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Book review: Brian Lambert – Ascension

Michael and Kyle were brothers in both arms and blood, but any in the Black Knights review.jpgwould stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder. They would out their life in the hands of their fellow guild members without question. Experience from the twenty-year war had taught many lessons, ones the other guilds serving the king of Avalon did not always understand, as such they were the only ones Shawn could trust at his back on a mission of grave importance. When a rumour from the Count of Lyoness whispers of the King’s Warriors inciting war with heinous, unspeakable acts, there was a choice to be made, peace or war. One thing is clear, someone attached protected villages, someone seeking to implicate Avalon, is behind these attacks, the question is who, and what are their motives?

At 590 pages Ascension by  Brian Lambert makes for an entertaining read. At this length many readers may find the segregation into only nine chapters an unusual choice, but fear not, within each are scene breaks that can act as a good place to stop when you need to put it down. The is an attention to hierarchy and guilds that will put people in mind of the detail paid to such things in Game of Thrones. Realistic relationships make for not only conflict within the Black Knights, but their tightly knit relationship means they can overlook such things to stand beside their brother in arms as needed. A detailed and descriptive style of writing provides vivid and clear descriptions of places, people, and things to create clear imagery to the lands and its people and adding to the world building undertaken. An amalgamation of action, adventure, challenges, tension, drama, faith, honour, revenge, legacies, and justice fill the pages of this griping journey and provide an exciting foundation and foothold for the next book in the The Chrusion Saga.

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Book review: Sarah Y. Westmoreland – Najee: Awakening (@SWestAuthor )

Akinia had barely survived the torture. She had been flayed and beaten to the brink of reviewdeath, healed, and forced to endure again. But even then they could not turn her. It had been a long road of recovery, and her insistence about being let back in the field, instead of hidden away on Paméd, only threw fuel on an already volatile fire. Her recovery, however, is hampering her, it is slower than she wants. Frustrated, she goes on a trip to meet the family she never knew she had, knowing this was just another way to pacify her until she regained her strength didn’t make it any less daunting, or enjoyable. Having never known her family it was a welcome distraction since she feared she would never recover and become the person they expected her to be, especially since her powers betrayed her, spiking and lashing out at those closest to her. There is only one place she may get answers, an ally met once and only breifly, but with her newest mission she dare not consider it. But before she knows it, fate takes the decision from her hands. She was warned to refuse the mission, perhaps she should have listened because things soon turn bad, and to survive she will either find herself, or be destroyed.

Having read Sarah Y. Westmoreland’s first book in the Najee Series I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next, Najee: Awakening, and it did not disappoint. This is an amazing series driven forward by the strong characters, their development, and the dangers and strife they face. The more Akinia grows the more she will nestle herself in your heart, a strong teenager who has suffered and endured more than any adult should. She has the weight of the future on her shoulders, and it is a burden she feels she cannot carry. She is not alone, Nath makes for an excellent supporting protagonist, along with her masters, uncles, and new found family, a support network she had never before had, but needs more than ever. Sarah Y. Westmoreland writes in a gripping and addictive style. I said in my review of the first book that it has a very Star Wars vibe to it and, whilst this remains true, I would go as far to say in some ways I find it surpasses the written works of this title. I give this series my wholehearted recommendation, not only to fans of Star Wars, but Sci-fi lovers, and even simply people who enjoy a character driven plot filled with action, danger, and discovery.

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Book review: Sarah Y Westmoreland – Najee: A Glimmer of Hope (@SWestAuthor )

Akinia was obsessed with learning, in fact, she had learnt to hack in order to expand the reviewmaterial she had access to. One thing she never discovered though was why she had been left as a nearly new-born baby at the orphanage, nor why the necklace, her only possession aside from a plain blanket, protested anyone’s touch but hers. She never thought herself destined for greatness, so the sudden arrival of the Najee to adopt her came as a surprise. In the blink of an eye she had become a warrior, one who needed training, but a warrior none-the-less, but never could she have imagined the future about to be laid before her. She is the one they have been waiting for, now they must ensure she is ready for the task ahead.

Fans of Star Wars are bounds to love Sarah Y Westmoreland’s Najee: A Glimmer of Hope. As I was reading I saw a heavy influence, it put me in very much in mind of this popular science fiction. The Najee are much like Jedi in the sense they have their own special weapons, training, and a similar master-apprentice hierarchy. Akinia is a strong female protagonist, and despite being only 14, is very mature, reflective, and adaptive. She, along with other main characters, shows great growth and affinity. Allies and friendships form, trust and alliances build, but there is always the threat of something a little darker. Well-written and perfectly paced, this is one story that will keep you hanging on to the very end. Action, adventure, thrills, and chills from start to finish make this an amazing start to what looks to be a gripping and promising series.

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Book review: Christine Church – Beyond a Veiled Reflection (@christinechurch )

Meirah was trying, she had studied Scottish culture, those who spoke with accents closest reviewto her own alternative dimension dialect. She had adapted, evolved, all in the name of her love for Dane. But he was conflicted, he loved her, but he loved the new peace he was being granted when intoxicated, the closest to heaven he could imagine being. Peace, women, and sex. He had his vices, brought about by his rock star life, but Meirah too had a weakness she couldn’t shake, where Dane stood, she wished it had been her knight, Sir Kori, a previous incarnation of her lover, and her current state of mind was making the call of human blood almost impossible to ignore. A reflection in the water warns of the return of a danger thought passed, and a betrayal leaves Meirah more vulnerable than ever. Will she come to her senses and see the truth, or will her recent heartbreak leave her open to manipulation?

Beyond a Veiled Reflection is the second book in Christine Church’s Anachronistic Dimensions, urban fantasy series. With clearly labelled alternating perspectives from the main characters, Meirah, Dane, Kaeplan and Caitlyn, it is easy to get insight into their personalities, thinking, and motivations. Nothing is certain, and danger and depravity is paramount. Betrayal, heartache, manipulation, and dangerous revelations will keep you turning the pages of this unique novel. While vampirism is central the author introduces an alternative mythos which I have only seen a handful of times, and has been well implemented with some unique interested alterations. A good read, with some brutal physical and emotional; scenes.

 

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Book review: Daniel J. Strait Zondura (@daniel_strait )

Nakiata was a shadow of thought, or SOT, master. Her birthmark linking her to an reviewancient prophecy had seen she became the only female trained in this arte, and she was skilled indeed. Having located and inserted a key for the Black door she and her ally, Dravone, stepped through, entering a new world, and brought the awaiting race of hunters an enemy they had not seen for a very long time, the Morphan, the species Dravone belonged to. Hunted and pursued they flee the castle grounds, and find themselves on a dangerous adventure, uncovering more about the prophecy they seem destined to fulfil.

Zondura is the second book in Daniel J. Strait’s Silver Tears series. The start of the book provides a brief recap of the events of the first, making it easy to pick up from this point in the adventure. Like any overpowered protagonist Nakiata grows increasingly more brutal and less forgiving as the plot goes on, she cuts a path through anything she perceives as a threat, sometimes her actions are excessive, and even her allies begin to worry about her. The writing style focuses on a tell style so it always clear what is occurring, and things are meticulously described leaving complete images in the reader’s mind as the plot progresses. There are some interesting developments and ideas threaded throughout, and some character growth and development that hints as a complex relationship in the future. Unexpected allies, action, and adventure are found within, with the promise of more to come.

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Book review: Stephen Kunkler – Soul Release

Risan Ingel possesses the strongest soul in the human world, the strongest to ever exist. reviewOr at least that is what Light, the angel from Henava, tells him along with the news that he is about to be hunted and possessed by denom. Risan is destined to become a Spirit Guardian, but 99% of those tested fail. Forced to execute the five forsaken sins by Vetogro, Risan is opened to a demon, and with Light’s help he is taken back into the past where he will be required to train and grow stronger, aligning and strengthening his soul power. Vetogro has dark and sinister plans; he intends to turn the world of Man upside down, and Risan is now Man’s only hope. But does he have enough time to learn everything he must to become a force worthy of confronting this threat, and can he survive the challenges before him?

Soul Release by Stephen Kunkler is a metaphysical fantasy aimed at the new adult and younger age range that would translate well into an anime, and appeal to a target audience of manga and anime fans. It follows the tale of Risan and his transcendence into a Spirit Guardian. There is action, enlightenment, manipulation and superpowers as the forces of light stand against the latest threat to the world of Man. Action and danger fill the pages as the strongest human soul is pitted against a powerful enemy. This is a tale of self-discovery as Risan begins to learn everything his new responsibilities entail. As a character, he makes for a strong protagonist and has his own distinctive personality that is enhanced by the supporting characters. He has a lot to learn in a short time, and the journey is certainly a fun one for the reader.

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Book review: Laurie M. Lamb – A Life Decision

Peyton was a true and devout Catholic. She loved God, and she loved her family. Therein reviewwas the problem. After a few miscarriages she was thrilled to discover her pregnancy, but then she heard the words that would forever change her life; the child had Down Syndrome. Her own experience tells her this special child will be loved and happy in their home, but her husband, Joe, is far from convinced. The thought of a special child terrified him, and he told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to choose between him and ‘it’, and in her religion that’s the choice between two unforgivable acts, abortion or divorce. As the pressure mounts, Peyton struggles with the choice, a choice that will destroy her either way, with repercussions that will span the rest of her life. But what will she choose, and will they be able to live with the decision she makes?

Laurie M. Lamb’s A Life Decision is a Christian fiction story preaching the moral that actions have consequences, along with the forgiveness and strength to be found in faith. From the start, difficult choices, addiction, guilt, secrets, and betrayal fight for your attention. This book is filled with emotional struggles the reader can’t help but be drawn into. More than once I had tears in my eyes as I read about the challenges, heartache, and hardships being experienced by not only Joe and Peyton, but Joe’s mother, Gert, and even Peyton’s own father. Everyone has a secret they are struggling with, decisions that test, break, and even aid them in finding faith and forgiveness. The book itself is written from the alternating first person perspective of Joe and Peyton, allowing the reader to get up close and personal with their inner demons as they are inserted beside them for the journey of their life. Moving, gripping and impossible to put down, A Life Decision will stay with you long after you’ve read the final chapter.

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Book review: Gary W. Burns Bridges: To There

From love to reflection, journeys to interpretations, Gary W. Burns’ Bridges: To There is a reviewcollection of short poems that reflect on many things, and encourage the reader, in turn, to reflect on themselves. Peaceful, tranquil, and relaxing are but a few things stirred as the poems invite you to experience mindfulness and appreciate all each poem has to offer in the here and now. Take a moment and find yourself in reflection, harmony, and thought.

Bridges: To There – Poems for Mind, Body & Spirit by Gary W. Burns is a book of poetry you can take as much or as little as you want from. On the surface level you will find some beautiful words, verses, and imagery, but looking deeper you’ll unlock a multitude of different meanings, thoughts, and reflections limited only by your own imagination. You can easily visualize some of the scenes, and others will stay with you long after you’ve turned the pages. There are even nice thoughts to meditate on, as the title suggests.

As a holistic therapist, I always enjoy things that will make me think on different levels, and I liked the short verses, as they’re easy to hold in your mind while you do other things. Sometimes simplicity is best, and there is certainly no waste of words. The collection itself is segmented into parts – Aerial, Suspension, Crossing, and Banks – with each including some beautiful photographs. This book is perfect for a lazy afternoon read surrounded by nature. There is a lot to enjoy about this book, and it is certainly reflective and filled with rich imagery.

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Book review: D.L. Finn – The Button (@dlfinnauthor )

Lynn hadn’t had an easy life, but a failed suicide attempt left her able to hear the voices reviewof angels, or more specifically the voices of those who watched over her, Thomas and Zelina. Long ago Thomas had made a mistake, one that had consequences on Lynn’s life, and he was determined to set things back on track, but they could only guide her, it was up to her if she listened. When Lynn wakes next to a dead body with no idea how she got there she begins to panic. There was a reason Lynn’s life had been difficult, she was firmly in the sights of Dian, an evildwel, a being that lives of fear and anger, and it has attached itself to someone in her life, but something bigger is in the works, a hidden quest, the kidnapping of her friend Stacy, and the strange shooting of ‘good cops’. Is it all connected, or is this just another unlucky run in the tragedy that became Lynn’s life?

The Button is a thrilling and tense paranormal mystery / romance by D.L. Finn. It focuses around Lynn, the two angels watching over her, and the evildwel and alternates between their point of view whilst remaining in a gripping third-person narrative. Lynn is a good protagonist for this story, and you’ll spend the first half of the book wondering who she should put her trust in Kent, the handsome bartender met the same night she was drugged to wake up next to a dead drug dealer, or her step-brother Warren, who has returned into her life. I enjoyed the guessing and air of mystery, as well as the tense and escalating plot. Action, terror, adventure, and tragedy combine to make a tense tale of trust, betrayal, and a little dose of divine intervention.

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Book review: Sidney Gray – The Ashen Queen

Sofia’s family had not been noble, but because she was born on a specific day she was to reviewbe their future Queen, and their status has risen. Sofia, born to be queen, didn’t feel she was ready for the role, in fact, she didn’t want it. All she had wanted was a normal life, to embrace the spirit of adventure and exploration that had always tore through her veins. But the closer she came to her 18th birthday the more her freedom was restricted. Betrothed to Alex her estranged childhood friend, and trapped in studies, she longs for the life she would have chosen. Fate works in mysterious ways and an old friend returns, taking her into a place she had always feared in order to escape a worse danger, and warn her something was coming, something it falls to her to stop.

The Ashen Queen by Sidney Gray is a gripping fantasy exploring many themes ranging from magic, misunderstandings, fate, and friendship. Sofia, the story’s protagonist is a well developed character with very real emotions, personality, and appropriate reactions and concerns. The characters are vivid and realistic, in fact, there were times I wanted to reach in the pages and slap her mother, she, and some of the other characters, are so well written and explored you will find yourself feeling genuine emotion towards them. This is a slow paced story which focuses on characters and world building before introducing the reader to the main focus of the story, the truth about the banishing and the Ashen, and the coming darkness. It is certainly a good foundation to what looks to be an interesting series.

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