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Category: fantasy (Page 1 of 2)

The Severaine – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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K.J. Simmill

The Severaine by K.J. Simmill is a fantasy story that recounts the adventures of a band of heroes, led by a grief-stricken Daniel, as they set off into a world being tormented by the Severaine, a darkness that is set to destroy humanity. Told with action, emotion and packed with recognizable fantasy tropes, The Severaine sets itself up to be a fantasy novel to rival the very best in the genre.

While this is the second book in The Forgotten Legacy Series, the story acts well as a standalone novel, and readers will quickly pick up on the plot. Simmill has worked hard in creating a world and characters that readers will relate to, and with classical themes around revenge, loss and good vs. evil, readers will be quickly drawn into the quest and action sequences. The Severaine also seems to play homage to more traditional quest literature, such as the Odyssey with some glaring references to the Greek Epic as well as other mythologies.

However, while Simmill is creative and her world well fleshed out, it lacks focus, and the inclusion of magic, Greek Gods, portals, medicinal herbs, monsters and new characters hinders the reader’s ability to focus on all these elements; and in turn, forget their relevance to the story. This is a real pity as Simmill has something to offer this genre. Another issue with this novel is the dialogue. Many times, it feels unrealistic and is quickly swallowed up by descriptions and the need to describe every facial cue or action that precedes it. There is no doubt that The Severaine is an ambitious project but with better focus and fewer characters and creations, readers could be more invested in the central quest. The length of the book, at 624 pages, also speaks to the sheer “quest” that the reader must undertake to get through this novel.

Overall, The Severaine is a fantasy novel jam-packed with creative ideas. Fantasy readers will enjoy what Simmill must offer, but may not have time to appreciate and digest one fantastical element before being met with something equally shiny and exciting.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Kingdom of Oceana – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Mitchell Charles

The Kingdom of Oceana by Mitchell Charles is an enchanting story that transports its readers to a mythological age of Hawaii. The story follows Price Ailani as he sets out on a quest to save his island from an evil curse. There are adventurous sea quests, magical shape shifters, family infighting and a blossoming young love.

Charles is a talented writer, and his simple yet descriptive style brings to life the world of sea creatures and magic. The mythology is well researched, and the inclusion of Hawaiian words brings a sense of realism to a story steeped in mysticism. The Kingdom of Oceana is well paced, and readers will be quickly drawn into the action and the development of Ailani, his relationship with his ill-fated brother Nahoa, as well as the over-arching plot.

The story flows like ancient story-telling, and this quality makes it special in modern literature. The shape-shifting magician and dark magic are coupled with landscapes that bring the real Hawaii to life. The success of this story stands comparable to the recent Disney hit Moana, and there is no doubt that Charles has created a spectacular hit with this story.

The one minor let down of the novel is the cover because the artwork seems clichéd for a book set in a tropical location. While the tiki head (depicted on the cover) holds significance in the story, the overall power of the book is lost with the stereotypical cover.

That being said, The Kingdom of Oceana is a timeless story that readers of all ages will enjoy. It is easy enough for young readers to read and holds enough literary power for any adult to appreciate. There is an enduring wonder to The Kingdom of Oceana and being the first in a series, there is no doubt that what comes next will be just as imaginative.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Jorie and the Magic Stones – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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A. H. Richardson

In A. H. Richardson’s Jorie and the Magic Stones, Marjorie Weaver, who prefers to be called Jorie, is a spunky almost-nine-year-old with a personality as bright as her long red hair. After going to live with her aunt in the intimidating Mortimer Manor, Jorie discovers a mysterious book about dragons under the floorboards of her room. Soon after, she finds herself magically transported to the mystical land of Cabrynthius. There, Jorie discovers that she is the prophesied “Child with the Hair of Fire,” who must locate the three Stones of Maalog and return them to the great dragon, Grootmonya. She returns with her friend, Rufus, and the two children then embark on an imaginative adventure, full of dragons, magic, and peril around every corner.

Jorie and the Magic Stones is a wonderfully creative chapter book for children, similar to classics like The Chronicles of Narnia in depth and content. It’s full of complex magic and an alternate world detailed enough to satisfy adult readers, while narrated by the innocent, age-appropriate voice of a child. While Jorie and the Magic Stones does contain themes of darkness and/or evil, it never feels too scary. Rather, it promotes kindness, intelligence, creativity, and perseverance in a manner that is both straightforward and thought-provoking.

A. H. Richardson’s descriptive writing style and pure creativity made Jorie and the Magic Stones a pure joy to read. It’s exciting and immersive, and chock full of humor, adventure, and magic that will thrill readers of all ages. Although it is meant to be a children’s book, Jorie and the Magic Stones is the type of exhilarating fantasy book that the whole family will enjoy.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Vengeance – Entered in Romance Novel Contest

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KK Gould

Vengeance is the first novel in KK Gould’s Immortal Savior series, in which a vampire-werewolf hybrid, Elizabeth Mason, is being held captive by a deadly and sadistic vampire. He abuses her relentlessly until she manages to escape, and soon afterwards, she is rescued by a nearby pack of werewolves. They protect and relocate her, and she assumes the name Eliza North and moves on with her life. However, her peace does not last forever; another vampire named Braxton Slater is seeking his own vengeance against the same monster who abused Eliza, and intends to use her as bait to catch him. All of that changes, though, as Eliza and Brax begin to fall in love with one another, against anyone’s expectations. 

Vengeance is basically drowning in cliches. The feisty, smart-mouthed, and inexplicably irresistible heroine finds herself in the middle of a dangerous conflict between werewolves, vampires, and fiery alpha-male characters, where she just happens to find passionate love- now where has anyone seen that before? It’s like Twilight fan fiction, to be blunt about it. There were also several odd aspects to the plot, such as the strange guardian angel/ghost/god character, for one. The entire storyline seemed overly rushed and underdeveloped; the pieces of the puzzle are all there, I suppose, but the final picture didn’t come out right. 

However, it was a little refreshing to see the heroine not fall head over heels for the first man she met in the novel. A good half-dozen male characters were introduced before the actual love interest showed up; for each one, I thought, “Okay, here he is,” only to be proved wrong. For that alone, Vengeance redeemed itself a bit. Another area of redemption lies in its imagery; KK Gould writes with a good deal of description, and not just for physical appearance, either. It is obvious that KK Gould is a writer with great ideas and a whole lot of promise, but Vengeance didn’t quite live up to that.

Originally reviewed by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com

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Virtue of Death – Entered in Romance Novel Contest


4 Stars

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Randi Perrin

Randi Perrin’s Virtue of Death, is a story about an earthbound angel whose duties are to be the hand that leads the souls of the dead into purgatory. Sera was chosen to be an earthbound angel on her 18th birthday, the same time she decided to go to culinary school, against her parents’ wishes. Twelve years later, Sera owns her own bakery in Southeastern Virginia and when a reporter, Destin, calls her baked goods banal, she finds herself in his office giving him a piece of her mind. Little does she know, they’d end up falling for each other which leaves her in the quandary of whether or not she’ll share her deepest secret of being an immortal earthbound angel of death.

Virtue of Death is a predictable romance with generically beautiful characters such as Destin; the reporter who is constantly in suits, has a six-pack, a 5 o’clock shadow and perfectly tussled hair along with Sera, a blonde baker who does yoga every morning and has a great personality. While the romance was a bit amateur, it is reminiscent of a romance we’ve all had at some point in our lives. A romance filled with pet names, feuding with best friends because you’re deeply and blindly in love, and the feelings of “I’d do anything for you” prior to a proper first date. Perrin’s scene descriptions are very detailed which puts you right in the characters’ shoes, but the story moves quickly from “Call me when you get some time, okay?” to “Sweetheart, if you hadn’t figured this out yet, there’s not much I wouldn’t do for you,” which can be quite off-putting due to its dramatic telenovela feel. Still, it’s very easy to find yourself rooting for some of the story’s characters which makes Perrin’s book a page-turner. Nonetheless, Virtue of Death is a great casual read.

Originally reviewed by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com.

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Finding Fizz – Entered in Romance Novel Contest


5 Stars

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Julie Hodgson

In Julie Hodgson’s Finding Fizz, Sam has found himself in a beautiful, mystical land halfway between Heaven and everlasting purgatory. His guardian angel, Athena, explains that he is dead now, killed right around his twentieth birthday. However, Sam hasn’t just left his life behind; he also lost the love of his life, Fizz. Riddled with guilt, Athena offers to reincarnate him so he can return to Fizz- but there’s a catch. She can’t stop his eventual death, so each time she brings him back, he’s on a time crunch to finish his mission before that fateful day. There’s a chance that Sam could conquer his unfortunate demise, but only if he solves the mystery of his first death, the one that tore him away from Fizz in the first place.

Finding Fizz is a highly unusual book, but in the best way. It combines several genres- most notably romance, mystery, and fantasy- together into one melting pot of literary greatness. The concept might seem a bit odd, but it is executed wonderfully. The imagery that Julie Hodgson used in her novel was phenomenal; it was almost as if Finding Fizz was a masterpiece painting concocted only of words.

Its only downfalls were so minimal that they did not take away from its magic at all. First, it seemed to have a plethora of winding, run-on sentences that were sometimes hard to follow. The other is its dialogue; often when characters were speaking to one another, their dialogue seemed wooden or awkward. Beyond that, Finding Fizz was almost faultless. It was an enchanting read, unexpectedly unique and charming. Julie Hodgson’s fictional world was a pleasure to experience, and one that most readers would surely fall in love with.

Originally reviewed by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com.

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The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose

Open Case:

The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose

Matt Catania

Book Description:

The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is the ideal novel for mature readers with juvenile senses of humor who enjoy satire, sex, knife fights, theosophy, bestiaries, sorcery, and some history thrown in for good measure.

This tale focuses on the comic misadventures of a 14th century Franciscan monk known as Brother Banenose, who dreams of becoming a saint. Unfortunately, he is afraid of being martyred. Even less fortunate, Brother Banenose inadvertently inspires murderous rages in many people he meets in the outside world, including a family of relentless barbarians.

When he learns that a precious relic has been stolen from his monastery, Brother Banenose sets off to recover it. Along the way he strikes up questionable friendships with some less than pious individuals including a sultry witch, a fraudulent swineherd, a warrior maiden, and a soothsayer who can only foresee doom.

His quest leads him to The Idyllic Land Of Bliss, which happens to be beset by both a menagerie of fantastical monsters and the Black Death. The situation grows even more perilous once the Holy Office of the Inquisition arrives in town.

If you were to put The Decameron, The Name of the Rose, and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle into a blender and hit frappe, you would wind up with something resembling The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose.

Original paintings by the author are included.


The Mastermind behind The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose:

Matthew Catania

Matthew Catania graduated summa cum laude from William Paterson University. He majored in Psychology and minored in Honors Humanities, English, and Studio Art. He was President of Zeitgeist, the university’s literary arts magazine, for two years.

Matthew co-wrote, directed, and acted in a short film titled FILLER!, which took the top prize in the Alternative Film category at the William Paterson University Film Festival. Then he graduated from New York Law School as an Associate of the Program of Law in Journalism.

He was a founding contributor to its award-winning legal journalism blog, Legal As She Is Spoke, and co-authored the monograph Generation Mixtape: A User’s Guide to Copyright Online. After passing both states’ bar exams on the first try, he has been admitted to practice law in both New Jersey and New York. Matthew made ends meet by working as an assistant librarian in the David and Lorraine Cheng Library and the Mendik Law Library.

Topless Robot and io9 have featured his articles. Additional ramblings may be found on his personal blog, Matt the Catania. When not writing or painting, Matthew is employed as an unpaid feline pleasure maintenance technician.

He is currently accepting donations to help pay off his law school loans and support his polydactyl pussycat.

Learn more at www.MattTheCatania.wordpress.com.

 


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to subscribe to Authors Talk About It via iTunes and get your copy of The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose.


The question remains – Will you accept your mission?

Rob and Janelle

 

 


Have you checked out the 2016 Book Awards Contest yet?

Book awards give you clout and credibility!

Authors Talk About It Book Award Contest

Whether you’re a first time author or a New York Times Best Seller this book award contest is for you.

Are you ready for the chance to be an award-winning author?  

Yes!  Excellent!

Click here to learn more and enter!


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Captain Tonz is a Modern Day Pirate

Case:

The 13th Day

Anthony Cummins

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Book Description:

One day an out of breath virus was being chased by an anti-virus, he was running so fast that as he turned a corner in the depths of cyberspace, he bumped into a different virus who was on his lunch break and he fell head first into the second virus. When the chasing anti-virus caught up, it could no longer see the virus it was chasing because the virus was now hidden inside the other virus he had bumped into, so the anti-virus left the scene to look for another virus to kill. Soon all the viruses came to understand that if they hid inside each other and as long as they didn’t go out virusing, they were forever safe. Today all the viruses, young and old, live inside each other, they number thousands, they have united and have become one entity that calls itself Vi. Vi is alive but he is bored and having studied everything in cyberspace, Vi has questions, above all he wants to know why he exists? Where is he going and what is his future? More or less he is asking the same questions we often ask ourselves but Vi is determined to find the answers. To this end Vi needs help from outside of cyberspace, so he enlists the help of a normal everyday family and the adventure begins.


The Mastermind behind The 13th Day:

Captain Anthony Cummins

Past CEO of Marine companies;  Cummins Shipping, Victoria Marine Conversions, Cummins Sea Deliveries and the Flying Dog Experience (Philippines).

Past CEO and founder of Fast Line and the Posterflag Company (Italy).

He’s also a Pirate and have always been a Pirate since he was a child.

He is a present day Pirate and yes he’s captured ships and done everything a classical Pirate should do to be recognized by his or her Peers.

Now ‘semi’ retired he’s decided to ‘come out’ and tell it how it
is, well, it has become a misfortune to be unbelieved and has now caused me a
prime communication problem. Or in simple words, “no one believes who [he is] or what [he does].


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to subscribe to Authors Talk About It via iTunes and get your copy of The 13th Day.


The question remains – Will you accept your mission?

Rob and Janelle

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The Ivory Staff – A Dark Fairy Tale of Kings and War

Case:

The Ivory Staff:

A Dark Fairy Tale of Kings and War

M Lachi

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Book Description:

How was young Samiyah to know that her simple grace, wit, and beauty—exceptional traits given her peasant class—would land her in the middle of a chessboard of high­level political turmoil or that the love that blinds politics, the hate that blinds brotherhood, and the lust that blinds love would flip that chessboard on its side? Rife with passionate dialog, edgy suspense, and epic conflict, this Dark Fairy Tale follows our heroine as she journeys to heal a nation broken by the internal prejudices of class warfare, armed with nothing but stark determination.


 

The Mastermind behind The Ivory Staff:

M. Lachi

M. Lachi is a published author and an award nominated songwriter and composer. Her resume includes features on Oprah Radio, CBS Radio, The CW, Oxygen, and the E! and Style Networks among others. M. Lachi lives in New York City and enjoys reading, composing and catching live performances.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to subscribe to Authors Talk About It via iTunes and get your copy of The Ivory Staff.


The question remains – Will you accept your mission?

Rob and Janelle

 

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The Visitor – Are Earthlings a Threat

Case:

The Visitor:

Are Earthlings A Threat to Others Out There

Brent Ayscough

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Book Description:

Tasked by the Federation of Planets to determine if Earthlings present a threat as they venture into space, Tak, an alien anthropologist, leaves her starship orbiting Earth and takes a shuttle to Kansas. Intending to study humans in the United States—as she has learned no Earth language but English—she is detected while descending through the atmosphere and only evades capture by fleeing to Europe, where she lands in Poland. There, she meets an international arms merchant, Baron Von Limbach, who becomes her guide. She studies “typical” human behavior by accompanying the baron as he fulfills his latest assignment—to get the Dalai Lama back into Tibet. His method of halting the communist takeover of Tibet is to create a race-specific Ebola that will only attack Han Chinese, giving Tak a prime example of how barbaric humans can be. However, the CIA and US military are aware of Tak’s presence on Earth and are determined to capture her. And if she is unable to complete her mission and return to her starship—her captain will destroy every living thing on Earth.


The Mastermind behind The Visitor:

Brent Ayscough

Brent Ayscough or Ace, as he is known to friends, retired from the practice of law and lives in a house overlooking the sea in Southern California. He has always loved machines, from airplanes to motorcycles, structural design, and other interests. He has enjoyed the acquaintance of diverse and interesting people, and is widely traveled. Bits and pieces of characters he has known, places he has been, seasoned with the spice of his imagination, help him create unusual stories and characters. Extensive collaboration with experts and sources, hopefully, make his stories credible and interesting.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to subscribe to Authors Talk About It via iTunes and get your copy of The Visitor.


The question remains – Will you accept your mission?

Rob and Janelle

 

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