Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Book Review - Sovereign's Wake, By Lee LaCroix






Book Title: Sovereign's Wake
Author: Lee LaCroix
Publishing Date: November 9, 2015
Page/Word Count: 344 pages

BLURB:
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?

Review:

So I wanted to really like this book.  I loved the idea of it and that is why I wanted to review it.  Once I started reading it though it was a bit if a struggle for me.  I love people who actually can use formal writing, not just slang and text speak, but this book was almost too formal for me.  When I am reading a book I want to be able to think but not feel like I am going to be tested on what I am reading later.  

This book's structure reminded me of some of the books I had to read when I was in college.  It was very stiff. I think the author has a great eye for describing things, and I think he could tell a blind person exactly how something looks.  That being said, there is more to a book.  I think that he needs to let the characters tell some of that, let them be part of it more then just tell us. If that makes sense. 

The characters are strong, and the author did a great job with them.  But parts were harder for me to follow and I got confused with them.  Perhaps a little bit more about them, or more talk between them.  I am not sure what they need.  There is just something missing in this book.

I do think that it is a good dip into the fantasy genre, but I think that this book could stand a few little changes here and there.   With the right tweaks and a more flowing feel, this book could be the start of an epic, great series!

Stars:


  
Amazon Link: Buy It Here
Goodreads Link: Check it out here
Twitter Link:@Lee_LaCroix
Facebook Link: Author's Facebook
Webpage: Author's Page

Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review - Raising Sleeping Stones, By P.H.T. Bennet


Title: Raising Sleepy Stones
Author: P.H.T. Bennet
Publisher: Dramkeeper Publishing
Pages: 360
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Blurb:

Like every kid in Solasenda, Kiva Stone has been far too busy training for one of the five town guilds to think about something as useless as dreaming. But when she and her sister DeeDee uncover a mysterious plot to get rid of them, their only hope lies with a shadowy group of people who wield unimaginable powers drawn from their dreams. As the girls escape with them up the Varruvyen river, they start learning secret Dreaming Way techniques that have been forbidden for centuries. But how can they learn enough to stand against the enemies chasing them? The answer lies in the shattered history of Orora Crona, the lost Valley of Dreams, and whoever can piece it together first will rule for centuries to come.


Review:

 So this book was a harder read for me.  I love books that grab you from the get go and keep you going until the last page.  This was took me a while to get into.  I don't think it was any one's fault, it was just not something I could get into.  There were times when I had to go back and re-read something because I was confused.  I know that fantasy novels are usually set in worlds far different from the one we live in, and I know this book is no exception.  I think for me though, this took it beyond that fantasy level.  When I am struggling to picture this world, or the things in it, that is a sign to me that I will have a hard time with the book.

Let me be clear, the book is very well written and the characters are thoroughly fleshed out.  I think for me I just had a hard time putting myself into the story.  And that is what I do, put myself into the story that I am reading.  I picture myself as part of that world, it helps me connect with the whole book better when I can do that.

Kiva is a great character.  She is strong, and knows what she needs to do in order to survive.  She wants more for herself and her sister, and she will do what she needs to get those things.  I love that she wants to learn more, to do more.  I think that is a good thing to have in a book geared toward the middle school age.  They need to see that they can push forward and get the things they dream of having.

The story we get in this book is great one.  The girls have to leave the horrible conditions they are living in before they can start to reach for their dreams.  They can't dream where they are and soon learn that the aunt they are living with is doing more harm them good to them while they are in the home.  The girls are just not thriving in that environment, so Kiva takes her sister and they run off to see what they can find, what they can do outside of the city they live in.

While I struggled with this book, I can recommend it for others.  The book is a great book, and I think the age bracket it is meant for will surely get lost in the story with the characters.

Stars: 

I'm happy to be hosting P.H.T. Bennet's RAISING SLEEPY STONES Blog Tour today! Leave a comment to let him know you stopped by!

For More Information

Book Excerpt:
Kiva looked closely at the sun’s golden face. Wavy rays representing shimmering heat radiated out from it. Its cheeks were plump, the lips full and curved, the nose wide, and the eyes were a little almond-shaped, like hers. In the middle of its forehead was a weird circle with six curving parts swirling around a six-pointed star. She’d never seen the sun drawn like that. Wondering what was on the back of the pendant, Kiva turned it over.

The instant she saw the moon’s closed eyes, her hair flew back in the wind, her stomach dropped, and she was pressed back against the cushions of a vessel that was flying just inches above the river. She jerked her head back up and found she was in the back of a crescent-shaped boat piloted by an old man sitting up front. She was about to call out to him when he pointed at a tree that had fallen across the river and shouted, “When you get here, you must take a detour that even old Jacques didn’t know about! Hold on!”

Before she could, though, he turned the boat around so quickly that Kiva was thrown against the side of her boat and the wind was knocked out of her. She only got her breath back when he straightened out and followed the river back down.

“Look there!” he shouted moments later. “Turn right between the tall twins!”




Watch the Trailer!




About the Author


P.H.T. Bennet began exploring his dreams when he was a child and has never bothered to stop. He had the good luck to have two daughters, Juliette and Paola, who not only served as the inspirations for DeeDee and Kiva, the main characters of Raising Sleeping Stones, but also helped him turn their family dreamwork sessions into this book. His lucky streak grew when he married his lovely wife, Mim, who tolerates his turning on a light in the middle of the night to write down ever-crazier dreams and talking about them in the morning as long as he lets her sleep in, first. His favorite dreams involve flying, visiting the dead, and replaying nightmares until they reveal their secrets.

Pratt’s latest projects are editing Book Two of the Orora Crona Chronicles and planning a virtual summer dreaming camp with other dream authors.

For More Information

Friday, August 5, 2016

Book Review - Deliverance, By Kristi Centeno


Deliverance
by Kristy Centeno
Genre: YA/NA Paranormal
Release Date: March 19th 2016
Inkspell Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:

He’s been locked away his entire life.
He dreams of freedom.
The only way he can accomplish his goals is by breaking free of the chains tying him to a dark past and gloomy existence. But there’s one catch. He’s not human.
And he’s never set foot outside his jail.

Devoted to saving his peers as well as his own life, he sets out to find the one person that can help him achieve his objectives. He knows where she will be and what she will look like, but what he doesn’t anticipate is the fact he finds himself caring for the girl whose life he’s put at risk, more and more each day.

He has no name.
He has only known hatred and violence before her.
However, she will teach him to have faith in humanity, even if she can’t trust him.
Together they will embark on a journey to bring down a corrupt system responsible for the loss of many innocent lives. But when he finds his feelings compromised, can he still move on knowing that doing so will put an end to the life she once knew? How far is he willing to go to be free?




Review:

This was a great book to read! It kept my attention through the whole book and I could not put it down. The characters were engaging and you were rooting for them, wanting the best for them. The storyline is well thought out and the characters are well developed. It was a great book and I highly recommend it to others.

Tiger is an interesting and well thought out character. From the get go you can tell he is not like the other characters you read about. He is naive and strong all at the same time. He was sheltered away in the lab where he grew up. That being said he does appear to understand humans and their nature. He was not nothing like our normal lead male characters and I found that very refreshing.

The interactions in the book are great and I love how the characters are with each other. The mistrust, the hate, the suspicion, and the way the leads play off each other. It is a great thing when an author can make their characters interact the way they do. This book delivers great dialog, and that is hard to come by with so many books today.

Stars: 


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Buy Links:



About the Author

Kristy Centeno is the author of the Secrets of the Moon saga and Keeper Witches series.

She has always had a passion for books and after years of being an avid reader, she decided to transform her desire to write into a reality and thus, her first novel was born. When she’s not busy taking care of her five children or holding down the fort, she finds time to sit and do what she loves the most: writing.

Author Links:


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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Promo - A Solitary Romance, By VIolet Sparks

A Solitary Romance
Author: Violet Sparks
Genre: Sweet Romance/Inspirational Romance

Synopsis of Book

Katrina Crimshaw leads a double life as an auditor by day and jewelry blogger at night. When she meets the man of her dreams, again, her life becomes even more complicated. Juggling success under a pen name with her day job and continued encounters with Robert, a man from her past that she adored from afar, proves complicated for the shy bean counter. When an attractive museum director enters her life, all bets are off as the day dreaming Katrina tries to make sense of her predicament.

When passion flares in this second chance romance, will she let love slip through her fingers again? A Solitary Romance is a clean romance that will set readers’ pulses racing and book one of the Only Love Series.

Interview with Violet: 
Do you have a specific writing style?
I generally write in the third person limited or omniscient style.  I have to say, I begin by the seat of my pants and allow my characters full reign.  About one-third to half-way through the book, I'll sit down and outline the rest of the novel to keep things on track.  At this point, I've got a good idea where all the personalities will end up.

How did you come up with the title?

The main character, Katrina Crimshaw, is a jewelry aficionado.  She runs into a man from her past, someone she found incredibly attractive but was too shy to pursue.  I combined the idea of a solitaire ring, representing her love of jewels, with the loneliness that sometimes accompanies someone who is fearful or shy, and came up with A Solitary Romance.

What books have most influenced your life most?
The Bible has had the biggest impact on my life.  The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk who lived in the 1600s, is an amazing book that I can read over and over.  Coming Out of the Ice by Victor Herman also affected me—it's a wonderful tribute to the human spirit.  I can't leave out the books by Dickens, Austen, and the Brontë sisters, which I read in my youth.  Their works definitely lent an idealism to my mindset (which does not seem to belong to this century!), and shaped my ideas of what romance and love should be. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is to keep on writing!  Find a good editor you enjoy working with and don't rush your writing process.  Read and write as much as possible and do not allow others to discourage you. 

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

I've always loved how Charles Dickens could weave a story together with unforgettable characters and intersecting plots.  I appreciate how he inserted humor in his books as well.  I admire the way William Faulkner packed a punch and how the Brontës created amazing atmospheres, including unexpected twists in their stories.  The contemporary author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is a master of characters, atmosphere, and storylines.   

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

A Solitary Romance is a sweet, or clean and wholesome, romance.  It is book one of the Only Love Series, which currently consists of three books.  I have also written mysteries under a pen name.

Do you ever experience writer's block?
I haven't yet had a serious writer's block.  With every book, I do come to a place where I just have to grind out the story.  I don't particularly enjoy this part of my writing process, but I've yet to escape this phase.  Luckily, it only lasts for a chapter or two, and then I'm over the hump.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?
I would not say that I've hated any of my work.  Anything can be polished, rewritten, examined with a fresh eye, or edited for improvement.  I do go through some fear each time I start a new book.  Will I be able to come up with anything funny?  Can I do the characters justice?  Will unnecessary details hinder the story?  In other words, how can I possibly pull this off?


What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
I cannot pick a favorite a genre.  All of my books have at least a hint of romance, so maybe that's my top choice.  The Only Love Series is straight-up romance, although the third book, A Calculated Romance, has a touch of suspense and mystery.  I like to incorporate a twist or even several unexpected events in my novels, so that's a theme to look for.

Where did your love of writing come from?
I have always loved storytelling.  My mother used to catch me as a toddler making up stories for my own entertainment.  She fostered my love of writing by introducing me to classic literature in grade school, and I won writing awards as a teen.  Then, life and career got in the way.  I always hoped to return to writing, and the encouragement of a friend got the ball rolling for me. 

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part of penning A Solitary Romance was just taking the plunge.  I experienced a personal loss around the time that the idea started to sprout.  I think this book provided a much needed distraction during those first, early stages of grief.  With its overall light tone, the writing allowed me a welcome reprieve from reality.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A Solitary Romance is ever so slightly autobiographical.  I enjoyed reliving my early career days and the fun I had with one of my girl pals.  Also, because everything in the book felt familiar, it required little research.  I appreciated how my writing could flow without stopping to investigate other subjects.  Because I love the arts, I savored drawing on my experiences at a major auction house.  There's a scene in the book where a character helps her friend squeeze into a gown in a dressing room by very creative means.  This actually happened, and my friend managed to fit me in that tight, red dress by the same method!  Just thinking about that little episode brings a smile to my face!

Do you write every single day?
I find I produce my best work when I am writing every day.  I aim to write six days a week, although I've slipped off a little this summer since my children are out of school.

Which writers inspire you?
So many authors inspire me.  At the top of the list are Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, the Brontës, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Irène Némirovsky for her spectacular, unfinished, Suite Française.  I went through a stage where I only read history or biographies, and I greatly admire the work of David McCullough.  His books read like novels and bring the people of the past alive.  I always appreciate any writer who can surprise me with a plot twist or unexpected outcome.

What are you working on at the minute?I am beginning the research for a novel set in the medieval period.

What is your latest book about?
My latest book is third in the Only Love Series, A Calculated Romance.  This is the story of Katrina's assistant, a young rock hound named Landi, and what happens when her path crosses with that of James Crimshaw.  James is featured in the first three books of the series.  He is Kate's brother and a naval intelligence officer.  Both he and Landi have murky pasts and a strong attraction to each other.

Buy It here: Amazon
Goodreads: Check it out here
Author's Website: Click Here

About the Author: 
Violet Sparks pulls from her career in corporate America, her time at a major auction house, and her love of all things girly when penning her romance novels. She won writing contests as a teen and always dreamed of becoming an author. A fan of the arts, Violet created one-of-a-kind gift items, sold in shops throughout Southern California, before raising a family. She met and married the man of her dreams and they now have two young children. Violet has a zeal for vintage costume jewelry, literature, museums, and travel. She writes a blog about her other passions under a pen name.