Talon, Come Fly with Me (Talon Series Book One) By Gigi Sedlmayer is a fiction story about a nine-year-old girl named Matica, who is the daughter of Australian missionaries living in Pucara, Peru. She has a medical condition that affects her growth, which causes her to have a hard time fitting in. For several years, her only friends are two condors she calls Tamo and Tima. When the condors’ egg is threatened by poachers, Matica is determined to protect it. Will she succeed in her aim, or will another egg be stolen from Tamo and Tima? And will the villagers ever accept Matica the way that she wishes for?
I enjoyed reading the various facts about the Andean condors that live in the mountains of South America. I appreciated the research the author clearly has done about the birds. She combined this information with many human-like characteristics in Tamo and Talon, which added a bit of whimsy to the story. The way that Matica attributed worded responses to the condors was humorous, as though they were actually talking to her. I liked that Talon hatched on Matica’s birthday, just as she hoped he would. I also liked Talon’s persistence in learning to fly, and not giving up until he succeeded.
This book has an encouraging message about overcoming obstacles, but some things seemed implausible for a girl Matica’s age, such as her parents allowing her to go off by herself into a dangerous situation like when the poachers first returned to the area. At times the dialogue also felt stilted and unnatural, especially for Matica’s brother, Aikon, who didn’t speak as though he was only four years old.
Otherwise, I heartily enjoyed this moving story that showcases unique characters in an exotic location. There are four other books in the Talon Series, where Matica continues to go on new adventures with Talon and Tamo and Tima.
Pages: 238 | ASIN: B00J2643PG
The Grand Trek follows a unique journey to Arizona and the people encountered on the way. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thought provoking memoir?
(WIth the caveat that Arizona was the original idea but the actual Trek turned out differently) The seed for what I came to call The Grand Trek was planted over the breakfast table one morning just after I graduated from high school while living at Horst and Harriet’s farm in Scales Mound, Illinois. Harriet speculated that one of their horses looked like he might not make it through another tough northern Illinois winter. As a (bad) joke, I suggested she ride him to her sister’s place in Arizona. Most folks would have taken this as a jest. Instead, Harriet went to get an atlas.
I found this story to be energetic, engaging and evocative. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing this story?
The main theme is fulfilling the dreams we have for our lives, and picking the right dreams to follow. Another theme is the contrast between urban and rural life, which is something that has been part of my life story. A third is the connections with my horses and dogs and the natural environment. Perhaps increasingly relevant these days is how basic is the need for water. Not a theme as such, but frequently having only a general idea of where I was and where I was heading came up a lot! That is to say that I spent a lot of time basically lost, and learned not to worry about that as long as I kept heading west.
I enjoyed the interesting and varied characters introduced throughout your novel. What were some ideas that you wanted to explore with your characters?
I wanted to relay the way folks I encountered go about their lives, which is more interesting than may be obvious at first sight because it isn’t always dramatic or extraordinary. For example, a lot to think about arose when asking for some water from a mother hanging out laundry to dry. On the face of it, that encounter seems mundane in comparison with the time I asked for some water from a fellow who kept exotic animals like yaks. On reflection, though, the apparently more mundane encounter told worlds about how thoughtfully and innovatively that family approached their lifestyle. I didn’t have a particular plan about what to explore about my encounters. They each had their own significance.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The Best That Can Happen: The Grand Trek wraps up with my stepping off the corporate ladder to re-open a horse training operation at a once well-known facility in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. I’m deciding on how best to approach it. I’m presently leaning toward researching the lives of the people who have occupied that property over the years. The property has some historical relevance, as it was part of the Fairfax Grant of over 5 million acres in the mid-1600’s. There are no doubt a wealth of interesting characters and social development themes to explore, including how America looked pre- and post-European settlement! Lots to research, so it’ll be a while before that’s done. I’m also considering a fictional murder mystery at the farm. That could be fun!
Stories of a journey of discovery traveling cross-country by Kathleen, her horse, Murphy, and her Boxer dog, Country Boy. Unusual for travel memoirs, it explores preparing for the Trek (including catching Murphy and training Country Boy as a protection dog) and what follows such an adventure. It is an entertaining ramble along America’s backroads meeting a very special cast of characters; a humorous and occasionally terrifying roadmap of Americana and pursuing the dreams of one’s youth.
Available at TheGrandTrek.com
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A Memoir with a Twist, adventure, author, author interview, biography, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, goodreads, Kathleen Schmitt, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, The Best That Can Happen, The Grand Trek, writer, writing
Year of the Child is book two in your Harmony space opera series. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?
The first was a detective. I was really moved by Hideo Yokoyama’s protagonist, Mikami, in his best-seller ‘Six-Four’. And in the current plot it made sense to provide a storyline from the point of view of law enforcement. At some point the piracy occurring in the story would need to be investigated, and I thought it would be a good idea to bring that investigation to the foreground, rather than simply telling it via newsfeeds.
The second were children. Given the story, what is the implication for them? What is their future going to be like? There are five children in the novel, all of them have an impact on the storyline, even if they are not in the forefront. In some cases those storylines will be dealt with in subsequent novels.
I enjoyed Ludwick Chaserman’s character. What was your process for bringing that character to life?
Ludwick was easier to create then you might imagine. I think of someone that had big dreams and no opportunities, or at least no knowledge of how to fulfill those dreams. In Ludwick’s case he wanted to be an advocate for human rights, but he started pursuing it far later than he should have in life. With no real contacts, no real knowledge, and no real help, he was zealous to do the right thing, but didn’t realize the might of the corporate giant that he was up against.
Ludwick writes himself.
What draws you to the science fiction genre and makes it ripe for you to write such a great space opera story in it?
It’s really about people, I just prefer the space opera genre. It shows us that human nature is the same no matter the setting.
Will there be a Harmony book three? If so, where will the story pickup?
Book 3, A Country Among Countries, will pickup around a month after the events in Year of the Child.
All cops know a mystery starts with a lie …
MISAKI— Two months have passed since the destruction of Harmony dome, and Misaki, guilt ridden over her desperate act of sabotage, returns to the place of healing that she knows best … the Sadie. Mat accepts a contract on the far flung moon of Ganymede, hoping that time and distance will heal him of the nightmares from his own wrong doing.
TETSUYA— Disreputable, former detective Tetsuya Takahashi is reassigned as the Lead Investigator for out-system piracy. Despite his reputation, his work is part of who he is. He knows all mysteries start with a lie, and his investigation begins to lead him closer to finding Misaki Iriyama … who reminds him of his lost daughter. His answers lie at Ganymede.
ALEXANDRIA— Her plan has succeeded. The destruction of Apex’s plant has caused a loop-hole in the restrictive UN law that once prohibited the selling of raw ore to the Martians. Then suddenly, word comes from the new mining base on Ganymede- something has been found in the ice, something puzzling and unnatural that has been buried since the time of David. More surprising is the fact that Alexandria seems to already know of its existence.
SHULTZ— With the construction of the new Apex plant on Deimos, and the end of the ore embargo, Mars is entering a ‘bubble economy’. Governor Shultz and Lt. Governor Jung finally feel like they are doing their jobs for the Martian people. But, using the Free Mars Now movement like a tool for their own agenda has made them powerful enemies. Even as Shultz and Jung ride the heady days of making Mars free of UN greed they know those days are numbered. Colonel Compton is slowly putting together the pieces of the puzzle that will link them to the terrorist attacks. They must plan for a future Mars knowing that their own demise is soon to come.
COMPTON— The failed attempt to ambush FMN terrorists at Cydonia Depot cost seven of his people their lives, and Compton is facing a possible court-martial. The families and friends of those that died alongside his soldiers do not believe their loved-ones were terrorists, and the news media has ahold of the story. But, the embattled Lieutenant Colonel knows his duty. With no leads in one hand, and a hanging mob in the other, he must somehow find the head of the Free Mars terrorists and cut it off.
Quintrell’s White follows two men who must stop the leader of a pro-Nazi secret society. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this thrilling novel?
This is the fourth in a series and, when I began, the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of WW1 was on the horizon. I’ve written a lot about military history, both fiction and non-fiction, but had never got beyond a superficial knowledge of the Great War. I quickly found there was much more to it than the horror of mud and trench warfare on the Western Front. This was an era also of adventure, rapid technological development, intrigue, and political instability across much of the world. So there were no shortage of exciting scenarios to consider. For this book, the chance to get Pancho Villa and the Russian Revolution into the same story was too tempting to miss.
Captain John Quintrell is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to explore with his character?
In the first book, Quintrell’s Black, his back story is gradually revealed. Basically through an injustice as a young soldier, he has spent most of his life as a mercenary of sorts in Africa. The War tempts him to return to Europe and enlist in the Belgian Army. Across the arc of the four books an underlying question is whether through the war he can gain some kind of redemption and regain the life he had always wanted. Basically it’s about someone trying to find their true place in the world, but in a world which is in complete chaos.
I enjoyed the historical references and alternate history in this book. What research did you undertake for this novel?
I read lots of books and personal testimonies of those who fought, but as ever that information really needs to be filtered. The aim has to be for the research to be deployed so as to provide a background sense of the time and to provide a framework for the plot. The risk is forcing too much of it in to the story so that it becomes a barrier rather than greasing the wheels. Hopefully, I’ve got the balance right.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Having spent the best part of six years producing the four book series, I wanted to try something completely different so am working on a book of short stories in a different genre (think old Twilight Zone TV!) and I’d expect that to be completed by the end of the year. After that I expect I will get drawn back into Quintrell-type books again. However, to say whether they could involve him again would be to give away the end of Quintrell’s White…
The actions of Kurt Draxweiller, the leader of a proto-Nazi secret society called the Ultima Thule Verband, could tip the balance in favour of the Keizer’s Germany.
Two men must stop him: The Dragon, who is the Tsar’s most trusted assassin; and Captain John Quintrell.
To get to Draxweiller they will have to fight U-boats, battle with Pancho Villa’s Mexican rebels during the raid on the US town of Colombus, and defeat a revolutionary plot in Petrograd, the Russian capital.
Along the way, Quintrell and his handful of loyal men will settle lots of old scores. But not all of them will survive…
Amaya’s Journey to Children of Bwola Dances is an important book that shows how life is different for people in different parts of the globe. The book may be fictional but some of the events that are mentioned in the chapter have historical significance. The reader is taken through a world of war, extreme violence, drama, politics and rebel groups. The narration is raw and expressive giving the impression of events happening in real-time. Amaya’s writing helps one draw comparisons on how policies are made in western countries compared to other countries in the world. In the book, we see the adverse effects of war and how certain demographics get to be affected. Children and women are the most affected groups when war erupts.
It is a shame how young boys were recruited to fight in the war, robbing them of their innocence and a chance to grow up like other kids. The story is set in Australia and Uganda later on. The Lord Resistance Army (LRA) is rebelling against the Ugandan government. This is a story of pain, brutality, vengeance, hopelessness, power, and lack of humanity. You will get emotional on some pages especially when you read about the struggles of child soldiers. We follow as two teens with completely different backgrounds meet through fate and bond as they share past experiences. One teen, the Australian, is used to a different way of life but it is the difference that makes them key characters in the book.
The events that preceded the abduction of Bob and Samantha were not only disturbing but also upsetting to follow. Through the characters, we see how governments respond to calls of help when their citizens are in danger. The book is not just filled with agonizing stories. We follow beautiful customs and cultures in Africa and how they make societies blend. Reading about the Ladongo dace and how men and women lined up to celebrate a successful hunting trip gave me joy. I visualized how happy the dancers were when celebrating their success. The Lord Resistance Army was an evil group. The aggressive raids the group made and the damage it caused was unnecessary if the people had embraced civility. Through their actions, we learn the importance of having a stable government that ensures the rule of law is adhered.
In Journey to Children of Bwola Dancers you will learn about family dynamics, the power of a united people, the impact of poor governance and many more topics that are related to current events in the world. Amaya’s writing is excellent and her characters in the book were well developed. This book is not just a great thriller and drama novel but also a nice learning tool for readers who enjoy historical fiction stories.
Pages: 215 | ASIN: B07XTDVHWS
Tags: A post-apocalyptic thriller, adventure, Amaya, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Journey To Children Of Bwola Dances, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Harvest by Olga Werby is a fresh change in a genre that is littered with superheroes or with stories in a galaxy far away and distant future. These may be entertaining to our superficial senses; rarely these evoke deeper emotions in the way this book does.
Harvest takes place in the future, where colonies on other planets exist, necessitated in response to an asteroid impact 100 years ago. The story begins with anthropologist Dr Varsaad Volhard, brought on board an exploration expedition to explore an alien artifact. When Dr. Varsaad’s father starts making shocking discoveries back on earth regarding intelligent life forms, things start to go awry.
On the spaceship, things start going wrong soon after they lift off to Mimas, a site on Saturn’s moon where the alien artifact is located. Their voyage is wrought with tense emotion and thrilling suspense that kept me hooked. When the team starts exploring the artifact is when the story really got interesting for me. The character development and story progression were steady up to this point, but the intrigue is turned up to maximum when the team starts exploring.
This is a novel that shifts quickly. When things go wrong, the characters and the story shift and lead you in a new direction.
The author writes an amazing and engaging plot that kept me tethered to the story. The pace is excellent and the story never gets bogged down by the details. Characters are well defined and the origins of the lead characters are gradually explored as they uncover secrets that have huge ramifications for humanity. I particularly liked the realism integrated into the story combined with the technology from both humans and aliens, which gave the story a frightful combination that made me wonder if such a future would be possible.
The story is a delightful and enjoyable read that you can really immerse yourself in. It will prove to be a perfect novel for any sci-fi fan who really wants to dig their teeth into more than light saber rattling.
Pages: 420 | ASIN: B07R8HGKWN
Cian and Saxon’s meeting in the heart of the Amazon is more than an encounter of two people; it’s the coming together of two different worlds. Their explorations and adventures take them deep into the rain forest and then halfway around the globe in search of a peaceful place to settle down. But instead of finding peace, their shared sense of justice finds them traveling from Europe to New York and then back to Brazil where they must confront the evil network of the ambitious and heartless Oxana, who will stop at nothing to advance her trade in endangered animals as well as women and little girls.
Spectre: A Kirk ingram Action Thriller is practically a movie in its embryonic stages. It features a tortured protagonist accused of being the perpetrator of a heinous crime, a tragedy-stricken sidekick, and perhaps most interestingly, the history of Christianity woven throughout the plot.
The story begins in 33 CE with a vague and mystifying account of a Jewish household. We are then brought forward 300 years, where a power-hungry emperor attempts to popularize the new religion Christianity and claim it for his own. However, we discover that there are people with supernatural powers, almost otherworldly that add conflict to the situation. Now, in the present day, former FBI agent Kirk Ingram is thought to be the killer of nearly all of an abbey’s residents. Using his wits and increasingly untrustworthy body, he pairs up with the last remaining resident of the abbey, Jovanni, in order to solve the mystery and save the world from mysterious dark forces.
The book lives up to its title- it is most definitely an action packed, thrill heavy ride; I can almost visualize a Tom Cruise scene accompanied by a hardcore, brainy backstory. I particularly enjoyed this novel because it reminded me of my science nerd phase, where I was a hopeless Dan Brown addict. Some parts of Spectre reminded me of the Da Vinci Code– maybe because of the religion-forward detective work that was happening. But at the same time, Douglas Misquita’s own voice was unquestionably distinctive. I would think of it as Da Vinci Code meets James Bond meets Kirk Ingram’s particular brand of panache. I found myself comparing it to a lot of movies- which I would assign as a hefty compliment to the book. I have read so many thrillers where the authors waxed poetic on their knowledge of spy-related stuff, and while educational, I am hardly reading thrillers for their didactic value. Douglas Misquita kept it to the point: it was informative without losing its entertainment value.
The author’s incisiveness and knowledge also shone through in all the parts where he linked the past and present; religious movements and their effects. Kirk Ingram and Jovanni are also in no manner the flawless heroes. Kirk has a troubling past and faces ethical dilemmas throughout the book; not to mention a body that can betray him at any moment. I enjoyed this aspect of the character- it adds depth and dimension to what can often and unfortunately turn out to be a two-dimensional untouchable action machine.
Spectre: A Kirk ingram Action Thriller is a riveting and engaging story that I would recommend. Nothing like a religious conspiracy theory filled thriller to keep you up all night!
Pages: 359 | ASIN: B07YDV1YWT
The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry follows a unit of the 7th Cav as they travel 2,000 years into the past where soldiers from past and present fight to survive. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
After Hannibal defeated the Romans at the Battle of Cannae, he had them at his mercy. But he didn’t follow up with an attack on Rome itself. Some historians believe he thought they would sue for peace. They didn’t and he roamed around Italy for years, allowing the Romans to rebuild their army which resulted in his defeat at Zama and the destruction of Carthage. So, I decided to send the Seventh Cavalry back in time to help him out.
The story is filled with well developed and interesting character. What was your favorite character to write for?
My favorite character in the novel is Private Katy Sharakova. She’s a tough soldier, a skilled fighter, and an outspoken buddy. She’s based on a good friend of mine.
I enjoyed the different relationships that developed throughout the course of the story. What were some ideas you wanted to capture while writing?
One of the themes I like to develop in my stories is the mechanic of relationships. A couple meet, clash, become friends, maybe good friends or even lovers, one of them makes a big mistake or cheats on the other, poisoning the relationship, they break up, then some event forces them into a situation where they must solve a problem together. They discover their feeling for each other are stronger than jealousy or disappointments in behavior. All this must be mixed in with a bit of adventure and danger.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’ve just published a new book, “Sea of Sorrows”. It’s about Vietnam vet who returns to Bangkok after a fifty-year absence. He thought his lover from long ago had died in a typhoid epidemic in 1969. However, he discovers she did not die and not only did she live, but she was pregnant with his child when he returned to the battlefield where he was critically wounded. Now he learns his past has been evolving without him.
A unit of the Seventh Cavalry is on a mission over Afghanistan when their plane is hit.
Sergeant James Alexander, Private Kady Sharakova, Private Charley Kawalski, PFC Autumn Eaglemoon, PFC Sparks Campbell, and nine other soldiers bail out of the burning plane.
When they hit the ground, they are not in Afghanistan. Not only are they four thousand miles from their original destination but it appears they have descended two thousand years into the past where primitive forces fight each other with swords and arrows.
The platoon is thrown into a battle where they must choose sides quickly or die. They are swept along in a tide of events so powerful that their courage, ingenuity and weapons are tested to the limits of their durability and strength.
The four women in the unit are trained soldiers, skilled in the art of combat, but they are not prepared for the brutal reality of war. They are more than capable of fighting alongside the men, and, at times, defending the others in close quarters fighting. But when the battle is won, they must come to grips with their destruction of life.
The Seventh is forced to join Hannibal’s army and fight his battles, at least until they can find their way home. However, as their journey takes them over the Alps and down the length of Italy, friendship and even romance begins to form between these hardened soldiers from past and present. Powerful bonds that reshape each soldier’s hopes and dreams for the future.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, Charley Brindley, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry, writer, writing
Elara Dunlin has a hard time as she tries to leave behind her relationship baggage. She has the responsibility of handling a ruthless dictator threatening to ruin the planet despite the turmoil in her heart. Single events change the trajectory of different people’s lives. Everyone from Elara to Cyrus and others will face different paths. Despite the hurdles on her path and her own immense fear, Elara forges forward. Can Elara make it out of the abyss? What will come of Cyrus? Does Zenith stand a chance against tenacity and unity?
Buckler’s third installment in the Seeker of Time series is definitely a step up from the other two. As the story intensifies and plot thickens so does her writing prowess. Even the reader’s relationship with the story and the characters gains depth with every installment and reaches a new high with this third one. There is a lot that was left unresolved from the second installment.
The sheer amount of detail and engagement in this book is simply astounding. The author’s prowess with language and imagery is brilliant. She has a talent for creating an easy rapport between the characters and the reader. You will enjoy the pace of the book as well as the adventure that colors every page.
The characters are well developed, with depth and multiple dimensions. Elara is an especially likable character. Her tenacity and positivity are inspiring if not challenging. Cyrus on the other hand is not exactly likable but he serves his purpose pretty well.
It is lovely that while this is a sci-fi story the author also gives the characters a life. You are able to see their lives as regular beings rather than those with huge responsibilities to the planet. As the reader you get a real glimpse into Elara and Cyrus as beings and not just vessels of supernatural powers.
This is a very interesting book. The plot with all its twists and turns is incredibly entertaining not to mention effective at relegating the reader to the edge of their seat. Despite being a book meant for young adults, this book will appeal to everyone.
If you are lucky enough to come across the series for the first time then you will enjoy bingeing on the entire series.
Pages: 678 | ASIN: B07WFW6T85