Story Review: Brightwine in the Garden of Tsitsian Village by Bradley P. Beaulieu from Unfettered II

Story Review: Brightwine in the Garden of Tsitsian Village by Bradley P. Beaulieu from Unfettered II

 

 

Cover
Cover for Unfettered II taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  Brightwine in the Garden of Tsitsian Village by Bradley P. Beaulieu is the fourth story in the Unfettered II Anthology.  An apothecary is visited by his abusive brother, who has come with a demand from the king to investigate the disappearance of a nobel’s son. There were several other missing children, but the king took interest when a nobel boy disappeared. The apothecary’s brother, uses his position as a member of the king’s personal unit manipulate the apothecary into submission. What will the reason for these kidnappings turn out to be?

Character:  I had to listen to this story for another couple of minutes before I could recall the story. Then I was surprised I didn’t. From a professional viewpoint, this was a very well told story. So why didn’t I even remember it? The answer, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the main character. (I could say it, but I can’t type it. I listened to the audible version.) I can’t honestly tell you why he didn’t resonate, but my impression is I was never worried about him. He’s too proactive and proficient. The answer must then lie in the character’s sympathy levels. I never connected to him on an emotional level. He wasn’t like Holmes, who’s a jerk, and that keeps your emotions up. Neither is he like Dresden, who’s just so lovable. The author made efforts to connect the reader, but it just didn’t click with me. If what you like is a good mystery, then you’ll probably enjoy this story. 

Exposition: This was well done. The story moved, and I never felt bogged down by details or meaningless back story.  

Worldbuilding: I feel like this might be part of a larger series, but I don’t actually know (a big risk in anthologies). However, the lack I felt was more a positive. I feel like there’s more to learn about this world, but I didn’t miss any of those details. Rather than try and tell the readers everything they missed about this land’s history, the author just politely gave us the details we needed to understand this story.

Beaulieu
This image was taken from the author’s Twitter profile for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Dialogue: Here may be another place where the story fell short for me. A well told tale with wooden characters can really diminish the story’s quality. The lines felt over scripted.   It felt as if the lines were just there for anyone to speak, and the characters weren’t portrayed in the dialogue. I wouldn’t say it was “bad” just not unique.

Description: While I didn’t mind the streamlined description, I couldn’t give you a single detail about any character. I can remember some scenes and locations, but nothing else. I’m very forgiving with this area. I don’t actually care what people look like so much because I just cast whoever I feel fits my imagination best in my mind anyway. I’d leave it to an individual reader to decide if this is a problem or not. 

Overall: A great mystery story lacking memorable characters. If following the clues is your flavor, you’ll love it. Even with the unsympathetic character, it’s still an enjoyable story because of the quality of the mystery and the world in which it unfolds.    

Thanks for reading

Matt

 

The March Book Cover of the Month is up and Running!

The March Book Cover of the Month is up and Running!

March_Cover_Collage_175Happy first everyone! As is now officially tradition here on my blog, it’s time to start a new book cover of the month competition.

Star Mage Exile by J.J. Green joins 31 brand new covers this month.

You can vote all the way through the tournament, supporting the covers you like best through each round. I like to make sure people get the credit they deserve, so please show your support. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

The November Book Cover of the Month is Halfway Done!

The November Book Cover of the Month is Halfway Done!

With just seven days left in this month’s bracket, it’s time to update you all on how things have been progressing. As I type this, this month started out solid, but it’s slowed way down. Any help getting word out and getting people to vote would be appreciated.

1,796 votes so far.

51nY6pcjfDLPrey till the End, by S.L. Eaves took the lead on Day 2, and has been pulling away ever since, but the most it would take anyone to take the throne is 15 voters putting them all the way through to the championship round.

Most Voted on so far: Prey till the End has the most total votes so far with 128.

Least Voted for: Empire of Dirt by Philip C. Quaintrell. This cover has 30 votes. I’d like to see it get a bit more support.

Eaves is slowly pulling away at the moment. He’s got some stiff competition from Living the Good Death in the Sweet 16. Eaves has a five-vote lead in that round, but if Scott Barron is going to catch Eaves, it only takes six people to do it. Eaves is also fighting a tough battle in the Final Four where Half-Asleep Guardians by Aurel Larue is only four votes behind, which means five people could change all that.

51x3Sop7TYLMother of Chaos by John Patrick Kennedy is in second for the moment, but Kennedy is barely hanging on in every round of the bracket. He’s winning nail biters with no more than a four-vote lead in any one round.

This will be the only update for this type of bracket. I hope readers continue to support their authors by voting, liking, and sharing the bracket with as many people as possible.  You can vote at this address!

I’ll announce the winner is just seven days!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

The November Book Cover of the Month Starts Now!

The November Book Cover of the Month Starts Now!

NOTE: We’re going to have two brackets. This month’s winner is automatically in the Book Cover of the Year bracket. However, the runner up will be placed in a Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round bracket, which will launch the week before Christmas. Stay tuned for that.

November’s bracket has 30 new books. Chosen by R.S. Broadhead and The Fallen Queen by Janie Marie (last month’s 2nd and 3rd place covers) also get another shot at the title.

You can vote all the way through the tournament, supporting the covers you like best through each round. I like to make sure people get the credit they deserve, so please show your support. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

The Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Bracket will kick off just as soon as the November Book Cover of the Month tournament ends. If you want to leave a comment for a cover you liked that didn’t get in, feel free. I’ll consider the options, though I think the ones I’m looking at now all have a justifiable right to be consider wild card entrants.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

February Book Cover of the Month Elite 8!

February Book Cover of the Month Elite 8!

Feb_Cover_Collage 8Hello everyone! The Elite 8 is here, and the voting is getting more and more difficult! I don’t get tired of saying it; this was another record-breaking round! The Sweet 16 had 788 votes, which puts us at a total of 2,255 votes so far!

 

Let’s go over some numbers:

The Closest Contest:

We had two contests come within 5 votes.  Heartstone by Elle Katharine White vs The Last Sacrifice by James A. Moore and Dragon Legends by Ava Richardson vs Surviving the Evacuation: Ireland by Frank Tayell were equally close calls with Richardson and White each wining by 5 votes and only 53% of the total votes.

The Largest Victor:
This wasn’t close by any stretch of the imagination.  With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu showed up big time against An Impossible War by Andy Remic. Beaulieu won by 45 votes, earning 71% of the total votes.

Most Voted On Contest:
I’m not sure what else Joshua Robertson, J.C. Boyd and Karpov Kinrade were doing, but they were certainly calling on their followings! Anaerfell by Robertson and Boyd narrowed out Silver Flame by Kinrade by 15 votes, which is tiny compared to the 139 votes that match received.

Least Voted On Contest:
Once again, every contest received more than 80 votes, which is great, but let’s make sure that if we call on our readers, we ask them to vote on every contest. Stone vs Sacrifice and The Destiny Thief by Luanne Bennett vs Flight of the Krilo by Sam Ferguson both only received 83 votes.

51X1Mg4IHaLMost Votes:
Anaerfell is the top dog for this round. To show you how close that match was, in terms of total votes so far, Silver Flame received 135 total votes (which is more than With Blood Upon the Sand, which is moving on). In order to move on, Robertson had to surge to receive 138 total votes.  In short, Robertson had to essentially win twice to stay in the tournament.

The Unleashed by Bentz Deyo is still the top dog in terms of overall votes with 154 votes, but Deyo is facing Beaulieu in the next round. Why does that matter? Deyo and Beaulieu are 1 and 4 respectively in terms of overall votes. It’ll take at least 80 votes to for either author to win this next round.

So now it’s on to the Elite 8!  This round will last until March 18, which is only about 4 days! I think this round might be one of the closest ever. I’m VERY curious to see which 4 you all choose to send on in the tournament.

Head over here and vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

February Sweet 16!

February Sweet 16!

The Sweet 16 is here!

Feb_Cover_Collage 16After yet ANOTHER record breaking round, we’re down to 16 covers. I’m so glad to see such a positive response to the contest. But enough about me and my elation, let’s look at what happened after 1,467 votes!

Let’s go over some numbers:

 

The Closest Contest:

We have a few ties here.  The Winter Over vs War Factory and Ringing in a New Year vs An Impossible War were both decided by just four votes! War and Winter were the victors in those close contests.  Over earns the tiebreaker in because it’s narrow 52% margin of victory.

The Largest Victor:
Bentz Deyo is back people! He brought his following for his cover to The Unleashed to defeat A Gathering of Shadows by 41 votes! The Elven Tales had the largest margin of victory over Death’s Mistress with 71% of the votes. Those are some pretty impressive numbers.

Most Voted On Contest:
Unleashed vs Shadows had the most votes with 119.

Least Voted On Contest:
I’m thrilled to say that every contest had 80 or more votes.  Four matches were tied for the least votes at 80: The Destiny Thief vs Three Years With the Rat, Surviving the Evacuation: Ireland vs Smoke Happens, Age of Myth vs Explorations: First Contact, and Winter vs War Factory.

61sr30ku-7lMost Votes:
Unleashed is back on top with the most votes. Mr. Deyo spoke with me. He’s very determined to make the most of this second chance, and he’s already making good on his word with 80 votes in this round.

So now it’s on to the Sweet 16!  This round will last until March 15. That’s 7 days to pick which 8 will move on.

Head over here and vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

February

Book Cover of the Month of February

Book Cover of the Month of February

feb_cover_collageHappy 1st everyone! For me, that means it’s time for a new Book Cover of the Month Bracket, and I’m more excited every time I do this.  If you’re curios or new, check out the Book Covers for December and January.

Last month was simply enormous, and I hope to keep this momentum going in the right direction. We have 28 new covers to look at, and the top four runners up from last month have a second shot to win the month!

If you know the authors or the artists, please share this and tag them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

Round 1 will go from today to March 8.

The Sweet 16 will run from then to the 15th.

The Elite 8 will take it from there until the 18th.

The Final 4 runs from the 18th to the 20th.

The Finals will go from the 20th to the 22nd.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt