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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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Book review: Liana Gardner – The Journal of Angela Ashby (@lkgg )

Angela Ashby had been looking forward to attending the school carnival with her reviewmother, but since the divorce she is working more, and Angela hardly gets to see her, or her father who left and married Holly the homewrecker. Luckily Angela has a close friend, Mallory. The two of them enjoyed the carnival together, savouring the moment until their wandering put them in front of a rather unusual tent, one belonging to a fortune teller. She gives each of the girls a reading and a gift, and Angela’s gift has power beyond measure, anything she writes in it comes to pass. With a school struggling with a bulling problem, her parent’s divorce, and so many changes she wants, Angela decides to use the journal. But actions have consequences, and even the most innocent thing can have profound effects.

The Journal of Angela Ashby is a middle grade fiction by Liana Gardner and is perfectly written for the target audience. A combination of magic, childhood troubles, social messages, and the need to think before acting is prevalent, and a lesson well ingrained into the pages, There is some good tension building, injections of humour, and character development. Angela and Mallory make a great team, perfectly complimenting each other in a way close friends do. This is certainly a book I will read with my son when he is older, as I think it instils some important lessons and values, much like the old 80/90’s cartoons used to. While the book itself has a clear beginning and end, there are hints a sequel may follow, and it would certainly be something I would consider picking up. If you’re looking for a story of friendship, childhood problems, and a healthy sprinkle of magic in the every day life, then look no further.

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Book review: A. M. Sohma – The Desperate Quest

Kit had not logged into Chronicles of Retha since her old guild, Milk Crown, was reviewdisbanded. Her cousin Bruce, as a joke hacked her account, creating the most ridiculous character, a dancer elf, and ensured her reputation was hated and shunned by all factions. It may have been funny, if not for a corruption error that occurred on the server trapping her and hundreds of others in game. She has been told of a means to log out, the completion if an epic world storyline, but with her ridiculous appearance no one will take her seriously. She and her group fight against the odds, trying to complete the quest and get others to believe them for when they are ready. This world event is epic, no one on this server has completed it, and without the support of others it seems she herself has little chance. Bad stats, bad reputation, and impossible odds, but she had never been one to take the easy path, and now is no exception.

The Desperate Quest is book two in Second Age of Retha by A. M. Sohma. It is only now, as I added this, that I realised this was actually the second book otherwise I would have started with the first. The fact that I didn’t feel I had missed anything is a testament to the author’s skill to create self-contained storylines. Kit makes a brilliant party leader and how refreshing it is for a LitRPG’s main character to be a support character rather than a tank or DPS. This was a really fun story to follow, the epic quest for the seals alongside the characters own development and rising tension as time trapped in the game extends. From exploration to battle this book has a lot to offer, it is well paced, enjoyable, and unique. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

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Book review: Alexa Padgett – Sweet Solace (@AlexaPadgett )

Dahlia had been with her husband Doug for what had seemed liked forever, committed reviewto the vows she made to the musician as a teenager. Even if he didn’t take them as seriously. He had betrayed her trust, hurt her, destroyed her in ways she didn’t think possible, and that was before his diagnosis, things had only got worse after. His death had opened more wounds, despite everything she had loved him, once. When her path crosses with Asher’s, an old crush and famous rock star, she begins to feel things she thought were long lost in her. But she never thought her feelings had been, and still were, reciprocated. The problem is, neither of  them are in a place where they feel they can pursue a relationship. After Doug, Dahlia swore to never love, especially not a musician, she knew all too well the price she paid, and she couldn’t do it again. Will she pass up her chance of happiness because of the fears and betrayal of her husband, or will she take the risk, will she give love one final chance?

Sweet Solace (Seattle Sound Series Book 1) is a slow burn romance by Alexa Padgett who is certainly an expert in their craft. I was hung on every word, loving the steady pace and involved plot of the lives of Asher and Dahlia as they are brought together, both with their own complications. I loved the slow change in Dahlia’s character as she began to reclaim who she had once been before things had turned sour with Doug. There is plenty to enjoy, and the erotic scenes were well scripted perfectly attuned to the book without becoming over the top, they were no more or less than was needed. I can honestly day it has been a long time since I have enjoyed a book in the romance genre as much as I enjoyed Sweet Solace I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, and I can certainly see myself picking up some of the other books from the talented Alexa Padgett It has everything you could ask for, passion, doubts, insecurity, longing, and the fears that come with someone already deeply hurt. and more.

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Book review: Murderous Intent by John L. Evans

Dimitri Kosloff, a famous film director, had been found stabbed and dismembered at his reviewusual Friday and Saturday night suite. He was as well known for his sexual preferences as he was for his Academy Awards, so his murder caused quite a stir. The evidence is circumstantial but points towards a young sailor, Richard Dellesandro, who was the last person seen alive with him as he accompanied the director to his room. With such a high profile case, it is essential to make quick work of it, but not everyone thinks Dellesandro is their man. However, with nothing to place their other possible suspect at the scenes, can justice be done and the truth be uncovered, or will someone get away with murder?

Murderous Intent is a murder/crime mystery set in Los Angeles, and focusing on the more famous aspects, such as Hollywood. John L. Evans writes with a good poise for the genre and it is easy to lose yourself in this book and read it in a single sitting. There are so many important events that occur and you wonder whether the Los Angeles Police, who are reluctant to drop the case, will be able to not only get their perp, but prove their involvement, or is it simply too high exposure to continue when a fall guy has already been found? The hunt is on, secrets are uncovered, lies are exposed, and red tape threatens the investigation at every turn. Speaking of every turn, you’ll find yourself turning the pages eagerly, gripped and engrossed by not only the intricately woven plot, but the immersive style with which the author engages you.

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Book review: Francis Halpin – The Seventh Guard

Robert was a repair technician at Best Buy, one who had hung on to his job solely reviewbecause he was so good at repairing things, his social skills, however, were indeed lacking, to the point he was banned from customer interaction. After work he conducted his own experiments, determined to break reality by discovering a hidden glitch. Then he saw it, or more accurately the program he created did, small breaks in the physical laws of our world. It was a message, of that he was certain, but he had no idea how dangerous breaking this encryption would be, his entire perspective on the world, on what was possible, was about to change. If Jennifer’s step-father wasn’t dangerous enough, he was about to discover a new enemy, one who was more powerful than he could ever imagine, one who would stop at nothing to see his demise.

The Seventh Guard by Francis Halpin is an intriguing Science Fiction focusing on the main character Robert as he tries to unravel his destiny. It all started with a flickering light, a cryptic clue he felt he must interpret. It is written at a steady pace with a narrative written with such style you keep turning the pages. You can’t help but be drawn into Robert’s plight, wondering if there is a greater destiny afoot, or if the flickering light is simply unlocking something in, what his girlfriend described as, his ‘on the spectrum’ personality. Robert is a strong lead character supported by David and Jennifer, in their supporting roles which help to build a fuller picture of him, his life, and the world around him. Intrigue, a quest for truth, and hidden mysteries fill the book to the brim, and leave you wondering what the ultimate conclusion will be.

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