COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer, Book One” BY AUTHOR, Paul Andruss, @Paul_JHBooks

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

Fairies took his brother…

When Jack sees a sinister woman kidnap his bother Dan, he knows his parents will never believe him. Nor will the police. Not when he says Dan vanished into thin air. If Jack wants to see Dan again, he has to save him. And not just him …

If he ever wants to find Dan, first he must save Thomas the Rhymer from a wicked enemy.

Bravely embarking on a rollercoaster adventure into the dark fairy realm, Jack and friends face monstrous griffins and brooding tapestries with a life of their own, learn to use magic mirrors and travel on ley lines that whip them off faster than sound

Even if he returns Thomas the Rhymer to his selfish fairy queen, she might make Jack her prisoner. With the odds stacked against him, can Jack succeed in finding and freeing Dan?

Or will he lose his brother forever?

MY RECOMMENDATION

The trilogy’s written, so I’ve reread “Jack Hughes and Thomas the Rhymer,” to reconnect with the characters. Stay tuned, because I’ll be reviewing the other two books soon. Now, forget everything you thought you knew about faeries!

This fantastic story delves into one of my favorite subjects, faeries! Not only was it geared toward the YA genre, but it also included a fair amount of historical facts to make the story shine. Those historic details make this book unforgettable.

When Jack’s older brother Dan disappears before his very eyes, he’s stunned by the mysterious circumstances of his departure. That Jack witnessed the strange abduction and doesn’t tell his parents only adds to his troubles. Jack’s mother is suffering from a chronic illness and his greatest hope is that the situation will rectify itself, and Dan will come home on his own.

One night, Jack receives a cell phone call from Dan, and when he answers, there’s no one on the line. He tries to tell his parents and the police the truth about what happened, but every time he opens his mouth to speak, his throat closes up and he’s unable to utter a single word. Faery glamours? Could be!

In the meantime, Jack notices a dirty tramp hanging around his house who only speaks in rhyme. It becomes apparent that no one can see the tramp but Jack and his friends, so he enlists them to help him solve the mystery behind his brother’s disappearance.

Jack, Ken, and Catherine become entangled in the magical kingdom of the faeries. They learn about traveling by ley lines on faery roads. They also experience firsthand the deterioration of the faery kingdom. At one point, Catherine disappears into a living faery tapestry. Soon, the truth about the land of faery is revealed to the kids. Believe me, there’s plenty of magic and suspense to keep you reading long into the night! At least, I did!

Let me just say that this is one of the most imaginative books I have ever read about the good neighbors. There are some special scenes involving one of the faery queen’s and the female character, Catherine, that captured my imagination! The author’s attention to detail and the world-building in faeryland is worth drawing your attention to. Andruss writes as if he has first-hand knowledge of how to deal with faery royalty!

Jack’s friends are reminiscent of the characters in the Harry Potter series, and I had no problem connecting with their personalities. The plot is brilliant, although I had a hard time separating fact from fiction. That’s what I call good writing!

You will find this book on Amazon.com and soon to be listed (along with the sequels) with the independent Scottish publisher, Black Wolf Books. You will find a delightful musical rendering of characters and places from the book HERE. I’ve included my favorite for your reading pleasure below featuring the mysterious Elphame Wood.

Elphame Wood.mp3

“Elphame Wood—speaks for itself, really. The dissonant chords and drum-beats are interrupted by fanfares to remind you that you are in Queen Sylvie’s kingdom. In the first chapter, Sylvie calls Jack ‘Frere Jacques’ and her rhyme has the same syllable scheme as the song. I used an incomplete, minor-key version of Frere Jacques as a recurring bass theme to add to the sinister mood.”


 Music  for Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer, by Patrick Hartnett

I think children and adults of all ages will enjoy this magical tale. Do you love magic and all things faery? Then have a read, because this book will keep you entertained for hours.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Paul Andruss was born and raised in Liverpool. The city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left its mark. Keen to get out into the world, Paul dropped out of college at 17. A year later he was taking exams at Night School, while working in the local Tax Office. On the grounds that anything was better than work, he applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University. Considering his grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than he when they accepted his application.

After graduation, Paul worked near the romantic Lake District, so beloved of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. No, not Harry’s mum, Peter Rabbit, and Jemima Puddle-duck’s. He worked in Manchester and London before moving to Bodrum in Turkey. 

To finance a passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, Paul wrote short travel articles focusing on the history and myths of ruined cities and temples. He began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop to remove power lines and the odd Esso sign from his photographs of ancient sites.

Returning to the U.K. to focus on writing and illustration, he settled in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Paul is the author of the Young Adult magical realism trilogy, the Jack Hughes Books, and the forthcoming (very adult) Finn Mac Cool – a gritty, raunchy mythological saga. He has also written a number of short stories and novellas. All scheduled for release with exciting new, independent Scottish publisher, Black Wolf Books.

For more information, visit http://www.jackhughesbooks.com
Follow the plot: jackhughesbooks.com/story-of-the-book
Download posters: jackhughesbooks.com/art-gallery
Listen to music the novel inspired: jackhughesbooks.com/music

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: paulandruss.com

TWITTER: @Paul_JHBooks

Paul Andruss, Buy: Amazon UK And: Amazon US 

Follow Paul: Goodreads 

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Moses, the Singer,” BY AUTHOR, Mark W. Sasse, @sassevn

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

A talented group of teen musicians. A stateless old man living on the margins of society. What do they have in common? Humanity and sweet music.

Will, Sanchez, Song-Yi, and Stephanie attend an American international school on the island of Penang, Malaysia. But at night, they are a talented band of musicians striving to win their school’s talent show, so they can further their dreams of becoming professional musicians. 

Musa “Moses” Marbun has been without a country for forty-six years. The crippled and destitute rickshaw driver pedals tourists through the quaint streets of Penang’s capital city to meet his daily needs.

One day when downtown, Song-Yi witnesses Musa being beaten on a sidewalk for a theft he didn’t commit. As she intervenes on his behalf, an unlikely friendship ensues, which puts the band on a collision course with musical destiny while Musa hopes to end his decades long journey through the wilderness by confronting his past.

Introducing the Band:
Song-Yi, lead singer
Will, guitarist & composer
Sanchez, bass guitarist
Stephanie, percussionist
Moses the Singer

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MY RECOMMENDATION

I’ve been a fan of Mark Sasse’s books for around six years, now. What makes his writing most memorable is how his characters often require lessons to learn and various problems to overcome before they reach redemption. Many of his stories take place in or around Penang, Malaysia where Sasse taught school, which gives his stories a unique Asian flair.

“Moses, the Singer” tells the story of a group of teen musicians who have one goal, and that is to win the school talent contest. Will, Sanchez, Song-Yi, and Stephanie are your typical musical teens with dreams of becoming professional musicians.

Each of these teen characters has well-defined personalities you will remember long after finishing the read. Will, the guitarist, is the one whose type A personality brings them all together. Sanchez, Will’s best friend, plays bass. Song-Yi steals the show with her tender heart and spectacular voice. Stephanie rounds out the group as the youngest and the drummer.

As the teen’s story unwinds, we also meet Musa “Moses” Marbun, a crippled and destitute rickshaw driver who pedals tourists through the streets of Penang’s capital city as he tries to survive.

A chance encounter brings all of them together and Song-Yi intercedes on Musa’s behalf. Little do the teens realize the impact that the old man will have on their life, and vice versa. Will’s family welcomes Musa into their home and hearts. What transpires is the story of a family who surrounds each other with love and support.

I read this YA book while in lockdown mode from the coronavirus pandemic. It was a joy to escape into a story where wonderful things happened to the underdog for a change.

Musa’s life story is heart wrenching. Sometimes the kindest of souls endures the most pain. Like Musa, I spent some time being thankful for my own life experiences and lessons.

If you’re looking for a feel-good read that will help you believe in humanity once again, make “Moses, the Singer,” that book.

Many thanks to the author and Book Sirens for the advanced reader’s copy of this book, which I received for free. I wrote this review voluntarily because I enjoyed the read.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Mark W Sasse is a novelist and award-winning playwright and director. He vacillates on a daily basis between which genre of writing he enjoys the most. Luckily, he doesn’t have to choose! Sasse’s novels have been featured on curated sites such as Bookbub and Noisetrade, and his plays have been produced in New York, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney, Australia, among other places. His play “The Last Bastion” earned him the 2018 Greywood Arts Winter Writing Residency in Ireland. He is also a three-time winner of the Best Script Award at the Penang Short & Sweet Theatre Festival. His plays have won multiple other awards such as Best Overall Performance and Audience Choice Award. He won the Festival Director’s Award at the 2016 festival. 

Sasse’s interests cast a wide net – from politics to literature – from culture and language – from history and religion, making his writing infused with the unexpected as he seeks to tell authentic and engaging stories about people from all walks of life. His writing is straightforward and accessible to all, especially those who enjoy a page-turning good story injected with doses of history, adventure, Asian culture, and unexpected humor. 

After being an adamant standalone novel advocate, he’s changed his tune and is working on the epic Forgotten Child Trilogy, which the final book released in March 2019. He finally found the story that required more than one book, and he had a blast writing it. It’s a crazy mix of magical realism, history, and time travel. 

As for his plays, he’s fond of both the short play (10 minutes or less) and full-length formats. From 2011-2017 he wrote for and directed the drama ensemble The RLT Players, a passionate group of dramatic storytellers who specialize in the short play format. In September 2016, his experimental theatre piece “How to Build a Dictator” was featured as part of Penangpac’s Black Box Experiments series. His goal is to have it go into full production somewhere in the world. Any takers? 

He currently teaches drama in Saudi Arabia. 

HOW DID HE FINALLY GET HIMSELF WRITING?

Sasse remembers writing his first play when he was about thirteen. It was about Queen Esther and the only person he ever showed that play to was his mother. In college, he wrote lots of poetry, even love poetry for a certain girl. But once he graduated, his writing confidence was shattered, so he gave it up for the next twenty years. He doesn’t recommend doing that! He went to China to teach English in 1992 and eventually moved to Vietnam to do the same in 1994, shortly after the U.S. lifted the embargo against their former enemy. He lived in the exotic Vietnamese culture with his family for nearly ten years. After many life-changing experiences, Sasse’s new-found taste for history sent him back to school to pick-up a second Master’s degree, this one in Humanities. This led to a shift from teaching English to history as he moved to Malaysia in 2006. Little did he know, however, that all of this was building up to another major shift which would get him back to writing. 

On a whim in 2007, he embarked on a collaborative project with a group of students to write and produce a play, resulting in the original stage play “Monkey Love Potion.” It was such a fun and rewarding experience that he decided to try it again the following year. Before he knew it, he was hooked and that was the beginning of his love affair with live theatre. After writing and successfully producing four original full-length scripts, he finally got the nerve to try his hand once again at a hidden desire which had defeated him many times over the years – novel writing.

In the summer of 2011, he embarked on the journey of writing his first novel. His greatest worry was reaching the magical 50,000 word mark, so he could officially call himself a novelist. When the story, “Beauty Rising,” clocked in at over 60,000 words, he was shocked and happy. But not content. He didn’t know what to do with the novel, and he convinced himself that it would sit idle until he wrote a second novel. He hated hearing the words “one-hit wonder” echo in his head. So in the summer of 2012, he wrote “The Recluse Storyteller.” 

Feeling a little more confident, he decided to focus on exposing his work to the public in order to receive some feedback. In December 2012, he independently published “Beauty Rising.” When the first review from an online book reviewer was posted and it was over-the-top positive, he was flying high, and if he never wrote another word in his life, he would have been content. But that contentment was not to be. He was now hopelessly hooked on both play writing and novel writing, and he hasn’t looked back since.

He has published eight novels. He is grateful for all the readers who have joined him on this journey of creativity. 

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

Sasse loves to cook everything from pizza to Thai. He’s coached softball or baseball for the past ten years, and he’s been a much too loyal fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates since he was 9 years old–another item he’s hopelessly hooked on. He enjoys travelling, visiting historical sites, and sitting by the beach or other scenic spot with a laptop, an idea, and a lot of time. He has a lovely wife and three wonderful children and one really cool son-in-law – he’s Korean, keeping with the Asian theme of his life. He has an active blog (www.mwsasse.com) where he writes frequently about history, writing, culture, and life. He loves to hear from readers, so he hopes you’ll stop by his site and say “hello.” 

The Complete List of Published Works by Mark W Sasse

NOVELS
The African Connection (The Forgotten Child Book 2) (2018)
A Man too Old for a Place too Far (The Forgotten Child Book 1) (2017)
Which Half David: A Modern-day King David Story (2016)
A Love Story for a Nation (2015)
The Reach of the Banyan Tree (2014)
The Recluse Storyteller (2013)
Beauty Rising (2012)

PLAYS
The Folly of Progress (2017)
The Last Bastion (2017)
How to Build a Dictator (2016)
The Secrets of the Magic Pool (2016)
Grandparents’ War (2013)
Romans on the Couch (2011)

SHORT STORIES
The Hundred Pitch At-Bat (2019)
Jolly Old St. Hick (2018)
Christmas in the Trenches, 1914 (2016)
If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story (2014)

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: mwsasse.com

TWITTER: @sassevn

FACEBOOK: Author Mark W Sasse

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Winter Trials, Northern Witch Book One,” BY AUTHOR, K. S. Marsden, @KSMarsden

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

With Midwinter just around the corner, Mark’s Nanna decides that it is time he learnt more about his family heritage. Learning witchcraft shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

Balancing school, magic, and the distractions of the gorgeous new guy, should make this a very interesting winter. ~~~~~Northern Witch Series

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

I’ve got a treat for you today! This first book in the Northern Witch series is free! If you love YA fantasy like I do, this is an entertaining and different read. “Winter Trials” is a short read. I finished the book in one weekend.

We’re introduced to Mark, a sixteen-year-old student who lives in a small village in the Yorkshire countryside. In his final year of school, Mark learns that his Nana wants to introduce him to the family legacy. Nana’s a powerful witch and the head of a coven, and she encourages Mark to take up this part of his heritage. Mark’s father didn’t embrace the magical life, and that sets up some tension in this household.

At school, we meet Mark’s best friends, Harry and Sarah. When the new boy, Damien, arrives Mark falls for him in a big way. Mark’s a strong character in this coming of age tale. There are many tender and romantic moments between Mark and Damien, which I found endearing.

Amazon lists this book as ranking number five, in the FREE Teen & Young Adult LGBT Fiction category.

As the boys’ connection grows, the story picks up speed. After Mark becomes a witch in training, he notices that Damian’s surrounded by an unexplained aura. With the Winter Solstice arriving soon, it’s revealed that a demon wants to possess Damien! Mark asks Harry and Sarah, Nana, and Nana’s coven for help in saving him. Can they save him before it’s too late?

I enjoyed this magical read! The story is compelling and filled with enough romance and excitement to keep you reading into the night. Be prepared for the cliff-hanger ending. Book two, “Aware,” can be found HERE.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Kelly Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.

Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Her first book, The Shadow Rises, was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.

Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

Blog: ksmarsden.com

Twitter: @KSMarsden

FB Author Page: K.S. Marsden

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Through the Nethergate,” BY AUTHOR, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, @bakeandwrite

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th-century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

After the death of her parents, Margaret moves to Bungay, England to live with her grandfather. Once there, she realizes she can see the spirits of the dead. Even more terrifying, Margaret sees the spirits of how they looked at the moment of their death. If that’s not creepy enough, hang on… this story takes a dark turn. Soon, Margaret realizes she must figure out how to free these lost souls from the ultimate evil.

Some of the ghosts are evil and some are good, while others seem to be stuck between the worlds in a sort of limbo. Margaret’s gift of sight acts as a catalyst for some and the ghosts begin to incarnate and interact with our world. All of this activity alerts the big guy below and he fantasizes about Margaret’s abilities and what her power could do for him.

Cheadle builds her story off of the legend of Black Shuck, the Devil Dog of Bungay who in 1577 terrorized the parishioners of the local church by killing two people kneeling in prayer after bursting through the church doors amid a flash of lightning. In the book, the dog resurfaces as the evil Hugh Bigod, the vilest of spirits who commands the other spirits who chose not to go into the light when they died.

What makes this story stand out from other YA horror novels is how the author weaves the historical accounts of real-life murderers into her plot. Some of these accounts, while interesting, bogged down some of the pacing in the novel. Yet, it didn’t stop me from reading into the wee hours to find out what happened next.

Additionally, I found the story to be heavily influenced by the Christian concepts of heaven, hell, and the devil. These aspects didn’t affect my personal view, except that I don’t think a belief in spirits belongs to any specific religion.

I found the political elements in the story to be the most compelling. There are some valid points made between the rise of fascism/nationalism and the spread of evil in our current world cultures skillfully woven into the story. The author intertwined many other current events into the storyline including “fake news,” mass shootings, and the war in Syria, all as part of the machinations of Lucifer.

This book had plenty of terrifying moments to hold a reader’s attention. I thought the story concept was solid and the author’s approach to history enriched the storytelling. If you love YA fiction, you’ll enjoy this book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle-grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades

Robbie Cheadle, aka Roberta Eaton Cheadle Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: Robbie Cheadle: Books, Poems, Reviews

TWITTER: Robbie Cheadle @bakeandwrite

FACEBOOK: Robbie Cheadle

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Colleen’s 2019 #Book #Reviews – “Project Renovatio – The Trilogy” by Author, Allison Maruska, @allisonmaruska

Title: Project Renovatio, The Trilogy

Amazon Author Page: Allison Maruska

Publication Date: September 13, 2018

Formats: Audiobook (free with an Audible Trial subscription) & Kindle

Genres: YA, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Genetic Engineering, Mystery & Detective

Goodreads

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS

Enjoy all three stories in the Project Renovatio trilogy in one convenient boxed set. Follow Levin and Rana as they learn the truth of their existence, fight for their freedom from dangerous factions, and realize their place in a world that fears them. Amazon.com

Description of Project Renovatio

Levin Davis has it made. At 20, he’s a college graduate with a dream job, a beautiful girlfriend, and a life that can only get better – until he receives a mysterious letter suggesting his long-dead father is alive and hiding an extraordinary secret.

Distraught, Levin meets the letter’s author, who could pass for his twin. The stranger claims to be part of a genetically engineered race designed to survive global catastrophes and rebuild society, and he insists Levin and his sisters are as well.

Despite his disbelief, Levin uncovers not only the bizarre truth of his existence but also Project Renovatio’s ominous purpose – to secure genetic superiority, the new race must live according to harsh demands or risk severe penalties inflicted on their loved ones. If Levin hopes to protect his family and live a free life, he must escape Project Renovatio – or rise above himself to fight them.

Description of Project Liberatio

After weeks of hiding from the radical group that plans to turn him and his siblings into an army of genetically engineered supersoldiers, Levin wants nothing more than to get back to his old life. So when he learns they have the opportunity to return home, he jumps at the chance – all they have to do is defeat the very faction that has forced them to take refuge. 

Following intense training, Levin’s group pursues the faction, but his focus isn’t solely on the fight. When he sneaks away to visit his girlfriend, he unwittingly reveals himself to the enemy. Now, he must sacrifice his own plans and desires and commit himself to a new mission – or he could lose much more than his freedom. 

Description of Project Ancora

After suffering great loss, Levin struggles to find his place in a world that would see him as an outcast if it knew the truth of his existence. His purpose lies in keeping his siblings and the other genetically engineered youths safe. So when they start disappearing, he has no choice but to find them – a mission that becomes more urgent when his sister, Rana, is among the kidnapped. 

As Rana works with the captives on an escape plan, Levin uses his extraordinary abilities to figure out where they are and who is behind the abductions. What he discovers is more serious than he could have imagined, and it’s up to him to get them back to safety while keeping them hidden from those who are supposed to be protecting them.

MY RECOMMENDATION

The Project Renovatio Trilogy is Book One: “Project Renovatio,” Book Two: “Project Liberatio,” & Book Three: “Project Ancora.” Each of these books can be purchased separately.

Let me begin by saying that these three novels kept me awake for several nights in a row until I could finish the series. The story is quite provocative and deals with the subject of genetic engineering. The entire premise for the novel could have been derived from a special edition of the Nightly News or from somewhere on the dark web. This subject is something that humanity will have to deal with sooner or later, which means the novel might be a prophetic glance at what could be our future reality.

Imagine that your only chance of having a child rests with your participation in an experimental genetic program. Wouldn’t you leap at the chance?

That’s precisely what the parents in this novel did. Little did they know, their children were genetically modified to become part of a Top Secret government program. Each of the kids is gifted with genetic superiority in intelligence and strength. Many of the teens learn that they share the same father, who was also genetically superior.

The writing flows smoothly, and after the first chapter, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. This series is action-packed and filled with romance, teamwork, heartbreak, and horror. I did a bit of crying along with the characters if you know what I mean.

Allison Maruska writes impressive young adult fiction, and this series introduces you to some unforgettable personas who are multi-faceted with true to life personalities. Levin, Rana, Dante, and the rest of the characters will find a place in your heart. I know they did in mine!

MY RATING:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 
5
Reader Engagement: 
5
Reader Enrichment: 
5
Reader Enjoyment: 
5
Overall Rate: 
5 out of 5 Fairies

5 fairies

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Allison is a YA and mystery/suspense author, blogger, teacher, mom, wife, coffee and wine consumer, and owl enthusiast. Her blog includes humor posts, short stories, and posts on writing strategy, parenting, and teaching. 

How to Connect with the Author

Blog: http://www.allisonmaruska.com

Twitter: @allisonmaruska

This was an exceptional read!
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Colleen’s 2019 #Book #Reviews – “Episode One, The Boy and the Shopkeeper: Delilah, Astral Investigator Infinity Series,” by Author, @Bowmanauthor

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS:

A Paranormal Fantasy & Time-Travel/Astral Projection Novel for “tweens”/teens/YA/Adults!

Delilah (“Dee”), a modern teenager, saves the life of Bartholomew (“Bartie”), a Colonial American from 1774, unknowingly bringing him to the 21st century. Dee’s vivid dreams are really astral projections that she can’t control. Together with Dee’s intuitive cat, Mollie, the Astral Investigation Team returns to the past to aid the boy and the shopkeeper, who are caught in a time warp of death and betrayal.

This is but the first episode of their adventures. They will be able to travel back in time and to the future, never knowing where or when they’ll be going or how to help doomed souls. If they don’t stop the repetitive vicious cycles, these damaged, bitter entities will be reborn to destroy society as we know it. As the series begins, there is much they have to learn about each other and the astral plane. Can history be rewritten, even after the fact?

Can the future be changed to prevent the predicted apocalypse? Not all souls can be saved, and some do not wish it. Join these Astral Investigators on their sojourns to different realities and other planes of existence.

  Amazon.com

Title: Episode One – The Boy and the Shopkeeper: Delilah – Astral Investigator Infinity Series

Amazon Author Page: Deborah Bowman

Publication Date: February 21, 2015

Formats: Paperback & Kindle

Genres: Time Travel, Fantasy, Children’s Ebooks, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Scary Stories, YA fiction

Goodreads

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Delilah, Astral Investigator: Infinity Series revolves around a young woman named Deliah who is afflicted with asthma, her angora cat named Molly, and a young man, Bartholomew, who steps from the pages of America history. The three combine their efforts and end up changing history.

The story revolves around a shopkeeper and a boy and an event that profoundly affects Delilah. Each night, when she falls asleep, she dreams of this fateful event, reliving the incident in excruciating detail.

However, One night Delilah’s dream changes, and she witnesses a different dream/occurrence where Bartholomew is about to be murdered. She reaches through time to pull him into her dream where she saves him. Once Bartholomew adjusts to this time continium, the unusual man from the past becomes her friend.

I enjoyed the story and how this author’s interpretation of time travel allowed a ripple effect to change past events. The storyline delves into the topics of lucid dreaming and astral projection, which really add a paranormal glint to solving the mystery.

The characters were engaging and relatable. I found Bartholomew’s dilemmas in coping with the modern world to be well thought out and at times humorous. This author has a penchant for realism, so some of the dialogue is written in English dialect which I thought added to the story.

I do hope the author continues the series because the time travel cornerstone of the story is intriguing. There are so many possibilities!

MY RATING:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 
5
Reader Engagement: 
5
Reader Enrichment: 
5
Reader Enjoyment: 
5
Overall Rate: 
5 out of 5 Fairies

5 fairies

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System
Author, Deborah Bowman (Stevens)

About the Author:

Deborah Bowman has been sharing her stories and poems her entire life–her first poem published in a 4-H magazine at just 12 years old. She loves just about all genres of fiction and collects classical literature. Deborah’s recent selections are close to her heart. She has a passion and a crusade for the headline-driven factual and historical material which she weaves into novels and novellas.

New Release: Annie’s Story, Blessed With A Gift B01N9NRYMU
Historical Fiction based on fact via a past-life hypnotic regression. Annie was born dwarfed with a slow mind in 1630 Colonial America in a secreted Scottish village of the Massachusetts Bay Colony near Puritanical Salem. She is also whimsical, loving, and blessed with the gift of healing from the Spiritual Universe. In a time of suspicion and fear of demonology and witchcraft, many children with birth defects and their mothers were banished or put to death. This is a coming of age story which reveals parallels to our modern society in the abuse, ridicule, bullying, and labeling of individuals with special needs. History does repeat itself!

B00TVULOQY, DELILAH, ASTRAL INVESTIGATOR, INFINITY SERIES: EPISODE ONE, THE BOY AND THE SHOPKEEPER. A very modern teenager, Delilah (“Dee”) and a Colonial American from 1774, Bartholomew (“Bartie”) team up with Dee’s rambunctious and intuitive cat, Molly, to go back in time or journey to the future to save lost souls on the astral plane. Their mission is to save the world! Age appropriate for “tweens”, teens, YA, and adults as well, especially if you love the paranormal and believe in alternate planes of reality.

LIVING IN A SHADOW, B00AP68CUO, a full-length novel intended for mature readers deals with abuse and date-rape drugs. She presents the real-life facts that anyone can be a victim of these brutal attacks. “What do you do and how do you cope when you can’t remember what has been done to you? The side effects of these drugs can damage your physical and mental health or even cause death!”

The Denny Ryder Paranormal Crime Series (STROKE OF FEAR! B00CFWYAX4/STROKE OF MIDNIGHT! B00F8Z2KAK/STROKE OF SILENCE! B00JH78VOE) are quick-read novellas for the busy adult and age-appropriate for tweens/teens/YA. There is an epidemic in this country of missing children. “It’s important for children to know that danger lurks everywhere. If they can recognize a predator’s persuasion, they at least have a chance to run away, hide, or cry for help. Unfortunately, not all abductions can be prevented, but for every child that is saved, one less family is spared the heartbreak that can never be comforted.”

Deborah has a 20+-year history as well as formal education in writing, editing, proofreading, and publishing. She believes strongly in helping first-time and seasoned writers alike create quality books and eBooks at clasidconsultantspublishing.com. She does free reviews and critiques. “Books are timeless; readers are forever.”

Deborah has various upcoming projects but is always happy to hear from you and connect on social media.

How to Connect with the Author:

blog: http://www.bowmanauthor.com

website: http://www.clasidconsultantspublishing.com

Twitter: @bowmanauthor

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bowmanbooks

Goodreads

LinkedIn: Deborah Bowman Stevens

Tumblr: Really Very Miracle

Amazon Author’s Page: Deborah A. Bowman

Amazon Reviewer’s Page: Deborah Bowman, author

email: livinginashadow@outlook.com

Thanks for stopping by to read about “Episode One, The Boy and the Shopkeeper: Delilah, Astral Investigator Infinity Series” It’s an awesome read!
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 If you have your book listed on BookBub, I will add my review there also! ❤ Click HERE to follow me! (Colleen M. Chesebro) Let me know in the comments.

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Colleen’s #Book #Reviews – “Wisp,” by Author, Adele Marie Park

  • Title:  Wisp, Volume I
  • Author: Adele Marie Park
  • File Size: 840 KB
  • Print Length: 218 Pages
  • Publisher: Author Self Published
  • Publication Date: 12/14/2016
  • Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01MXYQ2E4
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Teen & Young Adult

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS:

“Edra; a world where magic flourishes and where dark secrets are concealed by those who rule. Secrets which can get the innocent killed without a thought.

When the body of an elf is discovered in a treacherous area of the city, Wisp, a young Law Enforcer is assigned the case. He soon realises the case is far from simple. As soon as he finds one thread, another one leads him to unravel a tapestry woven from lies, secrets, corruption and evil. When friendship turns to love, Wisp`s life, as he knew it will completely change.

What started out as a murder case ends in a grisly battle which Wisp and his companions seem to have no chance of winning.”

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Meet Wisp, a law enforcer in the land of Edra, where magic is encouraged to flourish and is often needed for sheer survival. A mages council rules Edra compared to the neighboring area of Finah, who prefers humans to control their resources. After a bloody civil war, many years ago, the two lands exist beside each other in a fragile peace.

Wisp is a marsh fairy (YES! Can you believe it?) with raven hair and pointy ears pierced with silver earrings. Marsh fairies are rare and possess special powers. Wisp keeps his real identity under wraps, known only to his superiors. Abandoned as a child, the “Senior” Law enforcement officer raised him ensuring his survival.

In a desolate area filled with putrefying rubbish, Wisp comes across the body of a High Elf, a member of the Thorns, who was a high-ranking council member found murdered in the circle. The elf’s throat had been brutally cut. Wisp sets out to solve the murder not realizing he is to play an integral part in solving the mystery.

Wisp meets Finn Redhaven, the lover of the murdered elf, Sammiel Thorn, and feels an immediate attraction to him. Wisp and Finn fall in love and discover a wealth of magical abilities enabled by their relationship. And, they are going to need all the help they can get to battle the evil that has descended on Edra.

As fantasy novels go, Wisp stands out to me in its originality and political intrigue. Ms. Park creates a world where love is considered to be one of the greatest powers of all. I enjoyed that the two main characters were male and embraced their love and desire for each other, which was a refreshing approach to solving a mystery in a magical land. The reader discovers along with Wisp the extent of his abilities which I anticipate will increase over time.

I’ve added Wisp to my Me Time category for Fantasy. I loved the story and the characters. The ending is a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the next volume to find out what happens to Wisp and Finn. Hopefully, Ms. Park won’t keep us in suspense for long.

MY RATING:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars



Author, Adele Marie Park

About the Author

I was born in the north-east of Scotland, at the age of six months I moved with family to live on the Orcadian island of Rousay. My childhood was surrounded by tales and legends of old, these themes and beliefs I have carried all my life. They now emerge and live within the pages of my books.

My most major work and my life’s passion is a series of tales regarding humans and selkies. The Suleskerry Saga portrays tales of merging worlds and peoples, delving into the battles, and loves therein.

I am a writer.  I connect with people through the art of transformation.  The magic of words which transform into pictures.  This magic touches the heart of the one who reads my words.

Read more about Adele on Chris the Story Reading Ape’s blog where she gave an interview.

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Author contacts:

Blog – Website

Facebook – Twitter

Barnes & Noble

Amazon:

UKUSACAAUS

See you at the next review!

SILVER’S BOOK REVIEWS: “WILL O’ THE WISP,” BY C. S. BOYACK

  • Title:  Will O’ the Wisp
  • Author: C. S. Boyack
  • File Size: 3536 KB
  • Print Length: 259 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  • Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Publication Date: March 13, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00UPH6BNS
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Genres: YA Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery, and Suspense

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Have you Seen a Will O’ the Wisp?

Eerie green phosphorescent lights have been seen hovering over Bergamot Holler in Virginia since the beginning of time. What are these lights and why are they there? Speculation is that the lights are just swamp gasses floating harmlessly in the stillness of an autumn evening, even though their appearance has foretold many stories about fairies, ghosts, and witches.

That is until Patty Hall, a not-so-average 15-year-old, witnesses the Will O’ the Wisp first hand in the mid-1970’s during a routine hike in the woods near her house while star gazing one night. Patty witnesses one of the mysterious orbs as it forces its way inside the body of an unsuspecting male college student. Terrified, she flees back to the safety of her home, afraid to share what she has seen for fear her mother will have her committed.

The next day, when Patty’s Uncle turns up dead, the college student is arrested for his murder. Accompanied by her Mother and Step-Father at the jail, Patty sees the murderer who appears to be sick as he spews up copious amounts of liquid from his lungs. The boy has murder in his eyes as he lunges for Patty through the bars of his jail cell yelling, “You’re next!” (Pg. 37).

The Mystery Deepens

In preparation for her Uncle’s funeral Patty helps her mother clean out his house. It is during this process that Patty finds extensive research on the Will O’ the Wisp her uncle had been working on for years. Horrified by what she finds Patty realizes that her family has been targeted for generations by the Will O’ the Wisp.

On top of all this, Patty has her own disabilities to contend with. She is not popular in high school and must wear leg braces to correct a congenital deformity. Tensions with her mother are at an all-time high, and her two best friends are growing away from her. For Patty, life has taken a chilling turn.

With every ounce of courage, she can summon, Patty embarks on a supernatural journey to find the answers she needs to save her own life, and those of her friends, and family.

Recommendation:


I was gripped with tension as I read “The Will O’ the Wisp,” staying up late into the night because I could not put the book down. The next day, I found myself wondering about all the possibilities that Patty had before her in trying to solve the mystery that was stalking and killing her family members. You could say, I was hooked by the story and the characters, even though the book was targeted for a young adult genre.

C. S. Boyack realistically spins this coming of age tale of a 15-year-old girl with the chilling supernatural happenings in a small town in Virginia, all the while, blending historical elements that draw you further into the mystery. Boyack is clever, though. He reveals the story writing almost as if he were the young girl himself seeing through her eyes. Patty becomes a character who is totally loveable and believable, teenage angst and all.

My hope was to read this story during Halloween. That did not happen, although I was pleasantly surprised at how the story did not need a holiday to reinforce the enigmatic vibes of the story line. This was one of the best young adult novels I have read. If you are looking for something unusual to read bury your head into “The Will O’ the Wisp.” If you dare!

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About C. S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Make certain to connect with C. S. Boyack through his Twitter @virgilante

And his blog at: “Entertaining Stories,” coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Thanks for stopping by today. I enjoyed seeing all of you!

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