Blog Archives

A Man For All Seasons

Author Karina McRoberts brings a unique style of storytelling in her book A Man For All Seasons. This fascinating book is a beautiful work of science fiction and includes an enthralling account of Vidor’s mission to conserve nature from those who want to destroy it for their own benefit. Vidor and his two animal friends work in sync to make a meaningful contribution to saving nature and nature’s creations.

McRoberts is persuasive in her writing. She leads the book in a unique setting with extraordinary characters; for example, a raven who talks and thinks like a human and understands climate change is an interesting character. As a reader, one can appreciate the clarity she presents with her storytelling – the characters’ personalities, how they communicate, the background, and other small details that bring them to life. A Man For All Seasons is filled with relatable dialogue between characters, which adds appeal to readers, allowing them to fall in love with the plot and the setting. Parts of this captivating novel are reminiscent of other sci-fi movies and Disney animated films that are well known in pop culture.

One notable thing about this novel is the length of the chapters. McRoberts keeps the chapters short and sweet. One can move to the next chapter with a breeze and finish the book in one sitting. Overall a quick read and challenging to put down.

The friendship between Vidor and Clarissa is precious, and so are the animal characters. In Vidor’s plan to save nature from destruction at the hands of humanity, he also makes an effort to give dying people dignified death, which is so heart-touching. There are good guys and bad guys in this book, and the ending is justified. This book will appeal to readers across genres with a not-so-usual plot and a fantastic cast of characters.

Pages: 121 | ASIN : B09QVTXS77

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A Bad Place to Be a Hero 

Thessa Kalou is facing the fact that she is supposed to get married but is unhappy with the man that has been chosen for her. Lokenn Mar Enae is on his way to New Montres to start his life over, but that’s easier said than done. Corlis Andassi is an innkeeper with a surly aunt he can’t let go of. Thessa, Lokenn, and Corlis meet during trying times. They don’t know each other very well, but they soon realize their fate is entwined. They end up working together, but things don’t always go according to plan… but sticking together is a must.

A Bad Place to Be a Hero by Jerry F. Westinger is an intense and thrilling read that will make it hard for you to put the book down. Westinger immerses the reader in the story with rich, vivid scenes and exquisite world-building. The tension slowly builds as each character faces obstacles in their lives that they have to sort out whether they like it or not. There is never a dull moment with them, and you are also wondering if they are going to figure it out.

The story moves at a smooth pace, and the author seamlessly moves from one character to the next. The chapters are told from the perspective of the characters, which is a pleasant treat because you get to know the characters and their reasons for their actions. In addition, the author has created many challenging situations for the characters to get out of, making this an unpredictable read that will have you wondering just how they will get out of this predicament.

The secondary characters are well thought out, such as Porla, the coach driver, Addie, the barmaid, and others add flare to the story. Most of the time, the lead characters are at odds with each other, but you don’t mind because it’s entertaining. It’s hard to criticize a wonderfully written story rich in detail! I recommend A Bad Place to Be a Hero to all fantasy book lovers. This is a story many will love and enjoy.

Pages: 336 | ASIN : B09RTKL85Z

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Hidden By The Dark

In the small, sleepy town of Pine Creek, Sheriff Owen Cross and Deputy Madison Colby must find a serial killer lurking in the forest. It’s a secluded mountain-side forest that’s regarded with superstition by the locals after a mining accident kills hundreds of people. The locals say the devil lives in that forest, and it may just be so. Author J.C. Moore tells a haunting story of a monster that lures people into the forest never to come out alive. Hidden by the Dark is a chilling tale of carved-up cadavers and mutilated bodies.

The concept of Moore’s story is creative and interesting. In a way, it almost reads like a traditional ghost story you would tell around a campfire. The “thing in the woods” is a great, old-fashioned retelling that has inspired many great stories and is a great concept for stand-alone horror story books.

The beginning of the story spends ample time methodically setting up the backdrop, scene, and characters with specific details that gives readers a complete picture of the eerie ambiance and interesting cast. Readers who enjoy diving into the specifics of the characters’ lives will enjoy the detailed introduction to Owen and Madison’s daily routine.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that the dialogue was repetitive at certain points, but could be due to the nature of the story and them simply just wanting more information. I also felt like the characters needed more unique qualities to make it easy for readers to differentiate between them when they pop up in the story.

I enjoyed the detective scenes in the story that provided a bit of a police procedural vibe to this supernatural thriller. A good example of this is when Madison and Owen are at the coroner’s office looking for a full autopsy report the day of the murder.

Hidden By The Dark is a meticulous paranormal crime fiction story that gradually leads readers into a haunting story with an eerie plot and an ominous mystery.

Pages: 225 | ASIN: B0B1L7Z9QL

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The Curse – Book Trailer

Set in the world of the Breedline—a secret species of humans born with the power to shape-shift into wolves—The Curse tells the story of a young boy, Joseph, who, grieving over his mother’s death at the hands of his abusive father, finds his world turned upside down. While his father awaits sentencing, Joseph is placed into the system, going from one foster family to another. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, an evil entity invades his body, introducing itself as the Shadow.

Twenty-one years later, this mysterious demonic spirit continues to inhabit Joseph’s body and manipulates his mind, luring him toward something dark and sinister, something that is beyond his control.

Carrie Randall, a substance abuse counselor who is unsuccessful at dating, comes face-to-face with death when two men approach her in a dark alley. Amid her assault, something resembling a werewolf, comes to her rescue in the nick of time. As she tries to process everything, unsure if what she witnessed was real or fantasy, her world suddenly collides with a handsome stranger as though they were somehow brought together by fate.

Despite her past relationships, Carrie finds herself spellbound, falling for Joseph Parker, a handsome, yet mysterious, journalist who works for an esteemed newspaper in Berkeley, California. But when Carrie discovers his terrifying secrets, she begins to fear for her life.

Now, Carrie is forced to make the hardest decision of her life. She can turn her back on Joseph, or stay and help him fight the demon who desires her soul.

Open To The Anguish Of Mortals

S. Faxon Author Interview

Origins: The Blue Dragon Society follows a shape-shifting boy who has to decide if he will fulfill his destiny or let his hate exile him. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I studied international human rights throughout my collegiate career and had several opportunities to see children and teens from countries and ethnic groups that did not get along. And from a very young age they were taught to hate each other, but there was one moment I saw, which will stay with me for the rest of my days. I was working and living in the single building Manhattan Campus of St. John’s University; it was late night and I was working on reports and I kept hearing children laughing and screaming on the floors below me. There were summer programs happening where students from various countries, countries that did not get along, were learning English. Initially, I thought the students were bullying each other, so I looked over the railing of the terrace where I was working and I was just about to get after at them, when I realized what they were doing – they were playing hide and seek. Hardly any of them could openly communicate with each other because they didn’t share languages, but they were laughing and playing together. They ranged in ages from eight to fourteen and they were just having the time of their lives. It’s been ten years since that happened and I’m getting emotional typing about it now because of how powerful that was to see. With Owen, I wanted to write something that showed if you just take a moment to get to know someone from another culture or ethnic group, you’ll see that we have far more in common than not. Those children bonded over playtime and as Owen grows, he will see that there are far more reasons for us to work together than against one another. This theme will continue into the sequel as well.

Owen faces many moral challenges and experiences of growth in this novel. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

When I initially wrote this story, I knew I wanted a troubled teen as the main character as I wanted to introduce my readers to this world, which will very much continue to grow, through the lenses of someone narrow minded. That way, as his perspective grew through his experiences, my readers would be able to grow into the world with him. I knew I wanted him to be in mourning, but when I initially wrote the first draft, it was his father who had passed, not his mother. Then I had a conversation with fantasy author David Green who mentioned how in fantasy stories, so many characters have a daddy complex in our genre. So I flipped the table; I wanted a young man who was closer with his mother and who lost her. I lost my grandmother who raised me when I was sixteen, and while I genuinely don’t remember much of the year that followed, what I do remember was anguish – feeling lost and feeling angry. The feeling of having my world ripped away from me, so I wanted to put those emotions in Owen and then put him in situations where he’d have to create his own conclusions and make his own choices based on his loss at an early age. While the Blue Dragons are noble in their missions, they are blinded by their intent to pursue the greater good which Owen realizes may lead to more trouble than good. Even though he initially hated humans, through his recent loss Owen’s eyes are far more open to the anguish of mortals than his fellow dragons.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I didn’t want a “simple” good vs evil story. I’ve studied enough international conflicts to know it’s not usually that simple, which is why the story starts with the antagonist. There is no doubt that Anton is the “bad guy,” and while his parents are neglectful and abusive, he is given a choice and his choice has many affects, some of which we haven’t even seen yet.

At its simplest, Origins is a coming of age story where young individuals are finding their place in a world that is bigger than them and deciding if they want to serve others or themselves. This theme of choice will continue into the next installments of the Blue Dragon Society as well.

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

I have a couple of books in the pipeline right now; my business partner and I have a guide for authors entitled, How to Become A Successful Author and Not Loose Your Mind, which is launching mid to late July of 2022. The sequel to Origins, The Road to Dova, will be launching in October of 2022. And I’m currently publishing two episodes a week of an urban fantasy entitled Blood Lords via Kindle’s Vella, which is about a young woman who is being hunted by a corrupted vampire lord.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | TikTok | Website | Instagram

In the Lands of Baradesh, some people make deals with the damned, others choose to fight back. What will Owen choose?

The shape-shifting members of the Blue Dragon Kingdom have long intervened when chaos befalls mortals. While he knows this tradition is an integral part of his community, Owen hates humans for killing his mother. But the only way to take his place in his dragon society is to help mortals against a new threat; vampires. If Owen refuses the mission, he will be exiled.

In this dark fantasy tale, will Owen overcome his hatred to help the humans fight vampires, or will he choose exile and the destruction of all humankind?

I’ve Always Felt Empathetic Toward Others

Author Interview Michael J. Bowler

Shifter has the two main characters grappling with some big moral decisions. What was the inspiration for putting them into this position?

I like stories where characters, especially teenagers, have to grapple with more than just who to ask to prom because it’s when we’re faced with serious issues of right vs wrong that we show what we’re made of and who we are inside, and most of us will face tough choices throughout our lives. As a reader, I can ask myself the same questions I pose to my characters and consider which way I might go. My hope is that other readers will do the same. I’ve also thought about the ramifications of having such a power that I could decide who lives and who dies. As pointed out in the book, would it have been moral to kill Hitler before he got very far in his bid to take over the world? Even now, with what we know of history, some people would still argue no and others would say yes.

Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into your characters of Alex and Andy?

I’ve always felt very empathetic toward the pain of others, even as a child and a teen, and wanted to “cure” those people of what ailed them, so I created this character of Alex to do that for me. I just don’t like seeing people unhappy or suffering, which is one reason I could never have become a doctor. Alex’s skills with his wheelchair and his innate tenacity were based on a boy I taught in high school. Despite his wheelchair, that boy could do whatever he put his mind to, sometimes with help from his friends, but mostly by himself. For Andy, I used much of the pain I absorbed from incarcerated kids I worked with who told me horrific stories of being locked in closets for years on end or about how some despicable adult slaughtered their pets in front of them. I sought to depict how hard it might be for such a child to accept love and friendship once released from such an evil upbringing, and I hope Andy comes across as believable in the minds of the readers.

What do you think were some of the defining moments in the development of Alex and Andy’s relationship?

Neither knew of the other’s existence until shortly before they met at the conclusion of Spinner (The Healer Chronicles 1), so I tried to imagine what it would feel like to meet a twin brother I never knew I had. Given the respective backgrounds of the two boys, I felt they could relate as outcasts and that might be the beginning of a friendship and even familial ties. The small moments they shared—when Andy would learn something new from Alex, or when they were washing dishes or working out in the fitness center—these moments helped cement their relationship. Learning how to combine their power and work together defined the growing connection between them, not just because their minds were linked, but because they needed to trust each other, and that must’ve been hard.

Will the next book conclude the story of Alex and Andy or is there more to tell? When will the next book be available?

The next book will conclude this particular storyline, but I have opened enough doors to tell other tales involving these characters and hope to return to them in the future. Spoiler (The Healer Chronicles 3) releases on July 12, 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Fifteen-year-old Alex and his learning-disabled friends barely survived the events of Spinner, but their nightmare has only just begun.

Alex’s wheelchair has never stopped him from doing what he wants, but his supernatural power to heal every human ailment known to science has put him in the crosshairs of a dangerous doomsday cult that will stop at nothing to capture him and his long-lost twin, Andy, who can shift illness from one person to another. When the boys combine their “gifts,” they unleash the power to control life and death.

Now Alex, Andy, and the others have been kidnapped by the U.S. military. On a creepy Air Force base in the remote Nevada desert, they must decide who to trust and who to fear while uncovering secrets this base wants to hide from the world. Who is the young boy with unusual abilities who’s treated like a soldier? What is hidden in an ultra-secret hangar that no one can access? And what unnatural experiments are conducted in that closed-off laboratory?

As Alex unravels these mysteries, he strives to bond with his twin, but Andy is distant and detached, trusting no one. He’s also more attracted to the dangerous power they wield than Alex would like. When misplaced faith in science ignites a hidden lust for supremacy, rescue can only come from the most unlikely source, and Alex must confront a terrible truth.

The Healer Chronicles continue…

Giving Revolutionaries a Voice

Christopher Vastag Author Interview

Children of Maya follows a changeling rabbit that wants to free her fellow prey animals from a life of slavery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My homeland of Romania had a thriving mining industry, and during the historic rebellion against the Communist Dictator Nicolae Ceacuscu in 1989, the miners protested on masse. The story was inspired by those events to give those brave revolutionaries a voice.

Maria leads the revolt and turns into a dynamic character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

Maria herself was based on my grandmother. A woman with a heart of steel and even harder determination.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Family struggles have always been my forte in storytelling. If it’s the calloused father with egomania, the overworked mother at a loss with how to raise her children, the selfish siblings who can never get along, or just the misguided friends who forget when to follow and stay loyal, all these people are interesting, lovable and even redeemable. Ambivalence is a lovely thing when you try to understand why people behave the way they do. Magic realism and overcoming adversity was another fundamental theme. I want people to look at their lives and study the past and ask themselves, are they actually struggling compared to what others have endured.

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

I want to build the sequel to Children of Maya, and I promise it will bring more to the table. More adventures, mishaps and epic struggles against the odds. But at the same time, I have a second novel already finished and largely polished I want to publish. It’s inspired by the history of the late Roman empire, with light magic and a lot of court intrigue. It’s a surprise, but fans of my first book will feel right at home.

Author Links: Amazon | Goodreads

In the land of Kaskilia, a rabbit changeling slave named Maria sows plans for rebellion.  To overthrow the murderous cult of Khaytan and the zealous king who spreads it teachings, Maria must rally predator and prey alike by reminding the people what true faith looks like.  Brought together by the goddess Maya Herself, Maria finds an unlikely ally in the king’s son, Prince Reginald. Maria and Reginald must reconcile their differing visions of an ideal Kaskilia and their growing, forbidden attraction to one another while evading the bloodthirsty Absolvers of Khaytan’s Covenant.  In a culture where she is seen as little more than food, can Maria find a way to lead her people to freedom without losing her humanity?

Shifter

Twin brothers with the power of life and death – will they choose the path of good or evil? In Shifter, the second book in the Healer Chronicles, Michael J Bowler brings us back to the world of Alex and Andy and all the characters revolving around them. Having survived the events in the first thrilling book, the brothers begin to get to know each other and test the limits of what they can do together. But with secret organizations and military operations vying for control of their power, they have to make difficult choices that could save people… or leave them dead. The story takes twists and turns that make you question everything and everyone, from well-guarded fortresses and secret military labs in the desert.

Early on, we’re taken back to Andy’s horrific childhood, which explains his character to the reader and his brother Alex. The reader also gets some recaps and explanations of events in the first book, allowing those that have not read the first novel to understand this one. The author expertly balances dialogue, description, and action, creating incredible tension. A few scenes in the military lab had me literally at the edge of my seat! The author also created a rich and relatable world by adding small details between big moments.

There were plenty of everyday things that we take for granted highlighted in these extreme circumstances. For example, Alex’s experiences with his disability, not being able to reach a shirt in a closet that wasn’t made for someone in a wheelchair. Alex’s human existence gave us a closer connection to a character with incredible power. I loved so many of the characters in the novel. They were unusual heroes, abandoned or scorned by society because of who they are, mistakes from their past, or circumstances beyond their control.

There were also plenty of more important questions of ethics and morality in the choices the main characters have to make, as exemplified in the passage below: “And you would be, Alex. You two could save more lives than anyone in history.” “By killing,” Alex said, his voice barely a whisper. “How is that good?” “Because some people need to be killed so others may live.” Without giving too much away, you can see the dilemma Alex faces when he learns about how some powerful forces would want him to use his power.

However, conflict in the book doesn’t touch only upon questions of morality but also on adolescent insecurities and friendship. Many characters grapple with complex feelings of jealousy or fear of a new person joining the group and taking your place, wanting to prove their strength.

Shifter (The Healer Chronicles Book 2) is a suspenseful young adult thriller. With strong and memorable characters, non-stop action, and high tension, readers will not want to put the book down and anxiously await the conclusion of this exciting trilogy.

Pages: 372 | ASIN : B09R2K41L7

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