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Monday, 31 October 2016

Book Review of Water Trade

About the book

In the late 1930s a brilliant Japanese military spy-in-training hides a dark secret. Despite unparalleled academic achievements and impressive physical ability, he hides a damning psychological disability that is unknown to the public or his military superiors. His “condition” is one he shares with few others, but they are, like him, the high achievers of their day. Scientists, doctors, scholars, writers, politicians, actors and more. Unknown for the most part, even to one another, in the early twenty-first century they wrestle their shared disability into submission or risk losing everything they dream of and have worked for. 
Today we celebrate so many of them. The secret is out. These people have bipolar syndrome. But in 1938 so little was known that the disability was without even a public name although there were inklings of its existence in scientific circles. 

The propensities of the condition were then, as now, unpredictable, sometimes shocking and often simply bizarre. It’s likely that as human beings have suffered with this “mood disorder” through millennia, some of them have been able to suppress the demon; have been able to press it deep into themselves and contain it…most of the time.

“The Water Trade” is a novel built around the idea that a high level covert operative of the Japanese government was a very high functioning sufferer of what is today known as bipolar syndrome. The novel is an espionage tale and a historical romance which takes many cues from history, but imagines also what might happen when an agent with an undiagnosed psychological malady slips unnoticed into a leading role in a history making series of events. Even the most disciplined sufferer might be prone to make ill-advised decisions from time to time. “The Water Trade” explores how those decisions might impact the fate of people and governments and the future of nations.

In 1938, while still in training with the Japanese Imperial Navy, ensign Arashi Sasaki is assigned to monitor shortwave radio messages when he comes upon one describing the northward movement of seventeen British troop transports on the open ocean to the west of Dakar, Sengal. He immediately reports the intercept to his superiors and the information quickly finds its way to the German High Command in Berlin. The subsequent sinking of the transports resulted in the death of over 1,000 British seamen. A year later, and courier-delivered hand-written letter of thanks from German Chancellor Adolph Hitler was delivered to the ensign. The rising star of the Imperial Navy might have languished in the obscurity of Tokyo office buildings if not for this lucky lightening strike, but as it was he was selected by top brass to be the eyes and ears of the Japanese Imperial Navy in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the fall of 1941.

A poor choice of disguises on a daylight reconnaissance reveals his identity to a Japanese civilian woman and a US Navy shore patrol. Compromised by his unmasking he begins making a series of course corrections to keep the suspicious couple at bay. As the clock ticks down to the day of the attack on December 7, 1941, just as incriminating evidence has been obtained, the zeros unload their ordnance on Pearl Harbor and three parties are flung far from one another across the globe.

The three primary characters, despite their individual determination to let the past lie, are nevertheless drawn together once again to a final explosive conclusion in 1954 Honolulu orchestrated by international forces they would never have imagined.

My Review

Intriguing piece of story in the backdrop of World War II! The moment I started reading the historical fiction I was completely drawn towards the amount of research the author had done in developing the story plot.

The war is upfront and all the details of the enemy will help the Japanese take reigns and to keep their strong hold and Arashi is the man for the job. Arashi is a spy deployed by the Japanese to find the secrets of the enemy and to foil their plans. He is the man for the j0ob.

The protagonists of the story play their part in the best way possible and will keep you hooked up, as you move through the pages.

The story is quite descriptive and the way the author has portrayed the happenings in the pre-war scenario will amaze you. There is so much to read in the story, with spies, love, deception and war upfront, there is a lot happening throughout the book.

Be prepared to go back in history and to watch the lives of people in the pre World War II period. Incredible story but the best part of the story lies in the end where things go a little eerie in the most unexpected way you can ever imagine.

Read more about the book at Online Book Club



Sunday, 30 October 2016

Book review of Prophase

Book Blurb:

Become swept away into a world of light just beyond our perception. 


Piper Walker, a high school senior, has seen her share of hard times. At a young age, she lost her mother to breast cancer shortly after her brother Charlie was born. Raising her baby brother under the wrathful eye of an abusive and alcoholic father, she relies heavily on her small, but tight core of friends. Lisa, her best friend from kindergarten, and Chris, her longtime boyfriend, help to keep her above water. Along with her friends, Piper’s elderly neighbor, Ester, and her lynx point Siamese cat, Jazz, become the extended family she never had. 

Even before her mom died, Piper always felt different. She was opposite of her popular best buddy Lisa, and didn’t enjoy doing what most other teenage girls liked to do. She wasn’t much for fixing up and thought hanging out was boring. Music and nature were her muses. Piper grew up next to a forest with countless paths, one of which led to the high school; the others to myriad of seasonal wonders. Piper spent countless hours in the woods exploring and finding solace in the trees, wild flowers, and every kind of animal. Although somewhat shy and insecure of her voice, Piper was lead vocals and a passionate bass player for a garage band called ‘The Coat Tails’ that consisted of Lisa, Chris, and their close friend Josh. Having never sounded better, they were sure to win the senior talent show.
After a Spring Fling dance, a near-death experience prematurely rebirths Piper to her destiny, for not even she knows who she really is. Her identity has remained buried deep for her protection. She awakens to a dimension where light laden with emotions emits from everything around her. Overnight, Piper and her world are transformed into something radically different. What she thought was real was only the beginning, a thin veneer to actual reality. Universal truths are turned upside down. She wakes to a magical world with an ancient history and kingdoms of races. Life becomes way more beautiful, complex, and breathtaking than she ever imagined.

A menagerie of supernatural and metallic gleaming mythical characters come to assist Piper to take her first steps in her new world and keep her safe. The realm of brilliant auras, feelings, and endless color surround her creating a language she doesn’t understand. She begins a long journey to discovering and mastering her powers and senses that defy fantasy. Riding gravity waves, casting spells, and leaping to exotic locations become her new curriculum. 

However, amongst the Eden lies a fatal danger. For centuries, a tyrannical rule has suppressed and strangled the enchanted world she is now part of. A most brilliant Guardian, named Eli, and his council, the Arbitri, have become the only voice. Evolution has stopped. Only Piper has the power to bring about change. 
Amongst the unspeakable beauty, unknown danger, and the desire to find out who she really is, Piper stumbles upon an unexplainable, first-time love that becomes the only thing that she can cling to in her stormy and unexpected life. From the first time his voice dances on her ear drums, she is taken by something wonderfully unreal.
Piper now must juggle her two worlds – and disguise her increasing abilities and morphing appearance while attempting to be the slightly nerdy teenager everyone knows. 
This story captivates the imagination with the beauty of nature and the celebration of love, life, and light – and the power of one girl.

My Review

Piper Walker the protagonist of the story is a high school girl whose life is like every other girl but with a few twists and turns. Without her mom who died she is left under the custody of his father and takes care of her younger brother. She does all the household chores. What frustrates her more that her father is a drunk and never takes care of her or his brother.

Piper has a boyfriend from school, Chris who is the most handsome guy. All the girls at school have a huge crush on him. But one unfortunate day Chris breaks up with her. On one night at party she finds him with another girl and dashes out of the party. Lisa, John and Piper leave the party on the road back home when they meet with an accident.

Miraculously they survive the accident and it is then Piper discovers that she has supernatural powers. Things take a tide from there on and she finds that she is all powerful and has to restore the balance of the worlds. Mystery now starts surrounding the story and new worlds are unravelled to her within a short span of time. She discovers who she is and how the world around her will change even after her friends are gone. Luckily she has guardian angels who will help her in the journey of safeguarding the world.

The pace of the story is great and the element of surprise is what will make you fall in love with the book. The author has done a great job in getting the attention of the reader with the twists and turn in the story. Magic and fantasy genre stories are a must read for me and this book kept me spellbound till the very last page. The author has duly justified the genre with his awesome writing skills.

It is a great book for all ages. This is the first book in the Mitosis series. Wish to read more books of the series.

Read more about the book at Online Book Club


About the author

Mitchel Street is an avid storyteller with an innate passion for fiction writing. He was raised in rural Wisconsin near the shores of Lake Michigan across from a small forest that became his second home. As an adult, M. Street has lived on the East Coast in Boston, on the West Coast in San Jose, and now resides South, in the great city of Austin, TX. A love for nature, art, spirituality, and science has been his foundation. 
He has been fortunate to have been adopted by cats, dogs, birds, frogs, turtles, and Monarch butterflies. His professional background is rooted in Engineering having earned a graduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is technically published (under a different name). He is currently creating Metaphase and Anaphase, the follow-on to Prophase, part of the Mitosis series.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Book review of Saint George: Rusty Knight and Monster Tamer

About the book

In a world infested with monsters intent on harassing the citizenry and scaring the livestock, you need an efficient Patron Saint and Minister for the Environment. George, a vertically challenged and impoverished knight in rusty armour, would appear a poor choice were it not for the fact that, during his travels in the Austrian Tyrol, he discovered a cake with the miraculous power to tame monsters. Suddenly, and for the first time in his life, George is in demand.

Elevated to ministerial position by King Freddie and Prime Minister Merlin, George becomes famous, while remaining (sadly) impoverished, and wittingly or otherwise has a hand in improving international relations with France, creating the first trade union, repelling a Scottish invasion and defining the number of players in a cricket team.

This sharp and witty satirical comedy, filled with comic caricatures and disgruntled dignitaries and set in a time-we-have-all-forgot will appeal to young people and adults alike.


My Review


George has now become a monster tamer with the help of Marmorgugelhuf cake, that tames monster that are causing trouble in England and its neighbouring countries. With no one in the country who knows how to tame a monster and with him growing fame, fortune turns in his favour and he is given the post of Patron Saint of England, with a pay of two shillings and six pence a week.

The book is filled with adventures of the George and kids will love reading the book. Filled with fun and light hearted stories, it will make kids giggle on the achievements of George. Preventing a Scottish invasion, taming monsters and also hitting a six in a cricket match, George’s charisma will make kids to ‘awe’ on his accomplishments.

I would love to do everything George has done in the stories, had I even been chosen as the Saint Parton. And his armour-on and armour-off are funny which adds a fun element to the story.

Overall it a great book to read for the kids in the age of 10 to 14 and if you are a book reviewer it will be great to read a book completely out of your genre. Something that will take your mind off the daily hustle bustle of life, giving you the opportunity to refresh your thoughts and to be amazed how a kid’s book can be a fun read.


Great work by the author and I honestly speaking I will gift this book to my cousin brother when I meet him.

Read more about the book at Online Book Club

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Book Review of Shifting In The Realms

About the book

The Realms refers to a parallel dimension hidden between Minneapolis and St. Paul where creatures, humans think of as only mythical, roam free.

Cody is a shape shifter with some monumental problems that all started when he died. He’s escaped to The Realms from the midlands between Heaven and Hell only to find his best friend is potential food for the resident vampires, his girlfriend only loves him in his wolf form and her mother…well that’s a whole other story. 

It isn’t easy being Cody, but like a good wolf he’ll do what he can to protect his pack even if it kills him. Wait…he’s already dead.

My Review

A real quick read and a light hearted story!

The story finished even before I knew it was complete. I was expecting to read more in the book and then I discovered the fact that, it was a set novella written by different authors put together in the form of “The Twin City Series.”

Vampires and werewolves are the predominant species in the realm. Cody a wolf-shifter feels he is more powerful in his wolf form than his human form. And it feels great when you are stuck with being a werewolf at the age of 16 forever.

We are introduced to a new kind of supernatural entity of fire demon, who is even more powerful than the vampires and they are the kind that vampires fear.


A romantic scene in the story with a sun setting in the horizon, will make your heart flutter, had you been lucky enough to be in the same place at the same time.

The plot is great but I wish I could have read more.

Read more about the book at Online Book Club


About the author


Theresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of B&W Scifi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. She loves to travel, but makes her home in Oregon where her elder father and she share a home and the maintenance of the resident cat, wild birds, squirrels, garden,and occasional Dragon house guest.

Blog: http://www.theresasnyderauthor.com/

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Book Review of Trojan: The Enemy Within

About the book


A high-profile US based assassination was just thebeginning...


Victor Walker's main responsibility as Sr. Manager of White House DefenseArmament Systems, was to ensure America's flagship arsenal remain up andoperational, but just days after an assassination on US soil, all flagshiparmament systems crash - a complete meltdown. Star Wars, Air Force One,Doomsday Briefcase and Guidance Systems are all rendered useless.


Bombings ensue in major cities and Victor's framed for the disaster by anunknown entity.  Forced into exile withhis family facing danger, he races to find the country behind the attack. Somethingdoesn't pass the smell test. Indicators point inward to a rodent - to a Trojan withingovernment with ties to the crisis - to someone he once thought he could trustwho doesn't want the issue resolved.

My Review

A captivating storyline that had me under a spell till the very end! Right from the word go it had the essence of the crime and thriller genre. The pace of the story is great and will keep you in the hunt of what new twist hides in the next page. And it made me feel as if I am watching a Hollywood movie with bomb blast and all the mayhem that has been caused. It will give a birds’ eye view with detailed description of what a emergency situation will look like and what counter measures you can take to diminish the mayhem.

The author has done an incredible job in letting the protagonist of the story Victor take full reigns and he hasn’t let him down. His technical skills and the pledge to fight for his county in adverse situations make him the real hero.

Victor task at hand as the Sr Manager of White House Armament Systems is to ensure that he is in full control to handle any circumstances that may compromise with the security of the nation both foreign and domestic.

He finds himself at odd situation when he faces real life scenario of a complete melt down as the servers get offline and caused the armament systems and all defence mechanism offline. Now he has a code in hand which can save the nation from all the mayhem but he again faces obstacles in his path of ensuring the safety of the nation. While he is kidnapped and is asked to lay down the code which can pin point the people behind the mayhem, his superiors start doubting him as the prime suspect who can be behind the ordeal.

Will he be able to gain the confidence of his peers and identify the people behind this unfortunate incident?

Find out more on what really happens and how Victor faces the dangers that linger around him.

Read more about the book at Online Book Club.

Buy the book from Amazon
About the Author

Before publishing my debut novel, I served over 27 years as an information technology professional working initially for the US Navy, and then the Department of the Navy and various fortune companies. I'm a UCLA Writing Program alumnus, who writes mystery thrillers and children stories. After years of crafting and fine-tuning my story telling ability, 2016 is the year of the launch of my debut novel titled Trojan, which is based on a "what if" scenario I envisioned years ago while attending the Naval & Marine Corps Computer Science School at Quantico. My vow to my readers is to capture your imagination and keep you engaged, from the beginning of each story to its riveting conclusion.

Author Interview of Raven Song

Book Blurb:


A century ago, the world burned. Even now, though rebuilt and defiant, civilization is still choking on the ashes.


Jackson, a smuggler, lives in the shadows, once a boy with no memory, no name, and no future. Ravens followed him, long-extinct birds only he could see, and nightmares flew in their wake. Once, Jackson thought himself to be one of the lucky few touched by magic, a candidate for the Order of Mages. He is a man now, and that dream has died. But, the ravens still follow. The nightmares still whisper in his ear.


Anna’s life was under the sun, her future bright, her scientific work promising. She knew nothing of The Bombings, the poisoned world, or the occult. One day, she went to work, and the next, she awoke in a box over a hundred years in the future, screaming, fighting to breathe, and looking up into the eyes of a smuggler. Anna fears she’s gone crazy, unable to fill the massive hole in her memories, and terrified of the strange abilities she now possesses.


The Coalition government has turned its watchful eyes towards them. The secret factions of the city move to collect them first. And, old gods stir in the darkness, shifting their pawns on the playing field.


If Anna and Jackson wish to stay free, they must learn what they are and why they exist.


Unfortunately, even if they do, it may be too late.


Raven Song is the first of a four book adult-oriented dystopian fantasy series, a story of intrigue, love, violence, and the old spirits in the shadows who wait for us to notice them again. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Charlie Human will enjoy this dark magic-laced tale rooted on the bones of what our world could become.



Prologue


A boy lay on the broken sidewalk, eyes closed. He was pale and thin, looking not a day over ten years old. His half-clothed body shuddered against the chilly night air. His bony frame scraped against the grime of the street as he curled into himself, trying to keep back the cold. Overhead, the stars hung bright and lonely.

In the alley, almost invisible against the midnight darkness, a man stood tall over the boy. His well-pressed suit was as black as the shadows, as his skin, and as the raven on his shoulder. The way he hovered over the child, he seemed a strange guardian. But his eyes were turned upwards to the sky, away from the boy’s plight, as if it was no real matter. In those black eyes the stars were mirrored, impossible and brilliant. Those eyes stared back into the past, when the celestial lights were loved and revered, when each constellation had a story.

Once upon a time… this was when the world had sung to him, the dream-walker, the song-weaver, the star-stringer.

Once, before humans had forgotten his name.

Now, the starry sky was almost hidden by the glowing blue haze of the Barrier, a shield cast over what was left of the city: proud New York, ruined, rebuilt, defiant.

The stranger kept staring upwards into oblivion, even as the boy let out an unhappy whimper, chills wracking his weak frame. The raven flew from the stranger’s shoulder then, alighting onto the sidewalk, picking past the weeds and rubble. It rejoined its fellows who had settled amicably around the child, oblivious to the fact that ravens were all supposed to be dead. One hundred years ago, poison had leeched into the earth, into the grass, into the grazers, and into the corpses left behind. The blight spared little, its kind no exception. Regardless, this impossible creature affectionately brushed at the boy’s dark hair with its beak.

At the touch, the boy awoke with a start. His wide, uncomprehending eyes took in the world as he struggled to sit up, his head swinging around wildly; past awnings and high rises he had never seen, past scrawled words and graffiti he could not understand. He teetered to his feet, then fell back down again as his knees gave out, sending the birds around him into flight.

He saw no starry eyes in the darkness, no stranger standing nearby. He was halfnaked, shivering, hungry, and alone, his head aching down to his teeth. The nameless boy shook off the dreams he couldn’t remember and wondered where he was.

If there had been any passersby on that cold autumn night, they would have sworn that this boy hadn’t been there a minute ago, and no stranger or ravens had been there at all.


Author Interview


1. What inspired you to write the book?

Originally, the framework of these characters and some of their drives were laid out in a tabletop role playing game I play with friends and family. And, every night, after the game ended, I’d lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, going over them all in my mind. These creations wouldn’t let me sleep. They wouldn’t let me work without intruding on my day. To cope with the imagination itch, I started writing again, something I hadn’t done for years. I think it was about a month in that I realized an incredible story was here that wanted to be shared with the world. A year and eight months later, plus a lot of hard work and uncertainty, and the first instalment was done.

2. When did you realise that you want to write a book?

Probably when I was in fourth grade. My teacher took me out of writing class and plopped me down in front of a computer, letting me write whatever I wanted. She said perhaps I could write a book. She said she believed I was good enough to do it. That effort never saw an audience—it was about my pet cat fighting dragons and evil sorceresses!—but I think the experience changed me, and when the characters of Raven Song took nest in my head, I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do but write and give them a home. Thanks for believing in me, Mrs. MacDonald. I wrote a book after all.

3. Who helped you in writing the book and please say about their contributions?

I can’t talk about putting this book together without talking about Steven, my “imagination buddy for life”, as we call it, the man whose brain was critical in incubating so many of these characters that I took and evolved to fit in a novel. He’s an oracular storyteller and ran the tabletop role playing game that gave rise to the basic ideas of Raven Song, me and another player creating the characters, several of which made it to the book in some form. Steven, however, first conceived Anna, her steadfastness, her persistent hope and bravery in the face of things she couldn’t explain. And no spoilers, but he also first developed two of the series’ primary villains, who I always found both insidious and strikingly unique. As I chopped it all up and rearranged it all into a new imagining, if I had an idea, I bounced it off Steven, and we built the fundamentals together. In the end, he was very surprised at the direction the book took and the new developments I introduced, but it was high praise indeed to find he still thought me true to the core of these people we’d grown to love.

4. How is your book going to inspire the readers?

I want the readers to find themselves in these characters. I want them to feel their hopes and fears on a primal level, to experience finding light in the darkness and the resolve to continue on when all else seems against them. I want people to see the humanity in all they encounter, even in the most lost and sinister of us. Most of all, I want people to look at the world in a different way when the series ends… perhaps I may be overly ambitious for a little fantasy series, especially as a debut author! But I will try.

5. If you are given the chance to change one thing in your book what would it be?

Hmmm. I wish I’d done more to make the diversity of the cast more apparent from square one; you really are just getting the tip of the iceberg, and I think many readers won’t quite realize its extent just yet. One thing about Raven Song is that, like New York City itself, it’s filled with people from all walks of life, many different mental wirings and heritages and inclinations. And, though the beginnings have been set to present these backgrounds, there’s so much more there. It does drive the characters, and does drive the history of why New York is as it is in 2147. I hope readers will forgive me for waiting until the second or third books to dig into it.

6. How do you find time to write and which part of the day is best for writing for you?

This is a hard one… I think I gave up on finding time a long while ago. I work a full-time job, one that sometimes bleeds into overtime. I take care of an apartment, cats, errands, etc. Life, like water, will expand to fill whatever container you give it; in this case, it will expand to take up all of your time, full stop. I have to aggressively beat back my commitments with a stick and carve out defiant little writing blocks if I hope to get anything done at all—the incentive being that if I don’t, I’ll just be disappointed and restless. Sometimes making time means being awake in the wee hours of the morning because my best ideas seem to happen before work. Ahh, that sleepy adrenaline that comes at 4 AM because your brain has finished processing That One Scene That’s Giving You Crap. Sometimes, though, other tasks and chores don’t get done because I need to write. Sometimes I drift out of contact with people for weeks while I’m on a really good writing kick. But one must honour the writing itch if you have it, and steal time where you must.

7. Which books have inspired you the most, in the journey of writing this book?

I could talk forever about books I’ve found inspiring and influential to me as a writer, but during the actual writing of the book itself, I actually found myself most driven by a book called The Bonerunners by Karen Turkal. It’s a fantasy, a little more YA-driven than what I do, but it’s dark and strange, which is akin to my style indeed. Karen and I have very dissimilar approaches in some ways, but I had the pleasure of being one of the writers to see her manuscript in a very raw form and offer feedback. Seeing her take that and polish, polish, polish, seeing someone else slowly getting their work to that place she wanted it to be—it helped me carry on sometimes when I didn’t get what was missing in my work that would make it compare to the authors I loved. The final form you see many books in, the things that inspire you… they had so many hours of perfecting poured into them, heart and soul, and being reminded of that can be all one needs when you’re discouraged with where a draft is in the here and now. Karen’s work pushed me to finish mine, and that’s about as inspiring as one can get.

8. What is the best advice, you would give for writers who are trying to write a book?

Like I mentioned when discussing “how do you find time?”: MAKE TIME. Do it. Beat life back with a stick where you can. Show up even when you don’t feel like it. When I don’t feel inspired, I feel like everything I write is laborious and hard-won, and on top of that, isn’t good at all. But after I come back to it after a little while, that’s not only 1000 or so words I didn’t have before, but with a little TLC, there’s actually some hidden gems in it. I suspect there’s no such thing as finishing a book you’ve only penned when you feel inspired, unless you feel like you have a few decades on your hands to do it all. 90% of Raven Song wasn’t written when I was feeling the muse at first. And your book will probably be the same! But if you show up every day and try regardless, I believe you will get it done. I believe in you.

9. What is the source of your positivity and ‘tips for life’?

Positivity is different for everyone, but what works for me is making sure I keep no-pressure hobbies that I can use to scratch the creative itch in lieu of writing if I need to. Writing is fun and awesome, but when you commit to a book, and then a next one, and then deadlines… it can be really hard to move from “just for fun” to “work”. No-pressure hobbies have no deadlines, no commitments, nothing to make you anxious. I do tabletop gaming, creating more characters and worlds and experimenting with them. I also play video games. When I hit a rough patch in writing, it helps me recharge in a relaxed setting, because goodness knows, if I only had my day job to fill that void, I’d never be recharged again. Also, I’ve had to learn not to be so hard on myself, which… is not easy. It’s a fine line, but if you can: hold your work to a high standard, but don’t let that turn into negativity against yourself as a creator.

10.  What can we expect from you in the future?

So much! I’ve got the sequel to Raven Song in the late stages of the drafting cycle. I’ve got the third book in the early stages, and a fourth in outlining. I also have a standalone novel in the planning stages, a sort of wry heaven/hell comedy. And short stories! Free short stories are going to be sent out to those that sign up for my mailing list at ia-ashcroft.com. Check it out!

Reviews:


‘Aware that this is just the first book in the series and I am hooked and will read on, however as a standalone book it would still make a fantastic read.’ ~ Mark on Goodreads


‘A good urban fantasy with well-developed characters and a grim and complex setting. I would recommend.’ ~ Dannica Zulestin on Goodreads


‘Ashcroft has a brilliant imagination coupled with an eloquent writing style that draws the reader in, makes us feel a wide array of emotions, and holds us captivated to the very end. I anxiously await the next volume in this series.’ ~ K. McCaslin on Amazon


‘I usually think endings are the worst part of most books, hard to wrap up into a logical and solid ending, this book did well at it I was satisfied but very much looking forward to the next book.’ ~ taruofatlantis on Amazon


‘The narration by Mikael Naramore was good. He was able to capture the voices of the characters well, especially the manic Tony. In general the characters were distinguishable and the voicing gave life to each of them. The production quality was good as well.’ ~ Poonam on AudioBook Reviewer.


Author Bio:
I. A. Ashcroft has been writing fiction in many forms for almost twenty years. The author's first book, written at age seven, featured the family cat hunting an evil sorceress alongside dragons and eagles. This preoccupation with the fantastical has not changed in the slightest.


Now, the author dwells in Phoenix, AZ alongside a wonderful tale-spinner and two increasingly deranged cats. Ashcroft writes almost exclusively in the realm of darker fantasy these days, loving to entertain adults with stories of magic, wonder, despair, violence, and hope, bringing a deep love of mythology into every tale penned. The author also loves diverse and intriguing casts of characters.


When not buried in a book, one might find Ashcroft learning languages, charting road trips, and playing tabletop RPGs with clever and fun people.



Contact the Author:






Sunday, 23 October 2016

Book Review of The Blessing of Movement


Book Blurb:


Sandra. Fearless, headstrong, and dominant, her personality sets the stage for a family dynamic that will affect all members for the rest of their lives, the youngest sister most of all. The complex relationship between these two sisters spans over forty years of events and results in a final act of redemption, restoration, and forgiveness. The story demonstrates how one can flourish despite circumstances and motivates the reader to live their best life every day. It is a story of family, growth, and the overwhelmingly powerful impact of unconditional love.


Read more about the book at Online Book Club


My thoughts


Life can be daunting at times and these tough times will change the way you look at life. It can shatter you into pieces and at the same time can help you in learning the lessons of life.

The author has detailed various aspects of life in an enchanting way that only a few can do justice to. And the way she has portrayed the circumstances at hand is heart wrenching and inspiring at the same time. There are moments in the story that will make you feel bad and sick. You will be left with the thought,
“Why God do you make it so difficult?”

The story begins with the author's sister Sandra smile, on a wheel chair, which is worth a thousand dollars. The story describes the lifestyle of the author's family and mostly revolves around the protagonist of the Sandra and how her behavior impacts people around her. The life of Sandra is the inspiration behind the book.

Deborah and her family were black and lived in a period of racial discrimination but were mostly able to live a happy life. The author describes how her elder sisters were jealous of her when she was born and had the feeling that the love of parents may diminish with the addition of new member of the family.

As you flip through the pages you will face the hard reality of the protagonist who is paralyzed in her mid twenties after she was shot by a bullet. Though she survived the bullet but the saddening truth was that she had to be bed ridden throughout her life. The author describes every part of their lives in detail and how things have happened in the due course of life.

There were circumstances in the story where I could feel that I can no longer read the tough times, the author was facing. Sandra was quadriplegic, which means she had no control on both hands and legs.

Had this not been enough she was facing charges for burglary and for stealing a credit card she did before her paralysis and was taken to the court being tied to a cruiser. It must have been heart wrenching for a mother to see her child in such a situation. In the latter part of her life she was diagnosed with cancer and had to go through complete mastectomy.

This made me cry and I dared a tear to trickle down my eyes. I couldn't have stopped it though!

Even though going through so much in her life the author says Sandra had never asked God, “Why me?” Had I been in her situation I would have broken down and as opposed to her will power would have asked God “Why me.”

Again what made me sad even more when at a particular situation the had described that Sandra had gifts for her but was eagerly waiting for someone to open it for her.

But her will power to survive and to face the hard realities of life makes her a hero, one with an undying spirit.

It is an ultimate book on self realization shown through ones life story.



Thursday, 20 October 2016

Book Review of Open Season


About the book:

The first book in the critically acclaimed Seasons Mystery Series introduces two women homicide detectives in Dallas. Amid racial tensions and the deadly force controversy sweeping the city, Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson are unlikely and unwilling partners. They both see the pairing as better PR than policy.

The Dallas Review Board wants Sarah's badge because she shot a young black boy when an undercover drug operation went bad and her partner was killed. Angel is under pressure from her family to refuse to work with “this white, Honkey bitch.”

Their first case, dubbed the Mall Murders, begins with the death of a maintenance worker at one of the Metroplex shopping malls. A security guard is then killed at another mall. The final murder victim is a young window dresser whose body is left like a mannequin behind the glass of an exclusive boutique at the Galleria Mall.

In this police procedural mystery, the women follow the trail of a killer until it comes close to home, and they have to decide if they can be partners or not.


My Thoughts


Never has a book been thrilled me as has the Open Season. In the backdrop of the a serial crimes that our protagonists follow, they meet their own personal problems in the amidst.

A serial killer has let himself loose in the Dallas. His target; mall employees. Sarah Kingsley and Angel Johnson are entitled with the job of nabbing the culprit and to put him behind the bars. Sarah is facing investigation by the authorities for killing a black person in an intense gun battle. And Angel is bewildered with the fact that she is promoted for her work or there are some other reasons behind the promotion.

Nevertheless both of our protagonists have to work together in their hunt to find the serial killer even though they are having a cold war of one being white and the other black. Having a black and white personality work together as a team, is good for the federal bureau's reputation. 

Will they be able to settle their differences and work together for the job at hand. For that you have to read the story before you find out what happened.

With the killer free of ramifications and guilt, he is in a spree and kills his targets in an unorthodox way with piano string and leaves a note behind, before being fugitive.

The story plot is well laid, which will ignite curiosity in one's mind about the leads the protagonists take to find the criminal. Open Season is one of its kind book in the crime and thriller genre. I loved the style and how the author had articulated the scenarios in the book that will make you move through the pages effortlessly.

I loved this instance in the story which was very thought provoking.

Sarah blinked, wondering if he was just drunken illusion. But he didn't disappear. He didn't sit down either. He shifted his weight to his outside foot, and she realized he was waiting for permission.

Maybe he really was a cowboy. The gallantry was a nice endearment.”

Read more about the book at Online Book Club.

About the author

A journalist and author for twenty years, Maryann Miller has amassed credits for columns, feature articles, and short fiction in numerous national and regional publications. She has several non-fiction books in print, including the award winning, Coping With Weapons and Violence In Your School and on Your Streets. In addition to the "Season" mystery series that debuts with Open Season, Miller has a number of other books published and all can be found on her Amazon Author Page

Among the awards she has received for her writing are the Page Edwards Short Story Award, the New York Library Best Books for Teens Award, first place in the screenwriting competition at the Houston Writer's Conference, placing as a semi-finalist at Sundance, and placing as a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Competition for her adaptation of Open Season. When not writing, Miller enjoys acting, directing, doing puzzles, quilting, and playing “farmer” on her little piece of heaven in East Texas.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Book Review of Corporate Citizen


About the Book from the back cover:
A call for help from an old friend lands Bianca and the crew back in Boston. On a timeout with Dante,

due to revelations in the aftermath of the showdown in Naples, Bianca is drawn to a mysterious new ally

who understands the traumas of her past, and has some very real trauma of his own. Murder, designer

drugs, and a hacker named Magician challenge our team, and Bianca learns that leaving Rendition

behind might be much harder than she thinks.

Key words: Mystery, Suspense, Boston, Conspiracy, Crime, Hacker, Mafia

Title: Corporate Citizen: Roma Series Book Five

Genre: Mystery-Suspense/Thriller

Author: Gabriel Valjan

Website: www.gabrielvaljan.com

Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing

Purchase link: http://amzn.to/2b9E2qE

 My thoughts


Incredible piece of work with suspense building up as you move through the pages. I loved the pace of the story as a cloud of clandestine surrounds the story line. What I loved in the story is the precision with which the killer kills his targets leaving no clue thereby not giving a chance to catch him easily. You may get confused with new characters being added in every other sentence in the first few pages of the story and it took me a while to understand as how and who are being killed. It happens because a lot of characters are derived from the prequels of the book. But it won't affect the story reading as it is standalone.

The essence with which the author has written the story is spellbinding. Corporate Citizen is a must read in the Crime/Thriller genre. I am looking forward to read the sequel of the book. 


About the Author:

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing as well as numerous short

stories. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats,

Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

Twitter: @GValjan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gabriel-Valjan/291400997547203

NOTE: Even though this is a series, each book is standalone. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Book Review of Nightlord: Sunset

About the book

Eric didn't ask to be a vampire. In fact, he didn't even believe in them. Then he hooks up with a hot babe, wakes up with a hangover, and bites his tongue with his own fangs.

Which pretty much settles the question.

Now he's trying to hold down his day job while learning the rules of the Undead -- the most important being that bloodthirsty urges and predatory instincts are a real bitch. 

Upside; Eric has the beautiful Sasha to teach him the ropes, including the magic he'll need to survive.

Downside; they're being hunted by members of the Church of Light, who are determined to rid the world of vampires.

Then Sasha is killed, and Eric is thrust into an alternate world in his quest to avenge her death. There he becomes a Nightlord, fights a dragon with the help of his magical steed, Bronze, and upchucks a sword named Firebrand. 

But things get really interesting when Eric finally finds Tobias, head of the Church of Light. Soon Eric finds himself at the center of an epic battle at the literal edge of the world in a fight to keep a terrible darkness at bay.

In other words, just another day in the life of the Nightlord.

"When you fall off the Edge of the World into hordes of demonic Things from the Outer Darkness, you really start to wonder about your life choices."
--Eric, part-time undead, expectant father, and short-term astronaut.

My thoughts:

Eric a professor of Physics was having fun in a bar one night when the hangover takes the better of him and he wakes up stark naked in a bed. He tries to recollect where he has ended up but finds no answers. Next he finds himself in the company of Sasha a beautiful lady, a vampire.

Sasha turns him to a Dayblood vampire because he looked familiar to her husband she had lost a long ago. Eric turns into a vampire and Sasha helps him stay that way, but Eric protests as he hasn’t chosen to become one and being a vampire wasn’t a thing he was accustomed to which makes him afraid and lonely for a while. But Sasha being a powerful vampire helps him and shows him the ways a vampire can stay alive, as always on blood and food being secondary only for taste. Sasha then teaches her magic and how to use it.

I like this quote from the story
I glanced at the now empty bottle. “What is this stuff, anyway?”
She bit her lip.
“It’s blood.”

Visualizing this scene ran shivers down my body. And I could imagine how Eric must have felt in the first place.

Now they are no alone there are secret organizations that are hunting vampires. Sasha is killed by one of the organizations, Eric ventures in the search of them to avenge Sasha’s death. Eric finds himself in an alternate world which is filled with magical creatures, very different from a normal world, and with the help of his sword Fireband and his magical horse Bronze in the due course becomes Nightlord.

He meets the leader of The Church of Light an organisation which hunts the vampire and keeps evil at bay. Even the Church has its secrets but you have to read the story to finds the secrets that lay hidden in the book.

Eric has to fight a battle and accomplishes things that he hasn’t dreamt of. He has to fight a battle to keep a terrible darkness at bay. You will find an entirely a different story when you start reading the last pages of the book and those pages gave me goosebumps and I was kept saying to myself when shall I get my hand on the sequel

The story of Nightlord is epic and showcases the life of a vampire in an entirely different way and takes you in a journey of a magical world with all the horrendous being and acts. And again gives you the feeling that there are forces that will do anything in power to keep evil at a long distance.

I am quite impressed with the magical world and a journey that was filled with horror, mysteries and adventure. I am very sure you can’t find peace until you read till the last page.


Great book in the fantasy genre!

Read more about the book and the official review at Online Book Club

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Book Review of Gypsy Magic

About the book

Gracyn Pierce is starting over. She has a new home, a new boyfriend, and a new horse. Everything is perfect, or so it seems. Because Gracyn left a secret behind. In her quest to erase the memory of that stormy night, she forces herself to study hard, her sights set on an Ivy League college.

But her attempts to stay focused are derailed when the neighbor suspected of murdering his sister returns to town. As if that isn’t enough, her senses begin to change in ways that aren’t physically possible. As hard as she tries to find an explanation, there isn’t one. 

Gracyn soon learns that things are not what they appear to be. Even her sister who took her in is hiding something. Will Gracyn continue pursuing her goal of getting accepted to a top-notch university, or will the secrets of the past and present ruin her future?

My review

Mystery and secrets with even more secrets unfold as you go through the pages. In the very beginning of the story the protagonist of the story says, that until now I didn’t know that I had a sister, as she turns fifteen.

Gracyn the protagonist of the story had to leave her mom and head out to stay with her sister Becca in Sedgewick. On the very first morning she meets Alex, who latter becomes his boyfriend and meets his band when Alex invites him over to a local bar, “The Witches’ Brew.”

What I loved about the story until now and a next few pages was the flow of the story, with new characters being added to the story each bringing with them their element of surprise and  gives you an idea how they are going to influence the storyline.

Amidst the gripping plot you will meet the most surprising character in the story “Gypsy” a horse of strawberry roan and a pretty rare kind of horse.

I never thought that I would read about horses and human beings related in a story, though I love to watch horses roaming gracefully in meadows and vast grasslands in Nat Geo or Discovery Channels, but to read about them was a first for me.

The pace of the story is never hindered even with new characters being introduced but the author has detailed out many instances in the story which I felt could have been left out.

Gracyn discovers that a little girl was murdered and Becca also warns her never to creep into the woods alone. This terrifies her a lot and there are more mysteries that continue to be unrevealed as the story progresses.  Her past continues to hunt her and a history teacher of High school also disturbs her.


How will she fight, as the past continues to linger in her mind and how will she cope up with the little secrets her sister and mother are hiding from her? Continue reading and you will find the answers to all your questions.

I was searching for the magic element to be introduced early in the story but you have to read much further to find the magical elements, which will completely change the plot and will take you into another dimension in the story. By now you will reach the last few pages of the story

Gracyn discovers how she and Gypsy are related and this discovery will change the course of the story as you look ahead for the sequel to be released. I wish it releases soon.

I don’t want to be a spoiler of the story. You have to read to find out the mysteries and magic and the secrets that will be spilled if you hold your nerves and reach the end of the storyline. It will be then where you will appreciate Tonya for her exceptional storytelling skills.

A must read in the YA genre with a great storyline.

Read more about the book and the official review at Online Book Club.
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