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Tempest of Bravoure: Castaway

Tempest of Bravoure: Castaway by [Valena D'Angelis]

Tempest of Bravoure: Castaway is an epic fantasy novel about a runaway mage’s journey to fight the false king of Bravoure. Ahna is a dark elf and had her life ravaged because of a war that left another malicious dark elf, Xandor Kun in charge. Despite her inhibitions, she becomes involved with the work of the Resistance to attack the City of Gold- Bravoure City. She is troubled by both an oppressive hierarchical system and the demons of her mysterious past.

This novel reminded me of the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini, with the dragons and elves and unlikely hero (here, heroine) I felt a similar kind of wonder and rapture that I did as a child. To me, conjuring up an elaborate and breath-taking universe out of thin air and allowing readers to inhabit it for a little while is nothing short of magic. I think I had unconsciously become dismissive and cynical towards epic fantasy fiction and it was a pleasant shock to realize I’ve been living under a rock, much like the Dwellunders.

The author does not skimp on any of the details- all the characters and subplots are fully explored. Ahna’s blooming romance and action scenes were both developed. It’s not exactly a light read and some parts are dense, as epic fantasy novels tend to be. Ahna and Cedric were an interesting pair and I was completely charmed by their dynamic. Cedric’s character arc was also incredibly moving. Ahna was a little more complicated, the slow unraveling of her past creating even more intrigue about her character.

Even though it is lengthy, it’s a fast read and it is always hard to resist a good underdog story. The end of the book left me a little wistful. Tempest of Bravoure: Castaway is a creatively compelling action novel that takes readers on a exciting adventure.

Pages: 286 | ASIN: B08R2SDW5V

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One Way In, No Way Out

Mann is a self-proclaimed genius at dealing drugs and is, himself, a heavy user. Mann’s life is filled with making deals, and there’s not one profession that’s not familiar with this product. Mann has seen and done it all and continues to live every day of his life on the edge not knowing what lies around the next corner. From drug distribution to fighting for his life, Mann manages to escape one harrowing situation after another. There is no calm in Mann’s life; there is no down time. And Mann wouldn’t have it any other way.

One Way In, No Way Out is the gripping action adventure story by Malcolm Boyd that tells the story of Mann Walker and his overabundance of near-misses and close calls. Mann has spent the better part of his life finding his way into and out of one sticky situation after another. The difference between Mann and any other man is that he chooses this life, time and time again–he’s addicted to the thrill it brings.

Malcolm Boyd has the proverbial way with words. From the opening line by main character, Mann Walker, Boyd hooks readers and invests them in Mann’s sordid life. I am a huge fan of first-person narratives, and Boyd more than delivered with One Way In, No Way Out. Watching the events unfold through Mann’s eyes is a fascinating way to witness the plot of this story. His life is so involved, so complicated–the only way to truly understand and relate to his character is through the personal, first-person perspective.

It’s worth noting that some action/adventure fans might be put off a bit by the exchanges between characters. Given the intense subject matter, there is some profanity in Boyd’s work. Though somewhat rough, the dialogue is integral to the plot.

I recommend One Way In, No Way Out to any action and adventure fan looking for a more down-to-earth novel. Boyd’s characters are gritty, real, and, in their own way, endearing. Mann Walker’s tale is one not to be taken lightly. Boyd takes readers on a journey that both amaze and sadden them, pulling them into the rawness of his characters’ lives.

Pages: 379 | ASIN: B01N37P508

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Just as Unforgiving

J.R. Dunbar Author Interview

J.R. Dunbar Author Interview

Saint follows a man who’s given his wish to be a superhero but finds that the super hero life is not what he expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

To be honest, part of my inspiration comes from a fleeting, and perhaps juvenile, frustration. Every so often I find myself pondering the fact that superheroes don’t exist, yet super villains kind of do, you know? As soon I have this notion of a hero coming out of the woodworks to save humanity, it is quickly checked by the reality that it just wouldn’t work that way in real life. That is where Saint’s flaws come from; he played hero out of passion and it killed him, then he came back as what he had dreamed of, yet life was just as unforgiving.

Jake is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Thank you! I liked the idea of a truly altruistic protagonist, yet wanted a character who wasn’t afraid to kill when it was necessary. I enjoyed exploring this concept because it initially seems contradictory, and is intended to make the reader question their assessment of ethics. His journey from a rock-solid, “perfect” character into a flawed, heavily emotional character is also derived from contradiction: “How can I make this character get better in some ways, yet worse in others?” was my mindset. I find it can be boring if characters go in one direction or have too much linear development.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this graphic novel?

An important theme in Saint is self growth while staying true to yourself. Jake stumbles upon his new life as Saint, but ultimately has to revert back to his roots when his back is against the wall. Another theme readers will find is vengeance. I really tried to layer the vengeance and feuds to create a classic cat-and-mouse feel.

Do you have plans to continue this comic series or develop it in other types of media?

Yes! I have plans for two more volumes of equal length, as well as two short novels that will fill in the gaps between. I may explore other media in the future, but for now I am just writing away!

Author Links: Instagram | Website

Jake Barker always wanted to be a superhero. Acting as a vigilante for years, one day he finally got his wish…too bad he had to die for it. As the world’s first superhero, he’s finding that his new life is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Now out for vengeance, will his abilities be enough, or will vengeance find him first?

This contains the full compilation of all 5 chapters, plus an epilogue and bonus art!

Saint: A Graphic Novel

Saint: Full by [J.R. Dunbar]

Saint a graphic novel by J.R. Dunbar is a compelling and kinetic action adventure comic that is a strong addition to anyone’s graphic novel collection. At its heart, Saint is the story of a child who is consumed by the superhero genre. He dreams of the day that he’ll become a crime fighter like his favorite characters. This becomes an obsession that sets his his life on  a singular course.

Unlike many reluctant heroes, he undertakes the hero’s journey out of the desire to do good. To make a difference. Helping others is a principle factor in his development, which is refreshing to see in an overcrowded superhero market where so many main characters have tragic backstories, or are conceited, self-centered people forced to change, even Clark Kent in the new Superman movies is being bent in this new direction of dark hero’s. J.R. Dunbar has created a hero who aspires to do good, reminiscent of the classic comics of the genre, but he’s able to do it with a gritty contemporary feel that never feels out of place with today’s comics.

The artwork has a unique sketched art style with lots of bright colors that contrasts with the darker shading throughout the story. Some scenes are very detailed, even gory, but other scenes have a flat color that I would have liked to have seen given some texture. One scene I really enjoyed is the one where one character is crushed and the blood spatter comes out of the cell; very fun, unique and vivid.

Saint has plenty of profanity and graphic violence, if that’s what you’re into, but we’re also given a great action packed story that puts our hero to the tests in some very creative ways against some bad guys that are interesting and well crafted. This is a graphic novel, as it combines several of J.R. Dunbar’s comics, so readers get a more well rounded story arc then what’s found in a regular comic. If you enjoy a backstory that’s detailed and provides ample time in fleshing it out then you will definitely like this graphic novel. This is all the character development we get as we’re only given a bit more pieces throughout the novel as Saint fights crime in a uniquely Saint type of way.

Saint is an interesting take on the super hero genre. A great addition to anyone’s graphic novel collection. This is an imaginative story that will hook readers with a well-conceived story line and a likeable hero.

Pages: 155 | ASIN:  B08P3NS2F8

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The Eyes of Summer: Another Summer with Ian and Dee

The Eyes of Summer is a fun-filled tale of adventure, mystery, and danger aboard a luxury yacht.

Ian Conner, a medical student interning at the University of California, Irvine, and his surfer girlfriend Dee live in Huntington Beach. The two are spending their summer on a 70-foot yacht moored at Catalina Island.

Naturally curious, Dee is a journalist for a local newspaper, leading the couple to soon suspect that some illegal activity is going on at another yacht. The situation turns sinister when they discover what they believe to be drugs and money laundering taking place.

In the blink of an eye, the couple’s summer jaunt turns from pleasurable to deadly.

A beach lover, Denise Ann Stock grew up in Huntington Beach, California, and currently resides in Florida. This is the sequel to her novel Blow Out Summer.

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Our Decisions Define Us

Douglas Misquita
Douglas Misquita Author Interview

Trigger Point follows Luc as he must stop a terrorist plot while navigating a political and religious web of corruption as a deadly team is hunting him. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

I was intrigued by “The Islamist: Why I joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left” by Ed Hussain, “Radical Islam: Past, Present, and Future: What Moderate Muslims Will Not Tell you” by Anita & Vann Boseman, “God’s Wolf: The Life of the Most Notorious of All Crusaders: Reynald de Chatillon” by Jeffrey Lee, “A Common Word Between Us and You” by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, Kingdom of Jordan. There was also “The Entity: Five Centuries of Secret Vatican Espionage” by Eric Frattini. At the time of writing, the book was prohibitively priced to the extent I asked myself, ‘Who does not want us to read this?’. All-in-all, I wanted to challenge the stereotype of a terrorist and show that everybody has a propensity for violence if not checked.

Luc Fortesque is a consistently entertaining character. What were some character motivations that you felt were important to developing him throughout the novel?

In the first book of the series, The Apocalypse Trigger, Luc is the bad guy. Readers will hate him. By the time I wrote The Immortality Trigger, he seemed like the guy I wanted to return. So I set him on this path of redemption. He’d done some pretty nasty stuff and has always attributed his life-choices to external stimuli. But at the end of the day, our decisions define us, and who we become. That became the theme and we see it resolve in Trigger Point. The bad guy finds his soul, his righteousness. Also melds with my belief that everybody is doing what they can to survive in this world.

Was there anything taken from real life and put into the story?

Plenty. All the locations, vehicles are factual. Raynald de Chattilon and Nur ad Din were sworn enemies during the crusades. The syncretism of Catholic and Maya beliefs is real as is the ritual and the construct of the typical Maya village. Zombie Deer Disease is real, as is the (questionable) research that I caught onto and used to great effect. The Swiss vaults described in the book exist and nobody knows the true extent of the wealth or secrets stored there. The Japanese Unit 731 existed and its research was co-opted by the US after WWII. The Chinese AI entity is based on fact – Western companies are indirectly providing the expertise much to the concern of their home nations. I’ve done my best to be non-offensive yet informative in my exposition of Catholism, Islam and religious trends.

This is the third book in your Luc Fortesque Adventure series. What can readers expect in book four?

Visitors to my website will observe I’m happy doing trilogies before moving on to something fresh. For now, there won’t be another Luc Fortesque book. I’ve got another hero coming up and yet another that I’m concluding in another series. Then I’m contemplating a wild prehistoric adventure. Who doesn’t ?

Author Links: Website | Newsletter | Facebook | GoodReads | Instagram

Smuggling himself into Europe despite an Interpol Red Notice? Possible. Avenging a German BKA officer? Easy. Evading special ops teams hunting him for his secrets? Impossible. Things are about to get more… interesting for Luc Fortesque. An escaped terrorist threatens a landmark dialogue between Muslims and Christians. More terrifying is the theft of a bioweapon from a secret vault operated by the Holy See. That the damaging news is not public hints the weapon will be detonated. With cataclysm imminent, the world’s oldest espionage agency – the Vatican’s L’ Entity – must get Fortesque first, hoping he might possess the cure. Treachery and corruption infect the upper echelons of religion and government, and Fortesque must confront his past to be free of it. If he survives the confrontation.

A Light in the Darkness

Jessica Piro
Jessica Piro Author Interview

Ascension of the Phoenix follows a detective seeking release in street fighting, but success leads her down a dark path toward revenge. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The major inspiration was Leila Wells, herself. I wanted to delve into the notion that everyone has a dark side and what would happen if someone who is an upright figure gives in and falls. Now for the street fighting and fighting tournament, Mortal Kombat and the Tekken video games were heavy influences. Being such a fan of Law and Order: SVU helped me make Leila a detective.

Leila is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

She is who I wish I could be. An authoritative figure who is also fair and generous, and who uses her position for good. She doesn’t abuse her power. Doesn’t bow under pressure. Is physically and mentally strong. Someone who is in control of their emotions… well, sometimes.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Quite a few of them. One theme being the struggles against dark sides because Leila isn’t the only one. The different ways people deal with grief is another. Exploring how someone can lose who they think they are—their identity—and how they fight to come back, and how they sometimes change. And no matter how bleak or hopeless a situation, there is always hope/a light in the darkness—you just may have to wade through more darkness to reach it.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The Dragon of Russia is the next book in this trilogy and will be available August 2021. Like I did with Ascension of the Phoenix, a companion short story will also be released in the Fall. It will be called The Crane’s Dance, following a new character that Leila meets in Russia, like how The Panther’s Pride is in Jamaal Gordon’s POV.

Author Links:

To rise from ashes, one must be a phoenix.
Detective Leila Wells has apprehended every criminal to cross her path, except for one. And when Bryan Foster returns, he devastates her world. To cope, she finds release in street fighting. Successes with her fighting partner grant them an invitation to participate in the Rulers of the Realms Fighting Tag Tournament. But as she fights, a power begins to rise within her—a dark and angry blaze urging her toward revenge.

Trigger Point

Trigger Point: A Luc Fortesque Adventure by [Douglas Misquita]

The third Installation of the Luc Fortesque series, Trigger Point by Douglas Misquita is an action-packed thriller. The novel follows the journey of Luc, who has acquired secret knowledge about an impending terrorist conspiracy. Forces are sent to get hold of Luc, as his knowledge puts the Holy See under the criminal radar. A former agent Raymond Garrett is on a mission to expose the EI Fantasma, but the drug mafia also has some plans in store for Garrett. Now the question is, will they be able to pierce through the veneer of rampant internal corruption, barbarism, and history of betrayal? Or will they be defeated in the face of intense corruption within the government and religious bodies? 

Douglas Misquita’s use of lucid language complements this intricately woven story. Trigger Point does an amazing job at keeping the reader glued to the pages from the beginning till the very end with action that is easy to follow and a story line that is deeply intriguing. Although the novel contains a plot that can easily stand on its own, you should definitely check out the previous two novels in the same series–The Apocalypse Trigger and The Immortality Trigger. Written in the same vein as the works of Dan Brown, this story aptly captures the nuanced deception running through various international, political and religious institutions.

This is an action thriller written for action thriller fans. It contains all the high points I wanted in a high stakes crime fiction novel, and one of the best character developments I’ve seen in a series in this genre. There are multiple twists throughout, leading to a tense reading experience. However, the incidents, while highly entertaining, are still grounded in reality, possibly due to the thoughtful descriptions and exposition throughout the novel. The author has brilliantly executed an array of ideas into a comprehensive whole, utilizing a unique writing flair that I’ve come to expect in Douglas Misquita’s novels.

Combine the intricate nature of Dan Brown novels, add the intensity and political web of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series, with the world building of Michael Crichton and I think you’ll understand what Trigger Point has to offer readers. The characters in the novel are as intriguing as the storyline itself. Never for a moment, did I feel that these are not real-life human characters. They come alive with their virtues and vices combined, giving them a human touch. The author has put extra attention towards the development of each character, making them even more appealing to the readers. 

The complex yet easy-flowing storyline, the rounded characters, and the infusion of action make Trigger Point an enthralling read that immerses readers in a tumultuous world full of adventure.

Pages: 417 | ASIN: B08S7Q8JSD

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