Sky Full of Stars

Getting reviews for books is even harder than actually selling books. A fraction of the people who read a book will review it, so when I got out of the shower the other week to a surprise email telling me I’d won a bundle of five reviews from Readers’ Favorite for my contributions to their forum, I carefully avoided mentioning that I’ve only posted there twice.

I chose to have Church of the Assassin reviewed, because it probably has the widest potential appeal of all my books, is probably my favourite, and has very little attention.

The result is five 5-star reviews with some nice, quotable lines! Unfortunately, they can’t be posted on most sites like Amazon or Goodreads, because Readers’ Favorite is a professional company, not a customer; however, they’re still nice to get. Here’s a snippet of the book’s six 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite:

Christian Sia – “Ross Harrison plots like a genius, filling the story with twists that readers won’t see coming. The conflict is well-written, and I liked how the author explores the shadowy sect to which the heroine belongs, allowing its effects on her to shine through the story. Church of the Assassin is fast-paced, a real thrill ride and a brilliantly executed page-turner.”

Alex Ndirangu – “I found Church of the Assassin to be spellbinding. Things get even more exciting when fate adds to Alex’s responsibilities. She inherited a baby girl and will run like the wind to keep her out of harm’s way, but first, she will shoot, and she never misses.”

Vincent Dublado – “It is a surprisingly moving sci-fi action novel with a compelling emotional arc.”

K.C. Finn – “Ross Harrison knows how to keep sci-fi fans on the edge of their seats with this fast-paced, cinematically drawn novel that never lets up on the action. […] The worldbuilding is off the scale for its depth, even down to the parlance and cultural attitudes of the characters, which gives Church of the Assassin an immersive quality throughout. This is a highly recommended and accomplished novel that grips readers hard and never lets go.”

Sheena Monnin – “Church of the Assassin by Ross Harrison is masterfully written. The reader will be neck-deep in the quagmire of lies, deceit, action, and murder from the very beginning of the story. […] This is a hair-raising adventure book that is impossible to put down, containing great characters, an excellent plot, and thought-provoking themes throughout.”

Alma Boucher – “Church of the Assassin is jam-packed with action, fast-paced, and never has a dull moment. The storyline is complicated and intriguing. […] Church of the Assassin was worth every minute I spent reading it.”

Starting on December 15, Church of the Assassin will be on sale for 50% off during the Smashwords Winter Sale, and I’m currently writing a direct sequel to it, so now is a good time to read!

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age Table

I never expected Inquisition (see what I did?!) to be brilliant. I didn’t expect it to be BioWare back to form. And it wasn’t. But it was pretty good, and in some places very good; it was certainly a big improvement over Dragon Age II.

I bought Dragon Age: Inquisition on release day and have been taking my time with it so that, by the time I embarked upon the final mission, I’d finished all the side quests. I did manage to miss one party member, though, due to not discovering that Orlais has two upper levels until hour 101. I finished it on New Year’s Day.

I’m not entirely sure what to think. I wrote a blog for Uproar about Bioware and mentioned how this game could remake or break the developer. I think, on the whole, it has done them good. They still made some of the same mistakes they did with some of their past games, but mostly they did a good job.

First off, the voice acting was pretty good – nothing special, but good – for all but one character: your own. You choose between one of two male voices when you start – an American one and an English one – and I assume the same goes for female builds. I chose the English one, because American doesn’t sound right in fantasy to me. What a mistake. Flat, boring, unemotional for the most part. When he did put emotion into things, it was all over the place. He’d sound accusing, angry, surprised or confused, when he was meant to be anything but. Mostly, he just sounded like a dimwit – not how you want your Inquisitor to sound. Compared to the very good voicing of Hawke in Dragon Age II, it was a big step back.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the game was the world itself. The areas you can travel to are both huge and varied. One of the worst things about Dragon Age II was the blatant reuse of areas, one lesson BioWare clearly learnt well. No one area looks like another, no matter how small, and the environments are varied enough – even the similar ones – that you could tell where in Thedas you’d been put if the game launched you there randomly. The detail in most of these environments is impressive too, given the size. Except the desert. That’s far too big to be so empty.

Dragon Age Dales

The combat is pretty much the same as it was in Dragon Age II, except instead of mashing the attack button, you simply hold down the right trigger and the fighting is done for you. Overall, it’s fine, though the blows just don’t feel like they have the impact that they did in the previous game. You feel more like you’re swinging a fish at the enemy instead of a sword. And the top-down view thing is entirely pointless, at least on easier difficulties.

Then there are the downsides. The AI is terrible, with the party members getting stuck or deciding to stand still and not follow you (which means if you switch to them thinking they’re right behind you, you’re transported miles away and then your previous character is teleported to them). In fights, some of the ranged characters would run right up to enemies to attack them…from range. Given that ranged characters have less defences and lower health, this was quite irritating. Not to mention moronic. But BioWare decided that we didn’t need the detailed character behaviour options that helped make Origins so good. Basically, you can tell a character to do what another does, or do their own thing. The former means that they totally ignore enemies who attack them, and therefore die a lot.

Enemy spawning is very annoying. If you wipe out a group of enemies, don’t look over your shoulder as you walk away, or they’ll have respawned again. That’s if you survived the encounter. Not because the enemies are tough, but because of the glitch that causes your character to run into an enemy and then launch into the sky and plummet back to the ground.

Glitches being another irritant. They are mostly small, and BioWare did fix the worst ones. I missed a lot of what was happening for first several hours because dialogue would often freeze, and I would have to press the skip button so that I wouldn’t be left with someone just staring at me in silence. That of course resulted in me missing lines. When it happened multiple times within a single conversation, I was left clueless.

And what about the lies BioWare told? There were a couple of things they claimed would be in the game – and claimed very close to release – that aren’t. While this is pretty typical of BioWare, that doesn’t make it acceptable. The main thing I remember is them saying how once you liberate a keep, you would decide what kind of keep it should be. You don’t. At all. It doesn’t matter, but it annoys me that BioWare are so changeable and liberal with the truth.

Their claims of all these hard decisions is perhaps the chief example. They say that every time, of course, but usually there are hard choices. They said these would be some of the hardest yet, that there would be no easy or ‘right’ choice. Well…where the hell were they? The hardest choice I had to make was deciding whether I should take Solas or Dorian on missions. The only other thing that was hard was a choice regarding Blackwall, and it seems like both options turn out exactly the same anyway. They used an example in one gameplay video of a village under attack at the same time as Inquisition forces, or something like that. The choice was between helping the Inquisition and helping the village. Nothing like that ever occurs in the game. Ever. This is the culmination of two other games, with the fate of the world in the balance, and there isn’t a single hard choice.

Which reminds me of the video where they showed how, on approaching enemy forces, you could set fire to their boats so that they couldn’t escape. They said there were be things like that throughout. There are not.

There’s no actual danger. There is one point at which your enemy, Corypheus, launches a devastating attack on the Inquisition, but other than that it’s an easy ride. No party members are ever in any danger, where they could be killed off. Again, this is unlike gameplay videos and trailers suggested. Which reminds me of just how many scenes from trailers and gameplay videos never made it into the game. Good scenes. Dramatic scenes. Did BioWare have to decide between delaying the game and cutting a load of it out, and chose the latter? They certainly seem to have bitten off a hell of a lot more than they could chew.

Overall, I’d probably give Dragon Age Inquisition a maximum of 7/10, and I would recommend it. But it suffers from BioWare’s continuing cluelessness. This isn’t the end of my review/rant, but everything from here on will be full of big spoilers.

I used the Keep thing online to make all the choices that I made in Dragon Age Origins and DA2, which weren’t saved to my Origin account for some reason. Most things seemed to make little to no difference, but I wanted to have Alistair in my game, so I chose to have the Hero of Fereldan kill the archdemon, and Alistair rejoined the Wardens. So he was indeed in my Inquisition playthrough, and turned out to be a fairly important part. However, after he played his part, he left to return to the Grey Wardens at their headquarters. I thought that this was to get their help with the whole world ending crisis thing, but apparently not, because he never came back and wasn’t mentioned again until the credits.

Another familiar character to make an appearance is Hawke. This was handled incredibly badly. It was built up to be a big surprise, and yet just as I was about to meet him, the game asked me if I wanted to use Hawke’s default appearance or customise it. That’s like taking someone to a surprise birthday party and then at the door, telling them you hope they like surprise parties! Why the hell didn’t they just do that at the start of the game? And then there’s Hawke’s end. You have to choose between him and Alistair – I suppose that could count as a hard decision, but it makes the most sense that Hawke be the one to die, so it isn’t. And so the hero of Dragon Age II is given a pathetic, badly-animated non-death. He runs at the enemy, and then we just assume he died. Brilliantly handled, as always, BioWare. Because who cares about a character you not only spent tens of hours with, but controlled the whole time?

Then there’s the end. A weaker, more empty and all-round crap ending I haven’t witnessed for a long time. It kind of comes in two parts. First there’s the final fight against Corypheus and his dragon. Morrigan takes on the latter with her new dragon shapeshifting powers…and loses. So much for ‘I can match the dragon’. Then you just chase Corypheus around, hitting him. It’s not even a hard fight. All the dragons in the game were harder. The nightmare demon thing in the Fade was harder. Then after the fight there’s a cutscene of the Inquisitor creating a rift to suck Corypheus into the Fade. It’s not remotely dramatic or climactic. It doesn’t even make sense to me. He wanted to be in the damn fade, and you JUST PUT HIM THERE! I know the suggestion is that he’s dead and not there physically, but… Oh, never mind.

Dragon Age Inquisition

Before this, you’re told that Inquisition forces can’t assist you. They’re on their way back from another fight. So exactly what was the point in building the Inquisition? Really? In reality, all it took to defeat Corypheus was for Morrigan to get her dragon power and the Inquisitor to swing his sword a few times. In the end, the Inquisition just seemed kind of pointless.

So unlike Origins, where there’s a huge battle at the end and all your companions are up to their eyes in it, this (again, the culmination of two games and with the fate of the world in the balance) end with me, a dwarf, a knight, and an elf against an archdemon-a-like and a darkspawn magister god-wannabe. So after you defeat him, suddenly all your other companions appear from nowhere, along with random Inquisition soldiers – including a scout who was the only one there with you when you caught up to Corypheus, AND THEN DISAPPEARED! Oh, yeah, big heroes.

Then part two of the ending is back in Skyhold, where there’s a party. After the Inquisitor stands and stares at people while they applaud. No Cassandra next to him, of course. The other advisers are there, but one of the two that created the Inquisition is down with the unwashed massed. Makes sense. I suspect this is BioWare pretending that they learnt from the atrocity of ME3, and wanted to give closure for the party members. They didn’t. It’s weak, empty and pointless. You basically go between them all to get a few lines of conversation from each. It’s for appearances and nothing more. It’s not even done well. Where are all the characters that you met throughout the game who aren’t companions? Where’s that little dwarf scout? Where’s Dagna? Where’s that mage leader, etc., etc.? Where’s Iron Bull’s company? He made a big deal out of saving their lives, and yet they aren’t there when he turns up at the end to pretend he actually did something to help, and they aren’t there with him celebrating. It’s pathetic.

Then after that, it just…ends. Nothing about the final fight or the ‘end’ actually feels like the end of a game. There’s no aftermath, no picking up the pieces, no drama. You can continue to play after the credits, but there’s nothing new, nothing has changed. It just adds to the empty feeling, especially if you’ve finished all the side missions.

There’s an after credits scene that seems to partially explain something Solas says after Corypheus is defeated, and perhaps sets up Dragon Age 4. It seems he is in fact the Dread Wolf, but I don’t really understand. I thought the Dread Wolf was a trickster who…well, tricked the other elven gods, and yet he seems to be just like we knew Solas to be. And what happens at the end? Does Flemeth/Mythal possess him, or does he kill her, or…what? I suppose it’s meant to be confusing and a tease.

So I think that’s about the end of my ranting. I actually thought less and less of the game as I wrote this, and more things came to me. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of my problems with it, nor indeed the things I liked about it, but it’s long enough already, and it’s hard to properly review a game that lasted 107 hours. It was a good game, but not nearly good enough to make me think BioWare are back on track. I won’t be buying their next game.

Reviews and Amazon Rants

It means a lot to get good reviews. It means quite a lot to get a good rating, though slightly less than a well thought out review. It also means a lot when Amazon decides ‘f*** you, we don’t like you having nice things, so we’ll delete your best reviews’. Though it means a lot in a different way.

They’ve been doing this for a while now on Amazon itself, and since taking over Goodreads, they’ve started doing it there. I’m certainly not the only one noticing the reviews disappearing – and only ever 5-star reviews, it seems. I can’t speak for the deleted reviews of others, but the ones that have disappeared from mine have been from review bloggers, writing detailed, unbiased reviews. Not family members raving about how the books are the best things ever.

Amazon has claimed before that they won’t allow authors to post reviews on books in the same genre as they themselves write. Aside from the fact that this is pathetically stupid and is pretty much censorship, it doesn’t seem to be enforced. My best reviews are written by a sci-fi author, and they’re still there.

Other authors have contacted Amazon to demand to know why this is happening, and Amazon claim ignorance. They say that it’s most likely because of the reviewers removing the reviews, accidentally reviewing the book – I can’t quite get my head around that one – or leaving the site (Goodreads). That doesn’t quite allow for the fact that I asked one reviewer if she knew why her review had disappeared from my book on Amazon, she emailed Amazon to ask why, they said they would put it back, and then never bothered. So what the hell are they playing at?

But that’s enough ranting about the somewhat disgraceful Amazon.

I received one such review just the other day, from The Review Hart. I requested the review months ago – just after I published Acts of Violence, in fact. She scheduled me for August, and I forgot about it. With terms like ‘haunting’, ‘spectacular’, ‘gripping’, and ‘fantastic’ dotted throughout, the review turned out to be very much worth the wait. And it’s a 4-star review which means A) people are more likely to pay attention to it than a 5-star, and B) it’s less likely to be deleted by Amazon.

In fact, reading the review kind of made me want to read the book!

In other news, we have a more definite date for the next anthology, Wyrd Worlds II: September 20-21. Mine will be the first story in the book, and is a sequel to Kira.

Dawn of the Jedi

Yes, I know the blog posts – when they actually come – are mostly about games and graphic novels at the moment, but it’s not going to become a habit. Probably.

Batman Hush

I’ve said before that I don’t really read graphic novels, and while this is still mostly true, there have been a few times when I gave in to temptation. The first time was when I’d just finished playing Batman Arkham Origins and, being underwhelmed, perhaps disappointed with it, wanted more Batman. The only thing I could think of was a graphic novel, so I got Batman: Hush and it was very good. I subsequently read two and a half other ones and they put me off graphic novels again. For me to enjoy a graphic novel, it has to have very good art as well as story. Sadly, too many of them have what I would call pretty crap art, so that puts me off. I can’t really see myself becoming an avid reader of graphic novels, even with good art and story, because of the way they’re written. For a novel writer, it can be confusing and at times frustrating to read, since dialogue often has to tell the reader what is happening in lieu of narrative (among other ‘issues’ (pun semi-intended)), and it becomes very forced and unrealistic. But that can be – not to sound too snobby and arrogant, of course – forgiven, if it’s good overall. But now I’m rambling.

This time, with all the hype about Star Wars Episode VII coming up, a handful of games and the Clone Wars final season on Netflix, which…they…let’s just…F*#%ING NETFLIX! The final season of Clone Wars (among many, many other films and TV shows) is exclusive to US Netflix. I would have less of a problem with that if I weren’t paying the same amount for less content. In fact, because I have a southern Ireland Netflix account and my bank is UK, I’m actually paying more for less content. But making it exclusive to Americans… I’d like to see them make it exclusive to white people and see if they get away with that. In this day and age…oh, never mind. What was I saying?

Oh, yes. All the Star Wars hype made me re-watch Episode III – the writing of which was a lot worse than I remembered – and go back and play Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2. Then I watched the final season of Clone Wars (yes, Netflix, I used a browser extension to get around your xenophobia, you p#*cks!). Then I wanted…more! More Jedi, more Force, more Star Wars. So again, I began to wonder if there were any good Star Wars graphic novels. I found a list of them, and looked for some screenshots to check the art. Everything seemed decent, so I got a three-part graphic novel, Dawn of the Jedi.

Dawn of the Jedi is set, as far as I know at least, as far back in the Star Wars timeline as possible. Technically, I suppose they could go even further back, but no one has. It tells the story of the early Je’daii, a group of people of several different races sensitive to the Force, and their struggle against the evil, dark-side-wielding Rakatan.


Because I’m only coming to the end of my review of the first part of the graphic novel, and it’s longer than I intended, I’ve decided to post all this in four parts:

Force Storm

Prisoner of Bogan

Force War

The Last Of Us

I got The Last of Us on the day of release and I’ve been playing it since. I finished it and started again. I’m still not quite sure what to think of it. What I am sure of is that it certainly doesn’t deserve the 10/10s it’s been getting. I’ll try to explain why, without giving away spoilers.

The story is of Joel and Ellie, a forty-something year old man and a fourteen year old girl, basically trying to get from one part of post-apocalyptic America to another. The post-apocalyptic setting is due to a virus that alters people. Some kind of cordyceps-like fungus grows inside them and first makes then extremely violent and aggressive, and then pretty much takes over and deforms them. Basically it’s a fancy zombie apocalypse.

So while crossing America, you have to contend with these infected people as well as normal humans. These come in two forms: soldiers and hunters. Soldiers are obviously…soldiers. There to supposedly keep the peace and keep people safe. But they’re not very pleasant inside the quarantine zones, and are all-out murderous outside them. The hunters are survivors who are not allowed into quarantine zones due to limited space and supplies. Instead, they prey on other survivors and…well, eat them. So, zombies, cannibals and stereotypically evil soldiers.

Joel is a smuggler. That means he smuggles mostly medication and weapons into his quarantine zone in Boston. Thanks to a pre-apocalypse section of gameplay at the beginning (20 years before the main game), we know he has good reason to hate the soldiers. Of course, that’s pretty much the last time he shows it, but it at least helps us see why he might have become a smuggler instead of sitting back and doing nothing like a good citizen. He and his partner, Tess, are tasked with taking fourteen year old Ellie to a group of rebels deep in the city, outside the quarantine zone. And so the story begins.


I say story, but there is actually not much of that. The basic premise is very simple, which is ok, but there’s not a lot to beef it up, which isn’t so ok. It is acted very well, and there’s a few sad moments that make you think it’s a deep and meaningful story, but when you stop at the end and think about everything that just happened in the past fifteen hours or so of gameplay, there isn’t that much. If there was more to the relationship between Joel and Ellie, then it wouldn’t be so bad. That relationship is handled pretty well, with them resenting and distrusting each other at first, right up to Joel seemingly seeing her almost as a daughter by the end. However, it progresses a little too fast. There aren’t that many defining moments in their relationship, and those that there are, are brushed over quite quickly. For example, at one point, Ellie has to save Joel’s life by shooting a man. This is the first time she has ever killed, and is momentarily upset and sickened by it, before…being perfectly fine and back to normal. Meanwhile Joel is just annoyed that she didn’t stay put like he told her. Now the suggestion is that he’s angry because he didn’t want her to have to go through that, and doesn’t want her to get hurt and so on, but never does he address the fact that this fourteen year old girl just had to shoot a man in the head at point blank to save the man who is supposed to be protecting her. I know this is part of the bleakness of the setting, that these things happen and there’s not always warm, comforting words to make you feel better, but I didn’t feel it, or a few other parts, were handled that well.

That said, the story and the relationships (both between the two protagonists, and them and the occasional other survivors they team up with) are good and believable. You can’t help spending a lot of the game with a little knot in your stomach because you’re afraid something might happen to Ellie or Joel or even to their new and temporary friends. Ellie is a particularly good character. She’s funny and likable. She can handle herself, but she’s vulnerable and frightened at the same time. You want to help her and protect her, rather than just doing so because the game says you have to.

So overall, the story and the characters aren’t the problem. Even if the whole thing is severely lacking in nuance. There’s some. Ellie’s animations, for example, change over time. First she’s quite guarded, and spends a bit of time with one arm crossed over her, holding the other in that unsure, slightly defensive manner. Then later, when she comes to better know and trust Joel, she’s a lot more open both physically and in character. She tells jokes from a joke book she finds, she teaches herself to whistle, she talks to Joel about how the world used to be, before her time. So if these small problems were the only ones, I would have given the game 9/10. But they’re not.


The game’s biggest problem, and a big let down, is the combat. Trailers and previews of the game made it seem as though Joel would have a problem handling just one or two enemies at once. That every kill would be a choice, and a moral dilemma. Perhaps that you have to make the choice between killing someone in order to get badly-needed supplies, or leave them and risk running out. But that isn’t so. Not even close. You find yourself in the midst of anywhere from one or two to a dozen enemies at once. If a single one spots you, then like magic, everyone else knows that you’re there, and precisely where you are. I’d hoped that kind of crap was being buried in an unmarked grave as we draw closer to next gen. But apparently not.

If this was only a problem if you were careless and got yourself seen, then I could perhaps forgive it. But that isn’t the case either. On many occasions, you are forced into combat against waves of enemies. In one part of the game, you are actually locked in a room and forced to fight about four or five waves of enemies, before what is basically a mini boss fight. I’d love for someone to explain to me how that has any place in a game like this.

The game is billed as both a survival horror and an action adventure. I don’t think it can, or should, be both. The most tense and exciting parts of the game are when you are pitted against just one or two enemies. For example, there is a part where you get pinned down by a sniper on a street in the suburbs. You have to sneak around the side, avoiding getting shot, while your allies draw his fire. As you reach the house, you suddenly realise that he isn’t firing any more. You get inside, and the house is silent. So where the hell is he? That makes it tense and exciting. The problem is, Naughty Dog (the developer) decided that wasn’t enough. So they threw in about six or seven other enemies for you to fight on your way to the house. To me, that ruined the atmosphere. To me, that kind of thing transforms it from a survival game into a shooter. The best moments of combat were when you were fighting only a small number of enemies. The combat system doesn’t even lend itself to anything else.


But the developers don’t seem to know which they wanted it to be either. Joel is strong and pretty fast in cutscenes, but in-game, he’s like an old man. If you hear footsteps running up behind you, then it’s already too late. You can’t turn in time to hit the attacker before he hits you, which can be fatal. You can’t sneak at any kind of speed. There’s no urgency to his sneaking as he gets closer to an enemy he’s going to take out. He can’t roll or slide into cover. Surely, if you’re being shot at, you get to that low wall or crate or whatever cover as quickly as possible? But not Joel.

To me, the game plays as though Naughty Dog were afraid to stray too far from the Uncharted formula. The waves of enemies scenario may work ok for that, but it doesn’t fit in a game like The Last Of Us. It’s a shame they didn’t have the guts to properly pull off the kind of game it was trying to be. One that is more story driven than combat driven, one that deals with occasionally upsetting themes, one that doesn’t fall back on ‘well we can always sit here and shoot everyone’. I think I finished the game with something like 450 kills. 450!

So the combat reduces the game from a very solid 9/10 to an 8/10 at the most.

And then there are the glitches. They aren’t numerous, but they are annoying. Especially in a game from a studio known for highly polished games. The first I noticed was enemies getting stuck. You’d perhaps get spotted by someone, and everyone else, no matter where they are, immediately knows that their friend has seen you. Because they’re telepathic, naturally. But then they run in circles. Or they run ten feet, turn around and run back, only to turn and do the same again. The biggest and most annoying glitch that I came across was with the ‘focused hearing’ system. Holding R2 causes Joel to kneel down and listen hard. Doing so allows him x-ray vision, naturally. So you can see through walls and know exactly where enemies are. Except, about 40% of the way through the game, I started to lose people in my focused hearing. I’d look around using it, see no one, then turn a corner and come face to face with an enemy. This was particularly irritating in the final section, which is all-out action, and I couldn’t see where anyone was until I got shot in the face. I didn’t really mind the focused hearing, but something a little better would have been nice. But most alternatives would have required Naughty Dog to add in decent AI. And then there’s the allies who come into cover with you, and then…push you out of it. Into view of an enemy. Thanks, Naughty Dog. The game wasn’t hard enough, so I’m glad you added that in, despite the fact that you thought it was ok to make Joel’s allies completely invisible to enemies. Ok, perhaps that’s not a glitch, but it’s still damn annoying.

So in the end, what had the potential to be one of the best games of this generation ended up being a little too shallow and scared. 8/10 I think. I wrote a post a while ago about what I think next gen should be and do, and The Last of Us came close. But just fell short. The plus side is that The Last of Us is THIS gen, not next gen, and if this gen can still produce something like that, then there’s reason to hope. However, the downside is that the game wasn’t let down by technology, but by people. People being too scared to properly address the difficult subjects and move away from the idea of each quiet, exploration and/or story section being nothing more than a stepping stone to the next shootout.

Overall, the story is good enough, the characters and relationships are good, the acting is very good, the setting is good and the combat is good when it’s both optional and minimal. But it doesn’t deserve all those 10/10s.

The Last Of Us


Like the end of the world, come December. But with less violence, looting and I told you so’s.

The final stop on the tour is Tea and Text.

I admit, I was a little concerned about today’s review, as it was the only one that I hadn’t seen ahead of time. Ann also kept quiet in emails about whether or not she was enjoying the book. I know the run of four and five stars must end at some point, and I wondered if it might be today.

It isn’t. I nervously found my way to the review, and the smile hasn’t yet left my face. Four hot cups of tea is a lot better than a glass of prune juice. I don’t like prunes. I don’t like prunes at all. Although the dried ones aren’t too bad.

I’m sure I’ll be back in a short while to rant about Star Wars 1313.


Today is day three of the mini-tour, and I’m at Sammy HK Smith’s blog for another interview and a review from guest blogger, David Muir.

He gives Shadow of the Wraith 9 stars out of 10!

Tomorrow, I’ll be at Zigzag Timeline for another interview. M’s review of the book is already up there and on Goodreads.


A bit like Batman did, but with less violence and skin-tight rubber.

The first day of my blog mini-tour is here, and it has started with a 5 star review and interview on Dragon’s Lair Books.

It continues tomorrow with another review and interview on Bookishly Devoted.

Don’t forget, Shadow of the Wraith has been reduced to £1.49 and $2.99 until Friday, 8 June.

Book Tour!

Blog tour for Shadow of the Wraith

Well, blog mini-tour.

From Friday, 1 June to Tuesday, 5 June, I will be doing a book tour! Or more accurately, I will be sat here doing pretty much nothing while the blogs do the work of posting reviews and interviews with me.

I will be sitting all day with the blog open in my browser, just in case there’s a huge rush of die-hard fans with their own questions. All in all, I think it will be a quiet five days… But a fun five days! I’ve never done a blog tour before – mostly because I’ve never had a book out before – and I’m not entirely sure how it works. Hence the mininess of it.

Anyway, the tour will be happening in these places:

1 June: Dragon’s Lair Books – Michael will be posting his review of the book, and an interview with me.

2 June: Bookishly Devoted – Kari will be posting her review and interview.

3 June: SammyHKSmith – Sammy will be posting her review and interview.

4 June: Zigzag Timeline – M. will be posting her interview with me (she already has a review of the book posted).

5 June: Tea and Text – Ann will be posting her review and interview.

During the tour, Shadow of the Wraith will be lowered to just £1.49/$2.99, lasting until Friday, 8 June. Then on Saturday, it will be free for the day!

So come and join us! If anything changes, I’ll update here.

My First Review!

On Authonomy, I have a sci fi critique group. In that group is a girl. There are several, actually, but this one in particular wanted to start up a book reviewing blog. She wanted to kick things off with my book. Last night, I got the simple message, ‘I reviewed your book! Will post a condensed version on Amazon later :-)’.

Well she did, along with 5 little golden stars.

Of course, it is an entirely honest, unbiased review, so there are one or two very small negatives, but overall it is very positive. I’m very happy with Shadow of the Wraith’s first ever review.

I especially like the line, ‘I ended up enjoying it so much that I suffered from two nights in a row of Star Wraith Insomnia’.