This is too good not to share. For all of us Supernatural fans. LOL
NO LASTING BURIAL (The Zombie Bible), by Stant Litore
I won a copy of No Lasting Burial, by Stant Litore, in a Goodreads Giveaway, and I give it 4 Stars.
As with my other reviews, I will not rehash the story in the book.
I was teetering between 3 & 4 stars with this book, mostly because I felt it was a bit long and dragged on sometimes, however, all the parts come together to make a great and fascinating whole read. So I’m giving this book 4 stars for this author’s creativity, knowledge, and for this book’s uniqueness.
I can just start by saying, I do not think I’ve read anything quite like this before. It’s an amazing twist on Biblical tales. However, I think it’s a better read for those who are familiar with the Bible. When I started reading, I didn’t know that this is only one book in a series of books; the others which came before this one. However, one needs not to have read the others. This is also a stand alone book.
My only trouble with this book is that it was too long. Not the story itself, but the sentences are written in great length, with no slang and are…I hate to say it…terribly well constructed. I am not sure, because I did not research the writer, but I do not think he is a native speaker of American English. I spotted so many paragraphs that I could have shortened. This is why I think some readers, even those well-studied in the Bible either through a religious or historical perspective, might lose interest. Also, if you don’t realize there’s extra information in the back that might clear up some questions, you’ll get through it without some an understanding that the information afford you. The language and sentence structure in this book is definitely for a more adept reader with a large vocabulary, perhaps even higher educated.
On the flip side this is an incredible story, and one I had no idea I was going to read. The writer’s knowledge on the subject he’s written about is vast. This is not a zombie story…all about zombies…, but that’s not to say that readers who enjoy zombies will not enjoy this, as long as they are history buffs or interested in things biblical. I say though, if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, this is it.
This book is an emotional ride, despite it’s literary style, and you will feel all sorts of things if you stick with it… sadness, anger, sympathy… just stick with it. You’ll also realize that the Biblical characters are just like us. If you consider this a page out of history, plus a few zombies thrown in, you’ll see even after 2,000+ years and a half a world away, we are the same.
It took me longer than I would have liked to get through it. Not technically because it is long, but I do read more than one book at a time. I am looking forward to reading his other zombie tales, and I will add – I hate all things zombie. Until No Lasting Burial, I have never read a zombie tale and have watched few zombie movies, etc. I just do not like them, but in Litore took my mind off of that with this sweeping tale.
This book was so interesting to me. Everything else in the book was so interesting, he could have wrote this fiction piece without zombies…I mean, he already had the Romans… and I would have still read it.
If you like cultural or world history, religious history, smartly and amazingly written literature,and zombies?…this is the book for you to. And if you are not familiar with with Biblical history or that time period, you’ll learn a lot. This book has great depth, was written with great thought, and has rich food for thought.
(Cover copied from Amazon)
BEAUTIFUL BROKEN (UNIVERSITY OF BRANTON, BOOK 2)
By Nazarea Andrews
*This review was not solicited by the author.*
4 of 5 Stars
I must admit that enjoyed this book more than the first book, This Love. You can definitely see the writer’s writing skills were progressing and her ability to write her characters doing more than one thing and there’s definitely more action in the book. (Of course, she’s been very busy writing since This Love was published and I’m sure we’ll see more blooming as we read along.)
Beautiful Broken, despite that I felt there was a wee bit too much sex in the book, or well… – but hey, I’m too old to remember my 20s, maybe it was like that for me too at some point – I really loved the depth of the story in this novel. So many things were touched upon: rape, alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity, emotional disorders, sobriety challenges and so much more. This book also moves at a nice pace with the exception of the very end. I’ll get to that.
The main characters in this story, Dane and Scout, were my favorites of book one. For me, they were most interesting and genuine characters in book 1. In Beautiful Broken, they’re believable, real and definitely struggling with real human problems and emotions. I see these two among my friends from my youth.
Youths struggle with so many issues. Not just today, but when I was young, and when my grandmother was young. Even as adults, we all live in our own drama every day. There’s the side the public sees, the side our friends see, the side we really have which only one or two people actually see and understand.
POSSIBLE SPOIL! The only problem I had was with the ending. Slam. The door shut. I think there could have been a couple pages more to slow that down. It wrecked the wonderful pace of the book for me. It ends with sex. How long was Scout out of the hospital? I’m not totally sure, but I think it may have been too soon to have sex after all that happened to her at the end. I, personally, would have preferred a more romantic ending like sharing a bowl of ice cream in a candle lit room. But that’s just me.
I really enjoyed the book as a whole despite my opinion of the ending.
Last, but never, ever least, Melissa Stevens once again did an excellent job on cover design. It definitely reflects the storyline, characters and the season.
Thanks for reading!
Here is the link to my review for THIS LOVE
Greetings, dear readers:
Here’s another review for you!
Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, by Scott D. Southard.
* Please note: I purchased this book. The author did not solicit this review.*
My overall Amazon Star Rating – 4 stars for this mystery/thriller.
As always, I will not rehash the plot of this book and summarize the story. I’ll leave that up to the book’s cover and other venues.
First off, this is an absolutely fantastic cover design. However, I was deceived by this cover. The story isn’t the tale the cover caused me to assign to it. But it’s nice, nonetheless, and deserves applause.
The characters are well-rounded and none are alike. Maximilian is a character to be reckoned with and I found myself wanting to punch him in the face a few times. Bob, the narrator of the story, is actually my favorite character. I mean, who can’t love someone named Bob?
The copy could use another look from an editing perspective, but there’s nothing too awful or that impeded my reading the story. I was into this book from page one. The amusement is solid and the scenes and different storylines merge nearly flawlessly from one to the other. The amusement is solid and the scenes and different storylines merge nearly flawlessly from one to the other. Even though this book is narrated in the First Person, we can still seem to see the other character’s points of view, personalities, even facial expressions and feelings. The First Person narration takes away nothing from this story at all. It’s still well rounded and entertaining. The story is paced well until the end. I felt the ending came way too quickly.
When I started reading this book, I thought I was reading one tale, and then by the last few chapters of the book – the last 3 or so – a plot twist was revealed that left me shaking my head. I wanted Maximilian and Bob and the crew solving a great mystery…do or die. I was very confused at the end and had to sit and think about it for a while. In truth, the end plot twist caused this story to come crashing down for me personally. In fact, I am still not sure what in the world happened. On another note, I believe this would’ve been a good plot twist…in another story.
By the end, I wanted to give this book fewer stars, because I was disappointed. However, at the center of the book, I had already assigned it 4 stars. So, I am still giving this book 4 stars because I was hugely engaged until those last few chapters…where that end twist made me livid. If a book can do that to me, it’s worth the stars! Therefore, I cannot base my rating on the fact that I did not care for the ending. I was fully entertained up to that point. I did not like the changes in reality, back and forth – are we real or not, that started happening in the last quarter of the book. It was confusing. I really wanted a haunted castle, or someone smart enough to create a haunting for the likes of Maximilian Standforth. I, personally, was let down at the end. The story left me going, huh?… I just feel the plot twist shorted the story of something that I could rave about.
I think if you love mystery or thrillers…or anything even Sherlock Holmes like, this is a good book for you. It was for me, but in my opinion, the ending ruined my high. It’s a good ending if you’re a reader who likes a surprise ending that knocks your car off the rails.
I wish the author would write more stories with these two characters. I mean, the ending of this book is such that there would be no questions raised regarding more stories of this group.
Here’s the Amazon link to Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare. Take a look!
WHEN STARS DIE, By Amber Skye Forbes (Review)
*Please note, I purchased this book and the author did not solicit this review.*
My overall Amazon Star Rating – 4 stars for this paranormal YA.
This book is available in paperback & Kindle.
Here I am with another book review. I started to read When Stars Die, by Amber Skye Forbes, a couple months ago, but into only about the first 5 Kindle pages I had to put it down due to some personal matters. Technically, I was not reading anything at all really. I picked this book back up on a Tuesday, if I remember correctly, and finished it on Friday. I started at page one and began again. I read the book during my work commute and lunches at work. I found that I didn’t want to stop reading and needed to know what was going to happen next.
If you’ve read my reviews in the past, then you’ll know I do not synopsis of a book, since so many other reviewers do that so I just don’t bother. Please check Amazon for the back cover and other reviews of the book. The link will be posted at the end.
I’m not really certain what type of book When Stars Die is, for me. I do believe it’s YA/fantasy or dark fantasy. But, I believe it’s suitable for any age group really. So if you’re a little older, don’t hesitate to pick this one up.
I’ll start with what I liked most – a new, interesting concept; taking old ideas and weaving them into new stories, different stories. The book is edited pretty well – I didn’t catch any big errors or anything that rocked the flow of the story, and the story is remarkably written. It has a fantastic cover! – but, I must admit, I’m not sure exactly what the cover has to do with the story or which character that might be on the cover.
The truth is I did not like the opening of the book. I hated Mother Aurelia, and I didn’t like that Amelia felt she had to be professed to save her brother. I even hated that she did something so naive as to run away from home and disregard her parents. But, I guess an author’s done their job when they evoke such extremes from their readers.
This book was dark and emotionally stirring, indeed. I was caught off guard by it. In fact, I am the type who writes such darkness herself, therefore, I allowed the darkness of the tale to sweep me away because I am the type that lives for such a thing. And the book made me happy through its darkness.
The darkness and the heavy subjects nearly pulled me under. I wanted this book to take me away to someplace else and it did. I think if this book is truly YA, it will take strong young minds to get through the emotional ride.
However, there were a few holes in the story…or maybe it’s just things I personally didn’t like. You know how that goes. Just because I didn’t like how a scene turned out, doesn’t make it bad. They are not poorly written scenes, but sometimes we don’t like the outcome. I do feel Amelia carries on and explains things in her mind to a fault at times and it sort of got on my nerves.
I have read a few other reviews for When Stars Die and I see a chief complaint – that the author didn’t reveal everything in the first 3 chapters. She wasn’t supposed to. This is a mystery – it unfolds. She wasn’t supposed to tell you right off the bat all about Amelia and her family. Or how she got to Reims. That stuff was revealed as it should have been, in my opinion. While, yes, some of it should’ve been explained in more detail, I do think the timing of the events and revelations of the story were okay. If she did reveal everything in the first pages, what would be the point in finishing the story?
I think as far as story and plot, it was revealed all in good time. Now, yes, there are a few missing pieces, and I do feel this book could’ve been longer. We could have known more by the book’s end. But the author wrote what she wrote and maybe in the next books she’ll slow it down a tad and give us more info.
I liked this story overall. I feel the idea was innovative and her fantastical places and people were captivating. She took things that have been written about for centuries and put a new spin on them and I liked this idea very much. I definitely give the storyline and inspiration in the book 5 stars because a witch tale has not been done quite like this before. Freshness…some readers are just afraid of it.
Some of the characters needed a bit more development. Some of them were not as smart as I’d like them to be, but the main characters are young. However, none are less than three dimensional. I do feel that Amelia spent most of the time a bit too confused, but who wouldn’t be. I feel she came off as weak yet she was strong at the same time. Maybe she was a complainer, but she always did what she felt needed doing and it was for selfless reasons. She’s naïve and, dare I say, wishy-washy at times, but she is only 18, and she has had little experience with the outside world…and remember, she’s been in a convent for 3 of those years. So her actions or train of thought might seem more like that of a 15 year old than an 18 year old…just remember where she’s been. She’s learning the hard way.
POSSIBLE SPOILER — I’m trying not to “spoil” here as I usually do not intentionally include spoilers. As for Oliver – he was my favorite character and I think he had further potential. Maybe he was the character I identified with. I wish Amelia had made a better choice when it came to him. I mean, she became a shadowman anyway and what happened between them was the let down in the book for me. It’s the spot that broke my heart. And it just seemed like their final scene went way too fast. I understand Amelia had to make a quick decision but I just feel there was room for more where the two of them are concerned. It was even told to her by Collette that Oliver did love her. Perhaps, Oliver could have made it further down the story line. Maybe even into the next book. But that can’t happen now and I’m hoping that Amelia will redeem herself in my eyes in future books. I do understand her POV – Oliver had an agenda that he really couldn’t help. Even if he allowed him his “exaltation” and became a shadowman to be with him, he still had another agenda which she may not have been able to stop him from accomplishing, or talk him out of.
As for the other characters, many had parts where they flowed in and out and I think their personalities were well defined enough for their roles. But, if some of them are returning, we’ll need more background on them in the subsequent book. I am hoping Nathaniel makes his return in a blaze of glory and I hope he doesn’t break my heart too.
In the end, the surprise for me was Mother Aurelia. She redeemed herself to me. I was glad someone did. I wonder what became of her?
I’m looking to the next book for the author to slow it down a bit, and write until it really is finished. The ending of When Stars Die was a bit rushed. Good, but rushed. Things could have been more developed. Expanded.
I will definitely be giving the next book a read.
Check out When Stars Die, for sale on Amazon here:
I consider myself an above average cook with the ability to decipher seasonings, choosing what might be best for which dish. I enjoy making, and usually make, all my cakes, etc., from scratch. By scratch I mean I do not make boxed cakes. Why would anyone use that stuff? Okay, okay…forgive me. I know sometimes people just don’t have the time to mix and measure, but for me, it’s the best way to go. And it’s healthier.
I have also been a cookbook collector over the years. I’ve collected a couple vintage cookbooks as well. Some books I’ve kept, some I gave away to a friend or to the Goodwill, etc. Others I’ve sold to used bookstores once I tired of that particular book. Needless to say, I love cooking and baking from scratch with tasty ingredients.
However, at the same time I’ll be the first to admit I shy away from new things. I received a PDF copy of the cookbook, Tried and Tested: 101 Recipes, from author, Carol Jones, some months back in exchange for review. It took me some time to go over it and check out some of the recipes. I give the book 4 Stars (on Amazon) for a small book that was big on flavor and carried many different recipes.
I really liked this cookbook and think a print edition would be a good edition to my cookbook library, and for the current price of .99, one can’t go wrong with the e-book. Some of the ingredients in the dishes are not something I would’ve tried usually, and I couldn’t try everything, of course, and not all foods are suited to my taste, such as liver. Yet, this cookbook has something for everyone, and for me I found many of the recipes interesting, and they urged me to try them. I had to do a little recipe tweaking here and there or find a substitute ingredient or food as the author is British and not everything was easily found in my neck of the woods.
Some of my favorites of the recipes I tried from Tried and Tested: 101 Recipes by Carol Jones are:
Italian Chicken Casserole
Stir-fry Beef with Ginger
Grilled Tuna with Olives and Tomatoes
Asparagus Stir-fry (*Note: I really do not care for asparagus, but this recipe made this vegetable delightful!)
Mexican Bean Burgers
Moroccan Mushrooms with Couscous
Macaroni & Cheese (*With nutmeg? – I never would have guessed!)
Cherry & Almond Loaf
What I’d love to have seen more of in this book are soups. Other than that this is a pretty great book; small but chock full of great and tasty recipes. Also, I’d like to see it in print. Make sure you download a copy from Amazon!!
Check out Amazon for the e-book here:
Hi All! Just me, here with another book review.
FYI: I purchased this book, and this review was not requested by the author. Regardless, as always, this review is in depth.
By Nazarea Andrews
My Amazon rating: 3 of 5 stars for this tale of forbidden love.
As a reminder, my reviews are my views on a book and its characters. I try to avoid spoilers and will forewarn of them. I do not synopsis a book like many reviewers do, which to me is superfluous.
I’ll start at the cover…Fine and lovely work by Melissa Stevens, The Illustrated Author.
There was mention in another review(s) that Avery calling her father “Daddy” is immature. Personally, I realized that this story takes place in the South. I am from Texas. I have 45 year-old, highly educated, female friends still calling their fathers, Daddy. To clarify, it’s often a southern thing. I do understand that maybe the author could have recognized she was writing for a national, if not an international, audience and should have avoided that term. But where’s the originality in that? Where’s the reality of culture?
In books similar to this that I’ve read before, it’s always the woman who’s whining about the man not showing her love or saying I love you, or not wanting to stick it out, and how he doesn’t want to give up everything for her. Some reviewers must like this old redundant theme. For me, in this book, it was the other way around. It’s Avery who unselfishly didn’t want to see Atticus give up his life for her though the whole idea of losing him hurt her deeply. And she was afraid to mess up her own life too. Doesn’t that show consideration and ambition? I don’t see it as being weak or selfish, but being strong and level headed. I don’t know if this was the author’s intention or if the characters just wrote it that way, but it’s refreshing.
Atticus’ willingness to give up his life, move on to another job just to give this relationship a try is something we see very little of in reality or in books. I would call it uplifting; gallant, even. He’s not a shallow ass-chaser where Avery’s concerned. And unfortunately, we still see a lot of male chauvinistic behaviors in romance or erotic novels. Come on…Overdone. I like it better the Nazarea Andrews way.
The age difference between the two characters didn’t matter to me. I mean, this book is about a relationship that is taboo. In actuality, this is how it would be between a professor and a student who’s a senior in college. That’s where the illicit relationship comes in. Don’t we still believe that art imitates life? What I would’ve liked to have seen, however, was more near misses during the relationship. In truth, I would’ve enjoyed seeing them – a time or two – trying to hide from Atticus’ colleagues in a restaurant or her classmates at the mall in effort not to be caught. There are no cliff hangers, no hold-your breath-moments as far as action and intrigue. This story had the potential to be longer.
The characters seem to be developed enough for this first book in the series, but they could be more rounded. I think Atticus is definitely a hottie, but out of the appearing characters, Dane was my choice for most appealing. I’m always looking for a deviant underdog. By that I mean, I’m looking for someone to prove to me they are better a person than I first thought them to be. It’s early on in this series, but I’m looking to Dane for that role.
My hopes for future UB books: I wish the author will develop Avery’s character more if she is still to play a big role. Who is she, really? I can see the author’s not afraid to be original, so she should be more daring as well. This Love needed more tension – but not of the sexual kind, and a couple of “Oh, no. Run!” moments.
There are some details I did not like about the book and they are my personal reasons for not giving it 4 stars and have nothing to do with the story in general. While I absolutely love a First Person narrative, I did not like the “present tense” the book is written in. This is my opinion and has no bearing on the author or her work, but I think it caused a few of the lines of prose to be delivered awkwardly. I feel it limited the book as far as delivery and description. My brain had a hard time wrapping itself around the present tense narrative. That being said, I still must give kudos to the author for writing in this format. It is different.
Next, usually when we open to a chapter and there’s a heading such as “Chicago” or “April 2010”, we know that the following passage is about that subject. So when I opened to chapter one of This Love and read “Avery”, I assumed the passage was about Avery. I did not right off realize it was a cue to her speaking…or that the title meant that the passage was written from her point of view. So it took me a bit to realize that Avery was the one talking. In fact, it took me to the middle of next section titled “Atticus” for me to realize what was going on.
Also, while I have no problem with sex in a book, this one was a bit overboard. I’d like to see Atticus and Avery doing more than sex and drinking coffee. While sex can sell a book, it cannot sell a relationship to an audience. The ending was a bit hurried. As I said earlier, I feel this book could have been longer. I’d love to see this author really let loose. I’d like to see more obstacles and tension. Maybe Nik should’ve set Atticus’ car on fire for revenge.
I enjoy young adult and new adult books, but usually go for action, fantasy, mystery, or paranormal so the romance side of those genres is new to me. Overall This Love is a good summer read, especially for young adults. Although there seems to be no plot (but a lot of books do not have one) its succession seems to be finely planned out, and This Love is well written. I did run across a few over looked editing issues but nothing that takes away from the story. This series has great potential.
I am also interested in the Scout character and was pleasantly surprised to read the Epilogue to find that the next book, Beautiful Broken, is about Dane and Scout. I’ll be reading that one as I’m sure Dane won’t disappoint me. *wink* I’m sure it’s a 4-star read!
(4 of 5 stars on Amazon)
Here is another review for a really great book. If you like action, battle scenes and war stories with an underlying bit of romance and erotica, read on. As always, I try to refrain from using spoilers.
This latest blog is a review for Kydona: From Ashes, by T.K. Krug III. This is the sequel to Kydona which I reviewed in May, 2013. In case you haven’t read the first book, Kydona, you can read that review as well if you’d like to. You can find it on my blog here: https://wandasparyla.com/2013/05/15/book-review-kydona-7/
I think it’s important for you to read my review of Kydona because in Kydona: From Ashes you’ll get more of the same, but this time with more plot and more places to visit. Some things I liked most about the first book besides that it was written by an author who knew his subject, was how a few characters showed me there was more to them than meets the eye, and how the story closed was awesome too. The door just slammed shut. I know some won’t like that type of ending, but if there’s going to be a sequel, it’s fine and dandy by me. It was a nice little cliff hanger for this, the second story.
I can say little more than I already have in my earlier review of Kydona about the author’s incredible ability to bring one into war with him…or his characters…and force you to see and feel everything and everyone. This book is less about the development of some old character and more about development of a human being in the midst of the greatest despair to date in his history. It’s about how people under life-altering, horrifying distress can do one of two things, give up and give in, or reach for each other in support instead of lying down their sword to an enemy whether that enemy be foe or oneself. This is a book about a path to destiny. In this book we see the main character, Marcus, grow tremendously, even if unwilling at times, unfurling himself slowly like a military banner. And, this is exactly as it might have been for a man like him, in his situation, 1,000 years ago…or even today.
Marcus’ ability to go from drinking and binging like a teenager in the first book to overcoming his feelings toward unspeakable crimes against humanity, as well as his need to commit them for the common good, and live to the bitter end to make peace with himself, is heroic. In Kydona, he was tossed headlong into a war, to the frontlines, carelessly as a punishment and/or to be rid of him, yet in Kydona: From Ashes we champion him on as he prevails little by little overcoming his foes.
And, of course, there is no shortness of scheming. There are still methodical wenches and politicians, and military men…we just don’t realize what’s truly going on off scene until closer to the end. And well, there’s lies. The place that these lies put Marcus in regarding his father is maddening and sad.
This second book has quite a few twists and turns in it and despite Marcus being let down at nearly every turn, it is his men…who were first his comrades, then became his very own army… that showed him the respect and loyalty that carried him through. It was for their honor, and not his own, that he trudged onward through to the end of the book.
In Kydona, the two countries, Elessia and Kydona, are forced into a battle because their leaders refused to realize the one thing that would bring peace. Then in the end of Kydona: From Ashes, the story comes full circle (maybe seemingly accidental, if you don’t believe in fate) and peace is, for the moment, derived from the very thing first denied. Can’t tell…I don’t want to spoil.
Again, as in the first book, there is a character that proved that he was not just hogwash. For me, in Kydona it was Vernon. In Kydona: From Ashes, it is Roslene. I thought the whole time she was out only for Number One, and while even in the end it seemed so, I realize that maybe she schemed for love to actually raise someone above her. Devious, yes; shallow, no. But you all may find the characters that surprise you to be different from my picks.
We don’t see a huge difference in some of the lesser characters, but the growth of Marcus as a person is overwhelming enough in and of itself, and while we still catch glimpses of Vernon’s love of mischief, wine and women, as this story progresses, it becomes more of a joke. After all, even in our own lives, as we grow and learn out of pain, do we not wish for the good ol’ days? And really, would we truly go back if we could? Vernon continues to be a pertinent piece of this saga, even though he disappears for awhile, while Marcus makes his mark in Kydona and deals his hand with its tzarista, then Vernon reappears just as loyal as ever in the end.
I am still stumped as to the underlying theme of immortality that wades around in the last quarter or so of this book. I am wondering, will that go somewhere?
There are a couple of small things that kept me from giving Kydona: From Ashes five stars. Of course, these are just my opinion. I think the author should have given an introduction to the characters and a little back story for those who didn’t realize Kydona: From Ashes is a sequel. And it would also be a good refresher for those who might read Kydona but take several months to pick up the next book. This information could be given in a prologue or even in bits and pieces in the first couple chapters of the book with Marcus reminding us who these people are. The next thing along that same line is that perhaps on the back cover, or in the description, it should be revealed that this is a sequel so folks know to grab the first book.
In passing, this book could use a bit more editing but the oversights did not distract me from the story, but I’d urge the author or a proof reader to have another go at sprucing it up.
Overall, the story is engaging, the feeling of camaraderie stays with you as you read. If you want to know how people make it through war…maybe this is it. My assessment of the first book, Kydona, stands true for From Ashes as well (don’t forget to read my Kydona review!). Once again Krug’s work reads as well-researched historical fiction from the start. Nothing about what goes on in this book seems forged or overblown to me.
Feel free to check out an interview I did with T.K. Krug III here: https://wandasparyla.com/2013/05/15/t-k-krug-iii-an-author-interview/
I’m back again. I’d like to present to you an author interview with indie author James Funfer. If you didn’t see my blog review of his book, Crystal Promise: The Shattered Crystal, please feel free to check it out here: https://wandasparyla.com/2013/04/02/book-review-crystal-promise-the-shattered-crystal/
*Tell us a little about Crystal Promise: The Shattered Crystal (genre; description, etc.):
(I stole most of this from my synopsis…but it does a good job of describing the book, I think!)
Crystal Promise is a coming-of-age, urban fantasy novel about young love and tough choices, set against the backdrop of a late-industrial era nation called Novem.
Most of Novem’s technology runs on crystals mined from the ground, but many consider them to be more than just a power source. The Church of Novem worships a ‘Great Crystal’, which is thought to be a liaison between the gods and humanity. Those who can alter crystals at will, known as crystal-speakers, are an important part of that link between the earth and the divine.
For finishing school students Jacoby, Timori, Racquela and Crystara, concerns about crystals and the church are overshadowed by school, dances, sports and summer vacations. But when the Great Crystal selects its arranged marriages that year, a chain of events is set into motion that threatens to upset the entire nation. Betrothal promises are made with rings of crystal, but if they shatter, hearts are not the only things that will break…
*Why did you choose this particular cover art? (Feel free to plug your cover artist!)
David Baumgart and I had been looking for a project to do together for a while. Originally we wanted to make a webcomic, but he’s pretty busy making awesome video games (http://www.gaslampgames.com/). However, when the opportunity came up for me to choose my own artist for the cover, he was the first person to come to mind.
I had this picture in my head of the main characters looking down from a bridge, with the city in the background. David started working on it, until his amazingly savvy partner and graphic designer Megan Seely of Chestnut St. Pixel Foundry (http://cspixelfoundry.com/) told him that writers have no idea what they want, or what looks good. She was right, of course (at least in my case)…she designed the subsequent cover, David drew it, and the result has a lot more pop than anything I had in mind.
*Tell us something about yourself both on a personal level and as an author.
I created my own tabletop role-playing game when I was a teenager. Designing it nearly cost me a passing grade in physics class, but I learned a great deal about storytelling from the campaigns I ran, which benefited me when I began writing longer works of fiction.
*Do you outline or write a synopsis before you begin the actual story, or do you just start writing?
I tend to just start writing. I have a general idea of where I want the story to go and I write down a lot of notes, but it’s all mutable once I get into the narrative. I don’t like to strictly plan out every plot point, because characters tend to surprise me when they react organically. I feel that when I allow the story to change as I go along, the reader is more likely to be surprised, as well.
*Please tell us about any current projects you are working on.
Currently I’m working on the sequel to Crystal Promise, which continues right where the first novel ends. I’m also writing a character-driven science fiction series about how we define the human experience and the nature of spirituality.
*If Jacoby was a real man today, who would be his favorite author? (Besides you, of course.)
Jacoby grew up on tales of heroism and romantic ideals. A lot of Noven stories feature talented crystal-speakers, which appeals to him greatly. However, central to Crystal Promise are the themes of political pressure and cultural identity. I think he would identify greatly with the works of Guy Gavriel Kay.
*In retrospect, what advice would Crystara give to people her age regarding friendship?
Friendship isn’t about earning approval. It’s about enjoying someone else’s company, and forgiving each other for choices and mistakes made. It’s important to find happiness within yourself rather than trying to find someone to make you happy.
*What advice do you have for writers out there who are struggling with getting those first lines down on paper, or are filled with self doubt about the potential quality of their work?
Self-doubt is a crippling thing. Nobody can pick up a paintbrush and paint a realistic self-portrait without practice. Like any skill, the more you do it the better you get. Most artists are their own worst critic. It’s easy to see all of the flaws in your work, but we are often blind to our own talents and the things that make our writing so good. Trust in honest criticism of discerning friends, and accept praise when it is given.
It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you write consistently. You can’t always wait for inspiration to strike; set aside time to write, set manageable goals, and write. Even if you think it’s garbage, the more you write the better your work will get.
*Give us links to learn more about you and your books (i.e. Amazon links, personal pages &/or websites, etc.).
Here’s my author website: http://jamesfunfer.com
I’m also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JamesFunferAuthor
…and Twitter: @JamesFunfer
And my books are available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Promise-The-Shattered-Book/dp/0615665195/
Greetings, once again, my readers and friends.
My latest read is Kydona, by T.K. Krug III.
I must say, I should stick to reading new and/or indie authors. They seem to be the ones surprising me at every turn.
If you like hard fantasy without a straight and forward plot, and are not shy about a bit o’ erotica…written by a man, real life possibilities, and twisted egos…this one’s for you. You will enjoy it for the hard romance, a handsome prince, a war-worn king, royal friends who act more like court jesters, and then there’s those scheming wenches and the mystery and intrigue that surround them all. Much of which they create themselves, I must add.
Kydona is a character-driven tale that reads like historical fiction based on true past accounts. The author’s knowledge of what I perceive to be ancient weaponry and war, and history all together leads me to believe he’s done his homework and/or research. That is important to me. I kept trying to read between the lines thinking that the backdrop of this story…the area, the people, the languages…have to based upon something that already happened. Just the search in my mind for the real life countries, wars and Kings kept my interest as I constantly wondered…is Kydona maybe Russia in fantasyland?
T.K. Krug’s knowledge of what he wrote about and his ability to describe it and make one “see” is amazing in this book. In fact, when he describes the defense mechanisms of a fort, not only did I see that clearly, I recalled reading some of that in my own studies years ago. He just didn’t make that stuff up.
I enjoy character-centered stories. You know, there doesn’t have to be a well-thought out plot to everything we read. As a sociology major I tend to prefer character driven. I want to know as much about the people as I do plot. I like themes, or the “prize” types of tales.
You might find that the story drags on a bit here and there if you are a plot lover. If you are a lover of characters and their plights and lives, you’ll like this story. You’ll want to follow some of them into the future.
As for characters, I think Vernon is the one who surprised me the most… I won’t tell you why, of course. I don’t want to spoil. But let’s just say…I thought for the longest that he was terribly superficial. It turns out he’s actually more faithful and brave than shallow.
Truthfully (& for your information), I did not realize that there was to be a sequel for this book. So this brings me to my reactions at the end. When I was about 90% done with the book, I was a bit weary. I thought, wow, I’m nearly to the end, but I don’t see an ending in sight. When I read the last words of this book I had a couple different reactions. The first was shock…it felt like the book slammed shut on me because I expected a final ending (not a beginning) so the final words hit me like a brick. Maybe I was disappointed after the shock. Then the realization hit me that there is to be a sequel…actually, I would call this book and its forthcoming counterparts a “saga” as this book’s ending actually, for me, is the beginning of what’s to come next.
Regardless, when I realized that there will be another, I felt relief because I do want to read it. I have to read it. And I hope if you read Kydona, you’ll have the same feelings when you read the last word. Let’s follow these characters to their futures.
Admittedly, the cover art, while lovely as it is, threw me for a loop as did the title. I’m just going to throw this out there to get it out of the way because while reading the book – for the longest – I wasn’t truly sure why there was a graphic of a female on the cover. I did recognize her quickly as probably being Kaelyn. After reading the author’s interview I see why he chose that cover art. However, I cannot say I would’ve gone that route, but his explanation makes sense.
Next is the name of the book, Kydona. It’s seems the beginning through to the middle is more about the characters and their ongoing drama (which is how character-centered stories go usually) and less about anything else. I did not see Kydona as the focal point right off the bat. However, I seen by the last quarter of the book that everything these characters did has propelled Marcus and Vernon to Kydona, so the country does become the focal point. But the name threw me off at first as the subject.
On Amazon and Goodreads, I awarded this book 4 stars for great character development, colorful characters with huge selfish agendas, the author’s wonderful knowledge of all things ancient war and his ability to keep me searching my mind for these places in real life. And I have to say, despite my shock at the end, I am glad that there will be more books because I have come to care for some of these characters and I have to know how it turns out in Kydona. If you like steadily moving sagas like I do, this one is for you.
Oh yes. I just have to mention for a bit o’ fun… I asked the author in the interview if his book(s) were going Hollywood, what actor would he choose to play the main character, Marcus. You can read his reply on the interview blog. But, my vote goes to Theo Thomas (Golden Boy). Hey…I just thought I’d throw that in to give the ladies something to dream about as they read.