Infinity 7: Gods Among Men
A superhero mashup from the talented minds of Cosby, Dodds, and Champion containing all your favorite characters from the authors own respected series. These three well-accomplished authors team up to produce an ambitious novel. At times this story works well and seamlessly provides a world where these superheroes can come together and fight yet falls short to bridge the gap between each story line and harness a collective voice among the numerous characters.
Infinity 7 begins with the rise of a dark power. As the growing threat draws closer to earth the Capes, Majesties and Solar Warriors band together to solve the mystery of their fearsome foe and hold their own against the escalating violence around them.
Those who have read Dodds, Champion, or Cosby’s previous novels will appreciate the crossover character interactions, powerups, fight scenes and the familiar personalities of main characters. I don’t discourage those who have not read all prior books about the Majesties, Capes and Solar Warriors. In fact, I’ve only read Cosby’s novels featuring the Capes but became increasingly curious about the origin story of Solar Warrior and the Majesties. Menzou, in particular, was a standout character in the latter half of the story.
It is safe to say when three separately established narratives come together an overload of characters is bound to happen. Trying to fit every character from every book into one story gave way after only a brief introduction for the main players. And then to add new characters made for an even muddier predicament. The portal jumper Tenan was one of my favorite superheroes, not so much for his abilities (that spot is held by Blurr), but for his evolution as a character. The concept of his being and power capabilities were truly fascinating and a new twist on the typical portal hopping powers. Tenan’s narrative stood out among the others for the creativity and consistency and I applaud the authors for integrating such an engaging plot within an already chaotic universe.
I love a good superhero, sci-fi, adventure series and this book has all the makings to be a good one. My wavering stance is for the lack of world building and character development which had me scratching my head in confusion more than once. Still, I imagine readers who read all former books from the authors’ will greatly enjoy the journey. And semi-new readers such as myself will soon be putting the adventures of the Majesties, Capes and Solar Warriors on their future reading list.
Pages: 421 | ASIN: B07MJ928B8
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
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Rogue Genes, by Jardine Henry Hart tells the tale of Tommy McConachie. Abandoned at birth as a one day old baby at the hospital, he was adopted by nurse Marge and her husband Joe. After her husband died suddenly Marge found herself raising Tommy all alone. As he became a teenager he began to rebel and after spending time in a boy’s detention center he joined the army. After serving time in the Special Service Tommy returned home, but his time in the army had left its impact. When his beloved mother passes away he is intent on seeking revenge.
This book is filled with all things a suspense novel should have; action, suspense, anxiety, surprise, anticipation and of course plot twists.
Rogue Genes has quite a number of characters. The story begins and evolves around Tommy, his mother – Ticker, and his two best friends, Sparrow and BB. The characters are well developed and the relationships are realistic and believable. Soon, other characters are introduced, all with their own unique and interesting stories.
Tommy is portrayed as a strong male character and the reader gets small insights into his past life in the military and the violence he encountered, and hints of the violence in his future. He is an intense and deeply loyal man who is searching for a woman to love and be loved by.
The introduction of such a woman adds interest and direction to the story. Her character is the polar opposite to Tommy and provides a clever contrast. She has had a stable, if not sheltered, childhood. I felt that some of the bizarre coincidences and twists were a little far-fetched. Although these bizarre coincidences are part of the story, at times the intertwining of the relationships becomes almost unbelievable.
Rogue Genes is still a deeply provocative and gripping read. Like all good thrillers there is plenty of action, and the reader is constantly kept guessing. It is ultimately a story of self discovery, and of course, a journey to see if good will eventually overcome evil.
Pages: 308 | ISBN: 1925834409
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
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Antebellum Struggles is told through the eyes of multiple characters whose lives intertwine as a result of slavery in the deep south. We see their varying opinions, experiences and their individual backgrounds that influence their perceptions of the world at present.
Young Amana, from Martinique, a Caribbean island, was born into slavery and was later shipped to a plantation in Louisiana. Colonel Winters, the plantation owner, struggles in his relationship to his wife, Collette, and seeks to fulfill his lust in an affair. Simultaneously, a doctor takes advantage of being admitted to Colonel Winters’ home under dire circumstances.
Throughout the story good intentions are tested and morals are in constant conflict. There is love against lust, an abolitionist receiving money from a slave owner, and deception for personal gain throughout. The book thus serves as an incredibly graphic detailing of society at a time when power and violence ruled by the crack of a whip.
The author, Dickie Erman, is successful at portraying depth to the actions of a distinct variety of characters. The stylistic choices made by the author allows the reader to glimpse a character’s true intentions. For example, the doctor who tries to turn every situation to his advantage despite it being to the detriment of others; where the reader sees the doctor’s thoughts as he tries to manipulate the Colonel.
Dickie Erman delves into the role of power and hierarchy as a means of controlling others, exploring how different characters use their stature to get what they want. Power and stature play large roles in the story, especially in the carrying out of violence. The array of infringements upon victims in the book are often viewed and justified by the characters causing violence or imposing their power. The reader thus watches the mental gymnastics that the perpetrators use with anguish.
Moreover, with such violence presented in the book it is worth noting that the descriptions are gut-churningly graphic, though appropriate in their realism. Due to the nature of the topic, it is difficult to read, however this is not a negative. This author does not hold back on the details of the conditions on a slave ship, nor haphazard medical procedures. The word choice is bold when referring to people as property and mere flesh, as such it is harrowing to read. It is a disturbingly realistic display of slavery at that time.
For some readers who are not used to the style of narrative that Dickie Erman employs, the switching between character viewpoints may make the story difficult to follow. This is especially true for the flashbacks to various characters’ background stories. However, as the reader follows each account of a character’s experiences, the story never loses its natural flow. The technique is appropriately used in the portrayal of each of the characters’ very distinct viewpoints.
Antebellum Struggles is an engaging book that follows a variety of character arcs all intertwined by a plantation in the deep south. Dickie Erman masterfully switches view point and projects distinct character voices. The events of the novel draw the reader into a disturbingly realistic rendition of life in Louisiana at a time when segregation and slavery were common place. The author manages to disclose the gruesome details of what life was really like at such a difficult time.
Pages: 255 | ASIN: B07DFQLL8Q
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: affair, african american, alibris, Antebellum Struggles, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, caribbean, colonel, Dickie Erman, doctor, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, louisana, love, lust, martinique, mystery, nook, novel, plantation, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, slavery, smashwords, south, southern, story, suspense, suspicion, violence, writer, writer community, writing
Why Are These Tragedies Relevant?
The Infinity series follows star crossed lovers through the ages and combines fantasy and historical fiction to breathtaking effect. What served as your inspiration while writing this series?
Most authors will say that their books can be read in any order but they are lying through their teeth. You’ll pick up one book and read 75 spoilers for another. I really hate that. You’ll select a later book and be completely lost while reading as if you’re in a convoluted fog until you eventually give up. My goal with the Infinity series was to create a set of books that could truly stand alone. Every book takes place in an entirely different lifetime. Readers can choose the setting and plot that seems interesting and jump right in without having to work their way down a reading list. You can start the series where ever you want, read just one book or the whole set, and no story will ever spoil another.
Sarah is an amazing and strong character that continued to develop throughout the series. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?
The fantasy genre has a serious deficit of characters of color. Growing up, I was a huge Fear Street fan. I must have read at least forty of these young adult novels. I found one black character out of all the stories and she wasn’t even the main character. She was merely a side note featured in just one book. There were no black people in Middle Earth, no Hispanic archeologists raiding tombs like Indiana Jones, and there were no Asian teens living on Fear Street. I love a badass white man with a sword adventure as much as anyone else and I don’t mind reading my hundredth reluctant to marry white princess story. But there are no words to express how it feels to NEVER be able to read about a character who looks like you. This is especially important for children and young adults who are still unsure of themselves and not quite comfortable in their own skin. Authors should not be sending a message that white is the default setting (nor should we be sending the message that one body type is the default setting). I will never understand how the most imaginative of all the book genres could be so utterly closedminded in regard to the way characters look. Fantasy authors can envision elves, fairies, goblins, and orcs but characters of color are not in the realm of possibilities. I intend to change this with Sarah’s character and many others.
Although the settings changed in each book, you were still able to deliver some outstanding backdrops and characters. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing this series?
The main theme I wanted to express was that love is never easy. While doing research for my Civil War era series I stumbled upon the most stunning love stories I’d ever read and they were all true life events. The one that touched me most was about a former slave man, who I’ll call Jim. His wife and children were still slaves, though he was working tirelessly to earn the money to free them. The plantation master had gotten behind on his taxes and the government was going to seize his property (including slaves) and auction off everything (and everyone) to cover his debts. Jim’s wife wrote him letters in regard to this pending catastrophe. It soon became clear that no matter how hard Jim worked he would never have enough money in time to free them all. He would never see his wife again, they would never see their children again because being sold often meant sold separately. Jim did the only thing he could to save his family. He met with a group of abolitionists and they planned a rescue mission. The mission was foiled by a snitch and Jim died. They found his body with love letters from his wife still in his pocket. His story was no exception. There were many like it. Why are these tragedies relevant? Because love like this is rare in our day and age. Absentee parents have to be forced to pay child support, forced to even visit their kids, while Jim sacrificed everything for his kids. Couples divorce for trivial and absurd reasons, while Jim died with his wife’s letters in his pocket during a battle to the death to save her. I wanted to write a series that reminds my generation that love is never easy but people used to fight for it anyway. Why can’t we?
What is a Medium Adult novel?
Medium Adult Literature is a term I use for books that are more mature and complex than Young Adult novels but not as daunting as a 400-page Adult story. My Medium Adult books are written for people who’ve outgrown Harry Potter and Goosebumps but aren’t ready to dive into Stephen King and Game of Thrones. The romances in my medium adult series are more passionate and involved than a teen book but not as smutty as an adult romance. Sexuality, bad language, and graphic descriptions of violence are dialed back in my medium adult books without making the plot childish and unrelatable. I keep these books short and fun, usually 150-200 pages, an adventure that a busy college student can squeeze into his/her schedule without having to read a children’s book.
With that said… I must warn that the Infinity books are the only ones I’ve written with such restraint. My full adult novels are raw and uncensored beware.
What is one thing you felt the fantasy genre was missing that you wanted to introduce in your series?
PASSION!! I’ve always loved fantasy stories. I am swept off my feet by all the chivalry, action, and supernatural mystique. But the romance in fantasy books leaves me disappointed at worst and underwhelmed at best. The lead characters either can’t stand one another or completely ignore one another for over half the book. When they finally acknowledge their feelings you spend the entire second half of the book waiting for them to act. After reading 400 pages and wasting a week of your life you are rewarded with one measly kiss on the very last page. In traditional fantasy, the action moves fast but the romance moves sloooooooow. My desires for passion, drama, and love led me to historical romance. This turned out to be a mistake. While historical romance books were chock full of passion, drama, and love, I found the plots predictable, unimaginative, and incredibly slow moving. To this day I have never finished a traditional romance novel. I wrote the Infinity series as a hybrid of fantasy and historical romance so readers can enjoy the best of both worlds.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Infinity: Transylvania will be the next installment in print. Matthew and Sarah, are plunged into a world of darkness. Immortal beings with an insatiable hunger for blood rule the night. As a ruthless foreign army threatens to conquer Transylvania, Matthew is forced to choose between watching his kingdom fall, or joining forces with the vampires…
I hope to have it written and submitted for review in December. I can’t give an exact release date because the review process can take weeks or even months but I aim to have Transylvania available for purchase mid-March of 2019. Every book I create endures a rigorous screening process. Only books that receive EXCELLENT reviews from at least three different companies are marked as fit for readers. Novels are judged on many elements, such as plot, characters, dialogue, scenery and accuracy of setting. The purpose of all this reviewing is to provide high-quality stories for an enjoyable reading experience. For a complete list of five-star ratings refer to the Banner of Excellence on each cover.
Literary Titan is always my first stop on the road to a great novel because of the phenomenal work they do. I have trusted them with all my books and it’s been an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Author Links: Barnes & Noble | BookBub | Website
Posted in Interviews
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Kidnapped: A Personal Account of John Doe #2, Oklahoma Bombing, April 19, 1995
This is a personal account of a young women’s journey of being kidnapped and surviving dangerous encounters with this man. Juan Carlos Parraga. From Carlos’s personal connections to El Salvador and his training by Che Guevara as a young boy of fourteen in the jungles of Guatemala. Carlos is a violent man destined to live on the edges of crime and violence. Judith not being allowed to communicate with others lives in silence but is observant of all activities he did around her. Changing her name to save her life and living a secluded life to protect herself from being kidnapped and murdered by Carlos was her life after being his victim. Realization of how dangerous he became was revealed on April 19, 1995, as Judith watched the unfolding and recognition of Juan Carlos Parraga as John Doe #2. Judith turning him into the FBI and letting him go her home in White Rock, British Columbia was arson with the intent to murder her per the RCMP investigation.
Posted in book trailer
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Further Down the Rabbit Hole
Spare No One is a thrilling mystery novel that details a bloody trail leading to a ruthless killer. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
I came up with the initial idea for Spare No One after my criminal law class in which we learned about one’s duty to act (or lack thereof). I’d always wanted to write a murder-mystery, and I felt what l learned in my class was a great way to start the story. I also wanted to write a tale of revenge, which came naturally after I wrote the first chapter. Idea after idea kept popping up as I wrote, and further down the rabbit hole we went. I definitely had a lot of fun writing this story!
What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?
Selfishness is a big theme. Taking someone else’s life is one of the most selfish things someone can do. Unfortunately, as in real life, a lot of the unselfish characters suffer in the story.
Love is another theme, and what it means to truly love someone. What would you do for them? How far would you go? Do we sometimes create an illusion of love in our minds?
I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists develop organically writing?
After I wrote the first chapter, I had a general idea of how I wanted it to end. Right away I thought of one of the bigger twists, which happens toward the end of the story, so I knew where I wanted to go but not exactly how I’d get there. The middle of the book had the most planning and brainstorming. After that, everything came together.
Will this novel be the start of a series or are you working on a different story?
I have ideas for a few different stories that involve some of the surviving characters from Spare No One. I’ve started writing one of those ideas, but it’s lower on my list of priorities behind a sequel to Stalker, My Love, a legal thriller/romance, and a young adult survival story. I would love to write another book in the Spare No One universe. I’ll get there eventually!
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
On her way home from studying for college finals, hardworking Ashley Mercer is attacked and killed outside her apartment complex. Thirteen witnesses to the murder do nothing to save her. Days later, one of the witnesses is found dead .
Detectives Alex Mercer and Samantha Stoll search for the truth behind the witness’s death. However, Alex is Ashley’s brother, and his personal struggles may jeopardize the investigation, while Samantha’s own demons plague her.
As the body count rises, the detectives travel down a path of violence and betrayal, leading them to a killer who will spare no one.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, betrayal, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, crime, detective, ebook, facebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, killer, kindle, kobo, literature, murder, mystery, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, spare no one, story, suspense, thriller, twitter, violence, writer, writer community, writing, zack scott
Darkness in the Mirror
Ondie Reid, a schizophrenic who is finally living a normal, productive life with the help of medication, finds her world once again spiraling out of control when her daughter’s father, whom she is trying to win back, begins sleeping with her younger sister. Original.
Posted in Book Reviews
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Man with the Sand Dollar Face
Man with the Sand Dollar Face, by Sharon CassanoLochman, is a detective-crime thriller novel. The story is centered on Harriet Crumford, who at times also goes by Hattie or Henrietta. She is a 62-year-old woman working as a secretary for a private detective in Crescent City — New Orleans. Shortly into the book an incident takes place, and the action picks up quickly. The book seems to be a mix of feminist and hardboiled noir, and though it struggles in a few places, it reaches a sound level of quality for both.
Harriet Crumford does not seem like a heroic character, at least not in the classical sense of the hero’s story. She is 62-years-old in the story, but little is given about her other than her being a widow. In classic heroic tales, the central character often pushes away from the table — unwilling to take up the heroic cause — due to more pressing, mundane tasks. Eventually, the hero comes to his (frequently it is a ‘his’) senses and begins the hero’s journey. In some ways, this novel is a subversion of the traditional heroic arc — Harriet was the dutiful, longsuffering, strong, silent wife. This provides a strong contrast against her boss, Wallace Woodard, who is philandering to the point that Harriet cannot keep straight who the girlfriend is and who the wife is. Harriet is so given over to subservience, and to old values, that she does not even have a valid driver’s license. Up to the point of this story, she had forsaken the hero’s call for all her life, and once she takes it up, she looks back on her past with pain and sorrow. She then finds within herself, with some assistance, the necessary energy to pursue a mystery to its conclusion. In this way, the text provides those feminist elements through Harriet’s newfound internal strengths.
CassanoLochman attempts to make the novel feel like an old, hardboiled detective novel so much that it strains credulity. The writing, at expertly evokes hard rain, melancholy, brooding, existential pain and anguish typical of hardboiled noir, but then makes a sharp right turn into the “iced coffee with whipped cream and pink sprinkles.” In terms of other characteristics of hardboiled stories, this one fits many of them, but they do sometimes feel forced. In either case, fans of crime fiction will be hard pressed to put the book down.
Overall, the book is certainly a strong read, and contains plenty of action and is recommended. Harriet is an excellent character, not obviously heroic, but willing to take risks. Man with the Sand Dollar Face seems intended for adult audiences, but it is not beyond the reach of younger adults who have an interest in this sort of literature. The book does contain some sexual content (nothing too graphic), definite alcohol and drug use, and more than a little violence.
Pages: 212 | ASIN: B077Y4T192
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: action, adult fiction, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, brooding, crime, crime fiction, detective, ebook, existential, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, hard rain, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, man with the sand dollar face, melancholy, mystery, noir, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, sharon cassanolochman, shelfari, smashwords, story, violence, wife, womens fiction, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult