Friday Review: A Sampler of Samples

This week, I’m going to do something a little different. Instead of reviewing a whole book, I’m going to give some quick, first impressions based on samples of books I have downloaded recently. I have a small bit of money on Amazon and I asked on one of the writer groups for recommendations of books to try. I got a list, and downloaded the samples to see what I might want to buy. So, instead of starting a new book, I thought I’d try to read some of those and give my impressions.

(Note: These are not comprehensive reviews, nor are they necessarily accurate impressions of the whole works. These are based on samples of anywhere from 10 to 20% or so of the full work. So, as usual, Your Mileage May Vary, and don’t take this as my final view of anything I may actually buy at some point.)

In the Snows of Haz (Heart of the World, Book 1) by Maxine Janerka: This is an intriguing sample. The setting is harsh, a city in what appears to be a cold, bitter land. There is a hint at a plot of some sort, subterfuge, false plans and information being sold, and a young boy that many feel is some sort of demon. The writing is good, so far, and the production is nicely done. I am definitely interested.

Dream Stalker (Talented, Book 1) by Amy Hopkins: This one is urban fantasy, set in London in modern times. This London has both magical and mundane people living in it, as well as half-bloods. The main character is a half-blood who runs a tea shop that sells both normal and enchanted teas to both the Talented and the regular folk. There has been a serial killer targeting half-bloods and killing in an unusual manner. The police are at a loss, and the Lords who seem to rule the Talented don’t care since the victims are all half-bloods. And our main character is having dreams that seem to be connected to the murders. There’s a non-Talented police officer who seems to want to help. And a dog! I’m very interested in this one!

Someday I’ll Be Redeemed (Chronicles of Lorrek, Book 1) by Kelly Blanchard: I’m not sure about this one. For one thing, it seems to have a pretty large cast of characters and a lot of them are thrown at you almost immediately with very little context for sorting them. I found as I read farther, I had to keep going back to remind myself who this one or that one is. Otherwise, it seems a story of palace intrigue involving the royal families of neighboring kingdoms. It looks like it could develop into a decent high-fantasy story.

Curse Me Not by Elizabeth Fisher: This is another urban fantasy. It involves a bodywasher, a person who can cleanse someone of a curse that has been laid on them. She’s called by a client to cleanse a curse from a dog trainer who had allowed the client’s dog to be hurt. Now regretting the anger that led her to hire the illegal curse monger, Olivia want Elzetta to remove the curse. Things go wrong, and Elzetta sets off to figure out why and what’s going on. I keep waffling on this one. It looks like a bit of a twist on the magic-ability stories you see, and I do like the gritty feel to the setting and style. But there’s something that keeps me from being fully sure about it. It may go on the “I Need to Think More About This One” list.

That’s the samples I’ve looked at so far. I have a few more to go, and then I need to make some choices. I’ll keep you posted!

(Image from


Available now:


tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.





tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.






tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here