Author Ian A. Hollis’ book In A Small, Quiet Village (Where Nothing Much Ever Happens) initially chronicles the low-stakes dramas and daily activities of the residents of a small, peaceful village. Readers are introduced to Jacob, a curious and excitable ten-year-old, alongside his friends and family. The story follows these characters as they go about their lives socializing, playing, and exploring. Invited to join in with the tranquil way of life in the village, readers grow to understand why its settlers so rarely want to leave. However, things cannot remain idyllic forever; with threats of potentially deadly weather on the way, readers will find themselves waiting for the moment the peace will shatter irrevocably.
The novel contains elements of mystery that begin to provoke unease in the reader that are effective and could be further explored. For instance, there is mention of people rarely leaving the village, and the inhabitants don’t seem to know where the train, which drops off visitors, actually comes from. This could be further developed to create a greater sense of entrapment and claustrophobia, perhaps by parents warning their children not to venture beyond the village’s borders or by displaying the villagers as being weighted by a fear of the unknown. The threat of Johnathon Storms, the harbinger of dangerous weather, is the greatest source of tension in the narrative, as both the villagers and readers dread his inevitable appearance.
The switch from a cozy, relaxed atmosphere to the action of the fateful storm is compelling; the build-up to the text’s more dramatic events sneak up on readers. The beginning plot of the story is sedate with a slow burn style allowing the climax to fall into place, giving readers a thrill. It successfully generates fondness for its characters and setting before striking readers with sudden tragedy.
In A Small, Quiet Village (Where Nothing Much Ever Happens) is an engaging, magical realism story that will captivate readers with solid character development and a beautiful tale of friendship.
Pages: 228 | ASIN : B09W2VR3SK
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In Solitude of Light’s not-too-distant future, Tomás Estéban Chen-Diaz engages in a heartfelt attempt to save his brother’s soul by joining him on a remote island. Believing himself to be following God’s will, Tomás spends years training at a facility for Christians hoping to travel to Mars before being ordained. He faces challenges to his faith along the way but none more difficult than his brother Francisco’s strict and aggressive adherence to atheism and his disdain for religious practices of any kind. Francisco’s attitude makes attempted reconciliations for past wrongs difficult, and if Tomás is to succeed, he must prove faithful to what he believes is right and just.
S. Kirk Pierzchala’s Solitude of Light takes place in a creative near-future setting with much to recognize from our own time and with the added fictional elements complimenting our own technology rather than appearing too far advanced to be realistic. Because of this, the fictional future seems plausible, perhaps distressingly so given some of its darker elements, as scientific advancements continue along the same trends they follow today.
With the narrative split into two parts, the first often seems slightly removed to the extent that it appears to be a lengthy prologue to the second part, which is where the real heart of the narrative resides. Despite this, part one is essential for the context, which gives part two much of its emotional weight.
With only two characters alone on an isolated island, there is potential for the story to become repetitive or drawn out. Still, Pierzchala manages it admirably with an excellent and often emotional portrayal of two diametrically opposed brothers engaging in a battle of wills. Interspersed between these moments are excellent scenic descriptions which lend their backdrop to this narrative of fraternal compassion, arrogance, and self-superiority.
Solitude of Light is a thought-provoking dystopian novel that takes readers deep into the emotional battle between two brothers. The suspense builds as the brothers battle for moral ground and examines their complicated relationship.
Pages: 474 | ASIN : B09WG4VY3N
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Brenna and Adara are twins living in England that spend their days with tutors and fancy automated machines. When not working on their schooling they’re reading from the Grimoire. From the Grimoire they learn of the Elemental Gods and pretend they were them. It wasn’t until they moved to Massachusetts that they began to realize they were different. On their first day of school they meet twin boys, Dimitri and Wyndham that share their same last name, Devins, as well as strange white streaks of hair. From there they realize they all have over-sized pets, a toad, lizard, owl and rat that just found the children and attached themselves to them. Slowly as they get to know each other they develop strange powers, telepathy, the ability to control elements, and the mysterious Grimoire that each has a part of starts morphing before their eyes. What does it all mean? How are they connected? Why are strange things happening to them? What happens when the stories they read as children suddenly start coming to life?
Children of the Elements by Ora Wanders, is set in a steampunk reality of the semi modern world. There are parts that remind me of early frontier times, the one room school house, the simple country life, but then she adds in the steampunk elements of automated machinery and clothing choices. It is a mix of modern and old and blends together in a fascinating way that makes sense to the story line. Each set of twins have similar backgrounds, only one parent, both moving from homes with lots of machinery to a simpler life and only bringing a few things with them, the Grimoire that seems incomplete to each set. When they meet, it is literally like puzzle pieces fitting together. The story is exceptionally well written and everything flows naturally and story elements occur organically. I could picture the characters clearly, the bickering and playing around that you expect from young adults comes out. I found it all relatable, even in the magical setting.
This was a book that I didn’t want to put down. The plot moves quickly, the character development is integrated with the plot, so you’re not weighed down with back stories and character development early on. All that information comes out as you meet the characters and see them interacting with their pets, teacher, and each other. They are typical teenagers with attitudes and short tempers, but you see them grow from the early pages to the end. Without giving away key elements, I can say that all four children are able to grow and see their potential while still retaining a child like wonder of the world. It has all the elements a reader of fantasy could want; magic, conflict, family drama, growth, and an open ending to continue the saga.
One of the most amazing things about this novel is the author. Ora Wanders is only ten years old! I could not believe this when I finished the novel and wanted to learn more about the author because I loved the book that much. I am looking forward to the second book in the series and much more from this amazing young lady.
Pages: 310 | ISBN: 1797718002
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An epic sci-fi tale that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. This story is both mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time. Wil is testing an experimental space pod that ends up on the opposite side of the solar system, NASA can’t find him, and their probably not going to be able to bring him back, anyway.
Fast forward many years, and Wil is still in outer space, he has somewhat given up on the chance of being rescued, he’s basically an outer space bad guy, who smuggles and gets away with a lot of stuff he really shouldn’t, but who’s going to arrest him? The space police? He’s now looking for a crew to help him deal with the all out war that is happening right in front of his eyes.
After being captured by a ship from another galaxy, Wil is ready to fight back. He really has nothing else to lose, so why not? If you’re looking for a lighthearted space saga, then this is definitely a book you’re going to want to pick up. I love that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, there are tons of pop culture references, and there are many homages to pop culture themes. It’s enjoyable, relaxing, and definitely funny. People who enjoy shows like Farscape and Guardians of the Galaxy will get a kick out of this.
There were times that Wil would do or say things and I was completely flabbergasted, but also I totally believed that this is something that he would do. He is at the point in life where he really doesn’t care anymore, because he knows he’s probably not going to make it back to earth, so he just does what he wants and people have to do deal with it.
The writing was great, it was easy to read, and fun to enjoy, it didn’t matter if I had 5 minutes to read or an hour, I could get sucked into the story quickly, and it was easy to pick up right where I left off. I can’t wait to read the next books in this series.
Pages: 422 | ASIN: B07H7QXWKT
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All Roads Shattered is the third book in the All Roads series of dark fiction stories and poems. In the last book you said you wanted to go darker and bring more sci-fi into the story. Did you want to continue that in book three or did you envision a different path?
With All Roads Shattered I wanted to show darkness and variety, perhaps a different type of ending other than just brief character life lessons or moments.
The characters are all superbly created, as usual. Is there anything from your own life that you put into your characters to make them more believable?
Most of the time, no, at least not with this book. I did that with All Roads Home. In All Roads Shattered I wanted my characters to have their own life and story. Put my “empathic feet” into make believe shoes.
I enjoyed all the stories in the collection, as they all inspired some reflection afterward. Is there a story that didn’t make it into the collection?
If anything, a poem might get put to the side to be reworked but that’s about it.
Do you find that you write stories that challenge you as a writer, or stories that are easy for you to write?
I write what I feel or imagine, so it’s not difficult. I never mind a challenge if it inspires mournful beauty or captivating contemplation.
ALL ROADS SHATTERED, the third book of Lisa Diaz Meyer’s All Roads Collection contains two short story sagas, five multi-genre, dark fiction short stories and twelve macabre poems. Other books in this dark fiction collection are ALL ROADS HOME and ALL ROADS DESTINED.
Posted in Interviews
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All Roads Home is a collection of your short stories covering many genres and topics. Did you write this collection with the intention of putting them together in a book or did you write them separately?
All the stories, poems and plays were written at different times in my life and I decided to put them together thinking to showcase the many different genres and writing styles I enjoy.
The book is split into six sections with each covering a different theme. The Enduring was my favorite section. What was your favorite from the collection?
The Outposts were my favorite to write as it was my first time trying a post-apocalyptic story line which I later I turned into a saga that runs throughout my current books.
What do you find enjoyable and challenging about writing short stories over longer novels?
I like the idea of creating short stories and many different worlds. The challenge is to pack as much of a punch in a small amount of pages and create characters to love, hate or identify with in a short amount of time.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on my fourth book of dark fiction short stories and poems. I am hoping to have it published in the early months of 2019 or sooner.
Author Maria Reinhardt debuts with an exotic family saga about blending love, business, and second chances. In the first Richardson novel, old sensual feelings emerge to test trust, legacy, and family responsibility in the quest for happily ever after.
Can she catch lightning in a bottle?
AFTER THE RAIN is set on the exotic shores of Maui, Hawaii; it is here heroine Katrina Marlowe visits when attending her 10-year class reunion. She is a svelte ex-coed—although she was overweight back in college at the University of Hawaii.
Kat has a lot of hidden talents (she’s a whiz with motors, for one—her calling, interior design, another), and she likes to use them for an element of surprise. She also has a problem. She’s been in love with the sexy, wealthy, Hawaiian property developer, Guy Richardson, since college. And she’s told him so in her series of sensual letters—all of which she thought had gone unnoticed and unread.
Kat’s dedication to her special-needs family and their automotive dealership kept her a shy, hard-working homebody back in Upstate, New York after school; she passed Guy’s perceived apathy off as her insecurity, a penchant for panic attacks, and a weight issue. What she didn’t account for was a second chance, his latter-day response to her letters, and how her unique talents could fulfill both of their dreams.
Posted in book trailer
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When the Cossacks invade their village, young Avrum and his brother Hershel manage to hide and survive the attacks which kill more than 80 members of their small Polish community. Trying to gather their wits about them and come to terms with the deaths of both parents, the two boys decide to make their way to the synagogue in Lvov. The road to Lvov is paved with one horror after another, and a harrowing experience at the home of a decrepit old woman leads to the brothers’ ultimate separation. Avrum, the tragic main character in Arnold Holtzman’s To The End of Days, spends the better part of his young life making his way to America to build a life for himself and, hoping beyond hope, to reunite with Hershel.
Holtzman has the striking ability to appeal to all of the reader’s senses through his writing. The scene in which Avrum and Hershel are fighting for their lives at the cottage of the old woman is particularly gripping. I was utterly repulsed by the vivid descriptions of the vile woman and the filth in which she lived. As horrific as the circumstances were, I was unable to tear myself away from this disturbing string of events. The same can be said for each stage in Avrum’s life. As he moves across the country and eventually on to North America, each new circumstance brings rich details, vivid images of despair, and poignant scenes of his struggle as an immigrant.
The various settings described throughout Avrum’s journey are exceptionally well-written. At every turn, I felt myself immersed in the sights and sounds of early 1900’s America and the Jewish culture. Holtzman leaves nothing to the imagination which, in turn, leaves the reader more time to focus on the plot surrounding Avrum and the subplot focusing on Fanny.
Avrum captured my heart from the moment he and Hershel faced the fate of their mother. His heart-wrenching grief and his determination to find his brother dominate his life for years, and are the driving force behind everything he does from finding work and wrestling when offered the opportunity to pursuing every lead no matter how futile it may seem. Avrum’s strength is unmatched.
Bella is not a character I enjoyed–but I wasn’t supposed to feel warm toward her. Holtzman has done a phenomenal job creating a selfish, arrogant, and needy female match for unlucky Avrum. Though she doesn’t make her true intentions known until much later in her relationship with Avrum, I admit I was suspicious of her from the beginning. She is one of those characters who is far too concerned with making herself understood and appreciated. The author has succeeded phenomenally in creating a character worthy and deserving of the reader’s loathing.
Intermingled with the characteristics of historical fiction is a pleasing amount of mystery. Avrum encounters numerous clues to Hershel’s fate throughout the years, but the author skillfully weaves a web of subplots while redirecting the reader’s attention. Even to the final pages, I was yet unsure of poor Hershel’s fate. Kudos to Holtzman–this is how I prefer my fiction.
Fans of historical fiction will appreciate the insanely detailed descriptions of the havoc wreaked by the Cossacks and the accuracy regarding the Jewish culture. Avrum and Hershel represent everything that was wrong with this period in world history and everything that can go incredibly right when a man remains unfailingly loyal to his family.
Pages: 410 | ASIN: 1977981844
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