Off Topic, World of Steam

I put in for a kickstarter recently. Its for a project of webisodes called The World of Steam. It’s what it sounds like. It is a steampunk web series. I would LOVE to see this. They’re trying to raise 75,000 to start off and they are almost there. If you enjoy reading steampunk, put in a few bucks and see if we can actually watch steampunk too! Visit their kickstarter page at You can put in as little as a few bucks toward art and entrepreneurship. BTW, I learned of this from following Mythbusters’ Grant Imahara on Twitter. He’s a steampunk fan apparently. 🙂

Cold Days, Harry Dresden

I love, love, love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books. I have all the novels and all the novellas. I even have a “Polka will never die” tee shirt. Yes, I am a geek. At any rate, if you are anything like me and you just can’t WAIT for the latest book Cold Days to come out, check out Jim’s website. He has decided to pre-release the first few chapters. Come on Thanksgiving (for us U.S. folks at least) because it comes out a few days after! 😀

Niki Slobodian

So I just read three books by author J.L. Murray. These were cheap on Amazon, so they were a little bit shorter than something you might see from a more established writer such as Kim Harrison or Jim Butcher. Still, they were rather interesting.

The first book is Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Niki (Nikita) Slobodian, as you might have guess from the post title, is the main character. Niki is of Ukranian (I think) descent. Her father is a mobster of some sort. Because aren’t all Ukranians(*SARCASM ALERT*)? At any rate, Niki is one of a minority of people called Abnormals (or Abbies for short). Abnormals are people with unusual abilities. They are also deemed criminals by this world’s standards. It’s a bit McCarthy-esque with a Registry and everything. Or perhaps X-Men-esque.

Niki can see ghosts and help them cross over. Niki had been placed on this Abnormal after a grand show trial. She was essentially put on trial because her father was the first ever Abnormal placed on trial for being Abnormal and like father like daughter. Being on the Abnormal Registry, she isn’t allowed to hold a job so things are getting rather tough financially and her godmother, Sofi, is undergoing chemo.  Its a desperate situation.

That’s when she stumbles upon a bar in the middle of a sketchy industrial area called The Deep Blue Sea. Inside the bar is the bar keeper (Janis) and one man, Sam. Sam has a deal for Niki. He has a job he needs done. He can’t do it, but she can. In exchange, she’ll get her name off the Registry, get her guns back and a hefty payment. Wary but needing the cash and wanting her name back, Niki agrees and gets saddled with an Abnormal partner named Bobby Gage.

Bobby is a Caster. He can cast any number of spells so long as he can find the proper books to read from. Niki and Bobby need to find something, a creature from hell called a Dark. So far as I can figure, Darks are a bit like the Dark Phoenix creature from the Marvel Universe. Darks are spirit beings that can possess humans (and Abnormals) and make them do anything, even against their will. Darks will do anything to, so long as they enjoy it. That enjoyment tends to be more death and dismemberment than a trip to the water park.

Niki and Bobby have to find this Dark, which could be in anyone, and return it to hell. So they have to follow the trail of destruction and death until they can finally figure out how to trap it. Once they find it and get rid of it, the Dark turns out to have been just a distraction from the real deal. A high level demon named Abbadon is trying to get a foothold in the world…with the help of Niki’s father.

How will she deal with this new threat? What is going to happen with her father? And just who, exactly, is Sam? Well, we get at least two out of three answers at the end of the book. 🙂 As I said before, it is a little shorter than an established author’s books might be but it has promise. And I bought the following two books which I will review shortly. So I’ll rate this a solid B. For 3 bucks, it isn’t a bad little read.