Posted in reviews

Drifters (Nel Bently #2) by V.S. Holmes Review

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

Archeologist and adventurer Nel Bently faces a fight for survival after she is tied to a murder in author V.S. Holmes highly beloved sequel, “Drifters”, the second in the Nel Bently series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

The only person on Earth she trusts … is in space

Archaeologist Nel Bently left Chile in the wake of murder, vandalism and UFO sightings. No sooner has the school semester started when cops are at her door. Accused of a murder she’s not certain is her fault, Nel has no choice but to go on the run. She starts a game of connect-the-dots across New England, following her gut and clues left by her elusive alien-benefactor-turned-almost-girlfriend.

Running from the law isn’t easy with her field pack and a handful of scorned exes to depend on. Between starvation, untraceable texts, and a harrowing journey through the wilderness, Nel is forced to question everything about the science she loves and the people she trusted.

Second book in the thrilling archaeological science fiction series: The Nel Bently Books.

Don’t miss more of the Nel Universe in “Disciples” from the Beamed Up anthology! 

The Review

A fantastic elevation of the first book, this sequel really delves into Nel as a hero as she must fight for her very survival. Still reeling from the loss of a beloved friend and uncertain whom she can truly trust, Nel is thrust into a situation that forces her to quickly learn to trust and lean on others. 

Leaving behind some of the more detailed looks into archeology in this novel and instead of adopting a more X-Files style of storytelling, the author does a great job of building suspense and character growth into this narrative. The action of course jumps off right from the beginning chapters, and readers are given a more personal glimpse into Nel’s mindset and character growth in this sequel. The dialogue between Nel and a figure from her past as she fights for survival becomes some of the more intimate but engaging moments in the narrative, framing the events of the previous novel and the narrative moving forward in a much deeper and more connected light than ever before. 

The Verdict

A memorable, thrilling, and heart-pounding read, author V.S. Holmes’s “Drifters” is a must-read sci-fi adventure. The exploration of Nel’s character and how she deals with the pressures set before her make for an interesting character study, while the twists and turns lead readers to an exciting finale that sets up the next adventure in the series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this explosive sequel today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

V. S. Holmes is an international bestselling author. They created the REFORGED series and the NEL BENTLY BOOKS. Smoke and Rain, the first book in their fantasy quartet, won New Apple Literary’s Excellence in Independent Publishing Award in 2015. In addition, they have published short fiction in several anthologies.

When not writing, they work as a contract archaeologist throughout the northeastern U.S. They live in a Tiny House with their spouse, a fellow archaeologist, their not-so-tiny dog, and own too many books for such a small abode. As a disabled and queer human, they work as an advocate and educator for representation in SFF worlds.

https://vsholmes.com/index.html

Posted in reviews

Blue Fire by E.C. Blake Review

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

Three individuals from different factions in an almost magical and deadly world find themselves forced to work together to stop a rising threat to them all in author E.C. Blake’s epic YA Fantasy, “Blue Fire”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

From the author of the acclaimed fantasy trilogy The Masks of Agyrima, published by DAW Books, comes another epic YA fantasy adventure

Centuries ago, the people of Nevyana were forced to leave their old kingdom across the sea after it was devastated by the War of the Twelve Gods. The only three gods to survive that war, Vekrin of the Earth, Arrica of the Sun, and Ell of the Moon, agreed they would thenceforth cease to meddle in the affairs of humans – but first, each of them gave their followers a final magical gift.

In different ways, Vekrin and Arrica gave their followers the gift of Blue Fire, a force that could provide light, heat, and protection – or be turned into a powerful weapon. But Ell, who had fought against the other two in the war, chose instead to utterly transform her followers into the Nightdwellers, nocturnal creatures with fur, teeth, and claws.

Enmity quickly arose among the three groups. Now, the Nightdwellers rule the night, killing any ordinary humans they find after sunset. Vekrin’s followers became the Citydwellers, sheltering each night behind stout walls of stone, guarded by the Blue Fire-powered firelances of the priests. And Arrica’s followers became the Freefolk, travelling the wilderness, camping within a fence of Blue Fire but always in danger of Nightdweller attack.

When sacred objects for channelling Blue Fire are stolen, three sworn enemies, Petra of the Citydwellers, Amlinn of the Freefolk, and Jin of the Nightdwellers, set out to find them, and their paths converge on a collision course with the truth. Can they bridge the centuries-old divisions among their communities? Or will Blue Fire, turned to destruction, bring Nevyana crashing down in chaos and bloodshed?

The Review

What a truly incredible and rich fantasy world the author has crafted. The exploration of this world does a great job of highlighting how belief systems and those in power can often lead people to see enemies where only allies stand and create a divide that doesn’t need to exist. Utilizing a brilliant YA adventure, the author is able to convey deep and complex themes of setting aside differences, seeking allies instead of enemies, and leaving the past behind to build a brighter future. 

The two key components to this novel have to be world-building and character development. The author showcases a wide range of emotion and interaction amongst the characters early on, giving three very different protagonists who must overcome the fear and mistrust and even in some cases hatred they’ve had instilled in them from an early age. Meanwhile, the world-building is detailed and engaging, giving readers a rich history and mythology to delve into throughout the entirety of the novel. 

The Verdict

A fascinating, entertaining, and evenly-paced read, author E.C. Blake’s “Blue Fire” is a must-read YA fantasy. An epic tale of rich mythology, deep and thoughtful protagonists, and twists and turns that challenge the heroes as they navigate a rapidly changing world, fans of the YA fantasy and sci-fi genre will absolutely love this amazing read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

E.C. Blake was born in New Mexico, “Land of Enchantment,” and the state’s nickname seems to have rubbed off: he started writing fantastical stories in elementary school and wrote his first fantasy novel in high school. He’s been a newspaper reporter and editorial cartoonist, a magazine editor, a writing instructor and a professional actor, and has written (under another name) more than 30 works of nonfiction, ranging from biographies to science books to history books, but his first love has always been fantasy. He now lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, with his wife and a daughter whose favorite stories all involve “sword-fighting princesses.” Come to think of it, so do his.

http://www.ecblake.com/

Posted in reviews

A Caller’s Game by J.D. Barker Review

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

A controversial radio host finds herself forced to face the past as a caller plays a deadly game live on the air in author J.D. Barker’s “A Caller’s Game”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

DIE HARD meets TALK RADIO in this heart-pounding, relentlessly fast-paced thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Fourth Monkey—master of suspense, J.D. Barker.

“I’m going to offer you a choice.”

Controversial satellite radio talk show host, Jordan Briggs, has clawed her way to the top of the broadcast world. She doesn’t hold back, doesn’t spare feelings, and has no trouble sharing what’s on her mind. Her rigorous pursuit of success has come at a price, though. Her marriage is in ruins, she hasn’t spoken to her mother in years, and she’s distanced herself from all those close to her. If not for her young daughter, Charlotte, her personal life would be in complete shambles.

When a subdued man calls into the show and asks to play a game, she sees it as nothing more than a way to kick-start the morning, breathe life into the beginnings of drive-time for her listeners. Against her producer’s advice, she agrees, and unwittingly opens a door to the past.

Live on the air with an audience of millions, what starts out as a game quickly turns deadly—events long thought buried resurface and Jordan Briggs is forced to reconcile with one simple fact—All decisions have consequences.

The Review

What a heart-pounding thriller. The author immediately jumps into the action as readers are introduced to the protagonists, Officer Cole and Jordan Briggs. The threat of this anonymous caller is evident to the entire city as he unleashes the first of many attacks and lays the blame at Jordan’s feet. Yet from the beginning it is clear not everything is as it seems.

The author expertly balances character development and action/thriller vibes in this narrative. Themes of facing the past and roads to redemption make this a memorable read, as we see the character’s overcome some dangerous situations while facing some difficult memories that could tear apart the best of us.

The twisted game that the antagonist, “Bernie”, plays with Jordan and Cole really does capture the action and suspense of films like Die Hard and Phone Booth, with the threats increasing and the reader’s hearts pounding faster and faster as the mystery behind this relentless killer takes unexpected and emotional twists and turns, drawing the reader in deeper and deeper.

The Verdict

This is J.D. Barker at his best. “A Caller’s Game” is another fantastic thriller from one of the best authors I’ve read in recent years, and readers will love delving into this mystery. The evolution Jordan Briggs takes as her ruthless talk radio personality starts to face the consequences of her actions over the years, and Cole emerges as a fantastic new hero facing down this powerful threat. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your copy of this amazing novel today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

J.D. Barker is the New York Times and international best-selling author of numerous novels, including DRACUL and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest, SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE, released March 31. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, sold in more than 150 countries, and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa Review

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

The true origins of the infamous Puck come to life as a dangerous threat to the worlds of humanity and Faeries alike rises in author Julie Kagawa’s “The Iron Rave”, the first in “The Iron Fey: Evenfall” series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

You may have heard of me…

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.

The Review

An action-packed, entertaining deep dive into the world of fantasy, this novel is a fantastic start to a new series within the world of the Iron Fey. Fans of the original series by author Julie Kagawa and newcomers will be able to pick this book up with ease and quickly fall into the lore and magic of this narrative. 

The author’s focus on Puck was an inspired choice, as the infamous trickster and longtime ally of the original protagonists of the series got a much-needed look into his past and character arc overall. The emotional and physical journey he takes in this narrative are nail-biting, to say the least, and his new relationships with characters like the assassin Nyx are engaging to read. 

Fans of the fantasy genre as a whole will absolutely love the amount of mythos that went into this book. As a newcomer to the series myself, it was great to see not only the Fae represented, but so many other magical creatures, from the goblins and redcaps found in the Goblin Market early on in the book to the powerful threat introduced into this narrative with this shadowy creature, this book’s core rests within the fantasy realm the author has crafted, making the setting as much of a character as Puck himself.

The Verdict

A beautifully written, entertaining, and magical new chapter in the world of the Iron Fey, author Julie Kagawa’s “The Iron Raven” is a fantastic start to this spinoff series. With a heart-pounding and almost cinematically written final few chapters that see this massive battle unfold and a cast of characters that readers are going to be able to invest in easily, this is a must-read fantasy book of 2021. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

JULIE KAGAWA is the New York Times, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author of The Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, The Talon Saga and the Shadow of the Fox series. Born in Sacramento, she has been a bookseller and an animal trainer and enjoys reading, painting, playing in her garden and training in martial arts. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and a plethora of pets. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social Links:

Author website: http://juliekagawa.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jkagawa 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliekagawaauthor/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100045094913658 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/52735443-the-iron-raven 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2995873.Julie_Kagawa

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Raven-Fey-Evenfall/dp/1335091769 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-iron-raven-julie-kagawa/1136599840?ean=9781335091765 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335091765?aff=novelknight 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Iron-Raven/Julie-Kagawa/9781335091765 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-iron-raven/id1501522621?id=1501522621&ign-mpt=uo%3D4    

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/

details/Julie_Kagawa_The_Iron_Raven?id=km3UDwAAQBAJ

Advertisements

An Exclusive Excerpt From “The Iron Raven”

The human world

A long, long time ago

It was almost time

I peeked out of the bushes and grinned.  The stage was nearly set.  In the tiny, sun-dappled clearing beyond the trees, the crystal-clear pool glimmered, attracting all manner of life to its sparkling waters.  A herd of spotted deer bent graceful necks to the surface under the watchful eye of a great stag, standing tall at the edge of the pond.  A few rabbits hopped through the bracken scattered through the clearing, and a family of squirrels scolded each other in the branches of a large gnarled oak.  Birds sang, wildlife meandered, and the wind gently rustled the leaves overhead.  It was a blissful, picturesque woodland scene, a perfectly peaceful day in the human realm.

Boring, boring, boring.

I smiled, reached into my shirt, and pulled the pan flute into the light.  It was my own design; I’d spent several days gathering hollow reeds, cutting them, binding them together and making sure the tone was perfect.  Now, I was going to see what it could do.  

Drawing glamour from the forest around me, I raised the flute to my lips and blew out a single note.

The clear, high sound cut through the stillness of the woods, arcing over the grove, and all the animals clustered around the pond jerked up, eyes wide and nostrils flaring.  The rabbits sat up, ears twitching back and forth.  The deer raised their heads, dark eyes huge as they gazed around, ready to flee.  The squirrels’ tails flicked back and forth as they clung to the branches, their chittering voices silenced.    

In the sudden stillness, I took a deep breath, gathering my magic, and began playing.

The melody rose into the air, cheerful and face paced.  It swirled around the pond, into the ears of every living creature.  For a moment, none of them moved,

Then, one of the rabbits began tapping its foot.  The others followed, thumping their hind legs in tune to the rhythm, and the deer began tossing their heads to the music.  In the branches, the squirrels bobbed, tails flicking back and forth, keeping time, and the birds added their voices to the song.  I bit down a smile and played louder, faster, drawing in more glamour and releasing it into the notes trilling through the forest.  

With a bugle, the ancient stag reared up, tossing his huge antlers, and gave a graceful bound to the center of the clearing.  His sharp hooves pawed the grass, raking gouges in the earth, as he began stepping and leaping with the music.  As one, his herd joined him, bouncing and cavorting to his side, and the rabbits began flinging themselves in wild arcs around the stomping deer.  My glee soared; this was working better than I had hoped. It was all I could do to keep playing and not let the song drop because of the enormous grin wanting to stretch my face.  

Rising from the bushes, I walked toward the grove, the pan flute moving rapidly under my lips, the song rising and the magic soaring in response.  My feet itched, and I started to move them, stepping and dancing to the center of the clearing.  Filling my lungs, I played as loudly as I could, my body moving almost on its own, leaping and twirling and spinning through the air.  And all around me, the forest creatures danced as well, hooves and horns and furry bodies barely missing me as they bounced and cavorted in a frantic circle, hurling themselves around the grove with wild abandon. I lost myself in the music, in the excitement and ecstasy, as I danced with the forest.

I didn’t know how long the melody went on; half the time my eyes were closed and I was moving on pure instinct.  But at last, as the song reached a crescendo, I sensed it was time to bring it to a close.  With one final, soaring note, the melody died away, the wild emotions faded, and the whirlwind of magic swirling through the grove fluttered out, returning to the earth.   

Panting, I lowered my arms.  Around me, my fellow dancers also came to shuddering stops, breathing hard.  The great stag stood a few feet away, antlered head bowed, legs and flanks trembling.  As I watched, he quivered and collapsed, white foam bubbling from his mouth and nostrils as his head struck the ground.  One by one, the rest of the herd crumpled as well, some gasping wide-eyed for breath, some lying motionless in the dirt.  Scattered around them, furry lumps of rabbits lay in the churned mud.  I looked at the trees and saw the squirrels and birds lying at the bases of the trunks, having fallen from their perches once the music ceased.  

I blinked.  Well, that was unexpected.  How long had I been playing anyway?  I looked at the sky through the branches and saw clouds streaked with orange, the sun hovering low on the horizon.  I’d come to this grove and played the very first note early this morning.  It seemed our wild revel had lasted the entire day.

Huh.  I scratched the back of my head.  Well, that’s disappointing.  I guess I can’t push these mortal beasts too aggressively, or they just collapse.  Hmm.  Tapping the fingers of one hand against my arm, I gazed at the pan flute in the other.  I wonder if humans would do any better? 

“Boy.” 

The deep, lyrical voice came from behind me, and a ripple of magic shivered through the air. I felt a stab of annoyance that someone had been watching my revel; that was why I’d chosen to do this in the human world, after all—so I could worry less about curious eavesdroppers.   I turned and saw a procession of horses at the edge of the clearing, watching me from the trees.  The mounts were fey creatures, lighter and much more graceful than their mortal counterparts, their hooves barely touching the ground.  The riders atop them were sidhe knights, clad in armor of leaves, vines and branches woven together.  Part of the Summer Court, I realized.  I’d seen them before, as well as the knights of the Winter Court.  I’d even played with a few of them in the wyldwood, though they never realized the cause of all their small, annoying mishaps was a forest boy too insignificant to notice. 

But the rider at the front of the procession had definitely noticed me, and he was impossible to miss, too.  His mount was bright gold, brighter than any mortal steed, but the noble atop it outshone even his mount.  He was dressed in armor of green and gold, with a cloak made of blooming vines that left flowers where he passed.  Long silver hair flowed from under the huge antlered crown that rested on his brow, and the piercing green eyes beneath it were fixed solely on me. 

Why was he here?  Had he heard my music and been drawn to the sound? That was unfortunate. I tried to avoid catching the eye of the Summer Court, particularly this faery.  I hadn’t been doing anything wrong; the fey cared little to what happened in the mortal world. The deaths of a few forest creatures meant nothing to them. But attracting the attention of one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever was a dangerous game. Depending on his mood, he might demand that I “gift” him the thing I’d worked so hard on, play the pipes for him and his knights by for as long as he was amused, or entertain them all by becoming the next hunt. The fey lords were notoriously unpredictable, and I treated them as I would a sleeping dragon: it was okay to tiptoe around and steal their gold, as long as they didn’t see you.

But now, the dragon had spotted me.

The sidhe gentry nudged his mount, and the horse stepped into the clearing, striding across the grass until beast and rider loomed before me.  I stood my ground and gazed up defiantly at the noble, who was watching me with appraising eyes.

“So young,” he mused.  “And such an impressive use of glamour.  What is your name, boy?”

“Robin.”

“And where are your parents, Robin?”

I shrugged.  “I live by myself.  In the wyldwood.”  I couldn’t remember my parents, if I’d even had them.  My earliest memory was the tangle of the wyldwood, foraging for food and shelter, learning the skills I needed to survive.  But, even though I was alone, I’d never felt like I didn’t belong.  The forest, the wyldwood, was my home.  That was how it always had been. 

“Hm.”  The tall noble didn’t press the question.  He observed me in silence for another moment, his face giving nothing away.  “Do you know who I am, boy?” he asked instead. 

This time, I nodded.  “You’re King Oberon.” It was obvious; everyone knew who the Summer King was, though I’d never seen him in person.  It didn’t matter.  I had never seen Queen Mab, ruler of the Winter Court, either, but I was certain I would know her if I did.

“Yes,” the Seelie King agreed.  “I am indeed.  And I could use someone of your talents in Seelie territory.” He raised a hand, indicating me with long, elegant fingers.  “You have power; raw, unfettered Summer magic rivaling some of my strongest allies in the court. Such a gift should not go to waste in the wyldwood.  You should not be living in the forest like a beast, singing to birds and squirrels.  You should be part of the greatest court in the Nevernever. What say you, Robin?”  The king regarded me with eyes like pale green frost.  “Would you like to become part of the Seelie Court?”

Part of the Seelie Court?  

Curiosity battled defiance.  I was intrigued, of course.  Living by myself in the wyldwood meant I could come and go as I pleased, but it was getting a bit lonely.  I wanted to talk to people, others of my kind, not just forest creatures and the occasional scatterbrained piskie.  And of the two courts, Summer territory sounded much more pleasant than the frozen, hostile land of Winter.

       Still, it was never a good idea to take the first offer.  Even I, with my limited knowledge of bargains and deals, knew that much.

“I like it in the forest.”  I crossed my arms and smiled at the king.  “Why should I go live at the Summer Court?”

The Seelie King smiled, as if he’d expected that answer.  “Because, Robin, I am king.”  He spoke the phrase like it was the most important fact in the world.  “And as king of the Seelie, I can give you whatever your heart desires. I can grant you power, wealth, the love of as many hearts as you wish.” He paused, as I wrinkled my nose. “But I can see you are not interested in these things. Perhaps, then, this would be of note.  I have many enemies, Robin.  Both within the court and without. From time to time, these enemies need to realize that they cannot underestimate the sovereignty of Summer.  If you join me…well, let us say you will have plenty of opportunities to practice your magic on things other than common forest beasts.”

Now that sounded interesting. I glanced back at the pond, at the motionless bodies surrounding it.  Poor dumb animals. I hadn’t meant to harm them, but it seemed normal creatures were very fragile.  I would love to try some of my ideas on sturdier creatures, maybe even a few fey, and Oberon was dangling that big, bright carrot in front of me.  He seemed to know exactly what I wanted.  The only question was, did I care?  

“So, Robin of the Wyldwood,” King Oberon went on, peering down at me from his horse.  “What is your decision?  Will you join my court?  I will name you court jester, and you can play your tricks and practice your magic without boundaries.  All I ask is that you do me a small service from time to time.  Do we have a deal?”

Something nagged at me, a feeling that this agreement wasn’t quite what I thought it was. I’d made deals before, but they were with piskies and sprites and a couple local dryads. Never with someone as important as the ruler of the Seelie Court. Was I missing something? This did seem a little too good to be true. 

I hesitated a moment more, then shrugged.  Then again, why not join the Summer Court?  What was the worst that could happen? I was aching for something new, and if I was under the protection of King Oberon himself, think of all the pranks and tricks I could play without fear of retribution.  

This was going to be fun.

“All right,” I agreed, grinning up at Oberon, who raised a thin silver brow in return.  “You have a deal, king.  I’ll join the Summer Court, as long as I get to practice my magic and play as many tricks as I want.”  

“Excellent.”  Oberon nodded and raised both hands.  “Then I name you Robin Goodfellow, jester of the Summer Court,” he announced in sudden, booming tones, and the branches of the trees shook, as if acknowledging his declaration.  Lowering his arms, the Summer lord gazed down at me with a sudden, almost proud smile.  “Welcome to the Seelie Court, Robin Goodfellow.  Wear your name proudly.  Perhaps someday the world will come to know it, as well.”

Advertisements

Q&A With Author Julie Kagawa

Q: What was the hardest scene to write in The Iron Raven? What was the easiest?

A: I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers, but the hardest scene in The Iron Raven was near the very end of the book when they’re fighting the final Big Bad, and Puck does a completely Puck-ish thing to give them a fighting chance. It was random and irreverent and completely ridiculous, so I had to get it just right to avoid making it cheesy. The easiest scene was one where Puck and Ash were semi-seriously threatening each other, because I know those two so well and it was all rather familiar.

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)?

A: Lol, well I’m going to reveal my absolute geekiness and say that the name of the newest character, Nyx, is actually my D&D character, a dragon-hating elven assassin. There were a few tweaks, of course, but Nyx is…well, me in a D&D campaign. 😛

Q: What do you hope people remember about The Iron Raven?

A: I hope The Iron Raven brings back the feel of the first Iron Fey novels, where everything was new and surreal and exciting. I hope readers will experience the same wonder and belief in magic, friendship, love and heroism that I tried to present in the first series.

Q: Did The Iron Raven have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: My music tastes are eclectic, but I do listen to a lot of Two Steps From Hell while writing, because its mostly instrumental and they have some epic soundtracks.

Q: What is your dream cast for The Iron Raven?

A: I am so bad at this question I don’t even think I can answer it. Apologies, but I really am terrible at remembering actors and actresses. This is a great question for fans, though. Who would your dream cast be for an Iron Fey series?

Posted in reviews

Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray Review

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

A galactic-wide disaster within the hyperspace lanes lead a group of Jedi travelers to lead their companions to an abandoned space station, but soon find themselves at the center of a dangerous mystery in author Claudia Gray’s novel, “Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Padawan Reath Silas is being sent from the cosmopolitan galactic capital of Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier—and he couldn’t be less happy about it. He’d rather stay at the Jedi Temple, studying the archives. But when the ship he’s traveling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the center of the action. The Jedi and their traveling companions find refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station. But then strange things start happening, leading the Jedi to investigate the truth behind the mysterious station, a truth that could end in tragedy….

The Review

What a fantastic new canon to explore within the greater Star Wars universe. As a longtime fan of the franchise, I have devoured anything related to the series, and getting to explore an entirely new era set before the events of the main films was a real treat. 

The author’s true power shines best through the amazing character development that occurs here. From new heroes like Reath to dangerous threats like the plant-creatures known as the Drengir and the powerful criminal organization looking to halt the Republic’s expansion into the Outer Rim, the Nihil, the story takes readers into some amazing corners of the galaxy while also establishing connected and engaging new characters. 

The twists and turns this story takes are fantastic to see unfold. The already established Nihil is unique to me, as their character development is reminiscent of both real-life pirates and Vikings, who utilize violence and ruthless battle while also clinging to ideals of freedom through taking whatever they like. Yet their backstory is complex and shows promise as the High Republic continues to grow. The introduction of new aspects of the Force and Jedi Order, from the Wayseeker who operates outside of the Jedi Council’s purview to the Drengir and the connection to the Force itself, will surprise fans and make for a new and powerful foe. 

The Verdict

A masterful, entertaining, and action-packed blockbuster of a read, author Claudia Gray’s “Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark” is a must-read for all Star Wars fans. This new initiative into the High Republic excels in this novel, and the author’s brilliant dive into the Star Wars mythos highlights the endless possibilities this galactic series has for storytellers around the world. I cannot wait to read more about this era of the Star Wars universe, and hope everyone will grab their copy of this fantastic read today!


Thank Disney Publishing and Netgalley enough for this review copy.


Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn’t choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn’t), because I’d always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven’t) or even because I’m hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I’ve been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.

http://www.claudiagray.com/

Posted in reviews

Orange City (Orange City, #1) by Lee Matthew Goldberg Review

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

A city where outcasts get a second chance at life leads to an ad executive having his eyes opened to the prison they’re in and the monster who runs their lives in author Lee Matthew Goldberg’s “Orange City”, the first in the Orange City series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Imagine a secret, hidden city that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the city forever. You can never leave.

Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the “Man” who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.

After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.

A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, ORANGE CITY is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel LEMONWORLD

The Review

A haunting and breathtaking sci-fi and dystopian novel, author Lee Matthew Goldberg brings a truly gritty world to life. The author does an amazing job of delving into the thin line between “good” and “evil” that many of these characters share, as morality within a society plays a major role in the narrative. 

The imagery used in this book does a great job of fusing the colorful and in-your-face advertising that has taken over our world over the last few decades with the action-driven and darker side of technology in our society. The pacing of the narrative really is what draws the reader in, presenting figures like E and the menacing ruler known simply as “Man” so that readers are instantly hooked and driven to delve into this fantastic world the author has built.

The Verdict

A shocking, intense yet engaging sci-fi and dystopian novel, author Lee Matthew Goldberg’s “Orange City” is a great start to this brand new series. Exploring themes of consumerism, addiction, and technology, this story does a wonderful job of creating a mythos that readers can really delve into nature, and makes this a must-read book. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, THE MENTOR, THE DESIRE CARD and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. His first YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is forthcoming in 2021 along with a sci-fi novel ORANGE CITY. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. 

He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. 

Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com

Posted in reviews

Luck Be A Lady by Chris Stevenson Review

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

A young man becomes caught up in a cosmic battle of good and evil after a series of bad luck leads him to meet two powerful forces in author Chris Stevenson’s “Luck Be A Lady”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Mason Hart has just lost his job, fiancé, and car in less than 48-hours. A short time later he accosts a cop and ends up in jail. He finally lands in a hospital as the result of a jailhouse brawl. He’s helpless to quell this downhill slide into calamity. Since he believes all is lost at this point, suicide seems the only alternative left…

Until the figure of Felicity Fortune, the Roman Goddess of Luck, interrupts Mason’s suicidal plans in the nick of time. It seems Felicity Fortune was hampered by the bird flu and few other appointments, so she must apologize for her tardy appearance. She tells Mason that he’s ripe for a cosmic alignment, and that his 15-minutes of fame and wealth are finally at hand. He is allotted six chances via the roll of the golden dice for his deserved share of the “Great Cornucopia.”

Beshaba, the Maid of Misfortune, has ear-marked Mason at the exact same time, to heap upon him the bad luck part of the equation. She is the evil incarnate daughter of Felicity, and now covets Mason for her own devious alignment. Everything that Beshaba represents is in stark contrast to her mother. It is a deliberate ploy to spite the good works of her mother, thus laying down a challenge of cosmic power.

Their simultaneous claim to Mason forces the two Goddesses into a mythological cat fight in hell. When this push and shove reaches a fevered pitch, even the destiny of mankind in called into question. Mason must find the solution and tear away the veil of darkness that could upset the divine balance between good and evil. What he doesn’t know is that the final key to the solution is himself.

The Review

Another hit from author Chris Stevenson. The author takes a deep dive into fantasy and mythology, exploring the concept of luck and fate and destiny all at once as the narrative focuses on a man who becomes the focal point of a battle between a mother and her daughter, good and evil, and the fate of the cosmos as a whole. 

The author did a fantastic job of capturing the essence and tone of films such as Bedazzled and Weird Science, infusing humor and wit into the overarching fantasy narrative that captures the reader’s attention immediately. The relationships the protagonist builds with Felicity, the goddess who chooses him to be a part of this grand adventure, and even sub-characters like Augustus who arrived suddenly onto the scene in a very interesting way, helped make this story feel grounded in a very fantastic world the author created. 

Mason and Felicity are a pairing that readers love to see grow and develop over the course of the narrative, and the twists and turns their relationship takes will keep readers hooked. Their bond and the battles they face against Felicity’s daughter become the heart of this tale, and combined with the action and mythology of the story makes this a must-read novel.

The Verdict

A brilliant, engaging, and entertaining read, author Chris Stevenson’s “Luck Be A Lady” is a magnificent fantasy read for 2021. A great start to the year for fans of the genre, the author’s unique take on the mythology of ancient gods, destiny, and love are inviting and enthralling all at once, and make for a wonderful read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Check out my blog GUERRILLA WARFARE FOR WRITERS (SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS):

http://guerrillawarfareforwriters.blo…

Christy’s Young Adult Fabuliers:

https://christysyoungadultimagineers….

About me

Gender Male

Industry Science

Occupation Novelist and Science Writer

Location Sylvania, Alabama, United States

Introduction Been writing for 32 years, publishing novels, non-fiction books, radio horror plays, short stories, reviews, interviews, poetry and thousands of non-fiction automotive articles. I’m on my third agent, and have had 10 books and twenty-two short stories published, beginning in 1988. Writing Credits and History 

BOOK CREDITS: Auto Repair Shams and Scams (Forward–Ralph Nader), 1990, Price Stern & Sloan, Los Angeles–226 pages, non-fiction, consumer warning book. Garage Sale Mania, 1988, Betterway Publications, Crozet, Virginia–190 pages, non-fiction book—1988. Word Wars, a SF novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—May, 2007. Once Upon a Goddess, a Fantasy novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—January, 2008 Planet Janitor—Custodian of the Stars, a SF novel sold to Engage Books, May 2009 Gate Walker, a Paranormal Fantasy, sold Lyrical Press—January, 2009. The Wolfen Strain, a fantasy thriller sold to LBF Books, February 2009

The Girll They Sold to the Moon, Intrigue Books

Blackmailed Bride to Melange Satin Romance. Screamcatcher: Web World by Melange Books.

Interests Hiking, paleontology, Ufos, cryptozoology, bigfoot, astronomy, lake monsters, ancient Egypt, archeology, geology

Favorite Movies Blade Runner, Time Cop, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Logun’s Run, Transformers, The Time Machine, Kickass

Favorite Music REM, Abbaa, When in Rome, Steve Miller Band, SF and fantasy soundtracks.

Favorite Books Icerigger, Virgin Planet, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Lord of the Flies, Black Marble, Close Encounters, The Island, Black Marble, Dune, Riverworld, The Mote In God’s eye

How many books have I published? 10 to date, with three out on agent subs, and five more in the wings ready to go.

Posted in reviews

The Light Tower by Laurie Lisa Review

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

A young woman must take a journey to discover not only herself but the mother she never knew after she was born under tragic circumstances in author Laurie Lisa’s mystery novel, “The Light Tower”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

In this dramatic mystery, a daughter returns to Chicago to find the truth about a mother she never knew–and her tragic death. Will her journey bring answers or more questions?

Thirty years ago in Chicago, a troubled, full-term pregnant woman escapes from the maternity ward of a hospital and climbs to the top of a 100-foot light tower in an abandoned railway yard. Melody Arnold is convinced that her baby is dead, and neither reassurances from her doctor nor the fact that she is a nurse can convince her otherwise. She jumps. Melody doesn’t survive, but miraculously, when the paramedics arrive, a tiny foot protrudes from the woman’s stomach, twitching.

Now, Kat Flowers is living in Arizona and celebrating her thirtieth birthday. Stuck in a rut of dead-end jobs and a failed relationship, she receives a cryptic birthday card from a father she ran away from fourteen years ago. Desperate for answers, Kat takes a journey back to Illinois—to see a family she left behind and learn the truth about a mother she never knew.

Kat shares the journey with the charismatic Zen, who has his own reasons for returning home. There, Kat tries to solve the complicated mystery of her mother’s identity . . . and then understand why she made that tragic leap.

A compelling novel about a mother’s dark secrets, The Light Tower explores the lasting connection between a mother and her daughter, even when they never knew each other. This story about one family’s hidden past is a riveting must-read for your book club.

The Review

This was a truly powerful, emotionally-driven narrative. Author Laurie Lisa once again shines through with this incredibly tragic yet real and loving story of a mother and her daughter, whose lives were tragically torn apart one fateful day. As Kat works to solve the mystery of why her mother Melody met such a tragic fate, readers are given a glimpse into some powerful storytelling that touches on the struggles so many faces in our world today.

From mental health and addiction to family and love, the author does a brilliant job of bringing these themes to life within the core story. The best and most engaging aspect of this novel however is the characters, as their arcs and the slow unraveling of the mystery surrounding this horrific event are heightened by the growth they undergo as time goes on. The anger and pain Kat feels at her mother’s fate and Melody’s despair and helplessness as time goes on are all traits so many people can identify with, and allows the reader to feel these emotions as the story progresses. 

The Verdict

A moving, evenly-paced, and emotionally-driven narrative, author Laurie Lisa’s “The Light Tower” is a must-read mystery and drama read of 2021. The depth of character development the author presents and the heartfelt emotions that are poured into the themes of this narrative are truly engaging on every level. If you haven’t yet, preorder or grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Laurie was born and raised in Southern Illinois. She obtained her B.S. in English Education from the University of Illinois (Champaign), where she also met and then married her husband Steve Lisa. Laurie earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from Arizona State University (20th Century American Literature), where she also taught literature and composition. After her time spent in Academia and raising her three children (Anthony, Michelle, and Caitlin), Laurie returned to her passion for writing fiction.

Laurie is a prolific writer and has completed eight novels in the genre of literary women’s fiction. Each of her books follows its own distinct and sophisticated plot with well-developed characters. In addition to her novels, Laurie has published two academic books, several short stories and poems, and edited other’s works. Laurie resides with her husband, Steve, in Paradise Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona.

You can read more about Laurie and her novels at her website, LaurieLisa.com