The Cry of a Raven by Robert Blanchard continues the journey of Aidan in the epic conclusion to The Roar of a Dragon Trilogy. The exciting journey is narrated with an intensity that sets a quick pace and elevates the drama. The story keeps the same quick pace among brutal battles, sacrifices, and tragedy from the start. Aidan quickly narrates how his life is irreversibly changed through triumph and loss. As previously, Aidan knows he must build his strength, mentally and physically, to further his quest. The narration is engaging and colorful. It grabs the reader from the start and leads them through a realm of richly imaginative kingdoms and exotic locations.
Before the prologue, the author offers an honest, heartfelt introduction about writing this book through a challenging year. Through personal tragedies and the first year of a pandemic, Robert Blanchard shares his positive message of love and prosperity for the future and how learning to overcome today and embrace the best in life is essential. His vision of getting the most out of life is a great mindset to have before diving into the action-packed story. The introduction and prologue set up the perfect stage for this fantastic fantasy.
In this book, Aidan grapples with his battles, both physical and emotional. The author continues to lead the reader through the monumental struggles and life-changing paths that Aidan takes. Readers will find a solid connection to Aidan and his relationships with Delmar, Kirra, and other characters who profoundly affect his growth throughout the series. The story winds through many beautiful and dangerous kingdoms, keeping the pace exciting and the reader turning pages.
Aidan’s adventures are well documented and written, with intense, lively dialogue along the way. It’s a rollercoaster ride of solid character development and engaging action. The author masters internal and conversational dialogue that gives the story and characters a strong resilience throughout the tale.
Robert Blanchard’s third installment of this series lives up to the high expectations set in the previous books. The story maintains a high level of entertainment that’s an excellent read for fans of Aidan’s quests. The Cry of a Raven by Robert Blanchard rewards readers with a thrilling, fast-paced adventure and a well-rounded tale with engaging characters and dialogue. This is a creative epic fantasy novel that brings this rousing sword and sorcery story to a thrilling end.
Pages: 312 | ASIN: B08CSH9YLH
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Golden Throat: My Journey with Faith in Family by Paul Francis Bickert is a heartwarming memoir full of valuable life lessons. Golden Throat is the life story of Canadian news broadcaster Paul Francis Bickert. He walks us through his family tree and faith by sharing stories of their lives from the time they are born and into adulthood. Bickert demonstrates through his stories the importance of faith and how it can help bring us together and thrive no matter your sector of Christianity. If you’re looking for a book to lift your spirits, Golden Throat is a must-read!
Bickert is a genius when it comes to tantalizing descriptions! He takes small but crucial details and crafts them into beautiful descriptive sentences. Information that would otherwise seem mundane takes on a certain romanticism that I adored! His descriptions of the Candian Prairie were some of my favorites. Even if his story does not interest you, his writing style will keep you engaged throughout this emotionally-charged memoir.
I also want to touch on the uniqueness of the narrative flow of this memoir. Unlike many memoirs, Golden Throat does not solely focus on the author’s life experiences and story, but it also delves into his family’s. At the beginning of the book, we mainly focus on the upbringing of his parents and gain some insight into his grandparents. It was almost like the real-life version of a fictional family saga series. This unique approach is one of the main draws of this book for me.
And last but certainly not least, I want to touch on one of the most important lessons this book conveys. Bickert’s take on acceptance and unity despite diversity is a message that is much needed in today’s time. His thoughtful and experienced approach to the subject was sincere, genuine, and thought-provoking. Even if you are not a believer, this powerful message still stands.
Golden Throat: My Journey with Faith in Family by Paul Francis Bickert is an impassioned story of an intriguing family, and life, told in the most riveting way. Paul Francis Bickert has created a fantastic non-fiction book much deserving of its Plume Award for Literary Excellence. It’s a book that will soothe your soul.
Pages: 368 | ASIN: B08TTT2341
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Written by 13-year-old Halee P. Moone, The Rules of a Big Boss details the steps one must take to become a “big boss,” which is essentially just a better version of yourself. With a mixture of rules to follow and personal anecdotes from Halee P. Moone’s life, the book centers on the importance of individuality and self-care.
Despite this being written by a teen and written with the colloquialisms that come from being a young adult (which I personally found charming), the essence of the book is perfect for anyone needing reassurance in where to take their life. Even at thirteen, she is hyper-aware of the influence of social media, specifically the impact it can have on someone’s self-image. I think my favorite chapter is when she discusses the influence that someone’s style can have and that it is still important to attempt to be original. She stresses the importance of being inspired and making someone’s style that you may like into your own with individuality instead of just copying. I think this is an important message because it touches on the influence that social media has on fast fashion and overconsumption. Other tips that Moone mentions include, choosing your friends wisely, avoiding bad vibes, and having self-respect.
As a self-help book, it encourages a lot of self-reflection. At the end of each chapter, there are also questions that you can answer that allow you to write down your thoughts and steps you might take to implement the advice she provides.
The Rules of a Big Boss is an enlightening and thought-provoking book on personal development and spiritual growth that gives readers the tools they need to improve their self-worth and self-esteem.
Pages: 79 | ASIN: B08BTMMK9H
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Last Night in Sturgis written by JJ Spain is the first book in a Mike Salas detective series. The novel follows Salas’ journey as he hunts for a killer who is attending the largest motorcycle rally in the world with over one million riders.
The eventual setting of Last Night in Sturgis is predictably, Sturgis, South Dakota. Prior to this, the setting rolls through various towns and cities across the United States on the way to Sturgis. The descriptions are rich and colorful and immediately draw the reader into the story. Author JJ Spain describes the natural landscapes and cities in detail; however the most vivid descriptions are saved for the numerous motorcycles in the book! Descriptions include visual sights, smells and sounds, which all serve to give this contemporary mystery novel an authentic feel.
There are a large number of characters in Last Night in Sturgis including vivid descriptions of all the characters physical appearances and even their clothing. The free flowing dialogue also helps to differentiate the many varied characters. The two main characters are described in complete detail, which really delivers a complete portrait of our protagonist. Detective Salas’ character is further developed through his somewhat dubious actions, his sharp dialogue and interactions with other characters – particularly his partner – a new police officer named Ronnie. Albert, the character Salas is searching for is also well developed, and I really enjoyed the insight we get into his dark and disturbed mindset. This is given through monologue in the chapters he narrates which provides variation to the tone and atmosphere of the story. His motivation and fixation on the past lead him on a journey with far reaching consequences.
The storyline is easy to follow, which is a benefit since the various colorful characters pull you in many directions, but the mystery at the heart of the story is still alluring.
Last Night in Sturgis is an entertaining crime fiction novel. The setting is richly described with numerous intriguing characters and a plot that follows a traditional structure but has enough twists and turns that transforms this standard murder mystery into a riveting crime thriller.
Pages: 241 | ASIN: B08WJKQDG1
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Loved by Night by Mildred Osei-Diko, is a fast-paced sensual fantasy novel about a forever war between vampires and werewolves, told through the eyes of Rebeka, an orphan girl, and her connection with four very different brothers, Stan, Nicholas, Antoli and Rikah. Each of them is forced to make terrible sacrifices to protect their family and the people they have come to love.
The engaging character-driven plot locks us into an intriguing world where vampires and werewolves are at war. Their savage war was sparked by the brother’s actions, and the dilemmas these characters face to survive.
I really enjoyed how Osei-Diko beautifully captures the frustration felt by orphaned Rebeka as she dreams of moving far away from the drudgery of her village life. In contrast, the four brothers, Stan, Nicholas, Antoli and Rikah are portrayed as living a care-free life growing up, practicing the combat skills their father had taught them. The brothers were born 1000 years ago, which gives this novel a vague but interesting historical aspect. The brother’s lives are changed forever in one traumatic night when the horror of their true natures is revealed. These invigorating twists and revelations come without warning and certainly keep readers on their edge of their seats. In the same way, there is a shocking revelation about Rebeka’s identity in the final battle, but I don’t want to ruin the ending, so I’ll just say the book has some wild twists.
The existence of these two warring is woven into the storyline slowly and makes really comes to fruition later in the novel. I did enjoy the backstory scenes which describe the terrible dilemmas that the four brothers face as they try and balance respect for human life, sexual attraction, and their need to feed. When Rebeka meets Stan, Nicholas and Antoli in a modern-day restaurant, the author cleverly contrasts her old life with their world of fierce fighting, luxury, and sexual power battles.
Rebeka falls almost instantly in love with Nicholas which will appeal to ardent romance fans that enjoy the genres tropes. The vampires are portrayed as sexually voracious and Rebeka is a willing ingenue and their is an alluring intimacy, but I wanted to explore it deeper and see their mutual desire for each other be drawn out. Why would Nicholas and Rebeka be so attracted to another at first sight if they come from opposite factions? What’s given is captivating, which makes me want to know more about their backstory.
I’m not sure if this is a warning or an invite, but I will say there are some erotic scenes and violence that will appeal to readers who enjoy provocative storytelling. Loved by Night is a fast-paced paranormal romance novel, with a page-turning plot that will appeal to readers of erotic romance and mainstream vampire and werewolf fantasy readers.
Pages: 103 | ASIN: B08LH6VCL6
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Nicholas Powter’s The Gauntlet of Pong Wu is a tragic story of love, family, and treachery. Set in the mystical land of Pong Wu, this story follows the life of Antatirgo, a local chief’s daughter. While the story begins with two warriors dueling for her hand in marriage, things soon take an apocalyptic turn.
Demons invade her village and she is tragically separated from her sister Wytgo. In a last-ditch attempt to save herself and find her sister, she lets a demon possess her after he promises to help her. Ultimately, this decision takes her down a dangerous path, one of pain and unexpected challenges.
As expected from a story with gods, angels, and demons, a lot of the language used in this book is quite unique – this particular story posses a flair for horrid descriptions and uses a lot of old English terms. While this adds authenticity to the spellbinding narrative that immerses you in the well-crafted world, I think it can be overwhelming at times. While the dialogue is substantive and sincere, delivering much of the emotional impact of the novel, I felt it was ponderous at times and ti was hard to nail down who was talking.
These minor quibbles aside, the plot of The Gauntlet of Pong Wu driving this riveting story forward is absolutely enthralling and sets up some very impactful scenes that will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down. The author has a way of always keeping you on your toes. This epic paranormal fantasy novel expertly depicts how much one is willing to endure for the love of family. I really enjoyed the ending to this dark fantasy novel as well, it is quite tragic and unpredictable, and left me with a lot of mixed feelings, which I think is what a good novel is supposed to do.
The Gauntlet of Pong Wu is an emotionally charged adventure novel with a rich backstory and fascinating characters that make it hard to put this book down.
Pages: 97 | ISBN: 198229065X
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FoxHide follows a family of foxes and the adventures they embark on to create a life for themselves in the forest. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Well, I wanted to make a new story that was a pleasure to read, it made you happy and made you think. I’ve learned a lot in life and wanted to PASS IT ON. One of the main concepts that I have learned is the ability to use “WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW” for troubleshooting. I am a retired IT professional of 35 years. Using that skill & thought pattern brought me great success. In life, as I have been able to communicate that concept to those around me, once they GRASP the concept, they become better people. Smarter people. Happier people. Over time, they thank me for teaching them that. I tried to weave into FoxHide all the GOOD, POSITIVE, THINGS IN LIFE I have learned.
The characters in your story were endearing and well created. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
My Family – Mom and Dad – Wife – and Co-Workers. I had MUCH good material to work with. I took all the GOOD things from all the people I knew in life, and used ONLY the GOOD PARTS of them. I was able to use many people to make each character. Then wove all that into a story that I wanted to be new and original. ‘Strike’ was my BOSS for many years. He was always so sharp, very sharp and smart. Even if he did not know something, he would be able to think it through and make up a solution. ‘BoomBoom’ is my little brother in life. To this very DAY, he is a Spoiled Brat and he is 52! He has never grown up! So, he made me really angry one day by his behavior. I told him I would write a book and change his name to BoomBoom because he is so thundering and mean and thoughtless of other people. HE then said, “I DARE YOU”. So I did. It worked. He is now called BoomBoom. ‘SlitherChameleon’ – was all my other MEAN bosses mixed together over time…..
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Telling the Truth. Working hard. Paying attention in LIFE, to make My Life and the lives next to me better and more pleasant and more successful.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I don’t think there will be a FoxHide II. Maybe, but not in the plans. IF there were to be a FoxHide II, it would be along the lines of a ‘Pawz and Foxxy Babe’ relationship. It would be a Men R from Mars, Women R from Venus. Where PAWZ has to figure out the mind of a WOMAN now that he has conquered the physical world around him. It would be fun, but a LOT of WORK.
Posted in Interviews
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Still recovering from jat lag as a result of his last case, Tom Sipowicz, the Polish Dragon P.I., is needed yet again. This time he is asked to go undercover at MaGed Material Handling to get to the bottom of a couple of mysterious deaths, with suspicions of theft and drugs just to make things a little more interesting. As Tom makes his way around the warehouse, trying his best to blend in, his well trained eye is quick to pick out a few suspects and odd happenings among his new peers. With the help of some friends as well as his own set of skills, Tom soon finds just how deep the problem goes!
In The Polish Dragon P.I. (Midnight Cranes) by Steve Zimcosky, we again get to follow the intriguing exploits of Tom Sipowicz as he seeks to solve all manner of enthralling mysteries. This time he’s asked to help solve a couple of deaths at an international company that specializes in building hardwares. The president isn’t satisfied with the official report by the authorities, and Tom is recommended to him. Instead of his usual methods, Tom is asked to go undercover so he can better assess and observe those at the warehouse, knowing that at least one of them is potentially responsible for the deaths. This provides for an entertaining narrative twist that puts the P.I. in different situations. Along the way, Zimcosky does an excellent job of fully immersing the reader in the environment Tom is living and working in. The plot moves fast even with lots of details given to the reader throughout the story.
Like the other books in this series, Midnight Cranes is a fun and quick read. Tom is the kind of character that is instantly likeable and seems to be capable of just about anything; a trait that provides him with his many adventures. The quick references to past books makes everyone seem more relatable and familiar, which makes the book even more enjoyable.
Midnight Cranes is the perfect book for some light and fun reading that delivers intrigue and entertainment on par with a full length novel but Zimcosky does it in under 90 pages. This is a book that will excite long time fans of the series as they’ll find the tried and true protagonist in new situations, but new readers will enjoy the easy story and alluring mystery.
Pages: 213 | ASIN: B093MX47QX
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