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Odysseus: On the River of Time

Odysseus by [Carl Hare]

Odysseus: On the River of Time is an epic piece of literature that not only shows the importance of literature but also enables the reader to appreciate the art of story-telling. This book expands on Odysseus’s adventures, told in engaging poetic verse that is much like the Homeric epics this story builds from. Carl Hare’s style of narration encourages one to read more. Every line is great and the verses supremely crafted. In between the lines are rich texts and literary stylistic features that make the poem even more fascinating. Reading the book was an amazing experience. The author’s expressive nature and the excellence shown in writing are some of the things that make Carl Hare an outstanding author.

Odysseus: On the River of Time is the perfect book for you if you enjoyed Homer’s Odyssey. The author does not strain with words as everything flows naturally. In this book, Carl Hare writes about Odysseus’ last voyage to propitiate the god Poseidon. Odysseus’ journey is not to come without a challenge. It is evident that no matter what, he has to appease the god. He goes through several cities having a wooden oar with him. His journey comes with instructions. He is to travel to a land with no salt to offer the sacrifice. I enjoyed following Odysseus through his journey, going through exotic locations, meeting captivating characters, and absorbing conflicts.

One of the many great things about this book is how the author plays with his words. Reading Odysseus: On the River of Time will increase your urge to read more epic poems because of how incredible the author is. Every Canto has a unique touch. The best thing of all is the presentation of characters. I appreciate how superior characters like Apollo were presented and how Helen fit into this unique narrative. A good story has the reader pause and reflect. This is the exact feeling I had after reading every few cantos in the book.

Pages: 550 | ASIN: B0852R27DK

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Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End by [Hugo V. Negron]

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is the fifth installment in Hugo V. Negron’s “Forging of a Knight” series.  The book series takes place in a magical, mythical world drawing heavily upon folklore and where numerous societies with feudal systems reside in the greater universe. The series follows the journeys of Qualtan, a knight who wields the powerful and coveted Goldenflame blade, Glaive, his half-orcne best friend and trusted partner, and many other rulers, knights, and creatures with whom they interact in the ongoing fight against the heinous agenda of the Evil Order.  The “Knighthood’s End” installment guides readers on an arguably more personal battle involving Qualtan – the events that transpire as he finds his true love in Vanessa, a Mah-Zakim, and the journey of Qualtan and Vanessa in securing their freedom to love.

This book features many different types of characters and creatures, some common fixtures and other illustrations pulled from the depths of Negron’s vast imagination. The author does a fantastic job at creating the imagery needed for the reader to conjure in mind each of these magical characters and creatures. He displays the same talent for expressing imagery in his illustrations of the different worlds that Qualtan, Glaive, Vanessa, and other characters in the story traverse. The Great Forest, for instance, with its idyllic scenery and woodland creatures roaming about, contrasts greatly with the dark, terrible, and grotesque world of the Mah-Zakim.

The development of the story is done in such a way that, even if the reader was not already familiar with the series, they not left in the dark in regard to former battles or happenings from previous installments and how they play into the current plot. My only comment is that the author could have elicited more emotion and dimension in each character; I found that the characters at times fell too deeply into their respective tropes (ex. Qualtan as the hero, Glaive as the disgruntled but loyal sidekick, and Vanessa as the hopeless lover fighting against herself). The interactions between the characters, along with references to past struggles they have mutually faced, still adequately depict the strong ties that bind the characters to each other; a great example of this bond is the brother-like companionship between Qualtan and Glaive that remains steadfast even during the moments when they have their differences.

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is overall a great read for anyone who has an interest in a well-written and carefully crafted story where knights, kingdoms, gods, magic, and other elements of folklore rule, with some seeking the greater good and some seeking no benefit outside themselves. The plot of the story is rich and enjoyable, and it should spark reader’s interest in delving into the rest of the series.

Pages: 432 | ASIN: B07DFPM1Q5

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Smoke And Rain

Smoke and Rain (Blood of Titans: Reforged Book 1) by [V. S. Holmes]

Alea has darkness inside of her. After a mad king destroyed her home, Alea is on the brink of insanity trying to figure out how to end this brutal war. It’s only a matter of time before the darkness takes over her mind. In the enemy territory, little does Alea know that a lieutenant by the name of Brentemir Barrackborn is guilted for his actions and wants redemption. But, how is he going to get his redemption amidst this terrible war? Grappling with their sanities, Alea and Barrackborn have to figure out how to come to terms with their grief.

V.S. Holmes hits the mark with this incredible fantasy adventure that utilizes a unique writing style to tell a vivid story. We’re introduced to some rather complex, and rather bleak, characters that we get to see develop throughout the story from multiple perspectives. And with this I felt a lot more connected to these riveting characters. Having such lively characters makes the intense battle scenes all the more dramatic and theatrical.

Alea is a strong character that I rooted for consistently. Arman, Kam and Wes bring levity to an otherwise dark novel. But what I really enjoyed was the depth to which the backstory is created. If you like intricate world building then you’ll enjoy this book. Most of the world building happens in the beginning of the book, but it pays off once you get through it and feel immersed.

Sword & sorcery fans will find what their looking for in V. S. Holmes dark fantasy novel Smoke and Rain. A bit slow to start, but with memorable characters, a rich world, and sharp storytelling, this is easily my favorite novel of the month.

Pages: 452 | ASIN: B014APUYFG

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Avenge the Silenced

Avenge the Silenced (Reverence Book 8) by [Landeros, Joshua]

It has been a full trilogy of books, since we have come back to the main timeline of Joshua Landeros’ Reverence series. Having established an entire prequel series to flesh out his world, Landeros has come back to deal with the fallout and what is left of the UNR. Both sides have taken huge losses, but neither will retreat. And it will be up to the last Marconi, Damien, to rally the surviving UNR Cabinet to lead the country into this brave new future. Meanwhile, the Crimson Angels are in a difficult place, despite their successful strike on the International Summit. Gabriella will have to pick up these pieces and decide who she trusts more. All of this coming to a head to see who will end up in a grave or standing astride it, in this new installment of an epic military science fiction saga.

It is refreshing to be back in uncharted waters, having spent so long in the past, and Landeros ensures readers hit the ground running and wondering where all of our heroes of the past have landed after the last battle. The tension ramps up with little effort and with trademark pacing. The story unfolds with our cast of characters struggling against one another as they seek to either win the upper hand or to make sure they enforce justice.

Landeros’ prose continues to improve with each installment and his stories are becoming more and more complex, rather than a simple military sci-fi thriller they initial books were when the series began years ago. It is a pleasure to see how an author has not only grown, but developed his own flavor in the genre as well. This is another solid entry in the ongoing series and it shows little sign of slowing or stopping anytime soon!

Fans of military fiction or military science fiction should already have Avenge the Silenced on pre-order. Readers, who enjoy gritty action among thought provoking themes would also find themselves quite intrigued with this book.

Pages: 366 | ASIN:B07NNV7GKB

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It Might Be Magical

Sherry Leclerc Author Interview

Sherry Leclerc Author Interview

The Dragon Shifters at Southgate is the second book in your Seer Series. Was this a natural continuation of the first book or did you want things to develop organically while writing?

All the novels in The Seers Series are part of the same over-arching story. While they each have a complete storyline in themselves, they leave a bigger question open to be answered down the road as the series ties up. They are all pieces of the puzzle that will come together to form a complete picture in the end. Readers will see this especially in the last planned book of the series.

That said, there are some things I don’t plan down to the minute details while I am outlining and planning, because there are aspects I want to occur more organically. This is especially true for conversations between main characters, for example. I know where I want a scene to go, but I try to let dialogue occur naturally, so to speak. How would this one character, for example, respond to what another character says of does? Obviously, there is “craft” in the formulation of every scene, but I don’t want to force words or actions on a character who wouldn’t naturally say or do them just for the sake of meeting a certain end.

The lore surrounding the ley lines and dragonkin is intricate and well developed. What is your strategy for building your world?

To bring it right down to the basics, it all needs to make sense to me. Even if the readers don’t get to see all the details or know all the background, I need to answer those questions for myself—the ones I wonder about when I read fantasy novels with different characters and magical systems.

I am a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and the intricacies of his world-building. If you read his lesser known works, such as The Silmarillion, you can see the detail he goes into, right down to how/why Middle Earth was formed, why humans and elves are different, why elves are immortal and so on. The Silmarillion reads almost like a history book. While I don’t believe today’s readers need to know all the details and history of the world and the magic system you are building, if an author has a solid grasp on those elements themselves, they can create better and more realistic worlds—and with fewer plot holes. It might be a magical, impossible world, but if it makes a kind of logical sense then the reader will be more able to relate to it and it will feel more believable.

This was a belief I’d formed over time, being a fan of authors who themselves create well-developed and intricate worlds and magical systems, such as Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. Then, while I was writing The Dragon Shifters at Southgate, I came across Brandon Sanderson’s Laws of Magic. It was a concise way of verbalizing what makes a magical system work. I try to keep these laws—and all the lessons I’ve learned from the masters over time—in mind when I create my own worlds and their lore.

What served as sources of inspiration for you while writing?

Inspiration comes from all over, really. I write in the fantasy genre, but I am often inspired by real-world issues. For example, I try to make gender a non-issue in my books because I believe it should be a non-issue in the real world. Discrimination and segregation based on race is also an issue in my books, because I want to express my belief that we are all equal. Yes, people have differences, but people should be judged on their merits, not on some preconceived notions that don’t really have a place in our modern world. Yes, there may be differences, but why not look to how those differences can compliment each other and add strength to the whole?

If you’ve been following politics and have been active on social media at all, I’m sure you can see that there are a number of things that have taken place over the past couple of years—and things that are still taking place—that have inspired me to make that point even more.

I also find inspiration in books I read, interactions I see at home or on the street, music I hear and so on. Anything from the smallest little details to the largest world issues can be inspiration, really. You never know when inspiration will strike. You just have to be open to seeing it and to using it when it happens.

Where will book three in the series pickup and when will it be available?

Book three picks up with the third seer champion, Edan Carr, and his journeys and struggles as he attempts to fulfil his part and his responsibilities in preparing the realm for what’s to come. As the champion of Westgate, he will be traveling to that gate-town to protect it and its keystone, but he will get waylaid along the way.

There will be a lot of internal angst in this book, as there was in the first two books, but it will be of a different sort. We will meet shifter species that weren’t seen in the first two books. We will also see a lot more of the Dark Sorcerer and learn a lot more about him. We’ll see the beginnings of the “full” story and get a deeper peek into what drives him.

The third book, The Warrior of Westgate, will be available in the fall of 2019.

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

The Dragon Shifters at Southgate: Book Two of the Seers Series by [Leclerc, Sherry]A Seer Champion sworn to protect Southgate. A Dragon Shifter Lord sworn to protect his clan. Can they bring their peoples together to defeat the evil forces that threaten to destroy them all?

Seer Champion Talwyn Sevi must protect Southgate and its keystone against the evil forces that threaten their destruction. Knowing she cannot do it alone, she seeks help from a group of reclusive Dragon Shifters. In return, she offers them information vital to their survival. Can Talwyn gain the Dragon Lord’s trust in time to save Southgate and the dragonkin?

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Traveller Inceptio

Traveller Inceptio by [Shackleford, Rob]

If you only read the first few lines of this review, the most important things you should know is that the story being told is both unique and interesting and the writing style is long-winded and full of fascinating detail. The author of this book is clearly adept at delivering a believable scene that has the power to bring readers directly into another world. Readers who read both science-fiction and historical fiction for the sake of reading – that is to say, readers not in any particular hurry to reach the end of the book – will revel in the amount of content delivered in this book.

The plot unfolds over time through the development of three connected story lines, and there is more than enough time for the author to build in strong connections between the story lines that make sense and are believable. The element of time travel is a driving force for the storytelling and it is done with great care. The reader can easily feel when they are exploring Saxon England in the middle of the 11th century and when they are in the present day.

The attention to detail in this book goes beyond what other writers in this genre are able to achieve. The historical accounts throughout the book are rich and the scenes taking place 1000 years ago are clearly laid out. Not only is achieving that level of believability a feat of literary skill, but also displays good historical knowledge. Anyone who reads this book will receive a history lesson, whether they are after one or not.

The detail and depth that Shackleford goes into while taking his readers through this historical fiction/science-fiction novel is something that some might take to be a challenging task but are features that fans of epic fantasy will appreciate. This book is for those who prefer to dig deep and really get into the world of the characters they are reading about. This is, therefore, a book preferred by those who enjoy the journey rather than reaching a destination. Rather fitting, actually, for the type of story that this is.

The character-building is  a central focus in the book. While there is not much to make the characters stand out or seem like they are anything other than ordinary individuals put through extra-ordinary situations, Shackleford ensures his readers feel what the characters are going through.

The skill and research that went into creating this story is commendable but not everyone is a fan of meandering prose. While I may be a fan, it will probably take a lot of people by surprise. In either case, this is an exceptional book that I truly enjoyed.

Pages: 431 | ASIN: B07NZ59G8Y

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The Reflection Backward

R.L. Dean Author Interview

R.L. Dean Author Interview

Greater Things Than Thou is an exciting mix of fantasy and science fiction. What was the inspiration behind this fascinating story?

For me the science-fiction and fantasy element was merely an impetus for the main character’s emotional state. The important element for me is the reflection backward. Old man Patrin spends a lot of time looking back on his life, but more than a summary of events he was involved in we instead get his feelings. Patrin is a person that was never able to move beyond the emotions of his childhood.

Patrin is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to explore with his character?

The primary theme that runs through Patrin’s life is loss. I think it’s a feeling that we can all relate to, and for the story to be a success it must be relatable to the reader.

There is some deep world building in this book. What were some driving ideals behind the creation of your world?

The world building technique comes from my youth spent playing RPGs. I was always more concerned with the larger picture, because you can paint many stories in it, depending on government, culture, demographics, and so forth. In this our primary setting is the Kingdom of Denion, with roots in a ‘Great Migration’ that took place in the distant past. That past is very important in upcoming novels, because it also explains the origins of the ‘Gift’.

This is book one in the Blood of the Prince series. Where does book two pickup and when will it be available?

Blood of the Prince Book 2: ‘All Things Ruin’ is currently out, at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and some ancillary sites. It picks up about a week after the end of ‘Greater Things than Thou’ and continues Patrin and Xadik’s mission.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Greater Things Than Thou (Blood of the Prince Book 1) by [Dean, R.L.]

An orphan is told he is meant for greater things …

Gray eyes are the mark of those with the Gift: an inherent ability to connect with otherworldly technology. In a dangerous world filled with thieves and bloodshed, the Gift can change your entire life.

Patrin is one such gifted person, and he knows it’s the only reason he’s alive. As a teenager, rescued from bloodthirsty bandits, Patrin gives his loyalty to Galin, a deposed Crown Prince, promising to help him seize power.

As Galin teaches him about technology, history, and the shifting moralities of man, Patrin must choose where fate will take him. Galin intends for him to assassinate the current king, but Patrin does not know if he can carry out the bloody task.

With the help of new friends and the beautiful Lady Lena, Patrin will have to decide between helping one of the few people who have ever valued him, or forging his own way in a dark and treacherous world.

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The Love of Gods

The Love of Gods (The Legends of the Pale Series Book 1) by [Smith, Tarrant]

 

The Love of Gods, written by Tarrant Smith is the first book in the paranormal romance series, The Legends of the Pale.

The story is an intriguing combination of a murder mystery and love story. As with any good romance, the story has a masculine hero – Lugos.  Despite being a god, Lugos prefers the company of humans. Whilst Lugo is investigating the death of a high-ranking witch his relationship with Keely Ann Lee, a Southern bar tender develops from a simple friendship into romance. Unbeknownst to Keely, Lugos has loved her over several different lifetimes. This time, he will do all he can to protect this mere mortal.

The story is set in Pale, which are a group of supernatural communities, but the characters are spread over different physical locations including Ireland and America.

There is a large and daunting cast of characters, which appear and disappear throughout the book. The author provides a comprehensive character list at the beginning, which is appreciated, but flipping back and forth gets a bit disruptive. The number of characters is further complicated by the fact that these are paranormal characters such as demons, witches, gods, shifters, demigoddesses and familiars. Each character has their own special powers as well as personality and location. That said, it did not take long to get my head around the number of characters and any fan of epic expansive fantasy novels will appreciate the intricate backstory that Tarrant Smith ha created.

Interwoven into the story are both paranormal and human experiences. Characters constantly move from using human technology such as cell phones, luxury cars, classic cars, security systems and Google maps to teleportation and shape shifting. They move from the mundane such as using passports to shifting from human form to animal form. This adds interest and intrigue and ensures the story is fast moving.

The dialogue between characters is rich and realistic and enhances the relationship between characters. The tale is also enhanced with some interesting metaphors, for example, Keely is described at one point as “a puddle of need”; which is my new favorite phrase.

The Love of Gods is a well written story. The dialogue is engrossing and most of the characters and their loyalties are intricate but explained in depth. Both the love story and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end.

Pages: 268 | ASIN: B07PWB8V36

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