Thursday, January 31, 2013

Giveaway winners

Oh, dear... My computer has been all buggy lately, so I'm using that for an excuse: I couldn't see my taskbar, so I forgot I had two giveaways that ended Sunday night!! Well, let's just fix that, shall we?

I have a giveaway for Liberty here. The winner of a PDF (by request) copy of Liberty is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also have a giveaway for The Burning Time by J.G. Faherty here. There were three winners of an e-book copy, and those winners are...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'll have another up next week, if I can get into the text file to find out whose next... Keep watching!

Book review: "The Book of Paul" by Richard Long

The Book of PaulThe Book of Paul by Richard Long

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: People fascinated with occultism of all stripes, alternate ideas behind spirituality, dark suspenseful stories
Trigger Warnings: Torture, serial killing, explicit sex, (implied) rape, mutilation, betrayal

My Thoughts: This book. Wow, I don’t even know where to begin! I ended the book, shook myself all over, and said, “Oh my GOD!" This book was amazing, mesmerizing, engaging, wonderful... twisted... And I learned more about the more extreme forms of body modifications than I ever really wanted to know (and I thought I was already fairly well-informed... just goes to show you, there is always something weirder out there. Nullification, anyone? That means, “cutting off bits,” if you didn’t know this...). Maybe a good place to begin is here:

...everything you’ve ever known, everything you’ve ever believed about yourself... about the description of reality you’ve clung to so stubbornly all your life... all of it... every bit of it... is an illusion.” I know I’m repeating the quote from the beginning of the synopsis here (shown below), but it encapsulates the ideas behind this story beautifully.

Something you need to understand about me, to maybe help you understand why I loved this book so very, very much. I love villains. I’ve always loved villains—it all stems from early exposure to the Joker, I think. I root for the villain in superhero comics and cartoons and movies; I love stories where the villain has a good showing. A good villain will just make my entire month. And Paul? He’s an awesome villain. He’s charismatic. He’s joyfully cruel, gleefully evil. He loves to torture people. He’s like Hannibal Lecter if Hannibal Lecter had been kinda stinky, Irish, and not as dashing. Best of all, he’s absolutely convinced of the righteousness of his own actions. Paul... is my ideal sort of villain. I just wanted to follow him around (hiding of course—you don’t want that sort to notice you, after all) and watch everything he did with a sick and morbid fascination.

The ending is a complete spin, and just amazing. I don’t even know what else to say about this book other than you must read it! If you are fascinated with occultism, Hermeticism, the Celts, druids, like dark suspenseful stories... There are some things in this book that will probably distress more sensitive readers, so be sure to check my trigger warnings, but overall? I loved this book, and I am now on tenter-hooks hoping the next will come out soon.

Disclosure: I purchased this book for myself upon the recommendation of Kriss Morton (a death mask may have been involved). All opinions are my own.

Series information: A best-selling novel, The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly. The next two books in the series are to be called The Book of Druids and The Bone King.

Synopsis: "Everything you've ever believed about yourself... about the description of reality you've clung to so stubbornly all your life... all of it... every bit of it... is an illusion."

In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure "beyond all imagining"—an immaculately preserved, fifth-century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will... and attaining eternal life.

When Rose, a sex- and pain-addicted East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with Martin, a battle-hardened loner, they discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book's occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.

The action is relentless as Rose and Martin fight to escape Paul's clutches and Martin's destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul's sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn't be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe—the Maelstrom.

View all my reviews

Cover Reveal: Saga of the New Gods Vol. 1 "Be Careful what you Wish For" by Daniel Black

I am just pleased as punch to present the new cover for the first book in Daniel Black's Saga of the New Gods Be Careful What you Wish For (he took it down until the cover was finalized, so that link will take you to the Goodreads page for now). This is a book with which I have quite a history! First I read and reviewed it (and you can see that review here). Based on my feedback, Daniel Black had me edit this book and then re-released it, and had me edit the second book in the series, The Horror of Magic as well. These books are just so much fun! Here is the synopsis of this one:


You never know what you might find in the back corner of a pawn shop…

Michelle enters a shop expecting to find a wedding band for her love, and instead finds a ring that can and will change everything about the world she knows, and will also teach her the value of the phrase “Be careful what you wish for."

What I love about this story is that Daniel has taken the idea of role-players remaking the world in their own image to a terrific new place, and if you were a role-player, or if you are interested in what magic might do to the modern world, or just like love a terrific fantasy, these books are definitely for you. I'll make an announcement when this book is again available!

Annabell Cadiz presents: "Lucifer" Book 1 in the Sons of Old trilogy - BOOK LAUNCH!

Today we are celebrating the book launch of Annbell Cadiz's debut novel, Lucifer, book 1 in the Sons of Old Trilogy (and edited by yours truly). If you enjoy young-adult urban fantasy, featuring demons and angels and kick-butt heroines, then you are for a real treat! Here's some more information, straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak!

(Sons of Old Trilogy, Book 1)
Author: Annabell Cadiz
Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural
Published: January 31, 2013

Synopsis: Have you ever wondered what could be hiding in the shadows?

Well, for eighteen-year-old Zahara Faraday, she doesn’t have to wonder. You see she comes from a lineage of Light Witches, those who have chosen to help protect and serve between the supernatural world and the human world. The only problem is Zahara, like her father Solomon, is as human as a human being can be whereas her mother, Mia, and her Aunt Catalina, were born as Light Witches. As a family they hunt down rogue supernaturals—creatures who harm humans or who have committed an act against their kingdom. 

Zahara’s hunting skills are usually kept dormant since her parents would prefer she live life as a normal human girl without knowledge of the supernatural world. She plans on doing just that—except when she finds a couple being attacked by fairies, she has no choice but to step in. Before she can return to pretending to be blissfully ignorant, Zahara encounters a problem she isn’t the least equip to handle: Bryan Hamilton, the good looking new co-worker she has to help train. In a heartbeat, her best friend, Becca King, has set her up on a double date with herself and her new crush, Rekesh Saint-Louis, who happens to be the most powerful leader of the biggest Imago Coven in South Florida –supernatural creatures with the ability to control water . . . and suck out human souls. 

Zahara has no time to focus on how she’s going to explain her double date with her best friend and the enemy they have a tentative truce with to her parents because soon one of the members of Mia and Catalina’s coven is found murdered with a strange tattoo of a snake with wings carved into his arm.

Zahara is then thrown into a whirlwind battle with an angel determined to have revenge against God, an Imago coven she doesn’t think they should trust, and slew of dream-eating fairies and powerful Nephilims, hybrid children of angels and humans, more than happy to rip her to shreds.

Normal just got a deadlier definition.

The fairy moved slowly, his eyes roaming the park for movement. He sniffed the air as the breeze wafted through the bushes then turned his attention sharply back to the bushes. Zahara jumped back to her feet to steer him away from Becca and took off running. The fairy ran after her, moving so fast Becca thought he could merge with the wind. She let out a long breath and stumbled out of the bushes, knowing her best friend couldn’t fight him alone.
Zahara just ran, trying to find a place to hide and catch her breath, but seeing none. She staggered forward as the wind pushed her from behind and was suddenly gripped by the neck by a hand composed of pure muscle. The fairy threw her onto the ground and raked his nails across Zahara’s face. Zahara managed to cover her face with her arms, and cried out as she felt the skin ripping open.
“Hey! Get the hell away from my best friend, you demon, tree-hugging bastard!” Becca yelled and rammed herself into him. She fell to the ground with the fairy and drove the dagger into his side as hard as she could. She flipped herself up off the fairy and jumped back to her feet, standing hunched forward with her muscles locked as the fairy stood.
He removed the dagger from his side and threw it onto the ground, eyeing Becca with a hard glare. Zahara aimed another arrow at him, but the fairy swung his arm out, throwing Zahara into the air with the strength of his power. He pounced on Becca, who managed to dodge him and stay on her feet. She eyed the dagger quickly, trying to measure how far she would have to jump to retrieve it. The fairy moved toward her and Becca leapt, except she couldn’t move. Her arms and legs were as rigid as an iron board. She couldn’t even blink.
The fairy curled his lips into a wicked smile and grabbed her hair, yanking her head back forcibly and bringing his lips to hers. Becca tried to close her eyes. If she closed her eyes than he wouldn’t be able to steal her memories or her dreams, but she couldn’t make her eyes listen. Her brain was sending out a loud warning signal, but nothing was happening. The fairy opened his mouth slightly and inhaled deeply. Becca saw the memory before it left her. It was the one where she had gone to the Father-Daughter Dance at church with her dad the year before. She could feel the memory fading, her dad’s smile and warm arms around her disappearing into darkness, as the memory was sucked out through her lips, a thick layer of blue, corporeal energy, before being transferred into the fairy’s mouth. Becca could feel tears streaming down the side of her face.
Zahara got onto her knees, and wavered back and forth as she tried to shake the pain out of her head. She grabbed another arrow from the canister strapped across her shoulders and aimed for the fairy. She blinked a few times, since her vision was still out of focus, shifting between seeing Becca and seeing a blurry version of her. She shut her eyes tightly and opened them again, staring intently at the fairy, and shot off the arrow. The arrow bounced off some kind of shield the fairy had put into place.
Zahara growled underneath her breath and took off running toward Becca and the fairy. She could see the blue stream of energy escaping Becca’s lips and felt her heart pounding in her veins as she roared and launched herself at the shield. The fairy paid no heed to Zahara’s attempt to save her best friend. Zahara pounded her fist against the invisible shield. She stepped back, breathing hard, and stabbed one of the arrows into the shield as hard as she could. The shield cracked and burst open as the tip of the arrow set itself on fire.
The fairy hissed at Zahara and threw Becca onto the ground. Zahara tried to aim the arrow at the fairy, but was once again thrown back by his power. Zahara lifted her head and grabbed the bow. She tried to get to her knees—every muscle in her body protesting—so she could aim another arrow, but the fairy threw her back again. Zahara cursed under her breath as her bow flew out of her hand and she was smacked into the back of a bench.
Zahara looked up toward the fairy, feeling behind her back for another arrow, but finding none. She cursed under her breath again. She had forgotten to restock them after training. The fairy was moving with slow steps, his eyes blazing in triumph as he neared her. He was enjoying having finally worn out his prey and Zahara scowled at him.
Suddenly, the fairy turned his head sharply to the right and another figure emerged. Zahara’s shoulders slumped back. She could not handle fighting off two of them; she wasn’t even sure how to defend herself against one of them without any kind of weapon. But Zahara realized the fairy wasn’t moving anymore. He was crouched forward and his hands were in fists. Zahara looked at the new figure and cringed. It was Rekesh. His skin revealed his true nature as he slid off the glamour and the moonlight caressed his bare neck and face, turning his skin silver.
Rekesh was an Imago, a creature born of a mermaid and the fallen angel Kutiel. He could move ten times faster than any human and had the strength to rip a human apart with his bare hands. During the day, he looked like an ordinary person but at night, in the moments Rekesh dropped the glamour of magic, his skin would turn silver because of the power of the moon. The moon controlled the ocean and since his ancestry connected to the water, when nightfall came, his strength increased, and so would his power to control the element of water, if he had not been exiled from the Celeste Kingdom. Rekesh, like any Imago exiled, was stripped of his elemental power, but that did not make any less dangerous.
            “You have one chance to make this easy for yourself,” the Imago spoke out. He had his hands placed behind his back, eyeing the fairy with patience as if he were training a puppy.
            Zahara used the back of the bench to help her rise slowly to her feet, keeping her eyes on the fairy and Rekesh.
            “This does not concern you, Moonlighter,” the fairy spat. 
            “Attacking humans is against the law, Pixie,” Rekesh said. He had not moved. His demeanor was as relaxed as when he had first stepped into the battle.
            The fairy curled his lip at the last word. “You are no longer part of the Royal Court. I do not answer to you.”
            Zahara inched toward her bow, which was stuck in a bush twenty feet from where she stood.
            “You are in my domain. Any supernatural creature caught attacking humans will be captured and returned to the Kingdom from which you were exiled for sentencing. Now, I can see you will not make this easy for yourself, so I suggest enough of the idle pleasantries,” Rekesh said, before he launched himself toward the fairy so fast Zahara barely had time to take a breath.
            Zahara took off running as Rekesh and the fairy fought, moving with the wind. She could hear the thundering of fists and the cracking of broken bones, but could not see them. She didn’t care. She ran to Becca, determined to get them out of there before either one of the supernatural creatures had time to recover.


And speaking of the lovely author...!

About the Author: Annabell Cadiz was born in the sweltering heat of South Florida. She was raised surrounded by Puerto Rican chefs and band of siblings that weren’t all related to her. A self-proclaimed nerd and book-a-holic (her room does hold much evidence to prove her claims are justifiable), she created TeamNerd Reviews to showcase her EXTREME love for novels where, along with her best friend, Bridget Strahin, she hosts book reviews, interviews, giveaways, Indie Shoutouts and much more. She also blog tour services for authors. She also had the pleasure of being published in three separate issue of Suspense Magazine. She also adores Cinnamon Teddy Grahams, has an addiction to Minute Maid Orange juice, and is a proud Jesus Freak. Lucifer is the first book in the Sons of Old Trilogy.

Where to Find the Author

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: The Astrologer

The Astrologer
The Astrologer by Scott G.F. Bailey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Historical/Alternative History fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of historically based fiction, alternate-history fiction, Denmark
Book Available: March 1, 2013 in paperback (link to Amazon where formatting allowed)
Trigger Warnings: Violence, fighting, murder

Disclosure: I received an ARC in e-book format from Rhemalda Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: “As long as Denmark looks backward, there will be bloodshed.”

It is December of 1601. Soren Andersmann, the Danish royal astrologer, has smuggled a trunk full of poisons, daggers, and a venomous snake into the royal castle at Elsinore. Though Soren knows nothing of the assassin’s trade, he has sworn to be the instrument of justice. King Christian IV has murdered Soren’s mentor and spiritual father, Tycho Brahe, the most famous astronomer the world has seen. Soren will have his revenge.

The Astrologer takes us into the world of Europe on the edge of the Renaissance. It is a world ruled by the sword, where civilization is held in place by violence and blind loyalty. The birth of science is still overshadowed by medieval religion, but men are learning to think for themselves. In 1601, a man who thinks for himself is a dangerous man. Soren Andersmann, the astrologer, is becoming a dangerous man.

My Thoughts: The story opens with a bang and a clang: smack-dab in the middle of a sword fight. While the entire story is not action, there is definitely enough to fulfill the wishes of any adrenaline junkie, and the story is amusing and... delightful. Yes, delightful.

I have recently been heard complaining about the lack of grace and beauty in much of modern language. You will not hear such complaints from me about this book, whose language—even the narrative—maintains a lovely authenticity, staying true to the loveliness of the language of the era during which the story is set. It was beautiful to read. There was also a good bit of humor in it. For example: “Perverting science for political reasons galled me...” This made me laugh out loud, because the narrator is here referring to the “science” of astrology—reading the signs in the heavens above. Science!

I also quite enjoyed Soren’s attempts at assassination, and some of the unlikely assistance he received along the way. The ending of chapter 9 had me hooting out loud and applauding! My husband came in to find out what it was all about, but I refused to tell him so I did not spoil the surprise, because I ordered a paperback copy of this book for my husband, whose birthday is just a couple weeks after our anniversary, and a couple days after Valentine’s day. I know he will love it!

If you like historically based fiction, if you like the legends and history of Denmark, if you enjoy a really well-done story, then you absolutely will not want to miss this new book being put out by Rhemalda. It is currently available for pre-ordering on Amazon, and I’ve linked to its Amazon page (in this sentence, and at the end of the synopsis where the title is mentioned) where formatting is allowed. Very much recommended!

View all my reviews

Review: Frost Moon

Frost Moon
Frost Moon by Anthony Francis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please note: I first read and reviewed this in January 2012. I'm updating the formatting and adding the disclosure that I received an e-galley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Synopsis: Dakota Frost is a tattoo artist – more importantly, she is the best magical tattoo artist in the Southeast, working in the Little Five Points area of Atlanta at a shop called The Rogue Unicorn. As the story opens, she is being taken into the Atlanta Police department, called in to consult by her father’s best friend, Andre Rand. Apparently someone has been killing people who have magical tattoos – even worse, whoever is doing this is stripping tattoos off of the still-living victim, first. To complicate matters, Dakota has also been contacted about doing a tattoo for a werewolf, who is seeking control of his beast, and when she goes to the local werehouse to consult with a magical tattooer named The Marquis, she returns home with a new … friend. A young weretiger has attached herself to Dakota – Cinnamon is what is called a foundling, a werekin whose mother kept the beast shape throughout her pregnancy, and as a result the youngster is unable to pass as human. Cinnamon has tiger ears, a tail, and fur on her hands at all times. Is Dakota next on the killer’s radar? Can she help solve the mystery of the flayed tattoos in time to potentially save herself or perhaps some of her clients? Will she be able to help Wulf control his beast?

My Thoughts: I loved this first book in the Skindancer series! A Skindancer is one who has magical tattoos and is able to control and use them for magical purposes, in case you are wondering, and Dakota is a fine Skindancer. One thing I particularly loved about this book is that, while Dakota is strong-minded and fairly tough, she is also vulnerable and willing to work with others to protect herself if necessary – she’s not one of those “I have to do everyone on my own” types that make me nuts. The characters that Mr. Francis has created are unique, interesting and multi-faceted, and the plot flows smoothly. This book is a page-turner and one I highly – HIGHLY – recommend for fans of urban fantasy and magical reality. Definitely pick it up!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

JKS Communications presents: COVER REVEAL "Stained" by Cheryl Rainfield

Book Description:
In this heart-wrenching and suspenseful teen thriller, sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for "normal." Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that—or succumb to a killer.

Tag Line:
Sometimes you have to be your own hero.

Release Date:
Nov 19, 2013

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

From the author:
Like I did with SCARS and HUNTED, I drew on some of my own experiences of bullying, abuse, and trauma to write STAINED and to give it greater emotional depth. Like Sarah in STAINED, I experienced abduction, imprisonment, periods of forced starvation, mind control, and having my life threatened. And like Sarah, I tried hard to fight against my abuser, keep my own sense of self, and escape. I hope readers will see Sarah's strength and courage, and appreciate her emotional growth as she reclaims herself.

Available for preorder from:
Amazon (Hardcover or ebook)
Amazon Canada (hardcover or ebook)
Amazon UK (hardcover or ebook)
Book Depository
Books a Million

And view the trailer here!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Troll Or Derby

Troll Or Derby
Troll Or Derby by Red Tash

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: Fan of YA urban fantasy that are not put off by the trigger warnings mentioned, and enjoy a funny but exciting story.
Trigger Warnings: Slang use of “r” word; (implied) rape and child molestation; drug use and pushing, murder, underage drinking

Disclosure: I received an e-book copy of this from the author in exchange for an honest review, after she had noticed I had several of her book son my shelf. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: In Troll Or Derby, fifteen-year-old Roller Deb is singled out by town bullies for both her skates, and her sexual orientation. When her popular homecoming queen of a sister is kidnapped by a scuzzy drug dealer, Deb must flee the trailer park in which she's grown up, and rescue her. Along the way, Deb becomes enmeshed in the magical realm of trolls and fairies, and the blood-thirsty version of roller derby at which these beings excel. But spending too much time among the fairies comes with a price. Will Deb choose to save her sister, with the aid of a mysterious troll? Or will she be lost to the lures of roller derby, and the blonde temptress April, forever?

My Thoughts: After reading this authors fun series of shorts, The Wizard Tales, I couldn’t decide on what to read, so I decided to just stick with what was working and read this one, which is the one she actually sent to me for a review after all!

I don’t really know what I expected. I had run across this book several times before the author offered it to me, and I was waffling about it for most of that time. What I did not expect was to totally love it! It’s not all fairies and rainbows, that’s for sure. Dave and McJagger are some really nasty people, and do some really nasty things. Also, McJagger’s name is such a pun; while explaining the story to my husband, he did the schtick from the book when McJagger’s name was first mentioned almost exactly. I really had to laugh.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I laughed a lot. Not to say there wasn’t a serious problem—among other things, it deals with drug use and abuse in smaller communities and the danger of meth—but there is plenty of humor to break it up. If you are the type to be upset by any of the trigger warnings, please take them into account before you read this book. Otherwise, feel free to read and enjoy this book. I certainly did. Following are some of my thoughts about use of conscripted words in books. You don’t need to read this bit if you don’t want to.

Random comments about language use:
There will probably be some fallback over the use of the “r” word by one of the characters. I know this usage is considered a Very Bad Thing® nowadays, but to insist that no character ever be allowed to issue a statement that is contrary to popular fancy smacks strongly of the Thought Police to me. A person cannot control all the actions of a character in a book. Or, rather, the author could, but would it be realistic? When discussing this with my husband, I used as an example a book I read written by a Baptist pastor that contained the “f” word. While I’m quite certain the author does not approve of the word use, nor use the word himself in general conversation, he understood that the character he was creating in his book would be likely to do so, so he used it. In this case, the character in question is a 15-year-old girl in a small town in rural Indiana, and like it or not, would be very likely to speak in this way. So, while there will be some people completely enraged that is it used at all, consider this: do you honestly believe every person in the world will change the way they speak? While it could be your goal, I do not think it realistic. All we can do is speak mindfully ourselves and point it out when we see it, but not expect everyone in the world to bow to our desires.

But I’ve gone on quite long enough about that. You’ll each have your own thoughts on the matter, and if you want to share them with me, respectfully, feel free to do so.

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Ameca J and the Demon God of Mythrania" by Paul Xavier Jones

Ameca J and the Demon God of Mythrania (Ameca J Chronicles, #3)Ameca J and the Demon God of Mythrania by Paul Xavier Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: MG to YA (10 to 13 and up with that caveat that parental guidance should be provided for those under 15)
Recommended for: Anyone who can read it, with the caveat that more sensitive readers should be guided
Trigger Warnings: Torture, murder, child abuse, slavery

Disclosure: I received an e-book ARC from the author (a member of my LinkedIn network) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The synopsis, directly quoted from the blurb for the book that is commonly available, contains spoilers if you have not read the previous books in this series. I will put these under spoiler tags on Goodreads, which is the only site to allow this, but if you are reading this on any site other than Goodreads, you have been warned.

Synopsis: Ameca and Fraya, the legendary Flame and the Flower, Heirs of Menindus on the magical world of Mythrania, have achieved the impossible: (view spoiler)[they have rescued their mother from the vile Bellatrix, High Priest of the evil entity known as the Scelestus and brought their father back from the dead (hide spoiler)]. Surely now, their adventures on this alien world are over and they can now return with their parents to their own world…? But things are never that simple. When their father begins acting strangely, is accused of murder and goes missing, the two girls and their mother are forced to embark on a dangerous mission to redeem him before they face the final battle with the enemy

Series information: “Ameca J and the Legacy of Menindus”:–Part I of the Ameca J Chronicles—released October 9, 2012
Ameca J and the Revenge of Lex-Ultar”:–Part II of the Ameca J Chronicles—released December 13, 2012
Ameca J and the Demon God of Mythrania”:–Part III of the Ameca J Chronicles—released January 16, 2013
Ameca J and the Rise of the Serpii”:–Part IV of the Ameca J Chronicles, release date unknown

My Background with the series: This is the third book in the Ameca J Chronicles, following Ameca J and the Legacy of Menindus (review linked here where formatting allowed) and Ameca J and the Revenge of Rex-Ultar (review linked here where formatting allowed) (if you are not on one of those sites, go to my blog, Now is Gone, which is linked to in my profile, and read the review there to see the links and formatting). An additional book is planned called Ameca J and the Rise of the Serpii. I had hoped to have this read and review prior to the publication date (January 16, 2013, but unfortunately I just was not able to fit it in any sooner, so my apologies to the author for the delay.

My Thoughts: This one picks up right where book two left off, so if you can, I recommend reading all these books right in a row for maximum entertainment. It is fast-paced; since most of the character development was done in the earlier books it can stick to the action. I was happy to see the reappearance (however brief) of Squire Fluffy, who did not feature nearly enough in previous books. More Squire Fluffy!

I think this has been my favorite of the series so far. The girls have grown so much, and are very mature now, making difficult decisions and standing up for themselves as needed. It ends the first trilogy, but the author is obviously continuing the story. And I ended the book with a smile on my face, which is always the sign of time well-spent. For fans of MG to YA fantasy adventures, you really can’t go wrong with these books. While there is some content that might prove disturbing to more sensitive readers, with parental guidance I think these books would be perfectly appropriate for any reader. I really do recommend these wonderfully fun stories to anyone.

I’m capping off the review some some random comments and reactions, but they’re really not important, and this has been pretty long already. The important stuff is over; what is left is fun. Read it or not, as your inclination leads you.

Random Comments: I know it is standard British usage, and I know it is not incorrect, but it still jars me every time the ground is referred to as the “floor.” Am I the only one who just cannot move past that? One would think, as many BritComs as I’ve watched, and as many British authors as I’ve read and edited, I’d be accustomed to it, but I... just can’t do it. The “floor” is inside in my brain, and a field in front of a forest is no place for a floor... Sorry!!

At one point, toward the end, I literally stopped reading, put my hand on my head, and said, “Oh, no!” I was so dismayed. How into it was I? Let’s just say, I had to read for another 20 minutes before I could even stop and make this comment... Excellent!

I was so incredibly amused by the Scelestus’ cape fixation. Such an evil villain thing to do. Also, this quote make me laugh like crazy: “Ameca freaked out when she heard the Scelestus do the evil genius laugh...”

Lovecraftian monster? FTW!

Random Rant Inspired by this Book: What on earth is up with evil dudes destroying everything? They kill everybody, wreak havoc on the ecosystem, turn everything into a barren wasteland... why? What point is it to rule a barren world devoid of life? For starters, there is nothing to eat! Even evil dudes have to eat, don’t they? And why take over entire universes? It would be exhausting to keep everyone in line, especially the iron-fist rule that most of these evil dudes undertake. They would constantly be having to shuttle from system to system, putting down rebellions, enforcing their mind-control...

And that's probably how you feel after slogging through all of that. But congratulations! Here's a cookie for a reward...

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Review: The Wizard Takes the Cake

The Wizard Takes the Cake
The Wizard Takes the Cake by Red Tash

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Short, humorous fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Those who enjoy tales of wizards, those who like to laugh.

Disclosure: I purchased this book for myself because it sounded fun. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: The Wizard is back, and this time he's taking us to a wedding. Do you have what it takes to be a wizard's +1?

My Thoughts: What does the song “Funky Cold Medina” have to do with demons? Read this book to find out.

This one is a bit more serious. We are provided the backstory for Nemesis, and the demon, and Monte Carlo, and a tragic tale it is. I was impressed by Tash’s ability to make me laugh right in the middle of all the angst, and I loved the ending.

I haven’t paid much attention to the few typos I found in this series, but this one had a misuse so hilarious I just have to bring it up. After describing the smell of food coming in through an open window, the wizard describes himself as “ravished.” Ummmmm... I really don’t think this is what the author meant. By the context, I would guess she meant “famished” or “ravenous.”

These stories are a lot of fun, and I’ll be watching for new ones. If you like tales of wizards, and to laugh, then definitely check the Wizard Tales out.

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Review: The Wizard Takes a Fitness Class

The Wizard Takes a Fitness Class
The Wizard Takes a Fitness Class by Red Tash

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Short, humorous fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: anyone who enjoys a laugh

Disclosure: I picked this book up for myself when it was on free promotion on Smashwords. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: The mysterious Wizard is back, and he's brought along his demons—literally. What's this about a nemesis and a gambling addiction? Can't an old man enjoy a cone of Ben & Jerry's and a nice nap at his favorite San Francisco B&B without a bunch of Chinatown zombies trying to get in on the action? And why are the sidewalks of The Castro suddenly so fabulous, anyway?

You don't have be an LGBTQutie-patootie to shake your booty. Just ask the Wizard, or anyone who's read his latest Wizard Tale. 

My Thoughts: Kung-fu zombies. An aerobics contest. A demon with spelling misfortunes. What more do you really need to know?

Like The Wizard Takes a Holiday, there is really not much I can tell you about the story without spoiling it, but it is a lot of fun. I think it is usually just 99¢, so it won’t break your bank, and this book also includes the first 4 ½ chapters of This Brilliant Darkness, as well as information about Tash’s other books, and some information about her cover artist. Recommended!

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Review: The Wizard Takes a Holiday

The Wizard Takes a Holiday
The Wizard Takes a Holiday by Red Tash

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Short, humorous fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: anyone who likes wizards and enjoys a laugh

Disclosure: I picked this book up for myself when it was on free promotion on Smashwords. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: A much-loved wizard takes a vacation to rural, fantastical Indiana, where he finds getting away from his work is harder than he thinks.

My Thoughts: Oh, so fun! There really is nothing I can tell you about the plot without spoiling it, as it is very short, but the book also contains information about her other books, a Troll or Derby preview, and the first 4 ½ chapters of This Brilliant Darkness. Plus it is free! Come on, you can’t go wrong—pick it up, check it out!

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Tough Girl

Tough Girl
Tough Girl by Libby Heily

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fiction
Reading Level: While the character is MG, the author has warned “This book contains adult themes and adult language.” This is a book for adults, or for people with the inner strength and maturity to handle the storyline.
Recommended for: anyone to whom it appeals
Trigger Warnings: (implied) rape, violence, domestic violence, bullying, (implied) child molester
Animal abuse: Cats left to their own devices outside in a city.

Please note: Libby Heily was a guest on my blog January 25, 2013 in conjunction with her blog tour promoting this book. Please click on this link (where formatting permitted) to visit and read it. If you are reading this review on a site that does not allow formatting, please visit my blog, Now is Gone, which is linked in my profile, to see the post.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Danger lurks everywhere in eleven-year-old Reggie's world—from the bully next door to the unwanted attentions of a creep at school. Raised by her mentally ill mother, Reggie is left to fend for herself. She escapes in daydreams, battling aliens with her alter ego, Tough Girl.

When Reggie's mother disappears, her fantasy life spirals out of control and starts to invade reality. She is hunted by a creature of her own design, and even Tough Girl is not strong enough to stop him.

Will Reggie survive long enough for her mother to return, or will her dream world take over?

My Thoughts: This is a very stark story, brutal and honest, but at the same time absolutely enthralling. I felt so badly for Reggie! Her mom keeps slipping into catatonia and (although it is not explicitly stated), it is understood from the hints that this is a result of a violent assault. Reggie herself easily slips into dream worlds and apparent hallucinations, and then we have the story within a story about Tough Girl and her adventures, which apparently play out in Reggie’s mind. Tough Girl not only allows Reggie an outlet for her creativity, but also serves as a bit of an escape hatch and a form of self-motivation, I think.

Even what I’ve mentioned will unfortunately be a bit of a spoiler, but I haven’t really said anything more than the blurb, which is why I haven’t placed this whole review under a spoiler tag. I can’t say anything else about the plot, because the whole thing rests upon not knowing what is real and what is part of her daydream worlds.

I really hate to cry, and this book made me cry a lot, especially the last 15 percent or so. It was so very sad, and I just wanted to take Reggie in like a stray kitten or something and take care of her. It definitely made me want to become a foster mom, just in hopes I could help someone like her. We’re not financially stable enough to do that, of course, but if we ever become so, it is something I think I’d like to do. Very poignant story, very heartbreaking because it is so real. I still have a lump in my throat.

Absolutely recommended to anyone who would like to read it. Be warned: it is very sad. But the ending is worth it. I need to now find something lighthearted and upbeat to take my mind off this, though...

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JKS Communications presents: Q&A with R.J. Tolson, author of "Zephyr the West Wind"

Q&A with R.J. Tolson

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You’re already an accomplished model, CEO, athlete and musician – what inspired you to write a young adult book series?
Long before I began my efforts as an entrepreneur, I had always loved to read and write fiction. The power of words enticed me. I wanted to use writing to connect with others while also bringing my imagination to life.

For those who haven’t read Zephyr The West Wind yet, can you tell us what the first book of the Chaos Chronicles is about?
The book follows Zephyr, a seemingly weak teenager living in a fictional isolated island village called Dentro. Everyone there hates him, aside from the chief, but they give no answers as to why. He loses his mother at a young age, and all he knows about his father is that he left Zephyr as a baby. Desperate to prove himself, Zephyr finally passes a trial that allows him to leave his village and fight in dangerous missions alongside another young teen, Leon. Very few know of the outside world, but Zephy and Leon must learn it soon if they want to save their village from destruction.

How does your main character Zephyr play into the overall messaging behind the books?
For me, Zephyr is the embodiment of the innocence, kindness and passion within us all. In the beginning, he lacks confidence, and it isn’t until lots of hard work and training that he unveils his potential in life or death situations. And later, when Zephyr makes his first friend and continues to make others, his resolve grows to protect those he cares about. The message is that in the end, no matter how bad things look, one should never give up.
Also, Leon and Zephyr are almost polar opposites (skill wise) for most of the book. Leon is a genius and learns quickly, while Zephyr seems to have to work 100 times harder to achieve the same feats; I wanted to press the notion that someone who works hard, is just as much a genius as someone who learns quickly, because they can be seen as geniuses of hard work.

How does your fascination and education in metaphysics influence your writing?
Metaphysics has always played a role in my life. From my own life philosophy to my thirst for knowledge and new experiences, I try to use my writing and the characters developed from it to light a fire in others. I want them to think beyond the normal standards of society. My characters look beyond the physical and material, and instead into the metaphysical, asking questions like, “Why did we end up here?” and “Why at this exact time?”

You speak six languages. Do you plan to create or use different languages in your stories?
Yes, I use all of the cultures connected to the languages I speak in my stories. (Nai, boró̱ na chri̱simopoií̱so̱ óles tis kalliérgeies pou syndéontai me tis gló̱sses pou miláo̱ se istoríes mou.) – Greek
Languages also have a big influence on names in my stories. (Idiomas también tienen una gran influencia sobre los nombres de mis novelas.) – Spanish
Also, yes, I love languages and would like to make a language sometime. (また、はい、私は言語が大好きで、いつか言語を作成したいと思います.) – Japanese

Who are some of your favorite authors?
J.K. Rowling, Jenny Nimmo (Charlie Bone Series), Christopher Paolini, Aristotle, Rick Riordan, C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Stroud are some of my favorites. They each create unique stories and characters and bring life-lessons to light while keeping you entertained.

How’d you choose the cover of the book? Most certainly some readers will go ga-ga over that hunky photo!
Funny – and true. I wanted a cover that would appeal to both gender audiences and still maintain a connection to the story. The front cover is one perspective of Zephyr at the end of the book, while the dragon gives the elements of fantasy and mythical creatures as a sample of what the story entails.

Speaking of hunks, you’re a model. Who have you posed for?
I have modeled since around the age of 8 for some magazines but mostly live at events hosted by different charity organizations, firefighters and clothing lines. It’s always an interesting day when I model in person during Black Friday for Abercrombie and others similar brands.

You’re also a teenaged CEO?! Tell us about your company and when you founded it.
            I am the head of one large company known as RJTIO, which I founded at the age of 17 during my senior year of high school. The company is currently made up of three divisions, a web design and computer software branch, general tutoring, and an international charity called Forever Trust. I started my business originally with web design as a way of having some extra cash, and it took off from there!

How do you manage to go to college, run companies, do charity work and write?
            I honestly don’t really know. A big part of it is organization, and I think even more so my desire and willpower to be able to choose work over hanging out with friends sometimes.

Tell us more about your charity and how people can help.
My charity is an international organization that focuses on two main actions: raising money through events (walks, for example) to support causes like breast cancer research and aid throughout the world, and we also utilize our connections to other organizations by taking money donated by benefactors and organizing it to make sure it is received by their specific or general charitable organizations or causes.
The best ways to help are by donating even just a moment of your time or any amount of money. Any effort helps us provide relief and support those in need around the world. For more information, please visit and help the world by lending a hand.

Can you give us a sneak peek into book 2 of the series?


All I can say at the moment is if you liked Zephyr, book two is a big surprise but just as filling! I can’t wait to share the story. Featuring a new world and new characters, readers will see a deeper tie with the Chaos Chronicles destiny as it begins to unfold.