Half A Step Away From Love #BookReview

  • Title: Half a Step Away From LoveHalf a Step Away from Love (a historical fantasy romance) by [Kuno, Olga]
  • Author: Olga Kuno
  • File Size: 2227KB
  • Print Length: 416
  • Publication Date: June 15, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance

Half a Step Away From Love reminded me a lot of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It follows Inessa Antego, who is the first lady-in-waiting to be the Duke’s sister. She does everything in order to please her mistress–be it aid in the escape of a secret lover, steal portrait, etc. However, duties are being threatened by the desires of her own heart: Lord Cameron Estley.

This novel was originally written as a bestseller in Russia, which I thought was pretty neat to receive a request to review  with Olga Kuno being an indie author in America. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. No, it wasn’t perfect in the translation from Russian to English, but I honestly don’t expect that in most book translations. So, no problem there.

I wasn’t too fond of the way the story opened because it seemed as though it would be a third person narrative, then a few paragraphs later, Inessa barges into the room and we find that it’s in her first person point of view. It was confusing at first but didn’t disrupt my reading too long since the opening was short. The narrative included a lot of adverbs…a bit too many. Other than those instances, the prose was extremely nicely done. In my opinion, the story overshadowed the few downfalls.

The author created each of her characters very well…they popped out of the pages, claiming life of their own. I especially loved the heroine, Inessa, as she was very witty, very knowledgeable and very loyal. Much like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice fought against her feelings for Mr. Darcy, Inessa couldn’t help her feelings with Lord Estley, a man she claims to dislike. I found myself quite amused by the conversations with Inessa and her companions. And to top it off, she even had a friend that was a palace ghost who helped her with mischievous duties.

If you enjoy Jane Austen, and you enjoy twists, tears, and humor, then I’d say go for Half a Step Away From Love. You won’t be disappointed.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Olga Kuno

Born in Moscow and having left Russia in 1991, Olga Kuno has lived in Europe, Asia and America. Having completed her Ph.D. in linguistics, she started writing fantasy romance novels. Today she is both a lecturer in linguistics and a famous Russian fantasy writer who tries hard not to mention princes, dragons and magicians in her scientific articles. Her interests include British folklore, linguistic analysis of humor and animal communication. Among her favorite authors are such English writers as Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and J. R. R. Tolkien, which is definitely reflected in her novels.

Reasons You Didn’t Ask Of Why I Write

On my Facebook author page (click here to like: Angela Kay’s Books), I posted each day a reason why I write, in honor of NaNoWriMo. Here is the full compilation of those reasons:

https://i2.wp.com/www.nwp.org/img/resources/why_I_write.jpg

  1. There’s something special about forgetting the messed up world we live in and diving into an alternate universe—whether it’s romance, mystery, sci-fi, etc—and solving their issues…we have more control.
  2. I think that if I didn’t write, God would drop a mountain on my head…pretty sure He wanted to when I came close to throwing in the towel of my debut, The Murder of Manny Grimes.
  3. I’m a dreamer, so why not write it on paper?
  4. People that prefer reading to writing want to escape just as badly as I do. So I write for my readers in hopes to enthrall their imagination.
  5. Through countless research on a certain topic, I am learning.
  6. I write a Christian/Inspirational blog in hopes of inspiring others by my journey in discovering Christ.
  7. I have an overactive imagination: so many ideas buzzing in my head…I can’t keep up.
  8. The thrill of having my hard work published for others to see is extraordinary.
  9. I meet interesting people with the same passion as me, whether they’re just realizing it or they’ve lived with it since childhood.
  10. It challenges me to be better than I was yesterday…I learn from mistakes and move on to the next issue.
  11. It’s a fun profession.Image result for national november writing month
  12. It teaches me patience and, boy, do I need it!
  13. I have the freedom to push the realism to the limit while keeping it believable.
  14. One story usually inspires another.
  15. To eliminate stress.
  16. In my free time, if I don’t read or write, I watch TV. Too much television is not always good for the soul.
  17. If I don’t write it, someone else might, or worse, no one else will.
  18. Writing is my legacy.
  19. I learn just how far I’m willing to push myself to work out a story.
  20. It’s my sense of being. If I couldn’t write, then I’m not sure what I can do in its place.
  21. I feel empowered.
  22. My characters are a part of me. It’s my duty to breathe life into them.
  23. It’s the only time I know who I am meant to be.
  24. I’ve been told by teachers and professors that I was a natural. It must be so since I’ve won awards in the past.
  25. I strive for originality.
  26. It allows room for diversity…romance, science fiction, mystery…etc.
  27. It’s my happy place.
  28. Whether I become successful or not, I have the satisfaction knowing that I’ve completed and published an entire novel.
  29. It’s the only clique I feel I belong—authors helping authors. And anyone knows me knows that I love helping people succeed.
  30. As with many writers, I have a lot to say.
What are YOUR reasons for writing? Share in the comments below!

Soul Blade–Book Three of Three in the Sword of Light Trilogy

I’ve been reading Aaron Hodges’ Sword of Light trilogy. The first book, Stormwielder has already been reviewed on my site, and I truly enjoyed it! You may easily find my review by clicking here.

Soul Blade

Title: Soul BladeDisplaying Soul Blade 7.jpg
Author: Aaron Hodges
Series: The Sword of Light Trilogy
Genre: Epic Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery
Release Week Price: $0.99
Page count: 300 pages
Soul Blade Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Blade-Sword-Light-Trilogy/dp/0473375184/
Giveaway: http://blog.ravenpublicity.com/giveaways/sciencefiction-fantasy-win-3-paperbacks-giveaway-kindle-amreading
Soul Blade Excerpt Link: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AiW-Qzg6KJmRgbp3yl1h_Rh42xWgcw

 

Soul Blade

Three nations are crumbling.
Darkness is gathering.
And only Eric remains to stand against it.

Eric stumbles through the wilderness, searching, hunting – desperate for sign of his sister. But the girl is gone, stolen away by the power of the Soul Blade. With each passing hour its hold on her tightens, her spirit fading before the onslaught of its magic. If he cannot save her soon, it will claim her soul. And he will have to kill her.

Meanwhile, Gabriel is locked in the cells beneath Ardath. The darkness presses in around him, absolute, suffocating. Time, hope, sanity, all have long since slipped beneath the waves of his despair. Only it remains – the unrelenting voice of the demon. It haunts the darkness, tempting him with promises of freedom.

How long can he resist its call?

 

A note from the author:

SOUL BLADE is finally here, and with it, The Sword of Light Trilogy is complete. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it follows the story of a young man named Eric, who has the magic to manipulate the weather. Unfortunately for him and everyone else, Eric cannot control his magic, and inadvertently destroys the unsuspecting town of Oaksville. What follows is a story of courage and redemption, as Eric travels the Three Nations with a growing cast of friends and foes. Soon the fate of the very world hangs in the balance, as Eric is drawn into the ancient battle between the Three Gods and the forces of Darkness.

For those who are interested, Soul Blade (Book 3) is now on sale for 99c. But only until the 3rd of December, so get in quick! Readers can also grab the series starter Stormwielder, for 99c on Amazon.

 

Author Bio:

Displaying Author picture.jpg

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. During his travels he picked up an old draft of a novel he once wrote in High School – titled The Sword of Light – and began to rewrite the story. This book, Soul Blade, marks the final conclusion of that epic tale.

Fans of Aaron can signup for updates and special offers at: aaronhodges.co.nz/newsletter-signup/

Class of ’59 #BookReview @Johnheldt

  • Title: Class of ’59Class of '59 (American Journey Book 4) by [Heldt, John A.]
  • Author: John Heldt
  • File Size: 740KB
  • Print Length: 293
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction

The first book of John Heldt I read was book number three of his American Journey series, Indiana Belle, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Class of ’59 is the fourth installment. As with Indiana Belle, you don’t have to read the others in order to enjoy this one.

As I began to delve into Class of ’59, I fell in love with the story line. All the characters were easy to love. The only thing that seemed to bother me, though not for long, was Mary Beth seemed too quick and willing to trust that Mark, a stranger who entered and exited the very house she was staying, was from the past.

Mary Beth, along with her sister–Piper–spends time with the two young men who lived in the past–Mark and his brother, Sam. The four embark on a journey they will never forget. Piper and Mary Beth decide to live in 1959 for a while and have the experience of a lifetime–Piper enrolls into Ben’s school, Mary Beth spends time with Mark. The sisters easily begin to fall for the brothers, which results in the quandary you’d expect–what happens when they realize that their time together must come to an end.

Class of ’59 takes you back to a time when everything was simpler. The dialogue was amazing and captivating. The plot moved forward at a fast pace and keeps you yearning for more. At the end of each chapter, I kept telling myself that I’ll read just one more chapter–before I knew it, it was ten o’clock at night and I’d finished the novel in one day. I highly recommend it.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

John A. HeldtJohn A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln #BookReview

  • Title: The Last Day of Captain LincolnThe Last Day of Captain Lincoln by [Books, EXO]
  • Author: EXO Books
  • File Size: 15244KB
  • Print Length: 133
  • Publication Date: November 15, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Hardcover
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Sci-Fi

Summary

Captain Lincoln’s last day is the hardest day of his life.

An old, onetime Captain of the interstellar spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal, Lincoln always knew that this day would come. For just as birthdays are carefully planned, so are deaths. And although he must reckon with his fate, this is not a somber story. It is a tale of love and sacrifice, told in the context of the most advanced civilization ever to exist—a society that has taken to the stars in an effort to save all that is best in humanity.

Follow Lincoln through his internal struggles, his joy in having lived, and his journey to peace.

The End is just the beginning.

Review

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln is meant to be a slow paced story. How can it be fast, after all, when the main character is preparing to say goodbye to the life he’d led? It’s a very different take on a science fiction novella. I was actually surprised how I enjoyed it. But like I said, it’s different. These days, we don’t see enough originality. I read it through in one night.

Throughout the novella, we’re given poems and letters by famous people such as Van Gogh or Irving Berlin. I found it to be quite interesting how the author weaved in certain quotes to fit Lincoln’s last day.

Not only do we get to read a well-written story, we’re given artwork that’s pretty good. The drawings remind me of the Tell Tale video games such as The Walking Dead. It proved to be amusing for the most part.

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln is thought-provoking, with an unexpected ending. Reading this novella was a nice change of pace for me from all the dark murders that I’m usually drawn to. If you enjoy science fiction or utopian society stories, then I suggest you try this book.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

EXO Books

Biography

 

EXO Books is the pen name and publishing company of a NYC based science fiction writer.

An exodus is the departure of a people out of slavery, to a promised land. It is a journey punctuated with peaks and valleys of joys and sorrows, through darkness ever towards the light. Behind this journey is the idea that while we continue to search for a better life, the search may not be fruitful in our lifetimes. Through it all, we are sustained by hope, and love.

The road is long, my friends. We trek on together.
EXO Books

Stormwielder #BookReview

  • Title: StormwielderStormwielder (The Sword of Light Trilogy Book 1) by [Hodges, Aaron]
  • Author: Aaron Hodges
  • Print Length: 321
  • PublicatioCopy a Postn Date: December 1, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback, Audible
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction

This is the first book of the Sword of Light Trilogy. Eric is a young man with powers that is capable of wielding mass destruction. He doesn’t know how to control it, so he spends much of his time in exile from anything and anyone that he knows. That is until Alastair, a mysterious old man, who seems to know more about Eric that even Eric does. After Eric unintentionally destroys a town, he and Alastair set out to escape from Eric’s enemies. Through his guilt of destroying people’s lives, Eric has to fight for his own while learning to control his powers. During the times you think it can’t get any worse on their journey, you find that you’re wrong.

I enjoyed reading Stormwielder. When I started, I couldn’t seem to put it down. It was very well written. As soon as the story opens with death and destruction, it rarely lets you go as Eric and Alastair and our other heroes fight to survive their enemies. The characters were all likable and sympathetic…including Gabriel who stops at nothing to get revenge on Eric. The scenes also painted a pretty picture, however, at times it was a little too descriptive.

The main issue was a lot of grammatical, spelling and punctuation problems. It was hard to overlook those, however, after finishing the story I’m eager to find what’s next in store for these characters I’ve learned to love in Firestorm. Beginning the series with Stormwielder is a great way to get to know the characters before continuing their journey on through the next chapter of their stories.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

Biography

Aaron Hodges

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Today, his adventures continue…

Murder and More #BookReview

  • Title: Murder and More
  • Author: Gerald Darrell
  • Print Length: 222
  • Publication Date: February 3, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Mystery, Crime

From the Author

This short story fiction work, Murder and More is what the author calls “Fiction for Fun.” It uses real places and real geography to spin a story that didn’t happen, but should be fun for the mystery reader. As a quick read, those familiar with the early 1960’s geography in the novel, will travel back in time to places that will always be remembered. This is the fourteenth story in the Carson Reno series. The other books are available in paperback, hardback and e-book formats. Some are also offered as an audiobook.  His book, Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time to Go, is a non-fiction collection of stories, events and humorous observations from his life.  Many friends and readers will find themselves in one of his adventures or stories.

My Review

Murder and More is a quite intriguing story. The author does well to take the readers back in history. The scenery were very well described, the characters three-dimensional and interesting. The story pops out from the pages and you’re really just watching a movie–that’s how engrossing it was…for me, anyway.

This is the fourteenth installment of the Carson Reno series but is a stand alone. We get the sense of who Carson is without knowing anything about this novel’s predecessors.

Carson is a very likable man, but I had trouble discerning how old he was. Sometimes he seemed to be in his mid-thirties, while other times he appeared to be much older. Either way, he gets his job done well.

Throughout the novel were various photos which help remind us that it’s set back in time. While I enjoyed the old-time landscaping and sign photos at times, some of the photos were beginning to become a bit of a nuisance, making it more of a picture book.

I did rather enjoy reading Murder and More. It was a quick, easy read, kept me guessing, and I became so engrossed in the story telling that I managed to finish in one day. I highly recommend the story, whether you’ve followed along with Carson Reno in the past or not.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Gerald DarnellA Florida native, Gerald grew up in the small town of Humboldt, Tennessee. He attended high school and was a graduate of HHS class of 64. Following graduation from the University of Tennessee, he spent time in Hopkinsville, KY, Memphis, TN and Newport, AR before moving back to Florida – where he now lives. During the early 70’s the author actually worked from an office in the Memphis Peabody Hotel. So many of the events about the hotel in Carson Reno’s stories are real as well as many of the characters you meet.
His fiction books are what he calls ‘Fiction for Fun’. They use real geography and include pictures and characters some readers might recognize. The ‘Carson Reno Mystery Series’ features adventure mysteries set in the early 1960 time period. The primary geography is Memphis and West Tennessee, but Carson’s stories take the reader across the United States and occasionally to foreign countries. Each story is considered light reading and is rated PG for everyone’s enjoyment. You are invited to pick your character and put yourself in the ‘play’. You might find it fun!
The reader will experience character continuation through all the stories and enjoy the growth of the core characters with each new adventure.
Current published ‘Carson Reno Mysteries’ include ‘Murder in Humboldt’, ‘The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land’, ‘Killer Among Us’, ‘Horse Tales’, ‘the Crossing’, ‘Sunset 4’, ‘the Everglades’, ‘The Illegals’, ‘Dead Men Don’t Remember’ ,’Fingerprint Murders’,’Reelfoot’, ‘Justifiable Homicide’, ‘Dead End’ and ‘Murder and More’.
Gerald’s non-fiction book ‘Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time To Go’ includes stories and events spanning time from pre-high school to his now retirement in Florida. As an avid hunter and fisherman, many of the events involve activities and stories from his personal outdoor adventures. As a business executive, and extensive traveler, he gives us some playful observations accumulated from the millions of miles he traveled across the US. As someone who loves animals and adventure, he offers thoughts and observations that are probably outside most reader’s imagination. Not a ‘tell all’ narratives, real names and real people are included. If you know the author, you might find yourself – or one of your adventures – included. If not, I’m certain you will find a real familiarity with the stories and the times chronicled in the book. A must read if you enjoy hunting, enjoy humor and can laugh at yourself – while others are also laughing at you

Interview with Steven James @readstevenjames

stevenjames-netI had the honor of interviewing national bestselling author, Steven James. He is known as the “master of storytelling,” and for a very good reason. Ever since I happened upon The Rook, book two of his Patrick Bowers Files, he’s been my favorite author.

I’d like to thank Mr. James from the bottom of my heart for taking his time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.

*Originally posted on the other blog I’m affiliated with, Lit World Interviews*

1) What did you enjoy most about writing Curse?
In Curse, several new characters are introduced into the series. For me, since I don’t outline my books, it’s always exciting to see who shows up on the page and what they’re like. In this book, maybe my favorite character ended up being a girl who was blind. I consulted with a girl who’d been born blind, asking her what her nightmares are like since she has never seen anything. That journey and what I ended up including in the book was fascinating to me.

2) What do you like to read in your free time?
Even though I like to write thrillers, I tend to read more literary fiction, philosophy, and poetry, as well as books on the craft of writing. I still love suspenseful and scary stories, but lately I’ve tended to watch these in film instead of read them in books.

3) What are your hobbies?
I live near the Appalachian mountains, and so I love to get out to trail run or even play disc golf. Besides eating Cheetos, drinking coffee, and binge-watching on weekends, I like to play basketball with my friends and moonlighting writing poetry that will probably never end up in print.

4) Do you have a ritual you use while writing? (During commercials, certain music, etc)
I almost always write standing up. I tend to listen to trance or EDM. I do best working in long stretches, rather than working at a project here and there throughout the day. Give me ten hours in a row over 5 hours spread out throughout the day and I’ll be happy.

5) What is your writing space like?
My basement.

6) Do you have a favorite book you’ve written?
As far as novels, I think my favorite might be The Rook or Checkmate. I also wrote some inspirational nonfiction books, and I believe my favorite of those is called Story: Recapture the Mystery.

7) Where do you get your inspiration?
From everything. I’m always thinking of ideas, jotting down thoughts of dialogue on scraps of paper, receipts, notebooks. Typically at the end of the day, I have far too many ideas to write the next day, and it sort of keeps cascading like that. I keep thinking someday I’ll catch up, but at this rate, that won’t happen for another two or three hundred years.

https://i1.wp.com/breatheconference.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Steven-James.jpgBiography

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.

If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

 

The Navigators #BookReview @savvystories

  • Title: The NavigatorsThe Navigators by [Alatorre, Dan]
  • Author: Dan Alatorre
  • File Size: 4505KB
  • Print Length: 252
  • Publication Date: July 1, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback, Audible
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Sci-Fi Thriller

Picture coming across an old machine during a dig. Then picture taking home the machine, trying to figure out exactly what it was and what it does. A group of paleontology students that came across this machine just after a freak landslide will find out exactly what the machine does.

The Navigators isn’t your typical time traveling story because we don’t really see a whole lot of time traveling, except toward the ending. That made it a more refreshing and original read. I loved reading it the more I swiped the page. If I could have, I would have spent an entire day reading this story. That was how engrossing I was.

At first, I was put off at the beginning, because I felt like the novel was opening in the start of chapter two or three. However, I quickly decided that the way the story opened only provided more uniqueness. We were introduced to our main characters and the way they interacted with each other.

The story is very fast paced. Our characters spend the gist of the novel eluding authorities and the enemies they’ve gained, while everyone raced against time to get to the machine and lay claim. The main character, Tomas Pequant (Peeky) and his friends tend to get their hands dirty while trying to figure out what secrets this mystery machine held. While some reviewers seem to not think it’s very realistic, I believe that if I happened to come within a few feet of a possible time machine, there’s no limit to what I may do. But that’s just the adventurer in me.

The Navigators is told in first person (Peeky’s POV), but we also see inside the heads of his friends and their various enemies. I believe writing the story this way only added to the speed of the chase. About halfway through, I was blindsided by a twist that I should have guessed coming, but that only goes to show what a great plot this was, now doesn’t it?

If you like suspense, try it out. If you like action, try it out. If you like stories of time traveling, try it out. If you like reading…try it out.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Sideways b

Dan Alatorre is author of numerous best sellers, host of the YouTube video show Writers Off Task With Friends, blogger… and father to a hilarious and precocious daughter, “Savvy” of the bestselling book series Savvy Stories. His novels, short stories, illustrated children’s books and cookbooks have been translated into 12 different languages and are enjoyed around the world.

Dan and his family live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. (If it’s Friday, he’s making pizza, including making the dough and sauce from scratch. Who does that?)

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