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A Sinister Combination of Joy and Pain

Alex C. Vick Author Interview

Alex C. Vick Author Interview

Breaking Magic takes place in a world where people are genetically engineered for jobs and no one is able to question their function in society. What was your goal when you started and how did it change as you were writing?

This question is interesting, because I’m not really a plotter. The details of each story tend to evolve as I’m writing, and in the case of Breaking Magic, things changed a lot. What the villain did to recreate the world of Imbera according to his own evil design was more complicated than I originally expected. It allowed me to be quite creative in terms of my protagonist’s journey. My goal was to show that everyone has unlimited potential – no matter what society tells them, or the obstacles they face. That did not change, but the story behind it certainly did!

The story follows Callax, one of the workers, as he struggles to overcome his predetermined life and learns more about the world. What was your inspiration for his character?

Callax is the storyteller, and he shares what he learns and the emotions he is feeling without much of a filter! He gets scared sometimes and he says the wrong thing as often as he says the right thing, but he’s brave and determined too. I wanted Cal to be someone the reader could relate to and care about.

In Breaking Magic the Opta are the ruling class and the Exta are the workers. What themes did you use to develop these two contrasting groups?

The overriding theme is the importance of hope, even in the face of the impossible odds that the Exta are facing. The Opta needed to appear invincible, so their leader, the Breaker, is an intelligent antagonist. The Exta are not allowed to grow up, they are engineered to be only fragments of their potential selves, and his magic uses a sinister combination of joy and pain to disorient them. Yet they never quite stop hoping, and this gives them the strength to fight.

How does this book fit into your Legacy of Androva series and what is next for Callax?

Breaking Magic was a great opportunity for me to take a minor character and bring him into the limelight in a standalone book. I expect that Cal will turn up again at some point, but for the sixth book I am writing Galen’s story. Galen is a seventeen-year-old Androvan magician from Seeking Magic, the third book in the series, who abandoned his world two thousand years ago for love of a Terran girl. I plan to return to the core series in the seventh book!

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Breaking Magic (The Legacy of Androva #5)

Callax is fifteen, and he already knows he won’t ever grow old. Twelve years after leaving the childstation he will be summoned to the Gathering, where life essences are taken by a deadly, irresistible spell. On his world, this is one of the many ways in which the Exta serve the Opta. His best hope is to avoid an early binding by staying out of trouble.

But in protecting his younger brother Benedar, he was noticed by the Breaker, the evil magician in charge of the Gathering. The closer Callax gets to the ruling house and the girl who lives there, the more he learns, and the greater the danger. A danger he might not understand until it is too late. Callax thinks the Breaker’s defeat will save him, but he is wrong.

Additional information: Although Breaking Magic is part of the Legacy of Androva series, it can also be read independently. If you have read Controlling Magic and want to know more about Imbera, Breaking Magic is Cal’s story. The book retells part of Controlling Magic from Cal’s point of view. Recommended for lower young adult.

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Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World

Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World

If you’ve ever wondered where your mind goes in those moments when you’re not quite awake or when you’ve been staring out the window for just a tad too long, you will find some clues to an answer in Ruth Finnegan’s Entrancement. This collection of essays from educated professionals will expose you to different viewpoints on the topics of dreaming, trancing and the collective unconscious. Fashioned the same way a textbook might be, readers will gain insight into various hypotheses on what happens to our minds when we enter these states. Exploring the world from a slight occultist view, readers are privy to personal stories from professionals in the field of the social sciences who have backed up their personal experiences with data and sources. Investigate how music and dreaming contribute to artistic expression; identify your own personal cues and what might draw you into a trance.

Finnegan begins with her own personal experience with trancing. During her sections at the beginning and the end of the book she uses language that is friendly for non-academic readers. The same can be said for all of those who have contributed to this piece. By using common language, Finnegan has opened up the potentials for her audience. Anyone who is interested in this topic will find useful information within its pages.

There are some typos in the book which were distracting in such a highly educated piece. But the errors are few and can be easily forgotten. The presentation of the book leaves a little to be desired. The table of contents could use some formatting and the pages between essays could have been laid out better. These are all minor things, but they impact the reader experience.

It is interesting to read a collection of essays on a somewhat supernatural topic that is rife with research. For someone who is studying psychology or the other social sciences, Entrancement by Ruth Finnegan would be an excellent resource piece to read. The abilities of the mind have been studied for decades and we are no closer to unraveling the secrets now than we were in the beginning. If you’re a beginner doing preliminary readings or research on this topic, you will find this book useful. The content is not only useful, but the suggested readings in the back open up a whole library of future readings. For those who hunger for more information, who want to explore this world and our place in it, this is a delightful bonus.

Pages: 288 | ASIN: B06XVD9WKM

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Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist’s Tale

Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist's Tale

Charles Creath McCormack’s book Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist’s Tale is quite a book: a frank autobiography centered around the theme of the pursuit of happiness and a meaningful life, from a man who has sat both on and beside the psychotherapy couch; or as the author himself describes it, “a story of the follies and wisdom’s of the human condition”. Mr. McCormack is fully aware of both the theories and the realities of mental health, although the book contains no technical language at all. It’s an accessible account covering every stage of his life, from his youngest years into his partial retirement. Not to give too much away, but as the imagery of the title implies, his tale starts in darkness, and concludes with a breakthrough, with all the usual human drama of a life lived fully.

I found the style of writing very interesting; it perhaps relates to his experience as a psychotherapist. He makes use of imagery, not frequently, but when he does it’s usually a long, in-depth passage. Thankfully they don’t feel convoluted, because they exemplify his points well.

The imagery adds well to the overall narrative, which is compelling. If I’d had more time, I’d probably have read it in one sitting. Although the author references forward and back to events distant by dozens of years and pages, I was never left feeling confused or lost, so it was neatly accomplished. There was a clear sense of reflection as to what the reader may be thinking, and at points it almost felt like I was part of a conversation. However, I thought that near the end the narrative became a little unfocused, with some unnecessary repetition and description of his family that doesn’t always feel directly related to his main subject – his state of mind.

I want to describe it as a generous story, because I was given extremely honest details about Mr. McCormack’s life that many would have found embarrassing to tell. But he hides no faults or uncomfortable thoughts, and constantly admits when he was wrong. In one chapter the author relates the unfortunate stories of some of his patients. In this way, the book truly covers the full gamut of human experience – warmth, love, friendship, loneliness, unhappiness, violence, despair: life and death.

Despite the author’s wishes that we might take responsibility for our happiness, his book is not a manual for how to obtain it. Observant readers might pluck helpful wisdom from its pages, but this isn’t written as advice – just as he says he does with his patients, he places no obligation on us to try it.

Overall, I would recommend this to any adult reader who is willing to confront life’s uncomfortable truths and those who enjoy a fly-on-the-wall tale of other’s joys and sorrows. I enjoyed trip.

Pages: 373 | ASIN: B06XFG5G3M

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The Shudder of Realization

Tantra Bensko Author Interview

Tantra Bensko Author Interview

Glossolalia is a thrilling ride through the mind of a woman who is seemingly normal but her life slowly unfolds to reveal something bizarre. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?

I have a keen interest in mind control of individuals, and the way controlling each individual can effectively affect a large number of people. All my life I’ve studied in depth the methods that agencies such as the CIA has historically used, and they often have manipulated people’s interest in the occult. And that seems like a topic rich with dramatic fictional possibilities, especially for Psychological Suspense, in which gaslighting is such a common element.

I know I love that electric shudder I get when realize something is not what I thought it was, when I’m just starting to put the pieces together and it’s first making sense, grim as the truth may be. I wanted to give readers that entertainment as well.

Nancy, is like many women at first, but she suffers from narcolepsy and has an addiction to pills that she is trying to kick. How her character unfolds and develops is fascinating. What was your plan as you wrote Nancy’s character?

The only way she can explain her fugues at first is to believe she has narcolepsy, but when she discovers what she does during her periods of amnesia, she realizes her problem is something entirely different from that illness. Similarly, she thinks she’s addicted to the pills to keep hallucinations and delusions at bay, but once she manages to stop taking them, she realizes her visions have been actual memories.

My plan with her was to create an anti-hero who finds a way to redeem herself while staying true to the dubious skills she’s been taught all her life. And she gives readers a way to inhabit the sympathetic victim as well as to perhaps develop compassion for people who are compelled to commit violent acts. In a way, she stands for all of us, because everyone has fallen prey to disinformation at some point, and thus has been an unwilling promulgator of it. And all of us have some chance at heroically redeeming ourselves for that, though of course, I don’t promote violence in any way.

There are a lot of fantastic twists in this novel along with a variety of surprises that kept me turning pages. Did you plan the novel before you wrote or did the story develop organically?

I planned it out to make sure all the plot points, pinch points, act breaks and all were in proper order. However, as I wrote it, I got new ideas for twists that were great fun to conceive of. For example, Brandon the YouTube conspiracy journalist with gigantism wasn’t in the completed first draft. Just as much as I enjoy the shudder of realization, I love the feeling of coming up with new plot twists. It feels delightful.

Glossolalia is book one in the Agents of the Nevermind series. Where does book two, Remember to Recycle, take readers?

People who like Glossolalia will probably like Remember to Recycle because it falls within the same genre categories including Conspiracy Thriller and Political Thriller, and while book one focuses on how coups are created, book two focuses on how proxy wars are created. In both cases, the emphasis is on how intelligence agents deceive the public into going along with the terrible treatment of other countries for profit motive, while pretending it’s for humanitarian aid.

Glossolalia referenced our society’s history, particularly related to intelligence agencies, as a foundation for the series, as well as a pattern of coups that’s been recurring for a very long time; Remember to Recycle specifically addresses what’s happening right now. It goes into all the types of trafficking that go along with war, which is the secondary meaning of the title.

However, the first meaning of the title is more obvious, because a major character is Dave, a homeless man who survives by going through people’s recycling bins and selling the stuff, like all the other guys on the street. But he comes up with a brilliant plan. As in Glossolalia, there’s a darkly humorous aspect to it, and he provides a lot of that. He was really fun for me to write, especially as it’s first person present tense, while he describes his life moment by moment to the “character” he affectionately calls Mr. Interrogator. He’s got a hell of a personality. He likes to wear a wide variety of costumes that he keeps under the bridge, and fancies himself an actor of sorts. He idolizes the Rescuers, who are based on the White Helmets.

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Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense (The Agents of the Nevermind Book 1)

No one but her uncle would hire Nancy, considering her habit of snapping out of amnesiac fugues, wondering where she got her bruises and the scent of men’s cologne. When she sees a crime of poison in progress at the company, she chases the truck carrying away the chemical legally deemed too toxic to use or to dump. Her pursuit leads to a convoluted world of political intrigue, esoteric rituals and an arcane Elizabethan spy code, and assassinations she never imagined – though her imagination is what holds that world together.

This conspiracy novel introduces a young woman with an ambiguous past involving herself in a killer organization with one layer after another of her psyche. DARK, even possibly DISTURBING ROMANCE, is key to finding elusive authenticity.

The old cartoonish formula of good CIA VS bad guys no longer is fresh and relevant. Though through a fictionalized agency, the books in this series, like Barry Eisler’s spy thrillers, explore the shady side of the CIA secret psy-ops, covert experiments, illusions, coups, media theater, psychological warfare, and illicit methods of funding. The Agents of the Nevermind series dares to explore the edgiest controversies and the convoluted lives intelligence agents must endure as they create bizarre delusions for the world in order to hide the truth about their nation’s financial foundation.

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Breaking Magic

Breaking Magic (The Legacy of Androva #5)

Breaking Magic is the fifth book in the Legacy of Androva series. This emotional story takes place in the world of Imbera. The inhabitants are on an island and divided into two classes, the Opta and the Exta. The Opta are the ruling class, old, never aging, living a life of luxury. The Exta are the workers, made to work, sorted into units and worked to the bone until the age of eighteen when they are gathered by the Opta for nefarious purposes. For two thousand years, this has gone on. It is only when Cal starts remembering things that the world takes a dangerous turn.

In Breaking Magic, the story focuses on Callex who is a worker, in the lowest of the units, repairing roads and buildings, cleaning, and other hard labor. He cannot read or write, but he is physically strong. All the Exta’s are paired with an older child. Things start going astray in Imbera when Cal picks up his new little brother and discovers Benedar is a thinker, not a worker like him.

With the help of his friends Cal soon learns that everyone is genetically engineered to contain certain traits to make society function. When otherworlders appear in Imbera they learn of magic and spells and start to uncover their own pasts and hidden locked away parts of themselves. But with this new revelation comes a price and they must discover how to save their world.

Alex Vick creates a dramatic novel by expanding on Cal’s story in the Legacy of Androva series. Cal’s character slowly develops through the story, each new layer being pulled back as the story progresses, leaving you with a fascinating character in the end. The bond that is formed within the circle of friends brings the reader in and makes them a part of the group. You are on the edge of your seat waiting for the next clue so you can help Cal and his friends uncover the next missing piece of their world. Like the Exta’s, the reader learns more with each passing event. It’s all brought together with a compelling narrative that makes it difficult to put the book down. Breaking Magic is an entertaining and drawing novel for both young adult and adult readers, it will captivate you and give you hope for society. It shows that just because things are one way, doesn’t mean things can’t change, and just because your told your one thing, doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to always be that thing. Breaking Magic is a novel of hope and overcoming inner struggles and is a fantastic read.

Pages: 330 | ASIN: B071H5ZWDQ

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Fantastical Battles

Yolanda Ramos Author Interview

Yolanda Ramos Author Interview

The Seventh Sentinel takes readers on an incredible modern day journey where the purpose of angels is still alive and well as they commune between man and God. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this entertaining story?

I’ve always been intensely fascinated by angels. According to the Bible and other ancient manuscripts angels are powerful, highly intelligent beings commanded by God to serve man. Being an avid reader, I grabbed up any books featuring angels but they were always portrayed as the bad guys and demons as the good guys, which rattled me. So I decided to write a novel where the opposite is true and based on as many historical facts as I could find about them. I wanted to show angels interacting with humans in a good way, in the age old fight between good and evil with epic fantastical battles, great tragedies and moments of joy.

Cristiano is raised in an orphanage and has no apparent past. I felt that his character was well developed. What was the ideals that drove character development in this story?

Cristiano was brought up in a loving, but strict environment where religion is important but not in a shove it down your throat way, and until his world is turned upside down, he’s had it fairly easy. When matters take a turn for the worse, he has to make that simple choice between good and evil, and the sacrifices that go with each path. Cristiano’s ideals can be summed up in one sentence. Meet the expectations placed on his young shoulders by God and the people who love and look up to him for leadership, with courage and humility. And to never give up, no matter what. (Okay, that’s two sentences).

I felt that the world the characters live in is very intricate yet subtly built. What was your approach to world building in The Seventh Sentinel?

I researched how many levels of Heavens there are from a variety of sources. Some say there are nine, some say five and some seven. Who really knows? I settled on seven because it fit the title of my book. Seven archangels, seven sentinels, seven continents and seven Heavens. Most of the descriptions of the Heavens are inspired from the Bible and The Book of Enoch. Then I had to figure out a way for my hero to fight in the spirit realm, and every hero has to have a weakness or several weaknesses, right? That’s where transmutation came in, which left Cristiano’s body open for attack in the physical realm, and hence the need for paladins.

Everything and everyone has a history, known or unknown and I love stories that include orders like the Templars, St Johns, The Golden Fleece and many others. There are so many stories with the Templars, so I went instead with the once famous Order of Calatrava, in Spain, which turns out, had links with the Knights Templars, and threw in the ancient Celts for added mystery.

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

I’m working on the third book in the series (no title yet) and hope to have it out by the end of the year. Due to serious illness last year I’m way behind schedule and trying hard to catch up. I’ve just finished my short story, titled the Igigi Chronicles, which is going through a round of beta reading as we speak. This tale is a spin-off from False Gods, the second book in the Sentinel Series, featuring the Eljo and all manner of mythical beings set in ancient Sumer and modern times.

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The Seventh Sentinel (The Sentinel, #1)

“Moments before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the seven Archangels remove powerful, ancient artefacts from the Jewish temple. These are given into the safekeeping of seven men. Throughout the ages, these men and their descendants become known as the Seven Sentinels.

In medieval times, the Seven Sentinels formed various military Orders as a cover for their activities. Today, of the Seven Sentinels, two are dead and two have turned rogue, which means only three remain to carry out their roles.

A war rages between Heaven and Earth. It is up to the newly empowered Seventh Sentinel to stop the rogues and Fallen Ones, from using these artefacts to gain control of the souls of mankind. Can the Seventh Sentinel endure?”

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The Seventh Sentinel

The Seventh Sentinel (The Sentinel, #1)5 Stars

An ancient order. A young man with no knowledge of his past. Three friends who have trained and grown up together since infancy. This has all the trappings of a great fantasy-adventure tale with a back story that can rival even the most intricate video game. Yolanda Ramos has definitely done her homework with her epic tale The Seventh Sentinel. We have our main character, Cristiano, as he is raised in an orphanage by his mentor Julio Sierra: the man who has lost everything but is given the opportunity to retain meaning in his life. A boy with no apparent past. The boy becomes a man and is rigorously trained and skilled in various forms of combat and intrigue, but for what purpose? Readers will take an incredible journey in our modern day where the purpose of angels is still alive and well as they commune between man and God.

Even if you don’t particularly enjoy stories based on biblical characters or events, The Seventh Sentinel has a knack for focusing more on the actual adventure portion of the tale. Yes, there are angels. Yes, there are the Seraphim who are said to serve God alone. These angels have a purpose, and a personality, thanks to Ramos’ hard work. The descriptions in this tale are elegant and vivid. It seems as though it is based on actual events. In our modern world many feel as though God and His angels have abandoned us. Perhaps they have no need of us. Ramos is able to bring that slightly mythical sounding ideal into our century. These angels have a plan for Cristiano: he has a purpose. He will see it through.

Like most protagonists in this situation, Cristiano is an apparent orphan who was raised under the watchful eye of a male mentor. Julio cares for and teaches Cristiano as best as he can. Our protagonist is plagued with visions for a purpose he does not yet understand. And like most protagonists in this situation right as the truth is about to be revealed there is an attack and his mentor falls.

This is a fantastic book that deftly uses inspiration from religious ideals. Some may be uncomfortable because this book makes assumptions about what certain celestial beings can do while others may feel as though religion is a separate fairy tale. In the end, the way Ramos wove her tale together is entertaining in any case.

A story where a young man learns his purpose for our world is usually a delight to read. Yolanda Ramos does her research and attempts to be as faithful to the real monuments and angelic characters as she can be in The Seventh Sentinel. This book ends in such a way that if ever there were more, that would make sense. However it also ends in a fashion where questions are answered and another book is not entirely necessary. Readers will enjoy the journey Cristiano and his fellows take as they epically travel the world on a quest to discover whether or not the past truly matters.

Pages: 286 | ASIN: B00JVR7YPW

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Seed Me

Seed Me5 Stars

Would you like to try the 13 seed Remedy? It dates back generations and hails from Scotland. These seeds are the greatest of all Superfoods! If I were you I would steer far far away from those seeds. Like the olden days of the bible, beware the peddler selling snake oil, if it sounds too good to be true, it is, and will just land you in trouble. This is what happens in Seed Me by Konn Lavery. Unfortunately, for Logan and Janet the warning came too late and they ate the mysterious black and red seeds. This brings the unlikely pair closer than they ever intended to be, and into a world of magic, mystery and murder.

The story takes places in Alberta Canada, in the town of Edmonton. Edmonton is a tiny town where nothing exciting ever happens. The story is told from the perspective of Logan who is a recovering drug addict that plays in a band with his best friend Skip. Logan has a lot of emotional baggage from his drug addiction days, mostly the loss of his longtime girlfriend Emily that became one of the victims of the legendary 4-20 killings. These killings were thought to be done by a serial killer that is called the drainer because all the blood is drained from the victims. They are either covered in puncture wounds or partially ripped apart and still drained of all blood. The story line really takes off after Logan and Skip are out at a bar. While they are outside smoking and police chase ends across the street. When the police stop the truck a headless body is found in the back. Later behind the bar Logan starts kissing a girl who he later discovers looks exactly like the dead girl in the truck. This leads to Logan wondering if he is crazy, done too many drugs, or if he is really involved in some crazy plot.

Logan’s partner in all this is Janet, the hippy college girl that turns out to be a lot smarter than anyone anticipated. Character development on both Logan and Janet is slow going and your over halfway through the novel before you get a real idea of who Janet is and not the ‘dumb blond groupie’ she is portrayed at the start. Konn does a great job introducing the reader to the background and really gives a feel for the small town world. His attention to detail on developing the character of Logan and Janet and even Skip to a point, is meticulous. It does take a while to get the full picture but that’s because so many little details are filled in and really give the characters a full spectrum of characterization so that you can relate to them.

Janet and Logan start investigating the strange seeds and the murdered girl, revealed as a local named Vicky, and decide to talk to the truck driver. From the driver they learn about the strange group of people called harvesters. They ware long black trench coats, and have a tattoo and scarification of plants on them. They refuse to talk about these things and are very mysterious. Yet they keep showing up where Logan is.

Who are the harvesters, what is going on with the strange seeds, and why is Logan hearing voices? What is going on in him, and who is doing the draining on the bodies that keep showing up around town? Konn answers these questions and leaves the readers looking for more answers by the end. While the theme has a lot of Pagan and Vampirism traits, this is a unique twist and its own direction. An engaging read that will draw you in and connect you to the characters.

Pages: 228 | ISBN: 0988116081

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Spikes (A Horror Novel)

SPIKES (A Horror Novel)4 StarsMurder, revenge, supernatural powers, and some mystery are what Spikes by Kelvin J. Kettle will bring you. This short novel will leave you questioning what is real, what is in people’s minds and how do all the pieces fit together. At the center of the story is the Goddess Morrigan, who is known to be a shapeshifter, fearsome, strong, and vindictive. She is also known as the Goddess of Crows and to deal out punishment to those she feels are deserving. Knowing this piece of mythology helps the reader to understand this story better, it is not covered in the book so without this knowledge there are some pieces that don’t make a lot of sense.

The story takes place in Boston. The focus is around several police officers and a mystery woman that no one can ever remember clearly. All they remember is that she is beautiful and wears leather. It starts out in the prologue with Karen. She is clearly abused by her father, physically and sexually. Kettle than jumps to modern day with detective John Quint investigating a murder. While at the murder scene he notices a crow watching everything, it spooks him, this is our first look at Morrigan. From here we follow a choppy story line. Kettle jumps from one scene to the next with no transitions and little connection among the pieces. Eventually they all fall into place and you see where it was going but you are clearly following multiple people in their own world separate from the other characters.

While investigating the murder Quint’s partner, Bill Jennings, is introduced. Most of the story revolves around Quint and Jennings’s investigation of the murder. You learn who Spikes is and how she became the person she is now. Through flash backs and hallucinations, you learn about Quint’s past and how he ended up caring for the character Peggy. There is a very chilling way that justice is met out from Morrigan and her followers. They go through a lot of trouble to hide their identities and keep their members safe.

Over all it is a short novel, and a quick read. This is a dark story that is not for the person looking for a happy ending. It is a fascinating introduction to the Goddess Morrigan and her powers. It will challenge the reader’s perspective to follow the different paths the author takes and see where they all meet up in the end. I felt that Spikes was written so that there could easily be more spin off stories that add to the character of Spikes and Morrigan; or I hope so, because I want more of these characters.

Pages: 112 | ASIN: B01HRBUHQQ

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By Summers Last Twilight

By Summer's Last Twilight3 StarsBy Summer’s Last Twilight is the latest novel from horror author Robert J. Stava, set in the deceptively sleepy New York state village of Wyvern Falls. The book continues a long line of Stava’s work set in Wyvern Falls, and as such contains a great deal of information that may not be clear to the newcomer reader. Characters emerge, engage, and disappear – or get killed, since according to Stava that’s his favorite thing to do in a horror novel – without much in the way of apparent rhyme or reason, though there is a core group of heros and villains to tie the story together.

The nexus of the plot focuses on the nefarious work of the villain Steven Crowley, the latest descendant in the line hailing from the Occult provocateur Alistair Crowley – the latter infamous for his no-holds barred orgies and invocations of arcane rituals. In this story, though, the orgies and rituals have a sinister metaphysical purpose, shattering the membranes that separate our dimension from that of maddening demons who want to feast upon our flesh and our very sanity.

Steven Crowley has managed to worm his way up to the top of this quiet little town, his arcane calculations proving that this town would be the optimal spot to perform his ritual. A hurricane late in the summer washes a body out into a tree, catching the attention of the local plucky teenage gang of racial stereotypes who inevitably get to the bottom of things.

A man named John Easton is the grown-up that helps them get to the bottom of this, facing off against snakelike thugs like Razor and Weatherman who seem more motivated by violence for its own sake rather than any kind of humanity, however perverse it may be. Easton has numerous torrid affairs – this book drips with explicit sex, if that’s your thing – all of which end in bizarre disaster and let him sort of elbow the reader and go “women, right?”

Easton’s affairs include a near-sexual encounter with the breathy 15 year old French girl which, while going uncompleted, remains the most horrifying event in the entire book. Women don’t really get to do too much in this book except be lovers or mothers or crazy ex-girlfriends or literal objects of sacrifice, but so it goes in the world of Wyvern Falls.

There’s plenty of violence too, which would be remiss of a horror book to forget. The violent scenes are some of the most lovingly crafted and passionately executed sections to be found, giving the book a clear claim to the genre.

However, there’s too much of everything else. The horrific moments of the book are few and far between, interspersed with vast sections where characters sit around and explain things to one another.

Such lengthy exposition can somewhat be forgiven, given the by-design arcane nature of the source material. Crowley’s cult drew upon vast swaths of information that would be unfamiliar to the average reader today (or indeed to anyone ever) and Stava does an admirable job with providing expository backstory through the several interludes that intersperse the main story line.

All in all, though, the book remains in its own little world – if you are the type of reader who already enjoys this genre or Stava’s work in particular then you’ll find yourself right at home.

Pages: 288 | ISBN: 1515150747

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