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Book review: Destination: Unknown – Joey Paul (@MsJoeyBug)

Harriet’s life was anything but normal. Since her mum’s diagnosis, life had changed. Her reviewhome, her responsibilities, and her school, everything was different. She was a student, a carer, and now, it seemed, a time traveller. It happened early one morning, a ghost appeared and beseeched her aid. Back in the 1900s her father had been accused of murder, and whilst their family had no concerns for money, a guilty verdict would ruin them, driving them into poverty and shame. Of course, they were born at different times, so how was Harriet supposed to clear the name of someone already long dead, and change events already dictated by time’s hand? Time travel of course.

I have read a large number of Joey Paul’s books. There is just something about her first-person narrative I find captivating. Destination Unknown is my most recent acquisition and there are a lot of things about this book to love. There is an attention to detail in regards to how a carer feel, the toll on them, their fears, concerns, and the worries that shape every thought, every day. I found this added a lot of depth to the characters and plot, and easily built up an understanding and empathy that those not having been in a situation like Harriet’s would not even consider. The same focus has been applied in reflecting the 1900s, even down to mannerisms. I enjoyed watching the pieces fit together as the plot goes on, and the formation of bonds, friendships, and understanding.

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Book review: Vazdrag – Daniel J. Strait (@daniel_strait )

Onward the group proceeds through the black door. Onward in their quest and… around reviewin circles? Surely that can’t be right. But that is exactly what is happening. The latest Black Door seems to be a trap, sealing them within a strange labyrinth. Tempers rise and passions stir as they find themselves trapped. But as with all things, this too is a challenge to be overcome, a way to prove themselves of being worthy to journey onward. The Roarrgs possess a ‘magic’ of the likes this motley crew have never witnessed, strange contraptions, and metal ships capable of flight. They appear gracious hosts, but can they be trusted? These beings suggest they can be of help, but their help has a price, a dangerous price.

Daniel J. Strait’s Vazdrag is the third book in the Silver Tears series. Nakiata, Shadow of Thought master, has already gathered two other members of the prophecy, and only two remain. Vazdrag picks up from the point where book two finishes. During their latest adventure, you see a shift in the bonds already formed between the three main characters, Nakiata, Ka’tia, and Dravone, and building tension between them. Daniel J. Strait possesses a very direct tell-style narrative which favours explanations, and focuses on world and character building. From beginning to end you see the characters grow, develop, and evolve, not only with skills but on more personal levels too. I noticed the most alteration in Nakiata, and it is a development I will watch with interest. The direction of this particular instalment has taken a more science-fiction turn, showing the author’s aptitude for cross-genre writing. Action, adventure, trials, and danger await at every turn, along with the hope of new allies, until once more another adventure awaits.

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Book review: Relics of Andromeda – Jonathan Michael Erickson (@EricksonAuthor )

Anka had been raised to fear relics, touching them was taboo. Their power had razed reviewcities, and had destroyed the bridge between worlds. So when one called out to her by name she knew true fear. She was a warrior in her village, brave, quick, and strong, yet the pull was impossible to resist. As is their way, when a person discovers a relic a walk down the Long Road is made to secure the item in Ankharra. With her on this journey is her friend and shaman, Tamreh, and her closest friend, Trevor. Little do they know the journey they are about to undertake is nothing like the one the expected. All is not as it should be, as it has been for the relic carriers before, and this change in tradition breeds distrust, distrust that in answered in drastic actions.

In Jonathan Michael Erickson’s Relics of Andromeda, time travel, myths, fear, foreboding and danger unite in a tangled web to deliver an intriguing and gripping plot. There is some fun and amazing use of science fiction technology. Along with attention to world building, cultures, ideas, and implementations which made this a real pleasure to read. I enjoyed the struggles of the main characters and their gradual tempering as the plot progresses. You are invested in the characters from the start, which is a feeling that only grows through their hardship, discovery, and betrayal. Jonathan Michael Erickson has created an amazing, deep, and complex world, matching it with characters, structures, history, futures, and a threat every bit as deep. Action, betrayal, heartache, heroics, and daring fill this book to the brim as past, present, and future collide. I can honestly say I am on pins to find out what happens next.

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Articles, author, reading, writing, Writing Tips

308 words that can be used instead of said

Over the last several years I have been compiling a list of words that can be used in place of said. I have already shared this list with come of you as part of support groups, but I decided, since I recently publicly posted it on Facebook, I may as well add it to my website.

So I give to you, 316 tags (I know the title says 308 but I found a more recent file since posting). Although one of the words, is indeed, the word said, and some are intended to be used in conjunction with others

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Book review: Blackout – Joey Paul (@MsJoeyBug )

Tally should never have written that email. Then again, she didn’t believe her doctors or reviewher parents when they told her the life she remembered, the friends, the love, the parties, had all just been a dream within her coma. A coma she had slipped into after taking drugs. She knew she wouldn’t do that. On her release she had reached out to the popular kids, her friends, but in return received only scorn and mockery. She had been popular once, if only in her dream, and she was determined to be again. She would find her way back, and along the way clear her name. Of course, if she didn’t take the drugs, then it was clear something else must have happened, and her regaining her memory is not in everyone’s best interest.

I have read a number of books by Joey Paul, and no one quite writes like her. I love her engaging first-person narrative, especially how they are tailored to the focal character’s personality. Tally is a great character, confused, funny, and determined. Once you pick up Blackout time will lose all meaning as you find yourself enthralled in the expertly told tale. The style of this book reminds me a lot of the point horror I used to read while in school, while it is aimed at a young adult audience, adults will find it just as gripping. Well-written, enjoyable, and moving, well deserving of five stars, and I’ve already picked up another book by this author for my to read list.

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Book review: Game Six – Judy Bruce

When her mother is caught in the crossfire of murder Brit suffers an endless stream of reviewnightmares. In a blink, she has lost her best friend, her home, everything. But she is not one to sit and lose herself to grief, not when there are answers to find and someone to be held accountable. It is amazing what secrets you uncover when given a motive look. Grudges seem abundant, but something uncovered suggests maybe, just maybe, the real target was not among the dead. With the help of her closest friend, Liz, and the handsome police detective, Brit vows to bring this killer to justice, but whether it will be delivered by her hand or the law’s has yet to be decided.

Judy Bruce’s Game Six focuses on Brit’s life in the wake of tragedy. She is a strong character who will let nothing stand in her way in finding the truth. Judy Bruce focuses a first-person narrative tell style of writing switching to the occasional third party perspective when focusing on things outside of the character’s knowledge. There are some good ideas, along with a few red herrings. Unlike this author’s Wind series there isn’t really much in the way of hidden clues for a reader to follow in order to conclude who is responsible, mainly due to the nature of investigation making such revelations impossible without spending a great deal of time on the involved characters’ histories. This is less of a who-done-it and more of an investigative drama. Liz and David make a good supporting cast in an enjoyable and unique tale. Heartbreak, gumption, moxie, and persistence drive the characters and the plot forward to its final and gripping conclusion. I must confess to having a special place for Liz in my heart, she is well-conceived and does wonders to cast a new light on people on the spectrum that those standing in judgement of their more difficult behaviour would overlook. I look forward to more from this collection of characters. I give Game Six a solid 4.5 stars.

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Book review: JB Michaels -The Castle

With his technology stolen and his robot beheaded, things didn’t seem as if they could get reviewany worse for Bud.  That was until the police arrested him, handing him over to FBI authority. The problem with being a genius, capable of amazing feats, is everyone wants your brain, especially the government. With promises of a lead on his grandfather Bud is tempted, however, soon more pressing concerns become paramount, concerns leading them to an ancient castle, and possibly their most dangerous challenge to date. A string of missing students, an ancient monster, and an abducted ally, Bud sure has his work cut out for him this time.

Our favourite fake-English boy genius is back, with his team of deadly beauties at his side in JB Michaels’ latest edition to Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thrillers, The Castle.I first picked up this series at The Elixir and straight away I have spotted growth in not only the characters but the author as well. This fun, tragically and deliberately comical tale is bound to keep you entertained. Bud is a good character, quirky, driven, and loyal, willing to push himself for those he cares for, a trait encouraged and enhanced by his supporting characters as they play the martyr to his eccentricities, but wouldn’t really change him. He may be stripped of his most renowned gadgets, but that’s not to say he’s out of tricks. With a bit of grace and the root of an old tree you’ll be surprised at how far he can go. I enjoyed The Castle, it has an air of classic charm to it and with no shortage of action, horror, monsters and mayhem it is bound to tickle the fancy of those who enjoy a well-woven tale with a promise of more to come.

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Book review: Libby Doyle’s The Vengeance Season

Zan knew loving Rainer was dangerous. She had known it for some time. Every time it reviewwas his turn to fight in The Turning she feared he may not come back, especially now Lucifer, Rainer’s father, had upped his game. Long had his father forsaken Balance and embraced only Destruction. He had made it his own and twisted it to his whims, just as he did with everything he wanted. While the warriors remained engaged in The Turning, in an endless perpetual battle, Lucifer had grown stronger, perfecting his weapons, but now came the most fearful weapon of all, and with it he had access to his son’s weakness, to Zan. Zan knew loving Rainer was dangerous, but little did she know she was about to discover just how dangerous it really was. The time has come for change, no more can the endless battle rage on. It is time to end it forever, to take the war to Lucifer himself. Failure is not an option, not with the stakes being what they are. Can the son finally confront the father who tortured and tormented him, while still keeping himself in balance, out of Destructions corruption? He had vowed to give anything for Zan, and now he will.

This book is amazing! I have loved the covalent series since the very first book, and this has really escalated the plot to a whole new level. Father and son are engaged in epic battle with the highest stakes. No human has ever beheld what Zan has seen, the truth and the horror she has witnessed. I love the Libby Doyle’s creative flair and distinct narrative. The graphically and emotionally fulfilling the plot will have you on the edge of your seat as worlds collide in a way they never should have. I loved the growth and strength shown by Zan, she is strong even in weakness. I just couldn’t put this book down. Tense, fulfilling, vivid, and satisfying this action-packed character-driven tale of love, horror, honour, and despair will keep you glued from the first page to the last. Questions are answered, truths unveiled, and rights wrongs. This series is a must-read for anyone who loves a great plot with string vivid characters presented in a flawless manner that never fails to keep the reader engaged. I whole-heartedly give this series my full recommendation.

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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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