Tag: Book Reviews

Blood Eye: A Novel

by Giles Kristian

Blood Eye

In a thrilling adventure of brotherhood, warfare, and treachery, Giles Kristian takes us into ninth-century England, a world of darkness, epic conflict, and an unforgiving God served by powerful priests. On ships shaped like dragons, bristling with oars and armor, Jarl Sigurd and his fierce Norsemen have come in search of riches. And riches they are promised, by an English ruler who sends Sigurd and his wolves to steal a holy manuscript from another kingdom. Osric, an orphan boy, sees beyond the terror of these warriors, and somehow knows the heathens’ tongue. Renamed Raven, rechristened in blood, he will join them. They are his people. And they will be his fate.

The Story …

Set in England during the late 800s, “Blood Eye” is the story of Osric, a fifteen-year-old carpenter’s apprentice in the village of Abbotsend. Osric has no memory of anything before the Saxon villagers found him left for dead near a burial mound with a bone-handled pagan knife hanging around his neck. To make matters worse, Osri’s left eye is blood red (probably from an injury), so the Christian priest accuse him of being a servant of the devil. This makes Osric’s life in Abbotsend difficult. Things change dramatically when two Viking long-ships arrive on shore.

The Vikings are led by Jarl Sigurd who claims to have come peace to trade, However, the village priest attempts to poison Sigurd with mead laced with hemlock. Osric cannot simply standby and let this happen, so he warns Sigurd about the priest’s treachery. The Vikings take their revenge, and leave, taking Osric and the old carpenter with them. Sigurd believes Osric’s “blood eye” is a sign from Odin. Osric soon discovers he has much more in common with Sigurd and his men than with the English who adopted him.

Sigurd renames Osric “Raven,” and the boy finds himself admiring the Norseman and their way of life. He has discovered he can speak their language, and with the pagan knife, this presents a clue to his forgotten past.

The story begins to take off when a Wessex Ealdorman offers Sigurd a fortune in silver to steal a book, a bejeweled Gospel of Saint Jerome, kept in the fortress of the king of Merica. The Norseman agree and set off on this mission accompanied by a fierce Wessexman named Mauger and an Christian priest named Father Egfrith.

In Mercia, Raven helps save a young woman named Cynethryth, who becomes Raven’s love interest for the remainder of the tale. While there exists a thread of romance, this is not a romance novel. It is a Viking saga of honor, courage, battle, and blood. It is the story of Raven and his return to his origins, and discovering himself in the company of Viking warriors.

My thoughts …

The story moves at a fast pace from one exciting battle scene to the next. It includes several good plot twists and a large dose of a betrayal and comeuppance.

Giles Kristian ends his tale in a way that sets up the sequel, Sons of Thunder perfectly, and I look forward to reading that tale next.

The interesting thing for me is that I read the Rise of Sigurd series previously, which is clearly a prequel to this Raven series, and was written a few years later.

As a new author myself, it was interesting to see how Giles Kristian has grown as an author over time. It looks like there were about three years between the release of Blood Eye (Raven 1) and God of Vengeance (Sigurd 1). The growth of Kristian as a writer between the two works is readily apparent. God of Vengeance is much smoother and better written.

I find that inspirational because it means there may actually be hope for me as a writer. And, indeed, I learned a great deal writing my first novel, Serpents Underfoot and already see differences as I continue working on its sequel, Montagnard.

I found “Blood Eye” to be a very worthy read, and I do recommend it (with the understandings mentioned above) as a very good read. It think it would be interesting to re-read them in the order they were released, and enjoy the great stories while seeing Kristian’s evolution from good new author to excellent seasoned author unfold.

To read additional blog posts and book reviews by D.C. Gilbert, click here!

Anne Rice … I write like Anne Rice?

I just learned I write like Anne Rice

A fellow writer shared a link on Twitter to a little analysis tool that allows you to paste in a chapter of your work or a blog post, etc., and then analyzes your writing to tell you who you write like. For kicks, I thought I would give it a try. I pasted a section of a chapter from Serpents Underfoot in the field, clicked analyze, and held my breath. A few second later, my results came back and I was informed I write like Anne Rice.

So, who is Anne Rice … in case you don’t know

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Anne Rice was born on October 4, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her first novel, Interview With The Vampire, was published in 1976 and went on the become one of the best-selling novels of all time. Her many books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.

I admit I am not sure what to think about this. I was sure I would come back with Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, or Fredrick Forsyth … but Anne Rice? To be sure, I am not knocking Anne Rice. I have read several of the books in her Lestat series and enjoyed them immensely. I just didn’t imagine that military thriller writers would compare to a writer of metaphysical Gothic fiction, Christian literature and erotica!

If you would like to check out this little writing analysis tool, click here!

I wonder if a sample from my book, Adirondack Bear Tales, would also come back as similar to Anne’s in style? Interesting question. I may need to check that out.

By the way …

If you happen to check out one of my books, please leave a review to let me know what you think. I would certainly appreciate it! Click here to read more of my blog posts.

Question: Why did you choose to write?

Is it for the money?

An important question. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with seeking to earn a few buck from your writing. I must confess that it was a pleasant surprise when people began to buy my books and actually enjoyed the stories I’d written.

I just like to tell stories. So, the question for me was, how do you know people are enjoying your books? It is one thing to tell the tale! It is quite another thing when people truly enjoy your tales. Probably for me, a reader’s enjoyment is the biggest motivation behind why I write.

Question #2: How do you know people enjoy your writing.

I think this question is answered in several ways. Talking to your readers and asking them for their thoughts on your book is one thing I have done.

There is a real difference between, “I thought it was good” …

and,

… “Dude! I loved it. That part where JD spent the night trapped under the NVA tank rocked” or “that barroom fight scene was totally awesome. I loved that line … ‘my mother taught me!’ “

Reviews can also answer this question …

When a reader takes the time to write a review for something you wrote, that really means something.

1) Either they hated it (I had one reader who hated the fact that I had some adult scenes in Serpents Underfoot so much that he never finished the book and gave me a 1 Star review just so he could vent his outrage.)

2) Or, they liked your story enough to take the time to say so.

The Few, the Proud, the Marines!

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I really loved this review of Serpents Underfoot because it is from a USMC veteran. Getting a 5 Star Review from a USMC veteran for a book that includes all branches of the U.S. military including the Coast Guard, really meant something special to me. Marines are not noted for lightly giving out praise which is why this review does mean so much!

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thriller

Definitely a five-star adventure. I was hooked from the first page and read it in one sitting. The plot, which revolved around a conspiracy to detonate nuclear bombs in the U. S., includes many unexpected twists and turns. JD quickly becomes the dominant character with Ajax a close second. I’m looking forward to the next book. ~ usmc – mike



Warning: Bears ahead!

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This 5 Star Review of Adirondack Bear Tales made me chuckle. This reader obviously enjoyed the stories and even took the time to write a carefully crafted and entertaining review! Very cool! And, very much appreciated.

Reviews like this are one of the main reasons I enjoy writing. This reader clearly enjoyed this short collection of bear tales from the Adirondacks!

5.0 out of 5 stars Could not stop reading these tales


Adirondack Bear Tales is a first-class collection of gripping encounters with Ursus Americanus. Gilbert enjoins readers with the inviting and entrancing aspects of the Adirondacks, only to rapidly transform each tale into a suspenseful and terrifying experience! Suitable for all ages, I could not put this 42 page book down. Adirondack Bear Tales is a superlative blend of family, nature, humor, and fright. ~ Eric Ewald

Pursuing reviews for the sake of pursuing reviews is probably not the best use of your time as a writer. Above all, you need to be writing. However, it doesn’t take too many reviews such as these to give you a good feeling about what you are doing! In addition, reviews such as these can be very motivational!

To read other posts on DC Gilbert’s blog … click here!

Another Five Star Review for Serpents Underfoot

Yep! That’s another five star review!

Thank you, DD Gott, for the fantastic five star review of Serpents Underfoot. 


What did I like? This is the first book that I have read from this author, but I was struck with the realism of the storyline. He truly knew his subject and characters and brought them to life with the stroke of his pen/computer. The reality of the storyline hit me like a ton of bricks. It seems like this was written as an episode of today’s life. Being an animal lover and knowing a little about working dogs, I was very impressed with the information and the use of his K9 partner, it was awesome.


What will you like? Extreme action, passionate characters, powerful storyline, well written, strong and yet touching with many lives put into action and learning curves. Well thought out and shows the intense research in every page from the martial arts to the life of the military. Action and reality make this an explosive action thriller for your next read.

 
~ DD Gott
five star
Have your ordered yours?

How’s that for a great five star review!  You can read the whole review here.


Adirondack Bear Tales

In addition, keep an eye out for my upcoming new release! It is a wonderful collection of Adirondack Bear Tales based on real life encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York.  These delightful family stories are enjoyable for adults and suitable for all ages. They would even make great bedtime stories for young children. It is not a long book … 11 short stories … but the stories vary between humorous, exciting, and even sad. Above all, they are very entertaining. 

Likewise, if you have the time, I would love to get your help on selecting the cover for this book. I have two versions and like them both.

Please click here to tell me which cover you like better.

Cold War Book Review: The Last Saturday of October

I grew up during the cold war era, so I looked forward to reading this book. I am just a bit too young to actually remember the Cuban Missile Crisis.  After all, I was two-years-old at the time. However, the story was pretty well-known and often a topic of conversation by people around me during my younger years. Despite that, reading this book was quite a shock. What really floored me while reading The Last Saturday of October, was how much we did not know.

cold war

A Historic Cold War Thriller

This story is a thriller and a historical bombshell. Written from the point of view of the Russians, the story is meticulously researched with much of the information only declassified in recent years. The characters are real and so well developed that you actually become part of the conversation and part of the story. You have the very real feeling that you too are on the submarine, and experiencing the same wet, cold, fear, discomfort, and uncertainty that the crew of submarine B-59 was dealing with. 

What is truly extraordinary is the fact that, if not for the last minute moral decisions of a few Russian men, and especially Vasili Arkhipov, the world today would be very different. Many do not know just how dangerously close we came to nuclear war. It was a unique moment when that realization dawned on me.

cold war

Read The Last Saturday of October

Douglas C Gilbert (no relation) clearly knows his subject matter and probably has first-hand naval training or experience. I would certainly not be at all surprised to learn the author served a few years in the U.S. Navy.  The dialogue and terminology ring very true throughout the story. The research and documentation are very impressive.

The Last Day of October is a must read for history buffs, military history enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys well-written historical fiction. I give this book 5 out of 5 Stars and highly recommend it!

If you think you might enjoy The Last Day of October, you might also want to check out Serpents Underfoot!

Mary Enck: A Review of Serpents Underfoot

Thank you, Mary Enck, for your fantastic review!

Mary Enck is the author of, A King in Time II.

Mary Enck attended UCLA and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She enjoys reading Fantasy and Science Fiction and has a new love for Mystery/Thrillers. Latest character crush is Jack Reacher. A native of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and lives in Colorado Springs with her family, a Lab/Dane doggo who says her name is Gillie, and two cats, Lucky and Tuxedo.

Being a long-time fan of the Arthurian legend and having read several versions during my life, I certainly am going to have to read hers as well. In fact, I just started reading it. I am sure there will be a post about A King In Time on here in a little while.

However, the purpose of this post is to thank her for her fantastic and thoughtful review of Serpents Underfoot. Her review left me humbled and speechless.

 

Three Quotes from Mary’s Review of Serpents Underfoot

Author, D. C. Gilbert, takes the reader back to a time that has passed into history. While the era is overshadowed by so much that is happening today, at such a rapid pace, this story reflects how little we have advanced in all this time. We remain in conflict with humans, inflexible in their beliefs.

 

The characters are very strong in their individuality. Again, it is interesting to see the contrasts drawn between the West and influences from another time and another faraway place. I became related to the good guys in this book. I enjoyed their personalities and like them very much.

 

There is a lot of delving into the way of things such as martial arts, Navy Seals and their working dogs, which I especially liked. To me, if there is an animal in a novel significant to the story, it is a relief from the more severe issues that come up.

 

If interested, you can read the complete review here.

 

The novel, Serpents Underfoot, is available in Kindle format for only $3.99.  I hope you will give it a read!

Use Reviews To Improve Writing Skills

Mixed Reviews on Goodreads?

Do you use reviews to improve your writing? I have an account on goodreads.com, but to be honest, until recently I have not spent a great deal of time on this website. Then, I few days ago, I dropped in on my account to see what was happening only to discover that I had a few more great reviews for my novel, Serpents Underfoot.  These reviews are by Goodreads members who have actually read my book and who I do not know! It is one thing when a friend or family member reads your book and tells you how great it is. But, when a stranger enjoys your book and says so … how fun is that!

Therefore, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Garrett Lee and Kevin Keegan for your FIVE STAR reviews and A Standley for your FOUR STAR review. It means a lot to a writer to get some response to his work, good or bad.

Use reviews to improve your writing skills!

Good reviews are motivational and we all love to get them. However, bad reviews, if honest and to the point, can be very instructional. I am sure there are readers out there who will simply not like my work. Such is life. But constructive criticism can go along way toward improving your writing skills. So, instead of getting angry or upset over bad reviews, view them as tools to improve your writing skills. Take the comments and look to see if the review you are upset about is indeed on to something.

You can always just ignore the occasional cranky reviewer with nothing real to add to the conversation.

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