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The Last King of the Mountain

The Last King of the Mountain: Book One of The True Queen of the Lathai by [Daytona, Camryn]

Ariawyn the elven princess of Lathai, daughter of Queen Aramaris, and last of the line of the Demon Queen. It is said that Lathai must be ruled by someone from the Demon Queen line or else the land will be destroyed. The problem however, Ariawyn does not want to rule. She feels unprepared and unfit to rule a kingdom she has not spent any time in since she was a child. Ariawyn does the only thing she thinks she can, she runs away. Her cousin Luthitan and Rune plan to take over the Lathai throne, not believing in the curse of destruction if Ariawyn does not rule. The magic, deceit, and mystery surrounding all will lead to a bloody end. Can Ariawyn save the kingdom she was born to rule.

Camryn Daytona brings to readers a new take on the elves and dwarves races in her novel The Last King of the Mountain. This is the first book of the series and sets up an epic tale that will capture the interest of fantasy readers new and old. In the first few pages you may feel like this is a retelling of the same old stories we all know of the battle between elves, dwarves, and the mortal races. After the first chapter or two though you see Camryn Daytona’s unique perspective come forth. It is nice to see some common trends among the races that fantasy readers have grown to expect but the overall story line and plot is unique. Ariawyn’s back story is filtered through the main story line and you learn more about her past and how she ended up sheltered in Ellahil rather than Lathai where she is to rule. The novel is long, over 400 pages, but it is not filler or overdone long monologues. All the descriptions of the cities and details about Din Mehidnar are used to enhance the story line and move the character development along. Nothings feels like it is added just fill pages, Daytona is careful about adding the right amount of detail at the right time to keep readers interested and asking questions.

My favorite parts of this novel were watching Ariawyn go from the persona of a shy quite teenager that wants nothing to do with responsibility into a strong woman ready to take back her kingdom. Siveril is a close second to me in character development. He is a cranky sorcerer that is blind with a soft heart for Ariawyn but you don’t understand why untill you get through the novel. Illimon is another character that goes through huge growth through the novel, and I’m interested to see how he develops as the series continues. I didn’t find the politics of the novel overwhelming like some fantasy novels do, nor is the magic so absurd that you can’t realistically engage with the characters. This is a great beginning to a quest for returning Lathai to its proper ruling with dark moments and light moments that will leaving you smiling.

Pages: 399 | ASIN: B07YQF1Q5J

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Classic Murder Mystery

Raymond Finkle Author Interview

Raymond Finkle Author Interview

The Mendelian Protocol starts with two genetic researchers dead on a beach which begins a deep and twisting mystery. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

I wrote the novel many years ago. I was initially inspired by the X-files as well as my interest in the premedical classes I was taking in genetics and molecular biology. I eventually tried to incorporate an element of classic murder mystery as well.

Natalie is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with her character?

I basically saw her as the young physician (which I was at the time) who found herself pitted against an imperfect system. This is represented by her boss, the chief, who keeps trying to steer her investigation in the direction he wants it to go.

I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this novel. Did you plan this out or did it develop organically while writing?

I literally wrote about 100 pages without any plan whatsoever and then eventually realized I had to come up with a plot. It took me weeks or even months to develop an original plot that I can honestly say has never been done before to my knowledge. I wanted to drop hints and make it a “solvable mystery” while keeping it hard to predict. In that regard I feel I have succeeded.

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

I am writing a more traditional mystery set in Nantucket in the 80’s but since I work full time and have kids… we will see.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

Two genetic researchers are brutally slain on a remote beach in the Bahamas. The investigation falls to Dr. Natalie Franklin, the small-town Medical Examiner working her first murder case. She doesn’t mind dealing with dead bodies, but dealing with her boss, the Chief of Police, is another matter entirely. As she struggles to make sense of the bizarre forensic clues, she learns that sometimes the truth is a casualty that no one wants revived. She vows to find answers to explain the evidence that is seemingly impossible to reconcile.

The Keller Corporation is the main employer on the island of St. Angela. When researcher Greg Cooper is hired, he initially thinks he has landed in paradise. After a few days of crunching data, though, he realizes that his dream job is more of a tedious grind than anything else. Out of boredom he begins to poke around and soon suspects that the Keller Corporation is up to something unethical or even sinister. When Greg discovers another dead body, it seems like a horrible accident, and that’s what Dr. Natalie Franklin thinks, too. But it isn’t long before Greg and Natalie are racing to unlock the secret of the Mendelian Protocol before becoming victims themselves.

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Unsung Heroines

Marina Osipova Author Interview

Marina Osipova Author Interview

The Cruel Romance is a historical romance novel following the lives of Serafima and Vitya during WWII. What prompted you to write this emotional novel?

There are many books written about great battles and great generals. Much less about the dreadful effects of war and occupation on the lives of civilians. The stories of European women in their fight against the German invaders have become broadly familiar. The idea that ordinary Russian women who had to endure four years of Nazi invasion deserve the same prompted me to write The Cruel Romance.

Telling stories of unsung heroines is my humble tribute to the women who worked on the home front producing armaments, like Serafima from The Cruel Romance, or who were fighters on the front or partisans, like my heroine Lyuba from How Dare the Birds Sing, another book of mine.

Serafima and Vitya are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

It was important for me to show not only good personality traits but also evil ones in my characters. So, Serafima, despite the horrible circumstances, developed into a kind and passionate person becoming stronger with every unfortunate turn in her life. But not like Victor, who developed—or maybe the dark parts of his character were hidden only to be revealed in critical situations—into a cruel person consumed with hate, ruining the lives of the innocent people because of some deeply personal feelings and, besides, using his position in the society to get a desired post.

I felt that the history and Russian culture and backdrop were well utilized. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?

Aside the fact that I’m Russian and the setting within which my characters acted is natural to me, every new work requires extensive research. The authenticity comes from many details. In my case, it came not only from books. I am greatly indebted to my parents who as children endured the German bombing, the hunger and fear and who shared their experience with me.

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

My next book, the second one in the Love and Fate series titled Too Many Wolves In The Local Woods goes live on May 5, 2020 as a part of the Road to Liberation boxset comprising ten books from USA Today, international bestselling and award-winning authors dedicated to celebrating the end of WWII.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War by [Osipova, Marina]On October 1941, in a small village outside Moscow, Serafima bids farewell to Vitya, a Soviet officer going to the front. With only moments left together, she places a cross around her beloveds neck and reluctantly releases him into a cruel world where nothing is certain, especially whether she will ever see him again.

Days later, Germans invade her village and take over her tiny house. Serafima and her mother must comply with orders, endure abuse, and stay put, or their village will be annihilated.

As World War II intertwines Serafimas and Vityas life with that of a young German violinist and a Russian intellectual, their destinies are irrevocably altered. Can they rise to the challenge of agonizing moral choices and learn to forgive and love again?

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The Visitor From 4-D

An interesting kids chapter book is what readers will find when they pick up The Visitor from 4-D by Deborah Dolan Hunt. We come across the three Keating siblings who are visited by a tiny humanoid during a lightning storm. Not only does their visitor tell them about a parallel world in the 4th dimension, he even looks like one of the Keating siblings himself! So begins an adventure to help the inter-dimensional visitor return to his home.

The book is broken down into chapters that are easily digestible for young readers. The kids portrayed in the story are fairly realistic in their reactions and temperaments. There are some parts where the kids don’t exactly talk like stereotypical kids of their ages, but the core message of the story shines through.

Learning about differences, helping others in their time of need regardless of their origins and teamwork are all important messages to be sending to kids in the targeted age-range of this book. Doing so in a story format helps kids learn lessons without realizing they are.

The Visitor from 4-D is a fun story about inter-dimensional travel and siblings working together for the greater good. The Visitor from 4-D by Deborah Dolan Hunt is an entertaining book with an amusing plot and lively characters.

Pages: 32 | ISBN: 1644677849

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The Warramunga’s War

The Warramunga's War by [Kater, Greg]

The Warramunga’s War is a book that follows the Australian Army’s advances in the Middle East and Egypt. The main character, Jamie, is saved by an officer Jacko, who’s half aborigine warramunga. The book leads the reader through an adventure with Jamie and Jacko in the forefront, as they conduct counterespionage and work with real historical figures. They form a close friendship and work together to solve various missions. During their stay in Cairo, Jack and Jamie manage to work against German spies and continue the war effort onto their home turf after their job is done in Egypt. Jacko’s skills come into play near the final leg of the duo’s journey, needing to track down two wartime German Agents in West Australia.

The author describes events in vivid detail throughout the book. Greg Kater ensures the reader is taken through an action filled adventure full of twists, turns, and suspense with lighthearted moments throughout to provide moments of respite. One of these moments was at the beginning, where Jamie was unconscious and had a humorous moment with Jacko and a French nurse. The author also shows ample character development with our duo, showing how they evolve both in strength of friendship and their synergy with each other. They grow as friends and evolve to become better soldiers as well, and this evolution was something that was consistently interesting to me. I felt the part where Jamie develops a romance with someone added depth and emotion to an already well developed character. They seem to gain some level of experience from who they work with as well. Speaking of those people, the author’s level of dedication to research shows as well, with many areas being accurately described. The people he represents in the book are true to their original character and accomplishments.

While I enjoyed the narrative and the characters, I felt that the pacing, was inconsistent and sometimes abrupt. There is a part in the book where we’re zoomed into the future, which threw me off. Other than that small issue, The Warramunga’s War is an amazing read which shows a lot of spirit and has a unique take on old events.

Pages: 324 | ASIN: B07NJZFVJX

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Cecilia House

Cecilia House by [Gandossi, Simon]

Cecilia House by Simon Gandossi is a heart-wrenching retelling of a girl’s stolen adolescence. From the very first page, the author creates a gripping air of suspense and it sparks a desire to understand what happened in the past leading up to the initial scene. We are introduced to Ruth, who is going through her recently deceased mother’s belongings and comes across a revelation that has her reeling. Her mother, after suffering the loss of her entire family, ended up in an orphanage that did nothing to help her heal from her trauma but instead made it all worse. The only consolation is that from the perspective given, you know her mother survived. However, while she goes through the trauma, it is all consuming.

The best thing about the book is that the author created such a compelling main character that it was easy to be captivated by her and sympathize with her plight. I was able to go through all of her changing emotions with her and even grow with her as the years progressed.

At times, the language of the novel was somewhat simplistic but this seemed to be more of a reflection of the character at the time. The characters were well developed and as dramatic as the events were in the book, it was all very realistic. At the same time, the subject matter was presented with a certain level of detachment that kept me continuously engaged as opposed to being overwhelmed by the events. The themes of family and friendship were prominent throughout the novel. The concept of chosen families also played a significant undercurrent role.

I like that the author didn’t strive to portray any unrealistic future whether unrealistically positive or unrealistically negative. Overall, Cecilia House was an extraordinary read, with a gripping ending.

Pages: 322 | ASIN: B07YNH1VXT

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The Henna Witch

The Henna Witch by [Scherzinger, GJ]

Evil is everywhere. The one place we expect to be free of it is in our dreams, but even those are sometimes not free from the grip of terror and the foreboding sense of impending doom. Men and women are waking in cold sweats and glancing about in a feverish daze trying to convince themselves that it was just that–a dream. The most amazing and terrifying part of it all? These men and women cannot free themselves from these larger-than-life nightmares–and they are having identical experiences. Their sleep is no longer safe and their dreams are certainly not their own.

The Henna Witch, by G.J. Scherzinger, is the enthralling account of Ashia Verena’s mission to defeat a sorceress invading dreams and creating a long path of terror among mortals. Ashia, with a massive task in front of her, sets out to do what no other Guardian can. She isn’t alone on her mission, however, and finds herself facing the task of hosting a young girl on a mission all her own.

Scherzinger writes beautifully with vivid imagery and creates details that lead the reader on a fantastic visual journey. What we, as readers, are not able to conjure, Scherzinger lays out masterfully before us. Where some authors of this genre lean toward flowery language, Scherzinger manages to keep his narrative straightforward and simultaneously descriptive and elegant.

As a reader who is more interested in the relationships between characters, I am pleased with Scherzinger’s approach to writing. The Henna Witch is filled with rich dialogue between characters. The author includes dialects that give his characters an added appeal and make it even more likely readers will become lost in the plot.          

I have to note that there were times throughout the book that Hansel and Gretel came to mind. For some reason, the imagery conjured by Scherzinger brings about the dark feel of the age old fairy tale–definitely not a bad thing at all for this fan of grim tales. 

Yet another plus to The Henna Witch is the length of chapters. Scherzinger keeps his chapters concise and brings each one to a fitting end that urges the reader on to the next. The book is overall a quick read and difficult to put down.

The budding friendship between Ashia and O’la is a precious thing. As their travel ensues, Ashia attempts to be both a mentor and a protector. The two grow closer and Ashia shows O’la how to live off the land and become more in tune with the animals. I enjoyed being able to see Ashia’s thoughts as she observes the fruits of her labor with O’la. Her own desire to not mother her too much is relatable.

The Henna Witch is easily one of the most engaging books in the witchcraft/fantasy genre I have encountered. With a surprisingly relatable cast of characters and an engaging and fascinating plot surrounding the phenomenon of dreams, it will appeal to readers across genres.

Pages:  235 | ASIN: B07MHZQLND

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Cycles of the Phoenix

Cycles of the Phoenix: The Whole Interlaced Souls Series by [Nicholas, C.A.]

Cycles of the Phoenix is a series of three books by C. A. Nicholas including Sanity’s War, Strange and Kaya: Where Have You Been. All stories that explore the human condition. The stories told by the author are sad and exciting in equal measure. They deliver different emotions for the reader at different turns. These are unique stories told sincerely and from a  provocative perspective by a father and daughter duo.

The stories touch on impassioned emotions such as betrayal, sexual abuse, trauma, mental illness, and violence. These ideas are captured by the humanity of the characters in the story, and shows how people hide behind facades and smile through the pain. The stories are told with an easy but expressive voice, making it feel as though each character was created as a metaphor with the intention of provoking thought. These stories took me a while to figure out. However, when I did I appreciated the nuances as well as the spirit of the prose.

Cycles of the Phoenix is not the kind of book you read as you wait for your coffee order. This book feels like it has a mind of its own. It feels like the characters are driving the story. Like C. A. Nicholas was merely the vessel for the story. The characters and the stories each have different voices. It feels like the author is constantly changing tack. There is so much emotion tucked in every line. This book is not afraid to delve right into the pits of human turmoil. It is the kind of book that goes as deep and as far as it needs to.

You may find yourself having trouble going past the first chapter. However, the further you go the more rewarded you will be by this strange but brilliant literary experience that hurdles you along an emotional roller-coaster. Take your time with this novel, and you will love it.

Pages: 306 | ASIN: B07RKSD7L8

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Endless Incarnation Sorrows

Endless Incarnation Sorrows: A Spiritual Odyssey of Mortal Imprints on Earth by [Mann, Lucia]

Endless Incarnation Sorrows: A Spiritual Odyssey of Mortal Imprints on Earth is inspired by a true story. The reader gets to experience life through riveting main characters whose distinct roles are revealed one by one. Lala, daughter of Rebekah bas Sora, and Hassam, son of Mohammed el-Din, gets to, unfortunately, undergo suffering due to the sins committed by her mother. Lyveva, a lovable character who enjoyed good relationships, battles abductors, arises victorious and gets to be recognized as a solid healer. The other main character was Lucja, who I was easily able to empathize with. The story of Lucja is mostly told from an enclosed Auschwitz. This place smells of slavery and dissoluteness. Every character was distinct and allowed me to view the story from different angles.

The story is narrated throughout different years and I like how well-defined life was for each of the generations, and how the reader can easily notice the differences. Lala was an unlucky character. Her birth was considered ill-fated since Rebekah, her mother had an atrocious union. It is such a disgrace that some women in the book had to suffer for things that were considered sins. Lala was born in the deserts of Judea and experiences some extreme struggles. Through the lives of such women, the author shows us how unfair life can be and how women endure affliction just to exist. The stories about the women are melancholic and somber, but their resilience inspires hope.

The author narrates every historical tale with ease, giving credence to the impression of a true story. Lucia Mann’s style of description is fluid and rich and engages the reader throughout the narration. Lucy Mann is able to make the reader pause and reflect with some dramatic and emotional turn of events. She takes you through extreme experiences and makes one understand that life can be complex sometimes. I loved reading the thought-provoking parts of the book as they helped me view life as it is in a different cultures. Reincarnation is a major topic in the book, and the exploration will make you question life as it is and the purpose of living.

Endless Incarnation Sorrows: A Spiritual Odyssey of Mortal Imprints on Earth is an excellent book for readers that love engaging literature possessing depth and intelligence. The conversations in the book are fresh, the lessons immense, and we see how women can be superhuman.

Pages: 255 | ASIN: B08222HXKQ

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Conquests and Fame

Alexandrea Weis Author Interview

Alexandrea Weis Author Interview

Realm follows young Roxanna as she becomes the wife of Alexander the Great and is swept away by history. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional story?

I have wanted to write her story since I was sixteen and first saw Roxana mentioned in a history book about Alexander the Great. A professed history geek, Alexander has always fascinated me, but it was her story I wanted to tell. She lived beyond him, saw the breakdown of power, and in the end was a victim of his conquests and fame. She was forgotten by history, but I believe her role in his life, and the war of the generals, was important. I wanted people to know that Alexander was married to a woman who I am sure had to have remarkable fortitude and courage to not only travel with his army, but survive his generals.

Roxana is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with her character?

She developed out of years of study of Alexander. This was a man who had women, the powerful daughters of kings, diplomats, and wealthy men, thrown at him, but he never married any of them. He took the hand the daughter of a mere chieftain, and instead of setting her up in a palace, as was the custom, Alexander took her with him across the world. I wanted to highlight her strength and intelligence, qualities he must have admired, but also show her powerlessness in a world where women had no voice. She must have been frustrated at not being recognized because of her sex, but I wanted her to rise above her limitations and influence the most powerful man in the world. I do not subscribe to the fact that she was a non-essential wife as many historians believe. I wanted to make her a unique woman who could have changed the course of history.

I enjoyed the portrayal of Roxana and Alexander’s relationship. Was their relationship planned or did it develop organically while writing?

The ups and downs in their relationship were built around the history of his campaigns, and how hard it must have been for her as a woman loving a man and competing with his army, his generals, and his other lovers. I also had to factor in how women were treated in ancient Greece, along with Alexander’s great respect for women. The rest developed organically, but like any relationship that goes through great hurdles it either gets stronger or falls apart. I like to believe theirs got stronger. After all, Alexander died when she was seven months pregnant with his only heir. It was also nine months after the death of his dear friend Hephaestion. For me, it was obvious he turned to her in his grief, and that told me a great deal about where they were at his end.

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

My next novel is a thriller and the first in a new series, called The Secret Brokers. It is about Dallas August, a man who runs an organization of elite spies for hire who steal secrets and sells them to the highest bidder. He is blackmailed into going on a mission to steal an important secret from an unsuspecting woman and ends up in the middle of a war between two powerful kingpins. The Secret Brokers releases 4/7/2020.

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A WOMAN UNLIKE ANY OTHER, SHE WILL CONQUER THE UNCONQUERABLE AND BE LOVED BY A MAN WHO IS WORSHIPPED AS A GOD.

Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain–is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

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