In the wild Australian Outback, Justin Fielding seeks to find his destiny. A young artist on the cusp of manhood, Justin wrestles with uncertainty as he attempts to balance his dreams to become an artist with his family’s expectations of him. Searching far and wide to find himself, Justin explores the mysterious Australian Northern Territory, taking odd jobs as he continues to improve his artistic skills. Intrigue and secrets abound wherever Justin goes, from the isolated cattle stations to the urban centers. As Justin fights to pursue his dreams, dangers surround the young man, as well as a whisper of a possible romance. Can Justin hope to discover his place in the world and choose his own destiny, or will he forever lose all that is truly important?
Justin’s Quest by Winsome Board, book two of the Shangri-La Trilogy, is an engaging adventure steeped in Australian culture. Although this is the middle of a trilogy, this tale stands on its own without the reader feeling a loss of context. Board includes a wealth of information about the Aboriginal history of Australia, as well as the complex lives of those with Aboriginal heritage as they fight to balance the values of their culture in an ever-shifting modern society. Justin’s struggle to learn more about his heritage was real and spoke volumes to my heart. In fact, the story, written in the style of a diary, was so incredibly realistic that I felt as if I was actually reading the journal of an aspiring young artist.
Board does not shy away from heavy themes such as domestic violence and addiction in this somber narrative as the history and culture of Australia are explored. Written as an actual diary account, there are many loose ends and mysteries that may never be solved and motivations that will forever remain unclear. There are a few moments of implied intimacy, but these are handled with discretion as Justin fights to understand his own heart. Finally, the deep story comes to an ending that, while not entirely conclusive, leaves the reader perfectly satisfied and curious about what book three will hold.
Justin’s Quest is deep and rich in cultural awareness and is an excellent find for readers who enjoy adventures in world history. Containing violence, language, drug references, and mention of domestic abuse, this story is perfect for mature readers looking to expand their literary horizons. A deeply touching tale of self-discovery in a dangerous and confusing world, Justin’s Quest is an engrossing journal-style narrative unlike any other.
Pages: 140 | ASIN : B0BYPCQB78
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, coming of age, ebook, fiction, goodreads, indie author, Justin's Quest, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, Winsome Board, writer, writing, YA Fiction, young adult
It is the year 3120, and humans have entered the world of intergalactic travel and commerce. The Milky Way has become a battle zone for resources between all the different alien races that reside there. With a new power source discovered, it is a race to see what race will control it, giving them the upper hand to control the direction of the galaxy. Can humans win the race? What will it take to get the job done and gain control of this new resource?
Author Aaron Walker Sr.’s Cargo 3120: Ties that Bind is an excellent science fiction adventure. Set in the distant future, the spirited members of the outlaw group, Raven Squad, find themselves in the middle of a heist gone wrong that could have implications for the future of the entire galaxy. Led by the imposing Marcus La’Dek, Raven Squad comprises sci-fi mainstays; the hotshot upstart, a cocky explosives expert, a brutish heavy gunner, and a brilliant hacker. Walker Sr. breaks some molds with the situations he puts his characters into, primarily by showing the devastating consequences of their actions.
At times, Cargo 3120 feels more like a crime drama than a sci-fi novel. There’s plenty of scheming, backstabbing, and betrayals. However, Marcus’s crew is brave and ambitious, often to a fault. The story takes a lengthy, albeit necessary, detour depicting a miserable stint in a galactic penitentiary. La’Dek is sent there for his past actions and the actions of his crew. Once “reformed,” Marcus is put into the unenviable position of choosing between his squad and his family. The author makes the situation work as La’Dek struggles to deal with the “ties that bind.”
Walker Sr. does an excellent job of building a vibrant world. The varying factions and syndicates of the Interstellar League of Planets are fleshed out and feel like real organizations. I like how the author presents a “real” fictional history for his future world. Also, the science fiction elements aren’t too far out there, allowing the reader to enjoy Marcus’s and the other characters’ journeys.
Cargo 3120: Ties that Bind is a riveting science fiction adventure that takes space opera fans into the world they love and gives them new villains and battles to follow along with. This remarkable story is sure to be the start of a captivating and engaging series that will garner the love of old and new sci-fi fans alike.
Pages: 263 | ASIN : B09B8454KV
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: Aaron Walker Sr., alien, author, Black and African American Sci Fi, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Cargo 3120, ebook, fiction, goodreads, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, sci fi, science fiction, space exploration, space fleet, space opera, story, teen, writer, writing, young adult
Erift’s Journeys: The Dark Messengers
After more than a year since their journey to the Sealed Forest, Joseph, and Eric, who were about to head off to college, were suddenly brought to another adventure. The best friends were called by Professor Ben, and during their travel from home to the Murean Islands, they were met with supernatural challenges. Unfortunately, things got even more chaotic when they arrived on the island. New enemies started emerging, bringing more conflict to the three, and a foe from the past took this time to announce their return. In this sequel to Secrets of The Sealed Forest, the boys are once again pushed to their limits and, with their friends’ help, must do everything they can to go home to live the peaceful lives they strived for.
Erift’s Journeys: The Dark Messengers by J.T. Tenera is a new compelling narrative that brings back Joseph and Eric, two memorable characters, and pulls them back into the world of fantasy and magic. We see how much the two have grown in terms of their relationship and powers, which they execute particularly in the book’s first half. As for the main character’s personal journey, the author should be applauded for making them human despite all that is happening around them. It is essential to keep in mind that Joseph and Eric are still trying to figure themselves out, have internal conflicts of their own, and are also on a path toward self-actualization. Knowing these about them had me rooting for their success even more, so they can go home and fulfill their individual dreams.
True to their characters, the funny, quick, and unnecessary banters stayed even during the fight scenes, reminding us once again that this book is humorous as it is riveting, keeping readers invested in going through the pages. The other side characters were a welcome addition to the mix, both friends and foes, giving a fresh take to the setting of the previous book.
The second book from Erift’s Journeys is a gripping coming-of-age fantasy novel that teens and young adults will love. I would recommend this for high school students, for I believe the main characters’ language and their penchant for fun despite hard times would resonate with them.
Pages: 435 | ASIN : B0BR4JZT9R
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, childrens fiction, coming of age, ebook, Erift's Journeys: The Dark Messengers, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, indie author, J.T. Tenera, kindle, kobo, literature, magic, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, sword and sorcery, teen, writer, writing, YA Action and adventure, ya fantasy, young adult
Coyote by Ashley Brandt explores the centuries-old Navajo legend of Ma’ii. Raven Thatcher is an 18-year-old shapeshifter coyote in Maine who assumes a new position as the pack’s warrior. During her first night of duty, she is attacked by her feral boyfriend, Jonathan, and unexpectedly reduced by a stranger, with whom she immediately becomes infatuated.
Raven finds herself faced with the choice of either becoming the pack’s warrior or living as a passive housewife. She must make difficult choices, which leads to leading her pack toward justice while becoming entangled in a web of murder, intrigue, revenge, and deception. The author does an exceptional job of weaving suspense and mystery into a story that centers around elements of the Ma’ii and the power of perseverance. Raven becomes the only female graduate of the beta pack while learning to embrace a new phase of life.
I found the story riveting, including Raven’s journey and personal development. The book is a definite page-turner and captures the reader’s attention with vivid description and character development. Brandt expertly brings subtle elements of eroticism and fantasy fiction that are ideal for fans of adult fiction and fantasy themes. The story is set in the 2000s in Maine, with solid visual descriptions of villagers and communities. Raven must challenge her potential as a typical housewife and embrace a liberating path in leadership.
Coyote by Ashley Brandt is a fantastic story about a strong-willed woman and a fierce warrior. It’s a fast-paced, light read that’s perfect for anyone who enjoys a thrilling dark fantasy novel with a strong female protagonist.
ASIN B0BK9T7T21 | Pages: 183
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: Ashley Brandt, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Coyote, dark fantasy, ebook, fantasy, fantasy romance, goodreads, horror, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, teen fiction, thriller novel, writer, writing, ya books, young adult
Stories Featuring Diversity
Song of the Sea follows a young mermaid princess who rescues a human prince and together they try to save their kingdoms from evil. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
I hoped to write a story featuring disability representation and introduce characters who are often overlooked in literature. Therefore, the story, while a fantasy, explores the importance of every individual and the potential that so many people have to offer the world. Being blind myself, I love any stories featuring diversity, and there is simply not enough of that representation, particularly in the fairy tale genre.
What character did you enjoy writing for? Was there one that was more challenging to write for?
My favorite character to write was Prince Reginald. He holds a very special place in my heart. I love his determination, his inner struggles and his ultimate heroism when he is finally able to take a stand for justice. I also had tremendous fun with the character Glissando because he is multi-layered and, to my mind, complex in his own way.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I explored the theme of leadership and what makes an effective ruler through this retelling. With the political upheaval in our society, Song of the Sea was a cathartic writing experience for me and enabled me to sort through some current events that have made me ponder an individual’s role and the role of our leaders in society.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a book entitled Wind Charmer. I hope to have it published early in 2024.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: adventure, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fairy tale, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, Meredith Leigh Burton, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, Song of the Sea, story, writer, writing, ya books, young adult
I Need a Hero – Book Trailer
While salvaging equipment in the Arizona desert, Commander Charlie Jackson receives orders from Space Command to take his crew and the Perseus, a low-orbit repair unit, to the Strivo Corridor to destroy the supply lines feeding the latest Obsidian invasion. Charlie and his brother and third-in-command, Jacob, also receive a mysterious second mission.
Despite his wife Maddie’s objections and the fact that he is nearing retirement, Charlie accepts the mission. With the Obsidians one step ahead and the possibility of never returning home, the crew of the Perseus takes on the monumental task. Additionally, Charlie finds himself making enemies left and right-including Space Command.
Secrets from Maddie’s past are also brought to light, and the rewards on her head soon rival those on the Perseus. She is now alone and on the run, and Charlie, who is lightyears away, must find a way to return to Earth to rescue her and be the hero he’s always wanted to be for her.
Posted in book trailer
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Music Is A Universal Language
I Need a Hero follows a space captain and his crew who are sent on a secret mission to stop a deadly force while back home his wife’s life is in danger. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
When my children were young, I would sing them a bedtime story, then share with them a story based on what I envisioned while listening to the words and hearing the harmony, beat, tenor, and feeling of the song. With encouragement from my wife, I wrote one of these stories for our future grandchildren.
Thumbing through my son’s playlist, I found “Something Like This”, written by Drew Taggart, and performed by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay. I NEED A HERO is the story I heard after listening to the song. An interview Drew Taggart gave concerning depression inspired Jacob’s character in the book in part.
Bonnie Tyler’s rendition of the song, Holding Out For a Hero inspired the conclusion of the book, co-written by Jim Steinman. An article I read on No Words, No Song about Holding Out For A Hero started by concluding that no woman has ever written about “holding out for a shy, slightly introverted, music-obsessed accountant”. I loved that quote. What Bonnie Tyler establishes are qualities which a hero should have: morality, strength, power, and compassion.
I NEED A HERO is the first of the series I have written. Each of the books continues the saga with a minor shift in emphasis. There are many underlying storylines in I NEED A HERO, but the major theme of the first book focuses on one primordial need. Most men have a desire to be the hero of their significant other. In a world of equality and independence, and gender neutrality, many men lose their sense of importance and purpose, their desire to be someone’s hero.
Did you plan the tone and direction of the novel before writing or did it come out organically as you were writing?
The music sets the tone for the book. Music is a universal language that transcends nationality. Most of the western world deems the metric system the most logical means to understand numbers and measurements and is the numerical system used by science. Music is still based on whole notes, quarters, eighths, and sixteenths. The imperial system matches the beat of our hearts and can convey emotions understood and recognized by all.
Besides supplying the storyline, the music also set the tone.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I have already mentioned the need many men have of wanting to be their significant other’s hero. Other themes which are developed over the series concern morality, strength, power, compassion, depression, jealousy, anger, and the tension which couples often must learn to deal with.
Another theme which I play with is the concept of euhemerism, the belief that all mythology is based on historical events, and etiological theory uses these explanations for why something is the way it is today. While I NEED A HERO is not suggesting an alternate history for humanity, it is suggesting that much of the history of humanity is unknown.
Is this the first book in the series? If so, when is the next book coming out and what can your fans expect in the next story?
Yes, I am writing Book Five in the HERO series, THE PROTECTOR, and editing Book Two, FEEL THE THUNDER, which I hope to release early in 2024. While not wanting to offer any spoilers to the next book in the series, the adventure continues and is full of surprises.
As we follow our favorite characters, I also introduce new characters. Some characters we already know become more important as they come into their own. As the series progresses, we draw closer to learning who the real antagonist is.
Posted in Interviews
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I Need a Hero
Ron Clamp’s I Need a Hero is an exquisitely crafted literary masterpiece that blends romance, fantasy, and sci-fi elements in a truly epic fashion. This gripping story takes place in a dystopian future. It follows the exploits of Commander Charlie Jackson, a brilliant war tactician and strategist who is tasked with leading the intergalactic ship Perseus. With a crew consisting of Charlie’s computer-savvy brother, Jacob, gifted teenage prodigies, and loyal team members, the ship’s initial mission is to serve as a repair vessel. However, as they embark on their journey, Charlie and Jacob find themselves embroiled in a perilous personal mission, one that threatens to sever their connection with Earth. With the constant threat of the Obsidians, the enemy, lurking in the shadows, Charlie must forge a bond with his crew and his ship to ensure everyone’s safety. Meanwhile, on Earth, Charlie’s wife, Maddie, discovers that her dark past has caught up with her. Despite the vast distance separating them, Charlie is determined to rescue Maddie, no matter what the cost.
I Need a Hero is an incredibly rich and beautifully written work of literature that seamlessly blends music, Greek mythology, fantasy, and a tragic love story to provide the reader with a wholly satisfying experience from beginning to end. The author’s vivid descriptions transport the reader onto the ship Perseus, allowing them to feel the characters’ heightened emotions and experience the richly detailed world first-hand. Each character’s backstory is tragic, akin to epic Greek tales, which makes it easy for readers to identify with them. As the crew becomes a close-knit family, the bond they share inspires and motivates readers.
The author skillfully maintains the book’s momentum, ensuring that readers are constantly engaged and on the edge of their seats. The intricate explanations of war in outer space are evocative and captivating, and every aspect of the book, from the action to the heartbreak, is compelling and intricately woven together. The novel is a page-turner, complete with a spectacular ending that is sure to leave readers yearning for more.
I Need a Hero is a phenomenal read that will appeal to anyone looking for a fantasy or sci-fi novel with a highly original plotline. The galaxy in this novel is full of depth and complexity, and readers will undoubtedly want to explore it further. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this talented author.
Page: 376 | ASIN : B0BS1VPQZD
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fiction, goodreads, I Need a Hero, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Ron Clamp, sci fi, science fiction, story, teen, writer, writing, ya science fiction, young adult