Book Review: Fantasy & Science Fiction

Book Review: Mother of Wolves by J. Aislynn d’Merricksson

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Mother of Wolves (Evalyce Worldshaper, #1)Mother of Wolves by J. Aislynn d’Merricksson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mother of Wolves is the first book in a fantasy series called ‘Evalyce Worldshaper’ written by J. Aislynn d’Merrickson. I came across this book because I’ve been a follower of the author’s blog for a few years. Although I’m rarely a fantasy genre reader, I wanted to see what a novel would read like from this author. What I got was a lovely tale full of magic, striking creatures, good writing, and the possibility for a wonderful future.

The thing I found most intriguing was the use of mythology in the book. While it’s not an ode to classical Greek or Roman myths, there are lots of components in the story that clearly trace back to stores our ancients would tell around a fire… at least that’s the impression this book gives off — it’s in preparation for the upcoming second, third, et al books in the overall series. This is a great beginning because we see things that happened from ~1500 years in the distance (past or future, it’s hard to tell!). Technology isn’t quite present, yet there are traveling ships. Reincarnation is hinted at. Animal and human interaction, friendships, and potential transfiguration? Maybe I’m seeing more than there is at this stage… but between what I’ve read thus far and the cover, I sense a much more complex story in the works.

Kalla is our main character. We get to know this strong female well. She is likable but acts quickly. I enjoyed the relationships she developed and the intrigue surrounding her quest. It ends in a place where you know it’s just the beginning. Not being a regular reader in this genre, I struggled with understanding the larger picture and connecting some of the names, as well as knowing if this is part of a larger fantasy realm I should know more about. That said, as a stand-alone book just based on story, character, and setting, it was very good. I look forward to seeing where this one will go.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Tales from the Irish Garden by Sally Cronin

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Tales from the Irish GardenTales from the Irish Garden by Sally Cronin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tales from the Irish Garden is the third book I’ve read by Sally Cronin. There is a connection with this book to one of her earlier ones (that I haven’t read yet) but the author does an excellent job at covering what happened in the first publication so that you you’re not missing out on anything critical to the story. After enjoying this magical fantasy novella, I’ll be sure to check out the original Tales from the Garden in the future. Let’s chat more about this story…

There is an entire world beneath a beautiful magnolia tree where our characters have lived for a very long time. Unfortunately, the tree will be chopped down and the land will be re-purposed by its new owners. What will Queen Filigree and her fellow creatures do without a home? She and her many wonderful friends (and perhaps a few not so friendly) take us through the seasons on their journey to find a new home and re-build their lives. Among the travels are romance, friendship, and hilarity. We meet fantastic characters such as the Storyteller, royal pigeons, Jacamo the pigeon master, butterflies, the Dapper Man, the donkey, foxes, piglet, mice, and so many more.

Toss in various holidays and seemingly normal events for humans, and you’ll have have a grandiose (in a good way) tale about a new romance for the queen, a marriage, and a surprise. Each mini-story adds up to the larger world of all those who live in the magic land. What they experience might feel like a metaphor for what us humans go through in life. The imagery is beautiful, and the settings are stunning. I felt like I was in the fountain or traveling through the gardens… whether I was a tiny mouse, a bird in flight, or a furry animal gallivanting around. There is levity too, so the entire piece is well-balanced. It’s the kind of writing that easily reads itself– simple yet descriptive, immersive, and crafty. If you enjoy fantasies and the charming world of our animal, insect, and fairy friends, then you will love this one.

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For more on Sally Cronin, check out her amazing blog or see my dedicated author page where I hope to interview her in the future (hint hint).

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Magnetic Reverie by Nico J. Genes

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Magnetic Reverie (The reverie, #1)Magnetic Reverie by Nico J. Genes
Let’s start this review by discussing the title: Magnetic Reverie. For me, it conjures images of elated happiness and strong, instantaneous attraction. In the first book of a new series by author Nico J. Genes, we find a woman torn between the love she has for her husband and the attraction she has to a woman she met in an airport and continued to dream about. Only… as time and the chapters pass by… we no longer know for sure which of these two relationships is the dream and which is reality.

Genes creates a torrid conflict in the first few chapters. Lana is leaving her country (Slovenia) to get married. Was it arranged or did she fall in love? She’s at the airport when a beautiful woman flirts with her for hours. It ends, and then readers are transported to Washington DC were Lana and Greg are happy but something is missing. Alternating chapters for a while, we learn that Lana has some amnesia and cannot remember her relationship with Claire. The story continues like this for a while, absorbing readers and sharing a tale of two different loves. It seems at first that this is a case of amnesia or dream states, but savvy readers will pick up on a few clues that tell you otherwise… and I’m not giving away any spoilers here, as the truth is a lot more complicated.

I enjoyed this story a lot. At first, I thought… it’s a bit like fantasy where I am lost in terms of what boundaries exist in this non-existent world. Genes clarifies several key ones, enough so I could focus on the dynamic and complex relationships. It suddenly became more about a woman in love with two different people, and how would she choose which one to commit her future to. When Lana finds out she’s pregnant, a whole new element of pain, love, confusion, shock, and intrigue develops. Genes keeps you guessing but mostly forces you to debate which love is stronger. For me, despite my concern over what was happening with the memory loss, I wanted Lana to be with Claire. There was an edge and strength in their relationship, where with Greg, it was solid, dependable, and comforting — that’s a great thing, but it was missing a tiny bit of spark which made me root more for Claire.

When the book ends, I found myself wondering — what’s next? There are answers but there are also questions. A choice is made, but a situation is still open. Will we ever learn what happens with the dreams versus reality? A curious book series, and one I look forward to continuing to read…

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Check out a post I shared last month about this book!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Running Out of Space by S.J. Higbee

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Running Out Of Space: Sunblinded One (Sunblinded Trilogy Book 1)Running Out Of Space: Sunblinded One by S.J. Higbee
I’ve followed author S. J. Higbee’s blog for the last year, and while I’m not usually a fan of science-fiction, I decided to read one of her books this month. Sometimes it’s less about the genre and more about the writing style or tone. I selected the first book, Running Out of Space, from her Sunblinded Trilogy, and read it over a few days this week on my Kindle. Let’s jump into the review…

Lizzy and her girlfriends are aboard a spaceship traveling all around. Unfortunately, women aren’t as valued as they should be; instead, they’re often considered simply baby makers. It doesn’t matter that Lizzy is strong and resourceful, she and her quickfire tongue and actions aren’t always welcomed. Her true parentage doesn’t even help make things easier, so the girl has got it rough at the beginning… but then things get worse — a friend is killed in what looks to be a surprise attack battle. Except, not everything is as it seems. What’s really going on here?

As Lizzy’s fate unfolds, she’s hurt physically and mentally by people she trusts or thinks she should trust. Lizzy also meets a guy who causes some new feelings to stir up, and he might not just think of her as a way to create a child. Unfortunately, their road to happiness doesn’t last very long… it seems Lizzy is constantly barraged with pain and problems. She’s a heroine you will feel tremendous things for, and along the path, you hope she finally finds a win. It’s too early to discover if that will happen in the series, as the first book ends without knowing her future fate. I’m curious to learn what happens in the next two of this trilogy!

The aspect of this book that struck me the most was how well written it was… Higbee definitely has a mega grip on how to articulate what’s going on inside Lizzy’s mind and those around her… especially when the friend who was killed ‘visits’ Lizzy on many occasions after she’s been killed. No spoilers here, you’ll have to read it yourself to understand what I mean. From descriptions to dialog, the story’s words really pop. I’d love to read a non-science-fiction book by Higbee, as I’m certain it would be a stellar match for me.

While the story and the characters were good, it was the writing in this one that which made the biggest impact on me. I’m confident science-fiction fans will absolutely love the plot and the futuristic feel of the book. I enjoyed it, but since this isn’t a genre I normally read, some of it probably went over my head. Nonetheless, I kept finding myself intrigued to see how well crafted the book could continue to get. And it did. This just goes to prove… sometimes you need to step outside your comfort zone to experience other new things. You might find something you like, just as I did. Kudos to Higbee for creating a wonderful book, series, and clever writing tone that kept this reader happy!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: The Proximity of Stars by Benedict Stuart

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The Proximity of StarsThe Proximity of Stars by Benedict Stuart
The Proximity of Stars by Benedict Stuart is a science-fiction novel that pushes readers to think about alliances, friendships, family, and loss. I’d come across this book via Goodreads when I saw the author’s comments on other books, then decided to add it to my TBR. I’m not normally a reader in this genre, so it’s often a new experience for me when I do take one on. I’m glad I had a chance to read this one, as it’s less about sci-fi on several levels and more about relationships. Of course, there’s the necessary alien, technology, and futuristic stuff, but I never felt overwhelmed.

Sometimes funny, sometimes telling a moral, this story has lots of angles and things to consider. I enjoyed the writing style, including the times when it almost poked a bit of fun at the traditional path of aliens invading the Earth. Sometimes people are at war on their own planet, and at others, they move to the moon! When the author revealed the intricate connections between the different ‘sides’ and killed off a few beloved folks fairly soon in the story… I knew it would be different. I look forward to more from the author in the future.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: The Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins

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Today, I’m sharing a book review and an alert: Sean Robin’s sci-fi thriller, The Crimson Deathbringer is only .99 as a Kindle download from 6/12 thru 6/16. Check it out @ Amazon where it was HOT NEW RELEASE earlier this month. I read the book last week and have posted my review below. Scroll down to see it… and you can check out the author’s website for more information on his books and news.

The Crimson DeathbringerThe Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alien Invasion! Future Coming Faster Than We Think! Hold On To Your Senses! My experience in this realm consists of Star Trek and Star Wars, plus a handful of other books I’ve read in the sci-fi genre in the past year. It seems I might like this genre more than I thought… after a few excellent authors I’ve added to my list this year, I’m adding another one with Sean Robins, writer of The Crimson Deathbringer, published in 2019.

When I first read the title, a bloody crash came to mind. After starting the book, I thought… this doesn’t seem all that sci-fi. It’s more post-apocalyptic world settling, but then… all hell breaks loose. What I commend the author for most… is starting with great characters and a solid story. I was immediately pulled in by the first couple of characters we’re introduced to. And then, when the aliens invade, I felt even more connected with the story. There are two different alien races, and I had to choose which one I liked. Rather than provide more details on the actual plot, here’s what you need to know: Young love. Strong female fighters. Bonds of friendship. Trust in a species you haven’t ever encountered before. Cool technology with mind altering systems. Betrayal. Humor. Just the beginning of this series.

Interested? Sounds kinda intense, and it is… but don’t think there aren’t laugh out loud moments and some good old-fashioned romance. Robins includes tons of references that even a clueless guy like me picked up on. I knew several from Star Wars, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones. There were others I vaguely knew of, but it all made for a witty and clever approach to telling the story. Love blossomed between unlikely characters and world domination was a clear theme. Has it hit too close to home? Possibly, but only in the good ways.

I like Robins writing style. It’s easy to digest without the clunk of super-sci-fi stories that sometimes go over our heads. There is A LOT of all that futuristic stuff, but it’s described in a very understandable manner and it makes you kinda interested in exploring it more. Until, of course, death happens. No alien invasion can be successfully thwarted or pulled off without pain and loss. I’m happy to say that 1 of my 2 fave characters survives this international / foreign / outer galaxy war, but I did have to hold back a tear or two when some bad things happened. As an author, I know what it’s like to do that to someone you’ve created whom you love… which tells me I know Robins painfully made this decision, and probably because it was the right one.

We’re left with a bit of a “what could happen next” moment at the end, but I’m along for the ride. Looking forward to the sequel!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: The Keeper by Misty Mount

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The Keeper (The Underground Defenders Book 1)The Keeper by Misty Mount
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Keeper, published by Misty Mount in 2019, is the first book in her “Underground Defenders” series. I’ve read another book by Mount in the past, and I will be reading more in the future. I enjoy her slow-build, tension-filled climaxes and the depth of detail she goes into describing her characters and settings. With a focus more on the paranormal / other-worldly / ghostly genres, it’s not quite fantasy or science-fiction, but it’s definitely not total reality; I like that middle ground and would recommend this book for almost all reader types and ages, especially if you have a bit of an open mind.

At first, we get to know a young couple who have moved to the husband’s family’s home under interesting auspices. There are some financial and medical issues with the couple, but the husband’s grandmother has also taken ill. She raised her grandson (and his siblings) when their parents weren’t around. I say it that way purposely because all is not what it seems and I don’t want to spoil the book for you. That said, when the couple and their young daughter arrive, something is obviously amiss. Not only do we learn the wife has had a bit of a breakdown, we see her very ‘clingy’ focus on her daughter–fearful when others hold the infant, unable to leave the room without her, et al. Are there legitimate reasons, or has her breakdown not been fully uncovered and healed? Mount handles these questions well because I often couldn’t be sure where the exact problem stemmed from in the couple’s relationship. At times, it was his fault, yet at others, it was clearly hers. Excellent way to keep readers attuned to the story but excited to find out the conclusion.

As the tale unfolds, we meet the mystery guest that the grandmother says has been helping her recover before her grandson returned. Even the live-in staff and visiting nurse are aware of this supposed other person. Is she real or a ghost? Just when you get to know her, the main story completely pauses and switches to the past where we learn about a nearby neighbor who also seems to know the same house guest. We learn all the history leading up to the current time, including some connections with the young couple’s grandmother and extended family. Some shocking stuff regarding healing and medicinal treatments swing to the forefront, but very powerful relationships unfold at the same time. Mount is great at taking readers into a moment of eerie and confusing situations, letting us decide for ourselves what’s real and what’s imaginary. Great stuff!

For me, this is a non-typical read, but it’s very easy to digest and connect with, so I find myself quite intrigued to learn more about the hospital, the house guest, and the missing and yet-to-be-revealed parts of this larger plot. What I can say without any spoilers… the book ends with a resolution to the main story. We know what’s going on with the grandmother and young couple. We understand who the house guest is and what’s truly going on in her own world. But… we get a sort of open-ended cliffhanger about what will happen next. Just because you know the answer to your question doesn’t mean you know how it’ll turn out… that’s the way to end a story and make your reader wait for the next one. This reader is looking forward to book two… and I hope we get it before year-end.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.