Isle of Dragons follows a young girl who’s on a quest to free her father from a mythical island and must work with her new friends to make it there alive. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
The original inspiration for me was a girl who leaves her sheltered life to discover a far bigger world than she had previously known. The driving force for her leaving that world became her father, and the characters she meets along the way become the gateway for Jade to expand her knowledge of the world and explore her own identity in ways she never had the opportunity to before.
Jade is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
As I mentioned, the main thrust of her character was leaving her sheltered and stifling environment. She refers to herself by her title of “Jade of House Sol” when she first meets Miria, because a part of her hopes that things can go back to the way they were. At first, she likes to think she’s only a temporary “ex-noble,” but that eventually becomes something she no longer wants to be associated with the longer she is away from that life.
So many parts of her identity were stifled or cut off from Jade in her previous life. And the story is about her learning about those parts of her herself and accepting them. She starts off thinking magic is just a tool she needs to use to survive, but she comes to enjoy it and embrace it as she comes to enjoy life again after leaving her stifling life in the royal court and just surviving while on the run. That’s why Jade calling herself a witch was the final step in her turning away from her old life completely.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The themes of identity and embracing who you are were so central to the story for me. Jade is pressured to conform to the strictures of her society, and she finds herself movir central ng away from that on her journey. Magic represents a sense of connection with the world and each other, which is something that has been lost in the world through the actions of the Vanshian royal court. That’s something she finds through her relationships with Miria Atkins and her family. Jade’s relationship with her father will always be important to her and he functions as her central motivation for finding the Isle, but her family expands throughout the story to include the Atkins family. Miria is also driven by family, and her legacy. As the oldest child she’s had to shoulder the responsibilities of caring for her younger siblings and carrying on her parents legacy, something she feels the pressure to do increasingly throughout the book. Although, she does this through control and anger because she doesn’t feel a sense of control over her own life. Her journey is about gradually learning to let go of the need for control and embracing a sense of connection instead. So, I tried to weave the themes of identity, connection and family together through the magical elements and the characters journeys.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on the second book in the Isle of Dragons series, Isle of Dragons: The Hidden Library. The sequel explores the lore behind the Isle of Dragons as Jade discovers the means to ending King Jarrod’s plan through a library that has remained hidden from humans until now. I plan to release the sequel November this year.
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“Where the hell are you, Gabby?” Is what Caden Cassidy wants to know and Destiny Revisited readers are also asking. It is also what Gabriella Gerard Blair wants to discover.
Floating in the freezing Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ashes, Gabby has no idea why she is at Tybee Beach and who saved her from drowning. It is Sterling Powers, a man from her past, who she turns to for some answers.
What Gabby finds is more questions than any answers. Can Caden convince Gabby that fate has finally allowed them another chance at happiness? What secrets are Sterling keeping from Gabby, and why? Will Jake’s journals be her guidebook to the parallel universe?
Perhaps the answers will finally be found at The Hotel California, in Todos Santos, Mexico when she meets the proprietor, Eleanor Rigby. It is here when Gabby, in desperation, decides to visit a Shaman located at Catamaco, Veracruz, the capital of sorcery.
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Magic, adventure and excitement. That’s what Danny Estes delivers with this novel, Charlotte’s Soul. Our protagonist, Charlotte, is a woman of mysterious origins who is seeking revenge on the one who locked her away. In the beginning, we’re not given a whole lot of information about Charlotte. We know she is a witch and we know she is bent on revenge. We also are aware that she is not quite from the era the book takes place in. Even the mention of her stay in a mental health unit leads the reader to believe that perhaps Charlotte is not of her right mind. However, all of this is blown away when Charlotte links up with detective Matt Huston and dazzles us with displays of her power. She is not an ill individual with delusions of grandeur, she is a powerful woman who is about to bring hell to those who have wronged her. Will Charlotte achieve her wildest dream?
Estes has crafted Charlotte to be a powerful example of femininity and sultry desires. She is a woman and she will use whatever tools she has at her disposal to get what she wants. This includes her body. While this may seem like a stereotypical example of a woman using herself, it ties in to Charlotte’s past and the events that have led up to the present in our story. Estes is no stranger to including sexual scenes in his books, however he is very adept at making these scenes flow with a sense of beauty. Unless called for, there is nothing crude about these acts in his novels.
While there could be some better editing in this novel, the overall story is articulately pieced together without fraying at the edges. There are some spelling mistakes, some blatant miswords that could have been corrected with a thorough read through by a third party. The story does not suffer for it, however, as these issues are few and far between.
Estes flexes his creativity with descriptions of magic and scenery in this colorful world. While explaining the system of magic, the reader can tell that Estes put thought into it. Research was most likely done when using examples that readers might be familiar with, like voodoo, so that it is as believable as possible. The magic scenes of action are not so overblown that it is obvious that this is a fantasy tale, rather they are realistically described in a fashion that if you met someone who claimed to be a witch after reading this story, you might just believe them.
Danny Estes is no stranger to the world of magic and adventure. His worlds expand and become more and more intricate as he hones his craft. Charlotte’s Soul is another feather in his cap of excellence. The shortened chapters make this an easy read and the pace demands that you read it in one sitting: it is almost impossible to put it down. Readers will become attached to Matt and Charlotte, wondering if either will achieve what they are looking for. Even as the tale wraps up nicely and Estes is about to put the bow on top, we’re left wondering if we’ll see more of Charlotte again. Honestly, this feisty witch could grace another novel for us any day.
Pages: 297 | ASIN: B00PZYYNKO
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William Burke’s Voodoo Child is an engaging, if not slightly creepy, adventure to a tropical island plagued by greed, witchcraft and humanity. With Maggie Child as our main character, this strong female lead finds her life turned upside down when a tour in Iraq ends up landing her in a research facility. After undergoing an intense experiment it’s her wits and savvy that spring her, and fellow captive Glen Logan, from their captors. Using her family connections Maggie ends up bringing Glen along for the ride as they escape to the Caribbean Island of Fantomas. Neither of them is prepared for what lies ahead. The island has descended into chaos thanks to the joining of a money-hungry woman and one of the strongest spirits in Voodoo lore. This isn’t a tropical vacation that will leave you with a tan. You’ll be lucky to leave with your body intact.
Don’t let the eighty-four-chapter count intimidate you. Many of the chapters are short, carrying important information in succinct little pages. Burke knows how to engage his audience as his cast of strong female leads aren’t ready to lay down and accept their fate. Maggie, Sarafina and Lavonia are the three main characters of this tale and they couldn’t be more different from each other. On one hand you’ve got Maggie, who is an army chopper pilot who isn’t afraid of anything and not about to take sass. Sarafina is the lovely Voodoo priestess who has inherited her title at a young age, but don’t let her youth fool you. Lavonia is a greedy former beauty queen looking to make a fast buck and is ill-prepared to deal with the consequences of her desires. These three cross paths in the most interesting of ways on the small island of Fantomas. Burke weaves his tale and captivates his audience with ease.
Voodoo Child is the first book in a series and it does an excellent job of setting the stage for the story to come. The first volume can make or break a series and Burke seems to understand that as he lays out the world in which his characters live. The relevant characters have their back stories tenderly flushed out and the basics of Voodoo, which is an obvious major part of the tale, are carefully explained. Since Voodoo is a real religion Burke must have had to research and ensure that what he is portraying in his story is correct. The care in which he takes in explaining the various rituals reveal that he did indeed do more than spend five minutes Googling the subject.
If the chapter count hasn’t scared you off you’ll find yourself entangled in a mess of zombies, arrogant humans and spiteful spirits out to take what is theirs. The chaos has meaning and while there are horrific moments in the story none of them feel overdone or out of place. If horror stories are your thing, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for within the pages of Voodoo Child.
Pages: 333 | ASIN: B01H9E4HDA
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