Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ashes to Ashes: The Scribing of Ishitar (Vol. II)

Thank you sybillreader with for this excellent 4 out of 4 star review of Ashes to Ashes!

Ashes to Ashes: The Scribing of Ishitar is a very compelling story. It is a fictional account of how the angels and demons faired after the original rebellion from on high. I found it to be fascinating, especially since this is not the type of book that I would normally read. I had to keep reading to figure out what the characters’ motive were and try to distinguish the good guys from the bad. The cast of characters includes Gods, angels, demons, vampires, mortals, fairies, and creatures that I could never fit into any category at all.

The battle of good and evil is as old as time. In this case greedy gods fight amongst themselves for kingdoms and positions that they desire and many times non-gods get caught in the crossfire as pawns. The vampires need blood to feed upon yet they cannot breed; the angels can breed, but must do so with a lesser class; the demons want to get rid of the angels; and the fairies will do whatever their mortal master tells them to do. A war for survival begins, and it is time to call in old favors. Add in forbidden love, deceit, lots of secrets, murder, and revenge and boy what a story we have!

I was amazed at the obedience and loyalty in this tale. A friendship that spanned centuries between a demon and an angel is tested as the war escalates. Will it survive or will they feel the compulsion to remain true to their own people? A love affair ends in the most heart-breaking way. A young boy becomes a man as he leads his people on the battlefield. Help comes from surprising and unexpected sources, testing trust on all sides as class classifications go by the wayside. Unnecessary deaths broke my heart and made me want to cry while one called a friend turns into a traitor. One particular god is the vilest of the vile and I wanted to get him myself. The author blends all of this into one of the most amazing and emotional adventures that I have read.

The names gave me a little trouble at first, but as I got to know the characters I could place the names in my head even though I could not pronounce them. Then I realized that I missed the first book in the series. I will read it now that I know about it and I highly recommend reading Fall from Grace first to understand the who, what, why, and how of this continuing story and definitely for character development.

There are several sub-plots within the main story and I guarantee that this book will keep you going. I recommend this book even if it does not fall within the genre that you normally read. You will not be disappointed. Please hurry with the next one! I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.

A Flight of Marewings; Kristen S. Walker

The book was an interesting tale of a young bastard heiress who has been promised to a warlord.  She goes with him willingly enough to fulfill her dead father’s wishes and finds herself in a situation where the Council who now rules denounces those wishes and she and the warlord must now make other plans.

The story, over all, was extremely enjoyable and I really liked the manner in which the POV chapters were laid out.  My largest complaint, however, was that the characters seemed to contradict themselves often and without much explanation.  Also, some of the timeline wasn’t quite in sync, causing a little bit of confusion. 

That being said, I do look forward to the next installment in the series.  Therefore, I give Kristen S. Walker a solid four stars for her efforts with A Flight of Marewings.

Note:  I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for a review on  This in no way influenced my opinion.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tempus; Holly Lauren

Tempus was everything that every YA author should strive for.  Chapel Ryan, the POV character, understands that something about her is different from other people.  Those close to her tried to slough it off as a symptom of PTSD.   On top of dealing with this, she is mending the broken heart of first love, the gradual loss of a somewhat close relationship with her mother and a creepy stepfather that seems to be more interested in the results of his election than what is happening in his own house.   But rather than wallowing in self-pity she puts on a brave face throughout most of the book and focuses her concerns on finding out what is wrong with her and how to normalize herself.

Over the course of the book, Chapel finds a new love interest, Isaiah.  Ms. Lauren did an incredible job in building this relationship.  The chemistry between the two is perfect from the beginning and Chapel’s reluctance to trust another boy so soon after having her heart broken is played in a manner that shows inner strength rather than weakness.   At the same time, the mystery surrounding Isaiah is more than Chapel can resist and, eventually, a small crack in her self-imposed armor spurs the events that lead her to allowing Isaiah in just enough to solve her own mystery. 

The book kept me guessing all the way through the reveal of why Chapel had these mysterious episodes and who (or what, given the paranormal undertones of the novel) Isaiah actually was.  Never mind that as she made her journey to self discovery I wasn’t sure who was on Chapel’s side and who I wanted her to stay as far away as possible from.  Even her three best friends came into question in my mind somewhere near the end of the book.

Other reviewers have made mention of the grammar and formatting issues so, although I must point them out, I won’t harp on that here.  Because Ms. Lauren has acknowledged the feedback of her readers, and has expressed her gratitude for it, I also won’t let it hinder my review score and will, instead, focus on the exceptional plot and the brilliant writing style prevalent throughout the entirety of the book.

Let it be known that I do NOT enjoy YA romances; especially those with a paranormal tendency (although I’m a rabid fan of adult novels in this genre).  Upon reading two extremely popular series where the POV female characters felt so damn sorry for themselves all the time, I’d sworn off of them for good.   Having said that, I hope that the fact that I give Tempus a five star rating will convince others who have been turned off by the recent fluff of YA fiction give this unexpected treasure the well deserved benefit of the doubt.   
Note:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for the review.  This did not effect the rating.

Pick up a copy of Tempus in either print or kindle on at the following link:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

This Changes Everything (The Spanners Series); Sally Embers

As I started reading this book I was extremely confused.  The initial writing style is uniquely jumbled and somewhat difficult to follow.  However, I believe that this is somewhat intentional based on the first concept initiated within the story—everything happens all at once.  Time is not linear, but expansive.  Once I understood that this was one of the major messages being shared within the book (note, I do not believe that sharing this will be giving a spoiler as it’s pretty clear within the first 25 pages) the strange manner in which the story, itself, as written, makes perfect sense.

Although I do not predict this story will become a mainstream success, it will definitely appear to a certain subset who have an interest in discussing the possibilities of linear time and alien interaction with what Sally Ember has labeled as “Earthers”. 

The concepts that the author discusses certainly align with some of my own beliefs and, perhaps, this is what kept me turning the page to see the direction in which the story would lead.  By page 36, I was glad that I did.  It was around this time that I started to enjoy the spin the author put on past events, giving them flavor that played well into her vision of the purposes of past alien encounters.

I will say that what I enjoyed the most about the book was the main character’s interaction with both “The Band” and her fellow humans.  The interactions gave ground to the underlying plot, taking it from something akin to a research paper and back to the world of storytelling.  I especially liked the fact that not all of her family is receptive to the sudden announcement of the other world visitors and her realization that, perhaps, she’d best prepare some of these people for the publication of her visits to the world at large.

Because I did have some problems following the timeline off and on throughout the book, I’m unable to give it a solid five star rating.  However, I will say that very rarely do I finish a 248 page novel in the course of two days and that, even more importantly, I’m curious to see where the author takes this series in the next installment.  This speaks volumes as to Ms. Ember’s writing skills and ability to keep her readers interested in her content.  As such, on an Amazon rating scale, I rage This Changes Everything as worthy of four stars.
This Changes Everything (The Spanners Series) can be picked up on at the following link:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Precipice: The Beginning; Kevin J. Howard

Here is a book that starts out with a bang and takes you on a ride that only gets better and better.  The characters were rich and the horrors that befell upon them vivid.  By the time I reached the books cliffhanger ending I desperately wanted to pick up the next installment simply to learn if the people I’d come to care about would make it out of their current situation as planned.

I didn’t find myself any too attached to the main character, unfortunately.  I found his wife a much tougher breed of hero.  Still, given the situation that he was in prior to almost the end of the story, I wouldn’t have expected him to behave any differently than he did.  When the time came, we got a glimmer of who the man really is and how he might break out and show us his quality in the next installment.

It’s a difficult thing to write a book with changing POVs and to do so in a successful manner.  But it’s also the type of book that I really like because it gives me perspective not only on the motivation of the characters, themselves, but how others see them.  Especially when you throw in opportunists who justify their less than honorable actions in a crumbling society.  Kevin J. Howard certainly managed to bring out both the best and worst of the characters at the exact time you’d expect to see it.

I read another review by a reader who didn’t like the lack of sci-fi in this book.   I may have to lean toward agreement that, for now, the genre is mislabeled.  But that didn’t really disturb me too much as I found the pages turning quickly and a lunch hour or two passing by far too swiftly.  At the end of the day, Howard has delivered a solid story with great potential to become even better still in books two and three. 

If you’re the type of reader who likes to get lost in a story, this book is one to definitely consider.   Precipice:  The Beginning is available on in both print and kindle format.  Note that, as of the posting of this review, the kindle version is on sale for $0.99. 


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Back to Work!

Hello my fellow authors and readers,

I took an unexpected break over the holidays to take care of some personal business but it's time to get back to the wonderful books that have come my way!  Thank you to everyone who has submitted your work!

Books will be read and reviews posted in the following order:

The Precipice:  The Beginning by Kevin J. Howard
Tempus by Holly Lauren
This Changes Everything by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Transported for Life by E Van Jonson
Hunter by Campbell Jefferys
Revontuli by Andrew Eddy
A Flight of Marwings by Kristen S. Walker

If you've sent me your book and you don't see it listed here, drop me a line so that I can be sure to bump you into the schedule in the order the book was received.

Now it's time to dig in and get some serious reading done!