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Infinity: The Fifth Bride of Pharaoh

Sara of Nubia, a princess and free spirit in her own right, has been promised to Pharaoh Amenemhat, but she is not one to go quietly into her duties as a bride and the mother of future rulers of Egypt. When Sara and her best friend, Sobek, disguise themselves as commoners and venture out, Sara’s journey of the heart begins abruptly with a clumsy moment, a chance encounter, and a kiss born out of tradition. The stage is set for a long and harrowing struggle to be with the one love of her life and to gain back what is, and always was, rightfully hers.

Catalina DuBois’s Infinity: The Fifth Bride of Pharaoh is the tale of Sara and Matthaios, two people destined to be together against all odds and against the destiny laid out for Sara by her family. Sara is a strong, determined, and admirable main character whose tenacity makes her an easy favorite. Matthaios, imprisoned and forced into servitude, fights with every fiber of his being not to cross the line when it comes to his charge, Sara. His ability to control his overpowering feeling for Sara and the restraint he is able to maintain is touching for his love for her is genuine. DuBois constructs some of the most moving love scenes involving Sara and Matthaios. I am not a fan of romance that contains gratuitous scenes, but DuBois has maneuvered around that type of writing to create stunningly beautiful pictures of two lovers whose hearts are truly one.

DuBois has managed to change a lifelong habit of mine. I have never been a fan of the prologue. More times than not, I skim the prologue to get the gist of what is to come. DuBois, however, has written a prologue so gripping, so detailed and vivid, that I can say it hooked me within the first paragraphs. She has drawn Matthaios as a man of tragedy in juxtaposition to the horrifying Pharaoh as she quickly reveals a backstory steeped in lost love and betrayal of the worst kind.

Infinity: The Fifth Bride of Pharaoh gives readers the best of both worlds with regards to genres. DuBois manages to combine romance and history with an added layer of mystery. I appreciate an element of the unknown when reading fiction of any type. Without a doubt, readers are kept guessing as to the identity of Sara’s and Matthaios’s evil shadow, and the ultimate reveal is breathtaking given the buildup of the character to that point.

Another of my favorite characters is Dimp. A faithful and focused doctor, Dimp is ever willing to help Sara and her friends throughout the book. Not one of the characters who gets a lot of attention, Dimp stands out as one of the most loyal and caring in the kingdom.

Romance fans and those who appreciate elements of mystery in their historical fiction will be drawn to the striking cast of characters created by DuBois. Nowhere else will readers, hungry for historical fiction, find a more well-drawn plot brimming with intrigue, adventure, and perfectly-tied together story lines.

Pages: 181 | ASIN: 1973288710

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The Masked Queen’s Lament

The Masked Queen's Lament (The Gift-Knight Trilogy Book 3) by [Madeley, Dylan]

Author of the epic fantasy series, The Gift-Knight Trilogy, Dylan Madeley brings to you the third and last in the series, The Masked Queen’s Lament. A brilliant novel that blends medieval times with on-going issues of the world we live in today.

A fantastical and medieval plotline combining elements of eccentricity, adventure, treason, power, knighthood and intrigue. The Masked Queen’s Lament continues Madeley’s narrative from books 1 and 2 (The Gift-Knight’s Quest and The Crown Princess’ Voyage) to conclude the dramatic twists and revelations conveyed throughout all three books.

The story is set in the medieval era where “Alathea enjoy[s] the feeling of all the thunder-men staring at her, not daring to blink, ready for her signal.” As a ruler of the land, the protagonist attempts to recreate a world in how she perceives it to be. However, all is not as simple as it seems. Alathea must reign in all of her troops in order to combat the wicked witch “Crown Princess Chandra Kenderley”. A real medieval plot line that allows the reader to envision concepts of reigning, power, control, and misjudgment.

Dylan Madeley does a fantastic job at writing fluently with regards to his characters. The characters are well described, and I was able to clearly envision what they would look and act like. The author clearly knows how to build his characters. Despite being the third book in the trilogy, Madeley still continues to keep the reader’s attention with these characters, reinforcing how their presence in the book is key to its success.

What I loved about this book is how the story follows the life of power and reigns. Think about this book like a Game of Thrones episode – packed full of terror, excitement, uncertainty, and conflict. As the story unfolds, the reader is made aware that the end result is going to be via battle, and who wins that battle is very much left in suspense until the very end. I won’t provide any spoilers for those of you longing to read this book, but what I can say is that the ending does not disappoint!

The only downside to the book is the flow. I found it slow at times, particularly in the first few chapters. However, the pace does pick up as the reader is subject to more action between the characters, and this is where it got more interesting for me. What makes for good reading is uncertainty, eccentricity, and uniqueness, and I believe the author of The Masked Queen’s Lament does this outstandingly. The grammar and punctuation is strong, and the narrative is creative and unique.

An emotive, fantastic, epic medieval storyline that is well-written and well-thought out by the author. Dylan Madeley has proven to be a great author, and this book is a great way to end The Gift-Knight Trilogy.

Pages: 476 | ASIN: B07DD18H76

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More Than A Vampire

R. Tran Author Interview

R. Tran Author Interview

For Their Sins is based on the life of Alexandria a woman born in 1707, as the descendant of angels. Bearing the responsibility of her house, she will fight for both family and honor. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

Most of my book ideas come from a random thought. Usually I will hear or see something and think it would make an interesting book. This idea was actually came to me when I was watching The Chronicles or Riddick. There was a random line where the Necromancers referred to humans as breeders. I thought it would make an intriguing story line for two types of vampires to be at war. Those that had children and those that did not. I think the idea changed the longer I followed Alexandria through her life. I wanted to make her more than a vampire. Alexandria needed a purpose and a reason to hate the Mordere. The biggest changes came at the final editing. The original story line seemed too dark even to me who understood the whole concept. It was changed and the angel theme was added much earlier than before. It balanced out the story and made Alex someone you wanted to root for.

Alexandria is a determined young woman. How did you capture the thoughts and emotions of a warrior princess type character?

It’s interesting to hear Alexandria described that way, it wasn’t how I intended her. I always imagined her as a hunter and the reluctant heroine. For me its never hard to write strong women. I usually think how my mother would react to certain situations; she’s certainly the strongest woman I know. In Alexandria’s case some of my own experience was thrown into the mix. For a long time I never wanted children either.

There were lots of great twists in the story that kept me flipping pages. When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?

When I start writing I usually have a general idea of major plot points in the book. How I get there is another thing entirely. This book was no exception. I worked on this manuscript on and off for six years trying to fit the pieces together. Alexandria’s first love affair was a total surprise to me and initially one of the characters wasn’t slated to be killed off. Some how it fit and I kept it. Originally the book had a much longer ending that always felt wrong to me. That was rewritten before publishing.

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

Currently I am working on Book 3 in the Chronicles of the Coranydas series. I am hoping to have it ready for publication around February 2018.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog

For Their Sins by [Tran, R.]Alexandria Diego never wanted to be special. She was content to lay in bed with her lover forever. One decision will change everything. Suddenly, Alexandria is launched into a life of infamy, which carries a heavy burden that only she can bear. When a vicious war between her people, the Venandi, and their rivals, the Mordere, breaks out it forces Alexandria to change her tactics and be more cautious. But, when her love is captured by the enemy, Alexandria risks everything to get him back.

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The Jinxed Pirate

The Jinxed Pirate (Graylands, #2)5 Stars

Adventures like these don’t come very often. Riddled with intrigue and building up a world The Jinxed Pirate by M. Walsh is a definite read. We have a delightful cast of characters from the mercenary to the tragic warrior princess with a splash of other-worldly beings as well. All of their lives and paths will come together in an excellent adventure where you might find yourself rooting for the bad-guy without realizing it. Each character is on a journey of sorts and where it leads them is anything short of ordinary. What happens when the warrior princess can’t save her people? What about the mercenary who doesn’t seem all that interested in what he’s doing? Our title character himself even seems to shift his shape depending on what his needs are. The carnal animal driven only by his desires. These all come together with fantastic story-telling and riveting action to create a beast of a tale.

The language in this book is intellectual without being dry; descriptive without being desperate. Walsh knows how to craft a tale and the way the narrative flows demonstrates an excellent grasp of a writer’s tools. Our prologue and epilogue are written in the first person, yet we don’t know much about who is showing us this world. The rest of the tale is told from the third person and that effortless transition really speaks to how well Walsh has command over the story. Some authors can let the tale run away from them and it ends up becoming nonsense. Walsh takes on a large task, and delivers.

While this book appears to be part of a series, it can stand alone just fine. It is rare to find an excellent book that is part of a larger tapestry that can be enjoyed on its own. The Jinxed Pirate achieves that sense of completion without discounting the possibility of the world being expanded either before or after the events we read about.

In the first few chapters we are introduced to our cast of characters. The descriptions that Walsh provides enhances the image in the mind of the reader. The reader is also not overwhelmed by excessive information. There is a delicate balance to be struck here and Walsh appears to be no slouch with his craft. The imagery and information flow effortlessly together.

If you’re looking for an excellent read with the potential to be wrapped up in a bigger world, The Jinxed Pirate by M. Walsh is a must-read. Too often writers attempt to create worlds that span multiple books but rely to heavily on the audience consuming every single volume in order. Enough backstory is explained in this edition that prior knowledge of the world is not required. This only proves to intrigue the reader and assist in capturing their attention and desire to know more. This is not a book to be underestimated. Readers will not go wrong adding this to their ever-growing pile of ‘must-reads’. This reviewer suggests that, perhaps, you place this one near the top.

Pages: 494 | ASIN: B06VWKX52Q

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Nickerbacher: The Funniest Dragon

Nickerbacher by [Barto, Terry John]
4 Stars

The story of Nickerbacher takes you on a journey of mystical beings and starry-eyed dreams. It’s an adventure with a dragon and a prince and princess. Nickerbacher is a dragon destined for a life of working as a protector of princesses- a job that was proudly held by his father and his father before that. However, Nickerbacher dreams of something more and wants to perform on The Late Knight Show where he can show off his comedic value. With the help of a leprechaun, a prince and other magical beings, can Nickerbacher change the hearts and minds of all La La Land?

Nickerbacher, written by Terry John Barto, is a fun-loving children’s novel based on the story of a dragon and his friends. Nickerbacher dreams of being something more than a dragon protector of princesses and sets his sights on becoming a comedian. There is an underlying message that children will love as it promotes following your dreams even if other people may not believe that you can achieve them.

Throughout the story, the fantasy characters participate in modern-day activities, like taking selfies with mystical beings or trying to fit their feet into the prints of famous celebrities. This provides a modern twist to a classically styled fairy tale that combine beautifully in this incredible city. My favorite character is Miss Phoenix, a receptionist who rises from the ashes to greet the unlikely trio. She is dedicated to her work but has a heart of gold which sings true to the end.

Pictures are included throughout the novel which brings to life the extraordinary fun loving characters. My favorite image is one that includes ghosts and goblins at the Fairywood Forever Cemetery, royal chariots at LAX and the Medieval Tar Pits. The images are a mix of castles with high rise style buildings that replicate a similar style of what I would imagine LA would look like if it had been sprinkled with a touch of fairy dust. I love how the imagery complements the text and helps with engaging the reader in expanding their imagination.

This story will help children to learn the importance of friendship and believing in yourself. Nickerbacher also touches on issues such as family, societal expectations and breaking through the barriers of life in a fun and engaging story line. Children will relate to parts of the story and see parts of themselves in each of the magical beings. I love the relationship between Princess Gwendolyn and Nickerbacher and how they break the stereotypes of the typical dragon and Princess friendship.

I would recommend Nickerbacher to any school-aged children who wants to be lost in the magic of La La Land. This book would be perfect as a bedtime story to be read aloud as Terry John’s Barto’s wonderful way with words will delight all children and adults alike.

Pages: 34 | ASIN: B00SKKX2AW

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More of a Mystery

Dylan Madeley Author Interview

Dylan Madeley Author Interview

The Crown Princess’ Voyage is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, history, and romance as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

I did always want to hit a variety of notes since the 2006 zero draft of the first book in the series, The Gift-Knight’s Quest, that was meant to be more of a mystery. That sort of multi genre crossover continues here, as more of a natural follow-up. I also felt that I needed whichever elements would tell these characters’ stories in the most complete way.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

You see it more in the next book, maybe, but I liked writing Jan’s branching-off point. He is this purely obedient, trustworthy guard for about a book and a half, then he becomes his own character with his own plot thread and nothing is quite the same. I like a few of them but he springs to mind quite easily.

The background and backstory of the characters is very detailed. Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?

I let my knowledge from various studies and other books just synthesize, I decided what naming conventions and characteristics each culture featured, and it became more of an effort to keep it consistent. Especially character names which have been changed before. I think a lot of research just casually occurred on the internet over time, but also came out of my secondary Bachelors degree in Social and Political Thought which had components of anthropology and history.

What is the next book in the Gift-Knight series that you are working on and when will it be published?

I have an official third book of the trilogy which was written in 2011. However, I must revisit it, because I need it to be the caliber of The Crown Princess’ Voyage or possibly better, in order to feel right about how the trilogy is closed out. You might be intrigued to know that this past November, I decided I liked Alathea enough to write her a book. This last project is meant to be stand-alone and tell her full story from late childhood to the start of “Trilogy time”. Including a revisit of scenes you have now already witnessed through Rheb’s eyes or otherwise. Keeping it fresh without contradicting what you have already read will be a challenge but I look forward to it, when I get back to it. Book 3 will become a priority.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | GoodReads

The Crown Princess' Voyage proposed cover by Rona DijkhuisAvailable May 2017

The Crown Princess’ Voyage is the second book in the “Gift-Knight” series of fantasy novels. It continues the story where The Gift-Knight’s Quest leaves off, developing familiar characters while introducing new ones, and showing you more of the fantasy world illustrated in Steven Sandford’s original map. Chandra’s been pushed to her wits’ end trying to keep the peace in Kensrik, the world’s largest empire; trying to spare the lives of subjects who don’t necessarily want to be ruled, who have difficulty viewing her reign as legitimate. For all her efforts, they may just banish her from Kensrik and embrace uncertainty.

Except it’s not just Kensrik facing a new and dire threat, one to whom the past conspirators threatening Chandra were mere puppets. No one has any idea what’s about to hit them, and no place in the world will be safe.

The Crown Princess’ Voyage

The Crown Princess' Voyage proposed cover by Rona Dijkhuis4 Stars

We’re brought into a fantasy world right after a princess has ascended her throne while another plots the death of a beast. The Crown Princess’ Voyage by Dylan Madeley tells two intertwined stories about young women thrust into power and broken from that power at the same time. Both have won, both have lost and in the end they both will fight over the same possession. Our princess Chandra is about to be thrust from her kingdom as a peace-keeping act to satisfy those disenchanted with the monarchy. Alathea has ascended to goddess-hood and viciously fights to keep her place. Both women are wrapped in mystery and an air of sorcery, yet which one of them will be victorious in the end?

In the beginning of the book it is a bit difficult to fully grasp which tale is being told. The switch from one to the other can be a bit confusing, especially when Alathea’s peculiarities are taken into consideration. A self-proclaimed Goddess who needs to wear a mask in order to fulfill the dirty parts of being royalty could just as easily be a figment of Chandra’s imagination.

They are two separate women, however, and while they are living different lives they share something in common: Derek Wancyek. This assassin-turned-knight who serves Chandra is also desired by Alathea. There comes a point when he is offered an easy life or the choice to struggle. This means betraying one for the other and the decision our dear Derek makes will be surprising to some readers.

The first section of the book seems devoted to world-building which is important when you’ve got complicated structures like those that exist in this tale. After the first few chapters when the reader realizes that Chandra and Alathea are two separate women who will eventually come into contact with each other, the book is easier to read.

The joy of this book is that we’ve got two strong female leads. More often than not it is the men who shine in tales like this. While both Chandra and Alathea have men that they confide in, trust in, it is clear that these two women are the ones who call the shots. Alathea especially. Her youth was twisted and taken from her in the most dramatic of ways, yet she used this to her advantage and pressed forward with her goals.

One of the best parts of Madeley’s tale is the description. Everything is explained with intricate detail that would have taken ages to compile and keep straight in the mind. Dialogue isn’t used to fill gaps, as it sometimes can be. While there are some rough areas that need tidying up, the story as a whole is compacted into a single volume that does lead to a resolution. The only thing that can be a bit difficult to digest is the large cast of characters and learning about their fates post-story. But in then end, readers won’t be disappointed with this fantastical tale.

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Get book one of the Gift-Knight series available NOW at Amazon

The Gift-Knight's Quest by [Madeley, Dylan]

When a young woman named Chandra takes the throne under suspicious circumstances, she has to solve the deaths of the King and Queen before those responsible get to her. She has to maintain peace in an empire where people consider her the number one suspect. Derek is summoned by an official letter and his people’s tradition to be Chandra’s personal guard. He’s immediately suspicious given that her family ruined his once-noble ancestors, but if there’s no way to escape the world’s largest empire, what might he do to turn the tables? Interwoven with Derek and Chandra’s story is the history of their ancestors, infamous and famous, that lead them to confrontation. A new world is built before the reader’s eyes, and key groundwork is laid for the impending sequels, leading to a highly detailed narrative.

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Sir Princess Petra’s Mission

Sir Princess Petra's Mission5 StarsChildren’s books are more than just fun stories on paper. More often than not they are designed to teach the readers a skill or lesson that will serve them as they grow older and interact more with the world. The key is to make the lesson seem so natural in the story that it gets absorbed without much notice. Diane Mae Robinson does this with Sir Princess Petra’s Mission. The book is the third in a series and the very beginning gives a synopsis of the two prior installments. This is exceptionally beneficial for those who are coming into the tale so far behind. In our story we find Petra, the Princess Knight, who has been given a mission by her not-to-pleased father. As is the case with many books where young women strive to be outside the ‘ordinary’, Petra’s father is displeased at the fact she is a knight. He charges her with a mission that he desperately hopes she will fail in an attempt to conform her to his views.

The language is very fun and easy to read. There are several pictures throughout the story which give a great addition to the words. It is always fun for readers to have an idea of what the author intended when they describe something and this is a welcomed bonus for young readers who are possibly reading for pleasure for the first time. The text is simple enough for children yet interesting enough for adults to actually be engaged with what they are reading with or to their children.

Petra is a strong female character who has a desire to live her life the way she wants. Much to the chagrin of her father this means being a knight and going on knightly adventures. This means no pink frilly dresses and no classes on how to faint properly. The story of the young girl going against expectations has been around for quite some time, but Petra truly needs no saving by anyone. She is not a trapped princess who needs help getting out of the tower or the princess who tries to fight a dragon but needs help from a male. Petra takes every task head-on and does her best to deliver results with her own hands. Even when she is faced with a difficult question or situation, she does her very best to think about what the right answer in her heart would be.

It’s truly sad that Petra’s father can’t be excited for his daughter and proud of everything she has done for the kingdom. How many princesses subdue a snarling dragon, only to become allies with them? Not many, even in the realm of children’s books. Sir Princess Petra’s Mission is no different in that her father hands out an impossible task, yet when she does her best to achieve her mission and strives to straighten out some incorrect information on the way, her father’s response is less than delightful.

Robinson weaves a wonderful tale of adventure and excitement that any boy or girl could love. With an underlying message that doesn’t scream from within the pages all readers, adults too, are sure to come away with the desire to emulate Petra’s wonderful tenacity; even if only for a while.

Pages: 106 | ASIN: B01AX8G1Q0

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Review: The Ghost Princess

The Ghost Princess (Graylands, #1)4 StarsLily Blackthorn is a drunk, a vagrant, and unpleasant to say the least, but she wasn’t always this way. She was once a hero of the kind you call on to slay dragons and save kingdoms. Those days are well behind her and she’s happy to keep it that way. Her plans to drink herself into obscurity are derailed when an infamous pirate is hired to capture her, the elite guards want to arrest her, demons roam the land, and a warlock wants to sacrifice her. But people are not who they seem and Lily is about to find friends in the most unlikely of characters.

The one thing that I truly enjoyed about this book is the unburdened adventure of it all. The characters all seem ripe for this type of story. They all have intriguing and in depth back stories that, when a new character is introduced, I couldn’t wait to find out where they came from, what they were doing and what they wanted. It was the subtle and easy humor that really made the story engaging, and unlike in many other stories where the humor is used to make fun of genre staples, it’s used in the Ghost Princess to make the characters relatable and the world believable. The humor circles around one character, or at least for me he was my favorite character, the infamous pirate Krutch Leroy. He’s an infamous pirate that’s known for a plethora of amazing crimes; only he’s not that guy. He’s just a quiet man with severe allergies and a desire for peace and quiet. He ran afoul of a sorceress a few years ago and is now cursed to live the life of a notorious pirate and is forced into all the dangerously adventurous situations it entails. The hilarity of his plight and the genius with which it’s presented to the reader is something that I found to be unique and entertaining. The story consists of many characters with their story lines crossing and converging, kind of like Pulp Fiction. The main antagonist in the story is a warlock named Jacob Daredin that is trying to fulfill a prophecy and become a Dark Lord over the land. Lily, Katrina, and Krutch are the unlikely band of characters that assemble to, unwittingly it seems, fight Jacob Daredin and put an end to his evil plots as they fight their way through his minions and deal with their own personal demons. There is a fantastic twist towards the middle of the story which is rare when such a pleasant twist comes in early in the novel instead of in the end. The twist completely throws things for a loop and entertainingly changes the perspective of everyone in the story. With a few typos aside I thought the story was well written and easy to follow. The dialogue could have been more engaging as it seemed childish at times, but these stains are few and far between. But there are some unique and enjoyable characters that lead to an entertaining read overall.Buy Now From Amazon.com

ISBN 10: 1508873194

Pages: 324

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