So, this is my first ever video/YouTube book review, and I pretty much stumbled and staggered all the way through it. I got better toward the end, I think, but... yeah. I left out what Genre it is (Fantasy) and I didn't read the "blurp" on the back *Facepalm*.
Needless to say, if you have any tips on making a really good book review on YouTube, TELL ME! I will take any and all tips and suggestions (even if it's something along the lines of "shut yer pie hole and stick to writin' stuff... just be advised that I can throw pie as well as eat it).
Anyway, here is THE ARRIVAL (<--- Amazon Affiliate Link):
When a rash of mysterious and brutal attacks throughout the Hechani Sea shatters tenuous relations, the city-states erupt into a destructive war. Embroiled in the conflict, young Atian officer Kelvar Alexandros is determined to protect his men and his country in the looming trials, despite his growing concern that the enemy may not be as evil as he assumed.
Meanwhile, Mistress Telaine Le Fay, sorceress of Gothrond, is dispatched to investigate the hostilities. Her mission is to discover the roots of the conflict and negotiate a peace settlement. The situation proves unclear, however, and she finds herself inextricably tangled in a web of lies, desperately searching for an elusive truth.
Telaine’s past mentor, the excitable intellectual, Jax, has a problem of his own. His studies have led him to a discovery that could have dire consequences, and he is determined to discover if the threat he fears is indeed real.
In the desert sands of the Great Waste, an adventurous young man named Tor longs for something more than his mundane, everyday scramble for subsistence. Little does he know, Jarwulf, the infamous Blood Berserker from the north, and his mercenary band will soon arrive in his village – and sweep him off to a life he dared not even imagine.
Amidst the tide of darkness rising in Vrold, the only hope may be an unlikely alliance, but evil is rarely obvious. It is a subtle force hiding in plain sight, and the truth is hard to find when even heroes can fall prey to its malevolent will...
I am not a scheduled person. I barely have a routine. Honestly, the only routine I have revolves around my dog, and only because it is easier to follow his routine than it is to make my own.
Because of this lack of a schedule and routine, I tend to walk around all day long like a chicken with my head cut off. I have a ton of things to do, but I get distracted by a dozen other things that need done, and by the end of the day I can honestly say that I have been crazy busy doing absolutely nothing.
Thank goodness, I am getting better, and mostly because of this handy little game/app called HABITICA.
It used to be called HabitRPG, but that confused too many people, so they changed the name to Habitica.
On Habitica, you basically turn your life into a game that you can play on the computer or phone. Does that sound bad? Well, it's actually a pretty great idea.
When you join Habitica, you get a little avatar. This avatar has a life bar that will eventually run out unless the avatar gains experience and levels up.
On the main page, you input habits that you to wish to increase or decrease in your life, such as "Drink More Water", "Take The Stairs" or "Smoked the E Cigarette (instead of a real Cigarette)". You also type in daily items that you need to do every single day, such as "Walk The Dog", "Make The Bed", and "Watch An Episode Of Star Trek" (Yes, that is in my dailies. Judge not.). There is a To-do list where you put things that you need to do eventually, but aren't a habit you need to work on or a reoccurring daily item.
The plus sign on the Habits is for when you did good on that habit and you get points! The minus sign means you did bad and your avatar looses some life. DON'T touch the minus sign. Just don't.
The Dailies are to be clicked every day. When you click them, you get experience points! If you don't get around to doing something on the daily list, and that item goes unchecked, then you also loose a little bit of life. For each item unchecked, you loose a little more life.
The To-Dos don't do much except just sit around, waiting to be done. When you check one of them off though, you get LOTS of experience! Yay!
So I still don't have a schedule, but at least I know what I need to do, and I can use Habitica like a checklist and work my way through it each and everyday. It keeps me on track! Plus, it is a lot of fun.
There are chat rooms on Habitica, but they are totally optional for use. You don't have to even look at them, if you don't want to. Also, they are totally clean! The moderators work hard to make sure the chatrooms stay kid friendly. No foul language, no dirty topics. Very nice.
The main chat room is called the Tavern. You can go and talk to pretty much anyone there from any part of the world. Most of the time, it's full of newbs asking a bunch of dumb questions. So the moderators welcome fun and non-newb conversation.
There are also Guild Chats. You can join a guild (aka group) that focuses on something particular and chat with like minded people. There are guilds for Bible verse memorization, pet owners, financial discipline, wordsmiths, Star Trekkers, and so much more. Very often, these Guilds will also have challenges that you can join, which basically means that more habits, dailies, and to-does are added to your pile. These are good, though, because they are usually something you've been wanting to work on anyway.
I don't spend a lot of time chatting with anyone, but I do like stalking the Tavern. The conversations there can be enlightening, to say the least.
As your avatar gains experience and levels up, you will find that you can do more with it.
For one thing, you can choose what class you want your avatar to be: Mage, Healer, Rogue, or Warrior.
I'm a Mage.
Once you choose your class, your avatar gets a Mana bar, and you can use this Mana in different ways. As a Mage, I can "burn" some of my red tasks and get lots of experience. *smiles wickedly*
Once you reach a certain level, you also start "finding" goodies. Eggs, food, and potions start showing up in your inventory. But they aren't for you! You can pour the potions on the eggs and start collecting pets! Then you feed the food to your pets and they eventually grow into mounts, which your avatar can ride!
Yes. My avatar has a dragon. Lots of dragons, actually. It rides the gold one all the time. My avatar also looks like a fox... only because "dragon person" wasn't an option.
Now, which do I play the most: the phone app or the computer online version? I play both, but I like the one I can play from my computer best. It's just easier to use. But the app is nice for when I am gone from my computer and need to check on things.
So, yeah. Habitica is pretty awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who has trouble getting things done throughout the day or needs to build new habits and break old ones.
If you get on it, and would like some help or even just to chat, you can send me a Facebook message and we'll work it out! (Just follow the Facebook icon at the top of the page, or go to the "Follow Me!" button.
Youre one step closer to unlocking the mystery of being a Grimm with the Grimm Key Necklace. The bronze finished key perfectly replicates the key worn by Nick, handed down to him from his Aunt Marie. The key comes on a 19 inch chain and flips open to create a seventh of the map to locate the treasu...
By Joy the Grimm from Oklahoma, USA on 11/18/2015
5out of 5
Pros: Beautiful, Good Length, Stylish, Unique, Good Quality
Best Uses: Travel, Everyday, Night Out
Describe Yourself: Modern, Practical, Comfort-Oriented
Was this a gift?: Yes
I got two of these Grimm Key Necklaces - one for me, and one for my sister, who is a huge Grimmster.
As most of you know, Pilot has his own Instagram account where I post pictures of him and interact with other pet owners and lovers. Some time back, I found an Instagram user, Bears Boutique, who was making and selling handmade, paracord dog collars. I asked her if she could make a no-pull, reflective dog harness, and she reassured me that she could.
After I gave her the wrong size for Pilot 3 or 4 times (you'd think I've never used a measuring tape), she made me a wonderful harness! I've been wanting a no-pull dog harness for Pilot for some time, and this one is just perfect! It is well made, colorful, reflective (safety first!), and it is a perfect fit!
I will let you watch my YouTube video review for yourself and watch Pilot model the harness while you listen to my further comments.
If you would like to consider purchasing something from the lovely person who made Pilot's harness, you can contact her on her Etsy Shop or follow her on Instagram.
Picture - Amazon Affiliate Link
I am so excited that the third book in the Heroes of Ravenford series is out! I reviewed the first two books a while back, as you might recall (The Ruins on Stone Hill & The Serpent Cult).
I am going to make this review sweet and simple, since you can read everything about the world and the writing skill in my other two reviews.
Author: F.P. Spirit
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery
Rating: 5/6 stars
With the Serpent Cult vanquished, Ravenford is now safe. Or is it? A new threat comes to light that could endanger not just the town, but the entire continent of Thac.
Once again our young Heroes must venture forth, this time to find an ancient monolith, hidden somewhere in the depths of the mysterious Darkwoods, far to the west of Ravenford. But first, they must deal with the arrogant Sir Fafnar and the Duke of Dunwynn. The Heroes have been accused of attacking a Dunwynn soldier. They must either prove their innocence, or be banished from Ravenford forever.
Join our young Heroes and their new allies, as they face political exile, encounter strange mysteries, and confront grave dangers on their search for the Darkwoods Monolith. Will they be able to find it in time? Even so, what will be waiting for them there? Can they stop the Serpent Cult from gaining the secrets of the great Golem Thrall Master, or will the whole world be plunged into peril at the hands of the murderous cult?
The Dark Monolith picks up the story right where the second book left off. There is some recapping to refresh the reader's memory, but then it swings right back into the story and the action, and it does so very smoothly.
The Bottom Line:
As with his last two books, author F.P. Spirit has not disappointed me with The Dark Monolith. Each book in the series has consecutively gotten better (something which I applaud the author for), and I have to say that The Dark Monolith is my favorite in the series thus far!
Besides being packed with clean, fun adventure, great battles, and our beloved heroes who are full of sarcasm and wit, there is a lot more mystery, puzzle solving, and brain teasers presented in The Dark Monolith. I found myself trying to unravel the mysteries right along with the heroes.
There is also a bit of a love triangle going on between a few of the character. Some of the shenanigans and conversations between the love sick peep had me laughing out loud more than once.
As in the last two books, there are some brilliant plot twists. One of them in particular took me completely by surprise (an occurrence that rarely happens to this girl).
However, unlike in the last two books, The Dark Monolith left me hanging off the edge of a cliff. As I read the last sentence, I started crying and hyperventilating... okay, not really. But, telling you that I was flustered at the author for leaving me hanging precariously, in the dark, at the end of the book just lacks the desperate expression I am searching for in this instance. I am pretty sure my favorite fictional people are about to die, and the author leaves me in the dark!? What in the blue blazes am I supposed to do with my life until the next book? (Other than finish writing my book...? Der, der, der...)
Needless to say, I am DYING for the next book to come out.
Cons: There were a couple of mild cuss words (p*ss & d*amn) that were used in context and are easily skipped over. There was also a scene where a Succubus, a nude female demon, tries to seduce a few of the heroes, and there was a brief part where one of the characters walk to the river and find, much to his embarrassment, that the ladies are bathing. Neither scene was very graphic, but it is something that I would not really want my brothers to read. However, the demon is clearly depicted as a bad, bad guy, and is killed later on, and the dude who accidentally walked in on female bath time quickly bolted. Lesson learned.
As I said before, this book is my favorite in the series thus far and I can hardly wait for the next one to come out. I suspect that there will be a lot of dragons involved in it, and you know how much I LOVE dragons!
White Rabbit everyone! Gee, I almost forgot about White Rabbit. The first of the month completely came out of nowhere for me.
In case you haven't noticed, I have been BUSY! I interviewed 8 awesome authors in February:
So, to kick the month of March off (March? Already?!) I am posting a book review of a book written by none other than one of the authors above. That's right! Cool, huh?
So, without further ado, I will delve right into Lindsey R. Loucks' book, The Grave Winner.
The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks
Amazon Affiliate Link
Author: Lindsey R. Loucks
Rating: 5/6 stars
Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead -- just like the prom queen did.
While the town goes beehive over the news, Leigh bikes to the local cemetery and buries some of her mom’s things in her grave to keep her there. When the hot and mysterious caretaker warns her not to give gifts to the dead, Leigh cranks up her punk music and keeps digging.
She should have listened.
Two dead sorceresses evicted the prom queen from her grave to bury someone who offered certain gifts. Bury them alive, that is, then resurrect them to create a trio of undead powerful enough to free the darkest sorceress ever from her prison inside the earth.
With help from the caretaker and the dead prom queen, Leigh must find out what’s so special about the gifts she gave, and why the sorceresses are stalking her and her little sister. If she doesn’t, she’ll either lose another loved one or have to give the ultimate gift to the dead – herself.
The Beginning: The story starts off full of emotion and conflict at a funeral. The author did a good job at drawing a picture in the reader’s mind of the pain that one suffers when losing a family member. Then, with that, she jumps right into the mystery and the horror - you meet the first undead creature and a thousand questions pop into your mind thus sealing your fate as a sleep deprived page turner.
The Characters: Leigh is the typical teenage girl who hates drama, wants to survive high school, and do something more with her life. She finds herself wrapped up in a love triangle with two boys who are almost as different as day and night: one is the tall, dark, and handsome high school jock - the typical, easy-going, irresponsible, cocky boy who has the power to unleash butterflies in Leigh’s stomach. The other is a boy who is anything but ordinary. He makes bells ring when he laughs, can summon the power of trees, and he has a load of world shattering responsibilities on his shoulders.
The Plot: The plot was sound and well thought out. It had lots of twists and turns and just when I thought I knew exactly where the story was going, I would get a surprised and I would be thrown off balance.
The World: The story is based in a small town in Kansas. I found that I could relate to a lot of things in this book, because Kansas and me are just a few miles away. The author did a fine job of coloring in the dismal small town, capturing its attitude and grimy feel, but also the warmth that its people can have.
The Writing: Louck’s writing was very easy to follow and read. It smoothly conveyed the character’s thoughts and feelings without There were only two instances throughout the entire book that I found her wording to be a bit of a hiccup.
The Ending: The ending was wrapped up nicely, but still left you with unanswered questions, which it did well of reminding you of. So, needless to say, I want to read the next book.
Pros: The writing was smooth, the storyline was intriguing and had several surprises, which I was not expecting. Also, I laughed a lot. There were so many funny parts, especially regarding the town, the people, and the school, that I could relate to. The characters were well fleshed out and likable, and the story left me wanting more.
Cons: Several of the characters cussed off and on and the “F” bomb was dropped several times. However, all the cussing was in context… in context meaning that it wasn’t used for pleasure slang, but for actual moments when cussing is, more-or-less, appropriate. Plus, they are easily marked out and replaced with another word more appropriate.
The Bottom Line: This book was a page turner. I was expecting one thing, but it lead to something else. Loucks mixed just the right amount of creepiness and humor together to make a very fun read. But, because of the cussing, and definitely the “F” bomb, I must remove a star.
I would not suggest this book to just anyone, and I would not read it to my siblings because of some of the creepy elements and, of course, the cussing. But, if cussing doesn’t bug you, and you like Paranormal/creep-pasta, then this book may be just up your ally!
Book 1 - The Ruins on Stone Hill
Author: F.P. Spirit
Rating: 6/6 stars
Synopsis: Magic is Easy or so Glolindir thought, until he came face to face with his first live monster. Casting spells was not so simple with death breathing down his neck. His story might have ended there if not for three gifted youths: Seth, the mysterious halfling with the moves of an assassin; Lloyd, the spiritblade whose fiery swords are whirlwind-fast; and Aksel, the gnome whose very touch can heal.
Yet that was just the beginning of their adventures, for dark shadows loom over the little town of Ravenford. The townsfolk quickly turn to these newcomers, who may indeed be their only hope. From the old ruined keep southwest of town to hidden caves in the western hills, through dark tunnels, secret passages, concealed rooms and magical mirrors, they must face mythical monsters, evil creatures, and dark wizards, each more perilous than the last. Can they rise to the challenge and become the Heroes that the people of Ravenford so sorely need?
The Beginning: Through a caravan raid by orcs, you are introduced to the main characters, the Heroes, right off the bat. I like that a lot. There was no waiting around to learn about the book heroes and the story started on a roll. It wasn't a bang, but it was a roll, and I walked away from the first chapter with a very good sense of who each of the characters were, and I stepped into the second chapter already liking them and eager to go on an adventure with them.
The Characters: The characters were very well fleshed out and very easy to relate to on a number of levels (I even have a fictional crush on one of them... oops. Did I just think that out loud??). Each one had his own clear-cut, colorful personality which fit him, they each had a different history, and each one filled a very important role in their "team". So often, a group of characters come together and someone gets left out because they don't exactly fit in. NOT the case with this bunch. They each fall into their own role very smoothly and easily and no one is ever left out. I like that a lot.
The only thing that bugged me about the characters was this: each one of the characters seemed to be without family ties. Glo, the elf, has had a falling out with his dad. Lloyd, the warrior, seems to have been close to his family, but he also seems to have distanced himself from them. Aksel and Seth, the gnome and halfling, seem to have no family at all.
I understand that heroes have family issues, or no family at all. My own hero in my own book has that problem. And, I also understand that this seems to be what draws all the heroes together in this book: that need for a family. But, for me personally as a reader, I like to see a few of the characters who are close to their family and are on good terms with their family, even if they are miles away from them. They just add something to a story.
Anyway, that is just a petty little thing that sorta bugs me, but is not a threat to my relationship with this book. I can live with it.
All the heroes are male, and I was very happy that all of them (excepting Seth, who is just... special.) are the perfect example of manly chivalry (*pokes my character* Keegan, you should take lessons from them). I personally like manly characters who take chivalry seriously.
The brief female appearances in the book were refreshing, for me. They brought in a touch of humor as they embarrass the heroes periodically with their flirtatious nature, and they just made the book all the more light-hearted and pleasant with their entrances. Plus, they were realistic. I tire of the macho women in fantasy. It's refreshing to find some who are just like real real girls: silly, funny, and cute.
The Plot: The general plan is for the Heroes to establish a firm reputation in the town of Ravenford and live out their combined dream, which is to use their special gifts and powers to help others (or get rich...*cough* Seth *cough*). They do this by completing quests and gathering items and artifacts (any online gamers reading this?). The plot thickens when the heroes not only establish a good reputation as monster-slayers, but also stumble across a potentially nasty and mysterious plot, setting the story up for book two quite smoothly.
The World: Thac, the world in this story... I just can't get enough of it! It is well built, seems to have a solid history, and is very colorful. All the fun is located mainly around one town on the map (which I would like to someday see a map of the town, along with the surrounding country... someday...). Each of the characters originally came from completely different ends of the map. So, even though everything is happening in one little bitty area, you are aware that there is a bigger world around the heroes. This is nice, because it allows for surprises and it also promises more stories later.
There is just one thing I should warn some of my readers about before they step into this world: the theologies. There is a polytheism system to Thac (polytheism = belief in or worship of more than one god), but yet most of the people in Thac seem to just pick out ONE of the gods and worship that single one. The different gods are only referred to periodically and the fact is not pushed. The different gods mentioned are just a part of the story that help the reader connect the dots to different characters and their powers.
The fact that this was in the book did not disturb me at all, particularly since I have to deal with polytheism beliefs in real life anyway and have seen how they've shaped cultures and people throughout history (for better or worse).
The Writing: F.P. Spirit's writing style is colorful, descriptive, and smooth. I keep using the world "colorful", don't I? Well, that is the only word I can find to describe the imagination of the world and characters. They are not the bland little pawns on a little map, running around in a town full of zombies, all smashed together on black and white paper in a book. There is personality! Flare! Uniqueness! There is color!
Read it for yourself if you don't believe me...
I also like how Mr. Spirit is able to transition moods quite easily in his writing. He is also very descriptive in explaining the fantasy elements and magic in the story, but not so much as to weigh down the mind with a bunch of useless information.
I must warn that there was an instance, at the end, where one of the characters used a semi-cuss word, "jack**s", to describe a bad person that they had to deal with. This disappointed me a little, because, up until that point, no bad language had been used. However, it would not keep me from reading this book to my siblings and it did not mess up the story.
The Ending: The end left the reader and characters with another mystery to unravel, which built the interest for a second book. However it wrapped things up nicely and left the reader with a satisfied, happy feeling that all was right with the world.
The Bottom Line: This is a nice, deep, rich fantasy that any Dungeons and Dragons or Lord of the Rings fan will like. It is a clean, well written book. It was easy to read, the flow of the story was smooth, and the characters were enjoyable and easy to relate to. The plot was strong, and the whole thing was very refreshing to read, setting it apart from all the smut ridden fantasy out there on the market today.
This book is sitting right next to The Lord of the Rings as my favorite book, and I will certainly recommend it to any fantasy lovers out there!
Book 2 - The Serpent Cult
Author: F.P. Spirit
Rating: 5/6 stars
The Heroes have returned to Ravenford, where a new threat looms on the horizon. The Serpent Cult is on the rise, and they have targeted Ravenford. Who are these cultists and what are they after?
Before the Heroes can find out, they are sent away on another mission. Ships have been disappearing off the coast and rumors abound. Why did the Lucky Coin sink? Was there really a sea monster? Is the Cape Marlin Lighthouse actually deserted? And who are the three sisters and what is their secret? Are they somehow involved in all of this?
Once again join Glolindir, Aksel, Seth, Lloyd, and Elladan as they follow a twisted trail of intrigue and danger. It is a path on which they will face armies of monsters, horrifying demons, fearsome dragons, deadly assassins, evil mages, and, perhaps worst of all, diplomatic officials.
Can the Heroes overcome these obstacles or will the town of Ravenford suffer a fate worse than death?
The Beginning: The first chapter does a lot of recapping, and it does so from the townspeople point of view, which was an interesting twist, I thought. It starts off right where book one left off, with the heroes walking into town after completing a successful mission, and the people are very excited to see them.
However, the recapping does not take long, and once again you are with the heroes as they try to unravel the mystery they discovered at the end of book one. But mystery leads to mystery, and by chapter three, you and the heroes are beginning to realize that there is a desperate situation unfolding. You are left asking a lot of questions and turning the pages to find out what happens.
The Characters: The characters have done a little maturing in this book as compared to when they started out in book one (and a certain romantic relationship seems to be moving along rather nicely). More of their pasts are revealed to the reader, which satisfies a lot of questions regarding the heroes. Also, a few new characters have been introduced! Some of them absolutely irritated me with their mysterious nature and I am DYING to learn more about them. Another elf has been added as well; a romantic, charming, swashbuckling, very ornery elf who is an artist and adds a little more adult-ish humor to the book (and needs a good spanking, in my opinion... I really like him *grins*). To top it off, a tangible mini-antagonist has been added to the story as well. He needs to be fed to a dragon. *snarls at the Dunwynn cronies*
Overall, these new characters add a lot more flavor and spice to the story and I just love how the story is unfolding with them.
The Plot: Smooth and flowing with a lot of mystery and action. Once the heroes get an idea of who is behind all the dastardly plotting, the story begins rolling faster and faster, taking short pauses to mix in humor and fun before charging on to a great battle at the end.
The Writing: In this story, a new group of characters are brought in who are literally racist; they don't like non-human species of people. Mr. Spirit does an excellent job of expressing the pain of such insensitivity by looking at it from our heroes point of view. It really stings when you meet someone who does not like your favorite heroes, just because they aren't human. It stings even worse when you see your hero's heart bleeding on the paper from the insults. (ouch... ouch... sniff, sniff... ouch)
The story flow, though, is perfect. Again, I commend F.P. Spirit on smoothly transitioning his moods, keeping the story rolling, and including ALL of the characters.
I also just have to add that my dragons are most impressed with Calipherous. He was well written and is as regal as any in the dragon race. I can't wait to meet him again!
Cons: It was slightly disappointing to count 2 cuss words (p*ss) in this book, which is why I have made this a 5 star review and not a 6 star. However, the cuss words are easily skipped over (or marked out). There is also some mild adult humor as well, but it isn't anything horrible and it is quite brief. It does add a nice level of amusement for the adults to silently snicker about, but for children, like my siblings (2 boys & 2 girls, ages 8-15), they don't get the joke and they are left in the dark (or, in my brother's case, they get it all TOO well).
The Ending: It was all too soon. I reached the last chapter and was like "Wha...? NOOOO! It can't be the end! WHAT HAPPENS?!?!"
Needless to say, it ended on somewhat of a cliff hanger. Not one of those cliff hangers where you are running to the edge of the cliff screaming "I HATE AUTHORS!!" but one of those cliff hangers that leave you drooling and snarling for the next book.
However, by the end, the day was won, many of the mysteries were solved, and our heroes are mostly intact.
Note, I said MOSTLY.
The Bottom Line: Just like the first book, The Serpent Cult is a great read, crammed full of great characters, a pinch of mystery, and a load of fun! It is a very refreshing read compared to so many of the fantasy stories out there that carry so much garbage. This book is a promise to me that The Heroes of Ravenford will be one of my favorite series!
The DRAGONS IN OUR MIDST series is, by far, one of my most favorite. It seriously ranks up there by Lord or the Rings. Bryan Davis, the author, awes me with his talent in making a labyrinth out of his plots while inputting a deep spiritual message throughout the story. One review has already voiced my thoughts perfectly: "... a contemporary fantasy story that inspires young people to dig deep within to find their God-given strengths and use them to overcome any obstacle. It’s a perfect blend of fantasy and science fiction with a Christian message."
These books are clean, intense, and fast paced, and the plot is brilliant! I would recommend these books to anyone - Christians and secular people alike.
There are four books in the series: RAISING DRAGONS, THE CANDLESTONE, CIRCLES OF SEVEN, and TEARS OF A DRAGON. They are available in paperback, kindle, or audiobook. They are excellent in any format. Just pick one and get involved!
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“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.” Jonathan Harker ~ Dracula
I read my first Gothic Horror novel: “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
I personally am not into vampires. I don’t like them; they have gone from creepy and disgusting to just plain annoying in today’s world! So, when my mother suggested I read the old classic “Dracula” I was naturally leery. However, Dracula is now on my “Favorites” shelf and I think that it throws any other vampire stories I have read so far “into the mud”. I also think it was one of the most Christian books I have ever read, next to anything written by Frank Peretti. It surprised me that Bram Stoker actually depicted the vampires as demons, with no heart or mercy or pure thought, inhabiting a human’s body. Try to find that in today’s vampire stories!
However, before I would recommend Dracula for reading I would give a warning: it is a horror genre novel. It has some very gruesome, morbid parts and it does suggest some very mild sensuality in some parts that would be somewhat disturbing to a few readers that I know. But, if you can handle watching the news on TV or if you have read any of Frank Peretti’s books, I can guarantee you will be able to handle Dracula.
So now that I have that said and done, shall we move on?
It took about three chapters of for the story to really get rolling, but I must give the author some leeway because “Dracula” was written in the late 1800’s and does not follow the guidelines of today’s modern fiction: begin with a KAPOW that grips your readers on the very first page! Dracula actually eases mysteriously into the story, which was a nice change from today’s fiction.
Once I got past the first couple of pages, the story became very intriguing. I was amazed at how well the author tinged the story with deep mystery, really arousing my curiosity in the plot. This kept me turning the pages through the first part of the book.
The book is written completely in first person, being a collection of diaries and memoirs from each character involved in the story. I was certain that the first person narrative was going to drive me crazy, as it did in Mobey Dick, but it flowed smoothly in this book and made the characters VERY realistic. Again I was amazed at the author’s skill as he was able to craft each of the characters with such different personalities! I generally pride myself in staying detached from fictional characters in a story, but Bram Stoker’s skill in the first person narrative made it impossible for me to remain indifferent to these characters. In other words, I became attached to the characters of the story very quickly.
One of my favorite characters was Abraham Van Helsing. Caring, gentle, intelligent, crafty, and humorous, Van Helsing has a right to be one of the main heroes in “Dracula”. He is a brilliant Dutch doctor who is in England, trying to help his friends smoke out and destroy Count Dracula. Because he is a Dutchman in England this causes some humor throughout the book as his English is sometimes a little shaky and he gets things a little mixed up.
Midway through the story it became practically impossible to set the book down! The plot grew intense as the characters started making discoveries and finding out their foe, and the story started to roll very quickly as Count Dracula tried to destroy them and they quickly learned how to fight the demon back.
The ending seemed a bit rushed to me, but it ended better than I thought it would. I expected everyone to die and the bad guy to live on, as in many horror novels, but it was not the case and all the mystery and puzzles presented throughout the book were wrapped up very well in the end.
All in all, it was a very good book that I would recommend to most people, and I like it much, much better than any other vampire literature I have come across. Thumbs up for Bram Stoker’s Dracula!
“I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well.” Mina Harker - Dracula
I was invited to join a “Meet a Character” blog tour by Faith Blum, an author of Christian Western Fiction, and F.P. Spirit, author of Medieval Fantasy. (Gee! I got two invites. Ain't I special? *wink, wink*)
Faith's book, A Mighty Fortress, primarily follows Joshua, his sister Ruth, and Jed, an outlaw. Jed wants out of the lawless life he has sunk into, but he wonders if he is in too deep to be able to escape now. Joshua and his sister Ruth are traveling by Stagecoach to join their parents in Montana, that is, until Jed and a gang of outlaws attack the stagecoach and send Joshua and Ruth fleeing for their lives into the wild Wyoming and Montana territory. All three are running -- the hunter and the hunted. What will happen when they meet?
Although Western fiction doesn't really turn my crank, I found this book to be a powerful Christian story right from the very first chapter! If you like Western books, and want a heart pounding story with Christian values, then look no further - this is the book for you. And guess what? It's the first of a series. *yay!*
Please check out Faith’s book and website!:
Website/blog: http://HymnsoftheWest.tk and www.faithblum.wordpress.com
Her book - A Mighty Fortress on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GPDQVC2
The Heroes of Ravenford is a brand new start to a brand new fantasy series, one of which I am very excited about!
It follows Glolindir, a young elf of a diminishing race, and his struggle to find his purpose in his world. I won't say too much myself, because I *Plan* (note, I said PLAN) to post my review of it very soon. So, I will just give you the synopsis for now:
"Magic is Easy or so Glolindir thought, until he came face to face with his first live monster. Casting spells was not so simple with death breathing down his neck. His story might have ended there if not for three gifted youths: Seth, the mysterious halfling with the moves of an assassin; Lloyd, the spiritblade whose fiery swords are whirlwind-fast; and Aksel, the gnome whose very touch can heal.
Yet that was just the beginning of their adventures, for dark shadows loom over the little town of Ravenford. The townsfolk quickly turn to these newcomers, who may indeed be their only hope. From the old ruined keep southwest of town to hidden caves in the western hills, through dark tunnels, secret passages, concealed rooms and magical mirrors, they must face mythical monsters, evil creatures, and dark wizards, each more perilous than the last. Can they rise to the challenge and become the Heroes that the people of Ravenford so sorely need?"
Please check out Spirit’s book and website!:
His book: The Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford Book 1)
Read his "Meet a Character" blog post: http://fpspirit.com/2014/06/23/meet-my-character-blog-tour/
MEET A CHARACTER
1) What is the name of your character? Is he fictional or a historic person?
Keegan is his name, and fiction is his game (though, I might add, he is quite real to me)! He is a Wovlen, a very old, diminishing race of people known for their hardiness, confidence, brutality, and skilled dragon slayers.
2) When and where is the story set?
In a world, not our own. Most of the story takes place in three different places in my "make-believe-world": 1) A city called Elinralis, capitol of the country Anuran, 2) A place in the wild called The Dragon's Plains, 3) And the adjoining forest to the plains called The Dragon's Forest.
3) What should we know about him?
Keegan was orphaned at the age of twelve. However, what is truly special about Keegan is that he was adopted right after the death of his family by Pharrgon, a golden dragon. Yes. His adopted father is a dragon. For 13 years following his family's demise, he was raised and trained by Pharrgon to survive in the wilderness and to become a formidable warrior.
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
Though Keegan's story started long, long before his time when the Wovlen kingdom fell to an evil red dragon, it really took a tailspin when Keegan's family and village was massacred. Keegan witnessed the brutal death of his father at the hands of a "scarred man". The survivors of the village were scattered, and Keegan fled into the dreaded Dragon's Forest where he met Pharrgon and thus, his destiny.
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
Since the massacre and witnessing the death of his father, Keegan has only had two goals: find his missing friends and family and avenge the death of his village. In book 1, The Dragon's Son, Keegan's first goal was met. However, his second goal is about to take a drastic turn in the 2nd book when he finds out that the person responsible for the death of his father and mother goes far beyond the "scarred man" (the man who killed his father and lead the attack on his village). Finding out the deeper truth widens his perspective and raises his goal to new heights. But Pharrgon warns him that vengeance is not his to take. Vengeance belongs to another. So, what has his goal become? What is he supposed to do? Needless to say, the 2nd book has Keegan pretty confused through most of it.
6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Yes. The 2nd title is "The Dragon's Due".
Would you like a snippet from The Dragon's Due? Of course. I thought you would. Here ya go (note: none of this has seen an editor yet, so please forgive the rough-ness of it):
A light mist rose up from the ground in a perfectly green forest. The green grass was cool and soft under Keegan’s bare feet, and the smell of fresh moisture in the air was cool and inviting. Silence reined throughout the green forest, perfect silence assured Keegan everything was peaceful there. None of his troubles followed him to this place. None of his worries or fears haunted him. Perfect peace and silence wrapped their gentle arms around him in this forest and set his mind to rest.
From the corner of his eye, Keegan saw movement in the trees. He turned and watched as a feminine figure quietly walked through the trees, touching each of the trunks, looking all around herself searchingly. Her golden head and dark blue dress stood out against the green of the forest, and her glowing pale skin shown brightly, but her sparkling, emerald green eyes matched the surrounding forest exactly.
“Erewhon,” Keegan sighed as he spoke her name as he walked toward her.
She paused and looked at him, her eyes growing wide “Keegan! Oh, I am so glad you are here!” she opened her arms and meant to rush to him, but suddenly stopped “But it is only a dream. You are only a dream. You aren’t real!” her face changed from joy to despair instantly as tears filled her eyes.
Keegan’s face grew somber “Princess Erewhon, what is the matter?” he asked.
“It is no use to tell a phantom in a dream.” Erewhon said sadly, hiding her face in her hands “Oh Dayspring have mercy! I shall be lost forever!”
Keegan stepped up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder before reaching up with his other hand and gently pulling hers away from her face so he could see her clearly “I am here, my lady. I am no phantom.” he grew puzzled as he witnessed overwhelming despair written across Erewhon’s face “Why are you afraid and so sad? This is a peaceful place. Can’t you feel the relief it brings?”
Erewhon’s lip trembled as she looked into Keegan’s eyes “I have felt it, and it has brought me comfort, but I know I cannot stay.” she took Keegan’s hand tightly in hers “Keegan, I have been captured and carried away from Elinralis. I don’t know where I am at, but shadow men are holding me captive.”
Suddenly the forest shook and rippled, liked still water when a stone has been dropped into it, and the trees and light began to disappear.
Keegan grabbed Erewhon’s hands tightly as the green forest changed to a late night scene with the two moons almost midsky, shining their pale light across a yellow plain Keegan knew all too well: the Dragon Plains.
Erewhon shuddered “This is where I am being held captive!” she gasped “But I won’t be for long. The moons are almost high.” she looked up at the sky.
“Who is holding you captive? What for? Where are they taking you?” Keegan asked.
Erewhon began sobbing and trembling “I don’t know! Men or shadows, they call themselves wraiths, are taking me to a person they call the crystal queen. Keegan, I am so scared!”
Suddenly, a transparent shadow in the shape of a man appeared next to Keegan and Erewhon, filtering out the moon light and casting a shadow over the two of them. Chilling whispers in an ancient language began to echo all around. The scene of the Dragon Plains seemed to bend and then tear, like someone cutting through a painted canvas. With an unearthly scream, a large, black gloved hand appeared through the tear.
“I told you there would be consequences for trying to escape!” a voice roared before the hand grabbed Erewhon by the throat and yanked her through the hole “I also meant it for dreams, princess!”
“Keegan!” Erewhon screamed in terror as she disappeared.
Keegan yelled in anger as Erewhon’s trembling hands were yanked from his, then everything, the moon light, the Dragon Plains, even the very air around him completely disappeared. Keegan began to gasp for air as he was left in a black void filled with eerie whispers chanted in an unfamiliar language. He fell to his knees, holding his hands up to his neck, trying to find a way to breathe. Before he passed out, a dragon roar echoed in his ears and shook the ground under him.
7) When can we expect the book to be published?
My goal is to have it done by November/December 2014. However, this is ME we are talking about. My hopes, goals and plans don't always go according to my plans, so.... we shall see how this works out. *fingers crossed*
Now, as part of the tour, I need to tag a couple of other authors!
Thanks for reading and, please, check these other authors out!
Sherrilyn Polf is an Christian author of Historical Fiction and Children's Books. Currently, she has 4 books in a WWII series called "The Engineers of Flight", with a 6th one on the way. They are "a side of WWII that has not been presented before...".
Her Website: http://sherrilynpolf.weebly.com/
Her books: On Amazon in Kindle and Paperback
Elaine Littau is another author of fiction, working with romance and western mainly. She has a very large selection of books to choose from! All of her books are very powerful testimonies of God's strength which can pull us through any storm and get us through any crisis. I would not recommend them for young readers, as the contents can be somewhat traumatic. However, if you like Frank Peretti and Western fiction, then I can only assume that you will really like her books!
Her Website: http://www.elainelittau.com/
Her Books: on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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