Saturday, April 8, 2017

More Things in Heaven and Earth

Rating:



About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

E.A. Comiskey has been writing her whole life, but never made much effort to share her stories with the world. She went to college, traveled the world, married a bartender from a western cowboy town, gave up corporate America to work in an old time photo shop and, eventually, came back home to raise her babies in the town she loves.

After discovering NaNoWriMo, she finished her first novel, More Things in Heaven and Earth, and everything changed. Since then, she's published several short stories, been featured on Wattpad, and continued producing novels. 

She lives in Michigan, surrounded by people she loves and loads of furry and feathered friends and spends her free time playing in the garden and drawing on the street with chalk. 

Every day she quotes Kevin Costner in The Postman. "Stuff's gettin' better. Stuff's gettin' better all the time."





Blurb:

"The veil is coming down. What will be revealed about you?"

Simone Fitzgerald battles for a normal life against voices no one else hears. She seems to be succeeding, until an angel appears, asking her to embrace the voices as a gift and stand as The Prophet.

When demons mobilize the beings of legend against mankind, Divine Wrath burns hot against creation. Simone must find the strength to embrace The Light and bring peace to the universe, but she may be crushed under the weight of the burden she's been asked to bear.

Follow an epic journey that takes the earth you know through a time when fairy tale creatures rule and into realms undreamed of.




Review:

First and foremost, the writing is absolutely beautiful.  It, alone, pulled me into the novel, but fascinating and highly imaginative world and plot certainly kept me going.

Simone is an ordinary mom of two boys and a loving wife who happens to also hear voices.  Some taunt her, others are having normal conversations that she merely overhears.  She's sure she's crazy, but her loving husband doesn't react as though it's true.

Then one day, Simone is visited by an angel and is told something she fears more than going crazy: she's sane.  The voices are those of creatures in other dimensions, layered over-top of one another which creates a tapestry that fits perfectly together.  All by That Which Is.

While this is a novel with deep-seated spiritual ideas and concepts, it isn't preachy at all.  The author focuses on an idea of oneness and love, not on religion where a person has to perform certain tasks or take on a certain role.  It shows and pushes unconditional love.

There is much I love about this novel, but there were also a few things that brought this down a star for me.  The main issue was the overabundance of characters.  With a novel about an epic battle between good and evil, there were a few characters killed along the way.  Unfortunately, so many names were brought into the novel, characters in and out of the main focus, that I couldn't mourn any of them (save for one, a real heart-breaker near the end).

Another issue is that this novel could have easily been longer and more immersive if certain scenes had been expanded.  For instance, there is a summary of "others" and legends introducing themselves to the world.  There is very little concrete description of these creatures or what they said or how the audience at these introductions reacted.  At least one or two should have have been shown in full-scene, providing the audience to feel the awe of the situation.

Aside from those two issues, this novel was pure pleasure.  Below are some of my favorite lines:

His green eyes burned like emerald fire against the dark canvass of his skin.

[An angel to Simone]  "My ability to intercede with man is limited.  Can you build a tunnel for the ants?  Even with all your strength and knowledge?"

Susan blushed to the very roots of her hair.


And there were so many more!  I can't wait for this author's next novel.

This is one for my Must Read list!

Obtain your copy here!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Double-Helix: Tempest

Rating:



About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

R. Patricia Wayne was born in Chicago, Ill and raised in the Midwest, now calling the great state of Iowa her home. Her bookshelves are full of books in every genre, but her passion is in science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. Her personal interests include writing, coffee, reading, coffee, sleeping, and coffee.


Blurb:

The adventure begins in the year 2256.

Mars has been terraformed into a tropical paradise where there is peace, beauty, and the colonists have finally completed their first interstellar spaceship. Although life is good, a genetic bottleneck and genetic mutations have plagued the Mars colonists for more than two hundred years, leaving the population with 95% female inhabitants and men who are born sterile.

Chancellor Janna sends her only daughter Aura, a fifteen-year-old schizophrenic and next in line to be Chancellor, to planet Earth in hopes of finding human survivors to cure their genetic crisis. Little does the Chancellor know, there are others that likes things the way they are.

While Aura is forced to fight to survive on a frozen, post-apocalyptic Earth, others are fighting to keep Mars from slipping into tyranny. And in the process, a temporal vortex is birthed. This vortex, the Tempest, will forever change the past, present, and future, and put the fate of the entire galaxy in jeopardy. The fall of humanity is at hand.

The sometimes strange, sometimes humorous, sometimes dark and disturbing world of Double Helix is a character-rich, science fiction, epic adventure.



Review:


Disclaimer
I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


This is an epic novel, spanning two planets and unfurling an intricate political drama. 

The novel follows several characters, all female, and focuses mainly on each of their lives and struggles.  This is probably the highlight of the story, itself.  Each character has a flaw and layers, which helps bring them each to life.  From a "princess" with a technology phobia (imagine having to deal with that in the future), to a soldier who wants to fit in, to my favorite, a badass police officer (referred to as Protectorates) with criminal desires  — all of them struggle to overcome negative traits that prevent them from living their lives to the fullest.

Of course, being an honest review, I also have to point out a things that brought this down a star for me.  The novel felt too long to me, and there were a few times the details were unnecessarily drawn out.

Following are some descriptions that stood out the most to me:


"There wasn't much visible through the wall of falling water except streetlights struggling to illuminate the flooded avenues and a single red and blue neon sign above the nightclub that read, The Citadel, which beamed through the rainy darkness like a lighthouse."


"... the decaying ruins of thousands of frozen buildings which lined ancient city streets, and only broken up by mounds of debris on both sides of one massive trench of black smoldering topsoil."



Overall, I see this novel being the foundation of what should be a fascinating universe once the author is finished with all of the books.  As a teaser, as the novel continues on, the universe opens up to multiple dimensions, time travel, and a hidden secret society, and so much more.

This absolutely is on my Must-Reads List.

Purchase your copy at Amazon!

Monday, September 26, 2016

At Yomi's Gate

 Rating:  


About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

John Meszaros graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Biology, which combined with his love for world cultures and history has served him well in his writing and art. He's worked a variety of jobs and volunteer positions: Cancer Research Lab Assistant, Museum Docent, Aquarium Diver and Cleaner, Traveling Marine Life Educator, Graphic Layout Artist, Zookeeper and Landscaper, and Stay-at-Home Parent. When not writing or drawing, John is often outside in nature-- or underwater when he can get his SCUBA gear out-- doing research for his art and stories. John lives in Connecticut with his wife, children, a dog and way, way too many plants.


Blurb:

Storyteller and scroll-painter Fumito has been forced by his paranoid and homicidal uncle, daimyo Kotoheisei, to track down a young woman named Sakura who bears the destructive god of fire imprisoned in a tattoo on her back. At stake is Fumito’s family, who will be brutally tortured and executed if he cannot capture her. 

Yet when he finally finds Sakura and her rescuer, the imposing but shy priestess Ikuko, he decides to help them escape rather than turn them over to his uncle, who will use the fire god’s power for terror and slaughter. The fate of Fumito’s family is sealed, but that is a price he desperately hopes he can live with. 

When an ancient artifact merges Sakura with the god, granting her control over fire and the magma that is the very lifeblood of the world, she resolves to repay Fumito’s sacrifice by saving his family and defeating his uncle. But Sakura does not realize the full extent of her power and her rescue mission may end up hurting more people than it saves. And eventually her actions will bring her, Fumito and their companions into a confrontation with the creatures of the underworld whose dark magic is responsible for Sakura’s transformation.

 

Review:

Disclaimer
I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is an amazing story that kept me enthralled and reading well into the night.

The audience follows a band of unlikely heroes — a tiny woman who'd been abused most of her life, a story-teller who is also Byronic (IMHO), an uncommonly tall priestess, and a woman with a massive chip on her shoulder.  There is also an outcast. a person considered filthy and beneath everyone else, who can't read but has taught himself how to be a doctor.  While Fumito (the story-teller) is my favorite character, all of the characters warmed up to me after a while.

One of the things that I loved about this novel is that the author was not afraid to put his characters through life-altering events.  This resulted in a read where I felt anything could happen.  I didn't feel like any of the characters were safe, and this guaranteed that I stuck with the novel.

I don''t want to go into too much detail so as not to spoil this, and I think the author's blurb does more than enough to relay the story.  I will say that there were a number of fascinating concepts/minor plots brought up and I am still upset that they weren't elaborated on.  For instance, there was a plot line concerning ten liars.  By the end, I had enough of an understanding of who the ten liars were and why they deserved to be punished as they were, but I did want to hear more about the tenth liar and why he was kept in the particular manner depicted in the novel.  But these few questions were not enough to keep me from enjoying the novel.  Besides, I have a strong feeling that these were threads to connect in later books, which would help create a rich world.

The novel is set with multiple point-of-views, so the readers are able to get to know multiple characters and receive information that would not have been available had there only been one point-of-view.  So while I typically shy away from novels with rotating POVs, I thoroughly enjoyed this with no issues.

The writing style is smooth and easy to read.    All in all, I can't wait for the next installment!  This has landed on my must-read list at kcgray (dot) com.



Do yourself a favor and grab your copy at Amazon.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Naming the Bane

 
Rating:  



About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

Kal S. Davian grew up in Wisconsin's Fox Cities surrounded by science fiction and fantasy stories. He spent much of his life designing and fiddling with his ideas. With a love of books and a desire to create, writing was the most achievable method with which to share his works. Most of his time is spent taking care of his family or developing his life's work, Nihilian Effect.

For more information: https://www.ForgottenFiction.webs.com


Blurb:

Cursed from birth, Daggis travels with a caravan of misfits and outcasts, fleeing a goddess hellbent on their destruction. He does what he can to protect his family, but when the caravan is raided by the goddess's army, one man can only do so much.


Review:


This is considered Book II, coming after Branding of a Heretic.  While I had a few issues with Book I, I absolutely adored this story!  Daggis is a man fighting for control, but when the caravan he's traveling with is attacked by the army, he not only loses control, he revels in his anger.

Daggis is a likable character from the start.  While he goes down a dark road and refuses to turn back, the things that he's gone through makes him way too sympathetic to dislike.  In fact, I cheered him on!

I can't wait to read more!  This has landed on my must-read list at kcgray (dot) com.



Do yourself a favor and grab your copy at Amazon.

Branding of a Heretic

Rating: 




About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

Kal S. Davian grew up in Wisconsin's Fox Cities surrounded by science fiction and fantasy stories. He spent much of his life designing and fiddling with his ideas. With a love of books and a desire to create, writing was the most achievable method with which to share his works. Most of his time is spent taking care of his family or developing his life's work, Nihilian Effect.

For more information: https://www.ForgottenFiction.webs.com

  
Blurb:

Claradina is a calm and collected historical scholar, that is until she stumbles upon information in a recently uncovered document that could change the world forever. With the collective Mind standing in her way, she must gain allies and bend the rules if she is ever going to expose the truth behind the history.


Review:


Disclaimer
I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


This was a pretty good read.  The characters are fascinating and interesting.  The biggest issue that I had with this was the plot.  While the plot was simple and straightforward (a document had been found which goes against what everyone believes), I don't think there was enough set up to show this world as a dystopian, where people cannot hold their own beliefs... they have to believe what The Mind and everyone else believes.  In saying this, by the end I fully understood what Claradina had at stake by bringing this document to The Mind.  But, by the end is too late.  I missed out of feeling the apprehension of the situation.

There was also the sudden addition of a major character near the end.  I'm still not sure who Sanaiya really is or what stakes she holds in this world.  She did heighten the tension quite a bit, I only wish I had a better understanding of how she fits into the world.

Overall, I'm glad I read it and will continue to look for other works by this author.  While I had my issues with this novella, the writing and the characters really pushed me to want to know more.



To find out more about this novel, please visit Amazon.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hair Power

Rating:



About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

Piers Anthony is one of the world's most popular fantasy authors, and a New York Times bestseller twenty-one times over. His Xanth novels have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world, and he daily receives hundreds of letters from his devoted fans. In addition to the Xanth series, Anthony is the author of many other best-selling works. Piers Anthony lives in Inverness, Florida.





Blurb:

Terminal cancer patient, Quiti, walks into an abandoned building planning on taking her life. Instead, she encounters a telepathic ball of hair that insists it is an alien seeking to facilitate diplomatic communication on Earth. Quiti assumes it is all a hallucination conjured up by her brain tumor. Because of this assumption, when she saves the alien’s life and it insists on doing Quiti a favor in return, she only asks for her hair back. She soon discovers, however, that the creature’s gift extends much further than her new locks that can change color with a thought. As her powers grow and her deadly illness goes into remission, Quiti quickly realizes that there are those that would want to use her for her abilities and is forced to leave behind everything that she knew. Will this blessing curse her to a life on the run, or does the mysterious hairball have more in store for her? Piers Anthony, critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestselling Xanth series, brings together humor and adventure in this original story of loyalty, friendship, extraordinary powers, and hair. 


Review:

Disclaimers

1. I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

2. To be perfectly honest and open, I love Piers Anthony!  His imagination has always allowed mine to soar.


I really, really want to speak on the Xanth series because they were an intricate part of my life growing up, and, therefore, they are an intricate part of who I am today.  But, I will refrain from doing so and only focus on Hair Power.

From the first line, nostalgic memories surged and I felt like that kid tucked into a corner and reading as though that's what sustained me.  I enjoyed the play on words, the humor infused into the plot, and the characters who seemed to enjoy the story as much as I did.

While I enjoyed the quick read and loved the memories such quirky characters brought about, there were a few things that affected the read for me.

The first thing is the dialogue.  It's fun at times, but at others it's very formal, and even if I took into consideration the powers of the hair, all characters spoke in a similar manner, including a prostitute.  My feeling about this would be different were there a bit more variety in word choice and sentence construction based on character.

The other thing is odder than usual plot points.  One major plot point that bothered me to no end had to do with Quiti, the main character, being invited to a dance by 16-year old Speedo.  During the dance, Quiti discovers new things about her powers, but multiple men hit on her and one man spiked her drink while he had vodka... how in the world is this a dance for 16-year olds?

These issues were minor, at best, when compared with the overall story.  I'm very interested in finding out more about the hairballs and seeing how the world adapts to their presence.


To find out more about this novel, please visit Amazon.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Silvana The Greening

Rating:



About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

Belinda Mellor is a wanderer, currently living in New Zealand (she arrived on holiday 8 years ago and forgot to leave). Before that the same thing happened to her in Ireland. She was actually born in England. She loves myths and legends and folklore, so all her stories touch on those things because she believes that's where truth is to be found.





Blurb:

Once heard, the song of a Silvana can never be forgotten.

Yet for every man who wins such a wife, there are three destroyed in the attempt.

Fabiom of Deepvale, dreams of winning the love of a Silvana, one of the mysterious and powerful tree spirits who haunt the deepest groves of the wildwood. But when he is suddenly thrown into the political arena and expected to keep the family silk business running, everything changes. Fabiom fears he will have to put aside his dream, for such a quest is perilous and Deepvale cannot afford to lose its young lord.
However, the piece of amber he finds beneath the huge ash tree could change his mind. If one of the Silvanii is upset enough to weep golden tears at the thought of losing him, then presenting himself on the eve of his seventeenth birth-anniversary might not be so dangerous after all.
What Fabiom does not know, is that the fiercely guarded secrets of silk-making have been sold abroad, putting more than the economic stability of his holding at risk; it was the Silvanii who first gifted Morene’s people with those secrets, and they do not take kindly to betrayal.


Review:

I really enjoyed this novel!  The characters and the dialogue were the best parts, and the author has created a fascinating world!

And while I'd enjoyed the novel, there were a couple of aspects that really affected the read for me.  The first issue was the frequent switch of scene with no warning to the reader.  I would be enthralled in a conversation, imagining it vividly, and then another sentence of dialogue would suddenly be shown as taking place at a later time and date.

The best example of this was when the main character and his father had an intense conversation about whether or not the father would leave home to go on a political voyage.  The interaction was fantastic and vivid to me, and then the time switch felt sudden and jarring.

Example:
"Thank you," Fabiom managed, realising the magnitude of his father's praise.  "Well?" Vida demanded, as Fabiom left the library and walked, distracted, towards his own room.


The switch from Fabiom speaking to his father to someone else speaking to Fabiom within the same paragraph and no transition pulled me violently from the text.  And in the thread of fairness, there were as many well transitioned scenes as there were jarring ones.


Another reason for the three stars is that the novel felt more episodic than a single, cohesive narrative.  Fabiom and his lovely wife go through a lot of different issues, from personal to political, from human to Silvanii.  While the switches allowed unique scenes and struggles throughout the novel, interest waned and rose with each new plotline.


And because I believe honest and well-balanced should go together, along with the interesting characters and worlds, I did find the writing smooth and easy to follow.  Beautiful sentences and images throughout the novel also pulled me through the read.

Example:
... he informed them in an accent almost as heavy as his clothing.



Overall, this was a wonderful reading experience, and I recommend this to anyone who enjoys beautiful settings and interesting characters!


To find out more about this novel, please visit Amazon.