Tag Archives: Kindle

The Gift-Knight’s Quest by Dylan Madeley – Review

Title – The Gift-Knight’s Quest
Author – Dylan Madeley
Genre – Fantasy
Publication – March 2015
Pages – 289 Pages
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

When a young woman named Chandra takes the throne under suspicious circumstances, she has to solve the deaths of the King and Queen before those responsible get to her. She has to maintain peace in an empire where people consider her the number one suspect.

Derek is summoned by an official letter and his people’s tradition to be Chandra’s personal guard. He’s immediately suspicious given that her family ruined his once-noble ancestors, but if there’s no way to escape the world’s largest empire, what might he do to turn the tables?

Interwoven with Derek and Chandra’s story is the history of their ancestors, infamous and famous, that lead them to confrontation. A new world is built before the reader’s eyes, and key groundwork is laid for the impending sequels, leading to a highly detailed narrative.

Review

The Gift-Knight’s Quest follows two main characters, Derek and Chandra. Both have led very different lives and a family feud from years past has the potential to resurface.

I felt the plot was strong, I liked the idea of these two meeting, the trust issues that would ensue thanks to the family history. Blood is thicker than water so they say..

This isn’t the fantasy tale I’m used to, it’s more of a fiction tale but you are teased with little bits about powers we’ve not yet witnessed which hopefully will appear in the next book in the series to give it the fantasy kick.

Chandra’s tale for me was the stronger. I particularly liked the political issues covered in the book. I won’t spoil it but as you can imagine when a young girl is thrust upon the throne not everyone is happy, some want rid of her altogether.

This is where Derek comes in. He’s actually sent to serve the new queen and protect her. Given the family history you’d think they would send someone else but I really liked how the author explains why Derek is the one sent.

The story is told from different perspectives so I don’t think the relationship between Derek and Chandra really had the chance or time to develop, thus leaving plenty for the author to work with as the series continues.

Something that I really liked was the history, the author explores past events that led to the family feud. My only issue was it bounced around without warning sometimes and changed character perspective so I was left reading a paragraph before things made sense to me.

My favourite character had to be Jan Donde, Captain of the Guard. I loved the relationship that formed between him and the new queen. I hope he gets more page time in the next installment. I think he’s got more to bring to the story.

The pace of the book is steady and you get the history thrown in to give the plot some depth and to slow the tale down about, it worked well and I was left at the end looking forward to the next book to see where things go.

In all honesty it’s a good read, decent pace and has set the next book up nicely. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it that’s for sure as the twist towards the end of the tale does leave me excited for more.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

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12 days of Clink Street Christmas Event: Review & Guest Post! – The Learn by Tony Halker

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As part of the 12 days of Clink Street Christmas blog tour I’m very happy to bring you a guest post from Tony Halker author of The Learn who will give us a bit of an insight into his work..but first.. here’s my review of the book. 🙂

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Here’s the book blurb –

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.
A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.
Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.
At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.
A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

Review 

The Learn follows Owayne on his journey from being a boy, a local beach scavenger to that of a priest.

What i really enjoyed about this book was that the author really made me think about development, growth and learning within the human race. We take so much for granted but at one point humans didn’t have things such as paracetamol, cars, bricks even..the list is endless.

It was really good to see the author show different views to learning. As you could imagine some people would be open to new ideas but even in this day and age some people are stuck in there ways and don’t see things as progress.

My personal view is Owayne’s journey is one of  enlightenment as he opens his mind and his eyes to all the possibilities out there in the world..all the wonders waiting to be shared.

For me the pace of the tale was a little 0n the slow side..i like a fast paced tale after all, but the pace did offer the chance for you to see the spiritualistic or even sometimes simplistic and differing views on knowledge and development.

This book isn’t a hard read as such but it needs your time and focus to really understand and enjoy the tale. The language used takes time to digest to fully immerse yourself  in “The Learn”.

Overall The Learn is a very creative and interesting tale about knowledge and development along with the dangers surroundings it. The final few chapters of the tale really had me hooked with the injection of action right when you needed it.

The tale really does make me think about what it must have been like when things were discovered.. and would have i been one of those scared, or would i have embraced it?

It’s a calm story for the most part and the book would be really suited for those who have the time to devote to it, to embrace the tale like  Owayne must embrace “The Learn”

For me it’s a solid 4* 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

My thanks go to Authoright for the chance to read/review the book and to Tony who shares with us his insight to “The Learn” below.

 


“The Learn”

“The Learn” is about technology change, the values and beliefs that emerge in us from technology, the confidence or fear those changes engender; the angst that emerges in us when we perceive we have lost or will lose some control or power. It is also about belief, blasphemy, equality, power and authority and our reactions to those things

My canvas is the bronze age, it enables me to add a dimension that is Nature, the environment, what it gives, takes and threatens. Some readers have wanted to say that “The Learn” is about the bronze age. I prefer to express that it is simply set there because that age offers real places that are fertile territory and lend other dimensions to a rich story. That context lets me challenge on issues of interest.

I love the mountain beach landscape of “The Learn”, I can wander there today. It is full of stone age and bronze age artefacts, remnant dwellings and even jewellery of skill and imagination. I envision peoples who emerged from the land, were formed by its gifts and pressures, yet faced the same comforts and fears as we do now. I think they were like us, laying foundations for us to build on in many areas of technology, values and beliefs.

I wanted to write a book that is not a quick fix; that draws people in with effort, that is not sensational; is as much about landscape, place, voice, nature and atmosphere as about particular events. I want a reader to live within my novel. I hope that a few may grieve a little when a character joins his or her ancestors or just slips from view. I hope at the end of the story I am leaving questions about the people and their future developments that will have readers seeking out a sequel, the next stage of The Learn

We have so much folklore to build on to make a rich story. We know the names of Celtic/Druid Deities, we have the Romans’ view of their defeated enemies that they clearly feared. I have taken the festivals of summer and winter, their transition and what we know about them today and tried to re-imagine them in the place where they were first formed, performed and meant so much for the coming season, harvests, weather and the goodwill of The Deities.

We know the Romans twice tried to eliminate the seat of Druid power in North Wales. It was not just people they feared but power, culture and values, a belief system to challenge that of Rome; where women ruled alongside men and Druids controlled belief and trade.  Societies and cultures, tribes and families prosper or fail based upon cohesion, shared values and joint vision, as well as effort and purpose. I wanted to weave that into “The Learn”, since I hoped to form a historical novel that considers the issues we face today and acknowledges that our forebears so far back were intelligent, worthy ancestors whose spirit and blood runs in our veins.

I wanted my characters to be ordinary, yet interesting. There are damaged small people whose bodies are malformed, by poor diet, over work in the dark, the challenges of nature and the ill will of superstition. There are lonely souls of uncertain gender whose purpose of being has been taken by time and technology change, but who find some comfort and will to live by fulfilling the purpose they were taught, even though that no longer has merit or use to society.

Nature, Anu the Goddess looks down on all of this. She challenges in order to see the development of Knowledge of human peoples. She values fortitude.

We are here because we have struggled and survived through hunger, cold, heat, climate change and competition for resources. We are the ones who made it this far, yet as a species we have lived for only a couple of million years, (the Dinosaurs lived for about 180 million years). Our spirit needs to be on edge, alert to threats, planning how to manage, to fight or flee. We need daily challenge and purpose if our biology is not to shut down. I wanted to write about that and how our ancestors may have acknowledged these issues and managed them.

Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Learn-Tony-Halker-ebook/dp/B01JQVQKSE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1473955705&sr=1-1&keywords=tony+halker

Purchase from Foyleshttp://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-learn,tony-halker-9781911110576


About Tony Halker

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Born in London, Tony Halker studied geology at Leeds University after which he worked as a geologist, travelling extensively overseas. Following an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, he became a manager in hi-tec business and later a businessman and entrepreneur. His writing is inspired by powerful natural landscapes and his interest in the people and technologies emerging from those hard places. His two daughters were born in North Wales. He lives with his wife there and in Hertfordshire.

Website – http://www.tonyhalker.com/

Blog – http://www.tonyhalker.com/blog

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The Dead God’s Shadow by @LeeCarlon – Review

Title – The Dead God’s Shadow
Author – Lee Carlon
Genre – Science Fiction
Publication – July 2013
Pages – 160 Pages Approx.
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Avril Ethanson has left Frake’s Peak and Lord Obdurin’s schemes behind. He hopes to find a member of his cadre at mysterious Lancity which was unaffected by the Cleansing. Unknown to Avril, there are forces waiting for him–Valan the Wolf and the Dead God’s priesthood–intent on using him and his connection to Lord Obdurin and Rhysin.

The Dead God’s Shadow is the third story in the Bastard Cadre series and continues where The Godslayers’ Legacy ended.

Review

This is book 3 in The Bastard Cadre series and for me it’s the best yet.

Yes I’m late to the party with this being released 3 years ago but these tales are absolute gems that need to be read.

We are back with Avril as he set outs from Frake’s Peak to get away from Lord Obdurin. I’m not sure Avril really knows what the plan is but he ends up heading towards Lancity where I can feel the connection of one of his cadre mates.

Lord Obdurin split Avril’s cadre up many years ago, the hope was to make them stronger when they eventually came together but with so many players in the game Avril really doesn’t know who to trust.. or what he really wants out of this whole mess of a situation.

I think the complex plot and motivations is really want makes this book as good as it is. You never know who to trust and with crazy Death Priests lurking in Lancity things aren’t looking good for Avril.

I really enjoyed the basic idea behind the series. Gods exist but pick a chosen one to manifest their will through. This chosen, like Lord Obdurin seem to know that the gods will does affect them but it’s not clear if they truly know how much. These chosen then have their cadre’s to serve and protect them and the loyalty they show just enforces the bonds created.

So far this is the best in the series. It develops Avril so much as the main focus is on him and it’s exactly what i was after.

This tale isn’t perfect and that’s what I love about it.. let me explain. A lot of books I read have a clear/perfect path set out, you may not know the ending when you start reading but by the end you find you’re not that surprised with the outcome.. with this series it’s so different.. it’s a true pleasure to read as you really don’t have any idea where the author will take things.. a refreshing dark, post-apocalyptic tale that has me hooked.

If I remember correctly the author billed this series as Science Fiction without the word count and I couldn’t agree more. The author packs so much into the tale, everything seems well covered and you are given such a good plot that quite frankly I couldn’t believe was under 200 pages.

I said it after I read the first book and I’ll say it again. For me this is a very highly underrated series that ticks all the boxes.

The only thing that could be improved on is the cover. While i like the simplicity of it, it doesn’t convey anything to the reader at first glance and without that hook you might just pass this beauty by.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Smashwords.

Inside Out by Jack Kearney – Review

Title – Inside Out
Author – Jack Kearney
Genre – Contemporary Fiction
Length –    204 Pages
Publication – June 2015
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

As an actor, Danny Belson has played many criminal types, but as the prisoner transport bus pulls out of the LA county jail, the realization of his conviction overwhelms him. The irony is that only six months ago he taught an acting workshop at the same institution he is now going to be incarcerated in. Danny had been chosen to take part in California’s answer to New Jersey’s highly acclaimed “Scared Straight” by actually working with the inmates of the Medium Security Federal Prison in Lompoc. In his short stay, Danny made some interesting friends as well as unforgiving enemies. Utilizing a groundbreaking format, Follow Danny as he goes from a care free beach volleyball loving, pool shooting, actor, who’s only worry is knowing when his next audition will come, to a convicted murderer. Written using flashbacks, with no chapters, learn what a struggling actor goes through, and how, after his incarceration, Danny’s life is turned INSIDE OUT.

Review

Inside Out is a rather interesting book. It reads easily with no chapters just page breaks which is something I’ve not come across before but it worked well.

The plot I enjoyed a lot, Danny’s life has been turned upside down due to a wrongful conviction and we get a first-hand account of how things came to be as Danny looks back at the recent events in his life

What I really enjoyed about the book was how quickly the author managed to change the energy of a scene.. one minute you think things are going ok for Danny and then bam..(For obvious reasons I won’t tell you what happens.. I don’t want to take anything away). There’s even a couple scenes in jail when I had my hand over my mouth thinking..Oh My God

For me personally the relationships that developed with his fellow inmates happened a little too fast, yes he’s met them before but would they really want to be his friend that quickly..and trust him so much? I’m not sure.. but it didn’t take anything away from the story.. just moved it on at a fast pace at times.

The thing that struck me the most was how easy the author found it to make me feel like a was reading a script rather than a book.. his own personal experiences gave his writing something different to what I’ve read before..it really did feel like I could imagine this playing out on a TV screen .

The major plus for me was the development of the lead character Danny and how he changed during his time in prison. I’ve no experience myself but I can imagine for some it would be one of the most life changing experiences ever and you get to see this through Danny

While the story is slow to get to the good stuff it’s perfectly set up for a reader who likes a bit of suspense. With this one you are left waiting and waiting to find out how things will play out in prison while you learn about how Danny ended up there in the first place

Dramatic is the word I’d use to best describe this book..the few light-hearted moments mixed with some hard scenes makes this a decent fast paced read indeed

Definitely worth a read that’s for sure

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work.

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Sovereign’s Wake by Lee LaCroix – Review

Title –  Sovereign’s Wake
Author – Lee LaCroix
Genre – Fantasy
Length –    348 Pages
Publication – Nov 2015
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

A kingdom crumbles without its ruler. The people fall to misery and desperation in the shadow of an empty throne. A father does what he must to save his son and his homeland in the absence of kings. Enter Garreth, ranger and former royal bodyguard, who embarks from his woodland home after defending it from the encroaching loggers of the Blackwoods Company. “The King is dead!” they had screamed at Garreth and drove the man to the capital of Amatharsus to resolve the most troubling statement in Malquia’s recent history. Together with his son, Novas, and daughter of a murdered blacksmith, Kayten, Garreth is hounded by bandits, cutthroats, and highwaymen, unleashed upon the countryside by the abolition of the Crown Aegis, defenders of the King, his land, and his people. Garreth unites with the remnants of the Crown Aegis to overcome the military, political, and economic oppression that the Blackwoods Company has imposed on Amatharsus and incites rebellion before the free people of Malquia succumb to crippling recession and the environmental destruction of their verdant nation. But can one man find the strength to challenge overwhelming odds when all hope is lost?

Sovereign’s Wake is the first installment of the debut Fantasy series, In the Absence of Kings, by author Lee LaCroix.

Review

The book starts at a slow pace as we learn about two of the main characters, Nova and his father Garreth. I felt this part of the book was so well written..so descriptive… it felt effortless to read and enjoy

The pace soon picks up and you are thrust into this new world along with Nova who has never set foot outside the woodland

Now this is a fantasy book I could really get to grips with.. After the King dies tyranny is commonplace.. the little man Is down trodden but why does the Queen let this happen?

Garreth is loyal to the King and was tasked to watch over some woodland..to preserve it.. when the Blackwoods encroach on this land Garreth learns the fate of his King and sets out to find out why the Queen would allow such a precious area to the King to be torn down..

We soon learn there’s a lot more going on.. people are being robbed & murdered.. the Blackwoods are behind this.. They are leaving nothing in their wake

Along the way we meet Kayten, strong willed.. she has passion in her blood and joins Garreth and Nova after the death of her father. Together they head to the city to get answers

These answers come pretty quick.. and I won’t spoil anything for you.. the action is thick and fast..no rest given.

Garreth finds himself a rebel and must bring the people together to fight for their survival.

The tale had a Robin Hood type of feel to it which I really loved.

As I’ve said the book picks up pace quite a bit which didn’t leave much time for the connections between the characters to grow as naturally as I would have liked to see but with such a fast paced plot you can see why the author went down this route and it certainly didn’t take anything away from the story

Overall I loved the plot and the characters, everything developed nicely albeit quickly at times but this just added to the urgency of the mission the rebels have undertaken.

For me the best thing really was the writing.. I knew within the first chapter I would enjoy the story

I’ve high hopes for the next book in the series.. look out for a review soon 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Author Spotlight – Frank Westworth

Today is release day for Frank Westworh’s fifth JJ Stoner short story and to celebrate I thought I’d introduce you to the series as I’ve just recently finished reading the other 4 books in the series

Jean-Jacques Stoner is an ex solider; his problem isn’t really respecting authority it’s more that he doesn’t like to take any crap from anyone.

Over the first four books in the series we see Stoner develop, he gets a new job as a hired gun via The Hard Man.. who I absolutely loved.. meets some new people who help him along the way like Bernadette and Stretch and hurts a few people along the way..

One of the best things about the series so far for me is the plots.. There’s so much crammed into so few pages and it’s so well written the time passes you by in the blink of an eye.

Easy reading combined with some very interesting twists has kept me hooked throughout the series and for me the price of the eBook is a bargain!

The great think for me as a reader is that there’s also two full length novels I’ve yet to read.. these shorts have introduced me perfectly to the author and have convinced me that I’ll enjoy his full length novels just as much

I’ve reviewed each of the series so far so click the picture below if you want to check out the reviews.. book 5 will be reviewed shortly 🙂

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If you want to check the series out head to Frank’s author pages on Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

If you like a bit of action but aren’t looking for a long read I highly recommend you try one of these shorts.. you’ve got nothing too loose except 99p which is well worth it in my opinion

Here’s the blurb for book one to get you tempted…

FIRST CONTRACT: A decade ago, JJ Stoner was a soldier. He killed people for a living and made no bones about it. On a scorching day in the Iraqi desert, when British blood stained the sand, he over-stepped the mark. Men died in compromising circumstances; too many men for an easy explanation. Faced with a dishonourable discharge and accusations of murder, Stoner accepted an offer from a stranger who represented an intelligence agency. Suddenly, Stoner found himself half a world away and about to execute his first private contract…

FIRST CONTRACT, a quick thriller, introduces the central character from the JJ Stoner / Killing Sisters series. As well as a complete, stand-alone story, First Contract includes an excerpt from ‘A Last Act of Charity’ and a sneak preview of the sequel, ‘The Corruption of Chastity.’
‘A Last Act of Charity’, is available in paperback and ebook.

Please note that FIRST CONTRACT is intended for an adult audience and contains explicit scenes of a sexual and/or violent nature.

My thanks go to Rowena at https://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/ who kindly supplied me a copy of the first book, it was my pleasure to purchase the rest in the series and I look forward to reading the new book soon 🙂

 

Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton – ARC Review

Title – Rarity from the Hollow
Author – Robert Eggleton
Genre – Science Fiction
Length –   284 Pages
Publication – Nov 2015
My Rating – 2.5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

To prepare Lacy for her coming task, she is being schooled daily via direct downloads into her brain. Some of these courses tell her how to apply magic to resolve everyday problems much more pressing to her than a universe in big trouble, like those at home and at school. She doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her own family and friends come first.

Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

Robert Eggleton’s humorous science fantasy follows in the steps of Douglas Adams, Tom Holt and Terry Pratchett.

Review

What have I just read? This must be the craziest book I’ve ever seen touching multiple topics and genres.

This definitely isn’t a quick and easy read, it’s very much a in-depth tale that needs your undivided attention.

I’m going to be honest straightaway.. some of the talk in the book just made me uncomfortable, Lacy Dawn talking like girl much older than she is..it was a little hard to read. I have to admit even though this wasn’t for me I do understand why the author chose to go down the track he has.. I felt like he wanted me to be disturbed by events in the book.. the things that happen aren’t supposed to make you laugh … this book makes you open your eyes a little to some tough subjects

One of the things I really did enjoy about this book was the author’s style of writing with the inner thoughts of the characters being shown..it made for an interesting read since I believe we all think things we don’t actually ever plan to say out loud

Another thing this book really has going for it is the utter surprise factor.. I guarantee you that you’ve read nothing like this before and chapter to chapter you’ll have no idea what will happen next. A refreshing change I must admit.

The main thing to remember with this book is that it’s not about enjoying the tale.. it’s about raising important issues and leaving an impression on the reader.. I’ll not forget this one that’s for sure

If you’re looking for something thought-provoking and different then this is the book for you

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com