Zenith (The Androma Saga #1) by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings Review

If you were to combine the complex characters of Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity series with the phenomenal world and galaxy building of the Mass Effect franchise and threw in a YA twist, you’d find yourself falling in love with authors Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cumming’s novel Zenith. The first in what is being called The Androma Saga, the amazing new YA science fiction series finds a story filled with strong, complex and intriguing female characters fighting to survive in a hostile galaxy. Here is the synopsis:

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

This book has definitely set the bar very high for the YA genre in 2018. I absolutely loved this complex world the authors built together. It tests the boundaries of the classic tale of good and evil by showing the “heroes” of the story taking some shocking actions to achieve their goals, while the “villains” actions are horrifying yet you see the heartbreaking backstory that set them on this dangerous path, and at times you’ll find yourself empathizing with them. Androma, or Andi, is an incredible new female protagonist, bringing the emotional performance of Clary Fray from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series with the ruthless heroism of Zoe from the Firefly series. It’s refreshing to see a story explore the many sides of a female protagonist, not just the “kick-ass” side or the “emotional” side, but rather all of it put together, making a well rounded and fantastic character you as a reader will fall in love with throughout the course of the novel.

In a time where projects like Guardians of the Galaxy are taking a hold in pop culture, this story of an all-female crew having to fight and survive in a male dominated world of piracy and politics is a fun twist on the genre, and something we need more of in both books and entertainment as a whole. The setting and imagery used throughout the story is breathtaking as you can instantly picture the scenes in your mind as your reading. The time and creativity the authors took to bring this galaxy and the many planets and races together is evident in every page, and the writing was well done, keeping an even pace while still making you hungry to get to the next chapter with every page of the novel.

Overall I loved this book. It’s a great first book in what I hope will be an incredible series, introducing the Mirabel Galaxy and all of the fun, dangerous and vast elements that drive the characters of this story. I couldn’t find one fault with this story, and with a huge twist and cliff hanger ending leaving room for a second book, I am eager to delve into this powerful universe that was beautifully written by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copies of Zenith (The Androma Saga #1) today!

Rating: 10/10

 

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The Dragon Dreamer Series by J.S. Burke Promotion

Today I have a fun YA series that is on sale now that you guys should check out. It’s the Dragon Dreamer series by J.S. Burke. Check out all the info/press release below!

 

Now Available on Sale from Jan 20th – 25th

DRAGON LIGHTNING TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpOMIn09AzI&feature=youtu.be

DRAGON DREAMER BOOKS ON TV 1st time:  http://news4sanantonio.com/sa-living/time-to-hit-the-books     

DRAGON DREAMER BOOKS ON TV 2nd time:  http://news4sanantonio.com/sa-living/great-book-picks  

 

THE DRAGON DREAMER by J.S. Burke

BLURB

The Dragon Dreamer is a fast-paced adventure with flying dragons, an undersea world, and an unlikely friendship. It’s a science fantasy layered for readers age 9 to 99.

 

Arak is a misfit dragon called “Dreamer”. Determined to prove himself he leaves on a dangerous quest, is caught in a fierce sea-storm, and crashes on ice. Wounded and alone he faces death. Then a fearless undersea shape-shifter named Scree heals him and an unlikely friendship begins. When an undersea volcano erupts it triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events. Can Arak use his unique talents to save the dragons?

 

The Dragon Dreamer is the first book of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series. These science fantasy books are connected, but each can be read as a stand-alone. The Dragon Dreamer won the IAN Award for Best FIRST NOVEL and was an IAN Finalist for Best FANTASY, Best SCIENCE FICTION, and Best CHILDREN’S Book. It’s an upbeat story with deeper meaning, for all ages.

DRAGON DREAMER by JS Burke front cover.jpg

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon Universal:  http://authl.it/B00K9DHTU2?d

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22886684-the-dragon-dreamer

Nook:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dragon-dreamer-j-s-burke/1120629824

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-dragon-dreamer

ITunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-dragon-dreamer/id933034842

 

DRAGON LIGHTNING by J.S. Burke

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Drakor seems like a normal young ice dragon with a talent for making lightning swords. But he alone feels the changing heart of his island Volcano. It destroyed his beloved sire. Now he foresees their doom, but none will listen. As he seeks proof, the Volcano shakes him off into the frozen sea.

 

Arak was mocked as a worthless dreamer until he and Scree, a fearless undersea misfit, saved the dragons. Now dragons and octopi sail north in search of mythical ice dragons. They find Drakor and a terrifying reality. When Scree enters the abyss to check his volcano, she discovers everyone is in peril. Can this crew of unlikely friends save three realms?

 

Dragon Lightning is book 2 of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series. These science fantasy books are connected, but each can be read as a stand-alone. Dragon Lightning won the Pinnacle Award for Best Science Fantasy and the IAN Award for Best Science Fiction. It was also an IAN Finalist for Best Fantasy and Best Children’s Book. This fast-paced adventure is layered for readers age 9 to 99.

COVER DRAGON LIGHTNING 9_20_16 RGB - Copy

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon Universal:  http://authl.it/B01MA1ZOJ6?d

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32598789-dragon-lightning

Nook:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-lightning-j-s-burke/1124857029

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dragon-lightning

ITunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dragon-lightning/id1166420789

 

FANTASY SNOWFLAKES COLORING BOOK by J.S. Burke

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De-stress and unwind with hand-drawn mandalas. These original snowflake designs are created from animals and plants, with a nature theme. Color 24 pictures and 24 ornaments. Let your imagination soar! Drawings range from simple to detailed. Learn to fold and cut out lacy paper snowflakes to hang as unique decorations. The Fantasy Snowflakes coloring/activities book was inspired by the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series: Science Fantasy Adventure with dragons and an undersea world.

FANTASY SNOWFLAKES COLORING BOOK front cover by J.S. Burke 2017 17-09-88  10_11_17 used ISBN and as pdf.jpg

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon Universal:  http://www.relinks.me/0996042555

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36677251

 

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY (free to enter): https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/269108-fantasy-snowflakes-coloring-book

Rafflecopter giveaway: ​​

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e73fc5bf0/

AUTHOR BIO

  1. S. Burke is an author, artist, and marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. The award-winning Dragon Dreamer series grew from her years at sea, a fascination with clever, alien octopuses, and a love of dragons. It’s Science Fantasy Adventure with dragons and an undersea world, layered for readers age 9 to 99. Burke’s stories blend imagination with real science and author experiences. The deadly sea storm that threatens Arak is one she survived.

 

J.S. Burke was a Georgia Author of the Year Nominee. Dragon Lightning won the IAN Award for Best Science Fiction and was an IAN Finalist for Best Fantasy and Best Children’s Book. Dragon Lightning also won the PINNACLE Award for Best Science Fantasy. The Dragon Dreamer won the IAN Award for Best First Novel and was an IAN Finalist for Best Fantasy, Best Science Fiction, and Best Children’s Book.

 

Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book has original, hand-drawn snowflakes that her dragons grow, with designs woven from wildlife. There’s a Unicorn flake, Dolphins, Tree-of-Life, Seal-of-Approval, Turtles, Dragons, and more! Burke and her dragons love chocolate!

J.S. BURKE DIVER IN ROUND FRAME crop

AUTHOR LINKS

AMAZON Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/J.-S.-Burke/e/B00NVRVHWE/

FACEBOOK Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Jenny-S-Burke-721518861218158

GOODREADS Author Page:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8283255.J_S_Burke

WEBSITE:  http://www.jennysburke.com

BOOKBUB:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-s-burke-49b143b6-fbae-4b3a-a5c0-7571b588de62

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/TheDragonDreamr​

Judging My First Writing Contest!

Hello there everyone!

I’m excited to announce that I am going to be an official judge for this year’s Your Laugh Line Book Contest. I will leave the official details below, but I wanted to share this with both my readers and supporters of this blog and my own writing, and to any authors out there who may be interesting in entering this contest. I’m so excited to be participating in this event and honored to have been asked to judge what I’m sure will be a great assortment of books to read. I will keep you guys posted when I get more info on the event, so stay tuned. For now, enjoy the official press release from Your Laugh Line!

 

Press Release:

 

Strap in!  It’s going to be a hilarious ride!

Starting on February 1st, Your Laugh Line begins its official search to find the funniest books written in 2017.  It’s like a quest for the Holy Grail (Monty Python or otherwise) but more important!  Our hope is that this book is so funny that it will end all war.

Okay.  Maybe not.

But we are looking for the best, hilarious books written last year. 

The contest has two components. One is a Reader’s Choice Award. Readers can log onto https://yourlaughline.com/vote and enter the author and book of their choice. The author who receives the most reader votes will win $250 and an assortment of promotional help from Your Laugh Line.

 

The other component is an adjudicated contest for books submitted by authors and/or their publishers.  The form is available at https://yourlaughline.com/laugh-line-humorous-book-awards.  The cost to enter the competition is $20 per book. Those books will be judged by a panel of expert book reviewers. The winning author will receive $500, plus an assortment of promotional help from Your Laugh Line.

 

Authors can enter the competition between February 1st and April 30th.  Reader’s Choice voting runs from February 2nd to August 15th.  Books making it past the first round will be announced on July 1, second round list on August 1, and the final winner on September 1. Honorable mentions will be made for category-specific books.

 

Author or reader – come and help us find last year’s funniest book! 

 

About Your Laugh Line

Your Laugh Line was created to help funny authors find an audience who appreciates funny books. Knowing the power of laughter to help alleviate stress, to provide the necessary mental distraction to give the brain a break, and to make people feel silly, Your Laugh Line is committed to making the world a better place through humorous books.

www.yourlaughline.com

 

 

Torn 2: The Continued Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank by Simon Williams Review

The complicated story of a father trying to reunite with his son continues in author Simon Williams Torn 2: The Continued Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank. Here’s the synopsis:

What is the only thing that could inspire someone to willingly walk through hell on earth? When we are prepared to die we stop apologizing for who we are, what we have done, and what we go through.

For Simon Williams, his bizarre journey through life found him looking over his balcony in his mid-forties contemplating the end. What happens next is a heartbreaking, gritty and remarkable tale told with sardonic wit, frank honesty, and a unique perspective on life as Simon struggles to rediscover the meaning of happiness.

The second book in an eye-opening series about what it means to savor every day of your existence and believe in yourself to overcome all odds. An inspirational story for anyone who faces tough times. After reading what this man goes through you will know what facing up to fear is and realize you have the power to do whatever it takes to tackle any issue in life head on.

Book two of this often humorous but constantly heartbreaking tale focuses on the continued fight to regain custody of a son from another country that refuses to recognize the rights of a parent not from that country. Using unfiltered and honest language and a blend of funny life stories, common sense fails from the world around him and emotional struggles to reunite with a son he hasn’t seen in years, the book does a great job of connecting the reader with the narrative. The novel does a great job of continuing to showcase the vast differences between the United States and the rest of the world, from the tragedy of the US healthcare system to the reality of politics and the politicians that represent us. It also shows the continued struggle for equal representation in the eyes of the law in various nations and the physical and emotional toll of a father fighting to hold his son in his arms once more.

Overall this was a wonderful read. Full of wit, honesty and a small glimmer of hope for book three in the series, Torn 2 does a great job of bridging the continued story of a passionate father trying to bring back his son and using his life experiences to connect to his present reality. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Mr. Wonderful by Daniel Blake Smith Review

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

Slight trigger warning: For anyone triggered by storylines involving dementia or the death of a loved one, reader discretion is advised.

A man’s struggle to keep his family and his life from falling apart plays out artfully in author Daniel Blake Smith’s upcoming novel Mr. Wonderful. A dramatic look into the life of modern academia and the struggle of a family man with an ailing father, a troubled adult son and a strained job put him on a path of self-discovery. Here is the synopsis:

In spite of the world’s struggle and sorrow, life sometimes shows us the wonderful.

Brian Fenton’s life is falling apart. A professor at a bankrupt “directional school,” Brian suddenly learns he must either take early retirement or double his workload. As he confronts the embarrassment of his job going south, Brian discovers that his loopy son, Danny, is paying a surprise visit—which can only mean a hand out for money and a need to crash. To top it all off, Brian is fielding frantic calls about his aging father who’s declining rapidly with dementia.

Once a family doctor in Juniper, the small Texas town where Brian was raised, “Doc Fenton” is going down fast—forcefully reminding Brian of his own mortality and the painful issues separating him from his domineering father—a man only his loving wife could call “Mr. Wonderful.”

When Brian’s father passes, the gathered Fenton family partakes in a volatile small-town Texas funeral—at once hilarious and poignant—which produces startling revelations about Doc Fenton that propel Brian and the whole family into a new direction, a new path forward.

In the engaging vein of Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth and Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, Daniel Blake Smith’s debut novel is at once a comic and heart-wrenching family saga. It offers a piercingly honest window into how we struggle to make sense of ourselves, our families, and our life purpose. If we’re lucky, we discover Mr. Wonderful.

This book was fantastic. The writing was honest and vivid in it’s imagery. Delving into themes of hope, dreams and challenging the definition of family, this story takes the reader on a journey with the characters to not only discover themselves but their place in the world. I’m sure many people in the world can relate to that feeling of staleness and restlessness in both your job and your life. This book captures the essence of these feelings perfectly, making you feel every frustration and painful emotion the characters emote in their dialogue both inner and outer. What struck with me was the story of Brian’s father, as he struggles through his last days. I lost my grandfather five years ago and he was suffering from dementia while in the hospital, and so the raw emotion and pain of dealing with a loss after months of dementia hit an emotional wellspring within me as a reader.

The characters are what made this story flow as smoothly as it did. The contrasting points of view between protagonist Brian and his son Danny showcase two very different views of life, and how two paths on the road to life can converge in unexpected ways. It’s a breathtaking study of family relationships, the complicated ties we have to family and how the past can affect the present and the future.

Overall I loved this book. Due out this Friday, January 19th, 2018, the novel Mr. Wonderful by Daniel Blake Smith is a brilliant read that deserves your attention as the year begins, so if you haven’t yet either preorder or buy your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Buy the Book

Author’s Website

Twitter: @dblakesmitty
Facebook:
YouTube Trailer

 

Torn: The Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank by Simon Williams Review

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

Trigger Warning: This book deals with the subjects of suicide, mental health and more. It also features strong language.

Torn: The Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank is the story of Simon Williams. The author himself writes about the troubling circumstances that led him to contemplate the end of his life, and the struggles of life in general. From adjusting to a life in America much different than the one he grew up with in Australia to the pitfalls of the American Healthcare System and the heartbreaking realization that the person you love can be the ultimate source of betrayal. Here’s the synopsis:

Ever wonder what could drive a young man to suicide? Mental health is very much a taboo subject. Who wants to admit to the world that they are struggling with it?

For Simon Williams, his bizarre journey through life found him looking over his balcony in his mid-forties contemplating the end. What happens next is a heartbreaking, gritty and remarkable tale told with sardonic wit, frank honesty, and a unique perspective on life as Simon struggles to rediscover the meaning of happiness. He realizes that only when we are prepared to die do we stop apologizing for who we are, what we have done, and what we go through.

The first book in an eye-opening trilogy about what it means to savor every day of your existence and believe in yourself to overcome all odds. An inspirational story for anyone who faces tough times. After reading what this man goes through you will know what facing up to fear is and realize you have the power to do what it takes to tackle any issue in life head on.

This was definitely one of the most creative and unique memoir style tell-all that I’ve ever read. Filled with rich imagery, humorous and sometimes perilous stories that relate to the main story of the author, and a unique outlook on life many in America would never recognize. The book does a great job of showing how people from around the world adjust to life in America, which is not always an easy thing. It also showcases the mindset and outlook of an Australian native thrown into the chaos that is the United States. Delving into subjects like US Healthcare, US Immigration and the hardship of marriage, this book is a powerful insight into the struggles of everyday life, and finding meaning when your life seems meaningless.

Overall this was a great read. Filled with heart, humor and passion, the story was well written and deserves to be read. With two more books in the series, the story of one man’s struggle to reunite with family and find a purpose in his life is a must read. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up book one of Torn by Simon Williams today!

Rating: 8/10

 

Interview with Author George Bachman

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

Writing started out as an extension of reading for me, continuing the same activity. I’ve been doing it for as long as I could write my name, even if it took a long time for the scribbles to mean something.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

My interests in fin de siecle England, when social attitudes among the aristocracy were changing as wealthy Americans penetrated their ranks, and the occultism practiced during that period.

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

How both good and bad people can be driven to do horrible things through no fault of their own, because of social pressures in no way designed to inflict the pain that they do.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

My love of fantasy novels I grew up reading, in particular the Alice books (the best in the genre), John Crowley’s great Little, Big, Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books, Peter Straub’s underappreciated Shadowland, Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale and Swan Lake trilogy, Hope Mirrlees’s Lud-in-the-Mist, and many others.

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

I would ask my lead character Christine if she believes she could ever earn Allie’s forgiveness.

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

Facebook. It’s the easiest way to reach like-minded readers and to keep them engaged.

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

Read, read, read. Read the current market, read the classics, absorb as much as you can.

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

I’m just finishing another historical fantasy, this one centered on Renaissance Europe.

@OfficialBachman