The Dragon of Russia finds Leila living with a team of Spetsnaz and facing down a sinister fate. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?
I wanted to expand further on Leila’s struggles with her personal demon and how she overcomes it by finding balance and learning to open herself for love again (romantic and friendships/found family).
Leila Wells continues to evolve in interesting ways. What were some challenges you felt were critical to her character development in this story?
I thought it crucial to show her hitting rock-bottom and how she begins to recover.
What scene did you have the most fun writing?
Pretty much any chapter with Alek (because he’s so fun), but I really enjoyed writing the scenes that has Leila delve into her psyche/reflects on herself.
What can readers expect in book three of your Phoenix Trilogy?
A return to the Rulers of the Realms Fighting Tag Tournament for confrontation with Bryan Foster, more drama that makes Leila question herself, and a worldwide paranormal threat revealed.
Posted in Interviews
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The Matilda Series by Jon Gray Lang is the space saga that keeps on giving! Secret Matilda is book four of the series, and continues to be a riveting science fiction adventure and a page turner full of action that will satisfy the needs of every sci-fi lover out there. The book starts right in the middle of the action, setting the space-faring mood for the rest of the story. Chapter after chapter something new and exciting is introduced, the characters are always moving and the entire plot is incredibly dynamic. It is impossible to get bored while reading the story.
It’s so much fun getting to follow, yet again, the Matilda crew on their adventures and misadventures as they travel throughout Consortium controlled space. The bond between the members of the crew feels even more realistic as one can sense the worry and the love that they have for one another. Fans of the Mass Effect video games will enjoy this story as I felt the character relationships against a sci-fi backdrop were reminiscent of that game. This time, the characters find themselves once more in the middle of danger. Imprisoned and with Galena missing, they’ll have to figure out a way back to freedom to save their friend, having only worry, love and a need for survival uniting them on their quest. The characters are quite fierce and all around strong willed, however, as they deal with dreadful situations their vulnerabilities start to appear, a detail that is highly appreciated and has made them very engaging.
In this well-defined space opera we get to see a bit more of what could be happening with Galena Chadov, a mystery that has kept both readers and members of the crew on edge in the last books. With this though, new mysteries emerge and the plot thickens. Now, new possibilities are presented and the crew may have to encounter unknown dangers. Strange creatures seem to be creeping from remote dimensions, a serious threat that appears to be looming for the next books. The revolution against the Consortium is finally on its way as well, adding a new layer of complexity and intrigue to the story.
As with the other books, Secret Matilda has been brilliantly structured, with short yet gripping chapters that keep the story moving at full speed. The plot is quite complex, supported by unique characters with intricate motivations, and a highly creative setting that lets your imagination fly.
Author Jon Gray Lang has again created a captivating book filled with possibilities. The state of the Matilda perfectly represents all that the crew has been through, getting to escape each time just by luck. Is the end of the Matilda near? Will the crew find their friend Galena and save her? Will the revolution succeed? Or perhaps everything will be tainted by the appearance of these strange, yet highly intelligent alien creatures? These questions remain unanswered and one can only wait with lots of excitement for the next book of the series. Secret Matilda is a gripping space adventure whose characters will, with time, steal the hearts of readers.
Pages: 444 | ASIN: B09G5Y5YKS
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Haelend’s Ballad is an epic fantasy novel that drops readers into the middle of a war between the kingdoms of Daecland and Sunder. I feel like the story is influenced by colonial establishments, as seen in the etiquettes and ways of thinking of wealthy colonists. However, the clandestine movement, Silent Hither, and the dark horses are also making headway in Sunder, working hard to retrieve their land from the pale-faced Daecish. In the midst of the brutal wars and their horrifying repercussions, the harbinger of the long-sung events in Haelend’s Ballad, the apocalypse of evil, and the resurrection of the world are starting to emerge. The men at war who lust after influence are ignorant of the bitter day of reckoning that awaits them, accompanied by the bane of all evil.
With the author’s knowledge and experience in history & theology, and interest in ancient mythology, he has effectively used those subjects to flesh out the essential elements of Haelend’s Ballad. Religious contemplation is prevalent in the story as we see the characters in the novel, in times of confusion and crisis, question, contemplate and request the existence and grace of God.
The novel creates vivid images of war and its hideous consequences for everyone. I also liked the realistic portrayal of the picture of a country in the shackles of colonizers, with only the wealthy enjoying the evolution of their homeland. While depicting the barter system, invasions, and wars, it has also portrayed the dawning of technological advancements, such as the printing press, camera lens, steam engine, and voltaic power.
I was a bit confused at first as there was a large number of things to take in; events, characters, town. So as not to get confused later amid the eruption of complex plot twists, I had to note the names of characters and their towns. The map of Everwind and the World at the beginning of the book, however, amazed me and helped me visualize the kingdoms to a great extent.
While Haelend’s Ballad does not give the reader all the details upfront, as the story progresses the many characters and their interconnected fate reveal a deep backstory. I appreciated the details used to setup scenes whether it was the children in the orphanages or the violence and gore of war.
Haelend’s Ballad is a captivating story with something new and exciting in each chapter. The story explores an intriguing link between actions and consequences. Children and sensitive readers may be uncomfortable with some shocking scenes, but mature audiences will be engrossed in this epic fantasy novel.
Pages: 800 | ASIN: B091BSWD8D
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As human beings, it is only natural to wonder where we came from and how we came about. It is only natural to wonder about the Earth and its history. Biku Ghosh has contributed to the conversation with an enlightening book that provides an exploration of the origin of the earth that the average person can understand. The author Biku Ghosh has done extensive research and provides a lot of great ideas to ponder.
This book reads like a campfire story session. It contains different origin stories from around the world, from Africa to Europe and Asia, and I found them all to be fascinating. It provides interesting insight into the beliefs of different communities. Although, a common element is a deity as the originator of the world. The Slavic creation story is especially funny in that it suggests that mountains came about as the devil coughed and fell over while trying to scamper away.
The author seems committed to presenting a well-rounded book. He begins the book with the scientific basis of the history of the planets. It also provides a historical account of the evolution of human beings. He ends the book with a catalog of interesting facts about Antarctica like the Blood Falls and diamonds floating in the air, for example. All of this is intellectually invigorating and provides plenty of food for thought.
Like all human beings, the author admits that no one really knows much about where everything came from and what was there before the Big Bang. His is a simplified account of what is known about the origin of planets and evolution. He strikes a delicate balance between scientific lingo and symbolism making the book more palatable.
How Did It All Start is not a menu of conspiracy theories, it is a museum of beliefs and scientific findings. It is a literary presentation of conversations we have all had in our heads. It is an excellent source for interesting tidbits to share with friends over wine under the stars.
Pages: 180 | ASIN: 183819178X
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Life changes in an instant. Yesterday, Ekaterina was an heiress to one of the oldest noble families in Russia, famous for her alpine climbing. Now, she’s going by Bob, partnered with a group of criminals to steal some valuable artifacts before she herself is stolen. Ekaterina just wants to return a priceless artifact to her grandmother. Part of a collection that has long since been scattered across the world, a precious malachite is all the remains in the family’s possession. After it is stolen, with no way to have the police involved, Ekaterina vows to get it back into her grandmother’s possession… except it dos not turn out that way. Now, with an infuriating “fixer” named Daniel chasing at her heels and a dangerous crime boss making attempts on her life, Ekaterina finds that death-defying climbing is much easier than real life.
From the very first chapter of this crime thriller I knew I was in for a wild ride. As a fan of fast paced books, this heist story certainly did not disappoint. Author Anna Varlese has done an excellent job bringing her characters to life and setting them on relentless and perilous path that is always moving forward and is easily entertaining.
The Brooch Heist is an exciting and fast paced action novel and the ending has me wanting to read more of the mischief that Ekaterina gets into. While I enjoyed the story, I felt that the formatting of the book could have been improved, but otherwise it was not too distracting.
The engaging characters, intriguing plot, and complicated antagonists are all wonderfully set up. Anna Varlese certainly knows how to write a good story. The Brooch Heist is the beginning of what promises to be a suspenseful and entertaining crime series that will keep action-adventure fans hooked.
Pages: 317 | ASIN: B09HRF1FGD
Tags: Anna Varlese, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, crime fiction, crime thriller, ebook, fiction, goodreads, heist, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, The Brooch Heist, thriller, writer, writing
All 48: Drive Your Dreams shares your life journey traveling and facing the various challenges that life presented. Why was this an important book for you two to write?
This book is a important as it is near and dear to our hearts. It’s our vulnerabilities, our struggles and our grind through life from our lowest point.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the best memory you had and what was the hardest memory to share?
Our hardest memory was the timeline through teen pregnancy, this is a very vulnerable and difficult time that most are not willing to talk about.
Our favorite memory would have to be the final stop discussed. We had made it, from less than nobody’s to completion of our final road trip at the geographical center of the United States while the spot itself was a whimper the accompaniment was a war cry…
What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?
Mentally pushing forward. For the sake of your dreams, your loved ones and most importantly yourself.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?
So we have been published in multiple local libraries, we have donated our books to schools and hosted on podcast all in the hopes of helping anyone and everyone to make that move towards their biggest goals in life. We want everyone to Drive Their Dreams!
Posted in Interviews
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Working with a joint multi-law enforcement task force, Detective Pat O’Connor infiltrated a Ukrainian crime family. Headed by Dmitry Andruko. O’Connor and his control, Detective Paul Eiselmann were the lynchpins in the guilty verdict.
The two detectives thought it was over.
Eiselmann planned for a quiet weekend with his family at home. O’Connor planned on attending a high school soccer game and then head to Northern Wisconsin for a fishing trip with another cop, Detective Jamie Graff and four teenage, adopted brothers: George Tokay, Brian Evans, Brett McGovern, and Michael Two Feathers.
But Andruko is ruthless and vindictive. From his prison cell, he hires two contract killers to kill both O’Connor and Eiselmann and anyone else in the way. The killers can be anyone. The killers could be anywhere, and the killers could strike at any time.
The quiet weekend and the short vacation turn into a deadly nightmare as O’Connor’s and Eiselmann’s lives and the lives of the four boys are in peril.
Posted in book trailer
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The World Between Us by Diane Farrugia is a story where our world is not the only one. A dimension exists with the dreams we all have dreamt. Who doesn’t want a world where magic really exists? Magic, elves and unicorns! It is a dream come true. Diane takes readers on a fantastic journey to Encantraalm, the land of magic.
The story starts with our main character, Kayla, who has suffered the loss of her parents. Orphaned in her teens, she is determined to sort out her life. Her depression, and the emptiness in her life is evident, yet she has picked herself up and moved to London to pursue her dreams of writing, when she is suddenly transported into the realm of magic.
The beginning of this story is absolutely riveting. The contemporary life she lives is interesting in itself, but when she is transported to Encantraal, she goes through a massive change. Although I enjoyed watching her character evolve I would have enjoyed it if a bit more time was taken to make that transition because I would have loved to explore it more in-depth.
From the start of this fantasy novel we’re given a lot of information right away. This is a story with a detailed and well thought-out backstory. We learn about the realm and history of magic, and how the Humaynraalm was separated and void of magic. The story has a light tone, and I really enjoyed the introduction of mythical creatures.
Declan, our hero, is an interesting character and with him readers get to witness love at first sight. An elf prince, surrendered under the rule of his selfish father. I thought Declan was a good guy, until he invaded Kayla’s thoughts and made her reveal her grievances and trauma. After that I felt like he had a lot more layers to his character, but this subtle character twist makes him much more compelling and the conflict I feel for his character speaks to the fantastic writing ability of the author.
I loved the characters and the races, and how the story unfolds especially the connection with Camelot, Arthur and the infamous Merlin! I have always adored those myths and therefore, found the book very easy to read. The book reminded me of A Court of Thorns and Roses or even Shadow and Bone, the famous fantasy stories.
The World Between Us is a riveting fantasy adventure story that will appeal to sword and sorcery fans. I look forward to the next installment in the series.