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Book review: The Knowing – JB Straton’s Story – Brit Lunden (@caroleproman )

JB had known from the moment his eyes first met Ellie’s that they were meant to be. His The Skull Piratesgrandma had called what he experienced the knowing. He was drawn to her beyond anything he had before experienced. She was a rich Yankee, he a poor peanut farmer with only the promise of an unfulfilled dream as a football star. He was talented, but was certain he was trapped, forever destined to remain a farmer. Ellie wouldn’t listen as he told her to find someone better, she wanted only him, and would even defy her parents for his love. Fate, however, had other plans for the lovers.

The Knowing – JB Straton’s Story – is volume one in Brit Lunden’s, A Bulwark Anthology. It is a beautifully written love story encompassing the present, past, and even past lives. It is a romance, with a hint of supernatural. It is well-written with a level of area building and character development often unseen in shorter books. It was easy to read this is one sitting, the story is sweet, intriguing, and sometimes moving. It has certainly piqued my interest in other books by this author, especially the Bulwark, which this anthology stems from. Intrigue, obstacles, fate, and supernatural combine to present a gripping tale bound to satisfy anyone who enjoys a character orientated, well-constructed read. There are little touches throughout which caught my interest, and have no doubt referenced events in the main book. I thought the conclusion of the book made the perfect ending to a tightly-knit tale. I look forward to seeing more work from this author.

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Book review: The Emissary – Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio (@OneGreatYear )

Atitalan Emissaries had been sent to guide humankind in evolution. They had been reviewselected to leave their land, to die and be reborn for the span of a Great Year Cycle. They were to guide Humankind, but they should not have been aware of their identity, their mission. But Quinn was, he remembered his time as Marcus, just as he remembered each of his past lives. He also remembered his soulmate, Theron, and sought to find her so they could once more be reunited. Just as there were those sent to guide the world into a new golden age, so too were there those whose skills and purposes were turned to darker purposes. All things in balance, and yet the scale still seemed unequal. Marcus’ childhood friend moves against the Emissaries. He too possesses past life memories and the darker force aiding him will stop at nothing to quash the emissaries and their attempts to guide fate.

The Emissary is the start of Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio’s The One Great Year Series. It acts as a foundation, allowing the reader to be drawn into the present day situation before reliving parts of the past which brought the main character, Marcus aka Quinn, to the point he now finds himself. This book sets a great background and starting point for what could be a gripping series. There had been clear attention paid to detail, characters, personalities, and rivalry. There are some good ideas which can be viewed as both historical and futuristic, and some interesting play om myths and legends. I enjoyed the steady pace and rising tension as the understanding of what is to come becomes clearer. Alternative history meets low/ urban fantasy to create a battle of light vs darkness that spans the reaches of time.

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Book review: King of the Nine Hells – Dean Klein

There are some books that should never be read. Some power and promises that are reviewbetter left undelivered, lost in the flow of time. Such could be said about the Imprecation Sortairii. Forged in the dark ages its power is both ancient and terrifying. When an antique bookshop owner happened across it he could hardly believe his luck. It didn’t matter the tome was not for sale, and its acquisition, which should have eased some of his burdens, did nothing but add to them. It was sold and returned, deemed evil, haunted, and cursed, but that is just part of its lore. Any possessing it can have their dreams come true, for a price. Its last return came with a request, one which was not heeded and now threatens to unleash unknown terror on the world and all whose path it crosses.

Dean Klein’s King of the Nine Hells is a thriller/horror following spanning an era from the dark ages to the present day building up the events as they unfold. The author has multiple main characters, from the scriber of the grimoire to those whose hands it touches. With such a vast and timeless tale the author has ensured a clear indication of time and place at each chapter start making it easy to follow and understand, especially since each chapter adopts only one characters narrative. There is some great scene setting and developments. Threat, fear, and tension build from the first page to the last, with an ever-escalating threat that keeps you intrigued and both eager and terrified to find out what will happen next.

Book link: (I could only locate a paperback at this time.)

King of the Nine Hells

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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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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: 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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