Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: "House of Cards" by Juli D. Revezzo

 Title: House of Cards

Author: Juli D. Revezzo

Publisher: Raven Queen Publications

Pages: 28 (Print), File size: 119 kb

ASIN: B009LAH1Q6

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords



 Summary from Amazon:

You can't escape Fate....

A young nobleman escapes the Reign of Terror in 18th century France to find himself dragged into an even worse fate--a hellish underworld wherein he is cajoled and put on trial by a demon tribunal for crimes he never committed. Can he answer thwart his fate, one worse than the guillotine?


My thoughts:

This short story was a great read. It packed a solid punch and moved rapidly, but not so much you got lost in the rush. It was just right. It reminded me of Dante's Inferno in the fact it was different levels of hell but were riddles instead. Imagine having to move through the afterlife with just your wits about you. If you went mad, you'd be screwed.
However this story also had some special meaning hidden within, in the form of Tarot cards. How you read the Tarot depends entirely on you and your knowledge of the craft. Not everyone listens to their instincts when it comes to reading Tarot. You simply cannot just glance at the image and judge the card by that image. Deeper meanings abound. So while you read this twisted tale, learn the lesson it tries to teach. And not just the one about avoiding graveyards after dark.

I give it a solid five out of five skull and crossbones.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: "Spooky Showcase" by Alan Draven

Title: Spooky Showcase

Author: Alan Draven

Publisher: Pixie Dust Press

Pages: 344 (Print), File size: 530 kb

ISBN 10: 0981021336 (ISBN 13: 978-0981021331)
ASIN: B00A6TFQ4U

Purchase: Amazon and Barnes & Noble



Description (From Amazon.com):

A collection of spooky tales featuring three short stories and two novellas--including a brand new novella and an unpublished short story: • The Paradigm • Beyond the Doomed Cave • The Rattling Man • A Madman's Atonement • Vengeance is Mine

My thoughts:

Lots of chilling tales from 'The Rattling Man' to 'Beyond the Doomed Cave'. The book gave me some goosebumps and soothed my nerves with some light humor. Alan Draven's take on Jack the Ripper in 'Vengeance is Mine' is pretty twisted. I never would have pegged the serial killer as... well, I can't tell you!
Well written, lots of different stories all set in Bitternest, Louisiana (except for 'Vengeance').

I give it 4 skull and crossbones.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: "The Goddess's Choice" by Jamie Marchant

 Title: The Goddess's Choice

Author: Jamie Marchant

Publisher: Reliquary Press

Pages: 385 (Print), File size: 902 kb

ASIN: B007VPA9R6

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble



Overview (from Amazon):

Samantha’s ability enables her to discern a person’s character through their multi-colored aura, and Robrek’s makes him the strongest healer the kingdom has seen in centuries. But their gifts also endanger their lives. Royals scheme to usurp the throne by marrying or killing Samantha, and priests plot to burn Robrek at the stake. Robrek escapes the priests only to be captured by Samantha’s arch-enemy, Duke Argblutal; Argblutal intends to force the princess to marry him by exploiting Robrek’s powers. To save their own lives and stop the realm from sinking into civil war, Robrek and Samantha must consolidate their powers and unite the people behind them.

My thoughts:

This was an awesome read! Now, I first have to warn you that this is absolutely an 18+ read. There is some sexual bits and language.

With that out of the way, let me just say I was sucked into this story from the moment I began. The story moves along at a very good pace, not too fast but not slow, either. The world is well developed as are the characters. It kept me up long into the night, reading. I didn't want to put it down until I was finished.

Samantha is a strong female character and Robrek is her equal. Neither of them make the other feel inferior. The other characters are just as developed and hold their own in the story. There were two instances I wanted closure from, but feel I didn't get, but that's okay. It leaves room for me and my imagination to hope that it did come about.

The only other issue I have with this book is it could have had another proofread. But the typos weren't so overwhelming as to affect the flow of the story. I did also contact the author about the formatting of the ebook for Kindle, but again, I didn't let that stop me from reading. This. Book!

If you like epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, you'll like this book. Jamie Marchant is an author to keep an eye out for. I'll absolutely be picking up other books!

I give it 4 out of 5 skull and crossbones.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review: "Children of Sun and Moon" by Matt Larkin

Title: Children of Sun and Moon (Book One of the Skyfall Trilogy)

Author: Matt Larkin

Publisher: Incandescent Phoenix Books

Pages: 356 (Print), File size: 756 kb

ASIN: B00749W3XW

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble



Summary (From Amazon):

The Lunar King bargained his daughter away in marriage to end generations of war between the two dynasties of the Skyfall Isles. The King sends his niece Chandi along as handmaid to his daughter. Chandi has two tasks: watch over her cousin, and spy on the Solars. The Solars cost her everything she cares about, and now she wants nothing more than proof of their treachery so she can go home.

She knows little of spying, but the blood of the Moon God running through her veins gives her powers mortals can’t match, powers that let her slip into places she’s not supposed to be. Of course, the more she uses her powers, the faster she becomes a lunatic.

When she discovers a Solar soldier, Naresh, watching her, she decides to return the favor and stick close to him. But as he shows her the wonders of the domed underwater city, she begins to realize the Solars are not what she thought. Soon, she’ll have to choose between loyalty to her people and her own heart.

My Thoughts:

I found this book to be an amazing read. Pure, solid fantasy the way it is supposed to be written. Larkin has built up the world with much ease and grace. Chandi, Naresh, Landi and Malin are all solid characters. Even the characters that are secondary have a depth to them that most secondary characters do not.

Chandi is now added to my list of  favorite female characters. Tough, but not so tough as to question her gender. She can hold her own in a fight, but she's still a woman. She fights for what she believes in and then fights for what she loves.

Naresh is a great character as well. He doesn't come off as a pompous jerk who insists that girls cannot fight. He has been trained with women fighting right beside him. Which includes Landi. She could be described as one of his best friends, but the relationship between these two Arun Guards goes further.

All in all, this story keeps moving at a good pace. You don't get bogged down with so many details that you want to tear your hair out. Some of the words are a little daunting and trying to pronounce them can be an issue, but if you are a fantasy buff, you know how to bypass it all and still keep enjoying the read.

I'm going to throw out a suggestion here, something I rarely, if ever, do. If you are going to purchase this book, I suggest you pick up the prequel to the series first. "Curse of Witch and War". It's a short read and opens you up to a lot more of "Children of Sun and Moon". The reason for the suggestion is it prepares you for the world you are about to enter. Of course, don't take my word for it. Read them in the order you like.

I will absolutely be picking up the rest of the books in this series.

I give it 4 and a half out of 5 skull and crossbones.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Author Interview: Mel Chesley (M. L. Chesley)


Please tell us a little known fact about you.


I went to Clown School when I was a kid and was a member of 4-H.

What was your favorite genre to read growing up? Is this the genre you currently write in?


I used to read some fantasy when I was younger but I was more focused on horror. But I don't write horror, no.

What inspires you to write?

Just about anything. A good movie, music. I get flashes of inspiration while doing housework.

What sort of atmosphere do you need to write?

I have a writing playlist on my iTunes. It includes music from movie soundtracks like "Lord of the Rings", "Pirates of the Carribean", "King Arthur" and artists like Loreena McKennitt, Sarah MacLachlan, Peter Gabriel and a bunch of others. I also need it to be kind of quiet. If my family is up and moving about, I put the headphones on. Otherwise I am usually writing late at night.

What is your all time favorite book?

Hmm... "My Brother Sam is Dead" and "Island of the Blue Dolphins", "Watership Down" and of course "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings". Can't pick just one!

Who is your all time favorite character that is not your own?


Sioned from the "Dragon Prince" series by Melanie Rawn.

Who is your favorite character of your own creation?

Wow. It would have to be Kayta. She's the first character I ever created. She started out on paper Dungeons and Dragons.

When did you decide to become a writer?

When I was 19. I wrote for a bit, then got married and had kids when I was 22, 23 and ended up putting it off until much later.

Where are you from?

Originally, I was born in Chicago. But I spent so much time in Arizona, that's what I call home.

Why do you write?

Oh so many reasons! To shut the voices up in my head, to get my crazy ideas out of my brain. I write for therapy, I write for fun, I write to relax. But mostly to share my fun characters and wild imagination.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?

Just suck it up and write it.

What’s the worst thing someone has ever said about your work?

I don't really recall. I do know when I was posting some of my early work on Writing.com I had someone just rip into my stuff. Found out later on it was due to some jealousy. I viewed the person's portfolio and saw their low ratings and quality of their work. I called them on it, we talked through emails and ended up helping each other out.

Has your writing ever been compared to another, famous author? If so, who?


Actually yes. I'm totally humbled by it and it still amazes me to this day. I've had people tell me I write like Tolkien.

And last, but not least, something really random: What’s your favorite alcoholic drink?

Tequila! Straight up, baby. ;)

Where to find M. L. Chesley:


Facebook: www.facebook.com/mel.chesley

Twitter: @MLChesley

Blog: www.caledonialass.blogspot.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16282804-adversarius-shadow-of-the-rose-book-one

Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Release: Blood and Lilies by Lyn Croft

 Once cast from Heaven, Zillah has vowed to destroy God and overtake his kingdoms. But a key is needed to open the gates between the two realms.

The Key to the gate walks the earth in the form of a woman...young, innocent and completely unaware of her importance in the battle between good and evil. Once her blood is shed, Zillah can open the portal to release her father...Lucifer himself.

Cara, a college sophomore, is quickly thrown into a world of supernatural, as well as learning of her true ancestry. Vampires, werewolves and the Nephilim are now a part of her real world. As the beings struggle to protect her, she fights to keep her sanity as her mortal realm is crushed.

Secrets are revealed that could shatter Cara’s new found love, as well as lead to her ultimate death. A family is torn apart as the battle to save the key leads them down a road of betrayal and heartache. Loved ones are lost, lines are crossed, and nothing is as it seems. Lies and truths twist and turn, leaving us with only one question…

Could you sacrifice the one you love to save the world?

Available at Amazon and Smashwords.