Posts Tagged Psychic

The Crystal Facade – Debra Martin & David Small

Storyline: Debra and David: double the authors, double the greatness. The Crystal Façade is book two (really, it could actually standalone) in a fantasy series that I can only hope continues until the end of time. Or at least until I can’t stands it no mo’!

The Crystal Façade picks up the story six months after the first adventures on Otharia and Earth. Dyla has been having increasingly disturbing visions of Sir Blackheart and know that until she goes back to Earth to finish the quest they started, these visions will never go away. The glamour has worn off Otharia for Cat and all she wants to do is to go back home to Earth and start living a normal life – teaching her students and archeology-ing – again.

Together Cat, Dyla and Éclair, the very powerful telepath, make the trip back to Earth. After they leave, the conspiracy doesn’t seem to stop weaving out of control. Darius must figure out who is trying to kill him and prevent an evil power from taking over Otharia.

Grammar/Spelling: I noticed some minor issues with punctuation and grammar. I also noticed an odd twist to an old saying (Perhaps it’s due to the differences between Earthlings and Otharians?): “She was a beautiful, headstrong, young woman who seemed to attract men to her like flies to the fire.” I have always heard it stated as, “like moths to the flame.” This phrasing did nothing to detract from the story at all – just something that I noticed and thought it was worth mentioning.

Character Development: The Crystal Façade is fairly well-written and developed. Even though it is book two, the characters were flushed out well enough that it was easy to follow the storyline. Of course, now I must read the FIRST book so that I can get the ENTIRE story. Geez! Thanks guys! Like I don’t have ENOUGH books to read! I kid, I kid!

Darius is the new lady-loving young Duke of Telkur (Well, he’s always loved ladies, so that part isn’t new, per se.) and he might have met his match with the beautiful, spit-fire Crystaline. He decides to prove his mettle by saving her from kidnappers. (At least attempting to!)

Éclair is the strongest telekinetic that has ever been born in Otharia and, because of that, he is also one of the youngest teachers at the Otharian Institute for Paranormal Studies. His techniques have been ill-received by the older teachers and staff, so his decision to take the trip back to Earth is met with very little resistance on their part.

Writing Style: The Crystal Façade is unique because it runs in parallel timelines on Earth and Otharia to keep the action moving along and the reader quite entranced.

The trip to Earth should have been an easy, in and out expedition, but of course, it’s not. Cat, Dyla and Éclair are being followed and harassed by Blackheart’s goons while searching for Merlin’s cave; while back on Otharia, we have kidnappings, coercions, secret societies and even a rebellion.

Nothing is ever simple, is it?

Continuity:  I noticed no issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 4-

I really enjoyed Debra Martin and David Small’s fantasy collaboration, The Crystal Façade. I can promise I’ll be buying the first one – unless *ahem* for some other reason I get a copy – and will be able to highly review and recommend it as well!

The Crystal Façade is a distinctive and exciting journey into the fantasy genre and I can only hope that there are many more great trips to Otharia!

The story had some minor adult situations and language, so I would give it a PG-13 rating.


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Death Has a Name – Jerry Hanel

Storyline: Gah! I have no puns! Death Has a Name by the talented Jerry Hanel is great – puns or no puns!

Poor Brodie Wade. He’s had a rough go with life. From being taken from his mother to institutionalized to dealing with his psychic abilities. The Truth (as Brodie knows it) is always trying to tell him its story and guide him into helping those around him.

After a couple of beheadings, he and Det. Dawson must work together to figure out if the Midnight Killer is back from the grave or if this is a whole new set of problems. What is the meaning behind the mysterious writing on the wall? What do the necklaces have to do with the murders? Does the Angel of Death really exist? And can it be stopped?!

Grammar/Spelling: I noticed some minor spelling errors. I’d suggest another read through by a beta reader.

Character Development: As you all know, I was able to interview Brodie before I read his story and wow…what a character. Brodie is as every bit paranoid and nervous in the book as he is in his interview. He seems to cope pretty well for someone who can see The Truth manifesting everywhere and around everybody. (Not sure if I’d be that “calm.” I’d probably fixate on my cat too.) I am curious to know more about his relationship with his mother – if he was even able to maintain one after they took him from her for the alleged child abuse. Maybe Mr. Hanel will let us in on more of poor Brodie’s life story as the series progresses.

Writing Style: The writing style is wonderful and moves a great pace. I started reading this right when I first got to work (around 8 a.m. or so) and finished up right after lunch and I didn’t even notice that much time has passed! I loved Mr. Hanel’s attention to detail and the idea that normal – though specially trained – every day people are standing between humanity and the Angel of Death was pretty awesome. A tad unnerving – but still a very cool concept.

Continuity:  No issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 5+

With a title like, Death Has a Name, I was unable to think of any clever puns, but that does not take away from the well written and thoroughly entertaining story. Mr. Jerry Hanel has created a unique and endearing character with Brodie.

Mr. Hanel also included a preview for Thaloc Has a Body and I’m almost positive that it will be as enjoyable as Death Has a Name.

An indepth interview with Brodie Wade, Psychic Detective from Death has a Name, concerning his relationship with his author Jerry Hanel.

Celia: How did you first meet your writer?

Brodie:  What? Oh, Lord. No… no, no. I’m hearing questions in my head again. Make them stop… make them stop…. Just answer them, Brodie.. just answer them. The Truth just wants to be known. (* deep breath *) Ummm…. My Writer? Jerry? He said that he enjoyed mysteries as a kid, and really likes thinking “outside the box” when it comes to paranormal and such. Through a series of coincidences, and a little too much caffeine, we ran into each other.

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

Brodie:  (* Looks to make sure no one is watching him speak to himself, then whispers *) No. You wrote all of this down? Even the parts where I freak out? Please… don’t send me back to the institution.

Celia:  What are your favorite scenes in your book: action, dialog, romance?

Brodie:  I remember when I was thirteen, in the institution. That’s in the book, and I appreciate how it shows why I am what I am… It was when I first realized that The Truth isn’t purposely trying to kill me. It’s trying to warn those around me about things in their own lives. I still hate the Truth, but over the years I’ve come to accept it.

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

Brodie:  No. I’m having a hard time convincing him to stop writing. He wants to write more about me, but the more he writes about me, the more people will see how I spend most of the day talking to myself, and to The Truth, which no one else can see. I’m afraid of what people might think if they saw. What if they knew? They’d send me away for good.

Celia:  Do you infiltrate your writer’s dreams?

Brodie:  No… my own head is freaky enough.

Celia:  What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

Brodie:  I like to read. There’s an Escher’s dilemma for you… What would happen if I were to read about me reading??? (* ponders the thought deeply while holding his head between his hands. *)

Celia:  Are you currently engaged in a relationship?

Brodie:  No. No, no no no no no… no. No one would want me. I’m… damaged goods, as they say. Jerry says he’s going to fix me up with someone soon, but I can’t see myself loving anyone.

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

Brodie:  Yes and no. The Truth and the paranormal world I have to deal with is all I’ve ever known, even as a little child. But I would do anything to give it up. I want — more than anything — to be “normal” … whatever that is.

Celia:  If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?

Brodie:  I didn’t write a book. Oh… in Jerry’s book? Probably me getting shot. Yeah. That hurt.

Celia:  Do you like the way the book ended?

Brodie:  Yes. But I promised not to give away the ending, so I can’t say more than that.

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

Brodie:  Interested? No. Will what I want deter him? No.

Celia:  Do you believe that you are suitable portrayed in electronic books or would you rather be in paperback only?

Brodie:  I would prefer the world wasn’t aware of me at all… but if Jerry has his way, it will probably be primarily electronic, with a paper offering sometime later this year.

Celia:  Did you have any input into the book cover design?

Brodie:  (* shudders *) No. Just the sight of it makes me want to hold my cat close and wish it away.

Celia:  What is the lamest characteristic your writer has attributed to you?

Brodie:  My stupid cigarettes. I just wanted ONE more, but no… he would’t write a single one into the pages for me.

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

Brodie:  I already have one. I want to get rid of it. Make it go away. Please?

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Never Smile at a Crocodile – Trish Lamoree

Storyline: Oh Ms. Trish Lamoree: gimmie more-ee! Never Smile at a Crocodile has a quirky title, interesting characters and more than one surprising twist.

This is the second book in a fantasy/romance/thriller trilogy set in present day Las Vegas.  For nearly 2 years I lived in Las Vegas and am now always hyper-critical of movies, shows (I’m looking at you, CSI: Las Vegas!) and stories set in the area and Ms. Lamoree’s depiction of the entire town is just spot-on.

Rianna has recently started working for a “security consultation firm” in Las Vegas.  They use her unique talents and abilities to zero in on gamblers who seem to have some unnaturally lucrative luck. Rianna works for the only psychic firm in town and feels highly underappreciated by her employer and even her friends. She wants nothing more than a chance to prove to the world that she actually isn’t just a run-of-the-mill psychic. She wants to prove that she has true potential and power.

The story begins in Red Rock Canyon (which just happens to be one of my favorite parts of Vegas) with Rianna, leading her non-supportive, out of town friends on a hike to perform a magic ritual. She means well, but the ritual has an unexpected outcome.  As Rianna tries to unravel the mystery of her current situation, she becomes a large part of an even greater, more deadly issue and time is running out!

Grammar/Spelling: I didn’t notice any grammar or spelling issues.

Character Development: Never Smile at a Crocodile (I can never say the title enough!) has a fairly unique cast of characters. Even though the characters are all varying degrees of psychic, they are still easy to relate to, even for the less-than-psychic reader.

Somehow, either through magic or her amazing writing ability (maybe both?), Ms. Lamoree has managed to develop each character with the right amount of believability and understanding without giving away too much. She leaves the reader desiring of both more back story by reading the first in the series and continuing the story with the next book.

Rianna is idiosyncratic, eager to learn and has evidently been through some tough things without having her spirit dampened or losing the desire to please those around her. Through her eyes, the world seems a little brighter and, to her, all knowledge is worth having.

Writing Style: The story flows very easily and rather quickly, keeping the reader on edge of their proverbial seats.  As I stated earlier, the details about Las Vegas’ layout, such as the location of the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) near Desert Inn Road were really great.  I would have liked for more in-depth explanations regarding the characters’ psychic abilities and how each employee’s individual skills related to each other. Perhaps the next book will shed some light on their relationships.

Continuity:  There were no issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 4+

Never Smile at a Crocodile is a brilliant tale with great characters and a fast moving storyline. This book has the distinctive ability to stand alone from the other two novels in the trilogy or is a great addition to the series. I look forward to reading the previous volume, Painting the Roses Red, to learn a bit more about the characters and how they all came to be together. I would recommend this to anyone with even a moderate belief in fate, psychic abilities and love. Great work, Ms. Lamoree!

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