A story rich in family and betrayal, Bayo, a Griffin elder attempts to build an army and exploit the powers of the griffins in order to free his people. The Eyes are the key, the portals to other divisions allowing characters to stay connected throughout their perilous journeys, to protect themselves and their loved ones. After many years of suppression and suffering at each other’s hands, each character is on their own mission to try and fulfil their individual prophecies, no matter the cost.
A gripping piece of fantasy writing, Hale, Rise of the Griffins is a magical tale which leaves the reader with a thirst for more. Although, some of the story is dictated to the reader, there are many elements throughout the writing where the imagery conveyed creates a vivid picture in the readers mind.
The creative mind of JK Noble, has conjured a world fueled by magic and mythology. An array of intriguing characters is represented through their different mannerisms and dialects which has been created wonderfully. The different perspectives and plots which are running simultaneously are cleverly written and allow the reader to experience the various points of view and ultimately see how their stories are connected.
Through descriptions of settings and elements such as the unique modes of transport, the writer has been able to create their own universe. Towards the start of the book and during the prologue you get the sense that you have travelled back in time, despite the dates which appear at the start of various chapters. However, as you read on there are references to modern day technology. Personally, I felt that the dates were not necessary to the story, and for me the time at which the story is set is before cars, when journeys were taken by horse and cart. The beauty of this non specific time period is that the reader can reach their own conclusion.
The imagination and detail that has gone in to creating such a magnificent world is spectacular. I would have enjoyed a more detailed dive into this riveting world being built along with more opportunities for a clever metaphor to unleash my imagination. The intricacy of the parallel plots is written in a thrilling yet comprehensive way. I am definitely interested in finding out what is going to happen next to Hale, Marcus, Ellionna, and Mary.
Hale: The Rise of the Griffins is a suspenseful adventure novel with a unique world and compelling characters that will appeal to any fantasy reader looking for a story with plenty of depth and action.
Pages: 278 | ASIN: B0977H6WVP
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Eastover Treasures follows Aury as she digs up a treasure with a mystery leading through history that may be able to preserve the history of the plantation. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
Library of Congress has some great online resources. I was able to view old diaries, journals, and letters from soldiers, all online during COVID. I also reached out to the Science and Media Museum in the UK and to the College of William and Mary to verify I had worded things correctly when it came to the scientific information.
Aury is a character I enjoyed following. Was there anything that you pulled from real life to create her character?
The only thing I pulled from is my quilting experience. I love to quilt and started attending quilting retreats with the ladies from the Colonial Piecemakers in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was while I was on a walking break during one of those retreats that I came up with the idea for Eastover Treasures.
What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
To take my time. Every writer is excited to get the book on the market as soon as it’s finished. I took the time and ran it through my writers’ group numerous times, then had over forty beta readers give me feedback before I finally had it published. It was time consuming but well worth it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have so many irons in the fire! I have a children’s picture book coming out early 2022, If I Looked Like You. My dragon story (title still forthcoming) is YA Fantasy and will be ready end of 2022. I’m currently writing the third book in the Jackie Austin Mystery series, Truth Has No Agenda. And, of course, I’ve started playing with the next treasure Aury will go in search of in Ithaca, New York, at the Finger Lakes.
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The Color of Greed is the second book in the Erebus Tales series. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that was different from book one?
The first book, Stone Fever, was conceived as a pure adventure Western, geared to a Young Adult audience, and very much action-driven. In The Color of Greed, I wanted to broaden the stakes, the scope and the timeline. So, for instance, this book takes place over several months, compared to the first one in just over a week. SF was set wholly in Antarctica, except for some flashbacks. CoG jumps between life in an Antarctic village during the long dark season and power centers of the Northern Hemisphere.
I also wanted the protagonist to have to make more difficult choices, and to show the resulting consequences.
Keltyn continues to be an enthralling character. What were some challenges you felt were important for her character development?
The fact that she is Native American (actually, the correct term in Canada, where she is from, is Indigenous Peoples) initially striving to succeed in a white-male-dominated field like industrial science. Then she finds herself rescued from near-death and adopted by a poor family in a nomadic village; her loyalties and goals shift dramatically. (Spoiler alert: even more dramatic challenges to come in the finalé, Gifts of a Dark God, to be published 11/21.)
What are some sources you feel informed this novel’s development?
As a traveler to many foreign countries, including several trips to less-affluent parts of the world, I’ve always been interested in what may be described as “cultural anthropology.” This field compares how different societies deal with similar needs, like food, clothing, and shelter, on to more abstract pursuits like art and religion. For more on that, readers may be interested in an ongoing photo-essay series: https://www.instagram.com/StoneFeverBook/
When you throw in the other variable, of how drastic climate change may result in mass forced migrations over hundreds of years, the stage was set for a sci-fi series based on the trope of first contact.
What can readers expect in book three of the Erebus Tales series?
The plot thickens: each of the five point-of-view characters from CoG completes their own narrative arc in this epic finalé that spans two years. Erebus, the mountain god of darkness, will have the final say.
Though mature Y.A. readers will hopefully have been hooked by the first two books, the themes from them are expanded for the benefit of adult readers, and the length is about 20% longer than the first two books.
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Someone is stalking the LGBTQ community of Long Island, New York. When the drowning death of a federal agent’s daughter connects to the serial killings, Special Agent Chase joins the investigation. Is the killer a jilted lover? Is the father taking revenge on the women he suspected of drowning his daughter? When the fourth victim turns up butchered, Juanita must race against time to save the remaining women on the monster’s death list.
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Everyone faces hardships in life. Even animals aren’t exempt from that, feral or domestic. Russell H. Plante brilliantly illustrates this aspect of life in his book A Sense of Purpose. In it, he introduces us to Chester, a cat that gets to experience many things, some good, some not so great, and helps us see the purpose that we all have in our lives, one way or another. We get to experience Chester’s adventure since he was just a little kitten. Without a mother, and having to figure things out by himself, he finds early on a girl that’s willing enough to give him a home and some companionship. From this very moment, he starts learning new things, things that will help him live through many difficult situations, lessons that he ultimately shares with others around him and with ourselves, the readers.
The story is told from Chester’s perspective. Despite being a cat, there’s so much that people can relate to with his life. What Chester goes through are things that we all go through and experience in our lives. Fear, uncertainty, loneliness, but also hope, friendship and love. Both the beauty and the harsh reality of life is presented in detail throughout the book. Chester meets multiple people, makes new friends and adapts to different environments repeatedly. Each situation gives Chester a new perspective through which to see life. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, but it’s not all unavoidable darkness either. The storms that he lives through, both metaphorically and literally, help him gather new knowledge and become more resilient.
Author Russell Plante’s story gives visibility to a prominent issue in both human and animal life: the one of homelessness. Chester experiences this terrible reality early in his life. He loses his mom, gets lost and at one point decides to leave the safe home he already had in an heroic attempt to find and help a friend. The loneliness and helplessness that he gets exposed to because of this is heartbreaking. He makes friends with humans that are also homeless, and realizes that sometimes those who have less are precisely the ones that are ready to give more. The meaning of love, friendship and companionship gains a lot of importance in this story, and is the main thing that allows everything to move forward. Readers will immediately feel compassion for the characters introduced throughout the plot, and will be able to relate and empathize with their struggles.
There are so many things to like about this book. It is an overall sweet and beautiful story that will resonate with everyone that reads it. Love for those around us, humans and animals, are the main things that I leave with after finishing this book. We all have a sense of purpose, and this book will help you understand that more clearly.
Pages: 172 | ASIN: B08KSJWFXN
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Writer William McGinnis says that Adam Weldon is his favorite character, and indeed he does feature in a number of McGinnis’s action tales. Weldon is a MacGyver type – an ex-Navy SEAL who can turn any tricky situation to his advantage. Unlike MacGyver, however, he does so with a gun in one hand and in the other, an encyclopedic knowledge of how to kill someone bare-handed, Jack Reacher style.
In Cyclops Conspiracy, Weldon teams up with his girlfriend, Tripnee, an FBI sharpshooter, and an alluring drone expert called Sophia. Together, they set sail to prevent World War III.
The action takes them around the Greek Islands and, eventually, all the way to the White House as they attempt to foil the plans of Islamic extremists set on jihad. McGinnis clearly knows his way around a yacht, and most of the action takes place in and around boats, either theirs or those of the terrorists. The limited space on the boats makes for claustrophobic and interesting fight scenes, and clever escapes which the author takes full advantage of.
There is little description of the islands or the coastlines as seen from the water. The plot could be set just about anywhere there is a sea. McGinnis draws on the Cyclops / Greek mythology connection as well.
Throughout the book, the people are beautiful and the bad guys are very bad; the men are tough and resourceful, the women are mesmerizing. Tripnee and Sophia can little more than tolerate each other, a friction caused by jealousy over the attention of Weldon. This is a cliché that offsets the two strong female protagonists. Where there are scenes featuring Sophia attractively tinkering with her guns, I would have enjoyed seeing them be more integrated and vital to the plot.
While the characters were engaging and perfect vehicles to deliver entertaining action scenes, I look forward to seeing them developed further in future novels as they’re interesting characters, but I feel we’re only scratching the surface.
For fans of action-adventure novels there is plenty of violence and threat and lots of shooting with heads disappearing into red mists and a clever twist at the end. Cyclops Conspiracy is a thrilling action novel that will appeal to fans looking for a straightforward story with relentless action.
Pages: 179 | ASIN: B08YXDYB7N
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Left for Death: A Noir Detective Novella by Joseph D’Aquisto is a compelling crime fiction novella told from the perspective of Detective John Sandes. He details the riveting series of events that lead up to a gruesome crime, which happens right before he retired from the Seattle Police Department. It all started when he’d found a dead body at a crime scene and discovered a shocking connection to a little girl’s disappearance from a year ago. What soon followed was a tangled web of deception that led to a child trafficking ring and police corruption in his own department.
D’Aquisto knows how to tell a gripping crime tale with fast-paced action and lots of drama that colors every page. The events of the story are rich with intricate details of real-life ripped-from-the-headlines stories, like an episode from the television show Law & Order.
What I enjoyed about this crime mystery is that we get to learn about Detective Sandes’ life as well. He’s a veteran that reflects on his past mistakes while grappling with his physical and mental health. This makes Sandes both grounded and relatable, but still a very intriguing character.
The novella creates some vivid imagery of the locations and setting for the story which really brings to life Seattle and New York City and allows the characters to inhabit these spaces and makes the scene a part of the story rather than just the background. The story is very detailed as well, giving readers a great visual of the crime scene, the evidence, and the wild goose chase we’re taken on that goes in some unexpected directions, all the while relying on the skills of Detective Sandes to reveal the mystery to the reader.
While I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story, and the methodical unraveling of that mystery, I felt that the momentum of the story is sometimes slowed by a wealth of backstory and various moments where we’re told things rather than shown things. John Sandes is an interesting character and I think getting more of the story from his point of view would have been fascinating.
Left for Death is a gripping crime novel which summons the best elements of the noir genre that puts a stirring character in the midst of an enthralling mystery with thought-provoking repercussions.
Pages: 165 | ASIN: B093LLWTBJ
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The Flying Fool is a thrilling fantasy adventure story following a ragtag group on an epic adventure in a highly imaginative world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Well when I first started writing “The Flying Fool” I wanted to write more of a pirate story. But when I wrote out the character of David, he didn’t seem like someone who would be a captain or in that type of role. I played around with the idea of him just being a crew member on a ship or a second mate, but as I kept writing and establishing more of the wider world in the book that changed aswell. I’m planning on making this a series, hopefully atleast, and I’ve seen this book as a prequel to the main story. It introduces the world just enough for readers to get hooked on, as well as recurring characters that will feature in later books and the main villain of the whole series as well. That’s how my whole thinking process went and how I settled on the setup
Your characters were intriguing and something I enjoyed about this novel. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Thank you very much! For David, the main character, I’ve tried to make him a scoundrel, a lovable scamp. A Han Solo, if you will. I wanted the readers to keep guessing whether he would have a gold heart or whether he was rotten to the core. I concentrated on his psychology and outlook as a way to get readers, maybe not fully support or get behind him, but for them to understand him.
A second character I would like to mention would be Francesca. I wanted both her and David to have similar backstories, where something tragic happen, but for her to have a completely different outlook. I wanted to show her as a positive person who likes to see the best in people. Maybe even naïve, to a fault. As a counterpoint to David’s more pragmatic, or even pessimistic, view of life.
Other characters we get to know mostly on a surface level, as most of the book is seen through David’s perspective. For most of the story he only sees his own security and safety as paramount, inline with that he only trusts himself. To portray that I only gave the readers information that David would have, on certain characters as he would see getting close to other characters as a liability.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I wanted to show how previous experiences and childhood can shape a person. How similar experiences can birth different outlooks, and finally to show the importance of bonds and what lack of any can do to a person when he’s going through hardship.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m actually working on a few projects currently! Whether all off them will see the light remains debatable and progress isn’t the fastest as I have a day job aswell but I’m slowly working at all of them!
- The Flying Magician- Sequel to the flying fool. It will have a new main character and I want to make it more of a mystery and detective novel.
- Vampire of Sin- A modern fantasy book, where fantasy creatures live along side humans. The story will follow a new vampire as he builds a crime empire.
- Untitled space opera/sci fi fantasy- This one doesn’t have a name but it will follow a space bounty hunter as he joins a team to break someone out of prison. Something similar to ocean’s 11 but in space.
- An untitled book- No title currently either. This one will be more historical, very loosely, and is based during the 1910’s before WW1. It will follow a british noble as he travels around the world with his friend and gets into various whimsy adventures. I’m wanting to make the main character of this one more active, as in he will create the plot through his actions/words, rather then the plot happening to the character and him just reacting to it.
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