A Book Review of Emily’s Heart by Natalie Wright

Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite

 

The Plot

Emily’s Heart by Natalie Wright is the third and final book in the Akasha Chronicles. A paranormal young-adult novel, Emily Adams is the daughter of Brighid, a Celtic goddess of light and must battle Ciardha, her dark counterpart to keep him from taking over the wold and drowning it in chaos and destruction.

Emily’s Heart picks up sometime after the second book, Emily’s Trial, left off. After losing a battle against C and barely escaping with their lives Emily, Jake, and Greta discover that their best friend Fanny is still trapped inside Umbra Perdita, Ciardha’s former prison.

The disappearance cracks the foundation of their friendship and each go their separate ways, each drowning in their own sort of guilt as the world around them quickly begins to succumb to Ciardha’s power.

It’s up to Emily, Jake, and Greta to mend their broken friendship and gather the forces necessary to stop Ciardha one last time.

The Thinky Bits

I hadn’t read the other two books in Wright’s trilogy but it was very easy to get a picture of what had happened before as I was reading Emily’s Heart.

I loved Emily’s sarcasm, it was hilarious. I also liked the banter between the three friends and how even though they were having issues with each other in the beginning you could still tell they loved and cared about each other.

There’s loads of action and fight scenes and Wright doesn’t shy away from hurting her main characters. So much so that dedicated fans might find themselves on the edge of their seats worried if their favorite people will make it to the end of the chapter. Great for any fan of paranormal fiction.

 

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A Review of Balancer by Patrick Wong

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Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite

The Nano Review

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome

The Plot Balancer by Patrick Wong starts off fast and exciting and doesn’t let up. Two best friends Nicole and Amy are on a camping trip that also doubles as the backdrop for their latest YouTube video while also serving as an excuse for Amy to ‘accidentally’ bump into her crush. Things suddenly take a dangerous turn when a freak wildfire breaks out and the two girls are forced to run for their lives. Along the way they save the life of another girl.

Later they learn that the girl has made a miraculous recovery from seemingly fatal injuries. Something is strange with Nicole as well and she soon discovers that she has the power to give and take life. It’s a gift that grants her extraordinary healing powers but at great cost. It’s a power that’s beginning to get her noticed and when mysterious agents come knocking Nicole is going to have to figure out just who she can trust.

The Faves

I absolutely loved Balancer by Patrick Wong. It was awesome, amazing, spectacular as well as loads of other synonyms. The story was really interesting and unique and though Balancer was told primarily from Nicole’s perspective both girls seemed really cool and fun. I loved the plot which is a refreshing addition to the paranormal genre and Wong’s writing clips along smoothly and well.

I totally can’t wait for the next book in the Final Deity series and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes paranormal stories filled with cool female characters, shifty secret agents, an engaging mystery, laughter and a few tears (warning: keep some tissues handy).

Read it, make your friends read it, and cross your fingers for a movie.

Interview Time! Robert L. Slater

I love interviewing other authors and find out the thought process that goes into each books. Some are eerily similar to mines while others are completely different, which goes to show you there isn’t only on way to write a book. Just do it!

Today, i’m interviewing Rob Slater, author of All Is Silence the first book in the Deserted Lands Series, after reading this interview be sure to check it out.

How would you describe All is Silence to those who haven’t read it yet? Edgy, painful, realistic apocalypse told from the point of view of a young woman who wonders why death left her behind.

 How did the idea for All is Silence come about? I wrote a short story about 17 years before that had similar elements. It was an immediate, visceral response to reading Lord of the Flies for the first time at age 28. Since then, I taught high school first as a substitute teacher and then at two small alternative high schools. The characters of Lizzie, Zach and Nev are conglomerates of my students from those years. I wanted to write a book for girls who don’t read books, to give them a central character they could identify with. Lizzie has issues, a lot of them. She’s a tomboy who doesn’t look like one, a kid who has had a rotating cast of poor male father figures, a girl who has cut herself in the past in order to feel, and a someone who has told her family, “I hope you all die.”

 Any plans for a sequel? I’m about 40,000 words into the first draft of Straight Into Darkness, which begins about a month after All Is Silence ends. There will be at least one more book about Lizzie and her friends and I have novel ideas for at least 6 more in the series. I’ve released an eBook of short stories, Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry that has another Deserted Lands story and I’m submitting another Deserted Lands story to magazines, online and print. I hope to continue to write short stories to help people through the year in between novels.

[A whole year! Waaah!]

When did you first realize that writing was something you wanted to do? Maybe early elementary school. I wrote stories, song lyrics and poetry. At age 12, my best friend Rick Moyer and I wrote an audioplay sequel to Star Wars called Star Base ][. Funny, Rick produces SF songs and does audio voice work and I’m writing science fiction novels. I’ve written lyrics for 80+ songs with music for most, though many of them the music has been graciously forgotten. Then in college I wrote plays and had several produced. About 1991 I started my first novel and finished it in about 2-3 years. Then I wrote and submitted short fiction to science fiction and fantasy magazines for many years collecting a dozen or so sales and 600 rejections. My focus one writing has had to share my creative energy with music and theatre, kids and work, so there have been long dry patches. I still can’t believe I had the audacity to write All Is Silence for NANOWRIMO and plan to release it as a novel within a year. The final draft of the All Is Silence was in my hands 14 months after I wrote the first words!

Who are some of your writerly crushes? Robert Heinlein, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Spider Robinson, Andre Norton, Steven R. Donaldson.

What’s you’re usual writer’s schedule like? Are you an Outliner, or do you let the characters lead you where they may? My writer’s schedule is anything but. One of my goals for 2014 is to write at least 500 words every day. So far, it has only happened about 20% of the time. I used to let the characters lead, but found that if I didn’t have an idea of how it ended, the story wouldn’t get finished. With All Is Silence and Straight Into Darkness, I started out with short paragraphs describing 30-40 scenes. Finding the ending was still challenging, as the one I had in my head didn’t work out, but having that loose framework enabled me to keep writing.

 

[Wow! We’re pretty similar. I go for 1000 words a day and i write about 12 sort sentences describing a scene.]

Movie time! Who would you want cast for All is Silence movie? Wow. I don’t know. My students might do better with this. Lizzie is of Irish and Mexican descent so Seychelle Gabriel, who has been in a bunch of science fiction roles, would be my first choice. I really can’t think of an actor for Zach, who is a solid red-headed young man. I suppose Josh Hutcherson, who played Peeta Mellark in Hunger Games, maybe. For the father figure, Mannie, I’d go with Bodie Almos, though he’s a little young, or maybe Ricardo Antonio Chavira.

 

 

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http://www.amazon.com/All-Is-Silence-Deserted-Lands-ebook/dp/B00HQ2HGQG

All Is Silence by Robert L. Slater

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The Plot

In All is Silence by Robert L. Slater, seventeen year-old Washington native Lizzie has just lost her mother, little brother and step father to a deadly pandemic that swept through the world one of the remaining 1% that is immune to the deadly virus, she thinks she’s all alone at first until she encounters two friends, Zach and Nev. As the weeks go by and other survivors join their group Lizzie soon discovers that her father, who she hadn’t seen since she was three, is still alive. But as he is way down in Texas and she’s in Washington, they agree to meet in Utah but this post-apocalyptic road trip is fraught with various pitfalls and rednecks with guns.

A fast paced, adrenaline soaked novel All is Silence by Robert L. Slater is the first book in the Deserted Lands series and is a perfect book for any reluctant reader.

The Thinky Bits

I really enjoyed All is Silence by Robert L. Slater. Lizzie, or Crazy Lizzie to her friends, makes for a rather dark character, a former cutter who has occasional suicide tendencies she nonetheless manages to be very compelling. In fact all the characters manage to be interesting and as the book progresses Zach and Lizzie’s father sometimes pop in with their own point of view (each POV is separated by the cursive first letter of their name — another reason why learning cursive writing is good). Robert L. Slater is a very talented writer and he slowly ramps up the action and suspense until you’re flipping the pages almost too fast to read the words.

With its cliffhanger ending, I’ll definitely be waiting (impatiently) for the sequel.

 

Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers’ Favorite

Interview Time! Deux! Kevin Hallock

So, one good interview deserves another and since Cecil was such a compelling character as the bad guy of Sojourning Souls (booo~ hiss~ *rotten tomato*). I decided to ask a few more questions. Who knows this could become a regular things!

 

Kayti: What inspired the character of Cecil?

Kevin: Honestly, I don’t really remember what inspired Cecil. I think I just liked the idea of a bad guy from the early 20th century. 

 

Kayti: What made you want to write Dead Doughboy Walking?

Kevin: Cecil was a character in Eye Spy and I wanted to learn more about him, so I started doing some research to understand more about the era he grew up in, what would have shaped his personality, and who his friends would have been. After reading several historical books about that time period, the seed for the story was planted and it grew into Dead Doughboy Walking. 

 

Kayti: Is he an easy character to write? 

Kevin: Not really. He’s a sadistic twisted character who really enjoys inflicting suffering on other people. But having said that, some parts are fun to write, like his old-fashioned vocabulary and his quirky obsession with tailored clothes. 

[Interesting, I love writing twisted characters]

 

Kayti: Will he be making appearances in any other books?

Kevin: Definitely. He’s not happy about being Johnny’d, and every body dies sometime.

[YES!]

 

Kayti: What advice would you give a new writer for creating characters?

Kevin: I think every writer is different in how they create characters. I enjoy research, and so I often spend a lot of time researching characters especially if they’re from a time or place that I’m unfamiliar with. And so if I were to offer advice, I’d encourage new writers to research their characters, including small details like what music they like, where they grew up, and other things that would make the character believable.  

 

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About the Author

Kevin J. Hallock was born in Missouri, grew up in rural mid-Michigan, and currently lives in Massachusetts with his lovely wife. He’s been interested in science for as long as he can remember: collecting insects as a kid (gaining the nickname Walkingstick because he was tall and scrawny), majoring in chemistry and math in undergraduate, and earning his Ph.D. in physical chemistry. His current hobbies include reading, writing, role-playing games, Sudoku, as well as the occasional video game.

Eye Spy (Sojourning Souls #2) is available from many online retailers. For those who are curious, but not ready to commit, Dead Doughboy Walking (Sojourning Souls #1) is available for free from most online retailers.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Eye-Sojourning-Souls-Kevin-Hallock-ebook/dp/B00GZQK9X6

Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.ca/Eye-Sojourning-Souls-Kevin-Hallock-ebook/dp/B00GZQK9X6/

Amazon.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eye-Sojourning-Souls-Kevin-Hallock-ebook/dp/B00GZQK9X6/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eye-spy-kevin-j-hallock/1117531318

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/eye-spy/id771127039

Kobo Books: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/eye-spy-1

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kevin_J_Hallock_Eye_Spy?id=j1Y8AgAAQBAJ

Sony’s ReaderStore: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/kevin-j-hallock/eye-spy/_/R-400000000000001166889

Book Review of The Six Train to Wisconsin by Kourtney Heintz

Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers’ Favorite

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The Plot

In The Six Train to Wisconsin by Kourtney Heintz, Oliver and Kai seem like your average couple living in New York City, he is a financial adviser and she helps at risk children. But there’s more to the two of them than what first meets the eye.

Kai is a telepathic and the pressures of blocking out eight million voices is beginning to get to her. After a particularly bad night Oliver takes her away from the city and to his childhood home in Butternut, Wisconsin, but there is more to that small town than what meets the eye.

The Faves

The Six Train to Wisconsin is one of those novels that has blurbs all over the back saying things like ‘evocative’, and ‘brilliant’, and ‘I couldn’t put it down’, praise that is well deserved. A richly layered novel The Six Train to Wisconsin by Kourtney Heintz gently pushes at the reader’s expectations then exceeds them turning what could almost become kitschy in other more inexperienced hands to something with an almost literary bent (if the literary genre ever decided to dabble in the paranormal).

It was an enjoyable read, and I can see why The Six Train to Wisconsin was the 2012 semifinalist for Amazon Break through Novel Award. My only complaint is that wish the ending had stretched on little longer. was dying to know how everything was resolved with the characters but who knows, maybe Ill get lucky and Ms. Heintz will pen sequel (both fingers crossed).

The Sanctum by Madhuri Blaylock (a review)

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A review by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers’ Favorite

4/5 stars

The Plot

In The Girl, the first book in the Sanctum series by Madhuri Blaylock, Wyatt and Ryker seem like two ordinary — albeit stunningly attractive — New York teens but they are really Sanctum warriors, descendant from a group of ten families blessed with angelic powers whose duties consist of keeping the magical and the human world separate.

Wyatt is the straight-laced one, following the rules even as hey grow more extreme and rigid against other “lesser” magical creatures such as werewolves and fairies. Ryker is the bad-boy of their duo. Together they make a pretty good team but in the end it’s Wyatt, not Ryker who finds himself unable to follow the Sanctum-wide order to kill Dev, an angel-demon hybrid.

Now at odds with the Sanctum, Wyatt and Ryker have to find out what’s so special about Dev and why does the Sanctum want her dead so badly.

Told from multiple points of view and featuring a gorgeous cover by Michelle Mason Holmberg, The Girl by Madhuri Blaylock is perfect for anyone who loves the Mortal Instruments series and is looking for some more sexy action.

The Thinky Bits

The Girl by Madhuri Blaylock is a fantastic read that went by super fast and is perfect for nay fans of angel and demon clashes. Of course there’s breaks between the fighting and action for heady sips of banter and romance. What more could a reader ask for?

I did wish that the writing was a little tighter and there were some minor characters who I felt were beginning to dominate the story a little too much. But with its shocking cliff-hanger ending that just might get in the way of true love I’m sure fans of Madhuri Blaylock with be clamoring for book two.