Blog Archives

The four lives of Robinson Appleson

Explore the ideas of reincarnation, family curses, redemption, and a roller coaster of emotions in The Four Lives of Robinson Appleson by Véronique Iswery Pasquet. From a dashing young prince, to a rich kid from Beverley Hills, to a jaguar living in the jungle, and finally a woman experiencing poverty, Robinson Appleson tries to redeem himself in each life he is given. But despite his efforts, he still has his shortcomings and must watch the love of his life, Gwendolyn, pass away due to his cannibalistic urges. Will he ever be able to break his wretched family curse?

The writing abilities of Pasquet are astonishing, and her ability to play upon the senses is nothing short of perfect. I loved the way she used scents and smells when writing the presence of a specific character. It added a tantalizing effect to the words on the page by further immersing one’s self into the story. I could often feel myself watching a scene play out as if it was happening in my own home, thanks to her illustrative sensory descriptions. Also, the motifs between the main character’s cannibalistic habits and his love, Gwendolyn, creatively shed light on a much deeper topic. The idea of how intense passion, toxicity, and what feels like curses (trauma) can lead us to “devour” those we love.

The Four Lives of Robinson Appleson by Véronique Iswery Pasquet is a captivating paranormal and urban fantasy novel that takes readers on a journey to find a way to break a family curse. All in all, I think this book is amazing, and I can’t wait to read more from the author. I highly recommend The Four Lives of Robinson Appleson as it is an immersive and wonderfully written story of reincarnation.

Pages: 312 | ASIN : B0BSFL1Q1Z

Buy Now From Amazon

FastFlight 540: Stuart Bump

Fast Flight 540: Stuart Bump (Book 2) by M. M. Mesldorf is an exhilarating fantasy book that continues the story in book 1. Filled with surprising twists and turns, this lively fantasy story is sure to satiate any young reader’s appetite for adventure. Mesldorf’s writing style is simple but keeps the reader engaged throughout. The illustrations that accompany the story inspire the imagination and invite curiosity into the characters’ lives. The story begins with a brief overview of past happenings. I found the prologue to be a great refresher of book 1 and it helped to connect the events of past and present conditions. This will also help any readers who didn’t read book 1 first.

Stuart’s character tries to find a way to stand out from everyone when in reality he is a curious child who seems misunderstood by the people around him. As the story progressed I started to understand Stuart’s character better and he grew on me. The mother, Anslie, is an enchanting character and I enjoyed reading about her as well. In all, readers will find each character unique and intriguing in their own way.

The story seemed episodic, with chapters that connect the events and actions that take place. This fun adventurous tale is perfect for young readers as it is filled with action, fun mischief, and tricks that will keep you hooked until the very end. The story takes place in two fascinating worlds, the world of dreams and reality. I felt that the book had a slow start but the ending of the book made up for it all. The build-up, when connected, created a beautiful climax in the story.

FastFlight 540 (Book 2) takes readers on a spirited adventure that will make them fall in love with the characters all over again. I recommend this book to young readers and teen readers as they will surely enjoy the inherent adventure and wild turn of events faced by the characters in the story.

Pages: 337 | ASIN: B0BQ9JB4NC

Buy Now From Amazon

Magical Understandings

K.J. Amidon Author Interview

Dimension Guardian: The Realm of Beasts – The Guardian Tournament follows five guardians from the five realms who are hand-picked to discover who is behind a plot to destroy their world. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

There were a lot of inspirations for this series, the main one being that I wanted to explore magic in a more contemporary setting where it was common understanding that magic existed, but there were still modern conveniences like cars, firearms, and cell phones. When I thought about how modern conveniences allow us to explore other countries in our world, I wanted to expand the world of the book to include other realms, which allowed me to create difference creatures, magical understandings, societies, and stereotypes that I could explore. Having one main character from each realm also allowed me to explore how each of those cultures interact with one another on an individual level.

The characters in Dimension Guardian are remarkably complex. What is your process for creating such in-depth characters?

I love exploring character complexity through character interactions. Authentic characters that feel real and dynamic are always a goal in my stories, and I want the interactions of the characters to feel realistic. For these characters, I wanted each of them to fill a certain role within the team, so I built the characters backwards so that their pasts would justify their behaviors (even if they don’t go into depth about their past right away). I didn’t want my characters to be flat, or single layered, so I was sure to figure out their home lives, their upbringing, their relationship with their job, and how they view other people so that every interaction was as realistic as possible.

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

I think challenging preconceived notions about people and situations was one of the most important themes I wanted to explore. Each of the main characters is from a different realm and there are certain stereotypes and prejudices that I wanted to showcase. I also wanted to explore the themes of strong-silent male characters always being alone and needing to be slowly softened over the course of a story. Most of these characters have loved ones and families that they cherish, and I wanted that to be a dynamic explored in this type of adventure story.

Can you tell us a little about where the story goes in book two and when the novel will be available?

The story continues by following the five Guardians through the tournament, but they finally meet their enemy face to face after he makes himself known in a very public way. From that moment on, they learn that there are forces far more powerful than they could have imagined lining up a destined fight that could destroy all five realms. The five Guardians must navigate the tournament, the politics, and the public fear as their mission becomes more complex and leads them into a battle where everything rests on their shoulders.

Books 2, 3, and 4 are currently available for purchase. The audiobook of Book 4 should be available in the next few months. And Books 5 and 6 will be available within the next 2 months.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Dalton Teban is considered the best active Guardian in the five connected worlds, but nothing in his training prepared him for a crisis of such magnitude. The magical seal securing the five worlds has been fractured and the realms are colliding, creating distrust in the Dimension Protection Council and threatening war between the worlds.

In a desperate attempt to investigate the corruption in Council and find the one who fractured the seal, Dalton is forced to participate in the Guardian Tournament, a spectacle that pits the highly-trained Guardians against one another in brutal battle for sport. Using the tournament as a distraction, the Elders of Council group the five strongest and most trust-worthy Guardians into one team to infiltrate and flush out criminals within the Guardian Branch. Working with his teammates Eclipse, Mitoki, Hanyi, and Keito, Dalton is tasked with a mission of unimaginable magnitude—and one that has far-reaching repercussions.

Dalton learns that this is not the first time the Guardian Tournament has been used as a distraction to the public. Forty years previous, a horrific massacre at the Guardian Tournament devastated the Dimension Protection Council. With the tournament in practice once again, there is expectation that the same criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands is behind the unrest threatening the five worlds…and Dalton knows he has become the bait to lure him out of the shadows.

Centuries-old secrets and hidden agendas bring the strongest Guardians to question their orders, their mission, and their own loyalty as they face an enemy more powerful than they could have ever believed.

Superpowers Can Be Fun

Michael J Bowler Author Interview

Like A Hero follows a masked crime fighter who finds reality isn’t like the comic books and he’s forced to straddle a moral and legal line. What were some sources that informed the development of this novel?

I grew up reading, and still read, comic books, but I’ve also learned the harsh realities of life for so many through my work with incarcerated children and as a public high school teacher, and I decided to incorporate that reality into my book. I do enjoy light-hearted “superhero” books, but I thought it was time for a story that explored the difficulties that being a masked crimefighter might entail since so much crime stems from human degradation and the circumstances of one’s upbringing. I’ve always believed that the spirit of the law is more often than not more important than the letter of the law, hence the moral vs legal dilemma faced by my main character.

What were some things you wanted to do differently from other superhero novels in your book?

I’ve always wondered if a real-life Batman could exist, but not someone who has unlimited wealth; just an average person with certain talents and abilities and the desire to improve his community. For this reason, I shied away from giving my main character any super powers, which makes my story different from all or almost all of the superhero novels out there. Having superpowers can be fun in and of themselves, but what my character gets to take home from his experiences is simply the knowledge that he saved a life or made someone’s life a bit better. But for every one of those successes, there are the times he could not make the difference he hoped. Thus, my novel has darker moments than most superhero books, but ultimately I think it leaves the reader with a sense of hope that we all can make a difference if we choose to.

What were some moral issues you felt were important to address in this book?

Invictus, my hero character, has numerous encounters with homeless people. I don’t believe that homeless people should be left on the street in a dysfunctional state because most of them need residential treatment centers before they need housing and jobs, but the fact that restaurants must throw out left over food (by law) rather than give it to people in need has always bothered me. I believe it’s immoral to waste anything that can be used by others. There’s also a moral component in shelters for runaway or homeless teens that turn someone away because of legal regulations. To me, the needs of the human being are more important than regulations set out by bureaucrats. Invictus also faces moral challenges with two of the kids he meets – Franky, the ten-year-old meth addict (whose mother is responsible for his addiction), and Joe, the African-American teen who had to leave home because his parents would not accept him as gay and was then forced to live on the streets. What’s to be done for these children? Social services might take them, but if the boys don’t want to go, should Invictus force them or trick them into the system? These and other moral gray areas are a large aspect of those people in society who are broken, and the answers are seldom simple. My hope is that readers will consider these and other issues in their own communities and perhaps might even come up with viable solutions of their own.

Do you have future plans to write more books with these characters?

I ended the book, not on a cliffhanger, but with doors wide open for further adventures. I love these characters and all of them changed or grew as a result of the first book, so I definitely want to move forward with these changed characters and their experiences as volunteer crime fighters. As I write this, I’m plotting out the second book, so hopefully, one day soon, readers can enjoy more of my characters and their adventures.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Courage can be costly. Orphaned brothers Vincent and Dennis Villanueva learn the truth of those words when they create a masked crime fighter and turn him loose on Los Angeles. The brainchild of fourteen-year-old Dennis and embodied in twenty-one-year-old Vincent, “Invictus” hits the streets to jumpstart apathetic Angelenos into taking a more active role in their city.

But reality isn’t a comic book. Vincent finds poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, abuse, and cast-off children. Labeled a vigilante and criminal, the shy grad student with formidable martial arts talent and abysmal people skills soon doubts his ability to make an impact.

Forced to straddle an ambiguous line between moral and legal, he becomes disheartened and secretive, hiding the truth of what he’s doing from Dennis and driving a wedge between them. Feeling neglected, Dennis infiltrates a dangerous drug ring to show Vincent he can be just as heroic, not knowing that the woman in charge is weaving an insidious plot against Invictus as part of her citywide scheme of vengeance. In a race against time, Vincent must regain Dennis’s trust before the brother he loves is lost to him forever.

Frankenstina – Book Trailer

From the day she was brought into this world, she was hated. Her father hated her because she killed her mother during childbirth. The other children hated her because of her hideous face and size. The teachers hated her because of her intelligence. What happens to the mind when it is exposed to physical and mental abuse from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed? What happens when the town’s people look at you as a freak of nature and whisper behind your back? What happens when the unspeakable happens to you, and you turn to your father for compassion, and you find none? You become what they think you are. You become…THE MONSTER!

Dimension Guardian

In a world divided into five realms —Demons, Beasts, Darkness, Light, and Humans— that have peacefully lived for centuries, a sudden increase of issues arose, pitting one group against another and shaking the balance that has long been preserved. The Dimension Protection Council discovered that the threats were perpetrated by Guardians, the sworn protectors of all the dimensions, and planned to put a stop to it all by reinstating the Guardian Tournament, where the heroes of the world play their strengths against fellow Guardians, all for the betterment of the realms. Along with the decision came the choice of putting their best Guardians from each realm in a single group, who will serve as the council’s eyes and ears inside the competition. However, as the chosen five all partake in a journey that starts during their preparation and ends with an actual battle, they will soon discover that the competition and the controversies spreading about the realms are just puzzle pieces to a much bigger picture and threat for all.

Dimension Guardian: The Realm of Beasts – The Guardian Tournament, by K.J. Amidon, is an engrossing story that introduces readers to a highly complex world of magic and the politics of it all. While the presence of creatures is nothing new in the fantasy genre, this novel stands out for it starts with a decades-old mystery that was deliberately unpacked throughout the story. Readers with a diverse set of main characters experience ongoing conflict on all sides. They can comprehend the gravity of the situation and how it will affect the entire setting.

The novel’s beginning immediately pulls readers into reading more about the fuss. Each new discovery is devoured with glee as you anticipate what further information they will get on the following pages. With a lot to digest in such a short amount of time, the fact that each scene straightforwardly explained its events makes the story understandable and easier to navigate. The main characters were also well-written in that they were all given ample time to be highlighted in every scene, and readers understood why these characters were wired in a certain way. Despite the age difference between the five, they were all given amusing and relatable traits, gaining audiences’ favor one way or another.

Dimension Guardian: The Realm of Beasts – The Guardian Tournament is a gripping dark fantasy novel that hooks readers from the first chapter and leaves them astounded by its end. It is also an excellent start for a series of books, so readers can be assured that there is more to tell. I highly recommend this for anyone that is a fan of books such as The Hunger Games because they share a common theme of tournaments, and The Shadowhunter Chronicles, for it also tackles race and its conflicts.

Pages: 275 | ASIN : B00CZE0IV0

Buy Now From Amazon

My Urban Dark Fantasy World

Victory Witherkeigh Author Interview

The Girl is a riveting coming-of-age story that blends spiritual, supernatural, and modern elements into a well-written story. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The idea came about during one of those sleepless, insomnia, panic attack evenings after coming down from a tough day at work. I studied Public Health in college, so my first few jobs after graduation were in various hospital systems, including a few children’s psychiatric areas. So, my early career adventures and some of my heritage from pre-colonial Filipino and Pacific Island mythology and gods helped create my urban dark fantasy world. 

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

In developing characters, even if they may not be the focus or play a supporting role, I overwrote during the first draft phase, so I had a LOT of material to slice and dice. I enjoyed looking more at certain traits, or even behavior patterns and thought patterns, of a person rather than their specific stories in character development. Sometimes, just one or two qualities, because adding magic to any aspect of a story makes everything fictitious. With each character as much as I might know why they’re doing things, I also like to remember that my main character often does not.

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

The Girl centers very much on themes of coming of age, nature versus nurture, and even the beginning of a journey of how a quest can be more for your own self-worth, and that goal is worth more than any treasure sometimes. Can you do good if you come from something terrible where you’re told repeatedly that nothing “likable” can come from? Be Good? One central theme I wanted to explore was the dangers because “likeability” or even “popularity” means “goodness.” I also wanted to expand on what we could envision as thematic motifs for “stories centered with fantastical and horror elements.,” or the literal definition of the dark fantasy genre that the Western high fantasy tropes have often dominated. The Pacific islands, while beautiful, are filled with many things that cause death and pain: the volcanic ring of fire, typhoons, and mosquitoes carrying yellow or dengue fever. The Girl will hopefully be the first glimpse into some tales of our pre-colonial gods and nightmares that became our own myriad of wives’ tales and stories that genuinely acted as a guide to keeping people, especially children, alive. Stories about creatures who haunt the jungles, waiting for the unsuspecting child to eat. Or the shape-shifting, blood-drinking aswang, a female predator able to hide amongst the living. Hopefully, The Girl will be another gateway for readers to discover the diaspora for the first time or add another dimension to the growing mythos.

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

I definitely like to have something brewing all the time. Before attempting to write a novel, I started my career as a short story writer in predominantly dark fantasy/horror for the past few years. I have a short story that should be available on The Creepy Podcast. As for another book, I can’t imagine not coming back to The Girl, assuming there is enough interest.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The parents knew it had been a mistake to have a girl. At birth, the girl’s long, elegant fingers wriggled and grasped forward, motioning to strangle the very air from her mother’s lungs. As she grew older, she grew more like her father, whose ancestors would dream of those soon to die. She walked and talked in her sleep, and her parents warded themselves, telling the girl that she was evil, unlovable, their burden to bear only until her eighteenth birthday released them.

The average person on the streets of Los Angeles would look at the girl and see a young woman with dark chocolate eyes, curly long hair, and tanned skin of her Filipina heritage. Her teachers praised her for her scholarly achievements and extracurricular activities, from academic decathlon to cheer.

The girl knew she was different, especially as she grew to accept that the other children’s parents didn’t despise them. Her parents whispered about their pact as odd and disturbing occurrences continued to happen around her. The girl thought being an evil demon should require the skies to bleed, the ground to tremble, an animal sacrifice to seal the bargain, or at least cause some general mayhem. Did other demons work so hard to find friends, do well on their homework, and protect their spoiled younger brother?

The demon was patient. It could afford to wait, to remind the girl when she was hurt that power was hers to take. She needed only embrace it. It could wait. The girl’s parents were doing much of its work already.

Meth Murder & Amazon

Author G.S. Gerry takes readers on a quirky and mind bending rollercoaster of an adventure in Meth Murder & Amazon. Readers follow a “normal” family who is trying to sell their home but have the worst luck. The shenanigans begin when the realtor, or as the Grakes call them the “assassins”, arrive to help sell their house. The Grakes are accused of murder but there is no body when the sheriff arrives, so did it really happen? Then they are accused of making meth in their garage due to the smell of burning plastic. Will the Grakes be able to overcome the chaos and sell their home?

This quirky urban thriller immediately caught my attention from the turn of the first page. Author G.S. Gerry’s unorthodox writing style had me wondering just what direction this intriguing story was headed in and what exactly did Amazon have to do with the plot.

I felt as though I was watching an energetic play, all while drinking too much caffeine. The pace of the story is quick, so make sure you pay attention because things happen quickly in a rapid series of events and if you’re not on your toes you could get lost. There is some pretty funny word play in here too. Like, “This is further muckin’ ridiculous,” I felt like this adds a lot of personality to the story to where it feels like it’s a character all it’s own, just like in author Lemony Snicket’s novels.

I felt sorry for the Grakes because all they wanted to do was sell their house and they just can’t catch a break. Even the weather intervenes when they go house hunting! I was able to relate to how things never seem to work out, but I liked how far it went, and how wild it can seem for the average person to be in that situation, just like in the show Breaking Bad. So, I think the author makes an excellent comparison to these two pieces of art.

Meth Murder & Amazon is a compelling and refreshing crime fiction story that will have you wondering what is reality and what isn’t. I highly recommend this humorous romp to those who enjoy a light-hearted and slightly bizarre story with added sound affects that will have you chuckling throughout.

Pages: 248 | ASIN: B09RZN6DJZ

%d bloggers like this: