Showing posts with label fantasy fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fantasy fiction. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Dawning Voyager Chronicles Book Review

Book One In Fantasy Fiction Series

elaria of the dawning
Maybe Elaria of The Dawning might look like this
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
I would like to share another book review with you today. The Dawning is book one in the Voyager Chronicles, Prophecy Series. Written by Julie Embleton, a fellow Indie author, this story falls into the Fantasy Fiction genre and in the sub-genre of Sword and Sorcery. 

As a fan of many of the Fantasy Fiction authors, I was thrilled to find the work of Ms. Embleton to begin reading. She has done a marvelous job of creating a unique world for her story to take place in. I admire the people who can build a different world to tell a story in! Julie Embleton did not disappoint.

The world where Elaria lives is divided into nine realms. Well, actually there are ten but no one wants to talk about that tenth one; it's a bad 'un! It is possible to travel between these realms but not in a way that we are accustomed to. One would have to be Adorned in order to travel and he or she would also need to know where a gate was and have the Gatekeeper let them through the portal. The Adorned are people who either have some sort of magical gift or practice magic in some way. These people with the magic running through them would rather the Unadorned not be aware of their abilities. It isn't looked upon favorably. You will have to read the book to find out why.

A little about Elaria in The Dawning

Over a century ago, a prophecy was made. The Marked One was to be born. This child would be a ruler and would have unique and special Adorned gifts. Solomon, a sorcerer, is to teach this child, guide it, protect it and prepare it. He waits one hundred years or so for the signs that the Marked One has arrived.

Solomon is summoned to the realm where Lynan Castle sits to check on the newborn daughter of the King and Queen. Hidden away, the little Princess has the sovereign couple concerned. Entering the nursery, Solomon witnesses the beautiful baby spinning an object in mid-air and giggling as she does. Little Elaria is showing signs of magical power as an infant of only a few months old. Checking her for the mark, Solomon realizes he will be with this special child for a long time.

As Elaria grows and gets close to her 18th birthday, more of her gifts are revealed. Most of the story takes place around the approaching birthday and her becoming a co-ruler with her father, the King. You know me, I am not a fan of spoilers so I won't go much further in my synopsis. Suffice it to say, Elaria is a very interesting character who I think you will enjoy following as the story unfolds.

The Realms Are Different

Before Solomon goes to Lynan Castle he is in a realm that feels like modern day. Elaria lives in a realm that has more of a medieval feel to it. Modern conveniences do not exist in her realm. Travel is by horse and carriage, guards protect with swords, heat comes from a fireplace. You get the picture.

An Awesome Fantasy Read

I highly recommend The Dawning by Julie Embleton to all of you fantasy fiction fans out there! It was a wonderful book with engaging characters and the plot flows well. I am looking forward to reading book two in the series. I think that I heard that book three will be released later this year. Give this Indie Author a chance, I am certain that you will not be disappointed! 




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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

First Magyc Guardians of the Path Book Reviewed

The Fight Against Good and Evil

The Magic of Music image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I would like to introduce you to a fantasy fiction series today. First Magyc is book one in the Guardians of the Path series written by Nicole Dragonbeck. A short summation would be the plot involves the age old battle between good and evil. That would be factual but doesn't come anywhere close to giving you insight as to whether you will enjoy the first book in the series or not. 

Let me start out with explaining a little of my reaction to reading First Magyc. I feel like I have to tell you that not very far into this first book, I almost stopped reading it. This is a very unusual feeling for me to experience when reading any book. It is rare that I give up on a story of any kind. Suffice it to say, I didn't put the book down. There was something in my mind that niggled at me, telling me to continue with the story. I am glad that I did. I guess what I am trying to say is you might feel the same when you begin this book but I encourage you to keep reading. I don't think you will be disappointed. I wasn't. In fact, the story took on a spiritual significance for me.


The story begins with Ria, a twelve year old girl that I immediately related to and I think many people will. She is a troubled child; slightly broken after the loss of her mother. Her father and step-mother fight a lot. Those fights are usually about her which makes them even harder for her to listen to and cope with. Her escape is to lose herself in music. Her Ipod and earbuds drown out the angry words and sounds of the arguments most of the time. On this particular day, the fight is intense enough that she feels she needs to sneak out of the apartment to get further away from the words of battle that are being spewed by her parents.

Sitting in a grungy corner away from the other apartment doors, Ria hears a song in her head that she has never heard before and it is not one that she has on her playlist. As she concentrates on this song, a door appears where a door never was. She has a strong feeling that she should open that door even though her twelve year old mind knows that is not a safe or wise action to take. When the door opens she meets Cedar who doesn't look like anyone she has ever seen before. There are colors around him and the room that he is in that intrigue her. She knows that she should turn around and leave but yet she feels that she needs to stay. Cedar explains to her that he has been trapped in this world between worlds for a long time and that he thinks that she may be able to help him get back to his world; a place that he desperately needs to be. Cedar has to use First Magyc or Blood Magyc in order to return. (This is where I got disturbed enough that I almost quit reading. All I will say is, keep reading the book!)

So, it turns out that Cedar is one of a handful of Guardians who have been given the task of protecting the Path which is the force of life itself. Cedar and other Guardians have been battling Demons who appear from the Void trying to destroy the Path and the humans who follow it for centuries. Life has become chaotic in Cedar's world; the Path is fading to almost non-existence and the Music of Life is vanishing. Of course, Ria does not understand any of this when she arrives but she knows that somehow she wants to help.

Cedar is surprised to find out that Ria has some abilities that he was not aware of when they first met and this gives him hope but also concerns him greatly. A Demon appears to do battle with Cedar and after injuring the Guardian the Demon calls Ria by a name that she doesn't know anything about but Cedar does. Is this girl who opened the door and helped him get back the very one from the ancient prophecy?

OK, so if you have read any of my other reviews you know that I don't like to give away much of a story line. So, I am recommending that if you want to know more about the Guardians, the Demons, and Ria you need to read this book and the ones that follow.

Here is what I love about the book and I did end up loving the book! For me this is a story about our spiritual journey in life which can and really should be a magical journey through life. Isn't our faith, no matter what name it might be called, a path that we walk on? We don't see the path, we feel it. We know when we have made a wrong turn on our journey and need to get back to the warmth and glow of the path we are supposed to be on. Sometimes that means we have to slay some emotional or physical demons to get back to where we are should be. The walk isn't always easy especially if there are no spirits, angels or guardians protecting the direction we are headed.

There is also the connection between walking our journey through life and music. I love that the author more than hints at that connection! Music is spiritual and it doesn't have to be music in a religious setting to touch your soul. Actually, most times it isn't the music you hear or sing while at church that touches your soul. Is it? Certainly there are songs of a religious nature that move me and I am sure you, too. In our lives there are songs that we hear that help us get through a rough time, make us smile, bring us joy, or make our feet move. Music is emotional, it is spiritual, it is magical, life without it would be like being in a void of nothingness.

Bottom line, I love the first book in the series. I think many of you might also enjoy it. Perhaps, the message that the author hoped to convey is very different from what I came away with. Perhaps you will have a different take away, altogether. My overall reaction is that it touched my soul and that doesn't happen often when reading a book of fiction. 



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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Wilderness Series Reviewed

Stories of Fantasy, Time Travel and American Indians

Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull image (public domain)
I have discovered another series to share with you. The group of books are called The Wilderness Series and are written by Pamela Ackerson. Let me just say that I am in awe of her imagination and her combining several genres to make an intriguing (at least for me) set of stories to read. 

You will find that there are several areas of interest that will appeal to a variety of readers. The books are listed in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre and fit the Fantasy section of interest. Added to that is the element of time travel and Ms. Ackerson has created a unique way for that travel to occur! She has added an element of history in the traveling in time, most specifically back to the late 1800s. She has also created an amazing love story as a part of the books. 

I mentioned the time travel and that is what piqued my interest to read the first book in the series. Dr. Karen Anderson dreams of being in the land occupied by the Lakota Sioux. She is certain that she is dreaming and is fascinated by the detail in her dream. She encounters a Lakota warrior named Standing Deer and feels a very strong attraction. After waking up from what she assumed was a dream, she talks to a friend about her dream and how vivid it was. The two women figure out after a couple of these vivid dreams that they are not dreams at all and that she is actually traveling back in time. 

Her travels begin at a time when Sitting Bull was a young man and Crazy Horse isn't much more than a boy. If you know your history, you might figure out that she is traveling back to the time in history that is the beginning of the end for the great Sioux Nation. Some of you reading this, who know me well, will understand why this specific time in history would grab my attention.  For those of you who don't know me, I have a strong connection to the Sioux and specifically the Lakota. For many years I have supported efforts to help the Lakota at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Anyway, that is why I decided to read the first book and have continued to read them. 

I applaud Pamela Ackerson for her research in the events during this time in history. She has done an excellent job of portraying the Sioux as they really are and were. There is no sugar coating the facts and she does a good job of explaining what happened. 

I mentioned a love story a little earlier. This caused a bit of a struggle for me. Although, I love the concept of two souls meant to be together and the intensity of that love; I could do with a little less description of the physical part of that love. It is just racier than I like to read. It isn't too horrible but I did blush a couple of times. So, I am warning you that the love scenes are not subtle. The thing is these stories would survive quite well without the explicit wording. In other words, I personally don't think those scenes need to be in the books. A more understated scene would have worked just as well. That is really my only complaint with the books.

Even with the love scenes that I could do without, I still love this series. The history involved pulls me in far enough that I can overlook the love scenes. The books are well written and the stories are fascinating. If you like a good fantasy book and enjoy the idea of time travel, I think you will like this Wilderness Series, too. 



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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Aboard The Great Iron Horse Series Reviewed

Continuation of a Steampunk Fantasy Series

iron horse engine
Iron Horse Style Engine from Pixabay.com
Aboard The Great Iron Horse is a book series that continues the story line from another series that I introduced to you back in November which began with the book The Tinkerer's Daughter. I so thoroughly enjoyed the story of Breeze the half human and half Tal'mar in the first set of books and was thrilled to find that the story continued in a different series. 

I do not normally like to ruin a story for anyone but in the first set of books Breeze eventually has a daughter that she names River. That is as much as I will spoil for you if you have not read the Tinker series of books. I do advise that for the most enjoyment of Aboard The Great Iron Horse series that you first read the first set of books. You wouldn't have to but, you will understand the continuation of the plot if you do. 

River (Breeze's daughter) is one of the main characters in the Iron Horse series of books. After, an event in Sanctuary that is certain to have life changing results for this fantasy world; River embarks on an adventure in a great steampunk style train. The expedition is led by Socrates who is a machine of sorts. I find Socrates most fascinating and a wonderful addition to the story line and a most imaginative and mysterious creation by the author.

Socrates is considered an automaton which we would define as a robot or an android. Oh my goodness he is so much more than that! I often think of C-3PO in Star Wars except that Socrates was made to look like a gorilla. There is no other machine in this fantasy world that can compare to the ape with the blue fur. He can function very much like a human. He thinks, reasons and it sometimes appears even feels emotion. He knows the history of the world, has been around for centuries and leads the small crew on a most incredible journey. He runs on steam power along with a mysterious energy source called Starfall. Part of the expedition entails finding more of this energy source or Socrates and the other machines will eventually cease to function.

On the journey Socrates, River and the rest of the crew encounter other civilizations that they were not aware even existed. This makes for a most interesting and entertaining reading adventure.

If you enjoyed the first of the steampunk fantasy set of books by Jamie Sedgwick; I think you will also enjoy reading the continuation of the story in Aboard the Great Iron Horse. I have enjoyed it, myself!



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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Tinkerer's Daughter Book Reviewed

Steampunk Inventions and more to be enjoyed

Steampunk drawing from Pixabay.com
I just finished reading the first book in a three book series written by Jamie Sedgwick that I found quite enjoyable to read. The first book is called The Tinkerer's Daughter and introduces us to Breeze the main character of the book. I loved the premise of this book that was labeled as a steampunk fantasy book but it turned out to be so much more than that. 

Breeze is unique in her world. She is what we would term as a mixed race child; the difference being that her father was human and her mother was an Elf (called a Tal'mar in her world). I loved that the author touched on the difficulties that any child encounters when they are the result of a match by two people who are from different races, cultures or religions. It isn't always easy for these children. Often, they are not truly accepted by either side of the family. In the case of Breeze, she is looked at as an abomination by both the humans and the Tal'mar. That really isn't fair to any child because honestly, they had no say in the matter of being born. 

We first meet Breeze as she is being taken to an unknown location by her father. She is only four years old and is confused and instinctively knows that something is not right about this trip. Her father takes her to a valley where an eccentric man lives alone. It turns out to be Tinker's home where he invents all sorts of unusual items including a steam wagon and more. Breeze's father leaves her with Tinker as he departs to report back to the war. The war of over 1,000 years  is between the humans and the Tal'mar. What Breeze doesn't understand is that her father feels she will be safest with Tinker; all she knows is that she feels abandoned. 

As Breeze grows, she and Tinker become as close as father and daughter. She learns so much from the brilliant loner who accepted her into his home. He introduces her to all sorts of interesting theories and concepts that he makes into reality.

I don't want to go too far into the plot of this book because I hate for stories to be ruined by spoilers. What I will tell you is that I loved the character of Breeze and of Tinker. I remember when my girls were small; I wanted to instill in them that they should never feel at a disadvantage because they happened to be born a female. My oldest daughter had a poster in her room for years that was of Smurfette and it said: "Girls can do anything." I tried to never miss an opportunity to remind both girls of this truism...they could do anything that they set their minds to. The author has Breeze grow up with that same promise with a bit of a twist. Not only could she accomplish things that weren't necessarily done by other females but also she could do things that she wasn't supposed to be able to do with her mixed races.

I enjoyed this book enough that I have now begun to read the second book in the series. I applaud the author for coming up with a story that is slightly different and that has a main character that is an intelligent, capable and lovable female. I like that he touches on the ugliness of bigotry and how sometimes someone special comes along to change the racist thoughts of the masses. The ending of the first book was really touching and I love who he insinuates Tinker really is.  



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Friday, September 30, 2016

Reviewing the Book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham

Review and recommendation of the book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham.  A riveting book that includes time travel, romance, and a very unique twist for doppelgangers exchanging places in time.
I have just finished reading the book "Hide in Time" by Anna Faversham and I can easily recommend it to anyone.  To be completely honest, I was actually surprised by how much I really liked this book.  I am not a fan of time travel books, mostly because I don't believe time travel is possible.  But, like any really good fiction is apt to do, this book caused me to "suspend reality" and embrace the plot.

Because I don't often read time travel books, the beginning was a little confusing to me, but after the first few pages, I got it!  Once the author smoothly lead me by the hand through a wall that separates the 1800's to the twenty-first century, I was hooked.  I needed to see what would happen to Laura who found herself lost in a world that was 200 years beyond her life.  

Because we can study history, I think it would be easier to go back in time, but imagine what it would be like to be cast into the world 200 years into the future.


The Book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham 

Synopsis Written by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

 Hide in TimeAfter discovering her fiancé had been unfaithful, Laura boarded a ship to America.  She wanted to get as far away from him as possible.  She wanted a new start.  She meant to be traveling to a new world, but she had no way of knowing she would actually be traveling to a different place in time.  She knew she wouldn't know anyone in America, but she didn't expect to be clueless about fashion, jargon, idioms, and a more informal way of living.  

The shipwreck she survived changed her life forever.  When she washed up on shore, the land was the familiar, but everything else had changed.  It was to her great fortune, that Matt Redfern, the first person to actually speak to her, was always willing to help the helpless.  Since she had no memory of who she was or where she was from, he helped her get medical attention.  When she still could not "find her past", he helped her establish a new life and guided her in starting her own business.  

Five years after Laura was tossed into the future, she had found her footing there.  She was thriving, actually living.  Although she had regrets, she was content.  During the past 5 years, Laura investigated the area of her arrival and discovered the secret of time travel.  She also discovered that she was invisible when she returned to the past and it was clear her future belonged in the future.  Then she met Xandra.  

She saw so much of herself in Xandra.  They had so many things in common, even looks.  She felt she had actually found someone who would be a real friend.  Someone who could understand her unique ways and would like her because of them.  Laura hoped Xandra could be the sister she had never had, or at least believed she had never had.   However, when Xandra found herself on a murderer's hit list, she needed a safe haven and Laura had the answer.  She sent Xandra back in time.

As this point the book is divided in chapters where the reader is following two stories.  Laura in the future and Xandra in the past.  A truly fascinating exchange of lives.  It was a very interesting twist to doppelgangers trading places and I really, really liked it a lot.  So much so, I plan to read it again!  I feel like I may have missed some hidden nuggets in the story.


My Recommendation of the Book, "Hide in Time"


When I think about it carefully, I know there were several reasons why I really liked this book and why I would highly recommend it to anyone.

First, it shows us that we can completely change the course of our own lives when needed and find happiness in a new place.  It might take some time to readjust, but we can survive and adapt to new surroundings and people.

Second, it highlights how people are basically the same today as they were hundreds of years ago.   Evil still abounds and good people still exist to maintain the balance that is our world.

And, last but by no means least, I like the concept about time travel in "Hide in Time".  You can't go back!  Once you have crossed into a different place in time, you can't return and just pick up where you left off.  Yes, Laura returns, but she cannot be seen.  She can whisper to the living and they hear her, but they believe she is what most of us would think of as a "ghost".  

As I said at the beginning of this article, I don't believe in time travel, but if there were such a thing, it would have to be in a way that everyone traveling in time couldn't constantly be changing the future by visiting the past, literally. 


More Books By Anna Faversham

Now that I have discovered the author, Anna Faversham, I will be reading more of her books!
 


Read More Book Reviews On ReviewThisBooks.com



Book Review of "Hide in Time" Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reviewing The Royal Wizard Of Yurt Book Series

Fun Fantasy Series Of Books

Last week while trolling around for something new to read, I discovered an older series of books The Royal Wizard of Yurt by C. Dale Brittain. The first book in the series of fantasy fiction was published in 1991 and can be found in both paperback and digital formats. Ms. Brittain penned 10 books in total for this light and fun reading journey.


A Bad Spell In Yurt
(First Book In Series)

In the first book, we are taken to a fantasy world that could be in a medieval era except that there are modern types of conveniences like telephones and lighting that would not be available for several centuries. Now, these appliances are not quite like what we know of today or even like the ones that were first invented some 140 years ago. The lighting and the telephones are made by magic by the wizards in this fantasy realm. There are small little kingdoms scattered throughout with the story taking place in a tiny little kingdom of Yurt. The modes of transportation are not as modern as the phones and the lighting. People either travel by horse or walk, unless you are a wizard and then you can fly using a flying spell or by hiring a flying contraption that resembles a dragon.

Daimbert, has been hired as the Royal Wizard of Yurt fresh out of Wizard School. He was not the best student in the class but rather a bit of a goof-off that barely graduated. Daimbert had cut most of his classes and rarely paid attention in the ones that he did attend. Imagine his surprise when he applies for the job of Royal Wizard and finds out that he has been hired!

It doesn't take long after arriving at the castle of the King and Queen of Yurt for Daimbert to figure out that something is not quite right in the kingdom. He senses an evil presence that he can't quite figure out and the people who live there all become suspect in his mind. He pushes that task aside when he finds out that his first assignment is to create a telephone system. What will he do? He didn't pay attention in the few classes where they learned the magic for telephones! Hopefully, he can find a book in the previous wizard's books that will tell him how to do it or in one of the books that he has brought with him.

This was a fun book to read! Daimbert muddles through what little magic he has retained and learns on his own spells that he should have learned at Wizard School along with some he creates himself. He becomes acquainted with the old wizard who retired from the castle and falls in love with the Queen of Yurt the moment he lays eyes on her.

There are amusing twists and turns in this light read that I enjoyed very much. The young wizard grows in his skills as he bungles along trying to figure out who is behind the evil he senses. I don't like to spoil stories so I am not going to reveal much more. You will have to read the first book yourself to find out what is going on in the land of Yurt whose Royal Wizard slept through most of his wizardry classes.



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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I Meet Artemis Fowl



Although I didn't enjoy meeting Artemis Fowl, a diabolical twelve-year old, and wouldn't recommend him as a role model, I can sympathize with his having too much time on his hands and not enough constructive attention from his parents.  I normally don't read fantasy, but I have to admit Artemis Fowl held my attention. 


I was immediately lured into the realm of the fairy world by the intriguing plot of this book. It engaged me and kept me wondering what would happen next. I was also intrigued with the characters -- both human and fairy. Each character has a definite personality that humans can relate to. Each character seems to grapple with moral issues, unless it is an amoral character (dwarf, troll). Even in the world of the fairies we see politics at work and those who are politically motivated are willing to destroy others in their attempt to climb to the top.



Artemis Captures Holly



I was able to identify easily with Holly Short, the elf/fairy/leprechaun and protagonist in this book. She felt a bit discriminated against as the first female officer in LEP's (Lower Elements Police) Recon unit.  She was a bit behind in attending to her Ritual.  That meant her magic was not fully there and that she was unshielded and could be seen by humans. Her commander, Root, discovered this while she was tracking a troll and was seen. Root then sent her to perform the Ritual, and that landed her in Ireland.

Unfortunately, Artemis captured her before she could finish the Ritual which would restore her magic. She neded to pluck an acorn where "full moon, ancient oak and twisted water meet. And bury it far from where it was found."  She had the acorn, but had not had the chance to bury it yet. So she was still unshielded and without her magic when Artemis kidnapped her and held her prisoner in the Fowl estate.



The Plot


The plot is complicated and I won't reveal all of it. It is the moral issues in the book that fascinate me. Fowl is a child prodigy who had managed to steal and copy the Golden Book containing the rules the fairies had to follow.  He had found a way to translate the fairy language in which it was written. He did this so he can get his hands on the gold he believes the fairies hoard.  Holly has to abide by the fairy rules, and Fowl uses his knowledge of them to keep her imprisoned. Meanwhile, a fairy Retrieval team has been sent to rescue her.

Besides Fowl himself, Holly is guarded by Butler, Fowl's mammoth body guard, and Butler's younger sister, Juliet, who is not too bright. Holly has a certain amount of sympathy for Juliet, and that sympathy almost gets her killed. Fowl has demanded a ransom of a ton of gold for Holly's release. Holly cannot leave a human house without human permission (according to the rules). Holly managed to pound through the floor of her cell to bury her acorn and obtain her magic and shielding and take advantage of Juliet's laziness and addiction to wrestling programs on TV to distract her  and escape the cell. 

Holly and Fowl know that the house is in a  field where time has been stopped for six hours to buy the fairies a longer night, since they can't handle daylight above ground. At the end of the time field, a "blue rinse" will destroy every living thing in the house --including Holly if she's still there. The idea is to get Holly out, destroy the others, and then go back after the gold, since only living things are destroyed.


A Dwarf and a Troll Precipitate a Crisis


Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Troll Courtesy of Pixabay, Public Domain, Modified on PicMonkey


Meanwhile, Mulch, a reprobate dwarf, has been let out of prison to enter the house. He has approached and found the secret safe where the a copy of the golden fairy rule book is hidden. Butler has been sent to the safe room, and is subdued by Mulch, who then realizes an opportunity to escape from everyone, including the fairies who would like to imprison him again. He manages to make the fairies think he is dead.  With Mulch's disappearance, the fairy command makes the rash decision to send in another lapsed creature -- a troll -- to get rid of the humans.

Holly, unaware of this, decides she will cause a lot of destruction in the house until Fowl begs her to leave. Meanwhile, Butler carries Juliet to what he deems as a safe place and hastens to meet the intruder he hears -- the troll.  He tries to shoot it, but his shots have little effect. Instead the troll almost or completely kills him, and then smells and starts toward Juliet. Holly arrives at the scene and sees Julie's danger and tries to save her, knowing that she'll be in trouble for it. She hits the troll with light, but he still topples her and she is hit by a tapestry falling on her. When she falls, her arm lands on the body of Butler, and he regains consciousness, aware that he is alive and fairy magic is healing him. Holly is also recovering and is able to see Butler defeat the troll before he can kill Juliet.

Artemis is still determined to hold Holy for the ransom, in spite of the fact that she has saved both him and Butler. Butler was a man of honor and did not like this. Holly knows they will all be blasted in a few minutes when the time field can no longer hold off daylight. The gold is on the way, but time is short. Holly confronts Fowl, asking him if he's told Bulter and Juliet about the destruction that's about to come upon them.  Although she's not supposed to have empathy for humans, she does for Juliet. Fowl says he knows and that he also knows how to escape the time field -- a feat that Holly can't believe is possible. Butler affirms his faith in Fowl's abilities, even with Juliet at risk. Then the gold arrived!




"A life is a life."



I won't reveal the ending, but it did involve more dialog between Holly and Fowl. We are left with the impression that  Artemis is not quite so sinister at the end as at the beginning. Near the end, Holly tries to prevent her people from detonating the bio-bomb that will kill the humans, intervening for the innocent Juliet, insisting that "A life is a life."

I will leave it there. The ending is surprising. Upper graders who need a lot of action to motivate them to read will probably be willing to finish reading this because of the action and humor. I found the extreme environmental undertones in the book a bit of a distraction. The fairy folk have no good words for the human race, which in their opinion destroys everything it touches.

Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Image of Fairy Courtesy of Pixabay
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Recommendation and Purchase Information


Artemis Fowl should satisfy thoughtful people over the age of ten who want lots of action and don't mind thinking through moral issues as they follow that action. Less thoughtful young people will enjoy it for the action alone. Artemis Fowl books are also available as  graphic novels or you can get a set containing three to eight of the text versions of the books. You choose.   Any of these would make a great gift for a young science fiction or fantasy reader. 



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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Reviewing The Dark Towers Series by Stephen King

A Review Of Stephen King's Dark Tower Series


Having just spent the last 4 1/2 months (or so) reading the most incredible series of books by the author Stephen King, I can't seem to stop thinking about the story that spans over 8 books. So, I thought that avid readers like myself might enjoy a review of the books as a recommendation for a reading adventure that will most assuredly be worth the investment of time.

Back in April, I told about my first encounter with Stephen King in my Review of 11/22/63. During our Christmas dinner last year, I was talking to my daughter's boyfriend about him reading that book and made the comment that I wished that Mr. King wrote more books that were not in the horror genre because I really enjoyed his writing style. Daved asked me if I had ever read The Dark Tower series by King and I admitted that I had not. He said that he thought that I would really enjoy it. That is where my reading journey began...with that conversation at the dinner table.

First A Little History Of The Series:


The Gunslinger 1st edition cover
I think that I should explain that this is not a new series. In fact, it really didn't start out to be a series at all. King had started working on this story when he was 19 years old long before his first book was ever published. It sat tucked away for several years (8 years, I think) before he submitted parts of it to the magazine The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Five short stories were published in the magazine from 1978 through 1981. In 1982, it was published by Donald M. Grant Publishers Inc as a limited edition book and the first novel of the series was born: The Gunslinger.

King had already made a name for himself in the horror genre by this time with 8 books to his credit. It began with Carrie in 1974 and by the time The Gunslinger was published the first time, he had finished Cujo. I have to wonder if the publishers were leery of putting a fantasy book out there even though King was already pretty popular with the horror books. In my opinion, someone from the Donald M Grant team knew a great book when he read it and was willing to take the chance. Along with millions of others in the world, I'm so glad they did!
That first edition is no longer in print, although I'm sure that if someone really wanted a copy they could find a seller of old books to try to obtain a copy.

My review of the series:

The books that I read over the course of almost 5 months are the revised ones along with the newer ones that were written after the revisions of the first 3 books. Technically, there are 7 books in the Dark Tower series, however, King wrote an 8th book that he recommends reading between book 4 and book 5. One does not have to read that 8th book but I can tell you that you will enjoy it and be a little more enlightened to the overall story.


So, I naturally started with The Gunslinger: (The Dark Tower #1). I do recommend that you start with book one because the story builds from the previous books.

The series follows the main protagonist, Roland Deschain and his long journey to the Dark Tower. Roland hails from the Barony of Gilead that is no longer. In his where and when he was a gunslinger and when our story begins, he is the last of his kind. Before the world had moved on, Roland was taught the ways of the gunslingers as many boys were. These men might have been called knights in the lore and stories of others but in Roland's world they didn't wear armor or fight with swords. They seemed to look more like the men of the American old west and did their good deeds with guns. Roland of Gilead came from a long line of gunslingers and can trace his lineage all the way back to the first gunslinger Arthur of Eld (King Arthur?).

Just as knights were known to protect people from the evils of the world, the gunslingers of Roland's time did the same. They were revered by the common folk. As we journey through the books we come to realize that no matter what time or world Roland enters into, that reverence remains. All recognize him as a gunslinger and ask for his assistance. You see, as he follows his quest to the Dark Tower there are doors that enter different times and different worlds.

Roland encounters both good and evil in his journey with strange creatures, machines of the ancient ones and humans from different eras of history. He does form a group to join him in his journey: Jake, Eddie, and Susannah all of which come from different modern times and have their own special insights and talents. There is also a mutant type animal that becomes a member of the group (ka-tet) after a while and you can't help but love that little creature!

I don't want to give out any spoilers to the books. I hate when people do that! I just want to share with you that this series is one of, if not the best, series of books that I have ever read. Stephen King has a way with words that make you feel like you are right there in the story as it unfolds. I've read some pretty good authors over the decades that I have been reading and then I have read some remarkable ones. The remarkable number but just a few, Stephen King is one of those for me.

I can tell you that if you enjoy fantasy fiction, time travel, imaginary worlds and adventure; this series of books will delight you! There are some parts of the books that get a little gorey from the battles and the habits of some of the creatures but nothing that will give you nightmares. You just kind of think..."Ewwww!" and then move on in the story.

Books In The Series:

  • The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger
  • The Dark Tower 2: The Drawing of the Three
  • The Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands
  • The Dark Tower 4: Wizard and Glass
  • The Dark Tower 4.5: The Wind Through The Keyhole (can be omitted but I recommend that you don't)
  • The Dark Tower 5: Wolves of the Calla
  • The Dark Tower 6: Song of Susannah
  • The Dark Tower 7: The Dark Tower
Each book in the series can be downloaded to your digital reader or purchased in paperback versions. 

If you enjoy reading a series of books, like I do then I am confident that you will love this series. The only drawback is that I became so enamored with the characters and their journey that I hated for the books to end. There are surprises in the last few books that make it even more enjoyable and the ending was not what I expected but actually better than I could have imagined. I'm going to let a year or two pass and then I will probably go back and re-read this series again. Yep, it was that good! I can't say that over the 5 1/2 decades that I have been reading there have been many books that I wanted to read again...the Dark Tower series is a set that I could read a second time.



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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review Of 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Reviewing An Historical Fantasy Book

You might think that it is a little on the odd side to do a book review of a book that was published almost 4 years ago, but hang in there with me because it might make some sense as to why I chose this book by Stephen King to tell you about today. It was the very first book by Stephen King that I have ever read and even though it was almost four years ago, the story has stayed with me.

Not All Books By Stephen King Are In The Horror Genre

I know how very popular the author Stephen King is with people all over the world, I now know why after having read one of his books that would fall into the historical fantasy genre instead of the horror genre that he is so well known for. Honestly, I had avoided reading any of his work because I am not a big fan of scary books. So, when I saw that he was releasing this novel in November of 2011, I decided that I would really be interested in it. After all, I remember quite vividly that day in history when our beloved President was shot in Dallas, Texas.

King Had Me On The First Page

As soon as the book was available to the public, I downloaded it to my Nook. Before I was finished with the first page, I was captivated by the very way Stephen King puts words together to tell a story. I remarked to my husband that just in the first page, I was impressed with King as a storyteller. If you have not read anything by him, you should! He is that freaking awesome! I'll probably never be brave enough to read on of his actual horror stories because he will scare the bee-geezus out of me!

What is the book about?

One might think that it would be an account of the assassination of JFK and you would be partially correct. It is so much more than that! Stephen King does chronicle the weeks of the events leading up to that fateful day in our history but not in a way that you might presume. He begins the story with a High School English teacher who supplements his income teaching GED classes for adults. King then takes us on a journey of time travel like you wouldn't fathom in your wildest dreams. All the while, adding pieces of historical facts and assumptions that pull everything together. I'm not going to go much further than that because you can read a synopsis of the book just about anywhere. 

Instead, I'm going to tell you just how much I enjoyed reading it, all 880 pages of it! Stephen King has a penchant for writing tomes (lots of pages) but he is so good at his craft that you don't mind that the books are so long because of the way he tells his story with such detail. I found that I couldn't put the book down and then was sad when I read the last page.

Granted, I love to read fantasy books and I've always enjoyed historical fiction but 11/22/63 is one of the very best books that I have ever read in my almost 60 years of reading books.

The wonderful thing about waiting until a few years after a book has been published is that it is now available in so many different formats. It can be downloaded on your e-reader of choice, it can be purchased as a hardcover or paperback and more times than not, it is much cheaper now than when it was hot off of the press.

If you have never read Mr. King for the same reasons that I had avoided him, I do believe that you will really enjoy 11/22/63. Just like the old saying goes, "Don't judge a book by it's cover" well, sometimes we shouldn't judge an author by his most famous genre. If I had not taken a chance on this book, I would have never known what a tremendous storyteller Stephen King is. I, also, am thrilled to find out that there are other books of his that I can read that are not tales of horror. I plan to tell you about those in the future. 



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