she has a mysterious connection to Arranon. She finds she may be the key to saving both planets, finding love along the way.

When reading this, I found it hard to believe that it was R.E. Sheahan's debut novel in that her writing style screams of seasoned pro. The balance between detail, story, and characterization is impeccably executed. Nearly all of the characters are deep and complex and grow throughout the story. Though the main villain in the novel does not really share the same level of characterization as the other key players(I'm leaving out the name in case of spoilers), you gain an understanding of him based on the overall story of his people.

When reading Storm of Arranon, the world was brought vividly to life in my mind by the author's wonderfully realized sense of the world(s) they have created. You can tell that an extreme amount of care went into developing Arranon and Korin, whether from the description of species native to the planets, the unique environments, or from the inhabited towns/cities. R.E.Sheahan has invested a level of world building that in no way feels forced or unnatural.

Storm of Arranon is a wonderful sci-fi adventure full of fun, action, and even a little romance. I could see this book making a wonderful movie! Though I hated to see the book end, I was happy to see it left open for further volumes in the series while still wrapping up in a satisfying way. I look forward to the continuation of Erynn's story.

Also, I obviously have to like this one for there being a planet named Korin . . . for obvious reasons :).


Fire and Ice is the action-packed sequel to R.E. Sheahan's Storm of Arranon.  The story picks up right where the first book left off.  Right off the bat, Fire and Ice introduces us to an evil presence, Dhoran, who once threatened the planet of Arranon.  By inhabiting an unwilling host, Dhoran has returned to once again build up an army and conquer Arranon, an action that could disrupt the balance between Arranon and its sister planet, Korin, threatening all existence on both worlds.

Erynn Yager is back in Fire and Ice, now an Interceptor pilot on the planet of Arranon.  She finds herself drawn to eliminating the threat of the return of Dhoran, the once defeated sovereign of Arranon's underworld.  Erynn is much stronger from her experiences from Storm of Arranon, coming across as braver and more self-confident than when we first met her.  Of course, her history of self-doubt still creeps up, adding a sense of realism to her character.

Jaer, leader of the Anbas and Erynn's love interest, also returns, his past coming back to haunt him in ways that threaten to tear him and Erynn apart.

There are a host of new characters and creatures introduced in Fire and Ice, from the timid Nev(a doctor, or byan as they are called on Arranon), to my personal favorite, Cace, a boy suffering from illness who has dreams of one day flying an Interceptor like Erynn. During the book's first half, you constantly question who Dhoran has possessed, and how he plans to achieve his goal, lending a strong sense of suspense to the story.

After setting up the wonderfully detailed and inventive planet of Arranon in the first book, Sheahan is given free rein to jump into the action.  From the first chapter, there is rarely a dull moment or any stagnation in the plot flow.  The characters continue to be mostly well-developed and the cold world of Arranon is vividly painted for the reader.

As with Storm of Arranon, Fire and Ice continues to hint at grander things to come.  I have to admit that the ending felt a little anti-climactic to me given the build-up throughout the book, but it was still very satisfying and apt for the story.  Again, it seems to be paving the way for something more epic later in the series.

Fire and Ice can be enjoyed whether you have read Storm of Arranon or not, but I recommend starting at the beginning to truly appreciate the story.  And now to wait for the next entry in the Storm of Arranon series!


Both Storm of Arranon and Fire and Ice can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Find out more about R.E. Sheahan at her:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Preview: Chapter Two of The Dragon Gem 2nd ed.

Here's the 2nd chapter of the upcoming 2nd edition of The Dragon Gem: Book One of Korin's Journal.  It's looking like a late June/early July release as of right now.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Reviews: A Memory of Light

Sunday Reviews Week 5

A Memory of Light

After over 20 years, 14 books, the death of Robert Jordan who began the series, thousands of pages, and millions of words, Brandon Sanderson has brought us the conclusion to the Wheel of Time in A Memory of Light.  And it is an amazing ending, though one that is hard to really review.

After Robert Jordan's untimely death, the future of the series had been left uncertain.  Shortly before his death, Jordan made clear that he wished his story to be finished.  His wife and editor, Harriet McDougal, fulfilled this wish by bringing on Brandon Sanderson to finish the series after reading a touching eulogy Sanderson had written for the late Jordan and his first published novel, Elantris.  Sanderson took the helm of the series for the final three volumes under the direction of sections written by Jordan, Jordan's notes, and the guidance of Harriet.  It helped that Sanderson was also a massive fan of the Wheel of Time.  He has made it clear in many interviews that The Wheel of Time was one of the biggest influences in his becoming a writer and that his becoming published by TOR books was due to wanting to be published by the same publisher that released Jordan's books.

Okay, enough background.  There is little detail I can go into in this review without giving away spoilers, so I'll keep things as general as possible.  First of all, I have to say that this final volume does not let up on the action.  I mean, this is the Last Battle, Tarmon Gai'don.  This has been built up over literally millions(like 4.5 million or so)of words. There is a chapter actually titled "The Last Battle" which is over 200 pages long.  Yes, a 200 page chapter.  That even puts some of Jordan's early, sprawling prologues to shame.  And it works.

One criticism of Jordan's work was that he mostly played it safe with his major characters.  Nearly all the major "good guys" have lived throughout this epic.  Don't get too comfortable when reading this book, though.  All bets are off in the Last Battle.

Sanderson has done a brilliant job of tying up most of the major loose ends in the series, though you shouldn't expect the dozens of smaller threads to be addressed.  The climactic Last Battle brings the series into a very satisfying conclusion, one that is not overly complex or comprising of some major plot twist.  All of the major characters readers have come to know and love are each given a little snapshot of where they stand after all is said and done.  One thing I love about Sanderson's writing in A Memory of Light, is that you never go long between the viewpoints of the major characters.  I say this because Jordan was notorious for making you read hundreds of pages to find out what happened to a particular character after leaving you with a nerve-wracking cliffhanger.

I find it hard to come up with any complaints about this book.  It serves the exact purpose it was supposed to.  There is not a lot of character growth or development, but there isn't supposed to be.  This is supposed to serve as the culmination of the thirteen preceding volumes.

Finishing A Memory of Light was bittersweet for me.  It was wonderful to reach the conclusion, but its also hard to accept that this world and the characters that inhabit it, ones that I have grown to know over the past 15 years of my life, are finally at an end.

For any fans of fantasy who have never tried this series, you should 100% pick up The Eye of The World(the first in the series) right now.  The Wheel of Time has been one of the most pivotal fantasy series of this generation, and will likely always stand as one of the greatest fantasy series of all time.  It's true that there were a few meandering books towards the middle of the series, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more finely crafted world or a more brilliantly written fantasy work.


Find out more about Brandon Sanderson here

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Preview Week Two: Chapter One of The Forgotten King

This week I'm posting the first chapter of my upcoming The Forgotten King: Book Two Of Korin's Journal.  Either click the link below or read it straight from the embed.  Enjoy!

TFK Chap 1 by bambeam

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Reviews - The Dimension Researcher

Sunday Reviews Week 4

The Dimension Researcher: The Second Internet Cafe Part 1

The Dimension Researcher by Chris James is an exciting, creative journey through a future in which the technology exists to travel through time, albeit by visiting different dimensions. The way that the subject is approached in this book is incredibly unique and the story draws you in and doesn't let go.

Lucas Hunter has just become The Second Internet Cafe's newest Dimension Researcher, a group of people who are sent to other dimensions to gather information about them. The dimensions they visit are alternate versions of history, created when events occurred differently that in what is called, Reality One. What if WWII had a different victor? What if John Lennon hadn't been assassinated? What if a baby born stillborn lived and grew to become a famous artist? In The Dimension Resarcher, these alternative realities exist.

However, during Lucas' first "jump", he notices a strange man with technology far removed from the time period Lucas is sent to. When that same person pops up on his next mission, Lucas realizes he is being followed and that there is a plot in motion that could destroy The Second Internet Cafe, if not his entire reality.

Chris James has a way with words that makes his characters and his world real. That, and his impressive knowledge of history and science(quantum physics and the such), solidifies the plausibility of the premise and completely suspends any sense of disbelief. Chris James has obviously thought every aspect of this premise through, and his thorough realization of this world truly shows. The story moves at a brisk pace, pulling you through no matter what else you should be doing, and doesn't let up until you turn that last page. Though the book has a very satisfying conclusion, it is left open enough to make you yearn for further adventures with Lucas' and the Second Internet Cafe. At least being titled The Second Internet Cafe Part One ensures that Chris James has plans to grace us with more wonderful stories in this alternative future.

I really love some of the unique concepts Chris James puts forth in this book such as how histories, works of art, and music can be brought back and become popular items among the populace of Reality One. The idea that one event from one dimension can diverge into countless other dimensions which in turn can branch into countless more after that, etc. is interesting.

There are a few moments, though rare, that a couple pages will drag with technical terms and scientific explanations that will go right over the average reader's head, but it also helps to keep things real. You may find yourself skimming over these parts or jumping onto Google to learn more.

I have to say that I could see this as a wonderful idea for a movie, the characters brimming with personality and the story full of action and intrigue. This is not only one of the best independently published books I've read, but one of the best sci-fi/thrillers as well.

The second title in The Second Internet Cafe series, The Cascade Annihilator has also recently been released.  Though I haven't had the chance to get to it just yet, I look forward to the further adventures of Lucas Hunter.  Do yourself a favor and check out The Dimension Researcher.


The Dimension Researcher is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords

Learn more about Chris James here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Preview Week One: Chapter One of The Dragon Gem 2nd ed.

Every Friday, starting today, I will alternate posting chapters from the upcoming 2nd edition of The Dragon Gem and The Forgotten King until The Forgotten King's May 10th release.  This means the first five chapters of each will eventually be posted.

The Forgotten King is still on track for May 10th, but the 2nd edition of The Dragon Gem is looking like it may be delayed.  I would like to get it out as close to The Forgotten King's release as possible.  As I have mentioned before, if you purchased The Dragon Gem on Amazon, I will have it made available as an update, not a separate release.  At the latest, it will be out this summer.  On a positive note, the new cover art for it is turning out to be amazing.  I can't wait to share it when it is completed. 

So, for this first Friday, I'm posting the first chapter of the 2nd edition of The Dragon Gem.  For those who have read The Dragon Gem, you'll get an idea of about what level of changes have been made.  For those of you who haven't, I hope you enjoy this tiny preview.  You can either click on the link below or read the embedded file, whichever works better for you.  Enjoy!

Brian Beam