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Buzz the Brave

Buzz the Brave by [Gabriela Charatsari]

Buzz the Brave is an inspirational children’s book following the bravest of all bee’s. Although Buzz was not always known as the bravest, he was first known as Buzz the Wanna-Be and was banned from his hive for looking different. But when the queen goes missing, there is only one bee brave enough to find her.

This picture book is wonderfully illustrated with bright computer graphic art that depicts some very cute bees. The story is easy to follow, with simple words, that makes this book perfect  for young readers to practice reading. The story also provides a great example that shows kids how to overcome obstacles, not to listen to those who will keep you down, and being brave. Maya is a fantastically inspirational girl that accepts Buzz immediately and she serves as a great example of how children should be accepting of others that are different.

This was a fun children’s adventure story that follows a charming little bee that sets out to prove everyone wrong and gets his name written on the topmost branch of the tree as a reward for his bravery.

Pages: 74 | ASIN: B096WF5S9C

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In the Beast’s Cage

In the Beast's Cage by [Mac Altgelt]

In the Beast’s Cage is an intriguing paranormal thriller written by Mac Altgelt. The story follows multiple characters as their lives intersect and collide, from the mysterious Ainsley Blake to the gentle Virginia Harrison, as well as others, whose part in the story become clearer throughout the pages. Arriving in a small coastal town in Georgia, Blake sets off a chain of events that none in the town could have predicted, and one that surprises him as well.

The characters were absolutely riveting, with personalities and quirks that made them feel like real people. I had a particular affinity towards Ainsley Blake, whose story was revealed to the reader in small bursts that made his character each time clearer and more definite, akin to a sketch being slowly polished into a painting. But ever side characters are granted their own moment in the sun, bringing the story to life.

While I enjoyed the story and the characters, I felt that the number of characters and locations made the the story a bit hard to follow at times. I think this has more to do with the scale of the story. If you like deep and complex stories then this is definitely the novel for you as I can tell that a lot of care went into crafting the details of this story.

I also liked how mundane things, often overlooked, are given importance throughout the story. Books are a prominent example of this: throughout the story, they move from being mundane and common, to being prized and beloved. This romantic view of the mundane, of love and friendship, was well incorporated.

In the Beast’s Cage is a suspenseful supernatural story with a satisfying ending and was thoroughly enjoyable. The story has some creative supernatural elements and an organically high level of intrigue that will satisfy any fan of dark fantasy.

Pages: 176 | ASIN: B09819FRZP

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What’s The Worst World I Can Imagine

Author Interview
Natalie Hibberd Author Interview

Inside Out follows a young man and his friends as they see their dystopian world torn apart by Freedom Fighters and their government’s harsh reaction to them. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I began writing this novel over a decade ago – when I was twelve years old. I was quite an angsty teenager (I am now quite an angsty twenty-something!) I suppose the real genesis of this novel was asking the question “what’s the worst world I can imagine and what would the consequences be of that?” Worryingly, I think the premis has got closer to reality over time.

Zack is an interesting character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Inside Out has an ensemble cast – all dear to my heart – but Zack is one of my favourites! He has a very fierce protective streak in him and that gets more apparent as the story goes on. Without wishing to give too much away, that need to protect leads him to take some fairly extreme measures. Whether or not they’re sensible – I’ll leave the readers to decide!

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

One of the biggest themes I wanted to tackle was the destructive evil of prejudice. As a disabled woman, that’s something I’ve had to contend with all my life. It is such a pointless, baseless concept, and yet it ruins so many lives. I also wanted to tackle the fact that those who are in power are not always the best suited to it, and the lengths they will go to maintain their standing.

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

I am currently running final checks on the sequel to Inside Out. Hopefully, it will be released by the end of this year. I am so excited for my lovely readers to experience it!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In a divisive world of mistrust and murder, there’s only one thing that matters growing up: you’re either in The Inside or The Outside.
While the Insiders appear pampered and privileged, the Outsiders know only harsh realities. Believing themselves to be needlessly deprived of everything the Insiders have, the younger generation channel their rage into a terrorist group called The Freedom Fighters, a group intent on overthrowing the Inside at any cost. Now the Insiders must watch as the world they love collapses around them while the government resort to increasingly desperate tactics to try and contain the Outside threat. When the latest initiative catapults one of the young into the heart of the war, everything is pushed to breaking point.
Loyalties will be tested. Lives will be risked. Their worlds will change forever.

Space-Faring Sci-Fi And Epic Fantasy

Bobbie R. Byrd
Bobbie R. Byrd Author Interview

Lady Silver follows a warlock and a soldier who grudgingly join forces to prevent the multiverse from collapsing. What was the inspiration for the setup to your epic space opera?

To be totally honest, I really don’t know. I grew up on the original “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space.” Had a major pre-teen crush on Captain Kirk. Then came “Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica.” There was “Star Trek: Next Generation” and “Voyager.” I was, and still am, an avid Dungeons and Dragons player.

I think it was a combination of all of these factors, plus my voracious appetite for reading sci-fi, fantasy, and horror books, that formed the basis for the world I’ve constructed in the “Warlock Chronicles” series. I always thought it would be incredibly kick-butt if elements of space-faring sci-fi and epic fantasy could meld. So when I began writing the series, this is basically what came out.

I began writing this tale 30 years ago. It’s gone through multiple incarnations over the years with the final product the one you see in print today.

Bastion and D’Isaac are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted a strong male character who was not ashamed to be male. You won’t find Bastion in skinny jeans or sporting a man-bun. And I wanted to portray a woman who wasn’t afraid to be feminine, to embrace her feminine nature, but who also wasn’t afraid to be strong when she needed to be. I wanted her to grow over the course of the tale from something that society forced her to be to who SHE wanted to be and who she really is. I wanted main characters who weren’t afraid to demonstrate, “This is who I am and I will not allow society as a whole or any one individual to make me into something I’m not.”

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

I wanted to demonstrate how a woman could be a woman in the true and traditional sense while also being strong, independent, and a power to be reckoned with all on her own. The same for the male lead character. Men face just as much pressure to conform to society’s idea of “normal” as women.

It was also important to me to show that doing what is right isn’t always easy, it isn’t always pretty, and it isn’t always something we may want to do. Sometimes you have to fight your way through a lot of what’s not right before you can get to what is right. The ends don’t always justify the means, but sometimes they do. That’s just a fact of life.

This is book one in the Warlock Chronicles. What can readers expect in book two?

“INTO THE WELL: Warlock Chronicles, Book II” picks up the story where “LADY SILVER” ended. It continues the trek of the Maelstrom and her crew into Well space in search of the lost homeworld of the human and warlock races. In Book II, D’Isaac and Bastion must find a way to seal the breach in the barrier between dimensional layers before the multiverse itself unravels. There will be a Book III (“The Emperor’s Son”) and Book IV (“The God of Rycappa”) coming also.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The multiverse is unraveling.

When religious zealots resurrect the ancient technology that ripped open the dimensional barrier six thousand years ago, the galaxy faces another coming Cataclysm.

Warlocks and humans, sister races of the same evolutionary tree, are divided by millennia of enmity and ancient animosity. It will take the magic of the warlocks and the humans’ technology to heal the breach between layers of the multiverse.

Bryanna D’Isaac is an untrained, untried warlock with powerful magic who only wants to be left alone.

Admiral Devon Bastion is career military, renowned for executing warlocks, who harbors secrets of his own.

Deadly events indicate a derelict area of space called the Well is expanding. The threat of apocalyptic events forces the warlock and the soldier together. By joining forces, Bastion and D’Isaac can save the galaxy—if they don’t kill each other first.

Can they learn to trust each other before the multiverse collapses?

War Bunny

War Bunny by [Christopher St. John]

War Bunny is a riveting post-apocalyptic tale with a wonderful twist that I thoroughly enjoyed. Humans have been consigned to history, and the land has returned to a lush world where sweet herbs grow by the side of rivers and the lives of animals provide the drama. In the world of the rabbits, the predators are the Blessed while a rabbit is doomed to live “only until it is needed” as a meal. They are taught to welcome dying as the natural order of things, and they’re held in such low esteem by the wolves and foxes who hunt them, that they call them “lunch meat”. Anastasia is a rabbit who cannot follow the rules, and she is cast out of her burrow for not conforming.  She also questions the rabbits’ preordained destiny as food for predators.

Author Christopher St. John has created a uniquely imaginative post-apocalyptic story while also providing some subtle but poignant commentary on society. The story is creative and droll at times which helps to break up what could have been an overly dark novel. One way he does so is through the clever use of character names. Regardless of their species, the characters all have names in a variety of styles, from the elegant Anastasia and Nicodemus to the goofy Love Bug and Bricabrac. With humor, he draws attention to his use of names when Bricabrac, the craftrat, introduces himself to a mouse called Death Rage. “O, that’s nice,” he says, without irony. “Very feminine.”

Besides this, the story paints a picture of a bunny world that is much more gory and violent than you might expect for rabbits. For example, where you might expect a warren to be called something like Cowslip, as in Watership Down, in War Bunny the home warren is called Bloody Thorn. The very name War Bunny sounds like a contradiction of terms and I love how that seeming contradiction is used throughout the book.

The ending was satisfying and I enjoyed the journey. War Bunny is a fantastic post-apocalyptic adventure novel that provides readers with an offbeat but ingenious story that will stay with them long after they’ve put the novel down.

Pages: 378 | ASIN: B096D18C15

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The Return of the NY Villains for Justice

The Return of the NY Villains for Justice by [Marta Nater]

The Return of the NY Villains for Justice is Marta Nater’s second book of the Villains for Justice series. The story is centered around the villains that were introduced in the first book and the social causes each of them were fighting for. Nina Dansk returns to punish predators and sexual abusers alongside Cora Rollins. Jerico Raven and Danny Rojas team up to help the security forces fight crime and corruption. Shadow Claw on the other hand, the most powerful of all, finds out a secret about his family that will make him want to remain neutral amidst the turmoil that starts to rise in the streets of New York, but it is a neutrality that will be challenged as he starts to feel the safety of his family and friends threatened. Furthermore, inspired by the older villains, a new villain, Amadou, appears in New York with the main goal of bringing an end to the constant racism and discrimination that certain races were experiencing in society, and combating the police brutality that brought an unjustified destructive force upon them.

The villains inevitably team up, which was fun to see, considering the first book only told their stories separately. Many of these villains end up confronting one another, since they disapproved of the way in which some of them were punishing criminals, which brought some interesting interactions to the story. Despite the hatred that some of these villains had for other villains, friendships are made and a group of vengeful vigilantes is formed. Wanted by the police and security forces of various countries, while also being loved and supported by the public, these villains carry their mission of taking justice into their own hands, escaping the law and fighting the most vicious criminals.

The story is highly entertaining. Even though they are trying to bring some level of justice to society and mostly punish the most horrible criminals, they use some violent tactics to achieve their goals, which at the same time stands in their way and doesn’t allow them to get the support that they need from the police force. However, one can’t help but cheer for them despite these flaws. Throughout the story, one can see how some of them even get to change their ways and soften up a bit, trying to find a good balance in the manner they carry out their plans. The story also has some important things to portray about the current state of the legal system, a system that often allows the criminals to get away with their crimes while the victims are left unprotected, which is something that demands some reflection.

The characters are intriguing and it’s interesting following their thought processes and motives, they definitely have some conflicting views about the world. The story is gripping and full of action: the villains are constantly moving around, running away from the police and fighting criminals, so it’s impossible to get bored while reading what each of them are up to. The writing needs a little more editing to improve some aspects of it, but nevertheless the plot is interesting enough to keep the readers glued to the page, eager to find out how the adventure of these New York villains will end. The Return of the NY Villains for Justice is an entertaining story full of fun scenes that will make you wonder, through its social commentary, what you would stand for if such villains were on the loose in your area.

Pages: 91 | ASIN: B09CDWR7YX

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A Gilded Death

A Gilded Death by [Cecelia Tichi]

A Gilded Death by Cecelia Tichi is a riveting historical romance novel with a dash of mystery. Set in The Gilded Age in the United States, the reader is plunged into the world of the affluent society of the time. Georgina Brush, Cassandra Forster’s beloved aunt and the heiress to the Brush fortune, dies at an annual ball under odd circumstances. The death of Georgina’s daughter months later under identical circumstances oblige Mr. and Mrs. DeVere, Cassandra’s family by affection, to investigate the murders and prevent a third horrific murder from taking place.

In addition to the historical events depicted in this enthralling whodunit novel, the author uses ample details to show the manners and attitudes of the society at the time, from the fashion and lifestyle of the ladies and gentlemen, to their conversation, and their greed for power and wealth. An eight-plume funeral in the novel proclaiming the great wealth of the deceased epitomizes the avaricious age to which Cecelia Tichi transports readers.

Despite the somewhat serious plot, there is humor, imagery of nature, and irony in the novel. I had to lookup a few terms, historical events, and names of people in history such as Lucrezia Borgia. While I was not familiar with these things overall I certainly appreciated the attention to detail and found that it made the novel feel authentic. Upon looking at the age and events, however, they all began to make sense in the complex plot. This novel is very well characterized, with extravagant clothing, expressions, and mannerisms. The vivid description of elaborate dinner parties and décor is fascinating as well.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt the pace was a bit slow. Although I did feel that the pacing gave time for the development of events and provided a realistic touch to the novel, I felt like some of the conversations between characters seemed redundant. But this does not detract from an otherwise impassioned mystery novel.

A number of aspects of The Gilded Age are examined in the novel, including the exclusion of women from law-making, and the importance of etiquette to the gentlemen and women, the lack of which was met with a scoff. A Gilded Death has an engaging and eventful storyline up until the very end. This is a dramatic story that will appeal to sleuth fans looking for a historical setting to a stirring murder mystery.

Pages: 354 | B09BNRVZZM

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LADY SILVER

LADY SILVER: Warlock Chronicles, Book I by [Bobbie R. Byrd]

Bryanna is powerful. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that she is more powerful than even she believes or understands. It is certain that others greatly underestimate the contribution she will soon make. A member of a race different in so many ways from humans, she is able to channel energy, perceive the feelings and internal cries of others, and maintain a shield of defense around herself and those she is bound to protect. There is an apocalypse on the horizon. Those who are responsible know not what they are about to encounter in Bryanna D’Isaac–the woman who is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Lady Silver: Warlock Chronicles, Book I, by Bobbie R. Byrd, is the science fiction masterpiece centered around main character, Bryanna D’Isaac. Byrd has created an engaging storyline for fans of technologically-rich novels. Cover to cover, Lady Silver delivers action and drama all the while providing readers with superb character development.

Right out of the gate, Byrd’s novel sets audiences up for quite the adventure. We are introduced to the determined Syndria and her intense focus on the mission she has been handed. There is a certain level of ominous doom surrounding readers’ first moments with Syndria. The feeling of building anticipation is addressed on nearly every page. Byrd never allows readers to lose sight of the characters’ missions and the imminent danger which they all face.

Science fiction tales can not stand alone on futuristic aspects–there absolutely must be characters with depth who snag my attention. Byrd absolutely provides that with Bryanna D’Isaac and Devon Bastion. There is something about the mixture of warlocks and space that gives Byrd’s book a special feel.

I truly love the combination of wizardry and science fiction in this novel. Characters Bryanna and Devon could not have been paired any more perfectly. I highly recommend Lady Silver: Warlock Chronicles to anyone looking for a new science fiction author/series to follow. This book contains no lulls, no breaks in the action, and packs a great punch. I look forward to reading more of Byrd’s works.

Pages: 344 | ASIN: B0997Y4T2B

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