Posts Tagged Love

The Black God’s War: Splendor & Ruin, Book I by Moses Siregar III

Storyline: Holy Moses! What a splendid and unique fantasy start to an original fantasy series! The Black God’s War: Splendor and Ruin, Book I written by the highly talented Mr. Mosey Siregar, will grab a’hold of you and pull into his world where gods fight alongside man and destinies unfold in unimaginable ways.

A mighty empire pushes to conquer the neighboring kingdom of Pawelon and after ten years of endless fighting, an end might finally be in sight. Lucia must decode the meaning of The Black God’s messages for her and her holy brother, Caio. Even though Caio is a man of peace, their father, the king, thrusts this war upon them, risking both of their lives for glory.

Prince Rao is powerful sage who will stop at nothing to see this war stopped and gone from his lands. He must use all of his skills to fight not only the gifted siblings, but their gods as well. Rao must reconcile his own philosophical beliefs with those of the myths of the invaders’ gods.

Can a peaceful resolution be met without anymore unnecessary bloodshed and tears?

Grammar/Spelling:  Incredibly, this might be the first book I’ve read in ages and ages without a single grammatical or spelling error. I don’t know if it’s because I was so captivated by the story that I overlooked them, but Moses did a phenomenal job editing his book!

Character Development: The story focuses on a variety of characters and fully develops each person perfectly. Moses carefully crafted each character’s personality so that the reader can truly feel Caio’s reluctance in leading his father’s army into battle. The inner-struggle of Prince Rao as he tried to convince his father that he was worthy of his respect and was a worthy fighter. Lucia’s strong will and desire to protect her brother at all costs while hiding her own dark secrets came across clearly and distinctly.

Writing Style: The story flowed beautifully and quickly. Even though Moses introduced two very different and wholly new religions and a completely new pantheon if gods, I never felt as if I were overwhelmed with information. Nor did I felt as if I there wasn’t enough information about each side’s beliefs and rituals.

Another unique facet of The Black God’s War was the telling of all sides of the story. I’ve read books (and hell, watched movies) that showed both sides of warring nations, but never with this approach. Every important scene was told through the eyes of each player’s perspective.

I felt myself being pulled in separate directions: Huzzah! May the Rezzians conquer all!

No, wait! Let’s hear it for the Pawelons! They must destroy the invaders!

Well played, Moses. Well played indeed!

Continuity:  No issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 5

The Black God’s War: Splendor and Ruin, Book I by Moses Siregar III was a dazzling beginning to a fantasy series that was a delight to read and nearly impossible to put down. I am really looking forward to continuing the series and believe that Moses’ story will only get better!

Everyone and their respective mamas should go out and get a copy (or sit on their couch and order it)! I only hate that it took so long for me to review the book and pass along the greatness to you!

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Now, I would like for you to meet Lucia, the royal daughter of the Kingdom of Rezzia. She’s as stunning as she is fearless.

Celia: How did you first meet your writer?

Lucia: You want to talk about that bastard? Was it when he was torturing me with nightmares of dying children? Or when he tortured me with nightmares of my flesh burning? Or when he decided to kill (SPOILER ALERT)? No, I remember now. It was when he dropped me into the black god’s underworld lair. After falling through the pitch black for so long I lost my sanity, I landed in a dark sea full of the dead bodies of our soldiers. Yes, that was how I met him. You’ll pardon me if I prefer that we change the subject.

Celia: Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?

Lucia: Yes. The Book of Time. I am a member of the royal family of Rezzia, and I have a patron goddess. At the least, a brief mention of my life would have to be written into The Book.

Celia: What are your favorite scenes in your book: Action, Dialogue, Romance?

Lucia: Romance. There are so many scenes in this book. Action? There was too much of it for me. Dialogue? I prefer quiet. I only found some modicum of repose in my romance with Ilario.

Celia: Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?

Lucia: No, but the bastard had to work on some things.

Celia: Do you infiltrate your author’s dreams?

Lucia: Ha! What kind of person do you take me for? Do you understand that Lord Danato, The Black One, has invaded my dreams since I was thirteen years old? For the last sixteen years? And after all I’ve been through, you think I would be so insensitive as to infiltrate another person’s dreams? The answer is no.

Celia: Are you happy with the genre your author has placed you in?

Lucia: I’d much prefer to be in a trashy romance. A very trashy romance, at that. That sounds rather pleasant after all I’ve been through. But the bastard put me in the correct genre. I can’t hold that against him.

Celia: Would you be interested in a sequel if your writer is so inclined?

Lucia:  *Sigh*

He hasn’t put me through enough? Why would I want to be subjected to his cruel treatment again? I suppose it’s possible that my life will be very different in the future. I admit, I’ve put some of my demons to rest. But I’m afraid the decision I made at the end of this book will haunt me, and I’m not sure I’m ready to face those issues.

Celia: If you could give yourself a superpower, what would you choose?

Lucia: You haven’t read this book yet, have you? I have powers, but I didn’t ask for every power that I have. Although, if I could, I would choose to have one of those powers again. I’m sorry I can’t say more. You’ll have to read the The Black God’s War.

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A Difference Maker

Over on the UK version of Amazon, someone commented on my review for Miss Maureen Miller’s “Widow’s Tale” book! Yay!
Mrs. S. A. Blane says:

Very well written review, told me everything I needed to know to judge whether I would want to buy this book – and I do!
Shirley Blane, author of The Widow’s Revenge

Celia Can Read: making a difference. 🙂

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Kistmet’s Kiss – Cate Rowan

Storyline: It’s like the King and I with a lot less singing and a whole lot more sexy. Cate Rowan has spun a fabulous Middle Eastern romantic fantasy with Kismet’s Kiss.

The Great Sultan Kuramos is facing down an enemy that even the most mighty of warriors and greatest of kings cannot overcome: a disease born of a goddess’ curse. This mysterious plague has sickened many members of the royal family and there seems to be no hope until he reaches out to a neighboring realm of Teganne – known for its great healers and magic.

The Royal Healer Varene na Seryn is as talented and stubborn as she is beautiful. Combining her healing knowledge and magic, she must overcome the sickness that is taking the Sultan’s family and servants one by one.

Can Sultan Kuramos and the Healer Varene overcome their differences to save the royal family? Will his strange customs and distrust of magic be the wedge that keeps these two apart or will it draw them together as the fates so will it?

Grammar/Spelling: I noticed a few errors; I would recommend another good read through by a beta reader.

Character Development: As a strong-willed (ok, really, I’m more “stubborn” than “strong-willed” because I have very little will power when it comes to chocolate…I mean, really… It’s quite sad.) woman myself, I can absolutely relate to the Royal Healer’s refusal to play second (or even seventh) fiddle to an old fashioned custom that puts the man in charge.

Not only am I the Queen of Commas, I am also the Empress of Mixed Signals and Kismet’s Kiss was definitely a story of two ships passing in the night. That being said, throughout Kismet’s Kiss Varene and Kuramos are definitely wandering over into my Land of Confusion (not to be confused with that great Genesis track) and you are left wondering if they’re ever going to get it together.

Writing Style: The story quickly grabs the reader’s interest and pulls the reader through the sensuous and magical desert land of Kad. Ms. Rowan’s fantasy world is unique and mysterious. I really felt like I was transported (possibly via magic carpet) into a land of endless desert and talking jencel-birds.

Even though this is a romance novel, the love scenes are actually few and far between; so even the most modest of readers could enjoy Kismet’s Kiss.

Continuity:  No issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 4+

Ms. Cate Rowan’s novel, Kismet’s Kiss, was a breath of fresh air with a whole new world (HA! Like I could resist swiping a line from Disney’s Aladdin!  You’d have been sad and disappointed if I wrote this entire review without mentioning it at least once. Admit it.) set in the very ancient world of the Middle East.

I encourage all of you lady folks to read this one (and maybe even you men folks can read it too… I won’t judge you…) and get lost in a sexy world of love, magic and mystery.

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Demonspawn – Glenn Bullion

Storyline: Glenn-tastic? Glen-tactular? Splen-Glenn-did? Ok, I tried to come up with a play on Glenn Bullion’s name, but I just couldn’t. But, that doesn’t mean that Demonspawn was any less amazing!

Alex Teague is a sweet guy, a little on the shy side and definitely lacking in self-confidence. What Alex doesn’t know is that he has a lot more to offer the world than just his inability to dance. Alex is going through some changes and isn’t quite sure how to handle them. Luckily, he has his best friend Cindy and his sister Alicia to help him adjust. Now, if only he could adjust as easily to the feelings he has for Cindy.

Demonspawn is an easy and delightful read that could just as easily translate into a movie that I would be more than happy to stand in line for, pay outrageous amounts for popcorn, candy and sodas and even deal with the annoying crowds to see.

Grammar/Spelling: There were some minor grammatical errors throughout the story. I would suggest another read through by a beta. I noticed some issues when reading through some of the dialogue as it was a bit choppy and used a bit too much vernacular for my tastes when, for example, saying “I got that” instead of “I have that”. Also, there were a few instances of incorrect versions of words used such as “baron” versus “barren.” Honestly, these are just fine tuning things and in no way detract from the story.

Character Development: Mr. Bullion’s story follows the main characters from their formative years up through early adulthood helping the reader truly become attached to Alex, his sister and best friend Cindy. The sibling relationship is very believable and understandable. Alex is always on the look out for his little sister and in turn, she’s also looking out for his best interests. Especially those relating to matters of the heart.

Since the main character is…ahem…different than most (if not all) people, it would almost be difficult to really relate to Alex, but surprisingly, it’s not. Alex is truly a stand up guy and his journey to self-discovery is both entertaining and thoughtful. Like most young people, even with his life being full of the paranormal and occult, his main concern is his more-than-just-friends feelings he’s developed for Cindy. What should a part demon, total sweetheart kind of guy do?!

Writing Style: I don’t know if it’s because of my own personal experiences with the supernatural (cue creepy music, please) or it’s due to Mr. Bullion’s ability to create a creepy mood, get your heart rate up and make you lean forward, anticipating the next moment, but the story has some absolutely scary and terrifying parts in it. His descriptions of the demonic world are fantastically horrific. I’m not one who scares easily, but even some of MY neck hairs stood on end at times.

There were some pretty detailed graphic scenes, adult language and occasional adult situations. So, it’s not for the faint of heart or very young readers.

Continuity:  As to be expected with great writing, I noticed no issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 4

Demonspawn by Glenn Bullion is just plain great. But, not plain. Just great. I really enjoyed the ease and flow of the story from start to finish. I would encourage everyone who has ever been in love with their best friend and never realized it to read this. Also, anyone who has ever had to deal with their demonic powers should give this a read over as well. Great job, Glenn! I hope you put out more books soon!

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We Interrupt This Date – L.C. Evans

Storyline: We Interrupt This Date written by L.C. Evans is a thoroughly and wholly accurate depiction of all of the things that are great and terrible about a family. Especially a southern family.

Susan is a well-mannered, freshly divorced southern woman with a well-meaning and overbearing mother who is constantly meddling in her life and an utterly spoiled and self-centered younger sister. Not to mention, Susan also hates her job and her terrible boss. She is also a recent “empty nester” with her son off at college in Virginia.

Susan is now at a cross-road: she feels trapped by her job, by her family and by her own divorce. She must make some changes or she will surely lose her what’s left of her sanity. And when an old friend moves back to town, things really start to heat up. Whatever shall a delicate, southern belle do?!

We Interrupt This Date is a quick, easy and light-hearted read with frustrating to the point of endearing friends and family that anyone should be able to easily relate to.

Grammar/Spelling: I noticed some minor typos sprinkled throughout the book. A once over with spell-check or another beta reader would take of those issues.

Character Development: I’m from the south myself and Ms. Evans really nailed down the typical genteel southern lady with Susan’s mother, Ms. Caraway. She is perpetually meddling in only the way that a mother can and to top it off, she’s retired leaving her plenty of time to “help” Susan out in ways that she couldn’t possibly appreciate. I have a grandmother who is very nearly Ms. Caraway in the flesh. She means well, but goodness! Things can’t possibly be that awful all of the time!

Writing Style: Ms. Evans’ style is simple and flows nicely. Somehow, even with all of the chattering of an intrusive mother at the very beginning, she pulls the reader in during the first few pages and keeps them hooked until the end.

Continuity:  I noticed no issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 4

I really enjoyed We Interrupt This Date and look forward to more well-written books from Ms. Evans. She whipped up a sweet romance, folded in some family insanity and served it up in a hilarious novel. I would recommend this to just about anyone as this is a light hearted story without any heavy language or adult situations.

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Twists & Turns – A “Red Adept Reviews” Collection

Featuring: Jessica Billings, Brendan Carroll, T.L. Haddix, Lynn O’dell, C.S. Marks, John Philpin, Patricia Sierra, Michael Sullivan and J.R. Tomlin

Storyline: Well, what can I say? This anthology was full of twists, turns and surprises of the finest kind. Each author took their turn around the campfire and delivered perfectly!

For brevity’s sake, I’m going to see if I can fit the summary of ALL of the stories into one mega-sentence.

Ready? Here goes!

*deep breath*

A God machine, a were-pug, a terrible day at work, a klepto grandmother, the quest for perfection and understanding, an obsession, some shameful secrets, a hungry dragon and a do-over all await you in this gargantuan collection of greatness!

Grammar/Spelling: I hardly noticed any errors. I like to think it is due in large part to the magnitude of talent contained within this collection and due to the laser-like precision of Red Adept’s editing skills.

Building God – Jessica Billings: I can absolutely see why this story won first place. It was wonderfully written with a spectacular twist. It was supremely suspenseful and had a great Twilight Zone feel. It kept me almost distracted as I tried to figure out what would cause the spike and then drop in the number of people in the world so I had to keep reading to find out!

Should Have Seen it Coming – Brendan Carroll: At first, I really didn’t like Kurt. He was a complete and utter jerk. But, as the story progressively gets scarier and the suspense builds up, I found myself actually worried about Kurt and wondering what really happened to his puggins (doggie) and, oh yeah, his beloved. And I totally didn’t see it coming!

Granny Theft Auto – T.L. Haddix: Oh man…this one was awesome! I could absolutely imagine a small town (my hometown even!) turning a blind eye to the old woman’s thievery and her poor son… He was trying to do the best with what he had. I will say that it seemed as if the ending was a bit over-explained. I don’t believe that it needed as much of a wrap up as was given.

Fired – Lynn O’dell: Utterly and completely perfectly written short story. It was the perfect combination of build up and story only to end with a sudden bang. This could have really happened to anyone. The ending brought about a giggling fit only matched by those you’d get during church when you’re trying your best to focus on the sermon and not all of the crazy inappropriate things that just randomly pop into your mind at the wrong time.

Unbroken Mirror – C.S. Marks: This was a beautifully written fantasy epic and I really would love to read the full story. It really sounds like a gorgeous and amazing world. It does seem a bit long-winded and heavy for a short story though. Maybe if some of the back story was pared down a bit?

42jorie – John Philpin: Another great short story with a wonderful balance of suspense and surprise. I really got into Peter’s frustration and annoyance with the smug Marjorie. Of course, sometimes, you have to be very careful about what information you share on the Interwebz. It could really lead to some major problems.

Leo’s Wife – Patricia Sierra: This short story was very well-written and I’m sure it’s happened to more people than would care to admit. Another inappropriate giggle escaped me while at work. (You guys are SO going to get me in trouble!) I did figure it out about 2 or 3 sentences from the end. But, I think that was the author’s intent. Sort of an “oh my God” moment and then disbelief that it actually happened.

Traditions – J.R. Tomlin: Some traditions are meant to be broken and changed… I could really feel the terror and then determination of the girl as she resolutely set out to take control of her own fate. I felt every step she took and was really racking my ol’ grey matter trying to figure out what the sacrifice was all about. Of course, in the end, the story did end up asking some pretty important moral and ethical questions. Sacrifice for the greater good by staying the same or buck tradition and, for better or worse, change the world around you?

Overall Rating: 5+

You guys did an amazing job on these short stories! I really felt like each of you nailed the surprise twist and ending. I hope that each of you continue to churn out more short stories. What can I say? I’m greedy! I would also like for Lynn to be able to create a second anthology of greatness. Soooooo…get to it, y’all!

On a side note: I think we should ALL encourage Ms. Lynn O’dell (Red Adept, herself!) to write more for our viewing pleasure! Thank you so much for sharing, Lynn!

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The Gaslight Journal – Carla Rene

Storyline: Ms. Carla Rene seems to have been born in the wrong century and I mean that in the best way possible! The Gaslight Journal is an excellent foray in the Jane Austen and Charles Dickens’ style of writing.

It is the early 1880s, prime Victorian age in the United States and propriety and society is the end all be all of any young lady’s existence. Miss Isabella Audley is a member of that same high society and while home from college for Christmas, she learns what it truly means to be shunned and to be loved by people she would have never expected to do one or the other.

After a strange comment upon her arrival in town, Isabella begins to see that things aren’t what she originally thought them to be. After she finds her father’s journal, the ugly truth changes her life forever.

Grammar/Spelling: I noticed some slight errors – very slight issues. For example (and this might be one of 3 errors that I noticed): “She continued to struggle; he continued to stared.”  Correct these small instances and The Gaslight Journal is perfect!

Character Development: Ms. Rene’s characters each fulfill their part in the grand scheme of the era: social climbers, snarky socialites and the occasional genuine good soul that manages to look past social status.

Isabella is a smart, out-spoken and vivacious young woman and is hard-pressed to keep her thoughts to herself. As much as she bucks against the tradition of the Victorian Age of thinking, she enjoys her status as one of affluence. Though, somehow (through sheer talent by Ms. Rene, I’m sure!), she is still quite likeable even with her sometimes shallow outlook on the world around her.

Izzy is quite easy to relate to because as a modern woman (read: I’d have been burned at the stake back then!), I too have a hard time keeping my thoughts to myself and refuse to let society dictate how I should interact with those around me.

Writing Style: As I stated before, The Gaslight Journal could easily fit into a collection of stories written by Jane Austen or Jane Eyre (Must have been a very popular name for the era!). The only thing that it lacks is the considerable length that is normally associated with their great works. Though, in these modern times, the length was perfect!

Continuity:  There were no issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 4

I have to admit, I would have never chosen to read this novel on my own as this style isn’t really my cup of tea (hardee har har!). But, I’ll be darned if I didn’t end up really liking this work!

Ms. Carla Rene’s The Gaslight Journal would make an excellent “starter” novel for even younger readers to help pique their interest for other books in this genre.

Ms. Rene has even included some splendid short stories at this end of this book and these only add credence to her mastery of this style of writing.

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