Posted in reviews

Water Sight (Last of the Gifted Book 2) by Marie Powell Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

As the Kingdom of England threatens to take over Wales, two siblings must use their magic gifts to save their home. Yet one must choose to save their sibling, or the love of their life, in author Marie Powell’s “Water Sight”, the second book in the Last of the Gifted series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Wales, 1283: A world at war

Catrin can see the future in a drop of water.

Her brother Hyw can take the shape of any bird or animal.

Only their magic can thwart the invading English forces determined to bring down the country.

The Prince of Wales needs three magical relics to rally the straggling Welsh forces. Catrin’s gift of Second Sight may be the only hope for success—if she can outwit the English lord who wants to use her gift to capture the prince.

Her brother Hyw is on the run with the prince and the dwindling Welsh army. To escape the betrayal dogging their heels, Hyw takes refuge in his evolving gift—until shifting shapes puts his humanity in jeopardy.

With Hyw trapped in his magic and her betrothed in an English jail, Catrin faces an impossible choice: save her brother, or save the man she loves.

The Review

An incredible read, author Marie Powell showcases a strong mastery of the fantasy/historical fiction style storytelling that has become so popular over the years. The protagonists, brother and sister Hyw and Cat, are well rounded, and the author does an amazing job of highlighting the well-rounded nature of each hero, flaws and all. 

The emotional core of the story is Cat’s struggle to not only save her people but protect her brother and the man she loves all at the same time while helping to fight off the English invaders led by King Edward. The amount of history the author was able to incorporate into the narrative was amazing. As a history buff, it was incredible to learn more about the era before Wales officially became part of England, when revolts were fought to maintain their independence and kingdom. The fantasy elements feel natural as the story progresses, as each hero’s power leads to difficult choices that many readers will be able to identify with. 

The Verdict

An amazingly written, emotionally driven, and fantasy-fueled read, author Marie Powell’s second entry into the Last of the Gifted series, “Water Sight”, is a must-read for fans of the historical fiction/fantasy genres. Action-packed and evenly paced, this is the perfect end of 2020 fantasy book for all readers, but especially fans of the YA genre. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Marie Powell’s castle-hopping across North Wales to explore her family roots resulted in her YA historical fantasy Spirit Sight (Last of the Gifted Book 1). Book 2, Water sight, will be released in fall 2020. Among other degrees, she holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of BC. Marie lives on Treaty 4 land in Regina, Saskatchewan, and her writing workshops are popular across the region.

Posted in reviews

Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough by Peter C. Mitchell Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Peter C. Mitchell takes readers on a heartbreaking journey that shows how a simple mistake and bad luck can take the best of us down a road of misery and heartache in his book, “Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

This is a story that the charities don’t want you to read. This is the fate that can befall any of us that you don’t want to acknowledge.

For years you have passed them on the streets, as much a part of your routine as your morning shower, your half-hearted scan of the world’s news — fake or otherwise — and the barista who artistically crafts the £4 cappuccino with soya milk, three drops of vanilla, and a flutter of chocolate sprinkles that has to be made just right or it throws your day off in ways that nobody else understands.

You see them as often as you see your own family. The disenfranchised. The rough sleepers. The homeless. Camped out and befouling the sidewalks and alleyways of your daily commute, their worldly possessions, such as they are, spread around them –as dirty and worn out as the sleepers themselves, but as valuable to them as your £100 brogues are to you.

Occasionally you get the urge to throw some loose change at them as a gesture of magnanimous humanity, but when push comes to shove you would rather tip the honest, hard-working barista who ensures your day gets off to a proper start. Better to support the successful rather than throw good money after bad trying to keep the great unwashed afloat.

You have conditioned yourself to look through them – allowing your eyes to pass over them without actually seeing them. A defeated acceptance of lives gone wrong; uncomfortable reminders of what can happen when the best laid plans of mice and men go horribly awry. “Thank god I’m not like them,” you think, sipping your £4 cup of liquid gold. “I could never let that happen to me.”

Until suddenly – inexplicably – it does. And you discover the life you have built was nothing more than a house of cards that crashed down around you with frightening ease. A spate of bad luck, a poor decision or two, and the ubiquitous ‘circumstances beyond your control’ conspire to create a perfect storm of events that leaves you cast away on the streets feeling dazed, disjointed, and damned.

This is Peter C. Mitchell’s story. But it could be your story. Not to mention the thousands of others, past and present, that have found themselves broken behind closed charity doors. Theirs are the stories that need to be heard. To be read.

The Review

A masterful and expertly written book, author Peter C. Mitchell does a phenomenal job of relaying the hardships and struggles of being forced to live on the streets and endure the horrors that await those forced into those positions. He also shocks readers with a raw and emotional look into the real world struggles of those seeking shelter and help from charities and housing and the realities of those charities and the “work” they do.

The book itself is thoroughly written and well organized, and the author’s descriptive style of writing really paints a picture of the realities of homelessness and poverty, as well as the living situation of those seeking help in what should be a sanctuary. The book also does a fantastic job of highlighting the need for more guidance and insight from government officials when it comes to travel and immigration, as a simple clerical error or lack of effort by an employee could lead to years of misery for the average traveler. 

The Verdict

Powerful, evenly-paced, and educational, author Peter C. Mitchell’s “Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough” is the non-fiction, memoir-style read you didn’t know you needed. As many more people have become affected both physically and financially from the COVDI-19 Pandemic and the homeless population has been hit by the virus hard, coming to understand those who find themselves living on the streets has never been more important. Finding a means of not only understanding the homeless but identifying with them and reminding them and ourselves they are human beings is an important first step in trying to solve this crisis. If you haven’t yet, grab a copy of this truly engaging read today! 

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

London born, Canadian raised Peter Mitchell was bumbling his way through a moderately successful career in business journalism when an investigation into a story on Corporate Social Responsibility inspired him to look beyond profit margins and PR into the very real problems faced by society. This inspiration prompted him to dip his toes into a self-confessed Sanity/Vanity project of a biography of his great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk. 

As Secretary of The Ragged School Union, John championed the causes of children, the disabled, and the working poor in Victorian-era London. His influence extended beyond the city limits, and his life proved more interesting than previous biographies revealed. Dust-buried references have surfaced in the most obscure locales, showing the consequences—both good and bad—to the ragged and crippled children John Kirk devoted his life to help. 

In 2017, Peter returned to London to complete his research and begin the writing of “A Knight in the Slums.” The past was ready to be mined, and the future was assured. The present, however, took an unpredictable -and darkly ironic—turn. 

A series of unfortunate events transpired, creating a perfect storm of calamities leaving Peter penniless and sleeping rough. He had unwittingly fallen victim to the same societal ailments John Kirk fought. That nightmare inadvertently provided him with an inside look into the current workings of these same systems put in place by his great, great grandfather, and others like him, put in place over a century ago. That experience frightened him more than the horrors of homelessness itself. 

Armed with the scars of this unexpected, but disturbingly relevant, knowledge Peter continues to work on “A Knight in the Slums” with renewed insight. John Kirk created solutions over 100 years ago that are still in play today. Times have changed; yet the solutions have stagnated, and proven to not be solutions, but mechanisms that perpetuate the cycle of poverty: a Hell’s Carousel funded by well-meant individuals and institutions blinded by the brand of “charity.” New systems need to be developed; new solutions need to be found.

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Daniel James

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I didn’t get into writing until quite late, mid-twenties. I’ve always had a busy imagination, and I’m far better at getting lost in my own thoughts than living in the moment, but for most of my life I’d been quite content to let reading, watching movies, and playing video games be my outlet, fuelling the creative process I suppose. And then in my teens I started playing in rock bands which was a major distraction for me, but when I knocked that on the head for good, I suppose I needed a new creative outlet to fixate on, I just didn’t expect it to be taking a crack at being a novelist. 

I think I must have spent too many years thinking about What If… scenarios, and fantasising about monsters and survival and grand good versus evil conflicts that it forced me to give it a shot; that and the fact that I was getting supremely disinterested in my final year at university. So what better way to shrug off some dull dissertation than diving head-first into your own creator-owned world?

Advertisements

2) What inspired you to write your book?

Whilst I have written several other books, Hourglass was inevitable. The first story I ever wrote was a total unfocused scattershot of things I love: world-conquering demons, plucky and colourful heroes, super hero-sized punch-ups in urban-city demolishing combat scenes, gangsters, and so forth. 

Being my training wheel days I just went with it, not looking back, and loving every second of it. Now whilst I shudder to imagine the quality of that story’s plot, there are still lots of things from that world which I love, and Clyde and Kev, the protagonists from Hourglass, are just two of them. So Hourglass was my chance to wipe that old slate clean, take these two characters and build a new world around them.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Besides a rollicking good time (ha-ha, I hope!) I’d like the readers to try and stay positive with their attitude towards death. I know how grandiose and bleak that sounds, but I mean it in an uplifting way. Clyde and Kev are two characters on either side of the mortal spectrum, each carrying their own weight and existential woes, but on their journey they begin to understand just how little they know about life and death, and the greater universal mysteries behind it all. So I’d like readers, regardless of their faith (or lack of) to accept that no mortal in this world knows what comes next. As a species, the majority of our oceans remain a mystery to us. 

The vastness of outer space is also a mystery, as is the human brain, and a great many other things, so who can say what truly happens in death? Could be there’s nothing. Could be we get forced into an egg and spoon race against leprechauns. Who can say? And to me, that brings a kind of peace. But personally, if I had a choice I’d like to kick supernatural arse with Hourglass.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

As I mentioned, returning to the urban fantasy genre was unavoidable for me. Although I love horror, as it was Robert McCammon, Stephen King, Clive Barker etc. who opened the door for me into the joys of reading, my imagination tends to lean just as heavily into the explosive and the fantastical as it does the macabre and the spooky. 

I love big theatrical conflict and throw-down fights, which doesn’t always mix well with pure horror because of the genre’s need for their protagonists to be physically outmatched by the evil threat; although there are exceptions, of course. But basically, the one overarching goal for me as a writer has always been to create my own big, bustling world of characters. One where I can take them on an epic episodic adventure, building them, breaking them down, testing them, and just generally indulging in my god complex… all writers have one.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

This is a tough question! I’d either ask Ace if he thinks listening to ‘80’s metal and hard rock is conducive to pounding monsters heads-in?, or I’d ask Clyde if living a comic-book-esque lifestyle is actually any fun or is just plain stressful?

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I’m very lean when it comes to social media. All I use is Twitter (@DJauthor85). But the BookBub Partner site has been very useful to me in the past by attracting readers with my ad campaigns.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

To any aspiring or newbie authors I’d say that you need to write for yourself first and foremost. If you strike oil and become a huge success, that’s awesome, but if that’s the only reason you’re doing this then I’d say stick to scratching off lottery tickets instead. Success is the dream, the fantasy, but the joy of creating and sharing with readers is what sustains the soul.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

As for upcoming works, I have just completed the third draft of a horror novel called Heathens, set in my hometown of Liverpool, which I’ll be shopping around soon. And I’m waiting to hear the fate of a pretty bizarre high-school horror novel called Fable, which I actually wrote just prior to my first published novel in 2018, but it’s been stuck in backlog hell with the small horror print. One way or another, even if I stay on the indie route I’ll get one or both of them out in 2021. And of course I’ll be continuing the adventures of Clyde and Kev in New York City from February 2021. I can’t wait for that!

Advertisements

About the Author

Daniel James is the recipient of a Kirkus Reviews (starred review) for his action-packed urban fantasy novel, Hourglass, and the Literary Titan Gold Book award for his vengeance-fueled crime novel, Pigs.

An author of horror, fantasy, and fast-paced thrillers, he first began writing as a hobby to distract himself from the mundanity of completing his dissertation at Liverpool Hope University. When not writing, he loves reading genre fiction novels and comic books, watching movies, and listening to music (he also used to play bass in a few local rock bands).

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19334785.Daniel_James

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Dieter Ryckewaert

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I started writing when I was about fourteen years old. At school we had to write poems about love. I thought it was corny as hell, but strangely enough I liked it. More poems followed, and soon I wrote my first SF short story. It was as bad as anything, but set the tone to get better and to grow. In my early twenties I read ‘Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn’ by Tad Williams. Those books changed my view of books forever, and because of him I started my first real novel.

Advertisements

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I love books with a serious romantic theme in them. That and conflict between people or civilizations. ‘Journey of hope and tears’ was written while a conflict was going on between the Ukraine and Russia, and the war in Syria. Those wars, and especially what ordinary people have to endure, I wanted to get into my story. When you see the news about those wars, it’s a far away story for most people, and a lot of people don’t think about it anymore the next minute. I wanted to make my readers feel what it’s like to be a refugee. What it’s like to lose everything and have to fight for what’s left. That way I also wanted to show how lucky we are in the western world.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Two things.
What real love between two people means, because in recent years, real love only seems like something from times long gone, if we may believe TV. Which is a great pity, because is there anything more beautiful than love?
The second thing I wanted to give is to show that we need each other as humanity, and that we don’t have to be divided. Having a friend is much more pleasant than having an enemy, and yet we fail to live in peace.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Simple: my love for fantasy, SF, dystopian and romance stories. That and the inner warrior in me.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Well, in the book, Sabrielle is the goddess of everything in this universe. I think it would be very interesting to have tea with her. What would I ask her? I have some good questions, but if I write them down now, I’ll tell what happens in my next book, so I don’t think that’s wise. Maybe I would ask her to come with me to our world. There is still a lot of work to be done here. And to Jill I would just say: ‘it’s gonna be all right.’

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Goodreads.com and Hebban.nl

Always honest reviews, whether it’s bad or good, you can learn from it.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Do it in the first place because you love to do it, and because you love to tell stories, and are fascinated by the writing itself. If you do it to get famous or to make a lot of money, do something else, because you will be disappointed.

That’s the truth, a bit harsh, but it’s true. I write during my free time, and I still have a fulltime dayjob (which I love too offcourse).

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I am currently promoting the English version of ‘Journey of hope and tears’. Together with my partner Leen Lefebre (Soraia, child of the sea) I am forming a writers duo. All income of ‘Journey of hope and tears’ and ‘Soraia, child of the sea’ goes to ‘SameYou’, a charity dedicated to brain injury recovery awareness (sameyou.org).
And I’m also working on a story that takes place after Jill & Sam’s story.

Many of my Dutch-speaking readers were extremely curious about what will come after the story, and this year I started working on it.
It took a while due to lack of time and changes in my personal life, but I found what I was looking for to make the new story an emotional tearjerker again. If you like Jill, you’re going to love Lauren. And that’s all I’m saying 😉

Advertisements

About the Author

When an author writes about his characters, or about the magical worlds in which they live, his or her pen never gets empty. Ask an author about the background of his or her latest protagonist, and the next hour you’re guaranteed not to get a letter in between.

What could be difficult about writing your own biography, you might think?

The answer to that question is already written in the question itself: the ‘own’ biography. Most authors write about everything and everyone, but mostly not… about themselves.

But anyway, let me introduce myself.

My name is Dieter Ryckewaert (1984) and I was born in Poperinge, a small town in West Flanders, a stone’s throw from the Belgian coast. When I was about three years old, we moved with our family to Zonnebeke, where me and my sister had a carefree childhood. The house in which we lived bordered a field and a forest, the dream playground for every child of my generation.

Together with the children of the neighbors, we played outside, and risked our lives several times in the branches of the trees. The garden of the neighbors was separated from our garden by a nine-foot high hedge. In the middle of that hedge was a hole big enough to give passage to an adult person. On day one of our time in Zonnebeke, my parents wanted to close the hedge, so we had a little more privacy in our garden. Of course, that didn’t match our idea about the hole (us as in: me, my sister, and the three children of the neighbors). The hole functioned as a passage from and especially to the new playmates. So close it? No way!

Eight years later, when we moved back to Poperinge, the hole was still there.

Back in Poperinge I was first confronted with my ‘writing itch’ when we got the chance at school to work on a collection of poems about love. As a fourteen year old adolescent I found the idea as corny as it could be. Really, shouldn’t we be tough like men? Well, I gave it a chance… and it turned out that ‘writing’ was much more fun than I first thought. When the words flowed out of my pen (we didn’t have a computer yet), ‘poetry and rhyming’ became quite fun.

From poetry, it logically turned into short stories. And I remember my first short story very well. I was so proud of my little Sci-Fi work! In hindsight, the quality was way below par, but one has to begin somewhere, right?

Many short stories followed, and as the writing itch continued to rise, I ventured into my first ‘real’ novel.

Once I graduated, I wanted my writing to blossom further. Bringing new worlds and characters to life and sharing them with readers gives me enormous satisfaction. Not only that, but also the fact that stories with a positive note inspire people and give them a chance to escape from the – hectic or not – life. 

Posted in reviews

Connected to Me By Marc Kage Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two young people struggling with their own complicated lives make a strong connection together, and soon find themselves forced to live the other’s life in author Marc Kage’s “Connected to Me”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

Aoi Kanemoto is Japanese, cute, shy, and a certified genius. Despite graduating top of her class at Caltech, she struggles to find a job in the fast-paced tech industry. Her family, although very loving, doesn’t understand her at all, and her little sister seems poised for success. But Aoi suffers from deep seated trust issues, that keep her from pursuing her dreams.

Then she meets Christian Sterling at a local ramen shop. An Afro-Hispanic foster child and fellow tech-head, Christian’s gentle demeanor and kind gestures cut through Aoi’s emotional barrier. But as they chat and grow closer, the shy girl’s anxiety causes her to flee the restaurant, before he can even ask for her number. Getting ditched is bad enough, but Christian has no idea that this chance encounter is about to turn both their lives upside down.

The next morning, Christian and Aoi are shocked to wake up in each other’s bodies. They have no idea how to get back! As Aoi discovers how lonely Christian’s life really is, Christian must confront Aoi’s strict parents, and help her find the courage to stand up for herself once and for all. And the more they learn about each other’s lives, the deeper they fall in love. But are they trapped in each other’s bodies forever? And if they do switch back, will their new-found romance survive?

The Review

A truly unique twist on the classic “Freaky Friday” body-switch storyline. The author does a great job of developing these two protagonists and their own underlying struggles quite well. The story flows smoothly thanks to detailed and passionate writing, and the emotional bond the two protagonists share with one another can be felt as each chapter goes on. 

What really stood out to me from a narrative perspective was the entire concept of the body-switch, as both protagonists are tech-based geniuses and spend so much time in the world of science that it is fascinating to see how they deal with this almost magical-like situation. Culture also plays a great role in the narrative as well, and Silicon Valley has never felt more alive in this romantic setting. 

The Verdict

A gripping, heartfelt, and evenly-paced narrative, author Marc Kage’s “Connected to Me” is a must-read romance for the modern era. Dealing with mental health and anxiety-based struggles, loneliness, romance, and wonder, the novel is the perfect escape as we head into the final weeks of 2020. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Marc Kage was Born and Raised in Livingston, New Jersey. He graduated from Livingston High School in 2009 and graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in Georgraphy in 2016. Marc currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. When Marc is not writing, he enjoys working out, eating and most importantly, learning new things about this dysfunctional planet.

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Vincent Hollow

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?


As someone who has struggled with depression, social anxiety, and ADD for most of my life, writing was always something of a therapy for me; to release any negative thoughts in a non-violent way that I could turn into something creative. Most of my creative writing was during my high school years outside of school, but after graduating, I didn’t start writing again until about 12 years later when I began spiraling into one of my worst depression periods. It would end up being the catalyst that would give me reason to expose all of my pain onto paper. I didn’t want my writing to be too autobiographical, because honestly, I don’t really enjoy writing about specific things in my life, but the idea of using poetry as a vessel to carry myself into the hearts and minds of those like me allowed me to be open and honest while still keeping it vague and relatable to anyone who may read it. 

Advertisements

2) What inspired you to write your book?


I’ve always had a fascination with astronomy and cosmology. Even at its most basic level, you can still be enthralled by its infinite landscape of mysterious and majestic beauty. I wanted to convey that in a very simplified take of a well-known science fiction premise of an astronaut going on a deep space mission. But I didn’t want him going in order to save the earth or to take part in an intergalactic war, this was going to be extremely personal. He was doing it for love, even at the cost of his own sanity and existence. I wanted this story to be relatable to anyone who has felt that type of connection,  that they would risk it all to be with the one the had lost to either natural causes, an unforeseen tragedy, or even just venturing off from your timeline. The thoughts that run through your head, both logical and illogical, calm and erratic, overwhelming and empty, create the atmosphere for this story, as well as the celestial splendor experienced by the Astronaut, as a sort of reminder that no matter how dark everything may seem for what feels.like eternity, there is always something beautiful passing by that reminds you how wonderful life is and there is always a new journey to go on.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?


Swan Songs is all about overcoming impossible odds when struggling with mental illness. People are welcome to interpret whatever message they find within this Astronaut’s mission, but the one I hope they see shine the brightest is “You’re not alone.”

4) What drew you into this particular genre?


I always think of poetry as songs that you don’t sing, your heart does. As a teenager, I would spend a bit of my free time writing song lyrics to music that, for the most part, didn’t exist, but it was an important first step to what would eventually be my passion. I enjoy the simplicity of poetry, the ability to convey so much emotion and story in few words, and even though poetry does have its rules, I find I like telling my stories through verse and prose as it makes it feel like I’m composing a kind of silent album.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?


Perhaps the Astronaut’s friend, Patrick, to ask them how they would spend their life after their friend was launched into what was, in his mind anyway, a sort of suicide mission. Would he continue to work with INSTAR? Would he follow the mission until his dying day? Would he be so overcome with grief and guilt that he would walk away from it forever? I can’t imagine what it would do to him on an emotional and psychological level.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?


I would say Instagram has been great to reach multitudes of new fans and building a wonderful poetry community where I can share drafts of pieces I’m working on, promote book releases, and, of course, enjoy the writings of other poets from all different skill levels and give them support as they support me. It’s a very helpful and motivational platform.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?


I say just go for it. Read authors and genres you enjoy. Take notes of words you like. Use everything as inspiration, not just books. Films, songs, history, paintings, casual conversations. Anything can be your muse, so make mental notes on the things that get your attention. Odds are they can be made into something your wouldn’t have thought of on your own sitting at a desk.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?


I’m hoping the books I write will be enjoyed by those who find comfort in the melancholy of their pages when facing their own personal darkness and possibly seeing a part of themselves in the verses as well. 
Currently, I’m in the midst of a few projects, one is the story of a haunted house I expect to release early in 2021 and the other is the sequel to Swan Songs. I’ve been working on the haunted house story since about April and I’m very pleased with how it’s developed. The Swan Songs sequel has gone though a multitude of changes and rewrites since I first finished the first half of The Weight of Black Holes and has ended up on the backburner while I worked on other projects, but it’s about time to take it back out and bring it to life. 

Advertisements

About the Author

VINCENT HOLLOW is an astro-poet and interstellar storyteller living aboard the space vessel, Aquarius. Shooting from the star system to star system. Vincent spends his time gazing out into the universal abyss and the depths of himself where he hopes to find his place in the cosmos through the words he weaves in the fabric of spacetime.

https://www.facebook.com/Vincent-Hollow-105005078127184/

https://www.instagram.com/vncenthollow/

Posted in reviews

Trade Secrets by V.K. Tritschler Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A woman’s dream job turns her life upside down as she’s forced to choose between a man who isn’t all he seems to be and a boss who may not be who he seems at all in author V.K. Tritschler’s “Trade Secrets”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

What happens when your dream job turns out to be a hot mess?

Emily earned a spot in a top Adelaide advertising agency and was excited to be starting her professional career. But on her very first day she gets coffee spilled on her by Meg, her new and complicated co-worker; runs into Jimmy, her wildly inappropriate boss; and gets stuck in an elevator with Harry, who is the hottest guy in the industry and her company’s biggest competitor.

When Jimmy enlists Emily to spy on Harry and his company, things become more complicated.

But Emily finds that her life isn’t as perfect as she’d dreamed. Now, she has to choose between handsome Harry, who may not be all he seems, and bawdy Jimmy, who is exactly what she fears. Secrets and hidden agendas rip apart Emily’s dreams. Will she pick the devil she knows or the one she doesn’t?

The Review

This was the perfect romantic drama read. The author captures the intricacies of young women walking into the world wide-eyed and hopeful about the future, only to see reality making life far more complex than they could have imagined. Blending the modern-day “dramedy”  that fans have come to expect from shows like Netflix’s Emily in Paris or Younger, the novel catapults a healthy blend of love triangles with complicated workplace drama. 

Emily is a fantastic protagonist, pushing herself with an enthusiastic glean in her eyes while fielding a mother who doubts her career goals, a co-worker who makes her life complicated, and two men who pull her heart in different directions. The author’s ability to craft relatable characters while implementing an air of mystery with some heavy emotional beats showcases the fantastic world-building the author has accomplished with this novel. 

The Verdict

A must-read, evenly-paced and engaging read, author V.K. Tritschler’s “Trade Secrets” is a phenomenal novel. Full of romance, drama, and everything young readers love to delve into, this is the perfect winter read for those seeking a romance-filled getaway from reality. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

VK Tritschler is a full-time busy body, and part-time imagination conjurer. She lives on the amazing Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, having moved there from her hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. Her family consists of a very patient husband, two rampant boys and too many pets to mention.

She has a wonderful set of amazing writers who support her in the form of Eyre Writers, and in return she offers crowd control services for the Youth section who are the future best-selling Australian authors.

Her first book “The Secret Life of Sarah Meads” was released in 2018 and since then she has participated in the NYC Writing Challenge, the Clunes Booktown, and helped organize and run the Eyre Writers Festival.

Her paranormal romance is “Magic & Mischief” with her story “Vital Impetus” which came out in July 2020. An anthology of magical stories from around the globe.

Her next novel “The Risky Business of Romance” was released in October 2020. Her next novel – Trade Secrets is a rom-com and due out in December 2020. Stay tuned for more details!

Ever available to her readership you can find her at:

www.vktritschler.com

www.facebook.com/vktritschler

www.twitter.com/vktritschler

www.goodreads.com/vktritschler

Posted in reviews

The Witching Vault by Kathrin Hutson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A woman seeking any job she can get after being released from a magical prison finds herself the unwitting new owner of a spellbound bank and faces untold danger in author Kathrin Hutson’s urban fantasy novel, “The Witching Vault”, the first in the Accessory to Magic series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Run the witching vault. Protect the Gateway. Say please. And don’t get killed.

After her release from magical prison, Jessica Northwood can’t hold a job to save her life. So when an apprenticeship opens up at a spellbound bank, no questions asked, she can’t exactly say no… But she definitely should have.

Her new boss is an eccentric scryer witch who can read Jessica’s mind but can’t remember her name. Winthrop & Dirledge Security Banking can think for itself and has a serious attitude problem. But after Jessica’s previous line of work, this should be a piece of cake—until a murder in the bank takes things to a whole new level. Now her contract says she’s the new owner, Jessica has no idea what she’s doing, and the bank won’t let her leave.

For centuries, the bank’s owners have stood between the Gateway in the upstairs hall and the occult syndicate who want it for themselves. As she deals with magical clientele who know the stakes far better than she does, Jessica must decide just how far she’s willing to go to keep this job. Because if she doesn’t, she’ll end up as dead as the body in the lobby. Or worse.

Illona Andrews’ Inkeeper Chronicles meets The Magicians in this snarky, fast-paced Urban Fantasy Adventure from International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson.

The Review

A fantastic start to a new fantasy series, author Kathrin Hutson does an incredible job of crafting a larger than life, fantastic world. What stands out immediately is how the author writes in an authoritative voice that showcases how the world around the protagonist is already well-established. It gives the sense that this world is already fully lived in and allows the story to flow more smoothly. 

The tone and character growth shine brightly in this book. Typically this type of novel approaches the narrative with a very dark tone with light or almost non-existent humor, but the author flips the script wonderfully by crafting an atmosphere and fantasy world where magic is not only the norm, but witches, necromancers, and more all interact with one another. 

The protagonist is by far the true star of this novel, however, as Jessica brings the charm, the wit, and the mystery to this novel. Jessica’s backstory is hinted at, but the author does a great job of keeping most of it a mystery, allowing the character and story to speak for themselves while hinting at the larger world the author is crafting. What makes her interactions so humorous is when the established witch finds herself interacting with forces even she has trouble comprehending, including a sentient building and so much more. 

The Verdict

A compelling, engaging, and evenly-paced read, author Kathrin Hutson’s “The Witch Vault” is a must-read urban fantasy novel. A fresh adult spin on the fantasy genre reminiscent of the acclaimed series The Magicians, the author perfectly cements this larger than life world with charming and relatable characters, action, and magic that all fantasy fans won’t want to miss. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson has been writing Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and LGBTQ Speculative Fiction since 2000. With her wildly messed-up heroes, excruciating circumstances, impossible decisions, and Happily Never Afters, she’s a firm believer in piling on the intense action, showing a little character skin, and never skimping on violent means to bloody ends. Kathrin is an active member of SFWA and HWA and lives in Vermont with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

For updates on new releases, exclusive deals, and dark surprises you won’t find anywhere else, sign up to Kathrin’s newsletter at kathrinhutsonfiction.com/subscribe.

https://www.instagram.com/kathrinhutsonfiction/

https://www.facebook.com/KathrinHutsonFiction/

Posted in Interviews

Author Interview with Craig DiLouie

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’d dreamed of being a writer ever since I was very young. Growing up in rural New Jersey, I discovered fiction as a fantastic way to be somebody else and have adventures. After a while, I not only wanted to escape into these incredible worlds, I wanted to create my own for others to enjoy. I produced my first novel back in the 1990s, which never saw the light of day. After lucking out with publication with a small press in 2001, I kept at it until I wrote a zombie novel on a lark before zombies got big, and the rest is history. The success of my zombie fiction got me an agent, which got me into Big 5 publishers like Simon & Schuster and Hachette. I also self-publish series of short, pulpy WW2 actioners, which are a lot of fun and are very popular. It’s been a very long and hard but ultimately gratifying and humbling journey.

Advertisements

What inspired you to write your book?

The Children of Red Peak is about a group of people who grew up in and survived the horrific last days of an apocalyptic religious group that transforms into a cult. Years later, they reunite to confront their past and the entity that appeared the final night.

I love stories that turn tropes on their head or examine their consequences, and this novel does both, examining a cult from the inside in the past timeline, where the major characters are children, and then showing the pain of surviving a horrific mass death, where it’s now 15 years later. As a psychological thriller with cosmic horror elements, the novel is really about the trauma of survival and how belief can produce a great amount of moral goodness but also madness and evil, with a slippery slope in between.

The original inspiration came from a reading of Genesis, where God tells Abraham to bind his son Isaac on a remote mountain and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham does it, only to be stopped at the last moment. And I thought, what if that story were told from Isaac’s point of view?

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Thematically, it’s about a number of things—family, faith, memory, belonging—but the the overriding theme is that madness and belief are two sides of the same coin, and we have a tendency to think of our relationship with the divine as being on terms we can control and that favor us. Interestingly—and disturbingly—some of the cosmic horror element in the book is really about that cosmic horror being found in conventional religion, which is treated with utmost respect in the book but also questioned by taking its claims seriously. A significant message in the book is that wherever there is chaos and emptiness, humanity’s hunger for meaning will eventually ascribe that chaos and emptiness with meaning and a story.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always loved speculative fiction—horror, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, apocalyptic, you name it—because it lets you take ordinary people and challenge them with extraordinary circumstances. You push somebody to the limit, you really find out what they’re made of, and that revelation also says something about human instinct, which is real, and human morality, which is the story we tell ourselves about who we are and want to be. In The Children of Red Peak, there is a cosmic horror element, but the real horror is in good people doing evil because they believe it is a path to paradise.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’d ask one of the characters who possibly ascended where they went and what it was like when they got there. I poured my own yearning for meaning and knowledge of any type of existence after death into the story’s aching soul.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Probably Facebook. No reason for that other than I’m just more comfortable with it. I don’t like creating a persona, which is what you’re supposed to do as a writer to get people to like you as an author distinct from liking your work, but I’ve never been into that. On Facebook, I decided to just be myself, and I value the relationships I have there because they’re real, or at least as real as you can get on the Internet.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Be as prolific as possible, pursue every path to publication with what you do produce, and hope for that X factor in publishing to go your way and create a hit that will lead to more opportunities. The X factor might be described simply as having the right book at the right place at the right time, and there’s unfortunately no way to predict that. Note that success is not an either/or thing, it’s a ladder with dozens of runs, and that there is no objective definition for success anyway. In my view, if you poured your heart out to write a story, you’re a writer and you’re a success, only now you’re ready to challenge yourself to climb the next rung of the ladder.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’ve been very happy producing these “dime novel” WW2 action series, and I love the model so much I’m looking to produce two such series in 2021, one dealing carrier aviation in the near future, the other dealing with carrier aviation during WW2. At the same time, I’m talking to Hachette to see if I can get some fresh and interesting novel concepts percolating.

Thanks for having me as a guest, Anthony!

(It Was My Pleasure Craig! Thank you for sharing your wonderful book with us.)

Advertisements

About the Author

Craig DiLouie is an author of popular thriller, apocalyptic/horror, and sci-fi/fantasy fiction.

In hundreds of reviews, Craig’s novels have been praised for their strong characters, action, and gritty realism. Each book promises an exciting experience with people you’ll care about in a world that feels real.

These works have been nominated for major literary awards such as the Bram Stoker Award and Audie Award, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for film. He is a member of the HWA, International Thriller Writers, and IFWA.

http://craigdilouie.com/