Hart St. Martin takes us back to the lands of Garla and Thristas in Protector of Thristas, a novel that takes place fifteen years after the tumultuous One Day War. Rinli is the daughter of Korin and Lisen, and due to a prophecy created at her birth, she’s destined to be the Protector of the desert land of Thristas. While trying to guide Rinli on her path to becoming Protector, Lisen is faced with something far more challenging than ever before: she must do everything in her power to gain her teenage daughter’s long-lost sense of trust.
After becoming so invested in the Lisen of Solsta trilogy, I was thrilled to grab a copy of Protector of Thristas. There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching a fantasy world evolve over generations. Lisen and Korin have three children – Rinli, Nasera, and Insenlo – but Rinli is the only one who has a prophecy that she must fulfill.
Through highly emotional moments in the novel, the story definitely emulates how exhausting it is for the whole family when they are all separated. The story jumps between Avaret (the city where Lisen rules as Empir of Garla) and Thristas, where Rinli is required to stay for periods of time. The two lands have a very tense relationship, which forced Lisen to designate Rinli as the Protector of Thristas in an attempt to resolve these issues. As a result, Rinli and Korin must travel between the two lands several times a year.
As a sucker for romantic subplots, I loved seeing how fifteen years of marriage has impacted Korin and Lisen – due to the constant traveling on Korin’s end, they’ve grown even closer than they were in the first trilogy. Their bond even causes Korin to develop psychic-like powers, where he can sense when something bad is happening to Lisen or Rinli.
One of my favorite things about this novel is how Rinli has Lisen’s stubbornness and Korin’s perceptiveness, and her development throughout the novel kept the story captivating and fun. Something that separates her from her mother is that Rinli has an affinity for the desert land of Thristas, and her loyalty to Thristas is compounded by her close relationship with Madlen, her most trusted companion. She is especially resistant to the idea that she has her mother’s magic abilities, and this gets her into trouble at a few points in the novel.
Themes of forgiveness and trust pop up throughout the novel, highlighting the tense mother-daughter relationship between Lisen and Rinli. Hart weaves this tension throughout the entire plot, bringing the reader closer to these characters. Lisen can’t forgive herself for sentencing Rinli to her fate as the Protector of Thristas, while Rinli struggles to trust her mother. When Rinli discovers she may need her mother’s wisdom in order to understand her responsibility as a Protector, the two begin to develop a relationship.
Protector of Thristas is an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least, and it’s a breath of fresh air in a sea full of action-forward fantasy novels. As entrenched in fantasy as it is, this novel does a beautiful job of capturing raw human emotions of happiness, anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear, especially when dealing with challenging mother-daughter relationships and the connections between a parent and a child. The cliffhanger ending left me feeling some of those emotions myself, and I can’t wait to see if Hart will continue sharing more adventures from this world.
Pages: 452 | ASIN: B01E7NYLRI
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Allie Frost’s debut book I’m With You, is a passionate and gripping novel that draws the reader into her world with dynamic characters and an engaging story line. Ciarán and Remiel are siblings that have lost their mother. Their father has lost his mind due to her death and blames Remiel for the death of his wife. Remiel was born with an unusual gift, the ability to see a person’s death before it occurs. Five years after their mother’s death, their father has put out a hit job on his daughter, saying that she must die for the world to be right again, claiming that Remiel is a demon that kills. Ciarán loves his sister and when he learns of the plot to kill her he takes matters into his own hands and sets out to save her. With the help of an unlikely bunch of strangers, Ciarán and Remiel set out to escape the assassins that have been sent after Remiel.
The novel starts out in Kevlar a city in the realm of Empirya. This is a typical industrial city, similar to the early industrial periods of America. After learning of the plot to kill Remiel, Ciarán literally runs into to vagabonds, Ramus and Valkyrie. Fate brought them together and they help the two siblings escape Kevlar. Once away they are quickly found by the assassins hired to kill Remiel and they add a young prostitute names Camilla to their group. As they travel barely staying one step ahead of their enemy’s they add to their growing company Kaz the circus fire juggler, and Mitzi the librarian. Together they encounter danger and learn surprising things about one another. They bond together in the common goal of keeping Remiel alive and getting her and Ciarán home again.
Allie Frost tells the story from the view of Ciarán. His perspective is insightful for a young 15-year-old boy. While he seems more mature at times, there are defiantly times where his young age is apparent and the other characters’ step in to guide him. Ramus takes on the fatherly role for Ciarán and Remiel while Valkyrie is more the depressing voice of reason that battles internally between keeping to himself and away from trouble, vs doing the right thing and protecting the kids from the dangers after them. Camilla starts off as a very shallow character and through the novel builds into a deep meaningful part of the story line. The same is for Kaz and Mitzi, they evolve from the time they are introduced all the way to the epilogue. The bond that is formed from this unintended group becomes a family. Circumstances of the story give each character a chance to grow and evolve. Frost does an amazing job showing the transformation and growth while keeping the perspective in Ciarán’s eyes.
For a first novel Allie Frost, has created a dynamic world, taking the reader all over, showing a multitude of cultures and communities while keeping all relatable to modern earth. So, while the land is a work of fiction, many of the religious beliefs and cultural references are easy to relate to and understand. I’m With You is a perfect title for the novel as all the characters form a bond and grow together to create a family that Ciarán and Remiel lacked ever since their mother died. This is a captivating novel that will keep the reader engaged from the first page to the last.
Pages: 241 | ASIN: B01MAYT60F
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Our tale centers around the life of one woman, Angie Brown, as she struggles to live and love in an unforgiving world. Angie Brown, A Jim Crow Romance was originally written by Lillian Jones Horace 68 years ago. Angie Brown is a window to the past: a look at what life was like for black people during the Jim Crow era. It opens with heartbreak as Angie is denied medical care for her ailing child. Angie is at a disadvantage for her entire life simply for being black. Her child is black. Therefore, they are treated as less than second-class citizens. The beginning of Angie’s heartbreak occurred before that moment, but is amplified as her child dies in her arms: denied a potentially life-saving treatment solely based on the color of his skin.
Many books about this subject can feel like textbooks, but this book is beautiful and heartfelt. Wrapped up in an emotional love story, Angie Brown will teach its readers about life from the point of view of a young woman. She has loved, she has lost both her husband, Jim, and her son. She finds herself abandoned with no way to return home. Her religious mother has forsaken her and Angie must persevere if she wants to survive. Through her sorrow and her uncertainty Angie rises above the hand that life has dealt her. She works her hardest to become someone she can deem as worthy.
While there is activism in this book on Angie’s part, it doesn’t overshadow the romance. It is important to understand that Angie is not going to take her fate lying down. As she learns and exposes herself to the world she begins to understand that she can make a difference if she wants to. Her eyes are opened to the trappings of the world and she realizes that someone must stand up for the young black children who are disadvantaged solely because of their skin color. Described with powerful words the reader may feel as though they are there as Angie involves herself with politics and does her best to support Roosevelt in his bid for president. He desires to be a president for all people, something that Angie believes in.
Angie loves. She loses and she finds herself in sorrow. She sees the disgusting side of the world and she sees the beauty in it as well. She builds herself up from the timid young girl to the successful woman at the end of our tale. Angie Brown, A Jim Crow Romance by Lillian Jones Horace will show readers the beauty and agony of love against the backdrop of a time where injustice was rampant in the South. There are reading comprehension questions at the end of the book which make this an excellent selection for further classroom reading or even as an addition to a book club roster. The romance is beautiful in this tale but the underlying message is just as important. Whether you’re reading for fun or reading to learn more, you will not be disappointed with this book. Even though so much time has passed, this timeless piece remains poignant and elegant.
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In the Eyes of Madness is a paranormal fantasy novel that tells the story of a boy who struggles with accepting the extraordinarily horrific things happening in his life or accepting that he’s going insane. What intrigues you about the horror and paranormal genres that led you to write this book?
Let me start off saying that I’m a huge fan of the paranormal and urban fantasy genre. I feel that I already spend most of my day in the real world (going to work, playing and taking care of my kids, and spending time with my wife). When I open a book, I want to dive into a world that is magical, where anything can happen. So, one might ask, well, why not just pure fantasy novels? Fantasy novels tend to build amazing magical worlds that can allow the reader’s imagination to completely run free. I would agree with that. And I do enjoy a fantasy novel every so often for that reason. However, urban fantasy has the ability to cause a paradigm shift from how we would view our everyday life. They like to twist the things that would seem mundane into things that really make you wonder. And when you then add the paranormal theme to these urban fantasies what you end up with is a masterpiece that drills down the dark forbidden paths that you would avoid in real life. These stories tantalize your curiosity, fear, excitement, and bewilderment all at the same time.
In the Eyes of Madness follows the life of a man named Declan Peters whose mother tried to drown him when he was a child. What was your inspiration for this profound event in this characters development?
The premise of the novel came to me in a dream. And in my dream, I saw this teenager with haunted eyes that spoke to me of a tragic past. And I asked myself, what would be the most horrible thing that can happen to me as a child that would continue to haunt me as a teenager? For me, that would be if the person that I had loved the most as a child had tried to hurt me. That level of betrayal would damage any person beyond repair.
The story switches between Declan, Tristan and Zoe. What character did you enjoy writing for? Was there one that was more challenging to write for?
I love writing for each of my characters, but I did have the most fun with Tristan. I guess, in real life, I would relate more with Declan. I tend to be more of a “want to do good-er,” or what one would call the “nice guy.” It was fun to write for a character that had compromised morals for a change.
In the Eyes of Madness is book 1 in the Declan Peters Chronicles. When will book 2 be available? Can you give us an idea of where that book will take readers?
Actually before I release book 2 of the Declan Peters Chronicles, I will release book 1 of a new series that focuses on the Hunters. Declan will definitely make a significant appearance in this book as his story will tie into this new series in the future. Which would push book 2 out until next year. Book 2 of the Declan Peters Chronicles will reveal Declan’s mother’s relationship to the Hunters and what really happened to his father. The truth about Declan’s lineage will be most shocking! After I release book 2 of the Declan Peters Chronicles next year, I will focus on releasing a third book series that tells the story of the origin of demons. The origin stories of the demons in the other two book series will be told in this new series, and it will reveal a secret that will further the story of the other two series. Yes, that’s right three series. One that is set thousands of years in the past, one in the present about exorcists, another in the present about hunters, and all crisscrossing throughout. It’s going to be chaotic, fantastic, and MADNESS.
A near tragic incident at the hands of his psychotic mother left Declan Peters alone and with so many questions. Years later, Declan is determined to find a way to be closer to his mother and takes a job at the institution where she’s being held. That fateful decision will be the impetus for a chain of events so terrifying that Declan will question his own grasp on reality. What he finds will be more horrifying than anything he’s ever experienced and more dangerous than anything he’s yet known. In a place, rife with demonic possession and sadistic beings, will Declan finally be able to find the answers he’s longed for before its too late or will he succumb to the evil forces that inhabit the institution and all who live there?
Posted in Interviews
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In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang is the first book in his Declan Peters Chronicles. It follows the life of a young man named Declan Peters whose mother tried to drown him when he was a young child of seven. Well into adulthood, he decides he needs to try and rebuild a relationship with this woman. When he tries to understand the woman that is his mother, he is thrown into a world he never thought existed. One filled with demonic possession, and other beings with evil intent. Beings that are on a mission to destroy his very existence. Is Declan strong enough to combat these beings and survive or will evil prevail?
This book is reminiscent of Seven – X by Mike Welch in that it plays on the realm of demonic possession in a way other authors seem afraid to address. Pang was able to create a dark tone that sends chills down your spine even during scenes that do not address the demonic nature of the beings. The atmosphere of the book remains consistent and readers are left on the edge of their seat wondering what will happen next, or rather what creature will rear their head. Pang does spend a lot of time with his details in parts, to the point that it may feel like overkill, but in reality it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading this book.
The story changes viewpoints with each chapter between Declan, Tristan and Zoe, with Tristan and Zoe being together. At first it’s hard to determine who Tristan and Zoe are and how they fit into the story, but as readers progress into the story it becomes evident that they are major characters in the tale. The book is just under 222 pages, and has so much happening within those pages that keeps readers inching towards the edge of their seats. There is not a moment when the reader will be able to predict what will happen next, if you do try Pang does something completely unexpected and blows your mind.
It is evident that Pang has a strong understanding of the subject matter he uses. It adds to the intensity of the tale when an author seems to be knowledgeable in the genre. It almost makes the book feel more realistic, and that is exactly what Michael Pang has done. He has created a story that makes readers feel as if demonic possession could be something that happens every day. Doesn’t that just send chills down your spine? This is definitely going to be a series that will have people flocking to the stores just so they can get the next book. This story is a thrill ride that will put many horror/thriller movies to shame. It is something that creeps under your skin and remains there long after you have read the last word. It is the perfect book for anyone who enjoys horror.
Pages: 222 | ISBN: 9780692437339
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Echo is a coming-of-age story that explores many different things a young girl could encounter on her journey through life. What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story to convey the innocence and growth of Echo?
I think the main issue for me is the daughter’s need for a father. A good father enables a young girl to define who she is, her attitudes to men, and how to protect herself. Echo was confused which meant her feelings and responses to men could be misinterpreted, which Gareth recognized but JF didn’t. These two men represented the good and the bad. Secondly, she has to separate from the mother and this always involves anger and to some extent a rejection of the mother until she feels secure in her own skin and can accept her mother for who she is, including her failings. I made Echo very feisty and I hope, funny. Her sharp observations of the adult world are, to some extent, based on my work as a therapist with young women. There’s a lot of pain in their humor and vice versa. It’s also about the loss of childhood and taking on the responsibilities of growing up. Thirdly, the importance of a female friend. Maddy gave Echo a good role model of how supportive a good family can be as she works through the trials and tribulations of growing up.
Echo tells the story of her life as an adult looking back. Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into Echo’s life?
It was based mainly on my therapeutic work with young women at university. A therapist is told so much! We’re safe and they can tell us stuff, they wouldn’t tell anyone else. Her sharp humor is a little like me. I sill have that in me…
The story takes place on a farm in Wales and in London, England. How familiar are you with those areas? Why choose those spots as the setting for your novel?
I’m half Welsh and I live in Bristol, near Wales. To cross from Bristol in England to Wales, one goes via the Severn Bridge which goes right over the River Severn. The bridge is massive, a magnificent piece of engineering. The Severn is awesome, its flow, power and danger is as described. It fascinates me. [Check out my Pinterest for the settings of Echo] I did used to go to Wales every summer and the description of the farmhouse is based on a real one. After I’d written Echo it occurred to me that the river was like a metaphor for the difference within me of being Welsh and being English. One wild, the other fairly sophisticated and urban. I also lived in London for twenty five years and I know it well. It’s as described.
What is the next book that you’re working on and when can your fans expect it out?
I’m in the process of finishing my third novel. It’s called History Repeats Itself or Big lies: Small truths. It’s a sequel to my debut novel, Between the Shadow and the Soul. which is about a young woman snatching a baby. History is about an undercover agent and is set against the crash of 2008. It’s both psychological and political and explores the nature of lying and self-deception! I’m looking to finish it by Xmas.
Echo is growing up. She’s sharp, quirky, funny, with a snippy relationship with her mother. She finds life, especially men, a challenge. From meeting her first and only love, finding out about her missing father, her obsession with a Welsh poet, and a disastrous experience with a therapist, life is a problem. But problems require solutions and Echo is determined to find her own. Using imagination and humor she finds a way to get her own back. Written in her own words, this is a magical tale of desire, fantasy, and revenge, which reveals how one woman played one man at his own game and got away with it.
Posted in Interviews
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