Deceiver: Mystical Mountain Magic Book 1 by Guy Brooke

Deceiver: Mystical Mountan Magic Book 1

by Guy Brooke

Genre: Fantasy, Children

Four Stars

The world has become a harsh and hopeless place, and the only hope for it lies in the mountain of Misty.

In the forests around Misty live two refugees and their baby girl who will play a key role in the mountain’s plans. Yes, the mountain has plans, along with his unusual friend. The natives who live at the base of the mountain and even the animals will all play a part in the plan, because a terrible creature has invaded their home. With its beautiful, haunting song it will lead them to destruction purely for its own enjoyment. This monster and its unknown plans threaten to destroy the only chance for hope in to return to the world.

Deceiver is a delightfully whimsical story, reminiscent of a Native American folk tale. The vibrant characters drew me in and pulled me through a story that kept me guessing what could possibly happen next. With so many reboots and formulaic novels out there, it is really refreshing to be able to enjoy a story that keeps me wondering.

I especially enjoyed the character of Misty. Seldom have I read about a living mountain and I loved to hear how Guy brought a geological formation to life. And he certainly did!

Aside from a little bit of repetitive sentence structure and poetry rhythm that worried me a little, this story had everything I could ask for. The story is written as the beginning of a series, not so much a stand-alone story. The ending made me impatient to see how the characters fare after their fantastic adventure, so I am excited to read and review the second book next.

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Exodus 2022 by Kenneth G. Bennett

Exodus 2022

by Kenneth G. Bennett

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal

Four Stars

Joe Stanton has big plans on his vacation to the little island town of Friday Harbor, Washington, and they don’t include hallucinating and getting kicked out of his hotel. Unfortunately, that is what happens and the strange symptoms start him on an unwilling and sometimes unwitting path to something amazing and unknown. What being wants to communicate to or through him and why? How does the dubiously ethical Sheldon Beck know about it and what does he plan to do about it? Will Joe even survive this strange communication when others before him didn’t?

The story style of Exodus 2022 jumps between the main character and the people…or things focused on Joe and his unique ability to connect with the mysterious unknown intelligence. Kenneth’s Writing has a cool, businesslike feel with an obvious knowledge and passion about the sea and its science in the writer. He obviously researched his subjects and took great care that they represented reality in an otherwise fantastic tale.

I have to disagree, though, with the nature of the relationship between Joe and Ella: even in a very liberal church, I don’t think an Episcopal priest could get away with taking a vacation with his girlfriend. I would have liked to experience more of the intense emotions of the characters, especially at the beginning, rather than just hear that they felt them. It gave a calculated tone to the story where it could have provided more heart-racing moments.

Exodus 2022 draws the reader in as the story unfolds the mystery Joe’s unique mind reveals. His danger and the ruthless nature of Beck, his team, and his family in their pursuit of the unknown creates an increasingly thrilling read.

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INFECTED by James Schannep

INFECTED

by James Schannep

Genre: Horror, Zombie, Action

Five stars

Have you ever found yourself trapped in a zombie apocalypse? Well now you can! Written in the style of a choose-your-own-adventure story like the ones you read as a kid, INFECTED allows you to click through your choices to determine your own path through the world of horror. (Don’t give it to your kids, though!) With a first-person perspective, you can choose to run or to fight, to help a doctor racing to find a cure, to join a feisty teen on the trail to safety, or other paths. Humor and horror carry you through on your pathway through the cataclysm.  Can you survive?

I, apparently, couldn’t survive. My read-throughs took me to un-death and death, but never to happily-ever-after. I think it was my sense of loyalty that did me in. The path to doom was pretty enjoyable though! James crafted not one, but many enjoyable routes to demise, and probably survival. His characters drew you into your own tale and included you in their plans to escape death. I still had a lot of fun reading this book despite my dismal survival.

James’ choice to write a gender-neutral character in  first-person for the reader limited the story and caused some awkwardness, which James played off well and with humor. I would not have objected to being cast in a role as either male or female, and that might have offered different storylines and depth. It could have eliminated some as well, though. I felt that as neither, some of the romantic situations became confusing. I did feel a hint of masculinity in my neutral character as well, but nothing that ruined my engagement in the tale.

Normally I absolutely hate present-tense writing, but it seemed necessary for this story and didn’t make me gag. Sometimes that approach causes bad grammar mistakes, but James pulled it off well and I found nothing objectionable.

I absolutely loved James’ first-person perspective on turning into a zombie. He made the transition seem so natural, insidious, and creepy. I felt eerily comfortable with the ravenous malaise of my transformed self under James’ awful infection.

If you want to know how it feels to die and/or become one of the living dead, I would recommend this book. If you watch a certain very popular television series about the dead walking, then this is right up your alley. I laughed and chose, and died, but maybe you’ve got better skills than I do.

I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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Demon’s Grip by Tahlia Newland

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Demon’s Grip

by Tahlia Newland

Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Fantasy, New Adult, Metaphysical

Four Stars

Ariel has reached the city of Sheldra safely after defeating a second demon master. She enters the safety of Sheldra to train for her greatest challenge yet. With many difficulties, she battles the demon Emot, the demon of desire. A new twist on her weakness harasses Ariel in the form of Nick and her imagination regarding him. Can she sort out her feelings before they become an addiction?

Deep in the caves inside the mountain, her mother Nadima struggles against her own weakness. Will her Warrior training be enough to free her and the other prisoners from slavery to demons?

Get ready for another vivid tale of inner adventure made manifest. Tahlia’s spectacular descriptions bring her characters’ thoughts out into their physical world once again. She has added significantly more description of character, location, and action without losing her active writing style.

Tahlia has given us some resolution to Nick and Ariel’s frustrating relationship ambiguity in this volume, though their resolution gives birth to its own new troubles and a shocking new problem. I like the way Tahlia has made the couple into both each other’s strength and weakness.

Sometimes their interpersonal melodrama irritated me, but I’m also cranky and old with no patience for tumultuous romance. I admit their frustrating childishness brought out the big sister/mom in me and I wanted to give them a time out until they stopped with the melodrama. I felt like it drew away somewhat from the force of the story and the continuity. Once I realized where all the yearning and frustration led, I did understand a bit more why Tahlia wrote that way. I felt a bit like I missed the steps in a formula on the  progression of addiction through the story, with actions occurring that should mean something but I didn’t know what.

I appreciated Tahlia’s focus on addiction. She seems to tackle all the tough issues. The agony of that affliction and the beauty of victory over it touch most lives whether people admit it or not. She captured beautifully the shame, illogic, emotion, and power of addiction. Though I would write the story of overcoming differently as a Christian, I applaud any victory an addict can find. Salvation from oblivion and destruction should be appreciated no matter what the philosophy behind it.

Demon’s grip is yet another action-packed part of a series full of imagination and fantastic adventure.

I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net

I received this book from the author for the purposes of unbiased review.

Although this can be read as a stand-alone novel, aspects of the story will be clearer if you have read the previous books in this series; Lethal Inheritance & Stalking Shadows.

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Run by Tahlia Newland

Run

by Tahlia Newland

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Short Story, Action/Adventure

Four Stars

Run is a racy prequel to Newland’s Diamond Peak series, filled with all the angst Newland suggested haunted Nick in Lethal Inheritance. Nick, struggling to advance up the mountain and kill demons, loses his resolve and attempts to escape his life there. He tries to start anew in the mundane world, but soon learns that he can only go through the motions.
Run is a quick, meaning-packed read full of action and emotion. Nick’s inner demons reveal themselves in a time before he “got it together” to become the romantic hero of the series. This story also fits well as a flashback anywhere in the series if you haven’t read it first. It does contain a sex scene, unlike the main series’ first two books. I wouldn’t call it erotica though. Run will pull you in to the Diamond Peak series wondering what happens to Nick. Newlands fantastic transformations make emotions into creatures, giving us a fresh perspective on our own hearts.

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Chosen by Jolea M. Harrison

Chosen

by Jolea M. Harrison

the first book of The Guardians of the Word series

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

 In a world made up of a strange and fascinating mix of past and future, supernatural and science, twin princes Dynan and Dain are destined players in a battle that will save or destroy the universe.  The five incarnations of their ancestor, Adiem, are in a battle to conquer the afterlife and then the living world, with the boys as the catalysts for his gory victory. Adiem’s twin brother, Alurn has battled his for the fate of the planet Cobalt and the universe since before his death, sacrificing his own afterlife for the stability of reality. Now Dynan must rescue Alurn from Adiem’s clutches. As the founder of the royal dynasty of Cobalt, his position in the afterlife must be restored to prevent an apocalypse. But can Dynan overcome gory obstacles and painful trials to reach him in time?

I have to admit, this book was a little hard for me to follow, especially at first. It is probably due to the chaos of my life and the constant interruption. It’s possible, with some stricter editing, that Chosen could be easier to follow for those of us with three kids clamoring. The word choice sometimes left doubt as to who or what was the subject of descriptions and actions. Technology and supernatural forces mixed, but often left me behind, though it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story.

My perseverance was rewarded with understanding and the enjoyment of a thrilling and meaningful tale. Stories about the afterlife are a particular favorite of mine because they explore the ultimate mystery. This mystery leant itself to the story, and though I was sometimes confused, so were the characters and it worked for good to create a very human story with real and likeable individuals. The theme of the child wavering between good and evil was compelling, as was the hairsbreadth closeness between destruction and salvation, hell and paradise. The bad guys made me squirm and the description of their destruction of Purgatory with all the dead bodies was wonderfully awful! I also found it interesting that Jolea wrote her story with primarily male characters without making them seem at all womanish, which can be a challenge for us gals.

I really enjoyed this one and I’d recommend Chosen!

Amazon.com: Chosen (The Guardians of the Word) eBook: Jolea M. Harrison: Kindle Store

For more info about the author please visit: http://jm-harrison.com/