Guest Post: Thoughts And Musings By BDL

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting BDL, author of Alexandria: World Class Life Story, to share some insight into her book and writing process through a short guest post.

Thoughts And Musings

Hi everyone! I’m BDL and super excited about my debut inspirational novel, Alexandria: World Class Life Story. Please allow me to share a few personal thoughts and musings. First, I should say that I didn’t wake up one day and just decided to become an author. In fact, to be honest, I rarely ever read fiction. The only way I typically experience fiction is when viewing movie adaptations. I love those! So I guess the question for now is why did I write a fiction story?

Well, certainly not because I’m “gifted” or have “arrived” on a white horse. Heaven knows, not because my story will save the day because it’s the “greatest”. Remember I don’t read fiction, so I wouldn’t know anything about that either way. The first reason for writing Alexandriawas strictly for me. In 2014, I was facing a tough time in my personal life and desperately needed a mental escape. Secondly, I was led to spend the entire year of 2016 writing the story. Therefore, I went underground to dedicate myself to Alexandria.

Thirdly, I struggle to maintain my personal beliefs and often flatter myself into thinking that my troubles are uniquely mine and that no one else resides on Depravity Street alongside me. I hurt, I feel pain, I’m constantly “fascinated” (never frustrated) by life’s journey, and I keep falling off the wagon in my pursuit of defeating addiction. Sugar is a very powerful substance and king sized chocolate bars are the worst. Yet, I start over every morning to fight onward. And for the few of you out there who’ve also visited the dungeons of depravity then we can keep each other company through a story that’s uplifting, inspirational, relatable, drama-filled and thought-provoking. As for me, I began to actively pursue some healing while writing the story and hope that others will too.

All of those reasons framed the embodiment of Alexandria. A drama that offers a realistic, gritty, honest, adaptation of experiences that many of us actually do face in life. Of course, there are some exceptions to this as some people actually do live a pristine existence or at least aspire to that. However, living in a world without sin, crude language, violence, sex and socio-political controversies is a dream; not realistic. Therefore, those things are all interwoven in the story.

As background, my approach to writing Alexandriawas to simply make it read like a movie I’d want to watch. And this made me free to write a contemporary tale the way intended; no holds barred. I liken writing Alexandriato making a sandwich just the way I like it. If I were to make you a sandwich to eat then I’d make it exactly the way I like it until and if you stipulate otherwise. So that was the method used while constructing Alexandria. The ingredients includes: an omniscient narrator driving the pace of the storyline, a strong main character (MC) who is super flawed and evolved, a comprehensive A- to Z- narrative from beginning to ending, a sports drama element, the grind of private life, an interwoven political plot, compelling supporting characters, realistic humor, unpredictability and uneasy scenarios that may be a bit uncomfortable yet keeps you invested for the outcome. All told from a worldview perspective.

A good story depicting the dark side of human nature instead of through some artificially engineered villain lends to authenticity. For similar to real life, villainous behavior is commonly perpetuated by the people we know, love and trust, more often than by some stranger. This is what the relatable characters of Alexandriaportray. Reality based human intricacies that we all encounter in the game of life.

The concepts for Alexandriawere derived from my personal tastes. I have always loved sprinters, my favorite type of athlete. And the conception came about once I realized that I had never ever before seen an extensive fictional portrayal of one. I wanted to be swept away into the sprinter’s world and to add a real life dramatization to these most dynamic athletes. Therefore, Alexandriahas given me the chance to pay homage to the unsung world class runners by creating a protagonist that could drive and inspire themes of love, sacrifice and fortitude.

Next, I realized my concern for what’s happening in the world today increased along with aging. Hence, the speculative political angle that determinedly shifts the story. Finally, my favorite types of non-fiction books are biographies. So using those ideas to create a fictional MC embodying such experiences gave birth to Alexandria. Therefore, it seemed natural to make Alexandriaa fictional multi-genre epic of a world class athlete that chronicles common human struggle, failure, growth and triumph. All essential components to a powerful drama set against the backdrop of the American society from the MC’s lifetime.

This is where the prospective political climate of America converges in Alexandria. The narrative of sports and politics make for a provocative ambitious drama laced with themes of humanity, morality and resolution. A subjective ode to my beloved sprinters. My personal fantasy, made real by the characters and plotting portrayed in Alexandria: World Class Life Story. Get a sneak preview of the race that went past the finish-line toward the “End Game” by clicking on the book trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InALJixvCZk. So, please come. Join me. Let’s take the journey, together.

~BDL


About the author:

BDL is a proud American from the Southeast. The Author sends a warm sincere thanks to TRB and to all for taking interest. Also, BDL would love to hear from you on Twitter and email. And honest fair reviews are always welcomed. Alexandriais a marathon, not a sprint. Happy reading and cheers!

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR
TWITTER | EMAIL | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

About the book:

Ruth is a legendary runner of the late twenty-first century whose biography inspires a dynamic political resistance to a future Judeo-Christophobic America. Her incredible World Class Life Storyis paralleled by a quest to salvage her beloved nation from extermination. But, she must first find a way to embolden a new generation of patriots to stand against dystopia.

Alexandriais a powerful drama that ambitiously explores what happens in this type of society. Will this be the end of America? And liberty? Discover the importance of following through with commitments no matter the cost. Are you ready to see how this provocative epic tale unfolds? So get set. Get ready. And gear up for the spellbinding dramatic “End Game”.

“She raced past the finish-line toward the End Game—because she loved her country.” ~ BDL

Check out Alexandria: World Class Life Story‘s book trailer on YouTube.

get the book here:
AMAZON | NOOK | iTUNES

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through email at thereadingbud@gmail.com

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Audiobook Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Author: Margaret Atwood
Narrator: Claire Danes
Release Date: 20th July 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Literary Fiction
Series: 
Edition: Audible Audio
Length: 11 hours
Publisher: Audible a-list Collection
Blurb:
The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire—neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs…

REVIEW

★★

I have no clue exactly what it was that put me off so badly while listening to this book. After having spent an entire day listening to this book, I think I totally wasted my time. I could have left it in the middle or maybe before that, but I really wanted to like it, so I did not abandon it. But now, after having finished it, I think I should have simply abandoned it after the first hour or two where it became pretty clear what the lead character had to offer.

Anyway, I’m trying to determine, what made me dislike this book:

✒︎ Was is the fact that the book was full of unnecessary details and ton loads of flowery prose? A lot of unnecessary details and exposition that was really not needed. Maybe if this had been shorter, it would have been beeter?! I wonder…

✒︎ Was it that more often than not it felt like the author tried to elicit sympathy in the reader’s mind by trying to make the reactions unnaturally nonchalant? This trick does work most of the time, but here it felt way too unreal, too forced. I hate when i am made to sympathise to anyone :/

✒︎ Was it because I found the character of Offred serving only one purpose, trying to make the author look good in terms of ‘see-how-I-created-a-female-lead-that-is-oppressed-and-can’t-do-shit-about-it-see-and-feel-sorry-for-her’? She had no personality… no voice… nothing at all (and not just because of the circumstances she was in, nope, even with all her flashbacks of the past life she still came across very bland) therefore, I was not able to feel anything (literally anything) for her, which is surprising because there is so much hype surrounding this book and I was obviously expecting some great things.

✒︎ Was it because the whole ‘totalitarian-government-taking-away-people’s-precious-freedom’ trope having been used and re-used relentlessly in a LOT of books, especially the classics? We all know what books they are… let’s just say they did it soo much better than why???

✒︎ Or was it because of the narrator? Maybe, maybe not. I am totally unsure of this.

I guess it was a combination of all these (and maybe more.) Anyhoo, I did not like the book and I will not recommend it to anyone as I have nothing good to say about it. Read it at your own risk.

Book Review: Red Sister (The Book Of Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence

Author: Mark Lawrence
Release Date: 4th April 2017
Genre: High Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian
SeriesThe Book Of Ancestor (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 482
Publisher: Harper-Voyager
Blurb:
It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin”

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

REVIEW

★★★★★

Watch my review in this video to know how awesome this book is!

Author Spotlight: Christy J. Breedlove

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the section of TRB dedicated to Book Promotions. Today, we are featuring Christy J. Breedlove, author of Screamcatcher: Web World, for the Author Spotlight feature.

About The Author

Author Christy J. Breedlove

Christy J. Breedlove (Chris H. Stevenson), originally born in California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009. Her occupations have included newspaper editor/reporter, astronomer, federal police officer, Housecleaner and part time surfer girl. She has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988. Today she writes in her favorite genre, Young Adult, but has published in multiple genres and categories. She was a finalist in the L. Ron. Hubbard Writers of the Future contest, and took the first place grand prize in a YA novel writing contest for The Girl They Sold to the Moon. She writes the popular blog, Guerrilla Warfare for Writers (special weapons and tactics), hoping to inform and educate writers all over the world about the high points and pitfalls of publishing.

 YOU CAN CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR HERE
WEBSITE | Amazon | Blog

My Dream Catcher Story

by Christy J. Breedlove

It all started here. This iconic item, which is rightfully ingrained in Indian lore, is a dream symbol respected by the culture that created it. It is mystifying, an enigma that that prods the imagination. Legends about the dream catcher are passed down from multiple tribes. There are variations, but the one fact that can be agreed upon is that it is a nightmare entrapment device, designed to sift through evil thoughts and images and only allow pleasant and peaceful dreams to enter into consciousness of the sleeper.

I wondered what would happen to a very ancient dream catcher that was topped off with dreams and nightmares. What if the nightmares became too sick or deathly? What if the web strings could not hold anymore visions? Would the dream catcher melt, burst, vanish, implode? I reasoned that something would have to give if too much evil was allowed to congregate inside of its structure. I found nothing on the Internet that offered a solution to this problem—I might have missed a relevant story, but nothing stood out to me. Stephen King had a story called Dream Catcher, but I found nothing in it that was similar to what I had in mind. So I took it upon myself to answer such a burning question. Like too much death on a battlefield could inundate the immediate location with lost and angry spirits, so could a dream catcher hold no more of its fill of sheer terror without morphing into something else, or opening up a lost and forbidden existence. What would it be like to be caught up in another world inside the webs of a dream catcher, and how would you get out? What would this world look like? How could it be navigated? What was the source of the exit, and what was inside of it that threatened your existence? Screamcatcher: Web World, the first in the series, was my answer. I can only hope that I have done it justice. You can be the judge of that.


About The Book

 

When seventeen-year-old Jory Pike cannot shake the hellish nightmares of her parent’s deaths, she turns to an old family heirloom, a dream catcher. Even though she’s half blood Chippewa, Jory thinks old Indian lore is so yesterday, but she’s willing to give it a try. However, the dream catcher has had its fill of nightmares from an ancient and violent past. After a sleepover party, and during one of Jory’s most horrific dream episodes, the dream catcher implodes, sucking Jory and her three friends into its own world of trapped nightmares. They’re in an alternate universe—locked inside of an insane web world filled with murders, beasts and thieves. How can they find the center of the web where all good things are allowed to pass? Where is the light of salvation? Are they in hell?

AMAZON | GOODREADS

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author/book featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Spotlight: Alexandria: World Class Life Story by BDL

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the section of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring BDL, author of Alexandria: World Class Life Story, for one of our features, Book Spotlight.

About The Book

Book Name: Alexandria: World Class Life Story

Author: BDL

Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.

Genre: Fiction, Inspirational, Drama-Dystopian

Page Count: 850

Release date: 25th September 2018


Synopsis

Ruth is a legendary runner of the late twenty-first century whose biography inspires a dynamic political resistance to a future Judeo-Christophobic America. Her incredible World Class Life Storyis paralleled by a quest to salvage her beloved nation from extermination. But, she must first find a way to embolden a new generation of patriots to stand against dystopia.

Alexandriais a powerful drama that ambitiously explores what happens in this type of society. Will this be the end of America? And liberty? Discover the importance of following through with commitments no matter the cost. Are you ready to see how this provocative epic tale unfolds? So get set. Get ready. And gear up for the spellbinding dramatic “End Game”.

“She raced past the finish-line toward the End Game—because she loved her country.” ~ BDL

Check out Alexandria: World Class Life Story‘s book trailer on YouTube.

get the book here:

AMAZON | NOOK | iTUNES


About The Author

Author BDL’s fur-baby – Harry

BDL is a proud American from the Southeast. The Author sends a warm sincere thanks to TRB and to all for taking interest. Also, BDL would love to hear from you on Twitter and email. And honest fair reviews are always welcomed. Alexandriais a marathon, not a sprint. Happy reading and cheers!

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR
TWITTER | Email | Goodreads | Bookbub

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Why She Lied by Julie Coons

Author: Julie Coons
Release Date: 3rd March 2019
Genre: Psychological thriller, Dark Fiction, Crime, Adult, Suspense, Mystery
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 183
Publisher: Self-Published
Blurb:
Will she have to lose her child to save her child?
The day she tells her boyfriend she’s pregnant, is the same day he tells her he’s been accused of molestation. His trial is set to begin the following day.
She needs answers…
To get them, she tricks her boyfriend into signing a release form, giving her full access to all of his legal documents. She uncovers the truth, he’s guilty.
To save her unborn child from this monster, she gets an abortion.
FIVE YEARS LATER and still rebuilding her life, Julie finds out her ex-boyfriend has just become the most wanted man in America, involved in human trafficking. When detectives ask for her help locating him, she gets drawn into a baffling mystery. What began as a seemingly simple search soon turns into a much darker reality.
Someone from her past is watching…
Bit by bit, the tapestry of her own secret childhood begins to unravel. What she learns about her past will haunt her forever: family isn’t always what it seems.
Can she help bring this predator to justice, or will she die trying?

WHY SHE LIED is a gripping psychological thriller full of mystery, intrigue, and buried secrets.

REVIEW

★★★★

Why She Lied by Julie Coons is a refreshing new dark psychological thriller with a great concept, a nicely executed plot and decent characterization. This book had just the right amount of complexity to make it an engaging read without being too overly complex.

Overall, this book was a gripping thriller. The characterization wasn’t exactly spot on, but I cared for the main character, Julie, enough to read through the entire book with interest. The layers of background made her a likeable lead and, although the flashbacks and some character traits felt redundant, I felt she was a decent protagonist. Though, again, I wasn’t able to connect or relate to her entirely for some reason.

The writing was good for most parts, though at times the narration felt redundant and there was more of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing.’ As it was on the simpler side, the reading was easy and the book, because of the tight pacing, turned out to be a surprisingly quick read even for a less-than-200-pages-book.

I liked this book and would recommend to all thriller lovers, especially the ones who love reading dark thrillers with layered and complex characters.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Let me finish: A Rare Insight Into Living With A Lifelong Stammer by Paul O’Meara

Author: Paul O’Meara
Release Date: 15th June 2019
Genre: Non-Fiction, Real Life
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 180
Publisher: Self-Published
Blurb:
From the school playground to job interviews, oral exams to delivering a best man’s speech, these are not always easy to navigate especially when you are confronted with a stammer.
How does a stammerer approach such situations? What’s a stammerer’s biggest fear? Let me finish answers these questions and more.
More than 70 million people worldwide stammer, and Paul is one of these people.
Stammering can be all-encompassing. It can affect your self-esteem, education and career prospects, and Let me finish offers a rare insight into a stammerer’s world.
Paul recounts his life experiences. The highs and lows, battling other people’s preconceptions, while explaining the intricate and tailored techniques that he applies every day to speak more fluently.
His story is told with a cocktail of sincerity, struggle and joviality. It will make you think, laugh and ultimately change your perspective on what it means to live with a stammer.

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Let Me Finish: A Rare Insight Into Living With A Lifelong Stammer by Paul O’Meara is an enlightening and enriching real-life story of the author which, as the title says, provides a rare, and important, insight into the life of a stammerer showing the aspect which we often tend to either ignore unwittingly or remain unaware of.

I’d like to begin the review by sharing that the short introduction at the start of the book served its purpose in helping me understand the book a little better providing a brief glimpse into the author’s backstory. So I greatly appreciated it for that and also for making this book feel more real than most of the other non-fiction books as I was able to connect with the story better.

I enjoyed this book and appreciated the insight it provided into something not many people, including me, are aware of. Everyone’s life has some struggles but for some people, these struggles become something more troublesome because of situations that are entirely out of their hands. And most of the time, we don’t realize what kind of battle a person is fighting emotionally and mentally due to the effects of such circumstances and situations.

Coming back to the book, it was surprisingly well-written and in a style that made me, a fiction lover, enjoy this book as much as I do fictional stories (this is something which rarely get to see in non-fiction books and the biggest let down, at least for me, when it comes to this genre.) So I was very happy to see that the writing sang and flowed well and made this book an enjoyable read. The style of the author and the humorous undertones were polished and executed well. It made this book a light read without losing any of its message or importance.

I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to everyone who liked reading books. This book has a lot to offer everyone whether they read non-fiction or not.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: Simon Grey And The March Of A Hundred Ghosts by Charles Kowalski

Author: Charles Kowalski
Release Date: 1st August 2019
Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Historical, Travel
SeriesSimon Grey (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 192
Publisher: Excalibur Books
Blurb:
Alone and lost in haunted Japan…

Japan, 1620: A mysterious shipwreck has left cabin boy Simon Grey stranded in an unfamiliar, dangerous land.

He hoped that a long sea voyage would provide some relief from his “gift” of seeing ghosts everywhere on land. Instead, he finds that his ability draws him into the shadowy world of yokai, the spirits and monsters that roam Japan by night. Together with the mysterious Oyuki, daughter of an English sailor-turned-samurai, Simon must earn the yokai’s trust and help, while staying one step ahead of the Shogun’s guards and an evil sorcerer determined to discover the “secret” of Simon’s powers.

As they struggle to stay alive and find a way home, Simon and Oyuki deal with friends and foes from both sides of the grave.

Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts is a gripping fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson and Young Samurai.

REVIEW

★★★★

Simon Grey And The March Of A Hundred Ghosts by Charles Kowalski is a beautiful historical story set in the backdrop of Japan, laced with unlimited adventure, which proved to be an absolute entertainer.  I enjoyed reading this book because it had the perfect characterization a solid and unique concept and good writing style. It had all the elements to make it a complete and fun read.

The writing style was simple yet effective and the story flowed pretty well from the beginning to end. The pacing was even and the tension created had a great graph. The book was culturally rich and provided keen insights into Japan’s history all the time carefully managing not to get too overly informative.

Overall it was a really enjoyable book and I’d recommend it to all readers who enjoy reading adventure stories in historical settings, especially the readers who like exploring new cultrues.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Beneath Pale Water by Thalia Henry

Author: Thalia Henry
Release Date: 26th October 2017
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Travel
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 248
Publisher: Cloud Ink Press Ltd
Blurb:
Set amidst the physical and psychological landscapes of New Zealand’s southern hills and grasslands, Beneath Pale Water is a social realist and expressionistic novel that follows a triangle of three damaged individuals – a sculptor, a vagrant and a model – who have grown calcified shells against the world. Their search for identity and belonging leads them into dangerous territory that threatens both their sanity and lives. As their protective shells crack they are left vulnerable – both physically and emotionally – to the high country winds and their own conflicts that, ultimately, might free or destroy them.
“Powerfully evokes the landscapes and seasons of inland Otago.” Owen Marshall

Winner of the IPPY Gold Medal Award, Australia/New Zealand – Best Regional Fiction, 2018

REVIEW

★★★★

Beneath Pale Water by Thalia Henry is a wonderfully written book rich with descriptions of places that authors take us through one-by-one via her skillfully created characters. I enjoyed this book and felt that it was very different from the other, modern contemporary, genre fiction.

This book had a great story, good characterization, simple yet effective writing and a beautiful atmosphere which enveloped it from starting to end. Equal parts philosophical and entertaining, this book was uniquely interesting and engrossing. Initially, it took me a couple of pages to get into the story but once I got into the flow of the book, I was in it for good. I appreciated the author’s resistance to over-indulging in exposition as it saved the book from being too heavy.

A considerably quick that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys reading about other countries and cultures.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Graphic Novel Review: Plagued: The Devil Did It by Shakil Somani

Author: Shakil Somani
Illustrator: Mark Superales
Release Date: 4th June 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy, Graphic Novel
Series: 

Edition:
 PDF
Pages: 58
Publisher:
Blurb:
Lukas “Kas” Green, a successful British filmmaker and billionaire living in Los Angeles, takes the wrong girl home one night – she turns out to literally be the daughter of the Devil.The Devil punishes Kas by overrunning his brain with the creativity his film career has been built upon.
Consequently, anytime Kas even thinks about sex, his mind is overcome with sketches and hallucinations.Kas attempts to cure himself of this plague of ideas and distractions, whilst balancing his movie-making career, the overpowering sketch-like stories in his mind and of course, trying to rejoin the population of Bonetown.

Review

★★★★

Plagued: The Devil Did It by Shakil Somani is a new fantasy comic book which is equal parts engaging and entertaining. The book was really engrossing and I enjoyed reading it a lot! The story was good with a nice and smooth flow, the concept was unique and interesting and the characterization was pretty good complimented well with well-written dialogues throughout the book.

The illustrations were very detailed and visually very appealing. They made the book extremely enjoyable. I’d recommend this book to all comic books and graphic novel readers and to anyone who is interested in exploring works from a new author.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

You can read this book for free here: WebToons
Please note that this link was provided by the author himself and is in no way an illegal or pirated source.

Excerpt Reveal: Beneath Pale Water by Thalia Henry

Welcome to TRB-Lounge, the section of TRB dedicated to book promotions. Today, I’d like to welcome author Thalia Henry, for sharing an excerpt from her latest release Beneath Pale Water.

Read on to get a sneak-peek into this amazing new read!

About The Book

Set amidst the physical and psychological landscapes of New Zealand’s southern hills and grasslands, Beneath Pale Water is a social realist and expressionistic novel that follows a triangle of three damaged individuals – a sculptor, a vagrant and a model – who have grown calcified shells against the world. Their search for identity and belonging leads them into dangerous territory that threatens both their sanity and lives. As their protective shells crack they are left vulnerable – both physically and emotionally – to the high country winds and their own conflicts that, ultimately, might free – or destroy them.

book links:

AMAZON | GOODREADS | Book2look | BookSirens | KoBo | Cloud Ink Press | Book Depository | Fishpond


Book Excerpt

In the fading light Luke took his fishing rod and laid it flat by the water’s edge.  His stomach rumbled. He walked away from the campsite, closer to the roadside where a row of poplars swayed. His fingers tossed aside the larger rocks. He picked one up in each hand and gouged at the dirt. It stung underneath his nails, and the exertion coated his forehead with a sheen of sweat. A tail flickered just beyond his grasp. Its body glistened and then vanished. He dug deeper and, with his thumb and forefinger, pulled a worm from its escape. He squeezed and it died instantly. He pulled a second and it too hung lifeless in his fingers. The first worm he brushed off and swallowed, then attached the second to a hook and cast out the line into the evening light. No food was wasted, not even the most disgusting. He was used to it and didn’t retch.

The smell of searing trout wafted across the campsite. Luke chewed on strips of flesh. Afterwards he buried the bones at the spot where he’d dug the worms.

He felt around inside his tent for the jersey he kept beside his mat and a baggy hat to rest askew on his head, put his feet into a pair of gumboots, sat on a rock and watched his breath rise. The lake stretched before him, a burnish of silver gracing its surface. Two ghosts danced pirouettes on it. He shook his head to shake the image away but the ghosts remained.

He watched the, smiling to tempt their friendship. Each figure was blurred, lingering somewhere between life and death. The man had bare feet and looked weatherworn and free. The woman turned her head, acknowledging Luke’s figure perched in the darkness. Two share eyes stared at him. Startled, he realised the apparition looked just like Delia. This jarred him. Since he’d met her by the side of the lake, she hadn’t returned, and he was starting to wonder whether she’d visited him at all. His eyes and mind fell heavy. The ghosts with their piercing eyes waltzed a slow diagonal in one direction and then the other, criss-crossing the corners of his skull until they fade from his sight. She might have turned to farewell him, her sundress swirling in the night, but he couldn’t be sure. Too much time alone; he must be losing it. When he looked up again, he saw what he had thought to be figures were worn down pylons – like those that once must have held up a jetty, and that the shapes of the pylons had warped with the lull of the lake into contours. He returned to his tent. The isolation of the landscape covered him in a blanket and he fell asleep.


About The Author

Thalia Henry

From Aotearoa New Zealand, Thalia Henry is the author of the novel Beneath Pale Water, her Masters of Creative Writing thesis and a work that comes out of a play, Powdered Milk. Inspired by the landscapes of the rugged South Island high country, where she spent time as a teenager learning to glide with her late father, Beneath Pale Water is her debut novel. Beneath Pale Water was awarded a gold award in the 2018 IPPY competition – Australia/New Zealand Best Regional Fiction category. 

connect with the author

WEBSITE | Cloud ink press


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: 2nd October 2012
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Dystopian
SeriesShatter Me (Book #1)
Edition: Paperback
Pages:
Publisher:
Blurb:
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

REVIEW

★★★

Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi is one the most popular YA series of recent years but despite the hype that surrounds this series, the first book failed to impress me. I enjoyed and appreciated the author’s world-making prowess, but the characterization completely ruined the book for me. The main character, Juliette, was not only annoying, but she also came off a bit as a narcissist as well. The entire time I feel that rather than showing the author was forcing the reader to feel sorry for how Juliette has been misunderstood her entire life which only made me resent her.

The romantic angle did absolutely nothing to make the book interesting, so that was another thing that disappointed me. I liked the settings and the world a lot though, so I’ll be reading the next book for these two things (and also to see what happened to Warner because, let’s face it, he was more interesting than Juliette and Adam combined.)

Anyway, here my video review for this book, hope this sums up my issues with the book!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch more videos.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: A Life Out There by Brian McNatt

Author: Brian McNatt
Release Date: 31st March 2019
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages:
Publisher:
Blurb:
It is the mark of every true Wolf-Lord to heal from the worst of wounds in a matter of minutes, to shapeshift into any fantastical form imagined, and to burn away at deadly silver’s touch.
Princess Candida, third child of Queen Celeste of Romulus, can’t. Hers is a quiet life of shame, secluded from the wider world and treated more as servant than family. All she has to get by are the twin sibling who embodies everything she could have been, the stories of her world she fills her heart with, and the dream of a life beyond cold castle walls.
The kitsune thief changes everything. Forced to flee before Celeste’s wrath, Candida finds her way to the beautiful yet dangerous port city of Brillant. There, amidst performers, alchemists, and refugees, Candida discovers the world is everything she hoped for, everything she feared, and so much more.

REVIEW

★★★★

A Life Out There by Brian McNatt is a quick and enjoyable read with some very interesting beings (which appears to be one of the author’s strengths) and a fresh concept.

I enjoyed reading this book even more than I did the first two books by the author which only goes on to prove that the writing of the author is constantly improving and growing on me as a reader. The concept was very different from that of his earlier books and the progression of the plot was really good. The pacing was even and tension fell and rose at the right places.

This book had well-developed characterization. Candida was a good character and, thankfully, I was able to connect with her. I was able to relate to her inner conflicts and felt empathetic towards her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all fantasy readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Past Sins (Legends of Heraldale #2) by Brian Natt

Author: Brian McNatt
Release Date: 30th June 2018
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
SeriesLegends Of Heraldale (Book #2)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 316
Publisher:
Blurb:
War rages across Heraldale. The Unicorn Empire sends its armies across the land, a blitzkrieg that every day brings the struggling gryphon nations closer to the final dreaded defeat.
In the Empire’s way stands Princess Galaxy, hippogryph.
Together with her adoptive gryphon brother Brynjar and the unicorn Owain, she has defied the iron will of Lord Mordred, evaded the might of the Imperial Army, and saved the city of Port Oil from the ravages of the rogue magical monster Spell Virus.
Now Galaxy continues her quest to bring the war to a final end, flying east to the Elderphine Forest and the secrets of her hippogryph heritage. A hidden kingdom will test her wisdom. A lonesome dragon will test her compassion. A travelling warrior will test her resolve. And a former enemy will test her ideas…to the breaking point.

REVIEW

★★★★

Past Sins by Brian McNatt is the second book in the Legends Of Heraldale series and a sequel to Legends Of Heraldale book. This book was definitely a step up from the last one, which was also an enjoyable read. The issue I had with characterization was pretty much-resolved in this book as the main and recurring characters slowly grew on me and the plot started to make more and more sense in the larger picture.

There were some very interesting new characters who made this book even more interesting. The writing, in this part, felt smoother too. Overall, it proved to be an easy book to read than the previous part and hence, I liked it better than the last world.

I’d recommend it to anyone looking to explore a fresh series by a new author.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Legends of Heraldale by Brian McNatt

Author: Brian McNatt
Release Date: 9th January 2017
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
SeriesLegends Of Heraldale (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 252
Publisher:
Blurb:
Here is the story of Galaxy the hippogryph, of Featheren Valley, who after great tragedy must go on a journey to reunite with her family and rekindle the fight against the Unicorn Empire and the dreaded Lord Mordred.

REVIEW

★★★+1/2

Legends Of Heraldale by Brian McNatt is a unique book about creatures long forgotten. The biggest selling point for me was that this book featured fantasy creatures that are very uncommon and it delivered exactly what it promised – a very uncommon plot and a fresh concept in the fantasy genre.

Though it took some time to get into the story, the plot was interesting and even gripping at many places. The settings very very unique and new and therefore pretty exciting, the characters were of a wide variety and pretty interesting in their own way. The plot progression was good and therefore the book made for a good quick read.

The writing was good, not overly impressive, but good enough as the book proved to be an easy read, especially given the hard names of some of the characters and beings which were difficult to remember at times. I think overall the book would have been much better with better editing.

My main problem in this book is with the characterization, it was okay in the sense that I was able to read the entire book, but not good enough that I was able to feel a connection to any of the main characters. The characters weren’t bad, but they just didn’t grow on me in this part. As this is a series, I am considerate of the fact that in some stories characters take time to grow on the readers. I desperately hope that I am right as I have just begun reading the second part in this series.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to hardcore fantasy readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Naji And The Mystery Of The Dig By Vahid Imani

Author: Vahid Imani
Release Date: 9th May 2014
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 198
Publisher: Stormtop Publishing
Blurb:
One summer morning, eight-year old Naji woke up to an unusual sound. Three strangers were digging in her courtyard. Naji’s sixth sense warned her: something suspicious was lurking down there. As events unfold and suspense rises, readers will enjoy the many colors of Persian culture, cuisine, folklore, history, geography, religion, language, and intrigue through Naji’s eyes and heart. No one was prepared for what the diggers discovered far below the surface of the courtyard. Not even Naji.

REVIEW

★★★

Naji And The Mystery Of The Dig by Vahid Imani is a delightful children’s book rich with cultural details and full of moral lessons. Naji was a likeable kid and therefore the story didn’t fall behind in grabbing my interest. Though the story could have been a bit shorter and therefore a much faster read.

It is a humble and honest story full of innocence and wonders and I’m sure that the kids would love it. I feel that children younger than middle-graders might also enjoy a light reading of this book.

I’d recommend this book for all children as this book has some really good aspects that the children would love and their parents would greatly appreciate.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: In The Shadow Of The Kingmakers by Vahid Imani

Author: Vahid Imani
Release Date: 9th February 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 300
Publisher: Stormtop Publishing
Blurb:
The shadows were closer than he thought …
Tehran in 1924 is the stage for a daring international showdown over the control of Persian oil fields. James Malcolm, a British operative stationed in Tehran weaves an intricate plot in hopes of installing a new loyal Persian king. A teenage boy’s accidental involvement becomes a distraction. When his plot is sabotaged, the fragile peace in Persia is threatened along with the boy’s life. Malcolm’s clandestine investigation entangles him with unwitting American diplomats, treacherous double agents, and murderous Soviet spies, all seeking to foil the oil grab of the British.

REVIEW

★★★★

In The Shadow Of The Kingmakers by Vahid Imani is an immersive historical suspense thriller that pulled me in right from the start to the very end. I really liked it because of the complexity of the plot and the ease with which it was laid by the author for the reader to read.

The writing is really good and the book is easy to follow, making it a relatively quick read. The characterization was also good and I was able to feel a connection to the protagonist, James, and was rooting for him throughout the book. The plot was the hero for me and the story felt very well fleshed out, especially the cultural details and the rich exposition.

The ending was apt and it made a lot of sense. I enjoyed this book through and through and would recommend it to all historical fiction fans and readers of mystery and thriller genre.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: We Call It Monster by Lachlan Walter

Author: Lachlan Walter
Release Date: 10th February 2019
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Monster Fiction, Apocalyptic Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 251
Publisher: Severed Press
Blurb:
One ordinary day, an enormous creature dragged itself out of the ocean and laid waste to a city. In the months and years that followed, more and more creatures appeared, until not a single country remained untouched. At first, people tried to fight them. In the end, all they could do was try and stay alive.

We Call It Monster is a story of forces beyond our control, of immense and impossible creatures that make plain how small we really are. It is the story of our fight for survival and our discovery of that which truly matters: community and compassion, love and family, hope and faith.

REVIEW

★★★★

We Call It Monster by Lachlan Walter is a well-written and beautifully presented monster story which gives a great apocalyptic high to the genre lovers like myself. I enjoyed this book immensely and though I’m not a huge monster story fan yet, I absolutely enjoyed reading it!

The hero of this book is the story itself, the monsters and the different characters play a huge part in the story progression and in giving an idea to the reader about how the world collapses and how people try to cope with the downfall of society when threatened by something that is not only something incomprehensible but also ostensibly impossible to have happened. The book consists of different stories as chapters, each with a different cast of characters suffering in varying kinds of predicament.

The best part about the book was the slow build-up and the variations in pacing and tension at the right points. It kept me engrossed int he story throughout the book, right till the very end.

If you love reading about monsters, or if you love reading books set right in the middle of the apocalypse, you can’t afford to miss reading this book!

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter by Linda Lo Scuro

Author: Linda Lo Scuro
Release Date: 22nd October 2018
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 296
Publisher: Sparkling Books
Blurb:
Most victims of the mafia are the Sicilians themselves. The role of women both as perpetrators and victims has been grossly overlooked. Until now.

As the daughter of Sicilian immigrants, in her teens Maria turns her back on her origins and fully embraces the English way of life. Notwithstanding her troubled and humble childhood in London, and backed up by her intelligence, beauty and sheer determination, she triumphantly works her way up to join the upper middle-class of British society.

Maria delves deeper into her mother’s family history and a murky past unravels, drawing her more and more into a mire of vendetta.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter by Linda Lo Scuro is a very gripping book with a well-written plot and a beautiful cast of strong characters. This book was a very quick read and had a lot more to offer to its reader that one can imagine. This book is very culturally rich and it was great to get a detailed glimpse into the family of mobs and also witnessing the repercussions of belonging to such a family.

I enjoyed reading this book from start to end, mainly because the writing was good and had a very easy flow to it. The plot-progression was good and so was the pacing and tension and they all complimented and went along the story very well.

I’d recommend this book to all crime and suspense readers who enjoy reading culturally rich books.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: A Dance Of Lies (The Outlands Pentalogy #4) by Rebecca Crunden

Author: Rebecca Crunden
Release Date: 
Genre: Dystopian, Science-Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult
SeriesThe Outlands Pentalogy (Book #4)
Edition: E-book
Pages:
Publisher:
Blurb:
A year into the Outlands and life has only become more dangerous and complex for Kitty and her friends. Not only are the Outcasts hunting them, but Charles and Ciara are adamant about returning to the Kingdom to help, forcing everyone to take a side. To make matters worse, the leader of the Outcasts, Quen, has an unrelenting fascination with Thom and Nate that soon reaches horrific heights.

As tensions mount and the group begins to splinter, Riddle comes to Kitty with an unexpected request. A secret. One that makes them inseparable.

Kitty soon finds herself spending more and more time away from Nate and Thom, learning to fight and increasingly drawn into the ways of the Radiants. But Kitty and Riddle’s new bond doesn’t come without complications, and a decision made by the two of them threatens more than Kitty’s relationship with Nate …

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

A Dance Of Lies by Rebecca Crunden is the second last part in The Outlands Pentalogy and the sequel to A Promise Of Return. In this instalment, things progress slowly as compared to the other parts in this series till now, but nonetheless, they progress steadily giving the feeling that it is a slow build-up to something very important. And alas, the ending was a smashing hit because of such subtle build-up leading to it all throughout this book.

I enjoyed reading this book greatly even because of the slow pace followed in most of the book because the story kept taking me forward and the air of inevitable danger lent it a really good vibe. The characterization was great as usual and we got to see Kitty again along with some other major characters. The ending was mindblowing and has created a lot of excitement for the last part of this series.

Again, I’d recommend this book as well as the entire series to young-adult and dystopian readers and also to anyone looking to get into a new series by a relatively new author.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: A Promise Of Return (The Outlands Penology #3) by Rebecca Crunden

Author: Rebecca Crunden
Release Date: 
Genre: Dystopian, Science-Fiction Fantasy
SeriesThe Outlands Pentalogy (Book #3)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 282
Publisher:
Blurb:
When Thom Anteros is arrested after breaking into the Building of Historical Records, he demands to be taken before the King. A laughable demand for anyone else, Thom’s request is granted and the King spares his life. Yet what’s to become of him is left in the hands of the one person Thom truly fears – Mickey Taenia, the King’s Hangman.
Infuriated by Thom’s refusal to reveal the whereabouts of Nate and Catherine, the Hangman sends Thom to one of the worst places in the Kingdom – the slave markets of Muntenia. It is there that Thom is bought for the Red Arena: a barbaric, gladiator-type competition where the children of convicts and other unlucky souls are forced to fight to the death.
Twenty wins is release. One loss is death.
With the help of Charles Thoreau, a fellow captive, Thom begins not only to survive, but to thrive. A master of words becomes a master of death, and Thom’s prowess in the arena frightens even him.
But death isn’t the only thing haunting Thom. As the days go by, he dreams of his brother, and the promise he cannot forget.
I will return.

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

A Promise Of Return by Rebecca Crunden is the third book in The Outlands Pentalogy and the sequel to A History Of Madness. This was an absolute page-turner. I loved how the author explored Thom’s journey in this book apart from Nate and Kitty which helped the reader in understanding him better and more intimately.

We get to see and know more about the amazing universe that the author has created and some fresh characters which hopefully would be making an entry in the next parts. I enjoyed this book even more than the first two books and I can’t wait to dig in the next one! The writing, the plot and the characterization along with the plot-progression, world-building and the pacing and tension – everything, seems to develop for the better consistently throughout this series as far as I am concerned. And I am very sure that the next two books will have a lot in store for their readers.

I’d highly recommend this book and the entire series to dystopian lovers! If you are into sci-fi fantasy and have a special love for well-written books, then you simply cannot miss this amazing series.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Traveller – Inceptio by Rob Shackleford

Author: Rob Shackleford
Release Date: 25th February 2017
Genre: Time-Travel, Historical, Science-Fiction
Series: Traveller (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 
Publisher: Book Baby
Blurb:
If you were sent 1000 years into the past, would you survive?

Traveller – Inceptio describes how the Transporter is accidentally invented and becomes public knowledge when it sends a subject 1000 years into the past.

A Special Forces team of Travellers is then selected and trained with the intent to send them to Saxon England to explore what could be a very dangerous period of history.

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers discover they need a lot more than technology to survive the trials of early Eleventh Century life.

Book Review

★★+1/2

Traveller Inceptio by Rob Shackleford is a time-travel story set 1000 years in the past, through the machine that was invented by mistake. What follows next is an interesting tale about how our ever-so-reliable-science-and-technology can’t bail us out of dangerous situations and how power-hungry people can go to any lengths in order to get their hands on any new invention that can trip the scales in their favour.

The story was good and pretty engaging. The events were interesting and some of them even capturing. The overall world-building was good and the pacing was even. I enjoyed the book on the whole but had a couple of issues both with the plot and the writing. The author went overboard with the exposition, as a result of which I found myself skimming over a lot of pages. The beginning of the book and the base of the story felt a bit weak as it seemed too far-fetched a concept to have actually invented a time-travel machine that travels only certain years and then has the ability to come back when summoned too. I mean the concept could have been a bit more believable if the machine had at least some faults and wouldn’t have been this perfect. After all, it was a result of a mistake.

But after the first part was over, the story only got better. The research appeared to be impeccable and the story got more and more interesting, save for the exhausting bits of exposition. The plot started to feel realistic and I was able to connect with it once the first part was over.

Characterization, unfortunately, felt like another lingering problem as I had a hard time connecting with the characters. They were not badly created, but they weren’t overly impressive nor relatable. I just liked them enough to have been able to read and finish the story (which seemed to be much longer than it should have.)

Overall, I think the book needed a bit more tweaking and that a good editor would have been able to make this book much better. Still, it was an enjoyable read.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Kill Code by Clive Fleury

Author: Clive Fleury
Release Date: 5th December 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopian
SeriesThe Sunset Of Magic (Book #3)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 220
Publisher: TCK Publishing
Blurb:
WHEN THE OCEANS RISE…THE TRUTH DROWNS
It’s the year 2031. Our future. Their present. A world decimated by climate catastrophe, where the sun’s heat is deadly and the ocean rises higher every day. A world ruled by the rich, powerful, and corrupt. A world where a good man can’t survive for long.
Hogan Duran was a good man once. He was a cop, forced to resign in disgrace when he couldn’t save his partner from a bullet. Now Hogan lives on the fraying edges of society, serving cruel masters and scavenging trash dumps just to survive.
But after four years of living in poverty, Hogan finally gets a chance to get back on his feet. He’s invited to join the National Security Council, the powerful paramilitary organization responsible for protecting the rich and powerful from the more unsavory elements of society. All he needs to do is pass their deadly entrance exam, and he’ll be rewarded with wealth and opportunity beyond his wildest dreams.
But this ex-cop’s path to redemption won’t be easy. The NSC are hiding something, and as Hogan descends deeper and deeper into their world, he starts to uncover the terrible truth of how the powerful in this new world maintain their power…and just how far they will go to protect their secrets.
In a world gone wrong, can one man actually make a difference, or will he die trying?
Kill Code is the first novel in an exciting new dystopian science fiction series from the mind of the award-winning author, screenwriter, and director Clive Fleury.

REVIEW

★★★★

Kill Code by Clive Fleury is a smashing dystopian read that was equal parts engaging and unsettling.

The dystopian settings in the book felt very realistic and, to be honest, seemed like a possibility for our own future. What I really liked about this book is that instead of focusing only on the dystopic settings and the new world, something that most of the authors writing in this genre tend to do, the author focused on the National Security Council (NSC), the elite force to protect the elite class in this horrible new world. The book had some really gritty action scenes which made the plot all the more exciting.

The characterization was strong and the inner conflicts of the MC, Hogan Duran, made it even better as I was able to connect with him. The plot-progression was great and the pacing and tension well tuned. The writing was good and complimented the plot making it easy as well as quick to read.

In a sentence, I enjoyed this book from the first page to the last one and would recommend it to all dystopian readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Bort’s People (The Sunset Of Magic #3) by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 11th February 2016
Genre: Science-Fiction-Fantasy, Adventure, Quest, Magic Elementals
SeriesThe Sunset Of Magic (Book #3)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 260
Publisher: 
Blurb:

Magic, dragons, drama and adventure… did I mention the dragons? Lots of those! The wizard Zerphal, Bort and Lofti the Dunnit Sprite leap across the void between Nephus and the Harrowen homeworld, Mirt. Each have their reasons: Zerphal, an agent of the Council of Wizards, seeks to discover how his species, the warlike Harrowen, have managed to escape Mirt; Bort, on a mission of hope, to find out if any of his Trollid race, kidnapped and enslaved some some 300 years earlier, still survive; and Lofti… well… because a true friend would not allow Bort to make such a journey alone.

REVIEW

★★★★

Bort’s People by Alistair Potter is the third instalment in The Sunset Of Magic series and the sequel to The Counsel Of Wizards. It is a very entertaining sci-fi-fantasy adventure that has a mix of characters from both the previous books in this series who embark on an adventurous journey, which entails serious action, mild drama and a good emotional arc.

This book is in lieu of the previous one, and therefore, I enjoyed it to no end. It had good characterization and a well-written plot that progressed with an even pace. The tension rose and fell as needed and the action scenes were both well timed and well executed.

I enjoyed reading this book as well as this series would definitely explore more books by the author. I’d recommend this book, and the rest by author Alistair Potter, to all sci-fi-fantasy readers, lovers of hardcore sci-fi and those who love adventure genre.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Rob Shackleford

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Rob Shackleford, author of Traveller Inceptio, for our feature, Author Interview.

About The Author

Rob Shackleford

An English-born Australian, Rob Shackleford has lived in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with a varied career that has included Customs Officer, Scuba Instructor, College Teacher and management roles in too many places.

With degrees in the Arts and Business, he is mad keen on travel, Scuba diving, Family History, martial arts, astronomy, and playing Djembe and Congas.

Rob is father of two and lives on Australia’s Gold Coast.

 

YOU CAN CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR HERE

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | LINKEDIN


The Interview

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

To become a highly paid, best-selling author.

Seriously, it would be nice to make a living from being an author as I have a few stories that are ready for print. To write more and do what I love will be the ultimate life goal relating to my writing career.

Which writers inspire you?

I can’t say I have a firm favourite, though many do inspire.

Brilliant and imaginative storytellers with whom I can relate include Stephen King, J.K. Rolling (yes – I know – Harry Potter – but what can I say?, she is very clever), Arthur C Clarke, Frank Herbert, H.G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, and many more.

Beautiful writers I admire as wordsmiths include Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Steinbeck, Tolkien, Yann Martel, and Gregory David.

There are so many others.

I aim to become a great storyteller and hope my writing skills improve as I progress.

Tell us about your book?

If you were sent a thousand years into the past, would you survive?

With the accidental development of the Transporter, university researchers determine that the device sends any subject one thousand years into the past.

Or is it to a possible past?

The enigmatic Transporter soon becomes known as a Time Machine, but with limitations.

An audacious research project is devised to use the Transporter to investigate Medieval Saxon England, when an international team of crack Special Services soldiers undergo intensive training for their role as historical researchers.

The elite researchers, called Travellers, are to be sent into what is a very dangerous period in England’s turbulent past. 

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers soon learn that they need more than combat skills and modern technology to survive the trials of early 11th Century life.

How long did it take you to write it?

I was obsessed in making sure my data was correct; about the Saxons, the Vikings, and about modern Special Forces. In the end my head swam with so much information I ultimately began to believe in myself.

I was often banned from my local library because one obscure tome on Saxon history or another had been out for six months.

It took me about five years before the book was in a state I thought worthy of someone to read.

I then gave the book, then called ‘Traveller’, to an English editor. He metaphorically tore off my arm and beat me over the head with it. Wiping away my tears I followed his advice in most areas, reduced the draft by 50,000 words, sent it out for review and received a positive response and 5 star ratings. My head still hurts though.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Traveller Inceptio lends itself to a sequel. The tale of sending 21st Century, Special Forces trained ‘History Researchers’ back 1000 years can spread to other locations than Saxon England, so Traveller Book 2 – ‘Traveller Probo’ (to Prove) takes in missions to New Zealand and Byzantine Turkey. Traveller Book 3 – ‘Traveller Manifesto’ – details the issues that arise from missions to Mississippi USA and Jerusalem.

I have completed a couple of other books away from the Traveller stable, but I am keeping those under wraps for now.

Why Have You Chosen This Genre?

For as long as I can remember I have loved Science Fiction and History. My father is a keen genealogist so I have been fascinated by tales of our ancestors’ struggle to survive.

Traveller Inceptio is a mix of science fiction and historical fiction that examines how members of 21st Century Western society could survive the world of the 11th Century.

I was inspired one day when I sat on a beach imagining how the location would have looked 100, then 200, then 1000 years in the past. Fortunately I lived close to the beautiful beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia and the exercise of imagining the location before resorts, powerlines and phone towers brought to mind a very different world.

The next step in the tale was to imagine how modern humans would survive ‘back then’. Then – how was this leap of imagination possible?

Traveller Inceptio (Latin for Beginning) examines what could happen if such an accidental discovery was not hidden from public view. How would a device that takes one back a thousand years be used? Where would one go? In a world where academic historians are not like Indiana Jones, who would be sent?

So, that is my long-winded way of saying that I didn’t really select the genre, but in a way the tale and thus the genre selected me.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I am kind of old. I really started my writing in my late 40’s. I never sat and thought, “I know! I’ll become a writer!” The story began to coalesce and, in the end, I decided to actually write. To my surprise I liked the creative process and, I hope, have learned a lot about writing and language.

Why do you write?

When I decided I had a story to tell, it was almost impossible not to write. It became a compulsion, not driven out of an arrogance that my story was to change the world, but something that, once I began, I found something I could do.

Surprisingly I have found a few stories lurking in the deep crevasses of my mind which, I hope, will be entertaining.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from a mixture of real life – real people and their funny and silly ways, and the creation of an ‘if-then’ scenario. I try to keep the story as realistic as possible within those parameters and retain the reality of response of the characters involved.

Through research I have been able to understand the history and reality of some of the lives my characters could experience. Also, many amazing tales can be shared rather than experienced, thus enriching the story without having my characters having to actually engage in everything.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I am a computer writer. Word on a PC. Don’t hate me.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?

In no apparent order – here are 5 books I enjoy with wonderful authors:

  1. Shantaram by Gregory David
  2. The Roman series of books by Colleen McCullough
  3. The Lord of the Rings series by Tolkein
  4. The Dune series by Frank Herbert
  5. 1984 by George Orwell

Ask me next week and I will have others, but these are a great start.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Rather than writers block, I experience writer’s fatigue. I get sick of writing, so I go for a swim in the ocean or play a game on my PlayStation. Getting smashed by ‘Red Dead Redemption’ and loved ‘Fallout 4’. A gaming legend I am not.

I also go through a book many times. Once immersed I think of issues or situations to include or discover new items in my reading or even from Social Media. I keep my eyes open for possibilities and my ears open for good stories from people I talk to daily. That inspiration then pads out the bare bones of a tale into something I hope resembles real life.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Writing can be tough, because much is about your own personal confidence and desires.

My first piece of advice is to start writing, no matter what. Too many believe they must have the whole story before writing starts, while I find the story develops as I write. It’s like painting, or weaving a rich tapestry with words. Like a journey, it starts with the courageous first step.

Second is to not worry about what everyone else thinks. Writing is like running: you have to practice to get good at it. I find the process of writing and rewriting allows me to get better. Just go for it and let your creativity shine.

Third: Never be happy with the first draft. I always go back through the story, the words, the creative writing many, many times. It might feel like an OCD thing, and that is what makes writing so personal. My format will be different to everyone else. Find your way and follow it.

Fourth – and the hardest. Be prepared to be disappointed at criticism. As my first book, ‘Traveller Inceptio’ was initially self-published, critiqued, then edited. Criticism can be very tough, but cling to what others might say are well done. Not all can be Salman Rushdie.

Fifth – have a market in mind. Writing is a creative art, but selling books is strictly a marketing endeavour. I aim to become an author that sells. That is my ultimate goal. For any writing to sell it must appeal to a market, to a slice of humanity who likes what you produce. Some popular book series come to mind that are only marketing, with no substance, yet they sell. Publishers only seek what will sell and then leave it to you to create the market for them. Gone are the days of offering a new author a million dollar contract. Yes, it’s a tough gig.

Thank you, Rob, for all the interesting answers!


About The Book

Traveller Inceptio

If you were sent a thousand years into the past, would you survive?

With the accidental development of the Transporter, university researchers determine that the device sends any subject one thousand years into the past.

Or is it into a possible past?

The enigmatic Transporter soon becomes known as a Time Machine, but with limitations.

An audacious research project is devised to use the Transporter to investigate Medieval Saxon England, when a crack international team of Special Services soldiers undergo intensive training for their role as historical researchers.

The special researchers, called Travellers, are to be sent into what is a very dangerous period in England’s turbulent past. 

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers soon learn that they need more than combat skills and modern technology to survive the trails of early 11th Century life.

AMAZON | GOODREADS | WEBSITE

To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: The Counsel Of Wizards (The Sunset Of Magic #2) by Allistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 15th May 2014
Genre: Science-Fiction-Fantasy, Adventure, Magic-Elementals, Quest
SeriesThe Sunset Of Magic (Book #2)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 259
Publisher: 
Blurb:

Action, adventure, magic and more! Scholarly Grant Moy is sent by the dying Wizard Torven to a distant world in search of the Council of Wizards. Without another wizard to inherit Torven’s legacy, all his vast knowledge and experience will be lost. Ahead are challenges and adventures beyond Grant’s wildest imaginings.

 

REVIEW

★★★★

The Counsel Of Wizards by Allistair Potter is the sequel to The Last Trollid, being the second book in the series Sunset Of Magic. This book is more of a magical adventure than anything else and I loved it for that. After reading author Potter’s books back to back, this one, even though being as technically detailed as it is, felt like a respite from hardcore sci-fi and gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling of a really great adventure story.

I enjoyed reading this book a lot and liked the character of Grant Moy a lot. He was very relatable and I felt a connection to both, him and his quest. Some of the characters from the previous book also joined Grant on his journey and it was good to read about them in a bit lighter settings. I think this is so far my favourite book in the series (though I’ve just read two) and can’t wait to see what more do the author has in store for us in the next instalments.

If you’re an adventure and magical quest buff then you should definitely read this book.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: The Last Trollid (The Sunset Of Magic #1) by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Genre: Science-Fiction-Fantasy, Thriller, Action, Adventure, Magic-Elementals
SeriesThe Sunset Of Magic (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 272
Publisher: 
Blurb:
There’s; world jumping magic, Dragons, ruthless invaders, epic battles, unlikely heroes, bravery, sacrifice, and a steam cannon worthy of Archimedes! And yes it does have wizards, both good and very bad. Romance? Yes, a little of that too! What more do you want in an adventure story?

A disparate band: fussy spinster, Ida Fairweather; crusty old soldier, Endor Caffri; dishonest manservant, Moleskin; King’s guard, Lineth, and Last of the Trollid, Bort, engage in a desperate struggle against the Harrowen invaders.

 

REVIEW

★★★+1/2

The Last Trollid by Allistair Potter is the start to a new series The Sunset Of Magic. After having read three other books by the author, I was confident that this book is going to be a smashing read, and, thankfully, to a great extent, it was. Just like his previous books, this book had a brilliant premise and an amazingly awesome world built with a great deal of detailing. The pacing and tension were good as they both had good highs and lows and the overall progression of the plot can’t be faulted. So all in all, it was a good read.

My only problem was with the characterization, somehow, unlike in the previous instances, I was not able to feel a connection to either of the characters. I liked Bort and even Ida and Moleskin to some extent, but that was all, I just liked them enough to be able to read the book without wanting to stop, but not more than that. Still, I enjoyed the book, if for nothing than for the plot and some of the high-tension battle scenes and the ending, which was really well written.

I’d recommend this book to all science-fiction readers, especially who prefer plot over characters.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Spotlight: Traveller Inceptio by Rob Shackleford

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the section of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring Rob Shackleford, author of Traveller Inceptio, for one of our features, Book Spotlight.

About The Book

Book Name: Traveller Inceptio

Author: Rob Shackleford

Publisher: Austin Macauley

Genre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 431

Release date: 28th February 2019


Synopsis

If you were sent a thousand years into the past, would you survive?

With the accidental development of the Transporter, university researchers determine that the device sends any subject one thousand years into the past.

Or is it into a possible past?

The enigmatic Transporter soon becomes known as a Time Machine, but with limitations.

An audacious research project is devised to use the Transporter to investigate Medieval Saxon England, when a crack international team of Special Services soldiers undergo intensive training for their role as historical researchers.

The special researchers, called Travellers, are to be sent into what is a very dangerous period in England’s turbulent past. 

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers soon learn that they need more than combat skills and modern technology to survive the trails of early 11th Century life.

get the book here:

AMAZON | GOODREADS | WEBSITE


About The Author

An English-born Australian, Rob Shackleford has lived in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with a varied career that has included Customs Officer, Scuba Instructor, College Teacher and management roles in too many places.

With degrees in the Arts and Business, he is mad keen on travel, Scuba diving, Family History, martial arts, astronomy, and playing Djembe and Congas.

Rob is father of two and lives on Australia’s Gold Coast.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | LINKEDIN

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Probability’s Edge by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 27th September 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 269
Publisher: 
Blurb:

After crash landing on a technologically backward planet the crew of the Eagle face a tough decision: save themselves, or save the planet.

 

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Probability’s Edge by Alistair Potter is an entertaining and quick action-packed read. It had a unique plot line,  well-developed characters, great action sequences, delicious detailing and world-building and great writing – so overall, it made for a complete package! I was sucked into the plot from the beginning and enjoyed it right till the end.

This is the second book I’m reading by author Potter and I must say that after this book, I can’t wait to read more of his amazing works. The genre lovers would greatly appreciate his works, so I recommend this book, as well as his others to all hardcore science-fiction fans.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: A History Of Madness (The Outlands Pentalogy #2) by Rebecca Crunden

Author: Rebecca Crunden
Release Date: 14th July 2017
Genre: Dystopian, Science-Fiction-Fantasy
Series: The Outlands Pentalogy – Book #2
Edition: E-book
Pages: 258
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The four remaining fugitives are now spread across the Kingdom. And with the fate of the others unknown to him, Nate Anteros prays for a fast execution.

Yet execution does not come. After a meeting with the King which leaves Nate questioning his sanity, he’s sent to a workcamp in Argon Basin for five years of hard labour. It’s there that Nate learns what became of his friends upon their arrest.

And as his strength returns to him, and he’s plagued by dreams which are much too real to be ignored, Nate decides five years is far too long to wait …

Book Review

★★★★+1/2

A History Of Madness by Rebecca Crunden is the sequel to A Touch Of Death and the 2nd book in the Outlands Pentalogy. After reading the first book, and really liking it, I was really eager to read this one and to my pleasant surprise, this book turned out to be as good as (actually even better) than the last one. I love when a series goes from strength to strength and this series is turning out to be just that, though I’ve just read 2 books so far. Given the opportunity, I’d love to read the next part of this well-developed saga for sure.

The characterization was the highlight of this book. I loved how the author uses a different character as the main POV character for this part as it gave a fresh vibe to the series, instead of taking the story ahead with the same POV character. It was really good to know the motivations, inner conflicts, impulses and feelings of Nate as I really liked his as the main character.

The writing was good just like the last book and the world building was a true step ahead. I enjoyed reading this book a lot and would recommend this series to all dystopian readers and fantasy readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon