Evil is everywhere. The one place we expect to be free of it is in our dreams, but even those are sometimes not free from the grip of terror and the foreboding sense of impending doom. Men and women are waking in cold sweats and glancing about in a feverish daze trying to convince themselves that it was just that–a dream. The most amazing and terrifying part of it all? These men and women cannot free themselves from these larger-than-life nightmares–and they are having identical experiences. Their sleep is no longer safe and their dreams are certainly not their own.
The Henna Witch, by G.J. Scherzinger, is the enthralling account of Ashia Verena’s mission to defeat a sorceress invading dreams and creating a long path of terror among mortals. Ashia, with a massive task in front of her, sets out to do what no other Guardian can. She isn’t alone on her mission, however, and finds herself facing the task of hosting a young girl on a mission all her own.
Scherzinger writes beautifully with vivid imagery and creates details that lead the reader on a fantastic visual journey. What we, as readers, are not able to conjure, Scherzinger lays out masterfully before us. Where some authors of this genre lean toward flowery language, Scherzinger manages to keep his narrative straightforward and simultaneously descriptive and elegant.
As a reader who is more interested in the relationships between characters, I am pleased with Scherzinger’s approach to writing. The Henna Witch is filled with rich dialogue between characters. The author includes dialects that give his characters an added appeal and make it even more likely readers will become lost in the plot.
I have to note that there were times throughout the book that Hansel and Gretel came to mind. For some reason, the imagery conjured by Scherzinger brings about the dark feel of the age old fairy tale–definitely not a bad thing at all for this fan of grim tales.
Yet another plus to The Henna Witch is the length of chapters. Scherzinger keeps his chapters concise and brings each one to a fitting end that urges the reader on to the next. The book is overall a quick read and difficult to put down.
The budding friendship between Ashia and O’la is a precious thing. As their travel ensues, Ashia attempts to be both a mentor and a protector. The two grow closer and Ashia shows O’la how to live off the land and become more in tune with the animals. I enjoyed being able to see Ashia’s thoughts as she observes the fruits of her labor with O’la. Her own desire to not mother her too much is relatable.
The Henna Witch is easily one of the most engaging books in the witchcraft/fantasy genre I have encountered. With a surprisingly relatable cast of characters and an engaging and fascinating plot surrounding the phenomenon of dreams, it will appeal to readers across genres.
Pages: 235 | ASIN: B07MHZQLND
Cycles of the Phoenix is a series of three books by C. A. Nicholas including Sanity’s War, Strange and Kaya: Where Have You Been. All stories that explore the human condition. The stories told by the author are sad and exciting in equal measure. They deliver different emotions for the reader at different turns. These are unique stories told sincerely and from a provocative perspective by a father and daughter duo.
The stories touch on impassioned emotions such as betrayal, sexual abuse, trauma, mental illness, and violence. These ideas are captured by the humanity of the characters in the story, and shows how people hide behind facades and smile through the pain. The stories are told with an easy but expressive voice, making it feel as though each character was created as a metaphor with the intention of provoking thought. These stories took me a while to figure out. However, when I did I appreciated the nuances as well as the spirit of the prose.
Cycles of the Phoenix is not the kind of book you read as you wait for your coffee order. This book feels like it has a mind of its own. It feels like the characters are driving the story. Like C. A. Nicholas was merely the vessel for the story. The characters and the stories each have different voices. It feels like the author is constantly changing tack. There is so much emotion tucked in every line. This book is not afraid to delve right into the pits of human turmoil. It is the kind of book that goes as deep and as far as it needs to.
You may find yourself having trouble going past the first chapter. However, the further you go the more rewarded you will be by this strange but brilliant literary experience that hurdles you along an emotional roller-coaster. Take your time with this novel, and you will love it.
Pages: 306 | ASIN: B07RKSD7L8
Endless Incarnation Sorrows: A Spiritual Odyssey of Mortal Imprints on Earth is inspired by a true story. The reader gets to experience life through riveting main characters whose distinct roles are revealed one by one. Lala, daughter of Rebekah bas Sora, and Hassam, son of Mohammed el-Din, gets to, unfortunately, undergo suffering due to the sins committed by her mother. Lyveva, a lovable character who enjoyed good relationships, battles abductors, arises victorious and gets to be recognized as a solid healer. The other main character was Lucja, who I was easily able to empathize with. The story of Lucja is mostly told from an enclosed Auschwitz. This place smells of slavery and dissoluteness. Every character was distinct and allowed me to view the story from different angles.
The story is narrated throughout different years and I like how well-defined life was for each of the generations, and how the reader can easily notice the differences. Lala was an unlucky character. Her birth was considered ill-fated since Rebekah, her mother had an atrocious union. It is such a disgrace that some women in the book had to suffer for things that were considered sins. Lala was born in the deserts of Judea and experiences some extreme struggles. Through the lives of such women, the author shows us how unfair life can be and how women endure affliction just to exist. The stories about the women are melancholic and somber, but their resilience inspires hope.
The author narrates every historical tale with ease, giving credence to the impression of a true story. Lucia Mann’s style of description is fluid and rich and engages the reader throughout the narration. Lucy Mann is able to make the reader pause and reflect with some dramatic and emotional turn of events. She takes you through extreme experiences and makes one understand that life can be complex sometimes. I loved reading the thought-provoking parts of the book as they helped me view life as it is in a different cultures. Reincarnation is a major topic in the book, and the exploration will make you question life as it is and the purpose of living.
Endless Incarnation Sorrows: A Spiritual Odyssey of Mortal Imprints on Earth is an excellent book for readers that love engaging literature possessing depth and intelligence. The conversations in the book are fresh, the lessons immense, and we see how women can be superhuman.
Pages: 255 | ASIN: B08222HXKQ
Realm follows young Roxanna as she becomes the wife of Alexander the Great and is swept away by history. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional story?
I have wanted to write her story since I was sixteen and first saw Roxana mentioned in a history book about Alexander the Great. A professed history geek, Alexander has always fascinated me, but it was her story I wanted to tell. She lived beyond him, saw the breakdown of power, and in the end was a victim of his conquests and fame. She was forgotten by history, but I believe her role in his life, and the war of the generals, was important. I wanted people to know that Alexander was married to a woman who I am sure had to have remarkable fortitude and courage to not only travel with his army, but survive his generals.
Roxana is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with her character?
She developed out of years of study of Alexander. This was a man who had women, the powerful daughters of kings, diplomats, and wealthy men, thrown at him, but he never married any of them. He took the hand the daughter of a mere chieftain, and instead of setting her up in a palace, as was the custom, Alexander took her with him across the world. I wanted to highlight her strength and intelligence, qualities he must have admired, but also show her powerlessness in a world where women had no voice. She must have been frustrated at not being recognized because of her sex, but I wanted her to rise above her limitations and influence the most powerful man in the world. I do not subscribe to the fact that she was a non-essential wife as many historians believe. I wanted to make her a unique woman who could have changed the course of history.
I enjoyed the portrayal of Roxana and Alexander’s relationship. Was their relationship planned or did it develop organically while writing?
The ups and downs in their relationship were built around the history of his campaigns, and how hard it must have been for her as a woman loving a man and competing with his army, his generals, and his other lovers. I also had to factor in how women were treated in ancient Greece, along with Alexander’s great respect for women. The rest developed organically, but like any relationship that goes through great hurdles it either gets stronger or falls apart. I like to believe theirs got stronger. After all, Alexander died when she was seven months pregnant with his only heir. It was also nine months after the death of his dear friend Hephaestion. For me, it was obvious he turned to her in his grief, and that told me a great deal about where they were at his end.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel is a thriller and the first in a new series, called The Secret Brokers. It is about Dallas August, a man who runs an organization of elite spies for hire who steal secrets and sells them to the highest bidder. He is blackmailed into going on a mission to steal an important secret from an unsuspecting woman and ends up in the middle of a war between two powerful kingpins. The Secret Brokers releases 4/7/2020.
A WOMAN UNLIKE ANY OTHER, SHE WILL CONQUER THE UNCONQUERABLE AND BE LOVED BY A MAN WHO IS WORSHIPPED AS A GOD.
Based on a true story.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain–is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.
Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
Experiment X: Revolt finds Dr. Thaddeus bombing landmarks and vilifying Karen and her friends. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books?
I simply wanted the battle to move outside of the Lab and to show how easily war can appear in someone’s backyard. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but it could.
Karen’s narration was exceptional in exploring the anxieties and discomfort she felt. What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer in this book?
First off, thank you. So, you know when Tony Stark has a panic attack and he has to deal with anxiety? Well, for some reason, seeing a super hero go through this helped me a lot with my own struggles. I wanted to give my readers the same thing. Knowing that having anxieties, fears, discomforts, etc. doesn’t make you weak can be a powerful thing. If these super soldiers can feel this, then why can’t you or I, right?
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
I wanted to keep it as realistic as I could. This isn’t a story that’s meant to be set in the future, but the present. It’s merely the beginning of a potential dystopia, a sci-fi world placed directly into our own.
What plans do you have for the series in book four of your Experiment X series?
There is no book four as of yet. However! There will be a prequel trilogy to the series told from Jack’s point of view. This trilogy starts when Jack is about eighteen, and it dives deeper into the horrors of the Lab. You’ll also learn things about the Subjects that they don’t talk about in the original trilogy. Plus, you’ll get to meet more Subjects from Experiment A.
Nothing will stop Karen Turner this time. Doctor James Thaddeus is attacking her once peaceful hometown; he’s bombing beloved landmarks, killing hundreds of innocent people, and smearing the names of Karen and her friends. Karen now has complete control over her Fire Element powers, and she is more determined than ever to burn the infamous Lab to the ground once and for all!
Jack Cortex, her best friend and mentor, once again steps up to the plate, splitting a large group of the super-powered Subjects into teams with a plan to finally gain their freedom—and keep it. Karen knows that if the Lab—and Thaddeus—aren’t destroyed for good this time, the other Subjects of the Experiments will continue to be abused and tortured until they take their last breaths. Doctor Thaddeus thinks he’s safe, but she’s coming for him.
Not everyone will make it out alive.
The hunter will become the prey.
Not Dead starts with the abduction of a little girl but slowly builds into something more ominous. How did this idea for the novel start and change while writing?
The doll on the cover exists. It’s sold as a prop for Halloween houses. Several years ago, the picture of the doll standing in a decrepit, ramshackle room was the subject for a short story contest. Intrigued by the image, I entered the contest. While the doll was designed to frighten, I wanted a different twist. That’s how NOT DEAD got started. The original story was 500 words, and the title was Not Dead, Not Dead. I won third place. And, that’s all it took to get me hooked on writing.
I have always wanted to go back to that first story and turn it into a full-length novel. With the foundation of the plot in place, it was perfect for the expansion of the characters, location, and the dolls.
I felt that the mystery and intrigue was built exceptionally well in this novel. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this book?
I enjoy creating a plot with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing, right up to the last page.
This novel highlights how difficult it can be to lose someone. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this novel?
I’m not certain there were any themes. It’s more my law enforcement experience and knowledge that add realism to my plots and characters. As a cop, children were the best and worst of my experiences.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
NOT DEAD is a deviation from my FBI Tracker novels. For the next book, I am back with the Tracker team in high gear as they deal with espionage and murder. I don’t have a title yet as my titles are inspired by a phrase or idea in the plot. So far, inspiration hasn’t struck, and the file is still titled—no name. My goal is to have it ready to publish by late spring/2020.
A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.
Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.
When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.
As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.
This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: anita dickason, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, crime, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, not dead, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
The Adventures of Jules Khan – A Teenage Muslim Superhero introduces a new superhero that changes how teens & adults consume faith, fiction & entertainment. What was your inspiration for this idea?
Almighty God and teenagers are the inspiration…
‘Bring the lost souls to me…through youth entertainment’ seemed to be the inspiring message I was imagining…
As I began writing I was sipping on Starbucks Christmas Blonde Coffee ( that’s where the idea of a Blonde blue eyed Muslim Superhero was conceived – can you imagine? ) located on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, I would happily visualize teenagers across USA and the world gathered together reading ‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ as they busily chewed pink bubble gum, smiling, laughing and thoroughly enjoying reading the comic book or paperback or watching the movie or playing the Electronic Arts game of Angelina, Boris and Jules getting chased relentlessly while searching world Museum’s for clues…
Jules Khan is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that drove the character development?
A modern day blonde blue eyed teenage muslim superhero – who would accept that? Changing the judgement narrative was one idea…Is Jules Khan the next new Avenger in the Marvel series or a Superhero in the mega entertainment world? Could he bring a ‘cool’ factor to young Muslims, Jewish, Christians and all faiths? I am hoping so…Could the characters in the book be as slick as the characters in a Hugo Boss commercial? So many ideas….
This book did a great job of blending faith with modern action comics. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your book?
Theme number uno: Marvel Studios crashes into the 3 monotheistic faiths was a main theme that would appeal to teenagers and adults; maybe a theme creation of a new acceptable way to learn more about other cultures and faiths in a safe, fun, entertaining and modern non-judgemental environment…
What is the next project that you are working on and when will it be available?
The Comic Books, The graphic novel, the adult novel, the movie, the electronic games, the merchandise…so much to do and so little time….
Somehow after receiving a winner recognition through the Canada Book Awards 2019; New York City Big Book Awards’ for young adult fiction – Distinguished Favorite 2019 recognition, Literary Titan Gold Medal Book Award plus between 4 and 5 star reviews it has given me the confidence to develop
‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ from a simple commitment of a book into keeping this amazing project under development into the future…
The Comic book should be out in 2020…
New York City Big Book Awards’
What would you do if you held the power to help the entire world? It sounds intimidating, but one teenager, Jules Khan, embraces his destiny for the good of all mankind and all faiths. Jules takes you on a narrative adventure that spans the globe, which is already raging from WWII, racing against the evil National Weapons Association and their followers. With Mother Nature given superpowers and some surprising and formidable friends, can Jules find out the truth about his family and his future in time to save the world?
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A Teenage Muslim Superhero, action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Karim Kassamali Devji, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, The Adventures of Jules Khan, writer, writing, young adult
In Dark Times Michael Gerhartz explores the delicate yet sadly relevant organ trade problem. In this fascinating novel readers get a glance into the complicated and cruel organ trade business. The narrative is constantly changing its perspective, from the lucky recipient to the doomed donor while following the incredible adventures of the engrossing main character, Natascha.
Michael Gerhartz creates a globe-trotting and energetic crime drama that is full of unexpected twists and deadlt turns. I felt that there was a focus on painting the bigger picture while discounting the details. The overall plot was engaging and stimulating, but at times I felt like the characters were acting against their own principles because a certain act was required to propel the plot. While Natascha was a stand out character to me, she was so well constructed that other characters felt underdeveloped in comparison. The personality that is exhibited by the characters is exceptional and authentic but I wanted to see more of it. This story reminds me of Pulp Fiction, where many smaller plots and character stories all interweave to make one complex story. Although this keeps the tension high and kept me flipping pages, it could be hard to follow at times. I enjoyed the way in which the author portrays security companies and the human face he gives to people working in Masad.
I can confidently say that I had a great time reading Dark Times by Michael gerhartz. The story is perfect for readers who like to follow clues to solve intriguing mysteries. Dark Times reminds me of Tom Clany’s Jack Ryan where agents embark on clandestine and deadly missions to overcome a terror menacing the world. Perfect for readers who embrace a bit of romance in their action adventure stories.
Pages: 738 | ASIN: B07MTQ9YWC
The Wrath of Leviathan is the second book in the BetterWorld Trilogy. In this book, the T.C. Weber artistically creates characters that are both enchanting and entertaining. The reader follows through the trials and tribulations of characters who, despite the evil of the world, fight to make things right. One is taken through insane and sometimes creepy locations that require the characters to be intelligent, keen on their surroundings and witty to survive. The Wrath of Leviathan covers various themes that are relevant in the real world. Political wars, state prisoners, cyber-crime, government relations, family and freedom are some of the major themes in the book. The pros and cons of technology unfold in the story as we follow characters who use their power to manipulate situations.
The reader experiences the turmoil and chaos created by individuals whose greed only gets crushed by people who have a conscience. Waylee Freid is in custody for acts the U.S government considers crimes. The good lady is charged with conspiracy, fraud, theft, assault, trespassing, and cyber crimes among many other offenses. I like how the author developed Waylee. Even with the alleged crimes, Waylee came out as a character whose aggression was necessary for her survival. Waylee was imprisoned in Sao Paolo, Brazil by the U.S government, something that bothered her sister Kiyoko. I liked Kiyoko as a character because of how passionate she was about the causes she cared about. Miranda Rossi’s character was too real, I could not picture her in any other role other than the Sao Paulo Bureau Chief, Department for Human Rights and Social Affairs. She understood her job and tried to be courteous every time.
The Wrath of Leviathan is packed with blustering adventure. Kiyoko and her squad were my favorite. Their dedication to fighting evil, and exposing and destroying MediaCorp’s plan to take over the world made the group easy to empathize with and root for. MediaCorp is almost the cliched villainous corporation with dangerous intentions and malign motivations. The yin and yang between MediaCorp and Kiyoko’s team is starkly drawn and I appreciated how easily it was to align with these characters.
I was thoroughly entertained following this inviting tale that engagingly handles trade agreements among countries, political affiliations, government operations, the lives of activists and hackers, and rebellion. T.C. Weber makes every piece of the story exhilarating as he pits well developed characters against well developed gambits. One constant thing throughout the book was the continuous action that was smartly placed to keep the story moving. Every new chapter unveils something new about the characters and a new twist to the story. I recommend The Wrath of Leviathan to readers who enjoy thrillers, cyberpunk science fiction and adventure books.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B07GJVHMQS
What Happened to Joe French? is a novella written by Hector Rodriguez that follows the winding story of Joe French, a man who lives his life by impersonating, lying, stealing, and creating cons at every turn. The text opens with the mention of a puzzle hidden in the pages of the story, with a prize of 33 gold ingots. After that attention grabber, the story begins with a young man named Daniel describing his limited experiences with Joe, an older man that Daniel would often see at the family bar. When Daniel receives a package years later with 33 gold ingots and a letter from Joe, Daniel does his best to narrate how Joe came to receive the package and where Joe is hiding now. After this information is set, the story follows Joe from a third person view and plays through his story, most of which occurred in the US military. You’ll have to read to the end if you want to know how Joe scrapes his way through situations and problems of his own creation.
What Happened to Joe French? is entertaining in it’s unique ability to create curious, compelling and sometimes amusing situations. Joe has many close encounters with famous people of the early 1960’s, which gives this novel some star power and Hollywood intrigue. He even spends a good amount of time convincing people that he is Otis Redding, which he uses to his advantage enough to make it into the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago.
While I thought the story was entertaining and I enjoyed following Joe through his misadventures and his near escapes, I felt that Joe had no good motivation for what he was doing in the story. I didn’t feel like there was a potent reason for the lies and the thievery. There is a couple mentions of a lost chance at love, but it does not feel connected enough to the plot.
As for the puzzle that is hidden in the pages, I have to admit that, while I definitely located a few of them, I was not able to find all of them, and some I wasn’t even sure were clues. For example, there is a mention of “Coca-a-cola”, which has an added “a” in the middle. Is this a clue, or just a spelling error? There’s no way to know! It all just adds to the fun of the novel, which if I had to sum up this novel in one word it would be just that, fun.
Pages: 142 | ISBN: 1684701856