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Chrysalis and Clan – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Jae Mazer

In Jae Mazer’s Chrysalis and Clan, Beth thinks she’s on her way to a normal, albeit distressing, visit with her aging mother. However, one cryptic speech and a murder-suicide later, Beth wakes up in a hospital, full of fear and doubt. Who is she? What is she? She’s not so sure anymore. Meanwhile, her daughter, Etta, is caught in a tragedy of her own. A “boogeyman” has ravaged their family, and now, he’s relentlessly hunting her. Etta and Beth must find each other and band together to survive a devastating whirlwind of death, horrifying creatures, and the dark unknown.

Chrysalis and Clan is certainly not a book for the faint-hearted. It is a unique and seamless blend of traditional and modern horror stories, the paranormal, and science-fiction that, although done well, may be a bit too graphic for certain readers. Fans of the horror genre in general, though, are going to love this one. There are a few small plot holes here and there (such as the finer details of the otherworldly beings represented in this book), but none are so gravely detrimental as to ruin the overall reading experience. Rather, Chrysalis and Clan was immediately captivating, and never slowed down from there.

There are two main aspects about this book that make it such a winner for the horror genre, the first of which is Jae Mazer’s impeccable pacing. Chrysalis and Clan’s plot unravels in a manner that is simultaneously methodically mysterious and on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting. The second winning aspect is the phenomenal use of description. From basic character descriptions to unraveling scenes of carnage and horror, Jae Mazer consistently delivers a vivid, enthralling image with her well-chosen words. Frankly, it is so clearly portrayed that it could make an excellent transition to film, one day. Chrysalis and Clan is a truly thrilling horror novel, one that does justice to its genre while still maintaining its own bone-chilling, expertly concocted individuality.

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

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Anima: Uncharted Souls – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

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Dudley Ellis

Dudley Ellis’ Anima: Uncharted Souls is a paranormal novel in which Melissa Apeeza finds herself in an awakening in an institution with little recognition of how she got there. However, Melissa is no ordinary 10-year-old girl; she posses the astral gift of telekinesis through sight, earning her the name ‘Melissa, Anima of Sight.’ She learns that she’s now a part of the ‘Knights of the Anima: Guardians who posses’ astral gifts.’ Melissa also learns she is not the only one with astral gifts, but that there is a community of people with outstanding astral gifts such as cloning, controlling and reversing feelings and incidents. After one of the older children in the institution rebels and uses his gift of fire to take down most of the institution, Melissa unites with four others who’ve survived the massacre and are now on the hunt for the devil-child who stirred up all of the trouble.

Anima: Uncharted Souls is a rather unsatisfactory ride through the imaginative mind of Dudley Ellis. While it is an interesting genre, Ellis’ execution fell completely flat with incomplete thoughts and poorly described scenes and characters. The poor writing style does very little to grasp the reader’s attention and draw them into what could have been a thrilling paranormal novel. There are some very wide gaps and far too unbelievable storylines in the novel which can become confusing- such as a fairly incomplete background story of the main characters, the fast forwarding to years ahead within a matter of sentences, and the conveniently solved mysteries in the midst of chaos. While the genre is interesting, especially with the “Stranger Things” sensation at play, this book just doesn’t seem to do the genre justice.

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

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The Passer – Entered in 2017 Romance Novel Contest

4 Stars

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Robin Christophersen

In Robin Christophersen’s The Passer, Eleanor has a strange dream on the anniversary of her boyfriend’s death, in which a glowing figure tells her to “help him believe.” Mysterious things start to happen to her after she wakes up; she now has a strange gift that she doesn’t quite understand and faces a whirlwind of details that just don’t seem to add up. Soon, her path crosses with that of an ex-lover, who is also recently widowed. Together, Eleanor, Daniel, and his stepdaughter, Amelia, must band together to unravel the haunting circumstances behind why they were all brought together in the first place. 

Reading The Passer felt a bit like riding a rollercoaster, in some ways. Its narrative felt rather jumpy, going from interesting and well-developed scenes to long bouts of small talk, and back again. Its general plot development could be amended to flow a bit more smoothly. It doesn’t take much away from the overall story, but is still noticeable during the several slower portions. 

Despite this minor drawback, however, The Passer is an incredible novel. It seamlessly blends several different genres, most notably romance and mystery, into a unique and captivating tale. Robin Christophersen’s use of vivid imagery and well-developed, believable characters helped balance out the winding, intriguing mystery surrounding the plot. The Passer was a page-turner from the very first chapter; this captivating story from a promising debut author is a most worthwhile read, enjoyable from beginning to end.

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

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The Rose Within – Entered in Romance Novel Contest

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Sana Pirzada

In Sana Pirzada’s The Rose Within, Jonathan Malcolm is a lonely man living in 1920s’ London, aching for love. He’s been having strange dreams about a mysterious woman, but has no explanation for them. A chance encounter with an elderly lady leads him to take up residence at Winter Grange House, which is rumored to be haunted. There, Jonathan meets the love of his life, Selina Selwyn. However, there is more to Selina- and Winter Grange House- than meets the eye, leaving Jonathan to navigate a web of secrecy and paranormal happenings in order to be with the woman he loves.

The Rose Within tends to be somewhat draining. It is written in the style of diary entries (which is a bit cliché), but each passage is so long-winded and rambling that the entire narrative comes across as outlandish. It would have fared better had it not been structured as a diary, and had the exposition not delved so far into unnecessary background details. 

Beyond that, The Rose Within was a decent novel. Sana Pirzada’s use of imagery and detail is fantastic (albeit a bit overdone in some instances). The dynamic between certain characters was very interesting, and the suspense surrounding Winter Grange House and its inhabitants was written wonderfully. The Rose Within could certainly use a bit of cleaning up, but nevertheless, it is a unique and lovely Gothic romance that lends a pleasant (though eerie) reading experience.

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

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The Vanquished – Entered in Romance Novel Contest

4 Stars

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Jessica Victoria Fisette

In The Vanquished penned by Jessica Victoria Fisette, we meet Kendra – a privileged young girl from Houston, Texas who is on her way to Braxton Law School despite her wealthy parent’s wishes to go to an Ivy League. Upon Kendra’s arrival to Elkridge, Massachusetts, she finds herself running into a handsome guy, Alaric A’mswirth, and can’t quite put her finger on where she knows him from. After trying to get Alaric off of her mind, Kendra soon finds out that he’s going to be her neighbor in the law school dormitories. As they become more acquainted, Alaric offers to help Kendra with some of her dorm room shopping necessities and invites her to dinner. What seemed to have started off as a romantic dinner ended with Ric desperately trying to get Kendra away from two men who were trying to cause some trouble. Later Kendra finds out that those same two guys were found dead shortly after the interaction. While she has her suspicions about Alaric, she isn’t quite sure what is going on with him and these incidents in Elkridge. She’s in for a surprise when she finds out that Alaric isn’t human, and he’s not the only one on campus who isn’t.

Although The Vanquished has some interesting moments, some of the tone, scenery and situations were a bit too similar to The Twilight Saga. A few moments such as Alaric’s eyes changing colors when he’s “hungry” or in danger, along with scenery of him trying to read Kendra’s mind and finding it very hard to do so and constantly trying to protect this woman who he’s seemingly in love with brought me back to Stephenie Meyer’s ever so popular saga. Fisette’s scene description and more importantly food description were phenomenal though. She mentions a gumbo and Riesling pairing which left my mouth watering in the first chapter and ensures you feel as if you’re walking through the big gates at Braxton. It does take quite a while to find out the truth about Alaric and his past involving Kendra, but it becomes quite the roller coaster ride when you get there. Overall, The Vanquished turned out to be a fairly good read even though it took some time to reel you in.

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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Jasper: The Guardian League – Entered in Romance Novel Contest


4 Stars

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T.K. Lawyer

T.K. Lawyer’s Jasper: The Guardian League: Book One is a flirtatious story mixed with intriguing emotional and sensual moments.  The main character, Tatiana is involved in a near-fatal accident one morning.  But, Jasper, her guardian angel, swoops in to save her.  Enraptured with him from the beginning, she is quite shocked when they meet again and she comes to learn that he wants to date her.  Interestingly enough, Jasper is truly drawn to Tatiana and wants to win her over to become his mate even though she is a human.  Yet, their problems run deeper than just a difference in species, if you will.  Tatiana is a woman who has many issues from past relationships that keep her on the fence in regards to a potential relationship with this sexy as hell angel.

The roller coaster of emotions that flow through Japser: The Guardian League will keep readers on the edge.  Lawyer does a nice job of fluidly weaving in numerous twists and turns throughout the story.  The only negative was that on some levels, the characters lacked much depth, and the story seemed to drag on.  Lawyer counters that issue with the realism of the characters.  The author does a good job of displaying their real life insecuritites, but at times Tatiana is downright frustating.  The exceptionally goregous, Jasper carries the story through though.  So, if readers are patient, they can discover a story well worth reading.  After all, this is not your typical paranormal romance novel.

Intrigued by how a human being and an angel can actually build and maintain a romantic relationship?  If so, then T.K. Lawyer’s Jasper may be just what you’re looking for.

Originally reviewed by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com.

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2016 Horror Novel Contest Winner – Drawing Dead

Today’s Featured Author and Book

Drawing Dead

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Book Description:

Faolan O’Connor spent his life killing for men like Legs Diamond and Lucky Luciano, and now it s his turn to face the music. But when vampire Darcy Killian offers him immortality, Faolan enters a world of violence, wealth, and power beyond anything he s ever imagined.

Driven by ambition and guilt, Faolan fights his way up the ranks in a battle to justify his sins with success. He s learned the hard way that relationships are vulnerabilities and friends are just enemies in disguise, but he also knows that he can t conquer a city alone.

Aided by an emotionally-crippled genius and a warm-hearted call girl, Faolan builds a loyal crew with which to challenge the tyrannical Killian s rule. However, will this re-awakened humanity prove a fatal flaw or his ace in the hole? With his life and the future of the city he loves at stake, can Faolan play his cards right or is he drawing dead?


Notes: 

Drawing Dead (Faolon O’Connor Book 1) takes you back to the 1930s era of organized crime when mobsters, gangsters and mafia bosses were somewhat common.  Yet, author Brian McKinley has written a book that is far from stereotypical.  Why?  Because Faolan O’Connor isn’t just a gangster, he’s a freshly turned vampire.  The expectations of those above him aren’t necessarily difficult for this tough-as-nails, cold-hearted killer or are they?  Faolan’s superiors test him, and his so-called friends willingly turn their backs on each other to save their own necks.  Whether or not McKinley’s young vampire will succeed in this new world or whether he’ll finally end up dead remains to be seen.

From the get go, readers will likely be captivated by the cover.  It fully captures the essence of Drawing Dead.  Vampires don’t run around announcing to the world what they are, and the secrets that are fluidly woven throughout Drawing Dead are reflected not only from the cover but from page one.  Admittedly, the scenes do jump around a bit, which can make it a little confusing at times.  But there is so much action and intrigue embedded within the storyline that this is an aspect that can almost be overlooked.  McKinley does a great job offering readers the opportuntiy to take a look at their own values and morals as Faolon seems to reconnect with his humanness.  Of course, this may end up ending his life.  Highly recommended – readers can feel the danger, the excitement and the horror of a vampiric gangster life in this pragmatic tale. 

Originally critiqued by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com


Brian McKinley

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Brian Patrick McKinley doesn’t really exist. He’s a constructed mortal identity used by a relatively young Vampyr in order to publish the truth about The Order. Due to the world-wide influence of The Order and its minions, these accounts must all be published as fiction; however, they are all very real and actually happened. Sometimes the names and sequence of events have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and to keep from getting sued. 

Brian is no longer a typical Vampyr and, for this reason, lives in hiding and writes from a secret location. The real “Brian” lives a life of danger and excitement; he loves Star Trek, Game of Thrones, and Boardwalk Empire as much as he loves Chicken Fried Steak. He’s a reader, a role-player, and a dreamer who doesn’t believe that “liberal” is a dirty word. He’s lived many lifetimes and is eager to share as many of them as possible with his readers.

 


If you enjoy these author interviews be sure you subscribe to Authors Talk About It via iTunes or follow on Podbean and get your copy of Drawing Dead.


Peace and Love,

Rob and Janelle

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Authors join our Creative Author Marketing Facebook group

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A place to share tips, advice and wisdom about marketing your book. Ask for advice. We’re here for you!

Traveling entrepreneurs, Drs. Rob + Janelle Alex, Ph.D. are mentoring entrepreneurs and authors around the world. As best selling authors, speakers, marketing and branding experts their podcast Authors Talk About It has become quite popular.

We help you develop 3 key things you MUST have to gain success with your book.

Your Mindset
Your Tool Set
Your Skill Set


Have you checked out the 2017 Romance Novel Contest yet? Deadline is 1/15/17

Book awards give you clout and credibility!

2017 Romance Novel 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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The Unholy

Today’s Featured Author and Book

The Unholy: A Novel

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Book Description:

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, “The Unholy” is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision. PAUL DeBLASSIE III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.


Notes: 

The dark and frightening depths of radical religious leaders, as well as their followers, is blatantly displayed in Paul DeBlassie III’s book, The Unholy.  Claire Sanchez is a woman who continues to deny to herself or anyone else that she is a medicine woman, a healer.  Tragedy in her childhood pushed her away such acceptance.  Yet, she ultimately has no choice but to face her own personal demons as evil surrounds her from the bowels of the church or is it, in this case, really the bowels of Hell?  The Ecclesia Dei, a “wealthy, centuries-old church”, maintains control over its members and the community through the manipulations of Archbishop William Anarch.  Not only does Claire have to choose her path spiritually, but DeBlassie interweaves the challenge of choosing her path in other areas of her life, including her love life.  The question really is whether or not Claire will be able to make her own decision – that is, if she is even allowed to survive. 

 
Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D. has crafted a tale of tragedy and upheaval with a full scoop of mystery mixed in.  Readers may be shocked at the psychotic and twisted mind of not only Archbishop Anarch, but of others around him.  This thriller will keep readers turning pages with bated breath.  DeBlassie’s ability to paint a picture with words helps readers easily imagine the details of each scene.  Though the plot is complex, and one readers need to give their full attention to, it is a story that will have them anxious to find out what happens next.  The Unholy will lead readers on a path to wonder what really is holy as well as what really is unholy.   
 
 
Originally critiqued by staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com

Paul DeBlassie III
photo

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Dr. DeBlassie writes psychological thrillers with an emphasis on the dark side of the human psyche. In The Unholy, a young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, the Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

 


If you enjoy these author interviews be sure you subscribe to Authors Talk About It via iTunes or follow on Podbean and get your copy of The Unholy.


Peace and Love,

Rob and Janelle

Smaller

 


Authors join our Creative Author Marketing Facebook group

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 11.30.22 AM

A place to share tips, advice and wisdom about marketing your book. Ask for advice. We’re here for you!

Traveling entrepreneurs, Drs. Rob + Janelle Alex, Ph.D. are mentoring entrepreneurs and authors around the world. As best selling authors, speakers, marketing and branding experts their podcast Authors Talk About It has become quite popular.

We help you develop 3 key things you MUST have to gain success with your book.

Your Mindset
Your Tool Set
Your Skill Set


Have you checked out the 2016 Horror Novel Book Contest yet? Deadline is 9/30/16

Book awards give you clout and credibility!

2016 Horror Book 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!

Please like & share:

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