Review: Portal Prophesies Book 1

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The Portal Prophesies Book 1 is called A Keeper’s Destiny and it is by C.A. King. This is a high fantasy epic novel.

The book starts with Willow, the orphaned teenage misfit who has a tattoo of two black cats that she doesn’t remember getting, it’s always been there. She also hears voices. Willow lives in a little village where she sells produce. The village is segregated by caste or class. The people of her village have hair that changes colour when they are young until it settles on a colour at sixteen cycles. Their hair reflects their mood until it stops changing, then it would announce the strength and type of her abilities. Which means this world also has in-born magics or abilities.

From here we move on to meet the people of her town and get a feel for the social structure. The history of the world, which involves Guardians and Keepers, who are bonded to each other, dividing up and protecting realms of fantastical races to keep them safe or keep them from causing harm, is gradually revealed, as is Willow’s role in all this.

The social turmoil within the village provides the opportunity for an attack that ends their peaceful existence and forces the survivors to use a Portal to one of these other realms. We get a few training sequences and some character growth, and then end with a major character in distress.

On the one hand this world is extremely unique with an interesting history and some potential for “that’s not what you told me” and a bad guy who believes he’s the good guy and the Guardians are evil tyrants. On the other hand, it’s prophesy based, and that runs the risk of being either cliched or forced or both. She can’t lose because she’s the chosen one, right? She’s just going to keep unlocking abilities until she’s big enough and strong enough to win no matter what. BUT I hold out hope for this series based on the wide cast of characters, the interesting set-up with potential for betrayals and side reversals, and the decent writing style.

This book is perfect for older middle years and high school students. It has that teen drama feel to it, with amazing powers and adventure and self-discovery.

Considering what this book is trying to be, and what it achieves, I give it a four out of five stars and I look forward to reviewing the second book later this summer.

The Biggest Thank-you

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Last night was the book launch party for Nothing Everything Nothing and, as promised, here are the thank-yous and the fundraising facts to date.

FUNDRAISING

E-books sold: 4
Money raised: $4
Paperbacks sold: 88
Money raised: $176
Free will offering: $51.75
TOTAL: $231.75

EXPENSES

Food: ~$40
Posters: $10
Donated books: $12
**These expenses came out of MY half of the royalties on the books, not the half set aside for Kids Help Phone.

THANK-YOU

To family and friends who pre-ordered or reserved copies of the book:
Jill Simonite, Janet Ediger, John Ediger, Len Guilmette, Sara Gratton, Thea Clincke, Valerie Schreyer, Sheldon Schreyer, Melissa Schreyer, Stephanie Murphy, Tia Nemeth, Krista McCollum, Sheri DeSorcey, Fran Doyle, Mary-Louise Clincke, Kyla Balleny, Irene Klopack, Clara Chongva, Brenda and Gary, Carinna Rosales, the Grace Girls (Sue, Boo, Mo and Kitty)

A special thank-you to Diana Cameron who purchased ten copies to be donated to libraries and resource centers. We are working on a list of resource centers and libraries to send these copies to. Any suggestions are appreciated.

To family and friends who helped me spread the word:
Marianne Curtis, Andy Ganz, Angil Graftin, Sara Gratton, Jill Simonite, John Ediger, Thea Clincke

To family and friends who helped me with the launch:
John Ediger, Sara and Laurent Gratton, Janet and Lloyd Ediger, Thea and Frank Clincke, Jon Schreyer, Len Guillmette

To Mary-Louise Clincke and her daughter Marlee, for allowing me to use a photo of Marlee (who was my inspiration for Molly) in my promotions

To the Transcona Library for the room. And for their amazing children’s programs. I attended story time there as a child and got hooked on books young.

To Marianne Curtis for her support, and for the opportunity to do a little piggy-backing on the launch of her book, Rae of Hope.

To the Nanowrimo Facebook Group, for help with the promotional material and the writing of the book. They’re an amazing group.

To my beta and editor, Andy Ganz and Thea Clincke.

To Prairie Sky Books for agreeing to carry the book in their store.

To those who have, or plan to, post reviews or ratings of the book.

To my husband, Jon Schreyer, who is perfect. No, really, I mean that.

A LAST NOTE

It’s impossible to thank everyone who inspired, supported, and helped. But every one of them is in my heart. I hope to pay it forward by reading and reviewing as many indie books as possible.
It’s tempting to address those who did not believe, or did not support, and say “I told you so” but I won’t. It’s painful when family and friends don’t hop on board with the same level of enthusiasm that I feel for this project but I can understand the many reasons that hold them back and I don’t want to blame, shame, or guilt anyone. I don’t feel any resentment or anger, only understanding. I hope they will find causes that call to them.

WHAT’S NEXT?

There will be a book signing after mass at Anola Parish on November 30th to wrap up the fundraiser (and a short post detailing any increase in the amount raised). After that there will be a reading and an author’s fair at the Jake Epp Library in February – dates to be announced.
As for further books, the next one is started and I shall keep everyone updated on the status. I doubt it will be ready by February but it should be done by summer.

THANK-YOU

Sarah’s Child Book Review

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Sarah’s Child is a drama by Paul England. It is set in Brisbane Australia, with parts of the story taking place in the UK. The story is told in a first person narration with the narrator changing every few chapters.

Here’s the description:

‘Sarah’s Child’ is all about love, decency and reality in a very contemporary context. When young Sarah Clarkson finds she is pregnant to her boyfriend, Stewart, she thinks her fairy tale life is just beginning. That fairy tale turns into a nightmare of domestic violence and crippling control and jealousy, driving Sarah over the edge.

Coming from a loving family, Sarah watches as her parents bring her newest sibling and their third child into the world, coincidentally the same day Sarah’s child is born. Seeing them enjoying the love and security of a long term marriage only makes Sarah and Stewart’s relationship all the more painful. Sarah develops postpartum depression, joining millions of mothers around the world with this insidious and crippling condition. Even when recovered, her life is wrought with frustration and pain as the father of her child uses every dirty trick in the book to control her.

Desperation drives Sarah to commit a crime that sends her even further down the path of despair and no matter what crimes her spouse may commit against her, it seems society is one sided and there is, for the once mentally ill, no justice. At least not if you are a woman, a mother, alone. Stewart is egged on by his evil step-mother and his worthless, abandoned-him-as– boy father. With such role models is it any wonder he sees nothing wrong in giving her the odd ‘love-tap’, or taking what is hers from her bank account… for the baby, of course.

This story is all too real because it is based on real events. Everything in ‘Sarah’s Child’ has happened to someone: someone you know, someone close to you, maybe someone very much like yourself. Maybe you?

The book was well written and the narration flowed nicely. I enjoyed the familiar way in which the narrator addressed the reader. The limited POV of the first person narrator provided a lot of twists in the story and emotional suspense.

I found the story realistic in a heart-wrenching way that made me want to fly to Australia and save this girl and her daughter. There was one part I didn’t find believable and that was when Sarah’s parents get her a new apartment and ask her to leave so they can have time with their new son without drama. Sarah was right to be upset by this. While it drove the plot I found it didn’t fit the characters or situation.

Otherwise the story was good, the prose were good, and the style was good. I did find the formatting awkward, the author would benefit from adding page breaks between the chapters to make the book easier to follow. This is my only real critique about the book.

I highly recommend this book and I look forward to the second book.

http://www.amazon.ca/Sarahs-Child-Story-Book-ebook/dp/B00LLEAJ5K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413384701&sr=8-1&keywords=Sarah%27s+Child

Prince in Exile Book 1 Book Review

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Prince in Exile is a serial novel by Helen J Bradley. It is set in the fictional kingdom of Ukonsaari, an island nation existing in the vicinity of Norway and Finland in the late 1970s. It was available on Amazon but has been taken down, temporarily, for editing purposes.

First of all, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy before it was pulled down. Being a serial each part is very short – this first book was only 4 chapters in length. Even though it was short it was filled with intrigue, murder, action, and sex.

The characters are clear and well-written, but of course not yet fully developed – we’re only at chapter 4 after all. The back story of Ukonsaari is well developed and clearly laid out in these brief chapters. We’re also set up for the remainder of the book, this part ending with the reveal of the driving plot point.

The atmosphere is great. It feels like the 70s. Helen uses era appropriate language and cultural norms/believes while creating a sense of the foreign and grand.

The copy I had did have some issues with sentence structure but I will not go into detail as the author is already aware of this issue and is fixing it. I’m not sure when the book will be re-released but when it is I’ll share the link. You can still go to Amazon and read the description and view the cover (which is fantastic).

World of Azglen Book Review

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World of Azglen is the first book in the Full Moon Series written by Patricia Mattern and JC Estall. Here is the book’s description from Amazon.

Charley Rabbit is a mentally disabled young man who lives quietly with his widowed mother Mitzi in the American Midwest-but not for long! Charley develops a rapid intellectual growth spurt after being bitten by a vampire. Fressenda and her fraternal twin brothers Cass (Castor) and Lux (Pollux) take an interest in Charley and Mitzi and become part of their extended family, but Mitzi is wary and senses that the changes in Charley may be part of something mysterious,dark and sinister. In the meantime she is offered something she didn’t believe was possible-a clandestine relationship with a younger , and incidentally immortal, male.

The ensuing connection that Charley and his mom develop with V-net vampires (,a brilliantly organized organization that has piggybacked on the existing infrastructure in the U.S), an ancient family history and a dangerous and wily adversary, the Vampire Lord Adrastos puts both their lives and their new relationships at risk and takes them to some of the most remote locales on the planet.

I found this to be a very quick read and overall the book felt like an extended introduction to characters, politics, and the vampire rules/powers of this author’s unique universe. As this is book one in a series that’s understandable. There were some twists I really enjoyed – like how flying was possible by impractical because of modern technology, the portal system, and Charley’s “rapid intellectual growth spurt”. I also enjoyed the main cast of characters: Mitzi, Charley, Fress, Cass, and Lux. I think my favourite though was the minor character, Byron.

The main struggle that is supposed to drive this book is hinted at in the brilliantly written prologue but I found the execution of the build-up and climax to be weak. No, that’s being too harsh. Let me explain a little.

When Mitzi undergoes her traumatic experience she reacts in unexpected ways and the author only suggests that “Mitzi felt that she had been hypnotized somehow, maybe” (to paraphrase). I was really hoping for more on this, a detail about how she had been drugged by the wet nurse, or how Adrastos hypnotizes her, or something.

I was VERY impressed with the outcome of the fight scene, even if the action felt a little choppy. The way Charley wins is unique and a wonderful twist. This is a traditional underdog learns to fight too quickly and too well sort of story – Charley struggles, a lot, in this fight and I liked that since he was the newer vampire and the weaker fighter.

While Byron was my favourite, the other men are hot and sexy and come across as genuine. I found the other back-up characters hard to distinguish (but I did read this novel with a head cold) but the main cast was fully realized and easy to tell apart.

The numbers don’t lie and based on the Full Moon Series’ fan base and status on Amazon’s sell lists Patricia Mattern has hit on a success with this series. She’s producing something that a lot of people like. So I will highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a light, quick, paranormal romance.

Look her up on Facebook and Amazon. There are a lot of books in this series and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing all of them.

http://www.amazon.ca/World-Azglen-Full-Moon-Book-ebook/dp/B009PIANVO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1413302068&sr=1-1&keywords=world+of+azglen

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