I've been waiting a long time for this book to be up on amazon and waiting for reviews! This book is GORGEOUS! From the very first page, I was captivated by the stunning imagery. The artist is in a class of her own. I was blessed enough to meet the artist at a book signing event in Chattanooga, and we've since come to be friends. She has other Mangas out as well that I would highly recommend.
Now on to the story element: This book is just part one. I think there is going to be 5 parts in total. The story follows a young man who has just come to learn of his family's curse. Horrifying creatures from a world unseen are attempting to destroy his family. Two beings have now come to protect them, but they are the last ones of their kind available to defend this family. Will they survive?
I'm looking forward to the rest of the releases. A lot of this story is based on Irish folklore -- things I'm not overly familiar with but am looking forward to discovering!
If you're interested in purchasing this graphic novel/manga, go HERE
This is a book I get to talk about as a Mom!
Elina Ballerina is a tale about a little elephant girl who just does not seem to fit in with her class. While the other girls are so elegant and poised, she is all trunks and stumps. But there's something Ms. Elina does not quite know about dancing -- or about herself for that matter. Something that changes everything from the way she views herself to dancing as a whole.
I love this book, and little Joey enjoyed listening to it too! The pictures are cute and well done. I'm looking forward to more from this author!
That was short. But it's a kid's book. :D
Find it HERE
“No one would ever want to join the Dead Kids Club – the dues are a price too high to pay.”
Full disclosure: I received this book for free from the author as part of a book exchange. While that might have gotten me to start reading this book, that's not why I finished.
They say the worst pain a person can face is the death of their child, and I believe that’s probably true. After the sudden and senseless death of their son, two parents fall into despair. Nothing matters – jobs, housing, eating well, friendships – who cares? The life they were building was for their son Nick. Now that he’s gone, what does it matter?
But not so is the life of the man who killed their son. He still lives, still drinks and drives, still parties. For now.
With nothing to lose and an ounce of reprieve to gain, these parents pursue revenge. But it won’t work if they lose their lives in prison too. In order to reach their goals, they must get away with it. So, in order to appear normal and innocent, they reconstruct their lives and do what normal grieving couples do when they are trying to get better: they join a support group.
The group speaks of finding love once more, and of pursuing life beyond their traumas, but just below the surface of each well-meaning member is well of bitterness. Injustice abounds and so does the need for vengeance. But, at least, the newest members have a new sense of purpose. Now they’ll just need to decide if an icepick would work better than poison.
I liked this book. A lot. About 75% of the way through, I had to take a moment and message the author about how much I was enjoying it! The characters are well-developed, their motives understandable yet horrific at the same time, and I felt their emotions as they journeyed through this unspeakable pain. In fact, I had to go check on my own son a few times just to make sure he was still OK.
The Dead Kids Club kept me on the edge of my seat while an amateur killer fumbled through doling out vigilante justice. At times, I didn’t know who to root for – the cops, the mob, or the murderous parents! Each step through this journey was well throughout and believable, and I kept thinking about the story long after I had closed the book.
I have one complaint, but just the one. I thought the opening was a bit too fast. It took me a moment to really decipher what was happening. I didn’t feel like I had time to connect emotionally with the dead kid, and the only reason I felt bad was because he was, in fact, a kid. And he was dead. That feeling lasted for the first couple of chapters. Here’s the thing though: the first couple of chapters are about a couple of pages each. In my humble opinion, that’s not a good enough reason to not recommend this book. It was a lot of fun and, again, I really enjoyed it.
So, if you like a good anti-hero thriller, this book is for you!
Richard’s life is . . . disappointing.
His career is one word away from extinction, his love-life nonexistent, his hopes for improvement, nil.
But his imagination? Now that’s a place to be.
For years he has studied and imagined the life of his hero, the much-debated Napoleon Bonaparte, former Emperor of France.
Oh to live in the time of Napoleon! To see the victories. To smell the gunpowder. To be present at Waterloo to warn him of looming disaster! So, when a run-in with an eccentric bookstore owner provides him with that opportunity, Richard takes it readily. He quits his job, his life really, in order to pursue this dream, and soon, he’s present on the famous battlefield of Waterloo, right in the middle of the action!
A little too close to the action really, as he’s quickly escorted off the field by a concerned soldier. But this is just the beginning of an adventure! More is to come, good, bad, and ugly as he journeys to meet his idol – and to find a better life.
As someone who enjoys history but had a less than stellar school curriculum, I learned a lot from this story. Other than the names Waterloo and Napoleon, I know very little about that time period. Williams, though, had it all figured out. Through vivid descriptions, Williams has created an immersive journey through the time of muskets and diplomacy, of success on the battlefield as well as failure. And, as it concerns the story itself, Williams does not always go the way one would think. There were several points when I expected the author to zig only for him to zag instead.
In other words, it was quite a bit of fun, and I enjoyed reading it. As a mom intending to homeschool, I kept thinking about the concept of ‘living books’ as described by Charlotte Mason. While I would not recommend it for a child (there are a few scenes), I could see a historically inclined teenager adding this novel to their curriculum. This is not how this book is being marketed, but it’s a potential angle that I saw. If you're looking for a deep dive into a time period, this book is for you!
*I received this book copy free in exchange for a review.
Steel Princess by April Grace: A Review
A stolen gynoid princess.
An enslaved human robot tinker.
A loveless queen bent on the destruction of mankind.
These are the elements that make up Steel Princess, a teen/YA fantasy novel written by April Grace.
Robots are not supposed to feel emotions. Sure, they may simulate them, understand them even, but have them? Nope.
But Silver, who has been living as the daughter of two humans for most of her life, has started to receive error messages from her processing system about the physiological manifestation of responses from emotional stimuli. (AKA, she’s feeling emotions and her motherboard doesn’t quite know what to do with that!) And, if that wasn’t enough, suddenly, she’s confronted with a truth previously hidden: she was not commissioned or built for her parents to substitute a daughter that never was – she was stolen from her gynoid mother, the queen of the land.
Her ‘parents,’ two humans that have no interest in becoming victims of the gynoid queen’s human genocide, took Silver when she was young and have been raising her as if she were human. Now, what should never have been possible is coming true – Silver is emotionally becoming one of them!
But when Silver’s adoptive mother is captured by the biological(?) mother, Silver has to decide which family to pledge her loyalty to. Choosing the family who has filled her life with love and hope, Silver will stop at nothing to get her mother back and end this reign of terror.
I’m always skeptical about the SFF genre. If you read any of my own books, you’ll find them gritty and down to earth (I can’t write magic to save my life!). But Grace has a way of taking her readers along a journey and introducing them to fantastical characters with heart and humor. One thing that did take me aback (only momentarily) was the inclusion of mythical creatures and magic in this novel. I thought it was going strictly sci-fi, so when the centaur showed up, I wasn’t quite ready for that. Like I said though, it was a momentary feeling. In fact, from that point on, the addition of magical creatures alongside cold robotic beings worked well to create an immersive and complex world.
This was a fun book full of adventure and interesting characters. It was well-written and easy to understand. I believe this is Grace’s first book, and, considering her expansive level of creativity, I can’t wait to see where she goes from here!
Paul used to be normal. He used to play baseball, ride bicycles, and run like all the other kids his age, until a genetic heart condition ruined all that. At the age of twelve, he experienced his first heart episode--an episode of tachycardia that caused him to collapse. Ever since then, while the other kids continue with their normal lives, running, playing sports, planning for college, Paul just hopes he'll get to see tomorrow.
Now seventeen, Paul tries to make the most of it. Sure, he can't handle more than a simple walk around the neighborhood with the girl next door and his school has painted a parking space for an ambulance on his behalf they've come so frequent, but Paul continues life doing the things he's able to do. He studies a lot, watches movies, hangs out with his two friends--the only people in school who haven't written him off and moved on that is.
But when a stranger in the park asks Paul what he wants more than anything, he tells the truth: He'd like a do-over.
And so the stranger shoots him.
Paul wakes up in the hospital the next day, disoriented, but complaining about the random person who shot him in the chest. The doctors are baffled. There's no entry or exit wound, but radiological imagery shows a bullet lodged next to his heart. The thing is, though, the bullet is moving. Around and around it goes, circling his heart. And if that wasn't baffling enough, some of the images report it as being there then not, as if it's intangible.
Well, since Paul would never survive an operation due to his weakened heart, there's not much they can do about it. They'll just have to wait until Paul is dead to remove the thing. But that does not stop the CIA from circling like vultures. Sure, they do their part protecting Paul while they're there, which is especially lucky since a group of creepy, smelly aliens show up demanding whatever Paul has inside of him.
The chase is on as Paul, his girlfriend, and his CIA handlers race from one safe house to the next while the advanced alien race pursues them. With each encounter, they lose more and more of their numbers--including Paul's small circle of family and friends. Between the pursuing aliens, his weak heart, and the CIA's continued talk of basically 'disappearing' Paul, the teen is hard pressed, and it just might be time to take matters into his own hands.
I received this book for free as part of a review exchange. I had read Frankel's work before, but while I like the other book, I really like this one. Frankel's tone for Paul's voice was spot on, and I found myself caring and liking the protagonist pretty quick. I felt each loss, each pain. I felt the fear, the mystery, and the desire to just stay alive, even if by all logic, that's just not going to be possible.
The story was sci-fi, which is a genre I sometimes struggle with, but Frankel did a good job of holding his reader's hand throughout the story and taking them on this wild journey! It was a lot of fun and I'd recommend it for other readers.
saros by zenko -- A reviewRead Now
Saros by Zenko – A Review
The ancient gods are dying.
After millenia of surviving on the worship and sacrifice of mankind, these celestial beings find themselves wasting away as the humans turn away from ritual in pursuit of more ‘scientific’ beliefs. Now the immortals watch helplessly while one by one, those they love dissolve into stardust. And they’re next.
Fearing the death of his people, Ocote seeks to claim a human sacrifice himself. One bloodline, a product of a union between the immortals and man, may be enough to sustain his people, to be the key to their survival. But another immortal, Jerico, stands in his way, vowing to protect the human and cease the barbaric rites and reliance on mortal men. But will this rogue Jerico be enough to protect the innocent mortal? Or will his celestial race overwhelm his efforts and slay the innocent?
My first experience with manga came from an art classmate of mine at school. While the other members of the class were copying the works of famous artists, trying to get our oil pastels just right, she was creating unique works of manga art topped with gentle watercolors done by a steady hand. This classmate has since grown up (obviously) and now she creates fantastic works for businesses and authors.
In other words, I met my first professional artist.
Whenever I consider manga, I immediately start to feel old. Sure, people have been reading comic books forever, but the rise of this particular style of graphic novels was just starting to gain popularity in the states (or at least my corner of them) when I was finishing high school. Because of this, I’ve never been one to pick up these books. I stick mainly to novels, my comfort zone and my little niche. Recently, however, I have become friends with a manga artist, and I cannot help but sit and stare at her works!
Where I have spent hours, days, weeks, and months learning how to draw with words, she can actually draw! Her characters are lifelike, expressive, and filled with emotions communicated through visuals. In other words, it’s a skill I don’t have and I’m a little jealous about it.
Zenko’s latest graphic novel Scatheless is in the works to be released very soon by Walnut Street Publishers, and I have already read and have a review waiting in the wings, but, while waiting for that launch, I dove back into some of her earlier works. Saros is a three-part series filled with crazy, fantastical creatures battling it out over the ethics of human sacrifice. Which, from, you know, a human view sounds like a no-brainer, but Zenko skillfully shows the desperation of people seeking only to survive through moving pictures, high-stakes battles, and funny (and sexy) characters.
I encourage you to head on over to https://globalcomix.com/c/saros to see her works (the comic is free to view) and keep an eye out for Zenko’s next novel to release: Scatheless!
JS CLark's Evangeline: A reviewRead Now
The King is dead. Long live the Queen!
Evangeline never expected to rule the Nine Hundred Worlds. Upon her father’s death that job was supposed to fall upon the shoulders of her older brother. But when an assassin slays the heir apparent on his way to his coronation back on earth, the title falls to his baby sister.
Ottrimus, the organization that slayed her brother, could not be happier about the change. With their operatives in place, they now have a chance at manipulating the most powerful woman in the galaxy, but they do not contend for one problem: the Queen’s body guard.
The Guardian as he is called is a technologically enhanced human clone with one job: protect the Empress of the Nine Worlds no matter the cost. From ocular implants to teleportation capabilities, the Guardian has the tools to do just that, but when they carved out the man to make space for the machine, his makers carved out his soul as well. At least, that is what Evangeline has been told.
But the Empress is a stubborn woman. Although it might risk her safety, Evangeline seeks out her Guardian’s soul, encouraging him to experience joy and pleasure beyond his prescribed functions. She names him Adam and tells him regularly of his worth, but will it be enough to resurrect the human inside him that was so meticulously removed?
And will it cost her everything if she can?
JS Clark brings his readers along for one heck of a ride in this action-packed but well thought out novel. From political intrigue to heart-warming scenes between an Empress and her overpowered Guardian, this novel touches not just the heart but the mind as well.
As a light sci-fi reader, there were some places that were just a touch on the technical side, but that’s likely just me. From an objective standpoint, these elements were well-described and well-written. The voices of his characters–especially Adam–were spot on, and he wrote eloquently about difficult topics from multiple points of view. This is a thinking novel, but it’s also a fun one! So, if you’re up for the challenge, I recommend this book for you!
Hard copies can be purchased Here
Ebooks and paperback are available on Amazon
And strictly ebooks Here
Heavenly beings and creatures of myth and legend gather from this dimension and the next as a prophecy of ancient times begins to unfurl. Among these celestial creatures are two human mortals united by an invisible chain that links them together, even when they are physically far apart.
Star-crossed lovers? Parents of a promised child? No one quite knows the meaning of the prophecy E1:10, only that these two lie at the center of it and that a great conflict swirls around them.
Stars Below the Concrete follows the journey of the two humans, Sparrow and Pillar, as they face the destinies laid out before them and struggle with the timeless challenge: Do you believe? Does Sparrow, who has for the past several years been under the thumb of an abusive, drug-addicted boyfriend, believe enough in her own self-worth and destiny to keep herself clean while she journeys to find Pillar? And does Pillar believe enough while standing in place to wait for Pillar to arrive, or will his belief falter across the years as he embraces the life around him?
All the while, we see the progress of the allies of the prophecy, namely three brothers, Abraham, Cyrus, and Roland, sons of the creators of Earth, as they gather together their companions for the coming war. Through beautiful imagery and elegant prose, we travel with these characters to worlds of ice and fire, visiting creatures of awe-inspiring strength and cunning. Together they rise against their singular enemy: Makayla.
Makayla, a merciless and deceptive enemy, has also heard of the prophecy and seeks to destroy Pillar and Sparrow before they can bring it to fruition. The sons of the creators seek to protect the mortals, but their powers are limited by the inability to restrain free will. Will Pillar and Sparrow maintain their belief in the prophecy and their destiny? Or will they fall sway to the influence of this sinister being?
Stars Below the Concrete is a Tolkienesque high fantasy novel that had elements reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time. This combination is not part of the genre I typically read, but I walked away intrigued by the amount of creativity and elegance found in this word-smith. The cast of characters proved to be quite unique, and I grew especially fond of the character ‘Shadow’--an invisible immortal being with just enough humor and grumpiness to make him downright likable. Stars Below the Concrete is book one in a planned five part series. As we await the release of the next installments, we are left to wonder, what does Quinn have for us next?
Throw-back Thursday: Margaret peterson Haddix's shadow children series--a reviewRead Now
I cannot recall if it was a librarian that introduced me to the Shadow Children Series or if I picked up the first volume on my own. Either way, I recall being hooked by the first page, and I devoured the following books in a matter of days. Yet, when I talk to other book lovers, I rarely hear them speak about this little book series that captivated my young imagination and influences my writing to this day.
Among the Hidden is volume one of Haddix’s middle-grade dystopian series following the story of Luke Garner, a third child born in a country where having three children is illegal. For years, Luke has secretly lived on his family’s farm. While he has never been to town, to school, or even ridden in a car, he has been able to tromp across the family’s land, help out in the barn, and catch fireflies in the backyard during the summer. All this changes, however, when the woods behind Luke’s house are torn down to create space for a ritzy neighborhood.
Now that prying eyes abound, Luke is forced to stay in the attic of his home. If anyone finds out that Luke exists, his family will be reported to the population police and Luke will be killed for merely existing. With nothing else to do, Luke spends his days re-reading the same books and watching the houses pop up in the new neighborhood. Once built, he watches the new families that come to live in the nice houses, memorizes the details of all their movements, and notices when a child’s face appears in a window of the house where two children already live.
Luke knows that he must meet this other third child, but doing so will mean risking everything—his family included. But doing nothing will mean risking everything else.
Haddix outdoes herself in this incredible series. These books, written for kids between the ages of 8-12, cover a wide range of heavy topics such as tyranny, poverty, personal grief, and so much more. Not once does she cross the line on ‘too much’ for this age group, but she takes the hands of kids and guides them through these challenging topics. The writing is excellent, engaging, and heartfelt.
I would recommend these books to any reader of any age group. They are not hard to read and the benefits are far greater than I can hope to cover with a single book review. 5 stars!
I am accepting submissions for reviews at this time. I am primarily interested in thrillers, suspense, magical realism, dystopians, and light sci-fi. I have a taste for the grim and love novels that make you think. Leave me haunted but hopeful.