Tag Archives: Fantasy

Rebirth #bookreview

  • Title: Rebirth (The Praegressus Project Book 1)
  • Author: Aaron Hodges
  • Print Length: 268
  • Publication Date: March 27, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Rebirth is the first of a three-part science fiction series entitled The Praegressus Project. Eighteen-year-old Chris and his mother were both taken in the dead-of-night. Soon, Chris awakens in a cell. Confused and frightened, he has no knowledge of where his mother is–only that she’s accused of treason and children must pay for their parents’ crimes. Chris must join forces with others just like him in the fight for survival against a group of doctors who are experimenting with science in order to enhance the human race.

The premise of the story kept my interest from start to finish. It held at a steady pace with a couple of action scenes here and there. Most of the setting takes place solely in the cells, so there wasn’t a lot of world building; however, that didn’t drag the plot. Unlike most science fiction stories, Rebirth wasn’t about building a world, but about character development. It’s hard not to like the characters, particularly Liz, the young woman Chris first meets after he awakens in his own cell. Chris, on the other hand, took awhile for me to like. But I believe out of the small group, Chris was the one who grew the most–and maybe that’s what author Aaron Hodges had in mind, although I can’t vouch for sure.

I believe Rebirth would fit just about any type of readers. There’s just about everything one could want: science, fantasy, friendship, love, power, and survival. It’s clean of bad language and no sex scenes. There is a bit of violence, though, but it’s not heavy, so no gore. It only shows how evil these experimenters are. They treat their captors as if they’re lab rats.

There were some errors here and there, but I’m quickly learning not to count against it…especially since the errors were few. After all, we are all human, and shouldn’t be expected to be perfect! Even the greatest has misprints at times. I don’t know if Aaron Hodges edited his own work or not, but as a professional editor myself, I’ve learned that it’s not easy editing one’s own work.

Rebirth was well-written, tight and a story I couldn’t wait to finish just to find out what happens. Aaron Hodges is definitely on the fast track to becoming an excellent science fiction novelist. I can’t wait to read more from him. Highly recommended.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Aaron Hodges

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Today, his adventures continue…

Spirit Raiders #bookreview

  • Title: Spirit Raiders
  • Author: Savio Dawson
  • Print Length: 366
  • Publisher: Savio Dawson
  • Publication Date: May 26, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction

Although I’ve read novels based on aliens, and I wouldn’t turn down a chance to read books about aliens, it’s not technically my type of thing. I tend to be very picky with the alien genre. Spirit Raiders is about such: alien abductions, the threat to humanity, advanced technology, and first contact…pretty much everything a die-hard science fiction fan would enjoy.

The plot was complex, very slow moving, filled with a lot of technical things I had trouble grasping…mostly because I’m not very technical-inclined. While much of it was science fiction, the reality of some of the technological terms was very well-researched to make the fiction appear realistic. Sometimes, I had to re-read the information to grasp what it was saying…remember, I’m not much of a technical person, so at times, the information didn’t do enough explaining for me. Other times, however, I was overloaded with information and caught myself skimming a tad.

With a little bit more editing, the writing could have become tighter and stronger, earning a higher rating. I like to be shown what’s happening during the scenes, rather than being told. It helps me visualize better, even if I’m reading about things I just don’t understand.

If you’re one that loves aliens and you can understand a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo, then I recommend you taking the time to read this book. Don’t be put off by the slow-moving parts. It took me a few chapters to really get into the story. Once I did and continued reading, I was pleased to find that it ended with a well-built, action-packed climax

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For more book reviews, click here.

Biography

Savio Dawson

Savio is a resident of Mumbai, India, who grew up on everything sci-fi. Science Fiction has its own charm of unravelling mysteries, boldly going where no man has gone before [yeah I know it is from Star-trek :)] and to seek and find explanations for the unexplained. This is more or less what excites a true sci-fi enthusiast.

Savio is one of the enthusiasts too and he is presenting his own version here. Mystery surrounds us in many ways and it is mammoth in proportion to what we know. No one knows what lies beneath the ocean; no one knows what lies beyond our solar system; no one knows how vast the universe is; no one knows if any other extra-terrestrial form exists, but still the pursuit of knowing the unknown will continue unabated and will continue to excite us. This excitement is what Savio attempts to bring out in his books.

Savio is blessed with a supportive family and has a day job in India. Writing is his passion and he also writes for many blogging sites. When not writing and not working, which, of course, happens a lot of time, Savio likes to while-away and watch sci-fi movies.

People of the Sun #bookreview @AuthorJasParent

  • Title: People of the SunPeople of the Sun by [Parent, Jason]
  • Author: Jason Parent
  • Print Length: 327
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: March 15, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

The Symorians are an alien race whose home planet is inside the core of the sun. Four Symorians: Lenyx, Tryst, Kazi, and Milliken embark on a mission to save their people from extinction. It doesn’t take long before their vessel crash-lands on the planet Earth. Afterward, their troubles are just beginning. The Symorians get off on the wrong foot with the humans after accidentally killing one. Then they attempt to bridge an alliance between Symoria and Earth, but after another incident occurs, our alien friends have to fight for their survival.

I loved this story. It was the perfect blend of mystery, action, and sci-fi. The characters were believable, the plot line engrossing and every turn I took, there was a new twist, many of which put me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t get enough and once I’ve finished reading, I wished I’d taken my time. People of the Sun would definitely be one of the few books I wouldn’t mind re-reading.

Let’s get off topic for one brief second. For Star Trek fans (like myself), you know how viewers say the undertone meanings of the episodes mirror real life? For example, in the episode, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” there are two separate alien races, one has white on the left side and black on the right side, while the other race has the same colors vice versa. They’re killing each other even though they are exactly the same. They’re judgmental. Now, back to People of the Sun, Jason Parent does the same thing. He cleverly shines the light on mankind’s weaknesses. Humans tend to judge others by the color of their skins, by the mistakes we’ve made, by the class we were raised from, etc. Reading this story makes you think about what you do, what you say and how you react to certain circumstances.

People of the Sun isn’t just a science fiction novel. It’s not just a horror book. It’s also filled with plenty of action, adventure, and thought-provoking situations. It’s a very well-written novel, deserving of praise. In my opinion, I think just about anyone would enjoy this book. With the exception of Star Trek, I’m not a major fan of aliens. But I love the Symorians!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For more reviews, click here.

Biography

Jason Parent

In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it’s harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he’s back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that’s another story.

When he’s not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody’s head off – he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.

Please visit the author on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJasonParent?ref=hl, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AuthorJasParent, or at his website, http://authorjasonparent.com/, for information regarding upcoming events or releases, or if you have any questions or comments for him.

The Buried Few #bookreview

  • Title: The Buried Few
  • Author: M.J. Lau
  • Print Length: 454
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

The Buried Few is the debut novel by M.J. Lau, and I found it quite enjoyable. The pace was steady, storyline intriguing and the overall prose well-written. It’s set in a near-future society where the idea of privacy is extinct. Technology is now more advanced. The government knows where you are, what route you take to get home, and they oversee every child born for the rest of their lives. When Daniel Allingham finds a live baby buried, he takes the infant to the hospital (although it’s not a maternity hospital) with hopes of doing a good thing and washing his hands clean. Nonetheless, he soon finds himself struggling against the right thing and becoming entwined with a persistent government agent.

It took about three chapters for me to really get into the book. It starts off with the prologue some times in the distant past, then in chapter one, jumps to the present time. As we’re being introduced to the main characters, it hops from the present to the near past. The only way we know whether we’re in the present or the past is by the situation or the characters in the scenes. This made it a tad confusing to me; however, once I got a handle on the author’s writing style (and it didn’t take long at all), it was easy reading.

The only thing that would take me away from reading was the amount of adverbs in the story. There just seemed to be so many, it annoyed me. It doesn’t bother a lot of readers; however, it had become somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. About half of the adverbs in the prose could have been used in a way to show, rather than tell, all the more.

The characters were enjoyable and easy to love, particularly the main one, Daniel. I found that they all had “chemistry” through their interactions and dialogue. There were plenty going on to build up the drama and keep the story moving forward. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. While The Buried Few is a standalone story, it’s left open for a sequel. I’ve seen reviews on Amazon mention they could see it made into a movie: I have to say, I agree. As a bonus, I have to add, I love the cover.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Biography

M. J. Lau

M. J. Lau is an English teacher by day, writer by night… or rather, a teacher day and night, and a writer any spare moment in between. He is the author of The Buried Few, a near-future fiction novel that is equally influenced by dystopian classics, fatherhood, and Wired Magazine.

He is currently working on a fantasy novel, tentatively anticipated to release in the spring of 2018.

Halfway (Aspiration for Deliverance #1) #BookReview

  • Title: Halfway (Aspiration for Deliverance #1)51ybqthmpxl
  • Author: Lokesh Sharma
  • File Size: 618KB
  • Print Length: 130
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N4ULEWY
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis:

A few hundred people wake up in an auditorium with no memory of their past, scared and confused, struggling to remember who they are and how they got here. A voice draws their attention to the person standing on the podium, impeccably dressed, an air of calm confidence about him that suggests he has the answers to all their questions. As he starts explaining the situation, they slowly begin to realize they are in a futuristic realm called Enigma, where dead humans are reborn and brought to trials for the crimes they committed in their human-lives…

Review:

I have to say good going on this one. I honestly don’t know where to begin. This will be a short review because I can’t really say much about the story…I’d hate to give it away. The characters are basically living in purgatory—a city called Enigma. When the humans die, they’re reborn, so to speak, to be tried for the crimes they committed in their human life.

Halfway was absolutely nothing like I expected. But, then again, I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected. It did take a little bit for me to get into at first, but I soon found myself drawn deep into the story. The characters were three-dimensional, the plot first-rate. I found the idea of the storyline quite intriguing and original.

I recommend this book.

Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars

Biography

Lokesh Sharma

Lokesh Sharma grew up reading books and watching movies—a little too much for his parents’ taste. He spent his childhood in a small town about 150 Kms from New Delhi. Having finished his studies, he moved to The Heart of India in 2010, where he worked for a reputed American-based Bank for about three years, until he came up with the idea for his debut novel and decided to put it into words. Aside from lots of reading and a little bit of writing, he likes travelling, shopping, and listening to music.

Soul Blade #BookReview

  • Title: Soul BladeSoul Blade (The Sword of Light Trilogy Book 3) by [Hodges, Aaron]
  • Author: Aaron Hodges
  • Print Length: 300
  • Publication Date: November 28, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

This is the third and final book in the Sword of Light trilogy, and I loved it. We open with a sword fight, which held my interest greatly with all the visible action within the words. Then once we get back the into the lives of Eric and company, we’re reminded of plenty of back story. Because of this, if you haven’t read Stormwielder or Firestorm, don’t worry, you’ll pick up pretty quickly. However, I highly recommend Soul Blade’s predecessors because then you’ll get the feel of the characters, and the books are also enjoyable.

There is a lot of showing, rather than telling throughout Soul Blade, although I’d become more interested in reading more than to dwell on it. Possibly I was in the mood to escape my own world and dive into a completely different place. I’ve read the Sword of Light trilogy from beginning to end and have to praise Hodges for being able to keep consistent. The wonderful thing about fantasy is that you set your own rules and guidelines. The downfall is when you start to write a series, you’re bound by your own rules. And Hodges did a great job at making his characters grow into their own being and painting the scene around them.

As I concluded the Sword of Light trilogy, I found I was saddened that it must end. However, I believe Aaron Hodges has the potential of continuing this new world he built, adding brand new heroes to fight brand new demons.

This was a wonderful, compelling and hard to put down conclusion of the trilogy. Well done.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Aaron Hodges

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Today, his adventures continue…

Save

Interview With K.T. Munson @ktmunson

I had the pleasure of interviewing author K.T. Munson. The first book of hers I read was Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand, which I loved. I also have her latest, Unfathomable Chance, in my hands. Thank you, K.T., for allowing me to interview you!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I actually like to review indie authors and small press houses books in my free time…the little free time I have. I’ve had some real gems come across my kindle and they inspire me to work harder and become a better author. Plus I get to help out fellow indie authors, so that is always a bonus.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

This is a tough question for me because I never really paid attention to anyone and just sort of did my own thing. So instead I’ll take some creative liberties here. The most helpful thing I can think of is when my mother showed me that we have an ancestor who is a published poet. I told my mum I was going to be published one day too. Her encouragement and support has always gotten me through the rough patches. She is my #1 fan and I’ll continue writing and publishing if she is the only one who reads it. The most destructive thing was relying on technology. I lost chapters and chapters of a book in college. It broke my spirit to write for a long time because I felt like I lost a part of me when my USB stick died. Don’t rely on technology; always have backups of all your work!

Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?

I like to paint, make jewelry, and grow plants. I honestly have a ton of hobbies some of which never took, like knitting. I like to keep myself busy year round since I live in Alaska with everything from camping to hunting on top of the inside hobbies. Don’t even get me started on TV, movies, video games, and D&D.

Do you have a ritual you use while writing? (During commercials, certain music, etc)

I have to edit my books from printed copies. Everything else I just go with what I feel like. The moment my book writing becomes structured and rigid the moment it stops being fun.

What is your writing space like?

Anywhere I like. Honestly I take my books with me and work on them when I’m flying for work, sitting at home on my computer, or typing ideas into my phone. My work space is wherever I am but most of it is in my computer room. It is an old pine desk my parents bought when I was 5. The darn thing is falling apart but I just can’t bring myself to replace it. Under it is the group of my works, all broken into little accordion folders that contain editing, beta reader notes, original concept notes, and even sketches.

Do you have any pets? Can you tell us a funny story about them?

I have two cats: Emma and Lizzie. They are both named for Jane Austen characters (Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet). Emma is more my cat than Lizzie. As to a funny story I have tons, but my favorite is when I brought Emma home from her first vet visit, and she of course howled the entire way over and misbehaved the entire time (constantly trying to slink away) but honestly she got a thermometer shoved up her butt so I could sympathize with her distress. When I brought her home and parked in the garage I let her out of the cat carrier so that she could wander back into the house. Instead she hides under the car and wails because she doesn’t recognize the garage as home. I can’t get her out of there and after trying to push her out with broom, I abandon her and go and stand in the hallway and wait. Twenty minutes of constant wailing and she finally walked into the hallway. She immediately recognizes it as home and stops. She gives a look that says ‘You’re a jerk and I’m not an idiot’ and proceeds to go upstairs and eat some food. Needless to say I don’t let her out in the garage anymore.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I try to edit or write every day. I constantly have at least 2 books I’m working on at the same time. Usually a main book and what I like to call my relief books, which is usually a romance of some sort.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Everywhere. Cliché I know but seriously, everywhere. Usually the main concept comes to me in a dream. I’m a lucid dreamer most times and I get some doozies that are like living books or movies in my head which I remember 90% of when I wake up. 1001 Islands was Chapter 1 and Unfathomable Chance was Chapter 4. Sometimes it is a single image I am working towards or a concept. For North & South it was both, the image of a girl alone in the desert wandering towards certain dangers and the idea that every decision we make affects another person, like the butterfly effect.

What do you hate most about the writing process?

*Groan* Editing. I don’t mind rewriting but editing is killer. Thank goodness for editors.

What do you think makes a good story?

Originality with a color of the familiar. I like to bring whole new worlds alive and I think creating a world that people lose themselves in is a good story. Right up there with characters that are relatable or believable.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Gosh everything. Lawyer, doctor, inventor, and an accountant to name a few. Little did I know that I could do all those things…in my books. I have researched the strangest things, let me tell you.

What is your favorite book that you didn’t write?

The entire A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Firestorm #BookReview

  • Title: FirestormFirestorm (The Sword of Light Trilogy Book 2) by [Hodges, Aaron]
  • Author: Aaron Hodges
  • Print Length: 314
  • Publication Date: June 11, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres:
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Although I believe this series can be read out of order, I’m glad I read the first before getting to Firestorm. I managed to learn the nature of the characters so I could even appreciate their growths even more. The second book in the Sword of Light series picks up where it left off in Stormweilder while giving us just enough of a glimpse to its predecessor for those that decide not to read in order.

We’re reacquainted with old friends, while some of them, including Eric’s mentor, Alastair, meets a terrible fate. Our protagonist, Eric, has learned a great deal of his magic and task. He’s now more able and willing to fight without hesitation. During the journey of magic in search of Light, Eric and his team is met with darkness as they battle their own demons, as well as each other.

There were quite a few misplaced punctuation, or absent of, which tended to distract me as I read. The dialogue was engaging, for the most part, though at times it slipped and didn’t provide the correct language for the time. The scenes were painted so well, I felt I was a part of the story.

Firestorm starts off slowly, but soon the action very rarely lets you go. For those who enjoy twists and turns, this book will not leave you disappointed. There is a cliffhanger at the end, which will make you want to pick up the third and final book of the Sword of Light trilogy just to figure out what happens next. If you enjoy demons, gods, magic and dragons all rolled in one, then I highly recommend you pick up this series.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

Biography

Aaron Hodges

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Today, his adventures continue…

Save

Stormwielder #BookReview

  • Title: StormwielderStormwielder (The Sword of Light Trilogy Book 1) by [Hodges, Aaron]
  • Author: Aaron Hodges
  • Print Length: 321
  • PublicatioCopy a Postn Date: December 1, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction

This is the first book of the Sword of Light Trilogy. Eric is a young man with powers that is capable of wielding mass destruction. He doesn’t know how to control it, so he spends much of his time in exile from anything and anyone that he knows. That is until Alastair, a mysterious old man, who seems to know more about Eric that even Eric does. After Eric unintentionally destroys a town, he and Alastair set out to escape from Eric’s enemies. Through his guilt of destroying people’s lives, Eric has to fight for his own while learning to control his powers. During the times you think it can’t get any worse on their journey, you find that you’re wrong.

I enjoyed reading Stormwielder. When I started, I couldn’t seem to put it down. It was very well written. As soon as the story opens with death and destruction, it rarely lets you go as Eric and Alastair and our other heroes fight to survive their enemies. The characters were all likable and sympathetic…including Gabriel who stops at nothing to get revenge on Eric. The scenes also painted a pretty picture, however, at times it was a little too descriptive.

The main issue was a lot of grammatical, spelling and punctuation problems. It was hard to overlook those, however, after finishing the story I’m eager to find what’s next in store for these characters I’ve learned to love in Firestorm. Beginning the series with Stormwielder is a great way to get to know the characters before continuing their journey on through the next chapter of their stories.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

Biography

Aaron Hodges

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Today, his adventures continue…

Save

Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia #BookReview @elleboca

  • Title: Gypsies, Tramps and WeeiaGypsies, Tramps and Weeia (The Weeia Marshals Book 1) by [Boca, Elle]
  • Author: Elle Boca
  • File Size: 4094KB
  • Print Length: 262
  • Publisher: Poyeen Publishing
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Sworn to protect the secrets of their race, marshals are trained to police Weeia hiding among humans. After completing her advanced marshal training, Danni is blown away by her new plum assignment to Paris. But, all is not well in the City of Lights; the offices are a shambles, her boss is apathetic, and her predecessors died under mysterious circumstances; it’s almost like somebody doesn’t want the law there. Despite that she risks her life in the seedy underworld of gypsies and tramps to search for a missing Weeia man.

My Review:

Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia started out with the examination of a young Weeia girl, Danni, who needs to pass in order to become the next level marshal. Weeia is creatures who appear like humans at first glance, but should they gather in a crowd, they’d stand out too much from distinctive features. They possess special powers for the purpose of protecting both humans and Weeia.

When the story opens, we find that Danni’s family  makes it hard to build a name for herself. Aside from a couple of faithful friends, Danni is basically paying for the sins of her family. She wants nothing more than to prove that she’s worth a second glance. She finds that chance in her first assignment: Paris.

Having never been to Paris before, I felt as though I was right there. The idea of having the first assignment in Paris can make anyone walk in an excited daze. However, Danni’s excitement is short-lived when she arrives at a dirty apartment, her boss doesn’t care to meet her and she’s stuck trying to orient herself in a new, strange place. But that won’t last for too long–soon, she will be swept up in an adventure of a lifetime.

The plot was well thought-out, characters three-dimensional. I truly enjoyed this fantasy story because it was different than most that I’ve read. There were a few problems in the editing but still didn’t keep me from becoming immersed in this wonderful tale of Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Elle Boca
Elle is the author of the Weeia urban fantasy series about superhumans. The Unelmoija series is set in Miami. In the Garden of Weeia, a novella, is set in Portland, Maine, and her newest Marshals Series is set in Paris, France. Growing up the only child of a monkey mother and a rabbit father she learned to keep herself entertained and spend time reading.

Save

Unfathomable Chance #BookReview @KTMunson

  • Title:  Unfathomable ChanceUnfathomable Chance by [Munson, K.T.]
  • Author: KT Munson
  • Print Length: 194
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication Date: September 10, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  •  Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

The first KT Munson story I read was Zendar, A Tale of Blood and Sand, which I loved, so when she gave me the opportunity to read another of her work, I graciously accepted. This time, it was a Young Adult fantasy, Unfathomable Chance. It opens with a young Diana exploring a church in England with her mother and twin brothers. The child somehow gets swept into a world not of her own. When she reenters the real world, Diana is confounded by what happened to her, but as she and her family leaves, she begins to forget.

On Diana’s 23rd birthday, she realizes that a bracelet had clasped to her wrist, and soon she finds out that it contains the heart of the Cosmos. As she meets unusual aliens, befriends a talking cat and searches for a way to get rid of the bracelet, Diana tries to figure out why the Cosmo chose her.

Unfathomable Chance takes off from the moment it opens and holds my attention throughout. After meeting the talking cat, whose name was Kal Zed, I knew that he’d be my favorite character in the story. But that isn’t to say I don’t enjoy the rest I met along the way. Each person and alien in the story held their own.

The dialogue was amusing, the chase was fun, and most of the scenes were painted quite well. My only wish for this story would be more talk about the scenery so I could step further into the story like I did with Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand.

Unfathomable Chance has it all: mystery, romance, comedy. Although I do enjoy Zendar a little more, I enjoyed reading every bit of this story. As always, I look forward to reading more books by KT Munson.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

K.T. MunsonK.T. Munson is a freelance author. First published at 5 years old in the young writers conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com that is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.

Save

Half a Step Away From Love #BookReview

  • Title: Half a Step Away From LoveHalf a Step Away from Love (a historical fantasy romance) by [Kuno, Olga]
  • Author: Olga Kuno
  • File Size: 2227KB
  • Print Length: 416
  • Publication Date: June 15, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance

Half a Step Away From Love reminded me a lot of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It follows Inessa Antego, who is the first lady-in-waiting to be the Duke’s sister. She does everything in order to please her mistress–be it aid in the escape of a secret lover, steal portrait, etc. However, duties are being threatened by the desires of her own heart: Lord Cameron Estley.

This novel was originally written as a bestseller in Russia, which I thought was pretty neat to receive a request to review  with Olga Kuno being an indie author in America. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. No, it wasn’t perfect in the translation from Russian to English, but I honestly don’t expect that in most book translations. So, no problem there.

I wasn’t too fond of the way the story opened because it seemed as though it would be a third person narrative, then a few paragraphs later, Inessa barges into the room and we find that it’s in her first person point of view. It was confusing at first but didn’t disrupt my reading too long since the opening was short. The narrative included a lot of adverbs…a bit too many. Other than those instances, the prose was extremely nicely done. In my opinion, the story overshadowed the few downfalls.

The author created each of her characters very well…they popped out of the pages, claiming life of their own. I especially loved the heroine, Inessa, as she was very witty, very knowledgeable and very loyal. Much like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice fought against her feelings for Mr. Darcy, Inessa couldn’t help her feelings with Lord Estley, a man she claims to dislike. I found myself quite amused by the conversations with Inessa and her companions. And to top it off, she even had a friend that was a palace ghost who helped her with mischievous duties.

If you enjoy Jane Austen, and you enjoy twists, tears, and humor, then I’d say go for Half a Step Away From Love. You won’t be disappointed.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Olga Kuno

Born in Moscow and having left Russia in 1991, Olga Kuno has lived in Europe, Asia and America. Having completed her Ph.D. in linguistics, she started writing fantasy romance novels. Today she is both a lecturer in linguistics and a famous Russian fantasy writer who tries hard not to mention princes, dragons and magicians in her scientific articles. Her interests include British folklore, linguistic analysis of humor and animal communication. Among her favorite authors are such English writers as Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and J. R. R. Tolkien, which is definitely reflected in her novels.

Save

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “The Agben School,” BY AUTHOR @SPARKES777

the-agben-school-by-jo-sparkes

  • Title:  The Agben School, Book 2 of the Legend of the Gamesmen
  • Author: Jo Sparkes
  • File Size: 2569 KB
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Oscar Press
  • Publication Date: July 19, 2014
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN:  B00LYO1VFE
  • ISBN-10: 978-0-9853318-5-6
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Sword & Sorcery, Sports, Fantasy, Teen & Young Adult

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

In the Author’s Words:

“Agben had stood for a thousand years. A mysterious school housing more than students, it was the seat of the powerful Women of Agben and the center for harnessing the potency of herbs. Few knew all that transpired within the walls.

And now Marra stood at its gate.

With friends and support stripped from her, the fragile life she’d built for herself now lays in tatters. And the source of this evil hunted her like a deer culled from the herd. The gateway before her was her only hope.

For as the city itself crumbled, all depended not on a prince trying to save his people, nor the valiant men who’d brought them this far. Everything depended on finding a magic powder in the vaults of Agben itself.

Everything depended on her.”

The second book in the series takes place in Missea. The third book, “The Dim Continent,” is in the works, and will be the last in the series. However, I’ll probably write more stories in this world because I won’t be able to resist.

From the Inside Flap: Hiding from an evil that stripped away friends and support, a young woman discovers the future of her race depends not on a prince trying to save his people, nor the heroic men who’d brought them this far. Everything depends on her.

 My Recommendation:

The Agben School is the exciting sequel to The Birr Elixir which I read and reviewed here.

The story resumes with Marra and the Truemen team finally arriving in the land of Missea, where Tryst is a Skullan prince, although nobody knows his real identity. The Skullan and the Trumen are the gamesmen. The Trumen are the smaller, weaker race, while the Skullan is the physically superior race which rules the kingdom.

New to the city, Marra looks for a shop where she can buy herbs for her elixir for the team. The boy running the shop presents her with a mysterious box. She keeps it hidden, not knowing its actual use, or who it was meant for. As a Truemen, Marra is required to be subservient to the Skullan, so she keeps her secret.

Marra’s herbalist skills out surpass many other Bristas. It is revealed that she possesses an acute sense of smell, a gift so rare, it earns her a coveted place as a student at the school. Once there, she learns the Women of Agben are the most powerful in Missea. There is a mystical magic found in the potions and elixirs created and taught at the institution. However, there is a dark magic that hangs over the palace. Soon it becomes apparent that only Marra can rid Missea of the evil malignancy growing within the castle walls and possibly within the Agben school.

Weaving throughout the story is the game of Comet. The “game” is played in an arena with two opposing teams. At an inner circle in the field, a line is drawn in the sand by a judge. It is forbidden for the teams to cross the line until the judge allows it. There is much jockeying for the balls by both team members. Four leather balls need to be dropped into a cone shaped area to score points, which are determined by the judge. Each ball contains distinctive markings which ascertain the number of points each ball is worth. As contact sports go, I envisioned the game to be a combination of football and hockey with players participating in a competition to the death to win, if necessary.

The author, Jo Sparkes, skillfully weaves a story within a fantasy kingdom that leaves you wanting more. The detail about the Agben School and the study of herbs was excellent. There is quite the mystery here, and I am sure all will be revealed in the final book of the series, The Dim Continent.

I must add that this book could stand alone because the main details from The Birr Elixir are intertwined within the pages of the story. Even so, I loved the first book and would encourage everyone to read it. The rich descriptions put you right into the action, and you feel like you are peeking over Marra’s shoulder waiting to learn her fate.

If you love epic fantasy with the added excitement of tournament games, you will love this book and the series.

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.5 out of 5 stars

4-5-stars

 

 

jo-sparkes

Author, Jo Sparks

 

About Jo Sparks:

From television shows to articles for Arizona Sports Fans Network, Jo’s been writing for years. She’s taught screenwriting at the Film School at SCC, interviewed Emmit Smith and Anquan Boldin (as Arizona Cardinals), and went on camera to make “Stepping Above Criticism.”

Her fantasy ‘The Birr Elixir’ was awarded a Silver Ippy; her script ‘Frank Retrieval’ won the Kay Snow Award.

She’s probably most recognized as the lady walking her dog in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

You can connect with Jo Sparkes through her Twitter at https://twitter.com/Sparkes777

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 5.3.16

 

 

Save

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln #BookReview

  • Title: The Last Day of Captain LincolnThe Last Day of Captain Lincoln by [Books, EXO]
  • Author: EXO Books
  • File Size: 15244KB
  • Print Length: 133
  • Publication Date: November 15, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Sci-Fi

Summary

Captain Lincoln’s last day is the hardest day of his life.

An old, onetime Captain of the interstellar spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal, Lincoln always knew that this day would come. For just as birthdays are carefully planned, so are deaths. And although he must reckon with his fate, this is not a somber story. It is a tale of love and sacrifice, told in the context of the most advanced civilization ever to exist—a society that has taken to the stars in an effort to save all that is best in humanity.

Follow Lincoln through his internal struggles, his joy in having lived, and his journey to peace.

The End is just the beginning.

Review

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln is meant to be a slow paced story. How can it be fast, after all, when the main character is preparing to say goodbye to the life he’d led? It’s a very different take on a science fiction novella. I was actually surprised how I enjoyed it. But like I said, it’s different. These days, we don’t see enough originality. I read it through in one night.

Throughout the novella, we’re given poems and letters by famous people such as Van Gogh or Irving Berlin. I found it to be quite interesting how the author weaved in certain quotes to fit Lincoln’s last day.

Not only do we get to read a well-written story, we’re given artwork that’s pretty good. The drawings remind me of the Tell Tale video games such as The Walking Dead. It proved to be amusing for the most part.

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln is thought-provoking, with an unexpected ending. Reading this novella was a nice change of pace for me from all the dark murders that I’m usually drawn to. If you enjoy science fiction or utopian society stories, then I suggest you try this book.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

EXO Books

Biography

 

EXO Books is the pen name and publishing company of a NYC based science fiction writer.

An exodus is the departure of a people out of slavery, to a promised land. It is a journey punctuated with peaks and valleys of joys and sorrows, through darkness ever towards the light. Behind this journey is the idea that while we continue to search for a better life, the search may not be fruitful in our lifetimes. Through it all, we are sustained by hope, and love.

The road is long, my friends. We trek on together.
EXO Books

Save

Haunted Visions #BookReview

  • Title: Haunted VisionsPacific Cove: Haunted Visions (Pacific Cove Short Read Series Book 1) by [Grace, J.E]
  • Print Length: 93 pages
  • Publication Date: August 13, 2016
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Format:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Fantasy

A few months after Naomi is devastated when her sister is killed by a car walking to a friend’s house, she graduates college with an art degree and marries the man of her dreams, Jason. They embark on their newly romantic life together in Pacific Cove. However, life is less than happy when Naomi begins experiencing visions that keep her on edge.

Haunted Visions is a very light, quick read. My only issues is that the narrative tend to switch from past to present tense and back again, which can be confusing. The characters were two dimensional and their dialogue can be mediocre at times, but the story itself was very enjoyable. I read it in one sitting, eager to find out what was going to happen.

Haunted Visions is recommended to those who enjoy stories that include faith, love and has supernatural elements entwined. It is one that I wouldn’t mind reading again, and I’d be interested in seeing what other stories Ms. Grace will come up with.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Biography

J.E. Grace

J.E. Grace was born in California and has a background in Retail Management.

She now resides in the Midwest and retired from a career in real estate in 2012 to pursue her passion-writing. Her interests include poetry, painting in traditional oils/pastels, digital art and photography. Her work can be viewed on Society 6, Zazzle, and Fine Art America.

This is her debut science fiction novel. She tries to make her characters interesting and believable so that her readers can relate to them. Her writing has spiritual overtones due to her deep roots in her faith.

She is currently writing a fantasy novel with relationships to Christian values and is in the planning stages for a sequel to “The Zarion-Saving Mankind. Her new Pacific Cove Series Short Reads; Haunted Visions-Book 1 and Testament of Faith-Book 2, are due to be published Aug-Sept. 2016. There will also be a Book 3, entitled, “Love’s Enduring Legacy,” which she is currently working on.

Website: http://jegrace.webs.com

Save

Big News! Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero is #FREE! #fantasy @amazon

Legends of Windemere

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Every hero must take the first courageous step into adventure. For Luke Callindor, it’s more of a blind stumble.

Depending more on bravery than common sense, Luke sets out to protect a royal heir who is attending the prestigious Hamilton Military Academy. With a demonic assassin in the shadows, the determined warrior will have to think on his feet to defend his charge. If only he waited long enough to find out which student is the hidden noble.

With Luke’s dream on the horizon and a deadly enemy on his path, how will he transform from a reckless adventurer to a true hero of Windemere?

Now you can get the first volume of Legends of Windemere for FREE!

View original post

#Bookreview Demon Road (The Demon Road Trilogy, Book 1) by Derek Landy (@DerekLandy) A road trip, a quest and a coming of age story to hell and back

Demon Road (The Demon Road Trilogy, Book 1) by Derek Landy
Demon Road (The Demon Road Trilogy, Book 1) by Derek Landy

REVIEWS FOR LITERARY WORLD REVIEWS

Title:   Demon Road (The Demon Road Trilogy, Book 1)
Author:   Derek Landy
ISBN13:  978-0008156923
ASIN:  B00UF812T0
Published:  January 1st 2016 Harper Collins
Pages:  512
Genre:  
Teen and YA Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Adventure

Description:

The epic new thriller begins.

The creator of the number one best-selling Skulduggery Pleasant series returns with the story of a girl on the run from everything she loves…and the monsters that await her.

For anyone who ever thought their parents were monster…Amber Lamont is a normal 16-year-old. Smart but insecure, she spends most of her time online, where she can avoid her beautiful, aloof parents and their weird friends.

But when a shocking encounter reveals a horrifying secret, Amber is forced to go on the run. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers and red skinned, horned demons – Amber hurtles from one threat to the next, revealing the terror woven into the very fabric of her life. As her parents close in behind her, Amber’s only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be….

Witty, action-packed and heart stoppingly thrilling, Demon Road will take you on an epic road trip across the supernatural landscape of America. 

Body of review:

A road trip, a quest and a coming of age story to hell and back

Thanks to Net Galley and to Harper Collins Children’s Books for offering me a free copy of the novel in exchange for an unbiased review.

Demon Road is a coming of age novel of sorts. Amber, the protagonist, is sixteen and discovers that her parents, whom she’s always known weren’t exactly ordinary, are demons and so are their friends, and now she’s started turning too. Worse still, they’re determined to eat her to comply with the terms of a deal they made with the Shining Demon in exchange for power (not that they are particularly sorry about that). With the help of one of her parent’s friends, who’s decided the demonic lifestyle is no longer for her, Amber sets off on a journey to try and save herself by making her own deal. She travels in a car that’s not quite what it seems, with Milo, a bodyguard/chauffer that isn’t what he seems either. The novel follows them in their journey through the different stages of their trip, investigating the many clues, trying to find the one individual who might hold the secret to solving her problem.

Demon Road is also a road trip. The protagonist and her team (Milo and Glen, another character who’s also made a rather stupid deal and has ended up lumbered with a death mark) travel through the Demon Road of the title, a supernatural route linking strange beings, places and happenings, where everybody knows more than they say and people are never who they seem to be. The adventures Amber and her friends/associates (the relationships are open to interpretation) get into are fascinating and varied, going from towns haunted by supernatural serial killers, others with vampires gone out of control, a witch in love in the depths of a forest, winged creatures in New York, and lots of hiding and fighting. Any of the adventures they get involved in would make a great story in its own right and they ensure the plot keeps moving along at a good pace and never gets boring.

Demon Road is a quest. Amber makes a deal which results in her having to look for the only person who’s ever managed to trick the Shining Demon. Every stage of her quest brings her in contact with people, both human and supernatural beings, which have an impact on her and how she sees the world. She also has to come to terms with her new self and not all she learns is positive. As a hero (or heroine) she’s flawed. She can be compassionate and human, and the next minute act on impulse and hurt somebody. She can be quite clever at times and make stupid mistakes at others. She’s easy to anger and lacking in self-confidence but she can be magnificent. She’s not an immediately likeable character although her sense of humour and her capacity for self-reflection make her interesting. Like in all quests, the main character’s search becomes a search for her true self.

Because of all these things, and although the overall pace of the book is reasonably fast, it can feel uneven. It is composed of a number of set pieces interconnected by the trip resulting in a fair amount of telling rather than showing, as they always come upon places or events that have to be explained and grasped, and things slow down at that point and then accelerate when the action comes. Some of those episodes feel more rushed than others (for me the episode with the witch didn’t seem to quite fit in with the time allocated to it, and the bonding between the women and Amber seemed too fast, considering the amount of time they were together. On the other hand I loved the idea and the concept of that story) as if the clock counting down Amber’s time to complete her mission would speed up and slow down. Although it’s true that time is relative and the story is told from a subjective perspective…

The book is written in the third person although it follows Amber’s character and we get her insights and point of view. The writing is dynamic and easy and despite its length, the novel is a quick read.

We have very little information about most of the characters, although that’s in keeping with Amber’s point of view, and it helps us share her feelings, emotions, confusion and attempts at making sense of what’s going on. Milo and his relationship with his car is very intriguing and, at least for me, one of the big successes of the novel. We get some hints of his story but I get the feeling there’s much more to come. Glen might be a divisive one that some readers might love and others hate. I found him at times annoying but at others endearing.  Although there are some characters that don’t seem to have any redeeming qualities, most of them are grey rather than black or white, and I thought that added to the complexity of the book and gave it a touch of realism.

There isn’t a love story (at least not so far) and although that might put some readers of the genre off, I didn’t mind so much. The ending is both an ending and it sets off the stage for the next chapter in the story.

In sum this is a novel that packs a lot of stories into a single book, with characters that are interesting if not immediately likeable, and although not perfect, it’s a great read. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 4/ 5
Made Me Think: 3.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Readability: 4 /5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
 

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $ 6.23 

Kindle: $6.84

Audiobook: $ 18.55

Hardcover: $ 9.21  

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

 

#Interview by @LRWLee of YA Fantasy Author Michelle Madow

Meet YA Fantasy author Michelle Madow and watch as she reads from ELEMENTALS 1: THE PROPHECY OF SHADOWS. Then get to know her as she poses a fun trivia question. Be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway for a signed paperback of the same.

https://youtu.be/_cQ_jq1J85o

Summary: Witches are real. They’re descendants of the Olympian gods. And now, five witches gifted with elemental powers must fight to stop a war against the Titans.

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly… she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers — and, to her dismay, by Blake — the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious elemental powers. But the comet has another effect — it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town… and possibly the world.

_________________________________________________________________

Book Nerd ParadiseInterview by Book Nerd Paradise
Twitter: @BookNerdParadis
FB: bit.ly/BookNerdParadiseFB

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let us know what you thought.

ALSO, BE SURE TO follow our host YA Fantasy author L. R. W Lee at:
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

DOWNLOAD the FREE ebooks of the award winning Prequel andBook one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “THE BIRR ELIXIR,” BY AUTHOR @Sparks777

The Birr Elixir

  • Title:  The Birr Elixir, Book 1 of the Legend of the Gamesmen
  • Author: Jo Sparks
  • File Size: 1178 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Oscar Press
  • Publication Date: May 31, 2013
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D4R7PZ4
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction,

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

In the land of Missea – under Skullan rule

King Bactor’s son Tryst, must undertake his first epourney in order to become a man to fulfill his destiny of becoming the future King of the Skullan people and all Trumen. Since a prince’s epourney is undertaken with a best friend, Tryst leaves with three of his best friends, Baldar, Mauric, and Jason. When it is determined that Mauric is ill and cannot travel, Kellan one of the prince’s lesser companions goes in his stead. Now, the adventure begins!

In the City of San Cris, one of the Sandy Towns…

A young apprentice potion maker, named Marra, works in the potion shop of her dead mistress, under the care of Snark, her mistress’ evil brother. Marra’s training was to include, “… learning the power of herbs, the alchemy of powders and potions to heal and enhance…” (pg. 9). After the death of Mistress Britta, Marra’s training stalls under the cruel care of Snark.

Until one day, when the mysterious Drail, a legendary gamesman, comes to the shop begging Marra to make a special potion for him and his crew of men set to play against the Skullan gamers. Marra agrees to make the potion, called “The Birr Elixir,” and Drail and his team win, believing the potion is responsible for their success.

Drail returns to the shop where he witnesses Snark beating Marra, who did not believe she had brewed the elixir that helped the Truman beat the Skullan’s at the game. After taking care of Snark and knocking him out cold, Drail invites Marra to accompany him and his team so that she can make more of the Birr Elixir for them.

A new life

Marra agrees to leave the only home she has ever known to follow Drail and his men as their Brista. As she is gathering her things to leave, she spots an unconscious man on the floor of the shop. Not wanting to leave the man to Snark’s mercy, Drail decides to take the man with them.

Marra realizes that the man is under a deep spell. Along the road, she works hard gathering herbs and preparing potions to heal the young man. Finally after many days, the man awakens and says his name is Tryst…

Recommendation:

As Jo Sparks debut novel, this book has the potential to be a great story and series. I loved the richness of the characters and enjoyed the interactions between them. Many of the apt descriptions of the desert towns reminded me of the book, “Dune,” by Frank Herbert.

However, I was left with so many unanswered questions as to where the story was going that I had to go back and reread various passages to make sure that I followed the story. I felt like there was an attraction growing between Tryst and Marra, although Drail seemed to care deeply for the girl also. There are few clues in this book to shed any light on their relationship.

I would say the main attraction of the story is the “games” themselves. The “game” appears to be played in an arena with two opposing teams. In the words of the author,

“It is a wild game with few rules. Players wore leather vests to protect themselves, but in truth, the decorated material was more to mark the teams for the spectators than any real padding.” (P. 17)

At the inner circle in the arena, a line is drawn in the sand by a judge. It is forbidden for the teams to cross the line until the judge allows it. There is much jockeying for the balls by both team members. There are four leather balls that need to be dropped into a cone shaped area in order to score points, which are determined by the judge. Each ball contains special markings which determine the number of points each ball is worth. As contact sports go, I envisioned the game to be a combination of football and hockey with players participating in a game to the death in order to win, if necessary.

If you love the excitement of a fast paced game and the mystery and intrigue of a fantasy world, you will enjoy this book as much as I did. I do hope in the next sequel, the author will shed more light on where the story is leading. Right now, the possibilities are endless.

Jo-Sparkes

Author, Jo Sparks

Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
About Jo Sparks:

A well-known Century City Producer once said that Jo Sparkes “…writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.”  Not only are those words a compliment to Jo’s skills as a writer, but a true reflection of her commitment to her work as a screenwriter.

Jo Sparkes graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program.  Some years later, she renounced life in the corporate world to pursue her passion for writing.  Jo went on to study for two years with Robert Powell; a student of renowned writers and teachers Lew Hunter, and Richard Walter, head and heart of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.  The culmination of those years of hard work was the short-film “The Image”, which Jo wrote and produced single-handedly.

Since then, Jo hasn’t looked back – having written seven feature film scripts.  Jo’s body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, commercial work for corporate clients, as well as a being a feature writer on ReZoom.com.  As a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network; where she has been called their most popular writer, she was known for her humorous articles, player interviews, and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.

She has served as an adjunct teacher at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College and even made a video of her most beloved lecture. More recently she has teamed with a Producer and a Director on a low budget thriller. Her book for writers and artists, “Feedback  How to Give It  How to Get It” was born to help her students — and indeed, all artists.

Her original script, Frank Retrieval, won the 2012 Kay Snow award for best screenplay. Her fantasy series, The Legend of the Gamesmen, has garnered two B.R.A.G. Medallions and a 2015 silver IPPY award for Ebook Juvenile/YA Fiction.

When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, with her Husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.

To watch a trailer for the book click the link below.

Make certain to connect with (author) through her Twitter @Sparks777

And her blog at, Jo Sparks – Quill & Hound.

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.2015

Beth’s Book Reviews: Forgotten Things

Forgotten Things

Written By: Stephen Mullaney-Westwood

A little about the author (taken from his Amazon.com author profile):

Stephen has tasted the earth from the depths of his soul, grown anew and stretched his branches towards the sun, with roots firm and strong in their darkness…

Born in Hertfordshire, England, he had a hard time adjusting and finding his place in the world. His sensitive and artistic nature outcast him somewhat, and his mental health suffered throughout those teenage and young adult years.
But, ultimately, it was a journey and writing has always accompanied him along the way.
Now more positive, older, and wiser at the grand age of 40 he writes with a potent message which comes from a deep love of the natural world.
To write, and to breathe the words of nature is the place where Stephen belongs, doing something he truly loves.
The faeries and spirits of the woods have always asked to be heard, and Stephen has offered to be their voice.

His first release is ‘Unforgotten Tales’ a collection of thirteen short folktale style stories, modern fables and fairy tales, written in a method now often forgotten. Intentionally allegorical, darkly twisting while yet enlightening and inspirational.

Fairy tales are one thing…faeries, are another.

Find Stephen at:

http://mullaneywestwood.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR2K7T5hgh5L6E9ux979OZQ

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-Mullaney-Westwood/1452647591654264?fref=ts

 

Product Details

 

Book Synopsis: ‘Forgotten Things’ is a novel of nature in contrast; sinister, beautiful, wise and innocent. With an otherworldly twist it explores the importance of influences; of growing up, whilst still looking backwards.
We see through the eyes of one man recounting the bitter sweet memories and adventures of his childhood. His love for the woods… his draw to them… but also his fear.
Similar to a classic ghost story the ‘horror’ is subtle and unnerving, while the ‘fantasy’ is simply a glimpse into another reality.
The little people are our antagonists, spoken of in whispers and presented in their true form; age old beings which transpose boundaries- taken seriously and sitting in mysterious juxtaposition with the secular world.

 

Review:

 I’m not going to lie to you, I had a difficult time with the beginning of the book. Mr. Mullaney-Westwood’s writing style is not typical of anything I had previously enjoyed reading and it took me three tries to get past page two. I even messaged the author at one point and asked him about his choice of voice and use of incredibly in-depth descriptive passage. There are several places that tell us the showing instead of showing us the setting (did that sentence make sense? I know what I meant so if you don’t, ask…I may or may not be able to remember).  However, I’m glad that I pushed on and got into the meat of the book.

 

Our narrator and main character are both named Adam Briggs. In fact, they are both the same Adam, approximately a lifetime of adulthood apart. The narrator, a grown Adam, is remembering the year he turned twelve and moved with his family to Grandfather’s little cottage near the wood. We follow his twelve year old self as Adam meets Grandpa for the first time, navigates a new place and his same old parents…and learns a bit more than he expected to about things that aren’t supposed to be real.

 

The personification of natural elements, the conversations between Adam and his Grandfather, and the peeks into the world behind the ‘veil of reality’ are all beautifully rendered.

 

 

Life becomes very surreal when a dream becomes reality.

 

The dream here is both that of country life and Adam’s new knowledge of the Little People that is being fed by his newly adored Grandpa. Coming into this new life as a sort-of brow beaten, mother run twelve year old city boy, Adam is discovering all sorts of new things coming into his world. Let’s talk about the other characters for a moment:

 

Mother – Adam’s mother, Annie Briggs, is Grandpa Finn’s daughter and seems to be his direct opposite. While Adam wishes to explore and use his imagination fueled new country knowledge, Annie is begrudging in her approach to living again in Cornwall. Having moved to her childhood home in order to help her ailing, aging father, Ann is cold and reserved throughout the story as she lectures, begs, and hopes that her child will not be pulled in to her father’s world.

Father – Thom Briggs, the enigmatic, whipped husband to Annie. He is very work centric and distracted for most of the scenes in which we find him.

Grandpa Finn Penrose – Ann Briggs’ father, Grandpa is an aged dreamer and firm believer in the Little People. His illnesses may keep him from wandering the wood with his Grandson now, but he is a veritable treasure trove of information and support as Adam embarks down this new path.

Martin – The first boy from his new school that Adam meets, Martin is sensitive, shy, and as fond of the coastline as Adam is of the wood.

Josh – Large framed boy, sporty and protective. Martin’s best friend and, soon enough, Adam’s as well. The three boys are incredibly close and adventure together throughout the story.

 

“Old Bob’s Wood” – The local name for the woods behind Grandpa’s home. Adam becomes intimately acquainted with the woods, and their inhabitants, throughout the book.

 

There are animals, there are ghosts, there are mysteries, and there are hard lessons to learn. Friendships, family dynamic, and growing up are all part of life and, unfortunately, sometimes twists and turns make us get banged up a bit. Forgotten Things weaves it all beautifully together. This book combines old world charm, the ‘truth’ on the Fey world, and a coming of age story that will keep you entranced and pushing forward to learn more. Do not let the density of the story, the deep well of truths hidden in what some will call ‘fairy stories’ stop you from picking this up. Mullaney-Westwood has put together a story in which the characters are real and you forget that you’re just an audience member.

 

Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 3.8

Reader Engagement: 3.5

Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 3.8
Overall Rate: 3.82