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Mermaids and Sirens

Kimberley Cale
Kimberley Cale Author Interview

Caught follows a mermaid who is captured by a vengeful pirate and finds that she may not want to escape his embrace. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I got my inspiration from the Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides. That’s where the idea of mermaids attacking a pirate ship came from also the Disney movie Sinbad where the water sirens’ were attacking the ship gave me the idea for establishing a difference between mermaids and sirens.

Lorelei is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

I wanted her to have a strong connection to her family the ones she loves. It’s what drives her actions.

I appreciated the careful development of the mythology of this world. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in your story?

I wanted to show how even through one’s intentions might be pure in the beginning, if you’re not careful power can easily corrupt.

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

Claimed, Storm’s book which is book two in the series is next. It is currently in the editing process, and will be followed by Captivated Book Three which is Jewel’s story.

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A vengeful pirate…
Ruthless pirate captain Quinn O’Connor is bent on getting revenge on the creatures who sank his ship and killed his crew. When he claims their leader as his captive, he doesn’t expect the scorching consequences that come with being stranded with her on a mysterious island.
A beautiful sea temptress…
Lorelei, a daughter of Poseidon, is willing to bargain with the dangerous pirate who captured her in order to save the ones she loves. He believes the worst of her and her kind, and when he drags her onto dry land, turning her beautiful tail into a pair of unsteady legs, she’s not sure if she’ll be able to return home—and soon she starts to wonder if she really wants to.
Magic and mayhem bring them together…
With each smoldering kiss, each heated touch, their desire blazes higher. Can they overcome misunderstandings and monstrous enemies seeking to tear them apart? Will a mermaid challenge her fate for the love of a pirate? Will an unforgiving pirate give up his revenge and take on a god to save his mermaid?

Phantasia: A Bad Day On Olympus

Phantasia: A Bad Day On Olympus (Phi Athanatoi Book 2) by [Efthalia Author]

Phantasia by Efthalia is the second installment in Efthalia’s Phi Athanatoi series. This novel follows Carissa, an ex-cop and demigod granddaughter of Zeus, as she embarks on the greatest mission of her life thus far – saving a few morally astray Greek gods from causing ruin and chaos to not only their ethereal realm in Mount Olympus, but also to the susceptible and unknowing mortal world below. Efthalia’s entertaining way of storytelling and character building, combined with a unique plot that blends romance, adventure, Greek culture, and Greek mythology, are all key aspects that make this a thrilling paranormal romance.

Even though this is the second book in her Phi Athanatoi series, Efthalia does a great job at building each character so that even if a reader picks up the book out of sequence, they have enough context about important details to still be able to follow the story line. Carissa and Xen’s romance is hot, steamy, and palpable in all the right ways, while still making apparent the couple’s devotion to one another. Even auxiliary characters, such as Carissa’s mortal family members, are given the chance to shine, reminding readers how embedded loyalty and familial ties are to Greek culture. All the characters are likable, realistic and have their own sense of morality that adds to the depth of the overall novel. Each scene is portrayed in a way that allows the reader to easily envision happenings as they unfold.

Efthalia is a brilliant writer who also uses her work as an opportunity to highlight Greek culture. Her numerous and regular Greek vocabulary and cultural references add significant depth to the reader’s experience. The Greek glossary at the end of the book, which provides definitions of all Greek vocabulary used throughout the text, is a further welcome touch. Her vivid depictions of each of the Greek gods in the story, from Zeus to Ares to Hades, reflect the well-researched nature of her storytelling.

There are definite aspects that are reminiscent of popular thrillers, such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since there are sexual scenes, depictions of alcohol use, and some images of violence, this novel is best enjoyed by an adult audience. I would recommend Phantasia and the rest of the Phi Athanatoi series to anyone with an interest in the adventure romance genre, as well as any aficionados of Greek mythology.

Pages: 289 | ASIN: B083TBWNPH

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Caught (Sea Temptress Series Book 1)

Caught (Sea Temptress Series Book 1) by [Kimberley Cale]

Caught (Sea Temptress Series Book One) by Kimberley Cale is a fantasy romance story about a pirate captain seeking revenge against the mermaid he captures. Quinn O’Connor believes that Lorelei is responsible for sinking his ship The Mayhem and killing his crew, and he intends to make her pay. He refuses to listen when Lorelei tries to explain what happened. Though she is desperate to escape an arranged marriage to the sadistic brother of sirens, Lorelei’s sister will be forced to take her place if she does not return home. When Lorelei and Quinn end up stranded together on a deserted island, will she be able to find a way to save herself and her sister?

The author has an enjoyable and engaging writing style and the story kept my interest. Lorelei and Quinn start out as enemies, but feelings between them quickly grow. I liked Lorelei’s character throughout the entire story, and I enjoyed reading the interactions between her and her sisters, Jewel and Storm. The twist at the end of the book, that allowed Quinn and Lorelei to be together, was not what I was expecting, and I liked that this part was not predictable despite some familiar beings from myths and fantasy. I liked the inclusion of the mythological elements that were woven into the story. There were many humorous parts of this book, which caused me to laugh out loud more than once, and I enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter.

I didn’t like that the book started in one place in the story and then went backward to show the reader the “beginning” of the story. I prefer when books start at the beginning of the story, and in this case, it felt as though the out of order timeline hindered the forward momentum of the story.
There were some troubling aspects of the interactions between Quinn and Lorelei at the beginning when he used his superior strength against her to try to push for physical intimacy while he was holding her captive. Despite his justifications and the agreement they come to, it brings up questions about whether Lorelei is actually “willing” or not. Quinn redeems himself later in the book, and I was glad that the story ended happily for both Lorelei and Quinn.

I’m looking forward to the next story in the series about one of Lorelei’s sisters. Caught is an exciting adventure novel that will delight fantasy fans who would like to see a new layer added to the mermaid mythology.

Pages: 155 | ASIN: B08D7T8YSK

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Water at the Top of the World: A Story of Legends and Learning

A charmingly illustrated children’s book about inclusion and peace-seeking in a world of colliding mythology and science. Enjoyed by religious and non-religious parents and children alike, this book is a great point of entry for discussions on diversity of thought and commonality of human experience.

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Ambiguous Actions of the Gods

Carl Hare Author Interview

Odysseus continues the story in Homer’s Odyssey and recounts the Greek hero’s final quest to settle his debt with Poseidon. What inspired you to write a story that continues Odysseus’s journey?

It all starts with the impetus for the trilogy which I mention in my introduction: How can one of our greatest English poets hold simultaneously in his mind the great virtues and genocide? To explore this question I finally came up with the trilogy dealing with men on journeys important to them and which can involve actions that involve questions in themselves. As well, I wanted to show the universality of these issues by covering the three thousand years in which great works have explored their periods. Odysseus was the best starting point, particularly that second voyage barely hinted at in the Odyssey. He is particularly interesting because he is not only a hero but because he not only does noble actions but shows darker traits and ambivalence as well; and the continual ambiguous actions of the gods reveals a society uncertain always of its future.

I enjoyed Odysseus’s character in this book. What were some driving ideals behind the way you developed his character?

It’s interesting to explore what the creative process is about. There is a very good scholarly examination of how the character has been seen over the ages: W.B. Stanford’s The Ulysses Theme. I could understand why his character had initiated so many responses; but that is only the beginning. I don’t write from principles, I write to describe the character living in my mind (as an actor, I actually create the character physically), and although the structure has to be there (in this case, it went through five changes in the chart), when I write I am actually describing what I’m living in my mind.

Much like in the original epic Odysseus encounters many obstacles along his path. What was the writing process like to bring these to life using your poetic style?

The first choice must be the style in which the story will be written, which involves not only the time in which it first occurred, when ancient Greek hexameters and flexibility of where words could be placed in the sentence are impossible to duplicate in English, but also this present time and this present audience with very different mores, etc. I decided to use the present form that some translators have used (although there have been some others, such as Christopher Logue’s brilliant modern adaptation of the original). I also decided to let the events and characters reveal themselves, and although I still used some of the original epic’s conventions, I tried to let the story reveal itself, but in a poetic fashion. In this I kept in my mind the memory of a Doctoral graduate from Greece who was examining various translations of Oedipus Rex and attended some of my seminars on theatre esthetics. She told me that when Aeschylus’ plays were performed in its ancient Greek, the language was so powerful that the hair would rise on the necks of the performers. I am far more humble in what I expect my poetry to do, although it is poetry, and I “sing” the action as I imagine it.

This is book one in your On The River of Time series. What can readers expect in book two, Spenser?

It might be interesting to know that in the early drafts I wrote successively the cantos of each of the three books: Canto One of Odysseus, then Canto One of Spenser, then Canto One of Archer, and so on. I realized early on that with so many cantos to write it would take an extraordinarily long time, and so I forced myself to write a canto a month, at least thirty pages, and in the different styles necessary. As a result, the stories themselves are entirely separate (sly hint—not altogether) and roughly are structured in the same way. Odysseus was a mythical figure; Spenser is an historical figure; Archer is a fictional character. But knowledge of the historical Spenser is sparse, and although most of what I write is true to history, there is also some speculative. The book explores the last four months of Spenser’s life, which was filled with tragedy and memories of his past life. It also brings to life the Elizabethan court and an Ireland filled with strife. It also suggests an answer to the question first posed that started the trilogy.

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Odysseus begins where Homer’s Odyssey leaves off, and recounts the Greek hero’s final quest to settle his debt with the god Poseidon. He must travel to many cities carrying a wooden oar, find a land that knows no salt, and offer a sacrifice to the god on the site where a stranger asks the purpose of the oar. During his perilous journey he becomes involved in the intrigues swirling among the great Trojan War veterans and their heirs, and must also protect his own family and kingdom. Written in a poetic style reminiscent of the Homeric past, Odysseus is Book One of the epic trilogy, On the River of Time, which examines three figures – one mythical, one historical, and one fictional – from different time periods spanning almost three thousand years: Odysseus in Greece; Spenser, the poet, in Ireland; and Archer, a renegade actor/director in Canada.

The Severaine

The Severaine: A Fantasy Adventure (Forgotten Legacies Book 2) by [K.J. Simmill]

Towns are being targeted by supernatural powers so all-encompassing that almost nothing can prevent their utter destruction. One after another, in a random pattern of devastation, horror, and complete madness, the world may, indeed, come to a terrifying end at the hands of Night. Perpetuating the onset of natural disasters meant to wipe out all civilization, the Severaine has been freed to begin the process. With the rise of the Severaine comes the determination of a group who has suffered tremendous losses of their own. Will this be their moment? Can they right the wrongs for which they, too, are responsible?

The Severaine: A Fantasy Adventure (Forgotten Legacies Book 2), by K.J. Simmill, is an epic novel of fantasy woven tightly with mythology. Throughout its beautifully written narrative, readers are presented with tiny glimpses into the stories of classic characters. Magic, intrigue, drama, and high adventure permeate the pages of Simmill’s work.

As with any text centered around classic figures of fantasy, there exist strong elements of good vs. evil, triumph over adversity, and tragic relationships as well as devastating events. Magic is an important underlying theme throughout Simmill’s work. From the very beginning, the notion of the city of Collateral as a refuge intrigued me. I found myself instantly caught up in the descriptions of illusive portals into and out of the city. Simmill takes readers on quite the adventure through the eyes of her characters as they search for the portal that will lead them to their ultimate destination.

There is a tone to Simmill’s writing that breathes new life into a genre that can be laden with sadness and tragedy. While addressing immense loss in the lives of her characters, Simmill presents Daniel, Eiji, and even Amelia as characters to which all readers manage to relate. I hesitate to say this is an easy read because it is lengthy and involved, but Simmill’s verbiage flows beautifully and appeals to readers across genres. There is just something about the way Simmill has written the character of Daniel that pulls on my heartstrings. He is determined yet fearful, broken while at the same time seeking hope. He is a character to be remembered.

Fantasy fans will find themselves swept into the mission to stop the Severaine from destroying the world. Simmill’s relatable characters threaded closely with bits of mythology make this an interesting read and, what I deem to be, a successful stand-alone second book in a series.

Pages: 629 | ASIN: B01KGP85FU

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Rootstock Saga

L.H. Leonard Author Interview

L.H. Leonard Author Interview

Legend of the Storm Hawks is a intriguing start to your Rootstock Saga, weaving multiple story-lines into one overarching story that brings the world to the brink of war. What were some sources of inspiration that influenced this book?

Rootstock Saga is about evolution, about becoming something more. It’s also a “what if” exploration of how The Patterns of our own cycle might have turned us down different paths. Scottish history, especially leading up to Culloden, is one example. What if the Scots had opted for peace instead of fighting for a Stuart king?

I enjoyed the varied cast of engaging characters throughout the book. Who was your favorite character to write for?

Nigel was my favorite. His confidence. His snark. Though Brynmohr is a close second. He is evil good, and good evil. From the start, you sense he is someone he doesn’t want to be. I enjoyed his arc. And, of course, Isobel. She regains her damaged sense of self in book one, and is ready to come into her own in book two.

The characters need to choose between wielding their power or keeping their secret. How did you balance magic and its use throughout the story to keep it believable?

Evolution again. Magic is a genetic adaptation. Mindgifts don’t suddenly appear like flipping a light switch. It’s more of a slow burn, an awakening. Magical realism is a perfect fantasy style for conveying that, I believe. Besides mindgifts, the other “magic” in the story appears as remnants of technology from the last cycle of dragonkind. The swift gates seem magical, but they’re just dragon science we don’t understand yet.

This is book one in your Rootstock Saga. What can readers expect in book two of your series?

Expect an expanding world. Across the ocean, Tallu is a compelling new setting. Book two balances the narrative of our beloved Rhynns and the Este protecting their land and their way of life. Twelve years have passed, and the Storm Hawks are raising families. We see them deal with the oppression that festers after they chose peace over freedom. We meet the new generation, the Children of Promise. More magic awakens and we come face to face with dragonkind, the Kazera.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitter | FacebookWebsite | Rootstocksaga

Legend of the Storm Hawks (Rootstock Saga Book 1) by [Leonard, L.H.]

Legend of the Storm Hawks introduces the Rootstock Saga, four novels all due to release in 2020. Not a light read, this is serious fantasy for serious fantasy fans. Set on a future Earth, our own history echoes from the shadows. Adversity awakens gifts in this tale of evolution and survival. Science meets fantasy in a burgeoning of psychic and psionic power, and the mindgifted struggle with bigotry, abuse, theocracy, gender roles, climate change, and the temptations of power and privilege. Their intricately interwoven POV voices and plots converge in a long, rewarding end game.

A master player convinces the pawn the move is its own. Nigel has been at the game longer than most, but lately the pawns keep turning into rogue knights. It’s damned inconvenient of them, considering the world is about to end again.

The Watchers will soon declare this cycle over, as they have so many cycles before, shrugging off yet another rise and fall of humankind, and giving the dragons another turn at dominion.

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Ullr’s Fangs

Ullr's Fangs (The Incarn Saga Book 2) by [Wibell, Katharine]

Lluava is fighter in more ways than one. She is highly trained, has seen her share of the devastation of war, and she is a Theriomorph. Varren is Lluava’s partner and anxious to again see his grandfather, the king. When Lluava is told she will be traveling with Varren to meet King Thor, she is not prepared for what she finds in Varren’s childhood home. While Lluava and Varren are a pair to be reckoned with in the field, they have a private relationship that defies definition. Lluava’s stay in the royal castle begins a string of events that will change the course of the lives of everyone around her.

Ullr’s Fangs: Book Two of The Incarn Saga, by Katharine Wibell, is a rather dark fantasy surrounding the experiences of young Lluava as she faces some massive responsibilities. Her own fascination with Varren and her determination to become an even more capable fighter dominates the story line of Wibell’s work.

As fantasies go, Ullr’s Fangs is a wonderful thrill ride. I am a reader who becomes much more involved in the characters’ backstories and the relationships they have with one another. Though this installment of Wibell’s series is chock full of action, there is a much bigger draw involving Lluava’s fascination with Varren. Watching their interactions evolve is enthralling.

I am impressed with the tactful way in which Wibell deals with the mental decline of King Thor. His loss of memory and his periodic references to his son give the reader pause. Dementia is a difficult but relatable topic for many readers, and Wibell reveals the king’s struggle slowly and tastefully in small conversations. I find the inclusion of this condition to be a nice way to help readers further relate to the characters.

As I read, I kept coming back to Lluava and her personality traits. She is as kind and loving as she is fierce. When faced with the challenge of training, she perseveres through immense trials and physical challenges. The gentle manner in which she relates to the young maiden assigned to her at the castle is touching.

The shape-shifting aspect of Wibell’s characters is another intriguing element of her writing. I am amazed at the details Wibell manages to include in her work. Lluava’s transformation are easily visualized and exceptionally penned. The Theriomorphs alone are reason enough to read Wibell’s series.

Readers who enjoy fantasies filled with action and well-developed characters will find themselves deeply involved in the plot of Ullr’s Fangs. From cover to cover, Wibell keeps readers on their toes. The fantastic details throughout Wibell’s book bring readers into the story and provide ample opportunity for them to lose themselves in the world she has created. I highly recommend Ullr’s Fangs to any reader looking for a new fantasy series with memorable characters and highly-involved action sequences.

Pages: 342 | ASIN: B07CRQ7S6R

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