This is The Hordes of Haran, getting close to the end of the first draft. I'm very excited about and proud of this book, and can't wait for you to read it! I think you'll agree that my writing has gotten much stronger over the course of this series, and that this book, already as long as Kergulen, is the most exciting and intense book in the series, but without losing the veins of humor and emotional connection you've come to expect. Now if only I had a genie to clean my house and stop me from volunteering for anything else, I'd get it to you in the next few months. As it is, I can't make any promises. Thanks so much for hanging in here with me. I know I'm already more than a year behind schedule. You're a great bunch of readers!
Wind Catcher: A Gripping Fantasy Thriller (A Chosen Novel Book 1)
First, let me say I almost passed this one up just because it had the words 'a gripping fantasy thriller' in the title. I thought that was weird. And as I read the book, I thought it weirder because I don't think it's gripping or a thriller. I'd lean more toward 'young adult paranormal'. That said, I liked the story very much. It's based on native American lore, which I love. I love Juliet's struggle to live in two worlds and the glimpses into her heritage. I love the believable conflict between her friends and her grandfather and her mother. The characters came alive for me and were a pleasure to follow even when they did dumb things (remember, I said young adult, and I love to complain about immature teens). Since reading this book, I've started sharing a plate with my son regularly. Juliet's grandfather introduced me to the idea of eating from one dish, and I loved it. (Not only is it more intimate, but who wants to wash plates if she doesn't have to?). We have magic, villains, and a quest of sorts, as well as what might become romance. I'm not saying there isn't any suspense, only that it hardly defines the story.
I don't remember being irritated by typos and the like, but I've read a lot of books since this one. Sorry if I'm wrong about that, but it apparently wasn't enough to keep me from thoroughly enjoying the story.
Language: Very mild if anything.
Sexual Content: None.
Violence: There's a murder, not super graphic, and some attempted murder. Not much more than you might find in the mildest of PG13.
Overall Message/Plot: Weird things are happening. Why? What can we do about it? I don't think the writers relied on plotting as much as they did on characters, which I love, but at the same time it wasn't weak. I left the story feeling both satisfied and interested to know where the rest of the story goes. Some questions are answered, but there's a lot more to be revealed in future installments.
Find it HERE.
The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element Book 1)
I had a hard time deciding what to do with this book. The first 60% or so is told as an overview from the heroine's perspective, with breaks for scenes that illustrated something the author wanted us to know. I usually hate that kind of storytelling. And yet the first scene hooked me hard enough (kind of creeped me out) that I felt engaged regardless of the pace. I kept thinking I would put the book aside, but I really wanted to know what was going to happen!
Eventually the book did drop into a typical pace, and I was so engaged that I read the next one, and will read the third even though it's a grim tale without much in the way of levity. I had to take a break because of the intensity, but I really will go back. I need to know how it ends!
The Fourth Element Series has a strong historical fiction feel (think Ancient Persia, not England) but with magic woven throughout. If you don't like fantasy on the dark side, you may not enjoy this, but then again, I'm buying sequels even though I shy away from darker stories, so maybe you will.
Violence: Yes. This is a dark story and there's a lot more gore than I usually read. A lot of heartbreak and people you want to behead.
Sexual Content: Not exactly. It's mentioned and often it's violent and/or plain gross in nature (part of book 2 takes place in a brothel of young boys) but that really was common and acceptable in ancient times, and in the story it isn't glamorized. It makes you glad to live in the modern world where those kinds of things are at least illegal. Anyway, there's a bit of content like that (told you I needed to take a break from it) and although it's not graphic, it's disturbing. That's the idea, I think. There are other references as well, but again, I can't remember anything graphic. Still, it's an R rating in my opinion. Just like war movies often are just because of the story they're telling.
Foul language: Yes. I'd say it has a PG13 rating.
Overall Message/Plot: The book is about finding freedom for the oppressed and enslaved. It's about not believing everything you've been taught, but rather searching for truth. About understanding that your enemies might actually be your friends if you faced your own illusions.
Find it HERE.
Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn comes recommended. It's full of coolness even if it is a little more focused on romance than my usual fare. At first the main character was annoyingly immature, but early on she made some choices that helped her begin to grow up and become someone I could enjoy reading about. There's intrigue, romance, fantastic creatures, character growth, diversity, cultural commentary, and adventure.
Violence: The story isn't particularly dark, which I appreciate, and while there are fights and struggles, there's nothing gory.
Sexual Content: Although it's a romance, I don't remember anything more than kissing. But there certainly is some romantic tension.
Language: I can't remember anything generally considered foul. My apologies if I missed something, but it must have been mild.
Overall Plot/Message: I thought it worked well, with a solid climax and happy enough ending. As usual, I'm writing this review a long time after reading the book, but I think I would remember if there were inconsistencies or nonsense that set my teeth to hurting. If there's a message, it's to not trust men and rush into a relationship because they're handsome and romantic, but stand back until they've proved their character. Not a bad message at all.
Find it HERE.
Hey! Look who remembered she had a blog? I know, right? Life has been super busy and I've been using what little time I allow for myself to work on book 4, which is far behind where it should be according to the goal I set for myself. But I'm going to try to at least post a book review now and then. I only read before bed, so you'd think I'd be able to keep up, but no, I have several books waiting for review. If you have three minutes, you can check out this one:
Review of 'Sentinel' by Jamie Foley
This book was wonderfully diverse, a good read, and unusual. In fact, it was unusual enough that I had a hard time figuring out the setting at first. Not because the writing was bad, but because it started out with the main characters driving a car, but then turned out to be fantasy set in a fantasy world. It was hard for my head to merge the two genres into one, but I got it eventually, lol.
The main character is a teen, and generally acts about as mature as you would expect an adolescent male from a traumatized background to act. This was annoying at times, but also fit and was instrumental in moving the story forward. I should probably stop reading Young Adult if I'm going to keep complaining about immaturity every time, shouldn't I? Anyway, despite logic, the young man decides to save his sister and in the process causes all kinds of trouble. The story is complete with rivals, battles, surprises, discovery of magical powers, and near death experiences. And death experiences as well, but I won't say more about that for fear of spoiling.
There were some editing issues, but most of the reading was smooth. My main complaint is something I hit on earlier, and relates to the world building. Without taking the time to analyze it I couldn't say what the specific problem was, but I didn't feel like I was part of the world most of the time. This could totally be just me, but I wasn't absorbed into the book. Still, it was a worthwhile read, and I loved that the characters looked different and had defined ethnicities. My guess is that this story would be most appealing to young teen boys, who might find it more relatable.
Sexual Content: The main character struggles with controlling his thoughts about girls, one in particular, but it wasn't super explicit or anything. And it got him into trouble, which was fun.
Language: I honestly can't remember any bad language, only that the writer created 'obscenities' for his story. I always appreciate that. It adds to a feeling of otherworldliness and makes the book friendlier to those who can't stand bad language. I apologize if I missed anything. I really should take notes when I'm reading but I'm afraid that just isn't going to happen.
Violence: Yes, as previously mentioned, there is fighting, killing, and dying. I don't remember any long, graphic descriptions of entrails or anything, but violence is a big part of the story.
Overall Message/Plot: Other than a few bits where characters question the existence of a creator and whatnot, I'd say the story was straightforward and plot-centric. The plot was moved along by the characters, for sure, which I suppose makes it character-driven by definition, but because I didn't feel close to the characters, I experienced it more in terms of plot. There are mysteries, quests for survival and the rescue of others, and a mystical villain or two to keep things interesting. Overall, an enjoyable read.
Find it here.
Hi! I'm posting my two favorite illustration variations from Sophie Russell, and I'd like you to vote on which you like better. Picture one is a hand drawn sketch, and picture two is a computerized version.
It'll only take a minute of your time to vote, and I would really appreciate your participation. Thanks!
Whisper of the Woods, by D. G. Driver, is the second book in the Juniper Sawfeather series. I reviewed the first book a couple of months ago, and after working on a couple other projects, was able to read this.
I think I enjoyed this book as much as the first, which was very much, although I think I spent more time wanting to strangle June in this book. I don't want to spoil anything, but suffice it to say that she ends up stuck in a magical tree that may or may not intend to let her go! I'm not sure she was in her right mind when she ended up in this predicament, so maybe it isn't really her fault, but regardless she did make some poor choices in the book. Her struggles with her parents and others felt real, and highlighted the reason why people shouldn't make long term choices until they're over 25, lol. In some ways she's mature for her age, but in others, not so much. She doesn't apologize for the way she treats people (well, maybe eventually?) but it's not glamorized, either. And there's good reason why she's in a foul mood so much of the time. She does have it rough.
I felt genuinely creeped out in this book. It, like the first, has an environmental message, but in this case I wasn't sure who I should root for. You might think this is weird, but it's actually a strength of the writing and makes a great story.
Sexual Content: There are some conversations and situations that make this book more appropriate for older teens than younger, but there's no sex.
Violence: Not human on human as far as I remember.
Foul Language: I don't remember but a couple minor 'bad words'.
Overall Plot/Message: I'd say this book is mostly message driven, but it has a solid plot, with strong characters that have distinct motivations and personalities. It's not super complicated, but because I hadn't read the blurb in a long time I was surprised at the way it went. In fact, I would avoid reading the blurb if I were you. Just get the book and read it with no idea of what to expect. This book sets up for the last in the series, which I will read when I've plowed through more of my list.
Find it here.
Please take time to participate because I think this will be neat. I won a free sketch from an illustrator, and I want YOU to post which scene you want to see illustrated. It can come from any of my books. The sketch will go on the front page of my website for a while, and may also end up in an advertisement.
I'm posting a few samples so you have an idea of what to expect from the illustrator. Please share your thoughts!
You can find the illustrator, Sophie Russell, here.
Please share the news that Alonca's Quest is now live on amazon.com. If you would like this and share it on your social media, I would appreciate it so much! If you're not sure how to do that, let me know and I will explain. Clicking on the cover below will take you right to the amazon page.
Thank you! It's a great day :).
Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog! Around here you'll find posts about my books and my family, as well as the occasional relevant book review.