Book Review: The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

Title: The Radiant Road — by Katherine Catmull

Release Date: January 19, 2016

Page Count: 368

ISBN-13: 978-0525953470

Summary from Amazon

After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.

My Review:

The Radiant Road was a very interesting read. The magic throughout the story was quite strange, but I was still able to enjoy the story. I found it difficult to get into the story at first, but once the action picked up a bit I was hooked. The cover of the book attracted me right away and I also liked the tree graphic that is found at the beginning of each chapter.

This story is very much about nature and humanity’s connection to it. Throughout the story, Claire’s connection to her tree is very important. She grows closer to her tree during the story and feels a need to protect it because she its guardian.The author tries to convey that all trees are connected and perhaps this was meant to imply that all humans are connected as well. During the story, Claire even becomes a tree and gets a sense of what it’s like to feel a connection with her Yew and other neighboring trees. Perhaps, the author was also trying to convey that humanity is the guardian of nature and as such, people have a responsibility to protect and care for it.

I enjoyed reading about many of the characters in the story. I think that Finn was my favorite character, but I also liked Claire, Her of the Cliffs and the Yew girl. I felt that the characters were interesting and often unique.

I thought that the imagery in the book was quite beautiful. The author’s writing was very poetic and she often created vivid images and scenes. My favorite part of the book was when Finn shows Claire a field filled with falling snow and fluttering white butterflies. I was able to picture this scene very clearly and thought that it was creative and beautiful.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a great deal even though it was strange at times. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about fairies.

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Author Interview with Pembroke Sinclair

Hi Everyone,

I did an interview with Pembroke Sinclair about her upcoming book release, Wucaii. The book  is an urban fantasy novel that will be released sometime in June of this year. Pembroke is a prolific writer who enjoys writing in different genres. I hope that you enjoy reading the interview.

-Avery

Interview with Pembroke Sinclair

1. Where are you from?
I’m from Wyoming.

2. What genre are your books?
I write in a variety of genres, from sci fi to fantasy to horror, though most of my books have some dark elements in them. I also write adult and young adult fiction.

3. What draws you to this genre?
I am fascinated with the question: What does it mean to be human? And I think the best way to explore the answers to that is by looking at characters that aren’t human.

4. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Aelana is a half-human, half-dragon hybrid, and she travels the universe with the full-fledged dragons destroying worlds. This gives the planets the ability to regenerate, but Aelana ensures that not all of the inhabitants are destroyed.

5. How did you come up with the title Wucaii?
I was looking for a word that meant “Royal Dragon,” and I found this in a scientific name for a dinosaur. I liked it, so I used it.

6. What project(s) are you working on currently?
I am currently working on another young adult zombie series. The first book is completed, and it’s called Humanity’s Hope.

7. When did you decide to become a writer?
To be honest, I don’t think anyone ever decides to become a writer, it’s foisted upon us. We have a need and desire to put stories onto paper. If we don’t, we feel hollow and lacking.

8. Why do you write?
The voices in my head won’t leave me alone until I share their story.

9. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Ha! I wish! With a full-time job and two boys under the age of 10, I squeeze in writing when I can.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
My first draft is usually written out in longhand, then I transfer the chapters to the computer.

11. Where do your ideas come from?
It depends, but more often than not, they come from my dreams.

12. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Ummmm, that’s a good question! I’m not really sure how to answer that. I would like to think I’m getting better at writing and that my stories are concise and to the point, but I’m not sure that’s true.

13. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Finding time and promotion.

14. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Honestly, it depends on the type of book. For my young adult novels, on average I can have the first draft done in 3 months. For my middle grade books, I like to challenge myself to writing a chapter a day, so I can get those done in 2 weeks with LOTS of editing afterwards.

If it’s nonfiction, on average it takes me a year to complete, mainly because of the amount of research that goes into the book.

15. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I try to read when I can, and I have lots of favorite authors: Christopher Pike, Piers Anthony, Dante, Milton, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carrol.

16. For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
I don’t have a preference. I love them both. Having an ebook reader means the books are more portable, but there’s nothing better than breaking the spine of a paper copy. Makes the book stay open soooo much better.

17. What is your favorite positive saying?
“You have to follow your own voice. You have to be yourself when you write. In effect, you have to announce, ‘This is me, this is what I stand for, this is what you get when you read me. I’m doing the best I can—buy me or not—but this is who I am as a writer.’”
– David Morrell

18. What is your favorite book and why?
I have a lot of favorite books, but the one I read over and over is Alice in Wonderland. The wonder, excitement, and hidden meanings within the story means I discover something new every time I pick it up.

19. How do you market your books?
I look for reviewers, do blog tours, give away free copies, present at conferences, and do workshops and presentations.

20. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up, but don’t ever stop having fun writing.

21. Is there anything that you would like to tell your readers?
Thank you for checking out my work. You have no idea how much it means to me and how much I appreciate it. You’re the reason I write.

Summary of Wucaii

It has been 500 years since Aelana has been home, and a lot has changed in that time–including her. As a half-dragon, half-human hybrid, she has been traveling the universe destroying worlds. Both anxious and excited to return, she wonders what she will find. Her memories of home are filled with pain and loss, especially for her first and only love. She knows he won’t be there, but will his memory? Will her anguish remain?

What waits for Aelana on her home world? Find out in this exciting urban fantasy novel by Pembroke Sinclair.

About the Author

Pembroke Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming–the home of 56 nationalities–it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing. Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up.

Pembroke Sinclair’s Links

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Wucaii Goodreads Link  

 

Photo of Pembroke Sinclair

Book Review: The Black Bead by J. D. Lakey

Title: The Black Bead — by J. D. Lakey

Release Date: January 10, 2016

Page Count: 162

ISBN-13: 978-0692609477

 

Summary for The Black Bead (from the inside flap)

What if you were on a colony ship and your spacecraft landed on a planet where all the animals and some of the plants were psychic? Not just psychic but psychically adept at manipulating their environment?

If you were a band of renegade scientists, you would genetically alter yourself and your children to be able to compete in the savage world of escalating mind games and then create a social system that honed the skills that would keep you alive.

Cheobawn has been born into just such a world. Two thousand years after planet-fall, she is the culmination of human bio-engineering. She doesn’t think of herself as special. Just the opposite, in fact. But the universe is shifting out from under her feet and she is forced to keep up with the changes happening inside her and the expectations of the adults of her tribal dome.

My Review

The Black Bead was a very interesting and compelling book. The book was a quick read and I had a difficult time putting it down. The story was very intriguing and had interesting characters as well. I liked the fact that the book contained a map and two glossaries. I found these items to be quite helpful as I was reading.

J. D. Lakey did a wonderful job with imagery throughout the story. I could clearly picture every situation. The author created a lush and vibrant world that was filled with dangers that left the reader wondering whether the characters would be able to survive or not. Speaking of characters, they were very interesting and well-developed. My favorite characters were Cheobawn and Tam who showed great courage throughout the story and matured by the end of the book.

I liked the way J. D. Lakey incorporated different mystical elements into the story. Many of the characters had psychic abilities and Cheobawn, the main character, was able to manipulate her own chi. These mystical elements were interwoven seamlessly into the Cheobawn’s world.

Link to download The Black Bead:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Bead-Book-One-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01AIK7OSM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

The Black Bead Chronicles by J. D. Lakey (.99 E-book)

J. D. Lakey is a sci-fi author who recently published  a new series known as the Black Bead Chronicles. There are five books in total in the series. Her first book, The Black Bead has already garnered some attention and has received positive reviews. The Black bead is .99 cents today on amazon for anyone who would like to try a new sci-fi series.

Link to download The Black Bead:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Bead-Book-One-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01AIK7OSM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Editorial Reviews for The Black Bead (from Amazon)

“Lakey’s stories have magic, a complex mythology, and her dedication to avoiding milquetoast females.” – Kit-Bacon Gressitt, The San Diego Uptown News

“Mesmerizing Page-Turner — a thrilling ride from start to finish!” Jackie Shemwell, Author of The Devil in Canaan Parish
Summary for The Black Bead (from the inside flap)
What if you were on a colony ship and your spacecraft landed on a planet where all the animals and some of the plants were psychic? Not just psychic but psychically adept at manipulating their environment?
If you were a band of renegade scientists, you would genetically alter yourself and your children to be able to compete in the savage world of escalating mind games and then create a social system that honed the skills that would keep you alive.
Cheobawn has been born into just such a world. Two thousand years after planet-fall, she is the culmination of human bio-engineering. She doesn’t think of herself as special. Just the opposite, in fact. But the universe is shifting out from under her feet and she is forced to keep up with the changes happening inside her and the expectations of the adults of her tribal dome.
Summary for Bhotta’s Tears: Book Two of the Black Bead Chronicles (from Amazon)
On a planet full of predators, one cannot stay small and hidden forever. It’s time to come out and play. Welcome to the world of Cheobawn, the Black Bead.

Life under the dome is simple. Work hard, follow the rules, be safe, do what is expected of you and you will be rewarded. Easy. But the Blackwind Pack has two problems: Tam – the alpha – aspires to greatness, and Cheobawn – his Black Bead Ear – is profoundly gifted, with a psi ability so advanced the elders of the village have yet to understand it.

Following their nearly disastrous first foray together outside the dome, the newly-formed Blackwind pack is just getting used to their new lives together, and their bonds continue to strengthen. But Cheobawn can feel something ominous about to happen, something that will put her entire village and everyone she loves in mortal danger. A creature has climbed the Escarpment and now wanders in the southern forests. She knows she must find it before the elders get wind of its presence and go hunting it with deadly intent.

But her pack would never let her go alone. Together, they set out on a dangerous race toward an unknown enemy, hoping Cheobawn can find a way to save not only their way of life, but their very existence on the lush, savage planet they call home.

The epic adventure that began with Black Bead continues in Bhotta’s Tears. Journey along as Cheobawn unravels the mysteries embedded in the deceptively bucolic life of her village under the dome.

Link to download Bhotta’s Tears:
Summary for Spider Wars Book Three of the Black Bead Chronicles (from the author) Available on April 11, 2016
Winter is a time of quiet industry under the domes. At least it should be. Calamity is stalking the tribes of the high forests. The storms have killed too many of them, man and animal alike and now the bennelk warn of a new threat coming at them from out of the Wastes. Follow Blackwind Pack on their third adventure as Cheobawn and Connor use their wits and their Luck as they explore the wild world in which they live.
Welcome to the World of Cheobawn.

On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind the polluted and corrupt world in which they lived, they colonized a new home far from the eyes of the galactic empire. Shielded from the rest of the galaxy by the dangerous beasts that inhabit their lush, forested world, the village lives a simple life under their Home Dome. But their goal was more than just to live in peace – they wanted to create the perfect human who could bring peace to the galaxy. Rather than merely cloning themselves, they began to manipulate genes in order to create a race of mutants with enhanced telepathic powers.

Under the direction of the ruling witch coven, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to asses their abilities – a test which can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn – the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome – is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame. It seems the child the mothers had placed so much hope in would not be the future ruler they had hoped for. Yet there is something powerful about her that the elders don’t understand.

In her visionary new series The Black Bead Chronicles, author J.D. Lakey invites you to journey along with Cheobawn, Megan, Tam, Connor, and Alain as they use their wits and their Luck to unravel the mysteries of the deceptively bucolic life beneath the dome in this coming of age metaphysical science fiction adventure.

Link to Download Spider Wars: (not available until April 11)
J.D. Lakey Photo
Author Biography  (from the author)

J.D. Lakey was born and raised on the high plains of Montana under an endless sky and as far from civilization as anyone in the twentieth century could get. There she explored the finer nuances of silence and the endless possibilities of the imagination. The stories were always there. The shifting of fortunes finally granted her the time to gather all the stories and give them flesh.

An avid reader of science fiction and comics, she currently lives in San Diego, California where she divides her time between her writing, commuting on the I-5, and spending time with her delightful grandchildren.

Book Review: This Monstrous Thing — By Mackenzie Lee

Title: This Monstrous Thing — by Mackenzie Lee

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Page Count: 384

ISBN-13:  978-0062382771

Summary from Amazon

In an alternative fantasy world where some men are made from clockwork parts and carriages are steam powered, Alasdair Finch, a young mechanic, does the unthinkable after his brother dies: he uses clockwork pieces to bring Oliver back from the dead.

But the resurrection does not go as planned, and Oliver returns more monster than man. Even worse, the novel Frankenstein is published and the townsfolk are determined to find the real-life doctor and his monster. With few places to turn for help, the dangers may ultimately bring the brothers together—or ruin them forever.

My Review

This Monstrous Thing was an excellent read. The book is filled with the perfect combination of action, romance and suspense. I never felt bored when I was reading and finished the book rather quickly. The cover of the book attracted me right away and so did the summary on the inside of the cover.

The characters were very well developed. The author makes the reader care about the characters over time. My favorite character was Alasdair because he seemed so real. The fact that he was carrying an awful secret around made him seem very human. I liked the way the author explored how holding a secret affected Alasdair’s character. I also liked how Alasdair curses so much in the novel. I appreciated the fact that the author made up curse words for the book or found period appropriate curses. I also liked Oliver a great deal. The author gets the reader to like Oliver despite his appearance and misdeeds which I thought was a great feat. Clemence was also an interesting character that I enjoyed reading about. I also liked the way that Alasdair and Oliver grow as characters over the course of the book.

One thing that I really loved was the imagery in this book. Lee has a great ability for describing intense emotions, sensations and the characters’ surroundings. The book is filled with wonderful descriptions that help the reader to envision different scenes very clearly.

Overall, the book is a very well written, poignant story about two brothers. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Frankenstein.

-Avery Griffin

Book Review: The Boy at the End of the World — by Greg van Eekhout

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The Boy at the End of the World — by Greg van Eekhout
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Page Count: 221

Summary from Amazon

This is what he knew:

His name was Fisher.

The world was dangerous.

And he was alone.

Fisher is the last boy on Earth – and things are not looking good for the human race. The carefully crafted survival dome where Fisher and dozens of other humans have been sleeping for millenia has been destroyed. Through a lucky accident, only Fisher survived.

The world Fisher wakes up in is a lot like ours – but it’s changed, too. After the human race wiped itself out, nature took over, and wild creatures evolved into barely familiar beasts. Fisher must face them all as they set off on a journey that seems hopeless – at first. Then Fisher uncovers evidence that there may be a second survival dome far to the west. What was once a struggle for one boy’s survival becomes a journey of hope.

With a broken robot and a friendly mammoth as his only companions, Fisher heads West. But something is watching them… something that wants to find the second survival dome just as badly as they do.

My Review

I really enjoyed reading this dystopian book. It was only 221 pages and proved to be a very quick read. I couldn’t put this book down because I was intrigued by the characters and the story line. The pace of the book was pretty fast and I liked this as well. I don’t think that there were any dull moments in the story at all.

My favorite character was Fisher. He was very brave throughout the entire story and by the end of the book he had matured quite a bit. Click, who served as Fisher’s guardian, was also a great character. I really liked how the author envisioned robots in the future. I thought that Click was the perfect blend of human and robotic traits. I thought that the Intelligence was also a very interesting robot. The author is very creative and the Intelligence is just one example of his creativity at work. I enjoy reading about robots and I was pleased with how they were depicted in this book. Protein was also a wonderful character who was very loyal and fun to read about.

I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. His use of imagery was very good and by the end of the story I cared a great deal about the characters. Some ideas about the nature of humanity were explored in the book, but not so much that it bogged down the story. All in all, this was a great story. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick and thought provoking read.

Stygian Rift – By Jayra Almanzor

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Stygian Rift – By Jayra Almanzor
Release Date: July 14, 2014
Page Count: 318
ISBN-13: 978-0692269831

Summary from Amazon

What would you do if you woke up in hell and couldn’t remember a thing? Set in a dystopian society about 150 years from the 21st century…… Suddenly rousing in a place completely different from his world, seventeen-year-old Robert is greeted with accusations, bullying, and fear from the teenagers around him. Life isn’t easy in the new place, especially if it’s the direct opposite of how and where he was raised. However, there’s something more about the place that gives him the chills. Is it the fact that monsters and demons always get to massacre someone every night, and then leave when dawn comes? Or that he can’t recall what his surname is? Maybe it’s that the locals are always blaming him for what happened to Cleo, a girl whom Robert doesn’t even know. Determined to find out what happened, how he got there, and how to get out, Robert and his unreliable fox companion tries to persuade the most stubborn party of defeatists to help them on their crusade, or go off on their own. Filled with thrills, devotion, realism and originality, Stygian Rift is one unforgettable, emotional journey!

My Review

I really enjoyed reading this book. I was pleasantly surprised by the talent of such a young author. She was able to create a convincing dystopian world full of interesting characters and frightening monsters. I thought that her writing was very good, especially when describing the Chamber and its monsters. I had a very clear picture of how the Chamber appeared and the cells that it contained.

I also liked many of the characters in the book. My favorite character was Bo. I thought that he had very realistic reactions, thoughts and dialogue throughout the book. The devil inside of Bo’s head was also an interesting part of Miguel’s psyche. I liked the reactions that the imp would have to Bo’s thoughts and to what was happening around Bo. I also liked Miguel as well. I thought that it was interesting how the reader didn’t know if he would help Bo at first. This made the interactions between them more interesting. Anise was a character that I liked as well and I thought that the descriptions of all the monsters were all very good. I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a great dystopian novel.