Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Antagonists Review

The Antagonists

by Burgandi Rakoska

Minerva Banks' entire life has been one large battle. When she was younger, she had wanted to harness her fighting skills by joining The Quartet - New Quartz City's finest superhero team. She had been young. Her head had been filled with dreams. Now she's a graduate student with a head filled with anxieties. And yet, there's still a small part of her that longs to join The Quartet. Then again, as the old saying goes, one shouldn't meet their heroes. It's not long before Minerva Banks finds herself in a battle that has existed since the Era of Merlin, a battle to survive, a battle to prove herself...

 The Antagonist introduces us to Minnie, a black woman with Spina bifida. All she wants to do is be of use to her heroes, but once she meets them face to face, she learns something most unfortunate about them. (I won't go into details, because spoilers).

A small bit of backstory first: I first discovered this book through posts shared on tumblr. After my husband also found it and read it, he kept suggesting it to me. I finally broke down and decided to read it. And wow, what a nice and refreshing read. We have the wonderful Minnie who, despite so much being against her, is indeed a strong woman and I can already see her getting much stronger and more confident with herself as this series continues. I actually bought books two and three immediately after reading the first. (I even forgot my husband and I can share books on our kindles, so now we have double the copies). While I do think the adults act a bit like teenagers sometimes, I quickly decided that Victor was my favorite character. He and Minnie are truly adorable.

My only qualm with the book is the overuse of the characters names, especially in the first chapter. Every other sentence was "Minnie did this" "Minnie did that" "Minnie this and that". It did get better as the chapters continued on, although that does still need to get worked on a bit.

All in all, The Antagonist features a delightfully strong character, amusing character commentary, and even wizards. what's not to love?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Virtual FantasyCon 2017


It's that time of year: time for the Virtual FantasyCon facebook event where authors come together for a week of contests, games, and giveaways! This online fantasy convention is a fun way to meet and learn about authors without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. 

The event runs from October 15th through 21st. Links to all the participating authors event pages can be found in the pinned post on the Virtual FantasyCon - Readers Corner page. Be sure to join the authors event pages that you don't want to miss out on and feel free to invite anyone who loves fantasy and free stuff!

I will also be giving away ebook copies of my books, so be sure to join my event page!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Character Interview: Ril

Today I'd like to share an interview with Ril that was done for Booknvolume. If you're unfamiliar with Ril, he is a snarky pirate with an airship called The Sacred Hart. He first joins Maeja in Falls the Shadow (The Chronicles of Midgard #1) with the hopes of getting the rare treasure of Odin’s ring, Draupnir, from her. Ril has a love for anything of wealth and can be a bit guarded about his past.

 Let’s start off simple. What is your name?   
*sits book down* Ril.

That’s it? Just Ril? 
 I prefer Ril. After all, what respectable pirate walks around named Ril’Hounithra?

Didn’t know pirates could be respectable. So, did you always want to be a thief? 
Tch. Don’t mix me with common thieves. I am a pirate.

Thief, pirate, what’s the difference? 
 I have an airship. And, no, I didn’t always want to be a pirate. However, an opportunity presented itself and I would have been a fool to turn it down. I got the escape I wanted. *smiles smugly*

It is said that your airship was your first act of piracy. Is that true?  
Yes. I stole The Sacred Hart right out from under the Empire’s nose. They never saw it coming.

That weapon you carry called a mage gun, have you used it much?  
No, and I would prefer not to. I really do detest bloodshed. I’d rather not soil my cuffs if possible.

Are mage guns common where you are from?   
They are quite rare. This was the only one I’ve found intact. The High Order of mages ruled them dangerous and it’s forbidden to make more. After all, the town of Rhudan was leveled to ruins in an explosion making their bullets. It’s hard to find mages willing to make my ammunition.

I see you have purple tipped hair. Is that something that is natural for your race, or something you’ve done yourself? 
Adding color to one’s hair is something those of us with higher class enjoy doing. Although…I have been considering letting it just grow out.

You said that adding color to hair is something the upper class enjoy. Does that mean you are of a higher class? 
Of course. How could you assume anything less? *straightens the cuffs of his sleeves*

What about those colorful stones hanging from your ears? Do they have any significance?
They’re called speakstones and they allow me to get in touch with my contacts when I need certain information, or to ask for a favor.

So, tell me, is there any special treasure in particular that you have your eye on? 
 *grins* Of course. Such a rare and beautiful treasure. Unfortunately, I cannot divulge any more information on this subject.

What sort of hobbies might a pirate such as yourself have when not stealing away rare treasures?   
I quite enjoy a good book. I have quite the collection in my quarters.

Do you have a favorite book?  
Many, but I’ve always held a fondness for “One Hundred and One Tales of Odd Nese.”

Wait. Isn’t that a storybook for children? 
 Tch. Never dismiss a classic.

How about your traveling companions? What are your thoughts on each of them? 
Maeja is an intriguing woman, a stubborn challenge I am quite enjoying. Connor and Linkyn are more trouble than they are worth most times and horribly foul mouthed. As for Mjrn, she is the perfect accomplice. She handles The Sacred Hart well when I need her to.

One last question. You seem to take pleasure in stirring up trouble. Why is that?   
*grin broadens* I’m a pirate. It’s what I do. Where’s the fun in behaving?

Well, I’m afraid that’s all we have time for today. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.   
Of course it has. *picks book up and returns to reading*

Falls the Shadow (The Chronicles of Midgard #1)

 

Everything had been taken from her: her family, her home, and nearly her life. 

Now, two years later, Mæja is still haunted by what the Empire did to her. But a new deception is afoot: the Empire is seeking five sacred treasures to reawaken the dark god, Loki, which could plunge all of Midgard into irreparable darkness. 

With betrayal fresh in mind, she seeks to reclaim the ancient treasures before they fall into enemy hands. She is joined by the pirate Ril and his accomplice Mjrn, as well as roguish rebels Connor and Linkyn. Their unlikely alliance is now the only defense against an Empire that could destroy all of Midgard. Embark with Mæja on a treasure hunt of epic proportions…

Kindle  |  Print  |  Nook  |  Add on Goodreads

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cover Reveal!

It's finally here! The cover reveal for Lies of Light, the first book in my new series, the Darker Shade of Light! This beautiful cover was made by the wonderful Kristina Bilota (http://kristinatoxicpanda.com/)

Skin black as pitch, nails like talons...

A mysterious illness creeps through Acantha's people--one that even the most powerful healers' magic cannot touch. When the affliction proves to be something far more sinister, Noora Duskbourne finds herself trapped.

Blamed by the King for the incident, Noora's only ally in her escape from the King's fury is Vaeros, a man whose identity is shrouded in mystery. However, safety is not quite at hand as she is pursued by a Warder as skilled in the hunt as he is with the deadly arts of arcane combat.

A path wrought with danger awaits Noora and Vaeros as they discover that something harrowing lingers in the light--an ancient darkness that refuses to remain forgotten.



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36230837-lies-of-light

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Return to Lan Darr Review

Return to Lan Darr

by Anderson Atlas

"Surviving Lan Darr not only changed Allan’s life, it rocked him to his core. On Earth, he’s simply a boy in a wheelchair who got lost in the woods, but across the Hubbu connected planetary system, Allan is a hero. He must find a way back there, alone if need be.

Returning to Lan Darr might just kill him. Though he’s learned the hard way that Allan Westerfield does not die easily.

Back on Earth, Allan’s uncle and his best friend race after Allan without an inkling of how deadly Hubbu travel can be. Chaos ensues, spawning disorder, confusion and panic as the travelers end up on different worlds at different times and face extreme ecosystems, mysterious enemies and push the clock of death to the absolute breaking point.

The second book of the Heroes of Distant Planet Series cranks up the excitement, the mystery and even the humor. A perfect and inspiring Young Adult Fantasy Action Adventure for 12 and up."

***This review was written by my husband***

I like the inclusion of a disabled character. 2nd in the series, gladly kept reading the tale.
It still gets a star for character development, and one for the plot and world building.
Another star for unique critters. Not an elf, dwarf, or "Human except blue" to be seen.
I like the inclusion of the disabled character, and an early on scene where he thinks about it.

Only lost a star because there are a few times the writing gets rough. I didn't have to stop and try to figure out what was meant, the meaning was generally clear, but the clunky wording in a few spots made me fall out of my suspension of disbelief.

Another note to the author, like in your first books review:
A gun with a slide, you pull the slide back to chamber a round, this will also eject a round if one is already chambered. Most of them you can still cock the hammer, only a few I've seen are hammerless. Cocking back the slide was one of those scenes that broke immersion in the story.
I'm no gun nut but I'd gladly talk guns for a bit and share what I know.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hope in Nautical Dusk Review

Opal Charm: Hope in Nautical Dusk (Vol. 2)

by Miri Castor

The Gift of Twilight flourishes within Opal Charm as winter descends on Dewdrop. Life was already rough before, but Opal’s got new obstacles to face – getting into high school, bringing her brother back home, and training to protect Athre and Earth from Samael, the mysterious overlord who seeks to rule all, and put an end to her and the Charm lineage. The balance between harsh truths and sweet lies is more fragile than ever.

Yet, as winter rolls on, the balance begins to break as a new threat emerges. Memories Opal once trusted are disintegrating her friendships, and lies are clouding her Path of Dawn and Dusk. Opal must seek the truth while protecting those close to her, no matter how painful it may be.

I was very excited when Miri Castor announced the release of Hope in Nautical Dusk and pre-ordered mine. I was not disappointed in the least. It holds a much quicker pacing than  The Path to Dawn did and Opal continues to grow into a stronger character who does, at times, suffer from feeling of self doubt. But, in all truth, that should be understandable when you go from being a normal teenager to suddenly having the weight of lives on your shoulders. I do look forward to seeing her continue to grow in the next book.

So much happens that is sad, but I don't want to reveal any spoilers here. Let me just say you might find yourself trying not to cry. I can say, that I still love Evron and his complete nervousness. He's still one of my favorites and I look forward to seeing how he progresses as well. Especially in his interactions with Opal.

In this book, Opal begins to discover more about herself and I think that's very important. And, while I might be rooting one way for her heart, I won't be horribly upset if it goes somewhere else. I think Miri Castor is doing a very good job in writing the turmoil going through Opal right now. I will sit by and eagerly await the next book, but no pressure on the author.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Strange Lands Review

Strange Lands (Heroes of Distant Planets #1)
by Anderson Atlas

 "Ripped from his wheelchair by a massive flash flood, Allan drags himself through dense forest only to find himself surrounded by strange and ruthless creatures who are not from Earth. Allan can’t run away and has no means to defend himself. Instinct overcomes his terror and his cleverness blossoms, which is all he needs to survive the dark jungles, poisonous plants, Shadic hunters and the vile slave trader Killian Crow.

Follow Allan's path of self-discovery, and watch him take back what he's lost. Surviving the Improbable Quest is a spine tingling adventure, with exciting twists & turns. A perfect and inspiring read for 10 and up."

***This review was written by my husband***
  
Specifically a YA book, there is nothing in here that will make you raise an eyebrow knowing your kid read it.

That being said, here's where the star rating comes from.

Characters: are all believable, some are greed driven, some are in it for personal reasons, and others just want to get back to before things hit the strange part.

Story: Good ideas, at no point was it ever "It's magic, deal with it." There's an underlying scientific reason, even if it's not laid out in exacting detail, for how the world works. Potentially minus one bit, but I've seen plenty of techno-fantasy talk about souls, so it gets a pass.

Writing: At no point did I have to go over and re-read a typo or a poorly worded sentence, I understood what was going on at all times. If there were errors they were small and infrequent enough that I saw none.

What cost a star:
Pacing at the beginning was rushed a bit, the reader is told there is a period of time that goes by, but there's not really any substance to it. There is no adjustment period, no working on anything, just *problem 1* and suddenly a period of time has gone by and we're getting hit with problem 2. A short scene about going to where the main ends up, and another about what is done between then and the day with a conversation with a nurse, in addition to what is there, would have made me feel like a more solid time went by. Maybe two or three pages tops.

All in, I could see reading more of the series, and giving it to my kid to read as well.

Spoiler:
 Also, note to the author and a bit of a spoiler. The Hindenburg went down in flames because it was full of hydrogen, if it was full of helium there would have been a small fire where it originally started, and if it lost enough lift it would have landed rough.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

ARC Readers Wanted!


I'm still looking for Advanced Release Copy (ARC) readers who are willing to receive, read, and review my upcoming releases! Joining is simple, just fill out this form:


ARC Reader Signup

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Book Blurbs

Ah, book blurbs. The sweet little tidbits on the backs of books meant to draw you in with their alluring teaser to the story contained within. Oh, how much I hate writing them. They can be both the delight and bane of authors.

My problem with writing blurbs is that I want to talk about everything I think is exciting and awesome in the book. Unfortunately, that would give far too much of the story away. And so there I sit in frustration trying to hint at the story and get the perfect wording. Writing and rewriting the blurb several times, oftentimes with multiple versions, I then run them past my poor unsuspecting family and friends. More than once my husband has looked over at me while writing them to find me like this:
It's funny how writing the book itself can frustrate me to no end sometimes, but yet seems like a walk in the park compared to writing two or three little paragraphs of a blurb. After writing and rewriting a blurb, I'll come to the one I think would be the best and sit on it for a bit, reading it over several times to see if I like the wording. I'll admit, I get really excited when I believe that I've finally got my blurb perfectly decided.
Most of the time, feedback from family and friends on the blurb is good. Sometimes suggestions are made, like alternate wording choices or to leave out one of the sentences because it might just spoil too much. Other times there are massive change suggestions that leave me having to decide if I want to follow through with the suggestion or leave it as is--which I might personally think works better.
Currently, I have two new releases drawing near that need blurbs. The one for my new series is pretty much set and ready to go, although I just might make a tweak here or there before officially sending it over. As for the blurb for the forth Chronicles of Midgard book, Breach of Neutrality, I find that I am frustrated beyond belief. I have one sentence written for it....one. There is so much going on in the story and with only one book remaining in the series after it, I find it far more difficult to write than the previous installments.

 But I know I'll get through it. I always do. I may get frustrated while writing, sometimes wanting to crawl in a corner and cry or give up completely, which I have considered more than once. Nevertheless the truth is I never will stop writing. Writing has been part of me since I was a child and will be for the rest of my life. I might have a love-hate relationship with writing, but I will never give it up, even if at times I do honestly consider doing just that. Besides, if I did suddenly stop writing, I know at least five people who would be very angry and hunt me down, hehe.
So, to all the writers out there, whether you're published or not, don't ever give up. Keep on writing. Sure, we may never become the next J.K. Rowling and have massive book sales and movie deals, but we do have those readers who loyally follow us. Our readers who look for our books and who would be greatly saddened if we stopped writing.

Write on.