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What is reality? That is the question that pervades the mind of young Pogo from the outset of this twisting story. The reader is introduced to the concept of lucid dreaming, a loving mother, and an abusive father within the first few pages – before everything seems to shatter without Pogo retaining a memory of virtually anything. Where is his mother? His father? Why can he not remember his school or his best friend?

Most importantly, who is the stranger standing in his kitchen making his favorite breakfast, and what does Joshua have to do with him when he doesn’t remember much, either? Even worse, who is their neighbor, Sarah, who also has no memory of anything, including her husband, Marko, and their daughter, Julia?

Something isn’t right in this little town, but the more the inconsistencies pile up, the crazier the mystery seems to get! On the other side are the three mysterious antagonists, Tonks, Klaus, and Kobi, who have their own reasons for being in this world but may wind up collateral damage while searching for the truth.

Written from the first-person points of view of each central character in the tale, Mindbender, by Avinash Naduvath, follows several characters in a strange, vaguely unsettling world the reader quickly realizes, long before the protagonists, is actually a mental construct.

Naduvath’s writing style is intriguing and thought-provoking, and the plot itself is interesting enough to keep the reader turning pages simply to find out what could possibly be happening next. Discovering the truth about the novel’s name only comes toward the end, almost in passing, but suits the storyline perfectly. Finding out the culprit and how the said culprit is found out is a surprising and pleasantly unexpected twist.

Mindbender is a complex metaphysical hard science fiction novel that captivates readers from the opening pages. Following along as the story leads all the characters to a convergence point will have readers on edge trying to decipher the mystery of what has happened to them and their world.

Pages: 335 | ASIN : B09Y9675FX

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Protectors of the Light

Protectors of the Light, by Ivy Gilbert, introduces us to Hannah and Nick Hanley. Hannah is involved in a car accident and has an out of body experience. Years later, Hannah returns home after her parents deaths and runs into Nick, her twin brother. Over the years, the two had grown distant from one another and they both…have secrets. Nick, too, had an experience similar to Hannah’s. With time, Hannah and Nick realize coming clean and working together would save countless lives. But will their secrets be exposed in time, or will darkness prevail?

Protectors of the Light is a story readers of many genres will enjoy. The bond between the two siblings is explored at length in the story and is an enjoyable relationship to follow. The fact that they each have flaws but are still open to giving each other a chance is what makes the plot interesting. The supernatural element in the story is fascinating and well-crafted. Gilbert’s descriptions immerse the reader in the story and give a real sense of the characters’ surroundings and what they are feeling.

Hannah is going through the empty-nest phase of life and now wonders how best to fill her time. Nick has been searching for something that has been missing in his life for years. Their struggles are highly relatable. The author manages to weave a tale of the supernatual seamlessly with the search for a higher purpose. As the story progresses, the author expertly builds the mystery, tension, and action as the plot unfolds making this a book that is difficult to put down.

I highly recommend Protectors of the Light, by Ivy Gilbert. This thrilling supernatural read is perfect for those who are looking for a fascinating plot with well-developed characters who will help them get in touch with their spiritual side.

Pages: 229 | ASIN: ‎ B0B1JBRDBR

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A World of Magic and Mysticism

J.V. Hilliard Author Interview

The Last Keeper follows a young magician with the power of prophetic sight as he tries to stop the destruction of his world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I have varied inspirations for the story, but the vast majority of the worldbuilding and plot lines were a result of twenty years of playing Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop role playing games.

During the planning process for the series, I was able to memorialize several of my unique campaigns and many of our characters, villains and “cryptids” and wove them into the greater story of The Last Keeper. I took inspiration from those adventures with friends and family and used it as the basis for the story. Thus, I had a built-in and battle tested geography, political system, pantheon of gods (that I refer to as “Ancients”) as well as backstories for each.

The exercise made for a ready-made world that I just needed to launch with book one.

Daemus Alaric has many challenges to overcome as a result of his prophetic sight. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The storyline of Daemus came to me in part by a set of recurring nightmares I had as a late teen, and I used some of the imagery to create the conflict between Daemus and the novel’s villain, Graytorris. In my dreams, I was visited by a similar entity to Graytorris that claimed to be a “guardian angel” of mine and was here to reward me if I followed his requests.

When I took that true-to-life experience and flung it into a world of magic and mysticism, it was easy to supercharge it into the metaphysical battle between protagonist and antagonist. I even used some “scenes” from my own nightmares, like the scene in the prologue near the placid pool shrouded in fog as the basis for Daemus and his first contact with Graytorris the Mad, in their shared dreamscape.

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

The book is a classic sword and sorcery novel, steeped in the spirit of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Dungeons and Dragons. At its heart, it highlights themes such as betrayal, struggle and duty. Betrayal in the form of a staged coup to topple the rightful king of Thronehelm; struggle in the form of a burgeoning war, but also struggles against Graytorris the Mad and his plot for revenge; and duty, in the form of service to kingdom as well as forbidden love between two main characters, Princess Addilyn Elspeth and Sir Ritter of Valkeener (racial tension).

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

Book two, known as Vorodin’s Lair, is in editing now and will be available in late summer while the third book, The Trillias Gambit is nearly done and will enter the editing process later this year. I expect it’s release around the holidays of 2022 or early 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A young boy’s prophetic visions. 

Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad. 

An elven Princess with a horrifying secret.

Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings.

A terrifying force of evil. 

Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. Daemus and Princess Addilyn must set out to face the menace that threatens their very existence.

Will the entire realm fall to its knees?

The Last Keeper is the first book in The Warminster Series. With gripping, epic action and heart-pounding adventure, you’ll love this new adventure series.

The Last Keeper 

In author J.V. Hilliard’s The Last Keeper, the realm of Warminster is thrown into tumult with a treasonous act and flight of their powerful Keeper of protection. The sudden occupation of marauding raiders feeds into the prophetic vision from one of the last Keepers with the gift of Sight, the destruction of Warminster. However, if the vision of the young Daemus Alaric can be interpreted correctly – and in time – order in the realm might be maintained. With the aid of the seer princess, Addilyn, and the field leadership of Sir Ritter Valkaneer, a talented Longmarchers captain, Warminster is poised to defend itself against the return of the traitorous Graytorris.

This wonderfully detailed medieval fantasy tale is filled with dramatic action and adventure. The characters are well developed and easy for the reader to connect with. The story’s pace is intense and keeps you on your toes the entire time. I was always wondering what would happen next and found this book to be unpredictable.

The element of magic introduced in the initial chapter is not explored with much depth, but it is believable and helps the story progress. Hilliard expounds on the hierarchies of race, status, and class in each of the sub-worlds that the three principal characters inhabit, adding an intriguing background to the characters in the story. There is a large cast of characters introduced, lending to the epic feel of this fantasy story, but I felt that they were hard to keep track of at times, even though each character does play an important role in the story. It never becomes clear who will spearhead the overall defense against Graytorris’ encroaching threat to the realm, but it is patently evident that there is more to come in what is sure to be a compelling series.

The Last Keeper is a riveting epic fantasy novel. Readers will find the non-stop action and adventure as the characters all come together from their separate worlds to be invigorating. This opening book to the series will really grab the attention of readers who enjoy metaphysical fantasy.

Pages: 419 | ASIN : B09NB2L871

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Becoming Truitt Skye: The Cave of Souls

Becoming Truitt Skye: The Cave of Souls by Adrea L. Peters continues the tale of the beloved Truvie Tucker like you would never imagine. We follow Truitt as she adjusts back to her life in The City on The Sea and copes with the death of her human self. Her acquaintances in The City on The Sea struggle to help our beloved Truitt perform the tasks she was called to do. It’s a classic spirit versus human realm tale that features real-life themes of depression and grief. Adrea L. Peters weaves us a mystical tale with wise messages strewn throughout.

First and foremost, I want to commend the author for writing about depression and grief in such a creative manner. We need to see more novels on the shelves portraying real-life human emotions in an artistic light.

The plot for this engaging novel was interesting, and I would love to see what else Peters comes up with. Peters’ writing is detailed when it comes to descriptions, so I was able to clearly picture the characters in my mind along with the surroundings. The author details what the characters look like, giving readers a chance to really visualize them. I was given a clear idea about where each soul was in time. The dialogue was easy to follow, and the conversations felt authentic and intriguing as I found Truitt to be a charming character. Not only did the conversations between characters flow smoothly, but they felt natural. I was immediately taken on an adventure alongside Truitt, and I found this book hard to put down.

Becoming Truitt Skye: The Cave of Souls is a teen and young adult novel that tackles some complex topics that teens deal with positively. The exciting fantasy story will captivate readers with action and adventure while exploring the magical realm of The City on the Sea.

Pages: 376 | ISBN : 0645015571

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Ice Out

Francesca is a music teacher and professional flutist living the dream life in Vermont. She lives with her husband Ben, their four-year-old daughter Addie and their dog Cruz. Francesca starts from the present and goes back to the past, telling her story. Her narration takes place during a dramatic and challenging moment. Still, her flashbacks accentuate the happy and joyful moments she spent with her family, from childhood all the way to adulthood. The memories of meeting Ben, their marriage, and the birth of Addie all fade in and out in pieces. The lessons Francesca learned as a child from her parents about never breaking a promise radiating inside her. As she struggles in the ice-cold water, she finds the will to fight, believing Ben broke his promise to love and cherish her always. Her focus is finding Addie that she thinks she saw pulled from the ice by her ever-present companion Cruz.

Ice Out, by Susan Speranza, is a captivating metaphysical fiction novel. Life, death, and the question of what happens after death are insightful themes of this suspenseful and thrilling novel. Speranza writes in a detailed manner, giving the reader both moments of tension and action and moments of drama and detailed descriptions of the characters’ feelings.

This gripping novel starts with Francesca struggling to climb out of an icy lake with no information on how she ended up there. Then, the author takes readers on a winding path of flashbacks and present moments. Readers will find flashbacks build the anticipation as every one of them progresses the story and links the character’s thoughts in the present moment to critical moments in their past. A thought-provoking story of both hope and betrayal, readers will be left to consider is their life after death, what is the meaning of life, and differentiating dreams from reality.

Ice Out is an emotional rollercoaster with an intricate psychological plot. Readers who enjoy metaphysical fiction, thriller, or psychological fiction novels will be drawn into this riveting story.

I would like to end this review with an inspirational quote from the book itself: “From that moment of abandon, two souls merge. She understands then that he is her fate, her destiny. And their separate stories now become one”.


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All This Was Mission

All This Was Mission, by S.J. Cunningham, is Madeline’s journey of self and spiritual discovery. Madeline goes to an isolated resort called Ashrama in the hopes of getting rest. However, she soon realizes that there is much work to be done before going back to the life she had.

Madeline and all who go to Ashrama are there to deal with their past. Upon arriving, you follow a routine and choose a new name. Madeline, now going by Maya, navigates through her time at Ashrama. She meets new people along the way that are on their own healing journey. As they open up about their struggles, Maya is trying to understand why she was sent to this place and what in her life brought her to this point. Maya helps others find their way, and eventually, she shares her story. After revealing her life story, Maya has a sense that her time at Ashrama is done, and she must return to her life. Although she is going back, she is an entirely different person now.

Cunningham writes beautifully, and readers will get carried away reading this story. The characters have depth and meaning, each adding to the storyline as you continue reading. Cunningham makes the reader empathize with her characters and delivers a deep understanding of what they are experiencing on this journey. In addition, there are mature topics discussed throughout the book that make this appropriate for an older audience.

Ashrama was a place of healing that the characters began to question as they experienced otherworldly things. This gives readers a lot of questions that build the anticipation and suspense in the novel.

All This Was Mission, by S.J. Cunningham, is a blend of hardships, friendship, and discovery. Readers who like a thought-provoking novel with deep character explorations will appreciate this metaphysical fiction novel.

Pages: 173 | ASIN : B08PW3R6SY

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Becoming Truitt Skye

Truvie Tucker, a 17-year-old Milwaukee girl who loves physics and quantum theory, spends her days with her dad doing physics experiments in his shed. One day Truvie suffers from a devastating head injury, for which she’ll need surgery. When she goes under the anesthesia, she travels to another realm… The City of the Sea, and discovers that she’s actually Truitt Skye, a powerful soul who left the City 17 years ago to save humanity from being destroyed. “How could this be?” She wondered. Truvie has no memory of this prior life at all. Now it’s up to Truvie to remember who she is and save the world.

When it comes to Becoming Truitt Skye, author Adrea L. Peters writes this piece masterfully. Using powerful language from page one, she truly captures your imagination while she guides you through her book with simple and easy-to-understand dialogue. Teaching readers about love, family, science, spirituality, and so much more along the way. Peters has a talent for crafting memorable characters that will make you fall in love with them. Readers will be filled with nostalgia of their own childhood as they follow Truvie’s riveting story.

Becoming Truitt Skye, by Adrea L. Peters will make readers believe in magic and science, fill them with excitement and frustration, and take them on a captivating journey. From page one readers will be drawn into this enchanting novel, the writing style is in-depth and allows readers to fully immerse themselves in the world created by Adrea L Peters. Fans of teen fiction and young adult readers will enjoy this magical escape.

Pages: 299 | ASIN: B089727PGY

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