Book Review: Magicmals – The Beginning by April Enciso

Author: April Enciso
Release Date: 20th January 2019
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Children’s Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
SeriesMagicmals
Edition: E-book
Pages: 69
Publisher: 
Blurb:
When Eva and her brother Diego move to a new city, she expects the worst attending a new school. As she struggles to fit in at her new school, strange things begin to happen to animals in her neighborhood. She discovers a race of animals called Magicmals that possess powerful magical powers. When buildings start mysteriously disappearing in her town, they all go a hair-raising adventure to return their city to normal.

REVIEW

★★★★

Magicmals: The Beginning by April Enciso is an adventurous and very entertaining new children’s book that you simply cannot miss.

I am a cat person through and through. And coincidentally my very first furball’s name is Eva too! So I had to read this book and there was no way that I wouldn’t have liked it. But keeping my personal bias aside, this book has so much to offer its readers that it would make for a perfect read for kids. It is full of adventures, perils, drama, magic as well as beautifully portrayed friendships.

I personally feel that nowadays there should be more books like this in order to make children understand that even animals have feelings. This book would help make children not only considerate towards animals but will also teach them to empathise with animals.

Technically, I feel that the writing could have been a bit more polished but this is my first book by the author and hopefully, we’ll see improvement in the next instalment of this series. But to be honest the plot more than made up for it, therefore I loved every bit of this book and would recommend it to all middle-graders and also adults who love animals, especially cats.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Spotlight: Harnessing Light by S.B. Goncarova

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author S.B. Goncarova’s novel Harnessing Light.

Presenting… Harnessing Light by S.B. Goncarova

Book Name: Harnessing Light
Author: S.B. Goncarova
Series:
Publisher: Clay Grouse Press
Genre: Poetry, women’s fiction, non-binary love story, personal essay, short story, travel
Page Count: 172
Release date: 25th October 2019


Synopsis

“I SAID GOODNIGHT knowing full well it was goodbye, and then in the dark, you were there, on the bed next to me, only three thousand something miles away, and the quiet sounds of you muddling on your guitar seep into my veins and lull me into that cloudy space between awake and asleep, and in the end I am brought back to the beginning—”

Can one create a love so bright, that it crosses distance and time? In this enduring love story, Harnessing Light is the journey of one woman trekking across the world in a search to find home, peace, purpose and love. In a quest that transcends physical limitations, Harnessing Light beckons us to our own, to discover what the true search really is.

You can buy Harnessing Light here:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) |  Adlibris | Bookvoed | Fishpond | Book DepositoryGoodreads


You can also listen to the following tunes related to Harnessing Light:


About The Author

 

S.B. Goncarova

S.B. Goncarova is a writer and visual artist based out of Montréal. She has been the grant recipient of the Puffin Foundation and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Her visual work can be found in the Archive of Digital Art, Danube University, Austria, PS1 MoMA Contemporary Art Center Digital Archive, The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Art Library, and Rutgers University Special Collections.

She loves creating sound compositions for films, combining almost-whispered spoken word with nature sounds, city soundscapes and meditative music. She is currently working on some short video pieces for her ASMR youtube channel called Abba ASMR, which feature segments from Harnessing Light. (Her nieces call her Abba.)

Her next book, “Education of a Diva,” is due out in 2020 by Clay Grouse Press.

You can follow author S.B. Goncarova here:

Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | SoundCloud

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: Nameless Book: Everyone Has A Story by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 30th October 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 76
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
Everyone has a story. These are stories about people like you and me, about relationships, love and life. Stories that will make you laugh, cry, and feel deeply about. Some of them, you will not forget for a long time to come…

REVIEW

★★★★

Nameless Book by Deepthi Ayyagari is a collection of short stories that explore the broad themes of emotions and life intermingled with witty narration making it a breezy read. It was a very quick and refreshing read as the author did not burden the reader with the needless sentimental baggage of characters keeping her narrative as well as characterisation light yet eventful.

Ass the stories are full of life and essence and I enjoyed them all very much. I was able to read this book in less than an hour and would highly recommend it to those readers who are looking for a quick fix that they can read in their work-break or commute. Honestly, any person who enjoys reading will have a great time reading this book so I recommend it to everyone.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Mokuura (Part #2) by Patrick Malum

Author: Patrick Malum
Release Date: 18th October 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult, Space Fantasy, Serials,
SeriesOddity Of The Magicus Eye (Part #2)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 96
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The epic space fantasy serial continues!

Following the events of PATTERNS, the two children of Etheron are in terrible danger. A dark force swells in the heights of the Forty-Ninth Council, putting the galaxy in turmoil. The fate of everyone depends on one broken man.

ODDITY OF THE MAGICUS EYE is a monthly space fantasy from exciting new author, Patrick Malum. Be sure to first check out Part 1, also available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited, and visit the official Oddity website for more.

REVIEW

★★★★

Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Mokuura by Patrick Malum is the second episode in the serialised epic fantasy series Oddity Of The Magicus Eye and the sequel to Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Patterns (Part #1).

This book was every bit as fun as the first one and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from start to end. The book picked up where the last one left off and the reader is thrust into the action-filled world of Etheron. I enjoyed the plot as well as the narration and felt that my connections with the main characters deepened quite a bit as I read this part. So I have a lot of hopes and expectation from the next instalment in this series.

The best part about this episode-based series is that the author doesn’t repeat the plot points over and over again as is normally the case in book series. Being short episodes it is a given that either the reader is keeping up with the release of all parts and reading them monthly, or reading in all in one go, so there’s no unnecessary narration dedicated to the ‘catching-up’ of the earlier part(s).

I’d again recommend this book as well as the series so far to all space-fantasy, epic fantasy and sci-fi readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

 

Book Review: Brinda -The Extraordinary Story of An Indian Girl (Femme Fatale) by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 20th May 2019
Genre: Women Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 144
Publisher: 
Blurb:
‘Brinda’ will draw you in bit-by-bit to experience an extraordinary story; for there will always be secret-lives we will never know about, but are free to glimpse through the ‘reel’.
This is Brinda’s story–she was thrown into the local MLA’s house for servitude by the intertwining of her poor family’s greed and a quirk of fate. As she began a new chapter in her life with great anticipation of a financially secure future, fate held darker challenges for her to overcome.
The MLA’s son, Virender, was prying on her blossoming youth. She knew she was sought, and she knew she was bought. As Payal, her only friend in the palatial bungalow plotted her escape, she was not sure if she should go–they both knew some dark and tightly held secrets of the house, and she knew the implications of an escape for herself, and more so, for Payal.
Will Brinda leave or stay on to be exploited? Knowing what could shape out of even the slightest slip, will Brinda take the plunge, or will she resign herself to her fate and wait for what’s in store?
In this intriguing plot filled with choosing between two equally hazardous courses, what does Brinda choose? And what will be the outcome of that choice?
WHAT SHOULD BE ONE’S STAND WHEN DOOM AWAITS IN THE ONLY TWO DIRECTIONS TO TAKE?

REVIEW

★★★★

Brinda -The Extraordinary Story of An Indian Girl (Femme Fatale) by Deepthi Ayyagari is a beautifully written and well-plotted story about a girl named Brinda who has to go through a lot before emerging as a much stronger variant of herself. This story was both, compelling as well as endearing.

The writing, as I mentioned, was good, the characterisation was on point and the story was paced evenly, overall making it a strong read. This is my 3rd book by the author and so far the best one by her, so I was very glad I read this book.

What I loved most about this book was that it offers something that our society needs desperately these days – women empowerment without the pretention of feminism. I have nothing against feminists and feminism whatsoever, but I do have a problem with pseudo-feminists who, by the masses, corrupt the entire movement altogether. I believe in an egalitarian society so I am always in favour of women empowerment and this book is all about showcasing the strength of women. And that is where it scores the brownie points. All this while keeping in mind that the book didn’t feel like it was written with any kind of agenda in mind.

I’d recommend this book to all women’s fiction readers and to everyone who enjoys reading contemporary fiction in general. This book would also make a good read for both feminists as well as the feminazis 😉

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: As One, Together, Forever! by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 16th June 2019
Genre: Romance, Poetry, Flash Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 66
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
True love’s forever. There is joy in love. There is hope in love. There is everything that love can give. And when you feel that you are both one, together, it’s a love that’s forever!

There’s poetry in love, and love in the poetry of this book.

REVIEW

★★★

As One, Together, Forever! by Deepthi Ayyagari is a very quick and quirky read full of author’s random shenanigans, some in the form of poetry and some in the form of casual scribbles. I enjoyed reading it as I was done with it in less than 15 minutes and I value my time more than anything, so it delivered precisely what it promised: a quick entertainment for the lovers of the written word.

The main theme is romance but the overall tone of the chapters/poetry or pieces is very light. In my opinion, this book is perfect for new as well as occasional readers. It might or might not sit well with hardcore bibliophiles as the writing is a very casual and the individual pieces too short, though readers of micro fiction and flash fiction might enjoy, and even admire, it.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Patterns (Part #1) by Patrick Malum

Author: Patrick Malum
Release Date: 26th September 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult, Space Fantasy, Serials,
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 75
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Elenah Lockwood dreams of what lies beyond her boring world of Etheron. With a mind fuelled by amazing, fantastical stories of the vast and sprawling galaxy, she needs only one thing: an opportunity.
Her older brother, Teveran, is destined to go where she cannot and lead the greatest fleets of the revered and indomitable Forty-Ninth Council. But there’s war and unrest, and it frightens him more than anything.
And then there’s the kind and unassuming butler, Gilgan, who has seen the worst of what the galaxy has to offer and is now seeing signs of the very worst happening again. All is not well on Etheron — and in the galaxy — for a sickness swells in the murky galactic depths and it all begins with the Forty-Ninth Council.
The day the Council descends on Etheron begins like any other day . . .
PATTERNS is the first episode of ODDITY OF THE MAGICUS EYE, the monthly space fantasy from the emerging young author Patrick Malum. Prepare for a tale of war, galactic politics, and ancient magic told like nothing else before it.

REVIEW

★★★★

Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Patterns by Patrick Malum is the first episode in the serialised fantasy series Oddity Of The Magicus Eye. This is a very quick read and proved to be a complete entertainer. I enjoyed each and every bit of it.

I enjoyed this book from start to end. It moved pretty fast and the tension was evident throughout all chapters making it a page-turner that I wanted to read in a single sitting. The plot was really good and the ending was perfect. I am now eagerly waiting to start with the next episode!

The writing was on point and complemented the plot well. The characterization wasn’t over-complicated and I really appreciated it because the characters were all pretty relatable and likeable (enough for me to have enjoyed reading and knowing more about them.)

Another thing I’d like to mention here is that I was really impressed by the author’s taste in designing this book, something that is always lacking in self-published books. The editing was also in place as was the proof-reading. The book looks gorgeous and compels the reader to pick it up because of how neat and professional it looks. It screams amazing things right from the cover and coupled with that intriguing blurb, the author has got the recipe for a really good book which is equally good on the outside as it is on the inside.

I’d recommend this book to all sci-fi and fantasy readers as it’ll appeal to everyone who loves adventure and action coupled with space and magic. And the fact that it is in the form of short monthly episodes makes it all the more appealing.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Love On The Everest by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 13th October 2019
Genre: Romance, Novells, Drama
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 48
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
Snow-capped mountains and peaks that appear precarious to folks who prefer the solid comfort of level-ground, are like home to me!
I am Siddharth. My parents would have probably been okay had I turned to the forests seeking nirvana like the Buddha. But I have turned to the mountains to seek solace; or adventure, depending on how you look at it. The mountains are my home. They are my paradise.
My parents wanted me to leave my adventures, marry a girl, and ‘settle down’. I’m not sure what that means, but I understand their love. So I obliged them by getting engaged to a girl of their choice, but fate had other plans for me. During my mission to climb Everest, I fell in love–with my Sherpani, the woman who was my guide on the treacherous climb. Fate, however, is not satisfied playing games with me. It wants me to deal with more. Much more!
I don’t know if I will ever climb Everest. I don’t know if I will ever win my Sherpani. But I know that I MUST. Even though life has taken a drastic and unimaginable turn…

REVIEW

★★★★

I have read tons of romance novels and found most of them somewhat the same – tons of cliches, unnecessarily cheesy and cringe-worthy scenes and senseless decisions. But this book is nothing like them. This book is a refreshing new take which fits the bill of sensible romance novel perfectly well.

The book started out slow but picked up in time and took me sailing through a journey that was equal parts emotional and entertaining. This book explores romance very differently. We get to see sacrifice as one of the themes that is generally overlooked by contemporary writers. The author did a pretty good job with the themes of the book and created what I would personally recommend to my friends and family.

It is a very quick read and the writing was good too. I liked the ending as it wasn’t very predictable, though it made a lot of sense so overall I was very happy that I read this book.

I’d recommend this book to all romance readers as well as those who like to read dramas and are okay with emotional themes.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Tales of Adventure With Nap Lapkin by Lance Manion

Author: Lance Manion
Release Date: 17th September 2019
Genre: Cosy Mystery, Humour, Comedy, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 156
Publisher:
Blurb:
Finally! All of the stories under one cover. Nap Lapkin, America’s top agent, respected and feared by every agency in Washington, is both a lover and fighter and so much more.
And less.
But mostly more.
There can be no argument that this is the funniest book ever written.
No argument whatsoever.

REVIEW

★★★★

Tales of Adventure With Nap Lapkin by Lance Manion is a hilarious new book with a charming lead, who happens to be an agent, you will fall in love with! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book mostly because of the unique way it was written. The narration is in the second person and it completely blew my mind. The author’s sense of humour was out of the world and it made me chuckle more than a million times throughout this short and sweet book.

The lead character was very funny and I was able to form a connection with him right from the first story itself. I enjoyed all the story and surprisingly had no complaint from this book whatsoever. Again, the writing style is very unique and commendable and the author has done a brilliant job in keeping a tricky reader like me engaged throughout the book with the same level of interest I started reading this book. The stories were kind of cosies and I loved them all.

I’d highly recommend this book to all readers as you really can’t categorise such a good and read-worthy book.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Tailspin by Sandra Brown

Author: Sandra Brown
Release Date: 7th August 2018
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Romance
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 432
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Blurb:
Rye Mallett, a fearless “freight dog” pilot charged with flying cargo to far-flung locations, is often rough-spoken, usually unshaven, and he never gets the regulation eight hours of shut-eye before a flight; but he does have a rock-solid reputation: he will fly in the foulest weather, day or night, and deliver the goods safely to their destination. So, when Rye is asked to fly into a completely fogbound Northern Georgia town and deliver a mysterious black box to a Dr. Lambert, he doesn’t ask why–he just ups his price.

As Rye’s plane nears the isolated landing strip, more trouble than inclement weather awaits him. He is greeted first by a sabotage attempt that causes him to crash land, and then by Dr. Brynn O’Neal, who claims she was sent for the box in Dr. Lambert’s stead. Despite Rye’s “no-involvement” policy when it comes other people’s problems, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the intrigue surrounding his cargo…and to the mysterious and attractive Brynn O’Neal.

Soon Rye and Brynn are in a treacherous 48-hour race to deliver the box before time runs out. With the hours slipping by and everyone from law enforcement officials to hired thugs hot on their heels, the two must protect their valuable cargo from those who would kill for it–that is, if they can trust each other.

REVIEW

★★★

A typical Brown book with an okay plot sprinkled with cheesy cliches, okay-ish characters, and somewhat unnecessary but totally steamy romance. I like the stories Sandra Brown creates, but the other elements kind of serve as a turn-off and often seem repetitive which kills most fo the fun. If you’re reading her book for the first time (any of her novels) then you’ll love them, just like I did, but if you continue on with other books they all will start feeling awfully predictable and repetitious.

Still, it made for a good quick read (I skimmed over a lot of romance and cheesy bits) which was nothing if not entertaining. I bummed down one star because I didn’t feel a connection to the main characters, which generally doesn’t happen in her books.

If you are new to the author, then do give any one of her other books a read. This one is not her best work, so read it only if you have already read one of her books and really like it (though it might feel repetitive, at least you won’t be judging all her books on this one alone.)

 

You can also read this review on Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: A Time of Prophecy (The Outlands Pentalogy #5) by Rebecca Crunden

Author: Rebecca Crunden
Release Date: 
Genre: Dystopian, Science-Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult
SeriesThe Outlands Pentalogy (Book #5)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 330
Publisher:
Blurb:
In the years since Kitty, Nate and Thom escaped the Kingdom, the Plague has ravaged the population and the rebels have seized two of the northern countries. In an attempt to bring order to the chaos, the leader of the rebels, Nate’s old friend James, has agreed to hold trials for those responsible for intentionally leaking the Plague.
Unfortunately, the rumour in the Kingdom is that Kitty is responsible. To make matters worse, Blaise tells Kitty that the Council, who still count her father as one of their own, are once again experimenting on Radiants. It’s a horrifying realisation that hits too close to home, and for the first time in her life, Kitty thirsts for vengeance. It’s a thirst that’s matched by the one person who has always been her mirror — her Complement, Thom.
On the other side of the Wall in the Outlands, desperate to bring Kitty home and finish the Council once and for all, Thom begins plotting, using the skills he’s long honed to outsmart those with more power. But outsmarting his enemies might turn Thom into the very thing he’s always feared becoming, and war soon seems the only possible solution to stopping the Council and the Hangman. But with more than a few looking to the ancient prophecy of peace, Thom searches desperately for a way to circumvent more bloodshed.
Yet the weight of the years have taken their toll, and as Thom’s physical and mental health deteriorate, Nate struggles with the fallout of past crimes, both the ones he did commit, and the ones he didn’t …

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

A Time Of Prophecy by Rebeca Crunden is the last instalment in The Outlands Pentalogy.

What a great end to a great series! OMG, what can I say? There are YA books which revolve around such petty conflicts that they are entirely cringe-worthy and go a long way in destroying the reader’s trust in the genre itself, but then there are some rare gems, like this series, that come out of nowhere and restore your faith in a genre you thought was on the verge of being lost.

This book served as a great end to the series as it answered all the questions I had and provided me with a satisfactory closure. Most of the times, series continue to be great until the last book where everything falls flat or at the least, you are left disappointed or unsatisfied because nothing can do justice to the awesomeness of the story. Many times writers simply don’t know how to end a series and that is what ruins it entirely. But when it comes to this series, we have a writer who not only knows how to begin something epic and but also knows how to end it with the same rigour and grace.

And this series deserved a good ending because it was such a thrilling, complicated, exciting and engaging story about gripping, strong, believable and well-developed characters in realistic and intricate settings. This dystopian series is a hundred times better than most of the “best-selling” series of today. I would happily place this series with the likes of Hunger Games and Six Of Crows because the characters in this series face bigger problems than teenage hormonal dilemmas and are relatable in an unbelievable way.

The writing in this book was on par with the other books so far and made the reading of this book a pleasant ride. The tension and pacing were apt and I finished this book in no more than 3 days, so it was a very quick read. I’d recommend this book to all dystopian and fantasy lovers and to those who want to explore a unique new series by a new author.

Check out the other parts in this pentalogy here: A Touch Of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy #1)A History Of Madness (The Outlands Pentalogy #2)A Promise Of Return (The Outlands Penology #3) and A Dance Of Lies (The Outlands Pentalogy #4)

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

Author: Sandie Jones
Release Date: 
11th June 2019
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 304
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Blurb:

THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.

HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.

HER BEST FRIEND: When Alice met Beth, her best friend, it was the icing on the cake. A friend without judgement, to celebrate with, commiserate with, Beth is the most trustworthy and loyal person that Alice knows. So when Nathan starts disappearing for stretches of time, Alice turns to Beth. But soon, she begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced…

REVIEW

★★

I have absolutely no idea what the hype about this book phenomenal is all about! Because of the rave reviews, I was expecting a spectacular thriller when I decided to read this book but when I started reading it, I kind of started to get the feel of an okay-ish book right from the beginning. But I continued on because in one of the many praising reviews I read that the book’s 2nd part is better than the 1st and that in the 3rd part everything comes together, so I ploughed on despite not liking the main character one A very predictable read. The writing was okay but the characterization was poorly done.

Though one thing I can say for sure is that the 2nd part of this book was way, way, way better than the 1st part which is a shame because the 2nd part is all about the secondary character, who BTW, came across more real than everyone else in the book. So the characterization was poor so was the originality. Even though I enjoyed one of the twists, the overall story was still below average.

The writing seemed immature and felt like it was someone’s debut novel rather than having been written by a bestselling and well-established author. Most of the scenes were either too cheesy or outright cringe-worthy. And there was no sense of structure to the plot.

Now, you might find this book an absolute hit if you read thrillers rarely, but if you’ve been an ardent thriller lover, you’d know the book for what it really is in the first couple of pages.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Netgalley

Author Interview: Melissa Lynn Herold

Welcome fellow bibliophiles. Today, we are featuring author Melissa Lynn Herold.

About The Author

Melissa Lynn Herold

Melissa Lynn Herold is artistically-talented, scientifically-minded, and magically-fascinated, something that manifests in both her fiction and nonfiction. Her debut into published fiction is the artistically immersive Heaven’s Silhouette, first book in the Iyarri Chronicles (September 17, 2019).

An herbal alchemist, Melissa owns and runs NightBlooming where she blends up herbs and oils that grow real-life fairytale hair, including ones lifted right off the pages of The Iyarri Chronicles. She has published two nonfiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs.

She lives with her husband in a sweeping river valley with their mutinous cats and garden dotted with honeybees.

You can connect with author Melissa here:

Author websitePatreon | Amazon | Goodreads | NightBlooming | Etsy | Instagram | Twitter


The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself along with your writing ambitions before we begin with the actual interview

I’m Melissa, author and herbal alchemist, and I toggle between creating unique herbal blends for my store, NightBlooming, and writing. Although I’ve published two non-fiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs, my fiction writing has always been the second beating heart in my chest. I’ve been working on The Iyarri Chronicles for years, and Heaven’s Silhouette is both the series debut and my debut as a fiction writer. My goal is to see the entire series through (I’ve planned at least four books but the series can easily grow into more) and to complement it along the way with side projects that make use of my fine art skills (for an illustrated guide to the Iyarri) and my herbal alchemy (for character-inspired perfume blends).

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

My husband titled it in the sweetest way possible. I’d been working on Heaven’s Silhouette for a good while but didn’t have a title for it. I was away for a weekend and as a surprise he wanted to make me a book cover and set it as the wallpaper for my computer as a surprise. But a book cover rather needs a title, so he picked something he thought went with what he knew of it. It was a fantastic surprise and felt the title was perfect—years later, that was the title we went with in the end.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

I think authors that write first-person tend to favor their main character (which is why they ARE the main character), so if I went with that answer, I love that Aurelia’s strength draws from her artistic side—her eye for detail and visualization—rather than her becoming some sort of physical badass over the course of a few 1980s Training Montages. There’s a quiet strength to the art of creation, and I wanted that to be what Aurelia uses to come to terms with herself and, eventually, shape the world around her rather than physical prowess and ass-kicking. To give the non-first-person-POV answer, I love Cæl so much. He’s a character who is trying to get out of the morass that his past decisions have landed him in, but none of the choices in front of him are easy, either on him or those around him. He’s an immensely conflicted character and that makes him a joy for me to write.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

While some authors have a “What if-?” idea for a world-threatening conflict or start with a societal issue they want to explore, I always start with an individual character and spin the story outwards from there. Aurelia is a character that exists in the grey spaces, in between the halves of her world. The larger inspiration for Heaven’s Silhouette, and the series of The Iyarri Chroniclesbecame an exploration in what happens when halves and pieces, real and perceived, get torn apart and pushed back together.

How long did it take you to write it?

This question is a little tricky because I didn’t write this book and then start the next. I actually wrote the first draft of Heaven’s Silhouette, then the first draft of book two Mourning’s Dawn(which is coming out next year), and then would go back and tinker on Heaven’s Silhouette, then start drafting the third book, etc. There was a lot of concurrent drafting and editing for the first three books over the better part of a decade, but I’d say Heaven’s Silhouettetook me about two years solid to write and then a year to work through the final editing and publishing process.

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

I’m working on more books in The Iyarri Chronicles. The second book, Mourning’s Dawn, should be out in a year or so and that’s in the editing process. The third book is being redrafted based on some revelations that came out of editing book two, and I’ve got the skeleton for the fourth book, which will be a prequel to the first three. As a Patreon goal, another big project I can’t wait to get my hands into is the illustrated Précis on Iyarri Society. I’m a visual artist as well, and this project would marry my writing and my drawing. I’ve also been making Iyarri-Chroniclesinspired essential oil/perfume blends for my herbal alchemy store, NightBlooming.

Why have you chosen this genre?

This is probably going to sound familiar to a lot of readers and writers of fantasy, but I fell in love with the genre, initially, because of the escapism it provided. I didn’t particularly enjoy middle school and high school (*cough* understatement *cough*) and wasn’t popular, so reading let me go to these other worlds instead of being stuck in reality. I’m also a huge gamer and started playing D&D and other RPGs in middle school, so fantasy settings where you can create your own characters and choose your own course of action have always been where I’m most at home. Being an avid reader in the genre, and then playing RPGs in the same genre lends itself naturally to writing (and being a Dungeon Master) in it.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think there was ever a decision to start writing, I just had these stories in my head that I wanted to pull out and put down. It kept up as a hobby until I was reading a particularly questionable book and went, I can do better than this. I think I’m already doing better than this. It was my husband who nudged me to take that final step from hobby writer into author with physical book in her hands.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

The main thing is late at night, really late at night. While a lot of writers are night owls, I have a sleep disorder called Delayed Phase Sleep syndrome, which means that my internal clock doesn’t budge and can’t be trained into a new schedule. I’m hardwired to go to bed at 5am, which puts my best and most creative hours from about 11pm until 4am. There’s something wonderful about the rest of the world being hushed and asleep and while I’m working. So, late, lateat night, with a cup of green tea and a kitty is what I need to settle in and write.

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

In an ideal world, I’d write longhand, but the downside there is I can’t read it half the time. I’m naturally left-handed, but when we moved back in with my grandma she decided that was a no-go and I had to relearn to write right-handed when I was 9. The result is that I can write illegibly with either hand. Because of that, I do the bulk of my writing on my gaming computer while listening to music on my headset, but I will use a notebook for taking notes, and I have a special waterproof note-taking board in my shower (which is where I get all my best ideas). Something I love but don’t get to do often is writing on my laptop on the train. There’s a magic of being in that in-between space where you’re not one place or another, with the ticking of the tracks and the sway of the train.

Your 5 favourite books?

I’m a huge rereader and finally managed to answer this question by looking at which books I’ve reread the most. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (I’m going to cheat a bit and cite the series here because when I read them I binge on them back to back to back.)

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

There’s two parts to this answer.

1) I take a bath or a long, hot shower. I get all my best ideas there and keep a waterproof notepad in there for exactly this reason. The number of ideas I lost before I did that is kind of depressing.

2) I let the problem I’m grappling with stew in my brain for a while. I go work on something else, I read, tinker on character-inspired perfume blends, go for a walk, but what I don’t try to do is force it. After a couple days or a couple weeks of my subconscious gnawing on the problem, and the answer will present itself and it’s always the right It’s part of why I take a little umbrage at all the “You MUST write XXXX words a day!” advice out there. Yes, there’s immense value in getting into the habit of writing daily (or nightly, in my case), but there’s also knowing when you, as a writer, need to step back and give yourself breathing room to make the right decisions moving forward.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Realize that you are both a better writer than you think you are and a worse writer than you think you are. By that, I mean that I think most writers know what they’re good at and where they need to improve, but also need to be mindful of overusing the things you’re good at, and avoiding the things you’re bad at. For example, my favorite, and strongest, part of writing is the description— I love going into the insane amounts of detail I can see in my mind’s eye. Because I was so confident and comfortable with description, I didn’t notice that it manifested in my writing as me introducing a character or a setting with a Wall O’ Description that totally killed the forward momentum of the story. By contrast, I was told I used too many commas in school and this turned into me becoming immensely comma-shy in my writing. I had to learn to trust my judgement again when it came to punctuation. That’s a really long way of saying to be critical of your strengths and trusting of the improvements you make to your weak spots rather than declaring yourself ‘bad at XYZ’ forever.

Thank you, Melissa, for all the honest and inspiring answers! I love the way you deal with writer’s block and your advice on writing really strikes a chord.


About The Book

Heaven’s Silhouette

When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.

A lifetime of cruel taunts and heartbreak has taught Aurelia to hide, to not get too close to anyone. A painter and gallery docent, her only solace is in the art that can’t stare back. When a new piece arrives, depicting an angelic figure who shares the physical features she’s always thought of as monstrous, Aurelia searches for the artist, determined to get the answers her mother has long refused to provide.

But she isn’t the only one searching. There are others who want the artist—and the truth—silenced. Aurelia is attacked by figures from the painting, fierce warriors with wings and sharpened blades. Shaken and bloody, she manages to escape with her life but finds herself hunted by the Iyarri, who are anything but angels. As she comes to terms with her connection to them, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.

You can buy Heaven’s Silhouette here:

Amazon and Goodreads


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: Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold

Author: Melissa Lynn Herold
Release Date: 17th September 2019
Genre: High Fantasy, Magic Realism
SeriesIyarri Chronicles (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 400
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Blurb:
When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.

A lifetime of cruel taunts and heartbreak has taught Aurelia to hide, to not get too close to anyone. A painter and gallery docent, her only solace is in the art that can’t stare back. When a new piece arrives, depicting an angelic figure who shares the physical features she’s always thought of as monstrous, Aurelia searches for the artist, determined to get the answers her mother has long refused to provide.

But she isn’t the only one searching. There are others who want the artist—and the truth—silenced. Aurelia is attacked by figures from the painting, fierce warriors with wings and sharpened blades. Shaken and bloody, she manages to escape with her life but finds herself hunted by the Iyarri, who are anything but angels. As she comes to terms with her connection to them, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.

REVIEW

★★★★

Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold is a new fantasy series about angels but with a twist. This book marks the beginning of the Iyarri series.

The story is well developed and was narrated nicely. I was drawn into the story right from the very start where we are introduced to Au \relia and the heart of the story, i.e., Aurelia is not like other kids; she is different. And it was after reading the prologue that I knew I was in for a good story. And after that, the book delivered as expected – an original fantasy world.

Even though the concept of angels has already been used many times in various books and series, like Penryn And The End Of Days series by Susan Ee (which BTW is my absolute favourite series when it comes to the fallen angel fantasy trope), I still enjoyed this book mostly because of the concept of Iyarri where they are winged beings who take cover in the angel-mythology. So although it might not initially feel that way, but this book’s concept is nothing like the other books with a similar theme. It is nothing like the books that I’ve read.

The world-building in this book is good, it wasn’t entirely fantastic but it wasn’t all bad either. Though we don’t get to explore the Iyarri world in any particular detail, I won’t be judging the entire series right now as that might be an intentional step by the author and this is just the first book, so we’ll see about it in the next books.

One thing needs a special mention here is the language. Now I know we have epic fantasy series like ASOIAF by GRRM with fully-fleshed out languages, but once in a while, I do appreciate not having to deal with a lot of newly-conceived-language jargon. I love it when fantasy authors add a sprinkling of a handful of words from a new language throughout the book in a way that it is easy for the reader to pick it up on their own. That’s exactly what author Melissa did in this book and I am very thankful to her for that.

So so moving on… the writing was simple and fluid. It made the book a very quick read in spite of it being 400 pages plus. The tension and conflicts in the story kept me engrossed into the book from start to end and I ended up finishing this book in only 3 days. And now I am eagerly waiting for the next book in this series to come out so that I can read more and explore this new and exciting world further.

If you are a fantasy fan then you should definitely give this book a read!

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Holy Sister (Book Of The Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence

Author: Mark Lawrence
Release Date: 3rd April 2018
Genre: High Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian
Series: Book Of The Ancestor (Book #3)
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 352
Publisher: Harper-Voyager
Blurb:
They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

REVIEW

★★★★

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence marks the end to the Book Of Ancestor trilogy and with a gaping emptiness that envelops me every time I finish a series, I have finally managed to review this book (somehow.)

This book served as a good end to this amazing series. It could have definitely done better, but that maybe my bias towards this series so don’t hold it against the series. Most of the questions were answered and the loose ends were tied up pretty well. The ending was apt even though a bit predictable. Just like the other two books in this series, Red Sister and Grey Sister, this book was thoroughly entertaining and full of crazy fighting sequences and intense emotional dramatics.

The characters evolved and the storyline wound its way through various ups and downs, keeping me interested throughout the book. Though, because of my own reluctance to finish this series, I took my own sweet time to finish this book.

Anyway, to know my thoughts further you can watch my YouTube video review for this book here:

Book Review: Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Author: Lucinda Berry
Release Date: 1st March 2019
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Dark Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 364
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Blurb:
A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.

REVIEW

★★★★★

HOLY–F**k!!! THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTELY INSANE

When I started reading this book it gave me an intense “Orphan” (movie) vibe, but then the plot started to change its track and I was like, “Okay… well, this is different, but nothing new.” But then somewhere around the last third of the book, I was completely and irrevocably mind-blown!

This book is AMAZING!!!

And the reality of how the author played with the reader’s mind using seemingly-normal characters and a seemingly-normal plot still continues to mesmerize me…

And I did NOT see that coming!!!

And that one line in the last pages of the book (where a man’s voice is mentioned) is still driving me insane! Was there really someone? Was it a supernatural presence? Was it just the broken psyche of the child? Or was it something else entirely?

OMG, I guess I have fallen in love with Dr Lucinda Berry’s intelligence and cannot stop thinking about how brilliant she is! For once, someone has dared to write about how complicated human psyche is and that some people are damaged forever and that there is absolutely nothing that can be done.

This book is full of triggers and can be dangerous if you are sensitive towards more than half of the things that is wrong with this world. But if you want to read a truly chilling work, then go for it.

Prose-wise, the author had completely re-defined the meaning of unreliable narrator for me. And it has completely changed my perspective on the subject.

This book is a gem for anyone who loves reading about sociopaths, people with psychosis and other troubled souls. This book is intense, dark and unforgivingly chilling. I loved every bit of it!

You can also read my review on Goodreads

Book Review: Maybe The Dream Knows What Is Real by Steve Grogan

Author: Steve Grogan
Release Date: 24th June 2018
Genre: Horror, short story, dark
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 61
Publisher: Self-Published
Blurb:
He was lost, directionless, unable to find his identity.
He thought he found it in her, which was good because he was teetering on the edge of madness.
She had no way of knowing her actions would push him over the edge.

This is a story about the dangers of depending on others to give you a sense of self-worth, taken to the extreme. It is a graphic, dark story not meant for the faint of heart. The graphic content makes up only 15% of the prose, but it is some of the most harrowing writing ever committed to page.

Steve Grogan has published several collections of poetry and short stories. This is his first story of extended length to be published.

REVIEW

★★+1/2

Maybe The Dream Knows What Is Real by Steve Grogan is a unique little book which is sure to make you squirm in your seat no matter how big your appetite for dark violence is. This book is a quick read which will make you feel unsettle and uncomfortable with a story and a character as unique as the book’s name.

I liked the book, even though I felt a bit queasy while reading it, but I would have enjoyed it more had the main character been developed a tad more. The story was okay but the characterization compromised the plot because it was a character-driven story which needed a very strong lead. Still, I won’t write it off only based on characterization because it was a short story and not a full-length novel.

If you have a stomach for violence and if you are okay being uncomfortable then go ahead and give this book a read.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Spotlight: Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author Melissa Lynn Herold’s debut novel Heaven’s Silhouette.

Presenting… Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold

Book Name: Heaven’s Silhouette

Author: Melissa Lynn Herold

Series: Iyarri Chronicles – Book 1

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Genre: High Fantasy

Page Count: 400

Release date: 17th September 2019


Synopsis

When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.

A lifetime of cruel taunts and heartbreak has taught Aurelia to hide, to not get too close to anyone. A painter and gallery docent, her only solace is in the art that can’t stare back. When a new piece arrives, depicting an angelic figure who shares the physical features she’s always thought of as monstrous, Aurelia searches for the artist, determined to get the answers her mother has long refused to provide.

But she isn’t the only one searching. There are others who want the artist—and the truth—silenced. Aurelia is attacked by figures from the painting, fierce warriors with wings and sharpened blades. Shaken and bloody, she manages to escape with her life but finds herself hunted by the Iyarri, who are anything but angels. As she comes to terms with her connection to them, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.

You can buy Heaven’s Silhouette here:

Amazon and Goodreads


About The Author

Melissa Lynn Herold

Melissa Lynn Herold is artistically-talented, scientifically-minded, and magically-fascinated, something that manifests in both her fiction and nonfiction. Her debut into published fiction is the artistically immersive Heaven’s Silhouette, first book in the Iyarri Chronicles (September 17, 2019).

An herbal alchemist, Melissa owns and runs NightBlooming where she blends up herbs and oils that grow real-life fairytale hair, including ones lifted right off the pages of The Iyarri Chronicles. She has published two nonfiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs.

She lives with her husband in a sweeping river valley with their mutinous cats and garden dotted with honeybees.

You can follow author Melissa here:

Author websitePatreon | Amazon | Goodreads | NightBlooming | Etsy | Instagram | Twitter

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

Audiobook Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Author: Blake Crouch
Narrator(s): Jon Lindstrom and Abby Craden
Date Of Publication: 11th June 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction, Thriller
Series:
Duration: 11 hours
Publisher: Random House Audio
Blurb: A mind-bending new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter and The Wayward Pines trilogy.
Barry Sutton is driving home from another long shift as an NYPD detective when the call comes in. A woman is threatening to commit suicide, and someone’s got to try to talk her down. Only as he stands on the rooftop, mere inches away from her, does he realize that the woman is infected with False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious disease that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. When Barry is unable to save her, he’s rocked to his core–not only by her death but the fear that he’s been exposed to this devastating illness.
Helena Smith is a brilliant but frustrated neuroscientist. If she could only get the funding, she’s sure she could build the ambitious device she’s long imagined–one that would allow people to preserve their most intense memories and relive them whenever they want. So when a billionaire entrepreneur offers to bankroll her project, she jumps at the opportunity–even if there are some strange conditions attached.
As Helena’s efforts yield stunning results, Barry investigates the mystery behind the woman he failed to save. He finds himself on a journey as astonishing as it is terrifying, ultimately revealing the true danger posed by Helena’s invention–and a plot that could bring about the end of reality as we know it.
Weaving together Barry’s story and Helena’s in ways even the savviest reader will never guess, Recurson is a brilliant science fiction thriller about time, memory, and the illusion of the present, built on our inability to escape the flashbulb moments that define us.

REVIEW

This is my 5th book by Blake Crouch and I loved all the four previous books and so obviously I expected a LOT from this one. So the moment I was able to I bought the audiobook and dove right in. But then the reality hit me hard like a patch of a dry concrete wall in the face…

What the actual f**k?!

I wanted to LOVE this book and I was so sure about it being good that the thought that it might not be good never even crosse my mind for a second. But as I started this book, it felt like slow torture and I lost interest in it in only about 2 hours.

Not sure if I’ll even try to listen to this one again as the lead characters were very, very bland and kind of felt like a poor replica of the other characters in Blake Crouches previous books. The concept, although felt like had a lot of potential initially, started to feel too abstract and I wasn’t able to go any further. I am a very impulsive person and that reflects in my reading tastes so if I have to commit to a book I better like it in the first hour of reading or listening otherwise I abandon it no matter how many good reviews it has because I hate wasting my reading time (as little as I have because of my writing) on trying to like books that my heart and mind seem to dislike. SO basically if a book fails to grab my attention within an hour or the first 50 pages then I don’t bother with it. And unfortunately, this was one of those reads.

You can also read this review on Goodreads 

Cover Reveal: Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold

Welcome to the TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Melissa Lynn Herold, for the cover reveal of her upcoming book Heaven’s Silhouette.

Presenting the gorgeous and breathtaking cover of Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold

When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.

A lifetime of cruel taunts and heartbreak has taught Aurelia to hide, to not get too close to anyone. A painter and gallery docent, her only solace is in the art that can’t stare back. When a new piece arrives, depicting an angelic figure who shares the physical features she’s always thought of as monstrous, Aurelia searches for the artist, determined to get the answers her mother has long refused to provide.

But she isn’t the only one searching. There are others who want the artist—and the truth—silenced. Aurelia is attacked by figures from the painting, fierce warriors with wings and sharpened blades. Shaken and bloody, she manages to escape with her life but finds herself hunted by the Iyarri, who are anything but angels. As she comes to terms with her connection to them, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.

You can buy Heaven’s Silhouette here:

Amazon and Goodreads


About The Author

Melissa Lynn Herol

Melissa Lynn Herold is artistically-talented, scientifically-minded, and magically-fascinated, something that manifests in both her fiction and nonfiction. Her debut into published fiction is the artistically immersive Heaven’s Silhouette, first book in the Iyarri Chronicles (September 17, 2019).

An herbal alchemist, Melissa owns and runs NightBlooming where she blends up herbs and oils that grow real-life fairytale hair, including ones lifted right off the pages of The Iyarri Chronicles. She has published two nonfiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs.

She lives with her husband in a sweeping river valley with their mutinous cats and garden dotted with honeybees. Read more About here.

Author website Patreon | Amazon | Goodreads | NightBlooming | Etsy | Instagram | Twitter

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: Grey Sister (Book Of The Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

Author: Mark Lawrence
Release Date: 3rd April 2018
Genre: High Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian
Series: Book Of The Ancestor (Book #2)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 409
Publisher: Harper-Voyager
Blurb:
Second novel in the brilliant series from the bestselling author of Prince of Thorns.

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain. There will be blood.

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence is the sequel to Red Sister and the 2nd book in the trilogy Book Of The Ancestor. It was a great sequel to an amazing book with lots and lots of things that completely blew my mind to bits and many surprises. This was a much darker read as compared to the first one, so it won’t be wrong to say that this book is not for emotionally weak people. I got attached to some characters that were killed in this part and it haunted me for days.

Over all, the tension and pacing in this book were tighter and faster. The action was more and the perils felt more real. I really enjoyed this book and felt that it was a great sequel that took the story ahead in a way it deserved. But in spite of everything good, I still felt that somewhere this book was not the best one in this trilogy. I guess I just loved Red Sister so much that nothing can ever reach that level of awesomeness, not even its own sequels.

Anyway, overall it was a fantastic and well-written book and I enjoyed it a lot so I’d definitely recommend this trilogy to all fantasy readers, especially to those who’ve enjoyed other works by Mark Lawrence.

BookTube:

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

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