"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Friday, June 29, 2012

Review of The Fiddler


The Fiddler
Beverly Lewis
Bethany House 2012
ISBN 9780764209772

   Englisher Amelia Devries is driving home in a rain storm when she takes a wrong turn. She lands at a cabin that a young Amishman, Michael Hostetler, is staying at after his father gives him an ultimatum to either get his act together or leave. Amelia and Michael hit it off from the start and seem to have a special connection. Both are finding themselves being forced into doing what their hearts are telling them not to do. Will they be able to make the decision to set their lives on the paths that will make them both happy? Is their meeting just a chance encounter or will their lives be forever changed?
   This is the first book in the Beverly Lewis Home to Hickory Hollow Series. The author is known for her Christian centered stories mostly related to the Amish. This book is no exception. It is a wonderful story of faith, love, and the struggles of Amelia and Michael as they are forced to make decisions that will affect their lives forever. Amelia is a musical prodigy who has always done what her father and her agent has wanted her to. She is at a crossroads in her life and wants to take a different path. She is forced to make a decision between what she desires and the desires of her father. To make matters worse, her father is ill and she does not want to upset him. Michael has been on the edge for some time about getting baptized into the Amish faith. Just when he makes a decision, his father has an accident and is unable to work their farm. Michael has to make his own plan as to what he will do. To complicate matters more, both are having romantic feelings for the other. 
   The story line is well written and holds your interest from the very beginning. If you are a lover of Amish fiction, I certainly recommend this book. Even if you are just into nice clean romances, you will surely enjoy this story. I only hope that we will revisit these two characters in the next book. I would love to see some more of what happens with them.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for reading and reviewing purposes.

I give The Fiddler 4 out of 5 stars




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales

Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales
Jen Wylie
Sean Hayden
Untold Press April 2012
Kindle Edition

   This is a great collection of short stories by two terrific and very different authors. I have read both authors before and you can identify the unique writing styles of both in this collection. Even if you did not know which author penned each story, by the time you finished one, you would know who it was. Sean has a quirky, sarcastic, oddball sense of humor. Jen is more down to earth and serious with some oddity mixed in for good measure.
   This book includes fifteen shorts that alternate between Sean and Jen and are full of humor, horror, zombies, vampires, ghosts, and even crickets. Some of the stories I liked better then others, but I would be hard pressed to say any one in particular was my favorite. They are  all highly entertaining and will elicit some kind of emotions from you. To add to the uniqueness of each story, a short blurb is added at the end to give a brief insight as to how the story came about. The entire book can easily be read in one sitting or each story can be read individually if you just want a quick fix. Even if you are not into short stories, I think you will enjoy the variation in the themes from each one.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy by the authors for reading and reviewing purposes.

I give Flashy Fiction 4 out of 5 stars
   

Monday, June 25, 2012

Interview with Caron Rider and a Review of Silver Knight

It is my pleasure to welcome author, Caron Rider, to my blog today. She has agreed to answer some questions for us so lets get started.




1- Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
I began teaching adults to use computer software, hardware, and networking back in the 1990s. After several years, my clients became younger and younger until I found myself tutoring high school dropouts to pass the GED. I found working with at-risk teenagers so rewarding that I changed my undergraduate major to Education.
Upon graduating from the University of South Alabama with a B.S., I began teaching high school history, and I continue to teach history classes online. I now live in rural Missouri with my two kids, two dogs, two cats, two turtles, five chickens, and father.
2- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, but I was always very practical and never thought that I'd have the chance to live my dream.
3- What was the inspiration for Silver Knight?
I love history, and I thought it would be fun to skip through some events in history in a story, especially for teenagers...to make it exciting and hopefully inspire curiosity.
4- How many books are planned for the Silver series and when can we expect the second one out?
It's a trilogy. The second one is due out this summer, and it's called Silver Demon. There is a sneak peek on my website: www.caronrider.com. Your readers can also find the first chapter of Silver Knight there, to see if they're interested.
5- Do you have any WIP? If so, can you tell us about it?
My work in progress is simply the Silver Series right now. The second one is due out this summer and the third one hasn't been given a release date yet but will be within the next year.
6- Who is your favorite author and why?
I really have to recommend Andre Norton. She began publishing back in the 1950s and the genre is sci-fi and fantasy and good for all ages. She makes you feel as if you are a part of the story-it's my hope to emulate that feeling for my readers.
7- What do you do for fun and relaxation?
I read, watch movies and crochet.
8- How can the readers connect with you?
There are several ways:
Twitter: Caron_Rider




Review of Silver Knight


Silver Knight
Caron Rider
CreateSpace 2012
Kindle Edition

   I have deviated from my usual description of the book and have attached the book trailer instead. Please see the above attached video trailer for this wonderful book.
   This is the first in the Silver Series by Caron Rider. This is a YA read that is quite intriguing and full of adventure, as well as, some history. Our protagonist Diana is just finishing the eleventh grade in this lifetime when the story opens. It is a bit into the story when she encounters her love and nemesis from her previous lives. She is thrown into her present adventure with no idea what she should be doing initially. Her only guide is the nightmares that she has had through her lives. She eventually encounters Alexander, but does not trust him because he has killed her in her past. Will she be able to remember her encounter with him on the Titanic and accept his help in her adventure through the catacombs? Diana is a Warrior of Light who is charged with destroying demons who are intent on taking the souls from humans. 
   I really liked this book and could not stop reading it once I started. My biggest problem with it was the way the story line read. It bounced from the present day to some of Diana's nightmares, to back in history to when she and Alexander lived in the past. I found it a bit troublesome figuring whether she was dreaming or telling of the past lives. I was able to eventually figure this out, but it made for some reading confusion. It left the story line a bit disjointed. All in all it was a great read and I would recommend it. If you are into YA adventures, you cannot go wrong. I am actually looking forward to the second one in the series.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy from the author for reading and reviewing purposes.

I give Silver Knight 4 out of 5 stars  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review of The Unfinished Song Taboo Book 2

Taboo (The Unfinished Song, #2) 

The Unfinished Song
Taboo Book 2
Tara Maya
Misque Press 2011
Kindle Edition

   Dindi is broken hearted because she has not become a Tavaedi. All she wants to do is dance. She decides to do the unthinkable and watch while they practice and teach herself the moves. She does this knowing full well she may get caught and be stoned to death. She is eventually caught by Kavio, the exiled one, who has joined the Yellow Bear Tribe. He has the stirrings of feelings for Dindi so he comes up with a plan in order to save her. 
   The Yellow Bear Leader wants to make peace with the Blue Water Tribe so he sends a group guided by Kavio to make this happen. One of the members of the party is Rthan, a former member of the Blue Water Tribe. This is one bitter man who is intent on revenge because his wife and daughter were murdered by someone in the Yellow Bears. He was enslaved to Brena after he was captured by  the Yellow Bears. When they get to Blue Water territory, all hell breaks lose and the story ends.
   This is the second book in the Unfinished Song Series. I highly recommend reading the first one before tackling this one and reading the books in order. It has been hard enough for me to keep track of the different characters and the ins and outs of the fae world. I am not sure I have successfully accomplished this thus far. 
   Just look at the cover art. I would probably have bought this book for the cover alone; but the book is well worth the read.
   The author does a fantastic job with the story line and it flows smoothly. The descriptive detail of the dances and fight scenes is amazing. You can just see the dances and their movements. The brief description I gave of the book is overly simplified. There is a lot going on in this story and you have to stay alert to keep up. There is an amazing bunch of characters that brings a wonderful mix to the story. If anything, this is my only complaint about the book. There is so many characters and details that it is hard to keep up. One could benefit from a glossary of just terms, characters, tribes, etc. 
   Dindi and Kavio have a slowly developing romance. This is forbidden because of their statuses. Kavio knows this, but it does not keep the tension from developing. Rthan and Brena had something going despite their unusual circumstances. Of course, since love does not always run a smooth course, he had to ruin it by returning to the Blue Waters. I am looking forward to seeing where all four of these characters go in the next installment. There are many more to follow, but I don't want to spoil the story by giving too much information.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy by the author for reviewing purposes.

I give Taboo 4 out of 5 stars


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Interview with Vanessa Morgan and a Review of A Good Man

It is my pleasure to welcome Vanessa Morgan to my blog today. Screenwriter and novelist Vanessa Morgan is known as the 'female version of Stephen King'. You can find out more about Vanessa Morgan and her work by going to her personal blog http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com. If you like cats, you might also like the web comic about her cat Avalon at http://avalon-lion.blogspot.com.



1- Short of sounding sexist, is it unusual for a female to write horror stories such as yours?

There are many women that love horror and that work in the horror business, but we're definitely a minority.

2- What was your inspiration for A Good Man

In 2010, my short story The Strangers Outside was brought to the screen. The main actor in that film, Pierre Lekeux, is also a producer. He loved what I had done with The Strangers Outside and he asked if I’d agree to write their next feature film. He wanted to jump onto the wagon of the current vampire-craze and he thought that I was the ideal person to bring this project to life. I was free to do with the story whatever I wanted; all I knew was that he had to be the lead in the film. I observed the actor during his daily activities and I imagined what he would be like if he were to be a vampire and what his worst possible fate would be. It really helped in creating a highly original vampire character that suffers from insecurities, wrinkles and arthritis.

3- How far along in the production phase is A Good Man?

A Good Man is currently in pre-production. The most important members of the cast and crew are now attached to the project and the production is finalizing the funding phase. They hope to start shooting the first couple of scenes by the end of the summer. I will keep everyone updated on the progression of A Good Man through my blog.

4- Were your other two works, Drowned Sorrow and The Stranger Outside originally slated to go to production or did that happen after publication? Have either been on the big screen yet?

Drowned Sorrow started attracting the interest of several film producers as soon as it was released. Some big Hollywood names (such as Drew Barrymore) are attached to the project which means the budget is high and takes time to develop. The director of The Strangers Outside, Philippe Geus, had read Drowned Sorrow too and he wanted to meet me to check if I had written other stories that could be suited for film development. I was just busy rewriting The Strangers Outside, so I gave him an early draft of it and it was immediately accepted to go into production. The film is now finished and is currently touring festivals.

5- Do you find that the film versions to your stories have been changed dramatically from the original or have they remained true to the stories?

Oh, yes. I'm very proud that The Strangers Outside got chosen for a film adaptation and it was fun to be on the film set, but at the experience was a bit frustrating too because the film was different than the way I imagined it. The director made a slasher comedy out of it, while The Strangers Outside is originally dramatic horror with philosophical elements.

6- Do you prefer one particular genre of book over another? If so, why or why not?

When it comes to movies, I'm 100% into horror, but when it comes to books I prefer reading stories where the characters and their personal obstacles are fare more important than the action. That's why I like to combine both elements in my own work. They are suspenseful and creepy, but the characters and their personal obstacles are certainly as important.

7- What does Vanessa do for fun and relaxation?

Going to film festivals, watching movies, eating out, reading, going to concerts, cuddling my cat.

8- How can the readers contact you?

Here are a few places where you can find and contact me:


Books by Vanessa Morgan

A Good Man

Loved Dexter and American Psycho? Then chances are you will love A Good Man.

Louis Caron is a good man – vegetarian, he feeds the homeless, takes care of animals and is concerned with the ecological future of the planet. But his altruism has a sinister edge – he's a vampire - and local detective Taglioni is becoming increasingly suspicious. Louis' attempt to escape the police will take him on a journey into his own private hell where he is not only forced to confront his worst fears, but also to destroy the lives of those he cares about most.

The Strangers Outside

Two sisters, Jennifer and Louise, return to their remote holiday cottage after a day at the seaside. But little do they know they're being surrounded. Soon after their arrival, the girls will come face to face with the strangers outside. When the assailants make their intentions known, things take a shockingly terrible turn and an intense battle for survival will begin.

Drowned Sorrow

Megan Blackwood has just lost her son in a terrible accident. Now she has come to Moonlight Creek with her teenage daughter Jenna, hoping that a change of scenery might help to put her life back together. But something odd is going on in Moonlight Creek. When rain falls over the village, the inhabitants commit grisly murders, leaving the village deserted with the first rays of sunshine. Beneath the lake's surface, an eerie presence watches... and waits... Waits to reveal a tragic past drowned in mystery and fear. One that doesn't bode well for visitors. By the time Megan realizes that her daughter is in danger, it might already be too late.


Review of A Good Man


A Good Man
A Screenplay
Vanessa Morgan
Kindle Edition

   Louis Caron is not your typical vampire. He is a vegetarian, feeds the homeless and takes care of animals. For all intense and purposes, Louis is a good man. That may be on the surface, but there is something sinister about him and he is forced to confront his issues and may destroy those he loves in the process.
   Detective Taglioni is becoming suspicious of Louis and is keeping close tabs on him. As time goes by, Louis has to use his ability to stay ahead of the police.
   This was an unusual read to begin with because it is a screenplay and so does not have all the usual information and extensive dialogue like a regular novel. Our protagonist, Louis, has been a vampire since 1750. He was 55 years old when he was turned and has issues of a fifty five year old man. He has wrinkles and according to Louis he is old. The story line is easy to follow and flows well. The author has made an interesting twist on the vampire and his life. There are numerous characters that come to life in the story and if the script is followed once on the screen, it will make for an interesting and moving story. If you are into vampires or just like a good story, I highly recommend it.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated except for receiving the book to review.

I give A Good Man 4 out of 5 stars



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review of My Soul to Keep

My Soul to Keep (Rise of the Fallen, #1)

My Soul to Keep
Rise of the Fallen #1
Sean Hayden
Untold Press 202
Kindle Edition


   Connor is not the type of kid that the girls flock to or the popular kids want to be around. As a matter of fact, he is not too great in school either, especially algebra. He would probably rather sit in a dentist chair then have to do algebra. He likes nothing better then being alone at home. One evening he is procrastinating doing his algebra. He is playing with his favorite pencil and scrapes his arm on a staple that is partially sticking out of his desk. Blood starts rolling down his arm. He writes a message on his math paper in his own blood and gets a brainy idea. He takes his note and his black candle and gets to work. Be careful kids, be very, very careful what you wish for. You just may get more than you bargained for.
   This is a YA paranormal read that is absolutely wonderful. It is a short fast read that can be read in one sitting. Our protagonist Connor is not as dumb as what you initially think. Even though he gets more than he bargained for, he gets exactly what he wants. That which is forbidden. That which has never been given before. On the other side of the coin, we have  Connor's sister, Caelyn. The sister from hell. It is not until the end that we see she may even have any feelings. The story line flows smoothly and keeps the reader engaged throughout. The author's witty and sarcastic humor shows throughout the book. It is a story of friendship, honor, caring, and first love. Of course we can't forget the fighting scenes and our  creatures. The ending was just a bit of a surprise, but ended beautifully to prepare the reader for the next book. This is a wonderful story for young and old alike. I highly recommend it.
   I wish to thank the author for providing a copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any way except to receive the book to review.

I give My Soul to Keep 5 out of 5 stars 


Cover Reveal for All the Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen

Entangled Publishing is pleased to announce the cover for a new YA book, All the Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen to be available in December 2012. Following the excerpt, you will find links attached to allow you to pre-order the book.


What if your life wasn’t your own?

Liv comes out of a coma with no memory of her past and two distinct, warring voices inside her head. Nothing, not even her reflection, seems familiar. As she stumbles through her junior year, the voices get louder, insisting she please the popular group while simultaneously despising them. But when Liv starts hanging around with Spencer, whose own mysterious past also has him on the fringe, life feels complete for the first time in, well, as long as she can remember.

Liv knows the details of the car accident that put her in the coma, but as the voices invade her dreams, and her dreams start feeling like memories, she and Spencer seek out answers. Yet the deeper they dig, the less things make sense. Can Liv rebuild the pieces of her broken past, when it means questioning not just who she is, but what she is?

Excerpt by permission of Entangled Publishing
Olivia reached up, feeling the tender spots on her head. Her fingers brushed across a row of—were those little ridges made of metal?
            “Careful. The staples are almost ready to come out, but it’s still going to be sore for a while.”
            Staples?!Her stomach rolled. I have staples in my head? She lowered her now-shaking hand. “Can I get a mirror?”
            Mom looked at Dad, then back at her. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Not until you’ve healed a little more.”
            Mom patted Olivia’s leg. “You just relax. We’ll be back in a few minutes.”
            The two of them left the room, but when Mom swung the door closed, it didn’t latch. Olivia could hear their voices in the hall.
            “I still think we should…” She couldn’t make out the rest of Dad’s muffled words. “…know if I can do this.”
            “…late for that,” Mom said. “We’d lose everything, including…” Her voice faded as they got farther away. “…have to move.”
Olivia could tell the conversation was tense, but the words were impossible to decipher now. Holding a hand in front of her face, she turned it back and forth. A plastic tube ran from her arm to a machine next to her bed. She peeked into her nightgown and stared in horror at the long red stripe running down her chest.
            Sick.
            You’re alive. You shouldn’t be thinking about looks.
Lowering her hand, she scanned the room. I wonder how my face looks. From the way Dad stared at me, plus the fact Mom won’t let me see a mirror, it must be bad.
            Brains are more important than looks.
            That’s what ugly people say.
            Olivia put her hands on her head and squeezed. “Stop it,” she whispered to her arguing thoughts, hysteria bubbling up and squeezing the air from her lungs. What was happening to her? Why didn’t she recognize her parents or know where she was? Who she was? Tears ran warm trails down her cheeks. “Just make it all stop.”

Pre-order links:
All the Broken Pieces, by Cindi Madsen is available for pre-order on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads


Be sure to connect with Cindi at:
http://www.facebook.com/CindiMadsenBooks
https://twitter.com/#!/search/cindi%20madsen
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1029223.Cindi_Madsen
http://cindimadsen.com/

            






Review of The Bachelor Farmers


The Bachelor Farmers
Brenda Sorrels
lulu.com 2012
ISBN 9781105424427

   This story is set in the early 1900's with two Norwegian brothers, Hans and Jon. The flu epidemic takes the lives of both parents, so, these two brothers inherit the family home and surrounding land. They both set out to develop and acquire more land in order to ensure the family success in America.
   While on one of his business treks, Jon discovers that a beautiful Ojibwa's husband has been injured on their land and is unable to work. On a spur of the moment decision, Jon offers her a job at their home cooking and tending to the kitchen. Hans reluctantly agrees to allow her to stay until her husband is able to return to work.
   Going against all dictates of the day and the disapproving eye of his brother, Jon finds himself falling in love with Mahal. Then, a major winter storm kicks up, and Hans and Mahal are forced to spend several days alone in the house. Decisions that they both make will have lasting affects on the three of them and cause their lives to be irrevocably changed forever.
   This is a wonderful story about family, love, decency, and making choices in adversity. I absolutely loved this book. The story line is well developed and flows smoothly. The protagonists are human and each have flaws that make them more endearing. Jon is the intelligent one and sees things as either black or white. Hans is from the old school mentality and sees women as trouble even though he has no problems using one for a one night stand. He has no feelings for these women so it is okay. Mahal has a strong sense of honor. Even though her husband is abusive, he is her husband and she will stick by him. In a moment of weakness, all three lives will change forever. Decisions will be made that will set a chain of events in motion that there will be no turning back from. If you enjoy a good, clean story, I highly recommend this one. I cannot wait for more from this author.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a lovely signed copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any way except to receive the book to review.

I give Bachelor Farmers 5 out of 5 stars
     

Monday, June 18, 2012

Finding Myself in Another World by Janus Roland (Fires of Eden)

What would it be like to find yourself in a different world from the one in which you were born? Read on and see what Janus Roland has to say when he finds himself in just such a situation.



There was nothing for me to relate to when I found myself in the world of Ave.  One moment Derek, Kent and I were drifting along an extended lake on a boat in thick mists, and soon after we found ourselves in another world entirely.
 
It really happened just like that.  From entering mists during the night, to having the mists part to reveal broad daylight coming from a sun that isn’t your own.



Looking up into a sky that is a completely different color than any sky you have ever seen , and then looking back and seeing  a horizon that was not there before, is sobering, to say the least.  There wasn’t one sign of the world we came from, anywhere we looked.  Not a power line, a building, a cell phone tower, sign of a road … nothing at all.  A completely different geography.  It was just a big, vast wilderness, with a huge forest sprawled out just ahead of us. 
 
What can anyone do in such a moment?  I suppose you just have to react, or you are going to be overwhelmed.  That’s not entirely unlike a dream, in that you respond to the circumstances and surroundings, no matter how strange they might be, and even if it’s a nightmare.   Any of us that dream do it on a regular basis.  In a sense, we participate in another world as if we were a part of it.  We deal with all kinds of environments and even creatures sometimes.  In dreams I’ve walked under water, I’ve flown high through the upper skies, and I’ve seen things that didn’t exist in my waking world … and in the moments I experienced them they were real to me. 




Whether it is a dream or something real, the mind is incredible in how it can make adjustments.   It is either that, or go crazy.  I think Kent almost did cross that line, as he had been alone in Ave just before Derek and I rejoined him.  I’m glad I didn’t go through a moment of fear like that, thinking I was by myself in another world.

Experiencing the phenomenon with two friends gave me a little more strength to face the enormity of it all.  We eventually ran into a few others from our world, Mershad, Erika, Logan, and Antonio.  Sharing this experience together certainly aided our ability to deal with the harsh reality of being in a new world that we had no warning or preparation for.

Looking back on it, I suppose being so numb emotionally kind of helped as well.  At the time that all of this happened, I was going through a deep period of grief after losing my father unexpectedly.  When you are going through something that painful, there is a gray haze hovering over about everything.  It saps you of motivation, and is a kind of deep depression, in a way.  I’m still dealing with that sorrow, but the things we’ve faced in this new world have kept my mind distracted for some periods of time, even if the emptiness is still always there inside of me.  Only one thing will make the emptiness go away, and that one thing seems an impossibility to me now.

Now I find myself cramped in the dank hull of an Avanoran ship, a captive, along with a few of my new companions.   It seems so much has happened since we found ourselves in this world.  There wasn’t much time to acclimate, as we were taken in by a group of tribal warriors not long after coming into this world. 

The bodies of the warriors were painted red and black, and they had a very hard look about them.  We had several arrows trained upon us, and there was no doubt in my mind that if they had thought us enemies we would have been killed.  We found out later that they were a war party shadowing a massive army gathering on their borders, so I am surprised they even gave us the benefit of the doubt.   I am certainly glad they did.





Thankfully, we had been given the gemstone pendants that helped us with speaking languages and understanding them, or I do not even want to begin to think how hard it would have been to deal with the things of this world.  The one they call the Wanderer was our benefactor, though what he is doing I can’t say.  It is clear that the tribal people had a tremendous respect for him, and that he was regarded as a friend to them.




Whatever he was, he could not have stopped the devastating attack on the village we had been taken to.  I can still remember rushing out of the village as large stones crushed the dwellings all around us, and all of the cries that filled the night.  Looking up and seeing these huge, dark winged shapes in the night sky was so surreal.  I can remember the aftermath, with all of the death and sorrow.  My own wounds from grief are still raw, so it was especially difficult to see the agony of the survivors who had lost loved ones.
 
I’ll never forget seeing a little girl cradling the broken body of her dog that had died in the attack.  Moments like that make me feel so helpless, and it brought a deep pain to my heart to see her crying.  I felt so drained when I left the ruined village, my legs felt like they were made of lead as I walked back down the slope of the hill the village sat atop.




Only a powerful dream I had shortly thereafter helped me to regain a sense of my bearings.  I have had such dreams from time to time, and I can say they can bolster you sometimes. 

I can’t say this world is any more brutal than the one I left.  The wars in my own world are just as devastating to families that suffer them.  It doesn’t matter if it is a big flying beast or a high-tech drone or fighter jet, the shock and grief of losing a loved one in such destructive violence is just as horrific.
 



It was out of this tragedy and the looming invasion of the tribal lands that it was decided by our Onan hosts like Ayenwatha and Deganawida that we would be taken to an island, with the intention of keeping us safe from those who had attacked the village.  On the island were the people known as Midragardans, who are everything I envisioned when I read about Vikings in my own world.  Only the Vikings of my world could not take to the skies upon big flying wolves, which are what their Fenraren steeds are like.

Yet even the island wasn’t safe, as it was attacked very soon after our arrival by Avanorans by sea, and a non-human race called Trogens who came upon their own kind of flying steeds.  The Trogens are incredibly strong.  They have faces like pit-bulls … that’s the best way I can describe them …  and one might have killed me were it not for the intervention of a big dog from the Midragardan settlement.  I don’t know what motivated that dog to intervene, but stranger things have happened to me and I’m not about to question my good fortune in that moment.



We did not get away, but we lived.  I was separated from my friends Derek and Kent, and do not know their fates.  I hope they found a way to escape, and there’s a chance they did, as I think they would be with me now if they had been caught.  I am with Erika, Antonio, and Logan in the Avanoran ship, and I have no idea where we are sailing to. 

At least I am not alone.  Erika brings some light into my world.  She is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I like her more, the more I get to know her.  She is the strength of our group right now.   Logan just broods, and Antonio is full of fear about our situation, but both of them are my companions.  I know Erika has her own fears, but she keeps up a confident appearance that I know is for our benefit.  I just don’t know how long any of us can remain confident in this dark musty hold of a ship.

We will have to see how everything plays out.  To be honest, I don’t even know if I will live to see tomorrow.   We are not in control of our destiny, that’s for certain.  Others are deciding our fates.  Right now, it is just a matter of surviving from one day to the next
.
I don’t know if we will ever find our way back to our world, and I don’t even know if I will ever see Derek and Kent again.  I can’t dwell too much on those fears.   I just have to keep moving forward as best as I can.  At the end of the day, the only way I can guarantee that I will find no answers is if I come to a stop, and I definitely don’t intend to do that, no matter how horrible I am feeling inside. 




Sunday, June 17, 2012


The First Sunday
A New Beginning & A New Life
Sunday Rose Series Book 1
R.J. Berry
Tate Publishing 2011
ISBN 9781613461280

   This story loosely chronicles the life of the author's grandmother, Sunday Rose Tyler. The story begins with her birth in a small community in Texas, called Kittman comprised of mostly African-Americans. Rose is an extremely strong-willed young woman who is determined to become a singer even though she has had no professional training. The only singing she has ever done was in her family church. At the age of seventeen, she leaves Kittman to go to Dallas convinced she will make it big. She is not quite prepared for her new life when she finds that life in the big city is not as accommodating for African-Americans as her town of Kittman was. She discovers what life in segregation and prejudice is like.
   Her life takes a decided turn when she meets Mama Mae who takes her into her home and finds her a job cleaning at her former employer's home. She meets JJ, falls in love and settles into married life with him. She finds herself pregnant with her first child and the first problems for her develop in her marriage.
   This is a wonderful story of faith and love of family and the Lord. It is the first book in the Sunday Rose Trilogy. This book is based on events of her grandmother's life but not necessarily the way they truly happened. Rose is an extremely strong willed young woman and very independent for the time of the 20's and 30's. She makes some brash decisions that cause some severe and detrimental consequences to her life and marriage. Some of this could be the result of her young age. Either way, the story ends in such a way that has you wanting more of the story. If you like a good Christian story that is full of family and good values, this is the book for you. If you just want a good story that is quite engaging, I can most definitely recommend this one. I for one will be looking forward to the second one in the series.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a lovely signed copy of her book. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated except to receive the book for review.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars

Review of Embattled


Embattled
Darlene Jones
Kindle Edition

   Em sits at her desk with blood on her hands, uttering strange words, and her face all over the television. She has no wounds, but has no idea what has happened to herself. She has embarked on a journey that seems totally unbelievable. Yves, a drone from another world is in charge of Em and the battles that she embarks on. He is a rookie and is in much the same situation as Em. He is totally unprepared for the emotions that he is experiencing from a human perspective and for the feelings of love that are surfacing for Em.
   This is a story of love, adventure, fantasy. and issues that are facing the world in which the story takes place. It is a unique take on the world and the powers controlling humans. Em becomes known as "Miracle Madam" and is sent to places that are facing major struggles. In her role, she is able to settle problems just by talking to the parties involved. The problem is, she doesn't remember anything when she is one place or the other. She becomes involved  with Ron and has to make a choice as to which life she will chose. The drone, Yves, is being used much like a pawn in a chase match. It is do or die, so to speak, for him. Ron is a very complex character who carries issues of his own when he becomes involved with Em. The biggest problem I had with the story was the switching back and forth between Em and Yves. I became a bit confused at times as to where I was and who I was with. There was a couple of incidents where I was unclear as to when Em shifted to one of her locations. It was not always a smooth transition. All in all, this was a good story and quite interesting. I recommend it if you just like a different type fantasy story.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated except to receive the book to review.

I give Embattled 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interview with Monica LaPorta and Review of The Priest

It is my pleasure to welcome author, Monica LaPorta to my blog today. She has kindly agreed to stop by and chat with me. Lets get started.



1-   Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Monica La Porta and I am an Italian who landed in Washington State several years ago and never left. I love the rainy weather that seems to aggravate other people. The daily drizzle makes everything luscious and green around here, and the occasional mist adds a moody element. It is the perfect setting for writing. Imagine the horror of trying to focus on crafting your story while outside the sun shines and the waves of the Mediterranean Sea crash against the shore. I shudder at the mere thought.

2-    What was the inspiration for The Ginecean Chronicles?
I’ve always been fascinated by “what if” stories; they allow the reader to look at an established situation with a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes, an idea becomes more powerful when analyzed from the safety of a mirror. Reality is presented back to you by the reflective glass, revealing new details. I often wonder about the society we live in and the way it treats anybody who doesn’t conform to its ephemeral rules. It saddens me to think that a simple quirk of nature and fate can dictate millions of people’s existences. How many human beings suffer because their affections are considered a sin? How many women still live in conditions close to slavery? But, it hasn’t been always this way, and it could be different in the future. The idea of an alternate reality slowly took hold in my mind and I asked myself, “What would happen in a world where women rule over men and heterosexual love is considered taboo? How would this society evolve?” The Ginecean Chronicles are my answer to those questions.

3-   How long have you been writing and have you published anything else?
I have always enjoyed writing, but only three years ago I decided to give it a serious try. It was one of those moments when you realize it is about time you start doing what you like and stop thinking of doing it. Although The Priest is my first published novel, it is the seventh I have written. Three of my previous works will probably never see the light of day. I still have some hope for two of them, but they need work. The sixth is Pax in the Land of Women, the second novel in the Ginecean Chronicles, which has just come out.

4- What has been the most difficult task you have faced while getting your books published?
I would say that finding a great editor was the biggest obstacle. I knew from the beginning that the topic I wanted to write about was controversial and the chances a publishing house would take a look at The Ginecean Chronicles were slim. After I wrote The Priest, polished it, sent it to my beta readers and polished it some more, I hired three professional editors and a cover artist. The Priest was edited several times, until I was completely satisfied with the results, then sent to the proofreader for the final touches. There is some stigma about self-published authors, but I work on my craft as if my life depended on it. Hopefully, my words will stay after I’m gone. I want them to be my legacy.

5-    Can you tell us a little bit about your WIP?
 Currently, I’m editing the third novel in the Ginecean Chronicles, Prince of War, which should be released next fall. Meanwhile, I’m working on two different projects. The first is a fantasy novel inspired by the Northwest weather and the jokes about the North westerners in general. We are known to be pale and afraid of the sun. I exaggerated those aspects to create a world where people can only live in darkness. The second project is an addendum to the Ginecean Chronicles and it can be read back to back with The Priest, although it isn’t part of the main plot. Once I finished writing the trilogy, I discovered I wanted to spend some more time in The City of Men, and I had two characters begging to come to life.


 6 -  What types of books do you like to read and do you have a favorite author?
 Reading is one of my favorite activities and I am a huge fan of any genre that transports me to other planes of reality. Science fiction is my first choice, but I also like fantasy and urban fantasy. Lately, I’ve discovered regency romance and paranormal. My favorite authors are: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Edgar A. Poe, H. P. Lovercraft, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Camilleri, Guareschi… The list could go on forever, but all my favorite authors have one trait in common, their stories are character oriented.


 7-   You have a rather unique and interesting hobby. Can you tell us about it?
 I love building miniatures. The smaller the better. I discovered the wonderful world of dollhouses when I moved to the United States, and I combined my love of painting and sculpting to create micro universes. Working on a small scale vignette is rewarding; it gives you the opportunity to freeze time on a precise moment and enjoy it forever. Several years ago, I was introduced to the quarter inch scale, which is—as the name suggests—four times smaller than the more popular one inch scale. A regular dollhouse tea cup can be used as a lampshade in a quarter inch scale vignette. The smaller scale is accordingly easier to display when your house is already crowded with paintings and cold porcelain sculptures. As I mentioned, in addition to miniatures, I also paint with acrylic colors on every surface that doesn’t move and I model with a homemade clay made out of cornstarch and white glue, called cold porcelain because it resembles that fine material once dry. I created two miniature tree houses for my imaginary gnome friends using cold porcelain. 
  
 8 -   Where can the readers find you?

   Readers can find my books on Amazon. If you are interested in reading an excerpt from The Priest, click on the cover  http://bit.ly/monica_thepriest

    This is my blog, where sometimes I also talk about my writing, but I normally put pictures of my crafts  http://monicalaporta.com/

    This is The Ginecean Chronicles Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#%21/ginecea

    Link to Pax in the Land of Women   http://bit.ly/monica_pax




Review of The Priest


The Priest
The Ginecean Chronicles #1
Monica LaPorta
Feb 2012
Kindle Edition

   Mauricio was born on Ginecea and like all men is just a number to be ruled over and used by the pure bred women. He has never seen the light of day. One day he hears Rosie singing and his life is changed forever. An unlikely friendship develops that blossoms into an affection that is deemed perverted and sinful. You see, on Ginecea, only women are worthy and unions are between women. As times goes by, Mauricio, discovers an important piece of evidence that threatens to destroy their very way of life.
   This book is the first in the Ginecean Chronicles series that can be easily read in one sitting.   This is an exceptional book that takes the reader into an alternate universe. Women rule the world and men are only good as slaves. The author does a fantastic job of describing what is happening and the emotions and feelings of the characters that the reader feels as if they are there. Rosie, the President's daughter, goes to Ginecea to become pregnant. This goes against everything her mother's want for her. She is expected to marry another woman that they have selected for her; but she has no desire to. Mauricio only wants to be able to get out in the sunlight and feel the warmth on his skin. Once he hears Rosie singing, he is unable to get her out of his mind. He finally makes contact with her and only wants to be friends with her. Since he is a slave and a man, this is strictly forbidden. His fate is sealed once he is no longer needed for his sperm donations. Rosie has other plans and is determined to make things turn out differently. Can life and love turn out for this unlikely pair or is their destiny already sealed? This is a fantastic story and I highly recommend it. I will be looking forward to the second book in the series.
   I was provided a copy for reading and reviewing purposes by the author. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any way except to receive the book to review.

I give The Priest 4.5 out of 5 stars